Monday, May 30, 2016

The Valley of the Dry Bones

In The Valley of the Dry Bones, Jerry B. Jenkins overlays the ancient End Times prophecies of Ezekiel onto the landscape of modern California. After a 17-year drought, multiple earthquakes, and uncontrollable wildfires, the state is desolate. The United States President declares the state uninhabitable and irreparable, directing California's 39 million citizens to relocate. From the air, California looks like a vast abandoned sand box, but to a few groups of people, it's their home. With less than 1% of the population remaining in California at their own risk, the holdouts encounter a clash of cultures, ethnicities, religions, and politics that pits friend against friend with the future of California at stake.

My review:

  This book wasn't quite what I expected. I was thinking it was going to be a suspense novel, but it wasn't. The novel is sort of dystopian as it takes place after the state of California becomes pretty much a wasteland.

  The book was interesting enough, and had a different type of plot than I usually read. It was sort of a survivalist type story. I liked the characters, and the book held my attention well enough; but when I was done reading it; I asked myself aloud "what was the point of the book?" Maybe it needed a different kind of ending, but I did not feel that satisfaction I feel upon finishing a great book...... I just felt like the story had no point, and no real ending, and I found myself wondering why these people didn't just leave the desolate state as there didn't seem to be many people there for them to bring to God.

  It IS written well, but it just needed something more than it had in my opinion.

About the author:

Jerry Bruce Jenkins is an American novelist and biographer. He is best known as co-author of the Left Behind series of books with Tim LaHaye. Jenkins has written over 180 books, including mysteries, historical fiction, biblical fiction, cop thrillers, international spy thrillers, and children's adventures, as well as non-fiction. His works usually feature Christians as protagonists. In 2005, Jenkins and LaHaye ranked 9th in's 10th Anniversary list of Hall of Fame authors based on books sold at during its first 10 years. Jenkins and his wife Dianna have three sons and eight grandchildren.

The Valley of Dry Bones is available from Worthy Publishing.

Thanks to Worthy for the review copy.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Tyndale Rewards Program

 If you like to read and get free stuff, I recommend signing up for Tyndale Publishing's Rewards Program. There is no cost, no gimmick, no requirements of any kind.

 Ways you get points:

1) Link to the program site on Twitter or Facebook and put the link to your tweet or post on the program site. You can do this 5 times in a month and get 10 points each time you do it.

2) Post a review of a Tyndale product on Amazon. Again, 10 points 5 times a month.

3) Surveys, 10-25 points usually

4) Sign up for a newsletter

5) Listen to a podcast occasionally, usually 20-25 points

6) Get a unique link for people to sign up through and get 10 points for each person. They get 25 for signing up.

  And a few other ways that come up occasionally.

 What can you get?

1) Fiction books:

The Susan May Warren book is 70 points

The Francine Rivers book is 130 points (I assume it is hardcover)

2) Bibles:

The One Year Bible is 200 points.

The Solo Message New Testament is 80 points

  There are books for kids and youth, and audio books, Adventures In Odyessey CDs,  and Bibles...... the items vary at times. The thing I want next and need 75 more points for is the dramatized Oliver Twist on CD for 200 points.

  If you're interested, sign up under my link and you'll get 25 points to start with.

Click this link and follow the instructions.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Lessons From the East by Bob Roberts Jr.

What if our western view of church isn’t God’s view of church?

That’s the disruptive question church planter Bob Roberts Jr. wrestled with while connecting with top global church planters and pastors. Over time, his global experiences convinced him western believers would benefit from:

taking our faith beyond Sunday to every dimension of life; shifting from a Christian worldview to a Jesus prism; and moving from religious leaders to disciple leaders. Lessons from the East invites you into the larger story God is telling around the world. It just may change your view of church and the global Christian community.

My review:

  I often feel we aren't doing church right here in America, and we American Christians are too self-centered in general, but especially in worship. Since I have had these thoughts, this book intrigued me.

 I'll say right up front I didn't agree with the author on everything he said, but he makes a lot of sense in this book. He is well traveled and has visited a lot of churches and church leaders across the globe. There are a lot of stories about how churches are growing and God is moving in churches across the world, and yet we seem so stagnant here and many churches are slowly dying.

 One can tend to blame our country, but as the author shows; it starts in the church. He packs a lot into this book, and there is much to be learned from churches in other countries: how they worship, how they do small or cell groups, how they grow churches, and even things like spiritual gifts... he leaves no stone un-turned.

 I am not a church leader, but I found the book helpful, convicting, inspiring, and very engaging. This would be a great book for our American churches to study and make some changes in how we do church.

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

   Lessons From the East is available from David C Cook Publishing.

Thanks to Handlebar for the review copy.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Naming Our Abuse by Andrew Schmutzer, Daniel A Gorski, and David Carlson

A stunningly vulnerable look at the horrific realities of sexual abuse and how to overcome them. Male sexual abuse is increasingly in the news, from scandals in the Catholic Church to exploitations at Penn State. Yet books and programs about healing are still overwhelmingly oriented toward the female survivor of abuse. As men who experienced childhood abuse, the authors of this book are uniquely qualified to address the healing process of male survivors.

Using the metaphor of a car accident, Naming Our Abuse leads the survivor from the Wreck to the Accident Report to Rehabilitation to Driving Again. This four--step model illustrates that healing is a process to be nurtured rather than something that can be healed in a single telling. Following the authors' examples, readers are invited to find solidarity with other male survivors and develop an understanding of their own wounding through journaling exercises.

My review:

   Occasionally I will review a book that doesn't pertain to me, but is one that has something I want to learn more about or is something I review just to help get the word out about the book to people who it may pertain to. This book falls into both categories.

  The book is written by three men who were sexually abused as boys by adult males. One was abused by his own father, one by a priest, and the other by a vice principal and drama teacher. It is heart wrenching to read their stories, which are told in as brief of details as possible. The authors set the book up as a car accident, with each author relating their own story in relation to that section.

The first section is "the wreck", the actual abuse.

The second section is the "accident report", where they try to grasp the extent of their abuse as survivors.

The third section is "rehabilitation", the earnest desire to heal the broken areas of their lives.

The fourth and final section is "driving again", where the abuse survivor adapts to life and have come through support groups and counseling,

  Each section is followed by questions for the reader about their own abuse.

 The book ends with a letter from each author to their "little boy selves".

   I was never abused - thankfully - but I can still appreciate the book and these three men coming forward and stripping themselves bare to tell their stories and help others who have gone through the same thing, The book is honest, compassionate, and very helpful. And it isn't just written for men who have been abused. Friends and relatives of abused guys would do well to read it, and it would be a great tool for pastors. I highly recommend it.

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

Naming Our Abuse is available from Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.

Wise Guys by Kent Evans with a giveaway

For guys, more than ever, it’s a confusing world. Your GPS doesn’t offer any maps showing how to get to the point of wisdom -- and who likes asking for directions anyway?

But there are ways to get that guidance you need. The answers may be all around you, in the form of guys you already know. Wise guys. More experienced guys. Better-traveled guys. Could there be ways to tap into their invaluable knowledge without enduring dull lectures or taking pages of notes?

Kent Evans has surrounded himself with these wise guys. They have shown him all the back roads on the way to wisdom. With a great deal of humor and an endless supply of stories, he wants to show you how to gather life-enriching truth from the guys in your own circle.

My review:

  There are a lot of books out there for women, and the Christian book market seems to aimed at women. This book though is just for men. Women could read it, but there really isn't much for women in it. Sorry ladies. :)

  The idea of this book is that we men tend to try to do everything ourselves and have the idea that it is unmanly to seek advice or help from other guys. The author covers such things as how to correct gently, always be asking, exercise tangible grace, and many others covered in the 17 chapters.

 Each chapter discusses how to learn the topic from other guys, often with the author relating personal stories. That is followed by a Lessons Learned section that discusses how to apply that topic to your own life, and the chapter ends with questions to consider.

 This isn't a long book. Maybe they figured men have a shorter attention span when it comes to reading..... but it is packed with helpful advice and information on how not to be an island and try to figure life out on our own, but instead to seek out from men around us how to live and be the kind of men we should be.

 The book was interesting and very informative. I found it very helpful and saw a lot of areas that I could learn from other guys in.

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

About the author:

KENT EVANS is the board chairman and co-founder of Manhood Journey, a ministry that helps fathers and mentors build the next generation of godly men. Kent has personally experienced how the guidance of godly men can change the course of a life. Today he is blessed with a solid 20-year marriage, four wonderful sons and a fulfilling life largely because of what he s learned from other men. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, and can be found on Twitter @manhoodjourney.

Thanks to FlyBy Promotions for the review and giveaway copy.


Courtesy of FlyBy Promotions, I have one copy of Wise Guys to give away.

To enter, simply comment on who you would give the book to if you win, including yourself.

I will pick a winner 10 days from today on June 5, using

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Silence In The Dark by Patrica Bradley

Bailey Adams is running for her life . . . again.

When Bailey Adams left Logan Point two years ago she thought she was getting away from her problems. Running into her ex-fiancé Danny Maxwell was not part of the plan--neither was being chased through the city by the local drug cartel, the Calatrava. Now despite her best efforts, Danny is her only chance of escaping the people chasing her and getting back to Logan Point safely. Can Bailey find the strength to face what's coming? And in the midst of the chaos, can she keep herself from falling in love with her rescuer all over again?

With lean, fast-paced prose that will keep you turning the pages, Patricia Bradley pens a superb story of suspense and second chances.

My review:

   This is book four in the Logan Point Series, and though they are the only books I have ever read by Patricia Bradley; she has quickly become one of my favorite authors.

  One thing I like about a series, is the same setting is usually used and some of the same characters. This book brought back some of the same characters, and though part of it was set in Mexico; most of it was set in the same location as the other books.

 I enjoyed this book a lot, and read it through in one setting. The plot was great, there was a lot of suspense and action, and some romance, The bad guys were not obvious in this book, and there were a few surprises along the way to me. I appreciated the Christian angle of the book, and the non-cheesy way that was handled.

 I don't know if there will be more books in the series, or if this is it.....if it is the last book, this was a great finish to the series.

I was given a copy of  this book for my honest review.
About the author:

Patricia Bradley is the author of Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, and Gone without a Trace. Bradley has been a finalist for the Genesis Award, winner of a Daphne du Maurier Award, and winner of a Touched by Love Award. Bradley is a published short story writer and cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at

Silence In The Dark is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group,

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bearing Witness, by Charles E. Moore and Timothy Keiderling. with a giveaway

What does it cost to follow Jesus? For these men and women, the answer was clear. They were ready to give witness to Christ in the face of intense persecution, even if it cost them their lives. From the stoning of Stephen to Nigerian Christians persecuted by Boko Haram today, these stories from around the world and through the ages will inspire greater faithfulness to the way of Jesus, reminding us what costly discipleship looks like in any age. 

Since the birth of Christianity, the church has commemorated those who suffered for their faith in Christ. In the Anabaptist tradition especially, stories of the boldness and steadfastness of early Christian and Reformation-era martyrs have been handed down from one generation to the next through books such as Thieleman van Braght s "Martyrs Mirror" (1660). Yet the stories of more recent Christian witnesses are often unknown. 

"Bearing Witness" tells the stories of early Christian martyrs Stephen, Polycarp, Justin, Agathonica, Papylus, Carpus, Perpetua, Tharacus, Probus, Andronicus, and Marcellus, followed by radical reformers Jan Hus, Michael and Margaretha Sattler, Weynken Claes, William Tyndale, Jakob and Katharina Hutter, Anna Janz, Dirk Willems. But the bulk of the book focuses on little-known modern witness including Veronika Lohans, Jacob Hochstetler, Gnadenhutten, Joseph and Michael Hofer, Emanuel Swartzendruber, Regina Rosenberg, Eberhard and Emmy Arnold, Johann Kornelius Martens, Ahn Ei Sook, Jakob Rempel, Clarence Jordan, Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, Tulio Pedraza, Stanimir Katanic, Samuel Kakesa, Kasai Kapata, Meserete Kristos Church, Sarah Corson, Alexander Men, Jose Chuquin, Norman Tattersall, Katherine Wu, and Ekklesiyar Yan uwa a Nigeria. 

This book is part of the Bearing Witness Stories Project, a collaborative story-gathering project involving Anabaptist believers from many different traditions."

My review:

  Occasionally I run across a book that I believe all Christians should read; and this is one such book. The book is very well written and goes from martyrs in the early church to modern day Christians and the persecution they face.

 This is a fascinating, convicting, and a bit scary of a read. I am familiar with some of these stories, but it was still amazing to me what these Christians went through instead of denying Christ, and what the Catholic Church did to those who dared read the Bible in English or teach adult Baptism. As I read these stories, I found myself wondering how well myself and other American Christians would do in the face of true persecution and threats of loss of life. The idea scares me a bit. I was also convicted of my shallowness and felt a new resolve to deepen my walk with Christ,

Courtesy of FlyBy Promotions, I have one copy of Bearing Witness to give away.

To enter, simply comment on this post. I will pick a winner 10 days from today on June 3 using

Monday, May 16, 2016

ESV Family Devotional Bible with a giveaway

The ESV Family Devotional Bible is designed to help families read and apply God’s Word together. This full-color edition features the complete ESV text interspersed with engaging illustrations and gospel-centered devotions related to key Bible stories—guiding families through the entirety of God’s Word over the course of a year. Each devotion also includes discussion questions and suggestions for additional reading, helping families develop a habit of reading the Bible together and applying its truth to all of life. 


Size: 5.375” x 8.625”
9-point type
1,408 pages
Double-column, paragraph format
130 full-page, full-color illustrations
Full-color maps
Reflection questions for the whole family to discuss
Ribbon marker
Smyth-sewn binding
Packaging: L-Card (HC); O-wrap (TruTone)

My review:

  The ESV (English Standard Version) is still a fairly new translation to me, but is one that I like and read. It makes a great translation for a Family Devotional Bible, as it is easy to read and understand.

  The text is the same as in any ESV Bible, but this Bible has 130 devotionals for the whole family. Each devotional is centered on a Bible story - basically telling the Bible story in a story form instead of verses -  and is inserted right in the Bible text of that story. The devotionals have a picture, the devotional,  questions for the whole family (3-4), and a key verse from the story. For ease of finding the devotionals, the page number is listed for the next devotional.

  I like the Bible. I obviously did not read through the whole thing, but I did read some of the devotionals and looked over several others. They are well done, as are the pictures that accompany each story. The questions aren't difficult, yet are asked in a way to prompt thinking to come up with an answer.

  I would have liked for the Bible to have more devotionals than it does, but 130 is still a good number.

Giveaway: Courtesy of FlyBy Promotions, I have one copy of the ESV Family Devotional Bible to give away.

To enter, comment with your favorite Bible verse. I will pick a winner 10 days from today, May 26; using

Enter my other giveaway for a copy of a great juvenile fiction book, The League and the Lantern, drawing May 19.

Giveaway for US and Canada only.

Thanks to FlyBy Promotions for the review and giveaway copies.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Guy's NLT Slimline Holy Bible

The Guys Slimline Bible blue chevron edition is the perfect gift for all occasions and features the easy to understand New Living Translation text. The 53-page dictionary/concordance helps kids locate passages on various topics. Includes 8 pages of full-color maps, a blue ribbon marker, and a special presentation page.

The New Living Translation text is excellent for young readers because it is so clear and they can understand what they are reading! When they can read and understand God’s Word, God can work in their hearts!

My review:

   I was expecting a bit more from this Bible, to be honest. It is advertised as a Bible for young male Bible readers, but I can't see much in it that would differ from a Bible you'd buy for any age.

 That aside, it IS a nice Bible. I love the cover, and it is one that would appeal to guys of any age. The translation is the New Living Translation, which is one of my favorites; and it would be a good translation for younger readers of the Bible..... or any age.

  The concordance/Bible dictionary covers several words used and defines many of them and has key passages. The Bible ends with some colored full page maps that can be useful for understanding Bible geography,

  This is not a study or devotional Bible, so it has no extras along that line. It is an inexpensive and attractive Bible that would make a great first Bible for young boys, or for anyone wanting a basic Bible in an easy to read translation.

 This Bible was given to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

About the New Living Translation:

The goal of any Bible translation is to convey the meaning of the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts as accurately as possible to the modern reader. The New Living Translation is based on the most recent scholarship in the theory of translation. The challenge for the translators was to create a text that would make the same impact in the life of modern readers that the original text had for the original readers. In the New Living Translation, this is accomplished by translating entire thoughts (rather than just words) into natural, everyday English. The end result is a translation that is easy to read and understand and that accurately communicates the meaning of the original text.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Saturate Field Guide by Jeff Vanderstelt and Ben Connelly and Saturate by Jeff Vanderstelt

Jeff Vanderstelt, and co-author, Ben Connelly, invite readers to experience a faith deeper than Sunday morning in their new book, Saturate Field Guide: Principles & Practices for Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life.

Whether you're just beginning a relationship with Jesus or you've been a follower of Jesus for a long while, many of us have a hard time translating the truths we believe in our mind, to the reality of our everyday life. Given our tendency to wander away from God, we need both encouragement and tools to keep the gospel at the center of our action in the everyday stuff of our lives.

This 8-week guide offers an all-of-life approach to being disciples who make disciples of Jesus. The questions, activities, prayers, and exercises will prompt you to do exactly that---put your thoughts and theology into hands-on practice. Designed for both group and individual use, each week will build on the next, aligning your heart with the will of God, examining your core identity beliefs, and launching you into mission.

When God's people commit together to sow gospel seeds in the everyday rhythms of life, a ripple effect moves through our lives, out toward the whole earth, saturating it with the good news of Jesus.

The book, while inspired by Vanderstelt's 2015 release, Saturate, (Crossway) is a stand-alone resource, intended to be used by both groups and individuals.

My review:
(This review is for the Field Guide by Jeff Vanderstelt and Ben Connelly)

  This is a very in depth book on this issue of being disciples of Jesus in every day life. I started looking through it was amazed at the work and thought these two guys put into it.

  The book is geared for a group study, but as I have looked over it I can't see why it can't be done solo also.

  It starts out with an introduction and some questions to answer to get you thinking about discipleship. That is followed by a suggested outline for the first meeting of a group going through the book. After that, it launches into week one of the book.

 Each week focuses on a different aspect/subject:
Week 1: Jesus
Week 2: Discipleship
 And so on.

  Each week covers approximately 40 pages, split up into 7 days with reading material and questions for the Monday through Saturday with Sunday being set aside to rest.

 The book itself is a large spiral bound book wider than the average book by at least 50%.

  I have not done any of the lessons and questions yet, but I have spent time looking through it and this is a wonderful resource to help Christians. The questions require actual thought, and there is a lot of great advice in and input for Christians wanting to do better with this discipleship thing in today's world. This is an extremely well done book, and I'd recommend it for group or individual study.

This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

Many Christians have unknowingly embraced a lie--the idea that "church" is a once-a-week event rather than a community of Spirit-empowered people; that "ministry" is something pastors do on Sunday morning rather than the 24/7 calling of all true believers; and that "discipleship" is a program rather than the normal state of every follower of Jesus. Drawing on his experience as a pastor and church planter, Jeff Vanderstelt wants us to see that there's more--much more--to the normal Christian life than merely sitting in a pew and listening to a sermon once a week. Rather, God has called his people to something bigger: a view of the Christian life that encompasses the ordinary, the extraordinary, and everything in between.

My review:
(This review is for Saturate by Jeff Vanderstelt)

  This book was written by Jeff Vanderstelt and was the inspiration for the field guide which he co-wrote with Ben Connelly.

  As I read through Saturtate, I kept thinking "Man, I wish my church was like this!" The idea of the book and field guide is "being Jesus' disciples in the every day stuff of life." One way to do that, is to take the church to the world. One of the main topics covered in this book is how we need to get outside of the church and minister to people and let them see us doing things for others in the name of Jesus. The author tells some amazing stories of how people came to their church because of these efforts to take the church outside of the church walls.

 I was also amazed at the way his church members help each other financially and other ways.

 This book is full of ways we can go out into our communities and bring people to Christ. Even as I found myself wishing my church was more like this one, I also found myself convicted at all of the things this church is doing that I am not. We tend to not want to get out of our comfort zone or do much that inconveniences ourselves, but this book shows just how wrong that kind of thinking is and how we all need to do  more.

  I found the book very interesting, helpful, and convicting. It can be read completely independent of the field guide.

This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

About the authors:

Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of the Soma Family of Churches and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church in Bellevue, Washington. He also travels around the U.S. and the world equipping the church in the gospel and missional living. Vanderstelt is the author of Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life.

He and Jayne, his wife of 22 years, have three children; Haylee, Caleb and Maggie.

Ben Connelly started and now co-pastors The City Church, part of the Acts 29 network and Soma Family of Churches. He is also the co-author of A Field Guide for Everyday Mission (Moody Publishers). With degrees from Baylor University and Dallas Theological Seminary, Connelly taught public speaking at TCU for six years. He now leads church planting for the Soma Family in North America, writes for various publications, trains folks across the country and blogs in spurts.

Connelly, his wife Jess and their kiddos Charlotte, Maggie and Travis live in Fort Worth, TX

Are you having difficulties translating the truths you believe in your mind about your Christian faith to the reality of your everyday life? Learn how to keep the gospel in the everyday stuff of your life with a new resource, Saturate Field Guide. This 8-week guide offers an all-of-life approach to being disciples who make disciples of Jesus. The questions, activities, prayers, and exercises will prompt you to do exactly that—put your thoughts and theology into hands-on practice. Designed for both group and individual use, each week will build on the next, aligning your heart with the will of God, examining your core identity beliefs, and launching you into mission.

Join Ben Connelly and Jeff Vanderstelt in celebrating the release of Saturate Field Guide with a small group bundle giveaway!

saturate fg - 400 (1) 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • 10 copies of Saturate Field Guide
  • A coffee kit in conjunction with Big House Beans
  • Moleskine journals
saturate fg - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on May 16th. The winner will be announced May 17th on the Litfuse blog.

saturate fg - enter

Check out the video:

Vision for Gospel Saturation from Saturate on Vimeo.

The League and the Lantern by Brian Wells, with a giveaway

Synopsis: The League and the Lantern is the first book in a new adventure series for middle-school readers. It all starts when a dangerous organization invades Jake Herndon’s seventh-grade sleepover. He escapes along with two new classmates, Lucy and TJ, only to face a 48-hour fight for survival on the streets of Chicago. The kids unravel a mystery dating back to the Civil War, and an incredible secret about Jake’s family. Along the way they learn unexpected lessons about courage, family and friendship.

Talking Points: 
Inspires reading - Adventure series your kids will want to read.

Educational Value - 140 key vocabulary words hidden throughout the story, historic sites are part of the setting.

Moral Value - Lessons in family, friendship, mercy and compassion. Lead characters are friends who are different races. 

Help Kids - Operates on a buy one - give one campaign to get books into the hands of kids who cannot afford their own copies. 

My review:

   My fourteen year old nephew read this book before me and loved it. His exact words were "That book is awesome!" That is his review in four words, and may carry more weight than mine will since he is much closer to the intended age group than I am.

  And he is correct. This is an awesome book. I found the book hard to put down even though I am way beyond the age group it is written for. The author combines secret societies, history, and modern science and technology to write a rip-roaring adventure. I wasn't sure where the story was going for a while, and there were a few surprises along the way as I discovered everything and everybody was not what they seemed to be.

 The author came up with three different and somewhat odd characters, though they are all very likable; especially Jake who is the central character. The plot is a great one, and there is enough action, drama, and suspense to keep even most adults on the edge of their seats.

  There really isn't much, if any outright Christian message in the book. However, the book is full of Christian worldview and lessons that are Biblical. This is a fantastic book for kids in the preteen and early teen years, and is sure to be a hit with them. I highly recommend it, as does my nephew Josiah.

A copy of the book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Raised on the edge of the jungles of Nigeria and the prairies of Illinois, executive producer Brian Wells has helped bring to life award-winning network television movies that have been enjoyed by millions and applauded by family organizations across the U.S. Although seventh grade was the worst year of Brian’s life, it helped him develop the imagination and catlike reflexes he enjoys today. This is his first novel.

Thanks to FlyBy Promotions for the review and giveaway copies.

Giveaway: Thanks to Flyby Promotions, I have a copy of The League and the Lantern to give away to one winner. I will pick a winner 10 days from today on May 19 using

To enter, do any one  of these and comment with which one.

Extra entry: do a second one and make an additional comment with which one you did. Two entries maximum.

1) "Like" the page for the book on Facebook.

2) Go to the website for the book and download the first six chapters for free, here.

3) Go to YouTube and watch the overview for the book, or one of the trailers for the book.

4) Follow The League and the Lantern on Twitter.

5) "Like" Brian Wells' author page on Facebook.

6) Follow Brian on Amazon.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

A Regency-Era Costume Party Should Have Been an Amusing Diversion, but it Seems Wherever Drew Farthering Goes, Mystery--and Murder--Are on the Guest List

Drew and Madeline Farthering arrive at a Regency-era house party at Winteroak House, excited to be reunited with old friends, including Drew's former Oxford classmate Talbot Cummins. Tal is there with his fiancée, Alice Henley, and though many present seem worried about the couple, nobody is prepared when Alice dies from an apparent overdose. Tal refuses to believe she'd taken the drugs intentionally, and a dark question arises of whether the death is an accident or murder.

The police have their own information though, and Drew is shocked when they arrest someone he's trusted and admired since his childhood--someone who's been smuggling drugs into the country for years. Stunned by what has happened, Tal begs Drew to get to the bottom of everything, but Drew has never felt more unsettled. Questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, Drew doesn't know whom to trust, and he's not ready for the secrets he's about to uncover--or the danger he'll bring down on everyone he holds dear.

My review:
  This series is different from the usual suspense/mystery books that I read, but I have enjoyed reading it. The series is set in the 1930's, and is a bit reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie books in style and setting.

 This is book #4 in the Drew Farthering Mystery Series, and is the best so far in my humble opinion. It was different from the others in that it took place away from Drew's home, who is the main character. This is also the first book that has Drew being married, so that also added a new dimension to the story and his crime-solving.

 There were a lot of new characters in this story along with some of the regulars, and the author did a great job of keeping me guessing as to who the murderer was, and who all was involved in the other criminal activities in the book. She has created a great character in Drew, the detective wanna be who keeps having crimes happen around him that he gets involved in solving. You can't help but like him, even when he gets the police irritated because of his unwanted help.

 The book was a great read, and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was difficult to put down, and the author really outdid herself on this one. The setting and plot was a great one, it was clean and Christian, and very suspenseful. I highly recommend.

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

About the author:

Julianna Deering has always loved British history and literature and is particularly a fan of the classic mysteries written by Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas and now works for an attorney specializing in wills and estate planning. She lives outside Dallas, Texas, where she loves to quilt, cross-stitch, and watch hockey. Learn more at

Dressed for Death, and the rest of the Drew Farthering Mysteries are available from Bethany House; part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Ghost of Africa by Don Brobst

Together New York City surgeon Paul Branson and his wife, Nicki, had a dream: to help the people of the African bush. After Nicki’s untimely death, Paul decides to honor her memory and carry on alone. In South Sudan, he channels grief into hope, caring for villagers and working to save Leza, a little girl with leukemia who has captured his heart.

Meanwhile, Jason Quinn, terrorist leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, has deadly plans for the people of South Sudan. But he needs information to carry out his plot—information from research Paul did for the US government years ago. Quinn will stop at nothing to obtain this secret intelligence, even kidnap a dying child. Now, in order to save the ailing Leza and stop a genocide, Paul must go beyond his medical training to journey into a world of brutal terrorism and global intrigue. With only instinct and his faith as guides, how far will he go to save the lives of thousands?

My review:

   When I finished reading this novel, I closed my Kindle and said out loud "wow, that was awesome!" My review could be summed up in those few words, but a four word review doesn't cut it, so I'll try to turn those four words into a full length review.

  Don Brobst is a new author to me, and I believe this is the first novel he has written.... and he slammed it out of the park with his debut novel. I hope he writes more, but this will be a tough act to follow.

 I loved his main character, Dr Paul Branson. Sometimes fictional characters are portrayed unrealistically, but I felt this author didn't do that with his main character or other characters. Something a bit unusual that I picked up on, is there weren't many descriptions of the characters. I have no idea how old the doctor was supposed to be, but he had a college aged daughter. Nothing is given about his appearance or the appearances of most of the characters in the book..... and I kind of liked that. I had to come up with a mental picture of my own of the characters in this story.

 Most of the story takes place in Sudan, and Don did such a great job of describing the area, the scenery, the people, etc; that I felt I wanted to step into the pages and experience it for myself. That is the one bad part about reading this book: it left me with a nagging feeling that I don't do enough for God in my Christian life.

 The plot was awesome - an overused word, but it really was. The suspense never ended and there was constant drama and action. I made the mistake of taking my Kindle to read on my lunch breaks two days this week and had a hard time putting it down - the book is that good. There is a lot of violence and military action, but it isn't overdone nor overly descriptive. The panther part was a bit weird, but it just added another interesting dimension to this fantastic story.

 There was a lot of medical terms and procedures mentioned in the book, but Don did a great job of putting it in words that non-medical personnel can understand. I didn't realize until I finished the book that the author is a doctor, and that makes all of that even more realistic.

  I had an author tell me once that you can't write books like these without adding curse words....this novel is proof that you can. There is not one bad word in it, and though it isn't preachy; it is definitely Christian in content and worldview.

  The book came to a great and satisfying ending, though I wanted to read on and on. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a lot of political intrigue, suspense, drama, and action.

This book was provided to me for my honest review.

About the author:

Don Brobst, born in New Jersey and educated in Chicago, is a practicing physician and the Medical Director of the State of Alabama. Trained in family practice in Illinois, Don and his family moved to Birmingham in 1993. A proven leader in the field of medicine and member of the American Academy of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, he divides his time between his practice, family, writing, and working in Africa.

The dedicated father of three wonderful children, Wendy, Jonathan and Andrea, he’s passionate about writing while understanding the importance of family, which includes five grandchildren.

Spending time in New York, his favorite place to write, is one of his driving passions, even though he is unable to spend the time he would like in his favorite city in the world.

Working in the villages of Sudan, Don leads teams that deliver desperately needed medical care to the poor and needy deep in the African bush, as well as throughout Egypt and Ethiopia. Delivering medical care to those who need it most, he considers himself deeply fortunate to be in a position to do so, regardless of the risks and inconveniences of life on the front lines.

Because of his work in the heart of these nations, Don is in an unusual position of trust, which allows him access to areas of the world considered to be “off limits” to non-medical personnel. The insight he’s gained from these operations has been the key to unlocking secrets revealed in The Ghost of Africa and the sequels that follow.

Don thrives on adventure, intrigue, and adrenaline. His pursuit of the thrill is not thrust upon him—it is that which makes him unique, and opens doors otherwise barred. He will go wherever he can to do what he can – always.

Check out his website at

Thanks to the author for the Kindle version of the book to review, and to Rel from Relz Reviews for asking me to review it.

The Inheritance by Michael Phillips

Bethany House Publishers invite readers to experience the first book, The Inheritance, in Michael Phillips' epic new family saga series, Secrets of the Shetlands.

The death of clan patriarch Macgregor Tulloch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed Tulloch's heir to be his much-loved grandnephew David. But when no will is discovered, David's calculating cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island's land. And Hardy knows a North Sea oil investor who will pay dearly for that control. 

While the competing claims are investigated, the courts have frozen the estate's assets, leaving many of the locals in dire financial straits. The future of the island---and its traditional way of life---hangs in the balance.

Meanwhile, Loni Ford enjoys a rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, D.C. Yet, in spite of outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is, until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .

Past and present collide in master storyteller Michael Phillips' dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace.

My review:

   I have not read a Michael Phillips book for years, and thought this one sounded interesting when it came up for review. The book was a little difficult getting into at first. It moved slowly and bounced around between several people a lot, but once the author got past the beginning of the book; it took off and got my attention.

 Through fiction, this novel offers a fascinating look at Scotland and the whole lord and chief process and what those entail. The book is full of colorful descriptions of the land of Scotland, the people, and their traditions and talk. At times I wasn't sure what the dialogue was saying for sure when he used the Scottish brogue, but it was still a fascinating and exciting read.

 Phillips came up with some great characters for his book, especially the two main characters:

David, who seemed a shoo-in for taking over as chief and cares about the island and its people,  only to find his ruthless cousin trying to get it.

Loni: An American orphaned as a child trying to find her way, and then her life takes an unexpected turn with a letter from Scotland.

  Once I got past the start of the book, I found this book hard to put down. It is not a mystery/suspense novel, yet is a very suspenseful read in the fact that the reader wants to know what is going to happen: Will David become chief and save the island and its people, or will Hardy win and sell everything out from under the people? And what role does this American woman have in it?

  My one complaint about the book is the ending. This may be a bit of a spoiler, but it ends without resolving the issues..... which makes me want the next book now....... but it will be several months before it is over. I still recommend the book, it is a wonderful novel worth reading and hard to put down.

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

About the author:

Michael Phillips is a bestselling author who has penned more than seventy books, both fiction and nonfiction. In addition, he has served as editor/redactor of nearly thirty more books. Over the past thirty years, his persistent efforts have helped reawaken interest in the writings of nineteenth century Scotsman George MacDonald. Michael and his wife, Judy, spend time each year in Scotland, but make their home near Sacramento, California.

The Inheritance, book one in The Secrets of the Shetlands series, is available from Bethany House Publishers.

Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.

Enter to in a copy of The Inheritance here.