25 October 2011

Invasion - Jon S Lewis

Book Description

Colt McAlister is drawn into a war against things he thought only existed in comic books.
After a car wreck takes the lives of his parents, Colt moves to Arizona to stay with his grandfather. There, an informant tells him that his parents were actually murdered because his mom, a journalist, was getting ready to write a story exposing Trident Industries.
Along with Oz and Danielle, his new comrades at Chandler High, Colt vows to uncover the truth. But the more they learn, the more bizarre reality becomes. Mind control, jet packs, and flying motorcycles only scratch the surface of what they discover.
Colt is recruited by a secret organization called the Central Headquarters Against the Occult and Supernatural. But the battle isn't just against an out-of-control giant corporation. A gateway to another world is opening, and the invasion has already begun.


This was an easy, entertaining read that should appeal to young teenagers and up.   As an adult reading this I love that the teenagers involved in the story exhibit good moral values and possess fine character traits.  While not an overtly Christian book the model of good vs. evil is clearly defined and the Invasion website offers some pretty great 'lesson plans' to go along with the book.  To give you an idea I've included...

Lesson One:

Lesson 1 - Defeating the Giants

Week One
Defeating the Giants
Lesson: (You can read this to the kids or put it in your own words).
Read 1 Samuel 17:1-19

Have you ever watched a scary movie or played an intense video game? Even though you know it's "fake" it still gets your mind racing and your heart pumping. You're battling zombies or monsters, or watching robots attack the earth, and you feel like you're ready to fight them in real life. It can be sort of fun to scare yourself when it's just a game or a movie. But sometimes, you're facing problems in your life that are difficult, and they're not pretend. Not so fun, right?

Maybe you get bullied or picked on at school. Maybe you're worried because your parents argue a lot, or maybe they have split up. Maybe someone you care about has cancer or some other serious illness. Or you may feel stressed about school, maybe you're worried about your grades or how hard it is. Maybe you, or someone you know, wrestle with an addiction. Whether it's drugs, alcohol, pornography or even food, addictions feel like huge, fierce giants that are hard to fight.

The Bible tells us that no matter what difficulty we face, God is with us, and will help us.

Over the next four weeks, we're going to be talking about how we can stand strong, with God's help, against the difficulties in our lives.
The Bible tells the story of a mighty king and warrior named David. But before he became king, he was just the youngest kid in his family. His older brothers looked down on him, even mocked him. They never took him seriously just because he was younger. (see 1 Samuel 17:28)

The Bible says that David's brothers went off to war, to fight against an enemy nation, the Philistines. David's people, the Israelites, had a history of disputes with the Philistines. One Philistine, Goliath, was a giant. The bible says he was more than nine feet tall! That's taller than any NBA player. But he wasn't just tall, he was big and muscular, bigger than an NFL linebacker. Nine feet tall, totally ripped, carrying a huge spear and looking for trouble.

So at the place where the Israelites were supposed to fight the Philistines, Goliath started trash-talking the Israelites, taunting them to send out one man to fight with him, man to man. All the soldiers were afraid to fight him, which was not that surprising. David's father sent him out to the battlefield, not to fight, but to deliver some food to his brothers.

When he heard Goliath insulting Israel and worse, insulting God, David asked his brothers why they would just stand and take such incredible disrespect. Since every other Israelite was apparently a chicken, little David ends up fighting Goliath. Next week we're going to talk more next week about what happened in the battle, but right now, let's think about this situation, and how it is similar to our lives.

Now, your parents probably aren't sending you to bring snacks to people on a battlefield, right? And you're not probably going to run into some nine foot tall giant challenging you to a fight on the way home from school. But that doesn't mean you don't have challenges, and some might feel like a battle with a giant.

Over the next few weeks, we're going to be talking about David, and also reading this great book, Invasion. The kid in this book, Colt McAlister, is a lot like David—except instead of fighting a giant, he has to fight against evil alien creatures called Thule, who are trying to take over the world. Colt is in training to become an agent for CHAOS, an agency fights alien invaders. Pretty soon Colt finds himself in the midst of a battle not just to save his own life, but to save the planet from aliens who he once thought only existed in comic books and video games.
Just like David in the Bible, Colt is the youngest of his brothers. He inexperienced, and he definitely has never fought aliens before, but he prevails with God's help. He overcomes a lot of really tough situations to fight against the Thule.

Over the next four weeks, we're going to talk about God helps us when we face difficult situations.

What are the giants in your life—the challenges that seem overwhelming or difficult? How could you ask God for help with them?
How can we act like David did, as we face our own challenges? When you face scary or difficult situations, do you tend to act like David, or do you turn into a monster like Goliath?

What are some ways God could help you? A lot of times, God gives us other people to help us. He might send a friend to talk to, or someone who has been through exactly what you're going through and knows how to handle it. What are some ways God has helped you in the past?

Today, you are going to become CHAOS agents, ready to fight against the Thule. This activity will prepare you for the activities in coming weeks. You'll design and create ID cards with your photo on them. You can download the ID card template here.

On the back, you'll write down your Thule: which monster are you fighting? It's not the monster from the book or Goliath, but the situation in your life that you are battling, the struggle that feels like a monster. What is it that you are scared or worried about and need God's help to battle?

I just love when publishers offer these little extras for the reader.  It really gives parents and other groups a unique opportunity to dive deeper into the story as opposed to superficially allowing the story to carry you along.  This would make an excellent choice for homeschooling Christians or other Christian youth group.  I highly recommend reading Invasion even if you are not a Christian since it is simply an engaging, exciting and thrilling story.  If you enjoy science fiction or end of the world type scenarios, secret projects and shadow groups you should enjoy Invasion.


jsl 135x160 Bio
Twitter * Facebook
Jon Samuel Lewis is an American writer best known for the acclaimed Grey Griffins series published by Scholastic’s Orchard Books. After selling nearly a million copies in the original trilogy, Lewis and his writing partner, Derek Benz teamed with Little Brown to produce the Grey Griffins Clockwork Chronicles.
He is also the author of CHAOS Novels, a young adult adventure series that combines supernatural, science fiction, and urban fantasy to create an exciting hybrid of non-stop adventure.
Lewis has written for DC/WildStorm. He is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Broadcasting, and has explored an eclectic career including news reporting, radio production, animation, graphic design, web development, mural painting, speech writing, video game development, voice over work, and marketing.
He currently resides in Arizona with his wife and children.

* I received an advance copy from the publisher for purposes of review. I was in no way obligated to write a review much less a favorable one. The opinions stated herein are all my own.

24 October 2011

Bone House - Stephen R. Lawhead

Download a Sample Chapter

*This post is part of the CSFF Book tour please visit the other blogs participating.  You can find the links above under CSFF Blog Tour Participants.

One piece of the skin map has been found. Now the race to unravel the future of the furture turns deadly.
Kit Livingstone met his great grandfather Cosimo in a rainy alley in London where he discovered the reality of alternate realities.
Now he's on the run—and on a quest—trying to understand the impossible mission he inherited from Cosimo: to restore a map that charts the hidden dimensions of the multiverse. Survival depends on staying one step ahead of the savage Burley Men.
The key is the Skin Map—but where it leads and what it means, Kit has no idea. The pieces have been scattered throughout this universe and beyond.
Mina, from her outpost in seventeenth-century Prague, is quickly gaining both the experience and the means to succeed in the quest. Yet so are those with evil intent who, from the shadows, are manipulating great minds of history for their own malign purposes.
Those who know how to use ley lines have left their own world behind to travel across time and space—down avenues of Egyptian sphinxes, to an Etruscan tufa tomb, a Bohemian coffee shop, and a Stone Age landscape where universes collide—in this, the second quest to unlock the mystery of The Bone House.


This is the second book in the Bright Empires Series by S. Lawhead and like the first (read my review of book one here) I read this book voraciously.  The wonderful Mr. Lawhead never fails to entertain.  The "characters of the BRIGHT EMPIRES SERIES" are not time-traveling explorers, a la H.G. Wells....Rather [they] are bouncing around a multidimensional universe in the equivalent of a helicopter that can travel in any of a thousand different directions...with a dose of time slippage thrown in for good measure"  That description will get you close to understanding what this story is about.  What sets Mr. Lawhead apart from so many authors is the absolute authority with which he plies his craft.  The details are rich and evocative,  the characters are extremely well thought out and realized, the intricacies of the plot are flawless.  This tale, in the hands of a master, is nothing short of enthralling.  I wholly enjoyed this book.  I would rate this book ten...no fifteen big, fat fabulous stars.

The third book in the "BRIGHT EMPIRES SERIES" is slated for release in September 2012.


Stephen R. Lawhead

Stephen Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. He was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. His early life was lived in America where he earned a university degree in Fine Arts and attended theological seminary for two years.
His first professional writing was done at Campus Life magazine in Chicago, where he was an editor and staff writer. During his five years at Campus Life he wrote hundreds of articles and several non-fiction books.
After a brief and unsuccessful foray into the music business—as president of his own record company—he launched his free-lance career in 1981. In the Hall of the Dragon King was his first novel.
In 1986 the Lawhead family moved to Britain so that Stephen could conduct research for the PENDRAGON CYCLE books. They settled there permanently in 1990, with some years spent living in Austria and a sabbatical in the United States.
In addition to his twenty-four novels, he has written nine children's books, many of them originally offered to his two sons, Drake and Ross. He is married to Alice Slaikeu Lawhead, with whom he has collaborated on books and articles. They make their home in Oxford, England.
Stephen's non-fiction, fiction and children's titles have variously been published in twenty-four foreign languages. He has won numerous industry awards, and in 2003 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Nebraska.
His middle name is ‘Ray’.

* I received an advance copy from the publisher for purposes of review. I was in no way obligated to write a review much less a favorable one. The opinions stated herein are all my own.

19 October 2011

Handmade Garden Projects - Lorene Edwards Forkner

You can transform your garden into a handmade, personality-infused oasis. Author Lorene Edwards Forkner — part eco-friendly non-traditionalist, part crafty creative — will show you how.
Projects run the gamut from eye-catching structures, like a pergola made from plumbing pipes, to imaginative details, like a tree-hung chandelier for nighttime ambiance. You'll also find helpful plant guides to accompany projects: delectable herbs to fill a stacking container tower, stellar succulents for a vertical gutter garden, glorious flowering vines to climb a bamboo obelisk, and so much more.
Ready to get started? All you need are refreshingly simple, inexpensive materials — hardware store basics, salvaged goods, repurposed castoffs from cluttered basements — along with a little do-it-yourself spirit. With clear instructions and inspiring variations on every theme, this book is easy to follow and easy to love. Your journey to a made-from-scratch outdoor space starts here.

I love my garden.  Not as much as some gardens but slowly my personal outdoor space is becoming one of my favorite places to be.  I am frugal to put it simply.  Not that I have to be but it is how I was raised and I embrace the practice.  I'm always saying that anyone can go out and spend gobs of money and end up with a beautiful space but it takes ingenuity and creativity to create a beautiful space on a budget of next to nothing.  Besides it's more fun:)

I long for a tranquil idyllic garden full of birdsong, slightly wild, a little overgrown, a trickle of water.

I don't desire anything fancy or formal.  Slightly rustic and lots of charm are what I'm after.  I have yet to achieve the longed for affect but I keep at it;  adding this or that, painting furniture, rearranging pots and little by little I am getting closer to my goal.

I picked up 'Handmade Garden' because it seemed like it was just what I needed.  Simple do it yourself projects made out of common everyday objects that are transformed into useful and whimsical accents.  There are a lot of ideas in this book.  The author takes you through your outdoor space one element at a time addressing all your needs.  The ground floor addresses...you guessed it the ground.  From laying pavers to pebbles to creating what the author calls a 'temporary turf tattoo'.  I love the idea of turf tattoo, in fact just the other day I picked up my local paper and found an article on creating labyrinths on your lawn...just a fabulous idea.

Ms. forkner shows the reader how to accomplish each project in easy to understand language with concise step by step instructions. Accompanied by clear, lovely photos the book itself is a joy to look at.  It would be hard to read 'Handmade Garden' and not come away inspired.  There are plenty of planting suggestions peppered through out the book as well, just in case you need a nudge of inspiration in that direction.

Here is snapshot of the contents so you can get an idea of what the book offers.

That's s fairly comprehensive list.  So, it looks like I have a solid source of inspiration at my fingertips now and I have high hopes that my garden will one day be the dream oasis I imagine it to be.

About the Author

Lorene Edwards Forkner

Lorene Edwards Forkner is an award-winning garden designer who lives, gardens, writes, and designs in the Pacific Northwest. Her writing has appeared in several national and regional publications including Organic Gardening, Pacific Horticulture, MaryJane's Farm, Northwest Garden News, and Edible Seattle.

* I received an advance copy from the publisher for purposes of review. I was in no way obligated to write a review much less a favorable one. The opinions stated herein are all my own.

17 October 2011

Breakthrough - Shea Vaughn


We all want to look and feel our best, no matter what our age. But many women believe that once they reach a certain milestone, they should look a certain way or have accomplished certain goals; if they don't or haven't, they feel unfulfilled, discouraged, or even depressed. Shea Vaughn is no stranger to this; she tackled her own challenges and discovered a better way of living.
As a mother and grandmother, Shea is a testament to the transformative nature of a mind-body makeover. In this illuminating book, the noted health and wellness expert offers a holistic way to help women achieve their own personal breakthroughs and experience dramatic improvements in their relationships, career, creativity, and fitness levels, and to find fulfillment in their lives.
As the founder of SheaNetics®, Shea shares her revolutionary lifestyle, wellness, and exercise practice. With authority and passion, she reveals the heart of SheaNetics®, The 5 Living Principles of Well-Being: Commitment, Perseverance, Self-Control, Integrity, and Love, and shows women how to incorporate the Principles into their daily lives to increase energy, reduce stress, and break down emotional barriers. SheaNetics® takes mind-body transformation to another level with a fresh self-styled approach to exercise that combines yoga, pilates, tai chi, martial arts, ballet, and more, along with the performance-boosting benefits of core power training. By learning how to unify your mind, body, and heart, you will achieve optimal wellness and tap in to your potential to look and feel your best on the inside and out.

Shea Vaughn's approach to wellness is based on what she calls the Five Living Principle's.  The following is from her website, Sheanetics:

The Five Living Principles of Well-Being are the result of a personal study of the mental side of exercise to understand my own motivation. What I found was that “fitness is both a state of the body and a state of the mind”. This led to the Five Living Principles of SheaNetics®; Commitment, Perseverance, Self-Control, Integrity and Love. They are an inspirational force in helping me create a positive lifestyle with a healthy body and the supportive mental and emotional paradigm to deal with changing and demanding times. One encourages the other and together they help you find balance, self-confidence and a personal state of well-being.
These principles are your foundation and positive reinforcement to reduce stress, help you make better choices and improve the overall quality of your life and the lives of those around you. Let’s take a look at how each principle brings meaning into your life.
COMMITMENT is a promise to do something, whether it is to workout, seek better health, find a new job or just be a better person. The Scroll represents a binding contract you have signed to honor your promise.
PERSEVERANCE is the perpetual belief that “If I try, I will succeed”. The Pyramid reminds us that the pathway to well-being is continuous and you build towards your goal one solid step at a time.
SELF-CONTROL is the realization that you are responsible for everything you do. When you stop to think about it, how you react to the events happening in your life is the only outcome of any event that you can consciously determine. The Crane represents the balance and grace to be found in life when you have found a way to control your emotions. Control your emotions and your body will follow.
INTEGRITY does not examine the result – only the effort made. It is the level of honesty in the quality of effort you give to the execution of whatever you strive to do – it has to be the best you can do. The Shield represents trustworthiness and ones steadfast adherence to a strict code of moral or ethical behavior.
LOVE is openness and respect for yourself, others and what life has to offer. It is the willingness to explore and interact with people, to listen, learn, share and to always set the best example possible. The Crossed Arms symbolize universal love.


As I began reading Ms. Vaughn's new book Breakthrough I realized that I had come to the book carrying a number of preconceived notions.  I thought that this would be simply another fitness and nutrition book, indistinguishable from the slew of others that had been published before.  I thought that surely there could be nothing new to be said on the subject of becoming a healthy and fit person.

Perhaps there is nothing truly left to be said on the subject of wellness.  We all know that we should eat healthy, exercise more and de-stress our lives.   We all have this information and yet so many of us fail to act upon it.  It is simply too tempting to indulge in yet another burger.  We feel tired and worn out at the end of a long day...too stressed out to spend time exercising, too tired to cook a healthy meal.  We feel entitled to treat ourselves and we justify it by telling our selves that we worked hard today or the kids were particularly troublesome.  We use any number of reasons for not caring for ourselves and yet when we assess our physical self and/or our emotional self we find it to be in great disrepair.  A cycle of is born.  One of self loathing and disgust, maybe even depression.  We don't like the way we feel, we are not satisfied with the weight that we carry-emotionally and physically.  We have been defeated.  Yet as humans we are optimistic so we begin again.  We vow to eat better, slow down, walk more, spend more time away from the TV or the computer and more time with our families.  We begin and then...well, we allow life to derail our best intentions.  We allow the angry boss to justify our lunch of deep fried chicken.  We allow the desires of our loved ones to rule our minutes and days.  We find that we have yet again not invested the quality time it takes to really nourish our souls and bodies.  What is the solution?  Where is the magic formula that will save us from our selves?

Ms Vaughn says, "The harder we push, the more we wish, the longer we try, usually ends with our giving up.  We can't sustain the path on which we have set ourselves because it is too rigorous, too unforgiving, and is not rooted in a true understanding of who we are and why we want all of these things in the first place, or if we want them at all."   Shea Vaughn's solution is to live in the moment, the here and now.  She says that when one lives presently one can 'set aside your fear and learn to recognize what you can control and what you can't'.  Sounds simple yet I know that it is much more difficult to sustain through time than it seems.  You see while I am a faithful Christian I also possess a need for knowledge.  I love to read and I do not limit my reading to only those books that fall in line with my accepted reality.  I like to see what the rest of the world is up to.  I want to know how others think and feel, what motivates them, what life is like for those on a different path.  I feel that it enables me to be more compassionate and understanding and what better way to follow Jesus than to nurture those qualities in myself?  A few years ago Oprah was all fired up about Ekhart Tolle.  You may have heard of him, I think it would have been difficult not to.  Anyway, I read his books.  What I found there may have been some of the best advice I ever received.  Tolle whole heartedly endorses the concept of living in the moment.  While the idea is not new it was certainly new to me...at least the idea had never been presented to me quite like that before.  I found there to be great truth and wisdom in his advice.   I also realized it was what Jesus was trying so hard to get us humans to understand.  If we could simply place our trust in God and give God our worldly cares we would not be running around worrying about what tomorrow may bring.  If we simply stopped and listened to the voice of God telling us that we are loved we would not be so anxious all the time.  Think on that for awhile.  If God loves us so deeply, why don't we love ourselves?  Is that not contrary to our belief as Christians?

Ms Vaughn's book goes much deeper than any other wellness book that I have read.  I assumed based on the cover photo that she would be going on and on about the virtues of constant physical exercise.  I mean seriously that is one fit lady.  I believe what Shea Vaughn really wants to communicate is that we need to step back a moment and really take an honest look at our self.  Really take responsibility for our person and our emotions.  It is sage advice.  We seem to be living in a world that is keen on blaming the other guy for our circumstances.  It is always someone else's fault we can't succeed in life.  If it is someone else's actions that control our lives then we can never find that peace we seek.  We will always be stuck in a reactionary mode never proactive, never truly grounded in reality.  We will always live life waiting for the next thing to happen to us rather than effecting our own change.  As I read through 'Breakthrough' I found myself being reminded again and again what my path in life is.  Where my values are and what I truly desire.  It is not that next fabulous car or that next incredible gadget.  My happiness can not be found in the admiration of others.  It can be found in my love for Jesus and my desire to stand before Him one day and know that in my heart I did the best that I could to bring Him glory in my life.

There is a lot of sound advice in 'Breakthrough'.  Most of you have probably heard some of it or most of it before but who knows?  Maybe this time the advice will ring true for you in a way that you hadn't thought of before.  Maybe this will be your wake up call to live an authentic life.  One should never pass an opportunity to finally get living right.  No one book will do that for you but I believe the more we hear the message the more apt we are to believe it.  Find your grace and peace where you can, I think some of it can be found here, in the pages of Ms Vaughn's latest book.


You can find Shea Vaughn on Twitter.

The following can be found on Sheanetics:
Hi. I’m Shea Vaughn, founder and author of SheaNetics®. I have been in the fitness industry for over 25 years. I’m excited to have this opportunity to share with you my life journey and the passion for health and fitness that inspired me to create SheaNetics®. It’s made great changes in my life and it will in yours. SheaNetics® blends ancient and contemporary movements with a self-empowering eastern philosophy designed to improve the quality of today’s hectic western lifestyle.

SheaNetics® Five Living Principles, Commitment, Perseverance, Integrity, Self-Control and Love, are the guide for all we do. By regularly practicing the SheaNetics® sequences and making the Principles part of your daily life, you focus on creating positive energy. This is “meditation in motion and thought”. It reduces stress and allows you to enjoy a lifestyle of fitness, personal balance and well-being.

Most exercise programs are geared only to give you short term physical improvement. But SheaNetics® understands the real goal for us all is to find total health and fulfillment that is life-lasting. This can only be achieved by creating harmony in body, mind and self. SheaNetics® gives you the practical tools and everyday desire to make beneficial changes that are complete and permanent.

Your body is meant to move and to connect with others. Connect with me through SheaNetics®. Join me at least twice a week to perform the sequences in the video and embrace the Five Living Principles as your guide to life, and discover a new you!
Come with me now and let your Journey begin.

* I received an advance copy from the publisher for purposes of review. I was in no way obligated to write a review much less a favorable one. The opinions stated herein are all my own.

15 October 2011

Free Kindle Cookbooks!

If you’ve downloaded your Kindle Apps and are ready to start downloading, there are some great cookbooks available today for FREE.  These will help you start your menu planning for the upcoming holidays and parties.  Here they are:
Remember, these may only be available for FREE today, so don’t wait.

Mercy Me - I Can Only Imagine

I Can Only Imagine lyrics

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
When I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine

I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you

I can only imagine

Kindle Touch Giveaway!

Carla Anne Coroy, author of "Married Mom, Solo Parent" is hosting a fun Facebook party on her author page on 10/25 – she’ll be hosting an encouraging MomChat and giving away a KindleTouch!

Don't miss Carla Coroy's MomChat Facebook Party on 10/25!

14 October 2011

Colby Caillat - I Never Told You

I miss those blue eyes, how you kiss me at night
I miss the way we sleep
Like there's no sunrise, like the taste of your smile
I miss the way we breathe

But I never told you what I should have said
No, I never told you, I just held it in

And now I miss everything about you
I can't believe it, I still want you
And after all the things we've been through
I miss everything about you, without you

I see your blue eyes every time I close mine
You make it hard to see
Where I belong to, when I'm not around you
It's like I'm not with me

But I never told you what I should have said
No, I never told you, I just held it in

And now I miss everything about you
(Still, you're gone)
I can't believe it, I still want you
(And I'm lovin' you, I never should've walked away)
After all the things we've been through
(I know it's never gonna come again)
I miss everything about you, without you

But I never told you what I should have said
No, I never told you, I just held it in

And now I miss everything about you
(Still, you're gone)
I can't believe it, I still want you
(And I'm lovin' you, I never should've walked away)
After all the things we've been through
(I know it's never gonna come again)
I miss everything about you, without you

Married Mom, Solo Parent - Carla Anne Coroy

Who knew a married woman could feel like a single mom?

Bookstore shelves are full of parenting resources for single moms. But where do moms turn if they feel like a single parent—but they’re not? Whether he is away on business, deployed in the military, or obsessing over a hobby, families face unique and difficult challenges when dad is unavailable. Moms who parent in these situations need help and don’t necessarily relate to the advice given in divorce recovery or single parenting resources.
Married Mom, Solo Parent is a common-sense, down-to earth look at the struggles wives and mothers face when their husband is not actively involved in family life. Writing from her own experience as a “married single mom”, Carla Anne addresses tough questions such as: Can I do this alone? How do I raise kids to honor a father who’s not around? How do I give my children a healthy perspective of marriage if they never see one in action?
With practical suggestions, anecdotes, and biblical teaching, this book encourages moms to see their position as a high calling, to find healing amidst their worries and frustrations, and to tap into God’s strength for help in facing the daily challenge of being a married mom, solo parent.


Ten years ago when I met my husband he was charming and intelligent.  He had a fine sense of humor and seemed quite easy going.  He had a child from a previous relationship and he seemed to really mourn the absence of his child.  We were married shortly after we met and immediately I became pregnant.  We were in many ways a typical young family, eager for the birth of our child and ready for family life.  We planned like most parents do and dreamed of what life would soon be like with a new baby.  

I might have had in inkling of what life would soon become when he left the hospital that day our baby was born to go to work.  I might have had some idea when he left one hour after we brought her home from the hospital to go to work.  I told myself that he was simply doing the manly thing.  That he was proving to me what a wonderful provider he would be, how responsible he was and dedicated he was to being the man and father we would need him to be.  Because of his strong work ethic it was easy for us to make the decision for me to stay at home.  We loved the idea of a traditional family and we knew that we had what it took to make that work.  

I soon found myself immersed in the daily workings of running a household, caring for our newborn and taking care of a husband and as it turns out my new extended family.  Day in and day out when it was evident that my husband was rarely home I repeatedly told myself that I was lucky to have a man that worked hard and provided a living for myself and our child.  I kept telling myself that over and over through the years.  It wasn't until I found myself hanging ceiling fans, hanging doors, repairing broken sink drains that I began to wonder if things hadn't gone terribly wrong along the way.  The internet was a blessing because I could turn to it when I needed advice for home repair.  

As my child grew through the years we spent days together at the park, the zoo, Disneyland, birthday parties, shopping, playing, learning.  I taught her to ride a bike, how to plant in the garden, how to read and cook.  As she grew she began helping me around the house.  Her father was witness to none of this.  He began to drink shortly after she was born and what began as an innocent night out with the boys soon grew into a habit.  We've struggle through the years with his addiction, his coming and going, his hangovers and drunkenness.  I've spent many nights alone in bed tears soaking my pillow.  I have had to answer some pretty tough questions from my daughter.

I love my husband and for the most part he is a gentle, kind and generous man.  He suffers from a disease and we've adapted over the years.  We have had some very rough days and I've had one hand holding my daughter with the other hand holding a suitcase on many occasions.  I have learned to count my blessings, relying on my faith in God to see us through.  It hasn't been easy.  I have grown in ways that I could never have foreseen.  I've become better, stronger and more patient and reliable than I ever thought I was capable of.  The road has been rocky but it is my path-our path-and I've found through God that we could not only survive but thrive.  

Unfortunately, I struggled along this path mostly on my own.  The shame of being basically a single parent while my husband alternately drank himself into a stupor or worked himself into non existence kept me from confiding in only a very few people.  It has taken the courage of a woman like Carla Anne to finally speak up and tell the other people like myself that they are not alone in this journey.  Finally, for all of those confused, lonely, angry single parents there is a bright and shining hope.  There is a resource available to them that did not exist before.  As I read through 'Married Mom' I found myself connecting with Carla's struggles and doubts.  If she had written this book ten years ago my path would have been so much easier.  I might have cried a few less tears.  I might have not thought so many dark thoughts.  I might have saved myself so much time...time that I spent in frustration and resentment.  I might have understood that this is simply life.  My life, like it or not this was my cross to bear.  

My husband was never abusive or aggressive.  Thank the Lord for that blessing.  Had he been, my story would be a different one.  It would have been a story of a woman who left her husband for a better life.  It saddens me because he missed out on so much.  What he was around for he doesn't remember because he was probably either drunk or hungover.  He does not have the same sweet memories of our daughter's milestones that I do and for that I have a great sadness.  I have tried to honor him in as much as I can but my daughter still holds resentment for his choices.  We are working through that.  Damage has been done.  The seeds for forgiveness and understanding are there but I can't say that theirs is a relationship that will ever become anything more than what it is right now.  I am praying and really, other than being open with my child there is little else that I can do.  No I should restate that...I am praying and I am solidly present for my daughter and that is the best that anyone can do.

I am very grateful to Carla Anne for writing this book and I sincerely hope that 'Married Mom, Solo Parent' reaches every single Married, solo parent out there.



Carla Anne Coroy is a gifted storyteller and teacher with contagious enthusiasm for life.  Even the mucky parts.  Her humorous and down-to-earth style quickly engages her audiences as she ignites God’s hope in everyday situations.
Carla Anne speaks and conducts seminars on a variety of topics including Christian life, parenting, marriage and biblical finances.  Watch for her upcoming book for married moms who solo parent, and be sure to check out her blog!
A veteran homeschooling mom and Christian mentor, Carla Anne has a deep passion to see others grow to maturity in Christ.  She has served full-time with ministries such as Youth for Christ and Crown Financial Ministries, and is currently developing an international mentoring organization for youth.  She also serves as a staff writer for the online Christian women’s magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women.
Carla Anne and her husband live with their four children in Manitoba, Canada, where they try to stay warm in winter and mosquito-bite-free in summer.

* I received an advance copy from the publisher for purposes of review. I was in no way obligated to write a review much less a favorable one. The opinions stated herein are all my own.

Ephemeron (Poems) by T. R. Hummer

In a work of startling originality, the T.R. Hummer's Ephemeron presents a meditation on ephemerality from the point of view of the ephemeron itself as it passes, be it the individual, the atom, the particle. Relentless in its stalking of the boundary between being and nonbeing, Hummer's work becomes a tour-de-force that shines a spotlight into dark corners of Being, revealing yet more darkness.


I'm not a poet.  In the sixth grade we had a poet in residency at my middle school.  He was there always present, a reminder of the great thoughts we should have been having.  He taught us for one hour everyday how to see as an artist, how to not think like an academic.  He was there in essence to set our souls free.  We did not study formal forms of poetry, we did not learn how many syllables should be in any specific line or how to bend the English language into rhyming loveliness.  We did however learn to 'see' and not 'think'.  We learned how to turn off our inner critic and simply allow the words to flow without judgement or criticism.   We slowly began to trust in our latent talent and we soared triumphant through the lines of text.  We created deep works of poetry using finger paint, crayons and strawberry icing. We painted our words in homemade gouache and in mud.  We used clouds in the sky as writing implements and we recorded it all down for posterity.  I, personally, think it was a great social experiment.  Perhaps the CIA was involved but I can't prove anything.  Needless to say that it all seems like a lot of hippy dippy non sense.  This was, however the eighties and not the sixties.   It was also the best class I ever took.  It taught me things about myself that I never would have learned other wise.  

For many years I didn't read a line of poetry unless it was printed on the inside of a birthday card.  Then a few months ago I purchase an audacious book for my daughter.  It was audacious because the author had the audacity to write the entire novel in verse.  All 3 hundred or so pages completely in rhyme.  It was amazing.  

So, I was on a poetry high.  Not that rhyming makes it poetry mind you.  Anyone can rhyme...that doesn't make them a poet.  Poetry has to touch the reader in some deep way.  Poetry has to stir up an image or feeling, an emotion that is not easily slogged off.   Poetry should probably make the reader slightly uncomfortable.  Like art.  It should make the observer think or feel.  This is the how and why I came to be reading TR Hummer.  His poems made me feel uneasy and reading them aloud to my husband was a largely different experience for us.  TR Hummer is an exceptional poet but like art poetry is best interpreted by the observer.  No two people will ever see a work of art the same way.  We all bring to the experience our own set of values and history making the experience wholly personal.  I don't believe that there is a right or wrong to poetry or art.  There is simply us.  The human observer and the human artist.  We struggle alone and desire to suffer together.  We share our experience hoping in some way to break down the barriers that keep us so intrinsically apart.  


T. R. Hummer is the author of nine books of poetry, including The Infinity Sessions and Bluegrass Wasteland: Selected Poems. He has been editor of Kenyon Review, New England Review, and Georgia Review. A native of Mississippi and longtime devotee and practitioner of jazz, he lives in Phoenix, where he teaches creative writing at Arizona State University.

* I received an advance copy from the publisher for purposes of review. I was in no way obligated to write a review much less a favorable one. The opinions stated herein are all my own.

12 October 2011

The Edible Front Yard - Ivette Soler

Click Image to Purchase
Available on Kindle!

Put the fruits of your labors front and center! With plentiful sun, open space, and an audience of appreciative passersby, the front yard has all the ingredients for a beautiful and bountiful garden. Let famed blogger and garden designer Ivette Soler show you how to make over all or part of that space — too often simply unused or purely decorative — into a gorgeously designed oasis of fruits and vegetables that will be the envy of the neighborhood.
The Edible Front Yard combines the loveliest and tastiest edibles and ornamentals in a garden that is a year-round feast for the eyes. Soler teaches all the tricks, from laying out the design and choosing the best front yard plants, to clear instruction for a bounty of exciting projects like a fragrant carpet of herbs, a trellis privacy screen using runner beans, and an eye-catching raised bed that turns your "hell strip" into a little patch of paradise. From the curb right up to your front door, the information in these pages includes everything you need to have a beautiful front yard and eat it too!

 I live in a small yellow cottage not too far from the sea in a warm sunny climate.  Though my yard is rather small it is big enough for me to have a lovely garden.  Rosemary, lavender, french thyme and oregano grow with abandon.  Cilantro and parsely occupy a slightly shady northern spot.  While the trees; lemon, bay, olive, avocado and plum enjoy their spot in the sun. As far as veggies are concerned I grow some but not as many as I'd like.  Because I am short on space I have stuck with the plants that will give me the most return for the effort and will also be lovely to look at or require a minimum of maintenance.  I do, however, want to grow more vegetables.  I long to pluck fresh carrots from the earth, I fantasize about picking my own lettuce...until now I just couldn't conceptualize how that would work.  Enter the Edible Front Yard.  

This fabulous book teaches the reader how to tastefully transform the front yard into a gloriously edible landscape that not only pleases the eye but also pleases the appetite.  This task may seem simple but in all honesty vegetables are not a pretty sight.  The authors show how to take the more comely vegetables and plant them in clever ways.  Through simple to understand steps and beautiful photos this guide makes it easy for the eager gardener to take that first tremulous step into front yard vegetable gardening.  My imagination when it comes to the landscape is not what I would like it to be.  While my spirit is willing it is often hard for me to visualize what all my plants will eventually look like once they become mature.  I love how the authors take the reader by the hand and really walk them step by step through the process. 

The Edible Front Yard could very well be an invaluable tool for any would be or well seasoned gardener.  By taking the authors cue gardeners everywhere could practically double their planting space while also taking advantage of all that fabulous sun.  My artichoke is basking in it's front row seat as I type.  I've taken that first scary step and I think a revolution has begun.


* I received an advance copy from the publisher for purposes of review. I was in no way obligated to write a review much less a favorable one. The opinions stated herein are all my own.

11 October 2011

Wellness on a Shoestring - Michelle Robin, D.C.

Product Description
Wellness on a Shoestring: Seven Habits for a Healthy Life

Learn seven steps to achieve and maintain wellness without spending lots of money--from getting plenty of rest to clearing the "junk" out of your space or your life.

Now available for your Kindle or Sony e-Reader.


I read a lot of alternative wellness titles.  Most of them are garbage.  Really.  If the book isn't one extended infomercial then it is usually filled with obscure "cure alls" that are impossible to find and are usually extravagantly priced.  Some books are a simple rehash of common knowledge or are focused on only one aspect of wellness-usually weight loss or a disease.

Wellness on a Shoestring is exactly what a wellness book should be.  The author covers a very general area of well being and the over all theme is stay healthy and maintain that momentum to avoid problems later on.  She does however illustrate how her simple advice works to cure common everyday problems if you've neglected to take of yourself and now find that life is no longer enjoyable.  Her 'cures' are not exotic and require very little in terms of monetary investment.  She tells the reader why getting the right nutrients are important, why getting a modicum of exercise is beneficial, why sleep is vital etc.  She makes the reader feel like they can take control of their health and that we really don't have to rely on artificial drugs and fancy programs to achieve the goal of feeling great.  

She really has inspired me and she must have done something right because I absolutely approach eating completely differently than I did before reading her book.  I make sure that every meal, every ingredient is adding something beneficial to my body...I make sure to add those dark leafy greens to my salad, I'm choosing oatmeal over fried eggs and bacon.  There must have been some magic in that little book of hers...and I am glad of it:)

Thank you Michelle Robin!

Seven Habits for a Healthy Life:
1. Rest, reflect and rejuvenate.
2. Breathe deeply.
3. Move your body.
4. Free your space.
5. Go for the greens.
6. Eat from the sea and enjoy the sun!
7. Drink to your health.

Whatever your financial resources, the power to improve your health is within you.

It’s in every choice you make, in every moment.

Michelle Robin shows you how to harness your inner voice as you practice seven essential habits for complete well-being.

Read stories from real people, at all income levels, who’ve adopted these practices-using little money-and seen their health dramatically improve.

Better yet, follow the tips in each chapter to create a lifestyle that leads to a phenomenal experience of body, mind and spirit.

* I received an advance copy from the publisher for purposes of review. I was in no way obligated to write a review much less a favorable one. The opinions stated herein are all my own.

10 October 2011

Tomas Transtromer wins Nobel Literature Prize

 Tomas Transtromer was born in Stockholm in 1931 and is today one of Sweden's most translated poets. He has been called ‘the buzzard poet’ because he seems to soar above the everyday world, observing with detached yet sympathetic detail the landscape and the people in it; the paintings of Chagall often come to mind when reading him.  With Transtromer we are in the same company as Rilke and Shelley, other poets of angels and ascension.

 The dream-like experience of flying (as well as endless falling) recurs again and again in Transtromer's poetry.  Prelude, opens with the line, ‘Waking up is a parachute jump from dreams',  Transtromer's subjects often feel that they have awakened from the dream of life, and the constant inversion of dream-time and reality, of night and day, of the horizontal and vertical worlds, is an ever-present theme.



One evening in February I came near to dying here.
The car skidded sideways on the ice, out
on the wrong side of the road. The approaching cars---
their lights---closed in.

My name, my girls, my job
broke free and were left silently behind
further and further away. I was anonymous
like a boy in a playground surrounded by enemies.

The approaching traffic had huge lights.
They shone on me while I pulled at the wheel
in a transparent terror that floated like egg white.
The seconds grew---there was space in them---
they grew big as hospital buildings.

You could almost pause
and breathe out for a while
before being crushed.

Then a hold caught: a helping grain of sand
or a wonderful gust of wind. The car broke free
and scuttled smartly right over the road.
A post shot up and cracked---a sharp clang---it
flew away in the darkness.

Then---stillness. I sat back in my seat-belt
and saw someone coming through the whirling snow
to see what had become of me.


I have been walking for a long time
on the frozen Ostergotland fields.
I have not seen a single person.

In other parts of the world
there are people who are born, live and die
in a perpetual crowd.

To be always visible---to live
in a swarm of eyes---
a special expression must develop.
Face coated with clay.

The murmuring rises and falls
while they divide up among themselves
the sky, the shadows, the sand grains.

I must be alone
ten minutes in the morning
and ten minutes in the evening.
---Without a program.

Everyone is queuing for everyone else.



---Tomas Transtromer, translated by Robin Fulton

09 October 2011

Writing down the bones

When I was just a little child, six years of age or so, I began writing stories.  I didn't stop until I was in my twenties and I still don't know why ever quit.  In my late teens I was introduced to an amazing book called Writing Down the Bones and I kept that book close by...always with me, ever present.  It was truly a gift in every way that a present is meant to be.  It changed the way I looked at the process of writing, creativity and it freed me in ways that I didn't think possible.  I couldn't thank Natalie Goldberg enough for writing this book.  If you haven't read Writing Down the Bones or if you haven't even heard of it, I want to let you know that it is out there.  Waiting for you to discover it.  Waiting to liberate your creative soul.  Waiting to breathe life into your passion.

Perhaps, my rediscovery of this old classic will re-inspire me to take pen to paper and begin again what I left behind all those years ago.  Perhaps, I will once again find the muse that use to keep me constant company...urging me on, coaxing me further and encouraging me when I felt lost. 

N. Goldberg
Click Image to see it on Amazon

08 October 2011


Serve up delicious, soul-satisfying food any night of the week with this new recipe collection from Fine Cooking. Among the 200 favorites are classics like meatloaf, beef stew, and macaroni and cheese as well as modern updates and ethnic specialties such as Thai curry, Moroccan vegetable ragout, and Brazilian chicken and shrimp. Cooks will gain confidence and get great results every time thanks to Fine Cooking's signature tips and secrets from the pros, step-by-step photos to help master techniques, ingredient profiles, shortcuts, and handy kitchen advice. Fine Cooking Comfort Food serves up one delicious cookbook.

Fine Cooking
features friendly, hands-on advice written by America's culinary experts and provides reliable recipes, inspiration, and trusted advice for cooks of all skill levels.
  • This collection includes 200 triple-tested recipes for main dishes like soups, stews, casseroles, and one-pot meals; sandwiches; breakfasts; desserts; and more from Fine Cooking's test kitchen.
  • The no-fail tips and techniques from culinary professionals are illustrated with step-by-step photos.
  • With its loyal following, Fine Cooking is consistently one of the top five best-selling cooking magazines at bookstores and newsstands everywhere.

For thousands of readers, Fine Cooking Magazine has been and continues to be their go-to source for inspiration when heading into the kitchen. No doubt you have a few tattered, clipped recipes of your own tucked away.  Finally. the editors have compiled the very best of the best comfort foods that are usually the backbone of every cook's repertoire.  No more searching the interweb for that perfect soup recipe.

Choosing only 200 from tens of thousands of recipes must have been a daunting task but one that I think the publishers over at Fine Cooking did admirably well. The selection criteria included not only great taste, but also had to stand up to Fine Cooking's high standards. You'll find old favorites such as beef stew, macaroni and cheese and chicken pot pie along side more contemporary recipes like baked potato and leek soup with cheddar and bacon.

Just like the magazine, this cook book has great illustrations and instructions. It is  great for people who love to cook and who really love to eat and know food. All of the recipes are well thought out and precise, yet not overly complicated. I find it much more "user friendly" then MANY of the other cook books out there, and trust me, I own a lot of them. Fine Cooking is the one I reach for most often.  It is worth savoring every last morsel...and then some.

All in all, this is a fabulous addition to the Fine Cooking catalogue by the folks at Taunton, who always manage to lure us with those luscious food cover photos as we exit the grocery store.


* I received an advance copy from the publisher for purposes of review. I was in no way obligated to write a review much less a favorable one. The opinions stated herein are all my own.

07 October 2011

Kindle a Passion for Reading

I love my Kindle.  I really, really enjoy having my entire library of books with me wherever I go.  My back thanks me everyday for not carting around a half dozen books with me everywhere I go.  I can use a ladylike purse again...no more ginormous bags and backpacks.  My eyes thank me for not making them squint...no more headaches.  Even when I wore reading glasses the pressure on my nose made my head throb (I tend to have sinus problems).  The Kindle is so much more than reading books though.  I get my favorite blogs delivered to it so I can read them anywhere.  Sudoku fanatic?  Got that too.  New York Times?  Delivered wirelessly daily, thank you very much!  Oh, and the NY Times crossword, I've got that too.  Math games for the little one, Scrabble, music, always available 3g internet access (FREE for LIFE).  My Kindle is easily the single most useful purchase I have made in a really long time.

Now, there is the Kindle Fire.  Full color touch screen.  199 dollars.  Yes, I'm on the waiting list because I know it's going to be just as great as my faithful 3rd generation Kindle.  It won't be replacing my current model because I absolutely need to be able to read in full sun.  The Kindle Fire is going to be gift for my daughter.  She really wanted an iPad but at over 500 bucks that isn't going to happen.  So I am a very happy mom.  Thank you Amazon.

So here is my shameless plug.  If you have a Kindle you can hop on over to Amazon and subscribe to this blog and have it delivered wirelessly to your device.  Now isn't that easier?  If you don't have a Kindle yet and aren't sure you'll like it, Amazon has also released a 79 dollar Kindle.  It's small and sweet and looks to be everything that Kindle is known for.  If you are worried that the books are too expensive let me tell you that Amazon has over a hundred books available for FREE everyday and they aren't just the classics either.  

I don't work for Amazon.  I am not getting anything in return for this shameless free advertising, I am simply a very satisfied customer.  When I was researching Ereaders I would have loved a review like this one to help me make my decision.  So here it is for all of you:)

06 October 2011

The Guardian by Robbie Cheuvront and Erik Reed

 Available September 2011


A Mysterious Scroll Holds the Key to Mankind's Destiny
A young woman thrust into a world of power and corruption...
The sold-out follower of Christ who vows to defend her...
And the scroll that links them both together...
Anna Riley has just stumbled across a family secret--her ancestors have been keepers of an ancient scroll that God gave to John the Disciple.  And now it's hers.  But Anna will soon discover that being the keeper of the Scroll comes at a price, for there are those inside the Church who would have the scroll and its secrets at any cost.  Sucked into a world of corruption and deceit, Anna is thrust into a journey that leads her half way around the world.  And the only person she can trust is a stranger named Jason Lang who, she's told, was appointed by God to help her with the task.
As Anna and Jason race against the clock, Anna's own journey of faith may very well be the thing that unlocks the scroll's secrets.  And her decisions will determine whether the man she's grown to love will live or die, as a mystery that's eluded the world since the time of Adam and Eve is finally revealed.


 "To him that has ears, let him hear"

Do you hear Him?  When it is quiet and you are alone and still can you hear the voice of God?  Are you even listening?  How many times a day do we pause and ask ourselves if what we are thinking, feeling, doing is God's will?  The Guardian can be read as a fairly straight forward religious thriller not unlike the DaVinci Code and it is a fun read if that is all you are asking from the book.

However, it does have a deeper message.  Where will your journey in faith take you on life's path?   Our purpose here is not simply to provide ourselves and our families with stuff and entertainment.  It is also a journey of the soul.  We need to keep our eyes and hearts open to the purpose that God has for each of us.  Like the characters in The Guardian we must all 'play our part' faithfully in God's plan.  If you read The Guardian as more than just another suspenseful mystery then you will find yourself asking some pretty tough questions.  

How often do you listen to the voice of God?


About the Authors

Robbie Cheuvront
Robbie is the worship pastor of The Journey Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, and cofounder of C&R Ministries with Erik.  He is also a songwriter and formerly toured with BNA recording artists, Lonestar.  Robbie is married to Tiffany and has two children, Cason and Hadyn, and is currently pursuing a theology degree.

Erik Reed
Erik is the lead pastor and an elder of The Journey Church in Lebanon, Tennessee.  He graduated from Western Kentucky University with a B.A. in Religious Studies.  He also graduated with his MDiv from Southern Seminary.  Erik is married to Katrina, with two children, Kaleb and Kaleigh.  Follow Erik on his blog at www.journeypastor.com/blogspot.com.

* I received an advance copy from the publisher for purposes of review. I was in no way obligated to write a review much less a favorable one. The opinions stated herein are all my own.