Sunday, February 27, 2011

Judgment Day by Wanda L. Dyson


Judgment Day by Wanda L. Dyson was surprisingly fantastic! Marcus and Alex are private investigators hired to investigate bogus murder charges against a local cable news star Suzanne. The further into the investigation they get, the more trouble they encounter. I love mysteries, but I'm a little particular about the ones that I choose to read. Judgment Day was a great blend of intensity, twists, and enjoyable characters. The novel flows a lot like a James Patterson novel. I was completely engrossed from the first chapter.

Note: The copy on the back of the book states that a senator was murdered in Suzanne's apartment. However, it is actually a nurse. This was a bit confusing.

4 stars

I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my fair and honest review.

If you liked my review, please take a moment to rank it.


About the Book
Sensational journalism has never been so deadly.

The weekly cable news show Judgment Day with Suzanne Kidwell promises to expose businessmen, religious leaders, and politicians for the lies they tell. Suzanne positions herself as a champion of ethics and morality with a backbone of steel—until a revelation of her shoddy investigation tactics and creative fact embellishing put her in hot water with her employers, putting her credibility in question and threatening her professional ambitions..

Bitter and angry, Suzanne returns home one day to find an entrepreneur she is investigating, John Edward Sterling, unconscious on her living room floor. Before the night is over, Sterling is dead, she has his blood on her hands, and the police are arresting her for murder. She needs help to prove her innocence, but her only hope, private investigator Marcus Crisp, is also her ex-fiancé–the man she betrayed in college.

Marcus and his partner Alexandria Fisher-Hawthorne reluctantly agree to take the case, but they won’t cut Suzanne any slack. Exposing her lack of ethics and the lives she’s destroyed in her fight for ratings does little to make them think Suzanne is innocent. But as Marcus digs into the mire of secrets surrounding her enemies, he unveils an alliance well-worth killing for. Now all he has to do is keep Suzanne and Alex alive long enough to prove it.

About the Author
Wanda Dyson lives on a working horse farm in Maryland, boarding and keeping a menagerie of critters. She is the author of four acclaimed suspense novels including Shepherd’s Fall and the co-author of Why I Jumped, the true story of Tina Zahn.

Sound good to you? Check out a sneak peek of the first two chapters and see for yourself!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Be the Match

Ten years ago today, I did something that I was terrified to do.

But I knew it was important. I knew people whose lives had been saved by this very thing.

On the off chance that I might actually be the match for someone, I asked my best friend to go with me ... to hold my hand. Yep, I needed someone to hold my hand for this one.

You see, I'm terrified of needles. Or at least I have a strong dislike for them.

However, my aversion to the sight of blood ... especially my own ... is even worse.

And I was going to voluntarily offer for someone to stick a needle in my arm and take a little blood. A double whammy.

So off we went. We signed in at the Bone Marrow Drive on our college campus, filled out a bit of paperwork, gave a small vial of blood, and left with a cool t-shirt.

I didn't really dwell on what I did. But I thought about it every now and then. I got a magazine or letter in the mail a couple of times a year. I got an email every now and then. Every time I moved (and I moved a lot), I updated my contact information. Just in case.

Back in the fall, I got an email reminding me to update my contact information in their system. The email prompted me to tell Hubs that if I was ever contacted I would donate bone marrow without a second thought. I'm sure I threw him off, but he just agreed and we moved on.

Two weeks later, I received a phone call at work informing me that I had been identified as a possible match for a patient. Would I be willing to complete a medical questionnaire and be considered for additional testing?

Of course!

After my questionnaire was approved and a bunch of tests were run on my original blood sample, I was confirmed as a match for the patient. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to donate. The patient was no longer a candidate for transplant. So I'm back in the system ... on the waiting list ... just hoping and praying that my bone marrow might be a match for someone.

Maybe one day.

So today I received a "Happy Anniversary" email from the National Marrow Donor Program today. I smiled when I remembered that day 10 years ago when I was so nervous about giving a tiny vial of blood that I almost puked. I smiled when I remembered the thrill of that phone call back in October and the disappointment when I learned that the patient wasn't going to have a transplant. And I had to share an incredible opportunity with you.

Would you consider registering to be a bone marrow donor? It's simple. Just a small blood sample. Then, if someone needs to search the database of random donors for a match, they might call you.

Will you?

God could use you to save someone's life.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Vacation Countdown!

The vacation countdown is officially on!

We've purchased our flights, are bidding on hotels, and I'm making a list of all the awesome places we want to check out. Hubs is making a list of all the places we want to eat. You can see where our priorities are!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Putting God Back in the Holidays


Putting God Back in the Holidays by Bill & Penny Thrasher is another great resource for individuals and families alike! Five major holidays (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Birthdays, New Year's) and many "minor" holidays (MLK Day, Valentine's, Presidents' Day, St. Patrick's Day, Arbor Day, Halloween, Mother's / Father's Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Independence Day, Labor Day) are featured in the book. Each section includes an explanation of how the holiday got started, ways we can make sure God is included in the holiday, and practical suggestions for keeping God as the focus with family, friends, kids, neighbors, etc.

I got this book before Thanksgiving, and I was excited to read this book in preparation of the holidays coming up! I didn't read in order, rather I started with the special days that were coming up. I was encouraged that this wasn't simply a bashing of secular holidays (or the secularization of Christian holidays). Instead, it was a sincere look at each day and wonderful suggestions of how we can keep all of our days Christ-centered. Some of the ideas would be very simple to implement. Others will take a little more time and planning. As we build new traditions in our home and as our family grows, this will be a wonderful resource for us!

4 stars

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

About the Book
Instead of the joy-filled celebrations that we build up in our minds, the holidays (pick one, any one) can often become stress-filled, money-draining, joy-less days of the year that we just “want to get through.” And it is by our own volition that we have refused too many times to allow our holiday celebrations to be the spiritual experience they are meant to be.

This book has been conceived and designed over 30 years as Dr. Bill Thrasher has spoken to thousands of people, helping them realize the spiritual battle that surrounds their celebration of the holidays. Littered with practical thoughts, ideas, experiences, and stories, Putting God Back in the Holidays will help you and your family celebrate holidays and birthdays with biblical truth in mind.Instead of the joy-filled celebrations that we build up in our minds, the holidays (pick one, any one) can often become stress-filled, money-draining, joy-less days of the year that we just “want to get through.” And it is by our own volition that we have refused too many times to allow our holiday celebrations to be the spiritual experience they are meant to be.

This book has been conceived and designed over 30 years as Dr. Bill Thrasher has spoken to thousands of people, helping them realize the spiritual battle that surrounds their celebration of the holidays. Littered with practical thoughts, ideas, experiences, and stories, Putting God Back in the Holidays will help you and your family celebrate holidays and birthdays with biblical truth in mind.

About the Authors
Bill Thrasher is professor of Bible and Theology at the Moody Graduate School of Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute. He is a frequent speaker for churches and retreats across the country. His experience covers pastoral internships, campus discipleship ministry, singles ministry, and evangelism ministry. Bill and his wife, Penny, live in the Chicago area.

Penny Thrasher was raised in a home given to hospitality and feels privileged to carry on that tradition, especially in hosting large holiday celebrations. She contributed to her husband's book, Believing God for His Best -- How to Marry Contentment and Singleness. Penny is in her 17th year of home schooling and enjoys serving in their church, being part of a prayer group which supports missionaries, and mentoring younger women. Bill and Penny have three sons, Will, Michael, and David.

Check out an excerpt.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love is ...


Wow! I can't believe it's already time to choose another verse. It's 10:14 pm and I'm just now typing out this post.

I've been thinking about it for the past week and I'm having trouble choosing a verse.

Silly, right? I mean, I don't think I can go wrong here!

So ... I'm choosing a longer passage that I'm somewhat familiar with but have never completely memorized. Praying that the Lord will use this passage to bear fruit in the next two weeks and through the rest of the year!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Each Other Deeply


I was working on my memory verse the other day (1 Peter 4:8, you know) and really thought about what the verse says and what it means in my life.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8

Of course, initially, it seemed like a good verse because it's talking about love. And it's February ... the month of love. Perfect timing, right?

And I liked the wording here ... deeply. What a great description of how we are to love each other.

As I meditated on it, though, I thought about what this prompts me to do. It prompts me to forgive. Why? Because if I deeply love someone, then I need to let that love completely cover every hurt and wrong and disappointment in our relationship.

Which then lead me to think about how much the Lord loves me. How deep must His love be for me?! His love covers over a multitude of sins ... my sins. And He covered over my sins by sacrificing His own Son. Yep. I think that fits the definition of loving deeply. Don't you?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Perspective

So today, I started really thinking about the past week.

A number of things ... both big and small ... have happened this week.

And God has been faithful in and through every single circumstance.

I shouldn't be surprised because it is God's character to be faithful. But my flesh forgets sometimes.

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Psalm 36:5

And through every single thing that came up this week, God saved me from myself and the worrisome and fearful thoughts that often seem to be so close to the surface when things don't go just right. It was as though the Lord put His thoughts in my mind with every phone call, every text message, every email that came my way. And with every bad turn, something great came as well.

I felt that God gave me just a tiny glimpse of how He sees things. His perspective, rather than my own limited, earth-bound perspective.

God really showed off this week.

He worked out so many details, solved so many problems, granted peace and wisdom at the exact moment I needed it most.

After a crazy week like this one, I certainly needed a little perspective. More specifically, I needed God's perspective.

Written February 5, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

More Freebies

Also, ChristianBook.com has started putting up several free ebooks. They change at least monthly, maybe more frequently. And the best part is, that most of the books are free wherever you purchase your ebooks, so you can get whichever format you need.

Of particular interest right now is As the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart, which is a prequel to Beneath the Night Tree.

Happy e-reading!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Adoption

I can't remember if I've shared this with you or not. But ChristianAudio.com has one (at least) audio book that they feature each month as a free giveaway.

Yep. Completely free.

This month's freebie is Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches by Russell D. Moore.

Adoption and foster care is big on our hearts and a priority for our church, so I wanted to spread the word! I haven't read it myself ... yet ... but I've heard it's excellent.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blog Tour: Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy


The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy was unique in both style and story. Sylvia is a pastor's wife living a lie and hiding from her past. When her son Samuel appears on her doorstep, she must choose whether she will accept him into her life and relive the past or continue on has she has for the past 20 years. Sylvia then tells her son the story of her life, his birth, and what happened after she gave him up for adoption. Alternating between the past and present (but mainly focusing on the past), we hear an incredibly moving story of a teenager forced to grow up too fast. About two-thirds of the way through the book, Samuel reveals the reason he came to find his mother ... in hopes that she can help him free his fiance from a terrible life in Thailand. Sylvia must choose between her husband and her son, the past and the present, and ultimate trust in God for direction.

To be perfectly honest, the book started out pretty slow for me. It was intriguing but I had a hard time determining the actual plot, and therefore deciding if I was going to like it or not. However, once I got into it, it moved along really well. I actually found myself feeling sorry for Sylvia as a teenager (instead of annoyed as I started out feeling). Samuel was an interesting addition to the plot. It was nice to see the past and present come together. However, the reason for him seeking out his mother seemed a little ... strange. Almost too far-fetched. Both were good stories (Sylvia's story and the reconnection of Samuel and Sylvia/trek to Thailand to save his fiance), but they could have almost been two separate books. I loved the way that biblical truth and Scripture was woven in throughout the book and in the life of Sylvia.

Overall, I would say this is about 3.5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Book
Since 1955, Sheila Franklin, a talented musician, has perfectly performed the role of devout pastor’s wife, locking away her past as Sheba Alexander and Sylvia Allen. Her carefully constructed façade crumbles with a single phone call from a young Marine named Samuel, the illegitimate son she secretly put up for adoption. Samuel begs Sheila to use her government contacts to get his fiancé, Mali , a Thai prostitute, into America . A dangerous mixture of love and guilt spurs her to help her only child even though it devastates her husband Edward and exposes her questionable past. After a quarrel with Edward, Sheila and Samuel board a C-130 for Thailand and then search Bangkok ’s steamy streets for a Madonna-faced prostitute. The two whisk Mali from a brothel but are seized by a warlord who considers Mali his “number one girl.” In a teak “ghost house,” Sheila discovers God’s grace and gains the freedom she needs to find her own identity—Sheila, Sylvia, and Sheba . A framed story, this novel has roots in the bohemian 1940s New Orleans French Quarter and spans three decades, including the turbulent Vietnam era.

About the Author
Baylor graduate, taught community college humanities until God called her to span seas and secrets in her novels, An Irishwoman's Tale and What the Bayou Saw. She has two grown children and a dog named Laura. She and her husband can be seen jog-walking the streets of Normal , Illinois , an amazing place to live for a woman born in a car. For more information, visit Patti's website at www.pattilacy.com, her blog at www.pattilacy.com/blog, and her Facebook daily Artbites.

Enter the Rhythm of Secrets NOOK eReader Giveaway

Patti and her publisher, Kregel, are giving away a NOOK prize package worth over $150 to one lucky winner!!!!

Enter the Nook eReader Giveaway and you could win:

* A brand new Nook eReader with Wi-Fi
* $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble

To enter, simply click here to enter, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on February 16th at Patti's Rhythm of Secrets Facebook Party.

But, wait there’s more! Come to the Rhythm of Secrets Facebook Party on February 16th!

Patti will be announcing the winner of The Rhythm of Secrets NOOK giveaway at her Party on FB February 16th! She’ll be hosting a book club discussion of The Rhythm of Secrets and giving away other fun prizes! (signed copies of her books and gift certificates to Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, & iTunes!). Don’t miss the fun at Patti’s FB Author Page on February 16th at 5pm PST ( 6 pm MST, 7 pm CST, & 8 pm EST)!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's that time again ...


Yikes! The day nearly got away from me without posting my next verse.

I'll be honest. I totally slacked on the last one. I sort of gave up after a week, so I'm going to work on that one some more.

How has your Scripture memory been going?

Jennifer, one of my co-workers, has decided to join me in this adventure. She has been so wonderful to ask about how it's going and ask me to recite my verses. So ... we're going to work on verses together! Yay for accountability!!!

The Lord has given me a couple of verses regarding love over the past two weeks, so I'm going to work on memorizing those for the next few weeks. Perfect timing since Valentine's Day is approaching! :)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8, NIV

Thrilling Suspense by Kristen Heitzmann

Indivisible by Kristen Heitzmann was a complete surprise. After reading another book by Heitzmann earlier this month, I expected more of the same (which was outstanding!). This book, however, was completely different, yet still excellent. Jonah, Tia, Piper, and Liz come together in a this suspenseful drama set in a small town in the mountains. Each battle their own demons from the past and struggle to find their way to a hopeful future. Strange things begin to happen in this little town and bring them all together to find out who the culprit is.

I love suspense fiction, and Indivisible delivered! It provided a wonderful blend of suspense and romance. The plot kept me guessing. I was about halfway through when the pieces started to come together and back stories were revealed ... which kept me flipping pages furiously to find out what was going on! The only thing that I didn't like about this book was that SO many bad things happened in this small town. It seemed pretty unrealistic at times, but it is fiction. I enjoyed this book and will definitely read more by Kristen Heitzmann in the future!

4 stars

I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Mulnomah in exchange for my fair and honest review.

I'd love it if you would take a minute to rank this review.


About the Book
Battling his own personal demons, Police Chief Jonah Westfall knows the dark side of life and has committed himself to eradicating it. When a pair of raccoons are found mutilated in Redford, Colorado, Jonah investigates the gruesome act, knowing the strange event could escalate and destroy the tranquility of his small mountain town. With a rising drug threat and never-ending conflict with Tia Manning, a formidable childhood friend with whom he has more than a passing history, Jonah fights for answers—and his fragile sobriety.

But he can’t penetrate every wound or secret—especially one fueled by a love and guilt teetering on madness.

From best-selling author Kristen Heitzmann comes a spellbinding tale of severed connections and the consequences of life lived alone.

About the Author
While home schooling her four kids, Kristen Heitzmann wrote her first novel. It became one of a five book historical series. Since then, she has written three more historical novels and eight contemporary romantic and psychological suspense novels including The Still of Night, nominated for the Colorado Book Award, The Tender Vine, a Christy Award finalist and Christy Award winning Secrets. She lives in Colorado with her husband Jim, sundry family members, and pets.

Read the first two chapters and check it out for yourself!
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