BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

SPECIAL DELIVERY by KATHI MACIAS - CHRISTIAN SPEAKERS TOUR





Special Delivery is book two in the Freedom (human trafficking) series. For anyone who may not have read book one, Deliver Me From Evil, can you fill us in on the focus of the series in general, and Special Delivery in particular?

The Freedom series is a three-book fiction series built around the horrifying topic of human trafficking. People often ask me why I decided to write about such a dark topic. First, I explain that I’m not writing about a dark topic; I’m writing about the Light that shines in that darkness. And second, I believe the Church should be at the forefront of the modern-day abolition movement to set the captives (modern-day slaves) free. The three books in this series specifically follows the life of a young woman named Mara, who was sold into sexual slavery by her own parents in Mexico, and then smuggled across the border into San Diego by her uncle who then served as her pimp. A strong sub-plot throughout the series tells of two sisters in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, Chanthra and Lawan, who are also trapped in a brothel. Finally, a teenage girl named Francesca, kidnapped in Juarez, Mexico, and forced into prostitution, is introduced in book two. Special Delivery picks up two years after book one, Deliver Me From Evil, ends, and continues with the stories of Mara and Lawan, as well as others carried over from book one. Mara hopes she is finally free to pursue her own life because she was rescued from the brothel and her testimony helped lock up her uncle for life. But the man has underground connections and is driven by revenge to reach out from behind bars and deliver the ultimate punishment to his niece.

This isn’t the first fiction series you’ve written on nationwide and even worldwide social issues, the one previous to this being the persecuted Church. What draws you to these difficult topics?

As a Christian, I believe I am compelled to use my God-given gifts to honor God in all I do—and that includes exposing the deeds of darkness, calling sinners to repentance, and taking a stand for righteousness by doing all I can to help rescue those who are suffering. I dare not turn my back on “the least of these.” I also believe that God placed this sort of burden on my heart even before I became a Christian at the age of 26. I’ve always been a champion of the underdog, a “soap-box” preacher, if you will. When I met Jesus, I simply redirected that passion toward His people, realizing I couldn’t effect real change in my own strength anyway.

With your obvious passion to right social and moral wrongs through the power of the Gospel, how did writing and speaking enter into that?

I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was a child—never wanted to do anything else. When I was a teenager I told my then boyfriend (now husband) that I was going to be a writer one day. What a blessing that God allowed me to fulfill that dream! After becoming a believer and growing in my faith, it was natural to take my passion to fight for others and incorporate it into my writing. Speaking, on the other hand, was an entirely different story. I was terrified of public speaking when I was young, and the day I received Christ I made a “bargain” with God, promising to do anything He asked of me—so long as it didn’t include public speaking. (Does God have a sense of humor or what???) Now, when I stand in front of audiences where I believe God has called me to speak (and actually find myself enjoying it!), I tell my listeners that if God has called them to do something and they feel it’s impossible, they can consider me their “visual aid” that NOTHING is impossible with God IF we will simply take that first step of obedience and let Him fulfill His purpose in and through us.

With the topics of the worldwide persecuted Church and human trafficking under your belt, what other issues are you dealing with in your writing?

My Christmas 2011 book, A Christmas Journey Home, dealt with the immigration/border problem, and my Christmas 2012 novel,Unexpected Christmas Hero, will be about homelessness in America. The next issues-related fiction series I have on tap—which I am just starting to write, by the way—is called the “Patches of Courage” series and will begin releasing in late January 2013. Book one is The Moses Quilt, based on the life of Harriet Tubman, and will be followed by The Christmas Quilt and The Impossible Quilt. This series of books will highlight historical American women whose Christian faith enabled them to walk in great courage and make a difference in the lives of countless people.

Where can people find out about you and your books/speaking/appearances?

They can go directly to my website (www.kathimacias.com or www.boldfiction.com) or my Easy Writer blog:http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, and various other social sites. Would love to hear from all of you!

Where can people find out about free book giveaways on this blog tour? 

The blog tour host is giving away a set of two books from the Freedom Series -  Book 1 (Deliver Me From Evil) and Book 2 (Special Delivery). Also, readers can follow @ChristianSpkrs on Twitter or follow on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/CSSVBT.TheFreedomSeries for more book giveaway locations on the tour.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speakers Services (http://ChristianSpeakersServices.com).

Thanks for stopping by and letting us get to know about your new book Special Delivery Kathi. I always enjoy when you stop by. I'm excited to hear about the next series "Patches of Courage" that you're working on. Wow, that sounds fascinating and of course I'm a fan of quilts. I'll love to hear the role they played in American history. I'll be praying that the Lord provides you with the research material you need to write the story that he's laid on your heart! I look forward to having you back and talk about that series.

The one your writing about now is horrific and the tentacles of evil are long. What I like is how you show the reader that there is hope and it's not that these girls don't wait to leave the evil one makes it really hard. That's why they need our help and prayers.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network CEO
www.bookfun.org 


REVIEW:

Special Delivery
By Kathi Macias
Published by New Hope Publishers
ISBN#978-1-59669-307-4
320 Pages

Book Blurb: In book two of the “Freedom” series, readers find Mara fighting against her attraction to Bible college student Jonathan Flannery even while wrestling with risking her own precarious safety to become involved in the rescue of another girl who is pregnant and desperately wants to escape her captors and save her own life, as well as her child’s.

Halfway around the world in a brothel in Thailand, a young girl is rescued with the promise of being reunited with her younger sister who was adopted by an interracial couple in the States, friends of Jonathan’s family. Meanwhile, Jefe—Mara’s uncle, who held her as a sex slave in his brothel in San Diego for years—seeks revenge for Mara’s testimony that put him behind bars for life.

Will his underworld connections be successful in kidnapping and killing the girl who believes she has finally won her freedom?

Review: Special Delivery is the second book in the Freedom series, where Kathi Macias does an amazing job of bringing awareness to the sex trafficking business in America. This author helps the reader feel for these young women who are often times kidnapped and forced into a life of prostitution, with no hope of escape on their own. I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that shows a light of hope in the darkness of this tragic situation.  This author helps the reader recognize possible victims and how these guys operate and manipulate young girls. By knowing their actions we can help bring guys described in this book to justice for their horrific crimes.

The main character, Mara, has been rescued from the clutches of evil, and the pit of hell! She thanks the Lord every day for her freedom. She has a new life through the grace of God and people willing to risk so much to bring her freedom..

When people found out about Mara’s past would they treat her like the other girls her age? Could they put old things away and look at her through news eyes? She’s a woman saved by grace and cleaned by the blood of the lamb. She was still struggling to walk that out.

Kathi Macias shows the tentacles of evil go deep into society. Evil has eyes and ears that connect to underground organizations. Even if these girls get rescued from the horrible slave pit, evil is at work trying to get them back so they could have their revenge and continue to make money off their bodies. It’s about the money. It’s sick thing to think about but oh so real.

Mara is a waitress and spies a young girl with an older man at a table she’d soon be waiting on. Mara suspects something is amiss and discerns this man is not her father. It gives her the creeps as she watches the girls’ body language in reaction to the man next to her.

Mara prays as she goes to the table to take their order. As she is taking their order Mara looks at the terrified look in the young girls’ eyes, it breaks her heart. She knows how it feels to be a sex slave, her mind and heart start racing as she tries to get through their order. She knows this guy is bad news. How can she help this girl? She hasn’t been free long herself. It would be risky for her to get involved. The enemy might track her down and force her into the life she just left. She stops a minute and reflects. Didn’t people risk their lives for her sake? She had to do the same! She wanted to give this young girl a chance at freedom. No one deserved to life as a sex slave.

Kathi Macias pens a novel that pulls at your heart-strings and brings awareness to the horrific slavery happening in America. Once we become aware of what is going on we can find places to help. I pray society doesn’t go back to sleep and pretend this doesn’t exist. This author describes how hard it is to set these girls free and prosecute the evil doers. This is big business. It’s hard to find the camps and shut them down but it can be done. All things are possible through Christ that strengthens us.

Kathi Macias has a heart for the hurting. I’m thankful she is passionate about writing books that bring awareness to issues I should know about. She also helps me know about organizations I can get involved with to help whatever cause she is writing about at the time. I highly recommend this series on sex trafficking, you’ll never be the same after reading it.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

STAND BY ME REVIEWED & FIRST CHAPTER

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!





and the book:

Thomas Nelson (March 13, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson The B&B Media Group, for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As a child growing up on the campus of a Christian school where her parents taught, Neta Jackson began creating imaginary worlds at a young age. Loving horses but not having one, she wrote stories about them instead. By the time she reached high school, she had so honed both imagination and writing skills that when her English teacher submitted one of her stories to a Scholastic magazine writing contest, it won first place. With that first win, Jackson knew beyond the shadow of a doubt she wanted to be a writer. She’s been writing ever since.

After marrying the love of her life, Dave Jackson, the couple chose to settle in the Chicago area where Neta had attended college. Throughout their marriage, the Jacksons have worked together as a team, writing a multitude of books together on topics ranging from medical ethics to stories of gang kids, sometimes sharing the task with other experts who have served as co-writers. Together, they have also penned forty historical fiction accounts of Christian heroes, called the Trailblazer Books, along with another five-volume series called Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes.

These days, both are busy penning their own works of adult fiction. Jackson began her individual effort in 2003 with the Yada Yada Prayer Group series, inspired by her real-life Bible study group, a multi-cultural gathering of dynamic women who have played an important role in her life for over fifteen years. Since publication of the first Yada Yada Prayer Group novel, the seven-book series has sold over a half-million copies and given rise to countless prayer groups across the country and the publication of a personal prayer journal for prayer group participants. In 2008, Where Do I Go?, her first book in the four-book House of Hope series, was published. The second book in the series, Who Do I Talk To?, won a Christy Award in 2010 for excellence in Christian fiction. Recently, the fourth book of the series, Who Is My Shelter?, was nominated for Best Inspirational Novel for 2011 by RT Book Reviews. Stand by Me is the first in Jackson’s new SouledOut Sisters series.

The Jacksons have been married 45 years and have raised two children plus a Cambodian foster daughter. They continue to live in urban Chicago where, together, they enjoy writing, gardening and spending time with their grandchildren.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
How does God expect us to get along with those people who are always causing us pain? Are we supposed to keep helping those who repeatedly take advantage of us? Exactly what is the key to living in peace with difficult people? These are the questions award-winning author Neta Jackson addresses in her latest novel, Stand by Me (Thomas Nelson), the first book of her newest series, SouledOut Sisters.

Inspired by her own Bible study group, Jackson began several years ago to write about a multi-cultural gathering of dynamic women in a collection of books known as the Yada Yada Prayer Group series. Since publication of the first Yada Yada Prayer Group novel in 2003, the seven-book series has sold over a half-million copies and given rise to countless prayer groups across the country. Jackson followed the Yada Yada novels with the four-book House of Hope series. Though the series is not dependent upon its predecessors for understanding, Jackson has used the individual lives of familiar characters to introduce some of the more complex issues prevalent in our modern society. By allowing her characters to lead the way, Jackson has shed light on issues like drug addiction, the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and even the racial conflicts that can so easily arise within any culturally diverse group.

In her newest work, Stand by Me, Jackson introduces her readers to Kathryn Davis, a young college student who has left her prestigious Phoenix family behind to move to Chicago after dropping out of medical school against her father’s protests. Her newfound faith in Christ helps temper the realization that she has stepped out of her family’s good graces, but does little to alleviate the pain of their rejection.

When Kat discovers the dynamic multi-cultural membership at Souled Out Community Church, she longs to be part of it. But her unconventional behavior and brash eagerness have not helped her win favor with the church members. And, much to her dismay, Avis Douglass, the one woman in the church whom she most admires and would love to know better, is the one who is the most aloof.

Kat has no idea that, after being confronted by a number of serious problems all at once, Avis and her husband, Peter, are beginning to question God’s will for their lives. Having been recently estranged from her HIV positive daughter and being worried about her welfare, Avis would like nothing more than to quietly retreat into the recesses of her faith and find the answers she seeks. Her attempts to do so, however, are thwarted at every turn by the flamboyant Kat, who has apparently decided to foist herself on their lives whether they want her to or not.



Product Details:

List Price: $15.99

Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 13, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1595548645

ISBN-13: 978-1595548641

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: 


PROLOGUE

Midwest Music Festival, Central Illinois



Kat Davies ducked into the billowing exhibition tent staked down in a large pasture in central Illinois like a grounded Goodyear blimp. She’d been at the Midwest Music Fest three days already—didn’t know it was a Christian festival until she got here—and needed a little respite from the music pulsing morning-till-night on the Jazz Stage, Gospel Stage, Alternative Stage, Rock Stage, Folk Stage, and a few more she’d forgotten.

Besides, she’d be heading back to Phoenix in two days, and sooner or later she needed to figure out how to tell her parents she’d “given her heart to Jesus” after the Resurrection Band concert last night. Maybe this tent had a quiet corner where she could think. Or pray. Not that she had a clue how to do that.

Kat had a good idea how they’d react. Her mother would f lutter and say something like, “Don’t take it too seriously, Kathryn dear. Getting religion is just something everyone does for a year or two.” And her father? If he didn’t blow his stack at what he’d call “another one of your little distractions,” he’d give her a lecture about keeping her priorities straight: Finish pre-med at the University of Arizona. Go to medical school. Do her internship at a prestigious hospital. Follow in the Davies’ tradition. Make her family tree of prominent physicians proud.

Except . . . she’d walked out of her biochemistry class at UA one day and realized she didn’t want to become a doctor. She’d tutored ESL kids the summer after high school and realized she liked working with kids. (“Well, you can be a pediatrician like your Uncle Bernard, darling,” her mother had said.) And the student action group on the UA campus sponsoring workshops on “Living Green” and “Sustainable Foods” had really gotten her blood pumping. (Another one of her “distractions,” accord- ing to her father.)

Was it too late to pursue something else? Her parents were already bragging to friends and co-workers that their Kathryn had received her letter of acceptance into medical school a few months ago. Feeling squeezed till she couldn’t breathe, she’d jumped at the chance to attend a music fest in Illinois with a carload of other students—friends of friends—just to get away from the pressure for a while.

What she hadn’t expected was to find so many teenagers and twenty-somethings excited about Jesus. Jesus! Not the go- to-church-at-Christmas-and-Easter Jesus, the only Jesus she’d known growing up the daughter of a wealthy Phoenix physician and socialite mother. That Jesus, frankly, had a hard time com- peting with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

But these people talked about a Jesus who cared about poor people. A Jesus who created the world and told humans to take care of it. A Jesus who might not be blond and blue-eyed after all. A Jesus who said, “Love your neighbor”—and that neighbor might be black or brown or speak Spanish or Chinese. A Jesus who said, “All have sinned” and “You must be born again.” The Son of God, who’d died to take away the sins of the world.

That Jesus.

That’s the Jesus she’d asked to be Lord of her life, even though she wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. But she desper- ately longed for something—Someone—to help her figure out who she was and what she should do with her life. The guitar player in the band who’d challenged the arm-waving music fans last night to be Christ-followers had said, “Jesus came to give you life—life more abundantly! But first you must give your life to Him.”

That’s what she wanted. Abundant life! A life sold out to something she could believe in. To give herself to one hundred percent. So she’d prayed the sinner’s prayer with a woman in a denim skirt whose name she never learned, and a “peace like a river” f looded her spirit.

Last night, anyway.

But by the light of day, she was still heading in a direction—medical school—that she didn’t want to go.

Big fans circulated the air in the large tent, though mostly it just moved the stif ling July heat around. Thick, curly strands of her long, dark hair had slipped out of the clip on the back of her head and stuck in wet tendrils on her skin. Redoing the clip to get the damp hair off her neck and face, she wan- dered the aisles, idly picking up brochures about Compassion International, Habitat for Humanity, and YWAM. Huh. What if she just dropped out of pre-med and did something like this Youth With A Mission thing. Far from Phoenix and the Davies Family Tradition. Go to Haiti or India or—

“Nice boots,” giggled a female voice nearby.

Kat glanced up from the brochure. A cute brunette with a shaggy pixie cut grinned at her from behind a booth that said Find Your Calling at CCU! Kat self-consciously looked down at the Arizona-chic cowboy boots peeking out beneath her designer jeans and f lushed. Ever since she’d arrived at the fes- tival, she felt as if she’d walked into a time-warp—girls in tank tops, peasant skirts, and pierced nostrils, guys wearing pony- tails, tattoos, shredded jeans, and T-shirts proclaiming Jesus Freak. Kat had felt as conspicuous as a mink coat in a second- hand store.

“Thanks. I think.”

The young woman, dressed in khaki Capris and a feminine lemon-yellow tee, laughed. “This your first time to the Fest? Where’re you from?”

Kat felt strangely relieved to be talking to someone else who didn’t look like a throwback to the seventies. “Phoenix. First time.”

“Wow. You came a long way.”

“You?”

“Detroit. But during the year I’m a student at CCU in Chicago. I get a huge discount off my festival fee if I sit at this booth a couple hours a day during the Fest.” The girl grinned again and extended her hand across the stacks of informational literature. “I’m Brygitta Walczak.”

Kat shook her hand. “Kathryn Davies. But my friends call me Kat. With a K.”

“Like ‘kitty kat’ ? That’s cute. And . . . blue eyes with all that dark, curly hair? Bet the guys love that.”

Ignoring the remark, Kat glanced up at the banner above the booth. “What does CCU stand for?”

“Chicago Crista University. Usually we just call it Crista U. Located on the west side of Chicago. I’ll be a senior next year. Christian ed major.”

“Christian ed? What’s that?”

“You’re kidding.” Brygitta eyed her curiously. “Mm. You’re not kidding. Uh, are you a Christian?”

Kat allowed a wry smile. “For about twelve hours.”

The pixie-haired girl’s mouth dropped open, and then her amber eyes lit up. “That is so cool! Hey . . . want a Coke or something? I’ve got a cooler back here with some soft drinks. Wanna sit? I’d love some company.”

Brygitta dragged a folding chair from an unmanned booth nearby, and Kat found herself swapping life stories with her new friend. Unlike Kat, who had no siblings, Brygitta came from a large Polish family, had been raised in the Catholic church, “went Protestant” at a Youth for Christ rally in high school, planned to get a master’s degree at Crista U, and wanted to be a missionary overseas or a director of Christian education somewhere.

“Sorry I’m late, Bree,” said a male voice. “Uh-oh. Two gor- geous females. You’ve cloned yourself. I’m really in trouble now.”

Kat looked up. A young man about their same age grinned at them across the booth. He was maybe six feet, with short, sandy-brown hair combed forward over a nicely tanned face, wire-rim sunglasses shading his eyes. No obvious tattoos or body piercings. Just cargo shorts and a T-shirt that said CCU Soccer.
Brygitta jumped up. “Oh, hi, Nick. This is Kat Davies. She’s from the University of Arizona, first time at the Fest. Nick Taylor is my relief. He’s a seminary student at Crista—well, headed that way, anyway.”
Nick slid off his shades and flashed a smile, hazel eyes teasing. “So, Miss Blue Eyes. Has Brygitta talked you into coming to CCU yet?”

Kat laughed and started to shake her head . . . and then stopped as her eyes caught the logo on the banner across the booth. Find Your Calling at CCU.

Transfer to Crista University? Why not?
REVIEW

Stand By Me
By Neta Jackson
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN#978-159-554-48641
385 pages


Back Cover: Sometimes the person you most need is the one least like you.
Kathryn Davies is a bright young woman form a prominent Phoenix family. But after making a leap of faith at a Christian music fest, dropping out of med school, and moving to inner city Chicago, her family all but disowns her.

When Kat discovers SouledOut Community Church, she longs to become a part of the multicultural church family. But her tendency to immediately say whatever she's thinking steps on the toes of nearly everyone she meets-especially Avis Douglass.

Avis has a strong faith, is the principal of one of Chicago's highest performing elementary schools, and is a founding member of SouledOut. But the country's economic downturn has thrown both her and her husband's jobs in question. And Avis hasn't heard from her youngest daughter in months-an estrangement that gnaws at her every day. Where is God in this?

Kat's flamboyant zeal for living a "radical" Christian life is a stark contrast to Avis's more reserved faith. But in God's timing, the two women discover they need each other in ways neither of them expected.

Review: I first got acquainted with Neta Jackson when Finding Hope book Club voted Yada Yada Prayer Group as their monthly read, we were thrilled to talk with Neta via speaker phone and learned about trip to China. Neta and her husband had just returned from a writing conference they taught to a homeschooling group there. They had never done anything like this before but really saw God in it. It was an amazing trip.

I was thrilled to receive a review copy of Stand By Me, which is the first book in a new series called Souledout Sisters Series, where the reader can see where parts of Neta’s real life is sprinkled through the pages (like going on an unexpected mission trip).

Neta Jackson does a brilliant job of honestly showing how people go about seeking God’s will for their lives, and once they find it having the courage to walk it out. I loved how she shows people from all walks of life using, their talents and fight for the Body of Christ. We all need each other to accomplish His will.

Kate, a college student gets saved at a music fest. Her whole world changes from the inside out. After being a Christian twelve hours, Kat decides to change her major and move to Chicago. She is determined to walk as a believer even if her parents aren’t thrilled about her choices.

Kats parents had high hopes for her in the field of medicine. They had hoped whatever Kat was in the middle of it would pass quickly. Their daughter was going to church every week instead of just Easter and Christmas, why would she do that?

“Kate desperately longed for something-someone- to help her figure out who she was and what she should do with her life…A life sold out to something she could believe in, to give herself to 100%.” God has created this need in all of us.

Kate listened and was in awe about Jesus. She didn’t know He cared for the poor. She never heard of “A Jesus who created the world and told humans to care for it. A Jesus who might not be blond and blue eyed after all. A Jesus who said, “Love your neighbor – and that neighbor might be black or brown or speak Spanish or Chinese…That’s the Jesus she’d asked to be Lord of her life, even though she wasn’t exactly sure what that meant.”

Kate and her college friends start to attend and get involved with SouledOut Community Church. They wanted to grown in their faith and get to know the people and culture. This church was culturally diverse in many ways.

Avis was a worship leader at Soulout Church. She’s also the principle of one of Chicago’s high performance Elementary schools. Avis gets a letter from missionary friends in Africa. It’s a call for help! Avis and her husband wonder if they are called to help for six months or a year.

Avis drags her feet on asking God what He would have her do. There were too many things up in the air. For one her job at the school, then there is the situation with her daughter and grandson. She couldn’t leave until things were settled.

Neta’s characters are honest, believable and struggle with living and walking out what God has called them to do. All are earnestly seeking to hear God and His will for their lives. This author creates characters you care about. root for and they even make you laugh out-loud.

Life gets messy at times. I liked how Neta showed an candid response to how Souledout Church, Avis and Kate deal with discovering God’s will for their lives. The spiritual thread is natural and believable not preachy. I can’t wait to see where this author takes us in the next book. I’m excited about this new Series.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network CEO
www.bookfun.org

STAND-UP GUY by Michael Snyder - REVIEWED


Stand-Up Guy
By Michael Snyder
Published by Zondervan
ISBN#978-0-310-32193-4
345 Pages


Back Cover: In his third novel, author Michael Snyder delivers another honest, authentic, and intriguing plot carried along by quirky characters whose actions and reactions still manage to look and sound like the rest of us. It is often said that every good joke contains some basic truth. In A Stand-Up Guy, aspiring comedian Oliver Miles puts that axiom to the test when he revamps his comedy act by filling it with darkly personal truths about friends and family.

But, as the edgy humor begins to attract more attention, the young comic's personal life gets more complicated. When he realizes he has managed to turn the two women he cares about most into props for his act, he wonders if his honesty on-stage is making him dishonest in life. Despite the sobering reality of his world off stage, the laughter and the success is intoxicating, even for a stand-up guy. A Stand-Up Guy is a real story about real people struggling with life's rights and wrongs. It will appeal to anyone who enjoys a uniquely-woven relational drama threaded with a little mystery and delivered with a lot of humor and insight.

Review: Oliver Miles feels it’s his destiny to be a stand-up Comedian. He works the night shift as a security guard so he can seek his big break. He realizes there are no over-night success stories, just guys that are persistent in becoming better at what they do to make people laugh.

Oliver is an underdog character you find yourself rooting for. He’s nice, innocent and reminded me of the security guard character Ben Stiller played in the movie Night at the Museum. The tongue and cheek humor in this novel is like that of the movie..

Things start getting a little out of hand when Oliver decides to put truth in his act. He decides to use his own life experiences as material to make people laugh instead of borrowing one liners’ from other peoples acts. He recites this prayer to himself.

“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot make funny; Courage to use things I can (in my act); and wisdom to know the difference.”

He told the truth and people laughed! But how far should he go for a laugh and a chance at fame? Would what he shared be worth the price in the end?

I like the honesty of these characters and how most of them struggled with the direction God would have them go. The decision is up to us to walk this faith journey out one day at a time. All is not lost when Oliver is in the middle of his darkness. The author does show hope shining through some dark places in this story. Just like the Ben Stiller character in Meet the Falkner’s, Oliver learns his way around strange people and an even more colorful mother. Everyone has their life story to tell, will we take the time to listen and learn before we judge people on what we see on the outside?

This novel may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed it because I have a husband who has tried his hand at stand-up comedy. It is unreal and crazy what guys go through to get their big break and make people to laugh.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
www.bookfun.org

LOST AND FOUND REVIEWED & GIVEAWAY OPP



Lost and Found
By Ginny Yttrup
Published by B & H Publishers
ISBN#978-1-4336-7171-5
399 Pages

Back Cover: It appears Jenna Bouvier is losing everything: beauty, family, and wealth. When her controlling and emotionally abusive mother-in-law accuses Jenna of an affair with her spiritual director and threatens to expose them, Jenna also risks losing her reputation as a woman of faith. Will she capitulate to her mother-in-law’s wishes again or fight for what she holds dear? As Jenna loses her life, will she find it?

Andee Bell has found exactly what she wanted: fame, fortune, and respect. There’s also a special man in her life—Jenna’s brother. Despite her success, a secret quells Andee’s contentment. As memories torment, will she find peace in a relationship with God, or will she sabotage herself while also taking down the only person she cares about? As Andee finds her life, will she lose it?

Moving between San Francisco and the Napa Valley, Jenna and Andee form an unlikely relationship that leads them to a crossroad. They can follow familiar inclinations, or risk it all and walk in faith.

Review: Lost and Found is the spiritual journey of Jenna, a girl who has lost her way. Doesn’t know where she fits in? Jenna’s become someone she doesn’t even recognize, not just physically but relationally and emotionally. Somewhere along the way Jenna stopped living life and started going through the motions of it, playing the role others expected of her to, keeping peace on all fronts.

Jenna beats herself up in her thoughts, “How soon I forget my recent declaration to face the present rather than escape to the bliss of denial. That, I recall, is the chink in my self-protective mechanism: my decision to face reality…. I hang my head. Change is a slow zigzagging road. One on which I will lose my way if I go it alone….A truth that starts her on a new course.”

Jenna begins to wonder at what lengths will she go to to seek the acceptance and love of mother-in-law Bridgette? Can she stop the cycle? Is it worth the price?

Andee’s a go getter, her motto in life is, “Drive determines destiny-control your destiny or someone else will.. fate has no place in my life…(she tells others) you are God of your finances….why pray when you can act and determine your own out come? Faith is fantastical thinking… she deals with reality.” There was no room for God in Andee’s life. Besides she had given Him a chance once and He let her down. She wasn’t going there again.

Andee yells, “You can’t separate the two.” Nor was she going to try! She was what she did. She’d keep busy so she didn’t think about matters of the heart. It was easier that way.

Jenna’s brother Jason says to Andee, “It’s about who you are – who you’re becoming. Not the title you hold- but who you are on the inside!”

Jason was wrong. Andee was about power, control and would betray and do whatever it took to make a deal work and win the prize for her client. That’s who she was. No one cared about what was on the inside. It’s all about getting the deal done.

Bridgette is a character that reminded me of the wicked step mother in Cinderella. She acted one way in public, and another in private where no one could hear or see her actions. She took control of her husbands company after his death and moved it to America. She left France and was growing the company her way. Her son couldn’t understand this. It was all about power, control and emotional manipulation. She’d do whatever it took to win, no matter the cost. Andee and Bridgette had a lot in common.

Not only was this an amazing story filled with rich layered characters and an in-depth story-line that made me not want to put the book down but it also had a few plot surprises.

Ginny shows the reader the things they can find in Christ are far more than we could imagine. She also shows a big change through her characters specially Jenna. Change comes about when the pain of life is greater than the fear of change.

Lost and Found is a word picture of surrender. What does it look like to surrender all you’ve learned, done, become and controlled to be all God wants you to be? Could someone let Him be Lord of their life and find riches and peace not of this world?

Ginny Yttrup’s books are a gift to be experienced. In her books Words, she shows a word picture of what it looks like to have God heal you from the inside out. How He loves us through our pain and makes us whole. Just like Jesus reveals the scars on His hands and feet so he could tell the story of the scars but there was no pain attached, just peace.

This story is not preachy put an emotional, gripping suspenseful tale that shows life at it’s toughest. I loved the believable spiritual thread that was naturally woven into the story. The emotions were deep and raw and the subject matter gripping. The financial story line and the depth of emotions reminded me of the movie re-make of Michael Douglas in ,”Wall Street Where Money Never Sleeps” take that drama and imagine a strong believable spiritual thread in the mix. Read and see how people act when there’s a lot of money on the line?

I highly recommend this memorial, moving story that touched me to the core of my being. Word and Lost and Found give me a reason to read and why I specifically read Christian Fiction. It’s also the main reason I do what I do. Thank you Ginny for having the courage to write the stories the Lord has laid on your heart, Also the courage to be vulnerable and honest in your story telling. I’m excited about Lost and Found and praying for you as you pen the next book the Lord prompts you to write. This books a keeper, a must read! It’s also one you’ll be telling your friends about and one you won’t soon forget! I don’t normally re-read books but there was so much in this book I have to read it again to experience all its fullness.

THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK is having a drawing for this book. The last day to enter is TODAY!! Here is the link 5 Copies of LOST AND FOUND by GINNY L. YTTRUP
CLICK TO ENTER DRAWING FOR GINNY'S BOOK


Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
www.bookfun.org 

10 BOOK GIVEAWAY THE MESSENGER SIRI MITCHELL

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers TBCN is able to giveaway 10 copies of Siri Mitchell's New Book
The Messenger. 


Links to the Giveaway are at the end of the interview!!
(you must answer the author's question to be entered into the drawing @TBCN)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a speaker and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

Her tenth novel, The Messenger follows prior Bethany House releases: A Constant Heart (October 2008), Love's Pursuit (June 2009), She Walks in Beauty (Apr 2010), and A Heart Most Worthy (Mar 2011)

She Walks in Beauty won the inaugural INSPY Award for Historical Fiction in Dec 2010. Three of Siri's novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door, and She Walks in Beauty were Christy Award finalists. Love's Pursuit was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award.

Publishers Weekly proclaimed, "Mitchell delivers the historical goods."
Siri is represented by Natasha Kern Literary Agency.
The Messenger collage of Characters

INTERVIEW:

How did you get the idea for The Messenger?

Mt. Vernon is one of my family’s favorite historic places to visit. We make several trips there every year. There’s a short movie in the Education Center about General Washington’s Revolutionary War spy network and my family challenged me to write a book about one of the spies. The idea intrigued me, as did the plight of Quakers during the Revolutionary War. There’s a legend that a Quaker woman operated as a spy in Philadelphia during several weeks in 1777. The thought was fascinating. Without duplicating her story, I wanted to investigate what would make a Quaker choose a side in a conflict and become an active participant in war. And more than that, I wanted to know how she could be an effective spy without the usual weapons of deception that her religion would have made her reject.

In your book The Messenger, what scenes were easy for you to write? Which ones were difficult? Why?

My favorite scene was the one in which the heroine confronts the hero’s disability. The hero, Jeremiah, lost an arm in Pontiac’s War when he was a soldier in the British army. Ever since, he’s been trying to deal with his amputation by not dealing with it. The heroine, Hannah, is the first person to see and willingly touch his scarred stump.

The most difficult scene to write was the one in which Hannah makes a tragic discovery in the jail’s dungeon (I hate to give away my plot twists!) In any case, I had to figure out how to have her react without bringing the British guards rushing to the jail cell.

Nora: I'm not to these parts in your book yet. I can't wait to get there they sound intriguing!

What do you hope readers take away from The Messenger?

I wanted to explore the idea that God is greater than religion and more than a cause. I also wanted to make the point that people themselves are more important than causes. The moment we begin to forget that is the moment that oppression and xenophobia begin to inform our actions. The idea that it only takes one person to make a difference was an important theme to me as well.

Nora: Great point!

It’s an interesting title for this book, the cover intriguing as well. Did you have any say so in deciding the cover and title for this book? Can you describe that process for us?

I always have a working title as I write the manuscript. Sometimes it’s as simple as ‘The Corset Book’ (which later became She Walks in Beauty). For this book, my working title was Hannah’s Heart. Just before I’m due to send my manuscript to my editors, they ask me for titling and cover information. This includes any ideas I have for titles or covers as well as information about character personalities, settings, costuming, and a synopsis. For this book, my title ideas were grouped into several different concepts.

Titles with the ‘spy’ idea:

The Honest Spy
The Quaker Spy
The Quaker’s Secret
The Tavern-keeper’s Spy
The Spy in Quaker Clothing
The Timid Spy
Beloved Spy
I, Spy
One Life to Lose
The Traitor Within

Titles using Quaker symbols/phrases:
A Voice Within
The Light Within
That of God

Titles playing with the idea that Quakers also refer to themselves as Friends:
The True Friend
To Be A Friend
The Spy’s Friend

As you can see, none of my ideas included the concept of a messenger! As the team at Bethany talked about cover and title ideas, they decided they wanted to convey the drama, risk, intensity, and emotion of the book. They chose to go with a dramatic cover image and decided a short, strong title would be the best complement. I really like the title they came up with!

Nora: Love this Siri! Thanks for sharing. It's been fun to read!

I can imagine the extensive research you do to write an historical novel, what surprised you in your research for this book The Messenger?

Historians estimate that when the Revolutionary War started, one-third of the colonists supported the King, one-third supported the patriots, and one-third were neutral. That was pretty shocking to me, since in elementary school the war is taught in black and white, as if all the colonists supported the rebel cause.

The way the British disdained colonials also surprised me. If they had treated the colonists with respect, the war might have gone the other way. But their patronizing attitude forced many of those who had started out neutral to flock to the patriot cause.

Another surprise for me was the fact that the Quakers refused, in any way, to aid the prisoners of war. It seemed so contradictory for a people known for helping the helpless.

You've written some contemporary stories and historical stories. How is the writing process different for you in writing a contemporary story as opposed to a historical?

I spend much more time reading social histories and researching things like costuming and food for historicals. I also spend quite a bit of time trying to understand how people thought about and interacted with each other in the past. I probably read at least three times the number of non-fiction books in preparation for a historical.

What do you love most about writing a historical novel? What is the draw for you?

I love immersing myself in the history of an era. All of it: social histories, biographies, costuming books, cookbooks. Medical reports and essays. It always fascinates me that we’re so similar and yet so different from our ancestors. Each era seems to have its own tragedies and crises. I love discovering how those things were almost inevitable as I learn how people thought and what beliefs they held back then. And I love to see how those events in the past have rippled forward to affect us all today.

QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK

What were your three favorite books as a kid?

I loved Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey, the Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery, and the Arch Books Bible story books for kids.

If you had the opportunity to hang out with any two people alive or dead for 48 hours, who would you pick and what would you do? (besides Jesus)

I would pick the Le Nain brothers. 
There were three of them that painted in 17th century France. They were true anomalies in the art world, especially for their time. No one can say for sure which one painted which painting because they all just signed their last name to their work. They also chose to focus on scenes of the peasantry which was not at all in fashion back then. I just think it’s fascinating that they didn’t care who got credit for what they did and that they painted subjects which could never hope to compensate them for their work.

What are three everyday things you’d rather not live without?

Starbucks coffee. I went to the University of Washington in Seattle when there were still only two Starbucks in the entire world. (Yes, I’m about 100 years old!)

A hot shower. It takes my brain a while to warm up in the morning. A hot shower really helps.

Crocs. Gotta have ‘em.

If you had an opportunity to go anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do?

I would go to Paris, eat at a different 3-star restaurant every day for a week, visit friends, and take in my favorite museums.

Nora: That does sound like fun!

A friend of yours has a time machine and will let you use it for a while. What would you do with it and what events would you like to experience?

I would go back to all the times I’ve said careless, hurtful things to my family and friends and I would use the opportunity to say the right thing instead.

Nora: Oh, wow!! Powerful! No one's every mentioned this before. I like it! That would be a great gift!

ANY FINAL COMMENTS – THOUGHTS FOR MY READERS, SIRI MITCHELL?

Thank you so much for your support for Christian fiction! When I write, it’s with all of you in mind.

Siri


It's great to have you here Siri! I’m excited about Bethany House giving away 10 copies of your new book. Thanks for coming up with a fun question to ask readers. It’s been a delight to get to know you and your books. I’m looking forward to you dropping by again.

The contest begins MARCH 19th at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK www.bookfun.org (links to the giveaway will be on the front page on the 19th.) Looking forward to you being there!!

CLICK THIS LINK TO ENTER DRAWING http://ning.it/FQmWuM 

Remember you must answer the authors question to be entered into the Drawing!

Blessings

Nora :o)

Nora StLaurent
The Book Club Network CEO
www.bookfun.org

GIVEAWAYS TODAY MARGARET DALEY'S NEW BOOKS














Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? If not, how did you catch the writing bug? When did you start your writing career? 

Margaret Daley as a young girl
I never wanted to be a writer at least at first. I wanted to be a teacher. However, I have always been a storyteller from when I was a little girl. The "bug" for writing hit me when I was an avid reader who decided I would try and put one of those stories I thought up down on paper. I liked doing it, and that's how I started writing thirty-four years ago.












How did you get the idea for Saving Hope? What made you want to write about Beacon of Hope? 

Human trafficking is a growing business ($32 billion a year) that affects every country, including the United States. Often our young people are targeted, especially throwaway kids and runaways. I was a high school teacher for many years, and I dealt with some teens who had a less than ideal home life. They were vulnerable. I want them to realize the dangers out there possibly for them. In the story I also wanted to show there was hope in a rough situation, especially when people care.

What was your favorite scene to write in your book, Saving Hope? What was the hardest? Why? 

My favorite scene is when Kate drives back to Beacon of Hope and runs into trouble. Wyatt finds her and takes care of her. I don't want to say much else and give away too much. My most difficult scenes were the ones with Rose. These scenes were very emotional--tough to write.

Can you give us a sneak peek at what you have cooking up next? Can you tell us something about it? When will it be out? 

Shattered Silence is my second book in Men of the Texas Rangers Series. It will be out in October 2012. Back cover blurb: A serial killer is targeting illegal aliens in southern Texas. Texas Ranger Cody Jackson is paired with a local police officer, Liliana Rodriguez, to investigate the murders. While the case brings Cody and Liliana ever closer, the tension between Americans and Mexican Americans heightens. Fighting their attraction, Cody and Liliana race to discover who is behind the murders and bring peace to the area. What they uncover isn't what they expected. Will Cody and Liliana's faith and love be strong enough to survive the storm of violence?


You’ve been writing Love Inspired books for years now, how hard was it for you to jump into a full length novel? Anything surprise you in the process? 

Actually it wasn't hard to make the jump. When I wrote my longer books, I turned it in at the top end of my word count. I enjoy putting intricate plots together although while I'm doing it I sometimes feel like pulling my hair out.


 In Saving Hope you talk about Beacon of Hope Ministry. You describe how the tentacles of evil are not easily broken. The girls may want to rid themselves from their past but the enemy won’t let them go. What research did you do on this book and that topic? It seemed very scary and real. What surprised you about the evil aspect of this subject? What gave you hope? 

I read several books concerning the issue as well as articles and watched some documentaries concerning the subject. I talked with various people involved in the issue. With God there is always hope. But what people will do to others for money can be very evil. Ignoring evil allows it to grow. We need to be aware of it to stop it.

In Saving Hope Wyatt’s mom was reaching out and spending time with a stranger she met at the mall. She actually had the man over the house for dinner. It was sick to see the lengths these men went through to catch young girls and capture them. What do you hope the reader takes away from this story? 

I want young girls to realize the lengths some will go to get girls (and boys). I want parents and teens to be aware of the problems out there so they can avoid them. Knowledge of the issue is a necessary step to help combat this problem.

Which is easier for you to write historical or contemporary novels? 

Contemporary novels are easier for me because I've written more of them. Although I started out writing historical novels, the first book I sold was a contemporary romance. I've ended up writing three historical romances, but my other seventy-nine books are contemporaries.

QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK

What are your THREE Favorite books of all time? 

Amazonia by James Rollins, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.

 If money isn’t an issue, what is your favorite place to eat breakfast? What would you order? What would be your favorite place to eat dinner? What would you order? 













If money wasn't an issue, for breakfast I would like to have an omelet with fresh tropical fruit in Tahiti.
For dinner I would like snow crab and fried shrimp at home--my husband prepares them wonderfully.

Name three places you go on the web every day? 

Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Three Favorite books you read as a kid? 

The Nancy Drew Mysteries--I read every one I could get my hands on. Also I loved Gone With the Wind.

ANY FINAL COMMENTS MARGARET--THOUGHTS FOR MY READERS?

Thanks, Nora, for having me on your blog and The Book Club Network. I love hearing from readers. You can contact me through my website at http://www.margaretdaley.com. At my website I have excerpts of my books.

Margaret

Thanks so much Margaret for stopping by and letting us get to know you and your books. I really enjoyed reading Saving Hope and From this Day Forward I was pleasantly surprised at how different these books were. They were powerful, engaging and moving. I look forward to reading more of your books. I’m EXCITED about the book giveaway too!! It starts on MARCH 19th. Margaret will be giving away 2 copies of Saving Hope and 1 copy of From this Day Forward. Mark your calendars!! Contest is all at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK CLICK ON THIS LINK TO ENTER DRAWING http://ning.it/FQZICe 


GIVEAWAY SAVING HOPE & FROM THIS DAY FORWARD 


(no entries are taken here. The event is at TBCN not my blog)

Sincerely,

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network CEO
www.bookfun.org

CREATIVE GRANDPARENTING IS FOR YOU REVIEWED


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:

Discovery House Publishers (December 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Susan Otis/Creative Resources  for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jerry Schreur is a marriage and family counselor, educator and researcher. He has a Ph.D in family studies and is the co-author of five books and co-producer of several video series relating to building strong families. Judy Schreur is a retired professional manager, a humorist, and a motivational speaker. She has been a featured speaker at the Time Out for Women National Conference. Judy is also the co-author, with her husband, of When Prince Charming Falls Off His Horse. Jerry and Judy have five grandchildren and live in Michigan. Their daughter, Erin Schreur, is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College, and a development assistant at the University of Chicago working with alumni relations and development. She is a resident of Illinois.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
When grandparents are involved in their grandchildren’s lives they have fewer emotional, social and behavioral problems, according to recent studies. Jerry and Judy Schreur, with their granddaughter, Erin Schreur, encourage creative involvement and building meaningful relationships in their book, Creative Grandparenting: How to Love and Nurture a New Generation. They say the role of the creative grandparent is to be a historian, connector, mentor, role model, nurturer and hero. At each stage of the grandchild’s life, the grandparent can provide love and acceptance, while finding opportunities to pass along their wisdom, values and faith as they share their lives. The Schreurs share principles and inspiration to help grandparents make a difference in their grandchildren’s lives.


Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 272 pages

Publisher: Discovery House Publishers (December 1, 2011)

Language: English
ISBN-10: 1572934883
ISBN-13: 978-1572934887

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: 


Creative Grandparenting
 Is for You


Nineteen years ago I (Jerry) held my two-hour-old grand- daughter, Kendall, in the palm of my hand and silently offered a prayer of thanksgiving to God. I have never forgotten that day; its importance rivals that of my wedding day and the day my firstborn child came into the world. Arthur Kornhaber, researcher and writer, reminds us that there are three natural, life-transforming events in our lives over which we have no control: our birth, our death, and becoming grandparents. Even now, nineteen years later and with Kendall on her way to college, my heart skips a beat thinking about that moment when I held her in my hand.



I never dreamed, even then, that grandparenting would define my life quite like it has. Not a day goes by that I do not think about my five grandchildren, now ranging in age from nineteen to twenty-seven. Seldom does a week pass without me talking to or spending time with each one of them, even though they are scattered across the country, working and studying. Judy and I find—and make—time to be with them every chance we get. We are disappointed if we miss their calls; we cancel dinner plans with friends when our grand- children come into town; we delay planning vacations until we know if we will be missing out on a chance to spend time with them. Vacations can be rescheduled and friends can wait, but being with our grandchildren cannot. There is simply no such thing as being with them enough. We are creative, involved grandparents. You can be too—there is no greater privilege.



Creative Grandparents Described
Creative grandparents find new ways to love and enjoy their grandchildren at every age and stage of their lives. They know them intimately, what they are thinking and dreaming, their fears and struggles. They know when to talk and when to listen. They have the awesome privilege of watching their grandchildren become all they will be. This kind of close relationship imparts profound joy but also carries a weight and confers responsibility. In return for getting to be part of their lives, grandparents have a responsibility to be available, to be accepting, and to love unconditionally.



Being available is taking time out of your busy schedule to be with them. It means making them a priority, choosing to be with them instead of doing other things and being other places. It is fitting into their schedules, not demanding they fit into yours, or trying to squeeze them into your limited time. It is fulfilling your promises to them, being there when they count on you. Most importantly, it is letting them know how important they are to you and to God.



Loving and accepting your grandchildren unconditionally is seeing their uniqueness and the uniqueness of their individual journeys, not expecting them to be like you, their parents, or anyone else. It is looking for and encouraging their good qualities and positive traits, not focusing on negative traits. It is listening to their ideas and suggestions and doing what makes them happy when possible and practical. It is enjoying each one of them and letting them know how grateful you are for them and for the privilege of being a part of their lives.



Creative grandparents actively look for ways to be involved in the lives of their grandchildren, and enter their world, wherever and whenever allowed or invited. Creative grandparents know the interests and passions of their grand- children and share their own with them. They are open to learning from their grandchildren and trying new things together. Creative grandparents are grateful for each opportunity to include them in their plans, but also allow them to say no to their invitations, without feeling personally rejected.



Creative grandparents enjoy their grandchildren, not merely endure them. Creative grandparents look into the eyes of their grandchildren, connect with them, see the love in their eyes, and respond to that love with a greater love. Creative grandparents walk with them, hand in hand through life, in good times and in tough times. Creative grandparents experience the great joy of having their grandchildren look up at them and say, “I just love to be with you, Grandpa.” Creative grandparents thank God for their grandchildren and for their relationship with them each and every day, leading grandparents to wonder what they could possibly have done to be so privileged. Kornhaber and Woodward in Grandparents/ Grandchildren call this relationship “the vital connection . . . second only in emotional power to the parent-child bond.”



Grandparenting is a unique and special joy. We can delight in the love and affection of our grandchildren without having to parent them. We can watch them grow into young men and women without having to keep track of curfew or worry about their school work. Grandparenting offers all the best things about parenting without the accompanying weight of responsibility. We can be free to enjoy our grand- children in a way that we may not have been able to enjoy our children. We are older, seasoned, perhaps less rigid with the passing of years. We’re more ready to laugh and cry, better prepared to love without reservation.



There are biological grandparents and there are creative grandparents. Biological grandparents carry pictures in their wallets and hang photos on the wall. They have sporadic con- tact with their grandchildren and limited input in their lives; they are gift-givers and perfunctory hug-receivers. Creative grandparents carry memories in their hearts and love in their souls. Creative grandparents go beyond showing off their grandchildren as trophies. They want to impart to them their values. Christian grandparents serve God and their grand- children by teaching them about Jesus. They seek to live in a way that makes them heroes of faith to their grandchildren. They shower their grandchildren with love and acceptance. They build deep, meaningful relationships that will last a lifetime. Creative grandparents make a difference in the lives of their grandchildren.



This book is about creative grandparenting. Creative grand- parenting goes beyond the occasional phone call and birthday present. It challenges to you to take grandparenting seriously. Judy and I want to help you realize that, as grandparents, we can have a profound influence on our grandchildren, and they on us. We want to inspire you to be the best creative grandparents you can be.



The Benefits of Creative Grandparenting
The creative grandparenting challenge isn’t something we take lightly or take on without reason. We believe that grandchildren benefit greatly from a strong relationship with their grandparents, and research has indicated this time and time again. Studies show heightened self-esteem, greater chance of success in later life, and a stronger sense of family values in adults who have had good relationships with their grandparents. The facts are in. They tell us that, now more than ever, children need love and acceptance. Now more than ever, children need trusted adults to tell them that they are okay. Now more than ever, children need role models, adults living out their faith and values with honesty and integrity.



As much as our grandchildren need us, we need our grandchildren. The benefits of being a creative, involved grandparent are many. When interviewing grandparents we constantly heard the phrase, “My grandchildren keep me young.” They do. They show our tired bodies what it is like to run barefoot through the summer grass. They inspire us by scaling the trees we climbed in our youth. Their youthful enthusiasm reminds us of days long past. Grandchildren give us a renewed sense of what is possible. They give birth to new hope in us, reminding us of things we have forgotten about ourselves and teaching us things we’ve never known.



They also let us into the world of young people today. One grandmother we know listens to the music of her teen- age grandson. She says, “I just want to know what’s going on in the world, and John helps me stay in touch. He never treats me like an ‘old fogey’ but thinks it’s kind of neat to lend me his CDs and create playlists for my iPod. He even brags to his friends that his grandma likes hip-hop.” As we get older, we may begin to feel isolated from our families and from the mainstream of society. Our grandchildren bring us back. They provide us with an entrance into the world again, a ticket to American culture.



Taken from Creative Grandparenting: How to Love and Nurture a New Generation, © 1992, 2011 by Jerry Schreur and Judy Schreur. Used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, Box 3566, Grand Rapids MI 49501. All rights reserved.



REVIEW:

Creative Grand Parenting
By Jerry and Judy Schreur
Published by Discovery House Publishers
ISBN#978-1-57293-488-7
263 Pages

Review: The subtitle on this book is How to love and nurture a new generation. This book starts out by showing a new grand parent how to nurture a grandchild from birth to adult. This is not a book that concentrates on the younger years.

The authors state, “Creative grand parents find new ways to love and enjoy their grand children at every age and stage of their lives. They know them intimately, what they are thinking and dreaming, their fears and struggles. They know when to talk and when to listen. They have the awesome privilege of watching their grand children become all they will be.”

This book goes through the many challenges grandparents face in trying to nurture their grandchildren. The authors give tips on how their roles keep changing as the children grow up. The start out with three simple keys of new grandparents, the first is to be available. New parents need help. The second is to stay in the background – don’t be bossy and demanding. The third is to enjoy the wonder of a new life. “Allow yourself to feel the love and joy this little life brings. Take time to enjoy the wonder of babies.”

These authors help you “enjoy” the wonder of each stage of your grandchild’s life. They also give suggestions of things to look for and explore at each stage in back of the chapters. The section is called, “25 Creative things to do with your wonder years grand child, and then your school aged grand-child, your adolescent grandchild and finally 25 creative things to do with your emerging adult grandchild.

These authors help you navigate each age group so you can be supportive and encouraging all the while supporting and respecting your child as you love your grandchild even in difficult times, like in family crisis’s and how to grandparent long distances.

These authors show that we never stop being a parent, grandparent and friend. These authors give great suggestions to help grow these live long relationships all the while giving you hope, and tools to help you develop harmony with you, your child and grand child. They will help you avoid some pitfalls you can easily fall into and gives ideas and awareness to challenges you’ll face along this grand parenting journey. It’s an insightful book worth reading.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network CEO