Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer - Reviewed!

About the Book: (from Bethany House)

Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the mountains of Alaska, practicing the ways of her people even as she resides in the small cabin her father built for her mother. She dreams of reconciling with her grandparents to fulfill her mother's dying request, but she has not yet found a way to bridge the gap that separates her from her tribe.

Clay Selby has always wanted to be like his father, a missionary who holds a great love for the native people and has brought many to God. Clay arrives in Alaska to set up a church and school among the Athabascans. He is totally focused on this goal... until he meets a young, independent Indian woman with the most striking blue eyes he's ever seen.

But Lizzie is clearly not part of the tribe. And befriending her might have dire consequences for his mission. Will Clay be forced to choose between his desire to minister to the natives and the quiet nudging of his heart?

My Thoughts:

What He has for me is what is best for me. I will trust Him.” (p. 334)

Clay Selby and his sister Vivian went to Alaska to minister as missionaries. Lizzie Dawson lived on the outskirts of the Alaskan village wanting to leave and go somewhere that she would finally feel acceptance and love. None of them realize that God has a far better plan for each of them as they find their way to their true purpose and calling!

Kim Vogel Sawyer has created a setting that takes the reader into the heart of a native Alaskan village. She captures the nuances of trapping, surviving, and the test of faith that is required to introduce Christ into an area that doesn’t know about the gift of grace He offers. She sets each of the main characters on an individual quest for truth and reconciliation in their own lives, and ends the story weaving every purpose and event together to show how deeply we all are loved by our Father God.

I’ve always enjoyed Sawyer’s writing, and A Whisper of Peace is another winner in my book! I think this book has a lot of truth to offer readers – truth about relationships, about trust, faith and obeying what God asks us to do. May we all reach the point that Lizzie reaches in her life – complete trust in her heavenly Father!! I am happy to recommend this book!

About the Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of nineteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren. She invites you to visit her Web site at for more information.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Precisely Terminated by Amanda L. Davis - Reviewed

About the Book: (from the publisher)

With microchips implanted in their skulls at birth, the slaves of Cantral and Cillineese have labored under the tyrannical rule of the nobles and their computers for decades. Monica, a noble who avoided the implanting and escaped a death sentence at the age of four, is now sixteen and is in hiding. She lives with the slaves inside the walls of the Cantral palace, pretending to be one of them while the slave council plots a way to use her chip-less state to destroy the all-powerful computers that strike down any hint of rebellion.

The nobles hear of Monica's survival and try to exterminate her before she ruins their upper-class utopia. The rebels send her to find a missing paper bearing instructions on how to shut down the computers that control the chips in Cillineese, a major city-state. The nobles are alerted to the plan and prepare to seal Cillineese in a giant dome to gas the inhabitants, including Monica.

The fate of millions rides on Monica's shoulders. As the only chip-less person in the world, she must find the paper, destroy the computers, and free Cillineese from the nobles' iron fist before they strike with the ultimate punishment-death for everyone inside the city walls.

The Cantral Chronicles

The Cantral Chronicles is a dystopian trilogy set hundreds of years in Earth's future. The world is oppressed by the ruling class who control the populace with computer chips implanted in their skulls. An uprising is impossible. Or is it?

My Thoughts:
“You will need a shield sturdier than wood or metal. You will need faith - faith to endure, faith to achieve, faith to survive. Without faith in the one who grants the ability to break the chains, you will end up in chains yourself, another victim who trusted only in her own strength.” (p. 344)

WOW and WOW and WOW!! Precisely Terminated isn’t a genre I usually enjoy, and have a hard time following, but this book really drew me in and held me from first page to last. All along the way I felt Monica’s emotions grow and swell and, as she matured, her sense of purpose grow and swell along with her faith. The truth that she ultimately realizes is what I imagine every Christian must ultimately realize – they are not alone. When life is unfair, cruel and sometimes deadly, God gives you the strength to bear the load and go on in His strength! THAT is a truth worth discovery my friend!

Amanda Davis has created a fascinating world – one that kind of reminds me of a book a read a million years ago entitled 1984 – except this dear lady weaves an eternal truth of life’s purpose into the story. The reader is made to care deeply for the characters and their willingness to risk their lives for freedom. Hasn’t that always been the price of freedom? Sacrifice? Amanda Davis knows the One gave her eternal freedom, and she writes with a skill beyond her years.

And the ending? Perfect! The reader is left anxious to begin the next leg of Monica’s journey! That’s a great place to leave a reader – hungry for more! Especially since this is the first in the Cantral Chronicles! Amanda, you are a talented writer and I can’t wait to read the stories God has given you to write!!

About the Author:
Amanda L. Davis is the award-winning teen author of the Cantral Chronicles, a dystopian trilogy. She enjoys reading and writing and comes up with new novel ideas while sewing, spinning yarn, quilting, and embroidering. She was born and raised a Florida girl and loves the warmth of the South.

Monday, November 28, 2011

There's Just Something About a Boy by Jenny Lee Sulpizio - Reviewed!!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

There's Just Something About a Boy

Isaac Publishing, Inc. (September 23, 2011)

***Special thanks to Jenny Lee Sulpizio for sending me a review copy.***


Jenny Lee Sulpizio, M.S. is a wife, business owner, and mother of three residing in Boise, Idaho. She is an active member within her church and community, and enjoys tapping into her creative side whenever she gets the chance. There’s Just Something About a Boy is the second picture book released in a series that also includes Mommy Whispers, an ode to mothers and daughters everywhere.

Visit the author's website.


Peg Lozier is an award winning portrait painter and illustrator whose work is known for color, whimsy, and a sense of fun. Raised in Boulder, Colorado, she now lives with a plethora of pets in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Visit the illustrator's website.


There’s Just Something about a Boy is a children’s keepsake picture book celebrating the special bond between a mother and her newborn son as she anticipates the love, laughter, and unparalleled adventure that will surely come from raising a little boy.

My Thoughts:
I chose this book, not because I have a toddler to read it to, but because I once had two boys toddling around my house, and I was intrigued by the fact that someone had captured the wonder of raising boys. And readers, Jenny Lee Sulpizio captures that journey very acurately! Granted, she writes it as a mother letting her mind wander into the future of her toddler, but she captures the essence of what everyone who has ever been blessed with a son experiences - she knows that one day he will be the head of his own household! That is a daunting task to prepare a boy to fulfill. However, God gives grace for every day of the journey, and it's one that provides unique blessings!

My boys are in their late teens now, and I've not forgotten how I cherished the days I nursed them, played with them, read to them and rocked them to sleep. God has blessed my children with faith in Him, and I trust Him to lead them into adulthood - and grant me the strength to let them go when that day comes! After all, There's Just Something About a Boy!

Product Details:

List Price: $12.95
Paperback: 30 pages
Publisher: Isaac Publishing, Inc. (September 23, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609200365
ISBN-13: 978-1609200367

AND NOW...THE FIRST PAGES (click illustrations to enlarge):

Recalling the moment, that special day
Your tiny image took my breath away.
A precious baby with nothing to hide,
My sweet, little son nestled inside.
There’s just something about a boy…

I prepared your nursery
since around month five,
Waiting for the day
you’d finally arrive.
Stuffed animals, blankies,
your daddy’s first glove--
They sat in your room,
awaiting your love.
There’s just something
about a boy…

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Marriage Carol by Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman

This book was delayed in the mail, but I can assure you I can't WAIT to get my hands on this one! I'll write my review as soon as I have a chance to read the book!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Marriage Carol
Moody Publishers (September 1, 2011)
Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman


CHRIS FABRY is a graduate of W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and Moody bible Institute's Advanced Studies Program. Chris can be heard daily on Love Worth Finding, featuring the teaching of the late Dr. Adrian Rogers. He received the 2008 "Talk Personality of the Year" Award from the National Religious Broadcasters. He has published more than 60 books since 1995, many of them fiction for younger readers. Chris collaborated with Jerry B. Jenkins and Dr. Tim LaHaye on the children's series Left Behind: The Kids. His two novels for adults, Dogwood and June Bug, are published by Tyndale House Publishers. Chris is married to his wife Andrea and they have five daughters and four sons.

GARY CHAPMAN is the author of the bestselling Five Love Languages series and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. Gary travels the world presenting seminars, and his radio program airs on more than 400 stations.


On Christmas Eve twenty years earlier, Marlee and Jacob were married in a snowstorm. This Christmas Eve, they are ready to quit, divorce is imminent. Their relationship is as icy as the road they’re traveling and as blocked with troubles as the piling snow. They take a shortcut to get to the lawyer’s office, on a slippery, no-fault path. She thinks they need to stay on the main road. He disagrees. They fight. Story of their lives and they slam into a bank of snow , spinning, drifting, falling, out of control. Just like their lives. Reluctantly, freezing cold, hungry, scared, she trudges up the hill. Paul is nowhere to be found. Her ears frozen, fingers and hands red, she comes to a house on the hillside, built like a Bed and Breakfast, a green wreath on the red door and the door-knocker is in the shape of a wedding ring.

The red door opens and the first thing she notices is the fire in the room, blazing hot, a warm, inviting, friendly place and the voice of an old man welcomes her in. There are three golden pots on the hearth, shining, glimmering things. The old man claims that they are used to restore marriages. She laughs—and begins a journey through her past, present, and future that will test how she views her lifelong love. There are two futures available. Which will she choose?

If you would like to read the first chapter excerpt of A Marriage Carol, go HERE.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Gentle Thief by Amanda Dickson - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Maddie Johnson loved Shakespeare. Unlike everybody else she knew growing up, she seemed to understand him, enjoy him, more with every reading. It was partly because of this love that she drove from her home in rural Pennsylvania to college at Southern Utah University, home every summer to the Utah Shakespearean Festival. It was partly that, and partly the desire to get as far away as possible.

Maddie thought being in Utah would help her forget, that the stark beauty of the scenery and the power of the metaphor would be enough to clear her. They weren’t.

In her freshman year, she met and, after graduation, married a much older man, Robert Able, the first person Maddie had ever known who understood her love of Shakespeare.

At 21, Maddie felt too young to be married. At 23, she felt too young to be divorced.

Maddie was found dead on New Year’s Day, clutching a gun to her chest. Everyone assumed she committed suicide. Everyone except her father.

A Gentle Thief is Maddie’s story, and that of her father and the young attorney he hires who becomes devoted to him and the truth of his cause.

A Gentle Thief is a book nearly 20 years in the making, inspired by a case the author worked on while a lawyer.

My Thoughts:

This book contains a message that I wish everyone, including myself, could really understand and live by every day. More than that, I wish we, as people in general, weren't so thick-headed that it took real trials, multiple messed up relationships and missed opportunities to realize what is really important in this very brief life on earth. More than that, when life is going along smoothly and we are blessed with people who love us and are able to have fullfilling jobs, we STILL miss the most important thing sometimes! I'm just glad God is longsuffering with us all!!

I like the way this book moves between two different story lines, and then, quite unexpectedly, and seamlessly, ties them together with an impact that will really penetrate the reader's heart. If you like realistic fiction, and don't mind getting involved with some messy relationships, you will enjoy this story a great deal. And though there is no strong faith thread in the story, the take-away value is meaningful and applicable no matter the direction from which you approach the story. I am happy to recommend this story to you!

About the Author:

Amanda Dickson is a radio announcer, author, newspaper columnist, and speaker based in Salt Lake City. Amanda earned her B.A. in English and her Juris Doctorate at the University of Utah. She practiced law for a brief time before returning to her first love of radio. Amanda taught Mass Communication Law at the University of Utah, becoming a favorite professor among the students. Amanda published her first book in the fall of 2007, Wake Up to a Happier Life. Her second book, Change It Up, came out in October of 2009. Her new book, Friends for Life, is due out in January of 2012. Amanda is married and the step-mother of three children. She is also the indulgent mother of two children.

For more info, go to

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Have You Heard by Jason Bare - A FABULOUS Christmas CD!!

A contemporary sound, laced with piano melodies and woven together with a clear voice with a beautiful message of the birth of our Savior and the hope He brought through that very special arrival. I love the song "A Way in a Manger." It is so beautiful! "You made a way in a manger" and indeed He did!! He did bring hope and freedom to all who accept His birth, death and resurection! Guys, you have got to look this guy up and buy his music! Have You Heard will add a whole new dimention to your holiday music. You will rejoice at the Savior's birth in a bright, upbeat, hopeful and contemporary way!!

This is my first exposure to Jason Bare's music, and I can guarantee it won't be the last!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Prayers for Today by Kurt Bjorklund - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the publisher)
A collection of classic and contemporary prayers, some derived from Scripture and others from the writings of Christian leaders throughout the centuries, this beautiful volume invites readers into a daily experience of closer intimacy with God. Each day's entry focuses on one of ten traditional types of prayer:

* Prayers of Thanksgiving
* Prayers of Confession
* Prayers of Affirmation
* Prayers of Petition
* Prayers of Renewal
* Prayers of Praise and Adoration
* Prayers to Have Christ-like Character
* Prayers for Wisdom and Guidance
* Prayers of Intercession
* Prayers of Surrender

With 260 entries -- enough for every weekday of an entire year -- Prayers for Today guides readers through a unique kind of spiritual pilgrimage, a pilgrimage toward the very throne room of God.

For any reader who's ever wanted more out of prayer or who's ever hungered for a greater sense of God's presence, Prayers for Today promises deepened communion with the One who treasures the words and longings of His people.

My Thoughts:
Prayers for Today is a unique way of learning more about prayer and what the Bible has to say about this very personal way we have been given to talk with God. Divided into ten deferent topics – ranging from Thanksgiving, Confession and Affirmation to Intercession and Adoration – the reader is led on a year-long prayer journey meant to aide their growth and maturity in their daily walk with Christ.

As I read through these prayers, I concentrated on the ones focused on Thanksgiving. Do you realize the Bible says we are to praise God in every circumstance? Good times and bad times all contain blessings from our Heavenly Father! Every day contains a variety of Scriptures, quotes from prayers, and then a sort of guide-prayer that gives readers ideas and suggestions of how to pray through and for certain situations and for guidance and wisdom.

This would be an ideal daily devotional for those who desire a closer personal relationship with Christ while centered around prayer, this devotional contains a lot of scripture and a lot of helpful Greek and Hebrew explanations of words used in scripture. I like the way many of the prayers are left open-ended and allow the reader to address personal issues in an intimate, scriptural way. Prayer is one of the most powerful tools in the Christian’s arsenal against the enemy, and it’s one that all Christians should grow and cherish in their daily walk.

About the Author:
KURT BJORKLUND was educated at Wheaton College, Trinity International University, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. After serving two churches in the Chicago area, Kurt served as a Senior Pastor in a church in southeastern Michigan for a decade. He is currently the senior pastor of Orchard Hill Church, a large non-denominational church outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He and his wife Faith live with their four sons in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Monday, November 21, 2011

Truth & Dare by Ann-Margret Hovsepian - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the publisher)
Truth & Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Girls (Cook, Colorado Springs, Co.) is in bookstores now! This exciting and interactive new devotional will help tween girls know God and grow in their faith by teaching them basic biblical truths, encouraging them to be courageous about their faith, suggesting practical ways to apply Scripture in their everyday lives, and challenging them to be their best for God through the strength He gives.

My Thoughts:
Truth or Dare is a terrific devotional for girls ages 9-12! Not quite mature enough for the meat of God’s Word, this devotional includes short Scripture passages, a short, practical application of the Scripture (Truth) and this is followed by actions the girls can do (Dare) throughout the week to practice the truth they have learned! The pages even have room for the reader to jot down her own thoughts and prayers, making this a personal and intimate daily walk with Christ!

This would make a great gift fro the “tween” girls in your life who are in their early walk with Christ. This will encourage a daily quiet time and will show them in practical ways how God’s Word is applicable in their every day world. Girls will also appreciate the cool way the book is laid out – still a bit animated looking – but in a cool, tween kind of way!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Remembering You by Tricia Goyer - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the publisher)

35-year-old Ava Andrews' dream job is interrupted by an unusual request--fulfill her 84-year-old grandfather's last wish by joining him on a battle site tour of Europe. Ava is sure her boss will refuse her request. But, instead, he gives her a directive of his own--to videotape the tour and send it back as mini-segments for the show she produces.

As if juggling these two things isn't hard enough, Ava is soon surprised again ... twice. First, Ava and Grandpa Jack arrive in Europe, only to discover the tour is cancelled. Unwilling to let down her grandfather or her boss, Ava and Grandpa Jack head out on their own. Then, while they're on their way, the pair soon meet up with Paul, her grandpa's best friend, and his grandson Dennis. The same Dennis who just happens to be Ava's first love.

Before she knows it, Ava and Dennis are swept down memory lane as they visit the sites that are discussed in the history books. And even though Ava's videotaping old soldiers, she can see their youth, their hopes and fears, and their pride in their eyes. Soon Ava learns the trip isn't just for them ... it's for her too--especially for her heart.

Read an excerpt, watch a video and find out more here.


This story is a vivid reminder of the price that was paid for freedom. WWII was a unique time in history, and Tricia Goyer did a fabulous job capturing all facets of that battle - emotionally, phyiscally and mentally. She weaves real human emotion and transformation throughout the story, and the reader enjoys several stories evolving all at once - using a very special time in history to tie all of them together.

There are many elements to this story - a sort of journey to find oneself, a spiritual journey to wholeness and forgiveness, a love story, a story of family and what that means in the life of many people. Readers will enjoy Europe as remembered through the eyes of the soldiers who faught there, and through the eyes of the people who were liberated by their bravery. It's just a really well-written story that will appeal to a broad audience, and I am happy to recommend it to everyone!

I had four uncles who fought in WWII, and I had the priviledge to interview them and record their memories. Their lives were forever changed by the experience, yet they left a legacy of freedom in untold numbers of lives that came behind them. Tricia Goyer captures the essence of this in Remeberng You. I highly recommend this novel to you!

Be sure to read all of my posts today and learn about the special contest being held to promote this great story!

Win a Kindle Touch for YOU and a Friend from Tricia Goyer!

Tricia Goyer is celebrating the release of her novel, Remembering You, with a KINDLE Touch Giveaway for you ... and for the friend of your choice. Then on 11/29 she'll be wrapping up the release of Remembering You with a Book Chat Party!

During the first half of the party Tricia will be chatting, sharing a sneak peek of her next book, and giving away a ton of great stuff. Then she'll head over to her website for a Live Chat! Readers will be able to chat with Tricia via video or text.

Don't miss your chance to win a Kindle Touch for yourself ... and to "remember" a friend this holiday with a Kindle Touch for them!

Read what the reviewers are saying here.

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Brand New Kindle Touch and a Kindle Touch for a Friend (winner's choice!)

  • A copy of Remembering You by Tricia Goyer for each

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on November 29th. Winner will be announced at Remembering You Facebook Party on 11/29. Tricia will be hosting an author chat (on Facebook and Live from her website) and giving away copies of her other WWII books and gift certificates to Starbucks and So grab your copy of Remembering You and join Tricia on the evening of the 29th for an author chat, a trivia contest (How much do you know about WWII?) and lots of giveaways.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!

Remebering You - A Guest Post by Tricia Goyer

In the last ten years since I started interviewing veterans for my WWII novels, most have passed away. Some of them—realizing their days on earth were coming to an end—returned to Europe one last time with their family members to walk along paths they've never forgotten. Those trips inspired my most recent novel, Remembering You.

One of the most amazing experiences was when I received an email from a woman named Hana. She'd heard of my book and knew I'd interviewed some of the veterans. She asked if I'd interviewed any medics. Then she told me an amazing story. Hana was born on a cart just outside of Mauthausen. Her mother had survived being a prisoner of another camp and was transported to Mauthausen at the end of the war.

Hana was just three weeks old when the Americans arrived, and she was very ill. Because of the filthy conditions she got a skin infection and sores covered her body. No one expected her to live. Yet one of the medics saw the small baby and knew he had to do something. Even though it took most of the day, he lanced and cleaned all Hana's sores, saving her life. Over the years she'd wanted to find the medic, but didn't know where to start.

I was amazed by Hana's story and told her I knew one medic—maybe he remembered who that man was. I gave Hana the contact information and I soon heard the good news. My friend LeRoy “Pete” Petersohn was the medic who'd saved her life! The two were soon reunited! After all these years Hana was able to look into the eyes of the man who saved her and thanked him. After all these years Pete was able to meet the woman he saved. “Baby!” he called out when he met her.

Remembering You is a work of fiction, but the experiences of the men are true. The experiences of the main character, Ava, are also true-to-life. I was busy with life when God pointed me to an amazing story, and to even more amazing men. I'm so thankful I took time to listen and care. I'm so thankful I allowed these men to share what … and who … they remembered most.

About the Author:
Tricia Goyer is a homeschooling mom of four and an acclaimed and prolific writer, publishing hundreds of articles in national magazines. She has also written books on marriage and parenting and contributed notes to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Tricia's written numerous novels inspired by World War II veterans, including her new release Remembering You. Tricia lives with her husband and four children in Arkansas. You can find out more information about Tricia at

About the Book:

35-year-old Ava Andrews' dream job is interrupted by an unusual request--fulfill her 84-year-old grandfather's last wish by joining him on a battle site tour of Europe. Ava is sure her boss will refuse her request. But, instead, he gives her a directive of his own--to videotape the tour and send it back as mini-segments for the show she produces.

As if juggling these two things isn't hard enough, Ava is soon surprised again ... twice. First, Ava and Grandpa Jack arrive in Europe, only to discover the tour is cancelled. Unwilling to let down her grandfather or her boss, Ava and Grandpa Jack head out on their own. Then, while they're on their way, the pair soon meet up with Paul, her grandpa's best friend, and his grandson Dennis. The same Dennis who just happens to be Ava's first love.

Before she knows it, Ava and Dennis are swept down memory lane as they visit the sites that are discussed in the history books. And even though Ava's videotaping old soldiers, she can see their youth, their hopes and fears, and their pride in their eyes. Soon Ava learns the trip isn't just for them ... it's for her too--especially for her heart.

Read an excerpt, watch a video and find out more here.

To see what others have to say about this fantastic book, look HERE!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Remebering Christmas by Dan Walsh - REVIEWED

About the Book:

Can one Christmas change a life forever?

Rick Denton lives his life on his terms. He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one. So when his mother calls begging him to come home after his stepfather has an aneurysm, Rick is more than a little reluctant. What was supposed to be just a couple days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and dealing with the homeless guy who keeps hanging around the store. The one bright spot is the lovely and intriguing young woman who works at his side each day.

As Christmas nears, Rick's old life beckons, the hurts from his past loom large, and the decisions he makes will determine more than just where he spends Christmas Eve.

With skillful storytelling, Dan Walsh creates a Christmas story that will have you remembering every good and perfect gift of Christmas.

My Thoughts:

I think Dan Walsh has just written a Christmas classic! Pull out your tissue and get ready to have your heart strings tugged until they are about to burst! This is a sweet, tender story about regular folks who face daunting circumstances. But rather than break under the load, they give their lives to Christ and bask in the assurance of His love for them.

And the love the characters in the story share with others makes an eternal difference in many lives. That's the take away value hidden in this precious story. When we live every day trusting Christ to meet our needs, He touches lives as we exercise our faith, and then turns around and just blesses us beyond what we could ever hope or imagine. This may be a work of fiction, but I've seen this truth lived out many, many times. I've been the recipient of that grace and blesssing.

This is a precious, precious story! If you've got readers on your gift list, you need look no further for the perfect gift - Remembering Christmas is IT!!

About the Author:

Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of The Unfinished Gift, The Homecoming, The Deepest Waters, and Remembering Christmas. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shadowed In Silk by Christinge Lindsay

I didn't sign up for this tour, but after reading reviews by others, I wish I had! Check it out!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Shadowed In Silk
WhiteFire Publishing (September 1, 2011)
Christine Lindsay


Christine Lindsay writes historical Christian inspirational novels with strong love stories. She doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects such as the themes in her debut novel SHADOWED IN SILK which is set in India during a turbulent era. Christine’s long-time fascination with the British Raj was seeded from stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in India. SHADOWED IN SILK was the Gold winner of the 2009 ACFW Genesis for Historical.

The Pacific coast of Canada, about 200 miles north of Seattle, is Christine’s home. It’s a special time in her life as she and her husband enjoy the empty nest, but also the noise and fun when the kids and grandkids come home. Like a lot of writers, her cat is her chief editor.


She was invisible to those who should have loved her.

After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India with her small son, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women...but Nick has become a cruel stranger. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.

Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. But his faith does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from the husband who mistreats them.

Amid political unrest, inhospitable deserts, and Russian spies, tensions rise in India as the people cry for the freedom espoused by Gandhi. Caught between their own ideals and duty, Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets . . . secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Shadowed In Silk, go HERE.

Watch the book video trailer:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Song of Unmaking by D. Barkley Briggs - Reviewed by my teen son! And a HUGE contest!

About the Book: (from the publisher Living Ink Books)
In a frozen, bitter land, hope and fear collide.

The dreadful Goths have invaded Röckval, testing the strength of Bitterland's ruler. Meanwhile, the Barlow brothers are growing stronger and stronger in their powers—all except for Ewan, who traded his gift away to save the life of his friends.

Soon it becomes clear that the Goths are the least of their worries. A terrible machine is being built high atop Mount Vishgar, above Röckval, where the raging winds never cease. If the machine really does release the Song of Unmaking, what will happen? Can Arthur lay aside his grief and once more become a great leader of men? And what is the mysterious Doorless Tower, Nein Dyrr?

As Kr'Nunos grows more bold, the Barlow brothers take their stand with the viks of the north. Yet it is Ewan alone who must answer the question: Is any music stronger than the most powerful song of destruction the world has ever known?

Review by my 17-year-old son:
The Song of Unmaking is the third book of the exciting Legends of Karac Tor series. In this third installment, the Barlow brothers are getting stronger in their powers as they seek a way back to the "real" world from Karac Tor. They are tested in this sadventure as Kr'Nunos unleashes a new weapon that threatens to unmake all of Karac Tor.

The Song of Unmaking is a fun and enjoyable read for any teen wanting to go on an adventure. D. Barkley Briggs is an excellent writer and did an outstanding job on The Song of Unmaking. I would recommend this book to teens and anyone who enjoys an exciting adventure.

About the Author:
Dean Barkley Briggs is an author, father of eight, and prone to twisting his ankle playing basketball. He grew up reading J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lews, Patricia McKillip, Guy Gavriel Kay, Stephen R. Donaldson, Ursila K. Leguin, Susan Cooper, Madeline L'Engle, Terry Brooks, Andre Norton and Lloyd Alexander (just to name a few)...and generally thinks most fantasy fiction pales in comparison. (Yes, he dabbled in sci-fi, too. Most notably Bradbury, Burroughs and Heinlein).

After losing his wife of 16 years, Briggs decided to tell a tale his four sons could relate to in their own journey through loss. Thus was born The Legends of Karac Tor, a sweeping adventure of four brothers who become enmeshed in the crisis of another world and along the way, must find their courage, battle overwhelming odds, face their pain, and never quit searching for home.

In God's timing, beauty and joy arose in the real world, too. Briggs remarried a lovely redhead named Jeanie, who previously lost her husband in an auto accident. Together with her four children, their hands are quite full, and they spend each day grateful for their eight blessings.

The Book of Names is the first book in The Legends of Karac Tor.
Corus the Champion is the second. Both are in stores now!
The Song of Unmaking
arrives Fall, 2011.


D. Barkley Briggs loves fantasy novels. He is, after all, a fantasy novelist himself. He is about to make one fan's fantasy come true. Briggs is giving away, not just one of his books, but a complete young adult fantasy library from 15 top authors. “The Fantasy Prize Pack Giveaway" contains forty-­‐eight (48) of the best YA Christian fantasy novels on the planet, plus a brand new Kindle Fire™...FREE! But that's not all. Second Place gets a FREE iPod™ Shuffle. Briggs has also collected several mini-­‐prizes, including dragon jewelry and children's books. To enter, participants must upload at least one photo of themselves reading a book from Briggs’ Legends of Karac Tor series (The Book of Names, Corus the Champion, or The Song of Unmaking) to his Facebook page.

The contest launches Nov. 1 and concludes Nov. 30. For official rules, visit

Fantasy Prize Pack

Lisa Bergren: Waterfall Cascade Torrent

Dennis Jernigan: Captured

Scott Appleton: Swords of Six Offspring

Jonathan Rogers: The Secret of the Swamp King, The Bark Of The Bog Owl, The Way of the Wilderking

D. Barkley Briggs: The Book of Names, Corus the Champion, The Song of Unmaking

Ted Dekker: Elyon, Infidel, Chosen, Chaos, Lunatic

C.S. Lakin: The Wolf of Tebron, The Map Across Time

Donita K. Paul: Dragons of the Valley,Dragons of Chiril, Dragons of the Watch

Jeffrey Overstreet: Auralia's Colors, Cyndere's Midnight, Raven's Ladder,The Ale Boy's Feast

Wayne Thomas Batson: Sword in the Stars, The Errant King

W.T. Batson & Christopher Hopper: Curse of the Spider King, Venom and Song

Bryan Davis: Eye of the Oracle, Enoch's Ghost, The Last of the Nephilim


Madeleine L'Engle: A Wrinkle In Time, Wind in the Door,A Swiftly Tilting Planet,Many Waters

Lloyd Alexander: The Black Cauldron, Book of Three, The Castle Llyr, Taran Wanderer
The High King

Susan Cooper: Over Sea, Under Stone, The Dark is Rising, Greenwich, The Grey King
Silver on the Tree

The Story of Your Life by Matthew West and Angela Thomas - REVIEWED

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card authors are:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Karri James of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Matthew West is a recording artist whose singles have topped the charts and been named Billboard’s Most Played Christian Songs in 2004, 2009, and 2010. “The Motions” also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Song in 2010. His albums have sold more than 275,000 copies.

Visit the Matthew's website.

Angela Thomas is a sought-after speaker, teacher, and bestselling author of Do You Think I’m Beautiful, My Single Mom Life, Prayers for My Baby Boy, and Prayers for My Baby Girl. She inspires thousands at national conferences, workshops, and through video studies that she filmed and wrote including When Wallflowers Dance.

Visit the author's website.


When Grammy-nominated recording artist Matthew West started writing his top-selling new album, The Story of Your Life (Sparrow, 2010) he asked fans to submit personal experiences. More than 10,000 tales of hope, perseverance, and redemption poured in. With friend and author Angela Thomas, West presents some of these powerful stories paired with meaningful devotions they inspired.

Wendy gave birth to her daughter in jail. When all seemed hopeless, she found God and her life transformed into something beautiful.

Cory, a married youth pastor, had an affair and his life fell apart. With God’s mercy, he and his wife gathered the broken pieces and started again.

Sheila always struggled with severe insecurity. Now she lives confidently in the purpose God has for her.

This unforgettable devotional journey inspires readers to discover God as the author of their unique lives and to share the power of their story.

Also available this season—a companion DVD of the same title and an interactive standalone guide Experiencing the Story of Your Life, which allows readers to personalize and explore more deeply the messages of God’s hope and redemption in their stories.

Before Grammy-nominated recording artist Matthew West wrote his top-selling new album, The Story of Your Life, he asked fans to submit their faith stories. Thousands of powerful tales of hope and redemption poured in. Now West and author Angela Thomas share these amazing stories and the meaningful devotions they inspired.

My Thoughts:
The Story of Your Life is another God appointment in my life. No matter where I chose to open this precious book, the truth of God's Word and His unfailing faithfulness poured over me like a healing stream.

This book is filled with real stories from the lives of real people, and in every situation God proves His faithfulness to His children. Matthew Wast and Angela Thomas respond to each story with scriptural truths and practical application of those truths to every child of God. The end result? Hope. Encouragement. And the assurance that God alone knows the beginning and end to all of our stories, because He is the author! Halleluiah!!

I can't recommend this devotional highly enough!!

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736943986
ISBN-13: 978-0736943987


Who is the Author
of Your Story?

From Lajos   …

I grew up in Communist Hungary and escaped in 1987 at age 21. I went to a refugee camp as an atheist who mocked Christians, and 18 months later I came out of it turning my life over to Christ. It was a trying, dramatic, and sometimes traumatic experience. But in the middle of what should have been my most hopeless days and nights, I could not deny the overwhelming feeling that I was not alone and the peace that came along with it.

I went to Canada in 1988. Starting a new life in a new country as a 23-year-old was truly challenging. Without my newly found faith, I probably could not have done it. Now I am following Christ and serving Him by going on mission trips. I want the world to know there is a God, a God who is with us in our darkest moments.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1).

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers of rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:15-17).

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…(Hebrews 12:2 nasb).

Matthew Responds   …

Who is the author of your story? How did you get here? Do you see the world as nothing more than one big coincidence after another? Did the oceans just tell themselves they could go only so far? Did the sun just appear out of nowhere? What about all the billions of stars in the galaxies or the intricate design of a human life? Is there an answer for all these questions?

When your eyes see a majestic snowcapped mountain climbing a mile high in the Rockies, does the experience leave you awestruck and amazed? When you hold a newborn baby in your arms, are you filled with wonder as you touch the tiny hands and toes and ears? When you witness a great big world with billions of people moving in billions of directions, does your heart scream, “This can’t be mere coincidence! This could not be the work of human hands! There’s no way this all just happened!”

Even the English astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle concluded, “The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that ‘a tornado sweeping through a junk yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.’ ”

Sadly, more and more people are choosing the former way of thinking. In fact, many studies and polls report that atheism is on the rise both in America and around the world. This really should come as no surprise in a society that places so much emphasis on self-sufficiency. Nike prompted us, “Just Do It.” Burger King invited us, “Have It Your Way.” Apple Computers promised their products would give us “The Power to Be Your Best.”

In our world, all signs point to the notion that you and I are the ones who write the stories of our lives. And so people are choosing to believe there is nothing to believe in. Atheists believe there is no God. And to believe there is no God is to believe we are the authors of our own stories. Yet how can we be the authors of a story we never created? You were not the one who came up with the idea to create you. The decision of whether to believe in God is the foundation that every soul will build its story upon. The story of your life is being written every moment of every day, even as you read this right now. The question you must ask is, who is holding the pen?

In his book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren begins his very first chapter by establishing where we must first look if we are to find a story with true purpose.

You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God—and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.

Warren goes on to tell the story of Russian novelist, Andrei Bitov who had a similar experience to our story of Lajos.

Andrei…grew up under an atheistic Communist regime. But God got his attention one dreary day. He recalls, “In my twenty-seventh year, while riding the metro in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) I was overcome with a despair so great that life seemed to stop at once, preempting the future entirely, let alone any meaning. Suddenly, all by itself, a phrase appeared: Without God life makes no sense. Repeating it in astonishment, I rode the phrase up like a moving staircase, got out of the metro and walked into God’s light.”

There it is. Without God life makes no sense. Without God our stories have no meaning, no purpose. We live, we die, and that’s it. Our stories end when we die. Oh, what a sad existence if this is true. I once wrote a lyric in a song called “The World Needs a Savior” that reads, “Atheists, there are no atheists when the plane’s going down and you’re crying out for one more chance.” I wrote that line thinking about the reality that when people face crisis, they reach out for help. When our nation, which fights for separation of church and state, fell victim to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, we came together to pray.

I remember something my mom often did when I was a kid and we were in the car. Anytime she was forced to slam on her brakes or swerve out of the way to avoid an accident, her knee-jerk reaction was to stretch her arm out across whoever was sitting in the front seat, either my brother or me, and shout a prayer: “Jesus, help us!” My mom is a praying woman. She always has been, both in times of triumph and times of crisis. She knows whom she can call upon. She knows the all-knowing and all-powerful God. She knows that God hears us when we call out to Him in a whisper of praise or a cry for help.

Whom do you call out to in times of crisis? Lajos was once convinced God did not exist. But in the middle of his loneliest, most desperate hour, this “atheist who mocked Christians” cried out to Jesus. “I could not deny the overwhelming feeling that I was not alone and the peace that came along with it,” he said as the undeniable presence of our Creator turned this atheist into a believer. Lajos handed over the pen right then and there, choosing to make God the author of his story.

Maybe you are thinking, “This doesn’t apply to me. I believe in God. I’m no atheist.” Well, let me leave you with this one question. Who is really holding the pen? It is possible to believe in God, go to church, tithe, and do all the things Christians do without fully submitting the story of your life to the true “author and finisher” of our faith. It is a daily struggle to determine who holds the pen, but surrendering our stories to the One who “holds all things together” is the only true way for the stories of our lives to be filled with meaning and purpose.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner - Reviewed

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

A Sound Among the Trees

WaterBrook Press (October 4, 2011)

***Special thanks to Laura Tucker of WaterBrook Press for sending me a review copy.***


Award-winning writer Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker and workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include The Shape of Mercy, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the Best Books of 2008. She is a pastor’s wife and a mother of four. When she's not writing, Susan directs the Small Groups and Connection Ministries program at her San Diego church.

Visit the author's website.


A house shrouded in time. A line of women with a heritage of loss. As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn't believe that Susannah's ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.

When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband's home, it isn't long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.

With Adelaide's richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak— and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.

“Just because you hear a rustle in the trees, that doesn’t mead that the bogyman is preparing to pounce on you the minue you turn your back. Sometimes the rustling is just God sending a breeze to cool your skin after a hard day in the blazing sun. But I suppose the notion of the bogeyman makes the story more interesting.”
(p. 87)

At the point I read the above passage, I thought that Adelaide was going to speak freedom into the life of Marielle Bishop as she began life at Holly Oak. I never dreamed of the circuitous and treacherous route that this story would take through generations of lives! Wow! And the fact that a lot of the story is based on true facts of the people who actually survived the Civil War just made the story that much more compelling. I was mesmerize -.frightened at times – and I was just amazed at how skillfully Susan Meissner brought the reality of true redemption into the lives of this fascination cast of characters.

A Sound Among the Trees is a powerfully and skillfully written tale that will draw the reader in and never let you go until the final word on the last page. Truly. It’s a terrific story and one I am happy to recommend to you!

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (October 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307458857
ISBN-13: 978-0307458858



The bride stood in a circle of Virginia sunlight, her narrow heels clicking on Holly Oak’s patio stones as she greeted strangers in the receiving line. Her wedding dress was a simple A-line, strapless, with a gauzy skirt of white that breezed about her knees like lacy curtains at an open window. She had pulled her unveiled brunette curls into a loose arrangement dotted with tiny flowers that she’d kept alive on her flight from Phoenix. Her only jewelry was a white topaz pendant at her throat and the band of platinum on her left ring finger. Tall, slender, and tanned from the famed and relentless Arizona sun, hers was a girl-nextdoor look: pretty but not quite beautiful. Adelaide thought it odd that Marielle held no bouquet.

From the parlor window Adelaide watched as her grandson-in-law, resplendent in a black tuxedo next to his bride, bent toward the guests and greeted them by name, saying, “This is Marielle.” An explanation seemed ready to spring from his lips each time he shook the hand of someone who had known Sara, her deceased granddaughter. His first wife. Carson stood inches from Marielle, touching her elbow every so often, perhaps to assure himself that after four years a widower he had indeed patently and finally moved on from grief.

Smatterings of conversations wafted about on the May breeze and into the parlor as received guests strolled toward trays of sweet tea and champagne. Adelaide heard snippets from her place at the window. Hudson and Brette, her great-grandchildren, had moved away from the snaking line of gray suits and pastel dresses within minutes of the first guests’ arrival and were now studying the flower-festooned gift table under the window ledge, touching the bows, fingering the silvery white wrappings. Above the children, an old oak’s youngest branches shimmied to the tunes a string quartet produced from the gazebo beyond the receiving line.

Adelaide raised a teacup to her lips and sipped the last of its contents, allowing the lemony warmth to linger at the back of her throat. She had spent the better part of the morning readying the garden for Carson and Marielle’s wedding reception, plucking spent geranium blossoms, ordering the catering staff about, and straightening the rented linen tablecloths. She needed to join the party now that it had begun. The Blue-Haired Old Ladies would be wondering where she was.

Her friends had been the first to arrive, coming through the garden gate on the south side of the house at five minutes before the hour. She’d watched as Carson introduced them to Marielle, witnessed how they cocked their necks in blue-headed unison to sweetly scrutinize her grandson-in-law’s new wife, and heard their welcoming remarks through the open window.

Deloris gushed about how lovely Marielle’s wedding dress was and what, pray tell, was the name of that divine purple flower she had in her hair?

Pearl invited Marielle to her bridge club next Tuesday afternoon and asked her if she believed in ghosts.

Maxine asked her how Carson and she had met—though Adelaide had told her weeks ago that Carson met Marielle on the Internet—and why on earth Arizona didn’t like daylight-saving time.

Marielle had smiled, sweet and knowing—like the kindergarten teacher who finds the bluntness of five-year-olds endearing—and answered the many questions.

Mojave asters. She didn’t know how to play bridge. She’d never encountered a ghost so she couldn’t really say but most likely not. She and Carson met online. There’s no need to save what one has an abundance of. Carson had cupped her elbow in his hand, and his thumb caressed the inside of her arm while she spoke.

Adelaide swiftly set the cup down on the table by the window, whisking away the remembered tenderness of that same caress on Sara’s arm.

Carson had every right to remarry.

Sara had been dead for four years.

She turned from the bridal tableau outside and inhaled deeply the gardenia-scented air in the parlor. Unbidden thoughts of her granddaughter sitting with her in that very room gently nudged her. Sara at six cutting out paper dolls. Memorizing multiplication tables at age eight. Sewing brass buttons onto gray wool coats at eleven. Sara reciting a poem for English Lit at sixteen, comparing college acceptance letters at eighteen, sharing a chance letter from her estranged mother at nineteen, showing Adelaide her engagement ring at twenty-four. Coming back home to Holly Oak with Carson when Hudson was born. Nursing Brette in that armchair by the fireplace. Leaning against the door frame and telling Adelaide that she was expecting her third child.

Right there Sara had done those things while Adelaide sat at the long table in the center of the room, empty now but usually awash in yards of stiff Confederate gray, glistening gold braid, and tiny piles of brass buttons—the shining elements of officer reenactment uniforms before they see war.

Adelaide ran her fingers along the table’s polished surface, the warm wood as old as the house itself. Carson had come to her just a few months ago while she sat at that table piecing together a sharpshooter’s forest green jacket. He had taken a chair across from her as Adelaide pinned a collar, and he’d said he needed to tell her something.

He’d met someone.

When she’d said nothing, he added, “It’s been four years, Adelaide.”

“I know how long it’s been.” The pins made a tiny plucking sound as their pointed ends pricked the fabric.

“She lives in Phoenix.”

“You’ve never been to Phoenix.”

“Mimi.” He said the name Sara had given her gently, as a father might. A tender reprimand. He waited until she looked up at him. “I don’t think Sara would want me to live the rest of my life alone. I really don’t. And I don’t think she would want Hudson and Brette not to have a mother.”

“Those children have a mother.”

“You know what I mean. They need to be mothered. I’m gone all day at work. I only have the weekends with them. And you won’t always be here. You’re a wonderful great-grandmother, but they need someone to mother them, Mimi.”

She pulled the pin cushion closer to her and swallowed. “I know they do.”

He leaned forward in his chair. “And I…I miss having someone to share my life with. I miss the companionship. I miss being in love. I miss having someone love me.”

Adelaide smoothed the pieces of the collar. “So. You are in love?”

He had taken a moment to answer. “Yes. I think I am.”

Carson hadn’t brought anyone home to the house, and he hadn’t been on any dates. But he had lately spent many nights after the children were in bed in his study—the old drawing room—with the door closed. When she’d pass by, Adelaide would hear the low bass notes of his voice as he spoke softly into his phone. She knew that gentle sound. She had heard it before, years ago when Sara and Carson would sit in the study and talk about their day. His voice, deep and resonant. Hers, soft and melodic.

“Are you going to marry her?”

Carson had laughed. “Don’t you even want to know her name?”

She had not cared at that moment about a name. The specter of being alone in Holly Oak shoved itself forward in her mind. If he remarried, he’d likely move out and take the children with him. “Are you taking the children? Are you leaving Holly Oak?”


“Will you be leaving?”

Several seconds of silence had hung suspended between them. Carson and Sara had moved into Holly Oak ten years earlier to care for Adelaide after heart surgery and had simply stayed. Ownership of Holly Oak had been Sara’s birthright and was now Hudson and Brette’s future inheritance. Carson stayed on after Sara died because, in her grief, Adelaide asked him to, and in his grief, Carson said yes.

“Will you be leaving?” she asked again.

“Would you want me to leave?” He sounded unsure.

“You would stay?”

Carson had sat back in his chair. “I don’t know if it’s a good idea to take Hudson and Brette out of the only home they’ve known. They’ve already had to deal with more than any kid should.”

“So you would marry this woman and bring her here. To this house.”

Carson had hesitated only a moment. “Yes.”

She knew without asking that they were not talking solely about the effects moving would have on a ten-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl. They were talking about the strange biology of their grief. Sara had been taken from them both, and Holly Oak nurtured their common sorrow in the most kind and savage of ways. Happy memories were one way of keeping someone attached to a house and its people. Grief was the other. Surely Carson knew this. An inner nudging prompted her to consider asking him what his new bride would want.

“What is her name?” she asked instead.

And he answered, “Marielle…”

Excerpted from A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner Copyright © 2011 by Susan Meissner. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Imagination Station Series - New Books! Reviewed!!

About the Book: (from the publisher)

In Showdown with the Shepherd, Patrick and Beth go to the Holy Land in the tenth century BC. Their goal is to get back the ring Hugh stole and return him to 1450s England where he belongs. But troubles await them as soon as they step out of the Imagination Station. First they meet an angry bear and later an angry giant. Set against the backdrop of the David and Goliath story, the cousins learn that having a giant faith is more important than having a giant on your side.

Patrick and Beth’s next adventure leads them to Plymouth Plantation in 1621. There they meet William Bradford, Miles Standish, and Squanto who are trying to establish peace between the Pilgrims and the Indians. Things are anything but peaceful, however, when a musket is stolen and the Pilgrims conclude the Indians are planning war. Only Patrick and Beth know who the real thief is—the traitor Hugh—and it’s up to the cousins to find him and stop him from causing trouble. When the cousins hear a gunshot during the first Thanksgiving feast, their worst fears are realized.

Please check out the Imagination Station website to learn more!!

My Thoughts:

Man, oh, man! This Hugh character is really starting to cause trouble now! Every time Patrick and Elizabeth get close to Hugh and the ring, that sneaky rascal does something else to throw them off track! And in the Showdown with the Shepherd, he just about puts a kink in Biblical history! Thankfully Patrick was a step ahead of him – or at least he thought he was!

If you haven’t been reading Focus on the Family’s Imagination Station series, you really should start! I’ve been with the series since the beginning, and I love the way they release two books at a time and transition seamlessly from one adventure to the next! Kids can learn about many key historical events through the adventuresome view of kids their own age, and they can enjoy figuring out the clues that lead Patrick and Elizabeth to use the odd assortment of “stuff” from Mr. Whittaker.

By the time they chase Hugh from Showdown with the Shepherd into Problems with Plymouth readers will be breathless with anticipation! And right away the two adventurers find themselves trading for their freedom! Honestly, they seem in a bit of a bind this time! But, by the end of the story, you will have a whole new appreciation for the beginnings of a very important national holiday! AND you’ll be left hanging, because Hugh winds up traveling somewhere he NEVER intended to go, and Patrick and Elizabeth are left longing for more adventure! This series really knows how to keep kids wanting more! Enjoy!!

About the Authors:

Creative director for the series Paul McCusker has written over 300 half-hour audio episodes for Adventures in Odyssey and has served as both producer and executive producer. Paul is now Director of Creative Content at Focus on the Family. Series writer Marianne Hering has written a dozen children’s fiction books and more than 40 Bible phonics readers. Now a general book editor for Focus, she is passionate about developing a series for beginning readers. Brock D. Eastman, who co-wrote Showdown with the Shepherd, serves as Product Marketing Manager at Focus, where he has the privilege to work on the Odyssey brand, a show his dad got him hooked on when he was little boy. Writing alongside Hering on Problems in Plymouth is Marshal Younger, who has written over 100 Odyssey audio dramas and the children’s book series, Kidsboro.

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with complimentary copies of these books.