Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gold Stash For Cash

If you haven't figured out by now, we're BIG fans of Dave Ramsey. His book The Total Money Makeover is the only book, besides the Bible, that I consider to be truly life changing. If you've followed me online over the past few years you know that we even sold our house and moved into an itty bitty parsonage to get "Gazelle Intense".

Dave has several companies that he endorses on his website. One of which is Gold Stash For Cash. And after I checked it out I sent away for the FREE mailing envelope. I rooted through my jewelry box and came up with some broken gold earrings and a couple other odds and ends. Stuck them all in said envelope and mailed them off (postage paid!). About a week later I received everything back -except for the broken earrings- with the following letter:
Apparently the broken earrings were the only real gold stuff I'd sent off! I also received a check for the broken earrings:

And they even paid to ship it all to me!
This is a great company and I look forward to working with them again. If you have and odds and ends gold sitting around then you need to contact them for a free mailing envelope of your own.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Double Trouble by Susan May Warren

This book was provided for review by Litfuse.
Double Trouble by Susan May Warren is the second book in the PJ Sugar series. I have to admit that I liked this one a whole lot more than the first one. This book follows PJ on her way to becoming a P.I. and through all new adventures, including being a stand-in for a key witness of a murder investigation and deciphering her feelings for the man she's always thought she was destined to be with (the one whose name is tattooed on her arm!) and the other guy whose subtle advances are toying with her emotions.
Susan May Warren never disappoints and this book is the fun ride that you've been waiting for. Will we finally know what the PJ stands for? You'll have to read for yourself for the answer to that one.
About the book:
With one solved case under her belt, PJ Sugar is ready to dive into her career as a private investigator. Or at least a PI's assistant until she can prove herself to Jeremy Kane, her new boss. Suddenly PJ's seeing crime everywhere. But is it just in her head, or can she trust her instincts? When she takes on her first official case-house-sitting for a witness in protective custody-Jeremy assures her there's no danger involved. But it soon becomes clear that there is someone after the witness . . . and now they're after PJ, too.
About the author:
Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she's also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year. Her larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women's events and retreats speaker, she's a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer's workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you! She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found here.

Interested in the first book?
Nothing But Trouble Book 1 of the PJ Sugar Series PJ Sugar knows three things for sure: After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that's become her life, she needs a fresh start. The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister's wedding is Boone-her former flame and the reason she left town. Her best friend's husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg, Minnesota, has seen in more than a decade. What PJ doesn't know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she'll uncover much more than she bargained for-a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she's been longing for.

Value Fiction for Spring!

It's not quite warm yet where I live. Okay, so it's supposed to snow, rain, sleet and give us some freezing rain today, but most people around here are SO ready for spring. Not me, I love winter. To help get through the short days or to make spring break go by quickly, Waterbrook Multnomah has come out with some value titles (most re-released by top selling authors with updated looks).

Some of the books offered are:

Beneath a Southern Sky

by Deborah Raney – Daria Camfield is expecting her first child when her husband Nate is reported dead on the mission field. Devastated, she returns to the States and soon marries again. But two years later Nate is found alive in the jungle. How can Daria possibly choose between he two men who love her?

The Golden Cross

by Angela Elwell Hunt – Aidan O’Connor may be a poor barmaid but she’s also a gifted artists. When a famous cartographer takes her on as a student, Aidan is swept into an adventure that will bring her back to her heavenly Father, and into marriage with the love of her life.

Deep Harbor

by Lisa Tawn Bergren – Tora, Elsa, Kaatje, and Karl face trouble, tragedy, and treachery across the Wast, Hawaii, Japan, and the high seas. These four immigrants from Bergen, Norway, each grow closer to God and learn afresh the value of faith, family, and coming alongside each other in times of need.

Faithful Heart

by Al and Joanna Lacy – The adventures of certified medical nurse and dedicated Christian Breanna Baylor continue as she travels by wagon train to visit her sister, Dottie, in California. Little does she know that her most dangerous encounter might be with Jerrod, her brother-in-law, who’s suffering from dementia caused by combat fatigue.

Waterbrook Multnomah provided me with the following two books to review.

Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn was initially released in 1995. Christian fiction has come a long way since then and this book reminded me of that fact. Melo-dramatic and sweet, this story probably wouldn't fly as a new book in todays market, but it was great when it was first printed. I'm a huge fan of Robin's Sisterchicks series and loved seeing how much this author has grown since this particular book was written. If you're looking for an easy to read book then this might be perfect for you.

This book follows Jessica as she moves to a new town. Upon arrival she has a car accident and is rescued by a firefighter who takes care of getting her the help she needs. Jessica begins her new life with a new name, new job and new quest to keep her past hidden. Her secrets begin to eat at her as she falls for the firefighter who has secrets, it seems, of his own. Jessica's new boss is unbelievably pushy and vindictive and Jessica's new friend is on a mission to get Jessica saved. It all ends up neatly tied together with a little too much drama (and a lot of preaching).

Yesterday's Promise by Linda Lee Chaikin is the other book I received to review. It's the second in her East of the Sun series. Truthfully, I couldn't get into this book at all. It may be something that you'd like however.

About the book:
He fought to seek his fortune.
Would he lose a greater treasure: the love he left behind?

As the son of the squire of Grimston Way, aristocrat Rogan Chantry has fought hard to win his independence from Sir Julien Bley and the British South Africa Company. Now, his pursuit of a mysterious deposit of gold, marked on a map willed to him by his murdered uncle, Henry Chantry, is challenged by a new complication: the impending British colonization of South Africa. Can Sir Rogan find the gold in the midst of escalating tensions among the native tribesmen, the missionaries sent to win them, and the new colonists?

Meanwhile, Evy Varley, the woman Rogan loves back in England, is headed for a brave yet dangerous confrontation with Henry’s killer–but at what price? With so much against Rogan and Evy, a reunion seems improbable, if not impossible. Can yesterday’s promise hold them faithful to the hope of future freedom and a victorious love?

About the Author:
Linda Lee Chaikin has written numerous best-selling and award-winning books and series, including the Silk series (Heart of India Trilogy), A Day to Remember series, The Empire Builders, Royal Pavilion Trilogy, Arabian Winds Trilogy, The Buccaneers Trilogy, and For Whom the Stars Shine, a finalist for the prestigious Christy Award. Chaikin also is the author of Tomorrow’s Treasure, book one in the East of the Sun series. She and her husband make their home in Northern California.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen Insight Edition

This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishers.

Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility Insight Edition is a beautifully packaged version of the beloved novel like never seen before. It's full of side notes which explain what different words mean and also gives history of the phrases used. This book also contains trivia relating to other works of Miss Austen. There's also a question section in the back of the book where you can dig a little deeper into your own personal experience with Sense and Sensibility.

Us by Daniel L Tocchini

Surprise yourself with how great your marriage can be. Us by Daniel L Tocchini is an inspirational marriage book that draws on Daniel's own experiences and also those of several of his friends. It's a practical guide to help you draw closer to your spouse and it draws on scripture to back it up. Small and easy to read, this book is prevention for divorce! If you've ever thought about throwing in the towel then I beg of you, read this book first. It may save your marriage.

About the book:

Us, a new book by Daniel Tocchini, isn’t about improving marriages. It’s about transforming them. Drawing on personal experience and stories from couples he has coached, Tocchini offers practical guidance to move couples beyond communication tricks and gimmicks to help them truly understand "Us" for the first time—talking honestly, listening generously, tackling tricky issues, breaking out of ruts, and abandoning self-centered “consumer thinking.” The good news, according to Tocchini, is that personalities don’t need to change in order for marriage to work. What needs to change is how we view ourselves, our spouses, and our marriages.

Innovative, insightful and thoroughly biblical, Tocchini’s approach has helped thousands in his popular seminars. Whether a marriage is in deep trouble or just coasting along, it's time for Christian couples to read the User's Guide that God intended.

In this intensely practical, innovative guide, marriage coach Daniel Tocchini invites you to open your marriage to transformation by learning to:

· Expect less—and infinitely more—of your life partner and yourself

· Actually talk to each other instead of making assumptions (and accusations)

· Break free of those recurring, unresolved arguments

· Manage the impact of difficult (but necessary) conversations on your relationship

· Defuse conflict without sweeping it under a rug

· Open the broken places in your marriage (the ones you hesitate even to talk about) to God’s kind of reconciliation

Tocchini explains, “This is a transformational approach to breaking through the barriers and getting out of the ruts in our marriage by paying attention to our conversation—what we are thinking, our motivation for thinking it, and the impact it has on our spouse.”

About the author:
Daniel L. Tocchini has worked with more than 5,000 couples through personal marriage coaching and the unique and life-changing marriage seminars offered through his organization, the Association for Christian Character Development. An ordained minister, chaplain, author, and highly successful speaker/coach, he lives with his family in California.

This book was provided for review by The B&B Media Group

Available now from David C Cook.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes by Lisa McKay

This book was provided for review by The B&B Media Group

You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes by Lisa McKay is the most practical book on ministry for pastors wives and about pastors wives that I've come across in my 18 years of being a PW. I can't tell you how much I recommend this book for other ministry wives (and even for laypeople who think they have ministry life all figured out <---you don't, by the way. You have no idea.) Lisa mentions several times in her book that she blogs and she shares stories from other PW's as well. The book is full of her observations of church life, how she keeps her family first, how she keeps her mouth shut when people are jumping all over her husband,

-sidenote here- I've always found it interesting that people think they can talk to us any way they choose to, complaining about this and that (about us, our husbands, our kids...even our clothes!) and yet if we dared speak to them the way they talk to us! Keep the mouth shut, Suzanne. *sigh* -okay, rant done (although remind me to tell my Easter dress story!)-

how to know who to befriend in the church and who to keep at a friendly distance (yes, it's always the ones who immediately want to be your BFF who will come back to haunt you). She discusses the "honeymoon period" of church ministry, how the church can hurt and even how to say "NO" when you need to.

I'm telling you, this book has it all. It's perfect for the poor little disillusioned PW and also for the seasoned PW who has a backbone.

I love, love LOVE it and can't wait to read it all over again. THANK YOU Lisa for saying everything I ever wanted to say!

About the book:
When most women think of a “pastor’s wife,” certain images come to mind: either a woman who is so holy she doesn’t seem human or someone sentenced to a life without fun, fashion, or friends. The sad truth is that pastor’s wives often walk a lonely road littered with impossible expectations and inconceivable identity crises. They’re the object of hallway conversations and sermon illustrations, but they rarely have the opportunity to be fully and freely transparent and unique.

Lisa McKay’s You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes is an utterly honest, charmingly witty, and biblically insightful guide for every minister’s wife who wants to serve the church and support her husband¾without losing herself along the way. You will feel an instant sisterhood with Lisa, a senior pastor’s wife happily serving in the trenches. She understands the challenges of a life lived before a congregation, from finding friends and coping with criticism to saying goodbye and starting all over again.

Through Lisa’s engaging style and fresh perspective, you’ll be encouraged to fully embrace being “married to the ministry”! In this book you’ll find answers to questions like:
How can I effectively support my husband?
What are my responsibilities within the church?
Will ministry destroy my family?
Am I doomed to a life of solitude?

The questions haven’t changed much over the years but the answers certainly have. Twenty-first century technology has introduced avenues to connect ministry wives in ways never before possible. Among other things, You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes demonstrates how to use online connectivity as a lifeline when isolation threatens to take over.

You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes is a must-have guide for every woman who wants to do the ministry wife “thing” well. Dealing with relationships between ministry wives, ministry families, and church congregations can be rewarding, confusing, and painful. With that in mind, Lisa uncovers insights from pastor’s wives and lay people as to how we can serve one another and Christ with faithfulness and humility.

David C Cook and Lifeway are partnering for a contest to honor pastor’s wives. Readers are invited to nominate their favorite pastor’s wife and tell why she should win the “You Deserve to Pamper Yourself” grand prize. For details, visit,

For more info click here.

Good Game by Shirl James Hoffman

This is a big book. 300+ pages. And one that I could not get into at all. Maybe it's because it's all about sports and the words "favorite sport" have always been an oxymoron for me. I'll post a summary of it and probably pass it on to a guy who likes the games. And I know one guy who likes the games. All of the games...

Dallas/ Ft. Worth, TX—Like most Americans, Christians love sports. They love team rivalries, the sports analogy/ sermon illustration, the thrill of playing, Christian celebrity athletes and even the church-hosted Super Bowl party complete with a five-minute half-time devotional. These are sacred institutions in Christian life; their prominence is seldom questioned. Yet, since 77 percent of evangelicals believe that the mass media is “hostile to their moral and spiritual values,” one wonders why evangelicals haven’t also sensed that hostility in media-bloated competitive sport contests. Christians frequently voice criticism about violence in video games, but violence in sports such as football and hockey, which involves their children more intimately and dangerously, is rarely examined.

Author Shirl Hoffman, Ed. D, believes it’s time for Christians to ask the hard questions. “The institution of sport has been so intricately woven into the fabric of our culture, and thus into the Christian culture, that criticism of sport or suggestions that sports be given a closer look often are viewed as cranky complaints by prigs who don’t know good fun when they see it,” Hoffman says. “The person who dares to ask whether the competitive ethic as celebrated in modern sports might conflict in important ways with the Christian worldview risks being labeled a ‘sport hater.’” In his new book, Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sports, Hoffman draws attention to both the pitfalls and the spiritual opportunities missed by the carte blanche acceptance of current sports culture by Christians, particularly evangelicals.

The main factor driving the church’s unwillingness to cast a critical eye on the culture of sports is the rise of what sports writer Frank Deford called “sportianity,” a concoction of triumphal evangelism blended with worldly Darwinian competition and crafted to appeal to those for whom a love of athletics frames their lives. This folk theology combines locker room slogans, Old Testament allusions to religious wars, athletically slanted doctrines of assertiveness and sacrifice and a cult of masculinity, backed up by cherry-picked Bible verses pre-screened to ensure they don’t conflict with sport’s reigning orthodoxies. The fundamentals of “sportianity” have been rationalized, systematized and vigorously promoted by sport-evangelism organizations, coaches at every level, ministers, laypeople and the religious press. In fact, there are few alternative systems of thinking about sports and faith in the evangelical community—until now.

Hoffman is an internationally recognized authority in the fields of kinesiology, physical education and the relationship between faith and sports. He has taught at every level of education, coached college basketball and was a gifted high school and college athlete. As he penned Good Game, Hoffman knew his slaying of several sacred cows would likely draw the animosity of some readers. He challenges Christians to thoughtfully consider topics like:
· The Killer Instinct—what is the true cost of competition?
· Building and Sacking the Temple—why Christians should avoid violent sports…including football!
· Sport and the Sub-Christian Values—do competitive sports really develop character?
· Touchdowns and Slam Dunks for Jesus—how sports evangelism alters the gospel
· Prayers Out of Bounds—why the athletic field is not the place for prayer

Hoffman contends that in popular sports, Christians have created a kind of sanctuary for themselves in which they are not expected to think or act like Christians, as if both athletes and spectators enjoy a special exemption from the fundamental teaching of Jesus (i.e. love your enemies, the first shall be last, etc.). As a body of believers, the church has failed to think about sports analytically. Good Game presents a compelling case to that end, incorporating research many would like to ignore and example after convincing example lifted straight from the sports page. Unless Christians in the athletic and academic communities develop a healthy curiosity about the relationship of sports to faith, they are likely to continue bouncing between two different worlds framed by two different worldviews: the sincere, daily effort to become like Christ and the cut-throat competition of game day.

Q&A with author Shirl Hoffman:

Q: You borrow a term, “sportianity,” from Sports Illustrated writer Frank Deford to describe the unique theology that characterizes American evangelical notions of faith and sport. What is “sportianity,” and how has it affected the evangelical community?

A: “Sportianity” is a concoction of triumphal evangelism blended with worldly Darwinian competition and crafted to appeal to those for whom a love of athletics frames their lives. It combines locker room slogans, Old Testament allusions to religious wars, athletically slanted doctrines of assertiveness and sacrifice and a cult of masculinity, backed up by cherry-picked Bible verses pre-screened to ensure they don’t conflict with sport’s reigning orthodoxies. The fundamentals of “sportianity” have been rationalized, systematized and vigorously promulgated by sport-evangelism organizations. It is taught with remarkable consistency to high school, college and professional athletes. “Sportianity” also explains the meaning of sports to thousands of ministers, laypeople and the religious press. In fact, there are few alternative systems of thinking about sports and faith in the evangelical community.

Q: In the chapter entitled “Killer Instinct,” you examine the aspect of competition in sports. Why should Christians be concerned about the competitive drive?

A: I’m not going to scuttle competition. It’s a necessary aspect to most games. But the truth is that it fractures social relationships. A lot of Christians still believe we want to get involved in sports because it shapes our Christian character. This idea is certainly trumpeted by sports evangelism organizations. But research in this area has shown that those assumptions are baseless. It’s easy to say that sports develops honesty, community, etc., but competition tends to bring out the worst in people—the players, the fans, everyone. Think about it this way: without the pressure to beat the other team, would there be corruption in college athletic departments?

Q: One of the most eyebrow-raising topics you address in the book is what you call “building and sacking the temple,” or the damaging of the body for the sake of sport. Why do you encourage Christians to avoid violent sports—particularly football?

A: It is impossible to overstate football’s assault on the dignity of the human body. Of the 62,000 injuries suffered in high school sports each year, 68 percent come from playing or practicing football. Brain injuries in college and especially professional football are becoming a national calamity. The real seriousness of these injuries is muted by athletic jargon. One doesn’t bruise one’s brain, one “get’s one’s bell rung”; an athlete’s cerebral cortex isn’t traumatized, he or she “gets dinged.” If one dominant theme has emerged from centuries of Christian commentary on sports, it is an utter intolerance for sports that are harmful to the body. Somewhere in the devolution of evangelical ideas about sport, however, the theme was scuttled. When sports were taken under the wing of the church around the turn of the century, sport violence became rationalized in evangelical circles. The prevalence of athletic injury has worn calluses on the Christian conscience. It is hardly coincidental that evangelicals who can’t imagine a life without sports entertainment find it difficult to imagine that sports injuries have moral and theological implications. Today, on the rare occasions when evangelicals raise questions about the harm sports do to the body (the “temple”), they do so in an almost backhanded, apologetic way, as though the critic fears being drummed out of the manly club of sportsmen. Yet dishonoring the body in a football stadium in front of thousands isn’t all that different from dishonoring it in an inner-city “shooting gallery,” save for the fact that society applauds the former violent competition and outlaws the latter. In both instances, the masterpiece of creation is offered in cheap trade for the promise of a few moments of excitement.

Q: Many readers will be shocked at your contention that the athletic field is not the place for prayer—particularly public prayer. While this has certainly been the stance of atheist groups, why should Christians consider this perspective, as well?

A: I think it’s important for Christians to consider what motivates coaches, players and fans to pray in the athletic arena and to consider what those prayers actually accomplish. When the Supreme Court handed down its decision banning invocations at public high school football games, nationwide protests erupted. In truth, many of these invocations had been marginally sectarian at best, severely hedged by sensitivities to religiously pluralistic audiences intended to solemnize the event and promote good citizenship. Many coaches insist that having the team “take a knee” before the game is highly effective for creating a feeling of team unity. But is either of these things fulfilling the true purpose of prayer? Prayers offered in the foxhole-like atmosphere of the locker room can fade seamlessly into the coach’s pep talk. These artful and dramatic prayers in the locker room, clearly designed to manipulate the emotions of players and elevate competitive intensity, are difficult to take seriously. They seem crass and opportunistic. The disconnect between the way many coaches wax religious in the locker room and the short shrift given to religion in their private lives led former Michigan State University football coach Duffy Daugherty to suggest that “all those coaches who require pre-game prayers by their players ought to be made to go to church once each week.”

At the heart of this issue is the feeling among Christians that God is as interested in popular sports as we are and that He takes a direct hand in determining the winner. But even some of the most respected Christian coaches and players have expressed misgivings about this idea and the rise in on-field prayer gestures by individual players acknowledging God for helping them win. Tom Landry once said, “I’m afraid these little ‘God helped me score a touchdown’ and ‘God helps me be a winner’ testimonials mislead people and belittle God.”

Q: High profile evangelical sports personalities such as Tony Dungy have captured the attention of millions and have used their platform to draw attention to God. Why do you suggest that evangelicals may not be well served by the current enthusiasm for sports evangelism?

A: As sport has become more popular, so has sport evangelism. To evangelists, it’s a simple matter of mathematics. The Southern Baptist Convention bases its ambitious sports evangelism program on the dubious assumption that “96% of the population is linked to sports in some way.” But as philosopher-theologian Jacques Ellul has pointed out, Christianity absorbs culture like a sponge, and precisely how much of culture it can absorb without changing itself is a question rarely asked by those at the heart of the sport evangelism movement. To communicate their faith in an unsympathetic culture without contorting the message itself, most sport evangelism organizations have treated the message like a product to be advertised. Heeding textbook advertising strategy, sport evangelism has become focused on “parachurch” groups that, freed of churchly and denominational entanglements, are able to tweak the gospel to the latest tastes, images and jargon of their target audiences. Whether it’s the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Christian Anglers Association or the National Christian Barrel Racers Association, each group gives the gospel a unique twist that makes it more palatable to unbelievers. Can we create that many different “user friendly” versions of the gospel without damaging the integrity of the message?

The celebrity gospel spokesmen of professional athletics come with their own set of challenges. Refreshing though the public witnesses of sincere men like Tony Dungy may be, they are mere whispers in the cacophony of the more beguiling voices of big-time sport spectacles that herald muddled views of goodness, truth, beauty and the glories of self-determinacy, self-assertion and self-absorption. The usefulness of sport celebrities to the evangelical cause can quickly plummet when they stub a spiritual toe (i.e. soliciting a prostitute, fathering a child out of wedlock), something that has been a continuing problem for the sport evangelism movement. Simply put, an advertising pitch for the gospel constructed on the backs of celebrities—whether musicians, television preachers or athletes—will always be as vulnerable as those whose image is used to proclaim it.

You can purchase a copy of this book here.

This book was provided for review by The B&B Media Group

Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner

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

If you’ve ever had the opening bars of a song transport you back in time or remind you of a pivotal spiritual moment, Matthew Paul Turner’s honest—and frequently hilarious—musings will strike a chord. Straightforward and amusing, Hear No Evil is Turner’s “life soundtrack,” a compilation of engaging personal stories about how music—and music’s ability to transform—has played a key role in his spiritual life. Groove along on his journey as young evangelical Turner attends forbidden contemporary Christian concerts, moves to “Music City” Nashville, and dreams of becoming the Michael Jackson of Christian music. Cosmic and compelling, keen and funny, every page is a new encounter with the people, places, and experiences that have taught the music-editor-turned-author some new things about God, forced him out of his comfort zone, and introduced him to a fresh view of grace along the way.
A collection of wise, compelling, and often uproariously funny essays built around the experience of music as a transformational element in a moment of truth, Hear No Evil mines Matthew Paul Turner’s humorous memories of his evangelical youth and invites readers to groove along on his journey. From attending forbidden contemporary Christian concerts to moving to “Music City” Nashville, Hear No Evil chronicles Turner’s “life soundtrack” which morphs seamlessly into the stories of people, places, and experiences that have taught the music-editor-turned-author some new things about God, forced him out of his comfort zone, and introduced him to a fresh view of grace along the way.
Straight forward and amusing, Hear No Evil is an exploration of a life of faith lived to a personal soundtrack.
Matthew Paul Turner is a blogger, speaker, and author of Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess, The Christian Culture Survival Guide, and several other popular books. After a childhood in rural Maryland, Turner attended Nashville’s Belmont University, where he received a BBA in music business, and was the editor of CCM magazine before leaving to pursue writing as a career. Turner has written for Relevant, HomeLife, Christian Single, and other magazines. He and his wife, Jessica, have one son, and live in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit his website.
To learn more or purchase this book visit Random House.

Monday, February 15, 2010

All Things Hidden by Tricia Goyer

Guideposts has long been known as a leader in fiction that you can trust. They have several series of novels out and this book, All Things Hidden, is the latest in their Home to Heather Creek series. I've not read the previous seventeen books but was able to jump right into the lives of Charlotte and her family right where this story takes place. Tricia Goyer writes a sweet story with a little mystery, some teenage angst, a little romance and some suspense. While this isn't a book to keep you awake at night it is one to curl up with after a long day and lose yourself in the quiet town of Heather Creek. I really enjoyed the story line of the teenagers and how Tricia showed that sometimes people are the way they are because of their past and how they've been treated by family members.
This book was provided for review by litFUSE.
About the book:
The past is brought to light... Charlotte is cleaning out the basement of Bedford Community Church when she comes across a tattered and yellowed newspaper article. The clipping, published more than a century ago, implicates her great-great-grandfather in the loss of funds intended to help finish building the church. Charlotte has heard stories about the incident through the years, but now it seems the past has come back to haunt her. Is it just her imagination or are people treating her differently now that they think she's descended from a crook? Will Charlotte be able to clear her family's name once and for all? Meanwhile, Sam is spending time with a new girl in town-and is keeping secrets from his grandparents about where they go. Christopher is trying to get an article published in the local paper, and Emily reluctantly partners with a foreign exchange student on a class project and eventually comes to see that they're not that different after all. As old secrets are brought to light, the whole family is reminded that the truth is often more complicated than it seems. Come home to Heather Creek. Get to know Charlotte Stevenson, who is raising her grandchildren on the family farm after a tragic accident changes all of their lives forever. With the help of her husband Bob and a close-knit circle of friends, she will do whatever it takes to keep this fragile family together. See how God, who makes the sun rise and the crops grow, watches over our lives too.
About the author:
Tricia Goyer is the author of eighteen books of fiction and nonfiction, including Generation NeXt Parenting and the Gold Medallion finalist Life Interrupted. Goyer writes for publications such as Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family, speaks to women's groups nationwide, and has been a presenter at the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) national convention. She and her husband, John, live with their family in Montana. Find out more about Tricia here.
About the Guideposts Home to Heather Creek series:
Charlotte Stevenson's world is turned upside down when her daughter, Denise, dies in a tragic car accident. She ran away at eighteen and Charlotte has never forgiven herself. Now, Denise's children, abandoned by their father, are coming from California to live on Heather Creek Farm in Bedford, Nebraska.
If you'd like more information on this or any of the other Guidepost series you can call their customer service number at 1-800-431-2344.

There's a contest for this book in which you can win the series (books 1-18). If you use Twitter then tweet this: Read #AllThingsHidden by @triciagoyer! RT for a chance to win all 18 books in the Home to Heather Creek series!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love & War by John and Stasi Eldredge

Love & War by John and Staci Eldredge is probably the best marriage book I've ever read. If you are married then you need to read this book. If you're ever thinking of getting married then buy a copy now and keep it for later.

Love & War paints a true picture of what marriage is really like. It points out that even the strongest marriages have hard times and that marriage in itself is hard work. It goes against everything that is natural for a human to do. Marriage involves putting someone else's needs above your own.

Some of my favorite lines from this book were:
"Marriage is hard. It's hard because it's opposed. The devil hates marriage; he hates this beautiful picture of Jesus and His bride that it represents.....The world hates marriage. It hates unity and faithfulness and monogamy." (pg 38)

"There are two kinds of people in this world--the clueless and the repentant." (pg 55)

"I hate Valentine's Day. There, I said it." (pg 57-beginning of Chapter 4)

"The secret of happiness is this: God is the love you are longing for." (pg 70)

I'm telling you, this is a great book. It would make a perfect wedding gift.

If you've toyed with the idea of divorce BUY THIS BOOK.

Here's a summary of the book:
What the Eldredge bestsellers Wild at Heart did for men, and Captivating did for women, LOVE & WAR will do for married couples everywhere. John and Stasi Eldredge have contributed the quintessential works on Christian spirituality through the experience of men and the experience of women and now they turn their focus to the incredible dynamic between those two forces.

With refreshing openness that will grab readers from the first page, the Eldredges candidly discuss their own marriage and the insights they’ve gained from the challenges they faced. Each talks independently to the reader about what they’ve learned, giving their guidance personal immediacy and a balance between the male and female perspectives that has been absent from all previous books on this topic. They begin LOVE & WAR with an obvious but necessary acknowledgement: Marriage is fabulously hard. They advise that the sooner we get the shame and confusion off our backs, the sooner we'll find our way through.

LOVE & WAR shows couples how to fight for their love and happiness, calling men and women to step into the great adventure God has waiting for them together. Walking alongside John and Stasi Eldredge, every couple can discover how their individual journeys are growing into a story of meaning much greater than anything they could do or be on their own.

For more info or to purchase a copy click here.

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Angels by David Jeremiah

My husband agreed to be a guest reviewer for this book. Here's his take on it:

With so many thoughts and ideas being thrown around about who and what angels are and look like, it was great to come across a book that gives an in-depth biblical accounting of angels. Dr. David Jeremiah’s book Angels, seeks to establish truth on the matter using the Bible and the thoughts of theologians as his defense.

For believers who struggle to scripturally answer questions of angels when raised by friends and family, or for those who think that we all become angels when we die, Angels is essential reading. Even if there are just a few nagging questions that linger in the back of your mind concerning your understanding of angels, Jeremiah will help you to root yourself in God’s Word so that you’ll no longer be caught up in the confusion about angel's.

The book begins with a quick tour of angels in the Bible—showing us that human beings are not to worship angels, but merely to acknowledge them as servants of the Living God. Jeremiah says more angels do not appear to humans because it is unnecessary and human beings have a tendency to worship the angels as the Apostle John did twice while an angel was sharing visions with him—visions that would become the book of Revelation. Stamping out myth after modern myth, Jeremiah repeats his main points often.

Jeremiah’s arguments and his assertions about angels are well-defended with Scripture. Angels digs deep into the Bible to collect the truth about angels. Many of the oft asked questions concerning angels are answered with scriptural references. Dr. Jeremiah's book is certain to clear up some if not most of the questions you might have concerning the subject of angels; his gathering of relevant verses and survey of the Bible has proven to be both reassuring and revealing.

Dr. Jeremiah's clear and simple teaching remains focused on God’s glory, and that of His Son, eschewing any adoration or fascination with angels for their own sake apart from their Creator. Angels has become a part of my pastoral library one I am sure that I will reference often.

About the book:

What are angels? What is their role in God’s plan? Are they present? Do they appear? Do they give us personal insight about our work, our worship?

Many contemporary beliefs about angels are based on misconception and myth. Dr. David Jeremiah uses scripture to unveil the remarkable truth about these agents of heaven, and their role and work in our world—and lives.

More than 60,000 units of this powerful book have sold in two past editions. This repackage of the original 1996 paperback will surely capture the attention of readers of all ages who seek a broad and thorough survey of scripture that clearly separates fact from fiction as it relates to angels. The book will appeal to the thousands who follow Dr. Jeremiah’s books, and radio and TV broadcasts.

Relevant, little known biblical facts help readers sharpen their knowledge and sensitivities toward the spiritual reality of angels. Dr. Jeremiah’s enlightening findings are supported with illustrations and insights from Billy Graham, Corrie ten Boom, C.S. Lewis, and more.

About the author:

Dr. David Jeremiah is senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in San Diego, and founder of Turning Point Radio and TV Ministries. His radio program is carried on over 2,500 stations worldwide, while the TV broadcast is received by 500 million homes via cable and satellite. The recipient of numerous awards for broadcast excellence, his books have garnered Gold Medallion awards and become bestsellers with The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the New York Times. He is a sought-after conference speaker by organizations nationwide.

Click here for more info or to purchase this book.

*Ruth is the winner of this book. Thanks for entering, Ruth!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Revolve 2010 The Complete New Testament

Our family has been fans of both Revolve and Refuel for several years now. Revolve 2010 has just been released and it's wonderful! This new, updated Bible-zine is from Thomas Nelson and is in the New Century Version (making it fun and interesting to teen girls). This years edition is full of not only God's word, but free song downloads, fashion advice, dating advice, celebrity interviews and even fun quizzes. I can't tell you enough about how this line of Bibles has impacted our home. I wish they'd had these when I was younger.

For more information on this line or to purchase a copy of Revolve 2010 click here.
This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson as part of their booksneeze program (still hate that name....what were they thinking? It's almost as bad as Apple's new iPad...ugh)

Thin Places by Mary E. DeMuth

Imagine the worst possible things that a little girl could experience. Imagine grief, confusion, anger and fear. Then awaken to all of it and find healing, peace, freedom and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. This is the story of Mary E. DeMuth as written in her memoir Thin Places.

Most of this book made me ache for the innocence that was stolen from her as a child and ache even more knowing that this heartache is going on all around us in the lives of numerous silent children. Mary reveals her dark secrets in the hopes that her experiences will help others deal with their tragedies and hopefully find Jesus, as she did.

Very deep and sometimes so sad that I had to turn away to digest what I was reading. It reminds me of the evil in the world and the hope that we all find in Christ. I thank God that He continues to heal Mary and I pray that others find hope and healing in the pages of her book. Thank you Mary for the courage to write what may be a lifeline to others.

This book was given to me by the author to review. You can find it here. For more information about Mary visit her website.