Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks - review to come

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Bones Will Speak
Thomas Nelson (August 11, 2015)
Carrie Stuart Parks

I'm eagerly waiting to receive my copy of this book.  I will post a review as soon as possible.


Carrie Stuart Parks is an award-winning fine artist and internationally known forensic artist. Along with her husband, Rick, she travels across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement as well as civilian participants. She has won numerous awards for career excellence. Carrie is a popular platform speaker, presenting a variety of topics from crime to creativity.

Animals have always been a large part of her life. Her parents, Ned and Evelyn Stuart, started Skeel Kennel Great Pyrenees in 1960. Carrie inherited the kennel and continues with her beloved dogs as both an AKC judge and former president of the Great Pyrenees Club of America. She lives on the same ranch she grew up on in Northern Idaho.


A killer with a penchant for torture has taken notice of forensic expert Gwen Marcey . . . and her daughter.
When Gwen Marcey’s dog comes home with a human skull and then leads her to a cabin in the woods near her Montana home, she realizes there’s a serial killer in her community. And when she finds a tortured young girl clinging to life on the cabin floor, she knows this killer is a lunatic.

Yet what unsettles Gwen most is that the victim looks uncannily like her daughter. The search for the torturer leads back in time to a neo-Nazi bombing in Washington state—a bombing with only one connection to Montana: Gwen. The group has a race-not-grace model of salvation . . . and they’ve marked Gwen as a race traitor. When it becomes clear that the killer has a score to settle, Gwen finds herself in a battle against time. She will have to use all of her forensic skills to find the killer before he can carry out his threat to destroy her—and the only family she has left.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Bones Will Speak, go HERE.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz - REVIEWED

About the Book:
There can be only one mistress of Tall Acre . . .The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general's past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

Triumph and tragedy, loyalty and betrayal--you will find it all in the rich pages of this newest novel from the talented pen of Laura Frantz.

My Thoughts:
Lord, I am Yours, Yours alone.  Not Seamus’s.  Not Lily Cates’.  Not but Yours.”  (p. 349)

Oh my goodness!  Sophie Menzies journey through this book is one I won’t soon forget!  The lady just about starved to death during the American Revolution because of her family’s association with the Tories, and when the war finally ends, she faces the battle for her very heart!!

Laura Frantz just about dealt me a fatal blow with the surprise she buries toward the end of this arduous journey!  Have mercy!!  She builds characters that capture my heart, lets me observe their tender, tender hearts and the way God gently woos them to Himself and to each other….and then….whammo!!  I just about had a heart attack!  It was hard to read the last two thirds of this novel.  As one who knows all too well the excruciating pain of betrayal and sudden, unexpected, unwanted changes in life, my heart was torn to pieces.  This was tough!!

I won’t dare spoil anything about this most amazing novel, but I will say that Laura Frantz is this BEST historical romance writer EVER!!  If her name is on the cover, read the book!! You will not be disappointed!!  AMAZING!!

About The Author:
Laura Frantz is a lover of history, is the author of The Frontiersman's DaughterCourting Morrow Little, and The Colonel's Lady, and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday September 24th at 9 p.m. EDT UP Original Series "Last Hope With Troy Dunn" - REVIEWED

About the show:

As a child, Amanda suffered abuse at the hands her mother’s many boyfriends.  She longed for a father to protect her but didn’t have one…or did she?  After Amanda became pregnant with her first child, her mother revealed that the man she had believed to be her dad was not, in fact, her biological father.  Now Amanda’s on a mission to find her true father and the love she was missing all those years. 

My Thoughts:

Troy Dunn is a person who is the last hope some have for locating family members that have been lost to them through various life circumstances.  In this episode, an unwanted pregnancy in the life of an already married young person, resulted in over two decades of separation between Amanda and her biological father.  This is a touching episode that ends with a reconciliation that could have been avoided had folks made different choices.  Lies and deception are part of the story's beginning, but, thankfully, don't seem to be a part of the NEW beginning.

I was thankful to learn that Troy vets the folks he is looking for once he finds them.  I imagine not every introduction is as touching as this one. This episode gave me hope that redemption is, indeed, possible in the lives of some folks.  That makes my heart happy!  This show also made me doubly grateful for my loving family and the fact that I've not had to endure the abuse and neglect that has been meted out in the lives of others.

This is a good show. It's emotionally packed, and, I'm sure, sometimes, not so hopeful.  But I would definitely add this show to my evening schedule without hesitation.  I'm thankful for folks like Troy Dunn who walk that extra, and sometimes difficult path, with others.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Steady My Gaze by Jean Watson

Internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter and classically trained violinist Jean Watson has been hard at work in the studio prepping the release of her seventh full-length project,Steady My Gaze. The project, which is set to impact retail on October 9, 2015, will be released on the Shadowlands Music label and distributed to retail by New Day Distribution.

Steady My Gaze features an abundance of Celtic-infused violin, Watson's signature haunting vocals, along with the special treat of stellar fret-work from master guitarist, Phil Keaggy and guest vocals from Tree63's John Ellis. 
"I chose Steady My Gaze for the title of my new CD because it reflects my desire to keep my heart focused on the Lord, no matter what is going on," Watson explains. "The songs on this project express my love for God through passionate words and music! The arrangements are energetic and fresh, and Phil Keaggy's guitar playing is simply amazing. Having John Ellis of Tree63 sing on one of the songs was such an honor, and Billy Smiley did an amazing job as producer. I hope this new music is as encouraging and fun to listen to as it was for me to make!"
Listeners are immediately greeted by the album's opener, the joyful, exuberant pop confessional, "Overcome," as Watson's fetching vocals are embellished by understated beckoning drums and meandering electronic keys. The joy continues with the driving rhythms and uplifting message of "Together Now," which features Watson and Tree63's John Ellis playing tag-team on the lead vocals. The high energy subsides for the more subdued yet equally passionate, acoustic ballad, "Impossibly Beautiful."
The gentle, bluegrass-tinged title track gives Watson room to expand her emotion-laden vocals as she encourages listeners to allow Christ the freedom to live, move, breathe and come alive in their lives. "Steady My Gaze" segues effortlessly into the sweetly evocative piano ballad, "Speeding Train," which also features Keaggy's lush guitar. Watson downshifts to the haunting, introspective, yet encouraging, "I'll Find You There."
Watson's innate energy once again explodes with tightly-focused control on the rocking "Burning Desire." She continues to channel that control on the gently driving "Against Your Love." The music takes a delightful, unexpected turn as Watson wraps her signature vocals around the beloved classic hymn, "Be Thou My Vision." She imbues the song with rich textures and embellishments, making it truly her own.
Joy takes center stage on Watson's updated, up-tempo version of "Lord of the Dance," but it is peace that settles over the project's concluding contemporary hymn, "Trust His Hands." She closes the project with a lovely, worship-filled acoustic version of "Overcome" that features her own pristine violin and acoustic guitar from Keaggy.
Watson shared songs from Steady My Gaze as the musical guest for the Christian Retailing's Best Awards during the recent International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in Orlando, Florida, eliciting an outpouring of accolades from fans and industry insiders alike.
"When Jean was performing/worshipping, I felt a very strong sense of the Holy Spirit," notedChristian Retailing's editor, Christine Johnson. "I was so glad we were able to have such a significant talent and worshipful artist play and sing so beautifully at this year's Christian Retailing's Best Awards."  

About Jean Watson: 
Internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter and classically trained violinist Jean Watson began her career as a Christian recording artist after having experienced the depths of brokenness and depression. It was her own brokenness that infused her music with such beauty and compassion. 

She has been honored four times as the Best Female Praise and Worship Artist USA by the UK Christian Music Alliance. Watson can be heard worldwide on UCB Radio Ireland where she hosts a daily inspirational radio show, and when she is not on the road she plays violin in the Kalamazoo (Michigan) Symphony. Watson has appeared on The 700 Club, TBN'sPraise The Lord, Cornerstone Television Network's flagship show, Real Life, LeSea TV'sThe Harvest Show, CTN's Bridges and many more media outlets across the globe. 
Watson is married to Mark Roberts, a chaplain in the United States Air Force. She lives in Lawton, Mich., and has four children: Charlie, Andrew, Grace, Katharine, daughter-in-law Emily, and grandson Chase.   

For more information about Watson and Steady My Gaze, visit or like on Facebook at

Monday, September 21, 2015

Only with Blood by Therese Down - REVIEWED

About the Book:

When dying Jack Flynn decides he needs a bride so that he can father a son, his young wife Caitlin proves far more than he intended to buy 

Jack Flynn, strong and aggressive but slowly dying of tuberculosis on his farm in Tipperary in the Republic of Ireland, decides to acquire--purchase--a young wife who can bear him sons to inherit his family's land. His choice, Caitlin Spillane, is less than half his age, attractive and intelligent, and resents bitterly the obedience that is forced upon her. 

When a young firebrand, a supporter of the IRA, arrives in the village, he and Caitlin are drawn together in their detestation of Flynn. Flynn, traumatized by his own insurgent IRA experiences twenty years earlier, is secretly convinced that Eamonn de Valera's more diplomatic, peaceful approach to Ireland's problems is the only sane one. 

Could Caitlin be won for the cause, and leave her unloved husband? 

A novel set against the struggle for the heart of Ireland in the Second World War, when the IRA notoriously sought assistance from the Nazis, Only with Blood explores flawed characters placed in extraordinary situations. 

My Thoughts:
Only with Blood tells many stories in one…stories of people struggling to be free – to become all that they long to be – no matter the cost.  Jack Flynn has been imprisoned by a life filled with misfortune.  Abandoned, mistreated, haunted by memories of war and death, Jack is able to recognize those around him who are also enslaved.  Jack knew his health was failing when he went to the matchmaker seeking a wife.  Though he had no idea where his request would lead, when he met Caitlin Spillane, he recognized a need in her life that he hoped to fulfill. 

Their marriage was arranged by Caitlin’s greedy father, but, after her marriage, she slowly comes to realize her full potential.  Her marriage isn’t something to further enslave her, it is the very vehicle that will carry her, ultimately, to freedom – a freedom she doesn’t even know she is longing for from the depths of her soul.

All of this tattered relationships are set against a background of war.  Germany is slowly gaining ground in Europe and the Irish are fighting for their freedom – from the world it seems.  Donal Kelly enters Caitlin and Jack’s world at a pivotal moment in Ireland’s history.  The second World War is just beginning, and it as if the entire world is trying to fight many forms of enslavement – political, physical, mental…the battle is raging on many fronts.

Therese Down has carefully woven historical events into a turbulent Irish tale whose character’s lives echo the fight for freedom.  It’s a dark tale for the most part, but the character development drives the story, and everyone will appreciate the conclusion for its strength and honesty.

About the Author:

Therese Down is currently working as the Head of English at a High School in England and has been teaching English Literature and Language for over twenty years in a range of schools and colleges. She holds a MA in Employment Law and is experienced in personnel management.

Friday, September 18, 2015

PARENTING WITHOUT REGRET: Raising Kids with Purpose, Not Perfection by Jimmy and Laura Seibert

Book shares the Seibert’s personal parenting journey of learning to raise their children with intentionality and purpose.

(Waco, Texas) It’s a universal issue that most parents struggle with: do I even know how to parent? Is what I’m doing actually helping my child thrive? 
Do I truly understand how to raise a child?  Certainly every parent has questioned their ability at some point in their lives.  Now, Jimmy Seibert, the Senior Pastor of Antioch Community Church and President of Antioch Ministries International, and his wife Laura share their personal journey of growing as parents and living with as little regret as possible in their new book PARENTING WITHOUT REGRET: Raising Kids with Purpose, not Perfection (Clear Day Publishing).
“Many people have asked Laura and me to share the story of how we have raised our four kids.  So this is our story.  Every person, couple and family will have their own unique journey.  We are sharing ours, not as a prescription for every situation that arises or as a perfect formula, but as a story to fill you with hope.”
PARENTING WITHOUT REGRET is focused on the most important keys in raising kids who will end up loving God, loving each other and loving the world.  Much of the information in the book came from the Seibert’s four children, who gave great insight as well as practical input on what they felt was effective in their development.  
Best-selling author and speaker Francis Chan has given a strong endorsement of the book: “Excellent book! As a father of seven, I found myself thinking ‘Amen’ throughout every chapter. Lots of helpful insights that I plan on implementing in my own family. I am so grateful for the example of Jimmy and Laura as parents and Christians. I hope that many, many parents will read this book and follow their example. This is the exact kind of parenting book this generation needs.”
“Don’t get us wrong, this book is not about perfection or the inability to fail.  We all have regrets and make mistakes.  It’s about parenting with intentionality so you won’t regret the focus and effort that you put into raising your kids.  Ultimately our prayer is that, as we look back in our latter days, we are not consumed by thoughts that we wished we had done things differently, but rather are thankful that we had parented wholeheartedly.”
Key topics addressed by the book include:
How do we let our kids know they are valued?
How do we help them be successful?
How do we deal with the challenges of our culture?
How to we prepare them for the future?
How to we raise them to have their own relationship with God?
The Seibert’s use personal stories and biblical content to share how they navigated and answered the tough questions for themselves. “Our prayer is that PARENTING WITHOUT REGRET will ignite fresh hope into every parents that reads it, and subsequently raise a new generation of young people who are ready to take on the challenges of this world and shape it for the glory of God.”
PARENTING WITHOUT REGRET: Raising Kids with Purpose, not Perfection 
By Jimmy and Laura Seibert
In stores and online October 29, 2015
Paperback Suggested Retail Price:  $15.99 
Publisher: Clear Day Publishing. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Bread & Wine's debut project One - Live at Serenbe featuring Bethel Atlanta Worship Pastors Ben and Kelly Smith releases September 20

One - Live at Serenbe Features Powerful and Passionate Worship Songs Co-Written by Daniel Bashta, Jason Upton and Pat Barrett

ATLANTA (September 14, 2015)- Bethel Atlanta Worship Pastors Ben and Kelly Smith who helm the group Bread & Wine anticipate the release of their powerful and passionate debut worship CD, One - Live at Serenbe on September 20. Fans of Bethel style worship music will resonate with the innovative project which features songs co-written by Ben Smith and Daniel Bashta, the writer of the certified gold selling "God's Not Dead (Like a Lion)", Jason Upton ("In YourPresence" "Fly") and Pat Barrett ("Good, Good Father"). The project was recorded live with the participation of ardent worshippers from across the region at the beautiful Lake Pavillion at Serenbe, a progressive urban community south of Atlanta last winter. 

Three videos have been released in the last few weeks on Youtube, the warm and poignant "Whisper" co-written with Jason Upton, the intimate, heartfelt praise hymn "Great Is the Lord" featuring Kelly Smith on vocals co-written with Daniel Bashta, Barrett and Smith and the powerful,danceable anthem "When You are Here" The video of"Coming Alive" is due to be released this week, followed by the moving "Mountain to Valley", profound "Never Met a Father" and uplifting "Seek First" in subsequent weeks.

The release will be celebrated by a return to Serenbe, located at 10950 Hutcheson Ferry Road, Palmetto, Georgia on Sunday, September 20 at 6 pm with the first of a series of Bread & Wine worship events open to the public.
“Our hope is that this music will serve those who are seeking deeper connection with God. We want to create space for people to experience Him through communion - authentic conversation, worship, and connection with friends and family,” says Ben Smith. Four Bread & Wine events are planned over the next year in the Atlanta area with the potential to take the full scale yet intimate events to other cities across the nation. 

Bethel Atlanta ( is a church plant of Bethel Redding, known worldwide for it's music. Events will be community wide intimate worship events that will transcend and draw together worshippers from across denominational lines and regions.

One - LIve at Serenbe is currently available for pre-order on iTunes until the release date. Pre-orders will receive as a bonus the immediate download of three songs:  "Whisper", "Coming Alive" and "When You Are Here" .After September 20 the project will be available on all major music sources excluding Spotify.

For more information on Bread & Wine visit:
Instagram/Twitter/Periscope: @_breadandwine  
The website under construction will up around release day


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Restoring All Things by Warren Cole Smith and John Stonestreet - REVIEWED

About the Book:
God is at work--and He invites you to join Him

It's easy to get discouraged by the headlines. It can often feel as if God has left the building and we are on our own. This soul-stirring book cuts through the chaos and uncertainty to show you how God is powerfully active and intensely engaged in fulfilling His promise to restore all things. Through inspiring real-life stories of justice, mercy, love, and forgiveness in our communities and neighborhoods, you'll encounter a God who is intimately involved in His creation and using His church to work out the redemption of this world.

My Thoughts:
Restoring All Things is a unique blend between personal stories, academic research and biblical truth that adds teeth to the fundamental mandate found in the Bible to go into all the world and spread the gospel.  In the 21st century that looks very practical and personal.  Smith and Stonestreet have put together a book that takes a close look at some of the main social issues that are impacting the global community – issues that Christians often perceived as too big for their personal efforts to make an impact.  From urban ministry, to human trafficking to the gay and lesbian community, this writing duo presents real-life stories that tell readers that come to the pages of this book that God is still active in the transformational  redemption that serves as the earmark of the fact that He alone is the true and living God that sent His son to redeem fallen man.

Smith and Stonestreet begin by looking at God’s Word as the foundation of truth upon which rests all of humanity.  The Bible is timeless and its pages record examples of God’s truth that each of us can use to build a personal, effective ministry platform regardless of our position, financial ability or any other thing by which we measure our ability to be effective.  In short, if this book doesn’t inspire you with ideas for personal ministry opportunities, then I’d take an honest look at your personal relationship with God through Christ Jesus. 

This book is packed with information.  Challenges. TRUTH! Share this with your church family today!

About the Author:
Warren Cole Smith is the vice president of WORLD News Group, publisher of WORLDmagazine, and producer of the nationally syndicated radio programs The World and Everything in It and Listening In, a weekly interview program he also hosts. He has written, cowritten, or edited more than ten books, including A Lover's Quarrel with the Evangelical Church and Prodigal Press: Confronting the Anti-Christian Bias of the American News Media. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

John Stonestreet is a speaker and fellow of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, as well as the co-host with Eric Metaxas ofBreakpoint, the Christian worldview radio program founded by Chuck Colson. John is a sought-after speaker at conferences, colleges, and churches on the subjects of theology, apologetics, and faith and culture. He holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Bryan College and is the coauthor ofMaking Sense of Your World.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Bible Stories Gone Crazy! by Josh Edwards Illustrated by Emiliano Migliardo - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Eight Bible stories are depicted in bright color and comic, cartoony illustrations. There is a sentence or two explaining the scene at the top, and then details to spot, mistakes to find, and questions to answer along the sides of the picture, such as, "Did Noah's workmen REALLY have power tools?" and "How many rabbits are in the picture?" Children will love scouring the illustrations to find the answers and spot more amusing details in the busy artwork of Emiliano Migliardo.

The stories are Noah and His Great Ark, Moses Crossing the Red Sea, Joshua and the Fall of Jericho, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions, Jonah and the Big Fish, Feeding the 5,000, and Man Through the Roof.

- See more at:

My Thoughts:

My boys are far past the age of reading books together, but this book is one that we all had loads of fun with!  Me included!  We sat down and searched out all of the pictures and clues, we laughed, we spent time together and we were renewed in our belief that God has and is still moving His people to use their gifts in obedience to Him that others may come to know the truth of His Word!

Bible Stories Gone Crazy takes eight stories from God’s Word and turns them into a visual treasure hunt!  The great thing is that the scripture reference is right there on the page, and you can read the story from God’s Word as you look for the questions posed by the author about the story.  The questions lead you on a treasure hunt, but also leads you to examine the details of the story according to the Bible.

This is a tremendous teaching tool that will engage adults and children alike and will offer hours of time spent together around God’s Word!  You can limit your time to one story, or cover all eight at once, but I guarantee you will return to this book time and time again!  This is a win- win!  For everyone!! I highly recommend this book!

About the Author:
Josh Edwards has written a number of Bible stories and innovative activity books for kids, building on his experience as a teacher, an artist, and a father of three rapidly growing children. A Londoner by birth, residence, and preference, he has traveled widely and has always loved books and reading.

About the Illustrator:
Emiliano Migliardo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1971, and has been working in children's media, publishing comic strips, humor, games and illustrations for more than 20 years. He has known since he was a young boy that he wanted to dedicate his life to drawing, and he has.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Gospel Music Hall of Famer to Appear on Network's Flagship Show, 
Real Life
, tomorrow, and on Intimate Living Room Concert Series on Saturday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (September 9, 2015) - Few recording artists have had the impact and influence on the contemporary Christian music genre as GMA Hall of Famer John Schlitt. The legendary vocalist, who fronted the Grammy Award winning rock band Petra and Gold selling mainstream band Head East, is scheduled to appear live Thursday, September 10 on Cornerstone Television Network's flagship show,Real Life
During his live appearance, Schlitt will perform and share stories drawn from his extraordinary four-decade body of work, including his recentCD, The Greater Cause. Viewers can watch the live broadcast of Schlitt's Real Life 
appearance at 9 a.m. E.T., followed by rebroadcasting at 1 p.m., 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. E.T. or online at
While visiting the Cornerstone studios, Schlitt will also tape an intimate concert for the network's unique Living Room Concert Series, which is slated for broadcast on Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. EST (airdate subject to change; see local listings). To view the episode online, visit

About John Schlitt:
For more than four decades, John Schlitt has enjoyed a stellar musical career as a solo artist, as the lead singer for Grammy Award-winning Christian band Petra, one of the most successful Christian rock bands of all time, and as the former lead singer for popular '70s mainstream rock band Head East. He has been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame as the lead singer of Petra during the years when the band won 10 Dove Awards and four Grammy Awards. Schlitt was named the best rock singer in Christian music history by According to the website, Schlitt "remains one of the most distinctive and impactful men to ever stand behind a microphone." Schlitt was also named Male Vocalist of the Year in's 2011 Readers' Poll in a category that included Chris Tomlin, Jeremy Camp, Brandon Heath and Bebo Norman. 
Schlitt released his fourth solo CD, The Greater Cause, in May 2012, and his first holiday record, The Christmas Project, last year. The legendary vocalist's busy schedule has included appearances on The Mike Huckabee Show700 Club Interactive and the Faith & Freedom Celebration--the faith-based kick-off to the Republican National Convention, as well as extensive international touring.
For more information on Schlitt, visit or follow him on Twitter (@johnwschlitt) or Facebook (  

About Cornerstone Television Network, Real Life and the Living Room Concert Series:
Cornerstone Television Network is a viewer-supported ministry that reaches 5.8 million homes in the U.S. and throughout the Western Hemisphere. Airing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Cornerstone Television Network programs are broadcast to more than 100 affiliate stations nationwide through SkyAngel and Glorystar, as well as online at

Cornerstone Television Network's flagship program, Real Life, is a unique Christian television show that combines music, interviews, and engaging weekly segments. "Our goal is to entertain and inspire both people who attend church and those who don't," states Cornerstone's president, Don Black.

Veteran contemporary Christian music artists artists share their most loved songs and stories in an intimate 'living room' setting on Cornerstone's Living Room Concert Series. Each program in the special series is different, and features special guests such as Phil Keaggy, Billy Sprague, Randy Stonehill, Bryan Duncan, Larnelle Harris, Ginny Owens and others.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from Harper Collins)
A historic literary event: the publication of a newly discovered novel, the earliest known work from Harper Lee, the beloved, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014.
Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.
Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee's enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.
My Review:
“------something’s wrong with me, it’s something about me.  It has to be because all these people cannot have changed.”  (p. 167)

Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, has returned home only to discover that the same racism that touched her family’s life so intimately when she was a child is touching it again in a very different, even more disorienting way.  Fear has altered everyone’s heart and mind and reoriented what was once familiar into something more disturbing than the fear that drives the change.  To return to Alabama from a life in New York set Jean Louise apart in a significant way at the outset, but within only two days’ of her return home, it is easier for her to believe that she has changed in profound ways.  To consider the alternative scares her even more than the racism that has once again reared its ugly head in her hometown.

Greater still, the emergence of big government has just begun to take root in the hearts of men and women in the South, and folks like Atticus and Jean Louise’s Uncle Jack are smart enough to figure out the root cause of the fear and hatred that is causing racism to thrive in spite of the NAACP’s best efforts.  Uncle Jack says, very accurately and prophetically, “The only thing I’m afraid of about this country is that its government will someday become so monstrous that the smallest person in it will be trampled underfoot, and then it wouldn’t be worth living in.” (p. 198)

This is a story that reaches deep within the human condition.  There is an honesty and transparency between Atticus and Jean Louise that touches me deeply, and her opinions about her Aunt just crack me up!!  And good ole’ Hank.  He get stuck between a rock and a hard place often in this novel. 
If you understand the South, you will “get” this book.  I’m not a fan of the language, and sometimes the thoughts and words regarding “religion” tries my soul, but, if you are from the South you will understand all of it – intimately.  This is a brutally honest book that shines a light of truth into the darkness!

About the Author:

Harper Lee was born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She is the author of the acclaimed To Kill a Mockingbird, and has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and numerous other literary awards and honors

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Girl Meet Change by Kristen Strong - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Whether chosen or unexpected, all change brings stress. Kristen Strong knows about change--especially the kind you didn't choose. Over the years, she's fought hard to learn an important truth: change is not something to be feared but something to be received as a blessing from a God who works through it, not in spite of it.

In this hope-filled book, Kristen invites you to see all the ways you are loved and cared for in the midst of change. She walks alongside you as a friend, gently ushering you toward a new view of change, one that meets you at the crossroads of your own sense of anxiety and God's sense of purpose. With practical advice for coping in every part of life, she draws from her own experiences, the stories of others, and stories from Scripture to help you find contentment, purpose, and renewed strength.

My Thoughts:
Grab your suitcase, girls.  God thinks too much of us to let us settle.  Let’s get ready to roll.”  (p. 86)

This doesn’t sound like a statement made by someone who struggles with change, does it?  Well, it is.  Kristen Strong has allowed God to work in her life and transform her in such a way that she can write amazing truths about the change God allows into each of our lives – some expected, some very unexpected – and what He can accomplish in us and through us as we learn what He has for us through the change process.  Girl Meets Change reflects the truth of God’s Word into every area of change imaginable!

This book has been another God-appointment for me, for it has come into my life at a point of great change.  Relationships, jobs, places to live, children grown and moving on….so much change has happened in the past four years of my life that I don’t even recognize it any more!  And then I begin to read this book, and my perspective shifts, and I begin to see God’s fingerprints all over the place!! Then, I begin to look hopefully toward the future, assured that the next change – and believe me, more are on the way – will bring God’s best for me!  I cannot begin to tell you the hope that this book has birthed in my heart!!

I absolutely love all of the Scripture at the end!  A quick reference to God’s promises and the ways He uses change to transform our lives!  Kristen…I believe God ordained even your surname – Strong – to be a reflection of what He has done in your life!! Thank you for sharing from your abundance with those of us coming through our own seasons of change!! Bless you!!!

There are not words enough to recommend this to you!! GO!! Buy a copy TODAY!! It is so incredibly encouraging!

About the Author:
Kristen Strong is a popular blogger at Chasing Blue Skies ( and DaySpring's (in)courage. Her work has appeared in MOMSense and Family Fun magazines. She and her husband, David, have three children. Together this military family has zigzagged across the country (and one ocean) several times. They currently live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Prince Who Was Just Himself by Silke Schnee Illustrated by Heike Sistig - REVIEWED

About the Book:

The royal couple is looking forward to their third child. “He looks a little different,” muses the king at Prince Noah’s arrival. “He is not like the others,” agrees the queen. Soon they notice what a very special person he is, even though he can’t do everything his brothers can.

When the youngest prince disarms the cruel knight Scarface, the nation’s most dreaded enemy, with an act of compassion, everyone finally realizes how good it is that each person is unique.

This delightfully illustrated fairy tale for children three years and older instills appreciation for children with Down syndrome and other developmental challenges, making it a valuable aid for teaching tolerance in the home or classroom.

My Thoughts:
“Does it hurt?”  (p. 18)

The Prince Who Was Just Himself beautifully captures the gift of love and compassion that God has gifted to children with Down Syndrome.  The author, whose third son inspired her to write this story, truly captures the essence of this beautiful difference, and brings awareness to the very audience that will receive this explanation with true understanding and acceptance.  Honestly, this is a beautiful, touching way to explain the differences between children to an audience that is questioning everything!

The setting of a prince in a royal family reaching out and making a difference with the one gift that is uniquely his to share is brilliant!  The illustrations reflect the heart of the story, and the book makes a fabulous addition to any child’s library!  This will serve as a phenomenal teaching tool for educators and parents who want to raise children that will celebrate differences rather than fear them.

I am happy to recommend this book to children and parents alike, because it is a tender story of overcoming conflict with love.  A difference we all should make every day!  

About the Author:

Silke Schnee is a journalist and works as a television producer for a public broadcaster in Cologne, Germany. She is married and has three sons. Her youngest son Noah was born in July 2008 with Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome). She writes: “At first when Noah was born, we were shocked and sad. The catalyst for this book was witnessing the effect he had on many people, despite being categorized as disabled. In fact, our little prince brings much love, joy, and sunshine not only to us, but to all around him. Children are a wonder, and we must see them with the eyes of our heart: each child just the way he or she is.”

Silke Schnee is the co-founder of a school in Cologne, Germany, that welcomes all children regardless of their abilities and disabilities.