Personal Writings And Book Reviews

Amish Love May 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — novelized @ 11:22 pm

What’s all the hubbub about Amish fiction? Major media outlets like Time and ABC Nightline are covering it, and authors like Cindy Woodsmall are making the New York Times bestseller list regularly. What makes these books so interesting?


Check out the recent ABC Nightline piece here ( about Cindy and her titles When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends. It’s an intriguing look at Amish culture and the time Cindy has spent with Amish friends.


And don’t forget that Cindy’s new book The Hope of Refuge hits store shelves August 11, and is available for preorder now.


Skinny (a book review) May 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — novelized @ 1:16 am

PhotobucketLaura L. Smith writes a very truthful picture of a shifted focus that has effected many teenage girls.  Her young adult novel centers around Melissa Rollins, a freshman striving to be on the leadership of her dance team.  With school and practice and the up and down social life she begins to use food, and the lack of it, to control her world. 

There are tons of books out there for and about teens and their struggles with eating disorders and weight related concerns.  Skinny stands out from the crowd in that it addresses a disorder that many other books ignore.  O.C.D. or obsessive compulsive disorder is often the core  root of eating disorders.  It’s  like focus on steroids.  Try as she might she can’t ever seem to escape the agonizing thoughts that always center around the same issue.  These overactive thoughts quickly morph into behaviors that become habitual and more dangerous as time progresses.  It’s not always a desire to be thin or derived from media images of Hollywood twigs.  Sometimes it’s just a control strategy for teens and adults who feel off balance and crave some power over themselves, even if it is counterproductive.

Another thing I love about Skinny is that it doesn’t glamorize the choices Melissa is making in the story.  With Anorexia and Bulimia such a buzz topic in teen circles it is easy to collect strategies from these well meaning books.  Some teenagers will read these types of books like a manual for how to “do it better”.  Lisa L. Smith focuses on the thoughts going on in Melissa’s head and what is driving her to make these dangerous choices, rather than focusing on the action itself and the  methods of accomplishing it.

Melissa is a Christian.  She loves God very much, but her understanding is clouded.  She journals her prayers and reads the Word.  She goes to church and she’s on her way to heaven, but this struggle is warring inside of her.  Who can’t relate to that battle, right?

I can relate to Melissa.  As a christian teenager I was diagnosed with an eating disorder.  My behavior back then looked like an eating disorder.  It was an easy fit.  As I got older I got help for the eating disorder.  I put on weight and everyone was happy.  Then another compulsion surfaced.  The compulsion for cleanliness.  The deep focus on my house and the aesthetic beauty of my world began to take over my mind.  What I really had was O.C.D.  My eating, like with Melissa, was a symptom of my need to control.  I had to learn to surrender my need to control over to God.  It’s still a work in progress.

I am so thankful that there is a writer like Lisa L. Smith who is brave enough to call it what it is and to even address that it doesn’t “go away”  it’s an on going struggle.  It’s a struggle worth fighting and it can be helped. 

Skinny is a quick read and a worthy book that I would happily recommend to teenagers.  You can read more about it here.    Skinny is on sale at the NavPress site for $10.39. 

Happy reading!


Enduring Justice (a book review)

Filed under: Heather's writings,reviews — novelized @ 12:09 am

PhotobucketAs promised, I completed Enduring Justice by Amy Wallace.   It was  a gripping, intense read.  Here are my thoughts:

 Hannah Kessler was a wounded soul.  She experienced trauma in her childhood that left her ashamed and eager to hide her hurts with lies and avoidance.  She even ran away from home to escape her memories.  When she returns home, at last, her family is happy to welcome her back.  So is the handsome F.B.I. agent, Michael Parker.   As their feelings are rekindled and their relationship grows, there remains a secret that Hannah just can’t share.  Not yet.  Racial prejudice and corruption in the system seem to hold back justice.   Healing seems impossible.  Pain seems permanent. While crime and violence loom closer and closer to Hannah, God’s protection is also made evident.

Amy Wallace weaves a wonderful story that involves the reader in all the suspense and emotional turmoil of the main character, Hannah Kessler.   As the reader, you ride with Hannah  through all of her tension and  insecurity.  You begin to sense the trappings of the past that have bound her.  You really feel her struggle for justice and her desperation for freedom from this heavy weight she carries.

Enduring Justice is a wonderful read that will keep your eyes moving quickly over each page anxious for the justice and hope that Hannah craves.

At the end of this wonderful read, Amy Wallace shares her testimony and offers hope to the “real life Hannah’s” who are hiding their shame and hurts and hoping secretly to heal somehow.  Her testimony is powerful and grace-filled. 

Enduring Justice also provides wonderful questions upon the conclusion that make it a wonderful read for book clubs.  These are thought-provoking questions that will quickly lead you back to the Word of God for answers.

Click here to read more about Enduring Justice by Amy Wallace or order the book on-line.


Enduring Justice (a preview to a book review) May 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — novelized @ 12:25 am

Are you wondering what books I’m reading right now?  Well, I’m currently about half way through Enduring Justiceby Amy Wallace.  I received this book as part of the Mother’s Day Blog Tour, but have not completed it yet.  Assuming I won’t complete the rest of the book by Friday (the end of the blog tour) I wanted to post a summary and author bio for now.  As a side note: I think it’s awesome that it’s written by a homeschool mom. 

Please know that I will never write a review for a book I haven’t read.  I will not mislead potential buyers or disrespect authors with a job half done.  I like what I’ve read of Enduring Justice so far and you can count on me to keep reading and to let you know what I think when I’m through. 

For now, please enjoy this information on Enduring Justice:


Hanna Kessler’s secret remained buried for decades. But when the shadows of her past threaten those she loves and the system fails FBI Agent Michael Parker, setting a white supremacist free, they must learn the difference between vengeance and justice is their choice to heal.

Amy Wallace is the author of Ransomed Dreams and Healing Promises, a homeschool mom, and self-confessed chocoholic. She is a graduate of the Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy  and a contributing author of several books including God Answers Moms’ Prayers and Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia .

You can purchase Enduring Justice here.


Mama’s Got a Fake I.D.- Mother’s Day Blog Tour Post 2 May 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — novelized @ 11:53 pm

mom-blog-tour-1Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira experienced a strange feeling once she became a mother.  What mother can’t relate to the feeling of being stripped of her identity and feeling like you’ve morphed into a crazy glob of maternal passion?  Motherhood effects us.  It confines and stretches us at the same time.  It’s easy to get lost in the changes and responsibilities of loving and caring for a child.  It’s a huge job and it quickly consumes us.

The author addresses the angst that mothers feel as they serve their families with love and devotion while, at times, feel empty of themselves.  She confronts the fake I.D’s and labels that mothers wear and challenges readers to be the woman that God designed us to be, full and complete.  She inspires us to be 3-D mothers who love our families and show our love by continuing to use the gifts, abilities and passions that God has placed inside of us.   That make us complete women who encourage our children beyond words.

Readers will learn how to see beyond the stereotypes of motherhood and encourage the women around them to reach their fullness in God.  Each chapter has discussion questions.  This book would be excellent to read for a Mom’s small group.

Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. is a reminder to me that being a mother is a blessing and an honor but at my heart, my true identity is as a daughter of Christ.

Check out this book here.


Dear Mom – Mother’s Day Blog Tour Post 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — novelized @ 11:26 pm


Melody Carlson is the author of the Diary Of A Teenage Girl series.  I became familiar with her writing when I had my teenage cousin Shayla living with me.  Shayla would read in her bedroom and come flopping herself onto the furniture and shriek in teenage excitement that this was “the best book ever!”  This endorsement from a typical, hard to please teen was enough for me to respect Melody Carlson for her ability to connect with her audience.

In Dear Mom (Everything Your Teenage Daughter Wants You To Know But Will Never Tell You), Melody weaves a beautiful dialogue from a teenage daughter to her mother.

Through this rambling, stream of thought “letter” mothers will catch the heartbeat of their teen daughters.  It’s like climbing in a time machine and before long you remember making -or thinking- the same requests and complaints of your mother.

Dear Mom is written like a letter from a teenager to her mother and it answers many important issues in relating to each other.

Imagine being able to get inside your teenager’s head, to understand why she pushes you away sometimes.  Wouldn’t it be nice to get to the bottom of the feelings, attitudes and emotions that they exhibit?  Mixed messages can create a mess.  Mothers need help, understanding and answers.

Dear Mom is a sweet and carefully worded book that gives you the truth that most teenage girls aren’t prepared to admit.  With raw conversation similar to reading a diary, this book captures the emotion and struggle of connecting with Mom.

At the same time, it’s the kind of book a teenage girl should want her Mom to read.  It says everything, while respecting the nature and trials of the teenage years.  It’s fair.  It’s realistic.  It’s honest.  It’s extremely readable.  Check it out here.