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Friday, March 28, 2008

International intrigue...

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Betrayed, (Tyndale House Publishers) by Jeanette Windle.

About Jeanette: As the child of missionary parents, award-winning author and journalist Jeanette Windle grew up in the rural villages, jungles, and mountains of Colombia, now guerrilla hot zones. Her detailed research and writing is so realistic that it has prompted government agencies to question her to determine if she has received classified information. Currently based in Lancaster, PA, Jeanette has lived in six countries and traveled in more than twenty. She has more than a dozen books in print, including political/suspense best-seller CrossFire and the Parker Twins series.

About the book: Fires smolder endlessly below the dangerous surface of Guatemala City’s municipal dump.

Deadlier fires seethe beneath the tenuous calm of a nation recovering from brutal civil war. Anthropologist Vicki Andrews is researching Guatemala’s “garbage people” when she stumbles across a human body. Curiosity turns to horror as she uncovers no stranger, but an American environmentalist—Vicki’s only sister, Holly. With authorities dismissing the death as another street crime, Vicki begins tracing Holly’s last steps, a pilgrimage leading from slum squalor to the breathtaking and endangered cloud forests of the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere. But every unraveled thread raises more questions. What betrayal connects Holly’s murder, the recent massacre of a Mayan village, and the long-ago deaths of Vicki’s own parents?

Nor is Vicki the only one demanding answers. Before her search reaches its startling end, the conflagration has spilled across international borders to threaten an American administration and the current war on terror. With no one turning out to be who they’d seemed, who can Vicki trust and who should she fear?A politically relevant tale of international intrigue and God’s redemptive beauty and hope.

Buy the book here

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I just finished reading Kathleen Y'Barbo's, Beloved Castaway!

First, I just have to say don't you think the heroine and the author look alike?

Fans of historical romance will LOVE this story--romance, suspense, a few twists, and an intriguing start for Kathleen's new Fairweather Keys series. About the book:Isabelle Gayarre, fleeing a life of servitude, refuses to be owned by anyone, yet soon finds her heart in danger of being possessed by the godless Captain Josiah Carter. Can Isabelle trust him to help her escape without losing her heart? Josiah Carter, running from demons of his own, is stirred by the presence of the beautiful woman seeking refuge on his ship. Realizing that a runaway slave can never be his, legally or otherwise, a storm begins to brew within. Will their love ever reach a safe haven, or is it doomed to wreck upon the jagged reefs of the Fairweather Keys?

About Kathleen:
There’s never a dull moment in the Y’Barbo household! From hockey and cheer mom to publicist to bestselling author, Kathleen Y’Barbo somehow manages to do it all - and well. While wearing her publicist’s hat, Kathleen has secured interviews with radio, television, and print media for clients at NavPress, Hatchette, Integrity, Barbour Publishing, and Broadman & Holman, to name a few. She also brings her own unique blend of Southern charm and witty prose to the more than 350,000 award-winning novels and novellas currently in print. Her novels have been nominated for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006; and 2007 will see the release of her 25th book. In everything she does, whether seeking media attention for her clients at Glass Road Public Relations or penning her next novel, Kathleen’s love of the Lord and her penchant for demanding the best in herself shines through.

Buy the book here!

I'm emerging...

...from under my TBR pile. My how quickly it grows! I'm so excited to share some of the great books I've been reading this winter!

Simplify by Paul Borthwick

About the book: The prophet Isaiah urged the people of God living under extreme stress to remember that their strength would be found in quietness and trust. The Psalmist urged worshippers that to be still was key to their worship. Jesus reminded people that sitting in quietness was better than a life of hectic busyness. Even the writer Henry David Thoreau when asked the secret of life, replied, Simplify, simplify, simplify. Almost everyone feels the demands on the limited resources of time and money so how do we build quiet, rest, and simplicity into our lives? Technology can help, but it often adds more stress. Planning is useful, but it often means that we end up doing more and increasing our speed in the hours that we have. Multitasking might mean that we get more done, but its no substitute for the peace of a more balanced life. Realistically, these demands on our resources will only increase as the pace of life and the options on how to expend our limited resources multiply. Simplify is about making choices to restore balance, to build a life schedule founded on the sane realization that we cannot accomplish everything, and to learn to live within our limits. By covering issues related to scheduling, pacing your life, saying No, and even eating more sensibly, Simplify helps the reader live with a greater sense of inner contentment, enjoyment of life, and increased sense of purpose.

This book spoke to the do/cling to/be/clutter/ chaos addict I've become!

From page 180: Jean Fleming writes, "A fast-paced life can become an opiate. We seemingly thrive on activity and pressure, and think all is well because we fly along on the adrenaline of frenzy. Not until our engine cuts (through something like sickness, relational breakdown, or unemployment) do we face the sobering realities that inactivity and silence bring. Busyness saps spiritual vitality... Spiritual vitality is possible only when we take the time to let God's presence recharge us." Simplifying corrects our focus: we put Jesus Christ at the center of our lives and appropriate lifestyle flows form this spiritual renewal.

I loved Simplify's super practical advice. Yep, that's the way Paul rolls...check it out:

#78 Stay Away From "Stuff-Mart", a happy heart is not for sale at the stuff-mart, in the Mall, on the home shopping network, in the catalog, or through the Internet.

#16 Eat Before Food Shopping

#54 Cut A Firebreak, schedule days off three to six months in advance.

Duh, why didn't I think of that.

I think what I liked best about Simplify was that the book forced me to evaluate myself, my family, our life, our end goal. Is the road we are currently on taking us where we want to go?

About the author: Paul Borthwick serves as a senior consultant on the staff of Development Associates International (DAI), a training group dedicated to the character and ministry development of leaders in the under resourced world. Paul also teaches missions at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. Paul and his wife, Christie, dedicate themselves to mobilizing others for cross cultural missions from their ministry base in Lexington, Massachusetts. Before joining the staff of DAI, Paul served twenty-two years on the ministerial staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts in a variety of capacities including youth pastor and minister of missions.

Buy the book here

Hey...I won!

Good ol' Karla (no, she's not really old) over at Karla's Crazy Life runs an awesome contest every Wednesday called, What The?

I've been playing week after week after week after week...well you get the point!

Anywhoo...I never get my guess in time...often I guess the correct answer but someone speedy quick beats me to the answer.

Well...not last week!

I guessed this

was this!

Not only that...Karla said nice things about me. That's nice, I like nice things. :)

Love you Karla!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

That is a mouthful! But such a good one!

This week's Christian Fiction Blog Alliance's (CFBA) selection is this AWESOME book by Andrew Petereson. When it came in the mail I wasn't too sure about it...I'm not really into fantasy. But, as I flipped through it, I got so EXCITED...my eleven year old son would love this book!

So it began...

"Hey Dakota, I got this super cool book in the mail today. Will you read it for me so I can interview you about it for my blog?"

He looks at the book, "No, I hate those kinds of books."

"What "kinds" of books." I ask, frustrated. "It is exactly the same "kind" of book as the last book you read."

"Well, that cow looks creepy...I just don't want to read it."

"Fine. Okay, how about if I read the first few chapters to you tonight and you can decide then if you want to continue reading it yourself?"

"Okay...whatever." he says

At this point I knew I had him...he's a sucker for having me read to him. Needless to say, by chapter two he was hooked.

Before I get to Dakota's ground breaking interview :) let's get a quick run down on Andrew Peterson and a synopsis of the book.

About Andrew:
Author/Singer/Songwriter Andrew Peterson, a 2005 Audie Award finalist for his readings of Ray Blackston’s Flabbergasted trilogy, wrote and produced the popular Christmas play and musical Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tale of the Coming of the Christ, and the album by the same name, which received the 2004 Best Album of the Year, World Christian Music’s Editors Choice Award. Andrew’s received critical acclaim for his seven albums and is at work on an eighth. He lives with his wife Jamie and their three young children near Nashville, Tennessee, where he reads storybooks aloud to his family each evening. And from the back of the book, "He lives with his family, safe from toothy cows, in a little house called The Warren near Nashville." I love that.

Artist Justin Gerard has illustrated several children’s books, including The Lightlings storybooks for young readers by R.C. Sproul. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina, and works as the chief creative officer for Portland Studios.

About the book:
Once, in a cottage above the cliffs on the Dark Sea of Darkness, there lived three children and their trusty dog Nugget. Janner Igiby, his brother Tink, their crippled sister Leeli are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice and pursue the Igibys who hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.

Andrew Peterson spins a quirky and riveting tale of the Igibys’ extraordinary journey from Glipwood’s Dragon Day Festival and a secret hidden in the Books and Crannies Bookstore, past the terrifying Black Carriage, clutches of the horned hounds and loathsome toothy cows surrounding AnkleJelly Manor, through the Glipwood Forest and mysterious treehouse of Peet the Sock Man (known for a little softshoe and wearing tattered socks on his hands and arms), to the very edge of the Ice Prairies.

Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness presents a world of wonder and a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers’ groups are sure to discuss for its layers of meaning about life’s true treasure and tangle of the beautiful and horrible, temporal and eternal, and good and bad.

And now onto the interview:

Me: Hello Dakota. thank you for taking time to sit down with your ole’ ma and talk about this book. Can you tell my readers a little about yourself?

Dakota: Um, well, I’m ten.

Me: Oh, are you?

Dakota: Oh, yeah,..I’m eleven now.

Me: That's what I thought. So if you could use only five words to describe yourself, what would they be?

Dakota: Um, I don’t know? I don’t know, I really don’t.

Me: Oh, come on...If you don’t choose five words, I’ll do it for you. Words like flowery and play-doh come to mind…

Dakota: Okay, here…history/science, riding my bike, having fun, eating my mom’s crostatas, and I’m funny sometimes.

Me: Okay. Good job...I knew you had it in you! :)

Me: If you were an animal, what would you be?

Dakota: A king cobra.

Me: Wow, that’ pretty vicious.

Dakota: No, they won’t attack unless something is bothering them.

Me: So what you’re saying is that I’m safe around you unless I’m annoying you? Oh, and that you're slimy and slithery?

Dakota: No, mom they’re not slimy. They’re dry, not moist.

Me: Oh okay, so you’re dry and slithery and just slightly dangerous.

Me: Oh, I feel so much better.

Dakota: Meany.

Me: Alrighty then…maybe we should just get to the story before I discover something else disturbing…

Me: Did you like On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness?

Dakota: I loved it. It was the best book I ever read.

Me: Wow, so what did you like about it?

Dakota: Exciting, kept me on the edge of my bed the whole time.

Me: Was it scary?

Dakota: No, just kind of intense.

Me: Who was your favorite character? And why?

Dakota: Podo, the grandpa. Because he was old, except he had the heart of a kid. He was funny because he thought he could do anything. He was a good sword fighter.

Me: What was your favorite part in the book?

**Spoiler Alert** Dakota: finding out that the children were the Jewels.

Me: Did you see Jesus in the book?

Dakota: Yeah, the Maker. The creator. He was like God. And how Janner had a path that the creator had made for him. And Janner was always trying to protect and save his brother and sister.

Me: So would recommend this book to your friends?

Dakota: Yes…definitely!

Me: Did you identify with any of the characters?

Dakota: No, well yes, actually…Janner. He was the oldest and we had the same thinking pattern. And he has a younger sister.

Me: Wow…thinking pattern where did you hear that?

Dakota: You and dad.

Me: Oh.

Me: Anything else you’d like to say about the book?

Dakota: No

Me: On a scale from one to ten what was the book?

Dakota: A twenty! I can't wait for the next one.

And there you have it folks!


Monday, March 17, 2008

Blog tour for Generation NeXt Marriage

Welcome to the blog tour for Ticia Goyer's Generation NeXt Marriage: The couples Guide To Keeping It Together!

Let the fun begin!

You see this isn't any ordinary, plain Jane tour...NO this tour is less about the book and more about the bloggers who are hosting the book!

Make sure you stop by their blogs as they share which of the chapters somehow changed their marriage (or maybe at least the way they think about their marriage -- grin)!

Tour Schedule:

Julie at The Surrendered Scribe

Martha at Our Family’s Adventures
(check out the fun quiz on this post!)

Melody at Kids, Cakes, Dishes, Laundry…In That Order

Karen at Changed by His Love

Melodee at Actual Unretouched Photo

e-Mom at Chrysalis

Karla at Looking Towards Heaven


Melody at Slurping Life

Revka at The Porch Light

Lauren at Baseballs and Bows

Allison at The Gentle Art of Ruling Your Husband

Oh...and you can win a date with your spouse (whoo-hoo) Love Gen X Style!

Share your story and WIN a dinner for TWO to the restaurant of your choice! ($50 maximum)

Tell us the story of how you and your spouse met. If you have photos, send those along, too! All the stories will be published on this blog.

The winning story will be the one with the most comments...so tell your friends. A winning story will be chosen at the end of the blog tour and will be published in Tricia's monthly newsletter! (Just think, you'll be famous!)

Contest entry form for Generation NeXt Marriage blog tour!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sweet, Sweet Caroline!

Rachel Hauck's latest release, Sweet Caroline is a tale of a girl's dreams come true. It just takes Caroline a while for her to figure out what those dreams are, and in what order to do them. I really enjoyed this book...rich characters ( I totally pictured Mitch (Caroline's love interest) as Matthew McCon-a-hottie--please don't get me wrong. I'm not a huge fan of the McCon-a-hottie...but this book made me like him more. Yes, I realize that sounds wrong.), great scenery, humor, romance, and redemption! Really...what more do you need?

I lived in Louisiana for a while and the book's menus made my mouth water. Hubs and I moved to Baton Rouge two days after we married (just us, our green VW bus, our stuff, and a panting grey kitty traveling across country in the scorching August heat...did you know cats pant when they are hot?) Anywho...all that to say that I think Ms. Hauck did a fab job capturing the local color and feel of the dripping South!

When a Southern waitress inherits the Lowcountry cafe where she works, she suddenly has to balance more than just her next food order...

Caroline Sweeney has always done the right thing--the responsible, dependable thing--unlike her mother who abandoned her family. But when her best friend challenges her to accept an exciting job adventure in Barcelona, Spain, Caroline says "yes" to destiny.

Then, without warning, ownership of the run-down cafe where she's been waitressing falls right into Caroline's lap. While she's trying to determine the cafe's future, handsome Deputy Sherriff J.D. Rand captures Caroline's heart.

But when her first love, Mitch O'Neal, comes back to town, fresh from the heat of his newly-found fame as a country music singer in Nashville, Caroline must make some hard choices about love and the pursuit of the sweet life.

About Rachel: I graduated from Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) with a degree in Journalism. As a member of Phi Mu sorority, I partied my way though the last few years of college.

But, the truth is, and always will be, I belong to Jesus. At the age of six, I knelt at the altar of a Tulsa Methodist church and gave my life to the One who loves me.

After graduation, hired on at Harris Publishing as a software trainer, determined to see the world. And I did it without a laptop, a cell phone, an IPod or portable DVD player. Those were hard times.

But, I traveled to Ireland, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, Canada and the U.S. from California to Maine. But, life on the road is difficult. Working twelve to fourteen hour days, one doesn't get to see many of the sites. In Ireland, our company's distributor drove me around at night so I could see something of Dublin.

I met Tony, my husband, in '87, at church, of all places. We got married in '92. Tony has been a pastor for twenty years. I've worked with him in eighteen of those twenty. Our heart is to see teens and adults passionate, radical and whole hearted for Jesus.

Tony and I don't have any children of our own, lots of kids-in-the-Lord and we love them all. However, we do have a very spoiled dog, and an even more spoiled cat.

I've always wanted to be a writer. My dad used to tell me, "You're a writer." I have letters he wrote me post college, exhorting me to write. In this, I believe he had the heart of God.

In '93, I started an epic WW2 novel with two plots. It was well rejected. After that ordeal, I took a break and put efforts into my job as a software project manager. But, I missed writing and in late ' 99, I took up the craft again.

With a little help from my friends, my first book was published in ' 04, Lambert's Pride, a romance novel. I love writing chick lit and romance. I love writing. What an honor.

Rachel has several other books that have been received with great praise, including Diva Nash Vegas and Lost In Nash Vegas

Buy the book here

Friday, March 07, 2008

Meet and Greet!

Welcome to my blog! Nice to meet you! Please leave a comment so I can check out your blog too!

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

Here is a bit about me here and here's a great recipe (because what's a party without food?) and some photos:

There is a ton of cool stuff being given away, but what I'd like the most is:
~~12X12 personalized wall canvas from Ju Ju Beane Boutique (note to prize "choosers" I need to win this...I'm cuckoo for birds...it will go with this.)
~~$25 Amazon gift card from Judy
~~$25 Target gift card from Mommy Bytes

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Watch This...You won't be sorry!

Like Chocolate...?

Then you'll love CFBA's selection this week, Julie Carobini's, Truffles By the Sea!

Plus, head on over to her website...because she's giving away TRUFFLES! Yum! To celebrate her blog tour this week she's giving away a copy of Truffles by the Sea AND and a 1/2 lb. box of yummy truffles to three people. All they need to do is drop by Julie's blog http://juliecarobini.blogspot.com/ during the tour and leave a comment and a way to contact them if they win!

Fun and quirky, this book will suck you in from the first line, "I, Gaby Flores, will be gullible no more." This follow up to her first book, Chocolate Beach, is a wonderfully unpredictable story about how not all our love and sustenance in life can be found in chocolate...or other such things.

About Julie: Julie Carobini is an award-winning writer whose stories often spotlight her family, the sea, and God's timely work in the lives of those around her. She lives with her husband, Dan, and their three children in Ventura Beach, California. More about Julie here

More about the book: If you read, Julie's first book, Chocolate Beach, then you might remember Gaby as Bri’s dramatic, lovesick best friend. Unfortunately, things get worse—much worse—for her before they get…well, best not to give it away.

Sometimes all a girl has left is chocolate...

Gaby Flores has a penchant for drama and an unfortunate knack for dating Mr. So Wrong. After breaking off yet another relationship, watching her apartment building burn to the ground, and discovering that her dippy delivery guy has run off with most of her business, Gaby decides it’s time to turn things around.

So she moves to a tiny waterfront loft and takes on a new motto: “Be gullible no more!” With help from her friends, she works to rebuild her flower shop—and her life. But when legal troubles and quirky neighbors and two surprising romances enter her beachy world, Gaby’s motto and fledgling faith are put to the test.

Can a young woman prone to disaster in both work and love finally find happily ever after?

Julie's website: http://www.juliecarobini.com/

Buy the book here