Showing posts from February, 2008

Hope for the Journey Through Cancer by Yvonne Ortega

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 Friday, March 7. Good luck!

Would you go to work wearing a surgical mask and surgical gloves? Yvonne Ortega did during aggressive chemotherapy. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it's important to realize that cancer is a difficult illness to face. Ortega gives a message of hope and encouragement for those who are struggling with the devastating effects of cancer in her book Hope for the Journey through Cancer.
The book offers 60 short inspirational readings, each containing a part of Ortega's own story from diagnosis to recovery. She shares her personal triumphs and setbacks with humor and refreshing candor, with hope builders to remind us that even when it looks like we are alone, God is with us each step of the way. Hope for the Journey through Cancer is written in a caring and compassion…

Book Review: "Stuck in the Middle" by Virginia Smith

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Stuck in the Middle
Revell (February 1, 2008)
Virginia Smith


Virginia Smith left her job as a corporate director to become a full time writer and speaker with the release of her first novel Just As I Am.

Since then she has contracted eight novels and published numerous articles and short stories. She writes contemporary humorous novels for the Christian market, including Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007) and her newest release, Stuck in the Middle(Revell, February 2008), book 1 in the Sister-to-Sister Series.

Her short fiction has been anthologized, and her articles have been published in a variety of Christian magazines. An energetic speaker, she loves to exemplify God’s truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truths in Star Trek.”

Virginia is a speaker, and an avid Scuba diver. She and her husband Ted, divide their times between Ken…

Book Review: "Taming Rafe" by Susan May Warren

Bucking broncos couldn't stop me from reading this book

Rafe is a cowboy who's a professional bull rider. Katherine is a city girl who is trying to raise money to help out those in poor countries. The two collide when frustrated Rafe drives his car into the hotel where Kat is trying to fund raise for her cause. Sparks fly between the two when Kat tries to get him to donate his money to make up for damages. Soon the city girl visits the ailing cowboy on his own turf as they try to reconcile their differences. While she's at the ranch, Kat also tries to find out her family's past. Meanwhile Lolly, the owner of the diner, tries to hide secrets she's kept hidden for over twenty years as the man who's loved her forever tries to win her heart.

Westerns usually aren't my cup of tea, but this series has really grabbed my attention. And I'm not just talking about the covers, even though they are SUPER HOT! This book taught me a lot about bull riding and the…

Book Review: "Maggie Come Lately" by Michelle Buckman

Not Sweet 16

Maggie is not the most popular in school. Since her mother committed suicide when Maggie was four, she's been the female head of her household. For years she's been in charge of most of the family affairs, leaving very little time for her to enjoy being a teenager. Then her father brings home another woman, who threatens to usurp Maggie's position in the house. There is also other things happening in her life: she discovers a girl from school in the woods who was raped, a dog is gruesomely killed near their house, and one of the youth group leaders is making her feel extremely uncomfortable. This is not what beeing 16 is supposed to be like....

This was an extremely powerful and moving story. The whole book you can completely relate to Maggie and feel for her. The opening scene is shocking with Maggie as a young child witnessing her mother's suicide and the effect it has on her for the rest of her life. I think a lot of girls will be able to relate t…

Closer than Your Skin by Susan D. Hill 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, March 3. Good luck!

If you crave the real experience of God’s presence in your daily life…

If you sense there’s more to Christianity than service, study, and superficial spirituality…

If you’re ready to go beyond knowing
about God
to truly
knowing Him…
Here’s where life with God begins.
Is God really like a father who cares about the details of our everyday lives? Then why does He often seem so far away, distant in the moments when we could most use a personal touch from Him?So many of us have lived in that unspoken longing. In these incredible stories, you’ll see how one person found that God is not always content to wait for us to discover Him amid the clutter of life. Instead, when we simply hold out our hands, He illuminates our ordinary world and gives us new eyes to see.Closer Than Your Skin traces th…

Passion Regionals 2008: Washington DC

This is going to be a really long non-book/movie review post. Just a warning in advance :)

I just had the best weekend I've ever had in years. I went up to Fairfax, VA with 10 other people from my church for the Passion Regionals Conference. What is Passion?

From Wikipedia: Passion Conferences is a Christian organization (also referred to as the 268 Generation, originally named Choice Ministries), founded by Louie Giglio in 1997, known for their annual spiritual awakening gatherings of college students.

I decided to to go the conference after seeing the video ad run during our church service. I wanted to go because I haven't been to a conference in a while and thought it would be really cool to go.
That was pretty much the main reason. However when I got there, it was MUCH more than that.

Do you know what it's like to worship with over 3000 people your age? It's indescribable. I went from feeling like I was the only person at my work and school who was a Christian to kno…

Movie Review: "The Jane Austen Book Club"

Lately I've been devouring anything Jane Austen (have you been watching the Jane Austen season on Masterpiece on PBS? if you haven't..WHY NOT????) I haven't read the book this movie is based on so I can't do a comparison of the two. If you have ever been in a book club, this movie is probably for you as it shows the lives of the members in and out of the club and the relationships they face.

I wish I could have been a part of the club. Jane Austen is a fantastic subject to discuss. I do wish they had spent more time discussing the actual books in the movie. The book club meetings were only shown for a few minutes. The discussions that took place were really interesting and did give more insight into the books and the author herself. I giggled and groaned at Grigg's comparison of Edmund and Fanny in Mansfield Park to Luke and Leia in Star Wars. I'm surprised that no mention was made of her short stories that were published also. You'd think the fanatics…

Book Review: "Finding Alice" by Melody Carlson

You're your own worst enemy

Alice is a twenty something college student who seems to be living a normal life. But then after her boyfriend breaks up with her, something in her snaps. Thus begins Alice's journey of life with schizophrenia. It's a a terrifying ride that robs Alice of all her senses and is definately not a trip to Wonderland. Shunned by the church and taken into an institution where drugs are forced on her, she hides out in the street, with her mind becoming her worst enemy. But there is hope and with a little help from new friends, a way where Alice will finally find herself again.

This was one of the hardest and most impacting books that I have ever read. It was a definite eye opener with a subject you don't hear much about. I cannot even imagine what I would do if I was in Alice's situation. It would be a daily struggle to survive every day. Frankly it was quite scary to read about Alice's schizophrenia and what it did to her. The voice…

Adam by Ted Dekker

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

(Thomas Nelson April 1, 2008)

Ted Dekker


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own comp…

Book Review: "Lady of Milkweed Manor" by Julie Klassen

One of the best historical novels of the year

Charlotte Lamb is a vicar's daughter who's committed a ghastly sin: become pregnant out of wedlock. Banished by her father and sister, she arrives at Milkweed Manor, a place where other young women in trouble live. There she learns about what being pregnant is really like, the life of a nursemaid and what happens to unwanted babies. While there, Charlotte meets with a old family friend, Dr. Taylor, who is hiding a secret of his own. Just when Charlotte thinks her life couldn't get any worse, she has to give up the one thing that means everything to her...

I never realized what the life of a nursemaid was like. In fact I just figured that nurses just helped out mothers who did not want to nurse. This book showed me there is so much more than that. It was quite interesting to read about all the guidelines and standards a nurse was supposed to have. Since I'm a history major, I relished all the details about the time peri…

Book Review: "Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear" by Sharon Dunn 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, February 25. Good luck!

Deals and coupons won't help out this bear

The Bargain Hunter girls are back and this time they're in Calamity, NV for some major bargain shopping. Before they can get started on sales at the World's Largest Garage Sale, they have to encounter problems at their overbooked, non air conditioned hotel. There they run into a menagerie of characters including the hotel manager, his show girl ex wife, a former aging child star, and a college guy who dresses up as a teddy bear who becomes interested in Kindra. Plus Ginger can't locate her husband Earl who was supposed to be setting up his booth at the Inventor's Expo which is competing with the Squirrel Lovers Convention. But just when things couldn't get crazier, a man in a teddy bear suit is murdered and ev…

Movie Review: "Gideon: Tuba Warrior"

I haven't met a Veggie Tales I haven't liked yet. This one I had not been able to find anywhere because none of the video stores or the libraries owned it until just recently. I felt like I was lacking because this had been the only one I hadn't seen. Well it was well worth the wait.

The show starts off with the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything taking over the show from Bob and Larry. And since Larry is part of the Pirates this means he produces an eye patch out of nowhere. Bob is willing to give them air time so they proceed with a story about George Mueller and how he trusted God in everything for everything. Pa Grape's ancestor makes an appearance as a tabloid reporter who's out to prove Mueller wrong but ends up seeing miracles first hand. It's quite a good cute story. When it's over the pirates are surprised at how short this story ends up being and are confused as to what to do next. So Bob takes over with a unique story about Gideon and his …

Book Review: "For Better or Worse" by Diann Hunt

Opposites Do Attract

Wendy's a wedding coordinator who revels in seeing couples live out happily ever after. She's also a widow. Mario is a divorce attorney who's bills get paid when he successfully helps a couple break up for good. He's also a divorce. The two couldn't be more different and wouldn't have crossed paths if Mario didn't happen to move in right next to Wendy's business. The sparks start to fly almost immediately and the chemistry between the two begins to heat up. Wendy tries to resist Mario's charms but finds out that she just can't. And then her son breaks the news that he's engaged to Mario's daughter.....

This story reminded me of all the great 50s movies where the leads are total opposites yet still somehow find themselves being attracted to each other. I mean how completely different can two people be by one advocating marriage and the other trying to profit from breaking it up? Wendy wants nothing to do with Mario…

My Name is Russell Fink by Michael Snyder

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
My Name is Russell Fink
Zondervan (March 1, 2008)
Michael Snyder


Michael Snyder has spent the bulk of his professional career in sales, has fallen in love, and continues to struggle with the balance between art and vocation. He's never investigated a murder, much less that of an allegedly clairvoyant dog.


Russell Fink is twenty-six years old and determined to salvage a job he hates so he can finally move out of his parents house for good. He's convinced he gave his twin sister cancer when they were nine years old. And his crazy fiancée refuses to accept the fact that their engagement really is over.

Then Sonny, his allegedly clairvoyant basset hound, is found murdered.

The ensuing amateur investigation forces Russell to confront several things at once-the enormity of his family's dysfunction, the guy stalking his family, and his long-buried feelings for a most peculiar love interest.

At i…

Book Review: "Leaving November" by Deborah Raney

Please forgive me if I act a little strange

VienneKenney has returned home after flunking the bar exam twice. Jack Linder has returned home also after completing a session in rehab. The two have plans to start anew in their hometown. Vienne is opening up a fancy coffee house while Jack paves the way for a new art gallery. Both of them face the trials of running a new business in a town and find themselves migrating towards the other for company. A relationship begins to grow until Vienne finds out about Jack's past. She has wounds that run deep involving alcoholism and and the relationship begins to fray. It takes a true act of forgiveness before all can be well again.

Clayburn is a town I would like to visit. I could see myself visiting both the art gallery and the Latte-dah. In fact I would probably be a regular visitor at Vienne's coffee house since I love frequenting places like that. It sounds like a great place to hang out with a book and a cup of mocha. I und…

Healing Stones by Stephen Arterburn and Nancy Rue

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Healing Stones
(Thomas Nelson January 1, 2008)
Stephen Arterburn & Nancy Rue


Stephen Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries—the nation’s largest faith-based broadcast, counseling and treatment ministry—and is the host of the nationally syndicated “New Life Live!” daily radio...

By 1996 Nancy was a full-time writer. The Christian Heritage Series made that possible. She was writing those books from the early 1990's until 2000.

And then a new opportunity came along--the Lily series. If she ever doubted that she was going to make it as a writer, man, that little red-head put those fears to rest! And, of course, Sophie followed Lily, with some teen and grown-up books in between -- plus the non-fiction books designed just for you.

Nancy and her husband live in Tennessee now, overlooking a beautiful lake, lots of sycamore trees, and the rocky Tennessee hills. They have a bright yellow pow…

The Automatic 2nd Date by Victorya Michaels Rogers

Okay single ladies, you've been writing, emailing and calling me about how I managed to get 98 of 100 guys to ask me out for a 2nd Date. So I finally wrote down all my secrets just for you. These secrets can and will work just as effectively for YOU as they did for me!

~~Victorya Michaels Rogers, Author The Automatic 2nd Date

Q: Your new book offers a unique dating approach. Why focus so much on getting a 2nd date?
VICTORYA: If you can’t get past the first date, you won’t be booking a honeymoon anytime soon. The sad thing is ladies who would really be great catches are just blowing it and scaring their dates away by making silly, careless mistakes on their first dates—like talking too much, obsessing on exes, talking about marriage, calling the guy before or after the first date. If they just tweak a few of their dating behaviors, they can transform their dating life without changing who they are! If these secrets become a habit, you can stop stressing about first dates and foc…

Book Review: "Peculiar Treasures" by Robin Jones Gunn

Old friends are back again

Katie Weldon, Christy Miller's best friend, caught the bouquet at Christy's wedding. But wedding bells aren't on their way for her just yet. First she's got to choose a major she wants at college. Then she has to think about accepting an RA position in the dorms. AND then Katie has to wonder about her relationship with Rick Doyle, her not exactly boyfriend because they haven't discussed labels yet. Throughout all these decisions and circumstances, Katie must remember that God is with her at all times, even when she can't figure out what's going on herself.

When I heard that there was going to be a new edition to the Christy Miller saga, I was in 7th heaven. I adored the original Christy Miller books growing up, loved the Sierra saga, and was thrilled to see old friends pop up in Robin Gunn's other two series Glenbrooke and Sisterchicks. I was excited to hear we would finally get to read Katie's story. I had high expectati…