Wednesday, November 15, 2017

By Way of Announcement.....

Just to let all you in cyber world know, Dorcas Smucker has a new book out, and has several ladies blogging about it this month. On Saturday, at 8:00am ( if it posts properly) I will be posting my own review of this book, Fragrant Whiffs of Joy, and offering a giveaway. So be sure to come around and enter! You have from Saturday til Wednesday to get your name in. 

To see who else is hosting a giveaway, go to Dorcas' blog: dorcassmucker.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

An Unexplainable Life

     BOOK REVIEW:   Can you explain your life apart from God? Most of us live a shadow of the life we're called to. Perhaps more than any other book in the Bible, Acts shows us what life can be when lived in the power of God.
      An Unexplainable Life is an in-depth study meant to reignite a movement of the Holy Spirit in us individually and in our churches collectively.

  • Verse-by-verse study of Acts 1-12, spread over ten weeks (5 lessons/week)
  • Full of biblical, theological, and historical insights
  • Text-based discussion questions that truly provoke thought
     Erika's love for God, His Word, and His church shines on every page. She masterfully guides us deep into the text, challenge us with Scripture as she shares how it is challenging her. 
     Engage honestly with this study, and you will be changed. Go through it with a small group, and you will come away as a powerful force. Complete it as a church, and who knows what the Lord will do? 

     MY REVIEW:   As mentioned above, this book is a devotional, written by Erica Wiggenhorn. It is based on the book of Acts, the first 12 chapters, and is divided into 10 weeks, each with a different focus. 
     To begin the day, there are a few verses of Acts to read (each lesson picks up where the last left off), and the script is based on that. Placed between Erica's thoughts are questions to answer, written in lovely blue ink so as to stand out. 
     This devotional seems to be geared toward women, but could go either way. I've done the first week, and I think I like it. I haven't gone through a lot of devotionals (especially ones like this that are more than just a page to read instead of having to read your Bible) so I don't have much to base my opinion on. I can't say I just love it, but I do like it. The lessons are longer, and take 15-20min to do, but that can change depending on how fast you go through it. As I understand it, there is a second book on the rest of Acts. 
     As to the cosmetics of the book itself, the cover has a watercolor look and feel. It is softcover, but a bit wider than your average book. The spine seems to be slightly reinforced to accommodate the constant opening-wider-to-write-in, and the headers of each lesson are also printed in watercolor, but much richer blue and regular paper feel (which is a bit odd at times if you expect watercolor feel :) And the weight of the book lends an oddly satisfying feeling as you carry it about. :) 

I received a copy of this book from MOODY PUBLISHERS per their blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review. 
     

Monday, October 23, 2017

Where We Belong

     BOOK REVIEW:   In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules and expectations for Victorian women are strict, their roles in life limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventures and their desire to use their God-given talents have taken them out of society ballrooms and delivered them to the Sinai Desert---and into the teeth of a sandstorm.
     Accompanied by Soren Peterson, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a plucky street urchin learning to be their lady's maid, the two women are on a quest across the desert, chasing rumors of an important biblical manuscript.
     As the expedition becomes ever more dangerous and uncertain, all four travelers sift through memories and adventures of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the journeys and providence that brought them to this very time and place.

     MY REVIEW:  The caption of this book really caught my attention---two Victorian ladies traveling through the Sinai Desert to an isolated monastery in search of ancient Bible manuscripts. Not to mention they are traveling with no husbands, fathers, brothers, or even trusted friends; just their young and unconventional butler and lady's maid who can't even get along with each other. Yup, definitely a book that promises to be interesting.
     Lynn did a lovely job of switching between past and present, keeping it easy to follow yet not over-simplified. The flashbacks were more of the story than the actual present, but I really liked that she kept it chronological. She gives us the background of the two ladies, yet this allows her to jump between events without feeling like that's what she's doing. She covers a lot of years, only landing on the bigger events. It's also more interesting than just reading through their lives.
     I didn't really like Rebecca's character very well at first. She felt adventurous to a fault, being more interested in satisfying her craving for travel while Flora was the one who actually did something to help the poor people they met. But as the story progressed and Rebecca matured a little, she started to grow on me.
     I liked Flora's character though. She was more caring, and started many missions, including Sunday School classes for the poor, and an orphanage. She and Rebecca were quite wealthy, and gave substantially to the poor. (If you'll notice, however, being a story, they never ran out or low of money, and were always living in a lovely mansion. :) You gotta love story life.
     Lynn Austin has authored several books, some of which I liked and others I didn't. I've read her REFINER'S FIRE series (A Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, and A Light to my Path) and some of All She Ever Wanted. Other of her books are Waves of Mercy, On This Foundation which is Biblical Fiction, and While We're Apart. You can find the rest of her books either by Googling her or searching her website: http://lynnaustin.org/books/.

  I received a copy of this book from BETHANY HOUSE per their blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review. 
   

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey

     BOOK REVIEW:   Tainted by scandal and forced to leave London for the quiet of Brighton, the Honorable Miss Clara DeLancey is a shadow of her former society self. A chance encounter brings her a healing friendship with the sisters of an injured naval captain. But Clara's mama, the Viscountess Winpoole, is appalled at the new company she's keeping.
     Captain Benjamin Kemsley is not looking for a wife. But his gallant spirit won't let him ignore the penniless viscount's daughter---not when she so obviously needs to be rescued from the despair that threatens her from day to day. Can he protect his heart and still keep her safe?
     When they're pushed into the highest echelons of society at the Prince Regent's Brighton Pavilion, this mismatched couple must decide if family honor is more important than their hopes. Can they right the wrongs of the past and find future happiness together---without finances, family support, or royal favor?
     The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey is full of the captivating, flawed characters, fascinating historical details, and masterful writing that Carolyn Miller's fans have come to expect.

      MY REVIEW:   This book is the third and last in Carolyn's REGENCY BRIDES, A LEGACY OF GRACE series. The first two books are The Elusive Miss Ellison and The Captivating Lady Charlotte. I have read them both, but I didn't retain much of what was said. The characters from these previous books are mentioned and alluded to many times in this book (especially Miss Ellison), but it can be read alone. Though if you're like me, it will bother you not to know what it was that happened between Miss Ellison and Clara.
     The book starts off interesting, with Clara nearly falling off a cliff which introduces her to Mr. Kemsley, of course. But after the first few chapters, it got a little dull. The end, however, gets interesting again, with Clara's brother trying to exchange her for payment of his depts. But I won't say anymore about that...
     This wasn't a favorite book of mine. The first and second books I liked a little better, but this one just struck me as slow-moving story. I did, however, like the change shown in Clara's life, and the apologies and forgiveness offered by her.
     
   I received a copy of this book from KREGEL PUBLISHERS per their blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review. 
   

Friday, October 13, 2017

Isaiah's Daughter

     BOOK REVIEW:   The Hebrews are a divided nation. Israel in the north--ten tribes strong--has bowed to pagan worship. In Judah's two tribes, an evil king mocks King David's legacy while a remnant of Yahweh's faithful cling desperately to their one true God.
     Caught in the middle of the warring is an orphaned girl named Ishma--meaning "desolation". Her short life already mirrors the name.

YET YAHWEH'S PLAN FOR HER HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN.
     
     Ishma enters the prophet Isaiah's home as a household servant, but her quick mind and lively spirit gain the friendship of Prince Hezekiah. When Isaiah sees their relationship mature, he adopts Ishma, giving her a royal pedigree and a new name. Ishma becomes Hephzibah--"delight of the Lord"--and the desolate captive becomes Judah's queen. 
     But loving Hezekiah will require more of Hephzibah than she ever imagined. From Ahab's terrifying reign to the Assyrian threat and Isaiah's own perplexing prophecies--Zibah remains trapped by fear, facing an uncertain future. Will palace life lead to freedom from her past? Or can she trust everything to the only One who gives life and delivers both a captive heart and a desperate nation?


     MY REVIEW:   This book is about Hephzibah, the wife of King Hezekiah (Judah's most righteous king) and the mother of Manasseh (Judah's wickedest king). In this book, she is portrayed as the adopted daughter of Isaiah who grew up as Hezekiah's fellow student.
     While Biblical Fiction can lead astray from true happenings by creative additions, they also make that particular story more "real" and understandable for us today. This book gave me a new appreciation of Isaiah's prophecies, especially when he had to prophecy of terrible things. And of Hezekiah's desire to serve Yahweh, while having been raised in the palace and groomed by Ahab. He thinks he is doing so well, but with the power and prestige given to kings, he is a little quick to consider his own plan over Yahweh's.
     This book covers the difficulties and struggles this couple shared, from misunderstanding the other's intentions, to many lost babies, to concern over Isaiah's prophecies of Assyria's destruction and the King that would arise from Judah. Was that king Hezekiah?? But of course, everything is clear in the end.
     I really enjoyed this book. More of Mesu Andrew's books are Miriam, The Lost Years of Mehy, and Pharoah's Daughter. Her website is mesuandrews.com, and the rest of her books can be found there.

  I received a copy of this book from BLOGGING FOR BOOKS per their blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Life-Changing Miracles

     BOOK REVIEW:   God is near and wants to help, whatever you're going through. In Life-Changing Miracles, ordinary people share extraordinary stories of how their lives were turned upside down by a miraculous encounter. Watch God's display of power help people miraculously overcome disease, temptation, and unbelief, often leaving a mark for all eternity.
     Let this book encourage your belief that God still works on earth today. He wants to demonstrate His might, not only to help and heal you in time of your need, but to bring you closer to Him in a relationship that will last forever.

     MY REVIEW:   This is the second of James Stuart Bell's books that I have read, the first being Gifts from Heaven. I really enjoyed them both. I especially liked the cover of this book---it is beautiful! If I had to choose which book I liked better, I think I would choose Gifts from Heaven, but this one I enjoyed as well.
     Again, this is a compilation of stories, each about a personal miracle which that person has experienced. Not bigwigs or special people, but ordinary ones. Ranging from seeing Jesus Himself, to feeling Him near, these stories tell the realness of miracles today.
     How often do we REALLY believe that God is still working miracles? It's too easy for me to think that was all in Bible times, but just because we can't physically see Jesus now, doesn't mean we can't see His Hand at work. These stories are encouraging, as is the fact that somewhere out there, James is compiling them and sharing with us all.
     Others of James' books are Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters; Heaven Touching Earth; and Encountering Jesus. And of course, Gifts from Heaven.

  I received a copy of this book from BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS per their blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review.  
   

Monday, September 25, 2017

My Reader Rewards/Marta's Legacy Series

I have mentioned My Reader Rewards Club before, here, but I'm excited to share my newest books from them: Her Mother's Hope and Her Daughter's Dream, given together as MARTA'S LEGACY. 




Francine Rivers is a favorite author of mine, and for 180 points, I got two 500 word hardcover books, enclosed in a lovely cardboard case. It is beautiful, worth $35.99. 


I just finished reading the second book from my mom, like yesterday, and now I have my own set!!

For those of you who don't have a list of books they really want and can't share my ecstasy, imagine finding a big box of your favorite chocolates on your desk, plus flowers and really good coffee. That's how delighted I am.   :) 

So if you like Francine Rivers and also want this set (plus any other books being offered just now), pop in at https://myreaderrewardsclub.com/

Liar's Winter

     BOOK REVIEW:   From the moment Lochiel Ogle entered the world, her red-wine birthmark has put her life in jeopardy. Mountain folks call it "the mark of the Devil". And for all the evil that has plagued her nineteen years, Lochiel can't help but agree. If there's one thing she knows, it's that people only wish her harm.
     Beaten and left for dead by her brother, Lochiel is rescued by a stranger. At his hand, she experiences kindness and love instead of fear and hatred, and the lies behind her entire existence are exposed. But just as she begins to trust this saviour, she finds her life in danger again.
     Set in the wild and beautiful Appalachian Mountains of nineteenth-century East Tennessee, Liar's Winter is an unflinching yet inspirational exploration of prejudice, choice, and learning to trust God.
   
     MY REVIEW:    Let me start by explaining the title:  "Liar's winter---the time when the mountain fights with winter and spring not knowin whether to warm the ground or chill a body to the bone."
     This book is the story of Lochiel Ogles, a nineteen-year-old girl living in the Appalachian Mountains. After being abandoned by her volatile brother, she is found by a peddler who takes her to stay with his mother. Here she learns that her entire life has been a lie, and her parents did not rescue her as a baby---they stole her away. As her brother continues to hunt her down, Lochiel has to decided whether to trust the peddler and his mother, and what they've told her.
     One thing I really liked about this book is the lesson that the peddler taught Lochiel----you are who you choose to be. You can choose anger and hatred (like her family and brother) or you can choose love. Lochiel battles the desire to see her brother killed, but this lesson wins in the end.
     Most fiction stories set the plot simply to hide the real story---the love story. This book though, was entirely about Lochiel and finding out who her parents really are. She is married in the epilogue and that is introduced a bit in the last chapter, but not at all a major theme.
     I can't decide if this book has too fast an ending or not. It would have nice to read more about Lochiel after she finds her mother and her brother is gone, but as for the story, it all got wrapped up.
     Cindy Sproles was raised in the Appalachian Mountains and now lives and writes in Tennessee. Her book is written in the "mountain lingo", for example: "I brung you here for two reasons. First, it's hidden away. Safe. Ain't hardly a soul knows this place is here. "  She has written another book in this series, Mercy's Rain, plus several other books. You can find her at cindysproles.com.

   I received a copy of this book from KREGEL PUBLISHERS per their blogger program and was only asked to write an honest review.
   

Daring to Hope

     BOOK REVIEW:   How do you hold on to hope when you don't get the ending you asked for?   When Katie Davis Majors moved to Uganda, accidentally founded a booming organization, and later became a mother through the miracle of adoption, she was determined to deeply weave her life together with the people she desired to serve. But the joy of caring for one person at a time meant investigating her heart fully into the many needs around her and often gave way to sorrow as she walked alongside people in the grip of addiction, desperation, and disease.
     After unexpected tragedy shook her family, for the first time in her life Katie began to wonder, Is God really good? Does He really love us? As she turned to Him with her doubts and shaky faith, God did not remain silent but spoke truths to her heart, drawing her even more deeply into relationship with Him.
     Daring to Hope is an invitation to believe in the God of the impossible---the God who whispers His love to us in the quiet, in the mundane, when our prayers are not answered the way we wanted or the miracle doesn't come. It's about a mother discovering the extraordinary strength it takes just to be ordinary. It's about choosing faith no matter the circumstance and about encountering God's goodness and presence in the least expected places, when life is a far cry from anything we imagined.
     Though your heartaches and dreams may take a different shape, you will find your own questions echoed in these pages. You'll be reminded of the gifts of joy in the midst of sorrow and courage in the face of uncertainty. And you'll hear God's whisper: Your hope in Me will never never leave you disappointed.

     MY REVIEW:   I have previously read Katie's book, "Kisses from Katie", though it's been too long to really remember what it was about. I do remember liking it though, which is why I grabbed this book when I saw it.
     I don't remember how the first book was formatted, but I was expecting this one to be rather like an autobiography, telling of her life in Uganda and the friends she had made and her family and so on. But it really wasn't like that. It is a tale of Katie's journey in Christ, of accepting deep disappointments, bearing the death of friends, praying for the seeming impossible and being able to hope.
     In the beginning of the book and through the middle I was a little surprised that Katie didn't mention her husband. It seemed a little odd that she would reference her (many) girls, but not he. Then toward the end he came in. She hadn't mentioned him since at that point they weren't yet married. No longer surprised was I.  :)   Then I was impressed that Katie was running such a functioning home and family on her own. I mean, she had a lovely sounding house, plus a guest house in the back yard, a backyard, garden, and don't forget 13 daughters!!! And she made time and space for ANYONE who needed a place to stay or was sick and needed nursing or whatever. She would have multiple family sleeping on her living room floor at times. It really was both impressive and inspiring.
     One thing I really was impressed by was Katie's response when she felt unloved and forgotten by God: she took bright pink sticky-notes and wrote down blessings EVERY TIME she thought of them. She then stuck them to the wall above her kitchen sink and clung to hope. That was neat!
     I would truly recommend this book, but if you're like me and like to know a little more about the person you're reading about, you should read her first book also. I could be remembering it wrong, but I recall it's being more a detailed story of her life than this one.

    I received a copy of this book from BLOGGING FOR BOOKS per their blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review. 
   

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Spiritual Discipleship

     BOOK REVIEW:   How do you know you're a true disciple?   There are many expressions of the Christian faith, but there's only one definition of a disciple: someone who imitates Christ. What is that person like? 
     This book will show you. From the bestselling author of Spiritual Leadership (over one million copies sold), it examines Jesus' teaching on what it means to follow Him, helping you become the kind of Christian He wants you to be, not the kind devised by man. You'll learn:
       *The biblical profile of a disciple. 
       *The conditions for following Christ.
       *The tests and trials that true disciples endure
         And more......
For new Christians who want to know how they should live, or for long-time Christians who need reminding, Spiritual Discipleship provides clear, biblical, grace-driven guidance.

     MY REVIEW:   I don't read enough of this tone of book to give a detailed comparison, but I found this one to be very good---I'm glad I took the time to read it. It's definitely not one you can read through in an evening, rather, a chapter at a time. There is so much to read, so much to process.
     In the introduction, Sanders says "The word disciple means learner.......a learner or pupil who accepts the teaching of Christ, not only in belief but also in lifestyle". He also states: "In this book I have not dealt with the mechanics of discipleship but rather the standards, the underlying principles that are to be incorporated into the lifestyle of the disciple".  I like an author who is not afraid to support the unpopular truth.
     J. Oswald Sanders has written two other book in this collection: Spiritual Leadership, which is a bestseller and is the most well-known and well-loved of the set; and Spiritual Maturity, which I have read and is also very good.

   I received a copy of this book from MOODY PUBLISHERS per their blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

God Made the World


     This book is a "cuddly cloth" book for kids. The front cover is crinkly, there is a loop at the top left corner to keep ahold of, and the book closes with a mild velcro clasp. There are six pages plus the front and back, each with a round picture of some kind of creation, i.e. woods, oceans, etc. Accompanying each picture is a sentence: "God made the ........" The very last page contains a small mirror, to include "you" in creation. It is a clear, yet mildly wavy mirror.
     This book is definately a book for a very small child, though an older one may enjoy it as well. It is washable, but not intended to be bleached, dry cleaned, tumble dryed, or used for teething.
     This is a neat book, the cloth being easier for small children and lacking the corners boasted by normal books.  

  I received a copy of this book from KREGEL PUBLISHERS per their blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

These Healing Hills

     BOOK REVIEW:   Francine Howard has her life all mapped out---until the man she loves announces his plan to bring home an English bride from war-torn Europe in 1945. Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service. 
     Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he's at a loss when it comes to envisioning what's next for his life. 
     When Francine's and Ben's paths intersect, it's immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds. . . .and revealing tantalizing new possibilities. 

     MY REVIEW:   I liked this book. Francine is jumping right into mountain life, complete with skeptical neighbors, winding mountain trails, and heavy snows. But she has a heart for people and comes to love the mountain. Her nursing partner keeps telling her not to become attached to anyone, but Francine can't help it. 
     Right from her arrival, Francine is befriended by a friendly young lad who invites her into his family. (And of course, it is Ben's brother.......go figure). She also befriends the old herb woman, avoiding the medical clashing her nursing partner uses. 
     While the story has that love interest in it, it doesn't seem to domineer like some books. The book is definitely about Francine's nursing. And the love interest aspect is more from gathering the courage to acknowledge it, which cuts down on a lot of the "loveyness" of the book. 
     Ann H. Gabhart has written several books. I have only read one other of hers, Angel Sister, which happens to be the first in Ann's THE ROSEY CORNER SERIES, but it was too long ago to remember the story well.  Other of her books are The Outsider, first of THE SHAKER BOOKS; Scent of Lilacs, first of THE HEART OF HOLLYHILL SERIES; Murder at the Courthouse, first of THE HIDDEN SPRINGS MYSTERIES; and more. Her website is annhgabhart.com

    I received a copy of this book from REVELL per their blogger program and was only asked to write an honest review. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

An Asian Harvest

     BOOK REVIEW:   Leaving home and his native New Zealand aged 16, Paul Hattaway found himself in Australia, homeless, hungry, and lonely, sleeping on the roof of a public bathroom. "A waste of energy" was his high school principal's assessment.
     After a fellow factory worker helped him to find faith, he quickly became convinced that God was calling him to China and in 1988 Paul arrived in Hong Kong with nothing more than a backpack, a single contact, and $50. He began to work as a Bible courier, carrying hundreds at a time across the Chinese border under the noses of the guards.
     Today Paul Hattaway leads Asia Harvest, the ministry he founded, which supports thousands of indigenous missionaries (meaning natives) and has supplied over 10 million Bibles to China and millions more to Christians throughout Asia.
     An Asian Harvest is his astonishing story.


     MY REVIEW:   I read The Heavenly Man last year, and while I enjoyed it, I never got around to seeing what else Paul wrote. As it happens, he has written several, some of which are: Operation China, From Head-Hunters to Church-Planters, and China's Christian Martyrs. You can find the rest of his books, as well as information on Asia Harvest at asiaharvest.org.
     Autobiographies don't often interest me. This one, however, is greatly an exception---it did not take long for me to read it, and I enjoyed every page. The only fault I can find with it, is when you are done, it is hard to find another book to match it. ;)
     Paul's life was one he lived entirely for God. I was amazed at his story, how his faith held him through, and the battles he faced. The most striking one to me was his battle to marry his wife, Joy. A fellow missionary with an amazing reputation and seriously double life went so far as to slander Paul and Joy to keep them from marrying, and even after they did he was not put off.
     I absolutely love reading books like this that leave one feeling they were there, know that much more about it, and were touched in some unknown way. I would hugely recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

   I received a copy of this book from KREGEL PUBLISHERS per their blogger program and was only asked to write an honest review. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty

     BOOK REVIEW:   Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. While he's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.
     Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes---as well as her conscience. And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.
      As Griffith's and Isabella's long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?

     MY REVIEW:   This book is the fourth and last (I think) in Kristi Ann Hunter's HAWTHORNE HOUSE series. The other books are A Noble Masquerade, An Elegant Facade, and An Uncommon Courtship. There is also an e-book novella prequel, A Lady of Esteem, about one of their friends. Set in the Regency period, this series is about a young Duke and his three siblings---one book to each. This last one is about the Duke himself.
     This book is not as good as the first two, and I can't decide if it is better than the third one or not. It was a bit disappointing, I think because Griffith's character in the background of the other books is superior to that of his character in the spot-light of this book. The third book had the same problem, though I didn't realize it at first and attributed my disappointment to having over-anticipated it.
     I read the second book of the series first, which is the best, and from there on it went a little down hill. It is an interesting series, but lacks depth and inspiration. So if you are looking for a light story, by all means read the series. But if you want to be glad you spent the time on the book, I would suggest Francine Rivers, Cathy Gohlke, or Davis Bunn, to name a few. It's very sad, because I really wanted to love this series.
     On the positive side---as in the previous books, Kristi has knit a tight, supportive, and loyal family that is rare to see and even to read about.
   
    I received a copy of this book from BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS per their blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Fearless Parenting

     BOOK REVIEW:   We long to bring up our children as good Christians and good citizens, but it's an uphill battle. In a culture of rampant narcissism and moral anarchy, righteous living isn't easy and isn't popular. If we want to see our children grow up with their faith intact, we cannot afford to simply react, making it up as we go along. We must approach parenting with intentionality and consistency. In this hopeful book, world-renowned researcher George Barna and nationally respected counselor Jimmy Meyers offer a plan of action to raise healthy, godly children in our morally bankrupt culture.

     MY REVIEW:   For starters, I am not a parent, so my opinions are going to be from a non-parent perspective. So if I start sounding all why-can't-people-get-this it is because I have never had to parent and therefore have no idea how hard it is.
     Anyways, I really couldn't tell you why I picked up this book except that I wanted to see what people today call "fearless parenting". I was impressed! George and Jimmy have done a wonderful job of working together to get their point across. Parenting is not supposed to be easy---it's hard work and you can't let your kids rule you. Rather, they are your kids, so you are in control of them. This can seem harsh, but really, it's not. Kids need to learn how to be responsible, listen to authority, and live a mature and profitable life. How can they do this if all we as parents do is baby them and give in to them and let them have everything they want?
     On a different note....... Each chapter begins with an example of a counseling session (anonymous) which sets the tone of the chapter. I liked that. It gave reality to the topic being discussed. And each lesson ends with a few ways of carrying out that particular parental action.
     So if you are seeing a need for a change in your parenting technique but have no idea how to go forward, you should try this book.

      I received a copy of this book from BAKER BOOKS per their blogger program,  and was only asked to write an honest review.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Crisis Shot

     BOOK REVIEW:   Tess O'Rourke dreams of becoming the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California. As commander of the East Division, she is well on her way. . . . . until the night she responds to a call and fatally shoots an unarmed teenager. Despite being cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, Tess is so hounded by the public that she takes a job in Oregon to escape the bad press.
      Winning over the resident's of Rogue's Hollow might be more difficult that adjusting to her new role as police chief in the small, backwater town. Especially when her closest friend, the pastor's wife, goes missing and the woman's closest cousin is found shot. Tess finds an ally in sheriff's deputy Steve Logan, but as they track down Rogue's Hollow's first murderer, she worries that she's breaking one of her rules and getting too close to him.

     MY REVIEW:   I have read Janice Cantore's books before, so when I saw she had another one out I grabbed it.
     This book has a little different of a story line than the other mysteries I've read. Tess is the recipient of an angry blogger's rage and is forced to either leave her beloved job and home or endanger her co-workers. The decision to leave is especially hard as she is endeavering to please her father who was also a police officer, but has now passed away.
     I thought the mystery itself was interesting and had enough angles to keep one guessing, yet not too many that you get confused and overwhelmed. I liked that she included different types of characters in this book. Tilly is the homeless woman who has a hard time keeping with reality. Mayor Dixon wants so desperately to be involved with every detail that he nearly hinders Tess's work. Pastor Macpherson's wife is struggling with cancer, then suddenly goes missing. He hears nothing but a few odd texts. And Tess is struggling to adjust from overseeing hundreds of officers to only a handful, a huge city to the backwoods.
     Janice Cantore is a retired police officer herself, and has written several series now. Her last is the COLD CASE JUSTICE series, which is Drawing Fire, Burning Proof, and Catching Heat.

  I recieved a copy of this book from TYNDALE PUBLISHERS per thier blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest reveiw. 

The Holy Land for Christian Travelers

     BOOK REVIEW:   Many Christians hope to tour the Holy Land in their lifetime. But planning a meaningful trip in a place so filled with significant sites is difficult. The Holy Land for Christian Travelers puts a biblical scholar and experienced Holy Land guide at your side to ensure that you not only find the sites you want to visit but also understand their biblical significance. This guide will help you enjoy your trip with the confidence that you are avoiding common mistakes and investing your time and resources well. Each entry provides key Scripture references for reflection and encourages communion with God and a genuine spiritual experience as you learn about that land and walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
 
     MY REVIEW:   This is a lovely guide book. It is heavy and the pages are glossy. Several color maps are included, and each entry is divided into areas:
     Jerusalem: Walkable Sites in and near the Old City
     Jerusalem and Beyond: Drivable Sites outside the Old City
                                                     Coastal Plain
                                                     Central Mountains South
                                                     Central Mountains Center
                                                     Central Mountains North
These divisions allow you to plan your stops according to the different areas you want to see and how long you have to spend in the Holy Land. They are also marked to indicate which stops are especially recommended to visit. And not only does this book tell you where a place is, it also tells you whether it requires payment or modest dress, and sometimes what time of day is better to visit.
     Even if you don't plan to visit the Holy Land, you can use this book simply to learn the significance of different places. It is neat to read through and really catch the importance of biblical landmarks. It's quite the informative book.

    I received a copy of this book from BAKER BOOKS per their blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

My Reader Rewards Club

Tyndale has a branch for earning points to get free books!! You get 25 points just for signing up, and there are several activities you can do to earn more points. (They are a little slow at getting more activities out, but they just changed location and name, and might be better now). 
You then take those points and choose a book---fiction, nonfiction, Bible, and more. A few of the books to choose from now are:
...Fiction...
ANNIE'S STORIES by Cindy Thompson (a story of Ellis Island that's worth the read)
HER DAUGHTER'S DREAM by Francine Rivers (anything by Francine Rivers is worth reading. I could say this one especially, but I'd have to say that about them all)
THE LAST OPERATIVE by Jerry Jenkins (a mystery about Russian missiles in the US)
...Nonfiction...
LIFE PROMISES FOR ETERNITY by Randy Alcorn 
THE NORTH FACE OF GOD by Ken Gire 
HOW NOW SHALL WE LIVE by Charles Colson 
...Bibles...
BOUND FOR GLORY PARRELLEL BIBLE KJV/NLT by Tyndale
THE ONE YEAR BIBLE NLT by Tyndale
FAITH DEVOTIONAL NEW TESTAMENT WITH PSALMS AND PROVERBS by Tyndale
...Other...
365 POCKET PRAYERS FOR MOM by Erin Keeley Marshall
THE GIRAFFE THAT WAS AFRAID OF HEIGHTS by Amie Carlson
THE GREATEST GIFT DVD by Ann Voskamp

It's a really neat site for anyone who likes free books!!
You can find it here at myreaderrewardsclub.com

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fatal Trust

     BOOK REVIEW:   A Simple Job. An Unbelievable Payout. But in risking it all on blind trust, he may just lose everything......    Ian Wells is a young, ambitious Minneapolis attorney struggling to build up a law practice while caring for a mother with Alzheimer's. As the stress and bills mount,Ian is nearing the breaking point when everything changes with a single new case. All Ian must do, the client demands, is judge whether three men qualify for nine million dollars of trust funds soon to be paid out by determining wehther they've been involved in any criminal activity for the past twenty years. Ian's fee for a week's work: the unfathomable sum of two hundred thousand dollars.
     The job seems too good to be true, and Ian wants to turn the offer down, but his needs weigh more heavily. He warily accepts the job---but is quickly dragged deep into a mystery linking the trust money to an illegal enterprise dating back to Prohibition and the greatest unsolved crime in Minnesota history. Ian soon finds himself the target of a swiftly tightening criminal investigation---realizing too late that this so-called simple job has spun out of control and now threatens his career, his future, and his life.

     MY REVIEW:  I really enjoyed this book! I like mysteries, especially those that are interesting without being gruesome. A trend I have noticed with (the two) mysteries written by men is the lack of major focus on the romantic angle. It's nice to be able to read an interesting book without it being about the relationship.
     A recurring dream of Ian's is told sporadically throughout the story to give background on the original crime. It's fun to see it all unfold like that, and Todd did a good job at telling things without giving too much away. It's clear and concise and easy to keep separate from the actual story.
     Suprising answers abound as the story comes to a close, such as the reason for Katie's odd payroll, and why Ian was chosen to represent the trust. The story also ended on a high note, which is necessary to make a mystery worth reading. All questions were answered, the bad guys caught, and the good guys getting what they wanted.
      Todd Johnson has previously written The Deposit Slip and Critical Reaction. You can find him and his books at authortoddmjohnson.com.

    I received a copy of this book from BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS per thier blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Real Love

     BOOK REVIEW:   The love that the world sees reflected by Christians is often a conditional one drifting to one of two extremes---compromising on truth or condemning those who disagree. But Jesus, despite having enemies on all sides, somehow managed to speak the truth in love. He calls us to do the same.
     "Many of the tensions we feel when we try to live out our faith," says Rick Bezet, "would disappear if we learned to navigate them with wisdom, grace, and common courtesy." Rick shows you how to speak the truth in love by spending time with Jesus, the one who did it best. For anyone unsure if they are doing more harm than good when they talk (or don't talk) about matters of faith, this book offers compassionate and inspirational guidance.

     MY REVIEW:   I wasn't sure what to expect when I got this book,  as so many books today can veer off into troubling waters. This book, however, seems to be on track. Rick bases his book on the two greatest commandments given by Jesus in Matthew: Love God and Love Others as Yourself.
     One of the topics Rick expounds on is not condemning those who have sinned. If they have repented and want to be accepted back in the church, etc, why do we feel like we can condemn them and push them away? Isn't this when they most need our love and support? Isn't this a prime opportunity to practice real love, the love of Christ? How many people do we push away from Christ simply because we treat them with condemnation?
     Then he says this:  "People are the most important thing God values. Are they important to you?"  If I had to answer honestly, I'd say I never really thought of it that way. But it's true. People are the only thing that will last forever, so why don't we focus more energy on giving them the good news of Jesus? If they are all that we can take with us to eternity, why are we so worried  about amassing money, praise, and positions, which matter nothing in eternity?
     Another thing I liked is that the person of authority set in place over you is not chance of fate, but rather is ordained or allowed by God. We have no way of seeing what is going to happen in the future because of a particular person being in authority, or what would have happened if our choice person had been chosen. If we do our part in obeying and praying for our authority, we can trust that God is in control and looking out for us.
     I enjoyed reading this book, and would recommend it. Rick has also written Real Love, and you can find more about him at RickBezet.com.

     I received a copy of this book from BAKER BOOKS per their blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review.