Click Here For Free Blog Backgrounds!!!
Blogaholic Designs

Friday, March 30, 2012

River's Call

Today's post is part of a Blog Tour highlighting the second book in MelodyCarlson's The Inn at Shining Waters series - River's Call.  The first book in the series was River's Song.
Book Synopsis:
What happens when the ties between generations are severed?
It is the 1960's and Anna's daughter, Lauren, is confused, broken-hearted, and pregnant.  The difficult situation seems to bring out the worst in the selfish girl.  When Lauren chooses to stay with her manipulative Grandma Eunice, Anna worries her daughter will never become a mature adult and the relationship between Lauren, Anna and Eunice becomes even more strained.  However, when she hits the lowest point in her life, Lauren returns to her mother, the river, and the Inn and Shining Waters.  Now a mother to her own defiant teenager, Lauren faces a new crisis, one that puts the entire family at risk.

 Melody Carlson published her first book in 1995 and she has been writing prolifically ever since.  To date, Melody has published over 200 books, making her one of the top 20 most prolific authors of all time.  With total sales of over 5 million her award-winning books include:  Homeward, Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon; Limelight; the Diary of a Teenage Girl Series; the True Colors series; and the Carter House Girls series.

In her professional life, Melody has worn many hats:  from pre-school teacher to political activist to senior editor.  Currently, she writes full-time, and freelances from her home.  She has two grown sons and lives in Sisters, Oregon with her husband, Chris, and Audrey, her yellow lab.  They enjoy skiing, hiking, and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.  You can learn more about Melody and her writing at her website found at

My Thoughts About The Book:
I will temper my comments with the fact that I have not read the first book in this series.  With that said, I really had a hard time connecting with the characters and story in River's Call.  The storyline was simple and the characters lacked depth.  Ms Carlson skipped large chunks of time in telling the story.  For me, this made the story choppy and not flow very well.  The story just ends very abruptly.  There were also some editing snafu's in several places.  River's Call does bring up some interesting and emotional topics:  teen pregnancy, teen rebellion, family discord and passing down a family's heritage.  The book includes a good set of discussion questions making this a good selection for a book club.  The reader also gets the first chapter of River's End, the final book in this series.

You can order River's Call at by going HERE.

Thank you LeAnn Hamby with Glass Road Publications for sending me a copy of this book for the purpose of review and participation in today's blog tour!

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Isaiah 61

I'm reading through the Bible this year using The Sanctuary Bible - NLT - Devotional Bible for Women.  Needless to say, I'm a little behind.  I am using this 52 week Bible reading plan;  each day of the week I'm in a different area of the Bible - Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and The Gospels.  This morning, Isaiah 61 was a portion of my reading.  I've read this chapter of the Bible a crazy number of times and heard many sermons and completed many Bible studies where this portion of Scripture was expounded upon.  However, this morning the promises in this one chapter of the Bible fell on me like a breath of fresh air.  Even though I'm somewhat behind in my "reading through the Bible" plan, it never ceases to make me want to shout when God ordains His perfect Words for the perfect time I need to hear them anew!

Here is Isaiah 61, NLT version, with the promises italicized and in bold print:

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me,
for the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released 
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the LORD's favor has come,
and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel, 
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness,
they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted 
for his own glory.
They will rebuiled the ancient ruins,
repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
though they have been deserted
for many generations.
Foreigners will be your servants.
They will feed your flocks
and plow your fields
and tend your vineyards.
You will be called priests of the LORD,
ministers of our God.
You will feed on the treasures of the nations
and boast in their riches.
Instead of shame and dishonor,
you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion 
of prosperity in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
For I, the LORD, love justice.
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
I will faithfully reward my people
for their suffering
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be recognized
and honored among the nations.
Everyone will realize that they are a people
the LORD has blessed.
I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God!
For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit
or a bride with her jewels.
The Sovereign LORD will show justice
to the nations of the world.
Everyone will praise him!
His righteousness will be like a garden
in early Spring,
with plants springing up everywhere.

Matthew Henry says of this chapter in the Bible:
"Promises are here made to the Jews now returned out of captivity, and settled again in their own land, which are to be extended to the gospel church, and all believers, who through grace are delivered out of spiritual thraldom; for they are capable of being spiritually applied...See what the promised blessings are—righteousness and praise (for those that are clothed with righteousness show forth the praises of him that clothed them); these shall spring forth under the influence of the dew of divine grace. Though it may sometimes be winter with the church, when those blessings seem to wither and do not appear, yet the root of them is fixed, a spring-time will come, when through the reviving beams of the approaching Sun of righteousness they shall flourish again."
I hope this encourages you today as you are reminded of all that is yours in Jesus Christ!


Monday, March 26, 2012

The Chase

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Chase
Zondervan (March 27, 2012)
DiAnn Mills
To the FBI it's a cold case. To Kariss Walker it's a hot idea that could either reshape or ruin her writing career. And it's a burning mission to revisit an event she can never forget. Five years ago, an unidentified little girl was found starved to death in the woods behind a Houston apartment complex. A TV news anchor at the time, Kariss reported on the terrifying case. Today, as a New York Times bestselling author, Kariss intends to turn the unsolved mystery into a suspense novel. Enlisting the help of FBI Special Agent Tigo Harris, Kariss succeeds in getting the case reopened. But the search for the dead girl's missing mother yields a discovery that plunges the partners into a witch's brew of danger. The old crime lives on in more ways than either of them could ever imagine. Will Kariss's pursuit of her dream as a writer carry a deadly price tag? Drawing from a real-life cold case, bestselling novelist DiAnn Mills presents a taut collage of suspense, faith, and romance in The Chase. 

Watch the trailer:

DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010. 
DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops. 
DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at  

My Thoughts About The Book:
The story in The Chase is a good one; however, I found Ms Mills' writing to be a bit stilted.  The story itself just didn't flow very well.  And Kariss's "conversion" toward the end of the book seemed to be kinda thrown in for good measure and seemed like an obligatory "add-on".  With that said, I would still be interested in reading the next installment in this series.  I found the story of a writer (Kariss) wanting to switch genres intriguing and you can't help but want to know where Kariss and Tigo's future together might lead them!

You can order the book from by going HERE.  

Happy Reading,

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Don't That Sound Like Heaven?

Do you ever get homesick?

According to the Free Online Dictionary, the meaning of "homesick" is
acutely longing for one's family or home.
We live in Southwest Florida, which puts us about 1,000 miles away from our extended families in MS and AL.  And as I've mentioned here before, homesickness is a periodic thing with which I experience.  But, when I ask if you ever get homesick, I'm talking about this:
Do you ever get homesick for heaven?
I'm talking about an aching in your heart that cries out, "Come, Lord Jesus, come!"

I love my family and I love all the earthly things with which the Lord has blessed me, but sometimes I just get
And if you love the Lord, I bet you do too!

In the video below, my husband shares a song titled Don't That Sound Like Heaven?  I hope it encourages you in some way today: 


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Not This Time

Sorry for the deluge of book reviews if you came by looking for something else today!  I've had the wind knocked out of me with the flu or something and can't put two intelligible thoughts together.  I have lots to share, but I want to make sure I do those posts justice.  So...I'll save those for a day in the hopefully not so distant future when I can share with you clearly.

In February of last year, I reviewed a fiction work by an author I had never read before.  Deadly Ties by Vicki Hinze is book two in her Crossroads Crisis Center series.  You can read that review by going HERE.  As you can tell from that review, I was a Hinze fan immediately!  I absolutely could not wait for book three to be available.  I was going to purchase it or review it for WaterBrook Multnomah.  One way or the other, I was going to get my hands on this book!

Not This Time by Vicki Hinze, the third book in the Crossroads Crisis Center series, DID NOT disappoint!

Synopsis of the book:
Small town scandal. International terrorist attack. Who among them is the traitor? 
Sara and Beth have built a multi-million dollar business together, but their once solid friendship is now strained. Beth is leery of Sara's husband, and when he is kidnapped, authorities consider Beth their prime suspect. 

Then, their small town of Seagrove Village is rocked by an act of terrorism, and Beth doesn't know who to trust. Someone she knows is linked to the attack, but who? Is there a connection to Crossroads Crisis Center? In the midst of the confusion and fear, Beth finds herself attracted to a man from her past. She knows she shouldn't fall in love with him, but she can't resist or even explain their bond. As her world unravels around her, she wonders, is it possible to be beyond redemption?

Here's the book trailer via YouTube:

You can read chapter one of the book by going HERE.  But, I give you the link to that excerpt with this warning:  READ ONLY IF YOU ARE READY TO ORDER THE BOOK.  As a matter of fact, just go ahead and be ready to order all three books in this series:  Forget Me Not, Deadly Ties, AND Not This Time.  

While Not This Time can be read as a stand alone novel (because Hinze does such a good job of interjecting certain details so that the stand alone reader is not completely lost) you will fall in love with the characters and want to read the stories in their entirety.  From page one of Not This Time, I said to myself, "Hang on girl, this is gonna be a good one!"  Hinze is a master at weaving a story full of intrigue, faith, love, redemption and plain ole "sit on the edge of your recliner" suspense.

You can learn more about Ms Hinze by visiting her website found at  I think you'll appreciate her Mission Statement from her website:

“We all have challenges that we doubt we can make it through; where we can’t see light at the end of the tunnel, we’re stuck in the darkness, groping for a door, a way out. We ask ourselves, Is healing possible? What we often don’t see is that if we hold on, we will get through our troubles. And we rarely see (until we experience it) that our battles leave scars change us. We’re no longer the person we were. We’re the person we’ve become. Wiser. Stronger. More confident and sure of ourselves because we endured and survived. These are the stories I most love to write. Stories about the real us, without the veneer and party faces. Stories in which we recognize ourselves and bits of our lives. Stories that are destined to thrill, fated to heal!”
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” -Hebrews 11:1, KJV
You can order the books from WaterBrook Multnomah by going HERE or from by going HERE.

Thanks to the folks at WaterBrook Multnomah for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review as part of their Blogging for Books program.

If you will take a minute and rate this review in the box provided below, you can even be entered for a chance to win your own copy of Not This Time:

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Jesus We Missed

Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of The Jesus We Missed by Patrick Henry Reardon for the purpose of review. 
Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor of All Saints' Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and a senior editor of Touchstone Magazine
Father Patrick was educated at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY), St. Anselm's College (Rome), The Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome), and St. Tikhon's Orthodox Seminary (South Canaan, PA).
He has authored many books including: Christ in the Psalms, Christ in His Saints, The Trial of Job: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Job, Chronicles of History and Worship: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Books of Chronicles, and Creation and the Patriarchal Histories: Orthodox Reflections on the Book of Genesis.
In addition, Father Patrick has published over a thousand articles, editorials, and reviews, in "Books and Culture", "Touchstone", "The Scottish Journal of Theology", "The Catholic Biblical Quarterly", "Pro Ecclesia", "St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly", and other journals on three continents over the past forty-plus years.

Mr. Reardon has written a helpful resource to both the believer and the skeptic on the humanity of Christ without compromising His deity.  He says this in the introduction:
"I recognize in Jesus of Nazareth a 'single subject' - one person, not two - who is God's eternal Son, of 'one being (homoousios) with the Father'.  That is to say, in the scenes of the gospel we are not presented with two subjects, a 'mixed' Jesus, as it were, part God and part man.  He was (and is!) completely both.  In the expressions of Cyril of Alexandria, teh most important thinker at Ephesus, Jesus is 'a single reality' (mia physis)."
The chapters include:
  • Growing Up
  • Two Conversations
  • Baptism
  • The Human Condition
  • The Public Ministry
  • Learning and Teaching
  • Jesus at Prayer
  • Jesus and the Women
  • The Growing Crisis
  • The Garden
  • The Bridegroom Is Taken Away
  • Risen in the Flesh
  • Epilogue:  The Same Jesus
  • Appendix:  The New Adam
Reardon writes with attention to the historical setting and a clear handling of the Scriptures.  The Jesus We Missed will cause you to marvel at Jesus as Immanuel - God With Us!

The book can be ordered from by going HERE


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Paper Poppies

The child in Paper Poppies was a crippled orphan with TB whose body was strapped to a hospital bed in Siberia, but whose mind and heart were on an amazing and memorable quest for Truth. Marianna sifted through the myriad of beliefs that filled empty souls during the Communist years in Russia: Soviet atheism, old folklore and superstitions, and empty religious traditions. When, in her pain and loneliness, one Christian dared to share her Christian faith with Marianna, a seed was planted that later led her to Christ.

That child was...

Marianna Vekhova, a graduate of Moscow State University, School of Journalism. She worked as an editor for a children's publishing house, then wrote scripts for children's radio and television. She has published children's books in Russian. She also has volunteered at a Moscow mission evangelizing street children.

You will be blessed by this poignant story of loss, confusion and pain, but reminded of the scandalous love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He can break through any barrier with His grace.  What wonderful work Ms Vekhova now does because of God's amazing grace poured out in her life.  Truly, what the enemy meant for evil in her life, our God used for His glory...the saving of many lives!

The book is a mere 176 pages, but packs a powerful story.  Hurry to today, because the Amazon Kindle version of Paper Poppies is available from March 15-19 FREE.  Just visit HERE
Happy Reading,

Monday, March 12, 2012

Prize of My Heart

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Prize of My Heart
Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2012)
Lisa Norato

An unsolved mystery separates ex-privateersman Captain Brogan Talvis from his lost son--his only living relation, his only family. Shortly before her tragic demise, his wife abandoned their infant to strangers, refusing to reveal the child's whereabouts. Now, three years later, Brogan has discovered the boy at the home of a shipbuilder's daughter, Lorena Huntley.

Lorena guards a dark secret about her young charge. She finds herself falling for the heroic captain who has come to claim his newly built ship, unaware his motive for wooing her is to befriend the boy he plans on reclaiming as his own--until the day anothers evil deceit leaves her helplessly shipbound, heading toward England.

As the perfect opportunity to reclaim his son unfolds, Brogan is haunted by thoughts of Lorena in her dire circumstance, and he is forced to make a heartrending choice between his child and the woman who has begun to capture his heart. But only his unselfish sacrifice can win him the greatest prize of all--love.
Read the first chapter by going HERE.
A life-long New Englander, Lisa Norato lives in a historic village with homes and churches dating as far back as the eighteenth century. She was born into a close-knit Italian family that hungered as much for the things of God as they did for lasagna. After church, the family spent Sunday afternoons gathered in fellowship around a never-ending feast that featured her grandmother's homemade spaghetti and pizza.

From the time she learned to read, her mother impressed her with the joy of getting lost in a good book. She passed novels along to her as early as age thirteen, but it wasn't until many years later that Lisa felt compelled to write one herself.

She first discovered a love of writing when assigned to write and illustrate a children's book at the art college she attended. She balances writing with a career as a legal assistant specializing in corporate law. When not creating stories, she enjoys domestic pursuits like precious time with her dog and family, cooking, baking and eating vegan, reading, her Bible, her favorite television shows and crocheting.

Lisa is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Rhode Island Romance Writers (RIRW) and American Colonial Christian Writers. 
You can learn more about Lisa by visiting her website found HERE.

I don't typically enjoy books in this particular genre, but Norato has made me a believer!  She writes with the perfect blend of romance wrapped in a Christian worldview, suspense and nostalgia.  Her story reads like a beautifully written poem at times.  The description she provides of both the characters and scenery make you feel as if you are right there in the story yourself.  This story is hope filled.  Prize of My Heart will remind you that nothing is lost when a life is surrendered to the Lord!

You can order the book from by going HERE.  

Happy Reading,

Monday, March 5, 2012

First Ladies Tea

Some of our Senior Adult ladies in our church organized a Ladies Tea and Silent Auction to benefit our nursery ministry.  We are being blessed with families who have young children visiting our church and recognized a real need to give some attention to this important area of service.

I had not planned to have JennaBeth attend.  She and Bentley were going to hang out with their daddy while me and Cecily went; however, this precious lady (Ellen Tanner) brought JennaBeth her very own teacup and saucer to have, so she ended up getting to attend her very first Ladies Tea!
(Ellen is in the red top and JennaBeth is sitting in Ms Jane's lap.)
(JennaBeth's little teacup and saucer.)

The committee of ladies who worked on this event really did a fantastic job.  The afternoon was a fun time of fellowship, entertainment and encouragement in the importance of nursery ministry in the church.
 (Left to Right:  Cherry, Earlene and Tammy - She gave excellent leadership to this event.)
(Mary and Maggie making the tea.)
As you can tell, the decorations were beautiful.  We enjoyed tea, sandwiches, and cookies.  JennaBeth enjoyed drinking from her little teacup - she had tea complete with cream and lemon.  The whole "cream in your tea" thing has never grown on me.  I guess because I'm just a plain ole Southern Sweet Ice Tea girl! JennaBeth also enjoyed her ham salad sandwich and 10 cookies!  They placed that cookie tray by the wrong person :)

We enjoyed learning a little about "tea etiquette".  I think Cecily may have how to properly hold a teacup down. 
The Osterhouse girls (Marissa and Sara) along with a friend of theirs performed and Irish dance for us as well as leading us in this fun little song...

No, you didn't see JennaBeth in the video, because by this time she had had enough of "tea time" and joined her daddy and brother elsewhere!

I'm so proud of the ladies who organized and worked so hard on this event!  Due to their efforts and the blessing of God, we were able to raise over $1,000 for our nursery ministry, which includes the goal of purchasing some playground equipment.

One last thing to share:
Are those not the sweetest baby quilts???  Thank you Ms Polly Naylor for making these!  We had a sweet 11 month old baby girl visiting Sunday morning and it was nice to cover her little cold legs with such sweetness!

And what about these cute handmade bibs...
Ms Polly made those as well!

Thank you ladies for your service on Saturday.  Your commitment to serving the Lord with excellence will be a blessing to many little ones who pass through the nursery at Northside Baptist Church!

"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men."  Romans 14:17-18