Monday, October 24, 2011

A Home for Christmas by Deborah Grace Stanley

Author: Deborah Grace Stanley
Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
(November 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982175671

Book Description:

A HOME FOR CHRISTMAS is a feel-good community tale in the best tradition of storytellers like Debbie Macomber. Romance Junkies Dr. Janice Thornton has been lonely for too long, especially at Christmas. But Angel Ridge, Tennessee, the one place that holds the key to what family should be, is offering her a chance at a new life. Could she find happiness by taking over her uncle's small town practice? Local contractor and carpenter Blake Ferguson comes from a big family. He'd like to fill his rambling old Victorian with one of his own. But there's one problem. He needs a wife! When Janice shows up at his house, Blake sets a course to win her, but soon finds she's built a wall around her heart this master carpenter finds difficult to dismantle. Can the magic of an Angel Ridge Christmas bring hearts home or will old hurts create an obstacle even the town's legendary angels can't overcome?

Thank you to BelleBooks for my review copy.

Only You by Deborah Grace Staley

Author: Deborah Grace Staley
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
(May 8, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982175639

Book Description:

A charming romance about the lives and loves of people in a small Tennessee town. In the tradition of Debbie Macomber. "Hey, ya'll. Dixie Ferguson here. I run Ferguson's Diner in Angel Ridge, Tennessee. Population three hundred forty-five. It's a picturesque town in the valley of the Little Tennessee River, established in 1785. In the early days, its first families--the McKays, the Wallaces, the Houstons, the Joneses, and, of course, the Craigs--staked their claims on hundreds of acres of the richest bottom land anyone had ever seen. After all the years I've spent behind the counter at Ferguson's, I could probably tell ya'll a story about near everyone in town. But we only have so much time, so I'll narrow it down to just two for now. This is a story about coming home. It's also a story about acceptin' folks for who they are. You could say it's a story about Josie Allen, a librarian, and Cole Craig, a handyman, but I say it's a story about finding love where you'd least expect to."

Thank you to BelleBooks for my review copy.

What The Heart Wants by Deborah Grace Staley

Author: Deborah Grace Staley
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
(August 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935661973

Book Description:

Candi Heart is layers of mystery in a very appealing package. A lethal combination for Sheriff Grady Wallace. With a nickname like "Candi Heart" and a plan to open a frilly lingerie and perfume shop called Heart's Desire, Lark Hensley knows she may raise some eyebrows by moving to quiet little Angel Ridge, Tennessee. She hopes no one remembers that the women in her family were once accused of being seductive witches by townsfolk, and that decades ago her moonshiner grandpa committed a deadly crime. Lark has questions she can't answer and secrets she doesn't want to share, especially with Angel Ridge Sheriff Grady Wallace, even if Grady is hard to resist. Grady falls hard and quick for the new mystery woman in town, though he's determined to find out what she's hiding. Angel Ridge's one-woman Welcome Committee, Dixie Ferguson, has taken a liking to Candi Heart, and Dixie's instincts about newcomers are rarely wrong. But maybe not this time . . . Grady never intended to follow the Wallace family tradition of lawmen, but when his father died young, rebellious Grady grew quickly into the role of staunch town defender. Candi Heart may not have meant to bring trouble to his town, but she has. Someone does remember her family. That someone wants her to leave . . . or to die. An unknown driver tries to run her down. Her shop is broken into. Rumors begin to swirl. Suddenly Grady is caught between his duty and his heart's desire for Candi Heart. Deborah Grace Staley has written three books in the Angel Ridge series and is hard at work on a fourth.

Thank you to BelleBooks for my review copy.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

UNSAID by Neil Abramson

Author: Neil Abramson
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Center Street
Import edition (August 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599954109

Book Description:

 As a veterinarian, Helena had mercifully escorted thousands of animals to the other side. Now, having died herself, she finds that it is not so easy to move on. She is terrified that her 37 years of life were meaningless, error-ridden, and forgettable. So Helena haunts-- and is haunted by-- the life she left behind. Meanwhile, David, her shattered attorney husband, struggles with grief and the demands of caring for her houseful of damaged and beloved animals. But it is her absence from her last project, Cindy-- a chimpanzee who may unlock the mystery of communication and consciousness-- that will have the greatest impact on all of them.

When Cindy is scheduled for a research experiment that will undoubtedly take her life, David must call upon everything he has learned from Helena to save her. In the explosive courtroom drama that follows, all the threads of Helena's life entwine and tear as Helena and David confront their mistakes, grief, and loss, and discover the only way to save Cindy is to understand what it really means to be human.

My thoughts:

If you like a book that moves right along, is well-written, and will make you cry, then UNSAID is for you. I loved it!!!

Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.

HELP! FOR WRITERS by Roy Fetter Clark

Author: Roy Fetter Clark
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company;
1 edition (September 21, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316126713

Book Description:

The craft of writing offers countless potential problems: The story is too long; the story's too short; revising presents a huge hurdle; writer's block is rearing its ugly head.

In HELP! FOR WRITERS, Roy Peter Clark presents an "owner's manual" for writers, outlining the seven steps of the writing process, and addressing the 21 most urgent problems that writers face. In his trademark engaging and entertaining style, Clark offers ten short solutions to each problem. Out of ideas? Read posters, billboards, and graffiti. Can't bear to edit yourself? Watch the deleted scenes feature of a DVD, and ask yourself why those scenes were left on the cutting-room floor. HELP! FOR WRITERS offers 210 strategies to guide writers to success.

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my free review copy.)

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Author: Nicholas Sparks
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing;
Reprint edition (August 2, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446547603

Book Description:

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo's empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my free review copy.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The One Who Waits For Me by Lori Copeland

Author: Lori Copeland
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
(August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736930183

Book Description:

Bestselling author Lori Copeland (Walker’s Wedding and Outlaw’s Bride) sets her brand-new story in North Carolina the months after the Civil War. In the midst of chaos, there is also a sense of possibility and the hope of love when:

Sisters Beth and Joanie run from a vindictive uncle toward healing

Trella, a pregnant young slave, leaves a plantation for freedom

Gray Eagle, a Cherokee military scout, finds refuge for the young women

Captain Pierce, a quiet man of faith, heads for a plot of land and a new life

Samuel, a black soldier, longs to follow his father’s preaching legacy

The intersecting lives and tales of these engaging characters and those they meet along the way create an uplifting story of tested faith, growing seeds of love, and the challenge and gift of believing God’s promise of a future.

My thoughts:
Lori Copeland has written a good, clean, fun read with The One Who Waits For Me. I can't say that it is on par with Gone With The Wind, but it is an entertaining Civil War/old South novel. It is a spiritual adventure book which reminds us that God has a plan for our lives--a plan that we may not see at the moment.

(That you to Harvest House for my free review copy.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Money Saving Meals & Round 2 Recipes by Sandra Lee

Author: Sandra Lee
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Hyperion
(October 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401310818

Book Description:

In Money Saving Meals and Round 2 Recipes, Sandra Lee helps readers save more money than ever before one meal at a time, as she does in her highly popular Food Network show.

These dishes are easy, quick-scratch style, and include dishes such as Slow Cooker Short Ribs, Grilled Pork Chops with Peach Salsa, Chicken Tacos with Cucumber Salsa, Beanless Beef Chili, S'mores Pudding Parfait, and much more.

Each recipe combination offers money-saving pricing and total savings for delicious healthful, quick, easy meals so that readers see what they save with every dish. The savings, and your repertoire of tasty, effortless meals, quickly add up on cooking. In these budget-conscious times, Sandra's Money Saving Meals truly hits home, offering "the maximum joy with the minimum kitchen and grocery shopping stress."

My thoughts:

Love this new cookbook! I have other of Sandra Lee's previous books, and I often watch her show. I have long been a fan. I have used many of her recipes and find them generally simple to make, budget-conscious, and delicious.

After I received Money Saving Meals & Round2 Recipes a few days ago, I spent a couple of hours pouring over the recipes and photographs. I marked many of the 149 that I wish to try right away, like: Zucchini Cakes; Asparagus and Tomato Tart (using a frozen store bought pie shell); Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze. My husband and I like veggies, so the Asparagus dish is one that will make a nice meal for two people, with leftovers.

As a reviewer and cookbook collector, I try to look at the cookbook from a buyer's perspective. What would I find if I opened it physically in the bookstore or library. What type of recipes would I find; who is the cookbook directed toward; are there nice photos; are there charts, etc.; what are some unique aspects of the cookbook. As an experienced cook and having won my share of awards, I feel that I am able to judge whether the book is worth buying and I try to impart this to the reader.

In my opinion, this is a very nice cookbook with lots of color photos, and which offers tips on how to be a smart shopper and coupon user. The recipes also appear to be simple to recreate, as most of Sandra Lee's have been in the past. If you are looking for a cookbook that offers quick, but unique and tasty meals, this is one that I recommend.

(Thank you to Hyperion for my review copy.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Living Beyond Your Feelings

Author: Joyce Meyer
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: FaithWords
(September 6, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446538523

Book Description:

The average person has 70,000 thoughts every day, and many of those thoughts trigger a corresponding emotion. No wonder so many of us often feel like we're controlled by our emotions. Our lives would be much improved is we controlled them.

In LIVING BEYOND YOUR FEELINGS, Joyce Meyer examines the gamut of feelings that human beings experience. She discusses the way that the brain processes and stores memories and thoughts, and then - emotion by emotion - she explains how we can manage our reactions to those emotions. By doing that, she gives the reader a toolbox for managing the way we react to the onslaught of feelings that can wreak havoc on our lives.

In this book, Meyer blends the wisdom of the Bible with the latest psychological research and discusses: the 4 personality types and their influence on one's outlook, the impact of stress on physical and emotional health, the power of memories, the influence of words on emotions, anger & resentment, sadness, loss & grief, fear, guilt & regret, the power of replacing reactions with pro-actions, and the benefits of happiness.

My thoughts:

How many times each day do we ladies get our feelings hurt or respond in some hurtful way to family, friends, or co-workers? If you are like me, it is difficult, at times, to control emotions and live in a God-centered way. Joyce Meyers is someone we can count on to set us on the right course so that we can live the life of joy that God has designed for us. In her new book, Living Beyond Your Feelings, Ms. Meyers offers us tools for our Christian journey. She explains the basic personality types, old memories, stress, fear, etc, and how those things play into our everyday experience and relationships. Finally, we can learn to control our emotions and live in peace with those around us. This is another home-run book by Joyce Meyers!

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my free review copy.)

How To Defeat Harmful Habits

Author: June Hunt
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
(October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736923292

Book Description:

Respected Christian counselor and founder of Hope for the Heart ministries June Hunt knows that countless lives are impacted and detoured by addictions. People are desperate for answers. They are hungry for hope.

In this insightful book, June provides compassionate biblical guidance to help readers recognize addictive impulses and habits, set boundaries, seek help, and trust the power of Christ and God’s Word to release them from the hold of addictions including:
alcohol and drug abuse
sexual addiction
anorexia and bulimia and more

For those struggling with addiction or watching a loved one caught in its destructive cycles, this is an encouraging resource of lasting answers and a path to healing God’s way.

My thoughts:

This would be a very helpful book for any Christian pastor, or councilor. The information is written in simple to understand terminology and based on Christian principles. It contains over 400 pages of excellent advice on common addictions, from anorexia to gambling addiction. It is also filled with question and answer sections and inspiring scriptures.

(Thank you to Harvest House Publishers for my free review copy.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why Men Hate Going to Church

Author: David Murrow
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishing

My thoughts:

Why is it when we look around us in many churches, we see women, children, and elderly persons, for the most part? Since I have wondered this, myself, many times, it is good to see someone make an attempt at answering the puzzle. David Murrow in “Why Men Hate Going to Church” asks this important question, “What is it about modern Christianity that is driving men away?" What is it that men need from their church leaders and the church environment? What are the outreach methods that pastors, perhaps, are missing? While many churches are going strong and are filled with fathers and husband, sons and brothers, in many churches seats go unfilled by the men of a community. “Why Men Hate Going to Church” contains chapters like: Who Are the Missing Men; Men and Contemporary Worship; Twelve Things Men Fear About Church; How Churches Feminize Over Time; How Churches Drive Boys Away From the Faith; Why Megachurches Are Mega; Teaching and Men; What About Women; How Men Minister to Others; and many more interesting chapters. This is an important book for anyone who would minister to men, especially. I highly recommend it as food for thought. (Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing for my free review copy.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Lament (Selected Poems and Prose_

Author: Ercell H. Hoffman
Paperback: 118 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press
(June 20, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432743465

Book Description:

The Lament captures the full range of emotion that whirl around human relationships. Here are dozens of poems examining the profound joy of those deeply in love, the incredible longing of the separated partner, the intense loneliness of modern working life, and - above all - the indisputable necessity of connecting with people around us. Poet Ercell H. Hoffman casts a penetrating gaze on our everyday emotions, revealing our extraordinary capacity for feeling, empathy, and love.

In "Lost to the Moment," the speaker relishes the irreplaceable first blush of fledgling love that sweeps through her body "like a cool summer breeze." "This Afternoon" explores the painful possibilities of a love that might have been - that "I knew could not blossom." "Stay Heart Stay" is about the undying fire for another that refuses to be extinguished despite considerable hurdles. Meanwhile, other poems examine relationships in the contemporary workplace, revealing a deeply unsatisfying existence: "The Factory" looks at the peculiarly disconnected relationships among underappreciated factory workers, while "On the JOB" tackles the boredom of a career that's anything but busy.

Chock full of penetrating insights into the heart, The Lament is about our most basic needs: finding and keeping love and obeying your inner truth.

My thoughts:

I tend to approach books of poetry with a bit of trepidation, knowing that the poet's soul lies bare within the pages of their collections. I wasn't sure what I would find in The Lament or how I would write a positive review if I didn't enjoy or relate to the work. But I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised with this author. The Lament (Selected Poems and Prose) is insightful; beautiful and emotional; intense yet humble. Ercell H. Hoffman understands the human condition and is able to put into words the feelings most of us are unable to articulate. I especially liked The Birth of a Poem. I will proudly keep this volume alongside more prominent poets. If you enjoy poetry, I highly recommend The Lament. 5 stars*****

(Many thanks goes to the author for my free review copy.)

Rumor Has It

Author: Jill Mansell
Paperback: 416 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
(May 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1402237502

Book Description:

Would you be tempted?

Newly single, Tilly Cole impulsively accepts a job offer in a small town as a "Girl Friday." Fun job, country house, fresh start, why not? But soon she finds herself in a hotbed of gossip, intrigue, and rampant rivalry for the town's most desirable bachelor-Jack Lucas.

Rumors of Jack's "love 'em and leave 'em" escapes abound, and Tilly decides to do the mature, sensible thing... avoid Jack at all cost. But the more time Tilly spends with Jack, the more the rumors just don't make sense. Tilly doesn't know what to believe... and Jack's not telling.

(thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for my free review copy.)

Miranda's Big Mistake

Author: Jill Mansell
Paperback: 496 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
(June 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 140221832X

Book Description:

Miranda's track record with men is horrible.

Her most recent catastrophe is Greg. He seems perfect—gorgeous, witty, exciting. And he and Miranda are in love… until Miranda discovers he left his wife when he found out she was pregnant.

With the help of her friends, Miranda plans the sweetest and most public revenge a heartbroken girl can get. But will Miranda learn from her mistake, or move on to the next "perfect" man and ignore the love of her life waiting in the wings…

Even the worst mistake of your life can lead to true love in the end…

(thank you to SourceBooks Landmark for my free review copy.)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cyber Meltdown

Author: Ron Rhodes
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
(August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736944176

Book Description:

Respected Bible scholar Ron Rhodes, author of The Coming Oil Storm, addresses another timely issue with integrity in this exploration of how over-dependence on technology puts the nation at risk for cyberattacks and sets the stage for the end times.

With up-to-date information, Rhodes prepares readers for the possibility of technology-based warfare and helps them view it in a biblical context as he addresses the following hot topics:

what Christians need to know about cybercontrol and the Antichrist

what technology and security experts have to say about the risks

the validity of the threat of cyberterrorism

what a cyberattack against the U.S. would look like

the possible role of cyberattacks in end-time wars

Both captivating and helpful, this compelling resource provides the truth behind the technology and its likely role in God’s plan for the future.

My thoughts:

This is a terrific read for those who are following Bible prophecy and the end-times. It covers end-times wars and the dangers in modern technologies. For anyone who has ever wondered how computer viruses spread or how terrorists can use cyberspace against the USA and our countries, this important book gives us the answers. Christians are warned in Holy Scripture to watch the signs of the times and to use them as a way of recognizing the end days. Cyber Meltdown will certainly open the eyes of the reader. There is not a lot serenity in this book, though, so be aware that it may be upsetting to sensitive readers. Highly recommend. Thank you to Harvest House Publishers for my review copy.

Keys to the Castle

Author: Donna Ball
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade
(January 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425239306

Book Description:

The author of the Ladybug Farm series delivers an exhilarating new novel of a middle-aged woman who follows her heart to love and happiness.

When a dashing French poet swept forty-something workaholic Sara Graves off her feet, she did something completely unexpected: She married him. Then three weeks later he died, leaving her a house she can't afford to keep in a country she's never been to. Traveling to France to settle the estate, Sara is shocked to discover that her husband wasn't the impoverished poet he claimed to be- and that the estate he left her is a 400-year-old crumbling castle in the Loire Valley. Now Sara must sell Chateau Rondelais before it (not to mention her late husband's disarmingly handsome lawyer and best friend) makes her question her decision to leave-and opens her heart to change and all its unexpected possibilities.

My thoughts:

Sara Graves has fallen in love with and married a man that she knows very little about, other than he is a handsome French poet. Shortly after the marriage he dies and leaves her with the responsibility of settling his estate in France. Upon arriving in France, where the laws and customs are foreign to Sara, she finds that her deceased husband was the owner of a castle which she must sell. This story is about lost love, finding a new romance, and an unexpected mid-life decision.

Like other Donna Ball novels, this one is well-written, delightful with unexpected twists and turns, and moves along swiftly. Ms. Ball has become one of my favorite authors! Thank you goes to her for my review copy. 5 stars*****

Night Night Blessings

Author: Amy Parker
Illustrator: Marijan Ramljak
Reading level: Baby-Preschool
Board book: 20 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Brdbk edition
(October 11, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1400318254

My thoughts:

Night Night Blessings by Amy Parker, illustrated by Marijan Ramljak, is a delightful and colorful board book for little ones to have read to them as they go to sleep at night. It helps children realize and understand that God has provided blessing for them throughout their day; that God is loving, giving, and personal, caring about his children. It teaches them at an early age to look for and appreciate the wonderful things they freely receive, that the important things are the free gifts from their Creator. It is a book of gratitude above all else. What a pleasant way for little ones to go to sleep at night! The child in Night Night Blessings thanks God for various blessings like the food we eat; the games we play and the fun we have; our pets and how much they love us; favorite toys; home and family; little things like a bubble bath; daddy’s prayers and mommy’s kisses; and the beautiful world God has made and His love for us. It is written in rhyme and the illustrations are very sweet. The popular children’s book Night Night Prayer was also written by this author. Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review copy.