Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Doctor's Christmas Quilt by Kathi Macias

About the Book:

Until now, Dr Laura Branson's beliefs and stance on pro-life issues have been more theoretical than personal. What does she really believe, and will she have the courage to stand by her convictions? Only an unexpected Christmas gift -- a beautiful quilt-- can help uncover the answer she needs.

About the Author: 

  • A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Her book Red Ink won Novel of the Year from Golden Scrolls and finaled for a Carol Award from ACFW. Kathi was named 2011 Author of the Year by BooksandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al.

My Thoughts: 

As always, I enjoyed reading a book by Kathi Macias.  She is a wonderful author and write Christian fiction with a purpose.  This book is somewhat of a study of the thoughts and emotions that might occur when a woman or a loved one is in the situation of an unexpected/unwanted pregnancy.  

Dr. Laura's daughter comes home from a bad relationship that just ended with news of unexpected, unplanned pregnancy.  How will her daughter finish college, or find a good job/husband?  Does she really want to stand by her in-theory-only-belief?  

I think my favorite thing about this book was the story behind the quilt.  I am extremely pro-life, so the book didn't change my mind.  It actually frustrated me a little because I can't imagine even considering abortion.  Please don't throw stones at me.  I just believe that every child is a gift from God. 

This would be a good book to give someone that wasn't not pro-life or was not sure where they stood on the abortion issue. It's also a great history lesson for anyone about Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to graduate from medical school in the US.

Check it out!  Let me know what you think!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The One Year Book of AMISH PEACE: Hearing God's Voice in the Simple Things by Tricia Goyer

About the Book:

In this instantly connected world, it’s surprisingly easy to lose our connection to God. What's admirable about the Amish lifestyle is that it intentionally slows the pace of life so there's an opportunity to see the everyday grandeur of our great God.  Not everyone can -- or should -- adopt an Amish lifestyle.  But the Amish can inspire all of us to slow down and simplify our lives.  We need to learn to let go of our flittering gadgets in order to grab hold of something of infinitely great value -- the Divine.  The One Year Book of Amish Peace will inspire you to set a sustainable pace of life so that you, too, can take the time to enjoy God's gifts each and every day.

About the Author: 

Tricia Goyer is the author of more than thirty-five books, and her articles have been published in many national publications, such as Focus on the Family, Today's Christian Woman, and HomeLife magazine. She has won numerous awards and has been nominated for both the Gold Medallion Book Award and the Christy Award.  Tricia is a highly sought-after speaker at workshops and conferences and is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in northwestern Montana.  She is married to the love of her life, John, and they have six great kids.  They live in Little Rock, Arkansas.  For more information about Tricia check out her website: www.triciagoyer.com

My Thoughts:

The One Year Book of Amish peace is a one year devotional interspersed with Scripture, Amish wisdom, facts, proverbs and a devotional. Also included are four Amish recipes, these are placed on the pages that separate the dates into seasons. Tricia even includes a prayer for the day!

Also included are four Amish recipes, these are placed on the pages that separate the dates into seasons.

It's a great devotional... especially since I have always loved anything Amish.  This book is insightful and a great way to start the day, or end the day, or just whenever you have a few minutes or need an inspired moment.  

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman

A Marriage in Middlebury is a beautifully written story of small town, USA and Charlotte Rose Hill.  While she is the center character in Middlebury, there are many other important characters whose lives intertwine with Charlotte's. In the course of a very short time, Charlotte is confronted by her past and her first love, is offered an amazing opportunity for her business and makes a new friend or two.  It's a sweet story with some twists and turns.  I really enjoyed A Marriage in Middlebury! I would definitely reccommend this book to any lover of contemporary fiction, contemporary fiction or Christian Fiction.
About the Book:
One decision changed both their lives . . . but will love win in the end? Charlotte Rose Hill enjoys a comfortable life serving up country delicacies, uniquely blended teas, and matchmaking advice for her quirky, devoted customers. The only thing lacking is someone to share it with. At eighteen she denied Sam Wilder’s marriage proposal after his family convinced her to walk away from their relationship. They both moved on . . . or so she thought. When Sam walks back into her life more than a decade later, Charlotte is surprised that her heart still quickens. But is it because of his presence? Or because of the presence of Sam’s new fiancĂ©e? A second chance at love doesn’t happen often, but their past may keep them apart. Is it too late for Sam and Charlotte?

About the Author:
Anita Higman is a CBA best-selling and award-winning author. Among her many accolades, Higman has won the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award twice. She has written or co-authored more than 30 books, including fiction and non-fiction for adults and children, as well as plays. Higman has also been recognized for her contributions to literacy and has raised thousands of dollars with her book I Can Be Anything while serving on the board of directors of Literacy Advance of Houston.
Even though she’s written in many genres, Higman does have her favorite. “I love inspirational romance. There’s just nothing else like it for writing and reading. It naturally makes you want to curl up on an overstuffed couch and read the day away.”
In addition to writing books, Higman has written for radio, e-zines and advertising. She formerly cohosted a monthly blog talk radio show at www.InFaithNetwork.com, a part of Reader’s Entertainment Radio. She has a BA degree combining speech communication, psychology and art from Southern Nazarene University and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and The Writer’s View.
She loves good movies, exotic teas and brunch with her friends. Higman and her husband live in Houston, TX.
To keep up with Anita Higman, visit anitahigman.com, become a fan on Facebook (Author Anita Higman) or follow her on Twitter(@anitahigman).

Friday, November 22, 2013

1 Girl Nation, a review

1 Girl Nation is an upbeat, positive, Christian girl band.  I had heard one of their songs before receiving the CD to review, so I was totally sure what to expect.  On the way to church one morning, I popped the CD into the CD player in our vehicle. I have 2 teen girls, 1 teen boy, 1 pre-teen boy and a 7year old girl -- MOST of them loved it!  The oldest girl didn't love the album upon first listen and the teen boy wasn't that in to it either, BUT the other three really got into it.  Honestly, it reminded me of dance party music.  It is very upbeat, very positive and God-honoring.  A girl can definitely get her jam on by herself or have fun dancing around with her friends. So much fun and wonderfully uplifting. I just can't say that enough!!  UPLIFTING-- in a world where girls are constantly being brought down by magazines, movies, music and people... these songs are uplifting and encouraging.

This would be a great gift for the preteen/teen girl in your life!!  Christmas is coming up, so how about a stocking stuffer?  For more information, check out their website: http://www.1girlnation.com 

To purchase, check out Amazon.com, Lifeway.com or www.1girlnation.com/shop.

About 1 Girl Nation:
Landing in the space where One Direction meets TobyMac, 1 Girl Nation is an exciting blend of upbeat pop music, with lyrics that are totally focused on living life for God, even while you’re young. 1GN, as they’ve already been dubbed, stars Carmen, Kayli, Kelsey, Lauryn Taylor and Lindsey, five girls with a passion for telling their fans about Christ through their music. Their first single, “While We’re Young,” can be heard on radio stations across the country and their self-titled debut album is available now!

Primary Audience: preteens, teens, and young adults (as well as parents, too!)

Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

The Captive Maiden... a happily ever after?

Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son.  But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela meets the duke’s son, Valten -- the boy she has daydreamed about for years -- and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have.  To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye.  Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart.  But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined. 
(from back cover)

Sound familiar?  Probably reminds you a little of Cinderella... only in this story the two evil stepsister call Gisela, Cinders-ela.  The cruelty from the step-family and the ball are about the only places Cinderella and The Captive Maiden collide.  

Dickerson has done a wonderful job reimagining the story of Cinderella.  In The Captive Maiden, Dickerson has written an enchanting story of cruelty, jealousy, even hatred along with beauty, love and chivalry.  This story is good enough to stand alongside the fairytales of yesterday!! What’s better is that Dickerson even weaves the love of Christ.. his grace and forgiveness, into the story as well.  

If you have teen girls that love to read, this is a great book for them -- it has all the parts of a good love story, yet it’s clean and Scripture infused.  I throughly enjoyed The Captive Maiden, and I believe that both my 16 year old and 17 year old daughters will enjoy this book as soon as I pass it on.  This definitely fits in a category of “Good Teen Reads,” even better... good Christian reads (teen or not!).   

About Melanie:

Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kroger Skillet Meals, Garlic Bread and Fresh Salad Selections Kit: A Review

Tonight I served my family a delicious meal of Spicy Orange Chicken, Salad and Garlic bread.  How long did I labor over this yummy, healthy meal?  Only about 15minutes!  What??

I am a member of BzzAgent, a product testing and reviewing program where I get to test out different products and share my opinion and start a buzz about these products.  Recently, I received coupons for one free bag of the Kroger Skillet Meals, a free garlic bread and one free Kroger Fresh Salad Selections kit and tonight I prepared this meal for my family.   Because the Skillet Meals are made to serve only 3 and we are a family of 7, I purchased a second Skillet Meal to prepare as well.

So, I pulled out the two bags of Spicy Orange Chicken... and preheated the oven for the bread. I started reading the directions and opened the Skillet Meals to find the following:

There are chicken and veggies, rice in a pouch, sesame seeds and the sauce.  All of this is frozen as you pull it out to cook.  First, you pull out the sauce and hold it under running warm water to thaw it.  Second, you start the rice cooking... set it on a microwave safe place and put it in the microwave for 8 minutes.  Third, you put 1T of oil in a skillet and heat on high.  Toss in chicken and veggies.  Cook for several minutes until done.  Fourth, add sauce and cook 30-60 seconds more.  


(Remember that whenever  the oven is heated to put it in for 8 minutes or so).

(This was before it was cooked)

 Next, you open the rice pouch... and split it between your plates (remember 1 pouch serves 3).

 Top with Chicken/veggie mix and sprinkle with Sesame Seeds.  Add Salad and bread.

Enjoy!! :)

It really was a delicious and filling meal.  I made a little extra rice, because I just didn't think there was enough for a family of 6 (even with 2 skillet meals).  I also added tomatoes and peanuts to my salad.  YUM!!  My husband couldn't stop raving about how delicious the Spicy Orange Chicken was.. and the bread too!  It was a great meal and quick and easy to put together!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

What’s Inside the Sparkle Box?

The Sparkle Box is “a gift with the power to change Christmas.”  Every year, we buy gifts, we give gifts and we receive gifts for Christmas.  Sometimes we spend a lot of thought about the gifts we purchase, and sometimes we buy a quick gift that we haven’t put much thought into.  Most of these gifts don’t make a real difference in the world.  They might make a loved one feel happy for a few minutes or warm for a while, but they don’t usually mean the difference between starvation and survival or the difference between warm fingers/toes/ears and frostbite.  

The Sparkle Box is an amazing story about a family who has a “sparkly gift box” on their mantle in the weeks before Christmas.  This family has a little boy, named Sam, who is really excited about Christmas... and very curious about the Sparkle Box.  Sam’s mom tells him they need to put some things in the sparkle box before they can open it on Christmas morning.  Throughout the book, Sam and his family go Christmas shopping and drop food and clothing off at a homeless shelter.  They purchase gloves for the Christmas Mitten Tree, where they could purchase hats, gloves and scarves for those in need.  Their family also participates in purchasing a well for a village in Africa.  Along the way, Sam’s mom is able to teach him a little bit about homelessness and those in need and how blessed Sam is to have what he has.

Christmas morning arrives and Sam runs down to the living room and sees the tree all aglow, and under the tree he sees a bright red train that he had liked in the store window... then, he sees the Sparkle Box.  When it is time to open the Sparkle Box, they sit down as a family and remove the lid.  Inside are little strips of paper... each one says something different: “bought mittens for the homeless,” “provided a meal to someone in need,” “purchased a well for village in Africa.”  Sam’s parents explain that The Sparkle Box is their family’s gift to Jesus on his birthday.  Sam is confused... they didn’t do any of these things to Jesus.  In this very teachable moment, Sam’s mom explains that no gift could make Jesus happier-- whatever we do for people in need, we do for Him.  

When I received The Sparkle Box, I set it aside until I could read it to my 7 year old daughter.  When the time came, we snuggled up in my big comfy chair and read The Sparkle Box together.  It was the first time I read the book and I couldn’t help the tears that pooled in my eyes.  You see, I live in an area that has a HIGH population of homeless people.  I actually volunteer locally to work with them at a place where they can get a shower and wash their clothes for free.  So, The Sparkle Box became special to me instantly!  As we read, my daughter was able to learn a little more about homelessness and those that are less fortunate than our family.  By the end of the book, she was so excited to put together our own Sparkle Box and start filling it with gifts for Jesus.  That made this momma proud and cry some happy tears.  

The Sparkle Box book we received for this review came with it’s own little Sparkle Box in the back of the book.  This would be great for parents and/or grandparents to share with the children in their lives.  It’s a great way to introduce a legacy that you will be proud to pass on from generation to generation.  It’s a great gift book as well.  The pictures are beautiful, the story is gripping and the end result is amazing and God-honoring!! 

Check it out here: The Sparkle Box

As a side note, I took The Sparkle box to our Wednesday evening Acteens group (a teen girl mission-focused group).  These girls are ages 11-17 and they, as well as the group leader, were enraptured by the story of The Sparkle Box.  These girls have actually been making fleece blankets for the homeless in our area.  Just a few weeks ago, we made 4 blankets that were given to a family known to be living in their car.... a family of 3 little boys, a mom and a dad.  We cannot even fathom living in our car, but these girls worked their fingers to a frazzle getting the blankets finished in a timely fashion so the family could have the blankets before it got cold.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Isfits from @JustinBlaney | A completely new genre of fiction

Hello! I'm partnering with Justin Blaney to help him spread the word about his fun new book series, Isfits.

He's launching the series with a Kickstarter campaign---he wants to turn these fun/unique stories into full-color, hardback, glossy-paged books.

Who's Justin? Justin Blaney is a virtuoso. He does a little of everything, but one of the coolest things he does (besides writing amazing stories) is run an organization called Innovate for Jesus (resources for pastors, ministry leaders, non profits, authors, etc.). The site features people like Francis Chan, Rick Warren, Pete Wilson, Matt Chandler, Mary DeMuth, and more.

Besides the super cool graphics, what is special about Isfits? Justin is releasing his Isfits series in the general kids book market rather than as Christian releases. His hope is to spread the gospel message to children who aren't normally exposed to Christian content.

What Is Isfits?

  • Postmodern fairytales & cautionary confessions

  • A cast of characters sampled from icons of adolescence, re-imagined.

  • A completely new genre of fiction. Since that's hard to describe, let's call it a graphic novel like you've never seen before.

  • Nearly 200 original designs, optimized for inspirational display in your home, office, prison cell, igloo, or hut.

  • Click here for more information. If you'd like to sign up to review the first book in the series, Cinderella Goes to the Potty (It's a five-minute read! You'll love it!), email info {at} litfusegroup {dot} com (and be entered to win $100 Amazon.com gift card!).  And if you'd like to learn more and support Justin's Kickstarter, GO HERE.

    Monday, November 4, 2013

    The Miner's Lady by Tracie Peterson

    About the Book:

    When Chantel Panetta's younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Calarco, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Calarcos have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella's pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando...only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando's brother.

    Chantel can't deny the attraction that flares when she's with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel and Isabella's hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?

    About the Author: 
    Tracie Peterson is the award-winning author of over ninety novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana. Visit Tracie's Web site at www.traciepeterson.com and her blog at www.writespassage.blogspot.com.

    The Miner's Lady is the third in Tracie Peterson's Land of Shining Water series.  While I loved the first two books (The Icecutter's Daughter and The Quarryman's Bride), I believe this one is my favorite of the three!!  

    The Miner's Lady is in the same vein as Romeo & Juliet or the Hatfields & McCoys.  In this story of two Italian families who are at odds from as far back as the old country work in the same mines and keep up the feud.  Meanwhile, two of their children fall in love and have clandestine meetings as their love grows.    In the meantime, two older siblings try their hardest to keep the peace between the families.  

    Peterson does a great job pulling the reader into the life of the miner, the fears and grunge connected to the mines and the love and family values of the Italian family.  Chantel is a sneaky, but lovely young woman who believes in love and wants her sister to experience love.   Dante is the older brother of Orlando and he is put in charge of keeping Orlando and Isabella apart. Throughout the book, God works on the hearts of both families... and through circumstances that happen and people they love.  There is an "A-ha" moment, when you kind of figure out how it will all end, but the story has drawn you in so far.... it doesn't matter.  The end may be predictable, but the getting there is NOT!  I couldn't put the book down, I was so pulled in to the storyline.  

    I would definitely recommend this book, as well as the other two in this series! If you want a fun, mildly comedic, romantic and spiritually sound book-- this is it!  Enjoy!!

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    Made to Last by Melissa Tagg

    Wow, what a fun, inspiring and hope filled novel this first one by Melissa Tagg is!  It is the perfect combination of love, romance, secrets, charm and suspense. 

    The characters were warm and witty  and lovable with just the right amount of imperfections.  The back of the book (below in the About the Book section) says all you need to know before reading the book.  The three main characters, Randi, Blaze and Matthew made me want to finish the book in one sitting, unfortunately life called.  The story line draws the reader in and pulls at your heartstrings.  

    About the Book:

    Miranda Woodruff has it all. At least, that’s how it looks when she’s starring in her homebuilding television show, From the Ground Up. So when her network begins to talk about making cuts, she’ll do anything to boost ratings and save her show–even if it means pretending to be married to a man who’s definitely not the fiance who ran out on her three years ago.
    When a handsome reporter starts shadowing Miranda’s every move, all his digging into her personal life brings him a little too close to the truth–and to her. Can the girl whose entire identity is wrapped up in her on-screen persona finally find the nerve to set the record straight? And if she does, will the life she’s built come crashing down just as she’s found a love to last?

    About the Author:

    Melissa Tagg is a former reporter turned author who loves all things funny and romancey. Her debut novel, a romantic comedy titled Made to Last, releases from Bethany House in September 2013, with a follow-up slated for summer 2014. In addition to her nonprofit day job, she is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers founded by award-winning author Susan May Warren.
    During her reporting days, Melissa interviewed presidential candidates and llama farmers, rode a hot air balloon and flew a plane, and once found herself face to face with a buffalo. But today she gets her kicks by letting her characters have their own fun. She's passionate about humor, grace and happy endings.

    Friday, October 18, 2013

    One Way Love by Tullian Tchividjian

     "One-way love has the unique power to inspire generosity, kindness, loyalty, and more love, precisely because it removes any and all requirements to change or produce."(p34)

    About One Way Love: 

    Real life is long on law and short on grace—the demands never stop, the failures pile up, and fear sets in. Life requires many things from us—a stable marriage, successful children, a certain quality of life. Anyone living inside the guilt, anxiety, and uncertainty of daily life knows that the weight of life is heavy. We are all in need of some relief.

    Bestselling author Tullian Tchividjian is convinced our world needs a fresh encounter with grace.

     About the Author:

    (Photo Credit Mike Meyer)

    William Graham Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) is the Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. A Florida native, Tullian is the grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham. He is a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and a contributing editor to Leadership JournalHe is an ordained minister in Presbyterian Church of America. He is the author of six books; including the best seller, Jesus + Nothing = Everything  that won Christianity Today’s 2011 book of the year. He travels extensively, speaking at conferences throughout the U.S. 

    My Review:

    Unfortunately, I haven't finished reading this book.  I have been reading and re-reading paragraph after paragraph.  This is not my normal "candy" reading... this is MEAT!!  As I am reading about One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World, I am seeing the story of the the prodigal son in a whole new light. Tchividjian says:

         "Once we understand that sin has more to do with what's on the inside than what we do on the outside, we begin to see our own desperate need for grace..." (p49)

    Wow.  Do you see what I mean? MEAT!  So, he's saying it's our motivation, not the action taken.  Looking at the parable of the Prodigal Son... the son that stayed home was no more obedient/righteous than the "prodigal son" that took of with his part of their father's fortune.  Both were wrong in motivation...that being selfishness, and both were wrong in action... the one leaving with his inheritance, the other staying home with a defiant attitude.  

    I believe this book will give great insight on Grace and I'm praying that it will affect my own life... and possibly your's as well.   Please, check it out for yourself.  Ask for it at your local library.  Get your hands on a copy!

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    Maggi So Juicy Seasoning, a review

    I'm part of the BzzAgent group of testers, word-of-mouth sharers and reviews and I recently received a sample of Maggi So Juicy Seasoning Packets seen below (except the Tomato & Paprika):

    Tonight, my family tried the Garlic & Tomato seasoning on chicken.  The preparation of this is SO easy!!  You preheat the oven, place the chicken in the included oven bag, sprinkle on the seasoning and close up with included tie.

    It says to place the dish on the lowest rack, and remove any racks above it (because the bag swells up). I accidentally DIDN'T put it on the lowest rack or remove additional racks:

    Bake for 45-60 mins.  Take dish out and let it rest for 3mins or so (or you'll get BURNED by the steam that has built up in the bag).  After it rests, cut open the top of the bag carefully.

    (I forgot to take a picture before I took all the chicken out of the bag).  Serve.  I served with rice and some of my family decided to use the juice from the bag over their rice.  The chicken was so juicy and flavorful!!   Yummy!

    Another plus?  Clean-up is a breeze.  You can see my pan in the next to last picture is still CLEAN!! :) Made my dishwasher (husband) very happy!

    Thank you Maggi and BzzAgent so much for the opportunity to try this seasoning and share coupons with my friends!!

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

    A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer

    About the Book:
    Rose turned her back on the man she loves after he assisted the Englisch during World War II—only to discover she’s an Englischer herself. Born in the midst of the hardships of The Great Depression, Rose grew up in Berlin, Ohio, in the arms of a loving Amish family. But she is overwhelmed by self-doubt when she learns that she was born Englisch and abandoned when her family moved West in search of work. Was she meant to be Amish or would she have been better off growing up with her own kind—Englischers? When the man she loves leaves her behind, Rose is certain he left for good. Yet Rose discovers sometimes our greatest gifts are the ones we fear.

    About the Author: 
    USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer is the author of over 35 books, including the three-book Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series and "Lead Your Family Like Jesus," (co-written with Ken Blanchard). She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like TheBetterMom.com and MomLifeToday.com. She is the host of Living Inspired, a weekly radio show. Tricia and family live in Little Rock, Arkansas. They have six children. You can find out more about Tricia at www.TriciaGoyer.com.

    My View: 
    If you enjoy Amish stories and you enjoy Christmas stories, then this is the story for you!!  What a beautiful story... an insight into Amish life and struggles as well.
    When Jonathan joins the Englischers during World War 2 as a medic, Rose is hurt, angry and saddened by her loss.  She can't believe he joined the war! Their faith is one of pacifism. The community talks about them and says he's not coming back. She writes him off after he sends her a letter from over seas.  As Christmas draws near, a secret from her past comes out-- she was born an Englischer!  This information changes how she sees herself, her family and now, Jonathan.  Can she stay in the Amish community? Is she really Amish now? What happened to her birth family?  How will Jonathan feel about her?  So many questions that need answered. 
    Jonathan comes home with memories and and even more love for Rose than he before he left.  He is determined to win her affections again. When he finds out that she was born Englischer and has so many questions, he feels the need to help her find the answers.
    It's a beautiful story of love, family and belonging.

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013

    Double Kindle HDX Christmas Gift Pack from @TriciaGoyer!

    Tricia Goyer is celebrating the release of her first Christmas novella, A Christmas Gift for Rosewith a Christmas Gift giveaway! 

    Enter to win a NEW Kindle Fire HDX for you AND one for a friend!

    One grand prize winner will receive:

    • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX and one to give away to a friend!

    • A Christmas Gift for Rose, by Tricia Goyer for you and your friend!

    Four second place winners will receive:

    • A Christmas Gift for Rose Christmas pack (includes a recipe card, bookmark, a signed book plate, discussion questions, and a Gathering & Giving handout!)

    Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. All winners will be announced October 21st at Tricia's blog.

    Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Tricia's blog on the 21st to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    Truth Seekers: The Machine by Bill Meyers

    About The Book:

    For ages 8 to 14, Truth Seekers is a fast-paced, thoughtful, and funny new series using a 21st century approach to sharing ancient Bible truths.

    In book one, The Machine, twin siblings Jake and Jenny have just lost their mother and are not thrilled about moving to Israel to stay with their seldom seen archaeologist dad. They don’t yet understand how “all things work together for good to those who love God.” But they will when a machine their father invented points them to the Truth.

    About the Author: 
    Bill Myers is an accomplished writer and film director whose work has won more than sixty national and international awards including the C. S. Lewis Honor Award. Among his best-selling releases for kids are The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle and The Forbidden Door. He has sold more than eight million books and videos and lives with two cats, two kids, one dog, and one wife near Hollywood, California.

    My Take:

    This is the first book I have picked up by Bill Myers.  I thought the cover  and premise both were very interesting.  It took me a little while to get into The Machine, but once I did, I found it interesting, amusing and entertaining.  This is a great book for kids in the 8-14 age bracket... actually both of my boys are waiting to read it (and they are 11 and 13)!  They saw it while I was finishing up another book and both wanted to read it then.  Looks like we may have a new loved series in our house!!  

    When twins, Jennifer and Jake are forced to visit their somewhat estranged father, things don't go well at first.  They have recently lost their mother and didn't really know their father, both feeling a little unloved and distant from him. While at his latest archeological site, things go wrong and they are pulled in to help out, they are also forced to see their dad differently and with new eyes.  They learn that "all things work together for good" and that maybe their father loves them after all. 

    I think this is a wonderful introduction to children about spiritual warfare and the fact that WE have POWER over the dark world.  I was really impressed with this aspect of the book. I also appreciated the Parent Connection found in the back of the book that gives a little devotional-type connector for parents and children to do together.  I look forward to Choices, the second book in the series, due out in March of 2014.

    It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

    You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

    Today's Wild Card author is:

    Bill Myers

    and the book:

    The Machine

    B&H Kids (September 1, 2013)

    ***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***


    Bill Myers is an accomplished writer and film director whose work has won more than sixty national and international awards including the C. S. Lewis Honor Award. Among his best-selling
    releases for kids are The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle and The Forbidden Door. He has sold more than eight million books and videos and lives with two cats, two kids, one dog, and one
    wife near Hollywood, California.

    Visit the author's website.


    For ages 10 to 14, Truth Seekers is a fast-paced, thoughtful, and funny new series using a 21st century approach to sharing ancient Bible truths.

    In book one, The Machine, twin siblings Jake and Jennifer have just lost their mother and are not thrilled about moving to Israel to stay with their seldom seen archaeologist dad. They don't yet understand how "all things work together for good to those who love God." But they will when a machine their father invented points them to the Truth.

    Product Details:
    List Price: $10.99
    Age Range: 10 - 14 years
    Series: Truth Seekers
    Hardcover: 240 pages
    Publisher: B&H Kids (September 1, 2013)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1433690802
    ISBN-13: 978-1433690808


    It was like a dream, but not really. I mean it was a dream but there were parts that seemed so real—besides the parts where Mom had actually died in real life. Does that make sense? I get those every once in a while, dreams that are more real than real, ever since I was a kid.

    Anyway, in the dream Mom was driving our SUV up the steep, winding road to our home in Malibu Canyon.

    Jake and I were in the back, sitting in our clearly designated seating areas . . .

    Jake in his WARNING: Biological Hazard Zone, complete with empty Cheetos bags, crumpled McDonald wrappers (which had last seen action months ago), his wadded up T-shirt and crusty socks (which had last seen a washer longer than that), and don’t even get me started on the last time he shampooed his hair.

    I, on the other hand, sat in the WELCOME: This is How Normal People Live Zone, complete with breathable air and a place to sit without catching some deadly disease. (Jake accuses me of being a Neat Freak. Maybe, but it’s better than being a toxic waste site.)

    And where was our dear father in all of this? To be honest, he seldom shows up in my dreams—just like he seldom shows up in our real lives. Oh, he says he loves us and all, but what’s the saying? Actions are louder than words. Anyway, I’ll get to him a little later.

    It was the same dream I’d had a hundred times before . . .

    I was busy doing homework when I glanced up to see a monster truck coming around the corner in our lane.

    “Mom!” I shouted. “Look out!”

    “What’s that?” She reached over to turn down the radio—one of her silly Country-Western songs about some girl breaking some guy’s heart.

    “Up ahead! Look out!”

    But she didn’t look out. And, just like all the other times, I saw the truck heading towards us, blasting its horn. I’m guessing his brakes had failed by the way he was scraping along the mountainside to slow himself. A good idea, except the mountainside was on our side!

    Mom had nowhere to go. She swerved to the outer lane then tried to turn back, but she’d run out of road. We crashed through the guardrail and sailed out over the can- yon floor, which was a good two hundred feet below. There was no sound. I could see Mom screaming but heard only silence—except for that Country-Western singer going on about his broken heart.

    I spun to Jake but he didn’t even glance up. He was too busy playing his stupid computer game. Then, just when the singer reached the line, Why you stompin’ on my achin’ heart with your high heel boots, we hit the water with a huge splash.

    And this is where things get interesting . . .

    In the real world, on the day Mom died, there was no water at the bottom of the canyon. It was September and the stream had dried up. And while we’re doing a reality check, Jake and I weren’t even in the car that day. Jake had been at the beach being Mr. Cool with a bunch of girls, and I was at home doing my algebra. (I know I’m only seventh grade, but besides being a neat freak, I’m kind of a workaholic.)

    But in the dream there was plenty of water and the SUV kept sinking deeper and deeper with all three of us inside. Well, actually four, if you count the Country- Western singer who was now sitting in the front passenger seat, strumming his guitar!

    Water poured in and quickly rose.  Mom tried opening her door, but it wouldn’t budge. She hit it with her shoulder over and over again, but the pressure of the water outside was too much. It began swirling around our waists and rising to our chests.

    “Jenny,” Mom shouted, “roll down your window!”  “It’ll flood us worse!” I yelled.

    “It’s the only way. Roll down your window and swim out!”



    I threw a look to Jake who had conveniently disappeared. (Even in my dreams, he’s a slacker.)


    I rolled down the window. More water roared in, pounding against my chest and face. I had to turn my head just to breathe. Then I grabbed the sides of the open window with my hands, turned my head away for another quick breath, and pulled myself out into the water.

    I kicked and swam until I grabbed the SUV and pulled myself over to Mom’s door. By now the car was completely filled. Our faces were inches apart, separated only by her window.  I yanked at the door handle.  It didn’t budge. I tried again. Nothing. My lungs started aching for air, but I kept pulling and tugging as Mom kept pushing and banging.

    Still, nothing.

    My heart pounded in my ears. My lungs felt like they were on fire. The outside edges of my vision started going white. Mom pounded on the glass. I joined in and hit the window with my fists.  When that didn’t work, I tucked in my feet, raised my legs and kicked it. Still nothing. My lungs were screaming for air. My vision grew whiter. I had to get a breath. I pointed to the surface and shouted, “I’ll be back!”

    She nodded and I pushed off, my lungs ready to explode. Sparkly lights danced through my head. I was losing consciousness, I was going to pass out, I was—

    Then I broke through the surface, coughing and gasping. Cool air soothed my lungs as I gulped in two, three, maybe four breaths. I forced my head to clear, then took one more breath and ducked back down into the water.

    It was dark and murky but I could follow the bubbles. The SUV had settled to the bottom of the river. When I reached the roof, I pulled myself over to Mom’s side. She wasn’t moving.


    I yanked at the door. I slammed it. I kicked it. I had to get her out. The door gave, ever so slightly. I pulled harder. It moved some more, then it opened with a groaning CREAK.

    I grabbed Mom’s arm and pulled, but she was stuck. I spotted her seat belt and reached down to unbuckle it. My lungs were crying out for air again as I pulled her from the car. But we’d barely started before we were jerked to a stop. I  turned  and  saw  that  something  like  a  shadow  had grabbed  her  other  arm.  At first I thought it was the Country-Western singer.  I pulled but it held her tight.  It was like a tug of war game, me on one arm, the shadow man on the other. And the harder I pulled—this was even weirder—but  the  harder  I  pulled,  the  more  he  started turning into this shadowy creature that kept growing bigger and bigger with huge, bat-like wings.

    This is a dream, I kept telling myself, this is only a dream!

    But my lungs were on fire. My vision was going all white again. This time I would not leave. I’d stay here and die with her if I had to, but I would not leave.

    The pounding in my ears grew louder, filling my head . . . along with the song. That’s right, the singer or shadow or whatever it was, had begun singing again. Maybe it had never stopped:

    I’ll never let you go . . . you will always be mine . . . always be mine . . . always be mine.

    Well, Mr. Shadow could guess again. Dream or no dream, he could not have her.

    Always be mine . . . always be mine . . .

    My vision was totally white now. My mind shutting down. I could no longer feel my hands or my legs. I knew I was dying, but I would not let go. I loved her too much, I would never let go. The shadow thing may have won, but—

    And then I heard a shout. “Augh!”

    It sounded like Jake. But that was impossible. What would Jake be doing down here? I heard him again, even louder.