Monday, February 28, 2011

When All My Dreams Come True


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
When All My Dreams Come True
Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2011)
by
Janelle Mowery



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Beginning in 1998, Janelle Mowery coordinated and wrote for the Children’s Ministry of a Christian website called The Invisible Connection. When the holder of that site discontinued the ministry and website in the year 2000, she began writing inspirational fiction romance novels.


Janelle became a member of American Christian Fiction Writers in the year 2002 and is an active member and leader in one of their critique groups, which has provided many opportunities for growth and development. In 2003, she entered her first novel in the Noble Theme contest and was named one of the top ten finalists in the historical category. In 2004, she had a short story titled ‘A Fair Chance’ published in the e-magazine, Romancing the Christian Heart. In 2005, her third novel, entered in the San Gabriel Writers’ League ‘Writing Smarter’ Contest, won first place. Also, Janelle’s fifth novel made it to the top ten finalists in the Noble Theme contest.


In 2006, she signed her first contract with Barbour Publishing in their Heartsong Presents Mysteries line. The novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Elizabeth Ludwig, released in spring of 2008. The second and third mysteries of the series, Died in the Wool and A Black Die Affair, is set for release in 2011.


Janelle has signed with Harvest House for a historical series set in Colorado. Release of the first book is set for early 2011. She has also signed with Summerside Press. Her novel, Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho, released in October 2010.


Janelle has been married twenty-one years and is the mother of two sons. She is a member of Sandy Point Bible Church and serves as Treasurer. She also assists in the church’s teen program.



ABOUT THE BOOK


Bobbie McIntyre dreams of running a ranch of her own. Raised without a mother and having spent most of her time around men, she knows more about wrangling than acting like a lady. The friendship of her new employer awakens a desire to learn more about presenting her feminine side, but ranch life keeps getting in the way.


Ranch owner Jace Kincaid figures the Lord is testing his faith when a female wrangler shows up looking for work. Bobbie has an uncanny way of getting under his skin, though, and he’s surprised when she finds a home next to his heart. But when his cattle begin to go missing and his wranglers are in danger from some low-down cattle thief, can Jace trust God, even if it may mean giving up on his dreams?


An adventurous novel of faith, hope, and love in the Wild West.


If you would like to read the first chapter of When All My Dreams Come True, go HERE.

Weekend Battle Scars

Whew!   What a long weekend.    I just delivered hot chocolate to my boys (which didn't work) and I am now hoping the smell of baking cinnamon rolls will help wake them up.     Sleeping until 8:00 is unheard of for my Little Guy so I know he is tired!   Big Guy is a teen so sleeping this late is not unusual for him.

I spent a big part of my weekend working at the ballpark again.     Before this next weekend rolls around I definitely need a new pair of tennis shoes.   My poor feet were about to fall off!    Twelve hours running around a concession stand is going to take some getting used to again.

The boys stayed busy also.    Going to the gun range for practice for their shooting sports events, biking, working in the yard, going to the movie, and enjoying the amazing weather.

Little Guy had so much fun he managed to gather some battle scars.     On Saturday he was at his friend's house and they were playing in the backyard on her hammock.     Her mom had just cut a bush underneath it.    While playing, he flipped over and landed on his back right on top of that stump.   It knocked the breath out of him and he has a huge bruise and welts on his back.     Sitting in a chair or sleeping on his back is not very comfortable right now.     

On top of that, yesterday he, Big Guy and his friend were on the trampoline.    In the midst of some game, Little Guy jumped into Big Guy's knee.    He busted his lip which is now big, swollen and blue.     He looks like he has been in a fight.   Or worse, I told him that he looked like a baseball player with some tobacco in his lip.    He thought that was awful and funny all at the same time.

It is probably a good thing that the weekend is over before we had some broken bones!

We did have a great surprise last night when our neighbors knocked on the door at 8:00.   They had just made Reese's bars and peanut butter and jelly bars.   They brought over and entire plate of warm treats to share with us.    What a yummy way to end a weekend.

Hope your week is off to a good start!    

Friday, February 25, 2011

On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand

This is been quite a week. 1 Kings 20 says that "The God of the mountain is still the God of the valley." This week has once again proven to me that Scripture is so true. Not that I doubted it because I believe that if it is in the Bible then God said it then it is true. However, I have definitely lived both mountain top and valley moments this week.

What was originally planned to be a fun week visiting with my parents and playing with my sweet twin nieces changed when my Daddy let us know last Sunday that his sister/my aunt had died.     My Aunt Sarah had been very sick for quite a while so it was not a surprise, but it is always hard to lose a member of your family.

My baby sister cancelled her business trip and my middle sister took off work so that we could all be there with my parents and go to the funeral together. 

My Aunt was a very sweet lady.    She was tall and thin and was always smiling.    I can remember her laugh.    She thought my Daddy was so funny and laughed at everything he said.     Me too!     She and my uncle were married for 46 years and dated for 3 year before that.    They loved to ride motorcycles and would take long trips often on a whim.     Apparently she was very spontaneous.    Hmmm... I definitely didn't get that family trait.    She had a tender heart for the underdog.    Whether it was literally an animal or a person, if they looked lost she took them in.     There were a lot of teens at the funeral who had adopted her as their "mom".

While we were at home we found out that the Dad of one of our homeschooling families had been killed in a car wreck and the son of one of the boys I went to high school with was killed also.     It was a very tough week.    My heart still hurts.

Driving home yesterday this song was on the radio.   I love it.    It reminds me of what I know in my heart to be true...

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand.    
All other ground is sinking sand.
I will not be moved.




Thursday, February 24, 2011

Operation Bonnet





This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Operation Bonnet
David C. Cook; New edition (February 1, 2011)
by
Kimberly Stuart




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kimberly says:

I am a writer of comedic fiction, and would like to suggest that you laugh regularly when reading my books. Let’s also try for one to two teary moments. If you are crying more than that, you don’t understand my sense of humor and should move on to another author.


I grew up in a book-loving home. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. My mom loves books. My dad loves to read the first chapters of books and then make us all listen as he recites his favorite passages. I, however, enjoy reading books in their entirety and came into writing as a result of book-love. After earning two fancy degrees in education and Spanish, I promptly let the thinking part of my brain take a breather and instead became pregnant. (I’m sure a lot of other things happened between early literacy and pregnancy but I don’t really remember any of that. If you also have shared your uterus with another human, you understand.)


In an effort to author a book that would entertain my sassy, irreverent, breast-feeding/drooping friends, I wrote my first novel, Balancing Act. People were so nice to me after that, I decided to continue with writing. Also, I can’t craft, knit, or scrapbook, so what else was a nice, Christian girl to do?


In addition to writing books to make my friends laugh and cry, I observe the chaos at the home I share with my unfailingly supportive husband and three offspring. We’re doing our best and so far, no one’s been to prison.



ABOUT THE BOOK


Twenty-year-old Nellie Monroe has a restless brilliance that makes her a bit of an odd duck. She wants to be a private investigator, even though her tiny hometown offers no hope of clients. Until she meets Amos Shetler, an Amish dropout carrying a torch for the girl he left behind.


So Nellie straps on her bonnet and goes undercover to get the dish. But though she’s brainy, Nellie is clueless when it comes to real life and real relationships. Soon she’s alienated her best friend, angered her college professor, and botched her case.


Operation Bonnet is a comedy of errors, a surprising take on love, and a story of grace.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Operation Bonnet, go HERE.

Watch the book video trailer:


Monday, February 21, 2011

Save The Date

You’re invited to the engagement of the most unlikely couple of the year.

When the funding for Lucy’s non-profit job is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair, former professional football star and heir of Sinclair Enterprises—the primary donor to Lucy’s Saving Grace organization. Alex Sinclair has it all . . . except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Both Lucy and Alex have something the other wants. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancĂ©e in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn’t quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart – and her future – on the line.


Save the Date is a spunky romance that will have readers laughing out loud as this dubious pair try to save their careers, their dreams . . . and maybe even a date.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Save The Date, go HERE

Book Review

The week I was reading this book I was simultaneously studying a Sunday School lesson for my middle school students on temptation.     Coincidence?   Definitely not.     



On one side of this story is Lucy Wiltshire, a young woman whose ministry and life's work is a non-profit mission for girls who have aged out of the foster system.     Lucy is desperate because her mission is almost depleted of its funds which means that they will have to close.    Making things even more desperate are a group of people who think that the property on which the mission sits would make great commercial property.  



On the other side of this story is Alex Sinclair.     He is used to getting his way as a professional football player and local "hero".     However, now he is running for a seat in Congress.     It is not out of desire, but out of a feeling of responsibility.     He has hit a snag that he has never hit before... he needs help with his popularity votes.

When a chance encounter in public sees a drastic rise in his popularity polls, Alex proposes a mutually beneficial situation to Lucy.     He asks her to pose as his fiance and wife and he will guarantee the safety of her girl's home.

Is this a great premise for a story?   Yes.   Is Jenny Jones an incredible author and easy to read?    Yes.     Was it frustrating to me to read something that is supposed published in the genre of Christian fiction that I couldn't feel good about handing to one of my students to read?    YES!

Lying.  Deception.   Heartbreak.    Loss.   Pain.   All handled so poorly by Alex and Lucy.   These characters were portrayed as Christians, but really?  No Christian is perfect and shouldn't be portrayed as such, but these were just portrayed so far from what I would have expected.   Lucy has Christian friends, one among them is a pastor, but yet none of them give her the wise godly counsel that is needed.



When you watch television it seems that a gay person is required in every show.     I don't appreciate that being the case in my books and especially not in my Christian fiction genre.     Especially if there is no redeeming quality in the character being there.     Julian was the gay character in this book and I am not sure why his sexual orientation had to be a factor.

Jenny Jones is talented writer in every sense of the word, but misses the mark in so many ways when it comes to writing something that fits in the Christian fiction genre.

The Grace Card



Witness the Power of Forgiveness
"For it is by grace you have been saved..."  Ephesians 2:8

In Theaters
2-25-2011

(My family and I had the privilege of being invited to a sneak preview of this movie.
It is a don't miss and definitely will be the best movie in the theaters this year.
While following in the tradition of Fireproof, Blind Side, and other heart changing movies,
The Grace Card touches a need deep in every soul.   The need for forgiveness.)



Everything can change in an instant ... and take a lifetime to unravel.

When Mac McDonald loses his son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God ... and just about everyone else.

Mac's rage stonewalls his career in the police department and makes for a combustible situation when he's partnered with Sam Wright, a rising star on the force who happens to be a part-time pastor and a loving family man.

Mac's home life is as frightening as anything he encounters on the streets of Memphis. Money is tight and emotions run high as he constantly argues with his wife and his surviving son Blake, who is hanging with the wrong crowd and in danger of flunking out of school.

Sam Wright also never expected to be a police officer. He has a calling—to be a minister like his Grandpa George. But leading a small, start-up church doesn't always put enough food on the table for a young family, so Sam doubles as a police officer. With his new promotion to Sergeant, Sam starts questioning if his real calling might actually be police work rather than the pastorate.

Can Mac and Sam somehow join forces to help one another when it's impossible for either of them to look past their differences—especially the most obvious one?

Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships and heal deep wounds by extending and receiving God's grace. Offer THE GRACE CARD ... and never underestimate the power of God's love.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Already?

I can't believe it is Friday.     It has been such a busy week for us.  Every minute we have not been running we have tried to be outside in this beautiful weather.   

The week started with Valentine's Day.     Hubs and I laughed at how differently we celebrate Valentine's Day now that we have been married so long.    He and I made a date for lunch because I can't stand going to a packed restaurant.    We are both so frugal/cheap (you pick your definition) that we picked our restaurant based off a coupon from our Entertainment Book.      Being able to enjoy a delicious bbq lunch with all the trimmings for both of us for only $9 just screams "Happy Valentine's Day" for us.     *smile*  

Going out to eat was such a big deal for us.    We told the boys we were taking them out too.   They were soooo excited.     Why?    We have all given up fast food/restaurant food since January 18th.      We made this decision after our 180 weekend.    Every year before 180 weekend (a discipleship weekend of our middle school ministry), our youth pastor challenges us to fast for the 40 days leading up to it.    This year we all gave up soft drinks along with one other thing.      After making that one change, we decided to try to add one more dietary change.  So, we all agreed to see how long we could go without restaurant/fast food.   

Grabbing a $5 pizza on church night or grabbing a quick sandwich from the $1 menu on the way to night classes had become too much of a habit.     It wasn't a matter of money as much as it was a matter of we want to eat healthier.

Anyway, after going without it was fun to treat the boys.    We decided to go to Beagle Bagel for supper and then go to Sweet Tree Yogurt for a sweet treat.   With full tummies we ran to Walgreens to grab a few things.  Hubs and I stood in the card aisle giggling like teenagers reading cards and then handing them to each other saying, "I would SO buy this one for you."     Cheap fun I tell you!

The boys have joined 4H shooting sports which means at least one or two nights a week there is qualifying classes.     To be able to compete they have to put in 8 hours training for each event in which they want to participate.    You can only participate in three events which means they had to choose from the list.     Little Guy's choice was easy since his age limits what he qualifies for at this point.    He will be participating in air rifle and air pistol.     Big Guy is old enough to do any of the events, but he ultimately chose the .22 rifle, air rifle and archery.      They are loving this!

Other than that it has been the typical stuff... school, dentist appointments, choir practice, church, and occasionally some sleep!

Happy Friday!   

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Words




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Words
B&H Books (February 1, 2011)
by
Ginny Yttrup




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Ginny Yttrup is an author, freelance writer, and writing coach. As she writes, speaks, and coaches, her prayer is that God will use her words to replace the lies so many believe about themselves with the truth of His unconditional love and grace. To see someone grasp, perhaps for the first time, the truth of God's love, is truly an honor. Through a relationship with the Truth, Jesus Christ, the bonds of shame are loosed and freedom abounds!


When Ginny is not working, she loves spending time with her two college-age sons or with friends. She is surrounded by the most amazing people--each a gift in their own way. If she can spend time outdoors with those she love, it's even better. And she thoroughly adores her dog, Bear. He's a book lover too.


She has two grown sons and lives near Sacramento, California. Words is her first novel.


ABOUT THE BOOK


"I collect words. I keep them in a box in my mind. I'd like to keep them in a real box, something pretty, maybe a shoe box covered with flowered wrapping paper. Whenever I wanted, I'd open the box and pick up the papers, reading and feeling the words all at once. Then I could hide the box. But the words are safer in my mind. There, he can't take them."


Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn't speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in a remote cabin nestled in the towering redwoods-in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary.


Sierra Dawn is thirty-four, an artist, and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes and chooses to bury her pain by trying to control her circumstances. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter's death, Sierra's control begins to crumble as the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself.


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


Watch the book trailer video:


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lone Star Intrique - Two Books In One!!


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Lone Star Intrigue
Avon Inspire (February 1, 2011)
by
Debra White Smith




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Debra White Smith is a seasoned Christian author, speaker, and media personality who has been regularly publishing books for over a decade. In the last twelve years, she has accumulated over 50 books sales to her credit with over 1 million books in print. Her titles include such life-changing books as Romancing Your Husband, Romancing Your Wife, The Divine Romance: Developing Intimacy with God, the The Lonestar Intrigue fiction series, and The Jane Austen fiction series.



As a woman of God, Debra is committed to the highest standards of integrity and to spending hours a week being still before the Father, staying in tune with Him, and listening for His voice of direction in all she does. This commitment to romancing the Lord, coupled with her lifestyle of devouring, analyzing, and dissecting the Word of God has allowed God to bring about a miracle of deliverance and healing in Debra's spirit, mind, and soul. For you see, Debra holds a double Ph.D. from the toughest schools in the world. The first Ph.D. from the "School of Hard Knocks" and the second, from the "School of Very Hard Knocks." Aside from that, she holds an M.A. in English from the University of Texas.


Along with Debra's being voted a fiction-reader favorite several times, her book Romancing Your Husband was a finalist in the 2003 Gold Medallion Awards. And, her Austen Series novel First Impressions was a finalist in the 2005 Retailer's Choice Awards. Debra has been a popular media guest across the nation, including Fox TV, The 700 Club, ABC Radio, USA Radio Network, and Moody Broadcasting. Her favorite hobbies include fishing, bargain-hunting, and swimming with her family. Debra also vows she would walk 50 miles for a scoop of German Chocolate ice cream.



ABOUT THE BOOK


In the small town of Bullard, Texas, the Mansfield brothers seem to have everything in order . . . except for their love lives. Jack is the lonely police chief still pining after Charli, his college girlfriend. Younger brother Sonny keeps busy on the road as a private investigator, and a secret from his past prevents him from finding someone to settle down with. But all that is about to change...


Read the two stories...


In Texas Heat, Charli is wrongly accused of a terrible crime. Now Jack must arrest the one woman he's ever loved and risk everything to prove her innocence and save her life.


In Texas Pursuit, a single mother is a target of a relentless stalker—and Sonny finds himself both the only man who can protect her and the one who inadvertently leads danger back into her world.


Page-turning novels of romance and suspense, the Lone Star Intrigue series will give you faith in the power of love, and remind you that having faith in a God who redeems our mistakes is the greatest love story of all.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Lone Star Intrigue, go HERE.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love


On Valentine's Day...
My husband called at 9:00 pm to ask me out on our first date.
After dating for a year, he asked me to marry him...again on Valentine's Day.





Twenty three years later...
We are still happily married and are very much in love.
We have two amazing boys.
I am more aware than ever how much God loves me even though I completely don't deserve it.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Truth About Dating, Love & Just Being Friends

Chad Eastham, with his typical wit and wisdom for teens, brings much sought after advice on girls’ favorite topics including dating, love, friendship, and other important stuff.

Chad shines some much-needed light on these major issues for teens. Rather than let their feelings navigate them blindly through their tumultuous adolescence, Chad offers clarity, some surprising revelations, and answers to some of their biggest questions: How do I know who to date? When should I start dating? How should I start dating? Is this really love? And, Why do guys I like just want to be friends?

Packed with humor that adds to the sound advice, this book will help teens make better decisions, have healthier relationships, and be more prepared for their futures. Just a few things girls will learn include: Five things you need to know about love; Eight dumb dating things even smart people do; Ten reasons why teens are unhappy; and Ten things happy teens do.

Any teen can live a happier, healthier life: they just need to hear The Truth.

Book Review

Some parents aren't comfortable with talking to their teens about "stuff".    My husband was one of those teens.   His dad walked in his room one day and threw a book on his bed and walked out the room.     I am sure that my sweet husband isn't the only kid to have that experience.   I am so glad that there are books today for parents to rely on like this one written by Chad Eastham.

As a parent, one thing you need to know is Chad's stance on dating.    Chad says "there is nothing inherently wrong with the concept of dating... The problem happens with how we date, at what age we start dating, how we do it, the boundaries we place around it, how much of a priority we make it, and maybe most importantly, why we date."   Chad adresses each of these and explains how dating is not a "term" it is about people.

This book is written with something that teens can relate to:  humor.     While you are laughing he slides in really sound advice that you want your teens to hear.    

Chad's chapters address topics like...
  • 5 ways to know if he/she is really into you
  • Dumb dating things even smart people do
  • 5 top tips on finding true love
  • What "just friends" really means
  • 10 disgusting ways guys turn girls off
  • 10 things you should never say to a guy... I mean NEVER!
  • The problem with dating mythical creatures (One of my favorite chapters!)
  • Miserable teenagers vs Happy teenagers
If I were helping Chad edit his book (and he didn't ask me) I would have asked him to make an edit to the last chapter.     His last chapter is titled "Why This Book Could Be Stupid".    He surrounds his discussion around Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.    He relates this story to life.    The fact that sin is a profound theme in Hawthorne's story.   Every one "falls short".   Secondly, he talks about how people deal with their sin.  He says that he loves that Hester Prynne chose to hold her head and not be miserable.    He says that we all have the choice to do better with our lives.    Here comes my edit.... I disagree with you Chad.     The choice we have in our lives is not to "do better".    The choice we have in our lives is to acknowledge that we have fallen short (yes!), but that the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!     That is the real TRUTH about Dating, Love & Just Being Friends!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes

A multi-tasking mama, Summer Finley has found ways to handle whatever life throws at her with grace and a grin. Until now, that is. An “abnormal” medical test result sends Summer into an emotional tailspin and prompts her to fulfill a life-long dream of “meeting” her best friend and pen pal since fourth grade, Noelle Van Zandt, face-to-face.

Their blissful week together in the Netherlands finds Summer and Noelle floating down a canal in Amsterdam, visiting Corrie Ten Boom’s Hiding Place, sipping decadent Dutch cocoa in Delft, and bobbing merrily along through a sea of brilliant, spring-fresh tulips. Each day takes them further from midlife anxiety and closer to trusting God in deeper ways.

When Summer finally confides in Noelle about the abnormal test results, Summer’s honesty prompts Noelle to share a long-held heartache. The two friends find they both needed to be together more than either of them realized. Could it be this adventure was tucked away in God’s imagination long before Summer bought her ticket to fly to the land of merry tulips and kalomping wooden shoes?

Book review

Pen pals.    Summer and Noelle have been pen pals their entire lives, but they have never met face to face.      However, Summer receives a phone call from her doctor that has the potential to rearrange her well ordered world.     Summer does something very out of character.    She picks up the phone and books a ticket to fly to the Netherlands to finally meet her best friend and pen pal, Noelle.

After their initial shyness, they relax and fall into the natural friendship which they have shared through childood, teenage angst, college years, getting married, children and daily lives.     They spend one entire week getting to know each other's day to day personality.     It is so fun and they find themselves in so many hilarious predicaments.     I wanted to book my own ticket to the Netherlands to walk through fields of tulips and eat pannenkoeken.      More than anything I wanted to be able to visit the Corrie ten Boome home and experience what they experienced.

Every book has treasures (and this book has many), but this book had one that I have written and posted on my "morning wall".     What is a "morning wall"?     It is actually a door in my closet.    Any time I am reading my Bible or a book like this and I read something where God whispers in my ear I write it down and post it there.    I am able to have all these God whispers in one place to glance at and see each morning before I start my day.

What was the God whisper from this book?

"You are not meant to carry such a heavy burden. Give it back to God and keep giving it back to him until you have no more grief in your heart to hand over to Him. Then wait and see what gift He places in your empty hands."   (pg. 220)

Beautiful.    Now I seriously want a pair of wooden shoes!


I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.   Thank you so much, WaterBrook!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Snow Pics

The local schools were let out yesterday because of the road conditions.     Since we homeschool we don't have to worry about road conditions.    When Little Guy got up I told him I thought it was the perfect day to do a photography assignment.      I told him to go out and get some pics of the snow.     The pics below are the ones he took around our house.     He is getting better and better at taking photos isn't he?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Promises to Keep




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Promises to Keep
Bethany House (February 1, 2011)
by
Ann Tatlock



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy Award-winning novel All the Way Home. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association "Book of the Year" in fiction for both All the Way Home and I'll Watch the Moon. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her "one of Christian fiction's better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories." Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina.



ABOUT THE BOOK


Eleven-year-old Roz (Rosalind) Anthony and her family have just moved to Mills River, Illinois, to escape an abusive situation. Only days after settling into their new home, they are surprised to find the previous owner, Tillie Monroe, on their front porch reading the newspaper.


Though her sons have sold the house and sent her to a facility for the aged, she is determined to die in the place she lived her life, and somehow manages to find her way "home" day after day. Feeling sympathy for the elderly woman, Roz's mother allows Tillie to move back in.


Mara Nightingale becomes Roz's first friend in Mills River. In spite of their many differences, the girls discover they have something in common that binds them together--both are hiding secrets. So they make a promise--"cross my heart and hope to die"--never to tell anyone else. When danger stalks the Anthonys, Tillie exhibits unimaginable courage and selfless love in her determination to protect the family she has adopted as her own.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Promises to Keep, go HERE.


Watch the book trailer:


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oh Snow

Stop the presses!     It is snowing in Mississippi.    I know for most of the snow covered parts of the country who are completely sick of snow this is not big news.    However, for Mississippi this is exciting.    My little sister called me as soon as it started just to make sure I knew it was snowing.   Sometimes that is all we get is to see it fall.    It was so beautiful watching those big beautiful flakes falling out over the back field.   

Snow had barely accumulated on our patio furniture, our play yard and trampoline when the kids went out to enjoy it.     You have to appreciate the resourcefulness of a Mississippi kid.     They can stretch that little tiny bit of snow into fifty snowballs.    

After they were frozen solid they would come in, throw all their coats and gloves in the drier and warm up with cups of hot chocolate.     When they were sufficiently defrosted they would get dressed to go back and do it all over again.

By the time nighttime came the snow had almost quit falling and we were sitting in front of a warm and toasty fire with hot chocolate and fresh chocolate chip cookies.    

Snow is Mississippi.     Perfection.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Another Dawn




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Another Dawn
Bethany House (February 1, 2011)
by
Kathryn Cushman




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. After practicing as a pharmacist, she left her career to marry and begin a family and has since pursued her dream of writing.

Other books by Kathryn, A Promise to Remember was a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers Book-of-the-Year in the Women’s Fiction category, and Waiting for Daybreak was a finalist in Women’s Fiction for the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award.


Leaving Yesterday, her third novel, was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award.


Now her fifth book, Another Dawn, has arrived in stores, and I’m very excited about it!


On the homefront, Kathryn has been married to Lee for over twenty years now, and their two daughters are currently braving the worlds of junior high and high school. They’ve lived in Santa Barbara for the last nineteen years. It’s a beautiful place and Kathryn feels blessed to be there (although a seventy degree Christmas still leaves her dreaming of a white one—or at least a colder one!)



ABOUT THE BOOK


Grace Graham is back in Tennessee with her four-year-old son on a short unpaid leave from work, helping her father recover from surgery and spending time with her sister.


Shoal Creek seems more backward than ever after her years in California, and it's hard to find organic food anywhere. When the unthinkable happens and her son is diagnosed with measles, Grace's fears over modern medicine take a dangerous turn.


Worse, the town has fallen into quarantine and its residents focus their anger and blame on Grace. She is alone and scared, until one brave woman chooses to reach out a hand of forgiveness and mercy. But when the outbreak takes a life-threatening turn, will Grace be able to forgive herself?


If you would like to read the first chapter of Another Dawn, go HERE.

TOS Review: Vocab Ahead


What my sons thought was for fun, I have all of a sudden taken over and downloaded educational material.  (insert evil laugh here)   Just kidding about the evil laugh.    However, I did giggle when I told the boys I wanted to download this DVD of SAT words onto their iPods.      

"Download what?"  they asked.

"Download 1,000 SAT words.   It is for school and will help you on your test."  I answered.

I wish I could say they jumped up and down for joy, but they didn't.       I wish they said, "Oh, mother.   Thank you for helping us achieve our ultimate educational potential."    They didn't.

However, the next time we were in a waiting room I told them to pull out their iPods and call out some of the SAT words to see if I could spell them.    It started a very lively discussion about some of their meanings and we actually had FUN (notice that word).     We had FUN using these SAT vocabulary words.






The cartoons that accompany each word and definition gives these SAT words a very entertaining dimension that both of the boys enjoyed.  

A 1,000 words is a LOT!    You can see the complete list of words by clicking here.  Did you know all 1,000 of those words?    If so, please don't tell me.  

Disclaimer:  As part of the TOS Review Group, I did receive this book for free from VocabAhead.  The fact that I received complimentary products does not guarantee a favorable review.  It does guarantee a review. A fair review. But I am not going to praise something unless I think it deserves the praise.  If I don't like it, you'll hear that.  And hopefully with enough detail as to why so you can decide for yourself if what I hate about it makes it perfect for your family.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Winter Jam

My boys love music.    Hubs and I started introducing them to contemporary Christian music as soon as they were born.      We told them that we didn't care what type music they enjoyed (rap, country, pop, rock, worship, etc....) they could find it in contemporary Christian.     

Because of that we have a wide range of CDs in our house:   Stephen Curtis Chapman, KJ52, Newsong, Newsboys, Disciple, Red, Go Fish, Chris Tomlin, Tenth Avenue North, Mercy Me, Jeremy Camp, Third Day, tobyMac, Kutless, Grits, Hawk Nelson, Johnny Diaz..... the list goes on and on and on!

When Big Guy was about seven we discovered something called Winter Jam.    It is a huge concert that features about ten popular Christian artists, but the concert only costs $10.      What a bargain!      Hubs and Big Guy drove to Tupelo for their first Winter Jam.      They were sold and have been every year since then.       

As soon as the 2011 tour was released the boys put it on their calendars.




Look at that line up!    Newsboys, David Crowder Band, Kutless, Francesca Battistelli, Red, Newsong, KJ52, Tony Nolan, Sidewalk Prophets, Chris August, and Chris Sligh.  

They loaded up the van and headed out about noon to try to beat the icy weather that was supposed to hit our area.    After everything we saw on the news about what happened in Chicago and people being stuck on the road, we packed the back of the van with a cooler, sleeping bags and an overnight bag just in case they ran into any problems.      They did not have any problems driving up, but they had only been gone an  hour when there was a huge wreck in our area that left motorists stranded on a bridge called "The Stack" for almost 8 hours.      I was so thankful my boys had left prepared.

The boys called when they arrived and said they were standing in the cold waiting with a lot of other JAM fans.    The doors opened at 6:00 and it was a non-stop party until 10:30!  

Hubs took a couple of shots with his phone.     This one is of RED.   The boys were very excited about seeing them.    RED had just released a new album this past week.     All eleven songs are based on a book by C. S. Lewis.     We all thought that was just COOL!








Have you ever heard of Sidewalk Prophets?     The boys really enjoyed them.


I think it was loud... look at that kid holding his ears!   




All three boys said the highlight of the night was Newsboys!      Apparently their stage show was as awesome as their music.     The drummer's entire drum set lifted up into the air while the drummer was playing it and tilted backwards and rotated an entire 360 degrees... all while the drummer continued playing.    They said the place went nuts.      The lead singer had a huge platform that extended out into the crowd and he walked out there and all of a sudden was lifted up into the rafters.    Outrageous!       

They said it was the BEST WINTER JAM EVER!     


Following the concert you can stay for autographs.    Yea!    This is Little Guy getting his Kutless poster signed.

Off to the side were the other Kutless band members who were cutting up and drawing on some table paper.    Apparently they were laughing and talking and talking about what their ninja turtles would look like if they created one.      The boys thought they were great.    They took a picture of the art they created...






While the boys were jamming, I was at home reading and staying toasty warm.     I also had a little chat with our local meteorologist and friend, Tony Mastro.    I asked his opinion about the boys driving home that night.   He checked out the roads and told me it just wasn't safe for them to drive home so I made them a hotel reservation and told them to use those overnight bags and stay put.      

The boys were so excited about their autographed posters.    As soon as they got home this morning, the first thing they did (after giving me hugs) was show me their items.

 This RED poster is going to look so awesome on Big Guy's autograph wall!





Little Guy is proud to start his autograph collection.    

Winter Jam... have you ever been?    

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Larkspur Cove


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Larkspur Cove
Bethany House (February 1, 2011)
by
Lisa Wingate



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of sixteen books. Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its eighteenth printing from Penguin Putnam. Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.


Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen (2010). Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.


Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, a general market publisher. Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, Crossings Book Club, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.


When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women's literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.



ABOUT THE BOOK


Adventure is the last thing on Andrea Henderson's mind when she moves to Moses Lake. After surviving the worst year of her life, she's struggling to build a new life for herself and her son as a social worker. Perhaps in doing a job that makes a difference, she can find some sense of purpose and solace in her shattered faith. For new Moses Lake game warden Mart McClendon, finding a sense of purpose in life isn't an issue. He took the job to get out of southwest Texas and the constant reminders of a tragedy for which he can't forgive himself. But when a little girl is seen with the town recluse, Mart and Andrea are drawn together in the search for her identity. The little girl offers them both a new chance at redemption and hope--and may bring them closer than either ever planned.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Larkspur Cove, go HERE.

CSN Loves Me

When I started my blog a few years ago I wanted a way to keep up with all we were doing.    Document our adventures as well as all the funny things my boys say.   Then I discovered so many amazing bloggy friends.    Next came the fun of being able to review books!

Now, CSN stores has actually asked if they can give me money to spend at their stores to review one of their products.    Can they?   Can they?     Yes!!

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from modern office furniture to cute cookware to chic lighting!     The only problem is figuring out what to choose.  

Have you ever shopped at CSN?     What would you choose?



I'll be revealing my choice soon!