Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Christmas Cat

The Christmas Cat
by
Melody Carlson


MY THOUGHTS:
Every year Melody Carlson writes a heartwarming short Christmas story. Each year the story is better than the year before! The Christmas cat is a great book about a man who  inherits his grandmother's estate -- and her six cats! His challenge is to find each cat the perfect home -- that is, perfect according to the detailed instructions in grandma's will.

Carlson has done an artful job of creating fascinating characters. I enjoyed getting to meet each one (including the cats). I look forward to her Christmas novellas each year as a way to calm my spirit and set my thoughts clearly on what is important during the holiday.

This book is full of humor, romance, and encouragement -- it's just plain fun! It's the perfect book to put into a stocking. Better yet, read it now to help get into the Christmas spirit.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
After years abroad, Garrison Brown finds himself at the home of his beloved grandmother who has just passed away. He must sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While he hopes to dispense with the task quickly--especially since he is severely allergic to cats--his grandmother's instructions don't allow for speed. She has left some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends.

Can he match the cats with the perfect new owners? And is it possible that he might meet his own match along the way? 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than six million! She is the author of several Christmas books, including the best selling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's, as well as The Christmas Pony and A Simple Christmas Wish. she received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at www.melodycalrson.com


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Deceived

Deceived
by
Irene Hannon

MY THOUGHTS:
Irene Hannon is a master of suspense! Her books always lead me on a wild trail of evidence and supposition that leaves me anxious for her next book! Deceived is the third (and I presume last) book in the Guardians of Justice series. I've read the other books, but I you won't be lost if you pick up Deceived first. The premise of the book is creative, and all characters have a wonderful level of depth. At times I found myself feeling sorry for the bad guy!

One fun aspect of her books is the St. Louis setting. As a native, I enjoy 'knowing' that the characters go to some of the same places I've been.

I did find myself a bit distracted in this book because the primary characters seemed just a bit too beautiful and obsessed with each other right from the beginning, but it IS a romantic suspense novel.

I will read every book Irene Hannon writes. I hope you enjoy her books as much as I do.

This is
ABOUT THE BOOK:
For three years, Kate Marshall has been grieving the loss of her husband and their four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on an escalator in the mall, she is convinced it is the son she thought was dead. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan. The former Secret Service agent is dubious but agrees to investigate. Digging into the case he discovers that the incident may have been no accident at all. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may be willing to go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.

As Irene Hannon's many fans have come to expect, Deceived is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plot line that accelerates to an explosive finish.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Irene Hannon is a bestselling, award-winning author who took the publishing world by storm at the tender age of 10 with a sparkling piece of fiction that received national attention.
Okay…maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But she was one of the honorees in a complete-the-story contest conducted by a national children’s magazine. And she likes to think of that as her “official” fiction-writing debut!
Since then, she has written more than 45 romance and romantic suspense novels. Her books have been honored with two RITA awards—the “Oscar” of romantic fiction—and she is a six-time finalist. Her books have also won a Daphne du Maurier award, a Carol award, three HOLT Medallions, a National Readers’ Choice Award, a Retailers Choice Award, a Booksellers’ Best Award and two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. One of her novels was also named by Booklist as a top 10 inspirational fiction books of 2011. In addition, she is a two-time Christy award finalist.
Irene, who holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in journalism, juggled two careers for many years until she gave up her executive corporate communications position with a Fortune 500 company to write full-time. She is happy to say she has no regrets!
In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening and singing.  A trained vocalist, she has sung the leading role in numerous musicals, including “South Pacific,” “Brigadoon,” “Oklahoma” “The King and I” and “Anything Goes.” She is also a soloist at her church.
When not otherwise occupied, Irene and her husband enjoy traveling, Saturday mornings at their favorite coffee shop and spending time with family. They make their home in Missouri.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Feeling 'Spongy'

I was blessed to spend the weekend with two very special women that I like to call my 'Safe Haven Friends.' We don't get to spend time together very often, but lately we've been able to spend extended periods together a couple times each year. These are women I can tell ANYTHING to and I know without a doubt that they will respect my feelings and my privacy -- as I will theirs. They challenge me and inspire me to be a better person.

This time all three of us desperately needed to get away. Our situations are all different, but we were stressed and felt totally wrung out. Sort of like dry sponges -- not very useful for accomplishing the purpose for which we were made and a bit scratchy to anyone we rubbed up against. We are all writers of a sort, and none of us felt we had anything to say that others would care to read.

The more we discussed this, the more I began to wonder how many others feel the same? How many women have spent 20+ years working outside the home and raising a family? Have volunteered so many places that they don't feel they have anything left to give? Have been working outside their 'expected' or desired career path for so long they feel they've wasted all their training? Are depressed, ill, or just exhausted?

I bet there are a lot!

I was reminded that even Apostle Paul felt totally wrung out:

24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. (2 Cor 11:24 - 28 NIV)

But the story doesn't end there. After more discussion of his hardships, Paul tells us:

But (God) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:9-10 NIV)

While our troubles are miniscule compared to Paul's, God's grace is still sufficient -- more than sufficient. When we are exhausted, He will refresh us with springs of living water. Not always at the moment we want it most, but at the moment when we need it most. We just need to trust and keep on plodding forward.

God is good, and he provides opportunities like our crazy weekend to provide enough Godly companionship and laughter to get us through until then. That splash of life giving water is just enough to dampen that sponge and take off the rough edges until next time!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Nowhere To Turn

Nowhere To Turnby
Lynette Eason

MY THOUGHTS:
 Lynette Eason's tag line is "Welcome to the Edge of Your Seat," and it is an apt discussion of the time spent reading one of her books! Nowhere To Turn is the second book in the HIdden Identity series, and it's fabulous! I did not have a chance to read the first book, and I really didn't feel that I missed anything that was key to this story (however I definitely want to read it now!). From the first page I was hooked by a story that is both compelling and suspenseful. I loved the character of Danielle Harding and especially her son, Simon. There are twists and turns enough to imitate a roller coaster ride.

Because I live in a world full of 'normal' people, I had a bit of trouble with the extreme personalities of Kurt and Stuart Harding, I'm sure that, unfortunately, they were pretty realistic to folks who have the type of controlling personalities that they portray.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes suspense.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The day Danielle Harding takes her 11-year-old son, Simon, and flees from her abusive husband, is the same day Kurt Harding dies. A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe–but in reality, the danger has just begun. When Kurt was alive, he took something important to a mysterious person. That person wants the item back and believes Dani now has it. As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to hide for long . . .

 From the first breathless scene, this tension-laced story will hold readers in its iron grip. Bestselling author Lynette Eason propels readers along at a breakneck pace in a race to discover the truth and a better future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lynette EasonLynette Eason grew up in Greenville, SC. Even as a young girl, she knew she wanted her life to reflect the love of Jesus Christ.After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a Business Degree she used for a very short time (sorry Mom and Dad), she moved to Spartanburg, SC to attend Converse College where she obtained her Masters degree in Education. During this time, she met the man she would marry—the boy next door! 
She is married to Jack Eason, who speaks, leads worship, and consults ministries around the country. They have two children.

Lynette’s books have appeared on the ECPA and CBA bestseller lists and have won several awards.


Monday, September 08, 2014

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days
by
Holley Gerth

MY THOUGHTS:
Holley Gerth has taken her loving, down-to-earth style and created a devotional. It includes "52 Encouraging Truths to Hold On To".

This is a lovely little hard cover book that has just a few short pages in each devotion and a space to write what the reader is feeling and what she is hearing from God. There is no pretense in this book -- life gets hard. Some of the titles include:

God Wants to Know - How are You Really?
God Notices When You Cry
God Knows Your Calendar
God Isn't Done With Your Story Yet
God Has Words for Your heart to Hold On To

This book can be read in order or can be approached on an 'as needed' basis. The stories may make you laugh or cry, and they will all leave you feeling loved and cared for by your Heavenly Father, no matter what is going on in your life at the moment.

This is a wonderful way for me to take my new friend Holley with me wherever I go! I love sharing a cup of coffee with her every morning as she lifts my spirits and turns my heart evermore toward God.

If you would like to join her Facebook readers group, you can join her 'book club of the heart' as we discuss these devotions a few times per week! Check it out here. https://www.facebook.com/HolleyGerthPage

ABOUT THE BOOK (from the back cover):
What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days - Holley GerthWe all have days that make us want to pull the covers back over our heads and eat a dozen cupcakes.

Thankfully, Jesus said we don't "live on bread alone" -- that includes cupcakes--"but on every word that comes form the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). What we really need is truth.

If you're tired, discouraged, or feel a little empty inside, my prayer is that by the end of our time together, you'll be refreshed and nourished in a way that will sustain you through whatever the future may hold.

Remember, you're not alone, my friend.

In this uplifting book, Holley Gerth invites you to be filled with the strength, peace, and joy that come from God's promises. Each of the 52 devotions based on the Psalms will help you remember that God is good and we're all in this together.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Holley Gerth is a bestselling writer, certified life coach, and speaker. She loves connecting with the hearts of women through her popular blog and boos like You're Already Amazing, You're Made for a God-Sized Dream, Opening the Door to Your God-Sized Dream, and You're Going to Be Okay. She's also cofounder of (in)courage and a partner with DaySpring. Holley lives with her husband, Mark, in the South,. Learn more at www.holleygerth.com.

Thief of Glory

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Thief of Glory
WaterBrook Press (August 19, 2014)
by
Sigmund Brouwer


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sigmund Brouwer is the best-selling author of nearly thirty novels, with close to 4 million books in print. Based on his inspiration for Thief of Glory, which Sigmund wrote as a way to learn and honor the his parent’s stories, especially of his father’s boyhood in a Japanese concentration camp, Sigmund leads The Chapters of Our Lives memoir seminars across the United States and Canada. Sigmund is married to recording artist Cindy Morgan and has two daughters.



ABOUT THE BOOK

A boy coming of age in a time of war…
the love that inspires him to survive.


For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, the life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942 after the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Southeast Pacific. Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings when his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, and he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about a woman he barely knows—his frail, troubled mother.

Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap for his mother. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength.

When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Thief of Glory, go HERE.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Driftwood Tides

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Driftwood Tides
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 1, 2014)
by
Gina Holmes


MY THOUGHTS:
Another winner from Gina Holmes! This contemporary fiction book is an intriguing story of pain, loss, and forgiveness that clearly demonstrates how raw unforgiveness can be. There are so many elements of relationship going on in this story, in a clear and cohesive way, and Holmes presents them all in a manner that feels pretty realistic. There are elements of each character that resonated with me.

Loved this book and I'm pretty sure it will impact me for quite a while!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gina Holmes is the founder of Novel Rocket, regularly named as one of Writers Digest’s best websites for writers. Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW bestseller. Her sophomore novel, Dry as Rain was a Christy Award finalist. Her latest novel, Wings of Glass has been named as one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and was a SIBA Okra pick and a finalist for Romantic Times’ Reviewers Choice Award. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose.

ABOUT THE BOOK

He made himself an island until something unexpected washed ashore. When Holton lost his wife, Adele, in a freak accident, he shut himself off from the world, living a life of seclusion, making drifwood sculptures and drowning his pain in gin. Until twenty-three-year-old Libby knocks on his door, asking for a job and claiming to be a friend of his late wife. When he discovers Libby is actually his late wife’s illegitimate daughter, given up for adoption without his knowledge, his life is turned upside down as he struggles to accept that the wife he’d given saint status to was not the woman he thought he knew.

Together Holton and Libby form an unlikely bond as the two struggle to learn the identity of Libby’s father and the truth about Adele, themselves, and each other.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Driftwood Tides, go HERE.

Monday, September 01, 2014

A Light in the Wilderness

A Light in the Wilderness
by
Jane Kirkpatrick


My Thoughts:
Oh.MY.goodness! This is one of the most fabulous books I have ever read. I loved the story, the characters, the writing style, and the subject matter -- it doesn't get much better than that!

I didn't realize it as I was reading, but this book is based on the life of an amazing woman who really lived and traveled the Oregon Trail. Be sure to read the Authors Note AFTER you have finished the book. Jane Kirkpatrick has brought life to history. Letitia Carson was an amazing freed slave who accomplished incredible things in her life. I am in awe of her strength and courage, and hope that you will feel the same after you read this.

Of course the book is fiction, but it is so based on facts that it very well could have been truth. I love the way Kirkpatrick adds soul and meaning to the lives of the participants -- because they are much more than just characters.

I don't want to say much about the story because I don't want to give anything away, but I found this book very hard to put down. If you are at all interested in history, this will be a fascinating read.And if you aren't interested in history, this book might change your perspective. Brilliant!

Honestly I'd never heard of the author before, but I've added her name to my list of top ten favorites, and I've added all of her books to my Must Read list!

You can view a trailer for the book here


And you can buy a copy here.

About the Book (from the back cover):
Three very different women. One dangerous journey. And a future that seems just out of reach.

Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause most white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read -- as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him.

Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her steeled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband and she knows she will follow him anywhere -- even when the trek exacts a terrible cost.

Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory She spends her tine trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. But she will soon have another person to care for.

As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill. This multilayered story from bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick will grip your heart and mind as you travel on the dusty and dangerous Oregon Trail into the boundless American West. Based on a true story.

About the Author:
Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have been finalist for the Christy Award, Spur Award, Oregon Book Award, and Reader's Choice award, and have won the WILLA Literary Award and Carol Award for Historical Fiction. Many of her titles have been Book of the Month and Literary Guild selections. Jane lies in Central Oregon with her husband, Jerry. Learn more at www.jkbooks.com.