Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Donald Miller is back with another installment of life as he sees it. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years takes us through a period of time when he meets up with movie execs and they start writing out his life story for a film. When he comes face to face with the realization that they have to change things to make it a better story he decide to make his entire life a better story and shakes things up a bit.

This is the first I've read from Donald Miller. I know, I know....I'm a little late on the bandwagon, but you all know that I prefer fiction.

Yes, this book is inspiring and it challenges the reader to get out of the routine and to live life bigger than you have before, but I found it to be quite a bit of rambling.

Would I recommend it? Sure, it has many valid points and could really help people who are "stuck" to get up and get going. Will I seek out another book by this author? Probably not. Just isn't my cup of tea.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Seaside Letters by Denise Hunter

Seaside Letters

Seaside Letters is the latest in the Nantucket Love Story series by Denise Hunter. Just when I think Denise can't top her last book she's proven me wrong. Seaside Letters is a story of lost love and redemption. Denise is that rare author who is able to make her characters come alive. Sabrina meets her dream man online and is happily pursuing a guarded relationship with him. Then she realizes she knows who he is. Then he hires her to find his online flame. To find HER. Sabrina takes the job and continues to guard her heart. If he finds out who she really is he'll never be able to love her. Problem is, he already knows who she is, only she doesn't know that. Follow me? I know it sounds complicated but it really isn't. What it is is a sweet story that makes you happy-sigh at the end.

Kudos to Denise for another winning novel. Can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve next.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

If you blog about books you'll want to register your blog here for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. You could win a prize!

And then you can play along and post your own answers to this meme (which I borrowed from a friend....she knows who she is!)

You can also participate in this fun reading meme!

Pick ONE or answer them all in as few words as possible! Be creative, have fun, stand out! That’s all!

Do you snack while you read? sometimes

If so, favorite reading snack?

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I never ever mark a book unless I plan to keep it forever and then I'll write my name in it.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?
I use whatever kind of bookmark I can, grocery receipt, gum wrapper, official bookmark, post-it note...but I don't ever fold a page over, that's almost criminal.

Laying the book flat open?
Not sure what you mean by this. I don't leave it laying around open, it must be closed or the cover gets all bendy.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
Mostly fiction.

Hard copy or audiobooks? Audio books are only for LONG car rides....thank God I don't do those anymore!

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
I try to read to the end of chapters but have been so busy lately that sometimes I can only read to the end of the next paragraph.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
Nope, I just keep right on reading. I don't think I've ever looked up a word (when reading a book)

What are you currently reading?
Just finished Angela Hunt's "She's in a Better Place" (like 5 minutes ago....) so I'm currently not reading anything. That'll change as soon as I get home.

What is the last book you bought?
I can't remember.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
I like to only read one at a time but lately I've been reading several (especially when I need to review one QUICK!)

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
ANYTIME is a good time to read.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
It doesn't matter to me.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
I generally always recommend Francine Rivers "Redeeming Love"

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?) Pretty much in the order I want to read them. I have three shelves full, top shelf is high priority. Then there's the other shelf, it's for books I need to review.

Monday, September 21, 2009

If God Is Good

Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.

This is a book that has the ability to bring healing to your heart. It also introduces you to the Maker of heaven and earth, who if you don't already have a relationship with you will want to know after reading it. Another excellent work by Randy Alcorn.

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspectives Ministries and a bestselling author. His novels include Deadline, Dominion, Edge of Eternity, Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, The Ishbane Conspiracy, and the Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written eighteen nonfiction books as well, including Heaven, The Treasure Principle, The Purity Principle, and The Grace and Truth Paradox. Randy and his wife, Nanci, live in Oregon and have two married daughters and four grandsons.

You can purchase this book here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fools Rush In

Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson is the first in her Weddings By Bella series of romantic comedy novels. This book is laugh-out-loud funny and had me giggling quite a few times. I loved the antics of the extended Italian family, the pets and even the ongoing battle with the neighbors. This true-to-life novel made me crave pizza and family gatherings. In short, if you're looking for a fun read then you MUST get this book!

Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and native Texan. An experienced wedding coordinator herself, Thompson brings alive in her books the everyday drama and humor of getting married. She is the author ofFools Rush In and lives in Texas.

Find out more about Janice on her website.
You can purchase this book on Amazon by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kiss Me Again

Kiss Me Again by Barbara Wilson is not a book to be taken lightly. This volume can help you restore lost intimacy to your marriage. We all want to be closer to our spouse and we may have walls between us that we weren't even aware of. Barbara helps shine a light into those dark corners of the past, brings them to the surface and shows you how to forgive, receive healing and move into a closer relationship with your husband.

Barbara has been involved in education for the past 25 years. She has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and a Bachelors Degree in Education from Brock University.

She is an active member of the multi-campus, Bayside Covenant Church in Granite Bay, California where she offers a bible study that leads women to God’s forgiving, healing power for past sexual sin and trauma. Barbara and her husband Eric live in Sacramento, Ca., have been married for 28 years.

You can purchase this book at Amazon.

Watch this video to see Barbara talk about her book:

For more information about Barbara, her ministry and her books, visit her website.

Monday, September 14, 2009

You Were Born For This

His New York Times phenomenon The Prayer of Jabez changed how millions pray. Now Bruce Wilkinson wants to change what they do next.

Anyone can do a good deed, but some good works can only happen by a direct intervention from God. Around the world these acts are called miracles—not that even religious people expect to see one any time soon. But what would happen if millions of ordinary people walked out each morning expecting God to deliver a miracle through them to a person in need? You Were Born for This starts with the dramatic premise that everyone at all times is in need of a miracle, and that God is ready to meet those needs supernaturally through ordinary people who are willing to learn the “protocol of heaven.”

In the straightforward, story-driven, highly motivating style for which he is known, Wilkinson describes how anyone can be a “Delivery Guy” from heaven in such universally significant arenas of life as finances, practical help, relationships, purpose, and spiritual growth.

You Were Born for This will change how readers see their world, and what they expect God can do through them to meet real needs. They will master seven simple tools of service, and come to say with confidence, “I want to deliver a supernatural gift from God to someone in need today—and I expect to!”

I loved this book! It explains why we don't see miracles on a regular basis and what we can do to change that. God still delivers miracles, we just need to be open to listening to His prompting. This is what I've been waiting for and looking for. The cry of my heart is that I'll be open to what the Lord wants to do through me.

You can watch a video of Bruce introducing his book to us here.
You can purchase a copy here.

Or you can leave me a comment to win a copy, I have one to give away. I'll draw a winner on Monday the 21st.

She Did What She Could

She Did What She Could: Five words of Jesus that will change your life by Elisa Morgan (Tyndale House Publishers)

Most of us care. We really do. We care about poverty and injustice, about orphans and the sick. And yet, weighed down by the everyday load of bringing home a paycheck, putting food on the table, and taking care of our family demands, we question our ability to make a difference. Bombarded by one celebrity help-the-world-athon after another, we shrug our shoulders in futility and do absolutely nothing. Enter SDWSC. Based on the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume in Mark 14, SDWSC provides overwhelmed, yet service-seeking, significance-starved readers a realistic response to the seemingly unmeetable needs around us.

Five letters. Unthinkable power.

Elisa Morgan

Most of us care. We really do. We care about poverty and injustice, about orphans and the sick. And yet, weighed down by the everyday tasks of bringing home a paycheck, putting food on the table, and shuttling kids around, we question our ability to make a difference. Bombarded by one celebrity help-the-world-athon after another, we shrug our shoulders in futility and do absolutely nothing.
But what if we did . . .
Just one thing.
The thing that matters more than anything else in that one solitary moment.

What if we did just that?
What if?
Five letters that have the power to change your life, free your spirit, and transform your world!

About the Author

Elisa Morgan is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of more than fifteen books, including the best–selling What Every Mom Needs and Mom's Devotional Bible. Elisa has served as CEO of MOPS International since 1989. She is also the publisher of MomSense and FullFill magazines and is a frequent contributor to Christianity Today. Elisa is married to Evan (vice president of strategic development for RBC Ministries, known internationally for Our Daily Bread, and founder of christiancourses.com). They have two grown children and one grandchild and live in Centennial, Colorado.

What is the premise behind your new book, She Did What She Could?

Most of us care deeply about the needs around us – poverty, injustice, everyday concerns of those in our families and in our offices and in our neighborhoods. But faced with the challenges of getting food on the table and children to and from activities and keeping up with our jobs etc, we feel more than a little overwhelmed. Who has the time or the energy to start another nonprofit or to participate in yet another celebrity-help-the-world-athon? We conclude we have to do something BIG to make a difference. Not true. We don’t have to do something BIG to make a difference. In a Bible story where Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus with a beautiful gift of perfume before his death, Jesus applauds her action saying, “She did what she could.” We can make a difference every day by simply doing what we could in the given moment before us.

When did the idea for this book/movement come to you?

I’d been reading what I call the “Girl Stories” in the gospels – stories where a woman is the main character. I was stopped in my tracks by Mary’s acting out her love for Jesus and by his pairing her action with the gospel. Mary lived loved. She acted out her faith by doing something with who she was and what she had in a moment that mattered. At the same time I was reading that story, I was suddenly overwhelmed by issues in our world like the HIV-AIDS pandemic and poverty and needs everywhere I turned. I began to think about the power of one of us acting and then another and another. I began to prayerfully wonder – what if I did what I could – just like Mary did? And then each of us did what we could? The whole world could be changed!

What percentage of church members are active in ministry?

It’s reported that 20% of the people do 80% of the work.

What reasons do you think members have for not serving?

Lots of folks don’t participate due to the busyness of life and the perception that unless we do something BIG it won’t make a difference. We feel guilty that we can’t do MORE. We feel inadequatebecause we aren’t more godly - or because of something hidden in our past. We feel incompetent because we aren’t trained. We’re tired and overwhelmed. And then there’s the fact that lots of us aren’t even “members” of a church. We’re not sure what to do with church – even though we love Jesus. We have a million struggles that keep us from “doing”. SDWSC gives a bite-size offering to everyone to participate in living out our faith and making a difference.

Do you feel that many church members are intimidated by those who are very involved at church?

You bet. If you’re not in the “in crowd” or gifted with public gifs like teaching or are marginalized in some way, it’s WAY intimidating to step up and say, ”Hey, I’d like to help.” SDWSC welcomes ALL to join in and act. It refreshes those who are weary in well-doing as well.

In the book, you point out that this message of everyone doing what they can is Biblical. What story are you referring to specifically?

The story is told in Mark 14 but is also told in Matthew and John as well. Just before Jesus’ death on the cross for the sins of all humankind, Mary of Bethany took a jar of nard, a very expensive perfume, and poured it on Jesus – as a symbol of anointing his body before his death. In a moment when the gesture would mean the most to him. You get the impression that Mary hadn’t really planned out this action. It seems more spontaneous. And while the nard was expensive, that wasn’t the main point. Mary acted out of her understanding that Jesus really was the Christ and he really loved her. She wanted to give back. She took what she had – nard – and acted with it in a moment that mattered to Jesus and to the world. She did what she could.

You’ve shared your message with the MOPS organization. What has the response been so far to the SDWSC (She Did What She Could) movement?

Moms are passionate about being the best moms they can be. They’re also passionate to make a difference in their world. They know that they may not be able to do something GIANT in the day to day of raising children. SDWSC gives them a methodology for acting in a way that matters in their daily lives. With a neighbor or a coworker. With a child. To care for the earth. To reach out to someone who hasless and needs more. Moms have pasted the SDWSC flare on their Facebook pages and are telling the SDWSC stories, encouraging others to do what they can as well.

How do you hope churches and ministries will use your message to mobilize their members?

Those who’ve never served can be invited to join in with the practical – doable – message of SDWSC. And those who are weary in well-doing can be encouraged that Jesus doesn’t ask us to do EVERYTHING or ALL we could but rather WHAT we could do.

How do you hope readers can change their lives with your message?

She did what she could (SDWSC) is a mantra that rules my days as opportunities come before me. I run each through the grid of SDWSC. Is it something that I can uniquely handle? Is it a moment that matters NOW? Will I make a difference if I do WHAT I could – not ALL or EVERYTHING I could? I hope and pray that readers will do the same. She did what she could. When I do what I could and you do what you could and we do what we could – we can change the world. We can be the body of Christ in action, on the earth, demonstrating individually and together what it means to live loved.

I have an advanced reader copy of this book to give away. Leave me a comment and I'll draw a winner in a week!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stray Affections

Stray Affections

In Stray Affections, the last thing that Cassandra expects out of her Sunday is to be mesmerized at a collectors’ convention by a snowglobe. She’s enjoying some shopping time, with husband Ken at home tending their brood of four young boys, when she’s utterly charmed by the one-of-a kind globe containing figures of three dogs and a little girl with hair the color of her own. She can’t resist taking the unique globe home—even if means wrestling another shopper for it!

The beautiful snowglobe sparks long-dormant memories for Cassie, of her beloved Grandpa Wonky, the stray she rescued as a child, and the painful roots of her combative relationship with her mother, “Bad Betty” Kamrowski. Life in Wanonishaw, Minnesota is never dull, though, and Cassie keeps the recollections at bay, busy balancing her boys, her home daycare operation, and being a good friend to best pal Margret. But after a strange—flurrious, as Cassie deems it—moment happens with the remarkable snowglobe, Cassie and the people she loves are swirled into a tumultuous, yet grace-filled, and life-changing journey.

“As a believer, I know the power of forgiveness and new beginnings, and of a God, and family and friends, who love me the way I am,” Charlene Ann Baumbich says. “The heartbeat of change flows through those wonderful gifts.”

With the quirky, close-knit Midwestern small-town feel that made Charlene Ann Baumbich’s acclaimed Dearest Dorothy novels so popular, Stray Affections invites readers to experience the laughter and the healing of second chances.

Charlene Ann Baumbich is a popular author and speaker and an award-winning journalist. In addition to her Dearest Dorothy series of novels, she has written seven nonfiction books of humor and inspiration. A bungee-jumping, once motorcycle-owning grandma and unabashed dog lover, Charlene lives with her husband and rescued dog Kornflake in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She loves telling stories, laughing whenever possible, and considers herself a Wild Child of God.

Click here to view a video of Charlene introducing this book to us.

You can purchase this book at Amazon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Love & Respect

Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs may be one of the most important books I've ever posted on this blog. We all enter into marriage thinking that it'll be easy to love each other and that it'll all come naturally and fall into place. What we don't know is that one day we'll wake up and realize that we don't even know this person that we share a life with.

Why does he act that way? Why does she act that way?

Dr. Eggerichs explores the differences between men and women and what the Bible teaches about love and respect. The answer to many troubled marriages is so obvious (in this teaching) that it's surprising.

This book (along with prayer and a relationship with God) has the power to heal and transform your marriage into the one you've always desired.

You can purchase this from Thomas Nelson.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just Between You and Me

Just Between You and Me by Jenny B. Jones is a novel of losing fear and finding God. I've got to say that I loved this book. Really truly loved it. I didn't want to put it down and at the same time didn't want it to end.

Maggie reluctantly returns home when she learns of a family emergency. What she finds when she gets there is what she was afraid to face. People who remembered her the way she was when she was in high school and a family that hasn't changed. Maggie must choose between confronting her past and getting over her fears or continuing on in the life that she's been living.

I think my favorite thing about Jenny's books is her sense of humor which shines! I can't get enough from this author!

You can learn more about Jenny at her website. And more about her books here.

I wish I could tell you that I have a copy of this one to give away, but alas, I do not. I plan to keep mine. Yeah, it's THAT good!

You can, however, buy one here.