Friday, December 19, 2008

Blog Tour! Where Do I Go? by Neta Jackson

A story of seeking-and finding-God's will in unlikely places.Gabrielle Fairbanks has nearly lost touch with the carefree, spirited young woman she was when she married her husband fifteen years ago. But when the couple moves to Chicago to accommodate Philip's business ambitions, Gabby finds the chance to make herself useful. It's there she meets the women of Manna House Women's Shelter; they need a Program Director-and she has a degree in social work. She's in her element, feeling God's call on her life at last, even though Philip doesn't like the changes he sees in her. But things get rough when Philip gives Gabby an ultimatum: quit her job at the shelter or risk divorce and losing custody of their sons. Gabby must take refuge, as in the song they sing at Sunday night worship: "Where do I go when there's no one else to turn to? . . . I go to the Rock I know that's able, I go to the Rock."Romantic Times Book Reviews says, “Exquisite characters coupled with God's mercy and love emanate from each page.”Publisher's Weekly adds, “Jackson's Yada Yada series has sold half a million copies, and this new offshoot series ... promises the same.... The book's dramatic ending ... leaves readers eager for the next installment in the series.”

I am so excited to give this book a personal review after the Christmas wackiness is over. Think: put up feet, wrap up in a warm cozy something, tea in hand, book in the other.... sheer bliss..

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Engaging Father Christmas: blog tour

Miranda Carson can't wait to return to England for Christmas and to be with her boyfriend, Ian. She has spent a lifetime yearning for a place to call home, and she's sure Carlton Heath will be it, especially when a hinted-at engagement ring slips into the conversation.

But Miranda's high hopes for a jolly Christmas with the small circle of people she has come to love are toppled when Ian's father is hospitalized and the matriarch of the Whitcombe family withholds her blessing from Miranda. Questions run rampant in Miranda's mind about whether she really belongs in this cheery corner of the world. Then, when her true identity threatens all her relationships in unanticipated ways, Miranda is certain all is lost.

And yet...maybe Father Christmas has special gifts in store for her after all.

My Review:

This is one to get for yourself! Just make sure that you first read Finding Father Christmas. Don't get me wrong, this book stands perfectly well on its own, but why deny yourself the pleasure of more lovely hours curled up with a cup of tea, contentedly reading wonderful Christmas fiction?

Robin Gunn Jones creates a cozy place in England called Carlton Heath that has all of the elements an Anglophile could hope for, tea, scones, shortbread cookies and romance. Add to the recipe characters that are flawed but love one another, a gentle story of redemption, and you have the perfect Christmas inspirational story.

Elsa can't wait to get her hands on this book after her exams!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quills and Promises blog tour

Amber Miller has penned a lovely romantic novel which chronicles the correspondence of Elanna Hanssen and Major Madison Scott during the French and Indian war.
The story line is from Amber Miller's imagination, but the historical facts and certain characters were real people who had an enormous impact in the making of this country.

There was some sweet and a little swagger to the romance, and this homeschooling mom enjoyed the gentle portrayal of a young man in love with a young woman, and the willingness of the two to allow their relationship to grow through sharing their lives in letters.

Barbour publishing does a great job in bringing WHOLESOME romantic fiction at an incredibly reasonable price to the masses, and offers some great deals if you join the Heartsong Presents club. You can sign up at WWW.HEARTSONGPRESENTS.COM

Nice stocking stuffer. Even junior high girls with a passion for history would enjoy this book.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dark Pursuit by Brandilyn Collins:blog tour

Brandilyn Collins is the Queen of Suspense. Period.
I love thrillers. I love being scared, and I got so involved in Dark Pursuit that I read it at the salon where I get my hair done- I usually ask for a high fashion magazine while waiting for my color to absorb.... not this time!

Kaitlan Sering has been abandoned by her mother, and estranged from her grandfather, a world famous, bestselling suspense novelist. She has done time for drug possession and overcome addiction. Now, all she desires is to have a family of her own. She discovers that her handsome police officer boyfriend is no Prince Charming, and now she must run for her life. She flees to the only person who can help- or so she hopes-her grandfather. The only problem is that Darell Brooke, the brilliant King of Suspense, has been in an auto accident and his concentration is faulty, to say the least, and he has some regrets and mistakes of his own that threaten to keep him from this opportunity for redemption.

Dark Pursuit has more twists, turns, and dips than an Argentinian Tango and is just as much fun. This would be a great Christmas gift for the suspense thriller lover in your family or friendship circle. Read it. Pass it on. And give somebody a thrill.

Monday, December 1, 2008

blog tour: One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling

I was pretty cautious about reading this book. I am the kind of person who likes to read mostly for entertainment, and One Perfect Day deals with the deeply personal subject of organ transplants and donation. I also don't like to be told what to do, and smack dab, right in the dedication it says, "Mark the donor dot on your driver's license."

So, this book and I were not off to a great start. Sad content, dealing with a teen-age death, and a directive to mark my donor card. Oh help.

The story is told from two perspectives: Nora is a mom going through the pain of losing her son, and Jenna is a young widow whose daughter desperately needs a heart transplant if she is to continue to live.

Lauraine Snelling is a superlative writer, and told the story of the journey of these two mothers, and the terrifying,primal love they have for their children, and ultimately, the acceptance that circumstances exist beyond their control, without being preachy or cloying.

This book was a springboard for me to do some research of my own, and I am happy to say that I have a much brighter outlook about the possibilities that organ donation presents. Giving people a second chance at life could be a glorious thing.

I think this would be an excellent choice for a book club.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Blog Tour!

In this sequel to Beloved Castaway, Emilie Gayarre is learning to accept her mixed race heritage while finding fulfillment in teaching children of the key. There is no denying the attraction between Emilie and the handsome young naval commander, Caleb Spencer, who is shadowed by his own flock of secrets. But if her heritage is found out, even greater things than his career are at risk. Enjoy this historical romance full of risk and redemption.

--I really enjoyed this book! I am going to give Beloved Captive to my best friend Alicia, I know she will really like it too! Beloved Captive is a fun book to read, and everyone will enjoy it.
~Elsa (Cheryl's daughter)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting Patience

Pearl lacks patience. She is a puppy; it's her job to seek out anything and everything she can get into and take apart. She loves yarn, and makes a point of sticking her nose into my purse to see if there's any in there, and is quite triumphant when she nabs a ball of worsted and runs through the house, until I eventually catch her and get it back, somewhat worse for the wear.

When we go on walks she wants to lead the way, full speed ahead. Yesterday we were walking, and Pearl was wearing her "gentle leader" collar that goes around her nose and prevents her from pulling me under a bus. It works this way- every time she wants to pull me and starts in that direction, the collar causes her to look at me, or at least toward me, so, unless she wants to go in circles, she must walk where I walk. This saves not only my arm socket, but gives me great satisfaction, knowing that I am "she who must be obeyed".

Patience is one of those fruits of the Spirit that makes me groan. "How long is THIS going to take?" I wonder. I see what I want and want to head full speed ahead into... what? My own way? I know how well that works, don't I? But here's the good news. Jesus has promised to be my gentle leader when he said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

When we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, Jesus is there. Because fruit has to come from a tree. So when we pick a fruit, say... patience... He is there, and he is smiling.

Monday, November 17, 2008

White Christmas Pie:blog tour

White Christmas Pie is the first Wanda E. Brunstetter novel I've read to date, and I hope it won't be the last. The story is set in Indiana, in an Amish Community, in the present day. Will Henderson's father left him when he was only six with an Amish couple who were unable to have children of their own. The arrangement was supposed to be temporary, but circumstances happened which changed the lives of all involved.

Sixteen years later, Will is about to be married to a lovely Amish girl named Karen, and is surprised by feelings of anger, insecurity and jealousy that are popping up in his life and relationships.

Wanda E Brunstetter carefully constructs a prism through which we can see, how, if just one thing happened differently, life as we know it would be different. How often do I wish for things to have happened differently? White Christmas Pie uses the gentle, Amish way of life to give room for readers to ponder life and the past. She also delves into the concept of how people can only see things from their personal perspective. Other perspectives exist, but because of pain or loss suffered, bitterness can take root, clouding out the life and joy we could have if only we had the antidote. That is where the soft wisdom of the ages and the truth that sets us free comes into play- because the story's not over 'til it's over!

I was surprised that in spite of the kinder and gentler life of the Amish, they too face danger, and their lives have risks attached.

It is obvious that Wanda has a love for the Amish way of life as well as an in depth knowledge of the Amish culture of today. The message that I take with me is that regrets can be transformed into renewal of mind and spirit. Joy and new beginnings can take wing!

Many thanks to Barbour for publishing this lovely book.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Finding Rest for My Soul

I have been listening to Christian minister Graham Cooke's CD "Overcoming Negativity Through Rest" that my dear friend Carole Rosenfarb gave me when she saw that I was feeling stalled in my spiritual walk with the Lord. It's not that I wasn't praying, reading the Bible and believing God, I just wanted more.

I am happy to say that my life is changing from the inside out. I have peace and am finally getting what Jesus meant when he said "Take my yoke upon you; for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." He gives us the opportunity to walk beside him every minute of the day. That is the beginning of rest. And it keeps on getting better. Jesus offers a life free of anxiety and worry. After all, who can add one thing to his life through worrying about it?

Graham says that our place of greatest comfort is right where we are now, and that is where the Holy Spirit wants to come and kiss us.

There is so much more- like we can change the atmosphere around us for the better just because it's us, because it's you. You and Jesus together make a majority.

I have noticed a difference when I am walking in a spirit of gentleness, whether it's in yoga class or the grocery store,people respond to the love of Jesus in me. Self consciousness flees because it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the Holy Spirit.

I have been loving the opportunity to read and review Christian fiction because it always offers hope and comfort to my soul. I am still seeking out my "calling", trying to find my little piece that I can contribute. I can pray. I can be kind and gentle with myself and others. I think it's a pretty good start.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin: blog tour

I really enjoyed this book about three sisters from Sweden, who came to America after suffering through the emotional pain of losing their mother through sickness, and their father through depression and suicide. Elin, the oldest sister, was being sexually abused by her uncle who had taken over the farm, and in order to protect her sisters from him, insisted that they leave everything and travel to America.

Lynn Austin's beautifully researched novel follows the sisters through every step of their journey. She describes the conditions affecting immigrants traveling in the steerage section of the White Star Line ship so clearly, that I felt like I was traveling right along with the girls, feeling their weariness and praying for them to stay safe in appalling conditions.

Until We Reach Home is a book about staying the course, finding and renewing faith, and through the process, receiving comfort and hope.

This book was personal to me because my great grandparents came to America from Sweden. In August of 2001 my husband and I visited Ellis Island, where the sisters were detained. I saw where my relatives waited to be admitted to our incredible country. Lynn Austin has an amazing gift for bringing places to life, and I could picture Sofia sitting on a bench, waiting to hear what their fate would be. I imagined not speaking English and relying solely on the kindness of the interpreters who were overworked, but served diligently.

This is one book that I promise will touch you. If you are at a stalled place in your personal journey, this story of love, hope, comfort, and finding a real home will encourage you.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Apres Everything

When all is said and done.... I still love Sarah Palin. I pray that she can stand, while those around her crawl out of the woodwork, and try to whisper into her brain. No, I'm not channelling Elton John.... or Nancy Reagan...
If she were such a detrement to the Republican nominee and party, why is the media still obsessed with her? It should be over. Right? I believe it's because she, and everything she stands for is a threat to their template of the modern woman. She has grace and dignity. She is pro-life on every level and I would rather have her shooting straight from the hip on my behalf than all the smooth talk, amounting to nothing, from the other side.
We have what we have, and as Sarah Palin said,"The people have spoken."
We have our king, but only One is sitting on the throne.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rain Song blog tour

Rain Song is one of those books that makes me happy to be a reader. Alice J. Wisler's first novel has the feeling of a story that has been brewing for a long time, mellowing and developing from the heart with poignant characters that you can't help falling in love with.
Nicole Michelin is a respectable high school English teacher in Mount Olive, North Carolina whose passion is caring for her exotic fish tank. She writes a column for a website called "Pretty Fishy" where she meets Harrison Michaels on line, who turns out to be someone who knew her as a two year old child in Japan. Through their correspondence Harrison helps answer some questions that have been niggling at her for years, and invites her to visit the land of her birth. But Nicole's fear of flying and the unknown threatens to keep her from self-discovery and truly experiencing the freedom of being herself.
Ms.Wisler balances small town North Carolina, eccentric southern relatives and barbecued chicken with the serene culture of Japan and Harrison Michaels' Japanese cuisine and koi garden. Her graceful writing had me sighing and reading certain passages over again with pure delight.
This is one to give a special friend, Mom or sister if you are so blessed.
Highly recommended.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Pearl took me for a walk this morning. In spite of all the dog programs I've been watching and attending puppy class, Pearl absolutely will not heel. I'm not wining about it. I would love a solution. The master trainer at the puppy class did something with cheese that got the leash slack (for about 3 seconds) and was triumphant.Yeah, well , just try that in my neighborhood and see how long that lasts. Am I sounding bitter? What about all the puppy love I was gushing a week or so ago? I do love her and she is so cute, but we have some issues. Pearl, though supremely adorable, is in it for herself. She wants things her way 100 percent with rewards on the side. I can relate, I really can. My family helps out, but somehow I feel that it's up to me. It really feeds into my insecurities.
Lord, teach me. I need your help. Thank you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

American Girls

The makers of the American Girl dolls sent me one of their new catalogs. They are retiring the Victorian doll Samantha and replacing her with a new one. A child of the the seventies! Wow, I wish I had looked that pulled together back then. I have just one question. Why? Why the seventies? Why not the fifties? That was a nice era. The good people at AG could have had a blast with poodle skirts, record players and Elvis.

I think it's interesting that they have chosen to highlight the era of women's liberation and feminism. Movements that promised us the world. But did they deliver? Feminism said we needed to be liberated from the shackles of the home and the tyranny of the male dominated culture. Remember the term "male chauvenist pig"? The book"Our Bodies Ourselves"? What was that all about?

Then came the "you can have it all" movement. Children, job and a husband who changes diapers and evenly shares in doing the household chores.

Times have changed (again). The rules have changed. Rules? I thought we banished boring, old-fashioned rules. I thought we could be anything, even an astronaut or (gulp) president of the United States. Apparently not. Now, according to the media, women are free to work outside the home (or be vice president) if and only if her children get good grades, look good,make wise choices and do not have any special needs. Yes, I'm referring to Sarah Palin and the intense scrutiny placed on superfluous things, such as eyeglasses or shoes, or more explicitly, passing judgement on her family.

In November, I'll cast my vote for the American Girl who has withstood some extremely harsh accusations and wagging fingers. I'm voting for Sarah Palin.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Best of Times...

October is flying by. I've been busy training Pearl, aka Pearl the Pirate, Pearly Gates the pup-tart, and my personal favorite- Pearl the Plumber. Pearl is like me, she has no problem questioning authority or giving her opinion on how things should be.

We were walking on this beautiful Saturday morning and our dear Buddhist neighbor with the Democrat candidate's sign in his yard came over to allow Pearl to jump on him with her wet puppy paws. "I'm heartbroken," I said glancing at his sign and thinking that this could be my opportunity to share the truth with him.
"Oh well," he answered, "That's life."

I figured the truth would have to wait...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Puppy Love

"It's the time of the season for loving..." -The Zombies

Well, we lost Max our border collie in the Spring and the Summer unexpectedly brought Pearl the yellow lab puppy. I wasn't looking for a new dog- losing Max was too painful- but we were invited to have dinner with a former senate colleague, John Schneider and his wife Mary Jo, who happened to be foster puppy parents to an adorable baby Pearl. I knew we were gonners when Mary Jo kept having me take the puppy outside to play with the other dogs- they have four rescued dogs of their own. I was somewhat strong. I put my hand on Pearl's tiny yellow head and prayed that the Lord would give her the right family. Who was I kidding?

Two weeks later Pearl, sometimes referred to as Pearl Jam or Pearl Jam Pie, moved in. Our lives have been turned upside down. I'm up early taking puppy for walks and watching the Animal Planet dog shows the way some people watch Heroes- OK, so I watch Heroes too...

We went as a family to the puppy class at the Humane Society where we adopted our rapidly growing ball of fluff. The training methods have changed a bit since Max and I wish Max were still around to benefit from the new and improved dog mom that I have become. We're not perfect and Pearl's not perfect, but we're doing fine. The Lord answered my prayer for the little Pearl. I believe she's in the right family.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh

Faking Grace is a story about a young, "down on her blessings" woman aptly named Maisey Grace who needs a job-badly. So much so that she is willing to fake being a Christian in order to take a part time job with a Christian publishing house to put dog food on the table for her little dog Woofer. She goes way over the top on some "Christian accessories"- bumper sticker, cross jewelry, air freshener-they actually have Christian air freshener????-in order to be convincing. As she works for this Christian ministry she discovers that Christians are real people with real problems. She shares some of these surprising challenges that some of her co-workers are going through with her room-mate who is a higher-up with the big Nashville newspaper and is offered a job as an investigative journalist to do an expose on the secret and not so secret sins of people in the ministry.

My daughter Elsa and I liked this book. Tamara Leigh was willing to subject her heroine to some really embarrassing situations in order to get this story of Grace told. We could relate.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Set down upon the wild American plains during the 1850. Clara is desperate for a home and a future for herself and her aunt. When Clara Fields and her aunt are kicked off their wagon train, a store owner in Buttonwood offers a chance at redemption. If Clara is able to wed his grandson off to any of the local girls within a month, he'll sign over his two-story house.

Desperate to provide for the woman who raised her, Clara agrees to find a bride for the man's son--a stalwart bachelor. How hard can it be to find a bride for one handsome Doctor? Apparently more difficult than she imagined when Saul Reed seems determined to ramain single.

Will Clara's faith and wits help her wrangle a resolution to The Bride Bargain. Striking a bargain with a lonely trader to fool a head-strong doctor could lead Clara to an unexpected avenue of romance.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Isolation by Travis Thrasher:Blogger Tour

Travis Thrasher has written a horror novel in the style of Steven King who was an important influence in Travis' writing. I must say that I couldn't put it down. It was one of the best page turners I have read in the Christian realm of suspense. The evil portrayed was pure darkness and if your constitution is fragile stay clear because this book could rock your world.

I started this book while sitting in my car in a Starbucks parking lot waiting for my sons to finish their karate class. The sky got dark and storm clouds gathered, thunder and lightning punctuated the words on the pages as I eagerly read the tale of a young, burnt out missionary family on leave from Papua New Guinea. I kept checking my mirrors to make sure nothing was going to jump out of the night and get me.

Back to the story. Strange and disturbing dreams haunt Stephanie Miller. Her husband James thinks that the house so generously offered to them in the mountains of North Carolina might afford them the rest and relaxation they so desperately need. Nothing could be further from the truth...
They have become targets of unmentionable evil.

This is a great read for anyone who likes scary stories. I do- however, I couldn't sleep with this book on my bedside table!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

In The Shadow Of Lions

David C. Cook; 1 edition (September 2008)


Ginger Garrett


Ginger Garrett is the critically acclaimed author of Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther, which was recognized as one of the top five novels of 2006 by the ECPA, and Dark Hour. An expert in ancient women's history, Ginger creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women.

Her newest release is Beauty Secrets of the Bible, (September 11, Thomas Nelson) based on the historical research that began in her work on Chosen. The book explores the connections between beauty and spirituality, offering women both historical insights and scientific proofs that reveal powerful, natural beauty secrets.

A frequent radio guest on stations across the country, including NPR and Billy Graham's The Hour of Decision, Ginger is also a popular television guest. Her appearances include Harvest Television, Friends & Neighbors, and Babbie's House. Ginger frequently serves as a co-host on the inspirational cable program Deeper Living.

In 2007, Ginger was nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award for her novel Dark Hour. When she's not writing, you may spy Ginger hunting for vintage jewelry at thrift stores, running (slowly) in 5k and 10k races, or just trying to chase down one of her errant sheepdogs. A native Texan, she now resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.


"I am the first writer, The Scribe. My books lie open before the Throne, and someday will be the only witness of your people and their time in this world."

So begins the narration of one such angel in this sweeping historical tale set during the reign of England's Henry VIII. It is the story of two women, their guardian angels, and a mysterious, subversive book ... a book that outrages some, inspires others, and launches the Protestant Reformation.

The devout Anne Boleyn catches the eye of a powerful king and uses her influence to champion an English translation of the Bible. Meanwhile, Rose, a broken, suicidal woman of the streets, is moved to seek God when she witnesses Thomas More's public displays of Christian charity, ignorant of his secret life spent eradicating the Bible, persecuting anyone who dares read it.

Historic figures come alive in this thrilling story of heroes and villains, saints and sinners, angels and mortals ... and the sacred book that will inspire you anew. Fans of Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury will love Ginger's intriguing combination of rich character development, artful settings, and inspiring historical insights.

If you would like to read an excerpt from In The Shadow Of Lions, go HERE

Friday, September 5, 2008

Up Pops the Devil by Angela Benson: Blog Tour

Up Pops the Devil is a tale of two realms- the not so heavenly place where evil plans are made for the downfall of earthly people- and Georgia.

Wilford "Preacher" Winters has served two years in prison for drug trafficking and is determined to live a clean life for his two young sons and fiancee, Tanya. He has become a new creature in Christ and is ready to shed the old man and can't wait to make a fresh start. There's only one problem-the women in his life- past and present...

Angela Benson deftly explores what happens when people change. How leaving the old ways of sin and self-destruction affect the status quo- especially for a black man who enjoyed the lifestyle that went along with being high up in the hierarchy of the drug world. Preacher, who was once feared and esteemed for the power he yielded being a part of that hierarchy, was now about to embark on the not so glamorous position of funeral home director. Which was fine with him, if only he could get there without getting set up by evil associations who have other plans for his soul.

What I love about this book- besides the great characters and story- is the practical reminder that we all have an adversary, the devil who does his best to steal, kill and destroy our peace of mind and relationships, but that the best thing we can do is pray and put our trust in God. Things may not go as we plan, but there is a peace that passes all understanding and it's available in an instant, if we will only look to Him who is the author and finisher of our faith.

Thanks Angela.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to Life by Kristin Billerbeck: Blog Tour

We just got Back to Life in the mail yesterday and Elsa, my seventeen year old assistant and chief book chooser has delved in and given it the thumbs up. With a big grin she said "I like it". High praise from the teen queen of Christian Fiction.

Back to Life is the second book in the Trophy Wives Club series.
I'm looking forward to delving in myself.
God bless!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Passion Redeemed:The Blog Tour

If you like romance in epic proportions-and I'm not just referring to the heroines incredible figure- you will like A Passion Redeemed.

However, I didn't bond with the bodacious protagonist, Charity O'Connor-mainly because I'm not a Scarlett O'Hara fan. To be really fair to her I should read book one in this series, but from what I understand, Charity was really baaad in book one-so it's unlikely that I would root for her more that I did in A Passion Redeemed...

That said, I don't think that you have to love the main character in order to enjoy this book or glean some insight into the power of seduction and jealousy. Julie Lessman weaves an interesting tale about life, love, lust(heavy on the lust),forgiveness, dire consequences, and ultimately some human redemption.

Spiritually, there is no question that this book addresses some of the problems resulting from misused passion and it's affects on friends and loved ones.

I am truly glad that this series is available for the true romance aficionado.

God bless Julie Lessman and may the ink keep flowing from her quill pen!!

Julie Lessman is a debut author who has already garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. A Passion Most Pure was her first novel.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blog Tour:Twice Loved by Lori Copeland

I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder as a girl, but it's been a long time since I've read an "old west historical" novel and I'm really honored to have the opportunity to discuss the book here. (OK, I know that Laura was technically a prairie girl)...

Twice Loved is the second book in the Belles of Timber Creek series. The story picks up at the end of the Civil War, where our heroine, Willow Madison, has defended her home town, fought the Yankees- along with her best friends Copper and Audrey, and in the process lost just about everything in the burning rampage of the cruelest war in American history.

When her widowed uncle Wallace down in Texas writes her a letter outlining a plan that could solve all of their problems she is willing to give it a try. It seems that Silas Sterling, a wealthy gentleman in Thunder Ridge, has decided to settle down and is seeking a wife. Uncle Wallace is sure that Willow has what it takes to capture the rich Mr.Sterling's heart- she does- but would it mean selling out her own dreams of marrying for love or is this God's divine plan for her life? Silas is a nice man but happens to be thirty years her senior- I think Richard Gere would make a decent Silas Sterling...

Willow arrives in Thunder Ridge with a bang and sets of a chain of events that will involve forgiveness, love, faith, and buttermilk pie... Oh, and a really handsome sawmill owner with some fireworks of his own...

I think that Laura Ingalls Wilder would have really enjoyed this gentle saga with Lori Copelands signature characters and timeless themes.


What is it about us humans that makes us crave the out of the ordinary thing- the unusual arrow that unequivocally points to the direction that we should go? I get comfort from the little bits that seem like confirmations or affirmations that I am on the right track. Like when David and I were driving back from a law conference and I was pondering the promises that God makes to believers and a giant truck passed us with "Covenant Moving" plastered on the side like a heavenly banner. Or recently I was getting out of the mini van and looked down on the ground at a pamphlet that said-"I wait for the Lord" on the cover.

When we were in Kennebunkport I read the "Recent Storm Damage" sign on the beach over and over. "Help the healing dune grass", it admonished. I thought of the body of Christ and how it would be nice to have some kind of gentle urging for people going through hard situations. "Please keep back from rope". People in process of healing.

Beloved let us love one another.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Blog Tour: That's (Not Exactly) Amore by Tracey Bateman

Laini Sullivan is a somewhat unlikely heroine, but a thoroughly likable one none the less. For one thing, while not overweight, she has a healthy aversion to cruel workouts just for the sake of being thin. She also has an ability to create mouthwatering goodies that would put Little Red Ridinghood's grandma to shame.
After enduring an eight year career as an accountant, she is on the verge of completing a degree in interior design only to question if that is really her hearts desire (or gift). To complicate matters further, two gorgeous men are vying for her attention. One of them could be the man of her dreams and the other? Just another big bad wolf...
Tracey Bateman paints a believable yet humorous picture of the struggles a single (or married) woman can face in search of personal fulfillment in career and relationships.
This book will have you craving canolli and humming "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie..."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

All Through the Night- Blogger Tour

Award winning bestselling author Davis Bunn takes us on a wild ride (in a red Ferrari no less) in his action thriller All Through the Night. This was my first Davis Bunn read and as a John Grisham and James Patterson fan I am pleased to say that Mr.Bunn did not disappoint.

The hero, Wayne Grusza is a tough as nails special ops veteran with scars that go much further and deeper than than those acquired on the battlefield. He's tired of running from his pain but to even hope for a second chance at life and love seems like a moonshot. That is until he meets a group of senior citizens in need of a guy with his special skills and a lady with beauty equal to a modern day Ingrid Bergman in need of some healing of her own.
I thought it would be fun to imagine this bit from the book being narrated by Humphrey Bogart- so think Casablanca as you read the following:
"The voice was all burr and rough music, the words slanted at the edges like her eyes. Wayne thought it was silly getting a tingle in his gut, just hearing this woman finally speak. He saw in her gaze the message he had come to know all too well. The one that said, I'm not going to give you anything like what you want. Not now, not ever."

Pretty great huh?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


"Recent Storm Damage
The Healing Dune Grass
Please Stay Back From
Rope" -sign on Gooserocks Beach

We spent two weeks in Maine. My favorite place. The place I go back to in my head when I need an escape from life's uber-jazz.

I introduced my husband to my family and Maine at about the same time. I wanted to see if the boy from St.Louis would love what I loved. He did. So we bought a house on the beach and had five beautiful children and lived happily ever after.... okay, so we didn't buy the house on the beach, but everything else is true.

Thanks (and I do mean thanks) to very generous family members, we are able to travel to the beautiful Northeast for some life transforming R&R.

This is the Kennebunkport Routine:
Wake up. Husband and I sneak out of the house- not hard to do with 4 teenagers and one sleeping pre-teen.
Get coffee and a muffin in Cape Porpoise (Cape Porpoise???!!!) I love writing those words.
Park car at beach. Breathe deeply. Smell a beach rose. Watch bee roll in pollen of beach rose.
Eat blueberry muffin. Hold hands and walk with husband.

That's the beginning of a perfect Kennebunkport day.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July

"...the fireworks are hailing over little Eden tonight..."- Bruce Springsteen

I used to be cynical. I still have tendencies along those lines, but I'm much older and have come once again to the GO space on the Monopoly board. A place where I understand where people are coming from a little better. Cynical and critical for me went hand in hand. Heavy on the critical.
Judging people who made me feel insecure. Country club people who dressed their kids in matching red, white, and blue outfits on the fourth of July. People who got manicures. Rich people. Money seemed like the unreachable star. Something that you had to be beautiful, super smart and gifted, or know someone to aquire. If you belong to this group, happiness is a sure thing-right?
I don't subscribe to People magazine but I eagerly catch up on all the celeb gossip while in the dentists office. I really would have liked to have had some of Christie Brinkley's beauty(duh)but it sure hasn't brought her happiness. Love has not found Andy Hardy(an obscure reference that I picked up from Breakfast at Tiffany's) or Christie Brinkley. I'm not jazzed about it. It doesn't make me feel better about myself, but it does reinforce what I do know- there is only One source for true joy and it has nothing to do with personal beauty, talent, or money.
Oops, I've got to run... my kids in nonmatching outfits are waiting for me at the pool and I have no idea what I'm going to wear...

Happy Fourth of July!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Subject was Homeschooling

David and I were at the Lake for the annual Trial Attorney's conference with four of the kiddos this past weekend. David is one of their two republican lobbyists. It would seem that democrats are the only ones who care about the civil justice system. I have always believed in personal responsibility and that the wronged should be compensated for damages. After all, fair's fair. Right?

So, when we arrive as part of the extreme minority we are given the red-carpet treatment, the sea parts and we are joyfully welcomed into the fold. Okay, so part of me lives in Dreamland... It's actually more like being a Cardinal's fan at Wrigley Field. Both Card's and Cub's fans love the game, but the different uniforms keep you from becoming one with the majority in the stadium. And you're really careful about how loudly you cheer if you're smart.
I try to be smart.

Sometimes I get blindsided. I think I'm in the kissing booth at the carnival and instead find myself dodging pies in the face. We were having dinner with a Missouri Supreme Court judge and a former president of the trial attorney organization and their wives when the subject of homeschooling came up. I'm usually pretty chipper about it. My kids are decent human beings, normal on every level and above average on some. They are usually delightful company. If you are around your kids as much as I am around mine you know that they need to be delightful.

I was asked the usual questions: How do they get socialized? Often my kids get asked this one directly and my daughter Elsa is tempted to say "well how do YOU make friends?", but she's too polite so she dutifully lists some of her activities which involve other people.
What about college? I'm surprised that people can find the time to worry about my children getting into a good school, but here's the answer: Homeschoolers are resourceful, we find ways....

I tried to be lighthearted, articulate and funny, but I actually heard myself say at one point in the conversation,"we haven't played a lot of team sports- so sue me". Yup, I was articulate alright.

To be fair, because that's what I am.... I'm sure they weren't meaning to put me on the witness stand. They were just using me to express their opinion as professionals.

The defense rests.

Monday, June 2, 2008


I woke up at 2:20 a.m. Wide awake. So I did all of the usual things. I prayed, quoted scripture-"he gives his beloved sleep...", listened for mice (don't ask), listened to my husband snoring softly (rather), and took deep yoga breaths- inhale for three counts, exhale for six or was it inhale for four counts, exhale for eight?? Eventually I slept. I knew I would. I know that worry and anxiety will try to bully their way into my life, demanding to be entertained. Yes, I could be the new Anxiety and Worry Idol. Woohoo!!
I don't think so...

Because this is reality-"...and the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ." - Philippians 4:7

I'm going to sleep on it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rainy Days

The Blues

When the shoestrings break
On both your shoes
And you're in a hurry-
That's the blues

When you go to buy a candy bar
And you've lost the last dime you had-
Slipped through a hole in your pocket somewhere-
That's the blues, too, and bad
-Langston Hughes

It rained again last night again- pretty hard, and I had just planted some seeds on my hill. The hill I've been trying to turn into a garden for years. There's a bush on the hill that I planted when Joshua was three. It has lovely pink flowers in the Spring. The deer snack on it as soon as it blooms so that it ends up looking like a half eaten green and pink sandwich.

I look out the front window at the birds and the dogwood that came with the house, and across the street to the neighbors perfectly manicured lawn and shrubbery and sigh. Their mulch looks really nice.

Next time the mulch guy comes knocking I'm going to tell him to go away.
I'm waiting for my seeds to grow.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Christian fiction writer extraordinaire Angela Hunt lists "Alias Addicts" as one of her favorite links on her blog and for a couple of years I've wanted to check it out. I know, I'm way behind the times. I don't usually watch tv and am hopelessly out of the "what's popular" loop.
Well, my husband,the boys and I were in Best Buy browsing the dvd's and I talked them into getting the first season of Alias. The men were pretty skeptical- sure that it was going to be too "chickflick" for them, but generously deferred to my earnest pleading and promises that Angela Hunt would not steer them wrong.

So now we are on season four with season five waiting in the wings. We have enjoyed the plot twists and nail biting action along with the great cast with special appearances by stars like Lena Olin,Roger Moore, and Isabella Rossellini. How fun is that?

As a result of all this Alias watching I got to thinking about how when we come to know Jesus as lord and savior the Bible says that we become "new creatures in Christ,old things are passed away;behold all things are become new".

It's like being in God's witness protection program. We get a new identity in Christ and a clean slate. Sins are forgiven and we have a new job description as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Now that's really cool.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


My husband David and I got back from Cabo on Friday. It was our annual "get away from winter and clients" vacation. This time we traveled to a resort called the Bonita Pacifica which was advertised as a holistic resort with a great spa, organic food, and yoga on the beach (for me).
I brought along some yarn, an unfinished crocheted sun hat,yoga clothes and Sharon Hinck's book The Restorer.
When I go to these places I always feel a bit awkward. I know people who would be right at home in the world of luxury vacationsl, but not me. I'm sure if anyone is reading this you are feeling sorry for me right now... But really, this is the tie- in to Sharon's book. It's about a mom like me who feels like a fish out of water in an alternate universe- i.e. me at the pool in a goofy bathing suit-my big splurge custom one didn't get ordered in time (my fault). What I love about Sharon's main character Susan is that I can relate so much to her desire to do something meaningful with her life when my own everyday job description of wife and mother can seem small and my performance even smaller. Susan fights powers and principalities that she didn't even know existed and in spite of her foibles becomes more than a conqueror through Christ.
I flew back to St.Louis restored.

Friday, February 29, 2008


Twelve years ago my husband brought a puppy home in a box. He had stopped to visit a family in his senatorial district who operated a hog farm and as God's timing would have it, the cutest litter of border collie pups had just been weaned and David was kindly offered the pick of the litter.
We had four children under age six at the time(and one on the way) the last thing I needed was a puppy to train, but too late, we lost our hearts to the adorable ball of black fluff with the white markings which made him look like a tiny skunk.

Two thousand dollars worth of training later he was obeying me as the alpha dog- translation: the primary care giver while my husband was away four days a week making laws. That is, he obeyed when I was looking.

Well, you can take the dog away from the farm but you can't take the farm out of the dog, and if Max had a theme song, it would have been "The Wanderer". He loved to explore and his adventures brought him to the pound on at least two occasions. Max taught me the importance of name tags and proper ID at all times. The dog officers loved Max and he was given the run of the place until I wearily came to pick him up and pay the fine. The chief officer even offered to adopt him. I often wondered if I had made a mistake in not letting go of the dog whose middle name was trouble when the opportunity arose.
But I couldn't.

Yesterday Sam and Jon-now fifteen, and Joshua eleven, were outside playing basketball and Max decided to wander off one last time. He strolled down our street and around the corner. A neighbor called to let us know he was there and the boys went to retrieve him. But this time he couldn't make it home. His heart was failing.
David and I rushed him to the veterinary clinic and waited. The doctor said it wasn't good, that Max seemed to be indicating that he'd had enough.
This time I had to let him go.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Taming Rafe Blog Tour

Susan May Warren dishes up some old fashioned, diner-sized portions of inspiration- with a side of bronco-riding suspense and an nice slow trail ride of romance for dessert in her new book, Taming Rafe, the second in the Noble Legacy series.
As a new-comer to the Western Romance genre, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was surprised to find myself engrossed in the life of Katherine Breckenridge, heiress to a hotel fortune, and her quest to discover her true identity and her purpose here on earth. I found myself caring about the cast of characters, each having their own secrets and past demons to banish from the plains of their souls. Which brings me to the title character, Rafe Noble, a down on his luck rodeo champion who looks like heaven but smells like trouble- or is it the other way around? Never mind, as I'm sure you can tell, this book transported me from my suburban St.Louis domocile to the dude ranch of my dreams.
Are you tempted yet? If you like stories about second chances and characters that you would like to have as your friends then put the tea kettle on and cozy up in your favorite comfy chair and prepare to get in touch with your inner-cowgirl. I did.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fasting and Prayer

My life is at a crossroad of sorts. My book project has stalled. I'm wondering if I should give up. It's okay if I do, but I'm trying to get to the bottom of the "Why". The who am I- what am I- of it all. In other words, what are my motives? So I've been doing a fast to clear out the cobwebs. I'm a juice and soup faster and for this carb-especially-chocolate-loving girl, it's a struggle... did I mention my caffeine headache? The green tea isn't cutting it. My body's resistance and protests tell me that my dependency, though on the Lord, gets a major boost from refined sugar and my beloved coffee.

So after two days where am I? In the thick of it- the place where I'm listening to the sermons on the tongue amongst other things, and getting convicted all over the place. But I am feeling God's love, grace and mercy. If I didn't know that He loved me first, I couldn't even face myself, and this fast-small as it is - would be just empty religion.

My conclusion, corny as this may sound, is that I'm going to let Jesus take the wheel.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Speaking Out of Turn

Can you imagine no love, pride, deep fried chicken
Your best friend always sticking up for you even when I know you're wrong- Train

Sometimes you just need somebody to believe in you. Even when you're wrong.
I'm wrong a lot, but I'm passionate about it. Sometimes I get this knee-jerk thing that happens when one of my six or seven hot buttons gets pushed and before I know it I am launching off an opinion that can clear a room. Once when I was campaigning for my husband's first senate race I was explaining the importance of bumper stickers to a group of homeschoolers and in the middle of my speel they just turned around and walked away. Well not everyone- but one or two...

I've been banned from a lovely bed and breakfast in Kennebunkport Maine- only kidding- but if the owners had been privy to the conversation at our table it would have been curtains for me. My husband the lawyer-lobbyist-former senator- said that he thought it was refreshing to be the one that people liked.

Of course I hate myself afterwards but there you have it- the reason that I will never run for public office. One of them anyway.