Friday, February 26, 2010

Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn & Beneath a Summer Sky by Deborah Raney

These two books were read as part of a Spring Value Fiction Blog Tour by WaterBrook Multnomah.  They are reprinting some earlier books with updated covers and releasing them with value prices – only $6.99!  Thank you to them for providing my copies for the review.



Jessica Morgan is a young woman who decides to run away from her past and start a new life in a small town in Oregon.  Unfortunately she makes quite an entrance in the town of Glenbrooke and meets Kyle, a paramedic that everybody in town seems to adore.  She also gets off on the wrong foot in her teaching job when she meets the interim principal, Charlotte, who is determined to find out more of Jessica’s past.

I loved this book and while parts of it might have been somewhat predictable, that’s ok when the overall story is well written.  The characters were fun and varied and I enjoyed every page.

Robin Jones Gunn has long been a favorite author of mine and my copies of her Sisterchicks books are dog-eared and have post-it notes sticking on the pages.  She writes the type of book that draws you in and makes you want to read well into the night.  It was interesting to me to find that Secrets was her first adult novel, first published in 1995. 

Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah for sending a copy of this book to me for review. 



Daria returns to the United States to mourn the death of her husband while they were serving as missionaries South America.  She and her baby girl, who was born after Daria returned to the US, begin to move forward in their lives and Daria starts to feel love for her boss.  After their wedding she receives a stunning telegram telling her that her first husband was found alive!

What follows is an almost heart wrenching story as she tries to make some sense of her life.  Trying to choose between these two men in the unbelievable circumstances she finds herself in is almost hard to read.

This book was harder for me to get into, but that could be just from the subject matter.  Since I absolutely cannot imagine losing my husband it was hard to read about that in a story.  But then the book does move on as she finds a new love and becomes happy again.  Then the twists and turns begin and stay with you until the very end as you wait to see who Daria chooses.

Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah for also sending a copy of this book for me to review.

Friday’s Fave Five!

FFF feb.

I’ve had a rough week this week and not feeling well, so I am so thankful that Susanne started our Friday’s Fave Five.  It really does help to accentuate the positive and focus on blessings.

1. The Olympics!  We' have spent so much time sitting in front of the TV since the Olympics began and have enjoyed it so much. 

I will confess that I still don’t understand curling, but I think the thing I enjoy the most about it is that it appears that precision and timing seem to be more important than physical prowess.  At one point the announcer was telling us that, at least outside of the Olympics, curling can be done by people of all ages and spoke of somebody in their 70’s that still competes.  That is so inspiring to me!  At this stage of my life I could never do the aerial skiing or things like that, but it’s always fun to have a sport that you can kind of picture yourself doing.  Realistically I’d probably fall on the ice carrying that heavy rock in curling, but I can still dream.  :)

2. Knitting – Lots of TV time equals lots of knitting time.  I finished the Hurricane Hat and am now finishing up a pair of mittens.  I also received some yarn in the mail and started working on a blanket for a friend of mine that is pregnant (yay!).

3. Family time – Last weekend Husband, Daughter and I went out for errands and “get out of the house” time.  We started out at The Woolie Ewe so that I could pick up a new sock kit they have and so that Daughter could look around.  I do believe she was in fiber awe with their inventory!  Good times….

After that we went to a great burger place nearby and had fun laughing together.  And then….off we went to start looking at new cars for her!  We were actually blessed with a very nice and helpful used car salesman.  He explained to her some things she need to do and to look for.  So nice.

4. A new to us Mexican restaurant opened up close to our house on Monday and the three of us were there for opening night.  It really is our favorite food and to have it so close to our house is nice!  Is it silly to have a restaurant on my Friday Fave Fives????  :)

5. My ladies group is doing a study using the book The Life You’ve Always Wanted – Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People by John Ortberg.  There’s been several phrases and things in this book that have stuck with me and I encourage y’all to check your library and see if you can read this book.  We’re not even halfway through the book, but I’m glad we’re reading it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hat #2 for Red Andrews Dinner – Hurricane Hat


The Hurricane Hat is such a great pattern to knit – easy and so satisfying to watch the purls spiraling around.  I followed the pattern exactly and if I were to knit it again I’d knit probably another inch before starting the decreases as I like a hat to cover the ears better.  I think this hat looks like more of a beanie to me, which is not a bad thing, but just not my preference.

SONY DSC                       

I used Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn and even though it’s 100% Acrylic it is oh so soft.  This color is Dark Country Blue and the model is my beautiful daughter Lynne’.

This makes the second hat for my Red Andrews Dinner Hat Project.  I’ll link below to hat #1 in case you missed it.  :)

Hat #1 – Classic World War II Watch Cap

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Chatter – and a Book Winner!

First I want to announce the winner of my drawing for the book Double Trouble by Susan May Winner …. Susan at Baking With Susan!  And I do encourage everybody to visit her blog as she has some great recipes and reviews.  This is definitely a plus to having a drawing – I got to visit some great new to me blogs.


Tonight the family is sitting curled in front of the tv watching the US / Canada hockey game and my what a great game it is!  So fast paced and so happy to see these two teams play together.  We were somewhat disappointed at the announcers at the beginning of the game as they said that the US and Canada are “bitter rivals” and called this a “border rivalry”.  While we are indeed rivals, instead of bitter we see it as more of a “brotherly rival” in that if the US does not win we definitely want Canada to win. 

And as we watch, I’m busy working on three different knitting projects.  I have gotten so much knitting done lately, which is very satisfying.  Biggest reason for all the knitting is that I haven’t felt good all week, to the point that I’ve had to cancel plans on three different days this week.  So hard to do, but I knew that I needed the rest and I know it was the right thing to do.  I’m hoping for a better week coming up!

One last note, on the weather no less.  We woke up this morning to a good old-fashioned thunderstorm.  Honestly if you didn’t know better you would swear it was spring based on the thunder and lightning and the amount of rain coming down.  Stranger still, we have a very good chance of snow on Tuesday.  This is one of the most interesting winters in North Texas that we’ve seen in a very long time!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CFBA Book Review: Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon
Summerside Press (January 1, 2010)
Miralee Ferrell


I've really come to treasure the "Love Finds You" series of books and this one does not disappoint.  Each book in the series is independent of the others, so no worries about reading them in order.

Love Finds You in Bridal Veil Oregon is set in a logging town in the 1800’s, yet it reads like it’s happening today.    Margaret is a character that I instantly loved and honestly would love to swish my skirts right in her front door and sit down to her coffee and cookies.

In addition to the love triangle of her first love deserting her, then returning just as she is starting to think of another man, there is also the jilted suitor.  When Miralee, the author, adds murder and two runaway children to the story it becomes a book that is very readable and one that I thought of during the day.

I particularly enjoyed the parts of the book where God is directly talking to Margaret’s young charge – and Margaret learns a bit about trust as well.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon, go HERE

In October 2007 Kregel Publications published The Other Daughter with excellent reviews. The Romantic Times Review magazine gave it Four out of Four and a half stars, with a very strong review. Two different major motion picture studios are currently considering the book as a possible family movie, and my second book in the series (Past Shadows) is on my publishers desk being reviewed for a possible contract offer now.

In February of 2009, Love Finds You in Last Chance, California was published by Summerside Press.  And Finding Jeena will release in April 2010 from Kregel Publications.

Miralee Ferrell lives in Washington with Allen, her husband of more than 37 years, and has two grown children. She serves on staff at her local church and is actively involved in ministry to women.

**Disclaimer – Thank to CFBA and Summerside Press for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Texas Size Igloo


Dallas got a serious “Texas Size" snowfall last Friday – a FOOT!  A new record for our area as I’m sure you can imagine.

The kids built this igloo with Brooklyn and she looks pleased as punch standing next to it.  James said there’s windows on the side and she’d be inside and look out the window and giggle at him, then run outside around and see him and giggle, then run back inside again.  So much fun how little it really does take to tickle one this age.

Granddaughters are so much fun!   :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Snowflakes

There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God

So look around you and see where YOU can see God's fingerprints. Is it in nature? Kids? Animals? Where do you see them?


As I stood at the back door yesterday and watched the snow falling I honestly did think of this song.  Every single snowflake falling from the sky is covered in the fingerprints of God.  Knowing that every snowflake is unique is more than we can comprehend, yet it does bring peace.  If He cares enough to make every snowflake unique, just think how much He cares about us!

I am linking to Fingerprint Friday today as a change of pace from my regular Fridays.  And because the song is not leaving my mind after seeing the snowfall yesterday.  By the way…..DFW got 12.5 inches of snow in that 24 hour period – a new record!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sweet Snowfall


We had a record snowfall in the Dallas area today.  Last I heard it was 8.3 inches and it’s still coming down.  It’s the most snow for any calendar day ever. 

Love how this tree is lifting up to the heavens – all the glory for this beauty goes to God!  I enjoyed standing at the door and watching the big fluffy flakes coming down.  So quiet, so serene and so beautiful.



Walking into the room and seeing snowflakes and the dog outside brought a big smile to my face every time.



He may be old, but he still has so much fun in the snow!


SONY DSC                      

And it’s even more fun when you share it with a friend.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Double the Giveaways for Double the Trouble!


First, thank you to LitFuse for providing a copy of this book for me to give away to one of my readers!  To win your own copy, please just leave a comment on this post.  I will draw a random name on February 19 and get the book in the mail.


And second, Susan May Warren herself is having a super sleuth package giveaway!


Be sure to enter the Double Trouble Prize Package Giveaway by clicking on the ‘Double the Sass” button! Susan’s giving away an iPod prize package that is anything but troubling! Check it out!

Prize Details

Double Trouble, the brand new PJ Sugar novel by Susan May Warren, is in stores now! To celebrate the release, we’re running a HUMDINGER of a contest!!

* One Grand Prize winner will receive a $150 SUPER SLEUTH prize package that includes: * A brand new iPod Shuffle (perfect for those all-night stakeouts)
* A $10 iTunes gift card (we recommend the ALIAS soundtrack)
* A $10 Amazon gift card (why yes, they do sell spy pens)
* A $10 Starbucks gift card (for fuel, obviously)
* A pair of designer sunglasses (be stealthy AND super chic)
* A gorgeous scarf from World Market (can also be used as a blindfold, and/or for tying up bad guys)
* AND signed copies of both Nothing But Trouble & Double Trouble. (romance! danger! intrigue! sooo much better than Surveillance for Dummies!)

We’ll announce our super sleuth winner on March 1st.

Double Trouble by Susan May Warren


About Double Trouble:
With one solved case under her belt, PJ Sugar is ready to dive into her career as a private investigator. Or at least a PI's assistant until she can prove herself to Jeremy Kane, her new boss. Suddenly PJ's seeing crime everywhere. But is it just in her head, or can she trust her instincts? When she takes on her first official case-house-sitting for a witness in protective custody-Jeremy assures her there's no danger involved. But it soon becomes clear that there is someone after the witness . . . and now they're after PJ, too.
About Susan:
Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year. Her larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:

My Review:
PJ Sugar is a girl so many of us can identify.  She desperately wants to find something she’s good at and to chart the course of her life.  She sees trouble where there might not be any, but sometimes those instincts can pay off – which is a good thing for a private investigator.

Her love life is in a bit of a pickle right now as well.  She’s torn between comfortable, familiar Boone, who has asked her to marry him, and Jeremy, her sultry, mysterious boss.  On the surface it can be easy not to feel sorry for somebody with this problem, but since both of the men are “good people” it would be hard to make a decision.

Along the way we meet a great assortment of supporting case, including the aging actress, the Russian family and the softball team that rallies around their friends.  And PJ has a couple of heartfelt “God” talks with some characters that were impactful to my walk as well.

Great, fun series by one of my absolute favorite Christian authors!  Be sure to pick up the first book, Nothing But Trouble, if you haven’t read it.

***Special thanks to LitFuse for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday’s Fave Five!

FFF feb.

Another week, another fave five!  Head to Susanne’s blog to see more.   :)

1. Goofy prayers – again!  I'm so glad to know that Our Father has a sense of humor.  Last night as I was praying at the dinner table I heard the most goofy thing ever come out of my mouth.  I was asking Him for favor for my family as we are all on the roads today (which was tomorrow last night) and it came out as wanting grace “on the morrow.”  Now as this silly sentence was coming out of my mouth I started talking slower and had a furrowed brow as I tried to figure out why in the world I would use a statement like that!  Ah well, I know that He knows what I meant.

2. Reading and reading!  Really there is not much better than cuddling in during the cold winter months and reading a good book.  I’ve posted two reviews already this week and one more tomorrow and they all have been such great books.  I love having Christian authors that write suspense novels and also those that love writing the Christian version of Chick Lit.  The stories are great and we are safe in knowing that all the “yucky stuff” won’t be inside the pages.  Praise Be!

3. Dinner!  Yes, I do love food.  And I love that we are taking the eating at home still so seriously.  We honestly prefer it and are having fun trying out new recipes.  Last Saturday I got a new issue of Taste of Home magazine in the mail (if you’ve not tried it – do!) and put 3 new recipes on our menu for this week.  Two were really great and will now go in our rotation and one was ok, just not really to our taste.  It’s fun to eat together, pray together beforehand and believe it or not, fun to clean up together afterwards.

In fact, in the last two weeks the only meal we’ve eaten out is after church each Sunday!  That might not be impressive to most people, but for us it’s a huge change.

4. Knitting and TV – Again with the cold weather, we’ve spent more time than usual watching tv/movies this week.  This also gives me the chance to knit as I’m not one that’s able to just sit and watch tv.  I’ve gotten more things done than usual and it’s very satisfying.

5. My mother-in-law – Today is her 75th birthday and I almost refuse to believe that!  She is so much fun and such an inspiration to me in many ways.  I am so very, very blessed that she is in my life.

Never Say Never by Lisa Wingate

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Never Say Never Bethany House (February 1, 2010) by Lisa Wingate

Kai Miller floats through life like driftwood tossed by waves. She's never put down roots in any one place--and she doesn't plan to. But when a chaotic hurricane evacuation lands her in Daily, Texas, she begins to think twice about her wayfaring existence.

And when she meets hometown-boy Kemp Eldridge, she can almost picture settling down in Daily--until she discovers he may be promised to someone else. Daily has always been a place of refuge for those the winds blows in, but for Kai, it looks like it will be just another place to leave behind. Then again, Daily always has a few surprises in store--especially when Aunt Donetta has cooked up a scheme.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Never Say Never, go HERE

Lisa Wingate is one of my favorite Christian authors, partly because of her stories and partly because of the writing itself. She's able to draw you into her books right from the beginning and keep your interest throughout.

This book is told from two points of view in alternating chapters. We begin with Donetta, who decides when she's in her mid-70's to pack up with two girlfriends and go on a cruise for the first time. What they don't realize is that they are heading straight towards a very large hurricane in the Gulf Coast!

There's also Kai, who has never quite been able to settle down and put down roots. She's working for a cruise ship and as she goes out that fateful morning to board and work she discovers that the ship has left port during the night because of the hurricane!

As Kai heads north amidst the massive evacuation you can really feel the worry and fright. And when the other vanload of ladies also turns around you are carried right along with them. This book almost reads as an eye witness account of hurricane evacuation at the beginning and it was pretty much an edge of your seat account. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. Isaiah 43:2

It's wonderful to have a book that is exciting and that the resolutions come from God. I highly recommend this book.

Lisa lives in central Texas were she is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books. Her novel, Tending Roses, received dozens of five-star reviews, sold out thirteen printings for New York publisher, Penguin Putnam, and went on to become a national bestselling book. Tending Roses was a selection of the Readers Club of America, and is currently in its fourteenth printing.

** Thank you to CFBA and  Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Corkscrew Tassel Hat for Brooklyn

I’m almost afraid to type the words “it’s cold”  - because I live in Texas and that’s not REAL cold to a large part of the world.  But we’ve actually had some winter temperatures this year and I guess I’m just really not used to it.  This is the first year I’ve had a winter coat in ages – and only because I recently bought it.  And for a girl who loves flip flops, this having to wear socks or house slippers all the time is for the birds!

So while the weather is cold and while I’m busy knitting all these hats for charity lately it hit me that maybe I should whip up a little hat for Brooklyn.  I found a darling pattern, happened to have some yarn on hand and got to knitting.

All while I was knitting it I did think that maybe I should have done a child size for her rather than a toddler size.  But knit on I did.


And it’s too small.  Might not look bad in the photo, but it doesn’t cover her ears and without ear cover what good is a hat?  The bright side is that this hat will go in my charity pile and I’m sure that a little somewhere will enjoy it.

The hat is made from the Corkscrew Tassel Hat pattern and was easy to do.  One thing to note is that it says to use Peaches n Cream yarn, which I did, and knitting the tassels using non-stretchy cotton yarn about killed my hands.  I pressed on though because really, anything for Brooklyn.   :)

Monday, February 01, 2010

CFBA Book Review – Beguiled

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance  is introducing Beguiled (Bethany House March 1, 2007) by Deeanne Gist and  J. Mark Bertrand 

Deeanne Gist, the bestselling author of A Bride Most Begrudging and The Measure of a Lady, has a background in education and journalism. Her credits include People magazine, Parents, and Parenting. With a line of parenting products called "I Did It!® Productions" and a degree from Texas A&M, she continues her writing and speaking. She and her family live in Houston, Texas.

J. Mark Bertrand has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. After one hurricane too many, he left Houston and relocated with his wife Laurie to the plains of South Dakota.


In the shadows of Charleston, someone is watching her... Rylee Monroe, a dog walker in Charleston's wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.

Reporter Logan Woods is covering the break-ins with the hope of publishing them as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dog walker seems to be at the center of everything. As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose: Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?

If you'd like to read the first chapter of , go HERE


What could be better than a suspenseful novel with a great romantic twist?  I encourage you to click the link to read the first chapter and I promise you’ll be looking for this book.  From the very beginning the authors were able to make me feel the suspense – and then the love interest – and I was hooked.  This is definitely the kind of book that once you start reading you won’t want to put it down.

There were many twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end as to “whodunit”.  And the subplots along the way just added to the story.

I’ll definitely be looking for more books from both of these authors.  And hoping they collaborate again for future books!

**Disclaimer – Thank to Bethany House and CFBA for providing me with a copy of this book to review.