Friday, April 29, 2011

The Judgment by Beverly Lewis

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Judgment
Bethany House (April 5, 2011)
Beverly Lewis


Not until her own children were well into middle school did Bev seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular CUL-DE-SAC KIDS series of chapter books—see list of Bev's children's books).

Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, THE HERITAGE OF LANCASTER COUNTY, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Bev's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and playing with their three grandchildren. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."


Rose Kauffman is engaged to Silas Good, a well-liked Amish fellow, so why does she still pine for Nick Franco, the former foster son of the bishop? Especially now that Nick has left the Amish community under a cloud of suspicion after the death of the bishop's biological son? Will Rose marry Silas, even while struggling with romantic feelings for Nick? Meanwhile, Rose's older sister, Hen, has returned to live at her parents' farm with her young daughter. Hen and her modern husband, Brandon, are separated by mutual agreement, although he is threatening to sue for custody of their daughter if Hen does not return soon. Will the judge rule in Brandon's favor? Is there any way Hen can reestablish her place among the People without sacrificing her marriage?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Judgment, go HERE

Watch the book trailer:


Swept Away by Nicole O'Dell

Swept Away has been just that in my house.  I haven't seen the book since it entered the house in the mailbox, other than when it was in my teen daughter's hands.  She snatched it the minute the book was taken out of the envelope and I have yet to see it.  So I have asked her to help me with this review.  I asked her a few questions about the book, following are her answers.  Here you have it straight from a teens view.

Have you ever read any of Nicole O'Dell's books Scenarios ~ interactive fiction for girls?

Yes, I read Truth or Dare by Nicole O'Dell before this one.

What is it that drew you to this book?

The fact that it deals with real issues that teens are facing today.

This book is a 2-in-1 book.  High Stakes/Essence of Lilly Which book did you read? 

I read Essence of Lilly

Did you enjoy it?

Yes, I did.  I was a little skeptical at first because I had read another of her books before and while it was not bad it just wasn't my favorite.

What did you like about the book?

I liked being able to see how the 2 choices that were given send you in 2 different directions and you can see before you might ever be put in a situation lie it what will happen.

Would you read the other one?

Yes, I sure would!  I'm planning on starting next time I get some free time.

Would you recommend this book to other girls?  why/why not?

Sure.  It gives you ideas in a fun interactive way of what will happen in real life if you make a bad decision or how making the right decision always pays.

What age do you think this book is appropriate for?

I would say for the Essence of Lilly book readers should be at least 12 or 13.

Visit Scenarios for girls web site
author's web site
author's blog
teen talk radio

Decisions, decisions! How is a girl supposed to choose? Lessons of right and wrong are put to the test in the Scenarios series, where you can test your decision-making abilities in an eye-opening, but safe, way. Each book follows a character up to the point where she has to make an important, life-changing decision—then it’s your turn to choose. Will your choices lead to a happy ending?

Product Description
What would YOU do if you had to make a life altering decision? Would you stand your ground and choose a path that follows your belief? Or would you give in to peer pressure to avoid rejection? With this 2 in 1 book you are given the opportunity to do just that.

In High Stakes, Amber and Brittany are best friends but now they're in competition with each other. Whoever has the best grades and perfect attendance is able to win a brand new car! Amber wants to win so badly, especially since her father got laid off and money has been really tight. But when Amber cheats on a test and Brittany gets blamed for it, will Amber own up to it or let Brittany take the fall? You decide and discover the life-altering consequences.

In Essence of Lilly, Lilly will do anything to avoid being at him, including making up youth group events to hang out with her boyfriend Jason. But when Jason wants her to lie to her parents about an overnight church retreat so she can stay over his house without a chaperone, what will she do? You decide the course-make the wrong decision and discover the life-changing consequence that comes with it.

The author is allowing me to giveaway a book to one of my blog readers.  I'd love for you to visit one of  the author's sites
and comment on what you learned from your visit.   If you listen to one of her recorded teen talk programs I'll give you a bonus of 10.  Be sure to tell me which program you listened to.  Also be sure to leave a way of contact.  Please US Residents only.  I'll draw a winner for this book on Sat. May 14th from all that leave a comment. 

Winner is

Glitter Word GeneratorGlitter Word GeneratorGlitter Word GeneratorGlitter Word GeneratorGlitter Word GeneratorGlitter Word Generator

I want to thank the author for providing me with a review copy and a giveaway copy of this book for this blog post.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

my donated stash

Back at the beginning of April was National Library week and I had a challenge that I'd donate to my local library 1 book for every comment left on my blog that week, well I've finally gotten around to tallying it all up and rounding up the books.  There were a total of 15 comments left during the week so I selected 12 hard copy books and 3 audio books to donate to my library.  Thanks to everyone for leaving a comment.  


Who is My Shelter? by Neta Jackson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Who is My Shelter
Thomas Nelson (March 1, 2011)
Neta Jackson


Neta Jackson is the author of the popular novel series, *The Yada Yada Prayer Group*, and a spin-off series called *The Yada Yada House of Hope.* These novels were inspired by a real women's Bible study and prayer group that, as Neta says, "God has used to turn my life upside down and rightside up." Neta and her husband, Dave, are also an award-winning writing team, best known for the Trailblazer books--a forty-book series of historical fiction for young people about great Christian heroes (see The Jacksons are members of a multi-cultural church in the Chicago area, and the parents of three grown children, including a Cambodian foster daughter, all with families of their own.


In Jackson's fourth Yada Yada House of Hope Christian evangelical novel, Gabby Fairbanks is now settled in her new apartment at the House of Hope. But she is being pulled in several directions at once and has some hard decisions to make.

Philip, her estranged husband, is in a lot of trouble with a rogue cop from whom he borrowed money and also with his partner at the commercial development firm after he takes company money to cover his gambling losses. Lee Boyer, the Legal Aid lawyer who has become a friend to Gabby, now wants to be more. Gabby must decide whether to give Philip another chance, as their sons, Paul and PJ, hope, and she turns to the folks at Manna House, where she works, and the Yada Yada Prayer Group to help her discern God's plan for her.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Who is My Shelter, go HERE


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Starting a 50/50 Journal by Kathi Lipp

Starting a 50/50 Journal
By Kathi Lipp

I am a serial journaler. In my years walking on this planet, I have left an impressive number of three page-filled journals in the wake of my path. I am a sucker for a cute journal—something romantic about a private place to keep my thoughts and dreams. Each time I’m at a bookstore I can’t help but peruse the journal section, dreaming about the beautiful things I’d write in that gorgeous black leather bound book—or maybe the bright orange and green floral journal with
the matching pen. Oh—the possibilities.

That is how it went on the day that I met my new journal. With its dark red cover and Irish proverb on the front, it not only matched my mood, it matched my hair color and heritage at the same time. Love at first sight.

After purchasing the journal and a hazelnut latte, I curled up in one of the bookstore chairs to … what I didn’t know.

I didn’t want this to just be another started and abandoned journal. I wanted this journal to be different. I spent almost half an hour staring at a blank page.

If I knew I was going to live another 50 years, what would I want those fifty years to look like—what would I like to say I had done with that time?

So, I started to write everything down. I figured that if I was healthy and stayed out of the way of people talking on cell phones while driving, it was conceivable that I could have another fifty years on this planet. I wrote down fifty things I wanted to accomplish in the next fifty years.

Somehow, this new journal seemed different than the ones I’d started before. This was not a daily recitation of deep thoughts that I had while walking on the beach. This felt big, important, and all for me.

I felt silly writing some of those goals down—getting my nails done once a week—that seemed less like a goal and more like self-indulgence. “Take a gourmet cooking class” seemed a little frivolous as well. But one of the things I promised myself was that I was going to be very free in what I wrote down—I would not censor myself because it seemed silly or trivial. I trusted that these goals were between me and God, and asked Him to bless me in the goals that were within His will, and to take away the desire for the ones that may not be from Him.

It has been fascinating to see God working in my 50/50 journal. About once a month, I update any progress made towards the goal. It can be as simple as buying a book on cross-country travel; I make a note of it on the page that has “Travel around the United States for a month without a schedule” as the goal. Any progress is noted and celebrated.

In my 50/50 journal, every small step is recorded and celebrated—my own personal record of how deeply interested God is in delighting me by first putting desires in my heart, and then blessing me by giving me the desires of my heart.

We all have these nebulous goals in our lives that we want to accomplish, someday.
If you have never taken the time to commit them to paper, do it today. There is power in writing your goals down. They become concrete and tangible. The goals are easier to break down into smaller steps—giving you a real chance at seeing those dreams become a reality.

~ Article adapted from a chapter in The Me Project by Kathi Lipp.

Visit the Me Project tour here.
Visit guest article:
Kick start to living your dream

Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the United States.  She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project, serves as food writer for Nickelodeon, and has had articles published in several magazines, including Today's Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four teenagers and young adults.  See


Whatcha Reading ~ People of the Book

This is how "Whatcha Reading Wednesdays" works this week...

Go to page 1 type in the first sentence. If it is a spoiler at all be sure to put **Spoiler Alert** at the top of your comment (like if the selection announces the death of an integral character or something).

Link up over at Busy Moms Who Love to Read

The dividing line between the before and after of Farah's life had actually been drawn earlier than she realized, during Ramadan, the eighteenth such observance of the holy month during Farah's brief lifetime.  


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Celebrate Independence: Start a Micro Business by Carol Topp

Celebrate Independence: Start a Micro Business!
By Carol Topp, CPA

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our country's independence and appreciate our freedoms as Americans to follow our dreams. This is a great time to encourage our children, especially teenagers, to cherish their freedoms. Not every country in the world allows a teenager to have as many freedoms and opportunities as the United States. One important area of freedom that our children probably take for
granted is the freedom to become whatever they want to be, which includes starting a business.

My 16 year old daughter, Sarah, was introduced to a man who grew up in East Germany. He described his youth where he had no choice in what he would study in high school or what career he would have. He was assigned to a technical high school where he learned science and math. There was no consideration of his abilities or talents. Sarah began to appreciate her country in a new way. She has an
artistic bent and would have hated being forced into a math and science-oriented high school. Instead, she has been allowed to purse her love of art and photography.

Sarah celebrated her independence by starting a micro business. She used her interest in photography to take senior pictures of a few friends. More friends saw her work and hired her for their senior pictures. She was kept quite busy for several weeks and grew in her skills and business knowledge. It is quite easy for a teenager to start a very small business—a micro business—and learn a lot while making some money.

A teenage micro business owner will learn business skills such as marketing, customer service and salesmanship, but they will learn also life skills such as time management, planning and careful use of money. As a parent you will see them develop confidence, responsibility and the ability to overcome fear as they face new challenges in running a business.

We should encourage any spark of entrepreneurial spirit we see in our children because it helps them grow in many ways, but it is also good for our country. Small business ownership is the backbone of our economy, paying 44% of the total US private payroll.1 But not only are small businesses responsible for America's wealth, they encourage free enterprise, responsibility and leadership.

The GrasshopperGroup has produced a short video, “Entrepreneurs Can Change The World,” that inspires us to remember the entrepreneurial spirit on which our country was built. You can view the video at YouTube and it says, in part:
“In case you haven't noticed, we live in a place where one individual can make a difference. Want proof? Just look at the people who built our country: our parents, grandparents, our aunts, our uncles. They were immigrants, newcomers ready to make their mark. Maybe they came with very little; or perhaps they didn't own anything except a single brilliant idea. These people were thinkers, doers and innovators until they came up with the name entrepreneurs.”2

Remember the freedoms we have in America this Fourth of July, and especially the precious freedom to work for ourselves, start a business and follow a dream. Encourage your teenager to exercise their freedom by starting a micro business.

1 Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education

Carol Topp, CPA advises teenage business owners through her Micro Business for teens books series. Carol's day job is accountant to business owners, and she enjoys teaching teenagers to succeed beyond their dreams.  Students appreciate how she shares what they need to know in clear and helpful lessons.  Her web site is

Visit the book tour here.
Visit guest articles:
How to launch a Mirco Business: 10 easy steps
Spring Cleaning: a time to make money


Teaser Tuesday ~ People of the Book

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along, so I thought I would play for un! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

How had their lives come to this?  Everything had seemed so normal and predictable until gunshots and squealing tires had changed it all.

~ Taken from p. 164 of People of the Book by Kathi Macias


Monday, April 25, 2011

Grand Prize winner from my Blog!

Carol Topp's
Micro Business for Teens
Giveaway Winner is ...

Lady Dragon Keeper
from my Blog
  won the grand Prize.  Cool!!! Congrats.


Abigail's New Hope by Mary Ellis

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Abigail's New Hope
Harvest House Publishers (April 1, 2011)
Mary Ellis


A word from the author:I grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish community of Geauga County, where my parents often took me to farmers’ markets and woodworking fairs. My husband and I now live within the largest population of Amish in the country–a four-county area in central Ohio. We love to take weekend getaways to purchase farm produce and other goodies, stay with Amish families in bed and breakfasts, attend country auctions and enjoy the simpler way of life.

This is my first series of novels set in the Amish community.

I would love to hear from readers of Christian novels. Please leave me a post at my blogsite.


As an Amish midwife, Abigail Graber loves bringing babies into the world. But when a difficult delivery takes a devastating turn, Abigail is faced with some hard choices. Despite her best efforts, the young mother dies—but the baby is saved.

When a heartless judge confines Abigail to the county jail for her mistakes, her sister Catherine comes to care for her children while Daniel works his fields. Catherine meets Daniel’s reclusive cousin, Isaiah, who’s deaf and thought to be simple minded by his community. She endeavors to teach him to communicate and discovers he possesses unexpected gifts and talents.

While Abigail searches for forgiveness, Catherine changes lives and, in return, finds love, something long elusive in her life. And Isaiah discovers God, who cares nothing about our handicaps or limitations in His sustaining love.

An inspirational tale of overcoming grief, maintaining faith, and finding hope in an ever-changing world.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Abigail's New Hope, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:


Mailbox Monday ~ Apr. 25, 2011

Join Mailbox Monday meme
with a different monthly host

There is also a Mailbox Monday hosted by:  
with different guest host weekly
this week's guest host is

Adult Fiction

Children's Books


Friday, April 22, 2011

An Eye for Glory by Karl Bacon

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
An Eye For Glory
Zondervan (February 28, 2011)
Karl Bacon


A word from the author:

I grew up in the small picturesque town of Woodbury, Connecticut. After graduating from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, I returned to Connecticut and found employment in manufacturing. “Just a job” turned into a professional career, much of which was spent working for a Swiss machine tool company. In 2000 I started my own business to provide services to manufacturing clients across the USA. This change also allowed time to develop my writing craft.

From youth I’ve been a serious student of the Civil War. The draft of An Eye for Glory took ten years from conception to completion. Thousands of hours were spent researching every detail through copious reading, Internet research and personal visits to each battlefield so the novel might be as historically accurate and believable as possible. I live in Naugatuck, Connecticut with my wife of thirty-three years, Jackie.


Michael Palmer is a good man, a family man. But honor and duty push him to leave his comfortable life and answer the call from Abraham Lincoln to fight for his country. This 'citizen soldier' learns quickly that war is more than the battle on the field. Long marches under extreme conditions, illness, and disillusionment challenge at every turn. Faith seems lost in a blur of smoke and blood...and death.

Michael's only desire is to kill as many Confederate soldiers as he can so he can go home. He coldly counts off the rebels that fall to his bullets. Until he is brought up short by a dying man holding up his Bible. It's in the heat of battle at Gettysburg and the solemn aftermath that Michael begins to understand the grave cost of the war upon his soul. Here the journey really begins as he searches for the man he was and the faith he once held so dearly. With the help of his beloved wife, Jesse Ann, he takes the final steps towards redemption and reconciliation.

Using first-hand accounts of the 14th Connecticut Infantry, Karl Bacon has crafted a detailed, genuine and compelling novel on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Intensely personal and accurate to the times, culture, and tragedy of the Civil War, An Eye for Glory may change you in ways you could have never imagined as well.

If you would like to read the first chapter of An Eye For Glory, go HERE.

Watch book video trailer: