You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2009.

Our family Christmas tradition:

The Christmas Gown

Our family tradition started in 1994 with a simple Christmas wish. Linda told her twin, Brenda, she wanted a new gown. To add an element of surprise to a “given”, Brenda wrapped her old red nylon gown that had seen better days. Its worn fabric was “see-through” in spots.

The following year, Brenda was surprised when she opened a gift to discover her raggedy gown returned to her. For several years the twins exchanged the gown between each other, but on Christmas Day, 1998 they shared the fun with other family members.

Each year the lucky recipient adds a personal note and determines who is blessed the next Christmas.

Aunt Doris said in her note, “I don’t expect you to wear this “treasure” but hope it will provide lots of laughs as you recall this Christmas.”

Cousin Pam wrote her own rendition of “’Twas the night before Christmas.” Here is an excerpt:

Wanda opened the box,

Carefully they say

It was a beautiful gown

That she hoped for on Christmas day.

There was one little problem

That caused her some dismay.

It looked like it had been worn,

A lot by the way.

Aunt Linda and my mama, Brenda

The Red Gown

I’ve about come to the conclusion that my writing career is over. And it never really began.

You see I’ve had some disappointing set-backs.

If these stories would just stop haunting me, then I could just quit, but they continue on in my brain until I write them down. I wish I could give it up. Stop doing it.

Last weekend I listened to Debbie Macomber’s keynote address to the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers conference. One of her books received an embarrassing critique at her first ever writers’ conference. The publisher told her to throw the story away instead of revising it. Debbie didn’t listen and it became her first published book. And we know how her career has been since that time. I take great comfort in that true life story of beating the odds.

So, I’ve got to try.  Even if I’m the William Hung of fiction writing.

I have no regrets at all.


Book: Thirsty

Author:  Tracey Bateman


There’s no place like home, they say.
“Hello, I’m Nina Parker…and I’m an alcoholic.”
For Nina, it’s not the weighty admission but the first steps toward recovery that prove most difficult. She must face her ex-husband, Hunt, with little hope of making amends, and try to rebuild a relationship with her angry teenage daughter, Meagan. Hardest of all, she is forced to return to Abbey Hills, Missouri, the hometown she abruptly abandoned nearly two decades earlier–and her unexpected arrival in the sleepy Ozark town catches the attention of someone–or something–igniting a two-hundred-fifty-year-old desire that rages like a wildfire.

Unaware of the darkness stalking her, Nina is confronted with a series of events that threaten to unhinge her sobriety. Her daughter wants to spend time with the parents Nina left behind. A terrifying event that has haunted Nina for almost twenty years begins to surface. And an alluring neighbor initiates an unusual friendship with Nina, but is Markus truly a kindred spirit or a man guarding dangerous secrets?

As everything she loves hangs in the balance, will Nina’s feeble grasp on her demons be broken, leaving her powerless against the thirst? The battle between redemption and obsession unfold to its startling, unforgettable end.

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This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.





Book: Touched by a Vampire

Author:  Beth Felker Jones



People around the world are asking the same question, enraptured with Edward and Bella’s forbidden romance in the Twilight Saga, a four-book serial phenomenon written by Stephenie Meyer. The bestsellers tell the story of a regular girl’s relationship with a vampire who has chosen to follow his “good” side. But the Saga isn’t just another fantasy–it’s teaching girls about love, sex, and purpose. With 48 million copies in print and a succession of upcoming blockbuster films, now is the time to ask the important question: Can vampires teach us about God’s plan for love?

Touched by a Vampire is the first book to investigate the themes of the Twilight Saga from a Biblical perspective. Some Christian readers have praised moral principles illustrated in the story, such as premarital sexual abstinence, which align with Meyer’s Mormon beliefs. But ultimately, Beth Felker Jones examines whether the story’s redemptive qualities outshine its darkness.

Cautionary, thoughtful, and challenging, Touched by a Vampire is written for Twilight fans, parents, teachers, and pop culture enthusiasts. It includes an overview of the series for those unfamiliar with the storyline and a discussion guide for small groups.


My comments:

I think this book is worth reading to determine whether the Twilight Saga is for your family. I haven’t read Twilight. Note: this book discusses the plots in all the books

Click here for more info:

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.


Book: Limelight

Author:  Melody Carlson


Claudette Fioré used to turn heads and break hearts. She relished the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle because she had what it takes: money, youth, fame, and above all, beauty. But age has withered that beauty, and a crooked accountant has taken her wealth, leaving the proud widow penniless and alone.

Armed with stubbornness and sarcasm, Claudette returns to her shabby little hometown and her estranged sister. Slowly, she makes friends. She begins to see her old life in a new light. For the first time, Claudette Fioré questions her own values and finds herself wondering if it’s too late to change.

Click here for more info:

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Book: What Matters Most

Author:  Melody Carlson


Maya’s Green Tip for the Day: Recycled fashion is one of the most fun ways to go green. A pair of jeans could be transformed into a denim skirt. A sweater into a vest. A bunch of old ties into a dress. A blanket into a poncho. Accessorize it in new way–with beads, buttons, appliqués, buckles, stencils, or ribbons…your imagination is only the limit. (65 words)

Sixteen-year-old Maya Stark has a lot to sort through. She could graduate from high school early if she wants to. She’s considering it, especially when popular cheerleader Vanessa Hartman decides to make her life miserable–and Maya’s ex-boyfriend Dominic gets the wrong idea about everything.

To complicate matters even more, Maya’s mother will be released from prison soon, and she’ll want Maya to live with her again. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. And when Maya plays her dad’s old acoustic guitar in front of an audience, she discovers talents and opportunities she never expected. Faced with new options, Maya must choose between a “normal” life and a glamorous one. Ultimately, she has to figure out what matters most.

My comments:

I don’t read much teen fiction, but I liked this one. The character lives out what a lot of teens want–an American Idol like chance to sing on stage.

What else will you find in the book:

Mean girls

Moments of Jealousy

Tough Decisions

I think this will definitely speak to girls who don’t have the “ideal family”.

Click here for more info:

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.


Dead body? What dead body?

I remember that line from a  The Wild Wild West episode with James West and Aretemus Gordon(not the Will Smith movie–anyone care to guess my age).  Right now, if you stepped into my house you would definitely think there was a dead body hidden somewhere within.

It turns out, our chest deep freeze has not been working. For how long we’re not sure.

We’ve removed all the rotten food, but the stench still remains. I have a strong gag reflex so my husband had to do all the work by himself. He’s a saint. Even though the freezer is in the basement, the smell permeates the whole house. I hope we don’t have visitors in the next day or so.

My husband threatened to use my car to haul off the trash bags. I told him he was out of his mind, considering he has a nice big truck bed.

I’m behind on my reading and plan to start posting my reviews in the next week.

Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh

I’m thoroughly enjoying this book. Unfortunately, the day job has me working so much that I’ve had very little time to read. I love the author’s voice.

What you’ll find in the book:

A woman who carries a go-anywhere Bible and a gun in her purse

Family Secrets

Great cover art



Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina, twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high-powered public relations consultant in LA. She’s even “engaged to be engaged” to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler.

Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick has decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations’ worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwicks’ secrets, including Piper’s.

Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe’s rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can’t she stay on task? With the Lord’s help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.

Leaving Carolina

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Leaving Carolina:

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

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