Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Sisterhood of the Queen Mamas by Annie Jones

I have read 2 or 3 other books by Jones and loved them. She tells funny, quirky, upbeat stories with characters that might seem unreal to some folks, but remind me a lot of my relatives! LOL!

The title of this one is enough to get you hooked... I mean really, who can resist The Sisterhood of the Queen Mamas?! In Sisterhood, we travel to Texas and meet two friends... Maxine and Odessa... both are wives of retired ministers and both are in search of the same thing... "The entire twenty-piece line of chip-proof kitchenware made by the Royal Service Company of Akron, Ohio, the black-and-gold-on-white Hostess Queen pattern" and what better place to find it than Five Acres of Fabulous Finds Flea Market.

What neither bargain hunter expect to find were hurting souls... ministry opportunities... and sisterhood. Jan is the perfect Christian with a secret so big it is about to engulf her. Bernadette is a servant with a love for weddings, but no groom in sight. And Chloe needs to be freed from her black mood and clothing to see her true inner beauty.

Maxine and Odessa have their work cut out for them and they are up to the challenge... in a hot air balloon no less!

John's Quest by Cecelia Dowdy

Over the years, I have "met" several authors online. It has been fun to talk with them, especially through the writing and publishing process. One of my author-friends is Cecelia Dowdy. Cecelia keeps me posted through her blog ( ) and my online Christian Books List about her upcoming books. So I was thrilled to read John's Quest. It seems like she finished writing it forever and a day ago and I wondered if I would ever get to read it! LOL! Well, I finally did and it was worth the wait!

John's Quest covers a lot of unfamiliar territory. It deals with an abandoned child... a single woman rearing a child that is not her own... the relationship between a believer and non-believer... agnosticism... blindness.... and Dowdy handled all of this beautifully without making any one thing the main focus. It all wove together into complex lives that in many ways mimic what we all are dealing with... trust, seeking God's will and guidance, uncertainty, faith, love.

In John's Quest, Monica Crawford goes from being a successful career woman who has her life on track and organized to being the single mom of an angry, street smart, 7 year old who has been left on her doorstep. Add to it that Scotty is blind and hasn't really been taught to work with his disability and the fun begins. Enter John French... volunteer extraordinaire. John is hired to tutor Scotty, but along the way he finds that he is drawn not only to the child, but to his Aunt Monica.... and Monica is drawn to John... but there is a hitch, a big one. John is a devout Agnostic... and Monica is a strong Believer... and so that is that... or is it?

I highly recommend John's Quest. It is a fun yet thought provoking book. And be on the lookout for more books by Cecelia Dowdy.... I know she has one or two more in the works right now!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Satisfy My Thirsty Soul - Linda Dillow

Most of my reviews are for fiction... specifically Christian Fiction. Reading, for me, is an escape... it is how I relaxed and get away from the craziness of the world. But I do enjoy non-fiction also. Satisfy My Thirsty Soul is the 3rd book I have worked through by Dillow. I loved Calm My Anxious Heart and Creative Counterpart and recommend them both.

Satisfy focuses on moving into a more intimate relationship with God through a life of worship. Not just worship, as in singing, but worship as in fully surrendering your life and focuses on WHO God is. You are challenged to spend time in personal worship daily and Dillow includes practical ways to do that, as well as suggests various scriptures. There is also a wonderful chapter on stillness... quieting your soul before the Lord.

This book contains an optional 12 week Bible study in the back. I strongly suggest doing that work as you read. It takes you deeper into Scripture and into yourself. There is also a companion journal. I purchased it. Nothing wrong with it, but not really worth purchasing. Any journal or notebook will do if you want to journal as she suggests.

If you are looking for something to waken you a bit and push you towards a closer walk with the Lord, this book may very well be what you are looking for.

Picket Fence Promises by Kathryn Springer

I discovered Springer with her book Front Porch Princess. Loved that book! Picket Fence Promises is set in the same town and revolves around many of the same characters, but the focuses shifts to Bernice Strum and a blast from her past.... movie star Alex Scott. What is Alex doing in Prichett, Wisconsin!? Bernice has just recently reunited with the baby she put up for adoption and now this. How will she begin to tell Alex and Heather about each other?

In the midst of this emotional turmoil you will find more laughs than you can stand in the form of protective friends, farm animals, a cow with an ego problem and an active group of youth.

Can't wait for more books by Springer!

Next Door Daddy by Debra Clopton

I love Clopton's Mule Hollow series. These books are fun and silly and full of real people dealing with real issues of faith. In Next Door Daddy, widow Pollyanna McDonald is determined to show the world that she can take care of herself and her 8 year old son. Polly moves to Mule Hollow, not to get a man like most of the women there, but to open a Bed and Breakfast and make a home in the country for her son. What she doesn't bargain for is her neighbor, Nate Talbert. Nate is a widower and recently asked God to do something to bring him back to life... to give him purpose and meaning. A boy looking for a father figure was not what Nate had in mind, must less a pretty young determined widow. But then God's ways are not our ways.

Tracie Peterson

I thoroughly enjoy books written by Tracie Peterson. I cannot think of a thing she has written that I didn't love. I read the last 2 books in her Ladies of Liberty trilogy this weekend and as always, I was not disappointed.

A Lady of Hidden Intent is book 2. Catherine Newbury loves her life in England and has no plans to ever leave, but when her father is wrongly accused of slave trading she must flee to avoid arrest and ridicule. She finds herself in America and starts a new life with a new name. Over the years, her reputation as a dress designer grows and many of the wealthier socialites in America seek her talent.

Catherine's life is one of hiding, as she fears she will be found out and sent back to England. She also fears what has become of her father and hopes to save money to procure legal counsel to prove his innocence.

Carter Danby met Catherine in England when she is young, so when he meets her again in America he doesn't recognize her... but he knows there is something familiar and mysterious about her and he is determined to learn more.
Can Catherine trust Carter with her secrets and her heart?

Book Three is A Lady of Secret Devotion. Another wonderful story of love amidst danger. Cassie Stover has been hired as a companion to Mrs. Jameston.... a job she thoroughly enjoys! That is until Mrs. Jameston's son arrives. Shot in a supposed accident, it quickly becomes clear that Mrs. Jameston's warnings about her son and his unsavory ways were not exaggerated.

Mark Langford is an insurance investigator who has been sent to follow up on his friend, Richard's, investigation of insurance fraud and to find who killed Richard. He has but one name to go on... Sebastian Jameston.

Mark enlists Cassie's help to expose Sebastian's crimes and send him to jail, but at what costs? Is it worth risking the life of Mrs. Jameston, Cassie and her family?

2 more by Phil Hardwick

I recently zipped through 2 more of the Mississippi Mysteries by Phil Hardwick. I believe there is 1 more in this series.

Cover-Up in Columbus is a fun read. I have been to Columbus a time or two and know a bit about it, so that helped me with my bearings. The plot was one that might seem a bit unbelievable, but I know of a case in my hometown that bears a close resemblance.

A wealthy father changes his will and cuts out all of his 4 children save his youngest son and, no surprise, shortly thereafter the son is killed by his young nephew in a hunting accident and the father dies of a heart attack. Sounds tragic, but nothing out of the ordinary here. There was a witness to the accident... everything is on the up and up... or is it. P. I. Jack Boulder learns that often what appears to be obvious is far from it. This story takes some twists and turns through this historic Mississippi town to uncover deception throughout the Newbury family and a great deal of jealousy and hate.

Sixth Inning in Southaven is a fast paced read. Southaven is a bedroom community of Memphis. It didn't start that way... it was a small town in MS just inside the state line, but Memphis grew and in some ways consumed Southaven. I have driven through it many times on my way to Memphis, but at most stopped there for gasoline. I think that is par for the course for most Mississippians. Sadly, I rarely think of Southaven as being a town.

Sixth Inning provided some insight into the actual town and the people there. It also provided a quick bit of intrigue as P. I. Jack Boulder, on a road trip to clear his head, finds himself arrested for the murder of a man he doesn't know. This is a book full of Murphy's law. Boulder is at the wrong place at the wrong time... 2 lawyers who plan to represent him end up in the hospital.. and it becomes obvious someone is trying to frame him or kill him.. which ever comes first.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Searching for Eternity by Elzabeth Musser

This is the second book I have read by Musser and as before, I loved it. Her books are so different. They deal with deeper issues than a lot of Christian fiction, but not in a way that is too academic or theological for the average reader... and yet she doesn't dumb the issues down either. She also connects her stories with historic events or times and it is evident that she has done her research along the way.

Searching for Eternity begins in France with 12 year old Emile De Bonnery... the son of a French father and American mother. Emile loves in life in Lyon and never plans on it changing. But then in the course of 24 hours a most drastic change occurs. Emile's father disappears and he and his mother flee to America leaving behind everything he has ever know.
Over the course of his teenage years, Emile adapts to the American South as best he can. He befriends Eternity Jones, a girl with as much uncertainty in her life as he has in his. Emile's search for the truth about his father sends him digging into the past... the French Resistance... and the closer he comes to finding the truth, the more difficult it is to conceive.

Excellent book!