Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Vines Expository Bible


Pastor Jerry Vines leads you on a journey through the Bible, with observations and understanding straight from a pastor's heart. Based on sermons and lessons from Jerry’s lifetime of teaching ministry, this Bible provides a unique, passage-by-passage guide through every book of Scripture and explains how each part applies to your life.

Features Include:

NKJV paragraph-style text with in-text subject headings
200 "Presenting the Message" detailed outlines from Jerry Vines' sermon archive
100 "Living the Message" articles with illustrations for living the Christian life
200 "Applying the Message" notes that help you see the relevance of Scriptures for your walk with Christ
300 "Discerning the Meaning" word studies that illuminate the meaning of key words in Scripture
66 Book Introductions
Topical Index
NKJV Concordance
10.5 point print size

My review:

  I like to review a Bible occasionally, and this one intrigued me. They used a favorite version for it, the new King James, which drew me in.

 I obviously did not have time to read through the whole Bible, but did spend time looking over the features and reading some of the articles and outlines, and other features.

 I thought the book introductions were very well done, interesting, and did a great job of describing the focus of the book.

 There are 200 "presenting the message" features, such as one on "How to pray in a crisis". These typically take up 2 pages, and are something I found both interesting and helpful. I also liked and found helpful the "discerning the meaning" and  "applying the message" features which are much shorter and are scattered throughout the Bible in small boxes.

 The Christian market has a wide array of study and devotional Bibles, and one can wonder what the difference is. I am not familiar with Jerry Vines, but I like this Bible that has his notes and thoughts throughout it, and is a Bible definitely worth checking out.....even if you already have a few study Bibles. This one is definitely different.

About Jerry Vines:

Jerry Vines was born in Carrollton, Georgia near Atlanta in 1937. Before attending seminary, he pastored his first church, Centralhatchee Baptist Church, at the age of 16. He was educated at Mercer University, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Luther Rice University before pastoring in churches in Alabama and Georgia. While pastor of Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama he was elected President of the Alabama Pastors' Conference. He relocated to Jacksonville in 1982 to co-pastor the First Baptist Church with Homer G. Lindsay, Jr.

In June 1988, he was elected President of the Southern Baptist Convention, served two terms, and was supportive of the Southern Baptist Convention conservative resurgence. During his first 20 years at First Baptist Jacksonville, he baptized 18,177 people and oversaw the building of an $8 million preschool building, a $16 million auditorium and four parking garages, totaling almost $14 million. Vines also was influential in starting the First Baptist Church Pastors' Conference which drew thousands of ministers and church works from across the world. Vines announced his retirement from First Baptist in May 2005 and preached his last sermon as pastor of the church in 2006 at the close of the 20th annual Pastors' conference. In 2017, Vines enrolled in the Ph.D program at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. [1]

He has since started his own ministry, Jerry Vines Ministries. This ministry is an outreach to further educate pastors in different areas of the ministry. Vines is married to the former Janet Denney and they have four children and seven grand children.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Only By Death, Ozark Mountain Trilogy #2 by Kathy Herman

Book description:

Is Liam Berne a loving son—or a murderer? The second book in the Ozark Mountain Trilogy, Only by Death is a thought-provoking suspense story of a man who loses everything and learns he must die to find life.

After much agonizing, Liam Berne takes his mother, who has Alzheimer’s, to the Sure Foot River and drowns her. A mercy killing, he tells himself, to spare her years in a nursing home. And getting his inheritance early isn’t a bad thing either.

Dixie Berne’s body is recovered and the coroner cannot find any sign of foul play, though Liam’s sister isn’t convinced. Then Liam hears rumors that a twelve-year-old boy has witnessed the drowning. Terrified that he will be discovered, Liam sets out to intimidate the boy into silence. Little does Liam know that someone else suspects him—someone who intends to make him pay.

My review:

 Kathy Herman has been one of my favorite authors since I read her first novel, Tested by Fire, 17 years ago. It has been 5 years since I read a new book by Kathy Herman, which was Not by Sight, #1 in this series. The author had a lot going on, so it was 5 years between the release of the two books. I have been looking forward to this book for 5 years, so I bought it and read it as soon as I could........after re-reading book one.

  I have enjoyed all of Kathy's books, and the characters in those books.... but I really like the people in this series. Part of that is the first two books center on kids....a 16 year old girl in book 1, and a 12 year old boy in book 2. For some reason, kids in books really draw me in and tug at my heart strings....if a guy can admit such a thing.

 Book two takes up two years after the first book, and centers on the youngest boy in the Cummings family.....Jesse. Book one was really good, but this one was even better. It was an emotional book, and the issue of faith was at the center of the story. Although the story and Jesse were fictional, I was convicted by the faith and willingness to die of a 12 year old. Including myself, too many of us don't live the way this fictional 12 year old lived......yet it is exactly how we are supposed to live. Kathy has never been afraid to put Christian content in her books, and a theme or message that goes beyond just entertaining.

 I did read the book in one evening, and could not put it down. It was suspenseful, encouraging, and convicting. The book definitely gets 5 stars from me, and I was sorry to see it end, though I loved the ending.

 Thankfully, book 3 is not 5 years away, but is slated to release in August of this year..... and I can't wait to read the final book in this trilogy, the story of the oldest boy in this great fictional family...... Hawk.

About the author:

Best-selling suspense novelist Kathy Herman has written twenty novels—including the Secrets or Roux River Bayou Series, Sophie Trace Series, the Seaport Suspense Series, and the Phantom Hollow Series—since retiring from her family’s Christian bookstore business. She and her late husband Paul have a blended family of three grown children. Kathy lives in the Northwest.

Only by Death and Not by Sight are available from David C Cook Publishing.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Assignment by Devon Blanton

Book description:

The ASSIGNMENT is a book that was inspired by constant questions from people who simply wanted to know, what life is all about? The desire to find purpose and significance is a staggering need for the modern church of today. People who find it truly know peace. Those who do not, can search a lifetime and never know that the answer is right in front of them. Inside these pages are unique perspectives that are expected to trigger those “ah ha!” moments for every reader. Truly, this could be the “GAME CHANGER” that effects you for the rest of your life!

My review:

 Blanton is a new author to me. I had actually never heard of him until a Facebook friend asked for people to review some of his books. I like what I have read so far.

 The Assignment is not a long book. It has 13 chapters, coming in at 5-6 pages each. Following each chapter is a page covering key word studies in context. That is followed by a couple pages of workbook questions, making this book a study type of book.

 The overall theme of the book is a search for significance. The author covers that subject very well, and in an easy to read way that makes for an interesting read. I found the questions at the end of each chapter very thought provoking, and quite in depth.

 For anyone wondering what your life is all about and for, this is a great book to read and study.

About the author:

Dr. Devon Blanton is a pastor conducting a full time ministry along with a very busy Christian Counseling practice. He holds an earned Doctorate in Religious Education, specializing in Counseling. He is certified in Family and Marriage, Grief and Drug Abuse and Health and Nutrition. He is also a Certified Health Coach. His post-doctoral pursuits include an earned diploma in Psychiatric Studies. He also completed brief studies in Cardiology and Resuscitation from Perelman School of Medicine, Penn State University. He further expanded His studies in nutrition from Texas A&M, Vanderbilt University and Stanford University. This all coincides with his four pillar philosophy on Counseling. These focus on the Physical, Spiritual, Emotional and Financial parts of who we are. He is also the Founder of Cross Anchors Solutions, a high level training program out of Durham, NC providing training in Leadership Development, Biblical Counseling I, II, Advanced Biblical Counseling and Health and Nutrition. He has authored several books including: The ASSIGNMENT Holes in the Soul Shake the Heavens, Move the Earth Health is the Best Medicine Raising God.

Thanks to  the author for the review copy.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Beneath the Surface, Dive Team Investigations #1 by Lynn H Blackburn

Book description:

After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she'd left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff's Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer--one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.

Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn't let go until the final heart-pounding page.

My review:

  I started following Lynn on Facebook awhile back, being interested in her books. I had not read her previous books, as they are Love Inspired Suspense novels and there are way too many of those to keep up with. I saw she had a trader paperback book coming out from Revell, who always puts out quality Christian suspense, and put it on my list of to-read books. Then she posted one day she needed people for her street team....people to read, review, and help get the word out. I applied, and one thing I wrote under reasons I should be on it was this "You probably won't get many guys apply, and you need guys on your team too....." I got on, and I am  the only guy :)

 Onto the book:

  I enjoy reading books by new authors, finding out what their writing style is, and how much I am going to like their books. Blackburn did not disappoint, but exceeded my expectations. I love a good suspense novel, and good doesn't begin to describe this book. I made the mistake of starting the book one day on my lunch break at work, and man was it difficult to put the book aside to go back to work. The action and suspense start immediately, and never let up.

 Here's what I liked:

 The suspense: There were two mysteries going on at the same time. There were bodies being found that had been murdered, and the main chick, Leigh, had a stalker that grew more and more threatening and daring as the book raced towards an end.

The characters: Characters can make or break a book, and Blackburn came up with some awesome characters for this book and series. The two main characters, Ryan & Leigh were very easy to like and get caught up in their story. The dive team over all was also full of great characters, and I found myself hoping the next book would be about Gabe Sanchez, but I don't think it will be.

The romance: Maybe I am becoming a romantic sap, but I am enjoying the romantic parts of these books more than I used to. This one was more believable than some, in that the couple had had feelings for each other since high school, but Ryan had never acted on them because her brother had warned all his friends away from her....something that made the romance and story amusing.

The bad guy: I like a book that is complex enough that you can't figure out a motive or who the killer is, and this book certainly fell into that category. It was interesting to read the theories as the team would gather to brainstorm, and the author made that interesting and believable, yet keeps the reader guessing who and why.

The ending: What would a book be without an ending? And this one had a great one. I kind of guessed a certain thing would happen (no spoilers here!), but when it did happen I still was kept guessing what was going to happen next. The book came to a very suspenseful and climatic happening, followed by the romantic ending....which I thoroughly enjoyed and approved of.

 This lady can indeed write a great suspense novel that has everything I enjoy, and had me turning pages as fast as I could read them. I am definitely looking forward to reading more about this great team of investigators, and am eyeing the author's Love Inspired Suspense novels. Definitely 5 star material here.

About the author:

Lynn H. Blackburn is the author of Beneath the Surface, Hidden Legacy, and Covert Justice, winner of the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She's passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don't make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children.

Check out her website at LynnHBlackburn.com.

Beneath the Surface is available March 6 from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Set Free to Choose Right by Josh McDowell

Book description:

Popular Author, Speaker, and Founder of the Josh McDowell Ministry Speaks Out on the Popular, Culturally Relevant Topic of Right vs. Wrong

Directed to parents and gatekeepers of today’s youth, renowned speaker and author Josh McDowell focuses on the how-to’s of teaching teens and pre-teens to make right moral choices. 

Set Free to Choose Right will help you come to understand:
why today’s kids feel they have the right to determine what is “right” or “wrong” for themselves
how culture reinforces that there are no universal truths and. . .
where this misconception historically originated
how to motivate kids to make good choices
it is God’s character and nature that makes right, right and wrong, wrong

Engaging stories and helpful illustration are provided to model how a person (of any age) can distinguish between right and wrong and make the right choice—every time.

My review:

  Any book by Josh McDowell can be guaranteed to be worth reading, as is proven by this one. There are a lot of books out there about pornography and other moral issues, but this one is different from those. McDowell did something that makes this book more interesting and easy to read than other books of this type. For this book, he created some fictional characters. Jayden is a 14 year old boy in a Christian home. Throughout the book, his parents catch him looking at porn in a few different ways, and they are also shown reacting in different ways. The topic of sending sexual photos to others is also covered in the book, along with other moral issues teens - and adults - will face, but pornography is covered in more detail.

  Although I have no kids of my own, I do have nieces and nephews, so this book was of interest to me. It is very well written, and McDowell does a great job of addressing these issues and showing parents how to deal with them with their kids. I love how he showed the fictional parents' different ways of talking to their son about his pornography viewing. And he shows there is a right way and a wrong way to react, and what to say and not to say.

 The uses and problems of smart phones, tablets, and other electronic devices is addressed, and McDowell also gives some statistics on kids and porn viewing, which is rather scary.

 The internet is a wonderful thing, and our lives are made easier by smart phones, tablets, etc. However, there is a lot of bad out there and these devices make it easier to access porn and other bad things. This book is a great resource for parents as they attempt to raise their kids in this porn and immorality deluged world we live in.

About the author:

As a young man, Josh McDowell considered himself an agnostic. He truly believed that Christianity was worthless. However, when challenged to intellectually examine the claims of Christianity, Josh discovered compelling, overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Christian faith. After trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, Josh’s life changed dramatically as he experienced the power of God’s love.

After his conversion, his plans for law school turned instead to plans to tell a doubting world about the truth of Jesus Christ. After studying at Kellogg College, Josh completed his college degree at Wheaton College and then attended Talbot Theological Seminary, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Divinity degree.

In 1961, Josh joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ International. Not long after, he started the Josh McDowell Ministry to reach young people worldwide with the truth and love of Jesus.

Well known as an articulate speaker, Josh has addressed more than 10 million young people, giving over 24,000 talks in 118 countries.

As he traveled to other countries, Josh quickly realized that where people were sick, homeless, and hungry, words were not enough. In 1991, Josh founded Operation Carelift to meet the physical and spiritual needs he discovered in orphanages, hospitals, schools, and prisons in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Since that time, Operation Carelift has delivered humanitarian aid (food, clothing, and medical supplies) worth more than $46,000,000. That is the equivalent of 278 forty-ton containers. Nearly one million children have received school supplies, food items, hygiene items, and toys from the volunteers that traveled twice a year to share God’s love with them.

Josh has received two significant honors from the Russian people because of these efforts. He was elected as an honorary fellow of the Medical Society (The Medical Union of Pediatrics) of Russia on January 24, 1995—in recognition of his work among the children of Russia. Also, Josh is the only foreigner to become a member of the prestigious Russian Club of Scientists. Operation Carelift, which has grown into in one of the largest humanitarian aid organizations based in the United States, is now a part of Global Aid Network (GAiN USA).

In the United States, Josh and his team have created many cutting-edge live events to help young people stand strong and firm in their faith in the face of a rapidly-changing culture. These have often developed into full-blown campaigns, such as:

Six Hours with Josh
Why Wait?
Counter the Culture
Right From Wrong
True Foundations

Since 1960, Josh has written or co-authored 120 books including:

More Than a Carpenter -- 15 million copies in 85 languages.
New Evidence That Demands a Verdict -- named one the twentieth century’s top 40 books and one of the thirteen most influential books of the last 50 years on Christian thought by World Magazine.

In addition to many other awards, Josh has been nominated 36 times for the Gold Medallion Award and has received that award on four occasions.

In spite of all the honors and awards he has received, Josh will tell anyone that his greatest joys and pleasures come from his family. He and his wife Dottie have been married 40 years. They have four children and five grandchildren.

Set Free to Choose Right is available from Shiloh Run, an imprint of Barbour Books.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Amish Cooking Class Cookbook by Wanda E Brunstetter

Book description:

Amish Cooking Basic Enough for Beginners 

Fans of New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter’s Amish romance novels are invited to go back to cooking basics with characters from the bestselling Amish Cooking Class series. Heidi Troyer, her students, and other contributors share over 200 practical recipes for use in any kitchen, along with tips to keep things running smoothly. From learning how to boil eggs and knead biscuits to building a German Pizza and an Amish Haystack feast, The Amish Cooking Class Cookbook includes something beneficial for every age and skill set. Divided into traditional cookbook categories, there is a recipe everyone will find to love.

My review:

 The author did a series of fiction books called the Amish Cooking Class Series. This cookbook is based on those books, but one does not need to read the books to use or appreciate the cookbook.

  The cookbook starts out with a list of the cast of characters from the books, and a description of each book. That is followed by a description of Amish cooking, and then several tips from different cooks.

 There are several categories of recipes in the book, and I won't list all of  them. A few are beverages, soups, and desserts. There is even a category for children, including foods for babies. At the back of the book is an index for all foods. The front of the book has an index of the categories in the book. The book is spiral bound, making it easy to keep the pages open you are using.

 The cookbook has a lot of great recipes that have easy to follow directions. There are a lot of pictures,  and I was impressed with the wide variety of recipes throughout the book. I am a single guy with only one cookbook to my name, so I was happy to get the chance to review it.... and I have used it a couple of times already to make recipes are part of my reviewing the book.......but it is a great cookbook I plan on using after posting this review.

To be honest, I don't have a lot of experience with cookbooks, but this one does seem like a great one to have around, and may have some different recipes than the ones out there already. I do recommend it.

About the author:

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.

Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at www.wandabrunstetter.com.

The Amish Cooking Class Cookbook is available from Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Books.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Mayflower Bride, Daughters of the Mayflower #1 by Kimberly Woodhouse

Book description:

A New Series Begins for Lovers of History, Adventure, Romance, and Ancestry 
A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

Mary Chapman boards the Speedwell in 1620 as a Separatist seeking a better life in the New World. William Lytton embarks on the Mayflower as a carpenter looking for opportunities to succeed—and he may have found one when a man from the Virginia Company offers William a hefty sum to keep a stealth eye on company interests in the new colony. The season is far too late for good sailing and storms rage, but reaching land is no better as food is scarce and the people are weak. Will Mary survive to face the spring planting and unknown natives? Will William be branded a traitor and expelled?

Book review:

  Admittedly, this book may not fall into my normal reading material.....but when a favorite author and a very nice all around lady asked me if I wanted a copy, what was I supposed to say? Of course I said yes, with no reservations of whether I would like it or not.

 I have read the story many times of the Mayflower and those who settled here from that ship, and have even read a few fictionalized accounts of it. Kimberly does the story great justice, and adds several fictionalized characters to the story.

   There are a lot of great characters in the book, but I found myself liking the hero of the story most of all, William. Orphaned very young, turned out into the street at the age of nine, and then raised from the age of 13 by a godly man, William has had a rough life. His passage on the Mayflower paid by his benefactor before he died, this hardened young man is hoping for a better future.

 As with any book of this type, there is of a course a romance at the center of it all, and I found myself rooting for it to work out as people became sick and died all around the couple falling in love.

 It has been years since I have read of the Mayflower and those who settled here in those early days, and Kimberly did a great job of retelling that story while spinning fictional characters and events around the historical facts and people.

 I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Mayflower Bride. I enjoyed reading again the historical events and enjoyed the romance and stories of the fictional characters. It also helped renew my appreciation for our freedoms and for those who helped found our country. Although this wasn't my favorite genre' of suspense, I found it difficult to put the book down when I needed to go back to work from my break. It is definitely worth reading.

 And might I add, I met the author a couple of years ago, and she is indeed a lovely lady inside and out, and a great author.

About the author:

Kim is a devoted wife and mother, and a third generation Liszt student. She has passed down her love of the arts to hundreds of students over the years, recorded three albums, and appeared at over 700 venues.

Her quick wit, enthusiasm, and positive outlook through difficult circumstances have gained her audiences at conferences, retreats, churches, military functions, and seminars all over the country.

The Woodhouse family’s story has been on the front page of newspapers, in magazines, articles, medical journals, and most recently featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They were also asked to share their story on The Montel Williams Show and Discovery Health Channel’s Mystery ER.

Kim has been writing seriously for fifteen years. Songs, plays, short stories, novels, picture books, articles, newsletters – you name it – she’s written it. It wasn’t until a dear friend challenged her to “do something with it”, that she pursued publication. She now has multiple books to her credit, with more on the way.

Kim lives, writes, and homeschools in Colorado with her husband and their two children in a truly “Extreme” home.

Check out her website.

The Mayflower Bride is available from Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Books.

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

If I Live, If I Run #3 by Terri Blackstock

Book description:

Casey is hiding again—in Memphis this time—but it’s different now. She knows without a doubt that Dylan believes her and is doing all he can to help bring Brent’s killer to justice. He’s become an unexpected friend . . . and even, maybe, something more. Hope makes everything more bearable.

Casey makes a deal with the DA to turn over all the evidence she and Dylan have gathered against Keegan and Rollins—only to discover that the DA is in league with them too. After a desperate escape, who can they possibly turn to now?

Time is running out for Casey, but master suspense writer Terri Blackstock will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the last, utterly satisfying page.

My review:

   One of the first Christian suspense novels, if not the very first that I read was by Terri Blackstock. I have read all of her suspense novels she has written over the years, and this series shows she is just as good, if not better, than she was years ago.

 This series was different than most series of books I read. The story went on through all 3 books, and all 3 had non stop action and suspense.

 In brief, the main character is on the run, accused of murdering her best friend. The guilty parties are actually bad cops on the police force, who are determined to find her and shut her up before they can be implicated. A private detective is also hired by the family of the murdered young man, who ends up falling for the fugitive and she for him.

 I knew the truth would come out in book three, but it was fun getting there. I got the book in the mail Monday, and immediately started reading it and did not stop until I finished, and man....what a read it was. This whole series has been awesome, but Blackstock pulled out all of the stops for her thrilling conclusion to this awesome series. Thought the end result was predicable, there were a lot of surprises and plenty of suspense in the book to keep me turning the pages as fast as I could devour the words on them.

 The book had a great ending, deserving of this great series. In addition to  the suspense and romantic angle, Blackstock also addressed issues of faith, with Casey growing in her newfound faith and Dylan rediscovering his as they both fight for their lives from the very ones that were supposed to protect and serve.

About the author:

Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She is the winner of two Carol Awards, a Christian Retailers Choice Award, and a Romantic Times Book Reviews Career Achievement Award, among others. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist.

Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in a U.S. Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

Recent books include Truth Stained Lies (Book 1 of her Moonlighters Series), and her acclaimed Intervention Series (Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall). Other recent favorites include Predator, Double Minds, the Restoration Series, the Newpointe 911 Series, the Cape Refuge Series, and the SunCoast Chronicles series.

In 1994 Terri was writing romance novels under two pseudonyms for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dell and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening prompted her to switch gears. At the time, she was reading more suspense than romance, and felt drawn to write thrillers about ordinary people in grave danger. Her newly awakened faith wove its way into the tapestry of her suspense novels, offering hope instead of despair. Her goal is to entertain with page-turning plots, while challenging her readers to think and grow. She hopes to remind them that they’re valued by God and that their trials have a purpose.

If I Live is available from Zondervan Publishing.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Man He Never Was: A Modern Reimagining of Jekyll and Hyde by James Rubart

Book description:

What if You Woke up One Morning and the Darkest Parts of Yourself Were Gone?

Toren Daniels vanished eight months back, and his wife and kids have moved on--with more than a little relief. Toren was a good man but carried a raging temper that often exploded without warning. So when he shows up on their doorstep out of the blue, they're shocked to see him alive. But more shocked to see he's changed. Radically.

His anger is gone. He's oddly patient. Kind. Fun. The man he always wanted to be. Toren has no clue where he's been but knows he's been utterly transformed. He focuses on three things: Finding out where he's been. Finding out how it happened. And winning back his family.

But then shards of his old self start to rise from deep inside--like the man kicked out of the NFL for his fury--and Toren must face the supreme battle of his life.

In this fresh take on the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, James L. Rubart explores the war between the good and evil within each of us--and one man's only chance to overcome the greatest divide of the soul.

My review:
 James Rubart is an author who doesn't have a lot of books out yet - I think this is his 9th - but they are all amazing and different reads. You don't get the run of the mill book. This one is no departure from his usual fare.

 I was intrigued by the idea of a modern retelling of the classic Jekyll and Hyde story, and he did not disappoint. As with all of his books, this one had a supernatural aspect that only made the book more of an enjoyable read.

 The classic story is mentioned in the book, and the main character has to fight his bad side which is referred to as Hyde. Ultimately, it comes down to Toren totally believing in and embracing God's love for him, and he in turn totally loving his family unselfishly.

 I loved the book, and it really makes the reader think. The plot was great, and Rubart again came up with a terrific cast of characters, not the least of them, Toren, the man battling his own self. Although the book and story are fictional, there is a lot of great insight and spiritual truth throughout the book. I definitely recommend it.

About the author:

James L. Rubart is a 28 year old trapped in an older man's body, who loves to water ski and dirt bike with his two grown sons. He's the bestselling, Christy, Carol, INSPY, and RT award winning author of eight novels, including his latest, The Long Journey to Jake Palmer. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington.

The Man He Never Was is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Book description:

New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.

A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever.

My review:

 They say you can't judge a book by its cover. You can however, often judge a book by its description. Ever since I read about this book, I have been eagerly looking forward to reading it. Francine Rivers is a great author who does not put books out as fast as other authors, and she never disappoints when she does come out with a new book.

 And what a book it is. The title is a very appropriate title for it: The Masterpiece, for it is indeed a masterpiece of writing. The book is long, coming in at 496 pages, and every page is worth reading. Rivers created two very hurt and flawed characters and spun a masterpiece of a story around them. That many pages leaves a lot of time and space for character development, and Rivers did just that. She goes back in time often into both of the two main characters' pasts to show what made them what they are when the book begins.....and they are great characters.

 Roman is not a very nice guy for much of the book, but you can't help but like him and cheer him on. Grace is the ideal Christian woman with a not so ideal past. You pretty much figure these very opposite people are going to end up together by the end of the book, but it is quite an amazing journey watching it happen.

 Roman is a well known painter, part of the reason for the title of the book. However, the title captures much more than that as Rivers takes the readers on his journey from a man who hates and does not believe in God, a womanizer who uses women for sex and tosses them aside, to a faithful man of God and a husband who honors his wife and his children.

This was truly an amazing read. I started it on my lunch break yesterday, read more on my second break, read it on my breaks at work today, and finished it at home this evening. I was not only entertained, but was inspired and moved by this fictional account that shows how God can change lives even of those who seem the most hopeless. Five out of five stars, hands down. A masterpiece indeed.

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

About the author:

New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers continues to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her numerous bestsellers include Redeeming Love, A Voice in the Wind, and Bridge to Haven, and her work has been translated into more than thirty different languages. She is a member of Romance Writers of America's coveted Hall of Fame as well as a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Twitter: @FrancineRivers

The Masterpiece is available from Tyndale Publishers.

Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

All Things Bright and Strange by James Markert

Book Description

In the wake of World War I in the small, Southern town of Bellhaven, South Carolina, the town folk believe they’ve found a little slice of heaven in a mysterious chapel in the woods. But they soon realize that evil can come in the most beautiful of forms.

The people of Bellhaven have always looked to Ellsworth Newberry for guidance, but after losing his wife and his future as a professional pitcher, he is moments away from testing his mortality once and for all. Until he finally takes notice of the changes in his town . . . and the cardinals that have returned.

Upon the discovery of a small chapel deep in the Bellhaven woods, healing seems to fall upon the townspeople, bringing peace after several years of mourning. But as they visit the “healing floor” more frequently, the people begin to turn on one another, and the unusually tolerant town becomes anything but.

The cracks between the natural and supernatural begin to widen, and tensions rise. Before the town crumbles, Ellsworth must pull himself from the brink of suicide, overcome his demons, and face the truth of who he was born to be by leading the town into the woods to face the evil threatening Bellhaven.

Book review:

 I like to try out new authors, and this was a new one to me. I wasn't sure what to expect, but after reading it I would say it is similar to Frank Peretti's earlier books, yet different in many ways.

 I liked the plot, characters, and writing style. I found the book to be a little slow at first, but then it picked up and I had no trouble getting into it and enjoying the read. Writing about supernatural issues can be iffy, but I thought the author did a great job of portraying evil and the effect it can have on people.

 The Christian element in the book was challenging to figure out. There are a lot of churches in the town and several ministers and their people involved, and the main character leads the charge against the supernatural evil along with others, yet he and others are heavy drinkers, he smokes, and even has sex with a woman he is not married to.

 Other than those questionable things, the book was a fascinating read and showed how people can get caught up in something that may seem good, but is very evil and bad for them.

About the author:

James Markert is a novelist, screenwriter, producer, and USPTA tennis pro from Louisville, Kentucky, where he lives with his wife and two children. He has a history degree from the University of Louisville. He won an IPPY Award for The Requiem Rose, which later became A White Wind Blew. He is the writer and co-producer of the new feature film and tennis comedy, 2nd Serve, starring Josh Hopkins from Cougar Town.

All Things Bright and Strange is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Kill Shot, White Knights #2 by Susan Sleeman

Book description:

Some fears haunt you …

When ballistics and weapons expert Rick Cannon learned the Department of Defense had developed self-steering bullets that show 100% accuracy and make even a gun novice a lethal sniper, he feared they would eventually end up in the wrong hands.

Until they become reality.

That fear comes true when a vet is killed with stolen “smart bullets.” Rick and his FBI task force, nicknamed The White Knights, are soon charged with finding and stopping the killer. Rick enlists the help of the victim’s therapist, Olivia Dobbs, who is well known for her success in counseling military vets with PTSD. But when the killer sets his sights on their key witness, Rick must rely on the skills he learned as a Marine sniper to make sure the next bullet fired isn’t a
kill shot to take Olivia out.

My review:

  I won a Love Inspired Suspense novel by Susan Sleeman a few years ago, and really enjoyed it. I was happy to see she was starting a trade paperback series, and read and reviewed the first book in this series, Fatal Mistake....which I liked even better than the other book I had read by her.

 And now I am reviewing the second book in the White Knights Series. I like series where an author keeps the same main cast of characters, centering on a different character each book. In this case, each book is about a different member of a special FBI team. I read and reviewed Fatal Mistake back in May, so it is not fresh on my mind, but I still think this was an even better read than the first.

 One has to keep in mind this book is fiction. However, I still found the plot fascinating and enjoyed reading about snipers and enjoyed seeing how these fictional FBI agents tracked down the killers. I liked the characters, the FBI team already having been in the first book, but I also liked the heroine of the story, and found the psychiatrist angle and talk interesting.

 The book shows how easy it is to let the past bind us and keep us from being everything that we can be, and how important family is and keeping close relationships with them. Prayer and other Christian themes play a big part in the book, and comes across in a way that critics should not find preachy.

 This IS romantic suspense, and I have come to enjoy that part of these types of books even as a bachelor, and found that part to be well done. I could find nothing to dislike in this book, and appreciated the pro-military angle of the story. I don't know how many books will be in the series, or if every team member will get their own book.... but I am looking forward to reading as many books as Sleeman writes in this series.

About the author:

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a bestselling and award-winning author of more than 30 inspirational/Christian and clean read romantic suspense books. Readers love her romantic suspense series for the well-drawn characters and edge-of-your-seat action. She graduated from the FBI and local police citizen academies, so her research is spot-on and her characters are real. In addition to writing, Susan also hosts thesuspensezone.com. She has lived in nine states but now calls Oregon home. Her husband is a retired church music director, and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.
To learn more about Susan’s books sign up for her monthly email that includes exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and other goodies. http://www.susansleeman.com/susans-ne...

Or stop by any of these locations on the web.
Website - http://www.susansleeman.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SusanSleemanBooks/
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/susansleeman

Kill Shot is available from Faith Words, part of the Hachette Book Group.

Thanks to Faith Words for the review copy.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Coldwater by Samuel Parker

Book description:

Having forfeited his youth to the state prison system, Michael moved back to the only home he'd ever known. An empty shell of a man who now lived--if it could be called living--in the still vacant house of his parents in a town with one stoplight. A town that hated him. Had always hated him. And was ready to pick up where the prison system had let off.

Now he's on the run from men who've tried to kill him once; but Michael is more than an ex-con. A powerful, sinister force creeps inside him, threatening and destructive. Who--and what--it will destroy next is the only real question. From the bold voice that brought readers down Purgatory Road comes a new pulse-pounding, spine-rattling tale of vengeance and justice that will have them up all night.

My review:

 This is a book I am not sure what to say about in a review. It was weird, yet it was an interesting book that I read in one afternoon. I would hesitate to call it Christian fiction, even though it is classified as such. It is clean and free from bad language, but there is no Christian theme or talk of God and Christianity.

 The main character was sent to prison at the age of 10 years old for killing his 7 year old brother. There is something inside of him that protects him and usually kills anyone who threatens him. It is never really clearly stated what that is, or how he got it. The book starts with his release from prison. Everyone in the town he grew up in fears him, and there is a group of men determined to kill him before anyone else is harmed.

 I found the book to be rather dark and hopeless, though it does end on a hopeful note, but not much is said about what happened after that. It is shown what fear can do and what it can cause people to do. In the book, had the townspeople just left Michael alone, the deaths and mayhem would not have happened.

 I didn't dislike the book, or I wouldn't have finished it. It was just a bizarre and weird read that did seem dark and hopeless.

About the author:

Samuel Parker is the author of Purgatory Road. Born in the Michigan boondocks, he was raised on a never-ending road trip through the US. Besides writing, he is a process junkie and the ex-guitarist for several metal bands you've never heard of. He lives in West Michigan with his wife and twin sons.

Coldwater is available from Bethany House Publishers, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Be the Hands and Feet: Living Out God's Love for All His Children by Nick Vujicic

Book description:

Nothing in life is as exciting and satisfying as introducing Jesus to people who have never met him.

New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned motivational speaker Nick Vujicic is known worldwide as the man without arms and legs who personifies a "can do" spirit. Now in greater detail, he explains how the example of Jesus Christ motivates him to travel and speak broadly because the "good news" of the Gospel is just too good to keep quiet! Although the world has so many problems, no challenge is too great for the God who promises to move mountains. Using compelling stories from his own experience, Nick shares the heart of his message, the motivation behind all he does, and something that he believes the world needs now more than ever before: A faith in Jesus Christ that moves people to act and make the world a better place.

My review:

   I have read all of Nick's books he has written, and found the books and him to be very inspiring and encouraging. This book is different from his others in that it encourages others to do what he does - reach people for God.

   He spends a lot of time talking about how he got where he is now, and how God worked it out for him to travel all over the world and speak. He relates some of the things that has happened, and about some of the people he met.

  A lot of the book also covers people who are out there accomplishing great things for God, and how they got to where they are. Some of these people are ones he has mentored and given advice to on how to proceed with their ministry efforts.

 The book is a very inspiring read, but also a convicting one. If we are honest, most of us don't really accomplish much for God.....yet there are many stories in this book of people that got a vision, started small, and ended up going big for God.

 Nick also gives advice and input to the readers who feel they should be doing more for God. This was an interesting read, and one I would recommend.

 I was given a copy of this book for my part in the book launch team.

About the author:

Nick Vujicic is an international and New York Times bestselling author, evangelist, motivational speaker, and the director of Life Without Limbs, an organization that helps share the message of the hope in Christ to the entire globe. Nick is an inspiration worldwide to crowds and the media for his positive attitude toward overcoming obstacles and achieving dreams. A longtime resident of Australia, he now lives in Southern California with his wife, Kanae, two sons, and recently born twin daughters, January 2018.

Be The Hands and Feet is available from Waterbrook Publishing.

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for the review copy.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be Like Without Christianity by Jeremiah J Johnston

Book description:

A Stirring Account of Christianity's Power for Good

In a day when Christians are often attacked for their beliefs, professor and speaker Jeremiah Johnston offers an inspiring look at the positive influence of Christianity, both historically and today. In Unimaginable, you'll discover the far-reaching ways that Christianity is good for the world--and has been since the first century AD--including: 
- How the plights of women and children in society were forever changed by Jesus
- Why democracy and our education and legal systems owe much to Christianity 
- How early believers demonstrated the inherent value of human life by caring for the sick, handicapped, and dying
- How Christians today are extending God's kingdom through charities, social justice efforts, and other profound ways

Like It's a Wonderful Life, the classic film that showed George Bailey how different Bedford Falls would be without his presence, Unimaginable guides readers through the halls of history to see how Jesus' teachings dramatically changed the world and continue to be the most powerful force for good today. This provocative and enlightening book is sure to encourage believers and challenge doubters.

My review:

 I had a little difficulty getting into this book at first, but the further I read, the more interesting it got. The book is split up into three parts:

The World Before Christianity
The World Without Christianity
The World With Christianity

  The author discusses leaders of Rome such as Nero and Caligula, goes further up in time to Hitler and others, and shows the effects those evil men had when it seemed Christianity was barely existing. He does a great job of showing what the world would truly be like were it not for Christianity, while showing the effect Christianity has on the world. The book is an interesting, yet sobering read as one realizes that even today there are those who would like to rid the world of Christianity, and what a world without it might look like.

About the author: (His bio in his words)

Hi, I am Jeremiah, and I am honored to have you stop by my author central page. I live at the intersection of the scholarly and popular worlds; therefore, I have a passion for teaching and inspiring people like you to own your faith and to engage confidently with the world around you.
Dr. Jeremiah J. Johnston is a New Testament scholar, professor, apologist, and regular speaker on university campuses, churches, and conferences. His passion is equipping Christians to give intellectually informed accounts of what they believe. Dr. Johnston completed his doctoral residency in Oxford in partnership with Oxford Centre for Mission Studies and received his Ph.D. from Middlesex University (United Kingdom), with commendation. He has Masters Degrees from Acadia University (Canada) and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (US). He has lectured throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Dr. Johnston serves as the founder and president of Christian Thinkers Society, a resident institute at Houston Baptist University, where he also serves as associate professor of Early Christianity. Christian Thinkers Society produces live events, media productions, conferences, and publications to teach pastors and Christians to become thinkers, and thinkers to become Christians.

In addition to his popular publications, Dr. Johnston has distinguished himself with publications in scholarly, refereed journals and serials. These include entries in Oxford University Press and E. J. Brill reference works. He specializes in Christian origins, Jesus and the Gospels, and topics, especially apologetics, that closely relate to Jesus and the Gospels. These include: the resurrection of Jesus, New Testament manuscripts (their number, nature, and reliability), extra-canonical gospels, resurrection, and afterlife beliefs. He has presented academic papers at learned meetings and has examined ancient texts (papyri, codices, and the like) at renowned libraries, such as the Griffith Papyrology Room of Oxford University's Bodleian Library and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University. Dr. Johnston co-edits an academic series for Bloomsbury T&T Clark and is currently preparing a volume on Jesus in Cambridge University Press's distinguished "In Context" series.

Unimaginable is available from Bethany House Pubishers

Thanks to Cross-Focuses Reviews for the review copy.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Gospel Fluency Handbook by Jeff Vanderstelt & Ben Connelly, with a giveaway

Book description:

"I'm an unbeliever. So are you," Jeff Vanderstelt tells us in his book, Gospel Fluency. We slip in and out of believing God's word about us and trusting in His work on our behalf. We forget who He is, what's He's done, and in light of that, who we are.

Do these statements resonate with you? Then the Gospel Fluency Handbook was written for you. For those who've realized there are areas of life---your normal, everyday, busy life---where you disbelieve God, His goodness, and His gospel. It's for those who are keenly aware and weighted down by a failure to connect the way gospel truths actually matter to everyday life.

The Gospel Fluency Handbook is designed to help you and your group become fluent in the gospel---in other words, to help you move from unbelief to belief. The discussions and
exercises in this 8-week interactive handbook provide a step-by-step immersion of your mind, heart, soul, and life in the gospel. Each week follows a simple format: three sets of personal Readings and Reflections and a weekly guide for Group Discussion and Exercises that will lead to becoming a
more gospel-fluent people---people who are learning to see and then speak the truths of Jesus into the everyday stuff of life.

My review:

  I reviewed two other books by these authors: Saturate (just Jeff), and Saturate: The Field Guide (both authors). I found both books excellent reads, with a lot of great information and advice in them. When I got the chance to review this book, it was a no-brainer.

 Books like this are different to review than most. They are not mean to be read, but are meant to be read, studied, and followed. This is a Bible study type book. It is split up into 8 week segments. Each week starts with a reading. That is followed by a section to write down thoughts on the Scripture verses referenced in that reading. That is followed by reflection, which is a couple pages of questions to answer and reflect on.

 There are 3 readings and reflections for each week. After the 3rd, there is a group discussion with questions and an exercise to do.'

 The whole idea of the book is designed to make the participant become fluent in the Gospel, and the authors do a great job of doing that. Though the questions and discussion has a likelihood of causing deep thought and reflection, the book is interesting and easy to read.

 Gospel Fluency is extremely well done and laid out in an easy to use way ideal for a group study. I would definitely recommend it.

About the authors:

Jeff Vanderstelt

As the visionary leader of the Soma Family of Churches and Saturate and the lead teaching
pastor at Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA, Jeff Vanderstelt gets to spend his days doing what he loves---training disciples of Jesus to make more disciples of Jesus and equipping the Church in the gospel and missional living. Jeff is the author of Gospel Fluency, Saturate, and the Saturate Field Guide. He and his wife, Jayne, have three children; Haylee, Caleb, and Maggie.

Ben Connelly

Ben Connelly, his wife, Jess, and their children, Charlotte, Maggie, and Travis, live in Fort Worth, Texas. He started and now co-pastors The City Church, part of the Acts29 network and Soma
Family of Churches. Ben also directs church-planting for Soma churches across North America, has taught university classes, and has published a few books. With degrees from Baylor University and Dallas Theological Seminary,
he writes for various publications, trains folks across the country.

Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.

  Are you constantly slipping in and out of believing God's word about you and trusting in His work on your behalf? Do you forget who He is, what's He's done, and, in light of that, who you are? Learn how to connect the way gospel truths actually matter to everyday life with Jeff Vanderstelt and Ben Connelly's new book and resource, Gospel Fluency Handbook. The discussions and exercises in this 8-week interactive handbook provide a step-by-step immersion of your mind, heart, soul, and life in the gospel. Each week follows a simple format: three sets of personal readings and reflections, a weekly guide for group discussion and exercises that will lead to becoming a more gospel-fluent people.

Start the new year on the right track with your small group by entering to win a Saturate bundle full of goodies.

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • 10 copies of Gospel Fluency and Glospel Fluency Handbook
  • 8-cup Chemex Coffeemaker
  • Level Pour Over Kettle
  • Big House Beans Coffee Sampler (Big House Beans is to empower individuals through unconditional love and second chances. #morethanjustcoffee)

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on January 23. The winner will be announced January 24 on the Litfuse blog.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Out of the Ashes, The Heart of Alaska #2 by Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse

Book description:

Can the Majesty of Alaska Foster Hope and Healing for Those Who Need it Most?

After the death of their father, Collette and Jean-Michel Langelier are no longer tied to post-war France. While his sister dreams of adventure, Jean-Michel is hoping to finally escape reminders of the horrors he faced in the Great Syrian Revolt of 1925. When an unexpected invitation for them to visit Alaska and the Curry Hotel arrives, it seems the perfect opportunity.

Young widow Katherine Demarchis is also traveling to the foot of Mt. Denali with her grandmother--a last trip before she retreats into a quiet and solitary life, finally free of the dangerous husband she was forced to marry. Yet when she encounters there a Frenchman from her past, her plans for the future are thrown into question. 

Both haunted by the violence of their pasts, can Katherine and Jean-Michel rediscover the bond they once had? Or, when Jean-Michel's nightmares return with terrifying consequences, will it be impossible to heal what's been broken for so long?

My review:

  I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, In the Shadow of Denali, and have been eagerly awaiting this second book. Now that I have finished it, I am eagerly awaiting the third book. Seriously.

 Out of the Ashes does not disappoint as a sequel. Though the two main characters are new to the series, the cast of the first book are all back, along with the same setting as the the first book. If you are not an avid fiction reader, you may not understand the sentiment of this, but the reader can get attached to fictional characters, and that has happened in this series. I really liked the hero of the story, Jean-Michel, and felt an empathy. We are all broken in some way, and I have had my share in that area. Though Jean-Michel's was different with his nightmares of the horror of war and losing his best friends in that war, I too have felt the hopelessness and other emotions our fictional hero felt.

 The book has a lot to offer with its drama, ploy,  and the relationships between the characters, often at times making me laugh out loud. Slight spoiler - To me the highlight of the story was when Jean-Michel was presented with true hope - God - by the ever likable character Thomas. I won't give anything else away, but I truly appreciated the emphasis in this book of hope and the answer for broken people being Jesus. There was also a lot in the book in that area for the heroine of the story, but the part with Jean-Michel was more dramatic, and probably resonated with me more since I am a guy. I found my eyes watering, and it gave me a boost of hope and faith.

 Peterson and Woodhouse make a tremendous writing duo. I had the privilege of meeting them on their book tour for In The Shadow of Denali, and they are both awesome ladies. This book and "Denali" are the result of two great minds and writers combining their God-given talents, and the results are top notch. Although they are writing these books to be able to stand alone, I personally would recommend reading them in order. If they keep up the trend they are on, book three will be even better than these two they have written so far. I definitely recommend both books.

About the authors:

Kimberley Woodhouse (www.kimberleywoodhouse.com) is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than fifteen fiction and nonfiction books. A popular speaker and teacher, she's shared her theme of "Joy Through Trials" with more than half a million people across the country at more than 2,000 events. Kim and her incredible husband of twenty-five-plus years have two adult children. She's passionate about music and Bible study and loves the gift of story. You can connect with Kimberley on her website and at www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAuthor.

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana. Learn more at www.traciepeterson.com.

Out of The Ashed and In The Shadow of Denali are available from Bethany House Publishers.

Thanks to the authors for the review copy.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The House On Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Book description:

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious demise fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather's Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house's dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy's search leads her into dangerous waters, resurrecting painful memories and forcing a reunion with the man who broke her heart. Can Ivy unravel the mystery and find a renewed hope before any other lives--including her own--are lost?

My review:

 Jamie Jo Wright is a new author, and not just to me. This is her debut novel, and what a debut it is. I have had had a few people tell me how good the book was, and they were correct.

   This book is about two different women in two different time periods: Ivy in 1906, and Kaine in 2018. The book goes back and forth between the two, interweaving the stories of these two different women in a very easy to follow manner, helped by the author starting the chapter changing to the other woman with her name.

  Debut novels are interesting things. I find myself wondering will I like it, what will I think of this author, and will I want to read more of their books they write in the future? The answer is yes to those. I finished a book this afternoon that I started last night, and was trying to decide which book to start next. As I went through my stack, I ran across this one and remembered the recommendations from friends. I really had no intentions of reading the whole book this evening, but I did. I got caught up in the stories of Kaine and Ivy, and the suspense in both stories kept me reading until the very end.

 I really liked the going back and forth between two time periods, and the merging of the two stories. There were a few things I thought I had figured out, and was wrong. Mrs Wright has done herself and her publisher proud, and this is a book that can stand up with the rest of the great Christians suspense novels out there.

 The message throughout the book in both stories was one of hope - hope in God that He will protect and work things out for the best. A great message, and a great book. I look forward to reading more of this author in the future.

And I loved the author's book dedication to her husband: To Nathan, my Cap'n Hook.The pirate I despised, then tolerated, then finally loved. I don't need my heart back. "You can keep it. Pirates treasure those types of things."

Very cool, Mrs Wright.

About the author:

Jaime Jo Wright is the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas, and a human resources director by trade. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two children, and The House on Foster Hill is her debut novel. Find her online at www.jaimewrightbooks.com.

The House On Foster Hill is available from Bethany House Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

#GOSPEL: Life, Hope, and Truth for Generation Now, by Daniel Rice

Book description:

Five to ten seconds.
After that, the filter kicks in.

In our day and age, five to ten seconds is usually all the time we’re given to persuade someone that what we have to say is worthy of his or her time. You and I live in a world suffering from a relentless bombardment of information. Television, social media, advertising, acquaintances, friends, and family all vie for time and an attentive ear. If we don’t adapt and learn to filter out what we believe does not apply to us, we quickly become overwhelmed. In this new world of burst communication, our presentation of this Gospel needs to be adapted as well, and while it’s critically important that the content remain unchanged, the style and vehicle in which it is delivered must fit the culture it reaches. Through current cultural references and true stories, Daniel Rice, founder of #Gospel, will help you come to see the gospel for what it really is and how it can radically alter your everyday life. Rice invites you into the conversation as he breaks down Paul’s explanation of the gospel in Romans in a way that is accessible and engaging.  Hash-tagging (#) a term invites others to join an open conversation and adds the author’s thoughts to our modern-day global exchange of ideas. This is the heart of #Gospel.

My review:

  I don't read enough non-fiction, so I decided to review this one. It sounded interesting, and different..... and it was both of those.

 We live in different times. Everything is fast paced, and though God and the Gospel never changes, our methods of presenting it may need to adapt to the changing times. This book is not an attempt to water down or change the Gospel in any way, but it is a book to help break down our ways of presenting it in a more engaging way to catch the interest and attention of this fast paced drive through world we live in.

 The author is new to me, but I liked both his writing style and what he has to say in the book. He has a lot of good ideas, and even opened my eyes to some new things. I recommend.

About the author:

Daniel Rice is the founder of #Gospel, an organization created to bring the gospel to the current generation in a way that syncs with their culture and uniqueness. Before #Gospel, Daniel spent 10 years on staff with Calvary Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, working with small groups, young adults, and students. He and his wife Melissa have 5 children.

#Gospel is available from Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Books Publishing.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.