Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Legend of Zoey by Candie Moonshower

Candie Moonshower has seamlessly meshed the experiences of two girls in two different eras into a delightful tale in The Legend of Zoey. Against the background of real events, she has written a fun and at times, poignant story and manages to teach the reader, too. Writing about time travel and using two points of view can be tricky, but Moonshower makes the transition between points of time and view with ease. I look for more great books from Candie Moonshower.

Product Details:
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (July 11, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385732805
ISBN-13: 978-0385732802

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Train of Thought Writing Method by Kathi Macias

The Train of Thought Writing Method teaches you how to focus on a theme, lay a 'track' by constructing a powerful opening line, and the keys to taking your readers on an engrossing 'word journey.' By performing the simple exercises in the book, you will be able to draw your story to a satisfying conclusion. Because of her years of writing, editing, and teaching experience, Kathi knows how to help a beginning or stagnant writer hop on the track to publication. I am pleased to recommend this book.

Product Details:
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Authorhouse (February 28, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN: 142083259X

NOTE: This book was given to me by Active Christian Media for the purpose of receiving reviews.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Wishing on Dandelions by Mary DeMuth

When I finished reading Watching the Tree Limbs, I was sad, wanting to continue reading to see where Mara's path in life would lead. To my delight, Mary DeMuth has graced us with Wishing on Dandelions. Even if you haven't read Mary's first book (but I recommend that you do), this book stands on its own merits.

As we begin, we find that Maranatha is now seventeen years old, wishing with all that's within her for a sign from above that she is loved. Maranatha's family and the people in her small town are full, rich characters. They can be endearing and aggravating at the same time. Several act as conduits of God's love and in the process become her support system as she makes that journey from child to adult, from victim to victor, from darkness to light.

DeMuth writes with more than a touch of humor. The `wedding chapter' had me laughing out loud many times, yet other chapters had me in tears or on the edge of my seat.

I'm desperate for a third novel. I'm eager to find out so much more about this character I've come to love named Maranatha. Bravo, Mary! Keep writing.

Product Details:
Paperback: 357 pages
Publisher: Navpress Publishing Group
Language: English
ISBN: 1576839532

Mary E. DeMuth's Website: Relevant Prose

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Defilers by Deborah Gyapong

If you pick up The Defilers by Deborah Gyapong expecting a light read, you’ve chosen the wrong book. This novel is gritty, fast-paced, and dripping with suspense. The main character, Linda Donner, a policewoman, investigates a murder where the main suspect is a local pastor.

Several scenes might cause uneasiness as you read - the flashbacks when Linda recalls her childhood molestation by a priest, or scenes of intense spiritual warfare. But Deborah Gyapong writes of the physical world and the spiritual world with maturity and extensive attention to detail. It’s obvious Gyapong took great pains to portray spiritual warfare with realism and theological accuracy, and the police investigation rings authentic as well.

When Linda Donner thinks she must be having a breakdown of some kind, help seems to come from a highly unlikely source, the pastor. How can she trust a clergyman who’s at the center of her investigation, or any clergyman after all she’s overcome battling her own past and the horrible memories associated with ‘men of the cloth’?

As I read the final chapters of The Defilers, I realized I held my breath, turning each page with trepidation. Pick this book up and expect a gripping, mature story you won’t soon forget.

Product Details:
Paperback: 335 pages
Publisher: Castle Quay (March 2006)
Language: English
ISBN: 1897186029

Note: This book was given to me by Castle Quay Books for review.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

America's Choice - The Worship Songs All America Is Singing!

America’s Choice 30

The producers at Cool Springs Records surveyed 150,000 churches and 100 top worship leaders to find the most frequently sung, best-loved songs of worship in America. I can tell you they found mine!

The result is a wonderful mix of old choruses along with songs made popular by contemporary artists on two CD's. Selections with a variety of tempos are arranged so that a fast, upbeat song follows slow selections. Many make smooth transitions using key changes for emphasis.

The arrangements have a solid percussion beat accompanied by a strong horn section, piano, flute, and more, with no one instrument being overbearing – a delightful listening experience. As with the instruments, no one voice sticks out in the vocals making it easy to feel like you’re a part of the praise team as you sing along. This collection of songs is also available in split track, if you desire the music only with which to sing either at church or for your own enjoyment.

On a scale of five, I'd give it a 5!

MP3 samples of each song can be found HERE.

Product Details:
Audio CD (March 15, 2005)
Original Release Date: March 8, 2005
Label: Word Entertainment
ASIN: B0007US80M

Cool Springs Records
Franklin, TN
Cool Springs Records

NOTE: This CD was given to me by Active Christian Media for the purpose of receiving reviews.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Across the Wide River by Stephanie Reed

Across the Wide River is a work of fiction, but based on a real family, the Rankin Family, living in a time of slavery and abolition. The story, with its rich descriptions, draws you into the struggle for freedom so much so that you feel the anquish and intense longing of those desiring freedom and those who work so valiantly to secure that goal.

Stephanie Reed introduces us to Lowry Rankin, nothing but a boy in the beginning of the book, who must face constant danger and moral dilemmas when confronted with the reality of the 'family business.' Will he become a preacher and abolitionist like his father? Or will his shyness overtake his desire to help the slaves and preach the Word of God?

This is a story of courage and compassion with even a pinch of romance, but most of all - a story that won't be forgotten. Join Lowry in his adventures, and journey Across the Wide River.

Product Details:
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (November 25, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN: 0825435765

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Watching the Tree Limbs by Mary E. DeMuth

In the pages of Watching the Tree Limbs, Mary DeMuth threads mystery throughout the book. Who is nine-year old Mara? Why won’t the people in her life answer her many questions to her satisfaction? And why does she always feel so out of place?

Mary’s well-developed and multi-faceted main character will tug at your heart, while the actions of people in Mara’s life make you want to reach into the pages to pull Mara into your arms to save her. But you can’t. So, even though the first chapter leaves you heartbroken and horrified, you must read on. Surely redemption can be found.

With a sure hand, DeMuth guides her reader through several touchy issues with acute sensitivity. When you conclude the book, you’ll be saddened to leave Mara. I wanted to continue to read to see where Mara’s path in life would lead. To my delight, Mary DeMuth has graced us with a few pages from her follow-up novel, Wishing on Dandelions, set to release late 2006.

I picked up this book intending to read a couple chapters before bedtime. I read about a third before I knew it. I have no doubt you’ll do the same. An engrossing and inspiring read. Highly recommended.

Product Details:
Paperback: 369 pages
Publisher: Navpress Publishing Group (March 5, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN: 1576839265

Mary E. DeMuth's Website: Relevant Prose

Note: I received this book from NavPress to review.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Da Vinci CodeBreaker by James L. Garlow

In The Da Vinci Code, author Dan Brown presents a mix of fact and fiction certain to lead many to question the Bible's integrity and Christianity's impact on history. Since fact checking does not seem to be a strong suit for Brown, this reference guide, The Da Vinci CodeBreaker, provides well-researched answers, both theologically and historically, to questions raised after reading Brown's book.

The topics are in alphabetical order. Maps, charts, photos, and symbols help discern fact from fiction in a clear, concise manner. Even if you've never read The Da Vinci Code or seen the movie adaptation, you'll still find great information in the book. The chart explaining when and why each book of the Bible was canonized is especially helpful.

The Da Vinci CodeBreaker by James L. Garlow (with Timothy Paul Jones and April Williams) is perfect for anyone who seeks to know the historical truth about Jesus and the Christian faith. This book will have you prepared to provide answers when someone asks you about the claims made in the novel and the film.

Product Details:
Paperback: 203 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (April 2006)
Language: English
ISBN: 0764201859

NOTE: This book was given to me by Active Christian Media for the purpose of receiving reviews.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Embrace of a Father compiled by Wayne Holmes

You'll be drawn into the embrace of the Heavenly Father as you read stories of love and relationship with earthly fathers in Wayne Holmes compilation, The Embrace of a Father. Men will find themselves inspired to become better dads, and more like the Heavenly Father. There are well known and lesser-known authors, but every story holds an important place in the book.

One story in particular, "Just Love Her," is representative of all the stories - a retelling of a teaching moment with a scriptural principle applied. With stories short enough to be read on the run, this book would be a great gift for anyone - not just the men in your life.

Product Details:
Hardcover: 232 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (April 2006)
Language: English
ISBN: 0764200569

Friday, April 28, 2006

Lord, Please Meet Me in the Laundry Room by Barbara Curtis

The subtitle for this book is "Heavenly Help for Earthly Moms." Let me start by saying that if you are a harried mom looking for some respite from your tasks, pick up this book. Barbara Curtis writes for real women, and takes you on a spiritual journey, teaching you about God and His grace along the way.

Without sounding preachy or overly sentimental, Curtis uses touches of humor to lighten the load, and soon you realize that you can meet God in the garden, the minivan, and yes - even in the laundry room. "...God is bigger than any place I set aside to meet Him and as near as I invite Him to be."

I highly recommend Lord, Please Meet Me in the Laundry Room.

Product Details:
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Beacon Hill Press (January 2004)
Language: English
ISBN: 0834120976

NOTE: This book was given to me by Active Christian Media for the purpose of receiving reviews.

How to Be Your Own Publicist by Jessica Hatchigan

This book begins by explaining the basics of generating publicity, and then takes the reader step by step through the processes. From creating a 'hook' for your product to crafting news releases and pitch letters, Hatchigan covers it all. Bonus Points - concise tips with real life examples of strategies that work, are scattered throughout the book. Easy to use templates help the amateur, and even a professional could use the book as a quick guide to prepare for television and radio appearances and use the many resources in the back of the book. As an author, I intend to implement many of the suggestions in How to Be Your Own Publicist, and recommend the book to anyone like myself - someone eager to maximize publicity efforts.

Product Details:
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (June 15, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN: 0071383328

NOTE: This book was given to me by Active Christian Media for the purpose of receiving reviews.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome: How to Grow Affair Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage (Paperback)

NEW! Read excerpts from Nancy's book.

To read Forgiving the Unforgivable, click HERE.
To read Guard Your Hedges, click HERE.
To read Respect Your Husband, click HERE.

Nancy C. Anderson writes about a confusing time in her life with such vulnerability, she draws the reader in. She shows how being out of the will of God brought her nothing but heartache, and then takes us through her journey from chaos to the cure.

Her practical tips and spiritual insights inspire her readers to work on their own relationships. Recommended reading whether struggling in your marriage or you want to make a good thing better.

Product Details:
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (December 1, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN: 082542013X

Monday, January 30, 2006

Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! (Hardcover)

While Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! by Katharine DeBrecht has amusing moments, don’t assume children will get the message. This book presents a gross exaggeration of a society overrun with liberal power.

I read the book the minute I pulled it from my mailbox, and had such a negative reaction that I laid it down, and waited a week. On second read, I’m afraid my opinion did not change.

The story has a platform – a no-no in children’s publishing, and especially in picture books. Secondly, I found numerous grammatical errors. While the illustrations are whimsical and spot on for the text, the writing suffers from passive sentence structure and illogical sequences. The premise is that brothers have the same dream one night of a world called “Liberaland” – a contrived plotline at best.

I suppose the book could be used as an educational tool, but only for children older than the picture book age. The sarcasm would be over the heads of any young children I know. A study guide might be helpful if it gave parents an opportunity to explain how our government works.

I found it telling that the writer of this book doesn’t write under her own name — she uses a pen name. Perhaps the author would have been more astute in offering this in the marketplace as an editorial cartoon.

Product Details:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 54 pages
Publisher: Kids Ahead (September 20, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN: 0976726904

NOTE: This book was given to me by Active Christian Media for the purpose of receiving reviews.
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