Monday, March 26, 2012
When Simon the farmer brings his wares to market, little does he expect how he will be involved in the events of that very special day, nor how his items--bread, eggs, and wine--will become important symbols of Jesus' passion and resurrection, remembered throughout the ages.
This picture book retelling of a traditional tale is both thought-provoking and engaging.
This is a fictional telling of the events of Good Friday from the viewpoint of Simon of Cyrene. Its geared for young children, so it isn't very long in length, but is one of those books with a lot of pictures and a short story.
The idea of the book is neat, and I like the end result. It is easy for a child to read, or be read to, and the illustrator did a great job illustrating the book. I would recommend this for parents who want to help their young children understand the events of Good Friday a little better.
About the author:
Mary Joslin, published exclusively by Lion, is known for her children's books on belief and spirituality. Her books, which include The Story of the Cross and On That Christmas Night, have sold more than 200,000 copies.
About the illustrator:
Anna Luraschi has illustrated a number of books for Usborne.
Simon and the Easter Miracle is available from Kregel Publishing.
Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.
DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.
DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills
ABOUT THE BOOK
Watch the book video!
If you would like to read the first chapter of The Chase, go HERE.
I have not read many books by DiAnn Mills, but I'm thinking I need to start reading more of her suspense novels. From looking at her books on Amazon, it appears she has written a wide variety of novels, and among them are many suspense, my favorite.
This book falls into the suspense genre', and it is a terrific suspense novel. She came up with some great and likable characters which were also believable. The plot was a great plot, and a bit different from many suspense books. The heroine ois involved in the action because she is writing a suspense novel. Maybe the author got the idea from the TV show Castle. Regardless, it worked, and the end result makes for great reading. I did read this book in one evening and did not want to put it down. It is romantic suspense, and all too often authors tie that part up in a nice red bow. This book leaves that open for the next book, which was a bit disappointing, but also more realisitc. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Thanks to the CFBA and the author for the review copy.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for HarperCollins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Her recent novel, The Protector, the final book in her “Families of Honor” series, hit the New York Times List, and her previous novel in the same series, The Survivor, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Shelley has won the prestigious Holt Medallion for her books, Forgiven and Grace, and her novels have been chosen as Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club. Her first novel with Avon Inspire, Hidden, was an Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.
Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two children in college, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and currently leads a Bible study group, and she looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.
When she’s not writing, Shelley often attends conferences and reader retreats in order to give workshops and publicize her work. She’s attended RWA’s national conference six times, the ACFW conference and Romantic Times Magazine’s annual conference as well as traveled to New Jersey, Birmingham, and Tennessee to attend local conferences.
Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page
ABOUT THE BOOK
Perry Borntrager had been missing from the quiet Amish community of Crittenden, Kentucky, for months when his body was discovered at the bottom of an abandoned well. Everyone had assumed Perry left Crittenden on his own, seduced by the wider world he discovered during his rumspringa, but now the truth has thrown this once-peaceful town into chaos. The first death from mysterious circumstances in Crittenden in more than two decades has invited the scrutiny of the outside world: a police detective arrives to help their local sheriff with the investigation. His questioning begins with Lydia Plank, Perry’s former girlfriend, and Perry’s best friend, the Englisher Walker Anderson.
Lydia and Walker know they didn’t have anything to do with Perry’s death, but they both hold secrets about his final days. Do they dare to open up about the kind of man Perry had become? In the oppressive shadow of these dark times, they discover strength in a most unlikely companionship that offers solace, understanding, and the promise of something more.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Missing, go HERE.
Friday, March 23, 2012
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ABOUT THE BOOK
Then the telegram came: Stuart, I need you in Portland. Tim Wiseman is missing. I think there’s a cover-up going on. Tell folks you’re going to the Exposition. Nose around. Find out how a U.S. Marshal can disappear and no one knows why. I’ll contact you there. T.R.
How could he refuse a request from the President of the United States?
If you would like to read the first chapter of Stuart Brannon's Final Shot, go HERE.
I have never been much of a reader of Westerns, but I have read several of Stephen Bly's books. This one was a great read and brought back the character he wrote a whole series about. I enjoyed the book, and it would be a great read for any Western fan.
Its one of my pet peeves and favorite soapboxes, and its been a while since I blogged about it, so here goes.
I am amazed at how may people disagree with me on this: curse words and even some words that are not curse words, do NOT belong in a Christian book.
It seems like Thomas Nelson started the trend. Then Zondervan, owned by the secular Haper Collins, followed. I even found an objectionable word in a Tyndale book a few months ago. Why? Why does a Christian author feel the need to put curse words in a Christian book that Christians are going to read. Why does a Christian publisher allow it?
I usually email the author and publisher both when I run onto curse words in a Christian book, and usually get excuses. The man in charge of the fiction department at Nelson actually called me once and was very nice, but only excused the language in the book I complained about. He even gave me a free book, but didn't change anything.
I emailed Susan May Warren. She had the "d" word in one of her books. She replied that she used it because that is the kind of word that character would say. Really. So if he would say the "f" word, she would use it? (I hope the publisher wouldn't allow that one, but give it time).
I read one book by Noel Hynd. It had a handful of curse words in it, including the commonly-used one that is also used for a donkey. He replied that one cannot write the kind of books he writes and not use them. (FBI/suspense). Really? I have read many excellent books of that genre' that use none of that language. And, might I add, they were better stories than the one I read by him.
Any Christian worth his salt would believe there are certain words Christians shouldn't use. You know what they are. Even if you use them, you wouldn't let them slip in front of your pastor or kids. (But its ok to use them in front of God). So if there are certain words that are inappropriate for Christians to speak, why does it become ok to write them, where even more people are going to witness you using them than if you spoke them? Because the characters are fictional, does it make it ok to say "go to......"? Because the characters are fictional, does it make it ok to curse and use other inappropriate words? If so, why? What is next, the "f-word", or taking God's name in vain, and because it is a fiction book with fictional characters, it is ok?
The Bible talks about being careful not to offend. So why is it ok to offend in this way? I am sure I'm not the only person to be offended when I run across curse words in a Christian book. I may be one of the few outspoken enough to complain about it.
TV could be the problem. Have we become so accustomed to cursing in TV shows and in movies, that we aren't shocked or offended by cursing anymore? That even when it shows up in a Christian book, we just tune it out? There are words appearing in Christian novels that years ago, would have been "bleeped" if spoken on TV and on the radio.
I heard a preacher say once that the church is just so many years behind the world. (Don't remember how many, but seems like 10). What the world is doing now, the church will be doing and ok-ing in 10 years or so. It seems to be true. It was once taboo to curse. People did it, but not on TV and radio. But it became more accepted. They quit bleeping people for saying certain things. Now its creeping into the church, and in one way, in books.
Thomas Nelson has some standards they claim to abide by for their books. One is the verses in the Bible in Philippians "Whatsoever is pure, noble, of good report, etc." I actually pointed out to the CEO of Nelson on his blog where he posted the standards, that allowing cursing in their books does not fall under those standards. He disagreed of course.
I am thankful for Christian authors who write books and don't use them as an excuse to curse: Mike Dellosso, Kathy Herman, Terri Blackstock, Randy Singer, Karen Kingsbury, and many more.
If an author wants to curse in their books, then let them write secular.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Split. After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with. A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.
This book and series is geared for teenagers, but I like to review books outside of my age group and even interest occasionally. Plus, this sounded like a cool book, so I requested it for review.
This book has a few different elements: good verses evil, romance, God's will, and some suspense. Halflings are beings that are half angel and half human. The author got the idea from the Bible verse in Genesis that refers to the sons of God procreating with the daughters of men. These "halflings" are descended from them. Its an interesting idea, and a new take on the guardian angel theme.
Even though the idea may be different for a Christian novel, the end result makes for a very interesting read, whether you are a teenager or an adult. I read the book in one evening and was quite captivated by it, and was wishing the next book was already out.
I loaned the book to my sixteen-year-old niece, and she loved it. She groaned when I replied to her question if the next book was out yet with a "no." So there you have it.... a teenager loved the book. The next book, Guardian, will be out in October of this year.
Heather Burch grew up in Branson, Missouri, where she learned to love fiction. She then married into a family of published novelists and quickly learned writing was her heart’s desire. When she’s not working on her latest book, Heather can be found watching a sunset at a beach near her home in Southern Florida, along with her sons Jake and Isaac, and husband, John—who is her hero in every way.
Halflings is available from Zondervan Publishing.
Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy.
A free e-book, 11:15: The Making of a Halfling, a short prequel, is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book Distributors.
Tessa Lancaster’s skills first earned her a position as an enforcer in her Uncle Teruo’s Japanese Mafia gang. Then they landed her in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Now, three months after her release, Tessa’s abilities have gained her a job as bodyguard for wealthy socialite Elizabeth St. Amant and her three-year-old son.
But there’s a problem or two … or three …. There’s Elizabeth’s abusive husband whose relentless pursuit goes deeper than mere vengeance. There’s Uncle Teruo, who doesn’t understand why Tessa’s new faith as a Christian prevents her from returning to the yakuza. And then there’s Elizabeth’s lawyer, Charles Britton, who Tessa doesn’t know is the one who ensured that she did maximum time behind bars. Now Tessa and Charles must work together in order to protect their client, while new truths emerge and circumstances spiral to a deadly fever pitch.
Factor in both Tessa’s and Charles’s families and you’ve got some wild dynamics—and an action-packed, romantic read as Tessa and Charles discover the reality of being made new in Christ.
My review:Camy Tang is still a fairly new author to me, as I have not read much by her. I did read her Sushi Series which was a very humorous romance series. (Even though I normally steer away from romance only novels, a friend assured me I'd love them. I did.)
Protection For Hire is a totally different genre': suspense, which is my favorite genre'. I was curious how Camy would do with suspense, and I am happy to report she did a great job. She created some very interesting and colorful characters along with a terrific plot. And even though it is suspense, she has a way of bringing some humor into the story.
This was an e-book, and had no date to be reviewed by, so it sat on my Kindle for a while before I got to it, but once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. I fortunately had the time to read it through in one evening, and I did exactly that, though I stayed up later than normal. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and am anticipating the sequel that is coming in October.
Anyone who reads many of my reviews knows that a pet peeve of mine is curse words and/or inappropriate words in Christian novels. I believe as Christians, we should not only be careful about the words we say, but also about what we write. Zondervan and Thomas Nelson have both allowed language in their books that is inappropriate, and this had one such word. And that is a word used for illegitimate children, and also used as an insult, as in this book. Minus that..... totally awesome book.
Camy Tang grew up in Hawaii but she now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious mutt, Snickers. She was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. She won the Carol Book of the Year award in the Debut Author category with her novel Sushi for One? Follow Camy online at www.camytang.com.
Protection For Hire is available from Zondervan Publishing.
Thanks to Zondervan and Netgalley for the review copy.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
When Remington Wyatt sees her godfather’s murder, she recognizes the killers and knows it’s only a matter of time before they come to silence her. She must do the only thing possible to stay alive . . . run.
FBI agent Rafe Baxter is serious about his career, and solving a cold case involving a federal judge’s death puts him in line for the promotion he so desires. But the case leads him to the small town of Hopewell, Louisiana, where some secrets seem inextricably hidden deep within the bayou.
Injustice for All explores what happens when everything a person believes in is utterly destroyed. Who can you trust?
I previously read the three books Robin did for Broadman & Holman and thoroughly enjoyed them, so I was happy to have this book arrive in the mail. It did not disappoint.
This book is the kind of book that I love to read. It has a lot of suspense, drama, a Christian element, and page turning intrigue. It is the first book in the Justice Seekers Series, and is a terrific start to the series. I loved the characters in the book, and am guessing she will use some of them in the other books yet to come in this series.
I like it when an author has a character that is struggling with issues of the faith, and doesn't necessarily wrap it all up in a nice bow, and that was the case with this story. One of the characters has a lot of doubts about God, and she does come to grips with some of that, but at the end of the book she was still not quite there, the way I read it.
I applaud authors like Robin who can write a masterpiece of suspense like this, and keep it clean and curse-free. Even though this is only the fourth book of hers I have read, she is fast becoming one of my favorite authors, and I look forward to reading more in this great series.
Robin Caroll has authored eleven previous books including the critically acclaimed Deliver Us From Evil. She gives back to the writing community by serving as conference director for American Christian Fiction Writers. A proud southerner, Robin lives with her husband, three daughters, and one precious grandson in Arkansas.
Injustice for All is available from Broadman and Holman Publishing.
Thanks to Broadman & Holman and PR By the Book for the review copy.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a speaker and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.
Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.
ABOUT THE BOOK
...until her twin brother ran off and joined the army and ended up captured and in jail. Suddenly Hannah's world turns on end. She longs to bring her brother some measure of comfort in the squalid, frigid prison where he remains. But the Quakers believe they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. Can she sit by and do nothing while he suffers?
Jeremiah Jones has an enormous task before him. Responsibility for a spy ring is now his, and he desperately needs access to the men in prison, whom they are seeking to free. A possible solution is to garner a pass for Hannah. But while she is fine to the eye, she holds only disdain for him--and agreeing would mean disobeying those she loves and abandoning a bedrock of her faith.
With skill and sensitivity, Mitchell tells a story of two unlikely heroes seeking God's voice, finding the courage to act, and discovering the powerful embrace of love.
If you would like to read the first chapter of The Messenger, go HERE.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Raising up men has never been easy, but today is seems particularly tough. The young and old need heroes to embody the eternal qualities of manhood: honor, duty, valor, and integrity. In The Book of Man, William J. Bennett points the way, offering a positive, encouraging, uplifting, realizable idea of manhood, redolent of history and human nature, and practical for contemporary life.
Using profiles, stories, letters, poems, essays, historical vignettes, and myths to bring his subject to life, The Book of Man defines what a man should be, how he should live, and to what he should aspire in several key areas of life: war, work, leisure, and more. "Whether we take up the sword, the plow, the ball, the gavel, our children, or our Bibles," says Bennett, "we must always do it like the men we are called to be." The Book of Man shows how.
This is a neat book. Not one to be read in one sitting, but to be read over several weeks, as it comes in at a whopping 576 pages. The book is split into sections such as Men and Work, Men in Politics, Men and War, etc. Each section has several profiles of men in that category and writings to do with that topic.
Not every story and poem was riveting and interesting to me, but this is still a great book and worth reading. The stories about men who have done great things in war and on 911 for our country alone make this book worth reading.
Its obvious Bennett put a lot of time, research, and effort into this book. The idea is given in reading about the book, that it is to help men grow up to be real men, but young men might get bogged down some by parts of the book, although there are other parts that would be more relevant.
Overall, I'd recommend this book for men in any stage of life. There is something in it for everyone. Something that will inspire and make us want to be and do better.
Dr. William J. Bennett is one of America’s most influential, and respected voices on cultural, political, and educational issues. Bill Bennett studied philosophy at Williams College (B.A.) and the University of Texas (Ph.D.) and earned a law degree from Harvard. Host of the top-ten nationally syndicated radio show Bill Bennett’s Morning in America, he is also the Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute. Former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1981-1985), and Secretary of Education (1985-1988), and first director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (1989-1990), Bennett is a regular contributor to CNN and has contributed to America’s leading newspapers, magazines, and television shows. He is the author and editor of seventeen books, two of which—The Book of Virtues and The Children’s Book of Virtues—rank among the most successful of the past decade. He, his wife Elayne, and their two sons, John and Joseph, live in Maryland.
The Book of Man is available from Thomas Nelson.
Thanks to Booksneeze for the review copy.
Check out excerpts from the book below:
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!
Karri James of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***
Byron Yawn is the senior pastor of Community Bible Church in Nashville, Tennessee and a much-sought speaker. His book Well-Driven Nails received much positive acclaim from prominent ministers, including John MacArthur and Steven Lawson. Byron has MDiv and DMin degrees from The Master’s Seminary, is married to Robin, and has three children.
Visit the author's website.
A powerful and compelling new voice in Christian publishing, with a message urgently needed by today’s Christian men.
Every man encounters significant struggles in life—struggles that result in poor choices and decisions. Frequently these mistakes can be traced back to a common problem—a father who (even unintentionally) failed to provide counsel or a positive role model.
In What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him, author Byron Yawn offers vital input many men wished they had received during their growing-up years. This collection of 30 simple principles will help men to...
Identify and fill the gaps that occurred in their upbringing
Benefit from the hard-earned wisdom of others so they don’t make mistakes
Prepare their own sons for the difficult challenges of life
The 30 principles in this book are based in Scripture and relevant to every man. They include affection, courage, balance, consistency, and more. A true must-read!
List Price: $11.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
a Dad Should Be
and wept over him and kissed him.
My review:This was not only an interesting and easy to read book, but it is very relavent. Even in the church, boys are growing up not hearing and getting from their fathers what they so desperately need. In this book, the author presents several things boys need to hear and learn about from their fathers. From "I love you" to issues like sex, pornography, marriage, work, and many more. This is not a harsh book, but written by a father of 3 young sons who not only wants to raise his sons right, but help others to do so.
Every guy who is a father or will be should read this book. Too many boys are growing up to be broken, and some of it is because their fathers didn't do right by them. That isn't always the case, but this book is a must read for fathers.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
I have some friends who occasionally grumble that all I ever do on my blog is book reviews, so I started a blog recently for "real blogging". I haven't posted much there yet, but to those friends, I just posted 4 blog posts that I had actually done months ago and never published... they are a bit controversial, but I decided to go ahead and publish them. So if you're bored, or if your blood pressure is a bit too low, read on.
Posted by Mark at 11:44 AM
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kimberly says:
I grew up in a book-loving home. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. My mom loves books. My dad loves to read the first chapters of books and then make us all listen as he recites his favorite passages. I, however, enjoy reading books in their entirety and came into writing as a result of book-love. After earning two fancy degrees in education and Spanish, I promptly let the thinking part of my brain take a breather and instead became pregnant. (I’m sure a lot of other things happened between early literacy and pregnancy but I don’t really remember any of that. If you also have shared your uterus with another human, you understand.)
In an effort to author a book that would entertain my sassy, irreverent, breast-feeding/drooping friends, I wrote my first novel, Balancing Act. People were so nice to me after that, I decided to continue with writing. Also, I can’t craft, knit, or scrapbook, so what else was a nice, Christian girl to do?
In addition to writing books to make my friends laugh and cry, I observe the chaos at the home I share with my unfailingly supportive husband and three offspring. We’re doing our best and so far, no one’s been to prison.
ABOUT THE BOOK
So Nellie straps on her bonnet and goes undercover to get the dish. But though she’s brainy, Nellie is clueless when it comes to real life and real relationships. Soon she’s alienated her best friend, angered her college professor, and botched her case.
Operation Bonnet is a comedy of errors, a surprising take on love, and a story of grace.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Operation Bonnet, go HERE.
Watch the book video trailer: