Monday, December 31, 2012

The Genius of Ancient Man: Evolution's Nightmare by Don Landis (Review)

About the book:  What if Satan is real and actively perverting God’s plan? What if man really did gather at Babel, build a tower, form a religion, and instigate a worldwide government? And what if God really did confuse man’s languages, forcing the people to scatter across the earth, taking their religion and practices with them? In other words, what if the Bible really is true.

The Genius of Ancient Man: Evolutions Nightmare reveals evidences and commonalities explored from ancient man around the globe. This real data, including archaeological findings, all point to an intelligent ancient man, not the evolutionary “monkey to caveman” paradigm.

All over the world there are similar findings of ancient religions, cities and towers, world travel, advanced astronomy, and civilized government. Over the course of two years, a team of researchers from Jackson Hole Bible College has worked to bring together the different pieces of the convoluted mystery and history of ancient man.

Hours of researching, trips to various sites around North and Central America, visits to museums, and meetings with experts have provided the team with an overwhelming amount of evidence for the intelligence of these early innovators. A jumble of anomalies and magnificent structures continue to confound archaeology and anthropology today, yet as the dots are connected, one finds history as described in the biblical record.
My thoughts: I found the book The Genius of Ancient Man" interesting.  Being a believer in creation by God of the world and all that is in it, the premise of the book holds to my beliefs.  It will lend support to others who believe accordingly and support, with actual discoveries supported in the scientific world, our Biblical beliefs and arguments.  I do not purport to be a scientist or understand any level of science.  I do, however, respect those whose fields of study are directed this way and who also are believers in the God of Creation.  

The book being review brings to the lay person an understanding that discoveries support the believe that ancient man (early man) was indeed highly intelligent and did not need to "evolve" into an intelligent being.  Chapters in the book relate to the mechanical devices utilized by early man and also to the fact that ancient man was able to have sophisticated plumbing and sewer disposal systems.  

The book purports that the Tower of Babel after which man was separated and scattered because of the confounding of languages is structurally echoed throughout the world in various cultures and civilizations of history.   

The structures on various islands and mainlands indicate that ancient man had a knowledge of building that supports utilizing tools and methods to create and maneuver large stones and to create advanced interlocking methods to hold together his structures.  Methods that far surpass that which an "evolving" man could have know.

DISCLOSURE:  I was provided a complimentary copy of The Genius of Ancient Man by New Leaf Publishing Group on behalf of the author in order to render my honest opinion.  I was under no obligation to give a positive review and I received no monetary compensation.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

"The Impossible Rescue: True Story of Amazing Artic Adventure: by Martin W. Sandler (Review & Giveaway)

ISBN: 9780763650803
$22.99 Hardcover

About the book:   The dead of an Arctic winter. Whaling ships full of men, stranded in ice. Follow three rescuers in a race against time - and all odds - in this heart pounding true adventure.

In 1897, whaling in the Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast was as dangerous as it was lucrative. And in that particular year, winter blasted early, bringing storms and ice packs that caught eight American whale ships and three hundred sailors off guard. Their ships locked in ice, with no means of escape, the whalers had limited provisions on board, and little hope of surviving until warmer temperatures arrived many months later. Here is the incredible story of three men sent by President McKinley to rescue them. The mission? A perilous trek over 1,500 miles of nearly impassable Alaskan terrain, in the bone-chilling months of winter, to secure two herds of reindeer (for food) and find a way to guide them to the whalers before they starve. With the help of photographs and journal entries by one of the rescuers, Martin W. Sandler takes us on every step of their riveting journey, facing raging blizzards, killing cold, injured sled dogs, and setbacks to test the strongest of wills.

My thoughts:  When so very much of our reading takes place in the realm of fiction - young and old, it is refreshing to read a non-fiction accounting of a true adventure involving insurmountable difficulties and incredible hardship and accomplishment. 

In 1897 three hundred crewmen from eight whaling ships were trapped in the Arctic ice and then a winter storm entrapped them further locking them in the throes of ice.  Rescue of the trapped men was ordered by President McKinley, but he would not order individuals to attempt the dangerous mission. However, there were three who volunteered to try. The quick planningof these men is awesome and mind-boggling. Acquisition of and planning for survival gear, means of transportation over treacherous terrain, food for the team and the whalers when they reached them, medical needs, shelter, etc.

Scurvy. Starvation. Sanitation. Sanity. Sheer will. In today's modern world with special equipment and better cold weather wear, this expedition of rescue would be nearly impossible.  But to have occurred over 100 years ago makes it an unbelievably daunting task of determination, perseverance, and skill. This book should be read with awe and admiration.

Working with the native Alaskans, they arranged to acquire two herd of reindeer and lead them across the vast Alaskan ice and snow to reach the stranded 300 men.  The native Alaskans worked wonderfully with the rescue team to make this work by giving of provisions and knowledge. 

The pictures included in this book are wonderful and are possible because one of the team had a camera - though very early vintage in the era of photography.  The pictures are in black and white as was the means of recording photographs of the time.

I recommend this book for middle-readers through adult and know that even readers who do not normally enjoy non-fiction reading will find this book informative and enjoyable.  It is truly an adventure.  Little known but worth knowing about.
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Just enter via the Rafflecopter links below.  (Please be patient as Rafflecopter is sometimes a bit slow to load.) This giveaway only open to USA addresses. Begins December 29 - ENDS January 12 at 12:01 a.m. EST
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE:  I was provided a complimentary copy of The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Artic Adventure by Candlewick Press on behalf of the author for the purpose of my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own.  Another copy is being provided by Candlewick Press for the purpose of the giveaway and will be shipped directly to the winner by Candlewick Press.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Red

The decorations of Christmas are simply beautiful - though extravagant and often times simply commercially driven.  They do brighten the days and nights during these cold, darker days of the year.  However, I like to remember what of some of these beautiful decorations bring to mind for me.

When I see red in the decorations, I remember that the Christ was born as a babe to ultimately shed his precious blood for sinful man on the cross of Calvary.

When I see gold in the decorations - gold bells, gold spheres, gold glitter - I remember the kingly aspects of Christ and that He lowered Himself to become that babe in the manger setting aside His kingly crown and deity to redeem us.

When I see the green, I remember that we have the opportunity to live forever with Christ the King of Kings, Christ the Redeemer.

What will you be thinking of this Christmas as you see the decorations?  What will you think when you see packages for yourself and for others?  What think ye of the Christ of Christmas?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Purex Baby Detergent: Review - GIVEAWAY - Sweepstakes

Let's face it.  The days of a house full of babies and spit-ups, and food spills, and slobbers are over in our household.  But for many of you, it is your way of life right now and keeping baby's laundry done without costing a fortune and doing it where it doesn't irritate their skin; where it gets those annoying baby stains out; where it is safe for your machine as well as baby; and where you can actually feel good about accomplishing that chore that is more an act-of-love than an act-of-chore is a real challenge.

Ta-da-da-da-....... Purex is on the scene with a new BABY detergent that is designed to be adequate, inexpensive, good smelling, safe, good for your washing machine and good for your pocketbook (oops I think I indicated that already).  It is even beautifully designed to say "baby" and "pure."  Look at the adorable baby peeking at you.  Look at the baby pink and baby blue of the package.  Look at the pure white of the bottle itself.  Then when you look inside, it is clear - that's right not pink, not blue, not green or aqua - just pure clear.

Now when my 5 were little ones running (or creeping) around getting all dirtied up and I had to tackle those stains, there was only 1 (I said ONE) "baby" detergent on the market.  It came in a pink box, began with a "D", and cost a fortune.  I bought as much as I could, but those boxes of "D" were purchased few and far between.  The powered soap (detergent) did the job, protected the baby skin, and helped with freshness and some stains, but it really hurt my pocketbook.   I just wish there had been a Purex Baby detergent available then.
 Gentle on Baby's Skin
Tough on Baby's Messes
Picture property of Chat With Vera
Dermatologist-tested formula
Bright, white clean with a gentle baby-inspired fragrance

I HAVE used this baby detergent for regular laundry and found it works fine in my machine and leaves the clothes fresh.  I would not hesitate to use it for my fine dedicates (instead of that very expensive cold water fine hand-washables detergent in the stores).  I will be sharing one of my free coupons with a family member who DOES have a baby.  The other two are going as prizes for my dear Chat With Vera readers to vie for via Rafflecopter.

Here on Chat With Vera I have a little giveaway of 2 coupons and 2 winners who will each get 1 FREE PRODUCT COUPON for PUREX BABY detergent.  Just enter via the Rafflecopter links below.  (Please be patient as Rafflecopter is sometimes a bit slow to load.) This giveaway only open to USA addresses. Begins December 23 - ENDS January 8 at 12:01 a.m. EST
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oops! You might not find the Purex Baby Degtergent in every store. 
Check here to locate it:
DISCLOSURE: Purex provided me with a bottle of Purex Baby detergent in exchange for a product review. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"A Promise for Miriam" by Vannetta Chapman

ISBN: 978-0-7369-4612-4
Harvest House Publishers
In the summer of 2012 I received a beautiful signed copy of A Promise for Miriam by Vannetta Chapman as a courtesy from the author.  I sorely regret that it has taken me so many months to sit down and read this delightful story of the Amish of Pebble Creek.  What a joy I missed by not reading it early after receiving it.  Well, here is what I thought.....

Ms. Chapman has woven a beautiful tale of the Amish in their gentle ways.  In developing Miriam King, she shows that even though the Amish usually marry young and raise large families and their lives are centered on family, Miriam has waited to marry and is the "spinster" school teacher in the Amish school house.

Into the Pebble Creek community there is a new arrival, Gabriel Miller and his young daughter, who moves to this settlement of Amish from another in a different State.  Both are old order Amish with similar guidelines and rules for their people.  Gabriel is a widower having lost his wife three years prior.  His young daughter is smart, artistic, and mute.  Her ability to speak has not always been lacking, though. Just since losing her mother.

Miriam has a definite talent for working with children.  And Gabriel has a definite desire to devoid himself and his daughter of interaction with the others in the community as much as is possible.  However, the bucolic scene of country life and the Amish is not always a constant.  Sorrow, danger, and a spirit of community mingle to break the shell of the hardest nut.

I heartily recommend this as an I-must-read book for those who especially love stories of the Amish, and an I-think-I-should-read this book for others who simply want a really good read.

DISCLOSURE:  I was provided a complimentary copy of A Promise for Miriam by the author in exchange for my honest review with no obligation for a positive review. Opinions expressed are solely mine.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Robin Lee Hatcher's "Betrayal" (Where the Heart Lives series)

ISBN: 978-0-310-25809-4
Zondervan Pub.
Betrayal is the second book in the “Where the Heart Lives” series written by Robin Lee Hatcher. Though this book could be read on its own, this reader would recommend reading book one Belongingfirst as intended by the author. There are several details in book two that would not be clear without the reading of book one.

This book is set in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s in Wyoming. The main characters, Julia Grace and Hugh Brennan, have lived lives filled with disappointment and betrayal. Hugh finds himself as the book opens happening upon a ranch on his journey to Idaho to seek out the whereabouts of his orphaned sisters. The ranch belongs to a beautiful young widow, Julia Grace.

Woven throughout this book is the guidance of the hand of God on the lives of two who have found Him to be their only solace in the midst of great difficulty. This beautiful story of finding peace and love when least expected is one this reader found captivating and a joy to read. Book three in the series, Beloved promises to be just as enjoyable. (By guest reviewer J.LaTour)

Author bio: Robin Lee Hatcher is the bestselling author of over sixty books. Her well-drawn characters and heartwarming stories of faith, courage, and love have earned her both critical acclaim and the devotion of readers. Her numerous awards include the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, two RITA Awards for Best Inspirational Romance, Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards for Americana Romance and for Inspirational Fiction, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Robin currently resides in Idaho.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary review copy was provided by Zondervan to facilitate our honest review. No obligation was made to provide a positive review.

Robin Lee Hatcher's "Belonging" (Where the Heart Lives series)

In book one of Robin Lee Hatcher’s “Where the Heart Lives” series, the town of Frenchman’s Bluff in the high desert of Idaho is in need of a new school teacher. Felicia Kristoffersen is in need of a teaching position, one that will take her to a new place with the promise of new beginnings that will help her forget her painful past. She arrives in Frenchman’s Bluff with a desire to prove herself in this position; but unbeknownst to her, there are those who never wanted her to come in the first place.

Colin Murphy, a local merchant cares most about his motherless daughter Charity. While he knows the town needs a teacher, he believes a single, inexperienced lady teacher will not provide the educational advantages he wants his daughter and the other students of Frenchman’s Bluff to have. Experience has told him they just don’t stick with the job for long. He is about to learn that Felicia is not your average teacher.

They both are about to find that God is “working all things together for good” in spite of their past sorrows and disappointments to give them the love, joy, and guidance they so desperately desire and in ways they least expect.
I found this book to be a wonderful read; one I had difficulty putting down. (By guest reviewer J.LaTour)

About the book: Leaving behind her bitter past, Felicia Kristoffersen seeks to make a brighter future for herself as a teacher in Frenchman’s Bluff, Idaho. But in this tiny high desert town, she can’t afford to fail. And not everyone is happy she’s here to begin with. Award-winning novelist Robin Lee Hatcher weaves a historical romance that asks the question: Can faith triumph over life’s harshest storms?

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Belonging by Robin Lee Hatcher was provided by Zondervan on behalf of the author to facilitate an honest review with obligation for positive remarks.

"Shadow of His Hand" (story of Anita Dittman) by Wendy Lawton (Daughters of Faith Series)

ISBN: 978-0-8024-4074-7
$6.99 - (ages 8-12)
Wendy Lawton has written another inspiring and accurate portrayal of girls in history in her "Daughers of the Faith Series." Shadow of His Hand  is the story of Anita Dittman growing up as a young girl and teen during the rise of Hitler's Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.  Anita's mother is Jewish and her father Aryan.  Her father determines that he must separate himself from the contamination of his Jewish wife and their children so he completely rejects them - especially Anita and her mother.  The older sister is more tolerable, but she too must go.

Anita attends Christian church one Easter Sunday and recognizes she has a Heavenly Father who will not forsake her.  She becomes a Christian. Through the rest of Anita's story, she finds that God provides a cover for her letting her be shielded by the shadow of His hand.  Christians provide solace and shelter for her and her family though they do become separated and must labor in concentration camps and labor camps.

This is not a true work of fiction.  It follows the actual life of Anita Dittman who survived the Holocaust, came to the United States, and became a speaker and author (Trapped in Hitler's Hell by Anita Dittman).

This is an intense book to read even though it is written for young readers age 8-12.  It is short, thorough, engaging.  I recommend it for the home library of young girls as well as public and school library collections.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of Shadow of His Hand by Moody Publishers on behalf of the author for the purpose of an honest review with no obligation to submit positive remarks. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Josiah's Treasure" by Nancy Herriman

ISBN 978-1-93603-479-6
Release date: April 2013
$14.99 Paperback
Nancy Herriman caught my attention and my heart with her first novel, The Irish Healer.  So I highly anticipated her next book which will be released in April 2013.  I received an Advance Reader Copy from Worthy Publishing on Ms. Herriman's behalf to facilitate an early reader review. 

The story is set in San Francisco of 1882.  I have visited San Francisco several times and tried to visualize the scenes as painted in Herriman's word pictures.  The hills are there just as they were then and are no less daunting.  The bay, the wharf, Chinatown are San Francisco historically and currently and certainly just as fascinating.  The timeline of Josiah's Treasure comes on the heel of the gold rush that brought so many to the west.  Sarah Whittier is the recipient of gold miner Josiah Cady's estate who died leaving no known heirs.  He rewarded Sarah by leaving his estate to her because of her care for him during his dying days.  But their more convoluted connection is further revealed as the story progresses. 

A claimant appears on the scene challenging the already probated will saying that he and his twin sisters are the children of the deceased Cady and therefore the rightful heirs.  As the heir enters the scene, he is angry at Cady for deserting the family  years ago and further angered that Cady's "fortune" has gone to Sarah Whittier.

Sarah is a woman of integrity and a gifted artist who desires to establish a business that rescues women who show promise, and an opportunity for them to rise above their status in life to  pursue a worthy way of life and provide financially for themselves as well.  A noble undertaking on the part of Sarah and virtually impossible without the backing of the funds she received from Cady who was compliant with this worthy goal.

There is a mighty struggle between Daniel and Sarah but as the solution to the dilemma of the proper dispersing of the estate unfolds, a new development occurs as they are attracted to each other.  Sarah is also placed in danger because of rumors of gold stashed away in the home. They admire each other for their strengths and character and are drawn emotionally together as well.

The roles of each character are developed by Herriman true to that which they as men and women would have played during the actual historical period.  And the plight of women in some situations was very vividly and accurately portrayed.

It was a pleasure to be one of the early reviewers for Nancy Herriman's Josiah's Treasure.  I recommend you plan to purchase your copy as soon as they hit the market.

Nancy Herriman's The Irish Healer was runner-up in the historical fiction category of the 2009 ACFW Genesis contest. She is also a past winner of the RWA Daphne du Maurier Award for Best Unpublished Mystery/Romantic Suspense and has been a finalist in other contests. Nancy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  Read my review of The Irish Healer here on Chat With Vera.

Thoughts on The U.S. Constitution by Shirley Kufeldt

The United States has been blessed by God because this country, since it’s Founding, was taught to praise the Lord.  Our Founding Fathers put their full faith in God as they fought for freedom, read God’s Word and trusted completely in His Divine Providence.  Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord.  Psalms 102:18 (NLT)

God’s Word was their inspiration, their source of hope and gave them the wisdom they needed to craft The Declaration of Independence which emphasizes self-evident eternal truths, that all citizens are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

After studying other world governments and with a firm reliance upon God, the Constitution of the United States was presented for ratification.  But debate demanded that ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, be added before the several States would accept the document for ratification.

The First Amendment established a broad range of rights granting freedom to every American citizen, rights unheard of throughout the rest of the world.  However, there is a limitation mentioned by John Adams:  “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Without that internal moral compass, a strong external force is required to maintain order for the citizens. 

A constant struggle dominates the public square.  Will it be the external force of government that prevails, through laws, regulations, taxes and threats of lawsuits that result in lost liberty?  Or, will it an individual internal compass for each person through the name of Jesus Christ and the peace He grants for those who have embraced Him as their personal Savior? 

If citizens can’t learn about God, that internal compass is never set in their hearts.  The booklet America, Land That I Love, in the Devotional Series BIBLE BITES, examines God’s Word in light of His Laws and Rules to instill that internal compass.

For America to remain America, we must retain our First Amendment rights of religion, free speech, the press, the right to peaceful assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. (C. S. Lewis)  Christians are learning that they must put their faith in Christ and not government programs which are costly, do not solve problems, are endless, and impose real consequences on citizens everywhere.  They must challenge and confront any authority contrary to God’s Word, which is the first source for our all our Freedoms and the reference for our Founding documents. 

To remain true to the Founder’s intent, we must remember that we aren’t America without the Biblical foundations for our Constitution.

BIO: Shirley Kufeldt is a wife, mother, grandmother and tea party activist who helped raise their two daughters with prayers that ended by Thanking God for giving us our daughters.  She now searches for Bible verses for her BIBLE BITES Legacy Series so others will easily find the one verse that will cause them to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for salvation.   Check out her posts at and on Facebook.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

"The Printer" by Myron Uhlberg and Illustrated by Henri Sorensen (Review & Giveaway)

The author writes a realistic story of a child whose father is deaf.  The deaf father works to support the family at the local large-town newspaper as a printer.  Printing presses are very large and very loud machines.  The father is not the only deaf employee working the printing presses.  It is a good job for the deaf since the machines are so loud.  But the deaf can feel the rumbling of the machines vibrating in the floors of the building.

The son is obviously very proud of his father and the fact that his father prints the newspaper.  He describes the hat that his father creates daily out of the day's newsprint.  It is called a four corner hat and all the printers wear them.

The day of the story involves the dad discovering a fire has broken out in the building.  He must alert the others but he can not speak or shout to alert them (this is indicative of many totally deaf because their lack of hearing has impaired their speaking ability).  He "speaks" with his hands to other deaf workers who eventually get the message conveyed along to the hearing workers. 

Much is lost in the building but all escape with their lives. The story is fiction but is based on a real newspaper fire and is written based on experiences of the author's own.  The author Myron Uhlberg is the child of two non-hearing parents.

There are End notes at the end of the book that give insight into the real life of the deaf and the world of printing.  There are even instructions for folding your own four-corner hat out of newspaper.

This story is good for introducing young readers to the world of the deaf individuals with whom they might someday interact.  It will give a foundation of understanding and respect for them as constructive members of society who contribute to the world in which we live.

The illustrations are boldly painted in subtle tones and beautifully illustrate the people, the place, and the pivotal action of the story.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The good folks at Peachtree Publishers are providing a copy of The Printer as a giveaway for one of Chat With Vera's readers.  Open to USA readers only.
Please wait patiently while Rafflecopter loads.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  
Author & Illustrator:  Myron Uhlberg is the author of several picture books. A retired businessman, he lives in California.  Henri Sorensen has illustrated over twenty books for children, including The Yellow Star, The Printer, and Christmas in the Trenches. He is also the author-illustrator of two children's books, New Hope and Your First Step. Sorensen lives in Denmark.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of The Printer by Peachtree Publishing on behalf of the author to facilitate an honest review.

Friday, December 7, 2012

"Unending Devotion" by Jody Hedlund

About the book:   Michigan, 1883
In Her Darkest Hours, Is He the Man She Needs?
Lily Young longs to find her lost sister or will die trying. Heedless of any danger, she searches logging camps and towns, posing as a photographer's assistant. And then she arrives in Harrison, Michigan--and the sights of Connell McCormick.

Connell is determined to increase the fortune of his lumber-baron father and figures as long as he's living an upright life, that's what matters. But when Lily arrives in town she upends his world, forcing him to confront the truth that dangerous men have gained too much power while good men turn a blind eye.

Vexing but persuasive, Lily soon secures Connell's help, drawing them ever closer to each other. Will standing for what's right cost them both everything?

My thoughts:   Unless you live in areas affected by the logging industry of the 1880s, you are probably unaware of the negative impact the industry had on the forests, the land, the men and women, and the morals of the time and place.  Just as the history of the gold rush camps and towns that sprang up in the western areas of the United States were morally and socially corrupt with men and women hungry for the sins of the world and the gold they thirsted after, so ran the history of the logging camps in the northern areas of the United States in the 1880s. 

Author Jody Hedlund weaves her story around a young lady whose younger sister and she were raised in orphanages. The younger sister fled the home she was adopted into and landed in a life of the brothels of the logging camps and towns.  Lily is looking for her and wants to rescue her.  In her search, she also directs her attention at rescuing other young girls trapped in this despicable life.

Loggers were rough, hard working, hard living, gambling, drinking, brothel visiting men.  The town Lily lands in has more than one saloon; but the worst is run by James Carr, the unchallenged leader of all that is illicit and unmoral in town.

She also meets the lumber camp leader, Connell McCormick, who unknowing to Lily, is the son of the lumber camp owner and lumber baron.  Connell is a good man and becomes very protective of Lily.  However, Lily and Connell seem to be at odds with one another most of the time.

This is a story that tells the history of the lumber industry in its heyday at its worse but also shows that there was movement afoot to clean up the town and the industry.

Hedlund has skillfully written a very good story portraying the good, the bad, the history, the peoples, the issues, the answers. 

I previously reviewed Jody Hedlund's book The Doctor's Lady.  Read my review by clicking here.
About the author:  Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of The Doctor's Lady and The Preacher's Bride. She won the 2011 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers and was a finalist for Best Debut Novel in the 2011 ACFW Carol Awards. Currently she makes her home in central Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of Unending Devotion by Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group on behalf of the author, Jody Hedlund,  for the purpose of an honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own with no requirement or obligation for a positive review.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Every Perfect Gift by Dorothy Love: Review & Giveaway

Every Perfect Gift   by Dorothy Love 

My thoughts: The cover of Every Perfect Gift absolutely drew me.  I could hardly wait to start reading.  The scene, the gown, the lady are all absolutely stunning.

Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, is the former home of Sophie Robillard.  Her former life in Hickory Ridge was rife with loneliness, discord, abandonment, mistrust as she, an orphaned child of mixed parentage (although several generations past), coped.  Finally, loving guardians Ada and Wyatt Caldwell took her under their wings and they moved to Texas ­­­­where she grew to adulthood. Her dream of owning a newspaper and writing for it came to fruition when the Caldwell's financed the purchase of the Hickory Ridge Gazette.

Sophie found the people more accepting of her this second time around, though her life was not without opposition. Still she struggled with the "secret" of her parentage and mixed blood.

Hickory Ridge was facing destitution until a new resort called Blue Smoke was developed.  That is the impetus that brought Ethan Heyward, co-developer of Blue Smoke, into the life of Sophie.

The interactions of imported labor for the building of Blue Smoke, the poor families of the mountains, local residents, and the hard-hearted owner of Blue Smoke run head-to-head with Sophie and her quest to better the lives of people.  Soon she finds herself in a cauldron of discord.

Drawn together romantically, Sophie and Ethan must come to grips with their own personal issues and problems before they can further any relationship between themselves.

This is a lovely read with subtle underlying plots.  Though this is the final in a series of stories of characters in Hickory Ridge, it is a fine stand-alone novel.
 ~ ~ ~ ~ GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Begins Dec. 5 & ENDS Dec. 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open USA addresses only.
About the author:  An accomplished author in the secular market, Dorothy Love makes her inspirational fiction debut with her Hickory Ridge series of historical novels set in her native South. Her skillful blending of the historical and the personal reflect her passion for discovering the histories of ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things and set her apart as an authoritative voice of Southern historical fiction.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Every Perfect Gift was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of author, Dorothy Love, and publisher, Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Deadline" by Randy Alcorn

About the book:  Deadline is Randy Alcorn’s first novel, which stayed on the bestseller’s list for thirty-six months. A thorough researcher, Randy spent time with Portland homicide detectives and columnists at the Oregonian, as well as observing editorial meetings at the Indianapolis Star so he could accurately create the novel’s murder-mystery storyline, setting, and characters. Randy also creatively portrays characters who have died and gone to heaven, where they view events happening on earth.

Heart-Pounding Murder Mystery - Involved in a tragic accident under suspicious circumstances, award-winning journalist Jake Woods teams with detective Ollie Chandler to uncover the truth. This alluring repackage of the Randy Alcorn bestseller finds Jake drawing upon all his resources in an ever-intensifying, dangerous murder investigation. Unaware of the imminent threat to his own life, Jake struggles for answers to the mystery at hand and is plunged into a deeper search for the meaning of his own existence. 

When tragedy strikes those closest to him, award-winning journalist Jake Woods must draw upon all his resources to uncover the truth about their suspicious accident. Soon he finds himself swept up in a murder investigation that is both complex and dangerous. Unaware of the threat to his own life, Jake is drawn in deeper and deeper as he desperately searches for the answers to the immediate mystery at hand and—ultimately—the deeper meaning of his own existence.

My thoughts: The primary character, Jake, works for a large city newspaper as a liberal columnist. Jake is involved in a automobile accident that takes the lives of his two best friends who have been his friends since childhood.  Soon after the accident when Jake awakens to realize he is the sole survivor, the mystery begins.  Being the journalist he is, he digs, probes, and leaves no stone unturned.  He soon realizes that there is more involved that a simple accident.
Moving into unchartered waters for himself, Jake soon finds himself facing moral dilemmas. His belief in life and its meaning in general are challenged. He meets up with police detective Ollie Chandler in the investigation who plays a definitive role.  (Note: Randy Acorn's next three books in this trilogy are "Ollie Chandler" mysteries.) Included in the story are actual events that are well-researched and interwoven into this fictional story.

A major part of the story involves verbal interchange of the deceased from the accident and others in heaven over how events are unfolding.  What they are seeing and feeling.  Frankly, "heaven" scenes are not my cup of tea and I could have enjoyed the book more without them. I see a purpose in Alcorn's utilizing this mode of story telling, but I would have enjoyed the book more without it.

There is plenty of mystery, suspense, and action in the book to entertain and capture one's attention.  Randy Acorn is a favorite author of mine and I look forward to more of his books.  Deadline is a re-release from a 1994 first publish.

About the author: Randy Acorn - A New York Times bestselling author, Randy has written more than forty books including Courageous, Heaven, The Treasure Principle, and the Gold Medallion winner Safely Home. His books in print exceed seven million and have been translated into over thirty languages. Randy has written for many magazines including EPM’s quarterly issues-oriented magazine Eternal Perspectives. He is active daily on Facebook and Twitter, has been a guest on more than 700 radio, television and online programs including Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Revive Our Hearts, The Bible Answer Man, and The Resurgence.

 DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of Deadline from Blogging for Books on behalf of the publisher, Multnomah and the author to facilitate this honest review. No requirement for a positive review was required.

Historical Fiction is Not Dead by Margo L. Dill (author of Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg) (plus GIVEAWAY)

I'd like to welcome Margo L. Dill as guest blogger today.  She has written Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg which is an engaging story of the Civil Ward from a Southerner's stand point.  Let's see what Margo has to say to us today about historical fiction....
From Margo L. Dill....   I recently had a chance to go on my first school visit since my middle-grade, historical fiction novel came out at the beginning of October. Luckily, the teachers had read the book to the students before I got there for Family Reading Night, and they all seemed to really like it. I never got to my prepared presentation because the kids had so many questions about the characters and the events in the war, and many of them wanted to know if I was writing a sequel. To see these children so excited about a historical fiction book warmed my heart—especially after attending a writing conference earlier in the year where New York agents and editors said that historical fiction was on its way out and could not be sold.
        Before this experience at Reading Night, I knew children responded better to historical fiction than they did history books or social studies lectures from my years as an elementary teacher. It’s almost like historical fiction authors along with parents, teachers, and librarians are ganging up on the kids (in a good way!) and tricking them into caring about some characters and a story, so that they will also learn history. Thank goodness for this little bit of trickery. It helped me when I was in school, too, reading books like Little House on the Prairie or Johnny Tremain.
        I don’t think historical fiction is dead, despite what’s selling the best on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I think it’s important to share it with our children and students—to point out what’s fact and what makes the story fiction. Once you’ve read a historical fiction book to a child, then you can teach her more about the history that goes with it. They’ll have something to connect with when they learn why the Declaration of Independence was so important or the North won the war or the causes for World War II. 
        In my book, Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg, I was determined to give students a view from the Southern citizens during the United States Civil War because so many books out there are from a Northern point of view and focus on the soldiers. I wanted to show how the war affected people’s lives, but I also wanted to share this time period with children. What did kids do for fun back then? What did they read? What chores did they do? What did they do when supplies ran low because of the war? Were kids back then like kids today? I hope that I was able to accomplish this and more.
        One of the best compliments an author can receive is: “Is there going to be a sequel?” especially when children are learning while reading! I’m thankful for the genre of historical fiction. I’m glad my first novel is a part of this, and I hope that we will be using the genre to connect children and history for many years to come. 

Margo L. Dill is the author of Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg,  about 13-year-old Anna Green and her struggle to keep her family together during the Siege of Vicksburg.

To read a summary or purchase an autographed copy (a perfect Christmas present for children ages 9 to 12!), please go to   or  on  Amazon at: .

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A copy of Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg provided by author, Margo L. Dill.
Begins Dec. 4 and Ends Dec. 17, 2012 12:01 a.m. EST

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sweet Sally's Pecan Bars & 15% Discount Code

I have cooked a great deal of goodies through the years.  We live in the  South and we do like our sweets.  Of course as we've grown older, we've had to moderate our intake of sweets a bit.  But there are some things just too good to give up if at all possible.

Sweet Sally's Pecan Bars arrived on my doorstep today for us to sample and give you an idea of what we think.  Well, I'll just say that, "Sally has outdone herself on this one!"  First let's look at the packaging.  When the package arrived, it was very nicely packed in a box with lots of "peanut" cushioning to keep the goodies and beautiful package in fine shape.  Then when I got down to the actual box, it was beautifully tied with a festive red ribbon.  So nice for gifting!

Then I opened the box and inside is red tissue to protect the scrumptious bars.  Now let's talk about the pecan bars......
  • First of all you  MUST start with quality pecans.  Pecans are pretty "southern" so I know good pecans when I see and taste them.  These bars are loaded with really good pecans!
  • The pecans are topping a delicious caramel/brown sugar/praline filling that is out of this world.
  • The bottom layer is a "cookie/shortbread" type of crust.  Just sweet and buttery enough.  
Now, did I say these were GOOD?? Well, I'll say it now.  These ARE GOOD!  There are 6 large bars in the box.  I would carefully cut each of these in half or thirds to serve.  They are rich. Can't you just taste them right now?
"Sweet Sally’s products are made from scratch the way Mom and Grama baked on the farm  . . . with love, wholesome ingredients and never any preservatives. "----- Sweet Sally's website
Sally's products are certified Kosher!
No transfats!  You can even find goodies that are gluten free!

Sally is offering a discount code if you would like to purchase some for gifts or to simply enjoy for your own family.  Her turn-around-time is really good for getting those orders out.  I would suggest that college kid, that distant friend or relative, or corporate connection would be prime to receive something from Sweet Sally and it would really make your shopping easy.

"Made In Heaven" by Ray Comfort and Jeff Seto

About the book: Science shamelessly steals from God’s creation, yet refuses to give God the glory!
  • How the glow of a cat’s eyes innovates road reflectors
  • The naturally sticky inspirations for Velcro and barbed wire
  • A fly’s ear, the lizard’s foot, the moth’s eye, and other natural examples are inspiring improvements and new technologies in our lives
Engineers and inventors have long examined God’s creation to understand and copy complex, proven mechanics of design in the science known as biomimicry. Much of this inspiration is increasingly drawn from amazing aspects of nature, including insects to plants to man in search of wisdom and insight. We are surrounded daily by scientific advancements that have become everyday items, simply because man is copying from God’s incredible creation, without acknowledging the Creator. 

My thoughts: Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing Group, specializes in books on topics from Biblical studies to the scientific and for the very young, the school student, and on to the theologian of multiple degrees.

Made In Heaven addresses the sciences of biological (study of life) and engineering (study of man engineering or creating products) and shows how much like God's creation many of today's scientific advancements and inventions are similar.

The book's supposition is that God created and man copied His creation - or scientists doing some reverse engineering by studying God's creation to invent products for man to use based on what has been observed in natural science (or in God's creation).

Without direct testimony from the actual inventors of man's products as to the source of their ideas for inventions, one might think it pure conjecture to assume that man has copied God's creation.  However, Made in Heaven absolutely does show astounding similarities between how objects have been manufactured based on incredible counter-point objects (insect eyes, leaves, fish scales, etc.) from nature (God's creation). 

The book has absolutely stunning photography showing close-ups of the human eyeball, insects, ants, fish.  Then there are drawings that illustrate ideas with charts, graphs, etc. that are clearly defined.  The print is somewhat small and thin making it sometimes difficult to read.   

While at first glance one might think the book is designed for the young elementary to middle grades student, it is not.  All ages can glean from its contents.  I see it sparking the imagination of a student to read further into how stuff is made and designed.  I see it as drawing the scientific minded into a further examination of a field of study.  I recommend it as a book to add to the school and home library.

Ray Comfort is the best-selling author of more than 70 books, including The Evidence Bible (2002 Gold Medallion Book Awards finalist) and The Defender’s Guide for Life’s Toughest Questions published by Master Books.He is the president of Living Waters ministry, co-host of an award-winning television program (with actor Kirk Cameron) called Way of the Master, blogs daily to hundreds of atheists at “Atheist Central,” and has debated atheistic evolution on ABC’s Nightline, as well as the BBC.
Jeff Seto works as an Aerospace Engineer in Experimental Research and Development. His work encompasses supersonic boom suppression, synthetic vision approach systems and structural and system testing in civilian and military sectors. He has worked internationally in the U.S., Canada, and Germany for over 20 years. He holds a B. Eng in Aerospace, an Electrical Engineering Diploma in Avionics and is a Senior member of AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics).

DISCLOSURE:  I was provided a complimentary copy of Made In Heaven by New Leaf Publishing Group on behalf of the author in order to render my honest opinion.  I was under no obligation to give a positive review and no monetary compensation of given to me.