Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ryan's Father by June Foster

Book description:

The rippling influence of Ryan Reid's less than moral mother and absent father left a mark on his soul. Yet everything changed when the young teacher gave his life to the Lord...almost everything.

An earthquake hurls the beautiful Sandy Arrington into his life, tossing his world upside down. But when God calls him to build an annex for needy teens at his church, he finds himself battling an attraction toward his male partner in the project. His own struggles and Sandy's growing feelings for him force Ryan to face the issue he's long buried.

Can he dig his way out from under his secret to find Sandy's love?

My review:

   I'd never heard of this author until last week. Another Christian fiction author was having a Christian fiction scavenger hunt online - they are fun, though I never win anything - and June was one of the authors participating. She was giving away a copy of this novel. so I entered to win and commented that I hoped to win it, as I also struggle with same-sex attractions as her main character in the book does. Next thing I know, she commented on my blog with an offer to review the book, which I took her up on.

  I have long wished a Christian author would write a book like this. I actually started to write one, but never finished it. I am going to review this in a slightly different manner, splitting the review up as I occasionally do into parts:

The writing:

  The book is well written, and I like the author's writing style. Sometimes with smaller publishing companies, the editing and writing aren't too great, but they are in this novel. Though not a suspense novel, I found myself engrossed in it as much as if it were.

The characters:

  If an author doesn't have likable and believable characters, the story can be a total loss. I found myself really liking  the characters in Ryan's Father, and especially Ryan, who I could completely empathize with. Often characters in books are too perfect, but Ryan's flaws and struggles made him all the more likable.

The struggle:

 I can personally attest what it is like to have this struggle. June did a masterful job of portraying the struggle and the anguish of a Christian wanting to do the right thing, yet gripped by desires they did not want or choose.

 This is not a slam of the author, as she said the same thing at the end of the book: the speed of Ryan's deliverance from same-sex attractions to opposite sex attractions is unrealistic. Though many men have changed enough to be able to marry a woman and make it work, it rarely - if ever - happens as fast as it did in the book, and many never are able to achieve that.

 It is getting harder and harder to be a Christian holding a Biblical view of sexuality, and it takes courage for an author to write a book like this. Not all will like it, and the author has already received some negative comments. I am one who appreciates this book a lot. It does not give an extensive look into what it is like to have this struggle, but it gives a good enough look that maybe Christians reading it will better understand what we go through who do have it.

 I very much enjoyed this book, largely in part because I could so much identify with it, but the author did a great job of addressing this very difficult issue through the medium of Christian fiction. I most definitely recommend it.

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

About the author:

  An award-winning author, June Foster is also a retired teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She is the mother of two and grandmother of ten. June began writing Christian romance in 2010. She penned her first novel on her Toshiba laptop as she and her husband traveled the US in their RV. Her adventures provided a rich source of information for her novels. In 2013, June's book Give Us This Day was a finalist in EPIC's eBook awards and in 2014 a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards for best first book. Ryan's Father won The Clash of the Titles book of the month for January 2014 and was one of three finalists in the published contemporary fiction category of the 2014 Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest and Awards. Deliver Us was a finalist in COTT's 2014 Laurel Awards. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Ryan's Father is available from WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and For All Eternity are available from and Smashwords. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives.

Check out her blog at

Ryan's Father is published by White Fire Publishing, and is available on, and other retail websites.

Dark Deception, Defenders of Justice #2 by Nancy Mehl

Book description:

New Edge-of-Your-Seat Read from an Established Romantic Suspense Author 

Kate O'Brien has been leading a quiet life in small-town Shelter Cove, Arkansas, for the past four years when her past suddenly comes roaring back to life. Four years ago, she and her twin sister were attacked by an elusive serial killer. Only Kate survived, and it was her drawing of the attacker--along with some last-minute evidence--that convicted the suspect. 

She's been in witness protection ever since, but new evidence suggests the convicted man isn't the murderer and she's been subpoenaed to testify in the new trial. Nervous about the risk, she'll only agree if the same marshal who protected her during the original trial escorts her to St. Louis. 

Deputy U.S. Marshal Tony DeLuca accepts the assignment to bring Kate to the trial, remembering how her strength impressed him. While in Shelter Cove, however, he gets a call from his chief, advising them to stay in Shelter Cove until a new development in the case can be straightened out. But when Kate's safety is threatened, Tony must race against the clock to keep her alive and put this ugly case to rest before anyone else gets killed.

My review:

   I have not been reading Nancy Mehl's books very long, but I have enjoyed every novel of hers I have read. This is the second book in the Defenders of Justice Series, a series about US Marshals. Unlike some series, I can't see it necessary to read them in order. The plot and most of the characters are totally different from the first book.

  This novel gives a good look at the Federal Witness Protection system and how it works. I have always been interested in that, and Mehl seems to do a good job of portraying what it is like to be in the system, and what the marshals do to insure the safety of those in it.

 Dark Deception is totally different than the first book. I enjoyed #1, but the action and suspense were more intense in this novel, and it did not stop once it started. The author had a couple of surprises, and plot twists I didn't see coming, which I enjoy. The characters were great, and the romance angle was well done. I did end up reading the book in one sitting, and very much enjoyed this newest foray into suspense by Nancy Mehl.

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

About the author:

Nancy MehlNancy Mehl ( is the author of twenty-seven books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. She received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. She is part of The Suspense Sisters:, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.

Dark Deception is available from Bethany House Publishers, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

 Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Israel - God's Heart by Ron Gafni and Kathleen Barrett

Book description:

A captivating pictorial of the Holy Land and a scriptural journey through God's redemptive story.

Many of us only dream of traveling to the Holy Land. Very few, like Israel's top aerial photographer, Ron Gofni, soar above the craggy mountains ranges of Masada, the salty Dead Sea, and the iconic locations where Jesus walked. Israel - God's Heart - Landscapes and Legacy beautifully captures the ancient landscapes of this great nation, as well as presents the legacy of God's redemption plan for the world.

As you slowly turn the pages, you will find unexpected vantage points, such as the Tower of David surrounded by city lights and fast-paced cars and a hot air balloon floating over a field of cotton. From a bird's eye view, you will also experience a vibrant, bustling, modern Israel. Biblical references and thoughtful narrative by author Kathleen Barrett intertwines with awe-inspiring photography to bring you to the Holy Land time and time again.

My review:

  I have never visited Israel, though I would love to do some day. I have only seen it through photography, and this book has some of the best photography of Israel I have seen, As the front of the book indicates, there is a lot of aerial photography in the book, though not all of the photos were taken from the air. There are a lot that were not. There are photos of familiar places such as Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, along with several others I am not familiar with, photos of animals, etc. There are photos of historical buildings and places, along with modern places and buildings.

  Along with the photos are explanations of what the photos are of, sometimes with a more detailed description.

 I enjoyed looking through this book, reading the photo comments, and getting a view of Israel from above. The authors did a great job of putting this book together, and it would make a great coffee table book.

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

About the authors:

Israel's top aerial photographer, Ron Gafni, brings his vast experience and personal perspective
through the lens of a proud Israeli citizen. His work has been featured in National Geographic, and his company,, provides books from its "Israel From Above" collection to the Israeli Government, Army, and Air Force, as well as to large corporations in Israel.

Co-author Kathleen Barrett, a Florida resident and former pre-school teacher, shares her thoughtful point of view in Israel - God's Heart from a personal, 40-year walk of Christian faith and study. She has also authored a children's devotional and numerous articles on a variety of topics from missions outreach to political events. Her more personal and reflective work has been featured in a number of collections.

To sample the book digitally, click here.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Artifacts of Conspiracy by Dony Jay

Reagan Rainey was eleven years old when CIA men came to his house and broke the news that his father was dead. And so for the past twenty years, he and his family believed just that. But when a Russian spy named Moses suddenly comes forward and teases a tightly held secret from the past, Rainey’s world is turned upside down.

As part of the ensuing internal CIA investigation, Rainey—Delta Force special operator turned CIA operations officer—is dispatched to Great Britain to find out what really happened to his father and why. After narrowly escaping gunmen in England and an ambush in Spain, Rainey mounts his own operation that will lead readers through the spy-rich streets of Vienna and Prague and to the doorstep of Moscow. And leave Rainey staring face to face with a killer.

In his most daunting mission to date, Rainey will do whatever it takes to discover the truth. For his country, his family and himself. A truth that will challenge the very fiber of his faith and just might shake America to its core.

My review:

  A while back,  a favorite author of mine was recommending a new book by a new author. The book sounded really good, and I trust this author, so I bought that book and devoured it. The book was Warrior Spy by Dony Jay. The warrior spy is a Christian former military guy who now works for a secret branch of the CIA. The book was truly awesome, no exaggerations. It so impressed me that I did a review of it on my blog, even though it was not a book given to me to review.... I bought it.

 And now, the sequel is out, and again I am posting a review of a book I purchased. The author has come up with the perfect hero in Regan Rainey, a man dedicated completely to God and his country, in that order.

 This novel hits home for Rainey, and uncovers a plot and treason at the highest levels of the government. The book takes the reader all over the map: Germany, Spain, England, and more. It has all the pulse pounding suspense and more of the first book, and brings back a lot of the same characters from the first book. This is a masterpiece of Christian fiction, and I was so into the book that I read it in one day, which is a high compliment to the book. I loved the climax of  the book, what I was hoping would happen, and was moved to tears by it.

 I am more careful in my language than some, so I was bothered by the use of "pissed off" in a Christian novel, and would rather it not be in there. There was also a couple of crude references made between guys that female readers may find offensive, and maybe not. Other than that, I have no complaints about the book except it is now finished and leaving me hoping for a sequel. This is definitely a book and series I would recommend, especially for guys.

 I recommend reading the first book in the series, Warrior Spy.

About the author:

Dony Jay is a graduate of York College of PA, with a B.S. degree in criminal justice. He serves as a detective for a suburban police department in Pennsylvania. When he's not reading or writing, Dony loves spending time with his family, staying fit and cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles. Above all, he is a follower of Jesus Christ. According to Dony, the tenets of a rich & rewarding life include faith, family and freedom. In that order. He resides in south-central Pennsylvania.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Layman Looks At the Lord's Prayer

Book description:

A fresh look at a famous prayer 

“There is inherent in this prayer all the strength and compassion of our Father in heaven. There moves through it a beauty and a serenity which no mortal man can fully explain. It reassures our hearts, strengthens our resolve, and leads us into personal contact with God, our Father.” 

In this moving book by “an ordinary man and a child of God,” Phillip Keller takes each phrase of the Lord's Prayer one-by-one, unfolding it in wonderful detail and sharing insights he’s gained and experiences he’s enjoyed.

Next to Psalm 23, the Lord’s Prayer is perhaps the most universally beloved passage in Scripture. It has been repeated millions of times by countless individuals for nearly 20 centuries. Yet, in spite of so much use and familiarity it has never lost its luster. A Layman’s Look at the Lord’s Prayer presents that luster in a fresh way to help you rediscover its incredible power. 

My review:

  I am very familiar with this author's book "A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23." Although this book has been out for several years, I am not familiar with it. When this new printing of it came up for review, I decided to review it, as I like reading about the Lord's Prayer.

 Keller assigns a different chapter to each phrase in the prayer, coming in at 12 chapters. I like his writing style, and he brought out some thoughts I had never read or considered before. He doesn't belabor the points he makes, yet does a thorough job of getting them across. The book totals 157 pages, which shows he does manage to say a lot about this short little prayer.

 I found the whole book interesting and helpful, but especially enjoyed and appreciated the chapter "Thy Will Be Done." Keller brought out some great points about God's will, and it was something I needed to read.

 This was an interesting and fresh look at this prayer we have read and prayed over and over, and I definitely recommend it.

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

About the author:

W. Phillip Keller (1920-1997) wrote more than thirty-five books on Christian subjects, including his most popular book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 The son of missionary parents in Kenya, Keller grow up in Africa before becoming a world citizen as a photographer, agronomist, and author. His books have over two million copies in print.

A Layman Looks at The Lord's Prayer is available from Moody Publishing.

Thanks to Moody for the review copy.

The Most Misused Stories In the Bible by Eric Bargerhuff

Book description:

Are you sure you know what your favorite Bible stories mean?

A surprising number of popular Bible stories are commonly misused or misunderstood, even by well-intentioned Christians. In this book, Eric J. Bargerhuff helps you sort through modern-day distortions of these well-known stories and grasp their meaning and purpose for us today. See with fresh eyes the life-changing truths in stories such as: 

David and Goliath
Jonah and the Big Fish
The Woman Caught in Adultery
Zacchaeus, the tax collector
Gideon and His Fleece
Judas, the Betrayer

Filled with fascinating historical and scriptural insights, this concise yet thorough book will help you learn how to read and apply all of God's Word more faithfully.

My review:

  This is one of those books where I found myself agreeing and disagreeing with the author. Not every instance he labels as a misuse of a story was one I agreed with, but I did find myself agreeing with him on other misuses of a story.

 The book is well written, well researched, and is an interesting and fun read. I enjoyed the author's retelling of these well known Bible stories and also enjoyed his insights into them. I did think he made a bigger deal of some of the so-called misuses of some of the stories, but I still enjoyed those sections.

  If nothing else, this is a book that makes you look at some Bible stories in a different light and see some things in them you never noticed before. It is definitely worth reading.

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

About the author:

Eric J. Bargerhuff, PhD, teaches in the Bible and Theology department and directs the Honors Program at Trinity College of Florida. He served in pastoral ministry for more than twenty years in churches in Ohio, Illinois, and Florida. He received his doctorate in biblical and systematic theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Eric's passion is to write systematic and practical theology for the purposes of spiritual growth and reform in the church. He is a member of the Center for Pastor Theologians (CPT) and the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS).

Eric is the author of The Most Misused Verses in the Bible and The Most Misused Stories in the Bible. He also wrote Love that Rescues: God's Fatherly Love in the Practice of Church Discipline, which explores the grace and fatherly love of God that should be embodied in a church's efforts to restore a brother or sister in Christ who has gone astray. Eric and his family live in Trinity, Florida.

The Most Misused Stories In the Bible is available from Bethany House Publishing.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted

Book description: 

Helping the Same-Sex Attracted Faithfully Follow Jesus

As Christians seek to be biblically faithful on the issue of homosexuality, two fundamental questions come to mind: How can a person with same-sex attraction faithfully follow Jesus in his or her sexuality? And how can we support and encourage them in this?

With compassion and wisdom--on a topic rife with misunderstanding and hurt--author and pastor Ron Citlau will help you think deeply and clearly about every option the Bible offers, and what it clearly does not. Having personally dealt with same-sex attraction, walked with others still struggling, and pastored those with gay loved ones, he thoroughly examines all of the available options--heterosexual marriage, singleness, celibacy, and more--and considers them in light of the Scriptures.

With clarity and grace, he helps you discover the remarkable gifts God provides to the Christian who struggles with same-sex attraction and desires to faithfully follow Jesus. Here is a message of hope and practical, loving guidance for those who are same-sex attracted--and those who love them. 

My review:

  There are a lot of books on the Christian market about homosexuality/same-sex attraction. I have read a lot of them, and feel this is one of the better ones out there.

 The title of the book is "Hope for  the Same-sex attracted, and that is what the author does. Often in discussions about this issue, the person dealing with SSA gets lost in the discussion. I can attest personally that it is a very difficult thing to deal with, but this author gets it and has put onto paper not just how others can help people with SSA, but shows that there is indeed hope for we who deal personally with SSA.

 The first part of the book deals with the obstacles we face. The second section deals with the gifts we have that can be of help to us. The third section is final thoughts with a message for church leaders, and a last word of hope for the same-sex attracted.

 This is an interesting and helpful book not just for the same-sex attracted, but also for those wanting to better understand the issue and be a help to those dealing with it. I highly recommend it,

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

About the author:

Ron Citlau graduated from the University of California, Riverside and Western Theological Seminary. He has served in ministry positions in Southern California and Kansas City. He is the pastor of Calvary Church in Orland Park, Illinois, part of the Reformed Church in America.

Ron struggled with same-sex attraction his whole life and has worked with and walked alongside many others who have struggled with sexual brokenness, as well as equipping pastoral leaders to serve those dealing with sexual sin. He also worked with Andrew Comiskey, producing curriculum on sexual healing now used by Desert Stream Ministries in hundreds of churches throughout the country. When he isn't working, he loves to be with his wife, Amy, and their four boys: Jack, Sawyer, Eli, and Crosby.

Twitter @citlau


Hope For the Same-Sex Attracted is available from Bethany House Publishers.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Driver Confessional by David L Winters

Book description:

Driver Confessional tells the story of Antonio, a ride-share driver who winds through the streets of
Washington, D.C. in search of his next fare to support his young family and pay law school expenses. His easy manner and Italian good looks lead passengers to disclose a bit more than they intended. On a particularly dark evening, his sedan pulls up in front of a posh Washington restaurant.

On her way to a midnight meeting in a Senate office building, a mysterious woman and her confession plunge Antonio and his police detective brother into international espionage, the Russian mob and corporate excess. Clues add up to danger and car chases pile up on ethical dilemmas.

My review:

  I enjoy reading new authors, and especially new suspense authors. This book wasn't as long as most of the ones I read, coming in at just 207 pages, but the author packed a lot into those 207 pages. I liked the plot, the idea of a Buber (Uber) driver conversing with his riders was a neat idea to go with. I liked the characters - especially the main one,  the suspense, and drama that came through on nearly every page.

 On the downside, I found some of the writing a bit amateurish, but  not bad enough that it turned me off. Winters did a great job of spinning a tail of suspense that kept my attention. I enjoyed the book a lot, and am looking forward to the promised sequel.

 Driver Confessional may not be as professionally written as books from the bigger Christian publishing companies, but it is still a book worth reading and was suspenseful enough to make me happy.

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

About the author:

David L. Winters is an award-willing author, humorist and speaker. His first book, Sabbatical of the Mind: The Journey from Anxiety to Peace won the Silver Illumination Award from
the Jenkins Group.

Driver Confessional is available from Carpenter's Son Publishing.

Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.