Monday, February 29, 2016

The Prophetess by Jill Eileen Smith - REVIEWED

About The Book:

Canaan has ravaged Israel. The people are in hiding. All that stands between surrender and hope is one untested woman.

Deborah will never forget the day her father and brothers left to worship at the Lord's tabernacle--or the wails of her mother after finding their bodies at the city gates. The memories of Canaan's cruelty haunt her and all of Israel. Now in this dark time, the Lord calls on Deborah to lead His people away from the idols of other nations and back to Him.

Deborah never asked to be a prophetess or a judge over God's people. Still, she cannot deny His voice or the visions that accompany it. Can her family ever understand? Will her people believe God's calling on her life? And can the Canaanite menace be stopped?

With her trademark impeccable research and imaginative storytelling, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the story of Israel's most powerful woman in this intriguing and inspiring novel.

My Thoughts:
How do you think God feels when we betray Him?”  (p. 306)

Jill Eileen Smith brings the life of Deborah the Prophetess to life in vivid detail in her latest novel.  I had to spend a little time in God’s Word to refresh myself on this particular character in the Bible, and, truly, this is a powerful reminder of how our faithfulness to God impacts our world!

Deborah was the fourth prophet/judge in Israel in the time of the judges.  Her call to the Israelite people to turn away from idols so they would be protected from the enemies that persecuted and enslaved them for many years was a process that took years.  There is a relationship in the story that mirrors the unfaithfulness of the Israelite people, and the male character struggles with the length of time it took God to answer their cries. 

Isn’t it just like us, as believers, to grow impatient with God and move ahead of God’s best for us?  This one of many powerful scenes in this novel that spoke deeply to me.  I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for God’s mercy and grace – for His longsuffering toward us when we choose to walk away from His plan for our lives, thinking our way is a better way. 

Believers everywhere, at every step of their Christian journey need to read and consider the truth of this story!  Jill Eileen Smith writes biblical fiction like no one else, and she recreates the life of Deborah that is both realistic and powerful!  I’m so thankful for the cross! I’m so thankful that God loves us and draws us to Himself over and over again.

Go. Buy the book! Read the book! Be changed!

About the Author:
Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling author ofThe Crimson Cord, The Wives of King David series, the Wives of the Patriarchs series, and the ebook novellas The Desert Princess andThe Shepherdess. Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast 
Michigan. Learn more at

Friday, February 26, 2016

Messed Up Men of the Bible by Tina and Dave Samples - REVIEWED

About the Book:

From schlubby sitcom heroes to mommy blogs to online articles, there is a broad cultural perception that men constantly mess up and women must fight an uphill battle to fix them. Men are a burden, constant works-in-progress, pushed toward perfection but always falling short. This book asks a revolutionary question: What if these messed-up men are actually a mighty tool for God?

Tina and Dave Samples remind us that the Bible is filled with a cast of messed-up men: men who struggled and fell, and yet were used by God to accomplish His purposes. In fact, God has consistently chosen imperfect “clay pots” in which to place His light.

David was a poor father. Peter had problems with integrity. Moses had anger issues, Gideon struggled with fear, and Elijah suffered from depression--the list goes on. Messed Up Men of the Bible offers encounters with these ancient men who faced the same emotions and questions that contemporary men face, in order to reveal fresh spiritual insights and hope for modern relationships. Through personal stories, practical advice, and useful exercises, Tina and Dave provide encouragement and hope for women dealing with the messed up men in their own lives.

My Thoughts:
You have a choice, my friend – to either stay where you are or move out of the darkness toward healing.” (p. 52)

“Replace the lies that come from Satan’s mouth with God’s word and perspective on who you are.” (p.53)
These are words of wisdom shared in the chapter that deals with the need to control everything and everyone in our lives to maintain a sense of security.  Seems bold, doesn’t it!  Well, Tina and Dave are the boldest, most transparent and gifted teachers writing  today!  Messed Up Men of the Bible is a tag team effort that gives both male and female perspectives from a couple who has weathered decades of life together.  Their life isn’t perfect, rather, it is submitted to the Lordship of Christ.

Each chapter deals with everyday areas of life, anger, depression, pride, control to name a few – all of which – if not submitted to Christ can become the weapon of the enemy to destroy life and purpose in a believer’s life.  This book also addresses how to deal with some of these issues if the person facing the issue is not a believer.  This couple gives practical, honest truth from God’s Word, using biblical characters as examples.

Each chapter also offers a series of questions that are thought provoking and transforming.  This book is a complete package of wisdom.  Honestly!!  Get out your highlighter and journal and begin the journey toward healing and wholeness today!  This is an amazing tool that will change lives!  A small group of married couples or just a married couple using this as their daily devotion…the possibilities are endless.  I’m a single-again believer, and I would have loved to had this tool in my well-house of knowledge when I was still married!  I’ve learned a LOT and will continue going back to this book time and time again!

This is a solid Bible study guide for anyone!!  I highly recommend this book!

About the Authors:

Tina is an award-winning author, speaker, worship leader, and registered Music Therapist. She lives in Tolar, Texas with her husband David, the lead pastor of Tolar Baptist Church. Together, they have two gifted sons, Jaren and Zach. Her book Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope When Life Hurts, received the 2014 Golden Scroll Award for nonfiction book of the year.

Tina’s publishing credits also include It's a God Thing: Stories To Help You Experience The Heart of God, Guideposts; Extraordinary Answers to Prayer: In Times of Change and Unexpected Answers; Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters: Real Life Stories of Supernatural Events; and The One Year Life Verse Devotional. She has also contributed to The Secret Place devotional magazine, as well as Quiet Hour magazine.

Dave is a pastor, teacher, author, and church planter. He is a native Texan who resides in Granbury, Texas and pastors at Tolar Baptist Church in Tolar, Texas. Dave has held numerous denominational leadership positions and has spoken for a variety of organizations including the Gospel Music Association in Estes Park, CO.

Dave has a Master of Divinity Degree with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas and a Bachelor’s Degree from Union University, Jackson, Tennessee.

Dave has served as a chaplain in the US Navy, as well as in local fire and police departments. In 2008, he was nominated as Windsor, Colorado's Person of the Year in recognition of his efforts to provide disaster relief following a devastating tornado.

Dave and Tina have two sons, Jaren and Zach, and one granddaughter, Abigail.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Come Empty by Saundra Dalton-Smith - REVEIWED

About the book: 

Come Empty: Pour Out Life's Hurts and Receive God's Healing Love (SonRise Devotionals, March 2015)

When a water vessel is filled with dirt and stones, it cannot be used to quench a thirst.

But, when this vessel is emptied, there is an opportunity to fill it until it overflows with fresh, cool, life-giving water. Water that quenches. Refreshes. Soothes.

Our souls are the same: filled with fear, doubt, and disappointment. Running over with unanswered prayers and lingering questions. When we empty the mess of our lives in the presence of God, we're offered an invitation to come. An invitation that allows us to come empty --- so that we can be filled until we overflow.

Come Empty: Pour Out Life's Hurts and Receive God's Healing Love guides you through fifty days of experiencing the fullness of God's love and His ability to overcome life's hurts. Each day, you will receive assurance of God's presence in your difficult situations. Each devotion gives new vision and perspective when you're hindered by emotional blind spots, and leads you to experience God's peace and wholeness. When His invitation is accepted, He will set your captive mind and heart free to live fully by His grace. The question is not if you will get an invitation. The question is, will you come? 

Purchase you copy HERE.

My Thoughts:
Will you accept life’s invitation to come empty and be filled?”  (p. 29)

Saundra Dalton-Smith has written a devotional that will be a gift of healing to many!  The format of each daily devotional is brief and direct, and contains what I think is the key to unlocking and letting go of the past – God’s Word.  Dalton-Smith includes a passage from the Bible to ingest and digest….to take into your heart and allow your life to be transformed.  She wants to encourage readers to come empty of themselves and be filled with God’s presence.

This call to “Come Empty” has reached the ears of many.  Once again, I’m encountering countless avenues encouraging me to be free from the messages from my past, my religious preconceived notions, the hurt and pain from tragedy, to empty myself of everything except the truth of God’s Word. The author is correct when she says this process will be painful along the way.  Sometimes we hold onto our hurts and our woundedness with far more tenacity than we use to cling to the Truth found in God’s Word.

If done as suggested, you won’t move through this devotional quickly, but your life will be transformed by the renewing of your mind as you feed on God’s Word and make an effort to apply its truth to your life circumstance!

I highly recommend this book! 

About the author:

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is a Board Certified internal medicine physician. She shares with audiences nationwide on the topics of eliminating limiting emotions, finding grace in difficult places, and experiencing personal renewal by drawing near to God. Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and has been featured in Women's Day, Redbook, and First For Women magazine. She is the founder of I Choose My Best Life. Her other books include award-winning Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Robin by Julane Hiebert - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wings of Hope Publishing Group (November 15, 2015)
Julane Hiebert


Julane is first of all a child of God. She is also a wife to Bob, mother to two living sons,Kip and Rob, two daughters in heaven, two wonderful daughters-in-law, Becky and Tami, and grandmother to six perfectly wonderful grands, as well as an additional three ‘other grands’. She lives with her husband in a wee cottage by a small lake nestled in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas.

Though encouraged by many to pen the story of raising two daughters with an incurable disease, she has chosen to incorporate the lessons learned into the lives of her not-too-perfect characters. Her passion is to present the promises and hope found in God’s Word in down-to-earth, everyday experiences through her stories.

Julane loves reading, decorating, junking, antiques, and chocolate! No particular order, but one would be safe to insert chocolate between all other interests.


In 1877 the Wenghold sisters inherited an overwhelming debt with their father’s passing. An uncle they’ve never met offers a solution—come help on his Kansas cattle ranch. The oldest sister, Robin, agrees to go.

Ty Morgan has suffered through a year of misery after being jilted by the town beauty a few months before their wedding. But a tornado whirls an unexpected breath of hope into his heart when he rescues Robin, his neighbor’s newly arrived niece, and a small boy who was orphaned by the storm.

Robin’s crippled leg prevents her from being a real help to Uncle John, but she seems to be exactly who Ty needs to heal his broken heart. Until his former fiancĂ©e returns and a mysterious, elusive stranger casts worry over the entire community.

A woman determined to honor her obligations, a man entangled in a long ago-made commitment, an orphaned child in need of security . . . Can God guide these three souls to peace and fulfillment together?

My Thoughts:
Now would’t that buy granny a new hat---and a pink feather to put in it?”  (p. 255)

Uncle John’s thought about his current situation is represented pretty accurately in this statement.  He is the one character in Julane Hiebert’s novel, Robin, who speaks his mind with no apology!  Robin Wenghold has no idea of the treasure her Uncle John will become in her life when she sets off for Kansas to beseech his help with the debt left to her by her father.  Robin encounters a host of personalities and situations that are quite foreign to her, but, over time, become quite dear to her!

This is a prairie version of a coming of age story of two adults who need a new perspective on life in general.  My only angst with this story is the “praire” language that seeps from the lips of the characters from time to time.  (Uncle John starts sounding more and more like Jed Clampett)   Otherwise, this is a tale that will give you a pleasurable break from reality as the characters face challenge after challenge to overcome circumstances they neither expected or understand.  Hard work, patience and a lot of honesty go a long way to mend the hurts and anxiety in the lives of the characters in this novel.

If you like a good prairie romance, look no further!  Robin is just what you’ve been waiting for!

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

Monday, February 22, 2016

Always Watching by Lynette Eason - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Intensity. Skill. Tenacity. 
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians to protect his son. But when Wade's bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. 

Olivia's skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade's stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him--including Olivia. But in her mind, even more dangerous than the threats to her life is the hold her handsome client has on her heart.

My Thoughts:
This whole situation seemed to be snowballing at a rate that would bury them all under an avalanche of danger if he didn’t do something to figure out who was stalking him and put a stop to it.”  (p. 48)

Wade Savage has good intentions to protect his family against the evil that has come against them.  He was initially  angry when he discovered that his father had hired body guards to protect him from escalating behavior aimed at his life from among his radio audience members, but, in the end, he discovers that much more than his life has been preserved. 

I’ve always been a huge fan of Lynette Eason’s work, but I honestly think she has taken her writing to an entirely new level of intrigue with her latest novel, Always Watching.  I FLEW through the pages of this novel, barely breathing at times, because every single page seemed to build the intensity of the story.  I thought there wasn’t any way to tell another stalker tale convincingly, but I was very wrong!!  Eason his the evil in plain sight and she didn’t try to protect anyone!  In fact, there are casualties in the story.  Even Wade’s thirteen-year-old daughter faces danger that makes your heart ache!  This is an excellent story!!!

I was left feeling a bit challenged – as was Wayne – when it came to trusting God to protect and provide.  There is evil that abounds, and, at the root of that evil, is a common seed that you will recognize.  I think that is what makes this a powerful story…the fact that the premise is very real and plausible.  It gives the reader pause to consider relationship with God and others in an entirely new way.

I HIGHLY recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys a thrill ride of suspense with a family/romance thread woven among the details.  Once again, I have to say, BRAVO!! This is a fantastic novel!!

About the Author:
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice, the Deadly Reunions, and the Hidden Identity series. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She lives in South Carolina. Learn more at

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Body Under The Bridge by Paul McCusker - REVIEWED

About the Book:

First in a series of modern whodunits from an accomplished author with a worldwide following.

A former Scotland Yard detective, Father Gilbert knows about death. But, now a priest of a modest Anglican church in the small town of Hailsham, he didn’t expect it to show up like this--in the suicide of a man who threw himself off the church tower, and in the discovery of a two-hundred-year-old body beneath an ancient bridge. 

The deaths are linked. The mummified corpse under the bridge, a murder victim, reignites a centuries-old battle between two local families--the Todds and the aristocratic Hayshams. Then both David Todd and Lord Haysham begin to act strangely. They are fearful for reasons they won't explain. 

When Lord Haysham is murdered, David Todd is the prime suspect. But Todd is maniacal, claiming great forces of evil are at work. An entire history of violence and depravity begins to emerge, interweaving the history of several local families with a secret occult society that engages in Black Masses. Has the Society emerged again? 

My  Thoughts:

“I’ve had enough grief and death for one night.” (p. 197)

Father Benson isn’t the only one who’s had his fill of grief and death in this novel.  Father Gilbert has been caught up in a maelstrom of evil from the very beginning of the novel!  The Body Under the Bridge really took me on an unexpected journey!  I went from enjoying a relatively cozy mystery to dealing with some supernatural experiences that really make me shiver!  

Paul McCusker is a masterful story teller, and this is a superb example of his ability!  The characters…mainly a mix of clergy and policemen…find themselves in the midst of a centuries-old feud! This fact alone give the story depth and intrigue, but the way the feud is “fought” within the pages of this novel is breathtaking.  It is truly a spiritual battle being waged among folks who have chosen the darkness rather than the light.  Father Gilbert finds himself a unsuspecting target of this darkness, and he has to rely on God in ways he has never had to until now.

This is a really well-told tale!! There is so much that makes the reader take a second look at what he knows to be fact…or rather what is presented as fact.  When you layer that with a layer of the supernatural and spiritual warfare…well, you’ll be up reading at a frantic pace!!  The twists and turns come fast and furious, and you will enjoy quite the thrill ride!!  And there is much more to follow!! I LOVE a good series!!! I HIGHLY recommend this novel!

About the Author:

Paul McCusker has written more than forty published novels, and many radio scripts and stage plays. He is a vice president with Focus on the Family and producer of the Adventures in Odyssey series. He and his family live in Colorado Springs.

TUNE-IN / Screener: UP's "Jo Frost: Nanny on Tour" - “Tech Overload” - Thurs., Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. EST


*Here’s a special message from Jo Frost about the episode*

This episode addresses:
Technology Obsessed Household
Parenting a Child with Special Needs
Disciplining Children

Did you know? 
 Jo Frost has spent over 72,000 hours -- that equates to 25 years -- coaching families

Premieres Thursday, February 18 at 8 p.m. EST –  “Tech Overload” – Episode 104
In a very controversial episode, Jo confronts the issue of corporal punishment head on.  The parents are on totally different pages, with the dad as the strict disciplinarian who keeps his kids – one with special needs – in line, while the mom is constantly being ignored and walked all over by them.  To make matters worse, they are obsessed with technology and can’t seem to live without their TVs, computers, tablets or smartphones.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pharaoh's Daughter by Mesu Andrews - REVEIWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Pharaoh's Daughter
WaterBrook Press (March 17, 2015)
Mesu Andrews


Mesu Andrews’ deep understanding of and love for God’s Word brings the biblical world alive for her readers. She and her husband, Roy, enjoyed fourteen years of pastoral ministry before moving to the Pacific Northwest, where Roy now serves as Academic Dean at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. Mesu writes full-time, snuggled in her recliner beside a cozy fire on rainy Northwest days. The Andrews’ enjoy visiting their two married daughters and a growing tribe of grandkids. Mesu loves movies, football, waterfalls, and travel.

Biblical fiction is her favorite genre to read and write. Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell, 2011), tells the story of Job and won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year for a Debut Author.

“Fear is the most fertile ground for faith.” “You will be called Anippe, daughter of the Nile. Do you like it?” Without waiting for a reply, she pulls me into her squishy, round tummy for a hug.
I’m trying not to cry. Pharaoh’s daughters don’t cry.
When we make our way down the tiled hall, I try to stop at ummi Kiya’s chamber. I know her spirit has flown yet I long for one more moment. Amenia pushes me past so I keep walking and don’t look back.

Like the waters of the Nile, I will flow.

Anippe has grown up in the shadows of Egypt’s good god Pharaoh, aware that Anubis, god of the afterlife, may take her or her siblings at any moment. She watched him snatch her mother and infant brother during childbirth, a moment which awakens in her a terrible dread of ever bearing a child. Now she is to be become the bride of Sebak, a kind but quick-tempered Captain of Pharaoh Tut’s army. In order to provide Sebak the heir he deserves and yet protect herself from the underworld gods, Anippe must launch a series of deceptions, even involving the Hebrew midwives—women ordered by Tut to drown the sons of their own people in the Nile.

When she finds a baby floating in a basket on the great river, Anippe believes Egypt’s gods have answered her pleas, entrenching her more deeply in deception and placing her and her son Mehy, whom handmaiden Miriam calls Moses, in mortal danger.

As bloodshed and savage politics shift the balance of power in Egypt, the gods reveal their fickle natures and Anippe wonders if her son, a boy of Hebrew blood, could one day become king. Or does the god of her Hebrew servants, the one they call El Shaddai, have a different plan—for them all?

My Thoughts:
El-Shaddai knows everyone….Regardless of our names.”  (p.242)

In Hebrew culture, name mean much more than a connection to a family of origin. A name was a prophetic pronouncement over their future.  When Pharoh’s Daughter, Annipe, drew Moses from the Nile, she could never imagine what Moses’ future would look like – nor her own!  Mesu Andrews carefully weaves a story from both Biblical and secular history in such a powerful way that you will never read the story of Moses the same way again!  God is so careful to arrange every event, relationship, circumstance and even trials for our good and His glory.

This is a masterful tale that clearly displays God’s redemptive work throughout the entire Biblical narrative.  His Word is true and living in every page!  Mesu Andrews can bring that alive like few that I know, and I believe lives will be touched and changed through reading Pharaoh’s Daughter .  This is a multi-layered story that spans several years, but the relationships are well-developed and historically accurate and will leave a significant impact upon your heart!

I can’t wait to read Miriam story in her next novel!!  I highly recommend this novel to everyone!  It is beautifully written, and you will remember these characters long after you reach the final page!  BRAVO!!!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pharaoh's Daughter, go HERE.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Soul's Prisoner by Cara Luecht - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Soul's Prisoner
(WhiteFire Publishing (December 15, 2015))
Cara Luecht

A Word from the Author:I never planned to be a writer. In fact, it took me a while to finish college. But I did, and here I am. And I now I can’t imagine not being a writer. By day, I am an English Instructor for a local college, mother to four amazing children, and wife to an eternally patient and supportive husband. In the evening, when I can squirrel away some quiet time, I read and write historical fiction. I have a B.A. in English Lit. from UW Whitewater and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. If you have a question for me, or if you are local and would like me to stop by your book club or writer’s group, please drop me a line via the “Ask the Author” tab. I always love the opportunity to meet with others who share my love of books.


She'll fight for her future...but can she escape her past?
Chicago, Winter, 1891
Rachel is in danger. She s seen too much.
She creeps along the cement walls through the dank underbelly of the asylum. She d never planned to leave her quiet farm life, never thought she d find a place in the city, never imagined she d be in the kind of danger that would have her cowering in Dunning s cold, labyrinthine basement.
Jenny has finally found her place. After a childhood of abuse, she has friends, a real job, and her only wish is to give her adopted son the kind of life she never had.
A life of stability, without the risk and uncertainty of a father.
But when Jeremy, Rachel s brother, stumbles into their warehouse, asking for help to find his missing sister, Jenny s carefully constructed life begins to crumble.

My Thoughts:
Trust me to value your gift. You paint for a reason. You don’t have to understand that reason before you put brush to canvas, and I don’t have to understand  that reason to believe it exists.”  (p. 264)

Miriam’s gift has matured…grown into a gift of seeing not only faces she doesn’t know, but she can now images that prove vital to situations that reveal themselves in her own life.  Cara Luecht has written another fascinating tale  that, sadly, is based loosely on the mystery that mental illness represented during the late 1800’s.  Because mental illness was so misunderstood, it became a dark covering for some rather depraved behavior.

Luecht explores all of this and more through the relationships of a very broad range of characters.  There are rich, privileged characters, poor, working-class characters, and those who have struggled to find their way and now want to help others.  There are many different kinds of relationships that are explored in this novel, as well as a mystery that is finally resolved in a courtroom setting. 

This is truly a fascinating tale, and one that will keep your imagination captive from beginning to end.  Michael and Miriam have become even more precious to me as I’ve grown to know them better.  I can honestly say that I can’t wait to see what flows from Cara Luecht’s imagination next!  She is a gifted author! 

If you would like to read the first chapter of Soul's Prisoner, go HERE.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love Finds You in Valentine -an UP original movie - REVIEWED

Love Finds You inn Valentine is so much more than a romantic, happily-ever-after tale!  The entire premise of the story is about a lady, Kennedy Blaine, who has experienced loss over a life time. When told she has inherited her parents' legendary ranch in Valentine, she cannot sell her birthright without first giving it a look.

And so begins her journey of personal discovery. She immediately discovers the ranch foreman and his family - and a host of other folks - whose lives are invested in this ranch. This is far more than just a place to call home!  As Kennedy begins to delve deeper into the circumstances surrounding the sell of the ranch her heart becomes involved on many different levels.

Kennedy has to take a long, honest look at her own life and decide the direction she wants to go from this point forward.  This is a film about family, faith, and friendship that will leave a lasting impression on your heart and mind!  You will stay engaged from start to finish and will be well satisfied when the credits begin to roll!

Make time to see this film!  It is exceptional on many levels!!

A Brief Synopsis:
In Love Finds You In Valentine, law student Kennedy Blaine (Michaela McManus) inherits a ranch in the smalltown of Valentine, Nebraska. She travels to Valentine with the intentof selling the ranch, but is drawn to the area’s beauty – and to the ranch foreman, Derek Sterling (Diogo Morgado).  Putting her life in L.A. on hold, she decides to spend some time ather ancestral home and, despite a long-standing feud, to reconnect with family members, including her grandfather, Gabriel Morgan (Ed Asner). But soon Kennedy is subjected to harassment by someone who clearly wants her to leave Valentine. Depending on Derek and his mother June’s (Lindsay Wagner) assistance, she sets out to discover who is behind the offenses.  But when her search reveals painful details about her family and raises questions about Derek’s own past, will Kennedy still want to know the truth?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A view from Diogo Morgado's Window - Love Finds You in Valentine!

Thanks to Sheryl Tirol, I was able to get Diogo Morgado's thoughts on his role in UP tv's upcoming film Love Finds You in Valentine.  You will be able to enjoy his performance on February 14th at 7 and 9pm EST.

I truly enjoyed the film, and I think you will enjoy Diogo's insight from the point of view of the role of the lead male.

Valentine – the town itself  - seems to be a small town filled with down-to-earth folks who care about each other.  The character Derek Sterling seems to have found healing and wholeness in Valentine.  What drew you to this character and why is his role significant to you personally?
What drew me to this character is the fact that he is a survivor. He has a rough childhood, he was given up for adoption so he was a problematic kid while growing up, but he found redemption through love. Love for his adopted mother and love for the land and nature. Through that love he found himself. That's a beautiful journey to play in a character, and I wanted that.

Why do you think Derek tries to resist his attraction to Kennedy?  What role does forgiveness play in the ability to find your worth despite the mistakes that your past holds?
I think Derek is above all really protective. It's not that he was trying to resist anything. He was just trying to guard himself from this city girl who claims to own the place.
I think the fact that later on he starts seeing who she is, that's when he allows himself to forgive and feel.
What have you learned about yourself as you filmed this movie?  How has it changed you?
This movie was not about learning anything new (besides learning how to ride horses.) It was more about putting on film what I believe should be the nature of relationships between people. 

What was your favorite part of filming this movie?
Maybe the part when Derek opens his heart to Kennedy and tells her everything about himself. It was a beautiful, truthful moment, I think.

What makes Love Finds You in Valentine different from other love stories?  What does it have to offer viewers?
It might be different because it showcases love in many different forms other than just romantic love. We show family love, friendship love, self love, forgiveness love, redemption love. I think that makes the film real, inspiring, and more complete.

What do you hope viewers will discover as they watch this film?

Hopefully they will see through this story that we shouldn't make any judgments about anyone or anything. A lot of the animosity between the characters in the beginning happens because they were doing exactly that.

Check out the trailer HERE and make plans to watch this film with someone you love!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Bronner: A Journey to Understand by Sherri Burgess - REVIEWED

About the Book:
God teaches and refines us through pain and suffering. Author Sherri Burgess, wife of Rick Burgess of The Rick and Bubba Show, knows this to be true. After the earthly death of her youngest son, Bronner, Burgess asked, “Why?” And God answered.
Journey with her through this powerful testimony of healing to understand the purpose behind the pain. An empowering resource for book-club discussion or small-group Bible study, this is much more than simply a retelling of an inspiring story. It is a call to action beckoning us to know our Holy God like never before.

My Thoughts:
I want the world to be perplexed. They think you love Me because I’ve blessed you.  You son is with me, and I want your response to leave no doubt as to who I Am.”  (p. 64)

To read Sherri and Rick Burgess’ account of their journey through the loss of their son, and the healing and restoration God brought to this family in the midst of their pain is both humbling and amazing.  I’ve seen folks walk through this loss, and, without Christ, I have no doubt that there is no surviving this kind of tragedy. 
God has redeemed this loss in miraculous ways, and I honestly feel that God will bring healing to many lives through Sherri Burgess’ first person account of this painful journey.  She is real.  She is honest.  She suffers.  She rejoices.  God alone saw this precious family through this ordeal.

It’s important to be reminded of the ways God works in people’s lives.  It is an encouragement and challenge to get even closer to God no matter what situation lies before us.  I am very, very thankful for the Bugess family, and their willingness to allow us to walk alongside them and learn and grow from their circumstance.

This is a remarkable book that I recommend to everyone!
About the Author:

Sherri Burgess’ life is a beckoning for you to know a Holy God like you have never known Him before. The wife of Rick Burgess of The Rick and Bubba Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show, Sherri is someone who now passionately pursues holiness and inspires others. A former news anchor turned writer and blogger, she has in recent years answered God’s call as a women’s ministry speaker. This mother of five enjoys football and staying active with her family in Birmingham, Alabama.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

UP's "Jo Frost: Nanny on Tour" - “Firestarter or Peacemaker: What Are You” - Thurs., Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. EST - REVIEWED!!

Synopsis: “Firestarter or Peacemaker: What Are You” – Episode 102 
It’s a story of a stressed single mom with two kids who is desperately trying to pick up the pieces from a divorce.  With a sassy six-year-old and a very sensitive son, the flare-ups are constant, but just who is starting the fire?

My Thoughts:
"Do it for those beautiful children in there that  you love." 

Nanny Jo Frost speaks the truth in love like few people I know!  She can observe and identify problems and their solutions with discernment and boldness that makes her insertion into the lives of this family very powerful and effective!! 

Honestly, there is a LOT to be learned from Jo Frost!  I love this show and the hope that is sheds on all-to-common family situations.  I love the fact that she acknowledges that to ask for the help that is needed is a hugely positive thing!

This is a great episode of a very powerful and positive show!  I am excited to recommend it to you!

About Up:
UP is television's trusted entertainment brand dedicated to providing viewers with "feel good TV for you and your family."  UP uplifts viewers every day with premiere movies, original reality, dramatic and comedy series filled with compelling stories and characters with character. In keeping with its brand promise, UP’s pro-social initiative, Uplift Someone,” inspires people to do simple, everyday acts of kindness.  UP is widely available on cable systems and satellite providers across the United States. Based in Atlanta, UP is a division of UP Entertainment, LLC and partners with the ASPiRE network on sales, marketing and other operational services. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Ashes to Ashes by Mel Starr - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Master Hugh, Kate, and their children attend the Midsummer's Eve fire. The next morning Hugh hears the passing bell ring from the Church of St. Beornwald, and moments later is summoned. Tenants collecting the ashes to spread upon their fields have found burned bones. Master Hugh learns of several men of Bampton and nearby villages who have gone missing recently. Most are soon found, some alive,...

My Thoughts:
Wounds may heal, regret seldom does.”  (p. 92)

Master Hugh de Singleton’s service as surgeon and bailiff for Lord Gilbert Talbot is one filled with both wounds and regret.   I’ve followed Hugh through many adventures, and this is the first time that either he or his wife Kate had questioned their roles of service to their community.  Master Hugh never wavers in his determination to identify and bring justice for the person whose remains were discovered amid the ashes of the Midsummer’s Eve fire. However, I believe he has suffered more in his search for answers in this story than ever before.

I also think he encounters more dead ends and false leads in his pursuit of justice than ever before, because there seems to be another group equally determined to prevent his discovery of answers as he is determined to find them.  This tension between the warring factions in this story even brings Lord Talbot himself out into the fray!  This is a serious clash of intent!!

Even though Master Hugh and his lovely family remain the focus of normalcy and decency in the story, their roles come under greater demand than ever before.  There also seems to be an even greater cloud of deception than ever before, and that causes even the reader to question the worth of discovering the answers and justice for the poor soul who has clearly suffered more dearly than anyone!

Once again, Mel Starr has written a clever and intriguing tale of 14th century detective work!  As always, the dialogue, the interaction among the characters, the sheer battle of will between right and wrong draws me in and keeps me captive from first to last page!  Ashes to Ashes is an excellent addition to the chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, and his next adventure promises to be even more fraught with danger!

What are you waiting for!?  Get started!  You have much to read and enjoy!! 

About the Author: (from his web page)

Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He graduated from Spring Arbor High School in 1960, and Greenville College (Illinois) in 1964. He received an MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970. He taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School.

Mel married Susan Brock in 1965, and they have two daughters; Amy (Kevin) Kwilinski, of Naperville, IL, and Jennifer (Jeremy) Reivitt, of Portage, MI. Mel and Susan have seven grandchildren.