Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Journey to New Books – Develop stronger relationships… - From March 5, 2010

Mother Daughter Duet
by Cheri Fuller and Ali Plum

Book Description:
When a daughter is born, her mother has a thousand hopes and dreams for her, especially that they will be best friends one day.
Unfortunately, even the best of intentions can go awry. There are so many challenges on the journey to adult friendship that the reality is fraught with friction and frustration. But a harmonious relationship is possible.
Award-winning author Cheri Fuller and her daughter, Ali Plum, have been there and have discovered the keys to a healthy relationship. In Mother-Daughter Duet they share their story—each from her own perspective—in which they have experienced distance and tension, growth and challenge, and, ultimately, acceptance and harmony. Filled with personal anecdotes and based on several basic principles (letting go; listening; respect; setting boundaries; and more), Mother-Daughter Duet helps moms repair the breach so that daughters want to draw close.
The mother-daughter dynamic is intense, personal, complex, and unique. But mothers and daughters can achieve mutual respect and learn to celebrate their differences when they learn the two-part harmony of the mother-daughter duet.

Author Bio:
Cheri Fuller is a best-selling, award-winning author whose books have sold more than one million copies. She speaks to a wide range of women at women’s conferences and is a frequent guest on national radio and television programs.
Ali Plum is Cheri’s daughter, a writer and songwriter, a wife, and a mother to Noah and Luke. She and her mom have weathered the ups and downs of their relationship to find one of the most treasured, honest relationships of their lives. Ali has recorded background vocals for popular musicians, and Mother-Daughter Duet marks her debut into book publishing.

Dancing with My Father
by Sally Clarkson

Book Description:
The reality of living in a broken, fallen world can leave women feeling overcome by fear, guilt, and weariness. Many develop “sawdust souls,” numb to any sense of joy.
In this warm and wise book, author Sally Clarkson invites readers to take God’s hand and let Him lead them into a life of anticipation, passion, and purpose. With the voice of a trusted mentor, she reveals how, by getting in tune with the rhythm of God’s presence, women can nurture an inner attitude of anticipation and celebration even in the stressful seasons of life.
Through rich biblical insights woven with real-life stories, women will be inspired to recapture a spirit of joy as they follow God’s lead on the dance floor of life.

Author Bio:
Sally Clarkson is a popular speaker, known across the nation and internationally for her work with women. She is the author of several books, including The Mission of Motherhood, The Ministry of Motherhood, and Seasons of a Mother’s Heart. She has worked in various ministries, including Campus Crusade for Christ. With her husband, Clay, she is cofounder of Whole Heart Ministries, which encourages and equips Christian parents. The Clarksons, parents of four, live near Colorado Springs, Colorado.

These books were provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Journey to New Books - From February 26, 2010

It’s time again for some great value fiction. There are six titles in this latest collection of value fiction. I will tell you all about one title and give you a brief summary of the other five. So let’s get started!

I read this book and most of The Glenbrooke Series years ago and enjoyed all that I read. I was thrilled when Secrets came as one of my review books. I had been wanting to reread the series for some time, but I never had an excuse before to do just that. So, I sat down and started revisiting the town of Glenbrooke.

In this story, Jessica heads out on her own to be a teacher. She encounters many sweet people in Glenbrooke whom she comes to appreciate, but why did Jessica head out on her own? What is she looking for? She doesn’t trust God or want to talk to Him. She wants her own life. She meets a firefighter named Kyle, a teacher named Teri, and a landlord named Ida. Each of these people sow into Jessica’s life in different ways, giving Jessica a new perspective on things. This book has a wonderful cast of characters and a real sense of “family” to it. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Secrets and discovering just what can happen when you open your heart to a new place, new friends, and a new faith. Then you can follow the rest of The Glenbrooke Series and enjoy seven more great stories!

Disclaimer: This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

The other value fiction titles available are:

Beneath a Southern Sky
by Deborah Raney
Daria Camfield is expecting her first child when her husband Nate is reported dead on the mission field. Devastated, she returns to the States and soon marries again. But two years later Nate is found alive in the jungle. How can Daria possibly choose between he two men who love her?

Deep Harbor
by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Tora, Elsa, Kaatje, and Karl face trouble, tragedy, and treachery across the Wast, Hawaii, Japan, and the high seas. These four immigrants from Bergen, Norway, each grow closer to God and learn afresh the value of faith, family, and coming alongside each other in times of need.

Faithful Heart
by Al and Joanna Lacy
The adventures of certified medical nurse and dedicated Christian Breanna Baylor continue as she travels by wagon train to visit her sister, Dottie, in California. Little does she know that her most dangerous encounter might be with Jerrod, her brother-in-law, who’s suffering from dementia caused by combat fatigue.

The Golden Cross
by Angela Elwell Hunt
Aidan O’Connor may be a poor barmaid but she’s also a gifted artists. When a famous cartographer takes her on as a student, Aidan is swept into an adventure that will bring her back to her heavenly Father, and into marriage with the love of her life.

Yesterday’s Promise
by Linda Lee Chaikin
Rogan Chantry faces danger from tribesmen, ruthless politicians, and his own family as he searches for gold in South Africa. In England, his beloved Evy is injured by a mysterious assailant. The greed and intrigue surrounding the diamond mines could very well drive them irrevocably apart.

Note: Some or all of the above titles may be part of a series and may not be the first title in the series.

A Journey to New Books – Love & War - From February 12, 2010

I have to admit that I haven’t finished reading this book yet either. That seems to be my current reading status – I can’t finish as many books as I’d like to. Part of that comes from chasing around my 15 1/2 month old daughter. Anyway, Love & War is very insightful and interesting so far, and I haven’t even made it to page 20 (I don’t believe). Let me tell you below what I know about it from the publisher.

Book Summary:
What the Eldredge bestsellers Wild at Heart did for men, and Captivating did for women, LOVE & WAR will do for married couples everywhere. John and Stasi Eldredge have contributed the quintessential works on Christian spirituality through the experience of men and the experience of women and now they turn their focus to the incredible dynamic between those two forces.
With refreshing openness that will grab readers from the first page, the Eldredges candidly discuss their own marriage and the insights they’ve gained from the challenges they faced. Each talks independently to the reader about what they’ve learned, giving their guidance personal immediacy and a balance between the male and female perspectives that has been absent from all previous books on this topic. They begin LOVE & WAR with an obvious but necessary acknowledgement: Marriage is fabulously hard. They advise that the sooner we get the shame and confusion off our backs, the sooner we’ll find our way through.
LOVE & WAR shows couples how to fight for their love and happiness, calling men and women to step into the great adventure God has waiting for them together. Walking alongside John and Stasi Eldredge, every couple can discover how their individual journeys are growing into a story of meaning much greater than anything they could do or be on their own.

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

A Journey to New Books – Dug Down Deep - From January 22, 2010

I have always enjoyed reading books by Joshua Harris. I was one of those teens who had to get my hands on a copy of I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I devoured the book with the full hope and belief that I would one day follow in the footsteps of God-honoring courtship. When Boy Meets Girl came out, I had to know how the story “ended.” What person who read his first book wouldn’t want to know what happened to this great man of God on his journey to marital bliss? And I continued on in the Joshua Harris “club” to join the many who read the book formerly titled Not Even a Hint. Once I got hooked on his stories and insights, I must admit I had to read more. I missed out on his fourth book, but when the opportunity came along to read and review his most recent book, I, of course, jumped at the chance to read his latest “installment” in deep wisdom and insight.
Dug Down Deep has all the elements of a great Joshua Harris book. I can’t tell you all about it because I have failed to finish reading it. I can only say that what I’ve read so far has been thought-provoking, eye-opening, and, might I even say, compelling. Whether you’ve ever read a Joshua Harris book before or not, I would say that this book is worth the reading. Please look below for more info on this new title from Joshua Harris.

Book Summary:
What will you build your life on?

With startling transparency, Joshua Harris shares how we can rediscover the relevance and power of Christian truth. This is book shows a young man who rose quickly to success in the Christian evangelical world before he realized his spirituality lacked a foundation—it rested more on tradition and morality than on an informed knowledge of God.

For the indifferent or spiritually numb, Harris’s humorous and engaging reflections on Christian beliefs show that orthodoxy isn’t just for scholars—it is for anyone who longs to know the living Jesus Christ. As Harris writes, “I’ve come to learn that theology matters. It matters not because we want to impress people, but because what we know about God shapes the way we think and live. Theology matters because if we get it wrong then our whole life will be wrong.”

Whether you are just exploring Christianity or you are a veteran believer finding yourself overly familiar and cold-hearted, Dug Down Deep will help you rediscover the timeless truths of Scripture. As Harris challenges you to root your faith and feelings about God in the person, work, and words of Jesus, he answers questions such as:
What is God like and how does he speak to me?What difference does it make that Jesus was both human and divine?How does Jesus’s death on the cross pay for my sins?Who is the Holy Spirit and how does he work in my life?

With grace and wisdom, Harris will inspire you to revel in the truth that has captured his own mind and heart. He will ask you to dig deep into a faith so solid you can build your life on it. He will point you to something to believe in again.

Author Bio:
Joshua Harris is senior pastor of Covenant Life in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which belongs to the Sovereign Grace network of local churches. A passionate speaker with a gift for making theological truth easy to understand, Joshua is perhaps best known for his runaway bestseller, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which he wrote at the age of twenty-one. His later books include Boy Meets Girl, Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is), and Stop Dating the Church. The founder of the NEXT conferences for young adults, Joshua is committed to seeing the gospel transferred to a new generation of Christians. He and his wife, Shannon, have three children.

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

A Promise for Spring by Kim Vogel Sawyer

This book had a very similar story to another I read not to long ago, but I really enjoyed it. I thought the story of Emmaline who had not seen her betrothed in five years was an interesting tale. She was young when she saw him last in England. Geoffrey boarded a ship to America to forge a new life for himself and his future bride in Kansas. Time slipped away quickly and before he really realized it five years had gone by. He had promised to return for Emmaline in a year or two so that they could wed, but as we all can testify time slipped away from him. This story follows Emmaline as she arrives in Kansas and the struggles and heartaches that come. She and Geoffrey must learn to care for each other again.
It really was, overall, an enjoyable story. My one issue is Geoffrey. He is so blind to things and stubborn and I wanted to reach into the book and give the man a good shake. I guess that we all have our moments of being blind and stubborn and downright unaware of what we’re doing (or not doing) to those around us. I would say to you that this is a great story of being restored to God when we have given up on Him for one reason or another. Head to the library or the bookstore and pick up a copy of A Promise for Spring; I believe you will be glad you did!

A Journey to New Books – The One-Day Way - From January 7, 2010

I’d like to tell you about a new book. I’m sorry to say that I haven’t had a chance to finish reading it yet, but I think it will be a good one.
Book Summary:
The One-Day Way produces lasting results by taking you back to basics. No more complicated weight-loss strategies. No more expensive diet plans that achieve only temporary results. Instead, you will lose weight and get fit with Chantel Hobbs’s simple, high-energy meal plans and her at-home program for cardio exercise and strength training. She will teach you how to change the way you think, which leads to new actions. Before you know it you will be strong, fit, and healthy. All it takes is doing things differently for twenty-four hours—and then repeating it.

The One-Day Way gives you everything you need to lose weight and get fit in body, mind, and spirit:
Break free from past dieting defeats
Learn a realistic, life-changing way to measure success
Change the way you think so you can change your life
Translate your dreams into goals, and your goals into lasting achievements
Get strong with thirty-one simple exercises, no fancy equipment required
Take advantage of ten ways to eat better while you lose weight

By focusing on food, faith, and fitness, Chantel shows you not only how to lose weight, but how to build the new life you were designed to live. You don’t have to wait any longer. The One-Day Way gives you all the tools for success, starting right now.

Author Bio:
The author of Never Say Diet and The Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Trainer, Chantel Hobbs is a motivational speaker, life coach, personal trainer, marathon runner, wife, and mother of four whose story has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, the 700 Club, and the covers of People and First magazines. She appears weekly on two fitness-themed radio programs and promotes her One-Day Way Learning System on television.

Disclaimer:  This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Forever Christmas by Christine Lynxwiler

What an enjoyable book! This story is full of wonderful, dear, fun, great characters. After starting the book, I had a hard time putting it down. Kristianna is a woman with a heart for her town. She’s spent a lot of time in Jingle Bells over the years of her life, especially when her grandma was alive. She doesn’t want her life to change and the heart of her special haven to change. Take a trip to a place where Christmas is never far away, and join these special people as they fight for what they hold dear. You will be glad you took the time to read this very special tale. Twists and turns appear, but the true nature of Kristianna’s story is one many of us can relate to. Pick up your copy of Forever Christmas today and hum your favorite tune along the way. Enjoy!

Today’s Thought – Book Club - From December 8, 2009

I wanted to let everyone know about a group called Book Delights Book Club for Ladies. If you are a lady and you enjoy reading and discussing Christian fiction, then this book club is for you. Of course, it helps if you live in or near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, because that’s where we meet. If you’d like more details about where we meet, future titles, etc., please contact me at I would love to fill you in on the details of the club. I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are preparing wholeheartedly to celebrate Christ’s birth.

A Journey to New Books - From December 4, 2009

I thought that God Gave Us Christmas answered some great questions for children in ways that make for more in-depth discussion. The story is enjoyable and beautifully illustrated by David Hohn. I would suggest that this book is for children over the age of 3 or for those who have started asking questions about Christmas, Santa, Jesus’ birth, etc.

Book Summary:
As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear begins to wonder… “Who invented Christmas?” Mama’s answer only leads to more questions like “Is God more important than Santa?” So she and Little Cub head off on a polar expedition to find God and to see how he gave them Christmas. Along the way, they find signs that God is at work all around them. Through Mama’s gentle guidance, Little Cub learns about the very first Christmas and discovers that… Jesus is the best present of all. This enchanting tale provides the perfect opportunity to help young children celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and to discover how very much God loves them.

I enjoyed God Gave Us Love a great deal because it really speaks to the different thoughts children have when it comes to love, especially different kinds of love. What’s different about the way I love Mommy and Daddy and the way they love each other? Grampa Bear explains love in a way that Little Cub can understand and relate to. The illustrations by Laura J. Bryant are well worth a second glance, just to make sure you saw everything!
Book Summary:
As Little Cub and Grampa Bear’s fishing adventure is interrupted by mischievous otters, the young polar bear begins to question why we must love others… even the seemingly unlovable. In answering her questions, Grampa Bear gives tender explanations that teach Little Cub about the different kinds of love that is shared between families, friends, and mamas and papas. Grampa explains that all these kinds of love come from God and that it is important to love others because… “Any time we show love, Little Cub, we’re sharing a bit of his love.” This sweet tale will warm the hearts of young children as they learn about all the different sorts of love, while the gentle explanations of each provide a valuable opportunity to encourage children to share with others a “God-sized love.”

I have not yet finished reading Treasured by Leigh McLeroy, but I have really enjoyed the few pages I’ve read so far. She is a great storyteller and really brings a depth to what she’s writing about. I know that I will enjoy finishing this book.
Book Summary:
Cigar boxes. Refrigerator doors. Scrapbooks and sock drawers and top shelves. These are the places we store our treasures–the keepsakes that tell the story of whom and what we’ve loved, how we’ve lived, and what matters most to us. God is a collector, too, whose treasures are tucked securely into the pages of his book: a golden bell here, an olive leaf there, a scarlet thread, a blood-stained cloth, a few grains of barley. Each of these saved artifacts reveals a facet of his heart and tells the story of a Father whose most precious possession is…us. In Treasured, Leigh McLeroy considers tangible reminders of God’s active presence and guides us in discovering evidence in our own lives of his attentive love.

Disclaimer: These books were provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

The Matchmakers by Janette Oke

This is a great little book. I read it quickly and really enjoyed it. The book felt more like a long short story than a book. If you’re looking for a fast, enjoyable story, this is the book for you. The story is sweet and a little quirky. Check it out!

A Journey to New Books - From November 6, 2009

I really enjoyed Leaving Carolina! It’s a quirky southern-fiction book with unique characters. I believe every family contains some people just like those in Tamara Leigh’s story. The book was funny, heart-warming, and dramatic. I thought it was just the right mix of all the elements of a good story.
Piper Wick is a woman with a past full of people who did her wrong and now the family misdeeds are about to hit the fan. Being someone who wants to keep the past under cover, Piper decides action most be taken and so she heads “home” to Pickwick. What ensues is an experience of family and redemption and renewal that Piper never knew she needed or wanted.
Axel the gardener is more than he first appears to be. Uncle Obadiah is a man with a past and a heart for doing what God would have him do. Plus, you’ll meet Maggie, Bart, Bridget, Devyn, Aunt Adele, Aunt Belinda, and Trinity Templeton. Fun, interesting, and quirky characters you will enjoy uncovering one tale at a time.

From back cover:
Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina, twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high-powered public relations consultant in LA. She’s even “engaged to be engaged” to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler.
Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick has decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations’ worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwicks’ secrets, including Piper’s.
Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe’s rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can’t she stay on task? With the Lord’s help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.

Two other books I’d like to tell you about are listed below. I haven’t had a chance to read either title yet, but I wanted to tell you about them.

Book Summary:
Claudette Fioré used to turn heads and break hearts. She relished the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle because she had what it takes: money, youth, fame, and above all, beauty. But age has withered that beauty, and a crooked accountant has taken her wealth, leaving the proud widow penniless and alone.
Armed with stubbornness and sarcasm, Claudette returns to her shabby little hometown and her estranged sister. Slowly, she makes friends. She begins to see her old life in a new light. For the first time, Claudette Fioré questions her own values and finds herself wondering if it’s too late to change.

Book Summary:
Maya’s Green Tip for the Day: Recycled fashion is one of the most fun ways to go green. A pair of jeans could be transformed into a denim skirt. A sweater into a vest. A bunch of old ties into a dress. A blanket into a poncho. Accessorize it in new way–with beads, buttons, appliqués, buckles, stencils, or ribbons…your imagination is only the limit. (65 words)
Sixteen-year-old Maya Stark has a lot to sort through. She could graduate from high school early if she wants to. She’s considering it, especially when popular cheerleader Vanessa Hartman decides to make her life miserable–and Maya’s ex-boyfriend Dominic gets the wrong idea about everything.
To complicate matters even more, Maya’s mother will be released from prison soon, and she’ll want Maya to live with her again. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. And when Maya plays her dad’s old acoustic guitar in front of an audience, she discovers talents and opportunities she never expected. Faced with new options, Maya must choose between a “normal” life and a glamorous one. Ultimately, she has to figure out what matters most.

Disclaimer: These books were provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson

Wow! Neta Jackson continues to write solid fiction stories that draw the reader right into the main character’s life. I am getting connected to Gabby. She has a lot going on in her life right now. Her husband is acting like a fool, her sons are staying halfway across the country with their grandparents, her and her mother are living in a homeless shelter. Life is pretty rough right now. So who does Gabby talk to and turn to in her distress? She turns to her Father in heaven little by little. And God has a plan for Gabby Fairbanks; He has all along! If you have enjoyed the Yada Yada Prayer Group books, then you need to read this book and, of course, Where Do I Go?, the first book in this new series. Also, keep your eyes open for Harry Bentley’s Second Chance, which was written by Neta’s husband. I believe it is meant to be sort of like a companion volume to Where Do I Go?, but please don’t quote me on that.

A Journey to New Books – The Sound of Sleigh Bells - From October 15, 2009

Beth Hertzler is a woman with a tragedy in her past that she struggles to keep behind closed doors. She feels that she needs to hide certain things from those that care most about her. Jonah is a man with a gift to bring life from something dead. He has a tragedy in his past too. How did these two people each deal with their separate tragedy? How can God use each of them in the other’s life to bring about new and wonderful things?
This book was really enjoyable. I’ve only read one other book by Cindy Woodsmall, and I really feel like she has such a grasp on the Amish community as she writes her stories. I would highly recommend this book to all those who love Amish tales. This one has redemption, love, discovery, direction, and lots of other goodies in it!
Disclaimer: This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

A Journey to New Books – Extraordinary - From October 9, 2009

I have started reading this book, but due to so much busyness in my life right now, I have not yet finished reading Extraordinary by John Bevere. Below I have included a summary of the book from the publisher, an author bio, and a link to the publisher’s website. I will say that what I have read of the book is really interesting and definitely very thought-provoking. I hope you’ll take some time to read this title.

Book Summary:
There’s a question that troubles many believers: “Why am I not experiencing more joy, more hope, more satisfaction, more intimacy, more power, more everything in my Christian life–didn’t Jesus promise that?” He did promise an abundant life, but too many people are trapped by the curse of “the ordinary.” They have accepted the wrong idea that following God means losing individuality, creativity, and a passion for achieving lofty goals. Nothing could be further from the truth! John Bevere builds a convincing case, straight from Scripture, for a way of living marked by extraordinary experiences and accomplishments—the life God always intended for his children. Here is a guide to understanding God’s incredible plans, and how to enjoy a life where he adds the “extra” to “ordinary.”

Author Bio:
John Bevere is an internationally popular conference speaker, teacher, and author of bestsellers, including The Bait of Satan, Drawing Near, and Driven by Eternity. His award-winning curriculum and books have been translated in over sixty languages and his weekly television program, The Messenger, is broadcast around the world. John and his wife, Lisa—also a bestselling author and speaker—reside with their family in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Wind Dancer by Jamie Carie

I don’t normally read books like this one, but I thought, from the vague description that I’d read, that I would enjoy it. I must admit that at several points I would have given up, but I lead a book club and this was our book for August. As you can imagine, I forged ahead and kept reading. The story is historical and is a little more graphic than I would have liked. The fact is that people in the 1700’s dealt with the attacks and whatnot described in this book and so it was realistically portrayed. I enjoyed reading Isabelle’s story for the most part. She starts out on a journey to retrieve books for the local minister and finds herself in a much more dangerous situation than she could have imagined. She ends up in the company of an American – a scout who is checking on the forts in the area. He is a man with a past and a story and a desire to be a part of bringing about freedom for those around him. He joins George Rogers Clark’s army and is a catalyst with him in bringing amazing changes for the people in a land that still needs leadership and peace. That aspect of the book was awesome to read. I found myself really remembering the amazing things that the people of that time did to bring about freedom from evil, etc. Our founding fathers were setting about to do something that would change everything from that point forward. This was a very edge-of-your-seat, heartrending read. I ended up mostly enjoying it. If you like historical fiction with a real live cameo in it, then this is a great read for you. Enjoy!

A Journey to New Books – Stray Affections - From September 11, 2009

This is a story of healing and renewal. Cassandra Higgins quit using her God-given talents years ago after much heartache and loss. She has always believed she isn’t very smart and that has also caused her to put away her dreams. One day, while on her once-a-year special shopping trip, she finds a delightful snowglobe that she just has to have. Little does she know that that snowglobe will change her life forever in countless ways and the lives of those around her. The story is heartfelt, true-to-life, and fun. You will enjoy the characters and find at least one that you can relate to. I also like that the story is set in Minnesota, where I’m from. I recommend cuddling up with your favorite canine, feline, bunny, or hamster and enjoying this wonderful story.

Book Summary:
The last thing that Cassandra Higgins expects out of her Sunday is to be mesmerized at a collectors’ convention by a snowglobe. She’s enjoying some shopping time, with husband Ken at home tending their brood of four young boys, when she’s utterly charmed by the one-of-a kind globe containing figures of three dogs and a little girl with hair the color of her own. She can’t resist taking the unique globe home– even if means wrestling another shopper for it!
The beautiful snowglobe sparks long-dormant memories for Cassie, of her beloved Grandpa Wonky, the stray she rescued as a child, and the painful roots of her combative relationship with her mother, “Bad Betty” Kamrowski. Life in Wanonishaw, Minnesota is never dull, though, and Cassie keeps the recollections at bay, busy balancing her boys, her home daycare operation, and being a good friend to best pal Margret. But after a strange–flurrious, as Cassie deems it–moment happens with the remarkable snowglobe, Cassie and the people she loves are swirled into a tumultuous, yet grace-filled, and life-changing journey.
With the quirky, close-knit Midwestern small-town feel that made Charlene Ann Baumbich’s acclaimed Dearest Dorothy novels so popular, Stray Affections invites you to experience the laughter and the healing of second chances.

Author Bio:
Charlene Ann Baumbich is a popular author and speaker and an award-winning journalist. In addition to her Dearest Dorothy series of novels, she has written seven nonfiction books of humor and inspiration. A bungee-jumping, once motorcycle-owning grandma and unabashed dog lover, Charlene lives with her husband and rescued dog Kornflake in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She loves telling stories, laughing whenever possible, and considers herself a Wild Child of God.

A Journey to New Books – Coming Attractions - From September 4, 2009

I have been hooked on the whole Christy and friends gang for many years now. So when Robin Jones Gunn started the Katie Weldon Series, I was one of the first to get in line for a copy of the first book. I have certainly enjoyed being able to revisit my friends over the recent past. I enjoyed Coming Attractions very much. It keeps in step with Robin’s other stories in this “set,” yet I am not sure how I truly feel about the way the story turned out in the end. I hope that there is at least one more book to come so that I can really gauge how I feel about the whole thing. None of this is to say that I’m completely disappointed with the book. I’m NOT! I really did enjoy this new installment in Katie’s story. She is a woman with a strong desire to do her Father’s will. She is an adventurer, with a good heart, and a love for those around her. She has a flair for finding herself in slightly embarrassing situations, but she never lets that get her down. She is a girl that many females can relate to in some way or another. I certainly would recommend this fun, soul-searching book to my dear friends. If you haven’t read any of Robin Jones Gunn’s book, then I say start at the beginning – find the first book in the Christy Miller Series. If you’re 16, 30, 45, 60, it doesn’t matter – they are great books!

Katie was thinking a lot about her future in Coming Attractions, and I think that that is something we all need to stop and do on a regular basis. I’ve been married now for almost 4 1/2 years and have a daughter in Heaven and a daughter who’s 10 months old, so if I were to stop and think about the next 5 to 10 years, children would certainly be involved. I believe that God will continue to bless my husband and I with other children over that time and His plan for us – our marriage, our family, everything. God has the ultimate plan in His hands. Isn’t that part of what Katie discovered on a new level in this story? You can’t plan everything out; God has the blueprints, not me. I believe though, truly, that He has something special planned for my husband, myself, and our children over the next few years. He is truly amazing!

A Journey to New Books - From August 28, 2009

Eugenia Cooper longs for an adventure. She wants to be like her favorite dime novel heroine – Mae Winslow. When the perfect opportunity presents itself Eugenia takes it and heads West. Denver, Colorado, is her destination. She is going to be a governess to a young girl and have her adventure before time runs out. What God has in store for this New Yorker in Colorado is not what she expected. Yet the plan for her was in His hands all along. Through her adventure in the West, she finds a new enjoyment in life and a new place for herself.
This book was an absolute delight to read! I was drawn in from the very beginning. I find that I really enjoy historical novels quite a lot the more I read them. I love imagining what it was like so many years ago, without modern conveniences. Travel was so different and the way of life and everything. I just really can’t imagine, but I really enjoy trying. I thought that this tale was entertaining, intriguing, fun, and well-written. Kathleen Y’Barbo did an awesome job with the setting, mood, and feel of the story. I highly recommend it and encourage the historical fiction lovers out there to pick this book up and find a comfy chair – you might be there for an entire afternoon!

Two other books I’d like to tell you about are listed below. I haven’t had a chance to read either title yet, but I wanted to tell you about them.

Rose House

A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope. Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms. She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.
What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day. A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love

Once a month, the six women of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society gather to discuss books and share their knitting projects. Inspired by her recently-wedded bliss, group leader Eugenie chooses “Great Love Stories in Literature” as the theme for the year’s reading list–a risky selection for a group whose members span the spectrum of age and relationship status. As the Knit Lit ladies read and discus classic romances like Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice, each member is confronted with her own perception about love. Camille’s unexpected reunion with an old crush forces her to confront conflicting desires. Newly widowed Esther finds her role in Sweetgum changing and is surprised by two unlikely friends. Hannah isn’t sure she’s ready for the trials of first love. Newcomer Maria finds her life turned upside-down by increasing family obligations and a handsome, arrogant lawyer, and Eugenie and Merry are both asked to make sacrifices for their husbands that challenge their principles. Even in a sleepy, southern town like Sweetgum, Tennessee, love isn’t easy. The Knit Lit ladies learn they can find strength and guidance in the novels they read, the love of their family, their community–and especially in each other.

About the authors:
*Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels, novellas, and young adult books, with more than a half-million in print. A graduate of Texas A&M University, she is currently a publicist with Books & Such literary agency.

*Tina Ann Forkner is the author of Ruby Among Us. Originally from Oklahoma, she now lives with her husband and three children in Wyoming, where she serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation’s board of directors.

*RITA Award-winning Beth Patillo combines her love of knitting and books in her engaging Sweetgum series. Pattillo served churches in Missouri and Tennessee before founding Faith Leader, a spiritual leadership development program.

A Journey to New Books – The Friends We Keep: A Woman’s Quest for the Soul of Friendship and 40 Minute Bible Studies - From August 13, 2009

The title The Friends We Keep intrigued me. I thought something like, “I wonder if this will give answers, insights, and peace about my friendships.” I have had many friendships in my life, some are gone now due to many factors. The loss of friendship always saddens me, especially if I somehow played a part in the loss. I think the hardest thing for me is when the level of intimacy in a friendship changes, and you wander into the land of acquaintances once again.
Now that I’ve given you an overview of my thought process before reading this book, I’ll tell about the book. I read this book fairly quickly, even though it wasn’t quite what I expected. Sarah Zacharias Davis takes her reader on a journey through the different kinds of friendship, the different roles in friendship, the seasons of friendship, and so much more. She reveals stories from her own life and the lives of other women about aspects of their friendships. Chapter titles include: The Lesson of Lucy Van Pelt, Betrayal by Burger, and The Age of Friendship, just to name a few. The book is well-written, insightful, down-to-earth, and incredibly thought-provoking (especially if the subject of friendships is near and dear to your heart). You may come away from the book with more questions than answers, but you will also gain new understanding along the way as well. I would say that this would be a good book to read with a ladies’ group and then go over the discussion questions together. This would make a great read for your book club, your Bible study group, or your moms’ group.
The Friends We Keep is Sarah’s thoughtful account of her own story and the stories of other women about navigating friendship. With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores the questions every woman asks about friendship and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process, she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why we need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous. For more info on the book, head on over to WaterBrook Press.

I’d also like to tell you about a series of Bible study books called 40 Minute Bible Studies. The 40 Minute Bible Study series from beloved Bible teacher Kay Arthur and the teaching staff of Precept Ministries tackles important issues in brief, easy-to-grasp lessons you can use personally or for small-group discussion. Each book in the series includes six 40-minute studies designed to draw you into God’s Word through basic inductive Bible study. There are 16 titles in the series, with topics ranging from fasting and forgiveness to prayer and worship. With no homework required, everyone in the group can work through the lesson together at the same time. Let these respected Bible teachers lead you in a study that will transform your thinking—and your life.
I haven’t had a chance yet to do one of these studies, but they look like they’re easy to follow along with and have the Bible verses printed in them that go with the lessons. What a great idea! These books would be wonderful to use in your circle of friends for your next Bible study.

A Perfect Mess: Why You Don’t Have to Worry About Being Good Enough for God by Lisa Harper

I found this book to be very insightful. Lisa Harper uses illustrations from her own life to draw her reader in to each Psalm she discusses. She uses her knowledge of God’s Word and her study of biblical languages to give deeper understanding to each Psalm she writes about. The Psalms that are highlighted in this book really give you the feeling and belief that God loves His people in every way at all times. This isn’t to say that we can be reckless, but we can be a bit “messy” and He still cares for us. A Perfect Mess would make a great group study book for your women’s book club or prayer group. It is easy to follow and comprehend and it holds your attention. It certainly is not dry! I think that Harper does a wonderful job of giving us a little more light to shine on our reading of the Psalms.

A Journey to New Books – The Hope of Refuge - From August 5, 2009

The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall tells the story of Cara – a woman with a broken past and no future in sight. Cara and her daughter, Lori, are on the run, and they find themselves in the midst of an Old Order Amish community with tight ties and little allowances for outsiders. One person is willing to answer God’s call and step out for these two, but what will the price be for doing what God has asked?
I have said this many times recently, and I will say it yet again today – I have never read any books by Cindy Woodsmall. I certainly am glad that I was able to pick this one up and read Cara’s story. I found the characters real and well-developed. They were full of characteristics that stood out on the page and came to life. I am continually drawn to stories of the Amish for reasons that I’m not entirely sure of. I find their life fascinating and I live in an area that has many Amish and Mennonite people living in it, but I don’t know what calls to me about these stories. I found this one particularly interesting, and it held a bit of a twist that I hadn’t expected when I first began the book. I hope that you will find a space of refuge and enjoy this delightful new book from Cindy Woodsmall.

She’s Gonna Blow!: Real Help for Moms Dealing with Anger by Julie Ann Barnhill

Julie Ann Barnhill has given moms everywhere a great book in She’s Gonna Blow!. I found this book both informative and real. There are several strategies and suggestions for mothers to use to help diffuse anger and some questions for you to think about as well. The thing that I liked most about Ms. Barnhill’s book was her real-life stories. She shared many of her experiences – good and bad – over her years of motherhood. With real insight and honesty she gives her reader hope and help all at once. This book was really an eye opener for me in so many ways. If you struggle with any kind of anger issues in your mothering, then this would be a great resource book to start you off on the road to answers and solutions. She also has a list of recommendations in the back of the book for more help in several different categories. This really was a wonderfully insightful book. I highly recommend it for every mother who has had an off-day and questioned her sanity and her actions. God is gracious! Find this book and find some time to read it!

A Promise for Breanna by Al Lacy

Breanna is a smart, skilled, intelligent woman who loves God and takes great care of her patients as a nurse. She joins a wagon train to care for an ailing woman and during the trip west much happens. This story was difficult for me to read at some points because Breanna and her companions find themselves in rather harrowing situations at times. I find it amazing what people went through when they left home and traveled west in covered wagons so many years ago. I can’t imagine the traumatic times of attack and lack of food and other disastrous circumstances. Oh my! Breanna is a woman of strength through each circumstance she finds herself in, and she has a sweet heart. She doesn’t let people get away with wrong attitudes and incorrect treatment of others though. She steps up to the plate and takes a great big swing at each ball (attitude, rudeness, fear) that comes toward her or others she is concerned for. A wonderful book overall! I would like to finish reading the series! I have never read any books by Mr. Lacy, so I will go back and read the Journeys of the Stranger series first before continuing with Breanna. I hope that you will take the time to read Breanna’s story; it is a good one.

A Journey to New Books — A Perfect Mess - From July 21, 2009

I’d like to tell you today about a book titled A Perfect Mess: Why You Don’t Have to Worry About Being Good Enough for God by Lisa Harper. I have begun reading it, but I have not had a chance to finish it yet. The book is a unique study of some of the Psalms. So far, I’m enjoying it and finding it enlightening and thought-provoking. This book could be a great resource for your women’s prayer group or book club.
Take a look at the summary and author bio below. For more info about the book, please check out the link I’ve included.

A Perfect Mess Summary:
Caught up in the self-imposed pressure to do and be all the things they think a Christian woman ought to do and be, countless women are working desperately to convince everyone, including God, that they have it all together. Few have any idea that the Creator of the universe looks at them with delight even when they yell at the dog, drive a minivan littered with French fries, or think bad words about that rude clerk at the store.
A Perfect Mess offers hope to every woman who yearns for a vibrant relationship with God but worries she isn’t good enough or doesn’t do enough to merit His affection. With characteristic authenticity, speaker and author Lisa Harper shares poignant stories from her own imperfect life to showcase the real-life relevancy of the Bible in the lives of modern women. As she guides readers on a story-driven journey through selected Psalms, they will be inspired to experience for themselves how God’s incomparable love transforms the messiness of life into a gorgeous work of grace.

Lisa Harper Bio:
Lisa Harper is a master storyteller whose lively approach connects the dots between the Bible era and modern life. She is a sought-after Bible teacher and speaker whose upcoming appearances include the national Women of Faith Conferences. A veteran of numerous radio and television programs and the author of several books, she also is a regular columnist for Today’s Christian Woman magazine. Lisa recently completed a master’s of theological studies from Covenant Theological Seminary. She makes her home outside Nashville.

More info:

How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler

Deena’s story is one I think that many of us can relate to on some level. She has been deeply hurt and chooses to hide behind walls she has built around parts of herself. She doesn’t want to let certain people see the real Deena. Through her journey to a new place and the help of a group of preteens she learns about herself, who she really is.
I found this book refreshing and enjoyable. There were a number of characters that really captured my attention. I could relate to their circumstances or their personalities. I was disappointed to find that the plumber did not meet up to the standards issued in the back cover description. He only quoted Dr. Seuss once; he did, however, quote the Eagles many times. I was sad that I didn’t get to relive my childhood reading through the Dr. Seuss-quoting plumber.
Wisler’s style has the feel of another writer’s Southern fiction, that of Denise Hildreth. If you have ever read Hildreth’s Savannah books you may find a similar feel and flair in this book. It was a very good story, with a charm all its own. If you want a bittersweet treat, then pick up this yummy book and enjoy. I definitely did!

On Every Side by Karen Kingsbury

This story is about so many great people. Jordan’s journey from his devastating past to a new place. Faith’s journey from a place of comfort to a place of boldness. Joshua’s journey from a place of following to a place of leading. This story drew me in and held my attention. I have never read any of Karen Kingsbury’s fiction. In some ways, I think I avoided it. I am glad I finally listened to my old friend’s recommendation about this particular title. It’s been years, but I finally listened. I’m really happy that I did. This is a powerful story of redemption, tearing down walls, and coming to a greater connection with God in your walk with Him. I really enjoyed it! It was, for some, predictable, but I even like those stories too. I went through most every emotion while reading this book, including: anger, sadness, happiness, joy, regret, etc. On Every Side is well worth the time it takes to read. I highly recommend this title myself and encourage you to go find a peaceful park bench and do a little reading. You’ll know what I mean!

A Journey to New Books - From July 8, 2009

I have fallen behind in writing again, but I do hope that you can forgive me as I start a new blog series today called – A Journey to New Books. Today’s entry won’t actually be about new books but about some great value fiction titles.
I am currently reading a book by Al Lacy called A Promise for Breanna, which takes place in the 1800s. The main character Breanna Baylor is a Certified Medical Nurse and although I’m not very far into the book yet it has completely captured my attention. I must take care of my 8-month-old daughter, otherwise you’d find me glued to this first book in the Angel of Mercy series.

I also have waiting on my shelf a book by Angela Elwell Hunt titled The Silver Sword, which I am hoping to read very soon. Both of these books are great, inexpensive summer reads. They are being promoted for a great price under $10. Now that’s a good value! I wanted to let you know that if you’d like to learn more about these titles and others you can go to Also, watch for my next post! I’m doing a book giveaway! The rules, entry info, and deadline will be listed in my next post!! Can’t wait to hear from all of you! Hopefully, I’ll “talk” to you soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Claim of Her Own by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Never having read any of her historical titles, I was excited about picking up this particular title by Stephanie Grace Whitson. If you enjoy historical fiction, then this book is for you. Ms. Whitson has written a fine book about Miss Mattie O’Keefe – a young woman with spunk and grit. Mattie comes to Deadwood in search of her brother, but ends up finding more than she’d ever thought possible. Many people in Deadwood befriend her and draw her in to their circle of love, and Mattie has never experienced such a thing before. With betrayal in her recent past and the possibility of someone being after her, Mattie is determined to take care of herself and learn the ways of Deadwood. Read her story of ups and downs and joys and sorrows in this tale that will not only captivate you from page one but also keep you captivated.
I really enjoyed the way this book flowed and the twists and turns along the way. Ms. Whitson is an eloquent, insightful writer. I highly recommend that you stake your claim and pick up this piece of gold sooner than later. You certainly will be glad you did! For more info about this book, head over to or

Rattled: Surviving Your Baby’s First Year Without Losing Your Cool by Trish Berg

New to motherhood? If so, you might enjoy reading this little book. Each chapter covers a different topic and includes scriptures and a prayer. Berg covers all those things that you may or may not have thought about – with humor and tenderness. You will find that her real-life stories aren’t so different from your own. Sleeping? Outings? Those forgetful moments? It’s all about the first year – full of insights and encouragement. Look for the purple book with the baby on the cover, and you’ll be ready to find out the truth about aliens and your children. If that statement doesn’t intrigue you, I’m not sure what will. Hopefully, this book will help you not be Rattled.

White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter

The story of Will Henderson is a bittersweet tale. He has been raised by an Amish couple for the last fifteen years, but why did Will’s father leave him in such a hurry? This story is a good read, but it was not Brunstetter’s best work. I have read a trilogy by her, and I enjoyed that much more. Her writing was very good in the series. Here the feel is that everything is a bit too convenient. Other than that it was an enjoyable story, and one that is not a waste of time for the prolific reader.

In My Stack - From March 30, 2009

No, I have not fallen off of the planet. I need to be much more regular in my offerings to all of you. I am currently reading a book by one of my all-time-favorite authors – Robin Jones Gunn. I think she was one of the first Christian fiction authors that I “cut my teeth on.” What a wonderful series of young adult books she wrote for us to enjoy in the the Christy Miller books. Then she followed with more wonderful series and titles. I am currently reading the second book in the Katie Weldon Series – On a Whim. It is a great read so far. Robin Jones Gunn has a tendency to do things in her series books that I, as a reader, don’t expect. They aren’t necessarily bad things but things that, if I had written the book, I might not have done. I always enjoy her stories. They continue to draw me in, whether meant for adults or young adults. I also have the following titles “in my stack:” Too Small to Ignore: Why Children are the Next Big Thing by Dr. Wess Stafford, Pathway to Purpose for Women by Katie Brazelton, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John & Stasi Eldredge, and Organizing Magic:40 Days to a Well-Ordered Home and Life by Sandra Felton. There are other titles in my stack, but I didn’t want to bore you with the details. As you can see from my list, I have rather diverse tastes. I am reading On a Whim for pleasure and some of the others to help me in various ministries that I’m involved in at my church and in my life. I hope that you find yourself surrounded with books that are not only enjoyable but also stretch you in new directions. “Stretching” books are some of my favorites because I come to a new understanding of myself or of who I am in Christ. What a wonderful thing! I hope this post finds you all very blessed!

Today’s Thought - From March 12, 2009

What is it about a good story that keeps us reading and then has us searching for more books by the same author? Is it a character that we can relate to? A story that involves a time or place that we could never be a part of? What are the elements that draw you into a book and then keep you turning page after page? I have to say that those elements vary for me from story to story, but I think there are certain foundational elements that I always like to find in the books that I read. Those elements include: a Christ-centered undertone, a moral standard, enjoyable characters, intriguing details, and a good ending. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good ending. When a book doesn’t go the way I want it to, I begin to struggle with thoughts about the author and begin to plot out what I’ll do differently when I write my own novel. When I pick up a book, do I always get a “keeper?” The answer would certainly be no. I simply cannot always discern if a book will be a “winner” or not; I have not been blessed with that ability yet and may never receive it. Then the question is: What do I do when I begin a book and realize that it may not be a “winner?” The thing I do most of the time is try to read on and hope the book improves or that there is something redeeming in the reading. I have a hard time investing in a story and then abandoning it partway through. It just seems like such a waste to me. Some may say, “Move on to something that you know you will enjoy reading. Why cause yourself the aggravation and waste time on something that you aren’t really enjoying?” My issue with that is that I have an inherent need to know how it ends, and most of the time I really do find something of “value” in the books that aren’t necessarily my favorites. So where does this whole discussion leave us? It leaves us at the point where we started – “What are the elements that draw you into a book and then keep you turning page after page?” You need to answer that question for yourself. As a Christian, I attempt to keep my reading standards fairly high. I don’t mean high intellectually, but rather, high morally. This to me is very important in my walk with Christ. I hope that you have received some food for thought from this little clip for today. Be blessed in all things!

Now and Always by Lori Copeland

Lori Copeland has written an interesting book with Now and Always, but I must admit it was not my favorite among her works. I usually find her books very enjoyable and recommend them to my reading friends. This book was one that I suggested for my book club, and it was voted for as one of our monthly reads. I thought the characters were intriguing and mostly well-written, but I had trouble with the storyline and Warren Tate in particular.
Kate Addison has a big heart, a very sad past, and a pile of bills. Where does that leave her when it comes to her shelter for abused women? Who will help her? Guide her? Will she be misled or led correctly? And most important of all, what does God want for Kate to do? Read this story of love, strength, and struggle to find out what’s true Now and Always.
Other great books by Lori Copeland include: Monday Morning Faith, Simple Gifts, the Brides of the West Series, and the Morning Shade Mystery Series.

A Full House of Growing Pains by Barbara Cameron with Lissa Halls Johnson

After reading Kirk’s book and discovering that his mother had written a book too, I had to borrow a copy from the library and read it. It was a very captivating story. Barbara Cameron writes about her family growing up, how she met her husband, and how she became the mother to two very popular TV show stars. The book really is so much more than just the facts about the “Hollywood” life. Barbara never let Kirk and Candace lead that life, and she never let herself fall into the pits that come with stardom. Her story is full of ups, downs, and traumas – the good, the bad, and the ugly! What life isn’t? What an awesome story! If you ever watched Growing Pains or Full House, then I know that you’ll enjoy learning about the story behind the story behind the story. It’s full of real life and the truth in one woman’s life. Read it – an empty house might be better though (so you won’t get interrupted!).

The Duggars: 20 and Counting! by Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar

Reading about this family will amaze you! Michelle and Jim Bob do a great job of really making you feel like a part of this family. They tell the reader about their struggles, joys, and accomplishments throughout this book. You will look forward with them to welcoming each new blessing into their family. Michelle answers many questions from fans in the book covering topics like breastfeeding and prenatal vitamins. There are several favorite family recipes throughout the book as well (many of which I’m looking forward to trying myself). You may not feel that God is calling you to have 18 children, but even if you’re not, it’s a great book to read about family, faith, and friendship. The Duggars are certainly working toward a quiver-full! It’s a really neat book! Enjoy!

Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money by Christopher Paul Curtis

Join Steven, Russell, and Zoopy, the members of Flint’s Future Detectives, as they attempt to solve the mystery and origin of Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money. Steven has invented many gizmos and gadgets just for the purpose of his detective work. He knows how to use mind tricks too. Steven may only be nine, but he’s a top-notch detective. Find out how he comes to be in possession of one of only a few existing quadrillion-dollar bills that shouldn’t even be in circulation. Steven and his friends have adventures, mishaps, and make mistakes, but along the way, they learn some important things too. If you’re looking for something a little fun, slightly silly, and a bit beyond the believable, then you would certainly enjoy a ride on Zoopy’s back and a dictionary with an attitude. Enjoy this fun, entertaining story!

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella was given a gift at birth that she never asked for and doesn’t want. That gift has caused no end of trouble and heartache in her life. Why had that fairy decided that the gift of obedience was so wonderful? How can Ella live a life free of this curse? Join Ella as she journeys to find a fairy, falls in love with a prince, and learns some important life lessons along the way. She is a girl with charm and heart and smarts. If you’ve seen the movie, you may be surprised at the differences between it and the book. Don’t let that stop you from reading this enchanting tale of a girl who comes to understand so much more about herself and her true nature than she might have without her “gift.” Some gifts are given with the best of intentions but turn out to be the worst thing possible. Read in Ella Enchanted how one girl comes to a place where her “gift” truly becomes one after all. This is a great book to read with a child of ten or more. Find a copy today and you’ll be enchanted.

Miriam’s Well by Lois Ruby

As a Christian, have you ever wondered about the beliefs of those individuals of different denominations or other faiths. If you have, then I recommend this book by Lois Ruby about Miriam. Miriam is a seventeen-year-old girl that belongs to a faith that does not believe in doctors and medical attention, but Miriam has recently been diagnosed with bone cancer. Follow her journey as she discovers what happens to her faith and her relationships when something as powerful and painful as cancer enters her life. It’s a journey that we most likely won’t agree with, but it’s a journey worth reading about and discovering what we truly believe and why. This book contains some language and some “situations,” so I would recommend it to the over-13 crowd. Parents may want to read this book before allowing their children to read it, depending on your personal standards. I do believe it would be a great book for some deep discussion. If you want a “thinker,” then pick up a copy of this interesting novel and settle in for some thought-production.

The Power of Praying Together by Stormie Omartian with Jack Hayford

This book is full of great ideas and details for your prayer life. There are chapters covering praying as an individual, praying with a partner, praying as a group, and more. Since I recently started a small prayer group, I wanted to read this book for new insight and that is what I received. Stormie’s books are easy to read and follow. She gives a sample prayer at the end of each chapter and also includes key verses to help you out. A marvelous, helpful tool for anyone needing a little more encouragement. I also recommend her other books, although I’ve only ever read through The Power of a Praying Wife. Need more understanding behind why and how to pray? Then grab some power and start reading.