Personal Writings And Book Reviews

Rose House August 26, 2009

Filed under: book info/promo,reviews,Uncategorized — novelized @ 2:17 am


A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope.
Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.
She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.
What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.
A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

About the author:

Tina Ann Forkner is the author of Ruby Among Us. Originally from Oklahoma , she now lives with her husband and three children in Wyoming , where she serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation’s board of directors.

My (brief) thoughts:

Personally, I’m approaching a move very soon.  Boxes are everywhere and the contents of my house are become less and less.  Even still, this book has remained beside my bed.  Rose House has a beautifully written plot.  It’s a powerful story that I couldn’t wait to read and hate to put down each night.  You’ll love this book!

Go here to order Rose House.  Check out more great books at Random House    .


The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love

Filed under: book info/promo,reviews — novelized @ 2:07 am


Once a month, the six women of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society gather to discuss books and share their knitting projects. Inspired by her recently-wedded bliss, group leader Eugenie chooses “Great Love Stories in Literature” as the theme for the year’s reading list–a risky selection for a group whose members span the spectrum of age and relationship status.
As the Knit Lit ladies read and discus classic romances like Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice, each member is confronted with her own perception about love. Camille’s unexpected reunion with an old crush forces her to confront conflicting desires. Newly widowed Esther finds her role in Sweetgum changing and is surprised by two unlikely friends. Hannah isn’t sure she’s ready for the trials of first love. Newcomer Maria finds her life turned upside-down by increasing family obligations and a handsome, arrogant lawyer, and Eugenie and Merry are both asked to make sacrifices for their husbands that challenge their principles.
Even in a sleepy, southern town like Sweetgum , Tennessee , love isn’t easy. The Knit Lit ladies learn they can find strength and guidance in the novels they read, the love of their family, their community–and especially in each other.

About the author:

RITA Award-winning Beth Patillocombines her love of knitting and books in her engaging Sweetgum series. Pattillo served churches in Missouri and Tennessee before founding Faith Leader, a spiritual leadership development program.


My (brief) thoughts:

I’m not finished reading about the ladies of Sweetgum, but I’m sure enjoying an escape into their world.  With every page turned I feel like a privileged inside member of the Knit Lit Society.  These ladies are as smart, funny, witty, strong and entertaining as any friend I’d hope to have.  The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love is a great southern read.

Go here to order this book.  Random House has a lot of great selections, stop by and see for yourself.


The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

Filed under: book info/promo,reviews,Uncategorized — novelized @ 1:44 am



The future is clearly mapped out for New York socialite Eugenia “Gennie” Cooper, but she secretly longs to slip into the boots of her favorite dime-novel heroine and experience just one adventure before settling down. When the opportunity arises, Gennie jumps at the chance to experience the Wild West, but her plans go awry when she is drawn into the lives of silver baron Daniel Beck and his daughter and finds herself caring for them more than is prudent–especially as she’s supposed to go back to New York and marry another man.

As Gennie adapts to the rough-and-tumble world of 1880s Colorado , she must decide whether her future lies with the enigmatic Daniel Beck or back home with the life planned for her since birth. The question is whether Daniel’s past–and disgruntled miners bent on revenge–will take that choice away from her.


About The Author:

Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels, novellas, and young adult books, with more than a half-million in print. A graduate of Texas A&M University , she is currently a publicist with Books & Such literary agency.

Interested?  Go here to order The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper. 

Kathleen Y’Barbo is a great author that I recognize and admire.  For that reason,  I’ll be reading this book in my near future despite the fact that I’m not a big wild west fan.  When I complete it I’ll be sure to post again and let you know what I think. 

Truth is, there are lots of styles and genres available at Random House to suite a wide variety of readers.  Find a book you can’t put down at Random House.


40 Minute Bible Studies (informational) August 14, 2009

Filed under: Heather's writings,reviews,Uncategorized — novelized @ 1:45 am


Summary for 40 Minute Bible Studies

The 40 Minute Bible Study series from beloved Bible teacher Kay Arthur and the teaching staff of Precept Ministries tackles important issues in brief, easy-to-grasp lessons you can use personally or for small-group discussion. Each book in the series includes six 40-minute studies designed to draw you into God’s Word through basic inductive Bible study. There are 16 titles in the series, with topics ranging from fasting and forgiveness to prayer and worship. With no homework required, everyone in the group can work through the lesson together at the same time. Let these respected Bible teachers lead you in a study that will transform your thinking—and your life.


Titles Include:

•The Essentials of Effective Prayer                            •Being a Disciple: Counting the Cost

•Building a Marriage That Really Works                     •Discovering What the Future Holds

•Forgiveness: Breaking the Power of the Past             •Having a Real Relationship with God

•How Do You Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk?      •Living a Life of Real Worship

•How to Make Choices You Won’t Regret                  •Living Victoriously in Difficult Times

•Money & Possessions: The Quest for Contentment  •Rising to the Call of Leadership

•How Do You Know God’s Your Father?                  •Key Principles of Biblical Fasting

•A Man’s Strategy for Conquering Temptation                       •What Does the Bible Say About Sex?

About the Author:

Kay Arthur, executive vice presidentand cofounder of Precept Ministries International has worked with her teaching staff to create the powerful 40-Minute Bible Studies series. Kay is known around the world as a Bible teacher, author, conference speaker, and host of national radio and television programs.

My Thoughts:

I wasn’t asked to review this book, but simply to inform my readers that it’s out there.  I couldn’t help myself though and decided to take a peak at my copy of Living Victoriously in Difficult Times.  I think it was a God-thing that I was intrigued by it. 

Kay Arthur uses an inductive approach and breaks the study down into chunks titled observe, discuss, and insight.  She encourages people to mark in their bibles a lot and make note of the frequency of words and phrases.  I love that she breaks some things down to the Greek.

Honestly, I began this study privately with my husband just before bedtime.  The studies were brief but deep enough to provoke my thinking and challenge my walk.

Only weeks after starting this study my home became (emotionaly) like the home on the cover.  Unexpected things have occurred in my marriage and personal life that are nothing short of difficult.  I am living and walking victoriously through this trial though thanks to this wonderful and encouraging study.

So there it is, not a true review . . .but an endorsement by someone who is blessed by this study.

You can pick up 40 Minute Bible Studies for a very low cost.  They would make an excellent small group study.  I highly recommend checking them out.  Go here to order.


The Friends We Keep (a book review)

Filed under: Heather's writings,reviews — novelized @ 1:21 am



During a particularly painful time in her life, Sarah Zacharias Davis learned how delightful–and wounding–women can be in friendship. She saw how some friendships end badly, others die slow deaths, and how a chance acquaintance can become that enduring friend you need.

The Friends We Keep is Sarah’s thoughtful account of her own story and the stories of other women about navigating friendship. Her revealing discoveries tackle the questions every woman asks:

• Why do we long so for women friends?
• Do we need friends like we need air or food or water?
• What causes cattiness, competition, and co-dependency in too many friendships?
• Why do some friendships last forever and others only a season?
• How do I foster friendship?
• When is it time to let a friend go, and how do I do so?

With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores these questions and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process, she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why we need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous.

My Thoughts:

In her book, The Friends We Keep, Sarah Zacharias Davis expresses the complex nature of female friendships.  This book is an inside look at the varying degrees of friendship and how they all blend together to shape us into the women we’ve become.

Sarah Zacharias Davis references books, plays and movies that capture the depths of friendship.  Using many great examples, she writes about the ups and downs that all relationships face.  She confront the necessity of betrayal and the conflicts that pull a friendship together and make it stronger than it was.

Again, using wonderful parallels from literature, Sarah lays out the different faces and dimensions of friendship.  She addresses the importance of trust in a relationship and the value of respecting the secrets of friendship. 

Sarah gives wonderful wisdom on how to be a true friend, not by control and domination, but by quiet questioning and gently holding up a mirror of self examination.

She tackles the sticky subject of forgiveness and I love what she says:

“We forgive because, if all relationships bear a betrayal of some kind, then eventually we, too, will be in need of forgiveness.”

Sarah covers the stages and phases of friendship that travel the length of our lives through awkward self-discover to the forming of who we are and what we will become.  It’s the truly special friendship that ride the waves with us.

Readers will learn about soul friendships defined as ” . . .full disclosure, confession, sharing deep wounds and slow healing . . .”

This section is, to me, the most poignant and beautiful description of love.

The Friends We Keep discusses all forms of friendship from seasonal friendship, soul friendship, unplanned friendship and distanced friendship.  Friendship is lined up against fictional references, movie references and biblical imagery.

The Friends We Keep is beautifully written.  Even the cover is beautiful.

This book would make a wonderful gift for a friend.  It contains a detailed discussion guide at the back of the book that  leads readers to dig even deeper into the ideas and nature of friendship.

 Author Bio:

Sarah Zacharias Davisis a senior advancement officer at Pepperdine University , having joined the university after working as vice president of marketing and development for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and in strategic marketing for CNN. The daughter of best-selling writer Ravi Zacharias, Davis is the author of the critically-acclaimed Confessions from an Honest Wife and Transparent: Getting Honest About Who We are and Who We Want to Be. She graduated from Covenant College with a degree in education and lives in Los Angeles , California .


Want to know more?

You can read an excerpt of  The Friends We Keep here.

You can find The Friends We Keepat for only $9.99.  Go here to order.