Monday, December 17, 2012

90 Relevant Devotions for Teenaged Girls (14-19)

Hitz, Shelley, Heather Hart, and Other Collaborating Authors. Teen Devotionals … for Girls! Volume 2. Body and Soul Publishing, 2012  ISBN-13: 978-0615631622  ISBN-10:  0615631622

In this second book of short devotions, Hart, Hitz and other authors designed opportunities for teenaged girls to draw closer to God and find their true beauty in Christ. Each devotion is designed with a Biblical quotation and a brief commentary relating the scripture to the ups-and-downs, and ins-and-outs of the life of a teenaged girl. There is a question or questions for reflection or discussion, a recommended application step to implement the content of the devotion, and a short prayer honoring and petitioning God for help with the issue at hand.

The 90 devotions could be read from beginning to end or by flipping through choosing at random or by topic. These devotions cover the inner life, relationships, temptations, joys, and anguishes all of today’s teenaged girls experience. This book is designed in such a way that it could be used by an individual or with a friend.

Parents and youth leaders could also use these devotions to help ones’ teens to learn to apply God’s Word to their daily lives. The devotions in this book are already read daily by teens around the world. They are used in Bible study groups and even at events like See You At the Pole.

Heather Hart also collaborated with Shelley Hitz on Teen Devotionals … for Girls! Volumes 1 and 2.  Hart is an author, author assistant and a book marketer. She edited several other books, has done ghost writing and other freelance writing. In 2012 she also published the e-book Book Marketing 101: Marketing Your Book on a Shoestring Budget. Other collaborations include: Unshackled and Free: True Stories of Forgiveness with C. J. Hitz and Shelley Hitz (Feb 29, 2012)
Shelley Hitz has been ministering to teens since 1998. Her main passion is to share God’s truth and the freedom she has found in Christ. She is an award-winning and international best-selling author. Her openness and vulnerability as she shares her own story of hope and healing through her books inspire and encourage. In addition to the two volumes of Teen Devotionals, she has published:
*      Mirror Mirror...Am I Beautiful? Bible Study Guide for Moms: Looking Deeper to Find Your True Beauty with Michelle Neff and S'ambrosia Curtis (Dec 26, 2009)
*      Forgiveness Formula: Finding Lasting Freedom in Christ with C. J. Hitz (Aug 24, 2011),
*      Finding Hope in the Midst of Tragedy (Aug 7, 2012),
*      How to Find Free Christian Books Online (Nov 29, 2012)
*      Trusting God When Bad Things Happen (Forgiveness Formula: Finding Lasting Freedom in Christ) (Dec 9, 2012)
*      Healing For The Broken Hearted: Discover Lasting Freedom in Christ (Dec 12, 2012)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Nickels by Karen Baney

Niki’s roommate, Marcy is determined to find the perfect man for her friend. With her twenty-sixth birthday coming, Niki feels no urgency to find love. Her blind date Chad would be perfect for Marcy.

She does regret that her entire life could be minimized into one word: coding. Between assignments,  she waited for Brian, the CEO of Elite Software to transfer her to a new client. Brian assigns her to her dream job at Helitronics, the largest DoD contractor for helicopter aviation electronics.

Then Kyle Jacobs reenters her life and turns everything upside down. Niki has to learn to work with him since he also is assigned to the new project because of his military record and flight experience. Niki has a hard time letting go of the image she has carried of Kyle since high school.

The letter she received just before her brother was killed by an IED carries a passion about getting to know Jesus. Somehow Niki has to go beyond the past, and move beyond her painful memories, then when her heart is open, she finds the One who can hold her heart and even make Todd, who seems to be sabotaging the project, insignificant.

Karen Baney has penned a story and characters that linger past the last page. The reader is invited into the world of a computer programmer, a software engineer, or coders, or developers or whatever one wishes to call them. The characters are  a “snarky, funny, unique breed.”  Baney’s faith allows her characters to change. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Hermitage House Miracle

Ater, Malcolm. The Hermitage House Miracle. Blue Ridge Mountain Books, May 31, 2012. CreateSpace/Blue Ridge Mountain Books ISBN-10: 1470129361   ISBN-13: 978-1470129361  ASIN: B00881P756   178pp.  List Price: Paperback $9.95 E-book $3.99.

Jamie arrives at the Hermitage House Orphanage after his mother is killed in a car accident. Jamie could not remember her not being his mother, but he had no memories before he started school when he was six.

Starting the first night at the orphanage, Jamie dreams strange dreams. Though he was now twelve, he knew that he was the blond-headed freckle-faced five-year-old boy in his dreams. In his dreams he also had a different mother and a father. The father promised to program him a videogame that was so real he would feel as if he were in it.

Sometimes dreams turn into miracles that originate in the heart for yourself and others.

What child has not wondered if he is adopted, or if the parents she has are her real parents? Miracles do happen. They happen every day. Malcolm Ater captures the dreams and the possibilities. This book will especially appeal to the 10-13 year old age group.
Best Contemporary Fantasy 2012

Malcolm Ater, a junior-high special-education reading teacher, knows the hearts and minds of the children who people and  will be drawn to this piece of possibilities. Living in the area of West Virginia where The Hermitage House Miracle takes place allows him to bring not only his characters, but the background to life.

The Hermitage House Miracle was selected as the 2012 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award Winner for Best Contemporary Fantasy and also chosen as a 2012 Finalist for Best Children's Book by the West Virginia Writers, Inc.

I received a .pdf file of the book from NetGalley in order for me to provide my unbiased opinion.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Historical Fiction At Its Very Best

Price, Eddie. Widder’s Landing: Life & Love on the Kentucky Frontier. Mosley, Missouri: Acclaim Press, 2012. ISBN 9788-1-935001-99-7 (alk. Paper) 1-935001-99-X (alk.paper)  Harback: $26.95.

Craig Ridgway leaves his well-educated home at the age of fifteen because he cannot imagine being in school another year. He moves from Philadelphia to Lancaster where he apprentices himself to the master-gunsmith Jakob Wetzel. When Jakob dies in January of 1811, twenty-year-old Craig loses his mentor. Grieving Wetzel’s death and the end of his job and his home, he decides to move west to Pittsburg.

There he stokes coal in one of the town’s new foundries. Craig needs the wide open spaces he fell in love with as he made his way over the mountains of Pennsylvania in the snows of January. He moves on down to the Ohio River to the rich farmlands of Kentucky. He disembarks at Widder’s Landing deathly ill with pneumonia. The Widder nurses him back to health exacting his promise to continue through the planting and harvesting seasons. So starts ten months of back breaking labor. Craig has much to glean from one of Cotton Bend’s infamous outcasts.  He can do little more than notice, Mary, the beautiful daughter of the neighbor whom the Widder curses.

Setting the life and love on the Kentucky frontier in the years 1811 to 1814 provides a full time in American history. The years of initial statehood for Kentucky, Haley’s Comet, the New Madrid Earthquakes, and the War of 1812 provide the backdrop where Craig, wins and loses, and hopes to win again. In the process, he grows to love the land and its people. Farming suits his restless spirit. Catherine McDonnell suits his tender spirit. Life and love rest on a few hundred acres on the edge of the Ohio River. The small town of Cottonwood Bend bears intentional resemblance to the small town of Cloverdale in Breckenridge County. 

Price’s vivid descriptions draw on all the senses and paint a vivid picture of a vivid time. His characters are each unique and will continue with the reader long after the 586 pages have flown by, like the great flocks of geese and passenger pigeons that show the change of seasons on this edge of the frontier. The characterizations are all well-rounded as the author develops them in the ways they relate to one another, and to the times in which they live.
Eddie Price’s love of history and the scope of his research will cause the reader to want Price to have been their history teacher when they studied the Great Westward Expansion, The War of 1812, Andrew Stonewall Jackson, crops of Kentucky, and the mighty river systems that were the first roadways of America. Starting with a real farmhouse built in 1802 on the western edge of Breckenridge County, Price helps us visualize, taste, smell, hear and feel “What stories this old house could tell!” His research is well-grounded and presented in the Introduction and Acknowledgements. This book makes history come alive. 

Readers will match Price’s book with renowned epic novels like Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, Morgan Llywelyn’s Brian Boru, or Mary Renault’s epic historical novels of the 1960’s. The reader will come away not only with a book they will need to share and read again, but one that will stand the test of time, and teach more history than one could understand any other way.

I received a .pdf copy of Widders' Landing from Readers Favorite for my unbiased review.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Follow Your Heart

Humphrey, Sandra McLeod. They Stood ALONE!: 25 Men and Women Who Made a Difference. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2011

From Christopher Columbus to Margaret Meade, from Cady Stanton to Jackie Robinson, They Stood Alone! By Sandra McLeod Humphrey shares, in a few pages each, the stories of twenty-five men and women. People from the past, and people from the present who chose a path that forced them to move out, away from the crowd. Men and women who chose to stand alone against the beliefs and expectations of their culture or times. They all became people who changed their world and ours.

Each chapter begins “Imagine this… Your name is…”  following is the story of one of twenty-five real-life heroes and heroines any of which anyone would be glad to have their child trust as a strong role model. Taken from the pages of science, sociology, sports, and adventure, these stories will provide insight to children, teachers, and parents.

The last chapter is an inspiration to today’s youth to discover and develop their passion, to have the courage to follow their hearts, to follow their dreams, to step out onto a path, away from the crowd, to stand alone and change their world.

Sandra McLeod Humphrey provides notes for each piece taking readers to broader pictures and a bibliography to expand the stories she has told, and stories yet to be told. Readers will need to get copies of this book that won the Mom’s Choice Award, for each child in their classrooms, for each child in their home, or for each grandchild they love.

A retired clinical psychologist, Humphrey has written other books focused on moral education for children including Hot Issues, Cool Choices, If You Had to Choose, What Would You Do? and Dare to Dream!

Monday, September 17, 2012

           Neale, Michael. The River. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 9/18/2012. ISBN-10: 1401688489 ISBN-13: 978-1401688486 List price for Softcover and Ebook  $16.99
         Neale, Michael. The River. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 9/18/2012. ISBN-10: 1401688489 ISBN-13: 978-1401688486 List price for Softcover and Ebook  $16.99
       Neale, Michael. El río. Nashville: Grupo Nelson, 18/09/2012.  ISBN-10: 602559252 ISBN-13: 978160255925 Prescio de lista del libro de bolsillo y Libro Electrónico Fecho

       Neale, Michael. The River. Oasis Audio, 9/18/2012. Audio, CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged. ISBN-10: 1613752733 ISBN-13: 978-1613752739 List price $19.99
·        Neale Michael. The River. Waterville, Maine: Thorndike Press. ISBN-10: 1410452255 ISBN-13: 978-1410452252 Large Print Softcover (10/5/12) list price $14.99 Large Print Hardcover (11/6/12) list Price $32.99
          Neale, Michael. The River Discussion Kit. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 11/6/12. ISBN-10: 1401677738 ISBN-13: 9781401677732  list price $19,99
          Neale, Michael. The River Experience (Soundtrack) – Digital MP3 Download (320 kpbs) id475948881 $9.99 10/26/11

Already a sermon series and a live musical multimedia experience, The River is about to crash into a waterfall of books.

Stuck in the Denver airport, two men share delay time sitting next to one another. Gabriel Clarke is returning home to Corley Falls, Colorado. He has just run the world’s Top Ten Most Dangerous and Beautiful Rivers for National Geographic. Gabriel shares his story with his fellow traveler, and we experience The River.

Five year old Gabriel watched his father, a second generation river guide; climb down the treacherous rocks to save the man who went over the falls in a yellow kayak. Over the falls into Firewater Gorge on the Whitefire River. He watched it all unfold. His hero disappeared into the white water of the river. All he had left was a bag of old Benington marbles and a hole in his heart.

Gabriel’s mom rented the back room of Mr. Earl and Miss Vonda’s home outside Cairo, Kansas. As he grew up helping on the farm, quiet and sad at home and at school, Gabriel felt like he was “Looking at life through the bottom of a Coke bottle – blurry and ill-formed. He could see laughter and joy of the other side of the thick glass, but he couldn’t hear or experience it.”

As he grows, rivers run through Gabriel’s life. A finger-sized river created by a mysterious marble man at the county farmer’s market to show his marbles at their best. A painting of the river in North Carolina where his second-grade teacher grew up. The Arkansas River on the border of Kansas and Oklahoma where Mr. Earl taught him to fish. Rio, Gabriel’s dog who saved his life. Eventually full-circle Gabriel comes to the banks of the Whitefire when his friend Jimmy invites him on a camping trip.

This coming of age story is intensely emotional and masterfully written. Neale is an excellent storyteller. A Dove Award winning song writer, Neale’s songs are recorded by a who’s-who list of contemporary Christian artists. This is one book the reader will need to get at least two copies of, one to keep, and one to give to another reader. A great book for book clubs or Bible studies to read and share. Neale will make you hold your breath, laugh, cry, all the while healing the hole, not only in Gabriel’s heart, but in yours, as well.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Unwanted

Carter, Daniel L. The Unwanted: The G-6 Chronicles (Volume 1). CreateSpace (May 10, 2010).  ISBN-10: 1477479724 (sc) ISBN-13: 978-1477479728 (e)

In Chicago, FBI Agent Nick Catlin spent months setting up a sting on Damon Hannah’s business, INYO Industries, that supposedly focuses on high-end medical equipment. It is clear there is a leak in the FBI team.  Twice an enormous explosion has obliterated all traces of genetic manipulation and murdered five babies and ten or more adults. Each time Hannah has moved his operation to a new city.

Now, fourteen months after the Chicago murders, Catlin has traced Hannah’s operation to Poughkeepsie, New York. This time, as the explosions begin just ahead of Catlin’s raid, nurses Janet Renard and Michele Townsend manage to get the five infants under their care into the backseat of Janet’s jeep. Running just ahead of Hannah and Catlin, Janet and Michele transport the children to Oklahoma. Janet’s uncle, Leigh Barrus, her only living relative, has a vast ranch there.  They fix up a cabin, far removed from any roads or houses, and Janet and Michele take on the seemingly insurmountable task of mothering five unwanted children.

Because of genetic manipulation the babies grow at an abnormal rate, at twenty-four days they need solid food, at nine weeks all can roll over in their cribs, and at four months, they speak their first words. Each child begins exhibiting extraordinary gifts. Uncle Leigh teaches Mama, Aunt Shelley and each of the children to keep their eyes on God not on the concerns their gifts cause or on their fear of discovery.

The back of the book says in part: “Born out of vengeance, five discarded children must fight to keep their family safe. Millions of lives stand in the balance as sacrifices are made. This family will never be the same as heroes rise and fall.”* A book where the bad guys are bad and the good guys try really, really hard to be good.

The cover will draw the reader into the manipulation of the DNA of innocent children, the power, the love, and the anger that carries this book.Written as Janet’s journal, here X-men for Christian readers begins. Mystery, science fiction, adventure, romance: something for every tween, teen and adult that has ever felt helpless, unwanted, or alone. Carter has incorporated his love of fantasy and science fiction with his fascination with the spiritual principalities of the Bible and given us a new paranormal fantasy. He gives us a book where the bad guys are bad, and the good guys try really, really hard to be good.

Carter has penned a story that will keep readers up at night wondering what will happen next. The tone is consistent and reasoned, exciting and compelling, the reader will gladly suspend their disbelief. Contemporary social, economic, ethical, and political issues are incorporated while conforming to the reader’s expectations of an adventure in the near future. There are enough unanswered questions and partial possibilities to make the reader look forward to the trilogy and the series to follow.

* The G-6 Chronicles: The Unwanted Trilogy, (accessed September 8, 2012)