Thursday, October 21, 2010

Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman

All I can say is "Oh my goodness, you have to read this book!" Let me make something clear, I enjoy reading all kinds of books, but if it is not a story, not fiction, the likelihood of me actually finishing it is small. I read this book cover to cover, in a matter of days. It spoke to my mother's heart, my woman's heart, and my spiritual heart. It is Mary Beth's testimony and it is so powerful, it truly will change lives!

Many of you will remember that a few years back, Steve and Mary Beth Chapman lost their youngest daughter, their son hit her with his car. Yes, this is the story of that, but more than that, this is the story of their family. Of their lives. Of their adoptions, their careers, their testimony. Have you been craving to read something real? Have you gone to church and left feeling that everyone was fake, putting on a sunny smile where no one is free to be real????? This book will shatter all the pretenses. Mary Beth is not perfect. Yes, reply with the sunday school answer that no one is. But there you go, a perfect little sunday school answer. Mary Beth gave me a sense of freedom, she made me want to reach out and share my imperfections, relate to her, talk to her, be real with her. And that, my friends, is the power of a testimony. Not to be a pretty little package all tied up with a bow. But to be messy, to be real, and to be used for God's glory to touch lives and hearts, giving people a chance to relate! To feel that they are not alone!

Anyways, all that being said, this book truly did start a change in my life. A passion to be real. And a passion for adoption. Adoption is always something I have considered, but after reading this book, I put it down and told Jonathan "we will adopt one day". We will wait until God opens that door financially and emotionally for us as a family, but I know with all my heart that the day will come when we will fulfill our calling to look after the fatherless. There is a child out there who needs a mother, and I intend to find him/her.

Read this book! You will not be sorry you did. Give it as a gift, keep it in your bookshelf, but don't just put it on the side to think about.... sit down and read it. It will have you laughing, crying, and will show you the power of a true testimony!

For more information on the book, Choosing to SEE, check out

**I received a complimentary review copy of this book through Baker Publishing Group

Monday, October 4, 2010

Outlive Your Life Review

Max Lucado: famous, easy-to-read, inspirational... one of the best selling Christian authors of our day. Why should you buy this book? This book is interesting, easy to read, inspiring, and as an added bonus, one hundred percent of the author's royalties from Outlive Your Life products will benefit children and families through world vision and other ministries of faith-based compassion.

Outlive Your Life is filled with individual stories, both from past and present, to help you make a difference. Lucado shows us how through following the disciples example, we can continue the movement that was started over 2000 years ago. With practical advice such as "God calls us to change the way we look at people... not to label" (pg. 150). With scriptural examples, Lucado brings the bible back to life, making it relevant in today's society.

For more information on the book, Outlive Your Life, check out

**I received a complimentary copy of this book through Thomas Nelson Publishers.

In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer Review

I just put down the book In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Upon reading the last words, I was filled with a sense of satisfaction and contentment. The book ended so well, neatly wrapping up all, or nearly all, of the conflict and questions that arose throughout the novel. As a romantic story, I would say that the book was highly successful in giving the reader a sense of adventure and wonder and staying away from the typical. This was a story that I hadn't heard before, and was content to follow the many different paths it took.

That being said, I have a few critiques. First and foremost, I believe that a title should say something about the book and I definitely would not associate this title with the storyline. I felt that it was a halfhearted stab instead of a well thought out summary of the storyline. To be honest, it had little to do with the actual story, at least that I can see. Secondly, it was not an easy book to get into. The story follows the lives of three different friends. It often changes perspectives and although this gives the book added depth as you get into it, it is harder to fully be drawn in as you are trying to relate to three characters instead of one. There was so much background information on all of the characters, I felt that Sawyer would have done better to write a story before that on Bennett, Petey, and Libby's growing up years in the orphanage rather then having to backtrack for the first half of the book. 

Nevertheless, once I got into the story, I loved it! The characters were unconventional, something I often crave from the books I read. I would highly recommend this book as a gift, or a part of your permanent library. And I will be looking for more books written by Sawyer in the future. Her writing style and imagination will keep me going back for more :)

For more information on the book In Every Heartbeat, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, IncAvailable at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Thorn by Beverly Lewis Review

Beverly Lewis is one of my favourite authors. Her intensive knowledge of the Amish people and lifestyle make her stories come alive. Every time I finish one of her books, I reconsider the lifestyle I have chosen for my family. And although I don't want to be Amish, there is a big part of me that yearns for even a bit of their simple, homespun lifestyle.

Needless to say, when I picked up one of her newer works, The Thorn, I was a goner. This book is definitely one of her best and I can't wait to read the rest in the series.

The Story

The Thorn is a story of Rose Ann Kauffman and her sister, Hen (or Hannah). Two different women with two vastly different lives. One married an Englischer and turned her back on the old ways. The other is a dutiful young amish woman who follows all the rules and tries her best to please her parents. Hen, after having a baby 4 years ago, has started to long for the ways of her past. She realizes the mistake she made by turning her back on her roots and longs to draw her daughter in to the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle. Her husband, however, has no time or thought for religion, faith, or her roots. Rose is confused and unsure of her own heart. She is devoted to her best friend and yet courted by another. This is a story of family, tradition, faith, love, and the great battle between following your heart and doing what is right.

My Thoughts

I LOVED the storyline. Interesting, enlightening, a beautiful story that kept me guessing and wondering and hoping and dreaming. This book is a keeper, a library builder, a rainy day reader, a great gift for any woman, young or old. This is a book to remember, and I can't wait to read the next one!

For more information on the book, The Thorn, check out

**I received a complimentary copy of this book through Bethany House Publishers

Monday, September 20, 2010

Maid to Match Review

Maid to Match is a historical romance novel written by Deeane Gist. Set in the late 1800's, Maid to Match is a story about Tillie Reese, a maid at the Biltmore mansion. Coming from a lower-class family, Tillie has been working her way up the ladder of success since childhood. She is on the verge of getting everything she ever dreamed of, a position of lady's maid to the lady of the house. A life of adventure, prestige, wearing fancy clothes, traveling, reading, a life that is everything she has ever wanted. Or so she thought. When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman, she finds that her heart has opened up to new dreams. Torn between the world she has always wanted and the world she has never known, Tillie must choose which path she will follow.

As with all historical romance novels, competition is fierce and originality nearly impossible. Love is the universal language, and therefore will always carry a semblance of cliche. It has happened a million times before :) This book is no exception. However, despite it's general failings as a genre, I enjoyed reading this book. It was interesting, moving, and even inspiring. I liked the reality of Tillie's mother. Her human failings, her hopes and dreams she has placed in her daughter, and her attitude towards Tillie's end choice. They gave the book a ring of authenticity. Based on historical facts, Maid to Match was a great book for a rainy day.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoy's this genre, or as a gift for any woman aged 14 and up. A message of following your heart, it promises to uplift you and leave you smiling at the end.

For more information on the book Maid to Match, check out

**I received a free copy of this book through Graf-Martin Publishers

Thursday, September 9, 2010

One Hand, Two Hands Review

One Hand, Two Hands is a children's book written by Max Lucado. It is one of my favorite children's book I have read. With quaint rhymes, adorable pictures, and a message of helping and love, my kids fell in love! They ask for it every night.

One hand, two hands,
Five fingers, ten.
God, thanks, for my hands.
Please, use them again.
From silly to serious, this book covers all the bases. My three year old is endeared and at the end it gives a list of ways our hands can be helping hands. From helping mom with chores to giving someone a hug or writing them a card. All I can say is, this is my kind of book! 
If you are looking for a gift for a young niece, nephew, son, daughter, grandchild.... this book is the PERFECT addition to any family's library. Like all Max Lucado's children's stories, there is a message of love and faith to encourage your little readers budding relationship with God. 
I highly recommend this book and will be reading it for quite some time I am sure!
For more information on the book One Hand, Two Hands or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received a complimentary review copy of this book through Thomas Nelson

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Butterfly Effect Review

Book: The Butterfly Effect
Author: Andy Andrews
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4041-8780-1
Genre: Self-help, motivational

I recently received the new book, The Butterfly Effect, by Andy Andrews. My First Impression was pleasant surprise. The book is a quick read, under 10 minutes in fact. It is written in large letterhead type with easy to understand terminology. It is the story of a number of people who changed the world, and how their lives were impacted by others. It is a story of the effect our every decision and action has on everyone around us. It is a call to rise to action...

"Every single thing you do matters. You have been created as one of a kind. You have been created in order to make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world." (pp.105)

Who this book is good for: This book is fantastic if you want an inspiration. It is a great gift book to anyone, especially a young adult.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. Sit down and read the inspiration that others left for us. And take a moment to consider that the person you are will touch others, even if it doesn't feel like it.

For more information on the Butterfly Effect or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received this complimentary review copy from Thomas Nelson Publishers

The Boy Who Changed the World Review

Book: The Boy Who Changed the World
Author: Andy Andrews
Illustrated by: Philip Hurst
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Genre: Children's nonfiction
ISBN: 978-1-4003-1605-2

I recently received The Boy Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews in the mail. After enjoying his book Heart Mender so much, I had high hopes for his children's book and he didn't disappoint. Before purchasing this book, be aware that it is not fiction. This means it is not as captivating as the stories you will often find in children's books. However, it is an interesting story, especially for your older children and is a great springboard for discussion.

The storyline: This is the story of Moses Carver, George Washington Carver, Henry Wallace, and Norman Borlaug. The book covers each of their stories and how they began a ripple effect that in essence, changed the world. The moral of the story is that everything you do matters, it has an effect.

What I liked about this book: I LOVED the illustrations. It reminded me of the books my great aunt used to write. They are colorful, kind of old fashioned, LOVE LOVE LOVE them! The storyline is great. I like the fact that it is true, that it inspires kids to do what they can with what resources they have available to them. To dream big.

What I didn't like about this book: There isn't much to say here. I thought it could have been a little bit simpler. It is definitely not a book my kids would understand. I would say this is more a story for the older children in your life.

Who this book is good for: This book is fantastic for children aged 7-9! It recommends ages 4-8 however, I have doubts that a 4 year old would understand where the story was headed and what it meant. At the same time, there is no harm in starting it early and explaining things to them as you go. It is a great springboard to talk about the effects of their actions. To discuss their dreams and aspirations, what they are good at and how they can use that to help other people.

For more information on the book The Boy Who Changed the World or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received this book free of charge from Thomas Nelson Publishers

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Reluctant Entertainer Review

Book: The Reluctant Entertainer
Author: Sandy Coughlin
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0750-1
Genre: Women, self help

I recently read The Reluctant Entertainer and was very impressed.  First impression: it was very well presented. The book has sections in which Sandy talks about her experiences with entertaining and how we need to change our mindset towards hospitality. It is broken up with recipes at the bottom and full of practical tips along the way. If you struggle with being reserved or afraid to entertain, this book will set you free.

What I loved about this book: No pressure! In fact, Sandy states that "One of the main reasons we remain reluctant and isolated is that we have bought in to the thinking that perfection is required in order to be hospitable" (pp.1). I loved the way it was presented, how it was broken up with recipes. And I LOVED how it was full of practical, useable ideas to make entertaining a more "entertaining" idea :)

What I didn't like about this book: There is very little in this category. If I could come up with any criticism I suppose it would be that most of the recipes are a little complicated for me. In a way, this is nice because it means that you will be able to create that perfect, unique masterpiece for your guests. But on the other hand, if entertaining is already a challenge for you, trying to create something complicated will only add more stress to the situation. I believe that it is possible to just throw together a chicken and rice casserole and make your guests feel like the king of the castle.

Who this book is good for: This book is good for ANY woman! Especially good for a wedding gift or new mom. Anyone who is new to the world of entertaining and really any woman who has been doing it for years. We don't ask people over because we are afraid of judgement, however we miss out on so many friendships and blessings along the way. If you struggle with insecurity in the area of entertaining or just want to check out some great recipes, than get this book: you won't be disappointed.

For more information on the book, The Reluctant Entertainer, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received a complimentary copy of this book through Bethany House

Touching the Clouds Review

Book: Touching the Clouds
Author: Bonnie Leon
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3359-9
Genre: Historical Romance

I recently received Touching the Clouds by Bonnie Leon through Baker Publishing Group. My first impression was positive. Although it was a dreaded "historical romance" it had very little cliche about it. Bonnie's characters were believable and interesting and the storyline was intriguing. Other than one or two small references to the depression and the sexist culture, the book could have easily been in the present day.

The storyline: This is the story of "Fearless Kate". A pilot since she was little Kate is running away to the great north of Alaska to find adventure and escape her past. Once there she discovers that the glamorous stories she heard of life as a bush pilot are exaggerated. It is dangerous territory, fraught with winds, storms, and deadly winters. However, Kate also finds love and friendship. She finds a sense of community she has never felt elsewhere. And she finds the adventure her heart so desperately seeks. Will she be able to escape her past or must she face it before it threatens to destroy her?

What I liked about this book: My favorite part of this book was the timeline. For once, romance and love took longer than 5 minutes to develop! Bonnie portrays the story over a year of more and because of that when Kate finds love in the end, it is not so unrealistic. The story is interesting, the romance is satisfying, and the characters are believable.

What I didn't like about this book: All right, any good romance has some cliche right? Kate is the typical damsel in the distress. She is just the one who doesn't know it yet! She is cliche. She is stubborn and headstrong, always getting herself into trouble that warrant a rescue, or some man to look out for her. At the same time, none of the situations are unbelievable and she doesn't swoon at them, so they aren't quite so sickening as some :)

Who this book is good for: I really enjoyed this book. It is a great book for a rainy day. It is not a thriller or suspense, you can put it down and read it when you have the time. Most women would most likely enjoy this book. It is an easy read but not too short. Overall, very satisfying.

For more information on the book, Touching the Clouds, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received a complimentary copy of this book through Baker Publishing Group

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Masquerade Review

Book: Masquerade
Author: Nancy Moser
Publisher: Bethany House
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0751-8

Masquerade by Nancy Moser is a mixture of interesting and cliche. In a literary world where romance takes the blue ribbon, competition is fierce and creating something original is nearly impossible. That being said, I am generally tougher on romance because of that. Don't write it if you can't make it unique, no one will remember it if it is not set apart... different. Masquerade is a good book,  interesting, good character development, a nice plot. But it is just that, nice. It is not set apart and because of that it will go on my bookshelf as yet another book I will soon forget.

The storyline: The story focuses on Charlotte Gleason and her maid Dora. Charlotte, a woman of standing in England is being sent to marry a man she has never met. Determined to make a new life for herself and not follow the arranged marriage that made her mother miserable, Charlotte swaps identities with her maid, Dora. Will their decent catch up with them on their journeys to find true love and happiness?

What I liked about this book: I enjoyed the story. It was well written and informative. I felt bad for the thousands of immigrants who came to America to find a better life and discovered just how difficult that would prove to be.

What I didn't like about this book: As I said before, it is not memorable. I found Lottie's (Charlotte) character to be naive and unrealistic. At the same time, I suppose if a young girl were living in those times, surrounded by servants and wealth, perhaps this wouldn't be so far from the truth. Nevertheless, it annoyed me and I found it very difficult to associate with her character.

Who this book is good for: If you like historical fiction and enjoy romance novels, there is no doubt you will enjoy this book. However be prepared that its lack of substance will perhaps leave you unsatisfied.

For more information on the book, Masquerade, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received this complimentary book through Baker Publishing Group

The Constantine Conspiracy Review

Book: The Constantine Conspiracy
Author: Gary E. Parker
Publisher: Revell
Genre: Fiction-suspense
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3327-8

I recently received The Constantine Conspiracy by Gary E. Parker and couldn't put it down. It was refreshing to get out of the cliche romance novels for a bit and experience something with a bit of suspense and action. This book isn't as intense as some suspense novels that I have read, but it keeps you guessing and the plot is full of twists and turns to captivate its reader.

The Storyline: The story begins with Rick Carson, a man from one of the richest families in the world. His life is comfortable and exciting. He lacks for nothing and everything is going his way. However, when a disturbing murder invades his comfortable home, Rick's sense of security is shaken. Shannon Bridge, a simple park ranger, is the first responder to the murder scene and Rick senses there is more to her than meets the eye. When circumstances continually push Shannon and Rick together, Rick is forced to trust her despite the many secrets that cloak her identity. As they run from police, a dangerous assassin, and try to solve the mysterious murder, Rick and Shannon form a bond of trust and understanding.

What I liked about this book: I love a good thriller, and this one was no disappointment. Interesting, fast-paced, and unique, this has all the makings of a great story! My favorite aspect of the book was probably the assassin, of all people! I don't know if I have ever read a character quite so interesting. Nolan was a mixture of a well-mannered, disturbed, and yet civilized character. I found him intriguing and his character development was impeccable. He was definitely not your typical "bad guy" and I appreciated Gary's ability to make him unique and different. He is a character to be remembered.

What I didn't like about this book: There isn't much to say here. I found the end action scene to be a little bit corny and yet I don't think there was a way around it. It was just straight action for over a paragraph. I guess I felt it would have been stronger if it hadn't been as long-drawn out.

Who this book is good for: ANYONE! Really, this is a great gift for man or woman alike. It is a fantastic book for a rainy day or vacation. My only recommendation is to make sure you actually have the time to sit down and read it, because this is one book you won't want to put down!

For more information on the book, The Constantine Conspiracy, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received a complimentary copy of this book through Baker Publishing Group

Friday, August 13, 2010

David and Goliath Review

Book: David and Goliath
Author: Bryan Hathaway
Publisher: WinePress Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60615-015-3
Genre: Religious Fiction

I recently received David and Goliath by Bryan Hathaway. This book was definitely not what I expected. I am not sure what I expected, but this fell far from the tree. If you were addicted to Touched by an Angel, then this book is for you. For the rest of us, the stories were short and sweet and corny and theologically incorrect. I suppose after realizing that this book is not targeted as "Christian" but rather religious, I have a little bit more grace. However, it follows the Christian beliefs so closely that the few errors really caused me to pause and I think could truly lead someone astray. Because of this, I strongly disagree with this book not because of its stories or the way it was written but rather its entire philosophy.

The Storyline: The story is about David Liberty, an old man who is unable to move or speak. His body has failed him and he just wants to die in peace. When an angel, Joelle, comes to see him and offers him a second chance at salvation, David takes her up on her offer. He is put into a coma in his old body and awakens in a new one where he has a mission to help various people along the way.

What I liked about this book: I did enjoy the stories. It was well written and interesting. One of those inspirational pick-me-ups that leaves you with a good feeling after it is all said and done.

What I didn't like about this book: The first thing that threw me off in the book was the general idea behind David's "commission" if you will. David followed God and yet he made some mistakes in his life. He divorced his wife and slowly cut himself off from his family in depression and disappointment. Joelle tells him that he has failed God, however God is willing to give him one more chance to gain his salvation. The whole theology behind this is wrong, wrong, wrong. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. And although David argues this point, Joelle tells him not to question God's ways. The second issue of contention for me is on page 196, "Scripture also tells us that if two of you agree about anything for which you pray, it shall be granted by God." This is completely incorrect. Scripture tells us that if two or more of us gather in His name He will be there with us, not grant us our wishes like a genie. Basically, the whole philosophy of the book is that through doing things we can gain our salvation, that faith without works is dead. Which I understand to a point, I mean, it is in the bible. But works alone cannot GAIN salvation or redemption.

Who this book is good for: As I said before, if you enjoy inspirational stories, you might enjoy this book. However I am hesitant to suggest it to anyone as I believe it could really confuse someone in their faith or in their ideas about Christianity. Therefore, I will not be putting a link to purchase this book as I feel very strongly about this.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back On Murder Review

Book: Back on Murder
Author: J. Mark Bertrand
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0637-5
Genre: FICT Suspense

Back on Murder is a book that will keep you guessing. As with any mystery novel, the key is to never be predictable. And the more books that are written, the harder it is to be original. I found this book to be a mix of originality and "been there done that". It was a little hard to get into at first, definitely not a book that has it's hooks in you from the very beginning. But overall, I was impressed with the storyline.

The storyline: The story begins with Roland March, an out-of-favor homicide detective. After a life-altering event (to which the book refers but keeps you guessing until the end), Roland was never the same as a detective. He slowly fell from the top to the very bottom and is now verging on the precipice of unwanted. A simple discovery makes him realize that he loves his job and he is given one last chance to save his career. Gambling on hunches and instinct, Roland steps out on a limb and follows a lead that no one else believes in. "Battling a new partner, an old nemesis, and the demons of his past, getting to the truth could cost March everything. Even his life."

What I liked about this book: I enjoyed the overall storyline of this book. Despite the slow tempo, it was interesting and provocative. I appreciated the relationship as portrayed between Roland and his wife. Although it depicts problems between them, their marriage remains strong. I enjoyed the mystery and sense of reality that came with it. It is obvious that Bertrand is familiar with the mechanics of the homicide department and this gave the book an essence of truth.

What I didn't like about this book: If Bertrand could have increased the tempo and made this book more suspenseful, it would be far superior. I thought it didn't really succeed in being a suspense. There was mystery to it as Roland searched to solve his case, however there was not really an element of nail-biting suspense. I thought Roland's character could have been developed a bit more. I believe the intention of leaving his story a secret until the end was meant to draw the reader in, however it had nearly the opposite effect. Too much mystery makes a story boring and I found it hard to relate to and understand Roland until the end.

Who this book is good for: Anyone who enjoys a good book really. This book is a great gift for man or woman alike. It is a fantastic read for any day and the slower tempo makes it possible to put it down and save it for another time. I appreciate that aspect as a mother who rarely has time to read as I was drawn to it but not controlled by it :)

For more information on the book, Back on Murder, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Unwilling Warrior Review

Book: Unwilling Warrior                      
Author: Andrea Boeshaar
Publisher:  Strang Book Group
ISBN: 978-1-59979-985-8
Genre: Historical Christian Romance                                          

I recently received Unwilling Warrior by Andrea Boeshaar in the mail. It is a historical romance (yes, I get a lot of those) set in the mid 1800's during the civil war. I read this book in one sitting, it was an easy read and interesting enough to keep me up late to finish it-which is always a good sign. The story is well written and the plot has a number of interesting twists to it. My first impression after reading it was that it is interesting albeit forgettable. Historical Romance is a tough genre as there is a LOT of competition out there. It takes something pretty bold to make a particular book stand out in your mind, and this is not one of those books.

The storyline: Valerie Fontaine is a 19 year old young woman whose mother has recently died. She comes home from finishing school to live with her father and finds her welcome slightly less than she was anticipating. She meets a young, handsome photographer, Benjamin McCabe, who is on a quest to find his younger brother and yes... it is "love at first sight". Insert jealous suitor and arranged marriage; add a little conspiracy and political treachery and you have yourself a story that goes above and beyond the typical romance novel.

What I liked about this book: I really enjoyed the development on the main character, Valerie Fontaine. She was almost believable and quite likeable. I also enjoyed the general storyline and plot. Andrea Boeshaar's flowing writing style made the Unwilling Warrior very easy to read and get into.

What I didn't like about this book: You guessed it... "love at first sight", jealous suitors, and all the things that make a story cliche and unrealistic. Give me a messy, tough, gut-wrenching romance that brings in the elements of true love and I will be a happy woman. I found the title did not match the story at all. There is one mention of the "unwilling warrior" in the novel and it really has nothing to do with the main storyline between Valerie and Benjamin.

Who this book is good for: This is a great book for a rainy day, a good book for anyone who enjoys romance, and most likely a good book for a teenager (this is the type of book I would have enjoyed when I was younger).

For more information on the book, Unwilling Warrior, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received this book free of charge from Glass Road Public Relations

Monday, July 26, 2010

Perfectly Dateless Review

Hmmmm, I hardly know what to say about this book. Perfectly Dateless, by Kristin Billerbeck, is a teenage fiction novel about a young girl, Daisy, who is looking for the perfect date for prom. The problem is that she comes from a strong Christian family who won't let her date and she is determined to change their minds.

I did not like this book. Understandable as I am not a teenage heart-throb out looking for the next man meat to devour. However, I think I would have found it melodramatic even as a teenager. I was never this boy crazy. The book is written half story, half journal entries (which I found boring) and definitely not my kind of book.

Who this book is good for: This book might possibly be good for a very young teenager. Any highschool student would most likely scoff at the naiive absurdity of it all. However, a preteen 12-14 year old would probably swoon at the prospect of prom and prom dates.

**I received this book free of charge through Baker Publishing House

Heartless review

Heartless, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, is a story of love and adventure. It is a fantasy novel about dragons and princesses and kings and magic. It is the story of 18 year old Una and how she finds her path to true love. This book was nothing I was expecting it to be. When you see the beautiful cover and read the back, you assume it will be a sleeping beauty type story. Handsome hero fights the evil dragon and claims beautiful heroin as his own. The plot however, was a far cry from the expected. Una is of marriageable age and the suitors begin to come calling. She scorns anyone who does not meet her expectations for romance and adventure and soon finds that true love is more than simple excitement. The twists and turns in this book will take you for a wild ride and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance, fantasy, or just a good read.

What I liked about this book: My favorite aspect of this book is the metaphorical. This book could be taken from the Bible. One of the characters, Una's main suitor Prince Aethelbald, is undeniably representing Jesus. And the dragon represents satan. I have read representations of the gospel before, and nothing compared to this. It is essentially a love story between Jesus and you. The theology is bang on too. For example, the dragon (or satan) could not take Una until she had given up all hope and gave in to him. To me, this was one of the most monumental truths in the book. That satan cannot have us as the rightful bride of Christ, unless we lose faith and hope in God and give ourselves to him.

What I didn't like about this book: Una is naiive, her view of love and life is a bit cliche. As a married sceptic of the wonder and joy and perfection and romance that young people think love is sickens me. Love is work, love is so much deeper than the thrill of his hand touching yours or the butterflies in your stomach. That is not love at all. So, to say the least, Una's perspective drives me nuts in the beginning. It isn't until life gives her a good knock on the head that I find her more tolerable as a person.

Who this book is good for: This book is pretty much the perfect gift for a teenage girl. They are naiive enough to be sucked into the romance and love story, and the metaphor of Jesus will give you something to discuss afterwards. They will be able to relate to Jesus in a whole new way as they see him as a suitor instead of a sacrificial lamb that is hard to picture and understand.

All in all, although there were things that drove me nuts, Heartless is a great book for anyone to read. I would strongly suggest reading it yourself before giving it to your daughter, or niece, or whoever as it will give you time to think about the many similarities in the book and the Bible. I highly enjoyed this book, it is one of the best I have read in a long time, despite my scepticism!

For more information on the book, Heartless, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received a free copy of this book through Baker Publishing Group

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: The Seeker

The Seeker by Ann H Gabhart is a book about Charlotte Vance, a strong willed young woman set in Kentucky in the 1860's. Charlotte has her whole life planned out for her. Who she will marry, the land she will inherit, the path she will go. Until her father brings home a new wife and her life begins to fall apart at the seems. In a desperate attempt to escape her "step-mother's" clutches and win back her beau, Charlotte joins the local Shaker community. Although this is a historical fiction, Ann Gabhart lives just 30 miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky and therefore brings a lot of truth and an edge of history to the novel.

What I loved about this book: The Seeker was fascinating to me because I had never heard of the Shakers. To be honest, when I saw the white cap on the front image, I was sure it was an Amish story. The Shaker's fascinated me. I found this story incredibly believable. The characters were believable. Charlotte is believable. It is not a perfect story, it is a hard story that I believe depicts life in a more natural life. Love is not portrayed as easy or taken for granted. It is a realistic, interesting, and very satisfying read. I loved the ending. This book is not predictable.

What I didn't love about this book: It is hard to come up with any criticism for this book as I enjoyed it so much. You definitely have to be a fan of historical christian romance to enjoy this book. This book is no epic that will change your life, but it is an enjoyable and interesting read.

Overall, I would recommend The Seeker if you like the category. It is a great book for a rainy day or to give as a gift.

For more information about the book The Seeker or to purchase your own favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received this book free of charge by Baker Publishing Group

Friday, July 23, 2010

Review: Courting Morrow Little

Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz is a historical fiction set in the late 1700's. Morrow is a pastor's daughter in Kentucky who is haunted by memories of her past and her inability to forgive. Trying to find her way during impending war towards love, security and happiness, Morrow is determined to stand on her own. But when her father's health threatens to leave her alone and at the mercy of the men who will do nearly anything to have her, can she put aside her bitterness to find true love with her enemy? A story of love, forgiveness, and war, this book took me back in time and stranded me there. I couldn't put it down.

What I loved about this book: I loved the length of this book. There were a number of places that the author could have ended the story however she chose to give it more depth and went on. It never lost my interest and the story flowed nearly effortlessly as it was woven. I loved the sense of reality this book held. It was very believable and it was obvious that Laura did her research on writing this book.

What I didn't like about this book: Morrow Little is depicted as a subdued, almost breakable little woman. I thought her character itself could have been more believable. Although it held the ring of authenticity as women were dependant on the male's in their lives, she just sits back as her life is decided for her. I think it would have been more believable if she had at least shown some anger or persuasion. Also, the love story between Morrow and "Red Shirt" is a little bit cliche. I think it could have been developed more effectively.

I would recommend Courting Morrow Little to anyone interested in historical fiction or romance in particular. It is a great book for a gift or just to read on a rainy day.

For more information on the book, Courting Morrow Little, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received this book free of charge from Baker Publishing Group 

Review: the Heart Mender

I recently read The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews and was overall very impressed by what I read. The Heart Mender is a story of love, war, friendship, and forgiveness. Helen Mason is a young widow during WWII. Helen is alone with no family and bitter and angry at the Nazi's for taking her husband's life. She works as a waitress during the day and feeds her bitterness at night, allowing her anger to shadow who she is. The story then takes us to the other side of the world where we meet German U-boat officer Lt. Josef Landerman. Overcome with grief over his family's death, he is betrayed by his own country and left for dead where he washes up on Helen's doorstep.

Although I found this story a little hard to get into, I was intrigued by the details of war that I had never heard of before. Andy Andrews gives you an inner look to the life of early America as well as the inner war between the Nazi's and the "true Germans". The story is based on true history as well as true characters whose names were changed to protect their privacy and anonymity. This gives it a ring of truth and reality that make it impossible to put down. For a Christian Fiction novel, there was very little talk about God. Although I appreciate the fact that this makes the book more applicable to the average person, I was also a little bit disappointed and felt that it made it lacking somehow. If this book were to have a 'moral of the story' it would definitely be about forgiveness and the healing power of love. At the end, Andy adds a "Where are they now?" portion as well as a readers guide that gives the reader further insight into the character's true lives.

I would most definitely recommend The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances to my readers. If you like romance, war, or historical fiction, you will love this book.

For more information on the book, The Heart Mender, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received a free copy of this book through Thomas Nelson

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review: Ransomed Dreams

Ransomed Dreams is a novel written by Sally John, best-selling author of more than fifteen novels. It is a true love story, life at its messiest. For those of you who can't stand mushy unrealistic romance, this book carries a little more depth and reality.

The story paints a picture of Sheridan and her husband Eliot Montgomery, the perfect couple. They were deeply in love, he a U.S. Ambassador, she an altruistic "amby" wife. Until a horrific assassination attempt threw everything sideways. In a desperate attempt to maintain their sanity, Sheridan and Eliot hide out in a small Mexican town, Topala, giving no one their true address or contact information. This is where the story begins. Eliot, recovering from a terrible gunshot wound, is in constant pain and emotionally completely turned off to Sheridan. The loss of her friend, love, conversationalist, and companion puts a heavy toll on Sheridan and when her sister sends for her to come home for their dying father, Sheridan goes.

The primary conflict in the story is whether or not Sheridan will stay with Eliot after the year and a half of not being there for her. She misses her old life, she misses the city, another man cares for her deeply, and her loyalties are tried and tested. A story about faith in the midst of incredible trials, raw betrayal, forgiveness and perseverance,  Ransomed Dreams will hold you captive.

**I received a free copy of this book through tyndale house publishers

For more information on Ransomed Dreams or to buy your favourite Christian Fiction, check out

Monday, June 21, 2010

Review: God Made Your Body

I recently received a complimentary copy of God Made Your Body from Bethany House Publishers. Written by Jim Burns, this book is full of bright, interesting pictures and photographs and is a wonderful resource for parents of young children. God Made Your Body is part of a series of developmentally appropriate books called PURE FOUNDATIONS. It is geared for children ages 3-5, however I recently read it to my son and my daughter who are 2 and 3 and they were well entertained and very interested. At this young age, children are fascinated by their bodies and what makes them different. This book covers the many similarities and differences that all people have, different colored skin, hair, eyes, etc. It talks about the different parts boys and girls have with very tasteful young silhouettes drawn and how that enables them to become mommies and daddies. It touches on the development of babies as well as adoption and how every family looks different. 

There is quite a bit of writing and I was concerned that it would not hold my children's interest, however they loved the pictures and sat through the whole book. What makes this book different to other common "body" books is the depth of topics discussed and yet the tact with which they are introduced. You as a parent could go into as much depth as you felt your child was ready for. It is a tool to facilitate discussion and build relationship between parent and child and help set a foundation for conversation and openness in the future.

Who this book is good for: This is a fantastic book for any family with young children. It is great as a gift or a parenting resource. Ideally it is geared towards children aged 3-5, but it could be relevant to many age groups if your child seems receptive.

To purchase God Made Your Body, check out

Review: The Telling

The Telling is the final book in the Seasons of Grace series by Beverly Lewis. And I must admit to being a bit disappointed. There were no real revelations in this book. All of the conclusions to which Lewis so capably ties off were ones that I had already come to in my head. By the second book, I knew exactly what was going to happen and who was who. However, there still remains a bit of satisfaction through watching the characters dilemmas being solved. There is no doubt that this book still, even with its predictability, far surpasses most Christian fiction on the market today. However after the first two books, the third almost wasn't necessary. I think this would have been a stronger series if it were only two books therefore not allowing the reader sufficient time to draw their own conclusions.

For more information on the book, The Telling, or to purchase your own favourite Christian Fiction, check out

*I received a complimentary copy of this book through Bethany House Publishers

Monday, June 14, 2010

Review: The Missing

The Missing by Beverly Lewis is book two in her "Seasons of Grace" series. The book takes you on a journey into Amish country following the unique story of Grace Byler. The secret plaguing the Byler family begins to come to the surface as new relationships are formed and the plot "thickens" further. My only critique of this book is that by the end, I knew how the series would finish as it was a bit predictable. However, the characters are endearing and the storyline interesting. This is a book you won't want to put down! I would strongly suggest reading The Secret before beginning this book as you will have a better understanding of the characters and general plot. 

For more information on the book The Missing or to purchase your favourite Christian fiction, check out

*I received a complimentary copy of this book through Bethany House Publishers

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Review: The Secret by Beverly Lewis

Beverly Lewis is an author that has never ceased to engage me. Her's is the type of narrative that draws you into the story. Her characters are believable and well developed and you can tell that she does her research. One of America's top bestsellers, Beverly Lewis often writes her stories based on the Amish people and their simple lifestyle cannot help but endear you to them.

The Secret, book one in the Seasons of Grace series, is the story of Grace Byler. Grace is a typical young woman of the Amish community. However, her mother is often unhappy and obviously very troubled as to why, no one knows. The story focuses on Grace as the primary character, however you are also privileged to walk in the shoes of both her mother and her father throughout. The book is impeccably written and perfectly timed. It never skips or jumps through the timeline and neither does it drag. Thus you are pulled along at a lively pace as you are introduced to the plot and various characters along the way.

Who this book is good for: This book is perfect for anyone who loves Christian fiction, but more specifically towards women, I highly doubt most men would be eager to read an Amish romance novel! It is the ideal gift for an older daughter, or a mother, or sister. Any woman who has time to read will enjoy the drama presented in this story.

This book feels like historical fiction simply because of the way the Amish people live. You feel as though you are going back in time to farmhouses and no electricity and horse-pulled wagons. It makes you want to get up and bake bread from scratch, walk along the countryside and smell the intoxicating scent of apple pie. It makes you almost wish you could give up all your modern conveniences for the simplicity and elegance of the Amish lifestyle. Almost... but not quite :)

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.

For more information on The Secret or to purchase your favourite Christian fiction, check out

Monday, May 24, 2010

Review: 5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat them

5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat them by Dr. Charles Stone is, in essence, a book for discouraged and burned out pastors. Through research, real-life stories and data, Dr. Stone reveals 5 categories that steal ministerial joy:

1. Head-in-the-sand mentality that denies existing problems.
2. Emotional investment in the wrong issues.
3. Unhealthy responses to ministry frustrations.
4. A lone ranger attitude that says, "God and I can handle this."
5. Attitudes and actions that lead to lonely, hurting spouses.

The book reveals some discouraging facts:
1. "A 2001 survey discovered that the average tenure of pastor's in America is 3.8 years," (pp. 43).
2. "1 in 4 pastors experience a forced termination according to a 1990's reported study."are dismissed" (pp. 43).

This book is a fantastic resource for pastors or families who are heavily involved in ministry and finding themselves tired and fed up with their work. It is also a fantastic book for any pastor that is looking to defend themselves from these common "ministry killers." A great gift book for your pastor, I highly recommend it. Also a great read for the regular church-goer who wants to better relate to their ministerial staff and know how to best encourage them, pray for them, and support them.

For more information on the Five Ministry Killers by Dr. Charles Stone or for your own favourite Christian fiction, check out

Review: Morning For Dove

I recently read Morning For Dove by Martha Rogers and was overall satisfied with this book. Martha Rogers is a former schoolteacher and English instructor who loves history. This is the second book in the Winds Across the Prairie series by Rogers, however this book is highly capable of standing on its own two feet, even if you haven't had the opportunity to read the first book.

Morning for Dove is the story about Luke Anderson and Dove Morris and their "forbidden love". Luke falls in love with Dove, a half-cherokee young woman, despite his mother's obvious prejudice towards her. Warring between his respect for his parents and his love for Dove, Luke is forced to choose between the two of them when a prairie wildfire threatens to destroy their homes.

Set in the 1800's in prairie country, the story is filled with romance and drama and the power of God to overcome all our prejudice and judgements. I found this book a little bit unbelievable at the very beginning, as the story begins with him mourning over the woman he thought he loved, who is getting married. He goes to her wedding and lay's eyes on Dove Morris, whom he instantly transfers his affections towards. However, the book does go on to resolve this by discreetly explaining that what he felt for the first woman was nothing more than tender affection.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction. I believe that the best audience for this book would generally be a teenager or young adult, however it is a great read for all ages!

For more information on Morning for Dove or to purchase your favourite Christian fiction, check out

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review: Disaster Status by Candace Calvert

Disaster Status by Candace Calvert is book two in the Mercy Hospital Series. Candace is "a former ER nurse who believes love, laughter, and faith are the best medicines," and this belief permeates throughout the story. Filled with humour, faith, romance, and drama, this book is sure to keep you turning the pages. 

The story center's around Erin Quinn, a spunky and somewhat stubborn ER nurse, and Scott McKenna, an ambitious firefighter who "goes by the book" in his life. Through a local disaster, these two characters meet and are drawn together in their mutual effort to help the community recover from its trauma. Two individuals with each their own personal struggles and issues to overcome in both their families and their faith, Scott and Erin's professional relationship quickly develops to a personal one despite their many differences. 

More than a story about two lives, this is a story about faith and trust in God despite the various curveballs that life throws at us. Centered around the value of prayer and the importance of being still and listening "with the ears of your heart", this book carries spiritual truths that go beyond a good read and have the ability to touch your heart. As an added bonus, this book has a variety of discussion topics at the end to facilitate book clubs and small group conversation with the invitation to contact the author so that she can join the conversation via speakerphone if time permits. This speaks to the devotion of Candace to her readers and the desire of hers to go beyond simple fiction and touch her reader's hearts.

In conclusion this book is interesting, well written, fast paced, and filled with a message of hope and faith that is truly inspirational. For more information about Disaster Status or to purchase your favourite Christian fiction, check out

**I received a free copy of this book through Tyndale House Publishers

Monday, May 10, 2010

Review: A Surrendered Heart

I recently read A Surrendered Heart by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller. This is the third and final book in the Broadmoor Legacy and the continuation of the story of Fanny, Sophie, and Amanda. The story revolves around Amanda's point of view as she is forced to decide between her family and her heart. The story is set once again in the thousand islands as the family flees to their summer home to escape a cholera epidemic. Filled with the charming elements of mystery, intrigue, and romance, this book promises to deliver.

Due to the continuation of character development, I found that this book was by far the most satisfying of the three. It ties together all the final strings of suspense threaded in the first two novels, and gives the reader a sense of finality. This book also had the greatest focus on faith as the family is forced to evaluate what it truly means to follow Christ. For a historical, Christian fiction: the details are accurate, the language is captivating and the narrative is one that is hard to put down. This book, like all in this series, is one that will add to any reading collection and I highly recommend the entire Broadmoor Legacy for anyone who enjoys Historical, Christian romance.

For more information on the book A Surrendered Heart or to purchase your favourite Christian books, check out

**I received a free copy of this book through Baker Publishing Group.