Monday, April 30, 2018

Fiction Review: Dancing in the Rain by Eileen Rife & Jennifer Slattery

On the verge of college graduation, Loni Parker seeks employment as a music teacher, but no one will hire her since she’s blind. Or so she thinks. To take her mind off her troubles,
her roommate invites her to spring retreat at Camp Hope in the gorgeous North Carolina mountains. Unbeknown to Loni, Michael Ackerman, the director, is an ex-con responsible for the accident that caused her blindness. When Loni warms up to camp and to Michael, and wants to return as a summer counselor, Michael opposes the idea, which only makes Loni want to prove herself all the more.

Camp director Michael Ackerman recognizes Loni instantly and wants to avoid her at all costs. Yet, despite the guilt pushing him from her, a growing attraction draws him to the determined woman. She sees more with her heart than the average person does with his eyes. But her presence also dredges up a long-buried anger toward his alcoholic father that he’d just as soon keep hidden. When circumstances spin out of control, Michael is forced to face a past that may destroy his present.

My Review:
Dancing in the Rain is a beautifully written story of changed hearts and forgiveness. Eileen and Jennifer did an excellent job with Loni's point of view as someone who is blind. The description they gave of what Loni hears, tastes, touches and smells had to be a challenge. Yet, they did this with beauty and grace. As I read, I had a better understanding of Loni's trials and a great appreciation for her ability to stand on her own and face her challenges with confidence. I loved the camp setting. The author's description reminded me of all the times I attended camp. I can't write a good review without mentioning my favorite character, Loni's guide dog, John Thomson. He's an exquisite creature she trusts with her life. Michael's story is also one to be appreciated. I love this story's unique perspective. I received this book for free, with no expectation of a good or bad review. This book will be available on Amazon in late May.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Prayers Reach Heaven

2 Chronicles 30:27
The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.

I love to witness our grandchildren's prayers. Their sweet "Charlie Brown" voices resound with sincerity. No traces of doubt color their words. They know God listens to them as they bless the food, or ask God to make their friend or family feel better. Children trust God to listen. So why is it, as adults, doubts niggle in to our prayers. We dismiss talking to God as childish or pointless. Belief slips and fear takes over.

Maybe in life, no one listens. Days are too noisy with social media, television, negativity, or defeat to reach out. Then there are the busy days. Too much to do, not enough time. Or, maybe we think God doesn't want to hear from us anyway. How could he? I'm a sinner, why would he listen to me? But I have amazing news! The creator of the universe, God himself, loves you and me. He considers us his children. And he wants to hear our words. Whether we pray out loud or think our prayers, every single word we breath toward him is precious to him.

"He turned his ear to me." Yes he leans toward us, with his ear in our direction, ready to listen. I love the picture 2 Chronicles paints of prayers rising to heaven. Because that's what happens—prayers rise and God leans down to listen. That's just beautiful!
Psalm 116:2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Fiction Book Review: Julie by Catherine Marshall

Welcome to this stop on the Julie by Catherine Marshall Reissue Celebration Blog Tour with JustRead Publicity Tours!

Title: Julie
Author: Catherine Marshall
Publisher: Gilead Publishing
ReIssue Date: April 17, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance Fiction

· JustRead landing page

Purchase Julie at:
· Amazon
· Itunes

Will the dam hold?

Julie Wallace has always wanted to write. Trying to escape the Great Depression, Julie’s father buys the Alderton Sentinel, a small-town newspaper in flood-prone Alderton, Pennsylvania, and moves his family there. As flash floods ominously increase, Julie’s investigative reporting uncovers secrets that could endanger the entire community.

Julie, the newspaper, and her family are thrown into a perilous standoff with the owners of the steel mills as they investigate the conditions of the immigrant laborers. As the Alderton Sentinel and Julie take on a more aggressive role to reform these conditions, seething tensions come to a head.

When a devastating tragedy follows a shocking revelation, Julie’s courage and strength are tested.  
Will truth and justice win, or will Julie lose everything she holds dear?

My Review:
I read the story of Julie, years ago, when my grandmother gave me a copy. I've enjoyed it now as much as I did then. Julie's story is a powerful testimony to faith. Alderton was a town filled with problems, but within the framework we meet several wonderful, faithful people. I especially enjoyed the way Julie's family worked together to try to establish a newspaper and the many folks who God sent to help them. Catherine Marshall's research about the Johnstown flood and difficult working and living conditions for the blue collar workers enhance the story with accuracy and believeability. The story is full of excitement, a bit of romance, a thread of faith, and a nod to families and people who work together for the good that God has called them to. If you haven't read this wonderful book, you have a chance to now. Julie is being re-released by Gilead Publishing. I'd also recommend this story for Young Adult readers. I received a complimentary copy of the book and a positive review is not required.

About the author:

Catherine Marshall (1914-1983)
, “The New York Times” best-selling author of 30 books, is best known for her novel “Christy.” Based on the life of her mother, “Christy” captured the hearts of millions and became a popular CBS television series. Around the kitchen table at Evergreen Farm, as her mother reminisced, Catherine probed for details and insights into the rugged lives of these Appalachian highlanders. Catherine shared the story of her husband, Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the United States Senate, in “A Man Called Peter.” A decade after Dr. Marshall’s untimely death, Catherine married Leonard LeSourd, Executive Editor of “Guideposts,” forging a dynamic writer-editor partnership. A beloved inspirational writer and speaker, Catherine’s enduring career spanned four decades and reached over 30 million readers.

(1) Winner will win: 

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Bookmark Swag
  • Necklace (exact or similar & *subject to change)
  • Print Copy of Julie

(Only Gift Card open internationally. Others open to US Mailing Addresses)

Enter Here:

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Children's Picture Book: Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Book Description:
A lavish new picture book from Caldecott-winner Sophie Blackall that will transport readers to the seaside in timeless, nautical splendor!

Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp's wick, and writes every detail in his logbook.

Step back in time and through the door of this iconic lighthouse into a cozy dollhouse-like interior with the extraordinary award-winning artist Sophie Blackall.

My Review:
When I walk along a sandy beach and dig up a sliver of sea glass or a pretty shell, I'm excited at my sweet treasure. That's how I felt when I discovered Hello Lighthouse. For years, I've admired the keepers of lighthouses and their stories. This delightful book ties those tales into a lyrical memory dedicated to all the men and women who saved many-a-ship from disaster. Sophie Blackall's gorgeous illustrations, along with her beautiful text make this a book to treasure. I borrowed this copy from the library, but I think I may have to purchase one for myself. Just to enjoy!