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“’It is about the heart and knowing the voice of the Great Good God in your spirit,’ he told them in his newborn fervor. ‘It is by His grace we are saved. By His goodness, not your own.’”
So speaks Joseph Tames-His-Horse, the Mohawk truth-teller from Lori Benton’s sweetly evocative novel, Burning Sky.

Burning Sky tells the story of Willa Obenchain, who was abducted from her family home at age fourteen in the early days of our country—when New York State was a frontier. (As an upstate New Yorker I so enjoy imagining that. Think Drums Along the Mohawk and Last of the Mohicans.) She lived with the Mohawk People until her husband died in a raid and small pox killed her children. As the novel begins, grief-stricken Willa is returning to New York to live out her days alone. However, God has other plans.

upstate new york today

Upstate New York today. My view of Catskill Mts. as I drive to work.

If Willa were a Bible character, she’d be . . .

Initially, Willa’s view of life could be summed up with Naomi’s pronouncement from the book of Ruth: “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

Her story made me imagine what might have been different for Naomi had she been as young as Willa when tragedy struck. In real life, God brought new blessings to Naomi and filled up the three empty places in her heart.

The same happens for Lori Benton’s character, Willa. And her journey from brokenness to blessing, filled with adventure, romance, and grace, makes for great reading. I devoured this 300+ page story in two sittings and highly recommend it.

A section I loved  . . .

“’Sister,’ said the Indian, ‘I am called Joseph Tames-His-Horse, and I have come far to say a thing to you. In my dream of you, I was saying it. Will you let me say it now?’

For the first time she didn’t recoil at a Mohawk calling her sister. She would listen to anything this Indian had to say, as long as he said it in English. But what he said was one of the very last things she’d expected. A verse of Holy Scripture.

‘A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench.’ Believe this, my sister, because He who said it is both great and good, and cannot lie.’”

burning sky 11a

Beautiful reminder, no?

Thoughts stirred by this theme: Reeds were bent and bruised not only when trodden under foot but also when used to fashion something strong and good—like a roof or basket. Though we don’t understand why griefs come as they do, we can rely on God’s promise that He will not crush His children.

Who will love this story?
  • Readers seeking faith-strengthening fiction.
  • History buffs, for sure
  • Fans of Laura Frantz, Rosslyn Elliott, Jocelyn Green, Elizabeth Camden, Colleen Coble.
  • Readers who love people of God portrayed as strong, believable characters.
  • Older teen readers on up.
  • Homeschoolers may particularly appreciate the attention to detail in capturing American frontier life of the 1780’s.

I purchased (pre-ordered even) Burning Sky after noticing comments and ads while browsing Amazon and Romantic Times. (It’s a Romantic Times Top Pick.)

***Follow this link to purchase or wish list your copy.

See more book reviews & top picks here.

Or check out my Goodreads shelves.

LoriBenton 3About the author: Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God’s transforming grace.

You can connect with Lori at her website here and her Facebook page here.

This week I’m linking up with Inspire Me Monday, Miscellany Monday, Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Unite @Rich Faith Rising, The Better Mom, Modest Mondays, GraceLaced Mondays, Teach Me Tuesdays, Gratituesdays, Just Write, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Teaching What Is Good, What I Learned This Week, Heart and Home, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Tuesday Muse, Raising Homemakers, Deep Roots at Home, Wise Woman Builds Her House, Tell His Story, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Wednesday Hop @Adorned from Above, Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Thoughtful Thursday, Raising Mighty Arrows, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Desire to Inspire,Thrive @Home Link Up, Grace at Home, Faithful Friday Blog Hop, Faith-filled Friday, Fellowship Friday, Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday, Aloha Friday Blog Hop, Womanhood w/ Purpose Friday Link Up, TGIF, Friday Company Girl Coffee Link Up, Essential Friday Link-up, Sunday Collective, and Heart Reflected.

Once upon a prince 700

“Other than Kate Middleton, who marries a prince?” Susanna Truitt from Once Upon a Prince

Rachel Hauck is an author who creates novels with something for everyone. Her most recent novel, Once Upon a Prince, is a story you can share with women of every age—from teens on up to grandma. There’s much to love about this sweet romance. Here are some of the highlights:

The charming heroine: Susanna Truitt has been waiting twelve years for her boyfriend Adam to finish school, military training, and several tours of duty in Afghanistan. Yet the story begins with Adam breaking things off with her. Susanna not only loses the man she put her life on hold for, she also can’t seem to catch a break in her budding career as a landscape architect. Her way of handling life has been to plan every aspect down to the last detail. Once all her plans fall through, she is left wondering how she fits into the world and what the purpose of her life should be. Susanna shows resourcefulness and courage as she faces situations that might send others girls into depression or on a man hunt. I found her a great character to root for!

The quirky secondary characters: Susanna is surrounded by lots of folks who cherish her and want to see her succeed. Her loud, lovable family led by Glo and Gib, give her plenty of affirmation and advice.

One gem of a secondary character is Aurora, a beautiful homeless woman who once amassed a fortune lobbying DC politicians. Aurora says she used to be adept at drinking, drugging, and lying. In fact, she could “spin a lie to curl your hair.” But one day she realized “the trappings she possessed, possessed her.” When God’s still, quiet voice told her she was wasting her life, Aurora left all the worldly trappings behind to pitch a tent in the forest of St. Simon’s Island.

Aurora realizes gaining all the world has to offer won’t make up for losing her soul. For me, she symbolizes how we Christians probably look to the world when we make a point to go against the culture. And Aurora is the one who encourages Susanna to stop clinging to her manmade plans and take a risk by following God.

As Proverbs 21:10 reminds us, “We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.”

The handsome prince: What a let down this story would be if the prince—Susanna’s catalyst for change—were not worthy of all the fuss. But no fear, Prince Nathaniel is how I’d imagine a young King David. He’s all that we would wish any king to be: upright, pure, prayerful, kind, down-to-earth, and, of course, handsome! His rich inner life gives him depth and helps us believe any young lady would be well-rewarded for changing her life for him. I really hope he shows up in future books in this series. (Hint, hint, Ms. Hauck!)

Nate lives out Psalm 21:1-2, “The king rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give! You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.”

The Spiritual Takeaway: The truth I took from this novel was that sometimes God empties our hands of all we wish to cling to and sets our plans at naught on purpose. He wants us to feel our unfulfilled needs in an unmistakable way. Only then does He miraculously meet those deep needs in our hearts.

It’s not a new concept really. God has been doing this since the beginning of time. In the garden of Eden, God set Adam to naming the animals so he would realize he’d never find a suitable companion on his own. Once God made certain that Adam felt a need nothing on earth could fill, He made a miracle—and enter Eve, the perfect helpmeet.

Just so, the characters in this novel discover that no matter their power, position, or personal charm, they cannot build abundant lives apart from God. And through their stories we see God’s wise ways and tender heart.

This is the kind of book that played through my head like Hallmark movie. If you enjoy sweet films like Roman Holiday or The Student Prince, you’ll love Susanna and Nate’s story!

Follow this link to purchase your copies of Once Upon a Prince. This is definitely a story I’ll be sharing with my students. Your teen will love it, too. ***Thanks to Litfuse, Rachel Hauck, and Zondervan for providing a copy for me to review.

rachel hauckAbout the Author: Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, bestselling author of critically acclaimed novels such as RITA nominated The Wedding Dress and RITA nominated Love Starts with Elle, part of the Lowcountry series, the Nashvegas series and the Songbird Novels penned with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in a chair to write full time in 2004.

Rachel serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy and a conference speaker. You can connect with Rachel at her website, at her Facebook page, and on TwitterContinue Reading…

Catch Star 4

Author Beth Vogt is one of those folks who generously gives time and talent to help others achieve success. She writes an encouraging blog, shares glimpses of her life on Facebook, and helps us hone our writing technique at My Book Therapy. When she offered me the opportunity to review her latest novel, I jumped at the chance and am really glad I did! I highly recommend Catch a Falling Star. I know you’ll love it, too.

Why? Here are some things you’re sure to appreciate about this heartwarming story:

The unique, multi-talented heroine: Kendall Haynes is a smart, feisty family practice physician, who can tirelessly treat kids all day and rebuild a jeep in her spare time. She’s the type who interrupts her dinner when she notices that a nearby teen appears ill, saves his life, and then casually returns to chat with her friends. Kendall knows what to prescribe for other people’s lives, but she doesn’t quite know how to fix what’s missing in her own. I was rooting for her after that first phone call from her selfish sister.

The trying-to-do-the-right-thing hero: My heart went out to Griffin Walker, an Air Force pilot who suffers from Vertigo—a fitting metaphor for a man whose life has been turned upside down. After the loss of his parents, Griffin gets thrown into the role of guardian to the hurting teenage brother he hardly knows. His first marriage failed, and now even his career is on hold. The storms of life have swamped poor Griffin. At first, he doesn’t know which way is up. Watching him find his way was sweet and satisfying.

The Love-Is-Lovelier-the-Second-Time-Around aspect: Kendall and Griffin are nearing forty with failed relationships behind them when God brings them together. And that beautiful second chance, as the song says, “Makes you think perhaps that love like youth is wasted on the young.”

The story behind the story: Beth dedicated the book to a teen named Ian Lyons, a friend’s son who suffered through cancer and died in 2009. This story is a fitting tribute to a young person who faced life’s toughest challenges with faith and courage.

The Spiritual Takeaway: Catch a Falling Star is more than a simple romance novel with the expected HEA.* It’s a story that takes a look at some difficult truths.

  • Truth: Loving others can be painful.
  • Truth: We can’t go back in time and relive wasted years.
  • Truth: Some decisions cannot be undone.

But the characters live out how Jesus enables us to view the reality of our lives and see this transcendent Truth—that God can redeem our bad decisions and foolish mistakes and offer in their place Hope, Peace, and Second Chances.

Don’t you love when that happens in a story? Yeah. Me, too!

You can order your copy of Catch a Falling Star at this link. (Even though the protagonists are older, I plan to bring my copy to my students. They’ll enjoy the romance and the teenage boy’s story—plus pick up some ideas about God’s grace and forgiveness. I bet the teen girls in your life would enjoy it also.) ***Thanks to Beth Vogt and Howard Books for providing a copy for me to review.

beth vogt authorAbout the Author: Beth Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice), though she said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four, though she said she’d never have kids. She’s discovered that God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” An established magazine writer and former editor of Connections, the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth is also the Skills Coach for My Book Therapy, the writing community founded by best-selling author Susan May Warren. You can connect with Beth on her Facebook page, on Twitter, or at her website.

*HEA = Happily Ever After (A definition for you non-romance buffs out there!)

GIVEAWAY: Follow this link to enter Beth’s $200 Visa Gift Card Giveaway and to sign up for her June 4th Facebook Party! Continue Reading…

Take a Chance on Me

Renee Ann Smith —  April 28, 2013 — 6 Comments

Jensen crop

I probably shouldn’t have started reading Take a Chance on Me right before bedtime on a school night. Then the next day the book distracted me from grading papers. This became slightly dangerous when my students realized I had a new book by a favorite author. But it was worth the risk. Yes, Take a Chance on Me was that good.

This romantic story is the first in Susan May Warren’s new series about The Christiansens: six adult siblings and their parents. Here’s Susan May Warren’s intro to this fictional family: “They’re a family like you might find next door. Or in your church. Or maybe they’re like your family. Parents trying to figure out the delicate steps of guiding adult children into responsibility, hoping to leave a legacy. When I crafted the Christiansen family, I Iooked close to home, at our family, and the families of our friends. At their challenges, and joys, and their hopes to raise children who embody the values they were raised with. Then I created a family I’d like to get to know and hang out with. To fall in love with. I hope you do too.”

What’s this book about? Best friends, Jensen Atwood and Darek Christiansen, become estranged after a tragic accident—when Darek’s wife is killed and Jensen ends up sentenced to community service for her death. Now years later both men must decide if they can take a chance on God’s forgiveness and the second chance at life He seems to be offering through two smart & savvy ladies named Ivy Madison and Claire Gibson. (I had fun imagining Jensen as a younger Jack Shepherd from Lost vs. Darek as a younger John Reese from Person of Interest!)

I experienced a strong emotional response to Take a Chance on Me. How can you tell if you’ll feel the same?

  • If you’ve ever had that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you fear you’ve ruined your chance at happiness,
  • Or felt a hole in your heart because you’ve hurt someone you love. And it can never be undone.
  • If life has made you bargain and beg and weep before God
  • Then, after all that, a moment arrived that stole your breath away—when God offered you a second chance
  • And you took it. You grabbed it with both hands
  • And God’s grace and forgiveness filled you until you felt like you could soar,

Then you will love this story.

Two characters quickly worked their way into my heart: Jensen Atwood, a handsome, under-appreciated, intent-on-beating-himself-up secondary hero. Fortunately, Jensen has Gibs. Jack Marshall Gibson, Grandpop or Gibs to his family and friends, Vietnam vet and man of God. Gibs gives Jens exactly what he needs: love, godly counsel, a good checkers game, and a wake up call. Here are some of Gibs’ best lines:

grandpop gibs crop

You can read about the individual members of the Christiansen Family—each to be the subject of an upcoming novel—here.

Tweetables: “You can’t make yourself & your life whole again. God can.” (Click to Tweet)

“So plan A is a bust. God can make a plan B better than plan A ever would have been.” (Click to Tweet)

“He’d settle for Peace.The kind that let you sleep thru’ the night & look at yourself in the morning.” (Click to Tweet)

Need more details? Here’s the back-cover copy: Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

***Thanks to Susan May Warren, Litfuse, and Tyndale House for providing a copy for me to review. You can purchase Take a Chance on Me at this link. (And remember, the teens in your life will enjoy this book, too!)

About the Author: Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award. A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation. She is also the founder of MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. You can find her online at www.susanmaywarren.com. Continue Reading…

Update: The end of this contest will come and go while I’m out of town. But I promise to email a winner on Monday! Blessings!

Where would we be without behind-the-scenes heroes? The men and women who value the good they can do for others above their own comfort, gain, or even reputations. They are like the humble men from Band of Brothers, who—when asked if they considered themselves heroes—answered, “No. But the other guys I fought with were.”

The main character in Dan Walsh’s The Reunion is just such a man. Aaron Miller lives in a storage room as the handyman at Bentley’s Trailer Park & Campground. Most folks don’t give him a second glance. Little do they know this man with a servant’s heart also treasures a warrior’s medals.

Aaron can repair most anything that needs fixing—except for the mess he’s made of his own life. To his way of thinking, his sins are too great for anyone save God to forgive. Perhaps because he has been bruised and battered, he has a special instinct when it comes to recognizing and restoring hurting people. And God honors Aaron by placing a burden on someone else’s heart to return the favor. The story that plays out is a beautiful parable of redemption. As the author writes, “God is a master at finding and redeeming the lost things of life.”

George Orwell said, “Good writing is like a windowpane.” This metaphor perfectly captures Dan Walsh’s style. His words opened a window into Aaron Miller’s world for me, and I am better for it. I found myself recalling the times I felt broken and forgotten—until my Heavenly Father found me where I had fallen, gathered me in His arms, and set me on my feet again. Thanks for that, Dan Walsh.

And now, friends, since I don’t want you to miss being touched by this  uplifting story, here are 3 ways you can get your hands on a copy of the book!

 

1. Dan Walsh is celebrating the release of his new novel, The Reunion, with a 10-book giveaway contest! Five winners will each receive a signed copy of The Reunion, as well as his third novel, The Deepest Waters. (He’s  including this book because it was named a finalist for an ACFW Carol Award.) Click on this link to The Reunion Book Giveaway to see how easily you can enter the contest! (Giveaway ends Monday, September 17th.)

2. I’m also giving away a copy of The Reunion. (US only) Just leave a comment on this post to be included. (List bonus entries in that one comment.) Contest ends Friday, September 21st. (2) Or follow this link to purchase the book. ***Thanks to Revell, a division of Baker Book Publishing Group, for providing the book for me to review.

Bonus Entries:

About Dan Walsh, in his own words: “I was born in Philadelphia in 1957 (guys don’t care if you know their age) to a mostly blue-collar, hard-working Irish family. In the mid-sixties, General Electric hired my dad as an engineer for the Apollo space program. We packed up and moved to Florida, which is really where I grew up.

We attended church every Sunday, but I never clearly understood the gospel until my senior year in high school. In that year, my entire family came to know the Lord. In the spring of that same year, I met the woman who would become the love of my life, Cindi. We dated for a brief period, but I knew my search was over. I asked her to marry me and, to my great surprise, she said yes.

In 1985, I was ordained as a pastor and served in the same church for 25 years, until I retired from ministry in August 2010. In 1984, our daughter Rebekah was born. Six years later, our son Isaac. Both are now grown and married. We already have our first grandson, little Caden.

For the last several years (and hopefully many more to come) I get to do something else I love to do—write books. I began writing full-time in 2010. I have five novels out with Revell and a 6th will release in September.”

You can connect with Dan at his website www.danwalshbooks.com and on his Facebook author page.

This week I’m linking up with Still Saturday, Spiritual Sundays, Soli Deo Gloria, Monday Meet Up, Sharing His Beauty, On Your Heart Tuesdays, Teach Me Tuesdays, and Gratituesdays.

Update: The end of this contest will come and go while I’m out of town. But I promise to email a winner on Monday! Blessings!

Part Shop Around the Corner and part Cherry Ames Flight Nurse, With Every Letter tells the story of two lonely people who find love—even though they haven’t met face-to-face.

sarah sundin with every letter 193x300

Set during World War II, the story focuses on Lt. Mellie Blake, a young woman supporting the war effort as a flight nurse, and Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an engineer doing his duty in North Africa. Though these two are brave and competent before their coworkers, they are both guarding inner vulnerabilities resulting from painful rejections in their pasts.

Mellie and Tom have learned the hard way to hide who they really are. Each believes he/she will never find that special someone who will cherish unconditionally. But even so, as anonymous pen pals, they pour out their hearts to each other. Though each can only imagine what the other looks like, with every letter they write, Tom and Mellie fall more and more deeply in love. When the time comes for them to meet, they must risk revealing all. Is their faith strong enough to see them through? . . . I could tell, but that would spoil it for you!

So Proudly We Hail

As I’ve said before, I should have been born in the 40′s. I love the clothes, the music, the movies.  And whenever I want to make a quick visit to this time period, I know I can count on author Sarah Sundin to take me there. Her latest novel reminds me of several classics: Of course, The Shop Around the Corner, where Jimmy Stewart woos his sweetheart as her secret pen pal. Also,  So Proudly We Hail, a movie about nurses serving in the South Pacific, and Cherry Ames, Flight Nurse, a favorite book from my childhood. Thanks, Sarah, not only for bringing to mind such great old stories but also for providing another wonderful drama to add to my growing list of ’40’s favorites!

Now that you’re eager to read With Every Letter, here are two ways you can get your hands on this book.  (1) I ended up with two copies. So I’m offering my extra to one lucky reader. (US only) Just leave a comment on this post to be included. (List bonus entries in that one comment.) Contest ends Thursday, September 20th. (2) Or follow this link to purchase the book. ***Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for providing the book for me to review.

Bonus Entries:

Follow this link to Sarah’s Kindle Fire or Nook Giveaway!

About the author: Sarah Sundin received the 2011 Writer of the Year Award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and her second novel A Memory Between Us was a finalist for an Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. Her stories are inspired by her great-uncle who flew with the U.S. Eighth Air Force in England during World War II. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

You can connect with Sarah at her website www.sarahsundin.com and at her Facebook author page.

This week I’m linking with The Weekend Whatever Link Up.

UPDATE: Giveaway winners announced here.

What is it about a wedding that turns even the most unsentimental heart to mush? Or that transforms an ordinary man and woman in a tux and white gown into emissaries of True Love Always? Maybe it’s the rich biblical symbolism that makes us swoon over bride and groom—because God so often uses the wedding metaphor to describe how He woos us. (“As a young man marries a maiden, so your sons marry you. As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” ~ from Isaiah) Wherever the magic stems from, Rachel Hauck has infused it into her charming new book, The Wedding Dress.

The story begins with Charlotte Malone, a bridal boutique owner who dresses brides for a living yet can’t summon any enthusiasm for own wedding. Charlotte attends an estate sale and feels compelled to bid on a mysterious battered trunk. When she finally breaks through the trunk’s welded lock, she discovers a vintage wedding dress. The book then moves from present day to 1912 so we can understand how the unusual dress came to be through suffragette Emily’s story. As Charlotte works out the history of the dress, we learn about Mary Grace in 1939 and Hillary from 1968. But it’s the connection between Emily and Charlotte and what they learn about true love that really makes this story special. Though I knew there had to be an HEA (Happily Ever After) coming, I enjoyed every discovery and lover’s quarrel and sweet reconciliation along the way. I’d love to see this as a Hallmark movie!

I adore my Kindle. However, I keep hard copies of favorite stories so I can share them with my friends. And I’ve already thought of several folks I want to pass this book along to—a few of my avid teen readers at school, a friend who has cancer and delights in heartwarming stories, and a recently engaged bride-to-be. Now that I think of it, I may need more than one copy! How about you?  You can purchase your pass-along-copies of The Wedding Dress at this link.

***Thanks to Litfuse and Thomas Nelson for providing my review copy.

What is “true” beauty? Join the conversation at Rachel’s Author Chat Party Event Page. On the eventing of 4/19 we’ll gather to talk about inner and outer beauty and share moments of beauty in our lives.

In the meantime, celebrate with Rachel by entering her True Beauty Giveaway!

One “beautiful” winner will receive:

  • A $200 Visa Cash Card (Treat yourself to a spa day or weekend get-away!)
  • The Wedding Dress (by Rachel Hauck)

Winner will be announced at Rachel’s “True Beauty” Facebook Party on  4/19. Rachel will be hosting an evening of beauty (inner/outer) chat, fun trivia, laughter, and encouragement – bring your friends! She’ll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club and a live chat with Rachel via Skype.)

About the author: Rachel Hauck is the bestselling author of Carol Award winner Sweet Caroline, and RITA Finalist Love Starts With Elle, and of the critically acclaimed fiction collaboration with multi-platinum country artist Sara Evans, The Songbird Novels.

She lives in sunny, though sometimes hurricane-plagued, central Florida with her husband and their ornery pets. Rachel earned a degree in Journalism form Ohio State University and is a huge Buckeyes football fan. She is the past president of American Christian Fiction Writers and now sits on the board as an adviser. Visit her web site at www.rachelhauck.com to read her blog and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Katie

She’s twenty-two years old, raising fourteen little girls in a dot on a map called Uganda. How did Katie Davis, high school student from Nashville, Tennessee, end up mothering children in East Africa? In her own words . . .

“Jesus wrecked my life.

For as long as I could remember, I had everything this world says is important. In high school, I was class president, homecoming queen, top of my class. I dated cute boys and wore cute shoes and drove a cute sports car. I had wonderful, supportive parents who so desired my success that they would have paid for me to go to college anywhere my heart desired. But I loved Jesus.

Katie Davis

Slowly but surely I began to realize the truth: I had loved and admired and worshiped Jesus without doing what He said . . . I wanted to actually do what Jesus said to do.

 

So I quit my life.

Lots of helpers

Originally, my quitting was to be temporary, lasting just one year before I went to college and returned to normal, American teenager life. But after the year, which I spent in Uganda, returning to ‘normal’ wasn’t possible.

 

I quit college; I quit cute designer clothes and my little yellow convertible; I quit my boyfriend. I no longer have all the things the world says are important. I do not have a retirement fund; I do not even have electricity some days.

 

 

 

 

But I have everything I know is important. I have a joy and a peace that are unimaginable and can come only from a place better than this earth. I cannot fathom being happier.

 

Jesus wrecked my life, shattered it to pieces, and put it back together more beautifully.”

Katie’s boldness and compassion truly inspired me. I was amazed to find such wisdom in one so young. The lessons she has learned touched my heart. And she also loves one of my favorite verses!

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” ~Psalm 37:4~

Katie’s commentary: “It is not about God making my dreams come true but about God changing my dreams into His dreams for my life. As I go with Him to the hard places, He changes them to the most joyful places I could imagine.”

“The truth is I saw myself in those little faces . . . He blinds Himself to my sin and

my filth so that He can forge a relationship with me. And this is what He did for me with these precious children. He blinded me to the filth and disease, and I saw only children hungry for love that I was eager to share with them.”

Have you read enough? Are you ready to learn more about this extraordinary young woman? Follow this link to purchase your copy of Kisses from Katie.

Soak in her story and let it change you. Then pass it on to every young person you know.

***Thanks to Howard Books for providing a copy for me to review. I’m planning to share this book with my students. I pray that my copy becomes tattered and worn from passing through many hands.

Giveaway: This is the first October giveaway post!

At the end of the month, I’ll be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card. All you have to do is comment on a giveaway post to be included in the drawing!  So share your thoughts on this remarkable young woman below!

Here are a few more pics to enjoy before you go. All the photos come from Katie’s beautiful blog, which you can find at this link.