Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Good Book by Deron Spoo

Book description:

The Good Book Church Campaign is an easy-to-use, 8-week program that engages churches and age-appropriate small groups in the Bible's 40 biggest ideas and teaches how God's truths can transform their lives.

The Good Book is more than just a book or curriculum. It is a movement focusing on bringing the major themes of the Bible to today's church in an approachable and accessible way. So whether you're a new believer who hasn't read any of the Bible, or an experienced Christian who has read through the Bible many times, The Good Book will help you understand what the Bible teaches and how it truly is one cohesive story.

The Good Book offers a user-friendly guide to 40 of the Bible's biggest ideas. By encouraging readers to spend five days a week reading the book and their Bible, Deron Spoo helps them understand the context and content of the Bible in a way that can open the whole Bible to them.

Designed as a 40-day journey through 40 key chapters of the Bible, The Good Book will appeal to those who already love and read the Bible regularly as well as to those who are just beginning their Christian journey.

My review:

  I really liked the idea of this book when I read about it, and the foreword by one of my favorite authors sealed my deciding to review the book.

 What the author is doing with this book, is taking the 40 key passages of Scripture and putting them in one book, along with some commentary after each section. One reason behind the book is for new Christians to get a better grasp on these key passages from the Bible, instead of them getting lost in passages that they don't understand. I can attest it is also valuable for those of us who have been Christians for several years and have grown up in the church. I know I tend to read the same verses and passages over and over for my devotions, so it is nice to have this book that pulls out some of the passages I should be reading and focusing on.

 The book is well written and put together very well. It is obvious the author did a lot of study and research and didn't settle on these 40 passages quickly and without much thought. His commentary after each section is well said and valuable also. I would definitely recommend this book to any Christian, no matter where they are on their spiritual journey.

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

About the author:


Deron Spoo is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Throughout the past 16 years, Spoo has guided the church as it transitions from being simply a downtown church to a regional church committed to urban ministry. Church members describe him as "down to earth" and "authentic." His television devotionals, "First Things First," reach 100,000 people each week. Spoo is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Paula, have three children.

 The Good Book is available from David C Cook Publishing.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Weaver's Needle by Robin Caroll

Book description:

Two recovery specialists.
One murder.
A hunt for the Dutchman's Lost Gold Mine becomes a race of survival.

Former Army MP Landry Parker fell into the recovery specialist role quite by accident—to help her ailing father. Now that she’s on her own, she is determined to prove herself and honor her family legacy.

After being shot in the line of duty, former police officer Nickolai Baptiste became a recovery specialist, and he’s good at his job—maybe even the best.
           
A potential client pits Landry and Nickolai against one another to find the Dutchman’s Lost Gold Mine map that was stolen from her murdered husband, and the potential payday is too enticing to pass up. The trail takes them from New Orleans to Weaver’s Needle in Arizona where legend claims the mine is hidden. Landry and Nickolai are no strangers to adventure, but the unlikely partners quickly discover there’s someone after the treasure and there are those who want to ensure the lost mine in Arizona’s Superstition Mountain stays lost forever.

Can Landry and Nickolai work together despite their distrust of each other to save the legend before more innocent lives are lost? Will they find the real treasure isn’t the gold, but something more valuable. . .true love and understanding?

My review:

 What do you get when you throw together a treasure hunt, romance, Indian folklore, and a competition to find a treasure map? An awesome book, that is what you get...... though it took more than tossing those things together. There is some quality writing here.

 I have been a fan of Robin Caroll's books since I first discovered her when she was writing for Broadman and Holman Publishing. I liked and eagerly read everything she wrote. It has been a while since she has written anything, so I was excited to see this book coming...... and was not disappointed after the seemingly endless wait. This is possibly her best, and that is saying a lot.

 I loved the characters and their interplay, especially the main two. You knew they were going to fall for each other, even though they were competitors, but it was still fun to read about. I love a good treasure hunt story, and that aspect of the book really kept my interest, made all the more captivating by the attempts to stop the dynamic duo from finishing their quest.

 The suspense was top notch, and I wasn't sure who the bad guy was for most of the book, though I was not surprised at his identity.

 Caroll also did a great job of describing the settings for her novel, and it made me want to go explore and look for hidden treasure also.

 Though the book is fictional, it IS based on a true treasure, which made the story more appealing.

 To sum it up: Awesome book, and I enjoyed every page of it. Robin has done herself and Christian fiction proud with her latest novel.

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



About the author:


Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year. To learn more about this author of deep South mysteries of suspense to inspire your heart.


Check out her website.

Weaver's Needle is available from Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Books.

Thanks to Barbour and the author for the review copy.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

52 Amazing Things That Became True of You The Moment You Trusted Christ by Stephen Kuhn

Book description:


The Bible uses many different words to describe what happens to people when they trust Christ. The most common phrase is "in Christ." But what exactly does that mean? This compact book unpacks 52 key verses from Scripture that reveal God's answer to the question of a Christian's true identity. Here is a unique, one-of-kind collection with in-depth commentary and life application insight to help readers discover the full depth of what God has already changed in believers. Changes that are already done.


My review:

 I like all sorts of books, but really enjoy ones like these. They can be read at one sitting, or read a chapter or two at a time.

  The author came up with a neat idea and made it into this book. Backed up with Scripture, there are 52 things that become true of us when we become Christians. I don't agree with him on all 52, as he is a Calvinist and I am not.... but he still did a great job of compiling what I feel to be mostly true things that are true of us at that point.

  I liked the author's writing style, and did enjoy the book.....even the parts I disagreed with.

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

About the author:


Stephen Kuhn has been leading recovery groups, speaking at college campuses, and providing free online counseling through Belt of Truth Ministries ever since he got steamrolled by Jesus and set free from the chains of porn addiction. His passion is to allow God to use the story of redemption in his life to encourage other men to seek healing through the work of Christ as well.

Like most native Oregonians, Stephen enjoys a good rain shower and probably drinks too much coffee. He spends his weekends hiking, climbing, and skiing, but his greatest joy is playing dress-up with his daughters.


"52 Amazing Things" is available from Faith Words, part of the Hachette Book Group. Thanks to Hachette for the review copy.

Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman

An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman's riveting romantic suspense novel. 

Each day could be her last...but not if he can help it.

Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan--to stay alive for another day. She knows he's coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started.

Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months--to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf's bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they'll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.

My review:

  I have read a couple of books by Susan Sleeman, and liked what I read. This is her first trade paperback full length novel, her others being mass market paperbacks. I was happy to see she was coming out with a full length trade paperback novel, and I was not disappointed.

 What I liked about the book:

The plot; It fit with the modern day ISIS acts of terror. It was different enough of a plot that it didn't sound juts like other books or other plots by terrorists.

The suspense: This was a very suspenseful read. You knew who the bad guy was from the start of the book...everyone knew, but the attempts to catch him while protecting the woman he was trying to kill kept me turning pages to find out what was going to happen next.

The characters: I liked the whole FBI team. They all had unique personalities that Sleeman took time to cultivate and describe. I liked the main two characters the best of course, and was rooting for their romance. I am guessing there will be other books centering around the other FBI agents....I am hoping so. :)

 I even liked the bad guy...... not in an admire sort of way, he was just a great bad guy.

The faith aspect: Both main characters had trust issues with God, something I and many others can relate to. I appreciated that part of the story and it added a lot to the plot.

  Sleeman tied all of these things together to make a pulse pounding novel of suspense that I thoroughly enjoyed, and it had a great ending worthy of such a great book.


About the author:

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a bestselling author of inspirational and clean read romantic suspense and mystery books. With over twenty-five books in print, readers love her Justice Agency, First Responders, and Agents Under Fire series for the well-drawn characters and edge-of-your-seat action. As a graduate of the FBI, city and county police academies, her research is spot on and her characters are real. Awards include Romantic Times Best Book, Swoony award winner, Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and EPIC Award finalist.

In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website.In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website TheSuspenseZone.com. She currently lives in Oregon with her husband, but has lived in nine states. They have two daughters, a son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.

Connect with Susan at:
Her Website - http://www.susansleeman.com
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/SusanSleemanB
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/susansleeman
Review Site - http://www.TheSuspenseZone.com


  Fatal Mistake is available from Faith Words, part of the Hachette book group.

Thanks to Hachette for the review copy.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Forensic Faith by J. Warner Wallace

About the book:

Why Are You A Christian?

J. Warner Wallace has asked this question in churches across America over the past several years, and the answer he gets is often disappointing; it's almost always rooted in some sort of personal, subjective experience. As a community, we Christians aren't typically prepared to make the case for why we believe Christianity is true from the objective evidence of history, philosophy or science. Worse yet, many of us don't think we have any obligation to do so.

Forensic Faith helps readers:
understand why they have a duty to defend the truth

develop a training strategy to master the evidence for Christianity

learn how to employ the techniques of a detective to discover new insights from God's Word

become better communicators by learning the skills of professional case makers

With real-life detective stories, fascinating strategies, and biblical insights, Wallace teaches readers cold-case investigative disciplines they can apply to their Christian faith. Forensic Faith is an engaging, fresh look at what it means to be a Christian.

My review:

  This is one of the most unique books I have read and reviewed. One of my first thoughts was "what a cool book!" Using his law experience, the author uses investigative methods to investigate Christianity and why we are Christians, and why it is true.

  He also gives methods for the reader to further investigate our faith and God's Word.  This approach is very novel and different, but I found myself reading on and learning in a very enjoyable way how not to only understand my faith better, but to also defend it better. This book is a great apologetics resource that approaches apologetics from a more fun and interesting way than the average book on the market.

 I found the book interesting, enjoyable, and very helpful. I highly recommend it.

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

About the author:


J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, popular national speaker and best-selling author. He continues to consult on cold-case investigations while serving as a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He is also an adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University and a faculty member at Summit Ministries. J. Warner was a conscientious and vocal atheist until the age of thirty-five, when he took a serious and expansive look at the evidence for the Christian Worldview and determined that Christianity was demonstrably true. After becoming a Christ follower in 1996, Jim continued to take an evidential approach to truth as he examined the Christian worldview. He eventually earned a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

J. Warner served as a Youth Pastor for several years, then planted a church in 2006. Along the way, he created and built the Cold-Case Christianity website, blog and podcast as a place to post and talk about what he discovered related to the evidence supporting Christianity. Jim has appeared on television and radio, explaining the role that evidence plays in the Christian definition of “faith” and defending the historicity of Jesus, the reliability of the Bible and the truth of the Christian worldview. Jim also speaks at churches, retreats and camps as he seeks to help people become confident Christian case makers. J. Warner’s book, Cold-Case Christianity, provides readers with ten principles of cold case investigations and utilizes these principles to examine the reliability of the gospel eyewitness accounts. In God’s Crime Scene, he investigates eight pieces of evidence in the universe to make the case for God’s existence.

J. Warner’s professional investigative work has received national recognition; his cases have been featured more than any other detective on NBC’s Dateline, and his work has also appeared on CourtTV and Fox News. He also appears on television as an investigative consultant (most recently on truTV) and had a role in God’s Not Dead 2, making the case for the historicity of Jesus. J. Warner was awarded the Police and Fire Medal of Valor “Sustained Superiority” Award for his continuing work on cold-case homicides, and the CopsWest Award after solving a 1979 murder. Relying on over two decades of investigative experience, J. Warner provides his readers and audiences with the tools they will need to investigate the claims of Christianity and make a convincing case for the truth of the Christian worldview.



Forensic Faith is available from David C Cook Publishing.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy.



 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Heart-Shaped Life Daily Devotional by Karen Moore

Book description:

Inspiration for a Heart-Shaped Life
  
What if you could see the world through the lens of the heart moment by moment?
What if God inspired you to walk “heart first” into every life event and circumstance, no matter what it was?
What if love was your number one priority? Love of God, love of others, and love of yourself? 

Inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:2: "If I had the gift of prophecy and knew all about what is going to happen in the future, knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would it do?" . . .the Heart-Shaped Life series will encourage you to live life “heart first.” 

The Heart-Shaped Life Daily Devotional provides refreshing thoughts, prayers, and scripture selections to help you discover the best path to the good life. . .which is all about LOVE! 

My review:

  When I first saw this devotional, I thought it was for women. It has that look. However, after looking through it and reading several of the daily devotionals in it, I can say it is for men and women both.

 This IS a 365 day devotional, plus it has one for Leap Year, February 29. Each day has a title, followed by a Scripture verse, then the actual devotional, and ending with a short prayer. An aside: I like the looks of each page, a lot of red and blue.

 Each devotional is centered around love in some sort of day, and the author does a great job of getting a whole year out of that one topic..... but it is something we need.

 I found the devotionals I read very encouraging, interesting, and helpful in this area of loving God, others, and even myself. I definitely recommend it - for men and women.

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


About the author:

Karen Moore is an award-winning author of over sixty published books. Her numerous books for children, include "How Noah Knew What to Do" illustrated by renowned artist Pete Kersten, and two books for the Little Angels series with Roma Downey. She works to develop children's books and specialty concepts for several publishers.

Karen's inspirational and devotional books cover a wide range of topics and include daily devotionals and gift book formats. Karen is a regular author with Christians Art Gifts and has published with Simon & Schuster, Faith Words, Thomas Nelson and Abingdon Press. She has written several books for teens and tweens including one for Joyce Meyer.

Karen also utilizes her writing talents as a greeting card professional. She teaches a six session course on greeting card writing and has published nearly ten thousand greeting cards over the years. Karen works with American Greetings, DaySpring Cards, and other publishers to develop card lines and concepts.

Karen is a much sought after writing conference speaker and a mentor for authors and other aspiring artists. Karen addresses a variety of inspirational, motivational, and practical writing tips to writer's groups and other specialty groups across the country.

Karen holds a Master's Degree in Education and has taught both in grade schools and in colleges.



The Heart-Shaped Life is available from Shiloh Publishing, an imprint of Barbour Books.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Local Poet by Paul Trembling

Book description:


Rob Seaton Killed a Woman.

Rob doesn't know Laney Grey. But when she steps out in front of his van and dies on impact, his life will never be the same. He has to know who she was, why she chose to die, and why he had to be part of her death.

To understand her, he must learn to read her poetry. To know her, he must unravel the mysteries of her past. As Laney's dark secret starts to come to light, and authorities get involved, Rob must learn the full truth and quickly.

But truth comes at a cost and someone must pay...will Rob be the one?


My review:

  I had a little trouble liking and getting into this book at first..... it just was kind of weird. However, the further I read, the more I got  into the book and actually liked it after all.

  The author came up with a unique plot: a man hitting and killing a woman he didn't know, then trying to learn as much about her as he could through her poems.

 I found myself liking the main character a lot. To imagine through this fictional guy the emotions you may go through if you were in his shoes, was interesting. I am not into poetry, so I found most of the poems odd, but they did add to the story.

 The bad guys, shooting, and crime came as a surprise.....a welcome surprise, since I like suspense and mystery.

 There was a surprise ending and everything made sense at the end.

 I was disappointed in some bad language, but there was not a lot of it. Over all, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

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

About the author:



Paul Trembling got into the habit of making up stories before he could read or write. Since then, he’s followed a diverse career path, being at various times a seaman, a missionary, a janitor, and a crime scene investigator―but he’s never broken the story-making habit, and has no plans to try.



Local Poet is available from Lion Publishing, an imprint of Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.