Sunday, February 27, 2011

Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris

Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris is probably the best book for teens that I've ever read. This is written for teens by teens and I'm pretty sure that makes a difference. If you are a teen or are a parent of a teen the best thing that you can do for yourself this year will be to read this book. Released in 2008 by Multnomah, this book explains the Rebeloution that the Harris brothers started when they launched a website urging teens to step out of the stereotype and do something productive TODAY. Fanstastic reading that not only shares stories of things other teens have done, but that also gives practical ideas of how you can start doing hard things of your own. You don't have to be the typical lazy teen. You can make a difference in this world!

You can read the first chapter of this ground-breaking book here.

You can purchase this book here.

Get to know Alex & Brett here.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for this review copy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Delirious by Martin Smith & Craig Borlase

Before I opened this book I had no idea who Martin Smith was. Delirious? was a band that I'd heard of but, other than a duet with Amy Grant, had never listened to. Once I learned that he was the mastermind behind such songs as, "Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble" and, "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever" I was excited to read about this worship leader and his thoughts on life, touring, music, family & more.

What struck me the most was his love for India and the people he met while there. It changed his life and that first encounted eventually led to the break-up of the band and a change in Martin's vision and view of life.

This book is a beautifully written insight into the life of this man who wants nothing more than to serve Jesus and His people. You may also be interested in reading the book that his wife wrote. The two books go hand in hand and when you read them together it's interesting to note how these two people compliment each other so well. You can see where one has strengths and the other has weaknesses.

About the book:
Remembering How to Breathe

Martin Smith shares his story, his insight, and his challenge to change the world Martin Smith, one of the men behind the modern Christian worship movement, challenges readers in his autobiography, Delirious: My Life, Mission, and Reflections on the Global Worship Movement. Martin Smith fell in love with God early in his life. By his teen years, he was captivated by songs that expressed true intimacy with God. As he grew, he married a pastor’s daughter and became involved in his church’s outreach events. He began playing his own songs with a band at the events. Then, in 1995, Smith was involved in a near-fatal car accident. During his weeks of recovery, he decided to become a full-time musician. His new career quickly took off and he became the lead singer for the band Delirious?. Touring with groups such as Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Matchbox Twenty, and Switchfoot, Smith’s life became a whirlwind of balancing work and family.

Yet Martin still wrestled with questions every Christian faces: How do I balance my “ministry” with my family? How do I know what God is leading me to do? Can I hold on to my first love for God while still holding on to the wisdom gained over years?

Then, while visiting India in 2007, Smith met Farin, the daughter of a prostitute living in a Mumbai slum. This girl was the same age as one of his daughters, and without help she too would end up facing life as a sex worker. Within a matter of hours, Smith’s life was challenged and changed like never before. He returned home, his head confused, his heart wrenched. How did this compassion find its place in a life already so full? In his book, we follow Smith’s journey as he realizes that it isn’t his job to fix everything but instead to be in a relationship with his Saviour. “I love the story of God telling Moses to go back and command Pharaoh to set his people free. Moses knows that the only way of it working is if God goes with him. If God goes with us. How’s that for a guide to making those big decisions? Forget the profit or the profile, why not just ask Dad and see if He’s in it? I’ve not seen enough decisions made this way. But if we got better at going back to God instead of charging on alone, don’t you think the world would be a better place? Couldn’t this be the clearest signpost to transformation?” Smith asks.

Smith reflects on everything from the craft of leading worship to the challenges of parenthood to finding a place of compassion within a culture of consumerism. Along the way, he challenges readers, “Are you going to be spectators or agents of change? Are you going to read history or make it happen? Are you just going to sing the songs or will you live them out?” Always personal and often surprising, Smith’s story will spur readers to embrace the action God wants them to take.

About the Author: Martin Smith is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter from England. He was the front man for the Christian rock and worship band Delirious? for seventeen years. Delirious? released numerous records, with some of their songs hitting the top twenty UK charts. In their career, Delirious? played many major conferences, festivals, events, and crusades. They won numerous Dove Awards, were nominated for a Grammy Award, and produced songs such as “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever” and “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble?” Smith collaborated with the other members of Delirious? for the book I Could Sing of Your Love Forever and with other artists to complete The Art of Compassion book and the CompassionArt CD and DVD.

Delirious: My Life, Mission, and Reflections on the Global Worship Movement by Martin Smith with Craig Borlase David C Cook/February 2011/ISBN:9781434702371/ 240 pages/softcover/$14.99 ~

Thanks to The B&B Media Group for this review copy!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn & Robert Lewis

The Life Ready Woman is the latest in self-help books by Shaunti Feldhahn, this time she's joined in her writing by Robert Lewis. Of all of the books Shaunti has released, this one is my least favorite. Maybe it's because of where I am in life, but I didn't connect with any part of this book. The one thing that jumped out at me was where she mentioned that young women who are widowed should seek to marry again (she backed it up with scripture). I suppose that may be, but I wonder how long a young widow would grieve before even giving a thought to that?
This book breaks down a woman's life into several segments and gives advice on what to do during each particular time. When you look at your life as a series of chunks like that you realize what a short time you really have here on earth.
About The Life Ready Woman:
Are you a ‘Doing it all’ or ‘Do what matters’ woman?
Whether a stay at home; or working mom, an airplane-hopping executive, an empty-nester caring for multiple generations or a single juggling high demands of career and personal life, today's fast-paced modern world leaves women gasping for balance. We as modern Christian women want to look to the Bible for guidance on how to manage our lives -- but because the world of women looks so different today than it did when the Bible was written, it is hard to find chapter and verse that seems to apply to our situation today.
Thankfully, God has given us exactly that timeless, unchanging guidance for how to find peace, clarity, and God's best for our lives once we know where to look! The Life Ready Woman: Thriving in a Do-It-All World, reveals a profound biblical roadmap for how each of us can find the abundant life we are longing for, rather than the stressful, torn, how-do-I-balance-it-all life we often feel like we are trying to keep up with today. Actually being a LifeReady Woman means that you are clear about your life, bold in your faith, and able to find God’s best for you, and the end result will be that you not only survive but thrive in our do-it-all world.
God has given every wonderfully unique woman different skills and abilities, different desires, and different temperaments -- and every woman around the planet and through the ages is certainly living in different circumstances. But no matter what a woman’s life looks like, the Bible says that God has an individual mission and plan that He’s carefully designed for each of us. And He wants us to find it. Starting January 2011, The Life Ready Woman and the Life Ready Woman Video Series will help every wonderfully unique woman to thrive as she identifies and courageously pursues God's unique design and callings for her. LifeReady Woman puts you on a roadmap to make decisions that will lead to relief, delight, and fulfillment instead of regret.
You can purchase this book here.
About Shaunti Feldhahn:
Shaunti Feldhahn is a former Wall Street analyst, best-selling author of the book For Women Only, national speaker, and regular commentator in the media. She has been featured on The Today Show, PBS, TNT and Fox News- to name a few. You can learn more about her many activities by visiting her website or get some great mom advice from her at She and her husband live with their two young children in Atlanta, Georgia and enjoy every minute of living at warp speed.
About MomLife Today:
At MomLife Today you will enjoy community with real moms experiencing every age and every stage of MomLife—right alongside you.
Moms need friends we can walk through life with, but more importantly we need friends who will encourage us and equip us in our role as moms in an honest and transparent way … and that’s just what you’ll find by becoming part of our MomLife Today community! We believe that every MOMent counts!
We admit it, being a mom 24/7 is not easy. Rather than lament the role of motherhood, however, we choose to embrace that role and learn from each other how to make it through each day with the right attitude. Come share the joys, sorrows, insanity, and special moments of motherhood with us as we live it and candidly write about it…we’ll have lots of fun along the way! Join us, and do tell… What’s happening in your MomLife Today?
About The Weekend To Remember Get-Away Giveawy:
In celebration of Shaunti Feldhahn’s Life Ready Woman, MomLife Today is giving away 2 Weekend To Remember Gift Packs and much more!
Not only, is MomLife Today helping promote Life Ready Woman, but they are thrilled to announce that Shaunti will be joining MomLife Today as a regular contributor!!!
Weekend To Remember Getaways offer marriage-changing principles that you can take home and apply to your daily lives to strengthen your marriage. Whether you are newly engaged or have been married for 50 years, you will find value in the tools provided at the getaway.
Don’t miss this opportunity to receive a conference registration for you and your spouse … and more! MomLife Today will be randomly selecting NINE lucky recipients to receive one of these great gifts:
2 Weekend To Remember Get Away conference registrations for two. $259 value each pair (Two couples will receive this.)
2 Life Ready Woman DVD packs. $149 value each (Two different people will receive this gift.)
5 Life Ready Woman books. (Book will go to 5 people.)

To enter click here then tell your friends. Winner will be announced on March 2nd on the MomLife Today website.

MomLife Today provides encouragement, advice and resources to help YOU with your daily Momlife! Because…every MOMent counts!
This book was provided for review by LitFuse.
See what others are saying about it here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An Unlikely Blessing by Judy Baer

An Unlikely Blessing by Judy Baer is the first book in the A Forever Hilltop series by Guideposts. This book introduces us to Pastor Alex Armstrong as he meets the people who attend Hilltop Church and All Saints Church. Two very different congregations, in a remote part of North Dakota, they've anticipated the arrival of this preacher, even though they are the start of his ministry experience. He's forty-two, single and starting over after leaving his career as a college professor. He's not sure what to expect and keeps hearing stories that one congregation tells of the other, will he be able to bring the two together? What separated them to begin with? He quickly makes new friends, turns the eyes of the single women in town and even adopts a three-legged dog.
This book was a nice, relaxing read. Not too much drama or conflict, this is obviously the beginning of a new series that has many plots and subplots to draw from. The author has written several recipes into this book, which is always fun.

Purchase An Unlikely Blessing here.

In celebration of the release of An Unlikely Blessing,

Judy is giving away a

KINDLE prize package worth over $175.

One lucky winner will receive: Brand New KINDLE with Wi-FiA $25 gift certificate to To enter just click HERE

See what others are saying about An Unlikely Blessing here.

About the book: An Unlikely Blessing is a heartfelt story about a new pastor and life-long city dweller Alex Armstrong, who reluctantly accepts his first assignment, a two-point parish in the wilds of North Dakota. Hilltop Township, a farming community, blooms from the prairie like a wild pink rose—lovely and prickly all at once, much like the people who live there.

Unlikely Alex quickly finds that this lovely place is in quiet peril. Farmers are struggling to make ends meet: Jonas Owens, a faithful member of Hilltop parish, is on the brink of losing the farm. Alex believes that part of why God called him to Hilltop was to help turn things around, and steps in with ideas for saving the Owens' land. But can even God's minister help save this rural community?

There are a lot of firsts for the new pastor—the annual Hunter's Breakfast, julebukking (also called Christmas fooling), King Oscar's fish balls, and the melody of the musical saw. And the new, single pastor creates remarkable excitement among the unmarried women in the community. If you could die of hot dish overdose, Alex would be a dead man. Whether performing weddings, counseling his flock, or herding cattle by snowmobile, Alex soon discovers that his new church home has as much to teach him as he will teach them. Day by day, he falls more in love with the people of Hilltop Church. People may leave Hilltop, but Hilltop never leaves them.

About the author: Judy Baer is the author of over seventy-five books for adults and teens. She has won the Romance Writer of America Bronze Medallion and has been a RITA finalist twice. She lives in Elk River, Minnesota with her husband. Follow the Hilltop characters on Judy’s blog and find out more about Judy and her books at

This book was provided for review by LitFuse.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Springtime of the Spirit by Maureen Lang

Do you love historical fiction set during the first World War? Then read on...
By the fall of 1918, the Great War has ended and the world is at peace, but there is little to celebrate in Germany. After four years of fighting for his homeland, Christophe Brecht returns to find there isn't much left of what he once called home. So when family friends ask him to travel to Munich to bring back their runaway daughter, Christophe agrees.
He soon locates Annaliese Duray, but discovers she is far different from the girl he once knew. Headstrong, idealistic, and beautiful, she is on the front lines of the city’s political scene, fighting to give women and working-class citizens a voice in Germany’s new government.
As the political upheaval ignites in Munich, so does the attraction between Annaliese and Christophe. With an army from Berlin threatening to squash everything Annaliese has worked for, both she and Christophe are forced to choose between love, loyalty, and their lives.
This book is new this month from Tyndale.
Get to know Maureen at her website.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy

About the book: Since 1955, Sheila Franklin, a talented musician, has perfectly performed the role of devout pastor’s wife, locking away her past as Sheba Alexander and Sylvia Allen. Her carefully constructed façade crumbles with a single phone call from a young Marine named Samuel, the illegitimate son she secretly put up for adoption. Samuel begs Sheila to use her government contacts to get his fiancé, Mali, a Thai prostitute, into America. A dangerous mixture of love and guilt spurs her to help her only child even though it devastates her husband Edward and exposes her questionable past. After a quarrel with Edward, Sheila and Samuel board a C-130 for Thailand and then search Bangkok’s steamy streets for a Madonna-faced prostitute. The two whisk Mali from a brothel but are seized by a warlord who considers Mali his “number one girl.” In a teak “ghost house,” Sheila discovers God’s grace and gains the freedom she needs to find her own identity—Sheila, Sylvia, and Sheba. A framed story, this novel has roots in the bohemian 1940s New Orleans French Quarter and spans three decades, including the turbulent Vietnam era.

You can purchase this book here.

Baylor graduate, taught community college humanities until God called her to span seas and secrets in her novels, An Irishwoman's Tale and What the Bayou Saw. She has two grown children and a dog named Laura. She and her husband can be seen jog-walking the streets of Normal, Illinois, an amazing place to live for a woman born in a car. For more information, visit Patti's website at, her blog, and her Facebook daily Artbites. Patti's longer bio here.

Read what others are saying about this book.

Enter to win your very own Nook eReader in Patti Lacy’s Rhythm of Secrets Giveaway! Enter at the link below and then be sure to attend The Rhythm of Secrets Book Club Party on February 16th to see if you won (and to chat about books and win one of the MANY other prizes Patti is giving away – including gift certificates to Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, & iTunes!) Enter to win here.

Thanks to LitFuse for this review copy.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Meet Mrs Smith by Anna Smith and Carolyn Johnson

Meet Mrs Smith by Anna Smith and Carolyn Johnson is a look behind the scenes of the family of Delirious? front man Martin Smith. While Martin and the band grow from a local worship team to a world renound music group they leave family behind to tour everywhere they can. This is a look at the Smith family from Mrs. Smith's persepective. The years of raising children (mostly alone) have forced this one-woman show into a very organized routine. Her love for her family is evident between the pages. Her humble heart shows also.

While I'm not familiar with this band and their music I could relate to the time that Anna spent alone while her husband ministered (although not to the same extent!) Some parts of this book were a little confusing because the words are a jargon that isn't used in the States. Anna and Martin are Brittish, so the spelling of some words is different too (that didn't take away from the book, it just caused me to read slower).

My heart ached for Anna as she shared about miscarrying mid-flight, trying to get pregnant, rushing her child to a hospital in a foreign country and I just felt plain tired for her. This mom of six kids who has an open door policy at her home should be awarded a tiara and given a years supply of chocolates.

This was an interesting look into the lives and hearts of people who truly care about others and live out the Christian life as it should be. It will inspire you to stay faithful to the One who is always faithful to you.

Thanks to the B&B Media Group and Cook Publishing for providing this review copy.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

New from Waterbrook Press is The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan.

Back cover copy:

Mercy Land has made some unexpected choices for a young woman of the 1930s. The sheltered daughter of a traveling preacher, she chooses to leave her rural community to move to nearby Bay City on the warm, gulf-waters of southern Alabama. There she finds a job at the local paper and spends seven years making herself indispensable to old Doc Philips, the publisher and editor. Then she gets a frantic call at dawn–it’s the biggest news story of her life and she can’t print a word of it.
Doc has come into possession of a curious book that maps the lives of everyone in Bay City–decisions they’ve made in the past, and how those choices affect the future. Mercy and Doc are consumed by the mystery locked between the pages–Doc because he hopes to right a very old wrong, and Mercy because she wants to fulfill the book’s strange purpose. But when a mystery from Mercy’s past arrive by train, she begins to understand she will have to make choices that will deeply affect everyone she loves–forever.

My review:

I'd not heard of this author before requesting this book to review and the back cover copy drew me in. I felt let down after reading it though. The "curious book" that's found by Doc is never really explained and the hint of being able to change the past is never brought to fruition. The characters open the book time after time and hint about seeing things, but nothing is shown clearly. The mysterious man who arrives by train has something happen to him after looking at the book, but even that isn't fully explained. The choices that Mercy has to make weren't as difficult as I'd hoped they'd be, again, I felt that many parts of this story were gently touched on instead of being dug right into. This book left me with more questions than answers. If it is an allegory of some sort I truly didn't get it.

On the up side, it is a clean read and for that I'm grateful. I enjoyed the bits and pieces about life in the early to mid 20th century. Mercy was a girl who wasn't afraid to go after what she wanted and she landed a dream job at a newspaper when she was just nineteen. Mercy lives in a boarding house and is very independent. The story rushes a little and at times I was left wondering if I'd missed something.

This book was provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah.