Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dancing with Angels

Today I am guest posting at my dear friend and gifted writer Christa Sterken. I met her at Jeff Goins TribeWriters course.

She came up with a wonderful concept of doing advent guest posts reflecting thoughts on Christmas.
Please visit her website and read what Christmas means to me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Capturing Camelot by Kitty Kelley

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031264342X
ISBN-13: 978-0312643423
Price: $29.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN


A bestselling author goes behind the lens of a legendary photographer to capture a magical time.

A consummate photojournalist, Stanley Tretick was sent by United Press International to follow the Kennedy campaign of 1960. The photographer soon befriended the candidate and took many of JFK's best pictures during this time. When Kennedy took office, Tretick was given extensive access to the White House, and the picture magazine Look hired him to cover the president and his family. Tretick is best known today for the photographs he took of President Kennedy relaxing with his children. His photographs helped define the American family of the early sixties and lent Kennedy an endearing credibility that greatly contributed to his popularity.

Accompanied by an insightful, heartwarming essay from Kitty Kelley—Tretick's close friend—about the relationship between the photographer and JFK, Capturing Camelot includes some of the most memorable images of America's Camelot and brings to life the uniquely hopeful historical era from which it emerged.


I had the pleasure of meeting Kitty Kelley at the BEA Blogger's Conference in June. She was one of the authors who sat at my table to discuss her new book Capturing Camelot. When she started to describe her book, I was taken in by her gift of storytelling. I became intrigued by Capturing Camelot. 

When St. Martin's Press reached out to me to review Capturing Camelot, I was beyond thrilled. I couldn't wait for the book to come in the mail.

I rarely say this in my reviews, but this book is beautiful. I absolutely loved it. Kitty Kelley does a extraordinary job of drawing you in, much like she does in person. You are taken back in time where you imagine what life was like for John F. Kennedy and his family.

The photojournalist, Stanley Tretick (who was Kitty Kelley's best friend), took exquisite photographs of the Kennedy's. He was an incredibly talented photographer. He captured amazing moments with photos as Kitty Kelley does with words.

I would define Capturing Camelot as a tribute of sorts. A tribute of her best friend Stanley Tretick and of our 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

Capturing Camelot is a "keepsake" of never-before-seen photos and a poignant story. I highly recommend this book.

In conclusion, I want to thank Kitty Kelley and St. Martin's Press for sending me a complimentary copy and allowing me the privilege of reviewing such a beautiful book.

KITTY KELLEY is an internationally acclaimed writer, whose bestselling biographies focus on some of the most influential and powerful personalities of the last fifty years. Kelley’s last five books have all been number one on The New York Times bestseller list, including her latest, Oprah: A Biography.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How To Use A Runaway Truck Ramp by Shawn & Maile Smucker

Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1481033581
ISBN-13: 978-1481033589
Price: $14.95
Purchase: Amazon


Like all epic road trips, Shawn & Maile's story covers as much interior mileage, from one state of mind to another, as their big, blue bus does the physical miles across the United States. This book is many things: a travelogue, a parenting manual, a spiritual narrative. But most of all, it's an engrossing tale told by two wise and thoughtful writers. Don't read it if you're not prepared for the oncoming wanderlust." - Jason Boyett, author of "O Me of Little Faith" and "Pocket Guide to the Afterlife".


I read How To Use A Runaway Truck Ramp slowly and deliberately like savoring a delicious meal. This story is such a delight.

I enjoyed getting to know this family as they embarked on an adventurous road trip across the United States in a big blue camper bus called Willie.

In the book, Shawn and Maile took turns narrating their perspectives of this adventure. There were ups and downs as they shared which left me either thinking or on the edge of my seat.

What a treat it was to read their cross country adventure. They both equally write beautifully. Their story is honest, heart felt and genuine.

I highly recommend How To Use A Runaway Truck Ramp.  I haven't read a story quite like it and I'm sure I never will. I guarantee you will love reading their story.

If you don't already, I would also recommend you follow their blogs. I can't wait for their next book.

Maile and Shawn live in Lancaster, PA with their four children. Shawn is the author of Building a Life Out of Words and blogs daily at Maile blogs at

Friday, December 7, 2012

Godwink Stories by SQuire Rushnell & Louise DuArt

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Howard Books
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1451678567
Price: $14.99
Purchase: Amazon | CBD | BN


Building on the themes in his popular book When God Winks, SQuire Rushnell shares real-life stories that are certain to uplift and encourage you. The stories in this book reaffirm that godwinks happen to everyone. We just need to learn how to see them, allow them to unfold, and accept them as direct, person-to-person communications from God to each of us.

As you’ll see, those so-called coincidences that you’d been dismissing so easily really do mean something. And you need to pay attention. They are like unopened gifts that have been placed upon your doorstep.
You will be amazed to read how every joy, every hurt, and every worry that happens to you has already been written about in the Bible. Godwink Stories simply draws upon the parallel between the stories of real people and God’s wisdom in the scriptures.

Godwink Stories can be read in various ways. You can read the book cover to cover. Or follow along each week for a year. It’s also perfect to read for a pick-me-up story that fits your need of the day.

Whether you’re looking for encouragement in a time of need or a story that speaks of joy, there’s a godwink story just for you.


Godwink Stories offers weekly readings of godwinks and miracles to encourage and inspire you in every situation. These true stories— from ordinary people—provide

Messages of “don’t give up”

Heartfelt need for love and guidance

Hope in the midst of medical crises

“Just in time” moments

Peace in times of sorrow

Tender love stories

Amazing answers to prayer


Isn't Godwink Stories a great title? Just by the title alone, I wanted to read this book. I was pleasantly surprised.

I laughed and cried through this heartfelt devotional. I was moved, inspired and encouraged by the stories.
The stories are basically letters from people like you and I who had, what I refer to as a God moment. Godwinks are moments where God shows up miraculously in someone's life.

The various chapters in this devotional are filled with stories which will leave you spiritually encouraged, invigorated and refreshed.

I was especially touched by Chapter 3 entitled Angels, Chapter 4 entitled Prayer Encouragement and Chapter 52 entitled Love Times of Sorrow. These stories made my cry.

I believe Godwink Stories will make an excellent Christmas present. I highly recommend this book and believe this devotional will be an encouragement to many.

In conclusion, I want to thank Howard Books for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review.

SQuire Rushnell, a former television president and CEO, was for twenty years an executive with the ABC Television Network. Father of such programs for young people as Schoolhouse Rock and the ABC Afterschool Specials, he also led Good Morning America to the #1 spot. Author of the word-of-mouth phenomenon When God Winks, SQuire lives in Martha’s Vineyard with his wife, Louise.

 Louise DuArt, one of the world's top comedic impressionists, has costarred with comic icon Tim Conway in a national touring show for one and a half decades. In starring roles on Broadway and in her eight-season talk show on ABC Family, her roster of 100 characters ranges from Judge Judy to Barbara Walters, Bart Simpson to Barbra Streisand. Louise has toured as a speaker with Woman of Faith, and performs with her husband in Three Couples, a life-changing evening of music, inspiration and comedy. With SQuire, she coauthored Couples Who Pray, a breakthrough book encouraging partners to take The 409 Prayer Challenge.