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, July 28, 2011


From the back cover: "You'll find home one day. Sure as sweet tea on a hot afternoon." Words from Willa's sketchy childhood haunt her dreams and color her days with longing, regret, and fear. What do the words mean? Willa is far from sure.

So when Hale Landon places a ring on her finger, Willa panics, feeling she can't possibly say yes when so much in her past is a mystery. Bent on sorting out her history, Willa returns to Rockwall, Texas, to the Muir House Bed and Breakfast, a former funeral home.

But the old place holds her empty memory close to itself. Willa's mother utters unintelligible clues from her deathbed, and the caretaker of the house keeps coveted answers carefully protected. Throw in an old flame, and Willa careens farther away from ever knowing the truth.Set in a growing suburb of Texas, THE MUIR HOUSE explores trauma, healing, love new and old, and the life-changing choices people make to keep their reputations intact.

Watch the book trailer!

The Muir House by Mary E DeMuth Book Trailer from cosproductions on Vimeo.

My review: What an amazing story! Mary DeMuth has delved into the depths of the human heart to bring it to light. Her characters are real people with real struggles and situations not easily unravelled.
Mary's writing is very powerful. I was caught up in the story from first page till last, and often found the unexpected. Mary's writing, like life itself, is unpredictable, and answers don't emerge sewn up in neat packages. The characters are unforgettable, and I found myself wondering what happens next, as Willa continues to grow. I am left to consider, together with Willa, what is truth, what is home, and how do we find it? Is it important that secrets be revealed at all costs, or are some things best left alone?

Mary is a masterful writer, and her descriptions and analogies vivid. Above all, Mary is real, and writes powerfully, from her heart. This is her best fiction yet! I look forward to what is still to come. Well done, Mary!

About the author: Mary DeMuth is the author of several southern novels, including A Slow Burn, Life in Defiance, and the Christy Award finalists, Watching the Tree Limbs and Daisy Chain. She's also written four parenting books and a memoir, Thin Places. She's passionate about the written word, teaching, and mentoring writers. Mary lives in Texas with her husband, Patrick, and their three children.

Find out more at www.marydemuth.com

Check out The Muir House's facebook page in order to connect with other readers. There will also be giveaways, contests, and lots of author-reader interaction. http://www.facebook.com/TheMuirHouse

This book is published by Zondervan, who provided me with a free copy. The expection is that I will review the book, pass it on , and promote it by various means. I love being an 'influencer' for any books written by Mary DeMuth.

I HIGHLY recommend this book, and give it 5/5 stars!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

THE BLESSED by Ann H. Gabhart - Book Review

Trapped by obligation, one woman longs for the freedom of true love.

It is 1844 and Lacey Bishop's life is a tangled mess. When circumstances move Lacey to a nearby Shaker village, she is not prepared for the new life that awaits her. In the midst of her deep loneliness, Lacey works to fit in with this odd group. But everything shifts when she finds herself drawn to a Shaker man in a village where such relationships are forbidden.

Can Lacey ever find true happiness in this mysterious place?

My Review: The fourth in Ann H. Gabhart's series, this book unfolds more of the Shakers religious beliefs and lifestyle. Living just 30 miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky gives the author a rreal sense of what life in the community would have been like in the 1800's. She includes an historical note at the beginning of the book in order to place readers in the time and setting of her novel.
It is clear that this is a well researched rendering, and the characters come to life from page one. I loved the character of Lacey, and rooted for her as she faced challenges and dilemmas. The idea of a traditional family was particularly challenging. What is the true way? Lacey had been raised to believe one way, but those beliefs are then challenged by the Shakers. The theme running through the book is "What does it mean to be blessed?" How could she bring the feelings of her heart in line with the strange ways of the Shakers? The author leaves us with this dilemma until the end. That is what keeps readers turning the pages!

Each of the Shaker books is stand-alone, but once you've read one, you will be longing for more!

About the author:

Ann is the author of over twenty novels for adults and young adults. Contact Ann at www.annhgabhart.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. The Blessed is published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

"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".

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm so excited! As part of Booksneeze, a program for bloggers sponsored by Thomas Nelson, I am among those chosen to attend the live event in Rochester, NY in November! This will be my first Women of Faith Conference. I will share more information as the date approaches. In the meantime, why not consider joining me there?

For further information regarding Women of Faith events in various cities, see the Women of Faith website. www.womenoffaith.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Money Secrets Of The Amish by Lorilee Craker - Book Review

Author and journalist Lorilee Craker was just like the rest of us, feeling the pinch from the financial fallout of 2008. As a freelancer, her income was going the way of the dodo-family dollars seemed like an extinct myth, the bank account some archeological evidence of past prosperity.

Then, inspired by a news segment covering the Amish and how they emerged from the economic crisis unscathed, she realized it was time to learn a thing or two about their time-tested approach to personal finances. While the middle-class was wringing its hands over the family budget and the wealthy were weeping over their slashed portfolios, the Amish were content as always, spared from the cares of the world and worldliness. They not only had financial health to support their lives, they exuded a wholeness that eludes so many when the financial bottom drops out.

In Money Secrets of the Amish, readers go on an "Amish money makeover," learning the choices, secrets, and disciplines that safeguarded the contentment and the coffers of America's favorite plain folk by spending less, saving more, and getting happier doing it.

Lorilee Craker is the author of eleven books, including the NewYork Times best seller Through the Storm with Lynne Spears. When not shuttling her three children to hockey, gymnastics, and everywhere in between, Lorilee moonlights as an entertainment and features writer for the Grand Rapids Press in  Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has written for magazines such as Parents and Parent and Child.

My review: The subtitle, Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving sums up the message of this book. I enjoyed Lorilee's stories and examples gleaned from conversations with members of the Amish community. These "Plain" people are certainly an inspiration for all of us. The Amish model delayed gratification as they admonish us to use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without. They also share their philosophy on bartering, keeping it simple when it comes to gift-giving, paying on time and keeping out of debt, second-hand shopping and recycling, to name a few. And perhaps most importantly, the best things in life are free.
Although we can't all live as Amish, we can learn the value of family, and although we probably don't have a cow to barter, we can share with friends and neighbours our goods and expertise. It is win-win when everyone takes home something useful. Many of the ideas in this book were already familiar to me, but what I took from it was encouragement to implement the things I already know. Challenging indeed in our affluent society.

This book was provided by the publisher, Thomas Nelson,  and C. Grant & Co.in return for an honest review.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Daily Inspiration From WaterBrook Multnomah - No Images? Click to View is your Browser

Today's "Inspiration" from Waterbrook Multnomah is taken from Embrace Grace by Liz Curtis Higgs. Click on link to read entire article, as well as chapter one of the book. May you be blessed today, knowing that you are embraced by God!

Inspired: 7/14/2011 - Embraced by God

‎"When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." Titus 3:4–5

The forgiven life. The grace-filled life. It begins with an embrace, which is more than an elegant word for hug. Hugs are short-lived and friendly, handed out like after-dinner mints to acquaintances and strangers alike.

An embrace is more intentional. Longer. Warmer. Far more personal. We gather someone close--a spouse, a child, a friend, a sibling--and murmur words of comfort and affection. Or we simply let the strength of our embrace express the depth of our thoughts and feelings.

Wherever you are spiritually, whatever you have been through emotionally, you are already wrapped in the Lord's embrace. Held close by nail-scarred hands. Enfolded in the arms of One who believes in you, supports you, treasures you, and loves you.

He is waiting for you to embrace him in return. To accept the gift he's offering you. To listen for the whispered words you've longed a lifetime to hear:

You are loved. All is forgiven.

— Excerpted from Embrace Grace by Liz Curtis Higgs

Daily Reflection:

How do you feel God "embracing" you?

Read Chapter 1 of Embrace Grace
Read Chapter 1 of Embrace Grace
Read Chapter 1 of Embrace Grace