Saturday, June 30, 2007

Island Inferno by Chuck Holton

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This is one cool book! But it's #2 in a series, so it took me a little bit to figure out who was who and what was what.

When I finally put the pieces together, I enjoyed myself. Chuck Holton knows his stuff...a former Army Ranger, mililtary copter pilot, and stockbroker, you can feel the authenticity in his writing.

Task Force Valor has a new mission: to find out where a new liquid explosive is coming from, and to stop it. In the midst of the Panama jungle, the team sets out to explore Isla Coiba, a remote island that holds more than they bargain for.

Fernanda Lerida and her exploration team are merely on an expedition to the mysterious former prison island, and are captured by pirates. The two groups intersect and they find themselves caught in the midst of a brutal turf war and uncover a plot that catches them all by surprise.

TFV is full of characters that are both entertaining and humorous. This is a great group to have working on our behalf...and I'm sure are good representatives of the true men and women in our armed services.

I loved Fernanda...and how can you not love a soldier named Euripides?? But call him Rip...he likes that:-)

"Island Inferno" gets 4 out of 5 bookmarks from me, with a butterfly charm...and again, you'll have to read the book to find out why! Now, I'm off to order book #1 so I can know what I needed to know before I read this one!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Friday, June 29, 2007

One-Eyed Jack by Paula Miller

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This is a cute story about Nate and his dog, One-Eyed Jack. Think "Little House on the Prairie" told from a boy's perspective. It's also the first in a new children's series titled "Faces of History".

Paula Miller has created a fun and easy to read series for ages 7 and up, introducing children and young teens to different periods of history through fiction.

Her characters are well developed, and she includes lots of little known facts about the historical period. "One-Eyed Jack" includes facts from the 1880's, such as how to tan pelts and "riding sign".

What I loved most about the story was her Bible teaching. Ma and Pa demonstrate Christ to their family, and Grandpa has some interesting things to share with Nate about respecting your parents.

In all, I think this is a series for any family, but especially for homeschool Christian families. I can see this being added to a history curriculum, making it fun and interesting.

A couple of things I would like to see added: maybe a small glossary of terms at the end (for instance, some might wonder what a hoecake is), and maybe some period recipes for the readers to try (again, how does one make Indian Pudding??). That would make this series totally ROCK!

"One-Eyed Jack" gets 4 out of 5 bookmarks from me...with a little chicken charm...and you'll just have to read the book to know why!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

My NEXT Dog Days of Summer Book Giveaway...Fair Game is Up for Grabs beginning June 29!!

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Dinah Mayhew couldn’t foresee the mystery and danger that would soon enter her life when she became a file clerk for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Neither could Seth Howell, the man whose eyes reflect a romantic interest mirrored in Dinah’s heart.

But the arrival of Dinah’s cousin could be the frost on their romantic
bloom. Cousin Gladys is on the prowl for love and she’s looking in all the wrong
places.

Upon her sudden, inexplicable disappearance, Dinah and Seth begin searching for answers, only to find themselves trapped in a maze of secrecy and deception. Will they live to expose the truth or find themselves facing the point of no return?

Praise for Carol Cox and A Ticket to Tomorrow, book one in the series:

“Carol Cox is one of my very favorite authors...a wonderful blend of historical
suspense and romance...and a setting so vivid I could breathe in the scent of Lake Michigan. Ms Cox owns the genre!”
Colleen Coble, best-selling author of Alaska Twilight

“...a book you don’t want to miss...vibrant, memorable characters and a poignant message of forgiveness. Well done!”
Judith Miller, author of First Dawn and Morning Sky

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketCAROL COX is a native of Arizona whose time is devoted to being a pastor's
wife, mom to her grown son, and a homeschool teacher to her young daughter. She also
serves as church pianist and youth worker. She is involved in her local historical society and plans to write more historical inspirational romance in which her goals are to encourage Christian readers with entertaining and uplifting stories and to pique the interests of non-Christians who might read her novels.

To read my review of "Fair Game", click here.

For my NEXT Summer read giveaway, leave me a comment. I'm drawing the name on July 6. And the Summer Book Giveaways...they just keep coming...!!

This Week's Winner Is...........

The winner of this week's giveaway of "Veil Of Fire" IS.....................


jdoriot!!


Congratulations! Email me your snail mail address and the book will be on its way!

Now, for our NEXT giveaway...

Happy Reading!!

Deena

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Holy Discontent by Bill Hybels

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When I was asked to review "Holy Discontent" by Bill Hybels, I was excited. Just the title and the cover intrigued me, and for such a small book, I was sure it packed a great punch--they always do.

I wasn't disappointed...but I did feel a "nudge" in my spirit as I read.

The basic premise of the book is to find that one thing in life that you can't stand to see happen any longer...that "Popeye" moment of life (remember him, the sailor with the thing for spinach??). The one thing that makes you cry out "I can't stand it anymore!"

Bill Hybels uses many real life examples such as Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision and Billy Graham...well, you know who HE is! Each person he profiles had one thing in life that drove them, that motivated them to do something.

Basically, this is "making a difference" motivation, but on a deeper level than we usually get. The spirit check I felt was making sure we're keeping it in God's perspective. Whatever we do, we are to do all to God's glory. And it must be in keeping with God's will.

It's not enough just to want to right social injustices.

Some social injustices are just sin masked in politically correct terms. Homosexuals feel they are victims of social injustice...when they are held captive in sin. Abortionists feel very passionate about a woman's right to choose, to the neglect of God's Word on the matter.

So it isn't enough to find a social cause and get involved. Bill Hybels does talk about seeing things the way God sees them, and becoming His partner in righting wrongs and in bringing healing to people, hope and the message of salvation.

I only wish he had put more emphasis on staying in God's Word and in God's will...but he does talk of Biblical examples such as Peter, Moses, and Nehemiah. (I love Nehemiah, and his passion for seeing Jerusalem rebuilt!) While not chocked full of Scripture, what is quoted is applicable.

I also feel very strongly that if all we are doing is rescuing people in THIS life, and not leading them to security in the NEXT life, we do them a disservice. Why save babies from starvation in Ethiopia, only to leave them doomed to hell because we didn't bring them the Bread of Life as well??

I wish that had been emphasized more as well. But, all in all, it is good for the church today. Christians today tend to be more about "What's in it for me?" rather than "How can I serve and where?" This is a very timely message as we wind down to our last years on earth. We need to be about the Master's business...we just need to make sure that it is His business.

So, read this book. And remember one thing more...

We can't do it all. I am one person; I can do one person's work...and I must find what it is that God has designed for me to do, and get to doing it! One line from his book that struck a chord in me was this:

"Your one thing births a burning-bush experience in your soul where you sense God himself inviting you into an intentional and personalized partnership with him to renovate reality."


All in all, this is a worthwhile investment for any believer looking for more to this life than a paycheck and to find a purpose. "Holy Discontent" gets 4 out of 5 bookmarks from me, and I plan on reading and highlighting a lot...

Happy Reading!

Deena

Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee

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This is what I like to call speculative fiction. It poses the question, "What if?", and then proceeds to mess with the reader's mind, opening up a dialogue and causing the reader to think outside the box.

"Demon: A Memoir" is a what if of huge proportions. What if a demon could be interviewed by a human being, and what if it was written down for the world to read? What would we gain? What would we lose?

Clay works for a small publishing house and is struggling through life. Recently divorced, a frustrated author, he lives a meaningless existence...until he meets Lucian.

Clay's entire life changes with these few words: "I'm going to tell you my story, and you're going to write it down and publish it." And so the journey begins...

We learn what it must have been like for the ones cast out of Heaven to watch as God created the world. How it must have felt to observe Him stooping down, scooping up a handful of dirt, and molding it into His finest creation...then breathing the life into it from His own mouth.

This is the story of our salvation from evil's perspective, and it is chilling, eye-opening, and a little mind-blowing. Tosca Lee has taken on a huge task of redefining what it means to believe in God and in Christ, all without demeaning it or warping the truth.

And she does a masterful job.

We have more to look forward to from Tosca as she currently works on her next novel, "Havah: The Story of Eve"...and I'm sure it too will be mind-bending fiction.

If you don't mind having your faith challenged...if you can handle suspending disbelief in a tremendous way...if you've ever wondered how satan and his minions view us...this is the book for you.

"Demon: A Memoir" gets 6 out of 5 bookmarks from me...with a Bible charm...can't hurt to have Scripture handy when talking to a demon!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Dollar Short & A Day Late for the Spring Reading Thing Wrap-Up!!

I was getting ready for my vacation getaway and didn't have internet access while we were gone, so I'm a week late on this post. But I have to share my scintillating thoughts on the Spring Reading Thing:

What was the best book you read this spring?

This was tough, but I'd have to say "In Search of Eden" by Linda Nichols. To know why, you'll have to read my review here.

What book could you have done without?

It's a tie between "The Gospel According to Starbucks" by Leonard Sweet and "The Art of Standing Still" by Penny Culliford. Go here and here to see why.

Did you try out a new author this spring? If so, which one, and will you be reading that author again?

I discovered Jo Kadlecek, and I just picked up a copy of one of her earlier novels, and can't wait for book two in her new series! To know why, click here.

If there were books you didn't finish, tell us why. Did you run out of time? Realize these books weren't worth it?

I finished my list, but I didn't finish two books...they weren't worth it.

Did you come across a book or two on another participant's list that you're planning on adding to your to be read list?

I stumbled upon Jodi Picoult and tried her out...not bad. And I joined Christian Fiction Bloggers Alliance because I saw the link on someone's blog, so now I have oodles to read!

What did you learn--about anything--through this challenge?

I learned that I don't like reading non-fiction unless I'm in a particular mood, so I probably won't pick any for next time. I also learned that I need to be true to myself, and not pick books that won't "upset" people...I don't just read Christian fiction, but I hesitated on picking some of my favorite cozy mystery authors.

What was the best part of the Spring Reading Thing?

Meeting so many other readers! It was comforting to know that others have towering TBR shelves, and they go out and buy more books as well:-)

Would you be interested in participating in another reading challenge this fall?

Ummm...do fish swim?? Of course I would (and yes, fish swim, unless they've gone to fishy heaven--which I wouldn't want to go to, 'cause of the fishy smell...of course, if it's heaven, can it be smelly? Even if it's fishy heaven?? But, I digress again....)

Any other thoughts, comments....??

THANK YOU KATRINA FOR AN AMAZING JOB WITH THIS HUGE UNDERTAKING!! YOU TOTALLY ROCK!!
How was that?!?

Happy Reading!

Deena

The Divine Appointment by Jerome Teel

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This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

THE DIVINE APPOINTMENT

(Howard Books June 5, 2007)

by
Jerome Teel





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jerome Teel is a graduate of Union University, where he received his JD, cum laude, from the Ole Miss School of Law. He is actively involved in his church, local charities, and youth sports.

He has always loved legal-suspense novels and is a political junkie. He is also the author of The Election, another political thriller that we reviewed November of '06.

Jerome and his wife, Jennifer, have three children...Brittney, Trey, and Matthew...and they reside in Tennessee where he practices law and is at work on a new novel.




ABOUT THE BOOK:


"They aren't hiding just one something, but a bunch of somethings..."


Small town southern lawyer, Elijah Faulkner is a dying breed...an attorney that actually takes pleasure in fighting injustice by working hard for the little guy. But when he takes on a case to defend a philandering doctor with a pregnant wife in a seemingly open-and-shut murder trial, Eli is not so sure he is on the 'right' side.

Back in Washington D.C., supreme Court Justice Martha Robinson has died, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for conservative President Richard Wallace to impact the direction of the highest court in the land. He believes God put him in the presidency for just such a time as this...to make a Divine Appointment. Not everyone is thrilled with the president's nominee, however. And some will stop at nothing, including murder, to prevent his confirmation by the Senate.

A lobbyist with a vendetta, a small-time Mafioso, an investigative reporter with a Watergate complex, and a powerful Washington political machine combine to create a fast-paced suspense novel that explores the anatomy of a murder, and the ripple effect that it creates across the country.


"Jerome Teel has crafted an intriguing political thriller...nice twists and turns to keep you reading. he paints vivid mental pictures that bring characters and locales to life."
--Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee's 7th District


I have my copy, but haven't read it yet...I'll post my review soon!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Leaper by Geoffrey Wood

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I know, I know...you're all probably wondering "What happened to her? Where are the reviews??" What can I say...I've been on vacation!!

But I finally finished a book, and it was a good one! I had to hunt high and low to find a copy, and hunt I did. There's been a lot of buzz about the newest release from Waterbrook Press, and it is definitely warrented.

Think "Heroes" meets "The Greatest American Hero" and you'll pretty much know what I'm talking about!!

"Leaper" is the story of James, a reluctant superhero of sorts. At least, that's what we think he is. We're all still not sure--and that includes James!

He was just lying there, on the acupuncture table, thinking about his ex-wife and that stupid white cutting board...and suddenly, he was in his former garage, holding the board in question in his unmentionables and not knowing what happened.

What follows is a hilarious and poignant journey of self discovery and learning the meaning of good.

What is it to do good? To be good? And is God really good? These are the questions that James, aka "Leaper", explores. He most definitely has some whack ideas, but it's fun watching him dialogue with the priest over them, and in the end, I think he finally gets it.

There's lots of leaping, lots of misunderstanding (I wonder what Detective Goss will do in the future), and lots of fun in "Leaper". And I'm not 100% certain, but I sense a sequel!

And I hope I'm right.

"Leaper" gets 4 out of 5 bookmarks from me, and a tiny cutting board charm...for the item that started it all.

Happy Reading!

Deena

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I've Gotta Blog!!

I haven't done much reading:-) Hard to read on an anniversary trip with scenery like we had (and a DRIVE like we had...talk about a winding road!!

Should have a review or two in the next couple of days:-)

Til then, browse the archives, and don't forget my latest book giveaway!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Friday, June 22, 2007

My Fourth Summer Book Giveaway for June 22nd is Veil Of Fire!!

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Hinckley, Minnesota is going up in flames and a mysterious “being” sets up camp at the edge of town in Marlo Schalesky’s May 2007 release, VEIL OF FIRE. Coping with the loss of loved ones and belongings is hard enough, but Hinckley citizens are also encountering a monster.

Or is it a ghost?

Something didn’t burn up in the fire and Hinckley folks aren’t quite sure if that’s a good thing or bad.

Marlo Schalesky uses the facts from the worst firestorm in Minnesota history—the fire of 1894— as the backdrop for VEIL OF FIRE. Her lyrical prose is woven deftly into the harsh reality of a fire that consumed 400 square miles and killed 418 people in just four hours.

Hinckley of today still isn’t sure what or who the monster was that the fire left behind. Perhaps, though, Schalesky’s story can solve that mystery once and for all.

Schalesky is the author of four books and a regular columnist for Power for Living. She has been published in Focus on the Family, Decision, Moody Magazine, Today’s Christian Woman, Discipleship Journal, and others. In addition, she was named 2001 Writer of the Year at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers' Conference.

Cook Communications will be launching the “Sizzling Summer of Fiction” reading campaign with VEIL OF FIRE and other summer releases. Fiction book clubs and reader groups may contact Schalesky and schedule a time and date to interact via Internet or conference call. Downloadable reader’s guides are available at www.cookministries.com.

Once again, leave me a comment, and be entered to win a copy of "Veil Of Fire". I'm drawing the winner on June 29th and posting yet ANOTHER Summer Read Giveaway!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

This Week's Winner Is.......

The new owner of a brand new copy of "Bygones" by Kim Vogel Sawyer IS............

MAMABRIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!

Send me your snail mail address, and I'll get your book out to you right away!

Check my NEW book giveaway out! It's a HOT one!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I Really AM Reading!!

I really am reading!! But my sister(in-law) is here visiting, and we're having so much fun talking and sharing and reading books together. And tomorrow we leave for a romantic weekend in Fort Bragg, California (my and my hubby--not me and my sis--although that would be fun too!!)

But I have a HUGE pile of TBR on my dresser, and I'm slowly making my way through the pile:

1) Finder's Fee by Alton Gansky

2) Until The Last Dog Dies: a Joe Boxer mystery

3) Fearless by Robin Parrish

4) These Boots Weren't Made For Walking by Melody Carlson (I finally got this one!!)

5) Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Caught by Neta Jackson (there's only one more in this series coming, folks)

6) The Ezekiel Option by Joel Rosenberg (if I don't read this soon, my sis will git me!)

7) Island Inferno by Chuck Holton

8) Leaper by Geoffrey Wood (can't WAIT to dive into this one:-)

9) In Between by Jenny Jones

10) In Everything Give Thanks by Terry Barnes

Plus even more...which I hope to get to in the next few weeks...hopefully...

Happy Reading!

Deena

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Reluctant Runaway by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

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This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

RELUCTANT RUNAWAY

(Multnomah, March 2007)

by

Jill Nelson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jill Elizabeth Nelson is a member of the CFBA. Her blog, Artistic Blogger, addresses issues about art, art theft, antiquities preservation, and the art of fiction writing. She takes art seriously - when she's not having fun with it, that is. The To Catch a Thief Series combines her love of the written word with her love of other art forms.

The first in the series was Reluctant Burglar , second is Reluctant Runaway. In January 2008, she will reveal the third book, Reluctant Smuggler. Jill is thrilled if the adventures that spill from her imagination can raise awareness about art theft - deemed "a looming criminal enterprise" by the FBI. Jill and her husband, Doug, have four children and live in Minnesota.



ABOUT THE BOOK:





Stolen Indian artifacts...A murdered museum guard…




A missing woman…A baby in danger…


Only Desiree can unearth the horrifying secret that links them all.

Museum security expert Desiree Jacobs doesn’t mean to get in danger’s path. Really she doesn’t. But when a friend is in trouble you don’t just walk away. No matter what your overprotective FBI agent boyfriend says! So when Desi and Tony’s date at a presidential ball is interrupted by a frantic Maxine Webb, Desi doesn’t hesitate to jump in.

Soon Desi is neck-deep in a confusing array of villains. Did Max’s niece run away or was she taken? Is she still alive or the victim of a perverse ritual? And who wants her infant son–and why?

Then Tony’s organized crime case collides with Desi’s investigation, throwing them both into the path of something dark and sinister. Something that craves blood...

From the streets of Desi’s beloved Boston to the mountain desert of New Mexico, Desi and Tony must rely on God to thwart unseen forces–and save a young woman and her baby from a villain more evil than any of them can imagine.


"A fresh voice, strong heroine, and unique plot make Reluctant Runaway a can't-put-down read. Jill Elizabeth Nelson is an author to watch in the realm of romantic suspense!"

----SUSAN MAY WARREN award-winning author of In Sheep's Clothing

FOR MY REVIEW, CLICK HERE.

Happy Reading!

Deena

It's Time To Read!

I'M FINISHED!!!


**This is a sticky post...scroll down for more current reviews!!**

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**Revised for the FINAL time---I Promise!!**

I'm so excited! I absolutely love reading, and I love sharing about books, so this is right up my alley!! Without further ado, here's my Spring Reading Thing book list:

Germ by Robert Liparulo--I've been wanting to read this one for awhile, but I have to be in the right mood for him.

Mountain Top by Robert Whitlow--A favorite legal suspense author.

Head Game by Tim Downs--fans of CSI love his writing.

Presumed Guilty by James Scott Bell
Sins of the Fathers by James Scott Bell
No Legal Grounds by James Scott Bell--can you tell I've discovered a new author?!?

Hell In A Briefcase by Brad Whittington--my friend Michelle gave this one a rave review.

Perfecting Kate by Tamara Leigh--I loved "Adda", so I'm trying Kate.

The Art of Standing Still by Penny Culliford--she's a new author I've heard great things about.

Fire Dancer
Midnight Sea by Colleen Coble--put Colleen's name on it, and I'm there!

A Mile From Sunday by Jo Kadlecek--again, a new author.

In Search of Eden by Linda Nichols--she is sometimes hard to get into, but I loved "The Scent of Water"

The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers by Lilian Jackson Braun--I adore cozy mysteries, and she is the best!

The Key Lime Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke--did I mention I loved cozy mysteries...Joanne takes the cake!!

Dragonwell Dead by Laura Childs--love her tea shop mysteries!!

Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann--I loved her novel, "Halos".

The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney by Randy Singer--he's my all-time favorite legal thriller writer.

Wishing on Dandelions by Mary DeMuth--enjoyed "Watching the Tree Limbs, but she deals with intense subject matter, so I have to be really up to handle her.

Fair Game by Elizabeth White--just read and reviewed "Fireworks".

Soul Hunter by Melanie Wells--I enjoyed her first novel in this series, and she was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark award for mystery fiction.

The Widow's Club by Joyce Livingston--new series by a new author.

Sticks and Stones by Susan Meisnner--book two in a new mystery series.

Crime Scene Jerusalem by Alton Gansky--my hubby bought me this one, 'cause he knows I love Alton's stuff.

Reluctant Burglar
Reluctant Runaway by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

The Heir by Paul Robertson

Non-Fiction Titles:

Me, Myself and Bob by Phil Vischer--bought this for my husband for Christmas so I could read it!

Hidden in Plain Sight by Mark Buchanan--loved "Your God is Too Safe" and others of his...

You Matter More Than You Think by Leslie Parrott---had this one for awhile...and I really need to finish it...

Dry Bones Dancing by Tony Evans--Tony's books always challenge me, and I've been feeling a bit dry lately...

The Gospel According to Starbucks by Leonard Sweet---I mean, come on..."Starbucks"??

There's more...oh, there's so much more!! But I already feel like a hog...so I'll stop with this list.

One addition I cannot forget (but added later on, much to my chagrin), is the Most Important Book of all--God's Holy Word. We are doing a study of Hosea that has captured my heart, and I am attempting once again to read through this lively book this year.

Every once in awhile I'll repost my list with the novels and books marked off that I've finished...and don't worry...I'm planning on reviewing everything on my list.

So, I'm off to add myself to Mr. Linky at Callapidder Day's...follow me on over by clicking the picture at the top of this post.

Happy Reading!

Deena

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dry Bones Dancing by Tony Evans

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I adore the Old Testament, especially the prophets, so I just had to have a copy of book, "Dry Bones Dancing". In it Tony takes a close look at Ezekiel chapter 37.

Ezekiel had a vision of bones that were scattered, bleached, and dry as....well, as a bone! God asked him, "Do you believe I can raise these bones up?" Ezekiel was no dummy...he said "God, only You know that."

And then he watched what I believe is one of, if not the most spectacular miracles performed by God in Scripture...God not only raised the bones, but...well, go read it for yourself in Ezekiel 37!!

"Dry Bones Dancing" is more than just a breakdown of Ezekiel. It is an examination of the Christian life and why more of us aren't celebrating our relationships with Jesus.

When I got this book, I didn't realize...or rather, didn't acknowledge that I was in a place of spiritual dryness. We had struggled with a wayward daughter, my mother had recently passed away, and I had gone through a long recovery from back surgery. So I was feeling a bit parched.

But Tony Evans attributes spiritual dryness to more than just burnout. He says that disobedience leads to distance which leads to dryness. And you know what??

He's right.

One of the things I love so much about Tony Evans is his candid analysis of Scripture and his "don't mince words" approach to sin. He loves us as his Christian brothers and sisters too much to candy coat it.

In "Dry Bones Dancing", Tony takes us from deadness to dancing, and helps us to deepen our spiritual passion. This book includes a discussion guide and a CD with excerpts from The Message. I highly recommend getting a copy of this book.

"Dry Bones Dancing" gets 5 out of 5 bookmarks from me...with a little dancing skeleton charm...and he's just so cute!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

The Gospel According to Starbucks by Leonard Sweet

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I'll admit, I originally bought this book because...well, because it's about Starbucks! I posted on my devotional blog about the latest controversy surrounding the coffee bar giant (come to think of it, I never did put my 2 cents in on that one:-), but all of that happened after the book came out.

The subtitle of the book is "Living with a Grande Passion", and that is primarily what Leonard Sweet is all about in all of his books--living the Christian life with feeling and passion.


In this one he does discuss the whole Starbucks experience in comparison to a walk with God. He claims that both should be EPIC--an acronym for

E- Experiential
P- Participatory
I- Image-rich
C- Connective

Which is true. The Christian life should be all of those things...but first and foremost, grounded and rooted in God's Word.

Which was one of the many things about Mr. Sweet's book that disturbed me.

Amid all of the nifty, cool quotes, questions, and statistics...not one word of Scripture in the entire book. With the exception of Acts 4:32 (which is only referenced, not quoted), any use of Scripture is a snippet of a line, and a reference in the notes.

Not important?? You be the judge. It bothered me.

Starbucks is the key image in the discussion, with all references centered around the coffee experience. There is a lot about society and societal references, and a brief discussion about the emergent church (which, in my humble opinion, has produced some dangerous lines of thought), and a lot about being relevant.

In all, it's an idea wrapped in a gimmick. Clever, but not theologically sound enough to build on. Read it for pleasure; don't get your doctrine or philosophy from it (see my rant on Junk in the Trunk)

"The Gospel According to Starbucks" gets two bookmarks from me...too much cotton candy and not enough steak and potatoes for this believer!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Do You Ever...

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find that you've finished reading another book...and then you can't decide what to read next?

Or you're dying to read that new one you just received...but want to let it sit on the TBR shelf a bit longer---because, after all, once it's read, it's all over!

Or is it just me??

Trying to decide.....

Happy Reading!

Deena

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist

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I'm a little behind the curve on this, but I picked up "A Bride Most Begrudging" by Deanne Gist and thoroughly enjoyed it! This was an entertaining historical romp through Revolutionary times.

Lady Constance Morrow is unlike any women, in England or in the New Land across the seas...and being kidnapped as a tobacco bride gives her the chance to prove it. When a corrupt sea captain orders her chained, she sails to unknown lands.

Drew O'Connor just wants to build what his father began before his untimely death as an early colonist. He's looking for help--indentured servants--and gets far more than he bargained for in Constance!

This is more than a love story. We are reaping what our forefathers have sown, and it is all too easy to forget the hardships they endured in order to found this country. With historical accuracy coated in humor and romance, Deanne Gist has penned a novel well worth the reading.

"A Bride Most Begrudging" gets 3 bookmarks from me, with a bonus calculator...don't ask me why...just read the book:-)

Happy Reading!

Deena

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Penny by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford

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I don't know what to say. I was blown away by this story. At times, the tears flowed so freely that I could barely see the words on the page.

But it wasn't what I expected.

This is the story of Jenny Blake. On the way to the movie theater with her older sister, Jean, she spots a penny buried in the ground. As she steps over it, she senses a voice tell her to pick it up.

That split second event changes her life. But not in ways you would expect. That was the most surprising thing I discovered.

The penny didn't change Jenny's life--it changed HER.

Sometimes I think we expect God to work His miracles outside of us, when the greatest work He can ever achieve is inside the believer. Jenny's story taught me that...and it will resonate in my heart for a long, long time.

Be warned, this is a heart-wrenching story. I can't imagine what it took for Joyce to help write this story, and Deborah Bedford was the perfect partner for this venture.

"The Penny" gets 6 out of five bookmarks from me, with--you guessed it--a penny charm. Read the story, and you'll value that insignificant piece of American currency more than ever before.

Happy Reading!

Deena

The Best Of Evil By Eric Wilson

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This is the first installment in the Aramis Black series, and it is a wonderful start! Eric Wilson has a knack for the surprise in a suspense novel, and his characters are broody yet magnetic.

Aramis Black has finally gottne his life on track. He has opened his own coffee shop and named it in memory of his mom--Black's. But his past follows him to Nashville, and the clash of evil and good will not letting him go.

When a man is shot to death in his coffee shop, Aramis gets drawn into an age old mystery that has surrounded his family for two centuries. Lured by fortune, many have suffered greatly to solve this mystery.

Will Aramis be the one to unravel the threads? Or will someone else get to the answer first? And what will it cost Aramis and his family?

Filled with twists and turns, "The Best of Evil" satisfies on every level. I think this is Eric Wilson's best writing to date! I'm pleased to add him to my list of suspense favorites.

"The Best of Evil" gets four bookmarks and a teeny-tiny espresso cup charm...wrapped in an embroidered handkerchief. Why, you ask?? Well, you'll just have to read the book, won't you??

Happy Reading!

Deena

Saturday, June 16, 2007

False Witness by Randy Singer

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I've read every fiction title Randy Singer has written. Of all of them, this is my least favorite. It made my head hurt, wore me out trying to follow all the threads of storyline, and didn't match the back cover copy until midway through the story.

It totally ROCKED!!!

I could not figure out where in the world he was going with this. The twists, turns and surprises continued until the very. last. page. A total departure from his other legal thrillers, I'm amazed that he could keep track of every element, with no flaws in his logic.

That had to be some honkin' flow chart he mapped out!

Three ambitious law students, an obnoxious law professor, a man named David Hoffman, the FBI, the Grand Jury...and the mob. Does it get any better than that??

What transpires will shake your faith in the legal system, and will encourage you to be on your knees for those people of faith who work in our courts. It is time Christians stopped staying in their holy huddles and move out into the secular workforce to have the impact on our world that we were meant to have.

And to think...this entire mess (the novel) over a stupid math problem!!

"False Witness" gets 6 out of 5 bookmarks from me, with a little briefcase and a GPS chip built into the bookmark...one of them anyway. Never know when you'll need to track someone for their own safety! Or is it....

Happy Reading!

Deena

P.S. Oh, and that comment...that this was the least favorite...I was messin' with you...but hey, I learned it from Randy!!

I Need Book Advice--Imagine That!! LOL!!

I have a daughter who is 17, but has struggled with reading. She is now plowing her way through the series "Forbidden Doors" by Bill Myers, and is looking for something similar.

She likes the "spooky" stuff, but doesn't want wicca or witchcraft elements unless they are being exposed to the truth of God's Word. She has also enjoyed the Christian manga series "Serenity".

Any suggestions? No sex, no/mild language, preferred.

Oh, and she is also reading the "True Colors" series by Melody Carlson with me.

Thanks in advance!!

Deena

Fair Game by Carol Cox

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I must admit, I probably wouldn't have read this one if I hadn't been asked. But Carol Cox has created a series around the World's Fair in Chicago, Illinois.

Dinah Mayhew has come to Chicago to find work and to reconnect with her father. She gets far more than she bargained for; she finds her life's calling and reconnects with her Father, and falls in love.

Seth Howell doesn't think much of Dinah at first glance, but time and effort prove her to be valuable to the ministry he's been called to with the poor of Chicago.

Thrown into the mix is a mystery...why are so many young women vanishing, and who's behind it? Are they all leaving for a better life, or is something sinister going on?

And when Dinah's cousin Gladys shows up, the claws come out and rivalry becomes heated...until Gladys disappears...or does she?

This series is enjoyable, but not my cup of tea. The characters are well developed and the storyline is entertaining, with the message of faith clear and well defined. For a historical novel, it is worth the reading.

"Fair Game" gets 3 bookmarks, with a tiny Ferris Wheel charm...just because I can!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Friday, June 15, 2007

Bygones---Another Book Giveaway for June 15!!

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After being shunned by her parents for marrying someone outside the Mennonite
community, widow Marie Koeppler left her childhood home and never looked back. It was too painful.

Now, nearly twenty-five years later, she's stunned to see her former beau walk through the doors of the truck stop where she waitresses. He brings unexpected news.
Marie's aunt has died, and to everyone's surprise, she's left her house, belongings, and café to Beth, Marie's daughter. But there's one catch. To receive her inheritance, Beth must come and live within the Mennonite community for a period of no less than three months.

Beth determines to live there so she can pay her mother back for all the sacrifices Marie made for her growing up. Marie returns with Beth to help her adapt to the Mennonite lifestyle and finds more than her lost beau waiting for her.

It isn't long before she finds herself wanting to remain. Beth, however, finds herself living under a shadow of suspicion when homes are broken into and antiques are stolen. Loyal to her daughter, yet missing the simplistic lifestyle, Marie is once again faced with a heart-wrenching decision.

Kim Vogel Sawyer has written two novellas for Heartsong Presents and the popular novel Waiting for Summers Return. She writes gentle stories of hope, offering her readers encouragement. Bygones is the first book of the Sommerfeld Trilogy.

Leave me a comment, and you could win "Bygones"!! I'm drawing a winner on June 22nd, and posting another great Summer Book Contest!!

For My Review of "Bygones"...click here.

Happy Reading!!

Deena

What are YOU reading right now??

PollPub.com VoteSo Whatcha Readin'?
Mystery and/or Suspense. Mwwaaah...
Make me cry like you mean it! I want Drama.
I so love the -Lits!
Reading? Is that even fun?



View Results

Poll powered by PollPub.com Free Polls

And the Winner of Giveaway #2....

is..................

Lesha!!!!!!

You win a copy of "Gone With the Groom"!!!!!

Contact me with your snail mail address, please...

Keep entering ladies! I'm giving away books all summer long...one per week!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Torch Red: Color Me Torn by Melody Carlson

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket I was astounded by the third installment in the True Colors series by Melody Carlson. She nails the teen sex scene and does so with grace and finesse, but does not mince words at all.

Zoe is certain she's the only virgin left in her high school. Locker room talk in the girls' locker room is proof positive of that, and the tide is pulling her into deep water.

When she's asked to befriend the new girl, Zoe is more than happy to show her the ropes of the campus; but Shawna shoes Zoe far more than she bargained for, and the messages concerning teen sex are confusing.

Torn between her desire for Justin Clark, resident hot jock, and sold out believer Nate, Zoe attempts to muddle through the mess on her own. But will she realize that God holds the answers she seeks before it's too late for her?

Candid, informed, and accurate: three words to describe this installment in the series. Melody Carlson's heart for today's teen girls is evident in all of her writing, but especially in this one. What's out there is scary; not knowing is even more frightening than that.

Moms and daughters need to read this series TOGETHER. Each book is a great conversation starter, but with such mature subject matter, it's imperative that the message get through.

I also highly recommend that youth leaders/directors/ministers invest in a set of these books.

"Torch Red" gets 5 bookmarks out of five for me...and I'm tempted to lock it in a chastity belt--do they still make those things??

Click here for my review of Dark Blue: Color Me Jealous and here for Deep Green: Color Me Jealous--and be watching for my review on book #4 in this series, Pitch Black: Color Me Lost.

Happy Reading!

Deena

Booking Through Thursday...

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I don't usually post the Booking Through Thursday question (mainly because I forget to go and check what it is:-)...but this one seemed right up my alley...so here it is...

1. Do you cheat and peek ahead at the end of your books? Or do you resolutely read in sequence, as the author intended?
2. And, if you don’t peek, do you ever feel tempted?


Now, very rarely will I ever peek at the end...my husband is really bad about this, and I'm trying to break him of it:-)

But I must admit, there have been at least 2 books I've read this past year where I just couldn't stand it any longer and I did a peeky at the last page...
but I didn't READ it!

I only looked for a particular characters name, just to make sure he/she lived to tell the tale!!

I've been debating with myself on whether or not I'll read the last chapter first of the 7th book in the Harry Potter series (for my post on Potter, click here).

Yet I feel like that would be cheating...so I probably won't...but I'll want to!

How about you??

Happy Reading!

Deena

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Veil Of Fire by Marlo Schalesky

Today has been a VERY good day for reading! It's too hot to do much else...so, on to my second review of the day....

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Marlo Schalesky has a knack for taking historical events and painting a portrait of what happened. Her books are factual enough to be a history lesson, and entertaining enough to make history fun again.

"Veil Of Fire" is an account of the real life Hinckley fire that took place in 1894. For reasons unknown, the entire town of Hinckley, Minnesota burned to the ground, killing over 450 people and leveling the entire area.

What Marlo has done is take historical fact and stories told by her husband's great-great-grandmother and given life to the event. The characters she created put real time events into our lives, making us remember those who suffered so long ago.

But more than just historical, Marlo teaches us about the Biblical teaching of forgiveness and the consequences of secrecy. Who is it that rejoices over the fire, and the fact that all evidence of their crime is covered in cinder and ash?

And what about "the ghost"? Is he legend, real, or imagined after the trauma of the fire? And is he a he? Does the ghost mean harm or something else entirely?

I was glued to this story until the very end...determined to uncover the mystery of what took place before this tragic fire broke out, and how the lives of these people were finally put back together.


"Veil of Fire" gets four out of five bookmarks from me...with a tiny black box as a charm; it holds the key. And you'll just have to read the story to find out why!!

Happy Reading!

Paid In Blood by Mel Odom

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I fell in love with Don Brown's JAG series. For my review of that one, click here.

But Mel Odom's NCIS series is totally different. If Don Brown is NCIS/JAG, then Mel Odom is NCIS meets CSI. Gritty, real, and a rollercoaster ride of a story.

When an NCIS agent is found murdered in North Carolina, Will Coburn's team is called in. An investigation ensues, but it takes the team to places that no one would ever comprehend.

With enough factual information to make it a possibility, Mel Odom paints a picture of espionage, terrorism, and betrayal that will have you thinking, "What if it DID happen this way??"

Mel's background in forensic science and crime scene investigation makes this story shine. I loved the characters (don't get too attached to anyone--I'm just saying!!), and was captivated from page one.

I didn't like the ending, though. It felt very abrupt...almost like the action slammed to a halt. But I think it's because I'm so used to nice, tidy packages in my suspense reading...actually, this was far more realistic.

Plus, I've got book two on my shelf, and I have a feeling it kicks off where this one ended. Can't wait to dig into it, but I've got a pile waiting for me. This is a series that will most definitely appeal to both sexes, and I look forward to reading what Mel Odom has for us next (hopefully, book three will hit shelves about the time I finish book 2!!)

"Paid In Blood" gets four out of five bookmarks from me, with a little submarine charm...so glad I don't have to be cooped up in one of those...I whole-heartedly agree with Maggie! Who's Maggie??

Well, you'll just have to read the book to find out, now, won't you?? But you're gonna love her, and the rest of this NCIS team!

Happy Reading!

Deena

True Confessions...

Ok, before I start...put your rotten tomatoes and eggs down, step away from the stones, and if you can't handle the truth, plug your ears and cover your eyes.

I am a Harry Potter fan.

There, I've said it.

I'm one of the millions eagerly awaiting the last volume in the saga that began 10 years ago.

I remember seeing book one on the shelf at Walmart and wondering what it was. But didn't care enough to pick it up and browse.

Then volume two came out; again I saw it at Walmart. This time my husband told me had heard a buzz about the series, but he couldn't quite recall what it was all about.

By the time book three hit shelves, the Christian community was in an uproar. I joined in, listening to what was said and chiming in with "That's right! Uh-huh! Don't want to lose our kids to witchcraft, no we don't!"

But then Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released...and I longed for that book. Why? I didn't know a thing about the series...but it was so thick...with so many pages...and I adore a nice, big, juicy read...However, I avoided temptation and bought several books and stacked them all together to give the illusion of a nice, thick book.

My mom and I were shopping in the mall in Chico, California right around the time Order of the Phoenix was released. I remember drooling gazing with longing at that one...it was bigger, thicker, and blue...my favorite color. My mom looked at me and said, "Deena, I've never known you to take someone else's word for anything. You've never even tried one of those books. See what all the fuss is about and then make up your own mind."

She bought me a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and it sat on my shelf for several weeks. I just felt too guilty reading it, after all the negative talk that I had spouted about the series.

Finally, after my son asked me to see what it was like so he might read the series, I surrendered, opened the cover, and read the first page...

I haven't been the same since.

Now, if you and your family have chosen to not read this series, I applaud you. We need parents to take responsibility for their children and the choices out there, and to stick to their guns. Don't let anyone condemn you for your decision, and there are oodles of other excellent books out there for kids to read and enjoy.

Likewise, please don't judge me either. After he read the first book, my son chose to read something else...the stories were too long and involved for him to hang in there...he's the opposite of me--doesn't like long reads, but likes them quick and fast-paced.

I've done my homework. I've read all the articles and the books both for and against. And believe me, there are still books out there that I don't believe are healthy for our kids to read, and some are even dangerous. If you want to know which ones I refer to, email me and I'll be happy to share my insight with you.

Having said all of that, I'm going to be re-reading the entire series in anticipation of the release of Book 7, just days after my birthday (happy birthday to me!!). So if my reviews slow down a tad bit, you'll know why.

Those who would like to discuss this with me may feel free to email me. I will not argue the point with you, nor debate the subject here. But I felt the need to "come clean" and I sincerely hope I will not lose readership over this.

On another note, I just got 4 new books today, and can't wait to dive in to each one...so be watching for reviews on Joyce Meyer's first fictional release, a new author my hubby discovered for me, and another one for teen girls that looks amazing!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Up On The CFBA Blog Tour: As I Have Loved You by Nikki Arana

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This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

As I Have Loved You

(Revell June 1, 2007)

by

Nikki Arana


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Nikki Arana is an award-winning author of highly-acclaimed inspirational women's fiction who weaves today's social, political, and spiritual issues into her novels. She has received numerous awards, including the Excellence in Media 2007 Silver Angel Award for The Winds of Sonoma.


The book was based on the true love story of how Nikki met her future husband Antonio as he was cleaning the stalls of her parents' Arabian horses. Nikki and Antonio have been married for over thirty years, have two grown sons, and live in Idaho.


ABOUT THE BOOK:


Contemporary Struggles...

...A Single Mom and College-Ages Son.

Leigh Scott is a widowed, single mother who wants the best for her son Jeff. She would like him to graduate from college, land a secure job, and start a family. However, Jeff, who was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) at a young age, has a God-given compassion for people. And his non-judgemental acceptance of all has unintended consequences.

Jeff starts dating Jessica, a girl with a questionable past and seemingly non-existent future. Soon, Jeff's grades drop as quickly as his sober determination to achieve the goals he's worked toward all his life, and Leigh finds herself caught in a relational tornado

To complicate matters further, Leigh is an author with a looming book deadline, a father battling cancer, and her former boyfriend and first love, a strong Christian Native American, coming back in her life.

Arana weaves a multi-layered, emotional family saga that brings the peril of judgement, the need for forgiveness and the gift of love to light.

"Nikki Arana wrings the heart and exalts the soul."


---Romantic Times

FOR MY REVIEW: Click here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Christy Challenge

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Over at Shaunarumbling I found out about The Christy Challenge. It's fairly simple--select a novel that has either won or been nominated for the Christy Award. It can be from any genre that you choose, and you can pick as many as you would like.

Read that novel (or novels) in the next month and post a review (no picking novels you've already read or reviewed...hey, if I can't do that, YOU can't do that:-)

Go to Shauna's blog and let her know you'd like to participate. She has more information over there, and she explains it way better than I do. Just click on the picture to check it out.

My selections for The Christy Challenge are:

The Proof by Austin Boyd (2007 nominee)
The Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist (2007 nominee)
Monday Morning Faith by Lori Copeland (2007 nominee)

I know, I know...I always was an overachiever:-)

River Rising by Athol Dickson (2006 winner-suspense)
A Bride Most Begrudging by Deanne Gist (2006 winner-romance)
Secrets by Kristen Heitzmann (2005 winner-romance)

I normally would have picked more suspense, but I've already read them, and I'M NO CHEATER!! LOL!!

So, you up for it??

Happy Reading!

Deena

I'm Enjoying This!!!!!!!!

I love it when I read the book first, then my husband reads it.

He thinks he has it figured out.

He is SO wrong!

Or...is he....bwahahahahahahahaha!!!

I'm evil, I know...but it's such fun to torture him!

Oh, he's reading "Deception" by Randy Alcorn. Read my review here.

And I'm only mean to him. I'll never be mean to YOU....

maybe:-)

Happy Reading!

Deena

Promise Me Always by Christine Lynxwiler

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This is the PERFECT summer read! The characters are fun, the storyline is believable, and with just a hint of romance...I could envision me sitting on the beach with this one!

"Promise Me Always" is the first in the Pinky Promise Sisterhood series. Allie Richards is a widowed mother of two girls who dreams of starting her own landscaping business.

With the plant nursery she works for bringing in its own crew, she figures now is the time. But the bank doesn't see it her way, so now what does she do?

Enter the PPS gals! This group has been together since grade school and through thick and thin, they've been there for one another. So when Allie gets selected to compete in a landscaping competition, they dive in mulch first.

There's friendship; there's rivalry; there's a guy. Allie's two daughters are fun and fiesty, and you can smell a sequel in the air! I thoroughly enjoyed this story. By the end, Allie was one of MY best friends, and I rooted (no pun intended!) for her all the way.

Pick up a copy of "Promise Me Always" for this summer, and read it with your gal pals. I love chick-lit like this; growing up I didn't have a lot of close female friends, and there's just something about a group of women that circle around one another that I find way cool and very Christian!

"Promise Me Always" gets 4 bookmarks from me, with a gardening trowel charm. I look forward to more from Christine!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Monday, June 11, 2007

Because Inquiring Minds Want To Know, Part Two!!

Chili is hosting a meme on how we all got our start in the big, big world of blogging. Since I have three (yes, count'em, THREE) blogs, this is a three parter. For part 1, click here.

How did you start blogging?

I am an avid reader, and I love to share about what I read. I posted the occasional book review on my other blog, but that seemed to messy and didn't fit its purpose. So I created "A Peek At My Bookshelf" for all things bookish; reviews, memes, contests, and the like. That keeps my bloggy world nice and tidy, which is a far cry from my real world!!

Did you intend to be a blog w/a following? If so, how did you go about it?

No, I certainly didn't! I mean, I hoped people would find my reviews helpful, but I've found some authors have left me comments, which is WAY COOL! I've also joined Christian Fiction Blog Alliance (CFBA) and absolutely LOVE it there...God has hooked me up with some people in the publishing and publicity world of Christian publishing and that has opened quite a few doors. I'm humble and honored to be allowed to review such remarkable writers, and I love every minute of it!

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

I think I have. My goal is to get the word out about great Christian fiction and non-fiction, and to help promote books and their authors. Nothing thrills me more than to help someone find a new author, or to help push a particular book into the spotlight. Publishing is a difficult journey, so any little bit of help I can give is remarkable and what I hope to do.

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?

I didn't start out to be a Christian book reviewer, but I wouldn't have missed out on this for the world. I started blogging devotional type blogs for our women's fellowship...this just kind of happened. God has His ways...and I love Him for it!

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?

I really only wish I'd know how to do links, so that when people read the reviews, they could click and buy. But I've learned that now. I finally figured out how to put the covers on the reviews, so people could at least have a reference for what the book looked like. I'm working on putting links to Christianbook.com or Amazon.com for ease of use. But that's a work in progress:-)

Do you make money with your blog?

No, but occasionally I get a free book...and that always makes me happy!!

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?

My family isn't into the internet stuff, and I don't really like to promote myself to them. They don't really get interested in what I do...but my mom would have LOVED IT! Edited to add: My hubby, however, is my biggest fan. And he just called to let me know I forgot him!

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

1. Figure out your purpose and find your voice. If you want to do book reviews, I highly recommend joining a group such as CFBA or F.I.R.S.T. and then staying in contact with the others in the group.

2. Join a blog ring that suits your purpose, and visit other blogs frequently. ALWAYS leave comments...that way people can find you. And it's just the right thing to do!

And there you have it...Part Two! For Part 3, click here.
Happy Reading!

Deena

On Tour This Week: Diva NashVegas by Rachel Hauck!

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This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

DIVA NASHVEGAS

(Thomas Nelson May 8, 2007)

by

Rachel Hauck


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Rachel is the author of many books. Her current release, Viva NashVegas is the second in a series which began with Lost in NashVegas. She is also a Blogger and a CFBA member! She lives in Florida with her husband. Visit her great profile and learn more.




ABOUT THE BOOK:



Even if you are not a lover of country music, you can enjoy this fun look at the Nashville entertainment industry.

What do you do when the past you’ve been skirting shows up at your door with cameras rolling?

Aubrey James ruled the charts as the queen of country for over a decade. She’d rocketed to fame in the shadow of her parents’ death-both of them pioneers in Gospel music. But while her public life, high profile romances, and fights with Music Row execs made for juicy tabloid headlines, the real and private Aubrey has remained a media mystery.

When a former band member betrays Aubrey’s trust and sells an "exclusive" to a tabloid, the star knows she must go public with her story. But Aubrey’s private world is rocked when the Inside NashVegas interviewer is someone from her past-someone she’d hoped to forget.

All the moxie in the world won’t let this Diva run any longer.



"Hauck once again takes us into the country music world, this time through the experiences of mega-star Aubrey James. Aubrey's life journey is filled with flaws, as well as a great deal of joy, and real life locales makes this highly original story authentic. The extra tidbits - from Aubrey's liner notes to quotes from the "media" at the beginning of the chapters - add extra sparkle to the plot."

- 4 Stars, Melissa Parcel, Romantic Times Book Club

MY REVIEW: CLICK HERE!

FOR MY INTERVIEW: CLICK HERE!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Miss Match by Erynn Mangum

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I LOVE it when I discover a new author, and I haven't had this much fun reading a book since I found Trish Perry!!

"Miss Match" is a hilarious chick-lit delight. Lauren Holbrook has decided that God has given her the gift of match-making, and she puts it to good use in this debut novel.

After Lauren pairs older sister Lexi up with stockbroker Nate, she decides she's on a roll. What follows is a riot to behold; my face hurts from smiling so much, and my hubby keeps wondering "What's so funny?"

Erynn is a delight to read, and the faith is so geniune and heartfelt. I absolutely adored this novel, and zipped right through it. Only thing that makes me sad is now I've read it. And I'm slightly envious of all who have yet to discover just how much fun "Miss Match" is to read.

Fortunately for me (and you), "Re-Match" is out this October...and it's going to be a long wait! Run, don't walk, to your nearest Christian bookstore and snatch up a copy of this wonderful debut novel!

"Miss Match" gets 6 out of 5 bookmarks from me, with a take-out coffee cup and a tiny bag of M&M's for charms. Lauren is a woman after my own heart:-)

Happy Reading!

Deena

Hot Tropics and Cold Feet by Diann Hunt

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This is my kinda book!! Diann Hunt writes chick-lit for the forty-something plus crowd, and I love it!

"Hot Tropics and Cold Feet" is the sequel to "Hot Flashes and Cold Cream", but the two are loosely tied together. In this one, Maggie's best friend is about to be married for the second time--maybe.

Cold feet strike, and the Latte girls (Maggie and her three friends) take off for a mind clearing vacation in Siesta Key, Florida. From the meet and greet with Gator George to the supposed sightings of Donny Osmond (yes, THAT Donny Osmond:-), this story is packed with hilarious adventures reminiscent of Lucy and Ethel, times two!

Each of the quartet of female friends has issues of her own to deal with. I won't share what they are, since that kind of ruins the fun of reading...but they are all issues women 40 and over face in their lives.

I love these novels because, while I love the chick-lit genre...my career is pretty well set and my marriage has a lot of miles on it...so it's hard to relate to those just starting out in life.

But hot flashes, chin hairs, and wrinkles...now THOSE are things I can relate to!! And if you're in the same age bracket I'm in, you'll roll with laughter even as the tears flood your eyes.

Enjoy romping the shores of Florida with Maggie, Jill, Louise and Lily--and you can find out more about this gaggle of giggling gal-pals by picking up a copy of "Hot Flashes and Cold Cream", the story that started it all.

After all, you won't get the joke about the bushes unless you do;-) "Hot Tropics and Cold Feet" gets 4 bookmarks from me, with a gator charm...gotta love George!! And don't miss out on "Be Sweet", a new novel from Diann Hunt, releasing this summer!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Reluctant Runaway by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

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FBI Agent Tony Lucano and security expert Desiree Jacobs are back and on another case of stolen artifacts in "Reluctant Runaway". This fast paced rollercoaster ride takes us to New Mexico and deep in the Anasazi belief system.

Desi's best friend and business partner, Max Webb, has a big problem. Her niece has vanished, leaving her husband and baby behind with no warning. Foul play is suspected, so Desi and Max head down to New Mexico to investigate--the theft of Anasazi artifacts from the museum, and hopefully to uncover clues in Karen's disappearance.

Tony is hot on his own case, and tragedy strikes close to home. But he holds back on confiding in Desi, just as she avoids sharing her concerns with him. For awhile I thought the title of this novel should have been "Reluctant Romance"!

But as they unravel the mystery, they also discover the issues that hold them back. Eventually, their investigative paths cross, and the two end up working the same case.

Danger dogs their every step, and by the end, life hangs in the balance...but for whom? Who is really behind the museum theft? Why did Karen disappear--and what does her dad have to do with it?

And what is up with all the truck drivers--who don't really exist??

The message of faith is loud and clear, and the gospel is unmistakable. Temptations are faced, and God is honored through the events in this tale. And, fortunately, that title I mentioned earlier? We can forget about it...the next novel is called "Reluctant Smuggler" and is due out October of this year.

Maybe by then, Tony will have this romance thing down to an art! He will if Desi has anything to say about it!

While I find myself more invested in this series, I still would like to know more about Tony and Desi, and to have their characters fleshed out beyond the workplace. I adore Max, but even she needs a little more detail for my liking.

However, the mysteries and investigations are unique, and the concept is cool. This story is more mulilayered than the last, and I enjoyed it thoroughly!

"Reluctant Runaway" gets 3 bookmarks from me with a bonus tassel and a portrait charm...a worthwhile investment, and now I need to hire HJ Securities to protect it for me!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Latest Mrs. Furst by Susan Martins Miller

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This is the most disturbing novel I've read in a very, very long time.

"The Latest Mrs. Furst" is the story of Jayne Paige-Hamilton and her relationship with Mitchell Furst. Jayne is a divorced woman, and her only child died in infancy. She has lived alone for quite awhile, and wants companionship and relationship.

Enter Mitchell Furst. He treats her like fine china, pampering her and spending time with her, winning her affection and eventually her heart. Soon the two are engaged to be married. And all is right in Jayne's world.

Or is it?

Where is Mitchell when she tries to call him? When he cancels dates and misses appointments? Why hasn't she ever been to his house? And will she ever meet his family?

This story struck a little too close to home. Of all the women in my family, I'm the only one to marry once, and to marry for life. I'm the only one in a healthy marriage, to a Christian man (he's my pastor), and to have a reasonably stable life.

So reading what Jayne deals with made me uncomfortable. I came too close to be another in a long line of women who made a bad choice that affected them for life. So I recommend this one cautiously...not because it is poorly written or the characters are flat...

No, for the exact opposite. What Jayne feels, you'll feel. Where Jayne goes, you'll go. And when Jayne meets Jesus...well, you'll be glad you've known Him all along...or long to have what Jayne has.

"The Latest Mrs. Furst" gets 4 bookmarks from me. And prayers of thanks, for "There but for the grace of God went I."

Happy Reading!

Deena

Friday, June 8, 2007

Ever Present Danger by Kathy Herman

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I've been a fan of Kathy Herman's ever since I read "Tested by Fire". She has a way of taking a Biblical principle and illustrating it through her characters in a subtle but inescapable way.

In "Ever Present Danger" the theme is no compromise. From the beginning of the story we see how easy it is to allow the little things that we need to stay away from to creep into our lives. Before we know it, we're in over our heads and can't seem to find a way out.

Ivy Griffith is returning home after ten long years running away from events in her past. She longs to be who she once was, but the baggage from her life haunts her, including the one event that sent her spiralling down a path of drugs and self-destruction.

Brandon Jones has it made; the job of his dreams, the perfect wife, and a faith in God that is unshakeable. So when he hangs out with questionable Buzz, what's to worry about?? But events soon reveal the chinks in his armor and he ends up on a slippery slope himself.

Each is on a different path, but both illustrate the response we as believers need to have at even a hint of evil or sin in our lives. The events transpire in a fast-paced, can't-put-it-down story that will have you riveted.

Kathy is never preachy, but her novels are sermons in themselves. I have read every single one, and have NEVER been disappointed in the character development, storyline, or message of her work. "Ever Present Danger" is the first in the Phantom Hollow series, which is a very good thing!

Her characters are loosely connected, so I highly recommend starting your reading with "Tested by Fire" and continuing through that series of five, then going on to the Seaport series, ending up with this one. I envy you the joyous reading you're going to have!!

"Ever Present Danger" gets 5 bookmarks from me, with a bonus menu tassel from me...wishin' I could eat at the diner!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

I Just Found A New Toy!!!!!

I was hanging out at Debi's blog and browsing around. In her Thursday Thirteen post she mentioned a website called Library Thing.

Being a curious soul, I had to check it out.

IT IS WAAAAYYYY Cool!!!!

You can catalog your books, connect with other book lovers, post reviews, and all sorts of stuff. I'm in the process of cataloging my TBR bookpile...which will take FOREVER the old way...

But at Library Thing, you just type in the author or the title, and it does the rest! How cool is that!!

Now, if I could only find a website that cleaned my house:-)

Go check out Library Thing and let me know what you think!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Gone With The Groom--Book Giveaway for June 8th!

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It’s all over the news. Three company executives of the maker of the powerful painkiller Oxy-Contin pled guilty to misleading the public about the drug's risk of addiction, according to a federal prosecutor as well as a company representative. Was Janice A. Thompson listening from a closet when she penned "Gone with the Groom"?

The conflict of a big drug company deception is just one of the riveting themes interwoven through this novel — and could be why the groom is missing.

The best laid plans of brides and men go awry when Annie Peterson’s future son-inlaw
Scott disappears. Have pre-wedding jitters caused Brandi’s fiancé to take flight, or
are more sinister forces at work? Annie puts her super-sleuth powers to work, feverishly racing against the wedding day clock to find her daughter’s missing fiancé.

Has Scott been silenced by the big pharmaceutical company for which he works? Perhaps
his disappearance is the handiwork of Otis, Scott’s sneaky dad. But then again it
could be the shady wedding photographer or even a sideshow of the political campaign
of Scott’s mother.

Will Annie solve the mystery and recover the missing groom in time for the couple to
say their wedding vows? Find out in Gone with the Groom.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAuthor Janice A. Thompson lives in the Houston area. In 2004, her two oldest daughters both received proposals within weeks of each other. The weddings came off without a hitch! Janice has since coordinated weddings for friends and is thrilled to incorporate many of her adventures into her novels.

For my review, click here.

Leave a comment with a way for me to contact you, and you could win a copy of "Gone With The Groom"!! I'm drawing the winner June 15th...and posting another new release and hosting another book giveaway! Tell a friend!!

Happy Reading!!

Deena

This Week's Winner Is........

*ahem* May I have the envelope please??

*Drumroll>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>*

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And the winner of Crime and Clutter by Cyndy Salzmann IS................

AMY at THE SLEEPY READER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YAY!!! **Balloons falling from ceiling** **Confetti cannons going off**

WOO-HOO!!!!!!!

Amy, dear...I need you to email me your snail mail address so I can get your NEW COPY OF CRIME AND CLUTTER TO YOU!!

Didn' win?? Don't be sad...my next giveaway is just one posting away...I'm off to tell you what it is!!!!!

Happy Reading!!

Deena

Thursday, June 7, 2007

As I Have Loved You by Nikki Arana

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Ever read a novel and enjoy it, but not be able to put your finger on why? That's kind of how I feel after finishing "As I Have Loved You" by Nikki Arana.

Leigh Scott is a single Christian mom struggling to make her life work. An author, she keeps working and searching for that one novel that will speak God's heart. She only wants what is best for her only son, and will move heaven and earth to achieve it for him.

Jeff Scott has struggled all his life with ADD. A social misfit and outcast, he found a special calling on his life from God--to reach out to those like him, society's rejects and unwanted, and to show them the love of Jesus.

So, when he meets Jessica, that's how it all starts. But soon things take a turn that no one expected, and Jeff's life strays from God's path for him.

Leigh's life isn't doing much better. Her old love has re-entered her life, her father's cancer has returned, and now an unexpected secret from the past has come to light, changing everything.

The story is excellent; the message is kind of muddy, though. This is very personal to Nikki Arana...that much is evident. You can feel her heart and soul through the pages, and she is intent on conveying her message to the reader.

So, this is what I received from this story: even the good things in our lives, the good that we do and achieve and recieve...if it is apart from God's will, ultimately it means nothing.

For all the good each character in this story attempted, all that they did apart from God failed. It was only when each surrendered as an empty vessel for His divine use that their plans and lives were well-ordered again.

There's also some discussion about the Holy Spirit and the gifts He gives each believer...I found that part intriguing, but it wasn't central to the message of the story for me.

I encourage you to take a chance on this book. I've never read anything else Nikki has written, but this was a good place to begin with her talent. "As I Have Loved You" gets 4 bookmarks from me. I'll be thinking about the message of this novel for a long time...it just sticks with you.

Happy Reading!

Deena

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Idol Eyes by Mandisa, with Angela Hunt

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I heard Mandisa was writing a book about her experience on American Idol. I even heard that Angela Hunt, one of my favorite authors, was writing it with her. But I was going to pass on it. I mean, I love Mandisa, and I'm an AI fan...but I'm not obsessed.

Then I discovered that Beth Moore wrote the forward. Well, then I had to investigate. And what I read in the forward intrigued me enough to pick a copy of Mandisa's book.

I wouldn't have missed this for anything.

"Idol Eyes" is more than a behind the scenes look at American Idol. It's more than Mandisa's journey to fame as a Top 10 Idol contestant.

No, this book is a testimony to the power of prayer, Bible study, and a willingness to lay one's self on the altar of God's will for your life, and what a sold out believer can accomplish...in spite of herself.

Mandisa is honest about her journey to that ordained audition, remains true through her experiences as an American Idol contestant, and she is gut-wrenchingly candid about the aftermath of being voted off America's most popular reality talent show.

You can see the love she has for God. You can feel her passion for giving Him her all. And you can understand the dedication she has to being His representative in the media spotlight.

But I think what I loved most about this story is the same thing I love about Scripture...she not only tells us about her strength found in Christ, but Mandisa lets us watch her crash and burn, struggle and ultimately surrender to God's plan for her.

This is well crafted, stuffed full of Scripture, and the real deal. "Idol Eyes" is on par with Steven Baldwin's book on his journey of faith, and inspires us to not settle for mediocrity and safety, but to spread our wings and allow God to take us places we'd dreamed of, hoped for, and ultimately have no idea what we're getting ourselves into!!

She is honest about the controversy surrounding her size, her response to Simon Cowell's criticism, and being voted off not long after singing a blantantly Christian song. You can't help but love such an honest and beautiful woman. And Mandisa is beautiful, inside and out.

I must admit I was shocked to discover the controversy that surrounded her choice to sing "Shackles" by Mary Mary...it wasn't what I'd initially believed it to be...but took on a life of its own with suprising consequences.

"Idol Eyes" gets 4 bookmarks from me, and a microphone charm...she may not be America's idol, but she should be every Christian woman's heroine of the faith...follow her as she follows Christ.

Happy Reading!

Deena

Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer

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I have a confession.

This is NOT my kind of book. I think I posted somewhere else, that historical novels weren't my cup of tea. Well, neither are stories about the Amish or the Mennonites.

But...well...can't a gal change her mind?? I picked up "Bygones" late this afternoon, thinking I would give it a quick glance...

I DEVOURED IT! By the end, my eyes were so full of tears I could barely finish the story. It was wonderful...**sigh**

Marie Koeppler fell in love with truck driver Jep Quinn and never looked back. Leaving behind her Mennonite roots, she did not abandon her faith...until her father rejected her and her newborn baby girl.

Twenty-three years later, Marie finds out her beloved aunt has died and left everything to her namesake, Marie's daughter Beth. But the will has one stipulation (don't they ALWAYS:-). In order for Beth to lay claim to the estate, she has to live in Sommerfeld with the Mennonites.

They both return...but neither could believe what awaited them. With relationships strained between Marie and her family, when antiques begin to go missing...she and Beth are the first suspected.

Who is behind the thefts? Where does Beth go when she has to escape the confines of the Mennonite people? And is Marie returning to her faith, or has the Mennonite culture closed her out for good?

I don't know a lot about the Mennonite people...but I respect them and at times envy the simplicity of their lifestyle. One thing I DO know...falling in love with Jesus is different than falling in love with a lifestyle or belief system. One is alienating, and one is filled with grace, mercy and truth.

The only bad thing about reading this story is waiting for the sequel. Yes, I do believe I'm hooked now...and that is NOT a bad thing at all! "Bygones" gets 4 bookmarks from me, with a little white cap as a charm...read the story and you'll know why!!

Happy Reading!

Deena

Her Last Work...

All The Tea In China, A Regency Romance by Jane Orcutt


Jane Orcutt passed away on March 17th, 2007 after a long battle with leukamia. Her last book All the Tea in China has just released and all proceeds will go to support Jane's husband and two teenage sons.

Let's help support this family, and enjoy some wonderful storytelling in memory of Jane Orcutt!

Happy Reading!

Deena

P.S. I've just purchased my copy, so be watching for my review later this month!!