Monday, November 28, 2011

My Favorite Bible - giveaway

With the vibrant illustrations and engaging text in this Bible storybook, you can enjoy sharing the best-loved stories of the Bible with the children in your life and encourage a life-long love for the Word of God. My Favorite Bible is a book of exciting Bible stories and activity pages that guide children through the foundational truths of Scripture.

Each story is fully illustrated and includes a simple narrative full of things kids love: repetition, rhythm, and energy, along with a key biblical theme, a key Bible verse, and discussion questions to help adults introduce children to the Bible.

The colorful illustrations will capture the imaginations of children ages 4–8, and the stories will help adults to pass along the most important truth in life—the Gospel. Families will cherish this time as they read, listen, learn, and love, growing closer to one another even as they grow closer to God.

Now for the giveaway.  The Publishers and authors of My Favorite Bible would like to give away one copy to one of my readers.  This would make a great Christmas gift for that young person on your Christmas list or parents/grandparents of young children.

************ GIVEAWAY RULES  ************

1.  Giveaway is open to US, Canada & International

2.  No PO Boxes please.

3.  You MUST be a follower of my blog (please be sure to leave the name you follow under in your comment)

4.  For extra entries you may do one or all of the following:
    -- become an email subscriber +1
    -- invite a friend to become a follower of my blog.  If they become a follower & mention your name, you will both receive 2 extra entries

5. Include an email address where I can reach you if you are selected as the winner of this giveaway.  Please enter your email address in this format    winner[at]yahoo[dot]com

Giveaway will run through December 11th and the winner will be selected using Random.Org.  I will then email the winner to secure their mailing address & I will forward their address to the publisher so they can mail your book.

For giveaways on other blogs please go to Winning Readings at

Smiles & Blessings,

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Attracted to Fire by DiAnn Mills - a review

DiAnn Mills has created another winner with Attracted to Fire.  On a remote Texas ranch, the Dancin' Dust, Ms Mills brings together two very dedicated Special Agents.  They are both vying for the same assignment - to protect the President of the United States.  Special Agent In Charge, Ash Zinders, does not want a woman agent on his team.  From the start, Special Agent Meghan Connors gets under his skin.  First because she's a female agent and then because she's a very attractive woman.  Their job is to protect the Vice President's daughter at all costs.  Connors and Zinders are two agents focused on getting the job done.  I found it enjoyable watching their hearts soften towards each other while still doing their jobs.  There are several twists and turns in the story making you guess right up until the end.  I did figure things out half way through but it was fun watching the story unfold.

Ms. Mills did not pound you over the head with Scripture but the subtle mentions of faith laced through the story was refreshing.  I enjoyed watching Meghan grow in her faith as the story unfolded.

This is a wonderful story of suspense, love and faith that I would highly recommend.

On a 5 Star scale:  4 1/2 Stars

 I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for my complimentary copy of Attracted to Fire.  I received it free to read and give my honest opinion which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Common English Bible Blog Tour & a Chance to Get Your Own Copy

I have joined the Common English Bible (CEB) blog tour.  It is a tour that will span three months and it's purpose is to introduce you, my readers, to a new 'easy to understand' version of the Bible.  From now until the end of January I will be posting verses from this Bible.  Each week that I post something about this Bible, you my readers will have an opportunity to win a copy of this Bible for yourself.  All you need to do is leave a post on the blog that either has a posting about the Bible, or a verse from the Bible.  It's that easy.  Then each week, I will draw a name using and I will contact the winner for their mailing address so I can submit it to the publishers of the Common English Bible.  It's that easy!

One of my favorite verses from the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11.  The following is the verse from the CEB.
"I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the LORD; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope."

The verse that my blog is titled for is Philippians 4:13.  From the CEB is reads, "I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength.

This Bible would make a wonderful gift for anyone during this Christmas season.  If you would like to learn more about this Bible please follow any of the links below:

Facebook Group Page:
Facebook Bible Like Page:

Don't forget to leave a post letting me know if you'd like the chance to win a copy of the CEB for yourself~

Smiles & Blessings,

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner - Review & Giveaway

Do I have a special book to offer you!  Whether you love Historical Christian Romantic Fiction or not you will absolutely love A Sound Among the Trees.  I guarantee it.  This is a book that transports you to modern day Virginia and quickly transports you to the Civil War era by way of letters.  It was a wonderful read that I highly recommend.

On a 5-Star scale I give this book 5-Stars!

I would like to thank Laura Tucker with Random House and the First Wild Card Tour for my review copy.  I received it for free in exchange for my honest review.  Also, I would like to thank Laura Tucker for the extra copy she sent to me to offer one of my readers.

************ NEW GIVEAWAY RULES  ************

1.  Giveaway is open to US and Canada

2.  No PO Boxes please.

3.  You MUST be a follower of my blog (please be sure to leave the name you follow under in your comment)

4.  For extra entries you may do one or all of the following:
    -- become an email subscriber +1
    -- invite a friend to become a follower of my blog.  If they become a follower & mention your name, you will both receive 2 extra entries

5. Include an email address where I can reach you if you are selected as the winner of this giveaway.  Please enter your email address in this format    winner[at]yahoo[dot]com

To make sure your entry counts, please answer the following question:

What do you love best about Thanksgiving or the Autumn months

Giveaway will run through December 3rd and the winner will be selected using Random.Org

For giveaways on other blogs please go to Winning Readings at

Smiles & Blessings,

First Wild Card Tour - A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

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:

WaterBrook Press (October 4, 2011)
***Special thanks to Laura Tucker of WaterBrook Press for sending me a review copy.***


Award-winning writer Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker and workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include The Shape of Mercy, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the Best Books of 2008. She is a pastor’s wife and a mother of four. When she's not writing, Susan directs the Small Groups and Connection Ministries program at her San Diego church.

Visit the author's website.


A house shrouded in time. A line of women with a heritage of loss. As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn't believe that Susannah's ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.

When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband's home, it isn't long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.

With Adelaide's richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak— and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (October 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307458857
ISBN-13: 978-0307458858

My Review:

Susan Meissner is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.  The words she weaves into her wonderful tales are lyrical.  Her characters are real and her settings, well let's just say I am transported into her stories and journey through time and space back into the past.  A Sound Among the Trees  was a magical trip to a beautiful plantation home in Virginia, during present day and during the Civil War period.  I could hardly put the book down and hated to turn that last page.

If you love Christian fiction and stories split between two eras, you will absolutely love A Sound Among the Trees.  I guarantee it.

On a 5-Star scale I give this book 5-Stars!

I would like to thank Laura Tucker with Random House and the First Wild Card Tour for my review copy.  I received it for free in exchange for my honest review.



     The bride stood in a circle of Virginia sunlight, her narrow heels clicking on Holly Oak’s patio stones as she greeted strangers in the receiving line. Her wedding dress was a simple A-line, strapless, with a gauzy skirt of white that breezed about her knees like lacy curtains at an open window. She had pulled her unveiled brunette curls into a loose arrangement dotted with tiny flowers that she’d kept alive on her flight from Phoenix. Her only jewelry was a white topaz pendant at her throat and the band of platinum on her left ring finger. Tall, slender, and tanned from the famed and relentless Arizona sun, hers was a girl-nextdoor look: pretty but not quite beautiful. Adelaide thought it odd that Marielle held no bouquet.

     From the parlor window Adelaide watched as her grandson-in-law, resplendent in a black tuxedo next to his bride, bent toward the guests and greeted them by name, saying, “This is Marielle.” An explanation seemed ready to spring from his lips each time he shook the hand of someone who had known Sara, her deceased granddaughter. His first wife. Carson stood inches from Marielle, touching her elbow every so often, perhaps to assure himself that after four years a widower he had indeed patently and finally moved on from grief.
Smatterings of conversations wafted about on the May breeze and into the parlor as received guests strolled toward trays of sweet tea and champagne. Adelaide heard snippets from her place at the window. Hudson and Brette, her great-grandchildren, had moved away from the snaking line of gray suits and pastel dresses within minutes of the first guests’ arrival and were now studying the flower-festooned gift table under the window ledge, touching the bows, fingering the silvery white wrappings. Above the children, an old oak’s youngest branches shimmied to the tunes a string quartet produced from the gazebo beyond the receiving line.
Adelaide raised a teacup to her lips and sipped the last of its contents, allowing the lemony warmth to linger at the back of her throat. She had spent the better part of the morning readying the garden for Carson and Marielle’s wedding reception, plucking spent geranium blossoms, ordering the catering staff about, and straightening the rented linen tablecloths. She needed to join the party now that it had begun. The Blue-Haired Old Ladies would be wondering where she was.
Her friends had been the first to arrive, coming through the garden gate on the south side of the house at five minutes before the hour. She’d watched as Carson introduced them to Marielle, witnessed how they cocked their necks in blue-headed unison to sweetly scrutinize her grandson-in-law’s new wife, and heard their welcoming remarks through the open window.
Deloris gushed about how lovely Marielle’s wedding dress was and what, pray tell, was the name of that divine purple flower she had in her hair?
Pearl invited Marielle to her bridge club next Tuesday afternoon and asked her if she believed in ghosts.
Maxine asked her how Carson and she had met—though Adelaide had told her weeks ago that Carson met Marielle on the Internet—and why on earth Arizona didn’t like daylight-saving time.
Marielle had smiled, sweet and knowing—like the kindergarten teacher who finds the bluntness of five-year-olds endearing—and answered the many questions.

     Mojave asters. She didn’t know how to play bridge. She’d never encountered a ghost so she couldn’t really say but most likely not. She and Carson met online. There’s no need to save what one has an abundance of. Carson had cupped her elbow in his hand, and his thumb caressed the inside of her arm while she spoke.

     Adelaide swiftly set the cup down on the table by the window, whisking away the remembered tenderness of that same caress on Sara’s arm.

     Carson had every right to remarry.

     Sara had been dead for four years.

     She turned from the bridal tableau outside and inhaled deeply the gardenia-scented air in the parlor. Unbidden thoughts of her granddaughter sitting with her in that very room gently nudged her. Sara at six cutting out paper dolls. Memorizing multiplication tables at age eight. Sewing brass buttons onto gray wool coats at eleven. Sara reciting a poem for English Lit at sixteen, comparing college acceptance letters at eighteen, sharing a chance letter from her estranged mother at nineteen, showing Adelaide her engagement ring at twenty-four. Coming back home to Holly Oak with Carson when Hudson was born. Nursing Brette in that armchair by the fireplace. Leaning against the door frame and telling Adelaide that she was expecting her third child.

     Right there Sara had done those things while Adelaide sat at the long table in the center of the room, empty now but usually awash in yards of stiff Confederate gray, glistening gold braid, and tiny piles of brass buttons—the shining elements of officer reenactment uniforms before they see war.

     Adelaide ran her fingers along the table’s polished surface, the warm wood as old as the house itself. Carson had come to her just a few months ago while she sat at that table piecing together a sharpshooter’s forest green jacket. He had taken a chair across from her as Adelaide pinned a collar, and he’d said he needed to tell her something.

     He’d met someone.

     When she’d said nothing, he added, “It’s been four years, Adelaide.”

     “I know how long it’s been.” The pins made a tiny plucking sound as their pointed ends pricked the fabric.

     “She lives in Phoenix.”

     “You’ve never been to Phoenix.”

     “Mimi.” He said the name Sara had given her gently, as a father might. A tender reprimand. He waited until she looked up at him. “I don’t think Sara would want me to live the rest of my life alone. I really don’t. And I don’t think she would want Hudson and Brette not to have a mother.”

     “Those children have a mother.”

     “You know what I mean. They need to be mothered. I’m gone all day at work. I only have the weekends with them. And you won’t always be here. You’re a wonderful great-grandmother, but they need someone to mother them, Mimi.”

     She pulled the pin cushion closer to her and swallowed. “I know they do.”

     He leaned forward in his chair. “And I…I miss having someone to share my life with. I miss the companionship. I miss being in love. I miss having someone love me.”

     Adelaide smoothed the pieces of the collar. “So. You are in love?”

     He had taken a moment to answer. “Yes. I think I am.”

     Carson hadn’t brought anyone home to the house, and he hadn’t been on any dates. But he had lately spent many nights after the children were in bed in his study—the old drawing room—with the door closed. When she’d pass by, Adelaide would hear the low bass notes of his voice as he spoke softly into his phone. She knew that gentle sound. She had heard it before, years ago when Sara and Carson would sit in the study and talk about their day. His voice, deep and resonant. Hers, soft and melodic.

     “Are you going to marry her?”

     Carson had laughed. “Don’t you even want to know her name?”

     She had not cared at that moment about a name. The specter of being alone in Holly Oak shoved itself forward in her mind. If he remarried, he’d likely move out and take the children with him. “Are you taking the children? Are you leaving Holly Oak?”


     “Will you be leaving?”

     Several seconds of silence had hung suspended between them. Carson and Sara had moved into Holly Oak ten years earlier to care for Adelaide after heart surgery and had simply stayed. Ownership of Holly Oak had been Sara’s birthright and was now Hudson and Brette’s future inheritance. Carson stayed on after Sara died because, in her grief, Adelaide asked him to, and in his grief, Carson said yes.

     “Will you be leaving?” she asked again.

     “Would you want me to leave?” He sounded unsure.

     “You would stay?”

     Carson had sat back in his chair. “I don’t know if it’s a good idea to take Hudson and Brette out of the only home they’ve known. They’ve already had to deal with more than any kid should.”

     “So you would marry this woman and bring her here. To this house.”

     Carson had hesitated only a moment. “Yes.”

     She knew without asking that they were not talking solely about the effects moving would have on a ten-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl. They were talking about the strange biology of their grief. Sara had been taken from them both, and Holly Oak nurtured their common sorrow in the most kind and savage of ways. Happy memories were one way of keeping someone attached to a house and its people. Grief was the other. Surely Carson knew this. An inner nudging prompted her to consider asking him what his new bride would want.

     “What is her name?” she asked instead.

     And he answered, “Marielle…”
Excerpted from A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner Copyright © 2011 by Susan Meissner. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh - a review

From the inside cover of Remembering Christmas:

"Rick Denton lives his life on his terms.  He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one.  So when his mother calls begging him to come home after his stepfather has an aneurysm, Rick is more than a little reluctant.  What was supposed to be just a couple days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and dealing with the homeless guy who keeps hanging around the store.  The one bright spot is the lovely and intriguing young woman who works at his side each day.

As Christmas nears, Rick's old life beckons, the hurts from his past loom large, and the decisions he makes will determine more than just where he spends Christmas Eve."

My Thoughts:

Remembering Christmas is a story of forgiveness, restoration, and love.  I must say, Mr. Walsh knows how to weave a story that will grab the reader by their heartstrings.  I shed a few tears during the course of reading this book.  

Chapter One begins during the present day and by Chapter Two you are taken back to 1980 where the story truly begins and continues until the final chapter which brings you back to present day.  Remembering Christmas has some unexpected turns along the way but I guarantee you, the journey will be worth your time.  

I have read that Dan Walsh's work has been compared with the work of Nicholas Sparks, while I haven't read any of Mr. Sparks books, I have seen most of the movies that have been based on his books.  I can see a similarity and I believe that Remembering Christmas would make a wonderful seasonal film. I hope Hollywood takes notice.

I love to read Christmas themed stories so when I had the opportunity to review Dan Walsh's Remembering Christmas, I jumped at the chance. This was my first experience in reading any of Mr. Walsh's work but I will definitely read more of his books in the future.

I highly suggest Remembering Christmas and rank it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Donna Hausler with Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group for my copy of Remembering Christmas.  I received my copy for free in order to read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

*Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.*

Smiles & Blessings,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

From This Day Forward by Margaret Daley - a review

I was first introduced to Margaret Daley's work through the Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense line of books. With each book I've read, I have found her characters so believable that they almost walk off the pages into your life.  She has a wonderful knack of drawing her readers in and captivating them until the very last page.

Ms. Daley's first historical novel, From This Day Forward, was a wonderful trip back in time.  I was taken back to the period following the War of 1812 and was held captive from the very first page when newly widowed, Rachel Gordon, finds herself far from her English home and with child.  She and her maid, Maddy, are on a journey to there new home in Virginia when a storm develops and their horse gets spooked overturning their cart.  Shortly after Dr. Nathan Stuart ventures by and comes to their rescue.  Little does he know this is the beginning of an adventure that will draw him out of his solitary existence.

 From This Day Forward is a story of love, determination and a little suspense.  Believe me you won't be able to put this book down.  Ms. Daley has created a well written work of historical fiction and I look forward to many more books from her in this genre.

On a Five-Star scale - 5 Stars!!!!!

I would like to thank Margaret Daley and the publishers at Summerside Press for my review copy.  I received  my copy for free to read and offer my honest review which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,