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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Parable Re-issued In A New Larger Board Book Edition!

The Pumpkin Patch Parable has just been re-issued in a new larger board book format. An enduring story for harvest time, The Pumpkin Patch Parable is tenderly told by master storyteller, Liz Curtis Higgs and beautifully illustrated by Nancy Munger. Many are already acquainted with this wonderful book, and the story has been read to children for many years. If you have never read this book, it is a 'must' on the bookshelf of every parent and grandparent. If you are familiar with it, you will want to pick up several copies as gifts for those special people in your life.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

GOOD GIRLS don't have to DRESS BAD by Shari Braendel - Book Review

The subtitle says it all: "A style guide for every woman." This soft-cover book is beautifully illustrated with full-colour photos. Shari has an important message for all of us. God has given us our body, we can accept and appreciate it, and always look our best. This 198 page book is full of advice that is both encouraging and practical. Shari covers such topics as determining our body type and choosing appropriate styles, colours and accessories. She also includes information on the seldom discussed details of undergarments , swimsuits, and how to select the most flattering jeans.  Other topics include make-up, hair cut, style, and colour. For those of us who are wondering what we really need in our wardrobe, Shari again comes to the rescue. All this and more make for a very helpful read, as well as a book to keep on hand for quick reference. Included is a resource list of where items can be found, as well as some blank pages for taking notes.

To learn more about Shari, visit her website http://www.sharibraendel.com/ and check out her weekly blog.  As a sought-after Christian speaker on fashion and beauty, shari hosts the What to Wear Christian Women's Conference at women's retreats and gatherings. A fabulous, fun, and refreshing fashionista, Shari is a speaker and writer with Proverbs 31 Ministries.  To learn more about Proverbs 31 Ministries, go to http://www.proverbs31.org/

2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews

4 The Love of Books

About dreams and broken glass

Aspire2 Blog

Be Your Best Mom


Blog Tour Spot

Blogging While Waiting

Book Junkie Confessions

Book Nook Club

Bound to His Heart

Cafe Lily Book Reviews

Camy’s Loft

Carly Bird’s Home

Christy’s Book Blog

Deus E Fiel

Drive Home Productions

Fresh Brewed Writer

His Reading List


In The Pages

Joyful Beginnings Begin with Joy in the Morn

Life’s Like This

Literary Fan Girl

Mocha with Linda

Musings by Lynn

My Alabaster Box

My Reason is God

Next in Dianaland

Paper Bridges

Querido Deus, Obg Por Me Exportar

Refresh My Soul

Sunflower Faith

Sunny Days

The 160-acre Woods

The Gospel Writer

The Writing Road

This Mom’s Delight

Uma Pirralha Na Universidade

Word Up Studies
This book was provided for review purposes by the publisher, Zondervan, for inclusion in the http://www.blogtourspot.com/  blog book reviews.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

AMISH PROVERBS - Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher

"Simplify your life with Amish wisdom. Through firsthand research and personal relationships, Suzanne Woods Fisher has collected more than 200 proverbs that uncover the rich heritage, folklore, faith, vlaues, history, and essence of the Plain People." (Back cover copy)
With so much wisdom contained in a small book, how does one choose a favourite? As I read this delightful book and savoured the photography, I found many proverbs which speak to my life and circumstances. But one stands out. It is found on page 111. "Contentment is not getting what we want but being satisfied with what we have." I find that challenging personally, but am encouraged that the apostle Paul had the same struggle. He had to LEARN to be content. (Philippians 4:11,12) In an age when people are continually striving for more, how good it is to be thankful for what we have, and to show our appreciation to the One from Whom comes every good and perfect gift.

Although I am not Amish, I have my own favourite proverbs. One is "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." This was on a plague on my firend's desk, and I have taken it to heart, quoting it on many occasions!

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

AMISH PROVERBS - Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Suzanne Woods Fisher has written a delightful gift book, lavishly illustrated with photographs of Amish life. The book includes proverbs on a number of topics, such as time, money, faith, children and family, in word and deed, work ethic, handling adversity, education, community, character, and some just for fun.
Suzanne is the author of Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World and the novel The Choice, the first book in the Lancaster County Secrets secrets. Her work has appeared in many magazines. Suzanne lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay area.
Check out her website at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com/.
I enjoyed this book, with the beautiful illustrations and wisdom it contains. In the midst of our hectic schedules, it is good to take time to reflect on the simple things, the moments we treasure, and relationships that are lasting.

Friday, August 13, 2010

TOUCHING THE CLOUDS by Bonnie Leon - Book Review

Touching The Clouds is the first book in the Alaskan Skies series. The story is set in Alaska in 1935, and is filled with much historical detail of Alaska before it became a state. Kate Evans leaves her home in Washington State to follow her dream of becoming an Alaskan bush pilot. Kate is "an adventurous and independent young woman with a pioneering spirit. Not only does she have to battle the challenges of the Alaskan wilderness, but she has to stand up to male pilots." She is "a lone woman in a man's world." Kate holds a secret in her heart, and is carrying a very heavy load of guilt, which proves to be an ever-present challenge. Can she overcome that? She faces a new challenge when she meets a man living in the wilderness. He, too, carries a burden which he is unwilling to share. "Can Kate break through the walls he has put up around his heart? And will fear keep her from realizing her dreams?"

I am so glad that this is just the first of a series. Touching The Clouds definitely left me wanting to hear more of the story. Prior to reading this book, I knew little of Alaskan history. But Bonnie brings both the time period and the characters to life. I felt as though I was walking the streets with Kate, or flying with her over the dangerous terrain, sharing in her adventures and challenges, and feeling with her as she came to grips with her emotions. Bonnie writes as one who knows her subject well, through research and experience. This book caused my heart to pound, and I found myself holding my breath and making sure my seat belt was tightly fastened. It was a wild ride! Thanks, Bonnie, for a job well done. I look forward to hearing more from you in the coming days.

About Bonnie: I live a quiet life in the country. My children are grown and have moved away. Two live close (within three hours drive) so I see them often. My oldest daughter lives in Washington. I love playing with my grandchildren. One of the great surprises about being a grandmother is how intensely I love my grandbabies. Just can't get enough of them. :-)

Bonnie is the bestselling of several books of historical fiction, including the Sydney Cove series, Queensland Chronicles, the Matanuska series, the Sowers Trilogy, and the Northern Lights series. She also stays busy teaching women's Bible studies, speaking, and teaching at writing seminars and women's gatherings.

Visit Bonnie's website. http://www.bonnieleon.com/ Read her blog. http://www.bonnieleon.blogspot.com/

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

Monday, August 9, 2010

THE RELUCTANT ENTERTAINER by Sandy Coughlin - Book Review

Wow, what a beautiful book! This hard-cover book by Sandy Coughlin is "every woman's guide to simple and gracious hospitality." It is about "real entertaining for real people." Sandy, who has a blog by the same name, "The Reluctant Entertainer", has written a very practical guide, in order to "help women break free of the anxieties that keep them from opening their homes. Emphasizing the forgotten goal of entertaining-connecting deeply with others-she shows how women can use the gifts and talents God gave them to reach out in love." (from back cover) In her book, Sandy includes chapters on real entertaining for real people, joy busters and joy building, overcoming pitfalls of perfectionism, discovering your inner Martha, engaging the five senses, the heart of hospitality:conversation, more than dinner parties:deeper connections, and from reluctant to gracious living. Sandy also includes a section on how to organize your pantry, and a host of mouth-watering recipes. The book is lavishly illustrated with full-color photos. Sandy includes quotations from such well-known authors as Chuck Swindoll, Elizabeth Schaeffer, Beth Moore, Henri Nouwen, Joyce Landorf Heatherley, Liz Curtis Higgs, and her husband, Paul Coughlin.
What comes through loud and clear is the message that hospitality is not about me, but rather, a way to show love to others and make them feel 'at home.' It is not about perfectionism, but rather, a striving for excellence. One of my favorite concepts is expressed so beautifuly by Sandy. "Food brings us to the table, but it is grace, the soft golden butter on the warm bread of the common life, that makes us want to stay there."
This is a book to be savored, read cover to cover, and then kept within arm's reach for referral. I HIGHLY recommend this lovely book!

Check out Sandy's website at http://reluctantentertainer.com/, follow her on Twitter, join her Facebook page and sign up to receive her blog posts via email.

Below is a post from Sandy's blog:
Hello, my name is Sandy Coughlin and welcome to my blog, Reluctant Entertainer!
Pull up a chair and sit back and enjoy some daily inspiration, casual, simple savvy entertaining ideas, and ways to reach out and grow your hospitality.
I’m often asked: Why a blog and now a book on the lost art of hospitality? And my answer is this: Because a growing number of people across the world are realizing that something deep is missing in their lives. And that something is connection to others, often through the blessing of hospitality.

Hospitality can be a blessing to both the hostess and her guests, but for many women today, it simply doesn’t happen. Feelings and beliefs of inadequacy, unrealistic expectations, fear of failure, and a lack of time all conspire to steal the joy that comes from opening one’s home and sharing fellowship with others.
Here at RE, I often share my entertaining stories, little tidbits about my family, what’s growing in the garden or cooking on the stove, bargains and thrifting ideas, along with recipes and posts that encourage readers to put image and perfectionism aside in order to live a more authentic and connected life with others.

Why did I start my blog, Reluctant Entertainer?
My husband and I came up with this title for this blog years ago, before I even thought about blogging. We were puzzled about why people are so reluctant to entertain and invite people into their homes. It then took some courage to start my blog, Reluctant Entertainer, in 2006, as I started sharing my life and entertaining stories with others. I’m so glad that I did.

I’m also asked, “Why do I include my family so much in the blog and book?”
Because we are a normal family and we live in a normal home (noisy, cluttery, dusty, dishes in the sink, and incredibly active), which most people can relate to. I am married to the best husband in the world, Paul, who’s also a stellar, witty, fun and brilliant father to our 3 teenagers. Yes, 3 teenagers and 3 animals – 2 kitties (Filly & Hobbes) and 1 Cairn Terrier (Haggis McStitch), with personality with a Capital P! (For more information on my husband, author and sought-after men’s speaker Paul Coughlin, please click here.)
In our home hospitality is a group effort. It’s not just about me and it often takes all-hands-on-deck to pull us all together. And it’s around our dinner table is where we often have some of our best conversations about life and what it means for be truly hospitable to others. (Christmas 2009)

I’m also asked where do I get my photography?
All of my pictures and stories on RE are from real life, taken by us or people we know. My philosophy is that when I write about true-life happenings, it’s important that I capture the moment with true-life photography. In other words, if I write about a dinner party, the pictures will reflect that party. What you see is what you get. I never use stock photography and all photos on RE are taken with a Nikon D70.

Another common question is, “Why do I use a dollar store goblet as your icon?”

Years ago I stocked up on beautiful glasses from the Dollar Store. As I started writing about dinner parties, I realized that this “icon” portrays a great message. It says that dinner parties are attainable, they are affordable, and that they can be beautiful even when on a budget.

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

Thursday, August 5, 2010

FORGET ME NOT by Vicki Hinze - Book Review

From back cover: Their elusive enemies took everything. Now they want more. Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt was a content man-in his faith, his work, and his family. Then in a flash, everything he loved was snatched away/ His wife and son were murdered, and grief-stricken Ben lost faith. Determination to find their killers keeps him going, but after three years of dead ends and torment, his hope is dying too. Why had he survived? He'd failed to protect his family.
Now, a mysterious woman appears at Crossroads seeking answers and help-a victim who eerily resembles Ben's deceased wife, Susan. A woman robbed of his identity, his life, and everything except her faith-and Susan's necklace.
The connections between the two women mount, exceeding coincidence, and to keep the truth hidden, someone is willing to kill. Finding out who and why turns Ben and the mystery woman's situation from dangerous to deadly. Their only hope for survival is to work together, trust each other, and face whatever they discover head on, no matter how painful. But will that be enough to save their lives and heal their tattered hearts?

My review: Difficult to put down, this story was gripping from beginning to end. It had me turning the pages and having to read "just one more chapter." Vicki Hinze has masterfully drawn the characters. The reader feels the pain and emotion as the characters face momentous challenges and dilemmas. I found it an emotional read, and that surprised me. I needed a few tissues as the story concluded.

Vicki is an award-winning author of twenty-three novels, and this is her first book of Christian fiction. Thankfully, it won't be the last! For a very informative interview, go to http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com/vicki-hinze-interviews-with-nora-give.html

Forget Me Not is published by Multnomah Books and is available through http://www.amazon.com/

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Be sure and check this out. Nora St. Laurent interviews author Jen Stephens. Enter the contest on the site for an opportunity to win Jen's book!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

THE BISHOP by Steven James - Book Review

From back cover: FBI Special Agent Bowers' cutting-edge skills are about to be pushed to the limit when a young woman is found brutally murdered in Washington DC. Her killers continue a spree of perfect crimes in the Northeast, but with nothing to link them to each other, Agent Bowers faces his most difficult case yet - even as his personal life begins to crumble around him.  The Bishop is a gripping, adrenalin-laced story for readers who are tired of timid thrillers. Strap on your seat belt and get ready for a wild ride.

Book 4 in The Patrick Bowers Files series, The Bishop will not disappoint the fans of Steven James' writing. To call this book a thriller is an understatement. James' well-drawn characters and ever-twisting plot will leave you sitting on the edge of your seat from page one, and the conclusion will leave you wanting more. James has done his research. He has the reader feeling that he or she is in the midst of all that is taking place. It is a lengthy book - over 500 pages - but the plot moves swiftly. I love how James writes short chapters. That is definitely the making of a page-turner for me. It is a book which is hard to put down, and begs you to read "just one more chapter." This book is a psychological thriller which goes beyond what appears and asks important questions. It is also philosophical, probing the depths of the meaning of human existence. Although 'suspence thriller' is not the genre I normally read, I did enjoy this book Steven James is a master of his craft, and I am looking forward to the next installment.

Steven James Launch Party!

In my books I want people to look honestly at what our world is like, both the good and the evil. The evil in my books is not senseless; people’s lives are treated as precious and I want my readers to hurt when an innocent life is taken. The only way to do that is to let them see it on the page and then reflect on its meaning.
I think that an effective way of dissuading someone from doing something is to make them see it as deeply disturbing. And the only way to make people disturbed by evil is to show it to them as what it really is. I believe that including graphic material within the broader context of a redemptive story, just as the Bible does, is appropriate when trying to reveal the truth about human nature and our relationship with the Divine.

For the record, when I write my novels I strive to:

uphold the dignity and worth of human life,

as much as possible avoid showing violence on the page (most of it occurs off the page, in the mind of the reader),

show that ultimately, hope does not come from inside ourselves, but from God,

honestly portray the universality of evil,

celebrate life, love, imagination, beauty, and family,

validate the purpose and meaning of life within the context of the broader scope of God's story, and

tell the truth about the world--exposing the grief and horror as well as championing the hope and joy.

I believe that the Bible includes graphic material to show how far we as a race can fall, and how far God came to rescue us from ourselves. That's what I hope to do in my novels as well.

To read the entire article from Steven James on this topic, visit his blog. http://stvjames.blogspot.com/

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

Monday, August 2, 2010

LIFE IN SPITE OF ME - Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice - BOOK REVIEW

In Life In Spite of Me, Kristen Jane Anderson tells her story together with Tricia Goyer.
From back cover: She wanted to die, but God had other plans. Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture-perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook: three friends and her grandmother died within two years. Still reeling from these losses, she was raped by a friend she thought she could trust. She soon spiraled into a seemingly bottomless depression. One January night, the seventeen-year-old decided she no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railway tracks and waited for a freight train to send her to heaven...and peace. Miraculously, Kristen's story doesn't end there. In Life In Spite of Me this remarkably joyful young woman shares the miracle of her survival the agonizing aftermath of her failed suicide attempt, and the hope that has completely transformed her life, giving her a powerful purpose for living. Her gripping story of finding joy against all odds provides a vivid and unforgettable reminder that life is a gift to be treasured.

My review: This is indeed a gripping story. Kristen spares no details that are important to the understanding of the emotional pain which led up to her suicide attempt, and her subsequent struggles. It is a story of relationships. In an afterword, Kristen's mum describes how her parents sought to get her the help she needed, and how the doctors didn't recognize the depression, since Kristen kept so much buried deep inside. Her mum describes the thoughts that tormented her - why didn't they know? What could they have done differently? and so on.
Kristen includes notes of encouragement throughout the book, things she wished someone had told her when she was struggling most. She also includes a list of suide warning signs. This is a story of triumph over adversity, blessing coming from the brokenness of her life. She speaks now of the transforming power of hope in Christ, and has launched a ministry to help others find that same hope and joy. Visit her website at http://www.reachingyou.org/ for further information.
The message on the jacket flap: For anyone struggling to find the strength to go on, the message of this heart-wrenching yet hope-building book is clear: God loves you more than you can imagine. He has good plans for your future. Life is a gift. This book is an extraordinary reminder that even when we give up on life, God doesn't give up on us.

Life In Spite of Me - Kristen Jane Anderson from waterbrook multnomah on Vimeo.