Friday, October 31, 2014

Noah: A Wordless Picture Book - REVIEWED


About the Book:

A hundred years before the Great Flood, a man named Noah came home talking crazy. God wanted him to build the biggest ship the world had ever seen. The future of humanity depended on it. How would his wife respond? What would the neighbors think? Was it even feasible? 

This lavish re-imagining of one of the greatest stories of all time will fascinate children and adults alike. Nuanced and playful, yet meticulous in following the biblical narrative, Mark Ludy's world-class art digs deeper than the Sunday-school tale of cuddly animals, exploring Noah's relationship with his family, the natural world, God--and a formidable engineering challenge. Immerse yourself in this stunning wordless epic. Whatever your age, you'll never read this story in the same way again. 

My Thoughts:
This is my favorite picture in the book:

Don't you just LOVE the detail in this picture!?  Every single page is just this rich!  The expressions, the actions, the entire story of the flood is richly told in pictures!  

My children are 19 and 21 years old, and we had a blast telling the story of Noah with these pictures!   My oldest son was brilliant in the telling!  

The fact that three adults can sit down and enjoy this book is proof of its brilliance!  I can't wait to "read" it to my great-niece this weekend!  She is the target audience, and I bet she will love it!

This book was my introduction to Mark Ludy's work, and he has totally captured my imagination!


About the Author: ( from his website)

Mark and his family have recently moved back to Colorado (33 years of life have already been lived here so this is more "home" then anywhere.) and they are living in the South Denver area. He is an author and illustrater of a number of children's books as well as being a regular speaker in schools. 
 
At a young age he loved to draw... draw on everything and anything. He never would have thought he would one day make a living from his doodles and crazy ideas. But he is now very happy to use his gifts in the arts to make people smile, feel good, be encouraged, inspired... and challenged. 
 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Promise by Beth Wiseman - REVIEWED



About the Book:
Mallory's search for happiness leads her to a faraway place. There she finds heartache, betrayal---and danger.
Mallory Hammond is determined that no one will stand in the way of her goal---to save a life. She had that chance years ago, and she failed to take it, leaving her adrift and in search of the real meaning of her life. Finally, she meets a man online from a volatile corner of the world who offers her the chance to find that purpose. But she will have to leave everyone she loves behind in order to take it.
Tate Webber has loved Mallory for many years. He understands that Mallory will never be happy with him until her deepest heart's desire is satisfied. When Mallory decides to travel across the world to fulfill her dreams, Tate begs her not to go but tries to give her the space she needs. Mallory embarks on her dangerous journey only to discover how swiftly and easily promises can be broken. And Mallory can only pray that she will make it out alive.
Inspired by actual events, The Promise is a riveting love story that asks the question: how far will we go for love?

Purchase your copy HERE.

My Thoughts:
I PROMISE I will get you out of there.” (p. 252)

There are a lot of promises made in this book, but THIS promise was the most significant.  I won’t even begin to tell you the circumstances surrounding this promise, but I will tell you that when I slept after reading the conclusion of this book, I dreamed about this story!! And I was so grateful to wake up in my home safe and sound!  If the characters in a book make their way into your dreams….that, my friend, is very good writing!!

I think what I found so disturbing about this entire story was how easily I identified with the motives behind the choices these characters made.  Thankfully, I could also identify the fact that their choices weren’t very wise choices, but the motives behind their choices was very familiar.  The love and loyalty that drives Mallory is one of the many things Tate loves about her, but it is the very thing that almost cost her very life!

Another chilling fact, to me at least, was that this novel is based on actual events!  This takes my level of skepticism to a whole new level! Beth Wiseman writes a very compelling, believable story that will keep you up reading! The faith element of the story is also believably challenged, as is the relationship that struggles to exist between Tate and Mallory.

Don’t miss this very important piece of fiction!  This story contains a dose of reality that will rock your world!

About the Author:
Award-winning, bestselling author Beth Wiseman is best known for her Amish novels, but she has also written several successful contemporary novels, set primarily in her beloved Texas, including Need You Now and The House that Love Built. Both have received glowing reviews. Beth's The Promise is inspired by a true story. Website: www.bethwiseman.com Twitter: @bethwiseman Facebook: Fans-of-Beth-Wiseman







Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Quilted by Christmas
Abingdon Press (October 21, 2014)
by
Jodie Bailey


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A note from the Author: Well, I’m a regular ol’ person. Who just happens to write. A lot. Probably more than I should. I firmly believe that God created me to be a writer. From the time I learned how to string letters together into words I’ve been making up stories. Believe me… I have a very rich imagination. I used to think I was weird; now I know God just put me together that way. I can’t even watch commercials without expanding them into stories in my head. I am humbled and honored all at the same time that God looked down from heaven on me and said, “Jodie, do what you love.” Wow… how awesome is that?

I have always loved to write. I have stories that I wrote when I was in first grade. I used to sit at my grandmother’s yellow electric typewriter for hours, banging out my own little stories. When I was eleven, she bought me a typewriter of my own (It was 1984, okay?) and I would write and write on it. I wrote stories out by hand, and they ran to hundreds of pages. I got my first computer when I was eighteen, and the first thing I did was write a story on it. I wrote for school. I wrote for fun. I wrote for my friends. I’d get them on the phone and make up stories for them. (I earned the nickname “Dreamweaver” for that one. Nobody calls me that anymore, but it still stands as the coolest nickname I ever had.)

ABOUT THE BOOK

Taryn McKenna believes she’s easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree—something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle-schoolers she teaches. When Taryn’s grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project—an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?

My Thoughts:
Somebody needs to hear this tonight….Love cam down at Christmas….Not because we asked for it.  Not because we deserved it.  But because it’s how God is. Unconditional. No matter what we do.”  
(p 199)

Okay, I have a confession to make.  Before I read these sentences, I was ready reign a bunch of negativity on this book.  For someone to basically refuse to live their life, their dreams because of a fight with a teenage boyfriend….really?  There is only one person in the world for you – really?  You are all mopey because your best friend married her childhood sweetheart and yours walked away….really?  I was having some serious angst with this book – the story.  I spent most of the book wanting to tell Miss Taryn to grow up and get a life.  Mr. Justin can live his life independent of you and there are more fish in the sea.

Vent over.  I don’t have a very healthy view of romance right now.  I admit it.  I was probably not the right audience for this book.  But God thought differently.  He pulled me up short on page 199.  And then I said…really?  Did you really forget how much you’ve been forgiven?  Did you really forget God’s greatest gift  - His Son? 

So, when I discovered some of the reasons behind Taryn and Justin parting ways, I rethought it.  Grace and forgiveness…still the most important things in our lives regardless of our choices.  Christ has poured out His life for us….grace and forgiveness in unmerited measure.  What mercy! 

So, even if I find this story a bit over-the-top-mushy in general, and even though I know life’s circumstances aren’t tied off with a neat bow at the end of story, I DO KNOW that God’s forgiveness and grace are very real.  And His love for us is boundless.  Taryn and Justin learn this. And God put His truth right before my eyes in the most unlikely place – and I am very, very thankful for that!


The Quilts of Love have never failed to surprise and uplift me in the most unlikely ways, so I am happy to recommend Quilted By Christmas to readers!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Quilted by Christmas, go
HERE.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley - REVIEWED



About the Book:
In a steamy small town riddled with broken promises, one woman's secret could change everything.
Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn't heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn't mean he can get her--or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago--out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. But all too soon, Ben is charged with a different task--protecting Leigh from the people after her brother. With Leigh doing everything in her power to avoid Ben, it's no easy task. And the secret she is keeping just may change their lives forever.

My Thoughts:
Call God.  He’s always home and you never get a busy signal.”  (p.51)

In Patricia Bradley’s book, Promise to Protect, I think God is the only One who can be depended on to answer any line truthfully!  There are more secrets, more layers, and more outright lies being told between the characters of this novel that it’s little wonder that their faith isn’t stronger.  Granted, truth is always an issue in a suspense novel, but Bradley has taken the depth of deception to an entirely new level – weaving both personal and professional issues in a seamless story line!  I am just grateful that both Ben Logan and Leigh Somerall have people of faith in their lives to remind them that they are not alone.  Ben particularly needs this reminder, because he feels it is his job as Sherriff to provide protection to the people he cares about.  Often, that promise is not within his ability to keep!

Forgiveness is also an issue that our main characters have to deal with on a very personal level.  To me, this added a depth to the characters life in the midst of the maelstrom that made them very real and believable. 

There is PLENTY of suspense to satisfy every reader!  Honestly, I had my doubts about any of the main characters surviving until the end of the book!  And they almost don’t!! 

I am a huge fan of Patricia’s work and I am happy to recommend Promise to Protect without hesitation!

You can read my review of her debut novel, Shadows of the Past, HERE.

About the Author:
Patricia Bradley is the winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award and a 2012 Touched by Love Award and was also a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award. The author of Shadows of the Past, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Bradley makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Guess Who Noah's Boat By author: Matt Mitter Illustrated by: Ela Jarzabek - REVIEWED


About the Book:

Children will love this interactive new telling of the Noah's ark story. With fun, rhyming text, each spread asks kids to guess which animal is heading toward the ark. The answer is revealed under the cleverly designed flap. With eye-catching illustrations and easy-to-understand text, Guess Who Noah's Boat is sure to become a favorite


My Thoughts:

This is a flap-book of rhyming verse that contains an animal from Noah's boat behind the flap on each two-page spread.  Each page contains a hint to the animal's identity.  The verses are very straightforward and serve as an introduction to the story of Noah.  The animals are easily identified by toddlers, and, for some of the more uncommon animals, they become easily identified with repeated readings.  This is a fun, visually stimulating way to introduce toddlers to animals and the biblical story of Noah.

About the illustrator:
Ela Jarzabek lives in Katowice, Poland. She graduated from Cracow Academy of Fine Arts with a Master's Academy degree in Graphic Design and a Second degree in Painting. Since then she has worked as a freelance illustrator. She loves working on watercolor paper with gouache, acrylic paints, and colored pencils and creating illustrations with funny characters that are bright and colorful. 

About the Author:
Matt Mitter was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Over the past ten years, he has written dozens of children's books, mostly in verse. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and their dog, Hitch.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lights Out by Travis Freeman - REVIEWED


About the Book:
WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT—PLAY HARDER.

Travis Freeman plunged into a world of darkness at 12 years old. A rare occurrence of a routine illness stole his sight, leaving the small-town Kentucky boy’s dreams of football and fun languishing on the sidelines.

Having given his heart to Jesus merely a year before the illness, Travis knew one thing: God was still the light for his life.

That life story is now the inspiration for a major motion picture, “23 BLAST” that hits theatres in October 2014. Starring Dylan Baker (SPIDERMAN, THE GOOD WIFE) and Mark Hapka (DAYS OF OUR LIVES, CRIMINAL MINDS), the film focuses on Travis’s football career playing Center for the Corbin Redhounds – a team that went on to make the playoffs.

Yet there is even more wisdom and hope for us to find in a full telling of Travis Freeman’s story. So much more to hear that couldn’t be included in The Today Showand Dateline coverage of his football exploits.

This graduate of the University of Kentucky and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary now joins with seasoned writer Rebeca Seitz to share his story in his own words. His is a story that is destined to turn the lights on for millions of readers.

My Thoughts:
We’re a disabled people….Disability does not equal inability…But we aren’t done.  We have an ability to be conduits of hope, kindness, love, joy, peace, and inspiration to a crippled world.  We can be the oasis in some one’s desert.”  ( p. 9-10)

Do not allow circumstance to tell you about God.  Let God tell you what to think of your circumstance.”  (p. 148)

Lights Out….what a treasure!!  What a spiritual challenge!  Oh, dear reader, you need to read this book!!  I’ve seen the film that is based on the book in preview – 23 Blast.  While the movie is definitely inspiring, Light’s Out takes Travis Freeman’s story to an entirely new and much deeper level!  To have your sight taken from you is a pretty brutal experience.  Many pieces of Travis’ story are painful to be sure.  But the light of his faith shines so brilliantly throughout his story that it almost makes your heart ache with gladness!!

Not only did Travis play football blind, but he played football well!  And I can’t help but be inspired by his parents’ faithfulness and sacrifice!  Travis is not the only hero in his story!!  His parents just take my breath away!  But Travis moved forward from football into an academic and spiritual realm that give even more strength and power to his testimony!!  He completed his PhD in ministry, and now preaches the gospel.  Again, the testimony of his parents to Travis’ close, personal relationship with Christ just inspires me greatly!
 
The Freeman family are such a great example of family, relationship, and an unshakable faith in the Father’s best plan for each of His children.  How thankful I am to know Christ as my Savior!  I hope I can trust God more completely every day.  Lights Out….don’t miss this story!!

About the Author:
Raised in foothills of Appalachian mountains, Travis spent his early childhood skiing its lakes with his parents on their boat, playing games with his friends, and dreaming of the day he’d play for the Corbin Redhounds.

At 12 years old, Travis became sick with what was eventually diagnosed as Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis (CST). It had settled and taken hold, masquerading for 9 days as nothing more than a severe headache. After the surgery that saved his life, Travis lost his eyesight.
After a year of adjusting to life in the dark, Travis joined the football team his 8th grade year as Center. Together, they won their conference championship. Travis continued to play all four years of high school. His story made its way to New York and was featured by The Today Show, Dateline, and other national media.

Travis obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Kentucky, where he also served its football team as an equipment manager. He went on to earn his Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Philosophy from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Travis is now an adjunct professor at University of the Cumberlands and serves as CEO of The Freeman Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the truth that disability does not equal inability

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts - REVEIWED


About the Book:

A young mother battling cancer invites readers to embrace grace in every season of life.

Kara Tippetts knows the mundane but rich days of mothering four kids, the joy of watching her children grow.and the devastating reality of stage-four cancer. 

In The Hardest Peace, she invites readers to see the grace of the everyday in all seasons of life and to live well even when the living is hard. As the thousands of readers of her blog know, Tippetts explores the hardest questions of life with rare beauty and honesty. Most of all, she draws them back to the God who is present, in the ordinary and the suffering, and shapes every life into the best story of all.

Purchase a copy HERE.

My Thoughts:
But the redemption of my hard yesterdays gives me a softened heart to walk in my tomorrows.” (p. 35)

The Hardest Peace….it is a book that takes an honest look at the journey that leads each of us to the cross.  This is a beautiful, hard, haunting, and sometimes brutal book to read.  To hear the words of the author state that she may not live to see this book bound by the publisher…well, that’s hard. 

And yet, God has gifted Kara Tippetts with the gift of sharing His transforming power that has flooded her life.  Kara has looked into the face of suffering and found peace.  It is a rare gift indeed – peace.  Kara asks some very thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter.  If you take the time to consider and answer these questions, you will embark on your own journey of spiritual growth.  This book is a gift born out of brokenness.  However, it is this same brokenness that God uses to transform the lives of His children into bright lights of hope in this very dark and desperate world.


The Hardest Peace tells Kara’s story.  It tells the story of others in her life.  It is her story. It is every believer’s story.  You will laugh, you will weep, you will rejoice, you will be left searching for what God has to bring from your own story.  He does promise to bring good from what the enemy means for harm. Kara Tippetts’ life is a beautiful testimony of this truth.   How I praise God for her story!  My own story is different.  My crucible was different.  But I can testify to God’s faithfulness and I can rejoice in this Hardest Peace.  Hallaluia!!



Below you will find some examples of the questions found at the end of each chapter.  These will cause you to consider you life in a different way.

· In what ways are you a safe place for other people? Think of someone you know who is hurting. How can you pursue them and become a safe place for their messiness? Not save them necessarily, but be a safe place to fall?

· When you pray for God to lift you out of fear and dread, do you truly believe He can and will? Why or why not? What is an example of when He did, and what is an example of when you felt He didn't? How did He show you His goodness in both answers?

About the Author:


Kara Tippetts and her husband, Jason, have four children and lead a church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cancer is only part of Kara's story. Her real fight is to truly live while facing a crushing reality. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Finding Mercy by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Finding Mercy
David C. Cook (October 1, 2014)
by
Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michael Landon Jr., son of television legend Michael Landon, is an award-winning storyteller, first in television and film, and now in books. His print works include One More Sunrise co-written with Tracie Peterson. 
****
Cindy Kelley is the co-author of the novel The Silent Gift, and Traces of Mercy. Her career as a screenwriter with long-time writing partner, Michael Landon, Jr., began with the adaptation of Margery Williams’ classic story, The Velveteen Rabbit, which had a theatrical release. Several television movies followed, most notably Love Comes Softly, (based on Janette Oke’s novel) which won a CAMIE Award and the Epiphany Prize for Movie Guide’s most inspirational television movie of 2003. Cindy and her husband, Jim, make their home in the Southwest; have three adorable grandchildren and four big dogs who rule the house.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Mercy abandons Captain Elijah Hale to search for her true identity, he goes after her. With the threat that bounty hunters might be hot on her trail, Mercy does all she can to stay ahead of the danger, frustrating both the bad men who are after her—and Captain Hale who wants to find her and escort her safely home. But when she stumbles upon clues that help her learn who she is and where she's from, the danger escalates and she has to learn to keep her friends close and her enemies even closer—if she can determine which is which!




My Thoughts:

“…don’t forget, I am a woman who is prepared.”  (p. 379)

Mercy is a woman who overcomes a great deal in spite of amnesia that has stolen her past completely.  She knows only what she has recorded in her journal, and the information found there seems to draw more and more trouble.  Mercy’s story began in Traces of Mercy, and as her journey continues in Finding Mercy, it becomes quickly apparent that justice is something meted out by whomever can pay the highest price.

I thought Mercy’s troubles were pretty severe when she was almost hanged for treason, but with bounty hunters on her heels at every turn as she seeks to uncover her true identity, well….the woman has trouble galore!  I love the way her character develops as she uncovers the truth about her past and the decisions she must face as her life is put in jeopardy time and time again.


From the moment I understood that Mercy was a woman sharpshooter brave enough to fight in the Civil War, I was captured by her story.  I never dreamed it possible that the second book of the series would have more twists and turns than the first! What a thrill ride!  I highly recommend this book to everyone!  It is most excellent!

Read my review of Traces of Mercy HERE.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Finding Mercy, go HERE.


Monday, October 20, 2014

To Everything a Season by Lauraine Snelling - Reveiewed



About the Book:
Beloved Author Lauraine Snelling Returns Again to Her Popular Red River Valley Setting
Trygve Knutson is devoted to his family and his community. With his job on the construction crew, he is helping to build a future for the North Dakota town of Blessing. Though he loves his home, he sometimes dreams of other horizons--especially since meeting Miriam Hastings.

Miriam is in Blessing to get practical training to become an accredited nurse. She's been promised a position in the Chicago women's hospital that will enable her to support her siblings and her ailing mother. Although eager to return to her family, Miriam is surprised to find how much she enjoys the small town of Blessing. And her growing attachment to Trygve soon has her questioning a future she always considered set in stone.

When a family emergency calls Miriam home sooner than planned, will she find a way to return? If not, will it mean losing Trygve--and her chance at love--for good?

My Thoughts:
Lord God, I will not get through this without your peace.  I know the days ahead will be hard.”  (p.331)

I’ve followed Lauraine Snelling’s Red River of the North characters since the first book of the series was published years ago.  I actually remember having to wait until the next book was released to find out what happened to the Norwegian families in Blessing North Dakota.  I have walked through many trials with Ingenorg Bjorklund, and her prayer for God’s peace is as strong and foundational as breathing.  It wasn’t always so.  Thorliff, Pastor John Solberg, Haaken, Trygve, Astrid, Elizabeth, ----I know their lives from the moment they entered the world.  I know the struggles, the sacrifices, the losses, and triumphs.  When they tell Manny and Miriam they have a family in Blessing, I want to say, “It’s true! They are family!”  They feel like family to me!

Lauraine Snelling has brought her readers back into the Blessing family to introduce new members and watch the lives and faith of those familiar to us take the next step on their journey of life. Trygve and Miriam are the characters of the next step, but so much richness dwells within the lifework of the characters who are now like family.  Hard work, expansion, trials, overcoming tragedy it’s such a cycle of life, rich with God’s blessings!  I hate to come to the end of these books!


If you love rich, historical fiction, Lauraine Snelling has such a wealth of good book to offers her readers! And the Red River of the North series and all of the following books will allow you to experience God’s family in a very real way.  Such strong, enduring faith! Such trials! Such triumphs!  Don’t miss this!  To Everything a Season is not only the title of Snelling’s latest novel, but it is a daily truth we can trust.  God is in every single moment of every single season, and the character’s in Snelling’s books walk it out in a very real and transformational way! 

About the Author:

Lauraine Snelling, an award-winning author of fifty-plus books with sales of over 2 million copies, also writes for a wide range of magazines and teaches at writers' conferences across the country. She and her husband make their home in Tehachapi, California. Visit www.laurainesnelling.com

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin - REVIEWED



About the Book:
In Their Darkest Hour, Where Would Hope Be Found?In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king's palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire in less than one year.

Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people. Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future--of family and love--seem impossible.

In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people.

My Thoughts:
"That's what we are going to Jerusalem to do.  To rebuild our nation according to His law. To be keepers of His covenant."  (p.325)

Lynn Austin has written a beautiful story of love and grace using the Old Testament book of Ezra as her foundational building block.  She weaves the rich history of the Jewish culture into every aspect of her story, and she builds her characters' lives into a believable community of relationships that become concrete in the reader's mind and heart.  The culture of the Jewish people, the Laws and the Torah that governed their lives, the many enemies that came against them time and time again, God's chosen people represent so much of the mercy and grace that came to earth in the person of Jesus in the New Testament. 

And Lynn Austin doesn't miss one instant of this intricate foreshadowing found in the book of Ezra. I have to be honest, I had to get my Bible out and read this book of the Old Testament. It is a book that is rich in story, of trouble, of redemption, just every aspect of God's mercy and grace that has been present in the lives of His people throughout time.  I fell in love with the constant faith of Ezra, and Devorah, of Reuben and Amina.  And what I loved most of all was that each had to be drawn into relationship with God.  Each had to endure sore trials, loss and deep wounds.  Each had to make the choice to continue to follow God.  It is such a precious and tender story of mercy and grace!

If you enjoy Biblically based fiction, you don't want to miss Keepers  of the Covenant!  You will understand how important a covenant relationship is from the Old to the New Testament....and even including your own personal covenant relationship with God through Jesus!  This is a fabulous, intricate story that you will remember for a very long time!

Purchase your copy HERE!


About the Author:
Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner and an inaugural inductee into the Christy Award Hall of Fame, as well as a popular speaker at retreats, conventions, women's groups, and book clubs. She lives with her husband in Michigan. Learn more at www.lynnaustin.org.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

An Insider's Guide to Spiritual Warfare - REVIEWED


About the Book:
Behind the backdrop of our daily lives, a hidden war is raging. The players are as powerful as they are invisible. What's on the line: your very heart and soul.

Are you ready for the battle?

After spending years as a medium, witch and ghost hunter, Kristine McGuire emerged from behind enemy lines to reclaim her identity in Christ. She brings unique insight, revealing Satan's 7 favorite battlefields as well as the most effective tactics he employs in the battles we face everyday.

In this essential guide to the spiritual war zone, you will learn 30 battle-tested strategies for victory from a spiritual warrior who has been there. Kristine's simple but powerful insights will empower you to engage your enemy without fear . . . and, in the power of Jesus, to win.

My Thoughts:

Spiritual warfare.  It is in the prayers we say or forget to say.  It is in the choice to be kind or hurtful.  It is in our work ethic or lack thereof.  It is in the people and relationships in whom we choose to invest or not to invest.  It is in the experiences, mundane or supernatural, we accept or deny. It is the causes we take up or reject.  Every day the battle wages.  You are a spiritual warrior.  The time has come.  Take up spiritual arms.  And with God’s help, make your stand.”  (p. 226)

WOW!  What a powerful book!! Beginning with a clear definition of what spiritual warfare is not, accurately defining what it IS, and then Biblically unpacking our identity as God’s children, identifying each piece of our armor and then accurately pinpointing common battlegrounds….well folks, Kristine McGuire leaves you fired up and ready to walk into battle!

I don’t mean that in a glib, cheerleader, shallow way.  I mean this book Biblically teaches you about spiritual warfare in a way that is clear, concise and easily understood.  The chapters are brief, and each one ends with questions to consider, Scripture to ponder and a practical way to apply what you’ve learned.  It is a powerful tool to equip every believer for battle!

I was able to identify some areas of false belief in my own life about this subject.  When the light of God’s word illuminated the truth, I was so amazed at what I was able to understand and apply!  I am very grateful to have this book in my library!!  I was introduced to Kristine’s work when I read Escaping the Cauldron:  Exposing Occult Influences in Everyday Life.  Her personal testimony is a sweet testimony to God’s faithfulness, mercy and grace! 

I am happy and excited to recommend this book to all believers!  Your life will be changed through the work of the Holy Spirit and the truth of God’s precious Word!!  Thank you Kristine for this powerful book!!

About the Author:
Kristine McGuire grew up in church but, as an adult, became immersed in the occult. In 2007 she renounced her occult affiliations and recommitted her life to Christ. Now, as a popular speaker and writer, she shares her unique insights with others. Her writing has been featured with Faithful Devotions, Praise & Coffee Magazine and Charisma News. She lives with her husband, Thom, in Grandville, Michigan. Visit her at www.kristinemcguire.com.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thunder by Bonnie S. Calhoun - REVEIWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Thunder (Stone Braide Chronicles)
Revell (October 7, 2014)
by
Bonnie S. Calhoun


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bonnie S. Calhoun is Owner/Director of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year.”

She loves to write, but it doesn't make her happy unless there are the three B's...body count, blood, and blowing things up. She also has mad skills at coding HTML, and website design. And she lives in a log cabin in the woods with fifteen acres and a pond full of bass, though she'd rather buy fish at the grocery store. Bonnie shares her domain with a husband, a dog, and two cats, all of whom think she’s waitstaff!

Her sites are:
http://bonniescalhoun.com
https://www.facebook.com/bscalhoun
https://www.facebook.com/bonniescalhoun
https://www.goodreads.com/BonnieSCalhoun
http://www.pinterest.com/bonniecalhoun/
https://www.youtube.com/user/BonnieCalhoun

ABOUT THE BOOK

In post-apocalyptic America, Selah Chavez is crouched in long grass on a shore littered with the rusted metal remnants of a once-great city. It is the day before her eighteenth Born Remembrance, and she is hunting, though many people refuse to eat animal flesh, tainted by radiation during the Time of Sorrows. What Selah's really after are Landers, mysterious people from a land across the big water who survive the delirium-inducing passage in small boats that occasionally crash against the shoreline. She knows she should leave the capture to the men, but Landers bring a good price from the Company and are especially prized if they keep the markings they arrive with.

Everything falls to pieces when the Lander Selah catches is stolen by her brothers--and Selah wakes up the next morning to find the Lander's distinctive mark has suddenly appeared on her own flesh. Once the hunter, Selah is now one of the hunted, and she knows only one person who can help her--Bohdi Locke, the Lander her brothers hope to sell.

My Thoughts!
Short-term discomfort for long-term gain.”  (p.316)

Selah learns her true identity only after her actions enable her brothers to steal Bodhi Locke – her first effective capture of a Lander.  Selah’s brothers, Cleon and Raza, follow the leadership of the only father they’ve ever known, and begin to move immediately toward The Mountain where they will be able to receive financial reward for Bodhi’s capture.

These actions lead to much pain and discomfort for Selah.  She discovers that her course of action was determined long before she encounters Bodhi.  The long-term gain of Selah’s short-term discomfort becomes a conceivable vision only after traversing many dangerous and deadly paths that lead her into the heart of a world filled with illusion and deceit of the most evil sort.

Bonnie Calhoun has created a dystopian society that mirrors the timeless depravity of the world we inhabit today. She has created medical, political, physical and emotional scenes that resonate with the trials we have all faced from time to time.  Her characters must make sacrificial and dangerous choices time and time again for their survival – and the survival of others whom they know nothing about.  All they know for certain is that the Landers have been mercilessly hunted for decades, and the time has come to seek their freedom.


Thunder is a book to be experienced.  Traditionally, this has been a genre I’ve had difficulty understanding and being drawn to.  However, this is a book I couldn’t put down.  The characters are strong and compelling, and the challenges they face are equally complex and intriguing!  If you enjoy a book with lots of action, danger, intrigue and uncertainty, then pick up your copy of Thunder today! You will enjoy a thrill ride of adventure from cover to cover!


With evocative descriptions of a strange new world that combines elements of scientific advances, political intrigue, and wilderness survival, Bonnie S. Calhoun weaves a captivating tale of a world more like our own than we may want to admit.

You can read Tremors, the prequel to the series for FREE on Amazon HERE.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Thunder (Stone Braide Chronicles), go HERE


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt - REVIEWED


About the book: 

What if your old college roommate called, raving about a book someone sent her, calling it the most beautiful book she's ever read? "But," she said, "it's about you." The author is your college ex.
 
In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather's desk---letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark debutante from Colorado. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she leaves, Clayton is left with unanswered questions.
 
Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the young woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar.
 
A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her, and a reunion they never imagined.
 
Written for the bruised and broken, The Mason Jar is an inspirational romance that brings hope to people who have experienced disappointment in life due to separation from loved ones. With a redemptive ending that encourages us to love again and written in the fresh, romantic tones of Nicholas Sparks, The Mason Jar interweaves the imagery of Thoreau with the adventures and climatic family struggles common toDances with Wolves, A River Runs Through It, and Legends of the Fall

Purchase your copy HERE.

My Thoughts:
None of us really know what we’re doing in this life.  We just live the best we can with the knowledge we have, and that’s all anyone can hope for.” (p. 163)

Clayton Fincannon’s grandfather shared a lot of wisdom with his grandson through a series of letters.  I think it was more a way of each of them working out the hard things they faced in life, and in writing it out, they gave each other the courage to explore their own circumstances and feelings.  Living the best we can with the knowledge we have is not the best we can hope for.  There is more than what we are able to know with our minds, and our hearts can’t be trusted.  What is better, indeed what is best, is faith and hope in a risen Savior.

But I digress.  When first love (lost or found) determines the course of one’s life and overshadows everything with longing and discontent, well, I can’t imagine anything more miserable.  Both of our main characters were first loves of someone, but not at the right time.  So there are hurt feelings, misunderstandings and a ton of regret.  And, I’m sorry, but I didn’t read anything that would compel me to cheer when these two regret-filled, apologetic people find their way back to each other after a lot of years, baggage, and broken dreams….sorry, but that boat has sailed for me.

I know what it’s like to lose the love of my life, and I will not waste another minute longing for what I can never have.  God has something better and more fulfilling for me than a man has to offer.  Perhaps I was the wrong audience for this book.  This is romantic, but doesn’t fill me with hope, just despair that two desperate people waste a lot of their years looking for fulfillment in a relationship that ended a long time ago.  I don’t have any hope that it sailed into happily-ever-after.  That’s a pipe dream in this broken, fallen world.

But if nostalgic filled romance is what you like, the please read the Mason Jar.  You will love it.  Me, not so much.

About the Author:
About the author: 

James Russell Lingerfelt is the author of The Mason Jar and writes articles for The Huffington Post. James connects with readers at his blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective, and divides his time between Southern California and his family's ranch in Alabama.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersley - REVIEWED


About the Book:
AN INVITATION TO BREATHE

Catastrophe or no catastrophe, if you are unhinged, disoriented, suffocating, or otherwise generally dragging, I'm inviting you to pull up a chair at this table . .

Breathing Room is a beautiful release of self-condemnation, a discovery of the rest that comes when we offer ourselves some space to breathe. Vulnerable and winsome, Leeana Tankersley shows you how to stop beating yourself up, how to be radically on your own team, and how to truly experience grace. If you've been putting on a strong front and yet are secretly coming apart, you'll find in these pages a trusted friend.

My Thoughts:
If you can’t breathe, stop.  Never move or act of that place.  Wait until you can breathe…Do the exact opposite of what that anxious defensiveness is convincing you that you must do.  The. Exact. Opposite.  Just be still.”  (p.66)

I look to Christ who, last time I checked, has not asked me to do his job for him.” (p.68)

Show up and participate in what life has in front of you, in what God is doing in your life.  Continue to lean in.  Continue to open your eyes.  Continue to scout the beauty.  Continue to create.  Continue to love.  Continue to get well.  Continue to breathe.  (p. 207)

Leeana Tankersley’s latest book, breathing room, has been a healing balm to my heart.  It has been like sitting down with a trusted friend and listening to her share her heart, and then, in turn, sharing my own heart – with God.  What a gift! Leeana uses her experience in a foreign country – with three toddlers – and a Navy SEAL husband who is gone a lot – to frame a common place that all believers find themselves in when they forget to breathe.  To breathe the love, the redemptive freedom, the solid foundation of relationship with Christ – and be nourished and be made whole.  When we allow the lies of the enemy to be the voice who constantly tells us how undeserving, how unloved, how imperfect we are, we forget to breathe in the truth of God’s love for us and the relationship He offers us daily.  And we must choose daily, to walk with Him despite what our circumstances may say about us.

I’ve pretty much highlighted this book to death.  Leeana has a way of stating things so clearly, so personally, so succinctly, I found myself thinking, “Yeah!  That’s right! That’s how I feel!  I need to remember this!”  Then, by the time I reached the end of the book, I found myself thinking, “I can have this same, honest, close relationship with God that Leeana does – despite the yuck I’m currently navigating in my life.


God knew the need of my heart, and He sent encouragement and words of life through the Leeana Tankersley’s book, breathing room.  I am SO GRATEFUL!!  How I praise God for this book!  I encourage everyone to absorb the truth in this book!  If you are struggling, hurting, are discouraged, defeated…you need to read this book!  If you just come through a challenge and everything is great, you need to read this book.  Every believer will recognize this journey.  Everyone will rejoice in God’s faithfulness to walk us through whatever trial we face, even if it is the voice of our own defeat, and show His love toward us through His renewed mercy – day by day.  What a gift!

About the Author:
Leeana Tankersley holds English degrees from Liberty University and West Virginia University. She and her Navy SEAL husband, Steve, are currently stationed in San Diego, California, with their three children: Luke, Lane, and Elle. Leeana writes about living from the spacious place on her blog, www.leeanatankersley.com.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Love Undone by Cindy Woodsmall

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Love Undone
WaterBrook Press (September 9, 2014)
by
Cindy Woodsmall


The books didn't ship on time, so I will post the review at a separate time!  Can't wait!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author who has written fifteen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as one of the top three Amish fiction writers.

She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest. (Since that last line sounds sad and bare, I thought I’d add an “epilogue” of sorts. Our two oldest sons are married and live only a couple of miles from my empty nest, and below are my three adorable grandchildren! ♥)

ABOUT THE BOOK

A husband and son abandoned to forge a path alone.
A young woman who sacrificed her dreams.
How will the God of grace and hope help them find their way?


At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.

Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him – that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.

As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God's guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Love Undone, go HERE.