Saturday, May 31, 2014

Daises are Forever by Liz Tolsma - REVIEWED

About the Novel:
Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.
Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.
However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch's identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her "marriage."
Their journey to Gisela's mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella's daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.
In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.

Purchase you copy HERE.

My Thoughts:
All around, women and children screamed.  They melded with the screams of her aunt and cousins.  Screams of the present , screams of the past.”  (p 36)

Gisela Cramer, escaping East Prussia as the Nazis invade.  One of thousands, probably millions of refugees fleeing before the invasion.  Mitch Edwards…fleeing a POW camp with his lifetime buddy, Xavier…desperate to survive, speaking whatever bits of language they can remember to disguise their British accents.  These lives collide in a living steam of bodies fleeing for their lives.  Daisies are Forever chronicles this journey.

This is a very well-written, accurate depiction of Europe as the Nazi party invaded.  The brutality of this time of survival, of fleeing, of desperation and heartache was real.  The relationships forged during this time were also real.  The hunger, the filth, the death….all of it real.  All of it realistically depicted in this beautiful story of hope, of faith, of God’s faithfulness.

If you love novels set in the 1940’s, WWII era, Daisies are Forever in a novel not to be missed.  This will touch your heart.  Break your heart.  Give you hope.  It is a beautiful tribute to the heroes of our past, and should give strength to future generations.

About the Author:
New York Times best-selling author Liz Tolsma is the author of Daisies are ForeverSnow on the Tulips, and the contributing author of A Log Cabin Christmas. When not busy putting words to paper, Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children, all adopted internationally.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Until I Found You
Bethany House Publishers (May 6, 2014)
Victoria Bylin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A word from the Author:

This may sound crazy, but I was driven to write romance by giant bugs and killer rabbits. I just couldn't take it anymore. My husband and two sons would be camped in front of the television watching a movie about spiders the size of bowling balls, and I'd be wondering when the handsome scientist would get around to kissing the spunky woman with the bug spray. When it didn't happen, I decided to write my own happy endings--without the giant bugs...

Known for her realistic, likable characters and vivid writing, Victoria Bylin writes both western and contemporary inspirational romance. Her books have finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards, the Rita Awards and RT Magazine’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards. She and her husband currently live in Lexington, Kentucky and have two grown sons.


Finding each other was only the beginning . . .

When Kate Darby swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor, she ends up trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Terrified, she breathes a prayer that changes her life.

It's Nick Sheridan who comes to Kate's rescue. Nick is handsome and confident, and he seems to develop a habit of rescuing her, but Kate is in town only until her grandmother recuperates from a stroke. She's not planning to get involved with one of the locals.

Nick is a reformed veteran of life in the fast lane, a new Christian, and a travel writer. When he sees a car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action. He doesn't expect to be swept off his feet by the car's occupant. He's made a vow--no dating for a year--but keeping that vow is going to be a lot more difficult now that he's met Kate Darby. . . .

My Thoughts:
 “…she couldn’t reconcile emotional pain with a loving God, or fear with faith.  It just didn’t make sense, and no one could explain it to her.”  (p. 252)’

 “Faith. It all came down to believing that God was who He said He was, and that He could be trusted even when the earthly circumstances seemed grim.”  (p. 323)

Two very different perspectives.  Two lives on an intersecting path.  A God who loves them both and is calling them to Himself. 

Until I Found You is a spiritual journey to understanding a relationship with God wrapped in a contemporary romance.  Kate and Nick are at very different places on that journey when their lives intersect.  It all begins with a prayer that Leona Darby prays for her niece.  Unaware of God’s  sovereign hand at work, Kate’s life takes several unexpected u-turns.  As a matter of fact, Nick’s life is also experiencing  a series of hair-pin turns much like the one that introduces these two characters.

The title carries many layers of meaning, and all of it comes into full clarity by the time you reach the final pages.  Victoria Bylin is a new author to me, and I was pleased with the well-developed characters, the richness of their lives and the way they are all intertwined  over the course of the story.  You will come to care deeply about all of the people in this story.  You will cry. You will get frustrated. You will get angry and a little scared at times.  It is worth the journey!  Enjoy!!

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Until I Found You, go HERE.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Kim Dexter is ‘Reaching’ for Heaven with Upcoming Worship-Infused Solo Album

(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) -- Singer-songwriter Kim Dexter (formerly of Mayfair Laundry) is back with a brand new studio album, “Reaching,” in stores everywhere on June 10th via Elevate Entertainment and Syntax Creative. The worship-infused project is the follow-up to Dexter’s debut solo album, “So This Is It,” which spawned international radio airplay, extensive touring and television appearances. 

Produced by Jerad Atherton, “Reaching” was recorded at Hollywood’s legendary EastWest Studios (Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra) with an all-star cast of players that includes bassist Jonathan Ahrens (Jason Mraz, Jewel), drummer Aaron Sterling (Kelly Clarkson, John Mayer), and Dexter on keys. The album also includes a duet with fellow artist Jason Dunn (former Hawk Nelson frontman) on “Our Souls Cry Out.”

“’Reaching’ is more of a worship project than anything I have done in the past, yet is still revealing of what God has been doing in my life,” says Dexter. “I perform a lot of concerts, lead worship at a lot of churches and also sing and speak at women’s conferences and retreats, so this album really has songs for all of those communities. I sing of God's unbelievable grace and mercy, which He continually pours out on us, and His daily salvation, knowing everything that touches my life has to first pass through the hands of God. Whatever I’m experiencing He's allowed and He will use it for my best. When we let go of everything, we can live in true freedom.”

Dexter’s first major foray into artistry came in the late ‘90s when she fronted Christian rock band Mayfair Laundry, who toured nationally opening for the likes of Switchfoot, Steven Curtis Chapman and Third Day. Dexter subsequently found success as a songwriter, penning tracks for Bryan Duncan, Nicole C. Mullen, Avalon’s Jody McBrayer, and multiple missions organizations. She also wrote the theme song for the immensely popular children’s series, “Bibleman.”

These days, Dexter resides in Orange County, California with her husband Paul (a Grammy-nominated producer, musician and fellow member of Mayfair Laundry) and their children Maggie and Hudson. The whole family frequently loads up the tour bus to experience adventures on the road together, while Kim shares her deeply personal songs and stories of survival, perseverance, courage and healing at various concert venues, churches, women’s conferences and retreats. 

“My life is a story of miraculous grace, personally, within my marriage, and also with new creative opportunities,” says Dexter. “God has been there the whole time and I am a testimony that He can truly do anything.”

The root for Dexter’s inspirational well runs deep in various directions, first and foremost, with her love for Jesus and her family. Musically, her vast pool of muses includes faith-based powerhouses like Keith Green and Gungor, alongside mainstream favorites like Sarah McLachlan, The Fray and Ingrid Michaelson. Add in some of life’s simplest pleasures, like laughing with her children, green juice drinks and a long work out, coupled with wanting to stir the souls of audiences or address the enormity of suffering in the world, and Dexter emotes authenticity and inspiration at every turn.

“God is always pursuing us, reaching through darkness, loss, and human frailty to the depths of our hearts,” she says. “In response to this kind of love, I am reaching for more of Jesus and for the highest call He has placed on my life. I always lean on what it says in Philippians 3:13: ‘But one thing I do: Forgetting the past and reaching forward to what lies ahead’...”

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Stitch and a Prayer by Eva Gibson - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Stitch and A Prayer
Abingdon Press (May 20, 2014)
Eva Gibson


(No image available) Eva Gibson is the author of twenty books, including A Stitch and a Prayer, the latest release in the Quilts of Love series from Abingdon Fiction. She currently teaches Writing Your Life Story classes for Portland Community College and is an active member of Oregon Christian Writers. She has lived most of her life on the family farm in Wilsonville, Oregon, which is the setting for her novel.


After her fiancĂ© returns from the Klondike gold rush in 1897, Florence Harms sets about building a new life in her new marriage—even though the lingering effects of illness have left her weak and vulnerable. She and her young husband, Will, work tirelessly to clear the land around their Northwest cabin, content with their modest life. But then a stranger comes knocking and Florence suddenly senses a restlessness in Will’s spirit that she had never seen before. When he leaves her with only a note that tells her he will return before their baby’s birth, she is devastated, and the illness that stiffened her joints returns. Counting the days until Will walks back through her door, Florence busies herself with a Tree of Life quilt displaying a map of the farm they call home. Doubts claw at her heart as Florence struggles to believe Will’s promise to return to her. Will her labor of love—and faith in God—sustain her as she waits to see her beloved once again?

My Thoughts:
Blessed.  I and the man I’m about to wed have been blessed.” (p. 20)

Little did Florence know the significance of Aunt Amelia’s blessing.  She and Will would have to weather many trial and tribulations as they started married life together.  Most were just the normal trials that accompanied life in the late 1800’s. Wilsonville, Oregon was a rugged western town, and when couples married they truly lived out “for better for worse.”  A lot of hard work, patience and raw faith was required to stay the course of marriages in such rugged circumstances.

Florence had already undergone some significant changes prior to her wedding day.  The realization of life’s most important relationships and joys came through very painful physical illness for Florence.  She and Will had already faced many people’s worst fear and survived.  They had no idea that they would have to fight again and again to protect the love that had become vital to their hearts.  They never dreamed they would have to go to such extreme measures to defend what they knew to be true.

A Stitch and a Prayer is a beautiful edition to the Quilts of Love series.  The story takes the reader back in time in a way that makes you feel the emotional and physical obstacles faced by the cast of characters as they sought to survive and thrive in this harsh territory.  

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Stitch and A Prayer, go HERE.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Living Whole without a Better Half by Wendy Widder - REVIEWED

About the Book:

How to live happily ever after if your prince or princess never shows up.

There are more singles in—and out of—the church today than ever before. Wendy Widder knows the struggles of being single from the inside out, and she has something to say.While there is no shortage of books about singlehood on the market, Widder’s approach is markedly different. In Living Whole Without a Better Half readers study the character in Hebrews 11. Widder uses these Biblical examples to show readers how to embrace singleness as an abundant life and a God-given gift, not as an unfortunate stage they should move past as quickly as possible. By examining the lives of biblical heroes such as Abraham, Moses, and Jacob, she reveals that trying to bargain with God to follow our plans and timing often keeps us from appreciating the opportunities he places in our path.

Widder makes her case with wit and a wry humor that readers will appreciate and come back to again and again. Now with updated statistics, and a new preface, Living Whole Without a Better Half includes study questions that make it a great Bible study or small group resource.

My Thoughts:
If there’s not joy in singleness then there won’t be joy in marriage either.  Joy is not the fruit of “favorable” circumstances.  Rather, it’s the outpouring of a contented heart.” (p.44)

Wendy Widder’s book, Living Whole without a Better Half, ultimately ties the key thoughts to the life of a person who is not married and the trials brought about by that fact.  However, this book is SO MUCH more that living single in a couple’s world!  This is a meat and potatoes Bible study centered around the lives of Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, and many others!  Wendy is a gifted Bible scholar, and she brings her knowledge and enthusiasm about what God has taught her into each chapter of this book!

Each chapter has a specific focus such as:  Living in the Unknown, Living Through Pain, Living with Perseverance and Living with Purpose.  At the end of each chapter are questions to further explore God’s Word.  I come to this book from the “single –again” point of view.  At the end of 23-years of marriage, I still find this book to be packed with daily applicable truths that will strengthen my own walk with Christ.  This book is a treasure trove!!  I’ve highlighted, book marked and made notes…it is RICH!!

So, whether you find yourself single in a couple’s world, or even if you are married, this book as a LOT to offer!  It would make an excellent personal Bible study or a small group guide!! I HIGHLY recommend this book!!

About the Author:
Wendy Widder spent most of her twenties teaching elementary students and waiting to get married. Then she decided life was happening without her, so she started a collection of graduate degrees in Bible, theology, and ancient languages. After twelve years, five advisors, three schools, two states, and two continents, she emerged from the ivory tower and found herself in mid-life, learning new ways to live whole without a better half. She is also the author of A Match Made in Heaven: How Singles and the Church Can Live Happily Ever After (Kregel, 2003) and a book she coauthored with her father to help Christian teachers integrate a biblical worldview into their courses. Wendy blogs at  

Monday, May 26, 2014

I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages by Alex Marestaing - REVIEWED

About the Book:
We're all broken on this side of heaven, but we can make beautiful things from the pieces. Agoraphobic Caleb Reed is about to step outside for the first time in seven years, meet indie filmmaker Iris Elliott . . . and definitely not fall in love. It's all because of the notes, the weird and wonderful notes he keeps finding on his front porch, notes signed by someone claiming to be long dead poet Emily Dickinson. Caleb's parents think he's losing his mind, as always, but he knows they're wrong. Something's going on outside --- something strange, something terrifying . . . something beautiful.
Read the EPIC Award nominated novel that critics are saying is "fresh", "powerful" and "unlike anything" they've read. In a world full of anxiety, I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages is a triumphant tale of faith over fear and one that kids and grown-ups of all ages will love. (A London Book Festival Honorable Mention Winner)

Purchase a copy: HERE.

My Thoughts:
“….we’re all broken on this side of heaven.  But that don’t matter much.  Because we can still make beautiful things from the pieces.”  (Mr. Rowe to Caleb)

Wow.  What an unexpected journey Alex Marestaing’s book, I’m Nobody, has become!  Caleb Reed is a thirteen-year-old with some distinct emotional challenges.  His parents aren’t doing so well either.  The three of them make a pretty miserable combination.  They are grieving a great loss, and doing it very poorly. 

And then a voice from across the street begins to speak to Caleb through a series of mysterious notes.  These notes draw Caleb out into the world and the into the lives of others grieving the same loss.  Together, they come together to discover that they need only to put their own brokenness together to help each other into a new and brighter tomorrow.

I really don’t want to give away anything about this novel.  It is a story that needs to be uncovered….unwrapped…discovered….savored.  I’ll admit, there was a point at the beginning that I wanted to report Mr. and Mrs. Reed for child abuse….well emotional abuse at least….until I discovered the cause of their profound grief.  They were coping…albeit very poorly…and thankfully, they were rescued in a very unlikely and tender way. 

This novel will touch your heart deeply.  Stay the course.  All is not as it seems.  Great book!! Genius, actually.  Bravo!!

About the Author:
Author Alex Marestaing loves to create. He's written for media outlets such as The Walt Disney Company, Lego, Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins, and The Los Angeles Times and has authored three YA novels. His latest, I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages, recently won an honorable mention at the London Book Festival and was nominated for a 2014 Epic Award. Though he spends most of his time imagining ideas for the youth market, he's also written for faith based publications and has covered his favorite sport, soccer, in Europe and the U.S. forSports Spectrum Magazine and Yanks Abroad. When Alex isn't writing or speaking at conferences, you'll most likely find him hanging out in California with his wife, three kids, and Milou, his dog.

Alex can be found at: websiteTwitter, Facebook 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Persecuted by Robin Parrish, based on a Daniel Lusko Film - REVIEWED

About the Book:
The Question Is Not If Attempts Will Be Made 
to Limit Religious Freedoms, But When.
And When That Day Comes, Will 
You Stay Silent?A storm is coming. 
The most popular evangelist of his day, John Luther, simply wants to share the Gospel and enjoy a quiet life with his family. He never asked to be at the center of a political controversy, but an ill wind has been blowing through the halls of Congress, and supporters of a new religious-equality bill see Luther's endorsement as critical. 

But when Luther refuses to lend his support, he unknowingly sets in motion an explosive plan bent on destroying his reputation and undermining everything for which he stands. His once-normal life is turned upside down as he becomes a fugitive left with only one dangerous option--putting everything he holds most dear at risk while he fights to expose the truth. It is a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that could threaten the very fabric of our nation's freedoms.

My Thoughts:
If you take away a man’s right to speak his mind in a country founded on that very principle, you don’t really have a country no, do you?” (p. 306)

John Luther is fighting for his life, for the country he loves and to protect the family he cherishes .  From the very first page, Robin Parrish tell a totally plausible tal,.  His story, Persecuted, is based on Daniel Luska’s film of the same name, and will cause you to rethink what is true, what is false and what you may ultimately be called upon to sacrifice your life to protect.

One of the end-time prophecies in the Bible warns of a deception so great that “were it possible” ever God’s children would be deceived (Matthew 24:24) .  The Bible talks  about a one world government/religion  (Revelation 13, Daniel 7)that will be part of the end times as well. How is that even possible in a Christian country?  Well, Persecuted makes it clearly evident that it’s entirely probable – and perhaps even eminent.

Yes, John Luther’s character and the many other well-developed characters in this story are fictional.  The story flows at a breath-taking pace and will blindside the reader again and again.  This is a true thriller to read!  However, the very last scene will make you shudder with dread.  This fight is real and the stakes are eternal.

Persecution has already begun in the U.S. Gradually, to be sure, but it’s real and it’s rampant.  Put your amour on, readers!  This is an excellent novel !  Now I can’t wait to see the film!! 

About the Author:
Robin Parrish is a journalist who's written about the intersection of faith and pop culture for more than a decade. He's also the author of Offworldand The Dominion Trilogy . Robin and his wife and children live in North Carolina. Visit Robin's website at

Daniel Lusko attended film school at the New York Film Academy and directed the documentaries Inside the Revolution and Epicenter based on Joel Rosenberg's New York Times bestsellers. Over the past two years Daniel has directed his first action/adventure feature film entitled 500 MPH Storm and a gritty crime drama, 11 Seconds. He is writer and director of Persecuted, produced with Gray Frederickson (The Godfather andApocalypse Now). Daniel and his family live inAlbuquerque, New Mexico.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Gathering Shadows
Bethany House Publishers (May 6, 2014)
Nancy Mehl


Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and their dog, Watson. She’s authored thirteen books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.


Wynter Evans is a promising young reporter for a television station in St. Louis, but even a bright future doesn't take away her pain over the disappearance of her brother nine years ago. So when she stumbles across a photograph of a boy with an eerie resemblance to him, she can't pass up the chance to track him down. With research for work as her cover, she sets out with one of the station's photogs for the place where the picture was taken: the town of Sanctuary. Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets the town's handsome young mayor, Rueben King, and together they begin to uncover long held secrets that could tear the small town apart and change everything Wynter thought she knew about her life. As the truth of her family's past hides in the shadows, it's clear someone will stop at nothing to keep the answers she's searching for hidden forever--even if the cost is Wynter's very life. If you'd like to read the first chapter of Gathering Shadows, go HERE.

My Thoughts:
Denying it won’t work.”  (p. 63)

There is a lot of duplicity in Nancy Mehl’s latest novel, Gathering Shadows!  The funny thing is, the main characters are reporters looking for the truth!  They can detect it when others try to deceive them, but they are talented in hiding their own secrets.  So you will have to really pay attention as you read, because not all is as it seems!

Honestly, this book was totally different from what I expected.  It was a good read, and Wytner , Zac and Reuben are a compelling set of characters to build a story around.  Nancy even manages to stir in some romance amid the suspense!  But whether or not both parties will make it to the end of the novel remains questionable!  And who would ever guess the underlying issue buried deep beneath the false identities?!  AND there was even deception perpetrated by one of the Mennonite families, so be prepared to have things shaken up a bit as you read!

Nancy Mehl has written a taut novel, and it is surely going to be entertaining to anyone who enjoys suspense!  Another home run here!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spirit Bridge by James L. Rubart - REVIEWED

About the Book:
The Warriors Riding have battled in astounding supernatural realms, set captives free, and awakened thousands of hearts. But now their only chance of survival depends on calling for The Spirit Bridge.
Reece, Dana, Brandon, and Marcus have achieved staggering success in the spiritual realm . . . but each is reeling from vicious attacks. They need rest. A break from the war.
But the warlord Zennon is raging and will give them no quarter. The demon holds what he believes to be the trump card—a hidden strategy set in motion before Warriors Riding even began—that will detonate the team from the inside out. And he's just set it loose.
The street magician Simon—finally free of Zennon's alternate reality prison—is racing to remember his past before his ignorance obliterates his destiny. Then there's Miyo—a brash young warrior with advanced knowledge of spiritual realities and supernatural armor even Reece doesn't know about. These two will be pivotal in the final war.
If only the Warriors knew which side Simon and Miyo are truly on. If only they knew how to fight against Zennon's final assault.
The Spirit Bridge is the epic conclusion to acclaimed author James L. Rubart's Well Spring series, which will propel each of the Warriors Riding on a quest of true identity, ultimate freedom, and a final battle that will leave them changed forever.
My Thoughts:
"But in this war ther is no neutral zone. No quarter.  No tie-outs and this is not a game wherer we can leave the field."  (Resse speaking to Warriors Riding)

"Yes, where we attempt to be gods, the message of true freedom is destorted, and we forget who we are."  (Miyo to Doug)

Reece, Doug, Brandon, Dana and Marcus - Warriors Riding.  This time they must ride headlong inot the deadliest woarfare they have ever faced - the warfare raging inisde their minds.  Will they believe the truth and grow stronger in who they are in Christ, or will they fall to the lies of the enemy polluting their mind and souls?

Jim Rupbart takes spiritual warfare to a personal and lethel level in the final book of the Warriours Riding Trilogy - Soul's Bridge.  The Warriours Riding are joined by Doug's granddaughter Miyo and Simon the magician in their epic battle against the darkness of the enemy.  The battle is fierce and unrelenting and the price that is ultimatley paid is great.

I guarantee your own slol will be challenged tremendously by the truths revealed in this novel  It is an exhilarating and life-changing ride you will remember long after you read the final pages.  You will gasp in shock at what is revealed and weep when loss comes.  You will rejoice in freedom found in letting go and dying to self.  You will hold your breath as the battles rage and collapse with relief when the end draws near.

Soul's Bridge is an intense read on many, many levels and I hightly recommend the entire trilogy! Do you want to live in freedom?  Ask God to reveal His truth as you read this novel  It will change your life! Seriously!  Go! Read!  Now!  Don't wait!

About the Author:
 James L. Rubart is the best-selling and Christy award winning author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, THE CHAIR, SOUL'S GATE, and MEMORY'S DOOR. He's also a professional speaker and owner of Barefoot Marketing which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm.
In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, golfs, takes photos, and occasionally does sleight of hand. No, he doesn't sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and two sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he's young enough to water ski like a madman. More at and on Facebook:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A View from Deborah Buckingham's Window - Nourishments

Deborah Buckingham began placing notecards in her kids’ lunches when they were in elementary school.  Each day she would personalize a verse of Scripture and send her children out into their school day.  This practice grew, because her children began to respond to the verses with statements like, “How did you know that is exactly what I needed today?”  Her children would also share their scriptural nourishments with their friends.

Deborah faithfully continued sending these cards throughout highschool,  and when friends graduated, she would include a set of nourishment scripture cards with their gift.  As years went by, she would receive texts from those same students thanking her for giving them God’s word to get them through a tough time.  She then began sharing personalized scripture cards with friends – both believers and non-believers – and would receive calls and notes expressing thanks.
God has made a way for Deborah’s Scriptural Nourishment to reach far beyond her family and friends.  Join me as we discuss her book, Nourishments.

You recently moved from Southern California to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Tell us about that move and the impact that has had on your life and the life of your family?

Six years ago, as my son was getting ready for his senior year in high school and my daughter was getting ready for her sophomore year in high school, the entire family began to feel a tug from God on our hearts to make a life change.  Both of my children felt God asking them to make a move.  Lots of prayer went into this decision, and my husband asked us each to make a wish list of things that would help us make this move.  From creeks, barns, trees, more space and horses,we all had a desire that was different from the other.  After much prayer and waiting on the Lord, our family chose to move to Wyoming.  The Lord has done incredible things through this move!

How was the idea  of Nourishments born?  Did it have anything to do with your move to Wyoming?

Nourishments would have never have happened in California.  I had an incredible church family, an 18-year plus teaching ministry, and all of that was taken away from me  when we moved to Wyoming.  My kids were busy acclimating to their new school and surroundings, my husband was busy managing his business, and I wound up lying on the couch sobbing that God was finished with me.  When I expressed this to a teaching partner and mentor back in California, she suggested that I think about writing.  It was one of those times where the Lord used someone to speak into my life, and I couldn’t get away from the idea.  So I began to journal and unpack all of the Scriptures that I’d sent to nourish my kids over the years.  When I finished, I knew I had been given something from the Lord to share with others.

It’s quite a leap from journaling to having a book published! Tell us about your journey to publication.

The Lord opened so many doors once we decided to self-publish this book!  He placed opportunities before us, introduced us to editors and printers that had formerly worked for large publishing houses…it was an incredible journey!  We would pray and wait, and God would open the way before us.  The 10-week media tour has continued this amazing experience.  Radio and TV stations have said "yes" time and time again.  I know that only the Lord could open these opportunities and that it is His will for me to have this experience.

“The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you figure out why.”  This is a quote found at the beginning of the book.  How does the statement fit in with the message found in Nourishments?

God says I’m here to do life with Him, to have a relationship with Him and allow Him to shepherd me through this crazy thing called being human.  If I know where I’m going, in relationship with God, and understand that the real me (and the real you)  is an eternal soul, then life begins to make sense.

Why do you begin the book exploring the names of God?

Knowing the names of God was a real turning point in understanding my relationship with the Lord.  I can’t possibly say I know Him when I don’t even know His name, can I?  Understanding His names peels back another layer of understanding His character.  Knowing His name has helped me get through some really difficult times.

I felt it was critical to include this in the book as well as a 102 word glossary in the back of the book explaining, in very simple terms, words that will be a tool to allow people to better understand the concepts presented in the book. For instance, justification defined means “just as if I’d never sinned.”

You’ve also recorded an audio version of the book, and an app will be created as well.  Tell us a little bit about that process.

I spent 2 weeks in Nashville recording over 300 pages.  It was almost, my undoing because it was much harder than writing!  When you record something from print it has to be exactly word for word.  It was challenging!

The app is almost completed and will be available for all iphones and smart phones.  There is also an e-book version of the book available for electronic readers.

You’ve been teaching for years and are now published.  How will these two gifts marry in your life?

As I went back through the book I discovered there were three distinct themes:  how much we are loved by God, how we are able to trust Him and Christian living.  We can’t really begin to trust Him until we understand how much He loves us. When we understand those two things, we can begin to forgive and love like Christ did, and live a full and abundant life for Him.

I can see  a possibility of a study guide coming out in addition to the book itself.  This would help others, either in an individual study or a small group, go deeper into the truth of God’s Word.  Each nourishment can be unpacked into a 20-30 minute study time with God.

Any closing words you’d like to share with readers?

It’s amazing to see what is happening with this book!  No matter how tired I get I don’t complain.  I remain mindful of all that God has done to make this possible, and I’m just so grateful!

And then I’m reminded of Paul.  He had to do all his traveling on foot, and he got beaten and thrown in jail!  I get to ride in a Tahoe on beautiful interstates! I better not complain!

I also want to remind people that you can find out more about Nourishments on my website and blog: . My hope is that my book will help people find a deeper relationship with God and encourage a hunger for God’s Word.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Surpised by Grace by Elizabth Sherrill - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Elizabeth’s own story with a new title and a brand new format!  Guideposts Books released Surprised by Grace(original title, All the Way to Heaven) in March 2014 with additional material including “Conversation Starters” for use in small groups.

My Thoughts:
The cross, tool of death,  symbol of life everlasting,  The cross where the vertical of heaven intersects the horizontal of a suffering world.”  Elizabeth Sherrill

Surprised by Grace is Elizabeth’s Sherrill’s personal life journey toward everything God had planned for her on her life journey as she experienced it.  Her story is told primarily in chronological order, but is told in a way that you feel as though you were visiting with a friend over a cup of coffee. 

Elizabeth wasn’t raised in  a Christian home, and the way God wooed her to Himself is as personal and intimate as all of our relationships with Christ must be.  I think, primarily, Elizabeth wants readers to really take hold of the amazing journey they have set out upon with Christ.  She wants readers to understand the vastness of God’s love and the great price that was paid so that we can receive His priceless gift of grace.
Her story isn’t one of trouble free living.  In fact, she and her husband faced many trials of their own as they walked out their faith journey.  I must admit that the Lord really blessed her life in unique and marvelous ways,  and allowed her to meet many, many giants of the Christian faith.  However their strong faith was seen through the lens of grace, and she cherished what each person had to offer her life whether it was Corrie Ten Boon or a woman she wept with on the beach as they discussed their children.  Truly, her faith is an amazing insight into God’s heart of the relationship He longs to have with each of His children.

I highly recommend this book.  It will have a powerful impact on your own relationship with Christ!

About the Author:
Elizabeth ("Tib") Sherrill has published some 1500 articles and authored more than 30 books, with sales in excess of 50 million. Book titles, many co-written with her husband John, include The Hiding Place, The Cross and the SwitchbladeGod's SmugglerThey Speak with Other Tongues, and Return from Tomorrow.  For over sixty years, Elizabeth has been a writer and editor for Guideposts Magazine.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Rise and Shine by Sandra D. Bricker - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Rise and Shine
River North; New Edition edition (May 1, 2014)
Sandra D. Bricker


For more than a decade, Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While honing her chosen craft of screenwriting in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she walked away from that segment of her life and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

The author says that it was her 8th novel that opened the door to finding her way as a writer. "I'm a Christian woman, first and foremost," she says. "So it was a bit of a dream-come-true when Summerside Press chose me as one of two authors to launch the Love Finds You line."

Sandie's real-life role as cancer survivor has parlayed into her steadfast commitment to raising awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research. Spearheading a series of devotionals for Summerside Press (such as the popular His Grace is Sufficient...Decaf is Not), the author has stipulated that a portion of each contributor's proceeds will go to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

"Being allowed to combine my faith and my humor with raising funds for my pet projects ... and still pursue my writing dream," says Bricker, "well, that's the best of all worlds, as far as I'm concerned!"

And one of the author's pet projects is animal rescue, evidenced by the special bond she has created with one particular formerly-abandoned puppy -- a red-haired collie with "killer brown eyes and the heart of the class clown."


Shannon Malone thought she'd found her happy ending when she married Edmund Ridgeway, but a diving accident on their honeymoon left her in a coma. Waking up to the news that she's thirty years old would have been daunting enough . . . but she also learns that Edmund has lost his interim battle with cancer and the world has marched on without her. Her gorgeous doctor, Daniel Petros, seems to know everything about her and becomes Shannon's tour guide into a whole new world of madness where reality television has taken over the planet and everyone's life appears to revolve around a tiny screen on their cell phones! As Shannon struggles to navigate through the changes-both in the world and in her-she also must discern real memories from imagined ones. Did she really ever wear capris pants and entertain in her living room, or was that Laura Petrie from her favorite classic TV show? And where is her beloved dog, Freeway? Oh, wait! That was Jonathan and Jennifer Hart's dog, not hers. Shannon's three elderly aunts flit through her life in true Sleeping Beauty style with her well-being always a priority. And Edmund's sister Millicent descends like the Evil Queen she is, trying to extract Shannon from any claim on the Ridgeway family fortune. When a tornado moves through town and Shannon is knocked unconscious, will Daniel's kiss awaken her once and for all?

My Thoughts:
When am I going to feel like I’m making some progress?  Like there’s a life ahead for me without people and things and situations being snatched away every time I turn around?”  (p. 226)

Have you ever been at this place in your life?  Have you ever asked these questions?  I think we all have at some point. If we’re honest.  Shannon Malone finds herself recreating her entire life from scratch almost, and Sandra Bricker has done a beautiful  job allowing readers to walk alongside her throughout the journey.  You get to know Shannon in an intimate way as you experience a wide expanse of loss, grief, self-discovery, family relationships and new friendships.  There are old friendships that are renewed and some that sort of implode under the weight of this gloriously difficult process of transformation.

Daniel Petros is also experiencing quite a bit of transformation in his own life!  His discoveries are sometimes confusing, often frustrating, and at other times terrifying.  The poor man has a LOT to sort out when he begins to know Shannon Malone as a person and not just a patient.  The situations that develop from their relationship mirror many of life’s uncertainties and fears.

I can always count on Sandra Bricker’s stories to sort of smack me right between the eyes with a spiritual insight that I need at just that moment.  When Shannon says to God, “I used to know you so well…I depended on you for everything.” (p. 234) You feel her release control. She realizes that she is the one who moved…God never left her side.  Haven’t we all been there?  And Shannon’s story is so unique and complicated that the pages literally create a breeze as you read!  It is a wonderfully entertaining and enchanting novel! I was often amazed at how quickly things changed and progressed! A very intriguing story line!

Sandra D. Bricker, I think you are a fabulous writer with a special, insightful look into the human heart. This is a wonderful story!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Rise and Shine, go HERE.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fatal Exchange by Lisa Harris - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Desperate times create desperate people. And desperate people are dangerous . . . Though Emily Hunt comes from a family of cops, the relatively quiet life of a high school teacher suits her just fine. She's saving up to buy a house, slowly moving forward after her brother's death, and settling into a life she loves. So the last person she wants to spend time with is Mason Taylor.

An undercover cop, Mason is enemy number one as far as her family is concerned. His involvement in the death of Emily's brother is still up in the air, and now he expects her to help him with a case. Mason has been working with one of her students, Rafael Cerda, whose brother has been kidnapped by a drug cartel. And with time running out to meet their demands, Rafael is getting desperate.

Emily will have to draw on all of her strength to handle what happens next . . .

Fatal Exchange
 will draw you into a complex matrix of intertwining lives, unraveling secrets, and unexpected love.

My Thoughts:
Today’s not over.  We still have someone else to save.”  (p. 258)

Lisa Harris knows how to ramp up the suspense to an unbelievably intense level!! But Fatal Exchange takes that intensity to an almost unbearable level!  Good Grief!!  Talk about not being able to read fast enough!  Between Emily Hunt, Mason Taylor and Detective Avery North the reader doesn’t have time to breathe right!

This story rolls from one crisis to another on a seamless path to danger and a growing uncertainty about the resolution being anything remotely easy to live with.  What makes this even more intense is that the plot line is totally believable and could have been ripped from today’s headlines!  You don’t know from one page to the next who is even going to survive to the end of the novel!  I’m telling you now, this is a thrilling ride!

Lisa Harris adds a depth to her characters that causes the reader to be totally vested in the outcome for each one in the story.  In addition to the case that has exploded in their faces, Emily, Mason and Avery have a personal stake in all of the events that are swirling around them.  For Mason, there is an additional family matter that maintains pressure on his character – as though he needed any more pressure!   His new found faith in Christ is taken to new levels of belief and trust.

I can’t recommend Fatal Exchange highly enough!  This is an amazing book, and one that will keep you up night, reading at a frantic pace!  

About the Author:
Lisa Harris is a Christy Award finalist and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times. The author of more than twenty books, including Dangerous Passage, Harris has spent over ten years living with her family as missionaries in Africa. Learn more at

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A View from Vannetta Chapman's Window - Murder Simply Brewed!

I am pleased to welcome Vannetta Chapman to my Window today!  Vannetta is a prolific writer, and her stories encompass everything from romance, to mystery, and her stories are set among the Amish community.

Murder Simply Brewed  is the first in the the Village trilogy, and introduces readers to a fantastic set of characters that you will want to spend more time with!  So come, join me as I discuss Murder Simply Brewed with Vannetta!

The Village – a place of business, community and where the Englisch and Amish intersect.  This was fascinating to me!  Do such places exist?  What was your inspiration for The Village?

Yes, they do exist! My inspiration for this story was the Essenhaus in Middlebury, IN
I thought it was awesome that the Amish faith challenged something in Amber, and Ambers confidences and self-sufficiency challenged something within Hannahs heart.  How likely or unlikely are such friendships? Why does this one seem to draw one character to another?

I think these types of friendships are very possible. One of the first Amish women I met was a lovely woman in Shipshewana, IN who worked at a bed and breakfast. Her and the owner, an Englisch woman, were fast friends. It was obvious that over the years they had shared many special experiences. This was probably much of my inspiration for my Amish stories, as they often features friendships between Amish and Englisch.

Murder among the Amish is almost an oxymoron, but I know the Amish are merely human and susceptible to temptation of every variety.  How difficult was it to construct a believable scenario of murder and investigation?  What research did it require?

It wasn't that difficult! Every community has problems--jealousies, old disputes, and misunderstandings. The beautiful think about a murder mystery is that it allows me to show God's grace in the worst of situations. As far as research, I'm rather a news addict, so it's easy enough to find the information I need in today's headlines for the most part.

Do the Englisch law enforcement have much to do with the Amish people?  Is their role in any way limited by their faith?  Please share insight into this relationship.

Amish are slow to turn to Englisch authorities, as I described in my Shisphewana mysteries. However, they do so when necessary. For instance, a man was robbing Amish women on "pay day" as they made their way home. This happened on a regular basis for a few weeks, and the bishop determined it was very important to go to local officials, who then did catch and convict the man. I don't think they'd go to the police for minor matters, but if someone is in danger then they will.

Tate Bowman is, by far, one of my favorite characters!  He begins as a pretty tragic character but evolves into one of the strongest characters by the end of the story. Who was your inspiration for this character?

I love writing a reluctant hero - someone who does not want to be in the spotlight but rises to the occasion when he's needed. My inspiration for Tate was my husband. He's a very quiet unassuming guy, but he's always there when someone needs his help.

How often, that anyone is able to take notice, do Englisch convert to being Amish?  Will that be an issue that Amber will walk through in subsequent stories?

I don't believe many people convert to the Amish faith, but I do believe that many people choose to simply their life and to make their faith more central in their day-to-day living as a result of their interactions with the Amish.

Does Murder Simply Brewed begin a series?  If so, how many stories from the Village will readers enjoy?

Yes! There will be 3 books in all. Book 2, Murder Tightly Knit, will release and December. We'll have all of the same characters but a new set of problems!

Can you give readers a sneak peek at your next project?

I can tell you that we'll find out whether Jesse and Hanna's relationship can endure hardship. We'll also take a peek into the "survivalist culture" and see what those folks have in common with the Amish community. I very much enjoyed writing this book, and I love, love, love the ending.

What has God been up to in your writing life that youd like to share with your readers?

I've been amazed at the letters and emails I receive from readers telling me how much these stories have touched their hearts. Strange for a murder mystery? Maybe, but maybe not. AT their heart, I try to write stories of God's grace.

What closing words of encouragement would you like to leave with us?

That God does have a plan for each of us. We might not always understand it, and there might be times when we scratch our heads and say "What?" But we can trust the Lord our God, and we can rest in that assurance.

Thanks for having me on your blog!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Murder Simply Brewed by Vannetta Chapman - REVIEWED and DRAWING!!

About the Book:
When the coffee shop manager is murdered in Middlebury’s Amish Artisan Village, two women from different walks of life must join together to solve the mystery. Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright is optimistic about the growing profit from her collection of Amish shops---until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a solitary hole in the front window and the store manager lying next to the espresso machine, dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register. When Amber hires a young Amish woman, Hannah Troyer, to take over the shop’s duties, the two women become fast friends---as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray’s death is a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren't convinced. Clues that don't add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and a blossoming romance---all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to reveal answers to the mysteries around them.

My Thoughts:
Our mind has a way of working out our fears, but God – he has a way of making us a new creature if we let Him.”  (p. 351)

When I first began Vannetta Chapman’s book, Murder Simply Brewed, I was immediately captivated by the characters.  When the murder was discovered and the investigation was less than satisfying, I really became interested to see whether or not this set of characters would sort out the series of mishaps that seemed to accompany the murder. Amber Wright and Hannah Troyer’s lives intersect in interesting ways from the moment the body is discovered, and the relationships that develop throughout the story only add to its richness.

There is something about setting a murder mystery among the Amish community that intrigues me.  That’s why the quote I found on page 351 seems to embody the mixture of Amish and Englisch lives that blend together – not so seamlessly as you would suppose – throughout the story. I think I was the first one to fall in love with Tate Bowman!! Such a salt-of-the-earth character!  And Hannah’s faith and ingenuity is the perfect balance to Amber’s independence.  This story is a great blend of many elements that come together to form an intriguing mystery.  (dare I suggest that there is an relational element that makes is even more intriguing?)

As with any good mystery, the villain is hidden in plain site.  There is one scene toward the end that is going to give some readers a serious case of the creeps – or, in my world, heebie-jeebies!  I was totally not expecting that!!  Thank goodness for animal planet and National Geographic is all I’m saying! So get ready for a great adventure readers!  You will enjoy your visit to the Village, where murder is Simply Brewed!

If you want to win a free copy of this book, please leave your name and email in the comments and I will pick a winner next week!  The publisher will mail you a free copy of the book for you to enjoy!

About the Author:
Vannetta Chapman is author of the best-selling novel A Simple Amish Christmas. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. In 2012 she was awarded a Carol Award for Falling to Pieces. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Visit Vannetta's webiste: Twitter: @VennettaChapman Facebook: VannettaChapmanBooks