Friday, March 28, 2008

April is almost upon us! Can you believe it??

Time sure flies when you have as much reading to do as I have these days!! But the fun will continue as next week brings a new month and more than 12 new selections! April will be quite a suspenseful month, so get ready to sleep with your eyes open! Hint! Hint!!

There really are going to be some great new things ahead, so I hope you will continue to drop by. Don't forget my give away posts here and here!! I'll be drawing winners soon! And April will have give-aways too, so don't be a stranger!

Have a wonderful weekend, and don't forget to make time to enjoy a great book!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wecome Jeanette Windle to my Window!!


As the child of missionary parents, award-winning author and journalist Jeanette Windle grew up in the rural villages, jungles, and mountains of Colombia, now guerrilla hot zones. Her detailed research and writing is so realistic that it has prompted government agencies to question her to determine if she has received classified information. Currently based in Lancaster, PA, Jeanette has lived in six countries and traveled in more than twenty. She has more than a dozen books in print, including political/suspense best-seller CrossFire and the Parker Twins series.


Kim: Betrayed is the first of your novels I’ve ever read. However, as I researched your work on the internet, it became apparent that all of your stories carry strong faith messages that can powerfully impact lives! In this story, you use Sarah from the Old Testament in a way that was new to me, but was very meaningful throughout the story. Can you tell us, did Sarah “inspire” the story, or did the story “inspire” Sarah’s example of faith in your mind? Truly this is a unique blend!

Jeanette: To be honest, the story and Sarah’s example of faith grew so much together, I’m not sure which came first. I was speaking on the story of Sarah for a series of women’s retreat, and that theme impacted me personally so powerfully as I taught it that as I began researching for my next novel, it crept immediately into the story line. I will say that all of the themes of my books have come from faith lessons God was teaching in my own life at the time of writing.

Kim: In your life experiences throughout similar regions of the world, has it been common to observe such extreme duplicity among folks native to that area? If so, what challenges does this bring to sharing the gospel and having them place their faith in Christ?

Jeanette: The challenges of sharing the gospel haven’t changed since New Testament days. Man is infinitely capable of sin, and God is infinitely more powerful and sovereign. Yes, there is no duplicity in Betrayed I have not personally witnessed over and over in too many dark and dangerous corners of the world. But I have also witnessed the courage and self-sacrifice of Christians, many in the poorest and most difficult situations, who are willing to make a stand against evil and oppression and share God’s love at whatever personal cost. My greatest privilege has been to stand and work together with so many such servants of God around the globe.

Kim: It is frightening to realize that the “trade-off” of the lesser evil to capture the greater evil is at work among government officials. Do you think people understand the reality of that power and how it impacts today’s “war on terror”?

Jeanette: No, I don’t think they do; otherwise they’d be asking harder questions: why, for instance, we keep pouring billions into Musharef’s govt. in Pakistan while weakly protesting his throwing his entire opposition into jail to squash any opposition, or into Karzai’s govt. in Afghanistan where a young journalist recently received a death sentence just for printing off an ‘anti-Islam’ article from the internet, or into Saudi Arabia where Christians are jailed for praying in their own homes even as we’ve poured new advanced arms into their laps. We are arming making deals with the devil now that make our deals in the ‘war on socialism’ look like an afternoon tea.

Kim: There are many significant passages in this book that reveal the spiritual struggle and growth of the characters. Joe states on p 361, “Whatever happened here – of good or evil – is still in God’s control and His plan.” He goes on to state on page 362, “Don’t forget: this life isn’t our real destination or our real home. In fact, it’s just the start.” Why is this truth so hard for believers to understand and embrace? What is gained when we finally do understand the sovereignty of a loving God?

Jeanette: My fiction characters cannot possibly know at the crisis point of my book when neither they nor the reader know if they will come out alive that there is both purpose and a happy ending to the story. In the same way, it is difficult for us while in the middle of what seems such hopeless chaos and unhappiness around us in this world to understand that for all the turmoil and conflict and pain, this universe does make sense and has both a purpose and a loving Creator. When we can understand that God is both sovereign and loving, we can have the peace that whatever crisis we may be currently living, there is both purpose and a happy ending to the divine story of God’s working in our lives and in this world (just read Revelation Ch. 21-22). If I did not have the absolute assurance that the course of human history and current events as well as my own life lie in the hands of a loving heavenly Father, I would not have the nerve to research, much less write, the stories that I do.

Kim: As someone who grew up on the mission field and has served as the spouse of a missionary throughout your adult life, what do you see as the greatest challenge facing Christians in 2008?

Jeanette: For Christians in many parts of this world, especially among the three billion living under Islam, Hinduism, and communism, the challenge is to stand strong in the faith under a growing tide of persecution. For Christians in the West, to make a stand on the truth of God’s Word regardless of opinion polls or of personal safety and well-being; I see too much pursuit even in the church of the world’s good opinion as opposed to right and wrong, of watching our own backs, placing our own safety and that of our loved ones as a first priority, demanding as our right to be free from the danger and risk and storms so much of the rest of our world is facing.

This above all is the challenge highlighted in Betrayed. What is our call, how can we know what to do, when our world falls apart? The answer is as simple as it is profound. At every step and with each crossroads that opens up in front of us, simply ‘do what is right, and do not give way to fear’(1 Peter 3:6). That is all we are called to do, not to manipulate, try to figure out the future, or weasel our way out by any means possible. If we follow that simple challenge, then the Almighty God who wrote every moment of our lives before we were born and holds us in the palm of His loving hand will take care of the outcome, whatever He chooses that to be.

Kim: The ending of this novel is ripe with possibilities! Will we see any of these characters again? How soon?

That I could not say. I am currently finishing a book set in Afghanistan. Whether I drag these characters into another book will depend on new plot-lines bubble up on my horizon.


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Tyndale House Publishers (February 6, 2008)
Jeanette Windle

Fires smolder endlessly below the dangerous surface of Guatemala City’s municipal dump.

Deadlier fires seethe beneath the tenuous calm of a nation recovering from brutal civil war. Anthropologist Vicki Andrews is researching Guatemala’s “garbage people” when she stumbles across a human body. Curiosity turns to horror as she uncovers no stranger, but an American environmentalist—Vicki’s only sister, Holly.

With authorities dismissing the death as another street crime, Vicki begins tracing Holly’s last steps, a pilgrimage leading from slum squalor to the breathtaking and endangered cloud forests of the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere. But every unraveled thread raises more questions. What betrayal connects Holly’s murder, the recent massacre of a Mayan village, and the long-ago deaths of Vicki’s own parents?

Nor is Vicki the only one demanding answers. Before her search reaches its startling end, the conflagration has spilled across international borders to threaten an American administration and the current war on terror. With no one turning out to be who they’d seemed, who can Vicki trust and who should she fear?

A politically relevant tale of international intrigue and God’s redemptive beauty and hope.


Abraham and Sarah of Old Testament fame offer many examples of faith to those who have come behind them, but NEVER in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined that their life choices could have been so masterfully woven into a suspense novel in 2008! J. M Windle has got to be one of the most exciting discoveries I’ve made since I started collecting “new authors” here on my blog. This very talented writer has written a suspenseful, thrilling story that very naturally incorporates some of the most powerful lessons of faith I’ve encountered in fiction in some time!

Travel in your mind to Guatemala. Lush green jungles, exotic animals, unusual noises, smells, sensations….this entire sensory experience is captured so realistically that I actually dreamed of the landscapes in Betrayed while I was reading it! And I’ve never been out of the country! Windle captures this from her own life experience as a missionary’s daughter, and later as a missionary’s wife growing up and then serving in Latin America. Within this rich environment, she draws a stark picture of the life struggles of the native people as well as the brute power of the militant regime that has ruled that part of the world for decades.

It is into this richly staged world that Windle’s main characters make their entrance. Vicki and her sister are brought to the region for reasons as unique as each of their passions. Vicki is trying to aide the children of the region, while her sister is trying to preserve the environment itself. Neither of them realize that there is more than 20 years of history that tie many people, including their parents, to the area, and that the past is about to explode into the present with no apology! Beginning with the murder of Vicki’s sister and propelling you page to page at an alarming rate, is a story of political intrigue and terrorism that refuses to let you go!

Where do Abraham and Sarah enter in? Well, early in the story, Vicki receives a challenge from the director of the children’s home where she is staying. “Do what is right. And do not give way to fear.” She explains this in the context of Sarah’s heritage preserved for us in the Old Testament. We are not called to solve or even understand the evil working in the world around us. However, we are called to do what is right and not to give way to fear. This lesson is built one experience at a time in the life of the main character, and by the end of the novel you are rejoicing with new understanding in God’s sovereignty in ALL situations! What hope! What victory! Truly, it makes an eternal difference for some of the characters in this story.

So don’t waste a moment! Purchase a copy here today! And it just so happens, I have an extra copy to GIVE AWAY!! So leave a comment and enter a chance to win this wonderful book!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Family Squeeze by Phil Callaway with a GIVE AWAY!!

Teenagers and Aging Parents – what to they have in common? They share the care-givers “squeezed” tightly in the middle. In his latest book, Phil Callaway takes a close and poignant look at the forty-something crowd that finds themselves wedged between the tasks of trying to safely guide their children into adulthood while following their parents through the heartbreaking journey of regressing back into their childhood. In the meantime, this age-group also has to battle to keep their own marriages in tact while the world around them unravels at the seams. Are you beginning to understand the verb choice – Squeezed?

This is another deceptively small book that is packed with lots of amazing things. There are chapters dedicated to things like “Mid-life crisis quiz” (chapter 7) and “Eight Rules for Dating my Son” (chapter 9) that will have you in stitches! Phil is a firm believer in the power of laughter, and I know he is convinced that our world has forgotten the joy found in this simple task. There are also chapters so poignantly true that you will weep like the chapters that share his first child leaving for college, his dad’s final stage’s of Alzheimer’s and the poem in Chapter 36 about the limitations of Alzheimer’s. If there is one thing Phil knows in his not-quite-fifty years of living, it’s that the Lord allows trial and joy to come to us all. He also knows that it is only God’s mercy and strength that gets us through sometimes.

Family Squeeze contains a lot of practical advice among Phil’s own accounts of this peculiar stage of living. He was consistent in reminding all of us, no matter what age we are, of what is lasting in this world and what is fleeting and temporal. If we live our lives to obtain only what this world has to offer, Phil knows that we will face aging with a lot of regret. However, if we live our lives poured out for others and enjoying the things that matter, like family relationships and our personal walk with Christ, then our lives will be rich until we finally draw our last breath and go home to be with the Lord.

It really is difficult to sum up all that this book has to offer. I highly recommend it to anyone between the ages of 40 – 60. There is something there that will touch your heart, make you laugh, make you cry, and long for a closer relationship with everyone you care about. This is a truly unique and wonderful little book, and I encourage you to pick up a copy HERE today! And please, visit his website here to learn all about this amazing author and well-known speaker!

If you leave a comment here, I will happily enter your name for a FREE COPY of this terrific book!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Welcome Linda Windsor to my Window!


Maryland author Linda Windsor has written some twenty-nine historical and contemporary novels for both the secular and inspirational markets, but she is most noted for delivering “The Lift of Laughter and Spirit” in her modern inspirational romances.

A Christy finalist and winner of numerous industry awards, Linda has written for Multnomah Publishing (historical fiction and contemporary romances), Barbour Publishing (romcom novella), and Westbow Press (the Moonstruck romantic comedy trilogy). Wedding Bell Blues the first book in her new The Piper Cove Chronicles series, is featured on Avon Inspire's launch list.

In addition to writing and doing fiction-writing workshops at conferences across the country, Linda continues a music and lay speaking ministry started by her and her late husband, and she is a part-time financial analyst. She also works on “as desperately needed” home improvement projects on the 18th-century-plus house that she and her husband began restoring in 1986. Wallpaper and paint are definitely in her near future.

An Interview with Linda: Welcome!!

1. In you bio information on your site, it appears as if you are quite a multi-talented lady: musician, writer, financial consultant...yet writing seems to be center stage. How long have you been writing and how have your varied talents shown up in your novels?

I've been published since 1990, sixteen sexy historicals and contemporary romances before God booted me over the the inspirational market in 1999 with Multnomah's Hi Honey I'm Home. As for employing my other pursuits in my writing, I can't say that I have. Although my hero in Wedding Bell Blues, the prequel to For Pete's Sake was a musician, so I was able to write about the passion for music that makes all musicians kindred spirits.

2. Your "Dear Reader" letter at the close of this book mentions the recent loss of your husband. Is this your first romance since that time and is the reality of Adrian's sense of loss drawn from that experience?

No and yes, to a degree. When Jim died, I was in the middle of Blue Moon, the last of Thomas Nelson's Moonstruck Trilogy. But I'd built in sufficient momentum that, while difficult, I managed to finish that book. The hardest book I ever wrote was Wedding Bell Blues, where I had to start from scratch with characters and, worse, their emotions. I turned the book in late after struggling many times during its writing to just quit altogether. My emotions were so closely guarded in my grief, that I wouldn't let my characters give more than cursory attention to their own crises. In the brain fog I experienced on so many days, I was lucky to put two coherent words together. I wound up writing that book twice, not including edits.

And despite all my editing, I still let two bloopers slip through. My hero had a Rhett Butler (GWTW) moment and swore "D_mn, I still love you, Alex," and one of my unsaved secondary characters exclaimed "Oh my g_wd!" While my publisher and I can not retrieve those books already out there, future printings of Wedding Bell Blues will NOT have those words in them.

So, to anyone who read WBB and was offended, please accept my humblest apologies. We've done all we can to correct the situation.

As for Adrian's grief, I could relate to that, yet dared not let it flow too freely, lest my own overtake me. Several writings later, I hope I did it justice. I was not angry at God as he was. I felt God had been my strength and cleft of the rock during that time. I knew God had blessed me by taking Jim so mercifully, even though the unexpectedness of it left me stunned. I never doubted for one second that God was good; that He made no mistakes; and that He broke no promises, especially the one never to forsake me. So I HAD to make Adrian realized these truths, those to which he'd been blinded by his grief.

3. Adrian struggles against God because of the loss of his wife, yet once he meets someone who has a strong faith he is gently drawn back into God's presence. Do you plan to use his "reborn" character in future stories? This is, after all, the "chronicles".

That all depends on my readers and, of course, God. If the first two books of the series do not sell well, the remaining two will not be published. If God sees fit for them to be published, then Adrian will appear again, as a secondary character and a changed man.

4. Asperger's Syndrome as well as Autism seems to be a growing neurological problem today. Based on your experience, can you share some encouragement for someone who might be struggling through this with their own child?

First, your child is so very special. He or she is a beautiful, and often brilliant, soul chained by handicap that can be overcome with proper counseling and behavioral modification. For more information, go to or Google it for other sites. There is heartbreak for this problem but there is also so much hope.

5. You have created a wonderful seaside/creek/marshland backdrop for this story. Is this similar to where you live or is it just a favorite location type? What draws you to the water environment?

I live in this area. I created Piper Cove from a combination of two local towns: Berlin, MD (where The Runaway Bride was filmed for its quaint small town ambiance) and Ocean Pines, MD, which is officially in the Berlin post office district, but is a community situated on the bay separating this area from the bustling resort of Ocean City, MD. Like Piper Cove, this bayside area has and is becoming developed more and more for its proximity to the ocean resort. It's managed to merge past and present in a beguiling balance.

6. Any closing words of encouragement about exciting things God is doing in your life right now?

God is always keeping me on my toes. My daughter was married recently and I have the honor of going on her honeymoon with her. Now how many moms can say that? Okay, actually it's a cruise to Bermuda with my Red Hat group and we happen to be traveling on the same ship. But I like my spin on it. Meanwhile, my son has found someone special after 35 years as a die hard bachelor.

How is this God's work? Over the past decade or so, my huge family dinners have been reduced to one small table as our loved ones have gone home. It's been heartbreaking for me, who always wanted--and by His grace had--a Walton's household. With my daughter's marriage, I gained a son and two adorable grandchildren. My table is filling again.

With regard to writing, God hasn't stopped there either. If Wedding Bell Blues was my trial and tribulation book, For Pete's Sake was a milestone in healing. My characters could freely face spiritual dilemmas and love again.

That is why I am now able to write Jan's book, the third of the bosom buddies--best friends through thick and thin since highschool--in this series. You see, Jan is shy, with low self-esteem, the kind of gal who always wants the wrong kind of guy. Readers of the first two books will be wanting Jan to dump the guy she's been with and this is exactly what she's going to do. Jan is going to come into her discovering her worthiness to the God she's ignored for so many years. I am anxious to write her story. You see, I've been Jan too. Not that I've gone for the wrong kind of guys, but I've struggled with low self-esteem and chemical depression. And God has pulled me from the dark depths and made me feel loved.

That's why romance is so popular, IMHO. Fifty percent of book sales are romance. (And of those, according to Romance Writers of America statistics, the second most popular subgenre is inspirational romance.)

What does that say?

That there is a deep-seated need in all of us to feel loved. The romantic love alone won't fill that need. (Think about how widows and singles get by. I'll be they don't do it well without knowing the love of God.) In Sweet Nothins, book #3 of the Piper Cove Chronicles, Jan discovers this. She has to have God's love first and foremost. Only in knowing and accepting that love, are we truly set free to love as God designed us to love.

At least that's my two cents worth on the significant appeal of the overall romance genre. And with inspirational romance, we begin to see this indispensable need brought to light.

This week Easter approaches and what better season to focus on the greatest love of all.

God bless and keep you and yours in His love and light always,

Linda Windsor

For Pete's Sake by Linda Windsor

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
For Pete's Sake
Book Two of the Piper Cove Chronicles
(Avon Inspire - April 1, 2008)
Linda Windsor


For Pete's Sake is a remarkable story about the unlikely live between a grown-up tomboy and the millionaire next door.

Ellen Brittingham isn’t sure true live exists until she contracts to do the landscaping of the estate of the sophisticated widower next door, Adrian Sinclair. Adrian has it all—at least on the surface, He’s engaged to a beautiful woman who helped him build a successful business and he’ll soon have a mom for his troubled son Pete.

Yet, from the moment Ellen rescues a stranded Adrian on her Harley, his well-ordered world turns upside down, cracking his thin façade of happiness and revealing the void of faith and love behind it. Even more, his son seems to have his own sites set on Ellen – as his new mom.

As Ellen’s friendship grows with Pete, she realizes that his father is about to marry the wrong woman for the right reasons. And despite her resolve to remain “neighbors only” with the dad, the precocious boy works his way into her heart, drawing Ellen and Adrian closer. Close enough for heartbreak, for Pete’s sake!

But how can her heart think that Adrian Sinclair is the one when he’s engaged to a sophisticated beauty who is everything Ellen isn’t. When Ellen’s three best friends see she’s been bitten by the love bug, they jump into action and submit her to a makeover that reveals the woman underneath her rough exterior and puts her in contention for Adrian’s love.

But Ellen must ask herself whether she’s ready to risk the heart that she’s always held close. Will Ellen be able to trust that God brought this family into her life for a reason? Or will her fear of getting hurt cause her to turn away from God’s plan and her one true chance at love?


For Pete’s sake, Adrian’s sake and Ellen’s sake….this book is fantastic! I was so pleasantly surprised by this story! Not knowing what to expect, I began reading only to find myself genuinely drawn to the main characters. Ellen was the perfect blend of tomboy and down-to-earth girl that you couldn’t help but love her, and Peter and Adrian were so in need of someone to love them back into existence that you found yourself automatically cheering for them every time they loosened up and started to have a good time!

Linda Windsor did a wonderful job of creating characters that you really care about, and then mixed in a romance that drew you even further into their lives. But the kicker for me, was that she went a step further and added a mystery and some suspenseful scenarios toward the end that really kicked your reading into high-gear! This was the perfect blend of everything I have come to love in Christian fiction, and I thoroughly enjoyed this story!

I think Ellen’s blend of motorcycle riding, landscaping and love for children created a character that anyone could love. The faith that was lived out among the members of her family was believable and practical, and Adrian’s own struggle to keep God at arm’s length couldn’t help but be affected by the genuine love of Christ ebbing all around him. And precious Pete….he represents the struggle many people face today as they try to meet the needs of their children and balance them with the responsibility of their work schedule. Linda Windsor touched on real emotions in every area, and her resolution came about in a believable and very exciting way!

No matter who we are, from successful businessman to director of the local children’s program, we all have to submit to God’s will in our lives. When that submission comes, we always find that God’s plans for our lives far exceed anything we could have ever dreamed or imagined. I highly recommend this book, and I look forward to the next installment!

Friday, March 21, 2008



Stamped with Grace wins The Next Level and

Carole wins
Experiencing the Resurrection!

Send me snail mail addresses ladies and I'll get these in the mail right away!

And please stop in next week! I will have TWO more give aways! TWO terrific interviews and TONS more to share!! So have a blessed weekend and I'll see you next week!!

First NON-FIRST blog tour! Come join us!!

Introducing the new blog alliance devoted to Non~Fiction books, Non~FIRST, a component of Fiction in Rather Short Takes (FIRST). (Join our alliance! Click the button!) This is our very first blog tour. Normally, we will post every 15th day of every month, featuring an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!


Mike Timmis had it all.

How does a kid from working-class Detroit become an international ambassador for Christ? And what motivated an evangelical-based ministry to choose this Catholic as its chairman? Mike Timmis’s inspiring life as a Catholic and evangelical leader reveals how our unity in Christ transcends the two worlds’ differences. From him, we learn how Catholics and evangelicals can go into an alienated world together as ministers of reconciliation and witnesses to God’s salvation and love.

Mike Timmis is a chairman of both Prison Fellowship in America and Prison Fellowship International. He was also a practicing lawyer and businessman. A Roman Catholic, Mike is deeply involved in ministry in his hometown of Detroit as well as projects in Africa and Central and South America. He and his wife, Nancey, are parents of two and grandparents of four.


This book tells the real story of how God worked in one man’s life. God saved Mike Timmis’ soul when he was in his mid-forties along with his wife, and they made some terrific and positive life changes. The couple experienced some heart-breaking trials – the capstone and defining event being the loss of their teen-age daughter. Yet God reached through all of that and continued to grow them as a family, bringing their oldest child and only son to salvation after many years in rebellion. These events are real, life-changing and show God’s grace and mercy in its truest form.

However, as moving as Timmis’ personal testimony is, I found the last half of this book to be a reaffirmation of many things believer’s already know about the Catholic church. The Catholic’s theology of the universal church doesn’t preach the gospel, doesn’t teach members about personal relationship with Christ and as a result many members – including the author’s own father – live most of their life unsaved resting solely in the ritual of the church with no hope of eternal security. His own archbishop admits to different “camps” within the Catholic church calling the born-again members “renewed” then drawing them back to a works-based, serve-the-poor mentality. (we should reach out to those in need but it doesn’t have anything to do with securing our salvation) The author’s own recitation of his daily prayers, rosaries, mass attendance and confession is wearisome, and the idea of a priest “acting in the person of Christ – as His surrogate” is not based on any scripture found in the Bible.

The last 70-75 pages came across to me as a blatant, name-dropping advertisement for the ecumenical movement, overlooking much of Scripture in their effort to get along. The Bible warns us about the days where everyone cries “Peace, Peace”, and I personally think this is a dangerous movement.

As I said in the beginning, I don’t doubt God saved this man’s soul or those of his family, but I find a lot of his “religious” practices highly questionable – most of it based on Catholic writing and not on the Bible. This book may be authored by a saved man, but I feel he is very misguided and I find his theology dangerous and misleading. I am NOT recommending this book.

Make your own decision: Read the first chapter here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Courting Emma - a beautiful book by Sharlene MacLaren

I have the wonderful opportunity to introduce Courting Emma to you! Sharlene MacLaren's latest addition to the Little Hickman Creek series will be available in April, so don't miss it!! This is really a very special book!

I love a book that totally transports me back in time and removes me to a place and a people that I come to love and care about! Sharlene MacLaren has done just that in her book, Courting Emma! Although I’ve not read the first two books in the Little Hickman Creek Series, I have truly come to love Little Hickman, Kentucky and I hope to make repeat visits!

Sharlene MacLaren takes two very different people, Miss Emma Browning and Pastor Johnathan Atkins and casts them as lead characters in her story. At first, the reader cannot imagine any two people more different, but the story tenderly reveals that their pasts are more similar than even the two of them knew. Sharlene MacLaren tells this story so beautifully and tenderly that it is easy to understand God’s grace and mercy in every circumstance of our lives. Jon Atkins becomes God’s hands and feet in the community and he shows Christ to them in a way so real that God’s love becomes irresistible to many on whom the town had given up – Emma’s father Ezra among them.

I don’t want to give anything at all away in this tender love story. I will say that Sharlene deals with many issues like loving the unlovable, forgiving those who have hurt us, reaching out to those in need….timeless issues that are gentle reminders to all of God’s children. I loved the way she used God’s word to speak to the hearts of Little Hickman and I love the way each situation was bathed in prayer – knowingly or not. This really is a very special book, and I highly recommend it to everyone! What a testament to God’s love and grace!! Thank you, Sharlene, from the bottom of my heart. I look forward to reading your books for a very long time!

Please visit Sharlene's site and check out all of her terrific books!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
WaterBrook Press (March 18, 2008)
Andrew Peterson

Author/Singer/Songwriter Andrew Peterson, a 2005 Audie Award finalist for his readings of Ray Blackston’s Flabbergasted trilogy, wrote and produced the popular Christmas play and musical Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tale of the Coming of the Christ, and the album by the same name, which received the 2004 Best Album of the Year, World Christian Music’s Editors Choice Award. Andrew’s received critical acclaim for his seven albums and is at work on an eighth. He lives with his wife Jamie and their three young children near Nashville, Tennessee, where he reads storybooks aloud to his family each evening.

Artist Justin Gerard has illustrated several children’s books, including The Lightlings storybooks for young readers by R.C. Sproul. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina, and works as the chief creative officer for Portland Studios.

Once, in a cottage above the cliffs on the Dark Sea of Darkness, there lived three children and their trusty dog Nugget. Janner Igiby, his brother Tink, their crippled sister Leeli are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice and pursue the Igibys who hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.

Andrew Peterson spins a quirky and riveting tale of the Igibys’ extraordinary journey from Glipwood’s Dragon Day Festival and a secret hidden in the Books and Crannies Bookstore, past the terrifying Black Carriage, clutches of the horned hounds and loathsome toothy cows surrounding AnkleJelly Manor, through the Glipwood Forest and mysterious treehouse of Peet the Sock Man (known for a little softshoe and wearing tattered socks on his hands and arms), to the very edge of the Ice Prairies.

Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness presents a world of wonder and a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers’ groups are sure to discuss for its layers of meaning about life’s true treasure and tangle of the beautiful and horrible, temporal and eternal, and good and bad.

“So good–smart, funny, as full of ideas as action.”
Jonathan Rogers, author of The Wilderking Trilogy

“A wildly imaginative, wonderfully irreverent epic that shines with wit and wisdom–and features excellent instructions on how to cope with Thwaps, Fangs, and the occasional Toothy Cow.”

Allan Heinberg, writer/co-executive producer of ABC’s Grey's Anatomy, and co-creator of Marvel Comics Young Avengers

“Totally fun! Andrew Peterson, a natural storyteller in the oral tradition, has nailed the voice needed to translate a rip-roaring fantasy tale to the written page.”

Donita K. Paul, author of DragonSpell, DragonKnight, DragonQuest, and DragonFire

I’m going to be brutally honest and tell you that I did not read this book. I tried a few pages and realized instantly that I was going to spend more time trying to figure out and pronounce names and places and keep them sorted out than I was going to spend enjoying the story. So, what did I do? I gave it to my 14-year-old son to read! And he loved it!

This review then is based solely from the viewpoint of a 14-year-old who loves to read!

First, read the briefings at the beginning carefully so that you will understand the background of the story and its characters. You want to know why the Nameless Evil is looking for the Jewels of Aewair.

Now that you have the background, you will enjoy a story of mystery, suspense, good action and some humor. The mystery in the story is well maintained and there are some really good fight scenes that include porcupine creatures with deadly spines, horned wolves and fanged cows! There is a really huge and very cool battle at the end of the book, and the story ends in a way that makes you really want to read the next book. (Hint! Hint! Mr. Peterson!)

My son’s initial response – as in the first 5 -7 chapters – was that it was kind of like trying to read the poem, Jaberwocky, because the names were kind of “different”. One of my good blogger buddies over at A Peek At My Bookshelf described the names as Dr. Seuss-like only better, so you get the idea. However, once his 14-year-old mind sorted through the first chapters, he literally consumed the book in less than a day! My son’s highest praise? He highly recommended it to his brother who is reading it even as I type! How cool is that?

So, dear blogging audience, if you enjoy action-filled fantasy, it sounds like Andrew Peterson’s book is just the thing for you! I’m always thrilled when my son enjoys a book that I suggested! He is, after all, my best audience and a very honest critic! Thanks for stopping by! Pick up your copy of this book today!

An update: Since I wrote this review, my second son has read the book, and he has asked several times when the next book is coming out! Rave reviews from two boys who are huge fans of good, action-packed novels! Bravo, Mr. Peterson!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March 25! Join the Rebelution! is hosting an Book Bomb for Alex and Brett's new book Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. On March 25th we're going to try and push it to the top of Amazon -- and I need your help!

Alex and Brett are two teen guys who care about our generation and want to see us living for the glory of God. This book is like a manifesto for the Rebelution movement!

This book has a message that teens need to hear. The book bomb is a great chance to get a copy for yourself (plus a few to give away) at a great price (can't beat Amazon!) and help get the book in front of thousands of new people -- all at the same time!

Also, for every copy of the book that people buy on on March 25th, Alex and Brett will be giving away copies to teens and ministries who can't afford them.

If you want to help out, go to and sign up with the number of books you plan to order on March 25th. Then help spread the word by sharing this email or putting up one of the ads on your blog or Myspace. We don't have much time!

P.S. One great idea some people have had is to see if you and some friends can order together. If you buy more than three, you get free shipping. You can also check and see if your church or youth group will buy some. Think outside the box!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Experiencing the Resurection by Henry and Melvin Blackaby and GIVE AWAY!

Once again, I have been astounded by how much can be contained in a “petite” sized book! This 5x7, 211-page hardcover book contains more scripture and teaching than I imagine many folks receive in a long time! If you want a detailed, scriptural look at the resurrection and all that it means for the believer and the non-believer, this is a book you need to look into!

The Blackaby’s have done a great job of presenting the Resurrection from several points of view – the mind of God, the life of Christ and the Believer’s Experience. This is a thorough concept that allows us to consider the full scope of what it means to serve a Risen Savior and not a buried god. There seems to be a cry from the world today that there are many ways to God, and as long as you are sincere, you can reach Him from many paths. The Bible states plainly that that belief is a lie. Christ is THE WAY, and the fact that God resurrected Him from the dead gives Him the power and authority to make that a daily truth in our lives.

Resurrection is both physical and spiritual for the believer, and the Blackaby’s do a good job of explaining this as well. Christ’s death and resurrection make salvation possible, but it also makes living in this present time full and joyful. The power of serving a Risen Savior invades every part of the believer’s daily walk, enabling us to live confidently and joyfully as we face the certain trials in this fallen world. I think this is a very thought-provoking book, and I feel it will be an encouragement to many believers. I also think that it could be a great witnessing tool as well as serve as a Bible study. There truly is a lot in this book, and I encourage you to purchase a copy today!

If you leave a comment here, you will be eligible to win a FREE COPY of this terrific book!

Author Bio:

Dr. Henry Blackaby, president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries, is the author of more than a dozen books, including the best-selling classic Experiencing God. He has spent his life in ministry, serving as a music director and as a senior pastor for churches in California and Canada. Today he provides consultative leadership on prayer for revival and spiritual awakening on a global level. He and his wife make their home in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Melvin Blackaby coauthored with his father, Henry Blackaby, the Gold Medallion winner Experiencing God Together. He travels extensively as a conference speaker. He and his wife and their three children live in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, where he serves as senior pastor of Bow Valley Baptist Church.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Five Books in one week....WHEW!

I can't believe I've actually shared five books here this week! Wow! Busy time in the Window is it not? Spring has sprung, and it's a great time to sit on the front porch with your favorite book! So please browse about here and find something that grabs your interest! There is LOTS to choose from!

I don't plan on slowing the pace much at all during the next couple of weeks, so please stop by often! There will be more interviews, more GIVE AWAYS and lots of great books! Happy reading, and have a terrific weekend!

Only Uni by Cami Tang

This month FIRST has a second selection to offer its readers! If you would like to read the first chapter of this book, please look here.

This is the second book in Tang's Sushi series, so you may want to check out the first book, Sushi for One which released last Fall to rave reviews. Camy's writing is so realistic, you won't believe it! Here are some of my thoughts:

Tang has written this series featuring different members of an Asian-American family. Only Uni tells the story of a single woman’s efforts to come to God after a rather loose lifestyle. Since some Asian families practice Buddhism and other Eastern religions, the character’s conversion to Christianity is misunderstood and considered highly questionable. Because of this background and her own wrong choices, the main character, Trish, has a lot to work through - mainly her insatiable lust for the opposite sex.

Camy Tang’s writing style is very colorful, and her character development is so successful that she managed to create a host of people who got on my last nerve. The women lacked self confidence and it took them forever to get up enough nerve to stand up to their own family about their faith. Their relationships with each other were filled with skepticism and doubt, and their attempts to establish new relationships were awkward and immature. Basically, I wanted to grab them by the collar and shake some sense into them most of the time. The women in this story have a looooong way to go in the area of maturity – both emotionally and spiritually.

Now, having said that, I have to say that this book was very well written. I did like the way the characters in the book finally rallied around Trish during some rather trying circumstances. Forgiveness is something all of us struggle to give and receive most of the time. Camy Tang creates characters that are real enough to get on your nerves and a story line that has enough twists and turns to give you whiplash. Perhaps after they grow up a bit, I’ll like them better. In the mean time, I hope you will try this series and make your own decision. I need to move on to something that is less likely to trigger my instinct to throttle folks! Did I say her characters were believable? They really stick with you! Enjoy!


Camy Tang is a member of FIRST 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) was her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) is now available. The next book in the series, Single Sashimi (Sushi Series, Book Three) will be coming out in September 2008!

Visit her at her website.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rachel Hauck's Sweet Caroline...don't miss it!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Sweet Caroline
(Thomas Nelson February 12, 2008

Rachel Hauck


I graduated from Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) with a degree in Journalism. As a member of Phi Mu sorority, I partied my way though the last few years of college.

But, the truth is, and always will be, I belong to Jesus. At the age of six, I knelt at the altar of a Tulsa Methodist church and gave my life to the One who loves me.

After graduation, hired on at Harris Publishing as a software trainer, determined to see the world. And I did it without a laptop, a cell phone, an IPod or portable DVD player. Those were hard times.

But, I traveled to Ireland, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, Canada and the U.S. from California to Maine. But, life on the road is difficult. Working twelve to fourteen hour days, one doesn't get to see many of the sites. In Ireland, our company's distributor drove me around at night so I could see something of Dublin.

I met Tony, my husband, in '87, at church, of all places. We got married in '92. Tony has been a pastor for twenty years. I've worked with him in eighteen of those twenty. Our heart is to see teens and adults passionate, radical and whole hearted for Jesus.

Tony and I don't have any children of our own, lots of kids-in-the-Lord and we love them all. However, we do have a very spoiled dog, and an even more spoiled cat.

I've always wanted to be a writer. My dad used to tell me, "You're a writer." I have letters he wrote me post college, exhorting me to write. In this, I believe he had the heart of God.

In '93, I started an epic WW2 novel with two plots. It was well rejected. After that ordeal, I took a break and put efforts into my job as a software project manager. But, I missed writing and in late ' 99, I took up the craft again.

With a little help from my friends, my first book was published in ' 04, Lambert's Pride, a romance novel. I love writing chick lit and romance. I love writing. What an honor.

Rachel has several other books that have been received with great praise, including Diva Nash Vegas and Lost In Nash Vegas

You can purchase copies of Rachel's books, signed personally for you,
at this site: Signed by the


When I picked this book up, I was intrigued by the cover. I knew there was a romance coming, and I knew I was going to hear a new author’s voice tell me a story. Now, since I’m a Southern girl, the South Carolina setting was comfortable and familiar. The characters I recognized right away from similar folks in my own life experience. Caroline, the main character, was so eager to try and help out in any situation, that I readily identified the same tendencies in my own life. (ouch!) Apparently I am some 10 (maybe 15) years older than Caroline, so my perspective was a bit different, but the story grabbed my interest, and I found myself eagerly waiting to find out what came next for this young lady and her eclectic group of café workers.

Caroline is a young lady who is familiar with loss. She and her brother lost her mother early in life, yet they grew and flourished under their dad’s loving guidance. Her brother has become a strong businessman, and Caroline unexpectedly finds herself as the owner of a local, somewhat historical lowcountry café. So what does a young woman with meager financial means do with a café in sore need of restoration? You will be amazed!

Now, as Caroline and her café crew stumble through their first months after the owner’s death and face a series of interesting and sometimes hilarious challenges, there is plenty of romance going on in Caroline’s personal life. As a hometown girl, Caroline maintains a healthy network of girlfriends, and these ladies share everything from their wardrobe to their faith. Through these friendships, Caroline is introduced to some genuine day-to-day relationships with Christ. It is through these examples of God’s faithfulness and friendship Caroline begins to experience her own spiritual awakening. The genuine warmth and raw emotion among Caroline’s friendships ring true throughout the story, and her own doubts and fears about God and His personal relationship with His creation are very believable. It was exciting to watch this part of Caroline’s life unfold throughout the novel.

Rachel Hauck throws in a lot of unexpected plot twists into her story, and I was genuinely entertained right up to the end. I love a book that can grab your heartstrings, and the ending…well, keep some tissue handy! I think we’ll be hearing more from Caroline in the not-to-distant future, so please visit Rachel’s website and stay up-to-date on her latest books. I think you will really enjoy this one! I sure did!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Just Have to share a great book I read this weekend!

I have been a fan of Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity books for years! This latest edition is truly superb, and I just had to share it with you! Granted, it's not labeled Christian fiction, but the stories are family centered, and are highly entertaining! I highly recommend them - this one particularly!

This delightful new addition to Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity mystery series features Lori Shepherd at her best – or maybe her worst. It seems that the beginning of her twin sons’ school years has Lori’s imagination working overtime! Is that a germ? Did a train car full of chlorine gas explode? Will my son catch fleas from his classmates? Are my neighbors hiding a psychotic pseudo vampire in their attic? Aunt Dimity has her work cut out for her in this cozy mystery as she tries to guide Lori through the first weeks of sending her babes into the big bad world beyond their nursery!

Every time I read one of Nancy Atherton’s novels featuring the paranormal journaling of Aunt Dimity and the misadventures of Lori Shepherd and her English friends, I have to wonder what lies beyond the rustle of the next page! Atherton has a brilliant way of turning everyday events into a roaring adventure, and she does it with such warmth and grace that you don’t realize you’ve been holding your breath until you finally release it over the last cup of steaming hot tea! There were a LOT of twists in her latest story, and I truly found myself slack-jawed by the time I reached the last page!

I’ve come to adore Lori Shepherd and the English countryside thanks to Nancy! I take great comfort in the fact that Lori’s twins are only 5-years-old, and the fact that I have many more adventures to look forward to! I can’t wait to see which one of them inherits their mother’s other worldly relationship with Aunt Dimity! In short Nancy, write faster! This book was EXCELLENT!! For Cozy Mysteries at their finest, check out all of Nancy Atherton’s great books here!

You can purchase your own copy here today!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Perfect Life with Robin Lee Hatcher

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Perfect Life

Thomas Nelson (February 5, 2008)


Robin Lee Hatcher

Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon.

She also likes to blog. Go leave her a comment at Write Thinking!


Katherine Clarkson has the perfect life. Married to Brad, a loving and handsome husband, respected in their church and the community. Two grown daughters on the verge of starting families of their own. A thriving ministry. Good friends. A comfortable life.

She has it all--until the day a reporter appears with shocking allegations. Splashed across the local news are accusations of Brad's financial impropriety at his foundation and worse, an affair with a former employee. Without warning, Katherine's marriage is shattered and her family torn apart. The reassuring words she's spoken to many brokenhearted women over the years offer little comfort now.

Her world spinning, Katherine wonders if she can find the truth in the chaos that consumes her. How can she survive the loss of what she thought was the perfect life?

My Review:

Have you ever had the feeling that the Lord was yelling at you? More accurately, have you ever felt like He was placing the same message in your life over and over again – literally everywhere you looked – as if insisting that you pay attention and stop ignoring what He was trying to say? Robin Lee Hatcher’s book has come to me as another bold reminder…no matter what, TRUST GOD! Whether or not things make sense, whether or not they seem fair, whether or not you understand the reasons behind the circumstances…TRUST GOD! With some things? NO! WITH EVERYTHING!

The Perfect Life contains characters familiar to anyone who has grown up in or around the church. Busy, dedicated workers selflessly giving to others, faithful in their ministry and basking in the apparent blessing of God upon their lives – these thoughts create the first impression of the main characters of this story, Katherine and Brad. However, the time has come for God to teach them some painful lessons. It is time for them to realize that no amount of service, faithfulness, dedication or busy-ness can take the place of total surrender and trust in a loving Heavenly Father. God wants us to belong to Him completely, and many times we get so caught up in our service to Him that we trick ourselves in to believing that He is in control when all the while we are following our own desires and asking Him to bless the effort.

Robin Lee Hatcher brings the couple in this story through the fire in a variety of ways. One set of disastrous circumstances pile up on top of another until you have to wonder just how much more this family can withstand. Well, this is fiction after all…but I know I don’t live in a novel, and I’ve had to face my own set of mounting trials. To what end? To learn to give all that I am and all that I ever hope to be to the God that created me and died to save my soul from an eternity in hell separated from Him. That is the point. There is no other.

Robin’s story is not a difficult, prolonged read, but the message of hope and encouragement within its pages is clear and precious. The Perfect Life is part of the Women of Faith series. Please visit Robin’s site to learn more about her many books! I’m so glad she wrote this one!

The Next Level by David Gregory GIVE AWAY!!

Big things come in small packages! This petite hard-cover is deceptively simple in its layout, yet David Gregory’s insightful look at our true position in Christ is dealt with masterfully at several levels – pun intended!

When I first opened this book and began to read, I’ll admit….I rolled my eyes and uttered a sigh. What in the world? To think…I almost missed a treasure! Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover?” So, I openly confess my skepticism and I thank God that He allowed me to read this powerful book!

Using the allegory of a large corporation, David Gregory takes you on a journey as experienced by a newly hired Organizational Development analyst. Logan Bell comes to Universal Systems, Inc. in search of a new job and to get his dad off his back. To his utter amazement, he is hired on the spot into a position he had only previously dreamed of before walking out of his last job. Logan is asked to analyze each level of the corporation and report his findings to the Director. Like the book itself, the assignment is deceptively simple, yet it proves to be so much more!

As tempted as I am by the English major in me to explain the symbolism of each level, I won’t spoil the discovery that awaits those who decide to read this story for themselves. Suffice it to say, if you will approach this book with an open mind, God will use it to open your heart in ways you cannot begin to imagine!

Are you trying to discover God’s plan for your life? Are you trying to understand your own frustration over your lack of spiritual growth? Then I invite you to explore David Gregory’s latest book – The Next Level. Prepare to grow, to change, and to discover the difference between God’s intention for your life and your own plans that may lie beneath your best efforts to serve Him. This is truly a modern-day parable that every Christian should read and examine!

I have an extra copy of The Next Level to GIVE AWAY! Please leave a comment for your chance to win! I dare you!

About the Author:
David Gregory is the author of the best-selling books Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and A Day with a Perfect Stranger, and coauthor of two nonfiction books. After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion and communications, earning graduate degrees from The University of North Texas and Dallas Theological Seminary. A native Texan, David now devotes himself to writing full time.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Virginia Smith has outdone herself this time!

ABOUT THE BOOK: Sincerely, Mayla. (ISBN 978-0-8254-3692-5, Kregel Publications) The purple hair is gone, but Mayla Strong’s spunk and her nostril stud remain. She has set her cap for Pastor Paul—if only he would give in and accept the inevitable. When he stubbornly resists her charms, she goes off to sulk at her grandmother’s. Soon the house fills up with strays: a sullen teenage runaway and an angry ex-friend. As Grandmother serves up huge portions of guilt along with her famous fried chicken, Mayla realizes being a control freak is an inherited trait. She knows God has all the answers—the trick is letting go long enough to let Him prove it.
My Review:
“I think trying to control every situation you find yourself in is a sign that you don’t trust God to work things out to your satisfaction. Sometimes you just have to put things in His hands and let Him work it out His own way.” These words are spoken by Mayla Strong’s Aunt Louise on page 189 of Virginia Smith’s latest novel, Sincerely, Mayla. There are a host of circumstances that bring Mayla into this very significant conversation.

Her story begins in the novel Just As I Am. Mayla has lived life in rebellion against God, but the Lord answers her mother’s prayers, and she is saved from that life and born again as a child of God. However, her pierced nose and multi-pierced ears remain a trademark well into her new walk with Christ. When Sincerely Mayla opens up, we find our main character facing the challenges of suddenly becoming unemployed. Like every circumstance in the lives of God’s children, Mayla discovers this turn of events to have a purpose, and it opens the door for her to re-establish a broken relationship with her grandmother and aunt. Their relationship was severed years before by the death of her father, and Mayla determines to make her own decisions about these absentee members of her family.

Leaving for her visit with family turns out to be another challenge. Mayla has what she hopes is a budding romance on her hands, and she thinks that the old adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder” might help the relationship along. What she could never guess is that once she arrived at her grandmother’s home, some of her past relationships would follow her on her journey – seeking answers of their own. What started out as a family reunion of sorts buds into something much more meaningful and indeed, life-changing for everyone involved.

Virginia Smith’s main character, Mayla, is fantastic! I love her spunk, her zeal for Christ and her deep friendships. I love the openness of her heart and her willingness to reach out to others. Her past allows her to see very clearly that God’s grace alone is what saves us from our own selves. On page 196 she shares an insight with a friend who is seeking his own answers. “Any life not completely devoted to the Lord is wrong. And that’s basically every person on the face of the earth.” No matter whether we sport a diamond in our nose or wear the latest fashion and work in a prestigious job, we all stand in need of God’s redeeming work in our lives before we can understand what living really means. So, when Mayla finally signs her name “Sincerely, Mayla” on page 213, she has learned a lesson from God’s heart that will forever change her own.

This book is absolutely terrific! The characters are real and their struggles genuine and difficult. The story is filled with a full array of emotion… moments of laughter and poignant moments of silence and reflection…all woven within the journey of becoming the person God wants us to be. I highly recommend this novel, and I sincerely hope to see Mayla appear in another story someday! Bravo!! Please visit Virginia's site here and learn about all of her great books!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Next Week will be FULL of BOOKS!!

I'm looking forward to next week! I will have three terrific books and a give-away to share with you! In the mean time, I plan to make a direct trip to the library tomorrow morning to pick up the latest book by one of my favorite mystery writers! I can't wait!

So, next week, get ready for some books that will make you think about your relationship with Christ, books filled with romance and books that take a real look at a broken heart. A huge variety and some with free copies to give away! See you Monday!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Restorer's Journey - My Review

I just finished this wonderful book, and couldn't wait to post my review! This is a terrific read!

This book has been the most unexpected pleasure I have experienced since I began my blogging adventure back in the Fall. I am very quick to let folks know that I don’t read fantasy – don’t understand fantasy – can’t keep fantasy characters and places straight in my head while I’m reading….I’m just not a fantasy person. Sharon Hinck’s book has given me hope to keep trying to wrap my brain around this genre! This book was wonderful!!

I suppose what appealed to me at first was that the main characters were based in the 21st century reality that I live in, and many of their points of reference were familiar to me. Their faith, their experiences in the “real” world helped me to understand their actions and reactions in the alternate world of Lyric on the other side of the portal. More thrilling yet was that once the main characters (Susan and Jake) entered Lyric and the surrounding areas, I was able to follow the story easily despite the fact that I hadn’t read the first two books of this series. I cannot tell you how exciting this was for me! I truly enjoyed this story!

I loved the way these characters wrestled within themselves as they tried to follow where the One was leading them. On page 101 Susan’s mind asks the questions: “How many times in my life had I done this dance with God? Asking Him for direction, then promptly arguing when I sensed His guidance.” Much later in the book, on page 228, her son Jake wrestles with obedience; “I had followed the guidance I’d received then and every day since. And everything had gone wrong. Time to make my own decision.” Even though these characters were dealing with fantasy characters and events, their frame of reference was still that of a Christian in personal relationship with God through Christ. Because of this, the alternate world of Lyric was an echo – a beautiful reworking – of the gospel story. It was very moving to me to watch the sacrificial decisions that these folks had to reach in the course of their journey!

Another feature in the book that appealed to me personally was the poetry. Page 244 features these words: Awesome in majesty
Is the One eternal.
Perfect in His might and power,
The only truth and only source,
He made all that is and loves all He made;
His works are beyond our understanding.

Isn’t that beautiful? There are several other passages just as lovely! Jake’s character is this wonderful blend of frustrated young man, budding hero, closet poet and beloved son. Most of the story in this book is told from his point of view, and I really enjoyed watching him reach his own assurances of faith and confidence in his obedience to follow the One. As a mom of two teens, I could relate to a lot of his struggle, and I am eager to share this book with my own sons!

You really must read this book as well as the other two books in the series, The Restorer, and The Restorer’s Son. I know I will be eagerly back-tracking to read these myself! I just can’t express how much I enjoyed this adventure! Thank you Sharon!! What a wonderful and pleasant surprise to this non-fantasy reader!

Truffles By The Sea by Julie Carobini

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Truffles by the Sea

Bethany House (February 1, 2008)


Julie Carobini

Julie Carobini is an award-winning writer whose stories often spotlight her family, the sea, and God's timely work in the lives of those around her. She lives with her husband, Dan, and their three children in Ventura Beach, California.

She also likes to blog! Go leave her a comment at Waves of Grace.


If you read, Julie's first book, Chocolate Beach, then you might remember Gaby as Bri’s dramatic, lovesick best friend. Unfortunately, things get worse—much worse—for her before they get…well, best not to give it away.

Sometimes all a girl has left is chocolate...

Gaby Flores has a penchant for drama and an unfortunate knack for dating Mr. So Wrong. After breaking off yet another relationship, watching her apartment building burn to the ground, and discovering that her dippy delivery guy has run off with most of her business, Gaby decides it’s time to turn things around.

So she moves to a tiny waterfront loft and takes on a new motto: “Be gullible no more!” With help from her friends, she works to rebuild her flower shop—and her life. But when legal troubles and quirky neighbors and two surprising romances enter her beachy world, Gaby’s motto and fledgling faith are put to the test.

Can a young woman prone to disaster in both work and love finally find happily ever after?


Once again, I’m reading an author that is new to me. Julie Carobini is a mom who loves the Lord, adores the beach and loves being a writer. This is the second novel in her “chocolate” series, and apparently there is a bit of history from book one that is needed to fully appreciate book two. Since I haven’t read the first book in the series, I found myself a bit lost at the beginning of this book. However, as I continued reading I was able to find the “voice” of the main character - Gabby – and quit worrying so much about what I’d missed. Apparently the first novel features her best friend Bri, so maybe Gabby’s history is just missing. I’ll have to go backtrack a bit before I can say one way or another.

This novel is well-written as far as description of scenery and emotion. At one point, Gabby makes a very blunt assessment of herself stating that, “Anyone who really knows me also knows that pregnant pauses and I cannot coexist. They seem to have a gravitational pull that yanks words right out of my mouth.” Her lack of verbal control finds her later, on the same page, walking into her place of business with….”my dignity trailing behind me.” I like Julie Carobini’s turn of the phrase, but she never made me care about the women in her book.

The main character has been the victim of some bad circumstances beyond her control. Haven’t we all? Yet she worries all the time about her appearance. She says she wants to start fresh and be different, but she is constantly describing every male within eye-shot as some kind of chocolate. She’s insecure around everyone she meets and second guesses herself all the time. In short, she desperately needs a huge shot of confidence. Her faith seems genuine enough, but it never progresses much beyond something she uses as a means to boost her mood or an excuse to get out of uncomfortable situations. Her naivety is almost palpable.

The friendships between Gabby and a couple of her girlfriends are something else that seems surreal. Gabby just lost a great deal in her personal life and is financially drowning, yet the first thing her friends want to know is how her latest date went or whether or not her landlord is cute. One friend, Liv, pitches in and helps her try and get her business off the ground, but even as she gives graciously of her time, she is preoccupied with finding time to work out and the details of Gabby’s love life rather than anything of substance. Oddly enough, in many ways, Gabby ends up relating more to the teen next door than to friends her own age.

In a nutshell, I could not relate to the people in this book very well at all. While their circumstances were serious and their desire to grow spiritually was stated, they still seemed preoccupied with things that weren’t very important. Try this for yourself and make your own decision, but other than some great word-pictures, I didn’t connect with this story.

However, I know there are chocolate lovers out there, so I want to give you a message from the author herself! Looks like there is a chocolate contest in the air! I hope you are a winner!!

Julie's Invitation:

To celebrate my upcoming CFBA tour March 5-7, I'll be giving away a copy of Truffles by the Sea AND and a 1/2 lb. box of yummy truffles to three of your readers.

All they need to do is drop by my blog during the tour and leave a comment and a way to contact them if they win.