Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dear Nancy: Answers to Letters from Girls Like You

About Dear Nancy...:

You’ve got mail … lots of it! Author Nancy Rue loves getting letters from her readers, but finding the time to answer them has always been a challenge. Dear Nancy was born from a desire to connect with readers in-depth by really answering their questions, particularly the ones she gets asked over and over, like, “How did you become a writer?” and “What’s your favorite Scripture verse?” for example. Readers want more than just tips on writing, though—they want to know about Sophie and Lily, about boys and friends, about growing up, and even more about Nancy herself. So here’s a peek into Nancy’s mailbox with answers on topics that are closest to tween girls’ hearts.

My thoughts:

This in-depth Q&A about Nancy, her life as an author, the books she writes, and her thoughtful advice about growing up both physically and spiritually was such a delight to read. She has such a personable, down-to-earth style - it makes you feel like you're having a one-on-one conversation with her in a cozy corner somewhere.

If your daughter is hung up on either Sophie or Lily (or both), be sure to get them a copy of this book. They'll enjoy getting to read all the behind the scenes info about their favorite characters, and they'll find out that the voice behind Sophie and Lily is someone who understands them and what they're going through, and thinks that it's perfectly okay to just be yourself.

Check out Nancy Rue online.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fall into Reading Wrap-up

Well, another reading challenge has come and gone, and I have successfully completed my original list (see below). Yippee!

The Longing by Beverly Lewis
Home Another Way by Christa Parrish
*The Rook by Steven James
*Bon Appetit by Sandra Byrd

Get Cozy, Josey by Susan May Warren
Out of Her Hands by Megan DiMaria

Since it is election season...

America the Beautiful by Laura Hayden
*The Election by Jerome Teel
The Candidate by Susan Wales and Robin Shope

Christmas themed books...

let them eat fruitcake by Melody Carlson
Jamaican Me Crazy by Debbie DiGiovanni
An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson
*Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn
White Christmas Pie by Wanda Brunstetter

Bonus Books...

The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield
Romancing Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
Goodbye Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
Mixed Bags by Melody Carlson
Sarah Palin * A New Kind of Leader by Joe Hilley
Plain Perfect by Beth Wiseman
My Mothers Wish by Jerry Camery-Hoggatt
*The Paper Bag Christmas by Kevin Alan Milne
Dear Nancy by Nancy Rue
Lucy Doesn't Wear Pink by Nancy Rue
All I Have to Give by Melody Carlson
Liberty Letters: Attack at Pearl Harbor by Nancy LeSourd
Matt Hoover's Guide to Life, Love, and Losing Weight by Matt Hoover
The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck

Now for the wrap-up:

Did you finish reading all the books on your fall reading list? If not, why not?

Yes, I finished my whole list, and also read an additional 14 books as well.

Did you stick to your original goals or did you change your list as you went along?

I did stick to my original list - just added extra books in the end.

What was your favorite book that you read this fall? Least favorite? Why?

Didn't have a single favorite - I starred the ones above that I enjoyed the most. As far as least favorite, I didn't have one. There were a few that took me a little longer to get through, but I think that was due to the fact that I have been pretty busy and I was having to read a snippet here and there and really couldn't get as engrossed in each book that I wanted to.

Did you discover a new author or genre this fall? Did you love them? Not love them?

I've had the books by Steven James and Jerome Teel on my shelf for a while and decided to add them to my list. I really enjoyed both of these authors and look forward to reading more from them.

Did you learn something new because of the Fall Into Reading challenge — something about reading, or yourself, or a topic you read about?

I didn't really learn anything new about myself or reading, but I did enjoy reading the books with a political bent this election season, and seeing the behind the scenes working of campaigns and politics.

What was your favorite thing about the Fall Into Reading challenge? Would you like to participate in another challenge here this spring?

I enjoyed focusing on and achieving my goal - and getting some books off my shelf that I can pass along to others. I'm *definitely* looking forward to the spring challenge.

Thanks again to Katrina for getting us all together to challenge ourselves and encourage each other in one of our favorite pasttimes...reading. See ya'll next spring!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Berenstain Bears are back!

About The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule:

When Sister Bear receives a locket for her birthday with the Golden Rule inscribed on it, she wonders what the verse means. And although Mama Bear explains it, it isn’t until she befriends a lonely newcomer at school that she understands what the rule looks like in action.

About The Berenstain Bears Go to Sunday School:

When Mama Bear decides its been too long since they’ve attended church at the Chapel in the Woods, the Bear family works to get back in the habit. It isn’t long before the family remembers what a wonderful place the church is and finds that going to church is something they look forward to every week.

My thoughts:

The Berenstain Bears books have been published since the 1960's, so I would guess that many of us remember reading them as children. These books have stood the test of time for many reasons - the entertaining antics of the rambunctious bear children, the book's colorful pages, and the life lessons taught on a level where the youngest of readers get the message. It's nice to see these stories take on Christian themes such as going to a place of worship as a family and treating others as you yourself would want to be treated. Children of all ages will enjoy a visit with the Berenstain Bears - some seeing them with fresh eyes, and others with fond memories of yesteryear.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tiny Bear's Bible

About Tiny Bear's Bible:

TINY BEAR'S BIBLE is a warm, friendly, furry Bible in rhyme for pre-schoolers (reading age 6 and up) with the comforting message: God loves them.
Together with their friend Tiny Bear, children discover comforting truths from God's word in 11 Bible Stories and best of all, in a format they can cuddle!
The closing story leaves them with this loving reminder: "No matter what, no matter where, God is with us, Tiny Bear."

Check out the girl version, which is due out in March 2009.

About Author Sally Lloyd-Jones:

Sally Lloyd-Jones is a leading writer of inspirational books for children, with an expertise in conveying biblical truth to young children. She is the author of three bestselling children's Bibles, including the Gold Book Award-winning Baby's First Bible and, most recently, The Jesus Storybook Bible. A native of England, Sally lives in New York City.

About Illustrator Igor Oleynikov:

Igor Oleynikov has been drawing since early childhood. He grew up in Lubertsy, Russia, a satellite town of Moscow where he lived with his mother, a carpet designer, and his father, an engineer. Oleynikov has illustrated more than 25 children’s books from publishers around the world. He now lives Moscow with his wife and is a proud father and grandfather.

My thoughts:

How could any pint-sized person resist the urge to put his arms around the soft, cuddly cover of this amazing book. With it's sturdy board book pages that will endure countless hours of handling, this book is a winner for any adult looking to instill God's unbending truth to their littlest loved ones. The Tiny Bears Bible presents the message of God's love amidst eyecatching pictures and lyrical verse that is easy to read as well as listen to. No child is ever too young to hear the Word of God, and this adaptation for wee ones is one that no home should be without.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where Do I Go? by Neta Jackson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Where Do I Go?

(Thomas Nelson - December 9, 2008)


Neta Jackson


As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books. In addition to writing several books about Christian community, the Jacksons have coauthored numerous books with expert resource people on a variety of topics from racial reconciliation to medical ethics to ministry to kids in gangs.

Dave and Neta live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years they were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. They are now members of a multi-racial congregation in the Chicago area.

They're trying something new! Not just new for them, but something completely new in Christian fiction: “Parallel novels,” two stories taking place in the same time frame, same neighborhood, involving some of the same characters living through their own dramas and crises but interacting with and affecting one another … just the way it happens in real life.

It’s something that only a husband and wife writing team could pull off. While Neta has Where Do I Go?, her husband Dave has written Harry Bentley's Second Chance.


A story of seeking-and finding-God's will in unlikely places.

Gabrielle Fairbanks has nearly lost touch with the carefree, spirited young woman she was when she married her husband fifteen years ago. But when the couple moves to Chicago to accommodate Philip's business ambitions, Gabby finds the chance to make herself useful. It's there she meets the women of Manna House Women's Shelter; they need a Program Director-and she has a degree in social work. She's in her element, feeling God's call on her life at last, even though Philip doesn't like the changes he sees in her. But things get rough when Philip gives Gabby an ultimatum: quit her job at the shelter or risk divorce and losing custody of their sons. Gabby must take refuge, as in the song they sing at Sunday night worship: "Where do I go when there's no one else to turn to? . . . I go to the Rock I know that's able, I go to the Rock."

Romantic Times Book Reviews says, “Exquisite characters coupled with God's mercy and love emanate from each page.”

Publisher's Weekly adds, “Jackson's Yada Yada series has sold half a million copies, and this new offshoot series ... promises the same.... The book's dramatic ending ... leav[es] readers eager for the next installment in the series.”

To read the Prologue and first Chapter of Where Do I Go?, go HERE

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Engaging Father Christmas

(FaithWords - October 30, 2008)


Robin Jones Gunn


Robin grew up in Orange County, California and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawai’i.

She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon and have been married for 30 years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry, and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown.

As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin’s favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives.

Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild.


Miranda Carson can't wait to return to England for Christmas and to be with her boyfriend, Ian. She has spent a lifetime yearning for a place to call home, and she's sure Carlton Heath will be it, especially when a hinted-at engagement ring slips into the conversation.

But Miranda's high hopes for a jolly Christmas with the small circle of people she has come to love are toppled when Ian's father is hospitalized and the matriarch of the Whitcombe family withholds her blessing from Miranda. Questions run rampant in Miranda's mind about whether she really belongs in this cheery corner of the world. Then, when her true identity threatens all her relationships in unanticipated ways, Miranda is certain all is lost.

And yet...maybe Father Christmas has special gifts in store for her after all.

My thoughts:

I have been anticipating this book ever since I finished the first book, Finding Father Christmas, last year. You can't help but love the characters in this book, from the endearing Miranda completing her search for family and home; her new found niece and nephew, the fun-loving Julia and the insightful Mark; to Ian as a Father Christmas who is nothing if not MacDreamy! So as Christmas nears, find yourself a nice cozy spot next to the fire, with a cup of tea, and take a journey with Miranda and Ian to Carlton Heath, or as Miranda would say - home!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Engaging Father Christmas, go HERE.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Quills and Promises by Amber Miller

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Quills And Promises

(Barbour Publishing, Inc - May 28, 2008)


Amber Miller


Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. I am in my 30's, married the love of my life in July 2007, and live in beautiful Colorado just east of the Front Range of the Rockies, but I love to travel and visit new places. Ultimately, my dream is to own horses and live in a one-level rancher or log cabin nestled in the foothills of the mountains. For now, I will remain where I am and do what I love—design web sites and write.

Amber's very first book, Promises, Promises, released in February 2008. It's a historical fiction set in Delaware during the Colonial period and the Great Awakening. The other 2 books in the series are this current one, Quills And Promises (July 2008) and Deceptive Promises (December 2008). In 2009, they will be repackaged for a state set entitled Delaware Brides. She has also sold another series set in historical Michigan during the Industrial Revolution. The 3 books in that series will begin releasing in May 2009 and will be repackaged in 2010 as Michigan Brides.


-- Separated from Madison when he leaves to fight the French and Indians, Elanna Hanssen must choose between her heart and her head, especially when Madison's integrity is questioned. --

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not until thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Innocence paired with wisdom beyond her years. With these traits, Elanna Hanssen unwittingly captures the attentions of Major Madison Scott. Her honest desire to understand the war fascinates him, and he resolves to get to know this perspicacious young lady better. When his military duty separates them, they begin a correspondence, cautiously baring their hearts to each other. Elanna has never known emotions like this before, but she is drawn to the integrity she sees in her major. When a local news reporter questions the major's credentials and activities, however, will she allow her heart or her head to rule? Can true love grow over such distance and around such obstacles?

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Quills And Promises, go HERE.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bill Myers' Bug Parables

About Stink Bug Saves the Day:

This retelling of The Good Samaritan teaches the importance of being a good friend. Mom and Pop Roly Poly and their little Rolies, Junior and Sissy, find themselves face-to-face with some biker flies. It looks like big trouble for Pop! Will anyone stop to help him? Someone will—the last person anyone expects.

About The House that Went Ker-Splat:

This retelling of the wise and foolish builders deals with two paper wasp buddies who take very different approaches to building a wasp house. Willie wisely follows the blueprints, chooses good materials, and picks a smart place to build. Lazy Ray cuts corners all the way—and learns there’s a cost to pay for foolishly ignoring the rules.

My thoughts:

These books have got to be one of the most entertaining and colorful ways to convey the parables of Jesus to the smaller set that I've ever seen - and I guarantee you'll love them too, Mom and Dad. You will want to read each of these books out loud, again and again, as the text is so lyrical and the illustrations are so detailed you'll find something new every time you turn the page. I am definitely including these books in someone's Christmas stocking this year.

And just an FYI - be on the lookout for another Bug Parable coming in March 2009 - Freddie's Fast Cash Getaway, the parable of the Prodigal Son.

Learn more about author Bill Myers and illustrator Andy J Smith.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dark Pursuit by Brandilyn Collins

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dark Pursuit

(Zondervan - December 1, 2008)


Brandilyn Collins


Brandilyn Collins is known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. She is currently working on her 20th book. For chances to win free copies of her work, join her Fan Club on Facebook. Here’s what Brandilyn has to say about why she wrote Dark Pursuit:

In John Milton’s Paradise Lost Satan’s followers, kicked out of heaven, boast about storming the gates and reclaiming their territory. Beelzebub scoffs at their boasting as merely “hatching vain empires” and suggests a different revengeful scheme: seduce mankind away from God. So Satan visits the Garden of Eden to teach humans the very thing he and his cohorts have learned to be futile—the dark pursuit of hatching their own vain empires instead of following God. He presented man with this “gift” of death, disguised as life. And man fell for it.

Upon this theme of man’s fall and spiritual blindness, I created the characters and events in Dark Pursuit. The story clips along at a fast pace, with much symbolism running underneath.


Dark Pursuit—A twisting story of murder, betrayal, and eternal choices

Novelist Darell Brooke lived for his title as King of Suspense—until an auto accident left him unable to concentrate. Two years later, reclusive and bitter, he wants one thing: to plot a new novel and regain his reputation.

Kaitlan Sering, his twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, once lived for drugs. After she stole from Darell, he cut her off. Now she’s rebuilding her life. But in Kaitlan’s town two women have been murdered, and she’s about to discover a third. She’s even more shocked to realize the culprit—her boyfriend, Craig, the police chief’s son.

Desperate, Kaitlan flees to her estranged grandfather. For over forty years, Darell Brooke has lived suspense. Surely he’ll devise a plan to trap the cunning Craig.

But can Darell’s muddled mind do it? And—if he tries—with what motivation? For Kaitlan’s plight may be the stunning answer to the elusive plot he seeks...

Read the first chapter of Dark Pursuit, HERE.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

One Perfect Day

(FaithWords - October 22, 2008)


Lauraine Snelling


Today, Lauraine Snelling is a member of the more than Two Million Books In Print club, but when she first began, she was a mother of three teenagers with a simple dream to write “horse books for kids.”

All told, she has over 50 books published. She thinks. She’s not sure. She’d rather write them than count them. Lauraine’s work has been translated into Norwegian, Danish and German as well as produced as books on tape.

Awards have followed her dedication to “telling a good story”: the Silver Angel Award for An Untamed Land and a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart for Song of Laughter.

Helping others reach their writing dream is the reason Lauraine teaches at writer’s conferences across the country. She mentors others through book doctoring and with her humorous and playful Writing Great Fiction tape set. Lauraine also produces material on query letters and other aspects of the writing process.

Her readers clamor for more books more often and Lauraine would like to comply, if only her ever-growing flower gardens didn’t call quite so loudly over the soothing rush of the water fountains in her back yard and if the hummingbirds weren’t quite so entertaining. Lauraine and husband Wayne have two grown sons and a cockatiel named Bidley, who loves to tease their Basset Hound named Chewy.


Two mothers end up more closely connected that they could dream...and yet they are strangers to one another.

The first has two children--twins, a boy and girl, who are seniors in high school. She wants their last Christmas as a family living in the same home to be perfect, but her husband is delayed returning from a business trip abroad. And then there's an accident--a fatal one involving a drunk driver.

Meanwhile, the other mother has a daughter who needs a new heart, and so the loss of one woman becomes the miracle the other has desperately prayed for. While one mother grieves, and pulls away from her family, the other finds that even miracles aren't always easy to receive.

If you would like to read the first chapter of One Perfect Day, go HERE