Monday, November 26, 2007

REVIEW: Revealed by Tamera Alexander

REVEALED (Fountain Creek Chronicles, book 2) by Tamera Alexander

Annabelle Grayson has had her slate wiped clean, and she's been given a chance to start over. But, when her new husband dies, Annabelle has to continue with their plans without him.

Matthew Taylor has had a difficult life, partly of his own making. As such, he's made some poor choices, and is now constantly looking over his shoulder. But, when he's forced to partner with Annabelle, his life starts to take a different turn.

I enjoyed reading this second installment in Ms. Alexander's Fountain Creek Chronicles. Many subjects are touched on, such as choices, forgiveness, reconciliation, Alzheimer's Disease, and more.

Though a bit predictable at times, I still enjoyed seeing the story play out, and there were enough twists to make the book quite enjoyable.

I look forward to reading book three of the series, "Remembered".

Rated: B+

Saturday, October 27, 2007

REVIEW: The Alexander Cipher by Will Adams

The Alexander Cipher by Will Adams

Underwater archaeologist, Daniel Knox, has upset the wrong people and is now on the run throughout Egypt. While hiding out with an old friend, Daniel learns of an excavation site that may hold a clue as to where Alexander the Great's gold lays buried. Soon after, Daniel and a cast of others are racing against each other to solve the mystery of the 'Alexander Cipher'.

While I found the long passages of historical fact somewhat distracting, the intense action and suspensful twists kept me turning pages, anxious to know what would happen next. There was perhaps more coarse-language than I'm comfortable with, but I still had a hard time putting this book down.

I think Mr. Adams has done an excellent job in his debut work of fiction, and I will be watching for more by him.

Rated: A-

Saturday, August 25, 2007

REVIEW: Fearless by Robin Parrish (Dominion Trilogy, book 2)

Fearless by Robin Parrish (Dominion Trilogy, Book 2)

Robin Parrish has an amazing talent ~ he leaves you hanging at the end of every chapter, almost demanding that you turn the page to find out what's next!

Grant Borrows (introduced to us in the first book, Relentless) is known to the public as "Guardian". He uses his powers of telekinesis to help out a world being ravaged by natural disasters.

His fellow ring-wearer, Morgan, insists that they need to discover the reason behind their "shift" ~ the reason they wear the "rings of Dominion". And so, Grant and a team of the most powerful "Loci" are off on a globe-hopping quest for answers.

But the answers may be more than they bargained for!

An amazing book with twists and turns you'd never see coming! I couldn't put this book down! And, I'm mad that I'll have to wait almost another year to find out how it all ends in "Merciless" (Dominion Trilogy, book 3 -- due out from Bethany House Publishers in July 2008!).

Rated: A+

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

REVIEW: One Little Secret by Allison Bottke

"One Little Secret" by Allison Bottke

This was an engaging story about a housewife named Ursula who accidently gets thrown into the Hollywood "starlet" life when pop star, Nik Prevel, discovers her amazing singing talent. Forever afterward, Ursula's life is changed... as is Nik's!

The only "issue" I had with this book was the author's constant peppering of brand names of the rich-and-famous... stuff I haven't a clue about, and couldn't possibly relate to! (clothing, shoes, furniture, etc). I just couldn't "picture" most of it.

Otherwise, I really liked Ms. Bottke's ability to draw you into the story, constantly making you wonder what's going to happen next, and leaving you wanting to know more.

I think that the character's lives were portrayed fairly realistically, and the descriptions of the music were so moving that I was almost in tears! I also loved that the family-life portrayed by the author was what everyone --I'm sure-- dreams of having, so that is a big pull.

Overall, a very good book that I didn't want to see end. Highly recommended!

Rated: A

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

REVIEW: A Woman's Place

A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin

When I first picked up this book, I didn't expect to like it because it's set during war times, and I don't usually care for those stories.

But, Ms. Austin has a way of writing that draws you deeper & deeper into the story and doesn't let you go until the end! So I found myself devouring this book, not wanting to put it down!

Ginny, Rosa, Helen, and Jean all lead normal lives until the start of World War II. Then each of the women feel compelled to do their part for the war by signing up to work as electricians at Stockton Shipyard. Over time, working together brings the four women closer as they share their joys & sorrows.

Ms. Austin used each chapter to focus on one of the four women, telling the story from each one's perspective.

The only problem I had with the book was that some parts of the story seemed unrealistic or rushed (ex. relationships healed/ended too quickly; arguements being, or not being, resolved realistically; etc).

But, I really enjoyed how Ms. Austin weaved Christian truths all throughout the book. And, I found that there were things about each of the four women that I could really relate to ~ things that reminded me of my own life.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable read that I will be happy to recommend to others.

Rated: B+

Saturday, July 21, 2007

REVIEW: The Backward Life by Jarrod Jones

The Backward Life: In Pursuit of an Uncommon Faith by Jarrod Jones

When I first read the review of this book on the website, I was intrigued. I had to read this book! So, I checked my local library -- but they didn't have a copy. I asked if they'd order one, and (thank the Lord!) they agreed to do so!

After waiting patiently, the book finally arrived, and I brought it home. I started reading right away... and then found that I couldn't put it down! Right from the very beginning, you are drawn into the stories Jarrod shares from his own life. He then uses those stories to enlighten truths from God's word. In so doing, Jarrod shows you how you can live a life that is "backward" to the world's way of doing things... because we serve a "backward" God.

The back of the book says, "Discover how much fuller your life can be when you revel in living as Jesus taught: giving to gain, losing to win, and turning first and last around."

I especially liked the chapter called "Gloriously Ruined". In it, Jarrod shares a passage from Joni Eareckson Tada's book, "When God Weeps", describing Jesus' crucifixion in a new light. And, let me tell you... I have never been so moved by that story! It really did give me a new perspective!

And, it's the same with so much of this book ... I have come to view a lot of things in a new light, thanks to Mr. Jones!

Some of the other chapter titles are:

  • Me, Me, Me

  • Will the Real God Please Stand Up?

  • God Gone Public

  • Backward Loving

  • The Backward Mind

I can't recommend this book highly enough ... especially if you feel like you're stuck in a spiritual "rut". It is written in a down-to-earth, friend-to-friend style, with lots of humor thrown in for good measure. But, the truth is powerfully written... you can't help but be changed! ;o)

Friday, April 27, 2007

REVIEW: The Daring Female's Guide to Ecstatic Living

"The Daring Female's Guide to Ecstatic Living: 30 Dares for a More Gutsy and Fulfilling Life" by Natasha Kogan

I found this book while browsing in my local library, the other evening... hadn't ever heard of it, or the author. I hesitantly brought it home, fearing it would be "too much" for me.

Well, I couldn't put it down! There are 30 ideas for "Dares"... ways you can make your life more "gutsy and fulfilling". ;o)

Each "dare" is only a couple of pages long, and there are spots after each for you to journal your own ideas.

Mixed in with each of the dares, you learn about Ms. Kogan's personal story of how she "dared" to start her own publishing company with her husband. This adds to the "inspiration". ;o)

Some of the Dares I liked best were:

  • dare to be the kind of person you dream of being

  • dare to love your quirks and imperfections

  • dare to NOT label yourself!

  • dare to take life detours

  • dare to UN-intimidate yourself

A Daring Female...

- does awesome, risky, outrageous, gutsy, unique, and creative things

- worries little about others' perceptions

- always stays true to her guts and instincts

- knows what she wants and has the guts to try and make it happen

Quote from page 163:
"There's no way of knowing where you'll end up every time you take on a new challenge or pursue a new opportunity. And that's the absolutely great thing about living a Daring Female life! It allows you to be surprised, to experience success as well as failure, and to learn something from each situation that guides your future choices and brings you closer to filling your life with things you care about and want to be doing."

I loved this book (obviously), and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a dose of "kick-in-the-butt" inspiration. ;o)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

REVIEW: Hidden in Plain Sight

by Mark Buchanan

Built on the Bible verse 2 Peter 1:1-9, Buchanan outlines the seven virtues listed by the apostle Peter, and then goes into depth explaining how they unlock the "secret of more" in our lives if we learn to have these qualities "in increasing measure".

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he's nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he as been cleansed from his past sins." - 2 Peter 1:1-9

I really soaked this book up. I've read this verse in the past, and had a sense of it's importance, but I never really went on with it from there. It got forgotten. But now I don't think I'll look at it the same way ever again! This book was just chock-full of quotes that I'm going to take away from it, and really mull over. ;o)

Some favorite quotes:

p.118 - "Learn to pray before you react..."

p.147-8 - "Real love loves us, not just as we are, but so that we can become what we are meant to be."

p.212 - "The only way from here to there is 'a long obedience in the same direction'. It's by making our acts intentional until they become habitual and instinctual."

Rated: B+

Monday, March 26, 2007

REVIEW: Mosquito by Roma Tearne

Mosquito by Roma Tearne

After writer Theo Samarajeeva loses his wife, he moves from England back to his home in Sri Lanka.

Just as his grief threatens to undo Theo, Nulani Mendis - a young artist - arrives on his veranda, and begins to draw him. After a time, Nulani's presence starts to heal Theo, and their friendship blossoms into something more.

But the civil war in Sri Lanka steps in and interferes. And, the reader is drawn further into the story, wondering how Nulani and Theo's newfound relationship could possibly survive.

I am absolutely amazed that this is the author's first book! It is beautifully written with flowing prose and vivid description. From the first pages, I was drawn into the story, feeling the humidity, hearing the buzz of the mosquitos and the lap of the waves on the seashore, and seeing the jungle foliage. Ms. Tearne has made Sri Lanka and its people come to life on the pages.

I found it incredibly hard to put this book down, so immersed was I in the story. I will most likely reread it in the future, as its depth is sure to have kept certain things hidden until a later time.

I look forward to reading more by this author!

Rated: B+

Thursday, March 15, 2007


THE HEIR by Paul Robertson

When billionaire Melvin Boyer dies in a car crash, his son Jason inherits his fortune. Jason is now the not-so-proud owner of "half the state" and his father's wealth. His wife is thrilled, but all Jason can think is "I don't want this".

As Jason struggles to decide what to do, more people connected with the Boyer family are dying -- are the deaths really just "accidents", or is someone sending Jason a message?

This book was an excellent, quick-paced read. The only qualms I had with it were that the characters' dialogue seemed a bit curt / choppy, and the ending seemed to be tied up a little too neatly. Otherwise, though, it was a great mystery... I had an idea of who-dunnit, but I couldn't figure it out! :o)

This is Robertson's first novel, and I'd say he did a pretty good job. I'd be willing to try more by him.

Rated: B

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Get Out of That Pit!: Straight Talk about God's Deliverance by Beth Moore

Once again, Beth Moore has written a totally God-soaked book of wisdom. Her passion for God just lights up the pages, and I found myself longing to read without stopping.

I loved that Beth's writing made it seem as if she were right in the room with me, having a girl-to-girl chat. But, she didn't mince words, either. She told it just like it is, without pussy-footing around issues.

As a result, I feel that I can see "light at the end of the tunnel" (or, should I say, at the top of my pit?!) I am closer to deliverance, praise God!

Throughout the book, Beth stresses that, it doesn't matter whether you were thrown in the pit, slipped into it, or just plain jumped in ... you can be delivered! God wants us all to be free ... "You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free!" (John 8:32)

Visit Beth's blog: Living Proof Ministries blog

Rated: A

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Scandalous Grace: Celebrate the Liberating & Tantalizing Realities of Divine Grace! by Julie Ann Barnhill

This was my first book by this author, but you can be guaranteed that I'll be reading more! I laughed, and I cried, and I did "the hanky wave"!

Ms. Barnhill's humor is comparable to that of Christian comedian Chonda Pierce -- at times just side-splitting funny! But, her life-stories and insights make you nod your head in agreement, or sigh with longing.

I especially liked --and could relate to-- the chapter called "Stomach Girl". Her "horror stories" of visits to the "crypt" will make you cringe in rememberance. ;o)

Amidst all of her humorous tales, Ms. Barnhill makes it abundantly clear that God loves us JUST AS WE ARE, and desires for us to accept His lavish grace. All we have to do is "let go".

I highly recommend this book!

Rated: B+

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch

This book details the steps you need to take to become an "intuitive eater" -- a person who follows their body's natural cues of "hunger" and "satiety" in order to eat in moderation and shrink down to their natural body weight.

I especially liked the chapters called: "Challenge the Food Police" / "Make Peace With Food" / & "Respect Your Body". Challenging the "Food Police" means undoing the "diet mentality" that's been so ingrained in us by society, and substituting positive statements every time you hear a negative one regarding food or your eating (in your head).

Making peace with food reminds us that NO food is "good" or "bad" or "forbidden", and we need to give ourselves "unconditional permission to eat" the foods that we love and that satisfy us.

Respecting our bodies means not having negative things to say about yourself when you look in the mirror, and it means buying clothes NOW (not later when you've lost X number of pounds, first) that make you look and FEEL great!

This is an awesome book that I recommend to many people! :o)