Friday, September 28, 2007

Book Review: "Where My Heart Belongs" by Tracie Peterson

Don't be so quick to judge

Amy Halbert changed her name, took her share of the family money, and left home for good. Kathy Halbert stayed home, taking care of her ailing parents, giving up her dreams to keep the family together. 12 years later, Amy now called Sunny, returns to find the home she left changed dramatically. Kathy harbors angry feelings towards her sister and vows never to forgive her. However when she finds out what really happen to her sister, the judgment she had previously passed seems too harsh. This is not just another retelling of the prodigal son story.

When I first started reading this book, I felt a sense of de ja vu. Didn't I just read a book this year with a version of the prodigal son story? I figured that this story would be the same like all the others where the prodigal gets treated like royalty while the older sibling is humbled and regrets feeling jealous. Boy was I wrong. This story is hard hitting and very heart wrenching. You can see where both sisters made mistakes in how they chose to live their lives and how they have to pay for their decisions. As the younger sister, Sunny doesn't try to gain sympathy when she tells her sister her story. Older sister Kathy, has every right to be angry in my opinion but the story also shows her as making the same kind of selfish choices her sister made. It puts a new spin on the story which I fully appreciated. As always with Peterson's books, it's a wonderful read with excellent story telling. The only part I didn't like was that the ending felt kind of rushed. You don't see any present interaction with Kathy and Kyle. And it felt a little too everyone is happy for me. I know that the characters have had harsh lives but it just seemed a little fast to close things up. However I really enjoyed this story. It's another winner from Tracie Peterson.

Where My Heart Belongs by Tracie Peterson is published by Bethany House (2007)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Book Review: "The Restitution" by Marylu Tyndall


A Pirate's Life for Me

Lady Isabel Ashton's illegitimate baby boy has been kidnapped. She finds out it's because of the baby's father, Captain Kent Carlton, a pirate who left her before she had the baby. When he vows to help her rescue their son, Isabel is wary about this because she doesn't trust him. But after finding out that her parents will have nothing to to with getting back their grandson, she realizes that this is the only way to get him back. It's off to a high adventure on the seas with sword fights, storms, attacks from natives and deadly battles.

Arrgh mateys!
Ok I had been putting off reading this series for unknown reasons. I don't know why, I just never got around to the books in my TBR stack. Now after reading this book, I'm going to have to go back and read the first two. This is a highly addictive book about one of my favorite subjects. Pirates have become so "in" in the last few years thanks to Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. In fact, it was hard to read this book without thinking of Pirates of the Caribbean. I kept hearing the theme song in my mind and I kept picturing Kent as Jack Sparrow and Isabel as Elizabeth Swann. But this book had a way better storyline than the 3rd movie. There was so much action and adventure. I felt like I was out in the middle of the ocean, with the descriptions of the sea and the ship so vividly described. The characters are a combination of scalawags and heroes with a damsel in distress. I liked all the characters but my favorites were Hann and the doctor for reasons that you will discover if you read the book. There's a lot of everything in this book. I was really pleasantly surprised after finishing it. Highly recommended especially if you can't get sailing on the high seas out of your mind.

MaryLu Tyndall dreamt of pirates and ships during her childhood days on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. Her love of history and passion for story drew her to create the Legacy of the King’s Pirates Series. MaryLu now writes full time and makes her home with her husband and six children on California’s coast, where her imagination still surges with the sea. For more information on MaryLu and her upcoming releases, please visit www.mltyndall.com

The Restitution by Marylu Tyndall is published by Barbour (2007)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Remembered by Tamera Alexander


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


REMEMBERED
(Fountain Creek Chronicles, Book 3)

(Bethany House, 2007)

by


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers. Alexander’s books have won multiple awards, including Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, 2007 Bookseller’s Best, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction of 2006.

Her books have received acclaim from Library Journal, True West Magazine and Historical Novels Review, and Rekindled debuted on the CBA fiction bestseller list. She has a professional background in business management and conference coordination. A leader of women's ministries for over twelve years, she is currently active in music ministry, facilitating small groups, and mentoring other women. A graduate of Harding University, Tamera lives with her husband and their two teenagers in Greeley, Colorado.

Her other two books in the Fountain Creek Chronicles are Rekindled (Book 1) and Revealed (Book 2)

To celebrate the release of Remembered, as well as the 3-volume boxed set of Fountain Creek Chronicles (Rekindled, Revealed, and Remembered), Tamera is currently giving away boxed sets in a contest on her website. Check out the contest at http://www.tameraalexander.com/ .

From a Distance, the first book in Tamera’s next historical series (Timber Ridge Reflections) releases in spring 2008.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Though loss is often marked
in a single moment,
letting go of someone you love
can take a lifetime...

The threat of war--and a final request--send Véronique Girard from France to a distant and uninviting country. In the Colorado Territory, she searches for the man who has held her heart since childhood--her father. Pierre Girard left Paris for the Americas to seek his fortune in fur trading, vowing to send for his wife and daughter. But twenty-five years have passed and his vow remains unfulfilled. Sifting through shards of broken promises, Véronique embarks on a dangerous search for a man she scarcely remembers.

His grief finally healed, Jack Brennan is moving on with life. After years of guiding families west, he is now working as a freighter to the mining towns surrounding Willow Springs. What he doesn't count on is an unexpected traveling companion on his trips up into the mountains, and how one woman's search will cause havoc with his plans... and his life.

"Alexander again delivers a most amazing story. The characters are more than words on the page; they become real people. Though there are French words sprinkled throughout the story, they enhance the emotions rather than distract the reader." --Romantic Times

"...a rich historical romance by possibly the best new writer in this subgenre." --Library Journal

"Alexander has done it again with Remembered, third in the FOUNTAIN CREEK CHRONICLES. She's fashioned characters that are as rich and deep as the mountains and valleys they explore throughout the pages, coloring the story as adeptly as the heroine does her canvas. I was drawn immediately into the ages-old heartaches of both of the main characters, understanding at once Veronique's reticence to make a place for herself in the unknown wilds of America and Jack's uncompromising love for this land that he’s cut a swath through time and again. They both have a series of mountains to overcome in the search for Veronique’s father, but I enjoyed watching their faith and appreciation grow with each turn of the page. And woven adeptly through it all is the encompassing truth of the Lord's sovereignty—that sometimes He takes away, and sometimes He gives us what we need, not what we're looking for.

Anyone's who's read the other Fountain Creek books won't want to miss this one, but it easily stands alone. The characters will take you by the hand and lead you heart-first into their stories, and by the time they release you at the end, you'll feel as though you've taken up residence just across the Creek from them, as surely as they have in your heart." --Roseanna White, christianreviewofbooks.com

"Remembered, the third book in the FOUNTAIN CREEK CHRONICLES, takes us back to Willow Creek and revisits beloved characters from the previous two books in the series, Rekindled and Revealed. Tamera Alexander has the remarkable ability to create places, and characters who endear themselves to us, even those just briefly mentioned. If I had lived in the late 1800s, I would love to have met these people and would surely have been inspired by the way they lived out their faith.
Remembered is a delightful read, well-researched and well-written. I expect to see great things from this author in the future." --Lindsey Freitas, bookloons.com

"Remembered is an absolutely wonderful continuation of the FOUNTAIN CREEK CHRONICLES." --Amanda Schafer, armchairinterviews.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Blessed Assurance by Lyn Cote


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


BLESSED ASSURANCE
Avon Inspire (October 1, 2007)
by


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lyn Cote's journey to becoming a published author was a long one - she started her first book when her daughter was 13 months old and her first novel was published when her daughter was about to enter high school. But Lyn was writing for a market that hadn't taken shape yet - the inspirational fiction market.

In 1996, Lyn Cote's first inspirational historical manuscript was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Contest. This became her first historical novel, Whispers Of Love, in her BLESSED ASSURANCE series.

Most recently, Chloe, the first novel in Lyn's "Women of Ivy Manor" historical series was a 2006 RWA Rita Award finalist for Best Inspirational, as well as a finalist for the Holt Medallion and the National REaders Choice Contest.

Lyn also writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She lives in the lovely northwoods of Wisconsin with her husband and three cats. Aside from writing, she also likes to knit, crochet, read, and do lunch with friends.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Now available for the first time in one edition--All three novels from Lyn Cote's beloved Blessed Assurance series

In Whispers of Love, Civil War widow Jessie Wagstaff must fend for herself and her son. When a stranger, Lee Smith, befriends Jessie's son, even though she recognizes nine-year-old Linc's need for a father figure, she's reluctant to let a new man into their life. When the Great Chicago Fire blazes, every heart is pushed to its limits.

In Lost In His Love, Jessie's son Linc, a social activist and reporter, charms his way through the upper class of San Francisco to build much-needed support for his fight against child labor. His main target is Cecilia Jackson, a beautiful heiress who doesn't recognize the crucial part she plays in this dangerous exploitation. As the secrets of her family's dark past are exposed, Cecilia must revive her own wounded spirit and find the strength to lean on the never-failing love of Christ. But when the 1906 earthquake hits, everyone's faith will be put to the test.

In Echoes of Mercy, Meg Wagstaff challenges the racial barriers of 1920s New Orleans in order to prove that her childhood friend did not commit murder. The stubborn lawyer prosecuting the case, Gabriel St. Clair, is an authentic Southern gentleman who makes the mistake of underestimating Meg, both her tenacity and her charm. Despite their many differences, sparks begin to fly. But when Meg discovers the truth, will Gabe be able to protect her from those who can't afford to have justice prevail?



"A beautiful tale of love, forgiveness, and acceptance."
~CBA Marketplace

Monday, September 24, 2007

Book Review: "Let Them Eat Cake" by Sandra Byrd and BOOK GIVEAWAY!

I'm giving away a brand new copy of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a name and announce the winner on Monday, October 1. Good luck!

Bon Appétit!

Lexi Stuart needs to find a job. She's graduated from college with a degree in French culture and literature but unfortunately there are no jobs that will pay highly with that degree. After turning in numerous resumes, the only job she finds is at a French bakery
. While it is a step down for her, Lexi finds the job to be exactly what she wants. She can combine her love of cooking while being able to use her knowledge of the French language. She soon finds working there to be an adventure, from being with her cute French boss, dealing with her non Christian coworker, messing up orders and trying to find a place to live. It's enough to make anyone quote Marie Antoinette when they're about to lose their head!

Do not read this book on an empty stomach, especially if you are craving something sweet. This book is filled with tons of food. After reading this, I so craved a cupcake. This book was so informative of bakeries and the French culture that I felt like I worked in the bakery myself. I know exactly how Lexi felt in the beginning of the book. I"m going through the exact situation about having a degree but not being able to find a job. It shows the struggle a lot of grads face when they have studied something they love but find out that society demands something else. Also, the story really shows how it's like to be a 20-something in this time period when you want to live on your but you can't so you're stuck with the parents. In fact I think this is one of the few Christian fiction books that I've read that actually has shown this. It doesn't show everyone being all happy that they are staying together. The story isn't preachy at all, in fact I enjoyed for once how a non-Christian actually is interested in learning about Jesus. This book was tons of fun to read. I loved the little notes and illustrations that would pop up randomly in the book. Loved especially the Wikipedia article. It was like reading one of those chain letter books with the letters and invitations that you get to read. It made the story more exciting, I think all books should have these because it really grabs your attention! This book has become one of my favorites of this year. Extremely recommended to read while eating a croissant with a cafe creme.

Sandra Byrd is a prolific writer of fiction, including the popular Friends for a Season series for teens, and the bestselling Girls Like You and Secret Sisters series for young girls. She is a regular contributor to national Christian publications. Before she began writing full time, Sandra worked in marketing, sales, and acquisitions for an educational publisher. She and her husband have two children, and make their home in Seattle, Washington.



Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd is published by Waterbook (2007)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Happy Blogiversary!


Today is my one year anniversary since starting this blog! (In case you're wondering about the dates, I actually wrote that first entry on the 21st but dated it the day before. Please don't think I can't read a calender!) I wrote my first entry just for the fun of it. I had been scanning other blogs online, like Camy Tang's and decided I wanted to try one of my own. My main goal was to blog about the books I read because I figured I'd like others to know about the good books that were out there. I didn't think though that it would last that long, since most things on the internet tend to fizzle out quickly.

Was I wrong! Since then I've written almost 150 book reviews, 33 movie reviews, interviewed 5 authors, had 25 book giveaways and made a TON of new friends. I've joined several blog alliances that have introduced me to lots of new authors I would have never discovered before. And blogging has opened up the window to lots of opportunities to read and review even more books than before. In case you were wondering in 1 year, I've read over 260 books. :)

Also of note, when I first started my blog I had a mere 300 books. As of today I have a whopping 892 count in my collection. That's an accumulation of almost 600 books in one year. At this rate, if I live to be 90 I'll have over 40,000 books. Oh well I can dream can't I?

But thanks to everyone who's visited my blog, entered my contests, added me to their blog roll, left comments, subscribed to my feed, or just lurk every now and then. It's been tons of fun and I'm looking forward to another great year of blogging.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Guardian of the Veil by Dr. Gregory Spencer and BOOK GIVEAWAY!

I'm giving away a brand new copy of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a name and announce the winner on Thursday, September 27. Good luck!

In Guardian of the Veil, the long-awaited sequel to The Welkening, Dr. Gregory Spencer has created an alternate reality that is at once fantastic and hauntingly familiar, framed in a cataclysmic conflict between Good and Evil.

Four misfits of Weyerhauser High—Angie, Lizbeth, Len, and Bennu—are each blessed, or cursed, with unique characteristics. Angie has an ethereal quality about her; Lizbeth is physically plain but athletic; Len is impetuous and strong-willed; Bennu takes off on flights of poetic fancy. These gifts count for little in their small town. But when the foursome is drawn into the parallel world of Welken, they become the keys to save that world from the jaws of Morphane, the soul-eater.

The veil between the worlds is thinning, and once again the misfits are called to defend their adopted homeland against seemingly insurmountable odds. They must rescue their entrapped friends with the very fabric of existence at stake. This incredible adventure forces the friends to face their own weaknesses, nightmares, and pain—or lose it all trying.

Dr. Gregory Spencer is professor of communication studies at Westmont College in Southern California. He specializes in rhetorical theory and criticism, religious rhetoric, and media ethics. Dr. Spencer's teaching has been noted for its creativity. According to one former student, " His words do not merely paint pictures, they provide eyes to see the pictures that have always been before us. In this sense, his classroom is no less than a portal into a transformed world." Guardian of the Veil is his second novel.


Q. What genre does Guardian of the Veil fit into, and who is your target reading audience?

A. Guardian of the Veil is fantasy. I think of the book as reaching Young Adult and Adult readers, perhaps those who enjoyed Harry Potter but are looking for something a little more layered, more complex.

Q. Where did you birth the idea for this book? When? How did it come about?

A. As a sequel to The Welkening, Guardian found its “first birth” in the history of that book, from when I told stories to my three girls, mainly on vacation. These children’s tales, about a detective cat named Percival P. Perkins, and his basset hound sidekick, Bone Malone, morphed into a larger, richer tale about four high school friends who visit the land of Welken. In Guardian, these friends discover that the veil into Welken is thin, allowing them to return and help Piers find Bors. The idea came from my own observations about the fragility of life, about various “thin veils” we experience, such as between health and sickness, sanity and mental illness, dreams and waking, depression and happiness, good moral choices and bad ones.

Q. If your book was turned into a movie, who would play the main characters?

A. A tough question, since the main characters are in high school.

Q. Which character do you most relate to, and why?

A. As many authors would say, all characters come from some part of me—or, as my mentor said, “The deeper I go inside of me, the closer I get to you.” One human soul has more in common with all human souls than we often recognize. Even so, I am closest to Len and Lizbeth. Until mid-high school, I was short like Len. I would like to say I USED TO be impatient like him, but that malady is too much still with me. I am prone to self-pity, like Lizbeth, and my parents were alcoholics when I was an adolescent.

Q. What takeaway points do you hope the reader pulls from this book?

A. A revelation to me was how the multiple stories in the book came together around the theme of forgiveness. If I had to reduce the “takeaway point” to one line, I would say “Because the veils are thin (between health and sickness, good and bad choices, etc.), we ought to be ready to give grace, especially the grace of forgiveness.

Q. What book are you reading now?

A. Grace (Eventually) by Ann Lamott, Crime and Punishment by Feodor Dostoyevsky, What Really Matters by Arthur Kleinman, and Rich Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs.

Q. Do you pre-plan character development and then let them run with the story, or do you plot the story in advance?

A. A little bit of both. I get some ideas ahead of time, and have a sort of broad outline for certain sections—but mostly I invent as I go along, often surprising myself with connections made to earlier events. In Guardian, the key motivation in Welken is to “find Bors,” the missing friend of Piers. I had no idea where he was even after 300 pages. My wife kept saying, “You mean you STILL don’t know where Bors is?”

Q. How do you deal with your other obligations (family, church, etc.) when it’s crunch time near deadlines?

A. I published my first novel at age 51, probably because I couldn’t find a way to meet my other obligations and also write fiction. As a professor, I had “obligations” to work at other kinds of writing. When my girls were pretty much out of the house—and I had been promoted to full professor—I gave myself permission to pursue fiction. For the most part, I wrote Guardian in two summers.

Q. Do you have an organized office and set times to write, or do you find yourself writing at unusual times or places?

A. I do most of my writing in the morning. I work from about 8:00 to lunch or so, and rarely keep writing into the afternoon. I may edit in the afternoon, or do art work, but usually not first drafts. I do all of my first drafts in longhand on yellow pads. If I am not sitting on my porch with my cat by my side and my dog at my feet, I am some place where I have a view: at the beach or a park. I can’t imagine writing a first draft by staring at a screen.

Q. What else would you like your readers to know about you, or about the book?

A. Hmm. I like high quality dark chocolate. In large quantities. And gift certificates to local restaurants, like Piatti and Stella Mare. And Jeannine’s cakes are amazing, especially coconut.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Ex Files by Victoria Christopher Murray


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


The Ex Files
(Touchstone June 19, 2007)
by


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Victoria Christopher Murray always knew she would become an author, even as she was taking quite an unlikely path to that destination. A native of Queens, New York, Victoria first left New York to attend Hampton Institute in Virginia where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating from Hampton, Victoria attended New York University where she received her MBA.

Victoria spent ten years in Corporate America before she decided to test her entrepreneurial spirit. She opened a Financial Services Agency for Aegon, USA where she managed the number one division for nine consecutive years. However, Victoria never lost the dream to write and when the “bug” hit her again in 1997, she answered the call.

Victoria originally self published Temptation. “I wanted to write a book as entertaining and compelling as any of the books on the market, put God in the middle, and have the book still be a page-turner. I wasn’t writing to any particular genre – I didn’t even know Christian fiction existed. I just wanted to write about people I knew and characters I could relate to.”

In 2000, Time Warner published Temptation. Temptation made numerous best sellers list across the nation and remained on the Essence bestsellers list for nine consecutive months. In 2001, Temptation was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in Outstanding Literature.

Since Temptation, Victoria has written four other novels: JOY, Truth Be Told, Grown Folks Business, and A Sin and a Shame. All of her novels have continued to be Essence bestsellers; her last three each reaching #1. In addition, Victoria has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and in 2006, she was awarded the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being the pioneer in African American Christian Fiction.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

The Ex Files:

A Novel About Four Women and Faith...

There are four ways a woman can handle heartbreak. She can fall apart, seek revenge, turn cold, or move on. The Ex Files is the story of these four women:

When Kendall Stewart finds her husband and her sister in bed together, she vows to never let anyone get that close again. But when she is faced with saving the life of the woman who destroyed hers, will she be able to forgive?

When an NBA superstar tells his mistress, Asia Ingrum, that he's decided to honor his marriage vows, her shock quickly gives way to revenge...but her decision may come back to haunt their five-year-old daughter.

Every night Vanessa Martin wonders why her husband committed suicide. Even worse, she contemplates joining him in eternity. Will Vanessa be able to gather the strength to live again?

Sheridan Hart is finally finding her way after a lie destroyed her seventeen-year marriage. Her new love is ready to get married, but will she commit to this younger man or is her ex-husband taking up too much space in her heart?

When their pastor asks Kendall, Asia, Vanessa, and Sheridan to meet weekly for prayer, they can't imagine they will have anything in common. But then a devastating tragedy strikes and these strangers are forced to reexamine their choices. Will they find true friendship, or will prayer -- and their union -- fail them?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Book Review: "In the Shade of the Jacaranda" by Nikki Arana

How strong is your faith?

Angelica has married Antonio, the immigrant worker from Mexico. While there are still many kinks to work out in this unique marriage, there is still great love between the two. Angelica still wants to be fulfill her dream of becoming a public defender but all that changes when she becomes pregnant. Suddenly everything becomes a challenge with worries about the baby's condition to Antonio's grandmother arriving from Mexico. This will test not only their relationship but Angelica's and Antonio's faith as well.

I was eager to pick up the story of Angelica and Antonio where the first book ended. I wanted to know how their relationship would survive because of the radical differences between the two. I was not let down. The book describes how they had to accommodate to not feel like they were letting the other down. Their many adventures held both laughter and tears. There were at times however when I felt very frustrated with Antonio and his way of thinking. Because he is not used to the technology and advances of this country, he would rather have everything simple and does not want Angelica to go through the tests regarding their baby. It just felt that throughout the book, Angelica is in the wrong for wanting to use technology instead of just relying on faith alone. Not that there's anything wrong with having a child like faith, I just felt frustrated that it made her look like the bad person for wanting more instead of just trusting. I did enjoy their relationship and the love they had for each other. The language barrier is not so much a problem anymore although there are obvious culture differences. I also liked how Angelica's parents begin to open up to Antonio even though they still have some resistance toward the relationship. The scene with the cradle was very touching for both ends. I also was intrigued with how Antonio tried to start his own business and the prejudice and stereotyping he faced because of his race. He handled the situation with more dignity than most people would. The story is beautifully written however and the characters are realistic with plot that is very relevant with this time period.

In the Shade of the Jacaranda by Nikki Arana is published by Revell (2006)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Book Review: "The Betrayed" by Lisa T. Bergren and BOOK GIVEAWAY!




I'm giving away a TWO BOOK set today: a hardback copy of today's book plus a paperback copy of the first book in the series, The Begotten! (For my review click here)

Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a name and announce the winner on Monday, September
24. For this giveaway, the winner must have a US mailing address. Good luck!

The next LOTR?

The book starts off right where The Begotten left off. It is the year 1340. The members of the Gifted are searching for clues to help understand more about their gifts. Daria, the healer and leader of the group, is being watched by the evil Lord Amadei who wishes for her to use her powers for him. He tries to use her former ally Vincenzo to get her to bow down to his wishes. However her faith is too strong to allow her to bend towards his will. Unfortunately this causes not only her, but all the members of the Gifted to suffer and question exactly how strong their faith really is.

Once again I was enthralled by this book. The details are so rich and the characters are extremely well developed that I felt that I was pulled along into the story. At first it was a little difficult trying to remember who everyone was and what their gifts were. The action doesn't really pick up also until the middle of the book. But when it does, BAM! there's a whole lot of excitement going on. Daria has become one of my favorite female characters ever because of her faith and strength. Even when questioning God for the treatment she and others must suffer doesn't waiver her belief. Actually it was good timing that I read this book because my pastor was doing a series on exactly the questions Daria asked in the story. The villain in this book, Amidei, is deliciously evil and the way that he manipulates people to get to the Gifted is scary. The rest of the Gifted are extremely loyal to Daria and will do whatever it takes to save her. All of them get their faith tested in this book. It was also fun to discover a new member of the Gifted as well. Bergren is able to weave historical fact with her imaginative tale perfectly. It's a wonderful blend of fantasy, history and biblical knowledge. The story leaves you hanging so I am eagerly looking forward to the last book in the series. Highly recommended for fans of epic stories like LOTR or Narnia.

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the author of 28 books, with over 1.3 million sold. She is a publishing consultant, writer, Bible study leader, mother and wife. Her hobbies include travel (mostly from an armchair), reading, watching movies, cooking and exploring with her family. Lisa's most recent books include The Begotten, The Betrayed, God Gave Us Heaven, What Women Want and The Busy Mom's Devotional. She resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado. To sign up for her monthly email (which includes a new, unpublished devotional) go to www.LisaTawnBergren.com and join her newsletter list.

The Betrayed by Lisa T. Bergren is published by Berkley Books (2007)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Book Review: "Original Sin" by Brandt Dodson


Think Magnum PI, minus the Hawaiian shirt

Colton Parker is a former FBI agent turned private investigator. He and his daughter are on shaky terms after his wife died following a heated argument with him. He's been called on the case by the girlfriend of the accused murderer of a beloved high school teacher. She claims that he is innocent and wants Colton to prove it. At first it seems that all evidence points to the accused but Colton delves deeper and with just a paper clip for a clue he finds a seedy shady world of pornography and sex. Non stop action makes this gritty mystery novel hard to put down.


When I think of a PI, Magnum comes to mind. The Hawaiian shirt with the fancy car going to exotic places in Hawaii and having a fun time. So I didn't know what to expect when I started this book. Well it turned out to be an unexpected awesome read. Normally I wouldn't have picked up this book because it's not in the genre I normally read. However I am so glad that I did. There is non stop action in this book. It's very gritty and I felt like I was watching an episode of Magnum (minus the cheesiness). I really like Colton's character. He's a very good detective and is able to get what he needs out of other people but he doesn't manipulate them to get info. He also cares very much for his daughter even though their relationship is strained. Dodson takes his character into places most Christian novels would never dream of going. Strip clubs are visited. Pornography is exposed. Teachers selling students for sex sales. Web cam shows. Nothing is untouched with this book. But there is nothing graphic and even though Colton's character is not a Christian in this book, he does not want anything to do with these things. He begins to show interest in the faith but the storyline is not preachy at all. This book is really an eye opener that people are not always what they seem. It makes you think twice about people you put your trust in. I was immediately hooked after I started reading this book. It's a definite page turner that you won't want to stop reading. This is a perfect book to give to a guy who doesn't like to read. Highly recommended and I have found a new favorite author.

Original Sin by Brandt Dodson is published by Harvest House (2006)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Book Review: "Sushi for One" by Camy Tang and Book Giveaway!


I'm giving away a brand new copy of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a name and announce the winner on Thursday, September 20. Good luck!

Ok honestly I hate sushi but I loved this book!

Lex Sakai is being tortured by her grandmother to find a husband or else her volleyball team will have to suffer. So now Lex has to find a boyfriend in a mere matter of weeks or else suffer the wrath of having no funds for the team. Everyone seems to want to set her up, from the losers her brother keeps pointing her towards to the guys who only want to get her because of her insider info to the latest game. Lex decides there must be a guy who meets every one of her requirements and plans to stick to her Ephesians list. Then she meets Aidan, who is everything NOT on her list, but seems to be everything that she wants. A wonderful story blending chick lit with Asian culture.

I have been dying to read this book since I first started visiting Camy Tang's blog. Being an Asian American myself, there are few choices even in mainstream for books written by Asian Americans, let alone in Christian fiction. So when I heard that there was going to be a Christian chick lit book written by an Asian American author, I nearly passed out. And this book definately made all my expectations and more. Even if you're not Asian, you will still be able to follow the story and you get to learn about new cultures as well. Some people might say there's some stereotyping in this book with the Asian culture. Well let me say that we really do act like this. I love how there's a distinction of two different types of Asian cultures in this book and it shows readers that Asian are not one big group to be lumped together. I love how Lex loves sports and is not afraid to let her sports knowledge show. There are lots of hilarious spots in this book, my favorite is cameo of the author herself involving a volleyball accident. However there are serious moments in this book as well which makes this story extremely well written. The book goes from downright hilarity to painful memories within the same chapter. I really felt for Lex in this book and enjoyed her adventure. The only negative thing I have about this book, and I'm sorry, but I don't like the grandmother. Why does she want to force Lex to get married? All her insults were really spiteful and I don't blame Lex at all for what she does near the end of the book. I'm hoping we learn why she acts like this so that I don't hate her for the rest of the series. And yes I cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out. An excellent debut, a wonderful cultural chick lit novel and an inspiration to aspiring Asian Americans writers!

Sushi for One? by Camy Tang is published by Zondervan (2007)

Interview with author Camy Tang

I"m totally psyched to have author Camy Tang here on my blog today. Little bit of blog trivia: her blog was one of the first blogs I started reading and inspired me to start this blog. Any who, she's just released her first book and you need to go out and buy it. Look above for a review of Sushi for One? and a giveaway! And without further adieu, an interview with Camy Tang!

You're in restaurant that features an All you Can Eat Chinese Buffet. Let's say calories, fat, carbs, etc don't exist. What's the first food you run to?

Those deep fried lobster balls they serve at Chinese wedding banquets. The ones I’ve had were balls formed around crab claws so you could hold the claw while you bite into the lobster mix. That stuff is sooooo good!

You've suddenly been transported in an alternate Jane Austen universe where you've become Elizabeth Bennett. Who would play your Mr. Darcy?

Richard Armitage!!!!!! Have you seen the BBC Miniseries North and South? He's gorgeous!

Starbucks is going out business. For your last overpriced coffee drink what would you have?

I am going to be a snob and say nothing, because my husband makes much better lattes than Starbucks, due to the fact that he roasts his own coffee. Starbucks has very harsh coffee, it tastes almost burned.

What stereotypes of Asian Americans would you like banished from society?

The quiet, submissive Asian woman. I hate it when people seem surprised that I actually have an opinion for myself.

What's currently residing in your TBR pile?

Too many books. Bayou Justice by Robin Caroll. Turquoise by Marilynn Griffith. A Promise to Remember by Kathryn Cushman. Moon Over Tokyo by Siri Mitchell. Scared to Death by Debby Giusti. Demon by Tosca Lee.

How has becoming a published author changed your life?

Dramatically. For one, I'm poorer. LOL That's because I decided to quit my biology job to write full time--not a wise move financially, but I hadn't wanted to stay in my biotech company because it got bought by another one. Luckily, my husband was okay with the decision to quit.

It's also a strange reorientation of my expectations of my new "job." For biotech work, my emotional state didn't affect my work--I could still run an assay whether I was happy, sad, or indifferent. However with writing, because it's artistic, I'm more sensitive to stress in my life and have to set boundaries on my time in order to be able to write efficiently. It's a completely different sort of mindset from biotech work.

Any last words?

I want to let people know that I'm running a huge website contest where I'm giving away baskets of Christian fiction and an iPod Nano! Only subscribers to my newsletter YahooGroup are eligible to enter, so join today:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Camys_Loft/join

Thanks so much for having me here with you, Deborah! This was totally fun!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bethany House Survey






Bethany House is having a survey to pick a cover for Michael Landon Jr and Tracie Peterson's new book "One More Sunrise"

Click here to take the survey

you'll also get a chance to win of 10 different new Bethany House releases just for completing the survey

Let me know which one you picked and see if it's the same as mine!

Book Review: "Life, Libby and the Pursuit of Happiness" by Hope Lyda


This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


LIFE, LIBBY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

(Harvest House Publishers March 1, 2007)

by


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hope Lyda has always wanted to write. Ever since she was a young tyke with a spiral notebook in hand, she had the urge to fill it. Sadly, Peggy Meets the Midgets did not cause Hope to be deemed a child prodigy, so she continued her path of education. She was grade-obsessed but also truly enjoyed sharing laughs with her circle of creative friends.

Hope attended the University of Oregon and graduated with a double major in Journalism: Advertising and Telecommunications and Film. With aspirations to write screenplays or teleplays, she of course ended up doing public relations for non-profits until she entered the publishing field in which she has worked for 10 years.

Her passions are quiet ones—she loves a good read, an afternoon of free thinking time, writing, journaling, road trips, travel, and pondering life from her back yard pergola. She loiters in bookstores frequently, though has never been arrested for such. Her big hope is to encourage others to embrace their dreams and understand their faith journeys through the practice of journaling and the art of creative living. She hopes to also inspire such things through the themes in her fiction including Hip to Be Square and Altar Call. (There are also visions of a nice Casita with a hammock in Mexico—but one thing at a time.)

When not living in her head, she resides with her husband, Marc, in the Pacific Northwest.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Libby Hawthorne makes exotic trip itineraries but never leaves Seattle. She’d like to attend church but winds up at a bookstore. She longs for love—but who has the time? Delayed happiness has been worth it, because she’s about to get her dream promotion...

Or not.

So now what?

When a corporate merger leaves her demoted and disillusioned, Libby realizes she needs to start living authentically...and soon. But just as she tries to uncover her purposed life, her cruel and unusual boss, Cecilia, demands that Libby hide Seattle’s most famous homegrown rock star in order to keep her new, bad job. For the first time in years, Libby doesn’t have a step by step plan to guide her. She must trust her faith and her heart. But what is she supposed to do with her growing admiration for Blaine Slater, a new VP from Chicago, or the surprising kindness of the rock star living incognito in her Seattle apartment? Through the humorous twist and turns, Libby uncovers a big life truth—the detours we are afraid of might just be the perfect path to happiness.

Chick Lit makes Me Happy

I love chick lit. Yes I am the target audience of the genre and I don't mind one bit. This story had everything I wanted. Quirky characters, outrageous plot, 20 something heroine with a great job, celebrities all under the backdrop of Seattle, home of my favorite overpriced coffee. I really enjoyed the storyline. I love the bookstore that Libby frequents, it's prally someplace I would want to visit everyday as well. Her antics at her job were fun to read with the crazy coworkers and her relationship with her new boss. I really loved the book club scene where Libby has to endure the discussions about romance novels because she felt the exact same way I did about them. The scenes involving her former boss making her keep secrets and sneak around with music stars was hilarious. I had a good time reading this book. This book isn't preachy at all which is why I would recommend this to any chick lit fan and believe that they would enjoy it. I felt that it rivals mainstream chick lit and the cover is really cute as well. Hope Lyda is one of the best chick lit writers out there in my opinion, and I'm eagerly awaiting her next books.

Life, Libby and the Pursuit of Happiness by Hope Lyda is published by Harvest House (2007)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Book Review: "Just As I Am" by Virginia Smith


Becoming a believer in today's world

Mayla has just become a new Christian. Everyone in her church is surprised because her dyed hair and piercings don't make her look like a normal Christian. However Mayla is eager to know more about God's word and to grow in her newfound faith. She has to battle grumpy church members who prejudge her because of her appearance and old friends who prejudge her because of her new faith. She is also becomes friends with a guy with AIDS and helps him to live out his last days with hopes of reconciling with his estranged family. Then there's finding her niche in church and her growing relationship with Pastor Paul. If you ever wanted to know what it's like to be a new Christian in today's world, read this book!

I really enjoyed reading this book. Mayla was such a refreshing, realistic character. I could really relate to her. She's my age, going through the same problems that I am. I loved the fact that she had piercings and dyed hair. Just by that alone I could relate to her because I used to have piercings in not typical places. This book showed how you really shouldn't judge people just by their appearances. Mayla had to face a lot of prejudice by the older Christians just because of how she looked. To me, if I had become a new Christian and keep facing this type of attitude, I would become very discouraged and eventually lose my faith. Mayla on the other hand, turns the other cheek and does not allow this to hinder her new thirst for more knowledge of Christ's love.

The same can also be said of the non Christian who assumes about what Mayla will become now that she's become a Christian. Mayla's roommate judges her totally unfairly because of a bad experience. The treatment she receives from both sides is enough to make anyone go crazy but she handles it with such maturity and grace. The storyline involving Alex and his battle with AIDS was extremely well done. Virginia Smith is an excellent writer and this book really showcases her work.
I'm definitely looking forward to the next book to find out what happens between Maya and Pastor Paul! Just As I Am by Virginia Smith is published by Kregel (2006)

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Meeting of Anni Adams: The Butterfly of Luxembourg by Lonni D. Story and BOOK GIVEAWAY

I'm giving away a brand new copy of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a name and announce the winner on Monday, September 17. Good luck!

Imagine living a life of security and comfort while traveling throughout central Europe with a famous professional gymnast--who just happens to be your father--with just one twist. You were born in 1926, and at the age of fourteen your entire world changes because of the Nazi invasion. Anni Adams survives the poverty, humiliation and uncertainty of the refugee camps and eventually returns to her home, where life is not the same. She quietly resists the submissive lifestyle of the Nazi rule for four years. Here she becomes a Catholic war bride to her American GI husband, following the liberation of her country.


The Meeting of Anni Adams: The Butterfly of Luxembourg
shows how family and faith fuel Anni's survival through her evacuation into France and the years of German occupation of Luxembourg when she and her family are placed in labor camps and government prisons. Anni goes on to live a remarkable life in the United States, where she displays an uncanny ability to meet people of renown in the most unlikely circumstances. Anni's story is only one of countless others from this time period; she personifies the guts, grit, fortitude, faith and hope of that era. These virtues in the face of adversity create a beautiful butterfly. Each breathtaking "stain glass" pane of the butterfly's wings is yet another story of how Anni overcomes tremendous odds--the truest form of the American Dream come true.

Author with Others Photo

Author Lonnie D. Story (right), with Anni Adams (middle) and Bob Gaul, President of the Iowa Luxembourg American Society

Author Lonnie D. Story's recounting of this part of Luxembourg's WWII history has been recognized by the Ambassador of Luxembourg to the United Nations, H. E. Jean Marc Hoscheit, the Ambassador of Luxembourg to the U.S., and H.E. Joseph Weyland. In fact, Story's work was lauded by the Luxembourg General Consul, Georges Faber, as a "magnificent, historically correct accounting of the hardships suffered" during the time period of his country's occupation and suppression.

Story is a freelance writer residing in Holly Hill, Florida. He is currently working on his second book, Without A Shot Fired: The Dustin Brim Story, a true story about a U.S. soldier deployed to Iraq in full health who returns to discover he has aggressive, terminal cancer.

Where did you birth the idea for this book? When? How did it come about?

The idea originally came from a business venture (idea.) I wanted to fill an niche market that no one appeared to be addressing and a need that left a large, untapped void. I thought I would write biographies for a living by limiting just to family members and that kind of thing. A biography of a person just for private use and not publishing. It appeared to be a chance encounter, but, I am fully persuaded that there is no such thing as coincidence. I met Anni in a flower shop in New Smyrna Beach, Florida where she worked part-time. She had wonderful stories to tell about her life and I found it so intriguing that I volunteered to write her biography for free as sort of a "guinea pig." The more we met and conversed the more convinced I was that she had all the potential, material and stories that would make a great book and then some! Thus we began the long, arduous, unseen adventure to "bookland."


How do you as a writer put together a book like this? Did you outline first or did you write down anecdotes and stories and then organize them into book format, or ???

I started with an outline but as time progressed and more stories came forth, the outline changed and metamorphed into the final working outline and finished product. Actually, I would write about one chapter a week, sometimes I would go weeks without writing anything. Once I had the "feeling" to write it was irresistible and I would write the entire chapter in one sitting, usually taking long hours into the wee hours of the morning such as 4 or 5 a.m. having started around 6 p.m, the evening before. I took a shotgun approach and only wrote what, where and when the feeling for a particular chapter manifested itself.


What sort of research was involved in writing this book?

There are no adjective or, at least, not enough here for proper English to express the intense, horrid, voluminous, meticulous, time-consuming research required for this work. I had to cover very minute details and print tons of pictures, maps and such and then screen it through Anni to get the story exactly right, factually, historically and evidentially.


How long did you take to write this?

I worked 12-16 hours a day (mostly 14-16 hours), 7 days a week for 7 1/2 months. I put aside all holidays, family gatherings, social invitations/engagements, etc. I stayed locked away in my one little bedroom at my sister's house only coming out to go to the store for supplies (food, water, etc.) and back to my "cave."


If your book is turned into a movie, which actress should play Anni?

Anni at 14-18: AnnaSophia Robb Anni middle years: Laura Linney Elder Anni: Glenn Close

What takeaway points do you hope the reader pulls from this book?

Never give up. Never quite, persevere, push, press and pray. I mean pray HARD!! Don't let go of God and don't stop nagging Him, pleading with Him, praising Him, thanking Him and wrestle with Him to the desire for death rather than giving up. Beside that, learn lessons the first as often as able, stay positive, hopeful, faithful and enjoy the shortness of life, each moment. Savor friends, family and life experiences no matter how good or bad. Faith, hope and love.


How did you become a writer?

Somehow it was there all along. I started reading and writing at age 4. By the time I started school, I was well ahead of my classmates. However, being ahead of the classmates caused me to be less "covered" by the teachers. The teachers rationed their time, typically, to the other students that needed more help. Because of this, I was less attentive in class and my mind wandered a lot into fantasies, visions and mental adventures. If I had the chance, I would write some of these things down or draw pictures of them.

Can you share something with our readers about what God has been teaching you lately?

If you can call 4 1/2 years "lately", then I would say PATIENCE! Other than that, I have had a supernatural development in my faith levels. I have always dreamed big, reached big and even failed big. But the God I serve is a big God. Bigger than my hopes, dreams and wishes, so the big answer more than anything else?? TRUST!!! Not in people, only God. Put confidence in people but never trust them, love them but don't rely on them. These are treasures for God only.


Please share a little about your family, your church and community involvement.

During the writing of the book I spent most of my time alone. I did take time out to call family or go to Anni's (which was usually 3 times a week), but mostly stayed sequestered. After the manuscript was finished I spent some time catching up but it was a very difficult thing. At the time both my brother and sister were terminally ill. I was the youngest of the three, the "baby", but also the one everyone turned to for help, advice and high expectations. My only community involvement was after the book and these were all events to bring awareness to Anni and the book. I donated hundreds of books to veterans for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, radio stations and churches, church organizations, etc. Because of what I had been through the year before starting the book, I took a long sabbatical from church. In place of this, I devoted many, many hours in prayer, deep, very deep study of the Bible and listened to Charles Stanley for hours on end each day over the Internet. At that time, his website had four years of cataloged sermons and I listened to all four years worth!! And many times each new message for the day, I would listen to 4-7 times in an afternoon or evening! Thank God for Charles Stanley!


Lonnie, tell us about your radio program--what does it consist of, and what format does it follow?What book are you reading now?

My radio program came about mostly out of frustration, hope and prayer. I missed being on the air (before my life's disaster, I had a Christian program for approx. 5 years), I felt it was a good venue to move forward and push harder the message on both my books. The program is called (of all things LOL) "Lessons Learned." I wanted it to be a talk news show. Very interactive with the listening audience. Taking our life experiences, historical events and history in general, teachings from much older generations and look at what we think the near future holds and try to turn it into applicable, valuable news for today. As for books, only one: My Bible. (I do have a stack I wish I could get to, I am dying to have some time to read but that is a dream and a wish. I won't let myself "taste" that reward until my mission with this book and the next is satisfied and successfully launched into readerland. When the income makes me debt free and time rich.)


What book is coming next?

The next book has been in the making for more than a year and a half. Like the first book, I entered it very naive, just when I thought I was capable. Uh UH!! The next book will have to be read about over the Internet, not enough room here. Just google "Dustin Brim," look for my name and read ALL about it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Movie Review: "Roseanne The Complete 2nd Season"

Thanks to TV on DVD I can discover new shows I missed the first time around. I don't really like the later seasons of Roseanne. I felt it got too crass and extremely edgy as the years went by. I never really watched the show but I do remember that I didn't really like what I saw. But in the first few seasons with the children being younger, the show is really quite funny and touching. So I decided to go back and watched what I had missed.

There are some really laugh out loud moments with this show. The Halloween episode is a riot, with both Dan and Roseanne trying to fake each other out. The decapitated thumb scene is really gross. The episode also when they're trying to lose weight is a hoot as well as they both keep trying to sneak food. I do like Roseanne's personality, at least in these earlier seasons. She cares a lot about her family but she doesn't want her life to be too serious. There are times when it seems that they don't care about their children, but in other episodes it is clear that they love them and will do anything for them. The episodes when Becky rebels and gets drunk were a very good episodes because I felt they were realistic. Other TV shows would have had everyone hugging in the end with sappy music played. This show allowed the characters to behave the way real people would.

I always like episodes when the characters become serious. I don't mean when someone dies and everyone has to act sad. But when there are touching family moments that come out unexpectedly. One episode that stuck out the most to me was when Darlene read out loud a poem she had written during a PTA meeting. Because Darlene is such a sarcastic character, for her to read something that showed her true feelings was very emotional. I even got a bit teary eyed myself.

I'm not sure if I'm going to keep watching the series with the other seasons. I think as the kids grew, the topics got more risque. At least with the earlier seasons, I think it's more family friendly as everyone can relate to the Connor family.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Book Review: "Monday Morning Faith" by Lori Copeland


The Things we do for love

Johanna Holland is 40 years old, a librarian, takes care of her elderly parents and has steady routine with her life. Then her parents decide they'd rather live in assisted living which causes Johanna to rethink her routine. Suddenly her life is really shook up when she meets Sam Littleton who could possibly be her soul mate except for one small thing: he's going to Papua New Guinea to be a medical missionary. Thinking all is lost Johanna begins to withdraw when Sam invites her along with him. This is a journey of faith as Johanna has to step wayyy out of her comfort zone for the man she loves.

I really enjoyed learning about the mission field from this book. I would like to go on a mission trip myself one day but I too am like Johanna, worried about missing the simple comforts of home. I have great respect for missionaries not only for spreading the Gospel but just for being able to sacrifice their wants to help out others. I think that this book realistically showed the life of a missionary and also about how some people are just not called to live that lifestyle. There's nothing wrong with that, you may just be called to serve God in a different setting. I felt that a lot of Johanna's worries and complaints were total legit especially with how Sam treated her once they got into Papua New Guinea. He kept acting like it was her fault that she couldn't adapt as easily as the other women did. So I didn't blame her one bit for getting mad at him. There were lots of laughs and moving moments in this book. This is one of the best Lori Copeland books that I have read. Not only did I enjoy myself with the story, but I learned a lot as well. Highly recommended.

Monday Morning Faith by Lori Copeland is published by Zondervan (2006)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sushi for One? by Camy Tang


This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Sushi for One?
(Zondervan, September 1, 2007)


by

CAMY TANG

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Camy Tang is a member of CFBA and is a loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick-lit. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious poi-dog. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service.

Sushi for One? (Sushi Series, Book One is her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) comes out in February 2008!

ABOUT THE BOOK:


Lex Sakai’s family, big, nosy, and marriage-minded, is ruled by a crafty grandmother. When her cousin Mariko gets married, Lex will become the OLDEST SINGLE COUSIN in the clan, a loathed position by all single female family members.

Lex has not dated for years.

Grandma homes in on this fact and demands, bribes, and threatens Lex to bring a boyfriend (not just a date) to her cousin’s wedding.

Lex does not want to date ... not since that terrible incident a few years back ... but, Grandma doesn't give her that choice.

Lex's options are slim because she has used her Bible study class on Ephesians to compile a huge list of traits for the PERFECT man (and the more she dates, the more she adds to the list).

The one man she keeps running into (and is completely attracted to) doesn’t seem to have a single quality on her list. It’s only when the always-in-control Lex loses control and lets God take over that all the pieces of this hilarious romance finally fall into place.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Book Review: "Jacob's List" by Stephanie Grace Whitson

No parent should have to bury their child

Pam and Michael have just received the worst news that no parent ever wants to hear. Their only child has been killed. The estranged couple now must deal with coping with their son's death, and their feelings toward the man who killed him. Their relationship together also requires a second outlook. Everything in their lives must be reexamined from past battles with cancer, to affairs, to matters of faith, to dealing with Jacob's "second family." Then there is the matter of Jacob's list- the things he wanted to do before he died and how they will now accomplish these tasks for him.

This was a really thought provoking and sad book. It shows all the parties that are affected by an accidental death, from the parents to the man who caused the accident, to his wife, to the officer who found the accident, to his family, to even the grave keepers. The characters really stay with you after reading. You feel their struggles and their anger and pain. But amid all the sadness there are several moments of laughter in this book with the Novac family. I liked the meatloaf talk and the Ninja night. That was really awesome reading about how that family helped out those in need. I also really liked Rambo! From his description, I kept imagining a small cute little poodle, but then looking on the author's website it appears that Rambo is one of the big tall poodles! So that completely changed my image of him! But I love at how obedient he is and how he listens to Pam and Mike and even suffered when Jacob died. I was thinking though, from the cover and the summary on the back, that Jacob's parents were going to take over his list and do everything that he couldn't. So it confused me when I was getting near the end of the book and they still hadn't fully made up yet. Interestingly I don't recall reading anywhere in the book where they go backpacking together. However, the purpose of the story is written extremely well. If you or anyone you know has suffered the loss of a child, this book is perfect and helps to understand that you are not only in your grieving. Beautifully written and highly recommended.

Jacob's List by
Stephanie Grace Whitson is published by Bethany House (2007)