Archives For Book Reviews

Life, In Spite of Me

Heather —  May 26, 2010
Life Inspite of Me

By Kristen Jane Anderson as told to Tricia Goyer

When I first received Life in Spite of Me, I left it on the desk for a long time. I knew that it was not going to be lightweight summer reading. Suicide is not a pleasant topic and I wanted to sit and give the story my full attention when I read it. When I did begin, the first chapter was riveting, but painful. I kept wanting to shout, “No, don’t do that!!”

But, after the initial sadness and loss, I found that I should have realized from the smile on Kristin’s face on the cover that this book would be filled with hope.

While the subject matter was complex and upsetting at parts, the writing is very tender and honest. Kristin’s story is more of a love story with her creator and her life than I ever imagined it could be. Kristin is not just a survivor, but a wonderful light to those who are hurting and to those who wish to help.

I recommend the book, and also visiting to find out more.

From LitFuse:

Why does my life have to be so painful?
What’s wrong with me?
It’s not going to get better.
It could all be over soon, and then I won’t hurt anymore.

Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook on life. One January night, the seventeen-year-old made a decision: She no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railroad tracks and waited-for a freight train to send her to heaven…and peace.

Amazingly, Kristen survived her suicide attempt… but the 33 freight cars that ran over her severed her legs. Now she not only had to deal with depression; she also had to face the physical pain and life without legs.

But Kristen’s story didn’t end there. After her darkest days Kristen discovered a real purpose for living. Now, in her compelling book Life, In Spite of Me, Kristen shares her journey from despair to hope.

Includes letters from Kristen that share messages she wishes someone would have told her-when she was depressed and struggling with loss, shame from sexual abuse, and suicidal thoughts.

Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-two books of fiction and nonfiction, including Blue Like Play Dough  and the Gold Medallion finalist Life Interrupted. Goyer writes for publications such as Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family, speaks to women’s groups nationwide, and has been a presenter at the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) national convention. She and her husband, John, live with their family in Montana.

Life in Spite of Me is available for purchase on Amazon, now.

Visit the blog tour and see what other reviewers have to say.

For a chance to win a 5 book Tricia Goyer library – any five books of your choice:

Tweet this: Don’t miss Life, In Spite of Me by @TriciaGoyer! The amazing story of #KristenAnderson journey back from #suicide!
(must use both hashtags #kristenanderson and #suicide)

Leave a comment here, on Tricia’s site for a chance to win 1 of 5 copies of Life, In Spite of Me.

Thanks to LitFuse for providing me with a copy of Life In Spite of me for review purposes.

Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure by Susan Marlow

Rating & Summary: 5 I love these! This series really got my attention. First of all, it is geared for tweens and has an exciting mix of teenagers, horses and adventure. There was plenty of action in the plot and a very strong theme of family love and support. I absolutely loved the relationships between the characters. I felt that the author, Susan Marlowe, really captured how young people think and behave….and also grow as people!

As this book is one in a series, I think these would be fantastic for some summer reading–and hey, Mom–no vampires! Gotta love that.

From the site: Andrea Carter is back for another adventure with her Circle C pals! Book 5 is the popular series, Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure is a perfect choice for middle grade readers ages 8-14.

When innocent horseplay temporarily lands Andi and her friends in jail, they decide that a trip into the mountains will leave their troubles far behind. Accompanied by big brother Mitch and armed with a map showing old gold diggings, they can’t wait to strike it rich. What could be better than two weeks of camping and horseback riding?

But instead of gold they find heaps of trouble — trouble that leaves Mitch gravely wounded. Andi needs help fast. But who can she trust? And what good is a bag of gold when her beloved brother lies near death in the middle of nowhere?

You can purchase Trouble with Treasure for $7.99 on the Kregel site. You can also check out other books in the series, read an excerpt and download a unit study on Kregel’s page.

Also, I really recommended taking a look at the author’s site. You’ll find sample chapters for all the books, book trailers, enrichment guides, puzzles, photos and other fun things for your readers!

**I also have to tell you about the brand new Circle C Beginnings series! We cannot wait for these. My five year old loved hearing Trouble with Treasure read to her and is very excited to “read her own Andi stories.”

These books, geared for younger readers (6-8) follow Andi and Taffy’s adventures when they are much younger. Take a look at the adorable illustrations on the new website! Soon, you can print out coloring pages and activity packs to go with each book!

To see what my TOS crewmates have to say, click here!

Trouble with Treasure was provided to me for my review and I have given my unbiased opinion.

This popped into my mind this morning. Hope someone can make use of this!

For all my book loving friends–here are a few ways to get yourself some inexpensive or free books to read poolside this summer:

There is a new Barnes and Noble promotion today:

Favorite Paperbacks – Buy 2 Get the 3rd for FREE Offer Details

While supplies last, choose 3 qualifying books from our Favorite Paperbacks promotion and the least expensive book is yours for FREE! Simply look for the Buy 2 Get the 3rd free icon on select paperback books online and in-store at Barnes& This offer expires at 2:59 a.m. ET 5/6/10.

There are also many places you can get books if you agree to review them on your blog. Click on the icons below to see if you have any interest in this. Personally, I like to be able to choose which books I receive, so I work with the ones below. The following are Christian Publishing Houses. I am sure you could also do a search on book blogging, etc to find others.

Also, you can fan some of these programs on Facebook. Many of them do promotions and contests through FB and you can win free books:)

I review for BookSneeze


Join the Flock! LitFuse Publicity Group blogger

I Review For The Tyndale Blog Network

Here are two others, thanks to Debra, who blogs over at Footprints in the Butter and is a homeschool mom who teaches her kids all kinds of classical stuff and is a crazy, voracious reader I mean, involved in tons of reading memes!

Bethany House:


And, don’t forget to check out the upcoming Book Blogger Convention. (I REALLY wanted to go, but it looks like I did not prepare well enough. The Convention is in New York City) Check out the site and you can find many other book reviews and bloggers:

Book Blogger Convention

Great Book for teaching about God

Enter to win a copy of This Little Prayer of Mine!

Are you looking for ways to increase your child’s understanding and knowledge of who God is? A way to reinforce your child’s desire to pray? This sweet hardback book shows children that God loves them and wants them to trust in him no matter what the situation–and that any moment is a good moment for a little prayer!

The words are simple and easy to read for little ones…but the content is very profound. I enjoyed listening to my youngest read the book to me and we  liked the bold, realistic illustrations that have a bit of a three dimensional feel to them.

The Official Word: Anthony DeStefano’s adult books, The Prayers God Always Says Yes To and A Travel Guide to Heaven, have sold a quarter-million copies. Illustrator Mark Elliott’s cherished artwork has appeared in popular picture books and novels for young readers, including Gail Carson Levine’s ever-popular Princess Tales series.

Now, these acclaimed inspirational experts have come together to create This Little Prayer of Mine, a beautiful and alluring book designed to guide children into a very simple, real and expressive relationship with God.

Through engaging rhymes and alluring illustrations, This Little Prayer of Mine shows children—and their parents and grandparents—that complete dependence on God is what brings peace and fulfillment. It invites children to know and believe that God is always just a simple prayer away and that He longs to respond to them with a resounding, “Yes!”

Easy-reader format allows children to read alone, or with someone older, and encourages them to openly express their fears, thanks, and needs directly to God.

This Little Prayer of Mine is available on the Random House Website.

Or, you can win a Copy from Faith, Family and Fun!

To enter, please leave a comment. I will choose a winner 4/19.

Thanks to the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for providing this book for my review. I have given my unbiased opinion.

Children’s Bible Hour, Seasons of Faith Series

Perfect for bedtime reading!

Perfect for bedtime reading!

Summary & Rating: 5.  Children’s Bible Hour (CBH) Ministries are wonderfully, unabashedly evangelical. They have been around for years, producing radio shows and devotionals for children. We love their set of Seasons of Faith illustrated books with audio CD. These stories are based upon CBH popular radio scripts. I like the solid biblical teaching of the books. Each book addresses a different “season” of faith, and children can see how to live out their faith in real life situations.


I liked the books. I found the illustrations colorful and the stories well written. I appreciate the clear way that difficult questions about faith are handled.

I laughed at the true test—Em really loves to read these. She will choose to read them at bedtime with Daddy and also will sit and listen to the audio version–over and over again. Her favorite one? Braving The Storm. I find this interesting, as she has just gone through a tough time with feeling poorly and finding out about the epilepsy.

  • Spring: This is the time when people experience new life in Christ. Faith develops and Christians begin to share the Salvation message with others. [Race with Midnight-good choice for horse lovers]
  • Summer: This is the time when faith grows under God’s love and care. Fruit is witnessed and triumphs are gained through applying His Word and striving to be the best we can be in Christ. [You Can’t Come In]
  • Autumn: This is the time of struggle, temptation, peer pressure, and mistakes. Even though it might seem like nothing good can come from this time, God has promised that He will be there. He will teach us how to forgive and then grown in grace. [Seventy Times Seven]
  • Winter: This is the time when life is most difficult. Deep struggles, mourning, trying to make it through difficult times, or the death of a loved one can pull us away from God. He teaches us to lean on Him for comfort and peace. [Braving the Storm]

If you are looking for some books that answer questions about God and being Christian for your kids, these are perfect.

Each softcover book retails for $10. When you use the code FREESHIPAPR15 between March 17 and April 15, 2010, you can receive free standard shipping with the purchase of the 4 book set. There are also free study questions available for parents and teachers.

Children’s Bible Hour also has children’s radio programs and devotionals available–even in podcast form! I believe some are free. Go here to see.

To see what my TOS crewmates have to say, click here!

The Seasons of Faith Books were provided to me for my review and I have given my unbiased opinion.


This is the first time I have read one of Liz Curtis Higgs historical romances. What a treat it was! I fell in love with the Kerr family as I traveled through Scottish history and the Scriptures.

Higgs obviously did quite a bit of research for the framework for this retelling of the Old Testament story of Ruth and Naomi. The novel, set in 18th Century Scotland, followed the Kerr family (pronounced care, with a roll to the “r”), Prince Charlie and the Jacobites as well as the social life of Scotland. I was fascinated by descriptions of Edinburgh, the dress and behavior…even the meals of the time period.

I felt that I was transported back through time—and isn’t that what a delightful book can do? The character development was wonderful. I am a “skimmer” but in this book, I had to pay attention to all the characters. I found myself staying up late and wishing for a particular ending. The novel really delves into history and forgiveness and loyalty. Loved it!

A mother who cannot face her future.
A daughter who cannot escape her past.

Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.
Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.
His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory’s many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.
One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.
A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.

LIZ CURTIS HIGGS is the author of twenty-seven books with three million copies in print, including: her best-selling historical novels, Thorn in My Heart, Fair Is the Rose, Christy Award-winner Whence Came a Prince, and Grace in Thine Eyes, a Christy Award finalist; My Heart’s in the Lowlands: Ten Days in Bonny Scotland, an armchair travel guide to Galloway; and her contemporary novels, Mixed Signals, a Rita Award finalist, and Bookends, a Christy Award finalist. Visit the author’s extensive website at

You can purchase Here Burns My Candle online, here.

I also have one copy to give away! To enter to win a copy, Please tell me your favorite historical time period. Winner chosen 3/29.

For additional entries (please leave a comment for each method of entry):

Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah who provided this book for my review.


Life Changing


Do you long for stronger, healthier relationships? As you go about your daily life, do you feel like you have lost the sense of joy and hope that you had as a young woman? If so, this set of books may be just what you need. I do have a set to giveaway!

The first book is Dancing With My Father, by Sally Clarkson. I have loved Sally Clarkson’s work since I first became a homeschool mom and someone gave me a copy of Educating The WholeHearted Child. That particular book absolutely changed the way I viewed my children and how I viewed myself as a mom—yes, it actually did change my life!

And now, as I read her new book, Dancing With My Father, Clarkson speaks directly to my heart yet again as she discusses an almost “taboo” subject, why a Christian woman may not be feeling the joy that a relationship with Christ should and can bring.

Her writing is honest and warm. Within the book, she does not just bring up questions…but follows them up with actual ways for her readers to find answers—with her own stories as well as study portions at the end of chapters and quotes and bible verses. I expect that this book will soon be used in many bible study circles.

The Official Word:

The reality of living in a broken, fallen world can leave women feeling overcome by fear, guilt, and weariness. Many develop “sawdust souls,” numb to any sense of joy.

Through rich biblical insights woven with real-life stories, women will be inspired to recapture a spirit of joy as they follow God’s lead on the dance floor of life.

Sally Clarkson is a popular speaker, known across the nation and internationally for her work with women. She is the author of several books, including The Mission of Motherhood, The Ministry of Motherhood, and Seasons of a Mother’s Heart. She has worked in various ministries, including Campus Crusade for Christ. With her husband, Clay, she is cofounder of Whole Heart Ministries, which encourages and equips Christian parents. The Clarksons, parents of four, live near Colorado Springs, Colorado.

image001Mother Daughter Duet, by Cheri Fuller is another must read book for a Mom. Personally, I have daughters and sons. I honestly believe girls are much harder to raise and get along with than boys! I mean, come on—I’d rather have dirt and frogs any day over bad moods and drama.

In Mother Daughter Duet, Fuller explores our complicated Mother Daughter relationships and offers help in creating that great relationship you want with your daughter.

The Official Word:

When a daughter is born, her mother has a thousand hopes and dreams for her, especially that they will be best friends one day.

Unfortunately, even the best of intentions can go awry. There are so many challenges on the journey to adult friendship that the reality is fraught with friction and frustration. But a harmonious relationship is possible.

Award-winning author Cheri Fuller and her daughter, Ali Plum, have been there and have discovered the keys to a healthy relationship. In Mother-Daughter Duet they share their story—each from her own perspective—in which they have experienced distance and tension, growth and challenge, and, ultimately, acceptance and harmony. Filled with personal anecdotes and based on several basic principles (letting go; listening; respect; setting boundaries; and more), Mother-Daughter Duet helps moms repair the breach so that daughters want to draw close.

Cheri Fuller is a best-selling, award-winning author whose books have sold more than one million copies. She speaks to a wide range of women at women’s conferences and is a frequent guest on national radio and television programs.

Ali Plum is Cheri’s daughter, a writer and songwriter, a wife, and a mother to Noah and Luke. She and her mom have weathered the ups and downs of their relationship to find one of the most treasured, honest relationships of their lives. Ali has recorded background vocals for popular musicians, and Mother-Daughter Duet marks her debut into book publishing.

To purchase your copy of these books, you can go to the Random House website:

Dancing With My Father

Mother – Daughter Duet

As I mentioned, I do have a set to giveaway. I will draw a winner on 3/17.

To enter, leave a comment on what interests you about the book (s). For additional entries, you can:

  • Follow my blog via RSS or google friend connect
  • Follow me on twitter
  • RETWEET this giveaway (Just use little button at bottom:)
  • Blog about the giveaway

Please leave a separate comment for each method of entry and a way for me to reach you if you win!

These books were provided for my review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Double Trouble by Susan May Warren

Heather —  February 24, 2010


Check out the blog tour for Susan May Warren’s latest release, Double Trouble.

Looking for a break? Read this book:) The book is a fabulous follow-up to Nothing But Trouble and the contest prize package is perfect!

I am in love with this series! With 5 children, one with a newly diagnosed special need, I am hard pressed to focus on anything. Suffice it to say, I am a hard critic. I will not even consider books I know I may not “get” into easily. I am normally a book lover, but with so much going on, I am viewing my reading pile warily—

However, I was hopeful about this book. “I need a break,” my spirit was practically begging.

Anyway…at first glance, I loved the colorful and youthful cover of Double Trouble. And, I have to admit, I was drawn to the title…even as I walk with God, I still tend to find trouble myself. With two hot guys, plenty of drama and a funny, loveable protagonist and heroine, I have to say, the book was exactly what I needed to drag myself out of the doldrums of winter!

I grew up in the South myself and have a fondness for all things warm, polite and hmmm…complicated!

Within the pages of this book, you can follow PJ as she tries to figure out how to solve crimes and protect witnesses. Ironically, as PJ solves the puzzles other people throw at her, she also figures out who she is…and who she wants to be.

The book is a mixture of Mystery and Chick Literature. The Christian message permeates the story and really speaks of God’s love, which suits the characters very nicely (enough said…no spoilers, here). I give this one a high 5.

After reading Double Trouble, I really wanted to read Nothing but Trouble. Lucky for me, the sweet LitFUSE people hooked me up! I really find the whole series endearing. PJ has so much personality and goes through so many struggles, as we all do, to find out who she really is. And, we get to see God walking with her every step of the way. It becomes obvious to the reader, that PJ’s heart is just so in the right place. How Warren also manages such a cast of characters and a mystery at the same time is beyond me.

I have to say, I totally recommend both books and hear there is a third coming out in Spring!!

The Official Word on Double Trouble:
With one solved case under her belt, PJ Sugar is ready to dive into her career as a private investigator. Or at least a PI’s assistant until she can prove herself to Jeremy Kane, her new boss. Suddenly PJ’s seeing crime everywhere. But is it just in her head, or can she trust her instincts? When she takes on her first official case–house-sitting for a witness in protective custody–Jeremy assures her there’s no danger involved. But it soon becomes clear that there is someone after the witness . . . and now they’re after PJ, too.

Comment to get in on this Prize Package!

Enter the Double Trouble Prize Package Giveaway by clicking on the ‘Double the Sass” button below! The author, Susan, is giving away an iPod prize package that is anything but troubling! Check it out!


One Grand Prize winner will receive a $150 SUPER SLEUTH prize package that includes:

* A brand new iPod Shuffle (perfect for those all-night stakeouts)
* A $10 iTunes gift card (we recommend the ALIAS soundtrack)
* A $10 Amazon gift card (why yes, they do sell spy pens)
* A $10 Starbucks gift card (for fuel, obviously)
* A pair of designer sunglasses (be stealthy AND super chic)
* A gorgeous scarf from World Market (can also be used as a blindfold, and/or for tying up bad guys)
* AND signed copies of both Nothing But Trouble & Double Trouble. (romance! danger! intrigue! sooo much better than Surveillance for Dummies!)

They will announce the super sleuth winner on March 1st.

About Susan:
MBT writing headshotSusan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year. Her larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of My Book Therapy, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:

Check out the blog tour for Susan May Warren’s latest release, Double Trouble.

Go here to purchase your copy of Nothing but Trouble, and here to get Double Trouble.

Special thanks to LitFuse for providing a copy of Nothing But Trouble and Double Trouble for me to read and review!