Monday, December 31, 2007

Thoughts on the New Year

As I sit here alone at the computer (yes, everyone is gone!), I am contemplating the New Year. My new Franklin Covey compact planner is sitting here all neat and clean, just itching for me to write in it, but before I begin I wanted to think about my goals for the New Year. You see, 2007 was an okay year for me. I have grown quite a bit over the last year and am learning and seeing the direction that God is leading me in, which is quite exciting. 2008, however, is the year that I am going to begin to see those dreams take shape and that is truly scary and wonderfully exciting in its own way. What are my goals for 2008?

1. To write a devotion for moms 3 to 5 days/week. These devotions will become the foundation for a book that God has placed on my heart. Yes, this is a big step for me, but I believe that God is going to equip me. If He calls you, then He will equip you, if you only believe.

2. To move more from writing articles that simply fill space on someone else's website (even though they make me money and I enjoy it most of the time) to writing meaningful articles that are meaningful and give me satisfaction for knowing that I am doing what I am supposed to do. Not sure what direction that is going to be in yet, but am excited to see what God has planned for me.

3. To live every day with purpose and in God's will. This is a big one, but even if I mess up, I get to start over the next day. Isn't God good?

4. To work more on teaching my children through my actions about God's love and mercy. I am a yeller and I got it quite honestly from my mom, who was also a yeller. That is no excuse, however, so I am going to work on showing them God's love through not yelling and not losing it quite as often.

5. To be a better helpmate for my husband. I am opinionated, loud-mouthed, and a bit pushy sometimes, but I want to begin to let him take the reins more, especially with the kids. This is difficult when he works so much, but it can be done if we can learn to balance.

6. To do my best at everything I do. I am a procrastinator, but I want to move away from that habit into a new one where I actually do things when I say I am going to. This is a lifelong habit of mine, but with God's help, I can get it done.

7. To be healthier. I am not going to say that I am going to lose weight or exercise or blah, blah, blah, because I have said it every single year. If I can just eat healthier and exercise every once in a while in 2008, surely it would make a difference. Won't it?

A New Year is a time to think back on what God has done for you in the last year and to evaluate where you feel that He is leading you in the next year. I am sure that God has all sorts of things in mind for me (and you!) in the next year. I only want to handle them in the way that He would have me to do. What are some of your goals for the next year? To read another post on this, visit Marybeth at She blesses me every single time I visit!

On the personal front, KA went to the doctor today and had some of the stitches taken out of her face. She looks so much better and the doctor said he didn't have to see her again if everything looks fine when she is through healing! Praise God! He is soooooo good! It could have been so much worse. I just thank Him for His protection over her and His awesome healing. What a great way to begin a New Year! Me and the hubby are going to a friend's house tonight for a party, so I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed New Year!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dog Bites, Christmas Gifts, and Life...Oh My!

Well, the Christmas season here at our house started off not so well. Sunday morning, while I was at church, my sister called to let me know that she was taking my middle child, KA, to the hospital. It seems that her Great Dane had decided to bite my 8-year old in the face. As my sister is known for her overreactions, I had calmed down considerably on the 30-minute drive to the hospital, only to find that this time she was not overreacting. KA was lying in the hospital bed when I arrived, so when I saw her, I was very taken aback to find that about half of her bottom lip was not connected to her face. The doctor managed to stitch her back together physically after almost 40 stitches, but mentally she is still not quite herself. If you think about it, can you say a prayer for her? Eight is such a young age to not be feeling like you are beautiful. She is not interested in going to church this Sunday, so I am going to stay home with her and read the Bible, since her stitches don't come out until Sunday.

Christmas gifts were way too much this year. My hubby got me lots of good things, including two different Bibles that I had requested, the Alias boxset, and more. My mom outdid herself, as she does every single year, for me, my husband, and the kids. It was a good day that was only slightly overshadowed by KA's injury.

School for me starts back on the 9th. The kids go back on the 8th, so life will be back to business in just a few weeks. I am enjoying the down time for now.

How was your Christmas? What are you looking forward to in 2008?

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Friday, December 21, 2007

Distant Heart by Tracey Bateman

About this Book:

In the second book in the Westward Hearts trilogy, will the promise of a new life out west heal the scars of Toni's past?

This series tells the stories of three strong women as they struggle to survive on the rough wagon train and lose their hearts to unlikely heroes along the way. Think Little House on the Prairie meets Francine river's Redeeming Love and you begin to get a sense of the riveting historical series that Tracey Bateman has created.

In this second installment, we follow Toni Rodden, a former prostitute who sought to escape her past and build a new life, and a new reputation, when she joined the wagon train. Despite much resentment and distrust from the other women, Toni has finally earned a place on the wagon train and found a surrogate family in Fannie Caldwell and her two siblings. For the first time in her life, Toni actually feels free.

But while Toni once harbored dreams that her new life might include a husband and family, she soon realizes the stigma that comes with her past is difficult to see beyond and that she'll never be truly loved or seen as worthy. As the trip out west begins to teach her to survive on her own, she resolves to make her own living as a seamstress when the train finally reaches Oregon.

But despite Toni's conviction that no man will be able to see beyond her marred past, Sam Two-feathers, the wagon scout and acting preacher for the train seems to know of a love that forgives sins and values much more than outward appearances. Will Sam have the confidence to declare his love? Will Toni be able to trust in a God that can forgive even the darkest past? Faith, love, and courage will be put to the test in Distant Heart.

About Tracey:
Tracey Bateman is the award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, including Defiant Heart, the First in the Westeard Hearts series. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and recently served on the board as President. She loves in Lebanon, Missouri, with her husband and their four children.

To purchase this book for yourself, click here.

I hope that you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Friday, December 14, 2007

What Lies Within by Karen Ball

Karen Ball has long been one of my favorite Christian authors, so I was thrilled to be able to review one of her books. This book was just as good as others I have read over the years and the best part is that I had already read the first two books in this series, so the characters and their stories was familiar to me. This is a great stand alone book, however, so even if you haven't read the first two, you will still find yourself very involved in the story and in the character's lives. If you have been looking for a book to curl up on the couch with, then this is it!

About the Book:

Nothing’s going to stop Kyla…

until the ground crumbles beneath her feet.

Kyla Justice has arrived. Her company, Justice Construction, is one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful companies in the Pacific Northwest. And yet, something is missing. Not until she’s called on to build a center for inner-city kids does she realize what it is: her sense of purpose. Now nothing can stop her, not the low budget, not supply problems, not gang opposition, not her boyfriend’s suggestion that she sell her business and marry him–and most especially not that disagreeable Rafael Murphy.

Rafe Murphy understands battle. Wounded in action, this Force Recon Marine carries the scars–and the nightmares–to prove it. Though he can’t fight overseas any longer, he’s found his place as a warrior in the civilian world. So he soldiers on, trusting that one of these days, God will reveal to him why Rafe survived the ambush in Iraq. That day has arrived.

Kyla and Rafe both discover that determination alone won’t carry them through danger and challenges. When gang violence threatens their very foundations, there’s only one way to survive: rely on each other, be real–and surrender to God. In other words, risk everything…

About Karen:

Karen Ball , bestselling novelist, is also the editor behind several of today's bestselling Christian novels. Her love for words was passed down through her father and grandfather - both pastors who shared God's truth through sermons and storytelling. Blending humor, poignancy, and honesty, Karen's writing style is a powerful force for revealing God's truth. She lives in Oregon with her husband, Don, and their "kids," Bodhan, a mischief-making Siberian husky, and Dakota, an Aussie-terrier mix who should have been named "Destructo."

To purchase this book for yourself, click here. You will not regret it!

Have a beautiful and blessed day! Smiles and Loves! Janis

Monday, December 10, 2007

Around the World in 80 Dates: Confessions of a Christian Serial Dater

I LOVED this book! It was such a fun read that I devoured it over just one night. It is the epitome of what Christian chick-lit should be - fun and inspirational. If you are looking for a good book to read over the Christmas holidays or for a gift for a book lover on your list, then you will want to consider this book. To read an excerpt, you can click here.

About the Book:

Sydney Alexander is a travel writer. She’s a very well dressed travel writer—hasn’t yet met a shoe or clearance sale she could pass up. She’s funny. She’s got a great relationship with her sis. She’s got a hilarious best friend, Rain, who happens to be a hippie. And, she’s got a wonderful relationship with God. So what’s missing?A decent date.

A date where she doesn’t have to pay because he’s “between jobs.” A date where she’s not fabulously fashionably ready to go only to learn “the band just got a last minute gig” and he has to cancel. A date she wants to kiss goodnight—not run screaming from the curb.

Bridget Jones may have had a few more public disasters (Sydney works in print not on the telly), and considerably more cigarettes (Sydney doesn’t smoke), but really, besides that, their lives really aren’t so different. She’s just a girl, looking for love, drowning in a sea of cute couples, determined to keep swimming.

About Christa:

In addition to possessing a funny, whip-smart pen, Christa Ann Banister has the gift of gab.

She talks. And talks. And she keeps on talking. Maybe this is in part what separates her from the mighty throng (or small army) of chick-lit writers working today, other than the fact that her dynamite debut novel, Around the World in 80 Dates, is already creating a tidal wave of underground buzz. That’s right. After years of working as a respected music critic and freelance writer for various Christian publications: CCM Magazine,, Christian Single,, not to mention kickstarting the inaugural Christian music blog for MTV’s, Christa has inked her first novel about her erstwhile adventures in dating, and she hopes that her story will inspire countless twenty and thirty-somethings in their quest for snagging Mr. Right, even as they hold fast to their Christian values.

Inspired by authors Judy Blume and Jane Austin, and a host of other writers including F. Scott Fitzgerald and C.S. Lewis, Christa tells the tale of Sydney Alexander—a gal who is not shy about life, her faith, or her career as a travel writer. Yet finding her lifelong soul mate proves to be a bit more elusive than she had originally thought.

“In a lot of chick-lit books it seems like the girl’s ultimate goal is to get the guy,” Christa says. “And she wants to get the guy for sure, but she’s very ambitious as well, and she loves life and is willing to try all kinds of different adventures—all without letting go of her Christian values.”

And in answer to the question of whether this romantic roller-coaster is fact or fiction, Christa plays coy: “I’ll have to be honest and say that the experiences that Sydney, the lead character, goes through in the book are very similar to experiences that I’ve had in the past. And of course I had to protect the guilty, so I changed a few names and a few situations, but some of situations were inspired by actual events.”

In the end, Confessions is a novel that is full of pluck and wit, and humor, and it is a shoo-in to become a classic for any guy or girl who is in the throes of navigating the pitfalls and quirks of the single life, all without letting go of what they believe.

Christa lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband, Will. They love to play Scrabble and throw darts on a map and dream about going wherever the darts land someday. They have no pets.

And until her book hits the New York Times bestseller list, Christa is happily employed as a freelance writer for her many, many clients.

To purchase this book for yourself or as a wonderful Christmas gift, click here.

Have a blessed day! Smiles and Loves! Janis

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Shadow of Treason by Tricia Goyer

This was such a wonderful book! I just love historical fiction books and this one met every one of my favorites! I am going to see if the library has the first book, so I can get caught up on the beginning of the story. This is how much I loved them. Tricia Goyer has written many different books that are historically based as well, so I may have found me a new favorite author.

About this Book:
Sophie discovers that nothing is as she first imagined. When Walt, the reporter who helped her over the border, shows up again after Guernica is bombed, Sophie is given an impossible mission. She must leave behind the man she's fallen in love with and return to the person who betrayed her. Another layer of the war in Spain is revealed as Sophie is drawn into the international espionage schemes that could turn the tide of the war and help protect the soldiers from the International Brigade ... she must find a way to get a critical piece of information to Walt in time.

About Tricia:
Q: A Shadow of Treason follows A Valley of Betrayal. This is the first time you've written books as a series instead of stand alone. Which way do you like better?

A: I love writing in series. It was great to continue with the same characters. In my stand-alone books I fell in love with these people and then I had to say good-bye after one book. It was wonderful to be able to continue on.

Q: In A Shadow of Treason Sophie must return to the person who betrayed her in an effort to help the Spanish people. It makes the book hard to put down because the reader has to know how Sophie's heart will deal with it. Why did you decide to make this an element of the book?

A: There are very few of us who go through life without giving away a part of our hearts to someone who didn't deserve it. Even though Sophie had the best intentions, she gave away her heart and she was hurt-not only that she must revisit those emotions.

I wanted to include this element-to delve into the topic that emotions are sometimes as big of a trap as any physical cage. Emotions are real and they guide us -- even when we don't want to admit it. Poor Sophie, not only does she have to deal with a war around her -- she also has to deal with a war within herself. It's something I've battled, and mostly likely others have too.

Q: There is an interesting element that arises in this book and that is Spanish gold. I know you can't tell us what happens in this book, but can you give us a brief history of this gold?

A: Sure. When I was researching I came upon something interesting. The Spaniards, as we know, had taken much Aztec and Inca gold during the time of the conquistadors. Well, at the start of The Spanish Civil War much of this gold was still held in Madrid. In fact Spain had the fourth largest gold reserves in the world at that time. The Republican government was afraid Franco would take the city and the gold. They had to get it out of Madrid and this included transporting priceless artifacts. The element of gold does make its way into my story. It was great to include this little-known (and true!) element into my story.

Q: Another historical fact I learned about was the Nazi involvement during this time. Not only were the Germans active in Spain, but they had spy networks busy around the world. How did you find out about this?

A: I love reading tons of research books. Usually I find one little element that I dig out and turn into a plot line. This is what happened with my plot-line for the Nazi pilot, Ritter. I dug up this bit of research of Nazi involvement in Spain -- and the United States -- because a lot of people aren't aware of the Nazi involvement prior to WWII. The truth is they were busy at work getting the land, information, and resources they needed far before they threatened the nations around them. The Germans knew what they wanted and how to get it. And most of the time they succeeded!

Q: A Shadow of Treason is Book Two. When will Book Three be out? Can you give us a hint of how the story continues?

A: Book Three is A Whisper of Freedom. It will be out February 2008. The characters that we love are all still in the midst of danger at the end of Book Two. Book Three continues their stories as we follow their journeys in -- and (for a few) out -- of Spain. It's an exciting conclusion to the series!

To check this book out for yourself (you can read the first chapter!), click here. To purchase it, you can click here.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bluegrass Peril by Virginia Smith

This was a wonderful read. It was a quick read that was fun and exciting. It kept me guessing "who dunnit?" until the end. If you are looking for a good book to curl up on the couch with on a cold winter's night, then Bluegrass Peril is just the book you are looking for. Small, easy to hold and easy to read-what could be better?

About the Book:

Local police had tagged single mom Becky Dennison as their prime suspect. But she'd only been in the wrong place at the wrong time...admittedly, with her boss's lifeless body. Sure it looked bad, but Becky had no motive for killing...even if she had opportunity.

When the director of the retirement farm for thoroughbred champions is murdered, Becky Dennison teams up with the handsome manager of a neighboring horse farm, Scott Lewis, to find her boss's killer. Soon the amateur detective are hot on the trail of the murderer...even as their feelings for each other deepen.

The amateur sleuths uncover a trail of clues that lead them into the intricate society of Kentucky's elite thoroughbred breeding industry. They soon find themselves surrounded by the mint julep set - jealous southern belles and intensely competitive horse breeders - in a high-stakes game of danger, money, and that famous southern pride.

And for Becky and Scott, this race on the Kentucky tracks has the greatest stakes of all: life or death!

About the Author:
Virginia Smith left her job as a corporate director to become a full time writer and speaker in the summer of 2005. Since then she has contracted eight novels and numerous articles and short stories.

She writes contemporary humorous novels for the Christian market, including her debut, Just As I Am (Kregel Publications, March 2006) and her new release, Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007). Her short fiction has been anthologized, and her articles have been published in a variety of Christian magazines.

An energetic speaker, Virginia loves to exemplify God’s truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truths in Star Trek.”

To purchase this book for yourself, click here.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Friday, November 30, 2007

For Parents Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa A. Rice

This book was so insightful and well done! This is a great book for those who are blessed to have a preteen or teenager at home. It is full of helpful information about what is really going on in their mind, so that you can better understand them. I really enjoyed reading more about what my child is thinking and going through, because it is definitely a different world for them than it was for me. If you would like one of these books for yourself, leave a comment. I will draw a winner on Friday, November 7th to celebrate the end of my first semester back at college!

About the Book:

For every bewildered parent, there’s a kid longing to be understood.What parent hasn’t occasionally looked at their beloved but bewildering offspring and wondered, "What in the world is he thinking?" or "Why is my sweet little girl acting like that?"

In this remarkable book, Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa Rice take you inside the mind of teens and preteens through the same innovative approach that seized national attention in the best-selling books For Women Only, For Men Only, and For Young Women Only. They explore the results of a nationwide survey and personal interviews with more than 1,000 real-life teens and tweens to tackle those things parents often don’t “get” about their kids. You’ll hear first-hand about the longings that drive your kids’ seemingly illogical decisions, the truth behind those exasperating “attitude problems,” and what your children would tell you if they could trust you to truly listen.

About the Authors:

Shaunti Feldhahn is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, public speaker, and a best-selling author whose books include For Women Only. After working on Wall Street and Capitol Hill, this mother of two now applies her analytical skills to illuminating surprising truths about relationships.

Lisa A. Rice is the associate editor of Christian Living magazine, the mother/foster mom of three teenager girls, and one teenage boy, and an experienced screenwriter and producer. She’s also the coauthor, with Shaunti, of For Young Women Only.

This book would make an excellent choice for a Bible study group of women with preteens or teenagers and as a gift for Christmas. Leave a comment to win one of two copies that I am giving away or you can purchase one here.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet

If your reading tastes run more toward the fantasy world, then you will love this book. It is full of action and excitement that will keep you turning the pages until the end.

About this Book:
As a baby, she was found in a footprint.

As a girl, she was raised by thieves in a wilderness where savages lurk.As a young woman, she will risk her life to save the world with the only secret she knows.

When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monster’s footprint, they have no idea that their wilderness discovery will change the course of history.

Cloaked in mystery, Auralia grows up among criminals outside the walls of House Abascar, where vicious beastmen lurk in shadow. There, she discovers an unsettling–and forbidden–talent for crafting colors that enchant all who behold them, including Abascar’s hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets.

Auralia’s gift opens doors from the palace to the dungeons, setting the stage for violent and miraculous change in the great houses of the Expanse.

Auralia’s Colors weaves literary fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful plot, adrenaline-rush action, and unpredictable characters sure to enthrall ambitious imaginations.

Visit the Website especially created for the book, Auralia's Colors. On the site, you can read the first chapter and listen to jeffrey's introduction of the book, plus a lit more!

About the Author:
Jeffrey Overstreet lives in two worlds. By day, he writes about movies at and in notable publications like Christianity Today, Paste, and Image.

His adventures in cinema are chronicled in his book Through a Screen Darkly. By night, he composes new stories found in fictional worlds of his own. Living in Shoreline, Washington, with his wife, Anne, a poet, he is a senior staff writer for Response Magazine at Seattle Pacific University.

Auralia’s Colors is his first novel. He is now hard at work on many new stories, including three more strands of The Auralia Thread.

To purchase this book for yourself, click here.

Kingdom Wars Hideous Beauty by Jack Cavanaugh

I so loved this book! It really made me think of things in a different way, regarding the "behind the scenes" stuff that goes on in the political world and the things that are happening in the supernatural world that may be affecting our lives. The book kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time and I couldn't put it down. If you are looking for a fast-paced, action-filled, supernatural thriller, then the first book in the Kingdom Wars series is the right one for you!

About the Book:

On a day that should have been the highlight of his literary career, Grant Austin discovers that his success has been no accident, but a carefully orchestrated plot by rebel angels who have been inserted into history as sleeper agents to alter human history. Now, Grant must battle forces of evil to stop them from assassinating the subject of his prize winning biography, the President of the United States.

About the Author:

Jack Cavanaugh is an award-winning, full-time freelance author with twenty-five published novels to his credit. His nine-volume American Family Portrait series spans the history of a nation from 1630 to the present and is still in print nearly fifteen years following its release.

A student of the novel for more than a quarter of a century, Jack takes his craft seriously, continuing to study and teach at Christian writers conferences. He is the former pastor of three churches in San Diego County and draws upon his theological background for the spiritual elements of his plots and characters.

His novels have been translated into a dozen foreign languages, largely because of the universal scope of his topics. Jack has not only written about American history, but about South Africa, banned English Bibles, German Christians in the days of Hitler and Communism, revivals in America, and angelic warfare.

Jack’s current writing schedule includes motion picture screenplays and e-book serial fiction with Internet distribution. His novel Death Watch has been optioned to be made into a motion picture by Out Cold Entertainment, Inc.

Jack has three grown children and lives with his wife in Southern California.

To purchase this book for your own library or for a gift (it would make a great one for a Christian fiction lover), click here.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

When the Morning Comes Winners Are....

The wonderful winners for When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall are...

(As Chosen by the Random Number Generator)
#8 Barb J. at Finding Contentment
Congratulations to both of these winners!
Be back later with a post! Smiles and Loves! Janis

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Meeting of Anni Adams-The Butterfly of Luxembourg by Lonnie D. Story

This book is the story of Anni Adams, a teenager living through World War II in Luxembourg. Although it is not a book about the details of the holocaust itself, it does describe the life of a teenager living through the time of the holocaust watching her friend being taken away and the treatment of the Jews. It shows you how much the people were affected that lived in the countries that Hitler conquered and gives you an entirely new look on the war. The value of hope and perseverance is seen in Anni and her family as they live through their experiences and keep their faith in God and in man. It was a really great read that I enjoyed and will share with friends and family.

About the Book:

Born November 11, 1926 Anni Adams grew up traveling throughout central Europe with her professional gymnast father. By the age of fourteen, she had been throughout Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium and France. Then came the Nazi invasion. Everything Anni had known came unraveling at the seams. Evacuated from Luxembourg, she survived the poverty, humiliation, and uncertainty of refugee camps following the German occupation of her homeland. She eventually returned to her home and the submissive lifestyle of the Nazi rule, which she quietly resisted for more than four years.

About the Author:

Lonnie D. Story, was born in Macon, Ga in June, 1963. He attended grade school at Heard Elementary school and graduated to Cochran Field Christian Academy for 3 years where his writing skills were first recognized and honored. He won first place in the State finals for Short Stories written among private school students and attended the literary fair in Atlanta, Ga.

At the age of 22 years, He became a father to his only son, Shane. He was shortly thereafter divorced and left alone to raise him. He moved to Daytona Beach, Florida in 1989 with Shane, then three years of age. He worked full-time at night as a bouncer and other odd jobs, attended school full-time during the day and continued to raise his son for the following 15 years. He achieved 3 AS degrees, attended Warner Southern College for his Bachelor's Degree, and 6 months from graduation, was accepted into law school. He remarried in September,1997, continued law school, worked full-time and continued with his new family. He became divorced in February, 2002. He worked an overall 14 years as a paralegal performing both management, legal research & writing, investigations and all manner of other attachments to the profession.

He set out on his own as an independent, freelance writer, in February, 2003 and is presently working on on his second book, "Without A Shot Fired: The Dustin Brim Story."

To check out this book for yourself, you can visit,, or It would make an excellent gift!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson and My Thanksgiving

I have read some of the other Yada Yada books and this one was just as fun as the others. This book makes a fun read for any of your female friends who understand how important friendship is. If you have been looking for a fun read for you or for a gift, then consider this one. You will be glad you did!

About the Book:
Turkey dinners, tree trimming, and decking the halls--it's that time of year again! And I Jodi Baxter, can't wait to celebrate. My kids are coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then all of us Yadas are getting decked out for a big New Year's party.

But God's idea of "decked out" might just change the nature of our party plans. A perplexing encounter with a former student, a crime that literally knocks me off my feet, a hurry-up wedding, and a child who will forever change our's times like these that I really need my prayer sisters.

This holiday season, we Yada Yadas are learning that no one can out celebrate God. So let's get this party started!

THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS DECKED OUT is a festive novella featuring America's favorite prayer group, the Yada Yadas!

Sometimes dubbed "chick-lit" for their bright covers and catchy titles, this series provides far more depth than witty banter and wacky situations. Inspired by a prayer group of real women, each book will have you laughing, crying, and perhaps praying anew.

In this highly anticipated installment, the Yada Yada sisters-a group of multi-cultural friends-and their families prepare for the event of the season.

About the Author:
Neta Jackson's award-winning Yada books have sold more than 350,000 copies and are spawning prayer groups across the country. She and her husband, Dave, are also an award-winning husband/wife writing team, best known for the Trailblazer Books--a 40-volume series of historical fiction about great Christian heroes with 1.8 million in sales--and Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes (vols 1-4).

Dave and Neta live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years they were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. They are now members of the Chicago Tabernacle, a multi-racial congregation that is a daughter church of the well-known Brooklyn Tabernacle.

To purchase this book for yourself, click here.


How was your Thanksgiving? My day was spent on the couch, due to my back going out. It was very lonely here when my family went off to my MIL's, but it was also very quiet, which was somewhat nice (or would have been if I had not been in pain). Anyways, today I am much better, so the time on the couch must have done the trick. I am still taking it somewhat easy, but at least I can get off the couch without crying now. Anyways, I hope you had a wonderful day with your family and friends.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Memories

Thanksgiving stirs up all different sorts of memories for me. From the Thanksgiving that my previous aunt cooked spaghetti (I was shocked!) to the many Thanksgiving's spent in my great-grandmothers house to those spent with my in-laws, I have found that Thanksgiving is one holiday that causes me to think. Why? Because I have to psyche myself up for this day each and every year. It has become somewhat more difficult since I married, simply because I have to cook each year, but this year it is especially more difficult due to the fact that my back has went out and when walking, I look like an 100-year old woman. I will persevere over cooking the dressing, however, and I will have the proper attitude when sitting down for lunch tomorrow. (see, I am already working on it!LOL)

Thanksgiving traditions have fell by the wayside with marriage, too. My MIL has her dinner at the same time as the one at my great-grandmothers house (although she passed several years ago and it is my great-aunt's home now) and this has made it somewhat bittersweet for me. I love my MIL, but not spending Thanksgiving with your own family is difficult for me. Instead, due to work commitments, my family will be eating together on Sunday. Change is not something that I am particularly good with and this change is sucking some of the joy out of the holidays for me. I am trying to overcome it, but in combination with being in pain, it is not an easy thing to master.

What Thanksgiving traditions do you feel that you cannot live without? Whether it is a specific food, tradition, or location, let me know. I just want to see that I am not alone in my ramblings today!

If you have made it this far, please leave me a comment. Any comment on posts between now and Monday, November 26th, will be put into a drawing for a wonderful book, When the Morning Comes, by Cindy Woodsmall. To read more about this book, scroll down.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving! Smiles and Loves! Janis

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall

Those of you who enjoy the Amish-themed books will love this new book by Cindy Woodsmall. This is the second of the series, Sister of the Quilt, and is a great book to read by itself or in conjunction with the first book, When the Heart Cries. Randomhouse was kind enough to send me both books to read, so that I could get the complete feel for the series, and I just have to say that I loved them! If you are looking for a new series, then try this one out by Cindy Woodsmall.

About the Book:

Her relationship with former fiancé Paul Waddell in tatters, Hannah Lapp has fled her home in hopes of finding refuge with another Amish outcast, her shunned Aunt Zabeth in Ohio. Hampered by limited education and hiding her true identity, Hannah struggles to understand the confusing world of the Englischers and embrace unfamiliar freedoms, but a deepening friendship with the handsome Martin Palmer renews her courage to face the future.

Meanwhile, Hannah’s absence and the distressing events that led to her disappearance create turmoil among her loved ones in Owl’s Perch, Pennsylvania. Her father stubbornly refuses to search for her or to acknowledge increasing signs of instability in daughter Sarah, who suffers secret guilt over her sister’s ruined reputation. Fiancé Paul Waddell is wracked with regret over his betrayal of Hannah’s trust and is concerned with her whereabouts. He befriends Hannah’s remaining allies—brother Luke, best friend Mary, and loyal Matthew Esh—trying to convince them to help search for his love.

Rich with authentic details of Amish community and powerful in its theme of hope beyond measure, When the Morning Comes succeeds as a compelling follow-up to Cindy Woodsmall’s best-selling debut novel, When the Heart Cries.

About Cindy:

Cindy Woodsmall is an author, wife, and mother of three sons. Her first novel released in 2006 to much acclaim, including a Reviewer’s Choice Award from the Road to Romance website, and became a CBA bestseller. Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband and the youngest of their three sons.

The great news is that I have two copies of the newest book by Cindy available for you! Leave me a comment to get into the giveaway and I will draw on Monday, November 26th. If you don't win, you can still get this book for yourself by visiting here.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Smiles and Loves! Janis

Friday, November 16, 2007

Try Dying by James Scott Bell

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE James Scott Bell books and I was so excited to get notification that I was going to get to review his newest book. This book did not disappoint. If you haven't read books by this author before, this is a wonderful one to begin your obsession with. His books revolved around the law with just the right touch of Christian values-kind of like a Christian John Grisham. Try Dying is sure to keep you interested from the first page to the last.

About the Book:
On a wet Tuesday morning in December, Ernesto Bonilla, twenty-eight, shot his twenty-three-year-old wife, Alejandra, in the backyard of their West 45th Street home in South Los Angeles. As Alejandra lay bleeding to death, Ernesto drove their Ford Explorer to the westbound Century Freeway connector where it crossed over the Harbor Freeway and pulled to a stop on the shoulder.Bonilla stepped around the back of the SUV, ignoring the rain and the afternoon drivers on their way to LAX and the west side, placed the barrel of his .38 caliber pistol into his mouth, and fired.

His body fell over the shoulder and plunged one hundred feet, hitting the roof of a Toyota Camry heading northbound on the harbor Freeway. The impact crushed the roof of the Camry. The driver, Jacqueline Dwyer, twenty-seven, an elementary schoolteacher from Reseda, died at the scene.

This would have been simply another dark and strange coincidence, the sort of thing that shows up for a two-minute report on the local news--with live remote from the scene--and maybe gets a follow-up the next day. Eventually the story would go away, fading from the city's collective memory.

But this story did not go away. Not for me. Because Jacqueline Dwyer was the woman I was going to marry.

About James:
James Scott Bell is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He is also the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.

His book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today. The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next Buchanan thriller.

To check this book out for yourself, click here. You will not regret it!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Winner Of Boo Humbug Is...

The Winner of Boo Humbug Is...


Another giveaway is coming up in

the next few weeks, so if you like

free books, check back!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Splitting Harriet by Tamara Leigh

Who among us has not made mistakes in our past that we desperately do not want to repeat? In Splitting Harriet this theme is seen in the heroine, Harriet, who made mistakes in her past that she hasn't quite forgiven herself for. In not forgiving herself, she finds herself trying to live a "safe" life that she has created for herself. She finds during the book that living a safe life is not what God has in mind for her. He wants her to live a victorious, full life, just like He wants us to. This book is a marvelous example of learning more about forgiveness from God, those who love us, and ourselves.

About the Book:

Preacher’s kid and prodigal Harriet Bisset returned to her church and her family in Franklin, Tennessee, seven years ago. Once the proud owner of two tattoos and a nose ring, Harri is now addicted to Jelly Bellys in lieu of hangovers and Bible verses in lieu of foul language.

The good news is that she has everything under control: a part-time position as director of women’s ministry, a church family that adores her, a rent-free home in a senior mobile home park, and the possibility of owning the café where she waitresses. Nothing could tempt Harri to return to her old ways. Nothing but a 1298 cc, liquid-cooled, sixteen-valve, in-line four-cylinder motorcycle—and the church consultant riding it.

Reformed rebel Maddox McCray’s arrival at First Grace spells C-H-A-N-G-E for the dying church. And it just might mean change for Harri when Maddox sets out to convince her that even Christians are allowed to have fun.

The story of a prodigal daughter’s transformation, Splitting Harriet reminds readers of God’s delight in forgiving, loving, and enjoying the ride.

About Tamara:

Tamara Leigh’s first novel, Warrior Bride, was published in 1994 and was followed by six more bestselling, award-winning historical romances for Bantam, HarperCollins, and Dorchester. Leigh’s inspirational chick lit debut, Stealing Adda, was published in 2006 to great critical acclaim. Leigh has also written for Romantic Times magazine and been a guest speaker for WaldenBooks’s corporate conference. Leigh lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and two sons and enjoys time with her family, volunteer work, faux painting, and reading.

This is an excellent book that you will definitely want to read. To purchase one for yourself, click here.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Friday, November 9, 2007

Deadfall by Robert Liparulo

This was such an exciting book! From beginning to end, it kept my attention and kept me on the edge of my seat. If you enjoy your Christian fiction action and excitement filled, then Deadfall will definitely fit that mold.

About the Book:

Deep in the isolated Northwest Territories, four friends are on the trip of a lifetime. Dropped by helicopter into the Canadian wilderness, Hutch, Terry, Phil, and David are looking to escape the events of a tumultuous year for two weeks of hunting, fishing, and camping.

Armed with only a bow and arrow and the basics for survival, they've chosen a place far from civilization, a retreat from their turbulent lives. But they quickly discover that another group has targeted the remote region and the secluded hamlet of Fiddler Falls for a more menacing purpose: to field test the ultimate weapon.

With more than a week before the helicopter rendezvous and no satellite phone, Hutch, a skilled bow-hunter and outdoor-survivalist must help his friend elude their seemingly inescapable foes, as well as decide whether to run for their lives...or risk everything to help the townspeople who are being held hostage and terrorized.

An intense novel of character forged in the midst of struggle, survival, and sacrifice. Deadfall is highly-aclaimed author Robert Liparulo's latest rivetingly smart thriller.

About the Author:

Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!

He is currently working on his fourth novel.

To purchase this book for yourself, click here.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Vase of Many Colors by Rachel Thoene and Catching Up

I was sent Rachel Thoene's The Vase of Many Colors to review here on my blog and was surprised to find that it was a children's book. Since I happen to have three of those little critters of my own, I was also very excited to review a book that I could share with them. This book ranks right up there with Love You Forever, which has a special place on my bookshelf that is now shared by The Vase of Many Colors. Sometimes children's books need to have a meaning and this one is so full of the meaning of life and motherhood that I will most likely be buying it for shower gifts. It is a children's book, but it is also for moms, which is why it is such a great book to read with your children.

About this Book:

In the very small house, on the very grand hill, in the very small town author Rachel Thoene – daughter of veteran bestsellers Bodie and Brock Thoene - masterfully explores the captivating notions of forgiveness and grace in The Vase of Many Colors. This beautifully written and colorfully illustrated family tale peeks into the world of the very bouncy girl and her old, crooked grandmother. A world where rainbows appear on the walls and simple flower-gathering is a nightly ritual.

And where broken things are mended with the gentle breath of love to become a masterpiece for all generations to enjoy.

In a world where broken things are tossed aside with ease, Rachel Thoene’s story is a captivating reminder of the power of forgiveness and grace to mend life’s cracks and create a Vase of Many Colors in you.

About Rachel:

Rachel knows what it’s like to pick up broken pieces. As a site administrator at two alternative schools for at-risk students in an urban school district in Sacramento, California, she helps students put the pieces of their broken lives back together and discover success where there was only self doubt. As a mother, she finds new beauty in the hearts of her two children, Ian and Jessie. “Every person we come into contact with has the potential to be a beautiful and valuable work of art,” Rachel says. The inspiration for the story began as an email to a friend who was struggling with how to relate to her teenage son. When the story further developed, Rachel realized that the underlying message appealed to the experiences of adults and children alike.

To purchase this book for yourself or for a gift for a special mother that you know, click here.

Don't forget to comment on the Boo, Humbug! post to win a copy of the book. Scroll down for that post!


What is going on with my world? WOW, has it ever been busy lately in our household! From moving our church across town to school to working to taking care of house and children to being me, it has been a busy last six weeks or so. The good news is that we have two Sundays under our belt at the new building and that is a huge relief to me. School (for me) is out for the holidays in five more weeks, which will be nice. Work has settled some. I am just not taking as many clients or jobs on right now, so that has made it easier and less stressful.

I am finding that I cannot do it all, even though I would like to. By categorizing things and placing a priority on what I need to get done, I am feeling better about myself and my workload. It has been two months of adjustment, but I am happy to say that I am finally starting to get into the rhythm-until something else jumps in, of course.

My weight is weighing on me right now. I am not healthy and that is scary to me. In fact, my weight is keeping me from the doctor, simply because I don't want to get on the scale and see how much I have let myself go. That is one area that I MUST work on next, but sometimes I just don't feel that I know where to start. I will do good for a while and then I fall off the wagon. I want to be healthy and feel better physically and mentally.

Anyways, that is all that is running through my head this morning. What is going on with you? I have missed visiting blogs, but hopefully that will get better as well.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Friday, November 2, 2007

Boo Humbug! by Rene Gutteridge and GIVEAWAY!

It may be a little too early to think about Christmas much, but this book is definitely one you will want to check out! It is so funny! It is a short read, which is ideal for those busy holiday weeks and it is an excellent companion to a cup of hot chocolate and some sugar cookies. If you enjoy reading Christmas themed books during the holidays, this is one you will definitely want to add to your list!

About this Book:

Readers have come to love the eccentric characters from Skary, Indiana, in Rene Gutteridge’s popular Boo! series. Now, in Boo, Humbug! they’re back – and they’re stirring up a large amount of holiday havoc.

It’s Christmastime in Skary, and the town is planning an original production of A Christmas Carol with a horror spin. As showtime approaches, things go very awry for director Lois Stepaphanopolis. She panics when she discovers that her marketing director loathes Christmas and that the audience has been promised not Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but the real Christmas story. Can the actors pull off the improv of all improvs and convince their community to embrace the true meaning of the Christmas season?

Boo, Humbug! offers readers a delightful glimpse into small town, community life with heartwarming humor and winsome characters. And in the end, the true meaning of Christmas shines out bright and clear, in a decidedly un-Skary way.

About Rene:

Rene Gutteridge is the author of 10 novels, including the Boo series, the Storm series, The Occupational Hazards series and My Life as a Doormat, a Women of Faith selection for 2006. She has been published over 30 times as a playwright, and holds a degree in screenwriting, graduating magna cum laude from Oklahoma State University. Rene is married to Sean, a musician, and they have two young children. They make their home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

To purchase this book for your holiday reading list, click here.

What are you reading this week? As you can tell, I have been busy reading fiction, but I have also been throwing in a few non-fiction books as well. Do you have any holiday books that you especially love? Leave me a comment to tell me about the books that you love and you could win my copy of Boo, Humbug! for yourself! I will draw next Friday, November 9th, so that you will have it in plenty of time for the holidays!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter

Who among us have not felt unworthy of love at some time or another? That is what this book is all about-learning that you are worthy of being loved by someone and by God. It was a wonderful story that kept me interested from beginning to end. I finished it in one night, simply because I didn't want to put it down.

About this Book:
When Sam's estranged step-father dies, she inherits his ocean-front cottage in Nantucket--not because he kindly bequeathed it to her, but because he neglected to ever create a will.

Sam returns to the island she left 11 years ago with her daughter Caden to fix up the house and sell it, but she isn't counting on is the fact that Landon Reed still lives two doors down from her childhood home.

As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she really left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart? Or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?

About the Author:
Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped.

Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

In addition to Surrender Bay, the second Nantucket book releases in April 2008. The title is The Convenient Groom and features Kate Lawrence, a relationship advice columnist, whose groom dumps her on her wedding day. Denise is currently at work on the third Nantucket book (Oct 2008) which is untitled so far.

To buy this book for yourself, click here.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Return by Austin Boyd

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this one, simply because it is a little out of the "norm" in my normal books that I read, but I LOVED it! It was a great story set in the future with lots of science fiction and action that you will not expect. If you want a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then The Return will not disappoint!

About This Book:

Six years after completing a manned mission to the Red Planet, Admiral John Wells is set to make another journey to Mars. But this time his crew is not alone, as John's team encounters a secret colony comprised of individuals pursuing John Raines' strange religion, the "Father Race."

While John begins to uncover a web of lies on Mars, his wife and daughter are struggling for survival on earth. Now John must survive his dangerous mission and find a way back home, even as a shocking plan begins to unfold millions of miles away on earth.

Austin Boyd is back with his third thrilling novel in the Mars Hill Classified series, full of high-tech intrigue, memorable characters, and adventure that transports readers to another world.

From the Back Cover:With nothing left for him on Earth, Rear Admiral John Wells didn't hesitate to lead a third NASA team to Mars, but he never dreamed that one day they'd look out their laboratory module into the lights of a slow-moving vehicle not their own. In the third installment of the Mars Hill Classified series, life on Mars becomes increasingly more unpredictable as the past collides with the future and nothing, not even the dead, is as it seems.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the fate of hundreds, including John Wells' family--presumed dead these last six years--rests precariously in the hands of Malcolm Raines, self-proclaimed Guardian of the Mother Seed and Principal Cleric of Saint Michael's Remnant, and his insidious plans for the Father Race.

Wells will find himself in a race against time and all odds to expose the truth: about Mars, about Malcolm Raines, and, if he's very brave, about himself.

About the Author:
Austin Boyd writes from his experience as a decorated Navy pilot, spacecraft engineer and an astronaut candidate finalist. Austin lives with his wife Cindy and four children in America’s “Rocket City”--Huntsville, Alabama, where he directs business development for a large NASA and defense contractor.

His creative talents include inspirational fiction and poetry, finely crafted reproduction colonial furniture, archery and long distance cycling. He serves his community as an advocate for a crisis pregnancy center and as a motivational speaker in the area of lifestyle evangelism.

THE RETURN is part of the Mars Hill Classified Series with The Evidence and The Proof.

To buy this book for yourself, click here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe

This book was AWESOME! I love books with just a bit of archaeology and history in them and this one perfectly fit the bill! There was action, adventure, and suspense, too, to help keep your interest from the first page until the last. The great news is that this is the first in a series of FIVE books like this! I am so excited! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves their books with some excitement!

About This Book:

August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles.

It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out.If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure.

The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.

About Matt:
Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally.

To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. Illuminated, in stores now, begins the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within.

Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.

To purchase this book for yourself (you know you want to), click here.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Winners Are....

The Winner of Life Unscripted is....

Sweet Mummy
The Winners of Mosaic are....
Congratulations, ladies! I will be emailing you to get your addresses to get your winnings on the way! Have a beautiful week!
Smiles and Loves! Janis

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mosaic by Amy Grant

I remember the very first time I heard on of Amy Grant's songs. Coming from a traditional Baptist background, contemporary music was thought to be "not quite right", so it was very different for me to hear her music. I wasn't used to it, but I really liked it. It was my first foray into Christian music that was contemporary in nature. This book is a collection of experiences throughout her life that is accompanied by the songs that she is popular for. Her life is quite varied, with lots of ups and downs. It was very interesting learning more about her and her life. She is much like you and me, except for the fact that she lives her life in a glass fishbowl, where her every move is scrutinized. She is a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and Christian woman just like us that has struggles and questions just like us. That is what is so refreshing about this book.

About the Book:

Grammy Award–winning artist Amy Grant has lived in the spotlight since bursting onto the Christian music scene as a teenager thirty years ago. In that time her work, marriage, and spiritual life have been subject to varying degrees of adulation and criticism.

Now, in her first autobiographical book, Grant bares her heart and soul, giving readers an intimate glimpse into her everyday life and the lessons she’s learning along the way. From lighthearted reminiscences of her Tennessee childhood to painfully honest reflections on the journey of faith, her vivid writing draws readers into her world while simultaneously creating space for them to rethink their own perspectives on life.

With honesty and depth, Grant offers poignant and often startling insights on motherhood, marriage, friendship, faith, loss, forgiveness, and redemption. Never-before-shared stories about her husband, country music star Vince Gill, provide a look into her life as a celebrity, while intimate portraits of her mother and musings on the past reveal the various pieces of a life blessed with jagged edges as well as vivid colors. Readers will find their preconceived notions of this music icon stripped away as they settle in for a warmly satisfying conversation with a gracious and wise friend.

About Amy:

Amy Grant is the best-selling Christian music artist of all time and the first to garner the number one spot on Billboard’s chart. Since beginning her career at age 17, she has earned six Grammy Awards and twenty-five Dove Awards, and last year she received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Grant’s numerous television appearances include Oprah; Good Morning, America; and Late Night with David Letterman. In 2007 she’ll tour nationwide, performing with local symphonies in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and elsewhere.

Click here to purchase this book for yourself!


I have not one, not two, but three of these books to give away! If you are interested in winning one of these books, then leave a comment. Drawing will be Monday, October 29th!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Smiles and Loves! Janis

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins

I have loved Brandilyn's books for years. There are just full of action, suspense, and excitement, in addition to a good message about God. What could be better? This is the third book in a series, but it easily stands alone. Crimson Eve delivered on all of the expectations that I had for this book and more.

About the Book:
Carla stared at the gun and David Thornby—or whatever his name was. Her mind split in two, one side pleading this was some sick joke, the other screaming it was all too real.

“Please. You must have the wrong person. There’s no reason for someone to want me dead. I don’t have any enemies.”

“Then you’d best rethink your friends.”

Realtor Carla Radling shows an “English gentleman” a lakeside estate—and finds herself facing a gun. Who has hired this assassin to kill her, and why?

Forced on the run, Carla must uncover the scathing secrets of her past. Secrets that could destroy some very powerful people...

About Brandilyn:
Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e…® ” She’s so well known in the industry there’s actually a club for her non-readers. That’s right. The Big Honkin’ Chickens Club (BHCC) members are proud of the fact that they’re too wimpy to read Brandilyn’s intense fiction. Now and then one of them tries. Bribing works pretty well. (Just ask Deb Raney.) Somehow they live to tell the tale.

Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 17th book. Her first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.

She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences. Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith.

Visit her website to read the first chapters of all her books.

Have an awesome day! Smiles and Loves! Janis

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Life, Unscripted by Tricia Goyer

The teenage years were not those of which I am very proud of. Mostly due to the fact that I was trying so hard to fit it and be "popular," that I lost who I was for a while. I think that many teenage girls fall into this trap, simply because you want to be like everyone else. This book is an excellent read for girls as young as 13 or so and, while geared toward more teenage life events, I enjoyed reading it, too. The premise behind the book is that if your teenager knew how to react to certain events, then they could make better decisions. This book is filled with scripts of certain events that they may come into contact with and they are discussed for both their good and bad points to help a teenager determine how they themselves would handle the situation. I really enjoyed the format and think that a teenager would as well.

A Brief Synopsis:

My Life, Unscripted explores relationships in every teenage girl's life--with herself, her friends and enemies, her parents, guys, and with God.

Real-life scripts, screenwriting terms, and timely topics, make this an interesting read for teen girls as they delve into their own inner struggles and outward relationships.They'll also learn the importance of "scripting" their own responses BEFORE challenging life-situations arise and are able to think about, pray about, and consider how to face these situations before the scene begins. By contrasting real-life with TV or movies, teens will understand they don't have to get caught up in the drama.

About Tricia:

Tricia Goyer has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, and Focus on the Family, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan).

She has written seven novels for Moody Publishing: From Dust and Ashes (2003), Night Song (2004), Dawn of a Thousand Nights (2005), Arms of Deliverance (2006), A Valley of Betrayal (2007), A Shadow of Treason (Fall 2007), and A Whisper of Freedom (Spring 2008).
Tricia is also the author of Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan, 2004), 10 Minutes to Showtime (Thomas Nelson, 2004), Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah, 2006), Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah, 2008), and 3:16—the teen version of a book by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, March 2008).

Life Interrupted was a 2005 Gold Medallion finalist in the Youth Category. Night Song was awarded the American Christian Fiction Writer's 2005 Book of the Year award for Best Long Historical Romance. Dawn of a Thousand Nights won the same award in 2006. In 2003, Tricia was named as the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference "Writer of the Year".

Tricia is also a mom to three, all of which she homeschools.


I will be giving away one copy of this wonderful book. Please enter if you have a teenage daughter, granddaughter, or friend that you think could benefit from reading this! Just leave a comment and you will be entered! I will draw for a winner on Monday, October 22nd.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Never Look Back By Kathy Herman

I was privileged to receive Ever Present Danger and Never Look Back, the first two books in the Phantom Hollow series by Kathy Herman to review. I just have to say that I sooo enjoyed both of these books. The story of redemption and faith in the first book and the story of God's forgiveness in the second book really spoke to me with their reality. I am a big fan of series of books and these by Kathy Herman have whet my appetite for more. I can't wait to read more of her books and more of this series!

About this Book:
The day Ivy Griffith walks out of jail after serving her sentence for withholding evidence in the Joe Hadley murder case, she is ready to put her years of pain and drug abuse behind her. A new job at her parents’ Christian camp in Colorado promises stability in this new season, but she is unprepared for her brother’s indifference toward her and her son, Montana. When camp worker Rue Kessler takes an interest in Montana, Ivy hopes the attention will make up for the rejection her son is feeling—and she doesn’t mind the attention Rue directs her way either.

Then a rash of crimes turns deadly, and Ivy suspects that Rue isn’t all he appears to be. But how can she condemn another when she knows the pain of accusation? The mysteries increase as Ivy struggles to move beyond the secrets of her past. Along the way, she discovers that the hardest person to forgive might be herself.

This fast-paced suspense novel continues the Phantom Hollow series with a rich exploration of the risks and possibilities of starting over.

About the Author:
Award-winning author Kathy Herman has been on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) and at Better Books Christian Center in Texas. She has conducted educational seminars at CBA conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served as a judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards, and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market. She is the author of twelve novels, including the bestsellers Tested by Fire and All Things Hidden. Kathy and her husband, Paul, live in Tyler, Texas.

To read this book for yourself, you can click here.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Friday, October 12, 2007

School, Fun on Fall Break, Birthdays

Life has a way of giving you exactly what you want sometimes. The thing is, you didn't realize all of the ramifications of getting what you want or you might not have wanted them in the first place. Case in point-school. Who knew that brain cells started dying off in the 30's until you were left with very few by the late part of your 30's? That may not be scientific, but I am sure that I was smarter when I was younger. These two classes are kicking my big patootie. It is just two classes, people! When I went to college after high school I took six classes! What is up with that? I have all A's, which is awesome, but I had to WORK for those A's. It has been somewhat fun, however, as I am learning so much about the Bible. Now, if I could only talk my dear hubby into hiring a maid and nanny....

The kids have been out of school this week. It has been quite a bit of fun hanging out with them this week at Playworld Down Under (huge indoor playground) and the Crow Creek Pumpkin Farm. They have cleaned their rooms (a miracle from God, I assure you) and are now quietly playing in their rooms (i.e., they are up to something). Last week, I took the girls to see Disney on Ice, which was quite fun-especially watching their little faces. Oh, to be that young again!

K had a birthday this week. She is now 8, which FREAKS me out! Of course, A is now telling me that she is going to be 8 on her next birthday, simply because she wants to be like her big sis, but I keep assuring her she is only going to be 4. Birthday party tomorrow night at our house throws me into a cleaning tizzy. Members of my dear family, who shall remain nameless, get their kicks by pointing out my dust laden fan blades and other cleaning failures, so I have to clean. My only worry is that if I clean off the dust, the fan may not work. Who knows? I am not a cleaner, but I will do my best. Anyways, I guess I must go now. I hope your week is going great. I have missed catching up with all of you and hope to be able to stop by your blogs and see how you are all doing.

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Nobody by Creston Mapes

Nobody by Creston Mapes combines the best of action and romance with little thrills thrown in here and there that you will love. I really enjoyed the plot of this book, simply because it was a little different, and it kept me guessing until the end of the book. If you are looking for Christian fiction that is interesting and full of action, then you will want to consider this one!

About This Book:
Not everything that happens in Vegas has to stay in Vegas!

They said, “He’s a nobody.” They were dead wrong.

When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop.His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation–and perhaps a chunk of the money–into his own hands?With sirens bearing down on the scene, Hudson makes an impulse decision that whisks him on a frantic search for answers, not only about the mysterious dead man, but about the lost soul lurking within himself.Uncovering bizarre links between a plane crash, a Las Vegas pit boss, a dirty cop, and a widowed Atlanta business mogul, Hudson is forced to find out: who was Chester Holte, what was he doing on the streets, and why are his homeless friends convinced he was an angel in disguise?

Nobody was absolutely riveting from the opening scene to the final page. With compelling characters, a plot that surprised me at every turn, and a subtle, yet profound message that moved me to tears, this book goes straight to the top of my highly recommended list.”- Deborah Raney, author of Remember to Forget and Within This Circle

“A taut, entertaining novel of mystery, intrigue, and spiritual truth. Creston Mapes delivers a winner in Nobody.”- James Scott Bell, bestselling author of No Legal Grounds and Try Dying

Nobody had me fascinated from the first paragraph and kept the surprises coming to the very end. Somehow, as the pages flew by, it also managed to convey a beautiful picture of faith the size of a mustard seed. From now on I’ll read anything by Creston Mapes the instant it hits the shelves.”- Athol Dickson, Christy Award—winning author of River Rising and The Cure

About The Author:
Creston Mapes is a talented storyteller whose first two novels, Dark Star and Full Tilt, made him a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year awards and the Inspirational Readers Choice awards. Creston has written for major corporations, colleges, and ministries, including Coca-Cola, TNT Sports, Oracle, Focus on the Family, and In Touch Ministries. Committed to his craft and his family, Creston makes his home in Georgia with his wife, Patty, and their four children.

He's been married for twenty-one years to the girl he first loved way back in fourth grade. They have three lovely girls and a boy in a very close-knit family, spending a lot of time together - watching old classic movies, going on outings, and taking in various school and community events and activities. Creston loves to go for morning walks with his dog, read, paint watercolors, meet friends for coffee and Bible study, watch hockey, take his wife on dates, and spend time in God's Word.

To purchase this book for yourself, click here!

Smiles and Loves! Janis

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Trophy Wives Club-Kristen Billerbeck

Kristin Billerbeck was born in Redwood City, California. She went to San Jose State University and majored in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec, and then,she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing. She got married, had four kids, and started writing romance novels until she found her passion: Chick Lit. She is a CBA bestselling author and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year. Featured in the New York Times and USA. Today, Kristin has appeared on the Today Show for her pioneering role in Christian chick lit. Her last three books were:Split Ends: Sometimes the End is Really the Beginning (April 17, 2007)She's Out of Control (Ashley Stockingdale Series #1) (Nov 13, 2007)Calm, Cool & Adjusted (Spa Girls Series #3) (Oct 1, 2006)


Haley Cutler is the consummate trophy wife. Perhaps "was" is the more accurate term. Haley married Prince Charming when she was only twenty years old – back in the day when highlights came from an afternoon at the beach, not three hours in the salon.When Jay first turned his eye to Haley, she was putty in his slender, graceful hands. No one ever treated her like she was important, and on the arm of Jay Cutler, she became someone people listened to and admired. Unfortunately, after seven years of marriage, her Prince Charming seems to belong to the Henry the XIII line of royalty. When Haley loses Jay, she not only loses her husband, she loses her identity.With her first independent decision, Haley leaves LA and moves home to Northern California. Feeling freedom just within her grasp, Haley learns that her settlement payments must go through one of Jay's financial advisors, Hamilton Lowe. Haley believes he's nothing more than a spy. And the feelings of distrust are mutual. Yet somehow, Hamilton finds himself handing over the monthly checks in person, and Haley can't deny that there's a kind of tenderness and protectiveness in Hamilton that she's never experienced in a man before.But before Haley can even consider another relationship, she must learn to accept her inherent worth, and what it is to be loved for who she is, not what's on the outside.

To purchase this wonderful book, click here.

Have a wonderful weekend! Janis


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