Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chicken & Rice - a tasty dish

Here is something easy to make that I love.

You need:

2 cups of instant rice
1 pound or so of chicken - I use boneless, skinless breasts
2 cups of frozen peas & carrots
1 cup of chicken broth (whole can is ok, rice soaks it up anyway)
2-3 T of soy sauce

Cook chicken, cut up in cubes/small pieces
Cook peas & carrots in broth
Add cooked chicken, soy sauce, and rice. Stir well, cover and remove from heat.
Let sit for 5 minutes.
Enjoy!

Who Will Be Jesus?

Another great song. Lyrics only.

Who Will Be Jesus (Bruce Carroll)

Verse 1

He came home from work last night, to find that she is gone,
Now He's spending his first Sunday sitting in the pew alone,
There are whispers all around him, His heart breaks in two,
He's wondering who will reach out and help him make it through,

Chorus 1
Who will be Jesus to him?
Who’ll show the love that restores him again?
He doesn’t’ need a judge, he needs a friend.
Who will be Jesus to him?

Verse 2

She has a reputation like the woman at the well.

The only love she ever knew was the kind she buys and sells,
But her thirsty heart is searching for a love that will be true,
The Savior cries for her to see Himself in me and you

Chorus 2

Who will be Jesus to her?
Who'll show the love that's commanded in His word?
Will she see in us the mighty God we serve?
Who will Be Jesus to her?

Bridge

Wounded People everywhere,

And when they look at us, do they see Jesus there?

Chorus 3

Who will be Jesus to them?
Who'll show the love that restores them again?
Oh, they do not need a judge, they need a friend,
Who will be Jesus to them?

Chrome Fish

A song I love - listen to it here.

Chrome Fish

Mother Mary riding on the dashboard


King James sittin’ by your side

I bet you cut me off so I could see

Your position on pro-life

Cross swingin’ from your rearview mirror

Steven Curtis on your radio

If you were shoutin’ at me I couldn’t hear

So, I’ll assume you were prayin’ for my soul



All your bumper sticker theology

Is doing nothing but confusing me



CHORUS:

God is good, God is great

And no chrome fish could take the place

Of what people see when your faith is on the line

Love’s not just what you say, no, love’s what you give away

So tell me is there anything behind your chrome fish anyway?



Put your faith in a designer logo

Stick it somewhere in plain view

A good slogan really sells the truth nowadays

Like, “What would Jesus do?”

Would He solo in the HOV lane?

Would He wear religion on His sleeve?

Would He break the law to change the world?

Or just to get to work ahead of me?



Yeah, your bumper sticker theology

Is doing nothing but confusing me



CHORUS



BRIDGE:

You’ve got a right to say what you’d like to

But can you back it up? Can you back it up?

When you don't like your church/ Why do we go to church?

I have discussed some of this stuff in my blog before, but it has been on my mind a lot lately, and I actually feel like blogging, so I decided to throw my thoughts out there. They are quite random, and to any of my fellow church goers - sorry, but this is how I feel.

Why do we go to church? Is it just because the Bible says we should? And yes, it does pretty much say that. Hebrews 10:25 - And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (NLT) So do we go because we have to?

Do we go to be around others of like faith? For fellowship?

Or do we go to hear a sermon - could do that on the radio or TV.

To worship? We could do that at home too.

I think it is kind of a combination of all of those. We go to church to worship, fellowship, be around others of like faith. But what happens if we feel we aren't getting what we need? Most people move on to another church - and sometimes another.

I am going to make a shocking statement. I'm not happy with my church. I don't feel I am getting what I need from it. Whose fault is it? Some is mine, I will freely admit, but is it all mine? I don't think so.

I moved away to another state for two years. Up til that time, I thought my church here was the best ever. When I was in Indiana, I often compared the churches, and in my opinion, the one there did not measure up. Oh, there were things I liked about it, and even places they did better than my church here, such as the emphasis on their Christian school. (I've stated that my church has become too politically correct and don't push our school much for fear of offending the home school people in our congregation).

I moved back two years ago in June, and it seemed everything had changed. Or did I? Maybe both. I used to really feel a part of the church. I felt connected. Now I don't. I find myself wondering if I quit, how many people would notice. I'm sure some would, but how long would it take for them to notice I was gone. Two Sundays? A month? A few months?

I firmly believe one issue is the new format the church has gone with for the youth - those between the ages of 13 and 22. For someone that was away from the church for two years, and then came back, it seems like that is all the church cares about. I'm sure I am exaggerating the issue, but they talk about this "youth focus" constantly. They even set aside a service a year to talk about it and have the youth do the evening worship service - this past Sunday night was such a night. I rather stubbornly stayed home with the attitude that I didn't need a reminder that all the church cares about is the 13-22 age group. Juvenile of me? Maybe, but I'm not the only member of my family who feels that way.

While the youth have their meeting on Sunday evenings from 6:15 to 7:00, there is a Bible study for everyone over that age. Don't get me wrong, I really like the guy who has it, but I wish the format was different. It really isn't a Bible study. Sometimes it is, but it is kind of like another preaching service. I wish we would do a real Bible study - maybe small groups or something along that line, but it seems the church doesn't care about us - as long as the youth are in the basement having a good time, that is all that matters.

I may sound bitter. I'm not. Disappointed, maybe even disillusioned. I long for more of a connection at church. I'm not the only one who feels that way. I was recently talking to a guy from church who is married and has two children. He stated that they felt the same way. Disconnected. Is it due to the new major focus on youth? It may play into it, I don't know. I do know that before this new format was created, they used to have get togethers outside of the church for the youth, and they would also do them for married people and people outside of that age bracket. With the new format, the latter has been dropped off the grid.

A few of my friends have talked about trying to have something for our age group who are single, but part of the problem is there aren't many of us. I organized a get together at a restaurant a couple of months ago. There were five of us, and there were a few more people that could have come, but didn't make it.

I read and hear about churches that have community. Fellowship. Connection - and I long for that, yet is there a perfect church? Of course not - and there is a danger of searching for the perfect or ideal church. I know of people who have changed churches more than I change socks. Ok, exaggeration, but they have changed way too often. All too often in cases like that, the problem is not the church or the pastor, but the person hopping churches.

So is the problem me? As I stated already, I'm sure part of it is. It isn't easy being my age and single. It is actually pretty rough. And I could be wrong, but from a guy's standpoint, it seems harder for a guy. The single women I know my age and over seem to have an abundance of other females to hang out with. Guys my age do not have an abundance of other guys to hang out with. And therin lies a lot of the problem. I'm lonely. Oh, I'm around peolpe a lot, and currently living with my parents - but you can be around people and still be lonely. I'm lonely here. I'm lonely at church.

I've looked at other churches, but can't see me changing. I hate change, and often stick with the familiar, even if things aren't going well in the familiar. Plus, looking at churches in my area, I can't see any I would be any happier at. Some are too big. Too strict. Too liberal. Plus, I don't adapt well in an environment where I don't know anyone. At least in my church, I know most of the people, and my family is there. So what's a guy to do? Stay where he is and wish things would change - or make them change. Some of we singles have talked about it, but what do I have to contribute if we did start meeting for some kind of Bible study. I've never been a leader, and lately with dealing with depression and what seems to me a mid-life crisis, I want to be ministered to, and don't feel I have anything in me to do any ministering or teaching. And yeah, I'm serious about the mid-life crisis.

I've actually considered quitting church. I think a person can worship at home, yet a big part of me feels that is a bad idea. I'm way past the "what would people think" issue - I don't much care what people think of me anymore - yeah, I know people say that and don't mean it, but I mean it.

The thing is, I used to love going to church. A lot of people would just chalk my issues up to spiritual ones. And that could play into it. I have always struggled to believe God actually loves me, and these last two years have been the worst in that department than ever before in my life - so yeah, going to church and worshipping and hearing about a God who I can't quite believe loves me isn't easy. In fact, it makes serving that God rough over all.

Is it wrong to expect more from your church? I've heard the mantra that you should go and put something into the service - not go expecting to get something out of it. But what if you're hurting, and have nothing left to give. Instead, you need something - what then? Is the mantra still true that you have to put something into the service to get something out of it?

I've talked about wearing masks in church. Maybe by this post, I am partially removing mine. Oh, I will never remove it completely. People can't handle that, no matter how spiritual they are. But I will give this peek under it: I am unhappy with my church and feel disconnected and deserted by it. There, I said it.

I'm not sure what I have to do at church to cause people to care. I used to testify in church on a semi-regular basis. Speak up and comment when the occasion called for it. Now, I'm the opposite. Does no one notice when you're dying on the inside? Why don't the people you have gone to church with for years notice something has changed? Are we too busy? Or do we not care? Is the church too big?

I grew up in a church that averaged around 70 - 90 people. If you missed a service, people noticed. You would get a phone call or two - some of them may have just been nosey, but not always. At our church, you miss - and nada.

Is part of the problem that we have become a fast food/drive thru society - that it has crept into the church? We race into church, sing, put money in the offering, listen to the sermon, then race back out of church to get back to our busy lives. We have no time to notice the hurting and lonely among us. The visitor. The person or couple who is teetering on the edge of changing churches and wondering if anyone cares if they do. If anyone would notice.

What would it take for me to like my church again? Glad you asked. Here are a few ideas:

To feel connected again. To feel I am actually part of the church.

To have more of a focus on people out of the age group of 13-22. Sure, they matter, but so does everyone else.

To have a different format for the Bible study time. Small groups or something like that.

To have some kind of gatherings outside of the church - oh, there is dangers in too many social stuff, but its good to be with Christians outside of church too.

Well, I more or less unloaded and have probably said some things my fellow church members won't agree with or like - but hey, its better than taking a sign to church with my complaints/issues.

I may get comments from people saying I need to leave - maybe they're right, but it would take more energy/work to go church searching than I have - so I will hope and pray some things change.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Not A Sparrow Falls by Linda Nichols

Book description:

Two Desperate People--



One With All the Answers, One With None


Mary Bridget Washburn is tired of running, tired of being haunted by the empty shell her life has become. How in the world did the little girl she once was become a woman on the wrong side of the law?


Determined to make a new start, she escapes to the quaint city of Alexandria, Virginia, where she takes on her mother's identity and finds sanctuary in the shadow of a decades-old church. But a little girl's plea proves to be her undoing, and the reverend•well, someone's got to open his eyes before disaster comes calling.

Can Mary Bridget and her tainted past stay hidden long enough for her to bring hope to a family falling apart?

My review:
 
I had never read anything by Linda Nichols before, but I enjoyed the book. Though fictional, it shows how God can change lives that are messed up seemingly beyond repair, and that He cares about all of us. I liked her characters, and though not suspense/mystery - my usual genre', I was pulled into the story and found myself hoping things would work out for the main character. A book worth reading.
 
Note: This book was originally published in 2002, and this is a repackaged version.
 

About the author:
 
Linda Nichols, a graduate of the University of Washington, is a novelist with a unique gift for touching readers' hearts with her stories. She is also the author of the acclaimed novels If I Gained the World and At the Scent of Water. She and her family make their home in Tacoma, Washington.
 Visit Linda's Web site at http://www.lindanichols.org/
 
Not A Sparrow Falls is available from Bethany House Publishers.
 
Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

The Anonymous Bride by Vickie McDonough



This week, the




Christian Fiction Blog Alliance




is introducing




The Anonymous Bride
Barbour Publishing, Inc. (April 1, 2010)




by
Vickie McDonough








ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Award-winning author Vickie McDonough believes God is the ultimate designer of romance. She loves writing stories where the characters find their true love and grow in their faith.



Vickie has had 18 books published. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and is currently serving as ACFW treasurer. Vickie has also been a book reviewer for nine years.



She is a wife of thirty-five years, mother of four sons, and grandmother to a feisty four-year-old girl. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and traveling.





ABOUT THE BOOK



How many brides does one man need?


It's been years, but Luke Davis is back--older and wiser--and still alone. Returning as Lookout's new town marshal, Luke is determined to face the past and move on. He flippantly tells his cousin he'd get married if the right woman ever came along. But then he discovers that the woman who betrayed him is now a widow, and all his plans fall at his feet.



Rachel has carried her guilty shame for eleven years. Her marriage to James Hamilton was not what Luke or the town thought it to be. Now James is dead, and her long-time love for Luke is reignited with his return to town. So when three mail-order brides appear, she panics.



Could they possible find love a second time?



Rachel begs his forgiveness, but Luke finds he has none to give.



And then the brides arrive. Three of them--ordered for Luke through newspaper ads by his incorrigible cousins. The only place in town for them to stay is Rachel's boardinghouse. And none of the ladies is willing to let Luke go. When choosing a bride becomes a contest, the chaos that ensues is almost funny.



When the mayor forces Luke to pick a bride or lose his job, will Luke listen to his heart that still longs for Rachel or choose one of the mail-order brides?



Will Rachel find the courage to tell Luke that she loves him? Or take an anonymous part in the contest for his hand?



If you would like to read the first chapter of The Anonymous Bride, go HERE.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs

Book Description


"It's true what they say, you know: If you talk to God, you're religious; but if you hear from God, you're schizophrenic."


When a car accident leaves a famous movie star in a coma, nurse Kemp McAvoy thinks he has found his ticket to the life he's always wanted. As a med school dropout who was on his way to becoming an anesthesiologist, Kemp has the knowledge to carry off the crazy plan he concocts: adjust the star's medication each night and pretend to be a heavenly visitor giving her messages. He recruits her agent and a down-and-out publisher to make sure the messages will become the next spiritual bestseller and make them all rich.


But his girlfriend's daughter, Leah, keeps telling people that she is seeing angels, and her mother and her teachers are all afraid that something is wrong.


Before it's all over, they'll all learn a few things about angels, love, and hope.

My review:

I have read most of Tim Down's books, and this was totally different than his other books. He usually writes suspense/mystery, and this didn't fall into that category, but I did enjoy the book, and the plot was rather humorous: three men cook up a scheme to convince a movie star in a medically induced coma that she has been talking to an angel, and to write a book about it.

The book was an easy read. I read it in one evening. The plot was really good, and the characters were colorful and amusing. One issue I have with Tim Down's books, is there is rarely much, if any,  Christian content, and though angels play a part in this book, God and Christianity don't play much of a part. Two of the main characters are an unmarried man and woman living together, and though no inappropriate stuff is mentioned, neither is the practice condemned in the book. I would have liked to have seen some kind of disapproval put on that kind of relationship, and more of a Christian theme, but it is an enjoyable and clean read, as is anything he has written.

If you do enjoy clean suspense, I highly recommend his Bug Man series.

About the author:

Tim Downs is the Christy Award-winning author of Plague Maker and the Bug Man novels. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three children.

Wonders Never Cease is available from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy.

Unlikely Saint by Allan Connor

                                    Book description:

Willis Cameron needs a fresh start. Estranged from his overly-controlling father and heartbroken over the loss of his first love, Willis decides to take a job in Ghana, West Africa, as an education specialist for a Canadian government project.


Once in Ghana, Willis meets Esther Ferguson, a missionary nurse. Although she is engaged to be married to a doctor back in Canada, Willis finds himself strangely attracted to her as she challenges his agnosticism. As Willis struggles to find purpose and meaning in his life, Esther grows confused by her increasing regard for Willis. Is her commitment to her fiancĂ© faltering? Could she be falling in love with a man who doesn’t share her faith?


In the midst of Ghana’s social upheaval and political turmoil, Willis and Esther each struggle with their own internal turmoil, ultimately discovering that God has a plan for each of them which is quite different than their own.

My review:

This was an enjoyable read. It is set in Guana, Africa, and the description of what life is there was interesting. The book is written from the first person perspective, but it bounces back and forth between the two main characters, with each chapter stating whose persepective is being written.

There is romance in the story, but the main point of the book is about how a young agnostic comes to be a Christian. There is dialogue between he and a Christian about evolution & creation, and discussions on the proof of God, which is interesting, and the fictional character and reader both benefit from that.

The story is set in the late 70's, so it was different to read a story where computers and cell phones and some other more modern techonogies such as that aren't ruling people's lives.

I did have a couple of issues with the book. Anyone who has read very many of my reviews know how strongly I feel about curse words appearing in a Christian book, and this had that, unfortunately. One use of the "d" word, and two uses of "hell" as a curse. I was disappointed that those were allowed in the book, but that is a first for this publisher that I have ran across. Also, the drinking of beer by Christians - I know there are a lot of churches and Christians that are Ok with that, but there are still a lot of churches that are not. I fall into the latter.

Overall, the book is worth reading, not only for an enjoyable read, but a reminder that God does exist.

About the author:

While serving as an agriculturalist in India, Allan Connor came to faith in Christ. That experience gave him great confidence in the Bible and a deep desire to share Christ with others. Ten years in India and a later assignment in Ghana, West Africa, as an adult-education specialist with the Canadian International Development Agency gave him a grassroots understanding of life in developing countries. His wide experience as an educator—in overseas assignments, as a community development representative with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, as a freelance writer for Christian and secular magazines, and as a Bible teacher in his local church—honed his communication skills. He is also a hopeless romantic at heart, so the writing of a love story held great appeal.


Now retired, Allan lives in Port Hope, Ontario, with his wife. The couple has two adult children; a physician son and a journalist daughter. Allan was an avid gardener until post-polio syndrome reduced his mobility.

An Unlikely Saint is available from Winepress Publishing.

Thanks to Winepress for the review copy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Win a book

Author Mike Dellosso has a post on his blog telling how to win some of his books. His third just came out, and I will be posting a review of it on May 5, followed by a guest blog by him on May 6. In the meantime, check out how you can win one of, or all 3 of his books here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing



Blood Ransom
Zondervan (April 1, 2010)



by
Lisa Harris






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Award-winning author Lisa Harris has been writing both fiction and nonfiction since 2000 and has more than fifteen novels and novellas in print. She currently lives with her family in Mozambique, Africa, where they work as missionaries.



From Lisa:



Have you ever noticed how God often uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things? In writing Blood Ransom, I wanted my heroes and heroines to be ordinary people, faced with extraordinary circumstances. Chad and Natalie’s lives were changed not only through the challenges they faced, but also through their reliance on God. And when they set off on their journey to the capital to save Joseph’s family, they never imagined that God would call them to a task that was beyond the scope of their own power.



But while this story is fictional, the issue of a modern day slave trade is very real. It is estimated that there are currently more than 27 million slaves on the world today from Africa, to Eastern Europe … to the United States of America. The fact is, we don’t have to travel around the world to see people hurting and exploited. They’re real people we pass every day, living in our neighborhoods, and attending our churches and schools. They’re empty and broken, searching for freedom and hope in an often hopeless world.





ABOUT THE BOOK



Natalie Sinclair is working to eradicate the diseases decimating whole villages in the Republic of Dhambizao when she meets Dr. Chad Talcott, a surgeon on sabbatical from a lucrative medical practice now volunteering at a small clinic.



Meanwhile, things are unraveling in Dhambizao. Joseph Komboli returns to his village to discover rebel soldiers abducting his family and friends. Those that were too old or weak to work lay motionless in the African soil. When Chad and Natalie decide to help Joseph expose this modern-day slave trade---and a high-ranking political figure involved in it---disaster nips at their heels.



Where is God in the chaos? Will Chad, Natalie, and Joseph win their race against time?



Romance and adventure drive Blood Ransom, by Lisa Harris, a powerful thriller about the modern-day slave trade and those who dare to challenge it.



If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of Blood Ransom, go HERE.

My review:

Lisa Harris was a new author to me. She has written other books, but this was the first one I have read by her, and I liked it. The book is suspense, and is set in Africa. The plot of the book is about the modern day slave trade there, and the main characters are trying to uncover the truth about it, which has them running for their lives.

The author is a missionary in Africa, which made the book all the more interesting to me. I assume she would know what she is talking about with the political situation there and geography. I enjoy reading books that are set in a different location like that, and not only enjoyed the story/plot, but also enjoyed learning more about Africa through a Christian novel.

In addition to the enjoyable and interesting plot, I liked the characters, and found myself pulled into their story, eager to see how the book would turn out. A recommended read.

Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy.

A Corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel by Mel Starr

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Monarch Books (February 19, 2010)
***Special thanks to Cat Hoort - Trade Marketing Manager - Kregel Publications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Melvin R. Starr has spent many years teaching history, and has studied medieval surgery and medieval English. He lives in Michigan.



Visit the author's website.


Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Monarch Books (February 19, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1854249541
ISBN-13: 978-1854249548

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


I awoke at dawn the ninth day of April, 1365. Unlike French Malmsey, the day did not improve with age.

There have been many days I awoke at dawn but remembered not the circumstances three weeks hence. I remember this day not because of when I awoke, but why, and what I was compelled to do after. Odd, is it not, how one extraordinary event will burn even the mundane surrounding it into a man’s memory.

I have seen other memorable days in my twenty-five years. I recall the day my brother Henry died of plague. I was a child, but I remember well Father Aymer administering extreme unction. Father Aymer wore a spice bag about his neck to protect him from the malady. It did not, and he also succumbed within a fortnight. I can see the pouch yet, in my mind’s eye, swinging from the priest’s neck on a hempen cord as he bent over my stricken brother.

I remember clearly the day in 1361 when William of Garstang died. William and I and two others shared a room on St. Michael’s Street, Oxford, while we studied at Baliol College. I comforted William as the returning plague covered his body with erupting buboes. For my small service he gave me, with his last breaths, his three books. One of these volumes was, Surgery, by Henry de Mondeville. How William came by this clumes I know not. But I see now in this gift the hand of God, for I read de Mondeville’s work and changed my vocation.

Was it then God’s will that William die a miserable death so that I might find God’s vision for my life? This I cannot accept, for I saw William’s body covered with oozing pustules. I will not believe such a death is God’s choice for any man. Here I must admit a disagreement with Master Wyclif, who believes that all is foreordained. But out of evil God may draw good, as I believe He did when he introduced me to the practice of surgery. Perhaps the good I have done with my skills balances the torment William suffered in his death. But not for William.

I remember well the day I met Lord Gilbert Talbot. I stitched him up after his leg was opened by a kick from a groom’s horse on Oxford High Street. This needlework opened my life to service to Lord Gilbert and the townsmen of Bampton, and brought me also the post of bailiff on Lord Gilbert’s manor at Bampton.

Other days return to my mind with less pleasure. I will not soon forget Christmas Day, 1363, and the feast that day at Lord Gilbert’s Goodrich Castle hall. I had traveled there from Bampton to attend Lord Gilbert’s sister, the Lady Joan. The fair Joan had broken a wrist in a fall from a horse. I was summoned to set the break. It was foolish of me to think I might win this lady, but love has hoped more foolishness than that. A few days before Christmas a guest, Sir Thomas de Burgh, arrived at Goodrich. Lord Gilbert invited him knowing well he might be a thief. Indeed, he stole Lady Joan’s heart. Between the second and third removes of the Christmas feast he stood and for all in the hall to see offered Lady Joan a clove-studded pear. She took the fruit and with a smile delicately drew a clove from the pear with her teeth. They married in September, a few days before Michealmas, last year.

But I digress.


I awoke at dawn to thumping on my chamber door. I blinked sleep from my eyes, crawled from my bed, and stumbled to the door. I opened it as William the porter was about to rap on it again.

“It’s Alan . . . . the beadle. He’s found.”

Alan had left his home to seek those who would violate curfew two days earlier. He never returned. His young wife came to me in alarm the morning of the next day. I sent John Holcutt, the reeve, to gather a party of searchers, but they found no trace of the man. John was not pleased to lose a day of work from six men. Plowing of fallow fields was not yet finished. Before I retired Wednesday evening John sought me out and begged not to resume the search next day. I agreed. If Alan could not be found with the entire town aware of his absence another day of poking into haymows and barns seemed likely also to be fruitless. It was not necessary.

“Has he come home?” I asked..

“Nay. An’ not likely to, but on a hurdle.”

“He’s dead?”

“Aye.”

“Where was he found?”

“Aside t’way near to St. Andrew’s Chapel.”

It was no wonder the searchers had not found him. St. Andrew’s Chapel was near half a mile to the east. What, I wondered, drew him away from the town on his duties?

“Hubert Shillside has been told. He would have you accompany him to the place.”

“Send word I will see him straightaway.”

I suppose I was suspicious already that this death was not natural. I believe it to be a character flaw if a man be too mistrustful. But there are occasions in my professions – surgery and bailiff – when it is good to doubt a first impression. Alan was not yet thirty years old. He had a half-yardland of Lord Gilbert Talbot and was so well thought of that despite his youth Lord Gilbert’s tenants had at hallmote chosen him beadle these three years. He worked diligently, and bragged all winter that his four acres of oats had brought him nearly five bushels for every bushel of seed. A remarkable accomplishment, for his land was no better than any other surrounding Bampton. This success brought also some envy, I think, and perhaps there were wives who contrasted his achievement to the work of their husbands. But this, I thought, was no reason to kill a man.

I suppose a man may have enemies which even his friends know not of. I did consider Alan a friend, as did most others of the town. On my walk from Bampton Castle to Hubert Shillside’s shop and house on Church View Street I persuaded myself that this must be a natural death. Of course, when a corpse is found in open country, the hue and cry must be raised even if the body be stiff and cold. So Hubert, the town coroner, and I, bailiff and surgeon, must do our work.

Alan was found but a few minutes from the town. Down Rosemary Lane to the High Street, then left on Bushey Row to the path to St. Andrew’s Chapel. We saw – Hubert and I, and John Holcutt, who came also – where the body lay while we were yet far off. As we passed the last house on the lane east from Bampton to the chapel we saw a group of men standing in the track at a place where last year’s fallow was being plowed for spring planting. They saw us approach, and stepped back respectfully as we reached them.

A hedgerow had grown up among rocks between the lane and the field. New leaves of pale green decorated stalks of nettles, thistles, and wild roses. Had the foliage matured for another fortnight Alan might have gone undiscovered. But two plowmen, getting an early start on their day’s labor, found the corpse as they turned the oxen at the end of their first furrow. It had been barely light enough to see the white foot protruding from the hedgerow. The plowman who goaded the team saw it as he prodded the lead beasts to turn them.

Alan’s body was invisible from the road, but by pushing back nettles and thorns – carefully – we could see him curled as if asleep amongst the brambles. I directed two onlookers to retrieve the body. Rank has its privileges. Better they be nettle-stung than we. A few minutes later Alan the beadle lay stretched out on the path.

Laying in the open, on the road, the beadle did not seem so at peace as in the hedgerow. Deep scratches lacerated his face, hands, and forearms. His clothes were torn, and a great wound bloodied his neck where flesh had been torn away. The coroner bent to examine this injury more closely.

“Some beast has done this, I think,” he muttered as he stood. “See how his surcoat is torn at the arms, as if he tried to defend himself from fangs.

I knelt on the opposite side of the corpse to view in my turn the wound which took the life of Alan the beadle. It seemed as Hubert Shillside said. Puncture wounds spread across neck and arms, and rips on surcoat and flesh indicated where claws and fangs had made their mark. I sent the reeve back to the Bampton Castle for a horse on which to transport Alan back to the town and to his wife. The others who stood in the path began to drift away. The plowmen who found him returned to their team. Soon only the coroner and I remained to guard the corpse. It needed guarding. Already a vulture floated high above the path.

I could not put my unease into words, so spoke nothing of my suspicion to Shillside. But I was not satisfied that some wild beast had done this thing. I believe the coroner was apprehensive of his explanation as well, for it was he who broke the silence.

“There have been no wolves hereabouts in my lifetime,” he mused, “nor wild dogs, I think.”

“I have heard,” I replied, “Lord Gilbert speak of wolves near Goodrich. And Pembroke. Those castles are near to the Forest of Dean and the Welsh mountains. But even there in such wild country they are seldom seen.”

Shillside was silent again as we studied the body at our feet. My eyes wandered to the path where Alan lay. When I did not find what I sought I walked a few paces toward the town, then reversed my path and inspected the track in the direction of St. Andrew’s Chapel. My search was fruitless.

Hubert watched my movements with growing interest. “What do you seek?” He finally asked. It was clear to him I looked for something in the road.

“Tracks. If an animal did this there should be some sign, I think. The mud is soft.”

“Perhaps,” the coroner replied. “But we and many others have stood about near an hour. Any marks a beast might have made have surely been trampled underfoot.”

I agreed that might be. But another thought also troubled me. “There should be much blood,” I said, “but I see little.”

“Why so?” Shillside asked.

“When a man’s neck is torn as Alan’s is there is much blood lost. It is the cause of death. Do you see much blood hereabouts?”

“Perhaps the ground absorbed it?”

“Perhaps . . . . let us look in the hedgerow, where we found him.”

We did, carefully prying the nettles apart. The foliage was depressed where Alan lay, but only a trace of blood could be seen on the occasional new leaf or rock or blade of grass.

“There is blood here,” I announced, “but not much. Not enough.”

“Enough for what?” the coroner asked with furrowed brow.

“Enough that the loss of blood would kill a man.”

Shillside was silent for a moment. “Your words trouble me,” he said finally. “If this wound,” he looked to Alan’s neck, “did not kill him, what did?”

“T’is a puzzle,” I agreed.

“And see how we found him amongst the nettles. Perhaps he dragged himself there to escape the beasts, if more than one set upon him.”

“Or perhaps the animal dragged him there,” I added. But I did not believe this for reasons I could not explain.

It was the coroner’s turn to cast his eyes about. “His staff,” Shillside mused, “I wonder where it might be?”

I remembered the staff. Whenever the beadle went out of an evening to watch and warn he carried with him a yew pole taller than himself and thick as a man’s forearm. I spoke to him of this weapon once. A whack from it, he said, would convince the most unruly drunk to leave the streets and seek his bed.

“He was proud of that cudgel,” Hubert remarked as we combed the hedgerow in search of it. “He carved an ‘A’ on it so all would know t’was his.”

“I didn’t know he could write.”

“Oh . . . . he could not,” Shillside explained. “Father Thomas showed him the mark and Alan inscribed it. Right proud of it, he was.”

We found the staff far off the path, where some waste land verged on to a wood just behind St. Andrew’s Chapel. It lay thirty paces or more from the place where Alan’s body had lain in the hedgerow.

“How did it come to be here?” Shillside asked. As if I would know. He examined the club; “there is his mark . . . . see.” He pointed to the “A” inscribed with some artistry into the tough wood.

As the coroner held the staff before me I inspected it closely and was troubled. Shillside saw my frown.

“What perplexes you, Hugh?”

“The staff is unmarked. Were I carrying such a weapon and a wolf set upon me I would flail it about to defend myself; perhaps hold it before me so the beast caught it in his teeth rather than my arm.”

Shillside peered at the pole and turned it to view all sides. Its surface was smooth and unmarred. “Perhaps,” he said thoughtfully, “Alan swung it at the beast and lost his grip. See how polished smooth it is . . . . and it flew from his grasp to land here.”

“That might be how it was,” I agreed, for I had no better explanation.

As we returned to the path we saw the reeve approach with Bruce, the old horse who saw me about the countryside when I found it necessary to travel. He would be a calm and dignified platform on which to transport a corpse.

We bent to lift Alan to Bruce’s back, John at the feet and Shillside and me at the shoulders. As we swung him up Alan’s head fell back. So much of his neck was shredded that it provided little support. I reached out a hand to steady the head and felt a thing which made my hackles rise.

“Wait,” I said, rather sharply, for my companions started and gazed in wonder at me. “Set him back on the road.”

I turned the beadle’s head and felt the place on the skull which had startled me. There was a soft lump on the skull, just behind Alan’s right ear. This swelling was invisible for the thick shock of hair which covered it. I spread the thatch and inspected Alan’s scalp, then showed my discovery to reeve and coroner.

John Holcutt was silent, but Shillside, after running his fingers across the swelling looked at me and asked, “How could a wolf do this?”

My review:

 I love a good suspense/mystery novel, and while this was of that genre', it was totally different from the suspense I usually read. This book is set during medieval times, the 1300's. I knew I was getting this book to review, so I bought the first book in the series, The Unquiet Bones, to read first - and recommend reading them in order.

Both books are fascinating and contain a good mystery. I like the main character, a young doctor who is given the tasks of solving murders. I found it really interesting to read of the doctoring methods of that time, and since the author has studied medieval surgery, I would assume he knows what he is talking about. It is also intriguing to read of the crime solving methods used by people without our modern technology.

Since the book is set in medieval times, there is a lot of ale/beer drinking in the book, which I never like in any Christian book, but this book is set in a totally different setting and time period than normal, so I won't complain too much about it. The books are definitely Christian, and the main character is more or less a searching person not content with the religion of the day.

I had 2 issues with this book: a priest is overheard saying several times "d.... him", and the term that is considered vulgar for urine is used once - it may have been proper back then, but I would have preferred it not be in the book.

Overall, the book was an excellent read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are a lot of terms used from that time period, but there is a glossery included to define most of those.

Thanks to Kregal Publishing for the review copy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Living Life Application Bible, Personal Size

Product Description

Today’s #1–selling study Bible contains notes that not only explain difficult passages and give information on Bible life and times but also go a step further to show how God’s Word speaks to every situation and circumstance of your life! It’s the one Bible resource that incorporates today’s top scholarship in answering your “now what?” questions. The Life Application Study Bible includes nearly 10,000 Life Application notes and features designed to help readers apply God’s truth to everyday life. This Personal Size edition in the New Living Translation features a new LeatherLike binding with the Lord’s Prayer on the cover.

From the Back Cover

You’re holding the Holy Bible, New Living Translation. An authoritative Bible translation, rendered faithfully into today’s English from the ancient texts by 90 leading Bible scholars. The NLT’s scholarship and clarity breathe life into even the most difficult-to-understand Bible passages—but even more powerful are stories of how people’s lives are changing as the words speak directly to their hearts. That’s why we call it ‘‘The Truth Made Clear.’’
 
My review:

I was raised on the King James Version, which I still like and use for church, but I have come to really enjoy the New Living Translation, especially for personal Bible reading. I feel it stays true to the original manuscripts, yet is easier to read and is in today's language, yet doesn't go too far that way.
 
This review is specifically for the personal size edition of the Life Application. The Life Application notes are great. Instead of being just a commentary on the verses, it helps the reader apply the verses to their life today, and is a great tool.
 
I have one issue with the personal size: because of the size of the Bible, the application notes are very small, and would be too small for anyone with less than ideal eyesight. Other than that, this personal size is a very nice sized Bible, and they have made an attractive cover for it.

The New Living Application Personal size Bible is available from Tyndale Publishing.

Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rooms by James Rubart

Book description:

On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out.


Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.


When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way.


But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny.

My review:

This could be a challenging book review to write. I loved this book - really loved it, but it is the type of book that I can't tell too much about or I could give too much away, but here goes....

As the book description says, the main character, Micah Taylor, is given a house on the beach. The more time he spends there, the more bizarre things happen to him. It turns out that the house's weird rooms are "rooms" in his heart.

I liked and enjoyed the main character. I found myself identifying with him and his struggles, defeats, and victories. At times, I found myself misty-eyed, other times smiling. The plot was awesome. The author has to be really talented and also guided by God to write this type of book. It could have been a weird book, but he does an excellent job of showing the battles in a man's soul by using rooms in a house, and instead of the book coming off as weird or bizarre, it comes off as inspiring, challenging, and even convicting.

The book came in the mail today, and I decided to start reading it after supper. Well, even though it wasn't a suspense book, it was one of those "read-in-one-sitting" books I mention occasionally, and suspenseful in the way that it was a definite page-turner. I was quickly drawn into the story, and was eager to see where the story would go, and I was not disappointed.

On the cover of the book, is an endorsement: "An extraordinary read. Part The Shack, part C.S. Lewis. I thoroughly hated The Shack and consider it heretical, but this book has some similarities, but it is so much better. There are no weird depictions of the Trinity in this book or other heresies. This is one of those Christian fiction books that will really make you think, and I often recommend books I review, but I very highly recommend this. If you want a book that will cause you to do some self-examination of your spiritual state and priorities, this book is for you. It is definitely worth reading, and could be one of those life-changing books that are talked about.

About the author:

James L. Rubart is a professional marketer whose Jr2 Marketing company clientele has included ABC, AT&T/Cingular, and Clear Channel Radio. He is also a professional speaker, writes recurring columns for Christian Fiction Online Magazine and Christian Women Online, and is on the board of the Northwest Christian Writers Association. Jim and his wife and their two teenage sons live just outside Seattle, Washington.

Rooms is available from Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

Check out the author's website at jimrubart.com.

The Sword by Brian Litfin





This week, the






Christian Fiction Blog Alliance






is introducing






The Sword
Crossway Books (April 30, 2010)
by






Bryan M. Litfin






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Bryan Litfin was born in Dallas, but lived in Memphis, Tennessee and Oxford, England, where he discovered that the house of his favorite author, J.R.R. Tolkien, was only five doors down from his own. Bryan still enjoys epic adventure stories, as well as historical fiction. However, most of his reading these days is taken up by academia.



After marrying his high school sweetheart, Carolyn (a true Southern belle), he went on to study for a master’s degree in historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. From there he went to the University of Virginia, taking a PhD in the field of ancient church history. He is the author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction (Brazos, 2007), as well as several scholarly articles and essays.



In 2002, Bryan took a position on the faculty at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago, where he is a professor in the Theology Department. He teaches courses in theology, church history, and Western civilization from the ancient and medieval periods.



On the morning of January 6, 2007, Bryan woke up with an epiphany. Having finished writing his primer on the ancient church, he had the idea of trying his hand at fiction. The thought occurred to him that the writer of speculative fiction typically has two options. He can create an imaginary land like Middle Earth (which offers great creative freedom but is unrealistic), or he can delve into genuine history (which is realistic, yet limted to what ‘actually occurred.’) However, if a writer were to create a future world as in the Chiveis trilogy, it could be both realistic and creatively unlimited.



This little dream stayed in Bryan’s mind while he researched how to write fiction, and also researched the European landscape where the novel would be set. He planned a trip to the story locations, then went there in the summer with a buddy from grad school. Bryan and Jeff rented a Beemer and drove all over Europe from the Alps to the Black Forest with a video camera in hand. With that epic setting fresh in his mind, Bryan returned home and began to write.



Today Bryan lives in downtown Wheaton in a Victorian house built in 1887. He is blessed by God to be married to Carolyn, and to be the father of two amazing children, William, 11, and Anna, 9. For recreation Bryan enjoys basketball, traveling, and hiking anywhere there are mountains (which means getting far away from the Midwest – preferably to his beloved Smokies).



ABOUT THE BOOK



This novel of page-turning action and adventure poses the question, "If a society had no knowledge of Christianity, and then a Bible were discovered, what would happen?"



Four hundred years after a deadly virus and nuclear war destroyed the modern world, a new and noble civilization emerges. In this kingdom, called Chiveis, snowcapped mountains provide protection, and fields and livestock provide food. The people live medieval-style lives, with almost no knowledge of the "ancient" world. Safe in their natural stronghold, the Chiveisi have everything they need, even their own religion. Christianity has been forgotten—until a young army scout comes across a strange book.



With that discovery, this work of speculative fiction takes readers on a journey that encompasses adventure, romance, and the revelation of the one true God. Through compelling narrative and powerful character development, The Sword speaks to God's goodness, his refusal to tolerate sin, man's need to bow before him, and the eternality and power of his Word. Fantasy and adventure readers will be hooked by this first book in a forthcoming trilogy.



Visit the book website at The Sword to see amazing videos and a wealth of information about the trilogy!



If you would like to read the first chapter of The Sword, go to HERE

My review:

This was a really different type of book. It is somewhat medieval, though instead of being set in the past, it is set in a future where civilization and all modern inventions and conveniences have been destroyed.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and after I finished it, was rather dismayed to find out that the sequel is a year away. Sigh.

The whole idea of the book made for a really good plot, and adding to it is the main characters' search for the true God to worship. The kingdom where the two live has gods they serve, but the hero and heroine are not happy with the gods everyone else worships, and then they find part of the Bible, the Old Testament. It was interesting to think what that would be like. For no one to have any knowledge of God, and then a Bible being found.

I highly recommend this book - and series. Though it is totally different from my usual reading genre', it held my attention, and I could not put the book down until I finished it.

Thanks to Crossway books for the review copy.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In Harm's Way by Irene Hannon

Book description:

How can she expect anyone to believe her--when she can hardly believe it herself?


FBI special agent Nick Bradley has seen his share of kooks during his fifteen years with the Bureau. But Rachel Sutton is an enigma. She seems normal when she shows up at his office--until she produces a tattered Raggedy Ann doll and tells him about a strange feeling of terror it gives her when she touches it. Nick dismisses her, only to stumble across a link between the doll and an abducted child, setting in motion a chain of events that uncovers startling connections--and puts Rachel's life on the line.

Filled with palpable suspense and heartwarming romance, In Harm's Way is the final installment of the thrilling Heroes of Quantico series.

My review:

I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the Heroes of Quantico series, and this third and final book in the series was no different. I will admit I was questioning about the part where the main character, Rachel, was experiencing a feeling of terror when she held the doll, but there was a neat explanation for that that did not involve any weird stuff.

I like it when the same characters appear in a few books, and this series has that. Nick, the hero of this story, appears in the first two books, and the 2 main guys from those books also appear in this.

Irene Hannon's writing style is very enjoyable, and does a great job on character development. This is romatic mystery/suspense, but is something men and women should both enjoy. I highly recommend the whole Heroes of Quantico series, and they could be read out of order, though I recommend starting with the first book.

About the author:

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than 30 novels, including Against All Odds and An Eye for an Eye. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, and the Reviewer's Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine.


For more information about Irene and her books, visit her website at http://www.irenehannon.com/.

Available April 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Never Let You Go by Erin Healy

Book Description


Losing everything has made Lexi hold those she loves tightly. Hell is determined to loosen her grip.

Lexi lives in the shadow of choices her husband made. Especially Grant’s choice to leave seven years ago, without a word. Her relationship with their daughter, Molly, is now the most important thing in her life. Lexi will do anything—work grueling hours, attend church on her only day off, sacrifice financially—just to see Molly smile.

When Grant shows up declaring his intent to re-enter their daughter’s life, Lexi is skeptical of his motives. She soon determines not to let him near Molly. Then a drug dealer named Warden arrives on Lexi’s doorstep, demanding payment of Grant’s old debts.

But that's just the earthly perspective. Staggering supernatural events are spilling into her world in real and shocking ways. Hell's fury is great, but Heaven's power is greater still. In a novel that defies easy categorization, this has all the early buzz of the breakthrough read of 2010.

My review:

Erin Healy has written two books with Ted Dekker: Kiss and Burn. I figured this first solo novel by her would be similar in style, and it is. I was looking forward to reading it, and dove into it as soon as it came in the mail.

Some things were a bit hard to follow at the start of the book, but it improved later in the book. I think the author did a great job on her first solo novel, and look forward to reading more by her.

The story isn't necessarily a happy one, but the plot was really good, and you find yourself really identifying with the characters, and there was a definite Christian message in the book, along with plenrty of suspense. A recommended read.

About the author:

Erin Healy is an award-winning editor who worked with Ted Dekker on more than a dozen of his stories before their collaboration on Kiss. She owns WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development. She and her husband have two children.

Never Let You Go is availble from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy.

A Stranger's Wish by Gayle Roper

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Harvest House Publishers; Original edition (February 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to David P. Bartlett - Print & Internet Publicist - Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Gayle Roper is the award-winning author of more than forty books and has been a Christy finalist three times. Gayle enjoys speaking at women’s events across the nation and loves sharing the powerful truths of Scripture with humor and practicality. She lives with her husband in southeastern Pennsylvania where Gayle enjoys reading, gardening, and her family.


Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $10.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Original edition (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736925864
ISBN-13: 978-0736925860

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Sworn To Protect by DiAnn Mills


This week, the



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing



Sworn To Protect
Tyndale House (April 2010)



by
DiAnn Mills






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than a million copies.



DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” DiAnn Mills is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels.



Six of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents. Five of her books have won placements through American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Awards 2003 – 2007, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005 and 2007. She was a Christy Awards finalist in 2008.



DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope and Love, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild.



She lives in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.





ABOUT THE BOOK







Border Patrol Agent Danika Morales sends illegal immigrants back to Mexico; a job she's paid dearly for. Her husband, Toby, was murdered two years ago trying to help and his murder's never been solved. Now a string of attacks and arrests leads her to believe that someone from McAllen profits from sneaking undocumented immigrants into the country and somehow this illegal activity is tied to her husband, Toby's death.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Sworn To Protect, go HERE.



Watch the book trailer video:





My review:

I've never read anything by DiAnn Mills before, but I really enjoyed this book. It is the second in a series, but I would say they could be read in any order.

The main character in this book is a Border Agent. The story is suspense, so there is a lot of that, but without taking sides on the issue, the author also takes a good look at the illegal immigration issue. I am firmly against it, but found it interesting to see the other viewpoint also. I also learned some interesting things about Border Agents and what they do. One thing that stuck out to me which is not a fictional fact, but real: many Border Agents change into their uniform at work and keep their job a secret from their neighbors, as it is not a popular job and they could endanger their lives and the lives of their families if people knew what they did for a job.

I liked this book enough that I am going to read the first in the series. And I highly recommend this series and author.

Thanks to Tyndale Publishers for the review copy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Will Sing by Gordon Mote

I had a little extra cash for a change, so I bought myself a CD I was wanting, and thought I'd share a bit about it on here for anyone who likes Southern Gospel and might be looking for a new CD to check out.

The artist is Goron Mote. He is blind, and is an excellent pianist and vocalist. He has a few instrumental CDs out, but this is a vocal CD. I won't review each individual song, but will say I really like the song selection, and my favorites would be I Will Sing, Wounded Hands, and When I Life Up My Head, though all 12 songs on the CD are great.

Track listing:

1. I Will Do the Same


2. Your Love Will Keep Guiding Me

3. Wounded Hands

4. Mulberry Tree

5. Hold Me Up

6. When I Lift Up My Head

7. The Beautiful Body of Christ

8. God's Got Somethin' for You

9. A Son of My Own

10. Pray About Everything

11. Kiss the Rock of Ages

12. Jesus King of Angels

The Twilight Gospel by Dave Roberts

The spirituality and worldview of the Twilight Saga are fascinating, but they do not sit easily with orthodox Christianity. The Twilight Gospel by Dave Roberts carefully assesses what is praiseworthy and what is less so. It will help you to think more clearly about issues raised in the series, such as occult spirits, myths and legends, sexuality, materialism and more. Designed to help teens and parents discern what is healthy and unhealthy, The Twilight Gospel will help create shrewd, literate young adults as they encounter secular pop culture.

I'm not one to be caught up in the newest craze, but I have seen and heard so much about the Twilight Saga, I decided to check this book out.

The book was well written, and the author has done his research, not on just the Twilight Saga, but also on vampires. He doesn't set out to approve or disapprove of the books, but gives the negatives and positives of the series. I would have to say that with just what I know of the series, and after reading this book, I would not let my kids read the books, or see the movies, but it is a good book for parents to read before they make that decision.

About the author:

Dave Roberts is the author of the best-selling The Toronto Blessing and Red Moon Rising with joint sales in excess of 100,000. He is a former editor of Christianity and won awards for his work on Renewal magazine. He is a local church pastor and conference director for three major annual conferences on worship, children's ministry, and women's ministry.

Thanks to Monarch books for the review copy.

Check out what other bloggers have to say about the book: http://www.litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/the-twilight-gospel-by-dave-roberts.html

Monday, April 12, 2010

Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze.......and a giveaway


Book description:

Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt was a content man—in his faith, his work, and his family. Then in a flash, everything he loved was snatched away. His wife and son were murdered, and grief-stricken Ben lost faith. Determination to find their killers keeps him going, but after three years of dead ends and torment, his hope is dying too. Why had he survived? He’d failed to protect his family.



Now, a mysterious woman appears at Crossroads seeking answers and help—a victim who eerily resembles Ben’s deceased wife, Susan. A woman robbed of her identity, her life, of everything except her faith—and Susan’s necklace.


The connections between the two women mount, exceeding coincidence, and to keep the truth hidden, someone is willing to kill. Finding out who and why turns Ben and the mystery woman’s situation from dangerous to deadly. Their only hope for survival is to work together, trust each other, and face whatever they discover head on, no matter how painful. But will that be enough to save their lives and heal their tattered hearts?

My review:

Awesome book! I occasionally say a book is a "read in one sitting book", and this should have been, but I made the mistake of starting it before I went to work, and had to finish it after I got home from work.

This is a suspense/mystery novel, and it was a terrific read. The main heroine of the story is suffering from amnesia brought on by an attack, and though I have read books before where amnesia was involved, this story had a more interesting and unique twist than others I read.

I liked the spiritiual aspect of the book. The main guy in the story, Ben, has walked away from God, and is angry with Him because his wife and son had been murdered. There is a lot of interaction about his spiritual state between he and the central female of the story.

The plot was great - really had me guessing as to what was going on - I liked the characters, and the story was gripping and interesting. I am looking forward to reading more from this author in this new series. I highly recommend it, and there is a giveaway of the book at the end of this post, so check it out.

About the author:

Vicki Hinze is an award-winning author of twenty-three novels, three nonfiction books, and hundreds of articles. Selected for Who’s Who in America in 2004 as a writer and educator, Hinze is active in Romance Writers of America and serves as a Vice President on the International Thriller Writers Board of Directors. Vicki lives in Florida with her artist husband, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. Visit www.vickihinze.com to learn more about Vicki’s books, blogs, and writing programs.

The giveaway:

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing, I have a copy of Forget Me Not to give away. Instead of just a comment, I like to try to make different ways to enter, so here is my latest idea. Growing up, I was practically addicted to the Hary Boys books. I read them all. Then read them again. I read most of them four or five times. I even read Nancy Drew - even back then I loved a good mystery.

So to enter, tell if you read any mystery books as a kid, and if so, what were they - Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew?

I will pick a winner 10 days from today on April 22 using Random.org.

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for the review and giveaway copies.

Forget Me Not can be purchased from WaterbrookMultnomah.com, or from Amazon by clicking the link at the beginning of the post.

Wildflowers of Terezin by Robert Elmer


This week, the



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing



Wildflowers of Terezin
Abingdon Press (April 2010)
by



Robert Elmer






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Robert Elmer is a former pastor, reporter and as copywriter who now writes from he home he shares with his wife Ronda in northern Idaho. He is the author of over fifty books, including eight contemporary novels for the adult Christian audience and several series for younger readers. Combined, his books have sold more than half a million copies worldwide. Like his popular "Young Underground" youth series, Wildflowers of Terezin was inspired by stories Robert heard from his Denmark-born parents and family. When he's not sailing or enjoying the outdoors, Robert often travels the country speaking to school and writers groups.







ABOUT THE BOOK



When nurse Hanne Abrahamsen impulsively shields Steffen Petersen from a nosy Gestapo agent, she’s convinced the Lutheran pastor is involved in the Danish Underground. Nothing could be further from the truth.



But truth is hard to come by in the fall of 1943, when Copenhagen is placed under Martial Law and Denmark’s Jews—including Hanne—suddenly face deportation to the Nazi prison camp at Terezin, Czechoslovakia. Days darken and danger mounts. Steffen’s faith deepens as he takes greater risks to protect Hanne. But are either of them willing to pay the ultimate price for their love?



To read the first chapter of Wildflowers of Terezin, go HERE.

My review:
I had never read anything by Robert Elmer before, so he was a new author to me. I really enjoyed this book. It is set during World War II in Denmark. I have read several books set during that time, but had never read one set in Denmark, so it was interesting to read what it was like for them during World War II. Though the people in the book are fictional, the events are not, and I learned a lot about Denmark, and about the Jews there.

After I finished the book, I was again filled with amazement and horror at what Hitler did to the Jews. If for no other reason, books like these are good to remind us of the evil that is in the world, and what even our country could become if good people sit back and do nothing.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Problem With Priests.......and My Solution

 It is in the headlines again. Catholic priests molesting kids again. I'm not anti-Cathlolic, though I really don't get some of their beliefs. Such as, why do they pray to saints when we can go straight to God? Peter the first pope - where is the evidence for that? And burying a statue of St Joseph so your house will sell?

But I digress.

Who knows how many priests have molested kids over the years. I'm sure we are hearing about just the tip of the iceberg.

I have a solution, and a question: Let them marry. Where on earth did the Catholics get the idea that priests couldn't marry anyway?! Check out I Timothy 3 sometime. It lists requirements for bishops and deacons. Most people agree it applies to pastors nowadays - and priests. And guess what.... it doesn't forbid marriage. It does state they should be the husband of one wife.

I'm single - and I have my reasons - but even I know God is very pro-marriage and pro-family. He encourages people to marry and have children.

Not every man or woman who is single is going to molest kids. I'm single, and the very idea nauseates me and I think they need stronger punishment for people who do it. For men, maybe removing a certain part of their anatomy.........

That said, I'm sure in some people, the desire for sex is greater, and if there is no outlet, that could explain how the priests end up doing that - and no, I am not excusing it. There is never a good excuse or reason for molesting or hurting young children. But, anyone with common sense has to see there is a connection. Men not allowed to marry and expected to be celibate, who just by chance end up molesting kids. And yes, there are lot of married men who do it too, but I really believe the Catholic church has set themselves up for these scandals by not allowing their priests to marry. It is un-Biblical, and is causing them problems.

I firmly believe if they allowed their priests to marry, it would cut way down on the molestation issue, but that is just my humble opinion. What do you think?