Wednesday, May 29, 2013

American Phoenix


When I first received my copy in the mail, I opened the package an set it on the kitchen table while I prepared dinner.  My father honed in on the cover – Adams and his wife ordering script – and asked what it was about.  After I explained I’d gotten it to read and review, he asked, “Can I read it as soon as you’re done?” 

Fast forward to after dinner, when the book was again sitting on the kitchen table.  My mother grabbed it.  “Ooh, a history book.  What’s this one about?”  She proceeded to sit on the couch with the stack of mail, and ended up reading two chapters before getting back to her housework.  She made me promise not to get rid of it when I was done, so this biography has become a permanent fixture in the house.

After she surrendered the text, I got to experience it for myself. It really does blow the reader away. The writing is fast-paced and interesting.  Despite the fact that it is a biography, it isn’t slow or boring.  No detail seems needless.   I had never known that much about John Quincy Adams and his wife, Louisa.  I highly recommend this to history fans.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Magnificent Malevolence

I received a copy of MAGNIFICENT MALEVOLENCE by Derek Wilson from Lion Fiction via Kregel Publications.  The cover proclaims: “Memoirs of a career in hell in the tradition of the Screwtape Letters.”  Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but with that kind of an introduction and the eerie devil pictured on the front, I was intrigued.    

After reading the introduction, I understood that Screwtape was a senior devil introduced by C. S. Lewis in 1942.  This led me to research more about C. S. Lewis.  I’m embarrassed to admit I hadn’t known much more about him other than his Chronicles of Narnia fantasy series.  That, however, is a different matter.

Back to MAGNIFICENT MALEVOLENCE…if you read this, prepare to enter the twisted mind of…well, a twisted individual.  He’s a devil explaining life and thoughts through his writings.  They are a mixture of professional language – the type you might find in an office manual or a college textbook – and the insightful depth of a diary.  Then, think about how it’s wicked.  The letters span from 1942 to the present, which is interesting in itself by offering a new view of the past.  If you do happen across this, it is worth a look.  The writing sucks you in and the darkness of the humor keeps you turning the pages.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Point: the Redemption of Oban Ironbout

I received a copy of THE POINT: THE REDEMPTION OF OBAN IRONBOUT by William E. Jefferson from Port Estillyen Productions via Handlebar Publishing.  I love books like this that take you to a different place and touch your soul with the thoughtful words.  It is also the type of book I can share later on with family and friends.  I have a great network of book readers whom I give my favorites to – a friend, my mother, my uncle, my grandmother, and my cousin.  We’ve become a sort of book club and THE POINT fits in well with our bookshelf.

Enter Hollie and Goodwin, newly married.  They need to think about a few things, in particular Hollie’s kidney disease, so they travel to Estillyen.  I’d never heard of it before, but as I continued reading, I realized it’s a real place.  I may go some day.  The writing brings it to life as a spiritual location of healing.    I recommend this for fans of redemption novels, as well as those who love a book that can speak to the soul.  I’ll definitely watch for the companion edition, REDEMPTION: TWELVE READINGS FROM THE MONKS OF ESTILLYEN.  William E. Jefferson is masterful at weaving scripture with fiction. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Guardian

I received a copy of THE GUARDIAN by Beverly Lewis from Bethany House.  It is the third book in Home to Hickory Hollow series.  I have not read the others, but I will definitely look for them now.  I have read multiple other titles by Beverly Lewis and enjoyed each one, so I knew THE GUARDIAN would be a treat.  Her down-to-Earth Amish books transport you to a simpler, pleasant lifestyle.  She also shows us new glimpses into the Amish lifestyle.  For example, I had not realized Amish men and women participated in running marathons. 

This story takes place in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  My mother loves the tranquility there and insists we spend a week each summer in Bird-and-Hand, a town actually featured in THE GUARDIAN.  I cannot wait to have my mother read this story after me! 

In the novel, Jodi Winfield recently lost her sister to cancer and is spending a time in Lancaster County to housesit.  While out on her jog, she notices an infant alongside the road.  She takes the little girl home and helps her find her Amish family in Hickory Hollow.  Jodi and the Amish community come to terms with each other, and each grows in his or her own way.  It is a beautiful, sweet story.   I recommend THE GUARDIAN to fans of Amish fiction.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Another Awesome Auhor!

It’s time for AAA – Another Awesome Author.  This time, I would like to introduce you to my dear friend and amazing critique partner, Eliza Tilton.  He’s prepared a very special treat for you guys.  Please, see below, and have a fun journey!


If you’ve landed here during your adventure, skip all this and go below.
If you’re wondering what’s going on, go here to start your own adventure!
And may The Creator bless you on your journey.

Your story:
You follow the stream north, keeping your hand on your weapon. The night is cold, and each careful step leads you closer to the dangerous creatures. Winter wolves are vicious, and you pray to The Creator for protection.
The stream leads to a pool that funnels underneath the rock. The moonlight breaks through the trees shining onto the pool. Around the pool, amidst the grass, are clusters of black flowers.
And lying on the grass are two winter wolves.
Their size is beyond what you imagined, with white fur and ears that point to the sky.
The two wolves are busy eating a large animal and haven’t noticed you, yet.
Do you . . . .
A)     Sneak past them and pluck a few flowers. Go here
B)      Run. Go here

Below is the html for the rafflecopter.

Book goodreads blurb:
Hopeless he'll never be more than the boy who didn't save his brother, 17-year-old Avikar accepts his life as the family stable boy, trying to forget the past. But when his sister, Jeslyn, is kidnapped, the thought of losing another sibling catapults him on a desperate quest. With his best friend by his side, and using the tracking skills he learned from his father, he discovers Jeslyn has been taken, kidnapped by one Lucino, the young lord of Daath, a mystical place thought only to exist in fables.

And Lucino has plans for Jeslyn.

Author BIO:

Eliza graduated from Dowling College with a BS in Visual Communications. When she’s not arguing with excel at her day job, or playing Dragon Age 2, again, she’s writing. Her stories hold a bit of the fantastical and there’s always a romance. She resides on Long Island with her husband, two kids and one very snuggly pit bull.

Goodreads links:

Author links:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I received a copy of A DREAM SO BIG: OUR UNLIKELY JOURNEY TO END THE TEARS OF HUNGER by Steve Peifer with Gregg Lewis, from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze.  I love nonfiction books like this.  They take you to another world, one that is happening now, not a fantasy someone created from imagination (don’t get me wrong, I love those too – I have to, I write them!).  With these books, I can share them with my family, in particular my mother and my uncle.  We can discuss and brainstorm ways to help real people in these real situations.

This adventure takes you to Kenya.  Steve Peifer and his wife, Nancy, decide to work as dorm parents at a school there.  They had lost their infant son and wanted to go somewhere new, somewhere they could immerse themselves in good deeds.  You get to experience their growth as parental figures as well as saviors to the children.  You laugh and cry with them.  When I first opened the book, I turned to a middle section and read about Steve helping a child in the middle of the night deal with feeling ill.  I couldn’t help but smile at Steve’s authentic voice – it felt as if he spoke to me from the couch in my living room.  Each page came to life thanks to Steven’s compassion and sincerity.  I highly recommend this book.