Lake Surrender by Carol Grace Stratton

Lake Surrender

Her journey ends where the lake begins!

Featured imageStratton’s debut contemporary Christian romance introduces readers to the healing joy of life on Lake Surrender, Mich. With a failed marriage, two children (one of whom is autistic), and a house to sell, Ally Cervantes already feels at the end of her rope. Being downsized at work is the last straw, and that sends her and the children from their hectic California life to the Michigan home of her aunt. Despite having wonderful references, the only job Ally can land is as the lead cook at the nearby Christian summer camp for children, run by Will Grainger, a man she knew when they were both children. Circumstances contrive to throw them together at every available opportunity, routinely contrasting Will’s solid faith with Ally’s lack thereof and turning the spotlight on Ally’s spiritual journey. Stilted dialog combined with unconvincing characterization and extraneous plot devices detract from what might otherwise have been a promising tale of redemption and perseverance.


Author Bio:

Carol G. Stratton has written over a hundred articles for publications that include InTouch magazine,, and Kyria, and has been interviewed on several programs such as Moody Radio Midday Connection, Army Wife, Joyfully Living Free radio shows and Friends and Neighbors television show. Currently she is a staff writer for Lake Norman Publications. She has a degree in Recreation Therapy and has worked with autistic children in a classroom an experience that inspired her to write about a woman with an autistic son.

She has spoken at national writing conferences as well as MOPS and other women’s groups about personality temperaments, friendship and encouraging yourself. Her second book, Lake Surrender will be coming out Sept 23rd.

Carol is married and has four grown children and four grandchildren. Currently she and her husband, John, live in Mooresville, North Carolina where she loves to hike and play guitar and mandolin while learning to love liver mush.

My review:

As Carol Grace Stratton’s debut novel, this was one powerful story.  Ally Cervantes, a children’s publisher for a high-powered Los Angelus publisher, has been divorced by her husband, left to sell her house, left to raise two children alone (one with autism), and down-sized from her job.  With finances tight, she takes up her Aunt Nettie’s offer to stay in her cabin on Lake Surrender, MI, until she can find another publishing job.

Carol has laced her story with plots and subplots that keep the story popping from page one.  The characters are realistic yet with flaws, just like the real world.  Not finding a job in her field, Ally becomes a cook for a summer camp.  This is where the story takes off flying.  Suspense, romance, child-raising issues, and camp living becomes a never-ending host of surprises.  Carol has pulled off a great novel.  An author to be looking for in the near future.

Only one thing bothered me in the book.  The cohesiveness from specific time lapses were a bit abrupt.  A smoother tie-in would have made the book perfect for me.

This book was provided free from the author in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received for my review.

Jesus Daily 365 Interactive Devotions by Aaron Tabor, MD (WITH CONTEST)


365 Interactive Devotions-inspired by 27 million fans on Facebook!


Book Cover:


 December Jesus Daily Photo:

December 10 Example Page:

My Review:
Aaron Tabor, MD,  has brought together multiple insights into his book, Jesus Daily 365 Interactive Devotions.  He gets you thinking about the simple and tough issues of life, while challenging you to apply what you have learned, with the expectation that it will become a part of your Christian walk by “Connecting.”
You can follow him at Jesus Daily on Facebook and be encouraged by others, while doing the same toward others.
I found Dr. Tabor’s book challenging and exciting, little realizing that I’ve been applying some of his suggestions before reading his book.  Come along and allow the Lord to lead you in ways you may not have thought about before.
I received this free book in exchange for my honest review from Katie Connors, Online Marketing Manager, Hatchette Book Group. No monetary compensation was received.
To win a copy of this book and a t-shirt, please leave a comment about this article and how you view social online connecting regarding the Lord.  U.S. only.  Please leave your email address to be entered in this contest.  Use this example to avoid spam:  janedoe(at)gmail(d0t)com.  Contest closes December 15, 2015, at midnight.

“TORN BLOOD” by David J. Bain



Action-Packed Novel Reveals
Inside Story Of Arab-Israel Conflict


Good news for Tom Clancy fans anticipating his latest unpublished novel. They can discover a new action-packed adventure written by David J. Bain whose fast-paced style and attention to detail appeals to Clancy fans everywhere.

Speaking with his own voice, Bain’s debut novel pulls readers into a vortex of tightly knit action and suspense with riveting plots, layered sub-plots, and intrigues which are the hallmarks of America’s great story tellers.

Bain spent seven years researching and writing Torn Blood (ISBN 13: 978-0-9881710- 0-8), 2013, Bo Iti Press, Wyoming, 568 pages, $17.99, available from bookstores, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble in paperback and eBook. Also available at iBookstore in a digital format).

Torn Blood shows enemies locked in a mortal battle to destroy Jerusalem’s Jewish residents where lives are faced with an existential choice – safety from persecution in America or commitment to a land that calls them home but could demand their lives. 

In his debut novel, Bain enters Jewish history and asks if justice can prevail for a people maligned and persecuted over the ages because of their birthright.

Bain, who collaborated on two movie screenplays, (End of the Harvest and Time Changer), brought together researchers from the United States and Israel to reveal the truth of Jewish rights to a homeland in Israel.

“I was familiar with Israel’s history, politics, and military as well as the habit modern Israel has for coming out on top in any conflict with aggressor countries, but why does this tiny dot of land, Israel, remain the focus of world events?” Bain answers that question in the pages of Torn Blood as readers are drawn into a story capturing reader’s minds and hearts as the ultimate fate of Jerusalem and her people reveals itself in an apocalyptic conflagration.

“Many believe Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state but can’t articulate why,” adds Bain, “Once they read Torn Blood readers will know the truth of Israel’s historic claim to its land and why that claim is so hotly contested.”

Torn Blood was written so readers will discover the reasons why Jewish people are committed to their tiny nation floating in a sea of enemies and why Jerusalem is the heart and soul of their existence.

The Story Behind the Headlines:

Three weeks before reporting for duty at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Addison Deverell arrives
in Israel on a mission—to find the source of the conflict between Arabs and Jews. Bound to an escort by the embassy, he is unable to begin his search as time is running out.

Mere days before he must report for duty, Addison is freed from his forced escort. As another escort takes his place, Addison issues an ultimatum that, with or without help, he is going into Palestinian territory for answers he can’t find in Israel. Addison races to uncover truth that promises to establish a career as he faces danger from those he seeks to understand and finds himself a pawn in an international plot to drive Israel’s Jews into the sea.

Nearly seven thousand miles away in Oregon, Dr. Janelle Henning confronts a secret that threatens to destroy the only family she’s ever known. A search for understanding thrusts her into a world long buried to confront a birthright hidden by the passage of time. Brought together by events, Janelle and Addison discover hidden identities in a relationship they have shared for a lifetime.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying About Torn Blood:

A Novel of Importance:
Scholarly, Challenging, Immensely Important Insights
“This novel, perhaps more than any other, allows a wider audience to understand the history and commitment to Zionism and the inimitable importance of the city of Jerusalem to those of the Jewish faith around the world. Bain has provided not only an engrossing thriller but also a glimpse at the idea of apocalypse, the ever-present threat of chemical and biological warfare and annihilation of massive groups of people, and a celebration of the indomitable Jewish spirit.”
-Grady Harp, Amazon Top 50 Hall of Fame Reviewer

“This is an action-packed thriller that focuses on biological weapons of mass destruction while also providing insight into what it means to be an Israeli as identity matters. Fast-paced from the opening discussion on anthrax and never slowing down, readers will appreciate this exciting tale; as no compromise and no surrender remains the values of a small nation as depicted by the ‘relative size’ map.”
-Harriet Klausner, #1 Amazon Reviewer in Sept 2008 and Newspaper Columnist

“I enjoyed the complexity of the sub-plots and how they all tied together. It appears Mr. Bain managed to inject many years of his own experiences into some of the characters. Torn Blood is an excellent read and I hope this is only the first chapter of a series that will use fiction to explain the complexities of the Middle East.”
-Paul Sarvela, Amazon Reviewer

“Most of the time, I’m a hit or miss fan of fiction that is controversial or apocalyptic in nature. But Torn Blood was a book I simply could not put down…The plot is a labyrinth of mystery, and details unfold in their own time, and aren’t easily predictable.”
-Jeff Randleman, Amazon Reviewer

“I know this sounds dramatic, but that’s because the plot of Torn Blood is dramatic. The disturbing thing is that it’s also plausible, given the turmoil in the Middle East. When I started reading Torn Blood and seeing where Bain was headed, I could hardly stand to put the book down. I wanted to know what would happen next and if everything would turn out okay. There were some surprises along the way as well, and I enjoyed each one.”

-Jennifer A. Janes, Amazon Reviewer

“This book is fast-past and suspenseful! It is a book about choices and the consequences of those choices. At times it was a little difficult for me to keep up with the many characters throughout the book, but overall it was a very very interesting, exciting, page-turner!”
-JoJo Sitos, Goodreads Reviewer

“I found it easy to immerse myself into these various characters throughout the entirety of the book. I had times where I had to put the book down, due to other life priorities, and picked it back up with ease. Once again I found myself immediately wrapped up in the action.”
-M. Mancuso, Goodreads Reviewer

About David J. Bain:

David-Bain-3Torn Blood drew its first breath after I collaborated on two screenplays, End of the Harvest and Time Changer. Working on stories that dealt with moments in time conflicting with eternity caused me to reflect on Jewish rights to Israel and their beloved capital Jerusalem which plays out in moments of time conflicting with eternity.

What is it about Jerusalem, this tiny city in a sea of enemies, which compels governments around the globe to shun recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital? As opinions give birth to offspring facts are colored by emotion, ignored, or lies are imbued with life in their place.

The truth—having been recorded in ancient documents in plain sight—will challenge your world. And if Providence is paying attention, and there are ancient words to that effect, that could be a very good thing.

Torn Blood is the inaugural release from Bo Iti Press,
a Wyoming-based niche publisher focusing on stories about the Jewish experience and the rights of Israel as a sovereign nation. The author’s desire is that this book will help readers discover the reason Jewish people around the globe are committed to their tiny nation floating in a sea of enemies—and it’s not what one is often led to believe.

Bain owns a consulting company with his wife Doris that publishes technical manuals and papers. They recently founded Bo Iti Press, a niche publisher focusing on stories about Israel and her people. A veteran, David served in Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force.

David and wife Doris live in Oregon.

My Review:

“Enemies of Israel prepare it for annihilation,” a July 14, 2014, article by savingourfuture (dot)com:

Torn Blood by  David J. Bain, is a novel about the Palestinians trying to annihilate Israel.  It’s been this way from the Biblical times when God gave Israel a portion of land as an inheritance to Israel.  It’s still going on today, as we witness Hamas bombing Israel for days on end since early July, 2014.

Mr. Bain, in his novel, will show why Israelis are the true claimants of the land of Israel.  (Excerpt from the book:  “Ishmael’s spiritual descendants cover our tiny land.  Their great wealth, their massive numbers are not enough.  They scheme to take HaShem’s (God’s) gift from Isaac’s descendants.  Our people are hated because Ishmael, in rejecting HaShem’s covenant, rejected the covenant giver and his birthright, but HaShem is not a man that He should change His mind.”)

The author does an excellent job of creating the hostility, brutality, suspense, and terrorist schemes of the Palestinians in their pursuit of annihilating Israel.  It could easily be taken from some of the major headlines of today and the many years of conflict in the area from the past.  Though it may be a work of fiction, it is closer to reality than one wants to admit.

The characters are very well described, including their individual idiosyncrasies that make the story line intriguing and keep you reading, sometime a little late into the night.  The multiple plot changes kept me from overload about some of the subjects (terrorist training, bomb set-up) and made for an interesting read. The personal lives of each individual brings the story alive. How they are intertwined came at a complete surprise.  The endless rhetoric by the terrorist leaders to encourage their ‘brothers in the war’ to keep up their end of their duty for the Palestinian nation shows, at least to me, the meaningless of their lives as they pursue their annihilation agenda toward Israel.  

The story sure opened my eyes to the dangers Israelis live through on a daily basis.  And seeing live witnesses on TV in the past weeks has made this story even more possible and dangerous. 


This book was provided free by Media Contact, Scott Lorenz, from Westwind Communications, in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received, and I was not told to give a positive review. 


Mimicking Supermodels, Christian Girls Posting Seductive Selfies

Why are Christian Girls Posting Seductive Selfies?
Reposted from 7/20/201 KRISTEN CLARK

When I was in high school, Bethany and I decided we wanted to do a really cool photo shoot of ourselves.

We put on the most modern outfits we could find, layered on the jewelry, doubled the mascara and headed to a prime location—our roof. We recruited (begged) one of our younger sisters to be our photographer. We all climbed onto the roof of our house and she snapped away with the camera.

Yes, a roof is a random place to do a photo shoot, but we did it there to get that perfect “modelesque” breeze to blow our hair just right. For each picture, we posed exactly the way we had seen the professional models do it with their lips puckered, one eyebrow raised, hand on hip, and serious eyes.

Without being told how to pose seductively, we were pros and knew exactly what to do. We proudly posted our photoshoot to Facebook and waited for the compliments to come in.

Seductiveness is the new norm.
Sadly, we live in a culture that “trains” our minds to view seductiveness as the norm from a very young age. Just take a quick walk through the mall and you’ll see poster after poster featuring models striking a sexual pose. Since the invention of Pinterest, Instagram and other apps, sexualized images are in our faces more than ever before.

As Christian girls, we’re being bombarded by our culture’s message that seductive and sexual poses are cool, hip and normal. Taking seductive selfies isn’t raunchy anymore… it’s acceptable and praised. Since we live in a fallen world it makes sense that our culture praises and encourages girls to act this way.

It makes sense that the supermodels and non-Christian girls don’t have a problem posting selfies like this.
The question I have for you is this: Why in the world are Christian girls posting seductive selfies?

I’m shocked sometimes when I get on my Instagram and see some of the sensual poses a few of my Christian friends are posting. What surprises me even more is the comments I read from other Christian friends who are complimenting these images and calling them “beautiful.” So what’s up with this? It seems like an epidemic over the past few years.

Why are Christian girls so fond of posting seductive selfies?
I know the answer to these questions because I used to be one of those girls. I used to be the girl behind the iPhone flip-phone snapping those seductive poses. I was the girl on the roof doing a photo shoot so I could show off the results to my friends.

For me, I posted those pictures because I wanted guys to notice me. I wanted people to compliment “how pretty I was.” I loved hearing the praise and affirmation from my friends. It was never an accident that I posted a picture of myself. It was always intentional and planned. I had seen enough images of fashion models to know what a “hot” picture was supposed to look like.

Many of you reading this blog know exactly what I’m talking about because you’ve done the same thing.

The truth is, posting seductive selfies is just an outward symptom of a much deeper issue.
It’s a sign of a girl who is longing for something more. It’s a sign of a girl who is trying to fill up her affirmation tank through the praises and compliments of her friends. A girl who craves attention from guys and hopes they’ll notice one of her pictures. A girl who wants to appear confident, but is weak and lonely on the inside. A girl who enjoys seducing guys by making them “want what they can’t have.”

Seductive selfies are nothing more than an image that screams, “Look at ME!” They’re an opportunity to point the spotlight on yourself for a brief moment and hope that someone will notice.

As Christian girls, God calls us to a much higher standard than to play the seductive selfie game.
The whole purpose of our lives is to point others to Christ, not to ourselves. These types of photos are never Christ-centered, but are always self-centered. God calls us to live morally pure lives in every way. Posting seductive pictures of yourself isn’t promoting purity or holiness within the body of Christ.

Since that day on the roof, God has convicted me about the motivation and condition of my heart. Tell me if you think seductive selfies are okay according to Ephesians 5:1,3: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children … But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”

What do you think?
First we’re called to be imitators (reflections) of God to the world around us. You and I are God’s children! We need to reflect the character and purity of our Father well. Second, we’re commanded to stay away from any form of sexual immorality and all impurity. Did you catch that? “Any form…all impurity.”

Seductive selfies don’t stand a chance against these verses.
Our culture tells us that holiness and purity is lame, and that being too strict on yourself will lead to a life of boredom. If that’s the case, then why are so many girls lonely, sad, depressed, insecure and needy?

God gives us standards for purity and holiness because He knows it’s what’s best for us. True joy and contentment won’t come through the applause of your friends, it will only come through obeying and honoring God. “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart” (Psalm 119:1-2).

I know you want to be blessed by God. I sure do! Instead of striving after the empty applause of this world, strive for the fulfilling applause of your King.

You will never be happier than when you’re living your life for God’s glory.
As Christian girls we have a duty to honor our King in every area of our lives. We have a responsibility to bear the image of Christ to the lost world around us.

Will you join me in rejecting the trend of seductive selfies? Will you say no to posting self-glorifying pictures that put all of the attention on you?

Our world is in desperate need of Christian girls who are willing to stand up for God’s truth by displaying something far greater than themselves.

Let’s make it personal:

Are you guilty of posting seductive selfies? If so, what is your motivation behind posting them?
Are you willing to ask God’s forgiveness for not reflecting well on His image? If so, confess your sins and ask God to create a clean and pure heart inside of you.
What ways are you tempted to put the attention on yourself instead of God?
Kristen Clark is co-founder of GirlDefined Ministries.

“Woman of Courage” by Wanda E. Brunstetter


Quaker Woman Risks All to be a Wilderness Missionary to the Nez Perce’ Indians

womanofcouragecover Books

Amanda Pearson, a Quaker woman suffering from a broken engagement, leaves her home in New York and travels West to minister to the Nez Perce Indians. Along the way, she encounters many problems, yet she never gives up. Like a true woman of courage, Amanda trusts God to see her through, even when she fights illness, abandonment, misunderstandings, and an unexpected event. Set in 1837, this historical novel has many twists and turns that will take readers from the rugged Rocky Mountains to Oregon Territory and the home of the Spalding Mission, where the Nez Perce Indians were first introduced to Christianity.

Note from the author:  It was during a time when my husband and I lived in Idaho, not far from Lapwai, that I began to research the Nez Perce Indians and how Rev. and Mrs. Spalding started the first mission there. I was interested in the fact that several years prior to the Spaldings’ arrival, a delegation of Nez Perce had gone to St. Louis, MO on a quest to find out more about the Book of Heaven (the Bible) and ask for missionaries to come to them. Although the story of Amanda Pearson, my Quaker heroine in the story, is purely fiction, the details I incorporated into the book about traveling through the mountains and the things she had to deal with are based on facts I learned while researching. 


My Review:

With Wanda E. Brunstetter being one of my favorite Amish writers, I quickly agreed to review her book, Woman of Courage, though it was about a Quaker woman’s experience in the 1837 wilderness.  Wanda is very well known for her accurate descriptions of the scenes, people and adventures, and she didn’t disappoint in this book.

A motherless young Quaker woman is jilted by her fiancé, so she and her father start out to the Oregon Territory with a guide, over a 3,000-mile trip, so Amanda could fulfill her desire to be a missionary to the Nez Perce’ Indians with Reverend Henry and Eliza Spaldings.
Tragedy strikes and Amanda eventually finds herself in the cabin of Jim and Mary Beck, healing from her wounds and a ferocious fever.

This book is not necessarily a fast read, as it accounts for a 3,000-mile trip.  The adventures, tragedies, attacks, and romance are told over nine months of a time period.  That does not, however, make it a boring book.  It gives Wanda the time to describe each and every episode, personalities of each of the characters (and some are pretty wild), and the relational experiences in-depth.  Her main character, Amanda, thinks this will be the adventure of her life, only to find firsthand the harsh realities of traveling through rough, unsettled territory to reach her destination, the dangers of hostile Indian groups, and the loss of loved ones.  Though these characters are fictional, the story line itself is not.

The loyalty and courage of Amanda’s desire to teach the gospel to the Nez Perce’ Indians will cause you to do an introspective examination of the depths of your calling to preach the gospel to others.  Will the realities of a hard life quash God’s calling in your life?

This book was provided free from Julie Busteed of Handlebar Publishing, in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged for my review, nor was I obligated to give a positive review.