Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Need To Know, A Woman's Quest to Uncover Her Royal Family Secret

"The beautiful owner of this book is dearer to me than my life."
~ August, Your protector. 

The story begins in 1940s London. It is the morning after a particularly terrifying air raid when Eve, a young German-born Jewish woman, first learns  the details of a dark family secret. At the breakfast table her father hesitantly tells her about Emilie, her great-great-great grandmother. Emilie had been married to August. A Royal. A Prussian prince. Hardly looking at her he shares the unbelievable ...  Eve is a princess. 

Captivated by this shocking news Eve considers the intriguing possibilities. Her father tells her there is a diary and allows her to briefly hold the treasured gilt-edged notebook before it is whisked away. This diary is the only proof of where we came from he tells her, nothing else exists, promise me you will not go looking...

At sixteen she had thought she knew everything about her father and now she was being asked to forget her family's royal connection, put her own questions aside and to heed his dire warnings ...when I am gone this notebook will be yours to hand down to the next generation. But you must not do anything about what I am telling you. There is nothing more to find out.... I just wanted you to know that you have blue blood flowing in your veins...

For many years, even after his death, Eve honored her father's instructions. Then forty years later her mother dies and the notebook becomes hers. Her passion for answers returns. With the help of her husband Ken and youngest son Timothy the journey into the past begins.

Eve Haas has written a fascinating memoir about the years she spent trying to untangle her family genealogy and piece together the truth about her ancestors. The search is told in sober broad strokes; ultimately the irony of her own life is revealed. The painful quest takes Eve and Ken back to their own escaped childhoods and a still divided Germany. Experts on European royalty are consulted, a multitude of letters written, clues followed and relatives sought. There are more than a few scary moments and countless twists and turns to overcome.

In the end, however, Eve uncovers her birthright and learns why one life was saved and another sacrificed. This compelling memoir clearly demonstrates how history and our ancestors' decisions and secrets can help make us who we are today.

About the author:
EVE HAAS was born in Breslau, now Poland, in 1924. She and her family fled Germany to London when Hitler came to power. She pursued a writing career, married, and raised a family, continuing to write children’s books and contribute to magazines and newspapers in the UK. She lives in North London, England.

Note: According to the publisher's website, a movie based on this book is in production.

Arcade Publishing
(c) 2009, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Secrets of Dynamic Communication

"Prepare with Focus,
Deliver with Clarity
Speak with Power"

"Communication - public speaking, in particular - doesn't just happen. It's a hard-earned skill requiring study and diligent practice." 
Michael Hyatt
New York Times Best Selling Author
Former CEO, Thomas Nelson Publishers

     If you are worried about standing in front of your first or next group and giving a talk Ken Davis is here to help. No doubt about it public speaking can be difficult even if you are passionate about your topic. 

     Secrets of Dynamic Communication gives all of us the necessary tools to be a successful speaker and shares more than a few secrets along the way:

The Most Import Ingredient

#1  -  Focus - Know what you want to say ... and don't try to say too much.  Have a single objective and know what it is.

The Presentation

#2  -  Deliver - Never forget the audience. Being prepared and speaking well is only a part of the process... the audience must be engaged.

Practice, Practice, Practice

#3  -  Speak with Power - Let your body talk. "Body language, voice inflection, facial expression, and gestures convey the conviction that makes you believable." Humor, humor is good. 

    This new revised and updated edition is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to improve their pubic speaking presence. The writing is engaging, definitely reader friendly. Short enough to provide the information is a timely manner and long enough to give spot on lessons on how to give a great talk. 

The end of chapter "Review" is a bonus and I encourage each prospective speaker to complete the questionnaire.  

A copy of this book was provided by Thomas Nelson for review purposes. The words are my own.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Reading Daybook

Reading Anne Truitt's:


"Montana real estate agent Quint McCoy will tell you that the most important thing is location, location, location. It's a lesson he learns all too well when he goes incommunicado for a four-week fishing trip to Alaska. While he's away, his mother Molly turns his office into the pie shop she has always dreamed of, Big Sky Pie. But that's not the only surprise in store for him.

"On her way out of town, Quint's soon-to-be ex Callee McCoy only wants to say a fond farewell to her beloved mother-in-law. But Molly soon persuades Callee to stay and lend a hand at the new shop, even if it means heating up the kitchen with Quint. As Callee and Quint rediscover their recipe for love, they realize that some couples are so sinfully good together that one delectable taste is never enough ...." (Publisher summary).

 A heartfelt thank you to Forever Yours (Grand Central Publishing) for the Advance Readers Copy (ARC e-copy) a pleasant afternoon read. This is a story full of interesting characters and a believable plot that moves right along.

Bullets and Bread

Author Kent Whitaker's The Story of the Sacrifice in American Homes to Feed Troops in WWII. (Published by History Publishing Company, LLC (c) 2012


Bullets & Bread "examines the foods, food supplies, and the transformation of the food industry needed to supply a military that grew from one to ten million overnight, as well as the menus and the difficulties on the World War II Home-front. Includes examples of menus from heads of state, princesses and generals; as well as recipes...." ~~Publishers Summary.

"This is the story of the transformation to meet those needs and the interesting stories about the people, prominent and not-so prominent, of the era and the food they liked to eat and more frequently, what they had to eat. Many stories from the troops on the front are included and so too, many recipes suitable for today's dining."
                                                                                ~~~  (Taken from publisher's description).

"New book explores life on the WWII chow line."  By Wes Locher
"Kent Whitaker has an appetite for great food and the great stories that birthed the recipes. His latest book, “Bullets and Bread, Feeding the Great to the Grunts in World War II,” is a culinary history of the best and worst that WWII had to offer as told through the soldiers who had to eat it..... (To read the rest of The Star Review:  (Note: All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged. The Star)
By day, Ken Whitaker works in graphics and advertising, nights are spent writing, cooking and writing about cooking. Known as the Deck Chef, Ken has appeared on Food Network's Emeril Live Barbecue Contest. The author of a several food-related books including, “Smoke in the Mountains: The Art of Appalachian Barbecue” and “Checkered Flag Cooking: Tailgating Stock Car Racing Ken lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his wife Ally, son Macee and three dogs.
 An e-copy of this book was provided by the publisher History Publisher Company, LLC via NetGalley. This review is based on my own reading and research and is recommended to readers who enjoy history, especially the World War II era and the those interested in food, cooking and cooking related stories from "The Greatest Generation."

Check out General Eisenhower's recipe for vegetable soup (page 196).

My thanks to History Publisher Company, Ken Whitaker and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Into The Whirlwind ~ A Novel Review

October 1871

On the night of the Great Chicago Fire, Mollie Knox's carefully constructed life and the future of the 57th Illinois Watch Company is nearly destroyed. With everything at risk, including her heart, Mollie is determined to save her late father's beloved business and the band of loyal employees who now depend on her.

This is a well-researched and well-written novel with strong Christian themes, interesting characters, an authentic setting, and enough intrigue to keep the reader turning the page. Also, I am a fan of this cover, nicely done.

Thank you, Bethany House, for a chance to read this story and become acquainted with author Elizabeth Camden. A copy of this novel was sent to me for review purposes, they words and thoughts in this review are my own.

Elizabeth Camden is the award-winning author of four books, including Against the Tide (2012), winner of a RITA Award, Christy Award, and Daphne du Maurier Award. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. Elizabeth lives with her husband in Florida.

Visit her website at: to read the opening chapter of Into The Whirlwind (and check out her other historical novels.)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Learning To Be Free

Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist

By Amanda Jenkins 

Change, real change, like real life, is hardly ever easy and almost always messy. The path to transformation can be costly, is rarely efficient, and like most renovations can take a lot longer than estimated. Curious? Just ask Amanda Jenkins’ about her own crazy journey to perfection and what she learned along the way.

If you’re stuck replaying a past filled with personal failures or have too many goals on your to-do-list you might enjoy reading the confessions of an avowed list maker and stat keeper. Ms. Jenkins has found a better path by questioning her own goals and seeking God's advice.

A dozen worthwhile themes are addressed in here (goals need to be both flexible and thoughtful).  The book is divided into chapters (Vanity, Money, Recognition, Pride are a few titles) and is based on her own experiences and journal entries. Written from with a Christian viewpoint (she is the daughter-in-law of multimillionaire and New York Times Best Selling Author Jerry Jenkins ) the book contains page after page of long biblical passages from a number of different translations. While not my favorite approach perhaps some readers will find the answers they are looking for among the different voices.

The final chapter, New Chapter, contains questions for Bible Study groups, book clubs, private reflection and offers real tools to help the active participant embrace growth.


Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for the review copy.

Like a Field of Clouds, Fluffy and White

Shelly Graham is doing the unthinkable; she's coming home to her old bedroom where nothing has changed. Awaiting her are the twin wrought-iron beds, the painted pine desk, and the white clouds her sister had painted on the ceiling. The room hadn't changed but Shelly certainly has and its not just her finances that are in turmoil.

Best-selling author Robin Jones Gunn has written a pleasant Christian novel about starting over when life doesn't show up the way you hoped it would. Clouds is the fifth novel in The Glenbrooke Series.To learn more about the author check out her website here:

To order a copy of this novel:

A copy of this book was provided by Multnomah for review purposes. The words are my own.

Cardinal Dolan Praying in Rome

 Cardinal Timothy Dolan brought down the house on September 3rd, 2013. No, not at St. Patrick's Cathedral, but on the "Colbert Report," where the good Cardinal traded jabs with host Stephen Colbert, and discussed his bestselling e-book original, Praying in Rome.

Praying in Rome is Cardinal Dolan's personal reflection of his time in the Conclave that elected Pope Francis in early 2013. Full of his characteristic good humor, the book chronicles the myriad of emotions he felt during the resignation of Pope Benedict and during the process of electing the next Vicar of Christ.

During his conversation with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night, Cardinal Dolan joked that only his mother and Colbert had read Praying in Rome. In truth, his bestselling e-book has garnered enormous praise for its honesty, insight and humor.

Timothy Dolan Pt. 2: If Timothy Dolan were pope, he'd choose the name Stephen.

Information on ordering Praying for Rome here:

A Pilgrim's Tale, Ian Morgan Cron is Chasing Francis

"Pastor Chase Falson has lost his faith-and he did it right in front of the congregation of his mega church. Now the elders want him to take some time away. Far away. So Chase crosses the Atlantic to Italy to visit his uncle, a Franciscan priest, where he encounters the teachings of Francis of Assisi and rediscover his ancient faith."  (back cover)

Pastor Chase is a man on a spiritual mission. The life and church he created is no longer working for either Chase or the young people who need more than a "McDonaldized Jesus" and the empty promise of "...a more victorious spiritual life in three easy steps."

"So where is God?" becomes the question that needs more than a scripted answer...something more than an appealing and easily digested "...brand of religion...." When nine year old Iris dies Chase's carefully constructed faith is no longer logical or straightforward.

Chase Falson's story reads more like a memoir than a novel and is sure to inspire any reader who seeks to find their own story beyond the labels.  The second part of Chasing Francis offers seekers a wonderful guided pilgrimage based on the voluntary life of St. Francis of Assisi. (Note: the collected bibliography is truly a treasure for those readers who want to continue the journey.)

Bestselling author Ian Morgan Cron masterfully weaves lessons from the life of Saint Francis into the story of Chase Falson to explore the life of a saint who 800 years ago breathed new life into disillusioned Christians and a Church on the brink of collapse. Chasing Francis is a hopeful and moving story with profound implications for those who yearn for a more vital relationship with God and the world.

To learn more about the author and download two free chapters visit Ian's website here:

Friday, August 9, 2013

Last Chance

"...Last Chance, where inertia is a way of life."
A light blend of family dynamics and new love. It's summer in Last Chance, South Carolina and time for the Watermelon Festival. Single mom Amanda Wright, her young son and her colorful granny are ready to have some fun in the sun. Accompany the day is the mellow voice of DJ Grant Trumbull.  Best selling author Hope Ramsay has written another fun story set in the Last Chance Series. A perfect, fun afternoon read.
Last Chance Summer is a novella, a short story around 10,000 words.
The publisher, Forever (Grand Central Publishing) provided a reading copy in hopes of a review. My words are my own.  

Peter Gethers's popular memoirs, starting with The Cat Who Went to Paris, put his name on the literary map. In Ask Bob, Gethers tackles fiction, telling the story of Dr. Robert Heller, a prominent New York City veterinarian who also pens a newspaper column ("Ask Dr. Bob") addressing the concerns and woes of pet owners. Dr. Bob is no-nonsense in the delivery and approach of his column--and with his patients and their owners--but he's not as direct in his personal life. He comes from a dysfunctional family that has made his role as son, brother, uncle and lover a muddled, thorny challenge. When Bob meets and falls in love with a woman whose family has more issues than his, he takes solace in their romance and the security of his job, concluding that he understands animals better than people. But when tragedy strikes, Bob is forced to meet the challenge and tend to the people he loves and cares for the most.

Gethers has written a smart, lively novel infused with romance and heartfelt, real-life complications of family and domesticity, centered on the women in Bob's life who influence him the most over an 18-year period. Several of Dr. Bob's newspaper columns are interspersed throughout the novel, along with his charming, insightful notes about certain clients and important people in his life; these add levity and humor to the story's heavier themes. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blue Plate Special, An Autobiography of My Appetities

“I began with eating and moved on to cooking just as I began with reading and moved on to writing. …Eating a good meal, like reading a satisfying novel, has returned me to myself during times when this disconnect was a profound internal chasm.” Kate Christensen
Author Kate Christensen’s has published six novels that according to her “…engage in some way with the same themes – struggling, loneliness, floundering, and excess, as well as food, love, art, marriage, and family.”  
“All of my novels are about, in one way or another, people whose lives are changing whether they like it or not, people who are faced with some degree of external crisis and have to scramble to deal with it. My protagonists are men and women, young and old, but they all share this. The older I get, the more my own life feels implicated in my own novels, and the clearer it is to me that all my characters’ concerns come directly from my own experiences.” 

Ms. Christensen goes on to explain just how her beginnings began to intrude on her life.  Putting aside the novel she was writing she began exploring her own experiences and memories. At age fifty her writing turned autobiographical. It was time to personally explore the themes that she had so consistently visited in fiction. 

Her earliest memory is a sunny Berkeley morning and a breakfast table littered with soft-boiled eggs and buttered toast. Seated at the weekday table with her mother and younger sister there seems to be no warning that life can turn ugly in the seconds it takes to make a request. Her two year old mind is unable to process the abuse or the suddenness of the attack. It will take 40+ years of living, searching, writing, and reflection before she truly understands who she is. 

Ms. Christensen is a hardworking writer (her goal is 1,000 words a day), who shares her life and her recipes in a way is inspiring and thoughtful and honest. If you’re curious about your own relationships, successes and failures and what to do with them perhaps you will find yourself and your story among these pages.

Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl, Dark Places and Sharp Objects calls Kate Christensen a great American writer and has this to say about Blue Plate Special: “It’s an expert guide on inspiration, ingenuity, heartbreak, buoyancy, home, love, family, screwing up, bouncing back, and perfecting the bacon-cheddar biscuit.”

(Doubleday Books © July 2013)  A heartfelt thank you to Doubleday Books for the Bound Galley sent my way for review purposes. I had not read Kate Christensen before; she is however, now on my radar. I’m looking forward to reading her novels. Her blog is here:

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fresh Recipes and Fresh Air! Greetings, from Pinecraft, Florida

Simply Delicious Amish Cooking

Recipes and Stories from the Amish of Sarasota, Florida
By Sherry Gore

             Need a recipe for Amish Baked Hamburgers? Aunt Mary’s Corn Bread?  Or how about tips for caring for your rolling pin?  Check out this delightful new cookbook from Zondervan Publishing.  Author Sherry Gore is editor-in-chief of Cooking  & Such magazine and columnist for the national edition of the 120 year-old Amish newspaper, The Budget where she writes about food for the Plain People.   

            There are great, glossy pictures (readers are warned ... a glance at the Chocolate Whoopie Pie is engineered to make you swoon) and interesting stories and memorable quotes contained within these pages. If you’re curious about the food and social life of the Plain People or searching for true comfort food look no further. There’s even a recipe for Shoofly Pie.
            And if you’re ever in the neighborhood stop by Yoder’s Restaurant (opened 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday) for a true sample of the local cuisine … where, if you’re lucky, you just might run into the Ms. Gore.

A copy of Simply Delicious was provided by Thomas Nelson for review purposes. My words are my own.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Living With Autism

Random House
New York, New York

"From the beginning, I knew that I wanted to approach autism differently."     ~~Kristine Barnett

If you believe, as I do that the Universe will present the right book at just the right moment you will understand my appreciation for Kristine Barnett's The Spark.  Although my own family has been affected by an autism diagnoses (nearly six years ago) I continued to struggle with what the future holds and to understand the actions of those confronted with the daily task of meeting his needs. I had many questions, and few answers.

Dr. Thomas R. Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health* offered the following: "People with autism are likely to be viewed differently by pediatricians, child neurologists, child psychiatrists, developmental psychologists, behavior therapists, special education experts, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, and any of the other range of providers. Like the blind men and the elephant, different providers can offer completely different perspectives on the problem and the treatment. ..."

No wonder I was confused. Even the experts don't agree. The scarce information I received was coming second, even third hand. The Spark provided many answers and ultimately a great deal of hope. Kristine Barnett easily won my admiration.

This is an inspiring and intimate memoir of a mother determined to save her child. She made the life-changing decision to trust herself and her son and follow her true heart.  Against the advice of her husband and the developmental professionals treating their son Ms Barnett chose to follow her own intuition. Believing that all children will outperform our expectations if we can find a way to feed his or her passion she got to work. Using what she calls her "mother gut" she helped Jacob find his real, authentic self... his spark.  It is a story of what to do when typical therapy isn't working.

Despite her own challenges, and there were many, Ms. Barnett saw only possibilities. This is the story of a mother's unselfish love for her son and so much more.

Kristine Barnett lives in Indiana with her husband, Michael, and their children. In 1996 she founded Acorn Hill Academy, a daycare serving local families. She and Michael currently run a charitable community center for autistic and special-needs children and their families called Jacob's Place. Find out more here:

*Thomas R. Insel, M.D., is Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the National Institutes of Health charged with generating the knowledge needed to understand, treat, and prevent mental disorders. His tenure at NIMH has been distinguished by groundbreaking findings in the areas of practical clinical trials, autism research, and the role of genetics in mental illnesses.

Note: This book was provided by the publisher, Random House, for review and for that I am grateful. This is a well-written book that will be well-received. The Spark will be available April 2013. 

Note: This review has been posted on

Lisa Samson's Newest Novel

The Sky Beneath My Feet tells the curious story of stuck in the 80s Beth, former Quaker, current self-absorbed mother to two teenage sons, married to St. Rick who has retreated to the couple's backyard hideaway. Written in first-person, the reader is treated to Beth's misguided view of the world and those closest to her. (Surely I am not the only reader who wonders why Beth doesn't march across the yard and demand answers.) Like a lot of women  (and men) she is oblivious, projecting, and quick to blame others for her unhappiness (a recognizable passive/aggressive personality type). But she also comes across as sad, conflicted, familiar. Who is to blame for her reality? Her actions (and non-actions) will launch many a book club discussion.

I've long been a fan of Ms Samson's writing. She draws her characters with grace and determination. Her stories open thoughtfully and move swiftly. Not afraid to tackle life's uncomfortable themes I consider her a "writers writer" and occasionally used her novels in the classroom. Aspiring novelists pay attention, Ms Samson is a gifted storyteller.

Tea and Empathy: Lisa Samson. Publisher Weekly Update

The Sky Beneath My Feet was provided by the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for review. The words are my own.

Note: This review has been posted on

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Calling All Cooks - America I AM Comfort

"The smell in the kitchen, the unforgettable flavors - these powerful memories of food, family, and tradition are intertwined and have traveled down from generations past to help make us the people we are today." Tavis Smiley

Recipes include Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Seafood Gumbo and Peach Cobbler. Chapters are divided into baked goods, desserts, poultry and meats, vegetables, grains and beans, etc.

 Donna Daniel's story about the day her older sister announced she wanted to make lasagna and the subsequent trip to the Italian market in Philadelpia is a must read.  This special keepsake preserves African Americans' collective food history through touching essays, celebratory menus, many wonderful photographs and over 130 soul-filled and soul-inspired recipes that includes the name of   the donor.  A perfect blend of food, history, family stories.

There is something for everyone in this collection. This book has a tie-in with the Tavis Smiley touring museum exhibition on all things African American.

Note: This review is also posted on

Friday, February 8, 2013

Found Objects

"My ninth-grade English teacher once assigned the class an essay on The Ideal Family. What the teacher expected, and what the other kids delivered, was Dad goes to work in a suit and tie ... Mom works part-time ...Timmy and Tammy help with recycling and do their homework .... My family life was nothing like that." Aldo Zoria, remembering.

The family lives comfortably in rural Vermont, the adults share household and parenting duties and a carefully created life. Dinners are eaten on the screened porch behind the house, conversations include the coming school year and what it means when things happen beyond our control. Their world is filled with misty evening fields, golden green hills in the distance, barn swallows and cats hoping for a handout. There are five of them, three adults and the two young children; a boy named Dom and his sister Jasmine. Marie is their mother.

Aldo Zoria, a successful edgy photographer is the careful narrator. He and Erica are married, have been married for a number of years. The adults, Marie and Aldo and Erica are portrayed as caring, respectful and intelligent. They are also lovers, a threesome, have been for a year. But change is headed their way. It arrives, as it often does, quietly and unannounced. Their peaceful existence will be forever interrupted by an unexpected guest who turns their world upside down. There will be no going back.

The author Peter Gelfan has chosen an unconventional story, he tells it well and tastefully. The writing flows swiftly, yet is economical and rather captivating. I predict readers will enjoy this up close view of a family forced to deal with their emotions and the inevitable fallout from their domestic decisions. 

 An advanced uncorrected reader's proof of this novel was provided by the publisher, Nortia Press, for review purposes. The words contained here are my own.

Note: A copy of this review appears on

Mystery Monday - Dying Echo

Dying Echo
  by Judy Clemens

  Poisoned Pen Press
  August 2012

"Who were the three people she spoke of when Death carried her away?"

It was quiet that fall evening when Alicia McManus left her waitressing job at The Slope and walked home. She was tired and thoughtful and lonely. She was also nervous.

In the distance she could see the Colorado mountains and the ski lifts at the brightly lit resorts and the real restaurants. But in her mind she was thinking it was time to leave town ... after all, she had stayed in this town longer than she had been anywhere else in the past twenty years. She had messed up and now she wasn't safe. And neither were those around her.

Like her boss and her landlord, and Ricky. Especially Ricky. 

By the end of the first chapter we know that Alicia isn't her real name, she had made seventeen dollar and thirty-three cents in tips, it was a Thursday and a good night for company. But in the end she couldn't outrun her tragic past.

When Ricky is arrested his sister Casey Maldonado and her ever present companion Death show up to prove his innocence ... no small feat given her past and her own open murder warrant to worry about. Casey must sort the truth from the elaborate fiction of Alicia's life in order to clear Ricky's name, but as Casey investigates the woman's secrets it becomes clear just how alike their lives appear.  Can Casey save her brother and herself?

The author has chosen a unique idea for the series (This is #4 in the Grim Reaper - paranormal - Series) and it is apparent that she is an experienced storyteller. I suspect fans of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampire Series) will enjoy this one.

A note from Annette Rogers* -

Dear Reader,
  What I like most about Casey Maldonado in Judy Clemens' Dying Echo is that she's unsparing and tough. Casey's often compared to Lee child's Jack Reacher because they both walk the earth fixing problems, solving crimes, and physically fighting to get their point across. They're our solitary knights, traveling the mean streets of mystery.
  Reacher has the edge of military experience, confidence, training, and intimidating physique. Casey's edge is less obvious. She's spent years on the run, trying to escape grief and loss from a deadly accident, tempering her body and mind by isolating herself socially....

* Annette Rogers is the Acquisitions Editor at Poisoned Pen Press.

Note: A copy of this review is posted on

Why We Write ... A New Book For Would-Be Wordsmiths.

Why We Write

20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do

Meredith Maran - Editor

Twenty of America's bestselling authors share tricks, tips, and secrets of the successful writing life.

Anyone who's ever sat down to write a novel or even a story knows how exhilarating and heartbreaking writing can be. So what makes writers stick with it? In Why We Write, twenty well-known authors candidly share what keeps them going and what they love most—and least—about their vocation.

Contributing authors include:
Isabel Allende
David Baldacci
Jennifer Egan
James Frey
Sue Grafton
Sara Gruen
Kathryn Harrison
Gish Jen
Sebastian Junger
Mary Karr
Michael Lewis
Armistead Maupin
Terry McMillan
Rick Moody
Walter Mosley
Susan Orlean
Ann Patchett
Jodi Picoult
Jane Smiley
Meg Wolitzer


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Be Still My Soul

If you haven't already read Joanne Bishchof's novel, Be Still My Soul,  you're in for a treat. This first novel  set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia is from Multnomah Books and kicks off her   Cadence of Grace   series.  Though My Heart is Torn, Book Two is available for preorder, and Book Three releases later this year. Already popular with fans, this is an author to follow.

     It was an innocent enough kiss between shy Lonnie Sawyer and bad boy Gideon O’Riley. But innocence like opportunity is in the eyes of the beholder and Joel Sawyer, Lonnie's hateful and abusive father is all about opportunity. Moving quickly he makes a secret deal with Gideon’s father, uses force to arrange the marriage between this young couple and gets rid of his eldest daughter in the process. For Joel Sawyer it is a match made in heaven.
     Marrying Lonnie was the last thing Gideon wanted to do. “Is there nothing … that be done to … prevent this?”
     Feeling hopeless and all alone, Lonnie’s eyes flew heavenward: “You don’t know him…. It’s as good as done now. There will be no reasoning with him.”
     As the shot-gun wedding approaches faithful Lonnie quickly realizes that the Appalachian community is whispering rumors and lies about her behavior. Gideon is angry and sure his life is truly over. They both know the truth, but the truth doesn’t seem to matter.
     Only Lonnie’s aunt Sarah seems to understand the value and necessity of faith in God and that the only opinion that truly matters is God’s and that He always knows the truth.
    Joanne Bischof has written a Christian novel that explores some of the lessons that each of will face as we journey through life. While “shot-gun” weddings are rare today, feeling alone, physically and emotionally depleted, misunderstood, impatient, and the importance of owning our own actions are themes that each of us can appreciate.  Joanne also shows us the value of those who nurture and sustain us in this life. Connect with her here:
Be Still My Soul is published by Multnomah Books. (c) 2012

A copy of this novel was provided by Multnomah Books for the purpose of review. The words are my own. A copy of this review appears on

Author Joanne Bischof Talks To Readers & Writers About Her Novel Be Still My Soul

Author Joanne Bischof discusses her novel and the writing process.

Mastering Your Life Right Now

Three o'clock is always too late or too early
for anything you want to do.
Jean-Paul Sartre
1905  -  1980
Do you spend more time looking back over your life than talking about the future? Are your regrets keeping you from making the most out of the years in front of you? Are you living your life to the fullest? Do you need help making a successful plan for the years in front of you?
20,000 Days & Counting,The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now is here is help you take the first step and the next to change your thoughts. Robert D. Smith provides the tools to help you change your mind-set.
This book is genuine, direct, life changing, inspiring and short. There are quotes you will find yourself repeating throughout the day. 
This book is life-changing (a statement I do not make lightly!). It is one of those books you will share with others.
Notice: A copy of this book was provided by Thomas Nelson for review. The words are my own. A copy of this review has been posted on