Friday, November 20, 2009

Touched by a Vampire

Touched by a Vampire by Beth Felker Jones takes an in-depth look at the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. If you've not heard of the love story of Bella and Edward then you must be living under a rock somewhere. One of my Facebook friends this morning said that New Moon (the second in the series to be released on the movie screen) is like Lord of the Rings for girls. It's stinkin' huge.

I read the Twiglight saga earlier this year when an author that I have the deepest admiration for recommended it because it was so well written. I didn't allow my children to read past the second book because it was so intense.

In Touched by a Vampire Beth Felker Jones points out areas that may save people from actually having to read the series for themselves. Beth reminds us that Meyer is a Mormon and that there are some underlying themes in the story. Each chapter has some questions that you can ask yourself or your teens, excellent source of discussion.

A summary:

People around the world are asking the same question, enraptured with Edward and Bella’s forbidden romance in the Twilight Saga, a four-book serial phenomenon written by Stephenie Meyer. The bestsellers tell the story of a regular girl’s relationship with a vampire who has chosen to follow his “good” side. But the Saga isn’t just another fantasy–it’s teaching girls about love, sex, and purpose. With 48 million copies in print and a succession of upcoming blockbuster films, now is the time to ask the important question: Can vampires teach us about God’s plan for love?
Touched by a Vampire is the first book to investigate the themes of the Twilight Saga from a Biblical perspective. Some Christian readers have praised moral principles illustrated in the story, such as premarital sexual abstinence, which align with Meyer’s Mormon beliefs. But ultimately, Beth Felker Jones examines whether the story’s redemptive qualities outshine its darkness.
Cautionary, thoughtful, and challenging, Touched by a Vampire is written for Twilight fans, parents, teachers, and pop culture enthusiasts. It includes an overview of the series for those unfamiliar with the storyline and a discussion guide for small groups.

You can purchase this book here.

This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Give This Christmas Away

101 Simple & Thoughtful Ways to Give This Christmas Away by Matthew West is a delightful little book full of ideas to make this Christmas different from any you've had before. Some simple (hold a door open for someone), some a little more intense (forgive....), and some downright fun (give yourself a silent night). Okay, I've shared three of them with you but I didn't share the explanations that go along with them, and there are still another 98 for you to discover on your own. This is a great little book that I recommend for anyone who is looking for something different this year, for something more.

About the book:
“What if December looked different this year?” Featured on the new Veggie Tales Christmas DVD (Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving), the forthcoming single “Give This Christmas Away” is a duet between Matthew West and Amy Grant destined to become a holiday classic. Now, in this tie-in book, Matthew West shares 101 inspiring ways for you, your family, and your church to give this Christmas away. Mirroring Jesus’ message of love for the unloveable and compassion for the broken, this book will share practical ideas and inspiring stories of giving that will help you give the message of the ultimate Christmas gift this year—Jesus. Includes 101 Scriptures from the New Living Translation.

About the author:
Matthew West is a Sparrow Records recording artist and an accomplished songwriter who has released three albums since 2002. His latest hit song, "The Motions" stayed on top of Christian radio charts for months in 2009. Matthew has also penned songs for many of today's top Christian and country artists including Rascal Flatts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Natalie Grant, Mark Schultz and Point of Grace. Among his achievements are two ASCAP Song of the Year awards. He has also been a columnist for CCM magazine. Matthew tours nationally, performing 100+ shows per year. He and his wife Emily make their home in Franklin, Tennessee. Visit him online here.

This book was provided for review by Tyndale.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Thirsty by Tracey Bateman is unlike any other book out there right now. A Christian novel with an alcoholic main character, a couple of bloodsuckers and everyone else. I sure wish Tracey Bateman had stuck with chick lit because I loved her previous novels. This was dark and I kept waiting for the big redeeming moment. There was a redeeming moment but it wasn't what I kept turning the pages for. This book didn't do it for me.

About the book:
There's no place like home, they say.
"Hello, I'm Nina Parker…and I'm an alcoholic."
For Nina, it's not the weighty admission but the first steps toward recovery that prove most difficult. She must face her ex-husband, Hunt, with little hope of making amends, and try to rebuild a relationship with her angry teenage daughter, Meagan. Hardest of all, she is forced to return to Abbey Hills, Missouri, the hometown she abruptly abandoned nearly two decades earlier–and her unexpected arrival in the sleepy Ozark town catches the attention of someone–or something–igniting a two-hundred-fifty-year-old desire that rages like a wildfire.

Unaware of the darkness stalking her, Nina is confronted with a series of events that threaten to unhinge her sobriety. Her daughter wants to spend time with the parents Nina left behind. A terrifying event that has haunted Nina for almost twenty years begins to surface. And an alluring neighbor initiates an unusual friendship with Nina, but is Markus truly a kindred spirit or a man guarding dangerous secrets?

As everything she loves hangs in the balance, will Nina's feeble grasp on her demons be broken, leaving her powerless against the thirst? The battle between redemption and obsession unfold to its startling, unforgettable end.

For more info or to purchase a copy for yourself click here.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm So Sure by Jenny B Jones

I'm So Sure by Jenny B Jones is the second in the Charmed Life series, the third Jenny B Jones novel that I've read and THE reason I'm declaring Jenny B Jones to be my favorite author for 2009. I know I usually post my "best of" list at the end of December, but I didn't want you to have to wait that long for this news. Because I know you've been on the edge of your seats.

Picking up where So Not Happening left off, we follow Bella as she navigates her way through high school with her new friends. When her stepdad brings home the news about a reality show he's signed the family up for Bella is sure it won't interfere with her life, but it does. In ways you'll never expect! Throw in the cute editor for the school newspaper (who she does not want to like), her old boyfriend who is trying to start things up again and some suspicious activity involving the prom committee and it equals one great read.

Unfortunately I don't have a copy of this book to give away. Fortunately for you, Jenny B Jones does at her website. Click here and do it soon because this one is only for this week!

I promise you though, once you get started reading her work you'll want to read all of her books.

NEVER have I read an author who writes with such hilarity. Honestly, she cracks me up. She makes me want to dust off my needs-much-work 87,000 word novel and have at it again. Maybe I'll do that. Until then I hope she can continue cranking them out. It's too long to wait between books.

You can purchase this and all of Jenny's books at Amazon.

This book was given to me to review by the author. She didn't pay me. I wouldn't have accepted it anyway. Some books you'd have to pay me to read. Not this one.

Monday, November 9, 2009

White Picket Fences

I love a good Susan Meissner novel. White Picket Fences is a story about family secrets that go back generations and the ones that the Janvier family are still keeping hidden today. There are many levels to this story. Tally, who is dropped off at her grandmothers house while her dad races around the world looking for buried treasure. Chase, the Janviers teenage son who is seeing things in his dreams and remembering pieces of a puzzle of his past. His parents who are trying to keep this puzzle from him. His mom who is confiding in a co-worker of the opposite sex. The two men in the nursing home with links to a concentration camp. And yet all of this ties together in the end.

Susan has always written an engaging story and this one is no different. What is different however is the inclusion of several curse words that completely took this reader by surprise. Was NOT expecting that from a Christian fiction author.

This is actually the fourth "Christian" fiction book I've read over the past several years that's has curse words in it. One major publishing house, when I emailed them my concerns over this replied with something along the lines of, "this book isn't "Christian fiction," it's mainstream fiction written by a Christian." I was instructed to turn it over and look at the genre that's listed right above the barcode.

This book too, is now listed as "Fiction/contemporary" and not as religious/Christian/inspirational.

So now when we visit the Christian bookstore and look for a good CLEAN read, without any questionable words/scenes in it we have to flip the book over and make sure it's listed as religious/Christian/inspirational?

I know you're probably wondering what the questionable words were. Two times a character says, "What the h***" and two times this same character calls someone an a**.

Yes, I realize these are mild obscenities, but at what point then do we draw the line? Why should we conform to the world or lower our standards to appeal to a larger audience?

Author Angela Hunt has mentioned this subject several times on her blog and I agree with her. Why not just write, "He cursed" or "He swore"?

I was disappointed to say the least.

I do have a copy of this to give away if you're interested. Leave me a comment and let me know you want to win this book.

You can read more about this book or purchase it here.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

*comments are closed. Karen is the winner of this book. Congrats Karen!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Limelight by Melody Carlson was a delight to read. Claudette was the spoiled self-centered actress that I loved to LOVE. She was simply adorable. Watching her navigate new experiences and even learning how to do her own laundry made me giggle in appreciation of her efforts. Melody did such a good job writing this character and even more so by tackling a gay character, which isn't something I normally appreciate. This book proves, once again why Melody is one of the best selling authors in the Christian fiction arena.

About the book:
Claudette Fioré used to turn heads and break hearts. She relished the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle because she had what it takes: money, youth, fame, and above all, beauty. But age has withered that beauty, and a crooked accountant has taken her wealth, leaving the proud widow penniless and alone.

Armed with stubbornness and sarcasm, Claudette returns to her shabby little hometown and her estranged sister. Slowly, she makes friends. She begins to see her old life in a new light. For the first time, Claudette Fioré questions her own values and finds herself wondering if it’s too late to change.

For more info or to purchase a copy for yourself click here.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What Matters Most

What Matters Most is the latest and final installment in Melody Carlson's Diary of a Teenage Girl series. This youth/teen fiction story about Maya drew me in and made me want to go back and start at the beginning and read all nine books. Even though this is the last one I wasn't left wondering what was going on. Melody has an amazing way of getting into the head of teen girls and this book is no exception. I recommend it to teen girls and their moms too!

About the book:
Maya’s Green Tip for the Day: Recycled fashion is one of the most fun ways to go green. A pair of jeans could be transformed into a denim skirt. A sweater into a vest. A bunch of old ties into a dress. A blanket into a poncho. Accessorize it in new way–with beads, buttons, appliqués, buckles, stencils, or ribbons…your imagination is only the limit.

Sixteen-year-old Maya Stark has a lot to sort through. She could graduate from high school early if she wants to. She’s considering it, especially when popular cheerleader Vanessa Hartman decides to make her life miserable–and Maya’s ex-boyfriend Dominic gets the wrong idea about everything.

To complicate matters even more, Maya’s mother will be released from prison soon, and she’ll want Maya to live with her again. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. And when Maya plays her dad’s old acoustic guitar in front of an audience, she discovers talents and opportunities she never expected. Faced with new options, Maya must choose between a “normal” life and a glamorous one. Ultimately, she has to figure out what matters most.

For more about this book or to purchase it click here.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Leaving Carolina

When I read a book by Tamara Leigh it's like taking a vacation with some friends that I haven't seen for a long time. Leaving Carolina is no exception. I loved following Piper back to her hometown for a longer-than-planned visit with her family and people that she'd forgotten about. Watching Piper struggle with balancing her almost-fiance and the cute new guy while trying to keep her biggest secret a secret leads to some touching and laughable moments. Thanks Tamara, for another fun read!

About the book:

Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina, twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high-powered public relations consultant in LA. She’s even “engaged to be engaged” to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler.

Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick has decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations’ worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwicks’ secrets, including Piper’s.

Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe’s rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can’t she stay on task? With the Lord’s help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.

For more info or to purchase Leaving Carolina, click here.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.