Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Crossing by Serita Ann Jakes

MY TAKE:
This is the first book I've read by Mrs. Jakes, and it was a very pleasant surprise. The story is told through several of the character's points of view. The shifting between characters was really well done and I think it was an important writing decision, because the story is so much richer for it. Claudia and Casio both suffer from PTSD and emotional trauma from the accident 10 years before. Reading their thoughts and seeing how they rationalized their choices was enlightening and heartbreaking. I think one of the most interesting character point of view we're shown, though, is that of the Victim. As the young teach lays dying on the school bus floor, unable to speak or respond to those around her, we see her coming to terms with her life. Facing her sins, accepting responsibility and forgiveness. Feeling the transition from a mortal life to immortal grow within her as the love of Jesus fills her spirit. It was a beautiful thread woven through the story. Mrs. Jakes shows pain and horror, then the path to finding healing and acceptance. It's not all happy endings and sunshine, but it is very moving. I highly recommend it.
ABOUT THE BOOK:

In 2000, a horrible unsolved crime is committed on a Texas school bus. At the time, Claudia Campbell was the beautiful head cheerleader, a hopeful girl who idolized her slain teacher. Now ten years later, Claudia's secret life threatens to destroy her marriage and possibly her very life.

Casio Hightower, now a prominent member of the community and a police officer, was a superstar quarterback and tapped by several colleges as their next golden boy. Casio's rages are tearing him apart and are close to landing him in jail.

The only way to move forward with their lives is to readdress the crime of their past, with the help of God and his perfect grace.





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Serita A. Jakes has been involved in Christian ministry all of her adult life and has served alongside her husband, Bishop T. D. Jakes, throughout their entire marriage of nearly 30 years. As an insightful speaker, she draws heavily from her education and background in theater and mass communications. A soft-spoken woman offstage, First Lady Jakes, as she is affectionately referred to by The Potter’s House congregation, possesses the rare ability to reach and stir her audiences as she works to complement her husband’s ministry.

In August 1999, she released her first book, The Princess Within, which to date has sold more than 200,000 copies. The book, which is a poignant and revealing autobiographical reflection of encouragement and victory over pain, trauma, and abuse, is scheduled for re-release spring 2011. Serita wrote the book as a vehicle of encouragement for hurting women who want to break the silence surrounding their secret pain and obtain healing from it. In November 2003, Warner Faith published First Lady Jakes’ second book, Beside Every Good Man: Loving Myself While Standing By Him. It challenges women to explore the seasons that shape their views of male influence in their eyes.


“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

CFBA: Love Blooms In Winter by Lori Copeland




This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:



Love Blooms in Winter


Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2012)


by




Lori Copeland





MY TAKE:



Runaway trains, a batty neighbor with more dogs than sense, an elephant and a love story. Who would have thought that all of those could wind themselves together in a story that would make sense? Lori Copelad did, and she added a whole lot more, only if I listed it, you wouldn't believe me. Plus, it kind of ruins all the surprises. That was half the fun of reading this book. The romance was fun and sweet and the message of faith is strong, but the people really do make the story come to life.

ABOUT THE BOOK:



A romantic new book from bestselling author Lori Copeland that portrays God’s miraculous provision even when none seems possible.

1892—Mae Wilkey’s sweet next-door neighbor, Pauline, is suffering from old age and dementia and desperately needs family to come help her. But Pauline can’t recall having kin remaining. Mae searches through her desk and finds a name—Tom Curtis, who may just be the answer to their prayers.

Tom can’t remember an old aunt named Pauline, but if she thinks he’s a long-lost nephew, he very well may be. After two desperate letters from Mae, he decides to pay a visit. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more of an adventure than Tom is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter when God is in charge of things.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Blooms in Winter, go HERE.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Lori lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance. Lance and Lori have three sons, three daughter-in-laws, and six wonderful grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters. Lance and Lori are very involved in their church, and active in supporting mission work in Mali, West Africa.

Lori began her writing career in 1982, writing for the secular book market. In 1995, after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him. It was at that time that Lori began writing for the Christian book market. To date, she has had over 100 books published.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Somebody That I Used to Know - Walk off the Earth Video

A friend shared this with me and I fell in love. Great voices and such a creative performance. Just awesome.






Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Change For A Dollar Movie

Very moving video. It's a little long, but worth watching all the way through.

Change For A Dollar Movie: Is he asking for Change, or is he asking for CHANGE? Follow a man as he affects multiple peoples' lives with just one dollar, proving that it doesn't take much to be the change in someone's life. Written and directed by Sharon Wright.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

CFBA: The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden

Song Stuck on the Brain: Today has been one song after another, I woke up with Lose My Soul by Toby Mac, then moved to White and Nerdy by Weird Al, which in a scary sense is rather accurate in a lot of ways. By evening it had moved on to Little Town from Beauty and the Beast. Of course, now that I watched three episodes in a row of Wizards of Waverly Place, I'm singing that theme now.


Now you know what an average day inside my brain is like. Actually that's not true, those are just the dominate songs, I have random songs trigger all day long, it's like flipping through a radio station with no genre settings. :)







This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:



The Rose of Winslow Street

Bethany House (January 1, 2012)



by




Elizabeth Camden







MY TAKE:


Libby Sawyer is a phenomenal artist, intelligent with in depth knowledge of botany, has a heart of gold, loves children and make a mean jam. Who wouldn't fall in love with her? That was my thought, but her private pain overshadows all of that and she doesn't believe anyone can love her. Michael changes that. He's both the invader and her hero, standing up for her all while fighting to take her home away. Talk about conflict of interest!


Elizabeth Camden created a riddler of a romance and I couldn't put it down. Michael and Libby are perfect for each other, if only they weren't supposed to be enemies. Libby's desire to show to show an example of love to the town for the sake of Michael's family, became a living parable for everyone. Love thy neighbor takes on deeper meaning in more ways than one, without ever a preachy tone expressed.


Michael's sisters story plays a large part in that message as well, and although the tragic story that explains her aversion to roses made me feel physically ill, it was actually a beautiful addition to the story. (I don't want to spoil the story, so I'll leave it at that.) Elizabeth touched on several hot topics, abuse, illiteracy, war, and theft just to name a few. Each was handled deftly with love, courage, faith and humor.


I can't wait to see what she writes next.




ABOUT THE BOOK:


The last thing Libby Sawyer and her father expected upon their return from their summer home was to find strangers inhabiting a house that had been in their family for decades. Widower Michael Dobrescu brought his family from Romania to the town of Colden, Massachusetts with a singular purpose: to claim the house willed to him long ago. Since neither party has any intention of giving up their claim, a fierce legal battle ensues between the two families.

When important documents go missing from the house, Libby suspects Michael is the culprit. Determined to discover the truth behind the stolen papers, Libby investigates, only to find more layers of mystery surrounding Michael and his family. Despite their rivalry, Libby finds herself developing feelings for this man with the mysterious past.

As a decision about the house looms in the courts, Libby must weigh the risks of choosing to remain loyal to her family or give her heart to a man whose intentions and affections are less than certain.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Rose of Winslow Street, go HERE.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


A research librarian and associate professor, Elizabeth Camden has a master’s in history from the University of Virginia and a master’s in library science from Indiana University. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband in central Florida.

CFBA: The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

Song Stuck on the Brain: It Will Rain by Bruno Mars





This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:




The Maid of Fairbourne Hall


Bethany House (January 1, 2012)






by




Julie Klassen





MY TAKE:


Julie Klassen is a master in this genre. Her characters sparkle, the details are specific and deep but not overwhelming. I always feel as if I've actually stepped back in time with her. Some of the historical details I found particularly interesting, were the cosmetic creations. The stillroom seemed like an interesting place to work, allthough probably way more work than I'd actually want to do. :)


But the details, really, are just background. The true draw is Margaret's story. Unaware of her elitist ways, she gets a whole new look at the world and herself when she's forced to live the life of a maid. Being on the other end of the social scale is an eye opener, but she embraces it with grace and her heart wins you over. The romance is not just icing on the cake, it's the cake too. It gives substance as well as the sweet high.


ABOUT THE BOOK:



Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?

Observing both brothers as an "invisible" servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?

On her journey from wellborn lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of "serve one another in love."

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, go HERE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years (first in advertising, then as a fiction editor) and now writes full time. Two of her books, The Girl in the Gatehouse and The Silent Governess won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Girl in the Gatehouse also won a Midwest Book Award and The Silent Governess was a finalist in Romance Writers of America's RITA awards.

She graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoys travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends. Julie and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.