Final Shot by Stephen Bly

This is the last of a very popular series by Stephen Bly. His sons and wife meticulously put this book together from Bly's final notes of the story. He passed away in 2011 and they thought the series needed an ending that was worthy of Bly's work.

I have not read any of Bly's books and I'm sorry that I missed them. I seriously do not have a clue where this book came from... it just showed up in my mail box. I get so many books because of my review blog that I have had to write down those that I actually order. I do not remember ordering this one.

Janet, Bly's wife is a famous author in her own right. The book is good, even if there were several that went before this one. I didn't feel left out at the beginning, and that is a huge thing. You can find out more about them here.

It’s 1905. Two orphans flee Oregon’s Tillamook Head. One of them is branded a hero. Will they tell the truth and risk the wrath of a dangerous man?
Meanwhile, legendary retired lawman Stuart Brannon — now a rancher and widower — had no intention of leaving his beloved Arizona Territory to attend the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Oregon, nor to participate in a celebrity golf tournament. His life no longer consisted of men to track down . . . people trying to kill him . . .gangs preying on the innocent. Then the telegram came: Stuart, I need you in Portland. Tim Wiseman is missing. I think there’s a cover-up going on . . . I’ll contact you there. T.R. How could he refuse a request from the President of the United States? Read More…


“…as good if not better than anything of (Louis L’Amour). I shall remain a fan of Stephen Bly.” - Jimmy Dickens  (the Grand Ole Opry)
“Bly does a lot of things right for lovers of the traditional western…(he) clearly knows the country he writes about…Luke Short and Frank Gruber come to mind.” -Library Journal
“In this fresh contribution to the CBA market, Bly…pens an amusing parody…(Paperback Writer) is a funny, enjoyable romp….” -Publishers Weekly


Taking your small group off life support


I have not read a non-fiction book that is so detailed and worthy of collegiate study as this one in a long while. I've decided to use this book in one of my graduate classes to study Christian groups. It is that good. I highly recommend this for any church committee chairperson, a youth pastor, or pastor to understand how Christian group dynamics are supposed to work. It has some truly wonderful ideas in how a group's identity unfolds, and how your group can prosper with the proper boundaries set up and with Jesus as the ultimate administrator. Don't miss this one! It is a keeper.


Brad House calls on churches to wake up to the possibilities for life-transforming, gospel ministry through small groups. In recent years Mars Hill Church, based in Seattle, has experienced the rich blessings that exist within healthy community groups. In Community, House provides a resource for other churches to experience these blessings.

House examines healthy, gospel-centered small groups in three sections. In the first, he lays a foundation for the need and purpose of small-group community. He then presents a big-picture “health plan” for small groups, looking closely at the nuts and bolts of small-group ministry. The book ends with a practical section detailing ways churches can move forward to missional small groups that bless each other, the church, and their communities.
With wisdom and candor, House helps churches think carefully about the state of their own small groups and, where necessary, take steps toward a healthier, gospel-centered community. Pastors and church leaders, as well as small groups, will find this guide to be a catalyst in their growth and development.

Beauty for Ashes by Dorothy Love

This is the first book I've read by Dorothy Love. I didn't know it was the second in a series, and if I had, I would not have ordered it.

I do not have a lot of patience with works that need better editing. I can certainly appreciate deeply that an editor tries to keep the author's voice. I'm not talking about a professional editor, but editing by the author herself. The only place where convoluted sentences are acceptable to me is in the Bible. After the 4th chapter, I quit reading it because there were characters I did not know; there were things not explained; there were places not described. As far as I am concerned this book should not have been cut in half and published as two works. Keep the thing as a whole if this is what will be presented to the public as a second work. On second thought, I give this work only 1 star.

Book Description

She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a Southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home.
After losing her husband in the Civil War, Carrie Daly is scared she will never have the family she longs for. Eligible bachelors are scarce in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, but Carrie Daly has found love. Not the weak-in-the-knees kind, but something practical. Still, she isn't quite ready to set a wedding date with Nate Chastain.
Griff Rutledge is a former member of Charleston society, but has been estranged from his family for years. He’s determined to remain unattached, never settling in one place for too long. But when asked to train a Thoroughbred for an upcoming race in Hickory Ridge, he decides to stay awhile.
Despite objections from the townsfolk, and her fear that true happiness has eluded her, Carrie is drawn to Griff's kindness and charm. It will take a leap of faith for them to open their hearts and claim God's promise to trade beauty for ashes.


The Messenger by Siri Mitchell


Siri Mitchell has a tremendous talent for spinning a great yarn. This one takes the reader back to the Revolutionary War to view it from the Quakers' point of view. I have long believed the belief to not take up arms was something ill considered not to mention completely unbiblical. However, Mitchell takes a close look at this belief, along with the passions of that era. I have learned that the history we studied in school wasn't quite the complete history. Some of the brutality was shielded from us, and I'm not so sure that was a good thing. How else can one learn the reasons why our forefathers were so deeply passionate about freedom?

Mitchell always does a fabulous job with weaving history and story together seamlessly without long descriptive passages. Anyone familiar with history will pick up instantly on the things hinted at and will be intrigued, like me, to check out some fact or another. It's a keeper, for sure.

I give it 4 stars out of 5 stars.


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Messenger
Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2012)
Siri Mitchell


Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith

...until her twin brother ran off and joined the army and ended up captured and in jail. Suddenly Hannah's world turns on end. She longs to bring her brother some measure of comfort in the squalid, frigid prison where he remains. But the Quakers believe they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. Can she sit by and do nothing while he suffers?

Jeremiah Jones has an enormous task before him. Responsibility for a spy ring is now his, and he desperately needs access to the men in prison, whom they are seeking to free. A possible solution is to garner a pass for Hannah. But while she is fine to the eye, she holds only disdain for him--and agreeing would mean disobeying those she loves and abandoning a bedrock of her faith.

With skill and sensitivity, Mitchell tells a story of two unlikely heroes seeking God's voice, finding the courage to act, and discovering the powerful embrace of love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Messenger, go HERE.


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.


Chasing the Sun by Tracie Peterson


As always, Tracie Peterson has a marvelous way of capturing the reader's attention from the first page. This novel is an interesting looks at Civil War era Texas and Vicksburg, MS. As a Louisiana/Mississippi native, I enjoyed this yarn.

Hanna is extremely resourceful if a little dense from the beginning, or maybe trusting is a better word. Peterson develops her characters in a believable environment. However, I lose patience quickly with see-through plots, and this is one of those. Almost from the first chapter you can see how the story will evolve, and still you hope there will be a twist that will upturn your basket of expectations. That doesn't happen, but the story is still a good one; and the dialogue, while not exactly sparkling, it has some excellent moments.

Peterson also does an exemplary job of highlighting how prejudice sometimes rules our worlds, but can be overcome simply by trying to understand each others' worlds through others' eyes: Why would an Indian think his way is better to sleep on the ground under the stars?

All in all, this is a good read. I give it 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Chasing The Sun
Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2012)
Tracie Peterson


When her father disappears in war-torn Mississippi, Hannah Dandridge finds herself responsible not only for her younger siblings but for the ranch her father recently acquired on the Texas plains. Though a marriage of convenience could ease her predicament, she determines to trust God for direction.

Wounded soldier William Barnett returns to his home only to discover that his family's ranch has been seized. Though angry and bitter at this turn of events, he's surprised to discover that it is a beautiful young woman with amazing fortitude who is struggling to keep the place running.

Hannah, desperate for help, and William, desperate to regain his family's land, form an uneasy truce. But nearby Comanche tribes, the arrival of Confederate soldiers, and a persistent suitor all threaten the growing attraction that builds between them. Will they be able to set aside their own dreams and embrace the promise of a future together?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Chasing The Sun, go HERE.


Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 85 novels.
She received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.

In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.

She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.

Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.

Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family--especially her three grandchildren--Rainy, Fox and Max. She's active in her church as the Director of Women's Ministries, coordinates a yearly writer's retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits, to research her books.

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