Without the love of books the richest man is poor, but endowed with this treasure the poorest man is rich. –Leon Gutterman

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Big Picture Interactive Bible

I received a copy of the Big Picture Interactive Bible to review. My first thought when the Bible came was "Wow!"

 Not sure what I was expecting when I agreed to review, but it was certainly not a full-sized Bible with a sturdy and very eye-catching cover. So out of the box (or mail bag, as it were) the quality was impressive. I was not familiar with the Holman Christian Standard translation, but some research allowed me to get acquainted and I must say the translation is one that I am very comfortable with--very easy to read, and yet with the impression that there are not "additions" to the Word.

From the publisher: Are our children really getting the full meaning of the stories as we read the Bible to them? When we read the Bible to our children, the stories are often in bits and pieces and focus on "being good." But children should get the message of "being saved" from reading the Bible instead. The Big Picture Interactive Bible (B&H Kids) is the first children's Bible of its kind-the Jesus story from start to finish, filled with features and interactive elements that capture the true meaning and significance behind all of the verses and stories.

The Big Picture Interactive Bible has nearly a thousand features in full color throughout including pictures of key items so children can understand what they're reading. The B&H Kids Augmented Reality App (free and available for Android and iPhone) creates a digital pop-up book when used with full-color illustrations, bringing the Bible to life for each child. It features the full text of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, a clear, contemporary English translation that's faithful to the original languages of the Bible. 

Other features included are:

  • Big Words - Colorful Bible Dictionary entry with photos, maps, illustrations and descriptions of key terms, right in the Bible text.

  • Big Questions/Big Answers - Kids always want to know why. This feature asks and then answers many of the common "big questions" throughout the Bible.

  • Christ Connection - This feature can be found from Genesis to Revelation and will help kids understand how each story points us to Christ and His work for us.

  • Introductions - Basic information about the books of the Bible will give kids perspective on the who, what and when for each book as well as "the Big Picture" from that book and key stories it contains.

  • Icons - Special icons are placed throughout the Bible to connect to the Gospel Project for Kids curriculum.

  • Memory Verses - Scripture memorization is much more than "saying the words." When a child memorizes a Bible verse and puts it to practice in their daily life, that child begins to learn how God can lead his life. The top 100 verses to remember are highlighted throughout the Bible.

  • Parent Connection - This feature is designed to help parents be empowered to engage deeper in the story with their kids.

  • Seeing the Big Picture - This feature digs into key Bible stories to help young hearts and minds grasp the meaning and provide parents with extra information to discuss the Bible with their kids.

My husband and my sons commented on the Bible, noting the illustrations were very appealing to children, that it looked engaging and easy to read. Being the "tech-sters" in this house (I am not very tech-savy) they helped me upload the app for the pop-up and read aloud feature. I had some trouble with the app at first on my phone, but with a little patience could make it work. It was small, but the voice quality was nice. My small Android tablet was difficult to work with. I'm going to chalk that up to the equipment and not the Bible.

I think if someone had an I-Pad or other nice tablet it would be a very "cool" gadget. Truthfully, I don't know that the gadget is necessary. This is a very nice Bible and a loving parent reading with their children will make it a success.

This would be a great gift for an older adolescent, a tween or young teen.

Thanks to B&H Publishing Group for the Bible and the chance to review The Big Picture Interactive Bible.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Allon: Book 2-Insurrection

Allon: Book 2-Insurrection

by Shawn Lamb

Back in April I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Allon. Recently the author, Shawn Lamb asked me if I was interested in the latest edition to the Allon series, Insurrection. How could I refuse?

Insurrection picks up four years after Book 1 ends. Ellis is king, Shannan is queen. An heir to the throne is on the way. Allon is at peace. But the Dark Way does not give up easily. Whisperings of conflict and discontent give way to danger.

Without giving the story away, I will say Allon is a wonderful novel that offers strong characters who give examples of honor, faith, devotion, heroism, gentle mercy and wisdom. These characters are at odds enemies exhibiting greed, pride, sin, and destruction. Ms. Lamb manages to combine action and adventure with a focus on faith and serving the Lord. I know my both my boys will enjoy this book and gain some good lessons along the way.

Allon: Book 2-Insurrection would be a great last minute Christmas gift for a young adult or an advanced young reader who loves fantasy and action. Or, since I am tardy in getting my review out if there are any young readers out there with a few holiday dollars they want to spend on a new book they would find an exciting read in this second book of the Allon series.

There is a website featuring a blog, an interactive map, photos and more that many will also enjoy.

My thanks to Ms. Lamb for the delightful read.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Blog Book Tour--It Had to Be You

by Janice Thompson

I have several complaints to lodge with Janice Thompson!

1) Reading her books make me want to dance! While I'm reading! I've wanted to boot scoot, do a courtly dance and now...NOW...I'm swingin'! It's hard to read when you're dancing. Seriously!!

2) Reading her books make me hungry!! I want pizza! I want Alfredo! I want Tiramisu!! These books are not good for a gal trying to lose more weight. You'd think with all the dancing I might shed a few pounds, but the food's just too good. I can smell Aunt Rosa's cooking coming off the pages.

3)And my biggest complaint...Is that It Had to Be You is the last installment in the Weddings by Bella series. (Insert a pout and a stomped foot here.) I was really not ready to be done. Sigh...

I fell for Bella Rossi's quirky Italian family a few books back. Specifically when I read Fools Rush In. The food was good, the conversation was loud, and my dearest Dean Martin was always singing in the background. Well...unless Frank Sinatra got in the way. And everyone loved the LORD.

When I read Swinging On a Star I almost hopped on a plane to Galveston to go visit Bella and her clan.

And Ms. Thompson's finale It Had to Be You just made me all the more sure that I had long-lost family somewhere down in Texas.

Bella may have been busy in the first two books, but is she in over her head this time? Aunt Rosa and Uncle Laz have buried the hatchet for good. They are getting married!! Family and friends are coming in for the wedding from as far as Italia! Everyone is thrilled for them. Or is there someone who could ruin this match made in culinary heaven? Will the bride and groom swing off into the sunset?

And what about D.J. Neeley? The hunky carpenter-deejay who swept Bella off her boots. Can he get Bella down their own aisle and into a happily-ever-after of their own?

The timing of this book was perfect for me. There were some life-lessons that almost all of the characters were in need of. I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say I needed to be reminded of what Bella had to learn.

The music in It Had to Be You will take you swinging down the aisle, across the dance floor and off into the sunset. There were many great songs to keep my toes tapping. But I will always associate the Rossi clan with Dean Martin's songs most of all. Here's a favorite:

Thank you, Janice Thompson for such a fun series. I enjoyed Weddings by Bella so much! Thank you Revel/Baker Publishing Group for the copy to review. Thank you Bella and the whole Rossi clan for such a good time.

It Had to Be You is vailable May 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Friday, April 30, 2010

Blog Book Tour--Allon

Allon by Shawn Lamb

I am always looking for good books for my sons to read. There is a lot of fiction out there these days. There is a lot of "Christian" fiction out there. I cannot always say that the secular fiction is "good" and I cannot always say that the Christian fiction is "exciting." But when Glass Road Public Relations offered me a chance to read Allon by Shawn Lamb, I thought it would be worth taking a look.

I am so glad that I did.

Enter the world of Allon. Once a beautiful land, now a battle between good and evil rages on. The hope for Allon's future lies in a prophecy that a new king will come and defeat the powers of darkness that are at work dividing the people, causing pain and suffering. He will have a queen who will unite the people with the Guardians, the care takers of Allon who have been limited and bound for a long time.

There is a young man who the dark forces are trying to capture and destroy. There is a young woman who the Guardians are trying to protect. Are these these the promised heroes who will save Allon?

Ms. Lamb wrote Allon for her daughter, Briana, who wanted a fantasy story. She uses metaphor and allegory quite liberally and with a wonderful result. The layers aren't too deep for a young reader to comprehend. Allon is a reminiscent blend of King Arthur, Narnia, Lord of the Rings and Bible history. But at the same time it is a new story, thoroughly enjoyable--a good read for both boys and girls.

Read an excerpt of the book here.

Thank you to Glass Road Public Relations for offering me the opportunity to receive and read Allon. I enjoyed the journey!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blog Book Tour--How Do You Tuck in a Superhero?

How Do You Tuck in a Superhero? by Rachel Balducci

My son stole my copy of this book!

I had to hunt him down to get it back. It wasn't too hard to find him. All I had to do was follow the laughter. He snitched this a couple times from me and I found him either hiding behind a closed door or up on the top bunk under a mass of covers in hopes that I wouldn't want this back. Fat chance.

What book is so funny that it has a 46 year old woman and a 12 year old boy in a tug-of-war over it? Well...a book about boys. Five boys to be precise. Rachel Balducci of Testosterhome fame published this book chronicling the adventures of a mom of five. Five boys.

Now I only have two, and two with some unusual pursuits, it is true. But How Do You Tuck in a Superhero speaks to moms of sons, be it a single son to a tribe of ten. From discussing food--there is never enough, to discussing attire--there is rarely agreement between parent and child, to things you never thought you'd hear yourself say; Rachel's been there, done that and has a few t-shirts as souvenirs.

I love Rachel's matter-of-fact, conversational tone. She tells the tales, much like my friends and I swap "Can you believe______" stories of our children. I'd love for her to be my neighbor. I might send my boys down there for a bit...she might not notice!

This is a laugh-out-loud book that you might want to hide from your family if you want a chance to read it. Also checkout the blog that inspired it all. And recently the Testosterhome family welcomed a new addition--number 6!! to the family. And what do you know?? They need to get some pink paint!

As always, I am appreciative to Revell/Baker Publishing Group for the chance to read and review, yet another great book. How Do You Tuck in a Superhero? is available April 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blog Book Tour--In Harm's Way

In Harm's Way by Irene Hannon

Last fall I had a chance to review An Eye for an Eye, the second book in Irene Hannon's romantic suspense Heroes of Quantico series and enjoyed it immensely. So when Revell/Baker Publishing offered the chance to review the third book in the series--In Harm's Way, how could I pass it up?

Once again Irene Hannon creates characters that made me care and drew me into the story quickly. Rachel Sutton, a music teacher, a child of the foster care system is lead, inexplicably, to a Raggedy Ann doll stuck in a pile of ice in a parking lot. Touching the doll evokes fear and terror from Rachel, emotions so deep that she cannot just toss the doll aside. She ends up taking Raggedy Ann to the FBI and risks looking like a fool or worse.

Fortunately she ends up in the office of Agent Nick Bradley. Nick, who also grew up an orphan, just can't seem to write Rachel off as crazy or worse. Is the child who the doll belongs to in danger? Why can't he do what his co-workers say and toss the doll in the trash and forget about Rachel? The story is fast-paced with several unexpected twists and turns that kept me up late turning the pages so I could finish.

I appreciate that once again Ms. Hannon intertwines faith in the LORD into her story. She allows her characters to be human and have real doubts and questions. Both Nick and Rachel have very different faith journeys.

Read an excerpt of the book here.

A hearty, "Thank you!" to Revell/Baker Publishing for furnishing me with a copy of this book for review. In Harm's Way is available April 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Speak--A Book & Movie Review

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

"When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time."
— Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak)

On one of those random strokes of chance I ran across a trailer for Speak (2004) and it caught my attention. I dug a little and sure enough there was a book written first. I always hate to see a movie before I read the book because, as a rule the movies never get the story right and I end up with a visual in my head that affects my reading of the story. So I hit the library website and ordered the novel, Laurie Halse Anderson's first.

I read it in two sittings.

(I could have read it in one, but you see, there are these short people, they keep calling me, "Mom" and demanding food and attention...I digress...)

Freshman, Melinda Sordino, narrates her way through Merryweather High as a social outcast. High school is bad enough to try to navigate, but Melinda is taunted by those who were her closest friends in eighth grade. She is haunted by the party she attended with those former friends just a few months prior. A party that was ended because she called the cops.

"It's easier not to say anything. Shut your trap, button your lip, can it. All that crap you hear on TV about communication and expressing feelings is a lie. Nobody really wants to hear what you have to say. "
— Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak)

Talking become more and more difficult to the point where Melinda shuts down and doesn't speak at all. Her once above average grades nosedive and her attendance becomes erratic.


I cut class, you cut class, he, she, it cuts class. We cut class, they cut class. We all cut class. I cannot say this in Spanish because I did not go to Spanish today. Gracias a dios. Hasta luego."
— Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak)

The only class she doesn't ditch on a regular basis is art, where the unique Mr. Freeman rails against "the system." Mr. Freeman offers art as "the only class that will teach you how to survive." Each student is assigned a subject for the whole year to explore. Melinda's subject is "Tree."

Melinda's parents are so involved in trying to keep themselves moving forward that they fail to notice Melinda's slow withdrawal until grade cards arrive. They make clumsy attempts to reach her, but it is not enough.

Anderson captures the tone I remember from high school, she paints the picture of clans and cliques and examines the difficulty of navigating the jungle of the high school halls. The tone is ironic, sad and entirely quotable.


1. We are here to help you.
2. You will have time to get to your class before the bell rings.
3. The dress code will be enforced.
4. No smoking is allowed on school grounds.
5. Our football team will win the championship this year.
6. We expect more of you here.
7. Guidance counselors are always available to listen.
8. Your schedule was created with you in mind.
9. Your locker combination is private.
10. These will be the years you look back on fondly.


1. You will use algebra in your adult lives.
2. Driving to school is a privilege that can be taken away.
3. Students must stay on campus during lunch.
4. The new text books will arrive any day now.
5. Colleges care more about you than your SAT scores.
6. We are enforcing the dress code.
7. We will figure out how to turn off the heat soon.
8. Our bus drivers are highly trained professionals.
9. There is nothing wrong with summer school.
10. We want to hear what you have to say."
— Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak)

Once done with the book, I had my husband put Speak in the Netflix queue, wondering just how well a movie could capture this poignant book. I was pleased that not only did the movie follow the story line quite well, screenwriter, Jessica Sharzer was brave enough to take much of the dialog directly out of Anderson's book and put it precisely in the movie in exactly the places it belonged. There were a few scenes from the book that were left out of the movie, but I would not be able to tell you how they could have been added without being awkward to film. Only a few situations were marginally changed and I think they were done well.

Melinda is played by Kristen Stewart (yes, of Forks fame--but don't let that predispose you to this movie) who was fourteen at the time the movie was filmed. She did an amazing job, she was at once fragile and damaged, and yet displayed the strength of the symbolic tree assigned in the art class.

Mr. Freeman, the quirky art teacher is played by Steve Zahn. Initially, he didn't fit my image of Mr. Freeman, but did a fabulous job of capturing the spirit of the teacher in the story.

Elizabeth Perkins and D.B. Sweeney are Melinda's clueless parents. They portrayed the parents Anderson portrays in the book really well.

The movie was aptly rated PG-13 (see IMDb Parents' Guide). I found the book in the Young Adult section of the library. Both book and movie deal with the subject of rape and the aftermath of a teenager who did not seek help immediately after the attack. Obviously this is an emotional and traumatic subject and not appropriate for everyone. Parents should read this book before handing it to their children and talk to them about it.

Both book and movie were well done and I highly recommend them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blog Book Tour--Swinging on a Star

Swinging on a Star by Janice Thompson

Ever since I finished Fools Rush In by Ms. Thompson, I've been waiting to go back to Parma Johns to dine on themed pizza, listen to Mambo Italiano and catch up with Bella Rossi and her cowboy knight in shining armor, D.J. Neeley. I felt so at home and had so much fun with Italian wedding coordinator, Bella and her carpenter cum deejay, D.J. that I wanted to find out more about their opposites-attract relationship.

When I got a chance to review Swinging on a Star I didn't realize that D.J. would have a few more knights, also in shining armor, to contend with. Bella is working on a new themed wedding, even bigger than the last hoedown she engineered. The bride and groom to be want a med
ieval wedding complete with a castle, a moat, madrigal music and horse-drawn carriages.

Ms. Thompson fills her book with complications for a renaissance wedding from the very first chapter. Bella's life seems like it cannot get more complicated--oh, but it does!! With wayward actors, Food Network filming her aunt, complicated relationships, a night in jail (really!) and much hilarity, Swinging on a Star kept me turning the page, "Just one more!" until the wee hours of the night. I just had to finish.

The soundtrack to this guaranteed-to-make-you-smile novel is, once again, my favorite Dean Martin. Oh, and she lets Ole Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra sing a few too.

Swinging on A Star is available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. And if you enjoy it as much as I do, be on the lookout for It Had to Be You, Janice Thompson's third installment of herWeddings by Bella series. I can't wait!!

Until then I will just have to listen to Dean Martin and dream!

Many thanks to Revell/Baker Publishing from whom I received Swinging on a Star.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Blog Book Tour--The Swiss Courier

by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey

I received an offer from Revell/Baker Publishing Group to join the blog book tour forThe Swiss Courier a while back. There were a lot of very positive reviews out there. Since I am a huge fan of historical fiction and this was an era that I didn't have fiction from, I agreed and looked forward to reading the book.

From the publishers: Award-winning authors Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey join forces for the first time with the release of their thrilling World War II-era fiction novel, The Swiss Courier.

Set in Switzerland during August 1944, The Swiss Courier whisks readers into the height of World War II as Nazi threats mount and governments race to develop the world’s first atomic bomb.

Gabi Mueller is a young Swiss-American woman working as a spy for the newly formed American Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner to the CIA) close to Nazi Germany. She is asked to put her life on the line to safely “courier” a defecting German nuclear physicist—who’s working on the atomic bomb project—out of Germany and into Switzerland, sending her into enemy territory to keep him (and his secrets) safe from the hands of the Gestapo.

As Gabi takes on this do-or-die mission, the fate of the world rests in her hands. If she can lead him to safety, she can keep the Germans from developing nuclear capabilities. But in a time of traitors and uncertainty, whom can she trust along the way?

This fast-paced, suspenseful novel takes readers along treacherous twists and turns during a fascinating—and deadly—time in history. Well-researched, The Swiss Courier includes true historical events to give the story greater authenticity. Danger, suspense and romance abound in this engaging page-turner.

Revell/Baker Publishing asks that as a member of the book tour I post my own review and I've had little problem with enthusiastic endorsements about the books I've read prior. This review has been a little harder; maybe given the seriousness of the subject matter and the era that it addresses I had higher expectations. While I thought The Swiss Courier was a good book, I'm not sure it lives up to the kudos I had read about it. Perhaps it is the limited size that limited the detail of the book.

It was pretty fast paced, but the characters were lacking in dimension. The main character Gabi Mueller is definitely sweet and likable. She is certainly a naïve young woman with limited vision. There were some rather stereotypical descriptions of secondary characters that included barmaids' bosoms and paramours that seemed unnecessary and interrupted the flow. If one were to only read this book as an account of the underground movement that defied Hitler, the reader might believe that only non-denominational Christians were the only members of the brave people who rescued, hid and transported to safety, the Jews who were brutally annihilated by the Nazi regime.

All in all it was a good book. If I were given to "stars" or "bookmark" ranking systems, I would give it a three and a half out of five. There are definitely some surprising twists and if you are looking for a Christian romance this would be a book you would enjoy.

Thanks to Revell/Baker Publishing for the copy of The Swiss Courier. Available October 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blog Book Tour--The Y Factor

by Liam Roberts

Glass Road Public Relations asked if I would be interested in a book described as a "Medical AND political thriller? You bet! Liam Roberts is a debut novelist with characters who are bent on unraveling the genetic code...and applying it to the simmering situation between Christians and Muslims." That caught my attention!!

How could I turn it down? The Y Factor was a sprint race read--a book that kept me turning the pages and comparing it to the headlines. Mr. Roberts has been compared to one of my favorite authors--Tom Clancy. And I would say for a first published novel that was close to the mark. But as a Christian writer, Mr. Roberts offers a unique perspective; not only politically astute, but also with an eye on eternity.

The characters were young and enthusiastic, fresh out of university and ready to change the world. Little did Eric Colbern and Alana McKinsey realize that their first "real jobs" might be their last.

The Y Factor will take you around the world and back. You will be immersed in technology, history and human intrigue. There's even a little romantic intrigue to top it off.

Look for The Y Factor by Liam Roberts. Definitely a gripping read.

Thanks to Glass Road Public Relations for the copy of The Y Factor for review.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Blog Book Tour--Intimate Conversations

Intimate Conversations: Devotions to Nurture a Woman's Soul by Alicia Britt Chole

In the middle of interrupted sentences, suffering, making breakfast for your child, fear, during the storms of life and in the car; Intimate Conversations by Alicia Britt Chole will provide a dose of reality that points you to closer communication with your Heavenly Father.

Chole's kind and familiar tone make each of the 52 devotions like talking to a friend. And more importantly give you ideas to get you talking to God.

From the Press Releases:

Relief for Busy Women and Moms

To Draw Closer to God—During All of Life’s Busy Moments

Author Alicia Britt Chole shows women how to rejuvenate their spiritual lives with this collection of short yet deeply thought-provoking meditations.

Women spend a large portion of their lives serving everyone around them—making sure the kids are fed and to school on time, the house is in working order, the to-do list is full of checkmarks and they’re volunteering on Sunday mornings at church. After pouring into everyone and everything else, it’s a struggle to have any time or energy left over at all—not even when it comes to cultivating their relationship with God.

Author and seasoned mentor Alicia Britt Chole offers relief. In her latest book, Intimate Conversations: Devotions to Nurture a Woman’s Soul, she shows women how every season—even those marked by hectic schedules and overwhelming responsibilities—can offer unprecedented opportunities to actually deepen your faith without having to put God on hold.

She reveals how that’s possible through this set of 52 daily readings. Each takes only moments to read, yet these poignant meditations will bring a refreshing perspective to a reader’s entire day.

Rather than ignore the daunting real-life issues and faith struggles that complicate your connection with God, Chole addresses them with grace and understanding. Whether it’s yearning to love God more, to learn to listen, to not give up or to overcome fear, she helps women understand how they can develop a more intimate and satisfying relationship with God in the midst of everyday challenges.

“I want to show women how each minute of every loud, distracting day is pregnant with potential for intimacy if we can learn how to simply and intentionally live it with God,” Chole says.

She draws from her experience as a mentor, daughter, wife and mother to weave personal stories of laughter and tears alongside Scripture in these meditations. Paired with thought-provoking questions for reflection or group discussion, Chole’s insightful writing will be cathartic for any woman who is hungering for a more intimate connection with God, no matter how crazy life gets.

Alicia Britt Chole speaks nationally and internationally to leaders, pastors, professionals, students, women, and churches. She has been a mentor for students and women for more than twenty years. She is the author of Anonymous and Finding the Unseen God. Chole lives in Missouri.

You can also visit Ms. Chole's blog Truthportraits.

“Intimate Conversations: Devotions to Nurture a Woman's Soul--available September 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Friday, September 25, 2009

Blog Book Tour--An Eye for an Eye

by Irene Hannon

Take a handsome FBI agent re-introduce him to the still beautiful woman he fell for twenty years ago, add the bumps and bruises and scars that come with maturing and living full lives and you have a wonderful romance. Add an atypical sniper after one of them and you have great suspense.

An Eye for an Eye
was a marvelous blend of fast-paced action and a quiet and mature romance. Romantic suspense--an interesting blend. Just right for keeping me awake later than I needed to be more than a few nights because I couldn't leave the characters (really me) hanging.

Emily Lawson is the beautiful psychiatrist; a young widow with a lonely and broken heart. Mark Sanders is the rugged FBI agent recovering from a hostage incident where he was injured and a teen was killed. An unexpected meeting reunites them and the sparks they knew as teens still smolder.

Then there is the less than average attempted murderer who wants to kill one of them. But the question is which one? Irene Hannon leads the reader on a roller-coaster chase to catch the killer and keep both Jack and Emily alive.

Thoughtfully researched and written, Ms. Hannon gives the reader characters that are easy to become attached to. The characters journeys of faith are also interesting. Fear of loss, choosing forgiveness, and accepting personal weakness were all dealt with. Most touching to me were the reminders that no one can totally control life and the circumstances we find ourselves in. A strong faith in God can create peace even in the darkest moments.

An Eye for an Eye, book two in The Heroes of Quantico series is a great stand alone read--no need for reading Book One, Against All Odds--but I'm off to look for it! (Ms. Hannon actually notes in the Acknowledgments that An Eye for an Eye was written first.) The book is available from booksellers and Revell/Baker Publishing, who kindly provide me with the opportunity to read it. Book Three, In Harm's Way in on the horizon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall Into Reading 2009--At the Goal Post

My favorite season is autumn, time for turning leaves, turning the air conditioner off, turning a few pages of some wonderful books. Time for Katrina's Fall Into Reading 2009.

I've done this with varying success twice before in 2007 and 2008 and had a blast. There's something about having a goal and at least attaining part of it. Being a book addict is consuming sometimes. I have a habit of getting distracted from my original list.

This year I thought I might pick a limited list and just add to it as the days go on. As I stood in front of my burgeoning "To Be Read" SHELF I had to fight the urge to list all the books on there. I see & smell books and reason just flies out the window. What can I say?

So this is my "limited list" for 2009:

Out to Canaan by Jan Karon

Karon's books are always fresh and like a vacation in the town I've wanted to visit since I read her first book--At Home in Mitford. I'm sure I'll fly through this one, just as I've done with the predecessors.

Herbs and Apples by Helen Hooven Santmeyer

Santmeyer became one of my favorite authors nearly twenty years ago when I found her huge novel "...And Ladies of the Club." Within the last year, I've run across a couple more of her less published books and am glad for the chance to read more.

Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Stories of the Amish--the "Plain Folk" always interest me. I received this book a long time ago, read a few very interesting chapters and then for some reason got sidetracked. Time to pick it up again and finish it.

Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville

Roo and I are reading books with themes including: futuristic projections, overpopulation, post-apocalyptic societies, dystopian/utopian societies. This caught my eye and I wanted to pre-read it before I handed it off to him. I've always been a fan of Jane Yolen's varied work and look forward to seeing how this story is handled.

Of Beetles & Angels by Mawi Asgedom

My sister gave me this book quite a while back with high recommendations. The story of this man's journey as a child from war torn east Africa to a Harvard scholar sounds remarkable.

M.C. Higgins, the Greatby Virginia Hamilton

It's hard to go wrong with a Newbery Medal book, although some of the Amazon reviews weren't terrible flattering. I'll reserve judgment until I read this children's literature myself

Ascension (Water Trilogy, Book 1)by Kara Dalkey

Honestly, the beautiful cover art on this book caught my eye. I have the trilogy and am looking forward to this young adult fantasy.

Thanks again to Katrina for her lovely challenge. Check out all the readers, and she has giveaways!! Always a fun thing.

Time to cozy up with tea or coffee and a good book.

I'm double posting my first Fall Into Reading 2009 post on both my blogs, the reviews will be here at Joyful Days Reviews & Recipes.

Fall Into Reading past;

Fall Into Reading 2008

Fall Into Reading 2007

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fall Into Reading 2009

Katrina is hostessing

once again!!

Can you believe it's time for Fall already?

Getting my book list ready. And my computer.

OH!! And of course my BOOKS!!

Blog Book Tour--Silent Savior

by A.J. Gregory

For when you are dry in the desert, for when the flood waters are up to you ears, for when you can't seem to find your candle to light in the darkness...for when God seems silent.

A.J. Gregory says the things you are afraid to say when you go to church, when you talk to your brothers and sisters in Christ over doughnuts in the fellowship hall, when you sit in Bible study, when you confess your sins. Many are able to admit to sin, but few want to admit to wavering faith, to doubt and questions when your heart is raw and you haven't heard a word from the LORD lately.

Have you been told you, "Just don't have enough faith about_____" or there's some "hidden sin" you haven't confessed, or that if you pray this or that prayer or follow just the right doctrine, your prayer request would be answered.

Society has convinced us that we can have it all and it all can be put together packaged and wrapped with a pretty bow and that message has seeped into our "church lives." Do you put on a happy face and answer, "Fine!" when asked how you are? Because a Christian should be happy and fine. But are you?

Gregory's book isn't going to tell you the magic answer to have your prayers all answered by the LORD. Silent Savior isn't going to tell you why you have prayers that haven't been answered. This refreshing and real book will let you know that it is okay to have questions, to ask them out loud and to hang on to the threads of faith when threads are all you have.

From reviews and the publisher:

What do you do when there's not even a still, small voice?

There are times in our lives when it's not just hard to hear God--it's impossible. We've all been there. Knowing on some deeper level that God is present no matter how things look, but still feeling the trickle of doubt. And wondering why the God whose faithfulness is never supposed to fail seems to be turning a giant deaf ear toward us. It's not always like this, but silent seasons are common in the life of any believer.

In Silent Savior, A. J. Gregory navigates that labyrinth of sorrow, pain, angst, and doubt on the way to a soul-deep recognition of God's infinite faithfulness and perpetual, if sometimes silent, presence. And she encourages you to keep believing he's there even when that silence seems deafening.


"Many of us tiptoe around the eggshells of the doubts and questions surrounding an intangible God. Gregory doesn't. And after reading this book, hopefully you won't either, but instead rest in a haven of depth and holy wonder."--Chris Seay, author

"In a beautiful and reflective way, Gregory reminds us we don't have to be embarrassed, afraid, or shocked to find the presence of God's silence in our lives."--Ron Martoia, author

"If you're looking for a book to move your stagnant faith, to stir the dry bones, and to bring truth to your life, you've got the right book."--Michael Franzese, author

Thanks to Revell/Baker Publishing and A.J. Gregory for the opportunity to read this thoughtful book.