Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma

Book description


A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child

Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.

How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?


My review:

  This is the second book in this series, which are going to be written by different authors. Each book is based on a true crime of the past.

 I had a more difficult time getting into this book, than I did the first one. Part of it was the main character. I felt bad for Cecile for having her child taken from her, but I had a hard time liking her as a character. I wasn't even crazy about the main guy at first, but he did grow on me.

  The plot was a good one, though sad. Any time there is selling of children involved, it makes for a sad tale. I did enjoy disliking intensely the woman behind the disappearances of the children. And the book shows that human trafficking is nothing new.

 Overall, I did like the book, and it had a great happy ending, which is what I always like in a book.


About the author:


Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. All of their children have been adopted internationally and one has special needs. Her novella, Under His Wings, appeared in the New York Times bestselling collection, A Log Cabin Christmas. Her debut novel, Snow on the Tulips, released in August of 2013. Daisies Are Forever released in May 2014. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family. Please visit her blog at www.liztolsma.blogspot.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@LizTolsma). She is also a regular contributor to the Barn Door blog.

The Pink Bonnet is available from Barbour Publishing.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Wiersbe NKJV Study Bible

Description and features:

Now you can experience Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s lifetime of powerful Bible teaching in one place. Whether through his bestselling “BE Series” commentaries or his popular “Back to the Bible” radio ministry, Dr. Wiersbe has guided millions into a life-transforming encounter with God’s Word. Now, in this single volume, you have access to Dr. Wiersbe’s trustworthy, accessible explanations of the Bible’s truths and promises, through his comprehensive system of study and application notes. Make the most of your time reading, studying, and reflecting on Scripture with The Wiersbe Study Bible.

 Features include:

Thousands of verse-by-verse notes by Dr. Wiersbe
Hundreds of Catalyst notes which more deeply reveal important biblical themes and character issues to motivate transformation by the Holy Spirit through the Word
Book introductions featuring Dr. Wiersbe’s historical background, themes, and practical lessons for each book of the Bible
“Be transformed” section in each book introduction specifically pointing to the life-changing impact of that particular part of Scripture
Thousands of cross references, showing the connections throughout the Bible
Concordance with key words for deeper word study
Full-color maps
Clear and readable 10.5-point NKJV Comfort Print®


My review: 

I liked the looks of this Bible, and they had a limited amount available to review, so I jumped on it. I have been reading it daily for my daily devotions, and really like it.

The Bible version is the New King James Version, one of my favorites. I have a few study Bibles, and like them, but I really am impressed with this one. As I have read the Scripture, I have read the accompanying notes at the bottom, and like what I read. They are in simple "layman's" language, and I have been getting a lot of out the notes. One such note had this quote: to lose hope is to surrender the future to the enemy, and that only destroys the meaning of the present. And there are many more.

Warren Wiersbe is the general editor.

The Bible has these features:

Book out lines: prepares you for reading Scripture by outlining key themes and verses

Book overviews: Provides controversial and practical overviews for each book of the Bible

Catalyst notes: motivates you to experience real-life transformation by highlighting key character issues in Scripture

Be transformed: helps you learn how each book of the Bible will impact your life with these core application notes

Cross references: connects you to related verses throughout the books of the Bible

Charts and maps: enables you to quickly locate verses when studying by topic

Study notes: Clarifies key Bible passages by explaining what they mean and how they apply to your life.

This really is a good study Bible, and I highly recommend it. I honestly feel the study notes are a cut above the average study Bible out there. Available now.


  The Bible is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.


Core 52: A Fifteen-Minute Daily Guide to Build Your Bible IQ in a Year by Mark E Moore

Book description: 

Build your Bible IQ and Christian worldview in just fifteen minutes a day! Over the course of a year, Core 52 will help you master the 52 most important passages in the Bible. 

Most of us want to know the Bible better, but few reach our goal, often because we're too busy or we don't know where to start. Core 52 removes both barriers, offering a common-sense solution that fits into our busy lives. Respected Bible professor and teaching pastor Mark E. Moore developed this proven process from thirty-five years of helping people grow deeper in God's Word.

Each week features a brief essay, memory verse, Bible story, trajectory verses, and practical ways to put what you've learned into practice. An optional "Overachiever Challenge" offers the chance to memorize the top 100 Bible verses by year's end.

This simple approach allows you to become familiar with the big ideas of the Bible in less time and with less effort than other reading plans. In one year, you can master the core of the Bible--focusing on topics from God's will to worry, happiness to holiness, and leadership to love. These fifty-two core passages are lenses through which you can read the rest of the Bible with clarity and confidence.


My review:

   This book is set up to be used as a sort of weekly devotional. The author took what he considers 52 of the most important subjects and passages for the book. The subjects cover Creation, prayer, money, love, grace, and several other topics. 

 Each chapter begins with the topic title, a Bible verse about it, a question about the topic, and then the answer. After a few pages covering the topic and question, the key points are listed, and it ends with  a plan to master the Bible in a year, 15 minutes a day. Day 1 is read the essay. Day 2 memorize the core text - which is only 1 or 2 verses usually, and review verses from the previous two weeks. Day 3 is read a story from elsewhere in the Bible that illustrates the text from the current week. Day 4 is read the 3 trajectory passages and mediate on them. Day 5 is put it into action.

  I didn't read all 52 chapters/topics, but did several. It seems the author did a great job of picking topics to cover that are at the core of the Bible. He also did a good job of making the book an interesting read, and it doesn't come off at all like a stuffy boring theological book like some are.

  There are Bible memory cards here: https://core52.org/wp-content/uploads/resources/core52-memory-cards.pdf, and downloadable discussion questions here: https://core52.org/wp-content/uploads/resources/core52-discussion-questions.pdf

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:


Mark Moore joined the staff at Christ's Church of the Valley (CCV) in Peoria, Arizona in July 2012 as a teaching pastor. As of July 2015, CCV has six locations and over 23,000 in weekly attendance. Prior to joining the CCV team, Mark was a Professor at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, an Adjunct Professor at Hope International University in Fullerton, California and Haus Edelweiss, Vienna, Austria. He is also the author and co-author of many books. His PhD on the Politics of Jesus was earned through the University of Wales. His life passion is to make Jesus famous.


Core 52 is available from Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing.

The Express Bride, Daughters of the Mayflower #9 by Kimberly Woodhouse

Book description: 


The Wilderness Is a Great Place to Hide

Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Jackie can’t decide if Elijah is friend or foe. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse.

My review: 

  This is the 9th book in this series, but I'll admit this is only the 4th one I have read of the nine. This series involves books by different authors, and no offense intended to the others, but Woodhouse is a favorite author of mine, so of course I'd read hers. I'll also admit when I first saw the title, I thought it was about a woman who got married really fast...express....

 And I'll admit my eyes watered at the ending, and a couple of other times during the book.

  The book is actually about the Pony Express, something that has always intrigued me and that I enjoy reading about. From what I know of it, Woodhouse did a great job on the setting and on describing the workings of a Pony Express station.

  Characters can make or break a story, and this one had plenty to like. There's Jacqueline, running the Pony Express station, cooking, taking care of her 14 year old adopted brother, and overseeing several other teenage boys who are the riders. Elijah is the hero of the story, and is a very likable hero. Michael, the adopted brother is also a great character, and reminded me a bit of Thomas in the Heart of Alaska series.

 Then there is Charles Vines, very bad guy turned good, showing God can indeed redeem and save anyone.

  The Express Bride had more suspense and mystery in it than the previous books in this series, with a counterfeiting ring going on, which made me like the book even more.

 No book of this kind would be complete without the romance. I avoided romance novels for years, except romantic suspense...I could stand it as long as someone was trying to kill someone.....but I actually blame (or credit?) this author with me reading romance again and liking it. In these books, you know the hero and heroine are going to end up together, but it is fun seeing how it happens....and in this book, it happens amid the goings on of the Pony Express station, a counterfeiting ring, and a search for a missing daughter.

  Something I appreciate in Woodhouse's books: she usually, maybe always, has the characters focus on some passage of Scripture and brings out some truths about it. She said in an online video about her last release with Tracie Peterson that it is usually something she has been studying herself. In this book, the passage was Daniel, and she did bring out some interesting thoughts about it through her fictional characters, one with a really cool name.......Mark.... :)

 Prior to this book, the Patriot Bride was my favorite book in this series. The Express Bride has pushed the Patriot Bride to second place. Woodhouse will have a hard time topping this one if there is more to come from her in this series.

 I did enjoy this book a lot, and especially enjoyed reading about the Pony Express. It makes me wish I hadn't sold my Young Rider's DVDs... a show about the Pony Express.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:


Kimberley Woodhouse is the best-selling author of more than twenty books who loves the JOY of story. A lover of history and research, she often gets sucked into the past and then her husband has to lure her out with chocolate. She's spoken to more than 800,000 people at more than 2,000 venues and has taught the craft of writing around the country. Married to the love of her life for twenty-five plus years, she makes her home in Montana. You can connect with Kimberley at: www.kimberleywoodhouse.com www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAuthor


The Express Bride, and the rest of the series, is available from Barbour Publishing.


More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)​
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)
The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1849 San Francisco (April 2019)
The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1860 Utah territory (July 2019)



Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Breaking the Power of Negative Words by Mary Busha

Book description: 

Words are powerful--use wisely

The spoken word has immense potential for either building up or tearing down. Too often, it's the latter. Many of us are carrying around hurtful words, sometimes without even knowing it. These negative words can have great influence over our lives and the lives of those around us. But thankfully, they are not the last word.

Mary C. Busha wants to guide you toward victory over the harmful, demeaning, or insulting words of your past. She shows you how to

· understand the emotions and circumstances behind the words
· choose to want to forgive your offenders
· embrace the truth about who you are created to be
· recognize the effect of both negative and positive self-talk
· pray effectively to break the power of negative words
· and walk in the freedom God provides in His Word.

My review:

   There are people and churches who take the power of your words too far. That isn't to say the idea is completely wrong. Hurtful things people say can stick with you a long time, and can affect your whole life if you let it. The author did a great job of showing how those kind of words can affect a person, and as the title suggests, she also shows how positive words can do good and heal.

 The book is split into three sections:
Words others speak to us
Words we speak to ourselves
Words we speak to others

  I am sure I won't be the only person to find the second section most helpful. I tend to speak pretty harshly to myself and put myself down with a lot of negative thoughts and words. It is easy to realize how we can be affected by others' words to us, and even our words to others.....but we don't often consider how our words to ourselves can affect us.

 I found the book well written, helpful, and interesting. It isn't a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but has a lot of good information and advice in it.

About the author:



Mary C. Busha is a writer's coach, an editor, and a writer whose work has appeared in periodicals such as Writer's Digest and Focus on the Family. She has worked for decades to help writers all around the country bring their work to bookshelves all over the world. Busha currently lives in Florida.

Breaking the Power of Negative Words is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing company.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Defender, Shadows of Sunlight City #4

Book description:

The end has come.Martial law has been declared in Sunlight City. Granter Andrew McKellan has overthrown his fellow leaders and now rules alone. The formerly freewheeling city has been locked down, its promises of unlimited freedom crushed under McKellan’s iron fist, and rebellion will not be tolerated.But McKellan is not satisfied. Not when he has been betrayed by those he once trusted and wounded more deeply than any man can bear. McKellan puts his endgame into motion and hides himself within the walls of the Defender, a towering weapons platform with terrifying firepower. No one will penetrate his armor. Those who try will be met with devastating force. And McKellan has one last card to play to guarantee his survival… or the ultimate destruction of all who oppose him.And five and a half million people in Sunlight City may die.Sunlight City’s only hope lies in Mona Johansen, Tom Collins and several unlikely alliances of wounded, desperate people, hunted by Granter McKellan and thrown together by two common goals: the fight for survival and the liberation of Sunlight City. But any hope of defeating the mad Granter lies in breaking through walls built strong enough to withstand any punishment.Both his walls and their own.Defender, the concluding chapter in a story that began in Victor and continued through Orion and Brimstone, is a story of emotional walls, the wounds people carry and hope for healing. Defender is a thrilling tale of conflict and loss, redemption and sacrifice, and most of all, the power of God’s love. 

Book review:

  The previous book, Brimstone, ended with quite the cliffhanger. Thankfully, this book was already out and I didn't have to wait long to find out what happened.


  Defender is an awesome action packed book that shows what can happen when an evil power hungry individual has too much power in his hands. In a world of nanobots, government seeing everything you do, and people living godless lives, those doing right are a minority. As with most books like this, you assume the good guys will win, but it was still a suspenseful and great read getting to that point.

 Slight spoiler: it looked like something bad happened at the end of the last book, which I figured wasn't going to happen......and I was right, but then the author made me think it did happen towards the end of this book... and again staved off my disappointment by not letting it happen. 

 I enjoyed this book, and really liked the characters, especially David.



About the author:


Tony Ross is an author who's not afraid of the dark.

In his first book, The Ugly Duckling's Revenge, he opens the door to his own past struggles with alcoholism and depression. He shares what God did to pull him out and offers a message of hope to readers: "If God can do it for me, He can do it for you!"

His next few are what Tony defines as "thrillers for thinkers," stories filled with action, adrenaline and deep spiritual meaning, stories that look into the deepest darkness of man to shine a brighter light. Victor won a silver medal for Christian Fiction in the Readers Favorite 2013 International Award Contest.

Melody's Memory is a departure from thrillers; it's a novella focusing less on suspense and action and more on the condition of the heart. Tony invites readers to open the long-locked doors of their own hearts, shine the light on what may be hidden there, and allow healing to come.

Tony is now revisiting the world he created in Victor and Orion in The Black Cat Chronicles, a series of short novellas set before Victor. 



When he's not writing, Tony enjoys country living, backyard campfires, recreational reading and outdoor sports. He has been a member of the ministry team at Calvary Apostolic Church in Clintonville, WI since 2004. Tony is happily married and has five children.

Storm Rising, The Book of Wars #1 by Ronie Kendig

Book description:

Does an Ancient Book of Prophecy Hold the Answers to Saving the World . . . Or Predict Its Destruction? 

Mentioned in the pages of the Old Testament but lost to history, the Book of the Wars has resurfaced, and its pages hold secrets--and dangers--never before seen on earth. 

Tasked with capturing the ancient text, former Navy SEAL Leif Metcalfe is once more given command of his own team. But their best efforts are ruined when a notorious Bulgarian operative known as Viorica snatches the volume right out from under them.

Iskra "Viorica" Todorova is determined to use the book to secure the thing that matters most--freedom. But a series of strange storms erupts around the globe, and the coming dangers foretold in the text threaten crops, lives, and entire nations. Though both are haunted by secrets of the past and neither trusts the other, Leif and Iskra must form an uneasy alliance to thwart impending disaster. However, the truth hidden in centuries-old words could unleash a storm of their own destruction.

My review

  For years, my favorite genre' to read has been Christian suspense. In more recent years, there have been a few authors come on the Christian market who brought fiction that deals with military and special ops. In my opinion, Ronie Kendig is the best of those authors to write this kind of fiction, and has certainly put more of it out than the handful of others who have written it.

 This novel is the first in a new series of hers, and I was eager to read it. It, and the rest of the series, centers on a minor character from her last series: Leif Metcalfe, nicknamed "Runt". On a side note, he was actually introduced as an even more minor character in Wolfsbane, the 3rd book in her first series, Discarded Heroes.

  Storm Rising is another masterpiece of Christian suspense/special ops type of book. I have no idea where this author gets her ideas for the plots, but they are never your run of the mill plots. She also excels at coming up with colorful, unusual,  and likable characters. I didn't know if she'd be able to top Tox from her last series, but Leif may topple him as a fan favorite. Iskra/Viorica also turned out to be a most interesting character, one I had a hard time deciding if she was good or bad, but liking her in spite of that conflict.

 As with the Tox Files, this series seems like it will be about ancient artifacts, but in this case just one throughout the whole series....yet it already is obviously totally different than the Tox Files Series. Toss in the storm maker phenomena and the mystery surrounding Leif's past and abilities, you have the makings of another awesome series by this author who never disappoints.

 Kendig's series always has a team of men and women with their own talents and abilities, and this series is no different. It was cool to have a few make it onto this team from the previous series.

  Storm Rising is an awesome suspenseful book that spans a few countries, showcases the talents of some great special ops characters, and is a roller coaster of a ride. I loved the book, the plot, and definitely the characters. I am looking forward to the next book in this great series.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


About the author:


Ronie Kendig (www.roniekendig.com) is an award-winning, bestselling author of over twenty novels. She grew up an army brat, and now she and her Army-veteran husband live a short train ride from New York City with their children and a retired military working dog. Ronie's degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters.


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