Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"The Telling" by Mike Duran - CSFF Blog Tour

The Telling
Author: Mike Duran
Publisher: Realms
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1616386948

Available at Amazon

About the Book:
A prophet never loses his calling, only his way.

Disfigured with a hideous scar from his stepmother, Zeph Walker lives his life in seclusion, cloistering himself in a ramshackle bookstore on the outskirts of town. But Zeph is also blessed with a gift—an uncanny ability to foresee the future,to know peoples’ deepest sins and secrets. He calls it the Telling, but he has abandoned this gift to a life of solitude, unbelief, and despair—until two detectives escort him to the county morgue where he finds his own body lying on the gurney.

On the northern fringes of Death Valley, the city of Endurance is home to llama ranches, abandoned mines, roadside attractions...and the mythical ninth gate of hell. Now, forced to investigate his own murder, Zeph discovers something even more insidious behind the urban legends and small-town eccentricities. Early miners unearthed a megalith—asacred site where spiritual and physical forces converge and where an ancient subterranean presence broods. And only Zeph can stop it.

But the scar on Zeph’s face is nothing compared to the wound on his soul. For not only has he abandoned his gift and renounced heaven, but it was his own silence that spawned the evil. Can he overcome his own despair in time to seal the ninth gate of hell?

His words unlocked something deadly,
And now the silence is killing them.

About the Author:

Mike Duran is a novelist, blogger, and freelance writer whose short stories, essays, and commentary have appeared in Relief Journal, Relevant Online, Breakpoint, Rue Morgue magazine, and other print and digital outlets. He is the author of the supernatural thriller THE RESURRECTION (Realms, 2011), which was a finalist in the 2011 INSPY awards, an e-book fantasy novella entitled WINTERLAND, and THE TELLING (Realms May 2012). Mike contributes monthly commentary at Novel Rocket, one of Writer's Digest 101 Most Helpful Websites for Writers. Mike is an ordained minister and lives with his wife and four grown children in Southern California. Mike's novels explore the boundaries of belief, the fragile tether between science and superstition, the depths of despair and the reaches of faith. You can learn more about Mike Duran, his writing projects, favorite music, cultural commentary, and arcane interests, at
on Facebook at:
and on Twitter:

My Thoughts:

Take a good long look at the cover of "The Telling" because that cover is perfect for what the pages between it holds. This novel is not for the faint of heart. It's dark, edgy, mysterious as well as a bit disturbing and guaranteed to make your heart pound. It's everything a good captivating page-turner should be, and then some!

Listed as Christian fiction, "The Telling" is far from an "in-your-face" Christian type of book. It is subtle and can be enjoyed by anyone who just loves a good and at times scary story. Mike Duran is a fantastic storyteller that captivates the reader from the beginning. As the story unfolds, you won't want to put this book down because you won't be able to wait find out what happens next. With short chapters, it's easy to do this, as you keep telling yourself that you'll only read one more chapter...

Anyone who enjoys such authors as Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti will certainly enjoy Mike Duran's "The Telling". Make sure to add it to your MUST read list!!

Make sure to visit the other members of the tour to see what they have to say about "The Telling"

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a favorable review.

Friday, September 21, 2012

NIV Rock Solid Study Bible for Teens

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card is:

Zondervan; Special edition (August 21, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***


This all-new, full-featured NIV Bible is great for teens looking to grow their faith, increase meaning in their lives, and find hope for their future. The Rock Solid Bible for Teens is a timely guide for teens grappling with big questions about the world, their future, and their faith.  Featuring the complete New International Version text, apologetics helps, hundreds of call-outs, and concrete promises for the future, the Rock Solid Bible provides firm traction for the development of beliefs and behavior rooted in the unchanging love, guidance, and promises of God.

Product Details:
List Price: $29.99

Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Hardcover: 1664 pages
Publisher: Zondervan; Special edition (August 21, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310723302
ISBN-13: 978-0310723301


Chapter will be placed up here soon.

My Thoughts:

The NIV Rock Solid Study Bible for Teens is a hard bound and attractive bible that will stand up to much use and abuse. It is done in paragraph style and contains gray boxes with such things as truths, principles, plans and people, while the promises found in the Bible are highlighted in a box with a border and a cross to really stick out. At the beginning of each chapter, one page is devoted to a book outline and information about the book. In the back of the Bible one will find a concordance, a table of weights and measures, a Bible reading plan, an index to all the Truths, Promises, Principles, Plans, People and God, plus some very nice full colored maps.

As a study Bible, I would have liked to see more for references while reading. There are no center columns and the references at the bottom of the pages are sparse. For me another downside is the words of Christ are not in red. With that said, this is still a nice teen study Bible for those who use the NIV.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Through Rushing Water" by Catherine Richmond

Through Rushing Water
Author: Catherine Richmond
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1595549259

About the Book:
Sophia has her life all planned out—but her plan didn’t include being jilted or ending up in Dakota Territory.

Sophia Makinoff is certain that 1876 is the year that she’ll become the wife of a certain US Congressman, and happily plans her debut into the Capitol city. But when he proposes to her roommate instead, Sophia is stunned. Hoping to flee her heartache and humiliation, she signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions on a whim.

With dreams of a romantic posting to the Far East, Sophia is dismayed to find she’s being sent to the Ponca Indian Agency in the bleak Dakota Territory. She can’t even run away effectively and begins to wonder how on earth she’ll be able to guide others as a missionary. But teaching the Ponca children provides her with a joy she has never known—and never expected—and ignites in her a passion for the people she’s sent to serve.

It’s a passion shared by the Agency carpenter, Willoughby Dunn, a man whose integrity and selflessness are unmatched. The Poncas are barely surviving. When U.S. policy decrees that they be uprooted from their land and marched hundreds of miles away in the middle of winter, Sophia and Will wade into rushing waters to fight for their friends, their love, and their destiny.

My Thoughts:

"Through Rushing Water" is a well written and emotionally charged historical novel that is sure to hold the reader's interest from beginning to end. The characters are wonderfully portrayed and so very realistic and will capture your heart as they take you through the time when the US government treated Indians shamefully - something that's not usually found in a piece of historical fiction!

This novel focuses on the Ponca Indians in the Dakota Territory and how they were treated. When Sophia Makinoff is sent there as a missionary, she was just biding time until she would transfer to the Far East. She had no idea that her destiny held something that would challenge and change her and yet give her a wonderful gift of purpose and happiness. One of my favorite characters, Sophia is one of those that is sure to stick with me for a long time.

Make sure to add this book to you must reads list, as it truly is one you MUST read!! This one comes highly recommended!

I received this book through the Booksneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Watch Out for that Curve Ball!

If you've been a long time follower, you will remember me discussing my husband getting laid-off the end of last year. It was a hard time for him, as he seemed to lose some of his self-worth every time he got a rejection letter. He spent hours upon hours combing through listings all across the US to look for jobs he was qualified for - but with no luck.

Then, just before his unemployment ran out, he received a call from a "head hunter". He was told about a contract to hire job working at a university - his Alma Mater! Of course by then, he really didn't believe that he would qualify, but said to send his application on. He was interviewed by the company that contacted him as well as the university and then was hired!

He finished the out contract, the contract was extended and finally - FINALLY!! he was hired as a permanent member of the IT team at the university!! YAY!!! He says he still has to pinch himself every once in a while because he never thought he'd ever work at the place that gave him his sheep skin.

Weirder still is that I can finally get my degree AND from the same university that I applied to 30 years ago! Certain unforeseen circumstances prevented me going there, which made my mother "happy" because she was upset that I applied to a university so far away from home. Who new that all these years later I would be able to finish my degree at the university I always wish I had been able to attend!

This all means a big move for us. We will be saying goodbye to all the generations before me that lived in this town (my children are the 5th!) and starting a new life in a place where there is no family, but happily I have found some friends that live close to the area - imagine that!

It will definitely take some getting used to. I'm going from a very SMALL town to a large university "town" and one that has grown over the past 30 years. I will have to learn how to drive in town and also how to take a bus.

We are house hunting now and are astonished at the prices. WOW! Those "average" house prices would buy us a pretty nice farm here. It appears we won't be getting our dream acreage, but instead a small 1/3 of an acre in the middle of a development. God has provided us with so much, so I'm not even going to complain about the details of yard size. He will give us just what we need with the house, too. Everything else has fallen into place - so I'm certainly not going to question that one little detail!

If you are in a place you aren't satisfied with and life hasn't turned out the way you wanted, don't fret. God has plans and he will let you know them when it's time. As I look back over the past years, I see how everything has fallen into place, although at different times I couldn't understand why everything was falling apart. They really weren't - they were just pieces moving into place for the bigger picture.

Always remember... "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." ~ Romans 8:28 KJV

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

365 Things Every New Mom Should Know by Linda Danis

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (April 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House for sending me a review copy.***


Linda Danis has a degree in marketing and spent five years in hotel management before staying at home to run a hotel of a different sort—guests ages 3, 6, 9, and 11. Linda has written Sunday school curricula, started a co–op preschool, and leads a Moms in Touch prayer ministry at her children’s school.  She lives with her husband, Dave, and children in California.


This daily guide to the first year of a baby s life combines prayerful, playful, and practical information to energize new moms. Features weekly devotionals and daily activities that foster a baby s physical, emotional, social, and spiritual growth.

Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0-7369-2382-8


My child, you hold the whole of my heart in your small hands.
Author Unknown
Week 1
Day 1
After all these long months, your precious little baby has finally arrived. The child you have longed for is here to hold, to look at, and to touch. Your baby will look up at you and recognize your familiar voices. You are the ones he has been longing to meet—his mommy and daddy! Get to know your sweet little baby—hold him, rock him, smell his skin, gaze at him, marvel at his tiny fists, caress him. Treasure this awesome miracle!
Day 2
On the day you bring your baby home for the first time, have everyone in your family place their hands on her and pray for her. This will be a precious moment for your family to share together as you welcome her into your family and give thanks to God for this wonderful gift!
Day 3
If you have older children who want to hold their new sibling, use a nursing “donut pillow” to help them support your baby’s head. Have your child sit all the way back on the couch. Place the semicircle nursing pillow around his waist. Set your baby on the pillow with his bottom wedged in between your older child’s tummy and the pillow. Rest your baby’s head on your older child’s arm that is resting on the pillow. Even if your child lets go of the baby, his head will still be secure on the pillow. Of course, you should always be sitting right next to your new baby, monitoring his safety. This also works for young visitors, but I would suggest waiting a week or two before letting a nonfamily-member child hold your baby.
Day 4
Despite what all the books may say, most women experience some soreness (or a lot of soreness!) in the first weeks of nursing. Try using your Lamaze breathing when your baby latches onto your breast. If your nipples are cracked or blistered, blot them dry with a cotton diaper after you have finished nursing. Saliva has enzymes that can irritate sore nipples. After you have dried the saliva off, express a little milk and rub it on your nipples. Let them air dry. Also, do not look down at your baby the entire time you nurse. This position can strain your neck and cause tension headaches. If you can persevere through the first two weeks of nursing, things will get better.
Day 5
Sometimes as a new parent it’s hard to tell whether or not you should call your pediatrician. If you are reluctant to call your doctor in the middle of the night, you can usually call the nursery at the hospital where you gave birth. The nurses are awake and can advise you as to whether you should call your doctor right away or if it can wait until the morning. Do not wait if your baby has a fever higher than 99.9 degrees rectally (this is the most accurate way to take your baby’s temperature). Call your doctor immediately.
Day 6
Drink water every time you nurse to stay hydrated and to maintain your milk supply. Always keep a water bottle close at hand. It is a good idea to set up a “nursing station” wherever you will be nursing the most. Have everything you need right at hand—a water bottle, a burp cloth, a nursing pillow, a book or magazine to read, and nursing pads.
Day 7
When your baby startles while lying on her back (the Moro reflex), gently but firmly hold her hands together close to her chest to calm her and make her feel more secure. Say, “It’s okay, sweetheart. Mommy will help you.” This reflex will disappear by four months.

Reflections on the Week
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
Jeremiah 1:5
An Incredible Love
You have had your baby only one short week and yet you can hardly remember what life was like without him. You prepared for months for his arrival—read books, set up the nursery, went to prenatal classes—yet nothing could prepare you for the overwhelming love you feel for this child. There are no words quite powerful enough to describe the emotions you feel.
Then the impossible happened; each day you grew to love him more. The sheer magnitude of love takes your breath away. Can there be anything more wonderful than when he gazes into your eyes, when you feel his small body curled up in your arms, when you feel his warm breath on your cheek, when his little fingers wrap tightly around yours? Your heart is ready to burst with this new miracle in your life.
It doesn’t matter if this is your first or fifth child, the profound love you feel for your new baby never changes. I remember during my second pregnancy, I secretly worried that I might not love this new baby as much as my first. How could I ever love another child as much as I loved her? But the moment I held my new baby, I knew immediately I had worried for nothing. There was no difference in my love. It was as amazingly wonderful and intense as the love I had for my first. It happened again when my third and fourth children were born. We don’t have to divide our love between our children. Our love actually multiplies, giving us even more love to share. It is one of the ways God’s love works in motherhood. We just have more and more love to give away!

Dear God, thank You for this precious little baby. He is everything I prayed for. Everything about him is perfect. Words can hardly describe how much I love him. Because of him, I have a better idea now of how much You, my heavenly Father, love me. Please help me adjust to all the changes I will face as a new mother. Amen.

My Thoughts:

I wish this lovely book had been available when I was a new mother. It is full of so much useful information that covers everything from your baby's development to helpful hints for stimulating your little one and even helpful hints, prayers and reflections for you.

This book is a wonderful and delightful tool that will come in handy throughout your child's first year. There are so many songs and little games you can play with your baby that will keep you both smiling and enjoying each day together while you build memories. I couldn't help but reflect on some of the times I had spent with my own and doing some of the activities that were listed.

365 Things Every New Mom Should Know is a must for any new mother!!