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.

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu

Book description:

**RECAPTURE THE WONDER OF CHRISTMAS MORNING**

Do you wish you could experience the awe you once felt as a child on Christmas morning? Now you can. Rediscover the beauty of the greatest gift of all by unwrapping His Names one at a time.
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus is an Advent devotional for women who want more from the season than holiday parties, hors d'oeuvres, and a new leather purse. You want a deeper walk with Jesus. You want to know Him and touch Him. You want to find rest in Him and talk with Him.
In this devotional, Asheritah Ciuciu provides brief but insightful devotionals and family activities that will help you

* Grow in your understanding and love for Jesus

* Create fun memories with your family

* Worship Jesus as you never did before

By unwrapping the many facets of Jesus' character, you will experience the Advent season in a fresh way and wake up on Christmas morning excited to herald His coming.

My review:

 Yes, Christmas is over, but I requested and received this book too close to Christmas, and didn't have time to get it read and reviewed.... so it is happening after Christmas.

 This book is an Advent Devotional,  split up into 4 sections, one section per week of Advent. Each section starts out with something about the Advent, then has 5 days of different names of God, followed by a challenge, a prayer, and verses for further study. The next section has  an activity or activities to do.

 I enjoyed the devotional. Yes, I got it too late to read during Advent, but it was still an enjoyable book to read and think about Christmas and Advent. The author did a great job of pulling this small book together and putting information about Advent and the names of God in it. I highly recommend this to use for Advent next Christmas.

About the author:


Asheritah Ciuciu is a writer and speaker who helps women find joy in Jesus in the midst of an overwhelming life. She and her husband, Flaviu, grew up in Romania but now raise their spunky children in northeast Ohio. Connect with her at www.OneThingAlone.com.


Unwrapping the Names of Jesus is available from Moody Publishers.

Thanks to Moody for the review copy.