Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Who I Am With You, Legacy of Faith #1 by Robin Lee Hatcher

Book description:

For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith. 

Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.

Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination. 

When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have wronged them, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again. 

Who I Am With You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.

My review:

   I don't read many books that are just romance, but I have always enjoyed Robin Lee Hatcher's books. When I got an invitation to review the book, I jumped on it. I'll say up front I am not a big fan of a book where there are two stories going on - one modern day, and one in the past. I tend to enjoy the modern day one more, and when I read the one in the past, anticipate going back to the modern day one.

  That said, I really did enjoy the whole book. Yes, I enjoyed the modern day parts most...and most of the book did center on it, but I also enjoyed the forays into the past. The story of the past dealt a lot with trusting God in difficult times, forgiveness, and working to keep a marriage together, no matter what.

  Ridley and Jessica's story, the modern day one, also dealt with forgiveness. Ridley is reeling from false accusations of wrong doing that he is innocent of, and is the target of a lot of hate and anger. Jessica is dealing with the death of her daughter and her adulterous husband, while carrying his child. I enjoyed the developing relationship, the interactions between the characters, and the message of the book.

 As for the romance....too many books have a whirlwind romance, but this one was a slow developing one that was more believable and realistic. I love the title of the book, which comes to play at the very end of the book. Slight spoiler - hey you know they get together anyway - Ridley asks Jessica if she is happy, and she replies "Unimaginably so. And you?" He replies, "The same. Only it is more than that. I like who I am with you. I like the man I am because you are part of me." I like that.

 Forgiveness can be difficult, and though this book is fictional, it shows that it is not just necessary to move on and not be bitter, but it is also possible. The book also shows God can work things together and bring good out of bad.

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

About the author:

Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writer of America and the winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, and numerous other awards and recognitions, Robin is the author of over 75 novels/novellas. Her books have been translated into Dutch, French, and Chinese (to name a few).

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She and her husband make their home outside of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon puppy named Boo and a persnickety tuxedo cat named Pinky. Join her on her Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/robinleehatcher) and/or Twitter and/or her website & blog.

Who I Am With You is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Monday, November 5, 2018

In Too Deep, Dive Team Investigations #2 by Lynn H Blackburn

Book description:

How do you choose between loyalty and the truth?

When the Carrington County Sheriff's Office dive team is called in to recover a body from a submerged car, they aren't prepared to find an encrypted laptop--or an unsettling connection between investigator Adam Campbell and the dead accountant. 

Adam turns to his friend Dr. Sabrina Fleming to recover the files from the laptop. But the deeper they dig, the deadlier the investigation becomes. When evidence implicates members of Adam's own family, he and Sabrina will have to risk everything to solve the case. 

The truth could set hundreds free--but someone is willing to do whatever it takes to silence anyone who threatens to reveal their secrets. 

My review: 

 My favorite genre' to read is Christian suspense, and that means I have read a lot of it. I can honestly say this author is one of the best I have read. I was wowed with the first book, and the wowing continued in book 2.

 I enjoy a series of books where the same main characters are in the whole series, but each book centers on a different person in each book. This series revolves around 4 members of a dive team of investigators, who do most of  their work on land, but obviously diving is part of their work.

 Book 1 centered on Ryan, and book 2 on Adam. It is normal to have a favorite character in a series, and I was hoping book 2 would center on Gabe....the one who has the funniest lines in the book, and was disappointed when that didn't happen.....but how wrong I was to be disappointed. Though it didn't seem to me that Adam was much of an interesting character in book 1, that was proven wrong in this book. I came to like him and Sabrina very well throughout the book, though the author has created some great and likable characters besides them.

 This may be a slight spoiler, but isn't anything that will ruin the book: the main plot of the book revolves around human trafficking. Though the book and accounts of it are fictional, the reality that it exists in our country is not fiction. Though it is sad to read even of fictional accounts of it, it does one good to be reminded there is such evil in the world, and even in our own country.

 In Too Deep was full of suspense, drama, romance, and humor. I may have mentioned it in the review for the first book, but Blackburn is a master at the banter between her characters, and I was laughing out loud a lot throughout the book. The romance part.... I may be a bachelor for life, but I am a romantic, so I usually enjoy that part of romantic suspense, and this one was done very well. It is refreshing to read a book where there is no whirlwind romance that ends with a marriage at the end of the book. In this case, the couple had known each other for 2 years, and just had never acted on their mutual attractions.

 I like to figure things out in a suspense novel, yet I also enjoy surprises.... and the book had plenty of those. A lot happened that I didn't see happen, and the motives for things were a surprise also.

 I enjoy police procedure and crime investigation, and though I am no expert, Blackburn's description of those were not only interesting, but seemed like what would actually happen.

 This was truly an great read from start to finish, and had a very awesome ending. It may be better than the book it follows. It definitely left me wanting to read more in this series, and more from this author.

 My copy of In Too Deep was given to me in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

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.

In Too Deep is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell and the author for the review copy of In Too Deep.

I recommend this book, and the book it follows.....Beneath The Surface..... and they should be read in order.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Holy Roar CD by Chris Tomlin, with a giveaway

Following his best-selling 2016 release, worship leader and songwriter Chris Tomlin returns with an uplifting offering of praise! Holy Roar features the lead single "Resurrection Power" plus "Nobody Loves Me Like You," and more sure-fire sing-along gems.

HOLY ROAR track listing:
  1. Holy Roar
  2. Nobody Loves Me Like You
  3. Resurrection Power
  4. Goodness, Love And Mercy
  5. Satisfied
  6. Impact
  7. Praise Him Forever
  8. Is He Worthy?
  9. Forever Young
  10. I Stand In Awe (Feat. Nicole Serrano)
  11. Praise Is The Highway
  12. How Sweet It Is (Feat. Pat Barrett)

My review:

  My favorite genre' of music is Southern Gospel, but I do listen to some Praise and Worship and Christian Contemporary. Chris Tomlin is one such artist that I have a few CDs of, so I took the opportunity to review it.

 The CD has a total of 12 sons, coming in at 52 minutes of music. I actually like all 12 songs. That doesn't always happen with me when I listen to a new CD. They are a blend of faster and slow songs, and all with great lyrics.

 My top pick would be track 2, Nobody Loves Me Like You (Jesus). Goodness, Love, and Mercy is another favorite.

 Satisfied is a fairly upbeat tune, but is also a favorite.

 The two duets are great tunes, though I never heard of either singer before.

  Some of Tomlin's songs tend to sound alike, but there is a fairly wide variety of music on this CD that fans of his will enjoy, and the songs will minister to those who listen to it. In my opinion, this is one of his best that I have heard so far.

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

About the artist:

Christopher Dwayne Tomlin is an American contemporary Christian music artist, worship leader, and
songwriter from Grand Saline, Texas, United States who has sold over 7 million records. He is a former staff member at Austin Stone Community Church and is signed to EMI's sixstepsrecords.


Courtesy of FlyBy Promotions, I have one copy of this CD to give away to someone who comments on this post. All you have to do is comment, and make sure I have a way to contact you if you win. You may even use my email to enter if you prefer that - it is on the left side of my posts.

I will use random.org to pick a winner on November 5th.

Thanks to FlyBy for the review and giveaway CDs.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A War of Loves: The Unexpected Story of a Gay Activist Discovering Jesus by David Bennett

Book description:

At 14, David Bennett came out to his parents.
At 19, he encountered Jesus Christ.
At that moment, his life changed forever.

As a young gay man, David Bennett saw Christianity as an enemy to freedom for LGBTQI people, and his early experiences with prejudice and homophobia led him to become a gay activist. But when Jesus came into his life in a highly unexpected way, he was led down a path he never would have predicted or imagined.

In A War of Loves, David recounts his dramatic story, from his early years exploring new age religions and French existentialism to his university experiences as an activist. Following supernatural encounters with God, he embarked on a journey not only of seeking to reconcile his faith and sexuality but also of discovering the higher call of Jesus Christ.

A War of Loves investigates what the Bible teaches about sexuality and demonstrates the profligate, unqualified grace of God for all people. David describes the joy and intimacy he found in following Jesus Christ and how love has taken on a radically new and far richer meaning for him. 

My review:

  This is a book everyone should read: the Christian who has no clue about gay people and how to treat them, the out and proud gay person, the gay people in the closet, and those like me: we who struggle with this issue, know it is wrong to give into our attractions and desires, and are striving to serve God despite it.

 It is a book that if you go into it with the wrong mindset, you will be distracted by what you don't agree with, and will miss out. I didn't agree 100% with David, but that is OK.

 I ran across the author a few months back, and followed him on Twitter and Facebook, as I am interested in anyone who has same-sex attractions/is gay and serving God. I thought his book sounded worth reading, and I was fortunate to be able to review it.

 My review could be summed up in a few words: David's story is amazing. They of course want more than a few words, so I will go on.

 A lot of gay/SSA people have church backgrounds, and may be a little antagonistic towards God and Christians. David was an atheist and despised Christians. He took delight in fighting them (not physically), and had absolutely no interest in the church or God. Who would imagine a young man like him would be converted in a pub.

   His story doesn't read like many others I have read. It took him a few years to completely walk away from dating other guys, and surrendering his sexuality and desire for a boyfriend completely to God. I found his story very inspiring and encouraging, and also convicting. The point he came to in his surrender is one I honestly don't think I have ever come to, along with many other Christians.

  Bennett makes an interesting case for Christians with SSA to use the gay Christian label. I am not sure I agree, but he did stretch my thinking and caused me to look at some things like that in a different view.

 The book ends with an appendix of how he researched the verses on what the Bible says about homosexuality, and how he eventually came to believe that the Bible does not condone any kind of sexual relationship between people of the same sex.

 David Bennett's story is very inspiring and miraculous.... that God could save a young gay activist who didn't believe in God, and despised Christians and the church. It should give us hope that God can reach anyone.

 If there was such a thing as required reading for Christians, this book belongs on that list. I wish every Christian would read this book. There are a lot of books out there like it, but David does an amazing job of portraying what it is like to have these attractions and desires, and what it costs and what it takes to forsake them to follow Jesus.

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

About the author:

David Bennett is from Sydney, Australia, and is reading for a DPhil (PhD) in theology at the University of Oxford. He is a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and holds an Oxford postgraduate degree in theology, as well as a master’s degree in analytic theology from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

 Find David on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DavidACBennett

Check out the website for his book: https://www.awarofloves.com/

Friday, October 26, 2018

Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God's Grand Story, by Christopher Yuan

Book description:

From the author of Out of a Far Country , which details his dramatic conversion from an agnostic gay man who put his identity in his sexuality to a Bible professor who now puts his identity in Christ alone, comes a gospel-centered discussion of sex, desire, and relationships. 

Dr. Christopher Yuan explores the concept of holy sexuality--chastity in singleness or faithfulness in marriage--in a practical and relevant manner, equipping readers with an accessible yet robust theology of sexuality. Whether you want to share Christ with a loved one who identifies as gay or you're wrestling with questions of identity yourself, this book will help you better understand sexuality in light of God's grand story and realize that holy sexuality is actually good news for all.

My review:

I read and enjoyed Christopher Yuan's first book, Out of a Far Country (2011), which was the story of his change from a promiscuous gay man and drug dealer to a Christian. I highly recommend it.

   When I saw he had a new book coming out, I was definitely interested in reading it. The title immediately intrigued me...holy and sexuality are not usually put together.

 There is a large move on for Christians who are attracted to the same sex, and living a celibate life,  to use the "Christian gay", or just "gay" label. As a Christian who myself is attracted to the same sex, I have issues with that, but am trying to see their point of view. Yuan takes the opposite approach. The entire book is not about identity, but he does discuss it a lot in the book. And he knows his "stuff."

  Yuan makes a case that there is a difference in what is considered to be normal sexuality, and in holy sexuality. He has researched well, and added in his own experiences and has come up with a book that makes a lot of sense, and shows how even heterosexual people tend to idolize sex and relationships too much.

 One of the most helpful chapters in this book for Christians who do not personally have same-sex attractions, is a chapter on how to react and deal with it when someone confides that they are gay/same-sex attractions. That is followed by a chapter on discipleship that is valuable to any Christian.

 There are a lot of books on the Christian market dealing with gay issues/homosexuality, but this may be one of the most different of those. Yuan has very practical and Biblical thoughts and advice, and it is an interesting and easy to comprehend style.

"I received this book from the publisher through their book launch program."

About the author:

DR. CHRISTOPHER YUAN has taught at the Moody Bible Institute for over ten years and his speaking ministry on faith and sexuality has reached five continents. He speaks at conferences, on college campuses, and in churches. He co-authored with his mother, Angela, their memoir (now in seven languages), Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God, A Broken Mother's Search for Hope. He is also the author of Giving a Voice to the Voiceless. Dr. Yuan holds degrees from Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, and Bethel Seminary.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

NKJV, Spirit-Filled Life Bible, Third Edition, Leathersoft


Encounter the power of the word. Walk in the freedom God intends. Experience the Holy Spirit. For the NKJV Spirit-Filled Life Bible, Jack Hayford, founding pastor of The Church on the Way and chancellor of The King’s University, assembled a team of respected, Spirit-led scholars to produce this resource of solid biblical truth. Now in a full-color third edition with new contributors, it is even more dynamic. With over 2 million copies sold, the NKJV Spirit-Filled Life Bible continues to equip God’s people to live in his kingdom, exercise gifts of the spirit, and lay hold of God’s promises.

Features include:

Word Wealth - More than 650 word studies (including over 100 new ones) shed light on key terms, drawing important meaning from the original Greek and Hebrew.
Kingdom Dynamics - Dozens of biblical themes are addressed in notes by Spirit-filled preachers, teachers, and writers, including many new contributors for this edition
Truth-In-Action – Handy, helpful thematic charts provide practical application from every book of the Bible
Praying the Word - 192 guided prayers based on significant passages throughout Scripture
Detailed book introductions and outlines help you to learn each book’s historical background and appreciate its teachings
Verse-by-verse study notes explain each passage and illuminate your understanding
Includes a new full-color design with updated maps and charts, a detailed NKJV concordance, and in-depth articles about the Spirit-filled life
Designed with the exclusive Thomas Nelson NKJV Comfort Print® typeface
10-point print size

My review:

   The New King James Version of the Bible is one of my favorite versions, and I enjoy reviewing different study Bibles, so I grabbed this one.

  I have really been enjoying the features of this Bible. The study notes are very good and helpful, but a lot of Bibles have those. This Bible has something called Word Wealths. They are scattered throughout the Bible and tell more about the word, what it means, and expounds on it, and often gives other references where it is used in the same way.

   Kingdom Dynamics focus on different themes throughout the Bible and what they mean to us.

   Each book starts out with a page telling the author, date, purpose, and content, followed by an outline.
  Each book of the Bible also has Truth In Action. A small number will appear beside some verses, and there is a truth and action section at the end of the book to correspond to each number.

  I have been using the Bible daily for the last couple of weeks and am really enjoying the extra features of it, and finding them very helpful. It is definitely a Bible I will use often. I reviewed the NJJV, but it is also available in the New Living Translation.

The New Spirit-Filled Bible is available from Thomas Nelson Publishers

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Hidden Peril, Code of Honor #2 by Irene Hannon

Book description:

The most dangerous enemy is the one who has nothing to lose

As teenagers, Kristin Dane and her two best friends took a vow to make the world a better place. Twenty years later, she's fulfilling that pledge through her fair trade shop that features products from around the world. All is well until, one by one, people connected to the shop begin dying. 

Detective Luke Carter, new to the St. Louis PD, wants to know why. Before he can answer that question, however, the FBI weighs in and Kristin suddenly finds herself in the middle of international intrigue--and in the sights of the ruthless mastermind behind an ingenious and deadly scheme. Can this cold-blooded killer be stopped before more people die . . . including Kristin?

Three-time RITA Award-winner and "queen of inspirational romantic suspense" (Library Journal) Irene Hannon doesn't disappoint in this edge-of-your-seat thriller that will have you up late as you rush toward the explosive conclusion.

My review:

  Irene Hannon has had me hooked ever since I read her first suspense novel several years back. She never disappoints, and she is definitely one of my favorite authors. She has written several different suspense series, and each one seems to top the last. In my opinion, she has become synonymous with quality Christian suspense.

 The first book in this series, Dangerous Illusions,  was an awesome read that was different from her other books. I loved it, and doubted she could top it, but she has done so in Hidden Peril.

  Some readers do not like prologues in a book. I am one who enjoys them and feel they can set the tone for the book. The prologue in this book not only set the tone for the book, but it made me want to dive into reading the book.

  The plot was intricate and well thought out. Hannon set it up very well, so that I read as fast as I could to find out what was going on. She brought back some of the characters from her previous book, and even a couple of characters from a previous series, and added a few. Her two main characters especially were very likable as they got in the middle of the plot and suspense.

  Candles and terrorism....what do those have in common? One would assume nothing, but Hannon makes a great suspense novel using those and other factors and objects. I was proud to figure out fairly early the identity of the bad guy, but there were also some surprises, including the climatic scene close the end of the book.

 I am a confirmed bachelor, but have come to do more than tolerate the romantic aspects of these books. I found myself enjoying that aspect of the story, and really liked how that went and came to a conclusion.

 This was indeed an awesome read, and I have gone back and re-read parts of the book that were especially good. Hannon has another book she can rightly be proud of.

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

About the author:

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane, Sandpiper Cove, and Pelican Point, as well as Dangerous Illusions and the 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.

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

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.