Saturday, November 29, 2008

Then Sings My Soul - A Christmas Reminder

It's the most wonderful time of the year. And for us moms, it can also be the most hectic, stressful, frantic, aggravating, busy, and grumpy time if we aren't careful.

I don't know about you but I can find myself getting so focused on the end result that I forget to enjoy the process. Tasks and to-do lists can consume me until I forget to just soak in the wonder and beauty of the season.

One sweet tradition that we started when the kids were younger is sitting by the Christmas tree in a darkened room with only the lights of the tree illuminated as we sing Christmas carols. Even that simple tradition is getting harder to keep as the kids have become teenagers with evening activities, homework, and other demands on their time.

What a great reminder this beautiful song by Avalon is: Don't Save It All For Christmas Day. The beginning of the song is something I want to remember throughout this next month. . . .and in the months to come.

Don't get so busy that you miss
Giving just a little kiss
To the ones you love
Don't even wait a little while
To give them a little smile
A little is enough. . . .

Take a few moments to listen to this song and commit with me not to save it all for Christmas Day!

Find more songs to bless your weekend at Amy's!


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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Reflections of the Day & a Winner!

I hope everyone has had a great Thanksgiving celebration today, and that you've had some time with family, some good food, and some moments to focus on and thank God for the many blessings you have.

I have not forgotten about this week's Booked for the Holidays giveaway, but when I arrived at my mother-in-law's house Tuesday night, I discovered that her internet access was down. I was thrilled when my man arrived this morning and after all the activities of the day he went upstairs and got it up and running.

I am a happy gal sitting here with my laptop as I watch my 'Horns beat up on Texas A&M. (Sorry Xandra - can we still be friends?!)

We spent the day at my father-in-law's Alzheimer's facility. Unfortunately he wasn't feeling well and slept much of the day. But possibly the sweetest memory I will have from this day is seeing my girl feed her granddaddy his supper tonight. Such a compassionate heart she has, and she loved doing it.

I'm looking forward to hearing how you spent your day!

Oh yes - congrats to Cathy Davis, the winner of The Cure! Email me your address and I'll send it your way!


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Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Packing for a trip is sure simplified when the only footwear needed is one slipper, one shoe, one dress boot for Sunday, and one sock per day!

I'm glad something's finally simple about this!


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Blog Tour - Beloved Captive

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Beloved Captive

Barbour Publishing, Inc (November 1, 2008)


Kathleen Y’Barbo


There’s never a dull moment in the Y’Barbo household! From hockey and cheer mom to publicist to bestselling author, Kathleen Y’Barbo somehow manages to do it all - and well. While wearing her publicist’s hat, Kathleen has secured interviews with radio, television, and print media for clients at NavPress, Hatchette, Integrity, Barbour Publishing, and Broadman & Holman, to name a few. She also brings her own unique blend of Southern charm and witty prose to the more than 350,000 award-winning novels and novellas currently in print. Her novels have been nominated for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006; and 2007 will see the release of her 25th book.

Kathleen is a tenth-generation Texan and a mother of three grown sons and a teenage daughter. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University. Kathleen is a former treasurer for the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a member of the Author’s Guild, Inspirational Writers Alive, Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild, and the Fellowship of Christian Authors. In addition, she is a sought-after speaker, and her kids think she’s a pretty cool mom, too…most of the time, anyway.

The first book in this series is Beloved Castaway.


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.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Beloved Captive, go HERE.


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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Booked for the Holidays - Week 2

Welcome to the second week of Booked for the Holidays! This week I'd like to tell you about a book that another of my favorite fiction authors has written. . . . only this is one of his two non-fiction books. Wielding his pen as skillfully as he does his scalpel, the author of this book, in less than 200 pages, cuts right to the heart of what the body of Christ sorely needs and reminds us that our calling can be summed up in one word.

The Cure by Harry Kraus, MD is just what we as believers need - "The Divine Rx for the Body of Christ - Life-Changing Love." I rarely mark up books as I read them, but this one made me stop and grab a highlighter. It is filled with truth, encouragement, and yes, conviction.

Right off the bat, Dr. Kraus gives a challenge that I daresay many of us would hesitate to take for fear of the answers we might receive:

Take time this week and ask the people around you if there is any observable feature that sets a person apart and lets you know that he or she is a Christian.
What kind of answer do you suppose you would get? Dr. Kraus asserts that it's generally a laundry list of things we don't do that defines us as Christians. It reminds me of the old saying from years ago: We don't smoke, we don't chew, we don't go with girls who do. So what should define us as Christ-followers?

By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
Ouch. Of course, I knew I needed to buckle my seatbelt in the introduction when he said:

We've strayed from the essence that defines us....We're busy. Fruitless. And don't forget that admirable missionary trait, tired.

We are awash with conferences and filled to the brim with discussions about methods....too many congregations are mired in pettiness, arguing over externals, worship styles, and schedules. The heartbeat of the gospel gasps beneath arguments over dress, programs and budgets.

Source: The Cure, pp. 12-13

Now lest you think this is a philosophical book where the author just waxes eloquently about the problem, it is highly practical. Drawing from his expertise as a surgeon and the fact that believers are the body of Christ, Dr. Kraus diagnoses and prescribes treatment for the church in such chapters as Anorexia, Spiritual Insomnia, Failure to Thrive, and The C-word, among others. His chapter Finally Loving Me was phenomenal, and it alone was worth the price of the book. I highly recommend this book for all levels of church membership - from the "pew-warmers" to the preacher. Read it, take it to heart, and share it.

And although I recognize that I feel an extra affinity for his writings because of my nursing background, you don't have to have medical knowledge to benefit and learn from his writings. Nor do you have to have a stomach of steel. In fact, the parallels between the human body and the church as the body of Christ become more vibrant and awe-inspiring as you read.

Ah, yes, not only is it just what the doctor wrote, I believe The Cure is just what the Great Physician ordered!

Harry Kraus MD is a practicing general surgeon currently serving with Africa Inland Mission at Kijabe Hospital in Kenja. Writing about "Grace from the Cutting Edge," he is the author of eight novels and two non-fiction books. He and his wife have three sons.

Dr. Kraus also has a blog which "is all about God-talk, an honest inside scoop on Christian struggles, blood, surgery, keeping Jesus big and me small, the insidious and pervasive practice of domesticating Jesus and a picture into my writer’s life."

You can read an excerpt of The Cure here.

Now for the giveaway: Leave a comment on this post by 12:00 noon CST Wednesday if you would like to be entered in the drawing for a copy of The Cure. Those of you with the button on your sidebar or who link to this post this week get extra entries! I'll post the winner sometime around Thanksgiving.

Happy Healthy Reading!


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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanksgiving Medley

Just in case you were wondering, I'm not a hymn "purist" - I do enjoy many of today's contemporary songs. But I so dearly love the classic hymns I grew up on. And one of the disadvantages I see with so many churches trending toward "words on the screen" is that the beautiful four-part harmony is sorely lacking. I particularly love hearing bass voices wander around the lower register as they sing!

As you prepare your hearts for this coming week when we focus our hearts on thanking God for all our many blessings, enjoy the words and the harmony of these beautiful Thanksgiving hymns!

Be sure to visit Amy's blog for more Then Sings My Soul Saturday songs!


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Friday, November 21, 2008

My Mother's Wish Winners!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2008-11-21 20:23:33 UTC

Congrats to jbhowell74 & Beverlydru! Email me your addresses ladies and I'll get those books in the mail to you as soon as I can!


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Thursday, November 20, 2008

'Tis the Season. . .For Tasty Goodness!

There is a certain flavor combination that is practically irresistible to me, and it seems it is everywhere I turn this time of year.

Dark Chocolate + Mint = Pure Delight

My most recent temptations:

Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano Cookies Drenched in Dark Chocolate

Use the words "drenched" and "dark chocolate in the same sentence, and I'm there!

Oreo Limited Edition Old-Fashioned Candy Cane Creme

As if a regular Oreo isn't pure goodness on its own, now the filling is all minty!

Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Twist

A perennial favorite. This year they've added chocolate curls on top of the whipped cream. Mmmm-mmmm! It was all I could do not to run my finger around the inside of the cup when I was done!

If I overdose on these, maybe I won't be so tempted by these in January.

Yeah, right!

So what's your special can't-resist-it treat during the holidays?!


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First of all, can I just say that hosting a giveaway is absolutely agonizing?!

I want everyone to win and I don't want to disappoint anyone and I want to be sure I do the drawing exactly fairly and I can get myself totally worked up into a Type A frenzy. I am soooo not like The Preacher's Wife, who just scrolls up and down and lets her kids point to names! (And she knows I love her dearly!!)

So here's what I did: I couldn't really use the Random Generator since there were folks with more than one entry and I couldn't figure out where to insert them in the numbering system. So I created a table/spreadsheet with three columns (Comment, Blog Button in Sidebar, Featured in Post) and typed each person's name and/or blog in the appropriate column(s), and cut them out, folding them each once.

Then since it's certainly not a trifling matter, it was only appropriate that I put them all in my trifle bowl! Closed my eyes, stirred them up, prayed that God would guide my fingers to the ones that needed to be blessed by the book or encouraged by the win, and pulled out 3 names.

I'm either methodical and fair or need therapy for my OCD! (Don't feel like you need to tell me which one it is!) I'm definitely worn out and ready for a nap!

Oh -- so you want to know who won? Well, if you insist. . . .

Congrats to Shannon (The Beautiful Letdown), Nise' (Under the Boardwalk), and Mel ( A Voice for Moms). Email me your addresses, ladies, and I'll get your book on its way to you!

Thanks to all of you for your great response - I'm going to try to get the next Booked for the Holidays up sometime Sunday if I can but no later than first thing Monday morning!

Don't forget that you have until tomorrow at noon to comment on Wednesday's post to win My Mother's Wish!


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Small Steps

A few of you have been kind to inquire about the status of my broken foot. My arms are so happy to report that I am indeed crutch-free this week. However, I will not be heading to the mall or out for a hike any time soon. The cast and protective shoe make walking very awkward and my foot is still sore, so I'm still trying to keep it up as possible. A normally 15-minute trip to the grocery store took 45 minutes, and I even used one of the motorized carts. (Only banged it into the refrigerator case once, but at least I didn't knock over any displays!)

But I can carry my cup of coffee now. A girl has to have her priorities!


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A Good Book from a Familiar Name

I have a book to tell you about that's generated a little bit of controversy in the reviewing community. But first of all, if you are not aware (I wasn't until I read the book; I've never been one to swoon over the latest Hollywood hunk), the youngest of the Baldwin brothers, Stephen Baldwin, turned his life over to Christ several years ago. I was so encouraged and blessed by his testimony here:

He has written a couple of books, and has just come out with his first novel, written in conjunction with Mark Tabb. Take a look at the info below and I'll discuss it and the controversy in my comments at the end.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips

FaithWords (November 5, 2008)


Stephen Baldwin
Mark Tabb


STEPHEN BALDWIN - actor, family man, born-again Christian - makes his home in upstate New York with his wife and two young daughters.

Equally adept at drama and comedy, Baldwin has appeared in over 60 films and been featured on such top-rated television shows as Fear Factor and Celebrity Mole. He has his own production company that is developing projects for television and the big screen. These days, however, his role as director, co-producer and host of Livin' It - a cutting-edge skate video is bringing out his white hot passion for evangelism.

Writer and communicator Mark Tabb calls himself an “internationally unknown author.” Although his books have been published around the world, he is best known for his collaborative works. His 2008 release, “Mistaken Identity”, written with the Van Ryn and Cerak families, hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list for two weeks, and remained on the list for over two months. He and actor Stephen Baldwin teamed up on their 2005 New York Times bestseller, “The Unusual Suspect,” and with their first work of fiction, “The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips,”


Even years of experience haven't prepared Officer Andy Myers for this case---

When Officer Andy Myers met Loraine Phillips, he had no interest in her son. And he certainly never dreamed he'd respond to a call, finding that same boy in a pool of blood. Even more alarming was the father standing watch over his son's body. Myers had never seen a man respond to death-particularly the death of a child-in such a way. When the father is charged with murder and sentenced to death, he chooses not to fight but embrace it as God's will. Myers becomes consumed with curiosity for these strange beliefs. What follows is the story of the bond these two men share as they come to terms with the tragedy and the difficult choices each one must make.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips, go HERE


This was a compelling book. The controversy stemmed from those two words above: strong language. Some were offended by it and felt it was unneccessary. Although I certainly don't enjoy such language, I felt that the authors were trying to realistically portray the life of a hardened and bitter police officer who becomes completely obsessed by the God-given peace of Gabriel's father. I also considered the types of individuals to whom Stephen Baldwin primarily ministers. To be honest, I don't think he wrote this to target the sweet blue-haired lady in the 3rd pew of the local church or the carpooling Christian mom. But the biker, the surfer dude, and the motocross racer with the tattoo just might connect with Officer Myers and be stirred by his transformation. It goes back to what I posted on Tuesday about Angela Hunt's novels and the desire to place them where they might be read by an unbeliever.

The publisher of this book released the following statement to the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance (CFBA):
Normally, it is not the policy of FaithWords to include foul language in our fiction titles. The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips has dialogue which reflects the heart of the main character. His transformation and ultimate conversion to Christ throughout the book is key to the story and the author’s intention was to make that transformation clear. We apologize if this inclusion offends our readers. We are committed to publishing fiction that depicts the power of Christ’s love in even the darkest life and situation.

Just to ease your mind, the "strong language" warning might lead you to believe there are words in there that aren't! No f-words, the word cr-- is used instead of sh--; most of the cursing involves d-m-, h--l, and God's name, which of course is the most disturbing. I'm certainly not saying this doesn't constitute strong language (and I absolutely understand folks' sensitivities to this in a Chrsitian book) but channel-surfing on TV or a trip to a sports event can fill your ears with much worse. And reading it, I was able to skim over it and not feel as immersed as if I were sitting in the midst and hearing it.

It's a fine line, but sometimes I think as believers we can become a Christian version of David the Bubble Boy from the 1970's, insulating ourselves so much and being so horrified by anything "worldly" that we lose our ability to minister to the very ones we need to reach. Seems like Jesus Himself was criticized for hanging out with some pretty shady characters - I bet their language wasn't the best when they first started being around Him!

Read this book and decide for yourself. And then consider giving it as a gift to a tough dude (or dudette!) that wouldn't set foot in a church.

And if you disagree with me, that's fine, too! That's the beauty of grace and love among believers!

ADDENDUM - Please know that none of this is written in a dogmatic or harsh sense. I have struggled with this as well, and I certainly like staying in my cocoon! And this is a book for adults and not one I would give to my teenager without serious discussion. Thanks for listening to --er, reading!-- my thoughts.

Happy Thoughtful Reading!


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blog Book Tour with Giveaway

I'll try not to be confused if you won't, okay?! I'm excited to be part of another blog tour this week. This is completely separate from my Booked for the Holidays giveaway - this giveaway will be done strictly from comments received on this post. You don't won't to miss this sweet book!

Mothers & daughters. No relationship in the world can be as tender and sweet. . .or as fraught with landmines! As all the hopes, dreams, and expectations of the older collide with the yearnings, determination, and independent personality of the younger, the two can, at times, seem destined to be no closer than two ships that pass in the night.

Such is the story of Ellee and her mother in My Mother's Wish. Named for her grandmother Eleanor, Ellee spends most of her young life feeling rejected by her mother for not being that grandmother, even down to the tug-of-war over whether she goes by Eleanor or Ellee. When Ellee leaves home in hurt and frustration, she discovers that sometimes God sends the most unexpected of individuals to minister to us and show us the way home. This heart-warming little 80-page book would make a perfect stocking stuffer for the daughter you long to let know how treasured she really is, or as a reminder to yourself that you are beloved of God, just as you are.

A grandfather’s song turns a diner into hallowed ground, like a church. A contrary girl with a gypsy heart feels the tug of home. A mother, far away, confronts impossible expectations. And a truck driver named Jedidah keeps his foot on the gas to sweep you into an unforgettable story of belonging and grace.

Readers looking for a meaningful, powerful read on a winter’s evening or with the family will love the rich 1960s nostalgia captured in the Midwest of Jedidiah’s and Ellee’s story; the peace found when family strife boils over, and the gentle reminders of the influence and effect every life has on another.

My Mother’s Wish is an unforgettable, powerful tale that ends on a memorable Christmastime note, but will be cherished and reread year-round for its bold message of grand hopes, impossible expectations, and the gift of grace that comes in between.

Jerry Camery-Hoggatt, Ph.D., is professor of New Testament at Vanguard University, in Costa Mesa, California. A professional storyteller, he is the author of the highly-acclaimed Christmas stories When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four (in trade adult and children’s picture book editions) and Givers of Gifts; plus Irony in Mark’s Gospel and Grapevine: A Spirituality of Gossip. His passion is theology and storytelling, which he believes are meant to go together. Jerry and his wife, Shaleen, are the parents of three children.

The publisher has provided 2 copies of this book for me to give away here. Please leave a copy on this post by Friday (11/21) at noon CST for your chance to win. (US Addresses only, please) Be sure to include an email address if you don't have a blog so I can contact you if you win.

You can also buy the book at Amazon, CBD, or Family Christian Stores.

Happy Reading!


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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Booked for the Holidays - Angela Hunt's Philosophy

Booked for the Holidays

What makes a book a "Christian book"? What types of books should believers be reading -- and writing? This is a question that can stir debate among readers quicker than you can open the book in question.

As I feature Angela Hunt's incredible and thought-provoking book, The Face, this week, I thought I might open this can of worms explore this a bit and tell you Angie's philosophy and calling as she writes her books.

Back in March on her blog, Angie announced that God had opened some doors for some new opportunities, and that while she isn't changing, her external book appearances and placement will be. I'll let her explain:
". . .when I wrote my first novel, Afton of Margate Castle, I was writing for the world at large, not specifically to a Christian audience. Because I'm a believer in Christ, my Christian values are part of my stories, but in that first book I wasn't attempting to cater to a believing readership.

"And then I learned that since I was writing for Christian publishers whose books were sold in Christian bookstores (which only a small fraction of professing Christians ever actually patronize), maybe I should try to gear my writing to a specific audience. So I did change my focus a bit. I wrote about "Christian problems"--legalism, how we cope with suffering, when we rebel against God's sovereign will, how we should deal with bioethical issues, etc.

"But still, my tendency has always been to write parables--stories that work as a story on one level, but have an underlying spiritual message. Jesus taught in parables, so it it worked for Him . . . .

"Since my salad days, I've written both kinds of books--books geared more for Christians (the Fairlawn books would fall into this category, also The Debt) and books geared more for the world at large. The first category usually features a believing protagonist who is struggling to live out her faith in the world, just as we all are. The second category usually features an agnostic character who either comes to faith or deals with faith elements in an allegorical way (The Elevator; The Face, The Awakening, etc.)

"I'll be honest--it always makes me grimace when someone reviews one of my parable books online and chides me for not being "Christian enough." The elements are there, but they have been carefully laid beneath the obvious story. And writers are all different, and we all write the stories the Lord has given us.

". . desire has always been to get my stories out to the world. My editors--whom I trust-- have recently decided to move me into another Harlequin imprint--one that is not aimed at the Christian market.

"Please understand--my books are not changing. My style, my messages, my high-concept plots will all remain the same (and boy, do I have a dilly of a plot planned next!). But in [August] The Elevator [was] released as a Mira title in "mass market" format--the smaller size paperback that you see in bookstores, at the grocery store, and in Wal-Mart. The Face [was released November 1] in the same format. Same novel, different size. Different imprint.

". . .if you hear that I have "crossed over" and left my Christian stories behind, know that nothing could be further from the truth. I've not sold out, wigged out, or burned out. I'm just moving into a new and uncharted (ahem) area.

"I'm a little thrilled to think that my stories will be on the racks with stories of mayhem and who-knows-what-all. I hope they don't get lost, and I hope my readers will track them down. I have never had a grand career plan with long-term goals. I have always approached this writing thing one contract at a time, writing the stories God either gave me or sent my way. And I know that God doesn't make mistakes, so this is His will and His perfect timing.

"So, hang with me, will you? My Fairlawn books will still finish up with Tyndale; nothing's changing there. But if you see The Elevator or The Face in a spinning rack with books that may not be your first choice, don't be stunned, be excited! I certainly am."

Source: A Life in Pages, March, 2008, Used by Permission

I, for one, am so excited for Angie. And for the individual - who would never step foot in the "Christian Fiction" aisle or bookstore - who is perusing the "racks of mayhem and who-knows-what-all" and happens across her book. Additionally, while I certainly read and enjoy my share of purely Christian fiction books, they are not ones that I would usually feel comfortable recommending to a non-believer because they are far too saturated with church-speak. (BTW, later this week I'll be reviewing a book for CFBA that generated some controversy but that I think is perfect for non-believers.)

The Face has a thought-provoking Discussion Guide in the back of the book for general book clubs. For those individuals who wish to use it for their Christian book club,s they can find a different Discussion Guide here.

So if you are looking for a gift for a non-believing friend, The Face would be an excellent choice, providing a basis for some great conversations betwen you and your friend.

Don't forget to leave a comment on Monday's post by Thursday at 12 Noon CDT for a chance to win one of 3 copies of The Face!


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CFBA Tour - White Christmas Pie

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

White Christmas Pie

Barbour Publishing, Inc (September 1, 2008)


Wanda E. Brunstetter


Fascinated by the Amish people during the years of visiting her husband's family in Pennsylvania, WANDA E. BRUNSTETTER combined her interest with her writing and now has eleven novels about the Amish in print, along with numerous other stories and ministry booklets. She lives in Washington State, where her husband is a pastor, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish settlements throughout the states.

This year Wanda also publishedA Sister's Hope


Step into Amish country for this bittersweet holiday romance. Here you'll meet Will Henderson, a young man tortured by his past, and Karen Yoder, a young woman looking for answers. Add a desperate father searching for his son, and you have all the ingredients for a first-class romance that will inspire and enthrall.

Abandoned by his father, Will Henderson was raised by an Amish couple. Now he's about to marry Karen Yoder but is having second thoughts. Can Will overcome the bitterness of his past in order to secure his future? Karen cannot break through the barrier her fiance has suddenly constructed around his heart. When she seeks the advice of an old boyfriend, Will begins to see green. Has he already lost his chance for happiness?

When an accident threatens Will's life, the strength of blood ties is tested. Will a recipe for White Christmas pie contain the ingredients for a happily-ever-after?

If you would like to read the first chapter of White Christmas Pie, go HERE

Watch the book trailer:


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Monday, November 17, 2008

Booked for the Holidays - Debut!

Welcome to the first week of Booked for the Holidays! I'm so excited to be doing this, and thrilled to meet those of you who are new to my blog. I'm looking forward to sharing some great books with you over the next few weeks. Some are fiction, and some are non-fiction. All are books that have either made me think, stepped on my toes, encouraged me, been impossible to put down -- or all of the above! I can already tell I've got more books than weeks; there are some great reads out there!

This week's feature is the latest release from one of my very favorite authors. The Face by Angela Hunt came out November 1.

If you have never read one of Angela's books, you are in for a treat. She is a brilliant writer who weaves an intricate story that makes me think and ponder long after the last page has been turned. She has written over 100 books (I believe she just wrapped up #112). Her website is aptly named: Expect the Unexpected!

There's just one thing I don't like about her books: I find myself in quite a dilemma: torn between wanting to read slowly and savor each page while at the same time eager to devour it quickly to see what happens next! Life is so hard, sometimes!

Here is the book's description from Angie's website:
Born to parents who died shortly after her birth, twenty-year-old genius Sarah Sims has been hidden in a secure CIA facility where she works to help her handlers achieve their goals. Yet her days of anonymity are limited because her aunt has discovered her existence and is determined to lead Sarah out of exile. But before she can leave the only world she’s ever known, Sarah needs what most people take for granted . . . a functioning face and the skills to use it. Will she remain in her secluded fortress or summon the courage to follow her heart?

The Face is a masterful novel. Angie deftly weaves the story through chapters alternating in the voice of Sarah and her Aunt Renee. The multitude of interpersonal relationships are rich and complex. I was fascinated by the multiple levels of research Angie did for this novel. And although I usually try to figure out what the ending will be in a book (and am generally at least partly on target), I was so captivated by the story that I didn't see this one coming. What a beautiful story of hope and love.

Publisher's Weekly gave The Face a starred review and named it one of the best books of 2008.

I feel like I know Angie from reading her blog each day - she varies from lighthearted and funny to deeply passionate about her topic du jour. She also does a monthly feature called Book of the Month when she discusses the process involved in producing one of her books - from the idea through research, writing, editing, and reader reaction, and she even lets us ask her questions! The Face was featured this month; click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to read the posts from the first week of November.

In addition to the many awards she has earned for her writing, last Christmas her novel The Note (another one of my favorites!) was featured as a movie on the Hallmark Channel. (It's now available on DVD.) In the spring of this year she became Dr. Angela Hunt as she completed her Doctorate of Biblical Studies in Theology. And one of her "fun" claims to fame was when she appeared on Live with Regis and Kelly with one of her beloved mastiffs, who was honored as the 2nd largest canine in America!

I've tarried too long, but there's more one thing I love about Angela Hunt's philopsopy and her thought-provoking writing, so you'll have to come back tomorrow to find that out! Here's a teaser: are her books targeted for Christians or non-believers?

Since this is the very first week, I'm giving away THREE copies of The Face. To enter, here's what to do. . .
1) Leave a comment on this post.
2) For additional chances to win, let me know you've posted the Booked for the Holidays button on your sidebar and/or linked in a post. I want to help you win, and I also want to spread the word about these great books!
3) I apologize to those of you who may be outside the USA, but I just can't afford the shipping to anywhere but a US address.
4) Entries must be received by this Thursday, Nov. 20, at 12 NOON CDT. I'll draw 3 winners that afternoon. If you do not have a blog, please be sure to include your email address.

Happy Reading!

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Fall into Flavor Finale!

There have been some great recipes shared these past few weeks during Fall into Flavor. I couldn't resist this one for the finale. Just the name cracks me up. A friend made these for my birthday one year, and they definitely live up to their name!

(BTW, if you have the Siesta Fiesta Cookbook, this recipe is in there.)


1 roll refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
1 6 oz. package chocolate chips
32 caramels, unwrapped
¼ c. half & half
1 c. chopped pecans (or your choice of nut)

Cut dough into ¼ inch thick slices and press into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Melt caramels in half & half and spread over top. Sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate. Indulge!

Thanks, Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee for supporting our cardiologists hosting this recipe exchange! Bring one of yours and share it here!


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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday - Toe-Tapping Medley!

This medley of hymns will put a smile on your face and a tap in your toe!! It's a shame this family can't sing! LOL! Love that harmony!

Be sure to visit Amy's blog for more Then Sings My Soul Saturday songs!


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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Booked for the Holidays

I'm excited to announce a special giveaway I'm going to be doing over the next few weeks. I've read several books lately that have really grabbed me, and I want to share these with you. These are not books that I've been asked to promote or review. They are simply books that I have either just happened across, eagerly anticipated because I have read other works by the author, or found in some other way.

But they are all too good to keep to myself. (Well, I'm keeping MY copies, but I'm giving away one or more of each book to you!)

I'll kick off the giveaway next Monday, 11/17/08, and continue each week thereafter for at least 4 weeks.

Please spread the word - feel free to put the button on your blog. Linking to posts or to the giveaway will give you additional chances to win!

After pulling my hair out and gnashing my teeth trying to figure out how to make my button where you can copy the code, thanks SO much to my blog designer Shauna for her help!

UPDATE: Click here for the current giveaway!


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