Friday, June 29, 2012

Clash of the Titles {COTT}

Great Christian Fiction--May Releases

This clash's host: Jennifer Slattery

My summer reading list is quickly growing. When you read the following two-sentence hooks, I'm sure you'll agree, these five May releases are must-reads indeed!

Spring Hope byMartha Rogers:

Libby Cantrell’s life has gone from bad to worse since her mother’s death. With an abusive father, and life in a brothel, she sees no hope for her future until she gains the courage to make her escape one cold winter night. 

When she arrives exhausted, hungry, and ill in Portersfield, Texas, Sheriff Cory Muldoon finds her in an alley and takes her to a doctor. 
A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa.

Eighteen months after the tragic Grove Street Fire took the life of her husband and four other heroic firefighters, Susan Marlowe thinks she’s finally beginning to heal. But then she discovers that David carried a secret to his grave—a secret that changes everything she thought about their marriage.

When Trusting God Is the Only Way Out 

On an average day, God started her missions in her sculpting studio, revealing the face of the person she would meet at the grocery store, bank, or playground. The goal was always the same. Reach the lost, bring someone back to God, restore hope.

Everyone in Fitzgerald Bay—except his law-enforcement family—is convinced Charles Fitzgerald murdered his children's nanny. Condemned by public opinion, his only hope for a replacement nanny to take care of his two-year-old twins is newcomer Demi Taylor.

Go HERE to vote for your favorite read!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Five Miles South of PECULIAR by Angela Hunt

Book Description:  If these three sisters don’t change direction, they’ll end up where they’re going.
Darlene Caldwell has spent a lifetime tending Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of a small town called Peculiar. She raised a family in the spacious home that was her grandfather’s legacy, and she enjoys being a pillar of the community. Sycamores is the kingdom where she reigns as queen . . . until her limelight-stealing twin sister unexpectedly returns.
Carlene Caldwell, veteran of the Broadway stage, is devastated when she realizes that an unsuccessful throat surgery has spelled the end of her musical career. Searching for a new purpose in life, she retreats to Sycamores, her childhood home. She may not be able to sing, but she hopes to use her knowledge and experience to fashion a new life in Peculiar, the little town she left behind.
Haunted by a tragic romance, Magnolia Caldwell is the youngest of the Caldwell girls. Nolie has never wanted to live anywhere but Sycamores. She spends her days caring for her dogs and the magnificent gardens she’s created on the estate, but when she meets a man haunted by his own tragedy, she must find the courage to either deny her heart or cut the apron strings that tie her to a dear and familiar place.
Can these sisters discover who they are meant to be when life takes an unforeseen detour? In a season of destiny, three unique women reunite and take unexpected journeys of the heart.

My Review:   Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt  is one of those reads that is humorous but yet filled with pearls of wisdom. 
Family issues abound with three sisters...Darlene, Carlene and Magnolia! Ironically, the first two sisters names rhyme and then there's Magnolia.  
These three sisters have "that" southern charm that can smooth the bark off a sapling!  But at the same time can cut you to the quick!
Darlene, the eldest, tends to live somewhat in the past...thinking about her parents and all that transpired.  Charlene, the middle sister, is from the big city and gives the sisters some much needed common sense.  Then there's Magnolia, the youngest.  Magnolia can't seem to let go of the past and truly needs to move on.
As someone once said, "There's no place like home."  But sometimes we need to let go and live our lives without all the past to crowd up our lives.
An interesting and humorous read about life, family dynamics and of course, love!
How far is Five Miles South of Peculiar?  Come find out in this new read by Angela just might want to sit a spell and grab some good down.home.sweet.tea!
*This book was provided for review by GlassRoad PR*
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books; Original edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439182043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439182048
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1 inches

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday} Fruit Kabobs

We are eating here's what I plan to make for the Fourth of July!  
Red, White and Blue fruit kabobs.  How patriotic is that!! 

Simply layer your fruits as shown in picture!
{just a note:  I add a tiny bit of lemon juice to 
the banana slices so they turn brown so quickly}

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

IMPLOSION Can America Recover from It's Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time? by Joel C. Rosenberg

Book Description:  Bestselling author and international political expert Joel C. Rosenberg tackles the question: Is America an empire in decline or a nation poised for a historic Renaissance?

America teeters on a precipice. In the midst of financial turmoil, political uncertainty, declining morality, the constant threat of natural disasters, and myriad other daunting challenges, many wonder what the future holds for this once-great nation. Will history’s greatest democracy stage a miraculous comeback, returning to the forefront of the world’s economic and spiritual stage? Can America’s religious past be repeated today with a third Great Awakening? Or will the rise of China, Russia, and other nations, coupled with the US’s internal struggles, send her into a decline from which there can be no return? Implosion helps readers understand the economic, social, and spiritual challenges facing the United States in the 21st century, through the lens of biblical prophecy.

My Review:  To understand the heart of this book I believe that the reader needs to first know the meaning of Implosion.  Implosion means a violent collapse inward or a violent compression.  {paraphrase from p.1}.  It's important for the reader to make note of this definition as the book begins with chapter one, A Coming Implosion?  It seems that the whole book is based on this definition....thus making chapter one the basis for the examination of the decline of America.
If one lives in America then it's not too hard to believe that the government and the financial decay of America is certainly at hand.
Reading this book, Implosion by Joel C. Rosenberg, certainly gave me a better outlook and yes, a better way to pray for America.
This is a great book filled with much research and thought.  It may not be as "exciting" as Joel's other books but it sure gripped my heart with the whys and maybes of upcoming upheaval in our nation.  On page 167, chapter eleven, The Natural Disaster Scenarios, the information that "While America could be suddenly and unexpectedly neutralized as a key player due to financial implosion, an incapacitating war, or an unprecedented terrorist strike...these are not the only threats we face"
is quite an enlightening chapter.  God may send natural disasters to get our attention.  Remember Noah and the Ark? are a believer or you aren't.  No two ways about it.  
Whether you believe in the end of the world, the collapse of America's financial system or God's Hand in bringing America to Him through acts of nature this book will make the reader think and rethink about his beliefs.  
I love the way Joel concludes this read . . . "Now is the time.  Let us choose wisely."
A great read and SO important for this day and age.  

*This book was provided for review by Tyndale Publishing*

Joel Rosenberg, Implosion on youtube

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (June 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414319673
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414319674

Monday, June 25, 2012

COTT...Clash of the Titles

Clash of the Titles' monthly clashes 
have received a makeover! 

Our focus is now on novels new to bookstore shelves. COTT's readers will always have the most up-to-date information on the best and newest Christian literature. 
Thanks to you, our faithful readers, Clash of the Titles’ new unpublished authors literary contest has been christened—


The path to publication in novel length is the most difficult a writer will embark on. For most, it’s a steep, uphill climb littered with deep crevices and seemingly insurmountable boulders. Often, it feels as though the summit of that mountain is on the move, keeping one toehold ahead of even the most relentless writer.

Ancient Olympia, Greece *Attribution
In classical times ancient Olympia was the site of the original Olympic Games. It sat at the foot of Mount Olympus, the tallest, most formidable mountain in Greece. The first Olympic Games were held in honor of Zeus, but at Clash of the Titles, we give all honor to the Most High God and wish every contestant His greatest blessing!

Authors, submissions for The Olympia pen October 29, 2012. For preliminary details, please visit The Olympia page.
If you would like more information on how to be a part of our monthly New Releases Clashes, 
please visit our Submissions page.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


TV.  If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six.  Open your child's imagination.  Open a book.  ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday} Watermelon Salad

It's too hot to cook so I'm cooking light and wanted to share this great salad.  
We love watermelon and this is perfect for a hot summer evening!
I found this great recipe on my light.


  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion

    • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 limes) 

  • 4 cups cubed seeded watermelon 

  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint

  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled


 Combine onion and juice in a medium bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Add watermelon, olives, parsley, and mint. Cover and chill 1 hour. Sprinkle with cheese.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Starring Me by Krista McGee

Book Description:  Kara McKormick is told she's auditioning to star in a new teen variety show. But it's what she isn't told that could change her life.
The feisty New Yorker moves to sunny Orlando to participate in a month-long audition, where she'll live with nine other contestants and an eccentric housemother. Kara knows that the show already has a big-time celebrity lined up for the co-host, but she doesn't know who it is.
Chad Beacon quickly rose to fame after winning America's Next Star, but he doesn't want his entire career to be about singing. There is so much more he wants to do-like act. The new variety show sounds like the perfect next step for him, but his parents want him to have a co-star who shares his faith since they'll be spending so much time together.
Acting is high on Kara's priority list. But a relationship with God? Not so much. In fact, she's tried to stay away from anything religious. But God is after Kara's heart and He's put people in her life who are showing her there's far more to Christianity than rules and judgment.
And just when it seems that Kara's going to have to give up her acting dream, God reveals that she may have a starring role after all-in a story so big only He could write it.

My Review: With so many reality shows blaring at our youth today it's nice to read a funny and witty book with biblical values.  Starring Me by Krista McGee is sweet story about Kara who, like most teen girls wants to star in a teen variety show.  Chad *swoon* has risen to stardom quickly and he gets to pick a partner in this new show.
His parents are concerned about the non christian influences in the movie world and have requested that he have a co-star who shares his faith {like any good parents they believe that a good christian girl will not make showy, ungodly parents}.
Of course, not all things go as planned.  There are the many questions of what is important in a relationship with God.  Is Kara's motive for wanting a role in this show more important that wanting to please God?  Chad, too, has questions about his role in the movie industry.  
Loved the ending!  Kind.of reminded me of Esther's story.
Great read for youth (well for anyone, actually, who's looking for a fun light read)!  
*This book was provided by BookSneeze/Thomas Nelson*
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401684890
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401684891

Monday, June 18, 2012

COTT...Clash of the Titles...Getting Ready To Spar!

Dust off those swords (in the Spirit, of course) and put on that literary armor, 
because Clash of the Titles has an announcement.

The Laurel Award is expanding, and we know you’ll be excited about it.

We are creating a NEW annual literary contest, and it’s strictly for unpublished writers! 
Also, authors will no longer need to be a previous Clash Champion in order to compete for the crown. 

Submissions for this contest open October 29, 2012, 
but first we must name it. That’s right! We want your help naming this exciting, new branch of Clash of the Titles. After reading about it, please take a moment to click on which name you think most fitting for this contest—The Spartan OR The Olympia. (Use survey below.)

About this new contest:

All never before published writers of Christian fiction may submit their work.
$10 Entry fee.
First two chapters will be judged.
Final scoring by a select panel of beta-readers.
Special feature on Clash of the Titles' blog.
Tour through COTT’s Blog Alliance.
Page on our site for a full year.
Podcast interview with Author and CAG board member, Cynthia L. Simmons.
A beautiful plaque.

The outcome is in the hands of readers, not industry professionals.

You’ve written the book of your dreams, now what do readers think? Enter the arena and find out. 

Stay tuned for further dates and details by 
subscribing to our blog and “liking” our Facebook page.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Treasures of Healthy Living: A Journey Unveiling God's Plan for Ultimate Health and Relationships By: Annette Reeder, Dr. Richard Couey

Book Description: 
 Did you know you can find the answers to many health problems in the pages of Scripture? Think of God's Word as a treasure map that leads straight to the healthy life you've always dreamed of. It reveals how you can move from a sickly, lackluster life to one that is full of energy and hope. This practical Bible study will reveal the truth about the foods you eat and provide simple tools to begin improving your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. You won't believe how much your life can change when you grab hold of the treasures God has provided for you.

My Review:  
Treasures of Healthy Living is one of those books that after you peruse and read you will want to keep on your favorite bookshelf as a guide to better living!
Not only is this book a guide but Ms. Reeder and Dr. Couey give biblical reasons and example of the "why."  Why sugar isn't good for us.  Why we need to eat locally grown foods. And even why exercise is "right" for us.  "We must train ourselves for godliness..." (p. 279).
This read has made be rethink my eating habits and forced me to think responsibly about what goes into my body.
Will I change?  You can count on it!  Already I'm eating less sugar and eating more fresh veggies...not so many fruits right now as I'm cutting down on the sugars.  Do I feel better?  A resounding YES!
A fantastic read and a fabulous guide for all the right reasons! Don't delay get your copy today and get started on the road to Healthy Living!
*This book was provided for review by GlassRoad PR*

Annette Reeder at Farmers Market
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Pleasant Word-A Division of WinePress Publishing (August 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414115709
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414115702
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall

Book Description:  When Sylvia Fischer turned down her beau's offer of marriage, she expected him to give her the time and space she'd requested, believing they would eventually wed. Instead he married her sister. When she learns that his betrayal was her father's idea--a proposition made to save the farm--she knows she'll never trust another man. 

Despite the secrets hiding in Aaron Blank's youth, he thinks he's ready to face his future. As he sets out to make up for the wrongs he's done to his family, he meets Sylvia, the new farmhand from a nearby district. She doesn't want him around, seems to have his father's heart in the palm of her hand--and what she knows could ruin his future.

My Review:  This is the third book is in the Ada's House Series.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize this when I decided to read Harvest of Grace.  But since this read is about Sylvia Fisher, Ephraim, Aaron, Lena and Grey (and so many others), it reads like a stand-a-lone novel.  However. I would definitely recommend reading this series in order since I feel there is "history" I may have missed.
I like this Amish love story.  The tug-of-war between Sylvia and Ephraim is fun and so universal, "Jealousy crept up her spine.  It seemed that he'd spent his years as a bachelor dating every single Amish woman in Dry Lake and the surrounding communities." (p. 45).  Sounds like some "English" guys I know.  Men will be men. <smile>
Learning about an Amish dairy farm was interesting too.  But it was "the secret" that kept me turning the pages.  
This reads has quite an involved plot and is a "wonderful gut" read!  If you enjoy Amish fiction don't miss this fantastic read!  And maybe you could read books 1 & 2, too! 
*This book was provided by Waterbrook Press/Multnomah*

Buy book HERE!
About the Author: 
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured onABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.
Her first novel released in 2006 to much acclaim and became a best seller. Cindy was a 2007 ECPA award finalist, along with Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin.
Her second book, When the Morning Comes, hit numerous best-sellers lists across the US, including edging into the extended list of the New York Times, coming in at number thirty-four.
Her third book, When the Soul Mends, hit the New York Times best-sellers list, coming in at number thirteen, as well as making the USA Today’s best-sellers list.
Cindy continues to write and release best-selling works of fiction, and she’s also written a nonfiction work with an Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. The book is titled Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women.
Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity.
Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and caped dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.
As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children.
Cindy, her husband, their three sons and two daughters-in-law reside in Georgia.