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    1. Stuck in the Middle (Sister-to-Sister,
    2. Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery
    3. The Holy Bible English Standard
    4. Last Light (Restoration Series
    5. Troublesome Creek (Troublesome
    6. Stupid Christmas
    7. Unwrapping Christmas
    8. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts
    9. Stories Behind the Best-Loved
    10. Hide in Plain Sight
    11. A Gift of Grace: A Novel
    12. Relentless (Dominion Trilogy #1)
    13. The Case for Christmas: A Journalist
    14. The Book of Awakening: Having
    15. Divanomics
    16. The Velveteen Rabbit
    17. 25 Days, 26 Ways to Make This
    18. A Horse to Love
    19. Danger in the Shadows
    20. The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded

    1. Stuck in the Middle (Sister-to-Sister, Book 1)
    by Virginia Smith
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $6.99
    Asin: B001GMANO4
    Publisher: Revell
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Joan Sanderson's life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is living at home with Mom and looking after her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement. That is, until a hunky young doctor moves in next door. Suddenly Joan has a goal--to get a date. But it won't be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly with him and Joan is sure that she can't compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, maybe Joan can find her way out of this rut.Book 1 of the Sister-to-Sister series, Stuck in the Middle combines budding romance, spiritual searching, and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Virginia Smith lives up to her newly won title of Writer of the Year (Mount Herman Writer's Conference) in Stuck In The Middle
    Stuck In The Middle is an aptly named book revolving around Joan Sanderson--whose life has been put on hold while she looks out for her Grandma, who is wedged between sisters that Joan thinks are far more gregarious and personable than she is, and who is stuck in a superficial relationship with God. Stuck, that is, until a handsome, single doctor with an intensely personal relationship with God rents the house next-door and involuntarily drags Joan out of her rut.

    As Joan struggles to break free, the reader is blessed with the genuine interactions between sisters, and family as a whole that Smith has woven into the story line so well. The dialogue is strong and realistic, the situations true to life and sometimes quite comical, and Joan, though a dejected character in many ways, is likeable and one you cheer for right from the beginning.

    This alone would have made the book an enjoyable read, but Smith along with entertaining the reader reinforces the need for a personal relationship with God. She takes Joan, a Christian who has had a superficial relationship with God into discovering how to connect on a deeper level. Smith also does an excellent job of portraying the fear that Joan's sisters have of the kind of Christian Joan wants to become simply because they don't understand it.

    Stuck In The Middle is not different than many other Christian fiction titles in that is has a spiritual message, but often, that message is dealt with in heavy handed and stilted way. Not Stuck In The Middle. This is the sort of book that while you read it you find yourself pleasantly entertained, seriously not wanting to put the book down even when you should be doing other things, and in the end you are surprised when you come away with a strong spiritual message.

    Stuck In The Middle has something for everyone--romance, shopping, dating advice, sibling rivalry, family and spiritual relationships, and real life issues like caring for elderly family members all wrapped up in an entertaining package. Pick it up, today. You won't be disappointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Characters Sparkle in "Stuck in the Middle"
    Viginia Smith does it again in "Stuck in the Middle". Her characters are realistic, artfully crafted, and endearingly flawed (aren't we all?) and will pull you right into the story from page 1. Here's a warning, though -- don't give the book as a gift unless you're prepared for trouble. Now I have several friends calling to complain that they're chomping at the bit to read the next installment in the series. Please bring us book 2 soon!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars very good
    Once I got going (only a few pages in) I read it in one day. I was laughing hysterically at parts, and love a good heart-warming message with God at the center. Sending it onto my sister - the interactions of the sisters were very real - I have 3 of them!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Moving story about one woman's quest to break free
    Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith is the story of Joan Sanderson and her boring, going-nowhere life. She's been dumped by her long time boyfriend, Roger the Rat, her older sister is pregnant, and her beautiful younger sister has a terrific job. Joan lives with her mother and grandmother, who is becoming increasingly fragile. When a hunky doctor moves in next door, Joan sees what she's been missing, but little sister Tori also wants him. This book is far more than just chick-lit. Joan feels alienated from everyone around her. Her father left her as a young teen, and she resents her mother for his departure. She can't relate to God, because she doesn't feel like He is reaching out to her, but when she hears a missionary speak at her church, she feels the need to know God personally. Joan is a Christian like so many; she believes in God and has faith; she attends church regularly and does all the right things. But she's not connected to Him and hasn't experienced His wonder, until some chocolate ice cream shows up at just the right moment. Joan realizes that she can't get things right with her mother, sisters, or even the cute doctor, until she makes things right with God, and that means examining things in her past. Joan is believable and sympathetic, her heartache shows on every page as she struggles to do what's right without really knowing what that is. Very often our relationship with God has been influenced by our relationship with our earthly father, and this book is an excellent lesson on how to break free from the bonds of the past and security to find God. ... Read more

    2. Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery Series #1)
    by Lorena McCourtney
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $12.99
    Asin: B002B3YBZO
    Publisher: Fleming H. Revell
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    She's not your average crime fighter!Ivy Malone has a curiosity that sometimes gets her into trouble, and it's only aggravated by her discovery that she can easily escape the public eye. So when vandals romp through the local cemetery, she takes advantage of her newfound anonymity and its unforeseen advantages as she launches her own unofficial investigation.Despite her oddball humor and unconventional snooping, Ivy soon becomes discouraged by her failure to turn up any solid clues. And after Ivy witnesses something ominous and unexplained, she can't resist putting her investigative powers to work again. Even the authorities' attempts to keep Ivy out of danger and her nosy neighbor's match-making schemes can't slow her down. But will the determination that fuels this persistent, quirky sleuth threaten her very safety?"I laughed out loud. McCourtney's charming mystery debuts a voice both enchanting and startling."-Colleen Coble, author of Without a Trace"McCourtney's skill at blending whimsy, quirks, and questions into a lead character makes Invisible a must read."-Lois Richer, author of Dangerous Sanctuary"Invisible is a treat! Ivy Malone is a heroine with spunk and determination!"-Carol Cox, author of A Stitch in Time ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A light mystery book with a heaping helping of religious sauce
    "I'll just read the first few pages."

    Or so I thought as I began Chapter One of INVISIBLE at 11:30 PM on a Tuesday night. But I hadn't figured the heroine-spunky Ivy Malone-or her humor-laced story, into my plans.

    Four hours later, I was reading the last lines of the book through gritty, but determined eyes, wishing very much that I could claim Ivy Malone as my grandmother, or at least my next-door neighbor.

    To say this book is delightful is hardly sufficient. Written from a first person point of view, which is a different voice from McCourtney's past offerings, INVISIBLE is an absolute triumph. Wit and wisdom, pathos and perseverance, and downright eccentricity flow from Ivy's first vision of Nixon in her tomato patch, to her race with flying bullets, really bad bad guys, and the Hound of the Baskervilles in a grungy auto wrecking yard.

    And while the tone of the story is humorous from start to finish, a number of deep questions are also addressed. Questions about the goodness and reality of God in the face of death, loss, and injury. Questions about what's right and what's wrong when justice must be served. Questions about where and how to belong in a world that seems to have forgotten you, or perhaps never noticed you in the first place.

    In Ivy Malone, readers will find a combination of wacky humor, endearing stubbornness, and unconventional sincerity. In Ivy's story, readers will slink through torn up gravesites, take a dive inside a murdered woman's closet, and watch the stars with a cute guy named Mac. And that's just the beginning!

    INVISIBLE is a wild and highly entertaining ride from the first chapter to the last word.

    I can't wait for the release of the sequel, IN PLAIN SIGHT, where I'm sure Ivy, and her big white Thunderbird, will cruise into more mayhem, mischief, and maybe even some good old fashioned romance.

    Ivy, you go girl:)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A romping good mystery.
    Ivy Malone, a spunky, grey-haired widow, realizes the world is passing her by, leaving her unnoticed and invisible. She, however, has no intention of silently growing old and passing away.

    Deciding to put this newfound inconspicuousness to good use, she determines to snare some local vandals, who have been violating the cemetery. Little does she know that there are more forces at work than mere vandalism. Throw in the murder of a neighbor and soon danger is knocking at Ivy's door as well. Will Ivy's snooping land her in trouble too deep for her to handle? Or will the resourceful Ivy Malone be clever and "invisible" enough to not only save herself, but apprehend the bad guys, as well?

    There's nothing invisible about McCourtney's irresistible humor, clever story-crafting, or delightful characters. After having read Invisible, one can't help but hope that this new series will be a long one. A romping good mystery.

    Craig Hart - Magazine

    5-0 out of 5 stars McCourtney is a skillful writer
    Lorena McCourtney is a writer of romance and mysteries. Hailing from the State of Oregon, she and her husband love the outdoors. She graduated with a degree in agriculture from Washington State University. She is a woman of faith and has dedicated her later books to Christian values.

    Ivy Malone has just lost her best friend, Thea. Thea rented part of her home to a beautiful and circumspect woman who went by the name of Kendra Alexander. Just as Ivy is feeling like a LOL (Little Old Lady) who is invisible to most people, circumstances conspire to change her life. A country cemetery is vandalized, and when the short-handed police haven't the resources to investigate, Ivy engages in nocturnal sleuthing. But then Kendra's apparent disappearance sharpens her naturally inquisitive mind, and when Kendra's murdered corpse is discovered in a nearby river, Ivy goes into action:

    "Well, I was here to investigate. The circumstances did not appear to be ideal, but I figured I may as well start investigating. I pulled my photo of the person

    I knew as Kendra out of my purse. 'Do you know this young woman?'

    'The woman shook her head. 'Who is she?'

    'Possibly a friend of Kendra's.' I brought out the photocopy of the young man's photo. 'What about him?'

    Another shake of the head. 'What's this all about?'"

    For a woman who is on Social Security, Ivy Malone has guts. She also has a wry sense of humor, attracts fellow senior males easily, and isn't afraid to launch herself into dangerous, and at times, hilarious situations. She is constantly mindful of her faith, which could interfere with the story but doesn't. She is an inspiration to those around her, and it could be a sign of the times that even older women refuse to be shunted aside.

    INVISIBLE is an entertaining mystery which is a whodunit, as well as a "who does this corpse belong to?" McCourtney is a skillful writer with definite ideas and an inventive mind. It is no surprise that she is a popular author. INVISIBLE is lots of fun!

    Shelley Glodowski
    Senior Reviewer

    5-0 out of 5 stars Alot better than I thought it would be...
    As a senior citizen most of the time society pays you little attention; to most elderly people this is peaceful, but to some like Ivy Malone, it is a great advantage to get want she wants. In Ms. Malone's case, it's useful for going unnoticed (hence the title "Invisible") during any of her investigations. So when a local cemetery where her aunt and uncle are buried is found vandalized, she plans to avenge her relatives and decides to spring into action.
    Thea, the next door neighbor and best friend of Ivy Malone has just died. Before she went she rented part of her home to a young lady by the name of Kendra Alexander. During this time Ivy feels as though everyone in the world is passing by her, or as if she really has no importance in life. However, as soon as she learns of the police deciding not to investigate a local cemetery being vandalized she feels a great breath of inspiration and starts taking action by herself. Soon the investigation seems to get more and more dangerous for Ivy Malone, as shortly after deciding to take the case young Kendra Alexander is reported missing and eventually found murdered in a nearby river. Using her "invisible" status, Ivy Malone does some great sleuthing until she eventually finds the vandals and they are apprehended by the police.
    There are many things that make Invisible good book. One of them is the fact that although it's a mystery, it uses a humorous tone all throughout. So not only are you pulled in by the captivating tale of the mystery, but also by the comedy that will keep you even more entertained. In addition to those reasons, the book also discusses deep topics on things such as religion and about where you belong in society. I would recommend Invisible to anyone willing to have a good read.

    Lorena McCourtney does a good job of implementing comedy into her mystery. This comedy keeps the reader entertained while also making the reader anxious to continue to get a good laugh. Some examples of this humor are when she finds the Hound of the Baskervilles in a junk yard, when she envisions Nixon in a tomato patch, and when she has a race with flying bullets. The humorous tone of the book made me really enjoy it.
    Ironically, a humorous tone is not the only thing included in Invisible, but also deep topics that make you think. For example, one deep topic is when Ivy Malone feels as though she is no longer important to society because she is an elderly lady. Is that necessarily true or not? Another is during the book, Ivy Malone still continues to praise God although all these bad things start happening in her life. Some people always speculate if there is a god then why do bad things happen to good people, and this shows another case of that. This attribute of the book makes it more versatile and attracts an even wider audience than the usual mystery and comedy fans.
    The main reason I liked this book is because of the story of the mystery itself. I thought it was pretty cool how the author used Ivy Malone's old age as a way to go unnoticed through her investigations. I also liked how the motivation for the protagonist is set up, by having her uncle's and aunt's tombstones vandalized and her feeling inspired and vengeful.

    Invisible uses a good mix of humor, mystery, and description that keeps the reader interested. In addition, it discusses deep topics that include religious beliefs and the difference between right and wrong. Overall, Lorena McCourtney's book is a well rounded mystery, while also incorporating in other genres such as comedy and religious writing to make it even more interesting and better.

    (...) ... Read more

    3. The Holy Bible English Standard Version (ESV)
    by Crossway Bibles
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $9.99
    Asin: B001EOCFU4
    Publisher: Good News Publishers/Crossway Books
    Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The English Standard Version (ESV) Bible is an essentially literal Bible translation that combines word-for-word precision and accuracy with literary excellence, beauty, and depth of meaning. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Has Book and Chapter Links
    Other reviewers complained that there are no chapter links. I'm not sure if it is new, but the version I downloaded recently has both book and chapter links. At the main table of contents, there are links to all the books of the Bible in a single list. Once you select a book, the first page of each book has links to all the chapters in that book. It works really well that way. I can find any verse in three clicks. And the whole Bible is searchable. That along with the ESV translation means a great addition to any Kindle.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What a Great Download
    I have a classical studies degree and I must say one of my favorite translations of the bible is the ESV. Not only is it a tight translation, but it also keeps much of the unique sentence structure and flow I so relish in the classical languages.

    I must admit that I was very very surprised with this book.
    First off it was free so I expected nothing more than a bible that I would have to infinitely scroll through or search to find what I wanted. (However this in not the case) The book and chapter selection is nice and with a couple of clicks on the next page button you can easily get to where you want)

    I was also surprised that the book includes footnote links to the measurements and other footnotes. What a great feature. (So if you are wondering how many feet in those cubits simply select the link and find out!)

    All in all WAY more than I ever expected in a free book. I definitely did not expect to find such a wonderful version for free.
    I would recommend it for anyone.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Super and Natural
    The layout of this book makes any verse easy to find. I take it to church regularly and am able to go right to the verse being used in the sermon.

    I have compared it to other bibles and keep coming back to this.

    Glad I downloaded it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent Bible and navigation
    I have no complaints whatever regarding the translation of this Bible. It's eminently readable, retaining the dignity of the language even while seeking greater clarity.
    Regarding the Kindle version, the navigation is easy and straightforward, though not as sophisticated as the TNIV, which has navigation straight to each book, chapter, and verse.
    The only complaint I have for both versions is that you can't tell what book you're in. I like to read the Bible from the beginning of the old and the beginning of the new testaments simultaneously. It's very easy to forget what book you're currently in, and there's no way to tell which one it is unless you page back to the beginning of the book and check. If you select "Go to beginning" on the menu, it takes you to the Table of Contents, not to the beginning of, say, Luke.
    Since I wrote this review originally, though, I have found an excellent workaround for the above problem. I simply put a bookmark at the beginning of the book I'm reading, and then another one as I work my way through that book. Then, when I come back to say, a bookmark at chapter 10 of I Samuel and have no idea what I'm reading, just check the bookmarks page for a quick reminder.
    That removes my last objection, and I up my review to 5 stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite version of the Bible.
    I used to be an avid reader of the KJV. I wasn't KJV only, it was just the version I prefered. About a year and a half ago I started looking at other versions of the Bible, and soon found out that I had a much better time understanding what I was reading, when I read from a more modern translation. I was told by many that the NASB was the best literal translation of the Bible, so I tried it out, but found it to be very awkward to read. It was really choppy, and just didn't flow very well at all. Eventually I came upon the ESV and decide to try it out...and it has quickly become my favorite version of the Bible. It has the same literal word for word translation that you would get with the NASB, but it has the kind of poetic flow that you get with the KJV. I would recomend this verison of the Bible to everyone! ... Read more

    4. Last Light (Restoration Series Book 1)
    by Terri Blackstock
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $14.99
    Asin: B000FCKH9C
    Publisher: Zondervan
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    What if America suddenly lost all its electrical power, its communications, its transportation, its financial system, its government leadership, and its media? What if an upper middle-class neighborhood of families who hardly know each other's names, suddenly had to form a functioning, self-contained community? How would people in the 21st Century, spoiled by microwaves and fast food, air travel and speeding cars, television and air conditioning, learn to function if they no longer had cars that ran, grocery stores, postal service, running water, computers, big screen TVs? If they had to hunt to eat or grow their own food? If they had to dig wells for water? If they had to learn to wash their clothes in the nearby lake? If they had to establish a neighborhood school and a neighborhood church? And what if the crisis created looters and killers who thought they could rob and murder without consequences? This series combines elements of Growing up Gotti with Little House on the Prairie. After an unexplained catastrophic event in the atmosphere knocks out all electronics in the world, these well-to-do families who've accumulated so many things are suddenly left helpless. Their Mercedes and BMWs sit in their driveways, useless. Their expensive, well-appointed homes have no electricity, no refrigeration, no phones. Even their battery-operated electronics don't work. No one is certain whether the country is under attack. Without communication, there is no way to find out. One family of Christians--the Brannings--realizes the needs of those around them. After wrestling with their own anger, fear and despair, and struggling in prayer with the Lord, they begin to realize that they have a job to do. They begin trying to unite the neighbors in a common effort to survive, and instead of hoarding, they realize that Christ has called them to sacrifice and give. But a couple is found dead in their neighborhood, and they realize that there is a killer among them. As they struggle to protect their own family and property, their 22-year-old daughter Deni falls prey to the killer, and takes off with him across the country, desperate to make her way to the East Coast where she thinks her life will be better. It doesn't take long for her to realize he's the killer and that she's in danger. But getting back home is more difficult than she ever imagined, and she is forced to turn back to Christ in repentance and humility, knowing He is the only One who can help her get home. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting
    I have to be honest, I had no idea "Last Light" was written by a "Christian Writer" when I bought this book. To be completely honest if I had known this book was written by a "Christian Writer" I don't think I would have purchased it. I would have been worried that instead of a taut Sci-Fi/Thriller that the book's jacket promised, I would be buying a 300+ page sermon. My normal reading fare falls more along the lines of Stephen King, James Rollins or Dean Koontz, which if they feature a character strong in faith, it's usually a precursor to the evil they do, and tells the reader they are not to be trusted. So when I got home and found I had bought novel by a "Christian Writer" I wasn't exactly thrilled. I started the book, and got hooked pretty quickly. The idea of living without all of our electric and mechanical conveniences was a pretty cool idea. The characters are pretty well drawn, especially the quick tempered Deni, who like it or not we all can relate to very easily. The pace of the book is quick, and the murder mystery carries the story along nicely. I see other reviews that say they didn't care for the murderer storyline, but liked the rest of the novel. I don't quite understand that, as the murder mystery is easily 1/2 the book if not more. Most of the key action revolves around who the killer may be, and neighborhood's reactions to the killer's presence. I believe Mrs. Blackstock gives an honest portrayal of they way people would react in the circumstances surrounding the catastrophic events that take place in her novel. I didn't plan on liking this novel, and there were a few times I felt the book got too "preachy", but "Last Light" kept me turning pages and coming back for more. And though this seems to be the first book in a series, it's not a cliffhanger. The story stands on it's own without leaving you with unanswered questions that require reading the next book in the series. I will most likely pick up the follow up novel, and recommend this book to fans of suspense novels.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another great Blackstock series launched with "Last Light"
    Those who have read any of Terri Blackstock's more than two dozen books can attest to the undeniable fact that she is truly an extraordinary writer. Her suspenseful novels meet or exceed the best of this genre; while remaining true to her deeply held Christian faith (her books are always '...lovingly dedicated to the Nazarene'). "LAST LIGHT," the first of four books planned for her current 'Restoration' series, sets an even higher standard, with her challenging theme of our planet being stripped of its electricity, and other forms of power which most of us take for granted. After reading "LAST LIGHT," the only disappointment is having to wait for the remaining books in what promises to be yet another great series! --RON HOWE (a.k.a. Toby Martin II).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Scared Me
    I have read most of Blackstock's books and have enjoyed them a great deal. I was very excited when this one came out and started reading it right away. Although the murder mystery part was not as captivating as some of her other novels, I was totally drawn into the Brannings "new" world. It scared me at times just thinking about what could happen and at other times I wondered if that's not what we need to have happen. I loved the book and can't wait for the next one to come out.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific read lots of suspense
    I gotta say, Terri Blackstock is quickly becoming my favorite author with each new book that I read. I have read quite a few, and this one is excellent. I couldn't put it down, stayed up late to finish, if you like suspense, you will like this. Also, its great for giving you pause for thought about your own spirituality. As a christian, I am finding the christian suspense genre to be a wonderful reading category on dual layers. Get the book, it will be worth it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Real-to-Life Fiction
    If you remember Hurricane Katrina, then you will want to read "Last Light"! Terri Blackstock let her mind wander in late 2004 thinking of the "what ifs" if a major catastrophe were to strike America, only to find herself and her family thrust into that very reality on August 29th 2005 in her home state of Mississippi, along with their neighbors in Louisiana and Alabama. Her all-to-real fictional depiction of devastation will have you thinking what would you do if ever confronted with such a crisis in your community. In addition, as a mystery writer, Terri keeps you turning the pages as you wonder who is responsible for the needless deaths occurring under such horrific circumstances and why. "Last Light" is superb and definitely worth your time to read. Kudos to Terri Blackstock for a job well done!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Last Light
    I watch for new every title Terri publishes. Each book of her many series stands alone, yet keeps you hungry for the next in a series. As soon as I finished Last Light I immediately ordered Night Light (Book#2.) Others have written about the Last Light story line, basically I concur. But I had a couple of issues with the reality side of such an event. The biggest disconnect with me was the failure of all engines with a computer chip, from cars to home generators. That's certainly true in theory. But I can't believe that even in a smaller community a few bright mechanics or engineers could not tinker with these things and figure out a way to by pass the fried electornics. In Book 2 someone finally gets a brain and realizes that older cars (classics) still run. In the Branning's upscale neighborhood, don't tell me that someone didn't have an old Porche or restored '57 Chevy in their garage. Granted, it would take a lot of tinkering to get a modern SUV running when the chip(s) goes bad, but a couple of shade tree mechanics with a lot of time on their hands and a big incentive to succeed could certainly gerry-rig a bunch of direct wires and fire that sucker up. It might run rough, but it would run. Same for the home generator. For the sake of the story itself, which was about the people dealing with the crisis, it was probably better for the author to ignore these ideas. Still, it hurt my reading enjoyment as I placed myself in the character's shoes. Oh yeah, I went and stocked up on batteries and other "Hurricane items" after reading the book.... just in case! Lou Sauer, Raleigh, NC

    5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting
    The concept of this storyline is fascinating and made me realize just how complacent we have become in the world due to our modern conveniences. The characters are well-written and believable, and you can really fall into the story as if you are there. I find this to be the case often with this author's books. I really appreciate a novel that can bring tears to my eyes due to the realism of the characters.

    I also appreciated the Biblical concepts and the way she applied them within the story. When challenged by hardships beyond our comprehension, how would we handle passages like James 1:2-8 or Matthew 5 & 6?

    Recommended if you like adventure/suspense/mystery novels. I just ordered book 2 in this series.

    5-0 out of 5 stars LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT . . . GONE. NOW WHAT?
    I'd heard of Terri Blackstock. Knew she was a Christian fiction writer. Figured she wrote prairie romances.
    As I became more involved in the business of writing and trying to create my own fiction, I sought out other writers works to read. I stumbled across this novel, Last Light, and was intrigued by the cover. Picked it up, read the back cover blurb thought it might be really interesting. Read the first few scenes and . . . bought the book.
    A man and his adult daughter step off an airplane in Alabama. Moments later everything turns silent. Another plane crash lands on the runway near them. A second plane falls, bursting into a fireball.
    How could I not by a book like that? What happened? I had to know.
    The story follows the Branning family (specifically the oldest daughter Deni) as they learn to live without modern amenities. All modern amenities. Something has happened which makes all technology expensive doorstops. Various storylines develop to move the story along. The major one is a murder. Suspects abound and the community basically has to take matters into their own hands to catch the killer. This is book one in a series called Restoration, however, the major treads that weaves this story together are tied up by the end making it a somewhat stand alone novel. The only thing really unresolved is the power outage and Deni getting back to DC. The second book in the series, Night Light is out now.
    Blackstock's writing as great. Here characters, believable.
    If you like stories of technology gone awry and the relational struggles that ensue, this is a story for you. I look forward to seeing how the Brannings fare as the plot thickens over the long haul of a series.
    One thing that really impresses me is reviews I've read by those who are no Christian fiction readers. They've had good things to say. I've always believed, and try to practice with my own writing, that if you write a good story (as opposed to a sermon masquerading as a novel) you'll reach a broader audience with a message of hope.
    Well done, Terri.
    ... Read more

    5. Troublesome Creek (Troublesome Creek Series #1)
    by Jan Watson
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $12.99
    Asin: B000SFBXQ2
    Publisher: Tyndale House Pub
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    A charming historical novel set in the late 1800s. Born and raised in the hills of Kentucky, Laura "Copper" Grace loves the wilderness of her home in Troublesome Creek. But when her stepmother threatens to send her away to boarding school to become a lady, Copper faces the possibility of losing everything that is precious to her. Copper must come to terms with her family and discover the true meaning of home. Nothing can drag her off the mountain, until the day she realizes that God has other plans for her life.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars can't wait for the sequel
    I'll just go ahead and use the most over used line in reviews. It was a real page turner. It transplanted me in time and place, to the late 1880's in Appalachia. The scene came alive on the pages. The characters were real and the novel's twists and turns were, for the most part, unpredictable. The reader has no choice but to identify with Copper, the twins and the various other characters. Troublesome Creek did not read like the writer's first novel. I could feel her own real life experiences seep through, in the small, detailed descriptions that made this novel seem so "true to life."

    I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel. Does married life fit Copper, especially in the "big" city and not the woods of eastern Kentucky? Keep writing Jan, you've found your niche.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
    This wonderful book has it all: tragedy, romance, adventure, history, and a compelling story of a young woman coming of age in the hills of Kentucky.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a great read
    I thought this book was a delightful read. I, too, liked the unpredictability and the reality of life experiences found in Troublesome Creek. I was strengthened by the characters' reliance on their faith to carry them through whatever life brought their way. I can't wait for the sequel! I can't wait to see what happens to these folks next and I've got a feeling Jan Watson has more to say.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Pleasurable Read
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Ms. Watson's style of writing was so refreshing; I loved her descriptions and her dialogues...especially the very amusing comments by Copper's twin brothers! I love how she put everything in this book: sorrow, laughter, mystery, tension, & romance.

    This book tells a couple of stories, starting with that of Copper's father and mother. Theirs was a true romance that soon ended in tragedy. However, her father's decision soon after made Copper into the woman she came to be, the woman I so very much enjoyed reading about! The setting happens to be in the hills of Kentucky around 1881. It's not often you find a story depicted in that setting, and that is one of the reasons I loved it so much.

    This book was more entertaining than any others I've read in a while. If you have ever read "Christy" by Catherine Marshall, and enjoyed it as much as I did, you'll love this book!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Leisurely book for a break from life's rush
    This first-time novelist captures the reader's heart as pages quickly turn to reveal plot twists and a story of real-life family love. This is how Jan Watson, author of Troublesome Creek, debuts her work as a novelist. Main character Copper, a sixteen-year-old girl from the hills of Kentucky, struggles through her teenage years with her loving, but somewhat sewn askew parents. After an introduction to the existing Brown family, Watson takes the reader into the family's turbulent past, bringing more complexity to the story. Troublesome Creek, the nearby waterfront that Will Brown has loved for so many years proves to be loving and unforgiving all at once. A mountain cat herself, young Copper's outdoor-loving instincts come to battle against her mother's desire for her to become a "proper lady." Threats of boarding school and city life lead Copper to make hasty, unwise decisions that guide her into paths she would never have chosen otherwise. A story of true, tested love and the blossoming of youth into adulthood makes this a gentle but poignant story.

    Watson gracefully leads the reader into the plot by the powerful use of flashback. Troublesome Creek is revealed to the reader one piece at a time, but leaves no questions about what is to come. Relationships between characters are unforgettable and feel hauntingly realistic. Although Watson's plot twists are unusual in everyday life, a reader cannot help but empathize when the characters find themselves in painful or awkward situations.

    Copper is a young and fiery redhead who loves the mountains, her family, and her hound dog Paw-Paw. As the story progresses, Copper finds herself in love with John, a friend from her childhood. Stepmother Grace and father Will serve her with guidance and stability as she makes decisions as an inexperienced adolescent. Rifts between mother and daughter emerge, as can only be expected in a story of a growing family. But, ultimately, love pulls the family through the rough waters of life, as years around Troublesome Creek transpire.

    After finishing Troublesome Creek, a reader comes away changed and in love with life. Although some plot holes and weakly-constructed dialogue mechanically hinder the story's impact, Watson's first novel hits home. The book is appropriate for both young audiences and matured readers because of its unobtrusive and family-friendly content. Written in an easy-to-read vernacular, first-time fiction readers and experienced crowds alike will appreciate the Watson's work. Troublesome Creek is a leisurely book for a day in the sun or a break from the rush of life. -- Michelle Faulconer, Christian Book

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well written and grabs your attention
    This book takes place in the late 1800s and is about a young lady and the challenges of growing up in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. The writing is so descriptive; it was like reading in color. I usually only read magazines and technical articles, but this book grabbed me and I kept reading until I finished it. Ed

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must read at any age!
    I just finished reading Troublesome Creek and I can't wait to hear what happens next with Copper. This was the type of book that when I fell asleep reading it, I dreamed about it. Jan Watson's descriptions of the characters and setting were so real that I felt like I was there at Troublesome Creek. Her description of the budding romance was also so real that my stomach got butterflies right along with Copper. This is a great story that I would recommend to a 13 year old or an 80 year old.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bob Anderson - Walton, Kentucky
    This story was refreshing because it is a historical novel that expresses the true culture of the Appalachian people at the turn of the 20th century. Their pride, feeling of community, and ability to be self-suffecient in a hard living area was exactly as it was expressed to me by my mother who grew up in the Appalachian Mountains. Jan Watson's story made me feel like I was sitting in my momma's kitchen listening to her many stories of her childhood. ... Read more

    6. Stupid Christmas
    by Leland Gregory
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $9.99
    Asin: B004DI62IE
    Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC
    Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    From absurd 911 calls to presidential philosophizing and foolish felons, Leland Gregory generates the best laughs by exposing the worst of human nature. Following up his New York Times best-selling Stupid American History, Gregory sets his sights on the holidays as he exposes mind-numbing mistletoe maladies in Stupid Christmas: Idiots under the Mistletoe.

    Perhaps it's the spiked eggnog or the multiple family members gathered around crazy-colored, twinkly lights, but the holidays are rife with idiocy by the daft and the dumb. Inside this latest collection, Gregory offers more than 200 accounts of holiday-induced stupidity, including:

    * While smoke billowed out of the store, firefighters had to physically restrain enthusiastic shoppers from entering a Great Lakes Mall store during an electrical fire.

    * In 1995, officials debated over whom to invite to the city's Christmas tree ceremony: President Bill Clinton or the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

    * As a joke, Andrew Jackson sent formal invitations to his Christmas ball to a well-known mother-and-daughter prostitute team in Salisbury, North Carolina.

    ... Read more


    4-0 out of 5 stars Christmas, As Related By News Of The Weird, December 4, 2010
    If your sense of humor is slightly bent, if tidbits from both current events and historical references tickles your fancy, this is the book for you. All of the stories are only a paragraph or two, but point to the regular foibles of people with a holiday feel.

    You'll find a mishmash of stories, ranging from stupid criminals to overly officious politicians. I don't want to give too much away, but I personally thought that the Baby Jesus equipped with a GPS tracking device was worth the reading time alone.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Stupid Criminals and other Dunces, December 2, 2010
    This book is not the kind of book one would read in church or to small children.

    This is an amusing collection of police reports, small-town newspaper articles and little-known factoids about anything related to Christmas. Gregory must have gone through a lot of newspapers, magazines and websites from around the world to find some of these articles. There are anecdotes about criminals getting stuck in chimneys, thieves stealing the wrong gifts, reindeer high on mushrooms, drunken villagers running through town showing off their Christmas jewels, town scrooges, or just plain stupid or quirky people around the world. There are a lot of stories about fake Santas, female Santas, drunk Santas and criminal Santas. Some even are pleasant little stories about Good Samaritans.

    My favorites are the little stories about quirky holiday traditions of other countries: Germans, Swedes, Irish, English, Spanish, etc. If these stories had their own book, it would be a better collection of perhaps not "Stupid Christmas" but "Quirky Christmas."

    This is not a bad collection if you like dirty humor, though. Gregory has written a few winning quips in this book that is typical of his humor and just like his other book "Stupid History." There is nothing here that is obscene or highly offensive (expletives have been left out) but several topics may be unsuitable for the highly religious.

    This would make a nice gift for anyone who enjoys sick or twisted humor, or anyone who collects stories about Darwn Award winners and nominees.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Stupid Christmas, December 5, 2010
    This is a collection of snippets of information, all relating to human stupidity and Christmas. You get the politically correct running amok, your dumb thief getting caught, Santa's acting not very christmas like, weird historical facts, funny citations etc.

    I would have liked all facts to be new but found that some of them were familiar, having been already published in other Leland's books.

    There's no lack of stupid people out there, which will allow this author to publish for a long long time.
    It's OK for a light read and a smile.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother, December 6, 2010
    The old adage "You get what you pay for" really applies here. I had hoped for funny stories and instead got a compilation of holiday related news items that didn't even have me cracking a smile. Went ahead and read all of it as I'm awaiting the arrival of my Kindle.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Boring news articles that just spark no interest., December 14, 2010
    I have read Leland Gregory's "Stupid History" book and thought it was fascinating, but couldn't choke down one more story from Stupid Christmas. I got 60% thru the book. I wish I could say it was humorous or fun, but just cannot. I felt it was a waste of my time. He could take the handful of good stories and add them to his Stupid History book on the next addition. Try his other book, "Stupid History"

    Here's what I like: There are a few pieces that are historical and interesting twists, showing the crazy things we don't know about Christmas and how it has changed.

    Here's what I don't like: Out of the 138 stories I read, nearly all of them are just clippings from a news articles or wired stories and have no twist and are only slightly interesting. The author puts a few words into the article to add his own flare and maybe a little humor to the otherwise uninteresting stories. It seems as if the author just pulled random newspapers off the internet and wrote them into the book only adding a few words. I felt as if he really struggled to fill a book and pulled from a period from November to January from various years. Some of the stories really have nothing to do with Christmas. I would have preferred to read 10 really funny crazy stories rather a chocked full book of dull stories. Even my wife was amazed I could read to the 60% point.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fun, Light, Interesting, December 10, 2010
    Great for a fast read. Each Kindle page has a different crazy story or tidbit about Christmas happenings around the world. I found it fun to open up and read a few pages a day before delving into my other books with deeper subjects. Each page turn would result in me snickering, rolling my eyes, or shaking my head in disbelief at how brainless people's actions can be. In fact, my idea of reading "just a couple of pages for now" would usually result in the reluctance to stop reading it!! The author bases most of his stories on news items found in newspapers from all over the world. While it is on special as a free Kindle download, I would definitely recommend it!! Lighten up, folks, and give it a chance!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by its cover, December 16, 2010
    Don't judge a book by its cover, especially if it's this book and the cover looks good. *Sigh* Not even good enough to finish reading.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Stupid book Stupid Title, December 8, 2010
    i am glad that I didn't pay for this book I did not find the stories funny at all. Got about a quarter ways through it and gave up. It was about a bunch of stupid people doing stupid things at Christmas time. A lot of stories were about crimes that did not pan out. I do not recommend it.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Stupid Indeed, December 7, 2010
    I had higher hopes but this book is neither interesting nor funny. There's a certain breed of delusional nut jobs running around at this time of year whom the author should have targeted for his stories, which would have made the book entertaining. ... Read more

    7. Unwrapping Christmas
    by Lori Copeland
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $14.99
    Asin: B000SHDD40
    Publisher: Zondervan
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    It's that time of year again, and with excitement and high expectations, Rose has planned the perfect Christmas for her family and friends. But when she feels them drifting away during a time that should celebrate togetherness, Rose is forced to slow down in the most unexpected way. In this whimsical, uplifting story, she discovers the true meaning of giving. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars It's the most stressful time of the year
    The Christmas season has come and Rose is busy, busy, busy with preparations for the holidays. She's worn out from doing all sorts of stuff for the church, cooking meals for sick friends, volunteering in the thrift shop, taking on prayer requests, etc etc. She doesn't have time for anything else including cooking dinner for her own family. Everyone else is getting grumpy and Rose is beginning to feel worn out. The Christmas season is starting to look not so jolly after all, but isn't a Christian supposed to put others first before themselves?

    Ok so I know the Christmas season isn't for another 2 and a half months. But Sam's club already has Christmas trees and lights up! So what better way to get into this mood that this short novella from Lori Copeland. It's really a modern day holiday version of the story of Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus from the Bible. Christians today seem to think that they need to sacrifice their own needs and wants to make everyone else happy. I've seen many Christian families torn apart because they will go out and do things for others but not for their own children. Many pastor's and missionary spouses and kids suffer because of this type of attitude. This book showed that while there is a time to help others for the glory of God, you should also be careful of not trying to do things to make your own self look good. Know your limit and do not let false guilt take over you. The story is written really well and I enjoyed the characters and getting to know their busy hectic lives. It was funny at how Rose tried to figure all the different meals as she didn't have time to cook, who knew kids could get tired of pizza? I also liked learning more about the Advent with the tidbits at the beginning of each chapter. The only downside about this book is now I can't wait for Christmas to come. Even though this book is short, you will get a LOT out of it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story!
    I read this book in one sitting. It is the story of one who wants to help everyone and truly cannot say "no" to anyone. She takes on so much that her family never sees her and her health suffers. It's a message that needs to be spread: Know your limitations and don't allow your family to be left behind. A wonderful Christmas story!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Slow down and enjoy Christmas with family
    It's short, sweet and packs a powerful punch. Lori reveals through her main character, Rose, what loving one another looks like. Rose is challenged by another verse "Be still and know I am God." She is rarely still long enough to know God is God - too busy. Sound familiar? Another verse "Rest in His assurance." Rest? Who has time for that? Things women struggle with daily. Lori reveals God's love in action through Rose. This book will gently remind you in practical ways, how to love one another & rest in God's assurance at Christmas and always.

    Before some chapters begin, Lori weaves the meaning of Advent, explains the symbols and what they represent. The treat at the end of the story is the Bergman's holiday traditional recipes talked about in the story.

    Lastly, a powerful letter written by Karen Hancock titled Jesus Didn't Hurry. This letter sums up the message of Unwrapping Christmas. A must read.

    Nora St. Laurent
    Book Club ServantLeader

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Nuanced Story
    What I really like about Unwrapping Christmas is that it is a nuanced story. It makes its points subtly. It doesn't just make the point "Service is good" but goes on to add: "Service is good, but make sure that in serving others you don't do it in such a zealous, all consuming manner that you do a disservice to yourself or those you love most. This is a story about priorities. It is well written and should be read more than once.

    I also highly recommend Christmas Gifts, Christmas Voices--an excellent story about the impact of small acts of kindness. ... Read more

    8. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts
    by Gerald Bridges, Jerry Bridges
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $9.99
    Asin: B0046EDOR2
    Publisher: NavPress
    Sales Rank: 380
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review


    Because obeying God makes sense to us. In most cases, His laws appear reasonable and wise, and even when we don't want to obey them, we usually concede that they are good for us.

    But the circumstances we find ourselves in often defy explanation. When unexpected situations arise that appear unjust, irrational, or even dreadful, we feel confused and frustrated. And before long we begin to doubt God's concern for us or His control over our lives.

    Adversity is hard to endure, and can even be harder to understand. If God were really in control, why would He allow the tragic auto accident or crucial job loss? How could He permit cancer in a loved one or the death of a child?

    Grappling with His concern for us we ask, "Why is God allowing this?" or "What have I done wrong?"

    In an effort to strengthen his own trust in God during a time of adversity, Jerry Bridges began a lengthy Bible study on the topic of God's sovereignty. What he learned changed his life, and he now shares the fruit of that study with you in Trusting God.

    As you begin to explore the scope of God's power over nations, nature, and the detailed lives of individuals, you'll begin to acknowledge His loving control. And as you come to know Him better, you'll find yourself trusting Him more completely. Even when life hurts. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Life-Changing
    Bridges starts out at the beginning saying that you shouldn't read this book WHILE you are going through hard times, so of course I did. And I was very angry with some things he said at the beginning so I thought I would go through and see what I could "blast" him for. Instead, this book changed my life. He has three main points you MUST learn if you want to know God better: God's Sovereignty, God's Wisdom, and God's Love. One without the other two will leave you right where you are. Learn all three and your life will be changed. As I began to read just how much God does love us, I could accept His wisdom and sovereignty in all things and the "whys" gave way to the acceptance we need in order to not only survive hard times, but be at peace with them. You will learn to Trust God .... even when life hurts.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Truely a great book
    This is the most comprehensive and best of the three Bridges books I have read. The authors purpose is two-fold. First, he wants the reader to glorify God by acknowledging God's sovereignty and goodness in the midst of tragedy. Second, he wants to encourage God's people by showing that God is in control of our lives. Bridges purpose is limited. It is not a theological exploration into the origin of pain and suffering, but a book to help the reader deal with pain and suffering on a level of faith, of trusting in God that things do not just happen.

    Although evangelical Christians often give lip service to the sovereignty of God, many are for all practical purposes are Christian deists. They see God as being too distant our unable to intervene in times of trouble. I appreciate that Bridges does not duck the tough issues. He refuses to wrap up all the theological loose ends when discussing the sovereignty of God. Like Tozer, he recognizes that there are some issues to which there are no neat and tidy answers. Unlike many other authors who write on this subject, he does not slavishly follow C.S. Lewis The Problem of Pain. It is refreshing to read a fresh perspective on the subject rather than merely hearing Lewis arguments parroted again.

    Although I was very impressed with the book, there were a few areas that caught my attention. Bridges does not deal comprehensively with the idea of spiritual warfare. I would have also liked to see a fuller discussion on the passive will of God. In fact, it is not mentioned in the first one hundred pages or so. It would have been good to have a fuller discussion of the alternative views of God's sovereignty, but then, that would have doubled or tripled the lengthy of the book.

    This is truly a great book. I could hardly put it down, one of the best I have read on the providence and sovereignty of God. I would also recommend Jack Contrell's volume, What the Bible Says About God the Ruler, College Press, 1884. Although not a Calvinist, Contrell writes one of the most persuasive arguments for the sovereignty of God I have read. He also explores alternative views of sovereignty (pagan, existential, deists, etc.) and their weaknesses.

    5-0 out of 5 stars You MUST read this book if you are hurting
    If you are currently in the midst of deep emotional pain and turmoil in your life, as I am, this book is absolutely essential. I know firsthand what it means to love God but be sure He has abandoned you in the middle of a terrible time. Be assured, He has not, but when you are suffering, it is unbelievably difficult sometimes to trust Him. Where is He? Why doesn't He answer our prayers, if He loves us so much? This book answers that question. It is written along the same lines as Disappointment With God (another great book) by Philip Yancey, but this one goes much more in depth and explains things in a much clearer way, in my opinion, especially for one who is reading it with a mind that is clouded by hurt and pain. Don't turn away from God-- hold on!! He will not leave you with more than you can bear, if you turn to Him to help you bear it. Jerry Bridges shows you how to do this in Trusting God Even When Life Hurts. A truly great and healing book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Encouraging Word...
    This is - BY FAR - the best book that I have EVER read on the subject of how to deal with suffering. Mr. Bridges does not simply dwell on the subject of the sovereignty of God, and spend the rest of the book telling people who are suffering that they should just "suck it up" and trust God blindly. The first 7 chapters of the book do deal with the sovereignty of God. But Mr. Bridges goes a step further in the last 7 chapters of the book: he talks about the will of God and the love of God. This book has been such an encouragement to me through some very difficult times. It is a book I highly recommend...and loan out on a very regular basis!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An insightful look into the sovereignty of a loving God!
    This treatise on the seen and unseen sovereignty of our Lord has totally rearranged my way of thinking! Jerry Bridges forces us to take a long, hard look at the difficult issues of life, and asks the question: Can we (you) trust God?

    Often times, our one, two, three, or four-dimensional outlook limits what we can or can't see of God. However, one thing is for sure: God's will will be done. With us, or inspite of us - it will be done! Jerry Bridges has evidently spent many hours on his knees in prayer and meditation to have been given the revelations found within the covers of his book. We should listen and endevor to do what Mr. Bridges advocates, which is to trust God's motivations and intentions for all our lives. In reality, the scenario won't be "limiting" as our natural mind might suppose. Rather, we will be "all" we can be in a great and eternal way if we follow the teachings of Holy Scripture and the admonishments of the author!

    This is a great book, and I truely look forward to reading more of Jerry Bridge's work!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Do you struggle with trusting God?
    One of my greatest weaknesses as a Christian is trusting God during challenges, problems, and hard times. There are so many people in our religious culture saying "God is in control" or "just trust that God will work things out", but how does a person trust God during true difficulties. The author really does take the time to explain what trust is all about and how to overcome our fears or barriers of trusting God. The scripture references are excellent and applicable to anyone's life. I strongly recommend this book to everyone, especially to those who find themselves worrying and be anxious about anything in life. This book changed my life forever.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GOD IS IN CONTROL!!
    This book teaches (better than any other)that God is in tune and does care and is involved behind the scenes in YOUR life. It is a great book if you doubt God's care or observance during the hard times that life can deal. It provides many scriptures to support that God can be trusted and we can find security in trusting God - regardless of our circumstances.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I walked into this book bound but I walked out free...
    I originally got this book because - to be quite frank - because I thought it was apropos after having lost my home, all my possessions and having my health seriously compromised this past July in an environmental accident. A reminder to trust God in the midst of all that seemed ... well ... right. Little did I know how important the message in this book would be for me in this moment of my journey.

    Warning: this book is not for the faint-hearted. It will challenge you, remind you, move you, undo you, humble you, lift you, convict you and ultimately, change you.

    When I started reading the book, I thought I lived in a way that allowed God to function in my life unhindered - or out of the box, if you will. However, I quickly learned that I had actually forgotten how big He is and how sovereign He is. In addition, I came to the brutal reality that I had not let Him out of the box but had actually put him back in the box! Sigh...

    I had climbed back up into the front seat, grabbed the steering wheel from God and had taken over for him, yet again. The sad thing is, I hadn't even realized that I had done that.

    This book reminded me of so many things: God is sovereign, God loves me unconditionally, God is ALWAYS there even when I can't feel or sense him, God NEVER lies and on and on. I walked into this book,, bound but walked out of it, free.

    There is a quote that Jerry Bridges writes at the end of the book that perfectly sums this book up. He says, "Trust is not a passive state of mind. It is a vigorous act of the soul by which we choose to lay hold on the promises of God and cling to them despite the adversity that at times seeks to overwhelms us."

    Bottom line, for me personally, is that this book reminded me that this thing called Christianity is a relationship with a real God and it takes a continuous effort on my part as well. I must vigorously work to constantly stand in the midst of unthinkable challenges and situations and trust that God is working everything out for my good.

    Jerry reminds us that if we believe God is sovereign, then we must also understand - while living our lives accordingly - that God brings all the good things that come into our life (and we should always give Him thanks for) and (and this was the part that was so challenging for me) that GOD also ALLOWS THE BAD TO COME IN AS WELL. He does if for several reasons. For His glory, for our good or for both - His glory and our good.

    Coming to terms with the concept that God allowed the incident that happened to me persnanally in which I lost my home and all my possessions, as well as, the damage that was caused to my lungs, was challenging to say the least. It challenged me on so many levels. It drove me to read Job over and over. I struggled to understand why?

    And then something incredible happened. I realized that if He allowed it, He already had the answer on its way. He was already taking care of me. He would lead me forward and show me the way. This horrible situation that happened to me was not mistake, it wasn't fate, it wasn't the cosmos. He already knew. The whole situation had been in His hands the whole entire time. I was never alone - even when every fiber of my being told me I was. Incredible....

    "Why it happened" questions suddenly fell to the wayside and were replaced with "what questions". What do you want me to do God?

    Beyond my own crisis, this book also put the times we live in and all the craziness that is going on all around us, into perspective for me, as well. I don't have to fret or worry or wonder, because, God is in control of EVERY detail. He knows exactly what He is doing and all I have to do is CHOOSE to TRUST HIM.

    For me, there was this ability in that epiphany to just breathe and let go. I was finally able to surrender what happened to with my home, possessions, and health, as well as, what was happening around me. I knew that someone great than me, than greater than all, was in complete control. I could finally let go of the steering wheel and follow.

    *I received this book free from NavPress as part of their Blogging 4 Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. ... Read more

    9. Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas
    by Ace Collins
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $15.99
    Asin: B000SF9WZQ
    Publisher: Zondervan
    Sales Rank: 2402
    Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Behind the Christmas songs we love to sing lie fascinating stories that will enrich your holiday celebration. Taking you inside the nativity of over thirty favorite songs and carols, Ace Collins introduces you to people you've never met, stories you've never heard, and meanings you'd never have imagined. The next time you and your family sing 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,' you'll have a new understanding of its message and popular roots. You'll discover how 'Angels from the Realms of Glory,' with its sublime lyrics and profound theology, helped usher in a quiet revolution in worship. You'll learn the strange history of the haunting and powerful 'O Holy Night,' including the song's surprising place in the history of modern communications. And you'll step inside the life of Mark Lowry and find out how he came to pen the words to the contemporary classic 'Mary, Did You Know?'Still other songs such as 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel' trace back to mysterious origins--to ninth-century monks, nameless clergy, and unknown commoners of ages past. Joining hands with such modern favorites as 'White Christmas' and 'The Christmas Song,' they are part of the legacy of inspiration, faith, tears, love, and spiritual joy that is Christmas. From the rollicking appeal of 'Jingle Bells' to the tranquil beauty of 'Silent Night,' the great songs of Christmas contain messages of peace, hope, and truth. Each in its own way expresses a facet of God's heart and celebrates the birth of his greatest gift to the world--Jesus, the most wonderful Christmas Song of all. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Sloppy research
    For someone with 50 books to his credit--as per the dust jacket--Collins is highly sloppy in the research of this book. As has been previously noted, he just presented a common story about the origins of "Silent Night" without necessarily having done any deep research. And the comments about "The Twelve Days of Christmas" come straight from a silly internet piece, with no basis in fact.

    This is common throughout this book. It seems more often than not, Collins has just done some cursory internet research and then slapped it all together and called it good.

    Some other screw-ups: Irving Berlin was worried that "White Christmas" wasn't really a good song. Actually Berlin, upon introducing it to his office staff and musical secretary, refered to it as "not only the greatest song I've ever written, but the greatest song ever written." Berlin at one point had plans to make White Christmas the main production number in a major Broadway revue. In performing it for Crosby and studio execs, Berlin got nervous with himself and choked in performing it. You can read about this in Jody Rosen's excellent book on White Christmas, called "White Christmas."

    As for his assertions about the meaning and origin of the term Merry in merry Christmas, he gets it wrong again. Ten minutes in the Oxford English Dictionary, available at any decent public library, would have given him the answers.

    Better Books on this subject are Rosen's afforementioned book and "The Penguin Book of Christmas Carols" ed. Ian Bradbury.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What a fascinating book!
    I heard about this book by listening to WMBI in Chicago the week before Christmas. They had the author on, telling one Christmas carol song per day. Immediately I purchased the book, and am thoroughly enjoying it!

    Ace tells the stories of 31 favorite Christmas songs. They aren't all traditional carols, but include "Mary Did You Know", and a couple of secular-based Christmas songs such as "Silver Bells" and "Rudolph". I would love to know where Mr. Collins got all his information - there is no Bibliography.

    The book itself is very attractive - you can see what the cover is like above, but inside, the print is a deep blue, and there are simple drawings and borders using the same blue. This makes it very visually appealing.

    The best way to read "Stories Behind the Best-Love Songs of Christmas" would probably be to read one chapter per day for the 31 days before Christmas. But you can also read it straight through, or dip into the chapter that talks about YOUR favorite Christmas song.

    As a perfect companion to Ace Collins' book, I recommend "Christ in the Carols" by Christopher and Melodie Lane. In this book, the emphasis is on finding Christ in the carols and how these carols express so beautifully the glorious and mysterious incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ!

    Take the time out this Christmas to enjoy the history and meaning of these beloved songs of Christmas! This book would make a wonderful gift!

    You might be interested in checking out my other reviews of Christian books adn music. ... Read more

    10. Hide in Plain Sight
    by Marta Perry
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $5.50
    Asin: B001R4GNT0
    Publisher: Steeple Hill
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    "Please God, if you're listening, keep Rachel safe." She couldn't turn her back on her family in their time of need. So when her sister was injured, financial expert Andrea Hampton traded the big city for Amish country to help turn her grandmother's house into an inn. But life with the Plain People took a treacherous turn when a string of accidents and pranks threatened her family. Someone didn't want the secrets the old house harbored to come to light. Trusting anyone—even the handsome carpenter who seemed so genuine—was a battle for Andrea, but her life depended on her ability to find the truth.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent start to the series
    Andrea Hampton is used to the safety and security of her big city job. However, nothing will keep her from running back to her sister's side after Rachel is involved in a horrific accident. But helping Rachel and her grandmother open up a bed and breakfast? Ridiculous...and yet that is the position she finds herself in. Carpenter Cal Burke seems willing to help. Just what is going on with this rash of accidents plaguing the inn and its owners?

    I read the first two books of The Three Sisters Inn series out of order, but the overall beauty of this series remains intact; HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT is the first book and an excellent start to the series.

    Marta Perry creates such beautiful settings for her tales. HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT is set in the heart of Amish country. The peaceful setting provides a sharp contrast to the increasingly dangerous attacks on the Hampton family. In fact, the atmosphere accentuates the danger that lurks in this seemingly tranquil environment.

    Marta Perry develops characters the reader wants to revisit over and over again. Andrea's transformation over the course of the book is a joy to behold. The issues of faith are sensitively addressed through the eyes of both Andrea and Cal. The importance of family and friends is especially notable in HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT.

    HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT is yet another fantastic book from Marta Perry. I am quickly becoming a fan of both Marta Perry and the Love Inspired Suspense line as both evoke such strong emotions. Easily recommended!


    5-0 out of 5 stars Romance and Suspense. Good Read
    Andrea Hampton is the successful sister; important job, important opinions, important woman. Sister Rachel stayed home with their grandmother and is determined to turn the family home into a bed and breakfast. Andrea doesn't approve. But when Rachel is injured in a hit and run accident, Andrea drops everything to hurry to her bedside. You take care of family.
    Unfortunately, Andrea has to swerve to avoid an Amish buggy on a dark road and ends up in the ditch. Calvin Burke rescues her and takes her to the hospital to see Rachel. Andrea is grateful until she learns he is her grandmother's tenant. Not everyone in town wants another bed and breakfast, and things begin to happen, some of them very dangerous. Andrea, who is used to doing everything herself, has to learn who she can trust.
    Hiding in Plain Sight is a suspenseful story of intrigue and romance, salted with a strong faith message. Things aren't always the way they seem and it's easy to trust the wrong people. Fans of Marta Perry will enjoy Hiding In Plain Sight. ... Read more

    11. A Gift of Grace: A Novel
    by Amy Clipston
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $10.99
    Asin: B0023ZLOUA
    Publisher: Zondervan
    Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Rebecca Kauffman's tranquil Old Order Amish life is transformed when she suddenly has custody of her two teenage nieces after her 'English' sister and brother-in-law are killed in an automobile accident. Instant motherhood, after years of unsuccessful attempts to conceive a child of her own, is both a joy and a heartache. Rebecca struggles to give the teenage girls the guidance they need as well as fulfill her duties to Daniel as an Amish wife.Rebellious Jessica is resistant to Amish ways and constantly in trouble with the community. Younger sister Lindsay is caught in the middle, and the strain between Rebecca and Daniel mounts as Jessica's rebellion escalates. Instead of the beautiful family life she dreamed of creating for her nieces, Rebecca feels as if her world is being torn apart by two different cultures, leaving her to question her place in the Amish community, her marriage, and her faith in God. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A Gift of Grace
    Rebecca is an Amish wife who's been told she cannot have children. When her sister Grace dies, she leaves Rebecca her two teenage girls giving her the chance to finally be a mother. It sounded intriguing to me and rightfully so. The book had a lot of potential, a great plot and characters, just poor execution in my opinion. The entire first half was great, Clipston developed not only each character fully but also developed the relationships between the characters. She posed realistic conflicts between the "English" girls and the Amish community and made you sympethic to both sides.

    One of the biggest conflicts throughout the book is between Jessica (the oldest daughter) and Rebecca's husband Daniel. Jessica is set on not conforming to Amish culture, and Daniel is trying to following the rules of his religion and expects anyone living under his own roof to do the same. Try telling a 16-year old girl that she can't use her IPOD and that instead of shorts and a tank stop she has to wear a full length frock. Anyone can see a conflict, but the conflict that had me the most intrigued was actually the one between husband and wife. Rebecca finally stood up to Daniel when he told her the girls should leave, and it almost tore her marriage apart. And the book goes on with each side holding their own views and not budging.

    So up until there the book was exciting and enjoyable. My problem with the book came in the final few chapters Clipston resolved, or didn't resolve the conflict. You think the author is going to work out some type of compromise between characters as a resolution, but she doesn't. Rebecca has to give in and Jessica and Daniel both get their ways. I feel like the author takes the easy way out alongside her characters by not developing a better resolution. I felt like she built up this great conflict and then got tired of it so she just decided to let everyone have their own way. So a book with a lot of promise never reached its potential only because of the ending. I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book and would still recommend it to anyone that enjoys fiction dealing with family relationships, Amish, and/or motherhood.

    5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful read
    I think that Amy Clipston has captured the struggles of the Amish verses the English lifestyle perfectly. How do you go from having all the luxuries of the modern world and go to living in the past? You get to see the struggles from both sides as Rebecca tries to welcome her nieces, who don't even know her, into her life and treat them as if they were her own. I only hope that the next book continues where this one left off. There are many things that I wish to have answered and can hardly wait for the next book. I just wish authors could write as fast as I can read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book to Share
    I live in Wichita, Kansas and our state fair is held each year in Hutchinson, Kansas. To visit the fair we travel through the town of Yoder, Kansas. I've looked at the Amish houses, bought their bread and wondered about their lives. What interests me in their lives is how the reconcile themselves with the modern world. This book is an insightful and very easy to read look at their lives. I truly enjoyed the look into their lives and find that I have a new appreciation for their desire for simplicity in life. As the mother of a 17 year old girl, I found myself relating to the dilemma that Grace's daughters found themselves in. The author did a fantastic job describing the characters reactions and emotions.

    I eagerly await the publication of your next book. The book is making it's way around my family and I know my 95 year old grandmother will even enjoy reading it. In reading the book you learn about some Amish recipes. It is wonderful that the author has included some of them. I haven't tried the recipes yet but I certainly plan too!
    Outstanding book! ... Read more

    12. Relentless (Dominion Trilogy #1)
    by Robin Parrish
    Kindle Edition (2006-07-01)
    list price: $13.99
    Asin: B003F77BU2
    Publisher: Bethany House
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Grant Borrows' life has just taken a drastic left turn. There's another man in the world wearing his face and living his life. What's more, the man he sees in the mirror is a stranger.

    Somehow, he's been Shifted -- his whole life fundamentally altered, in the space of a single breath. But the changes don't stop at skin-level. Inexplicably, he's able to affect objects around him by simply thinking about them. And as he soon learns, he's become the central figure in a vast web of intrigue that stretches from an underground global conspiracy to a prophecy dating back over seven thousand years, that tells of his coming. Enemies and allies find him at every turn, but one thing they all learn very quickly is that you don't want to push Grant Borrows too far...

    Can destiny be undone?

    The players are ready. The game is in motion. And the pace is Relentless.

    In the allegorical tradition of Tolkien and Lewis comes a powerful new myth for a new generation. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible Debut Novel
    Collin Boyd's life is unremarkable--his job, his apartment, even his clothes. But everything changes when he switches bodies with Grant Borrows. In one terrifying moment his entire identity vanishes, and he has no idea how or when it happened. All Collin knows is that when he stepped off the LA Metro bus, he became a new man. Now his name is Grant Borrows, a man with an entirely different physique, lifestyle, and bank account. And someone is trying to kill him and those he loves.

    Running for his life, Grant rescues his sister, Julie, but she doesn't recognize him. When he finally convinces her he really is her brother, together they begin a quest for answers. Just who is Grant Borrows? How is he able, when provoked, to manipulate objects with his mind? And why won't the strange gold ring he's wearing come off?

    It's only when Grant and Julie discover others who've experienced the same "Shift" that Grant experienced, that the puzzle pieces start dropping into place. Those Shifted have several things in common. They all wear rings like Grant's, and they all have unique abilities. From photographic memories, mathematical prowess, to the ability to convince others they're seeing things. But the real question for Grant is: why has this happened to any of them? And could Grant really be the one called the Bringer, prophesied about some 7,000 years ago?

    Robin Parrish has been compared to Ted Dekker, and I can see the similarities. They both know how to create vivid and imaginative plots. Both can hook readers on page one and never release them until the last paragraph. But frankly, I enjoyed Parrish's writing style even better than Dekker's. Where Dekker often seems to thrive on shock value and how far he can push the envelope of violence, Parrish shows a little more restraint, which I appreciated. There's just enough backstory woven in that we understand and care for the characters, but not so much that it bogs anything down. Grant Borrows is the type of guy you want to root for, and his villains you want to hate. But then again, looks can be deceiving as to who's a villain after all...

    Bending genres, Relentless' speculative, almost sci-fi plotline is reminiscent of The Fantastic Four movie, but it could also be classified a thriller. As many Infuze readers know, the story upon which this book is based originally appeared at Infuze as a serialized novel called Prodigy. The finished product does sometimes have a serialized feel as practically every other chapter ends with a twist, which makes for fun reading indeed. And although it might seem slightly muddy in the middle when Grant tries to grasp the reality of what's happening to him, perhaps this was an intentional way to mirror Grant's uncertainty.

    There's a reason why this novel is titled Relentless. With each page I found myself sucked deeper into the vortex of Relentless' F5 tornada pace, never knowing for sure what was around the bend. This is blockbuster movie material, folks. And lucky for us it's also Book I of a trilogy. Laden with adventure and intrigue, you're sure to be begging Robin Parrish for the second installment, due next summer.

    --Reviewed by C.J. Darlington for Infuze magazine

    5-0 out of 5 stars You Won't Want to Put Down This Fantasy Thriller
    On that particular rainy morning, Collin Boyd was walking down a rainy street on his way to work and sees himself across the street. We're talking the same clothes, same briefcase, everything. As Collin runs to catch up with himself, he catches his reflection in the mirror and sees...a complete stranger staring back.

    As he stares at the new him, a woman appears and warns him and he is now part of something huge. He must figure out who are his friends and who are his enemies because there is an assassin after him. And with that warning, she vanishes.

    Thrust into a world he hardly knows, the now named Grant Borrows must figure out what is happening to him and how to control the powers he suddenly seems to have. Because the answers hold the key to a long ago prophecy that he just might fulfill. If he can stay alive long enough, that is.

    I've had this book since it came out, but only picked it up recently. I wish I had picked it up sooner. I was hooked on page one. And just when I got one answer or Grant survived one problem, two more took their place. As a result, I had a very hard time putting it down. The characters were interesting. And the multiple view points added to the story.

    This is a fantasy novel of sorts. While most of the action involves fantasy, it takes place to real humans in modern day Los Angeles. I certainly enjoyed the aspect of watching the action take place in a world I knew. And there is a conspiracy behind things that I have a feeling will become much bigger in future books.

    The only weakness is the writing. It was obviously a first novel, and at times it could have used a tad more polish. But it was still highly readable. I certainly flew through the pages.

    I can hardly wait to get my hands on the next two books in the series and see where Grant's path truly lies.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Birth and death? This COULD get interesting!
    So, is there is mystery behind all the 4 star reviews for this? Probably not, because this did indeed end on a cliff hanger, and I'm ready for a lot more of Robin Parrish! So, I've seen the 4 star reviews, and at least one of them is fair. Maybe one with less might come off a bit jealous, but hey! I loved it! And I really don't buy the talk about this being like Star Wars. X-Men I never really got into, (I actually HATED X-Men) so that means I actually got to read this with an OPEN MIND!!

    What the heck would YOU think if you wondered off the local bus, and saw yourself standing across the street? HUH? Well, Grant Borrows will answer that question for us. He's been given quite the unusual gift, and he uses it quite well. He knows how to fight too. Lots of fists and kicks and blood in this. But that's not exactly the main idea here. Go take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, "WHO AM I?" If you can grasp that concept, you just might get the idea. And while Grant certainly has his enemies, he also has his allies, some he might not have a clue about.

    Fans of Ted Dekker shouldn't be let down by this. I didn't know what to expect going into it, but I really enjoyed it! Robin Parrish has stepped into a most unusual octagon, and when the referee commands, "LET'S GET IT ON!!!" Oh believe me, it is on! If you listen closely, you might here the sounds of both birth and death. You listening? Oh yeah, this could get quite interesting! Robin Parrish is indeed RELENTLESS, charging on at a FEARLESS pace!! ... Read more

    13. The Case for Christmas: A Journalist Investigates the Identity of the Child in the Manger
    by Lee Strobel
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $2.99
    Asin: B000SI9ON8
    Publisher: Zondervan
    Sales Rank: 573
    Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Who was in the manger that first Christmas morning?Some say he would become a great moral leader. Others, a social critic. Still others view Jesus as a profound philosopher, a rabbi, a feminist, a prophet, and more. Many are convinced he was the divine Son of God. Who was he---really? And how can you know for sure?Consulting experts on the Bible, archaeology, and messianic prophecy, Lee Strobel searches out the true identity of the child in the manger. Join him as he asks the tough, pointed questions you'd expect from an award-winning legal journalist. If Jesus really was God in the flesh, then there ought to be credible evidence, includingEyewitness Evidence---Can the biographies of Jesus be trusted?Scientific Evidence---What does archaeology reveal?Profile Evidence---Did Jesus fulfill the attributes of God?Fingerprint Evidence---Did Jesus uniquely match the identity of the Messiah?The Case for Christmas invites you to consider why Christmas matters in the first place. Somewhere beyond the traditions of the holiday lies the truth. It may be more compelling than you've realized. Weigh the facts . . . and decide for yourself. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars The identity of the Christ child
    Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (10/07)

    Lee Strobel, award-winning author, journalist and investigative reporter, has written "The Case for Christmas." Stroble presents a logical case to help the reader determine for themselves if the babe in the manger, Jesus, was the person He claimed to be, Son of Man, Son of God, and very God Himself.

    From the first paragraph of the introduction to the last paragraph of the conclusion, Strobel's writing is compelling, intellectually challenging, thought-provoking, and convincing. Using eyewitness accounts, archaeological confirmation, and profile evidence Strobel helps the reader to arrive at a conclusion, their own personal verdict.

    Stroble's own journey to discover the reality of Christmas led him to seek counsel. He used his experience as an investigative reporter and the tools of his trade in his to find answers. Strobel presents the results of interviews with leading scholars in areas of biographical evidence, and scientific evidence.

    In presenting his case Stroble presented fingerprint evidence to answer the hard question, "Did Jesus, Jesus alone, match the identity of the promised Messiah." I personally found this chapter on fingerprint evidence insightful. The fulfilling of Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah gave authenticity to Gospel accounts of Jesus as the Messiah.

    Strobel also presented profile evidence to see if Jesus fulfilled the attributes of God. The incarnation, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, eternality, and immutability all fit in the sketch and are found in the Christmas child. Reflecting on these attributes as a devotional reading offers a rich and rewarding experience.

    The book is designed especially for the Christmas and Advent Season. Strobel gives a strong presentation of the Christmas message for anyone seeking understanding of the tenets of the Christian faith, and for thought provoking reflection and mediation for the Christian.

    The format and design of this compact, attractive, book - "The Case for Christmas" -- make it an excellent gift for those family members, friends, agnostics, or atheists, who are seeking answers to finding answers in their pursuit for finding personal meaning to the reality of the Christian message of Christmas.

    5-0 out of 5 stars reccomendation
    if you're going to buy this, you might as well buy the Case for Christ instead. It has ALL the content in this book and Case for Easter and then some. Much more bank for your buck

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Evidential Case-Maker Provides a Christmas Gift
    The Case for Christmas is a darling little book that weaves a solid apologetic throughout its charming writing style. Strobel, as a former investigative reporter (was an atheist at the time), examines the material in the Gospel of Luke regarding the birth of Christ.

    Employing rigorous probing into the text and history, Strobel discovers that the birth reports of Jesus in the Bible are accurate, startling, and compelling from an evidentialist's standpoint.

    This Christmas book makes for a wonder-filled Christmas for the reader and an excellent Christmas gift to the saved and especially the unsaved (be sure to have them open it a few days before the 25th so that they can enjoy the truth is furnishes during the whole season).

    By Mike A Robinson author of God Does Exist! and other Christian books.
    The Necessary Existence of God: The Proof of Christianity Through Presuppositional Apologetics ... Read more

    14. The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have
    by Mark Nepo
    Paperback (2000-05-01)
    list price: $18.95 -- our price: $10.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1573241172
    Publisher: Conari Press
    Sales Rank: 51
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Cancer survivor, poet, and philosopher Mark Nepo has consciously allowed life to move through him. The Book of Awakening is the result of his journey of the soul and will inspire others to embark on their own.

    Nepo speaks of spirit and friendship, urging readers to stay vital and in love with this life, no matter the hardships. Encompassing many traditions and voices, Nepo's words offer insight on pain, wonder, and love. Each entry is accompanied by an exercise that will surprise and delight the reader in its mind-waking ability. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Learning who I am
    I start every morning with an inspiration from this book. I take the time I need to reflect on the daily passage and have found it to be a way of learning about the real person I am. I have been searching for inner peace for so long , this book has helped me to meditate on the important things to make my life and my inner self more complete and at peace. I love this book and want to give everyone I know a copy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Editorial Review
    There are very few books in this world which elicit the question `Why have I such an array of books on this subject when this one would suffice?' The entry of Mark Nepo's Book of Awakening into my life not only presented this question but also initiated an immediate removal of the other six inspirational books waiting in a tumbled line by my bed, making space in my overcrowded life for the simplicity of one source of wisdom.

    The Book of Awakening, which is beautifully produced by Conari Press, is in the form of a daybook, having an entry of wisdom for every day of the year. This allows us to take a dip into this vast ocean of insight every day or to dive in at random when the spirit moves us. Each page of wisdom is followed by a short and profound meditation on the topic at hand which helps put the reading into the context of one's own life, and is suggested in such a way that even the meditation-shy could be enticed to participate.

    In his introduction, Mark describes his book as `a companion and a soul-friend'. I agree that this book can act as a soul friend, which is a different relationship than is possible with most wisdom books. And that is quite a gift to give to yourself or a friend. The key reason for the possibility of this almost human relationship with the book is, I believe, to be found in the divinely human writing style of the author.

    Mark is born a poet whose eyes perceive the divine patterning within the everyday experiences of life. He has crafted the art of painting that depth so that others may begin to see into and beyond the mundane. Each new entry seems to invite a deeper friendship of the soul as Mark lays himself bare in his truly personal stories of struggle and revelation. He interweaves his own perception with gems of collected treasures from many spiritual traditions, giving us access to his own spiritual advisers in their many forms.

    --- Carmella B'Hahn, Sufi Journal, London

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Daybook with poetry, inspiration and much more!
    Mark Nepo's day book is a wonderful way to remember the importance of enjoying the details that make life a mystery and a gift. The book includes inspirational quotes, beautiful poetry, points for mediationsand heart-warming glimpes of life. Although each day's entry is meant to be savored, I gobbled them all up and now will go back to holding them close to my life one day at a time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful offering.
    To be honest, this book caught my eye first because of its beautiful cover of the Lotus. I opened the book read a passage
    and felt deeply moved almost to tears. This is a beautifully orchestrated book. Its daily reflections, passages and quotes
    are soul food for our journey. This book is definitely a work
    of love. You can feel the intent put forth and given to the reader by the author. What a blessed contribution it is. The foreward by Wayne Mueller sums this stellar gem up perfectly.
    A difinite addition to your collection, if not the only book you will ever need and keep close to your heart, spirit and soul.
    Dear Mark Nepo,
    You have written a book that has moved me so, there are
    no words to describe it. I thank you for sharing your beautiful offering. I am so happy to have come across it just in a time
    when I was so ready and open to its messages.
    Christine/Toronto, Ont. Canada

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Daily Contemplation Book
    Written by a poet and teacher, this book is organized by date, with 1-2 page offerings for each day of the year. Beautifully written, each entry begins with a quote from another poet, saint (practically every spiritual tradition is represented), or other literary work, followed by the author's musings and a set of questions to contemplate that day. Some random samples: "August 1: The Pain of Becoming - We do ourselves a great disservice by judging where we are in comparison to some final destination." "April 10: At Home in Our Skin - The spiritual life is about becoming more at home in your own skin."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mark Nepo's Book of Awakenings
    This is a wonderful daily reader - a great way to start the day - sometimes I just pick up the book and randomly pick a reading. Truly inspiring stuff - it's like a yoga class for your mind.

    5-0 out of 5 stars timeless
    A beautiful gift for yourself or a loved one. Dated daily essays to ponder along with daily exercises to strengthen those spiritual muscles. I'm admittedly a biased huge fan of Mark's writing. I've never bought a daybook before and didn't realise that's what this was when I purchased it. If I'd known I might have missed out on a treasure. It is structured with dates but there is no year so this book can be read and re-read year after year and I'm sure each read will reveal another level of wisdom. If you're on the fence about making this purchase, I'm sure you won't be sorry if you decide yes, and there's no reason to wait until the beginning of a year to buy it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Deep, courageous, vivid, tender, honest, treasured
    In every reading I find extraordinary insights I underline and carry with me. I actually am purchasing a copy for my desk at work. It is definitely a gift giver. So many of the daily meditation books I've purchased are disappointing, or I've gotten used to something kind of nice or merely reflective. Nepo takes me to an edge I've wanted to see time after time. I leave his readings better for the experience, eager to share.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A good book for the grieving woman
    I am a life coach for widows.
    I suggest to all my clients that they purchase this amazing book. It gently, lovingly and firmly reminds us each day of who we are and that in order to emerge, we need to accept that where we are is where we are supposed to be. Even if it is messy. I am so grateful for this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Devotional Read
    I have found this book to be a beautiful daily devotional. It is rich
    with poetic philosophy and heart opening passages that take you deep
    within yourself. The guided meditations allow you to expand around the
    everyday circumstances that life graces us with, and allows you to go
    to the depths of your own heart and knowing you are better than you were before. This read is a portal into the self thatis conscious and aware of the inner workings behind every perceived problem and lifts you to the higher ground of expansion. It is a delight to read it daily and lift myself out of limiting beliefs into other perspectives that free me of conditioned responses. ... Read more

    15. Divanomics
    by Michelle Mckinney Hammond
    Kindle Edition (2010-01-04)
    list price: $10.99
    Asin: B003N2QFT2
    Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
    Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Once upon a time, Michelle McKinney Hammond’s lifestyle centered around the finer things in life—designer clothes, five-star restaurants, and bag after bag of high-end nonessentials. Then one day, like many people, Michelle awoke to find herself on the losing end of a most unwelcome and unexpected financial downturn. In response, she quickly went from “spoiled” to “fabulously frugal,” and with courage and a sense of humor, she made the necessary adjustments in her life.
    Now, Hammond, a self-proclaimed DIVA (Divine Inspiration for Victorious Attitude), shares what she learned about her own spending, desires, and needs and how she adjusted to life during an unpredictable economy. Divanomics is filled with money-saving tips on fashion, beauty, home decor, entertaining, diet, housing, and more.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A Diva joins the struggling middle class
    The subtitle of this latest book by Michelle McKinney Hammond is "How to Still be Fabulous When You're Broke" and she is pretty fabulous. But girlfriend, I have mixed feelings about this book.

    Michelle McKinney Hammond has written an overview of how to live large on a small budget. She gives some sound advice: shop at discount stores, separate your wants from your needs, clip coupons, don't buy more than you can afford. She encourages women to focus on their relationship with God over their relationship with credit cards.

    More autobiography than advice, some of her tips are definitely big city, single gal: make dinner out of cocktail hour snacks in hotel lobbies. This won't work for the mom schlepping it out in the suburbs. Never having had the lifestyle Ms. Hammond once enjoyed, I found my self thinking "I already knew that" through most of the book.

    However, she has an incredibly warm and engaging style that makes me want to read more of her writing or hear her speak at a conference. I'd recommend this book for Divas whose fortunes have fallen with the stock market. For the rest of us middle class folks, I say "Girlfriend, we're way ahead of you."

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fun to Read
    Michelle McKinney Hammond is a best-selling author of more than thirty books. She was also a co-host of the television program, Aspiring Women. In her latest book, Divanomics, she describes her personal financial trials and how she learned to get back on track. She writes from a Christian perspective, using humor, good-natured fun, and has a modern, hip tone. I don't normally like "hip" but she does it so well, I actually smiled often as I read. There is so much to glean from this book. Her own financial difficulties are actually fun to read. I mean, who wouldn't want to read about how much money she spent and how the upper-class have to deal with accountants to handle their money? Frankly, it was entertaining.

    The book is extremely well done. At the end of each chapter, you'll find advice, questions, and suggestions to help you get a grip on your own finances. Her focus on God is inspiring and I enjoyed this book very much.

    *I received this book from Tyndale House for Review purposes.*

    5-0 out of 5 stars Diva-lite-ful!
    "Divanomics: How to Still Be Fabulous When You're Broke" surprised me, in a most rewarding way!

    I expected a standard "how to." Instead I found pages of lively narrative, soul-searching questions, and practical, easy-to-implement advice.

    I expected a "diva" attitude (you know, the "waah-I-can't-eat-at-$1000-a-plate-functions any more".) What I found in Divanomics is a realistic point-of-view that speaks to all women, and most enjoyably, a lot of frugal living steeped with spirituality.

    Overall, this is a great guide for the newly frugal or for those looking to develop a more faith-based resource to help you cope with the stark realities of today's economy.

    Disclosure: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Who knew being fabulous on a budget could be SO...fabulous!
    DIVA's every where shout hallelujah!

    Divanomics is just the book you've been praying for.
    Relevant, real, transparent and inspiring,
    Divanomics will help you shed the shame
    you may be carrying along with debt.

    Regardless of your financial situation,
    Hammond will remind you
    that you are not alone while taking you on a soul
    journey to freedom, fearlessness
    and fabulousness all in the blink
    of a MAC mascared eye.

    You can be fabulous when you're
    broke - Divanomics will show you how.

    Grab your copy today!

    Marina Woods, GoodGirlBookClubOnline
    The #1 Destination for Today's Aspiring Woman
    ... Read more

    16. The Velveteen Rabbit
    by Margery Williams Bianco
    Kindle Edition (2004-03-01)
    list price: $0.00
    Asin: B000JML684
    Publisher: Public Domain Books
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more


    4-0 out of 5 stars Sweet story for children, but appeals to adults, April 8, 2009
    The prose is engaging and entertaining. It is the best kind of children's story -- appealing to adults. There are no pictures in this edition, but the text stands up very well on its own, and if you have not read it, it is well worth the time--such a quick and pleasant read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lovely Story, April 9, 2009
    I've never read this children's book, but as I have a Kindle, I can download it for free. Now I know why it's such a classic. Such a lovely and well written story.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Best of the childrens classics, June 7, 2009
    Very sweet and well written story - makes me wonder why these and other childrens classics are not as widely read in schools or sold in book stores. I looked for one of my favorites, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, (Hans Christian Anderson) but could not find it at Barnes & Noble. It's too bad because these classics are so much better written with more life lessons for kids than today's popular fiction.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great classic book, February 22, 2010
    I can't believe that this book is free for Kindle. It is such a wonderful story for children and it teaches them the art of empathy and kindness. Don't pass up owning this classic for your Kindle.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Kindle Edition is worth reading, October 8, 2010
    This is a fun tale about a toy that wants to become real. While kids (and adults) today won't necessarily identify with the specific toys in the story (they were widely known by the contemporary readers however), we can all relate to wanting to believe in the realness of our toys. Of course, this idea has been picked up and taken to the next level with the Toy Story movies, but that shouldn't dissuade any reader from checking out this short book.

    The Kindle edition is perfectly serviceable. There are no formatting issues (I checked it out on my iPhone and my Kindle 3) and I didn't see any typos. The lack of pictures/drawings is disappointing, but the storytelling is vivid enough that it won't distract from your enjoyment. This is definitely one of the free kindle offerings worth picking up.

    4-0 out of 5 stars "Once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.", January 23, 2010
    "The Velveteen Rabbit" was one of my most beloved childhood stories and I have since shared it with my own daughter. Since she is still a preschooler, I bought a beautifully-illustrated edition of the book, with the text being complemented by vivid illustrations that captured both her heart and imagination - The Classic Tale of the Velveteen Rabbit: Or, How Toys Became Real(Christmas Edition). As for me, I couldn't resist downloading this Kindle title, especially since it was free. A quick read about a velveteen rabbit that discovers what it means to be truly loved by a child, and in the process becoming 'real' - this is one story that brings back fond memories of my childhood, and just for a while let's me be a child again, and not a cynical adult.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise., November 28, 2009
    I've heard of this book, but never taken the time to read it. Thanks to the free offers for the Kindle, I decided to take a chance on The Velveteen Rabbit and I'm so glad I did. It's a very quick read, but it's also very heart-touching and brought a smile to my face.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Forever Young, September 30, 2010
    I have read this story so many times over the years but I never tire of it.
    Fortunately, I am old enough to forget various parts so each reading awakens
    new elements. But, the story and the beautiful writing will never gets old.
    The Velveteen Rabbit should be kept in every reader's toy chest no matter
    how many new toys are added to the collection. This one is the keeper.

    If you like sentimental stories, this one might work too.
    She Came From Heaven

    5-0 out of 5 stars Childhood favorite never loses it's appeal, February 21, 2010
    I couldn't sleep last night so I decided to try Kindle for Blackberry and this was the first book I downloaded. This is a classic story I remember reading in my childhood; it's just the right length to get you back to sleep after a restless night. After reading it I slipped back to sleep very easily and found myself thinking of the Velveteen Rabbit and the fairies. Of course, the real book with illustrations is better, but reading the Kindle version is more convenient.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Touching and heartfelt, December 8, 2009
    A great story that teaches a great lesson for children and creates feelings of nostalgia for a beloved childhood toy. Even if the story ended happily, I ended up with a good cry. One feels sympathy, sorrow, and joy for the Velveteen Rabbit. Even if this is considered children story, it is beautifully written with a profound message for all. ... Read more

    17. 25 Days, 26 Ways to Make This Your Best Christmas Ever
    by Ace Collins
    Kindle Edition (2009-09-15)
    list price: $15.99
    Asin: B002UM5BOQ
    Publisher: Zondervan
    Sales Rank: 8588
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Christmas should be the most anticipated day of the year. But many people dread the shopping, financial strain, and extra activities they have to sandwich between the layers of their already too-busy lives.Bestselling author Ace Collins is the perfect guide to help them navigate the stress of the holidays. As he shares twenty-six easy ways to revamp Christmas expectations, readers will relax, refuel, and readjust their attitude toward the season. Each upbeat chapter contains easy to apply ideas for taking a fresh look at a holiday tradition or task and making it positive and meaningful. Through a blend of historical stories, scriptural truths, and contemporary anecdotes, Collins creates a recipe for holiday happiness. He adeptly shows how to keep the joy of the season from derailing and helps readers rediscover Christmas as it was meant to be---holy, peaceful, and purposeful.A glorious Christmas is attainable with Collins' timely wisdom and advice. Partly devotional, partly practical, and always thoughtful, Collins' book will help readers make this their best Christmas ever! ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Shallow and scattered
    I have a tension with Christmas. I absolutely love it, and yet sometimes feel like we're missing the point. Tradition is not bad, but even well-intentioned and meaningful traditions can also become idols.

    So, when I received 25 Days, 26 Ways to Make This Your Best Christmas Ever to review, I was skeptical but hoping for the best. The book is written in short chapters that are intended to be read one at a time from December 1st through the 25th. This is not a devotional, but rather a light "reflective reading" book from a Christian perspective.

    I have to say, as I began reading this little book my hopes were lifting. I really enjoyed reading Ace Collins' accounts of the historical "Good King Wenceslas" [I never knew he was a real person!], the church's historical observance of advent, the way Christian missionaries in years long ago used mistletoe and evergreen trees to share the gospel, the roots of some of our most beloved Christmas carols, and Martin Luther being the first to add candles to the Christmas tree to symbolize Jesus as the Light of the World. Collins' historical tidbits really did add a new layer of understanding and appreciation to Christmas traditions for me. I also appreciated the emphasis he rightly placed on giving and generosity, and that we should be seeking to emulate the love and heart of Christ.

    BUT. I found Collins' approach to refocusing on the meaning of the season to be shallow and scattered. His approach to lessening stress during the holidays seems to be "do more and be happy about it." I felt like my hand was being slapped [albeit jovially] for not being a person who typically sends Christmas cards - and in fact, that I should be picking out individual cards that reflect the tastes of each friend and family member I send them to. I should pick out more gifts more thoughtfully. I should put up more lights more carefully. I should bake more cookies and give them away. I should take more pictures. Oh, and if I'm finding myself too rushed I should slow down and ride my bike. If I feel stressed about these things I should hum a Christmas carol and "turn my frown upside down."

    No matter how meaningful the roots of our Christmas traditions, I still contend that those very traditions can become idols that can overtake our focus on Christ. They aren't bad - Christmas cards, lights, decorations, music, shopping, baking... all are enjoyable and fun and can create lovely memories. But perhaps instead of doing more and feeling guilty about not embracing a Clever-family Christmas, we should consider doing less. Perhaps we need to free ourselves a bit from the guilt of all of the "must-do" items on our agendas this time of year that really don't matter in the lens of eternity.

    In short, if you're looking for a light and mildly interesting read about Christmas traditions, this might be what you're looking for. Just please take it with a grain of salt and banish the guilt of feeling that you must do more.

    Consider learning about traditions, carefully choose what you will do, and do less... with more purpose. :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Yes, my BEST Christmas Ever
    I packed this book to take on a business trip with me mid November. As I sat in my hotel room with no distractions I opened the book and instantly became thankful it had been written. The hotel I was staying in was already decked for Christmas as well as the shopping malls I had visited earlier in the day. That bothered me a bit until I read the first few pages and learned that during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevels asked folks to shop and mail their gifts early to ensure loved ones overseas received their packages. I thought of all of our soldiers and sailors serving right now during wartime and became filled with emotions of thankfulness to them.

    I am a Christian. I go to church each Sunday. Our church recognizes Advent each Christmas. I never understood the real meaning of Advent until I read this book.

    The history of the Christmas Tree, Mistle toe, etc have all been revealed to me now.

    Most important of all though is how this book has given me the desire to serve others, share my joy with others, give of myself in ways I never thought of all in the Spirit of Christmas, the True Spirit in Which Christmas was intended. Please read this book. It will change your life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pull this book out each year!
    Not too long ago I read a few fiction books by Ace Collins {Farraday Road and Swope's Ridge} and got completely hooked on his fiction. Enough that I am anxiously waiting for the conclusion of the trilogy.

    For the Christmas season, Ace Collins has released a new book that focuses on ways to put the JOY back in Christmas: 25 Days, 26 Ways To Make This Your Best Christmas Ever. Each of the twenty-six chapters in the book shares ideas for looking at holiday traditions, frustrations, and expectations and making Christmas what it should be ~ a time of peace and focus on Christ.

    I've been reading the book daily and love the insights and perspective that Collins offers. It's been a great encouragement and way to refocus my perspective each morning. At the end of each chapter there is a little `shortcut' that provides an idea on how you can apply the topic of the day. Chapters cover topics on the meaning of old Christmas carols, the significance behind the Magi's gifts to Jesus, Advent, and preserving the holidays. The daily readings are quick and a great start to my morning quiet time. This is one book that I will be keeping handy each Christmas season for a reminder on the important things in life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoy the Christmas Season Again
    This book really reiterated to me what I had already decided this year, that this season was not going to be packed with too much to do each day, but instead December would be a lovely time to enjoy with family. So far, on this 9th day of December, the season has been lovely. My entire Christmas shopping is done and Christmas cards have been sent. We have taken time already to go to the huge light display in Lexington, eat peppermint ice cream, read a story for Advent each day, and enjoy a special Christmas movie each night.

    Ace Collins, the author, takes each of the 25 days of Christmas and focuses on a seasonal topic. Day 3 was a look at what "Merry" in Merry Christmas and God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen means. I will not give it away here, but you may be surprised at the meaning. At chapter's end, Mr. Collins gives A Shortcut to the Season with an idea on how the reader can make the reading come alive. For example, he suggests figuring up how much it would cost to give to your true love today the 12 gifts of The Twelve Days of Christmas. My oldest boy will love that. My father always said his tree was decorated on Christmas Eve, which I always found strange. Now I know this was typical in the 40s and earlier. Early Christmas shopping did not begin unto World War II. So why do we kill ourselves trying to rush around so now? We need to get back to the joy of the season. ... Read more

    18. A Horse to Love
    by Marsha Hubler
    Kindle Edition (2009-09-06)
    list price: $4.99
    Asin: B002U80FZK
    Publisher: Zondervan
    Sales Rank: 387
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Thirteen-year-old foster kid Skye Nicholson has become an expert at being an angry, cold, and defensive teenager. After breaking more foster home placements than she cares to count, and committing numerous offenses, she's headed to her final resort --- juvenile detention. But after a court compromise, hope finds her through a beautiful sorrel quarter horse named Champ and the tough love of Tom and Eileen Chamber, who offer her another chance at their home at Keystone Stables. There she's introduced to a God who has the power to truly save her, no matter how much she thinks she's not worth saving. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Youth horse books
    great horse book for younger girls. If you haven't read the keystone stables series you will love it. If you have...don't be misled like I was..the first four book are the same book with a different cover..although cute and more modern...we ended up with the same book. after the fourth they are new, that is just a word of wise. IF you haven't read them, you'll love them ... Read more

    19. Danger in the Shadows
    by Dee Henderson
    Kindle Edition (2010-11-08)
    list price: $11.99
    Asin: B004BA54DI
    Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
    Sales Rank: 816
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Sara is terrified. She's doing the one thing she cannot afford to do: fall in love with former pro-football player Adam Black, a man everyone knows. Sara's been hidden away in the witness protection program, her safety dependent on staying invisible—and lo ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Suspense at its finest
    Sara Walsh is living her present with an all too real threat from the past. As the daughter of an ambassador, she was at risk. The memory of the abduction of her and her twin sister lives on in her mind and the the threat of the kidnapper who still stalks her has made her a prisoner in her own life.

    When a twist of fate lands her in an elevator with Adam Black, ex footbal star, things change. Adam is instantly aware of the connection they share and with the help of their faith, he is detemrined to have a life with Sara.

    The couple are faced with more than their share of obstacles, but the they share two common bonds; love and their faith in God.

    Though this is an inspirational book, it will appeal to all readers who enjoy a true romantic suspense. The characters are so vivid you should be able to reach out and touch them.

    Dee Henderson has a writing style that carried her story so smoothly you won't know it isn't happening to you. I am awed by her ability to write a story so emotionally charged and yet gently inspiring. I recommend Dee Henderson as a a writer everyone will enjoy for as long as always. Danger in the Shadows is a remarkable book. Truly remarkable.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Suspense and romance finally get equal air time!
    I'm officially a Dee Henderson fan, after just one book! Unlike some other reviewers, I found this to be a very quick read. It could have been shorter if some of the descriptive and introspective paragraphs were spliced out, but I personally wouldn't want them to be. Ms. Henderson uses description to enhance, rather than stifle, her story; and it's refreshing to read a novel this thick in which neither suspense nor romance is slighted by the other. She has a pleasing writing style (despite a slight tendency toward comma splices) that makes reading her stories feel like vacation, not work. In addition, both Adam and Sara are likable, decently developed characters that carry their story well. Sara's fear and flawed relationship with God actually strengthens her as a sympathetic heroine. I grew to love and understand Sara, and the two "parts" of her personality (Sara Walsh and H.Q. Victor) is a wonderfully haunting way to explain the impact the kidnapping had on her. And for those who complain that there is too much romance and not enough time developing the Bad Guy, please remember this is the Palisades Romance Series, not the Dangerous Shadows Series. Go into these books *expecting* romance, and when one of them (like this one) delivers so much more, you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A perfect suspense romance--beautifully written
    DANGER IN THE SHADOWS is a wonderful book. Dee Henderson has shown a strength in plotting and writing that had me glued to my seat for hours to finish the book.

    Sara walsh was abducted when she was a young child, and after 9 days of captivity in a dark basement she is found. The man who kidnapped her never is, but he is still terrorizing her. She is a protected woman, living with FBI protection and moving constantly to keep a step ahead of the insane man who wants to control her.

    Her life is a terror, always watching over her shoulder, always being watched and never getting close to anyone. Adam Black is a sports hero, high profile, now retired. He meets Sara and wants her, unaware of her need for privacy and security. As much as she pushes him away, he is drawn to her and her situation, but struggles to understand what she went through and how it's affecting her as an adult.

    Adam and Sara are meant to be together but the roadblocks in the way of a relationship working are enormous. There is a man walking free who has put Sara through the most unimaginable nightmare and it's time she took her life back. They both have their faith, and knowing that God was watching over them gave them the strength to face the terror.

    I loved this book. The terror was so subtly drawn, so carefully laid out that it pulled me in slowly and before I knew it I was jumping at shadows and suspicious of every noise. The romance between Adam and Sara had to be so strongly written to keep afloat with the suspense but Dee has done it very well.

    I'm off to find Dee Henderson's other books now. Can't get too much of a good thing.
    Sue Waldeck
    Road to Romance

    5-0 out of 5 stars Prequel of a series that can stand alone : )
    I discovered this book about 4 years ago after starting to read the O'Malley seriesThe Negotiator (The O'Malley Series #1). I really liked it - and sorry, I'm not going to summarize the story. Just tell you that I enjoyed it - I think others will enjoy it. If it's no longer a "free" book when you read this, well I found it well worth my money when I purchased the paperback at my local bookstore.

    A lot of times free Kindle books are prequels or the beginning of a series - so you get interested and want to read more. This book can stand alone (and it did until the full O'Malley series rolled out) or is a great beginning to reading Dee Henderson books.

    Yes, it's a "Christian" book. Meaning the author and the publisher are Christians, and some of the characters in the book are as well. But it's not a beat-you-over-the-head-with-it proselytizing that you often find. The focus of the book is the STORY. It's gripping suspense, with interesting characters.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just Plain Awesome...
    I read Danger In The Shadows after I read The Negotiator. I was pleased with The Negotiator and I just had to read what Dave was like as a brother. Dee Henderson has a wonderful way of blending a real life problem along with romance, faith and mystery. You just have to love the way she ties all the ends together.

    Danger In the Shadows is no different. I love the support Adam gave to Sara, through thick or thin. This is a must read book; you will not be able to put this book down. I was not disappointed with Dave in this book either. He turned out to be an awesome brother and if you haven't read The Negotiator please get it too. ... Read more

    20. The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.
    by Timothy Ferriss
    Hardcover (2009-12-15)
    list price: $22.00 -- our price: $11.59
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307465357
    Publisher: Crown Archetype
    Sales Rank: 58
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    More than 100 pages of new, cutting-edge content.

    Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

    This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:
    •How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
    •How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
    •How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
    •How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
    •How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”

    The new expanded edition of Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek includes:
    •More than 50 practical tips and case studies from readers (including families) who have doubled income, overcome common sticking points, and reinvented themselves using the original book as a starting point
    •Real-world templates you can copy for eliminating e-mail, negotiating with bosses and clients, or getting a private chef for less than $8 a meal
    •How Lifestyle Design principles can be suited to unpredictable economic times
    •The latest tools and tricks, as well as high-tech shortcuts, for living like a diplomat or millionaire without being either
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Better Than The First Version By A Very Long Shot . . . Definitely Worth The Investment
    I reviewed the first edition of The Four Hour Workweek and was surprised by the content, it was a fresh look at a new idea (Lifestyle Design) and it offered some really practical, useful advice that virtually anyone could implement. I recommended the book to many people, most liked it some didn't.

    I eagerly pre-ordered this version of the book when I first heard about it mostly because I was curious if it would really be better . . . and boy was it!

    I sat down with this book and read until the wee hours of the morning. Sure a lot of the material is the same, but there are around 100 new pages of material and that material is what the first edition desperately needed. The new material is solid examples, case studies, new resources and it addresses how to navigate lifestyle design in a rapidly changing economy.

    Tim includes a list of things learned in 2008 along with lessons learned, this section of the book was priceless. Here are a few of the things he talks about:

    1. Don't accept large or costly favors from strangers - Exceptions, uber-successful mentors who are making introductions and not laboring on your behalf.

    2. You don't have to recoup losses the same way you lose them - An interesting discussion of mortgages.

    3. One of the most universal causes of self-doubt and depression: Trying to impress people you don't like (This one really hit home with me . . . hard)

    4. Slow meals = life

    5. Money doesn't change you; it reveals who you are when you no longer have to be nice.

    6. It doesn't matter how many people don't get it. What matters is how many people do.

    7. I should not invest in public stocks where I cannot influence outcome (Another hearty agreement from me).

    The list goes on as does the new information in the book. This one is a must read for anyone who wants to break the slave-save-retire cycle and live on purpose now.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Reading Comprehension is Key
    I'd like to preface this review with something interesting about the Amazon reviews for this book. Many 1-star reviewers accused the 5-star reviewers of being "plants." Especially the ones who hadn't reviewed a book before on Amazon. How do they know that the person wasn't just so moved by the book they made their first Amazon review? We all had that first book we reviewed at one point or another. And extreme feelings about a book, either extreme love or extreme hate, tend to motivate one to share that view with the world.

    What I found amazing was, most of the 1-star reviews were reviews of positive reviews, not the book, even though they claimed to be reviews of the book. With all that was taken out of context and twisted, it was clear that most of the 1-star reviewers either didn't read the book or don't have sufficient reading comprehension to be a critic of anything. I find this unfortunate since many negative-minded people read these reviews and respond with things like: "This was what I suspected, glad I didn't waste my money." I'm not sure what exactly the threat is in exploring new ideas whether you agree with them or not, at least allow your mind the opportunity to choose.

    This book is not about being lazy. It's not a get-rich quick scheme. It's not about being dishonest or unethical. It became very clear that some people really truly believe that working few hours on work you hate to free up time for more productive and meaningful life activities is somehow "immoral." I guess the Puritanical mentality this country started out with (earliest settlers here) has seeped deeper into our overall culture than we once imagined.

    I used to be very held back by the notion of "the other people in the world who are suffering." i.e. why should I seek to make my life situation better when it seems selfish compared to all the starving Ethiopian children, for example. But the crux of the issue is this... I am either helping, being helped, or breaking even. Breaking even would be when a person barely scrapes by enough to support and take care of their own family unit (people living in the house with them.) They are often in debt, middle-class generally, but living paycheck to paycheck or not far above it. They live from scarcity rather than abundance and so any little bit they have over they have to save rather than use to help someone else.

    Others are constantly "being helped" by the government, by charities, by whoever. Now I'm not making a moral judgment against either of these groups of people. Living in a money-based instead of a community-based society is hard. However... people often rush to judge those who either HAVE money or WANT to have money as automatically immoral or bad people. And that's not true. Who do you think the helpers are? It's certainly not the people who need help, and it's not the people in that middle class prison that can't seem to get ahead. It's the people who have extra money TO help. And those are also the people who volunteer the most because surprise surprise they have more TIME to donate than any of the other groups.

    So I think people would benefit themselves quite a bit if they changed their attitude about acquiring money. Yes, there will always be greedy people who acquire at the expense of others. There will always be people who are materialistic and just want more and more useless "stuff." But then there are others who acquire money and more personal freedom who use a good portion of both of those assets to help others. And contrary to what many readers seemed to get out of the book (or out of their reading of the reviews only), the author's message isn't about being greedy, but about acquiring freedom and then using that freedom for something that benefits both you and others at the same time.

    Pointless drudgery and suffering for the sake of it is... pointless. It's not character building necessarily and it doesn't make you a better person necessarily. And especially if a lot of the suffering is self-imposed based on a refusal to think outside of a very limiting box.

    The author's definition of the "new rich" is a sliding barometer. For example his view (and I agree) is that someone who makes $40,000 a year and is totally 100% mobile and can live ANYWHERE in the world, and go anywhere in the world, is far more rich than someone making $500,000 a year who hates their job, works 80 hour weeks and is trapped in one location (usually a very expensive American city like NY or LA.) This is very true. You'd be amazed by the variable in quality of life for your dollar depending on where you live, even just in the United States there is huge variability.

    This book explores a lot of ways for you to simplify your life and get work done with as soon as possible so you can get on to other things. Timothy Ferriss is NOT saying that you can work 4 hours a week starting tomorrow. The goal of this particular book for this particular outcome is one of two things: either to work remotely for your employer and increase productivity to the point that you can work fewer hours (though probably more than 4 a week) from home or anywhere else you are, or starting a business with the goal of automation at the end. i.e. internet business, product-based businesses (online), information products. You do a lot of work on the front end to create a product and set up an infrastructure so you don't have to continue to micromanage the business forever. You can go on to doing other things, either another income stream or micro-business on another topic/idea/product, or some other activity that interests you.

    This is the kind of track I'm on and have been on for a little while now. This book wasn't overly novel to me because I'd already been initiated into this type of "Freedom-based" thinking through books like: "Unjobbing: The Adult Liberation Handbook," "Making a Living Without a Job," and "How I found Freedom in an Unfree World," all amazing books and paradigm shifters that make you take stock of what YOU want and not what you're "supposed" to want and that also make you look at money and acquiring it in whole new ways. Every single one of them is valuable in their own right and reading those books probably made this book far less "out there" to me. Since apparently it seems pretty "out there" to a lot of people.

    I've owned a service business before (wedding coordinating) and a craft business (candlemaking) and on both fronts I realized quickly that even if I was spectacularly successful, that there was a definite ceiling on the amount of money I could earn with either without adding significant complication into the mix (i.e. working long hours indefinitely and employees which I would then have to manage.) In the case of candles I could have gone an entirely different route into outsourcing manufacturing, but then it would cease being a "crafts" business and turn into just retail.

    There is a common saying among entrepreneurs that they would rather work 16 hours a day for themselves than 8 hours a day for someone else. Well I don't even want to work 8 hours a day. It's not that I'm lazy, I just have other things to do, and if you enhance your productivity there really is no genuine reason to work that many hours a day. Most people in 9-5 jobs are getting about 3-4 hours of genuine WORK done a day. Well that's about what I do, but I just do it in a concentrated effort and don't get sidetracked by other things. Some days I work 6 hours especially when I'm in the new phase of a project, but that's about my max. Granted, we are talking about income producing activities here. This doesn't include cooking and cleaning which is also technically work, or exercise, which is a form of work. I enjoy exercise, but I enjoy most of what I do to one degree or another so liking or not liking the activity can't be the barometer for what is and isn't work.

    Anyway this is an incredibly long-winded way of saying that I really enjoyed this book, and didn't find it that "out there." It's somewhat amusing to see the people who "do" find it that "out there" because I don't really think I'm an impractical person. But I will admit that it has probably helped that I'm so stubborn, I just pretty much refused to buy into many of the ideas I was "supposed" to buy into regarding work. So even with the first paradigm-shifting book I read in this category, I was open to the ideas. I'm not a lazy person but I also don't mistake "busyness" for productivity or accomplishment.

    I was already familiar with a lot of the mentalities and ideas in the book from my exposure to the above mentioned books as well as learning experiences I've already had in business and things I'd figured out on my own, but I did learn a few new techniques and he also helped to boil down some things for me that will be useful in launching my next income stream which will hopefully eventually replace the freelance work I'm doing now. Because the goal eventually is automation so I can free up time to just write what I want (with or without big profit at the end of it), and focus on other pursuits.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the top 3 influential books I have read!
    Brief Background: I owned and operated 4 bookstores in Austin, Tx for 13 years. I have read a lot of books and have sold many books on being successful in business and life. This is my first review.
    I was given this book by a business partner and I was reluctant to read one more book on the secrets of a great life. I was fascinated and hooked after the first few pages. I am going to keep this simple. If you are clear that greatness is inside of you, then this book is for you. If you are clear that you have nothing to offer, then this book is for you. This book is a paradox as is Tim Ferriss. This is not a get rich quick book. It is a book that gives you all you need to have an amazing life. And along the way you may get rich. If you just do part of what he says your life will be great. If you attempt all of his recommendations...who knows. He gives you assignments at the end of every chapter to explore your limitations. Thanks Tim for pushing yourself beyond what experts said you couldn't do.

    Because of Tim's book I started 6 internet websites...3 made me zip and didn't cost me much except some time and a little money(under $100 each). The other 3 are making me a total of $2000 a month profit for the last 6 months. I also drastically reduced the amount of time I work at my other business'. ... Read more

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