May 09, 2015


 1. Dauntless seems to have some Robin Hood elements. How do you weave aspects of that legend into your story?

The idea for my Valiant Hearts series is to place strong medieval female heroines in traditionally male roles. In Dauntless, Merry Ellison takes on a Robin Hood type role as leader of a band of children and teens who find themselves outlawed during the
reign of King John—otherwise known as the villainous Prince John of the Robin Hood legends—after her father attempts to assassinate him. As one of the oldest members and the only noble in the group, Merry rises to the occasion and becomes their leader. At times the characters think about and interact with Robin Hood legends. However, Dauntless is its own story, not a Robin Hood retelling. I even create my own legend by naming their band “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest,” who survive by cunning, wit, and at times, even thievery. 

2. The feisty heroine is a popular motif these days. Tell us how your Merry Ellison compares?
I’ve seen Merry Ellison compared to Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior, which really thrilled me. I definitely wanted to capture that sort of energy in my book. Although Dauntless is not dystopian, in many ways the England of King John is a sort of historical dystopia, in which the world is unjust and falling apart all around the characters. Much like Katniss in the Hunger Games, Merry has to sacrifice herself to help those around her. Similar to how Katniss has special skills as a huntress, Merry is gifted with a special skill in her acrobatic abilities, which she learned from a group of traveling tumblers who spent a season at her castle. Temperament wise, I think Merry has more in common with Tris of Divergent, who has a softer side than Katniss. Merry tries to stifle her emotions, femininity, and desire for love, but over time comes to realize that this is destroying her, and that these very traits can empower her.

3. What do you hope readers will take away from Dauntless and from the Valiant Hearts series in general?
Dauntless is very much a story of hope and restoration. Each of the main characters is looking for meaning and a sense of personal destiny in the tragic world surrounding them. In addition, they are all grappling with the idea of civil disobedience and how one should respond when faced with an unjust government, which I think is an excellent topic for young adult literature. I hope that the book will help readers to desire a deeper reliance upon God and a greater sense of intimacy with Him. My theme for the Valiant Hearts series as a whole is “Be Strong and Courageous.” I want to empower young women to boldly pursue their God-given destinies, wherever that might take them. I recently learned that the Jewish translation of “virtuous woman” in Psalm 31 is actually “woman of valor.” That is what I want for my readers: for them to become women of valor!

4. There aren’t many Christian novels written in the medieval period. Why did you choose this time?I feel there is much about this time period that speaks to modern readers. It was a gritty and edgy time, full of action and adventure. Women of the middle ages were feisty and strong, often being called upon to rule and defend their holdings while husbands and fathers were away at war. This time also provides an opportunity to examine faith issues from a different perspective. Everyone was Christian, yet being Christian meant little. I fell in love with the hidden bastions of true Christianity found in the convents and monasteries of that time despite the corruption in the church as a whole. I think young people today are looking for the sort of vibrant, authentic, and intimate relationships with God that can be seen in some of the great saints of that period.

5. What is next on the horizon for this series?Book 2, Chivalrous, will come out late in 2015. Prepare to meet Gwendolyn Barnes, a spirited young noblewoman who longs to be a knight like her brothers. But such cannot be her fate, even in the Camelot-inspired Eden where she dwells. Gwendolyn’s harsh father sees her as little more than a marriage pawn and is determined to wed her to a tough man who will tame her wild ways. This story plays with several Arthurian legends, taking a peek at
the world of tournaments, chivalry, and courtly love while also turning the Lancelot and Guinevere story upside down. It follows one of the main characters from Dauntless as he sets off to North Britannia in search of his destiny. And it delves even deeper into what it means to be a female, an issue very close to the heart of every teenage girl, and to women in general. 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher for this review, every opinion expressed here in is 100% my own.

March 12, 2015

The Radical Question, A Radical Idea

JESUS! We say we love Him. We put His name on bumper stickers and license plates. But what if we are called to do more? What if going to church on Sundays and living a moral life isn’t all God’s asks of His followers.
In his book The Radical Question, Platt asks if it could be possible that God wants much much more then what the typical American believer is willing to give Him.
I have always enjoyed reading biographies of christians and books like Foxes Book of Martyrs. My one thought as I turn the last page every time is, what if that was me? Is my faith strong enough to hold on to God even while watching my loved ones tortured in front of me? Even though this book is barely 100 pages I experienced the same self questioning and soul searching.
In America we are told to follow our hearts, to do whatever feel right, that we should only do what feels good and is fun. THIS IS NOT LIVING FOR JESUS! We are called to so much more! Are we willing to truly sacrifice possessions, money, stability, and even family for the sake of the gospel? Is God worth giving up everything for? IIS JESUS ALONE ENOUGH to satisfy every want and desire and need?
Real love would be saying "YES! God hear I am." But its not easy. Its not comfortable and sometimes it hurts and feels overwhelming. THAT IS WHEN GOD takes over. When we fail He is enough. When we are done and at the end of our rope He CARRIES US. If you want your perfect world to be blown apart in a matter of minutes you have to get a copy of this book!
 5 of 5 stars
Don’t forget to purchase and extra copy to give to your best friend because you will want to share it!

To Buy this book

About the Author:
DR. DAVID PLATT, President of the International Mission Board, is deeply devoted to Christ and His Word. David’s first love in ministry is making disciples, sharing, showing, and teaching God’s Word in everyday life. David has written several books, Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me and most recently Counter Culture (to be released February 2015). 
David founded Radical (, a ministry devoted to serving churches and disseminating disciple-making resources toward the end that the gospel might be made known in all nations.
Disclaimer:I received this book for free from the Publisher for this review, every opinion expressed here in is 100% my own.

June 19, 2014

Barreir-Free Friendships

In Barrier-Free Friendships the authors share how many disabled people are stuck in a world of isolation. Even though disabled people are surrounded by others who help and taking care of them, very few have true friends who know the person inside.  This book challenged me to look past the physical and strive to understand how the person inside feels. We are all created and loved by God. In the second part of the book Joni gets very practical in the ways that you can connect and help someone with a disability feel loved and valuable. 

Many times disabled people learn to view themselves as victims. But Joni points out that Jesus was the biggest victim in all of history, and yet he didn’t dwell on that. Instead Jesus reached out, and we should too. In chapter after chapter Joni tells of beautiful friendships that were formed between the most unlikely of people. I loved the way Joni finally came to the realization that we all are handicapped by our sin in God’s eyes. It is only when we admit our helpless state before God that we can be forgiven of our sin and made new before God! 

Author, Publisher and Date:

Joni Eareckson Tada, Steve Jensen, Zondervan Publishing, 1997

Disclaimer:Every opinion expressed here in is 100% my own.

June 11, 2014

{Guest Post} Saving Annie By Cathy Gohlke

Behind Saving Amelie–The Passion of Christ and the Third Reichimages-7
Nestled in a quaint Bavarian Village in the pristine Ammer Valley, surrounded by towering snow-capped Alps, lies Oberammergau, home of the world’s longest running Passion Play. Based on a vow the Alpine Village made to the Lord if He would spare them from bubonic plague, the town has faithfully performed the Passion of Christ for the last 380 years.images-4
One rare exception came during WWII, due to rationing, poor relations with other countries, and most of all Hitler’s conscription of adult males:  The village’s “disciples” and most of their “Israelites”–as part of the German army, were busily rampaging Poland at Hitler’s command.
Today, the Passion Play cast is two thousand strong.  Nearly every family in the village takes part in the play either on stage or behind the scenes–and has done for generations.  Some roles have even been passed from generation to generation.images-6My husband and I attended The Passion in 2010 and were captivated by the villagers’ commitment to and enthusiasm for the Passion and all it means.  Certainly, it is a tourist industry.  But, we could see that it is also much, much more and the residents take their vow seriously.  After experiencing Oberammergau’s portrayal of Christ’s sacrifice for the world, I wondered how they had responded to the cruelties of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, which represented anything but the love of Jesus Christ.MVC-024S_tn
I was astonished to learn that this lavish production had been endorsed by Hitler in 1934 when he attended a special 300th anniversary year production.  images-8 How was that possible when Hitler was so opposed to Christianity that he’d ordered the removal of crucifixes and pictures of Jesus from classrooms and churches–only to be replaced by pictures of himself?  What about the portrayal appealed to Hitler? 
About the same time, I learned that the scheme to create a master race by eliminating blood lines deemed “unworthy” and by promoting others was not confined to the Nazis. All my questions intersected, and I wondered how we can prevent stepping onto such slippery moral slopes today.  Bonhoeffer--spoke into the wheel
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a WWII dissident German pastor and author of The Cost of Discipleship, gave me new insights into those questions.  Those insights and Bonhoeffer’s writings became key components of Saving Amelie.
From history, and a deep awareness that we all walk the conflicting line of doing what’s right versus what’s easiest or “best” for ourselves, Saving Amelie was born.Saving-Amelie-Book-Cover-250x374

Saving Amelie is the story of Rachel Kramer, daughter of an eminent Long Island Eugenics scientist, who must confront her own pride and sense of superiority to rescue a deaf child–daughter of an estranged friend and of an SS officer–from “elimination” at the hands of the Nazis.  Jason Young, a driven American journalist–and most unlikely ally–connects Rachel to the German resistance and to the work of controversial theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Together, they risk their lives–and ask others to do the same–for those they barely know but come to love. Saving Amelie is available in bookstores and on line.