Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blog Tour: Double Take (Review)

What do you do when your life is not all it's cracked up to be? Get a new one.

It's spring break of her senior year and Madison Van Buren is fed up. Stressed over decisions on colleges, her parents' bickering, and pressures from her boyfriend, Madison gets in her car and just drives away. 

Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Anna Fisher wants to escape the so-called simple life of the Amish--which for her consists of caring for younger children, sewing, cooking, and gardening--and she's well aware that her future will simply be more of the same with a man she doesn't love. 

Worlds collide when Madison and Anna meet for the first time in a small town, realize they look uncannily alike, and decide the grass is greener on the other side. Neither of them will ever be the same.

What I Thought
What happens when you take the traditional tale of the "prince and pauper" and write it from the perspective of two teenage girls, one of which happens to be Amish.

The result, is Melody Carson's newest book - Double Take - a surprisingly fun and light-hearted, yet poignant novel for teen and adult readers, alike.

I'll admit when I was a bit skeptical about this book. I mean, do we really need another novel set among the Amish. But here's the deal - Carson has not crafted a typical "Amish" novel.

Instead, this is really the tale of two young women, one of which happens to be Amish - who are struggling to discover who they are and how they fit into their world.

The one thing I wish... that the book would have kept going - or maybe flashed forward say 10 years in a closing chapter, to show how the girls took what they learned, to change their lives.

On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, I give it a four. It's a fun, coming of age novel. Definitely a fun summer read that will probably get passed around to several young women I know.

About The Author
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's, which is being considered for a TV movie.

She is also the author of many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, Double Take, and the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. Carson was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books in 2010 and 2011. She and her husband live in central Oregon. For more information visit her website at www.melodycarlson.com.

Online Resources
Buy Double Take @ Amazon.com
Read an excerpt of Double Take

About Revell, The Publisher
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life.  They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet. For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thought for the Day: Mother Teresa

 Credit: Font: CK_Alis_Writing
I think people - especially Christians - need to remember this. Despite all of our differences - be it politics, gender, ethnic background, economic status or other "niche" label - we are all truly the same, because we belong to each other as children of God.

That in itself should outweigh all of the labels we like to tag on ourselves.

I wonder what the world would be like if we remembered that.

A thought to ponder today.

Friday, June 17, 2011

God is Wild about VBS & Haiti


During our PandaMania,
@ First UMC - Siloam Springs
we're going to learn how
God is Wild About Us!

We're also going to have a chance
to share this message with students in Haiti!

We're teaming up with
in Neosho, Missouri
to spread PandaMania to children in Haiti.

Volunteers from this church,
(including some personal friends of Miss Kaylea)
will travel to Haiti
THEY LEAVE JULY 13!
with JoyHouse, a ministry in Springdale, Arkansas.

Team members plan to provide a
VBS experience for 100+ kids!
That's Just Wild!

Two things We're Doing To Help Out:
1) Our VBS Offering:
Will help get stuff for the Haiti VBS.

2) A Special Present:
We're sending gifts to the kids in Haiti!
Stay tuned, you'll know more about this
during the fourth session of our extravaganza!
--Pst...it's the first session on Saturday!

Have You Registered For VBS?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thought For The Day: Be You!


I love this quote, which showed up on Ali Edwards' blog.

It follows something my father told me this weekend. 

I asked if the cake I made was comparable to grandma (his mom).
He basically told me I needed to live my life as myself, 
and stop comparing myself to others.

So when I saw this quote by Ali today, 
it seemed to re-enforce dad's weekend words of wisdom.

I'm still trying to figure out what my "you"ness is. 
It seems to be the message God wants me to ponder right now.

So, how will you "embrace your 'you'ness" this weekend?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Adventures in Cooking: Angel Food Cake


One of my strongest memories of my grandmother, Elizabeth Hutson, is how she would make an angel food cake for special occasions (or quite honestly, probably when the chickens laid some extra eggs).

I still remember her whipping the egg whites by hand in a giant pottery bowl (which now sits atop my fridge) using a flat whip (yes, I still have it as well).

I don't know if the secret of her cake rested in the whipped egg whites, but I know she always strived to get them whipped into soft peak submission.

Saturday, during a visit home, mom said "why don't we make an angel food cake."

I think mom expected me to whip the egg whites in her mixer, but subconsciously, I grabbed a large bowl and started doing it by hand.

It's not that the cake wouldn't have turned out well, using the mixer, but somehow, mixing it by hand seemed, well, natural.

I didn't have access to grandma's recipe (it's somewhere in a box at home), but I did have a recipe from the Almena, Kan., community cookbook.

Simple - really just flour, sugar, cream of tarter, egg whites, vanilla, salt and almond flavoring - the recipe just took some extra prep to execute.


Apparently, it turned out well, since everyone - especially dad - seemed to enjoy it.

Maxine Lowry's Angel Food Cake
(Page 54 of the Almena cook book!)
Ingredients
1-1/4 C. sifted cake flour
1/2 C. sifted sugar
1-1/2 C. egg whites
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1-1/3 C. sifted sugar
1-1/4 tsp. cream of tarter

Instructions
Getting Started: Your eggs should be a room temperature & you should use an ungreased tube cake pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 1) Put measured sifted cake flour and 1/2 cup sifted sugar together. Sift the two ingredients together four times.

Step 2) Combine egg whites, salt, cream of tarter and flavorings in a large bowl. Beat with mixer until soft peaks form.

Step 3) Add the other 1-1/3 cups sifted sugar to the egg white mixture, in four additions, beating until blended each time.

Step 4) Sift in flour/sugar mixture into egg whites in four additions, folding in with large spoon each time.

Step 5) Fold batter into tube pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned on top with a dry look.

Step 6) Remove from oven, invert pan and let cake stand until cool. Remove pan and frost as desired.

Somethings I learned From This Adventure In Cooking!

1) The recipe called for 1-1/2 cups of egg whites. Mom remembered grandma just putting in a dozen egg whites, so that's what we aimed for. We needed a few more than a dozen, because alas, my egg separating skills were a bit lacking. (Next time, I'll have at least 1-1/2 dozen eggs ready and waiting for this adventure.)

I also learned you should also separate each egg, one by one,  into a bowl, then pour the "good" whites into the "main bowl." This keeps the busted yolks from contaminating more than one egg. (Mom also had me wash the bowl out, if a yolk busted (a.k.a. don't just dump out the egg/yolk.... always have a clean bowl to work with!)

2) What should you do with the egg yolks (and busted eggs)? Well, we made egg noodles (and tried out mom's new pasta machine). Basically, this meant dad got homemade chicken and noodles AND an angel food cake for supper. (We made enough noodles for supper, and to freeze for at least two more meals).

3) Since we didn't have a "sifter" for the sugar and flour, I put it in a bowl and then kind of "sifted" it with a pastry cutter. I figured the sifter breaks up the "big" pieces, so the cutter seemed to do the job. If I do this again, I'll have a sifter. I think this adds air to the cake and makes it "fluffy."

4) When you pull the cake from the oven, and it calls for inverting the pan for cooling, you need to make sure air can circulate UNDER the pan. (The new pan of mom's didn't have "feet" and the cake cooled, but got a bit "sweaty" on the sides. I think this problem would have been solved if we had inverted it onto a cooling rack.)

5) Make enough icing (I just did a thin powered sugar/milk/vanilla glaze) so it can pour over the cake in one setting.

6) Colored sprinkles are "extra" but that's how grandma made it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blog Tour: The Poisoned Chalice (Review)

Editors Note: This is the first of two communion-related books I'll be reviewing on my blog. This first book, written by a former classmate at Asbury Seminary, takes a look at the history of communion in the Methodist church. 

From the Publisher: 
Jennifer Woodruff Tait's work, The Poisoned Chalice, examines the introduction of grape juice into the celebration of Holy Communion in the late 19th century Methodist Episcopal Church and reveals how a 1,800-year-old practice of using fermented communion wine became theologically incomprehensible in a mere 40 years.

What I Thought
I really liked how Woodruff Tait unpacks the history of the use of grape juice by the Methodist church during the sacrament of communion; and shows how cultural influences (and the views of alcohol) shaped the view of using alcohol during the ritual.

I also liked how she showed how a few people's view of temperance managed to shape an entire denomination's theology. Woodruff Tait definitely paints a complete picture of this issue - and doesn't just stop with surface info.

Yes, the book is academic in nature, but Woodruff Tait's writing style (and the "voice" she uses to tell her tale) is friendly and easy to read. Footnotes at the end also aid in the reading, because it gives you a glimpse into the research that went into the book.

On the scale of one to five, with five being the highest, I give this book at least a four. It's not "bed time" reading, or "summer lite" fare, but Poisoned Chalice is a good book to read - especially if you find Methodist history interesting.

About The Author:
Jennifer L. Woodruff Tait is Adjunct or Affiliate Professor of Church History at Huntington University, Asbury Theological Seminary, and United Theological Seminary.
You can find more about her at: http://on.fb.me/poisoned-chalice-page

Online Resources
Link to the blog tour on your blog: http://on.fb.me/i0u2ck
Link to buy the book at Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/PoisonedChalice
Link to the University of Alabama Press: http://bit.ly/PoisonedChaliceAlabama

Spread The Word
Do you tweet? If so, consider posting one (or more) of these tweets to Twitter or Facebook during the blog tour week.

What does #PoisonedChalice have to do with communion? Read more here: http://on.fb.me/i0u2ck

Discover how United Methodists moved from wine to grape juice in communion. Read http://amzn.to/PoisonedChalice. #PoisonedChalice

Jennifer Woodruff Tait has tackled the #PoisonedChalice in her new release. Follow the blog tour here: http://on.fb.me/i0u2ck

If you write your own: please include the hashtag #PoisonedChalice!

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by the University of Alabama Press. This review was not influenced by a free book (or the fact that I've known the author for YEARS) - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Blog Tour: Branded (Review)

The church spends $1.5 million for every one new follower of Jesus. Apple sells 26 iPads every minute. What is it that makes Apple so exciting and Jesus so boring? What is it that compels someone to bring their iPod everywhere and their Bible nowhere? In a word: marketing. 

Jesus is a life-changing product with lousy salespeople-people who are intimidated and embarrassed by the word "evangelism" and who show more enthusiasm for their gadgets than their God.

What would life look like if we stopped mass-marketing Jesus and started marketing our faith like Nike and Apple market their products--sharing relationally, from person to person? 


Using examples from these and other successful companies, author Tim Sinclair challenges Christians to throw out their casual attitudes toward faith and sign on for a marketing campaign for the Savior.

Written with the wit and wisdom of an experienced marketer, Branded peels away the feelings of fear and encourages readers how to share their faith in ways that are honest, authentic, and, most importantly, effective.  


What I Thought
I thought Sinclair's book was, well, intriguing. By comparing the methods Christians use to spread the message of Jesus, with secular marketing practices, Sinclair effectively shows what is and isn't effective.

I found the chapter of "What if's" which outlines more than 20 actions a Christian could take now, to be very interesting. It not only encourages Christians to "talk" about their faith, but also live it out in a life-changing, meaningful way.

Using real-life examples from Google, Best Buy, Circuit City, Amazon and more, Sinclair shows ways Christians should pay attention to "real life" when thinking about ways to market Jesus to a every changing world.

He suggests that Christians be like Google, and find opportunities to tell personal stories (a.k.a. testimonies) in a simple, yet effective way, including ways that truly demonstrate how Jesus has made a difference in the person's life.

In less than 145 pages, (including study guide and resource list), Sinclair has unpacked some serious and significant nuggets of truth.

One thing is for sure, this book will make you stop and truly think about how you "market" Jesus to a culturally-different and media-saturated world.

If we take but one thing found in Sinclair's book, and use it to change how we talk about or promote Jesus, it could truly make our ministries relevant (or at least get our message heard) to a hurting world.

Only when people "hear" the message, can we live out Jesus' mandate to go into the world to make disciples of all nations.

On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, I give this book a solid four. It's relevant, real and remarkably fresh. It's a book that can be read again and again for nuggets of truth. Read it at your own risk - it may just make you re-think how you do church, and how you market your ministry to the public.

Honestly, I'm going to re-read this book, and look for ways I can implement Sinclair's message in the marketing/promotional activities I use for my children's ministry.

More About The Author
Tim Sinclair is a radio personality on one of the top Christian morning shows in the country, Mornings with Tim and Pam. For more than a decade, he has been helping radio stations and various other businesses creatively and effectively market themselves.

His award-winning productions have been heard on more than 2,000 radio stations worldwide and recent clients include McDonald's, Word Records, Moody Press, and the country's most-listened to Christian nonprofit radio station KSBJ/Houston.

Sinclair has written for CCM Magazine and the Huntsville Times. For more about Sinclair visit his website, http://www.tim-sinclair.com.

Online Resources
Buy Branded @ Amazon.com
Read more about Tim Sinclair here!
Follow the blog tour online here

It's A Contest!
Kregel Publications is sponsoring a $50 Amazon.com giveaway open to readers of this blog post. To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using @litfuse) about Branded or share about it on Facebook!

If you tweet we'll capture your entry when you use @litfuse. If you share it on Facebook or your blog, just email us and let us know (info@litfusegroup.com). Easy.

Not sure what to tweet/post? Here's an idea.
TWEET THIS:  Branded by @timjsinclair - Jesus is a life-changing product with lousy sales-people! @litfuse http://ow.ly/566nr

FACEBOOK THIS: Branded by Tim Sinclair is a compelling look at what Christians can learn from companies like Apple & Starbucks about sharing their faith! Jesus is a life-changing product with lousy sales-people!  http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13338985

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

Blog Tour: A Reluctant Queen (Review & Author Q&A)

An inspiring re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.

See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Ahasuerus
was a powerful but lonely man. Esther's beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.

Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith's great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity.


What I Thought
This book takes a fresh look at the story of Queen Esther, which was both unique and interesting.

I really liked how this novel caused me to "rethink" a familiar story. I also liked how it examined the personalities of all of the key players from Haman to Esther, and even the people behind the scenes in court life.

I thought the author, Joan Wolf created a book that not only unpacked Haman's actions, but also helped show his motives as well. One thing that struck me, is how alike Haman was to Judas. Both loved their master very much, and both "pushed" them, because they desired greatness.

(Basically, both Judas and Haman took life in their own hands, in order to push their master into doing what they thought he should be.)

I also liked how the book really examined the relationship between Esther and the King and unpacked their humanity.

I'll admit, I was a bit confused, and then frustrated by Wolf's creation of a "new" king between Darius and Xerses. She explained in the afterward that this was part of her "artistic" license with the story.

She created a likeable king, in order to have a "prince charming" for her Biblical Cinderella story. I can respect her artistic license. However, I wish she had just "jazzed" up Xerses, without creating a "different king." But that is my only complaint, and it is minor.

On the scale of one to five, with five being the highest, I give this book a solid four. It was interesting, made me thing and is a Biblically-based fairytale, that well, has all of the makings of a cinderlla story.

About The Author
Joan Wolf was born in New York City but has lived most of her adult life with her husband in Connecticut, where she raised two children and countless numbers of assorted animals.

Wolf is the author of numerous historical novels including The Road to Avalon which Publishers Weekly lauded as “historical fiction at its finest.”

For more about Wolf and her other books, please visit www.joanwolf.com.

More From The Author (A Q&A)
What draws you to historical/biblical fiction?
I have always adored history, a love I inherited from my father.  He used to discuss people from history as if they were people in the current newspapers.  I think almost 90% of my books must have an historical setting.

You’ve had a successful career writing for the ABA, why start writing for the CBA now?|A few years ago I had an extraordinary experience where God touched my life.  This encounter stirred my interest in writing about other people who had experienced the presence of God in their lives and the CBA seemed to be the best place for me to do that.

What is it about the historical account of Esther that led you to write a romance story about her?
When I was a girl Esther fascinated me.  It seemed wonderful that God had chosen a woman to be the person who would save His people.  And, since I am a romantic soul, I also thought that there must have been a great love between her and the king for him to have done as she asked.

Why did you move away from the traditional interpretation of King Ahasuerus’ conduct?
I always thought that Ahasuerus must have loved Esther deeply because he listened to her and revoked the edict that Haman had sent out.  A king who not only allows his wife to break into his religious feast without punishment, but also comes to have dinner with her the following day, must care for her very much indeed.  And such a man must be a much nicer person than the king traditionally portrayed by Xerses/ Ahasuerus.


You love animals.  Do you ever incorporate them into your books?
Do I not ever incorporate animals into my books?  I am famous for my horses, but dogs play their part as well.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t put Esther on a horse, but I did make Ahasuerus a fanatical horseman.

What is your favorite historical era to write about?
I love to go way back in time, to periods where the records are mostly archeological.  I actually did three books set in the Upper Paleolithic, the period of the last ice age.  My next book is about Rahab, and I’m having such fun reading about pottery and stone remains from the late Bronze Age.

Online Resources
Buy A Reluctant Queen @ Amazon.com
Follow the blog tour here!

It's A Contest
To celebrate Joan Wolf’s debut Christian Fiction title, A Reluctant Queen, Wolf and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away A Reluctant Queen prize package worth over $150!


One grand prize winner will receive:
* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen
* A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf (for KINDLE)

To enter, just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, the contest ends on June 20th. Winner will be announced on June 21st during Joan’s A Reluctant Queen Book Club Party on Facebook (details below)! Hope to see you there – bring your friends!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Join the fun on June 21st! 
Wolf  will wrap up the blog tour and Kindle giveaway promotion during her A Reluctant Queen FACEBOOK party on her FB author page. During the party she'll announce the winner of the Kindle, host a book chat discussion, test your trivia skills (Is Esther's story in A Reluctant Queen fact or fiction?), and more. Don't miss this chance to meet the author and make some new friends!

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Blog Tour: My Foolish Heart (Review)

Unknown to her tiny town of Deep Haven, Isadora Presley spends her nights as Miss Foolish Heart, the star host of a syndicated talk radio show. Millions tune in to hear her advice on dating and falling in love, unaware that she’s never really done either. Issy’s ratings soar when it seems she’s falling in love on-air with a caller. A caller she doesn’t realize lives right next door.

Caleb Knight served a tour of duty in Iraq and paid a steep price. The last thing he wants is pity, so he hides his disability and moves to Deep Haven to land his dream job as the high school football coach. When his beautiful neighbor catches his eye, in a moment of desperation he seeks advice from My Foolish Heart, the show that airs before his favorite sports broadcast.

 Before he knows it, Caleb finds himself drawn to the host—and more confused than ever. Is his perfect love the woman on the radio . . . or the one next door?


What I Thought
Light, fun and well, slightly different.

Those were my first impressions of My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren, the newest release in her Deep Haven series.

The book takes the humorous, yet slightly painful at times look at what happens when a young woman with lots of romantic advice has a successful radio talk show - all from the safe, but limiting confines of her house.

I love Warren's writing style. It's witty with the right balance of serious and humor. Through realistic characters, she creates a novel that real people can relate to, as well as enjoy.

On the scale of one to five, with five being the highest, I give this book a solid four. One thing I like about it, is that while it's a part of the Deep Haven series, it can be read as a stand alone novel. It can also be read by a variety of ages - including teens.

If you are looking for a fun summer read, that will actually make you think a bit (it's not just mind candy), then pick up My Foolish Heart. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

About The Author
Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists.

After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Warren returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.

Warren's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!.

She is also the founder ofwww.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Warren makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!)

A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:www.susanmaywarren.com.

Online Resources
Link to buy the book @ Amazon
Read an excerpt here: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/novels/contemporary-romance/ 
Read what the reviewers are saying here.

It's A Contest
Susan May Warren is thrilled to announce the release of her latest Deep Haven book, My Foolish Heart!

To celebrate this charming novel about a dating expert who's never had a date, Susan has put together a romantic night on the town for one lucky couple. One grand prize winner will receive a Miss Foolish Heart prize package worth over $200!


The winner of the Romantic Night on the Town Prize Pack will receive:

* A $100 Visa Gift Card (For Dinner)

* A $100 Gift Certificate to a Hyatt/Marriott Hotel

* The entire Deep Haven series

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on June 16th. The winner will be announced that evening during Susan’s Miss Foolish Heart Party on Facebook! Susan will be chatting with guests, hosting a book club chat about My Foolish Heart, testing your Deep Haven trivia skills, and giving away tons of great stuff! (Gift certificates, books, donuts, and more!) Don't miss the fun and BRING YOUR FRIENDS! 


Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blog Tour: A Great Catch (Review)

She wants to change the world.
He wants to change her mind.

It's the beginning of a new century at Lake Manawa resort in Iowa, but some things never change. When Emily Graham's meddlesome aunts and grandmother take it upon themselves to find her a husband among the resort guests, the spunky suffragist is determined to politely decline each and every suitor. She has neither the time nor the need for a man in her busy life.

Carter Stockton, a recent college graduate and a pitcher for the Manawa Owls baseball team, intends to enjoy every minute of the summer before he is forced into the straitlaced business world of his father.

When their worlds collide, neither Emily nor Carter could have guessed what would come next. Will Carter strike out? Or will Emily cast her vote for a love that might cost her dreams?

What I Thought
This is the second in Lorna Seilstad's "Lake Manawa Summer" series, a light-hearted, history-based series, which takes place in at Lake Manawa, Iowa, near Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Once again, Seilstad has created a novel that features a feisty, main female character (Emily), along with a dashing and quite nice male character (Carter).

Emily is a young suffragist who is dreaming of bigger and better things - including the right for women to vote in elections. Carter, on the other hand, is a young man yearning to become his own person (and pick his own career), rather than follow in his father and brother's banking footsteps.

I like Seilstad's light-hearted approach to history. She weaves those themes into her romance novels with ease. If I could "transport" myself back in time, Lake Manawa sounds like a fun place to visit.

If you are looking for a light summer read - this is the novel to pick up. It's simple romantic tale, with a dash of history and humor.

On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, I give this novel a solid three. I'm planning to pass it (and the first novel) along to a friend's teenage daughter who is looking for something to fill her time (now that school is out all of one day!)

About The Author
A history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer, Lorna Seilstad is the author of Making Waves and draws her setting from her home state of Iowa.

A Great Catch, also set in Iowa, is the second novel in the Lake Manawa Summer Series.

A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing awards and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.You can read more about Seilstad at http://www.lornaseilstad.com/ 

Online Resources
Read A Great Catch @ Amazon.com
Find A Great Catch @ Barnes & Noble 
Read an excerpt of A Great Catch here.
Read my review of Making Waves here.

About Revell, The Publisher
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life.  They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet. For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.
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