Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far by Amy Grant - Review

Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far by Amy Grant
hardcover, WaterBrook Press
ISBN: 140007360X
240 pages

Amy Grant has been in and around music for thirty years when she started her career as a teenager singing songs about faith to churches, youthgroups, and weddings. Her first record came out in 1978 during her senior year in High School. Since then Amy's life has been uphill and downhill experience she shares with us in her biography Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far.

Ms. Grant shares heartwarming stories of her past growing up in Tennessee, along with honest insights to her everyday life and struggles. She bravely opens up with stories of her stuggles in motherhood, friendship, faith, her marriage to country artist Vince Gill, her children, and things she's learned along the way. Amy adds a collection of her songs and poems that flavor her unique stories.

I remember Amy's songs growing up. My Father's Eyes is still one of my favorites. Mosaic offered me a great opportunity to see and feel the life of one of Christian music's legends. I learned so much more about the person who is "Amy Grant" and delighted in the fact that she shares the same fears and triumps that we all do as Christians, mothers, parents and spouses.

Amy Grant is the best-selling Christian music artist of all time and the first to garner the number one spot on Billboard’s chart. Since beginning her career at age 17, she has earned six Grammy Awards and twenty-five Dove Awards, and last year she received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Grant’s numerous television appearances include Oprah; Good Morning, America ; and Late Night with David Letterman. In 2007 she’ll tour nationwide, performing with local symphonies in Atlanta , Minneapolis , Kansas City, and elsewhere.

To purchase a copy of Mosaic, CLICK HERE.

Bittersweet by Cathy Marie Hake - Review

Bittersweet by Cathy Marie Hake
softcover, Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 0764201662
400 pages

Laney McCain has loved Galen from afar, impatiently waiting for him to notice she is a woman now, and not just his friend’s kid sister.

Galen starts to take notice of the sweet young girl that has grown up before his eyes. Meanwhile a poor family of squatters takes up residence on the edge of Galen’s family farm.

Determined to show a Christian example, he allows them to stay and hires twin brother and sister, Ishmael and Ivy to help around the farm in exchange for food. But his Christian kindness is tested in a turn of bitter events neither Laney nor Galen are prepared to handle. They must both learn to trust God's plan for their lives and rely on His wisdom.

Bittersweet continues with characters from Ms. Hake’s book Letter Perfect about Josh and Ruth. I was drawn into Ms. Hake’s wonderful tale as both Galen and Laney’s attitudes toward what is happening in their lives is out of their control and in their Heavenly Father’s hands. The characters come to life in this book that is both fun and witty as well as one that makes you think. I’ve enjoyed Ms. Hake’s books and look forward to more.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Letter Perfect by Cathy Marie Hake - Review/Interview

Letter Perfect by Cathy Marie Hake
softcover, 2006, Bethany House Publishers
379 pgs.

Cathy Marie Hake introduces Ruth Caldwell in an unforgettable story filled with humor, tears, and love.

Ruth is an obedient daughter - at least she tries to be. Her mother wishes her to attend a school for young ladies and to grow up properly. But Ruth’s innocent mishaps at the latest school sends her home once again. Once home, Ruth realizes that her mother is dying. She concedes to her mother’s dying wish that she live with her estranged father on his ranch in California.

Ruth’s arrival to California not only causes uneasiness in her own heart, but in the lives of those she meets. She arrives in town only to discover that her father passed away several years ago and part of his ranch is now hers.

Joshua McCain and his father own the other half of the ranch. But until they can settle who the rightful owner is, with the help of a circuit judge, Ruth has nowhere to go. Joshua and his family invite her to stay at the ranch and she finds an instant friend in Josh’s sister, Laney.

Life settles into a bit of a routine, albeit unpredictable as it seems Ruth has a wont for finding trouble. But the outhouse door falling on her and falling off of the sidewalk weren’t really her fault - they were accidents. Joshua struggles between trying to protect her from herself and finding her humorous charm irresistible.

When Ruth’s accidents turn into foul play, she and Josh learn to trust in their heavenly Father in a whole new way.
Cathy Marie Hake writes a wonderful story that will keep you turning the pages!


Paula: Ruth, the main character in Letter Perfect, has a habit of finding herself in humorous situations. Did you create her based on someone you know?
Cathy: Truth be told, I'm a lot like Ruth. I'd love to say that I'm graceful and poised, but it would be a terrible lie. I have a knack for getting myself into crazy situations. As a result, I have to concoct creative ways of solving problems.

Paula: What do you hope readers take away after reading Letter Perfect?
Cathy: That we don't have to be perfect; God loves us and accepts us just as we are.

Paula: One of your newest books, Bittersweet, is a play off of Letter Perfect. Are there more books to follow?
Cathy: Bittersweet is a sequel to Letter Perfect. After that, I've skipped over to Texas and have started a new series there. The first book in that series just came out. It's entitled Fancy Pants. In it, a proper English lady winds up masquerading as a boy on a cattle ranch. The hero sure has his hands full dealing with Sydney!

Paula: We’ll be reviewing Fancy Pants later this fall. It looks fantastic! On your website you mention your need chocolate to survive. (I’m glad there’s more of us out there!) White chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark?
Cathy: DARK!!!! Better still, dark with caramel or nuts.

Paula: You’ve authored or coauthored more than twenty books. What is one writing technique that you’ve learned since your first book that has impacted your writing the most?
Cathy: WOW. That's a tough question. Perhaps it is the Goal, Motivation, Conflict concept Deb Dixon teaches so brilliantly. Every character has a specific goal, there is a motivation driving him/her to achieve that goal, and there is some kind of obstacle or conflict that they must resolve. Without those three components, no character or story works.

Paula: You juggle family, a ‘real job’, deadlines . . . When do you find time to write?
Cathy: LOL! It's a quarter to two in the morning as I'm answering these questions. I'm a night owl, so when everyone else sleeps, I click away on the computer keyboard.

Paula: Your being a ‘romance writer’ makes me wonder how you met your husband?
Cathy: OH! You'd all love Christopher! I met him at church when I was thirteen. It was the very first time he'd ever attended church. He's the first guy I ever dated. My first kiss. *sigh* how romantic is that? For a time, we drifted apart and dated other people--but I came home from college for the summer, and the usher seated me next to Christopher. He walked me to my Sunday school class after the service and asked me out. There's something irresistible about a man who loves the Lord. Gorgeous blue eyes are terrific, too. We've been married for 27 years now.

Paula: How did you teach one of your dogs to moo?
Cathy: Skylar already mooed when we adopted her. All three of our dogs have come from the Humane Society. She had an Oreo cookie face (White stripe between the eyes and down her muzzle, black ears and eyes) One look, and we *had* to have her--even if they labeled her as "old" because she was eight years old. For nine years, she shadowed me everywhere. Last year, we lost her. Neither of our other dogs moos, but they team up every night to go on "possom patrol."

Paula: Every book an author writes has a special place in their hearts. Is there one of your books that holds first place? Why?
Cathy: OUCH. That's like asking if I have a favorite child. Each book is a labor of love, and the characters end up feeling like friends. I guess my favorite book is the one I'm working on--probably because those are the characters I'm focused on. It's like have dear friends who come to visit--you drop everything and relish the time you have to share together. Other friends are just as valued or treasured, but you can't help lavishing your love on the one who's sitting at your table, sharing a cup of tea with you.

Paula: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
Cathy: Italy. Definitely Italy. I was there very briefly twenty-five years ago, and it was a wonderful, fun place. The day we were in Rome was the one day out of the year that the Sistine Chapel is closed. I want to go back and see that!

Thanks so much for popping in to visit with us, Cathy!

Monday, October 01, 2007

We Have A Winner!

Congratulations to Cherie J. who left a comment and won Homeschooling at the Speed of Life: Balancing Home, School, and Family in the Real World by Marilyn Rockett.

Cherie, just email me at and I'll get this wonderful book out to you asap.