Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tyndale is having a contest!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy

This is one of those books that after you pick it up you have to keep reading because you can’t even begin to predict what will happen next. I learned much about China’s cultural revolution and its effect on a Chinese family, about adoption from China, both during Mao’s time in power and more currently. I also found out a great deal about PKD, a deadly kidney disorder. The stories of the Chinese family’s history that are interspersed throughout remind me of my beloved Pearl S. Buck books that I read as a teenager.

Dr. Chang Kai, a Chinese immigrant and Harvard educated doctor searches out and finds her younger sister who has been adopted by an American couple. She had medical information that may be crucial to the young girl’s life. How they meet and how the pieces come together for the adoptee, the adoptive parents, the older sister (Kai) is the heart of the story. Each person has things in their past that is making their present difficult. As they find each other, many of those issues are dealt with. Not the least of these issues is the search for God by both the sisters and the total surrender to God by the adoptive mom.

This story is so compelling I recommend it to anyone who wants an enjoyable read and anyone who wants to gain knowledge when they read. Bethany House provided me with a copy of this book for review.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Love on the Line by Deanne Gist

When Bethany House offered Deanne Gist’s latest book for review, I jumped at the opportunity. I have read every one of Ms. Gist’s books so far and they never disappoint. In fact, they just get better and better. This book was one of those page-turners for which you want to put everything else in your life on the back burner. Georgie Gail is a telephone operator around 1910 in a small Texas town. Lucious Landrum, a.k.a. Luke Palmer, is a Texas Ranger undercover as a lineman for the telephone company. He is trying to track down a famous outlaw and his gang. He is hindered by the fact that the outlaw has the sympathy of the townspeople due to the popular pulp fiction that is circulating and the outlaw’s Robin Hood-like manners during the train robberies.

Add to the mix, Georgie’s campaign to stop the use of bird parts on women’s millinery and Luke’s genuine enjoyment of hunting and some sparks are sure to fly. This story had a lot of interesting twists and turns and had me up late trying to find out what was going to happen next. If you want something far from ordinary and mundane and unlike the formula novels some authors are churning out, then just pick up this, or any other, book by Deanne Gist and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This book is a true story about a subject dear to my heart: foster care and adoption. I have been a foster parent and my children are foster-adopt parents. Many of the situations mentioned in this book struck a chord with me.

John and Kelly Rosati became interested in foster care and adoption when he was stationed in Hawaii in the Air Force. Their first experience, a one month foster care stint with an 11 year old girl very nearly put them entirely off the idea altogether. God, however, had other plans and sometimes reluctantly, they began to follow those plans and the adoptions fell into place one at a time. Although they felt happy with two adopted children, eventually two more came on the scene and they now have two boys and two girls. The family now lives in Colorado where Mrs. Rosati works for Focus on the Family.

Anyone considering adoption would do well to read this story and get a taste of what the process entails. It is not an easy process by any means, but there are many waiting children in the United States and if someone is willing to provide them with a family and has the desire and the stamina to go through the process, the rewards are great for all involved. The process varies from state to state but is pretty much the same as described in this book in most states.

This book will be a great resource for adoption agencies, families looking in to foster care and adoption, ministries that support adoption and other related organizations.

In addition to containing a lot of useful information, this book was just enjoyable to read and very well written. I read it through in one day.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Wow! Kim Vogel Sawyer has done it again. She has woven a beautiful story encompassing the wonder of God’s Love and an intriguing historical setting. This book takes place in Alaska among the native people there. Clay Selby and his sister, Vivian, go as missionaries to a native tribe and meet Lizzie, a woman with a native mother and a Caucasian father. Their struggles to reach the people in the tribe and Lizzie’s struggle to belong in her mother’s world, along with Vivian’s struggle to reconcile her past all make for an interesting story. This is another one of those books you can’t put down until you have savored the last word. The sweetest part of it is the acceptance of the Father (God) by the people in the story and the firm reliance they put on His care.

Much rich detail in contained in this book and obviously Ms. Sawyer did a lot of research. I love the setting of this story and I love the fact that it is about missionaries. The missionaries of the past and the missionaries of the present are my personal heroes. The wonderful way Ms. Sawyer tells the story of their faith and reliance on God makes it obvious that she has a deep personal relationship with the Father. So many books of Christian fiction just do lip service to God and personal relationship with Him, almost an afterthought added in to make it “Christian.” Not so, here. I was so blessed by this book. It renewed my zeal to see others given an opportunity to embrace His salvation. Thank you Bethany House for giving me this book to review. And thank you Ms. Sawyer for another wonderful book to read. I am waiting in great anticipation for the next one to be published.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Most Unsuitable Match by Stephanie Grace Whitson

A Most Unsuitable Match
By Stephanie Grace Whitson

This book had some surprises. It was interesting to learn about the boats going to the Montana goldfields and the reality of the harsh life once one arrived there. The heroine was somewhat daring but a LOT naïve. All the characters in this book were interesting in their own right.

The story is about Fannie who after the death of her parents discovers she has an aunt she hasn’t met. Disillusioned by the state of affairs she finds herself in and the poor management of her financial advisor, she takes off to find her aunt. The people she meets along the way and her aunt, when she finds her, help shape her life and turn it in an entirely unexpected direction.

The author left out some details at the end that would have helped resolve some of the conflict in the story, so one is left wondering if a sequel will ensue in which we will learn more of those details.
All in all, this was a very delightful book and I am grateful for Bethany House giving me the opportunity to review this book and discover Stephanie Grace Whitson who will join my list of preferred authors.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Interview with Mike Halpin of Haptoon

The Old Schoolhouse magazine is having a Blog Hop. Here is their blog: . Each participant was assigned someone to interview. I got my first choice, Mike Halpin of Haptoons. Here is that interview!

1) How did you first begin combining art with a spiritual message?

When Jesus saved me back in 1971.

I left my hometown of Detroit, Michigan soon after I graduated High School and moved to Berkley, California to pursue a career in underground cartooning. (All the major underground companies were located in the Bay area.)

By God’s grace, I was not successful and because of my excessive hedonistic lifestyle, hit rock bottom.

Thanks be to God the Rock was Jesus. He save me and turned my life around to serve Him. I automatically began to express my newfound faith through the media of cartooning.

In 2001, I was involved in a creativity group at Calvary Chapel. One of the assignments was to take a little sermonette and do something creative with it. I wrote a poem and did the following cartoon:

At the same time, my niece’s husband, Justin Kaake, created the Haptoon website and “The Seven Truths of John 3:16” was the first cartoon. Since then I have created over 200 Haptoons. (Unfortunately the website crashed and I hope to start a new website soon.)

2) What do you hope families receive through your Haptoons?

Haptoon is a personal reflection of what I am learning as I seek to know God through His Word. It is also a calling to proclaim the Gospel. I echo the Apostle Paul’s conviction “Woe to me if I do not cartoon for the Lord!” (1 Cor. 9:16)

I pray as one reads my cartoons, God’s Word will minister to them. I try to include scripture references and hope they will dig into God’s Word for themselves.

Finally, I hope my Haptoons will encourage us all to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.” (Heb. 12:2)
My greatest joy is when I receive e-mail from parents who are using Haptoon to teach their children God’s Word. It doesn’t get much better than that.

If you would like to personally receive Haptoon, please e-mail me at and I will add you to my list.

Thanks and God bless.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Horse Dreams (Backyard Horses Series) by Dandi Daley Mackall

This is the first book in a new series by Dandi Daley Mackall called Backyard Horses. If you have an elementary school-aged girl that is enamored with horses, as many of them are, this would be an excellent series to gift her with. This is a paperback of approximately 150 pages.

The story is about 10-year-old Ellie who has asked God daily for several years for a beautiful black stallion. When a rather down and out pinto unexpectedly comes into her life, she takes a great interest in the horse but doesn’t realize for a while that she has finally received God’s answer to her prayers. If I tell you any more of the story, I will spoil it for you so I will leave it for you to read. The book is very engaging. Both my granddaughter and I read it in one sitting.

Tyndale gave me this book to review and I look forward to reading the rest of the series as it comes out. This particular volume has a bonus of the sign language alphabet (Ellie’s young brother is deaf) and a “Horse Talk” glossary.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pattern of Wounds: A Roland March Mystery by J. Mark Bertrand

This is a crime mystery that is hard to put down. This is not my normal genre of leisure reading material, but something about the description intrigued me when it appeared on a list of books to review for Bethany House.

This is a fast paced story with a surprise around every corner and lots of loose ends that get tied up eventually in the course of the story. It is about a detective searching for a killer with a distinctive M.O. amidst department politics, marital situation, internal conflicts, old family history and spiritual uncertainty. It all manages to come together pretty well with a few questions left unanswered for a starting point for the next book in the series.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more in this series in the future.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I thought you might be interested in the free summer digital issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Feel free to forward to those you know that might have interest as this is a free for all. :+)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Inside Threat by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn

This book was one of those books that you didn't want to put down for anything -- just read it from beginning to end in one sitting. I wasn't able to do that but could think of little else when I didn't have it in my hands.

This is the story of a very realistic and very plausible terrorist attack on US soil by US-born Islamic terrorists. It is told from the point of view of various members of a special ops team in Washington, DC and also from the point of view of one of the terrorists.

Not only will you gain a greater understanding of some of today's most important issues, you will also find the plot of this story very instructional.

One of the agents involved is Khadi Faroughi,a Muslim-born woman who is caught in the middle of the attack and held hostage. Khadi does much soul searching during her ordeal, praying to Allah and to God and trying to gain a peace about which one she would serve. This is all done very tastefully with no preaching involved. You just live through the things going on in her life with her.

I would never have picked this book up off the shelf but when Tyndale offered it to me for review, it looked intriguing so I requested it. I am so glad I did. This is one of the best books I have read this year! Now I need to search out a copy of a previous book that this one is a sequel to. I highly recommend this book to you no matter what genre you are most accustomed to. You will be glad you read this book.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser

This is the story of the friendship that forms between Mary Dobbs Dillard, the daughter of an evangelist from Chicago and Perri Singleton, an Atlanta debutante daughter of a prominent banker, when Dobbs comes to Atlanta to live with her Aunt and go to school during the Depression. The book begins with Dobbs’ arrival in Atlanta, followed closely by Perri’s father’s suicide. As the story unfolds, we learn more about Dobb’s father’s past in Atlanta and subsequently and about what transpired to cause Perri’s father to take his own life. All comes out in the end and all evildoers meet their just reward. The story, however is about the friendship that forms between these two very different young girls. It is also about God’s provision even during the most difficult and trying times. It’s about Faith and questioning one’s Faith. And all that is interwoven so masterfully into the story that you never feel like you are receiving a sermon or being led down a primrose path. The characters are interesting and compelling, and the setting of 1930s Atlanta provides a history and culture lesson about our country’s not too distant past. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction or a good mystery. There’s some romance in there too for those so inclined.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Desert Gift by Sally John

This book is about Jillian Galloway, a successful marriage expert, writer, radio show host etc. and her podiatrist husband, Jack. Just as they are leaving on her book tour, Jack announces that he is not going and furthermore, he wants a divorce. This is how the story begins. By the end of the first chapter I was ready to run screaming hysterically in the other direction. I was convinced I would be bored to tears by this book and frankly, I didn’t understand their problem. But I persevered. The further into the book I got, the more intrigued I became. It eventually got to the point where I read most of the rest of the book in one sitting. This book is about relationships, not the least of which is our relationship with God.

Family relationships, three generations worth, were dealt with in this book and all in a very interesting and connected way. This isn’t one of those books where there are three or four very separate storylines going on. These all meshed together, part of the whole. The story has some twists and turns and some very interesting moments but I will leave those for other readers to discover for themselves. Tyndale gave me this book to review and I am glad they did because I would never have picked it up on my own and I am very happy to have discovered this story. I highly recommend it – I couldn’t put it down and other readers will, I am sure, be in the same boat. Thanks Tyndale for introducing me to an author I had not heard of before but hope to see more from in the future!

Abby Johnson's Unite for Life webcast!

Go to: Starting Friday, May 13, 2011 and continuing through Tuesday, May 17, 2011 (the day of the webcast).

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate is well on her way to being on my short list of favorite Christian fiction authors. Her latest book, Larkspur Cove, is her best book yet.

Two people whose fondest childhood memories were spent at Moses Lake, TX, return when circumstances in their adult lives require healing.

Mart McClendon is now a Game Warden at Moses Lake, fleeing the pain of loss of two brothers and a nephew to tragic circumstances.

Andrea Henderson has suffered a betrayal and a divorce and moves to her parents’ cabin at the lake to heal and to pursue her new career as a psychologist working with Social Services on difficult cases in the area.

As Matt and Andrea work together to help a little girl who has been dropped off with her grandfather, a man who has some mental deficiencies but a genuine love for his granddaughter, they find themselves spending more and more time together off the clock.

Andrea’s teen-aged son is also trying to adjust to his losses and his struggles are interwoven into the story. Add to this a bunch of folk who hang around the local bait shop / café and are part of the local flavor and a helpful reverend from the local church, as well as the people in Andrea’s office and you have a lot of interesting interaction. All the characters are very likable and very believable. The reader becomes drawn into the characters’ lives and genuinely concerned about their outcomes.

I received this book from Bethany House for review and enjoyed it immensely.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Now I Walk on Death Row by Dale Recinella

This book will change your life if you read it. Dale Recinella was a high powered attorney making big Wall Street deals and living the high life when he and his wife encountered the living God. What he began to realize from the encounters was that all that he was doing was benefitting him nothing. The family began a journey into service to their fellow man that led them through many experiences and opportunities for service but ultimately led Dale to minister to inmates on Florida’s death row.

This book is not a prison expose, although it certainly does reveal some things about death row and the death penalty. It is the story of how a man and woman gave their lives over to God’s leading and the extraordinary paths their lives took as a result.

Reading this book changed the way I look at my life and clarified some details of my life. I would recommend it to anyone who is not afraid of any change that may occur as a result. Bethany House gave me a copy of this book to review and I will forever be grateful.

Family Tree Maker Deluxe by Ancestry.Com

I was excited when I got the opportunity from Amazon Vine to review this product. I thought that the latest version of this software would have a lot of new bells and whistles. What I found was a program that is almost identical to the program that I have used for years in its various versions. There is really nothing new or different in the Family Tree Maker Deluxe. The format the information is displayed in is a little different from my program and I really think I like mine better but it really is a nice format that displays the information. The software comes with a companion guide and a Family History toolkit to use in conjunction with it. It also comes with 3 months of free access to This sounds wonderful and it would be if you didn’t have to give them your credit card info to get the 3 months free access. I have played this game before and what happens is there is no apparent way to remove your credit card information or to tell them not to charge your credit card at the end of the 3 month period and you end up with a huge charge on your card and they refuse to remove it. While, I would love 3 months of free access I am not falling for this game again. So, the bottom line is, this is a wonderful program and a must for anyone wanting to manage their genealogical data and is comparable to other programs on the market.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Voyage with the Vikings by Paul McCusker

How wonderful! The great Adventures in Odyssey stories are now being extended to early reader chapter books. First in the new series is Voyage of the Vikings. In this story two children are transported by the Imagination Station back to Greenland at the time of the Vikings. As always, a wonderful adventure ensues. You will enjoy the book so much you will more than likely read it all in one setting. Our family has loved to listen to Adventures in Odyssey in the car for years and having these books come along is just icing on the cake. My granddaughter is eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. Tyndale gave me a copy of this book to review. Thanks, Tyndale, it’s another home run!