Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher

Allison had married her college sweetheart and soon they had an adorable little girl.  All seemed to be as it should be.  The young wife felt blessed and assured that life would be near perfect.  Then slowly she began to see a pattern that threatened the very foundation of their marriage- jobs lost, excessive drinking, apologies and fresh starts, only to be followed by further disappointment.  Finally, as their daughter embarks on adulthood, Allison decides that Tony must become totally sober or the marriage is over.  Certain that God has led her to take this stand, Allison has delivered the ultimatum. Only Tony's response is NOT what she expected.  They proceed to divorce, and now, more than a year later, Allison has relocated to the remote cabin she inherited from a great aunt, Emma.

In the solace and simplicity of the woods, After discovering some old journals hidden away in the attic, Allison begins to delve into her aunt's early years, and realizes that Emma's story will help her heal.  She establishes new friendships and catches the attention of a handsome cowboy who has his own tragedies.
Finally, when her daughter comes for the holidays and asks that her father be allowed to come also, Allison is ready to see Tony again and to trust God that she will not be hurt again.

Robin Lee Hatcher, one of the most popular Christian novelists, is perhaps best known for her historical novels.  She has switched to the contemporary setting in A Promise Kept to tell a story that is very personal. I did not read her comments at the end of the book until I'd finished the book, and I am glad I didn't.  Her final words had a bigger impact that way.  To not spoil anything about this story, I won't say more.   If only all promises were kept and all endings happy.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trustry by Michael HIngson with Susy Flroy

Michael Hingson, national ambassador for the Braille Literacy Campaign, is a miraculous survivor of 9/11. He lives with his wife, Karen, in the San Francisco Bay Area with two guide dogs, Africa and Fantasia, and one cat, Sherlock.
Susy Flory is the author or coauthor of five books, including the New York Times bestseller Thunder Dog. Her articles have appeared in Today's Christian WomanEnrichment JournalGuideposts books,, and with Focus on the Family.
Thunder Dog not only tells the true story of Michael Hingson's miraculous descent down the stair well of Tower One of the World Trade Center after the first plane hit on 9/11, led by his dog Roselle, it also flashbacks to Michael's childhood in a family who refused to let him be hindered by his blindness.  He also comments on the restrictions still placed on blind individuals by employers and society in general.  The book is called Thunder Dog because Roselle, like many dogs, is afraid of thunderstorms.  When a storm hits in the wee morning hours of September 11, 2001, Michael awakes to comfort his dog.  Just a few hours later, the two leave for the commute to the World Trade Center where Michael's company is holding an important sales meeting.  Although tired, both Michael and his companion have just settled into a routine morning when the first plane strikes.  Without knowing for sure what has happened, Michael and a co-worker see that the visiting customers safely leave the building, then set about to close down the computers and lights in the office.  Flying debris and fuel fumes prompt them to abandon all thoughts of securing the office, and the two men, along with Roselle begin the decent down 78 floors.

As you read the book, you'll see how teamwork helps Roselle and Michael remain calm, and the two are actually able to help others.  Interaction among the many walkers keeps everyone on track to safety.  As firefighters begin a rapid climb up the other side of the stairs, an EMT stops to ask Michael if he needs assistance.  Only after Michael firmly shows that he is alright does the man continue on his journey up.  Within hours, Michael will realize that  those firefighters never return.  Thunder Dog was our bookclub's choice for March.  I actually recommended it after seeing that it was a citywide read in nearby North Fond du Lac and other cities.  It is definitely a book that could be read together as a family if you have kids in the 4th grade up range.  There are some essays about blindness that follow the actual memoir that probably would not interest children, but I found they revealed much about the obstacles blind people still face.  An excellent reader's guide with discussion questions, prepared by co-author Susy Flory can be found on the web.  A survivor, when so many perished, Michael Hingson has wondered why God allowed him to make it out safely, and has since 9/11 has dedicated his work to helping others understand the world of the blind.  Roselle was honored for her bravery, but later retired as a guide dog when health issues related to breathing in the hazardous materials floating through the air that day.  She was able to spend her last years as Michael's adored pet.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Long Awakening by Lindsey O'Connor

This book is being reviewed at this time in honor of  Brain Injury Awareness Month.

Late summer 2002 Lindsey O'Connor gave birth to a little girl, their family's fifth child.  Soon after she hemorrhaged so severely that she lost almost all her own blood, needed multiple transfusions, and subsequently was placed in a medically induced coma.  For forty seven days, Lindsey's family did not know if she would recover.  Doctors felt there was no brain activity and prepared the family for the worst.  Development of ARD (acute respiratory disease) complicated her care and recovery.  The Long Awakening documents lengthy and difficult adjustment to life after the coma.  As she emotionally describes, being in a coma is nothing like the movie versions.  Her awakening was a dragging into the consciousness, a combination of fog, terror, and pain. Memories of nightmares plague her reentry into the world of the living; a disconnect between herself and her newborn daughter plague her for months.  When friends from her church tell her that she is a miracle, that their prayers were answered, she does not feel the same.  An avid reader and broadcaster, Lindsey finds that words are a meaningless jumble on the page.   A full year or more after her lengthy rehabilitation, Lindsey and her husband realize she still cannot cope with daily life -- parenthood, shopping, etc.
As they seek help, they receive the diagnosis - post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and sleep apnea.  Basically, for over 18 months, Lindsey had never entered REM, the deep healing sleep that we need daily, and she was an emotional/physical wreck.  Her brain injuries were more prevalent than anyone thought.

Lindsey says that writing this memoir was a difficult, emotional task.  Virtually absent for the first months of the journey, she needed to interview family and friends, and years later, began to understand how each coped (and didn't cope) with the possibility of her death. Readers will have the objectivity to see the strong bonds that held their family intact and the love that her church and friends expressed through their actions.  
For the first weeks, they "mothered" the new baby until Jacqueline, the O'Connor's oldest daughter dropped out of college to care for the infant.  The church had a rotating meal delivery system that continued long after Lindsey's return home. Perhaps most painful was Lindsey's final discovery that her husband had during one crisis signed a DNR order, only to rescind it, resign it, and rescind it again.  Acknowledging his decision helped her understand just how ill she had been.

I've read other books entailing desperate struggles back from near death.  While others may have expressed bouts of anger and frustration, I think O'Connor's story is told with an unequaled quiet, frankness.  There are no single day epiphanies, sudden cures, single savior doctor.  This is the truth of a woman's struggle to be whole, aided by her extended family's devotion. Reading The Long Awakening will help all of us better understand brain injury and medically induced comas. Perhaps it will prompt us to be more attentive and caring after a patient returns home.  Release from a hospital (especially these days) does not mean a return to normalcy.  I do wonder how families who have experienced brain injury would react to this book.  My own experience here is limited.  Recently, a young couple in our neighborhood had a similar birth experience.  We all felt prayers were answered when the mother survived the emergency transfusions, hysterectomy, and medical coma, and ultimately was able to take their new son home within a week.  Reading this book makes me all the more grateful for their happy ending.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Nonfiction for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.  Here is a link to information on Brain Injury Awareness Month

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare

About Quilts of Love: Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love seriesfocuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

About the book: In 1951, Frankie Chasing Bear is a Lakota caught between cultures. She wants to raise her son Harold to revere his Lakota heritage, but she knows he will need to become as a white man to succeed. After his father's killed in a barroom brawl, Harold and Frankie move to Arizona, where she begins a Lakota Star pattern quilt for Harold with tribal wisdom sung, sewn and prayed into it.

She distrusts Christians, as her own parents were forced to convert at an Indian School, until she meets BIA agent Nick Vandergriff, a half-Lakota who's also caught between cultures. Nick must convince Frankie that white men and Christians aren't all bad as he tries to win her heart in order to put the stars back into her sky.

Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Lovewebsite.

About the Author: Linda S. Clare is an award-winning coauthor of three books, including Lost Boys and the Moms Who Love Them (with Melody Carlson and Heather Kopp),Revealed: Spiritual Reality in a Makeover World, and Making Peace with a Dangerous God (with Kristen Johnson Ingram). She is also the author of The Fence My Father Built. She has taught college-level creative writing classes for seven years, and edits and mentors writers. She also is a frequent writing conference presenter and church retreat leader. She and her husband of thirty-one years have four grown children, including a set of twins. They live in Eugene, Oregon, with their five wayward cats: Oliver, Xena the Warrior Kitty, Paladine, Melchior, and Mamma Mia!

Learn more about Linda at:

Landing page: 


This is my favorite of the QUILTS OF LOVE series of books.  Set in the 1950s, I especially liked the undercurrent of Lakota and other native heritage.  Tensions between the Native Americans and the white man were handled realistically, but no one was painted with a heavy hand.  While all the novels in the QUILTS OF LOVE series in some way are connected to quilts, I felt the connection a quilter feels towards quilting (the importance it can place in one's life) was portrayed strongest in this story.  Frankie is designing and making a quilt for her son that she hopes will represent their Lakota tradition, just as her grandmother taught her.  As she works on the stars in the sky, she begins to finally understand how her grandmother could claim a place both in the Lakota world and in God's kingdom.  This would be a good addition to church libraries or as a gift to someone who enjoys Christian fiction.  I believe it would entertain a wide age range.  

I received a copy of this title from LITFUSE for my review and participation in the blog tour.  All opinions are mine.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Driven: From Homeless to Hero, My Journeys On and Off Lambeau Field by Donald Driver

Let's face it, even if you aren't a football fanatic, if you live in Wisconsin, it is 99.9% percent likely that you are a Packer fan.  I fall into that category.  I don't watch them consistently; in fact, I have a self-regulated "banned" status since they tend to lose if I watch.  That said, Donald Driver has always been a favorite of mine, ever since I heard about his foundation work with struggling families and children.  When I later learned that he had written some children's books about "Quickie," his childhood namesake, I knew he was a good role model.  When I taught internet research skills to fifth graders, I often used Donald as the "subject" of our searches.  When Packer nation was in a tumultuous uproar about Brett Favre's on/off retirement status,  Driver was often interviewed and I admired his tactful loyalty to both his friend Favre and the Packers. And when Driver became a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, let's just say I became a dedicated viewer of the show!  Like many fans, I was disappointed that he didn't play much his last season with GB but was pleased with the team/fan tribute to him after the season close.  Throughout that fall, I watched a local GB television show The Better Half which features Packer wives and girlfriends.  Betina Driver was a co-host and seeing her talk about their family life increased my interest in the couple.

So, OF COURSE, when Donald's autobiography Driven was published I wanted to read it.  As I said in an earlier post, I was on a long, long list of patrons wanting to borrow the book from the library system.  It was the book I took with me to read on our recent vacation, and it was a good choice.  The book was easy to pick up, read a chapter or two, and then leave for other activities.  Much of the book centers on Donald's early days in Texas.  Donald and his siblings were raised mainly by their mother and paternal grandparents.  Donald's father was in and out of their lives, mostly out.  For a few years, a stepfather provided some stability, but when that marriage ended, so did the stability.  For a short time the family was homeless, and while Donald's mother worked hard to support them, she was absent. leaving Donald, his brother, cousins, and neighbors to regularly sell drugs.  For years, Donald kept selling, but not using himself, and only quit after he meet Betina in college.  Although Donald doesn't write extensively about his wife and family, what he chooses to share indicates a man who works to keep his marriage strong and his family secure.

One of the things I liked best about Donald's book is that he really downplays his own talent, instead concentrates on telling a wider story of his life.  Even when his disappointment over his final years of playing  is evident, he does not bad mouth anyone.  This is not a book that will break the Packer organization open with scandal, and I appreciate that.  There is something very honorable about Driver and his decision to be a Packer only.  I miss his smile in Packer nation and hope he continues a strong charitable presence in our state.  I would love to see him on a national sports show or in some other aspect of the public eye.

This book would be a great gift for a Packer fan; the book is an easy read and will fill some of those empty hours waiting for summer football camp and preseason games.

PS.  No matter where you go, you will find Packer fans.  Case in point, as I was waiting outside a beach restroom on Anna Maria Island this past week, a lady in a pink Packers shirt walked by me.
I quickly asked her if she was from Wisconsin.  She replied no, but that her husband had been.  Within seconds, I knew he had grown up a town over from where I had, and that they still had relatives in GB.  GO Pack!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Come on Wisconsin, where is spring?

Husband and I got home last night(this morning??) at 3:00 a.m. from a week's vacation on Anna Maria Island, FL with longtime friends. We had a night flight home from Tampa and then had to drive from Milwaukee home. Weather on the island was gorgeous; only had one day with rain, and the temperatures ranged from mid70s to 80s.  Lots of beach walks, some kite flying and time for relaxing.  Many of the spots where we ate had outside "sand" or "water" seating. We were even fortunate enough to meet up with Russ's nephew Todd and his wife who live in Largo. The area where we stayed has just undergone a major beach renovation, pumping sand onto the beach from the ocean.  They actually finished up while we were there and pulled out all their equipment.  If you look closely at the photo of Russ flying his kite you can see big rusty colored tubes; they are the pipes for carrying the sand.

I am glad to see that most of the snow here has melted, but I sure need to see green and pops of color.  I put all my wintery, snowman decorations away before we left and I have my spring/Easter stuff out now.  I just want the weather to go with them!!  I've gotten used to wearing capris, short sleeves, and a light sweater at night.  Do I really have to layer for warmth again?  We don't usually travel in the winter, but I am so glad that we did this year.  I might be looking into the longer, snowbird lifestyle for future years.

Friday, March 14, 2014

What's on your reading table?

Normally, I stick to one book at a time when I read, but some review deadlines, upcoming book club,
and some travel plans have me juggling several books at once, with others in close line up to be read.
Since I haven't finished any of them, I thought I just share a bit about all, and if anyone has read a title, they can leave a comment.  I should be writing full reviews in the next weeks.

First, let's start with Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero by Michael Hingson and Susy Flory.  This is the March selection for our book club.  At least one nearby city had selected it last year as a city-wide read.  I was fortunate to obtain an audio copy from WPLC  (Wisconsin Public Library Consortium), so I've started listening to it.  Already, I have been pulled into Michael's plight.  As the introduction makes clear, readers will be using their senses as they follow Michael and his dog's miraculous escape from the tower.  Seeing as Michael depended on his dog and his own hearing and touch, I think it is appropriate that I will be listening to this heroic tale. 

Thunder Dog by Michael Hingson

Last night, I started reading A Sky with Stars by Linda S. Clare, another Quilts of Love novel from Abbingdon Press.  There currently is a a giveaway connected with this book.  I can already tell that essentially this is a Christian romance, but the Lakota heritage of Frankie Chasing Bear and her son
color the story from the first pages.  Even the connection to quilting is rich with Native American lore and custom.  When a novelist uses a cornerstone such as quilting for her books, I like for that hobby/place/item to be an integral part of the characters' lives, not just a gimmicky add-on to fit a publisher's wants. 
I don't think I will be disappointed with Clare's latest writing. 

A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare

Several weeks ago I received a copy of The Long Awakening by Lindsey O'Connor from Revell Nonfiction.  I am supposed to post a review sometime in March, but other deadlines have come first and I've pushed the book to the bottom several times.  This memoir is well worth the wait  Journalist Lindsey O'Connor tells the heart wrenching story of her fifth child's birth and her own subsequent hemorrhaging which left her in a medically induced coma for almost 50 days.  The road to recovery was much longer.
I"ve had to stop this book at page 75 so I could start the two books I've already mentioned.  Even so,
I have learned so much about coma patients, especially those who have been placed in a medical coma.
Lindsey describes a battle her then teenage daughter had with her belief in God a few days after the traumatic birth and her mother's near death.  At this point, doctor's do not believe Lindsey has any brain function. Like many who face tragedy, Jacquelyn realizes her current feelings of hopelessness can drive her to deny God; or despite her doubts and fears she can choose to believe.  This is a book that I want to read slowly and savor the lessons that Lindsey and her family share.

 Like many who face tragedy, Jacquelyn realizes her current feelings of hopelessness can drive her to deny God; or despite her doubts and fears she can choose to believe.  This is a book that I want to read slowly and savor the lessons that Lindsey and her family share.


Packer fans everywhere will understand why I am going to read the next book on my pile. 
Driven: From Homeless to Hero, My Journeys On and Off Lambeau Field by
Donald Driver gives us one more chance with Green Bay's all time leading receiver. Winnefox, the library system our library belongs to, lists at least 29 copies of this book.  Even with that many copies, I have been
on the holds' list since the book came out last fall and just now received a copy to read.  The rough days of his childhood in Houston, the girlfriend (later wife) who helped him turn life around, the amazing rise within the Packers, his desire to give back by helping kids, and of course, the smooth moves on the dance floor --- I expect to learn more about all aspects of his life.  Can't wait to share the details.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fun and games

What are your favorite smells, sights, and sounds for each of the seasons?  If you could spend seven different nights in seven different places, what would they be?  What one house in the United States would you like to visit?  These are just a few questions from the CHAT PACK FOR KIDS.  Held in a small plastic container, there are 158 cards, each with its own conversation starter question.  We received this set and the regular "adult" set from our daughter as a gift several years ago.  The grandkids enjoy using them at meals when they are here.  Tonight, two granddaughters, ages12 and 8, decided we should do a round while we ate supper.  Lots of laughs.  It's always great to witness their developing imaginations and interests.  Both girls got really interested as Grandpa talked about snorkeling when he was younger.  I highly recommend this little gem, and it's even small enough to tuck into a suitcase if you are traveling to visit grandchildren, or if you are traveling with them somewhere.

We gave the youngest of these two granddaughters the game BUBBLETALK for Christmas, and it turned out to be such a hit that we had to buy our own game to keep here at the house.  It has the same basic game set up as APPLES TO APPLES but in this game, players have seven caption cards in their hands, and they select what they think is a great caption to go with the silly photo the dealer has chosen.  The dealer, without knowing the identity of the caption owner, selects what (s)he thinks is the best one.  Often the photos and the captions are outrageously funny.  We've had some hilarious meltdowns as we've played.  Even our six year old granddaughter reads well enough to play and understand.  After the dinner table was cleared tonight, we set up BUBBLETALK and I must sadly report that I did NOT win, but I had some great chuckles.  I'm not being rewarded in any manner for this blog entry, but I just want to share some wholesome family fun ideas.  You can check Barnes and Noble or Amazon for reviews and more details, or just do a search for the games by name.   I'd suggest getting them at a small toy store -- just like book stores, they need our support!

Product Details

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Snapshot by Lis Wiehl


Two little girls, frozen in black and white. One picture worth killing for.
Federal prosecutor Lisa Waldren’s estranged father wants her to investigate a cold case from his FBI days. Lisa nearly refuses, even though a wrongly convicted man faces execution for murder. Then her father reveals a photograph: a little white girl playing alongside a little black girl at a civil rights rally in 1965 where the crime—the shooting of a civil rights leader—took place. She recognizes herself in the photo.
She was there.
Lisa agrees to help, resolved to boldly seek answers she’s skirted for decades. What she discovers are layers of deception, both personal and professional, reaching as high as the head of the FBI. Possibly even the president.
And though Lisa and the other girl may have escaped the 1965 shooting physically unharmed, her little friend, now grown, bears the scars of it. All because of the color of her skin. As Lisa and her father get closer to the truth, the real killer turns the hunt around.

My Review:

I want to thank Netgalley for supplying me with an ecopy of this title.  These are my opinions.  I've read two (or maybe three) books by Lis Wiehl now, and I will definitely pursue more.  In Snap Shot I loved the unfolding suspense, but unlike many recent "thriller" type books I've read lately, every new clue seemed so plausible  -- no sudden, unbelievable villain, no stalling of action with unnecessary narration or minutiae, and poorly developed motives.  A 1965 Civil Rights' Era killing
has a strong historical flavor, and although, there was not a major Civil Rights leader killed in Fort Worth in that year, Lis creates a story that smacks of authenticity.  When you realize that her father was a FBI agent during that time, and that she became a federal prosecutor, you will understand how she can write with such realism.  If you have never read anything by Wiehl, this is a good novel to start with.  Even after finishing the novel, I can still close my eyes and imagine that photo of a little white girl and a little black girl, sitting in innocence, as the world surrounding them stirs in turmoil.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New quilted tote

 My sewing project last week was this large tote.  One side was made with the "string" method.
Slim, random width strips are sewing across a square of foundation fabric.  Four completed squares are sewed together.  You don't expect the pieces to line up across squares, but you get a "wonky" diamond pattern.

The other side contains a large zippered pocket which will hold my Nook, camera, and such.
The inside of the bag has several pockets and a place to hang keys.   I am always losing keys in my purses and bags.  Happened today in a grocery store.  Naturally the key had sunk all the way to the bottom of a multi-sectioned purse.  I HATE THAT!

I had been seeing so many bright spring bags over the last weeks in the stores, but I didn't want to spend that much money.  I had even bought a piece of decorator weight cotton and planned to use that for a spring bag, but when I went to sew, I couldn't find the fabric.  It wasn't with the other fabric I bought that shopping trip, so I started to doubt my memory.  Maybe I felt I was spending too much and put it back??  That's when I noticed all these scraps, most of them from recent projects.  I decided to dive in and do something with them.   Then, as I opened the old trunk where I store batting, I found that piece of decorator cotton, still bagged up with the length of batting I purchased that same day.  So even though, I was frugal and used up many scraps, I still added to my stash!!  Quilters will understand that never ending saga.

I hope to be using this tote for some traveling this spring and summer.  If offers plenty of room and I know no one else will have anything like it.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Thief by Stephanie Landsem

Stephanie Landsem's Living Water series began with The Well and continues with The Thief.  
Each is based on an actual encounter with Jesus as described in the Gospel of John; then using extensive first century research, Landsem creates an expanded story which imagines how ordinary people might have reacted to the historical events happening around them, including the miracles of Jesus and the birth of Christianity.  In The Thief, an unlikely friendship forms between a young Jewish girl Nessa and a Roman centurian Longinus. Longinus becomes intrigued by the Nazarene when he witnesses the healing of the blind man, who happens to be Nessa's brother. When he sees how the religious zealots reject and even beat the healed man, Longinus wants to help.  This brings him to Nessa, who seems to be the sole person responsible for the family's care. At the same time, Longinus has been given the task of catching two thieves who have made the marketplace their target.  Despite almost catching the littlest thief, Longinus never expects it is actually Nessa.

I won't share any more, except to say that the story will progress to the cross.  Landsem has crafted a
story filled with people who need redemption and new starts.  How each reacts to the history-changing events happening around them makes a compelling read which felt historically accurate. I am sure the hardest part of the book to write was the ending.  How does one make her characters' stories stand out against the greatest story ever - the cross and the empty tomb?  Landsem does a commendable job.

I received a copy of this title from LitFuse for review purposes.  All opinions are mine.


A Roman centurion longing for peace and a Jewish woman hiding a deadly secret witness a miracle that transforms their lives and leads them to the foot of the cross.
Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure. Desperate to escape the accursed Judean province, he accepts a wager. If he can catch the thieves harassing the marketplace before Passover, he'll earn a transfer away from the troublemaking Jews.
Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Only with the help of Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, can she keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and a roof over their heads.
When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Longinus longs to learn more about the mysterious healer. Instead, his journey leads him to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.
Unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, they wonder who this teacher is who heals others but does nothing to save himself. Is the mercy he offers in his teachings real, or just another false promise? Can Nissa and 
Longinus overcome their pasts to find a future free of their shackles?
The Thief is an evocative story of two people trapped in their circumstances and the life-changing power of forgiveness and love.

Purchase a copy: 

About the Author: 

Stephanie Landsem loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she's explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she's not writing, she's feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure---whether it be in person or on the page.

Learn more about Stephanie at:

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Dad's Prayers for His Daughter:Praying for Every Part of Her LIfe by Rob and Joanna Teigen

Cover ArtThis book cover showing the back of a father's head and the beaming face of the blonde daughter he holds grabbed my heart. My four granddaughters are all blonde and over the years, I've seen many times that their dads have picked them up and carried them.  Even the way the little girl holds her own hands and grins is spot on to the way one of our granddaughters hugs her dad.  From the moment I saw the book, I hoped that the inside was as inspiring as the cover.  I believe it is.

Husband and wife, Rob and Joanna have written a collection of prayers to guide fathers as they pray for their daughters.  As Rob shares in the introduction, they've seen how much their parenting strength and wisdom has grown as they've laid specific concerns before the Lord.  Glancing over the table of contents will direct a father (parent) to a wanted topic --  When She feels inferior,
When She is angry, When She's Bored, When She's rebellious, When She feels pressure to achieve, and more.  Prayers can be adapted to the gamete of ages.  Interspersed with the prayers are some true life dad/daughter stories.

Recent statistics show that the relationship between a girl and her father is a strong deciding factor in how well the girl will navigate life as an adult.  If that relationship is crucial, imagine how much more important is the relationship between the girl and her heavenly father.  We, as parents, are given the responsibility to cultivate that relationship.  Dads (and Moms) who recognize how important family dinners are, how vacations can bring us closer together, and who are willing to coach softball and such, but who find that they don't pray over their children often enough, will see wonderful examples of praying the specifics in this book.  I like that each prayer need is coupled with appropriate Bible verses. The verses themselves are lessons in faith and trust.  I will be passing the book on to some important people in my family.  It would make a wonderful Father's Day gift.

 Rob and Joanna Teigen will be publishing a similar book in fall 2014 for mothers and sons. They've also written 88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates.  Rob is also the author of The Big Book of Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids under the name Rob Elliott.  I received a copy of this book for review purposes from Revell Nonfiction.  All opinions are mine.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Distortion by Terri Blackstock

About the book: Juliet Cole's life has been dismantled by the murder of her husband. She doesn't know who---or what---to trust when everything she has believed to be true about her marriage has been a lie.
A husband's lies can have deadly consequences.
When Juliet Cole's husband of fifteen years is murdered before her eyes, she thinks it was a random shooting. Devastated and traumatized, she answers hours of questioning, then returns home to break the tragic news to her boys. But a threatening voicemail takes this from a random shooting to a planned, deliberate attack.
Juliet realizes that she and her children are in danger too, unless she meets the killers' demands. But as she and her sisters untangle the clues, her husband's dark secrets come to light. The more she learns, the more of her life is dismantled. Was her husband an innocent victim or a hardened criminal?
Pre-order a copy for just $4.99 on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, or the eBook version on CBD until March 10th.

Purchase a copy: 

About the Author: Terri Blackstock has sold over six million books worldwide and is a New York Times bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention,Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, Restoration, and Moonlighters.

Learn more about Terri at:

My Review

Distortion, book two in the Moonlighter series, continues the family saga of suspense and danger begun in Truth Stained Lies.  Juliet and sisters Cathy and Holly who moonlight at private investigators with former police officer Michael Hogan find once again that their work will be personal.  They can't just wait while the local police and FBI drag their feet in solving the murder of Juliet's husband.  That Bob, a physician, was not the selfless, dedicated healer that everyone had believed him to be, makes the task all the more difficult for the sisters.  When it appears that the man who murdered Michael's brother (and Cathy's former fiance) is involved, everyone realizes that no one is safe, especially not Juliet and her sons.

I have never been disappointed in a Terri Blackstock book, and her craft just keeps improving.  Plan to read the book in one sitting (or as close to that as possible).  And make sure you have read Truth Stained Lies first.  You can understand book two without reading the first, but you'll get a better understanding of Juliet, Cathy, Holly, and Michael if you read the two together.

I received a prepublication copy from LitFuse for review purposes.  Opinions stated are mine.
Check out these other blog reviews from the current blog tour for more opinions about the book.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Another quilt -- Spring Joy

Spring Joy

I recently finished a twin sized quilt which I have named Spring Joy.  The quilt was made of bright turquoise and lime green cottons. The eight inch rows consist of blocks pieced with jelly roll prints alternating with solid squares. These eight inch rows alternated with scrappy 5 inch rows, pieced with random lengthed rectangles.  I drafted the pattern to use what materials I had and finished it off with a scrappy binding.  It was refreshing to work on such bright fabrics during our deep freeze winter; that is why I decided to name it.

I am not a sophisticated quilter and I don't profess to be any good at free motion quilting, but I keep trying.
This time I did repetitive, scrolling straight lines on the rectangles and sort squared off snail patterns on the blocks.  All done, the quilting is quite dense and I like it.  This quilt will probably be a gift or donation quilt.
A little of the quilting shows up