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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Good Returns - Making Money By Morally Responsible Investing

Dallas/Ft. Worth, TXIn the wake of the great stock market meltdown of 2008-2009, many people are rethinking the way they invest their money. The debacle brought to light widespread investment practices that are an affront to anyone who strives to invest with professional ethics and personal moral dignity and left average middle-class investors reeling from financial loss and adrift in a sea of questions regarding their fiscal futures. Still, the most fundamental questions are often overlooked: What does it really mean to be an investor? When you make your monthly contribution to your 401k or take a chance on a hyped stock pick, where is your money really going? For moral people, especially people of faith, these are questions that cannot be ignored.

In his new book, Good Returns: Making Money by Morally Responsible Investing, author and Chartered Investment Counselor George P. Schwartz, CFA, calls Christians and conservatives to pursue a portfolio that reflects their values. “When you buy stock in a company, you are not just holding a piece of paper. You become part owner of that company, and that role includes some rights and responsibilities,” says Schwartz. “Your financial investment is supporting something, and you need to do the research to ensure that you are not supporting or tacitly agreeing to activities that are morally abhorrent to you.”

Schwartz explains the important distinction between the pop culture notion of socially responsible investing and the narrower and more exacting demands of morally responsible investing. While socially responsible investments tend to screen out companies according to left-leaning causes like environmentalism, gay rights, and a broad (and often loosely defined) range of social justice issues, morally responsible investments screen out companies according to a clear set of criteria: those who support or service the abortion industry, producers and distributors of pornography, and companies involved in embryonic stem cell research.

Schwartz’s approach to investing is quickly gaining ground. His firm manages the Ave Maria Mutual Funds, the largest family of Catholic funds in America, with over 25,000 investors. With a foreword by NCAA coaching legend Lou Holtz, Good Returns has drawn endorsements from a veritable “who’s who” among pro-life leaders and influential conservatives including marriage and family advocate Phyllis Schlafly, nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham, Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, and Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report.”

“George Schwartz reminds investors that even the smallest shareholder is an owner of the corporation and therefore accountable for the moral suitability of its products, services, and policies,” says the Honorable James L. Ryan of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit. “Schwartz also destroys the myth that profitability must suffer when investors and their well-informed investment advisors ‘screen out’ big name corporations that do not measure up to the investor’s personal moral standards.” To wit, the Ave Maria Growth Fund claimed the prestigious 2009 Lipper Award for outperforming the more than six hundred other funds in its category over a three year period.

Good Returns offers time-tested wisdom on the complexities of the investment process, demonstrating why moral people make good investors and morally upright companies can be profitable investments. Schwartz also offers insightful commentary on the current political policies affecting the country’s financial condition. He points out that even in an unfriendly political climate, morally responsible investing is a way that people can make a real and positive impact.

“While the moral picture of modern American society has become somewhat clouded, most people in the USA still accept the idea that there are distinctions between right and wrong,” says Schwartz. “This gives me enormous hope for the potential impact of morally responsible investing as a lever of ethical change. I am truly honored to champion this cause.”

Good Returns: Making Money by Morally Responsible Investing by George P. Schwartz, CFA

Geodi Publishing April 2010

ISBN: 978-0-9844042-0-9/191 pages/hardcover/$25.00

My Review:

I enjoyed the insight this book offers for those of us who have invested our money in the current market. We, as Christians need to make sure that we are investing our money in companies that promote the values and beliefs that God would have us invest in, not in just any old company that is guaranteed to make you some money. It's those investments that in the long run will do more for you that just add money to your bank account but keep you accountable to God as well.

I received Good Returns, Making Money By Morally Responsible Investing by George P. Schwartz, CFA and William J Koshelnyk, compliments of B & B Media Group for my honest review. In light on this trying economic times, I personally feel the book gives you just what we need to get through these hard years. I would rate this book 8 out of 10.

If you would like more information on the book, the authors and where you can obtain a copy to purchase, please click on the links above. This book is only available in Hard Cover format.

Refuge on Crescent Hill

My Review:

In today's economic downturn it's easy to find yourself working one day and the next you're not. Camden Bristow returns home from Indonesia after the floods only to find her current office of employment vacant. No one is there. Her phone calls to her boss only return with a disconnected recording. With her credit cards maxed out, and her landlord threatening to toss her out by 5pm tonight, Camden has no choice but to head back to her grandmother's home on Crescent Hill in hopes she provide her a place to stay until she can get back on her feet again.

What she finds at her grandmother's is her worst nightmare. Her grandmother has passed away 5 days before she arrives and the once beautiful and magnificent mansion on Crescent Hill is about to be condemned by the city for being to unsafe to live in. If she only had the money to fix it, she would have a home to stay in. When Camden learns her grandmother, Rosalie has left the home to her, she now has to decide what is best for her and her families history. Can she bear to sell her families home that was once a station for the Underground Railroad some 150 years ago?

I received The House on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson, compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and can honestly rate this book 10 out of 10. It's a definite must read and the characters are true to life and completely believable. I can definitely see this book as having a sequel and hope that Melanie Dobson decides to continue the story. For more information on the book including a first chapter preview, the wonderful and talented author, and more see the links below:

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Refuge on Crescent Hill

Kregel Publications (March 11, 2010)


Melanie Dobson


Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of The Black Cloister; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana; and Together for Good.

Prior to launching Dobson Media Group in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of events, products, films, and TV specials. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She has worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Jon works in the field of computer animation. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their new home in the Pacific Northwest.

Jon and Melanie have adopted their two daughters —Karly (6) and Kinzel (5). When Melanie isn't writing or entertaining their girls, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, traveling, hiking, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.



Jobless, homeless, and broke, Camden Bristow decides to visit the grandmother she hasn’t seen in years. But when Camden arrives in Etherton, Ohio, she discovers that her grandmother has passed away, leaving her the 150-year-old mansion on Crescent Hill. The site of her happiest summers as a child, the run-down mansion is now her only refuge.

When Camden finds evidence that she may not be the mansion’s only occupant, memories of Grandma Rosalie’s bedtime stories about secret passageways and runaway slaves fuel her imagination. What really happened at Crescent Hill? Who can she turn to for answers in this town full of strangers? And what motivates the handsome local Alex Yates to offer his help? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camdem uncovers deep family secrets within the mansion’s walls that could change her life─and the entire town─forever.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Refuge on Crescent Hill, go HERE.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Missing Max

When baby Max is kidnapped during Mardi Gras, Jane and Kyle Madison's life falls apart.

What their daughter Melanie, does next is unthinkable.

Max vanished into thin air while in the care of his teenage sister, Melanie. Six months later, the family is a shadow of its former self: Melanie blames herself and is acting out and rebellious; Jane is obsessed with finding Max; and Kyle, a lawyer, struggles to cope with his own grief - and a persistent suspicion that one of his cases is connected to Max's disappearance.

With her family in turmoil and her marriage on the rocks, Jane thinks things can't get any worse. Then when an affair and an unexpected pregnancy threaten to tear the Madison's lives apart, an anonymous caller leads to a break in the case. Can a second kidnapping bring their family back together? (excerpt from back cover).

My Review:

Being a mom, I thought I would find reading this book, Missing Max by Karen Young, to be a challenge based on the content of a child being kidnapped. However upon reading this story I gained insight I had never realized before. You get to see what happens in the lives of this family that is forced to move forward with each day and what the results are in their marriage.

Melanie was supposed to be watching Max while he slept in his stroller and when a Mardi Gras float stops in front of her and her friends, she realizes she knows the people on the float. She is only distracted for a few minutes but it's enough time to realize that her baby brother has been taken.

She frantically calls her mom who has left to get them something to eat and can't believe it when Melanie tells her what has happened. How on earth will they find Max in the middle of a Mardi Gras parade?

Jane feels responsible for leaving Max while she went to get them all something to eat. Melanie feels she is responsible for not keeping her attention on her brother, and Jane's husband Kyle, is upset with them both.

All they find after searching for an hour is a tennis shoe left behind in Max's stroller by the river's edge.

Trust me when I tell you this, the book is amazing. I love how the faith of God is revealed in the families crisis when they at first blame God for taking their son. Yet it's through that same faith that will slowly over time bring the family back to Him. See what amazing details God does throughout this book. I would highly recommend it and give it a 10 out of 10!

I received this book compliments from Glass Road Public Relations for my honest review. If you would like more information about this book, the author and where to purchase a copy of Missing Max, by Karen Young, please click on the link below:

Simple Secrets

My Review:

At first I wasn't sure how I would like this book about a Mennonite town set in the town of Harmony, Kansas, but after reading this book, I would love to move anywhere like this small town describes. Just the love of the people for one another within a small town is something I've been searching for my whole life. A simple town much like Mayberry from the old Andy Griffith show. Grace Temple finds herself the lone heir of her old Uncle Benjamin's home when he dies. Since he hasn’t spoken to anyone in his family since Gracie's parents left the town of Harmony, Gracie was the only family left he wasn't angry with.

Gracie's plans are to head to Harmony and collect what family heirlooms remain, sell the house and be back in Wichita in two weeks. What she discovers in the town of Harmony is that it isn't as harmonious as the name implies. Someone has a secret to hide. One that has been buried by the town's inhabitants and one that may very well put Gracie's life in danger after she arrives.

I received Simple Secrets by Nancy Mehl, compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and absolutely fell in love with the story from page one to the very end. It has also opened my eyes to the old ways of the Mennonite people and the strong faith that ties families and friends together with the grace of God. I would highly recommend this book as the perfect story to lose yourself in. All the characters are believable and lovable from the harsh, old neighbor, Sweetie to the new pastor of the church Abel and his wife Emily. I would rate this book a perfect 10 out of 10. Trust me, this is one to keep in a permanent home in your library or to give as a gift for someone who questions their faith in God.

For more information on this book, the author, where to purchase a copy and even a first chapter preview, read below:

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Simple Secrets
Barbour Books (June 1, 2010)


Nancy Mehl


Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and her son, Danny. She’s authored nine books and is currently at work on her newest series for Barbour Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”


Nancy Mehl is a mystery writer who loves to set her novels in her home state of Kansas. Her three-in-one book, COZY IN KANSAS, contains the first three Ivy Towers’s mysteries: IN THE DEAD OF WINTER, BYE BYE BERTIE, and FOR WHOM THE WEDDING BELL TOLLS which was nominated for the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award in mystery.

She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.


Graphic designer Gracie Temple wants it all: the big city lifestyle and a successful job in advertising. And it looks like her life is on the right track when she takes a job at a struggling, midsize firm in Wichita.

But Gracie Temple's uncle left her a house in a rural Mennonite community. She soon learns he secluded himself for years to protect a secret about her own father. Now it's up to Gracie to decide if she'll keep the secret or if she can afford to expose it.

Sam Goodrich loves his fruit farm in Harmony, Kansas. But when he meets city-girl Gracie, he begins to wonder if he could leave it behind for a woman who makes him feel things he's never felt before.

When someone tries to keep Gracie from discovering the truth behind the town's collection of secrets, will Sam and Gracie cling to their faith to help them decide what's most important...before it's too late?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Simple Secrets, go HERE.

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. It's hosted by Shelia at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books.

Here are mine for this week, starting off with what I've read this past week:
1. Maid to Match
2. Based on Availability
3. Chasing Lilacs
4. Denial
5. The Influenza Bomb
6. Babushka's Beauty Secrets
7. Alex Cross's Trial
8. You Can Be Everything You Want to Be.

I am currently reading, Missing Max and Refuge on Crescent Hill.

After that for the remainder of the week are the following titles:
1. Heart of Lies
2. Simple Secrets
3. Do You Know Where Your Money Is Going
4. Blind Hope
5. The I Hate to Cookbook
6. The Disappearing Spoon.

In addition, I am currently hosting about 5 giveaways for FREE books that end this week if you want to enter click on any of the titles on the side bar for a chance to win.

Heart of Lies Review and Giveaway

Meet Leo Hoffman, a dashing young Hungarian, born with a gift for languages. After his dreams for the future are destroyed by WWI, he attempts to use his talent to rebuild his life, only to find himself inadvertently embroiled in an international counterfeiting scheme.

When he discovers he's wanted across the European continent for a host of crimes including murder, he escapes with his lover to Shanghai, taking with him a stolen treasure that will prove to be his salvation or his death warrant.

But he soon learns that the gangsters who control the decadent city do not intend to let him outrun his past, and when the Japanese invade, one wrong move costs him everything he holds dear. (excerpt from back cover).

My Review:

This book is a blend of Bourne Supremacy meets Mission Impossible. The book starts off with his Leo Hoffman as he learns that his foster mother and her husband have been murdered due to their communist dealings. Leo had not involved himself in their plans and thus finds himself being warned by the Countess, who he shared a brief affair with that his life is in danger if he remains here.

Since Leo is a man gifted in the ability to quickly learn new languages just by being around those that speak it, he is hired by a man named Bacso who finds a way to make Leo a rich man to use those languages to eavesdrop on a arms deal with several wealthy businessmen. Since Leo has lost everything, he agrees. Yet before the day of the meeting, he is asked by the Chief of Police in Budapest to purchase a diamond and emerald necklace for a wife of someone he is having an affair with.

The Chief doesn't want his integrity and position compromised, and he tells Leo that he will make it difficult for him to leave the country if he doesn't help him out. Forced into this situation, he agrees and purchases the necklace.

While Leo is out making the purchase he falls instantly in love with a lady in Paris named Martha Levy. She too, has the mutual feelings of love for Leo, the suave, handsome looking, charasmatic man she meets in a cafe. They spend the night in a Paris hotel and Leo proposes not being able to spend one more day without her. She agrees!

The next day, he reads in the newspaper that a man has been arrested for using counterfeit money trying to cash a franc note. This is when Leo realizes that the money he has used will now indite him with the purchase of the necklace, the chief gave him. It was a set up. Now Leo leaves a note for Martha telling her he has to leave the country to go to Shanghai, but will be contacting her shortly and that his feelings for her have not changed.

This is where the story begins its face pace adventure that lasts non stop til the last page. This book does have minor profanity, sexual content with several characters having illicit affairs but overall the book does a great job at keeping the story intact while meandering through the toughest of historical times leading up to WWII.

I received the book, Heart of Lies, by M.L. Malcolm, compliments of TLC Book Tours and have been delighted to offer a lucky follower of mine a copy. The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only. No P.O. Boxes please! The giveaway ends on July 5th. To enter, be a follower and leave a comment. That's all there is to it.

For more information on this book, the author and where to purchase your copy, please click on the link below:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Alex Cross's Trial

From his grandmother, Alex Cross heard the story of his great-uncle Abraham and his struggles for survival in the era of the Ku Klux Klan. Now, Alex passes the family tale along to his own children in a book he's written - a novel called Trial.

A lawyer in the early - 1900's Washington, D.C., Ben Corbett fights against oppression and racism - and risks his family and his life in the process. When President Theodore Roosevelt asks him to return to his hometown to investigate rumors of the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan there, he cannot refuse.

In Eudora, Mississippi, Ben meets the wise Abraham Cross and his beautiful granddaughter, Moody. With their help, Ben discovers that lynchings have become commonplace. He vows to break the reign of terror - but the truth of who is really behind the killings may break his heart. Written in the fearless voice of Detective Alex Cross, Alex Cross's Trial is a gripping story of murder, love, and bravery. (excerpt back cover).

My Review:

"Let her hang until she's dead!"

"Take her out and hang her now! I'll do it myself!"

Bam! Bam! Bam!

Judge Otis L. Warren wielded his gavel with such fury I thought he might smash a hole in the top of his bench.

"Quiet in the court!" the judge shouted. "Settle down, or by God I will hold every last one of you sons of ******* in contempt."

Bam! Bam! Bam!

It was no use. Warren's courtroom was overflowing with disgruntled white citizens who wanted nothing more than to see my client hang. Two of them on the left side began a chant that was soon taken up by the others:

We don't care where. We don't care how.
We just wanna hang Gracie Johnson now! (page 3).

Alix Cross's Trial by James Patterson and Richard Dilallo is a heart moving story of a white prosecutor who defends the rights of the poor and oppressed within the heartland of Washington. Most of his clients are colored since no one else by Ben Corbett will take their case.

When Ben is asked by the President to investigate the reports of out of control lynchings in Ben's hometown, its not all at the homecoming he would ever dream of. Ben once more finds himself in the heat of battle with the towns prejudged white citizens who feel that trials only waste time when lynching is the best for the convicted.

What Ben doesn't realize is that he is about to fall victim himself in a town that no longer holds any respect for a man willing to defend the colored people in Quarters.

I found this book wonderful and profound in the fact that one man was willing to stand up for his beliefs in what is just and right no matter what it would cost him in the end. Ben Corbett's character is truly believable and I found myself standing in his shoes wondering just where the deceit in the town would end. I rate this a 10 out of 10 and would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves story about defending the underdogs in any situation. This book is a reminder of the story of To Kill a Mockingbird in a more present day format.

I received this book, compliments of Hachette Book Groups and am please to offer three copies as a giveaway to a follower of mine by simply leaving me a comment. This giveaway is limited to residents of the US and Canada only and No P.O. Boxes please. The giveaway will end July 4th. This book is available in HardCover, Paperback, eBook and Audio CD formats.

For more information on this book, the authors and even where to purchase a copy, click on the link below:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

You Can Be Everything God Wants You To Be

God gave you a zone in which you were made to dwell. He tailored the curves of your life to fit an empty space in his jigsaw puzzle. A sweet spot, if you will. And life makes sweet sense when you find your spot. But what pills do you order, class do you take, or informercial do you watch? None of the above. Simply quarry....your uniqueness.

Da Vinci painted one Mona Lisa.

Beethoven composed one Fifth Symphony.

And God made one version of you. He custom designed you for a one-of-a-kind assignment. You cannot be anything you want to be. But you can be everything God wants you to be. (excerpt from back cover).

In the book, You Can Be Everything God Wants You To Be, by Max Lucado, there are 30 cute, life changing stories from how to manage work stress to how to live up to the potential God has in store for you.

This book would be a wonderful graduation gift to anyone from high school to college to inspire them to the greatness that lies within us all if we would only see ourselves the way God does, instead the way the world judges us.

Written in true Max Lucado style, the down to earth stories show us all how simple it is to live the way God has our lives laid out for us. We simply need a little light to shine on them to let us see how much we may have been living in the dark.

Here's one classic example called Find Your Sweet Spot:

Each person is given something to do that shows who God is. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:7 MSG


Golfers understand the term.

So do tennis players.

Ever swung a baseball bat or paddled a Ping-Pong ball? If so, you know the oh-so-nice feel of the sweet spot.

Connect with these prime inches of real estate and kapow! The collective technologies of the universe afterburn the ball into orbit, leaving you Frisbee eyed and strutting. Your arm doesn't tingle, and the ball doesn't ricochet.

Your boyfriend remembers birthdays, the tax refund comes early, and the flight attendant bumps you up to first class.

Life in the sweet spot rolls like the downhill side of a downwind bike ride.

But you don't have to swing a bat or club to know this.

What engineers give sports equipment, God gave you. A zone, a region, a life precinct in which you were made to dwell. He tailored the curves of your life to fit an empty space in his jigsaw puzzle. And life makes sweet sense when you find your spot. But how do you? Where do you go? What pills do you order, what class do you take, or informercial do you watch? None of the above.

Simply quarry... your uniqueness!

I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book from Max Lucado to review for Thomas Nelson Publishers and found this one just as equal as any of Max Lucado's previous books. The stories are short enough and sweet enough to offer a bit size dessert of what God has in store for all of us, and one I would highly recommend.

For more information on this book, the author and where to purchase your own copy, click on the link below:

The book comes in Hard Cover only!

Babushka's Beauty Secrets

Esthetician to the stars Raisa Ruder learned her time-tested beauty techniques from her Ukrainian grandmother or babushka, as they say in the old country. Now everyone can discover the all-natural, better-than-Botox secrets the Hollywood stars use to shine on the red carpet!

Ruder reveals her sought-after beauty recipes that can fight wrinkles, plump lips, and eliminate crow's feet and acne, using inexpensive, everyday grocery items like eggs, honey, vegetable oil, and strawberries (and a splash of vodka for freshness!). At last, by popular demand, Raisa Ruder open her babushka's secret pantry and share her most amazing and effective beauty advice:

  • Skin-saving souffles - whipped-up wonders that shrink pores, brighten the complexion, and diminish lines.
  • Must-have mustard wrap - an invigorating treatment that smoothes the thighs and reduces the appearance of cellulite.
  • Hot hair - a cayenne pepper blend that leaves locks silky soft and full.
  • Pedi pure - a soothing, smoothing foot scrub made with vitamin E and lavender oil.
  • Lustrous lashes - a simple castor oil serum that thickens and lengthens.
  • Perfect pucker - a moisturizing mask to light up your lips.
  • And much more. (excerpt from back cover).

My Review:

It's taken me awhile to post this review, not because the book has so many great and simple recipes to use, but because my oldest teenage daughter and her friends have been experimenting with this book and they absolutely love the ideas contained within the pages.

The recipes are simple, inexpensive and enable most of us to jump right in with most of the ingredients right from our own pantries and kitchens. There are tips for making a sun burn balm that takes the heat and sting out of the burn, ingrown hairs, brown spots, age spots, self tanners, dry hair, calluses, oily skin, eye make up remover, and the list goes on and on.

One such example for dark circles and bag under the eyes. Here is what Raisa had to say:

Potatoes were my grandmothers thing. She loved to eat them and use them to remove dark circles and puffiness. The skin around and under the eyes is the thinnest and most sensitive on the entire body. Puffiness under (or above) the eyes is quite common. Sliced potatoes work wonders for puffiness and dark circles. To banish bags, simply put on a potato and poof...the puffiness is gone.

1 Potato
1 Tablespoon Vitamin E

Here is the brilliant part of this recipe - there is no cooking involved (but don't get used to it!). Wash the potato well. Cut two 1/8-inch slices from the middle (save the rest for the next several nights). Apply one on top of each eye for 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes and apply vitamin E in a circular motion around and under the eyes. Total time 2 minutes.

Not only that but the book gives tips on creating your own day spa at home right down to candles and music and food ideas. What a great way to celebrate a baby shower or bridal shower for the girls or even for your own family as well.

I received the book, Babushka's Beauty Secrets, Old World Tips For A Glamorous New You by Raisa Ruder and Susan Campos compliments of Hachette Book Groups. It's a definite must have. Just think of all the money you will save making your own remedies versus buying store brand name products filled with chemicals. These are all natural and organic! This book is available in hardback and eBook formats!

For more information on this book, the author and where you can pick up a copy for yourself or as a gift, click on the link below:

I am giving away three copies of this book, courtesy of Hachette Book Groups. This giveaway is for residents of the US and Canada only. No P.O. Boxes please! I must have a way to contact you if your email isn't attached to your blogger profile.

Simply be a follower of mine, and tell me which beauty secret are you looking forward to learning more about in the comments. The giveaway will end on July 2nd. Hurry and tell others and I'll give you extra opportunities too!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Influenza Bomb

Masses of people are dying from a mysterious flu. While the TSI team searches for a cure, a notorious eco-terrorist group, Return to Earth, uses an influenza bomb to poison the water. It's a race against time - with the outcome impacting the entire world.

By the time the team discovers that the terrorists are using the water supply to infect people, the sickness is spreading worldwide and no one has a cure. When Return to Earth makes off with a mysterious device called the influenza bomb with the intent to destroy all mankind, Dr. Hutchinson must stop the contamination from being spread before it's too late. (excerpt back cover).

My Review:

WOW! just about sums up this very real possibility that this very scenario is possible anywhere in the world. The book takes a look back at the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic that killed more people than any previous viral outbreak or war combined. With such a threat looming that it could possibly happen again, with all the talks about the Avian Flu, The Swine Flu and last years H1N1 flu, this book borders on just how realistic and possible something like this could actually happen in the hands of the wrong people with malicious and greed driven intents.

The book takes history and modern day and blends the doomsday scenario perfectly. It even goes back to Hitler's time in Germany where it's believed he tested his chemical weapons on the prisoners in the concentration camps. The new Influenza bomb is more lethal than the Spanish Influenza in 1918 and kills its victims within a matter of hours in a chilling and very painful death.

I received the book, The Influenza Bomb, by Walter L. Larimore, MD and Paul McCusker, compliments of Glass Road Public Relations and rate this a perfect 10 out of 10. For those of you that love a bit of historical fact tossed in with the possibility that this could become a very real scenario, then this is the book for you. I absolutely loved in and read the whole 431 pages in a matter of hours. I had to see how it ended, and it definitely did not disappoint.

For more information on this book, the authors and where to get a copy of the book for yourself, please click on the link below:

This book is available in paperback and eBook formats for digital books.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Alone in an unlocked house in a safe neighborhood in the suburban town of Concord, Massachusetts, two obedient, good girls, Jessica Stern, fifteen, and her sister, fourteen, were raped on the night of October 1 1973. When they reported the crime, the police were skeptical.

Following the example of her family, Stern - who lost her mother at the age of three - denied her pain and kept striving to achieve. But while her career took off, her success hinged on her symptoms. After her ordeal, she could not feel fear in normally frightening situations. Stern thought she disassociated from the trauma altogether, until a request took her back to that night more than thirty years earlier.

The world-class expert on terrorism and posttraumatic stress disorder began her own investigation, with the help of a devoted police lieutenant, to find the truth about her rapist, the town of Concord, her own family, and her own mind. The result is Denial, a candid and deeply intimate look at a life, a trauma, and its aftermath. (excerpt from back cover).

My Review:

This is a difficult book to read without getting emotionally involved with Jessica's story of the traumatic rape her and her sister experienced in 1973. The details are real and vivid as she uncovers the hidden triggers in her own life that take her back to a time she disconnected from herself in hopes of putting all the pieces back together. Jessica is working with Paul, a police lieutenant that reopens this case based on evidence he discovers that leads to 44 more rapes that occurred in the same area by what they now believe was a serial rapist.

The story takes a turn when Jessica herself learns the story of from her father when questioning him for the book why he didn't come home from Norway after learning of their rape like he should have. She never questions her families role in learning of her rape, whether its to push it under the table and move forward in life or why the police even doubt that the rape occurs after reading the full account of the crime. We learn that her father grew up in Germany at the time of the Nazi regime and even then was threatened and beaten as a child for being a Jew, so you think that alone would make him sensitive to the needs of both of his daughters during the rape. Yet we have to remember that he doubts whether it really happens even after he reads the full report.

This is a really powerful memoir and shows how some people can deal with a traumatic event and still lead seemingly normal lives on the outside while turmoils boils under the surface. It also details for you what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is really like for someone living with it while appearing normal on the outside to the rest of the world around them.

I received Denial, A Memoir of Terror by Jessica Stern, compliments of TLC Book Tours and once again am amazed at the courage it took her to investigate her own rape and subsequent stories surrounding the people involved in her life at the time.

If you would like more information about this book, the author and where to purchase a copy, click on the link below:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chasing Lilacs Book Review and Giveaway

It's the summer of 1958 and here we find ourselves immersed in the life of 12 year old Sammie Tucker whose ambition in life is to have a local newspaper. Here she will tell about the people that live in the town of Graham Camp.

Her BFF, Tuwana, wants nothing more than to spend the summer practicing to be a cheerleader as they prepare to enter Junior High next year. Her hopes are to make the squad and be one of the football players girlfriends. Isn't that what all cheerleaders do?

Sammie's life isn't the easiest for any 12 year old, who lost her sister Sylvia in a blizzard when she was an infant. Since then her mother hasn't been the same and Sammie finds herself wondering if her mother really loves her at all anymore. Her mother spends the days in her old bathrobe, popping pill after pill, hoping to rejoin the family once more. Sammie finds it her responsibility to care for her mom, while her dad rotates from day shifts to graveyards shifts at his job at the oil refinery.

What Sammie really wants is to have her old mom back again. The mom who used to bake cookies and brownies with her. Stay up late talking about everything. Yet the story is about to take a tragic turn and Sammie suddenly will question everyone who has been a part of her life and wonder if her life is really worth it after all.

I received this heartwarming book, compliments of Hachette Book Groups, Faith Words division, and found it tearful and mesmerizing at times. It's easy to put yourself in Sammie's shoes and see life from her perspective. You see her struggle with trying to be a 12 year old enjoying her summer and the adult trying to take care of her mom. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a wonderful and fantastic summer read.

For more information about the book, the author and where to purchase a copy, please click on the links below. You can even get a sneak peek at the first chapter which will hook you from page one. This book is available in paperback and eBook formats.

To make this a great summer giveaway, Hachette Book Groups is allowing me to giveaway 3 copies of this wonderful book. This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only. No P.O. Boxes, please. Here are the rules for entering this giveaway, be a follower of mine, and tell me about one great summer memory of yours. The giveaway will end on June 30th.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Based On Availability

From the very first page of this stunning novel, readers are drawn into the lives of eight seemingly ordinary women who pass through Manhattan's swanky Four Seasons Hotel. While offering sanctuary to some, solace to others, the hotel captures their darkest moments as they grapple with family, sex, power, love and death.

Trish obsesses over her best friend's wedding and dramatic weight loss. Robin wants revenge after a lifetime of abuse at the hands of her older sister. Anne is single, lonely and suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Drug -addicted rock star Louise needs to dry out. Southerner turned wannabe Manhattanite Franny is envious of her neighbor's lives. Shelia wants to punish her boyfriend for returning to his wife. Ellen so desperately wants children that she insists she is pregnant to her disbelieving husband. And Morgan, the hotel manager - haunted by the memory of her dead sister - is the thread that weaves these women's lives together. (excerpt back cover).

I found this book amusing, sad, and somewhat haunting at times as you immerse yourself in the life stories each of these women find themselves in. Their lives are all woven together by their brief encounters at the Four Seasons Hotel along with the hotel manager Morgan whom you meet in the first chapter. Morgan is obsessed with the hotel and the lives of the people she happens across while rummaging through their rooms while the guests are out. She finds their prescriptions medicines which she is more than happy to take a few while looking at the contents of their room. I found this disturbing due to the position of hotel manager that Morgan is in.

The book has some profanity scattered throughout the pages and sexual encounters with married men and hotel staff, but other than that, the book is creatively told how each of their lives are connected in some way with another's.

I received Based On Availability from Alix Strauss, compliments of TLC Book Tours and would rate this a 6 out of 10. It's available in paperback and eBook formats. For more information on this book, the author and how to purchase a copy, please click on the link below:

I am offering one lucky winner the chance to win a copy of this book simply by being a follower of mine and leaving me a comment. No P.O. Boxes please and residents of U.S. and Canada only! The giveaway will end on June 29th.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Maid to Match

My Review:

Set in the late 1800's we find ourselves at the Biltmore estate owned by the very prestigious and wealthy Vanderbilt's family. Here we met Tillie Reese who has worked at the Biltmore estate as a housemaid for quite some time, and now at 18 finds herself at just the right moment for a possible promotion when the current lady's maid is leaving back to France.

It's been Tillie's dream to become a lady's maid for someone like Mrs. Vanderbilt because she herself would be privileged to find herself in beautiful dresses and traveling all over the world, taking care of Mrs. Vanderbilt. Not only that she would make enough money to support her family at home. This is the job she has been waiting for and one her mother has been helping her strive for her whole life. Something better in this hard world.

Mack Danver is a rugged mountain man whose encounter in the city while shopping with Mrs. Vanderbilt is about to change life for both Tillie and the Vanderbilt family forever. Will their lives ever be the same again? Check out the details below including a chance to win a trip to the Biltmore estate yourself.

I received this must read book, Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist, compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and found myself completely immersed in the lives of Tillie and the staff at the Vanderbilt estate. There are parlor games that are played during the staffs days off at the Sunday barn dances that I found amusing and whimsical and completely adored how women were treated at these events. I highly recommend this book giving it a 10 out of 10 rating.

For more information about the author, the book and where you can enter for the contest to visit the Biltmore, check out the following information below:

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Maid to Match
Bethany House (June 1, 2010)

Deeanne Gist


After a short career in elementary education, Deeanne Gist retired to raise her four children. Over the course of the next fifteen years, she ran a home accessory and antique business, became a member of the press, wrote freelance journalism for national publications such as People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel, and acted as CFO for her husband’s small engineering firm--all from the comforts of home.

Squeezed betwixt-and-between all this, she read romance novels by the truckload and even wrote a couple of her own. While those unpublished manuscripts rested on the shelf, she founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products that would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities.

After a few short months of running her publishing company, Gist quickly discovered being a "corporate executive" was not where her gifts and talents lie. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she sold A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers. Since that debut, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere. Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, two RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.

Her 2010 books, Beguiled and Maid To Match are now available for order.

Gist lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-seven years and their two border collies. They have four grown children. Visit her blog to find out the most up-to-the-minute news about Dee.


Falling in love could cost her everything.

From the day she arrived at the Biltmore, Tillie Reese is dazzled, by the riches of the Vanderbilts and by Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman. When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack's rugged behavior by tutoring him in proper servant etiquette, the resulting sparks threaten Tillie's efforts to be chosen as Edith Vanderbilt's lady's maid, After all, the one rule of the house is no romance below stairs.

But the stakes rise even higher when Mack and Tillie become entangles in a cover-up at the town orphanage. They could both lose their jobs, their aspirations...their hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Maid to Match, go HERE.

Join this SPECIAL GETAWAY (Click on the Button):

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Secret of Indigo Moon

I received this amazing and delightful book, The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, The Secret of Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor, compliments of Tyndale House Publishers and found the book fascinating. The book trailer you've just seen came on a DVD for us to view before I even had the chance to read one page.

This is just a different kind of kids book. Somewhere between A Series of Unfortunate Events and Nancy Drew/Hardy Boy's Detective series, you find yourself completely lost in the book itself. Pages of black with white words is definitely different along with cute comic book style pages, keeps the attention of the child completely immersed in the story.

When it first arrived, my youngest at 11 and oldest daughter at 17 both immediately were drawn to the book as well as my hubby. However it was my youngest and I, that sat on the bed and begin to read the chilling mystery of what became of Ms. Olivia, the previous schools administrator.

All leads have come up empty and yet Erik Ganger and the girl Dopple twins, Sadie and Saskia get together to investigate a secret passage beneath the Isambard Dunstans's school for Wayward Children the story gets interesting. This book does keep the audience engaged from start to finish with a great message of Christian hope tied in.

This is such a great way finally for an author to engage a child's interest and I find this book highly recommended to any child, boy or girl between the ages of 8 and up. Included are just a sampling of the beautifully illustrated pages from the book. This one rates a perfect 10.

If you would like more information on this book, the author, a first chapter preview, and where to pick up your very own copy, click on the link below:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pray Big - The Power of Pinpoint Prayers

I've been reading quite a few books on prayer lately in an effort to truly learn about the different types of communication we have with our heavenly Father. I am amazed at the things I am learning in the process.

I was provided with an opportunity to review the book, Pray Big, The Power of Pinpoint Prayers by Will Davis Jr, compliments of B & B Media Group, and here are just a few of the things I have discovered from the pages.

The Lord's Prayer that is found in Matthew 6:9-13 is an example of a pinpoint prayer. Jesus obviously was giving us a model outline for how our prayers might flow. There's no fluff, no fat, no extra words or theologically heavy terms. There's just simple, spot-on, pinpoint accuracy from Jesus. With a mere fifty-eight Greek words, Jesus acknowledged the character and sovereignty of God, surrendered to the Father's will, and sought provision, protection, and guidance from God. That's pinpoint praying.

You've heard these types of prayers before, "Lord, Please be with Tom and Jill. Please bless Joe and Sally and Be with Sue..." yet when you are praying these prayers what have you actually accomplished? It's like Christians have developed their own prayer language, and I don't mean the ecstatic kind.

Lord, please bless Bill. - What exactly do we mean by that? Do we want God to make Bill more holy or more disciplined? Are we hoping his business will prosper or that he'll be a better husband?

God, please be with Joan. - God's already with Joan. His Spirit lives in her, and he promised to never leave or forsake her. What do we really want God to do for Joan?

God, we ask that you give Sue an extra helping of your grace. - What is that? Does God dole out grace in measured proportions? That prayer makes God seem as if he has a big serving spoon - that he can be either generous or stingy with the helping of grace he dispenses.

So what do you really need? What walls need tearing down, and what strongholds need obliterating? What captives need freeing, and what lost people need saving? What Christian led business in your city do you want to prosper and adult bookstore do you want to see shut down? What terminally ill person do you want to see healed? What poor or unethical leaders need to either change their ways or be removed from leadership and what godly leaders need to be given more of a platform? What do you really want and need God to do? Whatever it is, if you're serious about receiving it from God, then you need to pray with the same focus Jesus did. (pg.13-14)

If you interested in more about this book, the author or where to pick up this amazing book for a small group study or home Bible study, click on the links below:

Praying with Boldness and Confidence

Author Will Davis Jr. helps readers pinpoint their needs and pray with passionate faith

Have you ever encountered a “Big Hairy Audacious Prayer”? Author Will Davis Jr. is a man who not only knows about asking big things from God, but he believes that all Christ-followers are equipped with the faith to make “Big Asks” from God! Beginning with the Lord’s Prayer as a biblical example, Davis teaches believers that God honors requests of His children that are specifically and biblically asked. Once believers learn to view God’s word as a prayer guide, the entire Bible becomes a treasure chest of promises and foundational prayers that enable Christ-followers to storm heaven’s gates with pinpoint accuracy!

Prayers should be so God-sized, so humanly impossible, and yet so utterly appealing that they totally consume you and drive you to your knees. Davis is not talking about a genie-in-a-lamp approach to prayer, but a prayer life that is founded upon God’s Word and one that gives new meaning to the biblical exhortation to come boldly before God’s throne. Davis, pastor of Austin Christian Fellowship in Austin, Texas, has written four books that offer a biblical foundation for making “Big Asks” of God and expecting miraculous results.

Pray Big: The Power of Pinpoint Prayers introduces the concept of Big Hairy Audacious Prayers (or BHAP’s) and reveals how vital our prayer lives are in the process of learning to submit to God and trusting Him with every detail of our lives. Whether you are begging for the salvation of a spouse, the removal of a cancerous tumor, or the resolution of a difficult financial situation, it is exciting to bring your requests before God when you are standing on biblical ground. Davis encourages believers to use Scripture intermingled with prayer so that requests can be made specifically and accurately. The practice of searching the Bible for God’s promises and direction will establish a solid foundation for making requests from your Heavenly Father. Examples of these requests might sound like this:

  • “Father, help my children delight in your law and meditate on your word day and night.” (Psalm 3:3)
  • “Mighty God, be a shield about me. Shine your glory on me and be a lifter of my head.” (Psalm 6:9)
  • “Father, I pray you will hear [my loved one’s] cry for mercy and accept his prayer.” (Psalm 6:9)

Every believer is equipped with the mustard-seed of faith that makes prayer possible. So quit holding your breath, believer, and start breathing your heart to God in prayer! You will live differently, love differently, and begin to learn what it means to pray without ceasing.

Pray Big: The Power of Pinpoint Prayers by Will Davis Jr.

Revell/ISBN: 978-0-8007-3204-2/201 pages/softcover/$12.99

Become a fan of Will Davis on Facebook ~ Follow Will on Twitter ~ Watch Will on You Tube

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Love Finds You In Golden New Mexico

My Review:

It's 1890 in the small mining town of Golden, New Mexico which is where gold was first discovered long before those in California. Here men were making a fortune, enough for some to be quite well off and give up mining when it became too dangerous.

One such man, Philip Smith, now in his golden age, had missed out on the opportunities to find himself a wife, settle down and start a family. Yet, being a man of God, he knew God had a plan in mind for him. One that involved finding the right woman he could take care of financially and in turn, she could care for him in the remaining years he had left. Philip decides to post an ad in the local paper in Boston, of all places, for a mail order bride.

Madeline Mercer of the Boston Mercers finds herself grieving the recent death of her father, a successful business man in Boston. Madeline is still waiting for the will to be read to find out just how much money she has left and until she does, she reduces the staff in her home to just two, a married couple Frank and Sarah, who have cared for her since she was a child. One evening her father's business partner, Horace Johnstone, invites himself for dinner unexpectedly to tell Madeline, that she is penniless and has been asked by her father prior to his demise that he had promised Mr. Johnstone that Madeline would marry him.

Due to the grieving Madeline is still enduring, Mr. Johnstone tells her she will have one month and then she'd better be prepared to marry him or be on the streets living in a shanty. What chose does Madeline have?

To find've got to read the book, Love Finds You In Golden, New Mexico by Lena Nelson Dooley. Another great book that teaches how God can use the most difficult of circumstances to bring about good when people intend it for evil. This is a must read and one you can completely lose yourself in with the characters of Philip and Madeline. Even the household staff couple of Sarah and Frank are ones you can identify with because you see how they are part of Madelines life and will do whatever it takes to make things right for her.

For more information on this book, the author and where you can pick up a copy of this book, simply scroll down and follow the links. I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book to review from Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love Finds You In Golden, New Mexico
Summerside Press (May 1, 2010)


Lena Nelson Dooley


For several years, Lena worked on the support staff of a church, but in November of 2002, God changed things so that she could stay home and write full-time. It has been the desire of her heart for a long time. In Proverbs 37:4, it says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” She believes that this blessing is a result of her delighting herself in Him, and she praises Him for the opportunity.

She have been a professional writer with a free-lance writing and editing business since 1984. In that time, she has written curriculum for public schools, private schools, and three different denominations. For one company, I managed a writing team that produced a two-year American History course for at-risk students. One of her clients was a Christian comedian for whom she wrote several routines. An airline training company had her edit and design International business reports for them.

Her first novel was published by Heartsong Presents in 1992. Since then Lena Nelson Dooley has written more than 25 works of fiction and nonfiction.

Lena has been married to her husband James since 1964. Theirs was one of those love-at-first-sight relationships. They were married three months and three days after they met. He truly was God’s gift to her. They are absolute opposites, but that means that his strengths are her weaknesses, and her strengths are his weaknesses. Together they make a more perfect whole. She believe that is what God intends for all of us.

They have two daughters. Marilyn Van Zant is married to Roger, and they have a son named Timothy. Tim is now in Tennessee at Ft. Campbell. His son Sebastian is almost 2 years old. Jennifer Waldron is married to Eric, and they have three children—Austin, Marissa, and Amanda. James and Lena love to spend time with their family, and they are blessed that both families live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, so they see them often.


All that glitters is not gold. It’s 1890, and Golden, New Mexico, is a booming mining town where men far outnumber women. So when an old wealthy miner named Philip Smith finds himself in need of a nursemaid, he places an ad for a mail-order bride—despite the protests of his friend Jeremiah.

Hoping to escape a perilous situation back East, young Madeleine Mercer answers the ad and arrives in town under a cloud of suspicion. But just as she begins to win over Philip—and Jeremiah himself—the secrets she left behind threaten to follow her to Golden...and tarnish her character beyond redemption.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Finds You In Golden, New Mexico, go HERE.

"Love Finds You In Golden, New Mexico is a well-researched novel brimming With emotive conflict. Lena Nelson Dooley has crafted a historical romance that demonstrates that courage comes in many forms, but the courage to love is the most difficult of all.

─DiAnn Mills, author of Sworn to Protect and A Woman Called Sage

“Two strangers are presented with a ‘golden’ opportunity for love in this quintessential East meets West tale by well-loved author Lena Nelson Dooley. I found myself swept away by the beautiful writing and enmeshed in the lives of the players, who face many twists and turns in their journey toward the ultimate happily-ever-after. Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico is truly one of the loveliest historical romances I’ve read in ages. Highly recommended.”

─Janice Hanna Thompson, author of Love Me Tender and Swinging on a Star

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Tailor-Made Bride Debut Novel

Set in the 1880's of Texas, we find ourselves immersed with Hannah Richards who is a dressmaker at a fitting of a prestigious and wealthy client, Victoria Ashmont. Ms. Ashmont is in the process of her final fitting of a scarlet gown that she is planning on being buried in, finding that she is living in her final days. This comes as a complete shock to Ms. Ashmont's family who finds this a bit on the scandalous side and wonders what people will do when they see her at the funeral dressed in scarlet.

Hannah keeps her place and offers only suggestions when Ms. Ashmont asks her opinion. After her nephew's wife leave in disgust, does Ms. Ashmont ask Hannah a question about where to leave her inheritance money. She knows that her family is only waiting for her to die before they become like scavengers and spend all the money. She somehow wishes she could give it to a worthy cause.

Hannah offers a suggestion that Ms. Ashmont should invest her money where the legacy would leave it's most lasting impression. What Hannah is about to discover is that legacy is about to begin with this conversation with Victoria Ashmont!

I received Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer, compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. It was a wonderful story with the character of Hannah Richardson being the perfect example of beauty and strength in the 1880's. I found this book again to rate a place in my permanent place in my library and give it a perfect 10!

If you would like to know more about this book, the author and where to purchase a copy, please click on the links below:

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Tailor-Made Bride

Bethany House (June 1, 2010)


Karen Witemeyer


Karen Witemeyer is a deacon's wife and mother of three who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. To that end, she combines her love of bygone eras with her passion for helping women mature in Christ to craft historical romance novels that lift the spirit and nurture the soul.

After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she earned bachelor and master's degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid-to-late 1800s.

In January, 2009, Karen signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers for three inspirational historical romance novels, and she is thrilled to announce that her first book, A TAILOR-MADE BRIDE has released this month. For an inside look into the background and quirks of some of the major players in this upcoming story, click over to Character Corner


When a dressmaker who values beauty tangles with a liveryman who condemns vanity, the sparks begin to fly!

Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with the new dressmaker in Coventry, Texas. He's all too familiar with her kind--shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothes, this seamstress is not at all what he expected.

Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner, while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?

When Hannah decides to help Jericho's sister catch a beau--leading to consequences neither could have foreseen--will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Tailor-Made Bride , go HERE.

Monday, June 14, 2010

In The Sanctuary of Outcasts, A Memoir

Daddy is going to camp.

That's what I told my children.

But it wasn't camp...

Neil White wanted only the best for those he loved and was willing to go to any lengths to provide it - which is how he ended up in a federal prison in rural Louisiana, serving eighteen months for bank fraud.

But it's no ordinary prison.

The beautiful, isolated colony in Carville, Louisiana, was also home to the last people in the continental Unitead States disfigured by leprosy - a small circle of outcasts who had forged a tenacious, clandestine community, a fortress to repel the cruelty of the outside world. In this place rich with history, amid an unlikely mix of leprosy patients, nuns and criminals, White's strange and compelling new life journey began.

An extraordinary memoir at once funny, poignant, and uplifting, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts reminds us all what matters most. (excerpt back cover).

My Review ~ This is such a heart rendering book about unconditional love on both sides. First Neil White is repulsed as are most of the inmates about the disfigurement of the many residents of the "leper" colony living among them. There are those that look seemingly "normal" and then there are the extreme cases with loss of limbs and complete facial deformity.

Yet once Neil is willing to look past his own fears, he finds such warm stories of those that are the outcasts of society today. He learns what it is to really love behind the exterior of someone and really see the person God sees in us all.

Neil White is serving time in this prison for bank fraud known as kiting. It's taking funds from one account to pay another while in the hopes it buys you enough time to actually put the money in the accounts. Neil gets caught and thus find his wife dropping him off to serve his time.

I loved this book for the message found in the pages of the stories of the real life people whose names have been changed to protect their identities. In the book, I found myself not only getting to know Neil but also the residents of the colony as well. I have to give this book a 10 out of 10 and even though the language is harsh, it falls in line with a memoir dealing with some of societies harshest prisoners.

For more information on this book, the author or where to pick up a copy, please click on the link below:

I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours and I am delighted to be able to offer you a copy as a follower of my blog who leaves a comment. This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only. Please NO P.O. Boxes. I also need to be able to reach you so if your email isn't linked to your blog, please leave it in the comments. Please tell me why you want to win this giveaway. The giveaway ends on Sunday, June 20th.