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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pattern for Romance

Pattern for Romance
Abingdon Press (August 20, 2013)
Carla Gade

Carla Olson Gade has been imaging stories most of her life. Her love for writing and eras gone by turned her attention to writing Inspirational Historical Romance. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Writers, and the Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers. She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary. 
Her publishing credits also include a variety of newspaper articles, newsletters, and web content. She also enjoys developing discipleship materials for women. She has been a book judge for the Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest (RWA), and ACFW's Genesis Contest. 
In addition to writing, Carla is a freelance website designer and webhost and an advocate for adult literacy. An experienced event and program planner/promoter, Carla designs marketing materials for her writing group, women's ministry, and other functions. Carla has also spoken at several women's events and facilitated many workshops and classes through the years. 
An autodidact, creative thinker, and avid reader, Carla also enjoys genealogy, web design, and photography. A native New Englander, she lives in beautiful rural Maine with her "hero" husband and two young adult sons, and a new grandson.
Carla can be reached through the Contact link on her Website.
Honour Metcalf’s quilting needlework is admired by a wealthy customer of the Boston Mantua-maker for whom she works. In need of increasing her earnings, she agrees to create an elaborate white work bridal quilt for the dowager’s niece. A beautiful design emerges as she carefully stitches the intricate patterns and she begins to dream of fashioning a wedding quilt of her own. When Honour is falsely accused of thievery and finds herself in a perilous position, merchant tailor Joshua Sutton comes to her aid. As he risks his relationships, reputation, and livelihood to prove her innocence, the two discover a grander plan—a design for love. 
If you would like to read the first chapter of Pattern for Romance, go HERE

My Thoughts:
Pattern for Romance is the latest addition to the Quilts of Love series.  I have thoroughly enjoyed these books.  Gade's book was a little different for me than the others.  While maybe not my favorite of the series, I appreciate how Gade captures the era about which she is writing.  From the description of the characters, the surroundings and the dialect, she draws you into the story and you feel as if you are walking alongside Honour and Joshua.  What a sweet story!  

Happy Reading,

Monday, August 26, 2013

On Distant Shores

Meet Sarah: Sarah Sundin is the author of "With Every Letter" and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A "Memory Between Us" was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. 
Visit for more information.

Caught between the war raging around them and the battles within, two souls long for peace---and a love that remains true.
Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie's cozy life gets more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson.
Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancée. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they've made?
With her signature attention to detail and her talent for bringing characters together, Sarah Sundin weaves an exciting tale of emotion, action, and romance that will leave you wanting more.

To see what others are saying about On Distant Shores, you can visit HERE.

My Thoughts About The Book:
Sarah Sundin has just risen to the top of my list of favorite Historical Romance authors!  In On Distant Shores (book two of her Wings of The Nightingale series), Sundin does a splendid job of capturing the WWII era.  This book moves fast and is full of action, heartbreak, romance and the reality of the war zone.  I absolutely LOVE Sundin's characters!  She brings them alive and very shortly into the book, they feel like your best friends.  In a few short pages, Sundin takes you back to the early 1940's and with her vivid description transports you to another time and another place full of adventure.  Her portrayal of Georgie's and Hutch's growth and transformation due to their faith and trust in God is clear.  Thank you Sarah for sharing your exceptional gift!

Don't miss the chat with Sarah on September 3rd:
Enter Today - 8/15 - 9/2!

Sarah Sundin On Distant Shores
Thank you Litfuse Publicity for sending the book for the purpose of this review and blog tour opportunity!

Happy Reading,

Winter In Full Bloom

Meet Anita: Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She's been a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Connect with Anita at:

Lily Winter's wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily's lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger to her---a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she'd been hiding for decades---Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies.Without looking back, Lily---with her fear of flying---boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by imprudent Ausie, he might prove to be the key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.

You can visit HERE to see what others are saying about Winter in Full Bloom.

My Thoughts About The Book:
Anita Higman has a gift and I am blessed to have discovered it.  This is my first novel by Ms Higman and I am hooked!  She has written a story that delves into one of the most painful things experienced in life:  broken family relationships.  Higman carries her readers through every conceivable emotion and there are times I simply had to close the book and weep.  With well-developed characters and a carefully constructed plot, Higman offers her readers a clear picture in novel form of the beautiful transforming and saving gospel of Jesus Christ.  The themes of forgiveness, grace, mercy and restoration shine forth.  I absolutely loved Lily and Marcus...I think you will too!

Don't forget to join Anita Higman for a book chat and chance to win some awseome prizes on August 29th!
Enter Today - 8/12 - 8/29!

Winter in Full Bloom Anita Higman
Thank you Litfuse Publicity for sending me the complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this blog tour and review!

Happy Reading,

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pray The Scriptures

The son of a lifelong inner-city public school teacher and a beloved author of historical fiction for children, Kevin Johnson is the bestselling author of nearly 60 books and study Bibles for adults, youth, and children, including the one-of-a-kind Pray the Scriptures Bible (Bethany House Publishers 2012). As a writer and editor of adult works he has partnered as co-author and concept consultant with some of the publishing world’s leading authors. Kevin’s writing hasn’t stopped since his first book, Can I Be a Christian Without Being Weird?
(Bethany House 1992). He was the lead writer of the original guy’s Biblezine Refuel (Thomas Nelson 2004). His latest authoring work includes The Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens (Zondervan 2012) and Resolving Everyday Conflict, with Ken Sande (Baker Books 2011). Past projects include a trio of curriculum and books that accompanied the release of the Universal Pictures family comedy Evan Almighty, starring Steve Carell (Youth Specialties 2007), and the
NCV Student Bible (Thomas Nelson 2006). On Easter Sunday 2010 Kevin began serving as solo pastor of Emmaus Road Church in Hopkins, Minnesota, a suburban city west of Minneapolis ( He was previously Teaching Pastor at Calvary in Golden Valley, Minnesota, where until 2006 he was Pastor for Children, Youth, and Family, overseeing 45 paid staff working with 1200 youth, children, and early childhood students. He ran a major adult nonfiction line as a senior editor at Bethany House Publishers. And he pastored a group of more than 400 sixth through ninth
graders at Elmbrook Church in metro Milwaukee. His training includes an M.Div. from Fuller
Theological Seminary and a B.A. in English and Print Journalism from the University of
Wisconsin—River Falls.
Kevin’s interests include trail running, backyard astronomy, and radio (with broadcasts from
more than 160 countries heard on AM and shortwave). He also tries hard at digital
photography, and some of his shots can be viewed at
Kevin met his wife, Lyn, on a high school outreach to a First Nations reserve in Ontario, Canada.
Their home has a laboratory for all the parenting tips Kevin has dispensed over the years, with
a recent college grad (Nate—snowboard instructor, electric guitarist, and English teacher), a
college junior (Karin—downhill ski instructor, vocalist, and worldchanger), and a high school
junior (Elise—long-distance runner, guitarist, and budding psychologist). Kevin and Lyn guide
their home with one rule: “Don’t do anything stupid.” They share their home not only with
three children but with several dozen tropical fish and a champion blue merle sheltie,
At 49, Kevin is happily on the verge of adulthood. Kevin and Lyn plan to expend themselves in
a lifetime of service, then grow ponytails and retire somewhere near an ocean.

When you don't now the words to pray, God provides them for you.
You desire a deeper prayer life, to pray God's will and his promises, but perhaps you feel stuck.  This 40-day prayer experience will energize your prayer life and draw you closer to God through his very words.  If you've ever wondered what God wants to hear from you, Kevin Johnson will guide you in praying back to God the words of Scripture, applying them to your life and circumstances.
"Prayer starter" phrases jump-start your practice of writing and speaking Scripture prayers.  Each day's entry includes an introductory devotional, Scripture text, and concluding questions for reflection, discussion, and further prayer.

*You can visit HERE for an excerpt from the book in order to get a feel for the structure of each day's prayer prompt.

Pray the Scriptures:  A 40-Day Prayer Experience is Kevin's follow-up to his Pray The Scriptures Bible which is in the God's Word Translation.

My Thoughts:
Kevin Johnson offers an excellent resource to aid in your devotional experience.  I enjoyed using his guide as part of my quiet times and can highly recommend it to you.  I really appreciated that the printed portions of Scripture in the book are offered in various translations.  The guide is simple and easy to use.  Particularly helpful are the reflect, pray and discuss section at the end of each day's scripture guide.  This would be an excellent gift for a new believer or for anyone who is seeking to develop a more focused prayer life.
Thank you Bethany House for sending a complimentary copy for the purpose of this review.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Into The Whirlwind

 A research librarian and associate professor, Elizabeth Camden has a master’s in history from the University of Virginia and a master’s in library science from Indiana University. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband in central Florida.
Elizabeth can be reached through the Contact link on her Website.

 After her father's death, Mollie Knox takes over his watchmaking company and uses her head for business to solidify the good name of the 57th Illinois Watch Company. Her future looks bright until the night her beloved city is destroyed in the legendary Great Chicago Fire. With her world crumbling around her, Molly must do whatever it takes to save her company in the aftermath of the devastating fire. 
Zack Kazmarek is an influential attorney with powerful ties to the political, mercantile, and ethnic roots of Chicago. His only weakness is Mollie Knox, a woman who has always been just beyond his reach. However, all bets are off after the fire destroys Chicago, and Mollie is in desperate need of assistance. Just as Zack finally begins to pursue the woman he loves, competition arises in the form of a hero from her past who can provide the help she needs to rise from the ashes. 
While Mollie struggles to rebuild, the two men battle for her heart. One has always loved her, but the other has the power to save her. In the race to rebuild the city, can she survive with her business and her heart intact? 
If you would like to read the first chapter of Into the Whirlwind, go HERE

My Thoughts:
I really love Ms Camden's stories!  She captures the time period and surroundings with description that isn't "wordy" and doesn't take away from the story line.  Her characters are richly drawn and you immediately find someone in the story to connect with.  I absolutely loved Mollie Knox!  What Ms Camden has given us is an exceptional historical romance with deep themes on life, love, faith and restoration.

This post is part of a tour of The Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Mercy Prayer

Robert Gelinas is Lead Pastor of Colorado Community Church a vibrant multi-cultural, interdenominational community of 3000+ followers of Christ in the Denver area (  Gelinas holds a B.A. in Biblical Studies and an M.A. in Missiology from Denver Seminary. He is the author of the book "The Most Answered Prayer" (Thomas Nelson, 2013) and "Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith" (Zondervan).
Founder of Project 127: A ministry devoted to emptying Colorado's foster care system. (
He and his wife, Barbara, live in Denver with their six children.
For his blog, sermons/podcasts, and speaking requests please

"Lord, have mercy."
A raw plea for intervention.  The most prayed prayer in the bible.  And a request that God always grants, often in surprising ways.  In The Mercy Prayer, Robert Gelinas blends biblical wisdom with penetrating personal encounters and keen insight into familiar stories.  The result is a practical guide for receiving the mercy we all desperately need and letting it flow from us into the lives of others.
The Mercy Prayer reveals:
How God's abundant compassion is at the core of His character and was central to the earthly mission of Jesus.
The truth that simply praying the Mercy Prayer and anticipating mercy's arrival can soothe a wounded soul and change a life from the inside out.
Practical ways to carry God's mercy into the muck and mire of a hurting world, offering comfort and hope in the name of Christ.
How you can make the most frequent prayer in the Bible your most prayed prayer, too, by learning to pray with every breath you take and every beat of your heart.
The Mercy Prayer invites each of us to become a student of heavenly compassion and clemency, to immerse ourselves in it, to embrace the responsibility of seeing all life in view of God's mercy - and to watch as this simple-yet-profound cry reshapes us and our world.  Everybody needs mercy.

My Thoughts:
The Mercy Prayer is only 175 pages; however, the author covers a lot of ground in those few pages.  Siting biblical accounts as well as personal experiences and applicable examples, Gelinas gives the reader a good introduction to the concept of God's mercy.  I think the short length didn't give the author the room to thoroughly flesh out some points.  While I appreciated much of what Gelinas said in the book, I felt it was too lite on the reason we require the mercy of God in our lives - the sinfulness of fallen humanity.  
With that said, again, there is much to appreciate about this offering from Gelinas.  I particularly loved this quote in chapter 4, When You're In Need:  "Grace is receiving what we don't deserve.  But before we can receive what we don't deserve, God must first refrain from giving us what we do deserve.  Mercy carves a path for God's grace."
Gelinas does encourage the reader to learn to incorporate a cry for mercy into his/her daily prayer life and reminds us that we ask of a God Who is waiting to give in abundance.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Bonhoeffer On The Christian Life

Stephen J. Nichols (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is research professor of Christianity and culture at Lancaster Bible College. He has written several books, including The ReformationFor Us and for Our Salvation, and Welcome to the Story. He lives with his wife and three children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
On June 27th of this year, Stephen was announced as Ligonier Ministries' newest Teaching Fellow.  Combining a passion for church history and a love for the Reformed tradition, Dr. Nichols compliments Ligonier's existing group of Teaching Fellows with his expertise in American Christianity, New Testament and Systematic Theology.
Stephen is also a visiting professor for Reformation Bible College and has served as a lecturer in church history for Westminster Theological Seminary since 2004.
Dr. Nichols is a prolific writer who has written, contributed to or edited more than a dozen books on church history, biblical doctrine and practical theology, and is currently the co-editor for the Theologians on the Christian Life series from Crossway.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer died a martyr’s death at the age of 39 but remains one of the most influential and challenging theologians of our time. His writings teach us the value of cross-centered theology, and his courageous actions against the Nazi regime compel us to consider the cost of discipleship. From Bonhoeffer we learn that the Christian life is lived both alone and together, and that there is a stark difference between cheap and costly grace. With insight, clarity, and wisdom, Stephen Nichols guides us through the words and deeds of this humble yet heroic pastor, whose example shows us that the Christian’s life flows from the cross, for the world.

If you have about 15 minutes, you might find this discussion between Dr. Nichols and Justin Taylor insightful.  In this time, they discuss the importance of the series Theologians on the Christian Life, and then more specifically this newest addition by Dr. Nichols on Bonhoeffer:

My Thoughts:
The goal of the series is to "provide accessible introductions to the great teachers on the Christian Life."  The tagline of the series is:  Gaining wisdom from the past for life in the present.  I was blessed to have Crossway send me a complimentary copy of Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life:  From the Cross, For the World for the purpose of this review.  I've been reading through the book...slowly as part of my devotional times each day.  
Dr. Nichols has provided for his readers an indispensable and rich resource for Christian living.  He has written an essential guide for the application of Bonhoeffer's theology.  The book is divided into five parts:  Introduction, Foundations, Disciplines, Life and Literature as well as two appendices that cover a time line of Bonhoeffer's life and a summary of Bonhoeffer on the Christian life.  
After reading Dr. Nichols' biography, one might think this book to be just another stuffy and boring "lecture" by a professor.  That would be a tragic assumption to make.  I found Dr. Nichols' writing to be thoughtful and thorough, but certainly not boring or stuffy.  He unpacks Bonhoeffer's theology, rich as it is and then helps the reader to apply that theology to his/her everyday life.
Here are a few quotes from the book to give you a taste of the subject matter and of Dr. Nichols' writing style:
"If you are looking for the line of demarcation between what the Greco-Roman worldview had to offer and what Christianity has to offer, this is it.  Either hope and redemption reside within human beings so we become the object of our own faith, or hope and redemption reside outside us, alien to s, so we look beyond ourselves to the object of our faith.  Only when we come to the end of ourselves do we see our true need.  That is the Christian view."
"Something more profound lies beneath both weakness and power.  Behind our weakness lies sin, and behind divine power lies holiness.  The true problem consists not of our weakness.  Weakness is a symptom, merely pointing to our true problem:  sinfulness.  And the great gulf between us and God is not merely measured by finite weakness compared to infinite strength.  The great gulf consists in our utter sinfulness compared to God's incomparable holiness."
"Bonhoeffer reminds us that since the church is made of people, who happen to be sinners, it can be messy and inconvenient and feel unfulfilling.  Thinking like a consumer when it comes to the church robs us of genuine Christian community.  Community - which at its foundational and essential nature is composed of other people - consists of burdens and suffering, challenges, and difficulties.  None of these makes for good advertising.  But you bond the deepest with those you suffer with." 
This book is deeply theological but profoundly practical and I can not recommend it enough!  It will be one that I return to many times and plan on passing down to my children dog eared, tattered and marked up.

You can order the book from Crossway by going HERE.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Critical Pursuit

Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer of 22 years.  During the course of her career, Cantore found that her faith was indispensable to every aspect of the job and published articles on faith at work.  She enjoys writing suspense novels that keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired.
Janice is excited and honored to be a part of the Tyndale Publishing House family.  Tyndale sent me a complimentary copy of Cantore's Critical Pursuit (Book One in Cantore's latest series and previously published as The Kevlar Heart).
You can connect with Cantore through her website found at, and on Facebook HERE.

Officer Brinna Caruso has built a reputation at the precinct as the cop to call when a child goes missing.  For Brinna, it's personal because she was once one of them.  Brinna and her K-9 search and rescue doe, Hero, will stop at nothing to find a missing child, no matter the stakes.
Detective Jack O'Reilly isn't ready to return to his homicide duties after losing his wife to a drunk driver.  He's on the downside of his career, and bent on revenge, when he's assigned as Brinna's partner.  While on patrol, Jack struggles between his quest for personal justice and his responsibility to those around him, especially his partner.
Skeptical of Jack's motives, Brinna isn't sure she can rely on her new partner, whose reckless abandon endangers those around him.  But when a man surfaces with an MO similar to the criminal who abducted Brinna Twenty years earlier, Brinna and Jack must cast aside previous judgments and combine efforts to catch the kidnapper and finally allow Brinna the peace stolen from her as a child.
My Thoughts:
When you open this book to page one and begin reading, buckle your seat belt for a fast paced police thriller!  Cantore writes with a familiarity of her surroundings and the accuracy only a seasoned police officer can pull off.  While the plot isn't particularly complex, she writes an emotional and intriguing story with characters you can't help but like.  The dialogue is full of struggles with faith and the darkness of a particularly chilling evil...crimes against children.  You won't want to miss this one!  I can't wait to continue Brinna's story when Visible Threat (Book Two in the series) comes out.
Happy Reading,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Braxton can't lay claim to wanting to be a writer all his life, although his mother and seventh grade English teacher were convinced he had what it would take.  He went to Duke University, earned a Bachelor's Degree of Science in Engineering with a major in Bio-Medical Engineering, and found his way into medical school at the University of Cincinnati.  Following a residency in Emergency medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center, he served tours as the Chief, Emergency Medical Services at Fort Campbell, KY and as a research Flight Surgeon at Fort Rucker, AL.  Who had time to write?
By the late 1990's, his professional and family life had settled down, somewhat and his mother once again took up her mantra, "Write a book.  Your're a good writer."  Yet, with no experience in writing anything other than technical articles, he hesitated to try his hand at fiction.  That changed in 1997 when the local newspaper held a writing contest for Valentin's Day.  Out of 1100 entries, he made it to the top five finalists and realized that maybe ha could write fiction after all.
The next ten years saw him learning the craft of writing through local writers' groups, seminars, critique groups and more.  Indebted marks his second formal publication.
Fifteen years after that first hesitant start, he can't find enough time to write as much as he'd like.  He now lives in Missouri with his wife, Paula.  Their two children are grown and with three grandchildren nearby, "Papa" wears a number of hats.

You can read more about Braxton and his books by visiting his website found at

It's the late 1960's and life with an alcoholic father in rural western North Carolina couldn't get worse for young Alice Cummings, until she gets pregnant our of wedlock and her father "sells" her baby.  She flees, resolved to find her child, but more tragedy derails her search.  Yet, her life turns around in a most unexpected way...before she disappears from the face of the earth.
For current day, mega-selling author, Myra Mitchell, the "Diva of Disaster," a life of hard work and harder partying falls into a tailspin after a life-changing diagnosis.  In pursuit of a final book, she sets her sights on the unknown story of Betsy Weston, her favorite cartoonist, who appeared from nowhere in Ashville, N.C. in 1969.  Myra finds herself racing death to pay back a debt unveiled by her hunt.

My Thoughts:
I was honored to chat with Mr. DeGarmo just last evening during an event held online at The Book Club Network.  If you love books and like connecting with the authors of those books, you will want to visit!  Along with an amazing Reader's Only group, TBCN offers many opportunities to join in discussions with the authors who work hard to perfect their craft of writing some amazing books.  I received a complimentary signed copy of Indebted from Mr. DeGarmo through my connections with TBCN for the purpose of this review.
Indebted is a multi-layered "story within a story".  DeGarmo has extremely well developed characters and intricate plot construction.  While the story is told by going back and forth from the past to present day, it unfolds fluently.  Although I was able to figure out where the story was headed about half way through the book, DeGarmo's writing is so at such a level that this did not hinder me from wanting to finish the book...quickly!  He has written a page turner that carries the deep themes of restoration, hope and perseverance.
DeGarmo says this about his writing on his website:  "In addition to entertaining, I strive to present a theme in each book.  I write from a Judeo-Christian worldview, but you won't find my books preachy."  With that said, Indebted does contain some offensive language.  While off-putting at first, the further into the story I read, the more I saw the language in context with the characters.  I can't say I just loved this aspect of the book, but I can appreciate where the author is coming from in using it as part of his writing.  I actually asked Mr. DeGarmo his motivation for including such language last evening during the chat to which he responded that he writes about real life and strives to make his characters and his stories realistic.  I can appreciate that and I think you will too.

You can order Indebted (eBook download) from Deeper Shopping Christian Books and Bibles:

Christian Book Store

Happy Reading,

Monday, August 12, 2013

Redeeming Love

Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market and her books were awarded or nominated for numerous awards and prizes. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, mother of three, and an established romance novelist. Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith.  First published by Bantam Books, and then re-released by Multnomah Publishers in the mid- 1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea set during the time of the California Gold Rush is now considered a classic work of Christian fiction and continues to be one of the Christian Booksellers Association’s top-selling titles; it has held a spot on the Christian bestseller list for nearly a decade. 
Since Redeeming Love, Francine has published more than 20 novels with Christian themes - all bestsellers- and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe.  Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous awards including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent.  In 1997, after winning her third RITA award for Inspirational Fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers’ of America Hall of Fame. In 2007, the feature-length film version of her novel The Last Sin Eater was released in theaters by Fox Faith. In March 2010, Francine officially became a New York Timesbestselling author, when Her Mother’s Hope debuted at #12 on the hardcover fiction bestsellers lists. The sequel, Her Daughter’s Dream, debuted at #12 on the same list just 6 months later, in September, 2010.  Francine’s novels have been translated into over twenty different languages and she enjoys best-seller status in many foreign countries including Germany, The Netherlands, and South Africa.
Francine and her husband Rick live in Northern California and enjoy the time spent with their three grown children and every opportunity to spoil their five grandchildren.  She uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life.
*Biographical information taken from the author's website found at

Can God’s Love Save Anyone? 
California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.  Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael Hosea obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she can no longer deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael Hosea does…the One who will never let her go.  A life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.

My Thoughts:
This book is truly a classic!  I'm not sure there is another work of fiction that would be more important for anyone to read than this one.  Written as Rivers' own statement of faith, this re-telling of the biblical story of Hosea and Gomer is her finest offering to date.  Rivers has done an exceptional job of shining a light on God's ministry of reconciliation and redemption.  The characters have a depth to them that I've not read in other work of fiction by any other author.  The plot is carefully woven and is the gospel story...clear and brilliantly told.  There are not many fiction titles I read more than once...this one has been and will be read multiple times.  The story of God's amazing grace and mercy never gets old and is a story with eternal significance.  Redeeming Love tells that story and has a prominent place on my keeper shelf for as long as I have the sight and ability to read.
*The 20th Anniversary edition has a six-part reading group guide.  This book would be an excellent and highly recommended choice for your next book club selection or as use for a study of the biblical book of Hosea.
*I received a complimentary copy of the book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of this review as part of their Blogging for Books program.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Prayer For The Devil

A graduate of Fordham University, Dale Allan has held several senior positions in Fortune 250 companies and has traveled the world.  As a black belt in martial arts, an avid fly fisherman, a political junkie, and a devout Christian, he writes storylines that reflect his diverse life.
When Dale was just twelve years old, his father was murdered while away on an extended business trip.  A week before, Dale had struggled to write a letter updating him on the family's activities.  When his father was buried with the handwritten note in his pocket, Dale fully understood the power of writing.
You can connect with Dale Allan via his website found at

Twin brothers Luke and Aaron Miller could not lead more different lives.  Aaron, a rising political star who manages the campaign of a man many believe will be the nation's next president, embraced his father's Jewish heritage.  Luke, on the other hand, honored his mother's faith and entered the Catholic priesthood.  When Aaron and the candidate he supports are killed in a bombing at a presidential stump speech, the Miller family's core is destroyed.
Luke is tempted to break his promise to God and reassess his own sense of right and wrong.  What sort of priest carries a concealed weapon?  How can he judge others when he himself has strayed so far from the flock?
Luke's comfortable life in Boston collides with the faraway world of the Middle East as he sets out on a journey to unravel the truth behind Aaron's murder.  Will he take an eye for an eye?

My Thoughts:
A Prayer For The Devil is my first Dale Allan novel to read, but it won't be my last!  I was literally sucked into the story of Aaron and Luke from the very first page.  Allan has written a book with just about everything:  political intrigue, heart pounding mystery, struggle with faith, cultural dissonance, and painful family dynamics.  The story is fast-paced and the plot construction is amazing.  The characters are well developed and woven into the action fluently.  The ending leaves you gasping for more and screams...SEQUEL PLEASE!
Some readers may be taken back by some of the mild expletives in the book.  I was not because the language is used in a proper context and I did not get the sense the author used this language simply for "shock" value.  In the majority of times where the expletives were used, they were voiced by the character in a situation you would expect such language to come.
*I received a complimentary signed copy of the book from the author through The Book Club Network in exchange for this review.  The opinions voiced about the book are my own.

You can purchase a copy of A Prayer For The Devil from by going HERE.

Happy Reading,

Sweet Mercy

I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I tapped out my first stories on my grandfather's old manual typewriter in the summer of 1973. I studied English and theology in college and later went on to earn my master's degree in journalism from Wheaton College Graduate School. I worked as a writer and editor for Decision magazine from 1987-1992, when I left to pursue fiction writing fulltime. I find great satisfaction in my work, and I especially enjoy hearing from my readers. In addition to writing, I also teach at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and online through the Christian Writers Guild.
In answer to the question, "What are you trying to do through your writing?", Ann has this response:  "Tell the truth.  I'm trying to tell the truth not as I might perceive it, but as the Bible reveals it. Fiction - telling a story that isn't true - is an excellent vehicle for talking about what IS true...There is an Absolute and His name is Jesus."
You can connect with Ann and learn more about her books at her website found HERE.
When Eve Marryat's father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots.  Eve's uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.
Eve can't wait to leave St. Paul, a notorious haven for gangsters.  At seventeen, she considers her family to be "good people," not lawbreakers like so many i n her neighborhood.  Thrilled to be moving to a "safe haven," Eve soon forms an unlikely friendship with a strange young man named Link, blissfully unaware that her uncle's lodge is anything but what it seems.
When the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma.  Does she dare risk everything by exposing the man whose love an generosity is keeping her family from ruin?  And when things turn dangerous, can she trust Link in spite of appearances?

My Thoughts:
I have been blessed to discover Ms Tatlock's writing.  The first book I read by her was Traveler's Rest.  Her most recent book, Sweet Mercy, was not a disappointment and has made me a bigger fan of her writing.
Sweet Mercy is set in the Great Depression era and in the time of Prohibition.  Tatlock's character development is superb!  She relays a wealth of information and description in few words.  While weaving in a bit of mystery, Tatlock's story of Eve is one of hard decisions, heartbreak, and spiritual transformation.  The ending is surprising.  Told as a tender conversation between a grandmother and her grandson, you won't want to miss this multi-layered coming of age drama.
*I received a complimentary copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.

Happy Reading,