Monday, December 17, 2012

Books, the best gift you can give!

Happy Monday, everyone. The countdown to Christmas is speeding by faster than I could have imagined. Are you ready or are you doing a little last minute shopping?

I'll admit, I'm one of those that starts shopping in July. By the time Black Friday rolls around, I'm usually done. That doesn't always keep me from doing just a little extra shopping for the fun of it. So whether you're still looking for last minute gifts or if you're shopping just for fun, don't forget that books make a fantastic gift for men and women of ALL ages.
I've reviewed a lot of fantastic new books this year, I hope some of them gave you ideas for gifts. In fact, I hope you take the time to check out the posts again for ideas.

Recently I toured Starflower, the fourth book in the Tales of the Goldstone wood Series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl for the CFBA. Now it's the CSFF's turn to tour the novel.

Never Become Involved in the Affairs of Mortals

When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps lovely Lady Gleamdren, Bard Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission . . . and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.

But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin finds his path entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her poet rescuer?
Since I've already posted my review HERE, I won't repeat myself, but visit the other tour members links to read their thoughts on this fantastic novel. Maybe you'll find it's the perfect gift for someone you love (including yourself!)

Phyllis Wheeler

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

B4B: Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic

Song Stuck on the Brain: Stupid Boy by Cassadee Pope from The Voice



I first heard Nick Vujicic's story when I watched his DVD, No Arms, No Legs, No Worries. His testimony, perseverance and faith blew me away. It touched me. Here's a man that most would say has the worst deal in the world, and yet look how he shines for Jesus. And he shines for Him because he walked through all the darkest times and chose to cling to Jesus as his savior rather than curse Him. He made me look at my life, my walk, and my testimony in a new light and examine my path with a new perspective. I shared the video with everyone I could.

With Nick's new book, Unstoppable, he's back to share more of his testimonies and experiences in life. What touched me a great deal this time around, was how open he was in sharing his darker moments when he struggled with his faith and how Jesus helped him to turn it around. Faith is tested, that's part of life. It's what makes it stronger. No one is immune to that. Even the strongest Christians find themselves questioning things at times. I loved how he used his own bad example as he puts it, to show us a way back and to be stronger when it's past. His words are inspiring, honest, heart wrenching at times; but powerful in a way that will have you taking a deeper look into your own heart. You'll be sailing through the book so that you can share it with everyone around you.


Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving. It’s about having faith in yourself, your talents and your purpose and, most of all, in God’s great love and His divine plan for your life.

Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic.  Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships.  Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.

But how does that happen?  In Unstoppable Nick addresses adversity and difficult circumstances that many people face today, including:

·         Personal crises
·         Relationship issues
·         Career and job challenges
·         Health and disability concerns
·         Self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and addictions
·         Bullying, persecution, cruelty, and intolerance
·         Balance in body, mind, heart, and spirit
·         Service to others

Through stories from his own life and the experiences of many others, Nick explains how anyone wanting a “ridiculously good life” can respond to these issues and more to become unstoppable. What’s standing in your way?  Are you ready to become unstoppable?

Visit Nick on Facebook HERE.  Read the First Chapter HERE.


Meet Nick Vujicic, pronounced ‘Vooy-cheech’. Born in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia, without any medical explanation or warning, Nicholas Vujicic came into the world with neither arms nor legs. Imagine the shock his parents felt when they saw their first-born brand new baby boy for the first time, only to find he was what the world would consider imperfect and abnormal. A limbless son was not what nurse Dushka Vujicic, and her husband Pastor Boris Vujicic had been expecting. How would their son live a normal happy life? What could he ever do or become when living with such a massive disability? Little did they or anyone else know that this beautiful limbless baby would one day be someone who would inspire and motivate people from all walks of life. God uses Nick to touch lives and bring the hope of Jesus Christ to people across the globe.

Today, this limbless young man has accomplished more than most people accomplish in a lifetime. Nick made the massive move from Brisbane, Australia to California, USA in 2007, where he is the President and CEO of a Nick with Kids in Indianon-profit organization, Life Without Limbs. Since his first speaking engagement back when he was 19, Nick has traveled around the world, sharing his story with millions of people, speaking to a range of different groups such as students, teachers, youth, businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, and church congregations of all sizes.  He has also told his story and been interviewed on various televised programs worldwide. “If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, then He will certainly use any willing heart!”

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

Kregel: The Sons of Jude by Brandt Dodson



Gritty, and a little hard boiled. The story has a feel of authenticity that you expect from an author that has walked in his characters shoes. I enjoyed it, it had a different feel and tone than the books I typically review, but it's nice to broaden my horizons. Although I read across a lot of genres, I usually only review Christian Fiction. Not to say this isn't Christian, The Sons of Jude has a strong moral  message, but the setting is honest and true to life. Be prepared for drinking, bars, strip clubs and a rougher crowd. It's handled tastefully. Nothing gratuitous or overly descriptive, nothing felt excessive or out of place for the story, but I know some would prefer to know this before reading. Overall, it put me in mind of authors like Shawn Grady, J. Mark Bertrand, maybe even a little Clive Cussler or James Patterson. If you enjoy these authors, give Brandt Dodson a try. You'll feel like you're walking the cold and windy beat of Chicago with him.


A new series of gritty, fast-paced thrillers

The body of a young woman is found in a dumpster in Chicago and detectives Andy Polanski and Frank Campello are charged with finding the killer. The two are polar opposites. Polanski is the son of a disgraced Chicago police officer and is fastidious about his reputation. He has also recently been transferred from another district having blown the whistle on some corrupt cops. Campello, however, takes a live-and-let-live approach to his life and job.

It soon becomes clear, as another young woman--a potential witness--is murdered, that a sex-trafficking operation in Chicago is preying on illegal aliens. As the ill-matched pair dig deeper, an influential alderman and his son are implicated. Then Polanski is framed for a narcotics offense, devastating the cases against the corrupt officers and the alderman. Only when Campello is challenged by a local minister, whom he meets when visiting Polanski, does he find the motivation to seek justice.

Read an excerpt her HERE


Brandt was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, which he would later choose as the setting for his Colton Parker Mystery series. Although he discovered in grade school that he wanted to be a writer, it would be another twenty-one years before he would put pen to paper.

“I knew in fifth grade that I wanted to be a writer. Our teacher had given each of us a photograph which we were to use as inspiration for a short story. The particular photo I was given was of several young men playing handball in New York City. I don’t remember all of the particulars of the story now, but I do remember the thrill that writing it gave me.”

In high school, Brandt’s English teacher uncovered his growing desire and encouraged him by saying: “If you don’t write, you’ll regret it the rest of your life.”