Wednesday, December 7, 2011

As Silver Refined by Kay Arthur

Kay Arthur does a remarkable job of finding the positive in the harsh negatives of life in "As Silver Refined". She takes the difficult question of "How could God let this happen?", and shows us that sometimes it takes God's cleansing fire to make us "as silver refined", a reflection of Him. I was drawn into this book from page 1. She paints a beautiful portrait with words. The refiner's fire, the ore being crushed and subjected to the heat. The impurities being drawn off the surface, and finally, something beautiful, the reflection of the refiner in the shining silver. 
Read the first chapter here:
This book addresses the downward spiral of disappointment, despair, discouragement, depression, dejection, and demoralization. It focuses on turning dis-appointment into His appointment. A difficult topic for anyone to tackle, but Kay Arthur has done it with great spiritual insight.
At the end of the book, there is a study guide for group or personal reflection.
"As Silver Refined" can be purchased through
This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Raised Right by Alisa Harris

Raised Right is not a book that I would typically pick up to read, but having been part of a family who felt Repulicanism=Christianity, I was intrigued by the idea that you could actually separate your faith from politics. I was drawn in initially by the author's well-written narrative. I appreciate anyone with a good grasp of the English language, and one who uses words I have to look up once in a while. So, from the perspective of a good piece of writing, I give her 5 stars. Content, well that's different. I wholeheartedly agree with many of her statements. That judgementalism and partisanism does nothing to further the work of Christ, and that we all need to find our way back to what it means to love our neighbors. Unfortunately, when I reached the last chapters of the book, I hoped to better understand how to put into practice the ideas she had presented, only to be left hanging.
At times, this book reads like it is written from the depth of her spiritual conviction, and at other times, it reads like a rant.  So, honestly, I'm not sure how to rate it. I liked it, yet I didn't like it. So in the spirit of fairness, I'll meet in the middle and give it a 2 1/2.  I would be interested in hearing more from this writer about the topic of faith and politics. I believe she has lots of good things to say, that still need to be spoken.
This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Sound Among The Trees by Susan Meissner

Susan Meissner has done a wonderful job, again, of pulling the past and the present together. "A Sound Among The Trees" begins in present day, with the newly married Marielle taking her place at Holly Oak, a historic Virginia estate. Marielle is haunted, not only by the memory of her husband's dead wife, but by the ghost of an alleged Civil War spy. Is there really the unsettled spirit of great-great-grandma Suzanna wandering the halls of Holly Oak? Does the house curse the women within because of her? You'll have a hard time putting this one down!

For a quick look into the characters, take a peak at the trailer!

I enjoyed getting to know all of the women, past and present, in this intriguing book! It was a bit of a slow start, as there were a few too many characters for me to handle at first, but once I got the "who's who" down, it was smooth sailing. Halfway through the book, the format changes to a series of letters, as if written by a Civil War bride, and you'll be pouring over them, trying to find out the truth of whether or not great-great-grandma Susanna was a spy!  I didn't mind the change in style, it just added to the storyline. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars!

You can purchase this, and other fantastic reads by Susan Meissner at

this book was provided free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Worlds Collide by Allison Strobel

I must admit, I took "World's Collide" out of the package, took a quick look at the back of the book, and tossed it on the coffee table. I assumed it was going to be another one of those Cinderella stories. Perfect looking Hollywood actor with pearly white teeth and no interest in a relationship falls for lavender-eyed, disabled, studio cleaning lady, or some such nonsense.  When I had exhausted all the other reading material in the house, I reluctantly opened the cover, assuming I'd have to muddle my way through the sappy love story in order to write my blog post.
I was quickly pulled into the story, and pleasantly surprised to find it very unlike what I expected. It has down-to-earth characters who fight with temptation and sin, a believable story line, and yes, a few Cinderella elements (but nothing sappy).
The book gets a little earthy at times, as it presents the sometimes raunchy lifestyle of our main man, Jack.  If you're not comfortable with talk about him waking up in bed with a different woman every week, or can't tolerate the words "crap" or "damned" in Christian fiction, then this is probably not a good pick for you. 
If you're looking for a great story of God's grace, forgiveness, and power to change even the hardest of hearts, then this IS the book for you!  When your world collides with that of Grace and Jack, you're sure to be in for an amazing read!

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

I love historical fiction, but I had a terrible time getting into this novel by Liz Curtis Higgs. Written during the era of Bonnie Prince Charlie, it is the story of Ruth and Naomi revisited.  Being unfamiliar with Scottish history probably made it a little more difficult for me to follow, but it felt like the story dragged on as well. I read several chapters and then ended up skimming to the end. It most definitely was not what I expected, or perhaps the summer heat has just affected my appreciation for good fiction. 
This novel was provided to me free of charge by waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano, illustrated by Mark Elliott

I never grow tired of reviewing children's books. "This Little Prayer of Mine" was a true joy to read. A simple, rhyming prayer, spoken from the heart of a child.  "Whenever I feel really scared and I want to hide my head, please help me to be brave and strong and face my fears instead". What a wonderful line, so different from "and if I die before I wake", which always seemed to me a scary thing to be praying with a child at bedtime. The illustrations are calming in their muted shades, leading me to visions of a child curled up on my lap, dimmed lights, and lullabies playing while we'd read this prayer together at bedtime. Highly recommended!

This book was provided to me free of charge from Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

When God Created My Toes by Dandi Daley Mackall, illustrated by David Hohn

There is rarely a children's story I don't enjoy. There's something about the colors and the rhymes that draw me in. So many times I ended up finishing a book on my own, long after the children had moved on to another activity.  This book is no exception.  My first look at "When God Created My Toes" was by flashlight, courtesy of the wicked Spring storms.  The pictures are bright, and the expressions on the faces of the characters are priceless. The story follows a mischievious little girl, who wants to understand why God created her toes, her hands, her head, her knees.  She leaves a great mess, and two exhausted parents in her wake, as she discovers what her hands and feet can do.

This book would be fun to read with a child who would enjoy finding his toes and his nose as the pages go by. You could easily add a few songs such as "Head, Shoulders, Knees &Toes" or "If You're Happy & You Know It".  Plus, offer a craft using hands or feet, like pudding painting, and make this book a great little lesson on how God makes each one of us unique.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes. You can win a free copy of When God Created My Toes by rating my review at Blogging for Books at the link below, then drop me a note here or on my facebook page telling me that you did. Enter by 6/1/11

Monday, May 16, 2011

God Gave Us Two by LIsa Tawn Bergren, art by Laura J. Bryant

"God Gave Us Two" is the adorable story of Mama and Papa Polar Bear and their Little Cub.  Little Cub is trying hard to adjust to the soon-to-be arrival of the new baby bear.  She wants to know why they need a new baby, and if they don't like it, can they send it back? If it cries too much, can she move next door? Her many questions are responded to sensitively by Mama and Papa Bear, reassuring her along the way that there is plenty of room in their hearts for two.  A wonderful book to share when your family is about to expand, and especially recommended for anyone expecting multiples (shh! don't tell, there are a surprise set of twins at the end).  The art work is endearing, especially the growth of Mama Bear's belly as the pages go by. A beautiful reminder that children are a gift from God.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes. Please rate my review at this link, so I can continue to receive free books for the church library:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lillies in Moonlight by Allison Pittman

It's been a long time since I read a 300 page book in one day, but I couldn't put this one down! Lilly, the flapper who is looking for a life of adventure, sin included.  Betty Ruth, the demented doweress mother who becomes amazingly insightful during her lucid periods.  Cullen, the rich recluse, hiding his disfigured body behind the walls of his home.  The characters in this book come alive, and are a fun bunch of people to get to know.  You get to meet many more along the way as Cullen attempts to return Lilly to her mother to save her from her wild ways.  A fantastic read! Six out of five stars! Highly recommended!

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

Please take a moment to rate my review on Blogging for Books at

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Daughter's Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick

"The Daughter's Walk" intrigued me. It is a piece of history I had never heard before.  A mother and daughter who walked from Washington (the state) to New York City in an attempt to win $10,000 to save the family farm.  Wanting to know how much of the story was truth, I went and did an internet search to get a good feel for who Helga Etsby and her daughter really were. The book stays close to the actual events, and follows the life of the daughter in the years after they return home.  While I enjoyed the book, I found it rather long. After reaching the halfway mark, I couldn't imagine that there could be that much more the writer could say.  I'd recommend it to anyone who has a love for historical fiction.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes. Please leave comments here, and take a moment to rate my review at Blogging for Books at

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Dragon and The Turtle Go on Safari by Donita K. Paul and Evangeline Denmark

It's been many years since I sat down to read similar stories to my three boys.  "The Dragon and The Turtle Go on Safari" would have been one that they would have asked for over and over.  Padraig and Roger go on a grand adventure (in the back yard), imagining all kinds of safari creatures are out there in the night.  Together they learn how to be truthful and courageous, to overcome fear and to encourage one another.  I found it so refreshing that Padraig and Roger managed to go outside, use their imagination, and play.  They weren't sitting in front of the television playing video games, or talking to their friends on the computer. A definite sit-on-my-lap and read together book, or one that a child would enjoy reading on their own!

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes. Please take a moment to rate my Blogging for Books review at:

Monday, February 14, 2011

God Gave Us So Much by Lisa Tawn Bergen, art by Laura Bryant

I'm taking a little detour from my regular blogging to review a children's book!  "God Gave Us So Much" is a limited edition, 3 book treasury including "God Gave Us The World", "God Gave Us Love", and "God Gave Us Heaven".  Lisa Bergen weaves the meaning of God's endless love into this cute series about Little Cub.  Little Cub is a polar bear, with plenty of questions for Mama, Papa, and Grampa Bear.  He learns about diversity:  "God made a whole world full of bears. And we all look a little different".  He learns about Creation: "God's world is like a mirror of God's work, Little Cub", and he comes to understand what God's love really means.  In "God Gave Us Heaven", Little Cub is given a sensitive lesson on what death and Heaven mean, ending with a very simple salvation message.  I would read this series to a child who is starting to ask "Why?" questions.    The artwork was my favorite part of these books. The pictures are adorable.

This book series was provided free of charge to me by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

Buy the book at:

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Friday, February 4, 2011

The Global Warming Deception by Grant R. Jeffrey

I had a very difficult time reading Grant Jeffrey's "The Global Warming Deception".  While it does a wonderful job of presenting the scientific evidence AGAINST global warming, it reads too much like a textbook. I had a terrible time staying focused on the reading.  So, if you need to do a presentation, it would make a great reference book, but I don't recommend it as a "sit down with a cup of tea and read for enlightenment" story.

Buy it here:

This book was provided free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes. Please take a moment to rank my review on Blogging for Books through the link below, so I can continue to participate in the program:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Radical by David Platt

"Radical obedience to Christ is not easy; it is dangerous.  It is not smooth sailing aboard a luxury liner; it is sacrificial duty aboard a troop carrier. It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world.  Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds it's reward in Christ. And He is more than enough for us."  Radical, p. 181

This is not one of those "smiley-faced, God is gonna give you everything you ever wanted if only you believe in Him" books.  Nor does it leave you feeling warm, fuzzy, and completely confident that you've got a place with your name on it in Heaven. "Radical" rips the reader out of his cushy pew and throws him, screaming, into the real world. Then, using a style quite like boot camp, challenges that person to truly be Jesus to the masses.   Don't read this book unless you're prepared to make some changes.  Are you ready to:  pray for the world, read through the Word, sacrifice your money, leave your comfort zone, and commit yourself to a community of faith?  You should be, but if you aren't, by the time you finish the book you will.

Highly recommended! 

Read the first chapter at:

See the "trailer" at:

This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer

I am not generally a lover of Amish fiction.  It seems the market is overwhelmed with them, and they all seem to have the same storyline. BUT I am a great fan of Dale Cramer, so was interested to see what he would do with HIS work of Amish fiction.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  Dale Cramer comes from an Amish family. His great-grandfather was part of the settlement of Paradise Valley, the location upon which this book is based, the first I'd ever heard of Amish in Mexico.  The author weaves a fine story, based on history.  The Amish in Ohio are forced to send their children to public school, or their parents will be imprisoned and fined.  When at first the Amish stand firm, their children are removed to the county Children's Home, dressed in "English" clothes, forced to have their hair cut, and enrolled in classes. In an effort to keep their families together, yet maintain their way of life, a few of these Amish families choose to move to Paradise Valley, Mexico, where there are no public school laws for their children.  An amazing story of the lengths a parent will go for the love of their children.   I look forward to the sequel expected out this Fall!