Thursday, June 23, 2011

She Makes It Look Easy - Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
She Makes It Look Easy
David C. Cook (June 1, 2011)
Marybeth Whalen


Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of six children. The family lives outside Charlotte, NC. Marybeth is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries writing team and a regular contributor to their daily devotions. Her first novel,The Mailbox was released in June 2010. Her next novel, She Makes It Look Easy, will be released in June 2011. Additionally, she serves as director of She Reads, Proverbs 31 Ministries' fiction division.


Ariel Baxter has just moved into the neighborhood of her dreams. The chaos of domestic life and the loneliness of motherhood, however, moved with her. Then she meets her neighbor, Justine Miller. Justine ushers Ariel into a world of clutter-free houses, fresh-baked bread, homemade crafts, neighborhood play dates, and organization techniques designed to make marriage better and parenting manageable.

Soon Ariel realizes there is hope for peace, friendship, and clean kitchen counters. But when rumors start to circulate about Justine’s real home life, Ariel must choose whether to believe the best about the friend she admires or consider the possibility that “perfection” isn’t always what it seems to be.

If you would like to read an excerpt of She Makes It Look Easy, go HERE.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Sweetest Thing - Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Sweetest Thing
• Bethany House (June 1, 2011)
Elizabeth Musser


Elizabeth Musser, an Atlanta native, studied English and French literature at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Vanderbilt, I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Aix-en-Provence,

France. During her Senior year at Vanderbilt, she attended a five-day missions conference for students and discovered an amazing thing: God had missionaries in France, and she felt God calling her there. After graduation, she spent eight months training for the mission field in Chicago, Illinois and then two years serving in a tiny Protestant church in Eastern France where she met her future husband.

Elizabeth lives in southern France with her husband and their two sons. She find her work as a mother, wife, author and missionary filled with challenges and chances to see God’s hand at work daily in her life. Inspiration for her novels come both from her experiences growing up in Atlanta as well as through the people she meets in her work in France. Many conversations within her novels are inspired from real-life conversations with skeptics and seekers alike.

Her acclaimed novel, The Swan House, was a Book Sense bestseller list in the Southeast and was selected as one of the top Christian books for 2001 by Amazon's editors. Searching for Eternity is her sixth novel.


Compelling Southern Novel Explores Atlanta Society in the 1930s.

The Singleton family’s fortunes seem unaffected by the Great Depression, and Perri—along with the other girls at Atlanta’s elite Washington Seminary—lives a life of tea dances with college boys and matinees at the cinema. When tragedy strikes, Perri is confronted with a world far different from the one she has always known.

At the insistence of her parents, Mary ‘Dobbs’ Dillard, the daughter of an itinerant preacher, is sent from inner-city Chicago to live with her aunt and attend Washington Seminary. Dobbs, passionate, fiercely individualistic and deeply religious, enters Washington Seminary as a bull in a china shop and shocks the girls with her frank talk about poverty and her stories of revival on the road. Her arrival intersects at the point of Perri’s ultimate crisis, and the tragedy forges an unlikely friendship.

The Sweetest Thing tells the story of two remarkable young women—opposites in every way—fighting for the same goal: surviving tumultuous change. Just as the Great Depression collides disastrously with Perri's well-ordered life, friendship blossoms--a friendship that will be tested by jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets...

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Sweetest Thing, go HERE.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Green Beans and Bacon

If you like both of the above items then I suggest you head over to How Sweet It Is and make the green bean bacon bundles.  I currently have them baking for the second time in three days.  Yes, they are that good.  The first time I screwed up the sauce so it ended up basically just being a butter/garlic mixture and it was great.  Today I managed to get the brown sugar to blend properly so we have the full deal going on over here.  I can't imagine they won't be even better than the first time.

Oh, and if you don't like green beans (and you know who you are ye who doesn't eat vegetables), well then the bacon should hide the fact that you are eating a vegetable.

And she has several more recipes which I feel will pop up in my kitchen over the next few months.  I mean, red velvet brownies.  Now that's what I'm talking about.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

I Love My Hair

If you know anything at all about me you know two things: I am low maintenance and I have high maintenance hair.  It's a naturally kinky/curly/frizzy mess that's about 6 inches longer than I normally keep it. Each hair is actually thin but there are so many of them I am considered to have thick hair.  Yeah, I know it doesn't look like it, but tell that to the hair dresser who always had to mix up extra color back in the day because they underestimated the thickness.

Anyways, I have never "loved" my hair.  I had one good haircut the Summer after my senior year of high school but the hairdresser couldn't even replicate it 6 weeks later.  She was an "artist" and never did listen to me.  Needless to say I moved on.  I can dry it straight in the winter, but once Summer rolls around I just have to succumb to ponytails and frizzies.  I've tried every over the counter product on the market and they all fail to deliver.

So back up a couple of years and my dear friend Autumn comes home from a two year stay in the tropics of Asia.  And she comes home with stick straight hair that DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BLOW DRIED.  WHAT?  I mean, she has the naturally curly hair just like me.  How did this happen?  (Cue mucho jealous music here because I was.  I wanted her hair.)

So I started doing some research because I figured it would cost me way too much money to fly to the tropics of Asia to have this done.  I am all about travel, but since I no longer had a good reason to go there now that she was stateside I needed to find a plan B.  I started doing some research and came across some options that were both pricey and seemed as if they would do permanent damage to my hair.  Since the main reason my hair is so long now is because I want to donate it, I figured doing damage to it would not be beneficial to my goal.

Cue current day.  I learned about Keratin hair treatments.  I learned that they don't damage your hair and they are really expensive.  Another thing to know about me.  I will drop money on a nice meal, but I am low maintenance.  Therefore my hair shouldn't be expensive.  Well, thanks to Living Social I got a deal.  A Keratin treatment at a salon I had been perusing their website showed up in my inbox one morning and I jumped on it.  I waited until the weather started getting humid and booked my appointment.  My research told me this would last 6-8 weeks.  I needed it to get me through July at least but due to travel I needed to make my appointment in May.  So I did.  And after 3 hours of sitting in a chair having my hair soaked in the treatment then dried and flat ironed I had straight hair.

I can now let my hair air dry (a little wavy, but no frizz!) or I can blowdry it almost perfectly straight.  If I want it to look super straight I can use the flat iron but for the most part it's easy, peasy, 1-2-3sy.  And frizzies?  Yeah, they went bye-bye too.  So, if you have problem hair and you can find a Groupon, I highly recommend the Keratin hair straightening.  The best part is, my stylist said if I take good care of it (ie use the good shampoo) it could last 3+ months.  Now that's what I'm talking about!   

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Lady of Bolton Hill - Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Lady of Bolton Hill
Bethany House (June 1, 2011)
Elizabeth Camden


A research librarian and associate professor, Elizabeth Camden has a master’s in history from the University of Virginia and a master’s in library science from Indiana University. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband in central Florida.

A word from Elizabeth: I am a college librarian in central Florida by day, but by night I can be found pounding out inspirational historical novels the moment the sun goes down. I love writing books about fiercely intelligent people who are confronted with profound challenges. As a rather introverted person, I have found that writing is the best way for me to share my faith and a sense of resilience with others.

As for who I am? I love old Hitchcock films, the hour before sunset, a long, sweaty run through the Florida countryside, and a glass of good wine. After spending my entire adult life on a college campus (either as a student or a librarian) I have finally been able to pursue my ultimate goal of writing professionally.


Female journalists are rare in 1879, but American-born Clara Endicott has finally made a name for herself with her provocative articles championing London's poor. When the backlash from her work forces a return home to Baltimore, Clara finds herself face-to-face with a childhood sweetheart who is no longer the impoverished factory worker she once knew. In her absence, Daniel Tremain has become a powerful industry giant and Clara finds him as enigmatic as ever. However, Daniel's success is fueled by resentment from past wounds and Clara's deeply-held beliefs about God's grace force Daniel to confront his own motives. When Clara's very life is endangered by one of Daniel's adversaries, they must face a reckoning neither of them ever could have foreseen.

When Clara Endicott and Daniel Tremain's worlds collide after twelve years apart, the spark that was once between them immediately reignites into a romance neither of them thought possible.

But time has changed them both.

Daniel is an industrial titan with powerful enemies. Clara is an idealistic journalist determined to defend underprivileged workers.

Can they withstand the cost of their convictions while their hearts, and lives, hang in the balance?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Lady of Bolton Hill, go HERE.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Hope Rekindled - A Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hope Rekindled
Bethany House (June 1, 2011)
Tracie Peterson


Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 85 novels.

She received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.

In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.

She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.

Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.

Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family--especially her three grandchildren--Rainy, Fox and Max. She's active in her church as the Director of Women's Ministries, coordinates a yearly writer's retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits, to research her books


Will Love Escape Her Grasp?

Life seems to be falling into place for Deborah Vandermark. On the cusp of finally marrying Christopher, the man who claimed her heart, she is devastated when he receives an urgent telegram. Bound to his family obligations, Christopher travels to Kansas City, uncertain of what he will find there.

When her fiancé returns to Texas, Deborah is faced with a very different future than she expected. She finds herself plagued with questions and uncertainty...about marriage, motherhood, and her passion to train as a physician. And when an old adversary reveals a contract that may spell ruin for Vandermark Logging, Deborah's life seems to be spiraling out of control. Can Christopher and Deborah find a way to claim the future they long to share when so much stands in the way?

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