Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest - Win $500

Christian publishing agency, Waterbrook Multnomah,  is having an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest. You could win $500! Follow the link to check out the details of this event.

Good Luck, and Happy reading!

2 MORE free ebooks: Eye of the God & Lie Down In Green Pastures

Although these 2 ebooks have been offered free from Abingdon Press in the past, they are again being offered free this week, so if you didn't have a chance to download them last time, make sure you do now!

Currently free on Amazon for your Kindle, and hopefully free soon on Barnes & Noble (for your Nook) and (as an EPUB for your KOBO) soon as well...

FREE ebooks: The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow & The Fence My Father Built

Today, Joyce Magnin's ebook "Prayers of Agnes Sparrow" and Linda S. Clare's ebook "The Fence My Father Built" became free for a limited time:

Get these ebooks while you can, currently free for your Kindle, and should be free for your Nook and as a general epub from Christianbook soon as well too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ancient secrets colliding with current events: My review of "The Scroll" by Grant Jeffrey and Alton Gansky

Publisher: WaterBrook Press (September 6, 2011)

Archaeologist Dr. David Chambers had developed a well-deserved reputation as a world-wide expert on Biblical research in the Holy Land when circumstances led him to a place of doubt in all he'd previously held true. Having returned to the US, and in the midst of trying to pursue a new direction in his career, he's made an offer he can't refuse, an offer that brings him back to Israel, to secrets of a Copper Scroll, and places him in the cross-hairs of the political turmoil and danger of the Middle East where Prophecy, Archeology, and Romance collide.

Gansky and Jeffrey have teamed up to provide a fast-paced read filled with twists and turns and ancient secrets that are fascinating to consider. Unfortunately, the book didn't quite live up to my expectations, despite the danger, the suspense, the mystery. The main reason? Dr. Chambers was simply one of the least likable characters I've encountered in a while, and I found myself almost hoping for his untimely demise (well, not really of course...). As a character, he was extremely immature and self-centered, and I found myself cheering on the body guard who ended up slamming him into the wall to try and knock some sense into him. The premise of this story was great, and parts of the book were very entertaining. But at the end of the day, I find myself wondering why the authors created a character so difficult to relate to and believe in. Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh, but I expected more out of both of these authors based on previous books I've enjoyed by both of them.

I can therefore only give this a very mild recommendation of 2.5 of 5 stars, and hope that their future works will live up to their prior reputations.

I received this ebook from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.

++ I will say that the cover of this book is absolutely awesome, and I enjoyed the trailer the publisher made for the book. Check it out below: 

Monday, November 28, 2011

FREE: Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson (Kindle, Nook, EPUB)

Be sure to download Melody Carlson's ebook "Christmas at Harrington's", which just become free today for a limited time from Amazon for your Kindle, Barnes & Noble for your Nook, and in general EPUB format for your KOBO or other ereader:

        NOOK           EPUB from Christianbook

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sneak peek at the coming week

I'm feeling pretty excited for the coming week!

December 1st is upon us soon, and Bethany House & Revell Publishers typically offer up some new ebook options for FREE at the beginning of each month. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for what this week will behold, along with some more free ebooks from Abingdon Press no doubt (as they typically offer some ebooks free on a weekly basis).

I'm also going to be posting reviews for the following books:

Praying God's blessings upon you this coming week :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wondrous to behold: My review of The Opposite of Art by Athol Dickson

Publisher: Howard Books; Original edition (September 13, 2011)

Ridler is an artist destined to rise in prominence in the art world, but his self-centered quest to create art leaves broken hearts and bruised egos in his wake. When a hit-and-run driver sends Ridler over the edge of a bridge into Harlem River, he miraculously awakens on it's banks having had an encounter with Glory. He is desperate to paint what he saw, but the image is lost from his mind before he is able to do so. What follows is a journey to exotic locale to attempt to again find the Glory, from releasing doves at a Buddhist temple in Thailand to seeking the divine in Rome. When his journey brings him back to North America, his attempt to reconcile the wrongs in his past prompts a search for Ridler, previously presumed dead, both by a daughter he never knew, and a man bent on murder.

Athol Dickson has written a powerful, engaging story that will long stay on my mind. It is the type of story where I came to the end of the book and simply had to sit and process the emotions the novel had stirred.
Reading The Opposite of Art was like listening to a complex piece of music or being held captive by a painting. Dickson is truly an expert with the pen, and the result is scenes full of vivid detail and characters that are mesmerizing, unique, larger than life. The whole host of characters introduced, from Ridler himself to his love, Suzanne, to the strange and wonderful circus folk, are all absolutely fascinating in their differences and their similarities, fellow pilgrims on the journey of life. I should caution that some readers may find the book to have a slower pace because of the detail included, but I personally felt that the story held my interest from start to finish.

The novel is so much more than suspense, so much more than a simple search for truth, so much more than broken families being made whole. Dickson has courageously explored the meaning of life through Ridler's desperate search, and brilliantly illuminates the power of Jesus against the back drop of the emptiness of other religions, and the emptiness of ourselves. When Ridler comes to the end of himself and finally finds Glory, it is wonderous to behold.

Readers who enjoyed Dickson's previous works will greatly enjoy this latest offering. I strongly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, for the purposes of this unbiased review. Available for purchase wherever good books are sold.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Book of Days" by James Rubart is now FREE (ebook) for a limited time

Book of Days by James L. Rubart: Book Cover

Popular author James Rubart's newest ebook "Book of Days" was just made free today for a limited time. It is currently free as a Nook Book from Barnes & Noble, and as a general EPUB from to download for your Kobo or Sony Ereader. does not yet offer it free as a Kindle as of this posting, but hopefully they will soon. Follow this link to Amazon to see if it's become free there yet.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An advanced reader's copy review of "River's Call" by Melody Carlson

Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: February 2012

Melody Carlson invites us to return to the banks of the Siuslaw River in this second installment of the Inn at Shining Waters series. Anna Larson is enjoying running her Inn together with her new husband, Clark. However, when her daughter Lauren phones her to report that she is sick, the discovery of what is truly going on changes everything for the family. Anna tries to support her as best as possible while dealing with old undercurrents of bitterness from Lauren's grandmother. River's Call follows the journey of the family as they grow older and Lauren starts a family of her own, until Lauren hits rock bottom and returns to the River to determine whether her shattered life can be pieced back together.

I enjoyed this second novel in the series, much as I did the first one, River's Song. Anna is a truly likeable character who continues to grow as she is confronted with new circumstances. Her Native American heritage adds a deeper flavor to the story as Anna is confronted by prejudices but is still able to celebrate her family's origins and what they have to teach her and others. The time period that the story is written in, that of the 1960's and 1970's, is a fascinating one to read about, especially as viewed through Anna and Clark's eyes. For instance, it was quite interesting to see their reaction to the use of television becoming more common., when the idea of watching violent news shows on television was considered to be "grotesque"! River's Call is written in an easy to read manner, and upholds faith in God as well as going back to nature and being silent and still, and finding God therein.

I highly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

This review is based on an electronic copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley for the purpose of completing this review.

3 free ebooks: Dead Reckoning, Surrender the Wind, and Gone to Green

Today, Abingdon Press has made 3 fiction ebooks free for a limited time. They are currently free on

Get 'em while they are still free! Abingdon Press only makes their books free for a few days at a time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A hazard for your to-do list: My review of "Book of Dreams" by Davis Bunn

Publisher: Howard Books; Original edition (October 4, 2011)

Psychologist Dr. Elena Burroughs enjoys success in her practice and notoriety on an international scale due to her bestselling book on the interpretation of dreams. But when a new patient arrives who has been having the same nightmare for 26 days in a row, Elena's life takes a sudden turn as a series of events thrust her out of her comfort zone and into the middle of God's will - a place that feels right and yet is far from seeming safe. As the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual discernment to Elena, she is able to help interpret other's dreams and experience dreams of her own in a way that has implications for the global financial state and the plight of the common people, and places her very life at risk.

Davis Bunn has created a remarkable work in Book of Dreams, a novel that encompasses diverse themes of God's miraculous power, financial corruption on a worldwide scale, a mysterious historical artifact, and the restoration of broken hearts. The pacing and the dialogue are perfect, the scenes crackle with energy and supernatural wonder, the action is non-stop, and underlying all is a sense of God's presence at work in an amazing way. The author often surprises me with his ability to not only write entertaining novels, but leave me profoundly touched in a spiritual way as well. I leave this book pondering God's spiritual gifts, and whether we desire them for our own purpose or to accomplish God's will, no matter the cost, which the characters in this book found to be enormous - but also completely worth it.

Readers who have enjoyed previous books by Davis Bunn will love this one! The book was so good I found myself wishing it were real. It was incredibly difficult to put it down, such that I found myself snatching a few pages here and there in between my tasks and chores and bustle of my day. I am greatly anticipating Elena's return in Hidden in DreamsI highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book was provided courtesy of the publisher, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A heartwarming read: My review of A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher: Revell; Reprinted edition (September 1, 2011)

Book Synopsis as provided by the Publisher:

Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband, Sol, the Christmas gift they have both longed for--news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big Amish family isn't likely to become a reality. Will those empty chairs at the table ever be filled? Then a winter storm raging outside blows an impatient young woman and her husband into the Riehl home on Christmas Eve--and into a much slower pace of life.

Both couples are about to find out if they can weather the storm--and if miracles still happen at Christmastime.


Have you ever seen the movie For Richer or Poorer with actors Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley? If so, you may be familiar with the initial premise of A Lancaster County Christmas, of a couple with a troubled marriage who end up in Amish country and are forever changed.

But this book is so much better, so much more satisfying than the movie.

Fisher has woven together a rich story, a story of new beginnings for characters Jaime, C.J., Sol, Mattie, Zach. As they all learn to look at the world through each others eyes, they also experience the touch of God through his promises, his faithfulness. The pacing is swift as the story is revealed layer upon layer, engaging the reader with subplots of marriage troubles, rebellious teens, cultural clashes, struggles to get pregnant. I found the book difficult to put down, and was not only entertained but found myself challenged in my own faith, especially in the character of Mattie and her tendency to worry and her journey towards peace, as worry is something I have struggled with myself in life. I was equally inspired by the simple life of the Amish with the security of family and community to surround them.

A Lancaster County Christmas is a beautiful story, written with great skill. Readers who enjoy Amish fiction will love this Christmas story, and will walk away feeling their time was well spent. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

*** Make sure you also check out the trailer for the author's upcoming book "The Keeper" coming in January 2012:

Free ebook: Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard (Harvest House)

Harvest House publishers has just made this ebook free for a limited time! Make sure
you download it for your Kindle, Nook, Kobo or other ereader while it is still free.

Follow the link (picture left) for, or the book is also available at Barnes & for your Nook or as an EPUB for your Kobo, Sony or other ereader.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A unique journey through the past: My review of "Remembering you" by Tricia Goyer

Publisher: Guideposts (November 2011)

Ava Ellington's life has hit a snag, and her carefully laid out plans to have a wonderful marriage and a strong career seem to have gone sideways. Seeking to overcome her broken heart and to reignite her fumbling career, she agrees to accompany her Grandpa Jack to Europe to tour World War II battle sites. Upon arriving in Paris, they meet up with her grandpa's best friend, Grand-Paul, along with his grandson Dennis, an unexpected addition who triggers reminders of lost love. Ava soon finds herself reliving the end of World War II in Europe through the eyes of her grandfather as they visit battle sites and a concentration camp he and other veterans helped liberate. As the days pass, Ava and Dennis also relive their own history, discovering the embers of a love that may lead to an unexpected outcome.

Tricia Goyer has demonstrated time and again her ability to take the past, breathe new life into it, and use it to illuminate our present and our future, and she has definitely succeeded again! I greatly enjoyed the unique spin she put upon the World War II theme she wove throughout the book, viewing the victories and tragedies of the past through the lens of the relationship of Ava and her Grandpa Jack as he slowly warmed up to her requests to share his experiences. I must admit that the relationship between Ava and Dennis sometimes annoyed me as their often immature interactions reminded me more of adolescents than of grown adults, but perhaps that just demonstrates the author's ability to make the character's realistic, bringing to life not only their positive, enjoyable traits, but their selfish ones too! By the end of the book, these characters had found a place in my heart and earned my respect.

Grandpa Jack was probably my favorite character with his servant heart, his kind but sometimes gruff exterior, his courage to share the truth of the past. I found myself pondering his words to his best friend Grand-Paul when he stated, "you're afraid to pray because you don't want to be disappointed, but prayer is more about being willing to change ourselves. To know God has the answers". Grandpa Jack's challenge to his friend is one that could be said to any of us.

Readers who enjoy a blend of contemporary fiction with historical elements will greatly enjoy Remembering You and I give this book a strong recommendation of 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Book has bee provided through the publisher and Litsfuse Publicity Group for the purposes of this unbiased review.

E. Healy
Meet Tricia

Tricia Goyer is the author of 30 books and has published over 500 articles for national publications such as Focus on the Family, Today's Christian Woman and HomeLife Magazine. She won the Historical Novel of the Year award in both 2005 and 2006 from American Christian Fiction Writers, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. In her fiction novels, Tricia writes contemporary and historical stories that feature strong women overcoming great challenges. She recreates historic wartime eras with precise detail through perseverant and comprehensive research.

Grab 4 Free ebooks: Medical Error, A Simple Amish Christmas, Griselda Takes Flight, One Imperfect Christmas

Today Abingdon Press made 4 of their ebooks free for a limited time, currently free on in Kindle format:


 Get these while you can!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Get in the Christmas spirit and read this book! My review of "Remembering Christmas" by Dan Walsh

Publisher: Revell (September 1, 2011)

Book Synopsis as provided by the publisher:

Can one Christmas change a life forever?

Rick Denton lives his life on his terms. He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one. So when his mother calls begging him to come home after his stepfather has an aneurysm, Rick is more than a little reluctant. What was supposed to be just a couple days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and dealing with the homeless guy who keeps hanging around the store. The one bright spot is the lovely and intriguing young woman who works at his side each day.

As Christmas nears, Rick's old life beckons, the hurts from his past loom large, and the decisions he makes will determine more than just where he spends Christmas Eve.


My first thought upon closing the pages of this book was why on Earth have I never read a book by Dan Walsh before? Walsh is clearly a gifted author, one who immediately drew me into his powerful story. The characters are beautifully developed, with a host of quirky people providing moments of hilarity in the midst of the adversity the main characters are experiencing. Rick is completely believable in how he is portrayed, from his moments of humor, sarcasm, and yes, times of being overly judgmental, to his transformation towards being a better man, brought about through his journey back to belief in God. While sometimes I find contemporary dramas to be a bit slow, I found that this story simply flew by and I enjoyed it from start to finish. Walsh throws in some unexpected surprises near the end, and the result is an absolutely heartwarming conclusion that is sure to please readers.

I highly recommend this book, both for reading during the Christmas season and for reading year round. Get in the Christmas spirit and read this book. 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Free ebook: On Sparrow Hill by Maureen Lang

Tyndale House publishers has made Maureen Lang's Christian fiction ebook "On Sparrow Hill" free for a limited time, for your Kindle, Nook, Kobo or other ereader:

                  NOOK                   EPUB from for your Kobo


Friday, November 11, 2011

The 21-Day Dad's Challenge: Three Weeks to a Better Relationship with Your Kids by Carey Casey (Editor)

Publisher: Focus/Tyndale (September 23, 2011)

In timing with the release of the acclaimed movie Courageous comes a book that is likewise aimed at dads. Filled with wisdom from such contributors as Carey Casey, Josh D. McDowell, Dr. Gary Rosberg, Randy Alcorn, and many others, The 21-Day Dad’s Challenge seeks to equip dads in their incredibly important job of helping raise the next generation. Through practical, well-written chapters, the authors are hoping to aid dads in the role of “loving, coaching, and modeling for your children, encouraging other children, and enlisting other dads to get involved”.

I found this book to be an absolute treasure, filled with practical wisdom and advice for fathers seeking to be the best they can be. The book is brilliantly written, engaging the reader on many different levels not only with the written word but by linking to websites, videos, and more. It offers a powerful wake-up call for fathers to set their priorities straight, to invest in their children, an investment that will be returned over and over again. As I read the book, I found myself considering what sort of obstacles I need to overcome to invest in my own children, what priorities I may need to change to be the best dad I can be. I think any father reading this book can be inspired to change, in either big or small ways, and this book makes it easy to do so by only asking for a brief time commitment each day to work through the chapters. I really appreciate that the book seeks to encourage dads and not make them feel bad about themselves, which would have been easy to do. Research shows over and over that dads are such as important part of their children’s lives, and this book makes it possible to be the type of father that loves and champions their children.

The book is easy to read and yet has the ability to change lives. I strongly encourage dads (and grandfathers too!) to take time to read this book and, not only read it, but act on it as well. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Book provided by publisher, Tyndale House, for the purposes of this unbiased review. Available everywhere good books are sold.

NOTE: For a fiction book based on the movie, one that also seeks to bring the best out of dads, see my review of Courageous.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A story that will settle deeply into your soul: My review of Snow Angel by Glenn Beck and Nicole Baart

Publisher: Threshold Editions (October 25, 2011); a division of Simon and Schuster.

Rachel tries to be the best mother she can be to her daughter, Lily, sheltering her from the reality of an abusive marriage by hiding behind lies necessary to put up a perfect exterior to the world around them. Mitch struggles to remember his present and his past, to find clarity within the tangle of a brain with Alzheimer's. He knows he's waiting, but often forgets who he's waiting for. A renewed relationship with an important father-figure type from her past causes Rachel to start examining her life and questioning decisions she has made. As the hope of Christmas approaches, Rachel must decide if she has the the courage to leave behind her controlling and abusive husband and embrace freedom. The arrival of Christmas eve brings a gift that neither Rachel nor Mitch were expecting. 

The Snow Angel is a poignant, beautifully written story of the power of love, courage, and forgiveness. Rachel's story is at times heart-breaking as the reader views the world through her eyes, from the pain of a childhood with an alcoholic mother and a distant father, to being trapped in a marriage controlled by fear. The authors have succeeded at creating memorable characters, and I found myself both aching for Rachel and cheering her on as she started making tentative steps forward. I especially enjoyed the character of Lily with her childlike innocence and faith and her strong sense of justice. The scenes where she stands up for her mother, especially the one at the Thanksgiving dinner table, are powerful indeed. The story captivated me from the first chapter all the way to the highly satisfying conclusion.

This is a story that I plan to read again in the future, a story both highly entertaining and inspiring, one that settles deeply into your soul. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher for the purposes of this unbiased review. Available wherever good books are sold. 

3 free fiction ebooks from Abingdon press by Joyce Magnin, Cynthia Ruchti and Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Abingdon Press has made 3 of their fiction titles free for a limited time. These titles have been free before in the past, but if you didn't get them earlier in the year, be sure to grab them now for your Kindle, Nook, Kobo (note: these are currently free only on Amazon, but I've included a link to the ebooks on Barnes & Noble as they are likely to become free soon as per usual):




If you have a KOBO or other ereader head over to and download these titles in the general EPUB format.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Powerful in it's simplicity: My review of The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson

Publisher: Revell (September 1, 2011)

Book Synopsis as provided by the publisher:

The small town of Parrish Springs is not quite ready for Matilda Honeycutt.

A strange older woman with scraggly gray hair and jewelry that jangles as she walks, Matilda is certainly not the most likely person to buy the old Barton Building on the town's quaint main street. When it becomes apparent that her new shop doesn't fit the expectations of Parrish Springs residents, a brouhaha erupts. After all, Christmas is approaching, and the last thing the town needs is a junky shop run by someone who looks and acts like a gypsy. But as townsfolk venture into the strange store, they discover that old memories can bring new life and healing.


The Christmas Shoppe is a story filled with wonder and heart-warming moments. Matilda is quirky and special, focused on what really matters and unworried about the troubles we so commonly let plague us. Who she is, exactly, is never revealed in the story - an angel? A miracle worker? Who knows? But to the flawed residents of Parrish Springs, in the end it doesn't really matter, as each of them is drawn into her strange shop and emerge utterly changed. The author doesn't set out to develop deep, complex characters, but in this book it is a strength as the simple story ends up conveying a profound truth of God's love and the power of forgiveness.  All of Carlson's characters, from Tommy the newspaper owner to Suzanne the city manager to the greedy Councilman Snider, will find a place in your heart by the end of the book. Despite it's simplicity, the story moved along well and was completely engaging, and this book is well worth the read.

I encourage you to pick up this book when you need a quick read that will entertain while reminding of you of the more important things in life. I strongly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My thoughts on the Jesus is Calling Devotional Bible (NKJV)

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 11, 2011)

Recently, I was given the opportunity to receive a sample of the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible (NKJV), along with a copy of one of the devotionals incorporated into the Bible, Jesus Calling, written by missionary Sarah Young. I must say that I am quite excited about this Bible! The devotional Bible includes over 250 devotional entries taken from two of Young's devotional books, Jesus Calling and Jesus Lives. These devotional entries are written from Jesus' point of view, and contain what Sarah Young heard God telling her through her times meditating on the Word and listening to his voice.

I have actually never had the pleasure of reading the Bible in the New King James format, and from the sample that I read, I quite enjoyed this version and plan on looking soon for a copy of the full NKJV Bible. I was pleased to find that the way that the devotionals are laid out in the Bible did not detract at all from the focus on the Word itself, but instead provided a neat way to look deeper into a topic connected to the Bible passage. I also really appreciated the "intimate expressions...written as prayers to Jesus, describing various life situations men and women face every day". These entries, each signed with someone's name to represent each one of us, are written with raw honesty and at times desperation, reminding me of David's expressions of both pain and worship as written in the Psalms. These entries, combined with the devotional, are powerful indeed.

The devotional released in 2004, Jesus Calling, is by itself a worthwhile read. The entries are meaningful, and I could hear God speaking to me through them. Although some might question someone writing down what they feel God is saying to them, it is clear that these entries are based upon the Word of God, and I did not read anything that seemed outside of the Bible. Sarah's heart also shines clearly through her entries, and she has chosen to share her intimate entries with others in prayer "that our Savior may bless readers with His presence and His peace in ever deeper measure".

I strongly recommend the devotional and the devotional Bible (from the sample I have enjoyed). 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson.

Follow this link to check out Sarah’s devotional, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, upon which the devotional Bible was based.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A moving story: My review of Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy

Publisher: Bethany House (October 1, 2011)

Book Synopsis as provided by the Publisher:

When an insidious genetic disease strikes her family, Harvard graduate Dr. Kai Chang must alert Lily, the sister Kai left on orphanage steps years earlier. Standing in her way are the Powells, Lily's adoptive parents. Gloria Powell, a shy pastor's wife, distrusts Kai and thinks her presence will send their troubled seventeen-year-old over the precipice of teenage angst. A Texas-sized tornado whirls when Kai summons the Powells to a Fort Worth hotel. Tempers and cultures collide. Can Kai and Gloria, separated by culture and faith but devoted to Lily, reconcile their differences and trust their dreams to God?


Reclaiming Lily is a story that you cannot help but be moved by, with characters so real that by the end of the book they will feel like family. I'll be honest - some parts meandered a bit slowly, and at those points I almost lost interest in the story. But I am so glad I continued reading, as I was ultimately swept up into the pain and the triumph of the characters. In fact, some moments were profoundly touching and brought tears to my eyes, such as the scene where Joy finds Gloria on the bathroom floor. 

Probably my favorite character was Kai with her strong, determined spirit, rising above the tragedy of the past violence of the Chinese cultural revolution. Her search for God (or perhaps his pursuit of her) was profound and ultimately triumphant, and Lacy expertly incorporated the saving power of Jesus into the story without being the least bit preachy. The conclusion is powerful and left me with a feeling of deep satisfaction. This was the first novel that I have read by Patti Lacy - but it certainly will not be the last.

I strongly recommend this book and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Readers who enjoy contemporary novels, and books that wrestle with very real issues like cross-cultural adoption and the reality of kidney disease, will especially appreciate this novel.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hang out with Jesus for a year: My review of a devotional written by R.P. Nettelhorst

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 1, 2011)

A 365-day devotional that focuses on the spoken words of Jesus as recorded in the Bible, A Year With Jesus seeks to draw the reader into a deeper relationship with God. Each entry contains a scripture passage taken from numerous translations from the Bible, along with explanations from the author to bring greater understanding to Jesus' words. The daily devotions are separated into several sections by themes such as Love and Hate or Life and Death.

I found this devotional to be a real treasure. The commentary section following each scripture passage held my interest and caused me to think deeper about the scripture that I'd read. I loved the focus on simply spending time with Jesus to get to know him better, much like sharing a cup of coffee together with a friend. In one entry, Nettelhorst writes "it is easy for us to grow so familiar with Jesus that we lose sight of how marvelous he is". This book can serve to remind you of the wonder of Jesus and of his words.

It would be hard to own a devotional like this and still try to use the excuse of having no time for daily Bible reading, because you'll definitely be able to fit time to read the devotional into your busy schedule. The entries are brief while still being packed with knowledge and insight. Numerous times I walked away and found myself still pondering the words that I'd read. And what could be a better use of your time than meditating on the words of Jesus?

I highly recommend this devotional and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Book was received courtesy of the publisher through the Booksneeze program, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

Free ebooks: A Simple Amish Christmas & Christmas is Not Your Birthday

What a week for free ebooks!

Abingdon Press has made 2 more of their ebooks free as of today, in Kindle format on They are not yet free as Nook books or on, but I'll keep you posted if that changes!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Shh! Don't tell anyone that I read Deeanne Gist! Come read my review of "Love on the Line"

I know I probably shouldn't admit this as a red-blooded, God-fearing male - but I secretly enjoy reading Deeanne Gist's books! Love on the Line was no exception - read on for my review of her latest...

Publisher: Bethany House (October 1, 2011)

Book Synopsis as provided by the publisher:

Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man's world . . . which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He's a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.


Love on the Line was an entertaining, well-written read, and the pages flew by! Gist writes with great skill, and as with her past works, she quickly engages you in the story and makes you care about the characters that leap off the page. I couldn't help but like Georgie with her streak of independence and her refusal to allow society to define her role in life. And, as with Gist's past books, she does a fine job developing the relationship between Georgie and Luke until you can just feel the emotional tension crackling through the pages.

I especially enjoyed the historical aspects of the story. Georgie's job as switchboard operator provides endless entertainment, such as the scene where Georgie kept calling out the nosy neighbor who was listening to the phone conversations on the party line, with her presence given away by her cuckoo clock chiming in the background! The interaction between Georgie and Luke when she states "I'm the telephone operator. I know everything" described her job perfectly, because the switchboard operator truly did keep a pulse on the goings on of a small town, and played a vital role in linking the community. How the times have changed! Luke's undercover job was equally interesting to read about, especially with the clever reversal Gist employs where the lawman is less respected by the public than the notorious robber, Frank Comer, viewed much like a Robin Hood. The ending had a twist and provided a fun resolution, especially when it is revealed that it is based on an actual case and actions of a real Texas Ranger from that era of time! I really admire Gist's depth of historical research and her ability to spin it into an entertaining read.

I did find that the faith issues were only lightly dealt with and felt that this aspect of Luke seemed a bit underdeveloped, and therefore I'm choosing not to give this book my highest rating. While there is much to like about Luke in terms of his bravery, his sense of justice, and his loyalty, there is really no hint here of him being a spiritual leader, which I find unfortunate. However, I did appreciate that the romantic interactions between the couple was limited to kissing, and Georgie even makes the decision to bring those to an end until the future of their relationship has been worked out. This aspect provides a fine example for unmarried people struggling to stay pure in a hypersexualized culture today.

Overall, I strongly recommend this book to readers who have enjoyed Deeanne Gist's earlier works, and to those who have not yet had the chance to enjoy one of her historical fiction books. 4 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
About the author: 

Deeanne Gist--known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee--has rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her very original, very fun historical & contemporary romances. Add to this three RITA nominations, two consecutive Christy Awards, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you've got one recipe for success. She has a very active online community on her website at and at

Free ebook by Lauraine Snelling and TWO free ebooks by Tricia Goyer!

Today, a couple of more Christian fiction ebooks have become free. One by Lauraine Snelling is available on several websites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and, while the other two by Tricia Goyer are currently only available on for some reason, in Kindle format:

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