Tag Archives: book faves

Author Jim Rubart is killing me!

Book of Days: A NovelI died and learned to live free in James L. Rubart’s recent suspense novel, Book of Days. You’ll have to read it yourself to see all of what I mean but let me tell you a little about the book.

Much like Frank Peretti’s, The Oath or Prophet, Rubart takes a spiritual concept and illustrates it in a compelling and fascinating story.

Cameron Vaux is plagued by the fear that he is loosing his mind to Alzheimer’s. His father is in advanced stages of the disease. Cameron is convinced that if he finds the Book of Days his dad talks about in a rare coherent conversation, he will be cured. He sets out on an adventure in a small town in central Oregon, filled with danger and romance. Cameron faces some of my own deepest fears, and yet, the story Rubart tells is full of hope and ultimately freedom.

I cried through the first two chapters, rallied for Cameron through the fast paced middle and celebrated in his victory at the end. This novel is a must read! I will always have a copy, or two, on my shelf.

Jessie Ann

For more on my biggest fear and my personal experience with Alzheimer’s see this previous post; Things I Can’t Talk About.


Filed under Book Blab, Twenty Something

Legend of the Three Trees

Please join me at my new web home JessieGunderson.com and don’t forget to like the Blog Schmog Facebook community HERE.

Some of you were wondering what this mosaic on my kitchen floor is all about.

The Legend of the Three Trees is a folklore story of unknown origin. My favorite picture book version is HERE.

The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale

The story is retold by Angela Elwell Hunt and beautifully illustrated by Tim Jonke. It is a Christmas classic but we keep it out year round.

Below is Thing One’s retelling of the legend un-edited.

A long time ago there was three trees. The first tree wanted to be a treasure chest and hold the greatest treasure. The second tree wanted to be a ship and made for just kings. And the third tree wanted to stay on the top of the hill and point up to God.

Many years had passed by. Then after a few days three woodcutters came and the first woodcutter cut down the first little tree. The second woodcutter cut down the second tree. The thrid woodcutter said, “I will cut down whatever tree I want to. This is the one I’m going to cut.”

The first tree got tooken to a carpenter. The carpenter turned the tree into a manger for animals to eat out of.

The second tree was tooken to a ship yard and no big ships were getting made that day. Instead tiny fishing boats. Every day he brought in loads of dead smelly fish across the lake.

The third tree was confused when she got cut into straight square logs. She stayed there for a very long time. Then she got carried by a man and she felt ugly when they nailed his  hands to her.

The first tree got to be a manger and hold the greatest treasure of all. That was Jesus.

The second tree got to be a sailboat and hold the greatest king of all that was powerful. He got to see Jesus stop the storm when he woke up.

The third tree got to be carried by Jesus and forever remind people of God. That was better than staying on the mountain.



Filed under Book Blab, Children & Kids at Heart, From the Mouth of Babes

FREE Brandilyn Collins on Kindle

My post “How to Read a Brandilyn Collins’ Novel” is being featured today (Sunday) on 5 Minutes for Books!

Check it out here and learn how to get my favorite Christian suspense writer’s novels free!

Happy New Year,



Filed under Book Blab, Twenty Something

Eyes of Elisha Review

Eyes of Elisha (Chelsea Adams Series #1)Oh man, if Violet Dawn was great Eyes of Elisha was awesome.  Brandilyn Collins sets the bar higher with each book she writes.  Now I’m wondering, “can it get any better?”   But apparently on the “suspense scale” I’ve yet to read a three!  MERCY.

Actually the truth of the matter is none of Brandilyn Collins’ books disappoint.

From the back of the book: “The murder was ugly.  The killer was sure no one saw him.  Someone did.  In a horrifying vision Chelsea Adams has relived the victims last moments.  But who will believe her? Certainly not the police, who must rely on hard evidence.  Nor her husband, who barely tolerates Chelsea’s newfound Christian faith.  Besides, he’s about to hire the man who Chelsea is certain is the killer to be a vice president in his company.”

I found myself ripping through the novel as if my life depended on it.  Riveting, mind bending, terrifying at times, Eyes of Elisha kept me glued to my chair all the way to the last word.  And yet, true to form, woven throughout the book were themes of forgiveness, hope in spite of our circumstances and unlikely friendship.



Keep them coming Brandilyn!

I’m a newly converted “seatbelt suspense” fan! 

Click the goofy picture of me at the right to read my post “How to Read a Brandilyn Collins Novel” especially if you aren’t sure you can read suspense.  I didn’t think I could.


Read on if you are curious about how Brandilyn handles the vision.

When I first read the back of the book I was a little worried about the vision bit.  I believe whole heartedly that God uses his people for his purposes and if that includes modern day visions I have no problem accepting that.  The problem lies in a past experience of my own. 

I dated a kid whose family was involved in a deeply charismatic church.  My church, being more conservative mysteriously avoided the subject of gifts unless it came to organ playing and hospitality.  I ended up smack dab in the middle of two extreme views.  The boyfriends parents believed, as their church taught, that unless you received the Spirit in the form of a tangible experience, being “slain in the spirit” you were not saved.  In their defense my home church believed unless you were Baptised in water you were not truly saved.  UGH!  I couldn’t win.

I know now that salvation doesn’t come by works or gifts but by the blood of Jesus.  In the book of James Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

At any rate, Brandilyn’s book beautifully portrayed a faithful follower of Christ who’s vision horrified even her.  Chelsea was not an overzealous, heavy handed believer whose goal was to convince everyone that visions are the only way to heaven.  Instead the vision was used to show the power of the Lord and the fallibility of mankind.  In Christ, through faith and by seeking Him even our mistakes can be used to the good of those who believe in Jesus.


Filed under Book Blab, Twenty Something

How to Read a Brandilyn Collins Book

How to Read a Brandilyn Collins Novel.

I was a little unprepared when I opened my first Brandilyn Collins novel.  Notwithstanding, I decided to write a tutorial so none of you have to experience this misfortune.

I don’t know how I’ve gone this long without reading her books.  Making up for lost time I read two crime novels in less than two weeks.  

To date she has published 19 novels, is an accomplished speaker who loves to connect with readers through her popular blog Forensics and Faith as well as her Facebook page.  

Buy a book, check out her blog and give her a shout on Facebook.   Don’t forget to tell her I sent you.

Without any further ado, here’s my how-to.
Paraphernalia:   Items to have close by when reading a Brandilyn Collins book.  Better yet have the following bag of tricks within reach  because once you “buckle in” you won’t want to get up. I promise.
  1. the book – And as Brandilyn would say “Don’t forget to BREATHE!”
  2. a pen and paper– This gal knows a lot of words and she’s not afraid to use them.  I keep pen and paper handy to jot down words I don’t know, words I know but want to get more familiar with and words that I simply like.
  3. lights, lots of lights! – When possible, read only during the day.  Sadly I cannot so I carry a BIG FLASHLIGHT!  It has surprising dual benefit, its heavy enough to be a weapon.  Watch out Hon!
  4. phone – Your gonna need a phone to call your mommy.

Which of Brandilyn’s books have you read?  Did I miss anything necessary for surviving her fast paced suspense novels?

Don’t think suspense is up your alley? I’m told she has some books just for you too.  Click the big honkin’ chicken’s club button below for suggestions on where to start if you aren’t sure about reading something that gets your heart pumping.
Big Honkin' Chickens Club

 How does a Christian author write about such terrifying circumstances and still stay true to her faith?  As Chrisitians we are not exempt from trouble in fact James says “Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials for the testing of your faith produces endurance.”  Brandilyn’s ministry is in depicting how characters who face tragic circumstances react.  Some lean on Christ, others are driven to commit terrible crimes, still others stay ambiguous in their faith.  We see different people in different walks of life change, thus challenging each of us to take a hard look at how we deal with this imperfect world we live in.  

The Bible says that the whole earth moans as if in the pains of childbirth, waiting to be restored to Him.  Like a new baby we are in for a surprise when this life is up!  For those who know Jesus personally; restoration, peace, no more tears. For those who reject him they are given what they choose, eternal separation. 

Each of Brandilyn’s books takes you right up to the edge of life, ask the hard questions and leaves you with a choice.  Which path will you follow?

See what books I’ve read here.  Recently that is!


Filed under Book Blab, Twenty Something

Though Waters Roar

Though Waters RoarSince reading Lynn Austin’s new book “Though Waters Roar” I can’t stop imagining my life as a river. Often I try to swim against the current because I don’t like where it is leading me.  When I give up and let Christ’s peace wash over, the ride is not always what I expect but I certainly experience less drowning, choking, exhaustion!

This Historical Fiction takes place at the end of Prohibition, throughout women’s suffrage and in a turbulent time in America’s History.  From her jail cell, Harriet reminisces about the stories her grandmother told her and the life each of them was dealt.  The story beautifully portray’s a relationship between a girl and her grandmother who are both “social misfits” in their grand family heritage.  Together, the women find peace in the river of life through exceptionally difficult circumstances.

Lynn’s style of writing makes you feel like you are having a conversation over coffee.  The characters seem so real and the story does not follow the expected course of “happily ever after”.  She writes about real life and real struggles with the hope of Christ as the thread that ties it all together but not in some perfect pretty package. 

The river will swallow those who fight against circumstances.  There is no permanent “hot springs” of life instead it is rocky and turbulent at times.  Sometimes its a slow calm trickle but always unexpected. 

Right now I’m still attempting to swim upstream. Lord help me surrender! What about you? Is your life a slow trickle or a raging waterfall? Maybe somewhere in between.


Filed under Book Blab, Twenty Something

Spare Oom

The Chronicles of Narnia (7-Book Box Set includes "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," "Prince Caspian," "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," "The Silver Chair," "The Magician's Nephew," " The Horse and His Boy" and "The Last Battle")Who hasn’t climbed in behind the clothes in the closet of a “spare oom”, held her breath and waited for a friend or a sibling as they counted, “twenty eight, twenty nine, thirty. Ready or not here I come!”

So many childhood memories as well as childhood fantasies are wrapped up and delivered in my favorite book series by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia.

Entertaining?  Yes.  Imaginative?  Yes.  But beyond that the books are chock full of God’s promised and incredibly deep introspective concepts.  C.S. Lewis was in short brilliant and an amazing man of God.  His faith was a deep challenging faith that even in these childrens books an adult can find peace and restoration, struggle and triumph.

Entertaining. Yes, but the Narnia series is ageless.

If you have seen the movies but not read the books, you are really missing out!

I’ve just discovered the Children’s Classics carnival over at 5 Minutes for Books, and it has been a great way to get to know other moms. I’ve also discovered a bunch of new books I need in my bookcase! 😉

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Filed under Children & Kids at Heart