Friday, June 29, 2012


I received a copy of REDEMPTION: A REBELLIOUS SPIRIT, A PRAYING MOTHER, AND THE UNLIKELY PATH TO OLYMPIC GOLD by Bryan Clay and Joel Kilpatrick.  I was intrigued by this since the Olympics are coming up; however, the book really didn’t hold my interest.

I really enjoyed how this is a true story.  I love to know that I am reading is fact.  Bryan Clay took home the 2008 Olympic gold medal and 2004 Olympic silver medal in the decathlon.  I must admit that I don’t normally watch the Olympics, so I had to look up what the decathlon is – feel free to snicker at me now.  The book follows Bryan as he describes his life story to the reader.  It came across very smooth, as if Bryan and I sat at a table together, discussing his facts.  Uncomfortable topics, like STDs, are written as a matter of fact, no sugar coating or glorifying.  I found it fascinating to watch him grow and see his athletic abilities build.  Christ remained in his foundation, a steadfast reminder of who he wanted to be. 

I just, personally, couldn’t get into the story.  I am not really into sports, so I believe that distanced me from the story.  I highly recommend this to sport fans and anyone interested in the Olympics.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I received a copy of THE BOOK OF BOOKS: THE BIBLE RETOLD by Trevor Dennis, from Lion via Kregel.  The book, bound with an impressive hard cover, contains many stories from the Bible, retold in simple language for today’s youth to enjoy. 

There are twelve chapters.  They deal with popular Bible stories.  For example, chapter six contains four parts: Ruth, Naeomi, and Boaz: Love Wins the Day; Jonah, a Big Fish, a Great City and the Forgiveness of God; the Book of Job: Shaking a Fist at Heaven; and Songs of Light.  Each chapter starts with a few paragraphs explaining what it contains, and then the parts include illustrations.  Some of the pictures were a little abstract for me, but the patterns will surely appeal to children.

Since the stories are short, it was easy to read one every night before bed and then discuss it with my family.  My grandmother also enjoyed it.  She has dementia and we’ve hired people to sit with her at nights.  They all enjoyed sharing these stories.  They were quick and simple enough to keep her attention, while keeping the meaning.  This is a perfect addition to any library for children of all ages. 

Friday, June 22, 2012


I received a copy of SUBMERGED by Dani Pettrey, from Bethany House.  It is the first book in the Alaskan Courage series.  The cover really caught my attention:  the look of fear, adventure and determination in the woman’s eyes, mixed with the picturesque landscape behind.  I was happily not disappointed.  The main character, Bailey, is truly a fascinating character.  Her past was dark, full of alcohol and loose morals.  Now, she has welcomed Jesus into her life and changed for the better. 

The mystery was addictive.  Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.  Bailey’s aunt Agnes dies in a plane crash.  Bailey returns to Alaska to sort through her aunt’s belongings.  Meanwhile, her old boyfriend, Cole, is looking for a murderer.  A scuba diver is dead and a boat is covered in blood.  Throw in Russian history, ancient artifacts, and a sunken island – what a recipe for exploration! 

Personally, I would have liked to see more of Bailey’s past.  Nothing in the “now” reflected that past, other than memories a few people brought up.  Bailey seemed too changed.  Even though years had passed, her everything “back then” I felt as if it were added on. 

I recommend this book to Christian literature fans, anyone looking for a heartwarming romance, or a mystery lover.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I was given a copy of the book FOOLS AND KNAVES:  THE TRUE STORY OF MY HISTORIC PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN by Jim J. Johnson, Former Presidential Candidate as told to Steven Clifford.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I don’t normally read political books, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  The writing is witty and comical.  I was entranced from the first sentence to the last.  It wove a spell that put me beside Jim J. Johnson.  I pictured us sitting on a park bench, enjoying a warm and sunny day, while he told me his story. 

The writing didn’t feel like nonfiction.  Many parts felt like fiction, with dialogue and descriptions.  Some terms were over my head – I’m not very big on politics.  However, they were explained and didn’t jar me from the story.  I recommend this to anyone who wants a rollicking read, interested in “the other point of view,” or intrigued by politics. 

For anyone interested, here is the book trailer:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I received a copy of MOONBLOOD by Anne Elisabeth Strengl, from Bethany House.  It is the third book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood.  I read the second book, VEILED ROSE, a while ago and really enjoyed it.  This one, not so much.  My favorite character from the second book, Rose Red, returned, but I felt that this book was more about Prince Lionheart.  He was also in the second book, and I hadn’t cared too much for him.  This time, he downright annoyed me.  Not only is he self-absorbed and weak, but I felt as if I should like him.  He had no real endearing qualities until the end, but by then, my loathing was solid.  I’m sure some people will like him, but I was completely turned off and dreading reading large sections about him – and kept catching myself before I would begin to skip.

MOONBLOOD is a Christian fantasy, including witches and talking goats.  I really love the fantasy world.  Anna Elisabeth Stengl creates a vivid realm that kept me awake many a night dreaming about its places and people.  The action never ceased.  There is plenty of emotion and imagery.  Overall, the book is complex, with plenty of twists and endearing moments. 

I’m curious to see where book four leads, and I will keep my eyes open for book one in this exciting series.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Author Interview and Book Giveaway with LM Preston!

In the past, I’ve interviewed published authors, and it is time to welcome another: LM Preston!  I’ve known her for many years and she is an amazing critique partner, full of insight and imagination.  Her newest book, THE PACK: RETRIBUTION, is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  You might also remember her from the writing contest, where she gave the winning fantasy critique.   

In your own words, how would you describe THE PACK: RETRIBUTION?
Full throttle action teen mystery with the tightest group of friends led by a reluctant hero, Shamira who is willing to give up the one person she's allowed herself to love to save his life.

Where did you come up with the idea for the story?
My daughter wanted me to write about a female hero, and Shamira was a kick-butt hero that was needed to fulfill the diversity in the Young Adult scifi hero void.

Who is your favorite character and why?
Hedi is a fun character to write, she's been through a lot and is just as needy for a friend as Shamira is. When Hedi comes on the scene she brings out the best in Shamira that only a girlfriend can do for another girl.

What did you learn while writing the novel?
I learned that I enjoyed writing females just as much as I do male characters - only they have to have a little tomboy in them like I did at that age.

Many of my readers are aspiring professional writers.  Tell us about your publishing process? 
The publishing process is a long process because it takes a while to build visibility for a book. So expect your book to take a year to get out, not because publishers are slow, but because your work gets edited over 10 times after you get a Literary Agent who then sells your book to editors. After and during your editing process, the publisher is trying to sell your work and it takes time to tell everyone a new book is coming out. It's a process that works. Be patient.

What is your best advice for writers?
You must like writing and you must write many books. Don't just finish one series but write the first book in many series so you have more product to sell. And lastly, think big, there are many options available to authors now, so do your homework and learn the publishing business like the back of your hand. When you do all of the above, make-it-happen.

LM Preston has agreed to give away a copy of her book.  To qualify for a chance to win, you need to leave your name, email address (or she can’t contact you!), and a comment.  Questions for her about the book and writing are eagerly welcomed.  On July 1st, she will choose a winner.  Good luck!


I received a copy of MONDAYS WITH MY OLD PASTOR by Jose Luis Navajo, from Thomas Nelson via Booksneeze.  This true account follows the author, Jose, as he questions his life and Christian faith.  On his forty-sixth birthday, he realizes that he feel incomplete.  He isn’t as happy or fulfilled as he wants to be.  So, he visits his old pastor, who opens Jose’s eyes to the world.  They meet every Monday, and each Monday is a different chapter.  It feels as if the reader is visiting the pastor, too.  I read this in a few days so I could blog about it, but I would have preferred to read one chapter a week – on Mondays, of course. 

The book is beautifully written, many parts flowing as smoothly as a novel, while others are as informative as nonfiction.  Jose wrote his emotions with expertise: I felt his anger with him, I felt his frustration.  I sensed the beauty of the world as seen through Jose’s eyes. 

I recommend this book to anyone who hopes to improve his or her daily life.  The characters are unforgettable and the experiences moving.  At times I laughed.  Other times, I cried – which made it an interesting book to read in public! 

The cover is also very moving.  I love the sense of the wise old man sharing his experiences across the pages.