A Thank You and A Farewell.

Over the last year I have been pretty selective of what books I read and review.

And I have thought of closing this blog for a while.

The time has come.

As much as I have enjoyed reviewing my focus is more on writing now.

I will still be doing the occasional review but will do it on my personal blog, Critty Joy, so that every thing is in one place…my cozy internet home. :)

It has been such fun to share my thoughts on books here and I just wanted to say thank you for coming here and reading my thoughts and opinions.  Of course I will continue to share my about my favorite authors and books…it will just be on CJ blog.

I hope you will join me on my personal blog so we can continue to be blog friends!



Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller

I read Searching For God Knows What last year when I was going through a time of searching in my life.  Searching for me and for Him.  I am a Donald Miller fan because I appreciate his honesty and at times his bluntness.  He tells unique stories that can make you laugh and also have you sitting quietly pondering things for hours. 

One of the reasons I like Donald Miller’s writings is because of his use of analogies.  This book in particular uses the lifeboat and it seems appropriate with the title.  I like analogies because it gives us something to contemplate further.  

Donald Miller brings about main questions but does not answer them all.  I like that.  I like reading a book and coming out of it pondering my life and Him.  Without having the author tell me what I should think or feel.  

Each chapter of Searching for God Knows What gives you a different perspective…and it all comes together with the powerful thought… you are not alone…in this searching and wandering.


About the book:

ImageNew York Times best-selling author Donald Miller explores the origin and meaning of redemption in this fully revised and redesigned bestseller.

Hysterically funny, wryly provocative, and disquietingly insightful, Searching for God Knows What invites readers to examine their deep need for redemption, to feel it, know it, and live like it is true in their lives.

Miller weaves phenomenal characters and true-to-life spectacles into his acclaimed memoir style to enrich, inspire, entertain, and ultimately challenge readers to see life in a new way. He shows that one of the greatest desires of every person is the desire for redemption, to have brokenness repaired. Instead of the chaotic relationships, self-hatred, wreckless consumerism, and anxiety that overrun a life without redemption, Miller uncovers the beauty and power of the Gospel to fulfill one of our deepest needs.

I received this book free from Booksneeze as part of their book review bloggers program.  The thoughts expressed are my own.  


Remembering You by Tricia Goyer

I am fascinated by the World War II era.  So when the opportunity came up to review Tricia Goyer’s latest release…I was all in.  Why?  Because Mrs Goyer has done a lot of research into her books and the World War II era and has befriended many veterans as she learned about the hardships and beauty of that time.  If you follow her on twitter you know the heart she has for her veteran friends :)
Remembering You is both moving and heart-wrenching.  While fiction it also contains elements that really happened.  To me this added so much to the book.  Yes, the characters were fiction but the places and some of the events were not.
Ava, Dennis, Jack, and Paul are all delightful yet flawed.  Each holds a secret that is haunting them and breaking them.  Remembering You deals with forgiveness on many levels.  His forgiveness, others forgiveness, and forgiving ourselves.  Something we all deal with.
Tricia Goyer created four characters that come alive in the pages of the book and there were several times the pain of the characters brought tears to my eyes.  I will admit I at one point I was very frustrated with Ava.  The more I read the more frustrated I got with her…until I realized the reason I was frustrated is because well….I have done the same things she has.  Believed the lies over His Truth.
My favorite part of the book was definitely the scenes were Jack and Paul talk about their experiences during the war.  It was painful to read yet they brought out the beauty of what God can do.  Knowing Mrs Goyer had worked painstakingly to research and know about this time in history made it even more powerful.
Remembering You explores the many types of love.  As someone who has lost all of her grandparents this book was bittersweet in many ways.  Reading of the relationships of a granddaughter and her grandpa and a grandson and his grandpa.  It made me long for the days my memory holds.  In many ways this book is a love story.  The love of family , the love of country, and the love of that special someone.  The sacrifices all require and the beauty that comes from it.
Remembering You was a book I could not put down and read it in less than two days.  The characters are memorable.  Their pain touching and their joy moving.  It’s a fiction book that reaches in and touches a small part of your heart.  There are not many fiction books like that …. so definitely take a chance and read Remembering You by Tricia Goyer.
About the book:
35-year-old Ava Andrews’ dream job is interrupted by an unusual request–fulfill her 84-year-old grandfather’s last wish by joining him on a battle site tour of Europe. Ava is sure her boss will refuse her request. But, instead, he gives her a directive of his own–to videotape the tour and send it back as mini-segments for the show she produces.
As if juggling these two things isn’t hard enough, Ava is soon surprised again … twice. First, Ava and Grandpa Jack arrive in Europe, only to discover the tour is cancelled. Unwilling to let down her grandfather or her boss, Ava and Grandpa Jack head out on their own. Then, while they’re on their way, the pair soon meet up with Paul, her grandpa’s best friend, and his grandson Dennis. The same Dennis who just happens to be Ava’s first love.
Before she knows it, Ava and Dennis are swept down memory lane as they visit the sites that are discussed in the history books. And even though Ava’s videotaping old soldiers, she can see their youth, their hopes and fears, and their pride in their eyes. Soon Ava learns the trip isn’t just for them … it’s for her too–especially for her heart.
Read an excerpt, watch a video and find out more here. http://www.triciagoyer.com/contemporaryfiction.html#RememberingYou
About Tricia:
Tricia Goyer is the author of thirty books including Songbird Under a German MoonThe Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. On Tricia’s weekly radio show, Living Inspired, she shares stories of inspiration and encouragement. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.
For more about Tricia and her other books visit www.triciagoyer.com
Special thanks to Litfuse Publicity for providing me with a complimentary copy of Remembering You.  The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

The Backstory to Remembering You by Tricia Goyer

Today I am posting the backstory to Tricia Goyer’s newest book release, Remembering You.  Tomorrow I will post my thoughts :)
In the last ten years since I started interviewing veterans for my WWII novels, most have passed away. Some of them—realizing their days on earth were coming to an end—returned to Europe one last time with their family members to walk along paths they’ve never forgotten. Those trips inspired my most recent novel, Remembering You.One of the most amazing experiences was when I received an email from a woman named Hana. She’d heard of my book and knew I’d interviewed some of the veterans. She asked if I’d interviewed any medics. Then she told me an amazing story. Hana was born on a cart just outside of Mauthausen. Her mother had survived being a prisoner of another camp and was transported to Mauthausen at the end of the war.

Hana was just three weeks old when the Americans arrived, and she was very ill. Because of the filthy conditions she got a skin infection and sores covered her body. No one expected her to live. Yet one of the medics saw the small baby and knew he had to do something. Even though it took most of the day, he lanced and cleaned all Hana’s sores, saving her life. Over the years she’d wanted to find the medic, but didn’t know where to start.

I was amazed by Hana’s story and told her I knew one medic—maybe he remembered who that man was. I gave Hana the contact information and I soon heard the good news. My friend LeRoy “Pete” Petersohn was the medic who’d saved her life! The two were soon reunited! After all these years Hana was able to look into the eyes of the man who saved her and thanked him. After all these years Pete was able to meet the woman he saved. “Baby!” he called out when he met her.

Remembering You is a work of fiction, but the experiences of the men are true. The experiences of the main character, Ava, are also true-to-life. I was busy with life when God pointed me to an amazing story, and to even more amazing men. I’m so thankful I took time to listen and care. I’m so thankful I allowed these men to share what … and who … they remembered most.
Tricia Goyer is a homeschooling mom of four and an acclaimed and prolific writer, publishing hundreds of articles in national magazines. She has also written books on marriage and parenting and contributed notes to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Tricia’s written numerous novels inspired by World War II veterans, including her new release Remembering You. Tricia lives with her husband and four children in Arkansas. You can find out more information about Tricia at www.triciagoyer.com.

A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman

If you have been around this book bloggy long you know I am a Julie Lessman fan.  :)  I have adored her writing from her first book and also am blessed enough to now call her friend.  So it should be no surprise that I wait anxiously each time her new book comes out.  A Heart Revealed was no exception.  What I did not expect was for this book to become my favorite.  I have long adored Brady and Lizzie’s book, A Passion Denied but now the story of Sean and Emma has moved into favorite position.

I have always liked Emma in the other books but to finally get a glimpse into her life and her heart was a treat.  I found myself understand her choices and her emotions.  Her heart was just beautiful even though she carried around so many scars.  Emma is truly a relatable character for many women.

Sean.  Whew.  That man…. I found myself wishing for one of him ;)  (Mr. Darcy and Gilbert Blythe better watch out!)  The heart he had for his family and those in his life is unique and a refreshing look at a male character.

The love story is sweet and will have you rooting for Sean and Emma even while your heart is breaking.  Julie throws in a few incredible twists that leave you sitting with your mouth wide open and wondering how in the world is this going to end?

The beat of my heart is the beauty of redemption.  I find it to be the most beautiful of things and through out A Heart Revealed that is the theme of Emma’s life.  Of Sean’s life.  Of the O’Connor’s.  The story from that aspect is absolutely beautiful.

Like in Julie’s past books I cried and I literally laughed out loud several times.  (There is a kitchen scene that I re-read a few times and laughed until tears came because it was so funny and so real!)

As always you get to glimpse into the lives of the whole O’Connor clan and catch up with your favorite characters.

At 512 pages A Heart Revealed is one of those stories you get to completely imerse yourself in and just enjoy reconnecting with the characters and learning about Emma and Sean.  As always I closed the book with a sigh.

About the book:

Her heart is tied to a youthful vow . . . but can true love set it free?

Ten years ago, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston, running for her life. Her emotional wounds have finally faded, and her life is now full of purpose and free from the pain of her past. But when she falls for her friend Charity’s handsome and charming brother, Sean O’Connor, fear and shame threaten to destroy her. Could Sean and Emma ever have a future together? Or is Emma doomed to live out the rest of her life denying the only true love she’s ever known?

Filled with intense passion and longing, deception and revelation, A Heart Revealed will hold you in its grip until the very last page.

BUY the BOOK!!

“Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”


FREE DOWNLOAD of A Hope Undaunted, book 1 in the Winds of Change series!!  Visit  CBD.comAmazon.comBarnes&Noble.com and Sony e-reader!! You do NOT need a Kindle, Nook or e-reader to download it — you can download e-books on ANYTHING, including PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones, Cloud Readers, Androids, Blackberrys and Windows Phone 7, you name it!


(I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.)

A Confident Heart by Renee Swope


I first heard about Ms Swope’s book when a friend sent me a link for her email series called the doubt diet.  My curiosity was peeked and I did a little research.  The next day an email appeared in my inbox offering the chance to review the book.  I knew then God definitely wanted me to read it.

Doubt is a constant in my life and I knew what Ms Swope would have to say would pierce my heart.  Fear is definitely how I have lived my life.  Mrs Swope explores many of the areas where fear is prevalent for women.  Her approach is one of friendship in many ways.  While reading the book it was as if I had told her how I felt and she offered her words as a friend would.  It is not an easy book to read if you struggle with doubt and fear because the lies you have believed for so long seem to scream at you as you read.  The authors reminders of how much God loves you and the life you can have are full of hope and promise.

If you struggle with doubt and fear A Confident Heart is a great book that will encourage your heart.  Mrs Swope openly shares her own personal experiences and you will feel a kindredness with her.  Her writing is gentle and loving.  You see not only her experiences and triumphs on the pages…you see your own too.  The questions really help you explore things further in your heart and the chart of promises is a great reminder.  I will be recommending this book to friends!

About the book:

Step out of the shadows of self-doubt to live with a confident heart
Ever feel like you’re not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough? Renee Swope understands. Even with a great family, a successful career, and a thriving ministry, she still struggled with self-doubt. Sharing her own personal story, Renee shows you how to rely on the power of God’s promises to find the security you need and the confidence you long for!

  • Exchange fear-filled thinking with faith-filled believing
  • Fail forward when life or sin sets you back
  • Embrace your God-given purpose, passion, and personality
  • See beyond who you are to who you are becoming in Christ

Powerful Scripture-based prayers are at the end of each chapter, along with Bible study questions and a chart with thirty-one promises to replace our most common self-doubts. Foreword by Lysa TerKeurst.


Buy the book.

“Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Special thanks to Revell for providing me with a copy of The Confident Heart in exchange for my honest review.

The Colonel’s Lady by Laura Frantz.

The Colonel’s Lady is Laura Frantz’s third novel.  The setting is the late 1700’s Kentucky where not only is there a war going on but tension is also high among the Native Americans and the people moving into their land and territory.

The Colonel’s Lady has many themes: hope, forgiveness, honor, and love.   Not only do you get a sweet romance but a mystery too.  You meet many characters, all unique, and some with secrets.  Roxanna and Cass are flawed just like you and me and you will find yourself rooting for them…not only as a couple but as they both overcome the past so they can embrace their future.

Several things make Laura Frantz one of my few must read Christian authors.

One is the fact that with a Laura Frantz book you get a true historical read.  You can tell Ms Frantz’s has taken the time to research the time period and her beloved Kentucky.  I found myself wanting to see the area for myself because of her descriptions.

Secondly I find I enjoy about the author’s books is the fact that she creates unique characters.  Roxanna and Cass are unforgettable because of their unique stories…and their story together.   The secondary characters in the book are lovable and at times I found myself wishing for more on them too.  To me wanting to know more about the secondary characters as much as the main ones means the author has created an all encompassing story that will have you engrossed in the book and when you are not reading it..pondering what is coming next.

And lastly Ms Frantz’s writing style is beautifully descriptive and enjoyable.  Reading one of her stories you are able to truly get lost in her descriptions and the lives of her characters.  When you turn the last page you are surprised it is over because you have been swept away to another place for the last 416 pages.

In 1779, when genteel Virginia spinster Roxanna Rowan arrives at the Kentucky fort commanded by Colonel Cassius McLinn, she finds that her officer father has died. Penniless and destitute, Roxanna is forced to take her father’s place as scrivener. Before long, it’s clear that the colonel himself is attracted to her. But she soon realizes the colonel has grave secrets of his own–some of which have to do with her father’s sudden death. Can she ever truly love him?

Readers will be enchanted by this powerful story of love, faith, and forgiveness from reader favorite Laura Frantz. Her solid research and deft writing immerse readers in the world of the early frontier while her realistic characters become intimate friends.

Buy the Book.

**Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

***I was provided a copy of The Colonel’s Lady from the publisher.  However, the views and opinions expressed are my own.


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