Sunday, March 29, 2009

I need a plan...

I need a plan.

The newness of the new year is over. I've made some major headway in some areas of my life (reading goals: check! attempts at bravery: check!) and have slacked in others (decluttering something every day--oops!).

Overall, though, the neverending winter of the northern plains, coupled with concerns over flooding in the area, have conspired to make me feel ennui instead of joy.

So I need a plan. I need to formulate a better way of dealing with the clutter and the cleaning of the house. We're hoping to get our downstairs carpet replaced with wood laminate soon, which has motivated me to go through my lone overstuffed bookshelf downstairs and pack up my books. It's sad, but necessary. I've pulled a few which once I've read them, I don't plan to keep them. But I can only read one book at a time...

Quotation for Today

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will make me go in a corner and cry by myself for hours." ~Eric Idle~

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Michal is a riveting Biblical novel. I absolutely enjoyed reading this account of David's first wife and the beginning of his reign in Israel, told from Michal's point of view. It made the Biblical account come alive for me in a new and exciting way.

I found myself really enthralled with the book and with the character of Michal. Saul's daughter did not have an easy time of it. The journey she takes is long and dusty and fraught with frustration. Yet the author gives her a spiritual resolution to her story that is immensely satisfying.

I highly recommend this novel if you're interested in reading some politically-charged, action-packed Biblical fiction.

Turning the Paige

I will be giving away my ARC of this novel! To be eligible, all you need to do is leave a comment with a link to YOUR blog and I'll choose a winner!

Congratulations, Carole! I'll be emailing you for your address!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Turning The Paige

Zondervan (March 1, 2009)


Laura Jensen Walker


Laura Jensen Walker is an award-winning writer, popular speaker, and breast-cancer survivor who loves to touch readers and audiences with the healing power of laughter.

Born in Racine, Wisconsin (home of Western Printing and Johnson’s Wax—maker of your favorite floor care products) Laura moved to Phoenix, Arizona when she was in high school. But not being a fan of blazing heat and knowing that Uncle Sam was looking for a few good women, she enlisted in the United States Air Force shortly after graduation and spent the next five years flying a typewriter through Europe.

By the time she was 23, Laura had climbed the Eiffel Tower, trod the steps of the Parthenon, skied (okay, snowplowed) in the Alps, rode in a gondola in Venice, and wept at the ovens of Dachau. She’d also learned how to fold her underwear into equal thirds, make a proper cup of English tea, and repel the amorous advances of a blind date by donning combat gear and a gas mask.

Laura is a former newspaper reporter and columnist with a degree in journalism who has written hundreds of articles on many subjects ranging from emu ranching and pigeon racing to goat-roping and cemetery board meetings. However, realizing that livestock and local government weren’t her passion, she switched to writing humor, which she calls a “total God-thing.”

Her lifelong dream of writing fiction came true in Spring 2005 with the release of her first chick lit novel, Dreaming in Black & White which won the Contemporary Fiction Book of the Year from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her sophomore novel, Dreaming in Technicolor was published in Fall 2005.

Laura’s third novel, Reconstructing Natalie, chosen as the Women of Faith Novel of the Year for 2006, is the funny and poignant story of a young, single woman who gets breast cancer and how her life is reconstructed as a result. This book was born out of Laura’s cancer speaking engagements where she started meeting younger and younger women stricken with this disease—some whose husbands had left them, and others who wondered what breast cancer would do to their dating life. She wanted to write a novel that would give voice to those women. Something real. And honest. And funny.

Because although cancer isn’t funny, humor is healing.

A popular speaker and teacher at writing conferences, Laura has also been a guest on hundreds of radio and TV shows around the country including the ABC Weekend News, The 700 Club, and The Jay Thomas Morning Show.

Another book in this series is Daring Chloe

She lives in Northern California with her Renaissance-man husband Michael, and Gracie, their piano playing dog


At 35, Paige Kelley is feeling very "in between." She's still working her temp job after two years, still not dating three years after her divorce, and still melting at every chubby-cheeked toddler she sees while her biological clock ticks ever louder. Paige even moves back home to help her ailing, high-maintenance mother.It's not exactly the life she'd dreamed of!

When her Getaway Girls book club members urge Paige to break free and get on with her life, she's afraid. How will her mother react? How can Paige honor her widowed mother and still pursue her own life? The answers come from a surprising source.
A trip to Scotland and a potential new love interest help launch an exciting new chapter in her life, and lead Paige to discover that God's plan for her promises to be more than she ever imagined.

This latest release in the Getaway Girls collection delivers a smart, funny, and warm account of one woman's challenge to reconcile who she is - a dutiful Christian daughter - with the woman she longs to be.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Turning The Paige, go HERE

Pattie's Review:

Turning the Paige is a lovely, yet sometimes difficult, novel to read. Lovely, because its spiritual truths are woven into its tapestry and just beautiful. Difficult, because I have felt the way Paige felt so often, it was occasionally painful.

Single Paige is in-between. Always has been. As the middle child, her siblings left home while she stayed and cared for her widowed, yet overbearing, mother. With her mother's increasing health issues, Paige finds herself tied down at home with few who understand her needs.

Then she meets Marc the florist, and Paige begins to bloom like the proverbial hothouse flower inside their friendship. A surprise trip overseas also begins the necessary healing in her heart.

I really liked this book! Paige is a heroine of my generation: well-read, snarky, and fun. I also found myself teary-eyed as I read certain parts of the book (I can't tell you which ones; that would break the cardinal "don't give it away" rule for book reviewers!).

It wasn't until I got the CFBA information that I realized Walker was former USAF! (Nothing can stop the US Air Force!)

I will most certainly seek out Laura Jensen Walker's other titles. She's found a new fan here at Fresh-Brewed Writer!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

CFBA presents Michal

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Revell (March 1, 2009)


Jill Eileen Smith


Jill Eileen Smith is the author of several articles, poems, and stories, and her unpublished novels have placed in five writing contests in the past five years. A children’s story, which she wrote for her church led her youngest son to faith in Christ several years ago; much like a gospel tract led her to the Lord at a similar age.

That story, “Seeking Treasureland,” is now available. Jill is a member of several online writing groups and helps promote fellow authors’ works through monthly interviews on the "Spotlight" page of her website. She, along with her husband and children, are active members in their local church. A stay-at-home mom, she homeschooled the couple’s three sons for twelve years through high school, seeing them go on to higher education.

In her spare time, Jill teaches piano, reads, does picture scrap-booking, and enjoys trying out new recipes, especially those that include dark chocolate. Jill and her family make their home in Southeastern Lower Michigan.


Can their epic search for true love survive a father's fury?
The daughter of King Saul, Michal lives a life of privilege--but one that is haunted by her father's unpredictable moods and competition from her beautiful older sister.

As a girl, Michal quickly falls for the handsome young harpist David. But soon after their romance begins, David must flee for his life, leaving Michal at her father's mercy in the prison that is King Saul's palace.

Will Michal ever be reunited with David? Or is she doomed to remain separated from him forever?

Against the backdrop of opulent palace life, raging war, and daring desert escapes, Jill Eileen Smith takes you on an emotional journey as Michal deals with love, loss, and personal transformation as the first wife of King David. Jill Eileen Smith has more than twenty years of writing experience, and her writing has gathered acclaim in several contests. Her research into the lives of David's wives has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

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

Pattie's Review:

I have begun the book and it's fascinating. I have always enjoyed Biblical fiction, and this book I'm sure will be no different.

I'll post a review when I'm finished. :) Here is my review.

Spring Reading Thing 2009

Yay for Spring!


[X] Turning the Paige by Laura Jensen Walker (review)
Nothing but Trouble by Susan May Warren (review)
[X] Waiting by Ha Jin (book club)
[X] Channeling Mark Twain by Carol Muskie Dukes (book club)
[X] Fax Me a Bagel by Sharon Kahn (Jewish lit challenge)
[X] Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot (review)
[X] Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs (reread before sequel...)
Knit Two by Kate Jacobs (sequel to FNKC) (TBR Challenge book)


The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield (review)
Experiencing the Spirit by Henry and Melvin Blackaby (review)
Clutter-Free Christianity by Robert Jeffress (review)
[X]GOD Strong (for military wives) by Sara Horn (advance manuscript! woohoo!) - No review because it isn't published yet. The review will come when it comes out.

Sign up HERE and know you want to!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Something Different

I have been blogging only book reviews for a bit, and I thought I'd break the monotony and write something different for a change. Try to get over your shock...ha ha!

I had the best fun preparing for my book club's discussion of Lorna Landvik's Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons. This is Nattie's book. She first told me about it, and it was in her memory that I gave away ten or so copies last summer around her first heaven-birthday. Anyway, I had a great time with my book club gals, and they all seemed to have a fun time also.

I was saddened to hear about Natasha Richardson's death. I've always thought she was a great actress to watch. How sad I feel for her husband and children.

I found out about a book giveaway! So I'm posting the link so you can also enter to win a copy of the book everyone's talking about, The Shack. Click here to go to Shelley's blog.

And finally, I get to attend a regional Curves meeting this weekend. How fun will that be! My manager wants me to get the big picture about Curves. We shall see...

Monday, March 16, 2009

CFBA presents Breach of Trust

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Breach Of Trust

Tyndale House Publishers (February 5, 2009)


DiAnn Mills

Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than a million copies.

DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” DiAnn Mills is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels.

Six of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents. Five of her books have won placements through American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Awards 2003 – 2007, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005 and 2007. She was a Christy Awards finalist in 2008.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope and Love, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild.

She lives in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.


Paige Rogers survived every CIA operative’s worst nightmare.

A covert mission gone terribly wrong.

A betrayal by the one man she thought she could trust.

Forced to disappear to protect the lives of her loved ones, Paige has spent the last several years building a quiet life as a small-town librarian. But the day a stranger comes to town and starts asking questions, Paige knows her careful existence has been shattered.

He is coming after her again. And this time, he intends to silence her for good...

Paige Rogers is a former CIA agent who lost all she treasured seven years ago when her entire team was killed in a covert mission. She blames their leader—Daniel Keary—whom Paige believes betrayed them. Disillusioned and afraid for her life, she disappeared and started a new life as a librarian in small town Split Creek, Oklahoma.

But her growing relationship with high school football coach Miles Laird and the political ambitions of her former boss threaten to unmask her. When Keary announces his candidacy for governor of her state, he comes after Paige to ensure that she won't ruin his bid for office by revealing his past misdeeds. He threatens everything she holds dear, and Paige must choose between the life of hiding that has become her refuge . . . or risking everything in one last, desperate attempt to right old wrongs.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Breach Of Trust, go HERE

Watch the Book Trailer:

Pattie's Review (Previously published here at FBR):

Breach of Trust is the latest book from DiAnn Mills, and what a great book it is!

Paige Rogers, a former CIA operative, is hiding in a small Oklahoma town, working as the librarian. Daniel Keary is also formerly with the CIA and is currently running for governor--and threatening Paige. You see, they have a past together. He blamed her for what went wrong in a covert mission. He will do whatever it takes to keep her out of his way. He will stop at nothing to achieve his political aspirations.

Paige is faced with a choice: follow her desire for justice, or hold tightly to her need for safety for herself and her family.

Along the way, Paige must make some tough choices about her former career and her present faith--and where the cute high school football coach might fit in.

I really enjoyed this novel. It reminded me a lot of Dee Henderson's and Kathy Herman's suspense novels. I was grateful for the blizzard we had last week that kept me in so I could finish it!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Breach of Trust

Breach of Trust is the latest book from DiAnn Mills, and what a great book it is!

Paige Rogers, a former CIA operative, is hiding in a small Oklahoma town, working as the librarian. Daniel Keary is also formerly with the CIA and is currently running for governor--and threatening Paige. You see, they have a past together. He blamed her for what went wrong in a covert mission. He will do whatever it takes to keep her out of his way. He will stop at nothing to achieve his political aspirations.

Paige is faced with a choice: follow her desire for justice, or hold tightly to her need for safety for herself and her family.

Along the way, Paige must make some tough choices about her former career and her present faith--and where the cute high school football coach might fit in.

I really enjoyed this novel. It reminded me a lot of Dee Henderson's and Kathy Herman's suspense novels. I was grateful for the blizzard we had yesterday that kept me in so I could finish it!

Thanks to DiAnn Mills for the opportunity to review her book. I appreciate it!

Every Sunrise by Tricia Goyer

Welcome to the blog tour for Every Sunrise by Tricia Goyer.

Who is Tricia?
Tricia Goyer is the author of eighteen fiction and non-fiction books, including Blue Like Play Dough. 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. Tricia writes magazine articles for publications like Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia also enjoys speaking. She and her family makes their home in Montana.

About the Home to Heather Creek series:

Charlotte Stevenson's world is turned upside down when her daughter, Denise, dies in a tragic car accident. She ran away at eighteen and Charlotte has never forgiven herself. Now, Denise's children, abandoned by their father, are coming from California to live on Heather Creek Farm in Bedford, Nebraska.

Charlotte is uncertain about her ability to care for three grandchildren who are not thrilled to give up the beach and sunshine for snow and farm chores! But she sees a chance to make amends and will do whatever it takes to keep her fragile family together. Feel the courage, strength and commitment of this family as their lives unfold in the Home to Heather Creek series.

About Every Sunrise:

The bleak winter days make February on Heather Creek Farm a test of endurance, and as winter wears on, Sam becomes more and more withdrawn and unhappy. Bob is busy planning a surprise for Charlotte, and Christopher is excited about a local writing competition, while a Valentine’s Day flower from a secret source lifts Emily’s spirits. But when Sam disappears from the farm one night, chasing a memory of the father who abandoned them all, Charlotte and Bob need all the help—and prayer—they can get to bring him home safely. This broken family needs God’s help like never before, but their trials remind them all that every sunrise brings a new beginning.

Link to buy book:
The books come in a series and you can order those at the link. However, if you just want to order Every Sunrise you must call the customer service number (1-800-431-2344).


Okay…this book is loaded with yummy food: strawberry cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, baked chicken with cornbread, chocolate cake, pancakes with homemade syrup, French onion soup, parmesan crusted chicken…well you get the idea!

So the contest for this tour will be the EVERY FOODIE contest! Leave a comment on the blog tour post ( at Tricia’s site with your favorite meal and a recipe (feel free to post more than one recipe!)! She’ll choose the one that most tantalizes her taste buds to receive an entire set of the Home to Heather Creek series (books 1-7)! Five runners-up will win a copy of Every Sunrise (or another Tricia Goyer book of their choice). Let the mouth-watering commence!

Pattie's Review:

Once again, another sweet story. There's a bit more "reality" here, with Sam's choices and a few other things. Small-town life without the rose-colored glasses that tend to be firmly in place with many other inspirational novels (I'm thinking of the skateboarding scene with Sam and his friends in particular!).

This is a great story. I see so many positive things: the importance of family, the fact that the kids have grown into their Nebraska life since book #2 (also written by Tricia), and the softening of Bob toward not only his grandchildren, but also toward his son Pete. (I LOVE how he finally lets Pete have some control.)

Are there any negatives to this series? Not unless you're looking for sensationalism or postmodern angst. Guideposts is known for its positive and inspirational brand, and this series delivers. Of course, I'm partial to Tricia's writing style, which is immensely readable and fun. She has strength in description and dialogue.

All in all, a good, cozy read.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Daisy Chain

Welcome to the Daisy Chain Blog Tour

About the Novel:
You can read more about it on my previous Christian Fiction Blog Alliance post, or you can go to Mary's site and read the synopsis.

About Mary:

Mary DeMuth is an expert in the field of Pioneer Parenting. She helps Christian parents plow fresh spiritual ground, especially those seeking to break destructive family patterns. Her message guides parents who don’t want to duplicate the home where they were raised or didn’t have positive parenting role models growing up.

An accomplished writer, Mary’s parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, Building the Christian Family You Never Had, and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God. Her real-to-life novels inspire people to turn trials into triumphs: Watching the Tree Limbs (2007 Christy Award finalist, ACFW Book of the Year 2nd Place) and Wishing on Dandelions (2007 Retailer’s Choice Award finalist).

Mary is a frequent speaker at women’s retreats and parenting seminars, addressing audiences in both Europe and the United States. National media regularly seek Mary’s candid ability to connect with their listeners. Her radio appearances include FamilyLife Today, Moody Midday Connection, and U.S.A. Radio network. She also has articles published in Marriage Partnership, In Touch, and HomeLife.

As pioneer parents, Mary and her husband Patrick live in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France where they planted a church.

Learn more about Mary at

Pattie's Review:

I'll be honest. This was a hard, hard book to read. It is not a feel-good happy book. It's gritty and raw in places. It hurts. It is sad.

I finished it one evening and all I felt was angry. I was angry at the situations and events presented in the book, because I know that things like this might have actually happened to someone.

(And in truth, I was a little upset with Mary! But because I've read some of her other books and I've followed her blog now for a couple of years, I feel as if I know a bit of her heart. And she would not do this just for sensationalism's sake, or just to sell books. She's telling the stories God has given her to tell.)

I felt so terrible for Jed and Sissy. I loved them and my mama heart wanted them to come and live with me in my loving ministry home. To tell them not all preachers hit their children and wives.

On the plus side: The imagery is absolutely amazing. Her gritty descriptions of summer in Texas made me actually thirsty--and I was reading this during a February below-zero cold snap and snow fest in the northern plains!

I also adored the characters of Bald Muriel and Hixon. They were truly the body of Christ, the "Jesus with skin on" for Jed and for Sissy. I also loved how Mary wove in the beauty of working together in the body of Christ, church differences aside. The more I grow up (and at 39 I'm not done yet!), the more I realize this is what Jesus had in mind for His Church.

As you can see, I'm torn on this book. I really am! It's a tough read. It made me sad. It hurt my heart. Yet it is a beautifully-written book, full of characters capable of evoking a strong emotional response and vivid imagery.

PS: I did tell Mary, in a Facebook message, that I was angry after reading her book. She was gracious in accepting my initial response. (Thanks, Mary!)

GIVEAWAY: For some reason, I received extra copies of this novel from the publisher. I'm going to keep one and give one away here, and one away on another blog. So, if you'd like to enter my little contest, leave me a comment with a way to get hold of you (either a blog link or disguised email address) and I'll choose a winner later this week.

The Daisy Chain Contest:

Participate in our 2 Truths and A Lie Contest!

A major theme through Daisy Chain is secrets. The rules are:

1) By Friday, March 13th, write a blog post or Facebook note that includes two truths about yourself and one lie. Don’t identify which is which, but encourage your visitors to guess in the comments section.

2) If you feel so inclined, tag a few people and encourage others to play along as well.

3) Please reference this tour and Mary’s book, Daisy Chain.

4) Bloggers, put a link to your post into Mr. Linky on the Blog Tour Spot Daisy Chain Tour post: If you are using Facebook, leave a message on the wall of the Daisy Chain Tour Event. All other participants can leave a comment on the Blog Tour Spot Daisy Chain Tour post (above). IMPORTANT: Only those posts and notes entered through Mr. Linky, the tour post, or the Facebook event will be considered in the contest.

5) On Monday, March 16th, reveal which fact was a lie. Mary will determine the contest winner later that week.

The prize? Signed (and kissed!) copies of Watching the Tree Limbs, Wishing on Dandelions, and Daisy Chain, as well as bragging rights of being the winner.

Other Relevant Links:

Mary DeMuth’s Facebook Profile:

Follow Mary DeMuth on Twitter:

The Passion of Mary-Margaret

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Passion of Mary Margaret

Thomas Nelson (March 10, 2009)


Lisa Samson


Lisa Samson is a Christy Award-winning author of 19 books, including the Women of the Faith Novel of the Year, Quaker Summer. Lisa has been hailed by Publishers Weekly as "a talented novelist who isn't afraid to take risks."

Her novel Embrace Me has been named as one of Library Journal's books of the year.

She lives in Lexinton, Kentucky, with her husband and three kids.

She stays busy by writing, volunteering at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, raising children and trying to be supportive of a husband in seminary. (Trying...some days she's downright awful. It's a good thing he's such a fabulous cook!) She can tell you one thing, it's never dull around there.


Mary-Margaret accepts a calling that surpasses her wildest dreams . . . and challenges her deep faith.

When Mary-Margaret Danaher met Jude Keller, the lightkeeper's son, she was studying at convent school on a small island in the Chesapeake Bay. Destined for a life as a religious sister, she nevertheless felt a pull toward Jude-rough and tumble, promiscuous Jude.

After sojourning as a medical missions sister in Swaziland, Mary-Margaret returns to the island to prepare for her final vows. Jude, too, returns to the island, dissolute and hardened. Mary-Margaret can hardly believe it when the Spirit tells her she must marry the troubled boy who befriended her all those years ago, forsaking the only life she ever wanted for a man she knows she'll never love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Passion of Mary Margaret , go HERE

Pattie's Review:

Wow. What a story. What a book!

As I was mulling over what to write in my review the other day, I was thinking about authors and how they are known. I believe this is part of the branding process. With some authors, you know what you're getting. With John Grisham, you're getting a great legal thriller without all the gore and vulgarity you might find elsewhere. With Karen Kingsbury, you're pretty much guaranteed an encouraging (yet tearjerking) story. With Jodi Picoult, you're getting a story involving a family in turmoil over an issue straight from the headlines.

With Lisa Samson, you are getting a book that is spiritual, focuses on Christ, and makes you think differently about an issue that might seem cut-and-dried, but isn't after she turns it inside-out and upside-down.

The Passion of Mary-Margaret has given me much to ponder and think about, not just about Catholicism (and being a military chaplain's wife, I'm more ecumenical now than I used to be and more open to learning about other faiths), and not even about Christian mysticism and contemplation. More about how Mary-Margaret's relationship with Jesus is played out throughout the story.

This is a book that I am happy to recommend. It isn't anything like I've read before, and it most definitely is not a "typical" Christian novel. (And yes, like Karen Kingsbury, Lisa Samson makes me cry!)

I am going to be keeping this one, and am loaning it out to a new friend.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Writers Remember

When was the last time you were excited about writing? Was it today? Was it last week? Last year? So long you can't even remember?

Have I got a website for you!

Writers Remember is meant to remind you of why you like writing in the first place. With a revamped style and some new staff, we hope to be a refuge for burned-out writers everywhere.

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Echo Within Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for Robert Benson's latest book The Echo Within.

From the publisher:

The Echo Within will reach you right where you are. Written out of his own lifelong search for and response to the calling voice of God, Robert Benson recounts his discovery of the meaning of vocation, work, and purpose through the ups and downs inherent in family life, professional choice, and spiritual experience

This book is perfect for anyone beginning a new career or sensing a needed change in their life or wrestling with a transition suddenly thrust upon them. Robert Benson delivers wisdom, humor, and heart in what he’s learned about listening for The Echo Within—and how it can help us discover our calling.


The Echo Within is a profoundly affecting, honest look at the myriad ways we are drawn into our life’s best work.

Written out of his own lifelong search for and response to the calling voice of God, Robert Benson recounts his discovery of the meaning of vocation, work, and purpose through the ups and downs inherent in family life, professional choice, and spiritual experience. With clarity and insight, and in the elegant prose for which he is known, he gently invites and encourages readers to find such deep truths for their lives as well. In particular, he illuminates the way for readers to explore:

· ways to sense the Holy in our pursuits, both in the pursuits themselves and within ourselves.
· how to fall into our vocation and chart a course toward it at the same time.
· how to love the work we do, and the process of doing it.

For anyone beginning a new career or sensing a needed change in their life or wrestling with a transition suddenly thrust upon them, Robert Benson delivers wisdom, humor, and heart in what he’s learned about listening for The Echo Within—and how it can help us discover our calling.

Pattie's Review:

I really enjoyed this book. It appeals to the quiet contemplative who lives in my brain but does not often manifest in my social life. As I read, my fingers itched to write down so many quotations from the book. It is full of nuggets of wisdom and profound insights about the nature of God that are fresh and thought-provoking.

Robert Benson writes about how to find the echo of the divine call of God within ourselves. It's an echo of the One who spoke us into being and who speaks to us within our hearts today.

Benson has given me much to ponder, especially during this Lenten season. I highly recommend this book. In fact, I think it would be a great gift for college graduates this spring.

Many thanks to the author and publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

To purchase, click here.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Back to Life

In going through my box o'review books (and yeah, I have an entire box!), I found one that I never reviewed! Oops. Sorry to CFBA and Kristin Billerbeck.

The original post is here, and I'm reprinting the synopsis:

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

I enjoyed this book a lot more than the first in the series, The Trophy Wives Club. Both books have Billerbeck's trademark snark, but where Trophy Wives dealt with divorce more, Back to Life deals more with widowhood (although, readers of the first book will remember that Lindsay and Ron had separated in the first book, so Lindsay really has dealt with a lot!). Both life situations are tough for women in their 30s, and I appreciate the honesty with which the author deals with these situations.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Daniel's Den by Brandt Dodson

Welcome to a blog tour stop to promote Daniel's Den by Brandt Dodson.

from the back cover:

Daniel Borden and Laura Traynor live two different lives. Daniel is a successful stock analyst . . . Laura operates a bed and breakfast . . . But when unseen forces send hit men after each of them, a twist of fate drives them together as they are forced to flee their common enemy. In a high stakes game of cat and mouse, they learn just how big the cat can be. And that it's no game.

I was surprised to discover how much I enjoyed this book. It reminds me a lot of John Grisham, with the intrigue, fast-pace, and mystery. Most certainly this is a Christian book, but far from preachy in style and content. It's definitely not a cozy mystery; there's more death and violence than a typical cozy or inspirational suspense book would have.

The story is so realistic I fought the urge to Google some of it! It could be ripped from today's headlines, it seems so current.

I would recommend this book for Grisham fans and fans of thriller-mystery books.

Thanks to Glass Road Public Relations for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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...