Thursday, February 27, 2014

The A-Z of C.S. Lewis : A Complete Guide to His Life, Thoughts and Writings by Colin Duriez

Book Info
About the book: 

A Complete Guide to His Life, Thoughts and Writings
Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of C. S. Lewis's death, this complete guide covers all of Lewis' works, from his literary criticism to Narnia.
C. S. Lewis's work is widely known and regarded, but enthusiasts are often only aware of one part of his work-his children's stories and his popular theology; and yet he wrote so much more, including science fiction and literary criticism. This volume brings together all aspects of C S Lewis's life and thought. Arranged in alphabetical order, it begins with The Abolition of Man-written in 1943 and described as "almost my favorite"-to Wormwood, a character in The Screwtape Letters. This book will delight anyone who is interested in C. S. Lewis and wants to learn more about him, his thought, his works, and his life.

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About the Author: 

Colin Duriez was for many years a commissioning editor at Inter-Varsity Press UK. He has subsequently appeared as a commentator on DVDs of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, and BBC television's The Worlds of Fantasy. He is also the author of The Inklings Handbook(with the late David Porter), J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: The Story of Their Friendship, and Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, and has contributed to definitive reference works relating to Tolkien such as The Tolkien Encyclopedia(Routledge).

My Take:  This is a must have if you are C. S. Lewis fan.  It is not a novel that you read from cover to cover but a handy book to have on hand when you want to look up something that you read in one of his works like (I just randomly opened the book to ) Fire-berry in the story of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  This is a nice book for that sort of thing.  

I received a review copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Thief by Stephanie Landsem

Book Info
About the book: 

A Roman centurion longing for peace and a Jewish woman hiding a deadly secret witness a miracle that transforms their lives and leads them to the foot of the cross.
Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure. Desperate to escape the accursed Judean province, he accepts a wager. If he can catch the thieves harassing the marketplace before Passover, he'll earn a transfer away from the troublemaking Jews.
Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Only with the help of Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, can she keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and a roof over their heads.
When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Longinus longs to learn more about the mysterious healer. Instead, his journey leads him to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.
Unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, they wonder who this teacher is who heals others but does nothing to save himself. Is the mercy he offers in his teachings real, or just another false promise? Can Nissa and 
Longinus overcome their pasts to find a future free of their shackles?
The Thief is an evocative story of two people trapped in their circumstances and the life-changing power of forgiveness and love.

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About the Author: 

Stephanie Landsem loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she's explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she's not writing, she's feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure---whether it be in person or on the page.

Learn more about Stephanie at:

My Take; This is a great story told in a captivating way.  Historical Biblical Fiction at it's finest.  This book captures the way that life probably was like during the time period of the last days of Christ.  I will be looking for more books by Stephanie Landsem.  This is the second in a series but you do not have had to read the first one in order to enjoy this book.  Highly recommended. 

First Chapter peak of Prime of Life by P. D.Bekendam

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:

Worthy Publishing

***Special thanks to Leanna Case of Worthy Publishing for sending me a review copy.***

Short Bio & Author Website: Author and practicing eye surgeon, Dr. Bekendam is happily married and the proud father of two boys. Proceeds from his writing go to help fund his activities in developing countries as he works to bring cataract surgery to the needlessly blind. Prime of Life is his debut novel.

Operation First Novel 2013 contest winner, Prime of Life was released in Kindle edition only and has garnered in excess of 200 positive reviews with over 6,000 paid downloads. Ben used to be a cardiothoracic surgeon before he suddenly abandoned his career and became a janitor at a retirement facility. Now, other than dealing with minor problems such as an unhealthy obsession with prime numbers, an inept boss, and a feud between two cantankerous retirees, he lives a relatively stress-free life. There is even hope for romance when an attractive podiatrist shows an interest in him. But it is not long before his past catches up with him and his carefully protected world begins to unravel. Filled with humor and quirky characters, Prime of Life delivers a satisfying and entertaining read.

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:CHAPTER 1 Iclean rooms in a retirement home. Four years of college, four of medical school, four more in residency, and another four training in cardiothoracic surgery, and now I spend my days scrubbing toilets and mopping floors. My shift starts at eight, when the residents are supposed to be at breakfast. “Ben,” Frank hollers as I push my cleaning cart down the long hallway of the skilled nursing facility. “Start in my room today.” Frank is a cantankerous octogenarian. I have yet to discover his pleasant side. “Sure, Frank.” I wheel my cart into his dingy room. The blinds are drawn. A crumpled potato chip bag lies open on the floor. I step over a few greasy remnants that are ground into the carpet as I make my way between the bed and the television stand, taking care not to bump the rickety plastic contraption supporting the heavy 1970s-era TV. “Just the bathroom,” Frank says as he shuffles toward his chair. He takes an unexpected detour toward his rolltop desk and rum- mages through a drawer. “I just remembered. I’m gonna need your help with a little project later on.” This triggers a warning bell in my mind. “Not if it has anything to do with Marvin. You know my position on that.” Frank and Marvin have been feuding for half a century. Proba- bly longer. 1 2 P.D. BEKENDAM “Did you hear what he did to my denture cream?” Frank’s voice raises an octave and his bushy white eyebrows perform a frustrat- ed dance. “Yeah. Cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce.” I suppress a grin. “Don’t you want to hear my plan for revenge?”
“Absolutely not.” I make my way into the bathroom . . . and shake my head in disgust. I gave it a thorough cleaning only two days ago. “Why aren’t you at breakfast?” “Nasty scrambled eggs. Hey, I found ’em!” Curious, I poke my head out to see Frank sitting at the foot of his bed, a pair of toenail clippers in hand. His knee pops as he la- boriously raises his foot and yanks off his sock. He reaches into his shirt pocket and produces a plastic bag full of wet soil. Using the cuticle cleaner attached to the clippers, he scoops up some mud and crams it under his large toenail. “What are you doing?” I can’t help but ask.
“Dr. Kentucky is coming tomorrow.” He grins.
Dr. Kentucky missed her calling to become a supermodel and instead became a podiatrist.
“You’re pathetic, Frank.”
“Can you blame me?”
I can’t. Dr. Kentucky is nothing short of intoxicating, which is why I do my best to avoid her. If she even knows I exist I’d hate to imagine what she would make of me, a thirty-eight-year-old toi- let scrubber. “Hey,” Frank says, “why don’t you ask her out?”
“Give it up, Frank.”
“Seriously. You’re not that ugly and you two are probably about the same age. What’s holding you back?” “Drop it.” “I’ll put in a good word for you.”
“Do you want to scrub your toilet yourself?” PRIME OF LIFE 3 “There’s no need to get all riled up. I’m only trying to help.” He crams more mud under his toenail. “In my lifetime I’ve dated more women than you’ve dreamed about.” I return my attention to the bathroom and remind myself that I’m here by choice. I’ve been doing this for three years now. I make ten dollars an hour, my job is low stress, I mostly manage myself, and nobody bothers me as long as I keep things clean. There are other perks too. I have plenty of friends. Granted, they’re all forty years older than I am, but they’re wonderful people—present com- pany excluded. I’ll probably stay here until I retire. I won’t even have to move. In the meantime, I can enjoy all-you-can-eat Jell-O in the cafeteria whenever I want. I make quick work of rectifying the disaster in Frank’s commode and then smile with satisfaction. This is what I want. A simple life. Eager to make my escape from Frank’s company, I arrange my assorted cleaning supplies in their proper configuration on my cart: bottles organized by category and sub-organized alphabeti- cally with labels facing outward, brushes in their holsters, mop and broom securely fastened. My cart exemplifies humankind’s ability to overcome chaos and defeat the second law of thermodynamics. The universe may be a mess, but my cart is in perfect order. As I push it out of the bathroom, one of the front wheels snags on the carpet and snaps off. My cart tilts sideways, launching a few bottles overboard. “You should probably fix that before you spill bleach on my floor,” Frank says. “I don’t want any stains.” “Look who’s talking. You’re getting mud all over the place.” “Don’t worry about that. I know just the man who can clean this up.” “Well, I’d be happy to meet him.”
“I meant you, you numskull. I’ll register a complaint if you don’t.” “I’ll tell Dr. Kentucky how the dirt got under your nails.” 4 P.D. BEKENDAM “Humph.” “I’ll bring the vacuum by later on. I’ll even plug it in for you. But mark my words, Frank: I’m not cleaning that mess.” “Humph.” “I’ll see you later.” I rescue my wayward bottles and carefully limp my damaged cart out the door. Frank sends me a parting grunt. My next stop is the Professor’s room. His name is Jerry, but my private nickname for him suits him better. From what I can gather, he holds three doctorates: physics, literature, and psychology. Per- haps philosophy too, but I’m not certain. Regardless, I suspect he knows everything. I knock. “It’s open.” His voice nearly fails to penetrate the wood. Nobody seems to be at breakfast this morning. That means Frank was right. Scrambled eggs must be on the menu. I can say with confidence that this place has the worst scrambled eggs in the entire Western Hemisphere. The Professor once described them fairly adequately when he said they taste like they were fished out of the garbage disposal right before they were slopped onto the plate. “Good morning, Jerry.” I follow my three-wheeled cart into his room. Despite his brilliance, the Professor demonstrates exceedingly poor choice in attire. Today he’s decked out in orange pants and a cherry-red polo shirt. I wonder where he acquired his bright yellow socks. His entire wardrobe consists of neon garments, giving him the appearance he strayed from a tropical fish tank. “Good morning, Doc.” He pulls his reading glasses toward the tip of his nose. With grey hair in disarray and a moustache in need of trimming, he resembles the classic Einsteinian image, and what makes it most authentic is that it is completely unintentional. I falter for an instant and hope I don’t give him the satisfaction of noticing my surprise at his pregnant greeting. I glance his way as he PRIME OF LIFE 5 lounges in his leather recliner, hardback book minus its dust jacket propped in his lap. He smiles as if he’s solved some great mystery. “Whatcha reading?” I ignore his triumphant grin. “It’s called The Information.” He pauses. “It’s quite fascinating— this whole subject of information. Listen to this: ‘In the long run, history is the story of information becoming aware of itself.’ Chew on that for a while.” He stares me straight in the eye. “Say, Doc, how long have we known each other?” “I’m not sure I follow.” “Sure you do.” He pounds his chest with his fist, mimicking the rhythm of a beating heart. A sinking feeling settles in as I realize today will mark the end of the relative peace I’ve managed to find at Heritage Gardens. Heritage Gardens is a cookie-cutter retirement village located near Temecula off the I-15 between San Diego and Riverside. The sun shines 347 days out of the year here. I like the number 347 because the first two digits add up to the third, it is prime, and it rolls off the tongue. Other interesting but irrelevant facts about the number 347: it is the case number assigned to the Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954—the case that end- ed segregation in public schools; it is the area code for most tele- phone numbers in New York City; some models of the Boeing 747 have 347 seats; and Plato died in 347 BC. I am annoyed by the name Heritage Gardens, as I am by most clich├ęs. Why is it that nine out of ten retirement communities must have the word Gardens or Village or Springs in the name? I suppose this is better than an honest name like Ticking Clock or Borrowed Time, but when it comes time for me to find a place to enjoy my final days, I don’t want to be patronized. I’d rather stay in a place called Heaven Can Wait a Little Longer While I Golf. I don’t golf and I’ve abandoned my belief in heaven, but I’d still prefer that name. 6 P.D. BEKENDAM There are several levels of retirement at Heritage Gardens. The first is independent living in condos and small homes. After that, the residents graduate (or get demoted, depending on your per- spective) to the nursing facility, which is where Frank and the Pro- fessor live. The last stop is the mortuary, where the residents em- bark on their ultimate retirement. In all, there are approximately 126 residents here. Well, not ap- proximately. Exactly. I’m hoping we add one more, because that would be prime. The alternative would be that thirteen residents would have to die so that the total could be 113. I have invested the past three years in this place, learning to love it, becoming part of it, beginning to imagine how I could become a permanent fixture here. But now the Professor has somehow managed to slap me in the face with my past. “Did you think I wouldn’t discover you’re a doctor, Ben?” He closes his book with finality, as if to say, Case closed. I solved the mystery. Now what’s your move? “I’m not a doctor. I’m a janitor.” “I’m sorry.” He doesn’t sound very sorry. “You know I can’t let this go.” “Please let it rest, Jerry.” I turn to leave. I’ll clean his room an- other day.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

First Chapter Peak of Sadie's Secret by Kathleen Y'Barbo

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

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of fifty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad and nominations including a Career Achievement Award, Reader’s Choice Awards, Romantic Times Book of the Year, and several Romantic Times Top Picks. A proud military wife and tenth-generation Texan, she now cheers on her beloved Aggies from north of the Red River. Find out more at

Sadie Callum is a master of disguise. Undercover agent William Jefferson Tucker is not looking for marriage—pretend or otherwise—but he needs the cover of a wife to clear his name and solve the art forgery case that has eluded him for years. But what will happen to his heart?


May 10, 1889 Louisiana State Penitentiary Angola, Louisiana Detective William Jefferson Tucker of the Criminal Investigations Division, London Metropolitan Police, stepped across the threshold of the sewer pit known as the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola with one purpose in mind. To see his brother, also named William. William John Tucker. His twin. His polar opposite. With his first order of business being an explanation of exactly what John had done this time, he turned toward Major Samuel James’s office. When in doubt, go to the top, that was his motto. And Major James was the top dog around here. “Hold on there,” someone called. Jefferson turned to see a uniformed guard coming toward him, one hand on his holster and the other pointing in his direction. “Just paying a visit to the warden,” he said with all the charm his mother had taught him. “Nothing to get upset about.” “We’ll just see about that,” the guard said as he nodded toward the other end of the dimly lit hall. “Just come on back here and sign in, and then we will see if the warden’s interested in visiting today.” Shaking his head, Jefferson tried not to show amusement at the man’s pompous behavior. While he had seen the other side of a jail cell on many occasions, it had always been in the position of arresting officer and not prison guard. To spend day after day in this place would cause anyone to own an ill temper. When the papers were produced, Jefferson signed them. “Anything else you need?” he asked as politely as he could manage. “Any kind of proof you are who you say you are would be appreciated,” he said in a tone that just barely toed the line between polite and sarcastic. “Gladly.” “And I will be needing your weapon.” Routine procedure in prisons, and yet Jefferson hated it. Reluctantly, he removed his revolver and handed it to the guard. “That all you got?” He gave Jefferson a sweeping look. “Nothing else you can hurt anybody with?” “Just a folding knife.” “Hand that over too.” Jefferson offered up his knife and then reached for his identification, carefully selecting the papers that would not give away his current undercover role in London. Placing what he had on the rough slab of wood that served as a desk between them, he stood back and waited while the guard examined the documents. “And what brings you here?” The guard took in an exaggerated breath and then pretended to cough. “Sure can’t be the fresh air and sunshine.” Jefferson played along, pretending to find the gag amusing. “I am here to see my brother.” “Your brother?” The guard clutched the papers as he looked up at Jefferson. “And just who would your brother be?” “John Tucker.” “John Tucker,” the guard echoed as he opened an oversized leather book that sent a cloud of dust into the already rancid air. The odd idea that this process was beginning to feel very much like checking into a hotel occurred. Jefferson decided he would keep that thought to himself. “Don’t see any John…” “William John,” he amended, irritated not for the first time that his father had insisted on giving both his sons the same first name and then calling them by their middle name. The guard’s grimy finger paused below a line of scribbling. “Tucker. Well, here we go. William J. Tucker.” He looked up at Jefferson, his face now unreadable. “Wait here.” Without another word of explanation, he hurried off down the hall, Jefferson’s credentials still clutched in his hand. A door shut somewhere off in the distance and then opened again. “Initial for your property here,” he said when he returned. Jefferson noted the date and the items he had just surrendered and then placed his initials on the line beside them to indicate agreement. “All right. Come with me, Mr. Tucker,” the guard said, not quite making eye contact. Detective Tucker, he almost said. Instead, Jefferson kept silent. Better not to make enemies of anyone in this place. “Yes, of course.” He followed the guard past the warden’s office and around the corner, stopping at an unmarked door. “Right in there,” the guard said as he used a key from his vest pocket to open the door. The room was dark, but a lamp in the passageway sent a weak shaft of light across what appeared to be a table and a bench. “I would be much obliged if you would turn on a light in here,” Jefferson said, the last of his patience with the ridiculous situation disappearing fast. “Just go on in and a light will come on.” He was about to protest when the guard shoved him inside and turned the lock. “Open this door!” Jefferson demanded. “This is not funny. I demand to see either my brother or the warden immediately.” “You just wait right there, Tucker. You will see the warden for sure.” Jefferson felt along the edge of the wall, his fingers sliding across a combination of dirt and slime held together by something so foul smelling he refused to contemplate its source. A moment later he found the bench and managed to sit. Outside the door footsteps approached and then halted. He heard voices arguing, their words indistinguishable through the thick walls. Finally, the door opened and a man whose attire told Jefferson he might be the warden stepped inside. The guard shadowed Major James, as did another underling of some sort. “Look,” Jefferson said, “all I wanted was to see my brother. Is this how you treat all your visitors, Major?” “The major isn’t here today, but I am the man in charge. You can call me Butler. Won’t need any name other than that. And as to your question, no. This is the way we treat those who belong inside a cell.” “Inside a cell? What are you talking about?” Butler thumped Jefferson’s credentials with his free hand. “These here papers say you are Jefferson Tucker. Is that correct?” He gave the man a curt nod. “It is.” “So what you’re saying is that you are indeed the man whose name you have given to the guard?” “Yes,” he said, this time with far less respect. “And that you have a brother currently incarcerated in our fine facility.” When Jefferson nodded, he continued. “And what is that inmate’s name?” “His name is John Tucker,” Jefferson snapped as he sensed a shakedown of some sort in the offing. It was time to tell them who he really was. “William John Tucker. Look, I know how these things work, and I am not someone you can play around with. I have credentials that prove I am a detective with the London Metropolitan Police.” The man’s eyes narrowed. “I’m not sure I would believe that. You certainly don’t sound like no foreigner, so I suggest you change your tune and own up to the truth.” “Here’s the truth for you. Either let me see my brother or the warden, or you can give me the reason why.” Butler chuckled. “Oh, we will do better than that.” He nodded to the two men, who approached Jefferson. Though he tried to resist, they slapped handcuffs on him. “We are going to put you in his cell.” “What are you doing?” he demanded as the two men jerked him out into the passageway. “Taking you to where you belong, Jefferson Tucker,” said the guard who was still in possession of his revolver and the folding knife. “I do not belong in a cell!” Jefferson protested even as he was being dragged through the doors into a cellblock that smelled worse than it looked. And that was saying something. Instantly a deafening noise began as prisoners shouted and banged whatever they could grab against the iron cell bars. The guard took out his pistol and fired one shot. Silence quickly reigned. Up ahead a door swung open. “Looky here, Tucker,” the other guard sneered. “Your room is ready. Welcome home.” “Wait,” the man in charge said. “Let’s let these boys say their howdys first.” A prisoner stepped out of the cell. He was dressed in clothing so dirty that Jefferson could not discern a color or what kept it from shredding into rags. Legs shackled, the prisoner shuffled toward them. And then Jefferson knew him. “John? Is that you?” His brother heaved himself against Jefferson. Though the smell caused Jefferson’s eyes to water, he stood his ground as John held him tight. “What have you done, John?” he said to the man who, under different circumstances, would be nearly a mirror image of him. “Just what I had to,” was John’s quiet reply. “I hope someday you will forgive me, Jeff, but I wasn’t built for a place like this.” “Neither of us were. And rest assured Mother has no idea her boy’s in trouble. It would kill her if she knew.” “She always did see the good in me,” John said. “She still does.” “Even though she never could see to give me Father’s gold pocket watch when I asked for it first.” John looked down at Jefferson’s vest. “I see you’re wearing it now.” He glanced over at the man calling the shots. It took Butler only a moment to reach down and rip the watch from Jefferson’s pocket. “Neither of you’ll get it now.” “The major will hear about this,” Jefferson said, earning him a punch in the gut that took his breath away. The warden’s underling fixed John with a glare that shut him up quick. “All right, Will Tucker,” he said to Jefferson. “Are you verifying that this man is your brother, John Tucker? And that he is your twin?” “I am,” Jefferson said through the pain in his gut as he took in the sight of his always well-groomed brother with streaks of dirt on his face, his hair coated with grease and, from the look of this place, thick with lice. “Well, I believe that is proof enough for me.” Butler tapped John on the shoulder. “You were right in saying you were not Will Tucker, John. On behalf of the state of Louisiana, I hereby declare you to be a free man.” John grinned like a fool and then nudged the bully. “Does that mean I get the watch that is rightfully mine?” “Don’t press your luck, son. Just get yourself out of here while I am still in a mood to let you. Major James might insist on a trial to settle the facts, and you know how long those things take.” “I know when I’ve been bested, so you can keep the watch.” John shuffled off behind the guards without so much as a backward glance. A moment later, the cell door clanged shut behind Detective Jefferson Tucker of the London Metropolitan Police, leaving him once again in the middle of a mess his brother had created.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Scraps of Evidence by Barbara Cameron

Book Info
About Quilts of Love: Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love seriesfocuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

About the book: Tess has taken some ribbing from her fellow officer, Logan, for her quilting hobby. He finds it hard to align the brisk professional officer he patrols with during the day with the one who quilts in her off-time. Besides, he's been trying to get to know her better and he'd like to be seeing her during those couple nights a week she spends with her quilting guild.

Then one afternoon Tess and Logan visit her aunt in the nursing home and she acts agitated when Tess covers her with the story quilt. Aunt Susan seems to be communicating a message to them about Tess's uncle. There's a story behind this quilt, they realize, one that may lead them to a serial killer. Will they have a chance to have a future together or will the killer choose Tess for his next victim before they find him?

Purchase a copy:

About the Author: Barbara Cameron is the CBD, CBA, and  ECPA bestselling author of 24 books including the new Stitches in Times series for Abingdon Press. Barbara has written fiction and non-fiction books for Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Harlequin, and other publishers. She sold three films to HBO/Cinemax and is the first winner of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Barbara's first two novellas won the 2nd and 3rd place in the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest from the Faith, Love, and Hope chapter of  RWA. Both were finalists for the novella category of the Carol Award of the American Christian Writers Award (ACFW). 

Learn more about Barbara at:

My Take:  I am really enjoying all these Quilts of Love books.  This story takes the cozy mystery genre and adds in quilting.  Every quilt has its own story and this one has a mystery attached.  This is a bit of a separation from the Amish fiction that Barbara Cameron but she has done a wonderful job with this mystery and it kept me turning the pages and I would read another mystery by Barbara Cameron.  

I received a review copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest  opinion.

Enter Today | 2/17 - 3/8!
Barbara Cameron Scraps of Evidence Quilts of Love

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston

A Hopeful Heart (Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel #1)

A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston

From BookLook

Book Description

In A Hopeful Heart, the first novel of the new Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series from best-selling author Amy Clipston, Hannah finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her community offers her love and support after the untimely death of her husband, but an Englisher offers her the chance of a new life after her unexpected tragedy. Wealthy businessman Trey Peterson is surprised by his attraction to the gentle Amish woman who works as a housekeeper in the Lancaster Grand Hotel. They share a common bond of loss and are able to offer each other comfort and support as they journey through their grief.
Joshua Glick wants nothing more than to offer his friendship and love to Hannah and her family. Not only is he her late husband’s brother and business partner, he has always been in love with Hannah.
A Hopeful Heart is filled with surprising twists as Hannah tries to balance her life in the Amish community and her growing love for an outsider.

My Take:  I wish to apologize for the lateness of this review.  Somehow this book got lost in the shuffle and I just didn't get around to reading it in a timely manner.  That being said better late than never.

This book was totally worth the wait and I loved it from the start.  I live outside Lancaster City and in Lancaster County so I always like to see how much is truly accurate in the Amish books set around here.  I really enjoyed this book and I think that it addressed some things that aren't just Amish related but human related like gossip.   I am looking forward to seeing how this series plays out and I am looking forward to revisiting the characters.

I received a review copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest opinion. 

I review for BookLook Bloggers

A Match Made in Texas by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Carol Cox

A Match Made in Texas

A Match made in Texas by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Carol Cox


In the small town of Dry Gulch, Texas, a good-hearted busybody just can't keep herself from surreptitiously trying to match up women in dire straits with men of good character she hopes can help them. How is she to know she's also giving each couple a little nudge toward love?

A Cowboy Unmatched
Neill isn't sure who hired him to repair Clara's roof--he only knows Clara desperately needs his help. Can he convince this stubborn widow to let down her guard and take another chance on love?

An Unforeseen Match
Hoping to earn an honest wage on his way to the land rush, Clayton ends up on Grace's doorstep, lured by a classified ad. He may have signed on for more than he expected though--and he may have found the one woman who can keep him from moving on.

No Match for Love
Andrew can't fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more?

Meeting Her Match
When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker's son how much she cares for him?

My Take: This is a set of four novellas written by the four authors listed.  I have read and enjoyed each of these authors except for Carol Cox but after reading her novella I think I will be checking out other things she has written.  These Four stories are all set in Dry Gulch Texas and they each involve a story of  matchmaking except the last one when the matchmaker gets her own match.  These stories are just the right length to read when you just want to read a quick story.  Well worth the time.  Nice clean romance.

I received a review copy from Bethany house in exchange for my honest opinion. 

The Sinners' Garden by William Sirls

Book Info
About the book: In the small Lake Erie township of Benning, someone is at work cultivating a supernatural garden . . .

Andy Kemp's young life has been as ravaged as his scarred face. Disfigured by an abusive father, the teenager hides behind his books and an impenetrable wall of cynicism and anger.

As Andy's mother struggles to reconnect with him, his Uncle Rip returns transformed from a stint in prison and wants to be a mentor to the reclusive boy, doing everything he can to help end Andy's pain. When Andy begins hearing strange music through his iPod and making near-prophetic announcements, Rip is convinced that what Andy is hearing is the voice of God.

Elsewhere, police officer Heather Gerisch responds to a late-night breaking and entering in one of the poorest homes in town. She soon realizes that the masked prowler has left thousands of dollars in gift cards from a local grocery store.
As the bizarre break-ins continue and Heather pursues the elusive "Summer Santa," Andy and Rip discover an enormous and well-kept garden of wildflowers that seems to have grown overnight at an abandoned steel mill.

Soon, they realize who the gardener is, and a spree of miracles transfigures this small town from a place of hopelessness into a place of healing and beauty.

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Meet the author: Over the course of his life, William Sirls has experienced both great highs and tremendous lows---some born of chance, some born of choice. Life lessons involving faith, grace, and forgiveness are evident in his writing.The Sinners' Garden is his second novel. His first novel, The Reason, was published in 2012. William makes his home in southern Michigan.

Learn more about William at:


My Take:  The Sinners' Garden is one of those books that makes you stop and think.  You can see yourself probably in at least one of the characters.  It is the type of book that will make you think twice the next time you are tempted to judge a person by their past and not be willing to give a person a second chance.  This book will have you turning the pages just to find out what happens next and will have you guessing about the strange things going on.  Great book.  Wonderful characters. 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion from Litfuse.

Be sure to enter the contest that is featured in the sidebar.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Spotlight of Heroes, Rogues, and the Rest by J. Ellsworth Kalas

Heroes, Rogues, and the Rest: Lives That Tell the Story of the Bible

Heroes, Rogues and the Rest by J. Ellsworth Kalas


The Bible is filled with heroes and rogues, from the first followers of Christ to the dissenters and critics set on uprooting the Christian faith. Some are well known. Others are not. But all have a place in the eternal story of the Bible. What can we learn "about" these characters? And what can we learn "from" them? In 12 chapters, popular author J. Ellsworth Kalas offers a close examination of biblical characters from both the Old and New Testaments. From Adam and Eve to Elijah, from Martha and several Marys to Jesus Christ himself, each of these people have defining characteristics that together create the Biblical narrative. Their stories display strength, courage, and perseverance characteristics that shaped the lives of the early believers and continue to influence Christians today. As readers reacquaint themselves with each character, they will rediscover the excitement and relevance of the Bible and find new ways to apply biblical teaching to specific circumstances in their lives.

Book Spotlight on Hidden Falls by Olivia Newport

Ordinary Secrets (Hidden Falls, #1)

Hidden Falls by Olivia Newport

Hidden Falls – An Exciting New 13-Part Serial Novel from Shiloh Run Studios

Thirty years of small-town secrets—now the key to the mystery is gone. The small town of Hidden Falls is abuzz. Former students, friends, and loved ones are prepping for tonight's big event to honor Ted Quinn's many years of compassionate service. Quinn is reluctant about a night in the spotlight--but is tenderly prodded by Sylvia, mayor of Hidden Falls and Quinn's dearest friend and confidante.

Ethan and Nicole won't let the shadows of their pasts stop them from returning to Hidden Falls--but only for Quinn--no matter how much it hurts. Liam, a former student, and Jack, a town newcomer, are both hoping the night works toward their own gain--or, if they'll admit it, their chance for redemption. Like Quinn, Dani and Lauren are mainstays in Hidden Falls. They keep close to home--and have secrets to keep close, too.

Now it's time. The guests are seated, introductions are made, the spotlight shines on center stage...and the unthinkable leaves the entire town scrambling for the truth.

A new must-read episode releases every week starting January 24!

Book Spotlight ofListen: Praying in a Noisy World by Rueben P. Job

Listen Praying in a Noisy World by Rueben P. Job


We live in a world of noise. Everywhere we go, we hear sounds that compete for our minds and hearts. Listening to God requires a deliberate choice to shut out the chaos around us and focus our thoughts."Listen," by Rueben P. Job, is a 40-day experience created to offer help to those new to prayer, those with a daily prayer routine, and those whose lives seem too busy to pray. With a focus on listening prayer and prayer as a two-way conversation, the experience will assist individuals and groups in building and deepening a personal prayer practice and spiritual discernment.

As we learn to listen, we find a new depth and fulfillment in our relationship with God and a new experience of God as guide and companion in our lives. The daily prayer pattern includes an invitation, silence, Bible reading, a story, guided time for reflecting and listening, and practical help for developing six specific prayer practices.

"Listen" is perfect for use by individuals, small groups, or congregations during Lent, Easter, or any time of year.

Friend Me by John Faubion

Book Info
About the book: When a lonely wife and her frustrated husband each secretly pursue companionship online, neither dreams that a real woman is behind their virtual creations, threatening their marriage---and their lives.
Scott and Rachel's marriage is on the brink of disaster. Scott, a businessman with a high-pressure job, just wants Rachel to understand him and accept his flaws. Rachel is a lonely housewife, desperate for attention and friendship. So she decides to create a virtual friend online, unaware that Scott is doing the exact same thing. As Rachel desperately tries to re-create a friendship with a friend who has passed, Scott becomes unfaithful and is torn between the love for his wife and the perfection of his cyber-girlfriend. But neither realizes that there's a much larger problem looming . . .
Behind both of their online creations is Melissa, a woman who is brilliant---and totally insane. Masquerading as both friend and lover, Melissa programmed a search parameter into the virtual friend software to find her perfect man, but along the way she forgot to specify his marriage status. And Scott is her ideal match. Now Melissa is determined to have it all---Scott, his family, and Rachel's life.
As Melissa grows bolder and her online manipulations transition into the real world, Scott and Rachel figure out they are being played. Now it's a race against time as Scott and Rachel fight to save their marriage, and their lives, before it's too late.
In today's digital age, the Internet presents all kinds of opportunities to test our personal boundaries, and this exciting and suspenseful story raises important questions about the ethics of virtual relationships. Friend Me will open your eyes to a new---and terrifying---moral dimensions and how they play out in the real world.

Read an excerpt and purchase a copy: 

About the author:
7121942 John Faubion has spent many years in Asia as a missionary with his family. Since returning to the United States, John has worked as a senior software developer for a large appliance chain. He teaches an adult Sunday school class and enjoys writing and driving his 1949 Packard automobile. John lives near Indianapolis with his wife, Beth, and their daughter.

Learn more about John at: http://christiansuspens

My Take:  This book is very timely as the rage lately is to meet people on line.  We have told our children that people on line may not be all that they say they are.  This book has a little twist as a person uses a program to create a virtual friend that you can talk to online.  The main software engineer of this program has decided to use it to find her perfect man.  When a troubled married couple both create a virtual friend the software engineer decideds that the husband is her perfect man and she doesn't care if he is married or a father she just wants him.  There are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages and keep you up way to late.  Great suspenseful book.  I highly recommend it.  

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion from Litfuse. 

Don't forget to enter the contest that is listed in the sidebar.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Candle Bedtime Bible

Candle Bedtime Bible: Three, Five and Ten-Minute Stories
 Candle Bedtime Bible

 There's always time for a story with the Candle Bedtime Bible! Coded for easy reference, forty favorite Bible stories are each timed to be told in three, five, or ten minutes. With plain language and gentle illustrations, this Bible is perfect for a peaceful story time.

My Take:  This is the perfect bedtime book although it can be read anytime.  Each story is a certain length of time.  Each of the stories  has a color coded clock that lets you know how long the story should take.  The illustrations are really cute and my granddaughter really enjoys looking at the pictures.   The stories are nice and easy reading. There are stories from both the  Old and New Testaments.

I received a review copy of this book from Kregel in exchange for my honest review.

A Road Unknown by Barabra Cameron

Book Info

About the book: Book 1 in the new Amish Roads series
Elizabeth is at a crossroad. She's been given the chance to experience life outside of her community, away from the responsibility to care for her eight younger siblings, but Elizabeth Bontrager can't decide which road to take. Goshen has its charms and pressures, but Paradise, Pennsylvania, sounds . . . well, like paradise. And it's also home to her Englisch friend, Paula. Decision made. Elizabeth is Paradise bound.
But will the small town live up to its name? When Elizabeth meets Paula's friend, Bruce, she quickly learns he wants more than a friendship. And the same might be true of Saul Miller, her new boss at the country story that sells Amish products to the Englisch community. As the two compete for her attention, Elizabeth is surprised to realize she misses her family and becomes even more uncertain about where she belongs. She has a choice to make: return home or embrace this new life and possibly a new love?

Purchase a copy:

About the Author: Barbara Cameron is a best-selling author who has a heart for writing about the spiritual values and simple joys of the Amish. She is the author of more than 38 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies, and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Barbara is a former newspaper reporter. Some of her non-fiction titles include theEverything Weddings on a Budget Book and Her Restless Heart: A Woman's Longing for Love and Acceptance. Cameron currently resides in Edgewater, Florida.

Learn more about Barbara at:
My Take:  An Amish young women runs away from all the responsibilities that she has to do within her family.   Will she go Englisch or will she embrace her Amish life.  This is a great addition to the Amish Fiction genre and I look forward to to read the rest of the series.  This had a little twist to the focus of the book that was truly refreshing.  Great Book. 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion from Litfuse Publicity. 

First Chapter Peak of Jenny's Choice by Patrick Craig

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:

Patrick E. Craig

and the book
 Jenny’s Choice

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen   of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. After ministering for a number of years in music and worship to a circuit of small churches, he is now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in northern California and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.

In the concluding novel to the Apple Creek Dreams series, Jonathan and Jenny Hershberger are settled on the farm Jenny inherited from her grandfather. But when an accident takes Jonathan’s life, Jenny and her daughter, Rachel, return to Apple Creek to live with her adoptive parents, Reuben and Jerusha Springer.

Book trailer:

The Departure
November 1978
Jenny Hershberger walked slowly into the room and surveyed the piles of boxes waiting to be moved out to the wagon. Her eyes turned to a heap of clothing spread across the bed. With a weary sigh she brushed back an errant curl that had escaped from her kappe. Each item she looked at seemed to have a mouth clamoring for her attention, each with a story to tell or a memory to unveil.
This will be the hard part.
She went to the pine dresser—the first big project Jonathan had undertaken after Grandfather Borntraeger began to teach him woodworking. The detailing was coarse and the lines of the piece a bit awkward, but she had loved it from the moment Jonathan moved it into their room. She remembered him standing proudly beside it as she ran her hands over the top and opened each drawer as though it were a treasure trove. She loved the smell of the linseed oil he had rubbed into the wood, and when she had spread a lace piece over the top and placed her things there, it had become a symbol of all that Jonathan had left behind from his old life and all that he had become to be with her.
Now she picked up one of the objects on the top of the dresser, a small box. A sharp, almost physical pain touched her heart as she opened the lid. Inside were several folded pieces of paper. She took one out, slowly spread it open on the dresser, and began to read.
My precious Jenny,
It’s the end of another long day here in Paradise. I’ve been in the fields since daybreak with Grandfather Borntraeger. As soon as the thaw came and the soil started to warm, we began preparing the ground for spring planting. This is the hardest work I’ve ever done, yet at the same time it is the most fulfilling. Your grandfather is a kind man, but he’s very strict and doesn’t put up with any complaining or questioning of his methods.
Since I’m so new to this, he must teach me as we work. I feel like a little boy all over again, but he’s very patient with me even when I make mistakes.
I’m beginning to comprehend so many things, especially about God and His Son, Jesus. The Bible is a wonderful book. Did you know that God made the first man out of dirt? I wonder if that’s why I feel so at home on the land. When I’m out in the fields with Grandfather Borntraeger, walking behind the plow, I feel as though my life finally means something, as if this is the most natural and real way I could ever be. As I work, I remember the words of a song I heard the Amish men singing when I first came to Apple Creek.
Let him who has laid his hand on the plow not look back! Press on to the goal! Press on to Jesus Christ! The one who gains Christ will rise with Him from the dead on the youngest day.
That’s who I want to be—the one who lays his hand to the plow and doesn’t look back!
Jenny didn’t finish reading, but folded the letter and placed it back in the box. Tears formed in her eyes as she stood alone in the room, lost in her sorrow.
A quiet little voice spoke from the doorway. Jenny turned to the young girl who stood there. She was small, with dark hair and deep, sea-blue eyes.
She has his eyes—she’s so much like him.
Jenny went to the girl and stooped down as she took the little one in her arms and lifted her into a hug. The girl softly touched Jenny’s face.
“Why are you crying, Mama?” she asked.
“It’s nothing, my Rachel,” Jenny answered. “I was only reading your papa’s letters, the ones he wrote to me before we were courting, when he lived here with your great-grandfather and learned the Amish ways. He wrote to me every day of the two years we were apart. I kept the most special letters in this box so I could read them now and again and let du lieber Gott remind me how much He blessed me by sending me your papa.”
“Is Papa happy in heaven?” Rachel asked.
“Oh, yes, my dearest; Papa is very, very happy with Jesus and all the angels.”
“Why do we have to move to another house, Mama? I like our house. What if Papa decides to come back from heaven and he can’t find us? Won’t he be sad?”
Jenny sat on the bed and set Rachel down beside her. “Papa won’t come back from heaven, darling. Heaven is so wunderbar that once you’ve gone there, you don’t ever want to come back. And we wouldn’t want to call him back to this world once he’s been with Jesus. He will wait for us there, and one day we will join him and be with him again.
“In the meantime, we’re sad that he’s gone…very sad. We must move because it’s very hard for your mama to live here without Papa. There are so many things that make me remember him, and my heart breaks again each time I see them. I need to go back to my old home and be with my mama and papa so they can help me not to feel this way. And they will help you to be happy again. Your grossdaadi can’t wait for you to come, and Mama, my mama, has prepared a special room just for you. You will love being with them. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here soon, and it will be comforting to be in Apple Creek with our family and friends for the holidays.”
“Oh, yes, Mama, I love Grossmudder and Grossdaadi. It will be nice to see them. But won’t we ever come back to Paradise?”
“Only der vollkluge Gott knows the answer to that question, my darling. Now, do you have all your things packed up like I asked you?”
“Mostly, Mama. Can you help me with the rest?” Rachel asked.
“Yes, dearest. I’ll be there in a bit, when I finish here. Run ahead.”
Rachel bounced off the bed and ran from the room. Jenny smiled as she watched her go.
She has her papa’s eyes and my bounce!
Jenny sighed again as Jonathan crowded back into her thoughts. She stood up, grabbed an empty box, and quickly put the letter box and the rest of the items from the dresser top into it. Then she folded up the lace piece, placed it on top of her other belongings, and closed the box. She set it with the others, piled the clothing on a chair by the door, and then pulled the quilt and the linens from the bed. She folded them and put them into the last remaining empty box. She surveyed the stack of boxes and then went to the closet and took out her suitcase. Carefully she packed her clothing in it and snapped the latches shut. The click of the latches echoed in the room like tiny gunshots. Finished.
She took a deep breath.
There, I’m done. That wasn’t so bad. Cousin Borntraeger can carry all this out for me and take it to the storage place. Mama said to just bring our clothes for now.
She heard boots on the front porch, and her heart leapt. Then just as quickly, reality dashed her hopes. Another deep sigh. How many times had she heard Jonathan coming up the front stoop and walking across the porch to the door? It was always such a comforting sound at the end of the day. But now…
There was a knock and then a voice calling. “Jenny? Are you ready, then?”
“I’m here, Cousin, in the bedroom. Can you help me with these boxes?”
Lem Borntraeger walked down the hall and into the room. He glanced around at the emptiness and pulled his black hat from his head.
“Jenny, are you sure this is what you want? We all want you to stay. I know it won’t be the same without Jonathan, but you have family here.”
Jenny looked at her tall cousin. He had been one of the blessings God bestowed on Jenny and Jonathan when they had come to Paradise ten years before. He had taken her into his heart from the first day they met, and after she and Jonathan married, he became their good friend and helper. She reached over and patted his arm.
“I have to go home, Lem. I need to be with my mama and papa. You will run the farm, and it will prosper in your care. For me, there are too many memories. Sometimes my remembrances of Jonathan and our days here feel like cobwebs that stick to me and hold me fast. They keep me from going on with my life. And I need to go on now or I’ll die inside.”
“Will you ever come back?” Lem asked.
“Right now I would say no,” Jenny answered. “But who knows the road ahead? We may come back someday when I can be in this house without weeping every time I turn around.” Jenny managed a weak smile.“I need to go, Lem.”
“All right then,” Lem said. “I understand.”
He stood for a moment with his hat in his hands. “Jonathan was a good man, and he was my friend. I will miss him deeply.” Then Lem put his hat back on and smiled. “It’s enough. Now let me load these boxes.”
Jenny watched him as he picked up two boxes and went out. She took one last look at the room and then turned to go.
She stopped and turned, thinking she had heard Jonathan’s voice. But it was only the echoes of unspoken longings that filled her aching heart. She went one last time to the bed and touched it softly.
“Jonathan, oh, Jonathan. You are my true love. There will never be anyone like you for me. Thank you, my dearest, for loving me so deeply. Thank you for being a good man, a wonderful husband, and a loving father to Rachel. May Gott be with you on your journey.”
Jenny stood silent for a moment and then picked up her suitcase, turned, and left the room. She went into Rachel’s room, gathered up the few remaining things that were still unpacked, and laid them in her daughter’s suitcase. Then she took Rachel’s hand, and together they walked down the hall, through the empty front room, and out onto the porch. A buggy waited for them in the driveway. She boosted Rachel up as Lem put the suitcases in the back, and then she climbed in. She nodded to the driver, who clicked his tongue and set the horse in motion.
The buggy rolled slowly down the driveway. Jenny looked straight ahead. She would not look back. But then just as the horse turned onto the main road, her resolve crumbled, and she turned. The blue two-story house stood in the middle of the harvested fields. As she looked she could see Jonathan behind the plow, waving to her as the rich soil turned and broke beneath the sharp blade. She could see his smile and his blue eyes. She could feel his strong arms around her as they stood together on the porch, looking out over the land—their land—in awe of the blessings of God. She put her face into her hands and silently began to weep. The clopping hooves beat out a slow and mournful cadence—“He’s gone, he’s gone, he’s gone.”