Thursday, July 31, 2008

August Crunchy Chicken Challenge

Buy Nothing Challenge - August 2008

I hadn't heard of Crunchy Chicken's blog, but some gal-pals on WAH clued me in. She's got a challenge titled "Buy Nothing in August."

The idea on the blog is this: Don't buy stuff!

Here are the rules (plus a new one), in case you forgot 'em...
No new clothes
No new gadgets
No new furniture or housewares
No salon services (except haircuts)
No new makeup
No new tools
No whatever the hell else people buy
No eating out (yes, this one is new!)

So, my commitment is this: I will not purchase any new or used books during the month of August. I've done a book buying moratorium before, and it's tough--but doable.

Paperback Swap and Book Mooch books are exempt, as I will be using credits for them and not actually money.

The thing is, I have not purchased any brand-new books in a long time, but dang it if I haven't dropped fifty cents or a dollar here and there at the Friends of the Library book sale!

I'm not promising anything with the rest. I don't have plans for new clothes, furniture, housewares, salon services, makeup, tools, etc., but if we need something, well, I'll get it. I can be careful with my spending in any case, as Chaplain Hubby wants us to cut down right now . . . and my only plan for clothing is new shoes for the girls before school starts.

Eating out is out because we have a road trip next week to my in-laws' house (they always take us out for dinner at least once).

Well, we all know that Pattie has a tendency not to follow through, so hopefully I can keep this promise now that it's out there for all of you to see!!!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008



I'm not going to take a picture, but here are the books in Mt. TBR (because my nightstand does not hold my Mt. TBR):

  • Mr. Monk in Outer Space by Lee Goldberg
  • Reclaiming Nick and Finding Stefanie by Susan May Warren (book 1 from the library, book 3 is a blog tour book; book 2 is checked out from the library!)
  • Staying Home is a Killer by Sara Rosett (Air Force wife mystery!!!)
  • Catch a Rising Star and That's (Not Exactly) Amore by Tracey Bateman (books 1 and 3 in a series; book 2 is on the PBS wish list; book 3 is a blog tour book) **amended to add: Tracey emailed me! She is so nice!**
  • The Healing Choice (see previous post for info. as it is a blog tour book)
  • Burnt Toast by Teri Hatcher

That's just a few. Sad, but true.

Healing Choice Blog Tour

Welcome to the Healing Choice blog tour!

With a busy summer schedule piling up on me, I have to say I haven't had a chance to finish the book yet. So, a review is forthcoming! I also have one copy of the book to give away (I am keeping one, and I'm giving one to my sister and brother-in-law; he is working toward his counseling license). Please comment for a chance to win this book.

With the increasing commonality of pornography addiction as well as non-gentlemanly "gentlemen's clubs" cropping up everywhere, it's no wonder our husbands have trouble with purity. Women can feel betrayed and violated, and rightly so, but then what do we do? This book offers help and hope.

More about the book:


In the wake of betrayed intimacy, you may feel nauseated, angry, humiliated, desperate. Why am I not enough for him? Can our marriage be saved—and do I even want to try? Will this unbearable ache ever go away?

Amid the devastation that follows a spouse’s sexual disloyalty, you need to know that you are not alone. God walks alongside you, offering comfort and a promise to transform the pain of the present into hope for the future. In addition, there is a community of women who know firsthand the agony caused by a husband’s sexual compromises and who offer the compassion, strength, and biblical wisdom you need to make healthy decisions for yourself and your family.

The Healing Choice reveals the hope-filled stories of two such women, authors Brenda Stoeker and Susan Allen, who draw on their own experiences and those of many others to offer step-by-step advice for rediscovering intimacy with God and finding the support you need to move toward genuine spiritual and emotional restoration.

Their down-to-earth insights light the path toward help and healing for every woman who longs to move beyond the pain of broken trust and experience God’s promise of hope.

You can order the book on

About the Authors:

Brenda Stoeker is a registered nurse, mother of four, and seasoned marriage teacher with life experience in rebuilding a broken marriage. Together she and her husband, Fred, have counseled hundreds of couples struggling with issues related to sexual brokenness.

Susan Allen is a counselor who specializes in helping women create and maintain effective healing groups in churches and communities across the country. With husband Clay, she is the cofounder of Avenue, a ministry centered on healing and restoration from sexual brokenness.

Remember, leave a comment if you're interested. I think I'll choose the winner Friday morning after work; if that changes I'll edit this post.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Miss Match by Erynn Mangum

I don't remember where I first heard about Erynn Mangum's debut novel Miss Match. I literally skim hundreds of blog entries by Christian authors, and hundreds of emails through ACFW in any given month. Suffice it to say, at some point I put it on my Paperback Swap wish list, and that wish was granted earlier in the summer.

I took Miss Match with me on a road trip, and I found myself laughing out loud to myself throughout the book, garnering some weird looks from my hubby who was driving the van.

I have to say, I love the narrator, Laurie Holbrook. She is me, but more confident. Me with the love of the brown food group (you know, the brown food group: chocolate and coffee!). Me with the desire to follow God but not sure if I'm doing it right.

Laurie and her friends both old and new, and her family, were heartwarming, humorous, and FUN (hey, I may be a Baptist minister's wife, but I just can't come up with a third "h" word - sorry!).

If you're a fan of chick lit of the inspirational or Christian variety, this book is a must-read for you. If you've never given chick lit a try, this is a good place to start. I enjoyed this book as much as Tamera Leigh's or Rachel Hauck's chick lit novels.

Friday, July 18, 2008

One Step

One Step Over the Border by Stephen Bly
from Hachette's website:

Award-winning author Stephen Bly weaves the tale of a pair of contemporary cowboys on a quest across the West. As a boy in Wyoming, Hap Bowman fell in love with a girl named Juanita. Ever since, he's experienced nothing but failure and misfortune. Laramie Majors--quiet,reserved, and patient to a fault--hasn't left Hap's side since they became rodeo partners right out of college. Now, after spending most of his adult life looking for Juanita, Hap wants to do one last big search that will take them all over the Southwest before he admits defeat. Together these two cowpokes find themselves reluctant heroes in a series of misadventures as they travel the West, all the while thinking that Hap's--or Laramie's--true love may be in the next town.

To be honest, I didn't really enjoy this book. The "misadventures" mentioned in the above synopsis doesn't even begin to cover what these two cowboys go through! It's one mishap after another, and I found it frustrating that there was hardly a breather between conflicts!

Poor guys.

I did like the characters of Hap and Laramie, though. Annamarie and Rosa were also delightful.

When I go to the North Dakota Badlands on vacation soon, I will be looking at the region while remembering these cowboys and their long journey in search of the Juanita of Hap's dreams.

As I mentioned in a previous post, there was a blog tour last summer to promote the book. I signed up and then forgot. (Sorry to the Blys, again!) I heard about the book through my membership with ACFW.

Because of ACFW, I think I had some preconceived expectations about what I might find. This is NOT a Christian romance. In fact, I wouldn't classify it as a romance at all. (Yes, there are romantic moments.) And while there are some great values shown within the plot, it's not overtly Christian in nature (and in fact a couple of things made me a tad uncomfortable). The gospel is presented toward the end of the book, so if you want to pass this book along to someone who may enjoy westerns but isn't walking with the Lord, this might be a good choice.

A reading guide is available here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I just found a book I was supposed to review, a year ago.

How embarrassing!

To find out more about the book, visit:

and if Mr. or Mrs. Bly find this post, please allow me to beg forgiveness for my tardiness. Last summer my husband was in Iraq...and I think the book got mislaid.

Monday, July 14, 2008


This is the next installment in one of my very favorite series by one of the best Christian authors around: Robin Jones Gunn! One of my friends is sending me the book (Thanks, Stephanie!) soon, as I joined CFBA too late to request this title. I cannot wait to read it!!!

Once upon a time, I wrote a letter to Robin, thanking her for the first books in what turned out to be her Glenbrooke series. She wrote back, encouraging me to continue writing. Well, Robin, I haven't written a novel yet, but I have never given up hope!

OK, gushing aside...

Off we go!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Sisterchick Go Brit

Multnomah Publishers (May 20, 2008)


Robin Jones Gunn


Robin grew up in Orange County, California and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawaii.

Robin’s first novel was published in 1988, and she has continued to write between two to five books a year. Her 63 published books include 47 novels, all of which are still in print. Sales of her popular Christy Miller Series, Glenbrooke Series and Sisterchicks Series, including Sisterchicks in Gondolas and the new Katie Weldon Series including Peculiar Treasures all of which are approaching four million copies sold, with translations in nine languages.

Robin’s passion for storytelling and travel are evident in all her books, especially the Sisterchicks novels, and she has received thousands of letters from readers around the world who have come to know Christ through her writing. She sees this as her dream come true. Her novels are traveling to foreign lands and her characters are doing what she always longed to do; telling people about God’s love.

She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon and have been married for 30 years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry, and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown.

As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin’s favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives.

Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild.

SISTERCHICK® n: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you’re being a brat.

Two midlife mamas hop over to jolly ole England and encounter so much more than the usual tourist stops. Liz does have a bit of a childhood crush on Big Ben, and she has hoped to “meet” him ever since her fifteenth birthday. Kellie dreams of starting an interior design business and figures Liz needs to be a part of that equation–a calculation that hasn’t added up for Liz yet.

Nothing on the excursion goes the way these two friends had envisioned. They start with a village pancake race and end up being held for questioning on The Underground. Kellie and Liz take a wild tour through the land of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and then find themselves swept up, up, and away in a hot air balloon over the Cotswalds. London beckons with the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, shopping at Portabella Road in Knotting Hill, and of course, reservations at the Ritz for a posh high tea.

A few detours along the way and the possibility of being lost in a London fog of wonderment aren’t enough to stop these two Sisterchicks! Each step of their regal journey is lined with evidence of God’s gracious compassion, and both come to realize that God knows their every wish. He is the One who planted every dream in their hearts.

And, oh, what a surprise awaits them when they return home!

To read the first chapter, go HERE

“Robin has done it again! You and your Sisterchicks will love taking this new adventure together!”
- Karen Kingsbury, New York Times best-selling author of Between Sundays and Ever After

“My only complaint about Robin’s latest is that now I want to hop a plane to England! But combine a cup of Earl Grey tea and this charming story and you’re halfway there. Another delightful tale about women helping women to live their lives to the fullest.”
- Melody Carlson, author of These Boots Weren’t Made for Walking and A Mile in My Flip-Flops

“Sisterchicks in Gondolas is a true delight. The characters shine, and evocative language will make any reader want to visit Venice. Biblical truths are portrayed simply, yet will touch hearts and lives with their realistic application.”
- Romantic Times magazine

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Splitting Harriet

I read this as a part of my Summer Reading Challenge. This is my third chick lit of Tamera Leigh's that I've read, and it's my favorite of all of them.

Harriet is Everypastorsdaughter: felt the weight of the ministry mantle at a young age; rebelled; fell into the pit; rescued by Jesus; and now feels regret every day for the pain she caused those she loves. (In her case, she has a crown-of-thorns tattoo to remind her of those wild days.)

Enter Church Consultant, complete with motorcycle and long curly hair. He proceeds to shake things up at the church Harriet's father used to pastor and where she now works in ministry. He also shakes her little safe world almost off its precarious axis.

I really liked this book. I really did. I finally got it in the mail the other day (love Paperback Swap!) and read it fairly quickly.

Because I read it during a break I'm taking from reading Stephen King's Lisey's Story (an excellent book but in a much different way), I see all sorts of parallels between the two books. From forgiveness, to reconciling with the past, and dealing with the pain of the past within a family, there are many common themes. (Naturally, as Christian chick lit, Splitting Harriet is nowhere near as dark as Lisey's Story. Stephen King is a darker, broodier writer, known for his horror--although I would not classify Lisey as a horror book at all, but I digress. This is one reason why I chose it for my little "break." But that does not negate the commonality of theme between the two.)

All in all, I'd recommend this as a good example of a really good Christian chick lit. It's not all shoes and boys. Not by a long shot.

Winner Galore

Carole won BOTH my by virtue of being the only entrant, and the other by luck o'the draw, as it were. So as soon as she sends her address, she'll be the happy recipient of Calico Canyon (ARC) by Mary Conneally and Sweetgum Knit Lit Society by Beth Pattillo.

Congrats, Carole!

Friday, July 11, 2008

aaaaand, she's back

I'm back, and starting next week will be posting more book reviews and blog tours.

I read two and a half books on my vacation, and let's just say, one of the books wasn't that great! oh well.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


Taking an internet break for a few days. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

CFBA Love Starts with Elle

I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to read this book, but I'm on a book-buying restriction. Drat.
Rachel Hauck is one of my favorite Christian authors, and her chick lit is really top-notch.

OK, on to the "real" post!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love Starts With Elle

(Thomas Nelson - July 8, 2008)


Rachel Hauck


Rachel Hauck is a forty-something, a child of the '60's, '70's, '80's, '90's and '00's, who roller skated through the '70's into the '80's with Farrah Fawcet hair and a three-speed orange Camero. She graduated from Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) with a degree in Journalism.

After graduation, she hired on at Harris Publishing as a software trainer, destermined to see the world. But, she's traveled to Ireland, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, Canada and the U.S. from California to Maine.

Rachel met Tony, her husband, in '87, at church, of all places. They married in '92.
They don't have any children of their own, just lots of kids-in-the-Lord and they love them all. However, they do have two very spoiled dogs, and a very demanding cat.

With a little help from my friends, my first book was published in ' 04, Lambert's Pride, a romance novel. My current release is Sweet Caroline from Thomas Nelson. Romantic Times Book Club gave both books their highest rank of 4.5 stars, with Love Starts With Elle being honored as Top Pick!


Elle's living the dream-but is it her dream or his?

Elle loves life in Beaufort, South Carolina-lazy summer days on the sand bar, coastal bonfires, and dinners with friends sharing a lifetime of memories. And she's found her niche as the owner of a successful art gallery too. Life is good.

Then the dynamic pastor of her small town church sweeps her off her feet. She's never known a man like Jeremiah-one who breathes in confidence and exhales all doubt. When he proposes in the setting sunlight, Elle hands him her heart on a silver platter.

But Jeremiah's just accepted a large pastorate in a different state. If she's serious about their relationship, Elle will take "the call," too, leaving behind the people and place she loves so dearly. Elle's friendship with her new tenant, widower Heath McCord, and his young daughter make things even more complicated.

Is love transferrable across the miles? And can you take it with you when you go?

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

Looking for military fiction

I have begun contributing over at Wives of Faith, and I'm looking for military-themed fiction. So far what I know is Christian fiction, but I'm sure there are other non-raunchy and non-overly-violent books out there as well.

If you know of any titles, or are the author of some of those titles, feel free to contact me through this blog and let me know. I'd give you credit, and I'd love to do interviews as well. (Hint: it's good publicity!)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Suspicious Minds Book Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for Christy Barritt's latest book, Suspicious Minds, which is the second in the Squeaky Clean Mystery Series.

Forget "A day late and a dollar short." I am a month late! I was scheduled on June 1st for this tour, and here it is, July 1st! Better late than never, to continue the whole cliche' motif.

And speaking of motifs, is there anything--or anyone--more motif-y than Elvis? *grin*

On with the tour!

Here is an interview with author Christy Barritt.

Q & A with Mystery Author Christy Barritt:
Mysteries that play havoc on the nerves and the funny bone!

Q: Tell us about your featured book.

A: In Suspicious Minds, crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire takes a mold remediation job to make ends meet. While in the crawlspace of a dilapidated old house, she finds Elvis—dead and still wearing his blue suede shoes! Gabby can’t resist sticking her nose into another investigation. Along the way, she tries to figure out her love life, her spiritual life and the wacky world of Elvis impersonators!

Q: Where did you get the idea for Suspicious Minds?

A: I’ve been writing for my local newspaper for five years now. One interview I did was with an Elvis impersonator (or, an Elvis Tribute Artist, as I was quickly informed) performing at a senior citizens’ center. I had no idea what to expect before I went. After I finished the interview (and I’ve had easier times getting interviews with senators than I did with this guy after his show), the president of his fan club came running after me as I walked to my car. She presented me with an autographed picture of him. I thought, this man has a fan club? The ideas spun from there.

Q: Your book touches on the issues of loneliness and abandonment. Is this something that you’ve dealt with?

A: In some ways, the more I write, the lonelier I become. Writing is such a solitary job and best writing times are often my worst times of isolation. I struggle with being alone and feeling unconnected. For my mental well-being, I make sure I get out of the house several times during the week. Sometimes I’ll take my computer to Starbucks and work there. Other times, I’ll participate in different “mommy groups.” It takes effort, though. I’m a more effective writer if I’m out and among people. But, as the book points out, you can be surrounded by people and still be lonely.

Q: I heard you’re doing some local Mystery Dinner Theaters featuring characters from your book. Can you tell us more about that?

A: I’m so excited! The way everything has come together for the Suspicious Minds Mystery Dinner Theater is truly because of a Higher Power. I had the crazy idea to write a mystery dinner theater for the release of my book. But doors began opening up and it’s evolved into something much bigger. I actually have a troupe of actors who are willing to perform the play several times in the summer and once a month after that. Churches, libraries, schools and clubs are hosting the event—they’re in charge of the food and advertising. Any donations for the event will go directly toward whatever project they’d like. The actors will come in and act, giving them an outlet for their talents. And I’ll sell my book afterward, a portion of the proceeds going toward whatever cause is featured. It’s going to be a blast! We still have some dates open. If anyone is interested, they can email me at for more information.

Q: Do you ever find it hard to balance being a mom and writing?

A: Definitely! But I’m learning to trust my gut to know when I’m off-balance. Then I need to take time to evaluate how I’m spending my hours. Life is constantly a process of learning, changing and adjusting!

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m writing the third book in the Squeaky Clean Mystery series. Gabby, of course, has to get into some more trouble! But she also explores her relationships… from friendships, to romance, to God. She has some unresolved issues from her past that she needs to lay to rest. And, of course, she has crime scenes to clean!

Visit Christy’s website at: for more information!