Friday, September 30, 2011

Dangerous Mercy by Kathy Herman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dangerous Mercy
David C. Cook (October 1, 2011)
Kathy Herman


Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call.

Kathy's husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.


Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. —Matthew 5:7

When eighty-five-year-old Adele Woodmore moves to Les Barbes to be near the Broussards—and her namesake, their daughter—she wants nothing more than a comfortable, quiet life. Employing men from Father Vince’s halfway house for the homeless to do odd jobs and landscaping, she delights in the casual conversation she has with them, the fledgling friendships, and the idea that she is helping them get back on their feet.

A series of murders in Les Barbes has cast a pall over the town and, in fact, one of Adele’s handymen becomes a person of interest to the police. But Adele cares for these young men, she knows them, and continues to show them kindness in spite of her friends’ concern. And then one day a murderer walks through Adele’s defenses, sits down at her kitchen table...and they begin to talk...

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dangerous Mercy, go HERE.

I just received the book in the mail 2 days ago and have not had time to read it yet. Kathy is one of my favorite authors, so I will try to get an actual review up for it later.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Treasures From Grandma's Attic and Still More Stories From Grandma's Attic

Grandma did what? You might be surprised. Back in the 1880’s, when she was a young girl named Mabel, trouble seemed to follow her everywhere. She and her best friend, Sarah Jane, had the best intentions at home and at school, but somehow clumsiness and mischief always seemed to intrude. Whether getting into a sticky mess with face cream, traveling to the big city, sneaking out to a birthday party or studying for the spelling bee, Mabel’s brilliant ideas only seemed to show how much she had to learn. And each of her mishaps turned into lessons in honesty, patience and responsibility.

Arleta Richardson’s beloved series, Grandma’s Attic, returns with Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic and Treasures from Grandma’s Attic, the third and fourth books in the refreshed classic collection for girls ages 8 to 12. These compilations of tales recount humorous and poignant memories from Grandma Mabel’s childhood on a Michigan farm in the late 1800’s. Combining the warmth and spirit of Little House on the Prairie with a Christian focus, these books transport readers back to a simpler time to learn lessons surprisingly relevant in today’s world.

Even though these stories took place over a hundred years ago, there are some things about being a girl that never change. Just like Mabel, girls still want to be prettier or more independent. It’s all part of growing up. But the amazing thing is—Grandma felt the same way! Sometimes your brother teases you or someone you thought was a friend turns out to be insincere. Sometimes you’re certain you know better than your parents, only to discover to your horror that they might have been right. It’s all part of growing up.

Richardson’s wholesome stories have reached more than two million readers worldwide. Parents appreciate the godly values and character they promote while children love the captivating storytelling that recounts childhood memories of mischief and joy. These books are ideal for homes, schools, libraries or gifts and are certain to be treasured. So return to Grandma’s attic, where true tales of yesteryear bring timeless lessons for today, combining the appeal of historical fiction for girls with the truth of God’s Word. Each captivating story promotes godly character and values with humor, understanding and warmth.

My review:
I know the description says these books are for girls, but I read everything I could get my hands on when I was a kid, including these books. I think it is great that David C Cook has republished them again and with new covers to boot.

These stories are entertaining, amusing, and they all have a lesson to teach. Any pre-teen will enjoy them, regardless of gender. Each book has around 160 pages, with 14-15 stories in each book, making it an excellent book to read aloud as a family and even as part of family devotions, with the life-changing lessons within the stories.
Highly recommended.

About the author:

The late Arleta Richardson grew up an only child in Chicago,  living in a hotel on the shores of Lake Michigan. Under the care of her maternal grandmother, she listened for hours to stories from her grandmother’s childhood. With unusual recall, Arleta began to write these stories for an audience that now numbers over two million. “My grandmother would be amazed to know her stories have gone around the world,” Arleta said
The Grandma's Attic series is available from David C. Cook Publishing, four titles so far.
Thanks to B&B Media for the review copies.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Christians On the Bench

Anyone who knows me very well,  knows that I am not only disinterested in sports, I despise sports in general, but putting that aside, imagine going with me to a ball game. We get there to find the stadium filled. The visiting team is in the outfield, but nothing is happening. I look around, and finally spy the home team. They are all sitting on the benches by the dugout. Some are reading, some have laptops, some are on their cell phones, but none appear interested in the game they are supposed to be playing. The coach is going from player to player, spending a few minutes with each before going on to the next. I'm curious as to what is going on, so I wander down to get a closer look. I arrive in time to hear him speaking to one of the players......

Coach: "Come on John. Go bat, please!"
John: "I'm too busy Coach. My plate is too full."

The coach moves on.
Coach: "Mike, will you take a turn at batting?"
Mike: "I'd rather not, Coach. But I promise I will pray for the game!"
The coach moves on to the next player.
Coach: "Bill, will you please go bat?"
Bill: "Coach, I think you are doing an excellent job at coaching, but me, bat? Nah. Go ask Paul to bat. He is better at it than me. And here is $20 to help with the game."

And down the row of players the coach goes, asking, begging, only to be met with excuse after excuse. No one will bat.

Sounds dumb. As much as I dislike sports, even I think a team like that should be fired and thrown out. But isn't that like so many of we Christians? Oh, we will pray for the services, for the pastor, for the Sunday School, and those who teach. We will toss some money into the offering plate, but don't expect us to sacrifice our money, our time, to step out of our comfort zone.

I read a book this past week that really impressed me and moved me. Passion to Action. It is a book I received to read and post a review, which I did here. It is a true story of a family who decided they didn't want to sit on the bench. The Locken family. They sold their house and most of their possessions, bought a RV and travel all over the country helping where they can. Handing out Bibles, helping serve in soup kitchens. All sorts of things, with all sorts of people. These people are really serving God and living out His Word to those they meet. Check out their website at

Now obviously, we cannot all sell our homes and travel the country in an RV, but are we willing to do something for God where we are? To use our talents in our church? I am afraid too many of us want to sit on the bench - or pew - and do nothing.

I went to a baseball game at the beginning of this post. Now lets go to my church. Let me set the scene. At the end of last year, my Sunday School teacher handed out a paper with what we would be studying this year. He wanted volunteers to teach lessons and/or suggestions for people we would like to teach them. I dove in whole hearted and wrote so many that I had more than there were lines for.

Here we are at the end of September, and no one that I listed has spoken in Sunday School class, nor are they listed to. I asked my SS teacher a couple of weeks ago about it. He did ask some, who all said "no." And some he didn't bother asking, for he knew they'd say "no."

There was one person in particular I was wondering about. Let's call him Dan. I asked "Did you ask Dan?" Yes, he was asked, but was "too busy." I used to think highly of Dan, and this will sound judgmental, but what. Dan has a hobby, shall we say. He spends a lot of money and time on it. He travels all over the US doing this hobby. He talks about it all the time. And there is nothing wrong with this hobby, but if we are too busy to teach a Sunday School lesson, but have time for trips for a hobby, then what is the deal?! Sad thing is, "Dan" is very talented. Should have been a preacher. I firmly believe that if he was given a Sunday School class full of young boys, he would make a difference in their lives. But......... he is "too busy."

There are a lot of Dans in the church. We are all too happy to pray for the pastor, the missionaries, put money into the offering, but we don't want to sacrifice. We want our time, most of our money, our dreams, our desires. Let someone else carry the load. Don't ask us to do anything that will take us out of our groove. Put the average Christian up against the Loeken family, and we'd be sadly lacking. Here is a family who is out there living in a RV because they wanted to do more for God. Sound fun? Sure, but read their book and you will see it isn't all fun and games, but God is blessing them for what they are doing.

I fear the average Christian forgets what it is all about. There is a quote from the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens that has been on my mind lately. It is from the scene were Scrooge is visited by the ghost of Marley:

One of the most moving statements in this Christmas tale is by Marley's Ghost when despairing over "life's opportunities misused." Scrooge, trembling with fear and beginning to share in Marley's guilt, says: "But you were always a good man of business, Jacob." Upon which the Ghost cried out in anguish:

"Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and and benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

The Great Commission isn't just for the missionary on the foreign field. It isn't just for the people working in the streets of the USA. It is for all Christians. We should be seeking ways to work for God, even if it is just in our local church. Who knows what a change could be made in our own churches if people would let God use them and their talents, but everyone is "busy."
I can honestly say I haven't said "no" to much I was asked to do in the church, and the times I did say "no" was because at the time I was asked, I wasn't where I needed to be spiritually. And there may be others like me, but most of the time, people are just too busy, or don't want to step out of our comfort zone.
But what if Jesus had been "too busy" to come to earth to die for us? What if He hadn't wanted to step out of His comfort zone? And if you think hanging on a cross with nails through His hands and feet and a crown of thorns on His head wasn't out of His comfort zone, then you are delusional.
We may not know til we get to Heaven - and maybe not even then - what our actions and influence has done here on earth and what our in actions and refusals to be used have not accomplished. If you are asked to speak in a Sunday School class, it might be you that God is planning on reaching that one person. And your refusal to speak might mean he won't be reached. Far fetched? I don't think so.
So should we always say "yes" to anything we are asked to do in church? Not necessarily. For one thing, if we always say "yes" we will get asked to do everything. For another, we may not be capable. For instance, me sing a solo? Wow. That would clear out the church! But we should be more willing, and less prone to just say "no."

Someone has said that God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. If we prayed and sought God's will, we'd all be surprised at what we could do with His help.

Too busy? I'm sure Satan laughs with glee when Christians use that worn out response. For the busier we are, the less we will do for God, and Satan wins another round.

There is a song that says when we get to Heaven, we will wish we had done more. I don't know if we will have any regrets when we step through those pearly gates, but if we do, none of us are going to wish we had spent more time on us and our desires. No, we will wish we had done more to help our fellow man. Done more to reach out to our neighbor, co-worker, even the person in the pew across from us at church.
We aren't on this earth to play and work. Those are important, but we must not forget why we are here: To do God's will, live for Him, make it to Heaven, and take as many people with us as we can..... for that is all we can take to Heaven - people.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Naomi's Gift
Zondervan (September 12, 2011)
Amy Clipston


From Amy:

A native of New Jersey, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I often joke that my fiction writing “career” began in elementary school as I wrote and shared silly stories with a close friend.

In 1991, I graduated from high school, and my parents and I moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia. My father retired, and my mother went to work full-time. I attended Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, and I graduated with a degree in communications. I met my husband, Joe, during my senior year in college, a few days after my father had a massive stroke. Joe and I clicked instantly, and after a couple of months we started dating. We married four years later.

After graduating from VWC, I took a summer job with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, which turned into an eleven-year career. I worked in the Public Affairs Office for four years and then moved into Planning as a writer/editor.

One day while surfing the Internet for a professional editor’s group, I accidentally found a local fiction writing group, Chesapeake Romance Writers. I attended a meeting and I met writers in all stages of their careers. The group helped me realize that I did want to be an author, and it was my dream to see my name on the cover of one of my novels. Through Chesapeake Romance Writers, I learned how to plot, write, and edit a novel, and I also learned how to pursue an agent. I signed with Mary Sue Seymour at the Seymour Agency in 2006, shortly before Joe and I moved my parents and our sons to North Carolina.

My dream came true when I sold my first book in 2007. Holding my first book, A Gift of Grace, in my hands was exhilarating and surreal.


Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you'll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman's story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams ... and secrets. You'll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the 'English' way of life---and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families. Naomi's Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches---a time of family, faith, and hope for many others---Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family's quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down. Naomi's story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal. Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi's Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston's fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Naomi's Gift, go HERE.

Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon

A stalker with deadly intent . . .

A woman who protects children . . .

An ex-Navy SEAL turned police detective.

Social worker Alison Taylor has a passion for protecting children. But now it seems she needs protecting. When her tormentor's attentions take a violent turn, she calls in reinforcements--her police-detective brother, Cole, and his new partner, ex-Navy SEAL Mitch Morgan. As her relentless stalker turns up the heat and the danger intensifies, Mitch takes a personal interest in the case. Because protecting Alison has become more than a job; his future depends on keeping her safe.

Filled with nail-biting suspense and heart-melting romance, Deadly Pursuit is Irene Hannon's storytelling at its very best.

My review:
I have several favorite authors, and Irene Hannon is one of them. She writes a great Christian suspense novel with a little romance thrown in.

This book is the second in the Guardians of Justice Series, and as she has been doing with each book, Hannon just keeps getting better and better. The plot in this one involved a stalker, and I was quickly pulled into the story. When I read a book like this, I just settle in for the long haul, and I did read it in one evening. I loved the characters, some of which had been in the book that precedes this one, along with some new characters.

The book all too soon came to a nail-biting conclusion, and I shut the cover on another great Irene Hanon book.

About the author:

Irene Hannon is the author of more than 35 novels, including the CBA bestsellers Against All Odds, An Eye for an Eye, and In Harm's Way. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier award, and two Reviewer's Choice Awards from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine. She lives in Missouri.

For more information about Irene and her books, visit her website at

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Donna at Revell for the review copy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Passion to Action by Jay and Beth Loecken

Jay and Beth Loecken were an ordinary family searching for meaning in their lives while living the American Dream. They owned their dream house, drove nice cars, and from the outside seemed to have all they needed. Yet something kept pulling at them—a stirring, a sense that they were being called to a greater purpose in life. They couldn’t escape the feeling that there was more to life than the relentless pursuit of material possessions.

In Passion to Action: How God Uses Ordinary People in Extraordinary Ways, the Loeckens share the remarkable story of how they rediscovered another dream and how it turned their life upside down and fulfilled them more than they ever thought possible. It will inspire readers to discover their own passions and put them into action.

In the summer of 2007, the Loeckens headed to Africa on a mission trip with three of their four children. That trip changed their lives. When they returned home to their comfortable lifestyle, they all knew they wanted something more. In April of 2008, the family made the daring decision to sell their home, purchase an RV, and begin traveling the country serving communities in need: crushing cans for a senior center in McCall, Idaho, cleaning used books for a program in Portland, Oregon, and serving meals at the Rescue Mission in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Being in Africa gave us a true and new understanding of what it means to have a sense of community. The people we met and mingled with for those two weeks really rely on one another. They work together and share everything and don’t just think about themselves. They instinctively put others first,” says Jay. Upon returning home, the family realized that they had abandoned their dreams, so they made a u-turn, deciding to recreate what they had found on the other side of the world: purpose, joy, simplicity, and service.

The Loeckens knew they were not just called to live their dream, but to encourage others to do the same through their Passion to Action ministry. Their mission is to inspire others, empower them with tools and resources, and mobilize them to put their faith into action. While reading their story, including excerpts from their children (Ben, Bekah, Abigail, and Noah), readers will witness remarkable courage and see how far God can lead us to places we never imagined. Their book includes ten challenges for readers to complete on their own, such as identifying their passion, conquering fears, and helping someone who is different than them.

Passion to Action is more than just a story about the Loecken family; it is a movement that encourages action in discovering one’s life passion and beginning to live it. According to Beth, “There is a God-given dream in each of us. That dream looks different for every person, but it is definitely there. For some, perhaps the dream is to write a novel, compete in a marathon, or work with disadvantaged kids. Deep down, we all have a dream. But sadly, most people will never act on it.”

My review:
This book should come with a warning: if you want to sit in your pew and be unmoved to do anything, then don't read this book. That said......

I loved this book. This may make me sound shallow, but I don't read as many non-fiction books as I should, nor do I enjoy them as much as I should. This book was the exception.

The authors don't make themselves out to be super Christians, but just people wanting to do God's will. They tell about the mission trip they went on, and how that opened their eyes to the fact that they needed to do more. Jay and Beth are bluntly honest, telling the bad with the good, the ups and downs, their doubts, struggles, victories, and problems.

I usually say this about a suspense novel, but I could not put this book down once I started it. It is entertaining, interesting, gripping, and really moved me. I felt inspired and guilty by what this family has done and is doing. I found myself wanting to jump on their RV with them and help out where I could.

In addition to telling their story, they have several challenged throughout the book - questions for thought and to move the reader to do something.

As I stated, this book should come with a warning. It makes you realize how little you are doing, and that you need to do more. I highly recommend this book and cannot say enough good about it.

About the authors:

Jay Loecken, Age 44

Jay has a fun, vivacious personality. He is outgoing and has a great sense of humor. He loves adventure, sports and all outdoor activities. He enjoys dabbling in photography and secretly wishes he was talented enough to be a graphic designer. Jay is responsible for the website, speaking, and all RV details and maintenance. He is also a singer/worship leader & enjoys singing along with his son Ben’s guitar playing.

Beth Loecken, Age: 41

Beth is adventurous and loves all outdoor activities and sports. If the task entails adventure or danger she is all over it. She loves to cook and eat healthy food. She is an excellent cake decorator.  She is also an organizational freak. It’s a good thing she’s organized since we live in a 40 ft. RV. Everything has its place and no bin is without a label. She doesn’t talk about it, but she has done her share of modeling as well.

Check out their website at
Their book, Passion to Action, is available from Guideposts Books.

Thanks to B&BMedia for the review copy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Queen by Steven James

While investigating a mysterious double homicide in an isolated northern Wisconsin town, FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers uncovers a high-tech conspiracy that ties together long-buried Cold War secrets with present-day tensions in the Middle East.

In his most explosive thriller yet, bestselling author Steven James delivers a pulse-pounding, multilayered storytelling tour de force that will keep you guessing.

The Queen is the latest Patrick Bowers thriller from the author Publishers Weekly calls a "master storyteller at the peak of his game."


"A masterpiece of a thriller."--Special Agent R. Wayne Smith, FBI (retired)

"Steven James continues to raise the bar in suspense writing. The Queen takes readers to a new level of suspense and is the best book in the Patrick Bowers series hands down!"--Suspense Magazine

My review:
I always look forward to each new book in the Patrick Bowers Thriller Series, or as I like to refer to them as, The Chess Piece Series, since each book is titled with a different chess piece name. First there was The Pawn, The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop, and now The Queen.

There has not been much Christian content in this series, but after reading an author interview with the author that I borrowed and posted on my blog yesterday, I understand his writing more. Read it - very interesting, especially his views on Christian fiction versus fiction with a Christian world view.

In my opinion, each book in this series gets better than the previous ones, and The Queen is no different. It is a masterpiece of suspense and mystery. I thought the plot in this book was more complicated and involved than the other books, but I was able to follow it easily and got caught up in the events quickly. It was one of those books that I did not want to put down, so I stayed up later than I should have, determined to find out what happened.

Steven James uses two writing styles in his books. First person and third person. I have never been a big fan of first person point of view writing, as the reader only knows what the hero or heroine of the story is thinking, and only knows what is happening in their presence. With James' writing style, the reader knows what the hero, Patrick Bowers is thinking, but also what the other characters are thinking and doing apart from him. I like it, and it works great. I don't have a problem telling when he switches.

My only complaint about this series, is the books are written a year apart - too long to wait for sequels, and I am going to be an old man by the time the series is done! :-)

If you enjoy great suspense/thrillers, then check out this series. You will not be disappointed.

About the author:
Award-winning Author of The Patrick Bowers Files

Steven James has penned 30+ books spanning the genres of psychological thrillers, prayer collections, dramas, monologues, a nine book series on creative storytelling, YA fantasy, and inspirational nonfiction.

He has received wide critical acclaim for his work including four Storytelling World Honor awards, two Publishers Weekly starred reviews, and 2009 and 2011 Christy Awards for best suspense. His latest thriller, The Bishop, was named both Suspense Magazine's and The Christian Manifesto's 2010 Book of the Year.

Steven earned a Master’s Degree in Storytelling from ETSU in 1997 and is an active member of International Thriller Writers, the Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, and International Association of Crime Writers. He is a contributing editor to Writer's Digest, and has taught writing and storytelling principles on three continents.

He lives in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife and three daughters. When he's not writing or speaking, he's rock climbing, playing disc golf, or (shh....) slipping away to a matinee.

Check out his website:

Read an excerpt here.

Video here.

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
Thanks to Donna at Revell for the review copy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wings of A Dream
Bethany House (September 1, 2011)
Anne Mateer


While I have been writing for what feels like my whole life, I began seriously studying the craft in 2000. Since then I have completed five novels, had several pieces published in local periodicals, attended six writing conferences and managed to final in ACFW's Genesis contest in 2006, 2008, and 2009. My first historical novel, Wings of a Dream, will be released in September 2011, with another historical novel to follow in 2012. But writing is only a piece of my life.

I am mostly just a woman trying to live her life in a manner pleasing to the Lord. That involves being a wife to Jeff and a mother to my three teenagers--neither role coming easily but both roles stretching me, requiring me to press in closer to Jesus. And because of this, Jesus has taken an insecure, fearful, sometimes angry girl and is turning her into a more trusting, peaceful, grace-filled woman. At least some of the time. There is still such a long way to go!


Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family's farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promised adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he's the man she's meant to marry. While she waits for the Great War to end and Arthur to return to her so they can pursue all their plans, her mother's sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, seeing this chance to be closer to Arthur's training camp as God's approval of her plans.

But the Spanish flue epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt's death, Arthur's indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebekah is torn between the desire to escape the type of life she's always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wings of A Dream, go HERE.

Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wings of A Dream
Bethany House (September 1, 2011)
Anne Mateer


While I have been writing for what feels like my whole life, I began seriously studying the craft in 2000. Since then I have completed five novels, had several pieces published in local periodicals, attended six writing conferences and managed to final in ACFW's Genesis contest in 2006, 2008, and 2009. My first historical novel, Wings of a Dream, will be released in September 2011, with another historical novel to follow in 2012. But writing is only a piece of my life.

I am mostly just a woman trying to live her life in a manner pleasing to the Lord. That involves being a wife to Jeff and a mother to my three teenagers--neither role coming easily but both roles stretching me, requiring me to press in closer to Jesus. And because of this, Jesus has taken an insecure, fearful, sometimes angry girl and is turning her into a more trusting, peaceful, grace-filled woman. At least some of the time. There is still such a long way to go!


Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family's farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promised adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he's the man she's meant to marry. While she waits for the Great War to end and Arthur to return to her so they can pursue all their plans, her mother's sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, seeing this chance to be closer to Arthur's training camp as God's approval of her plans.

But the Spanish flue epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt's death, Arthur's indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebekah is torn between the desire to escape the type of life she's always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wings of A Dream, go HERE.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband, Sol, the Christmas gift they have both longed for--news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big Amish family isn't likely to become a reality. Will those empty chairs at the table ever be filled?

Then a winter storm raging outside blows an impatient young woman and her husband into the Riehl home on Christmas Eve--and into a much slower pace of life.

Both couples are about to find out if they can weather the storm--and if miracles still happen at Christmastime.

My review:I don't normally read and review Amish fiction, but I do love to read Christmas books. I also love to visit Lancaster County, PA, and this book is set there.

I really enjoyed this book. The theme of it is "Emmanuel, God With Us", and through two totally different couples, the author shows that to be true.

Though fiction, the story shows that God is truly with us, and how He works in our lives. I have heard and studied a lot about the Amish, and feel that the author also does a great job of portraying how they live.

About the author:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, The Search, and A Lancaster County Christmas, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne is the host of an internet radio show called Amish Wisdom, and her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California.

A Lancaster County Christmas is available from Revell Publishing.

Thanks to Revell and Litfuse for the review copy.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

To Have And to hold by Tracie Peterson and Juduth Miller

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
To Have and to Hold
Bethany House (September 1, 2011)
Tracie Peterson

Judith Miller


Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 85 novels. She received her first book contract in November, 1992 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row. In 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers. She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests. Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family--especially her three grandchildren--Rainy, Fox and Max.

Judith Miller's first novel, Threads of Love, was conceived when she was commuting sixty miles to work each day. She wanted to tell the story of a pioneer girl coming to Kansas and the faith that sustained her as she adjusted to a new life. Through a co-worker, she was directed to Tracie Peterson who, at that time, worked down the hall from her. Having never met Tracie, Judith was totally unaware of her writing career, but God intervened. The rest is, as they say, history. Since that first encounter many years ago, Judith has been blessed with the publication of numerous books, novellas and a juvenile fiction book. Joyously, she and Tracie had the opportunity to develop a blessed friendship. In fact, they have co-authored several series together, including The Bells of Lowell, the Lights of Lowell and The Broadmoor Legacy.


When Audrey Cunningham's father proposes that they move to Bridal Veil Island, where he grew up, she agrees, thinking this will help keep him sober and close to God. But they arrive to find wealthy investors buying up land to build a grand resort on the secluded island--and they want the Cunninghams' acreage.

Contractor Marshall Graham can't imagine why the former drinking buddy of his deceased father would beckon him to Bridal Veil Island. And when Boyd Cunningham asks him to watch over Audrey, Marshall is even more confused. He has no desire to be saddled with caring for this fiery young woman who is openly hostile toward him. But when Audrey seems to be falling for another man--one who has two little girls Audrey adores--Marshall realizes she holds more of his heart than he realized. Which man will Audrey choose? And can she hold on to her ancestral property in the face of overwhelming odds?

If you would like to read the first chapter of To Have and to Hold, go HERE.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Introspective in Indiana

I just got back today from a second vacation. I asked for some days off, and headed off early Friday morning, September 2, for the state of Indiana to spend some time with my best friend, Steven Matlock and his family.

One of the highlights of my trip was meeting a college mate of mine, Jennifer, in the town she resides in, one I pass through on my way to Indiana. We met at Cracker Barrel in Zanesville, OH, about 2 1/4 hours from where I am. I admit I was a bit nervous...yeah, I can talk a lot, but it had been 20 years since we had seen each other.... if it was more recent, we could not remember.

My fears were groundless. We spent two hours at CB eating and chatting, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so refreshing to talk about the things we talked about. I hope we can do it again some time.

I headed on to Bloomington, IN where Steven works and where I lived for two years. If you are a Karen Kingsbury fan, that is the town where she set her best-selling Redemption Series - the "Baxter books" and the umpteen series that have been spin-offs of that series.

My one co-worker made the observation that it sounded like all I was doing was eating...... and yes, I did a lot of that. I met Steven at his place of employment and we headed to Texas Roadhouse. After hitting a couple of stores, we headed on to Orleans, IN where he lives. His entire family was over to his parents for the evening - brother and wife and 3 boys and sister and her husband and little girl. I had a great evening chatting with all of them and playing the Wii..... which resulted in my ordering a new Wii game from Amazon.

Saturday was a busy day. It started off with stuffed blueberry pancakes for breakfast from Bob Evans, courtesy of Steven's dad. Man...... I thought I died and went to Heaven - they are that good!

Steven and I headed back to Bloomington to get a stereo installed on his car at Best Buy and killed some time which included more eating..... I had to try the new mini burgers at Burger King. And yes - I shared them. :-)

We headed for Westfield, IN to visit my friend Cindy Matlock Rundell and her husband, Russell. Got there around 5:20. (Cindy is Steven's cousin) After seeing their new place of residence, we headed out to eat. I had never been to Five Guys and loved it, though their Cajun fries are so spicy my head sweat a river - but very good food. We followed that up with a trip to Handel's Ice cream - yum!

Cindy and Russell were kind enough to take us to Family Christian Stores nearby so I could check out their Labor Day door busters. And I did buy two - a CD and a DVD for $5 each - sweet!

After visiting with the Rundells, we headed back to Steven's house, getting home around 1 am. Surprisingly, we managed to get up and make it to church, where I got to see some more acquaintances and got to hear about the new endeavor of the church - the prayer stand. Marc and Melody Sankey, back from the mission field, talked about the stand and their experiences on Friday there. Cool stuff. If you, like me, had no idea what the prayer stand was, check out these sites:

Prayer Stand

Go Forth All

After a great Sunday dinner, I got in a great Sunday afternoon nap which ended with Steven waking me and telling me I needed to be ready to go to Sunday evening church in ten minutes. I managed to pull it off.

Monday..... Steven and I went out to breakfast with Steven Hight, pastor of Faith Mission Church in Bedford, IN, the church the Matlock family attends. We had a great time of eating and talking with this very wise man. And no, I didn't get a stuffed blueberry pancake. :-)

The whole Matlock family and I gathered at Susanne Matlock and Joe Mincer's house for a cook-out. I wanted to help out, so I made the mistake of bringing 3 bags of chips I had bought. We ended up with 12 bags of chips for 12 people. The table was half-full of chips.

I spent a lot of time on the trampoline with the Matlock boys and Steven's brother-in-law. An interesting experience being on a trampoline with Joseph Mincer. It was fun though.

It was rough telling Joe and Susanne and Michael and Kim and their boys good-bye. It is harder to say good-bye to someone when you don't know when you will see them next. Steven and his mother and I headed back to their place where we finished the day by playing some more of the Wii.

I left this morning for Ohio around 6:30 am. I stopped for gas a couple of times, a rest area once, and stopped at Bob Evans for...... a stuffed pancake with blueberries - again... awesome.

I safely arrived home around 1:45 this afternoon. I had great weather going down and coming back. I had a great time and was sad to have it end so soon.

I titled my blog post "Introspective In Indiana" for a reason. I found myself being very introspective while on my trip. And yes, that word actually came to me. I didn't come up with it just for my blog post. :-)

Sometimes we make life more complicated than it really is, and sometimes it really is complicated. I did a lot of thinking while I was away. Deep stuff. Some was probably brought on from talking to my friend Jennifer at Cracker Barrel - we hit on some pretty heavy stuff.... but getting away from everything and everyone also helped introspection to set in.

I am not where I want to be. I feel like I still don't know what and where I want to be when I grow up, yet I have most likely lived half of my life at this point. I find myself wishing God would send me an email telling me what to do with my life. It seems so meaningless and empty. I am single, staying with my parents for what was supposed to be a few months, but has turned into a few years. I need to find a better job, but have no idea where to look, where to go.
I am not - and have not been - happy with my church since moving back, but don't know where I should go.

I am single, and there isn't much chance of that changing.

I did a lot of looking at my life while away and know I need to make some changes, but the task is so daunting, I don't know where to start. So yeah, I was truly introspective in Indiana.

I am thankful I was able to get the time off and could make the trip. I shall now set aside my introspection and head to bed......

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Whisper of Peace
Bethany House (September 1, 2011)
Kim Vogel Sawyer


Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.


Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the mountains of Alaska, practicing the ways of her people even as she resides in the small cabin her father built for her mother. She dreams of reconciling with her grandparents to fulfill her mother's dying request, but she has not yet found a way to bridge the gap that separate her from her tribe.

Clay Selby has always wanted to be like his father, a missionary who holds a great love for the native people and has brought many to God. Clay and his stepsister, Vivian, arrive in Alaska to set up a church and school among the Athbascan people. Clay is totally focused on this goal...until he meets a young, independent Indian woman with the most striking blue eyes he's ever seen.

But Lizzie is clearly not part of the tribe, and befriending her might have dire consequences for his mission. Will Clay be forced to choose between his desire to minister to the natives and the quiet nudging of his heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Whisper of Peace, go HERE.