Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Sweethaven Summer
Guidepost Books (February 7, 2012)
Courtney Walsh


Courtney Walsh is a published author, scrapbooker, theater director, and playwright. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, will be followed by two additional novels in the series. She’s also written two papercrafting books, Scrapbooking Your Faith and The Busy Scrapper. Courtney has been a contributing editor for Memory Makers Magazine and Children’s Ministry Magazine and is a frequent contributor to Group Publishing curriculum. She works as the PR Manager for Webster’s Pages from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her husband and three kids, who range in age from 4 to 10. Courtney drinks entirely too much coffee.


Suzanne's daughter, Campbell, journeys there in search of answers to her questions about her mother's history.Suzanne's three friends-Lila, Jane, and Meghan-were torn apart by long-buried secrets and heartbreak. Though they haven't spoken in years, each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together in Sweethaven. Suzanne's letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers. As the scrapbook reveals secrets one by one, old wounds are mended, lives are changed, and friendships are restored-just as Suzanne intended.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Sweethaven Summer, go HERE.

Verse of the Day

"Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock." (Isaiah 26:4)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Verse of the Day

Having a bad day, week, month? Try praising and singing to the Lord:

When they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the [enemy]. (2 Chronicles 20:22)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Verse of the Day

So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ--that's where the action is. See things from his perspective. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life--even though invisible to spectators--is with Christ in God. He is your life. (Colossians 3:1–3 MSG)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Verse of the Day

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done. . . . You are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe. (Colossians 2:6–10 NLT)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Into the Free by Julie Cantrell

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Into the Free
David C. Cook (February 1, 2012)
Julie Cantrell
A speech-language pathologist and literacy advocate, Julie Cantrell was the editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and currently teaches English as a second language to elementary students. She has been a freelance writer for ten years and has published two children’s books. Julie and her family live in Mississippi where they operate Valley House Farm.

Julie served as contributing editor to MOMSense magazine and wrote content for Mothers of Preschoolers, Intl. for nearly a decade. Additionally, she has contributed to more than a dozen books. Into the Free is her first book.  


Just a girl. The only one strong enough to break the cycle.

In Depression-era Mississippi, Millie Reynolds longs to escape the madness that marks her world. With an abusive father and a “nothing mama,” she struggles to find a place where she really belongs.

For answers, Millie turns to the Gypsies who caravan through town each spring. The travelers lead Millie to a key which unlocks generations of shocking family secrets. When tragedy strikes, the mysterious contents of the box give Millie the tools she needs to break her family’s longstanding cycle of madness and abuse.

Through it all, Millie experiences the thrill of first love while fighting to trust the God she believes has abandoned her. With the power of forgiveness, can Millie finally make her way into the free?

Watch the book video:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Into the Free, go HERE.

Margie's comments: In the chaos that is my life right now, I haven't had a chance to read this book. But I've been hearing tons of good things about it. It is garnering much more attention than most debut novels do. So I think I'm moving this book from the middle of my to be reviewed pile to the top. For now . . . off to my crazy schedule!

Verse of the Day

Another verse that says keeping our eyes on the Lord brings peace:

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. (Isaiah 26:3 AMP)

When the Lord decides it's time for me to do some Bible study, He makes it easy. Besides this verse, Philippians 4:6–7 featured in my Bible reading today, as well. (VBG)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Verse of the Day

More on anxiety and peace:
DO NOT let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me. . . . Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.] (John 14:1, 27 AMP)

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Qur'an Dilemma

The Qur’an Dilemma
Former Muslims Analyze Islam’s Holiest Book
Volume ONE

Glass Road Public Relations sent me a free copy of this book to review. Here is what Glass Road says about this project:

We know that the Muslim population is growing in the U.S. And we know that Jesus can save a Muslim as easily as He can save anyone who comes to Him. And we know that we have as much responsibility as Christians to reach Muslims with the saving Truth of the Gospel as we do anyone else walking this earth.

But what do Muslims believe? How can we know—really know—that what we are told about Islam is true? How can we even begin a conversation with someone whose way of life and religion we know nothing of . . . and may even be fearful of?

For the first time in history, we can know exactly what The Quran says. A group of former Muslims who became Christians several years ago decided to take on an enormous task: go through the Quran, sura by sura (sura is akin to chapter) and share it in Arabic and English. The result is Volume I of The Quran Dilemma.

Unlike Christianity, Islam doesn't encourage its believers to own a copy of the Quran and read it for themselves. They are dependent on the imam (something like the local preacher, in Christianity) to read from the Quran and interpret it.

But now it is accessible. You can read it for yourself, along with articles about what Islam says regarding certain topics, whether that verse's directive was later changed when Mohammed claimed to get a new revelation, and more.

And you can know that you are reading something created by people who love Jesus for who He says He was and is.

I’ve long been interested in the teachings of the Muslims, but never have found a book that I felt was comprehensive or well written enough to keep my attention. Plus I didn’t want something that a strong bias for or against Islam. This seemed to be the book I was looking for. So I requested to be a part of the blog tour.

However, with our recent move, the book didn’t catch up to me until last week. I’m glad it did. It’s a beautifully bound hardcover with full color pages of text and page design. But not only does the beauty of the book catch my attention, the content is fascinating and insightful. Unfortunately I haven’t had time to peruse it in detail because of the book’s late arrival. I look forward to doing that in the near future.

The following is from the information Glass Road sent with the book and is a comprehensive survey of what this project is about and what the first volume contains:

Fast Facts

v The Qur’an is the very foundation of Islam. It is the source of all Islamic laws and practices, religious or otherwise, in Islamic countries and societies.
v The current Qur’an is divided into 114 chapters, or suras, of different lengths. This first volume of The Qur’an Dilemma investigates the first nine of these suras.
v Each sura contains the text of the Qur’an (Palmer translation) complemented with these well-annotated elements:
Ø  Sura Introduction
o   Highlights backgrounds and outlines major subjects and issues for discussion at each sura
Ø  Critical analysis of key verses
o   Focuses on their historical accounts, scientific information, logic, linguistic and literary structure
Ø  Variant readings of certain verses
o   Highlights how the original Arabic Text has been read by others in ways that differ from the current common readings
o   Emphasis is given to the variation in the text itself, especially by those who do not agree with the current codification made by ‘Uthman’s committee
Ø  Abrogated verses with analytical comments
o   Explains how the authority and understanding of such verses are impacted by other verses. (Abrogation is a phenomenon or doctrine peculiar to the Qur’an, in which hundreds of verses have been annulled or replaced by other verses.)
v The Qur’an Dilemma also contains valuable articles on several topics that will interest and enlighten the reader, such as the “Compilation of The Qur’an” status of “Women in Islam,” and treatment of “People of Other Faiths,” to name a few.
v The book contains a glossary to help support the reader and a Who’s Who section that provides a brief bibliographical synopsis of some of the mentioned Islamic scholars, exegetes, and historical figures.
v Although written by former Muslims, The Qur’an Dilemma uses Islamic classical references in their original languages to satisfy the scholar. Yet this commentary is written in a fluid language that allows average readers to enjoy these materials and increase their knowledge of Islam.

Today, America is faced with a stealthy ideological threat: Sharia law. The word Sharia, translated, means “the path or the way.” Sharia is a comprehensive legal and socio-political framework. Even though Sharia law may have a spiritual and religious tone, it seeks to regulate all manner of behavior in the secular sphere, including economic, social, military, legal, spiritual, and political.

Sharia law is considered the dividing fault-line between Islamic reformers (i.e. Moderates) and supremacists (Radicals). Reformers consider Sharia law to be a reference point for a Muslim’s personal conduct that should not be imposed on other pluralistic societies. Supremacists, on the other hand, seek to impose a totalitarian system under which all Muslims are required to obey and install Sharia law, and the world is mandated to adopt it. Failure to fulfill such domination is considered to be a failure against Islam as a universal religion and Allah’s mandates.

Under the radical’s view, the West is perceived as an obstacle to be overcome and over-rules, and not a civilization that can be embraced or adhered to.

Since 9/11, many in the US and the West have realized the risk raised by violent Islamic jihadist and radicals, who have launched an all-out war against all Western societies and their allies in the Middle East. However, despite such appreciation of this threat, many (including peaceful and moderate Muslims) have fallen short of recognizing the peril posed by Islamic jihadists and radicals who operate by deceit and stealth from within the gates of liberal and democratic societies. Such Islamic Supremacists believe that Islam is superior to every other culture as taught by the Qur’an, “You are the best of Peoples, evolved for mankind” (Q3:110), that non-Muslims are “the most vile of created beings” (Q98:6), and that mercy toward other civilians is only commanded toward Muslims as they are commanded in this verse to be “merciful to one another, but ruthless to the unbelievers” (Q48:29).

Where do Islamic jihadists and radicals draw support for their radical views? They rely first and foremost on the Qur’an, and normally recite its verses in support of their views and actions.
v “fight the idolaters utterly” (Q9:36)
v “fight those who believe not in God . . . even if they be People of the Book” (Q9:51)
v “take not the Jews and the Christians as friends and protectors . . . and he amongst you (Muslims) who turn to them for friendship is of them” (Q5:51).

The Qur’an also teaches the Doctrine of Abrogation, by which earlier commands by Allah, even commands to be peaceful toward others, were cancelled by latter verses (Q2:106). It also sanctions the killing of those who leave Islam (Q16:106), it calls all other laws un-Islamic and considers its followers—even if they were Muslims—to be unbelievers (Q5:47), and when it comes to equality between genders, the Qur’an very clearly relegates women to a status inferior to men (Q2:282; 4:3; 4:34).

The Qur’an Dilemma reveals these truths and more concerning the contents and teachings of the Qur’an, and unveils the foundations behind Islamic radicalization and Sharia law.

Purpose of the Book
The Qur’an Dilemma gives English-speaking readers, both Muslims and non-Muslims, many of the critical arguments concerning Islam and the Qur’an. It addresses whether the Qur’an is a book of terror or peace, an inspired divine book or a mere political text.

The book weaves through Islamic history and its many classical commentaries and resources to provide an objective, investigative body of research concerning the truth about Islam.

The book is a result of the team effort of many former Muslim researchers, scholars, writers, and specialists. The team approach was taken to eliminate any undue bias, misunderstandings, or propaganda against Islam and its teachings.

The critical methodology used in this book was inspired by the courageous tradition of those who have dared to analyze the Qur’an throughout history. Contemporary intellectual productions available in Arabic and foreign sources were also incorporated. The result is a book directed equally to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

For more information about this book and the rest of the volumes in this project and how to obtain your own copy, go to

Verse of the Day

This year my word from the Lord is focus from Hebrews 12:1–2. Today I read this "battle plan" from Philippians 4 (Ava Pennington's One Year Alone with God).

Step 1: Ask God for help to release my anxious thoughts, thankfully acknowledging His grace and mercy:

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7 NLT)

Step 2: To prevent anxious thoughts from returning, fill my mind with these things: 

And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

Step 3: Practice Steps 1 & 2 repeatedly until it becomes a habit:

Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9 NLT)

Still working on Step 3, and I suspect I will until I enter my Savior's presence. However, I will never cease to be amazed at God's timing. Yesterday, during church, I had the random thought that I'd not done a study in Scripture on focusing my thoughts on Jesus. (Random because I'm not sure anything said in Sunday school, morning service, or afternoon service triggered the thought.) Usually I do a study on my word in January, but with the move this year, it slipped my mind. Plus the word focus isn't used, at least not in the translations and paraphrases I'm most familiar with. But the concept is definitely there.

I've started a list of words/topics to search for, but until this morning, I hadn't even thought about this aspect of focusing on the Lord. Now I'm thinking of all sorts of verses and specific passages, such as this in Isaiah 26: You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you! (vs. 3)

Ah . . . two more words: fixed and thoughts. Can't wait to get started. God is so good, so faithful. All the time.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Verse of the Day

The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. (Lamentations 3:22–23 NLT)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Verse of the Day

Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24 ESV)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Sixty Acres and a Bride
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Regina Jennings


A Word from Regina:
See me laughing. That’s what I do when someone calls me an author. Yes, it’s always been my dream, but I still can’t keep from giggling over it.

Other things I am – a Christ-follower, a wife, a homeschooling mother of four, a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, and a voracious reader.

Getting reading time isn’t easy. Seems like my family does more than our share of traveling. My husband is an insurance adjuster (I know, save the hate mail) and travels with the catastrophe team often. That’s allowed us to see a lot of the United States. True, many times it’s in the middle of a hurricane or blizzard, but after spending three weeks in a hotel room with six people, you’ll brave anything to get out and see the sights – no matter how damaged they might be.

We also serve on the Missions Team at an amazing church, so we break out the passports frequently. Highlights include singing at a leper colony in India, holding church inside a Mexican prison and showing the Jesus film to a tribe in Senegal who’d never heard the gospel.

But I don’t have to go far away for unusual. My family provides plenty of colorful material with their love for practical jokes, pithy observations and strong agricultural roots. Because of the family business, a significant chunk of my life has been spent at sale barns and auctions – often behind the scales where I weigh pigs. I like to think of myself as a “redneck bluestocking” but I brought an entire marketing team’s discussion to a screeching halt when I said those words, so you didn’t hear it from me.

When I have spare time I love to talk books and quirky characters (real and fictional).


With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to Texas and the family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have only three months to pay.

Though facing eviction, Rosa can't keep herself from falling in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. Learning the American customs is not easy, however, and this beautiful young widow can't help but catch wandering eyes. Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, to what lengths will Rosa go to save her future?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Sixty Acres and a Bride, go HERE.

Review to come later.

Verse of the Day

For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are, so that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:26–29 AMP)

It doesn't matter if I "feel" worthy or able to complete the task the Lord puts before me. All He asks is my obedience to move forward in that task, knowing He deliberately chose me so the world sees HIM not me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Ultimate Valentine

Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? . . . No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35–39 NLT)

Verse of the Day

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I think how much you have helped me; I sing for joy in the shadow of your protecting wings. (Psalm 63:1, 7 NLT)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Verse of the Day

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Blue Moon Bay
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Lisa Wingate


Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of sixteen books.  Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its eighteenth printing from Penguin Putnam.  Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.

Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen (2010).  Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, a general market publisher.  Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, Crossings Book Club, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.

When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women's literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read.  Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.


Heather Hampton returns to Moses Lake, Texas, to help facilitate the sale of a family farm as part of a planned industrial plant that will provide the area with much-needed jobs. Heather's future fiance has brokered the deal, and Heather is in line to do her first large-scale architectural design--if the deal goes through.

But the currents of Moses Lake have a way of taking visitors on unexpected journeys. What was intended to be a quick trip suddenly morphs into Valentine's week--with Blaine Underhill, the handsome banker who just happens to be opposing Heather's project. Spending the holiday in an ex-funeral parlor seems like a nightmare, but Heather slowly finds herself being drawn into the area's history, hope, and heart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Blue Moon Bay, go HERE.

Review to come later.

The Sound of Red Returning by Sue Duffy

About the book:
After losing everyone she loves, concert pianist Liesl Bower has nowhere to go but to escape into her music. Searching for the peace she usually finds in her concertos and sonatas, Liesl can’t shake the feeling that she is being haunted by her past . . . and by someone following her. When she spots a familiar and eerie face in the audience of a concert she’s giving for the president in Washington, DC, the scariest day of her life comes back to her with a flash. It has been fifteen years since Liesl watched her beloved Harvard music mentor assaulted on a dark night in Moscow and just as long since the CIA disclosed to her that he’d been spying for Russia. She had seen that man--that eerie face--the night Professor Devoe was attacked. And now he’s back--and coming for her.

On the run and struggling to rely on the protection of CIA agent Ava Mullins and handsome newspaper reporter Cade O’Brien, Liesl learns she is the prey of an underground cell of Russian KGB agents determined to restore their country to its former Soviet might. But what she doesn’t know is that she is in possession of something--a piece of sheet music--that Russian intelligence is now frantic to find. Inside that music is a secret code, the hidden transcriptions of her deceased mentor, that clearly identify a Russian mole operating inside Israel’s Department of Defense, a mole with enough power and access to execute a daring assassination that no one would see coming.

Caught in a deadly conflict between American and Russian undercover agents, this innocent young pianist is just trying to survive her own personal trauma. Through it all, Liesl must learn that no matter how dark her world grows or how fiercely her enemies pursue her, God is still in control--if only she can yield herself to His grace. Read an excerpt here:!vstc1=books

About the author:

Sue Duffy is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in Moody Magazine, The Presbyterian Journal, Sunday Digest, and The Christian Reader. She is the author of Mortal Wounds (Barbour, 2001) and Fatal Loyalty (Kregel, 2010). Sue has also contributed to Stories for a Woman’s Heart (Multnomah). She and her husband, Mike, have three grown children.

Find out more at

Link to buy the book:

Margie's Comments: I'm always up to reading a good spy novel, so when I saw the invitation to review The Sound of Red Returning, I jumped at the chance. (Thanks to Litfuse for the free copy of the book in exchange for the review.) The fact that Liesl is also a pianist made me connect with her before I started reading. What a unique premise as to how her piano mentor/double agent passed information! The characters are well developed; the plot moves along, leaving me breathless at times. And I love the spiritual thread that moves through the story as well. Sue Duffy has done a masterful job at spinning a spy thriller that holds the reader's attention through the last page. I highly recommend The Sound of Red Returning, and I will be looking for more books by this author.

Win A Kindle Fire

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Enter 1/23 - 2/11. The Red Returning Giveaway!

Win a Kindle Fire from @SueDuffy2 and @KregelBooks in the "Red Returning" Giveaway!

Sue Duffy and her publisher, Kregel Publications, are celebrating the release of The Sound of Red Returning by giving away a Kindle Fire prize package worth over $200 to one lucky winner!!!! (1/23-2/11)

Enter the Sue Duffy’s Giveaway today and you could win:

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To enter click one of the icons below. But, hurry! The giveway ends on 2/11. Sue will be announcing the winner of the “Red Returning” Giveaway on February 13th on the Litfuse website!

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Verse of the Day

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. . . . Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! . . . He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet, so He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! (Psalm 107:1, 19–21, 29–31)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Song of My Heart
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Kim Vogel Sawyer


Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.


Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent--though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job.

Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. After he earns enough money doing sheriff work, he wants to use it to pay for his training to become a minister.

Thad is immediately attracted to the beautiful singer who performs in Asa Baxter's unusual opera house, but when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he begins to wonder if she's far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes he's come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Song of My Heart, go HERE.

Margie's Comments: Once again, Kim Vogel Sawyer has come through with another great, satisfying read. I identified with Sadie and fell in love with her almost immediately. Her love fore her family, her desire to be of help, her love for others, and her innocence that others take advantage of all combine to make her character enjoyable. Thad, too, makes a perfect hero. He spends a lot of the book thoroughly confused by the contradictions he finds in Sadie. And he can't stand that cousin of hers, Sid. Then there's the delightful twin sisters, Melva and Shelva Baxter, who own and run the mercantile where Sadie will be working. They are laugh out loud funny but also can be counted on to give the right godly advice when Sadie finds herself in over her head. For those who love a gentle, romantic read, you can't go wrong with Song of My Heart

Verse of the Day

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 AMP)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Verse of the Day

Be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down ( relax My hold on you)! [ Assuredly not!] (Hebrews 13:5 AMP)

Powerful words put to music in the last verse of "How Firm a Foundation":

“The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”

Monday, February 6, 2012

Verse of the Day

Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires. Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence as clear as the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. (Psalm 37:3–7 NLT)

Friday, February 3, 2012

In Too Deep by Mary Connealy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In Too Deep
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Mary Connealy


Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award Finalist, a Carol Award Finalist, and an IRCC Award finalist.

The Lassoed in Texas Series: Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon, and Gingham Mountain. Petticoat Ranch was a Carol Award Finalist. Calico Canyon was a Christy Award Finalist and a Carol Award Finalist. These three books are now contained in one large volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.

The Montana Marriages Series: Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.

Cowboy Christmas—the 2010 Carol Award for Best Long Historical Romance, and an Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Finalist.

The Sophie's Daughters series: Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

She is also the author of Black Hills Blessing, a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances; Nosy in Nebraska, a 3-in-1 collection of cozy romantic mysteries; and she's one of the three authors contributing to Alaska Brides with her Carol Award Winning historical romance Golden Days.   


In 1866 Colorado, Ethan Kincaid agrees to a marriage of convenience with the same casual disregard he gives every decision. Audra Gilliland, young mother of two, accepts his proposal because she wants to stop being a burden to her newly married stepdaughter. And suddenly both of them are in far deeper than they'd planned.

Ethan doesn't expect Audra to affect him so profoundly, and when she begins to, he's terrified of the pain he's felt before when someone he loved was seriously injured on his watch. He's determined that his new wife will do as he says so he can keep her safe from the dangers that lurk on their ranch. Audra has been cared for all her life by one man or another—and they've done a poor job of it. Now she's planning to stand up for herself. And her new husband had better agree or get out of her way!

What will it take to transform two wayward hearts fearful of getting in too deep into two trusting hearts ready to risk falling deeply in love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of In Too Deep, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

Verse of the Day

Be determined, be confident; and make sure that you obey the whole Law that [I] gave you. Do not neglect any part of it and you will succeed wherever you go. Be sure that the book of the Law is always read in your worship. Study it day and night, and make sure that you obey everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:7–9 GNT)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

ACFW New Releases—January & February 2012

With the move and everything going on last month, I didn't get the January ACFW New Releases posted. So here they are now, along with February's. Lots of good books from very good authors. Enjoy!

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Halflings by Heather Burch — One girl. Three half-angel guys. And the fate of the world. (Young Adult from Zondervan).

Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot — Stagecoach robberies and a certain lieutenant make Abigail Harding’s summer at Wyoming’s Fort Laramie unforgettable. (Historical Romance from Revell).

The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden — Libby Sawyer’s quiet, respectable life in Colden, Massachusetts is shattered when a bold stranger from Romania invades her world. Fascinated by this enigmatic man, Libby uncovers layers of mystery surrounding Micahel Dobrescu’s amazing past…and his plans for the future in which she plays a startling role. (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

Injustice for All by Robin Caroll — Who can you turn to when everything you believe in is shattered? (Romantic Suspense from B&H Publishing).

A Life of Joy by Amy Clipston — Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you’ll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman’s story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams … and secrets. (Romance from Zondervan).

An Amish Family Reunion by Mary Ellis, — As Phoebe embarks on a new romance and an unlikely career choice for someone Amish, the Miller family tries to put aside differences long enough to attend a joyous family reunion. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House).

The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher — Julia Lapp has planned on marrying Paul Fisher since she was a girl. Now twenty-one, she looks forward to their wedding with giddy anticipation. When Paul tells her he wants to postpone the wedding–again–she knows who is to blame. (Contemporary Romance from Revell).

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter — Two high-school sweethearts, a wedding reenactment, and one absent-minded preacher. Is it a recipe for disaster or a chance for a new beginning? (Contemporary Romance from Thomas Nelson ).

All Roads Lead Home by Christine Johnson — An orphanage agent must drive her car across the United States to save a boy from a disastrous placement with the man who claims to be his father, but she needs the assistance of a mechanic, and the only one willing to help is the man she jilted two years ago. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).

Firethorn by Ronie Kendig — Explosive Conclusion to Ronie Kendig’s Discarded Heroes series. Blown and dismantled, Nightshade is ready to repay the favor. (Romantic Suspense from Barbour Publishing). 

Tomorrow’s Sun by Becky Melby– Faith reaches across the centuries when Emily Foster finds old letters in the 160-year-old house she’s remodeling, but Jake Braden, the contractor she’s just hired, doesn’t share her vision. (Contemporary Romance from Barbour Publishing).

Cherry Blossom Capers by Cara Putman, Lynette Sowell, Gina Conroy, and Frances Devine — The lives of four neighbors are irrevocably changed amid mystery and romance. Assistant chef Tara Whitley is seeking a state dinner saboteur. Attorney Ciara Turner is tracking down a murderer. Budding archeologist Samantha Steele encounters a forger. Shop owner Susan Holland is someone’s target. Will God protect them in life and love? (Romance/Mystery from Barbour Publishing).

The Secret Heiress by Terri Reed– An adopted woman discovers she’s heir to a fortune, only someone doesn’t want her to live long enough to inherit. So she must hire a bodyguard to keep her safe but soon realizes her heart’s in danger as well. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired Suspense).

Amelia’s Journey by Martha W. Rogers– When young rancher Ben and socialite Amelia meet again after six years, they are attracted to each other immediately, but Amelia’s parents have other ideas for their daughter and forbid the relationship. (Historical Romance from Realms). 

Winter Promise by Martha W. Rogers– Abigail Monroe comes to Porterfield, Texas to open a library and to join her brother, Daniel and best friend, Rachel Reed with no thoughts of marriage, but young Doctor Elliot and Deputy Sheriff Cory Muldoon are both smitten and vie for her heart. (Historical Romance from Realms). 

Where Wildflowers Bloom by Ann Shorey– Will Faith Lindberg follow her heart, or marry the wrong man to achieve her goal? (Historical Romance from Revell). 

Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK by Betsy St. Amant– Sixteen-year-old Addison Blakely has tirelessly played the role of PK-preacher’s kid-her entire life. But after Wes Keegan revs his motorcycle into town and into her heart, Addison begins to wonder how much of her faith is her own and how much has been handed to her. (Young Adult from Barbour Publishing).

Love Finds You in New Orleans by Christa Allan — (Historical Romance from Summerside Press – Guideposts).

Picture Perfect Family by Renee Andrews — Missionary Daniel Brantley has returned to Claremont, Alabama to raise his orphaned nephew; however, Mandy Carter, the woman whose proposal he refused years before, isn’t about to let him take Kaden away. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

Into the Free by Julie Cantrell — A simple girl with anything but a simple story. (Contemporary Fiction from David Cook).

In Too Deep by Mary Connealy– In 1866 Colorado, Ethan Kincaid agrees to a marriage of convenience with the same casual disregard he gives every decision. Audra Gilliland, young mother of two, accepts his proposal because she wants to stop being a burden to her newly married stepdaughter. And suddenly both of them are in far deeper than they’d planned. (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

A Wedding to Remember in Charleston, South Carolina by Annalisa Daughety — Wedding planner Summer Nelson is throwing herself into her work to avoid the pain of her recent marriage separation. Husband Luke knows he made a mistake – but doesn’t know how to fix it. When a hurricane traps them together, the crisis might tear them apart forever. (Contemporary Romance from Barbour Publishing).

Heart’s Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes, — When midwife Phoebe Lee is pressed by her pregnant sister-in-law to help save her husband from an English prison during the War of 1812, they end up aboard a British privateer crossing the Atlantic under the command of a man with a deadly mission. (Historical Romance from Revell).

Highland Crossings by Laurie Alice Eakes, Pamela Griffin, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Gina Welborn, — Historic North Carolina takes center stage in a new collection of novellas that follows the lives and loves of four women…and the heirloom brooch that connects them through generations. Will Seona, Fiona, Seren, and Brynna find God’s path in a new world far from their Scottish home? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing).

When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason — When Alexia arrives home to find her ex-boyfriend dead in her mother’s basement, she realizes she needs help. Thanks goodness Hunter Graham is more than willing to offer it. (Romantic Suspense from Revell).

Sweeter than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott — A shy young woman must find her courage when she is thrown together on a dangerous errand with a musical genius. (Historical Romance from Thomas Nelson).

Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart — Adriane Darcy stands ready to do whatever she must to keep her father’s newspaper number one in the city including agreeing to marry a man she doesn’t love, the son of a powerful local political figure, but when she meets Blake Garrett, the editor of a competing newspaper, sparks fly that will change both their lives forever. (Historical Romance from Revell).

Before the Scarlet Dawn by Rita Gerlach– In 1775, A young woman longs for acceptance and leaves behind all she has in order to follow her heart and the man she loves into the Maryland wilderness. But will her love and faith protect her from the trial she must face? Will she find the true meaning of companionship? And how will she face the world when she is rejected by those closest to her? (Historical Romance from Abingdon Press).

Sheltering Love by Elizabeth Goddard — Alexa’s last chance to produce an award-winning documentary draws attention to a canopy biologist hiding in the trees. When their greatest fears collide in the heart of the wilderness, can they each bury the past long enough to nurture love? (Romance from Heartsong Presents (Barbour)).

Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke– Michael Dunnagan is given a life, a hope and a future through his friend’s sacrifice aboard Titanic. Now he must keep his promise to help Owen’s family in NJ, and bring his sister from England to America. He never expected to fall in love with her, or that she would disappear into the horrors of WWI. Michael risks everything to find the woman he’s grown to love. (Historical from Tyndale House Publishers).

To Love and To Cherish by Kelly S. Irvin– The sudden, tragic death of Emma Shirack’s parents in a buggy accident and the return of a suitor who abandoned her years earlier test Emma’s Amish faith and her ability to forgive. Will a man she thought of as a friend be the one to help her to heal? (Romance from Harvest House).

Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings– She’s Finally Found a Place to Call Home… How Far Will She Go to Save It? (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

Hometown Cinderella by Ruth Axtell Morren — (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).

Falling for the Fireman by Allie Pleiter– When fire marshall Chad Owens suspects that fire victim Jeannie Nelworth’s son may be channeling his emotions in a dangerous manner, will the pretty and but protective widowed mom be strong enough to help him? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

Second Chance by Eileen Hinkle Rife– Dareece Jackson, a teen from the projects, wants something in Mave Robertson’s purse…and he’ll stop at nothing to get it. (Contemporary Fiction from OakTara Publishers).

Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer– Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can’t work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent – though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job. Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

A House Full of Hope by Missy Tippens– A widowed mom of four who’s put her life on hold until her kids are grown finds hope of love in the most unlikely of places when the former bad boy who ruined her sister returns to town seeking redemption. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh– Campbell Carter has come to Sweethaven in search of answers about her mother’s history. Just before losing a battle with cancer, Suzanne Carter wrote letters to childhood friends from her hometown of Sweethaven, Michigan. Suzanne’s three friends-Lila, Jane, and Meghan-haven’t spoken in years, yet each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together as girls. Suzanne’s letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers. (Contemporary Fiction from Guideposts Books).

Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate– A sweet deal for the sale of lakeside family property in Texas could make Heather’s career, but suddenly the family backs off, Heather rushes back to the site of a previous family tragedy and finds an old high school flame and her brother scheming to — what? (Cozy Mystery from Bethany House).

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall– Love between a Mennonite woman and an Amish man threatens the lifelong relationship between two brothers. And two families. Annie is a young Old Order Mennonite woman whose grandfather co-owns a restaurant with the Zooks, an Old Order Amish family. Romance between the Mennonites and Amish is unacceptable. Inappropriate. Forbidden. But it seems that Annie and Aden have denied their feelings for each other for as long as they can tolerate. (Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook Multnomah).