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. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Spiritual Maturity

     BOOK REVIEW:   Rather than focus on methods of growth, Spiritual Maturity  focuses on the Master of our growth: God Himself. Divided into three parts, it shows how each member of the Trinity is crucial to our maturity. Readers will learn:

        How a right view of the Father cultivates holiness
        How the supremacy of Christ encourages victorious living
        How the ministry of the Holy Spirit conforms us to Christ's image

Renowned for the classic Spiritual Leadership (over one million copies sold), Sanders is a storehouse of wisdom. He mines Scripture for deep spiritual insights and illustrates them with memorable stories, quotes, and hymns. Spiritual Maturity is a refreshing read that will help you grow---not by giving you a formula or to-do list, but by revealing God's gracious ministry to you in Christ. 
             *Includes reflection questions and a study guide for group discussion*

     MY REVIEW:   Wow! This book is definitely worth the time to read! Just a few things about the book that I especially like:
          The book has twenty-one chapters, seven devoted to each head of the Trinity. "Sanders gave equal deliberate consideration to the Triune God who is due our full attention." 
           A quote given by the editors:   "This is not light reading---it is Light reading. The subjects will test your attentiveness. They will challenge your approach to God's Word."
           The second chapter of the book is titled "The Prostrating Vision of God", about man's response to the sight of God. I found it particularly eye-opening. I have always thought that seeing God face to face would be just so neat, but if you look at the examples given in the Bible (Moses, Job, Saul, etc) it becomes apparent that such a vision brings about acute "self-abasement", and other such feelings. In Saul's case, he was blinded. Moses was given only a partial view or he wouldn't have been able to stand it. All in all it made me realize just how great God is!  I can't do justice to the chapter, and if you read it yourself it will make much a better impact.
            Another chapter talks about faith, and the proper way of looking at and growing in it. Again, an inspiring chapter! I would certainly recommend this book to everyone!
     More books by J. Oswald Sanders are Spiritual Discipleship and Spiritual Leadership.

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Chasing Secrets

     BOOK REVIEW:   When a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan's life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after she has an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her---and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.
     In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories---and the depths of the heart---Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.

     MY REVIEW:   This book was interesting to read---it's a cold case, which means there's likely to be less gory details and more figuring things out. I thought it was well done, with enough angles to keep the person mildly guessing who was actually after Haley.
     I had previously read only one of Lynette's books, Too Close to Home, which I enjoyed. She seems to have a good hand on what she does, and keeps her authors interested, and provides decent endings---some authors have rather small eclipses to their mysteries, which is disappointing.
     Lynette is what I would classify as a "details" author. That's the kind that tells you what the person had for breakfast, what they are wearing, what kind of smart phone they use, and exactly what time it is. The other class is a "direct" author, who simply focuses on the story. I don't mind either one, though there are a few "details" authors that can go overboard.
     I enjoyed the family thread included in the book. A Scottish officer arrives to tell Haley about her "real" life and person. Her family was killed in a mass attack when she was five, and she escaped with her nanny who changed their names and called Haley her own daughter. It is quite the surprise, as you could imagine, and rather interesting to read.
     Chasing Secrets is the fourth and possibly last in Lynette Eason's ELITE GUARDIANS series. The first books are: Always WatchingWithout Warning, and Moving Target. A few of her other books are: No One to Trust, first of the HIDDEN IDENTITY series, and When a Heart Stops, first of the DEADLY REUNIONS series.

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

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Raspberry Sweet Rolls



I made these rolls last night to kill time while supper was baking, but they ended up killing way more time than I intended. :)  They are REALLY good though!! Wow! I always have a problem with my cinnamon rolls not baking in the center, and I did a bit with these as well, but I covered them with tinfoil and put them back in for an extra 10min, and they came out perfection. I was a little unsure about the raspberry filling and lemon zest in the icing as our family likes "regular and NOT changed" cinnamon rolls, :) but when we tried them this morning ---they were done too late last night--- we loved them!        Here is your recipe!

Lasagna Dinner




For supper tonight (I guess it would be last night now), I made Lasagna, plus two of our new favorite sides:  Garlic Butter Roasted Carrots and Parmesan Garlic Butter Red Potatoes. I just found these recipes, and our family simply loves them! They're so good and so easy to make.

We use the Taste of Home Traditional Lasagna for our recipe. I have never made a different kind so I have nothing to compare with, but this recipe is quite easy, and oh so good!



I also made a favorite jello salad. You combine 24oz of cottage cheese with 1/3 cup of jello (we use strawberry) and let it sit for 5min. Then you add a 20oz can of drained crushed pineapple, and fold in 8oz of CoolWhip. The longer it refrigerates, the better. It's not a picky salad--you can fudge the amounts without killing anything. :)


The Promise of Breeze Hill

     BOOK REVIEW:   Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Conner O'Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he's sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Conner fears he'll repeat past mistakes, so he vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady.
     The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella's shoulders after a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor's help, and her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, Isabella fears she'll lose her family's plantation.
     Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe?

     MY REVIEW:   I was a little disappointed by this book, but it wasn't bad. I did like the mystery surrounding the odd trails through the woods that obviously had riders, but none were ever found; the nasty trampling of the cotton field; and overwhelming suppression by bandits. As it happens, there is someone who is after control of Breeze Hill, and he will stop at nothing to get it.
     One other thing I liked was the time Connor took with Isabella's father, Mr. Bartholomew, in helping him to regain a little of his lost limb control and dignity, and keep him notified about the progress on the house renovations.
     I thought the ending of the story could have had a bit more closure to it---I know there was something I wondered the outcome to, but I can't put my finger on it just now. It did, however, have  a "happily ever after, we won't have to live like church mice" ending.
     Pam Hillman has previously written Claiming Mariah, and Stealing Jake, which is rumored to be her debut novel, but if you visit her website pamhillman.com, it looks as though she has previously either written or compiled several others.

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

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Captivating Lady Charlotte

     BOOK REVIEW:   All she wants is to marry for love. And as the belle of the season, Lady Charlotte Featherington should have her choice of suitors. But even this captivating lady must obey her noble papa's wishes---and the marquess has determined that his daughter will wed a widowed duke, not a dashing young lord.
     All the ninth Duke of Hartington wants is for the lady who has captured his heart to love him in return, despite their arranged marriage. But the betrayal of his first wife and the scandal she dragged him into make it nearly impossibly for William to believe a woman's heart can ever be trusted.
     Now this wounded widower and the romantically inclined young lady must find a way to negotiate a future together and learn the real meaning of both trust and love. Can the legacy of grace help them to find healing and hope?
     Poignant and charming, in the tradition of Georgette Heyer and Julie Klassen, this is anther beautifully written, clean and wholesome Regency romance from critically acclaimed author Carolyn Miller.

     MY REVIEW:   Regency period is probably my favorite fiction setting. Something about the whole social steps and systems is just fascinating to me---I love their huge houses, hundreds of servants, and of course, the rules of society.
     This book is the second in Carolyn Miller's Regency Brides, a Legacy of Grace series. I did not read the first book and was perfectly able to follow the storyline here. The first book is titled The Elusive Miss Ellison.
     I would say this book made my second favorite list. I have yet to read a Regency that hasn't hit either it or first, but still, this one didn't fail. :)
     A small thing I liked about the book was the timestamp put at the beginning of most chapters. I like when authors let you know when everything is happening.
    One thing I didn't like about the book is how fast is seemed to go---there could have been more details included, and some placed seemed to jump just a bit. But other than that, I really did enjoy the book.
     And of course, there is a mystery in the book. I didn't figure it out til I was told---I blamed the wrong person. But once I knew who the culprit was, I wondered how I hadn't figured it out. :)

   I received this book from KREGEL PUBLICATIONS per their blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Psalm Hymns

     BOOK REVIEW:   Ever wonder what a modern Psalter would look like? Dramatic. Contemplative. Singable. Recitable! Use for performance, character building, historical education and for the thrill! Psalmody, here, is set to the rhythm, tune and meter of the great hymns of the Faith but it leaves the interpretive delivery up to the reader or singer. This modern Psalter contains the sacred lyrics of the first 98 Davidic Psalms which are the first three books of the Biblical Old Testament Psalms. 

     MY REVIEW:   This book is published in a coffee-table size book. It is softcover, and opens easily to each page. The words are clearly printed on white pages, with gray and white pictures scrambled through intermittently. 
     Each psalm is written in lyrical form, divided into lines and verses, with the tune of an old church hymn printed at the top of the page. Also included for each psalm is a brief description of the type of psalm and, when applicable, to whom, by whom, or why it is written. The hymns are accompanied by the name of it's artist and date of composure. At the end of each psalm is a note, either clarifying a thought, defining a word or two, a short devotional type, or suggestion of performance. 
     This book is really quite neat, though I was disappointed that the psalms could not be kept in their precise wording. The hymns chosen are beautiful and fit perfectly to the words. A few used are: Still, Still, Still; All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name; and Be Thou My Vision. They also match the feeling of the psalm, being either contemplative, active, joyful, or slow. 


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

Break Open the Sky

     BOOK REVEIW:   In a world that thrives on fear, have faith.    Compared to all previous generations, we are safer, live longer, hurt less, and earn more. Yet we are more afraid that ever. Fear has slipped into our souls, leaving us on edge and constantly anxious. No longer a safe harbor, a source of strength, or a bastion for love, faith has fallen prey to a culture of fear.
    We face a defining moment. Will we cave to fear or rise in faith? Stephan Bauman, the former president of World Relief, has seen firsthand in some of the most difficult places in the world how it is possible to embrace love in the face of fear. Break Open the Sky is an invitation to live in authentic faith, free from fear and its debilitating symptoms.
     By embracing Jesus's core yet counterintuitive teachings on truth, love, and risk, you can find freedom from the fear of the unknown, release from the uncertainty of the other, and liberation from the anxieties that hold you back.
     Are you ready to pursue a countercultural kingdom of grace and love rather than safety and comfort? If so, here is your guide for changing the atmosphere of your culture, church, and world. It will only happen as you take risks big enough to brak open the sky.

     MY REVIEW:   One of the first things I liked about this book was the amount of Biblical references included, as well as quotes from other authors, philosophers, etc. I like seeing the unity between authors like that.
     Stephan splits his book into three core segments: Truth, Love, and Risk outlining how each is a necessary component of true faith. Different points are made such as the need to love those who are different from us, the necessity of suffering, and how not to fear trials.
     In the section on Risk, Stephan outlines several ways to treat people, ranging from showing hospitality, to avoiding the pecking order, and to seeing everyone--including the poor and desperate--as real people with real lives and real feelings. And most importantly---as equals.
     I feel like I didn't retain anything from this book, which makes reviewing it quite a challenge. It didn't hold my interest very well, but I had just finished a top-notch book, so it didn't stand much of a chance to begin with. Perhaps it will be better the second time around.

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Name Unknown

     BOOK REVIEW:   Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond that of the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets---instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she is offered the challenge of a lifetime---determining whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. After all how does one steal a family's history, their very name?
     As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown---so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.
     When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth---about Peter's past and about the undeniably attraction kindling between them.

     MY REVIEW:   This book had a different storyline than most historical fictions I've read. A professional thief infiltrating the home of a solitary secret novelist in an attempt to gauge his loyalty. It peaked my curiosity, and I enjoyed reading it.
    A Name Unknown  is Roseanna White's first book in her new SHADOWS OVER ENGLAND series. Book two, A Song Unsong will be out in January 2018, and the third, An Hour Spent", will of course be sometime after that, but I couldn't find a date. Her latest completed series, LADIES OF THE MANOR, consists of The Lost Heiress, The Reluctant Duchess, and A Lady Unrivaled. This is the first and only book of Roseanna's that I have read, but I may be checking out a few others, who knows.
     One thing that I became aware of while reading this book is the utter hatred people can have of others, based only on their name in turmultous times. Peter's name was German, but his heart was British. But his enemies refused to see that---they were run by fear.
    Rosemary was surprised to find a rich and decent man, having assumed for years they were either or. As the story plays out, she sees it is because of Jesus in his life that Peter had the compassion and wisdom he did.
     It is also interesting to read a novel about a man writing a novel. I enjoyed seeing how his story came together. It was also interesting how very different his main character was from himself.
   
  I received a copy of this book from BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS per their blogger program, and was only asked to write an honest review. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Bacon and Cheese Smothered Garlic Chicken






I made this for supper last night, and we LOVED it!! It is really easy to make, and can be eaten plain or over pasta (we ate it over egg-noodles). I didn't have mozarella cheese on hand, so I used shredded, neither did I add the spinach or tomatoes. And since I didn't have heavy cream, I used a skimpy cup of milk and used cornstarch to thicken the gravy.

Braving It

     BOOK REVIEW:   Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, home to only a handful of people, is a harsh and lonely place. So when James Campbell's cousin Heimo Korth asked him to spend a summer building a cabin in the rugged Interior, Campbell hesitated about inviting his fifteen-year-old daughter, Aiden, to join him: would she be able to withstand clouds of mosquitoes, the treat of grizzlies, bathing in an ice-cold river, and hours of grueling labor? Their Alaskan adventure---and two more over the next year---would test them and their relationship as never before. At turns poignant and humorous, Braving It is an ode to America's disappearing wilderness and a profound meditation on what it means for a child to grow up---and a parent to finally, fully let go.

     MY REVIEW:   If I were only judging this book purely by its level of interest and factual details, I would give it five stars, as it was very interesting and held my attention. However, the amount of language included was very disappointing. There are only a few words used, but they are used on every page.
     It was interesting to read about life in extreme Alaska---unbelievable cold in winter and swarming mosquitoes in summer. But the sound of the view is amazing.
     I can't even begin to imagine the hiking and canoeing they did in thier last journey---I only know I would never have been able to do it. :)

   I recieved this book from BLOGGING FOR BOOKS, per their blogger program. I was not required to write aught but an honest review. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fruit Pizza


For dessert last night, I decided (or rather, was asked) to make fruit pizza. I had made one a week or so ago, but it was gone much too quickly for our liking. :) So this time I made two. 
And since we had an anniversary, I tweeked the rows of fruit just a wee bit. :)

Friday, June 23, 2017

High as the Heavens

     BOOK REVIEW:   A British nurse in WWI German-occupied Brussels, Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital and her nights working at a cafe.....or so it seems. Eve's most carefully guarded secret is that she also spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a Belgian resistance group.
      When a plane crashes as she's en route to a rendezvous, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to recognize the badly injured pilot as British RFC Captain Simon Forrester. She risks her life to conceal him from the Germans, but as the secrets between them grow and the danger mounts, can they still hope to make it out of Belgian alive?

      MY REVIEW:   This book tells the story of Eve Marche, a Red Cross nurse fighting for freedom while working among the Germans. She uses her job to collect intel for the Allies, but is hounded by a co-worker to report for the Germans. Add to all this the mysterious British pilot who crashes over her town. But wait, she knows this pilot! This launches a risky venture to save him from the Germans who want to imprison him as a spy. Little do they know, he is more than just a spy. He is....... ah, a surprise!
     I won't tell you who the pilot is, though it comes out early on in the book. When I read the cover, I missed the part about Eve knowing who the pilot was, so I was quite surprised to find out his identity while reading. This only made the story more interesting, I thought.
     Eve is battling memories from early in the war, when she and her family were forced to flee their home. As the story progresses, she finds the courage and faith she needs to share these memories and be free from their hold.
     As with all groups risking everything to pass intel on to one another, there are traitors around. And people who seem to know more than they should. How to tell if one is true or not? Involved or well-informed? Trustworthy or traitor? It all makes me quite content to have missed that era! :)
     This is not the first book Kate Bresslin has written. Her first is For Such a Time, set in 1944. Her second is Not by Sight, set in WWI. High as the Heavens is her third book.
   
   I received a copy of this book from BETHANY HOUSE per their blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Almost There

     BOOK REVIEW:   On the move....again? Wondering when you will "arrive"?    The impermanence of home tends to be one of life's most recurring surprises. Is it possible to build a permanent  sense of home in a rootless life? If home is where the heart is, what can we love that will quiet the restlessness within?
     Take heart. You aren't adrift after all. When our hope of home is rooted in an unchangeable God, we are not uprooted, lost, or made homeless by change. We become found ones on the move.

     MY REVIEW:   Bekah Defilice is the wife of a former marine, and this book tells of their lives during those years. The theme is most especially focused on making a home amidst all the moving.
     I love how Bekah tells of finding God and His mercy in the trials and joys of those years. It's almost as though she is discovering and pondering them as she tells them. For example:

  • I wonder, too, if God doesn't use this sort of transience to draw us to Himself, if He doesn't occasionally wring out the things we don't want to give him, in order to expose all the ways we don't trust Him. 
  • It seems to me that the good news of the gospel gets even better for those on the move, because God gave us family that traverses geography, a community of people that all call the same person Father. 
  • And in between the cracks of our insufficient tries were prayers that banked on the hope that God, in His own mysterious sufficiency, could hold us together far better than we knew how to do ourselves. 
     She also finds many lessons in the challenges she faced. I would write some here, but they seem to be evading me. :(   Bother. 
     I really enjoyed reading about the life of a marine wife. Having to move every three or so years, husband leaving on deployments of six to twelve months, finally learning how to live independently only to learn how to share with a husband again, and many more. 
     I really enjoyed reading this book---it is only 168 pages, which makes it feel short and sweet with no time for it to get dry. And of course, the cover only adds to the effect. :) 

      I received a copy of this book from TYNDALE PUBLISHERS per their blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. 
     

   

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Freedom's Price

     BOOK REVIEW:   Sometimes the hardest step to take is the first step forward.   When Englishwoman Catherine Haynes loses both her father and her home in 1856, she decided to cross the Atlantic to find her American mother's family in Louisiana. She enlists the help of Tom Worthington, a dashing Key West man who makes his living salvaging wrecked ships.
     When Catherine arrives at the plantation, she finds that her family has left it in the care of a manager---who's let it fall into disrepair. Torn between returning to Key West with Tom and beginning the hard work of restoring the plantation, Catherine soon finds herself snared in a plot to steal her inheritance. When an incredible secret comes to light, both she and Tom will face a choice: grip their dreams ever tighter or step forward in faith---even if it costs them everything.

     MY REVIEW:  This book is the third in Christine Johnson's Keys of Promise series. I didn't have a problem following the story, so apparently one needn't read the books in order.
      While I didn't dislike this book, it didn't make my favorites list or even my second favorites list. I think the main thing I didn't like was the character's stubbornness---each was too busy trying to reach their own personal goal that they didn't think ahead or of the other person or even of their own safety
     This book definitely has a strain of mystery, but I found it rather easy to figure out, which only made it annoying when the characters couldn't figure it out on their own.
     One point in it's favor, is Catherine's determination to help the children she finds as she embarks on her mission. She almost heedlessly helps them, putting their lives above hers.

   I received a copy of this book from REVELL per their blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Lifestyle of a Watchman

     BOOK REVIEW:   What does it mean to be a "watchman on the wall"?   Join respected prophetic leader James W. Goll for a powerful, 21-day journey into the heart of being a watchman---a mature intercessor called to war, to be at the ready, alert to the presence and plan of God and confident of His will. With reflection questions, devotional prayers and practical applications, this book will help you move to the front lines of prayer. You will learn how to
  • discern the spiritual atmosphere around you
  • discover the strategies of God for specific times
  • find your assignment
  • pray more effectively for others and the nation
  • understand how to intercede for current events
  • partner with heaven and step boldly into your calling
Embark on this journey of faith, and become the strong sentinel that God created you to be!


     MY REVIEW:   This book is divided into 21 chapters for 21 days. Each chapter is centered on a different aspect of prayer. 
     One thing I especially like about this book is the amount of Bible verses found in the pages. I always like when authors draw their points from the Bible and then show us they did. 
     One illustration given early in the book is taking Christians united in prayer and comparing them to an orchestra---all parts working together to make a beautiful sound. Each on his own is lovely to hear, but all together they are infinitely better. 
     James W. Goll has written several books in addition to this one, a few of which are "The Prophetic Intercessor", "The Lifestyle of a Prophet", and "A Radical Faith". 

   I received a copy of this book from CHOSEN per their blogger program, and was not required to write a positive review. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Under A Summer Sky

    BOOK REVIEW:   She's anticipating a quiet summer surrounded by beauty. She never expected a fresh chance of love. High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house in luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn't long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who's determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of her childhood friends---who also happen to be brothers---vying for her attention.
     With the backdrop of a gorgeous historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance. . .anything can happen.



     MY REVIEW:   Under A Summer Sky is the third book in Melody Carlson's "Follow Your Heart" series. I found it to be a little predictable and shallow. Nicole offers to run an art gallery and house sit for her mother's old friend, and just happens to run into the friend's son whom Nicole liked when she was younger. And of course, the younger brother whom she ignored is there as well and suddenly she likes him too.
     One thing I did like about the book was Nicole's love for teenagers. She taught art in school, and was obviously very close to her students. When a needy teen appears, Nicole is willing to devote time and energy to help her.
     Another thing I liked about the book was Nicole's response to her new co-worker. Rather than fighting with, she tries to befriend her.
   
I received a copy of this book from REVELL per their blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Whisper on the Wind

    BOOK REVIEW:   Belgium, 1916.   The German Imperial Army may have conquered Belgium on its march through Europe, but it can't crush their spirit. An underground newspaper surfaces to keep patriotism alive and bring hope and real news of the war to the occupied country. It may be a whisper among the shouts of the German army, but it's a thorn in their side nonetheless, and Edward Kirkland will do anything to keep it in print---even risk his life.
    Isa Lassone's family fled Europe at the first rumblings of war. Now, two years later, she sneaks back across enemy lines, determined to rescue Edward---the man she has loved from afar since she was a child. But will he ever see her as more than the wealthy, silly girl his mother once cared for as a daughter?
    When Edward refuses to leave, so does Isa, and soon she is drawn into his dangerous double life. As the Germans close in, Edward realizes he's put more at risk than he'd planned. . . . .especially the beautiful, smart, yet obstinate young woman who has inconveniently managed to work her way into his life---and into his heart.

    MY REVIEW:   Have you ever wondered at the power we give words? Nothing but mere words on paper can keep us up at night, perched on the edge of our chairs, frantically biting nails to see what happens next. Humorously exaggerated picture, yes, but some books are like that---we can't wait to see what's on the next page.
    I wouldn't say this book was quite in that category, but it came close. The story was written well and kept one interested, but something was just a bit off, like it needed an extra stitch of something.
    If I were able to change one thing in this book, I would have Isa gone for closer to five years. Leaving at 16 and arriving at 18 just doesn't seem long enough to "grow up" as much as Isa thinks she has. I think 14 to 18 would be more realistic. But really, there wasn't anything big I could see needing changed, just a few minute details here and there.
    I don't read a lot about the World Wars, I guess because I prefer to read about happier times. I see a book set in those times and automatically look for a different one. But for whatever reason, I read this one. And I'm glad I did.
    I will say, the ending of the book disappointed me a little. So many things are left rather hanging. Oh, nothing serious, but enough to make a person wonder. Did so and so ever meet? Were these people conspiring together? Was this person a spy? Who was the spy? What happened directly afterwards for the main characters? Etc.
    Whisper on the Wind is the second book in Maureen Lang's GREAT WAR SERIES, the first book being Look to the East and the third being Springtime of the Spirit. I haven't read either of the others, but hope to before too long. This book didn't seem to need an accompaniment, but maybe after reading the others I'll change my mind. :)
 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Jefferson's America

   BOOK REVIEW:   History comes alive in this entertaining account of Thomas Jefferson's unrivaled age of American exploration.   At the dawn of the nineteenth century, as Britain, France, Spain, and the United States all jockeyed for control of the vast expanses west of the Mississippi River, war between any of these four powers was expected at any moment. To preserve America's foothold in the West, Jefferson played a game of strategy---putting into the field the only Americans he could: an eccentric cadre of explorers who finally annexed the land through courageous investigation.
    Jefferson most famously recruited Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, but there were others who did the same work in places where it was even more crucial. William Dunbar, George Hunter, Thomas Freeman, Peter Custis, and the dauntless Zebulon Pike---all were dispatched on urgent missions to map the frontier, and each helped to unite the fast-growing nation.
    Told with great narrative verve, Jefferson's America rediscovers these seminal expeditions and illuminates the president's vision for a continental America.

    MY REVIEW:   While I enjoyed reading this book, it was one of those that never ended. It took me a bit to get into it as well. Finally, around the middle of the book I started remembering what was happening and looking forward to what was ahead. If I hadn't been in a hurry to finish the book I think I would have enjoyed it more.
    I can't imagine what life was like for those explorers---traveling and mapping a land that no other American had ever visited, without the tools and such we have today. It seems a dauntless and difficult task. And yet, for king and country (well, President and country) they faced the unknown and went were no American ever had.
    Some of the adventures these explorers had were quite interesting. Lewis and Clark heard of the great, indomitable grizzly bears, and decided to see one for themselves. They tracked them and searched for them but never saw anything but tracks. Finally after killing a young cub, they were rather unipressed with how easily it succumbed to them. Their disappointment, however, was short lived, and as they encountered full-grown bears that seemed impervious to rifle shots, a healthy fear set in. :)
    Other adventures were William Dunbar and George Hunter as they spent months trying to sail a heavy boat through shallow water; Zebulon Pike marching for days to reach a mountain, but being forced to turn back---such was the infamous Pike's Peak; and of course, the Red River trip, which, while failing its original objective, managed to set a definate western border to the Lousianna Purchase.
   
    I received a copy of this book from BLOGGING FOR BOOKS per their blogger program, and was not required to write a positive review. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bread of Angels

  BOOK REVIEW:     Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.
     But before she becomes Lydia, the seller of purple, she is simply a merchant's daughter who loves three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.
     With only her father's secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish a business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances---along with her father's precious dye formula---help her become one of the city's preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the Apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming the first Christian in all of Europe. Still, Lydia can't outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.

  MY REVIEW:     Tessa Afshar is one of my favorite authors. She has written six books with this one, and the three that I have read I have loved. They are all Biblical Fiction. Two are about Rahab and Ruth respectively, but the other four books are on less well-known characters. The last review of hers I posted was Land of Silence, about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' skirt and was healed by faith. This book was written about Lydia, a seller of purple and a convert of Paul's.
     We don't know a lot about Lydia so the bulk of this story is made up. However, when Paul is introduced, there are several events taking place that can be found in Acts 16. For instance: verse 9 when Paul is called by vision to Macedonia; verses 13-15 when Paul and his companions spoke with the group of women worshiping by the river and Lydia is converted and baptized; verses 16-18 when Paul commanded the spirit leave the possessed damsel; verses 19-25 when her masters rose up against Paul and had him and Silas beaten and imprisoned; verses 26-34 when the earthquake loosed all the chains and the jailer was converted; verses 35-40 when Paul tells the magistrate of his and Silas' being Romans and being freed.
     Tessa portrays Lydia as a woman struggling with past betrayal and fear. She meets Rebekah, a young Jewess, and invites her along to Philippi. Together they build a prosperous business, with the help of several influential friends. However, there is one rival of theirs who is set on destroying them. Lydia is forced to overcome her fear and trust in God.
     This book jumps from Lydia at sixteen losing her father and going to Philippi and struggling to build a business, to twenty years later running a successful business. This is when Paul is introduced. I never thought of Lydia as much older than thirty at the most, but here she is near forty.
     I really enjoyed this book---I wasn't at all disappointed (except for her being older than I thought, of course, but that's a trivial thing, really). I am hoping there are many more books in store from Tessa.

     I received this book from TYNDALE PUBLISHERS per their blogger program and was not required to write a positive or otherwise review.