Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Heading Home by Renee Riva

Heading Home by Renee Riva is the third in a series. I didn't read the first two in the series but was easily able to fall into the story without feeling lost. Renee's writing is lighthearted, her characters warm and funny. I loved watching A.J. try to figure out whether she should become a nun or not. Nice book with a real glimpse into life as it was in the 1970s.

About the book:

“Eight years is a long time—from saying good-bye as kids to saying hello as adults.” This is the first thought to cross A.J. Digulio’s mind after leaving Italy and returning to the home of her heart, Indian Island, Idaho. When she gets her first glimpse of her childhood friend Danny, A.J. knows immediately that much has changed in her absence. Renee Riva’s latest release,Heading Home, draws her readers into the heart of the Digulio family as A.J. discovers that one of the key elements of a lifelong relationship is a love that will anchor your heart and draw you toward home.

Angelina Digulio’s heart has been tenderly tied to Indian Island through a series of letters that Danny has written on behalf of her dog, Sailor, throughout her eight years in Italy. Although the initial reunion with Danny is sweet, at the ages of eighteen and twenty-two, it isn’t long before Danny and A.J. realize that the future of their hearts and the reality of their plans could very possibly take them in very different directions. While Danny explores the possibility of creating a series of summer camps for church groups and introducing a new Indian princess to the island, A.J. begins spending time with the nuns at Our Lady of the Lake in an attempt to fulfill a promise she made to God several years ago. What neither of them realize is that their dreams for the future are more entwined than they could ever believe possible.

Fans of Renee Riva’s Indian Island trilogy will be delighted to be reunited with the colorful cast of characters from the two previous books, Saving Sailor and Taking Tuscany. As Heading Home progresses, all three branches of the extended families collide—Southern, Italian and Greek!—to create a story that will linger tenderly in your heart for a very long time! There are many tense moments as Danny and A.J. sort through their feelings, and there are many holy moments as each of them come before God with their burdens and trust Him with their future. Hilarity also abounds in this story, especially when the Italian and Greek grandmothers come together!

Heading Home is a story about the very best of what it means to be family. This is a story about beautiful beginnings and happy endings! Fans of Renee Riva will add special memories to their reading collection with the final volume of the Indian Island Trilogy.

About the author:

Renee Riva has been writing humorous stories ever since she won her first writing contest in second grade. A former greeting card verse writer and popular speaker, Renee is the author of Saving Sailor, Taking Tuscany and two children's books. She and her husband reside in Washington State with their three daughters and a menagerie of pets.

Visit Renee at her website.

This book was provided for review by the B&B Media Company. You can purchase it from David C Cook.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friendship for Grown-Ups by Lisa Whelchel

This book was provided for review by BookSneeze.

Friendship for Grown-Ups by Lisa Whelchel (yes, THAT Lisa Whelchel) was so consuming to me that I read it in one two-hour sitting. Lisa fearlessly reveals her insecurities and opens her heart to share how she grew into a person capable of having meaningful friendships and not just surface level acquaintances. Through her personal stories you'll see how she's matured both in the Lord and in her own life. What once was a scared little girl (even as an adult) is now a woman who is walking with confidence and is helping teach others to do the same. Lisa writes with humor and is so real that I found myself wanting to respond to her. I know that this book will help others shed their fear of letting new (and old) friends into their world.

About the book:

Former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel shares her experiences of growing up without true friends and how she learned to find and develop them as an adult through God's grace.

Not many people can say they lived their most crucial developmental years on the sound stage of a wildly popular TV show. But that's exactly what happened in Lisa Whelchel's life. As a child, she learned to guard her heart so tightly to avoid true hurt that she found herself unable to form lasting friendships as an adult.

Friendship for Grown-Ups details her experiences of learning to come out of her shell, to trust, risk, and become vulnerable by God's grace and find meaningful friendships. Readers encounter her captivating story and refreshing perspective on life's most precious gift—and they find practical tips for their own friendships along the way.

You can purchase this book here.

Creative Cooking For Colitis by Angela Breidenbach

Creative Cooking for Colitis by Angela Breidenbach is full of tips and recipes for colitis sufferers on how to start living and eating confidently again. Angela starts her book with 25 tips for sufferers of this disease, what to avoid and what helped her. Her goal in this writing is to help others find the freedom in food that she has found while minimizing her symptoms. Not only are these 25 tips good for people with colitis, but many of them are good to remember for all of us, such as keeping a food journal and remembering to exercise.

Next we move into the recipe portion of this book. Every page, every recipe has a picture that will make your mouth water! The Simple Grilled Chicken Breast, while simple indeed, looks like something you'd get in a restaurant. Bruchette Ensalada, Simple Steak Stroganoff and Cashew Shrimp are just three of the many other recipes included. She even gives step-by-step instructions on how to make your own noodles! And don't worry, there ARE desserts here too.

Angela Breidenbach is Mrs. Montana International 2009, author of Creative Cooking for Colitis, works with Hope’s Promise Orphan Ministries, the American Heart Association, and the Jadyn Fred Foundation. Angela also teaches online classes and coaches one-on-one in courageous confidence, personal growth, and powerful living. She’s certified in mentor/peer counseling as a Stephen Minister and Assisting Minister. She serves as the American Christian Fiction Writer's Publicity Officer and is a multi-award winning inspirational speaker and author. Not only did she walk the hard line of deciding to donate her mom's brain, but she is also on the brain donation list at the Brain Bank-Harvard McLean Hospital. She is married, has a combined family of six grown children, one grandson.

Find Angela Breidenbach online: on Wednesdays each week.


Beautiful cook book with simple to simply elaborate recipes sure to thrill you and your family. 25 Tips and Recipes on how to start living and eating confidently again! Full color photos for every recipe. Insider tips on cooking, eating with families, colitis diet, and shopping. Lovely recipes for elegant parties and holiday treats.

You can purchase this book here. $1 per book benefits the Jayden Fred Foundation

Angela is offering one free PDF copy of this book to someone on my blog. Just leave a comment to be entered into the drawing. Make sure you leave your email address, the winner will be sent an email (with the file) from Angela.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Bridegrooms by Allison Pittman

The Bridegrooms by Allison Pittman is a fantastic escape to a time in history when women were to be seen and not heard. Vada Allenhouse is the oldest of four sisters, all still single and still living at home with their physician father. The mystery of their mother's disappearance many years before is never far from her mind and the man she's been courting seems reluctant to make a commitment to her. Add to that a sister that doesn't speak (to anyone!), a sister who is corresponding with suitors through the mail and a sister whose head turns at the next handsome man that walks by. It all adds up to a lot of fun and a little intrigue. Who is the man lying unconscious upstairs? This book is very well written and is an enjoyable read. Even with a lot of characters I found it easy to follow. The only thing that bothered me (and I know this isn't the author's fault!) is that the back cover copy starts with, "Tragedy hit the Allenhouse family on a hot summer night...." and then the prologue begins with "Winter 1881...." when the tragedy happened. I know that's a minor thing but I couldn't stop thinking about it. I always seem to find the little things like that when I read.

About the book:
Tragedy hit the Allenhouse family on a hot summer night in Ohio when a mother of four vanished. Eight year old Vada virtually grew up overnight and raised her three younger sisters while her father lost himself in his medical practice in the basement of their home.
Now Vada is a grown woman, still making her home with her father and sisters. Her days are spent serving as an errand girl for Cleveland's fledging amateur orchestra; her evenings with Garrison Walker, her devoted, if seemingly passionless, beau.
Dizzying change occurs on the day the Brooklyn Bridegrooms come to town to play the Cleveland Spiders and a line drive wallops the head of a spectator. The fan is whisked to the Allenhouse parlor, and questions swirl about the anonymous, unconscious man.
Suddenly, the subdued house is filled with visitors, from a flirtatious would-be sportswriter to the Bridegrooms' handsome star hitter to the guilt-ridden ballplayer who should have caught the stray shot. The medical case brings Dr. Allenhouse a frustration and helplessness he hasn't felt since his wife's disappearance. Vada's sisters are giddy at the bevy of possible suitors. And Vada's life is awakened amid the super-charged atmosphere of romantic opportunity.

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

About the author:
Allison is a former high school English teacher, she serves as director of the theater arts group at her church. Allison makes her home in Texas with her husband and their three boys. Learn more about her at her website.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thicker Than Blood by C.J. Darlington

Thicker Than Blood by C.J. Darlington is an impressive debut novel. Drawing from her own work as a book scout, C.J. Darlington weaves a story of mystery, romance and true love that is unlike any I've read before. If you're a lover of books then this is one that you HAVE to read. I enjoyed every moment of reading this book, from learning what makes some copies of books more valuable than others to the nail biting suspense of hoping Christy avoids the clutches of the man chasing her to the joy of watching Christy be wooed by our Savior. I give this book two thumbs up. Can't wait to read the sequel!
About the book:
Thicker Than Blood Tyndale House Winner of the 2008 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest.
Christy Williams finally has her life on track.
She’s putting her past behind her and working hard to build a career as an antiquarian book buyer. But things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn’t commit.
With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged, younger sister, May, who she abandoned in their childhood after their parents’ untimely deaths. Soon Christy’s fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. May’s Triple Cross ranch could be the safe haven she’s searching for, but will the sisters realize that each possesses what the other desperately needs before it’s too late?

About the author:

C. J. began writing the story that would become her first novel Thicker than Blood when she was a fifteen-year-old homeschool student. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over a decade, scouting for stores similar to the one described in Thicker than Blood before cofounding her own online bookstore. In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction through book reviews and author interviews. She makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and cats. When she's not writing, she's reading. Her hobbies include book and art collecting, fly fishing, painting and drawing. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about books, writing, and publishing. You can also look her up on Twitter and Facebook.

Does God Exist?

In this first DVD set of the TrueU series, Dr. Stephen Meyer plays a “philosophical survival game,” pitting four worldviews against one another in the quest to decide which one gives the best answers. Dr. Meyer examines the evidence and provides the tools needed for students to defend their faith and make it their own. This is the perfect resource for students preparing to enter college and a culture that may be hostile to their faith. Additional discussion guides can be purchased separately, either in singles (978-1-58997-115-8) or in a 10-pack (978-1-58997-116-5).

Stephen Meyer

is director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture (CSC) and a founder both of the intelligent designmovement and of the CSC, intelligent design's primary intellectual and scientific headquarters. Dr. Meyer is a Cambridge University–trained philosopher of science and the author of peer-reviewed publications in technical, scientific, and philosophical books and journals. He has been widely featured in media appearances on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, PBS, and the BBC. In 2008, he appeared with Ben Stein in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. He's also featured prominently in two other science documentaries, Icons of Evolution and Unlocking the Mystery of Life.

Meyer's research goes to the very source of the mystery of life: its origin, and more specifically the origin of biological information as represented in DNA. Signature in the Cell, published by HarperOne in June 2009, presents a radical and comprehensive new case, revealing the evidence not merely of individual features of biological complexity but of a fundamental constituent of the universe, namely information. Meyer's work in biological information represents the cutting edge of the argument for design.

My thoughts:

I received disc one and disc two to review from Tyndale Publishers. I thought this might be a fun way for my family to learn to defend our faith. What I found was a college classroom type setting with a professor lecturing his students. While this type of learning works well for some people it isn't what I prefer. I had a hard time paying attention to the lessons and grew bored rather quickly. Maybe I have a short attention span? This is full of a lot of information from both sides of the issue. Meyer backs up his research with facts and also counters his opposition with facts. Informative and timely, this is one video series that is sure to stir the scientific community.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Real World Parents by Mark Matlock

Real World Parents by Mark Matlock tackles the tough issues that parents face while raising children. Mark touches on the subjects of media (film, music, television...), sex, suicide, wisdom, life choices and more from both a world view and from Gods view. He challenges parents to make more time with their children and to use the ordinary to guide them in their walk with our extraordinary God.

What struck me the most while reading this book was the truth of the research that the author did. He explained in detail what the media (Oprah, news ,etc.) have been misleading us about as far as divorce, teen sex and more. It was encouraging to read that particular chapter.

While some of the information included in this book seemed a little more like common sense to me I suppose there are parents out there who are clueless and may be in need of the information.

Overall this was a good book. Not one that I would have searched for, but one that I'm glad I had the opportunity to read.


How Does Your Parenting Stand Up to the Real World?

Introducing a new approach that swaps fear and guilt for grace and wisdom

If news stories and some high-profile Christian leaders are to be believed, the task of parenting—particularly of parenting a teenager—has never been more difficult or terrifying. The often-quoted statistics, which, like a fisherman’s tale, seem to grow more fantastic with each retelling, have produced a groundswell of panic within many Christian circles. Pharmacy parties, oral sex, and apostasy…oh my! Many parents live in constant fear that they will fail, that their children will be devoured by the world—unless mom and dad can inspire good behavior for 18 full years. But what if parents are only hearing part of the story? What if the real world isn’t so scary, after all?

In his new book Real World Parents: Christian Parenting for Families Living in the Real World, popular author and speaker Mark Matlock offers a perspective that directly contrasts the usual fear and guilt-based parenting programs that focus on shielding kids from the evils of the world and producing good behavior. Parents, he says, become fearful and controlling because they are listening to the wrong story—the world’s story. Real World Parents is about a fundamental shift in focus towards God’s epic, timeless story and His understanding of reality, which is unchanging, regardless of the world’s traps and trends.

What readers won’t find in the pages of Matlock’s book is a rigid program or magic formula for churning out good kids because Real World Parenting is not about what parents do. It’s about who they are.

“Many Christian parenting books focus on helping parents figure out how to raise well-behaved, well-mannered kids. And while that's an important element, not many focused on raising kids to have hearts that seek after Christ. The goal of parenting, in the long run, isn't for our kids to be known for how well behaved they are, but for how well they know and respond to God,” Matlock says. “Our behaviors are ultimately driven by our understanding of the way the world works, of what we believe to be true and false about the universe, of our perception of reality. How can we communicate God’s worldview to our kids? What story are we telling them about the universe, both intentionally and—more importantly—in the way we live with and for God over time?”

Matlock teaches a wisdom-based approach to passing God’s story on to young people and teaching them by example how to navigate the real world. Along the way, Real World Parents will discover:

· Why God likes us and is already happy with our families

· Surprising statistics about teen sex, drugs, and smoking that raise the question: are things really getting worse?

· The three most common parental responses to a scary world—and why they don’t work

· Why parents should teach their children how to “fail productively”

· What kids really need to become spiritually healthy—and how parents can provide those things

· How to evaluate media through the lens of God’s story

Just like the Real World Parents seminars, the book guides parents through the seven marks of a wise person, encouraging them to examine their definitions of success, their management of resources, the sources they turn to for wise counsel, and the health of their relationships. Matlock believes it is only through embracing and modeling God’s wisdom to their families that parents will create an environment that promotes the true spiritual growth of their children.

Real World Parents is, at the heart, a message of hope for families. “We wonder how God could ever look at our families in the shape they’re in and grin. And the problem is that as parents we sometimes forget that we’re also children, that our God is our Father, that he’s even more lovingly inclined to smile

at us than we are to smile at our own kids. Our father likes us, and he forgives even our parenting shortcomings and our family failings,” Matlock says. “No matter how good or bad you think your family is God has plans for you that will unfold in the Real World. God will continue to move your family along in the journey he has in store for you. That’s what real world parenting is about—understanding that journey and communicating it to our kids.”

For more information visit Real World Parents online.

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

CONTEST! A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

A Distant Melody
Debut Author, Sarah Sundin, earns rave reviews from BOOKLIST. "Sundin's debut Christian historical romance is an emotionally gripping, detail-rich but fast-paced trilogy set against the backdrop of WWII at home and abroad. Romance readers and military history buffs will find much of interest here."
Seattle, WA - 4/9/2010 - Rarely does a book come along from a debut author that is as well received as Sarah Sundin's A Distant Melody. The story grips you on page one and doesn't let up until the last page is turned. Critics and readers alike are impressed with both the accurate historical detail and complex cast of characters. From the fertile California orange groves to the soggy terrain of England,A Distant Melody, weaves an exciting and tender tale of love, courage and sacrifice. Not to be missed!

Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love. Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together.

But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

Purchase a copy of A Distant Melody here.

Debut author, Sarah Sundin, is celebrating the release of her first novel, A Distant Melody by hosting a social sharing promotion!Click here to enter this fab-o contest. Tell your friends and earn extra entries!

A Distant Melody is book 1 in Sarah Sundin's exciting Wings of Glory series. Sarah has partnered with Litfuse Publicity Group for the Netflix®& Nostalgia Contest! Sarah's offering one Grand Prize winner the chance to get NOSTALGIC!

Netflix & Nostalgia

The Winner of the 'NETFLIX® & Nostalgia' giveaway will receive a vintage prize package, including:

*A 6 month NETFLIX® subscription
*$25 Starbucks® gift card
*A box of See's Famous Old Time Chocolates®
*A jar of homemade strawberry jam
*A Big Band music CD
*A Mini B-17 Model airplane
*Vintage stationery and pen
*British specialty tea
*WWII style playing cards

For more information just click HERE! Contest will run April 5th and run through April 25th!

Sarah is an on-call hospital pharmacist and holds a BS in chemistry from UCLA and a doctorate in pharmacy from UC San Francisco. Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. This is her first novel. For more information about Sarah, please visit her website:

Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.
About the book: THEIR ELUSIVE ENEMIES TOOK EVERYTHING. NOW THEY WANT MORE. Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt was a content man—in his faith, his work, and his family. Then in a flash, everything he loved was snatched away. His wife and son were murdered, and grief-stricken Ben lost faith. Determination to find their killers keeps him going, but after three years of dead ends and torment, his hope is dying too. Why had he survived? He’d failed to protect his family. Now, a mysterious woman appears at Crossroads seeking answers and help—a victim who eerily resembles Ben’s deceased wife, Susan. A woman robbed of her identity, her life, of everything except her faith—and Susan’s necklace. The connections between the two women mount, exceeding coincidence, and to keep the truth hidden, someone is willing to kill. Finding out who and why turns Ben and the mystery woman’s situation from dangerous to deadly. Their only hope for survival is to work together, trust each other, and face whatever they discover head on, no matter how painful. But will that be enough to save their lives and heal their tattered hearts?
For more information on this book or to purchase click here.
About the author:
Vicki Hinze is an award-winning author of twenty-three novels, three nonfiction books, and hundreds of articles. Selected for Who’s Who in America in 2004 as a writer and educator, Hinze is active in Romance Writers of America and serves as a Vice President on the International Thriller Writers Board of Directors. Vicki lives in Florida with her artist husband, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. Visit Vicki's website to learn more about Vicki’s books, blogs, and writing programs.
My thoughts:
While this book was very heavy on action-packed intrigue and suspense, it didn't draw me in like I thought it would. I'd hoped (based on the recommendations inside the cover) that this would be a can't-put-it-down book, but I found myself lost after the first chapter and I never found my way back. At one point in the book I was confused with a conversation between two or three people. I read it over several times until I finally surmised that the conversation was between two people and that one character just kept calling the other one by his first name and then his last name (this had not been revealed earlier, unless I missed it). The over abundance of characters and names in this book (including the main female) was confusing and the romance seemed to be thrown in at the end as an afterthought.
I applaud the author for taking the jump from mainstream fiction into Christian fiction. If you like books that you really have to concentrate on then this may be a good read for you.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Greater Love by Robert Whitlow

Greater Love is the third in the Tides of Truth series by Robert Whitlow. It's also my favorite of the series. In this volume we learn if Tami Taylor chooses the right law firm to work for and if she chooses the right man, both of these scenarios have two options to choose from.

Tami also gets hooked back up with Sister Dabney (from book #2) and gains a new client in the court-appointed case of a teenage runaway. Is Jessie to be believed or is there more to her story? And what is she running from?

Well written and engaging, Greater Love is a thought-provoking read from one of Christian fictions best writers. Robert Whitlow makes you forget that this book is written by a man (from a womans point of view).

About the book:
The Tides of Truth series follows one lawyer's passionate pursuit of truth--in matters of life and the law.
As the storm clouds gather, Tami does her best to weather the growing turbulence in every area of her life.
She's just accepted a job with a law firm but now wonders if she made the right decision. She has two strong men vying for her heart--and is about to lose them both if she can't determine which one is right for her.
And Tami's new case is anything but simple. When she first meets her prospective client, she immediately knows the rough young teen is lying, guilty...and utterly terrified of something beyond the charges she's facing. What she doesn't realize is just how far reaching the effects of the case will go. Or how close to home the deadly results will hit. For by the time the storm breaks, someone close to Tami will have paid the ultimate price.
Through it all, Tami will experience greater sacrifice, greater friendship, and greater love than she's ever known.

This book was provided for review by BookSneeze.

Monday, April 5, 2010

This Little Prayer of Mine

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
This Little Prayer of Mine written by Anthony DeStefano and illustrated by Mark Elliott is the kind of book that I read to my children when they were little. Its beautiful pictures will draw your child into the story (prayer) and the poetic words will captivate them and will be sure to make them want to pull this book from their shelf for nighttime reading. The prayer leads your child through different areas of their life in which they may need the Lord's wisdom in making decisions between right and wrong.
About the book:

Author Anthony DeStefano’s adult books, The Prayers God Always Says Yes To and A Travel Guide to Heaven, have sold a quarter-million copies. Illustrator Mark Elliott’s cherished artwork has appeared in popular picture books and novels for young readers, including Gail Carson Levine’s ever-popular Princess Tales series.

Now, these acclaimed inspirational experts have come together to create This Little Prayer of Mine, a beautiful and alluring book designed to guide children into a very simple, real and expressive relationship with God.

Through engaging rhymes and alluring illustrations, This Little Prayer of Mine shows children—and their parents and grandparents—that complete dependence on God is what brings peace and fulfillment. It invites children to know and believe that God is always just a simple prayer away and that He longs to respond to them with a resounding, “Yes!”

This Little Prayer of Mine appeals to readers from all different faiths. Easy-reader format allows children to read alone, or with someone older, and encourages them to openly express their fears, thanks, and needs directly to God.

About the authors:

Anthony DeStefano is the author of The Prayers God Always Says Yes To and A Travel Guide to Heaven. He has received prestigious awards from religious organizations worldwide for his efforts to advance Christian beliefs in modern culture.

Mark Elliott’s brilliant illustrations have appeared in popular picture books and novels for young readers, including Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales series. His acclaimed artwork delivers inspiration, wonder, and timeless beauty on every page.

You can purchase this book here or leave a comment, I've got one to give away.