Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rodeo Sweetheart

Rodeo Sweetheart by Betsy St. Amant

About the Book:

To save her family ranch—and her father’s legacy—Samantha Jenson reluctantly runs a dude ranch on the financially strapped property. Among the greenhorn tourists in stiff jeans and shiny cowboy boots: handsome businessman Ethan Ames. Ethan makes Sam remember her own dreams—of love and marriage. But surely he’ll ride out of her life—in his fancy car—when his vacation is over. Until she learns that Ethan isn’t on vacation at all. He has a very big secret. One that just might destroy her dreams of being his rodeo sweetheart…forever.

About the Author:

Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group. Betsy is multi-published through Steeple Hill and has been published in Christian Communicator magazine and Praise Reports: Inspiring Real Life Stories of How God Answers Prayer. One of her short stories, ‘Kickboxing or Chocolate’, appears in a Tyndale compilation book, and she is also multi-published through The Wild Rose Press. Betsy has a BA in Christian Communications and regularly contributes articles to She is a wife, author, new mother and an avid reader who enjoys sharing the wonders of God’s grace through her stories.

My Review:

Samantha Jenson is determined. She’s determined to keep her family’s dude ranch and determined to keep her father’s legacy alive. As far as Sam is concerned the ranch is the most important thing in her life. Sam puts her personal life aside but still wonders what would happen if she didn’t. Regardless, Sam will go to whatever lengths necessary for the ranch, even if it means putting herself in danger.

Ethan Ames grew up in the family business. Ethan is use to making as much money as possible and doing whatever is necessary to close a lucrative deal. His working vacation on a dude ranch in Texas along with a pretty cowgirl turns his thoughts upside down, leaving him to wonder - is money and being successful in the family business really the most important thing?

The book alternates between the lives of Sam and Ethan as each of them ponder what their lives would’ve been like if they had taken different paths. Betsy St. Amant does a good job of capturing their angst and questioning of their lives through their actions and thought process. Her descriptions of the ranch are strong enough to make you feel you are in the middle of the ranch too.

I like this book as it’s contemporary when most westerns are historical. As I read the book I could picture it as a Hallmark or Lifetime move, with good actors, of course!

Favorite Line:
“Some things just weren’t meant to be - even if under the glow of the stars is seemed, as if, for
a moment, they could.”
Check out Betsy's website HERE
Betsty Blog's daily HERE
Buy the book HERE
Rating: 5 carats

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Never Say Never

Never Say Never by Lisa Wingate

For her 70th birthday Donetta Bradford decides to step out of her small town life in Daily, Texas and go on a cruise with her three best friends. On their way to the Texas coast they encounter bottlenecked roads from everyone trying to get out of town. After their car breaks down they stop at a gas station and see a giant hurricane is headed right towards Texas where they were supposed to leave for the cruise.

Kai Miller never had a normal life. She grew up moving from town to town as her father tried to make it as a musician. Never having put down roots and never knowing how to stay in one place for too long, Kai takes a job on a cruise ship. After accidently oversleeping Kai goes to work only to find out her cruise ship left post early because a major hurricane is on its way. Kai evacuates but runs out of gas and stops at a gas station to find three ladies stranded and offers to take them along to get out of the way of the hurricane.

Each chapter switches between the points of view of Kai and Donetta. This frequently became confusing because they both were first person points of view and I had to mentally remember who was narrating each chapter.

Although the southern drawl of Donnetta and her friends spelled out phonetically was sometimes amusing, at times it was hard too because it didn’t flow easily. Donetta’s points of view were filled with wonderful southern metaphors and similes.

All in all the book felt very long and drawn out moving slowly like Texas tumbleweed on a calm day. However, the book culminated with a sweet ending which put a smile on my face.
Review copy provided by Bethany House Publishers

Favorite Line:
“Maybe life is a balancing act between the things you choose and the things you sacrificed.”

Rating: 3 carats

Buy the book HERE
Look at Lisa's website HERE

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Divine Dance

About the Book:

e want to be liked—that's why we put so much energy into pleasing others. Life has become a dance that we perform for others, auditioning for a place in the hearts of everyone we meet. We put our energy into performances to please our parents, friends, teachers, boys—even people we don't know. It's simple: We all desire to be loved and accepted. But in this busy, complicated world, we should be dancing as we were designed to—for the One who really cares. When the audiences are gone and we take off our masks, that's the part the Director likes best. Away from the alluring lights and demanding crowds, we can know ourselves and God in a powerful, meaningful way. When we realize that the One who matters already loves us, we will flourish in this life that is the Divine Dance.

About The Author:

rom the moment she learned to talk, author and speaker Shannon (Kubiak) Primicerio has been engaging audiences with her wit and wisdom. A writer from the second she could hold a pencil, Shannon brings a deep passion for God and a keen awareness of the issues teen girls face to both the page and the stage. Whether you are reading one of her books or sitting in a room listening to her speak, you will feel like you know Shannon—and like she knows you. Using Scripture, personal illustrations and questions that provoke reader interaction, Shannon is able to bring the Bible to life so that teen girls can apply it to the daily drama of their own circumstances. Some of her favorite biblical illustrations are teen girls themselves—Leah, Hagar, Miriam and Mary. Shannon has a B.A. in journalism and a minor in Biblical studies from Biola University, and was the recipient of the North County Times Excellence in Writing award in 2000, and the San Diego Christian Writers' Guild Nancy Bayless Award for Excellence in Writing in 2003. Her first book, The Divine Dance, was published while she was still in college. She has been interviewed on radio and television programs across the nation and featured in such media outlets as PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, The Harvest Show and TIME magazine. Her ministry spans the globe, as her books are available in several languages. Shannon also served as a mentor to young authors through the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild for three years before creating her own writing curriculum for tweens and teens. Her articles have appeared in Marriage Partnership and BRIO magazines. In 2006 Shannon and her husband, Michael, traveled to Lima, Peru as part of the annual BRIO missions trip. Although Shannon and Michael live in Southern California they are avid fans of the New York Yankees. They also partner with Compassion International to help eradicate global poverty. Shannon enjoys interacting with her readers and can constantly be found updating them on her whereabouts from her Blackberry via Twitter and Facebook.

My Review:

“If the world is your stage, who are you performing for?” It’s a simple question but a tough answer. As Shannon Primicerio explores in this book written towards women, people get caught up in performing for the approval of others whether friends, family, guys, teachers, or anyone we come across.

At the beginning of the book Shannon writes, “The Divine Dance is my life message. Writing this book brought me freedom. Continuing to live out its purpose is what keeps me free. It is a lesson for women of any age.”

As soon as the music began in chapter one I was captivated by the dance and how we can easily miss the dancing steps for the One who gave us the ability to dance in the first place. Shannon explains dancing for God is a form of worship while dancing for the world is a form of idolatry which is the reason we feel unsatisfied.

The chapters gracefully move through situations we have all faced and how we perform in them, whether for the world or for God. The book is written with practical information and help to enlighten how we lose sight of who we are dancing for. Ending each chapter is four or five questions to invoke further thought. The purpose of these questions is to help the reader think through the actions and “dancing steps” we can put into practice as we learn the divine dance.

Shannon writes with sensitivity, passion, and a streaming beautiful metaphor woven through the pages of a small girl in a pink dress standing on stage hoping to please everyone. Grab your dancing shoes, your ballet tights and begin to ask the question, “If the world is my stage, who am I performing for?”

Favorite Line:
“You may look around and feel completely alone in whatever you do. You may be embarrassed to get up on the worlds stage and dance because your dance is choreographed a little differently than everyone else’s. But if you don’t dance the way that you were made to dance, God will be robbed of some of His glory. Better to dance to a different beat than to dance to one that just isn’t you.”

Rating: Gem Parcel

Catch up with Shannon http://http//

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Revolve 2010

Revolve 2010

Revolve 2010 is the New Contemporary Version of the New Testament formatted like a magazine (coined a biblezine) and aimed at teenage girls.

Revolve is separated into three sections: The Gospels and Acts, which consists of books Matthew through Acts; Letters from Paul including Romans through Philemon; and Letters to Everyone filled with Hebrews through Revelation. Each section includes complete books of the Bible interspersed with quizzes, real life stories, fashion and beauty tips, and interviews with Christian celebrities such as Jodrin Sparks and Cody Linley.

A surprise I found at the top or bottom of most pages was a verse in the form of a text message. I like this idea, I mean who wouldn’t want a text message from God although I think using text lingo made it a little hard to understand what the verse was all about.

Scattered throughout the biblezine are “good book” profiles similar to a facebook profile of women throughout the Bible. These profiles have a quick reference to where each woman was from, what things each were involved in, and who each was married to. These profiles are a cool way to relate to what it may be like to know each woman if she were here today. The profiles allow the readers to get to know these women on a more personal level.

The biblezine also contains a few blog posts explaining varied Bible stories in inspiring, modern language much like you would tell a story in Sunday school. I enjoyed seeing how these stories can relate to things going on today.

Review copy provided by Thomas Nelson
Rating: 4 carats