Monday, January 31, 2011

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck

There are a billion reasons why I love this new book by Kristin Billerbeck. The first is that it's a delightful romance, second, it's got a lead character who's in love with all things 40s and I totally got all of the references. The third reason I loved this book is because it's a clean read, safe enough for small children. Fourth is that it's unique, not like any of Kristin's other books (by that I mean sometimes it seems that some authors write the same story over and over again. I will not mention names though....) It's a breath of fresh air. Simply lovely.

Katie McKenna (name alone makes me want to have another kid, wouldn't McKenna be a great name?) is happily living her life in California and is about to be engaged to a very safe man named Dexter. Her life is perfect. Until Luc DeForges steps back into it. Katie and Luc have a long history and before she knows it, she's off in his private jet to New Orleans where she'll sing at his brothers wedding and collect her family-heirloom engagement ring so that she and Dexter can make it official.

Of course, there's always more to the story and this one is no exception. Katie tries to push Luc out of her mind. Dexter comes in for a surprise visit. Katie learns secrets from her past. And Katie learns what love is and what love isn't.

Don't miss this special treat! Just in time for Valentine's Day. It's a perfect read.

The only thing that bothered me about this book is that Katie is pronounced a redhead throughout the story and someone made her have black hair on the cover of the book. I know the author isn't at fault for that. Someone at the publishing house didn't read the book before they chose a cover. Bummer.

About the author:

Kristin Billerbeck is a successful novelist from northern California. She has authored more than 30 novels, including the Ashley Stockingdale series and the Spa Girls series. She is a leader in the Chick Lit movement, a Christy Award finalist, and a two-time winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award. She has appeared on The Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times.

This book releases Feb 1, 2011 from Thomas Nelson

Thanks to the B&B Media Group for an ARC of this title for review purposes only.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Dawn by Kathryn Cushman

Another Dawn is the latest thought provoking novel by Kathryn Cushman. If you've not yet discovered this author then you need to find her books and start reading. Each of her novels are full of characters that come alive (you know, the kind you begin to care about.) This volume is no exception. Kathryn dares to tackle the controversial issue of whether to immunize your children or not to and she presents both sides of the argument exceptionally well. If you're a fan of Karen Kingsbury then you'll fall in love with this author. Her books are refreshingly different and always give the reader a welcome escape. Grab a box of tissues and start reading.

This book releases on Feb 1, 2011 and you can purchase it here.

About Another Dawn:
What Would You Give for a Second Chance to Make Things Right?

When life gets complicated, Grace Graham runs. She's left romantic relationships, friendships, and even her family after the death of her mother. But now her sister, Jana, is giving her once last chance: Come home and help care for their father--whom Grace still blames for her mother's death--or never show her face in Shoal Creek, Tennessee, again.

With her son, Dylan, in tow, Grace returns home from California. But is she returning for the right reasons? And when costly decisions from the past suddenly put her son's life and the lives of other children in town at risk, will she have the strength to stand strong and await Another Dawn?

About the author:
Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy and practiced as a pharmacist in Georgia, Tennessee, and California. She is the author of three previous novels. She lives in California with her family.

Kathryn's other books are must-reads too. You can find out more about her here. Read about her other books here.

Thanks, Kathryn, for this CLEAN READ!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Save the Date by Jenny B Jones

Save the Date is the newest book by author Jenny B. Jones and it was worth waiting for! My readers know that I usually devour a book in a day or two (at the most) but this one, I savored for a whole week. It was delightful. It was Jenny B. Jones at her heartwarming best. You'll fall in love with Lucy as you see her do whatever she needs to do in order to save the home for teenage girls that she runs, even if it means wearing (gasp!) a pantsuit. Lucy is determined to give at-risk teen girls a second chance, to help them graduate and to show them that there is more to life than what their circumstances tell them. She devotes her life to these girls and Saving Grace, the home where they live. When funding is cut it seems like she's about to lose it all. Until she meets Alex Sinclair. He proposes a fake engagement that will get them both what they want. He wants a congressional seat and she needs money. She accepts even though her old flame, Matt, has just come back into the picture. Lucy faces many surprises throughout the book and falls in love in the end of it all. The characters come alive in Save the Date and I found myself wiping away the tears several times.

More reasons for me to love this book:
One of the minor characters has my maiden name.
There's a reference to both Cary Grant and Pierce Brosnan ON THE SAME PAGE!

I'd like to think that Jenny did this for me. Let me think it, okay?

You can read the prologue here.

Thanks to BookSneeze for this review copy. And thanks to Jenny B Jones for another CLEAN READ!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner

Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner is the story of modern-day Jane, a woman whose husband walks out on her without reason and leaves her to work in her antique store amidst confusion and hurt. It's also the story of 16th Century Jane, a young woman in England who is waiting to find out if she is to be betrothed to the one she longs to be with or if she must fulfill the duty that may be expected of her. Both of these stories unfold in separate sections of the book and these two Jane's are bound together by a ring that is found by the antique store owner Jane.

At first I was drawn to the modern-day Jane more than to the historical one and when that story was put on hold to jump over to learn more about historical Jane I found myself losing interest, but Susan Meissner's writing eventually captured my attention and I read with anticipation as to what would happen to both Janes. I truly appreciated that this book was a CLEAN READ and applaud Meissner for going back in that direction with her writing. Thoroughly enjoyable with a bit of little known history, this is a story of several very strong women and the ones they love. Don't miss this one!!

For more information about this book visit Waterbrook Multnomah here.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Passport Through Darkness by Kimberly L Smith

Passport Through Darkness is the heartbreaking reality that Kimberly L Smith got when she dared to ask God for something more from her life. Kimberly and her husband Milton packed their bags and headed for the other side of the world and a lifetime away from the comfort of home in America. What they found waiting for them was a heartbroken people with no hope. Abuse, rape, torture, these are things that some people deal with on a daily basis in the world that Kimberly and Milton entered, it broke their hearts and changed their lives. Together they founded Make Way Partners, a mission organization committed to ending human trafficking. Through this new ministry Kimberly was allowed to enter Darfur and it was there that she encountered the blackest of all nightmares. What she saw and experienced is, sadly, normal for the people living there. Kimberly's story will break you, make you question your own purpose and cause you to grieve for the hopeless and the courageous half a world away. There were many times that I had to put it down and walk away from it to clear my head. It's hard to understand how these things can happen, especially when we sit in the comfort of a home that's too big for us with plenty of things to occupy our time and keep our thoughts from wandering to those less fortunate that us in the USA.
Watch the book trailer for Passport Through Darkness here.
About the book:
Each one of us longs to know we matter. We hunger to know that we have purpose, our life has meaning, and God dreams great dreams for us. In Passport Through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances, Kimberly Smith invites us into her own struggles as an ordinary woman who feels those aches, asks those questions, and stumbles through a quest to find her place in a broken world.
Smith was an average American woman—a wife, mother, corporate executive, and faithful church member. But she knew something was missing from her life. When a bone-chilling experience awakened her desire to find true purpose, Smith and her family began a lifelong adventure serving those who never knew a greater purpose could exist.
Traveling around the world and deep into the darkness of her own heart, Smith’s worst fears collided with her faith as she and her family discovered the atrocities of human trafficking. But in that broken place a self-centered life was transformed into an international effort to save thousands from modern-day slavery, persecution, disease, and genocide.
As Smith and her husband risk everything for orphans in Eastern Europe and Africa, they see God work again and again in impossible situations, especially in their own lives and marriage. They see God change them—even in their exhaustion, marital struggles, and physical limitations. They see the beauty of living out God’s dreams.
This is a book of hope for anyone who longs to see God’s redemptive power heal broken hearts, fill empty bellies, and shelter uncovered heads. It is a call to take one more step on your own journey to know God’s heart and purpose for your life. It is a guide from one ordinary person to another to find a life that matters.
Smith writes, “My prayer is that God will use my wounds and my transgressions to encourage you to risk losing everything to discover the life God dreams for you. It’s life on the edge, where so much is uncertain, maybe even scary, certainly out of our control. But it’s also where true freedom lives.”
Your story may be different from hers, but God’s hopes for you are just as big. “Your destination,” Smith writes, “is the same as mine—an intimate encounter between you and your Creator. But your route will be filled with adventures, both mild and wild, made just for you. It will lead you to where God’s pleasure and your purpose meet.”
Let Kimberly’s remarkable story show you the grit, the pain, and the beauty of letting go of it all to find the dream God dreamed when He shaped you in His Hands.
About the Author: Kimberly L. Smith is the president and cofounder of Make Way Partners, a mission organization committed to ending human trafficking. She is currently leading Make Way Partners to build the only private and indigenously based anti-trafficking network in Africa and Eastern Europe. A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Smith lives with her husband, Milton, in Sylacauga, Alabama.
Thanks to The B&B Media Group for providing this book for review.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Love Food & Live Well by Chantel Hobbs

Love Food & Live Well is the third book that Chantel Hobbs has released since losing 200 pounds over ten years ago. This girl knows what she's talking about when she gives advice on changing your lifestyle to change your life. Her advice is solid and so sensible that it almost smacks you in the face while you think, "Why didn't I think of that?" Chantel lovingly lets you know that you don't need to give up the chocolate (THANK YOU!!!) in order to be the healthy size that you need to be. She also lets you know that you do, indeed, need to exercise, not only to lose weight, but to be strong and healthy which will give you a longer and better life.
After reading this book I've decided to change my own workout routine. To step it up a notch or two. It appears that I've been just doing what I needed to in order to get by and say I did it. Now I'll hopefully begin to see the fruit of my labors.
This book is full of encouragement from Chantel, exercise tips and routines, recipes for some of her favorite meals and much more. It's the perfect way to start a new year and a new YOU!
About the book:
Want Chocolate? You’ve Got a Deal!
Fitness expert Chantel Hobbs inspires readersto lose weight, get fit, and taste life at its very best You don’t have to hide it. You can love food right out in the open—and lose weight at the same time. With the latest release from Chantel Hobbs, Love Food and Live Well, you’ll know when to have carrot cake and when it’s time to just have a carrot.
Let life coach and fitness expert Chantel Hobbs show you how to lose pounds to reach the weight that is right for you and then maintain it while enjoying healthy, delicious food. Built into this amazing plan is knowing that you can count on the occasional splurge with absolutely no guilt.
Using personal inventories, original recipes, and simple eating plans, plus new exercises for strength training and aerobic fitness, Hobbs will inspire you to live well in every area of life. Her positive and highly motivating approach is changing the way dieters look at food and will inspire you to pursue a life of lasting health in body, mind, and spirit.
Hobbs isn’t like other fitness and nutritional experts. She doesn’t just have the knowledge of what to eat. She’s experienced the heartache of feeling unworthy. In her book she says, “We’ll look at the deal the world has been selling us all of our lives—the message that we’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, and just basically that we’re not enough.” Hobbs doesn’t just offer expert advice.
She offers hope. She exposes the lies that trap dieters in self-defeating habits and shows them how to break free from destructive attitudes toward food. You will no longer need to hate food or be limited to eating boring, bland, unsatisfying meals. You can learn to live with freedom.
About the author:
Chantel Hobbs is a life coach, marathon runner, personal trainer, wife, and mother of four. Her amazing story of losing two hundred pounds and keeping the weight off has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, Life Today with James Robison, The 700 Club, and Focus on the Family Radio—and in People and First magazines. Hobbs hosts a weekly radio show and is the on-air fitness expert on the WAY-FM radio network. She is also a regular guest on the KLOVE radio network. Hobbs is a frequent speaker to women’s groups and makes personal appearances at fitness conventions. The developer of The One-Day Way Learning System and the author of four books, including Never Say Diet and The One-Day Way, Chantel lives with her family in south Florida.
This book was provided for review by The B&B Media Group and is published by Waterbrook

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Found in Translation by Roger Bruner with Kristi Rae Bruner

Released this week from Barbour's THRIVE line is Found in Translation by Roger Bruner with Kristi Rae Bruner (a father-daughter team!) This is a fictional account of a spoiled teenage girl and her first missions trip. It's loosely based on Kristi's own experience (very loosely! I'm sure Kristi is nowhere as spoiled as the character created for this story). If you've got teens who are interested in joining a missions team to another country then this would be a great book for them to read. It's filled with spiritual truths along with real life struggles that we all deal with from time to time. I think we can all see a little of ourselves in Kim Hartlinger.
From the back cover:
When Kim Hartlinger—eighteen and spoiled—arrives on a mission trip to Mexico and discovers, to her chagrin, that she’ll be doing construction in a remote village without plumbing and electricity, rather than evangelism in a medium-sized town with a fast food joint . . she has only two choices. “Rough it” (which isn’t exactly what Kim had in mind when she signed up for this trip) or turn around and head home.
Will Kim be able to touch the villagers’ hearts with the Gospel? Or will her time in Mexico be up before she gets the chance?
About the authors:
Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full time.
Kristi Rae Bruner lives in the Orlando area and enjoys reading, hanging out with friends, and cooking. During her teen years she went on a life-changing missions trip to Mexico.
You can purchase this book here.

2011 Reading List

Keeping track of how many books I read in a year. The ones I really liked are in bold. Each book has a clickable link that will take you to where you can purchase it or read reviews about it.


1. Found in Translation by Roger Bruner with Kristi Rae Bruner
2. Love Food and Live Well by Chantel Hobbs
3. Passport Through Darkness by Kimberly L. Smith
4. Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner
5. Whirlwind by Cathy Marie Hake
6. A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist (rated PG-13)
7. My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!!
8. Save the Date by Jenny B Jones
9. Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski
10. Another Dawn by Kathryn Cushman
11. Softly and Tenderly by Sara Evans & Rachel Hauck
12. Sabotage by Kit Wilkinson
13. A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck
14. The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

15. Meet Mrs Smith by Anna Smith and Carolyn Johnson
16. Perfectly Dateless by Kristin Billerbeck
17. Around the World in 80 Dates by Christa Ann Banister
18. Contagious Joy by the Women of Faith Ladies
19. Riven by Jerry B Jenkins
20. The Inheritance of Beauty by Nicole Seitz
21. A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell
22. The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy
23. The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn & Robert Lewis
24. Delirious by Martin Smith
25. Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris
26. Act Two by Kimberly Stuart
27. Last Breath by Brandilyn & Amberly Collins

28. Final Touch by Brandilyn & Amberly Collins
29. Angel Song by Sheila Walsh & Kathryn Cushman
30. What's it Like to be Married to Me? by Linda Dillow
31. Bound by Guilt by CJ Darlington
32. This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson
33. Rooms by James L. Rubart
34. When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley
35. A Cowboys Touch by Denise Hunter
36. Reinventing Rachel by Alison Strobel
37. Desert Gift by Sally John

38. A Mile from Sunday by Jo Kadlecek
39. The Invisible World by Anthony Destefano
40. Point of No Return by Susan May Warren
41. The Reluctant Prophet by Nancy Rue
42. False Pretenses by Kathy Herman
43. 40 by Travis Thrasher
44. The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble
45. The Lightkeeper's Bride by Colleen Coble
46. The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble
47. Fashioned by Faith by Rachel Lee Carter
48. Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock
49. Mission: Out of Control by Susan May Warren
50. A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell

51. Lillies in Moonlight by Allison Pittman
52. To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer
53. Undercover Pursuit by Susan May Warren
54. For Young Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn & Lisa A. Rice
55. She Makes it Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen
56. Pitch Black by Melody Carlson
57. Shattered by Melody Carlson
58. False Witness by Randy Singer
59. Reconstructing Natalie by Laura Jensen Walker (reread)
60. The Fine Art of Insincerity by Angela Hunt
61. Forever After by Deborah Raney


62. Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm?
63. The Blackberry Bush by David Housholder
64. An Unlikely Suitor by Nancy Moser
65. Dead Ringer by Sharon Dunn
66. Spring Broke by Melody Carlson
67. A Quarter After Tuesday by Jo Kadlecek
68. Love Letters in the Sand by Diann Hunt
69. Fatal Convictions by Randy Singer
70. The Heart of Memory by Alison Strobel

JULY71. Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist
72. Jump off the Hormone Swing by Lorraine Pintus
73. River's Song by Melody Carlson
74. Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh
75. Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah by Melody Carlson

76. Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock
77. Pattern of Wounds by J Mark Bertrand
78. Spiritual Warfare for Women by Leighann McCoy
79. Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

80. Wings of Promise by Bonnie Leon
81. Kiss by Ted Dekker & Erin Healy
82. Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes
83. There You'll Find Me by Jenny B Jones

84. Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist
85. Diary of a Teenage Girl BECOMING ME by Melody Carlson
86. A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner
87. Along Wooded Paths by Tricia Goyer
88. The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund
89. Baby It's Cold Outside by Susan May Warren
90. Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James
91. The Crossing by Serita Jakes
92. Suspicious Minds by Christy Barritt
93. The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer
94. The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy
95. Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble
96. Boneman's Daughters by Ted Dekker

97. A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander
98. House of Secrets by Tracie Peterson
99. Healing Stones by Nancy Rue & Stephen Arterburn
100. Healing Waters by Nancy Rue & Stephen Arterburn
101. Departures by Robin Jones Gunn
102. Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser
103. Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin
104. Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell

105. Gravestone by Travis Thrasher
106. The Wedding Kiss by Hannah Alexander
107. Broken Wings by Carla Stewart
108. Mr Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo
109. The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Pattillo
110. Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins
111. Antonia's Choice by Nancy Rue
112. The Judge Who Stole Christmas by Randy Singer
113. The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello
114. Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt & Denise Hunter
115. Love Lifted Me by Sara Evans & Rachel Hauck