Monday, September 29, 2008

John 3:16 by Nancy Moser


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

John 3:16

Tyndale House Publishers (September 9, 2008)

by

Nancy Moser



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and eighteen novels, including Solemnly Swear, Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner, and her latest historical, Washington's Lady.

Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters,
symphonies, and choirs. She gives Said So Sister Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included.

Find out more at Nancy Moser.com and Sister Circles.com


ABOUT THE BOOK

Five people looking for a reason to keep living are about to find it in the last place they expect... In my usual "big cast" style comes a story of what happens when one man puts his faith on the line and holds up a John 3:16 sign at a sporting event. Roman Paulson's life revolves around his son, Billy, a University of Nebraska football hero with a promising life ahead of him. But when Billy's coach encroaches on Roman's relationship with his son, Roman fears he'll lose Billy forever. Roman isn't the only one whose world turns upside down. He's one of five unsuspecting people whose lives intersect on a bright fall day.

If you would like to read the first chapter of John 3:16, go HERE



Pattie's Review
:


While I've read several of Nancy Moser's books throughout the years, THIS is the Nancy Moser I love. This book reminds me so much of her first novel, The Invitation, which I first reviewed for Multnomah back in the mid-90s. People whose lives intersect and intertwine, with the Lord's leading throughout . . . it's the kind of Christian fiction that makes the reader THINK. Makes the reader consider the consequences of all words and actions, good and bad. (If you hear the "Circle of Life" from The Lion King underscoring this paragraph, you're not alone!)

This was a good, enjoyable, thought-provoking read.

GIVEAWAY

If you'd like to be eligible to win my copy of this read-once-in-great-condition book, and you're living in the US, please leave a comment below and I'll choose a winner at the end of the week.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Just a couple of days left!

This contest only runs until Tuesday! Run over to Writer Mama to enter!




Christina has posted the rules for the giveaway on her site.

You never know if you'll win, but you'll never win if you don't try. I even one once! Yeah, I did.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sunset

Karen Kingsbury's final volume in the multiple Baxter Family series of books came out on Tuesday. Sunset is a fitting ending to the family saga: enough is resolved that it's satisfying, yet many things are left open should she decide to pick up their stories in a few years.

I often joke that Karen Kingsbury's fiction is Christian crack: her books are all-encompassing, to the point that I will sacrifice sleep and food to finish one!

I highly recommend this book if you want to know how it all comes together. And if you have never picked up a Karen Kingsbury novel, be aware that once you start, it'll be tough to stop. ;)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

OSC Book Club 08-09

I belong to the book club affiliated with our OSC (Officers Spouses Club). Last night we met and each brought one (and only one! Do you know how hard that is?) suggestion. Here is what we voted on and decided:

Postville - Stephen Bloom (October)
The Shack - William P. Young (November) (I ended up not being able to go: it was held on my daughter's birthday on Dec. 1st)
The House at Sugar Beach - Helene Cooper (January)
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - Kate Di Camillo (February)
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons - Lorna Landvik (this was my choice and I get to lead the discussion! But the club is meeting at another gal's house since my living room is so small.) (March)
Waiting - Ha Jin (April)
Channeling Mark Twain - Carol Muskie-Dukes (May)

Share your thoughts!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Faking Grace


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Faking Grace

Multnomah Books (August 19, 2008)

by

Tamara Leigh



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After Tamara Leigh earned a Master’s Degree in Speech and Language Pathology, she and her husband decided to start a family, with plans for Tamara to continue in her career once she became a mother.

When the blessing of children proved elusive, Tamara became convicted to find a way to work out of her home in order to raise the children she and her husband longed to have. She turned to writing, at which she had only ever dreamed of being successful, and began attending church. Shortly thereafter, her agent called with news of Bantam Books’ offer of a four-book contract. That same day, Tamara’s pregnancy was confirmed. Within the next year, she gave up her speech pathology career, committed her life to Christ, her first child was born, and her first historical romance novel was released.

As Tamara continued to write for the secular market, publishing three more novels with HarperCollins and Dorchester, she infused her growing Christian beliefs into her writing. But it was not enough, and though her novels earned awards and were national bestsellers, she knew her stories were lacking. After struggling with the certainty that her writing was not honoring God as it should, she made the decision to write books that not only reveal Christianity to non-believers, but serve as an inspiration for those who have accepted Christ as their Savior. Her inspirational romances are peopled with characters in varying stages of Christian faith, from mature believers to new believers to non-believers on the threshold of awakening.

Tamara Leigh enjoys time with her family, volunteer work, faux painting, and reading. She lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, David, and two sons, Skyler and Maxen.

Two of her latest books are Splitting Harriet and Perfecting Kate.


ABOUT THE BOOK

All she wants is a job. All she needs is religion. How hard can it be?

Maizy Grace Stewart dreams of a career as an investigative journalist, but her last job ended in disaster when her compassion cost her employer a juicy headline. A part-time gig at a Nashville newspaper might be her big break.

A second job at Steeple Side Christian Resources could help pay the bills, but Steeple Side only hires committed Christians. Maizy is sure she can fake it with her Five-Step Program to Authentic Christian Faith–a plan of action that includes changing her first name to Grace, buying Jesus-themed accessories, and learning “Christian Speak.” If only Jack Prentiss, Steeple Side’s managing editor and two-day-stubbled, blue-jean-wearing British hottie wasn’t determined to prove her a fraud.

When Maizy’s boss at the newspaper decides that she should investigate–and expose–any skeletons in Steeple Side’s closet, she must decide whether to deliver the dirt and secure her career or lean on her newfound faith, change the direction of her life, and pray that her Steeple Side colleagues–and Jack–will show her grace.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Faking Grace, go HERE

“Tamara Leigh takes her experienced romance hand and delights readers with Chick-Lit that sparkles and characters who come alive.” - Kristin Billerbeck, author of The Trophy Wives Club

“A delightful, charming book! Faking Grace has romance, truth, and a dollop of insanity, making Tamara Leigh a permanent addition to my list of favorite authors. Enjoy!”
- Ginger Garrett, author of In the Shadow of Lions and Beauty Secrets of the Bible

“Tamara Leigh does a fabulous job looking at the faults, the love, the hypocrisy, and the grace of Christians in a way that’s entertaining and fun. Maizy Grace is a crazy character I couldn’t help but like. I loved this book and highly recommend it!”
- Camy Tang, author of Sushi for One? and Only Uni

Pattie's Review
:

Tamera Leigh has done it again. This time, she addresses issues that we as churched Christians should be aware of—and perhaps, ashamed of—and she does it with humor and a sense of fun.

Faking Grace
is really and truly FUNNY! I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and laughed at many parts. In particular, "Yours in Christ." When you read the first couple of chapters, you'll know why! *wink*

Tamera Leigh never disappoints. Like all her chick lit stand-alone titles, this novel was funny, poignant, and made fun of Christians without being mean about it. It can't have been easy to do, but the result is a well-written, enjoyable, yet thought-provoking novel.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fall into Reading 2008 Challenge


Yeah, yeah, I know...like I need something else to do.

1. Suspicious Minds by Christy Barritt
2. Faking Grace by Tamera Leigh
3. A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell
4. Dangerous Heart by Tracey Bateman

5. Moon Over Tokyo by Siri Mitchell
6. Sunset by Karen Kingsbury

7. The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
8. Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America by Stephen G. Bloom

Some of these books are reviews for CFBA, but not all of them. I am a big fan of Siri Mitchell, but haven't read Tokyo yet (it's been buried on the TBR shelf), and Heart is her latest that's coming out. Christy Barritt's was for a blog tour in June, that I posted about but never got the book till recently.

A note about Postville, which I just remembered to add Monday morning. The author is coming to the university in my town next month, as part of its 150th anniversary celebration. One of the committee members is a Curves member, and whenever I'm on duty and she's working out, we talk books (my boss calls it our personal book club!). Anyway, she recommended it to me for my OSC book club, and the club has decided to adopt it as our October book and see the author together.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Road of Lost Innocence


Book Summary:

Born in Cambodia and orphaned at an early age, Somaly Mam, a Buddhist sex trade survivor, grew up never knowing her real name or birthday.

As a teenager, Somaly Mam was sold into prostitution and spent years in the brothels of Cambodia where she witnessed and experienced the full-blown horrors of the human sex trade – rape, torture, and nearly unfathomable abuse. After her eventual escape, she could not forget the young girls (some as young as 5) left behind in the brothels, and so she returned to serve them.

Her new book, "The Road of Lost Innocence," is her newest means of advocacy. It tells her personal story, ultimately inviting people of conscience to become involved (or to continue involvement) in this war against an epic evil, a modern battle for "the least of these." Truly, not only is this book worth reading, it's worth sharing.


Pattie's Review:

From the opening words, this book captured my attention. Then it broke my heart.

This is one of the hardest books that I've ever read. It is not for the faint of heart. I am the mom of two darling girls, and I had a difficult time reading about the horrors of the sex trade. It is so difficult to fathom all that Somaly experienced. What really struck me is that she and I are around the same age.

When I was a little girl growing up in my safe, close American family, Somaly was struggling to survive. When I was a young teen worried about bad perms and braces, she was experiencing unimaginable abuse in a Cambodian brothel.

I am so grateful for Somaly Mam's courage in rescuing girls from the same fate she herself had to suffer. To that end, she formed two organizations: In Cambodia, AFESIP (in French, it stands for Acting for Women in Distressing Situations) helps rescue young children from these brothels. In the United States, there is The Somaly Mam Foundation.

I greatly admire Somaly Mam and her inner strength to carry out this important work. She is a courageous woman.

The book is detailed, certainly, but not in a titillating or tantalizing way. It's just the truth according to Somaly Mam's experience.

She closes the book by saying, “People ask me how I can bear to keep doing what I do. I’ll tell you. The evil that’s been done to me is what propels me on. Is there any other way to exorcise it?”

Indeed.

To purchase the book (and please know that a portion of the book's proceeds go to the Somaly Mam Foundation), please click here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When?

When will I find time to write?

Right now.

Right here.

Of course, with a desktop, it's impossible to take it with me. So, I sometimes resort to the written page.

I have decided, again, to carry an older comp book around with me so I always have something to write on. Or in. Whatever!

It's not very full. It has to-do lists, and book review drafts, and a few ideas, scattered throughout its pages. It's a hodgepodge notebook, not meant for posterity.

It fits in my tote bag and is easy to pull out when needed.


In other writing news:

I had just begun to get used to the laptop I purchased in April, when it began acting funny. When reformatting it (after backing up all my data, of course!) didn't work, I took it to the Laptop Hospital (AKA Best Buy's Geek Squad, which is where I bought it) last Monday. Josh called me Friday evening and told me that the hard drive was shot. Unfortunately, it has to be sent to Toshiba to be fixed. Recovery time 2-4 weeks. Fortunately, it's covered by the manufacturer's warranty!

I just hope it's back in time for NaNoWriMo. This will be the first November I can participate with a portable computer.

In Writer News:

If you live in the Twin Cities and are a fan of Christian fiction in all its many forms, head to the Mall of America this Saturday afternoon from 1-3. It's going to be one of the biggest author signings ever!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sweet September Blog Tour

Welcome to one of the first stops on the SWEET SEPTEMBER BLOG TOUR!

I have been a fan of Tricia Goyer for a long time, and when I was asked to be a part of this tour, I was thrilled to be able to promote Tricia's work to you. I've done it here before, and I'm sure I will again, since she's one of the most prolific gals out there. She's amazing and I admire her.

What makes this book unique for Tricia is that it's her first contemporary novel. She's written contemporary nonfiction, of course: Her Generation NeXt series attests to that. She blogs about being a Gen X parent. (She even Twitters! Which is cool.) Her novels, however, have been historicals up until now.

About the Blog Tour Contest:

Since Sweet September is all about family, Tricia wants to meet yours. Leave a comment on Tricia’s blog tour post sharing who your favorite family member is and why - and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win William-Sonoma’s Pumpkin Harvest Loaf Pan & Quick Bread Set.

About the book: (Book 2 of the Home to Heather Creek series)

Harvest time at Heather Creek Farm is an exciting time, but the kids don't seem to be getting into the spirit. One day while he's wandering through the fields, Christopher stumbles across an old piece of metal buried in the ground. He doesn't know what it is, but he hides it in the shed.

That night, the garden by the house is uprooted. Who could have done such a thing? Charlotte is determined to find out, but is distracted when she gets news that Sam is failing school. The sullen teen is indifferent and won't study. He starts spending a lot of time with Pete. Though she loves her son dearly, Pete never finished high school, and Charlotte is afraid he'll encourage Sam to do the same. How can she help him get back on track?

A gripping story that examines the Stevenson family's history as well as its shaky future, Sweet September will bring you deeper into the loving community of Bedford and the deep ties of love that bind this broken family together. As they forge new connections, you'll be entertained, inspired, and reminded that God's grace can make all things new.

Pattie's Review:

When I think of Guideposts, I don't automatically think of fiction. I think of the magazine, inspirational and tear-inducing. What surprised me about the first two books of the Heather Creek series is that they are inspirational without being emotionally manipulative! That is a big plus to me. This is well-written Christian fiction that is relevant to today's world without being saccharine. I am enjoying this series, and am afraid to say too much because I don't want to spoil the stories (and my regular readers KNOW how much I hate that!)!

If you'd like to see for yourself, check out Guideposts' website about the series and you can order there as well.

an aside: I'm going to be loaning both the first books to a friend of mine, so no giveaway this time.

About Tricia:

Tricia Goyer is the author of twelve books including From Dust and Ashes, My Life UnScripted, and the children's book, 10 Minutes to Showtime. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in the mountains of Montana.

Tricia’s website: www.triciagoyer.com
Tricia’s blog: http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com

Friday, September 12, 2008

Giveaway Update

I totally forgot about these!!! Sorry to all who were waiting.

Thanks to Random.org for the number generator. Makes it easy and saves those little slips of paper I'd have used otherwise.

Steph G, you won both the children's books AND Wild Goose Chase!

Totally random, folks......totally random.org.

I'm emailing you :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Writer Mama September Extravagant Giving

What are you waiting for? Go visit The Writer Mama's Back to School Giveaway, which runs the entire month of September.

Christina has posted the rules for the giveaway on her site.

I haven't entered every day, but what a great way to win one of these GREAT prizes!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Wounded Blog Tour

I am not actually participating in this tour as a reviewer, but I wanted to post this because I love Claudia Mair Burney's Ragamuffin Diva blog. In fact, I didn't sign up for this tour because I knew I'd be overloaded this week (which turned out to be oddly prophetic). Anyway, check out the blog, the book, and enjoy!


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Wounded: A Love Story

David C. Cook (September 2008)

by

Claudia Mair Burney


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Claudia is the author of the popular Ragamuffin Diva blog and the David C. Cook novel Zora and Nicky: A novel in Black And White. She is also the author of Death, Deceit, and Some Smooth Jazz, and the Amanda Bell Brown Mysteries and the Exorsistah series for teens. Her work has appeared in Discipleship Journal magazine, The One Year Life Verse Devotional Bible, and Justice in the Burbs.

She lives in Michigan with her husband, five of their seven children, and a quirky dwarf rabbit.


ABOUT THE BOOK

SHE HAD A VISION OF CHRIST PLACING TWO PERFECT RED ROSES IN HER HANDS...AND THEN SHE WAS WOUNDED!

If a miracle happened to you, wouldn't you tell everyone? What if they thought you were crazy?

Gina Merritt, poor in health and rich in faith is the last person to expect a miracle to happen to her. As she sits in a pew on Ash Wednesday with throbbing pain in her knees and a raging migraine, she turns her concentration elsewhere and silently prays, "Share with me, Jesus."

Instantly she has a holy vision of the Son of God kneeling before her. As tears fill her eyes, Christ kisses Gina's hands, leaving two perfect red roses. When the vision fades, Gina's hands are bleeding.

Anthony Priest, the junkie sitting beside her, instinctively touches Gina when she cries out, but she flees in shock and pain. A prizewinning journalist before drugs destroyed his career, Anthony is stunned that he is suddenly overcome with a sense of well-being and he instantly knows that he is cured of his addiction. Wanting an explanation, Anthony follows Gina home.

Is it a miracle, or just a religious delusion? It seems like everyone who knows of the mysterious stigmata has an opinion, and it's not always favorable. Putting aside their difference and their mutual distrust, Gina and Anthony embark on a search for answers. Along the way they encounter an uncertain evangelical pastor, a gentle Catholic priest, a certifiable religious zealot, and a transvestite drug dealer, all of whom lend their voices to the tale. It's a quest for truth, sanity, and grace…and an unexpected love story.

If you would like to read and excerpt from Wounded: A Love Story, go HERE

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Rollercoaster Life of a Military Wife

I'm Pattie, the proud wife of an Air Force chaplain. While I have been married for 17 years, I've only been a military wife for 6 1/2 of those years.

Doesn't even seem like it's been that long...the marriage OR the military life!

Chaplain Hubby joined the Air Force Reserves in 2002, just a few months after completing his doctorate, in the wake of 9-11. In terms of being an officer, he joined the Air Force "late." As in old. In terms of being a chaplain, he's a bit older than the norm, but not much (a chaplain has to have finished his or her M.Div., seminary Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent, to qualify). I mention this because most military personnel who are our age have a higher rank, and many are even contemplating retirement from the service within the next few years!

When I married this man, I knew he was a minister. I never dreamed we'd be in the military. But now, after seeing my husband not only enjoy his job and his work, but be recognized and rewarded for it for perhaps one of the few times in his life, well, I can't think of anywhere else I'd like to be.

(Just an aside: if you attend church, make sure you let your pastor and his wife--or your pastor and her husband--know you appreciate them. It really does make a difference. Trust me.)

So, life in the military. I do less ironing than I used to (don't have to iron all those dress shirts anymore!). His side of the closet has four types of uniforms: old BDUs, new ABUs, blues, and mess dress. He also has an impressive winter coat collection. He still has "civilian" dress and casual clothes, but not as many.

In terms of time, he's working fewer hours than he did as a bivocational small-church single-staff pastor and part-time hospice chaplain. On-call time is actually better; he rotates being on-call with the other chaplains. When he was a pastor, he was The One On Call 24/7/365.

I am continually unsure how to deal with medical issues because everything is constantly being changed. Our base is going through BRAC (base realignment and closure), so budgets are being chopped and personnel are moving away and not being replaced. We don't live on base, we live in town, which is a disconnect. In town, when I mention "Air Force," people wonder when we're moving again. Another disconnect.

How do I connect on base? Through the chapel and OSC (Officers' Spouses Club). I have not found either organization to be clique-ish or unwelcoming here. Both have been good experiences.

Sometimes I feel like I have no clue what I'm doing as a military spouse, and yet I often feel I'm an unofficial ambassador for the military to townspeople who are used to hearing "I hate it here" from military folks they meet. And a "welcome to North Dakota, it's not all that bad" to military folks who move here from Southern states and hear horror stories of the winters here.


I hope this disjointed, random-subject post has helped someone today. The life of this chaplain's wife is quite roller-coaster-ish!

CFBA Back to Life

This is the first time I've requested a book and haven't received it, through CFBA. What that means is that you won't get my review until a later date. Let's hope it's soon, because I really enjoy Kristin's books!
On we go...



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Back To Life

Avon Inspire (September 16, 2008)

by

Kristin Billerbeck



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kristin Billerbeck was born in Redwood City, California. She went to San Jose State University and gained a bachelor's degree in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec, and then, she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing.

She got married, had four kids, and started writing romance novels until she found her passion: Chick Lit. She is a CBA bestselling author and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year for What A Girl Wants in 2004, and again in 2006 for With this Ring. Featured in the New York Times, USA Today, World Magazine, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kristin has appeared on the Today Show. She is credited with jump-starting the inspirational chick-lit phenomenon. Most recently she has been names as a finalist for the Christy Award in the Lits category for The Trophy Wives Club.

Her other recent books include: She's All That.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Lindsey realized when she married Ron, a man 17 years her senior, that the odds were he’d see heaven before her, but she never expected to be a widow at 35. There’s too much of life left for her to just sit around in mourning. But she can’t seem to kick start the rest of her life.

That is until she gets some help from Ron’s first wife, Jane, who shows up unexpectedly at her door one day as the executor of her husband’s estate. Jane is everything Lindsey’s not… independent, stubborn… and a lot older. Plus she has one surprise after another… including a son named Ron Jr. (she insists he’s not “really” Ron’s son). But an unlikely friendship develops as each woman begins to reevaluate what is really important, and owns up to the mistakes they’ve made in the past.

Told in the alternating voices of Jane and Lindsey, and with the return of many of the witty characters of The Trophy Wives Club, this book is a lighthearted, relatable read for when life goes in a direction you never planned. With faith and friends, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

If you would like to read an excerpt of chapter 1 of Back To Life, go HERE

Review: The Dinner List

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle My rating: 4 of 5 stars I heard about this novel last month. It sounded great, because who hasn't m...