Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blog Tour for Love at First Flight - Takes Off!

Love at First Flight by Marie Force
(touring June 29-July 14)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

About the book:

One flight will change their lives…

Marie Force’s New Contemporary Romance shows you should pay attention to who you sit next to!

Juliana is a talented hair stylist, on her way to Jacksonville, Florida, to see her long-distance—and longtime—boyfriend. While waiting for her delayed flight, she meets Michael, a prosecutor about to begin the biggest murder trial of his career, on his way to attend his engagement party in Jacksonville. Both relationships are beginning to crack under the strain of the distance, and when Michael and Juliana realize they’re booked on the same flight home on Sunday night, they agree to meet up again to compare notes.

During a disastrous weekend with her boyfriend, Jeremy, Juliana wonders if the reason he hasn’t popped “the question” during their ten years together is because he’s interested in other women. . .

Michael’s high-maintenance fiancĂ©e has always wanted the dream wedding: the big dress, the big cake, the even bigger guest list—none of the things he envisioned for himself. In the midst of their engagement party, Michael realizes his marriage to Paige is doomed before it has even begun. . .

Both of them suddenly single, Michael and Juliana commiserate on the flight home to Baltimore. In the midst of heartache, they strike up a sweet friendship that leads to passionate love. (from e-mail from Sourcebooks)

About the author: Marie Force has been a professional writer and editor for more than twenty years. She resides in Rhode Island with her husband, two children, and a dog named Consuela. She is also the author of Line of Scrimmage.

Love at First Flight
Publisher/Publication Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, July 2009
ISBN: 9781402220067
398 pages

Barnes & Noble

L@FF Blog Tour: Come By, Comment, and Win!

July 1: Marie’s Blog Launch Party

Wonderful Win: The Knot Fairy

The Knot Fairy (book and audio cd) by Bobbie Hinman, Illustrated by Kristi Bridgeman

Publisher: Best Fairy Books

I won this from Shannon over at Confuzzled Books. She has a Refer a Book Weekend every week where she usually asks for a topic or genre for a referral - then whoever's book she chooses to read next wins! Go and play!

About the book: An enchanting book about a mischievous little fairy dressed in pajamas and fuzzy slippers. She visits children while they sleep and is responsible for the knots and tangles in their hair. With its captivating illustrations, this magical story comes alive, revealing a less practical and more magical explanation for tangled hair. After all, who better to blame it on than the fairies? The easy-to-read verse makes this book a favorite among beginning readers as well as toddlers. Includes audio CD of story and original fairy song. (from Barnes and Noble website)

About the author: Bobbie Hinman has a B.S. degree in Elementary Education and, along with her 10 grandchildren, is right at home when it comes to children's literature. She loves to read to her grandchildren and tell them stories, especially ones about the fanciful world of fairies. Bobbie's grandchildren have helped her discover some of the practical and more magical explanations for tangled hair and other mysterious "happenings". After all, who better to blame it on than the fairies?

About the illustrator: Kristi Bridgeman was raised in a family of artists and gardeners. She whiled away many childhood hours in the garden, looking for fairies. It was at the ripe age of six that she decided to become an artist. After going to art college, attending classes and workshops, and taking a little hiatus to raise her children, Kristi is now realizing her dream. She is actively involved with the environment, children and the arts. Kristi's trademark sepia effect is created with a 'green-friendly' quill pen.

The Knot Fairy
Publisher/Publication Date: Best Fairy Books, Jan 2007
ISBN: 978-0-9786791-0-1
32 pages
Ages 4-8

Barnes & Noble

ARC Arrival: Too Many Visitors for One Little House

Too Many Visitors for One Little House by Susan Chodakiewitz illustrated by Veronica Walsh

Publisher: BookSurge Publishing

I received this book for a book tour in July with Pump Up Your Books.

About the book: A story about 3 crabby neighbors, a new family on the block, a big family reunion and the importance of being included.

About the author: Susan Chodakiewitz is a writer, composer and producer. She lives in Los Angeles in a lively household filled with music, 3 sons, a husband, a Dalmation and lots of visitors. Susan loves picture books and several years ago she wrote a musical based on one of her favorites. She realized then, it was time to start writing her own picture books. Too Many Visitors for One Little House is Susan's debut book. If you happen to see Susan sitting in the children's section of the library reading picture books with a big smile on her face, do say hello.

About the illustrator: With a sense of humor and identification to the characters, Veronica Walsh debuts illustrations in Too Many Visitors for One Little House. Ms Walsh studied art and design at California State University, Long Beach and worked as a graphic designer for many years. She lives in So Cal with her husband and three cats.

Too Many Visitors for One Little House
Publisher/Publication Date: BookSurge Publishing, Feb 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4196-5470-1
40 pages


Tome Travelers: Five books nabbed at library sale

I picked up five used books this morning from our library used book store for only $3.10! The two Gabaldon books are hardcover and in mint condition! Here are the books:

Title: The Fiery Cross (Outlander series, Book 5)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher/Publication Date: Dell, August 2005
ISBN: 9780440221661

About the book: In this fifth book of the "Outlander" series, time traveler Claire Randall, now firmly ensconced in the past with her daughter, Brianna, and Brianna's husband, Roger, finds herself and her dashing husband, Jamie, at a critical juncture. It is 1771, and the first stirrings of the American Revolution are being felt in the mountains of North Carolina where Jamie, despite being a Catholic, has been given an enormous tract of land by the governor and is ordered to raise a militia. Having learned about the Revolution from his 20th-century wife and daughter, Jamie uneasily complies with the governor's orders and is immensely relieved when the crisis passes and the militia is disbanded. Cynthia Johnson, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Title: A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander series, Book 6)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher/Publication Date: Bantam Books, April 2008
ISBN: 9780440225805

About the book: Eagerly anticipated by her legions of fans, this sixth novel in Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling Outlander saga is a masterpiece of historical fiction from one of the most popular authors of our time.

Since the initial publication of Outlander fifteen years ago, Diana Gabaldon’s New York Times–bestselling saga has won the hearts of readers the world over -- and sold more than twelve million books. Now, A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the extraordinary story of 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century wife, Claire.

The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.

With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence -- with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future. (from Barnes and Noble website)

Title: Another Thing to Fall (Tess Monaghan Series #10)
Author: Laura Lippman
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Collins, Feb 2009
ISBN: 9780061128882

About the book: When private investigator Tess Monaghan runs into a TV crew, she doesn't expect an assignment. Keeping a spoiled movie princess under wraps may be more than she can handle. This is not Tess's world. And these are not her kind of people. But the fish-out-of-water P.I. is abruptly pulled back in by murder. Suddenly a wall of secrets is in danger of toppling, leaving a catastrophe that threatens the people Tess cares about . . . and the city she loves. (from Barnes and Noble website)

Title: Dying Breath
Author: Wendy Corsi Staub
Publisher/Publication Date: Kensington Publishing, May 2008
ISBN: 9781420101317

About the book:

It's summer on the Jersey Shore. Children play on the beach. Husbands are off working in the city. And the surf echoes in the night. Here, in this perfect place, a serial killer has no worries in the world-except choosing the next victim.


Cam Hastings has come to Long Beach Island with her teenage daughter and the hope that maybe she can save her failed marriage. Cam has never stopped loving her husband Mike nor has she been able to outrun her flaws and demons-a vanished mother, a lost sister, and the ugly visions she has of missing children.


Now, Cam is about to step over the edge. For once, she will act on one of her visions-and then face the consequences. For a killer has just struck again. And for Cam, and the people she loves most, fear has come home for good. (from Barnes and Noble website)

Title: Outer Banks
Author: Anne Rivers Siddons
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Collins, July 1992
ISBN: 9780061099731

About the book: Elegant Kate, walking a tightrope over an abyss of lies...sensitive, sensible, self-contained Cecie...Ginger, the heiress, sexy, vibrant, richer than sin...and poor, hopeless, brilliant Fig—they came together as sorority sisters on a Southern campus in the '60s. Four young women bound by rare, blinding, early friendship—they spend two idyllic spring breaks at Nag's Head, North Carolina, the isolated strip of barrier islands where grand old weatherbeaten houses perch defiantly on the edge of a storm-tossed sea. Now thirty years later, they are coming back. They are coming back to recapture the exquisite magic of those early years...to experience again the love, the enthusiasm, the passion, pain, and cruel-betrayal that shaped the four young girls into women and set them all adrift on the...Outer Banks.
(from the Barnes and Noble website)

Purchased Pages: A Cross Stitch Christmas - Handmade Holiday

A Cross-Stitch Christmas: Handmade Holiday

Publisher: Bayview Publishing

About the book: The variety of yuletide cross-stitch designs in this collection will inspire you to create lasting treasures that come from not just from your hands, but from your heart as well. From breathtaking stockings and wall hangings to whimsical ornaments and quick-to-finish cards, discover a wealth of creative ideas to stitch with joy this Christmas. See below for a sneak peek of the some of the more than 60 projects featured in the 128-page hardcover book and to purchase the products used to create them. This is a must-have holiday stitching book!

Handmade Holiday
Publisher: Bayview Publishing

Teaser Tuesday 6-30-2009

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

She walks quickly on toward a floodlit terrace with white umbrellas and a bar curved like a gondola. "Now I have an adopted daughter, Laila. Means 'night' in Arabic." (p102 Conscience Point)

Conscience Point
Publisher/Publication Date: Unbridled Books, October 2008
ISBN: 978-1-932961-53-9
304 pages

Barnes & Noble

Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer (Book Review)

Title: Cousin Kate
Author: Georgette Heyer
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

First sentence: At no time during the twenty-four hours was the Bull and Mouth Inn a place of quiet or repose, and by ten o'clock in the morning, when the stage-coach from Wisbech, turning top-heavyily out of Aldersgate, lumbered into its yard, it seemed, to one weary and downcast passenger at least, to be crowded with vehicles of every description, from a yellow-bodied post-chaise to a wagon, with its shafts cocked up and the various packages and bundles it carried strewn over the yard. (Whew - long sentence!)

About the book: Kate is a young girl in her mid-twenties. Young by our standards, but in the Regency period she was bordering on being an old maid. What is worse is that both of her parents have died, and she has just lost her job as a nanny. So she has no home, no job, and nothing for a dowry.

She has traveled to her childhood nurse, Sarah's home until she can find another placement. She doesn't feel like she can stay with Sarah as she has her own husband and family to care for - so when her Aunt Minerva shows up (her deceased father's estranged half-sister) - Kate views her as her salvation.

Aunt Minerva, however, is not taking Kate home to Staplewood out of the goodness of her heart. She definitely has ulterior motives. She is looking for a wife for her son Torquil - and Torquil isn't exactly a "catch". Can Kate discover what her Aunt Minerva is up to before it is too late? And will her cousin Phillip be her ally?

My thoughts: Where this wasn't necessarily a romance like the previous two Heyer books (A Convenient Marriage, Frederica) that I enjoyed - it wasn't really a mystery either like Why Shoot a Butler? which I didn't really care for at all. But no matter, I still liked this one. It contained all the humor and wit that I have come to expect when reading one of her novels.

Cousin Kate
Publisher/Publication Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, 1968/2009
ISBN: 978-1-4022-1768-5
373 pages

Barnes & Noble

Monday, June 29, 2009

ARC Arrival: Off Season

Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Books

I received this book from Valerie at Hachette. Thanks Valerie!

About the book: For as long as she can remember, they were Cam and Lilly - happily married, totally in love with each other, parents of a beautiful family, and partners in life. Then, after decades of marriage, it ended as every great love story does. . . in loss.

After Cam's death, Lilly takes a solitary road trip to her and Cam's favorite spot on the wild coast of Maine, the place where they fell in love, and where their ghosts still dance. There she looks hard to her past - to a first love that ended in tragedy; to falling in love with Cam; to a marriage filled with exuberance, sheer life, and safety - to try to make sense of her future. It is a journey that begins with tender memories and culminates in a revelation that will make Lilly reevaluate everything she thought was true about her husband and her marriage. A story about those simple truths that often elude us, even when they are in front of our eyes, Off Season explores the hidden places of the heart that continually surprise us. (from the back cover)

About the author: Born in 1936 in a small town near Atlanta, Anne Rivers Siddons was raised to be a dutiful daughter of the South -- popular, well-mannered, studious, and observant of all the cultural mores of time and place. She attended Alabama's Auburn University in the mid-1950s, just as the Civil Rights Movement was gathering steam. Siddons worked on the staff of Auburn's student newspaper and wrote an editorial in favor of integration. When the administration asked her to pull the piece, she refused. The column ran with an official disclaimer from the university, attracting national attention and giving young Siddons her first taste of the power of the written word.

After a brief stint in the advertising department of a bank, Siddons took a position with the up and coming regional magazine Atlanta, where she worked her way up to senior editor. Impressed by her writing ability, an editor at Doubleday offered her a two-book contract. She debuted in 1975 with a collection of nonfiction essays; the following year, she published Heartbreak Hotel, a semi-autobiographical novel about a privileged Southern coed who comes of age during the summer of 1956.

With the notable exception of 1978's The House Next Door, a chilling contemporary gothic compared by Stephen King to Shirley Jackson's classic horror novel The Haunting of Hill House, Siddons has produced a string of well-written, imaginative, and emotionally resonant stories of love and loss -- all firmly rooted in the culture of the modern South. Her books are consistent bestsellers, with 1988's Peachtree Road (1988) arguably her biggest commercial success. Described by her friend and peer, Pat Conroy, as "the Southern novel for our generation," the book sheds illuminating light on the changing landscape of mid-20th-century Atlanta society.

Although her status as a "regional" writer accounts partially for Siddons' appeal, ultimately fans love her books because they portray with compassion and truth the real lives of women who transcend the difficulties of love and marriage, family, friendship, and growing up. (from Barnes and Noble)

Off Season
Publisher/Publication Date: Grand Central Publishing, July 2009
ISBN: 978-0-446-69829-0
384 pages

Barnes & Noble

Wonderful Win: Swim the Fly

Swim the Fly by Don Calame

Publisher: Candlewick Press

I won this at YA Book Central. Great place to go when looking for YA or kid's books!

About the book: Matt Gratton and his two best friends, Sean and Coop, always set themselves a summertime goal. This year's? To see a real-live naked girl for the first time. But as far as Matt is concerned, they'd have better luck finding the lost city of Atlantis. None of the three has ever even asked a girl out, and the fact that they're the least athletic swimmers on the Rockville swim team (and that's counting the seven-year-olds) doesn't relaly help their chances.

But seeing a girl in the buff starts to seem like child's play compared to the other summertime goal Matt sets for himself: to swim the 100-yard butterfly (the hardest stroke known to God or man) in order to impress Kelly West, the hot new girl on the swim team. So what if he can't manage a single lap, let alone four? He's got the whole summer to perfect his technique. What could possibly go wrong?

Debut novelist Don Calame makes a huge splash with this hysterically funny, utterly authentic teen comedy. Prepare to cheer on Matt, Sean, and Coop as they navigate the treacherous waters of adolescence - and try to keep this summer from being one big belly flop. (from the book jacket)

About the author: Don Calame is an accomplished screenwriter who has worked with Marvel Studios, the Disney Channel, Lionsgate, Universal Studios, and Paramount Pictures. Over the years, he has been a bike mechanic, a supermarket cashier, a newspaper delivery boy, an ice-cream scooper, a wedding videographer, a musical-instrument salesman, and an elementary-school teacher. But not necessarily in that order.

About Swim the Fly, he says "This novel began as a short piece I wrote several years ago about an incident that happened to me when I was a teenager on the swim team. (Yes, I have the collection of green fifth-place ribbons to prove it.) I tucked the story away and promptly forgot about it until my wife gently nudged me - thirty-six times - to expand it into a book. I'm grateful she was so persistent, because I've never had so much fun writing something in my life."

Don Calame was born in New York and now lives in British Columbia with his wife, his stepson, and their two dogs. This is his first novel. (from the book jacket)

Swim the Fly
Publisher/Publication Date: Candlewick Press, April 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4157-3
352 pages

Barnes & Noble

ARC Arrival: All the World

All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee

Publisher: Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster

About the book: A circle of family and friends shows the importance of all things, great and small, as we follow them from through a day, from morning until night.

About the author: Liz Garton Scanlon lives with her family in Austin, Texas, and Marla Frazee lives with her family in Pasadena, California. When they are not busy doing all kinds of other stuff, they both spend a lot of time quietly trying to make sense of our big, round world by creating picture books.

All the World
Publisher/Publication Date: Beach Lane Books, Sept 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8580-8
40 pages
Ages: 3-7

Barnes & Noble
Simon & Schuster

The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips Blog Tour and Book Review

Title: The Devlin Diary
Author: Christi Phillips
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster

First sentence: She leaves her house on Portsmouth Street carrying a wood box with a smooth ivory handle and tarnished brass fittings.

About the book: London, 1672. The past twelve years have brought momentous changes: the restoration of the monarchy, a devastating plague and fire. Yet the city remains a teeming, thriving metropolis, energized by the lusty decadence of Charles II's court and burgeoning scientific inquiry. Although women enjoy greater freedom, they are not allowed to practice medicine, a restriction that physician Hannah Devlin evades by treating patients that most other doctors shun: the city's poor.

But Hannah has a special knowledge that Secretary of State Lord Alrington desperately needs. At the king's Machiavellian court, Hannah attracts the attention of two men, charming courtier Ralph Mantagu and anatomist Dr. Edward Strathern, as well as the attention of th epowerful College of Physicians, which views her work as criminal. When two influential courtiers are found brutally murdered, their bodies inscribed with arcane symbols, Hannah is drawn into a dangerous investigation by Dr. Strathern, who believes the murders conceal a far-reaching conspiracy that may include Hannah's late father and the king himself.

Cambridge, 2008. Teaching history at Trinity College is Claire Donovan's dream come true - until one of her colleagues is found dead on the banks of the River Cam. The only key to the professor's unsolved murder is a seventeenth-century diary kept by his last research subject, Hannah Devlin, physician to the king's mistress. With help from the eclectic collections of Cambridge's renowned libraries, Claire and historian Andrew Kent follow the clues Devlin left behind, uncovering secrets of London's dark past and Cambridge's equally murky present, and discovering that events of three hundred years ago may still have consequences today. . .

A suspenseful and richly satisfying tale brimming with sharply observed historical detail, The Devlin Diary brings past and present to vivid life. With wit and grace, Christi Phillips holds readers spellbound with an extraordinary novel of secrets, obsession, and the haunting power of the past. (from the book cover)

My thoughts: I used the synopsis from the book cover because I did not think I would be able to do this book justice. Where it says richly above I have to agree. That is the word that I was going to use to portray this book was rich. Rich language, rich detail, rich character development. You get the idea. It was so wonderful to read - with the attention that was paid to detail and history. I loved the way it weaved in and out between the present and the past. The characters from both centuries were very well-rounded and I was immediately engaged in the story line.

I knew that Christi Phillips had written a previous novel - The Rossetti Letter - but I didn't realize that it involved some of the same characters. I wish I had read the previous book, but only because I enjoyed this one so much. It definitely holds it own as a stand alone. I know that before the year is up I will be looking for The Rossetti Letter though!

About the author: Christi Phillips is the author of The Rossetti Letter, which has been translated into six foreign languages. Her research combines a few of her favorite things: old books, libraries, and travel. When she's not rummaging around in an archive or exploring the historic heart of a European city, she lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is at work on her next novel, set in France.

The Devlin Diary
Publisher/Publication Date: Pocket Books, May 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4165-2739-8
427 pages

Barnes & Noble

Participating Blogs:
S. Krishna’s Books: www.skrishnasbooks.com
All About {n}: www.bookwormygirl.blogspot.com
Jenn’s Bookshelf: http://jennsbookshelf.blogspot.com/
Beth Fish Reads: http://bfishreads.blogspot.com/
Booking Mama: http://bookingmama.blogspot.com/
The Literate Housewife Review: http://literatehousewife.com/
Book Soulmates: http://booksoulmates.blogspot.com/
Chick With Books: http://www.chickwithbooks.blogspot.com/
Gimme More Books: http://gimmemorebooks.blogspot.com/
We Be Reading: http://webereading.com/
Book Bird Dog: http://www.bookbirddog.blogspot.com/
Bookin’ with “BINGO”: http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com/
My Friend Amy: http://www.myfriendamysblog.com/
Books and Needlepoint: http://booksandneedlepoint.blogspot.com/
A Working Title: http://awthome.wordpress.com/
Must Read Faster: http://mustreadfaster.blogspot.com/
Shhh I’m Reading: http://shhhimreading.blogspot.com/
Debbie’s World of Books: http://debbiesworldofbooks.com/
The Tome Traveller’s Weblog: http://thetometraveller.blogspot.com/
Write for a Reader: http://www.writeforareader.blogspot.com/
A Sea of Books: http://aseaofbooks.blogspot.com/
I Heart Monster: http://www.iheartmonster.com/
Pick of the Literate: http://bookrevues.blogspot.com/
Kingdom Books Blog: http://kingdombks.blogspot.com
Drey’s Library: http://dreyslibrary.blogspot.com/
The Jaydit Reader: http://jayditreader.blogspot.com/
A Book Bloggers Diary: http://abookbloggersdiary.blogspot.com/

Blog Tour for Knight of Desire Starts Today!

Knight of Desire by Margaret Mallory

(This is book 1 in her new series - All the King's Men)

About the book: His surcoat still bloody from battle, William FitzAlan comes to claim the strategic borderlands granted to him by the king. One last prize awaits him at the castle gates: the lovely Lady Catherine Rayburn.

Catherine risked everything to spy for the crown. Her reward? Her lands are declared forfeit and she is given this choice: marry FitzAlan or be taken to the Tower. Catherine agrees to give her handsome new husband her body, but she's keeping secrets, and dare not give him her heart. As passion ignites and danger closes in, Catherine and William must learn to trust in each other to save their marriage, their land, and their very lives.

About the author: MARGARET MALLORY recently surprised her friends and family by abandoning her legal career-and her steady job-to write tales of romance and adventure. At long last, she can satisfy her passion for justice by punishing the bad and rewarding the worthy-in the pages of her novels, of course. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two college-age children. KNIGHT OF DESIRE is her first book so she would dearly love to hear from readers.

Knight of Desire
Publisher/Publication Date: Forever, Grand Central Publishing, July 2009
ISBN: 9780446553391
384 pages

Barnes & Noble

Readaholic- June 29 giveaway.
This Book for Free- June 29 giveaway
Must Read Faster - June 29 review and giveaway.
Yankee Romance Reviewers - June 29 to July 10 review and giveaway
This, That and the Other Thing - June 30 review and giveaway.
Book Soulmates - July 1 review and giveaway.
The Epic Rat - July 1
Foreign Circus Library - July 2
Happily Forever After - July 2 giveaway
Love Impossible - July 3
Morbid Romantic - July 4 review and giveaway
Chick with Books - July 4 review and giveaway
Books and Needlepoint- July 5 review; July 19 giveaway.
Bookin' with Bingo- July 5
A Journey of Books - July 6 review and giveaway.
Seductive Musings - July 7 review and giveaway.
Alpha Heroes - July 8 review and giveaway.
All About {n} - July 8 review and giveaway.
Marta's Meanderings- July 9 review and giveaway.
Review from Here - July 10 review.
Starting Fresh - July 10 review and giveaway
Maria's Space- review and giveaway.

Darby's Closet - review.

My Forbidden Desire by Carolyn Jewel (Book Review)

Title: My Forbidden Desire
Author: Carolyn Jewel
Publisher: Forever, Grand Central Publishing

I read this book for the current blog tour.

First sentence: An icy sensation prickled across the back of Alexandrine Marit's neck and raised gooseflesh on her arms.

About the book: Alexandrine was a witch - but not a very strong one. She had been given away by her father, Rasmus Kessler, at the age of 3 because she did not show any promising powers. She was what was known as vanilla (magekind with little power). Her father was a very powerful mage who had many magehelds (a fiend or demon who is under complete control of a magekind) to do his bidding. She did not find this out until she was an adult.

In traveling to find her biological parents - she meets a woman in Turkey and is given a talisman. Unbeknownst to her, this talisman is very valuable and contains the life and magic of a fiend that was siphoned off as they are dying. She has worn this talisman for the better part of nine months and it's power has slowly been leaking into her system. With good intentions she emails Alvaro Magellan to find out what her talisman is exactly and if it has any powers. Because of this email she becomes a target for her father, who wants to possess the talisman and will go to any lengths to get it - even if it means her death.

Xia, a demon and a former mageheld of Kessler's, is brought by her brother Harsh to protect her. Xia hates witches though and with good reason. It was because of a witch that he was rendered vulnerable and was able to be overpowered and enslaved as a mageheld. Witches and mages are known for their desire to kill demons. Alexandrine tries to convince him that she is not like other witches and would never hurt him. His ability to trust her is nil, but he knows that he must help her separate her powers from the talisman's before it kills one or both of them. Slowly his duty towards her turns to desire for her. Will he be able to control his desire and fulfill his duty? Or will his desire put her in even more danger?

My thoughts: This book was just okay for me. I felt like I was lacking background info - so about 1/2 way through I went searching to see if there was an earlier book - and BINGO - this is the sequel to My Wicked Enemy. I think it would be much easier to get into this book if you read My Wicked Enemy first! That would have made a huge difference for me - as I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how certain characters played into the storyline. I have a feeling much of this background is explained in the first book.

My Forbidden Desire
Publisher/Publication Date: Forever, Grand Central Publishing, June 2009
ISBN: 978-0-446-17824-2
359 pages

Barnes & Noble

Soul Survivor - New Giveaway!

Let's hear it for Hachette Books! They are letting me give away 5 copies of this intriguing book - Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot!

About the book: This is the story of James Leininger, who-- a little more than two weeks after his second birthday-- began having blood-curdling nightmares that just would not stop. When James began screaming out recurring phrases like, "Plane on fire! Little man can't get out!" the Leiningers finally admitted that they truly had to take notice.

When details of planes and war tragedies no two-year-old boy could know continued-- even in stark daylight-- Bruce and Andrea Leininger began to realize that this was an incredible situation. SOUL SURVIVOR is the story of how the Leiningers pieced together what their son was communicating and eventually discovered that he was reliving the past life of World War II fighter pilot James Huston. As Bruce Leininger struggled to understand what was happening to his son, he also uncovered details of James Huston's life-- and death-- as a pilot that will fascinate military buffs everywhere.

In SOUL SURVIVOR, readers are taken for a gripping ride as the Leiningers' belief system is shaken to the core, and both of these families come to know a little boy who, against all odds and even in the face of true skeptics, harbors the soul of this man who died long ago.

About the authors: Bruce and Andrea Leininger, James' parents, live in Louisiana with their son James, who is now nine years old.

You must go view this newscast with this family that aired on Fox 8 News.

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First Wild Card Tour: How to Raise a Modern Day Joseph

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

How to Raise a Modern-Day Joseph

David C. Cook; New edition edition (June 1, 2009)


Linda Massey Weddle is a children’s author and regular contributor to publications including Women’s Day and Christian Parenting Today. She develops Bible-based curriculum for young people and has been involved in children’s and youth ministry for the past twenty years. She has two grown children and six grandchildren and resides in suburban Chicago.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition edition (June 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434765318
ISBN-13: 978-1434765314


I n t r o d u c t i o n

A Journey Worth Planning

For parents like you…in churches like yours…this book is practical guide for a child’s spiritual

development—a journey in which parents and churches work together to raise kids who know, love, and serve the Lord.

Much of the vision and purpose for such a journey is discussed in my friend Larry Fowler’s book, Raising a Modern-Day Joseph. The book you hold in your hands—How to Raise a Modern-Day Joseph—focuses more on the practical side of that. It gives parents a workable plan for putting this vision and purpose to work in their everyday family life.

No Guarantees?

Like Larry’s book, this one is needed because we’re in the midst of a crisis. The statistics stagger us as we read about, hear about, and see young people walking away from their faith.

We surprised that this could be happening, since after all…

• our churches provide nurseries, Sunday school, vacation Bible School, Awana, youth ministries, and every other kind of kid or youth program imaginable.

• our children’s ministry curriculum is more entertaining, colorful, and professional looking than ever before.

• the market is flooded with “Christian” action figures, mugs, pencils, wallpaper, wallets, posters, linens, T-shirts, and toys, many decorated with clever “Christian” sayings.

• radio stations play Christian music twenty-four hours a day, and television channels broadcast a never-ending selection of messages from both local churches and polished, smooth-talking televangelists.

And here’s an even tougher dilemma: Why does a kid from one home walk away from the Lord while a kid in another home stays true to Him—yet the families in both homes have attended the same church, Sunday school, vacation Bible school, Awana clubs, etc.?

What happened? What’s the difference?

Before going further, I need to say this:

No plan,

no curriculum,

no humanly written book,

no pastor,

no teacher,

no parent…

can absolutely guarantee that a young person will not walk away from what they’ve been taught.

God works with His people individually, and each individual must make the choice to trust Christ as Savior. Each one chooses to walk with the Lord or to walk away from Him. After all, even with the first two kids we read about in the Bible, one had a criminal record.

The absence of such a guarantee is due to sin.

Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised,

being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

(Galatians 3:22)

So yes, unfortunately, children don’t come with guarantees.

But God’s Word does come with a guarantee: If we trust the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior,

believing that He died and rose again, we’re promised…

• the forgiveness of sin (bridging the separation between imperfect people and a perfect


• eternal life.

• a future in an unimaginably perfect heaven.

That’s some guarantee!

No, we as parents don’t have guarantees, but we do know that children who grow up in strong, Christ-centered homes—where God’s Word is both taught and lived—are more likely to live godly lives as adults.

But lets take a glimpse at what’s typically going on in many families.

A Church and Pastor Problem?

I grew up as a preacher’s kid, and as an adult became a preacher’s wife—I know firsthand how often the preacher and the church get blamed for parental failures.

I remember one Sunday morning after the church service when my husband was shaking hands with people filing out of the auditorium. Suddenly a mother stormed into the lobby, yelling and visibly upset. She said her son had been knocked over by other boys in the parking lot.

My husband’s first reaction was to call an ambulance, but the mom said that wasn’t necessary; her son just scraped his knee. “But,” she shouted, pointing to my husband. “This was your fault.”

“Why?” he asked. He could see our own two kids talking with friends nearby, so it wasn’t them who had knocked down the woman’s son. So why was this his fault?

“Because it’s your church,” the lady screamed. “And so they’re your responsibility.” (Well, that wasn’t true either; the church belongs to the people.)

But that true story is a picture of what many people do spiritually.

Just as many parents leave the physical well-being of their children up to the church (the drop-them-off-in-the-parking-lot syndrome), so many parents do the same with their children’s spiritual well-being, training, and guidance: Drop them off in the parking lot and let the church do the nurturing (whether or not the parents are even in the same building).

Maybe you feel this way too—at least to some extent. After all, you make sure your children go to church for every kids’ activity possible, so you figure the church’s pastors, teachers, and leaders are covering that spiritual training part of your kids’ lives. You’re busy doing other things, like working long hours to provide for your family, which is your responsibility.

Deep inside, you hope those people at the church are doing it right. And if your kids walk

away from the Lord someday, you’ll certainly have something to say about the church’s failure,

since spiritually raising your kids is their job.


Well, no!

From the Start

Let’s review some essentials of what the Bible says about the family.

The Family Is the First Group God Created

The family came before towns or countries, and before churches, youth programs, basketball

teams, or Facebook. God immediately created the marriage partnership—in fact, by the second

chapter of Genesis, God had already established marriage:

For Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:20-22)

And already by the fourth chapter in Genesis, we learn about children.

The Family (Marriage Partnership) Is a Picture of Christ and the Church

Paul says it this way:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:21–27)

Family “Rules” Are Listed Throughout the Bible

Here’s an example:

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (Colossians 3:18-21)

Family Members Need to Encourage Each Other

Paul pointed to family encouragement as a model for the entire church:

But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:7, 11–12)

The family has the primary responsibility in the spiritual training of children. But families also

need the church to come alongside them to nurture their kids, to provide Christian friendships

from likeminded families, and to give complementary spiritual training. (We’ll look at all that

more closely later.)

Someone Who Knew, Loved, and Served God

The goal of Awana (the ministry I serve with) is to train children and youth to grow into adults who know, love and serve the Lord. We’ve come to see that this is also an outstanding goal for parents in training their children.

And as a biblical example of a young person who grew up to know, love, and serve the Lord, it’s hard to beat Joseph in the Old Testament. Not that he came from a perfect family.

Most children know about Joseph. They know he received a unique coat from his father—and our perception of that is a knee-length coat with rainbow-colored stripes. But why would grown men (his older step brothers—see Genesis 30:1-25) care about their little brother’s multicolored coat? The Hebrew word here for “coat” refers to a full-length tunic—sleeves to the wrist, the hem to the ankles. This was the style of coat worn by rich young men. They didn’t have to work (they had slaves or servants to do that), and they had a position of honor both in the home and in the community.

Joseph’s full-length coat was probably made of white linen, with bands of colorful embroidery as trim. By contrast, working men wore looser fitting, shorter garments so they could climb over rocks and take care of their sheep—they needed to move quickly and not be hindered by long clothing. So the brothers weren’t jealous of the colors of Joseph’s coat, but rather the implied position Joseph held in wearing such a garment.

Joseph lived in Hebron. The word Hebron means “community” or “fellowship.” Joseph had fellowship with his father, but this wasn’t a family who had a lot of fellowship with one another. I don’t think dinnertime conversations were leisurely discussions about the price of sheep feed or the Hebron weather.

The truth is, Joseph came from a dysfunctional family. This is obvious when you read in Genesis 30 about the intrigue involving his mother, his mother’s sister, their servants, and drugs (mandrakes—which were seen as narcotics or aphrodisiacs). Rachel and Leah were both jealous women who were willing to have their servants lie with Jacob so they could win the who-can have-the-most-sons race. And when Rueben brought home some mandrakes, Rachel desired them so much she was willing to “sell” Leah a night with Jacob to get her hands on them.

This of course isn’t part of the biography we read about in Sunday school, but these events are worth noting here. Out of this mess, the Lord brought Joseph, a young man who never wavered from the assurance that God was with him; a young man with a true heart-desire to know, love, and serve the Lord.

We know that Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, and he ended up in Egypt. We know he quickly gained power and influence in Potiphar’s house, then quickly lost it when fleeing the temptations of Mrs. Potiphar. Yet even when put in prison, Joseph knew God was with him, and he remained faithful. Later, because he interpreted the king’s dream, he was made a VIP and placed in charge of the entire land of Egypt. In that position, he was able years later to publicly forgive his brothers.

Through it all, Joseph concluded that it wasn’t his brothers who sent him to Egypt, but God. God had a plan for him, and Joseph listened to God and fulfilled His plan—something he was later able to testify about to his brothers: “God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7).

Joseph’s life in particular reflected five godly character qualities—we’ll call them “master life threads”— that were woven into the very being of who he was and how he lived his life.

• Respect for the awesomeness and authority of God (Genesis 39:6-9.

• Wisdom for living life, based on a knowledge of God (40:5-8).

• Grace in relationships with others (41:51-52).

• A sense of destiny and purpose that came from God (45:4-10).

• A perspective for life based on the sovereignty of God (50:15-21).

These master life threads are also desired characteristics in the lives of our own children—as they learn to know, love, and serve the Lord.

We know that Joseph knew about the Lord. God was the God of his father, Jacob. As Joseph’s life continued in surprising new situations—as head of Potiphar’s household, as a prisoner, and finally as the man in charge of all of Egypt—he continued following the Lord. Over and over in the biblical account of Joseph’s life, we read that the Lord was with him, as in Genesis 39:21: “The LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.”

We know that Joseph loved the Lord because of the way he lived his life, refusing to be drawn into the temptations of a rich and powerful household, and because of his exemplary forgiveness toward the brothers who had wronged him: “But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:19-21).

And we know that Joseph served the Lord—by making righteous choices, by administrating the seven years of plenty, and by giving food not only to the people of Egypt but to other countries as well. As the famine intensified, and “the people cried to Pharaoh for food,” Pharaoh responded, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you” (Genesis 41:55).

Modern-Day Josephs

What Christian parent wouldn’t want their child to grow up to be a modern-day Joseph—a young person who reflects those five master life threads, and who knows, loves, and serves the Lord?

For many parents (and maybe this includes you), their children are already becoming Josephs. They do excellent jobs spiritually nurturing their children. They daily teach their kids God’s Word by guiding them toward recognizing the need to trust Christ, praying with them, reading the Bible together, encouraging Scripture memorization, explaining difficult words and concepts and talking about the qualities of the Christian life. Then they live out God’s Word in everyday life. They take their responsibility seriously.

Then there are other parents simply don’t think about their child’s spiritual training. These parents flounder through life, not learning much themselves about what the Bible actually says, and they couldn’t begin to explain the difference between Genesis and Galatians. Yet they’re law abiding citizens and church-attending Christians. They figure their kids will turn out okay. After all, they get their kids to Sunday school and even sent them once to a Christian summer camp.

But the majority of Christian parents are somewhere in the middle. They desire to be spiritual nurturers of their children, but they don’t know how. They might be intimidated that they might not say the right words. (What if my child asks me to explain eschatology or something?) Or they don’t know where to find a plan that shows them how to be a spiritual nurturer. (They may not even realize they should have a plan).

Furthermore, you probably know some adults who grew up without any spiritual nurturing in the home, yet who are now pastors, missionaries, church leaders, or shining witnesses in the secular workplace. The Lord used someone besides a parent to mentor that child, or gave the child a desire for Bible study that transformed her into someone who truly wants to know, love, and serve the Lord.

Goal and Plan

If our destination for our children is having a child who develops Joseph-like characteristics—knowing, loving, and serving the Lord—what’s the itinerary or plan for that journey?

The lack of such a plan often becomes the roadblock in our children’s spiritual development—and getting past that roadblock is what this book is all about. This book is not a step-by-step itinerary, but more of an atlas where you pick and choose which stops to make in your own family journey—because we know all families are different, with different schedules, different interests, and different personalities.

Our desire is to give your family (and your church) ideas—lots of ideas for helping to spiritual nurture your children. But as the parent, you need to devise the route.

It’s a plan that involves both parents—and the church as well.


The father is the head of the house and the God-ordained leader of the home. Dads and moms need to work together to spiritually raise their children.

A spiritually strong dad will…

• pray with his children.

• lead the children in Bible study and worship.

• take an interest in what the child is learning at church.

• teach his children Bible verses, Bible concepts, and Bible truths.

• discuss challenging questions, cultural events and concepts with his children.

• model a Christlike attitude in his daily life.

Unfortunately in too many homes, Mom is by herself in doing all of this. Dad might drive the family to church, but he doesn’t take any real responsibility in the child’s spiritual development.

If you’re a father, know this: God has given you a job to do. Your responsibility is to do it. You can’t expect your child to grow into a God-honoring adult when he sees you ignore the Bible, find every excuse possible to avoid church, and live a life that’s inconsistent with what God says in His Word.


Children need both parents involved in their spiritual training, and that’s the basic scenario presented throughout this book. It’s a sad situation when Dad is faithfully living for the Lord, but Mom doesn’t want any part of it.

Mom needs to be an active part of the praying, teaching, discussing, and modeling too. For example, sometimes Mom’s the one who spends a half-hour before or after school helping her children work on a memory verse, and when Dad gets home, he can enthusiastically listen to the children recite the verse. This is a joint effort. Both parents are huge influencers.

You might be a single mom and already feel defeated because you don’t have a husband to help you out. You can still teach your children from God’s Word and live an exemplary life. In your situation, the partnership of the church may be more important than usual. Hopefully your church has good male role models teaching younger children, so your children can profit from a masculine influence.

A good example of one parent spiritually training a child is that of Eunice and her son Timothy (2 Timothy 1:4-5). Eunice did have the help of her own mother, Timothy’s grandmother, but she didn’t have any help from her unbelieving Gentile husband. Timothy’s mom and grandma taught him the Old Testament Scriptures and exemplified godly lives. When the apostle Paul came along and taught Timothy about the Son of God and His sacrifice on the cross, Timothy was ready to trust Christ as Savior. Timothy became Paul’s son in the faith (1 Timothy 1:2), and Paul recognized of the foundation which Timothy’s mom and grandma had laid.

Many single parents do great jobs in spiritually training their children. If you’re a single parent, or your spouse isn’t interested in God and His Word, you need to surround yourself with likeminded adults who can give you and your children support and encouragement.

Fitting into Your Schedule

When, where, and how do we spend time spiritually training our children?

The following verses from Deuteronomy give clear instruction that our entire daily lives should provide teaching opportunities to spiritually train our children:

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)

In a real sense, spiritual training in the home is ongoing and never-ending. It’s really a part of everything you do.

But we also need to set aside specific times when we come together as a family to pray, honor, and worship the Lord and to study and memorize His Word. Some families enjoy singing or playing instruments together. Others read a page from a devotional book.

One teenager said, “Our family wasn’t musical, so that wasn’t part of our activities. But we did other things, such as making rebuses of Bible verses.”

You might set aside a time each day for spiritual focus—at the breakfast or supper table, or before bed. Or you could plan family nights when an entire evening is dedicated to a lesson, an activity, and a special treat. (Be careful you don’t present the activity as more important and fun than the lesson. Bible study can and should be a great experience.)

Maybe your family’s schedule is so complicated that you can’t have a regular set time for spiritual focus, but you can still conscientiously meet together as a family to pray, worship, and learn about the Lord.

A couple considerations in all this:

• Sometimes families are diligent in having family devotions, but that’s the only time their children hear about the Lord. Because Dad prays and reads a page from a devotional book, he feels he’s taken care of his spiritual leadership responsibilities. Five minutes later, the children hear him swear when opening the gas bill, or see him confront a neighbor because the neighbor’s dog messed up the lawn. What he verbally taught is negated by the way he lives his life.

• Families are different. One guy diligently teaches his kids from the Bible, helps them with their memory verses, and consistently lives a godly life, yet he feels guilty. He knows of another family that spends thirty minutes of concentrated training at the supper table each night, but his irregular work schedule doesn’t allow him to do that. He is, however, doing a great job. We need to focus on our own families, not on what someone else is doing.

We as parents need to work together to develop the itinerary for our own families, keeping

our eyes on the goal of raising children who know, love, and serve the Lord.

Your Church

Whether large or small, your church is your best partner in raising your children.

In fact, the size of the church doesn’t really matter. Mega churches have the money and staff to provide exciting programs for both parents and children, and those programs can be good. But smaller churches can be better at giving a child a sense of security, family, and nurturing that you don’t always find in a larger church.

So church size isn’t important. What is important is the attitude of the church and the pastor toward kids. Does your church leadership really care about kids? Do they see the value in children’s ministry, and provide necessary resources to spiritually disciple children? Do they occasionally visit children’s or youth ministry times to give the lesson, answer questions, or simply greet the children or youth? Do they make an effort to learn the names of the kids, or do they know your three teenagers (who have been attending the church since birth) only as the Hansen kids?

If your church doesn’t see the importance of encouraging families, maybe you could be the catalyst to begin the initiative.

After this book’s Part One (which focuses on giving parents specific age-appropriate suggestions for their child’s spiritual development), Part Two will focus especially on practical ways the church can partner with you in this task. Be sure to explore what’s presented in Part Two, and become familiar with ideas of how churches and families can work together.

Planning Your Family’s Spiritual Journey

The ideas in this book are suggestions. No parent can do everything, just as no church can do everything either. Our goal is to give you plenty of ideas to help get you started and keep you going.

So let me lay out what you’ll find in each chapter in Part One, which is especially geared for you as a parent. (Keeping the journey idea in mind, most of these components have travel-related labels.)

Life Threads

Each chapter targets a different stage of a child’s life, and will focus on an appropriate life thread

(reflecting a quality that Joseph displayed in his life).

Here are these life threads for each age category:

Preschoolers (ages 2-5) Respect

Early Elementary (ages 5-8—kindergarten to second grade) Wisdom

Older Elementary (ages 8-11—third through sixth grades) Grace

Middle School (ages 11-14—seventh and eighth grades) Destiny

High School (ages 14-18—ninth through twelfth grades) Perspective

At the beginning of each chapter, you’ll find listed again the life thread to focus on for that stage in your child’s life.

By the way, if you’re looking at this list and thinking, “Great, but my child is already twelve years old!”—that’s okay. Yes, you’ve missed some prime training opportunities, but you can catch up. Review the sections for preschoolers and elementary age children, and teach the principles to your child using explanations and activities appropriate for a twelve-year-old. Instead of regretting what you missed, focus on the present and look to the future. These concepts are good for all ages—including adults.

What They’re Like

Early in each chapter, this section lists ten characteristics about that particular age category. Understanding these characteristics will give you a great head start in helping your child grow spiritually.

What They’re Asking

This section in each chapter lists the kinds of questions that kids in this age group typically ask about God and the Bible. You’ll also find suggested answers to a few of the questions.

These questions came from a “Biggest Question Survey” sponsored by Awana. A few years back, we asked 4,000 children and teenagers, “What’s your biggest question about God and the Bible?” These children and teenagers all had some Bible background (though, after looking at their questions, we surmised that some didn’t remember much of it). Then we determined the most-asked questions for each age group.

But don’t stop with reading what other kids have asked; ask your own children for their biggest questions about God and the Bible.

What You Can Do

In this section of each chapter you’ll find a wealth of practical suggestions for what you as a parent can do to help in your child’s spiritual growth in each stage. This begins with a short section about helping your child make the all-important decision to trust Christ as Savior.

Bios and Verses

Here you’ll find appropriate Bible biographies and Scripture memory verses to explore and learn with your children.

(At Awana, we substitute the word “biography” for “story” to emphasize that what comes from the Bible is true and not fictional. We explain that a biography is a true story about someone.)

What Not to Do

Sometimes we hinder more than we help. Each chapter includes this section where you’ll find common errors to avoid in each stage of your child’s life.


Each chapter also includes a checklist of basic attainments to look for in your child’s spiritual development.

Family Itinerary

Finally, the section in each chapter labeled “Family Itinerary” is a worksheet to help you develop your plan and goals for your child’s spiritual journey in each stage.

Here are a couple of samples of completed itineraries from two families, one with younger children and one with teenagers:

A Sample Itinerary for a Family with Young Children

Our spiritual goals for the year are:

1. Teach Emma and Jacob that God created the world.

2. Teach Emma and Jacob that God loves each one of us.

3. Teach Emma and Jacob that the Bible is God’s book.

4. Teach Emma and Jacob that Jesus is God’s Son.

5. Teach Emma and Jacob that we’re to obey God.

Our family verse for this year is:

Genesis 1:1

We’ll also study the following six additional verses (one every two months) about God and His character:

1. Psalm 33:4

2. Proverbs 3:5

3. Matthew 28:20

4. Romans 3:23

5. Ephesians 6:1

6. 1 John 4:14

We’ll also study the following six Bible biographies (one every two months):

1. Adam

2. Joseph

3. Heman

4. Josiah

5. David

6. Christ’s birth

We will also do a more extensive study on this person in the Bible:

Heman in 1 Chronicles 25:5–7. We’ll learn how he and his family sang in the temple. We’ll learn a song together and sing at church.

Here are other activities our family will do together to learn about Bible characters:

1. We’ll watch a series of DVDs on Bible characters (a set we were given that’s factual).

2. We’ll visit Grandma and Grandpa and look at their pictures they took in Israel.

3. We’ll study Josiah and other Bible characters who served God even though they were young.

4. We’ll do several crafts using natural materials from the outdoors as we talk about God’s creation. These will include leaf-tracings, pictures on sun-sensitive paper, and drying flowers.

5. We’ll teach Emma and Jacob to identify five birds and five flowers, explaining that

they were all created by God.

Here are some themes for family fun nights we would like to do this year:

1. We’ll build a birdhouse together and learn about ten birds in our area of the country, and we’ll talk about creating a wonderful variety of birds.

2. We’ll make a mural for the basement wall of David watching his sheep.

3. We’ll invite Grandpa and Grandma to family night so they can hear Jacob and Emma say their verses.

4. We’ll make a book of all the different Bible biographies Jacob and Emma have learned at church this year.

5. We’ll visit the zoo.

6. We’ll make cookies for the lady down the street who’s homebound.

Our family has completed this year’s family itinerary and met our spiritual goals.

(Signed by each family member)

A Sample Itinerary for a Family with Children in High School

Our spiritual goals for the year are:

1. Study the book of Ephesians together.

2. Encourage Andrew and Amanda to teach and mentor their younger siblings.

3. Discuss biblical worldview and what that means as Andrew and Amanda head off to college.

4. Have open, honest discussions about difficult cultural issues.

5. Encourage Andrew and Amanda to write down any questions they may have about God and the Bible and to work through those questions as a family.

6. For Andrew and Amanda to serve by singing and playing guitar at the rescue mission once a month.

Our family verse for this year is:

Joshua 24:15

This year we’ll do the following family research project:

On creation. The project will culminate with a week at creation camp this summer.

We’ll memorize this chapter from the Bible:

Ephesians 2

We’ll read (either as a family or individually) the following books:

1. Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell

2. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

Our family service project this year will be:

Serving at the soup kitchen on Thanksgiving and Christmas

Our family has completed this year’s family itinerary and met our spiritual goals.

(Signed by each family member)


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