Monday, June 1, 2009

Saints In Limbo Blog Book Tour

Ever since her husband Joe died, Velma True's world has been limited to what she can see while clinging to one of the multicolored threads tied to the porch railing of her home outside Echo, Florida.

When a mysterious stranger appears at her door on her birthday and presents Velma with a special gift, she is rattled by the object's ability to take her into her memories--a place where Joe still lives, her son Rudy is still young, unaffected by the world's hardness, and the beginning is closer than the end. As secrets old and new come to light, Velma wonders if it's possible to be unmoored from the past's deep roots and find a reason to hope again.

While this book is an easy read and draws the reader into the activities of the characters, this reviewer would give a word of caution. This is a fictional book but not one I would recommend as Christian fiction, as it is in the same "spirit" as necromancy, which is dealing with the dead.

Author's Bio: RIVER JORDAN is a critically acclaimed novelist and playwright whose unique mixture of southern and mystic writing has drawn comparisons to Sarah Addison Allen, Leif Enger, and Flannery O'Connor. Her previous works include The Messenger of Magnolia Street, lauded by Kirkus Reviews as "a beautifully written, atmospheric tale." She speaks around the country and makes her home in Nashville.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Night Watchman Blog Tour

Ray Quinn is a tough, quick-witted homicide detective in love with his partner, Trisha Willis. She gives Ray something to live for--something to hope in. Until a barrage of bullets leaves Trisha murdered and Ray crippled.

Struggling with his new physical disability and severe depression, Quinn turns to whiskey, scorn, and a job as a night watchman to numb the pain. But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in an apparent murder-suicide, the pastor's sister approaches Quinn for help.

Reluctantly, Quinn takes the case and is plunged into the perilous Orlando. Soon he discovers that, not only was the pastor murdered, but the case may be linked to his and Trisha's ambush. Torn between seeking revenge or responsibility, Quinn is thrust into the case of his life.

Author Mark Mynheir gives readers his most profound police thriller to date with The Night Watchman [first book in The Night Watchman Private Detective Agency Series]. Readers of all ages will devour this gripping murder mystery that bristles with tension and intrigue. In a taut cop-style all his own, Mynheir delivers an inside look at the thoughts, feelings, fears, and challenges police officers experience while investigating violent crimes and the lost souls who commit them.

Mynheir's descriptions of characters, scenes, and dialogue are delightful to read. It makes the reader really be "at the scene". Masterful and I can't wait to get more books in this series. This is one of the few books that I have read cover to cover with hardly any breaks.

Author Bio:
A detective with the Criminal Investigations Unit of the Palm Bay Police Department, Mark Mynheir investigates violent crimes and writes riveting Christian fiction. A U.S. Marine with a passion for martial arts and firearms training, Mark has worked on narcotics units, SWAT teams, and myraid high-risk situations. His four novels offer a realisic glimpse into the gritty world of law enforcement and the rarely seen raw emotions behind the badge. Mark lives in Florida with his wife and three children.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Put Your Dream To The Test / John C. Maxwell

In this newest leadership book from John C. Maxwell, leads the reader through a well-considered plan for the reader sto see the necessary steps to successful transitions.

If you're familiar with Maxwell's other leadership series or books, this will probably not be new to you but for the beginner asking the questions how to see your vision, develop a plan, and execute for success, this will be a great starting point, giving you an ah ha moment when you complete your reading.

He points out that many people can get an idea, and perhaps the vision of what it looks like, but never realize what it feels like to achieve. There are certainly points of challenges. Maxwell demonstrates how to quench your fears, and how to provide a service while filling in a needed gap in society.

The ten questions asked and answered are:
  • Is my dream really my dream?
  • Do I clearly see my dream?
  • Am I depending on factors within my control to achieve my dream?
  • Does my dream compel me to follow it?
  • Do I have a strategy to reach my dream?
  • Have I included the people I need to realize my dream?
  • Am I willing to pay the price for y dream?
  • Am I moving closer to my dream?
  • Does working toward my dream bring satisfaction
  • Does my dream benefit others?
This is clearly a list of questions every entrepreneur or leader needs to ask from time-to-time. If you don't have the answers or need to develop a plan, then this is a book to help you achieve your dream success now.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Dear Mom / Mama's Got a Fake I.D. Blog Tour

Every mom knows how communicating with a teenage girl cn be difficult, even impossible at times. One-word answers. defensive conversations. Daily arguments. How typical for teens to put up with barriers. All the while, moms truly long to know what their daughters really think.

Best-selling author Melody Carlson, whose books for women, teens, and children have sold more than three million copies, bridges this chasm with trusted insight. She speaks frankly in the voice of the teen daughters she's written for and she tells it like it is: struggles with identify, guys, friendship, and even parents--it's all here. The straight-talk to moms covers such things as "I need you, but you can't make me admit it," "I'm not as confident as I appear," and "I have friends. I need a mother."

Instead of focusing on outward behaviors, Dear Mom looks at a young woman's heart and reveals to moms:
  • how to talk to teens so they hear,
  • how to connect despite the differences of perspective or years and experiences,
  • and how to strengthen the bond every mom and daughter ultimately wants.
The lively chapters in Dear Mom can be dipped into topically or used as a read-through tool by moms and daughters alike to understand what motivates or deflates, troubles or inspires--and just in time for Mother's Day and all the Mother's Days ahead.

Author's Bio:
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than one hundred books for adults, children, and teens, with sales totaling more than three million copies. Beloved for her Diary of a Teenage Girl and Notes from a Spinning Planet series, she's also the author of the women's novels Finding Alice (in production now for a Lifetime-IV movie), Crystal Lies, On This Day, These Boots Weren't Made for Walking, and A Mile in My Flip-Flops. A mother of tow grown sons, Melody lives in central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. She's a full-time writer and an avid gardner, biker, skier, and hiker.

Dear Mom:

Mama's Got A Fake I.D.

Formula for identity loss:
  1. Take one multifaceted, intriguing human being
  2. Bless her with a child
  3. Mix with today's cultural assumptions
  4. Add the demands of motherhood
  5. Presto! all identity escept Mom disappers
For every woman wondering what hapened to the unique combination of gifts and abilities she was knwon for beforekids came long. Caryn Dahistrand Rivedeneira has good news: in Mama;s Got a Fake I.D. Rivendeneira helps moms reclaim their full identity as creative beings, gifted professionals and volunteers, loving friends, children of God--and mothers.

This inspiring and practical guide shows women how to break free from false guilt, learn a new language to express who they really are, and follow God's lead in sharing their true self with others. After all, motherhood doesn't have to mean losing one's identityu. Instead, being a mom makes it possible for a woman to discover a more complete identity as the person God made her to be.

Author Bio:
The former managing editor of Marriage Partnership and Christian Parenting Today, Caryn Dahistrand Rivedeneira has been a trusted voice writing and spreaking to women for more than a decade. Today she is the managing editor of on line ommunity for Christian women in leadership. Rivadeneira works from home in the Chicago suburbs, where she lives with her husband and their three children.

Mama’s Got a Fake I.D.:

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Mormon Mirage

The Mormon Mirage by Latayne C. Scott is not just a book, it is most decisively a mini encyclopedia of Mormon history and insights. When LaTayne asked me to review this new edition of her massive work I thought, "why not." The depth to which she has gone in finding historical documents is amazing. And for me, a former Mormon it was a look back into a life that I too left with "sadness".

Latayne was once an ardent proponent of Mormonism. But a meticulous examination of Latter-day Saint (LDS) doctrines and practices convinced her that she and countless others had believed a lie. In the first edition of The Mormon Mirage, she shared her remarkable journey out of Mormonism as she uncovered shocking inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and contradictions in the faith she had loved and lived.

Thirty years later, Mormonism and Mormon scholarship have evolved with the times. In this third, revised and updated edition of her well-known book, Latayne keeps pace with the changes and advances in Mormonism, and reveals formidable new challenges to LDS claims and teachngs.

The first major change to strike me were terms such as Internet Mormons and Chapel Mormons. It is noted that those who get information from the Internet have a different approach and understanding of the Mormon faith than those who only have an understanding from the weekly chapel services.
  • There is a wonderful chronology of events from the era of Joseph Smith to the present
  • Historical statements from the general authorities stating that they were sorry for some of the statements made regarding previous "prophesy" which were now being changed
  • Exhaustive searches by archeologists and historians for artifacts or confirmation for anything in the Book of Mormon which would confirm that the people, places, and events actually took place
  • Subtle changes such as the Native American Indian previously was to change to a white(r) skin tone if they remained true to the teachings but was changed to a pure race
  • During the recent past the scrolls which were supposed to confirm doctrine, have been shown by experts to not have anything in agreement
  • Why did large numbers of Japanese members suddenly leave, including leadership?
But above all and besides all, the fact remains that the Jesus that died on Calvary and was resurrected said that the Kingdom of God was established on the earth, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. If this is truth as written in the Bible, then the Book of Mormon and its doctrine is questioned since it states that the Kingdom that Jesus brought to the earth was taken away for over 1,700 years and was re-established under Joseph Smith.

There are just too many notable events to list them all. This is a book not to be taken lightly, nor is it a book that bashes a religion but gives insights based on Mormon doctrine and changes throughout its history. For me, it was fascinating to find answers to things I had heard as a child but to actually read it as history was wonderful.

Author's Bio:
Latayne C. Scott was a happy and faithful Mormon for ten years, attending Brigham Young University on a writing scholarship and working as a staff member for two of BYU's weekly magazines. She is the author of thirteen published books, including The Mormon Mirge, Why We Left Mormonism, and After Mormonism, What? Her recently published first fiction work, Latter-day Cipher is a hit on She has also published rticles and poems in secular magazines and in major Christian magaizines, and is the recipient of Pepperdine University's "Distinguished Christian Service Award" for her writing. Latayne is a representational thinker and a full-time writer, living in New Mexico with her husband of thirty-five years, and has two married children. Her Web sites are and

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Noticer by Andy Andrews

Andy Andrews new book "The Noticer" is a work of love from his very personal life experiences. Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town but the impact of one person on the whole citizenship is amazing. We keep hearing that one person can make a difference, but Andrews actually put it in perspective so we can actually see how it can be put into practice.

The central character in the book is a man named Jones, just Jones, no mister or sir. He has an uncanny knack of meeting people at the just right time for just the right purpose, when they need a friend. That's someone we could all use from time-to-time.

We are introduced to several people along the way:

There is the Wayward, the Lover Lost, the Worrier, the Lustful Youth, the Workaholic, and the Useless.

Each of us can find ourselves in the book at any given point. Perhaps we can find portions of our life in several instances as we move along the highway of life. But the object is to not just see ourselves but to see how we have overcome, to recognize the needs of other people to whom we can speak and encourage through our own experiences and residual knowledge.

For those of us who have lived a pretty lengthy life and experienced many things, it is a great look at where we may have been, where some of our friends currently are, and a perspective on how we can do friendly intervention. Younger adults and teens can glean some interesting points inside of a really easy to read and entertaining book.

One of the parts I really enjoyed are the pages of questions at the end where we can do a personal review, or even use it in a group sifting through the characteristics. Being a recovered workaholic, I saw so much of my life, do-do-do and do-it-now. But it all starts with Andy, the Wayward Youth whose parents have passed on, or as he describes it, they died. What an interesting point of discussion--have things in your life died or passed on? I had to do some real introspection on that question.

But the central character, Jones, explains that he has what is called "a little perspective," a gift of noticing things that others miss. In this simple interactions, Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what they can do about it. The Noticer is based on a remarkable true story that is beautifully blended with fiction, allegory, and inspiration.

Words help us define us. In the bullet point list above do you identify with any of the points that are woven within the story of this delightful book?

I hope you will be encouraged to read The Noticer, and then become one yourself. We all win when others take notice, can speak encouragement to us, and take a genuine interest. Perhaps the way society has become cold and uninteresting to so many is because people have stopped caring, sharing and just taking notice of their surroundings.

Author Bio:

Andy Andrews, hailed by a New York Times reporter as someone who has "quietly become one of the most influential people in America," is a best-selling novelist and in-demand corporate speaker for the world's largest organizations. He has spoken at the request of four different U. S. Presidents and at military bases world-wide. Andy is also the author of The Traveler's Gift, The Lost Choice, Island of Saints and Return to Sawyerton Springs. He lives in Orange Beach, Alabama, with his wife Polly and their two sons.

Product Information:

ISBN: 0785229213
ISBN-13: 9780785229216

Available on

Thursday, April 23, 2009

God Only Knows - Xavier Knight Wild Card Book Tour

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:

God Only Knows

Grand Central Publishing (March 23, 2009)


Xavier Knight is the Christian fiction pen name for C. Kelly Robinson. He is a native of Dayton, Ohio and magna cum laude graduate of Howard University and Washington University in St. Louis. Robinson is a marketing communications manager by day and has a long record of volunteer experience across organizations including United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mentor St. Louis, and Student Venture Ministries. Author of five previous novels including the best-selling No More Mr. Nice Guy and the critically acclaimed Between Brothers (Random House), he lives outside Dayton with his wife and daughter. He is hard at work on his next novel and on a nonfiction project.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 23, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446582395
ISBN-13: 978-0446582391


Two Decades Later

Chapter One

For the first time she could remember in years, Cassandra Gillette felt like a woman fulfilled. Freshly showered, she sat before the laptop PC in her spacious dressing room, checking email. She had another hour at least before her newly-built luxury home would be overrun by her family; her husband Marcus had gone to pick up their twelve-year-old twins, Heather and Hillary, from a friend’s birthday party out in Middletown. In addition, her seventeen-year-old son, Marcus Jr., was still seven hours away from his midnight curfew.

“There is so much to be thankful for,” Cassie whispered to God, letting her words ring through the quiet of her master suite.
This was not the average lazy Saturday afternoon; for the first time in nearly four months, Cassie had made love to her

Their separation had gotten off to a fiery start, but as tempers cooled and nights passed, God had brought Cassie and Marcus back together. Marcus had quickly tired of Veronica, the twenty-something news anchor who had welcomed him into her condo, and Cassie’s eyes had been opened. When her best girlfriend Julia confronted her, she had finally realized how her actions in recent years had starved Marcus of the respect and affirmation that even the strongest man needed.

So it was that after several late-night telephone calls and a Starbucks “date” hidden from their children, Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Gillette had decided to get up off the mat and keep the promises they made before God seventeen years earlier, a few months after M.J.’s arrival. They had agreed to surprise the children with news of their reconciliation tonight, but with the house empty this afternoon, the couple had started a private celebration. The house was new enough that aside from the master bedroom, their frisky activity had “christened” the kitchen’s marble-topped island, the leather couch in the finished basement, and the washing machine in the laundry room.

As she dashed off an email to the staff at her real estate agency, sharing news of the latest deal she had closed – a four hundred twenty thousand dollar sale, their thirtieth property sold for the quarter – Cassie nearly shuddered with delight as she recalled Marcus’ smooth touch. Although she had lost thirty pounds over the past year, she was still nearly twenty pounds heavier than she’d been on their wedding day, and she had been pregnant then. Nevertheless, Cassie’s Marcus knew and loved her body, in exactly the way that frank scriptures like those in Song of Solomon encouraged. Like most everything else in marriage, the Gillettes’ sexual relationship had experienced ups and downs, but Cassie licked her lips unintentionally as she mentally applauded her man: when he’s good, he’s GOOD.

An instant message popped up on her screen: Julia, her best friend. “I heard a rumor,” she IM’d.

Cassie smiled as she typed back, “No idea what you mean.”

Julia’s IM response popped up. “They say a handsome, bulky brother tipped into your crib this afternoon.”

Cassie smiled as she typed, “Girl, I am too old to be kissin’ and tellin’.”

“And I’m too old to be listening to such filth,” Julia typed. As a PhD and superintendent of schools at their shared alma mater, Christian Light Schools, Julia let her words communicate their humor; Cassie’s friend was above the use of those corny emoticons. Julia sent another missive: “You are coming to my Board of Advisors meeting Monday, right? I need help saving this school system, child.”

Cassie stuck her tongue out playfully as she entered her response. “Still not sure how I fit in with this crew. You said you’re pulling together the ‘best and brightest’ Christian Light alumni? Don’t see how I count, given that the school expelled me when they realized why my belly was swollen.”

“Stop it,” came Julia’s response. “Besides, you have what matters most to a struggling school system: Deep pockets!”

Cassie shook her head, her laughter easing any guilt she might have felt about throwing the painful memory of her expulsion – accompanied by the school principal’s labeling her a “girl of loose morals” – in her friend’s face. Julia alone had led a student protest in Cassie’s defense at the time, marching on the school’s front lawn and even calling local media in a vain attempt to embarrass the school into reversing its decision.

Cassie was typing a light-hearted response when her front doorbell rang, the chime filling the house. Changing up, she shot her friend a quick, “Doorbell – call you later,” before taking a second to tuck her blouse into her jeans. Padding downstairs to the foyer, she chuckled to herself. She would have to help Julia save the world later.

When she peered into her front door’s peephole, Cassie’s heart caught for a second at the sight of a tall, blonde-haired gentleman flashing a police badge.

M.J.’s fine, said the voice in Cassie’s head as the badge stirred anxiety over her teen son’s safety. She wasn’t sure whether it was the Lord or simply her own positive coaching. For years now Cassie had combined her faith in God with affirmative self-talk meant to power her through life’s stresses and adversities. In her youth, she had crumpled one time too many in the face of indifference, prejudice, sexism and just plain evil; by the time she and Marcus walked the aisle of Tabernacle Baptist Church, where each had first truly dedicated their respective lives to Christ, Cassie had vowed to never be caught unaware again. That same spirit of resolve propped her up as she confidently unlocked and swung back her wide oak door.

As strong as she felt, Cassie’s knees still flexed involuntarily when she saw M.J. standing beside the plainclothes policeman. At six foot one, her son was every inch as tall as the policeman and stood with his arms crossed, a sneer teasing the corners of his mouth. Though relieved to see he was fine, Cassie sensed an unusually defiant spirit in her boy, so she locked her gaze onto the officer instead. If her man-child had done something worthy of punishment, she wouldn’t give this stranger the pleasure of witnessing the beat-down. She unlocked her screen door and, opening it, let the officer make the first move.

“Mrs. Gillette?” The man held out his right hand and respectfully shook Cassie’s as he spoke in a deep, hoarse voice. “I’m Detective Whitlock with the Dayton PD. I’m really sorry to bother you, but I was hoping we could help each other this evening, ma’am.”

Cassie opened her screen door all the way, one hand raised against the fading sunlight in her eyes. “Please, come in,” she said, focused on editing the airy lilt out of her tone. She didn’t mind letting her naturally fluttery voice out when among family and friends, but now was no time for it. “Why don’t we have a seat in the living room.”

“Again, I apologize for showing up unannounced. A neighborhood this nice, one of those draws a lot of eyebrows probably,” Whitlock said, nodding toward the sleek police car parked out front. “Marcus Jr. and I had an unfortunate confrontation this afternoon. The more I talk to him, I’m convinced we can handle this without a trip downtown.”

Cassie nodded respectfully. Who can argue with that? She thought as she motioned toward the expansive living room. “May I take your suit jacket?”

“Oh, no thank you,” Whitlock replied. He slowed his gait and allowed M.J. to first follow Cassie into the room. The detective stood just inside the doorway, peering at Cassie’s expensive sculptures and paintings as M.J. reluctantly took a seat beside his mother. Once they were settled, Whitlock strode to the middle of the living room, his hands in the pockets of his dress slacks. “Marcus, why don’t you tell your mother how we crossed paths?”

M.J. stared straight ahead, his line of sight veering nowhere near Cassie and shooting over the top of Whitlock’s head of wavy blond hair. “I was minding my business, Mom. Officer Whitlock here–”

“Detective Whitlock, son,” the policeman replied, a testy edge betraying the professional, placid smile on his tanned, leathery face. Cassie found herself admitting he was a relatively handsome man, one who even reminded her of the male cousins on the white side of her family. The policeman was probably her own age, she figured, somewhere between thirty-five and forty.

Grimacing, M.J. continued. “The good detective here pulled me over on 75. Said he clocked me at seventy-eight in a fifty-five.”

“Oh I see,” Cassie said, a wave of relief cleansing her tensed insides. She placed a hand on her son’s shoulder but kept her eyes on the detective. “If that’s all that’s involved, my son should certainly pay whatever fine is required by the law. You’re not doing him any favors giving him a simple talking-to.” She nearly chastised herself for fearing the worst. This was probably just a case of her super-jock son–a varsity star in Chaminade-Julienne football, basketball and track–getting special treatment for his local celebrity, a celebrity nearly as big as the fame that had first attracted her to Marcus Sr. back in the day.

Holding Cassie’s smile with calm blue eyes, Whitlock reached into his jacket pocket and retrieved a manila envelope. “Asked and answered. The state trooper wrote this ticket up for your son during the traffic stop.” He walked over to the loveseat and slowly extended the envelope to M.J. “I agree that Marcus needs to pay his speeding ticket, Mrs. Gillette. If that’s all that was involved, I would have never been called to the scene.”

Everything is fine. My son has done nothing illegal. Cassie fingered the gold locket around her neck but prayed she was otherwise masking the dread pulsing back into her. “Then get to the point please, Detective.”

Whitlock paced quickly to the corner of the adjacent couch. When he plopped down, he was less than a foot away from Cassie. “You see,” he said, his elbows on his knees and his faintly yellowed teeth glinting as he seemed to smile despite himself, “I was called in because Marcus had a convicted criminal riding with him, the sort of character who can make even this fine young man look guilty by association.”

“Please tell me,” Cassie said, pivoting rapidly toward M.J., “that you weren’t riding around with him again.” When M.J. bunched his lips tight and shrugged, Cassie couldn’t stop herself from popping him in the shoulder. “Boy! You promised me! You promised me, M.J.!”

Whitlock had removed his cell phone from his suit jacket. His eyes focused on the phone as he punched its buttons, he asked, “By ‘him,’ are you referring to Dante Wayne?”

“Yes,” Cassie said, her forehead so hot with rage it scared her. She wasn’t sure whether to be more upset at this white stranger lounging on her couch, or her increasingly disobedient son.

Whitlock stared straight into Cassie’s eyes. “And you’re familiar with Mr. Wayne how?”

Cassie sucked her teeth angrily. “He’s my cousin’s oldest son.” Donald, Dante’s father, ran a small taxi service and was the first relative on her father’s side of the family – the Black side – who had reached out to Cassie when they were both struggling teen parents trying to figure life out. Though they didn’t talk often these days, Cassie still counted Donald a personal friend, and her loyalty to him through the years had led her to foster M.J. and Dante’s friendship from the time they were toddlers. That was before she realized that Dante would adopt the morals of his mother’s family, nearly all of whom had died in their twenties or spent significant stretches in prison.

“So M.J. was straight with me, they are cousins.” Whitlock stroked his chin playfully as he observed mother and son. “Marcus insisted that was the only reason he was riding around with Dante in tow. Dante took up for him too, insisted there was no way Marcus was hip to the drugs we found in the car.” He nodded toward M.J. “Why don’t we discuss this one adult to another, ma’am. Marcus, based on your exemplary reputation in the community – as well as your parents’ – I’m willing to assume you had no knowledge of your cousin’s activities. If you’ll just excuse us.”

M.J. looked between his mother and the detective, the first signs of a growing son’s protective emotions on his face as he tapped Cassie’s knee. “You okay with him, Mom?”

“Go down to your room,” Cassie said through clenched tooth, “and shut the basement door after you.” As her son rose, she punctuated her words. “Don’t even think about coming up until your father and I come down for you.”