I Recommend . . . Three Books!

I recently had the privilege of recommending several books for various authors. Here’s a few I’m recommending:

Wicked Disregard by Barbara Ann Derksen

About the book:

Pedophiles and prostitutes, the last thing Christine Smith envisioned when she embarkedCD front of book copy on a career to find missing children. Will she end her work as an investigator and run the company left to her by her dead Father?
Now she’s been shot! How does her growing relationship with God change her outlook on life? Christine and Jeremy follow the clues in this, the third book in the Finders Keepers mystery series. In Wicked Disregard, they unravel a ring of vicious pedophiles while Christine continues to search for the identity of the man who ordered the death of her parents.
Buy her book here:


Barbara writes intense suspense and will keep you on your toes (figuratively speaking!) Just my type of reading, and I’d love to encourage you to give her books a chance! Here’s my review:

My Review:

Wicked Disregard by Barbara A. Derksen

You like drama? Intense? Real life issues addressed in your novels? Then you’re going to love Wicked Disregard. Be prepared to adjust to the many characters and be sure to read the previous books. You won’t regret it and reading them will place you firmly in this novel.

Derksen has the talent to draw a reader into her books by creating characters that are real and human, meaning they face problems and situations the same as ordinary people. You won’t be able to ignore the serious issues Christine and Jeremy face, and in dealing with them, you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat and turning the pages as quickly as you can.

A childhood victim of crime, Christine must delve deep behind the clues to find the perpetrators of this case of child kidnapping, and the problem is she’s looking in places that she shouldn’t have to: law offices and police stations. She can’t let it go. With the help of her friend, Jeremy, she’s determined to close the case and handle her own personal problems too.

Of course, a thread of romance between the two main characters lighten the tenseness in the book, and the ray of God’s inspirational help gives hope to the hopeless and help to those who call on him.

It’s not a book for the timid, for those who insist on hiding their head in the sand of life. But those who do read it will find their eyes opened to this tragedy for children. It will give hearts the encouragement needed to lift in prayer similar real issues of the same situations.

Recommended highly!

Buy her book here:
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About the Book:

Zoey Pappas grew up in a one-stoplight town. Now she’s landed her dream job as the fifth gradeSecond Chances teacher at the urban Diamond Projects School, but can she handle it?

  • Her family laid odds that she won’t. Zoey knows her cows, but she’s never dealt with students from drug-infested, crime-ridden communities.
  • Her Greek family wants her to work in the family restaurant and earn her M.R.S. degree. Zoey wants to prove herself, but she has met a muscled Irish cop who has been assigned to work with her as the Drug Awareness officer. He’s too efficient, to cocky, and too… handsome.

Ever since Officer Gavien Corrigan pulled Zoey’s car over on her first day of school for driving on a one way street in a neighborhood known for violence, he’s been captivated by her. Thoughts of the new teacher crowd in with the family responsibilities that overshadow his life. His bullet proof vest is lighter than the secret blame he carries on his shoulders. He believes that God is in control of lives, but sometimes wonders if God has forgotten him.

As the two are thrust together in the concrete jungle where everyone needs second chances, will Zoey and Gavin find their own second chances…together?

Zoey learns of unconditional love as she becomes friends with Carole Milner and her husband who is wheelchair bound with multiple sclerosis. As she watches the couple cope with MS, Zoey desires to fall in love like them. Multiple sclerosis does not define their relationship, love does.

A deaf student is mainstreamed into Zoey’s class, so she enters the world of the deaf and hard of hearing. It moves Zoey to deeper compassion for the parents and foster parents in her classroom.

Anyone who has been a teacher, or loves children will enjoy this romance that brings the country girl into the urban scene. A fresh look at chaplains working in jail ministry, drug rehab and foster care are included in this novel set in the inner city. The influence of Greek immigrant ideas are also explored.

Will Zoey make it in the big city?

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What a mixup of wonderful (in a manner of speaking) topics to explore in this book! Draws a reader right in.


Second Chances by Cleo Lampas

You want something above the normal reading? Something unique and interesting to boot that will entertain and yet jerk you upright with its attention-grabbing chapters? Then pick up a copy of Second Chances.

From the first page, Cleo hooked me. With no glamour in the telling, dealing with a wide-spread problem in the states, this book will make even the toughest readers sit up and take notice.

Predictions of dire happenings from her hometown friends and family ring in her mind, as a young, inexperienced, naiveté teacher, lost in the middle of drug streets of a big city is stopped by a policeman, Gavin Corrigan, who seems to find her dilemma amusing. Unprepared for what greets her on her first day of teaching in one of inner-city Chicago’s poorer schools, Zoey’s expectations of her students reactions, her dreamy ideas of how to approach these world-weary young kids are soon only torn strips of what she’d hoped for her first day.

But Zoey’s yearning heart to help her students overcome their home life and personal struggles is inspiring as she reaches out to those in need around her. Her work with the deaf students is touching and a vital part of the novel. Her caring heart is revealed when she helps a fellow-teacher whose husband has MS.

One of the most heart-rending plots in the story is Gavin’s heartache at his brother’s drug addiction. Many times a hopeless, never-ending situation, it leaves the loved one filled with worry, sadness and a weary hope for the addicted.

And, yes, there is romance and hope and trust in God. Touches that bring a ray of sunshine into a story that deals with pertinent and deep topics. Truly a novel that needs to be read. Well done, Cleo Lampos!

Buy her book here:



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Roots of Irish Wisdom by Cindy Thomson
About the Book:Irish Wisdom
This collection of classic Irish wisdom—in the form of stories, prayers, and proverbs—reveals the Creator in the natural world and highlights the importance of the Celtic spiritual heritage. Along with historical background on St. Patrick, St. Brigid, St. Columcille, and the Twelve Apostles of Erin, Cindy Thomson leads the reader on an enriching journey through Celtic learning and prayer.
Buy the book here:
I was particularly attracted to reading this nonfiction book for two reasons.
  • The first because I’ve always wanted to see Ireland with my own eyes. I loved their beautiful country, the people’s strength and their history.
  • The second reason was because of Cindy Thomson. She’s a sweet, talented friend whom I admire tremendously!


My Review:
Roots of Irish Wisdom by Cindy Thomson
Fascinating read. If you love history, and specifically Irish history, you’ll love this book. Thomson does a great job of telling the story details of past Irish saints, of the readiness of Ireland for learning about Christ, and providing pictures to whet your interest. Ireland’s always been a drawing to me, a place of strong wills and strong passions, and this detailed book is just the thing! I heartily recommend it if you’re serious about digging a bit deeper into the ancient history of the land. My honest opinion is given here by no coercion or expectancy by said author.
Buy the book here:
So there you have it.
Three fascinating books to whet your appetite
and encourage you to read this month of June! 

Review of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

95095130Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand


In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

Appearing in paperback for the first time—with twenty arresting new photos and an extensive Q&A with the author—Unbroken is an unforgettable testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, brought vividly to life by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand.

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ 

This awesome biography tells the story of Louie Zamperini, an Olympic runner who become a prisoner of war in Japan during World War II. It is a story of courage, hope, and endurance that boggles the imagination. What this man, and all of the vets who were POWs in Japan during the war, is unbelievable and miraculous. I love the way it weaves God into the story without actually showing how much He was a part of it until the end. Awesome book. I highly recommend it.

Book Review – Write Your Novel From the Middle by James Scott Bell

Write from MiddleWrite Your Novel from the Middle

by James Scott Bell

A new approach for plotters, pantsters, and everyone in between!

What’s the best way to write a “next level” novel? Some writers start at the beginning and let the story unfold without a plan. They are called “pantsers,” because they write by the “seat of the pants.”

Other writers plan and outline and know the ending before they start. These are the “plotters.”

The two sides never seem to agree with each other on the best approach.

But what if it’s not the beginning or the end that is the key to a successful book? What if, amazing as it may seem, the place to begin writing your novel is in the very middle of the story?

I’m excited to tell you, that’s exactly where you’ll find it. I am truly jazzed about the technique I discovered. I’ve used it on every book of mine since, and have now set it out for you in this volume.

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

This is one of the best writing books I’ve ever read. It will revolutionize the way you see your story world. I finished it within a day because it was so insightful and easy to understand. The basic premise is there is something that happens at the midpoint of every good novel and movie that connects the entire story. By understanding that midpoint and writing around it, we can transform out stories into something great. I highly recommend this book to all writers.

Review of Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change by John Hagee

Four Blood Moons

Something is About to Change

by John Hagee

“…There will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars…Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:25a, 28

It is rare that Scripture, science, and history align with each other, yet the last three series of Four Blood Moons have done exactly that. Are these the “signs” that God refers to in His Word? If they are, what do they mean? What is their prophetic significance?

In this riveting book, New York Times best-selling author, Pastor John Hagee, explores the supernatural connection of certain celestial events to biblical prophecy—and to the future of God’s chosen people and to the nations of the world.

Just as in biblical times, God is controlling the sun, the moon, and the stars to send our generation a signal that something big is about to happen. The question is: Are we watching and listening to His message?

My Review: ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Four blood moons in a period of two years is not that rare. But four blood moons at the same time as the Passover and Feast of Tabernacles with a solar eclipse in there is extremely rare. The last three times it happened, were 1493-94, 1948-49, and 1967-68. All three times this happened, some major event happened to the Jews and the world changed because of it. So it’s no wonder the Christian community is going crazy with all kinds of predictions since it’s happening again in 2014-15.

I was interested to hear what Hagee said about this phenomenon since I heard so much weird stuff about it. I also heard that Hagee predicts this is the time when the Rapture will happen. I was pleasantly surprised that Hagee did not do that in this book nor did he make all kinds of predictions. He said in the last chapter, “The coming Four blood Moons of 2014-15 does not mean the Rapture is going to happen during that time. Why? Because the Rapture could happen at any moment.”

What Hagee did do in this book is to give us a Scriptural reference for the signs of the time and a pre-tribulation Rapture, and a little history about the events that happened the last three times we had this event. He also gave some history about the Jewish people. He connected the dots to all of this to conclude that something is about to happen although he didn’t proclaim to know what and that we should all be ready by making Christ our Lord.

This book was very balanced and accurate theologically without getting into nonsence. It also was informative and interesting. It did however have some sections that were a bit sluggish and redundant. Overall it was a good read that I recommend for anyone who wants to learn more about the four blood moons.

20,000 Days and Counting by Robert D. Smith

_76_125_Book_751_cover20,00 Days and Counting

by Robert D. Smith

The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now

Book Description:

Most people sleepwalk through day-to-day life, passively letting time slip away. Unfortunately, the only thing that can usually wake people up to the intensity of life is impending death. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? 20,000 Days presents breathtakingly simple strategies and concepts that, once applied, will enable readers to be 100% present and intentional with every passing minute of every day, for the rest of their lives.

The book is designed to be read in under an hour and the effect is immediate. Within each segment are tactics for mastering control for your life; principles such as:

  • Motivation is a myth
  • You only have two choices, yes and no
  • How to conquer rejection forever
  • How BECOMING the problem will SOLVE all your problems
  • Three sentences that will change your life immediately

These timeless principles apply to everyone from the pending graduate to the seasoned business professional; from the time-starved parent to the weary pastor to the restless entrepreneur.

On the 20,000th day of his life, the author sent an email that inspired and reminded a group of people of all ages to live in the moment. This group now includes you.

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

I was excited about reading this book that I received to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers. A crash course for mastering my life sounded awesome, especially since there are areas I would like more control over. The book is a great read, short and to the point. It gives all the tools needed to have a mindset to succeed at life. If that’s what you need, I highly recommend this book. But it falls short on giving more concrete answers on setting a plan of attack. It’s as if I got step one, but steps 2 through 10 were left out. Still, for what the book does do, convince the reader to have a mindset to change, it’s a very good book that you can read easily in a few hours.

Story by Steven James


by Steven James

Storyteller Recaptures the Mystery of the Ancient Scriptures

Author Steven James leads readers to (re)experience the greatest story ever told

Johnson City, Tenn.—“Only God could tell a story this ludicrous and then claim that it’s true,” says Steven James, who penned Story: Recapture the Mystery (Revell, February 2006), which makes the Bible come alive in provocative and poetic ways, encapsulating the mystery and beauty of the Christian story.

James, a professional storyteller from East Tennessee, grew up in the church but fell in love with Jesus at age 21 on Easter Sunday at his bosses’ church. “Easter is a love story; I’d never realized it before, but I had to experience the entire Christian story to be truly moved and changed by it,” he says.

Through 30 short chapters, James retells key elements of the Christian story—from Adam and Eve in the Garden, to the Israelites plea for freedom and the love/hate struggles between humans and God in the Old Testament. Story illuminates Jesus miraculous birth and daring ministry on earth, building to the “rising terror” of the crucifixion and rediscovery of freedom following the resurrection.

A Story Unlike Any Other

At one point, James paints the brutal murder of Able in the Old Testament through the eyes of his brother Cain. He views Jesus dancing and turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana through the testimony of the bewildered bride. At another, he writes as a frightened onlooker as Jesus struggles to carry his cross to Golgotha, and captures the chaos sweeping through the Holy Land following the resurrection. All the while, James relates the events of the Bible to life on Earth today.

“I’m thankful Jesus didn’t come to start another religion. Jesus didn’t arrive on earth to debate theology but to propose marriage. In a very real spiritual sense, God is courting us. Christianity is wild. It’s intimate. It’s heartbreaking and soul-mending,” writes James.

However, James believes the real meaning of Easter has been lost somewhere in the last 2,000 years. “The bunny has stolen the rabbi and stolen the show,” James writes. “Easter has evolved into just another nice, harmless, spineless, little holiday…when it’s supposed to be about a wrestling match between life and death, a cosmic struggle between good and evil.”

James invites readers to meet Jesus again—or for the very first time. “It’s all one story. And only when you finally untangle it, see it unfold, and enter it for yourself do you realize that the story has finally entered and at last untangled you,” James writes.

Come along for a journey full of wonder, tears, joy, despair and hope revealed through the eyes and heart of a storyteller.”-Publishers Weekly, starred review

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ ♥

This is not a Bible study or a theological book. It is a series of stories and poems that bring to life the pivotal stories in the Bible in such a way that we relate to the people who went through these events. Through storytelling, something Steven James is a master of, we understand how these Bible stories relate to us in a new way. I recommend this book.

Flirting With the Forbidden by Steven James

Flirting With The Forbidden

by Steven James


In our fallen world, temptation is normal. We run into it every day and we all are susceptible to falling victim to its enticements. We’re tempted to cheat on our taxes, milk the clock, lust after someone other than our spouse, dishonor our parents, lie to our friends, covet our neighbor’s trip to Europe. But just because we must live with temptation doesn’t mean we have to let it master us.
In Flirting with the Forbidden, bestselling author Steven James reminds readers that we are always just one step away from bowing to temptation, that we all share the same potential and propensity for evil. Combining powerful first-person narratives from Scripture with thought-provoking reflections on temptation, discipleship, and grace, James helps readers grow in discernment and reliance on the Holy Spirit and develop a deeper, more intimate walk with Christ.

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

I’ve read some of Steven James’ novels and loved them. But I wondered if a great story-teller would hold my attention when talking about the temptations we all face. He did. Steven James, by telling stories about Bible characters and the struggle they faced, showed me the areas where I need work, where I flirt with the forbidden. But he did more than that. He offered hope through grace and practical suggestions to help me live in a way that pleases God. I highly recommend that every Christian read this book.