Monday, August 29, 2011

Tyndale Giveaway!

Tyndale Blog
It’s Your Kid, Not a Gerbil – Giveaway!
Dr. Kevin Leman, an internationally known psychologist, radio and television personality, and speaker, has a new message to tell you…It’s your kid not a gerbil!

Do you sometimes feel like a gerbil running on a wheel inside a cage as you scurry from place to place, chauffeuring your children from one endless activity to another? What if, for one moment, you could just step off of the wheel . . . and relax? How would you feel then? And what if that single moment could stretch into an hour, or even a whole day? In his new book, It’s Your Kid, Not a Gerbil, Kevin Leman will provide practical solutions and helpful insight to get off the activity wheel so that you can put your time and energies where they really count: in establishing strong character and a love for home and family that will serve your kids well for a lifetime.
Want to help promote this idea to your friends and family and possibly win something for it?
Here’s how you can help:
-          Visit the It’s Your Kid Not A Gerbil Facebook page and become a fan
-          Invite at least 10 friends to become a fan of the It’s Your Kid Not A Gerbil Facebook page.
-          Share a link to this contest page on your own Facebook page or on Twitter.
-          Write a blog post linking to this contest page.
Each task you complete counts as an entry into our giveaway.  We’ll draw names at random from all the entries, here’s what you can win:
3 Random people will win a prize pack of Kevin Leman books
5 Random people will win a copy of It’s Your Kid, Not A Gerbil
1 Random person will win an iPod Touch
We’ll announce the winners on September 9th!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Glorious Appearing

Glorious Appearing
Tim Lahaye & Jerry B. Jenkins

     Oh, finally! I don’t think there’s another book at the ending of a series that brings such relief and satisfaction as Glorious Appearing. It’s down to the wire during the last days of the Tribulation. By the last few chapters of the book the characters are seriously dying on every other page (but I can’t spoil it for you and say who makes it and who doesn’t!) Part of you is like “nooooooooo! You were so close!” and the other part of you knows you’re about to see them again at the end. This book has some wonderful reunions!

Rating: 8

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Look To the East

Look To The East
Maureen Lang

FRANCE, 1914
The small village of Briecourt may be isolated from early battles of World War I, but a century-old feud between the de Colvilles and Toussaints rages in the streets. Despite being adopted as a child, Julitte Toussaint endures the scorn of the de Colvilles more than most, given the folklore surrounding her heritage.

Then everything changes the day the German army sweeps in to occupy Briecourt, trapping a handful of outsiders behind enemy lines, including Belgian entrepreneur Charles Lassone. When Julitte discovers Charles hiding in the church basement, an unexpected and dangerous love blossoms between them.

But heroes aren’t made in cellars. Eager to join the Allied forces—and prove himself worthy of Julitte’s love—Charles convinces the de Colvilles and the Toussaints to finally work together to smuggle him out.

Yet with the life of every villager on the line, who can be trusted? And when the line between ally and enemy is blurred, will faith and courage be enough to sustain them all?

     I FINALLY got to read this book! I've been wanting to for quite some time now, ever since reading the second book of the series, Whisper on the Wind. When I reviewed that book, I mistakenly thought the books in the series were not connected character-wise. Apparently, I had just never read a good description of Look To The East! I read the back of the book and saw the name "Charles Lassone" and I was like, "That's Isa's brother!" So yes, they are connected! :)
     I really liked Look To The East- more than Whisper on the Wind (although I recently re-read the book and liked it better the second time). The character of Julitte was so sweet, and I loved her relationship with Charles! One thing that really blessed me in Look To The East was the spiritual content. Julitte's faith -and later Charles's- was so genuine, and such a part of who the character was. A lot of Christian fiction simply throws in a few prayers, a Bible reference or two, and calls it a day. The stories are harmless, but don't have much take-away value. But in Look to the East the characters truly lived their faith. I felt that throughout the story Julitte  was honestly trying to honor the Lord in whatever she was doing. The part where she gave away the eggs- oh, it would have never even crossed my mind to do that! Charles and Julitte weren't perfect by any means, but they were characters you could look up to instead of thinking about them, that was so stupid; why did you do it?, which is something that unfortunately happens a lot for me when I read fiction. Look to the East was both spiritually edifying and historically informative (I got waaay too excited when Nurse Edith Cavell appeared on the scene...another historical figure that had special meaning in our family, but I'm not going to bore you with the details :)

Rating: 10

Just Jane

                                                      Just Jane: 
A Daughter of England Caught in the Struggle of The American Revolution
William Lavender
Gulliver Books 

     So, the main reason I got this book is because it takes place in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. Yes, I know I said I hardly ever find books set in SC; it was serendipity I found two on our last library trip.
    I really did enjoy this book. I found the characters very believable- they all had both good and bad points, and characters I didn't think I'd end up liking I found a new respect for. The plot was exciting and the descriptions wonderful. Every time a place I know personally was mentioned, I giggled gleefully at its significance in the War for Independence. The few references to "Swamp Fox" Francis Marion were especially appreciated. Our library has a mural dedicated to his memory and I do live on Francis Marion Circle...but I'm digressing. Sorry. I just get a little over-excited about history is all. :)
      The downside to this book was the small handful of swear words found within. Also, a character is involved with an affair with a married woman. This is not gone into in detail, and the character breaks off the ungodly relationship for moral reasons. Later, the woman in question reconciles with her husband and they work on restoring their marriage.
     All in all, I really enjoyed this look at the American Revolution through the eyes of a girl who didn't know which side to pick. It was both informative and entertaining. I'd recommend it to any teen who enjoys historical fiction; unfortunately the swear words knock down its rating a bit.

Rating: 8

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Women of Catawba

The Women of Catawba/a Novel

The Women of Catawba
by Hilda Stahl
Thomas Nelson

     From the author of the White Pines Chronicles comes an exciting tale of five courageous women and their fight to build a plantation home in the raw wilderness of South Carolina. Set in post-Revolutionary War days, Women of Catawba is an inspiring story of men and women whose faith, 
strength, and capacity to love are tested to the limit

     This was one of those last minute library grabs (you know, where your dad is right behind you saying, "it's time to go...") I felt bad with only four books in my library pile ( I usually get, like, ten), saw the "Christian Fiction" label on the side of this book, and swooped it up without really knowing what it was about.
     This time, my spontaneous pick really paid off: The Women of Catawba turned out to be the favorite of all the books I'd picked. What I really liked about this book was its larger-than-average cast of characters. This wasn't just one romance story; in fact, it was much more than simply "romance". It wasn't confusing, either, despite the many characters. Plus, it took place in my home state. I don't find a lot of books (fiction-wise) that do, and so I always get ridiculously excited when I find a novel that takes place in South Carolina.
     The only problem I did have with this book was that many the characters' names sounded too modern. I just have a hard time imagining an 18th century woman named Taylor. Maybe there were women by that name back then, but combined with other characters by the names of Brooke, Kendra, and Laurel...well, I found it slightly too 20th century.
    Other than that, I really enjoyed this book. The characters were believable, as were their struggles of yearning to be loved and appreciated for who they were. Oooh! and so now looking up a picture of this book for this post I found out that though this was Hilda Stahl's last book before she died, her daughter wrote a sequel to it. It does seem like a book that needed a sequel (before I found out about this being the author's last book I thought it was a series) so I really want to check it out! The sequel is The Winds of Catawba.

Rating: 10

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Mark

The Mark
Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

     So Nicolae  is back- raised from the dead and now the world is good and ready to bow down to him. Most of the world, anyway. For the Tribulation Force, life continues to become harder as they resist Carpathia's "one world" religion and government...and the mark that all people must receive to buy or sell. Resistance means death.
     So now we're to the point where things are really getting bad. And stressful. Of course, if you've gotten this far in the Left Behind series, The Mark won't be much worse for the characters than in the other six books. But be prepared anyway!

Rating: 6

The Indwelling

The Indwelling, Left Behind Series #7 (rpkgd)   -     
        By: Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins
The Indwelling
Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

     The Indwelling is the seventh in Left Behind series. As the world comes to grips with the assignation of Nicolae Carpathia, the Tribulation Force knows the man's evil isn't over yet. As the band of Christians grows, so does the danger around them. No one is safe.
     The Indwelling is like most of the other Left Behind books. True, the story is exciting, though the writing can be a little sloppy in places, and sometimes things can become a little confusing with so many characters. If you enjoy apocalyptic thrillers, however, this is one you won't want to skip.

Rating: 6

Left Behind

Left Behind

Left Behind
Jerry B. Jenkins & Tim LaHaye

      The book that started it all. Left Behind is probably the one Christian book that even those who don't read Christian fiction have at least heard about. As I said before, though I personally don't agree with all the books' interpretations of prophecy, Left Behind does present on question every Christian should examine: Am I ready for Jesus to come back?
     The four main characters of this book certainly weren't. Rayford Steele is a pilot who only barely tolerates his wife's faith; his daughter Chloe is more concerned about college life and her future than religion. Buck Williams is a rising reporter; Bruce Barnes is a pastor who doesn't believe what he preaches. They weren't ready...will you be?

Rating: 7

Monday, August 15, 2011

Breath of Angel

Breath of Angel
Karyn Henley

The stranger’s cloak had fallen back, and with it, a long, white, blood-stained wing.

When Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard, age-old legends recited in song suddenly come to life. She discovers wings on the stranger, and the murderer takes the shape of both a hawk and a man.

Angels. Shape-shifters. Myths and stories—until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without settling an ancient debt—the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.

     My thoughts on reading the back cover of this book: this sounds weird.
     My thoughts halfway through the book: this is really weird.
     My thoughts after finishing the book: okay, that was the strangest book I have ever read in my life.

     I’m still a little confused about this book, actually, and why it’s classified as Christian fiction. Despite some influences I could see from the Bible, there didn’t seem to be an allegory in this fantasy. Plus, the title “priestess” just has a negative connotation for me- after all, the only priestesses in the Bible were of the pagan variety. I’m not quite sure what the priestesses in Breath of Angel actually did, to tell the truth. They seemed kind of like some sort of healer or something. All the words I can think of to describe this book are weird and strange and odd. It was well-written, but I can’t say that this book was really…beneficial… in any way. From a Christian perspective it seemed too mystical and even a little creepy, and the only mention of God was references to “The Most High”, and quite honestly, there weren’t many. It seemed to mainly be about the angels, but not about the God they served. I’m not a fantasy expert, so maybe my problem is with the genre rather than the actual book. I mean, as I said before, it was well-written, and I liked the characters. But the plot was simply too odd and mystical for me to be comfortable with.

Rating: 5

I received this book for free from Waterbrook publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Upcoming Fiction From Bethany House

I get waaaaaaaaay to excited about new books. Here are a few coming out from Bethany House Publishers in the next few months that I think sound interesting!

Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The, Julie Klassen, 978-0-7642-0709-9

Regency Romance and Mystery from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen

Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?
Observing both brothers as an "invisible" servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?
On her journey from wellborn lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of "serve one another in love."

Okay, I CANNOT wait to read this! I love Julie Klassen's books, and this one sounds really interesting. 
Coming Jan. 2012

A Riveting Tale of Faith and Romance by an Acclaimed Novelist

Messenger, The, Siri Mitchell, 978-0-7642-0796-9
Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith until her twin brother ran off and joined the army and ended up captured and in jail. Suddenly Hannah's world turns on end. She longs to bring her brother some measure of comfort in the squalid, frigid prison where he remains. But the Quakers believe they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. Can she sit by and do nothing while he suffers?
Jeremiah Jones has an enormous task before him. Responsibility for a spy ring is now his, and he desperately needs access to the men in prison, whom they are seeking to free. A possible solution is to garner a pass for Hannah. But while she is fine to the eye, she holds only disdain for him--and agreeing would mean disobeying those she loves and abandoning a bedrock of her faith.
With skill and sensitivity, Mitchell tells a story of two unlikely heroes seeking God's voice, finding the courage to act, and discovering the powerful embrace of love.

Doesn't the cover look gorgeous? We'll have to wait awhile for it, though: Coming March 2012.

Sixty Acres and a Bride, Regina Jennings, 978-0-7642-0990-1

Sensational Debut Historical Romance Finds Love on the Texas Range

With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to Texas and the family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have only four months to pay.
Though facing eviction, Rosa can't keep herself from falling in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. Learning the American customs is not easy, however, and this beautiful young widow can't help but catch wandering eyes. Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, to what lengths will Rosa go to save her future?

This sounds a bit like a re-telling of Ruth. A new author I can't wait to try! Coming Feb. 2012

Rose of Winslow Street, The, Elizabeth Camden, 978-0-7642-0895-9                                 The Rose of Winslow Street

The last thing Libby Sawyer and her father expected upon their return from their summer home was to find strangers inhabiting a house that had been in their family for decades. Widower Michael Dobrescu brought his family from Romania to the town of Colden, Massachusetts with a singular purpose: to claim the house willed to him long ago. Since neither party has any intention of giving up their claim, a fierce legal battle ensues between the two families.
When important documents go missing from the house, Libby suspects Michael is the culprit. Determined to discover the truth behind the stolen papers, Libby investigates, only to find more layers of mystery surrounding Michael and his family. Despite their rivalry, Libby finds herself developing feelings for this man with the mysterious past.
As a decision about the house looms in the courts, Libby must weigh the risks of choosing to remain loyal to her family or give her heart to a man whose intentions and affections are less than certain.

Another beautiful cover....I admit it freely that I DO judge books by their covers... Coming Jan. 2012

                                                                                                  Wonderland Creek

Wonderland Creek, Lynn Austin, 978-0-7642-0498-2I was perfectly content with my life--that is, until the pages of my story were ripped out before I had a chance to live happily ever after.

Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But the happily-ever-after life she's planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real one. To top it off, Alice loses her beloved library job because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression.

Longing to run from small-town gossip, Alice flees to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the tiny coal-mining town of Acorn, a place with no running water, no electricity, and where the librarians ride ornery horses up steep mountain passes to deliver books. When Alice is forced to stay in Acorn far longer than she planned, she discovers that real-life adventure, mystery--and especially romance--may be far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.

A novel from Lynn Austen about a librarian- I can't wait! Coming October 2011

Fiddler, The, Beverly Lewis, 978-0-7642-0977-2

New from #1 Bestselling Author Beverly Lewis

Amelia "Amy" DeVries, a 24-year-old violinist, is disillusioned with life and love after the collapse of her long-running romance. Weary of endless rehearsals and performances, Amy sets out on a road trip through the Pennsylvania mountains. She leaves her cell phonebehind so life's demands can't intrude on her solitude. She doesn't know, nor care, where she will end up.
When her car breaks down deep in the mountains, Amy realizes the flaw in her "no cell phone" plan. She abandons her car and walks the winding roads, searching for help. Following the smell of woodsmoke and the sound of music, she finds a rustic log cabin. There she meets a young Amishman--and through him a community--that will change her life forever.

I'm pretty much always willing to try a new book of Beverly Lewis's- Plus, I love violins. :) Coming in April.

                                                       The Necessary Deception
Necessary Deception, A, Laurie Alice Eakes, 978-0-8007-3466-4
     When young widow Lady Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreamed he would turn up in her parlor. But just as the London Season is getting under way, there he is, along with a few other questionable personages. While she should be focused on helping her headstrong younger sister prepare for her entré into London society, Lady Gale finds herself preoccupied with the mysterious Frenchman. Is he a spy or a suitor? Can she trust him? Or is she putting her family in danger?
Readers will enjoy being drawn into this world of elegance and intrigue, balls and masquerades. Author Laurie Alice Eakes whisks readers through the drawing rooms of London amid the sound of rustling gowns on this exciting quest to let the past stay in the past and let love guide the future.

This book just sounds fun :) I've enjoyed books by Laurie Alice Eakes in the past, so I'm excited to see what she comes up with in this novel! Coming just around the corner in October of this year!

                                     Chasing Mona Lisa

Chasing Mona Lisa, Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey, 978-0-8007-2046-9It is August 1944 and Paris is on the cusp of liberation. As the soldiers of the Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country, stealing countless pieces of art. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one of all, the Mona Lisa, as a post-war bargaining chip to get him to South America. Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler rescue DaVinci's masterpiece before it falls into German hands?

With nonstop action, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get readers' adrenaline pumping as they join the chase to save the most famouspainting in the world. From war-ravaged Paris to a posh country chateau, the race is on--and the runners are playing for keeps.

Okay, so I literally just found this book and started squealing. A sequel to The Swiss Courier??? So gonna read this!!!! Coming Jan. 2012

                                                                                             Heart's Safe Passage

Heart's Safe Passage, Laurie Alice Eakes, 978-0-8007-1985-2It's 1813 and all Phoebe Lee wants out of life is to practice midwifery in Loudon County, Virginia. When Belinda, her pregnant sister-in-law, presses Phoebe to accompany her onto a British privateer in order to cross the Atlantic and save her husband from an English prison, Phoebe tries to refuse, then finds herself kidnapped.
Captain Rafe Docherty is a man in search of revenge. His ship is no place for women, but he needs Belinda in order to obtain information about the man who destroyed his family and his life. Between Belinda's whining and Phoebe's hostility, Rafe can't help but wonder if he made the right choice.
When it becomes apparent there is an enemy among them on the ship, the stakes are raised. Will they reach the English shore in time? Can love and forgiveness overcome vengeance?
Book 2 in The Midwives series, Heart's Safe Passage is a stirring tale of love, intrigue, and adventure on the high seas. Readers will feel the salt spray and the rolling waves as they journey with Laurie Alice Eakes's vivid characters on the treacherous path toward redemption.

Another from Laurie Alic Eakes. I read the first in the Midwives series- Lady in the Mist- and found it very...interesting. I still haven't quite decided if I like it or not. Coming Feb 2012

Words Spoken True, Ann H. Gabhart, 978-0-8007-2045-2
                               Words Spoken True
Adriane Darcy was practically raised in her father's newspaper offices. She can't imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write the news that matters. Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855. Then Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over failing competitor the Herald, and the battle for readers gets fierce.
When Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit tea, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore. Still, Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune's future. Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story--and the girl. Can he do both before it's too late?
Set against the volatile backdrop of political and civil unrest in 1850s Louisville, this exciting story of love and loyalty will hold readers in its grip until the very last page. Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart once again delivers an enthralling and enduring tale for her loyal and ever-expanding fan base.

I always have had a weakness for novels about newspaper reporters. Odd, but true. And, once again, I like the cover. :) Coming in February. 

                                                                                             Love's Sacred Song

Love's Sacred Song, Mesu Andrews, 978-0-8007-3408-4

     Standing in the massive shadow of his famous father, young king Solomon wavers between fear and bravado, wisdom and folly. In the uncertain world of alliances and treachery, Solomon longs for peace and a love that is true and pure--a love that can be his cornerstone.
A shepherdess in the northern city of Shunem, Arielah remembers the first time she laid eyes on Solomon in Jerusalem when she was just seven years old. Since then she has known that it was her destiny to become his bride. When her father, a leader of their tribe, secures a promise from King Solomon to marry Arielah as a treaty bride to help unite the kingdom, it seems her dreams may come true.
But how can this simple shepherdess live as part of Solomon's harem? Can Solomon set aside his distractions to give himself completely to just one woman? Or will he let duty, deception, and the daily routine divide his heart?
Mesu Andrews expertly weaves the words of the Song of Solomon into this touching story of the power of love. Readers will be transported from the glowing fields of Shunem to the gleaming city of Jerusalem as they experience this rich and textured novel from a master storyteller.

Sounds interesting, but knowing the story of Solomon....does it end happily is the question. March 2012.

Wow, that was a lot longer than I thought it would be! Can't wait for all of these books to come out, though!

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