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Little Shoes And Mistletoe By Sally Laity

December 28, 2006 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Little Shoes And Mistletoe
By Sally Laity
Published By Barbour Publishing
Heartsong Presents Imprint
Publication Date: 1999
ISBN: 1-57748-699-4

When Eliza escapes to New York City to live with her widowed, elderly aunt, she’s hoping to erase terrible memories from her mind. Weston, her fiancé has abandoned her. To make matters worse, he’s abandoned her for the company of her best friend! Eliza tries hard to be a Christian as she makes a serious effort to forgive her former best friend, and her ex-fiance, Weston, but it takes a lot of time and prayer for her to finally accept her fate.

However, Micah, a young man whose mission includes finding homes for all of the orphans in New York City’s slums, makes her acquaintance. Through Micah, she discovers the plight of two young orphaned girls that need a home. She joins Micah in his fight against the plight of the homeless orphans in New York. However, as she does this, she finds herself facing a bigger problem. Ana, Micah’s fiancee, works closely with Eliza, becoming her close friend. Ana does not share Micah’s passionate mission to save homeless children, and this causes a serious rift in their relationship. Since Eliza and Micah share a common goal, and a deep emotional and physical attraction, they find it hard to put their feelings aside due to Micah’s engagement.

I loved this book! I read it in only a couple of days. I’ve had this HP title on my shelf for years, and I have a number of others that I never got around to reading. I used to be a member of the book club, but with my writing time crowding in on my reading time, I found that reading so many books per month was overwhelming!

Until next time,
Cecelia Dowdy

Announcing John’s Quest

December 25, 2006 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I’ve just discovered that Heartsong Presents (an imprint of Barbour Publishing) is going to publish my next novel, tentatively titled John’s Quest. The tentative release date is set for March 2008. The story is about an agnostic who falls in love with a Christian. Of course there’s major conflict involved since the scriptures speak against being unequally yoked. I’ll post more details about my upcoming novel as the release date approaches. In the meantime, if you are curious about this imprint, feel free to visit their website:

Until next time,
Cecelia Dowdy

Yuletide Stalker By Irene Brand

December 25, 2006 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Love Inspired Suspense
Published by: Steeple Hill Books
ISBN: 978-0-373-87401-9
Publication Date: 2006

I really enjoyed this book. The author does an awesome job of describing the scenery in Hawaii. I was in Hawaii for my honeymoon a little over three years ago, so I was able to compare her descriptions to what I saw while on vacation. I felt as if I was right back on the island!

Maddie Horton is invited to visit Linc Carey in Hawaii for Christmas. Linc is a military man who gave emotional support to Maddie and her mother after her father’s ‘accidental death’ ten years ago. Once Maddie arrives in Hawaii, she discovers her father did not die accidentally, but was murdered, and the murderers have escaped from prison. The murderers’ family have their sight set on Maddie because they want to seek revenge against her father since they feel he’s responsible for the deaths of their kinsmen. Maddie is stalked by someone, and she wonders if she’s losing her mind.

Linc vows to protect Maddie, and Maddie feels animosity toward Linc since he treats her like a child. Due to their eleven-year age difference, it is hard for Linc to accept that Maddie has grown into a beautiful woman. When Maddie realizes she loves Linc, she hesitates about revealing her feelings because she’s not sure if Linc loves her as a woman, or as a ‘daughter’ because of their age difference.

When she is abducted, you hope and pray she makes it out alive.

This book was suspenseful, but not too suspenseful. I also noticed that the author had a twenty-year-old woman as her heroine and a thirty-one-year-old man as her hero. I don’t see this much in contemporary romance novels nowadays. The heroine is usually older than twenty. However, I believe the author did a good job in making the romance believable despite the age difference. She made it believeable because Maddie was so mature for her age. She lost both of her parents before she reached adulthood, which forced her to grow up quickly.

Until next time,
Cecelia Dowdy

Piercing The Darkness By Frank Peretti

December 25, 2006 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

ISBN #:0-89107-527-5
Published by Crossway Books
Publication Date: 1989
Re-released: August 2002
Re-released by: Living Books(an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers)
Living Books ISBN-10: 0-84236-372-6

Spiritual warfare. That’s one way to describe this story as Peretti focuses on the angels and demons that roam the earth. He gives these spiritual creatures names and the demons are always ugly, wartlike creatures, which I’m more than glad that I’m not able to see. As the people of Bacon Corner, and elsewhere, pray for the safety of the characters in the story, the strengh of the Heavenly Host increases, making it possible for them to defeat the ugly, evil demons.

I believe this novel is considered one of the classics in Christian Fiction. Sally Beth Roe is haunted by her past, which is linked to the occult. Her journey to finding Christ is a painful one, and she is spooked by her memories of ‘murdering’ her infant child. Demons still torment her, and she can only find relief through calling on Jesus’ name.

Meanwhile, Sally’s experience is intertwined with the town of Bacon’s Corner where a Christian school is under investigation for child abuse. Tom Harris has lost his kids to the state as a result of these accusations, and he fights to get his offspring back by banding together with others in the community. This band of Christian fighters include a lawyer and Ben, a police officer, who is wrongly fired from his job.

This was a long novel, and as is typical of Peretti, as mentioned before, he gives his spiritual creatures names and personalities.

If I had to give Peretti’s writing a category, I would dub it ‘Christian horror’ if there is such a thing.

I highly recommend this book. I enjoyed reading about how somebody who was so deeply involved in the occult came to know the Lord.

Until next time,
Cecelia Dowdy

House By Ted Dekker And Frank Peretti

November 26, 2006 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy


Okay, I’ve read books written solo by both Dekker and and Peretti, and enjoyed them. Both men are two of my favorite Christian fiction novelists. However, House was a different than the books that both Dekker and Peretti wrote solo.

Stephanie and Jack are a married couple who are going to a marriage counseling session at Jack’s suggestion. Stephanie does not want to go, but she does agree to go to pacify Jack. Stephanie is a country singer and she tries to hide the pain from their failed marriage by singing songs and doing ‘concerts’ at clubs. Jack is a writer and he desperately wants to save his marriage to Stephanie.

En route to their session, they get lost and are stopped by a cop, Officer Lawdale. He is intimidating, but tries to get them back on their way. While they continue, their tires are slashed on purpose by some weird contraption in the road. They go to the only building around, an abandoned inn. Since they are so far away, their cell phone service does not work.

When they arrive at the inn, there are no innkeepers present, initially. They only find Randy, a boisterous business man who thinks he’s a know-it-all, and his companion, Leslie, a psychologist. Randy always tries to act like he’s brave, although he’s really quivering with fear. Leslie always tries to analyze people and their predicaments due to her psychotic background. Both Randy and Leslie have suffered the same accident as Jack and Stephanie: the tires of their car were slashed.

Soon, they are joined by Betty, Stewart, and Pete, the family of ‘innkeepers’ who later are revealed as demons. As the book moves forward, it becomes apparant that the house is possessed by demons and the leader, the one who initiates the ‘game’ where he will let them out of the house if they give him one dead body, is Barsiduous White, who wears a tin mask and locks the house against their escape. As they ‘play’ this ‘game’ it becomes apparant that Betty, Stewart, and Pete are working with White in this ‘game’.

Around the middle of the book Stephanie, Randy, Leslie, and Jack go through several cliffhangers to try and escape the house. As they find themselves in the basement, the house shifts several times, and when they think they’re escaping, they end up in the same place where they’d started minutes ago. The time shifts also, making minutes seem like hours.

The game is supposed to end at dawn and as they go through rooms with trick mirrors and flooded pipes, they find another victim locked in the basement, Susan. Susan is a young innocent girl who claims she knows the way out of the house. However, at first, all fail to listen to this girl and it becomes apparant at the end that she’s an angel who’s come to show them the power of God is greater than the power of the demons who have them trapped in the house.

Only Stephanie and Jack end up accepting the truth at the end, so they are able to escape this weird house due to their newfound acceptance of Jesus Christ. Randy ends up killing Leslie, buying into White’s ‘rule’ that one dead body will guarantee an exit from the demented house.

During the course of the story, the demons play mind games with the players. When the players are alone, in locked rooms, their minds are tricked into remembering hurtful episodes from their past, things they need to let go of in order to accept God’s grace.

There are several things that the demons do during the course of the story to keep the reader hooked. Barsiduous White comes around the corner, sporting his tin mask and perhaps carrying a gun. Sometimes, the four players are tricked when they see four exact ‘twins’ of themselves, and the four originals wonder which are real and which are fake.

A room floods, and Randy tries to kill Stewart by trapping him in a pipe, trying to drown him. Leslie is trapped in a room with Pete, who wants her as his ‘wife’. He bounds her, and throws darts at her until she verbally admits to being ‘guilty.’ Pete also traps Stephanie later on, wanting her for his ‘wife.’

Stephanie feels abandoned when Jack leaves her in a closet as he goes to try and rescue Leslie. Jack is forced through an open door with a huge forceful current, and the door shuts behind him and he can’t get out. Throughout the story, doors open and close of their own accord. The house moans and groans throughout the story also. There are also trick mirrors in some of the rooms, where you see everything reflected in the mirror, except yourself.

And the list goes on and on.
I didn’t enjoy this book at all. I doubt I’ll read another Dekker-Peretti collaboration. I just wanted the book to end.

Cecelia Dowdy

Violet Dawn By Brandilyn Collins

November 18, 2006 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I finished Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins last night. It was a great read! One thing I like is how the author was able to write a whole book about what happens within the span of a day or so. Except for flashbacks, the book happens within a short period of time, and like all of Brandilyn’s books, this one was suspenseful and you really wanted to see what happens.

When Paige Williams tries to make a new life for herself at Kanner Lake, all she wants to do is to be invisible, not drawing attention to herself as she tries to forget about her terrible and abusive childhood. However, her plans for a quiet life are shattered when she discovers the body of Edna San in her hot tub. Edna was a big-time movie star who has retired in the quiet community of Kanner Lake.

Over the next day, Paige’s life is a whirlwind of activity as she hides the body in a lake, not wanting to trust the police due to the mistrust she’s experienced with police officers in the past.

Unbeknowsnt to Paige, a few of the inhabitants of Kanner Lake take a liking to her, wondering what types of things she’s experienced in her young life to make her seem so haunted.

The chain of events that unfolds places Paige’s life in danger, and she learns that she needs to accept God, and accept his goodness if she’s ever going to escape the pains from her past.

I highly recommend this book.

Until next time,
Cecelia Dowdy

Family Christian Bookstores

November 4, 2006 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I went to a Family Christian bookstore in Bowie Maryland last night. I hadn’t been there in a long time, and they changed a lot of things. One thing I noticed is that there are a lot FEWER BOOKS! 🙁

It was starting to look more like a gift store than a bookstore. There was a large divider thingie with greeting cards and there was just more….STUFF, but not as many books as I recall their having the last time I went there.

Has anybody else noticed this? Are more Family Christian Bookstores turning into gift shops?

Just wondering….

Any thoughts or comments on this subject would be greatly appreciated.


Cecelia Dowdy

Dinner With A Perfect Stranger

October 25, 2006 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

This book reminded me of a study guide. Although it is fiction, I felt it didn’t entertain me the way a novel would. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Christian fiction addict!) However, I did like the book and thought the author bought up a lot of points that non-Christians and Christians may ask concerning, Jesus, God, the Trinity, and salvation. The book also mentioned how the main character was angry at God for taking his father away from him.

When Nick receives an invitation for dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant, he is floored when he discovers his host is none other than Jesus Christ in the flesh! At first, Nick is convinced that his coworkers are playing a prank on him. However, as the story unfolds during the appetizer, main course, dessert, coffee, etc., Nick discovers that he is NOT on the receiving end of a joke and this dinner with Jesus is the real thing!

Nick asks Jesus several questions about his divinity, the Bible, religions around the world, and about his past disappointments with God. Nick, a workaholic parent with a troubled marriage, finds his weak faith tested as he talks to Jesus. I would recommend this book as a ministering tool to those who have weak faith, or to those who are agnostics or atheists. For more information about this novel, go to the following website:

Stay blessed,
Cecelia Dowdy

With This Ring, I’m Confused

October 6, 2006 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy


I recently finished reading With This Ring, I’m Confused by Kristin Billerbeck. It’s the third and final installment to the Ashley Stockingdale series. Ashley is a thirty-something Christian woman who is anxious to get married. She finally does gain a fiance, by the name of Kevin Novak, who also happens to be a pediatric surgeon. Although I enjoyed the book and I thought Billerbeck was funny in her depictions of Kevin’s mother and his crazy anorexic sister Emily, I felt that she should have had more scenes showing Ashley and Kevin together. Since Ashley and Kevin are engaged, you can assume they are in love, however, other than a few scenes where they hug or kiss, or have some meal in a restaurant, I don’t think I see them enough, intereacting with each other to believe that they are in love.

I did enjoy the antics of Emily as she did a lot of things to spoil Ashley’s wedding. The main thing she did was cancel Ashley’s wedding dress, and instead ordered a Scarlett-O’hara-styled dress that Ashley hates. Plus Ashley argues with her future mother in law and Emily about having a buffet dinner or a sit-down dinner.

On top of all the turmoil going on in Ashley’s life, her ex-boyfriend, Seth, comes to work for her company. Seeing her ex each day swings her emotions into overdrive as he tries to convince her to call off the wedding. As time moves on, Seth admits that he’s going to marry Arin, a petite mutual “friend” at their church who is pregnant, however, he is not the baby’s father.

After Kevin gains a backbone and learns to stand up to his mother and sister, Ashley does manage to have the wedding of her dreams in the end….wearing her beloved Vera Wang wedding gown!

Until next time,
Cecelia Dowdy

Leave It To Claire By Tracey Bateman

October 1, 2006 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I really enjoyed this book. The author has the perfect voice for chicklit(or momlit, not sure about the correct way to categorize this story). The story is about Claire Everett, a fairly successful romance author and the struggles she has to go through to raise her four kids as a single mother. Claire struggles to forgive her ex-husband, Rick, for his infidelity. He had an affair, and since their divorce, he’s gotten remarried. Claire finds it hard to have a relationship with Rick’s fairly new wife since Claire has a hard time separating the fact that Darcy is NOT the woman who Rick had an affair with. Subconsciously, and wrongly, she blames Darcy for her marital breakup.

As Claire deals with her issues, she suffers through two carpal tunnel syndrome surgeries, and struggles to accept Darcy’s kind offer to help. As a result of her son’s behavioral problems, she must attend family therapy with her husband and Darcy in order to discover the root to her son’s problems. She also makes a list of things to do to improve her life. She promises herself to strengthen her faith in God, as well as improve her relationship with her family. She decides to have family study time and weekly social events with her kids, hoping to bond with them.

Claire also finds herself attracted to Greg, her son’s handsome teacher. When her mother moves to another state, she is saddened. However, when Greg buys her mother’s home(down the street from her house) and moves in with his young daughter, Claire discovers he is a widower. She fantasizes about having a relationship with her son’s teacher, and he’s there for her when she goes through her anxiety attacks.

In the end, a rude awakening takes place when Darcy forces Claire to admit to her role in her husband’s infidelity. Darcy makes Claire come to terms with her mistakes, and to admit to the mistakes she’s made in her marriage to Rick.

This book was excellent. Although the family would be considered dysfunctional, the author uses her humourous voice to show how Claire deals with her problems. Tracey Bateman also shows us how, if we find our faith wavering, we need to make solid decisions about making our faith stronger in God.

Until next time,
Cecelia Dowdy