Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Remnant by Monte Wolverton

Book description: 

In the year 2069 the Apocalypse came and went, but Jesus didn't show up, as some expected.

Instead, a cataclysmic war, natural disasters and pandemics eradicated 90 percent of earth's population. Now, in 2131, a totalitarian government rules the world from the majestic, opulent capitol of Carthage, Tunisia. Blamed for igniting the war, religion and religious books are banned. Citizens who will not renounce their religion are sent to work camps.

Grant Cochrin, imprisoned in a bleak petroleum camp in what was once North Dakota, leads his family and friends to escape and embark on a long, dangerous quest for a Christian community. Their resource in this journey? A cherished page torn from the now banished Bible---a remnant of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount handed down from Grant's grandparents. 

What if there were an Apocalypse and Jesus didn't return? What if the survivors found themselves living in a world ruled by a totalitarian government, where religion is forbidden and all religious texts have been destroyed?

In The Remnant, award-winning author Monte Wolverton tells the tale of a band of concentration camp escapees who trek through the lawless American wilderness on a quest for authentic Christianity, only to come face to face with an unthinkable dilemma. The Remnant is a fast-paced story punctuated with dry satire, memorable characters and hard questions about religious institutions.

My review:

   This was a new author to me, and he approached the idea of an apocalypse from a different viewpoint. Most books like this take place after Jesus' return, while this one takes place before.

 I thought the book was well written. It had a great plot and characters that were easy to like and keep up with. I found it very interesting how the main characters had such a limited idea of Christianity and the Bible, yet could tell what was fake or wrong in the many different groups of Christians they ran across. Although the book is fictional, there is a message there for all of us. I was also intrigued at the idea of this group possessing only a small

 The author did a great job of describing what life and the world might be like after events happen that are described in the book.

 I found the idea of Christianity becoming the world religion a bit of a stretch, as the close to the end we get, the more Christianity will be put down. I also found the multiple uses of the "d-word" out of place and distasteful for a Christian novel. However, I did find it an enjoyable read.

About the author:

Monte Wolverton is an award-winning author and syndicated editorial cartoonist. He is associate editor of CWR magazine. He is an ordained minister and holds a MA from Goddard College in Vermont. Along with his wife Kaye, he makes his home in southwest Washington State.

The Remnant is available from CWR Press, an imprint of Plan Truth Ministries

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bible Journaling Kit, and a giveaway

Product description:

Personalize your Bible! Create a work of art on the pages of your favorite Bible. Draw, color, or journal your thoughts, dreams, and prayers.

This kit includes:

8 colored pencil twists that never need sharpening
1 archival-quality journaling pen
4 sheets of inspirational word stickers
4 sheets of alphabet stickers
24 tab stickers to mark special passages
A ruled page protector mat with die cut edge for tracing lines
A Philippians 4:3 “Whatever Is Lovely”-inspired pouch that has an adjustable strap to fit most Bibles—perfectly sized to store your pencils, pens, and tabs!

Presented in an attractive gift box.

My review:

  I have wanted to try Bible journaling for a while, and after getting this to review and a journaling Bible shortly after, I have no excuses.

  Not all of the items in the kit have been utilized by me yet, but I have been impressed with what the kit offers:

The pencils: there are 8 different colors, and they have twist top, so you never have to sharpen them.

Word stickers: Black words on a clear background of phrases such as I love this, God loves me, I am not alone, etc.

Letter and number stickers: These have the whole alphabet - capital and small - and numbers 0-9, along with some punctuation. They are also black on a clear background.

Tab stickers: some of these have no writing on, and some have words such as Believe, blessing, favorite, love is. I have not looked it up, but I am guessing you fold these over the edge of the page.

Fine point marker: Black marker with a very fine tip to make writing easier.

Ruled page protector: This is the only item that does not fit in the pouch, and is meant to cover the whole Bible page, or at lease most of it.

Pouch: Green in color, with Philippians 4:8 printed on it, this holds everything included in the kit, except for the ruled page protector, as I mentioned.

  Since I am new to Bible journaling, I have nothing to compare this kit to, but it seems to have everything one would need for Bible journaling. The quality is great, and there are a lot of stickers to use as you journal. I was most impressed with the colored pencils. To not have to sharpen them is awesome, and I look forward to utilizing them and the rest of  the kit as I take up Bible journaling.

 This Bible kit is made by Ellie Clare, and is available from Amazon,, and other online retailers.

 Thanks to Flyby Promotions for the review kit and giveaway.


 Courtesy of FlyBy Promotions, I have one Bible Journaling Kit to give away to one winner who comments on this review.

 To enter, comment with your favorite Bible version, verse, or both.

I will pick a winner using 10 days from today on December 9.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fatal Frost, #1 in the Defenders of Justice Series by Nancy Mehl

Book description:

Mehl Ramps Up the Suspense in This Brand-New U.S. Marshals Series 

Mercy Brennan followed in her father's footsteps in a law enforcement career, but she has no interest in any other connection to him. A U.S. Marshal in St. Louis, Missouri, she's assigned to a joint task force with the St. Louis PD that puts her back into contact with her father and in the sights of St. Louis's most powerful gang. 

When the gang has reason to believe Mercy has possession of some highly sensitive and incriminating information, her boss assigns Mark St. Laurent--a Deputy U.S. Marshal and Mercy's ex-boyfriend--to get her out of town until they can guarantee her safety. 

Initially unaware of the danger she's in and uncomfortable working with Mark, Mercy's frustration escalates when she discovers the extent her boss and Mark have been keeping her in the dark. It isn't until a freak ice storm hits, stranding them at a remote location and out of contact with the district office, that the full severity of their situation becomes clear. As the storm worsens, the forces of nature combine with a deadly enemy closing in to put their lives at imminent risk. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive--if help is even coming at all?

My review:

  All I have read by Nancy Mehl so far has been her Amish/Mennonite suspense novels, so this was a departure from what I normally read by her... and I think from what she normally writes.

 This has got to be her best book yet. I seriously loved it, and enjoyed every page of it. It was suspenseful with plenty of surprises, there were some great characters, and Mehl outdid herself on the plot and setting. There were plenty of nail biting moments that kept me glued to the book until I finished it.

 I like it when an author can weave a Christian message throughout the book, and not make it look contrived, and Mehl did it in this novel.  The spiritual journeys of the three main characters added a lot to the book without making it preachy.

 I also liked the US Marshal angle, It is one branch of law enforcement I don't know a lot about, and it made the book all the more interesting reading about their work and what they do.

 The book had a satisfying conclusion that didn't wind up everything with the main characters, and left me wanting to read more. Looking forward to the next book.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. First published in 2001, she has now authored nine books, including an omnibus mystery collection, Cozy in Kansas, which contains three of her previously published Ivy Towers mysteries. Book three in the series, For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Mystery Book of the Year award. Nancys main writing interests lie in mystery although her new Harmony Series leans more toward the romantic suspense genre. Nancy runs a HUD program for the city of Wichita and is president of a volunteer organization, Wichita Homebound Outreach. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Kansas Authors Club. You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at:"

Fatal Frost is available from Bethany House Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Tennessee Christmas by Amy Grant, with a giveaway

CD description:

Amy Grant, one of the most iconic and beloved songwriters in Christian music, is set to release her first all new Christmas album in nearly 20 years. Tennessee Christmas features an updated recording of the Amy Grant Christmas standard, “Tennessee Christmas,” 6 new songs and traditional Christmas favorites “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (featuring Vince Gill), “O Come All Ye Faithful” & “Joy To The World.” This brand new album showcases Amy’s classic vocal with intimate and mellow arrangements, interspersed with personal stories and holiday memories. Featuring a team of acclaimed producers, this medley of seasonal tracks is sure to be a record that is returned to year after year. 

Christmas music has become synonymous with Amy Grant over the years, which has led to over 2.7 million Christmas albums sold in her career. This season, Grant will embark on a west coast Christmas tour and stop at the iconic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee with husband Vince Gill for 9 shows.

Track List

Tennessee Christmas
To Be Together
Christmas For You And Me
Melancholy Christmas
White Christmas
Joy To The World
I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
Baby, It's Cold Outside
Christmas Don't Be Late
Still Can't Sleep
Another Merry Christmas
O Come, All Ye Faithful

My review:

  It isn't often that I get the chance to review a CD, and rarer still to have the chance to review a CD I would normally purchase.

  I don't listen to much of Amy Grant's usual music, but have always liked her Christmas and hymn CDs, which I think I own all of.

  This CD has 13 cuts, all of them new recordings, and 6 of them new songs. My favorites: Tennessee Christmas, Christmas For You and Me, and White Christmas. She unfortunately recorded one of my all time least favorite Christmas sons, Baby It's Cold Outside. I also am not found of  Melancholy Christmas, finding it a sad song that doesn't add to the recording.

 The title cut is a new recording of her famous Tennessee Christmas. I would have to say I still like the original better, but this one is also well done enough that I actually like it.

 Overall,  the CD is a departure from her other Christmas CDs. It is very low-key, and has no songs that I would call upbeat, but it is a good departure from her normal Christmas fare. I have been listening to the CD a lot since I got it, and other than skipping "Baby It's Cold Outside", have enjoyed  the whole CD and find it a welcome addition to my Christmas music collection.


  Courtesy of FlyBy Promotions, I have one of these CDs to give away to one person who comments on this CD review, either on here or on Facebook.

 To enter, simply comment with either your favorite Christmas song, or your favorite Christmas album.

 I will draw a winner using on December 7.

Thanks to FlyBy Promotions for the review and giveaway copy of Tennessee Christmas.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Out: One Christian's Experience of Leaving the Gay Community by Bob Fife

Book description:

Bob Fife was raised in a small Ontario town by a Christian mother and an unbelieving father. The tensions made for a dysfunctional home and an uneasy life. But nothing prepared Bob for being sexually molested by an older boy he trusted--or what happened in his heart afterward. Out is the story of Bob's descent into homosexual practices and out again. His fascinating journey takes readers from the confusion of his teen years, to his marriage and fatherhood, to his discovery and embrace of the flamboyant Toronto gay scene. He describes abandoning his young family in order to fulfill his same-sex desires, taking him to London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Provincetown, Key West, and San Francisco. Over a decade later, an unexpected visit from his college-aged son caused Bob to confront the consequences of his indulgences and begin to seek change.

Today, Bob has been out of his gay lifestyle for over twenty years. He has reconnected with the church, built and maintained healthy, nonsexual relationships, and healed his relationship with his son. For those who want a way to deal with their same-sex attractions, not celebrate them, Bob's story points a way to grace and redemption.

My review:
  There are a lot more books around today about homosexuality from a Christian standpoint, than there were when I first started reading them. Since the issue is different in so many people, no book is alike, and not everyone's experiences are the same.

 The author of this book led a very promiscuous sexual lifestyle, which is sadly not the exception to the rule for most gay men, but it is also not indicative of every gay male.

  There are various theories on what causes and/or triggers same-sex attractions, and Bob Fife went through some of those things that many people believe help in that regard. He starts his story when he was a young boy, and takes it up to the present. He isn't graphic, but he is totally honest and open about what his life was like living as a gay male in the gay community.

 It is an interesting read. As a guy who deals with the same issue, most of what I read wasn't new to me, yet it is always interesting to read another person's story and perspective. For anyone dealing with same-sex attractions on any level, this book offers hope that God can deliver and is sufficient. For people who do not deal with same-sex attractions, it is a fascinating look into the life of a man who lived for his sexual desires for years, yet was saved from it by a loving God.

 I personally thought the book was written in a slightly disjointed style, but not so much that it was difficult to read. It was an easy, interesting, and very encouraging read that I highly recommend.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Bob Fife was raised in a small Ontario town by a Christian mother and an unbelieving father. The tensions made for a dysfunctional home and an uneasy life.But nothing prepared Fife for being sexually molested by an older boy he trusted --- or what happened in his heart afterward. Fife's book, Out, is the story of his descent into homosexual practices and out again.

Fife is an Ontario-businessman and has been out of the gay lifestyle for more than twenty years. Now reconnected with the church, he hopes his story points a way to grace and redemption. Today he devotes his time to mentoring men and women who are looking for alternative ways to deal with same-sex attraction.

"Out" is available from Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

When Jesus Was a Green-eyed Brunette by Max David

Book description:

When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette weaves heartwarming and miraculous stories of Jesus showing up in ordinary people, revealing that He knows us and is fully present in our everyday circumstances, especially in our difficulties. As best-selling author Max Davis puts it, "When we are born again, Jesus lives inside each of us. He is very much alive today and still does incredible things -- sometimes supernatural things -- through us!"

Davis's own life was dramatically altered when he first came face-to-face with Jesus living inside a green-eyed brunette. That encounter started a forty-plus-year journey where Jesus became his best friend. When we see others as God sees us we will love them as God loves us.

Those hurting and weary from worn-out religion are longing for a fresh touch from the living Jesus. By letting Jesus live through us we become a conduit of His love. Authentic Christianity is not about religion but a relationship with Jesus. Davis challenges us to do more than simply receive His grace -- we need to allow grace to soften, change, and shape us. As you read this book, you will laugh, cry, and come face-to-face with the living Jesus.

My review:

   I'll admit that one thing that drew me to  the book was the very unique title. I had also read a fiction title by the author and found it an enjoyable read.

 Don't be fooled by the title. This is neither a weird or light-hearted book. I found myself moved to tears many times while reading the book, and found myself wondering if I should be reading it in public - on my lunch break at work.

  This book made me want a better relationship with Jesus. It stirred a desire in me to be more loving to people and to reflect Jesus more than I do. This is the kind of book that shakes you, challenges  you, and makes you want to do better.

  Through many personal stories and stories of other people, Davis shows what it means to truly love Jesus and show that love to the world. It is an interesting read, yet one that is loaded with all kinds of challenges and truth. I at first wondered if the book was worth reading - it does have a strange title - but it didn't take me long to get into the book and I found it a most enjoyable and stirring read... and one I recommend.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Max Davis is the author of over 20 published books and has been featured in USA Today and Publisher's Weekly, and has appeared on The Today Show and The 700 Club. He holds degrees in Journalism and Biblical Studies and is a much sought-after speaker for churches and organizations worldwide. He and his wife, Alanna, live on 50 beautiful acres in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana.

When Jesus Was a Green-eyed Brunette is available from Worthy Publishing.

Thanks to Worthy for the review copy.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

My new Facebook page

   This past week, I made a Facebook page independent of my regular one. This is the kind of page authors, celebrities, etc use. I am using it primarily for book reviews, blog posts, and encouraging and funny memes. It is visible to anyone who "likes" the page, and only to those who like it. My Facebook friends do not see the posts unless they have "liked the page.

 This page will be free from politics, and more personal things I post. My regular Facebook page will have rare political posts, family stuff, statuses, and things I can't figure out how to share to my other page.

 So whether you are a friend with me on Facebook, like my page if you're interested in following my blogs, reviews, and other such things. Click this link, or click the Facebook logo up in the left  hand corner of  this blog.

Trust My Heart by Carol Post, with a giveaway

Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible. The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and undeniably appealing.

After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore---much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant's fraught family history are gradually fitting into place, but also upending all his old beliefs.

The two draw closer as they share their dreams, until misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust. But in the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there's healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what's needed to finally guide him home. . . .

My review:

  Very rarely do I read a romance novel, but this one sounded worth reading and I must have been in the right mood for one when I requested it.

  I did actually enjoy the book. The author came up with some great characters who definitely were not perfect. The plot was good, and there was a great theme/message of forgiving people throughout the book, as both of the main characters had to forgive a parent for ways they had hurt them.

  Carol Post is a new author to me, and I like her style. A friend said she normally writes suspense novels, which is my favorite genre', so I will definitely have to check her other books out. If she can do this well on a romance novel that I enjoyed it so much, I am sure I 'll like her suspense novels.

 The ending, as with any romance novel, was a bit predictable, but the getting there was not.

 Anyone who enjoys a good clean Christian romance will enjoy this.

This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special-events decorating company, Carol J. Post's résumé reads as if she hasn't yet decided what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love of writing. She started as a child composing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles for religious and children's publications. Now she pens fun, fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for an RT Reviewers' Choice Best Book award and selected as an RT Top Pick. When Carol isn't writing, she enjoys sailing, hiking, camping---almost anything outdoors. She also plays the piano and sings with her music-minister husband. Their two grown daughters and their grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all her nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund. Will an unplanned detour finally guide Grant home and find love with an honest, funny, and undeniably appealing reporter named Jami? Find out in a heartwarming romance by Carol J. Post, Trust My Heart. Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible. After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore—but as the two draw closer as they share their dreams, misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust.

Join Carol in celebrating the release of Trust My Heart by entering to win her $75 Cozy Cash Giveaway.


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Trust My Heart
  • A $75 Visa cash card
  • A basket full of goodies made in North Carolina to keep you cozy in the cooler fall weather

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 23. The winner will be announced November 28 on Carol's blog.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Win a 2 book set of Father Gilbert Mysteries

Can Father Gilbert, who traded in his detective’s badge for an Anglican priest’s collar, champion the truth in time to stop more people from dying? Find out in Death in the Shadows, Paul McCusker's new book releasing November 27. Pre-order a copy of Death in the Shadows and check the mystery-lover off of your Christmas list.

Join Paul in anticipation of Death in the Shadows by entering to win two books in the A Father Gilbert Mystery series (The Body Under the Bridge and Death in the Shadows)! Five winners will be chosen to receive the two-book sets. Click the image below to enter to win.


About the Book


When Father Gilbert became Anglican priest, he never expected he would be pulled into a different kind of mystery—the mystery of the spiritual world.

Attending a conference in a seaside town, he has yet another supernatural encounter, this time with a murdered girl who worked at a local massage parlor. Details of the murder lead Father Gilbert to approach the police with clues in common with other cases, bringing him into contact with a detective from his days with Scotland Yard.

Meanwhile, a local monastery has been vandalized, with grotesque images and profane graffiti defacing the altar and walls. The head of the monastery accuses the local sex-trade industry of retaliating against his outspoken stand against it. Then, one of the brothers at the monastery is found dead in the local red-light district. All evidence points to his having been a regular at a massage parlor—the same one where the murdered girl had worked. (Kregel, November 2016)

Learn more and purchase a copy here.

About the Author

Paul McCusker is creative director at Focus on the Family. He has sold more than a million books and twenty million audio dramas. His name is also heard daily on radio stations all over the world, and by at least two million listeners every weekend through the Adventures in Odyssey series. Learn more about him on his website and connect with him via Facebook.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Ace Collins, and a contest

For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ's birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart.

From December to New Year's Eve, reawaken the wonder, joy, and magic that is Christmas with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols, and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas.

With this soon-to-be-cherished holiday devotional, best-selling author Ace Collins will capture your imagination and help to make each day of December more memorable and meaningful to you, and those you love, by shining a light on the real spirit of the season.

My review:

  Ace Collins has done other Christmas books, of which I own a few. His books are always interesting and well researched. When this came up as a book for me to review, I eagerly signed up for it.

 This book is a Christmas devotional, a countdown to Christmas, though it goes to the end of December. Each day has a Bible verse and a devotional. The devotional is followed up with the lyrics of a Christmas song along with a short note about it, and then either a recipe "to feed the one you love", or something "to pamper the one you love".

 I have not run across many Christmas devotionals, but this is the best one I have read to date. The devotionals in it are well done, interesting, and the songs, recipes, and the pampering parts all add a unique and interesting touch.

 December is not very far away, so I would recommend buying this book soon and using it next month to help focus on the real meaning of Christmas and help make your Christmas season more enjoyable.

 This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. He has authored more than sixty books that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children's works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play. Ace lives in Arkansas.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is available from Abington Publishing.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy.

Christmas tradition:

  We who are involved in this book tour have been asked to share a favorite Christmas memory or tradition. A favorite tradition that my family doesn't do as often as we used to, is take an evening near Christmas and drive around looking at Christmas lights. Make this upcoming Christmas holiday a Christ-filled season of joy and wonder with the help of Ace Collins' new devotional, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. From December to New Year’s Eve, reawaken the Christmas season with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas. Download a free sampler of the book by clicking here.

Join Ace's Christmas festivities by entering to win the Magic of Christmas Prize Pack. Create new traditions this holiday season with your family and friends with the goodies included in the giveaway.


One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 21. The winner will be announced November 22 on the Litfuse blog.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NKJV Study Bible

The NKJV Study Bible, Second Edition is the most comprehensive study Bible available! It has the most complete study system for pastors, teachers, or students who desire accurate study in God's Word. Using the trusted New King James Version, The NKJV Study Bible has "the mind of a scholar and the heart of a pastor." Thomas Nelson's skilled team of scholars has produced the study system to reach for when accurate study in God's Word is the goal.

Features include:

More than 15,000 verse-by-verse study notes
150 Bible times and culture notes
114 articles on key Bible doctrines
350 word studies with Strong's numbers
"Christ in the Scriptures" feature
Topical index
Deluxe Nelson concordance
Full-color maps

My review:

The version:

  The New King James Version of the Bible has long been a favorite version of mine. It was my first move from the traditional King James that I was raised on. For people who love the King James, it is a great way to stay true to the language and style of it, while not having to deal with the outdated words that we no longer use.

This Bible:

  I love how this Bible looks and feels. My leather, bonded leather, and leather like Bibles tend to be black, so having one in this shade of blue is different, but I like it.

The study part:

 I found the study notes in this Bible to be done very well, and theologically sound...... at least the ones I read. There is no way I could review this in good time and read every note.

 This is a study Bible I will enjoy using, and is one I can recommend.

 The NKJV Study Bible is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer

"I reminded myself that once you start to defend someone, it's difficult to find a place to stop. But I went ahead and took that first step anyway. For President Teddy Roosevelt, controlling the east-west passage between two oceans mattered so much that he orchestrated a revolution to control it. His command was to 'let the dirt fly' and for years, the American Zone of the Panama Canal mesmerized the world, working in uneasy co-existence with the Panamanian aristocrats. It's in this buffered Zone where, in 1909, James Holt takes that first step to protect a mulatto girl named Saffire, expecting a short and simple search for her mother. Instead it draws him away from safety, into a land haunted by a history of pirates, gold runners, and plantation owners, all leaving behind ghosts of their interwoven desires sins and ambitions, ghosts that create the web of deceit and intrigue of a new generation of revolutionary politics. It will also bring him together with a woman who will change his course or bring an end to it. A love story set within a historical mystery, Saffire is brings to vibrant life the most impressive and embattled engineering achievement of the twentieth-century"

My review:

  I have not read a book by Sigmund Brouwer in years, so when this became available, I decided it was time to read another of his.

 The book is an easy read. It is a historical mystery set in the early 1900's, and is centered around the building of the Panama Canal. This is not a part of history that I am familiar with, or at least one that I remember much about, so I did learn a lot by reading it.

 I am not a big fan of first person point of view novels, and feel this one would have been a better read if it were third person point of view, but I still enjoyed the read. Brouwer created some very likable characters, especially in his hero of  the story, James Holt. The plot and setting were well thought out and created, and he picked a great time period to set his book in. I don't read a lot of historical novels, mostly because they tend to be by women and basically romance novels, but I did enjoy this one and hope there is a sequel some time.

This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Sigmund is married to songwriter recording artist Cindy Morgan. The couple and their two young daughters divide their time between Red Deer, Alberta and Nashville, Tennessee. He loves going to schools to get kids excited about reading, reaching roughly 80,000 students a year through his Rock&Roll Literacy Show.

Check out his Facebook page.

Saffire is available from Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing.

Thanks to W/M for the review copy.

My Brother's Keeper by Rod Gragg

Thirty captivating profiles of Christians who risked everything to rescue their Jewish neighbors from Nazi terror during the Holocaust. 

MY BROTHER'S KEEPER unfolds powerful stories of Christians from across denominations who gave everything they had to save the Jewish people from the evils of the Holocaust. This unlikely group of believers, later honored by the nation of Israel as "The Righteous Among the Nations," includes ordinary teenage girls, pastors, priests, a German army officer, a former Italian fascist, an international spy, and even a princess. 

In one gripping profile after another, these extraordinary historical accounts offer stories of steadfast believers who together helped thousands of Jewish individuals and families to safety. Many of these everyday heroes perished alongside the very people they were trying to protect. There is no doubt that all of their stories showcase the best of humanity--even in the face of unthinkable evil.

My review:

  This was a fascinating book to read. I know from studying history that there were many who helped rescue and protect Jews during the Holocaust, but I have never read a book that compiled several of those people together.

 The book has 30 chapters, with each chapter chronicling the story of a Christian, or sometimes a couple of Christians, who risked their lives to help protect Jews from being captured and killed. These stories are interesting, yet also sobering as it brings to mind the horror of the Holocaust. It is also challenging to realize what so many people risked to do the right thing.

 This is not a quick read, but is one I enjoyed. These are real people who did the right thing, no matter how hard that was to do. The author did a great job of telling these stories in a concise and interesting way that kept my attention, and helped me learn more about this horrible time in history.

This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

ROD GRAGG is a historian and the author of more than twenty books on topics in American history. His works have been selections of the Book-of-the-Month Club, the History Book Club, and the Military History Book Club. His literary awards include the Douglas Southall Freeman History Prize, the Fletcher Pratt Award, and the James I. Robertson Award. One of his books, Confederate Goliath, was the basis of a PBS film of the same name, and another, Forged in Faith, was nominated for the George Washington Book Prize. He and his family live in South Carolina, where he serves as director of the CresCom Bank Center for Military & Veterans Studies at Coastal Carolina University.

My Brother's Keeper is available from Center Street Publishing, part of the Hachette Book Group.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Christian's Hope by Ervin R Stutzman

   When Christian Hochstetler returns to the Amish after seven years in captivity, he finds that many things have shifted. Captured as a child during the French and Indian War, Christian has spent much of his life among Native Americans, who cared for him and taught him their ways. Now that Christian is home, his father wants him to settle back into their predictable Amish life of farming, and Christian's budding friendship with Orpha Rupp beckons him to stay as well.

Yet Christian feels restless, and he misses his adoptive Native American family--who raised him as their own son. When faced with a life-altering decision, will Christian choose the Amish identity that his father desires for him? Or will he depart from his family and faith community yet again?

"Christian's Hope" tells the story of the younger brother of Joseph and son of Jacob, whom readers have come to love in the first two books in the Return to Northkill series. Based on actual events and written by a descendant of the Hochstetler family, "Christian's Hope" brings the sweeping epic of the Return to Northkill series to a soul-stirring end.

My review:

  I never read Amish fiction, and am not a fan of it at all. This book intrigued me since it is written by a man, and the plot sounded totally different from the average Amish fiction. It is the third in a trilogy, but I decided to give it a try.

 I do wish I had read the previous two books first, but I easily picked up on the gist of what had happened in the other books.

  This book is definitely different from other Amish books. First off, it is mostly written from the male character's point of view, which is not the norm. Secondly, the whole idea of an Amish boy returning from an 8 year captivity among the Indians was a very interesting and unique plot.

 The author did a great job of presenting the conflict in a young man who had been with the Indians so long that he felt more like an Indian than the Amish he grew up in. At times I wanted to shake the guy, and then had to remind myself that this was just a story after all.....

 I enjoyed the book even more than I hoped I would. The plot was great, I liked  the characters, especially Christian, a young man feeling he didn't belong with his own people. It was a fun, interesting, and educational read, and is one that men will enjoy, and not just women,

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Ervin Stutzman is currently Executive Director of Mennonite Church USA.

Before taking on this role in January 2010, he served for nearly 12 years as Dean and Professor of Church Ministries at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Va. He has also served the Mennonite Church in the roles of pastor, district overseer, missions administrator, conference moderator and, from 2001 to 2003, as moderator for Mennonite Church USA.

Ervin graduated with a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati (Ohio) Christian University. He holds master's degrees from the University of Cincinnati and Eastern Mennonite Seminary. He received his Ph.D. from Temple University. His master's thesis at Eastern Mennonite Seminary was "Biblical Interpretation in the Free Church: Appropriating Scriptural Truth Through Communal Discernment." For his doctoral dissertation he wrote "From Nonresistance to Peace and Justice: Mennonite Peace Rhetoric, 1951-1991."

Ervin was born a twin into an Amish home in Kalona, Iowa. After his father's death a few years later, his mother moved the family to her home community near Hutchinson, Kan. Ervin was baptized in the Center Amish Mennonite Church near Partridge. Later, he joined the Yoder Mennonite Church. Ervin married Bonita Haldeman of Manheim, Pa. Together they served for five years with Rosedale Mennonite Missions in Cincinnati, part of that time in voluntary service. Ervin was ordained to serve as co-pastor of Mennonite Christian Assembly. From there, the Stutzmans moved to Pennsylvania, where they were members of the Mount Joy Mennonite Church. They currently live in Harrisonburg, Va., and are members of Park View Mennonite Church, where Ervin regularly teaches a men's Bible study.

Ervin is a preacher, teacher and writer. His Herald Press publications include Being God's People, a study for new believers, Creating Communities of the Kingdom (co-authored with David Shenk), Welcome!, a book encouraging the church to welcome new members, Tobias of the Amish, a story of his father's life and community, and Emma, A Widow Among the Amish, the story of his mother.

Check out his website for more about him and his books.

Christian's Hope, and the other two books in the Return to Northkill is available from Herald Press.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy.