Saturday, December 28, 2019

A Small Book for the Anxious Heart by Edward T Welch

Book description:

Fear and anxiety are chronic struggles for many people that are only intensifying and increasing. Best-selling author Edward T. Welch shares the comfort and peace of Jesus in fifty brief readings for those who wrestle with fear.

A Small Book for the Anxious Heart is a small but powerful devotional to remind men and women of the encouraging, beautiful words in Scripture to anxious people.

While many books on fear and anxiety exist—promising to help men and women manage their struggles with methods and formulas—this devotional reaches deeper into Scripture, making the Word of God more accessible. Don’t put a Band-Aid on your fear and anxiety; rather, learn to bring your fear to Jesus, relying on his Word.

Welch has been counseling for over thirty-eight years and is the author of more than a dozen books, including A Small Book about a Big Problem, Running Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of Rest, Shame Interrupted, When People Are Big and God Is Small, and many others.

Jesus cares for us, and in these readings, Welch invites readers to trust him for today, knowing he goes before us always.

My review:

 This book is well named. It IS a small book, about the size of a mass market paperback, and coming in at 186 pages.

 It has 50 chapters, mean to be read over a period of 50 days. Fear and anxiety are discussed a lot, and there are a lot of things discussed that we are anxious about. Each chapter ends with two questions to answer and think about.

 Anxiety and depression are issues I deal with, and I found some of the things in the book that do cause me anxiety and worry.

 The book is well written and contains a lot of helpful ideas and advice that is also Biblical. It is definitely best read over a 50 day period as suggested. My only issue with the book is that it is overpriced for the size.....though my review copy was free. It is helpful for the intended audience, I can attest to that.

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

About the author:

Edward T. Welch, MDiv, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He earned a PhD in counseling (neuropsychology) from the University of Utah and has a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary. Ed has been counseling for over thirty years and has written extensively on the topics of depression, fear, and addictions. His biblical counseling books include Shame Interrupted; When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave; Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness; Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction; Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest; When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety; Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love; and A Small Book about a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace.

Jonah: Grace for Sinners and Saints by Iain Duguid

Book description:

This small group guide includes ten in-depth lessons for one-to-one discipleship, small group, or large group settings. Explore this resource and find a God who relents, a God who is sovereign, and a God who is present among the mercies and trials of life.

Jonah: Grace for Sinners and Saints offers Scripture-based, theologically rich content with an easy-to-follow structure to engage readers. Duguid explores how we are more like Jonah than we might think, bringing the text to life by examining our own motives and affections. 

Duguid doesn’t leave readers in the judgment and spiritual arrogance of Jonah. He shows us the good news that the Lord is in charge, even over those who try to run from him. 

With rich discussion questions, exercises, and articles to encourage thoughtful responses to the text, this study guide helps readers see Jesus more clearly in the themes found in the book of Jonah. 

My review:

  Jonah is a Bible character who has always interested me. I have studied it before and read other books on and about the book, but couldn't pass up reviewing this one.

 Each lesson contains these parts:
Big idea: a summary of the main point
Bible conversation: read and discuss the passage of Scripture
Article: the main teaching of the lesson, written by the author
Discussion: discussion of the article
Exercise: a written part to do on one's own time
Wrap-up and prayer

  The author of this study is new to me, but I was impressed with the thoughts he came up with for the book, and the way he brought everything together to make a great Bible study. The exercise questions are very thought provoking, and I did end up seeing Jonah in a new light. The theme of the book is grace, and that comes through loud and clear.

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

About the author:

Iain M. Duguid received his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 1992, his MDiv at Westminster Theological Seminary in 1989, and his BSc at the University of Edinburgh in 1981. He's the author of Ezekiel and the Leaders of Israel, Esther & Ruth, Daniel, and Song of Songs in the Reformed Expository Commentary, as well as Jonah: Grace for Sinners and Saints, among many other titles. Duguid is a professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Barbara, have been married for over thirty years and have six adult children.


Ruth: Redemption for the Broken by Jared C Wilson

Book description:

In this ten-week accessible study, Jared Wilson provides a clearer picture of Jesus through the story of Ruth, which he presents as a historic living parable of Christ’s love for his church.

Ruth: Redemption for the Broken can be adapted for one-to-one discipleship, small group, or large group settings. The comprehensive leader’s guide is included in the text, making it an easy-to-follow structure to engage men and women.

By studying the book of Ruth, readers can enjoy the romance and drama of this compelling story while understanding how it applies to their own lives—finding Christ’s undying love for them through this unforgettable biblical narrative.

Jesus is the “truer and better” of every character in the book of Ruth, and everything in the Bible points to him. Wilson anchors his message in Scripture, guiding readers to better understand the themes in the book of Ruth.

When everything falls apart, cling to Jesus, the one who clings to you. Find in the story of Ruth the start of a real love story—but probably not the one you think. Ruth reveals the truth that there are no sinners, no failures, and no victims so far gone that the sovereign hand of the Lord cannot reach, rescue, and even revise the story of their lives.

My review:

  Ruth is one of the books of the Bible I never really thought of for a Bible study. It is more of a story we have read over and over. After reading through this book, I can see that it does make a great study.

 Each lesson contains these parts:
Big idea: a summary of the main point
Bible conversation: read and discuss the passage of Scripture
Article: the main teaching of the lesson, written by the author
Discussion: discussion of the article
Exercise: a written part to do on one's own time
Wrap-up and prayer

  The Bible study is well done, interesting, and brings out some great thoughts I at least never considered about the book of Ruth. I like the set up, and I can see it working for individual study also, and not just as a group.

  The article section was very interesting, and the author had some great insights worth considering that were well written and thought provoking.

 I haven't read a lot of Bible studies, but this seems to be one worth doing and accomplishes the purpose of a Bible study.


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

About the author:

Jared C. Wilson is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Spurgeon College, author in residence at Midwestern Seminary, general editor of For The Church, and director of the Pastoral Training Center at Liberty Baptist Church in Kansas City, MO. He is the author of numerous books, including The Gospel-Driven Church, The Imperfect Disciple, and Supernatural Power for Everyday People. In ministry for twenty-five years, Wilson has also written numerous church resources and Bible studies, including Ruth: Redemption for the Broken, as well as contributed the study notes for 1 and 2 Peter and Jude in the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible. He is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

A Shepherd Suspense Novel, #1: A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff

Book review:

John Cross is a small-town pastor, bent on leading his flock to follow God's calling. He's not the sort of man one would expect to have a checkered past.

But the truth is that the man behind the pulpit preaching to his sheep was once a wolf--an assassin for the CIA. When John decided to follow Christ, he put that work behind him, determined to pay penance for all the lives he took. He vowed never to kill again.

Now someone wants the peaceful pastor to pay for his sins with his own life. And when a terrorist out for revenge walks into the church, John's secrets are laid bare. Confronted with his past, he must face his demons and discover whether a man can truly change. Can he keep his vow--even when the people he loves are in mortal danger? Will his congregation and the brave woman he's learning to care for be caught in the cross fire? In the end, his death may be the only sacrifice he has left to offer . . .

Andrew Huff's thrilling debut is not only a riveting story of suspense, it's also a deep exploration of the moral quandaries that face those who choose to follow the Prince of Peace in a violent world.

My review:

  This book sounded really good, but no offense intended....the publisher isn't known for great suspense authors or books. Those come from Nelson, Zondervan, Revell, etc. But it sounded really good....so I requested it to review.

  This has to be the best book Kregel ever published. Seriously. Talk about non stop action and an adrenaline rush from reading a book. It starts out with a televised execution being filmed live, and doesn't slow down until the last page, which is when I finally took a breath.

 A likable character is important, and the author came up with a great and very likable character in John Cross. Former assassin for the CIA, and now a pastor of a small country church where he tries to atone for his past. Huff did an excellent job on portraying the struggle of not going back into that life as his past caught up with him and temptations to give into the old killing urges came up in him.

 The book is unapologetically Christian, while also being one of the most intense suspense novels I have read for a while. It was full of twists and turns intertwined with Biblical truths.

 I have found the Christian fiction market to be extremely geared towards women. Books that are for men, or at least geared more towards men, seem to be a rarity. This book is one of those rarities. Sure, women are going to enjoy it, but this is definitely a book you can buy for the male readers in your life. They will not be disappointed, and may even let you read it after they finish it.

 Huff pulled off some great accomplishments with this book:
1)  He published a debut novel that should shoot him to the top of a lot of reader's favorite authors (including me!)

2)  He wrote a totally awesome suspense novel that is intense, action filled, and totally Christian, and that will thrill and interest both men and women.

3) And he pulled it off with a publisher not necessarily known for putting out this kind of award winning fiction. (Well, it is guaranteed to win awards.)

  Seriously, people....I don't exaggerate. This is one of the most awesome suspense novels I have read for a long time.... and I have read some great ones. I definitely recommend it, and am looking forward to reading the other two books in this series from this new and very talented author.


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

About the author:


Andrew Huff spent 10 years in local church ministry before pursuing God’s calling into creative storytelling and media production as the Product Director at Igniter Media, a church media company (ignitermedia.com). He is a two-time finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest for unpublished authors (2014 & 2017) and also won the Best Screenplay award at the 2015 48 Hour Film Festival in Richmond, VA.

Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science in Religion degree from Liberty University and a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary. He resides in North Texas with his beautiful wife Jae and their two boys.

Learn more at andrewhuffbooks.com.
Facebook (@huffwrites)
Twitter (@andrewjohnhuff)

Read an excerpt here.

Giveaway:

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Daily Wisdom for Men Devotional

Book description:


You Are a Man of God Being Transformed to Be More Like Him Every Day!

This brand-new devotional collection for men is designed to help them know the heart of God. With an inspiring readings and scriptures for every day of 2020, Daily Wisdom for Men will provide both encouragement and challenge, as you come to know the transforming power of God's love.​



My review:

  I am always on the lookout for a good devotional, and reviewing one gives me a good opportunity to find one and also get information about it.

 This devotional has a few definite pluses:

1)  It is for men, and I am a man. :)

2) It is a 365 day devotional. I prefer those over the kind that are not for a whole year.

3)  Though the devotional is for men, it seems to be very general. Too many devotionals for men are more for married guys, which I am not. I didn't read every day's entry in the book, but I read several, and looked through the book. They do seem to be general for all guys, married or single.

  Each day has the devotional title, a Bible verse or verses to go along with it, the devotional part, and it ends with a prayer. The subjects are hugely varied, and are very well written and helpful. They are fairly short, yet not too short. At the back of the book is listed the six contributors to the book, and a plan for reading the Bible through in a year.

 I recommend this, and it would make a great Christmas gift.


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


 Daily Wisdom for Men is available from Barbour Publishing. Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Unscripted by Davis Bunn

Book description: 

Line producer Danny Byrd is well known in Hollywood for being someone who gets things done on time and under budget. But when his reputation takes a beating after his partner--and former best friend--makes off with their investors' money, Danny has but one chance to redeem himself and restore his ruined career.

LA lawyer Megan Pierce has sacrificed years of her life proving herself to impossible bosses, only to find herself disgusted at their snobbery and their specious business practices. When an opportunity to actually make a difference comes her way, she knows she has to grab it--even though she's not entirely clear what "it" is.

Danny and Megan are each other's best hope for redemption. What they never could have imagined was that they might also be each other's best hope for love.

My review:

  Not many books start out with the main character in jail, but this one did. I wasn't expecting that. Slight spoiler: he gets released, but one might figure that out by reading the book description.

  Bunn is one of the most versatile authors I have read. Most authors I read have one type of book they write, and stick with one genre'. Bunn has written all kinds of books in different genre's. This one is a book I wasn't sure about, but found myself liking a lot.

 Most Christians will agree Hollywood is pretty much godless and bad, so I wasn't sure about a book that is set in Hollywood, but it turned out to be a very enjoyable read. Though the plot was very interesting, reading about what goes into making a movie, picking the actors, etc, the book was about more than that.

 Danny, a very likable character, has a lot to deal with in the book: a best friend's betrayal, jail time, career pretty much destroyed, reputation destroyed. To me,  the themes of the book are forgiveness and letting go of the past.

 It is hard to say what all I liked about the book without giving spoilers away, but it was a great read. In addition to the main character, Danny, Bunn also created some other great characters that made the book interesting.

 The Christian parts of the book were not always obvious, but they were there. The romantic elements of the book were also pretty much in the background and were not a big part of  the book.

 This is a book I would recommend. It is different from a lot of Christian fiction on the market, with the setting and plot in Hollywood making a movie, but it is definitely worth reading. 


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


About  the author:


Davis Bunn (www.davisbunn.com) is the award-winning author of numerous national bestsellers with sales totaling more than seven million copies worldwide. His work has been published in twenty languages, and his critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction. Bunn is a Writer-in-Residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University. He and his wife, Isabella, divide their time between England and Florida.


 Unscripted is available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

 Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Dark Ambitions, Code of Honor #3 by Irene Hannon

Book review:


Danger lurks when ambitions turn deadly . . .

Former Army Night Stalker Rick Jordan usually has his camp for foster children to himself during the winter months. But someone has visited recently--leaving a trail of blood. One of the two clues left behind tips Rick off to the identity of his visitor, who soon turns up dead. The police deem it an accident, but Rick isn't convinced.

With the help of private investigator Heather Shields, he sets out to decipher the remaining clue. Except someone doesn't want them to succeed--and will stop at nothing to keep them from finding the truth.




My review:

  This is another book I have been anticipating from one of my top favorite authors. I have read every suspense novel this author has written, and I have never been disappointed. And she keeps getting better.

 Code of Honor was a neat series. Each book was about a different trio of friends who had been closer friends since childhood, drawn together by not-so-great family situations. They made a vow to grow up and do something to make the world a better place....if only more people did that in real life. Dark Ambitions centered on the last of the three friends, Rick.

 An added cool factor to this book: Hannon used characters from her Private Justice Series, which was two series ago in her roster of books.

 Dark Ambitions had a fairly complex plot, with ties to something that happened five years previously in Afghanistan. The book was written in third person point of view, but there was a mystery person who would pop up occasionally in the first person point of view. All through the book, I tried to figure out who the person might be, and it was a total surprise when the identity of that "I" was revealed.

  Rick and Heather were both great characters, and very likable.....especially Rick, who ran a camp for foster kids and flew rescue missions in helicopters.

 Hannon does suspense very well, and Dark Ambitions had me turning the pages as fast as I could read the words on those pages. I started the book on my work lunch break, and finished it at home.

 She also does romance well. I enjoyed seeing how the romance played out between Rick and Heather as they dodged dangerous people out to stop their investigation.

Great conclusion to this series.

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


About the author:


Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane, Sandpiper Cove, Pelican Point, and Driftwood Bay, as well as the Code of Honor, Private Justice, and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, and she is a member of that organization's elite Hall of Fame. Her many other awards include National Readers' Choice, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers' Choice, Booksellers' Best, Carols, and Reviewers' Choice from RT Book Reviews magazine, which also honored her with a Career Achievement award for her entire body of work. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.


Dark Ambitions, and the other two books in the Code of Honor Series, are available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

 Thanks to Revell  for the review copy.