Friday, January 29, 2010

Tea with Hezbollah

The reason I signed up to review this book was that I wanted to know what scared Ted Dekker (if you've ever read his novels you know what I mean). What I discovered was a man whose thirst for adventure gave him the courage to walk the road displayed before him. Tea With Hezbollah by Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis is an eye-opening look at real life in the Middle East. Sometimes we tend to group this group of people together into one bad, terroristic lump. This book shows individuals and shares their stories.
About the Book:
Is it really possible to love one’s enemies?
That’s the question that sparked a fascinating and, at times, terrifying journey into the heart of the Middle East during the summer of 2008. It was a trip that began in Egypt, passed beneath the steel and glass high rises of Saudi Arabia, then wound through the bullet- pocked alleyways of Beirut and dusty streets of Damascus, before ending at the cradle of the world’s three major religions: Jerusalem.
Tea with Hezbollah combines nail-biting narrative with the texture of rich historical background, as readers join novelist Ted Dekker and his co-author and Middle East expert, Carl Medearis, on a hair-raising journey. They are with them in every rocky cab ride, late-night border crossing, and back-room conversation as they sit down one-on-one with some of the most notorious leaders of the Arab world. These candid discussions with leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas, with muftis, sheikhs, and ayatollahs, with Osama bin Laden’s brothers, reveal these men to be real people with emotions, fears, and hopes of their own. Along the way, Dekker and Medearis discover surprising answers and even more surprising questions that they could not have anticipated—questions that lead straight to the heart of Middle Eastern conflict.
Through powerful narrative Tea With Hezbollah will draw the West into a completely fresh understanding of those we call our enemies and the teaching that dares us to love them. A must read for all who see the looming threat rising in the Middle East.
About the authors:
Ted Dekker is the author of many nationally bestselling novels, including Bone Man’s Daughters, The Circle Trilogy, Thr3e, and House, which was coauthored by Frank Peretti. His unique style of storytelling has captured the attention of millions worldwide. Visit him at here.
Carl Medearis is the founder and president of International Initiatives, LLC, an organization that promotes cultural, educational, and commercial exchange between the East and the West. He is an advisor on Arab affairs to the members of the U.S. Congress and leaders in international business.
To learn more or to purchase this book from Random House click here.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

UPDATE: Kevin & Marissa are the winners of this book. Stay tuned for another great book giveaway later this week!

Out With the In Crowd by Stephanie Morrill

Teen fiction fans take note: there is a new voice in Christian teen fiction and it's Stephanie Morrill!
Out With the In Crowd is the second in Stephanie's the reinvention of skylar hoyt series. In this book we follow Skylar as she deals with "girl drama" in her senior year of high school. She's trying to figure out who her true friends are now that she's changed and become a Christian. She's dating again and most of her time revolves around her boyfriend, her pregnant younger sister and her parents who are on-again-off-again in their marriage. Truths are revealed and emotions are raw both in Skylar's life and in her family.
Stephanie deals with tender situations with great ease and readers will be encouraged to reach out to God for answers to lifes questions. This is a great book to pass on to your favorite teen girl. You can be confident that there won't be anything offensive in it and that the story is one that will reinforce what you've been teaching at home.
For more information on this book click here.
To read an interview that my favorite YA author Jenny B Jones did with Stephanie click here.
This book was given to me to review by Revell~a division of Baker Publishing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher is an Amish love story set in Lancaster County, PA. Published by Revell and provided for review by Litfuse.

About the book:
One moment Carrie Weaver was looking forward to running away with Lancaster Barnstormers pitcher Solomon Reihl-plans that included leaving the Amish community where they grew up. The next moment she was staring into a future as broken as her heart. Now, Carrie is faced with a choice. But will this opportunity be all she hoped? Pr will this decision, this moment in time, change her life forever?

A tender story of love, forgiveness, and looking below the surface, The Choice uncovers the sweet simplicity of the Amish world-and shows that it's never too late to find your way back to God.

Meet the author:
Suzanne is a wife and mom, raiser of puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and an author of Christian books, both non-fiction and fiction.

Her relatives on my mother's side are Old Order German Baptist Brethren, also known as Dunkards. That's where her interest in Anabaptist traditions began. Suzanne's grandfather was born into a family of 13 children, started his career as a teacher in a one-room school house in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and ended it as one of the very first publishers ofChristianity Today. "We called him "Deardad" even though he was a very stern fellow. Still, Deardad's life inspired me to write."

After college, Suzanne was a freelance writer for magazines and became a contributing editor to Christian Parenting Today. Her work has been featured in Today's Christian Woman, Marriage Partnership, Worldwide Challenge, among others. She took the plunge into books a few years ago and now she's hooked. To learn more about Suzanne, visit her website here.

If you're on Facebook you'll want to visit this page for a fun contest, a live chat with the author, and a chance to win some great prizes (including Auntie Anne's Pretzels! <--mmmmm!)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Screen Play by Chris Coppernoll

Screen Play by Chris Coppernoll took me by surprise. The author notes in the back of the book that he wondered if writing from a woman's perspective (as a man) would be distracting. I have to honestly say that yes, it was, but only for the first 60 pages or so. After that I got caught up in the story and found myself relating to Harper and hoping that her hookup would be a winner.

Harper is thirty, living in New York as an actress (actually an understudy) in a Broadway play. She's recovering from a bad breakup and is hoping that life will give her more than it already has. Her roommate signs up for an online dating service and finds a match so Harper (while bored and lonely one night) takes the plunge. She meets a few interesting people. Who happen to be very far away.

Harper's new life in NYC quickly fills up with schedules, friends, work and the little church around the corner.

Chris Coppernoll does an excellent job of sharing his story. I loved the twists and turns that resulted in a beautiful surprise ending. One thing I took away from this story was the truth that Harper realized about our society. She'd made a new friend and had many heart-to-hearts with her but discovered a blog that her friend was writing and Harper noted that most of the private things that she learned about her were learned online...publicly.

Screen Play by Chris Coppernoll

David C Cook/January 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4347-6482-9/342 pages/softcover/$14.99

This book was provided for review by the B&B Media Group.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Long Way Home by Andrew Klavan

The Long Way Home by Andrew Klavan is the second installment in his Highlanders series for young adults. I wasn't fortunate to read the first but don't feel like I missed any part of the story by starting the series with the second book.

This book follows Charlie as he tries to put together the pieces of the year-he-can't-remember. It begins with a high speed chase in which Charlie attempts to get away from the bad guys and the good guys (the police!) and flee to a place of safety. Charlie gets help from unexpected places and reassurance that those he loves believe that he isn't guilty of murder. Charlie then begins his quest to seek the real answers. He follows hints that he found in newspaper articles and tracks down those he thinks may have the answers.

This was a fast-paced book that was one adventure right after another. Very enjoyable and sometimes nail-biting. Every young person who loves a good story will enjoy this one (and maybe their parents will too!)

This book is from Thomas Nelson and was provided for review as part of their BookSneeze program. (YUCK! I hate that sounds so germy and wet.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

You may remember Joshua Harris as the I Kissed Dating Goodybye guy. Several years have passed, he's now married, has a couple kids and is pastoring a church in Maryland. His latest book Dug Down Deep explores how he came to know what he believes and shows the reader his journey to Christian maturity with his own real-life examples and complete honesty. He shares with us about how he's messed up and what God thinks of us when we do find ourselves in sin.
I really enjoyed the chapter in which Joshua shares about Changed, Changing, To Be Changed and how our lives in Christ should be all three of those words. This is something that I've been considering a lot recently.
I also really enjoyed the chapter I Believe in the Holy Spirit and how Joshua tenderly teaches what the gift of speaking in tongues is and how it's used to edify and uplift.
This is an excellent book, one I'd recommend for both new Christians and for those who've grown stagnant in their walk.

Here's a summary of the book:

What will you build your life on?

With startling transparency, Joshua Harris shares how we can rediscover the relevance and power of Christian truth. This is book shows a young man who rose quickly to success in the Christian evangelical world before he realized his spirituality lacked a foundation—it rested more on tradition and morality than on an informed knowledge of God.

For the indifferent or spiritually numb, Harris's humorous and engaging reflections on Christian beliefs show that orthodoxy isn't just for scholars—it is for anyone who longs to know the living Jesus Christ. As Harris writes, "I've come to learn that theology matters. It matters not because we want to impress people, but because what we know about God shapes the way we think and live. Theology matters because if we get it wrong then our whole life will be wrong."

Whether you are just exploring Christianity or you are a veteran believer finding yourself overly familiar and cold-hearted, Dug Down Deep will help you rediscover the timeless truths of Scripture. As Harris challenges you to root your faith and feelings about God in the person, work, and words of Jesus, he answers questions such as:

What is God like and how does he speak to me?What difference does it make that Jesus was both human and divine?How does Jesus's death on the cross pay for my sins?Who is the Holy Spirit and how does he work in my life?
With grace and wisdom, Harris will inspire you to revel in the truth that has captured his own mind and heart. He will ask you to dig deep into a faith so solid you can build your life on it. He will point you to something to believe in again.

For more info or to purchase a copy of this book click here.

Joshua Harris is senior pastor of Covenant Life in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which belongs to the Sovereign Grace network of local churches. A passionate speaker with a gift for making theological truth easy to understand, Joshua is perhaps best known for his runaway bestseller, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which he wrote at the age of twenty-one. His later books include Boy Meets Girl, Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is), and Stop Dating the Church. The founder of the NEXT conferences for young adults, Joshua is committed to seeing the gospel transferred to a new generation of Christians. He and his wife, Shannon, have three children.

This book was provided by Waterbrook/Multnomah for review.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory

How appropriate that this book would show up in my mailbox while our church is participating in the Daniel Fast. Susan Gregory has long been known online as the Daniel Fast Lady and now she's written a book all about it. The Daniel Fast will feed your soul, strengthen your spirit and renew your body. If you've never fasted then this is the place to start. Susan's book gives background info on why the Daniel Fast started, how to do it, a 21 day meal plan to follow, recipes and also a 21 day devotional to use while doing the fast. Not only will this fast draw you closer to the Lord, but it will encourage healthy eating habits that you may want to incorporate into your daily routine.

Some of the recipes include: Dried Fruit & Almond Granola, Fruit & Vegetable smoothies, Daniel Fast Cabbage Rolls, Tuscan Villa Bean soup, Fresh corn salad....and there are a plethora of other ones!

This is a great little book that I wish had come out a few years ago when we did our first Daniel Fast. Susan is helping many people with this book and I know it will help you too!

Visit Susan online at Daniel Fast.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How To Reach Your Full Potential for God by Charles F Stanley

How to Reach Your Full Potential for God by Charles F. Stanley is a beautifully written step-by-step guide to show you just what the title says. It begins by reminding you that you are precious to God (as shown in scripture) and that He has much more for you than just the mundane of everyday life. Stanley tells us that our lives matter and that we have an impact on our world for either good or bad. If you'll follow the seven essential steps that he outlines and describes in full detail then you will be changed and you will know the impact that you can have for eternity and for God.
I love this book. I love it so much that I've taken a highlighter to it. Something I didn't even do with much gusto back in college. This book has brought tears to my eyes and an ache in my heart for those who are stuck in a rut or are just living life to get through it. God has so much more for you! I recommend this book to every Christian who wants more out of their life and more out of their walk with the Lord.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Male Factor

The Male Factor is the latest title offered by the brilliant Shaunti Feldhahn (author of several favorites of mine, including For Women Only and For Men Only). In this volume she presents to us how men think and react to women (and other men) in the workplace and how women are often misunderstood by men in their jobs. To understand this she explains to us the basics of how we are wired differently, of how our brains function differently. She explains that there is a difference between "business" and "personal" to men and how they are able to keep the two separate (while we as women tend to get the two emotionally intertwined).
This book shows how what we (women) do in the workplace is interpreted by men and how we can change our actions in order to be able to stand our own in a mans world.

Many talented women today risk undermining their careers without realizing it, simply because they don’t understand how they are perceived by their male colleagues and customers.
In The Male Factor, best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn reveals the inner reality behind men’s views — the unspoken expectations that no man would dare to publicly acknowledge, and no woman would learn from an HR department. These revelations include:

• Men’s unwritten ‘rules’ of the workplace
• How men perceive workplace emotion
• What common situations with female colleagues most frustrate men-- and why
• Why revealing clothing can sabotage a woman’s effectiveness
• Why some men think flextime is fine, but equal compensation for it is not

The Male Factor equips women with the information they need to make informed decisions and compete on a level playing field.

Shaunti Feldhahn is a nationally syndicated columnist and the bestselling author of For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men and For Men Only, which together sold one million copies. She holds a Master in Public Policy from Harvard, worked on Wall Street and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia. This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

For more info or to purchase this book click here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Sweet By and By

The Sweet By and By written by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this book. I didn't want to put this down and when forced to my mind kept wandering back to Jade and wondering what she was doing. Rachel Hauck has always been able to make her characters come to life but in this collaborate effort with country music star Sara Evans they are larger than life. Jade is preparing for her wedding with the man of her dreams. A man who she doesn't feel worthy of. Her broken relationship with her mother has reached its breaking point and it's fix-it-now-or-never time. Only when Jade faces her past and deals with the things she's kept in the secret corners of her heart will she be able to embrace the love that's been given to her and fully accept it. This is a powerful story of redemption. One that I will not soon forget.
This book was provided for me to review. It's published by Thomas Nelson. For more info on it or to purchase a copy for yourself click here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Reading list

A way for me to track the books I read. The ones I really enjoyed and highly recommend are in bold.


2. Vanished by Kathryn Mackel
3. Hannah Grace by Sharlene MacLaren
4. Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin
5. Stepping into Sunlight by Sharon Hinck
6. All I Have to Give by Melody Carlson
7. Maggie Rose by Sharlene MacLaren
8. Screen Play by Chris Coppernoll
10. The Long Way Home by Andrew Klavan
11. Any Minute by Joyce Meyer & Deborah Bedford
12. Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist
13. Deep In the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist
14. All Things Hidden by Tricia Goyer
15. Out With the In Crowd by Stephanie Morrill
16. June Bug by Chris Fabry

17. Thin Places by Mary E. DeMuth
18. Songbird Under A German Moon by Tricia Goyer
19. Intervention by Terri Blackstock
20. Let Them Eat Fruitcake by Melody Carlson
21. Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn
22. Double Trouble by Susan May Warren
23. Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge
25. Leaving Yesterday by Kathryn Cushman
26. Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner
27. Waters of Marah by Sylvia Bambola

28. Seeing Things by Patti Hill
29. How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler
30. What Your Son Isn't Telling You by Michael Ross & Susie Shellenberger
31. Deceived by James Scott Bell
32. Once In A Blue Moon by Leanna Ellis
33. Start Here by Alex & Brett Harris
34. Everyone Communicates Few Connect by John C. Maxwell
35. Tender Grace by Jackina Stark
36. The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
37. Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris
38. Abbie Ann by Sharlene MacLaren

39. Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze
40. What A Girl Wants by Kristin Billerbeck (re-read)
41. Greater Love by Robert Whitlow
42. Thicker Than Blood by C.J. Darlington
43. Real World Parents by Mark Matlock
44. Mistaken Identity by Don & Susie VanRyn and Newell, Colleen & Whitney Cerak
45. The Facts of Life by Lisa Whelchel
46. Beguiled by Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand
47. The Bridegrooms by Allison Pittman
48. Exposure by Brandilyn Collins
49. Friendship for Grownups by Lisa Whelchel
50. Heading Home by Renee Riva

51. The Right Call by Kathy Herman
52. Sing by Lisa T. Bergren
53. Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson
54. So Over my Head by Jenny B Jones
55. A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer
56. Back to Life by Kristin Billerbeck
57. The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews
58. Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky
59. The Last Christian by David Gregory
60. Scars and Stilettos by Harmony Dust
61. A Matter of Character by Robin Lee Hatcher

62. She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell
63. Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr
64. Life in Defiance by Mary E. DeMuth
65. Rain Song by Alice J Wisler
66. Stumbling Souls: Is Love Enough? by Chris Plekenpol
67. Broken by Travis Thrasher
68. Predator by Terri Blackstock
69. Ransomed Dreams by Sally John
70. Seeds of Summer by Deborah Vogts
71. All The Way Home by Ann Tatlock
72. The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen
73. Never Let You Go by Erin Healy

74. Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky
75. Watch Over Me by Christa Parrish
76. The Cure by Athol Dickson
77. Mosaic by Amy Grant (re-read)
78. How Do I Love Thee? by Nancy Moser
79. Lucky Baby by Meredith Efken
80. Claim by Lisa T. Bergren
81. True Religion by Palmer Chinchen, PhD
82. Latte Daze by Erynn Mangum
83. Love is a Flame by James Stuart Bell
84. Licensed for Trouble by Susan May Warren
85. A Simple Amish Christmas by Vannetta Chapman

86. Solitary by Travis Thrasher
87. The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca N. Alonzo
88. Touching the Clouds by Bonnie Leon
89. Forgotten by Melody Carlson
90. Hot by Laura L Smith
91. That's (Not Exactly) Amore by Tracey Bateman
92. Nightmare by Robin Parrish
93. Turning the Paige by Laura Jensen Walker
94. Priced to Move by Ginny Aiken
95. A Steal of a Deal by Ginny Aiken
96. A Cut Above by Ginny Aiken

97. Faithful by Kim Cash Tate
98. The Weight of Shadows by Alison Strobel
99. Anything But Normal by Melody Carlson
100. Exposed by Ashley Weis
101. Her Daughters Dream by Francine Rivers
102. Lonestar Secrets by Colleen Coble
103. So Over It by Stephanie Morrill
104. Masquerade by Nancy Moser
105. Deceit by Brandilyn Collins
106. The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund
107. In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer
108. Hazardous Duty by Christy Barritt

109. Love's First Bloom by Delia Parr
110. City On Our Knees by TobyMac
111. No Legal Grounds by James Scott Bell
112. Vanishing Act by Liz Johnson
113. The Road Home by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen
114. Lying on Sunday by Sharon K. Souza
115. Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry
116. A Shore Thing by Julie Carobini
117. The End is Now by Rob Stennett

118. Premiere by Melody Carlson
119. Catwalk by Melody Carlson
120. Rendezvous by Melody Carlson
121. Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck
122. Angry by Laura L Smith
123. Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce
124. Hatteras Girl by Alice J. Wisler
125. It's No Secret by Rachel Olsen
126. Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K Paul
127. Summer Snow by Nicole Baart
128. The Whole Truth by James Scott Bell
129. Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin
130. Things Worth Remembering by Jackina Stark
131. Under the Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark
132. Things Left Unspoken by Eva Marie Everson

133. It's Your Call by Gary Barkalow
134. The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman
135. Gone to Green by Judy Christie
136. Driftwood Lane by Denise Hunter
137. Miss Fortune by Sara Mills
138. Miss Match by Sara Mills
139. Double Shot by Erynn Mangum
140. Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer
142. Eve's Daughters by Lynn Austin
143. An Unlikely Blessing by Judy Baer
144. Love on Assignment by Cara Lynn James