Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another winner from Mercer Mayer: "It's True" @DailyVineCA

It's True

about the book....

Join Little Critter®as he learns why it’s important to tell the whole truth—and not just partof it.

Since 1975, Mercer Mayer has been writing and illustrating stories about a little ball of fur named Little Critter and the antics he stumbles into while growing up. Thomas Nelson is thrilled to bring this beloved brand to the Christian market with the launch of Inspired Kids, a new line of faith-based books featuring Little Critter.

Little Critter thinks that sometimes it’s easier to tell part of the truth instead of the whole truth. In this second book in the Inspired Kids line, Little Critter learns quickly that lying has consequences and that telling the truth, no matter how hard, is always the right thing to do.

my review....

Being a completely perfect parent, I have succeeded at teaching my children to NEVER lie.

Well, perhaps that's not the entire truth.

If you, like me, would like all the help you can get in teaching timeless values to your children, then go get a copy of Mercer Mayer's new release, "It's True". Featuring the characters we've all grown to love, children will be entertained so thoroughly they won't even realize they are absorbing important truths as well! The pictures are bright and engaging, and the story will be sure to capture the attention of the most restless youngster. My children loved finding the spider and mouse that accompany Little Critter on every page, and they listened wide-eyed as Little Critter made some poor choices to lie - and was caught in a bind as a result! I found that the story created some great discussion opportunities with my children, as we were able to talk about the consequences of lying and how easy it is to stretch the truth and get found out, something that can not only make for some embarrassing moments, but grieve God as well. I like the fact that Little Critter ends up taking responsibility for his choices, demonstrating the importance of not running away from our mistakes, but facing them head on with God's help. In my opinion, that makes this book a winner!

I continue to be pleased that Thomas Nelson has chosen to create the Inspired Kids line, and I look forward to future antics from Little Critter that will capture my children's attention while imparting life lessons along the way. 4 out of 5 stars.

A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

 about the author....

Mayer is the writer and illustrator for Little Monster®

and Little Critter® books. He began writing and illustrating children’s books in 1966 and since that time, he has published over 300 titles. Mayer currently lives in New England with his wife Gina, who co-wrote many of the popular

 Little Critter® books. He has four children and two grandchildren.

Find out more about the book on the publisher website:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Prepare for tears: My review of "The Promise" by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley

Cover Art

about the book....

One home, two hearts, and the power of a promise kept . . .

For the last five months, Tom Anderson has been without a job, a fact he's been hiding from his wife Jean--and everyone else. He leaves each morning, pretending nothing has changed, and spends his disheartening day rotating through coffee shops and the library, using their wifi to search job listings online. The stress of keeping this secret is beginning to put serious strain on his marriage.

But Tom's not the only one hiding something. Jean Anderson has a secret of her own--one that will seriously complicate their situation. Will the promises they made on their wedding day hold firm?

my review....

Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley combine their efforts once again with the satisfying read, "The Promise", the second addition to The Restoration Series. Readers will be pleased to see the return of Marilyn and Jim, as we are treated to a view of their marriage after they've survived the turbulent waters as seen in the first book of the series, "The Dance". Though their marriage is by no means now perfect, it provides a wonderful portrayal of how a marriage built on Christ should look! I also really enjoyed the focus of this book on their son Tom and his wife, as they battle financial struggles, the impact of secrecy, and the danger of a marriage between two people who have grown distant. What I most appreciate about this book is the realness of the characters, people who struggle with things all of us will or have faced at one time in our life. The story moves along at a good clip, and I absolutely love the character of Uncle Henry and his focus on hearing the voice of Jesus and acting in obedience. We all would be blessed by having an Uncle Henry speak truth into our own lives! The scenes of reconciliation between father and son brought tears to my eyes and were very moving indeed. I do caution readers that this series, including "The Promise", are written with a definite purpose in mind, so although the authors tell an excellent story, some readers may feel they are getting preached at. I myself enjoy learning through fiction even more so than reading a non-fiction book, but others may not feel the same. However, readers who like contemporary fiction reads that celebrate faith and family will love this book!

"The Promise" is an excellent addition to the series, and I greatly look forward to reading more about the Anderson family in the future. I award 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 Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

 about the authors....

Dan Walsh
Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Dance and The Promise with Gary Smalley, as well as The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery, and The Reunion. He has won three Carol Awards, and two of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year for 2011 and 2012. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for twenty-five years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel. Visit for more.

Gary SmalleyGary Smalley is one of the country's best known authors and speakers on family relationships. He is the bestselling and award-winning author or coauthor of 16 books, along with several popular films and videos. He has spent over 30 years learning, teaching, and counseling, speaking to over 2 million people in live conferences. Smalley has appeared on national television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Extra, The Today Show, and The Sally Jessy Raphael Show, as well as numerous national radio programs. Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 49 years and live in Branson, Missouri. They have three children and six grandchildren.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Drama at its very best! My review of "Samson" by Shawn Hoffman @DailyVineCA

Samson: A Savior Will Rise

about the book....

During World War II, Jewish men were forced to box on Saturday night for Nazi entertainment. The winner got extra food. The loser went to the gas chambers. 

The year is 1943, and Samson Abrams has just made a life or death decision, coming to the aid of a young Jewish boy being beaten by the Nazis. Before long, Samson’s entire family must board the train to Auschwitz.

As they arrive at the camp, Dr. Joseph Mengele, a man who will later go down in history as a person of pure evil, oversees the “selection” process. The young, weak, and elderly are all sent to their deaths. Samson tries to attack, but is calmed by Maximilian Kolbe, a Catholic monk also at the camp. For Samson, all of this evil reaffirms his belief that there is no God.

Samson is soon recognized as a 1936 Olympic boxing participant and is offered a deal: he can box for his life, but if he loses, he will find himself on Mengele’s experimental operating table. 

Adding to the complexity is the slow renewal of Samson’s faith through his relationship with Kolbe.  Here, he must somehow reconcile with God while he witnesses the violent, tortured deaths of so many.

A historic battle ensues with Hitler, Himmler, Höss, and many of the highest ranking officials in the Nazi Party watching... an incredible final fight which culminates in Mengele himself getting in the ring.

my review....

"Samson" is an incredible read, weaving faith into a heart-breaking tale that I found impossible to put down. Samson Abrams is a character like no other, a man who finds himself at the mercy of Dr. Joseph Mengele in Auschwitz, and one who must watch his family die before his very eyes. The book is very well written, drama at its very best, with scenes that played across my mind in vivid detail. Samson's struggles to survive and his determination to succeed for the sake of his family utterly inspires, and knowing that the story is based on true events makes it all the more gripping. Many of the scenes are gruesome as they depict events that are difficult to even imagine. This book reminds me that evil is alive and well in the world around us, yet it also reminds that God will prevail. Some of the conversations that take place between Samson and a priest at the camp, Kolbe, have stuck with me well beyond the final page, as I ponder the place of suffering in the world and how that fits with who God is. And, the triumph that readers are left with, despite the ending of the book, is a wonderful reminder of God's love and grace to sustain our spirits no matter the circumstances in our lives. Be prepared to give up a few hours of your life as you devour this book, and expect a few tears along the way!

Filled with deep emotion, and written at an unstoppable pace, "Samson" is a "must-read" for this fall. I give it my highest recommendation and a rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

 about the author....

Shawn Hoffman is an actor, screenwriter, and producer whose credits include landing a leading role in Broadway's The Survivor, serving as a producer on the NBC show The Apprentice, and appearing in films and TV shows for Lion's Gate Studios, Disney, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and MTV. Over the last ten years, Shawn has written and sold ten screenplays, including for the movie adaptation of Samson, and his film Hometown Legend won several festivals.

Find out more about the book on the publisher website:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Absolutely riveting! My review of "Trapped" by Irene Hannon

Cover Art

about the book....

A runaway teen, a desperate sister, and an intrepid PI determined to discover the truth 

When Laura Griffith's sixteen-year-old sister disappears on a frigid February day, leaving only a brief note behind, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to track down the runaway teen. That includes recruiting ATF agent turned private investigator James Devlin to help. Dev knows time is of the essence with runaways--just forty-eight hours can mean the difference between recovery and ruin.

But the deeper he and Laura dig, the more Dev begins to suspect that something sinister is at work in the girl's disappearance. And in the icy winter weather, the trail is going cold . . .

In her latest thrilling read, queen of romantic suspense Irene Hannon outdoes herself with a fast-paced tale of fear, deception, and just the right dose of romance.

my review....

Every time a new book by Irene Hannon hits the shelves, I wait with great anticipation to get my hands on a copy. "Trapped" was no exception, and it proves that Hannon's writing gets better with each new release! The suspense scenes are absolutely riveting, as the reader is drawn deeper and deeper into the plight of Laura's 16-yr-old sister, Darcy. As you delve into the story, the sense of foreboding about Darcy's choices grows stronger until you find yourself gripping the book watching as she makes a mistake that could cost her very life. I enjoyed the characters of Laura and Dev, and though I am not a huge fan of romance, I found that their relationship developed in a believable manner. The bantering between Dev and the other employees of the private investigation firm Phoenix, Inc., made for some light-hearted moments that added a humorous flavour to the story; their strong commitment to each other that emerges at the end of the book is also inspiring.. And the antagonist? Simply chilling, and all-too-believable with his tragic past and evil intentions. I can honestly say that this is one of my top suspense choices of the year, and I am greatly anticipating the third book in the "Private Justice" series. If it's anything like Trapped, it will be quite a ride indeed!

I dare you to pick up a copy of this book and be able to put it down any time soon. If you are anything like me, you will find yourself held captive from the beginning to the satisfying conclusion! 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....

Irene Hannon
Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty novels, including Vanished and the Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have garnered many honors, including two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, and a Daphne du Maurier Award. Booklist also included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011. For more information, visit

Friday, October 25, 2013

Will captivate a new generation of readers! My review of "Anne of Green Gables & The Story Girl" @DailyVineCA

Anne of Green Gables and The Story Girl

about the book....

Two classic characters, two classic stories, bound together in a new, timeless edition. Anne of Green Gables and The Story Girl bring to vivid life a young orphan girl and a captivating storyteller who both live on Canada's Prince Edward Island. 

Anne of Green Gables, introduces a skinny, red-haired, and freckled orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to live with elderly siblings on the north shore of Canada's Prince Edward Island. The Cuthberts had asked to adopt a young boy who could help with the family farm, but Anne Shirley arrived from the orphanage instead, and soon brings joy, imagination, and lots of talking to the close-knit farming community.

The Story Girl tells the story of a group of cousins and friends with Sara Stanley at the center of their group, whose gift for storytelling and enchanting tales of adventure, romance, and suspense spark all sorts of contests and capers. The self-proclaimed favorite of all her books, many believe The Story Girl may be about the author herself.

my review....

There is nothing I like better than watching my daughter read a book and outright laugh out loud! Imagine my delight when my oldest daughter picked up "Anne of Green Gables and The Story Girl" and for the first time became acquainted with Anne of Green Gables. It took her about a week to go through the entire book, and every day she'd have a new tidbit to share with me, whether it was Anne dying her hair green by accident, or a character getting into some mishap or another. I love that the publisher has chosen to republish both Anne of Green Gables and also The Story Girl, combining two wonderfully written stories into one incredible package. Both stories feature utterly likable children who will at the very least make you smile if not laugh out loud with their antics. The wide format of the book took some getting used to as it is much larger than most books, but after awhile I didn't even notice it, and you are getting a great value by combining two stories in one. Montgomery does a wonderful job of capturing the joys and challenges of childhood, causing you to care about the characters to the point that they feel like friends, and you will feel like time has been well spent when you pick up this book.

If you enjoyed Montgomery's writings when you were a child and want to revisit them again, or perhaps you are looking to introduce your own children to her works, then I recommend picking up a copy of this book for yourself. The stories are entertaining, the values are solid, and the writing will leave you craving more. 5 out of 5 stars.

A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

 about the author....

Lucy Maud Montgomery is best known for her novels involving a red-headed orphan named Anne Shirley, the star of Anne of Green Gables. Born in 1874 in Canada, L.M. Montgomery was raised by her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, the setting she brought to life through her books. The Story Girl is believed to have been her personal favorite of all her stories, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages and continue to maintain international best-selling status. L.M. Montgomery lived a remarkably sincere, humble, and sacrificial life of Christian virtue until her death in 1942.

Find out more about the book on the publisher website:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gripping fiction! My review of "I, Saul" by @JerryBJenkins @WorthyPub #ISaul

Check-out Jerry B. Jenkins' latest book, "I, Saul", and read my review below!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Worthy Publishing (August 27, 2013)

***Special thanks to Leeanna Case for sending me a review copy.***


Jerry B. Jenkins is a New York Times best-selling novelist (Left Behind Series) and biographer (Billy Graham, Hank Aaron, Walter Payton, Orel Hershiser, Nolan Ryan, Joe Gibbs and many more), with over 70 million books sold. His writing has appeared in Time, Reader's Digest, Parade, Guideposts, and he has been featured on the cover of Newsweek.

Visit the author's website.


A MURDERER who would change the WORLD

From multi-million copy best-selling novelist Jerry Jenkins comes a compelling international thriller that conveys you from present-day Texas to a dank Roman dungeon in A.D. 67, then down the dusty roads of ancient Israel, Asia, and back to Rome.

A young seminary professor, Augustine Knox, is drawn into a deadly race to save priceless parchments from antiquities thieves and discovers a two- thousand-year old connection with another who faced death for the sake of the truth. I, Saul consists of two riveting adventures in one, transporting you between the stories of Augustine Knox and Saul of Tarsus.

Filled with political intrigue, romance, and rich historical detail, I, Saul is a thrilling tale of loyal friendships tested by life-or-death quests, set two millennia apart, told by a master storyteller.

Product Details:
List Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Worthy Publishing (August 27, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1617950068
ISBN-13: 978-1617950063


Tor n

T E x AS


“call now. desper8.”
The text appeared on Dr. Augie Knox’s phone at 8:55 a.m., seconds before he was to turn it off—protocol for profs entering a classroom at Arlington Theological Seminary.
Augie could have fired off a “give me a minute,” but the message was not signed and the sending number matched nothing in his contacts. The prefix 011-39-06 meant Rome. He’d traveled extensively in his thirty-eight years and enjoyed many visits to the Eternal City, but such a text could easily portend one of those I’ve-been-mugged-and-need- money scams. Whatever this was could wait until he got the Systematic Theology final exam started and could step into the hall with his phone.
Augie had long been fascinated by his students’ nervous chatter before

final exams. One announced, “I looked you up in Who’s Who, Doc, and I
know your full name.”
“Congratulations for discovering something you could have found in your student handbook four years ago.”
“No! That just says Dr. Augustine A. Knox! I found out what the A
stands for.”
“Good for you. Now, a few instructions . . .”
“Aquinas! Augustine Aquinas Knox! Man, what other career choice did you have?”
“Thank you for revealing the thorn in my flesh. If you must know, that moniker was my father’s idea.” Augie mimicked his dad’s monotone basso. “‘Names are important.They can determine a life’s course.’”
Many students chuckled, having sat under the elder Dr. Knox before he fell ill the year before.
“It also says you were adopted. Sorry, but it’s published.” “No secret,” Augie said.
Another hand shot up.“Was that a hint about the exam? Will we be speculating on Paul’s thorn in the flesh?”
“He’s only mentioned that mystery every class,” another said.
Augie held up a hand. “I trust you’re all prepared for any eventual-

“So, what’s your dad’s name?”
“Ed!” someone called out. “Everybody knows that.” “Look it up,” Augie said. “You may find it revealing.”
With blue books distributed, Augie slipped out and turned on his
phone.The plea from Rome had already dropped to third on his message list. At the top was a voice mail from Dr. Moore, who had been filling in as acting department chair since Augie’s father had been hospitalized with a stroke.

Augie would have checked that one first, but next was a voice mail from Sofia Trikoupis, his heart. It was eight hours later in Athens, after five in the afternoon. “Call me at the end of your day,” her message said. “I’ll wait up.” It would be midnight her time by then, but she apparently needed his undivided attention. That would bug him all day. How he longed for them to be together.
His phone vibrated. Rome again. “urgent. call now, pls!” Augie pressed his lips together, thumbing in, “who’s this?” “trust me. begging.”
“not w/out knowing who u r.”
Augie waited more than a minute for a response, then snorted. As I
figured. But as he headed back into the classroom, his phone buzzed again. “zionist.”
Augie stopped, heat rising in his neck. He quickly tapped in, “90 minutes OK?”
“now! critical.”
Few people had been more important in Augie’s life than Roger Michaels, the diminutive fifty-year-old South African with a James Earl Jones voice and a gray beard that seemed to double the size of his pale, gnomish face. Augie would never lead a tour of an ancient city without Roger as the guide.
“2 mins,” Augie texted.
He rushed to his father’s old office, which still bore the senior Dr. Knox’s nameplate on the door. Augie knocked and pushed it open.“Les, I need a favor.”
Dr. Moore took his time looking up from his work. “Number one, Dr. Knox, I did not invite you in.”
“Sorry, but—”
“Number two, I have asked that you refer to me as Dr. Moore.”

“My bad again, but listen—”
“And number three,” the acting chair said, making a show of study- ing his watch, “we both know that at this very moment you are to be conducting—”
“Dr. Moore, I have an emergency call to make and I need you to stand in for me for a few minutes.”
Moore sighed and rose, reaching for his suit coat.“I know what that’s about.Take all the time you need.”
Augie followed him down the hall. “You do?” “You didn’t get my message?”
“Oh, no, sorry. I saw one was there, but I—”
“But you assumed other messages were more important. I said we needed to chat after your first exam.”
“Well, sure, I’ll be here.”
“Part of what we need to discuss is your father. Is that what your call is about?”
“What about my father?” “We’ll talk at ten.”
“But is he—”
“There have been developments, Dr. Knox. But he is still with us.” As Dr. Moore headed for the classroom, Augie ducked into a stair-
well, away from the windows and the relentless sun forecasters were saying would push the temperature at least twenty degrees above normal by 2:00 p.m., threatening the 107° record for the month.
Augie wasn’t getting enough signal strength to complete his call, so he hurried back out to the corridor. Cell coverage was still weak, so he stepped outside. It had to be near 90° already. Scalp burning, he listened as the number rang and rang.
Augie moved back inside for a minute, braced by the air condition-

ing, then ventured out to try again. He waited two minutes, tried once more, and felt he had to get back to class.
On a third attempt, as he neared the entrance, it was clear someone had picked up a receiver and hung up. Augie dialed twice more as he walked back to take over for Dr. Moore. Just before he reached the class- room, his phone came alive again with a text.
“sorry. later. trash ur phone. serious.”
Augie couldn’t make it compute. Had his phone been traced? Tapped? If he got a new one, how would Roger know how to reach him?
Dr. Moore stood just inside the classroom door and emerged imme- diately when he saw Augie. “Talk to your mother?” he said.
“No, should I?”
Moore sighed and opened his palms. “You interrupt my work and don’t check on your father?”
Augie reached for his cell again, but hesitated. If he used it, would he be exposing his mother’s phone too?
“Call her after we’ve talked, Dr. Knox. Now I really must get back to my own responsibilities.”
It was all Augie could do to sit still till the end of class. Before get- ting back to Dr. Moore, he dropped off the stack of blue books in his own office and used the landline to call his contact at Dallas Theolog- ical Seminary, just up the road. Arlington Sem sat equidistant between DTS to the east and the massive Southwestern Baptist Seminary to the west. Arlington was like the stepchild no one ever talked about, a single building for a couple of hundred students, struggling to stay alive in the shadows of those two renowned institutions.When Augie needed some- thing fast, he was more likely to get it from the competition. Such as a new phone.
Like his father before him, Augie was  the travel department at

Arlington. No auxiliary staff handled logistics as they did at DTS and Southwestern. The head techie at Dallas was Biff Dyer, a string bean of a man a few years older than Augie with an Adam’s apple that could apply for statehood. He could always be counted on to program Augie’s phone, depending on what country he was traveling to.
“Calling from your office phone, I see,” Biff said. “What happened to the cell I got you?”
“It’s been compromised.”
Biff chuckled. “Like you’d know.What makes you think so?” “I need a new one.Trust me.”
“I’ll just switch out the chip.You’re not gonna find a better phone. How soon you need it?”
“Fast as possible.”
“Why doesn’t that surprise me? I’m not deliverin’ it. Can you come by during normal hours?”
There was a knock at Augie’s door and he wrenched around to see
Les Moore’s scowl. “Gotta go, Biff.”
“Sorry, Les. On my way right now. Or do you want to just meet here?” “Here would not be any more appropriate than your insisting on our being on a first-name basis,” Dr. Moore said, scanning the tiny chamber in which the guest chair was folded in a corner and brought out only
when necessary.
“C’mon, Les. You were only a couple years ahead of me. We hung out, didn’t we?”
“Hardly. You spent most of your free time in the gym with the—
what?—six other jocks who happened to enroll here.”
It was true. And everyone knew the library had been where to find
Les Moore.
Augie looked at his watch. Another final at 11. He followed his interim

boss back to his father’s old office. It wasn’t that much bigger than his, but at least the guest chair didn’t block the door.
“Would you start with my dad?” Augie said as he sat.
“I would have thought you’d have already checked in with your mother, but all right. She called this morning, knowing you were in class. Your father has slipped into a coma.”
Augie nodded slowly. “She okay?”
“Your mother? Sure. It’s not like he’s passed. She just thought you might want to visit this afternoon.”
“Appreciate it.”
“Now then, Dr. Knox, I have some paperwork here that I’m going to need you to sign. Frankly, it’s not pleasant, but we’re all expected to be team players and I’m going to assume you’ll accede to the adminis- tration’s wishes.”
“What’s up?”
“You’re scheduled to teach summer-school Homiletics beginning four days after commencement.”
“A week from today, right.”
“And we have contracted with you for this stipend, correct?”
Why Les felt it necessary to pencil the figure on the back of a business card and dramatically slide it across the desk, Augie could not fathom.
“Yep, that’s the fortune that’s going to let me retire by forty.”
“Um-hm. Humorous. It is my sad duty to ask you to agree to under- take the class for two-thirds that amount.”
“You’re serious.” “Always.”
That was for sure.
“Les—Dr. Moore, you know we do these classes pretty much as gifts to the sem. Now they seriously want us to do them for less?”

“This is entirely up to you.” “I can refuse?”
“We’re not going to force you to teach a class when we have to renege on our agreement.”
“Good, because I just don’t think I can do it for that.”
“I’ll report your decision. We’ll be forced to prevail upon a local adjunct instruct—”
“Like that youth pastor at Arlington Bible—” “He’s a graduate, Dr. Knox.”
“I know! I taught him. And he’s a great kid, but he didn’t do all that well in Homiletics, and there’s a reason they let him preach only a couple of times a year over there.”
“He’ll be happy to do it for this figure—probably even for less.” “And the students be hanged.”
Les cocked his head. “Naturally, we would prefer you . . .”
Augie reached for his pen and signaled with his fingers for the doc- ument.
“I’m glad I can count on you, Dr. Knox. Now, while we’re on the subject, I’m afraid there’s more.You were due for a four percent increase beginning with the fall trimester.”
“Let me guess, that’s not going to happen either.” “It’s worse.”
“What, now it’s a four percent decrease?” “I wish.”
“Oh, no.”
“Dr. Knox, we have seen an alarming downturn in admissions, and the administration is predicting a fall enrollment that puts us at less than breakeven, even with massive budget cuts.We’re all being asked to accept twenty percent reductions in pay.”

Augie slumped. “I was hoping to get married this fall, Les. I can barely afford the payments on my little house as it is.”
“This is across the board, Dr. Knox. The president, the deans, the chairs, all of us. Some departments are actually losing personnel. Mainte- nance will be cut in half, and we’ll all be expected to help out.”
Arlington had been staggering along on a shoestring for decades, but this was dire. “Tell me the truth, Dr. Moore. Is this the beginning of the end? Should I entertain the offers I’ve gotten from Dallas over the years?” “Oh, no! The trustees wish us to weather this storm, redouble our efforts to market our distinctives, and then more than make up for the pay cuts as soon as we’re able. Besides, the way your father bad-mouthed Dallas and Southwestern his whole career, you wouldn’t dream of insult-
ing him by going to either, would you?”
“He bad-mouthed everything and everybody, Les.You know that.” “Not a pleasant man. No offense.”
Augie shrugged. “You worked for him. I lived with him.”
“Do you know, I have heard not one word from your father since the day I was asked to temporarily assume his role? No counsel, no guidelines, no encouragement, nothing. I assumed he was angry that you had not been appointed—”
That made Augie laugh.“He still sees me as a high school kid! Forget all my degrees. Anyway, I wouldn’t want his job, or yours. It’s not me.”
“How well I know. I mean, I’m just saying, you’re not the typical prof, let alone department chair.”
“I’m not arguing.”
Augie couldn’t win. Despite having been at the top of his classes in college and seminary, his having been a high school jock and continu- ing to shoot hoops, play touch football, and follow pro sports made him an outsider among real academics.Too many times he had been asked if

he was merely a seminary prof because that was what his father wanted for him.
Dr. Moore slid the new employment agreement across the desk. “Sorry, Les, but this one I’m going to have to think and pray about.” The interim chair seemed to freeze. “Don’t take too long. If they
aren’t sure they can count on you for the fall, they’ll want to consider the many out-of-work professors who would be thrilled, in the current econ- omy, to accept.”
“Yeah, that would help. Stock the faculty with young assistant pas- tors.”
“May I hear from you by the end of the day?”
“Probably not, but you’ll be the first to know what I decide.”
Back in his own office, Augie popped the chip out of his cell phone and put it in a separate pocket. He called his mother from his desk phone to assure her he would see her at the hospital late in the afternoon, then called Biff to tell him he would try to stop by DTS on his way.
“What’s the big emergency?” Biff said.
“Roger Michaels has himself in some kind of trouble.” “Tell me when you get here.”
During his 11:00 a.m. final Augie was summoned to the administra- tive offices for an emergency call. On the way he stopped by to see if Les would stand in for him again, but his office was dark.The final would just have to be unsupervised for a few minutes.
“Do you know who’s calling?” he said to the girl who had fetched him. If it was his mother . . .
“Someone from Greece.”
He finally reached the phone and discovered it was Sofia. “Thought you wanted me to call later, babe.You all right?”
“Roger is frantic to reach you.”

“I know. He—”
“He gave me a new number and needs you to call right now, but not from your cell.” She read it to him.
“Any idea what’s going on, Sof ?” Augie said as he scribbled. “This is not like him.”
“No idea, but, Augie, he sounded petrified.” “That doesn’t sound like him either.”
“You can tell me what it’s about later, but you’d better call him right away.”
Augie rushed to his office and dialed the number in Rome. It rang six times before Roger picked up. “Augie?”
“Yes! What’s—”
“Listen carefully. I’ve got just seconds. I need you in Rome as soon as you can get here.”
“Rog, what’s happening? This is the absolute worst time for me to—” “Give Sofia your new cell number and text me your ETA. I’ll give
you a new number where you can call me from Fiumicino as soon as you get in.”
“I don’t know when I could get there, Rog. I’ve got—” “Augie! You know I wouldn’t ask if it weren’t life or death.”

my review....

Spanning the ages, from the present all the way back to when the Biblical Saul was a child, "I, Saul" is a masterfully told tale that held me in its grip from beginning to end. The book is well-written, with vivid scenes, true-to-life descriptions, and characters that you will quickly grow to care about. Although I enjoyed getting to know the present day characters of Augie, Sofia, and Roger, and enjoyed the suspense and mystery surrounding them, I most enjoyed the character of Saul himself. Saul has long fascinated me as a historical figure, with his transformation of one who hunted down Christians to one who arguably became the greatest missionary of all time. His letters to the church continue to be some of my favourite places to turn to in the Bible. Jenkins and MacDonald have succeeded at bringing Saul to life in a new way, giving me a glimpse of what his childhood may have been like and how he became the man that he did, transforming into the man we now know as Paul. As I read the scenes of Paul in prison, for the first time I really contemplated what he must have suffered over the years, and I marveled anew at the strength of his faith and the power of the Holy Spirit to sustain Paul until the end. I love the concept of a lost manuscript that details Paul's childhood experiences, and I found the book ended too soon as I wanted to read even more! I am very pleased to find that another addition to series is on the way.

If readers are looking for an entertaining novel with scenes of suspense, betrayal, and romance, then they will certainly find that in "I, Saul". But they will also be blessed with a book that will challenge their own faith and encourage their own boldness for Jesus even in the face of adversity. I highly recommend this book and award it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher and FIRST Wildcard Blog Tours, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Win a $200 Italian FEAST & read my review of "Glittering Promises" by @LisaTBergren @litfuse

Enter to win an Italian feast delivered to your door & RSVP for the Facebook Party! Also check out my review of Lisa T. Bergren's latest book below:

about the book...

Lisa T. Bergren’s popular Grand Tour series concludes as Cora Kensington journeys farther into Italy, wrestles with a terrible ultimatum from her father, and comes to terms with the Father who will never fail her.

America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are track the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try...

my review...

Set against the glorious backdrop of the cities and hillsides of Italy, "Glittering Promises" transports readers to a time and a place that is so delightful they won't want to leave! Featuring the same cast of characters that readers have come to know and love, Bergren's latest book is a satisfying conclusion to the Grand Tour series. The book breathes with romantic tension as Cora must examine her heart and determine where her love lies. Moments of suspense are again paired with romantic interludes and scenes exploring the rich history of Italy. Although the first book in the series is definitely my favorite one overall, this book comes in second place for me, as things are brought full circle, with some surprises thrown in along the way. I enjoyed watching Cora experience significant growth as a character, as she faces hardship and pain but realizes that God stands faithfully by her side. Her faith is much more sure and strong than in the prior book, and the woman who emerges by the last page is one that will definitely serve as an inspiration to the female audience who will primarily be reading this book. I though the plot flowed along nicely, and while the book is definitely on the longer side, my interest remained engaged throughout. I closed the final pages feeling like this book and the entire series offers up some excellent entertainment, that will also encourage people in their faith along the way as well.

If you haven't yet read a book in this series, I would encourage you to start at the beginning and dive into all three! They are worth it. As for "Glittering Promises", I give it a solid recommendation and a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, David C. Cook, and the Litfuse Publicity Group, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

about the author...

Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs.

Learn more at


Check out what other people are saying as part of the Litfuse tour at:

Buy the book from Amazon

Lisa T. Bergren is celebrating the release of her new book, Glittering Promisesby giving away a $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma and hosting a fun Facebook party on October 29th.

  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma delivered to your door
  • The three-book Grand Tour set
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 29th. Winner will be announced at the "Glittering Promises" Facebook Author Chat Party on October 29th. Connect with Lisa for an evening of book chat, European trivia, and prizes, and get an exclusive look Lisa's next book.

So grab your copies of the Grand Tour series and join Lisa on the evening of October 29th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on the 29th!

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Greetings from the Flipside" by Rene Gutteridge & Cheryl McKay

Check out a preview and my review of the latest book from Rene Gutteridge & Cheryl McKay, courtesy of the publisher and CFBA:


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Greetings from the Flipside
B&H Books (October 15, 2013)
Rene Gutteridge


Rene is the author of seventeen novels. She also has extensive experience writing comedy sketches, and worked for five years as the director of drama for a church. She has a degree specializing in Screenwriting, for which she earned the Excellence in Mass Communication Award, and graduated magna cum laude.

She is married to Sean, a musician and worship leader, and has two children. They reside in Oklahoma, where Rene writes full time and enjoys instructing in college classrooms and writers conferences.


Hope Landon has been rewriting other people's greeting cards since she was six years old -- there's always a funnier caption. She's all set to chase those creative dreams with her musician fiance in New York City until he leaves Hope at the altar, deciding he must not really love this girl if he can't write a song for her. That may give her something to write about . . .

Hope disappears alone on what was supposed to be the couple's month long honeymoon. Upon returning she learns of her funeral -- everyone in her life concluded Hope must have killed herself after being jilted. Needing a fresh start more than ever, she heads for the Big Apple only to discover it's not that easy to rent a place when you've been declared dead.

Taking shelter at the YWCA, Hope soon lands a job at a Christian inspirational greeting card company as an assistant to Jake, a guy who shut down his organization's humor department. She has lost her faith in love; he needs to find something or someone that will make him laugh.

Is there anything in the cards for these two? Find out in the truly original Greetings from the Flipside by authors Rene Gutteridge (Boo) and Cheryl McKay (screenplay for The Ultimate Gift).

If you would like to read the first chapter of >Greetings from the Flipside, go HERE.


my review.....

To be added once the book arrives in the mail! :)

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A delightful children's book! GIVEAWAY & My review of "Audrey Bunny"

Audrey Bunny

about the book....

From best-selling women’s author Angie Smith (I Will Carry You, Mended) comes this sweet children’s book about a stuffed animal named Audrey Bunny who fears her imperfections make her unworthy of a little girl’s love. She'll learn the truth soon enough, and young readers will learn that everyone is special and wonderfully made by God.

my review....

The best way to describe "Audrey Bunny"? Simply delightful! The moment the book came into my home, my daughters clamored to be the first to read it! They oohed and aahed over the wonderful illustrations, which are colorful and filled with life. The drawings are a perfect match for the story that accompanies them, and my girls thought the bunny was so adorable they wish they had that same stuffed animal in real life - smudge and all! The little girl, Caroline, who stars in the story along with Audrey, is a sweet little girl who helps Audrey learn an incredibly important life lesson: she is wonderfully made, just the way she is. The story is well-written, and my children had no problem following the story line and grasping the deeper truths of the story, that they themselves are beautiful and wonderful, complete with their flaws, and that God loves them the way they are! As a parent, I really liked the "parent connection" at the end of the book, which includes some discussion questions and activities that relate to the story. I went over the questions with my own children, and they were easily able to articulate the truths contained in the pages of the story. Overall, this story will be a blessing not only for the children the book is written for, but also for the parents or grandparents who read the book along with them! We can all use a reminder that we have been wonderfully made by God!

I am always a big fan of stories that not only capture my children's attention, but teach them God's truth at the same time. I highly recommend this story and award it 5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer - I received a free copy of this product from FlyBy Promotions and B&H Kids in exchange for my honest opinion shared in this review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family. I'm including this disclaimer in accordance with FTC Guidelines and Regulations.

 about the author & illustrator....

Angie Smith is the wife of Todd Smith (lead singer of Dove Award winning group Selah), best-selling author of Mended, I Will Carry You, and What Women Fear, and one of the most popular speakers and blog writers in the country. She holds a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Vanderbilt University and lives with her husband and daughters in Nashville, TN.

Image of Breezy BrookshireBreezy grew up in Indiana where she enjoyed, among many things, nature walks, reading, and drawing characters from her imagination. Being home educated allowed her the time to cultivate her interest in illustration. She was mostly self-taught in drawing.

At age seventeen, she began selling her art prints in her Etsy shop, The Breezy Tulip Studio, where she offers quality art prints and note cards that bring a delightful purity to scenes of children exploring nature, delving into books, and enjoying wholesome family life.

Nurturing children with beauty, goodness and truth as it is only found in God's Word is at the core of Breezy's vision for her art. She is currently working on a few children's products, and shares a home studio with her sister, Emily Rose. Breezy is a 22-year-old follower of Jesus Christ, and lives in Indiana with her sister and parents.

open to Americans & Canadians :)
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