The Hunger Games Review

The Hunger Games series brings the reader to Panem, hundreds of years after America has fallen, and creates a new reality with the perfect mix of the world we know with fantasy. Katniss, a tough teenager in the slum of District 12, shows independence, courage, stupidity, and bravery. She experiences more pain than most can imagine and learns how to find her soft side. By the end, readers are left asking “Real or not real?” and sometimes the answers can get a little fuzzy after spending three books in another world.

Despite the enthusiasm my friends displayed in regards to this series, I was a bit apprehensive going in. I’m not usually one to fall head-over-heels for young adult novels, especially really popular ones (remember Twilight). But, I borrowed it for free from Amazon on my Kindle and thought I’d give it a shot. Wow. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down; and once I finished the first book, I immediately bought the next two.

This series blew me away with its realness. Suzanne Collins wrote pain, suffering, and loss so well that I was actually feeling it. Yes, I’ve read other books that do this—but this series was exceptionally real. The imagery in these books is phenomenal. I felt the fear of the Games, I smelled the roses, I heard the bombs, I rallied with the Mockingjay, I fell in love with characters and loathed other characters. I was in Panem.

Another thing I loved was how pure the relationships were. Katniss’ relationships with the boys are not destructive and filled with sex. I think she sets a pretty good example for readers, which is definitely saying something with the way mainstream novels are written these days.

No matter how many movies they break it up in to or how big the budget is, the movies can never do this series justice. The Hunger Games are definitely going on my list of favorite series. 

Blogger note: I tried to write three separate reviews for The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay, but due to the fact that I read them all rapidly within 24 hours, it is all one story to me and breaking it up isn't possible in my mind yet. 

Posted by Jane | at 12/29/2011 12:35:00 AM | 0 comments

Spirit Day 2011

I support Spirit Day and if I owned purple, I would wear it. (I need to invest in this color.) Instead, I deck out my social profiles in purple and I post about Spirit Day.

Today, October 20, 2011, is Spirit Day. What is this day, you ask? It is the day sponsored by GLAAD where people intentionally wear purple to show support for LGBTQ teenagers who are victims of bullying. It started just last year, but it has caught on quickly with over 1.6 million Facebookers "signing up" for the event.

I don't do this because I think people should be gay. I don't do this because I want gay marriage. I don't do this because I want gay people to walk around swapping spit with one another in public. (I also don't necessarily think that all of those things are wrong...but I'm not getting into that here.) I do this because I believe in Jesus, and I believe that Jesus loved everyone. I believe we're called to love everyone.

I'm not asking you to change any of your social profiles, nor am I asking you to wear purple or to even acknowledge that today is Spirit Day. I'm only asking you to examine yourself and ask yourself about the way you love (or don't love) people.

This is one way I choose to be a pinprick of light in the darkness that is this world. 

Posted by Jane | at 10/20/2011 01:37:00 PM | 0 comments

The Skin Map Review

Kit Livingstone is an ordinary Londoner who lives a somewhat boring life until he meets his great grandfather in a strange alley. Suddenly, he meets Cosimo, his great grandfather who is somehow still alive. Using ley lines, the two of them travel through space, time and universes. Unfortunately, Cosimo has made some enemies in his world-jumping. Fortunately for the reader, it makes the story more interesting. The “good” group of time-traveling world-jumpers are called Questors and one of them tattooed a map of these ley lines on his body—hence the book title, The Skin Map. (Yes, the map was…removed after his death.)

Oh, and Kit has a girlfriend, too, who tried to follow him and Cosmo. Wilhelmina (what an unfortunate name…) ends up in Austria in the 17th Century. Her story is mixed in periodically.

I was really looking forward to reading some Lawhead (this was my first book by him), so maybe my hopes were set too high. While the book was okay and enjoyable, it was not spectacular. I have been spoiled in my fiction reading, so I’m sure others will pick this up and love it. Unforunately, for me, this isn’t a book that I’ll be buzzing about nor is it a book I will constantly recommend to people.

Also, this book is also the first of a series, The Bright Empires series; perhaps further books will spice up this story, but unless I stumble upon a free copy, I won’t be buying them.

This book was provided for free from BookSneeze (like a year ago), a branch of Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was asked to honestly review it, and a positive review was not required.

Posted by Jane | at 9/10/2011 04:38:00 PM | 1 comments

Consider this:

Consider this: Consider that the Creator sent His only Son—His only Son (He didn’t have any others and there were no backups.) And this Son is also God—the Son is God just as God is God—And God sent His Son, God—Jesus—to earth to die. Seriously. To die a human death and to take on everything that humans face. He lowered Himself to human level; the Creator became creation.

He did all of this for us.

But even if He hadn’t done it, He would still be so worthy of every praise, of every blessing, of every life. He is worth of all, regardless of what He has done for us.

We are all called to be a pinprick of Light in the darkness that is this world. Whether you're supposed to light up your neighborhood, your school, your local business, Africa, Mexico, the Philippines, or any other place. Wherever you're called to be, that is where you are a light. 

May you shine like "bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people." -Phil. 2:15b NLT

Thanks to one of my roommates for the inspiration on this.

Posted by Jane | at 9/04/2011 08:00:00 AM | 1 comments

Vigilante Review

Nolan Gray is dead, but manages to take on the evils of the world anyway. With his faith in God fueling him, he has already managed to escape the worst torture any man has ever known and lived to tell about it. Years later, he is dead and ready to be the ultimate vigilante in New York City. I’ve read a few thrillers in my life and this one is at the top of that list. Parrish writes an ordinary man with extraordinary abilities and throws him into impossible situations.

This book took me eight hours to read through—I started it in the morning and couldn’t put it down. By the end, I was left as a puddle of tears as I thought of the type of hope that my ultimate Hero brings to this world. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

I highly recommend this book to those who are believers and to those who are not. Perhaps even more so to those who are not. The Light shines through the darkness in this novel, and whether you’re looking for it or not, it will find you.

The wicked have had their day.
Morality’s time has come.
There is a better way.

Read an excerpt of Vigilante on Scribd or buy it on Amazon for under $10.

Posted by Jane | at 9/03/2011 06:20:00 PM | 0 comments


I was once a member of The Circle, driven by the love of Elyon and drinking deep of the waters of Justin. Now, I have been awakened to the fact that I am a Mortal. I am very much alive and the Sovereign rules my my life. Never did I imagine that I could ever love a book as I did Books of History Chronicles...I have now experienced it. Ted and Tosca are a force to behold. May the Books of Mortals series live long. (My blurb on

FORBIDDEN by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee is the latest book to rock my world. With Ted's epic storytelling and stories overflowing with love and Tosca's beautiful and intricate language, they are a force to be reckoned with. 

Join Rom as he flees the city guards and acquires a mysterious vial of blood marked with a name that members of The Circle will recognize at once. Rom has a task to awaken the world just as Thomas had the task of saving two worlds. This is a book that you will read all in one sitting because there is no way you can put it down. 

Join me and thousands of other readers in our journey to become alive; become mortal and learn what love truly is. Buy FORBIDDEN by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee on September 13th. Then, next year be sure to pick up MORTAL in June and SOVEREIGN in October.

Read some of Ted's thoughts here and here
Read my initial thoughts here.
Read about some awesome opportunities surrounding The Books of Mortals here.

Posted by Jane | at 8/15/2011 04:35:00 PM | 0 comments

Giving and Receiving

Last night, I watched the movie The Adjustment Bureau.

Despite not being a theologically sound movie, I did take away a thought that has stuck in my mind. From this movie, I learned that we must give everything we have to get everything He has for us. While this thought seems nice, I considered the fact that someone had said something like it before and I was just now bringing it to mind so I Googled it.

One of the results I obtained was for 1 Peter 1:3 which says

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

By coming to know him and by choosing to follow him, we are giving up everything (or at least we should be) and through this, he gives us everything we need to live a life that he wants us to live.

That is what we should strive for: to give up everything to our Creator. In this, we will become a pinprick of light in this darkest of places.

Posted by Jane | at 8/14/2011 01:40:00 PM | 0 comments

FORBIDDEN Opportuniies

Earlier this year, I shared my initial thoughts of FORBIDDEN by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee. Well, it is getting very close to being officially released in stores and there are some seriously awesome things going on with The Books of Mortals series.

Please check out to read an exclusive prequel to FORBIDDEN called THE KEEPER. (My personal quote is also on the page!) You can also sign the Book of Mortals and enter to win a trip to the setting of the series, Rome. To all who have ears to hear, you must listen to this message. Most of you are dead, and you must live!

Posted by Jane | at 8/13/2011 02:06:00 PM | 0 comments

Warroad: Seven years, one mission.

This year's group to Warroad.
Last Friday, I returned from a week in Warroad, MN. I have gone to Warroad during the first week in August for seven years now, and each year has provided different insights and memories. This year was different, though. Before we went, I was informed that this was our last year as a group.

Before we went and during the trip, I kept praying and hoping that I would become at peace with the decision. I asked God for peace at the fact that the youth group I grew up in would not be returning to Warroad for another 
mission trip. I believe God has granted 
me that peace--but I do not believe that
my work in Warroad is complete. 

I also have been praying for God’s guidance in further trips/visits (or lack thereof) to Warroad. At this point, I believe the answer is “wait and see” but I have no doubt that there are great things working through every person associated with this mission.

There are so many memories to go with the seven years we’ve had...from Wynter jumping out of Gil’s truck screaming “DAVEY!” the first day of our first trip to me sobbing from Warroad to Baudette. All the fun memories--throwing people in the pool, sitting around the campfire, and, most recently, shaving cream and spoons--will never be forgotten. Neither will the serious memories of devotions, the Gospel in the stars, late night tent talks, and Bible studies with Andy.

It is difficult to write about seven years in just a few hundred words--I’m not sure I will ever be able to put it into words. I just have to say that I am so thankful for Davey, Kris, Ashton, Barb, Martha, Carol, Lawrence, Kathy, Kristi, and so many others from well as Gil (who started it all), Margaret, Kenny, Dawn, Craig, Carol, Paul, Ray and Eleanor. Most of all, I thank God for every child we have ever come into contact with and every adult who’s life we have made easier because of God’s work through us.

I cannot imagine my life without Warroad and I cannot imagine never returning. I hope that there are other youth who have been up there who feel like Warroad has made an impact on their life, because I can guarantee that they’ve made an impact on Warroad.

I wrote a song pertaining to this--check it out. If you ever want to know more about my trips to Warroad, I'd love to answer any questions you have by email. 

Posted by Jane | at 8/07/2011 07:32:00 PM | 0 comments

God has a Plan

Last year at Bethel, I had a verse pinned on my desk with words highlighted in different colors to draw my eye. It gave me hope through the year and it reassured me that Bethel is where I should be. I still often have doubts, but I am happier than ever that I chose Bethel last year and that I'm going back in just a few short weeks.

Even with the thought of a new year approaching--and the anxiety that comes with it, I can be encouraged that God holds the world in His hands and He has a plan no matter what happens. I often worry about the not-so-distant future: what will I do when I get my degree? what if God has a different plan than I do? what if I fall away from God? what if...what if?

In those times, it is important to run to Scripture and devour it. (This is the time where I need to take my own advice.) May this post be a pinprick of light in whatever darkness you may be sludging through:

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Posted by Jane | at 7/26/2011 11:30:00 AM | 3 comments

The Joy of Children

Let's set the stage: It's the middle of May and I'm going home in a week or two. I've filled out over a dozen applications and I am in serious need of a job. I've been a part of a website called where I can find kids to babysit, but I'm not really sure if this is what I want. I love my nephews and niece and I love my Pastor's kids and I have fun when I'm around kids, but is this what I want to do all summer? My mom keeps telling me that I probably won't like it, so I look for other jobs. Days pass and I realize that I seriously just need a job. A lady posts about her 15 month old named Connor. I messaged her back and we struck up a conversation.

Fast forward a month and here I am, watching Connor a few days a week and actually enjoying it. I also hang out at my Pastor's house enough to know his kids pretty well. On top of that, I still have my nephew Stephen at my house and his little sister Jasmine a couple days a week. Through all of this, I have learned something about myself that I never knew.

I love kids.

I don't love kids enough to want to teach small children, but I've realized that I do, in fact, want children because they bring joy to life and light into even the darkest of days. Children are innocent and playful; they are honest and still not corrupted by the world.

I decided to look up some Bible verses on children and found that Psalm 127:3-5a is my favorite. It is an inspiring passage.

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior's hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! 

Question: How have the children in your life rewarded you today?  

Posted by Jane | at 6/27/2011 02:21:00 PM | 2 comments

Forbidden: Initial Thoughts

I just finished the first novel penned by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee. It is called Forbidden. I received the Advanced Readers Copy of this book as part of the Share the Love Campaign. The book is set to release in September.

Unfortunately, until September is closer, I cannot say much about this book. However, I do have a short paragraph that I posted on Facebook which I will share here. I will just say now that members of The Circle and lovers of Elyon will be forever captivated and changed by The Books of Mortals.

Without further ado:

I was once a member of The Circle, driven by the love of Elyon and drinking deep of the waters of Justin. Now, I have been awakened to the fact that I am a Mortal. I am very much alive and the Sovereign rules my my life. Never did I imagine that I could ever love a book as I did Books of History Chronicles...I have now experienced it. Ted and Tosca are a force to behold. May the Books of Mortals series live long.

Thank you, Ted and Tosca, I am forever indebted to you both, yet again.

Watch for my review as September draws nearer. 

Posted by Jane | at 6/09/2011 01:50:00 AM | 2 comments

The Curse of Captain LaFoote Review and Giveaway

As part of the blog tour for The Curse of Captain LaFoote, I am posting an author bio of Eddie Jones as well as presenting the opportunity to my readers to win a pirate party kit. This is my first ever blog tour and I do hope to take part in many more in the future.


Ricky Bradshaw has never sailed the Caribbean Sea, searched for buried treasure or battled pirates on the deck of a Spanish Galleon. He’s never fallen through the floor of Davy Jones’ locker or watched an old fisherman morph into a porpoise. All Ricky knows is his lonely life with his widowed mom in a tiny apartment overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. But all that changes on a snowy Christmas Eve when Ricky’s apartment building burns down and he suffers a seizure, falling into the chilly waters. Suddenly Ricky finds himself thrust into a world where there is surprising beauty on every island, danger around every corner and great honor and glory ahead of him—if only Ricky can summon the courage to survive the curse of Captain LaFoote.

The Author

EDDIE JONES has authored four non-fiction books, one young adult novel, and written over a hundred articles that have appeared in over 20 different publications. He is co-founder of Christian Devotions Ministries and a contributing writer for,, Common Ground Christian NewsThe Ocracoke Observer, and  Living Aboard Magazine.  He’s a three-time winner of the Delaware Christian Writers Conference and a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Boating Writers International. Eddie sails, surfs and writes in North Carolina. For more information see:

My Review
Being my first pirate book, I found it was disappointingly much like many other pirate stories. Although, this one had a bit of a twist to it. Ricky Bradshaw, a teenager suffering from epilepsy, falls into the Chesapeake Bay after his apartment sets fire. After a chat with his pink bathrobe-wearing neighbor, he awakes on a raft with a dog in the middle of the ocean. What follows in the next 200+ pages is the pirate adventure that he had only ever dreamed about. Set sail with Ricky as he fights pirates, drowns multiple times, and finds the girl of his dreams; I did, and I have no regrets.
Overall, I'd say this is a good book for any youth--and specifically boys--to sit down and read through. It spurs good, clean imagination and carries readers to other worlds. While the 250 pages were a quick read for me (just a few hours) it is a good way to get kids to sit down and read a book that doesn't look so intimidating.

Giveaway Details

The only requirements for this is that you leave a comment with your name before Friday, June 3 and you could win all you need for a PIRATE PARY!
  • 8 invitations
  • 8 - 9" party plates
  • 8 - 9-oz. cups
  • 16 luncheon napkins
  • 16 pc. blue cutlery set
  • 1 red plastic table cover
  • 2 rolls of streamers, 1 blue and 1 red
  • 12 each of blue and red balloons
  • 2 pkgs. of confetti, 1 blue and 1 orange
  • 4 yds. deluxe creepy cloth
  • 12 pirate swords with eye patch
  • 72 pirate tattoos
  • 8 dessert plates
  • 16 beverage napkins
  • 8 treasure chest-shaped filled treat boxes
  • 1 10 ft. pennant
  • 12 child-size pirate hats
  • 1 photo door banner
  • 1 piñata and toy & candy asst.

I recieved this book free of charge through an opportunity from Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. I was asked to post an honest review, whether positive or negative. My opinions are my own.

Posted by Jane | at 6/02/2011 02:19:00 PM | 0 comments

And the winners are...

The CD giveaway is over and I have lots of winners to announce! The winners are posted in bold italics after each album title.

  • Relient K - "The 1st Three Gears"  Smoore
  • Amy Grant - "Somewhere Down the Road" No requests
  • Jeremy Camp - "We Cry Out"ajbrennan
  • Superchick - "Reinvention" The Peacemaker
  • Sanctus Real - "Pieces of a Real Heart" Arkatox
  • Newsboys - "Born Again" White Rook
  • Decemberadio - "Satisfied" Kat
  • TobyMac - "Tonight" Danae
Winners can email me using the Gmail icon to the right of this post. Please include your name, mailing address, and return email address in the message and please enter the subject line as "CD Giveaway Winner-[name of album artist]." My apologies to anyone who did not win. Please subscribe to my blog so you can be informed of upcoming giveaways. 

Posted by Jane | at 5/15/2011 12:01:00 AM | 0 comments

Calling all audiophiles music!

Everyone likes free stuff, right? Well, if you sign up for grouptune, you can get free music! Also, if you sign up, I get more points and I can win free things, too! I promise this isn't all about the points; it's about getting you free music and getting grouptune some publicity!
So what is grouptune? It's a new daily deal site (like Groupon) for Christian music. The site officially launches on May 17th (in three days) so be sure to get signed up now so you can receive the first round of deals! If you do sign up for this site, please either leave a comment here with your name and email address or email me your name and email address so I can get credit for referring you.

I am part of the Team BuzzPlant Groutune Campaign.

Posted by Jane | at 5/14/2011 04:37:00 PM | 0 comments

Calling all audiophiles...CD Giveaway!

I have good news and bad news. Bad news: I'm in the final stretch of my freshman year of college, so I don't have much time to read and review anything. However, the good news is that I have eight brand new CDs sitting on my desk to give away!

This is only my second actual giveaway and both of them have been in the last week. I apologize for the lack of content recently, but even though I haven't been posting, I've gotten more page views than ever before! How exciting. 

Okay, down to the giveaway. First I'll list the CDs, then I'll list how you can win one or more of them!

  • Relient K - "The 1st Three Gears" (This is a 3 CD set that contains "Relient K," "the anatomy of the tongue in cheek" and "two lefts don't make a right...but three do.")
  • Amy Grant - "Somewhere Down the Road"
  • Jeremy Camp - "We Cry Out"
  • Superchick - "Reinvention"
  • Sanctus Real - "Pieces of a Real Heart"
  • Newsboys - "Born Again"
  • Decemberadio - "Satisfied"
  • TobyMac - "Tonight"

Steps to win: 
  1. Post a comment here telling me which CD[s] you want and why.
  2. Tweet or Facebook about this post.

This contest is limited to the continental United States and ends Saturday, May 14th at 11:59pm Central Time. In the case that more than one person requests a CD, a random winner will be drawn. Winners will be announced within 48 hours of the end of the contest.

Posted by Jane | at 4/28/2011 04:28:00 PM | 13 comments

The Priest's Graveyard GIVEAWAY

Since I have a few extra copies of The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker because I had to buy them to attend The Gathering this year, I am hosting a giveaway contest. In two [or more] easy steps, you can enter to win a random drawing. Each point will earn your name once in the drawing. In addition, any single person who goes above and beyond what is asked will receive a copy as well.

Step 1: Tweet my review of The Priest's Graveyard (be sure to tag @living_aLOUD or it will not count). Each @ mention or RT will earn one point.

[For extra points, subscribe to my posts or follow my blog.]

Step 2: Post a comment on my review of The Priest's Graveyard telling me if you are ever tempted to think you're better than everyone else or if you are ever tempted to judge. Also, let me know of any extra steps you have taken. 

This contest is limited to the continental United States and ends Saturday, April 30th at 11:59pm Central Time. Winners will be announced within 48 hours of the end of the contest.

Posted by Jane | at 4/22/2011 10:25:00 PM | 2 comments

The Priest's Graveyard Review

Is it Ted's best? I'm not sure. Is it brilliant? Yes, as always.

Less than nine hours after I first cracked the cover of The Priest's Graveyard, I am staring at the closed book, weeping like a child and trying to find words to write a review.

This is the story of Renee Gilmore, a recovering heroin addict, and Danny Hansen, a priest who has escaped a personal hell in Bosnia. This is a story of ultimate judgment and what is drawn from it. This is a story of love and mercy.

Renee is swept off her feet by Lamont Myers, a wealthy businessman with a severe case of OCD who lives in a glass prison. One day, their life of cleanliness and perfection is interrupted when Lamont does not return home. Left without a law to live by and driven by fear, Renee escapes the prison and eventually her path crosses again with that of Danny. Together, they set out to judge and in the end they, themselves will be judged.

Renee means “reborn” and with her rebirth, a birth of a new meaning of love crashes into the reader. From heroin addict to wife to judge, Renee's story will keep you gripping your seat, crying your eyes out, and being on the verge of a panic attack. Again, Ted captivates with powerful characters in an unpredictable plot—this time even more captivating and unpredictable than before.

This novel begs the ultimate question: what is love? In typical Dekker fashion, he asks difficult questions and leaves the reader to draw his own answer.

Are you ever tempted to think you're better than they are? Are you ever tempted to judge?

Judge not lest you also be judged.

Posted by Jane | at 4/21/2011 10:54:00 PM | 6 comments

Family Movie Night: Truth Be Told

Annie Morgan (Candace Cameron Bure) is a marriage counselor who has never been married.
Mark Crane (David James Elliott) is an ex-football player who works with kids at a local gym.

Annie and Mark see each other for the first time since college when they unexpectedly meet at a fundraiser at a museum. Mark is looking for funding for his organization and Annie was drug there by a friend. Mark pitches his organization to "Bish," (Ronny Cox) a rich businessman, and Annie ends up giving Bish marriage advice.

Annie and Mark end up talking and then posing for a picture together with Mark's two kids from his recently deceased wife. Bish invites Annie and her "family" to his ranch for a weekend to discuss a radio show gig that Bish offered her. A few lies later and the couple and Mark's kids are at the ranch and in the middle of some deep lies.

Will the truth be told or will they continue to live a lie?

       Join me--and millions of others--this Saturday, April 16th at 8/7c on FOX to watch this beautiful story of how a lie brings together two old college friends.
       Truth Be Told, the fifth installment of "Family Movie Night," an event sponsored by Wal-Mart and Proctor & Gamble designed to bring families together for a night of entertainment. During this programming, you can be assured that what is played on screen will be completely family appropriate--no diving for the remote to change the channel during inappropriate ads or scenes.
       After watching the "Producer's Cut," I can say that this is definitely a family-friendly movie. The movie was obviously produced on a small budget, and there are some poorly acted scenes, but it's still a good movie to watch with the family and it is worth checking out.

You can enter to win prizes just from watching the trailer! Also, be sure to check out their Facebook page. You can also watch exclusive Meet the Stars videos from Cameron Bure, David James Elliott, and Ronny Cox.

I was allowed the pre-screening of this movie through Team BuzzPlan in exchange for my completely honest review.

Posted by Jane | at 4/14/2011 12:27:00 PM | 0 comments

Be a Secret Agent for Love

Today in chapel, David Clark, Provost at Bethel, spoke on being a secret agent for Love. What brought him to tears is the same message that brings many to their knees. We as Christians are called not only to care for our own bodies and our fellow Christians, but also for those elsewhere in the world who do not know Jesus. That doesn't just mean we pray for them and we witness to them, but also that we care for them and their physical needs. There are billions of people without Jesus--we can afford to spend a few hours, days, weeks, or years helping them find Jesus, find hope and find healing.

Be a secret agent for Love--Love those around you and around the world. 

Posted by Jane | at 4/04/2011 01:56:00 PM | 0 comments

A note about The Priest's Graveyard

I've mentioned this book before and I'll blog about it again, but I think it's worth the hype. Reviews everywhere are raving about this fast-paced thriller by New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker due on shelves April 19th. While I have not yet read The Priest's Graveyard, I hear it is Ted's best yet. Dekker's Share the Love event has caused sales of this book to skyrocket, so I expect to see Ted popping up in more and more places.
I am not personally giving away a copy of this book [yet] but if you want to score a copy, check out Josh Old's blog, The Christian Critic. I'm sure he'll be pleased you stopped by, and you have the chance to win one of three copies he is giving away. You can also purchase a copy of the novel from Amazon for a whole lot less than most hardcovers sell for, and even less than I paid (and I bought eight copies.)

Posted by Jane | at 4/02/2011 02:53:00 PM | 0 comments

And then she greeted the book as an old friend...

...and went with him gladly, and, equals, they momentarily departed this life. [Edited from The Tale of the Three Brothers by J.K. Rowling]

Today, I greeted an old friend as if we had never went our separate ways eight months ago; I started reading again. I had not read for pleasure since last August and I have been slowly acquiring more and more books that I must read and so today I decided to pick up The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead and just start reading. One hundred and forty nine pages later and I feel fantastic! I'm not sure how I ever let school take over my life so much that I had not made time to read. With that being said, I am making it my goal to read for pleasure every day--no matter how little or much.

After The Skin Map, I desperately need to finish Tosca Lee's Havah, Drew Brees' Coming Back Stronger, and a book recently given to me by a friend,
So Much More by Anna Sofia Botkin and
Elizabeth Botkin.

Posted by Jane | at 4/01/2011 11:58:00 PM | 0 comments

The Holy Broble!

The Holy Broble Logo
I stole this from their website without permission, just don't tell them, 'kay?
The Holy Broble is a new take on the Bible written by Bethel alumni Isaac Kamsin and contributed to by Wheaton alumni Kent Woodyard and Conor McCarthy. This new take isn't typical, though, as one can guess from the site's tagline, “The the Bible, but with Bro!”

The inspiration for the Broble came from two articles the creators collaborated on for a conservative satire website. These articles employed a “fratty” tone to tell the stories of Elijah and Jacob. “The response to these articles was largely positive and they were a ton of fun to write. Isaac suggested that we continue with multiple more of those type of articles and create a separate site to run them on,” said Woodyard. Thus, the Broble was brought into existence.

I wrote a Q&A on The Broble for the next issue of The Clarion, which was on standsThursday, March 10. 

Posted by Jane | at 3/07/2011 08:24:00 AM | 2 comments

Do not judge, or you too will be judged

New book trailer now available for Ted Dekker's newest thriller, The Priest's Graveyard. Countdown now posted in the sidebar. Check it.

Two abandoned souls are on the hunt for one powerful man. Soon, their paths will cross and lead to one twisted fate.

Danny Hansen is a Bosnian immigrant who came to America with hopes of escaping haunted memories of a tragic war that took his mother’s life. Now he’s a priest who lives by a law of love and compassion. It is powerful men and hypocrites who abide by legal law but eschew the law of love that most incense Danny. As an avenging angel, he believes it is his duty to show them the error of their ways, at any cost.

Renee Gilmore is the frail and helpless victim of one such powerful man. Having escaped his clutches, she now lives only to satisfy justice by destroying him, regardless of whom she must become in that pursuit.

But when Danny and Renee’s paths become inexorably entangled things go very, very badly and neither of them may make it out of this hunt alive.

Judge not, or you too will be judged.

Available everywhere 4/19

Posted by Jane | at 3/04/2011 12:09:00 PM | 0 comments

The Cause Within You Review

"It doesn't take a person with unusual ability to change the world. 
All it takes is a heart that cares, a mind that's determined, a spirit that's willing, a cause that matters, and a person to help." 
pg. 38
Matthew Barnett, co-founder of the Dream Center in Los Angeles, definitely got it right with this book. The Cause Within You is the most inspirational spiritual growth book I've ever read. At nineteen, he preached his church from 39 people to literally zero. Feeling defeated, God led him to what used to be a park and is now the home to the lowest of the low. After seeing the devastation there in Echo Park, he knew God was calling him to make this his ministry. God said to him “If you reach the people nobody wants, I'll send you the people that everybody wants.”

Fifteen years later, Pastor Matthew is walking around the streets of L.A. toting a sheet of cardboard and a well-worn Bible, celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the Dream Center. His passion is re-awakened as he slumbers the streets with homeless people and is humbled by panhandling the next morning.

Whether you're young or old, this book is for you. Everyone was created for an amazing cause and discovering that cause will change the world. Through his story and the stories of those around him, Pastor Matthew shows us as readers how to trust God and to listen for His dream for us. “God's dreams for you are always bigger–and better—than your dreams for you.”

What God has done through Pastor Matthew is an amazing thing—just think if we all lived out the causes within us.

You can find out more about the Dream Center and Pastor Matthew at their respective websites. I also just recently discovered that they offer internships and short term mission work there because a youth group from my hometown is doing missions there. If you'd like to order this book, it is cheapest on Amazon.

I am grateful for the opportunity to read and be on the street team for this book by Team BuzzPlant. I was asked to write an unbiased review for this book. 

Posted by Jane | at 2/23/2011 10:05:00 PM | 1 comments

Solitude and Loneliness

I do not find solitude enough. In college, I am always in someone's presence; whether it be my roommate or other floormates, company is all around. Even whilst at home, solitude does not often find me. Even still, I find loneliness in every noisy moment and I yearn for company in each quiet breath. One would think that being surrounded by other life would cause loneliness to be kept at bay, but this is not the case.

I require much solitude, and I often find it in moments with a particularly engrossing novel where I am swept away to other worlds and transported into another's life with their friends and family. I find solitude in the constant hum of my computer's fan while quietly clicking small black keys by the faint light of my laptop screen, creating another world and writing another's life. I find solitude in the stillness of winter, where every sound out of the intense silence is magnified by the glittering snow.

While solitude is not easily captured, loneliness often interrupts my thoughts. Loneliness finds me most often whilst I am surrounded by company. Loneliness comes to me in the middle of a boring and forced reading, in the midst of a frustrating conversation, and, most annoyingly, when stress is suffocating me. Loneliness is found in the most mundane acts of life when one's mind has nothing to dwell itself with.

Solitude and loneliness seem to be similar, but I find they are often opposites. I find solitude in the peaceful acts of life, while loneliness finds me during the times when I would give anything to escape into another world. I am always in search of solitude, while loneliness is always in search of me.

Posted by Jane | at 2/09/2011 02:23:00 PM | 0 comments

The Cause Within You EVENT

This Sunday, February 13, you have a unique opportunity to support an event happening around The Cause Within You.

THE DREAM CENTER, twelve time GRAMMY Award Nominee Kirk Whalum, and Victory University are
In celebration of this year's Gospel GRAMMY Nominees, the event is a pre awards ceremony, concert and service honoring the nominees and benefiting THE DREAM CENTER's PROJECT HOPE.
No matter where you live, you can be part of this event and support PROJECT HOPE: you can either attend in person or watch online. See below for details.
The event is free and open to all that can attend in person. The concerts stellar performances will be streamed live on the web at inviting the entire world to view for $4.99 with proceeds benefiting Project Hope.
WHO: "IT STARTED WITH A DREAM" will feature live performances by GRAMMY Nominees:
  • Vanessa Bell Armstrong
  • Jeff & Sheri Easter
  • Forever Jones
  • Gungor
  • Israel Houghton
  • Lecrae
  • VaShawn Mitchell
  • Karen Peck & New River
  • Lalah Hathaway
  • and Kirk Whalum with special guest George Duke
WHEN: Sunday, February 13, 2011 :: 10:00 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

WHERE:Angelus Temple
1100 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
The vision of PROJECT HOPE is to provide a restoration home for immediate care to those rescued from human trafficking; rebuild one's physical, mental and spiritual wholeness; and prepare individuals toward returning to society. Project Hope exists for the purpose of helping the lives of individuals who have fallen victim to human trafficking. This home offers a safe place to rebuild lives based on biblical principles. The home will focus on the specific needs for each individual.

I will be streaming this to support the cause! You should too! 

Posted by Jane | at 2/07/2011 06:08:00 PM | 0 comments

The Cause Within You

Matthew Barnett, founder of the Dream Center, bestselling author of The Church That Never Sleeps and a pastor at one of America's fastest growing churches is spreading God's Word rapidly. Today I'm here to tell you about his newest accomplishment.

The Cause Within You is an amazing book where Matthew shows the reader how to transform his or her life. If you are apathetic and don't see a cause for your life, this book will create cause and passion in your soul. You can pick up this book at a bunch of different places, but the cheapest is at Amazon

You can find out more about Matthew and his dream at the Dream Center website and more about his newest book at The Cause Within You website. Read this book today and find the cause that is in you. 

If you do buy this book, let me know. I am part of the street team and I can earn certain prizes for spreading the word. While I am spreading the word because I believe in the cause, I would also enjoy winning the prizes. Thank you. 

Posted by Jane | at 2/06/2011 01:16:00 AM | 0 comments

My First Steampunk Novel(la)

Gravesight is a steampunk novella of the Long Tale City series. As of this time, the other books in the series (Street Urchin, Iron Orphan, and White Recluse) are not yet published. While the reader doesn't know of the background of the story before jumping into Gravesight, he or she is still given plenty of information to understand the story and yet still have a bit of mystery. Although I still don't know what the steampunk genre is, I immensely enjoyed this morsel of a story.

While it is difficult to summarize such a short work, I will do my best. In this novella, a small boy named Linus and a large man named Cage, both of the otherkind, are the main characters. It is written from Cage's point-of-view, as he takes Linus into his care and has an interesting adventure with this special boy.

The author, Jeremy McNabb put countless hours into this series (as do all authors) and this novella serves to whet one's appetite and leave him or her asking for more Long Tale City stories.

At this time, Gravesight, is only available via You can buy it here for just 99 cents, and if you don't have a Kindle, you can download Kindle for PC to read it.

Posted by Jane | at 2/03/2011 04:44:00 PM | 0 comments

How I Was Raised

Yesterday, my grandma and I were talking about how it must be hard for our former intentional interim pastor’s wife. First, she has to move when he does, which is about every six months to two years. And secondly, many churchgoers aren’t too thrilled about having an intentional interim pastor because they know he will be leaving soon and there is no point in befriending him [or his wife]. As we were talking, I brought up the fact that I always talked to her regardless of me knowing she wouldn’t be around forever. My dad responded to that by saying “Well, that’s because it’s how you were raised.”

I stopped and asked him what he meant. “You were taught to talk to everyone, regardless of who they are.” Now, my dad isn’t necessarily a professing Christian and he doesn’t go to church on a regular basis, nor do we talk about things of faith, but when he said that it made me think. I was raised that way, I just never realized it until now.

Sure, I know that I talk to everyone unless they have specifically wronged me. And, sure, I try not to judge people…but doesn’t everyone do that? No, they don’t.

Everywhere around me, I see people in churches—professing Christians—judging people around them and not talking to people who are “different” or who are “going against” their beliefs. I find it all to be ridiculous…and it’s completely un-Christlike. We should not judge people around us…we should not judge someone who is gay, we should not judge someone who has premarital sex, we should not even judge a murderer. It is God’s job to judge, and our job to love.

I can honestly say that I love everyone. Even the serial killers and the rapists and the high school girl down the street who got pregnant last week. So yeah. That's how I see myself as a pinprick of Light in the Darkness.

Posted by Jane | at 1/05/2011 05:00:00 AM | 0 comments

Family Movie Night: Change of Plans

Sally (Brooke White, American Idol) is an up-and-coming singer on the brink of a major tour.

Jason (Joe Flanigan, Stargate Atlantis) is a fighter jet engine designer who has his dream of flying again right in front of him. 

Neither is ready for a change of plans, for something not in the play book. 

Sally's long-time friend and her husband who were in Uganda with the Peace Corps are killed in a plane crash. As if that isn't bad enough, they have four children who are now without parents or immediate family to take care of them. Sally's name is in their will to take responsibility for the kids. Sally and Jason, although not fit to be parents at all, decide that they have to take the kids in until case worker Dorothy of Child & Family Services (Phylicia Rashad, The Cosby Show) can find a home to take all four of them. Unfortunately, that means they must put both their dreams on hold until then--or at least that was the plan. 

Join me--and millions of others--on January 8th at 8/7c on FOX to watch this beautiful story of how a family grows out of an unexpected, tragic accident.

Change of Plans the fourth installment of "Family Movie Night," an event sponsored by Wal-Mart and Proctor & Gamble designed to bring families together for a night of entertainment. During this programming, you can be assured that what is played on screen will be completely family appropriate--no diving for the remote to change the channel during inappropriate ads or scenes. The day after airing, (Jan. 9th) a special 2-disc DVD/CD bonus pack will be available exclusively through Wal-Mart.  

After watching the "Producer's Cut," I can assure you that you don't want to miss this movie. While obviously not anything on the scale of Avatar or Lord of the Rings, it's definitely a family movie worth watching. The movie also features a star-studded cast, including cameo appearances by NASCAR driver Jeff Burton and American Idol judge Randy Jackson, who has produced all of the "Family Movie Night" soundtracks, including the one for Change of Plans.

You can enter to win prizes just from watching the trailer! Also, you can read more news about the whole deal here and here. Also, be sure to check out their Facebook page.

Posted by Jane | at 1/03/2011 05:00:00 AM | 0 comments