Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Becca by the Book

Scroll on down for my review at the end :)

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Becca By The Book

Zondervan (January 1, 2010)


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.

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.

To learn more about Laura’s latest novels, please check out her Books page.

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.

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


Sales clerk, barista, telemarketer, sign waver...

At twenty-five, free-spirited Becca Daniels is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. What Becca doesn’t want to be is bored. She craves the rush of a new experience, whether it’s an extreme sport, a shocking hair color, or a new guy. That’s why she quit her bookstore job, used her last bit of credit to go skydiving, and broke her leg.

And that’s why, grounded and grumpy, Becca bristles when teased by friends for being commitment-phobic. In response, Becca issues an outrageous wager—that she can sustain a three-month or twenty-five date relationship with the next guy who asks her out. When the guy turns out to be “churchy” Ben—definitely not Becca’s type—she gamely embarks on a hilarious series of dates that plunge her purple-haired, free-speaking, commitment-phobic self into the alien world of church potlucks and prayer meetings.

This irrepressible Getaway Girl will have you cheering her on as she “suffers” through her dates, gains perspective on her life’s purpose, and ultimately begins her greatest adventure of all.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Becca By The Book, go HERE

Pattie's Thoughts:

I really, really liked this latest Getaway Girls novel. I reviewed Turning the Paige last year, and I remember how much that book resonated with me.

Becca is quite a different heroine from Paige, though. A younger daredevil who struggles with finding faith, this book is much more women's fiction than romance. More searching than finding. More questions than answers.

If you are looking for a story outside the normal realm of Christian fiction, then this is the book for you. Laura Jensen Walker's indirect critique of "Christianese" and how all of our Jesus talk might just be over the heads of the ones who need it most, is both convicting and eye-opening.

I loved all the book quotations included in the novel! Such fun.

Overall, this book took my preconceived notions of what it might be, turned them upside down and dumped them on the floor. The pattern that emerged was different, unexpected, and wonderful.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bible in 90 Days

I spent some time reading the Bible today, trying to catch up. I'm several Old Testament books behind, but I am not giving up! Even if it means I'm not finished in 90 days.

Observation: Those whiny Israelites! I hope I'm never that whiny or disbelieving. Lord, help me.

No one is afraid of her.

I learned from my Writer's Almanac today that it's Virginia Woolf's birthday.

From A Room of One's Own:

"So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Crazy Dance Week

I figured I'd better post something while I still have some free time!

This is Crazy Dance Week at our house. Yes, my daughters have a performance this weekend, which means extra rehearsals in place of classes this week. I jokingly tell people I'm living at the Empire (the theater we use for performances) this week if they need to find me!

What this means for me is that I will not have as much online time. Perhaps this is a good thing. Sometimes I have a hard time pulling away from the computer, because I love to read emails, message boards, do a little research, read blogs, the news, play games on Facebook, etc. Sometimes an hour has gone by and I didn't even know I'd been online for ten minutes.

I'm hoping that the extra time "unplugged" will help me appreciate all I have. I am also hoping I can catch up on my reading: Bible reading (still plugging along, although I'm three OT books behind), review books, and for my class.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Male Factor by Shaunti Feldhahn

Welcome to the blog tour for Shaunti Feldhahn's new book The Male Factor.

Have you read her previous book For Women Only? I think it's one of the most practical guides out there for understanding men. I see it recommended throughout the blogosphere for help with marriages.

Here is some overview info from the publisher, then my review follows.

From the Publisher:

A startling and confidential exploration of what men privately think about the words and actions of women in the workplace, based on nationwide surveys and confidential interviews with more than 3,000 men, ranging from corporate CEOs to factory workers.

Many talented women today risk undermining their careers without realizing it, simply because they don’t understand how they are perceived by their male colleagues and customers.

In The Male Factor, best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn reveals the inner reality behind men’s views — the unspoken expectations that no man would dare to publicly acknowledge, and no woman would learn from an HR department. These revelations include:

• Men’s unwritten ‘rules’ of the workplace
• How men perceive workplace emotion
• What common situations with female colleagues most frustrate men-- and why
• Why revealing clothing can sabotage a woman’s effectiveness
• Why some men think flextime is fine, but equal compensation for it is not

This book equips women with the information they need to make informed decisions and compete on a level playing field.

Pattie's Thoughts:

I have not yet finished reading this book, but I have looked through it extensively. I can tell you that from past Feldhahn reading journeys, she has done her homework, girls! She backs up these startling facts with common sense and some very solid research, and it shows.

Additionally, there are two editions of this book out there: one for the general market (you might have seen her on the Today show today, actually), and one for the Christian market. I have the one for the Christian market, and there is a section about all of this information from the Christian worldview.

Impressive research, put into a very readable, accessible format.

To purchase, click here.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. Thanks to the staff for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour.


NBC appearance (click Launch Video)
Shaunti Feldhahn's site for the book

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Writing quotation for the day

"If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works."
~John Dos Passos

Monday, January 11, 2010

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get

I'm behind, behind, behind.

Behind on book reviewing.

Behind on reading.

Behind on Bible in 90 Days.

Le sigh!

But instead of blogging, I'm going to log off and actually DO IT. :)

PS: Something I learned this week: Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and other elders ate a meal in God's presence! Never knew that before.

That's why I love the Bible. Something new every day!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Friday Felicities

Friday Felicities for January 8:

  • brownies
  • my job
  • snow
  • snow clearing crews
  • my husband!!! (last but not least)

Be sure to post yours at Becky's blog!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Fresh in 2010

"Fresh Year, Fresh Start" Kristi has asked for us to post our ideas for our spiritual growth.

I have already posted about my spiritual journaling, and my 2010 theme. I've been trying to keep up with the Bible in 90 Days challenge (a little behind, but plan to catch up this weekend). Additionally, I've stepped up my commitment to helping other military wives at Wives of Faith.

That's a lot!

I'm trying not to beat myself up this year for not accomplishing everything, trying to keep my focus on what is important rather than what is not, reading and writing as much as I can, and above all taking good care of my family.

I'm still excited about all that 2010 will bring, and while it's tough to live in the moment when it's below zero with -30* wind chills, I'm still looking for beauty and joy in the world.

Want to see others' Fresh posts? Go here - and be sure to add yours as well.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs

Welcome to the blog tour for Chantel Hobbs' One Day Way.


The One-Day Way produces lasting results by taking you back to basics. No more complicated weight-loss strategies. No more expensive diet plans that achieve only temporary results. Instead, you will lose weight and get fit with Chantel Hobbs’s simple, high-energy meal plans and her at-home program for cardio exercise and strength training. She will teach you how to change the way you think, which leads to new actions. Before you know it you will be strong, fit, and healthy. All it takes is doing things differently for twenty-four hours—and then repeating it.

The One-Day Way gives you everything you need to lose weight and get fit in body, mind, and spirit:
  • Break free from past dieting defeats
  • Learn a realistic, life-changing way to measure success
  • Change the way you think so you can change your life
  • Translate your dreams into goals, and your goals into lasting achievements
  • Get strong with thirty-one simple exercises, no fancy equipment required
  • Take advantage of ten ways to eat better while you lose weight

By focusing on food, faith, and fitness, Chantel shows you not only how to lose weight, but how to build the new life you were designed to live. You don’t have to wait any longer. The One-Day Way gives you all the tools for success, starting right now.

Author Bio:
The author of Never Say Diet and The Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Trainer, Chantel Hobbs is a motivational speaker, life coach, personal trainer, marathon runner, wife, and mother of four whose story has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, the 700 Club, and the covers of People and First magazines. She appears weekly on two fitness-themed radio programs and promotes her One-Day Way Learning System on television. Visit Chantel at for fitness updates and coaching tips.

Pattie's Review:

I think this is the book for you if you're looking for motivation to lose weight and keep it off. The plans seem easy to follow and the sample menu is quite reasonable.

My favorite thing Hobbs says is that perpetual progress moves you toward permanent results and accomplishments.

Or in the words of Dory the fish, "Just keep swimmin'."

You can purchase the book here.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Thank you to the staff there for giving me the opportunity to review their books!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Bible in 90 Days Day 4

"How are you doing?" the readers ask with bated breath.

She responds, "Well, I'm doing ok, all things considered."

(just a li'l fiction style for fun!)

I will say this: It's not easy breaking old habits and forming new ones. I'm still trying to find my new rhythm!

I have also found that if I fall behind, that's ok; I can catch up later. Right now I have about seven more chapters in Genesis before I'm caught up.

I'm not, as some of my fellow sojourners, taking notes on this reading. Instead, to avoid bogging myself down, I'm just reading my Bible like a wonderful, familiar-yet-new Book.

It is quite different, reading the Bible more quickly this way, watching His story unfold.

A Soldier's Devotion

Cheryl Wyatt has a new book in her Wings of Refuge series: A Soldier's Devotion.

You can purchase the book at Amazon or CBD, or retailers near you that sell Steeple Hill Love Inspired books. Read an excerpt here.

About the Book
U.S. Air Force pararescue jumper Vince Reardon was headed to a lifesaving mission. Until a too-pretty lawyer crashed her fancy car into his motorcycle—sidelining him for two weeks. Vince can barely accept Valentina Russo's heartfelt apologies. Ever since his brother was wrongly convicted—and killed in prison—Vince has lost respect for lawyers. But wait—is that Val volunteering at his refuge for underprivileged kids? If Vince isn't careful, this lady of the law might just earn his respect and his heart.

About the Author
Born Valentines Day on a naval base, Cheryl Wyatt writes military romance. Her Steeple Hill debuts earned RT Top Picks plus #1 and #4 on eHarlequin's Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists including NYT Bestsellers and she is a Reviewers Choice Award nominee.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


"Fresh Year, Fresh Start" is a blog series I'm looking forward to reading! Hope you'll join me--and these ladies--in fresh ways to serve God! I heard about it on my friend Teri Lynne's blog, but she linked to Kristi, so there you go. Click anywhere, really! :)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

What I Did Today

Just me, my new 2010 journal, the February Writers Digest on Creativity, and a Caribou campfire mocha at the dance studio.

The Sweet By and By

The Sweet By and By was written by first-time author Sara Evans and her collaborator, award-winning (and a personal favorite) author, Rachel Hauck.


From Rachel's website:

Jade Fitzgerald left the pain of her past in the dust when she headed out for college a decade ago. Now she's thriving in her career and glowing in the light of Max Benson's love.

But then Jade's hippie mother, Beryl Hill, arrives in Whisper Hollow, Tennessee, for Jade's wedding along with Willow, her wild younger sister. Their arrival forces Jade to throw open the dark closets of her past--the insecurity of living with a restless, wandering mother, the silence of her absent father, and the heart-ripping pain of first-love's rejection.

Turns out Beryl has a secret of her own. She needs reconciliation with her oldest daughter before illness takes her life. In the final days leading to the wedding, Jade meets the One who shows her that the past has no hold on her future. With a little grace, they'll meet in the middle, maybe even before that sweet by and by


The main character, Jade, has been wounded by life, by poor choices of her own making, and by circumstances beyond her control.

What I appreciate about Jade--and what the authors have done with this wounded woman--is that she owns her own part in the tragic circumstances and hurt in her past. Instead of blaming others--which is natural and, in her case, somewhat deserved--Jade acknowledges her own choices as her own; her mistakes are hers. Only then, by the love and grace of God, can she forgive and be forgiven. And heal.

I enjoyed this novel. It's sweet without being too sugary. Honest without being vulgar. And I don't believe I'm breaking the cardinal rule of book reviewers by saying that I sighed in contentment as I closed the back cover.

Sara Evans' first foray into fiction is a success--and she chose well her writing partner; Rachel Hauck continues to be one of my favorite authors.

It's ok if . . .

. . . you waited until today for your resolutions:

I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you? Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.

~Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary

Friday, January 01, 2010

Saying No...


I am saying no to any reading challenges for the first half of 2010.

I have many challenges of other kinds in 2010: taking a Creative Writing class, and packing, and selling a house, and moving, and possibly taking a month to live with my inlaws so my daughter can attend a summer dance intensive . . . therefore, it's just not going to work for me to commit to any reading list. I'll take what I feel like taking with me in the car next summer, and the rest of my books will be packed up indefinitely.

I love the TBR challenge and have been a part of it for four years. I adore the Spring Reading Thing and the Fall into Reading challenges at Callapidder Days. I love mini short-term challenges, like Everything Austen.

Perhaps after we get settled in San Antonio, I might consider one or two.

But for now, the only one I'll commit to? I WILL be reading.

Have a great reading year in 2010!

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...