Monday, October 24, 2011

REVIEW - Cooking the Books by Bonnie Calhoun

Date:                     8/10/11
Title:                     Cooking the Books
Author:                 Bonnie S. Calhoun
ISBN 13:                978-1-4267-3388-8
Pages:                   320
Publisher:              Abingdon Press
Cover:                   Electronic ARC
Reviewer:              Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant – Literary Wonders!  
Rating:                  4 Stars

           Cooking the Books is by debut author Bonnie S. Calhoun and is part of the Sloan Templeton Series. Sloan Templeton inherited Beckman’s Books and Brew from her late mother. Sloan can think of a hundred other things she would rather be doing, but she wants to honor her mother and keep the bookstore alive.

          Sloan in a kind and caring soul and attempts to help those in need. This rings true when she finds young woman sleeping in her car and soon finds out the woman is a victim of abuse. Sloan befriends the woman but makes sure she keeps her distance. The last thing she needs in her life is drama. She is already dealing with a crazy, stalking ex, who can’t take no for an answer.

          Sloan is on high alert when people become very interested in one particular book—so much that they are willing to kill for it.

          At first, the book appeared to start of slow and I was a bit confused at the beginning of the book. I still never figured out what the prologue had to do with the rest of the book. Perhaps that will be revealed in a later installment.

          When the book finally picked up, the action, and the laughs never stopped. Bonnie uses a cast of colorful and original characters that help make Cooking the Books and exciting read.

          Kudos to Mrs. Calhoun for her first novel. I look forward to more of the Sloan Templeton Series and more from this author. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reclaiming Lily Virtual Book Tour w/Patti Lacy

Two Women. Two Cultures. A Troubled Teen

About the Book
A storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Chang meet in a Dallas hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, the daughter Gloria adopted from China and the sister Kai hopes to reclaim. Kai is a doctor who had to give up her little sister during the Cultural Revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily.

Gloria's relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman's apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer...or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?

About the Author
Patti Lacy graduated from Baylor University in 1977 with a BS in education. She taught at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois, until she retired in 2006 to pursue writing full time. She and her husband, Alan, have two grown children. Visit Patti at

Video Trailers

Read Excerpt at


Friday, October 14, 2011

REVIEW - Content is Cash by Wendy Montes

Date:                     10/12/11
Title:                     Content is Cash
Author:                  Wendy Montes DE OCA, M.B.A.
ISBN 10:                 0789741083
ISBN 13:                 978-0789741080
Pages:                   240
Publisher:              Que
Cover:                  Paperback
Reviewer:             Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant – Literary Wonders!  
Rating:                  4 Stars

           Content is Cash by Wendy Montes is a useful guide for anyone, but especially for freelancers. I started using some of the suggested rules in the book and an article that I had written months ago, that got no comments from my blog, website or social media, was noticed by an attorney, hundreds of miles away. It is important that content writers understand the importance of SEO strategies.
          This book touches on items such as creating free newsletters, article writing, understanding search engine optimization and marketing. I found the glossary and index at the end of the book to be very useful. 

REVIEW: Using Facebook by Joshi and Rutledge

Date:                     10/12/11
Title:                     Using Facebook
Author:                  Kent Joshi and Patrice-Anne Rutledge
ISBN 10:                 0789745240
ISBN 13:                 978-0789745248
Pages:                   288
Publisher:              Que
Cover:                  Paperback
Reviewer:             Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant – Literary Wonders!  
Rating:                  3 Stars

           I gave Using Facebook by Kent Joshi and Patrice-Anne Rutledge a 3 star rating, not because it is a bad book, in fact is a good resource. However, this book basically has the same information as the last three or four books I purchased about Facebook. I would love to see one of these titles that give extensive resources and how-to’s on creating successful landing pages.
          This book is more for the novice user, who is getting started with Facebook. Beginners will find the resources in this guide useful and valuable.
          I do like that the book directs readers to video tutorials, resources on the internet and it comes with an interactive CD. I will say, this is one of the few books I’d refer to my clients when they want to get started using Facebook or do more than just post funny jokes and pictures of their children or animals.
          I might add that I love Sarari’s resources. They always offer a free trial at the end of books such as these. I have several of their titles and find them useful.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

REVIEW - The One Year Devotional by Patricia Raybon

Date:                    10/12/11
Title:                    The One Year God’s Great Blessings Devotional
Author:                  Patricia Raybon
ISBN 13:                 978-1-4143-3871-2
Pages:                   N/A
Publisher:              Tyndale House Publisher
Cover:                   Leatherbound/Paperback
Reviewer:              Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant– Literary Wonders!  
Rating:                   5 Stars

           The One Year God’s Great Blessings Devotional a daily guide by Patricia Raybon is a great biblical and spiritual resource. The beautiful leather-bound devotional gives its readers 365 days of inspiration, bible studies, scripture and quotes to help anyone start their day strong.
          On the 7th day of each week there is a section titled “Going Deeper” that is accompanied by a scripture along with questions for its reader.
          Each week has its own topic, such as loving, listening and enterprise and industry that starts with a promise from God and a prayer from the author.
          As with any great resource, this devotional comes equipped with an impressive endnotes section and scripture index.
          Going through this devotional, I have to say that I appreciate the time and patience it took for Ms. Raybon to create something so beautiful, so useful and so inspiring. Thank you Ms. Raybon. I recommend this book to anyone looking for that special gift for that special someone. The holidays are right around the corner. 

REVIEW: Bound for Glory by T. Botts and P. Raybon

Date:                     10/12/11
Title:                     Bound for Glory: Celebrating the Gift of African American Spirituals Through Expressive Calligraphy
Author:                  Timothy R. Botts w/ reflections by Patricia Raybon
ISBN 13:                 978-1-4143-5453-8
Pages:                   128
Publisher:              Tyndale House Publisher
Cover:                  Hardcover
Reviewer:             Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant– Literary Wonders!  
Rating:                  4 Stars

           Bound for Glory is an excellent “coffee table” book. It’s colorful pages and calligraphy draws readers in as they experience various poems based on spirituality and African Heritage.
          From the infamous “Let My People Go” to “Come and Go With Me”, you’ll want to read every page of this beautiful poetry written by Timothy Botts and Patrica Raybon.
          This conversation piece comes complete with a scripture index at the end. I recommend this book to anyone who loves poetry, anyone who is an African and Spiritual enthusiast, or anyone who wants to spark inspiring conversation. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Patricia Raybon Virtual Book Tour

Are You Gloomy Today?

Hello, I’m Patricia Raybon, the author of the ONE YEAR God’s Great Blessings Devotional
Nehemiah 8:10 – The joy of the Lord is your strength!

If we choose JOY, God blesses us with His strength. Are you gloomy today? Troubled? Joy is still an option. What's blocking you from God's joy? Think about it.

Learn more about ONE YEAR God’s Great Blessings Devotional
Want half a blessing? Or God’s best? Award-winning author Patricia Raybon dares to pursue God’s greatest in her new One Year® devotional, God’s Great Blessings. Join her search for the enriching secrets of a bold Christian life, exploring 52 biblical values and virtues that God blesses not because we’re good but because He’s God. This path is uplifting, challenging, sometimes surprising but always transforming. Get on board with our Blessing God for the life-changing journey.

About the Author
Award-winning writer Patricia Raybon is author of two critically acclaimed books, “I Told the Mountain to Move” and “My First White Friend.” Her personal essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, USA Weekend, Charles Stanley Ministries’ In Touch Magazine and have also aired on National Public Radio. She writes full-time on life-changing faith. Visit Patricia’s Website at

Bound for Glory (Coming November 1, 2011)
This powerful gift book is inspired by a stunning collection of calligraphic paintings by world-renowned calligrapher Timothy R. Botts and featuring reflections in verse by award-winning author Patricia Raybon. The book’s 52 paintings are visual interpretations—in words and pictures—of African American spiritual songs. These amazing songs are an important part of our American heritage, and they continue to give us hope in the face of life’s many challenges. The book also includes 52 reflective readings from Botts and African-American writer Patricia Raybon. It also includes lyrics from the spirituals along with inspirational Scripture verses from the New Living Translation.


Fight Back With Joy
By Patricia Raybon

She’s laughing. Even though her home is a wreck. She’s laughing. Even though her kitchen looks lousy. Paint colors all wrong. Fabric choices breaking her budget. When the wood cabinets finally arrive—several weeks late—both the size and grain completely miss the mark.

“But I’m laughing,” says the TV host of the home renovation show, giggling into the camera. “It’s how I deal with setbacks,” she explains. “I mean, you have to laugh. It gets me back on track.”

It’s a timely philosophy. Joy imparts strength. For believers, however, joy in the Lord activates His strength. In our lives. In our circumstances. In our kitchens. Both big and small.

Speaking to His disciples, Jesus put it this way: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart”—be of good cheer—“because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We love that promise, indeed.

But why would joy in Him—and not courage or bravery or boldness—deliver the strength of almighty God? Could it be the illogic of the principle? That the beauty of joy is so winsome and unexpected that it’s disarming?

No enemy expects a foe to fight back with joy.

Yet there’s something strangely powerful about joy. About laughing in the face of a storm. About sizing up your enemy but knowing that, compared to God, your enemy is powerless. About staring up at a mountain and accessing its peaks, crags and valleys, but knowing—as you laugh—the mountain can’t overcome God’s power. Is this rationalizing? Or denial? Or is it wisdom?

“I have told you this so you will be filled with my joy,” Jesus told His disciples in the upper room (John 15:11). “Yes, your joy will overflow!” Then as His joy flows, your enemies flee. Can you laugh at that? Try it today. Then don’t be surprised when your victory follows.

Award-winning author Patricia Raybon’s newest book is the One Year® daily devotional, God’s Great Blessings, which includes this reflection on joy. She is also author of two acclaimed memoirs, My First White Friend and I Told the Mountain to Move. She also collaborated with calligrapher Timothy Botts in his upcoming gift book honoring African American spirituals, Bound for Glory. Learn more at