Saturday, April 30, 2011

THIS GOLDEN LAND by Barbara Wood

In This Golden Land, Barbara Wood takes a love story and fills it with vivid history and fascinating facts, making every page as informative as it is exciting. Not since The Thornbirds have I enjoyed any novel about Australia as much as this one.

The land and the people come alive in this wonderful story about Hannah and the many things she loves. There is her love for her physician father, for his research, for her goal to improve medicine, for her many women friends, and especially for two handsome men who enter her life at differing times. Who will she end up with? You won’t be disappointed in the outcome.

I found Barbara Wood’s portrayal of the Australian aborigines and their way of life to be particularly gratifying, educational and fascinating. Her attention to detail made the Outback real for me. I could almost feel the heat and see the shimmering mirages as Neal struggles to survive.

This is also a story about 1800’s European class distinctions and about the taming of Australia. It is the tale of strong men and women who prevail over adversity to achieve success and happiness in an astounding country.

Barbara Wood is one of my favorite authors, and This Golden Land is an exceptional book. You will love her characters. This novel has my highest recommendation; I didn’t want it to end.

By the way, we’d love to see a sequel that re-introduces Jallara with her child, and also Jamie O’Brien. They’re wonderful characters we’d enjoy meeting again. Thanks for the great read!

Special thanks to Sharon Stewart and Barbara Wood for providing a review copy of this wonderful novel.

Hardcover: 396 pages
Publisher: (December 29, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1450268188
ISBN-13: 978-1450268189

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Joleen Allen is a 44-year-old single mother of five young adult daughters, Jasmine, Jill, Jennifer, Jinger and Jade. But, Joleen isn’t content to remain alone and is on the prowl for a man, usually a younger man, and that results in competition with her lovely daughters who tend to take those men away from her. Hence, the provocative title. To further complicate matters, her dreadful ex-husband, an ex-con, reappears to raise all kinds of havoc in her life and theirs.

My Mother the Man-Eater is the eventful story of a woman whose search for meaning in life is successful in a way she never anticipated. This lengthy novel is full of humor, action, intrigue, romance and finally redemption. The mixed-up family is torn apart and eventually repaired through discovering God and renewing the love they share for one another. Tracy Kraus weaves a fantastic and uplifting story. If I had to find one thing to criticize it would be an excessive use of descriptive dialog tags, but other than that, it’s a great read. And, I love the cover which sets the mood for the book perfectly!

A hearty thank you to Tracy Krauss for giving us the opportunity to review her unique new novel, My Mother the Man-Eater.

Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Eloquent Books
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609765850
ISBN-13: 978-1609765859

Monday, April 25, 2011

IN GRANDMA'S ATTIC by Arleta Richardson

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

In Grandma's Attic
***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Arleta Richardson grew up in a Chicago hotel under her grandmother’s care. As they sat overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan, her grandmother shared memories of her childhood on a Michigan farm. These treasured family stories became the basis for the Grandma’s Attic Series.


Remember when you were a child, when the entire world was new, and the smallest object a thing of wonder? Arleta Richardson remembered: the funny wearable wire contraption hidden in the dusty attic, the century-old schoolchild’s slate that belonged to Grandma, an ancient trunk filled with quilt pieces—each with its own special story—and the button basket, a miracle of mysteries. But best of all she remembered her remarkable grandmother who made magic of all she touched, bringing the past alive as only a born storyteller could.

So step inside the attic of Richardson’s grandmother. These stories will keep you laughing while teaching you valuable lessons. These marvelous tales faithfully recalled for the delight of young and old alike are a touchstone to another day when life was simpler, perhaps richer, and when the treasures of family life and love were passed from generation to generation by a child’s questions and the legends that followed enlarged our faith. These timeless stories were originally released in 1974 and then revised in 1999. They are being re-released with new artwork that will appeal to a new generation of girls.

Product Details:

In Grandma's Attic:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403790
ISBN-13: 978-0781403795


In Grandma’s Attic – Chapter 1

Pride Goes Before a Fall

“Grandma, what is this?”

Grandma looked up from her work. “Good lands, child, where did you find that?”

“In the attic,” I replied. “What is it, Grandma?”

Grandma chuckled and answered, “That’s a hoop. The kind that ladies wore under their skirts when I was a little girl.”

“Did you ever wear one, Grandma?” I asked.

Grandma laughed. “Indeed I did,” she said. “In fact, I wore that very one.”

Here, I decided, must be a story. I pulled up the footstool and prepared to listen. Grandma looked at the old hoop fondly.

“I only wore it once,” she began. “But I kept it to remind me how painful pride can be.”

I was about eight years old when that hoop came into my life. For months I had been begging Ma to let me have a hoopskirt like the big girls wore. Of course that was out of the question. What would a little girl, not even out of calicoes, be doing with a hoopskirt? Nevertheless, I could envision myself walking haughtily to school with the hoopskirt and all the girls watching enviously as I took my seat in the front of the room.

This dream was shared by my best friend and seatmate, Sarah Jane. Together we spent many hours picturing ourselves as fashionable young ladies in ruffles and petticoats. But try as we would, we could not come up with a single plan for getting a hoopskirt of our very own.

Finally, one day in early spring, Sarah Jane met me at the school grounds with exciting news. An older cousin had come to their house to visit, and she had two old hoops that she didn’t want any longer. Sarah Jane and I could have them to play with, she said. Play with, indeed! Little did that cousin know that we didn’t want to play with them. Here was the answer to our dreams. All day, under cover of our books, Sarah Jane and I planned how we would wear those hoops to church on Sunday.

There was a small problem: How would I get that hoop into the house without Ma knowing about it? And how could either of us get out of the house with them on without anyone seeing us? It was finally decided that I would stop by Sarah Jane’s house on Sunday morning. We would have some excuse for walking to church, and after her family had left, we would put on our hoops and prepare to make a grand entrance at the church.

“Be sure to wear your fullest skirt,” Sarah Jane reminded me. “And be here early. They’re all sure to look at us this Sunday!”

If we had only known how true that would be! But of course, we were happily unaware of the disaster that lay ahead.

Sunday morning came at last, and I astonished my family by the speed with which I finished my chores and was ready to leave for church.

“I’m going with Sarah Jane this morning,” I announced, and set out quickly before anyone could protest.

All went according to plan. Sarah Jane’s family went on in the buggy, cautioning us to hurry and not be late for service. We did have a bit of trouble fastening the hoops around our waists and getting our skirts pulled down to cover them. But when we were finally ready, we agreed that there could not be two finer-looking young ladies in the county than us.

Quickly we set out for church, our hoopskirts swinging as we walked. Everyone had gone in when we arrived, so we were assured the grand entry we desired. Proudly, with small noses tipped up, we sauntered to the front of the church and took our seats.

Alas! No one had ever told us the hazards of sitting down in a hoopskirt without careful practice! The gasps we heard were not of admiration as we had anticipated—far from it! For when we sat down, those dreadful hoops flew straight up in the air! Our skirts covered our faces, and the startled minister was treated to the sight of two pairs of white pantalets and flying petticoats.

Sarah Jane and I were too startled to know how to disentangle ourselves, but our mothers were not. Ma quickly snatched me from the seat and marched me out the door.

The trip home was a silent one. My dread grew with each step. What terrible punishment would I receive at the hands of an embarrassed and upset parent? Although I didn’t dare look at her, I knew she was upset because she was shaking. It was to be many years before I learned that Ma was shaking from laughter, and not from anger!

Nevertheless, punishment was in order. My Sunday afternoon was spent with the big Bible and Pa’s concordance. My task was to copy each verse I could find that had to do with being proud. That day I was a sorry little girl who learned a lesson about pride going before a fall.

“And you were never proud again, Grandma?” I asked after she finished the story.

Grandma thought soberly for a moment. “Yes,” she replied. “I was proud again. Many times. It was not until I was a young lady and the Lord saved me that I had the pride taken from my heart. But many times when I am tempted to be proud, I remember that horrid hoopskirt and decide that a proud heart is an abomination to the Lord!”

And now, Our Review:
In Grandma’s Attic is a delightful collection of twenty-one short stories. Each story features a first person narrative of a little girl’s time spent with her grandmother and the stories Grandma tells her about the “good old days” when she was young. Each tale illustrates the foibles we all experience growing up and happily concludes with Grandma passing on a valuable moral lesson about life and living.

Both Grandma and the little girl live in simpler times and the stories revolve around small town goings on, life on the farm, baking cookies, or new kittens. This aspect of the books is reminiscent of the Little House Series of books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The In Grandma’s Attic Series would be a wholesome introduction to reading for any young girl who’s at the age when she’s ready to begin reading on her own. They’d also provide an entertaining story time for younger children when read by Mom. The stories in this book are short enough that they could easily become a regular bedtime treat.

If you’re searching for wholesome reading material for the younger person in your life, I recommend you consider In Grandma’s Attic. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your daughter or granddaughter.
—E G Lewis

Friday, April 22, 2011

HEAVEN SENT by Xavier Leret

Heaven Sent is a love story, maybe; a coming of age story; a dark and gritty tale of England's dark and gritty streets; a pondering on the meaning of faith, love and forgiveness and the presence or absence of God; and a deeply absorbing read. It's definitely not an easy book to read—and not just because of Daisy’s well-rendered Bristol dialect. It’s not an easy book to put down either. It raises more questions about love than it answers, and leaves the reader deeply glad we’re not Carlo, and deeply thankful that Carlos still exist in a world of broken Daisys.

Carlo is a sixteen-year-old good Catholic boy from an overly good Catholic family in Bristol, England. Strict rules of duty and devotion have separated him from school friends, marking him as permanently different. But he doesn’t belong in his parents’ unquestioning world either. He wonders how God can be so perfectly trusted when He’s already shown us what He might do to His son, never mind a mortal sinner. And how can God be forgiving if there are parts of society too evil to be forgiven?

Daisy is a former foster child. Child prostitute, child of ill repute, she’s as much an outsider on the street corner as Carlo is. And, in her own way, she’s beautiful. Carlo is drawn to Daisy and Daisy finds herself drawn by his undemanding acceptance. But Carlo’s inept attempts first to help her, then to empathize with her, almost threaten their new-born friendship. Still, circumstances intervene and lead to a wild and dangerous chase across Southern England, reminiscent of Thelma and Louise told by English teens.

Does God send us just what we need in time of trouble? Perhaps He’s sent Daisy as a gift to Carlo, to introduce him to the world. After all, her tee-shirt does have the words “heaven sent” emblazoned across it. Or perhaps Daisy’s a gift to Carlo’s mother, to show her the error of her ways. Or perhaps, in the end, Carlo is the gift to Daisy, the one who, like God, sees through to the good in each of us, holding our hands when everyone else has turned away.

Heaven Sent tells of religious fervor masquerading as love, of physical need pretending affection, of familial duty calling itself mercy, and of true love disguised as forgiveness. It spares no punches, goes where no sixteen-year-old should go, and asks whatever questions come to mind. But it’s a powerful tale, heaven sent to take readers out of their comfort zones and make them think—maybe even show them love.  —Sheila Deeth

Disclosure: I received an ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 285 KB
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

INFINITE SPACE, INFINITE GOD II, editors Karina & Robert Fabian

This compilation of twelve science fiction stories had me hooked at the very first one. After reading Infinite Space, Infinite God II, I want to read the first book, Infinite Space, Infinite God I. The book’s Christian Catholic flavor serves to enhance the tales, making them moral and causing their futuristic spin to become more exotic.

The Ghosts of Kourion by Andrew M. Seddon is outstanding. So much so, that I immediately advised my husband to read it even before I read any of the others. He thought it was great too, and normally he’s not a sci-fi (speculative fiction) fan. This is an exceptionally well-told saga.

An archaeologist traveling into the past for study, encounters human emotions in himself he didn’t expect to deal with, and ends up making a difference in the lives of those who went before us. The fact that this story was inspired by an actual 1985 archaeological dig at Kourion, on Cyprus, where the skeleton of a young girl and her mule were uncovered, makes the story even more intriguing. Well written and extremely engaging.

Antivenin by Karina Fabian, pg 25. The author has chosen to write about rescue nuns in space, a fascinating concept. These good women go to the aide of a space ship in trouble and encounter a cargo of escaped, venomous snakes within it, endangering their own lives.

An Exercise in Logic by Barton Paul Levenson, pg 42. When all reason fails to convince aliens to save thousands of humans on New Canaan, what will convince them? Perhaps the tale of a tail? Tension builds with interesting description. Well worth reading.

Cathedral by Tamara Wilhite, pg 57. Genetically enhanced human geniuses suffer an early demise, but bring wealth to those who control them. Katerina learns the drugs she helped produce are addictive and evil, yet she finds a way to undo those wrongs before her death by producing “Cathedral.” Read the story to find out what it is and what it does. A thought provoking, futuristic tale.

Otherworld by Karina L. Fabian, pg 67. An interesting voyage into what minds might think and do in a cyber dimension. Take a fascinating trip into a surrealistic cyber world. Does sin really count when it's virtual?

The Battle of the Narthex by Alex Lobdell, pg 79. A very tall alien race is baffled by the sameness of “man” on a dozen different planets and quietly studies men on earth, trying to discover the answer. Meanwhile, an old alien soldier is charged with protecting a “small” member of their race who, with make-up to hide his gray skin, can move freely among the earthlings. The two form a special bond of affection, and when the boy’s life is threatened, an amazing “miracle” offers the old soldier a way to protect the young prince. Humor, excitement and futuristic devices will keep you reading to the end.

Tenniel by Colleen Drippe, pg 108. A bishop or a savage? This is the story of decisions hard made and hard lived with afterward. A Bishop decides it’s necessary to kill in order to save lives and win converts.

Tin Servants by J. Sherer, pg 122. In order to serve his people, Paul becomes an android--but can he really care for them as a tin servant?

Basilica by John Rundle, pg 141. Caprizo battles machines and thwarts an enemy armada to keep a doomsday weapon from their hands.

Cloned to Kill by Derwin Mak, pg 166. How can a man of peace protect a clone designed to kill?

Frankie Phones Home by Karina Fabian, pg 179. A sixteen-year-old alien abductee calls her family on the way back for official First Contact.

Dyads by Ken Pick and Alan Loewen, pg 183. Enter the fascinating culture of the Thalendri in a story of intrigue, terrorist and religious tolerance.

During this blog tour, the Kindle editions of both Infinite Space, Infinite God I & II will be on sale for just $2.99 at Twilight Times Books. See link below:

Twilight Times Books for InfiniteSpace, Infinite God II

Also available at for ebooks

That's When I Talk to God by Dan & Ali Morrow

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card authors are:

Dan and Ali Morrow

and Illustrated by

Cory Godbey

and the book:

That's When I Talk to God

David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Dan and Ali Morrow are parents of two wonderful daughters. When they’re not writing children’s books, they like to go on adventures around their Colorado home. They are the authors of That’s Where God Is (2010), their first children’s release.

Visit the authors' website.


Cory Godbey illustrates, animates, and writes for Portland Studios, a creative firm dedicated to telling great stories and pursuing excellence in art.

He has contributed to projects such as Zune Arts, Flight graphic novel anthologies, and has worked with many major publishers.

Recently, Cory was accepted in the acclaimed Society of Illustrators Annual.

Cory seeks to tell stories with his work.

He also likes drawing monsters.

Visit the illustrator'swebsite.


Targeted to children four to eight, That’s When I Talk to God mirrors the day of the typical child, creating an opportunity for readers to put the practices in the story to use in their own lives. Through beautiful illustrations and an engaging, familiar character, readers can relate to That’s When I Talk to God. Children will learn to go to God with their fears, their joys, their questions, and their desires. They will also learn the hows, whens, and whys of praying to the Lord in a way they can easily apply to their own experiences. And adults will be reminded to communicate the benefit, simplicity, and beauty of prayer.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 36 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434700186
ISBN-13: 978-1434700186

And now, our review:
Is there anything as sweet as a child's prayer? Our Lord told us that to enter the Kingdon of God we must become as little children...pure, innocent, trusting, and without guile. This book is designed to help youngsters appraoch God as a they would a friend, parent or grandparent. And to know that his power always surrounds them and he is available whenever and wherever they need Him. It's large-sized, picture format makes it a perfect Easter gift for the young person in your life. Highly recommended. —E G Lewis

Saturday, April 16, 2011

MINE IS THE NIGHT by Liz Curtis Higgs

I buy Liz Curtis Higgs' books just for the sheer joy of reading Liz Curtis Higgs. It really doesn't matter what she writes—well, it least it hasn't thus far (now don't go silly on me, Liz...)—it just matters that she writes. There, now that that's out of the way, let's get to the book.

First a disclaimer: I acknowledge that the cover—as nice as it is—puts my guy card in mortal danger. But if I can read this book on a Lifecycle at a military gym every afternoon and escape unscathed, y'all can cut me some slack, too.

Now, where was I? Oh, yes.

Of all Ms. Higgs' Scotland-series books, Mine is the Night was my favorite. The prequel, Here Burns My Candle, runs a close second, but Night is the clear winner. Picking up where Candle left off, Marjory Kerr, newly stripped of her nobility due to her support of the ill-fated Jacobite cause, flees Edinburgh to her hometown of Selkirk. With her is daughter-in-law Elizabeth Kerr, still in mourning from the loss of her husband in the battle at Fallkirk. With nowhere to go and nothing to her dishonored name, Marjorie finds a hostess in her cousin Anne, who begrudgingly takes them into her extremely modest dwelling.

Marjorie adapts her self-centered lifestyle to menial service in the home while Elizabeth supplements their meager income plying her needle and thread. Enter the Admiral Lord Jack Buchanan, Selkirk's newest resident, retired from a distinguished and highly profitable career in the service of King George's navy. Lord Buchanan needs a dressmaker to outfit his domestic staff, and Elizabeth needs work. What blossoms in the ensuing months of Elizabeth's employ to the Lord Admiral, though, is more than heather on the surrounding hills.

Lord Jack is immediately smitten by the lovely and graceful Elizabeth, and her interest in the dashing admiral grows equally as intense. Hindered by social propriety, the Kerrs' outlaw status as former supporters of Prince Charlie's rebellion, Elizabeth's prescribed year-long period of mourning, and their unwavering devotion to God and His expectations of them, the two must subdue their mutual attraction. But for how long? Ask Marjory, for she holds the key to their happiness. Suffice it to say that, in the end, God is honored. And those who honor Him, He blesses.

Those to whom Ms. Higgs has already endeared herself as a writer have no need of this review. They probably finished the book before I did. Those who enjoy a thoroughly satisfying story told by a master storyteller of the genre, but who've not yet had the joy of reading Liz Curtis Higgs—or even just this Liz Curtis Higgs work—are in for a treat. Really, really recommended; don't miss it.

WaterBrook was kind enough to send me a courtesy copy of Mine is the Night to review. Very thoughtful and greatly appreciated, but, honestly, I'd have purchased the book and reviewed it anyway.
—Bruce Judisch

Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (March 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400070023
ISBN-13: 978-1400070022

Thursday, April 14, 2011

GIVE THE LADY A RIDE by Linda W. Yezak

I’m usually not a big Christian Romance fan as they’re often tepid. That said, Give the Lady a Ride is not tepid. I found it to be a page turner and enjoyed it immensely. The four main characters, and all the supporting cast members, are extremely likeable.

Take two New York City socialites, have one inherit a Texas cattle ranch complete with handsome Christian cowboys, and you’ve got a mix that is bound to intrigue. The women are attracted to the cowboys and vice versa, but their lives are totally different. Add that the new owner wants to sell the ranch, and…well, you can imagine a conflict of one sort or another is going to result.

Patricia and Marie find faith, love and excitement galore in this fun novel, not to mention the ins and outs of bull riding. Talon and Chance provide the ladies with the promise of a future neither ever dreamed of.

Linda Yezak has woven her knowledge of cattle ranching into an exciting tale. When we read, we benefit from learning something, and this novel is filled with interesting facts about cattle ranching and rodeos — an enjoyable ride if there ever was one!

A delightful book that is highly recommended. We want to thank the author for providing us with a free review copy. —Gail Lewis

For more information, visit Linda's Website

Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: Port Yonder Press
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-935600-19-0

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

THE JOURNEY by Wanda E. Brunstetter

I once wondered what all the fuss was about regarding Amish romances, and must admit that The Journey is the first one I’ve read. I was surprised to find myself enjoying every page of it!

Wanda Brunstetter weaves an entertaining tale about an honest, down-to-earth culture of American citizens whose lifestyle is very appealing. Perhaps with the hustle and bustle of city life, many of us may long for a simple, moral existence like theirs…one which overlooks fancy trappings, values large families, encourages creative professions, supports individuals within the community, and upholds family traditions.

The hero, Titus, struggles to get over Phoebe, his first love, and finds his new love threatened upon Phoebe’s unexpected return. Will he choose Suzanne or Phoebe, and what should Suzanne do about it, if anything? Woven into the story is a mystery cache of money, a dilapidated old trailer, run away horses and more. Other family members and friends play crucial roles throughout the book and enhance the story as it moves between Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

As a cat lover – although it’s not the main conflict of the story – I particularly enjoyed how Ms. Brunstetter wove her heroine, Suzanne’s, cats into the story, and the effect they had on the cat-hating man who entered her life.

The Journey is a fun read from beginning to end, and is highly recommended. Thank you to Sharon Farnell at Planned Television Arts for providing us with an advance review copy.
—Gail Lewis
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (April 5, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602606811
ISBN-13: 978-1602606814

Monday, April 11, 2011

THE INVISIBLE WORLD by Anthony DeStefano

I’d be less than honest if I didn’t admit I hesitated when the opportunity to review Anthony DeStefano’s book The Invisible World came across my desk. I mean, what if it turned out to be some New-Age tome full of nonsense about ghosts and zombies, or crammed full of reports about extraterrestrial visits and alien abductions, or pseudo-science about the Earth Mother and metaphysics, or…or…

But in the end I decided to take the chance, and I’m certainly glad I did because the book was none of those things.

Instead, Mr. DeStefano presents a well thought out and thoroughly Christian analysis of the spiritual realities surrounding us. In so doing, he takes his readers on journey into the world of God, angels and demons, Heaven and Hell. And what an adventure it is. Delving deep into the Biblical and theological wisdom of the ages, he presents a logical and coherent explanation to many of those pesky little paradoxes that seem to torment us in the middle of the night.

I found The Invisible World interesting, enlightening, entertaining and morally uplifting. I can’t say enough good things about this book. It deserves more than a Five-Star rating and I highly recommend it.

We wish to thank B&B Media Group for providing us with a review copy and also allowing us the opportunity to have this short interview with The Invisible World’s author, Anthony DeStefano.

Q: The Invisible World is a book about understanding angels, demons, and the spiritual realities that surround us. In a world that is so visual, why tackle such a murky subject?

A: That’s really the whole point. What I tried in this book was attempt to render that spiritual world a bit less murky and a bit clearer for people. My hope is that, by doing this, these invisible realities won’t seem so unfamiliar in the future. And the more familiar they are, the easier it will be to understand them and to have absolute faith in their existence.

Q: What do you say to skeptics who believe the invisible spiritual world is just a superstition?

A: Quite the contrary. To me, the greatest superstition is what Deepak Chopra calls the “superstition of materialism.” That’s the superstition that says that everything in life—our ideas, our philosophies, our religions, our accomplishments, all our notions of honor and love and mercy and hope, all our art and music, all of the deepest mysteries of science and faith, all the longings of the human heart—is simply the result of the random dance of molecules in our brain! Now to me that is superstitious and a denial of logic!

One of the great things about the invisible realm is that you don’t have to be a “religious fanatic” or the follower of some cult to believe in it. You can be a level-headed pragmatist. You can be a realist. You can even be a cynic. You certainly don’t have to check your brains at the door before entering this world. And you don’t have to be afraid that deep thinking is going to nullify what you learn there. This book is not merely based on warm-hearted anecdotal evidence. Everything I talk about in this book is based on solid theology, informed by common sense and logic, and backed up by biblical scholarship and the universal teaching of the Christian church over the past two thousand years.

Q: If we are going to explore the invisible spiritual realm, how can we tell the phony from the authentically supernatural? Is there a way to be sure about what is real and what is superstition or even fraud?

A: It’s very difficult because the topic is so subjective. That’s why, in my book, I don’t indulge in wild speculation or relate hundreds of anecdotes and stories that may or may not be true. I stick to what has been revealed in Scripture and the authentic teaching of Christianity over twenty centuries. I feel strongly that, if I didn’t stay within these parameters, it would be too easy to drift into the worst kind of make-believe.

Q: What was the biggest insight you had during your research for The Invisible World?

A: The biggest insight for me was that when you look at the invisible world from the Christian perspective, it’s actually much more interesting and provocative than when you look at it from all the fictional and new-age perspectives you see in the majority of books being published. As everyone knows, there are many books out there on paranormal activity and ghosts and goblins and all the subjects Hollywood makes scary movies about. But the simple, age-old Christian teaching on angels, demons, the devil, grace, God, and what’s going to happen at the end of the world are so much more exciting and eerie. And what’s more—they are true. They are not make-believe. And you can really believe them.
—E. G. Lewis

Product Details:
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: 978-0-385-52223-6

Sunday, April 10, 2011

BLACK WIDOW by Sheila Deeth

Black Widow is an ebook I wanted to read and review because of the character, warrior queen Boudicca, whose historical fame is legendary. I was eager to see how Ms. Deeth would present her. This tale is viewed through the eyes of Boudicca’s mystical sorceress sister, NimuŃ‘, or Nimi.

The novella surprised me. No cold historic facts here. True, the backdrop is of an ancient Celtic culture that finds itself in conflict with invading Roman armies, but the real story revolves around Nimi, and her enchanted lover —her blue man — who goes unseen by everyone else, but plays an eerie role in the evolving story’s many conflicts.

A spellbinding tale of a sorceress whose skills both frighten and delight the people around her. Nimi’s unusual and sensual lover will keep you guessing, as will his interest in the crucified one and the disagreements between Nimi and her blue man.

After the death of Boudicca and her family, Nimi’s life becomes even more outlandish. Her daughter is introduced and eventually a granddaughter. However, all the sorcery and intrigue in that portion of the book is best left untold, to be discovered by the reader. Myth and reality merge faultlessly, creating a story-flow that will have you rushing forward to its unexpected, redemptive end.

Sheila Deeth is a gifted writer who has a magical way with words. She weaves powerful spells with her vivid descriptions…an author definitely worth following!
—Gail Lewis

Product Details:
Kindle: 53 KB
ebook novella:  33 pages
Publisher: Gypsy Shadow Publishing
Language: English

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Unforgivable by Tessa Stockton

This is one you won't soon forget—maybe ever forget.

Ms. Stockton has selected a major league topic for her debut novel, The Unforgivable. It's the one element of the Lord's Prayer Jesus considered worthy of commentary in Matthew 6. It's arguably the single-most difficult commandment the Christian has to deal with, and concept for the non-Christian to deal with. It's an issue that's inextricably enmeshed with other equally difficult problems of the heart, like, oh say, pride. Guessed it yet? Yup.

It's forgiveness. But wait a sec.

Ms. Stockton didn't tackle this heady issue on only one plane, which would be challenging enough. Oh, no. She laid before her readers forgiveness in its purest multifaceted form: intra-personal, inter-personal and multi-personal. How she goes about it is the joy of the ride.

Our heroine, Genevieve, is at a quilting convention and trade show in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with her best friend, Sally, and her new friend, Paloma, an Argentinean craftswoman. A chance encounter at a restaurant with a man, Carlos, sends her heart into palpitations and her friends into shock. The problem: Carlos is one of Argentina's most notorious figures, an ex-military officer blamed for horrible atrocities committed during the Dirty War of the late 70s and early 80s. Chastised for her foolishness by Sally, and harangued for insensitivity by Paloma, whose family suffered personally at the hands of men like Carlos, Genevieve still can't shake what she perceives behind the eyes of this gentleman with a very ungentle history. But she begins to spend more time with him, despite the protestations of her closest friends.

What unfolds is an emotional and spiritual rollercoaster ride for Genevieve, who doesn't dismiss the evidence against the man with whom she's falling in love, or excuse his past, but deals with them at the level on which God is leading her. For she believes God has brought them together. Through her exposure to this enigmatic man of sorrows, Genevieve not only gains a historical lesson in Argentina's Dirty War, but an even more valuable spiritual lesson in what it means to forgive against the backdrop of the seemingly unforgivable.

Ms. Stockton strikes a chord with an intensity few writers have dared to. Many have written about forgiveness; Tessa writes forgiveness. If this story doesn't make you evaluate your response to what is perhaps Christ's toughest commandment, then either you're ready for sainthood or your conscience has abandoned you.

This review is based upon an advance copy Ms. Stockton was kind enough to provide me. I guarantee you, though, having already read the story will not stop me from buying my own copy of the book the minute it comes out. Bravo to Ms. Stockton on a strong debut in the first installment of her "Wounds of South America" series.
—Bruce Judisch

Product Details:
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Risen Books (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936835002
ISBN-13: 978-1936835003

Sunday, April 3, 2011

THE SACRED JOURNEY by Charles Foster

This is undoubtedly the most difficult review I have ever written. We were provided a free copy for review by Thomas Nelson, and I began The Sacred Journey full of optimism and eager anticipation. In short order I grew disappointed, then outright angry. Feeling the need to justify this position, I provide four examples.

First. I am well aware Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists make pilgrimages. However, as a Christian, I have very little interest in them. Just as I am fairly certain they could care less how many people visit Lourdes or Fatima. It was my understanding the Ancient Practices Series dealt with Ancient Christian practices. I found the book’s treatment of Christianity as one in a group of more or less generic religious traditions to be bothersome.

Second. In addition to containing factual errors, the book is frequently irreverent. I found the reference to Jesus Christ as Yahweh Man extremely offensive. Call me a stickler, but I was also troubled by the reference to the Sudarium as “the veil Veronica used to wipe the face of Jesus.” The Sudarium (Strong G4676) in Oviedo, Spain refers to the cloth that covered Jesus’ face in the tomb. “…and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself.” John 20:7. Veronica’s Veil, meanwhile, resides in a special chapel within St. Peter's Basilica and is brought out once a year on the 5th Sunday of Lent, Passion Sunday.

And to speak of the Eucharist, or The Lord’s Supper, as a celebration of a shared meal is to completely misunderstand its sacramental nature. A carry-in potluck supper is a celebration of a shared meal. The Lord’s Supper is, at its least, a perpetual memorial to his sacrificial death, and to many, the body and blood of Christ.

Third. Excluding trips to the Holy Land, most pilgrimage destinations are Catholic sites. It strikes me as disingenuous for a book dealing with what is predominantly a Catholic phenomenon, to turn into an Anti-Catholic rant.

Fourth. The narrative tone throughout the book is flippant, and packed with pseudo cleverness indicative of someone who is full of himself. I would expect a book of this nature to have been written by a theologian or a Church historian. Why they chose a lawyer who is obviously unqualified, is beyond my understanding.

The Sacred Journey is strongly NOT recommended.
— E. G. Lewis

Product Details:
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780849946097
ISBN-13: 978-0849946097