I am so pleased that you have stopped by for a visit. I hope you will enjoy reading my book reviews. If you would be interested in reviewing books on your own blog, check out the links for litfuse and Booksneeze.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another Beautiful Day In Our Neighbourhood

We were delighted to discover a robin's nest amid the vine, just outside our living room window.  As I was attempting to train the vine, mother bird flew out.  Apparently we startled each other!

Isn't our neighbours' tree lovely?  We all enjoy it.
I LOVE Spring, and this year it has arrived nearly three weeks earlier than normal.  We have had rhubarb from our garden three times already, and it is still April!  Lily of the valley is in bloom, along with many other garden treats.

The back garden is full of birds, all singing on key.  One cannot help but sing along, lifting our hearts in praise to our Creator.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

THE NAKED GOSPEL by Andrew Farley - Book Review

Andrew Farley is no stranger to challenging traditional beliefs and encouraging Christians to take another look at what they believe. The lead teaching pastor of Ecclesia (EcclesiaOnline.com), a growing church on the high plains of Texas, Farley also co-hosts “Real Life in Christ,” a thought- provoking television program that disputes many long-held ideas about Christian living. It airs every week on ABC-TV in West Texas and New Mexico.

Farlley earned his bachelor’s degree from Furman University, a master’s degree from The University of Georgia and a Ph.D. from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Before moving to Texas, where he is now a tenured professor at Texas Tech University, Farley served as a professor at the University of Notre Dame for five years. He teaches courses in second language acquisition and an Honors seminar course titled “Early Church and Contemporary Christianity in Conflict.”

Farley has received teaching excellence awards or recognitions from three different universities. He has authored or co-authored a dozen peer-reviewed journal articles and three textbooks published by McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

He lives in Lubbock, Texas with his wife, Katharine Hayhoe, and their son, Gavin.  For more information, see http://www.thenakedgospel.com/

From back cover copy:  "Jesus plus nothing.  100% natural.  No additives.  It's the truth you may never hear in church.  The Naked Gospel is a chapter-by-chapter assault on the churchy jargon and double-talk of our day.  It puts forth a message that is simple but life changing.  With a fresh take on Scripture and an unapologetic style, The Naked Gospel will challenge you to reexamine everything you thought you already knew."

The Naked Gospel is a deep, thought-provoking book, yet the Scriptural truth is presented clearly, in a way that is easy to understand.  The book contains many Scripture quotes, which are explained in context.  Farley clearly explains the difference between the old and new covenants, the place of the law, grace, the cross and Jesus' blood sacrifice, once for all.  He also challenges misconceptions we may have regarding forgiveness, and what it means that we are in Christ, and that Christ lives in us.  Farley hopes that the book will serve as a catalyst, enabling the reader to wrestle with his/her belief systems.  What is offered to us as Christians is a life of true freedom, in which we live from the heart.

The book is thoughtfully written, and is based on the personal journey of the author.  For an informative interview with the author, check out www.Christianbooks.com.  Enter The Naked Gospel in the 'search' box, then follow down to locate the interview.

This  book  would be an asset to any pastor's library. I also recommend it for personal and small group use.  Discussion questions are provided. 

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Zondervan.

Here are the blogs featuring The Naked Gospel during our April 26-30 Tour.

A room without books is empty

A Sunny Place

Awesome God . . . Ordinary Girl

Be Your Best Mom


Bell Whistle Moon


Blog Tour Spot

Book Nook Club

Flores Que Sonham

Hurdling Hurdles

Jesus Needs New PR

Karen R. Evans


Musings by Lynn

Pix N Pens

Ponderings by Andrea

Sueth sayings

Tasra Mar

The Friendly Book Nook

The Gospel Writer

The Scroll

Monday, April 19, 2010

LOVE MERCY by Lisa Samson and Ty Samson - BOOK REVIEW

  What Lisa Samson and her eighteen-year-old daughter, Ty, share in Love Mercy will impact you, even as the story behind it impacted the authors.  Their trip to Swaziland would be "missional, merciful, giving", or so they thought.  "Instead, they experienced a life-changing, soul-rattling journey".

Lisa and Ty invite us to journey along with them as they experience first-hand the poverty and suffering, the devastating effects of the AIDS crisis in Africa.  They also witnessed first-hand how men and women full of compassion are working to alleviate suffering.

The book is divided into three sections - before, during and after their trip to Swaziland.  In each chapter, Lisa and Ty share their impressions and insights, and ask the hard questions.  Ty has included photographs, with comments that illuminate the text.  Lisa has included many references to social justice in Scripture.  Read prayfully, and with an open heart, this book will aid the reader in discovering just what is meant in Micah 6:8.
     "He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you?
      To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

The message of this powerful book is just what we need to hear.  It touches us in the deep places of  hearts, shaking us from our complacency.  I highly recommend this book.

Lisa Samson is the author of over twenty-five books, including the Christy award-winning novel Songbird.  Her novel Quaker Summer was Christianity Today's novel of 2008.  she is co-author with her husband, Will, of Justice in the Burbs.

Ty Samson loves, art, literature, playing upright bass, and baking bread.  she enjoys working with children, and serving at the East Seventh Street Center in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. 

Love Mercy is available through http://www.amazon.com/ .
Follow Lisa through her facebook and fan pages, and through Twitter.com

I wish to thank the publisher, Zondervan, for providing a copy of the book for review purposes.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I am well into the writing process, and am enjoying it immensely. Ideas flood my mind, especially at night.

Recently, I met a man who is willing to be interviewed. I am looking forward to meeting with him. It is one thing to read "After the bombing, the children gathered schrapnel", and entirely another to have someone say, "I am famous for my collection of schrapnel. My favourite is a piece covered in blood." This man was a nine year old boy at the time of the London Blitz, and seen through his eyes, the war had a different perspective.


How thrilled I was recently when some details came together for my story! I made a discovery that an idea I wanted to include in the story fit perfectly. I am now waiting to hear back from someone who would be great to interview. I could then check on some further details. It is an exciting time of learning, personal growth and discovery.

I have been helped a great deal through reading various facebook posts and blogs from other Christian writers. What enouragement! It is this sharing of a common purpose as Christians that brings us together, as we desire to glorify Christ through our writing. May He always be priority #1 in all our lives, no matter what our calling is.
Let us strive to be the best we can be, through the Spirit's enabling and daily grace. He is worthy!


The other day, I was reading John 18. I paused at verses 15 and 16. It reads as follows: (emphasis mine).

Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest's courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in. (NIV)
My first thought was "There is John, writing in the third person!" (Many think that John was referring to himself).)

Every word is important. Our words are powerful, and can tear down or build up. Through the words we choose, our readers are brought into the scene, and can feel emotion, hear, touch, taste, smell and see along with our characters. Let's be determined to choose our words carefully, both in our writing as well as in our daily interactions with others.

May words flow freely from our minds and hearts in a way that will have significant impact.
Blessings to all as you write for His glory.

Friday, April 9, 2010

From back cover copy: "Book 1 in the Wings of Glory series, A Distant Melody is an exciting and tender story of love, courage, and sacrifice during World War II.  Will a chance meeting in time of war change her life forever?"

Meet Allie (Allegra) Miller, ever seeking to please her mother and do anything to gain her approval, even marry a man she didn't love.  Enter Walt Novak, a pilot ready to leave for active duty in England.  A friendship develops, and is maintained through letters.  What binds them together?  What threatens to tear them apart? 

This debut novel by Sarah Sundin is a masterpiece!  Sarah has done her research thoroughly, with many details from the '40's wartime era bringing the story to life.  It was as though I was dropped right into the midst of the characters' lives.  Sarah's great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII.  Her great interest in aviation, and especially the B-17 bombers is evident throughout the story.

Also evident is Sarah's understanding of Scriptural principles, which she has interwoven throughout in a natural way. 

I loved the way in which Sarah develops the conflict, showing us what is taking place overseas as well as on the home front.  We feel with both the main characters, and many times, I found myself gasping "Oh, no!"  Sarah keeps the conflict progressing right to the end, at which point tears were pouring down my cheeks.

Sarah does an excellent job of bouncing the main characters off their friends.  This serves to add color as well as continuity.

Issues in this story run deep.  Sarah has included a discussion guide, which would be useful for book clubs.  This book is thought-provoking and is bound to lead to a fruitful discussion.

Well done, Sarah!  I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

A copy of this book has been provided for review courtesy of Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  It is available at your favorite bookseller, as well as on-line at http://www.amazon.com/.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh - Book Review

From the back cover copy: "Do you ever question God's ability to catch you when you fall? Do shame, fear, and brokenness keep you from fully trusting God? Do you secretly believe your dreams are unreachable?  You are not alone!  This is a book about trust."

In her latest book, Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God, Sheila Walsh once again shares her heart's struggles with us so transparently. Sheila gives us examples from the lives of Biblical characters, peppering each chapter with illustrations from her own life and the lives of others. In spite of life's overwhelming circumstances, encountering Christ with a trusting heart "sets beautiful things in motion," Sheila reminds us.

I love the way in which Sheila delves into the Biblical accounts of ten people, (Tabitha, Paul, David, Joseph, Gideon, Abraham, Samson, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, Anna), showing us their trusting responses.  The truths that this book highlights bring hope, encouragement and purpose to our lives.  Sheila includes a discussion guide for book clubs, as well as an in-depth Bible study filled with challenging questions.

In the introduction, Sheila recounts how she and her sister would swing in the park.  She trusted her mother to push her.  One day, her sister was pushing her, but then got tired.  The neighbourhood bully came along and began pushing her swing.  She didn't trust him, and was terrified.  She said "when trust was absent, the swing turned into a nightmare. Who was pushing the swing made all the difference in the world.  The heart behind the hands pushing the swing changed everything."  Sheila shows us through her book that we can indeed trust the heart behind the hands, when it is God calling us to trust Him.

Sheila Walsh is a speaker with Women Of Faith, and has writtn many books.  She lives in Texas with husband, Barry and son, Christian.  Follow Sheila at twitter.com/sheilawalsh or on facebook.com/sheilawalshconnects.

Pick up a copy of Sheila's book at your favorite bookstore, or order through http://www.amazon.com/ or http://www.christianbooks.com/

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for a copy of the book for review purposes.

Monday, April 5, 2010

"SOMEWHERE TO BELONG" by Judith Miller - Book Review

Somewhere To Belong is the newest release by award-winning author, Judith Miller.  This historical fiction is set in 1877 in the Amana Colonies in Iowa.

The author's love for history is reflected in the many details of daily life in the villages of Amana.  In this setting, devout Christians believe in co-operative living, a simple lifestyle, and faithful service to God.

The story is told in the first person, alternating between the two main characters, Johanna Ilg and Berta Schumacher.  Johanna has lived her entire life in one of the villages, but longs to see the outside world.  Berta, on the other hand, has come from Chicago with her parents, who want to show her a simpler life.

Berta has a naturally rebellious spirit, and resists the idea of remaining in  the village.  It falls upon Johanna to train Berta in village ways.

As the story progresses, it is discovered that both families are harbouring secrets.  Where will these girls find somewhere to belong?

I enjoyed reading this book, and learned much from the description of village life in the Amana colonies.  The author has included so many details, that I could feel I was there, walking on the streets with the girls.  Yes, it is another 'bonnet book', but with a twist.  Those who are familiar with Judith Miller's previous books will not be disappointed, and it is a good introduction for first-time readers as well.

*** Judith Miller has done extensive research into life in the Amana Colonies.  If you would like to ask her questions regarding the colonies, you may contact her at http://www.judithmccoymiller.com/

"A copy of this book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  It is available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group."