Monday, August 29, 2011

"Amish Values for Your Family" Blog Tour & Contest

About the book:
For readers who long for strong families that know how to truly enjoy life together, there is much to learn from the Amish. Values like community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more can be your family legacy--without selling your car, changing your wardrobe, or moving out to farm country.

In Amish Values for Your Family, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shows how you can adopt the wisdom of the Amish when it comes to family matters. In this inspiring and practical book, readers will find charming true stories interlaced with solid, biblical advice about parenting, marriage, and all aspects of family life. As readers get an intimate glimpse into the everyday lives of real Amish families, they will learn to prioritize what's truly important, simplify decision-making, slow down as a family, safeguard time together, and let go when the time comes.


About Suzanne:

Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. She has many, many Plain relatives living in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and travels back to Pennsylvania,as well as to Ohio,a couple of times each year for research.

Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world.  In both her fiction and non-fiction books, she has an underlying theme: You don't have to "go Amish" to incorporate many of their principles--simplicity, living with less, appreciating nature, forgiving others more readily-- into your life.

When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.
Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.

My Take:
This book is arranged in four sections:  "Children Are Loved but Not Adored," "Great Expectations," "Daily Bread," and "Letting Go." In each section, a value is presented through an Amish proverb, a story from Amish life, a "Road Map" segment to show how we can apply the value to modern life, and an "In Their Own Words" section.
 
To me, Amish Values for Your Family could very easily just be called "Biblical Values for Your Family." While it was interesting to think of these values as they apply to the Amish life, these truths are straight from God's Word. I hope everyone who is involved in a church every week is taught these truths as I am at my church and through my study of the Bible.

One of my favorite stories in this book was related to the Amish proverb, "Keeping a neat house is like threading beads on a string with no knot on it." The story was about a young mother and her adventure one day with three young boys and a mud hole. I will leave you to imagine what happened! The point was that it doesn't really matter if your day goes as planned or your house is perfectly neat all the time. If you focus on those things (the neat house or the schedule), then you might be missing the bigger, more important thing. "The good is often the enemy of the best."

Even though these values are not strictly Amish, it was still fascinating to read this book and see how well the Amish apply these values to their lives. This book does help you to slow down and really think about what our priorities in life should be and how we desparately need to incorporate these values into our fast-paced, modern lives.

I will give Amish Values for Your Family ... 4 BookWorms.


You can follow this blog tour here:  http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13421895

The Contest

To celebrate the release of Amish Values for Your Family, Suzanne has teamed up her publisher Revell Books to giveaway a Kindle, and with Bill Coleman (the amazing photographer used on Suzanne’s book covers) to give away a signed Bill Coleman original.


One Grand Prize winner will receive an Amish Values Prize Package (valued at over $200) and includes:

* A brand new KINDLE
* A Signed Bill Coleman original
* Amish Values for Your Family (for KINDLE)

Click on one of the icons to enter. Winner will be announced on 9/2 at Suzanne’s blog. Be sure to stop by the blogs on Suzanne’s blog tour – many have copies of Amish Values for Your Family to give away.

But, wait there's more! Suzanne is running a Bill Coleman caption contest during the month of August on her blog. Title one of Bill’s gorgeous photos for a chance to win a print from Bill’s Amish Photo site and/or a copy of Amish Values for Your Family.




Thursday, August 25, 2011

Women of Faith

This past weekend, I was able to attend the Women of Faith event in Indianapolis. The theme for the weekend was Imagine, which was taken from Ephesians 3:20..."Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us."

There were so many great speakers at this event. I enjoyed the Friday night and Saturday sessions, but I actually got the most out of the Friday morning and afternoon 'pre-conference' sessions. Dr. Henry Cloud and Sheila Walsh were wonderfully convicting during those Friday sessions.

The worship music at this event was outstanding, as was the music by Natalie Grant and Erica Campbell. I enjoyed each time of worship very much. And, as you can see from the picture below, I had a great seat! Fourth row!




Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the weekend:

"Don't treat talking with God like dial-up internet...connect, upload, download, and then disconnect. Treat it like DSL...it's an open connection." --- Summarized from Dr. Henry Cloud
"You have not lived an unloved moment of your life." --- Sheila Walsh
"God will take those broken pieces and recreate something beautiful to treasure." --- Nicole Johnnson 
"God doesn't just tolerate us...He delights in us!" --- Lisa Harper
 "You are the daughter of the King...a princess." --- Natalie Grant

 "I have been there, I have called His name, and He has answered me. He will do the same for you." --- Angie Smith
 Speaking to her son: "The bigger the trouble, the faster you run home." --- Sheila Walsh
"For you who sit in front of your full cup...why do you wait?" --- Luci Swindoll

By far the highlight of the weekend for me was Natalie Grant's rendition of "It Is Well with My Soul." It was so moving.


I am so very grateful to Thomas Nelson, BookSneeze, and Women of Faith for this amazing weekend. I would love to do it again!


Below is a video of "It Is Well" by Natalie Grant. (Much gratitude to my new friend http://heatherlconrad.com/ for the use of this video.)

  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Too Blessed to Be Stressed" Blog Tour & Contest

About the book:

Do your to do lists have footnotes? Has your fam suggested a rabies shot because your bite has surpassed Rover’s? Maybe it’s time for a healthy dose of truth gift-wrapped in humor.

With her own offbeat brand of wit and near-wisdom, inspirational humorist Debora M. Coty addresses the heart-needs of desperate women drowning in the churning everyday stress-pool of busyness.

In Too Blessed to Be Stressed, you’ll find simple, practical steps for attaining the peace that you crave as you struggle with the stresses of finances, health, career, relationships, self-image and family. You’ll discover healing, refreshment, and revitalization for your own spirit, body and mind through heart-changing real life stories, biblically based insights, and short chapters for on-the-run convenience.


About the Author

Debora M. Coty is a humorist, columnist, speaker, writing workshop instructor, and award-winning author of over 100 internationally published articles and ten inspirational books. She has also contributed short stories and devotionals to numerous anthologies. Debora's passion is sharing her offbeat blend of humor and hope, wit and near-wisdom with women of all ages. As a piano teacher for twenty years, she acquired the skill of auditory long-suffering and has helped countless people as an occupational therapist specializing in orthopedics for over three decades. Mother of two grown children, Debora currently lives and loves in central Florida with her husband and desperately wicked pooch, Fenway. Her website is: http://deboracoty.com/.


My Take

I was excited to get this book for review, since my life is so full these days. But, I think I was expecting a little too much. To me, this book was more anecdotal rather than a deep study on sources of stress and how to deal with them. While the author did delve into some serious areas, I felt the overall tone to be more of a ‘hints and tips’ feel rather than probing into the real heart issues that go along with busyness and stress.

As I have mentioned before in my reviews, I really don’t relate to the ‘girlfriend’ talk in books like this. (Calling me ‘girlfriend’ and ‘sister’ as I am reading a book is a surefire way to get me to put down said book. I’m sure some women like to read this type of book. I am not one of those women. “To each their own.”)
I read this book from cover to cover in about three sittings (since I was reviewing it, and I had a deadline), and because of that, I don’t think I got as much out of it as I could have. It would have been better for me to read this as a daily devotional. I think reading a short chapter every day would have made the book better overall. Reading it all at once made the whole thing feel disjointed at times.
I did enjoy the quotes at the end of each chapter. They were funny and relatable.
If you pick up this book, I suggest reading it a little at a time in order to get more out of it.
I will give Too Blessed to Be Stressed by Debra M. Coty … 3 BookWorms.






The Contest
To celebrate the release of her latest laugh-out-loud book, Too Blessed to Be Stressed, Debora Coty is hosting the Too Blessed to Be Stressed KINDLE Giveaway!





Debora has created a “Too Blessed” prize package worth over $150! One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen

* Too Blessed to Be Stressed by Debora Coty (for KINDLE)

To enter just click one of the icons below. Hurry! The giveaway ends August 25th. Winner will be announced on the evening of the 18th during Debora's De-Stress Facebook Party! Debora will be hosting a "life-preserver" chat (it’s okay if you haven’t read the book – who knows, you might WIN a copy!), testing trivia skills, swapping funny stories, handing out some decom-stress tips, and giving away tons of great stuff! (Chocolate, books, and more!) Hope to see you there. Bring your friends and join the fun on August 25th at 5:00 PM PST (6 PM MDT, 7 PM CDT, & 8 PM EDT).

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Books through LitFuse Publicity. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Hidden Affections" Review

Hidden Affections by Delia Parr was sent to me as a review copy by Bethany House Publishers (Baker Publishing Group).
In Hidden Affections, the reader is introduced immediately to two people in the 1830’s who are getting married under some strange circumstances:  they are in handcuffs.
Annabelle Tyler and Harrison Graymore find themselves forced into marriage after the sheriff of a remote town in Western Pennsylvania finds them in a compromising (although untrue) situation. They plan to quietly have the marriage annulled once they go back home to Philadelphia, but word gets out too quickly. They are left to figure out what to do next in a society that scorns those who are divorced.
In addition to the marriage situation, all is not as it seems with these two.  Annabelle has a secret of her own, while Harrison has not dealt with some things from his past. Will this couple reveal their ‘Hidden Affections,’ or will they go through with their plans to end their marriage?
At the beginning of this book, I was hooked to the story. I enjoy reading ‘marriage of convenience’ plots, and this one was even more interesting since the characters were basically forced to get married. The development that Harrison ended up being the most eligible bachelor in Philadelphia was a huge boost to the story, too. Towards the middle of the book the story dragged, but then there were a couple of little surprises that helped the story along. For the most part, I knew where this story was going, but that is not always a bad thing.
I really enjoyed the character of the housekeeper, Irene, in this novel. She was fun and caring and had a no-nonsense attitude that was endearing. As for the main characters, I thought Annabelle was a little too perfect, but that did kind of ‘set up’ Harrison’s character, who was flirtatious and a little over-bearing.
The thing that bothered me most about this book (and I don’t think I have ever said this about a Baker Publishing Group book) is that it seemed as if it needed to be edited again. There were so many run-on sentences and misplaced modifiers that it made the book extremely hard to follow. I found myself rewording some of these sentences in my head so that they would sound better and make more sense. I have read several ARC’s (Advanced Review Copies) of books that have had better sentence structure than this finished book did. Now, I admit, I am not an editor. I am not even an English major (I have a degree in Health Sciences), but I know a well-written sentence when I see one, and this book struggled with that.
For me, this book had a great beginning and an interesting ending, but I got a little bogged down in the middle.
I will give Hidden Affections by Delia Parr … 3 BookWorms.


(My apologies to the author…this book would have gotten a higher rating if the editing had been better…)



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers/Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, August 19, 2011

"The Lady of Bolton Hill" Review

The Lady of Bolton Hill was sent to me as a review copy by Bethany House Publishers. It is by debut author Elizabeth Camden and is a historical fiction novel set in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1879. Clara Endicott, one of Baltimore’s elite young ladies, finds herself reacquainted after many years with Daniel Tremain, a young man from the “wrong side of the tracks” who is now a titan of the steel and railroad industries. The friendship they shared, brought on by their love of music, has been interrupted for the last twelve years due to Clara’s father’s interference. Now they have a chance to start their friendship again, but has time changed them too much? Daniel now has some formidable enemies, and Clara has become a committed journalist bent on protecting the working poor, many of whom work for Daniel. Clara and Daniel will both have to discover where their loyalties lie and from Whom they should draw their strength.
Call me a sucker for historical romance, but I really liked this book. This one drew me into the characters and their storylines immediately. While I enjoy the romance part of a novel, I really appreciate when the story goes into other issues involving the characters that are somewhat separate from the romance, and this novel does that well. In this book, there are several other issues that the characters face, including problems with powerful industrialists, the plight of the working man, the plague of vengeance, the power of forgiveness, and even the illegal drug trade (yes, even in 1879). The depth of storyline surprised me based on the cover of the book and its title. I also thought the author did a good job of placing faith in God in the novel. It is presented by the characters in a natural way that fits with the storylines without being overdone.
I guess a critique of this book would be that sometimes the characters seemed to act a little out of character for their time period. But that doesn’t really bother me too much in this book, since it is sometimes nice to have a little bit of ‘fantasy’ in a book that is being read for entertainment. At least in this novel, the characters were definitely not perfect, and that gave them a quality that was more real even if they sometimes acted out of place. Also, the ultimate ending sort of came out of left field, I thought, but I will let the reader determine that for themselves.
On the whole, I thought this was a great first novel for Elizabeth Camden. It had a much easier flow to it than some of the other debut novels I have read recently. I actually did not even know until I had finished the book that this was a first novel for this author.
The Lady of Bolton Hill is representative of good Christian historical fiction, and I look forward to the next book by this author.
I will give The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden... 4 BookWorms.








Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Across the Wide River" Blog Tour

Across the Wide River
A Novel

 by Stephanie Reed


Freedom.
Some take it for granted.
Others consider it worth dying for.

Lowry Rankin knows all too well the cost of freedom; after all, his family’s red brick home is the first stop on the Underground Railroad north of the Ohio River.


He’s seen friends beaten for the color of their skin. He’s watched simple farmers make a difference. He’s even risked his own life transporting escaped slaves to the next "station". But will Lowry be able to conquer his greatest fear when he’s called to speak out?


About the Author:

During her childhood, Stephanie Reed’s family would often pass through Ripley on their way to her grandparents’ home. The signs she read there about the Rankin house were what prompted her to write Across the Wide River and The Light Across the River. After working for nearly a decade with the Dayton Metro Library, Stephanie is now a volunteer spotter for the National Weather Service. She lives with her husband and two children in Dublin, Ohio.


My Take:

Across the Wide River is probably the most truly historical fiction book I have ever read. Historical fiction is my favorite genre of book, but I tend to enjoy novels that are set in historical time periods and tell a completely fictional story rather than ones that are based on actual people in history.  

This was not the case for me with this book. The historical account of the Rankin family, Lowry in particular, was made into a story so well that it was neither boring nor dry. The characters come alive and you feel their turmoil as they face their fears and insecurities during such uncertain times.

At times I felt the scene changes or character changes were a little hard to follow, but overall it was easy to read. I also felt the book was a little too short! I wanted to know more! :)

This novel is a well-researched historical story that was compelling and informative. It makes you think about what is important and that you should stand up for what is right.

Thank you to Ms. Reed and to Kregel Publications for the opportunity to review this book.

I will give Across the Wide River ... 4 1/2 BookWorms!











Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Edge of Apocalypse" Review

Since I received a copy of Thunder of Heaven (the second book in this series) to review, I decided to get the first book from the library to read. My husband, Wesley, actually read both of these books, too, so he helped me a lot with the reviews. (Can you tell Wesley has been helping me with book reviews a lot lately?! Thanks, honey! Anytime you see a Tom Clancy reference, it is from him!)
Edge of Apocalypse is coauthored by Tim LaHaye, one of the two guys who wrote the Left Behind series.  He has studied the scriptures about the end times and is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the end times.  This series is about the time and events leading up to the rapture and the impending apocalypse.
Set in the near future, America is different from what we know today.  A dustbowl in the Midwest dwarfing the dustbowl from the ‘30s, a virus killing off most of the livestock, OPEC has decided to stop selling oil to us, and our national debt is skyrocketing.  TV, radio, and newsprint have all been converted to the Internet.  And, in an effort to try and control the downward spiral, the government has decided to take drastic steps.  They have passed laws inhibiting personal freedom, allowed UN peace keeping forces to maintain a presence in many places across America, and taken control of the media.
It is in this environment that we meet Joshua Jordan, a former Air Force pilot who retired and became a defense contractor working for the Pentagon.  He has developed a new, controversial missile defense system called Return-To-Sender.  This system shoots a laser at incoming missiles and resets the trajectory to send the missile back to the point of origin.  When North Korea sends two nuclear missiles towards New York, the government asks Jordan to use his untested system to save millions of Americans.  However, global backlash against destroying the North Korean battleship with two nuclear missiles, the U.S. government decides to blame Jordan instead of praising him.  During a congressional hearing, he declares that he is not going to turn over the plans to his missile defense system for fear that they will be sold to foreign nations.
With the president being manipulated behind the scenes, public opinion turning against him by the controlled and biased media, federal charges facing him, and a global cabal which has sent an assassin to steal the plans, Joshua Jordan and his closest and trusted friends must decide what the right course of action is: save their own skin, or do what is best for America.
This series is a cross between the Left Behind series and a Tom Clancy novel.  It was interesting reading a Tom Clancy novel and having Christian themes mixed in.  It was unnerving at first, but eventually I got used to it and actually enjoyed the combination of the two genres.  Where the Left Behind series starts with the rapture and then regales the readers with the global events that happen afterward, this series comes from the perspective of many of the signs of the end times happening before the rapture.  This was an interesting and even scary point of view.  With the other series, these changes happen suddenly and drastically.  However, with this series, the changes happen very slowly and subtly and appear to be for the best.  Even scarier was seeing how some of these changes talked about in this book have already started.
There were a couple of things that I didn’t like about this book.  The biggest one is one that I have already mentioned.  Some of the changes listed in this book have already started.  But, instead of making the changes more generic, the authors point out how they started and who started them.  I realize that President Obama has made some policies that the authors might not agree with or even are concerned might lead to serious problems in the future.  However, I felt a bit uncomfortable with how the authors portrayed our current leadership.  Disagreeing with our appointed leaders is one thing, but attacking them is another, and it sometimes felt like that was what was going on.  The same point could have been made using fictional characters instead of real political leaders.
The other thing that I didn’t like about this book is that I was looking forward to the happy ending.  In Tom Clancy novels, the good guys always win.  However, in this book, you know that the series is heading toward the rapture and Armageddon.  Ultimately, it is most likely that America won’t exist when that happens, or at least shortly thereafter.  So, reading about how our political system is being manipulated and where we are headed is frustrating knowing that there is likely not a happy ending coming in the near future.
Overall, this book was really good.  I love reading Tom Clancy and really enjoyed the Left Behind series.  This book, and the subsequent books in the series, combine the best of the two book styles and blend into an excellent story.  At times, the book felt like the authors were trying to make a political statement, but the story was still very good despite that.  If you are a fan of Tom Clancy style books and the Left Behind series, then you will definitely enjoy this book. 
We will give Edge of Apocalypse: The End Series by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall … 4 BookWorms.






"Thunder of Heaven" Review

Thunder of Heaven by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall was sent to me by Zondervan Publishing as an advanced review copy. It is the second book in “The End” series by these authors and picks up shortly after the first book (Edge of Apocalypse) ended.  Joshua Jordan and the Roundtable are still the main focus of the story.  The U.S. government is still unhappy with Jordan and out to get him.  He in turn is trying to help Israel, America’s longtime friend, set up their own version of the RTS missile defense system.  Additionally, the group of people trying to control the new global community is continuing to flex their muscles and move the chess pieces around on the enormous chessboard set before them.
A new wrinkle has developed in this book.  Global warming has become a major problem and a rallying point for the world to come together to create a new world religion.  Humanity creeps closer to the second coming of Christ as more and more biblical prophecies are coming true.
Meanwhile, Joshua Jordan has to deal with old enemies coming after him, and he continues to try to come to terms with his own faith.  His friends and family are pushed to the limit as they and the nation they love are put into danger.
This book was good, but I think I enjoyed the first one (Edge of Apocalypse) better. Perhaps it was the fact that this was the second in the series, so it wasn’t as new and fresh.  The story was still good, but it didn’t hold my attention as well as the first one. 
As a fan of Christian writing, it is fun to read about looking toward the second coming of Christ. However, I usually like for my novels to have the “good guys” win, and it doesn’t seem as if that is going to happen in this series (at least not until the very end when the good guys really win). It was kind of hard emotionally for me to read about the downfall of America as a nation.
Also, the authors tend to criticize the current political leaders and their policies by name in this novel.  I understand the desire to warn about possible problems current policies might lead to, but that is a fine line to walk and something I would rather not read in a fiction novel. I would have preferred for the authors to use fictional names for political leaders in order to maintain respect for our current leadership, regardless of their political beliefs.
Like the first book in the series, this one was very fun and scary to read at the same time.  I enjoyed the story very much, but I tremble at the implications of how easy it might be to get caught up in the pitfalls in which the characters find themselves.
My husband read this book, too, so he helped me with the review.
We will give Thunder of Heaven … 3 ½ BookWorms.







Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from Zondervan Publishers as a review copy. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Moving from Fear to Freedom" Blog Tour


"Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman's Guide to Peace in Every Situation" by Grace Fox is a book that was published in 2007. Now there is a group/personal study available to go along with this book!

Here is a description of this study, an interview with the author, Grace Fox, and a video telling more about the book/DVD:


Has fear kept you awake at night?  Has it hindered you from saying yes to a new opportunity? Has it caused you to make impulsive choices you later regretted? If so, you’re not alone! Fear is a big deal for many women. If left unchecked, it can prevent us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. So, what’s the answer? How can we move beyond fear into freedom?

Author Grace Fox has partnered with Stonecroft Ministries to write a small group resource titled 
Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman-to-Woman Conversation. This resource addresses women’s common fears and gives biblical and practical strategies to move beyond them.

Fear seems to be an ever-present theme throughout the Bible. Describe the difference between healthy and unhealthy fear.

Healthy fear steers us toward wise decisions and actions. It promotes self-preservation. For example, we look both ways before crossing the street for fear of getting hit by a car. In contrast, unhealthy fear hinders our ability to fully embrace life because it consumes us with negative thinking and what-ifs. The effects can literally make us sick.  

How does destructive fear stunt our emotional or spiritual growth?


Destructive fear—the fear of rejection, for instance—might keep us from admitting to someone that we’ve been physically or sexually abused. Without receiving the help we need to deal with those issues, we never experience freedom. Our struggles might seriously hamper our ability to truly love and receive love in a marital relationship. This is just one example among many of how our emotional growth is affected.
Spiritually, fear can cause us to say no to God-given dreams or assignments because we’re afraid of personal inadequacy or financial insecurity. If we never step out in faith, then we never experience God’s ability to equip and provide in amazing ways. Spiritual growth comes when we say yes to God and “do it afraid.”





You suggest we need to place our focus on God and not on fear. In practical terms, how do we do this?

Several strategies that I’ve found helpful…
  • Memorize Scripture promises and meditate on them throughout the day and as we fall asleep at night. We are transformed as our mind is renewed. 
  • Fill our homes with praise and worship music. 
  • Spend time in God’s word on a regular basis, not just when we’re in a panic. The more we do so, the more familiar we become with His promises and the better prepared we are to face frightening circumstances when they come.
  • Talk to the Lord throughout the day. Invite Him into the mundane. Practice His presence. The more we get to know Him, the more we’re able to trust Him in the face of fear.

Most of us feel inadequate at times. You suggest we cannot use our inadequacies as an excuse for not participating with God’s purposes. How do we get past this?

We get past our fear of inadequacy by admitting we have it. Then we need to retrain our thinking to focus on God’s adequacies rather than our inadequacies.

  • Tell God how we feel. "Help! I don't think I can do such-and-such."
  • Tell a trusted friend and ask her to pray for us.
  • Move forward. Do it afraid and expect God to equip us.

Describe this resource and how participants can receive the greatest benefit as they use it.

It’s a seven-week study filled with biblical teaching and personal anecdotes that can be used easily by either a small group of friends in a private home setting or a large women’s ministry. Each session begins by viewing a 25-30 minute teaching video. When the video ends, participants follow suggested Table Talk questions for about 15 minutes. Then they do the Bible study questions together. Each participant uses her own guide book so she can take notes and write answers. Facilitator’s notes are included. The study covers these topics:


  • an overview of fear 
  • fear for our loved ones' well-being
  • fear of personal inadequacy
  • fear of rejection
  • fear of facing the ghosts of our past
  • fear of the storms of life
  • fear of the unknown future 

Where can I buy this study?

It’s available through your local Christian book store, on Amazon, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.christianbooks.com, www.stl-distribution.com, www.winepressbooks.com, and of course, on Grace’s website, where group discounts apply. www.gracefox.com.  Visit Grace’s website for more information about her other books and speaking ministry. www.gracefox.com.


For more opportunities for a FREE copy of this DVD & Study Guide set of MOVING FROM FEAR TO FREEDOM, please follow this CSS Virtual Book Tour on Twitter (@Christianspkrs) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/CSSVBT.GraceFox.MovingFromFeartoFreedom)  








I think this would be great for a small group ladies' Bible study. It was helpful as a personal study, but it would be better as a group, I think.

Has anyone read this book or gone through this DVD study? If you have, let me know what you thought!

--Shoopette


I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD & Study Guide set from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Wanted: A Family" Review

Wanted:  A Family by Janet Dean is a book that I won through the GoodReads “First Reads” giveaway program. If you are a GoodReads member, check out the giveaways here.
In this book, we are introduced to Callie Mitchell, a young widow living in Peaceful, Indiana, in 1900, who discovers she is expecting just shortly after her husband dies. The old Victorian house that she and her husband were renovating is all that she has left for herself and for her baby, and she is determined to make it into a home. To do this, Callie plans to house young women who are in need of a home and also in need of God’s mercy and love.
In order to restore her house, Callie must trust a stranger, Jacob Smith, who has his own reasons for coming to this small Indiana town. Jacob plans to stay in Peaceful only long enough to find the mother who abandoned him years ago. He did not plan to have any feelings for Callie whatsoever, and he especially did not expect to start seeking God for a possible plan for his life.
As Jacob and Callie deal with their own struggles, they wonder if it will be possible for them to have the family they have been wanting.
I always like when a book pulls me right into the story as soon as I start reading, and this book did just that. I immediately liked and had sympathy for Callie and also for Jake. I thought they were both dealing with thought-provoking circumstances, and I was interested to see how things would turn out.
I was especially interested in the part of the story where Callie wanted to house young women who were in need. The need in this case was mostly women who were pregnant and unmarried, and it was interesting to see how loving and caring Callie was towards these women. It was also interesting to see the way these women were treated in the community—they were not treated well. This storyline was appealing to me, and I felt connected to it, because my church has a similar ministry. (Visit http://www.faithlafayette.org/voh for more information). I also liked that the story was set in Indiana!
As for the romance between Callie and Jake, I felt that it progressed at an appropriate pace and felt natural. I also liked that both points of view were told in this romantic story. While some of the romantic notions were a little much for me—I tend to get irritated with the repetitive ‘…the way his broad shoulders filled out his shirt…’ wording (this is not a direct quote from this book)—the love story was still good and was not the entire plot of the book.
This book had a good ending that was believable, except that I thought the townspeople changed their minds about one particular issue rather quickly.
I would like to thank author Janet Dean for my autographed copy of Wanted:  A Famly and GoodReads for their giveaway.
I will give Wanted:  A Family… 4 BookWorms.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Treasuring Emma" Review

Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller was sent to me as a review copy by Thomas Nelson Publishers through their blogging program, BookSneeze. It is a “Middlefield Family Novel,” and I believe it is the first one.
Emma is a young Amish girl living in Ohio who recently lost her mother to cancer and now has the responsibility of caring for her grandmother. Emma’s sister, Clara, and her family live close by, but Clara is currently dealing with her own financial and marital issues, and she isn’t much help. Add to this the fact that Emma is still heartbroken over her first love, Adam, who has left the Amish life for the English world. When a new young man comes to this Amish town and shows interest, Emma is reluctant to trust her feelings. Especially when Adam suddenly comes back into her life.
I thought Treasuring Emma was a very nice read. It was interesting enough to keep me involved in the story but not so complicated that I got lost. I found that I cared for Emma and that I cared what happened to her. The story, especially the romantic storyline, was not slow, but it did not feel rushed, either. The author was able to show this particular Amish community as simple and as a good way to live without making me feel as if I am doing something wrong by not living that way. I appreciated that the author had the characters in the novel, when necessary, come back to God, not just come back to the Amish Church. There was more of an emphasis on personal faith in this Amish novel compared to others I have read.
The only thing that I stumbled with was learning all of the Dutch or German words that are used in the Amish vocabulary in this book. There is a glossary at the front of the book, and that did help.
When I got to the end of the book, it seemed as if parts of the story might be continued in later books. I am assuming that there are more books to come, and I would be interested to read them.
Overall, this was a very pleasant novel that was an easy read. I have not read too many Amish fiction novels, but this one was the most enjoyable I have read.
I will give Treasuring Emma … 3 ½ BookWorms






Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Guest Review -- "Wayward Son"

Recently I was given the opportunity to review a book that I received from a giveaway by LibraryThing. (http://www.librarything.com/). Since the book was more to my husband's liking, he is doing a guest review for this book! Take it away, Wesley!

Wayward Son by Tom Pollack, Jim Alves, and John Loftus
Wayward Son is a biblical fiction book based on the “life” of Cain.  The book starts with the introduction of Amanda James, an archaeologist who specializes in papyrus and languages.  She gets a call from someone in her past asking her to travel to Italy to help him with an important dig.  Upon arrival, she eventually finds herself alone, trapped in a chamber full of antiquities, staring at a man frozen in time by volcanic ash.  She notices a strange charm around his neck and reaches for it.  Suddenly, she is no longer in the chamber in Italy.  Instead, she has somehow found herself inside the mind of someone running for his life.  Shortly, she realizes she is witnessing the life of Cain, the first human ever born.
The story continues from there with the untold life of Cain, banished from civilization and forced to wander for the rest of his life.  I say this is the untold story of Cain because the authors have taken some liberty with Scripture.  Many of the important characters of the Bible have their life stories told, and most of them end with their deaths being recorded.  However, Scripture does not mention the death of Cain.  These authors have decided to take that omission and run with it.  The story of Cain in this book takes place over thousands of years.  Cain has supernatural healing abilities and does not age.  So, we get to witness many historical events through the eyes of Cain.
I won’t go into detail about many of the events that take place in this book, as it might give too much away.  Instead, I will talk about the concept and style of the book.  This is not the first book that I have read which is based on the premise that Cain did not die.  Personally, I think this is a stretch.  Just because the Bible does not mention Cain’s death does not mean he didn’t die.  It doesn’t mention lots of people’s deaths.  But, I understand that when trying to write a good story, some liberty must be taken, and I have no problem with that.  The premise of Cain living for thousands years did make for a fascinating backdrop.
However, I did have a bit of a problem with how parts of the story were told.  Throughout Cain’s life, he was there to influence and even alter history.  According to this book, the authors had Cain be responsible for some of history’s greatest moments or accomplishments.  An example would be that he was partly responsible for setting up the first pharaoh in Egypt and for building King Ramses’ temple.  Now, if that had been all that was done in this book, that would still have been a bit annoying, but clever.  But, they didn’t stop there.  They also inserted Cain into several key Biblical moments.  For instance, Cain stowed away on the ark.  Then, when Noah and his family finally got off the ark, Cain snuck away and stole several animals.  I personally don’t like when fiction books alter or add to parts of the Bible.  I really don’t like it when they have Christ speaking things that are not in the Bible, which happens several times in this book.  I just get uncomfortable reading passages like that.
Still, despite the annoyances of adding Cain to some important moments in history (both biblical and otherwise), this was actually a very good story.  Before reading this, I had a certain impression about Cain.  As a Christian, I was taught about Cain murdering his brother and being punished.  That is the end of the story.  This book explores his point of view and how he spends thousands of years trying to come to redemption.  By the end of the story, I was actually feeling sorry for Cain and pulling for him.  I doubt that the authors wanted to change the typical Christian perspective on Cain, but instead wanted to write a good story and draw the reader into a world of “what if”.  Well, they certainly accomplished that, and did it well. 
I will give a warning to everyone that this book is really long. At 505 pages (paperback;  6504 Kindle), it took a while to get through!
I will give Wayward Son … 3.5 bookworms.






Thanks, honey! Look for Wesley's thoughts on other books coming soon! :)