Saturday, July 31, 2010

That's Where God Is by Dan & Ali Morrow

That's Where God Is by Dan & Ali Morrow is a sweet story where a little boy asks his grandfather where God is. The grandfather tells him to look for God everywhere he goes and to let him know where he finds God. The little boy spends the week looking for God and realizes that God is all around him.

This is a great lesson for children to learn at a young age. The grandfather also shares how you can have a relationship with God. The only issue I really had was that the presentation of the Gospel skips over recognizing and repenting of sin. Yes, a big issue for kids to grasp, but a very important part of beginning a relationship with Christ.

I also appreciated the Scripture that went along with each time the little boy "found" God in the real world. What a great lesson for kids that Scripture backs up our real-life experiences.

Additionally, the illustrations were really beautiful watercolor pictures. They really helped tell the story. I also appreciated the Scripture that went along with each time the little boy "found" God in the real world. What a great lesson for kids that Scripture backs up our real-life experiences.

4 stars (out of 5)

I received a free copy of this book from The B&B Media Group in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Check out this giveaway

This seems like a book I need to read ... see how you can win a free copy here. Plus a couple of other really cute things!

The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen

The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen was a fun, easy read. Lindsey, recently divorced, returns to Sunset Beach with her kids for her 20th summer there. While there, she runs into the boy (now man) who made this place so special for her 20 years before. Campbell's got his own set of problems - an ex-wife, a daughter with an eating disorder, and the knowledge that he hasn't tried as hard as he should to build strong relationships with the people in his life. It seems they've both been given a second chance - with each other, and with love in general. The question now is, what are they going to do with it?

I really enjoyed The Mailbox. It would definitely be a fun vacation read. Quick, easy, not a lot to think through. I also liked the way the author told the past through Lindsey's letters to the Kindred Spirit who tends The Mailbox (an actual landmark in North Carolina). It was an interesting way to weave in a little character history without getting bogged down. Whalen also addresses difficult issues (like divorce and a child with an eating disorder) without giving pat answers but still giving hope. Other themes include forgiveness, second chances, love, friendship, and parenting.

I would recommend this book and look forward to Whalen's next novel.

4 stars (out of 5)

I received a free copy of this book from The B&B Media Group in exchange for my fair and honest review of the book.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Glaen by Fred Lybrand

Update on 7/26/10: Congratulations to Crystal. One copy of Glaen in the mail today! I still have one more if anyone's interested. You probably have a week or two before it's shipped off to Goodwill. :)

by Fred Lybrand originally intrigued me because of the tagline: A novel message on romance, love, and marriage. The premise is that a college student Annie is writing a book about dating and relationships and along the way discovers truths that change her views on the topic. A novel written with the sole purpose of teaching valuable lessons ... rather than for pure entertainment. I was interested.

Once I began reading, though, I was completely put off. There are multiple grammatical errors / typos within the first 10 pages. This continues throughout the book. (This does not appear to be an unedited version of the book.) Additionally, the story line is somewhat lacking. Definitely did not keep my attention. And the book is a little preachy at times. Perhaps the downfall of teaching through fiction. The author does make a few solid points about relationships, but nothing new or earth-shattering.

1 star (out of 5)

I received this book for free from The B&B Media Group in exchange for my fair and honest review.

* They also sent me a second copy to give away. I'll give mine away too ... if anyone's interested in giving it a shot. Random drawing on July 26. Just leave a comment if you want a free copy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fatal Convictions by Randy Singer

Fatal Convictions is a legal thriller centered around an imam of a local mosque and a pastor of a local evangelical Christian church. Alex, the pastor of a local church, doubles as an attorney. When Khalid is accused of ordering an honor killing of a woman attending his mosque, Alex agrees to take the case. Highlighting the fear of the community, the outrageousness of the claims against Khalid, and the moral decisions Alex must face, Fatal Convictions is an interesting read.

This book was interesting to me because I really enjoy novels by John Grisham and James Patterson. It does read a lot like Grisham's legal dramas. However, the book got off to a really slow start. The first 75 pages were background and setup, which was a little much for me. The beginning of the novel also gave a lot of background info about Muslim stories and teachings of the Qu'ran. Some were helpful, some were not. Some just seemed like extra information. However, it really picked up about halfway through and I finished the book pretty quickly after that.

I think this book would have been better had it not been quite so long. It was just a lot to get through and it wasn't keeping my attention as well as I would have liked.

3 stars (out of 5)

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Friday, July 16, 2010

In a Heartbeat by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy

I absolutely loved this book! I thoroughly enjoyed the movie The Blind Side and the true inspirational story behind it. But this books allows people to hear directly from Leigh Anne and Sean. They talk about their childhoods and the financial struggles they had early on in their marriage - and even during the time when Michael first came into their lives. They also share about the Christian faith that's behind their passion to give ... whether it's time, money, energy, or whatever ... whether it's a little or a lot. There are also interludes between chapters where you hear firsthand from their kids - Collins, Michael, and SJ - and from Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. The book does talk some about the movie, but it really talks about the story behind the movie.

The book is moving, funny, and honest, and I felt like I knew Leigh Anne and Sean personally after reading it. It was a very quick read. I would have read it straight through in one sitting but family and work kept pulling me away. :)

I would HIGHLY recommend the book to anyone!

5 stars (out of 5)

I received a free copy of this book from The B&B Media Group for free in exchange for my fair and honest review of the book.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another Q&A with Tom Davis

An excerpt from the Author's Interview at the end of Priceless by Tom Davis ...

What real-life experiences prompted this novel?

Several things. First, Russia was the place where my heart was broken for orphans. In 1997, I took my wife and eight-month-old son to run a camp for 150 orphans in the Vladimir region. I was never the same after that experience. We met a little orphan girl named Anya who was ten. She became our daughter one year later. When I returned to her orphanage to tell her she was going to be our daughter, a hundred other kids were staring at me with empty looks in their eyes. They were longing for something, something I wasn't sure I could give them. Two little girls burst out of the crowd and hugged my legs as they looked into my eyes and said, "Papa. Papa." I knew they wanted a family. That day I made the decision not to turn my back on the rest of those orphans. Instead, I started asking different questions. What could I do to help their lives be different than what the statistics showed?

How much of what you wrote in Priceless is true?

I would say 80 percent. Marina's story is the story for thousands and thousands of girls in our world. They become trapped in predicaments like this because they have absolutely no one to look after them. Nobeody loves them; they are forgotten. Can you imagine what it would be like to believe with certainty that there is no other human being who truly loves you? The hopelessness would be overwhelming.

The pattern is the same for girls coming out of orphanages. They have no place to live, they can't find jobs, and they are easy targets for sexual predators. It's easy to see how they get caught up in this industry. I've done a lot of studying in this area, and once girls are in, it's almost impossible for them to get free without some kind of help. They find themselves in foreign countries where they don't speak the language, their passports are taken from them, they have no money, no way to make phone calls, and they don't personally know anyone in their surroundings. Most are scared to death because they are told if they run away they'll be found and killed, or if they have living relatives, their relatives will be killed.

What sort of reactions do you expect from people who read Priceless? What do you hope the book accomplishes?

I want people to be educated, shocked, and motivated to get involved and make a difference. This is a bit harder of an issue to get involved in than, say, children starving or needing clean water. So if reading Priceless has disturbed you enough to do something, we've made it easy to get involved.

Go to We are helping rehabilitate girls who have been rescued by providing safe places for them to live where they are loved and cared for. These are long-term homes run by professional counselors and staff who help these priceless girls rebuild their lives. You can be a part of that. Also on the site is information about projects we have in Russia and Africa that keep girls from becoming victims of the sex trade.

Where do you go next with your fiction?

Right now, the third book in the Novel on the Edge of the World series looks like it will be a book set in Haiti. Stuart decides to take an assignment with the United Nations on the water crisis, because so many people die in that country from water-borne diseases. He is in Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010, when a devastating earthquake strikes and he's caught in the rubble of his hotel. I can't wait to write this book!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pricless by Tom Davis

Update: Congratulations to Rachel Webb, the winner of the book giveaway!

One word: Amazing.

Priceless is Tom Davis's second novel. He picks up with Stuart Daniels again, a photojournalist whose world has been rocked by his encounter with an orphan in Swaziland (in the first novel, Scared) and by God bringing him to his knees. Stuart is now on assignment to do a story about HIV/AIDS in Russia and how it is affecting orphans in that country. However, everything takes a huge twist and he ends up learning more than he wanted to know about a child prostitution ring.

Again, the style of writing is what I would call "realistic fiction." These specific events didn't happen to this specific person, but it's all based on truth. It's not that it could happen ... it's that it does happen. Over and over. To lots of girls and boys. All over the world. It's both hard to read (because it's real) and hard to put down (because it's so fascinating). A great novel with biblical truths packed in. I pray that people who read this book will find themselves aware of realities that they absolutely cannot ignore. This isn't make-believe, people!

I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Parents, you might want to use a little caution with teenagers, but read it with them!

If you're interested in articles and different things about actual child prostitution, human trafficking, etc., check out the book's website. Lots of great articles and a free 5-day devotional too!

AND ... because I liked it so much ... There's a GIVEAWAY copy up for grabs. All you have to do is go to the book's website and post a comment telling me one fact about human trafficking or child prostitution that you didn't know before now. I'll randomly choose a winner on Monday, July 12 @ noon.

5 stars (out of 5)

The author graciously provided me with a free copy of this book.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

About the Book: Priceless by Tom Davis

I'm reading Priceless by Tom Davis right now and wanted to give you a little teaser. The review and some more good stuff is coming soon ... promise!

About the Book:
American photojournalist Stuart Daniels has found purpose in life. After enduring the fallout of a tragic assignment, Daniels has rediscovered his faith while helping a young African orphan. Now his photo work carries a greater mission: to educate the people about social injustice happening around the world.

Daniels' next assignment carries him back overseas and into the heart of Russia, where an old friend persuades him to help save two girls from a desperate situation involving the Russian mafia. Soon, he becomes a key player in a dangerous campaign to rescue helpless girls trapped in the sex-slave industry. What Daniels encounters during his journey will shake his faith, test his courage, and even threaten his life. Yet as Daniels travels deeper and the stakes become higher, he discovers that hope can be found in even the darkest of places.

About the Author:
Tom Davis is the president and CEO of Children's HopeChest, a global ministry that empowers individuals, churches, and businesses to care for orphans in Africa, Russia, India, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. He has authored four books, including the first in this series, Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World. Tom and his wife, Emily, live in Colorado with their seven children, two of whom they adopted from Russia.

Video Trailer:

If you still want more, check out the website where you can download the first chapter for FREE.
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