Saturday, March 31, 2012

TSMSS - The Cross

We are about to enter the week when we reflect on the cross and the amazing grace Christ poured out for us with His blood. I couldn't choose between these two songs, so I decided to post both of them!

I still think of this as a newer song, but it's almost as old as I am. It was new when I was growing up!

Love this beautiful old hymn!

Join me at Amy's for more songs.


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Friday, March 30, 2012

River's Call

River's Call
Melody Carlson
(Abingdon Press)
ISBN: 978-1426712678
February 2012/$14.99/320 pages

What happens when the ties between generations are severed?

It is the 1960s and Anna's daughter, Lauren, is confused, broken-hearted, and pregnant. The difficult situation seems to bring out the worst in the selfish girl. When Lauren chooses to stay with her manipulative Grandma Eunice, Anna worries her daughter will never become a mature adult and the relationship between Lauren, Anna and Eunice becomes even more strained. However, when she hits the lowest point in her life, Lauren returns to her mother, the river, and the Inn and Shining Waters. As time passes, Lauren, now a mother to her own defiant teenager, faces a new crisis, one that puts the entire family at risk.

Read the first chapter here.

Melody Carlson published her first book in 1995 and she has been writing prolifically ever since. To date, Melody has published over 200 books, making her one of the top 20 most prolific authors of all time. With total sales of over 5 million her award-winning books include: Homeward, Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon; Limelight; the Diary of a Teenage Girl series; the True Colors series; and the Carter House Girls series.

In her professional life, Melody has worn many hats: from pre-school teacher to political activist to senior editor. Currently, she writes full-time, and freelances from her home. She has two grown sons and lives in Sisters, Oregon with her husband, Chris, and Audrey, her yellow lab. They enjoy skiing, hiking, and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

I have mixed views on this novel. Many of Melody Carlson's books are spot-on, but this one falls a biti short, in my opinion. The book itself is well-written and the story drew me in, especially as the sequel to River's Song, which was published last summer. There was much to like overall, and I enjoyed the reappearance of many of the secondary characters from the first book. However, as I read, I felt that the story skates perilously close to simply being a nominally "religious" book with humanistic overtones rather than one with a Christian message, even one that is subtle. Comments such as "the river called to me" and "the river gave me a second chance" contribute to this, as do some other conversations and attitudes. When a novel highlights such broken lives and relationships as River's Call portrays, I think it is important to be clear about Christ as the Source of hope. I would recommend this one with caution.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press and Glass Road Public Relations as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Award Finalists!

It's spring and that means finalists are being announced for various book awards. Of course, for me, the ACFW Carol Awards and the Christy Awards are the creme de la creme because they honor so many categories of Christian fiction! The Christy Award finalists will be announced in mid-April, and you know I will have them right here as soon as they are announced. The Carol Award finalists will be announced a bit later--in July, if I remember correctly. But some other important awards also announced finalists in the past few days, so I wanted to share those with you. The ones I have read/reviewed are hyper-linked to that review.

Earlier this week Romance Writers of America (RWA) announced the finalists for the RITA Award. The 2012 RITA honors romance fiction published in 2011. More than 1,200 novels and novellas were judged in 12 categories.

Winners of the awards will be announced July 28, 2012, at the RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony to be held at the 2012 RWA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

The awards honor primarily books in the secular romance category. In the Inspirational Romance category, the finalists are:

  • The Christmas Child by Linda Goodnight (Harlequin Love Inspired; Allison Lyons, editor)
  • Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon (Revell; Jennifer Leep, editor)
  • Katie's Way by Marta Perry (Berkley Publishing Group; Ellen Edwards, editor)
  • The Ladies' Room by Carolyn Brown (Avalon Books; Lia Brown, editor)
  • Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist (Bethany House Publishers; David Long and Julie Klassen, editors)
  • The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller (Revell; Vicki Crumpton, editor)
  • My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers; Karen Watson, editor)
  • Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson; Natalie Hanemann and Jamie Chavez, editors)
  • To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House Publishers; Karen Schurrer, editor)

Yesterday, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) announced 40 finalists in seven categories for the 2012 Christian Book Awards. Below are the finalists as listed in the press release:

The 2012 Christian Book Award finalists are:

Category: BIBLES
  • ESV Student Study Bible (Crossway) 9781433523045
  • KJV400 Study Bible (Thomas Nelson) 9781418545352
  • NIV Student Bible, Tim Stafford, Philip Yancey (Zondervan) 9780310437246
  • NLT Parallel Study Bible (Tyndale House Publishers) 9781414339252
  • NKJV Evidence Bible, Commentary by Ray Comfort (Bridge Logos Publishers) 9780882705255

  • Acts, Derek Thomas (P&R Publishing Group) 9781596380486L
  • The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook, J. Daniel Hays and J. Scott Duvall (Baker Books/ Baker Publishing Group) 9780801012969
  • Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, Glen G. Scorgie (Zondervan) 9780310290667
  • Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?, C. John Collins (Crossway) 9781433524257
  • Galatians, Ephesians: Reformation Commentary on Scripture Series, Gerald L. Bray, Editor (InterVarsity Press) 9780830829736
  • Operation World, Jason Mandryk (Biblica/ InterVarsity Press) 9780830857234

Category: CHILDREN
  • Horse Dreams, Dandi Daley Mackall (Tyndale House Publishers) 9781414339160
  • My First Hands-On Bible, Group Publishing and Tyndale House Publishers (Tyndale House Publishers) 9781414348308
  • Ronnie Wilson’s Gift, Francis Chan (David C Cook) 9780781404778
  • The Story Bible, Edited by Edward A. Engelbrecht and Gail E. Pawlitz (Concordia Publishing House) 9780758619020
  • The Story for Children, A Storybook Bible, Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, and Karen Davis Hill (Zonderkidz) 9780310719755

Category: FICTION
  • Freedom’s Stand, Jeanette Windle (Tyndale House Publishers) 9781414314761
  • Mine Is the Night, Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Press) 9781400070022
  • The Queen, Steven James (Revell/ Baker Publishing Group) 9780800733032
  • The Reluctant Prophet, Nancy Rue (David C Cook) 9781434764966
  • The Touch, Randall Wallace (Tyndale House Publishers) 9781414343662

  • Hope for Your Heart, June Hunt (Crossway) 9781433503979
  • The Law of Happiness, Dr. Henry Cloud (Howard Books) 9781439176993
  • Live Loved, Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson) 9781404190061
  • Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God, Marty Machowski (New Growth Press) 9781935273813
  • The Love and Respect Experience, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (Thomas Nelson) 9780849948176
  • The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge, Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker (Tyndale House Publishers) 9781414348285

Category: NEW AUTHOR
  • The Healer’s Apprentice, Melanie Dickerson (Zondervan) 9780310721437
  • Kisses from Katie, Katie Davis (Howard Books) 9781451612066
  • Love Amid the Ashes, Mesu Andrews (Revell/ Baker Publishing Group) 9780800734077
  • Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman (Zondervan) 9780310331933
  • Surprised by Oxford, Carolyn Weber (Thomas Nelson) 9780849946110
  • The World-Tilting Gospel: Embracing a Biblical Worldview & Hanging on Tight, Dan Phillips (Kregel Publications) 9780825439087

  • Close Enough to Hear God Breathe, Greg Paul (Thomas Nelson) 9781400203000
  • Jesus + Nothing = Everything, Tullian Tchividjian (Crossway) 9781433507786
  • Nearing Home, Billy Graham (Thomas Nelson) 9780849948329
  • The Resolution for Men, Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick (B&H Publishing Group) 9781433671227
  • Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey into Meditative Prayer, Richard J. Foster (InterVarsity Press) 9780830835553
  • What Women Fear, Angie Smith (B&H Publishing Group) 9780805464290
  • What's It Like to Be Married to Me, Linda Dillow (David C Cook) 9781434700568

One title from each category will be chosen as the Christian Book Award winner. In addition, one title will be chosen among all the finalists to receive the highest honor of 2012 Christian Book of the Year. These winners will be announced at the upcoming ECPA Awards Banquet held April 30 in Chicago.

CONGRATULATIONS to all of the finalists!


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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hodgepodge Madness

1. What's the last job you did that required elbow grease?

Changing the registration sticker on my windshield. I got the sticker off, but the residue was ridiculous! I used a ton of Goo Gone and a razor blade and it still took some work.

2. March Madness, aka the men's Division I basketball championship, is nearing an end. What sort of 'madness' has your house seen this month?

This month hasn't had any madness that's different from any other month's madness.

3. What's your favorite shop for browsing?

I'm sure you are shocked that my answer is. . . .a bookstore!

4. Is there ever a time when giving up makes sense?

Absolutely! When you are fighting God!

5. What's a song you love that contains the name of a city, state or country in its title?

Yellow Rose of Texas. And God Bless America.

6. When did you first begin using a computer?

Way back in the 80's at work, I guess. I remember the green letters and the boxy display.

It's weird; now that I think about it, I can picture turning in a few papers in college that were obviously not hand-written but I have no idea how I did that. I didn't have a typewriter in my dorm room. We didn't have computers at the library yet. I guess I used a friend's typewriter.

7. Did you buy girl scout cookies this year? What's your favorite?

Absolutely. Any mom who has ever stood at a booth with her girl in freezing temperatures will ALWAYS buy Girl Scout cookies! LOL Thin Mints are still the best, although Shortbreads (called Trefoils in some parts of the country) are really good too, especially with coffee!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My girl and I are going on our first college visit early next week! Such fun, but I can't believe we're at this juncture with my baby!


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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Chase - A Must-Read!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Chase
Zondervan (March 27, 2012)
DiAnn Mills


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at


To the FBI it's a cold case. To Kariss Walker it's a hot idea that could either reshape or ruin her writing career. And it's a burning mission to revisit an event she can never forget. Five years ago, an unidentified little girl was found starved to death in the woods behind a Houston apartment complex. A TV news anchor at the time, Kariss reported on the terrifying case. Today, as a New York Times bestselling author, Kariss intends to turn the unsolved mystery into a suspense novel. Enlisting the help of FBI Special Agent Tigo Harris, Kariss succeeds in getting the case reopened. But the search for the dead girl's missing mother yields a discovery that plunges the partners into a witch's brew of danger. The old crime lives on in more ways than either of them could ever imagine. Will Kariss's pursuit of her dream as a writer carry a deadly price tag? Drawing from a real-life cold case, bestselling novelist DiAnn Mills presents a taut collage of suspense, faith, and romance in The Chase.

Watch the book video!

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Chase, go HERE.


Buckle your seatbelt for this one -- and you might want to grab a Kevlar vest as well -- because DiAnn Mills will have you hanging on for dear life in this adrenaline-laced thriller!   Kariss Walker shatters FBI Agent Tigo Harris' stereotype of women authors as she goes toe-to-toe with him to research the cold case of Cherished Doe, the unidentified baby found dead and discarded five years ago.  Based on a real cold case from Houston's own FBI files, DiAnn Mills plunges the reader into the world of the FBI, undercover surveillance, gangs and gun cartels, and the result is a novel so authentic you will smell the "Venti, black" that Tigo gulps down every morning. This is a great read on so many levels; the heart-wrenching emotion of the cold case details, the tension & conflict between Tigo and Kariss, their individual faith journeys, and the lurking danger are just a few of the elements that kept me absolutely glued to the pages. DiAnn is in her element, writing heart-pounding suspense set in her home city, and I think this is her best book yet. I predict this first Crime Scene: Houston novel will be an award-winner, and I can't wait for the next one!

My long-time readers may remember that I posted an interview with DiAnn from last summer's trip to Atlanta for ICRS. In that interview she talked a bit about this book and how she got the insider information to make the gang and cartel aspects so realistic. You can find that interview here.


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Monday, March 26, 2012

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

By the Light of the Silvery Moon
Tricia Goyer
ISBN: 978-1616265519
March 2012/320 pages/$12.99

Amelia Gladstone's hopes are tied up in the Titanic--hopes for a reunion with her sister and an introduction to an admirer. But when she offers a spare ticket to a down-and-out young man, her fate is about to change.

Quentin Walpole is stunned when a sweet lady secures his passage to America--and even more surprised to find his wealthy father and older brother on board the ship. Suddenly Amelia finds herself caught between the attentions of two men, but who should she entrust her heart to? As the fateful night arrives, will Amelia lose everything to the icy waters?


Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of thirty-two books including Beside Still Waters, Remembering You, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

More info: Living Inspired and


I have always given a wide berth (no pun intended!) to anything related to the Titanic. But I couldn't turn down the chance to review a Tricia Goyer book, so I read it with a bit of trepidation. I could not put it down. As always, Tricia impeccably blends fact and fiction into a beautiful multi-faceted story. The disparity and tension between societal levels is masterfully portrayed, and the effect weighs even more when the distinctions cross family lines. I can only imagine the challenge of writing a novel where the setting is a foregone and well-known conclusion yet crafting a story that isn't completely predictable, but Tricia Goyer kept me guessing right to the end exactly who would be on the lifeboats and survive the horrific tragedy. In fact, the ending remained complete surprise -- and one that made me catch my breath -- even as it was still unfolding. With portions of the novel beautifully based on the parable of the Prodigal Son from the New Testament, By the Light of the Silvery Moon contains love, forgiveness, faith, and new beginnings. I highly recommend this book as a great way to commemorate the centennial of this fateful voyage.

Find out what others are saying about this book by visiting other stops on the blog tour here.

Celebrate the release of By the Light of the Silvery Moon with Tricia by entering her giveaway and RSVPing to her Titanic party.

One "unsinkable" winner will receive:

  • Flip HD video Camera (Make your own dramatic saga!)
  • Titanic movies from the ages {Titanic (1953) Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), Titanic (1997)}
  • Secrets of the Titanic (Get the facts from National Geographic.)
  • And the Band Played On (Music Played on the Titanic.)
  • By the Light of the Silvery Moon by Tricia Goyer (Be swept away in this tale of love and courage.)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 9th. Winner will be announced at "Silvery Moon" Titanic Facebook Party on 4/10. Tricia will be hosting an author chat (on Facebook and Live from her website) and giving away books, gift certificates and a book club prize pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club). During the live chat Tricia will have a *special guest* join her. More details coming soon!

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


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Saturday, March 24, 2012

TSMSS - My Father's World!
This is a particularly beautiful spring here in Texas. We have actually had some rain. It's not nearly enough to get us out of the drought and fill up the lakes, but the grass is perking up and the bluebonnets are stellar. We've had some gorgeous days where the temperatures are a tad cool in the mornings and evenings and warming up in the afternoon. It's absolutely my favorite time of year! The beauty of nature always causes me to praise God! It always makes me think of Romans 1:20 - For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. How anyone can see the earth springing forth in all its beauty after the dormancy of winter and not recognize and praise God just astounds me.

I love this hymn, and this version by 2nd Chapter of Acts from my high school days way back in the 1970's brings back sweet memories.

Join me over at Amy's for more songs for your weekend!


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Friday, March 23, 2012


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Avon Inspire; Original edition (March 20, 2012)
Shelley Shepard Gray


Since 2000, Shelley Sabga has sold over thirty novels to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Harlequin, Abingdon Press, and Avon Inspire. She has been interviewed by NPR, and her books have been highlighted in numerous publications, including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for HarperCollins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Her recent novel, The Protector, the final book in her “Families of Honor” series, hit the New York Times List, and her previous novel in the same series, The Survivor, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Shelley has won the prestigious Holt Medallion for her books, Forgiven and Grace, and her novels have been chosen as Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club. Her first novel with Avon Inspire, Hidden, was an Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two children in college, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and currently leads a Bible study group, and she looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

When she’s not writing, Shelley often attends conferences and reader retreats in order to give workshops and publicize her work. She’s attended RWA’s national conference six times, the ACFW conference and Romantic Times Magazine’s annual conference as well as traveled to New Jersey, Birmingham, and Tennessee to attend local conferences.

Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page


In the first book in her new Secrets of Crittenden County series, Shelley Shepard Gray delivers another page-turning romance set in Amish country

Perry Borntrager had been missing from the quiet Amish community of Crittenden, Kentucky, for months when his body was discovered at the bottom of an abandoned well. Everyone had assumed Perry left Crittenden on his own, seduced by the wider world he discovered during his rumspringa, but now the truth has thrown this once-peaceful town into chaos. The first death from mysterious circumstances in Crittenden in more than two decades has invited the scrutiny of the outside world: a police detective arrives to help their local sheriff with the investigation. His questioning begins with Lydia Plank, Perry’s former girlfriend, and Perry’s best friend, the Englisher Walker Anderson.

Lydia and Walker know they didn’t have anything to do with Perry’s death, but they both hold secrets about his final days. Do they dare to open up about the kind of man Perry had become? In the oppressive shadow of these dark times, they discover strength in a most unlikely companionship that offers solace, understanding, and the promise of something more.

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


Missing is a great start to Shelley Shepard Gray's new series.  Her Amish fiction is edgier than most, with threads of mystery and suspense weaving throughout the book.  I immediately found myself drawn into the setting and the story, and I felt many of the emotions and struggles that the characters experienced. I especially loved Lydia, who not only wrestles with her knowledge of Perry's actions before his death but whose world is rocked when she discovers a secret in her own life that challenges everything she has believed about herself, her family, and her faith.  And while there is a bit of resolution at the end of the book, more is left to be continued with the remaining books, The Search and Found which are scheduled to be released in June and September.  Grab a copy of this book today and plan to spend some time in Crittenden County this year!


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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fresh for Spring Bible Giveaway!

Update Wednesday 3/28/12 3:00 pm WINNERS!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2012-03-28 19:58:54 UTC

Congrats to Modern Day Disciple and Diana Ferguson. Send me your addresses, ladies, and Zondervan will send the Bibles your way!

* * * * *

I was delighted when Zondervan asked me to blog about and offer a giveaway of their new NIV Thinline Bloom Collection of Bibles for Spring 2012 but when they said they would send me the press kit, I had no idea I would receive FOUR of the items! Look what arrived a couple of weeks ago!

Aren't they darling? Here's a little more information about the various styles, as pictured from left to right above:

The Bloom Collection - The two floral Bibles above are bold Red Poppies and serene White Lilies. This collection is also available in lively Tulips, bright orange Tiger Lilies, and sweet Gerbera Daisies. The White Lilies Bible is compact (approx. 5 x 7 inches), perfect to slip in your purse, while the Red Poppies one is a tad bigger (6 x 9 inches) - just right for a backpack or shoulder bag. Both have ribbon markers and silver-gilded pages and are red-letter editions. View the collection here.

The Bible Clutch - this is the gray one -- or I should say Silver Ice! -- pictured above, and it as a zip-around closure. And as you can see from this close-up of me holding it open, it is part Bible and part wallet, with inside pockets as well to give you a place for some cash or a debit card or license. It is slim (approx. 5 x 8 inches) and has the words of Christ in red. It's available in a variety of classic and chic colers: Black, Silver Ice, Pink/Chocolate, Caribbean Blue, Blueberry, and Hot Pink. Available here.

DuoTone Thinline Bible - I love this compact little Bible, and I suspect my girl is going to whisk it away for her backpack! It is a compact size (approx 5 x 7 inches) and like the Bloom Collection, it has silver-gilded pages, a ribbon marker, and the words of Christ in red. The one shown is DuoTone Lavender, and there is a huge variety of colors available, including Pink Paisley, Blue Spirals, Razzleberry, Midnight Blue/Moss Green, Dark Orchid/Grape, Slate Blue, Tan/Black, Black/Silver Owl, and Plum Floral, among many others. There is even a Safari Collection coming in August with Giraffe and Zebra covers! You can see the complete collection here.


Zondervan has generously offered to give away two of these Bibles to my readers. Two winners will each receive a Bloom Collection Bible - either the Red Poppies or White Lilies. To enter, leave a comment on this post no later than 8:00 pm CDT Tuesday, 3/27/12 and I will draw two winners using US Residents only please. Be sure to leave an email address if you do not have a blog so I can contact you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these Bibles free from Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Springing into Hodgepodge

1. The first day of spring is you enjoy working in the yard? Weeding, raking, mowing, planting-your favorite springtime garden chore? How about your least favorite?

Nope. Messing with dirt, leaves, or grass gives me a migraine and a sinus headache.

2. What puts a spring in your step?

Warm weather and sunshine.

3. Describe a time when you had to spring into action?

I've been around a couple of medical emergencies. Definitely some springing there!

4. We're having carrots for dinner...would you prefer yours raw or cooked?

Raw and grated in the salad, please.

5. Do you take the shampoos and other sundries from your hotel room when its time to check out?

Generally, no. With the exception of the mouthwash on occasion

6. What's the most enjoyable team or club you've belonged to and what was it that made it so?

That would definitely be our church staff, where I serve as Care Minister. It's very part-part-time for me, but it's a wonderful group of folks to work with. Such authenticity, great hearts for God and others, and they're also just a lot of fun to be around!

7. Is cloning a sign of progress?

No. I think it's a sign of human pride and arrogance gone amok, a modern-day Tower of Babel.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of reviewing books, be sure to click on the book at the top of my sidebar to enter my giveaway for Randy Singer's latest novel and to read the incredible interview I had the opportunity to conduct with him. And stay tune for another great giveaway coming in the next couple of days -- one that has SPRING written all over it!

Random thought #2 - My girl is back from Thailand! God blessed the team in so many ways and it was a great trip! Now if we can just get her over this jet lag. . . !


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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Saving Hope

Saving Hope
Men of the Texas Rangers
Margaret Daley
(Abingdon Press)
ISBN: 978-1426714283
March 2012/336 pages/$14.99

When a teenager goes missing from the Beacon of Hope School, Texas Ranger Wyatt Sheridan and school director Kate Winslow are forced into a dangerous struggle against a human trafficking organization. But the battle brings dire consequences as Wyatt's daughter is terrorized and Kate is kidnapped.

Now it's personal, and Wyatt finds both his faith and investigative skills challenged as he fights to discover the mastermind behind the ring before evil destroys everyone he loves.

Margaret Daley is an award winning, multi-published author in the romance genre. One of her romantic suspense books, Hearts on the Line, won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Contest. Recently she has won the Golden Quill Contest, FHL’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, Winter Rose Contest, Holt Medallion and the Barclay Gold Contest. She currently writes inspirational romance and romantic suspense books for the Steeple Hill Love Inspired lines. Visit her website to learn more.

After reading this novel, I may never let my girl out of my sight again! All joking aside, this is a compelling story about a real-life issue that's far too prevalent in our world today and the impact it has on teenage girls. Margaret Daley infuses heart-wrenching suspense with hope and new beginnings in this opening book of her new series. A host of great characters inhabit this story, and their flaws only make them more likeable and credible. . . except for the "bad guys," that is! (Daley deftly places one of the perpetrators in plain sight throughout the story, making the reader want to crawl through the pages to warn the others that he is not who he appears to be.) Of course, what's not to like about a strong and handsome Texas Ranger who won't rest until he hunts down those responsible for exploiting the girls?! And every teenage girl should have a Kate Winslow in her life - someone who will believe in her, listen to her, and stand up for her and to her! I was caught up in this story from the first page until the ending, and I eagerly await the October release of the second book, Shattered Silence.

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


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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Last Plea Bargain - Interview and Giveaway!

Update 3/26/12 9:15 am WINNER!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2012-03-26 14:11:17 UTC

Congrats to karenk! Email me your address, Karen, and you will receive a copy of this book and an autographed book plate from Randy Singer. Thanks to everyone for entering!

* * * * *

I am delighted to tell you about an incredible novel as well as share an interview with the author today! Grab a cup of your favorite brew and join me for a mocha with Randy Singer. First, here's a peek into his latest novel, The Last Plea Bargain.

The Last Plea Bargain
Randy Singer
(Tyndale House Publishers)
ISBN: 978-1414333212
February 2012/432 pages/$13.99

Plea bargains may grease the rails of justice, but for Jamie Brock, prosecuting criminals is not about cutting deals. In her three years as assistant DA, she’s never plea-bargained a case and vows she never will. But when a powerful defense attorney is indicted for murder and devises a way to bring the entire justice system to a screeching halt, Jamie finds herself at a crossroads. One by one, prisoners begin rejecting deals. Prosecutors are overwhelmed, and felons start walking free on technicalities. To break the logjam and convict her nemesis, Jamie must violate every principle that has guided her young career. But she has little choice. To convict the devil, sometimes you have to cut a deal with one of his demons.

I've rendered my verdict: The Last Plea Bargain is Randy Singer's most compelling, and perhaps his most thought-provoking, novel to date. Singer takes the reader deep into the legal system and beyond the courtroom where prosecutors and defense attorneys wage a war of legal maneuvering and where the outcome is a matter of life and death. I can't say enough good things about this book. As a novel, it is simply a great read, with plenty of suspense, verbal sparring, and drama woven together as two cases parallel and overlap in the personal and professional life of prosecutor Jamie Brock. Beyond that, however, this novel made me think -- about mercy, justice, repentance, faith, and how all of those impact (or should impact) our legal system. Randy Singer expertly presents Truth while at the same time evenly portraying both sides of issues which are less clear-cut. I could not put this book down, and The Last Plea Bargain stayed on my mind for days after I finished it. You be the judge - grab a copy of this book today!


I always love interviewing authors, but I was particularly thrilled to be one of the bloggers chosen to conduct an email interview with Randy Singer for this blog tour. About five or six years ago, Randy preached at our church. At that time he was the president of the North American Mission Board. To be honest, I have heard untold numbers of visiting preachers from boards and seminaries throughout my lifetime in the church, and I braced myself for what could be a rather dry and esoteric sermon. How wrong I was! Randy preached a compelling sermon from the first sentence to the final Amen. When I discovered he was also an author, I knew I had to check out his books (no pun intended!) and I have found them just as captivating. You are in for a treat as Randy shares below.

1. Jamie Brock has a well-earned reputation as a tough-as-nails prosecutor. She pursues justice with a passion ignited by her own personal loss, refusing to plea-bargain. To many of us outside of the legal system, plea bargains can be perplexing, allowing criminals to receive less than the prescribed punishment for their infraction. Yet as parents, we often plea-bargain with our children, telling them a punishment will be less severe if they'll "come clean" and admit their guilt! Was Jamie right in her view or too harsh? What is the proper role of plea-bargaining?

What an excellent analogy! And, to be honest, I had never thought of it like that, although I “plea-bargained” with my kids for eighteen years each.

If you’re asking me, I think Jamie was too harsh. Here’s why—the system actually anticipates that prosecutors will plea bargain. Most of the sentencing guidelines we have in place today are pretty draconian and there are lots of ways prosecutors can throw multiple counts at defendants for essentially the same conduct. It’s not unusual for a defendant to be facing four or five felonies arising out of one set of activities. So the system basically gives prosecutors a lot of leverage, a big hammer, if you will, to hold over a defendant’s head to get them to plead guilty. The law does this, knowing that most of the time the defendant will plead guilty and the prosecutor will exercise some discretion so that the defendant doesn’t serve maximum time on every charge. But when a prosecutor like Jamie is on a crusade and basically throws the book at everybody (because of compelling personal reasons), the end result can be too harsh.

2. Jamie faces an ethical dilemma when she stumbles across evidence that could free a convicted murder on a technicality.
The system sometimes required us to set guilty people free in order to protect the integrity of the process and everyone's constitutional rights. . . .[O]ur job was to pursue justice and not just win cases. But now, on the most important case of my life, I was playing fast and loose with the rules. (p. 237)
Technicality issues can be even harder to understand than plea bargains! How does this indeed "protect the integrity of the process and everyone's constitutional rights?"

A good prosecutor understands that his or her job is not to get convictions but to do justice. That’s why prosecutors are required to give all exculpatory evidence (stuff that tends to prove a defendant is innocent) to the defense lawyer. Good prosecutors are also committed to the “rule of law,” i.e. the integrity and finality of the legal process. Prosecutors have a role in our judicial system and it is not to be the judge and jury. So, if a prosecutor decides that somebody is guilty and therefore the prosecutor is not going to turn over exculpatory evidence as our Constitution requires, then the prosecutor has put himself or herself into the position of being judge, jury and executioner!

There is a saying in the law that it is better for ten guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to go to jail. (That’s why most of the rules in our criminal justice system are stacked in favor of the defendant—proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the Fifth Amendment, prosecutors can’t generally appeal adverse results, etc.) To be honest, most people don’t agree with this saying unless they are in the role of that one innocent person being accused by the state. In this country, we should never live in fear that an over-zealous prosecutor is going to try to take our freedom away by “playing fast and loose” with the rules. The state simply has too many weapons at its disposal to allow such conduct. Therefore, a prosecutor has to follow the rules and the Constitutional process even when he or she thinks (because the prosecutor can never know for sure) that the defendant is guilty. We are innocent until proven guilty. And we are only proven guilty when we are convicted after a fair trial or if we plead guilty. Until then, we are entitled to be treated as innocent persons.

In some ways, prosecutors have the hardest job. But in some ways, the easiest. They don’t have to worry about defending a client even if the client is wrong. Their only job is to pursue justice.

3. The death penalty is another hot button issue that is touched on in this novel, made more complex by the conversion experience of Antoine Marshall. (This brings to mind the case of Karla Fay Tucker in Texas from several years ago.) Does the New Testament cancel out the death penalty? Should repentance be a factor when considering the commutation of a death sentence?

I will have to “take the Fifth” on the first part of this question! Not because I don’t want to answer, but because I worked hard in the book to present both sides of the death penalty debate from the perspective of two Christian lawyers. My intent and hope was to be evenhanded and fair so the reader could decide.

I definitely think “repentance” should be a factor in whether a death penalty should be commuted. It’s not fashionable in our society to call it “repentance,” we usually use more politically-correct terms like rehabilitation, but whatever we call it, repentance and subsequent evidence of repentance through changed behavior, need to be a factor. Now, having said that, it still seems to me that there are some crimes so heinous and reprehensible that commutation shouldn’t be handed out no matter what. And I think a truly repentant defendant might understand that. The repentant thief on the cross cried out to Christ, asking Jesus to remember him when Jesus came into his glory. The thief didn’t ask Christ to get him off the cross and Christ didn’t volunteer. Sometimes, true repentance is shown by an attitude that acknowledges the justice of the punishment.

4. Jamie is just as unrelenting in how she pushes herself -- whether it's on the kayak, running, working, or burying her pain and guilt -- as she is in her quest for justice. She even holds God at arm's length. Can someone offer mercy who has not received/accepted mercy him/herself?

Unrelenting is a great way to describe Jamie. She doesn’t have an “off” switch. Everything is at 100%.

Mercy means not giving someone what they deserve. It’s a great struggle for somebody who has not been shown mercy to extend it himself or herself but I think it’s possible. You see it sometimes with POWs or even survivors of concentration camps. Mercy has to start somewhere, with someone. Most often, we extend mercy as a reaction to our understanding that God has been merciful to us. But sometimes, we are called to extend mercy even though nobody on this earth has been merciful to us. That is real heroism.

5. When I finished this novel, I kept thinking of Micah 6:8: "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." And James 2:14 says "Mercy triumphs over judgment." Obviously, only God is truly just and merciful. How can we balance judgment and mercy? Can we have one without the other? How would embracing these verses impact our legal system and our society as a whole?

You are exactly right when you ask the question: “How can we balance judgment and mercy?” It is a balance and I believe that one without the other is dangerous.

It takes courage to pursue justice. You have to stare evil in the face and demand accountability. It is easier to let evil have its day. So, if we cling only to mercy, then there is nothing to stop the advance of true evil. We live in a constant state of spiritual warfare. And God is a God of justice. We should be irate at injustice in the world and willing to risk our own lives to stop it.

But passionately seeking justice is just one step away from vengeance. And Scripture tells us not to take revenge into our own hands. Romans 12:19. Instead, we should leave room for God’s wrath, not trying to overcome evil with evil but overcoming evil with good. Romans 12:20-21.

How do we draw this line? I believe a lot of it has to do with motivation. Are we mad because somebody hurt us or disrespected us? Chances are, that’s vengeance. On the other hand, are we striving for justice for others, or devoting ourselves to a just cause? Chances are, that’s seeking justice.

6. Lawyer jokes aside, what has been the toughest thing for you to reconcile or process as an attorney who is a committed Christian?

There are a lot of aspects to being an aggressive, competitive, trial attorney that cause friction for a Christian. For example, the negotiation process in civil cases and plea bargaining in criminal cases is largely based on misdirection and deception. Let’s say your client will settle the case for $50,000. Do you tell the other side that in your opening offer? Of course not! You say that you are willing to settle for $100,000 but you have “room to negotiate.” Then the other side asks, “What is your bottom line?” Do you tell them? Do you leave yourself some wiggle room? The point is—navigating the negotiation process and maintaining your integrity can be hard.

Also, being an aggressive trial attorney means you sometimes have to really attack the credibility of the other side’s witnesses on cross-examination. And many times, these are really nice folks! Now, as a Christian, you must do it professionally and fairly, but it still means that you are creating a lot of tension and conflict.

Lastly, there are times when the law entitles your client to one thing but fairness and grace require another. Our job as lawyers is to represent our client zealously within the bounds of the law. At the same time, we can counsel them on what the “right” thing is to do, but we cannot require that they go there.

7. What gives you the greatest satisfaction in your practice?

I love having my own firm because I can represent regular people who are up against long odds and need somebody to be an advocate for them. Scripture says that Christ is our advocate (1 John 2:1) and I believe that when we fulfill that role for someone, we are being Christ-like.

In my role as both pastor and lawyer, I often get to be both lawyer and pastor. For example, I have several cases where my clients have lost a family member due to someone else’s conduct. As a pastor, I can help them through the grieving and coming to terms with the loss. As a lawyer, I can help them obtain justice.

The real life case that started me thinking about The Last Plea Bargain is an excellent example. The Somerville daughters lost their father and we believe he was poisoned by their step-mother. Seeking justice for them as a lawyer while ministering to them in my pastoral role was a great privilege.

8. What's next on your docket? Are you already working on another book? Are you still dividing your time between preaching, practicing law, and writing? Assuming you have any spare time, what do you enjoy doing?

I’m working on my next book tentatively entitled Rule of Law. It will come out next spring. It’s the story of another flawed protagonist. He is a former college quarterback who got caught up in a point-shaving scandal, served time in prison, and then went to law school and became a lawyer. He finally gets his first job but ends up at a firm where somebody is killing off all the firm’s lawyers, one-by-one (even lawyers who try to leave the firm). It’s a story about loyalty and trust, honor and betrayal.

Still preaching at Trinity Church, running the Singer Legal Group, writing and serving as an adjunct professor at Regent Law School. Spare time is for sissies! Seriously, I spend my spare time running, paddling my outrigger and enjoying Virginia Beach. It’s tough living this close to the ocean, but somebody’s got to do it!

Again, thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions and for writing such great novels. I hope to cross paths with you again one day this side of heaven!

Great, great, great questions! Hope to see you this side of heaven as well!

* * * * *

That makes me smile every time I read it! I hope that blessed you as much as it did me! And now, it is my delight, thanks to Tyndale's generosity, to give a copy of The Last Plea Bargain to one of you! The winner will receive a certificate from Tyndale which can be redeemed at your local Christian bookstore (or through Tyndale if no store is available) as well as a signed bookplate from Randy Singer. To enter, leave a comment on this post by 8:00 pm CDT Sunday, 3/25/12, and I will draw a winner using US Residents only, please. You must include an email address if you don't have a blog so I can contact you. (Email address should be written as "name at provider dot com".)

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than 10 legal thrillers and was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine's select list of "Legal Elite" litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his "Jekyll and Hyde thing"—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his website at

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


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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Injustice for All

Injustice for All
A Justice Seekers Novel
Robin Caroll
(B & H Books)
ISBN: 978-1433672125
January 2012/352 pages/$14.99

A federal judge lies bleeding on his office floor, betrayed by a most unlikely source—people who helped him bring criminals to justice. Now, why would someone working for the FBI need to disappear after witnessing this crime?

When Remington Wyatt sees her godfather’s murder, she recognizes the killers and knows it’s only a matter of time before they come to silence her. She must do the only thing possible to stay alive . . . run.

FBI agent Rafe Baxter is serious about his career, and solving a cold case involving a federal judge’s death puts him in line for the promotion he so desires. But the case leads him to the small town of Hopewell, Louisiana, where some secrets seem inextricably hidden deep within the bayou.

Injustice for All explores what happens when everything a person believes in is utterly destroyed. Who can you trust?

Robin Caroll has authored twelve previous books including the Holt Medallion Award of Merit winner, Deliver Us From Evil. She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. A proud southerner, Robin lives with her husband, three daughters, and two precious grandsons in Arkansas. Find out more at her website.

From the opening sentence of the prologue, when Remington Wyatt hears the cha-chk of the gun held by the person about to murder her godfather, until I turned the final page, I was drawn into this story. Robin Caroll has crafted a novel rife with tension that rises off the page like heat from the bayou on a summer afternoon. She parallels the experiences of Remington Wyatt and Rafe Baxter until Remington completely disappears, taking on an unknown identity in an attempt to escape the same fate as her godfather. The layers of the plot grow deeper and more intricate as the book progresses, and the danger escalates as Rafe probes into the unsolved case and as long-hidden secrets begin to surface. In the midst of turmoil and suspense, a steady thread of faith weaves throughout the story as both Rafe and others wrestle with their past and their relationships with God. Injustice for All is a keeper, and I eagerly await the next book in this series, To Write a Wrong, due out in September.

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


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Saturday, March 17, 2012

TSMSS: Thinking of Heaven-- and St. Patrick's Day!

I love this latest song by Phillips, Craig & Dean. Such a wonderful hope we have: there will be a day when "the earth is rolled up like a scroll" and we will go home "singing blessing and honor and glory and power forever to our God!"

And in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I have to salute the wee bit of Irish in me (actually, there's more than a wee bit, I believe!) with this song which was one of my mom's favorites. A capella harmony at its best!

Visit Amy's for more songs!


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Friday, March 16, 2012


Be sure to set aside some time to have a mocha with me on Monday! I've got an incredible new book to tell you about, along with an interview with the author and a giveaway!

You won't want to miss it!


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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Before the Scarlet Dawn

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Before The Scarlet Dawn
Abingdon Press (February 2012)
Rita Gerlach


Rita Gerlach lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland.

"Romantic historical fiction that has an inspirational bent, is one way people can escape the cares of life and be transported back to a time of raw courage and ideal love," she says. "The goal of my writing is to give readers a respite, and inspire them to live fully and gratefully."

In many of her stories, she writes about the struggles endured by early colonists, with a sprinkling of both American and English history. Currently she is writing a new historical series for Abingdon Press entitled 'Daughters of the Potomac'. See her 'Novels In Progress' page on her website to learn more.

There are other novels on her list to be published, and a proposal for another book series.

She was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in a large family in the Maryland suburbs. Her family claims that storytelling is their blood, handed down from centuries of Irish storytellers. Rita believes there just may be something to that theory.


In 1775, Hayward Morgan, a young gentleman destined to inherit his father’s estate in Derbyshire, England, captures the heart of the local vicar’s daughter,

Eliza Bloome. Her dark beauty and spirited ways are not enough to win him, due to her station in life.  

Circumstances throw Eliza in Hayward’s path, and they flee to America to escape the family conflicts. But as war looms, it's a temporary reprieve. Hayward joins the revolutionary forces and what follows is a struggle for survival, a test of faith, and the quest to find lasting love in an unforgiving wilderness.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Before The Scarlet Dawn, go HERE.

Watch the book video:


I really wanted to like this book but found myself increasingly dissatisfied and frustrated with it. Some aspects were great, but they weren't enough to overcome the parts I had issues with. I'm not one who is horrified when folks sin in books; sin is a reality in life for both believers and non-believers. The aftermath is what matters, and I was disappointed in the lack of redemption and forgiveness portrayed in this novel. The ending disappointed and puzzled me. I don't want to give spoilers, so I'll be vague. Following a character's realization and declaration that something couldn't happen, that is the very thing that occurs, yet the previous circumstances preclude the possibility; the result is an ending that goes against Biblical values. I'm not sure that was the intent of the author, but it's how it appeared, and I am not the only reviewer who had this response. The book had so much potential to head a different direction and end with hope, reconciliation, and redemption that it was even more disappointing to see it end in such a compromising manner. I can't recommend this one.


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Green with Hodgepodge

1. St. Patrick's Day will be celebrated this coming Saturday...what's a favorite article of clothing you own that contains a touch o' the green?

I rarely wear green. In fact, I can't think of anything I have at the moment that has green in it. I've just never particularly cared for it and there aren't many shades that look that good on me.

2. What's a favorite 'green space' in the town, state, or province where you live?

I'm not much of an outdoor person, but I do like being out by the lake in the evening.

3. Do you wish you were taller, shorter, or think you're just about right in the height department?

Just about right, although I used to think I was too tall. I always wanted to be 5' 8", so I was dismayed when I reached 5' 10". But it is convenient to be tall, especially now that osteoporosis is setting in and I'm starting to go the other way!

4. What's the surest way for someone to pick a fight with you?

Mess with my kids.

5. Broccoli-Spinach-String Beans-Peas...of the four, your favorite green veg? (Or the one you dislike the least if that first option's too hard. I just know there's some veggie haters out there.)

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm really starting to like spinach. It's taken me 50 years to get over the canned spinach that my mom fed us! Same thing with asparagus, which I'm surprised Joyce didn't mention. I love roasted or grilled asparagus. SO much better than the canned we had growing up. And on top of that my mom would serve cold, straight from the refrigerator! Blech!!

6. March is National Women's History Month...besides friends, neighbors and the women you're related to, who's a woman in history you admire and why?

I'm going to eliminate the usual answers of certain women in the Bible, because that's pretty much a given. Clara Barton - pioneer in nursing during a horrific time; not only was medical care crude and limited, but nursing was not respected or seen as something a nice woman would do. Lottie Moon - missionary to China - anyone who has spent much time around missions in a Southern Baptist church has probably heard of her; you can find out about her here

7. Keep Calm and ____________on.
You fill in the blank.

. . .and press on.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Enjoying my boy being home from school for Spring Break and missing my girl who is on the other side of the world on a mission trip with 15 other juniors & seniors from our church (plus adults). Can't wait to hear how God moves in and through them this week!


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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Prize of my Heart

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Prize of My Heart
Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2012)
Lisa Norato


A life-long New Englander, Lisa Norato lives in a historic village with homes and churches dating as far back as the eighteenth century. She was born into a close-knit Italian family that hungered as much for the things of God as they did for lasagna. After church, the family spent Sunday afternoons gathered in fellowship around a never-ending feast that featured her grandmother's homemade spaghetti and pizza.

From the time she learned to read, her mother impressed her with the joy of getting lost in a good book. She passed novels along to her as early as age thirteen, but it wasn't until many years later that Lisa felt compelled to write one herself.

She first discovered a love of writing when assigned to write and illustrate a children's book at the art college she attended. She balances writing with a career as a legal assistant specializing in corporate law. When not creating stories, she enjoys domestic pursuits like precious time with her dog and family, cooking, baking and eating vegan, reading, her Bible, her favorite television shows and crocheting.

Lisa is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Rhode Island Romance Writers (RIRW) and American Colonial Christian Writers.


An unsolved mystery separates ex-privateersman Captain Brogan Talvis from his lost son--his only living relation, his only family. Shortly before her tragic demise, his wife abandoned their infant to strangers, refusing to reveal the child's whereabouts. Now, three years later, Brogan has discovered the boy at the home of a shipbuilder's daughter, Lorena Huntley.

Lorena guards a dark secret about her young charge. She finds herself falling for the heroic captain who has come to claim his newly built ship, unaware his motive for wooing her is to befriend the boy he plans on reclaiming as his own--until the day anothers evil deceit leaves her helplessly shipbound, heading toward England.

As the perfect opportunity to reclaim his son unfolds, Brogan is haunted by thoughts of Lorena in her dire circumstance, and he is forced to make a heartrending choice between his child and the woman who has begun to capture his heart. But only his unselfish sacrifice can win him the greatest prize of all--love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Prize of My Heart, go HERE.


Although this is Lisa Norato's third book, it is my first introduction to her writing. This is her first historical romance, however, and I would venture to say she has found her niche. Her compelling prose and stirring scenes swept me away into this novel and I found it hard to put down. This is a captivating story full of all the elements to love in this genre: a dashing--tho' troubled and scarred---sea captain, an innocent heroine with a delightful mix of tenderness and gumption, and a precious little boy whose future hangs in the balance. Like a battle on the high seas, bitterness, deception, and revenge war against forgiveness, redemption, and love and the stakes couldn't be higher. Prize of my Heart is a gem of a novel, and I look forward to more from this promising author.


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