Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A trip to Barnes & Noble

Today I went to the local Barnes & Noble and wished I was a millionaire. If I was, I probably would have bought alot of books from there. But since I'm not, I just looked around and enjoyed being surrounded by books on every side.

While there I noticed a few fiction books that seemed to be about ghosts. I have to confess, I didn't realize there was really a market for ghost fiction. But recently, I read one myself, and I guess it makes sense with the popularity of series such as the Harry Potter books and the Twilight books, that people are interested in books relating to the supernatural.

It was just interesting to me.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury

Emma Landon and Brad Cutler shared a remarkable, beautiful love until a terrible mistake tore them apart, leaving them wounded and unable to heal. Years later, Brad Cutler has moved on with his life and is about to marry the love of his life when he realizes that he can not move on to the next chapter of life and until he has closure about his first love. When Brad announces he has to find Emma and close that chapter of his life, the wedding is put on hold and his relationship with his fiancée is jeopardized. Following what he believes is God's will, he searches for Emma and the healing that neither of them have ever known.

I have read approximately 10 novels by Karen Kingsbury and this one is by far my favorite. I could not put it down! I fluctuated with the characters. First, I wanted Brad to be with Emma, then I wanted him to be with Laura, back and forth I went. I cried with the characters as they worked through the deepest pain of their lives and I rejoiced as they found the healing they had needed for so long. This book is a great read and a gentle, healing story about the difficult topic of abortion.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

GoodWill Bookstore

I have just discovered the GoodWill Bookstore! I've known it was there for a long time, but I have not visited it. I went on Christmas Eve and was pleasantly surprised to find that the had a large inventory and very reasonable prices. I was able to get 2 hardcover books and 4 softcover books for $21. It was an awesome buy.

The Mermaid In The Basement by Gilbert Morris

Viscountess Serafina Trent is not the typical high-society, well-to-do woman. She is a scientist who has learned to believe only in what she can see and trust only what she can prove. When her brother, Clive Newton, is arrested for the murder of an actress, all the evidence points to him. However, she believes with all her heart that he is innocent and attempts to use her brilliant, scientific mind to set him free. Dylan Tremayne, a superb theater actor, volunteers to assist her in her search for clear Clive's name. Reluctantly, she accepts help and finds his friendship to be a blessing to her life. Together, they work day and night, and an attraction grows between them despite Serafina's determination to never marry again.

The Mermaid In The Basement by Gilbert Morris is both a mystery and a historical fiction book. It is very well-written and the plot and characters were completely believable. I enjoyed how the author introduced the protagonist to Charles Dickens at one point. The romance between Serafina and Dylan was highly predictable; however, the ending was not. I intend to visit the library soon and see if the sequel to this book is available.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Heard The Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I Heard The Bells is a well-known poem that has been put to music. When listening to the song, sometimes it's easy to miss the meaning. I am posting it here because I love the words and the authenticity of the song. Too often our culture makes Christmas out to be a happy time for everybody. But it is not always a happy time filled with peace and joy. Families fight. Parents abandon their children. People go without the basic necessities of life.

However, when we encounter unhappiness during the Christmas holiday, we must remember that God is not dead, nor doth he sleep. He is alive and present and came to bring joy and peace for all men.

I Heard The Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th'unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
'There is no peace on earth, ' I said
'For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.'

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.'

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Saving Cicadas by Nicole Seitz

Janie is an eight-year-old girl surrounded by a dysfunctional family. Her mother carries an unwanted child, her grandmother is the meanest person she knows and her sister, Rainey, has Downs Syndrome and struggles to understand. The crisis pregnancy leads to a road trip that changes Janie's life, as she knows it, forever. From the mountains to dirty motels to a dream house, the trail Janie learns she must walk is not easy, but it has the chance to save lives.

It's hard to write a review of this book and not give any spoilers. I think the author did an excellent job at creating a tale filled with a mystery that is not resolved until the end. Although there are hints throughout the story, they only serve to pique interest, they do not blatantly reveal all the is going on involving the characters. I admired that the author wrote the story in such a way that although she was revealing hints all along the way, the reader could easily miss those hints until the end. I confess, I did that and found myself going back to make sure that everything really did line up and make sense. I was pleasantly surprised that it did.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reunion by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley

The day Elizabeth Baxter found the lump in her breast changed the Baxter family forever. As Ashley and Landon, plan for their wedding, Elizabeth plans a family reunion. She knows God is going to heal her body and let her grow old with her family, but just in case, she wants to see them all again. As the time and cancer progresses, Elizabeth finds herself drawn to the oldest secret that she and her husband have kept. A secret she's still not willing to tell. When it seems that none of her prayers will be answered the way she wants to them too, she surrenders all her hopes and dreams to God, only too find that all her dreams have been fulfilled – just not in the way she expected.

, the fifth and final book in the Redemption Series, by Karen Kingsbury & Gary Smalley was by far the most potent of all the books and is my personal favorite of the Redemption series. I loved this book though at times, it made me cry. I confess that if there were no books to follow this one, I would have hated the ending. However, as I understand it, The Firstborn Series, follows this series and continues with the life and struggles of Dayne Matthews. I'm looking forward to checking those out from the library soon. Kingsbury did an excellent job of introducing the new characters into this book which I understand will be featured in later book series.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rejoice by Karen Kingsbury & Gary Smalley

Peter and Brooke West are both successful doctors with two lively, beautiful daughters. On the outside, things seem fine. But behind the doors of their home, their marriage is struggling. When Hayley,their youngest daughter, is the victim of a drowning accident, everything seems to be falling apart. As Hayley struggles for her life, their marriage disintegrates. Both Peter and Brooke struggle with feelings of guilt towards themselves and each other. Peter relieves his pain in illegal ways and Brooke finds that she must surrender all to her God – her daughter, her marriage, even her life – if there is to be any hope of a future for their family and any reason to rejoice.

Rejoice is the fourth book in the Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley. I didn't like this book in the beginning, but once I got about a fourth of the way through it, I started loving it. It's not a book to read if you are depressed, but as with all the books in this series, I admire the authenticity that the authors used when creating the characters and the plot.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nanowrimo Update

I have a confession. I have failed horribly at my attempt to participate in Nanowrimo and write an complete novel this month. I would like to blame it all of the fact that is has been a trying month: the death a family member, being busy and stressed at work, and dreading the holidays. But, it can't all be blamed on my circumstances. Some of it was just me. For some reason, I'm afraid to really try. In mind my mind, I know this isn't logical. Afterall, I could write a whole novel, never tell anyone about it, and never have to worry that I'm not good enough. But, deep inside, there's a fear that I haven't been able to beat. The fear of being a failure. I already feel like a failure in so many ways. What if I can't succeed at the one thing I think is really God's calling on my life? It's scary. Perhaps, I'll try again in December, perhaps not.

Healing Sands by Nancy Rue & Stephen Arterburn

Healing Sands by Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn is a story of surrender to God. When photojournalist, Ryan Coe finds herself in a desperate situation that she can not control, solve, or manipulate, she is forced to realize her insufficiency and anger. Her marriage has ended in divorce and her son, who refuses to speak to her, is arrested for attempted murder on a Hispanic teen. When it looks as if she will lose it all, including her sanity, she turns to Healing Choices counseling looking for a quick fix to all of her problems. What she finds is a need that is deeper than she ever imagined.

This book was so authentic that at first I did not like it. I look for authenticity in all books that I read, no matter the genre, but I was a bit unprepared for the deep authenticity that the authors used in this book. Rue and Arterburn did not gloss over life's problems with a layer of sugar and a sweet happily ever after. Instead, they opened up all of Ryan's pain and anger and scooped it all out to be dealt with and healed. How often in life do we prefer to gloss the pain over and ignore it? This books reaches into the heart of the reader and reminds them that ignoring issues do not make them disappear. At the same time, it offers healing from the Great Physician. The book may be fiction, but it is authentic enough to minister to hurting souls in this very real, painful, non-fiction world. I must confess that I was a bit disturbed that there was on very obvious situation between two people that was never resolved. Perhaps the authors plan to address it in another book in the series? If not, I would be disappointed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Redemption by Karen Kingsbury with Gary Smalley

Redemption, by Karen Kingsbury with Gary Smalley, is as it's name suggests, a story of redemption. Kari Baxter Jacobs is hurt and angry after one fateful phone call exposes her husband's affair. Her husband, Tim Jacobs, is anything but remorseful and when Kari's old love moves back to town, Kari is faced with choices that will determine her future and the futures of those around her.

I've never been a humongous fan of Karen Kingsbury, but I did find this book to be exceptionally well-written. It is the first book in the Redemption series which features five books based on the Baxter family. The characters were so real and the situations were so authentic that I felt as if I was really right there in their minds and circumstances. To be honest, I wasn't expecting this book to be such heavy reading. It isn't the kind of book that you read when you want a happy bit of fluff. No, this book is so real. The situations are exactly the type of situations that people face in real life. I especially liked how all the characters were personally addressed even though the book centered mainly on Kari.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Little Bit Of Poetry...

This is a little poem I wrote this morning in response to a local radio station contest. They wanted a poem about the autumn written in iambic pentameter and ABAB rhyming scheme. They didn't read my poem, so I don't think I won. It's not that great of a poem, but I thought I'd share it here:

Oh, sing a song, enjoy the autumn time,
The summer months, so long, are over now.
So shout with joy and tap the music chime.
It's true, you beat the heat, so take a bow.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Start of Nanowrimo

Nanowrimo begins on Sunday. I have yet to sit down and write out an outline, but I have a plot that has been rolling around in my mind for months. It's actually based on a dream I had some time ago. I think it will be fun to do. I'll probably post some of it here.

Sophie's Heart by Lori Wick

Who can know the heart of a woman? Who can fulfill her deepest dreams and desires before she even realizes them?

Sophie’s Heart is the story of Sophie Velikonja’s journey from Czechoslovakia, her homeland, to finding a home in America. Despite her heartbreak of leaving her grandmother, once in America God begins to fulfill her deepest desires in unexpected ways and draw her closer to Him though it all. From translating foreign languages, to cleaning up after 3 children, and falling in love with a widower, Sophie’s story is a journey that leads the reader into her heart and life.

Lori Wick is one of my favorite authors and this book is just another reason to love her writing. The characters were delightful. Sophie truly exemplified what it means to have a servant’s heart and to trust the Lord even when you can’t see how things will work out. I enjoyed this book. It was a little long for my taste, but I don’t think that the story would have been complete without the length. I would definitely recommend this book.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Tallest of Smalls by Max Lucado

In, The Tallest of Smalls, Ollie, a resident “too-small” of Stiltsville, is not considered a popular person. In fact, he never even wears matching socks! All the popular people have a pair of stilts to make the tall and inherently, better. As is custom, every day the entire population of “too-smalls” gather at 6:00 to see who will be awarded a pair of stilts. Surprisingly, Ollie is granted a brand new pair of stilts. At first he is thrilled, but then birds try to perch on him and he loses his balance. Once he falls, his stilts are taken away, but in the saddest moment, he discovers a truth from the only one who can give him hope.

I loved this children’s book. The illustrations were colorful, vibrant, and engaging. The story is the perfect length for a bedtime story. It teaches a truth that both children and adults need to learn and provides a beautiful moral lesson. I would recommend this book to anyone with small children who wants to communicate spiritual truths to their child in a simple, yet accurate manner. Also, I have not read Fearless by Max Lucado, but it is related to that book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Proposal by Lori Wick

William Jennings is content to live alone and enjoy his life as a bachelor. Disdaining the vain, deceitful women of London's high society, he feels no need for a wife. However, when three children arrive at his home with the news that he is now their guardian due to his cousin's passing, his comfortable bachelor's life is thrown into upheaval. Determined to parent the three children as best he can, he visits his estranged sister where he meets the enchanting Marianne Walker and learns that parenting is not an easy job. During his visit with his sister, he questions his beliefs about love, family, children, and most importantly, God. Will he ever find the peace he searches for and can he ever win the attention of Marianne Walker, a woman who his children adore?

I love most of Lori Wick's books and this one is no exception. She draws in the reader in the beginning of the story and doesn't let go until the very last page. This book was romantic and even humorous at times. The characters were well-rounded and realistic. Even Thomas, who was remarkably mature sounding when he spoke, was acknowledged by the other characters that he was overly mature for his age.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a sweet, romantic read.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Plain Promise by Beth Wiseman

Sadie Fisher is a young, attractive, Amish woman who loves many things: her God, her home, her friends, and her way of life. Still, she struggles with loneliness and her desire to have a family. When faced with the choice of marrying a good, Amish man, or giving up her hope of marriage because of the love she has for an Englischer, who she can never marry, she finds that her choice is not merely about marriage, but about her trust in the loving God she has always worshipped.

This was my first time reading a book with an Amish setting. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It was well-written, the plot moved along at the perfect pace, and the characters engaged me. Sadie, in particular, was an encouragement to me because I enjoy reading about women who are strong in their faith. Her life does not always turn out the way she hopes for, but though all the doubts and struggles, she clings to her God and grows closer to him.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an inspirational, sweet, entertaining romance story.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Modest Proposal

In A Modest Proposal,author Jonathan Swift offers what he considers an acceptable proposal to help end poverty, homelessness, and a plethora of societies problems. He objectively lays out his proposal and all the reasons he can find to support it. He writes clearly of how his proposal can be implemented and what could be the expected outcome.

I admit that before I read this I didn't know that it was a satirical work. I was quite shocked when I read that his proposal to remedy societies problems involved killing and eating young children as if they were young animals. I think it would have been helpful to me to know some information regarding the political climate of Ireland at the time. At the end, I still found myself confused as to what Swift was saying to or about his society. Overall, I did not like A Modest Proposal. Not only was it somewhat confusing to me, but I also found the ideas revolting and the imagery disgusting. Perhaps that I what the author intended? Perhaps not, who knows?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Grace by Richard Paul Evans is the fictional story of two teenagers whose chance meeting one evening changes both of their lives forever. Grace, a runaway teenage girl who is sheltered by a somewhat innocent, teenage boy, harbors an ugly secret that threatens to ruin not only her life, but the lives of those around her. As their time together continues, their relationship grows and develops into young love which is threatened when Grace's secret can not longer stay hidden.

Ultimately, Grace is a story about growing up and realizing that sometimes life is not the happy fairy-tale that we envision it to be when we are children. While this was not a book that kept me constantly wanting to turn the page, I did enjoy it. Evans' writing style was engaging and believable.

One of the things that I really liked about this book was the reality factor. Things did not always work out perfectly for the characters. Such is true of life. Sometimes things do happen like we want or expect them too; but many times, they do not. I think that too often in fiction books, the happily ever after ending is too predictable from the start and it seems the protagonists almost always have loving Christian families to support them. Unfortunately, that is not true of real life. Grace resonates with an authenticity that many books lack.

Overall, Grace is an excellent read and I would recommend it to a person of any age.