Monday, October 31, 2011

COTT: Clash Of The Titles....

*Guest post by Michelle Massaro
Week THREE of COTT's Tournament of Champions saw four more authors compete and three more scavenger hunts played. 
Here's a recap:
On Monday, players were sent to Elaine Cooper's Blog with a mission: Find the full name of the girl Nathaniel Stearns falls in love with in the book trailer video on her home page. Renee C won a $10 Amazon gift card from Marianne Evans, author of Hearts Crossing.

Tuesday, the hunt was on at Shellie Neumeier's Blog. The question: What is the name of the book Shellie co-wrote with Lisa Lickel? Tammy G won a $10 Amazon gift card from April Gardner, author of Wounded Spirits.
Wednesday we were led to Naomi Musch's Blog. The question: In her new release, The Red Fury, Colette's daughter Lainey is seeking solace from tragic loss and two searing rejections by doing what 2 things? B.J. Robinson won a $10 CBD gift card donated by Ann Gaylia O'Barr, author of Singing in Babylon.
Want your own spending spree? Be sure to play in this week's hunts. Check Clash of the Titles for game info.

And what about the competing books? Who won?
Karen Witemeyer's A Tailor-Made Bride and Lena Nelson Dooley's Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico battled on Monday. A Tailor-Made Bride came out the winner.
Christine Lindsay's Shadowed in Silk and Naomi Musch's The Green Veil struck swords on Wednesday. The Green Veil took the top spot.
These two victorious titles competed together on Friday to determine which would move on to the finals for a chance to win the Laurel Award. And that finalist is...
Karen Witemeyer's A Tailor-Made Bride!

There are now three finalists vying for the ultimate COTT honor. In this final week they'll be joined by a fourth book, then all will be thrown into the ring until only ONE remains. Who will it be? It's up to readers to decide, so cast your votes!
The Laurel will be awarded on November 4th, along with the 15-book grand prize that will be given to one lucky reader. Want a shot at it? You can enter by sharing links, putting up buttons and banners on your blog, becoming a follower of COTT, etc. Details on the prize basket and full instructions on how to enter can be found here. To make it easy to grab n go, here are the banner and button codes (just don't forget to let them know if you put them up!)


Clash of The Titles

Here's the button code:

* Michelle Massaro is the Assistant Editor for COTT. Find her on twitter @MLMassaro, Facebook, and Adventures In Writing.


Autumn is a second spring when

every flower is a leaf.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Finding Becky by Martha Rogers

Book Description:  Finding Becky is the third novel in the Winds Across the Prairie series.  Becky Haynes returns to Barton Creek after college with a new independent spirit that baffles her longtime friend Rob Frankston. Her new attitude toward her faith, family, and friends confuses her family. When a stranger moves into Barton Creek, Becky is flattered and taken in by the attentions of Geoff Kensington. As Oklahoma approaches statehood, strange accidents befall the citizens of Barton Creek. Rob has his suspicions concerning Geoff, but will he be able to find proof and convince Becky to return to the faith of her childhood before the town of Barton Creek is destroyed?

My Review: Once again Martha Rogers brings us a grand story that seems to be right out of the history books.
Becky Haynes is returning home after being gone to college for four years.  On the train home she meets a handsome man, Geoff Kingston.  Geoff is seemingly besotted with Becky and Becky likes the attention.  
But at the train station as everyone is meeting and greeting Becky, her long time friend, Rob Frankston, wants some time to greet Becky too but every Becky goes there is Geoff, too!
Rob can't figure Geoff out.  Rob "sees" right through Geoff and his slick ways but Becky and the others think Geoff is such a nice, handsome man.
When terrible things start to take place and the people of Barton Creek seem to be in peril and danger Rob knows he must find out what is going on.
This is a great historical read!  The reader isn't quite sure what Geoff's interest in Becky is either but like Rob wants to find out.  
There's suspense and mystery in all the "goings on" that makes this a hard read to put down!
*This book was provided for review by Charisma/Realms/Strang*

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Life and Lesser Catastrophes {a memoir} by Christina Schofield

Book Description:  Just after her thirteenth wedding anniversary, Christina Schofield woke up groggy and disoriented, surrounded by nurses in a hospital. She and her husband had hit a gravel patch while on their motorcycle and crashed into a ditch. With the exception of a concussion, she was fine. But Allen had broken his neck. He was now a quadriplegic.

With her entire life flipped upside down, she began an astonishing journey of tenacious faith amid increasing doubt. Full of dark, silent hours and a woman's honest questioning of the God she thought she knew, this is also a story full of miraculous answers to prayer and head-scratching, awe-inspiring encounters with her loving Lord.With candid warmth and transparency, Christina shows readers that even in their darkest hours, God's goodness shines through.
My Review:  As I read this book the poem, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, especially the ending kept coming to my mind . . . "I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference".
Christina unflinchingly writes from the heart.  She writes of tears, frustration, joy and a road that was taken. 
On that fateful day, Christina writes, "I always thought about God when we rode . . . and then I found myself praying a prayer I would think about over and over in the months that followed:  God, I don't like living fearfully and I don't think it pleases You.  So right and now, I want to affirm my trust in You-I trust You to protect me and keep me safe." (p. 16)  This quote sums up the whole book for me.  Trust Him!
Even though this is a small book it is packed with faith.  This is definitely one of those reads that builds your faith and makes you teary eyed (a nice way to say you'll probably cry).   And then there are times I totally laughed out.loud because, well, I guess you'd have to experience a conversation with your spouse like Christina and Allen have on page 73.  
And I love the way Christina ends the read . . . The end. Sort of.  Because with God there are no endings, only beginnings that draw us closer to Him.
*This book was provided by Bethany House Publishing*
Meet the Author:
Christina Schofield has been a children's illustrator and writer for the last ten years, working with Zonderkidz, Group Publishing, Standard Publishing, and Cook Communications. She and her husband, Allen, a campus pastor, have one daughter, Lily, and live in Rolla, Missouri.

{Kregel Blog Tour} Refuge On Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson

Book Description:  This homecoming wasn't what she expected . . .
Jobless, homeless, and broke, Camden Bristow decides to visit the grandmother she hasn't seen in years. But when Camden arrives in Etherton, Ohio, she discovers that her grandmother has passed away, leaving her the 150-year-old mansion on Crescent Hill. The site of her happiest summers as a child, the run-down mansion is now her only refuge.
When Camden finds evidence that she may not be the mansion's only occupant, memories of Grandma Rosalie's bedtime stories about secret passageways and runaway slaves fuel her imagination. What really happened at Crescent Hill? Who can she turn to for answers in this town full of strangers? And what motivates the handsome local Alex Yates to offer his help? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camden uncovers deep family secrets within the mansion's walls that could change her life--and the entire town--forever.
My Review:  Having read only one other book by Melanie Dobson, Love Finds you In Liberty Indiana, I was anxious to read this book.
The read starts out quite normally.  A young woman loses her job, her apartment and has to move on, simply because she has no one or no other place to go.  She decides to go "home" to her grandmother.  She hasn't seen or visited her sweet grandma in 18 years  and now she knows this is where she belongs.
So, off Camden travels to Crescent Hill only to find that her dearly loved grandmother has gone to her heavenly reward.  But Camden finds out that grandma left her the mansion, such as it is, and a letter.  But "weird" things are going on at the house.  On her first night at the house, Camden falls sound asleep only to wake and find that her purse and letter are gone.
And then people are more than a little curious why Camden shows up only a week after her grandmother was buried.  Is Camden a treasure hunter?  Wanting only what her grandmother left behind?
Jake and his grandfather are Camden's close neighbors but why does Jake give Camden the willies? What are Jake and his grandfather really after?
And Alex?  He's so fine!  Camden truly likes Alex and he's willing to help her find out what is happening on Crescent Hill!
There are twists and turns at every corner of this read!  Just when I thought I had the mystery solved, up popped another twist!
This is an absolute WOW read!  It may begin as an ordinary story but as the reader continues on into the read there is mystery mixed with history.  Melanie Dobson weaves a fascinating tale of the underground railroad with a modern day family who has issues.  These issues all seem to stem from the past.  So interesting and believable!  Felt like I was reading a family journal instead of a fictional book.  Loved this read!
*This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications*
About the Author: 
Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of The Black CloisterLove Finds You in Liberty, Indiana; andTogether for Good.
Prior to launching Dobson Media Group in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of events, products, films, and TV specials. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She has worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.
Read the first chapter HERE!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Decision Points by George W. Bush

Book Description:  In this candid and gripping account, President George W. Bush describes the critical decisions that shaped his presidency and personal life.

George W. Bush served as president of the United States during eight of the most consequential years in American history. The decisions that reached his desk impacted people around the world and defined the times in which we live.Decision Points brings readers inside the Texas governor’s mansion on the night of the 2000 election, aboard Air Force One during the harrowing hours after the attacks of September 11, 2001, into the Situation Room moments before the start of the war in Iraq, and behind the scenes at the White House for many other historic presidential decisions.For the first time, we learn President Bush’s perspective and insights on:His decision to quit drinking and the journey that led him to his Christian faithThe selection of the vice president, secretary of defense, secretary of state, Supreme Court justices, and other key officialsHis relationships with his wife, daughters, and parents, including heartfelt letters between the president and his father on the eve of the Iraq WarHis administration’s counterterrorism programs, including the CIA’s enhanced interrogations and the Terrorist Surveillance ProgramWhy the worst moment of the presidency was hearing accusations that race played a role in the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and a critical assessment of what he would have done differently during the crisisHis deep concern that Iraq could turn into a defeat costlier than Vietnam, and how he decided to defy public opinion by ordering the troop surgeHis legislative achievements, including tax cuts and reforming education and Medicare, as well as his setbacks, including Social Security and immigration reformThe relationships he forged with other world leaders, including an honest assessment of those he did and didn’t trustWhy the failure to bring Osama bin Laden to justice ranks as his biggest disappointment and why his success in denying the terrorists their fondest wish—attacking America again—is among his proudest achievementsA groundbreaking new brand of presidential memoir, Decision Points will captivate supporters, surprise critics, and change perspectives on eight remarkable years in American history—and on the man at the center of events.

My Review: President George W. Bush is one of my favorite presidents. I love his family!  The dignity of his wife, Laura, and his daughters are the epitome of southern ladies.  
As I began reading Decision Points I realized what a great responsibility our president has.  Not only because he runs our country but because he also has family to "run."
At the very end of the book on page 476 George W. Bush writes, "The day after I left office, I started writing this book.  Working on it has been a great opportunity for reflection..." I found this interesting because it seems that George Bush wanted to capture and not forget any part of his presidency.  I like that!  
In this memoir he writes about the Lazarus Effect on page 333.  if you've read the Bible you know that Lazarus was a dead man, raised again to life by Jesus.  In this chapter George Bush writes about meeting and talking with an AIDS support organization, TASO, Mohamad in Entebe, Uganda. "The patients there reaffirmed my conviction that every life has dignity and value, because every person the mark of the Almighty God."  This one sentence out of the whole book sums up why I think that George W. Bush was one of our greatest presidents . . .  he saw value in every human.
He also writes about 911, about the war, about the terrible toll this attack took on our country and he writes about his feelings through it all. 
 As I was reading this memoir I realized what a great man of integrity and faith George W. Bush is!  He gave some of his best years for our country and he made some very hard decisions .... Decision Points is a grandtastic book....not just a memoir but a testimony of a great person.  
Thank George W. Bush for your leadership and for writing a book for future generations.
*This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah*

GEORGE W. BUSH is the 43rd President of the United States, serving from 2001-2009. He previously served as Governor of Texas. He now lives in Dallas, where he founded the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University.

Winner is . . .

IS #2
{winner has been contacted}

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday} Apple Biscuit Cups

Biscuit Cups fron Pillsbury...YUM!!


can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
medium apple, peeled, chopped (1 cup)
tablespoons granulated sugar
teaspoon ground cinnamon
craft sticks (flat wooden sticks with round ends)
cup firmly packed brown sugar
cup milk
cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups. Cut each biscuit into 6 pieces; place in large bowl. Add butter, apple, granulated sugar and cinnamon; toss gently to mix. Spoon mixture into muffin cups.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan.

Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, heat brown sugar and cream to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth.Spoon warm icing over warm biscuit cups. Insert 1 craft stick into center of each biscuit cup or skip the sticks and make it a biscuit cup!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble

Book Description: Eden's hope is rekindled when Clay delivers astounding news: their daughter has been found.
Five years ago Eden and Clay Larson's baby was stolen and never found. Eden blamed herself, Clay lost himself in work. Their young and rocky marriage ended. Or so Eden thought.
Now  Eden's moved to a new town. She's found faith and is trying to rebuild her life. She's even dating again-a sweet guy who plans to marry her someday. But then Clay arrives out of the blue and delivers shocking news: they're still married. What's more, Clay has been searching for Brianna all this time. And he believes he's found her: their daughter is in Bluebird, Texas, at a youth ranch.
To uncover the truth, Eden and Clay sign on as counselors at Bluebird Ranch. Working together, they rediscover their love for each other. But danger is closing in-Eden, Clay, and their young charges are in jeopardy. As they fight to save their family, Eden realizes that God has been fighting for them all along. And His plans are for a more abundant life than they've dared to hope.

My Review: As a of Colleen Coble I was excited to read her newest book, Lonestar Angel.
Eden and Clay were married at a young age.  When their daughter, Brianna, was born Clay was buried in work and Eden was a young, excited but tired mom.  So, when someone kidnapped Brianna, Eden blamed herself and she thinks that Clay blames her for "it" too.
They both separate mentally when Brianna can't be found.  And soon afterward their marriage takes a toll and Eden leaves to make a new life.
Then, one day, when Eden feels that all is going well . . . she's dating a nice guy, rebuilding her faith and likes the town . . . Clay shows up.  Low-and-behold!  He informs her that they are still married.  And to boot! he has found Brianna.
But there's a glitch!  And this is when Clay informs Eden that their angel is at a youth ranch in Bluebird, Texas.  Clay comes up with a plan. Eden decides to follow her heart.
This is a wonderful.of.adventure and suspense read!  Just when the reader thinks she has "solved the mystery" . . . the bend in the road twists and zoom, on to a different, unknown path.
I loved this faith filled, second chances read!
*This book was provided for review by BookSneeze/Thomas Nelson Publishing*
About the Author:
I'm a reading addict. I'll read anything: cereal boxes, flyers, toilet paper bags. I grew up on Nancy Drew so I still love reading things that have some mystery or suspense in them, but romance is always at the heart of my books.

COTT: Clash Of The Titles . . .Rockin' Party!

*guest post by Delia Latham

It's been a bang-up bash all week at Clash of the Titles. We've been blog-hopping for treasure, and a couple gals found the loot!

LINDA won Game #1. She'll receive a 
$10 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate 

CLAUDIA RIZZI won Game #2. She'll receive a 
$25 Partylite Gift Certificate 
Michelle Massaro.

Congratulations to our game winners!

And the fun continues all the way through Nov. 4th. Our doors are open and we have a whole pile of party hats just waiting to be worn. Bring your votes and come on down!

In the midst of all the fun and games this week, we had four authors at swordspoint with TWO Clashes. All four entries were outstanding, and each possessed strong winning qualities. But, as in any race or competition, not everyone makes the finals.

We chose a single winner from each Clash. These two went head-to-head on Saturday…and only one will proceed to the finals and duke it out for the COTT Laurel Award.

This week's Clash WINNERS are:

Clash #3:

Erin Rainwater with her excerpt from 

Clash #4: 

Elaine Marie Cooper and her excerpt from 


These two went head-to-head on Saturday…with only one proceeding to the finals to duke it out for the COTT Laurel Award.

That one is....

Elaine Marie Cooper and her excerpt from 

Cyber-hugs and sincere thanks to Anne Patrick and Margaret Brownley! These were tough decisions and difficult votes to make. You're ALL winners!

More games and more exerpts are up for grabs this week, so don't miss out. Stop by COTT and play.

*Delia Latham is the author of the Solomon's Gate Series and a Blog Alliance Correspondent for COTT

Monday, October 24, 2011

Courageous from the makers of Fireproof


Honor Begins at Home

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.
Having seen Fireproof I knew that Courageous would be fantastic, too!  And you know what?  It was!  My husband said to me, "If more men stood up for right and reared their children to be God fearing we would not only have courageous fathers but we would be raising a courageous nation."  I couldn't agree more!  
Courageous will stir your heart and soul.  Live courageously!  
This is a movie worth seeing!  <Oh! And don't forget the Kleenex!>

{Blog Tour AND GIVEAWAY!} Book of Dreams by Davis Bunn

Book Description:  For Dr. Elena Burroughs, life is divided into two chapters—before and after the death of her husband. Today marks the point that her span of being a wife is equal to her span of being a widow. Even her success as a psychologist and her worldwide acclaim for a book on the interpretation of dreams is dimmed by an unspoken If only. Then a new patient arrives, one so private only her first name is given. Impeccably dressed and escorted by two bodyguards, Sandra recounts a frightening series of recurrent nightmares. Elena agrees to consider her case more carefully, convinced that something ominous may be at work here. Elena's interpretation of her dreams confirms that, indeed, the new patient and her family confront a powerful global network of dangerous forces. As the story unfolds, they face a key question of the Christian life: How do you understand and fulfill the will of God?

My Review:  This has to be one of the MOST intriguing and complex stories that I've ever read!  Simply fabulous! 
The Book of Dreams takes on a persona all its own.  Actually, led me down a path that I've thought about but have never ventured to explore.  After reading Book of Dreams, I'm not sure I'll ever think of dreams the same way again.
This read reminded me a lot of the book of Daniel in the Bible.  How God used dreams to come and teach/remind the people what was needed of them.
Reading this book was like seeing the current news of Wall Street and the banking industry.  The lying and cheating that are affecting good, decent people.  
Dr, Elena is a dream analyzer/interpreter.  She helps people.  Dr. Elena has to come to grips with some of her own issues as she helps a patient, Sandra.  Elena is also a God-fearing woman who believes that God has a purpose and plan.  So, as she analyzes her new high profile patient, Sandra. The question seems to be what is God's plan?  Because Sandra has terrible, off-the charts nightmares that leave her not only depleted but emotionally drained.  There is no easy answer.  But what is happening?  
How Dr. Elena deals with Sandra and her own heart is intriguing.  Throw in the banking/Wall Street complexities and, well, this makes for the best read of the season!  
Don't miss this grand-tastic work of heart!
*Coming in 2012 Hidden Dreams (published by Howard/Simon and Schuster

About the Author:
Davis Bunn did his undergraduate studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, where he earned honors degrees in both economics and psychology. He then travelled to London, where he continued this dual approach, earning a Master of Science degree in both industrial psychology and international economics. After teaching at a Swiss university for a year, he entered into a business career that took him to more than 40 countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Davis came to faith at age 28, and began writing two weeks later. Before that point, he had never written anything longer than a business report. He wrote for nine years and completed seven novels before the first was accepted for publication. That book was The Presence, released by Bethany House in 1991. Davis and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write. Visit Davis at

*Mandatory! *Write a title for your book of dreams  (post your email address with your title so that I may contact you if you win).
*For an extra entry become a follower of this blog.  Leave a separate entry to let me know.
The title selection will be picked by a third party who is unrelated to this blog or book.
Contest ends November 1!

Friday, October 21, 2011

abundantlife 365 Blessings To Begin Your Day by Nancy Guthrie

Book Description:  Ultimately, to be blessed is to have the full, abundant, and ongoing life that only comes from God. The Abundant Life Day Book contains a year’s worth of daily reminders of what it means to live in the abundance of God’s blessing through Christ. When we begin to see how much God has given to us in Christ, and how much he is worth, we realize that all the things we were hoping to get from God—good health, loving relationships, protection from harm, material provision—are only temporary, tangible reminders of and pointers to all we have in Christ. God wants you to enjoy the assurance of his intention to bless you! The Abundant Life Day Book invites you to celebrate God’s blessings day after day.

My Review: I love devotional books!  They are short and to the point but best of all the reader can glean from God's Word!
In, abundantlife 365 Blessings To Begin Your Day by Nancy Guthrie, the reader is blessed each day with a verse, a short and thoughtful devotional and then a final phrase to begin your day or to end your day.
One of my favorite devotionals is on page 141, I Will Heal You.  Such an encouragement!  The verse is taken from Exodus 15:26...I am the Lord that heals you.
This small, hardback book looks plain but it is bursting with love and encouragement.  
Nancy Guthrie does an excellent job of bringing the Scriptures to life with her wonderful devotional thoughts.
This is one of those books that makes a great gift but, even better yet, it makes a wonderful Get Well/Get Better Card.  I enjoy gifting books like this instead of giving flowers or cards that fade away.  
*This book was provided for review by Tyndale Publishers*
About the Author:
Excerpt from Nancy's web page..."Nancy’s life experience has also significantly affected her teaching style. “I’ve had to dig into God’s Word in search of answers to hard questions about God and how he works, and I find that my listeners usually have the same struggles and questions. And while I share openly the deep hurts in my life, I also like to laugh. I often have people who hear me teach say that I'm very real. I hope that's true."
Nancy and her husband, David, and son, Matt, make their home in Nashville, Tennessee where, according to Nancy, life is less about professional pursuits than about the ordinary aspects of being a wife, mother, friend, and follower of Jesus, with clothes to wash, e-mails to answer, and a friend to listen to.  Visit Nancy at: