Inheritance by Tamera Alexander

This is the second of Tamera Alexander's novels that I have read, and I have the Fountain Creek Chronicles still on my shelf to read. I enjoy her mostly light-hearted historical romances. I read Inheritance in one day.
McKenna Ashford and her brother Robert move to Copper Creek, Colorado after he causes some trouble that forces her to sell the family home. Upon arrival, McKenna hopes Robert will settle down, and they can leave the past behind them. That does not happen. McKenna does not know how to change Robert...Enter US Marshal Wyatt Caradon who understands a little more what Robert needs. In typical romance style McKenna and Wyatt clash a bit, especially when it comes to Robert.
I felt the characters were well written. I could understand the driving forces behind all of their personalities and actions. I enjoyed the side story involving the Chinese Americans and their culture; however, my favorite part has to be the prayer that Wyatt offers for Robert, echoing the one he prayed for himself years prior. That one sentence is an example of why I love Christian fiction. Novels that are so often just mindless entertainment turn into tools used by the Holy Spirit! I pray that the Lord would "break me, until I am wholly His!"

Let Me Hold you Longer by Karen Kingsbury

As a mother of six, Karen Kingsbury knows mommy moments. Let Me Hold You Longer is a children's book chronicling many of those moments. This is my first kid's book review, and I am excited to share what a beautiful book this is! I remember when I read the Redemption series by Kingsbury there was a poem in one that the mother character (Elizabeth) wrote to her son (Luke) for his wedding. I had to read it to my husband because it deeply touched me. Well, Let Me Hold You Longer is an adaption of that poem in picture book format, and I love it. It is a tender reminder to treasure your child's every day moments because all too soon those moments will change. This book would make the perfect baby shower, mother's day, or even high school graduation gift. I recommend it for all parents and grandparents. You'll want to share it with your children and your children's children.

Ruby's Slippers by Leanna Ellis

New author to me, Leanna Ellis, was a pleasant surprise. This is not a book that I would have picked up myself. It was given to me, and I am so glad it was. I would categorize it as Christian Chick Lit. It is a fun and easy read; however, there was much more substance than I expected. This novel could have been extremely cheesy; but a little cheddar never hurt anyone. I actually enjoyed the parallels to the Wizard of Oz, especially within the characters. Dottie Meyers is injured in a tornado in Kansas and wakes up in a nursing home where she had been given ruby slippers by a father she never knew. This leads her on a journey: a journey toward family and truth. Along the way she picks up friends who each add something to Dottie's life she didn't even realize she was missing. I love the moments of Sophia mentoring Dottie, and I was moved by the moments of realization and reconciliation. One of my favorite moments was in a conversation about prayer. Dottie asks "what if I only have complaints?" and the response: "You think He doesn't know them already?" They continue to talk about prayer and how it is about our relationship with our Father. She does meet her biological dad, but more importantly she gets to know her heavenly Father. In the end, this is who she wants to share with her sister. This was a not only a fun book, but also a well thought out one with a beautiful testimony of Dottie's personal growth. It worked for me.


100+ Reading Challenge for 2010

I've decided to attempt the 100+ challenge this year as well. I'll start a list now, and add to it as the year progresses.

So far I have read
1.Michal by Jill Eileen Smith
2.Against all Odds by Irene Hannon
3.Take One by Karen Kingsbury
4.Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher,
5.Ruby's Slippers by Leanna Ellis
6.June Bug by Chris Fabry
7. Inheritance by Tamera Alexander
8.Veiled Freedom by J.M. Windle
9.Love finds you in by M.Dobson
10.Things Worth Remembering by Jackina Stark
11.Seeing Things by Patti Hill
In my "to read" pile
12.Watch Over Me by Christa Parrish
13.Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell
14.A Gift of Grace Amy Clipston
15.Love's First Light by Jamie Carie
16.The Calling by Jacob Israel
17.The Silent Gift by Landon Jr and Kelley
18.Daisy Chain by Mary E. DeMuth
19.Beautiful Things Happen...by Sheila Walsh
20.The Returning by Ann Tatlock
21.Forsaken by James David Jordan
Okay, so there's roughly the first twenty, although it may change some. I'll update and add as needed!!

2010 New to Me Challenge

I saw this challenge on another blog today, and I think it is a great idea!!! Read 20 "new-to-me" Christian authors. Two new authors that I have already read this year are Jill Eileen Smith and Irene Hannon. Both authors, I will continue to follow. I am reading J.M. Windle for the first time now! Other authors on my shelf I haven't read yet are Siri Mitchell, Jackina Stark, Jenny b. Jones, Deanne Gist, Tricia Goyer, Mark Andrew Olsen, Robin Parrish, Sharon Hinck, James David Jordan, Ann Tatlock, Sharon Souza, Cathy Marie Hake, Maureen Lang, Melanie Wells, Chuck Holton, Mary E. DeMuth, Julie Klassen, Alton Gansky, and Michael Landon Jr./Cindy Kelly. In non-fiction, I have Frances Chan to read soon! So that's my new-to-me list. It may change throughout the year as I come across other exciting titles, or decide to try a few others on my shelf I haven't read yet depending on my mood! This is a great challenge for whatever you read. Try new authors. There are so many good ones. Do not limit yourself to a few because chances are you are missing a gem!!

June Bug by Chris Fabry

This one had me in tears, so it definitely engaged my emotions. June Bug is a story that focuses on a little girl and her daddy, John. They have been living on the road in an RV for years. One day June Bug sees her face on a missing children's poster in Walmart and all of a sudden her questions about who her mama is take on new meaning. She starts wondering... The story follows the two of them on their journey home to find closure and new beginnings. The narrative is mostly written from June Bug's perspective, but it does switch to other characters along the way. June Bug is an endearing and inquisitive little girl, and I enjoyed her voice.
I actually really liked the ties to Les Miserables, although I would not describe it as a retelling exactly. The flashbacks added beautifully to both the story and the character development. I also enjoyed Fabry's use of language. At one point I read a paragraph out loud to my husband stating that it sounded like the narration of a movie (in a good way). It is written in a way that I could hear it while I was reading it. I liked it, and I would recommend it to others.



Today I wanted to list my top Must Reads of Christian fiction. So in no particular order, here they are...
Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness are novels based largely on the spiritual world and the battles being waged for us every day. The imagery in these books was vivid and memorable. There are scenes I will carry with me forever and be better for it!!! Thank you Frank Peretti!! And to all Christian Fiction readers, these are classics and ones I'll reread!
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is a retelling of the book of Hosea from the Bible. This story is set in the 1800s and is a beautiful picture of God's grace and unconditional love. And by the way, for those who haven't heard they are working on the movie!
Ted Dekker's The Circle, which included Black, Red, and White, and recently added Green (which I have not yet had the pleasure of reading). This is a fantasy series in which the main character travels between 2 worlds. Dekker created wonderful allegories within this series. He includes sin, Jesus and His sacrifice for us, salvation and redemption among other important Biblical themes and stories.
And finally, the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. The books are Voice in the Wind, Echo in the Darkness, and As Sure as the Dawn. Although they are my personal favorite, this one I actually do not suggest to everyone. The sinful, sexual nature of society in ancient Ephesus as well as the horror of the Coliseum is not for everyone. To be honest, it took me a couple of chapters to really become engaged, but it was so worth it. When you finish the first book, you absolutely must have the second one waiting. They are written with such vivid and beautiful language, and this series challenged me like no other to really live what I believe!!! I know someone who literally reads these once a year and another who said that she would name her first daughter after Hadassah, the main character of the first two books. That is how much these books will effect you. They are incredible!
I would love to hear which books other people have on their "must-reads" or "reread" lists. Please let me know so I can check them out! Thank you.


Michal by Jill Eileen Smith

Jill Eileen Smith's first book in The Wives of King David series has made me a follower. Michal, not only made me a fan of Smith, but made it easy for me to decide what to read next in the Bible. I want to reread the history of King Saul, David, and Michal; therefore, I've started 1 Samuel again. As far as Biblical fiction is concerned, I believe the ultimate goal is turning readers back to God's Word. Smith stayed true to the Biblical account in her novel, while adding both emotional and historical insights.
The book covers a large time span: from when Michal is a young girl with a crush on her daddy's harpist, through their marriage and separation, to David finally becoming king. What I liked most in the narrative was the clearly portrayed interlacing relationships. Michal was Saul's daughter, David's first wife, Jonathan's sister, Paltiel's wife, a woman in David's harem, and she lost most of her family. First, David was a shepherd, Saul's harpist, and Jonathan's friend. Then he was the commander of Saul's army and national war hero. After that he was Saul's enemy and on the run. He lost many he loved as well. Finally he was king of Judah and all of Israel.
The changing relationships and varying emotions within and between the characters was intriguing and raised my awareness to the complexity of these peoples' lives. Michal had two husbands. David had multiple wives. Jonathan was David's friend and Saul's son. David was first given a position of honor by the king, then a death sentence. Smith shows great empathy in her writing, and I believe a major strength of the book is her portrayal of emotion in both the characters and relationships, and in specific situations. She does not explain everything, but as this is a fictionalized account of true events and people, I enjoyed the added questions the narrative raised as to what these people really went through. For example: How did Michal feel when her father ordered David killed or when David was gone for so long and she had to take another husband? What turmoil did she experience when she was separated from her second husband and returned to her first, now only to be one of David's many wives?
(slight SPOILER ALERT)...My favorite part of Smith's retelling was the development of Michal's faith in the end and the demonstration of strength in silent witnessing. David's love for God was evident to Michal and that caused her to look at her own relationship with Yahweh. I actually hope that part really did turn out the way Smith wrote it! I enjoyed Michal and I look forward to reading both Abigal and The Wives of the Patriarchs that Smith has planned next!



I have worked in book sales for 8 years. When I began, I read a little of everything, but in the past few years I have read mostly all Christian fiction. I find that it often opens my heart to new aspects of the Bible and Christ-like living. I hope to share the love of inspiring fiction with other people. I read all genres of Christian fiction including fantasy, chick-lit, romance, suspense, mystery, etc. I love to suggest new books to people and encourage them to try new things. Authors that I follow include Randy Alcorn, Tamera Alexander, Lynn Austin, Terri Blackstock, Colleen Coble, Brandilyn Collins, Ted Dekker, Deanna Gist, Kristin Heitzmann, Angela Hunt, Karen Kingsbury, Siri Mitchell, Nancy Moser, Linda Nichols, Christa Parrish, Frank Peretti, Allison Pittman, Francine Rivers, Lisa Samson, and Travis Thrasher. I have two bookshelves full of books yet to read, with many other authors that I am excited to try. My absolute favorite is Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion trilogy. Beth Moore is my favorite non-fiction author. I also like Frances Roberts, Oswald Chambers, C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado, Henry Blackaby, Sheila Walsh, Joni Erickson Tada, and Donna Partow. Of course, I can't forget the Bible. God's Word is the ultimate source of wisdom and inspiration. I am currently rereading the book of 1 Samuel, choosing this after finishing Michal by Jill Eileen Smith. I am also reading Come Away, My Beloved by Frances Roberts, Heaven by Randy Alcorn, and June Bug by Chris Fabry. June Bug is described as a modern retelling of Les Miserables, and I am enjoying it. Fabry's writing is crisp and fresh. I will write a full review when I have finished it! That's all for now. I plan to write brief reviews of some of the books I have read in the past and more thorough reviews of my current reading lists! I would love to see comments and reviews from all interested. Thanks