instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Book Reviews 

Penelope's Book of the Month-May 2020

A Son Comes Home —A Novel


Author: Joseph Bentz


I met Joseph Bentz at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference last year. He is a favorite instructor and encourager. It is my hope I will have the opportunity to study under Bentz in a future conference.


A Son Comes Home is the first book I have read by this author, and I was not disappointed. This is the story of a family that many readers will easily relate to. Bentz masterfully weaves several threads of a family's diverse secrets, built up hurt, and challenges together in a unique way, the reader will not soon forget. Search with Bentz for truth, forgiveness, and hope, which you may find in your own life. During these Coronavirus days, I was reminded of what is important in life.


An engaging read.

Be the first to comment

Penelope's Book of the Month-April 2020



Author: Billy Graham

For such a time as this. If you are looking for a book that gives you a reason to hope in these uncertain times, who better to read then Billy Graham.


HOPE IS A GIFT, have you ever taken hold of such a prize that leads you out of uncertainty into profound assurance? If so, you have possessed hope. When it arrives, despair departs. An old Scottish proverb says, "Were it not for hope, the heart would break."

I read The Reason for My Hope several years ago but believe this is perfect for what we are dealing with today. It's inspiring full of wonderful stories and a message that will give you hope without fear of the future.

Be the first to comment

Penelope's Book of the Month-March 2020

Good News Shoes Series

Good News Shoes 

Children ages 8-12

Author: Jill Osborne

If you're gonna run for your life, you gotta wear the right shoes.

Meet pre-teen Riley Mae Heart. She laces up her flaming orange Sole Fire running shoes as she takes you on amazing adventures.

This three-book series is great for girls, ages 8 to 12. And Grandpa's too. When my granddaughter was learning to read, she read this book to her grandpa. Her grandpa was so enthralled in the story that he finished it ahead of her. And this isn't usually his reading material.

Grandpa and I recommend Good News Shoes Series for your daughter, granddaughter, or friend. Have her lace up your shoes and come along with Riley.

Jill Osborne lives in Clovis California, but I met her at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. That year she was won the award for the most promising writer of the year. 


Be the first to comment

Penelope's Book of the Month-February 2020

The Land Beneath Us (Sunrise at Normandy Book 3)

Author: Sarah Sundin

Release Date: February 4, 2020

In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the US Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers' betrayal, Clay has only one thing to live for--fulfilling the recurring dream of his death.

Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and belong to the community, even as she uses her spare time to search for her real family--the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago.


After Clay saves Leah's life from a brutal attack, he saves her virtue with a marriage of convenience. When he ships out to train in England for D-day, their letters bind them together over the distance. But can a love strong enough to overcome death grow between them before Clay's recurring dream comes true?
Sarah Sundin is the first friend I made when I attended Mount Hermon's Christian Conference over seven years ago. Since that time, Sarah has released several bestselling books set in WWII. I pre-ordered this book and can't wait to read it. I have it from a reliable source, this might be the best of Sarah Sundin. She never disappoints.

Sarah will speak at Peoples Church in Fresno, California on Saturday June 6, the anniversary of D Day. Stay tuned for more information.

Be the first to comment

Penelope’s Book of the Month-January 2020

Overcome Depression, Strategies from Science & Scripture

Author: Margaret Lalich, M.S.,M.A.

Do you experience any degree of depression or know someone who does? Overcome Depression might be just the resource that could help now. The book is laid out simply in an easy to understand manner. All aspects of depression from the spiritual and scientific view are addressed but does not ignore instances when professional help is needed. The author explores the mind and body and how they work together in understanding and overcoming the feelings of depression. Each chapter provides clear simple strategies that can be easily implemented. I recommend this book for anyone who experiences depression or have a family member who does and those who counsel those affected.

If this book piques your interest, but you are not sure, google Overcome Depression on Amazon and peek inside the cover, review the table of contents, and read a couple of sample chapters. It might just have some answers to help you move into a happy more contented new year.



Be the first to comment

A Thanksgiving of Gratitude.

Thanksgiving, a time to reflect on our blessings. In 2019, I co authored my first full length book, A Cry of the Heart: Human Trafficking, One Survivor's Story was published. There are many people to be thankful for in the success of this book.


I am grateful:


For Debra Rush who trusted me to write her story that has opened many eyes and shed light on Human Trafficking.


For my many mentors, my writing group, friends at Mount Hermon, and others who have encouraged me along the way.


For the authors and city leaders who believed in this project enough to endorse A Cry of the Heart.


For my husband, Larry, and his unwavering support.


For my daughter, Megan, my number one fan.


For my siblings and extended family. Your support in buying, reading, Facebook posts, and encouragement inspired me more than you can know. A shout out to my sister, Marsha, who is my number two fan.


For my many friends who supported the book through attending book signings and recommending it to others. And for the friends who helped when I needed them.

For Clovis Book Barn and Patio Cafe, where you can pick up a copy of A Cry of the Heart.


For Orloff's Jewelers for hosting the book signing in June.


For the many invitations for Debra or I to speak and allowing us to promote our book at your events.


For the supporters of Breaking the Chains who have helped in so many ways.


A special thank you to those who left reviews on Amazon and/or Facebook. Your words encouraged and Debra and I more than you realize. (It is not too late to leave a review on Amazon)


It has been a year to remember for this author. Thank you for being a part of it.


Happy Thanksgiving to each and everyone of you.

Be the first to comment

Penelope's Book of the Month-December 2019

A Widow's Journey-Relections on Walking Alone
Author: Gayle Roper

Have you or someone you know recently or not so recently lost a spouse?

A couple of years ago, someone I had met only once had just lost her husband and grieved openly on Facebook. A few weeks later, I attended Mount Hermon Writers Conference and learned that my first conference teacher had written this amazing book on "Walking Alone" after loosing the love of her life.

I bought a copy of A Widow's Journey and messaged my Facebook friend and invited her to lunch. Even though I felt a bit apprehensive, I offered her this gift. A few days later she sent me a message thanking me and to tell me Gail knew exactly how she felt.

A year later, I sat in a Bible study group where one of the members cried, in deep grief, weekly over the loss of her husband. I gave her a copy. A year later I ran into her. Her whole demeanor had changed. She now had a smile on her face. "That book really helped me and my children."

I sent the book to someone who still openly grieved after forty years. Her response was, "Finally, someone who understands me."

And the book freed a friend who believed that she should not have the feelings she did after losing her husband, but through A Widow's Journey found that her grieving was normal.

A Widow's Journey is a gift that will be appreciated, I promise. The book currently sells for less than $9


Be the first to comment

Penelope's Book of the Month-November 2019

Waiting for God-Trusting in God's Plan and Peace
A thirty-one-day Devotional

Author: Xochitl Dixon

As I prepared for the last workshop of the 2019 Mount Hermon Christian Writers conference, learning how to write devotionals wasn't on my agenda. My feet hur,t and I didn't feel like walking the long distance it would take to get the class I had chosen. Xochitl Dixon was teaching just s few feet away. Much closer. I decided to sit in.

I met Xochitl a few years earlier but hadn't known much about her. What I heard as she taught the class surprised me. Xochitl is a dynamic, transparent, and heartfelt speaker. I thought to myself, this lady could be a headline speaker at a large venue. I would even pay to hear her.

What are you waiting for God to do?

• A physical healing for you or a loved one.
• A child to return home.
• A marriage or relationship to heal.
• A work situation to change.
• A dream to be fulfilled.

Xochitl will guide you to wait, rest, pray, prepare, all without worrying. Personal and Bible stories are intermixed to encourage you. Xochitl's love for her readers is clearly felt.

Waiting for God by Xochitl Dixon.




Be the first to comment

Penelope's Book of the Month-October 2019

Cotton—Forbidden Love, Forgotten Lies
Victoria Pitts Caine

I am excited to feature Cotton and this author. Victoria lives in Fresno, California and is one of my key writing mentors and the leader of my critique group.

Cotton is a fast-moving romance/mystery/suspense novel.

Running from a life of poverty, 16-year-old Cotton Ramsey escapes the Savannah River bottomland to New York. Twenty years later, she has changed her name and runs a large pharmaceutical company, which belonged to the family of her late husband. When Beau Simpson, her first love, arrives to deliver the news of her daddy's untimely death, the life she struggled to leave behind calls her home.

When you want something light to read and relax, Cotton is perfect. Well written and a surprise ending. Available on amazon.


Be the first to comment

Penelope's Book of the Month—September 2019

Ten Little Night Stars

Written by Deb Gruelle
Illustrated by Gabi Murphy

I love this book! I love this author! I love this illustrator!

I met Deb Gruelle at a Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Two years later she released Ten Little Night Stars. Since then, I have given this book to all the new mothers I know and make it apart of all baby shower gifts. The latest gift of two books went to my twin great nieces in Texas. The book has been a hit with new mothers.

Ten Little Night Stars is the 2019 winner of the Cascade (Children's chapter/picture books) award.

If I have given you this book, consider posting a picture of you or your child holding Ten Little Night Stars and/or a comment.


Be the first to comment