Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing

Heart Of Stone
Zondervan (March 1, 2010)

Jill Marie Landis


Jill Marie Landis is the bestselling author of over twenty novels. She has won numerous awards for her sweeping emotional romances, such as Summer Moon and Magnolia Creek. In recent years, as market demands turned to tales of vampires, erotica, and hotter, sexier historical romances, Jill turned to writing Inspirational Western Romances for Steeple Hill Books. She truly feels back in the saddle again, working on stories that are a joy to write. With her toes in the sand and head in the clouds, Jill now lives in Hawaii with her husband, Steve.

Laura Foster, free from the bondage of an unspeakable childhood has struggled to make a new life for herself. Now the owner of an elegant boardinghouse in Glory, Texas, she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. But Laura never forgets that she is always just one step ahead of her past.

When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. She knows that if her past were discovered, Brand’s reputation would be ruined. But it’d not only Laura’s past that threatens to bring Brand down─it’s also his own.

When a stranger in town threatens to reveal too many secrets, Laura is faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should she leave Glory forever and save Brand’s future? Or is it worth risking his name─and her heart─by telling him the truth?

Kay's comments: Enjoyable, well written fiction. It's hard to imagine that just a few years ago Christian Fiction was not a genre. Now it is prevalent, due in part to stories such as these. This book has a many unique twists which add a fresh read in historical fiction. Highly recommend.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Heart Of Stone, go HERE


Monday, March 15, 2010

Delicious Fun… Learning on the Side…

Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids

by Amy Houts

What a delightful way to interact with your children, grandchildren or students!

Children love to mix, stir and pour with sand, dirt or water. Why not take this enjoyable play and divert it to the kitchen? Instead of mud pies you gain quality time as well as skills in social interaction, social studies, math and science. There’s also joy in producing something to share that is yummy!

Amy Houts, a prolific writer, imparts an abundance of ideas for children and their families, friends and care givers. She is adept in supplying clear instructions for children to be successful and yet, allow for creativity. The introduction includes hints for conserving water, energy and paper products, nutrition, working together, cooking terms and safety.

For each geographical region of the United States, there are recipes, activities, fun facts and history. You will find a variety of recipes to suit everyone’s taste such as breads, soups, main dishes, vegetables, deserts and beverages.

Featured delicacies highlight locally grown foods. For example, from the Pacific Coast Region you will discover recipes for Fruit Relish, Waikiki Meatballs and Applesauce Mix-in-the-Pan Cake. From the Appalachian Highlands, you will find Chicken ‘n Biscuit Dumplings, Scrambled Eggs with Virginia Ham and Pecan Bars.

Together you can shake up some homemade butter while singing the “Butter Song” or if you like, whip up your own peanut butter.

The type is large enough for beginning readers or aging eyes to appreciate. Simple drawings and interesting type add character to the pages.

Cooking Around the Country with Kids is an altogether delightful book for kids of all ages!

Amy Houts Bio:

I live in the rural northwest Missouri town of Maryville. I was born in New York, and have lived in several states including Maryland, Kansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. After staying home with my children for ten years, I went back to college and earned a degree in Library Science from Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville. I have worked as a children’s librarian, preschool teacher, and features writer for the local newspaper. Currently I am a freelance writer, as well as an instructor for approximately 75 students in a correspondence course on writing for children through the Institute of Children’s Literature. I am the author of 32 children’s books and two cookbooks. I work well on assignment with two assigned books upcoming.

I'm an avid reader. My mother has always called me a “dreamer” because of my active imagination. I began writing in high school, but didn’t think about writing as a career until years later. When my first-born daughter was a baby, I began to write while my daughter napped.

My interest in cooking began at an early age. I was encouraged to cook as a teenager and often made the family meals. After high school, my love of cooking and baking led me to attend the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. I worked in a restaurant for a year and especially enjoy baking for my family and friends, as well as writing about food. My third cookbook, Cooking Around the Country with Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities , is out!

My husband, Steve, is a seventh grade science teacher, and I have two grown daughters. I spend my days mostly at home, writing and teaching with my adorable lab mix, Gina.

Check out Amy's web site at http://amyhouts.com/

Monday, March 8, 2010

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Abingdon Press (March 2010) by

Debbie Viguie


Debbie ViguiƩ has been writing for most of her life. She has experimented with poetry and nonfiction, but her true passion lies in writing novels. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing from UC Davis. While at Davis she met her husband, Scott, at auditions for a play.

Debbie's love for writing brought her from working as a church secretary to a successful career writing supernatural fiction. She is the author of Midnight Pearls, Scarlet Moon, and Charmed: Pied Piper, and the young adult Sweet Seasons series. She also is coauthor of the New York Times bestselling Wicked book series.

Debbie and Scott now live on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. When Debbie is not writing and Scott has time off they love to indulge their passion for theme parks.


Cindy’s church is getting ready to celebrate Easter, and Jeremiah’s Temple is preparing for Passover when Cindy literally stumbles over the body of an unknown man lying dead in the sanctuary. The church was locked, and a bloody cross necklace on the floor seems to be the only clue. The killer is likely a member of the congregation, but there are hints that similar deaths have happened in the past. Are Cindy and Jeremiah dealing with a serial killer? They have to unravel the clues before Easter Sunday arrives and more people die.

Cindy and Jeremiah come from two different worlds, even though they work right next door to each other. Cindy is a strong Christian who lives a normal but somewhat dull life, working as a church secretary. Jeremiah is a Reformed rabbi with a mysterious past full of danger and excitement. But one eventful Easter/Passover week, the two find themselves working together to solve a murder and stop a serial killer from striking again. Solving the mystery should put an end to their alliance, but the church secretary and the rabbi quickly find themselves enmeshed in another mystery. Soon the two form a friendly alliance and friendship, exploring personal history and faith and growing closer with each passing adventure. Despite their differences Cindy and Jeremiah find a lot of common ground.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Lord Is My Shepherd, go HERE.

Kay's Comments: What an intriguing concept!! A rabbi and a church secretary walk into a.... sounds like a joke but this book is far from that. While there is humor and a bit of light romantic tension, there are daily lot of unimaginable, grisly murders. There is some description but not in vivid detail. Nicknamed the Passion Week Murders, the setting the holiest of time for Jews and Christians, Passover and Easter.

I love the insights into another religion as well as insight into how we are seen by others.

One part that hit home with me is when the rabbi has to decide whether to continue to chase a killer who is running away or answer the call of an injured victim to provide spiritual care. He realizes he is a rabbi not a policemen. It reminds me of the Tyranny of the Urgent, a booklet that challenges one to take stock of what is most important.

Finding out "who done it" is wonderfully complicated and unexpected for the most part. The writing is good but still lacks some of the professional polish that will come for this author. I've read the 1st chapter of the next book in the Psalm 23 series and it looks good!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

In the Land of Believers

By Gina Welch

When Gina Welch, a secular Jew from California, decided to infiltrate the world of Thomas Road Baptist Church (Jerry Falwell, founding pastor) in Virginia, it seems she had preconceived ideas of what she would find. She was surprised.

Instead of discovering a people who mindlessly followed charismatic leaders, Gina found sincere believers who were part of a loving community. She soon found herself drawn into the fellowship of people who honestly cared about her. Somewhere along the way, she came to love the music and found genuine friends.

While reading this book, I was surprised and challenged at several points. Because I am a Christian, sometimes it was a stretch to understand Gina's viewpoint and why she found certain aspects of the Christian culture peculiar. What she pointed out was often I the way I think and talk. I found it revealing and important to see the Christian culture from an outsider's viewpoint.

As I looked closely at my motivation for choosing this book, I realized my expectations were also unsupported. While the followers of Falwell's ministries are professing Christians, I express my Christian beliefs differently in some ways. As I read, I realized I had hoped that Gina would confirm my approach to the faith as a better approach.

To the contrary, I found myself humbled. As Gina described her experience, I found I have more in common with the people she encountered than differences, especially in terms of love for others and the essentials of faith.

Finally, I was surprised by Gina's conclusions and I have a challenge for her. Gina, you state there is nothing after this earthly life. If you are correct, there is nothing. However, if there is a possibility of a life in heaven after this earthly life, why not take a chance? If Christians are wrong, what have you lost? Obviously you found the found the quality of life positive while interacting with those in the church. These are the people who accepted and forgave your deception and still desire a relationship with you. They point you to God who still desires a relationship with you.