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.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Aren't Morning Glories beautiful?  I find them awe-inspiring.  I've just come from the garden, where to my delight, I discovered several open blossoms.  A few years ago, I wrote a poem to express what was on my heart.

Morning Glory
Morning Glories,
Fresh and new each morning,
Growing, climbing, spreading their beauty.
Jewel-toned hues of blue and purple
Gracefully wind their way up the trellis.
I stand in amazement at this wondrous display of beauty.

Morning Glory, precious One,
Your love is unfailing, fresh and new each day.
I stand in awe and worship You,
And find my heart has no words.

Morning Glory of my soul,
Entwine Yourself upon the trellis of my heart,
Until my life becomes a reflection of Your amazing grace,
Radiant with the beauty of my Lord.

© Lynn McCallum 2005


Friday, May 28, 2010

Musings About Reading

     Recently, I've been thinking about how we read fiction.  Some quickly read a book.  They can't wait to see how the novel concludes.  They are often heard to say, "I just couldn't put it down" or "I read it late into the night." Others savour the book, reading slowly to "make it last."  These readers don't want the book to end. There is no right or wrong way to read a book.  These are preferences.      Personally, I tend to savour thoughtful, well-written books.  Perhaps that is because I am able to understand more clearly from the point of view of the author.  Each book is a labour of love.  Much time and energy is put into the writing, and, if it is an historical novel, countless hours are also spent in research.  Much revision and editing is involved, and often extensive re-writing is required.  In the editing process, words, sentences, paragraphs and even etnire chapters are cut.  What remains in the finished manuscript is important.  Every word, nuance, turn of the phrase is there for a reason. 
     My mother used to say that it took a long time to make a pie, and then it was devoured within five minutes!  I liken this to reading a book quickly.  If you are among the "can't put it down" readers, might I suggest that you go back and re-read the book, looking for details you may have missed the first time through?  I know of readers who have re-read a book numerous times, gleaning something new each time.  Let's take the time to slow down and savour the books we read.  We owe that to our faithful authors.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


 Robin Lee Hatcher
Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of sixty novels, including A Vote of Confidence, When Love Blooms, Wagered Heart, Return to Me and Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by Library Journal. Winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, two RITA Awards for Best Inspirational Romance and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin lives in Idaho.

Learn more about Robin at http://robinleehatcher.com/.

"A Matter of Character" is the third and final installment in The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series.  The series, set in 1915-1919 rural Idaho, poses the question "Who says a woman can't do a man's job?"

From the back cover copy: "It's 1918, and Daphne McKinley, heiress to a small fortune, has found contentment in the town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho.  But Daphne has a secret.
     A series of dime novels loosely based on local lore and featuring a nefarious villian known as Rawhide Rick has enjoyed modest popularity among readers.  Nobody in Bethlehem Springs knows the man behind the stories...except Daphne.
     When newspaperman Joshua Crawford comes to town searching for the man who sullied the good name of his grandfather, Daphne finds herself at a crossroads, reassessing the power of her words, re-thinking how best to honor her gifts, and reconsidering what she wants out of life."

I thoroughly enjoyed this series, especially this final book.  Robin has a way of bringing her characters to life.  Historical details have been carefully researched, and add dimension to the story.  A Matter of Character is a fun, quick read, but it also asks some hard questions.  I was challenged in asking myself, "Am I a person of character, and in what ways do my words honor God and others?"

I highly recommend this book, and look forward to the books Robin will be writing next!

Details for this amazing contest can be found at http://www.robinleehatcher.com/noble_character.html
I received this book from the publisher, Zondervan, for review purposes as part of the blogspot tour.
The book is available through http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.christianbooks.com/ and your favorite retailer.

Here are the blogs featuring A Matter of Character during our May 24-28, 2010 Tour.

A room without books is empty

About dreams and broken glass

All Grown Up?

Be Your Best Mom


Blog Tour Spot

Book Nook Club

Book Reviews

Butterfly Journey

Cafe Lily Book Reviews

Cindy’s Book Reviews

Clicking Her Heels

Deus E Fiel

Johnna Postic

Karen R. Evans

Life in Review

Luxury Reading

Marci Seither

Musings by Lynn

My Book Addiction and More

Ponderings by Andrea

Sherry Kyle

Sisterhood of Beautiful Warriors

Southern Sassy Things

Tasra Mar

The 160-acre Woods

The Hahn Hunting Lodge

Ultimate Joy

Unfinished Work

Walking Daily

With Pen in Hand

Saturday, May 22, 2010

NO MORE CHRISTIAN NICE GIRL by Paul Coughlin & Jennifer D. Degler, PhD - BOOK REVIEW

The subtitle says it all - "When just being nice-instead of good-hurts you, your family, and your friends."
From the back cover copy: "Tired of doing all you can for others while your relationships remain stuck in neutral-or are headed in reverse?  Paul Coughlin and psychologist Jennifer Degler show how being nice can harm you and drain the life out of your relationships.  They explore the keys to fulfillment at home, work, church, and even in the bedroom.  You'll discover that emulating the real Jesus is the key to transforming from a Christian Nice Girl into an authentic, powerful woman of loving faith."

I found that the authors cover the topic thoroughly.  They help the reader to relate to and apply the concepts through the story of Nicole, Christian Nice Girl. Further aids to practical application  include sidebars, discussion questions, and an appendix with 81 incidences from the gospels where Jesus is "not so nice."

The authors distinguish between being "nice" and being "good."  It is the authors' contention that we learn to act nice through social and cultural pressures. 
The effects of being "nice" wreck our friendships and family relationships, mess up our marriages, steal the , and cripple our careers.  If not recognized, being "nice" can attract "Mr. Wrong."
God wants us to be tender, yet tough, bold and assertive rather than seeking to please others.  This book will help us to be the women God longs us to be. I highly recommend it.

Paul Coughlin is a bestselling author, international speaker, and founder of The Protectors, a faith-based and values-based solution to adolescent bullying. Jennifer Degler, PhD, is a licensed psychologist, life coach, and a frequent speaker at women's events and marriage retreats.

The book is available at http://amazon.com/ and http://christianbooks.com/ and through your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A copy of this book was provided by Graf-Martin Communications Inc. for review purposes.

Friday, May 21, 2010

FRIENDSHIP FOR GROWN-UPS - What I Missed & Learned Along The Way by Lisa Whelchel - BOOK REVIEW

Lisa Whelchel, who starred as Blair in The Facts Of Life, grew up learning to be strong, safe..and lonely.  She is on a journey , and invites us to accompany her. Lisa's writing style is very personal and honest, as she shares her struggles, failures and successes.  She tells us that it is OK to be needy, it is important to be needy with safe people, and it is important to know who the safe people are, and so much more. Lisa shows us how others have helped her along the road by being a true friend, and includes many personal examples of how a true friendship can be healing.

I could relate to so many of the points Lisa made, and at times, it seemed as if I was reading about my own struggles with friendships.  This book is compassionately written with a deep desire that others may experience the freedom of being real.  God's grace exudes from her heart across the pages and into mine.

This book is a treasure!  It is full of practical help, such as questions for reflection and group discussion,  steps for developing abd growing friendships, and conversation prompts.

I highly recommend this book for women of all ages.  My only regret is that I hadn't read such a book years ago.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Lisa's book is available from http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.christianbooks.com/ and your favorite retailer.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

O Me Of Little Faith by Jason Boyett - Book Review

In O Me of Little Faith, author Jason Boyett brings you a transparent and personal account of his own of struggles with doubts and unbelief in living out his faith. With humor and frankness, Boyett uses personal anecdotes and a fresh look at Scripture to explore the realities of pursuing Christ through a field of doubt.

After three decades of knowing God, understanding Christianity, and living a Christian life, Boyett has come to the place where he can voice the tough questions and travel the road of uncertainty with blinders off, candor on.

The message along the way is one of encouragement: Relax. Rely on the grace of a merciful God, a kind father who realizes that his finite creatures must have doubts, should have questions, and will have trouble making sense of an infinite Creator. Ultimately, Boyett concludes that doubt and faith are not polar opposites, but actually work together, existing side-by-side.

Uplifting, entertaining, hopeful, O Me of Little Faith will strike a chord with you and any Christian who’s dealing with the uncertainties of living life in pursuit of a God who occasionally seems to disappear.

About the Author:
Jason Boyett is a writer, speaker, marketing professional, and the author of Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, Pocket Guide to the Bible, and several other books. He has appeared on the History Channel and National Geographic Channel and written for a variety of publications. He lives in Texas with his wife, Aimee, and their two children.

Learn more about Jason at http://www.jasonboyett.com

Jason Boyett writes openly and honestly, expressing his doubts and asking questions that many of us have but dare not express.  Reading Jason's book is like having a conversation with a friend over coffee. 
Jason is on a journey of a lifetime.  He is "an ernest seeker who clings to faith even as he explores the hiddeness of God." [Quoted from back cover copy.]
Jason has written this book for doubters.  He understands the questions that people are asking, in their hearts, at least.  He explores the relationship between faith and doubt.  He doesn't tie up all the loose ends, and hand us a neat package with all the doubts resolved.  The journey continues.
This book asks the tough questions, and helps us to think through what we believe and why.
I wish to thank the publisher, Zondervan, for providing a copy of the book for review purposes.
Jason's book is available through http://www.amazon.com/

Friday, May 14, 2010



Gregory A. Boyd is the founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., and founder and president of Christus Victor Ministries. He was a professor of theology at Bethel College (St. Paul, Minn.) for sixteen years where he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor. Greg is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (BA), Yale Divinity School (M.Div), and Princeton Theological Seminary (PhD). Greg is a national and international speaker at churches, colleges, conferences, and retreats, and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows. He has also authored and coauthored eighteen books prior to Present Perfect, including The Myth of a Christian Religion, The Myth of a Christian Nation, The Jesus Legend (with Paul Eddy), Seeing Is Believing, Repenting of Religion, and his international bestseller Letters from a Skeptic.
Learn more about Gregory at http://www.gregboyd.org/

From the back cover copy: We long to be transformed, yet our minds are filled with endless trivia and self-centered chatter.  To-do lists.  Worries about the past.  Speculation about the future  We forget to live in the present moment, and to invite God to be with us there.

After reading classic contemplative authors Brother Lawrence, Jean-Pierre de Caussade, and Frank Lauback, theologian and pastor Gregory Boyd longed to experience the presence of God for himself.  For two decades, he had attempted to implement "the practice of the presence of God" in his own life...sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing.  what he's learned as a pilgrim on a spiritual journey can help you find true spiritual transformation as you begin to practice the discipline of inviting God into every moment.

Join Boyd in this journey of a lifetime!

Present Perfect is a concise, clearly written book which presents the thinking of contemplative writers, especially the three named above, in a way that everyday Christians can grasp.  Boyd has included quotes from these men in the sidebars.  He also includes some practical exercises to help the reader to grasp the concepts.  Throughout the book are scattered "Post-it" notes with the question "Are you awake?" on each, as a reminder to focus on this present moment.  Scripture is included, as well as simple prayers.

Boyd makes a distinction between what he is teaching and the teachings of the New Age movement. He has clearly anticipated questions his readers may have in this regard.

For believers who are not familiar with the teachings of the contemplatives, this book would serve as an introduction.  Others who are already aware of this teaching will still be challenged to integrate it into their own lives.  It is not a 'heady' book, but very practical, easily read and understood.

Excerpted from an interview:
Where did you get the idea for the book?

My passion for Present Perfect arose out of my passion for the discipline it’s about – the “Practice of the presence of God.” Though I’ve always struggled with this discipline, as I readily admit in this book, I’ve come to believe it not only is the most important spiritual discipline; it actually expresses the very essence of what it means to live under the reign of God. This book began as a series of essays I wrote almost six years ago during one of the worst and most prolonged episodes of the “dark night of the soul” I’ve ever experience. During this time I recommitted myself to the practice of the presence of God, and writing these essays helped me reorient my life around this discipline. I decided against publishing the essays six years ago, however, because I felt I hadn’t attained a level of maturity in this discipline that would justify me being a spokesperson for this discipline. I have since learned that God can use imperfect pilgrims as much as mature masters, which allowed me to rework the essays and publish them. (I’m still very glad I waited six years, however, since I learned much in the intervening period and I feel that the essays are much better as a result.)

What are the major themes of the book?

Life is nothing more than a series of present moments strung together. So, to live a life committed to Christ means we need to commit each present moment to him. This involves remaining aware of, and surrendered to, the loving presence of Christ moment-by-moment. As we learn to do this, we “wake up” to the wonder of God’s love, the beauty of the world, and opportunities to be used by God that we’d otherwise miss. As the subtitle of the book says, we wake up to the Kingdom in the NOW, and only in the NOW.

What kind of research did you have to do for the book?

Present Perfect is inspired by the writings of Brother Lawrence, Frank Laubach, and J.-P, de Caussade. I have read and mediated on these works for years. Beyond this, no additional research was called for. In fact, I’m quite certain it would have gotten in the way of what God wanted to do through this book.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

A deeper desire and greater capacity to be fully alive in the present moment, aware of God’s presence, surrendered to his will and led by his Spirit.

Gary's book is available through http://www.amazon.com/.

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

Other participants in this blog tour are:

About dreams and broken glass

AKA Theodore Lewis

Bell Whistle Moon

Bible Dude

Blame it on the Loud Mouth Gene


Blog Tour Spot

Book Story

Captain’s Blog

Catholic View

Deus E Fiel

Heading Home

Healthy Spirituality

Hurdling Hurdles



Lighthouse Academy


Musings by Lynn

Net’s Book Notes

Ponderings by Andrea

Ragamuffing Scrap Craft

Refresh My Soul

Scraps and Snippets

Sherri Woodbridge

Sunflower Faith

Tattered Couch

The Christian Naturalist

The Friendly Book Nook

Uma Pirralha Na Universidade

Word Up Studies