Monday, July 26, 2010

Latte Daze by Erynn Mangum

I finally got my hands on one of Erynn Mangum's books. I've been wanting to read her Lauren Holbrook series for several years now but haven't been able to find it anywhere. When Navpress offered this one for review purposes I jumped on it, and let's just say that Latte Daze is everything that this girl hopes for in a chick lit, young adult kind of book. Even though I didn't read the first book in the Maya Davis series (Cool beans) I was able to jump right in without missing a thing (though I'll probably go back and read it at some point because I enjoyed this authors voice so much!)
Maya is a fun heroine who happens to work as a barista at a hip coffee shop with her boyfriend, until he jets a job at the local zoo. She has a great roommate who gets engaged (to someone Maya used to date) and who has an overbearing mother who shows up for an extended stay.
I loved LOVED *LOVED* this book and can't wait to read more of Maya's adventures (and Erynn's other books too!)
Well written and full of tender and funny moments, this is one that you should check out!

Thanks, Erynn, for the CLEAN READ.

I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review 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 Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Love is a Flame by James Stuart Bell

Love is a Flame is a book full of stories compiled by James Stuart Bell about real couples who share their struggles and triumphs in the effort to discover true, lasting love. This book is one encouraging story after another and could be used as a couples devotional as it addresses many issues that couples face. From porn addictions to affairs, money problems and even petty disagreements, they're all in here. If you're facing problems in your marriage you may want to pick this up. Sometimes it's good to know you're not alone and you can learn from the experiences of others. It's always good to see how God works in the lives of other couples.

About the book:

Real love. Real people. Real Stories.

If you want to improve or revive your marriage, you need more than just theories of marriage from experts. You need shared experiences, to hear other couples say I've been there and to see the unique, creative, and practical solutions they have found to restore the vibrancy of their marriages.

The original, true stories in Love Is a Flame offer just that, as well as the encouragement and instruction you and your spouse need to rekindle the flame of your love.

This book was provided for review by Bethany House.

Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand

Guest post by my husband...enjoy!

Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand is a detective novel about Roland March.This out of graces detective struggles to get back his position of top detective. When the murder of a local gang leader coincides with the kidnapping of a well known teenage girl, Roland attempts to connect the two investigations, only to keep coming up short.

Looking at multiple crime scenes while living out his daily life, Bertrand is able to pull his readers into the character of Roland March. With a great plot and well developed characters this book was able to quickly grasp my attention.

From the back cover:

A missing girl. A corrupt investigation. They thought they could get away with it, but they forgot one thing: Roland March is BACK ON MURDER

Houston homicide detective Roland March was once one of the best. Now he's disillusioned, cynical, and on his way out. His superiors farm him out on a variety of punishment details...until an unexpected break gives March one last chance to save his career. And his humanity.

All he has to do? Find the missing teenage daughter of a Houston evangelist that every cop in town is already looking for. But March has an inside track, a multiple murder nobody else thinks is connected. Battling a new partner, an old nemesis, and the demons of his past, getting to the truth could cost March everything. Even his life.

Visit the Back on Murder website.

This book was provided for review by the author.

Claim by Lisa T. Bergren

Claim by Lisa T. Bergren is the third and final book in her Homeward Trilogy and what a satisfying finale it is! Fast paced and filled with action and romance, this one is hard to put down (I read it in one day!) Lisa writes historical fiction like few others with characters who seem to come to life. I really enjoyed the American Indian theme in this book and also finding out what happens to Moira and Daniel. Fantastic book, my favorite in the series.

Thanks, Lisa, for this CLEAN READ!

About the book:

Dominic St. Clair has fought his way back from desperate circumstances and now has an opportunity to reunite with his sisters in Colorado. Lisa Bergren’s latest novel, Claim: A Novel of Colorado, reveals a man heartsick over his failure to keep a promise to his dead father and his inability to protect his two sisters from life’s harsh punishment. In an effort to find the peace that has always eluded him, Dominic begins a new venture in an old mine deep inside the Rocky Mountains. As he struggles to find success and meaning in this rugged landscape, Dominic discovers the affection of the local school teacher among the hidden treasures of the area. Will he finally claim his true inheritance, or will he succumb to the restlessness that has dogged his life since leaving Colorado years before?

Set amid the harsh and often unforgiving life of the early mining industry, Claim is the final installment in Bergren’s Homeward Trilogy and offers a look at God’s willingness to hold on to His children even though they reject His guidance and love. The reader walks with Odessa and Moira St. Clair as they experience their journey toward truth in the first two books of the series, Breathe and Sing, and in this final story, Moira must once again renew her trust in God as she struggles to accept God’s claim on her life and the love in her heart for a troubled man.

Fans of historical fiction and romance will find much to enjoy in this dramatic finale to Lisa Bergren’s Homeward Trilogy. Claim reflects the rugged journey that the St. Clair prodigals have made toward the truth of grace and forgiveness. As old wounds are healed, new struggles arise, and each of the St. Clair children must face the final battle that lies ahead as they struggle to make their way homeward. Once again, Bergren’s strong voice weaves a tale that will cause readers everywhere to examine the prodigal moments in their own lives and renew their faith in the One who is able to reach them no matter how far they run.

Claim: A Novel of Colorado by Lisa Bergren (Book Three in the Homeward Trilogy)

David C Cook/June 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4347-6706-6/386 pages/softcover/$14.99Publish Post ~

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

Read the first chapter of this book here.

True Religion by Palmer Chinchen, PhD

It isn't very often that I read a book and walk away from it a changed person. True Religion by Palmer Chinchen, PhD did just that. All of my life I've said I've been happy not leaving my country, my comforts. Now I'm ready to go on a missions trip.

True Religion -taking pieces of heaven to places of hell on earth- will challenge readers to change their way of thinking and living.

Want to get back to the basics of Christianity? Want to live a simpler life? Read this book.


A rising voice in the missional movement, Palmer Chinchen is passionate about creating a fresh desire among Christ-followers to reach out to a hurting world. His latest book, True Religion: Taking Pieces of Heaven to Places of Hell on Earth, examines the idea of living a life sacrificially poured out for Christ. Chinchen believes that those who are willing to give their lives away to change the world will find their own lives changed forever through that process. He challenges believers to love the Lord with all their mind and soul, with all their strength and heart, and as this love is poured into the work of Christ, believers will experience God moving them in a unique direction that will carry them into new and exciting areas of service.

Taken from Palmer Chinchen’s True Religion © David C Cook 2010.

Give Your Life Away

We live in a self-indulgent culture. Much of life is arranged for the good of our selves. So we accumulate, we chase leisure and pleasure, we self promote, and we do all we can to point the world at me. But God lays out a different way of living that is better for His world and better for you. Give your life away to change this world for good. Christ made a profound request of you and me and everyone else who determines to walk in His footsteps: “Take up your cross and follow me.”

The appeal is an interesting one, because on His cross He gave His life away to change this world—to change your life and my life—forever. But He knows this planet we live on contains ruined places and rubbish-filled lives. But it doesn’t have to be that way. He asks that you continue to carry His cross and do good, share hope, show love, and bring healing.

Quoting the ancient prophet Isaiah, the Christ stated His movement manifesto like this: “Preach good news to the poor.… proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, [and] release the oppressed.”

Jesus never made this life about what He could gain for Himself. He was never interested in power or control or recognition or fame or possessions. He was oddly focused on rescuing other people from oppressive regimes, social stigmas, broken marriages, crippled bodies, physical blindness, and spiritual death.

He succeeded.

But upon His departure He asked that you and I pick up the cross He once bore, and carry it for Him.

And God Will Change You

Here’s the kicker: Give your life away to change this world, and God will change you. Something transformational happens in our lives when we go and give our life away.

Every time I lead people on global ministry experiences, I see lives radically changed practically before my eyes. I watch the challenging situations and disturbing moments transform people forever. The Havana team’s experience was not unique. A clear pattern exists, giving strong grounding to the idea that global experiences have a unique, powerful, life-altering effect on the spiritual condition of participants.

The Wheaton College School of Business sent a questionnaire out to graduates from the past five years. It included the question, “What aspect of your college experience had the greatest spiritual influence on your life?” An overwhelming majority of graduates indicated a global cross-cultural experience. Not the chapel services, not the Bible classes, not the dorm small-groups, not even the college pastor down the street (ouch, that hurt)—but the experience of giving their lives away to a hurting world.

Over the course of my fifteen years in college ministry, I have led hundreds of students on cross-cultural service experiences: orphanage teams to Mexico, soccer teams to Costa Rica, evangelistic teams to Guatemala, basketball teams to Cuba, construction teams to Liberia, music teams to Malawi, relief teams to Mississippi (yes, taking college students from Los Angeles to rural Mississippi was definitely cross-cultural), and the list goes on. And in each experience the lives of students were radically transformed.

519 Palmer author photoAbout the Author: Palmer Chinchen has served as pastor of The Grove in Chandler, Arizona, for the past seven years. He grew up in Liberia, West Africa, and as an adult has led many people on numerous mission trips around the world. He has served in college ministries in Wheaton, IL, and southern California and has taught Spiritual Formation at African Bible College. Chinchen is passionate about Christians responding to affliction and injustice in the world. He holds a PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois and a BA and MA from Biola University in California. He lives with his wife and four children in Chandler, Arizona.

True Religion: Taking Pieces of Heaven to Places of Hell on Earth by Palmer Chinchen

David C Cook/June 1, 2010/ISBN 978-0-7814-0343-6/208 pages/softcover/$14.99 ~

David C Cook is sponsoring the “True Religion Missions Trip Scholarship” through October 31. The winner will receive $1,000 to apply towards a short term mission trip. For more information, visit

Read the first chapter here.
View a video trailer of this book here.

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

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lucky Baby by Meredith Efken

If you're looking for a tear-jerking heartwarming book then Lucky Baby by Meredith Efken is the next one you need to read. Wow, wow, WOW is this a good book! I've been a fan of Meredith's through her SAHM I Am series and was anticipating her next book. This is so different than any of her previous novels and sometimes different is not good, but in this case, different is better!

Thanks, Meredith, for this CLEAN READ.

About the book:

All Meg Lindsay wants is to give a child the love and acceptance she wished she’d been given. When she talks her reluctant husband into adopting a Chinese orphan, she expects her dream to come true. But becoming a parent has a way of opening up painful doors from the past, and it’s all Meg can do to hold her new little family together. What started as a good intention could destroy her marriage and her family, especially if the daughter they’ve grown to love abandons them, too.

Meg’s journey is a magical one as East meets West and imagination aligns with reality. Lucky Baby takes the reader on a realistic yet mystical journey into the complexities of family life.

Get to know Meredith at her blog.

Buy Lucky Baby.

This book was provided for review by the author.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky

Shades of Morning is the latest drama from Marlo Schalesky. If you like Karen Kingsbury then you will love this author. Marlo writes a jaw-dropping story that defies most other Christian fiction. Each book has a twist of some kind. Just when you think you know where the story is going, POW! she drops the real story on you. You just never know what to expect. If you like trying to figure out the story (and knowing that you CAN'T!) then you'll love this book.


About the book:

Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper, scribbled with her regrets, sins, and sorrows. But that’s nobody else’s business. Her bookstore/coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church—they all think she’s the very model of compassion and kindness.

Then Marnie’s past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old son—a boy Marnie never knew existed. And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome—and that she’s woefully unprepared to care for him. What’s worse, she has to deal with Taylor Cole, her sister’s attorney, a man Marnie once loved—and abandoned. As Emmit (and Taylor) work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal. But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at last face the scripts of paper in her box, all the regrets and sorrows. Can she do it? Or will she run again?

About the author:

Marlo Schalesky is the author of several books, including Beyond the Nightand Empty Womb, Aching Heart. A graduate of Stanford University, Marlo also has a masters of theology with an emphasis in biblical studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. Married over twenty years, she lives with her husband, Bryan, and their five children in California.

You can purchase this bookhere.

This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Where the Jewels Are by Diana Symons

Where the Jewels Are is book number one in Diana Symons' Tales From The Throne series for young girls. If you have a little girl in your life, ages 6-11, then you'll want to share this delightful little book with her. The only thing I didn't like about this book is that it ended and I don't have the next volume, I need to know what happens next!

The Princess has grown up in a world that all little girls dream about, whatever she asks for she gets. When she asks for a jewel as beautiful as the stars in the night sky her father sends her on a journey to find one and the only person to accompany her is Winifred, her servant. Along the way the Princess finds little things that discomfort her and Winifred is quick to take care of the problems, sacrificing her own comfort for that of the Princess.

The Princess spends some time thinking and realizes that she has the one thing she didn't realize she was missing, a true friend.

You can purchase this book directly from Diana at Gold Pen Press, the company that she owns, here.

Diana Symons worked in software marketing for several years before turning to write children's books. She lives in Sunnyvale, CA.