Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kristin Billerbeck's Perfectly Ridiculous ~ Reviewed

By Kristin Billerbeck
Published By Revell
247 Pages


Daisy Crispin is at a crossroads. In one direction lies the promised land--life at college, away from her embarrassing and overprotective parents. In the other direction is reality--her strapped bank account, an ailing father, and family priorities. Daisy knows the "perfect" daughter wouldn't have to think twice. But maybe Daisy was never really perfect on any level, because she does not want her life to look the way her parents think it should. She won't let that stop her, though. Now that she has been given an exciting free trip to Argentina before going to college, she's thrilled--until her parents decide to go along with her. 

Hilarious and all too true to life, "Perfectly Ridiculous" gives teen girls more of what they want and love to read from Kristin Billerbeck.

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of a very funny youth fiction novel. What a great surprise I had in reading a book by an author I hadn’t read before.

This book was easy and fun to read and follow even if this book was the third in the series. The author gave the readers hints as to what happened in the other books I wasn’t lost. The author caught the reader up on what they missed. It’s all good!  But it did peak my interest so much that I’ve added Perfectly Dateless book one and Perfectly Invisible book two to my reading list. You’ll be doing that too. I’ll just have to read for myself Daisy’s adventures in High School!

Daisy Cripin is the main character who’s honest, fun and has a way of looking at life that makes you smile and laugh out loud at times.  Kristen has intertwined parts of Daisy’s personal travel journal written in first person with that of the third person POV letting the reader experience the story as it unfolds and experience her interaction with friends and family. I liked the combination!

This author captures the emotion, struggles and how it feels to be in high school preparing to enter college.

Daisy says this, “Somehow I thought I’d feel different after graduation. Fulfilled? Maybe? Accomplished? Something?...Granted High School is better if one is acne-free, can afford Forever 21 clothes and manage to nab a boyfriend. Sadly, I was not one of those girls…my mother claims high school years were character building…I know its wrong to find my worth in what others think of me, or in material goods –my mother has told me so since birth, I believe. However, my mother buys upholstery fabric to make her own dresses. She claims it has more structure and works like a built in girdle. I think it just makes her look like furniture….We’re different my mom and I and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find out I was switched at birth.”

This is hysterical. I really enjoy how this author naturally weaves in the spiritual thread into the plot that has twists like a roller coaster and just as fun. Daisy says again in her journal,” Everything that happened before now is over, and I get to create a whole new future as a finance major at Pepperdine University in Malibu. Now I can focus on the future success …But there’s a let down no one tells you about. You’ve done it. You’ve accomplished your goal and graduated with honors and…and…Oh, did we forget to mention that no one cares?”

I instantly connected with Daisy and found her view on life honest and funny! This author had me smiling so much in this novel my face hurt! When’s the last time you read a book like that? Well now’s your chance!

I highly recommend this book just for fun and for your book club pick. There is definitely a lot to talk about, oh, and I’ll be checking out more books by this author that’s for sure.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Steven James's The King ~ Reviewed

The King, Patrick Bowers Files Series #6
By: Steven James
Number of Pages: 512
Vendor: Signet
ISBN: 0451239784


Settling into a new post at the FBI Academy, Patrick and his fiancie Lien-hua Jiang are planning their future together with his stepdaughter Tessa. But just when his life seems normal, a demon from the past returns to draw him down a dark road he hoped had closed forever. Forced into a desperate hunt to save the two women he loves most, Patrick is in a race against time to stop an international conspiracy from becoming the most widespread act of terrorism in U.S. history.

Review: Let me begin with a warning...kind of like they have on rides at the amusement park. If you are under a certain height, pregnant, with heart problems, or bothered by intensity, you might just want to wander on down to the merry-go-round. 

Yes. All this is true for this particular thriller. However. If you love edgy, intense, on-the-edge-of-horrifying coupled with great writing, then click and order this one now. James is a master with tension. I honestly emotionally chewed all my fingernails to nubs and missed way too much sleep for various and assorted reasons. Even those moments in the book that should have dropped my tension level into the comfortable zone were zinging with what-if and where-is-this-going and the desire to scream "Don't go into the basement!" I was home alone for a week after starting this novel and couldn't read it at all, even in the broad daylight. 

I have not read the complete series of the Patrick Bowers Files. But I was able to get right back into the characters lives and not feel that I was missing chunks of good stuff, but also didn't feel like there was too much back story given either. Even though this story is intense and filled with action, some pretty violent, the characters are well-developed and relatable. 

A terrific plane or beach read or a great gift for someone who loves gritty fiction. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Michelle Griep's A Heart Deceived ~ Reviewed

Michelle Griep

File Size: 733 KB
Print Length: 390 pages
ISBN: 0781411017
David C. Cook 2013


Miri Brayden teeters on a razor’s edge between placating and enraging her brother, whom she depends upon for support. Yet if his anger is unleashed, so is his madness. Miri must keep his descent into lunacy a secret, or he’ll be committed to an asylum—and she’ll be sent to the poorhouse.

Ethan Goodwin has been on the run all of his life—from family, from the law … from God. After a heart-changing encounter with the gritty Reverend John Newton, Ethan would like nothing more than to become a man of integrity—an impossible feat for an opium addict charged with murder.

When Ethan shows up on Miri’s doorstep, her balancing act falls to pieces. Both Ethan and Miri are caught in a web of lies and deceit—fallacies that land Ethan in prison and Miri in the asylum with her brother. Only the truth will set them free.


Michelle Griep will keep you enthralled in A Heart Deceived. While her style is more Bronte than Austen, she weaves in a subtle yet dry humor that makes me wonder if her roots aren't dipped in the soil of the U.K. But whether Vikings or Brits, she will keep you turning the pages. Novel Rocket and I give A Heart Deceived our highest recommendation. It's a must read! 

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan, Sr. Editor

Bonus Review:

Michelle Griep's books are gritty, suspenseful, and romantic. I fell in love with her time travel stories (Gallimore and Undercurrent), so I was eager to get my hands on whatever she wrote next! A Heart Deceived brings the reader completely into the past (no time traveling here!), but it doesn't lessen the stakes or lower the tension. With confused hearts and blurred lines between lunacy and normality, this is a story that is both gripping and challenging.

I appreciate how Griep causes the reader to look deeper at situations, along with the characters. There are some horrible facades and some more pleasant ones, but no matter the first impression, things are more complicated than they seem. Griep doesn't shy away from torturing her characters or having them experience the darker side of life, and that makes the hope all the brighter and the love all the stronger.

I really enjoyed getting to know both Ethan and Miri, although I confess I would have liked a little more time with the two of them together. (The romantic in me always begs for more!) I also confess to being a little uncertain regarding how I really feel about certain outcomes and the portraits of certain characters. It's an intriguing story involving some harsh and terrible situations that make the reader think.

I remain a huge fan of Griep's and can't wait to see what she writes next, whatever the genre! Although, if she has any other time travel books up her sleeves, I really wouldn't mind reading some more of those. ;) 

*With thanks to David C Cook and NetGalley for providing me with a temporary e-ARC of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Reviewed by: Amber Stokes 

And One More Bonus:

Michelle Griep has written about knights and Vikings in previous books. Both were fascinating time travel twisted romance novels. Her latest, A Heart Deceived, focuses in on just one time period, Georgian England. She paints a rich picture of social divisions and prepares the soil of story for characters who are struggling with more than just feelings and relationship issues.

Miri, her female lead character finds herself in a situation where she is a single woman at the mercy of her brother who seems to be slipping into insanity. He plans to wed her to the most repulsive man in the town because that man is willing to take Miri on. And willing to take any liberty he can when he manages to get Miri alone.

Ethan, a barely reformed opium addict, finds Jesus after being saved from the streets by John Newton. Ethan's friend, Will, is Miri's brother and after a tragedy, Ethan sets out to find her and break the news and hopefully find a safe haven away from the brutality of the streets.

Griep masterfully weaves a tale of intrigue and tension set within a darkly romantic era. Her characters are three dimensional and compelling. I found myself turning pages as quick as I could and reading just-one-chapter-more and okay-one-more late into the night.

I loved the mini history lessons lived out through the characters' lives and the ending was satisfying. I'm impressed with Griep's skills and strengths. A few scenes in the book will likely be too intense for the gentle reader. Griep peppers her word weaving with some spicy attraction scenes and some sense layering that includes visuals and olfactory details about the mean streets. There are characters who spend some time in a brothel, and obviously there is mention of drugs, addictions and side effects. In addition, there are some scenes that could be disturbing to self-diagnosed literary chickens. Consider the book a PG-13 rating. However, this is a great read for folks interested in English history, those who love a riveting story and rich characters. Need a plane or a beach read, this would be a perfect one. Cook, you continue to impress me with the novels you are publishing.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Karen Ehman's Let. It. Go. ~ Reviewed

By Karen Ehman
Release Date Oct 1, 2012
Publisher Zondervan Publishing
ISBN 0310684544


For many women, life can start to look like a chain of one responsibility after another. In Let It Go, popular author and speaker Karen Ehman has created a powerful tool to help them take a breath and avoid becoming 'control freaks.' With a combination of biblical insight, humor, and stories taken from her own experience, Ehman provides a better way---a way to navigate and more fully enjoy the relationships and responsibilities of your life---from total control to implicit trust in God. The accompanying Participant's Guide complements the DVD sessions, focusing on specific issues and situations to help women take away the most important lessons Ehman has to teach. She offers additional support for the journey away from over-control and into a stronger, trusting relationship with God.


Let. It. Go. by Karen Ehman was not exactly a fun read for me. I was convicted by a few (or a lot) of statements. And, I'm not really a control freak, I lean toward laidbackishness. I can easily let things pile, and have a pretty high tolerance for imperfect. At times staggeringly high. Don't believe me, ask my mom. When I was a mom of young kids she'd drop in to visit and would end up sweeping, dusting or washing dishes. Yeah. 

I also have always welcomed my family members attempts to help, because I figure any little bit, imperfect or different from me, is less for me to worry about. 

However, I do have a weird little "quirky" crazy side that comes out around holidays or get togethers at my house that does make my family scatter for dark, and very likely cobwebby corners to hide out in. 

For me to say I was convicted should be a warning for any of you more tightly wound sisters. If you expect hospital corners or quarter bouncing bedmaking in your house, wear steel-toed boots when you read this book. Seriously. Karen Ehman shows that crazy ain't cute, Ladies. No matter how stylin your outfit and shoes are while you are spouting your "get it done" mantra.  

Which makes this an important read for each of us and a great discussion topic. We could all benefit from a friend or two who know our personal spiral into the dark place and can provide a hand to pull us out. There are some terrific resources and suggestions within the book that can help equip us to be just that for each other. I loved that Ehman covered so many areas where the ugly need to control crops up. Marriage, family, friendships all come under the microscope and includes transparent moments from Ehman's life, some Biblical teaching and examples. And some handy questions to rate how, ahem, uptight the reader might be in those areas.  

So, if you are brave enough to face your inner control freak, hyper-critical reflection in the mirror and downright crazy woman self, then get yourself a copy. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cindy Thomsen's Grace's Pictures ~ Reviewed

Grace's Pictures (Ellis Island)
Cindy Thomsen
Paperback: 7895 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (May 17, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414368437


Grace McCaffery hopes that the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise that the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. 

But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader. A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.


Grace McCaffery has managed to escape a life working in the factories in Ireland to make a fresh start in America. Her hope is to save enough money to bring her mother over as well. She is sponsored by a Christian organization bent on taking care of young Irish immigrant woman. She is excited and nervous to find herself a position as a maid and nanny for a family. In her free time, she invests her time taking pictures with her new Brownie Camera. However, without meaning to, she finds herself being pursued by local gangsters who think she is following them and taking pictures to give to the police. In the meantime, she is finding herself attracted to a local policeman, Owen McNulty, who is bent on coming to her aid, even when she doesn’t want his help.

This was a lovely story. I enjoyed watching Grace grown from a scared girl, alone in a new world, to a confident young woman. It was also nice to see her faith in the Lord grow, too. This was a great story and is very well written. I would love to see a sequel!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Monday, June 17, 2013

Beth Vogt's Catch a Falling Star ~ Reviewed

Catch a Falling Star
By Beth K. Vogt
Published by Howard Books
336 Pages

Back Cover: Is life about accomplishing plans . . . or wishes coming true . . . or something more?

Dr. Kendall Haynes’s plans to have it all—a career, a husband, a family—are eluding her. Now that she’s thirty-six, she needs to stop wishing upon a star and face reality: Some dreams just never come true.

Air Force pilot Griffin Walker prefers flying solo in the air and on the ground—until a dangerous choice ejects him from the cockpit. His life becomes even more complicated after the sudden death of his parents makes him the guardian of his sixteen-year-old brother. There’s no way his life will ever get back on course now.

When their lives collide during a near tragedy, Kendall and Griffin must decide if they can embrace the unexpected changes God has waiting for them.

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that introduced me to a new author. I enjoyed the interview that was included in this book. I liked this question and Beth’s answer. “What do you hope readers take away from this story?”

Her answer, “Everyone experiences life not going according to their plans – the out comes range from humorous to tragic – What I’ve learned – And what I hope readers discover – is God is in the plans, the dreams that come true, and he’s also in the plans that elude us.”

God knew what was ahead of us all the time. The surprise is to us. It was fun to be reminded of this and many other truths through her characters. They are honest, real and transparent. Loved that!

Catch a Falling Star reeled me in with characters I instantly cared for and a story that grabbed my heart. I enjoyed hanging out with Dr. Kendall Hayne and her thirty something year old friends! They had gathered together to celebrate Kendall’s thirty sixth birthday. Her friend Rachel announces her engagement at the get together and shows off her ring. She’s happy for her friend but reality hits Kendall hard. She thinks, “Was there anyway to have it all and be happy?...where some dreams meant to never come true?”

Air Force pilot Griffin Walker is faced with a few disappointments of his own! He’s had dreams shattered and he was experiencing a string of unfortunate events that were getting the better of him. Life was hitting him hard. It seemed he didn’t have time to recover from one blow when the next one hit. My heart went out to him as I watched him struggle. He wondered where was God in all this?

I love how this author naturally wove the spiritual thread into this story and how real her characters where in facing hard times. The themes running through this novel are singleness, adoption, loss of dreams and loved ones, and about relationships on many levels.

The author says in an interview, “All of these relationships (in Catch a Falling Star) fall under the umbrella of life not going according to plan….Infact, relationships rarely do: they require hard work. Commitment. Trust. Prayer. Patience. Sacrifice. This is why I say there is more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us.”

Kendall struggles with a new thought, “What if the prince had never shown up to rescue the princess from the castle?

The princess would still be a princess…It wasn’t the prince that made the princess valuable. It was who she was all along.” I like how the author puts this, powerful stuff.
Can we walk in what God says we are and be validated by Him alone? Love how this author handles this topic.

This author has readers take a look at many different aspects of relationships. What makes them work and which ones to discard. Griffin struggles in this area himself. He has to face a few lies he’s come to believe. His friend Doug says to him, “Your relationship with God is not based on performance…God’s invested in you Griffin. He’s sticking with you for the long haul…God redeems broken people and loves them in their brokenness.” I’ll amen that!

Dr. Kendall Hayne has an unexpected Christian Dr. Friend pop into her life. Could he be the one she’s waited for? Would she settle for what she could get b
ecause she’s thirty- something or will she wait for God’s best? Time will tell.

This story deals with real life struggles that people don’t talk about much. This author doesn’t have everything tied up in a cute bow at the end of the story either. I liked that. Life happens fast sometimes, it doesn’t catch God off guard but it does us.  I liked this story every much. It had characters I could relate to. I also liked the authors writing style and the interview in the back of the book. This is great stuff. Catch a Falling Star is one to put on your summer reading list and book club pick list too! There is so much to talk about, I only scratched the surface! I’m looking forward to this author’s next book. Beth K. Vogt is an author to watch!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Eileen Rife's Laughing with Lily ~ Reviewed

Laughing With Lily
By Eileen Rife
Published by Oak Tara
April 2013
ISBN: 978-1602900790

Back Cover:

A long-buried secret. An unexpected encounter. A quest for answers. Celeste Tatem, a special-education teacher at The Brighton Center in Schreiber, Indiana, couldn't be more in love with her husband, Joe. But the memory of one day in the past haunts her, threatening their relationship.

When Joe dies in a factory explosion, she sinks into depression. It will take the arrival of a new student, Lily, and her delightful honesty, laughter, and joy at life's little things to awaken Celeste to hope. When Don, an old flame from college, reenters Celeste's world, the flickers of love stir once again, and startling questions arise. Questions that threaten to rip the veneer off of her carefully guarded secret. Then the most unexpected thing of all happens.... A story of love and forgiveness in the most unexpected places.


It’s Celeste’s anniversary, and she’s married to a wonderful, caring man—a man who longs for unhindered intimacy. Who believes he and Celeste have found that. But what he doesn’t know truly could hurt him, their marriage, and their chance of having a family.

When he dies, Celeste must bear her shame and regret alone. And for a while, she flounders in despair. But then, a sweet little girl in her special education classroom tugs on her heart and helps heal Celeste’s wounds. She pours herself into her job as a special education teacher, growing increasingly attached to sweet little Lily, a special needs’ child with frequent smiles and hugs. What Celeste doesn’t know is, the biggest surprise of all awaits.

This beautiful story of hope and forgiveness reaches into the deepest recesses of women's hearts, encouraging them to hold tight to those they hold dear. It also reminds us that love and purpose can come in the most unexpected packages, often when we’re not looking.

This novel brought tears, which quickly turned to celebration and laughter as Eileen Rife wove together a delightful, romantic ending. Truly a wonderful, heart-tugging story I recommend to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction and romance.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sandra Moore's A Heartbeat Away ~ Reviewed

A Heartbeat Away, Quilts of Love Series #7
Sandra Moore
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN-13: 9781426752704

When runaway slaves bring Union-loyal Beth Bumgartner a wounded Confederate soldier named Joe, she decides she must defy her pacifist parents and become a nurse. Taking comfort from her mother's mysterious goodbye gift of quilt blocks, she sews them together and discovers a hidden message in the pattern. Will it spur forgiveness and healing? 240 pages, softcover from Abingdon.


A Heartbeat Away is a book in the “Quilts of Love” series. This book takes place during the Civil War and centers around a young woman named Beth Bumgartner. Due to a terrible accident when she was younger, she suffers from a noticeable limp, but that doesn’t stop her from assisting her grandmother with wounded soldiers. Though she is a loyal to the Union, she finds herself nursing both Union and Confederate men. She finds herself particularly drawn to a wounded Confederate soldier named Joe, but is afraid to let her guard down around him. Throughout the story, she struggles with her relationship with God, stemming from her accident which left her crippled, and seeing the war going on around her. But as she begins to work on the quilt pieces her mother has given her, she begins to find a hidden message of faith and hope.

I love stories that take place during the Civil War. This was a great story, and I loved how the quilt symbolized hope, just by piecing together pieces of fabric. That is just amazing to me. I also liked how she was able to let down her prejudices to help not only Joe, but other Confederate soldiers in need.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Angela Hunt's The Offering ~ Reviewed

By Angela Hunt
Published By
300 Pages

Back Cover: One innocent mistake… a lifetime of consequences.
After growing up as an only child, Amanda Lisandra wants a big family. But since she and her soldier husband can’t afford to have more children right away, Mandy decides to earn money as a gestational carrier for a childless couple. She loves being pregnant, and while carrying the child she dreams of having her own son and maybe another daughter…

Just when the nearly perfect pregnancy is about to conclude, unexpected tragedy enters Mandy’s world and leaves her reeling. Devastated by grief, she surrenders the child she was carrying and struggles to regain her emotional equilibrium.

Two years later she studies a photograph of the baby she bore and wonders if the unthinkable has happened—could she have inadvertently given away her own biological child? Over the next few months Mandy struggles to decide between the desires of her grief-stricken heart and what’s best for the little boy she has never known.

Review:  Angela Hunt hits it out of the park with The Offering. Once again this author describes an amazing scientific accomplishment and how it affects us individually and spiritually. I always learn so much when Angela shows me how these amazing things play out in real life with real people! This novel explores the topic of being a gestational carrier! I’m so thankful for the review copy of such an eye opening, informative book.

Angela Hunt says in an author interview at the back of the book, “I believe God created every life for a purpose – so we should behave responsibly toward unborn children even if they are only at the blastocyst stage.”

Amanda Lisandra begins her research about becoming a surrogate. She informs her husband, Gideon, “It’s legal, but not everyone approves surrogacy…Here’s how it works hon, “The baby will be the couple’s biological child, but they’ll pay me to carry it until it’s born. For my part in the arrangement, I’m pretty sure I could earn as much as you do in a year…everything I need will be supplied by the other couple.”

Gideon says, “A man wants his wife to carry his own baby.”

Amanda responds, “In a perfect world, sure…but not everyone woman can carry babies while people like me carry them easily. Look at it this way – I want to contribute to our family’s dream and you risk your life for us every time you go out the front door.”

“Ok baby girl! If you want to be generous, why should I stop you?”

Then their off on this incredible journey! This author gives the reader a front row seat as Amanda plunges into being a gestational carrier nook line and sinker! Amanda comes up against things she didn’t realize would be part of the experience! She thought being a surrogate was simply her trying to help her family out financially at the same time she could make another couples dream come true of having a child of their own. Not so easy! Things were getting complicated!

Angela helps the reader look at this matter from several angles and lets you decide how to feel. All too soon Amanda realized it takes “a village to conceive a child.” Who knew? I really appreciated how the spiritual thread was masterfully woven throughout this astounding novel. The author makes the reader think by asking questions throughout this story, like could God work through a Surrogate? What is a couple’s obligation to eggs that are harvested? What is best for the child?

At the same time Amanda starts her surrogate journey her cousin Amelia and husband Mario start the process of adopting a child. They’ve tried to have a baby for years. Time was ticking! They plug into becoming adoptive parents and see a whole new side of life. It’s heart warming and complicated. Amanda was running into a few compilations of her own, she soon discovered that relationships’ of all kind were complicated.

Angela immediately connected with and had for compassion for her characters and their unreal situations. I was glued to this book from the start to finish. Warning you’ll be up late finishing this one. My heart raced and I got teary eyed at the end. I wasn’t sure how this author would end these two couples journey. The ending was satisfying and made me think about so much. When science and man-kind try to play god things get complicated! I highly recommend this for your book club pick and your summer ready list! There is oh so much to talk about! Wow!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Joni and Ken Tada - Untold Story ~ Reviewed

JONI and KEN TADA: Untold Story

By Ken Tada, Joni Earkson Tada and Larry Libby
Published By: Zondervan
ISBN# 978-0310336730  
192 Pages

Back Cover: This is the true love story of Joni and her husband of 30 years, Ken Tada. A love story showing what it truly means for a man and a woman to live in love ... in sickness and in health. 

Even the honeymoon wasn't easy. Did Ken realize what he was getting into when he proposed to Joni, a quadriplegic woman? As their marriage years moved on, Ken became increasingly overwhelmed by the never-ceasing demands of caring for Joni, who begins to experience chronic, extreme, nightmarish pain. Ken sinks into depression, and the couple finds themselves on parallel tracks in life, married and living under the same roof but drifting apart emotionally.

But as they fight for their marriage and find their way through the mazes of depression and pain, they wrap their two lives around their rock---Jesus.

During Ken's denial of Joni's diagnosis, and Joni's thoughts of how wonderful a quick exit to heaven would be, they experience a personal visitation with the savior you will never forget.

Review: Joni and Ken Tada have been a couple that have inspired me for years. I was first introduced to Joni Earkenson in the movie she made of her diving accident where she broke her neck as a teen. She reenacted her part in the movie; where her life fell apart and in the recovery she found Jesus. He gave her so many talents from painting with her teeth, to singing, speaking and writing books. She encouraged me and many others in her radio show Joni and Friends. Her passion for what the Lord called her to do show on her face, in her voice and everything she did.

I watched a video clip of Joni and Ken where they discussed this book. Joni says she hopes by sharing their story and how God moved in their lives even through cancer that a couple would say hey if they can make it with all they have going on maybe my problems aren’t so bad. If God will be with them and move in an unexpected way He’ll do the same for them. They’ll have hope and courage to face anything with God.

“This is God’s universal purpose for all Christians suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in the world.” Statement by John Piper

I know that this couple and their testimony encouraged me as I began reading this while in the ICU unit with my youngest son as he battled to recover from a double ear infection, the flu and pneumonia. As with Joni this was not our first time to the hospital. This child came out early and had a few more obstacles to overcome than most just like Joni.

Tears ran down my face as I read how Joni and Ken met and how Joni went to the Doctors was told she had breast cancer. I read this by Joni, “Cancer hadn’t felt like a gift in the beginning…no, not at all.” (wait a minute did I just read the word gift? I double checked – yes!) She goes on to tell how they reacted to the news and how they came up with a plan of treatment. They were both surprised at their initial reactions to the news.

Joni continued, “In just a blink or two, you’re swept along in another direction, toward another destination. Some-where you couldn’t have foreseen. Somewhere you never intended to go… That’s what this day was like…the freeway had divided, and Joni was being whisked away in a new direction fast. Toward what? …Where?.....Her life would change forever getting worse or better, nothing would be the same after this…what next? We live in a society that runs away from tough stuff, divorces loved ones that are sick or puts them away in a home, it’s hard to face the tough stuff day in and day out.

Ken thought, “They had been married 28 years, traveled together on six continents. But this was uncharted territory; off the edge of any map they had ever seen! God saw the whole map of their lives, right to the very edges and beyond. He could handle any dragons. Even ones with a name like cancer, later Joni would said, “Cancer, she told her self, not without a note of wonder, was a gift!”

After the shared about how they heard the news, their first reactions and deciding on the treatment plan; the book flashes back to how they first met. How they thought about marriage, ministry and in the mix they both shared their testimonies! It was neat to learn how God worked separately in their lives and then brought these two people together.

Ken Tada stepped up to be the warrior God made him to be as they faced cancer. Joni allowed her husband to love her and be there for her in a new way. This couple shared their spiritual journey in a very personal, inspirational, and transparent way, revealing their highs and lows in the battle. Through the trials of chemo and surgery God’s love blossomed in them and between them. What the enemy meant to take them out God meant it for there good and something a little more! That was the blessing!

Was it easy? No. Was it painful and scary? Yes. Was it worth pressing into God and each other to make it thru? Yes. I highly recommend this story for everyone! It will give you a new outlook on life, relationships and love. A must read.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book fun Begins!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Robert Liparulo's The Judgment Stone ~ Reviewed

The Judgment Stone
Robert Liparulo
Release Date   Apr 1, 2013
Publisher   Thomas Nelson
ISBN  1595541721  

What if praying became a curse instead of a blessing?

Former Army Ranger Jagger Baird thought he had his hands full with the Tribe--the band of immortal vigilantes fighting to regain God's grace by killing those opposed to Him. But that was before he encountered the ruthless group of immortals called the Clan. The Clan is after a prize that would give them unimaginable power--a piece of the Ten Commandments known as the Judgment Stone.
Those who touch the Stone can see into the spiritual world: angelic warriors, treacherous demons, and the blue threads of light that signal the presence of believers in communion with God.

By following the blue beam radiating from those closest to God, the Clan plans to locate His most passionate followers and destroy them.

Jagger quickly realizes his high-tech gadgetry and training are no match for these merciless immortals. But how can he defeat an enemy who hunts believers through their prayers . . . and won't stop until they've annihilated all those close to Him?

In this high-action thriller, best-selling author Robert Liparulo examines the raging battle between good and evil on earth . . . and beyond.


If I see a book with Robert Liparulo's name on it, it ends up in my to read pile. His writing is tense, descriptive (chickens take note, this is not always a pleasant thing) and hopeful. Liparulo crafts characters that are flawed and real and pull at your heartstrings and have kept me up past bedtime a night or two.

And his stories. Whew. Always full of what if's and enough truth to keep me thinking and enough speculation and twists to make me wonder what kind of pizza he eats before bed. This particular book is number two in the series. If you haven't read The Thirteenth Tribe, you may want to whip through it first, however, you won't be lost if you don't. The story centers around Immortals and an epic battle of good vs evil. And The Judgment Stone provides some seriously epic battles. And a story line that is haunting.

The Judgment Stone is an excellent choice for a beach read, plane trip or just because. I was home alone a couple nights and I couldn't open it after dark, so chickens and sensitive readers, you have been warned. Keep em coming, Robert, puleeze.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer