Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review: The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy

I began reading a book last year about modern slavery. As I read, I thought of the thousands of people who are right now being held against their will and forced to all kinds of evil for their captors. My mind cannot even fathom what they must be suffering in order to simply survive.

I have now watched the movie "Taken" about four times. Even though it is an emotional experience, I think it has been good for me to see the reality of what is happening to others around the world. It causes me to cry out to God for the deliverance of innocent boys, girls, men and women who are going through hell on earth. (If you haven't seen this movie, I suggest that you do. You will be shocked, but perhaps shocked enough to do something about this worldwide problem.)

Rhythm of Secrets, The: A NovelThe book by Patti Lacy entitled The Rhythm of Secrets bravely tackles this issue of slavery and what one man is willing to do to rescue one of these victims. Although it is fiction, it is based on a true story, something I couldn't forget as I read.

The book begins with Sheila Franklin, a woman who grew up in New Orleans in the 1940's and became an orphan at the age of 13, an unwed mother just 5 years later. It is now 1969, and Sheila now lives in Chicago with her preacher husband. Her quiet world is shattered when she receives a visit from her son who she gave up for adoption so many years ago. Why is he coming to see her now? Does he truly want to know his mother, or does he have other motives for seeking her out?

This book had many twists and turns in it that kept my interest throughout. I felt many different emotions as I read Sheila's story. Her bravery and perseverance were quite amazing as well as inspiring. Mrs. Lacy writes with feeling and gives her characters the emotions necessary for the reader to empathize with their difficult situation. I saw some people I know in these characters.

The plot is based upon the true story of Sandy Sperrazza. You can read more about Sandy from the newspaper article on this blog.

Also, here is an interesting interview with the author, Patti Lacy.

The Rhythm of Secrets is truly a great read. I give it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

(I received this book from LitFuse for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst

I have been exercising regularly for the last two months now, trying to get 25 pounds off this body of mine. I have lost about 5 already. I am not overweight, but I am borderline (high normal). I know I will feel better once I get these extra pounds off. So, I was intrigued by Ms. Terkeurst's book, wondering if it might help me in the way I think, and the way that I am going about losing this weight.

I like the way Lysa described the purpose of her book: "This book you hold in your hands could be the missing companion you've needed with every healthy eating plan you tried and cried over. I believe it will help you find your 'want to'. In addition to helping you find the desire to conquer your unhealthy cravings, it also holds the key to something very significant for most of us women - spiritual malnutrition. We feel overweight physically but underweight spiritually. Tying these two things together is the first step on one of the most significant journeys you'll ever take with God."

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not FoodI found a few encouraging words in the book, but most of what I read were things I already knew. For example:

- "I'm supposed to consume food. Food isn't supposed to consume me."
- "When tempted, I either remove the temptation or remove myself from the situation." (I actually did this today. Someone had brought wonderful, sweet, delectable pastries to work and I resisted!)
- "When there's a special event, I can find other ways to celebrate rather than blowing my healthy eating plan."

The author did have some good suggestions, like having Scripture ready ahead of time to help you avoid certain temptations and situations. And thinking about how you can add more exercise to your life. But it seems to me that the bottom line is: ask the Holy Spirit to help you eat better, exercise more, and make Him the object of your cravings, not food. Because we are "made to crave".  

Lysa said it well: "I'm not on a diet. I'm on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness." And, "God created us and told us to be faithful with the bodies we've been given. The Holy Spirti empowers us to make lasting change. And Jesus lovingly guides and guards us as we walk with Him, moment by moment, choice by choice, day by day."

So true, Ms. Terkeurst, so true. Thank you for reminding us that God is our source of satisfaction, not food, not anything else.

This is not a "diet book". It is a book that helps us to see God has provided for us "a way out" of our struggles with food (I Cor. 10:12-14). It is a book for anyone who needs to put away his/her idol of unhealthy eating and replace it with love of and obedience to God.

I give Made to Crave 4 out of 5 stars.

To learn more about Lysa, and to see how you can have a chance to win a brand new Kindle, visit Lysa's website at

(I received this book from LitFuse for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Review: Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon

Ask anyone who knows me well and they'll tell you that I would love to be a police detective. I am fascinated with anything that pertains to law enforcement, especially the area of crime scene investigation. I have read many fiction and non-fiction books on the subject. That is one reason why I like Irene Hannon's books.

Another reason is that she is such a talented writer. Her particular blend of romance and suspense is entertaining and exciting. This is now the third book I have read by Ms. Hannon and they have all been excellent. (You can read my review of one of her books here.)
Fatal Judgment (Guardians of Justice, Book 1)Fatal Judgment is the first book in the new Guardians of Justice series. The main characters are Jake Taylor and Liz Michaels. Jake, a U.S. marshal, is assigned to protect a federal judge after her sister has been murdered. But when he arrives at the hospital to begin his assignment, he discovers that the judge is a woman from his past - a woman who was married to Jake's best friend. Things turn sour as Jake wrestles with the idea that this woman was allegedly responsible for his friend's death. 

As the investigation into the sister's murder mounts, so do Jake's bitter feelings toward Liz. However, the more he gets to know her, he realizes how wrong he actually is. And as it becomes evident that someone wants to kill the judge, Jake sees that his duty to protect is turning into more than a duty - it is becoming a desire.

I would recommend this (and all of Ms. Hannon's books of suspense) to anyone who likes a clean, fast-paced, enjoyable read.

I give Fatal Judgment 5 out of 5 stars.

“Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Irene Hannon is the author of more than 25 novels, including the CBA bestsellers Against All Odds, An Eye for an Eye, and In Harm's Way. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier award, and the Reviewer's Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine. She lives in Missouri.

For more information about Irene and her books, visit her website at

(I received this book from Revell for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays is a meme from Should Be Reading, where we answer three questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? and What do you think you'll read next? If you want to participate, answer the three questions, then put your link on the Should Be Reading Blog in the comment section. Happy reading!

                    Stars Collide: A Novel (Backstage Pass)          Never Been Kissed: A Novel          Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments

What I am currently reading: Stars Collide by Janice Thompson - I will be reviewing this book for Revell week after next. It is by the author who wrote the Weddings by Bella series. I wrote a review last year for the third book in that series, It Had to be You.

What I recently finished reading: Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson - I reviewed this book two days ago. As you can see by the review, I was disappointed.

What I'll probably read next: Marriage Matters by Winston Smith - I picked up a copy of this book when I went to the CCEF conference last fall in Virginia Beach. I have actually already started reading it. Pretty good stuff (but very convicting!).

What are you reading? How about telling the rest of us by posting a comment?
Thanks for coming!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Book Review: Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson

Synopsis of Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson (from the publisher's website):

"Summer is ending, and for once that doesn't seem like such a bad thing to Elise. She's hoping that starting fresh at a new high school will turn her first-kiss prospects around. New guys, new friends, and a new lease on life.

What she wasn't counting on was all the new pressure--to hang with the right crowd, wear the right clothes, and date the right guy. Just when it seems she's on top of the world, everything comes crashing down. Could one bad choice derail her future?"

I just finished reading a review on Never Been Kissed. I must say that I cannot agree with the author of the review when she says she thinks it is one of the best YA books she has ever read.  I have read many that are much better and more realistic. However, I can see some good in this book.

Never Been Kissed: A NovelI have to start by saying that I hardly ever read YA books. That's because I usually find them to be shallow and the characters selfish. If most teens are like those found in books like these, our society is in a lot of trouble!

Since I knew this was written by a Christian writer, I thought maybe it would be different. But when, halfway through the book I saw that it was going to be only about boys, being popular and what the main character was trying to do to get her first kiss (before she turned 16), I struggled to finish. And the girl's prayers were all about asking God to give her what she wanted, not at all indicative of an intimate relationship with her creator and savior.

I did say that I saw some good in this book. I can see how it might help some teens identify with the struggles of some of the characters and the cultural issues that the author identified as problems today. And the way the subject was handled seemed fair and well executed. I know that many young people have these things going on in their lives. However, the ones I know and spend most of my time with are much more mature and do not focus so much on the things of this world. Call me naive and out of touch, but I'd rather see novels for teens that encourage them to be more godly and not ones that emphasize worldly pursuits.

The ending of the book is satisfying. Elise does realize her mistakes and there is a sort of redemption for her and a few others. But all in all, I do not recommend this book, especially for teens.

I give Never Been Kissed 2 out of 5 stars.  

“Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

(I received this book from Revell for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus. She also writes many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon. Visit Melody's website at

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review: Abortion by R.C. Sproul

Where were you in August of 1992?

I was living in Houston, Texas. The Republican National Convention had come to town, and my husband and I decided to join a pro-life demonstration at an abortion clinic downtown. My heart broke as I saw women enter the doors of that clinic. I prayed for them, and I wept for them. I also wept as I saw some of the people on our side of the street yelling at them and hurling insults at them. I don't know if any mothers and their babies were saved from abortions that day, but I know that many people were hurt, physically as well as emotionally. It was quite an experience that day for our family of four.

I don't think we realize sometimes that the issue of abortion involves real people, men and women who are struggling to do the right thing. Whether it be the question of "Do I abort or not?" or "What is my family going to think?" or "How is all of this going to affect my life?", there are some agonizing decisions to be made. So often pro-lifers focus on the issue and not enough on the mother and her baby.

R.C. Sproul has written a book with a unique perspective on the subject of the abortion debate. At the same time honest and compassionate, Mr. Sproul offers wise thoughts on how both sides of this discussion might look at how they view the sanctity of human life, and guides the reader to look at the core issue:

"At the heart of the abortion issue rest one overarching question: Is abortion a form of murder? In other words, does abortion involve the willful destruction of a living human person?"

"I am convinced that if somehow it could be proven conclusively that the destruction of unborn babies is in fact the willful destruction of living human beings, the debate on abortion would be all but over, and the law of the land would as clearly prohibit abortion as it does all forms of homicide. The abortion debate is not over whether or not murder should be legalized; it is a debate over whether or not abortion is a kind of murder."

Mr. Sproul also emphasizes the fact that what has happened in our society in the last 50+ years is that we have had a "national crisis of ethics." He states: "Beneath the division in society over abortion is a more foundational problem: How does one determine what is right? The irony of the United States debate on abortion is that it is a battle over "rights" in a nation that is sharply divided over how to determine what is right about anything." He says we are "(reducing) ethics to personal preferences rather than to objective norms for what is right and wrong."

Even though it is a relatively small book (approx. 200 pages), the author covers a lot of ground. The chapters are divided into three parts:

PART 1: Abortion: The ethical dilemma of our time
PART 2: An analysis of pro-abortion and pro-choice arguments
PART 3: A compassionate response and strategy

I gained tremendous insight from this little book. I have been involved in the pro-life movement for over 30 years, but I learned new ideas and truths from reading this book. It is a difficult subject to read about, but a book I believe that all should read. Mr. Sproul has given us a great gift by writing this book. He calls it “…a book I wish I did not have to write.” But I, for one, am glad he did.

Copyright information: © 2010 by R.C. Sproul, Published by Reformation Trust Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

I give Abortion: a rational look at an emotional issue 5 out of 5 stars. Read it. I dare you.

Here's R.C. Sproul on the issue of abortion:

R.C. Sproul Discusses the Issue of Abortion from Ligonier on Vimeo.

Read a sample chapter.
Buy the book.
Buy the ebook.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Review: The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher

(Be sure to read to the end of this post to see how you can have a chance to win some great prizes in The Search iPad Giveaway!)

I have friends who read Amish books a lot. Although I understand the fascination with the Amish way of life, I don't think I could read as many books about the Amish as they do. I have read many Amish books, however, and I believe that Suzanne Woods Fisher is one of the best authors of Amish fiction. I hope to read many more by this author.

Since the day I read The Waiting by Ms. Fisher, I knew I wanted to read the next book in this series. I became captivated by the story of Ben and Jorie and longed for more. When Revell offered this book for review, I jumped at the chance.

The Search is the story of Lainey O'Toole, Bess Reihl, and their families. When Lainey's car breaks down in the Amish town of Stoney Ridge, she decides to spend the summer there. Days turn into months as she meets and is befriended by Bess, who is spending her summer with her grandmother, Bertha, at her rose farm. Bess is not enjoying her time there until she meets Billy Lapp, Bertha's hired hand. This changes her mind about her situation. Bess is soon smitten and is determined to win Billy from the clutches of the girl he thinks he loves.

Search, The: A Novel (Lancaster County Secrets)However, there are details about Bess' and Lainey's past that neither one of them know about. When the secrets are revealed, both girls are left reeling.

The only thing I did not like about this book was the fact that the characters and their relationships to each other were hard to keep straight. I had to draw a family tree for myself so that I could understand better what was going on. But I consider that a minor irritation and one that I don't think detracted too much from the enjoyment of the book.

There are many twists in this book that will keep you wanting to read late into the night. I was thrilled to read an Amish tale that was not so utopian as most other books like this that make the characters' lives seem so perfect. As I heard just a few days ago, you need conflict in a book in order to make it interesting. And The Search is interesting as well as satisfying. I recommend it to all who like a clean, yet not boring, read.

I give The Search 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

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

(I received this book from Revell for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Suzanne Woods Fisher's latest installment of the Lancaster County Secrets, The Search,  is just out and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Search iPad Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive an iPad Prize Package worth over $500 and includes:

          A brand new iPad (16KB with Wi-Fi)
          Signed copies of all three Lancaster Country Secrets books (The Choice, The Waiting, & The Search)

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form/s, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on February 3rd at Suzanne's Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party. (Did you know The Search takes place on a rose farm?)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter
Facebook Party:

Join Suzanne for the Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party on February 3rd! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Search iPad Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Search, giving away copies of all three books and HEAPS of other readerly prizes! Including roses delivered to your door for three months for you AND a friend! Be sure to join us on Thursday, February 3rd at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page.