Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie & illustrated by Christine Kornacki

The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie is one of the best books for children that I've ever read.

Christine Kornicki did a fabulous job with the illustrations, the pictures are darling.

Little Sam is wondering what's inside the sparkle box, their present to Jesus

Rushing downstairs on Christmas morning!

Book includes a sparkle box of your own inside the back cover.
This book is a treasure! What an important lesson it can teach to your whole family. It may be the only children's book to ever make me cry.

I can't wait to share this with a little person in my life.

About the book:
Sam is so excited about Christmas! He’s thinking about his Christmas list, anticipating holiday parties and puzzling over one very mysterious gift—a sparkly box sitting on the mantel above the fireplace. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family’s good deeds. Sam’s parents explain that the things they’ve been doing for others are, in fact, a gift for Jesus.
Jill, her husband and their two children began this tradition in their home eight years ago. Every year, they place a Sparkle Box under their Christmas tree as a gift for Jesus on His birthday.
Wanting to share the idea, Jill wrote The Sparkle Box to spark this new Christmas tradition within other families—one that honors the true meaning of the holiday. A Sparkle Box is included in the back of the book and can be easily put together by children as they think of their own gifts to give during the holiday season.

This book was provided for review by PR By the Book.

You can purchase a copy here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Praying for Your Addicted Loved One 90 in 90 by Sharron K. Cosby

Praying For Your Addicted Loved One 90 in 90 by Sharron K. Cosby is a book that addresses the heartbreaking reality of addiction and how it not only hurts the addict but those that love him. 90 in 90 refers to the fact that it should take you about 90 seconds to get through each of the 90 daily devotions and prayers. Can you give a minute and a half each day to devote to praying for the addict in your life? Sharron writes with raw emotion as she guides you through this journey that she has been through herself. You will cry with her as she addresses the topics of guilt, tough love, enabling, broken dreams, and more, all the while pointing the reader towards God. Each daily dose ends with a prayer and a blank page for you to write your own thoughts on. Take this book and make it your own prayer journal as you read through this journey.

Loving an addict isn't easy, but this book can help you get through it.

There are a couple of special sections in the back, one written by the author's husband and the other by her son. They are not to be missed.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse.

Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge & John Ward

Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge & John Ward is the latest book & movie release. The novel is based on the screenplay. Well written and engaging, it tugged at my heart and caused me to tear up more than once. I couldn't put this book down and finished it in about 24 hours. 
Each chapter is told from a different characters perspective, once you get the hang of who is who it's fairly easy to catch on. There were a few things I didn't think were resolved at the end (was Luke guilty or not?) and it ended rather abruptly but overall I enjoyed my time with these characters.

From the back cover:

Faith and Luke Carraday have it all. After taking his inheritance from his father's stable, lucrative business to invest in a successful hedge fund with the Michov Brothers, Luke is on the fast track as a rising young executive. And Faith, a beautiful singer turned socialite, is settling comfortably into her role as his wife.
When rumors of the Michovs' involvement in a Ponzi scheme reach Faith she turns to Luke for confirmation, and he assures her that all is well. But when Luke is arrested, Faith can't understand why he would lie to her, and she takes off for the farm and the family she tuned her back on years ago. Meanwhile, Luke is forced to ask his own family for help as he desperately tries to untangle himself from his mistakes. Can two prodigals return to families they abandoned and hope to be met with open arms? Will a marriage survive betrayal when there is nowhere to run but home?

Here's a link where you can watch the movie trailer. I received the book and the movie and read the book before watching the film. The book was much better than the movie, the movie was right up there with 95% of other Christian films in cheesiness. It didn't make much sense and I would have been lost if I hadn't read the book.

This was provided for review by Tyndale.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Heart Failure by Richard L Mabry M.D.

If you like medical fiction then you need to discover Richard Mabry's books. Dr. Mabry first caught my eye a year or two ago and I've devoured his works as soon as I got my hands on them. Heart Failure is his latest release from Thomas Nelson Publishers and is everything I've grown to expect from this author.
Mystery and action fill out this medical love story. There are a lot of genre's in which this could fall into, legal and suspense also included. I finished this in a few hours, couldn't put it down. 
Some of the medical terms were a little too big for me to pronounce, let alone understand, but I do know more about how women have heart attacks than I did before, and that knowledge is always good to have on hand.

From the back cover:
Dr. Carrie Markham's heart was broken by the death of her husband two years ago. Now, just as her medical practice is taking off, her fresh engagement to paralegal. Adam Davidson seems almost too good to be true...until a drive-by shooting leaves Carrie on the floor of his car with glass falling around her.
When he confesses that Adam isn't his real name and that he fled the witness protection program, Carrie is left with an impossible choice: should she abandon the fiance she isn't sure she really knows, or accept his claim of innocence and help him fight back against this faceless menace?
While Carrie struggles to decide whether to follow her heart or her head, the threats against them continue to escalate. Her life-as well as Adam's-depends om making the right choice...and the clock is ticking.

This book was provided for review by BookSneeze.

Can't Wait Willow! by Christy Ziglar illustrated by Luanne Marten

Can't Wait Willow! by Christy Ziglar and illustrated by Luanne Marten is the story of little Willow and how she just can't say no. She's been excited for the circus for forever and today is the big day. She meets circumstances on her trip to the big top and by the time she gets there she is too late for the show. She's invited back the next day and is faced with the same circumstances again. Will she be able to pass up the ice-cream truck? The game with friends? The lemonade?
This book will teach your little ones that sometimes waiting for the big thing is hard, but worth it.

This book is full of beautiful pictures and also has a little game inside.

Spend time reading to your little people. They love it.

About Shine Bright Kids:
The Shine Bright Kids series provides children and their families with a relevant framework to help instill solid values and teach the importance of making good choices. The series teaches principles including: using good judgment, taking responsibility, self-control, having a positive attitude, and demonstrating perseverance.  Check out their website at for free reward charts, activities and other parenting resources.

About the Author:  
Christy Ziglar, financial planner, mother of twins and niece of legendary motivator and the world’s original optimist, Zig Ziglar, is bringing the same timeless wisdom and ageless advice to an entirely new, younger audience through her new Shine Bright Kids picture book series. 
Christy is available for Q&A, author interviews, Skype calls, etc.!

The first book in the series:  Can't-Wait Willow!
Willow is so excited that the Over-the-Top Circus has finally come to town! The only problem is, that when left to her own devices, she can’t say “no” to some good things. On the way to the show, she is distracted by enticing treats and fun that she just can’t turn down. Willow arrives late and is sad to find that, not only has she has run out of time, but money, and she won’t be able to enjoy the pink cotton candy she’s been dreaming of. Willow is given valuable advice and a second chance and is ultimately taught the lesson that sometimes in life you have to say “no” to good things to end up with something great!
This book was provided for review by Flyby Promotions. You can purchase a copy at Barnes and Noble.

Glittering Promises by Lisa T Bergren

Glittering Promises by Lisa T Bergren is the third and final book in The Grand Tour series. If you love historicals and big fat books then you need to get your hands onto this series. The final book alone is over 400 pages. 
I was a little lost for a while in this book because I missed out on the second one of the series, but I quickly put together what happened and was able to finish without confusion.
I enjoyed seeing Italy through the characters eyes and watching the romances blossom and another one fade away. It all seemed like a simpler time back then, yet danger and fear still hung overhead.

What must it have felt like for young Cora to suddenly be the wealthiest woman in America? It was fun to entertain these thoughts, yet her sensibilities always came through at the end. She cared more for helping others than for spending on herself.

From the back cover:
For Cora Kensington, the Grand Tour was to be the trip of a lifetime. She discovered the family she never knew she had and may have even found the  love she longs for in Will. Yet her life has just become infinitely more challenging...
Hounded by the stubborn pursuit of Pierre de Richelieu and journalists chasing the beguiling story of the newest American heiress, Cora fights to remain true to her past, reconcile her present, and still embrace her future. But as Will struggles with her newfound wealth, Cora begins to wonder if their love is strong enough to withstand all that threatens to pull them apart.
 As she glimpses the end of the tour, Cora knows it's time to decide who and what defines her...and who and what does not.
Enter Today | 10/10 - 10/29!
Glittering Promises Lisa T. Bergren

This book was provided for review by LitFuse.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Unspoken by Dee Henderson

Unspoken by Dee Henderson was one of the slowest moving books I've ever read. It was so mundane. Over 440 pages-many of which I skipped because they weren't necessary to the story-of things like, "Do you want cookies?"  
"Yes, and some milk."
Seriously mundane stuff.
I've read Dee in the past but hadn't picked up any of her work in years, this is probably why. When I lose interest in an author I should probably just stay away.
I wanted to love this story, but so much of it was the two main characters talking about her millions of dollars to give away, or the coins that she had to sell.

There was some romance and mystery thrown in there, though it was easy to figure out the connections. The "who done it" wasn't as easy to figure out, mainly because you don't read about him until he's a suspect.

I was quite disappointed with this one and forced myself to finish it, the ending wasn't satisfying-course I did lose interest at about page 150.

From the back cover:
Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history.
The FBI and local cops found her abductors, killed them, and rescued her, but it took four long years. The fact that she was found just three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She's since changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life.
She's never said a word-to the cops, to her doctors, to her family-about those four years.
A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago, where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. Her options are limited: either hope the reporter doesn't uncover the full truth, or break her silence about what happened. And her silence is what has protected her family for years.
Bryce Bishop doesn't know Charlotte's past; he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather's estate-and that the FBI director in Chicago made the introduction. The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her. But she's decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she's willing to forgo a huge inheritance to keep her privacy. She's not giving him much of an opening to work with.
Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime the cops thought was solved has only opened another chapter....

This book was provided for review by Bethany House.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser

Nancy Moser has been writing fantastic novels for years. If you aren't familiar with her you need to seek her works out. I've read a stack of them and have enjoyed them all. Check out everything she's released here. I recommend starting with The Good Nearby. It was unique and really special.

Her latest release is a historical novel set in the mid-to-late 1800s during the railway building that traveled west. Josephine Cain lives a society life in Washington, DC but has spend much of the last year clothed in mourning garb and kept inside her home.

Sidenote: aren't you so glad that we don't have to do that anymore? Ugh.

Josephine longs for more and when she meets Lewis Simmons she thinks she may finally be free from this depressing life. 

Josephine's father works on building the railroad and is in Omaha when he invites her and her mother to join him. Josephine finagles a way to get there after her mother declines.

The adventures she finds are humorous and insightful. I especially enjoyed the encounter with the baby and mother at the creek. 

As with other novels by Moser I found this impossible to put down and finished it between sunup and sundown in one day.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse

From the back cover:
A setting populated by hundreds of laborers, outlaws, and Indians is hardly the place for a wealthy general's daughter. But Josephine Cain is determined to visit her father, who supervises the day-to-day work involved in the grandest ambition of post-Civil War America:the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.
Life with the railroad is far from the proper life Josephine is used to, and she faces deadly gunfights, harsh weather, and vigilante uprisings. She is torn between the West and the East; between her privileged upbringing and the challenges of a new frontier; between the pull of the suitable beau her parents approve of and an attraction to a rough but charming Irish railroad worker. But if Josephine is willing, she just might find a new life, a unique purpose...and true love.

Return to Me by Lynn Austin

If you've read my blog for any amount of time then you know that I'm a huge Lynn Austin fan. I don't know of another author who has such a large library of books with so much diversity. Biblical fiction, Civil War fiction, contemporary fiction, WW II era fiction, and the list goes on. She releases one or two books a year and I've never been disappointed with any of them.
Return to Me is the first in a new series (The Restoration Chronicles) based on the prophets and their work in the Old Testament.
When I received this book I was a little intimidated by the 450+ pages and thought it might be hard to get into, but -as stated above- Austin never lets me down. This book was as easy to get into as my favorite pair of slippers. It took me about four days to get through and I enjoyed every moment of it. Reading a fictional account of a Biblical story makes the Bible come alive. This story fed my spirit as well as my need to read.
I can't wait for the rest of the series!

From the back cover:
After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true-King Cyrus has declared the Jews may return to Jerusalem. Iddo, a priest, is sure this is a sign of God's renewed favor. For too long they've remained in Babylon, and many, including Iddo's sons, are losing the faith that sets them apart. And so only a few choose to leave everything to return-return to their home and their God.
Nothing about their journey to the Promised Land is easy. As hardships mount, even the faithful, like Iddo's beloved wife, Dinah, question the sacrifice of following God's leading. Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the family they left behind. But one life-changing encounter with the Holy One give him insight that will change Zechariah-and history-forever.
Bringing the Old Testament to vibrant life, Return to Me tells the compelling story of two men living by faith in the midst of doubt, the women who love them, and the faithful remnant struggling to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse.

Enter Today | 10/3 - 10/22!
Return To Me Lynn Austin

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong is the debut novel from this new author. I had a hard time finishing it. I was hooked until about halfway through the book. I put it down and had a hard time getting back into it, I will admit I skimmed through the last half just to see how it ended. The main character was not real to me, she never formed into a person into my mind. I'm not sure why, I just couldn't connect with her.

From the back cover:
The red warning light on her car dashboard may have driven Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico, but as she meets the people who make this one-horse town their home, it's her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, and too interested in her personal life--especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.
Yet in spite of herself, Lainie is increasingly drawn into the small-town dramas and to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

This book was provided for review by Revell.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Our God Comes - Antioch Live

Our God Comes is the latest worship project CD from Antioch Live. It's got fourteen tracks and starts off with the upbeat and catchy Come. After that it mellows out quite a bit and really slows down. While lyrically it is spot on and beautifully written, it didn't catch me like I thought it would. 
My favorite track would have to be Wonderful Counselor, I love the arrangement and also the words. 
I'm not at all familiar with the Antioch Movement (what they call themselves) though they've been at it for twenty years. This was the first I'd heard of them.

Their CD debuted at #2 on iTunes. You can learn more about them here.

I think instead of keeping this one in my car I'll let my church use it for pre-service music, it will provide the right atmosphere as we prepare to enter into worship. 

More about this CD:

Waco, TX- Antioch Live, the worship band for Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas, has signed with the new record label Clear Day Worship. As the music arm of Clear Day Media Group based in Waco, Texas, Clear Day Worship and Antioch Live debuted the new album OUR GOD COMES at the World Mandate Conference September 20 and the CD hit #2 on iTunes.

“World Mandate 2013 was the perfect venue for launching this new CD. Everyday people were united by a passion for Jesus with a desire to worship God and change the world. That is what we are about,” states Clear Day Media Group president, David Seibert. “OUR GOD COMES is a passionate and thrilling worship release captured at Antioch Community Church in Waco, TX. We look forward to seeing how God uses this worship music to bless the Church.” continues Seibert. 
Antioch is home to a worldwide church planting and worship movement, ministering to the needs of thousands internationally. Antioch Community Church currently has 30 church plants in the United States and another 40 in other parts of the world with more than 30,000 people involved with the movement. Antioch Live's “Forever Sound” CD released last year was #3 on iTunes.
The worship music and lyrics on OUR GOD COMES expresses the heart cry, prayers and joy of the worship team, songwriters and musicians from Antioch, led by James Mark Gulley. From the opening strains of audience approval, joyous praise and worship floods the listeners’ ears and ageless unchanging truths find a new sound for today! The savvy musical arrangements and gifted song writing flow from “Come” to “Our God Comes”, and the glorious experience is documented from the choruses of “Wonderful Counselor”, “How Much More” and “Savior Forever”.
Clear Day Media Groupcreates products to help people see God clearly and impact the world through Christ-centered content.
The 72-minute, live recording was produced by James Mark Gulley and assistant Owen Wible, recorded by Randy Adams and mastered at Marcussen Mastering in Hollywood, CA by Stephen Marcussen. Featuring songwriters James Mark Gulley, Stephen Gulley, Brandon Seibert, Thomas Wilson and Johanna Six, OUR GOD COMES also features worship leaders James Mark Gulley, Stephen Gulley, Johanna Six and Clare Berlinsky.
The full track listing for OUR GOD COMES is as follows:
  1. Come
  2. God And King
  3. Wonderful Counselor
  4. God Who Saves
  5. How Much More
  6. I Will Raise
  7. …Response
  8. Light Me Up
  9. Awaken Us
  10. One Hundred Three
  11. …Return
  12. Savior Forever
  13. …Selah
  14. Our God Comes
All songs are available with CCLI.
More information on OUR GOD COMES can be found on
This was provided for review by The B&B Media Group

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Search for Purple Cows by Susan Call

A Search for Purple Cows by Susan Call is one woman's story of living with an abusive spouse and how she escaped the torment she was living in, found the Lord, and found the way to forgive.

This story is heartbreaking, to realize what this woman lived through with an abuser. An abuser who never left a mark because he wasn't a physical abuser, but a verbal and emotional one. Abuse comes in many forms and verbal abuse is as destructive as physical abuse, the wounds it leaves cannot be seen but they cut deeper than a physical wound.

From the back cover:
A whimsical comment from a kind stranger, "Be sure to look for purple cows," brings hope in God's infinite love to a woman fleeing a life filled with fear. In this moving and extraordinary memoir, Susan Call recounts what happens when love deteriorates into a cycle of abuse and betrayal. She chronicles how she first met her husband, a handsome, charming, generous man. They fell in love, married, and had two children. Their life seemed idyllic; they had a beautiful home and everything a family could desire.

But inside the walls of that home, Susan was tormented by her husband's alcoholism, anger, and infidelity, which cast her into a world fraught with fear and despair. God found her in the midst of her pain and showed her, through the unlikely source of a Christian radio station, that hope and healing in God was possible even in the most unthinkable circumstances. It's a journey of astonishing forgiveness, God's amazing provision, and the strength to look directly in the face of darkness and yet know God has a plan for you.

Written with candor and grace, A Search for Purple Cows will leave you believing that God is present and able. ready to shine a light on your path.

More thoughts from me: 
This true story is beautiful. Underneath all of the anguish that Susan went through there was a courtship that she found herself in with God. He searched her out and wooed her to Himself. He provided hope and safety for her when she felt at her lowest. Our creator wants to do the same for you. If you are in an abusive situation IT IS NOT NORMAL. You do not have to live like this. Abuse has many faces and comes out in many forms. 

If you need help please contact one of these agencies:

Though NEVER access online resources on a computer shared with an abuser.

National Domestic Violence Hotline-anonymous and confidential help available 24 hours a day 365 days a year
800-799-SAFE (7233)

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Crisis Counseling in English and Spanish
800-621-HOPE (4673)

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


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

First Date by Melody Carlson

Melody Carlson is back with a new series for teen readers. This one is called The Dating Games and the first book in this series is First Date. As usual, it is perfect for the young readers in your life. 

Sidenote: How Melody continues to crank out book after book is beyond me. They are all so good and so different from each other. I can barely get through the day with an intelligent to-do list. Sigh.

I really enjoyed this book, the only thing that I didn't like is that I kept getting confused with the five main characters as to who was who. Perhaps a little guide at the front with the names of the five teenagers and a slight description of them would help.

In this book we meet Devon, Emma, Cassidy, Bryn, and Abby and follow their adventures as they form the DG club. The book easily sets up the series and I'm anxious to read the rest because you just know something major is going to happen when people start to figure out what they're doing (think: Mean Girls without the mean part).

From the back cover:
Devon, Emma, Cassidy, Bryn, and Abby have one thing in common as they start their sophomore year: none of them have ever been on a "real" date. With homecoming looming, the girls make a pact and start a secret club they call the DG (Dating Games) that has just one objective--dates for the dance.

They're sworn to secrecy, but the club is their way to set each other up on their first dates so they can report back to the DG. They'll have to navigate expectations and rules from their parents, figure out how to act on a date, and endear themselves to the guys they like.

What could possibly go wrong?

This book was provided for review by Revell.