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Series Spotlight: Women’s Bible Studies by Rita Platt

14 Mar

The women’s Bible study I lead on Wednesday evenings is currently using Rita Platt’s 8 week study, An Undivided Heart:  Experiencing The Intimacy of Jesus’ Touch.   I have also taught from the other two books in the series:  I Am His (God the Father) and Step into The Waters (the Holy Spirit).  Each study is 8 weeks and includes scripture study, creative exercises and discussion questions to journal and is perfect for small groups.  If you are looking for a Bible study with a fresh look into the nature of God, I highly recommend you try one or all of these books.

 

I Am His:  Experiencing The Comfort of Abba’s Love.  Women, discover what it means to the be the daughter of a loving Abba Father! Inviting you to open up your heart, Platt’s 8-week study will encourage you to experience the comfort of dwelling in God’s tender, wise, and powerful embrace.

 

 

 

An Undivided Heart:  Experiencing The Intimacy of Jesus’ Touch.  Did you know that Jesus wants to know you intimately? With solid biblical insight, Platt explores how Jesus freely sacrificed his life to invite you into his embrace; and helps you become more fully and passionately wed to him. 

 

 

 

Step into The Waters:  Experiencing The Abundance of The Spirit.  Experience the abundant flow of Living Water! Offering opportunities for transforming and thirst-quenching encounters with the Holy Spirit, Platt invites you to immerse yourself in life-giving intimacy and deeper connection to God. 

Series Spotlight: Tides Of Truth

22 May

Robert Whitlow became a favorite author with my book club when we read his book The Trial.   We have read all but one of his books for discussion and the one we didn’t read (The List), we watched the movie!  Whitlow’s novels always inspire great discussions and his novels are referred to again and again.  The Tides Of Truth series was a big hit with us, even our husbands read and enjoyed the books.  If you like suspense, legal intrigue and a faith based message, I encourage you to check out this series.

The first book in the series is Deeper Water.

In the murky waters of Savannah’s shoreline, a young law student is under fire as she tries her first case at a prominent and established law firm. A complex mix of betrayal and deception quickly weaves its way through the case and her life, as she uncovers dark and confusing secrets about the man she’s defending–and the senior partners of the firm.

How deep will the conspiracy run? Will she have to abandon her true self to fulfill a higher calling? And how far will she have to go to discover the truth behind a tragic cold case?

Higher Hope, Book 2

Competition is tough at the Savannah law firm where Tami Taylor serves as a law clerk. But Tami’s work sets her apart–and the firm’s partners see something special in her. So they assign her to a libel case against an abrasive, outspoken preacher who is either a prophet or a lunatic.

On the surface it appears to be an open and shut case; the preacher seems fully outside the bounds of law. And Tami’s strict religious upbringing could be the firm’s ace-in-the-hole. But as the investigation continues, Tami is troubled by the preacher’s uncanny prophetic abilities. And their client seems to be hiding something.

Tami returns to her hometown, struggling with several critical choices–as two very different men from the firm vie for her heart. Just when the challenges seem insurmountable, hope for Tami arrives from a surprising place. And it’s a higher hope than she’s ever imagined.

Greater Love, Book 3

As the storm clouds gather, Tami does her best to weather the growing turbulence in every area of her life.

She’s just accepted a job with a law firm but now wonders if she made the right decision. She has two strong men vying for her heart–and is about to lose them both if she can’t determine which one is right for her.

And Tami’s new case is anything but simple. When she first meets her prospective client, she immediately knows the rough young teen is lying, guilty…and utterly terrified of something beyond the charges she’s facing. What she doesn’t realize is just how far reaching the effects of the case will go. Or how close to home the deadly results will hit. For by the time the storm breaks, someone close to Tami will have paid the ultimate price.

Through it all, Tami will experience greater sacrifice, greater friendship, and greater love than she’s ever known.

Robert Whitlow is the best-selling author of legal set in the South and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. A Furman University graduate, Whitlow received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. A practicing attorney, Whitlow and his wife, Kathy, have four children. They make their home in North Carolina.

This summer, Whitlow has a new book in a new series coming out.  Can’t wait to read it.

Series Spotlight: Mysteries From The Mississippi Delta

10 May

As a young woman, I spent  a little over 7 years in Mississippi — 4 years of undergraduate studies at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, 2 years of graduate school at Mississippi State University in Starkville, and 1 1/2 years in Jackson working in state government.  I came to love the state and married a boy who is Mississippi bred and wants to return there ASAP.  He has been trying for 26 years now!  Oh well.  To help keep the Mississippi vibe going, I read books set there.  Carolyn Haines’ Sarah Booth Delaney series does the trick.  Set in and around the fictional Zinnia, Sarah Booth Delaney, Delta girl extraordinare, maintains the homestead by solving mysteries.  She gets help from sidekick Tinkie Richmond and Cee Dee (formerly Cecil) Falcon, while fending off the advances of men of all types.  Oh, and there is a ghost that shows up throughout the series, if not to help, at least to let her thoughts be known.   This is a fun, cozy series that brings me back to my days in Mississippi and my friendship with my Delta girl roomie.

The first book in the 11 book series is Them Bones

If only I hadn’t kidnapped the dog…but the ransom paid the mortgage….Now I seem to be a private eye….I shouldn’t have listened to that ghost….

Meet Sarah Booth Delaney…an unconventional Southern belle whose knack for uncovering the truth is about to make her the hottest detective in Zinnia, Mississippi…if it doesn’t make her the deadest.

No self-respecting lady would allow herself to end up in Sarah Booth’s situation. Unwed, unemployed, and over thirty, she’s flat broke and about to lose the family plantation. Not to mention being haunted by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, who never misses an opportunity to remind her of her sorry state–or to suggest a plan of action, like ransoming her friend’s prize pooch to raise some cash.

But soon Sarah Booth’s walk on the criminal side leads her deeper into unladylike territory, and she’s hired to solve a murder. Did gorgeous, landed Hamilton Garrett V really kill his mother twenty years ago? And if so, what is Sarah Booth doing falling for this possible murderer? When she asks one too many questions and a new corpse turns up, she is suddenly a suspect herself…and Sarah Booth finds that digging up the bones of the past could leave her rolling over in her grave.

Them Bones is followed by:

Buried Bones – Private investigation isn’t on the list of a southern belle’s most desirable accomplishments- but it’s saved Sarah Booth Delaney’s southern homestead. Now all she has to cope with is its bossy antebellum ghost who is determined to save Sarah- from spinsterhood. Then comes the perfect social occasion: Lawrence Ambrose’s dinner party…

Splintered Bones – She may be a Mississippi belle, but Sarah Booth Delaney is no pampered daddy’s girl. Unwed and over thirty, Sarah has her own set of problems- like coping with regular hauntings by her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, a busybody of a ghost who’s set on marrying her off to the first suitor who comes calling. But when an old friend is in trouble, Sarah Booth doesn’t hesitate to get involved.

Crossed Bones –For a woman feeling a little heat of her own- navigating between a rich, available businessman, a married lawman with a waffling heart, and the sexy bluesman who is angling to become much more than her client, this case is taking dangerous twists.

Hallowed Bones –The leaves of the calendar may be shedding faster than the sycamores on her family’s decaying Mississippi plantation, but thirty-something Sarah Booth Delaney isn’t ready to sing the blues. Not when she’s got a thriving detective agency and the outspoken, outrageously attired ghost of her great-great grandmother’s nanny to keep her on her toes. But the matchmaking phantom may have the last word on motherhood when Sarah Booth takes on the controversial case of an accused baby killer.

Bones to Pick –Dahlia House is haunted. No big revelation for those who know me and my family, but on this cold November morning as I sit and watch the sun gild the harvested cotton fields with a false show of silver I am acutely aware of the specters of the past.

Ham Bones –Zinnia is abuzz: displaced from its New Orleans venue, a red-hot touring production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is opening right in the heart of town, featuring hunky star Graf Milieu! While most folks are excited, Sarah Booth, who had her own brief stint on the Great White Way- and on the arm of Milieu himself- is less than thrilled. Graf is now linked with his costar, Renata Trovaioli, a dyed-in-the-wool diva who plans to ride Graf’s coattails all the way to Hollywood.  But Renata’s trip to the top comes to a screeching halt on the play’s second night, when someone laces her lipstick with cyanide.

Wishbones –It’s time for Sarah Booth to pack up her hound dog and her P.I. business and take a shot at stardom! Soon she aces the screen test for a racy remake of the movie Body Heat alongside leading man Graf Milieu. The chemistry between them is undeniable—and why not? Graf has already starred in one of Sarah’s previous affairs…and is well on his way to landing a big part in the sequel.

Greedy Bones –Sarah is no stranger to drama. So when this talented actress and a P.I. hears that her best friend’s husband is suddenly on his deathbed back home, she snaps into “action!” and gets right on the case…

Bone Appetit –n the midst of a cook-off at a posh spa, southern PI Sarah Booth Delaney gets embroiled in a juicy murder.  The pampering and food go a long way toward making her feel like her old self, but there’s another welcome distraction—there’s a beauty contest/cook-off going on to find the spa’s next spokesperson, and watching the drama really takes her mind off of her woes. Sarah finds the backbiting to be great fun—until the heated competition boils over, the top …

Bones of A Feather (to be released in June)–When PI Sarah Booth Delaney and her partner and best friend, Tinkie, take on Monica and Eleanor Levert as clients, they don’t have much hope of solving the case. The wealthy heiresses of Briarcliff in Natchez, Mississippi, claim that a family necklace worth four million dollars has been stolen, and they think that they can hurry the insurance payout if a reputable PI investigates. Sarah Booth has her doubts, and not just about the payout….

Carolyn Haines is the author of eighteen novels, including the acclaimed Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series. She is the recipient of the prestigious 2009 Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. Haines was also given the 2010 Harper Lee Award. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of!

(Please note:  For those who read only Christian fiction, this series is not part of that genre. Although mild by many standards, there is some mild profanity, a transgender character, and some sexual situations.)

Series Spotlight: Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries

7 May

When Caroline Bingley marries a rich, charismatic American, her future should be secure. But strange incidents soon follow: nocturnal wanderings, spooked horses, carriage accidents, an apparent suicide attempt. Soon the whole Bingley family seems the target of a sinister plot, with only their friends the Darcys recognizing the danger. A jilted lover, an estranged business partner, a financially desperate in-law, an eccentric supernaturalist—who is behind these events? Perhaps it is Caroline herself, who appears to be slowly sinking into madness. . . .

Pride and Prescience is the first novel in a series of romantic mysteries featuring Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as reluctant sleuths who become embroiled in intrigues surrounding their friends and family. The newlywed Darcys’ courtship hasn’t ended, and their adventures have just begun.

Excerpt

This was a fun read.  A regency cozy mystery featuring my favorite couple — Darcy and Elizabeth. Pride and Prescience is the first book in a 6 book series featuring Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Bennett Darcy. The books include characters from Pride and Prejudice and other favorites by Jane Austen

From the author’s website:  If you’re a fan of Jane Austen, historical fiction, traditional (“cozy”) mysteries, or romance, you won’t want to miss the Darcys’ further adventures. The series offers plenty of lively dialogue, suspense, and romantic interplay, with eerie twists reminiscent of the gothic novels so popular in Austen’s day.

Award-winning author Carrie Bebris is best known for her Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery series. Set in Regency England, the novels entangle some of Jane Austen’s most beloved characters in intrigue, with sharp dialogue, romantic interplay, and a dash of gothic atmosphere.

Carrie began her career in publishing after previous roles as a newspaper reporter and college English teacher. As an editor for fantasy publisher TSR, Inc., she developed supplements for the Dungeons & Dragons® roleplaying game before striking out on her own as a freelance writer and editor. She wrote two fantasy novels, Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor (2001) and Shadowborn (1998, with William W. Connors), before making her mystery debut in 2004 with Pride and Prescience. The novel made the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association bestseller list and was named one of the five best mysteries of 2004 by Library Journal. Successive Darcy mysteries have earned starred reviews from Publisher’s WeeklyNorth by Northanger won the 2007 Daphne du Maurier Award, which honors excellence in romantic suspense, and a Reviewers Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviewsmagazine for Best Historical Mystery of the year. The sixth book of the series, The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion), will release in October 2011.

In addition to fiction, Carrie pens articles for Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine and writes other nonfiction. She has also edited such books as Tea with Jane Austen (by Kim Wilson) and Walking with William Shakespeare (by Anne-Marie Edwards). She is on the faculty of the Antioch Writers’ Workshopand speaks frequently about writing and publishing.

Carrie holds a master’s degree in English literature with an emphasis on 19th- century authors and studied Austen on the graduate level with one of today’s most respected Austen scholars. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and travels to England to enhance her understanding of Austen’s life and work.

Originally from Wisconsin, Carrie now lives in Ohio. When not writing, she likes to travel, watch costume dramas that send her husband fleeing the house, and indulge in her love of all things British. She is currently working on her next novel.

Other books in the series:


Suspense and Sensibility or, First Impressions Revisited  –  Persuaded by Mrs. Bennet to sponsor a London social season for Elizabeth’s sister Kitty, the Darcys reluctantly return to the glittering ballrooms and parlors of the fashionable world. There Kitty meets Harry Dashwood, the handsome young owner of Norland, and they quickly fall in love. But for the Bennet sisters, it seems the course of true love simply cannot run smooth. No sooner do Harry and Kitty announce their engagement than Harry begins to change. His disreputable behavior, unexplained absences, mysterious gatherings, questionable new companions, and sinister activities lead all to wonder: Who is the true Mr. Dashwood—the respectable gentleman Kitty thought she knew, or the dishonorable rogue now reflected in the mirror? A clue from Harry’s family tree sends the Darcys once more on a quest to discover the truth before history can repeat itself. For if Harry and Kitty are to have a future, the past must first be put to rest.


North By Northanger, or The Shades of Pemberley –   After the excitement of recent adventures, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy retire to the peace and quiet of Pemberley as they await the birth of their first child.

Such tranquility, however, cannot last.

First, a mysterious letter from the late Lady Anne Darcy is discovered—propelling Elizabeth on a quest to learn more about Darcy’s deceased mother and an unsettled matter she left behind. Then a summons to Northanger Abbey involves the young couple in an intrigue that threatens not just the Darcy family name, but Darcy’s freedom as well. And just when it seems their situation could not grow worse, Darcy’s overbearing aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, takes up residence at Pemberley.

Add to all this rumors of treasure and hints of deceptions old and new, and it becomes apparent that Pemberley is filled not with peace, but with secrets and spirits of the past—and that their exposure could profoundly affect the generation of Darcys to come.

The Matters at Mansfield: Or, The Crawford Affair  –  Mr. Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, is eager to arrange a lucrative and socially advantageous match for her daughter, Anne. Of course, her ladyship has not taken into account such frivolous matters as love or romance, let alone the wishes of her daughter.

Needless to say, there is much turmoil when the bride-to-be elopes.

Their pursuit of the headstrong couple leads the Darcys to the village of Mansfield, where the usually intricate game of marriage machinations becomes still more convoluted by lies and deception. There, the Darcys discover that love and marriage can be a complex and dangerous business — one that can even lead to murder.

The Intrigue at Highbury: Or, Emma’s Match  –  Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are looking forward to a relaxing stay with dear friends when their carriage is hailed by a damsel-in-distress outside of the village of Highbury. Little do the Darcys realize that gypsies roam these woods, or that both their possessions and the woman are about to vanish into the night.

The Darcys seek out the parish magistrate, who is having a difficult evening of his own. Mr. Knightley and his new wife, the former Miss Emma Woodhouse (the heroine of Jane Austen’s Emma) are hosting a party to celebrate the marriage of their friends, Mr. Frank Churchill and Miss Jane Fairfax. During dinner, Mr. Edgar Churchill, uncle and adoptive father of the groom, falls suddenly ill and dies. The cause of death: poison.

When the  Darcys and the Knightleys join forces to investigate the crimes, they discover that the robbery and Edgar Churchill’s death may be connected. Together they must work to quickly locate the source of the poison and the murderer’s motive—before the killer can strike again.

The Deception at Lyme: Or, The Peril of Persuasion  –  In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, the Cobb—Lyme’s famous seawall—proved dangerous to a careless young woman. Now it proves deadly.

Following their recent intrigue at Highbury, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy visit the seaside village of Lyme on holiday. Family business also draws them there, to receive from a fellow officer the personal effects of Mr. Darcy’s late cousin, a naval lieutenant who died in action.

Their retreat, however, turns tragic when they come upon a body lying at the base of the Cobb. The victim is Mrs. Clay, a woman with a scandalous past that left her with child—a child whose existence threatened the inheritance of one of her paramours and the reputation of another. Did she lose her balance and fall from the slippery breakwater, or was she pushed?

Mrs. Clay’s death is not the only one that commands the Darcys’ attention. When Mr. Darcy discovers among his cousin’s possessions evidence that the young lieutenant’s death might have been murder, he allies with Captain Frederick Wentworth to probe details of a battle that took place across the sea . . . but was influenced by conspiracy much closer to home.

Series Spotlight: The Genesis Trilogy

30 Apr

The Heavens Before  – Marginalized by society and mistreated by her own family, Annah befriends a young man she’s never seen before. Shem is captivated by Annah’s courage, and he risks everything to help her gain her freedom. Trusting in the Most High, Annah marries Shem and joins her strange new family in their solitary faith that will ultimately separate them from an ancient world of amazing beauty and appalling violence–a world fast approaching the unimaginable catastrophe of the Great Flood. Out of this chaos, only eight people will survive. Their world is our world. Their future is our own.


Chapter 1

KACY BARNETT-GRAMCKOW is a freelance writer. She is the author of the Genesis Trilogy (The Heavens Before, He Who Lifts the Skies and A Crown in the Stars). Kacy has also written dozens of devotionals which have been published in a number of books and web sites, including the best-seller A Moment a Day and the Women’s Devotional Bible. She and her husband of over twenty years make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with their two sons.

My Impressions:

I received the Genesis Trilogy by Kacy Barnett-Gramckow from my husband several years ago  (thank you Amazon wish lists!)   What a great present it was.  I devoured these books in a matter of days and have recommended them to all my friends.  I was impressed by the images of the pre-flood world presented in the first book.  Was that how it really was?  – pink skies, abundant vegetation, huge, gray plant eaters (dinosaurs?) and of course the violent and degrading society of the days of Noah.  Barnett-Gramckow did her homework with this series.  It had me re-reading the book of Genesis, checking her fictional account against the Biblical record.  Other fascinating facts are presented as well — the Tower of Babel, the confusion of the languages, the migration of the people.  I Highly Recommend this series.

Other books in the trilogy:

He Who Lifts the Skiesimagery creates a ‘you are there’ immersion in the story of the post-Flood world. Kacy Barnett-Gramckow fans raved about her extraordinary job of moving the Flood off the Sunday School flannel graph board and into life in The Heavens Before. Now, she continues to flesh out the Bible’s brief account of the rise of Nimrod and the Babel rebellion with scintillating characters and a wealth of imaginative detail.


A Crown in the Stars – A Crown in the Stars follows the growing rebellion of mankind as the tribes of the earth continue building the great tower begun by Nimr-Rada (commonly known as Nimrod). After the Most High Himself thwarts their plans by confounding human speech, He comforts His followers by revealing to them the identity of Avram, father of the tribe that will bring forth their savior, the Promised One.

Series Spotlight: Cozy Cat Mystery

22 Apr

Christy Award winning author Gilbert Morris is a prolific writer.  You may be familiar with his historical sagas.  But did you know he has written a cozy, cat mystery series too.  Check it out!


Introducing…

Jacques the Ripper: A tough–minded “Savannah” breed of feline–fierce, enormous, and with a mind of his own.

And…

Cleo: A multi–colored “Rag Doll” with long silky hair. Cleo is as affectionate as Jacques is tough and her favorite mode of transportation is draped over the shoulder of the nearest human.

In their debut mystery, Jacques and Cleo and their owner…or rather the human they own, Kate Forrest, and her son, Jeremy, move to a beautiful beach house in Gulf Shores, Alabama, left to Kate by a distant relative.

The catch is that another distant relative, wanna–be novelist (and bonafide cat–hater) Jake Novak, has also inherited an interest in the house. Undeterred, Kate and Jeremy move in the downstairs quarters and Jake takes the separate apartment upstairs.

Then, when a murder occurs…everyone is stumped—but feline sleuths Jacques and Cleo come to the rescue and reveal the identity of the killer.

Two more books round out the series – 

The Cat’s Pajamas — When two murders occur on the movie scene in White Sands, Alabama, who are you going to call? Jacques the Ripper and Cleo, cat detectives!

Jacques and Cleo have recently moved to White Sands to live in a beautiful beach house left to their owner, Kate Forrest. While Kate gets involved with a beach ministry for young people, Jake Novak works upstairs on his novel. Their peace is shattered by the arrival of the Hollywood set, and two subsequent murders. But the excitement doesn’t stop there…Jake is pulled in for questioning and Jacques and Cleo are asked to take part in the film. Will Jacques and Cleo be able to solve the crimes before Jake is convicted…or something worse happens? 

When The Cat’s Away --  Mary Katherine Forrest is delighted when an international cat show comes to White Sands, Alabama—but neighbor Jake Novak is disgusted at all the feline fawning! When the favored contestant disappears, Jake is hired to capture the catnapper—with Jacques and Cleo’s help—before all the pedigreed pets disappear! 

Gilbert Morris was a pastor before becoming an English professor and earning a Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas. Gilbert has been a consistent bestselling author in the Christian market for many years and one of the most prolific authors in Christian fiction with over 200 books currently in print.  He and his wife live in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Favorite Verse: Matthew 6:9-13 : Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Series Spotlight: Heavenly Daze

12 Apr

If you liked Jan Karon’s Mitford series, you will love Angela Hunt and Lori Copeland’s Heavenly Daze series.  Set on an island off the coast of mainland Maine, the quirky characters are trying to do their best to get by. Among the inhabitants are a set of angels, disguised as employees of the various residents.  The angels have been watching over their charges for a long time and observe the humans with love and compassion.

Described as Mayberry meets Touched By An Angel, the first book in the 5 book series is The Island of Heavenly Daze —  The Rev. Winslow Wickam–rarely at a loss for words–is utterly speechless. His church’s generous gift has thrown him into a dither of self-doubt, especially when he overhears parishioners plotting to replace him with a younger, more handsome, more hirsute minister. Meanwhile, cantankerous Olympia de Cuvier and her estranged niece Annie struggle to be civil to one another for one short weekend. Will they ever put their past behind them and give each other the love and forgiveness they so desperately need? And will the Rev. Wickam’s bumbling attempts to prove that he’s as exciting, dashing, and modern as any big-city minister save his job–or make him the town laughingstock? Not even the angels who watch over Heavenly Daze are sure of the outcome.

Grace in Autumn

The series continues with Grace in Autumn, Warmth in Winter, A Perfect Love and Hearts at Home. Check out this humorous and heart-warming series.  You will be glad you did.

Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected in novels from this versatile author. With nearly four million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 100 works ranging from picture books (The Tale of Three Trees) to nonfiction books, to novels. Now that her two children have reached their twenties, Angie and her husband live in Florida with Very Big Dogs (a direct result of watching Turner and Hooch and Sandlot too many times). This affinity for mastiffs has not been without its rewards–one of their dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest canine in America. Their dog received this dubious honor after an all-expenses-paid trip to Manhattan for the dog and the Hunts, complete with VIP air travel and a stretch limo in which they toured New York City. Afterward, the dog gave out pawtographs at the airport. Angela admits to being

Warmth in Winter

fascinated by animals, medicine, psychology, unexplained phenomena, and “just about everything” except sports. Books, she says, have always shaped her life— in the fifth grade she learned how to flirt from reading Gone with the Wind. Her books have won the coveted Christy Award, several Angel Awards from Excellence in Media, and the Gold and Silver Medallions from Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award. In 2007, her novel The Note was featured as a

A Prefect Love

Christmas movie on the Hallmark channel. Romantic Times Book Club presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Also in 2006, Angela completed her Master of Biblical Studies in Theology degree. She completed her doctorate in 2008 and was accepted into a Th.D. program in 2009. When she’s not home reading or writing, Angie often travels to teach writing workshops at schools and writers’ conferences. And to talk about her dogs, of course.

Lori Copeland lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance.  Lance and Lori have three sons, three daughter-in-laws, and six wonderful grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters. Lance and Lori are very involved in their church, and active in supporting mission work in Mali, West Africa. Lori began her writing career in 1982, writing for the secular book market.  In 1995,

Hearts at Home

after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him.  It was at that time that Lori began writing for the Christian book market.  To date, she has had over 100 books published.


Series Spotlight: The Scottish Lowlands

28 Mar

Looking back on past posts, I have noticed I have included an inordinate amount of suspense/mystery.  So for you historical fans — this one is for you.

Liz Curtis Higgs is by far my favorite contemporary author.  I have taught her Bible studies, watched her videos and have read all but one of her fiction books.  My book club read the Lowlands of Scotland series several years ago.  Although not all the members are fans of historicals, Higgs series was a BIG hit.  If you haven’t read these books yet, you need to add them to the top of your TBR list.

Based on the Biblical story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah, the Lowlands of Scotland series sets the story in Scotland of the 18th century.  Rich in historical detail, the characters come alive for the reader.  Make sure all three books are available to you, because you will not want a break between reading them.

From Liz’s website:

Thorn In My Heart – book 1

Two brothers fight to claim one father’s blessing. Two sisters long to claim one man’s heart.

In the autumn of 1788, amid the moors and glens of the Scottish Lowlands, two brothers and two sisters each embark on a painful journey of discovery.

Jamie and Evan McKie both want their father Alec’s flocks and lands, yet only one brother will inherit Glentrool. Leana and Rose McBride both yearn to catch the eye of the same handsome lad, yet only one sister will be his bride.

A thorny love triangle emerges, plagued by lies and deception, jealousy and desire, betrayal and broken promises. Brimming with passion and drama, Thorn in My Heart brings the past to vibrant life, revealing spiritual truths that transcend time and penetrate the deepest places of the heart.

An Enduring Story

Perhaps this tale of two brothers and two sisters sounds vaguely familiar…and no wonder! The lives of Jacob and Esau, Leah and Rachel can be found in Genesis 25 and 27-29. After carefully studying those passages of Scripture, then thoroughly researching eighteenth-century Scotland, I wrote Thorn in My Heart, hoping I might demonstrate the timeless nature of God’s truth. May their ancient stories set in bonny Galloway ring true for you!


Fair Is The Rose — book 2

Can a sister’s love endure the ultimate betrayal?

A year has come and gone since Jamie McKie fled for his life and arrived at Auchengray in search of sanctuary and a bonny wife. Young Rose McBride, as fair as any lass in Scotland, dearly loves her handsome cousin, Jamie McKie—but so does her older sister, Leana.

Desperate to have Jamie all to herself, Rose is unwittingly aided by Lillias Brown, a wise woman—a wutch,some say—still keen on the old ways. Leana cherishes her newborn son and clings to her hard-won sense of peace by a slender thread of faith. Jamie, meanwhile, longs to return home to Glentrool, yet is thwarted at every turn by his uncle Lachlan’s deceitful ways.

All three points of this thorny triangle soon grow as sharp as a Scottish dirk. Och, such heartache! And yet, amid the conflicts, hope burns bright.


Whence Came A Prince — book 3

A Prodigal Hero Returns . . .

Och, what a finale! Jamie McKie’s long-awaited return to his ancestral home of Glentrool tests the depth of his courage, the strength of his sword, and the tenacity of his vow to honor the Almighty, no matter the cost.

To claim his inheritance, Jamie must first outwit his devious uncle, Lachlan, then confront the two men he fears most: Evan, the brother whose blessing he stole, and Alec, the father he once deceived.

Jamie faces a perilous journey of the heart as well: The two women in his life, Leana and Rose McBride, each stake a tender claim on his affections. Quiet, gentle Leana is the mother of his firstborn, Ian. And Rose, her spirited younger sister, is expecting his second child. Honor and duty prevail but not without heartache. By the last page, tears of sorrow will turn to tears of joy as the story ends on the happiest of notes.

Historical detail and ageless truth are woven into a colorful tartan of a tale in Whence Came a Prince. Early readers have proclaimed Prince “the best of the three.” When you read this finale, I hope you’ll agree!

 

About The Author:

In her best-selling series of Bad Girls of the Bible books, workbooks, and videos, Liz Curtis Higgs breathes new life into ancient tales about the most infamous—and intriguing—women in scriptural history, from Jezebel to Mary Magdalene. Biblically sound and cutting-edge fresh, these popular titles have helped more than one million women around the world experience God’s grace anew. Her best-selling historical novels, which transport the stories of Rebecca, Leah, Rachel, Dinah, Naomi, and Ruth to eighteenth-century Scotland, have also helped her readers view these familiar characters in a new light. And her nonfiction book, Embrace Grace, winner of a 2007 Retailers Choice Award, presents her message of hope in an engaging and personal way, speaking directly to the hearts of her readers.

A veteran speaker, Liz has presented more than 1,600 encouraging programs for audiences in all 50 states and 11 foreign countries:  South Africa, Indonesia, Germany, France, England, Canada, Thailand, Ecuador, Scotland, Portugal, and New Zealand. In 1995, she received the Council of Peers Award for Excellence from the National Speakers Association, becoming one of only 32 women in the world named to their CPAE-Speaker Hall of Fame.

Feature articles about Liz have appeared in more than 250 major newspapers and magazines across the country, as well as online withSalon.com, Beliefnet.com and Spirituality.com. She has also been interviewed on more than 600 radio and television stations, including guest appearances on PBS, A&E, MSNBC, NPR, TBN with Kirk Cameron, CBC Canada, BBC Radio Scotland, Rhema Broadcasting New Zealand, Radio Pulpit South Africa, LifeToday with James Robison, Focus on the FamilyJanet Parshall’s America, 100 Huntley Street and Midday Connection.

Liz is the author of twenty-seven books, with more than three million copies in print.

Her nonfiction books for women include:
• Bad Girls of the Bible
• Really Bad Girls of the Bible
• Unveiling Mary Magdalene
• Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible
• Rise and Shine
• Embrace Grace
• My Heart’s in the Lowlands

Her fiction includes two contemporary novels, one novella, and five historical novels:

• Mixed Signals

• Bookends
• Fine Print
• Thorn in My Heart
• Fair Is the Rose
• Whence Came a Prince
• Grace in Thine Eyes
• Here Burns My Candle

And she has written five books for young children :

• The Pumpkin Patch Parable
• The Parable of the Lily
• The Sunflower Parable
• The Pine Tree Parable
• Go Away, Dark Night

Her children’s Parable Series was awarded the ECPA Gold Medallion for Excellence in 1998, her Scottish historical novel, Whence Came a Prince, won the 2006 Christy Award for Best Historical Fiction, and Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible received a 2008 Retailers Choice Award.

For ten years Liz was a columnist for Today’s Christian Woman magazine. Articles by Liz have also appeared in Faith&Friends in Canada, Woman Alive in Great Britain, and Enhance in Australia. And more than 4,000 churches nationwide are using her video Bible study series, Loved by God.

On the personal side, Liz earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Bellarmine College, and is married to Bill Higgs, Ph.D., who serves as Director of Operations for her speaking and writing office. Liz and Bill enjoy their old Kentucky home—a nineteenth-century farmhouse in Louisville—and are the proud parents of Matthew, a college grad, and Lillian, a college senior.


Series Spotlight: Chick Lit & Mystery

13 Mar

Looking for some Chick Lit with a mysterious twist?  Try Mindy Starns Clark’s Smart Chick Mystery series starring household hints columnist Jo Tulip.

From Clark’s website:

This series features household hints expert and amateur sleuth Jo Tulip. In each of the three books in the series, Jo finds herself caught up in a murder investigation, where she must use her resourcefulness and unique knowledge of household hints to save the day. Fortunately, Jo has her faithful dog Chewie and her best-friend-since-childhood, Danny Watkins, at her side to help out. As the series progresses, however, Danny’s feelings for Jo begin to deepen into love. Does Jo feel the same in return? Will they live happily ever after—if they don’t get killed first?

The first book in the series is The Trouble with Tulip —  Meet Jo Tulip—definitely a smart chick. She’s a 21st-century female MacGyver who writes a helpful hints column and stumbles on dead bodies in her spare time.

Meet Danny Watkins, Jo’s best friend. He’s a talented photographer who longs to have his work recognized but finds himself taking prom photos and pet portraits instead.

Together, this mismatched duo works to solve a local murder—much to the dismay of the police, who were hoping for an open-and-shut case. But there’s something not quite right about the evidence. Jo knows it and Danny believes her.

Turns out, sleuthing brings out the best and the worst in their relationship. As Jo tries to solve the mystery in her neighborhood, she realizes she’s facing an even bigger mystery: What’s going on in her heart?
Enjoy the fun, funny, and inspirational Smart Chick Mystery series, and pick up a few helpful hints along with an exciting roller-coaster ride of suspense and mystery.

First Chapter

Other book in the series:

Blind Dates Can Be Murder – Blind dates give everyone the shivers…with or without a murder attached to them. Jo Tulip is a sassy single woman full of household hints and handy advice for every situation. Her first romantic outing in months is a blind date—okay, the Hall of Fame of Awful Blind Dates—but things go from bad to worse when the date drops dead and Jo finds herself smack in the middle of a murder investigation.


With the help of her best friend, Danny, and faith in God, Jo attempts to solve one exciting mystery while facing another: Why is love always so complicated?

Elementary, My Dear Watkins When someone tries to push Jo Tulip in front of a New York train, her ex-fiance, Bradford, suffers an injury while saving her-and the unintentional sleuth is thrown onto the tracks of a very personal mystery.


Jo’s boyfriend, Danny Watkins, is away in Paris, so she begins a solo investigation of her near-murder. What secret was Bradford about to share before he took the fall? And when Jo uncovers clues tied to Europe, can she and Danny work together in time to save her life?

Enjoy this final, thrilling conclusion to the Smart Chick Mystery series!

My Impressions:

I found the Smart Chick Mystery series to be a fun read.  The characters are funny, quirky and loveable.  There is an element of romance that runs throughout the series too.  Best of all the series appeals to all ages — from college girls to the more mature reader!   So give the series a try, you will definitely like it.  Starns website is fun too — contests, freebies, info on other books, etc.

About The Author (from her website):

Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of the inspirational Million Dollar Mysteries, the Smart Chick Mysteries, and three standalone mysteries, as well as the nonfiction books The House That Cleans Itself and A Pocket Guide to Amish Life. Her novels include A Penny for Your ThoughtsDon’t Take Any Wooden NickelsA Dime a DozenA Quarter for a KissThe Buck Stops HereThe Trouble with TulipBlind Dates Can Be MurderElementary, My Dear WatkinsWhispers of the BayouShadows of Lancaster County, and Under the Cajun Moon. Her next mystery, Secrets of Harmony Grove, will be released in October 2010.
Mindy is also the author of numerous plays and musicals which have been performed all over the United States. She has written textbooks, articles, short stories, and more than 75 computer software manuals. Other writings appear in the anthologies What the Wind Picked Up (Inspirational Fiction), Death Knell V (Mystery Fiction), Divine Secrets of the Yahweh Sisterhood (Inspirational Anthology), and A Novel Idea (Inspirational Nonfiction).

A former singer and stand-up comedian, Mindy lives with her husband and two teenage daughters near Valley Forge, PA. She enjoys speaking to churches, civic groups, and libraries across the country. Her unique blend of humor and insight make her an audience favorite.

Series Spotlight: Coffee Cup Bible Studies

6 Mar

Are you looking for a great Bible study for yourself or a group of co-workers or friends?  Then check out Sandra Glahn’s Coffee Cup Bible Study series.  Each study is 5-6 weeks long and focuses on a book of the Bible or a passage of Scripture.  I have led several groups using these studies with great results.  The format is great — spiral bound books with the entire Scripture included — easy for toting to work or appointments or school pick up lines.  The back ground information is well-researched and the questions really help the reader to dive into the verses studied.

There are eight studies to choose from:  Frappe with Philippians, Solomon Latte, Espresso with Esther, Kona with Jonah, Java with Judges, Cappuccino with Colossians, Premium Roast with Ruth, and Mocha on The Mount – a little something for everyone.  An upcoming study is titled Sumatra with The Seven Churches.

My favorite study so far is Mocha on The Mount.  My group really enjoyed it, and better still they stuck with it!

Imagine yourself having coffee with Jesus. What would you ask Him? What might He ask you? In this study we’ll consider His words in the Sermon on the Mount and explore how our righteousness can actually “exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees.”  Yarright.  Actually, we’ll explore how Jesus set the bar so high that to enter the kingdom of heaven we realize our deep need for grace and for someone else to bear the penalty of our sin. That’s the only way we get that kind of righteousness—His righteousness credited to our account.

This and all the Coffee Cup Bible Series books contain weekday Bible study questions and weekend devotional thoughts for lighter reading. Designed for group or individual study.

So choose a study, call up the girls and dive in!

 

Sandra Glahn, Th.M., is adjunct professor, Christian Education and Pastoral Ministries, at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), her alma mater, where she serves as editor in chief of Kindred Spirit magazine. She has completed her course work for the Ph.D. degree in Aesthetic Studies (Arts and Humanities) at the University of Texas at Dallas. A former board member of theEvangelical Press Association, she served as the 2010 convention chair. She also serves on the women’s leadership team for bible.org.

Sandra belongs to the Christian Authors Network, serves as the fiction panelist for The Writers View, and is a contributing blogger at Tapestry, the bible.org women’s site.

Sandra leads retreats as well as seminars and workshops on marriage, intimacy, infertility, rest, writing, and a variety of biblical books. She and her husband, Gary, have been married for thirty-one years and have one daughter, who joined their family through adoption.


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