Book review · fantasy · Fiction · historical fiction · Inspiring Reads · Literary Fiction · Uncategorized

A Review of Dean Cycon’s Debut Novel “Finding Home (Hungary 1945)”

 “How do we return home when home no longer exists?” Dean Cycon asked in his debut novel, “Finding Home (Hungary, 1945).” His work of historical fiction grew out of research and interviews he conducted in Hungary and the U.S. about what about happened to Holocaust survivors when they returned to their communities after World War… Continue reading A Review of Dean Cycon’s Debut Novel “Finding Home (Hungary 1945)”

Bible study · Book review · Christian Living · Christianity · Nonfiction · Uncategorized

Prayer and Intimacy with God

Christian author and pastor Dr. Timothy J. Keller died today after a three-year struggle with pancreatic cancer. I thought back to his valuable book on prayer, a well-researched, well-thought-out answer to so many questions I had about the topic. Dr. Keller told his family two days before he passed, "I'm thankful for all the people… Continue reading Prayer and Intimacy with God

fantasy · Fiction · International Fiction · Reading · Uncategorized

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Time travel to the past in books and movies often shows what would happen if someone went back to the past and did something that changes things in the future. We all do a bit of “time travel” when we revisit memories of people and places and try to make sense of them in the… Continue reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Bible study · Book review · Christian Living · Christianity · Devotionals · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

A Fresh Take on Jesus’ Close Friends: Mary, Martha, and Lazarus

On May, 2, 2023, Amy Boucher Pye published a study where she provides a fresh take on the story of Jesus’ close friendships with Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazarus in "Transforming Love: How Friendship with Jesus Changes Us." She shows how God uses our relationships with others and with Jesus to shape us as… Continue reading A Fresh Take on Jesus’ Close Friends: Mary, Martha, and Lazarus

Bible study · Book review · Christian Living · Christianity · Nonfiction

The Gospel Under Attack

I have a list of Bible teachers I tune in to listen to on YouTube. Allen Parr is on that list. With well over a million subscribers, he hosts The BEAT (Biblical Encouragement And Truth) where he provides succinct lessons in scripture on what God has to say about some of the problems Christian face… Continue reading The Gospel Under Attack

Book review · Christian Living · Christianity · psychology · Uncategorized

On Getting Out of Bed

Suffering is a normal part of living in this broken world, in broken bodies. Truly, those who have a mental illness would love nothing better than to be rid of it. They often find themselves overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings that lie to them and distort reality. I know this because I’ve been there. Author… Continue reading On Getting Out of Bed

Book review · Christian fiction · Christian Living · Christianity · Uncategorized

A review of “The Screwtape Letters”

In his satire "The Screwtape Letters," C.S. Lewis imagines a correspondence between demons who do their best to tempt humans away from God and His saving grace. In my review of "The Great Divorce," I hadn't yet read this book, nor completed the last lecture on C.S. Lewis' view of Heaven and Hell. In these… Continue reading A review of “The Screwtape Letters”

Christian Living · Christianity · Nonfiction

A Review of “Don’t Look Back”

I have been on the lookout for words of wisdom to help me stop ruminating over my past mistakes that often steal my peace of mind if not my joy. When I read the synopsis, I knew Christine Caine's latest book might hold some secret knowledge. Christine uses the story of Lot's wife as a… Continue reading A Review of “Don’t Look Back”

Christian fiction · fantasy · philosophy · psychology · Uncategorized

A review of “The Great Divorce”

Dr. Michael Ward OK, I need to update my review. I am watching this last lecture in Dr. Michael Ward’s online course, C.S. Lewis on Christianity, and I finished reading “The Screwtape Letters” as well. I guess I should have waited to post a review after watching his lecture. I have new insights on both… Continue reading A review of “The Great Divorce”

Christian Living · Christianity · Devotionals · Uncategorized

Sixth Station: The Burial

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear: A Different Mary and Joseph I recently reviewed a book here about siblings Martha, Mary, and Lazarus of Bethany. Amy Boucher Pye writes that Martha wrote Jesus about Lazarus' grave illness; however, she didn’t demand anything of Him. Jesus had just escaped the region where His enemies wanted to stone… Continue reading Sixth Station: The Burial

Christian Living · Christianity · Devotionals · Uncategorized

Fifth Station: The Crucifixion

Pontius Pilate knew the religious leaders were envious of Jesus. (Mark 15:10) His wife had a terrifying nightmare about Him, and she wanted Pilate to have nothing to do with the trial. (Matthew 27:19) He had hoped the crowd would want to release Jesus, but they wanted to release a notorious criminal Barabbas, known for… Continue reading Fifth Station: The Crucifixion

Christian Living · Christianity · Devotionals

Fourth Station: The Arrest & Trials

Several times in scripture we see that the chief priests and Pharisees in their rage wanted to kill Jesus, but something always stopped them. They feared the people’s reaction. Many had come to hear Jesus teach in the temple. Hatred blinded the chief priests to their law and traditions. One of Jesus’ disciples would betray… Continue reading Fourth Station: The Arrest & Trials

Christian Living · Christianity · Uncategorized

Third Station: The Garden

In the scriptures, we read about Jesus as He prayed in the garden, known as Gethsemane, at the foot of the Mount of Olives. He took three of his disciples with him and prayed there as He prepared for the next steps of His rescue mission. He encouraged Peter, James, and John to follow His… Continue reading Third Station: The Garden

Christian Living

Second Station: The Last Supper

During the last meal Jesus had with His disciples, He spoke about the new covenant, or agreement, between God and humanity. This covenant had been described by the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel in the Old Testament. Moses had been given the law that God’s people were to obey. In Genesis 26:5, God said, “Abraham obeyed My… Continue reading Second Station: The Last Supper

Christian Living · Devotionals · Things I'm Learning

First Station: Hand Washing

If someone were to ask you what the Bible is all about, how would you answer? Would you say, “It’s a story about redeeming love." "It's a story about God and His people." "It's an adventure story." "It's a story about Jesus’ rescue mission." It's all those things and more. The Bible opens in Genesis… Continue reading First Station: Hand Washing

Christian Living

The Good Friday Experience

Christians everywhere observe the Friday before Easter as “Good Friday.” The darkest day in human history is also when Jesus Christ finished the most important part of His rescue mission here on Earth. He would take on all the sins of the world and die on the cross. He did this for us. When He… Continue reading The Good Friday Experience

Christian Living · Christianity

How Friendship with Jesus Changes Us

Most sermons and devotionals on the topic of Jesus' friends Martha and Mary of Bethany in the Bible tend to pit the two sisters against each other. A common question for the listener or reader is: “Are you a Martha or a Mary?” And depending on how the person leads, you will bend toward one… Continue reading How Friendship with Jesus Changes Us

Biography · Christian Living · Christianity · History · Nonfiction · Reading · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

Standing up for truth

I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the spiritual life of Dr. (Rev.) Martin Luther King, Jr., while reviewing Jonathan Eig's biography, "King: A Life." Dr. King first and foremost identified himself as a Baptist preacher. He spoke often about Christian, brotherly love, and pacifism as remedies for curing the social ills of… Continue reading Standing up for truth

Biography · Book review · Christianity · History · Inspiring Reads · Nonfiction · Reading · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

Review of King: A Life, Part 1

“Flawed,” “Brave,” “Radical… “And under heavy attack by the FBI.” All words meant to describe Dr. (Rev.) Martin Luther King, Jr., the focus of Jonathan Eig's “King: A Life,” that released on May 16, 2023. Let me say first that the cinematic quality of Eig's writing made for a rich, sensory experience while reading. I… Continue reading Review of King: A Life, Part 1

Book review · Christian Living · Christianity · History · philosophy · psychology · Reading · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

A Review of ‘Mere Christianity’

I went into reading "Mere Christianity" with some trepidation, having read “The Abolition of Man.” I worried I’d stop in the middle because the material was dry or hard to understand. I've had this on my list to read though because this book is one of C.S. Lewis’ most quoted works I find while reading… Continue reading A Review of ‘Mere Christianity’

autobiography · Christian Living · Christianity · Inspiring Reads · Memoir

The Other Anne Wilson, otherwise known as “Anne with an E”

The song “My Jesus” introduced me to the other “Anne Wilson” in the music industry. The only Ann Wilson I knew then was the lead singer of Heart. This is Anne with an "E," just like “Anne of Green Gables." I listened to this song on repeat. I originally thought Carrie Underwood or Jenn Johnson… Continue reading The Other Anne Wilson, otherwise known as “Anne with an E”

Christian Living · Christianity · History · Nonfiction · philosophy · psychology · Reading · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

“Mere Christianity” Part 1

“The ‘mere’ Christianity of C.S. Lewis…is a way of life, one that challenges us always to remember, as [he once said]: ‘There are no ordinary people’ and that ‘it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit.’” – Kathleen Norris, editor C.S. Lewis’ book “Mere Christianity” is a classic loved by… Continue reading “Mere Christianity” Part 1


The Magi & King Herod

Merry Christmas! I slept for about two hours last night. I decided to go out to the living room, turn on the lights to the Christmas tree, make some warm milk, and read while using my heat wrap. Dayton has suffered a winter blast, and my body felt it. I've been waiting out a migraine… Continue reading The Magi & King Herod


What I’m reading now at Christmas

My usual MO is to read a book in its entirety before reviewing it, but for the sake of timeliness, I wanted to share what I’m reading this holiday season. I decided to pick “fun reads” and "light reads" to finish out the year. Fiction A Wish For Father Christmas I finished this first book… Continue reading What I’m reading now at Christmas


How can I be silent?

Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer in his book, “We Will Not Be Silenced,” wanted to “reclaim the church” and encourage Christians. He wanted us to not compromise our beliefs and instead continue to reach unbelievers despite the cultural pressure here in the United States. He answered questions I had about how and why deceptive ideologies, like Marxism, socialism,… Continue reading How can I be silent?


A Review of Edenbrooke 1 & 2

I started reading Julianne Donaldson’s “Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance” as a nice bedtime story, but I found myself reading chapter after chapter…and not sleeping. Marianne’s mother died while riding and she feels indirectly responsible, but responsible, nonetheless. Part of that reason is because she is sent to live with her grandmother in Bath not long… Continue reading A Review of Edenbrooke 1 & 2

autobiography · Book review

Reviewing “A Heart That Works”

"A Heart That Works" takes readers on a journey through the mind of a father who is still walking through devastating losses and profound grief. Rob Delaney wrote this memoir as a tribute to his 2 ½ year old son Henry who died from cancer in 2018. His quote in a The New York Times… Continue reading Reviewing “A Heart That Works”

Biography · Christianity · Movies · Reading · Uncategorized

A most reluctant convert

I just finished watching “The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis" that I had checked out of the library. It's available on Amazon Prime. I had seen the trailer for this last year and wanted to see it. Actor Max McLean plays C.S. Lewis. I know him as the voice narrating my… Continue reading A most reluctant convert

Biography · Book review · historical fiction · History

A novel for NYC art & history lovers

Historical fiction provides a way for writers to imagine possible dialogue and scenes as they research the facts about an era's people and times. They weave a new story and breathe life into historical figures and places, much like a historian or docent at a museum. In her latest novel "The Magnolia Palace," Fiona Davis… Continue reading A novel for NYC art & history lovers

Book review · Christian Living · Christianity · Inspiring Reads · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

Seeing the Good in Life

Looking through Netgalley for my next book to read, I saw the book, "See the Good" and thought, "Yes!" I mean, who doesn’t want to “see the good” in life? After years of... Living in a pandemic, Consuming a daily diet of doom-and-gloom news, Fearing rising prices and supply shortages Sign me up! In his… Continue reading Seeing the Good in Life

Book review · Christianity · Nonfiction · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

Always “Pray First”

I watched Chris Hodges speak on the topic, “Pray First” before reading an advance copy of his book, "Pray First: The Transformative Power of a Life Built on Prayer." I wish I'd thought to do a search for him speaking sooner. He's from Louisiana and said he's Cajun, which made for fun reading. I now… Continue reading Always “Pray First”

Christianity · Inspiring Reads · Memoir · Nonfiction · psychology · Reading · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

You don’t have to hide

Christian author and podcaster Jasmine L. Holmes grew up Black in a predominantly white evangelical community. A pastor's kid and the oldest of 9, she went through puberty in front of the watchful eyes of her church. She said she often felt like wore a mask. She tried to live up to the image of… Continue reading You don’t have to hide

Christianity · Nonfiction · psychology · Reading · Songs for the journey · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

Winning the War on Worry

Family members used to tell me I reminded them of my Grandma Mae because of my tendency to worry. I often battled "what-if" thinking and had months of anxiety attacks that seemed to come out of nowhere. I’m a Christian so I know I wasn't “given a spirit of fear,” but sometimes worry hijacked my… Continue reading Winning the War on Worry

Book review · Christian fiction · Reading · Romance

Beach town love story has the beginnings of a Hallmark movie

I requested an advance review copy of Grace Worthington’s “A Wedding in Wild Harbor” because the premise had me at subterfuge. A man and woman who don’t like each other agree to a pretend relationship for their own gains. Liam Henry is a Chicago businessman who wants his mother, Jane, off his back when it… Continue reading Beach town love story has the beginnings of a Hallmark movie

Book review · Christianity · Inspiring Reads · Memoir · Nonfiction · psychology · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

The Beauty of Forgiving Others

In “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way,” Lysa TerKeurst wrote about handling life’s disappointments, detours, and derailments. Lysa had been enduring a separation from her husband who had been unfaithful, while also dealing with serious health concerns that almost killed her. True to form, Lysa didn’t hide her feelings. She spoke as if someday… Continue reading The Beauty of Forgiving Others

Book review · Nonfiction · psychology · Reading · Uncategorized

A most unusual read

I recently repainted this faded garden gnome. I hadn't realized at the time these fairytale mushrooms were probably Amanita muscaria. Before reading a book about Jeremy Downs' near-death experience, I couldn’t have told you anything about Amanita muscaria mushrooms. And yet my outdoor garden gnome sat among them all this time. They were featured in… Continue reading A most unusual read

Book review · historical fiction · Impressions · medieval romance · Reading · Uncategorized

A review of Tamara Leigh’s “Lady At Arms: Book One”

I have long enjoyed reading Tamara Leigh’s contemporary romances, but I had not read her historical ones – and she’s written quite a few now. I wanted to go back to her beginnings and read her first works of historical fiction. I learned those were the “Bride” novels (no longer in print) rewritten as the… Continue reading A review of Tamara Leigh’s “Lady At Arms: Book One”

Book review · historical fiction · Inspiring Reads · Reading · Uncategorized

Must-read novel for fall

If this novel ever finds its way onto the screen, Kristina McMorris' "The Ways We Hide" would have these descriptors: “strong female lead, WWII drama, suspense, based on true events and mature audiences.” McMorris wrote her novel from the perspective of Fenna Vos, a Dutch-American woman living during World War II, a time known as… Continue reading Must-read novel for fall

Book review · Christianity · Nonfiction · philosophy · Uncategorized

Defending the faith in the manner of Jesus Christ

Dallas Willard, taken fromChristianity Today article I first learned about the works of American philosopher Dallas Willard reading John Eldredge's book on resilience that I reviewed here. Dallas experienced a painful childhood. His mother died when he was 2, and his father remarried a woman who exiled him from the home. (I still haven’t learned… Continue reading Defending the faith in the manner of Jesus Christ

Book review · Devotionals · Memoir · Reading · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

Talking with God

As a young mother, Suzanne “Suzie” Eller struggled to find the words to pray, despite prayer lists or formulas. She wanted to hear from Jesus. She wanted to have intimate talks with Him like she would a dear friend. When she didn’t know how to pray in difficult seasons of her life, Suzie found the… Continue reading Talking with God

Book review · historical fiction · Regency Romance · Romance

The Highwayman kept riding…

“A Cross-Country Trip through Regency England Brings Intrigue, Rogues, and High Adventure.” Michelle Griep’s “The Noble Guardian” had me so engrossed in this tale I had a hard time shutting my light off at night to go to sleep. The Regency romace reads like a stand-alone novel, but I later learned it's part of “The… Continue reading The Highwayman kept riding…

Book review · Memoir · Nonfiction · psychology · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

Living a bold and blessed life

Beauty, fashion and lifestyle guru Dominique Sachse is one of my favorite personalities on YouTube. She started her channel in 2014 with her tagline, “Be Bold and Be Blessed.” At last count, she has 1.74 million subscribers. I subscribed after seeing a video on how to style a bob. I later learned this poised and… Continue reading Living a bold and blessed life

Book review · Nonfiction · Reading · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

A review of Anne Graham Lotz’s book about the work of the Holy Spirit

A power outage this weekend allowed me to finish the 2019 book "Jesus in Me" by Anne Graham Lotz. Anne is the daughter of Billy Graham and a gifted Bible teacher. In this book, she gave a biblical overview of the Holy Spirit along with His role within the trinity, God the Father; God the… Continue reading A review of Anne Graham Lotz’s book about the work of the Holy Spirit

Book review · Uncategorized

Secret letters and secret rooms: A Review of Ladd’s “The Letter from Briarton Park”

Imagine you are a 19th century woman who thought you knew all you needed to know about your past. You were about to leave to find work elsewhere. The school where you lived since a child would close soon. But then, as she lay dying, the headmistress told you she's held onto a letter for… Continue reading Secret letters and secret rooms: A Review of Ladd’s “The Letter from Briarton Park”

Book review · Inspiring Reads · Nonfiction · psychology · Things I'm Learning · Uncategorized

On regaining spiritual resiliency

I just finished Christian author and counselor John Eldredge's “Resilient: Restoring your weary soul in these turbulent times,” the perfect read after all we've been facing. He used the recent pandemic and prophecies about the end of the age to share with readers a way to access the source of our resiliency and strength found… Continue reading On regaining spiritual resiliency

Biography · Book review · History · Inspiring Reads · Memoir · Uncategorized

Reading Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes with fresh eyes

My second origami crane in gold next to the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. My cousins are planning a special memorial in May, a way to remember and celebrate my Aunt Elaine, who died Dec. 30 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. My cousins Abby, Rachel, and Aaron will hang a thousand… Continue reading Reading Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes with fresh eyes

Book review · Reading · Uncategorized

A different “Lizzy and Jane”

Recently I've found I gravitate to stories about chefs and food. I favorably reviewed "A Coincidence of Coconut Cake" by Amy E. Reichert, and the debut novel from Charmaine Wilkerson's "Black Cake" not too long ago. "Lizzy and Jane" by Katherine Reay became the next "cheffie" or "foodie" story for me to read. Available to… Continue reading A different “Lizzy and Jane”

Book review · Inspiring Reads · Memoir · Nonfiction

Review of Behind the Lights

If you’ve enjoyed music from “for KING & COUNTRY," then you may be familiar with members Joel and Luke Smallbone. They are brothers of Rebecca St. James, who I had thought blazed a trail for them with her own career in the Christian music industry. But really the Smallbone family as a whole has been… Continue reading Review of Behind the Lights

Book review · Nonfiction · Reading · Uncategorized

A Review of Jane Austen’s Genius Guide

"The finest novelist" "Moral philosopher" "Sharp social commentator" These are three of the ways Haley Stewart described one of my favorite writers of all time, Jane Austen. Her added appellation though is the topic of this book: "Life Coach" I went into reading her book with this in mind. Jane Austen’s Genius Guide to Life:… Continue reading A Review of Jane Austen’s Genius Guide

Inspiring Reads · Nonfiction · Reading · Uncategorized

Review of 3:16: The Numbers of Hope

In this relaunch of his 2007 book, “3:16: The Numbers of Hope,” Max Lucado returned to this well-known-loved-quoted passage of scripture from the book of John: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16.… Continue reading Review of 3:16: The Numbers of Hope