Monday, December 31, 2007

Extreme Makeover: Life Edition PReview Four--Good To Great In God's Eyes by Chip Ingram


Here's one more book for men (and women) that will start the new year off right! I've read many books written by Chip Ingram, and I adore the way this man writes and the way he thinks....


"Good To Great In God's Eyes" is a new title from Chip Ingram (in 2007) that reveals ten practices that can lead to a deeper relationship with God. Based on Biblical principles and anecdotal evidence, Chip lays out a plan that will take you places in your walk with God that are richer and more vibrant than ever before.

Many of the things involved make sense on a practical level, but might not be things we consider in everyday life. Chip identifies things that great Christian men and women through the ages have practiced, such as...

**Thinking Great Thoughts

**Pursuing Great People

**Dreaming Great Dreams


**Reading Great Books.

This is NOT an easy read, but it is a fascinating one. I also don't think anyone can read this in just one would be like eating an entire triple chocolate layer cake with rich, fudgy frosting by yourself at one meal. (Doesn't that sound good, though?)

Take your time and savor the ideas he presents. Share them with your spouse or a close friend. And I encourage you to visit to learn more about this book. PLUS, he has podcasts based on this book that are fun to listen to!

One more Extreme Makeover: Life Edition PReview tomorrow, and then we start our "Cozy Up with a Cozy" reviews!

Happy Reading!


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Extreme Life Makeover: PReview Three--Desire by John Eldridge


Finally, a book review for men:-) See, I told you I'd post a few for the guys! This is one that I've heard quite a bit about, but haven't yet read all the way through...


"Desire" by John Eldredge is a re-release of his 2000 publication. Based on the premise that we all have a need for passion in our everyday lives, "Desire" takes the reader to a place where you can find the desire of your heart.

In this book, Eldredge takes to task the idea that, in order to live holy lives, we must die to our heart's desires. Santification. According to Eldredge, God has given us desires, and we are meant to discover them and strive for them.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. I've heard positive and negative comments about "Desire", and I plan on exploring this book more thoroughly as time passes. Until then, consider this my PReview of this very popular book!

Tomorrow, I'll post a PReview of another book for men (and women), and on New Year's Day, I'll be previewing "Captivating", a book written by John and Stasi Eldredge for women.

Happy Reading!


Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Bit of Housekeeping....

Just a note or two for my readers...

1) If you won a book just before the holidays and it hasn't arrived, do not panic! I'm waiting until after Christmas to mail any more packages to ensure they do not get lost in the mail. Your book will be mailed soon, I promise.

2) I forgot yesterday was Friday Freebie...imagine that:-) So don't forget to check out our Home for the Holidays review from yesterday.

Edited to add: I never did draw a winner for our Final Friday Freebie...but the good news is I got a Daily Planner for Christmas!! Now..............where did I put it?


So, I'll draw a winner later today. All books not yet mailed will go out on Wednesday, January 2, 2008...thanks for your patience:-)

Ummmmm.....I think that's it. We now return you to our regularly scheduled book review:-)

Happy Reading!


Extreme Makeover: Life Edition PReview Two--Extraordinary Women by Julie Clinton


I love New Year's Day. A fresh, clean slate of 365 days (in the case of 2008, we get a bonus day!) to work for God's glory, to deepen our relationship with Him and with others, and to spread the Good News everywhere we go.

By the end of the year, I'm ready for a new one, aren't you?!? So, let's start out the new year right with some good Extreme Makeover: Life Edition reading, shall we?


"Extraordinary Women" by Julie Clinton is not only a gorgeous book, but a book with a powerful message. Based on the question, "Why do we try so hard to fit in when God created us to stand out?", Julie presents us with a series of devotional readings that will challenge and stretch you as you read.

Divided into ten sections, each is a secret that she unlocks for the reader...secrets to living God's dream for your life...Secrets to knowing God really loves you...and more.

So much more.

Now, remember, this is a PReview...I plan on giving you my full impression of this book later on this year. But what I've read so far is amazing and challenging.

If you're looking for an inspirational devotional for this year that will change your life...I don't think you need to look any further than "Extraordinary Women" by Julie Clinton, released by Harvest House Publishers.

Happy Reading!


Friday, December 28, 2007

Will The Winner Of....

"Humor For The Holidays" please contact me again.

My email ate your email:-(

If I don't hear from you within the week (by NEXT Friday), I'll be forced to select another winner, and I don't want to do that.

I should have sent you the winning email...please let me know your information.

So sorry about this...

Happy Reading!


Extreme Makeover: Life Edition PReview One--Connecting Women by Linda Lesniewski


I have a few books I'd like to share with you as we approach January 1, 2008. A new year is always a time of reflection and a time when I desire to make changes in my life. Not resolutions, but changes.

I want to draw closer to God. I want to be more in love with my husband, and spend more time with my children. I want to take better care of myself, and to find more richness in God's Word.

Maybe you feel the same way (maybe not:-). So, here are a few of the books on my "Extreme Makeover: Life Edition" shelf that I hope to complete this year...I'm giving you a little preview, and a sneak peek at what I think of each.


First up is a book titled "Connecting Women" by Linda Lesniewski. I lead the women's ministry at our church, and I'm always searching for and praying for ways to help our women feel connected and purposeful both to Christ and to one another. To me, that's the only way life has any meaning at all.

Linda's book describes how women work together to not only make a difference, but to be the hands and feet of Jesus to one another and to those who don't know Him. She states that leading a women's ministry takes more than just a kind takes effort and work.

I wholeheartedly agree. I know of one particular woman in our church who made a HUGE difference in the life of a young woman who's car just "happened" to break down in front of her house. It's an amazing story, and you'll find stories just like the one I know of personally in this book.

Whether you're a women's ministry leader or not, I think you'll grow from reading this book. You'll read how to nurture your own spiritual life, which is key to reaching out to others--you can't give what you ain't got!

You'll also read about submitting yourself to your church authority (which we need to do), as well as how to keep ministry fresh and creative. There's practical chapters on budgeting and on partnering with other churches in ministry.

Now, remember, this is only a preview...I haven't read the entire book just yet. I plan on giving you a full review with my opinions and ratings as the year progresses. But from the few chapters I've read, I think it's a book worth taking a closer look at.

Filled with stories of real people and real events, this isn't just theory, this is life lived out. Published by Baker Books, I encourage you to take a look at our first Extreme Makeover: Life Edition book for 2008.

Come back by tomorrow for another Extreme Makeover: Life Edition PReview...and yes, I'll even have one or two for the guys! Plus, you never know...I may just offer a giveaway:-)

Happy Reading!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cozy Up With A Cozy Mystery In January!!


Here's something to look forward to now that Christmas is over and the New Year is on the horizon...

Beginning January 1, 2008, watch for my fireplace graphic...that will signal a "cozy mystery" book review...and EVERY FRIDAY is Giveaway Day:-)

I'm going to introduce you to some of my favorite authors, as well as try out a few new ones and let you know what I think about their cozies. PLUS, I'll tell you about my favorite websites to find out about cozy mystery releases and authors.

So, don't doze off under that new fuzzy blanket you got for Christmas and miss out on some mighty fine readin'! And spread the word...we're gonna get cozy!

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Only Uni by Camy Tang


Camy Tang calls herself a "loud, Asian chick"...I say she has a huge message of hope and healing for today's Christian woman, so it's a VERY good thing she's loud and proud of it!

I loved the first novel in the Sushi Series, "Sushi For One?", and I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of "Only Uni". I finished it on Christmas Eve, and was thrilled to find out it is totally worth the wait.

Trish Sakai is the family wild child, and she's tired of being wild. Wanting to change her ways and become the child of God she is meant to be, Trish comes up with three hard and fast rules to live her life by.

While her three cousins are supportive of her desire to change, they are also skeptical. I mean, legalism never worked for anyone, right? But Trish insists that her three rules can be lived by...

Until she meets up with her once upon a time ex-boyfriend...

Until she begins working with her lab partner Spenser and his gorgeous, dimpled smile...

Until she discovers that her rules are just that...HER rules. So, what's a girl who loves being in love to do? Well, you'll just have to wait until March of 2008 to find out what the future holds for Trish Sakai and her three Asian cousins.

I absolutely adore Camy Tang and her characters. Camy doesn't shy away from the tough issues and she doesn't cut sin any slack either. But she saturates her stories with the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

The women in her stories could step out of the pages and into your life, and you'd go for coffee and enjoy their company! Camy's novels are also rich with culture and heritage, which often collides with faith in Christ...but Jesus is always first and foremost in the lives of her heroines...eventually:-)

The romance is light and sweet, and isn't really the focus of the stories. The romance and wooing of Christ takes center stage, and it is a gorgeous thing to behold. I just cannot say enough about how GOOD these novels are! So I'll shut up now and let you get to reading ("Sushi For One" is out now).

This series is a HUGE hit in my book, and I'm already anxious for the third novel in this fun and relevant series. I give "Only Uni" six out of five bookmarks, and send Zondervan publishers my thanks for giving Camy Tang's writing a home.

Keep watch for more reviews of "coming soon" novels of 2008!

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Home For The Holidays--Day 25 of the Twenty Five Reviews of Christmas:

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Well here we are. I don't know how many of you stuck with me through all twenty-five reviews of Christmas...but I thank you. And if you're reading this on Christmas day, I'm surprised and flattered that you've included me in your family celebration:-)

But, since you're here...let's wrap up the Home for the Holidays Christmas Book Review Festivities, shall we? I opened with one of my all time favorite Christmas books, and I will close with my absolutely, hands down favorite of all...


The story can be found in Luke, chapter two...and is non-fiction all the way. A true story that changes lives, and is infinitely precious to me and to my family. In fact, I'm sure the Author won't mind if I share it with you:

Luke 2
The Birth of Jesus
1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

The story has a part two, if you will, and I'm sure the Author wouldn't mind me sharing this with you as well:

Luke 23

23But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

The Crucifixion
26As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' 30Then
" 'they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!"
and to the hills, "Cover us!" '[d] 31For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
32Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."[e] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One."

36The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."

38There was a written notice above him, which read:|sc THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"

40But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."

42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[f]"

43Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

Jesus' Death
44It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.
47The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man." 48When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

And, praise God, there is a final portion of this amazing true story, and I insist on sharing it with you...for it is the BEST. PART. OF. THIS. LIFE. CHANGING. STORY:

Luke 24
The Resurrection
1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " 8Then they remembered his words.
9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

On the Road to Emmaus
13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.
17He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"

They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"

19"What things?" he asked.

"About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see."

25He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ[b] have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.

30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon." 35Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

And that, my friends and readers, is the best, the most important, and the truest story of Christmas you'll ever read. It doesn't end with the baby in the manger, but with the Savior of the world risen and alive today.

If you've never believed this true story, let me offer you this....

THIS is my final giveaway for Home for the Holidays...The gift of the truth. If you do not know this Jesus the Bible tells us about, if you've never believed in Him and in His sacrifice for you, email me.

I will send you a Bible and a study book on Jesus Himself, and let you get to know Him. Once you do, you will have a choice to believe...or not. I pray that you do. This is so much more than just about books for me. It's about pointing the way to Jesus, the One who took me as I am, and loves me too much to leave me or let me be.

Let me introduce you to Him this Christmas. Email me. Let's talk. Let me pray with you and for you. I won't debate you. But I will introduce you to the One who came to save the world from sin...and you're gonna LOVE Him!

So, Merry Christmas everyone...and this is a giveaway meant for the entire world...take it, with much love from me...and from God Himself:-)

Happy Reading!


12 Days of Christmas...

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Love


God's Gift of Love

by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Love. It seems as though everyone these days is either in desperate avoidance of it, in the heart wrenching process of losing it, or in the giddy throes of finding it. Some have given up on it while others believe they will know it when they see it. All of us hope when it’s our turn, the love we get - and give - will be unconditional.

But can flawed humans really offer unconditional love?

Oh, we try. If you’re a parent you know the depth of love you felt the first moment you saw that precious baby of yours. Then there’s the feelings you carried up the aisle to join your beloved at the altar. Or perhaps love to you is counted by the nights spent at a parent’s bedside. The thread of love winds through each of these, and yet it is the rare parent, spouse, or child who would admit to having loved perfectly. We are human and sadly flawed, even when we act with the best of intentions.

There is only one unconditional love that never fails. Only one love that never turns a blind eye, says the wrong thing, or procrastinates rather than acts. The love of the Father, our Heavenly Father, is perfect in every way. Not only is His love unconditional, but He also loves us in spite of who we are and not for what we are. How wonderful to know that the God of the universe loves us.

Not just love in the way we see it, the stars-in-our-eyes crazy-about-my-baby love, but a depth of feeling exponentially more than anything our flawed but well intentioned hearts could imagine.

So today, when you’re reminded of that tiny baby, Jesus Christ the Creator-made-flesh, think of the love it took to accomplish this holy miracle of unconditional love. To put on the fingers and toes of an infant and come to us as Savior was the beginning of a love story that has no end.

Kathleen Y’Barbo

Kathleen Y'Barbo is the author of Beloved Castaway and countless other books. For more information visit

Monday, December 24, 2007

Candy Cane Murder by Joanne Fluke


Even when it's just part of an anthology, a story by Joanne Fluke is simply delicious! "Candy Cane Murder" is a holiday treat in a trio of Christmas whodunits that makes solving murder...well...FUN!

Hannah Swenson is playing the role of her not-so-perfect life...a holiday elf, courtesy of her niece Tracy. When Santa shows up with laryngitis, Hannah quickly creates a story for the children, and all is well.

Until Santa...I mean, Wayne Bergstrom, turns up dead in a snowpile. Who killed the owner of the most popular department store in Lake Eden? Was it his ex-wife, current wife, or one of the many people Wayne ripped off?

Hannah is on the case and in the kitchen with some yummy holiday recipes. I loved this one, only wishing it was a full length Hannah Swenson creation! I'm giving "Candy Cane Murder" five out of five bookmarks, with an elf's pointy boot as a charm.

Included in this holiday murder anthology are stories by Laura Levine and Leslie Meier (first one--haven't read; second one--adore her stories). Enjoy this triple treat, and Merry Christmas!

Happy Reading!


Home For The Holidays--Day 24 of the Twenty Five Reviews of Christmas: The Great Santa Search by Jeff Guinn

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Here we are. It's Christmas Eve. We've shared quite a bit about Christmas fiction and non-fiction, and it has been so much fun for me to share my favorites with you. As we wait for morning to come and the festivities to begin, allow me to share the last in a trilogy that I have enjoyed so very much...


Once again, Jeff Guinn has created a Christmas "non-fiction" tale that has earned a spot of honor on my Christmas bookshelf. "The Great Santa Search" takes a page from today's obsession with reality television and our disdain for all things Santa.

Jeff begins in 1841, when the first commercial Santa venture began. A well known store owner hires a "Santa" to boost his holiday sales, and thus begins a tradition carried out in every mall in America today.

Being imitated isn't the problem for Santa, though...until his imitators develop a taste for untruths and poor quality. As people begin to no longer believe in him, Santa feels the need to step in and set the record straight.

It isn't until the year 2006 that things really get messed up. When a reality television producer cooks up the idea to host a reality show searching for the "real Santa" to disprove Santa's existence...well, things REALLY get interesting then!

Of the three, this is the most fictional of the series. Jeff just has fun with the commercialization of Christmas and the way we view a beloved character from the season. I found "The Great Santa Search" the most entertaining of the three, but just as enjoyable as the entire series, and finally found it in time to add to my collection of cherished Christmas books.

So, I'm giving "The Great Santa Search" five out of five bookmarks, with a chimney charm, complete with snow and a sprinkle of soot! I encourage you to check these books out at your local library, and see if you don't fall in love with them as I have loved them.

We will have ONE more review tomorrow, and then a final won't want to miss it! Merry Christmas Eve, everyone...and

Happy Reading!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Home For The Holidays--Day 23 of the Twenty Five Reviews of Christmas: How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas by Jeff Guinn

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Yesterday I introduced you to author Jeff Guinn and his amazing rendition of the story of Santa. Today, let me tell you about the second book in this series of Christmas "non-fiction" tales....


They say that behind every great man there's a great woman, supporting him in what he does. Such is the case with Santa, and we get to know more about the Mrs. in Jeff's second Christmas story.

"How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas" will probably be the most controversial of the books due to its examination of Christmas being banned. With his historical facts laced with fiction, Jeff paints a portrait of how Christmas became distorted and people were robbed of the joy of the season, and how Mrs. Claus went to great lengths to set things right.

It's 1647 in jolly old England, and the Puritans have taken control of the government and actually made it illegal to celebrate Christmas. Based on actual events, Jeff pulls together historical and fictional characters to create an exciting and plausible work of fiction that captivated me.

Again, his tale of Mrs. Claus is highly original and full of historical information that makes this almost a mini history lesson. And the marriage relationship between the beloved Santa and his Mrs. is a joy to behold. I give "How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas" five out of five bookmarks, with a Christmas candy cane as a's just that sweet!

Happy Reading!


Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Winner of "Reluctant Journey" is....

Well, once life calmed down yesterday, I remembered I forgot to draw a winner;-)

So, for my Friday Home For The Holidays Giveaway winner this week.....

Drawn at Random at

Is Windy Cindy!

Send me your info and I'll send you your book (after Christmas).

Happy Reading!


P.S. There's ONE more book up for here.

Home For The Holidays--Day 22 of the Twenty Five Reviews of Christmas: The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn

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I've saved some of my all time favorite "non-fiction" for last. So much controversy surrounds this holly, jolly figure that I hesitated to share, but the stories are so lovely and entertaining, I'll let you decide for yourselves...


I discovered this story by accident a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. Written by Jeff Guinn, "The Autobiography of Santa Claus" is written as if the gentleman in the red suit is its true author.

Jeff blends historical facts with heart-warming fiction to create one of the most original tales of Santa and his origins ever written. His facts and fiction blend to create explanations of why Santa has aged so slowly, how his gift giving missions began, and how he met the love of his life.

Along the way, Santa meets up with such historical figures as Leonardo DaVinci, Alexander the Great and many others, and they join with him to bring Christmas joy and cheer to the world.

What surprised me was the strong message of faith I found in these pages. Whether you "believe" in Santa or ignore him at Christmas, this is a book to enjoy. Well written and highly enjoyable, I'm giving "The Autobiography of Santa Claus" five out of five bookmarks, with a red and white Santa hat as a charm.

Happy Reading!


Friday, December 21, 2007

Fall Into Reading Wrap Up!

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Even though it is SO not fall like outside (it's cooooolllllllddddd!), we're wrapping up the Fall Into Reading Challenge hosted by Katrina of Callapidder Days. So, I bet you're wondering how I did, huh?

Not so good, when you think about it...

I picked a host of books I've been intending to read, or was asked to read. I had four different catagories, and a wide variety of books to select from.

For awhile, I was knocking them off my list right and left, and reviewing each one. But then I got sick, and began to struggle to concentrate and focus on what I was reading. So I slowed waaaaaayyyyy down.

Then, I kept getting books to review in the mail. So I tweaked my list to fit the needed reading. But then I felt as if I was cheating, so I quit adding and just tried to read what I had on my list AND the other books I was asked to review.

Needless to say, I over "booked" myself, and I didn't finish my list by a long shot. All told, I read 41 fiction titles, 13 holiday titles, 8 non-fiction titles, and 6 non-Christian titles.

Add in a bunch that weren't even on my list...and I did do a lot of reading...but didn't meet my challenge. And the best part for YOU...I reviewed ever book marked off on my list:-)

So check out the reviews you may have missed (most are listed alphabetically under the banner "Books I've Reviewed"...I'm still updating the list). And I'll see you in the Spring, when we challenge ourselves to read once again:-)

Happy Reading, and Merry Christmas!!


It (WAS) Time To Fall Into Reading!!

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A Promise To Remember by Kathryn Cushman
After The Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart
Days & Hours by Susan Meissner--Just purchased today)
Nobody by Creston Mapes
A Quarter After Tuesday by Jo Kadlecek
Bottom Line by Kimberly Stuart
Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter
You Had Me At Goodbye by Tracey Bateman
Par For The Course by Ray Blackstone
On The Loose by Jenny B. Jones
The Vase Of Many Colors by Rachel Thoene
Dearest Dorothy, If Not Now, When? by Charlene Baumbich
Wounded Healer by Donna Fleisher
Warrior's Heart by Donna Fleisher
Around the World in 80 Dates by Christa Ann Banister
Hood by Stephen Lawhead
The Wedding Machine by Beth Webb Hart
One Little Secret by Allison Bottke
A New Promise by Julie Eller
Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
Sky Blue by Travis Thrasher
Forty To Life by Dave Jackson
What Lies Within by Karen Ball
The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins
The Trophy Wives Club by Kristen Billerbeck
Deadfall by Robert Liparulo
Try Dying by James Scott Bell
Never Look Back by Kathy Herman
Rematch by Erynn Mangum
One Little Secret by Allison Bottke
Hostage by Don Brown
A Hidden Beauty by Jack Cavanaugh
The Bark of the Bog Owl by Jonathan Rogers
The Lost Sheep by Brandt Dodson
The Will of Wisteria by Denise Hildreth
Priced To Move by Ginny Aiken
Frasier Island by Susan Page Davis
My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay
Valiant Hope by Donna Fleisher
Standing Strong by Donna Fleisher
Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead
The Minor Protection Act by Jodi Cowles
Defiance by Don Brown
The Elevator by Angela Hunt
My Soul To Keep by T. Davis Bunn
Finding Marie by Susan Page Davis
Snow Angel by Jamie Carie


The Inspirational Christmas Almanac
An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson
The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson
The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out by Neta Jackson
Unwrapping Christmas by Lori Copeland
Forever Christmas by Christine Lynxwiler
Finding Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn
Hearts Evergreen by Robin Lee Hatcher
A Big Apple Christmas
Till Morning is Nigh by Leisha Kelly
The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Blessings by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Hope by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere
Montana Mistletoe
A Heartwarming Christmas by Mike Nappa
Jamaican Me Crazy by Debbie Giovanni
The Red Glove Series by Karen Kingsbury
Stories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins
More Stories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins
Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas by Ace Collins
A Midnight Miracle by Gary E. Parker


3:16 by Max Lucado
I'll Bring The Chocolate by Karen Porter
Shedding Light on His Dark Materials by Kurt Bruner & Jim Ware
Mosaic by Amy Grant
My Life, Unscripted by Tricia Goyer
Embrace Grace by Liz Curtis Higgs
Logged On and Tuned Out by Vicki Courtney
Justice in the Burbs by Will & Lisa Samson
Good to Great In God's Eyes by Chip Ingram
It's All About Him by Denise Jackson
A New Kind of Normal by Carol Kent
Don't Bet Against Me by Deanna Favre and Angela Hunt
Grace is Enough by Willie Ames

NON-CHRISTIAN TITLES: (I hate calling them that...but can't think of another term)

The Candy Cane Murders by Joanne Fluke
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
Hare Today, Dead Tomorrow by Cynthia Baxter
Scene of the Grime by Suzanne Price
Some Like It Hot-Buttered by Jeffrey Cohen
A Peach Of A Murder by Livia Washburn
Fine Feathered Death by Linda O. Johnston
Owls Well That Ends Well by Donna Andrews
Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye

And there may be more...because a lot of books are soon to be released (I'm drooling as I type), and I keep getting offers to review:-)

So, stay tuned, and watch my list shrink...or grow as the case may be.

And some of them just MIGHT be just never know what will be happening at My Bookshelf!!

I reserve the right whatever I want with this:-)

Happy Reading!


Home For The Holidays--Day 21 of the Twenty Five Reviews of Christmas: Humor For The Holidays (AND A GIVEAWAY!)

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We are rapidly approaching Christmas day, and I'm STILL not out of great holiday reading to share with cool is THAT?? This next selection is guaranteed to put a little "Ho! Ho! Ho!" in your Christmas celebration...


With anecdotes and stories from some of our favorite authors and speakers such as Martha Bolton and Patsy Clairmont, "Humor For The Holidays" will cheer even the grinchiest scrooge! Packed with stories, quips and quotes, this book is sure to please anyone on your Christmas list.

Dave Barry tells the story of "All I Want For Christmas Is a Parking Place"...can I get an amen on THAT one!! Laura Jensen Walker talks about "Let There Be Peas On Earth"...and Robin Jones Gunn gives us a sweet story about "Christmas Without Grandma Kay.

Worried about what to buy for your spouse? Check out "Things Never To Give Your Husband for Christmas", and "Things Never To Give Your Wife For Christmas" a scale!

This is one of those books I keep out all year long, always good for a laugh and a cup of Christmas cheer. I give "Humor for the Holidays" six out of five bookmarks...because, even though it's not indexed, it's hilariously fun reading! Pick up a copy or two as a gift...and make sure you buy one for yourself!

Edited to add: Oops...forgot it was bad is that?!? So leave a comment and you're entered for this funny Christmas collection:-)

Happy Reading!


12 Days of Christmas....

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.


On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Memories

God's Gift of Memories

by Marlo Schalesky

Memory is a powerful thing. We hear a song from our high school days and we’re transported to sweaty school dances and blasting the radio in our first car. The smell of brownies baking takes us back to pigtails and ponies. We drive by the house we lived in as a kid and remember the swingset in the backyard and how that rotten kid from next door blew spitwads through the hole in the fence.

Ever gotten sick on a type of food? You’ll never want to have that again. And don’t even think about naming your child after that whiny little brat that sat behind you in the fourth grade, even if your spouse loves that name.

Memory. It’s why we treasure photos, display mementos, keep in touch with people from our past. It’s why God set up festivals for the ancient Israelites and told them to erect memorials at significant places in their history.

Memory. It’s why the sight of a stuffed stocking takes me back to those early mornings in my childhood when my brother and I would wake up before dawn, run to the fireplace, get our stockings, and race back to my parents’s bed. Mom was always ready. Dad pretended to complain. And together, with lots of giggling and the thrill of anticipation, we’d pull out the gifts from our stockings one by one. Simple things, boring really. Candy. A toothbrush. Some silly plastic toy. Things that would be used up or forgotten in just a few short weeks. And yet, opening stockings is my favorite Christmas memory from childhood.

Why? I think it’s because good memories are not necessarily made from the “big stuff.” Rather, they’re fashioned out of warmth and happiness and times together. They’re woven with laughter, colored with simple, plain joy. They come from times when you experience love.

So, this year, I’m thinking about the memories I’m making now, for my kids, and for myself. I don’t want those memories to be ones of a Mom who’s running around with too much to do and too little time to do it. I don’t want them to be of hustle, bustle, shopping, wrapping, cooking, cards, and gifts thrown under the tree. I don’t even want them to be of the cool stable-and-horse set that my girls will unwrap on Christmas morning. Or the cheap kid’s guitar for my oldest (age 7), or the new “ooo-ahh” (stuffed gorilla) for one of my 2-year-old twins.

Because the toys will break, get old, get lost, or they’ll outgrow them. But they won’t outgrow the happy memories of family times together. The memories of decorating Christmas cookies with laughter and joking – those won’t get old. The times we make a gingerbread house together, or sit down and watch the Grinch – those won’t break. The simple things make the best memories. Times when we’re together as a family, having fun, enjoying the traditions we’re building together.

So, that’s my goal this Christmas, to weave memories of peace, love, togetherness, because that’s the best gift I can think of to celebrate Jesus’ birth -- Memories that bring a smile to the face of children . . . and to the face of the King.

For more about the power of memories in our lives, check out Marlo's next novel, Beyond the Night, releasing in May. A woman in a hospital bed, a man sitting beside her, and between them, a memory that can set her free. Find out more at:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Home For The Holidays--Day 20 of the Twenty Five Reviews of Christmas: Heartwarming Christmas Stories

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As we finish the final week before Christmas Day, let me introduce you to one more of my favorite anthologies for the Christmas season, and one I pull out right after Thanksgiving...

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"Heartwarming Christmas Stories" is another collection of fictional tales, but from modern writers in today's Christian publishing industry. These aren't classics, but they are just as warm and inviting as some of the stories we grew up hearing.

In this small volume you'll find "Christmas Express" by Sigmund Brouwer, the story of a Pony Express rider and his Christmas experience. You'll also get to read "Poinsettia Parable" by one of my favorite authors, Angela Hunt.

Some of the authors are a little less known, but their stories are just as sweet and enjoyable to read, such as "Edgar's Gift" by Joe Hilley (he writes crime thrillers that I love), and "Sweet Christmas" by author Jack Cavanaugh (another favorite of mine).

You'll find a story for each of the twelve days of other words, there are 12 stories in this beautiful book! But most wonderful is the introduction titled "The Miracle You Hold In Your Hand":

"In a unique fit of generosity, everyone involved with 'Heartwarming Christmas Stories' has agreed to donate all profits from this book to the ongoing ministry of CCMI around the world..."

To find out more...well, you'll just have to read the book! But believe me, CCMI is doing great things with this money...and that makes it worth buying the book. So, I give "Heartwarming Christmas Stories" five out of five bookmarks, with a tiny globe as a charm.

Happy Reading!


12 Days of Christmas...

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.


On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Story

God's Gift of Dreams and Story

by Melody Carlson

A dream doesn’t always seem like a gift from God, but sometimes I’ll experience one so vivid and amazing that I can’t help but think God is at work. I remember a dream that woke me in the middle of the night about ten years ago. I was so moved that I felt compelled to write it down. In my dream I saw a sweet angel who was distraught that Jesus was about to leave heaven to be born as a baby on earth. So she volunteered to give up being an angel and God transformed her into a magnificent star to light the night sky for the Big Event. I won’t tell the entire dream, but simply let it be said that the ending surprised everyone—including me. The story became a children’s Christmas book called The Greatest Gift (which is currently out of print). But as a result of that dream, I began to pay even more attention to my dreams. Sometimes I think that God simply uses them to show me things about my own life and sometimes my dreams wind up in my books.

Melody Carlson is the author of Ready to Wed, (Guideposts Books 2007). This story also involves a dream! For more information visit

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Home For The Holidays--Day 19 of the Twenty Five Reviews of Christmas: The Greatest Christmas Stories Of All Time

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Here we are with just six more days until Christmas day, and on our 19th review! Again, I'm sharing with you a beloved anthology that is sure to be on your bookshelf one day...

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I never knew some of the classic stories of Christmas until my husband bought me this wonderful and elegant book! "The Greatest Stories of Christmas" contains over 40 timeless classic Christmas stories that celebrate the message of the season.

In this beautifully bound book are stories such as "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry, the classic story of selflfess giving. I enjoyed "Harry the Singing Angel" by Robert Pengold and "The Thieves Who Couldn't Help Sneezing" by Thomas Hardy.

Other classic stories include "The Other Wise Man" by Henry Van Dyke" and of course, to start the book, "The Greatest Story Every Told" from Luke 1:1-2:40. There's such variety, you'll most definitely find a new favorite story.

As I previously stated, this book is simple gorgeous in presentation and is bound as a gift edition, complete with a page to write name, date and occasion. And for anyone who absolutely LOVES Christmas time, this would be a perfect gift! So, I give "The Greatest Christmas Stories Of All Time" six out of five bookmarks, with a tiny star of Bethlehem charm.

Happy Reading!


CFBA Presents Distant Heart by Tracey Bateman

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This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Distant Heart

(Avon Inspire January 2, 2008)


Tracey Bateman


Tracey Bateman is the award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, including Defiant Heart, the First in the Westeard Hearts series. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and recently served on the board as President. She loves in Lebanon, Montana, with her husband and their four children.


In the second book in the Westward Hearts trilogy, will the promise of a new life out west heal the scars of Toni's past?

This series tells the stories of three strong women as they struggle to survive on the rough wagon train and lose their hearts to unlikely heroes along the way/ Thin Little House on the Prairie meets Francine river's Redeeming Love and you begin to get a sense of the riveting historical series that Tracey Bateman has created.

In this second installment, we follow Toni Rodden, a former prostitute who sought to escape her past and build a new life, and a new reputation, when she joined the wagon train. Despite much resentment and distrust from the other women, Toni has finally earned a place on the wagon train and found a surrogate family in Fannie Caldwell and her two siblings. For the first time in her life, Toni actually feels free.

But while Toni once harbored dreams that her new life might include a husband and family, she soon realizes the stigma that comes with her past is difficult to see beyond and that she'll never be truly loved or seen as worthy. As the trip out west begins to teach her to survive on her own, she resolves to make her own living as a seamstress when the train finally reaches Oregon.

But despite Toni's conviction that no man will be able to see beyond her marred past, Sam Two-feathers, the wagon scout and acting preacher for the train seems to know of a love that forgives sins and values much more than outward appearances. Will Sam have the confidence to declare his love? Will Toni be able to trust in a God that can forgive even the darkest past? Faith, love, and courage will be put to the test in Distant Heart.

My Opinion: I'm not a big fan of historical fiction, but I am a HUGE fan of Tracey Bateman! It is my pleasure to recommend her to my historical fiction readers. I'm hunting down the first book in this series (my thing about reading in order,
again:-), but I've read the first few chapters, and this is a good read, so I'm giving Distant Heart three out of five bookmarks, with a covered wagon charm!

To purchase your copy, click here.

Happy Reading!


12 Days of Christmas...

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Unexpected Blessings


God's Gift of Unexpected Blessings

by Angela Hunt

The arrival of our daughter from South Korea wasn’t exactly unexpected—we’d spent years longing for her, and then months praying for that little baby’s safe arrival in our arms.

And as I look back over the experience, I can’t help thinking of Mary, who must have had such mixed feelings when she held the infant Jesus in her arms. Great joy, for the promised child had arrived. Great responsibility for the fragile life in her care. And great dread for the difficulties and sorrows that would arise.

As a young mother, I knew there would be tough times, and I haven’t been disappointed. But through bad times and good, through loving moments and less-than-loving moments, I can see the hand of God’s sovereignty molding me, my husband, and my children into the people he intends us to be.

Christmas shines brightest in the eyes of children. But it resonates most deeply in the hearts of those who love them.

Angela Hunt

Angela Hunt is the author of Doesn't She Look Natural? (Tyndale Publishers). For more information visit

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starnes Clark

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I haven't had a lot of time to read lately...and that has made me SO cranky! With Christmas and doctors and health's hard to squeeze in even a magazine article these days.

So, yesterday, I "grounded" myself and picked up a book by one of my all time favorite mystery mavens--"Whispers of the Bayou" by Mindy Starnes Clark.

I'm a VERY happy camper now!

"Whispers of the Bayou" is a soon to be released stand alone suspense novel that takes place in the Deep South. Like most Southern fiction, it is leisurely paced and laced with heavy foreshadowing...just the way I like it.

Miranda Miller is a wife, mother and an expert in art restoration. On the outside, her life looks perfect...but deep within are secrets even she can't remember. When her aunt finally reveals to her letters asking Miranda to return to her childhood home one last time, she decides to go and in going, to put those secrets to rest.

But many questions begin to rise to the surface like spectres from the past...what REALLY happened to Miranda's mother? Why did Aunt AJ take Miranda from her home and never speak of Louisiana any longer? Why is it that Miranda doesn't react to events in her life, whether good or bad?

I'm only a third of the way through this book, and already it's a page turner that I just cannot seem to put down. Mindy is one of my all time favorite mystery authors, but I believe she has outdone herself on this one.

With a rich tapestry of Southern history and a genuine feel of the Bayou and her people, Mindy has written a novel for the senses. Her characters have depth and warmth, and the story moves along at just the right pace.

From the time Miranda arrives at her antebellum home in Louisiana, you find yourself praying that she find the answers and meets the One who can set her free from her invisible prison of isolation and despair. I'm giving "Whispers of the Bayou" six out of five bookmarks, with a tiny antebellum home charm...

"Whispers of the Bayou" releases January of 2008 from Harvst House publishers. To learn more about Mindy and her other books, visit her website.

Happy Reading!


12 Days of Christmas....

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Uniqueness

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God's Gift of Uniqueness

by Tosca Lee

I used to hate my name. “Tosca” was too unusual. “Moon,” my middle name, was just downright embarrassing. “Lee” was all right, though it still set me apart from the rest of the Caucasian kids in my school. In an era when Christy Brinkley graced the cover of every fashion magazine, I did not wish to accentuate my different-ness.

The name I really wanted was Marie--probably because others had it and that meant I could at least buy one of those door plates for my bedroom door or license plates for my bike, which was my litmus test. As it was, they sure didn’t have plates for kids named “Tosca.”

In junior high, my friends called me “Weird Tosca.” I didn’t like that so much.

These days I teach about talent in my work as a consultant. I talk about the strange, quirky things that not only set people apart, but have the potential to make them great. A friend said to me once, “Stars have points.” He’s right. And when we blunt our points, we lose the defining characteristics of our unique mark in and contribution to this world.

Opportunities work much the same. It’s the unique ones that seem to hold the greatest potential impact. When my main character, Clay, bumps up against the opportunity to hear the story of creation from the viewpoint of a Demon, he is terrified--intrigued, but terrified. And so he resists. While his reaction might be in keeping with any sane person’s, it’s also a human reaction to the unusual. But in this case, it’s the unusual that might just might save his soul.

How has God revealed to you your uniquness? And what, most importantly, is He telling you to do with it?

Weird Tosca

“You need to know something more about Elohim: he is the ultimate force of creativity. He is the author of diversity.”

--Lucian, Demon: A Memoir

Tosca Lee is the author of Demon: A Memoir and of the upcoming Havah: The Story of Eve. For more information visit

Home For The Holidays--Day 18 of the Twenty Five Reviews of Christmas: My Favorite Christmas compiled by Amy Hammond Hagberg

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As Christmas draws ever nearer, I thought it would be appropriate to share a few volumes of anthologies that I pull out each year. Each contains short stories, some personal, some classic...but they all take the grinch out of me and replace it with the spirit of this holy season...

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I love anthologies. It's kind of like snack reading...don't really have time for a full book, but one story is just enough to fill me and keep me moving! And some of the best anthologies are Christmas anthologies, such as "My Favorite Christmas", a collection of treasured memories by well known believers in Christ.

In this little red and gold book you'll find memories from musical artists such as Steven Curtis Chapman, Natalie Grant and Nicole C. Mullen. One of Nicole's favorite memories is about her grandfather, and is so precious.

You'll also find reminiscing from former president Jimmy Carter, who recalls a memorable Christmas with a man named Curtis. Even Miley Cyrus' dad is in this one:-) Billy Ray Cyrus talks about his mama, of course...and it is touching and heartwarming.

Each story is short...not more than a few pages in length. Some have photographs with them; some with Scripture quotes, and other famous quotes as well. In all, this is an enjoyable "by the fire with cocoa" reading experience.

So, I'm giving "My Favorite Christmas" five out of five bookmarks, with a tiny fireplace charm. Add this one to your Christmas reading list, won't you? And get to know many "famous" people on a more intimate and special level.

Happy Reading!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Calendar of Events for 2008!

I'm doing things a little differently in the coming year. I've been blogging now for almost a full year, and I've learned a lot of things. First and foremost, to get organized!! LOL!!

But I've also learned that I love introducing you to new books, new authors, AND new genres...

So, I've developed a calendar of book review "festivals" for 2008, and I think you'll enjoy what I have planned. Especially when I tell you every month's theme includes "Friday Freebies"--giveaways of books I review!!

So, come back and check for the monthly book review theme...and to my blogging buddies...if you have a book review that fits my theme, email me the link...and let's hook up:-)

Calendar of Events

January--Cozy up with a Cozy (Cozy mysteries)

February--May I Introduce (Biographies)

March--Lord, Change Me (personal living)

April--LOL! (humor/anecdotes)

May--To The Women I Love (women's issues/fiction)

June--That Man Of Mine (men's issues/fiction)

July--Sun and Sand (beach reading)

August--Hot August Nights (more light reads)

September--Who Dun It? (mystery/suspense)

October--Fall Into Fantasy (speculative fiction)

November--Once Upon A Time (children's books/pre-teen/teens)

December--Home For The Holidays

Note: All monthly themes are subject to change, and I'll be doing my regular reviews as well. Just watch for the unique monthly graphic to know it's a "festival book", and giveaways will always be clearly marked, and most likely on Fridays.

Won't this be SUCH. FUN! Feel free to leave me your feedback...and author buddies...if you have a book that fits a theme, email me and let's talk!!!!!

Happy Reading!


Angels of a Lower Flight by Susie Scott Krabacher

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Once in awhile, a book will come across my path that I find hard to review. As a reviewer, I'm always aware of the author first and the reader I want to take great care when writing my humble opinions.

"Angels of a Lower Flight" challenged me on many, many levels. The message of the book is a powerful one. Susie Krabacher has a huge heart for the lost, the hurting, and the dying of the nation of Haiti. She has, on her own, made it her life's mission to bring hope and help to the children, no matter the cost.

And Susie's life has been filled with hardship. Growing up in an abusive home, Susie's life choices were not healthy fact, Susie is a former centerfold. With all of that in her past, she didn't know if God loved her or even wanted her.

But Jesus' love is for all who are willing to turn to Him and to accept Him. So, in Jesus' name, Susie now ministers to those who are lost and broken, and her heart takes a regular beating...but she keeps on.

So, why did I have such a hard time reviewing this book?

The early chapters chronicle Susie's life of abuse and as a centerfold. Some of the information in my humble opinion was too graphic. It wasn't necessary, and for me, it detracted from the book's message. But I also fell in love with Susie, and was so angry with those who abused her and took advantage of her.

I skipped huge chunks of background that made me too uncomfortable and focused on the later chapters about Susie's work and her own personal healing. I must caution you as a reader...she does not go into extremely graphic detail, but she does go into some about how she was abused and about her former life. It was merely more than I needed to read; not a judgment on Susie herself.

What she shares hurts. It isn't pretty. It is uncomfortable to read. But to know where she is in her life today is proof that God will not reject anyone who turns to Him, and no matter what is in your past, HE will take your present and use it for His good.

And yet, her heart was SO evident. To read her experiences in Haiti...well, if you don't pull out a few tissues, I'd check your own heart! This woman deliberately takes risks and pours herself out as an offering to these people, and she does it out of love for least, that's how I read it.

My prayer is for Susie to continue to grow in her faith in Christ, and to continue to be used by the Lord to not only save lives in Haiti, but to spread Jesus' life saving message to those who do not know Him. The power of redemption is so evident in Susie's life, and THAT makes the book worth reading.

It is with caution that I recommend this book, and ONLY because of the detail from Susie's early life (I just wanted to wrap my arms around her through the pages...), but I encourage you to at least find out about Susie's work with the Haitian children. And I humbly thank her for the opportunity to read her story. Susie, you will be in my prayers, and I send you much love!

Happy Reading!


Home for The Holidays: Day 17 of the Twenty Five Reviews of Christmas: I'm Dreaming of Some White Chocolate by Rhonda Rhea

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Now, let's be honest here, shall we? Isn't this more fun than an advent calendar to count down the days to Christmas? And lo-calorie as well! I'm serving up another non-fiction title that you will most definitely devour, although most likely not in one sitting...

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Rhonda Rhea is today's Erma Bombeck...only funnier in my opinion! She has authored several books, but one of my favorites is "I'm Dreaming of Some White Chocolate"...can't you just picture a female grinch behind that glove??

Amidst the Christmas season there is stress...especially for a woman with five kids (no, not ME...Rhonda!). With her typical humor and turn of a clever phrase, Rhonda gives us time to slow down and savor each morsel of this delicious holiday season.

Divided into six "devotional style" sections, even the titles are designed to make you chuckle: "Jungle all the way", and "Hurrah For Fun, Get the Ministry Done" are just a couple of them.

Each section is designed to not only make you laugh, but to make you think and reflect on the meaning behind this Christmas season we celebrate. With Scripture and meditative quotes, Rhonda has penned a winner in this one.

I give "I'm Dreaming of Some White Chocolate" five out of five bookmarks...with a tiny white chocolate truffle as a charm...calorie free and non-edible, just in case you get hungry!

To read more about Rhonda's books, click here.

Happy Reading!


12 Days of Christmas...

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Unconditional Acceptance

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God's Gift of Unconditional Acceptance

by Lisa Samson

Clearly God Incarnate wasn't choosy. He wasn't born in a palace, but to a simple peasant woman bearing the stigma of a pregnancy conceived out of the bonds of matrimony. He wasn't even born in his own town, but endured a long ride to Bethlehem in his mother's womb only to be born in a stable among the livestock. Even after his ministry began he owned one robe and proclaimed himself homeless when He said, "Foxes have dens, birds have nest, but the Son of God has no place to lay His head."

If we used some TV preachers' standards today, Jesus clearly wasn't blessed by God. He didn't have the finest clothes, transportation or housing. Even most of His disciples weren't exactly candidates for a PhD. Clearly He must not have had enough faith if that's all He was getting from His Father!

But Christ isn't choosy and that is good news for us. For there isn't a single human being who can impress Him into shining His light of grace upon them. The stockbroker on Wall Street stands level with the illegal immigrant who picks strawberries. The evangelist in fine suits or sparkly dresses looks eye-to-eye with the busdriver. And the homeschool mom stands shoulder to shoulder with the prostitute. His love demands He looks above the good and the bad, and His arms are always open, ready to receive us when we are ready to receive Him. Sometimes we run back into His arms many times in one day and He doesn't care if we've showered or put on the latest fashions, He's only looking for a contrite heart. That's it. A heart that says, "I'm sorry."

This Christmastime, rest in the fact that you can't impress Christ. He doesn't care about our beautiful cookies or the fact that our trees look designer coordinated. He isn't impressed we ran around to ten different stores to find the perfect present for Aunt Sue. He just wants us to love Him, just as we are, for when we do, we incarnate Him in the here and now, and there's no telling what He'll do through us.

Lisa Samson is the author of Hollywood Nobody (NavPress, 2007), For more information visit

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Home For The Holidays: Day 16 of Twenty Five Reviews of Christmas: A Stocking Full of Christmas by Mark Stibbe

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We're closing in on Christmas Eve with our 16th review of Twenty-Five Reviews of Christmas (Betcha thought I couldn't pull it off:-) Here's another non-fiction title that you might enjoy...

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"A Stocking Full of Christmas" is an alphabetized collection of quotes, quips and anecdotes all about the Christmas season. Perfect for public speakers or ministers who are always looking for that "one thing to add" to help illustrate their point:

"The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much," Henry David Thoreau". Or "Does Santa call his elves 'subordinate clauses'?", Doug Hecox.

But besides the trivia and quotable tidbits, you'll find some wonderful anecdotes such as why Christmas is truly all about Jesus, and shouldn't be about Santa (on page 126), or a spoof of the 12 days of Christmas for non-dieters.

As a church secretary, I've used this book again and again at the holidays for bulletin tidbits and humor to liven things up a bit at Christmastime. And really...can you EVER have enough Christmas trivia in your life?

So, I'm giving "A Stocking Full of Christmas" four out of five bookmarks with a candy cane charm, again because it's in alphabetical order...but it still isn't indexed! Fun for all ages, and great at parties, pick up a copy today:-)

Happy Reading!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Home For The Holidays: Day 15 of Twenty Five Reviews of Christmas: Ho! Ho! Ho! by J. Countryman

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As we close in on day 15 of our Twenty-Five Reviews of Christmas, I'm going to suggest a few fun and non-fiction Christmas titles for your reading pleasure! My first selection is guaranteed to bring a little "Ho! Ho! Ho!" into your holiday reading!

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In fact, that's the title of the book...and a fun collection of jokes, trivia, quotes and stories of Christmas. For instance, there's a list of gifts to give your wife if you want to end up in the doghouse, suggestions on how to make your home more festive to your guests...

And some RIDICULOUS Christmas hilarity such as "What do you get when you eat the Christmas ornaments? Tinsle-itis!" Or, how about this one..."What does Santa get when he gets stuck in the chimney? He gets Claus-trophobic!"

Those are real knee-slappers, huh??

Sweet and sentimental quotes and stories are in this little red book as well. I give it four out of five bookmarks (would have gotten more if it were indexed, doncha know:-), and suggest it as a perfect Christmas party gift.

Happy Reading!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Home For The Holidays: Day 14 of Twenty Five Reviews of Christmas: The Reluctant Journey Of David Connors by Don Locke (AND ANOTHER GIVEAWAY)

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Can you believe we're already fourteen days into December? And we're on our fourteenth Christmas book review, and I have loads left!

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In the same spirit as "It's A Wonderful Life", Don Locke has written a novel that is sure to become a holiday classic. This story will be kept with my other favorite holiday reading materials, to be pull out again and again as a reminder not to let the past hold me captive and rob me of joy in my present.

David Connors contemplates leaping from the rooftop of his successful game design company building. His wife, Kathy, has informed him that their trial separation has not caused her to miss him. His son has finally stopped believing his father will ever keep his promises, and his daughter is distant.

Left with nothing and feeling pointless and adrift, David pulls a bottle of Jack Daniels from his desk drawer and takes the elevator to the rooftop. Once there, he vents his soul at God, shouting the ultimate phrase that sends him on this oh so reluctant journey:

"Whatever I did to deserve this, please forgive me."

But instead of leaping to his certain death, David discovers a mysterious, ragged and flowered carpetbag, complete with a key tied to the handle with an old shoestring. What is it about that bag?

Once David has his coincidental meeting with Maggie, a random woman in a restaurant with her own heartaches and baggage from the past, the bag mystically holds objects that are of necessity to those nearby. And each object triggers a vague memory buried deep within David's heart.

What follows is a journey to forgiveness that is both heartwarming and at moments comical. Hints of "A Christmas Carol" collide with "A Christmas Story", and in the end, this is a story that is full, rich and satisfying.

I give "The Reluctant Journey of David Connors" five out of five bookmarks, with its own carpetbag replica as a charm. Feel free to leave me a comment telling me what you'd like to find inside David's mysterious bag, and you just MIGHT win a copy of this amazing book.

I'm drawing a winner next Friday (December 21st), so don't be reluctant...leave your comments!

Happy Reading!


My Winner of the Second Home for the Holidays giveaway is.....

hey, we have a winner!

Winner of Finding Father Christmas is none other than...


Snail mail please??

Happy Reading!


12 Days of Christmas

Celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season, GRPR is proud to introduce to you the twelve days of Christmas. Twelve inspired devotional thoughts written by some of the best and brightest authors in the Christian industry.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

The Gift of Imagination

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God's Gift of Imagination

by Jack Cavanaugh

Christmas is a holiday for the imagination.

Angels and shepherds and wise men (oh my!),

Tyrants and taxes and stars in the sky!

No room for a bed

As tidings were spread

And the Father looked down from on high.

It’s no wonder the story of the nativity thrills our hearts year after year. It’s a wonderfully creative event orchestrated by a Deity who loves using His imagination. Take the temple priest’s robes for example. When the temple was first built God assembled all the skilled craftsmen and gave them instructions (Exodus 35:10). The craftsmen designing the priestly robes were told to adorn them with images of blue pomegranates (Exodus 39:24).


There’s no such thing as a blue pomegranate! What was God thinking? If this kind of creativity were to catch on we could end up with Christmas cards with images of green angels, pink Christmas trees, and a plaid star over the manger!

If blue pomegranates bothers you…get over it! We have a wonderfully imaginative God who frequently colors outside the lines. Go, and do thou likewise.

Wishing you an imaginative Christmas season.

Jack Cavanaugh is the author of Hideous Beauty: Kingdom Wars #1 and countless other books. For more information visit