Review: Jane Austen and Charles Dickens devotionals

I got review copies of both the Jane Austen and the Charles Dickens devotionals. I love them both! The books are double-page spreads, and one of the pages contains an excerpt from one of the author's works, while the other page contains reflections on the writing and how it relates to our spiritual walk with Christ. There's a Bible verse for every one.

One of the things I like about these books are that they're sorted by topic, not date. They aren't dated at all: instead the headers are a description of what that day deals with (Christ's unconditional Love, Forgiven much and Forgiving much, etc).

They're beautiful, too. The outside is covered with cloth, and there's a ribbon bookmark.

These books would make excellent gifts, or additions to a Dickens or Austen lover's library.

Genre: Biblical Counseling                   
Austen ISBN: 9781400319534                                 Dickens ISBN: 9781400319541
Published: January 10th 2012 by Thomas Nelson    
Rating: 5



I have 2 copies of each of these awesome books: 4 total.

To enter:

  • US only
  • Leave a comment telling me which book you want (or either) and which novel of either author's is your favorite.
  • leave your email address! otherwise I can't email you if you win.
  • Ends 2/1/12!

Good luck!

Review: Four Letter Words

Four Letter Words: Conversations on Faith's Beauty and Logic by Bill Giovannetti
Genre: Biblical Counseling 
ISBN: 9780983681267
Published: November 15th 2011 by Endurant Press
Rating: 5

I really liked this book. It was very blunt, unafraid of offending people. It's short, and is the kind of book I would read through in a day, and then keep for reference whenever I wondered about something.

Each chapter is about a different controversial four letter word: And I don't mean swear words, I mean words like "Pain," "Wait," "Evil," and "Hope." Each short chapter references many Bible verses, gets straight to the point, and doesn't sugar-coat anything.

I like blunt books. I think we as Christians need blunt books, because some books are way too soft on us. (but that's a post for a different day)

Content/Recommendation: One of the chapters is called "Damn," and it's about hell. There's also a chapter about sex. Ages 14+

Review: Healing is a Choice

Healing is a Choice: Ten Decisions That Will Transform Your Life And Ten Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them by Stephen Arterburn
Genre: Biblical Counseling
ISBN: 9780785232438
Published: November 8th 2011 by Thomas Nelson
Rating: 5

This book is an excellent resource for anyone who has gone through a painful experience and has yet to heal from it. Big or small, public or secret. Maybe you've gone through the Bible, gone to counseling, talked to people, taken medicine, and nothing is helping. Maybe you haven't told a soul and you don't know what to do.

This book is for you.

The ten decisions (and ten lies exposed!) are so straightforward that they totally change your thinking. It's blunt, clear, easy to read, and divided up into chunks that are easy to swallow (although I had no problem tearing through several chunks at a time because of how clear and understandable it is).

Here are 5 reasons why this is a great book for individuals and small groups:

  1. It comes from someone who has not only counseled people with problems, but someone who has been through emotional and spiritual pain himself. He understands what you're thinking and feeling, and he has a way of writing it that everything makes sense.
  2. It is extremely biblically founded. It's not just quoting a few verses and most of it psychology… It's all straight from God's word.
  3. The new version has a workbook built right into it. There are journaling places, Bible verses to look up and relate back to the chapter, and exercises to complete (individually, or as a group, depending on your situation).
  4. It can be used as a devotional, or as a small-group handbook, because everything in here will apply to every small or large problem you have.
  5. I know this is really random, but there are decent sized margins and good space between the lines. This makes for good annotating and note taking. I don't know about you, but all my non-fiction books—especially God books—have writing all over them. It annoys me when I don't have space to write my thoughts in the book. There is space in this one.

All in all, I encourage you to grab this book. It's excellent and I love it, and have been using it for my personal Bible study.

Content/Recommendation: Some of the stories used for examples included in this book are about very…mature topics. I would recommend ages 14+, and if used for anyone younger than that, maybe a parent or small-group leader to guide the younger students and explain certain things, or assign only specific readings. That being said, there is nothing graphic or offensive. In my experience, however, some young teens are just not ready for certain content. As always, this is only a personal recommendation.

Easiest Scarf Ever

First knitting pattern post of the year! How exciting!!

I'll have a picture up soon (I mailed away the finished project before I snapped a shot) but I've been knitting this simple scarf for about two years now. It's so easy, and so perfect for everything.

US 10.5 or 12 needles
Cast On 40 stitches
Row 1: K1 P1 to the end
Every other row after that: slip 1, [p1, k1 to the end]
Bind off snugly, and add fringe if desired. 

The awesome thing about this scarf is it looks like stockinette, but it's actually a 1X1 rib. Slipping the first stitch keeps the first loop from looking too large or baggy or loose. It's extra warm and thick and very  comfy, and doesn't curl.

Interview, Tour, Giveaway: The Secret Heiress

Terri Reed, author of The Secret Heiress, is visiting The Life and Lies today!

About the book:

Finding out she is heir to a fortune shocks Caroline Tully to her core. And to “qualify” for the inheritance, she just has to visit her newfound grandfather’s Mississippi home from Christmas to New Year’s. Adopted as a baby, Caroline knows nothing about her mother’s family...and doesn’t realize they can’t be trusted. When attempts are made on her life, there’s only one man who can protect her. Donovan Cavanaugh—a man who made her lonely heart want to love again. Posing as her fiancĂ©, Don promises to find the would-be killer. But will his protection-and his love-be enough to keep her safe?

1) Why and when did you begin writing?

I've always wanted to be a writer but it wasn't until 1993 that I took my dream of writing seriously and started down the path toward publication.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

This book developed from brainstorming ideas with another author. I knew I wanted to tell Don and Caroline's story. They both first appeared in my 2009 release Chasing Shadows.

3) How did you come up with the title?

The title reflect the nature of the story. Caroline didn't know she was an heiress, her very existence was a secret. A secret someone wanted to remain hidden.

4) What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?

Wow, there are so many people, too many to list, who have positively influenced by writing. Most have come through Romance Writers of America. As for books, Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women, edited by Jayne Anne Krantz, Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain, and The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler.

5) How do you go about researching for your books?

I love the internet for research. I have also bought several books on various subjects, ie:Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures,and Forensic Techniques, 4th Edition by Vernon Geberth, Police Procedure and Investigation for Writers by Lee Lofland. http://www.leelofland.com/books.html

6)Did you base any of your characters on real people?

Yes and no. I tend to use character traits I observe in friends and family but I don't basis any one character solely on one person.

7) What’s the most exciting part about being a published author?

Opening the box of new books. The first time the box arrived I cried. Now I just get a bit giddy holding a new book.

What is the hardest part?

There are two hard parts--writing the books and social networking. Writing isn't easy and isn't for the faint of heart. Social networking is time consuming and I don't feel I do it very well.

8) Do you have any other books planned in the future?

Why yes I do. :-) Upcoming books: The Deputy's Duty June 2012, The Doctor's Defender Fall 2012, an as yet untitled book early in 2013 and a book with the working titled Cold Case Murder in May 2013.

9) Which of your characters is your favorite?

I think my favorite character has been Claire from my 2004 release A Sheltering Love. I think I poured more of myself into her than any other character. Do you dislike any of them? Hmmm, not sure I dislike any but I definitely have struggled with a few.

10) What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

Never stop learning, be persistent, believe in yourself and submit(and keep submitting).

Just for fun: AuthorPic

1) What are your ten most favorite things?

In no particular order: roses, Christmas, my kids, my dogs, my husband, pizza, lattes, ice cream, junior mints, and hot tamales.

2) What do you do when you’re not writing?

I'm either volunteering at the kids school, visiting with friends/family, playing with my dogs or working out.

3) Do you have any pets?

I've two wonderful dogs. An Australian Shepherd and a Bichon/Llaso mix. They keep me company during the day when I'm working.

4) What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?

Favorites: Pizza(good pizza), anything Italian, angel food cake. Least favorite: fish

5) Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I have an office but I also write in bed or on the couch.

6) Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Depending on the time of day--sometimes little animal cookies, sometimes hot tamales.

7) If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?

I really want to visit Ireland and Scotland.

8) What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

Favorite: Creative Writing/Literature Least favorite: Math

9) What book are you reading right now?

Miracle Cure by Harlan Coben

10) Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I love dance.

Thanks Terri!

At an early age Terri Reed discovered the wonderful world of fiction and declared she would one day write a book. Now she is fulfilling that dream and enjoys writing for Steeple Hill. She is an active member of both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her college-sweetheart husband, two wonderful children and an array of critters. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening and playing with her dogs.

http://www.loveinspiredauthors.com | http://www.craftieladiesofromance.blogspot.com | http://www.eharlequin.com


Tears shimmered in her eyes. “Don, I need to hire you.”

Absorbing the announcement with surprise, Don was at her side in two strides.

“Come, sit down.” He took her by the arm and led her to one of the cushy sofas. “Tell me what’s happened so we can figure out what to do next.”

“I—” She took a shuddering breath. “Someone tried to kill me. My apartment door was wired with explosives. The police are investigating.”

Don sucked in a sharp breath of shock. A bomb. His right hand flexed, stretching the scar tissue along the outer edge. His gaze went to the bandage on her head. “Are you okay?”

She touched her fingertip to her forehead. “Yes. A mild concussion. My hearing still isn’t completely back and part of my front door hit me in the head.”

He sent up a silent prayer of thanksgiving that she hadn’t suffered worse injury. There was no mistaking the fear on her pretty face. He understood. He’d felt the same way the first time he’d faced a life-threatening situation during his military tour. Only time and repeated exposure to war had dulled the panic. His faith had kept him sane. But this wasn’t a war zone. Caroline shouldn’t have to be afraid in her own home.

Dubbed the best in the business of protection, Trent Associates employed ten operatives, all highly trained with either a background in military like Don or in law enforcement. “You did the right thing coming here. Start from the beginning. Tell me everything.”


Terri will be giving away a $10 Visa GC for both blog host with most comments and one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The more you comment here and on the other tour stops, the higher chance you have of winning! See the other tour stops here.


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.