Thursday, February 28, 2013

Be encouraged by this Free ebook: "Jesus in the Present Tense: The I AM Statements of Christ" by Warren W. Wiersbe

Free for download today from publisher David C. Cook, from Barnes & Noble &

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A unique addition to the world of children's Bibles: My review of "The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible"

A Bible so good the children fight over it...

Read on for an introduction to and my review of "The Berenstain Bears" Storybook Bible:

The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible

about the book

Join Papa, Mama, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear as they read favorite Bible stories together as a family and imagine what it would have been like to see Adam and Eve in the garden, watch Noah build the ark, and listen as Jesus tells a parable to the people. Told with words and pictures in the beloved Berenstain style, twenty-three Old and New Testament stories come alive for young readers.

my review

The world of children's Bibles can be a crowded place, and trying to find one that stands out from the crowd can be a difficult task indeed. Enter, "The Berenstain Bears, Storybook Bible. My children were so enamored with it I had to intervene as they were arguing over who would be able to look at it next! I loved how the authors created a space to present the Bible as if populated by the world of Berenstain Bears. They start the book by pretending that Papa Bear is offering up some of the best stories ever, the ones from the Bible, and Brother, Sister, and Honey bear are all excited. As they listen to the stories, they are able to imagine the characters from within the world as they see it. There is definite truth to that, because as any of us listen to the Bible we can picture ourselves in the story and see how the eternal truths can apply to our own lives!

My children raved about the colorful and action-oriented pictures, and especially liked how their favourite stories came to life. All of their most loved stories are included in this book, including the creation story, the story of Noah and the Ark, or the story of Queen Esther. The stories are quite faithful to the Bible, although of course many details are missing compared to the real version. Sometimes I missed some of the details the original story has. For example, in the story of Noah as depicted in the Storybook Bible, the authors state that the people are puzzled that the ark is being built; in the actual story, Noah makes it very clear why the ark is being built and why the people need to turn from their sin. However, I recognize that it would be impossible to include every detail in a children's version of the Bible, and I am very pleased overall with how accurate the Storybook Bible is.

I have no doubt that this version of the Bible will be asked for by my children over and over again in the coming years. Though we have a number of children's Bibles in our home, this one definitely provides a unique and fun way to present the truth. I award it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of publicist Sonya Koson with HarperCollinsCanada, Ltd. Available from your favorite book retailer from Zondervan (Zonderkidz), a division of HarperCollins.

about the authors....

Stan and Jan Berenstain introduced the first Berenstain Bear books in 1962. Mike Berenstain grew up watching his parents work together to write about and draw these lovable bears. Eventually he started drawing and writing about them too. Though Stan died in 2005, and Jan in 2012, Mike continues to create the delightful Bear adventures from the family home and studio in Pennsylvania, in an area that looks much like the sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Christianity is boring? NO WAY! My review of "Outrageous Courage" by Kris & Jason Vallotton

Cover Art

about the book...

Contained in these pages is a story that will change your life.Consider yourself warned.

"Dear Reader,

This is the story of one of the most courageous, radically obedient people we know.

Tracy Evans, a physician assistant, has treated rebel guerillas while captive on an Asian island. She's sipped tea in a Mozambican hut while bullets whistled through the grass walls. She's cared for 900 HIV-positive orphans.

In these pages you will find not only gripping, unembellished true stories of Tracy's exploits around the globe, but the more amazing account of what God can do with--and through--one person's raw faith and obedience.

Tracy's life has had an unbelievable impact on us, our families and our friends. We pray that you, too, will be inspired to radical obedience, faith adventures and wild trust in God’s power and purpose for your life.

Put on your seatbelt and let the journey begin!

Love in Christ, Kris Vallotton Jason Vallotton"

my review...

The radical story of Tracy Evans' sold-out faith for Jesus is at once inspiring and convicting at the same time. "Outrageous Courage" is a powerful book, a true-to-life account of Tracy's decision to put God first and herself second. The action and adventure contained in its pages is all the more thrilling because Tracy's story is a true story, and it is a story that God longs to repeat in our own lives, a story of allowing God to use us in powerful ways. I love where Tracy comments, "While I absolutely love miracles of healing and provision, my favorite miracle of all is the miracle of repentance  It is nothing less than supernatural when someone confesses his or her sin and receives Christ's forgiveness so completely that every bit of shame and guilt falls from him or her. It is resurrection from the inside out, and it is what I live for".

Tracy's story of encountering the supernatural on a daily basis is the perfect antidote for anyone who would tell you, "Christianity is boring!". It's truly anything but. God's power and love exists to free the captives, to rescue the prostitutes off the streets, to clothe and house HIV positive orphans, to find the ability to hold a dying woman in your arms while she is leaking bodily fluids. I pray that God will change my heart so I can live the kind of radical obedience that characterizes Tracy's life, and I pray that you will read this book and live out God's plans for adventure in your own life!

If there is any book worth reading this year, Outrageous Courage is it. It may just change your life. 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 Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

about the author...

Kris VallottonKris Vallotton is the senior associate leader at Bethel Church in Redding, California, where he has served with Bill Johnson for three decades. He has written several books, including the bestselling The Supernatural Ways of Royaltyand Heavy Rain. His prophetic insight and humorous delivery make him a much-sought-after international conference speaker, and his personal testimony of deliverance from fear and torment brings hope and freedom to thousands. Kris is also the cofounder and senior overseer of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, which has grown to more than 1,300 full-time students, as well as the founder of Moral Revolution, an organization dedicated to cultural transformation. He has appeared on numerous media outlets, including The 700 Club. Kris and his wife, Kathy, live in Redding, California.

Ready to buy?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Addicting and impossible to put down: My review of "The Lesson" by @suzannewfisher

I'm not normally one who raves about Amish fiction. But if everyone wrote Amish books the way Suzanne Woods Fisher did, that's all I would read!

Check out her latest book below :)

Lesson, The: A Novel

about the book...

Sometimes love shows up when you least expect it.

Nineteen-year-old Mary Kate Lapp yearns for adventure, but all she seems to find is trouble. Her dreams of travel have taken a backseat to her assignment to teach school this year. And nothing ever seems to happen in her sleepy Amish community.

But when a sudden and unexplained death conveniently coincides with the arrival of a mysterious young man, M.K. is frustrated that no one takes it seriously. She’s determined to take matters into her own hands and get to the bottom of it. Will she find more than she bargained for?

Centered on one of bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher’s most loved characters, this is the Stoney Ridge story you have been waiting for. With a surprise at every turn, a gentle romance, and a shocking answer to an old family mystery, The Lesson is the dramatic conclusion to the Stoney Ridge Seasons series.

my review...

I have a confession to make.

I am thoroughly addicted to the Stoney Ridge Seasons series by Suzanne Woods Fisher, utterly mesmerized by the richly drawn characters, and convinced that the entire series should be required reading for anyone who loves Amish fiction! The Lesson is the perfect end to the series (though I wish the series could just keep going!), and like the prior books in the series, had me laughing out loud one moment and fighting tears the next.

Now I have to give the author extra credit, because at the end of the first book in the series, I became convinced that Mary Kate (M.K.) was simply going to have to marry Jimmy. If you've read the first book, you will understand what I mean, because the scene where big bad bully Jimmy comforts M.K. when she loses her brother probably had you in tears like it did for me. But then the author brought in a new possible love interest for M.K. in the character of Chris, and suddenly I found myself wondering who exactly I wanted M.K. to choose, a question I wasn't expecting to wrestle with (as you can see, I'm clearly a closet romantic). I truly appreciate the character of M.K. and loved watching her grow over the course of this story. I also enjoyed the new plot line following the story of Chris and his sister Jenny, a sub plot that was especially heart-breaking and made for some dramatic reading.

I honestly could go on and on about this book, this series, and these characters, all of whom have grown to become like family to me. So long dear friends! We shall meet again in the future when I go back to read this series over again.

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.

about the author...

Suzanne Woods FisherSuzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Lancaster County Secrets series and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Christy Award finalist and a Carol Award finalist. She is the host of internet radio show Amish Wisdom and a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. For more information, please visit and connect with her on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Ready to buy?


Free fiction ebook for men: "Courageous" by Randy Alcorn, Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick

Free for download from Tyndale Publishers is an ebook for men:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Free fiction kindle ebook: ``Blood Sisters`` by Melody Carlson

Product Details

Free for today is an ebook by popular author Melody Carlson, only available from


Operation Patient Parent: Round one goes to....Mr. Irritated

So today I woke up determined to exude patience and calmness at all times, no matter what sort of behaviours my children were determined to display. Here's how things went down:

7:10 a.m. - I cheerfully wipe up a large puddle of milk spilled on the table. After all, every drop just supports our dairy farmer friends, right?

7:32 a.m. - I hold my 6-yr-old daughter as she cries about her brother hitting her with dirty underwear. Seriously?? Where do they come up with these things? His stuffed cow ends up in the cupboard for a time-out (don't even ask). Peace was restored.

9:04 a.m. - Hooray! It's time to wake up my wife, who got to sleep in today. The coffee was on, and it was time for the children to pay a little visit with Nanny Toshiba.

Quiet children watching a video + sweet nectar of caffeine = bliss. 

Patience is easy!

11:50 a.m. - I have finished vacuuming the house, and the bathroom cleaned. And the patience continues. Sweet!

2:05 p.m. - My wife leaves for her "Spa" afternoon to get a massage and spend the evening relaxing. This is my treat to her for holding down the fort on her own when I was in Thailand for 2 weeks.

2:07 p.m.  - My children get into a shouting match over a toy. I suddenly find myself shouting over their voices telling them to stop shouting and speak calmly to each other. Very effective parenting.

2:55 p.m. - My 3-yr-old son decides his behaviour has been much too calm day. A hissy fit ensues over...I'm not sure what exactly. He is led to his room to enjoy his hissy fit on his own. Irritation is quickly creeping in.

5:05 p.m. - Supper is on the table. The girls are eating nicely. My son will not stop complaining about how he doesn't like the meal. I am full-on irritated and not feeling so patient any more. His stuffed cow and both blankies end up back in the cupboard while I pray mightily "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7). Miraculously, my son finds his appetite and the meal disappears.

Play time after dinner leads to various squabbles over nothing of importance. I soon decide that this day calls for the "Koosh gun" as we shoot nerf balls harmlessly at each other. No doubt my Mennonite grandparents are frantically rolling in their graves. However, there is nothing so therapeutic as bouncing a soft nerf ball off your son's butt. Of course, he got me back too!

7 p.m. - I praise the Lord for bed time. I love my children, but I especially love them while they are sleeping.

As I reflect over my day, I know I had many moments of patience where I felt like being nothing of the sort. But in the end, Mr. Irritation definitely won out many times when I could have kept calm.

However, tomorrow is a brand new day! After all, I'm a work in progress and Jesus isn't done with me yet.

Who knows what tomorrow holds? :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

‘Shattered’ Nook HD Giveaway from @DaniPettrey and RSVP for {3/14} Facebook Party!

Dani Pettrey is celebrating the release of Shattered with a Nook HD giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat Party {3/14}. 

Shattered Pettrey

One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Nook HD
  • Submerged and Shattered by Dani Pettrey {Be caught up in this riveting series.}
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 13th. Winner will be announced at the "Shattered" Author Chat Party on 3/14. Connect with Dani for an evening of book chat, trivia, and a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of Shattered and join Dani on the evening of the March 14th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dale Cramer at his best: My review of "Though Mountains Fall"

about the book...

Inspired by Actual Events!

"I want you to promise you will always be my sister."

There were tears in Miriam’s eyes as their foreheads touched and Rachel whispered, "No matter what. Always."

Now in its fourth year, the Amish settlement in Mexico is thriving. But as new settlers arrive, sons and daughters marry, babies are born, and crops grow thick, a storm looms on the horizon. And Caleb Bender knows--perhaps better than anyone--that the worst of storms don't come from the western skies.

They come on horseback.

When their very existence is threatened, the Amish turn to the Mexican government for help, only to discover that the rulers of men are fickle and security is an illusion. Tried by fire and riven by war, Caleb and Domingo come to understand that the kingdom of God is not to be found in land or buildings or gold or armies, but in the hearts of peaceful men trying to feed their families.

Watching helplessly as daughters Rachel, Miriam, and Emma are drawn inexorably toward their separate destinies, Caleb is forced to confront the most important decision of his life.

my review....

This third book of the "Daughters of Caleb Bender" series finds Dale Cramer at his absolute best. "Though Mountains Fall" is deeply moving, and sees the return of Caleb and his daughters Rachel, Miriam, and Emma in a thoroughly absorbing read that was every bit as good as the first two books in the series. I absolutely loved returning to the world of these Amish characters who are struggling to survive in a violent, uncertain Mexican valley. The characters are complex and unique, and explore life's uncertainties in a manner that left me still thinking about the book days later. Caleb again struggles with whether he has heard God's will calling him and his fellow Amish people to Mexico, and the Amish find themselves once again facing the question of how to keep their people safe against bandits bent on violence and revenge. The character I most came to care about in this story is Emma with her often surprising wisdom and her deep love for God and his grace and forgiveness. I don't mind admitting that this story moved me to tears, while at the same time drawing me into the fast-moving plot. Though I was entirely satisfied by the conclusion, I can say that this book is based on actual events and thus contains a realism that will not result in a perfectly happy ending. Part of real life includes unexpected circumstances, death and suffering. Dale Cramer handles such subject matters with grace and a sure hand, and the result is a story that will stick with you far beyond the final page.

I have loved every book of this series, and I am so grateful to Dale for sharing a compelling story that contains elements of his own family's history. Here is a novel and an entire series worth reading over and over again, and they have all earned a permanent place on my shelves.

I highly recommend this book, and award 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 Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

about the author....

Dale CramerDale Cramer is the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed novel Levi's Will, based on the story of Dale's father, a runaway Amishman. Dale's latest series, THE DAUGHTERS OF CALEB BENDER, is based on an Amish colony in the mountains of Mexico where three generations of his family lived in the 1920s. He currently lives in Georgia with his wife of 36 years, two sons and a Bernese Mountain Dog named Rupert. Visit him on his Web site at

Ready to buy?

Free fiction ebook: "A Portrait of Marguerite" By Kate Lloyd

Free for download today is a fiction ebook, "A Portrait of Marguerite: A Novel" by Kate Lloyd. Download it now from Barnes & Noble or

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A fabulous sequel: My review of "Fortress of Mist" by Sigmund Brouwer

Fortress of Mist

about the book....

The throne is redeemed, but the battle is just beginning.        

In the dark corners of an ancient land, evil lurks in the shadows. Powerful druids haunt the spaces of their lost territory. Double-minded noblemen fight for domain and influence. Invaders from the north threaten the kingdom of Magnus. This land of promise and redemption is mired in deceit and corruption. 

The Orphan King, once victorious in conquest, appears to be losing his grip on his seat of power. Thomas rules Magnus, but does not know whom he can trust. His enemies anticipate his every move, thwarting him at each turn. Something is not right.

Under attack, both in the supernatural and natural worlds, Thomas must reach back into the secret layers of his past to find the strength and wisdom to fight his battles. When the mist clears, who will stand with him?

my review....

If possible, I enjoyed the second installment of this series even more than the first! Intrigue and mystery abound as Thomas seeks to protect his claim to the kingdom of Magnus, and as he seeks to determine who he can trust, if anyone. I absolutely love the non-stop action in this book, and the way that Thomas uses his knowledge and influence to avert war. I continue to appreciate the character of Thomas and his refusal to let his young age stop him from making a grand imprint upon the world. I'm also enjoying how the author has woven faith into the story, showing how Thomas naturally comes to the realization that he cannot always rely upon himself, but that there is a greater power at work, that God has a role and a power that he has not yet even come to fully appreciate.

Fortress of Mist is full of grand adventure, and the vivid scenes and compelling story telling will have readers absolutely consuming the pages as they race from start to finish. Sigmund Brouwer is such a gifted writer, and as I commented about with his first book, readers of any age should not let the fact that this series is geared to teens stop them from diving head first into these books. I finished the book anxious for what is coming next, and I can barely handle the fact that I am going to have to wait until October 2013 to see how things resolve! I fully recommend this book and also award it 5 out of 5 stars.

An advanced readers copy of this book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah publishing group, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

about the author....

Sigmund BrouwerSigmund Brouwer is the author of eighteen novels with nearly three million copies in print. His recent novel The Last Disciple was featured in Time magazine and on ABC's Good Morning America. Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan, and they and their two daughters divide their time between homes in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and Nashville, Tennessee.

Author Website

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Take your eyes off the world, and fix them on Jesus

I don't know about you, but the things of this world can capture every bit of my attention. There are the millions of little details that require my time throughout the day, the chores, paying the bills, doing the dishes, spending time at work. And then there are the lures of entertainment, the time spent on the computer, on Facebook, on Twitter, on a tablet or an iphone. There is the lure of the novel I haven't read yet, or watching a movie, or the latest t.v. show.

None of these things are bad in and of themselves.

But they can be such a distraction when Jesus is calling to me saying "Come, spend some time with me! Hang out with me! Listen to my voice. Rest in my presence. Hear how much I love you".

Tonight, God met me in my time of prayer, and he whispered to me how much he loves me. Yet He also reminded me that the things of this world are fleeting. 10 years from now. will I really care if I watched the latest movie? How much more rewarding to first spend even a few minutes in prayer!

My verse for today is a reminder from God, from Hebrews 12:2: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God".

God, help me to keep my eyes on you, and on the things that really matter! Thank-you that you love us exactly where we are, but you also love us enough to not leave us there, but instead call us to become more like you. Thank-you for inviting us into your presence, and allowing us to meet you there.

There is nothing more rewarding than keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Where are your eyes fixed?

A gripping read: My review of "The Orphan King" by Sigmund Brouwer

It's time for another Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog tour! This month is featuring two books from Sigmund Brouwer. First up is "The Orphan King". Be sure to come back tomorrow for the sequel "Fortress of Mist".

The Orphan King (Merlin's Immortals Series #1)

about the book....

The future of the Immortals is in the hands of an orphan

"My greatest fear was that they would find us and make of us a sacrifice beneath a full moon. Now you, Thomas, must help us destroy the circle of evil".

The last words of a dying woman would change the life of young Thomas. Raised behind monastery walls, he knows nothing of his mysterious past or imminent destiny. But now, in the heart of medieval England, a darkness threatens to strangle truth. An ancient order tightens their ghostly grip on power, creating fear and exiling those who would oppose them. Thomas is determined fulfill his calling and bring light into the mysterious world of the Druids and leaves the monastery on an important quest.

Thomas quickly finds himself in unfamiliar territory, as he must put his faith in unusual companions—a cryptic knight, a child thief, and the beautiful, silent woman whom may not be all she seems.  From the solitary life of an orphan, Thomas now finds himself tangled in the roots of both comradery and suspicion.

Can he trust those who would join his battle…or will his fears force him to go on alone?

my review....

Forget that this book is targeted at a teen audience - I personally found this to be an absolutely entertaining, gripping read! Thomas is a fantastic character, one raised under a shroud of secrecy and mystery that makes him all the more intriguing, including the fact that he must set out on a mission given to him by his mother prior to her death, even though he doesn't fully understand the mission or everything that is at stake. The writing is crisp, the scenes full of interesting and vivid details, and the characters are intriguing, humorous at times, and always leave you wondering just whose side they are actually on. The Orphan King is, in my opinion, an absolute success and a very solid start to what looks to be a promising series. And may I just say that the cover of this book is simply amazing? I only wish this book were being made into a video - it would be fantastic!

I highly recommend this book, not only for teens, but for any reader who enjoys a good historical fantasy novel. 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah publishing group, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

about the author....

Sigmund BrouwerSigmund Brouwer is the author of eighteen novels with nearly three million copies in print. His recent novel The Last Disciple was featured in Time magazine and on ABC's Good Morning America. Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan, and they and their two daughters divide their time between homes in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and Nashville, Tennessee.

Author Website

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Monday, February 18, 2013

A fun book for children: My review of "David Sticker Book"

The popular story of King David comes to life in "David Sticker Book". Beginning with the story of David the shepherd boy taking on the giant Goliath, the story progresses through to how Goliath is defeated and King Saul later becomes jealous of David. The story shows how David hid from Saul, and how David eventually became King of Israel. The story faithfully follows the Biblical account as told in 1 Samuel 16-19.

Karen Williamson has done an excellent job at retelling the story of David in a way that is accessible for younger children. Amanda Enright's illustrations are colourful and lively, and suit the story very well. My children greatly enjoyed gathering around the book and using the four pages of stickers to fill in the blanks on the pages until each page was complete. The book is a very creative way of getting children to engage with a story and spend time learning the details of what happened, and I can say that this is their most favorite version of David's story that they've encountered thus far! I would greatly recommend this book to parents or anyone who is looking for a book for a child aged 3-5. I will certainly be keeping my eye out for other sticker Bible themed stories in the future, because they serve to capture children's attention in a very creative manner.

I award this book a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher via the Kregel Blog tour service, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

About the authors...

Karen Williamson worked as a London primary school teacher and publisher's editor before launching a successful career as full-time writer. With three children of her own, she specializes in Bible stories for young readers.

Amanda Enright lives with her family near Brighton, on England's South Coast. She has always enjoyed drawing and loved the illustrations in her childhood books by artists such as Richard Scarry. Enright trained in London at Camberwell College of Art, the Royal College of Art and St Martin's College of Art, winning a prize for drawing and a Special Student Award at Annecy film festival. Amanda is inspired by Matisse and Picasso, and by beautiful old and new children's books, vintage fabrics and toys. She has a young daughter and a very large dog called Harvey - a black Russian Terrier that looks like a bear.

Ready to buy? 

Free fiction ebook: "Heiress" by Susan May Warren

Free for download today from Barnes & &

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Congrats to winner of "Picture Perfect" by Janice Thomspon

The winner of a copy of "Picture Perfect" is....

Picture Perfect: A Novel


For those who didn't win, keep your eyes peeled for another great giveaway coming soon!

Join @SheilaWalsh for a Live Webcast Event | Shine Your Light!

Walsh Shine Your Light WebcastBestselling Author Sheila Walsh is hosting a special live webcast event to highlight the release of her newest book in the God's Little Angel line, God's Little Angel: Shine Your Light Devotional for young girls.

Join Sheila the evening of February 26th at 5PM Pacific / 8PM Eastern for an interactive webcast. The audience can submit questions for Sheila to answer, join a live chat with other parents, and be eligible to win a variety of prizes, including copies of Shine Your Light, other Sheila Walsh children's books, gift certificates and more.  Participants can join the webcast via Sheila's Facebook Author Page or, for those who do not have a Facebook account, the Litfuse Publicity Group website.

Invite your friends! Share the button on your blog by pasting in this code:
 <center><b>Join Sheila Walsh 2/26!</b><b> </b><a href=""> <img alt="Shine Your Light Sheila Walsh Webcast Event" src="" height="150" width="170" /> </a></center>

Sheila says, “I wish I had understood when I was a young girl struggling with shame and self-doubt that God loved me just the way I was - that’s what I want for the girls in our life,” explains Walsh. “Let them grow up strong in the knowledge that they are Daughters of the King.” Sheila will be talking about that topic and many more, including advice for introducing children to a regular devotional routine and ways to help kids recognize God in their everyday lives. She'll also be sharing tips from Shine Your Light on teaching thankfulness, learning His Word, telling others about Him, and showing His love to everyone they meet.

SYL webcast

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mesmerizing: My review of "All for a Song" by Allison Pittman

All for a Song

Feeling like she's been pushed into a life she's not sure she entirely wanted, Dorothy Lynn Dunbar escapes home for a few days and goes to St. Louis to spend time with her sister and family. Her heart seems torn between the love she has for her fiance and family and church, and the longing she has deep inside for something more. While in St. Louis, Dorothy Lynn encounters the modern temptations of the Roaring Twenties, the movies and music and fashion. She also meets Aimee Semple McPherson, a charismatic evangelist, and her manager Roland. When Dorothy Lynn's passion for singing and playing her guitar in free-spirited worship results in an invitation to join McPherson's crusade team, Dorothy Lynn finds herself confronted with difficult choices and an uncertainty about God's calling on her life.

Allison Pittman's latest novel is a delight to read, having been woven together with beautiful narrative, stirring faith, and characters you will connect with. I loved the interplay between the scenes of Dorothy Lynn in the Twenties, wrestling with her feelings and her choices, and the scenes of Dorothy Lynn as a 107-year-old woman who isn't entirely sure why God has allowed her to stay on Earth for so long. As with her earlier novels, the author easily drew me into the story, displaying her gift with the pen, and stirring up within me deep emotions as I ventured ever deeper into the tale of Dorothy coming of age and trying to discover God's plan for her life. Aimee Semple McPherson is a fascinating character, and whether or not a reader fully agrees with all of her beliefs, you cannot help but admire a woman who was so passionate about sharing Jesus Christ with a nation flirting with moral anarchy. And yet her story also serves as a warning of how easily power can corrupt, that something well-intentioned can take on overtones of pride and selfishness and personal gain. All for a Song is a book that will not only entertain you, but will leave you thinking about why we make the choices we do, and even how we use the gifts God has given us.

I award this book my highest recommendation, and a rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Tyndale House, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

about the author....

Allison PittmanAward-winning author Allison Pittman left a seventeen-year teaching career in 2005 to follow the Lord's calling into the world of Christian fiction, and God continues to bless her step of faith. Her novels For Time and Eternity and Forsaking All Others were both finalists for the Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction, and her novel Stealing Home won the American Christian Fiction Writers' Carol Award. She heads up a successful, thriving writers group in San Antonio, Texas, where she lives with her husband, Mike, their three sons, and the canine star of the family—Stella.

Find out more info at the Tyndale Product Page.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

A quick gift for Valentines...

If you're anything like me, you may be scrambling at the last minute to add a little something more to your Valentine's flowers and card. If so, head on over to the blog "Mommy by Day, Crafter by Night" and download the Valentine Coupon book she's provided.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A fantasy that won't make grandma blush: My review of "A Cast of Stones" by Patrick W. Carr

If you are looking for a well-written fantasy novel, then "A Cast of Stones" may just be for you.

It's a fantasy that even your grandma will approve of (there's not fifty shades of anything in THIS book).

Read on for my review!

A Cast of Stones

about the book...

The Fate of the Kingdom Awaits the Cast of Stones

In the backwater village of Callowford, roustabout Errol Stone is enlisted by a church messenger arriving with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Eager for coin, Errol agrees to what he thinks will be an easy task, but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he's joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.

Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom's dynasty nears its end and the selection of the new king begins--but in secret and shadow. As danger mounts, Errol must leave behind the stains and griefs of the past, learn to fight, and discover who is hunting him and his companions and how far they will go to stop the reading of the stones.

my review....

Featuring a world conceived with great imagination, Patrick W. Carr's "A Cast of Stones" is an epic fantasy tale sure to delight savvy readers. Once I'd read enough of the story to wrap myself around the world the author has invented, I found myself pleasantly surprised with the pacing of the story and the intense action scenes that unfolded. The deeper into the story I went, the more engaged I was until by the end I was entirely caught up in the plot to see what Errol was in for next! The author's descriptions are sharp and clear, and he displays a keen ability to bring a story to life, weaving together fantasy and mystery and intrigue. I love the character of Errol, one of those characters who you have immediate sympathy for, while also reflecting our own struggles in life to feel significant and that your life has worth. The book is fairly long at well over 400 pages, and perhaps could have been tightened up a bit (although I also admit it's hard to imagine what the author would take out). Overall it is a grand start to the author's writing career, and is worthy entertainment indeed.

I am definitely looking forward to what is coming next in the series. Readers who enjoy works by Stephen Lawhead will surely enjoy "A Cast of Stones". I give this book a solid recommendation and award it 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....

Image of Patrick W. CarrPatrick W. Carr teaches high school math and makes his home in Nashville, Tennessee, with his incredible wife, Mary, and their four awesome sons, Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Learn more at

Monday, February 11, 2013

Children's book review: "Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer" by Jane O'Connor & Robin Preiss Glasser

Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer

Nancy Clancy returns in an all new chapter book, and love is in the air! Nancy and her best friend, Bree, are learning about the human heart in science class, and they start wondering, what makes people fall in love? When Nancy's guitar teacher, Andy, and their favourite babysitter, Annie, break up with the people they had been dating, both Nancy and Bree decide to take on the role of matchmaker. But they soon discover that making them fall in love, even on Valentine's Day, isn't quite as easy as they thought it would be.

Jane O'Connor's latest Nancy book is sure to please girls who have grown up on Fancy Nancy picture books and are ready to move on to chapter books that deal with issues more appropriate for older girls. I must admit that my oldest daughter is still very naive, and that although she's 8, she didn't quite relate to Nancy's quest to make 2 teenagers fall in love. However, I also know that she's not typical for her age and that many girls in that age group are very focused on thoughts of love and what it means to date and find your  perfect match. Like other books starring Nancy Clancy, the book is well-written and easy to read, featuring Robin's splendid and lively pictures that make Fancy Nancy a truly wonderful character. I love that these books continue to highlight themes of friendship and families who stick close together, making Nancy a character worth returning to.

If you are looking for a fun book to give your daughter, aged 6-10, just in time for Valentine's Day this year, then consider Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer. I give it a solid recommendation of 4 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of publicist Sonya Koson with HarperCollinsCanada, Ltd. Available from your favorite book retailer from Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins.

about the author....

Jane O'Connor
New York Times bestselling author Jane O'Connor has written more than thirty books for children, including the insanely popular Fancy Nancy books (all HarperCollins). The first book, Fancy Nancy, has remained on the New York Times picture book list for ninety-eight weeks.

Born, bred, and still living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (where the mystery is set), O'Connor considers her husband, Jim, a relative newcomer to NYC even after thirty-five years. Three days a week, she works as an acquiring editor in the children's books division of a major New York publishing house.

Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser are the author and illustrator of the #1 New York Times bestselling Fancy Nancy series. Jane lives with her family in New York City. Robin lives with her family in Southern California.

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