Tuesday, June 30, 2015

No Fear In Love by Andy Braner - REVIEWED

About the Book:
How to love fearlessly--even when we disagree
In an age when we are as connected as we are contentious, an astounding number of religious, cultural, and political polarities do more to divide us than unite us. In fact, Christians are getting the reputation of being "against" just about everything. But is this the best way to bear witness to the love of God before an unbelieving world? Or does it simply serve to push others further and further away from the life-giving power of Jesus?

Perhaps it is time to trade condemnation for compassion.

Story-driven and biblically based, No Fear in Love challenges us to love others the way God loves us--unconditionally, brokenness and all--and to trust that God is truly in control.

My Thoughts:
You see, I’ve become a man not afraid.  I believe the power of the gospel is in the man Jesus.  We may spend a great amount of time working over the processes by which God works on the planet today, but if we just boil it all down to a few simple steps, it’s amazing to watch God work.”  (p. 143)

WOW!  What else can I possibly say?  Andy Braner has written a book that is going to cause a wave of conversation – perhaps and probably some blistering condemnation – about a topic than no believer should ever find questionable or controversial.  Loving other the way God loves us should be simple, right?  Well, when entire religious practices have been built upon fear of others who see the world through a different lens, then it does indeed become not only difficult, but in most instances impossible to genuinely love others.

Andy Braner attended Christian high school…Christian college…seminary….and has established a non-profit for young adults that is changing lives…and he is taking an honest look at what it should look like to love others the way Jesus loved us while He walked the earth in ministry.  No one can say he lacks knowledge, or experience, compassion or wisdom.  In fact, he is very frank in acknowledging that many will probably accuse him of being Universalist.  He is anything BUT!!!

He is a man that is deeply in love with his Savior, and rests completely in the Savior’s love for him.  It is from this place that he CAN love others and have open dialogues with people of different faiths and world views, and when he talks with them, they comment that no one has ever been open to talk with them and allow questions and dialogue that is done in love and without condemnation.

In short, all believers can learn A LOT from Andy Braner’s book, No Fear In Love.  This is a very concise look at a subject that many believers refuse to look at.  And that is what fear looks like.  And fear is not of God. 

Read this prayerfully and with a heart open to hear God’s voice.  He will speak. Your life will be transformed!

About the Author:
Andy Braner is the founder of Ahava Ministries, a nonprofit youth ministry that teaches teens and college students to think about the world through a Jesus paradigm. A popular blogger, he speaks to over 100,000 students, parents, and teachers every year at church, conferences, and personal tours. He has appeared on CBN, FoxNews, and various other media outlets, and lives in Colorado.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer - REVIEWED

About the Book:
A teacher on the run. A bounty hunter in pursuit. Can two enemies learn to trust each other before they both lose what they hold most dear?

Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan's Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the orphaned girl entrusted to her care. Charlotte promised Lily's mother she'd keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When Miss Atherton produces documentation that shows her to be Lily's legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he's been led to believe. Is she villain or victim? 

Then a new danger forces Charlotte to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone vows to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he's ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte's heart.

My Thoughts:
The Lord would show her what to do when the time came.”  (p.127)

Charlotte Atherton has to cling to God’s leadership in some pretty amazing ways throughout Karen Witemeyer’s latest novel, A Worthy Pursuit.  This was an extremely fun read to me, because I didn’t peruse the synopsis like I normally do, I just dove into the story.  When Charlotte decided her response to the school’s closing would be to take students “underground” I was amazed at her boldness!  When Stone Hammond crashed into her world, she proved even more amazing!  This lady has some serious trust issues, yet she is bold about facing her fears.  She has her moments of doubt and emotional response, but overall, Charlotte is one of the most inspiring characters I’ve met in fiction recently!

I totally adored, Lily, John and Stephen!  They were the most precious children!  I loved the fact that they were able to live out some of their most adored adventures!  I know it was dangerous, but with Stone Hammond pursuing you, that pretty much took care of any dangerous element!  What’s not to love about Stone, right?

Can you tell I got to know these characters?  This is a really well-told tale, and I was totally absorbed from start to finish!  Surprises, dangerous plot twists….I enjoyed every single one!! I can’t wait to see what Karen Witemeyer comes up with next!  

About the Author:

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award, and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyerwrites historical romance because she believes in giving the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer's List by Anita Higman - REVIEWED

About the Book:
A dying wish alters the course of a young woman's life.
Life hadn't been easy for Summer Snow. In acts of selflessness-caring for her ailing parents and running her grandmother's bookstore-she had forfeited her youth and dreams for the needs of others. And the only tries she had at love... didn't turn out. She had the bookstore, she had her beloved granny, but she was missing something-or someone.  
Opportunity strikes when Granny sends Summer on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree, a kind but gangly young man from Summer's past. A childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?
With lovable characters and surprising twists, Summer's List is a simple delight.
Purchase you copy HERE.
My Thoughts:
You never know what will come into our lives that might change us or rescue us.”  (p. 60)

When Martin spoke these words to Summer, it was kind of prophetic.  He didn’t even know about her list, her Granny’s wishes or any detail other than he was amazed that she had appeared in his life after two decades.  Summer didn’t know the depth of dysfunction within Martin’s family, but she only knew the great love her Granny had for her and was operating out of the strength of that love.

Summer’s List reads a bit like a modern day fairy tale of sorts.  The life circumstances of the characters are both very normal and larger than life.  As Summer moves through her Granny’s list, she witnesses many lives touched, changed, healed and transformed – even her own!  I don’t even think Granny could have imagined how far reaching the result of her list would be!

This is an unusual story in many ways, but it is unusually sweet as well!  Every thread of the story line is cleverly woven together to achieve a very natural ending.  This novel made me forget time and place, and I found myself totally immersed in the story!  I love it when that happens!  And I grew to love Summer and Martin a great deal!  Martin’s two brothers even got to me by the end of the story!  I love it when that happens too – when you begin to care for some of the more unlikeable characters in the story! 
This was a delightful read!  Truly!  Add it to your Summer Reading List!
About the Author:
ANITA HIGMAN Bestselling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She's been a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends. Please visit her online at www.anitahigman.com.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Ticket by Debra Jeter - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Ticket
Firefly Southern Fiction (May 20, 2015)
Debra Jeter


A Vanderbilt University professor, Debra Coleman Jeter has published fiction and nonfiction in popular magazines, including Working Woman, New Woman, Self, Home Life, Savvy, Christian Woman, and American Baby. Her story, "Recovery," won first prize in a Christian Woman short story competition, and her nonfiction book "Pshaw, It's Me Grandson": Tales of a Young Actor was a finalist in the 2007 USA Book News Awards. She is a co-writer of the screenplay for Jess + Moss, a feature film which premiered in 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival, screened at nearly forty film festivals around the world, and captured several international awards. She lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, with her husband. She is currently working on a novel based on the life of her grandmother, Effie Shultz McClain (1900 to 1985).


Tray Dunaway longs to be part of the popular set at school but, she's growing too fast and her clothes no longer fit. The only person who understands Tray's need for acceptance is her grandmother, but when Tray wears Gram's hand-sewn clothes to school, the kids make fun of her tall, boney appearance. Tray's luck improves when Pee Wee Johnson, a down-and-out friend of her father's, buys two lottery tickets and gives one to Mr. Dunaway as a thank-you for driving him to Hazard, Illinois. When her father's ticket turns out to be the winner, Johnson demands his cut of the proceeds, but Tray's dad refuses. What seems like a stroke of good fortune suddenly becomes a disturbing turn of events as Johnson threatens to cause problems for the family and Tray.

My Thoughts:

We’re fighters….Whether we’re making crops or sales or dress designs; we’re made of the same stuff.  It’s a tough fiber, and it can withstand all the things that weigh us down and make us nearly give up.”  (p. 192)

Tough is a good word to describe the things that Tray Dunaway must face in Debra Coleman Jeter’s novel The Ticket.  At first, I thought this was a young adult novel dealing with typical young adult problems.  Fourteen is a tough age!  Then I realize that Tray’s family is dealing with a lot more than the typical dysfunction of family life.  When the lottery ticket comes into the picture, everything seems to be magnified ten-fold!

The lottery win is dealt with in a totally unexpected way, and Tray must work out her own identity as she is almost simultaneously embraced and rejected by peers with dollar signs in their eyes.  They she deals with the underbelly of her best friend’s family while also dealing with one of the most horrific violations perpetrated by an adult onto a child.  This novel throws some very unexpected and heavy blows to the reader’s heart and mind!

Jeter deals with many universal scenarios that all young people face – body image, crushes, friendships - but she kicks up the reality a notch and makes the reader gasp at the depth of strength and love that can exist in a family – side by side with some pretty brutal circumstances. 

This is a well-written, thought-provoking read.  The tender poignancy at the end…well, just have your tissue ready!  

If you'd like to read the first chapter of The Ticket, go HERE.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A More Christlike God by Bradley Jersak - REVIEWED

About the book: 
A More Christlike God (April 2015)

What is God like? A punishing judge? A doting grandfather? A deadbeat dad? A vengeful warrior?

Believers and atheists alike typically carry and finally reject the toxic images of God in their own hearts and minds. Even the Christian gospel has repeatedly lapsed into a vision of God where the wrathful King must be appeased by his victim Son. How do such good cop/bad cop distortions of the divine arise and come to dominate churches and cultures?

Whether our notions of 'god' are personal projections or inherited traditions, author and theologian Brad Jersak proposes a radical reassessment, arguing for A More Christlike God: a More Beautiful Gospel. If Christ is "the image of the invisible God, the radiance of God's glory and exact representation of God's likeness," what if we conceived of God as completely Christlike---the perfect Incarnation of self-giving, radically forgiving, co-suffering love? What if God has always been and forever will be cruciform (cross-shaped) in his character and actions?

A More Christlike God suggests that such a God would be very good news indeed---a God who Jesus "unwrathed" from dead religion, a Love that is always toward us, and a Grace that pours into this suffering world through willing, human partners.

Purchase you copy HERE.

My Thoughts:
Whenever we teach the beautiful gospel, we remind audiences of two cardinal truths:
1.       God does not change.
2.       God is perfectly revealed in Christ.”  (p. 293)

Bradley Jersak is a bold representative of the gospel.  He challenges every religious spirit and tells them to flee, because The Cross IS the beautiful gospel.  In all of its bloody splendor!  In all of its loving sacrifice.  In its completeness.  The Cross is a beautiful gospel, and we dare not let religion steal that from our hearts and minds!  We should dare to live victorious lives in the security of Christ’s great love for us! 

Jersak wants believers and non-believers alike to take a good hard look at religion – in all of its forms – and then to look at the finished work on the cross.  Honestly, this is a rather academic book, but the truth of the conclusion will rock your world!  There are some seriously weighty questions to be considered at the end of each chapter, but they are questions that need to be considered. 

Personally, I believe many will leave this book half-way through – offended because their religion has been shown faulty in the shadow of the cross.  Religion has stolen something critical that has never left us….the truth of the gospel.  But the reality of taking up our cross daily is too much, so we settle for a lesser religious answer instead of embracing Christ’s invitation to live and love as He did.

This is a convicting book.  A challenging book.  A book you can share with unbelievers to cause them to take a look at the power of the cross.  This is not a book for those afraid to take a hard look at their faith. Rather, it is a book that asks you consider hard truths and embrace Christ’s invitation to follow Him.

About the Author:
Brad Jersak (PhD) is an author and teacher based in Abbotsford, BC. He is on faculty at Westminster Theological Centre (Cheltenham, UK), where he teaches New Testament and Patristics. He also serves as adjunct faculty with St Stephen's University (St. Stephen, NB). He is also the senior editor of CWR (Christianity Without the Religion) Magazine, based in Pasadena, CA.

Find Brad online: websiteFacebookTwitter

Monday, June 22, 2015

desperate measures by Sandra Orchard - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Kate won't be safe until all of Port Aster's secrets are revealed
Researcher Kate Adams has finally pinpointed the supposed "miracle plant" that tore apart her family years ago. She's certain that discovering its secrets is her only hope of solving the mystery surrounding her father's disappearance. She's willing to risk anything to find the truth, including her relationship with Detective Tom Parker. But with so many people in pursuit of the plant, going it alone might be a fatal mistake.

Award-winning author Sandra Orchard pulls out all the stops in this breakneck and breathtaking conclusion to the Port Aster Secrets series.

My Thoughts:
Makes me glad that sometimes God says no so he can give us what we truly desire.” (p.350)
By the time these words are spoken in the conclusion of the Port Aster series, Desperate Measures, the reader is rather desperate for some relief in the tension!  Have mercy!  Sandra Orchard delivers an explosive conclusion to her series, and it is only by the Lord’s good grace that Kate Adams and Tom Parker make it to the end of the novel.

That admission is the closest thing you’ll get to a spoiler from me, but suffice it to say, nothing is as it seems in this story!  Absolutely nothing!  There are so many layers of deception and so many red herrings tossed into the plot, that your head is fairly spinning!  Lost teens, dangerous murderers, deadly poison…you name it, this book has it!  You will be reading at a frantic pace to discover who survives this crazy maze of plot twists!

I’ve reviewed this entire series!  Check it out and add some real thrills to your summer!!

Blind Trust and Deadly Devotion are the first two books in this amazing trilogy!!

About the Author:
Sandra Orchard is the award-winning author of several inspirational romantic suspense/mysteries, including Deadly Devotionand Blind Trust. Her Love Inspired Suspense titles have garnered two Canadian Christian Writing Awards and a Romantic TimesReviewers' Choice Award. Sandra has also received a HOLT Medallion, a Word Award, and a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. In addition to her busy writing schedule, Sandra enjoys speaking at events and teaching writing workshops. She lives in Ontario, Canada. Learn more about Sandra's books and check out the special bonus features, such as deleted scenes and location pics, at http://sandraorchard.com.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Wake The Dead by Victoria Buck - REVIEWED

About the Book:
What if the first man reborn of an evolutionary leap doesn't like his new life? Is escape even possible? The time is right for introducing the world to the marvels of techno-medical advancements. An influential man, one loved and adored, is needed for the job, and who better than celebrity Chase Sterling? After suffering injuries no one could survive Chase is rebuilt like no one has ever seen before. In the not-too-distant future a man--if he can still be called a man--breaks away from the forces taking over his life and finds new purpose in the secret world of hiding believers.

My Thoughts:
It’s not always easy for us when God makes u His mind to do something.”  (Bear to Chase – in the Underground church)

When Chase Sterling hears this statement from the leader of the Underground Church in Atlanta, he is at a point of decision.  Life as he knew it – a life lived in a government assigned role – ended abruptly when he was almost ripped in two by something resembling a self-propelled rocket launcher.  He was awakened from death – literally – by Dr. Robert Fiender, and given the opportunity to become the spokesperson for new technology – transhumanism.  Think of it as Big Brother living inside you – a blend of technology and human organs – not quite cyborg, but close.  Chase finds himself trapped in a nightmare from which he will never awaken.

The twist comes when Dr. Fiender reveals the true nature of the government’s plan, and both Chase and Dr. Fiender discover someone far wiser has gone before them and tweaked the technology that has now become integrated into Chase’s body.  All of the sudden the game changes, and Chase finds himself in a position to decide what role he will or will not play in the future development of the human race.  Nothing is as it seems, and depending on the decisions being made, life on earth may never be the same.

Wake the Dead is an intriguing look at the timeless battle humans fight to become the god of their own world.  God’s way are and have always been higher than anything a human can dream of, and in the story there remains a remnant that continues to stand on that truth.  To me, this novel presents an eerily plausible scenario of what the future may look like one day.  Chase’s experiences become more thought-provoking as the novel reaches its conclusion, and readers are left to consider what choices they will make when made to choose between God and the earthly government.  That day is closer than any of us can know, and it is my heart’s desire that we will choose to stand for eternal truth – no matter the cost.

I highly recommend this novel!

About the Author:

Victoria Buck is a native Floridian running a small business with her husband, who teaches her everything she needs to know about both melodrama and comic relief. Wake the Dead is her debut novel.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Are you worn out from life's ought-to's and should-do's?It's so easy to give away our time to things un-appointed by God. We commit to something because it's a good cause or there's a great need. Or maybe because no one else will help out. The result? The days blur together and we find ourselves overworked and underjoyed, desperate for a faith awakening.

In this practical and liberating book, Susie shares biblical ways to:

· Learn how--and when--to say no without guilt or shame
· Find a pace and perspective that matches God's best for you
· Discern man-made obligations from God-given invitations

Will you say yes to the One who will rejuvenate your soul?

My Thoughts:
If we dare to assess our souls, can we honestly say that most of our yeses reveal that we know we are hears of God?  Or do our yeses make us look like the rest of the lost world?” (p. 136)

This is the heart of Susie Larson’s book, Your Sacred Yes.  In this book, Larson explores the heart of the reasons behind our frantic, exhausting lives.  We have lost the ability to rest in our relationship with God the Father through our relationship with Jesus, and we can’t hear the Holy Spirit whisper to us in the quiet of our soul.  We substitute many things for God’s best for us, and then we wonder why we live such exhausting, unfulfilled lives. 

Susie Larson has explored every avenue in God’s word in pursuit of the answers to the questions above.  She has arranged the book in such a way that it would serve as a great small group curriculum as well as a personal time alone with God.  If you take the time to answer the questions at the end of each chapter, you will undergo a deep, personal self-examination of your faith.  You will be able to discern areas of needed growth and sometimes struggle. 

The entire scope of this book is meant to bring you to a place of rest and restoration in your relationship with God through Jesus.  This book, like others in my journey, has been a God-appointment in my life!  The prayers in the book have touched me deeply, and I’ve prayed them aloud as I ask God to search my heart.  By far and away my favorite part of the book is the Faith Declaration at the end of each chapter.  I read it aloud time and time again.  What a blessing!

This book has changed my life and I’m sure will change the lives of many others!  What a blessing!

About the Author:
Susie Larson is a radio host, author and national speaker. She hosts her own daily live talk show, Live the Promise with Susie Larson, which airs across the Upper Midwest and in several other locations around the country. Active in local ministry, she is the author of Your Beautiful PurposeBlessings for the Morning, and eight other books. Susie and her husband, Kevin, have three adult sons and live near Minneapolis, Minnesota. Learn more at susielarson.com.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sada K. Shares About Mom’s Cancer Battle and Offers “Strength” to Those Who Need It in New Video

NASHVILLE, Tennessee) -- On the heels of the release of her solo debut album, Long Story Short, former Press Play vocalist Sada K. has released a video vignette for the song, “Strength.” Sada K. takes a vulnerable step with “Strength,” by sharing a very private family matter and offering a small glimpse into her journey, supporting her mother who is battling cancer on the other side of the country. 

Trusting God to strengthen their family through such a challenging season and as her mother continues to fight, it is Sada K.’s prayer that this video and song will help strengthen other families that are going through difficult seasons in their own lives.

Watch Sada K.’s “Strength” video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/BEK-tcqbL4Q

"Please share this video and this song with people that you know need strength to make it through what they are facing,” says Sada K.

“Strength" is available on Sada K.'s album Long Story Short at the following links:
iTunes: https://itun.es/us/A__s5
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1AgdDOT
Amazon: http://amzn.to/179Yl35
Autographed CD’s: http://bit.ly/1726YMx

Connect with Sada K. online:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Midwife's Tale by Delia Parr - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Midwife’s Tale
Bethany House Publishers (June 2, 2015)
Delia Parr


Delia Parr is the author of sixteen historical and inspirational historical romance novels, including Hearts Awakening, Love's First Bloom, and Hidden Affections. The mother of three grown children, she was a long-time high school teacher in southern New Jersey before retiring to Florida.


Martha Cade comes from a long line of midwives who have served the families of Trinity, Pennsylvania, for generations. A widow with two grown children, she's hopeful that her daughter will follow in her footsteps, but when Victoria runs off, Martha's world is shattered.

Worse, a new doctor has arrived in town, threatening her job, and she can't remember a time when her faith has been tested more. Still determined to do the work she knows God intended for her, Martha is unprepared for all that waits ahead. Whether it's trying to stop a town scandal, mending broken relationships, or feeling the first whispers of an unexpected romance, she faces every trial and every opportunity with hope and faith.

My Thoughts:
Martha Cade’s journey from telling God, “But I’ll manage on my own thank You very much,” to, “I can’t do this alone,” (p. 327) is quite extraordinary!  Delia Parr creates an immersion experience for her readers as she plunges into a small town in Western Pennsylvania in the year 1870.  Martha Cade is following the generations of women in her family who practiced midwifery, and her joy is deeply intertwined with the family’s she aides by guiding their children safely into the world.  Despite being widowed and a single parent, Martha’s life seems rather charmed.

But when things begin to fall apart in the wake of her youngest child’s decision to run away from home, Martha begins to rethink her life a bit.  When a scrappy young orphan steals her heart and she begins to help the boys on the farm at the outskirts of town, you think things might smooth out after all.  Of course you can’t forget the handsome widower and the new doctor in town!  And the two adorable pastry chefs! 

Delia Parr has created a host of wonderful, believable characters, anchored at the center by Martha Cade and her work as a midwife.  You are transported to another place and time, and I think I just fell in love with the entire town!!  BUT…Parr doesn’t forget to add some unexpected twists and turns, and toward the end, I have to admit I was a bit distraught. 

Parr teaches us all a great life lesson through Martha’s experiences.  She shows us what a strong, personal faith looks like, and how necessary it is to submit to The Father’s will.  I LOVE, LOVE LOVE this book and am so excited to know it is the first of a trilogy!!  Obviously, it is a book I happily recommend!

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Midwife’s Tale, go HERE.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

a friend in me by pamela havey lau - REVIEWED

About the Book:
A Friend in Me (David C. Cook, June 2015)

Young women long for relational connection with women further ahead of them on the journey. Yet, without realizing it, many of us tend to distance ourselves from those in younger generations.

Can we really have close relationships with women who have different thoughts on church, different experiences with family, and different ways of talking about God? Where do we start?

In A Friend in Me, Pam Lau shows you how to be a safe place for the younger women in your life. She offers five patterns women need to internalize and practice for initiating relationships and talking about issues such as faith, forgiveness, sexuality, and vocation. Most significantly, she reminds you that there doesn't need to be a divide between generations of women. Together, we can have a global impact---and experience a deeper faith than we've ever known.

My Thoughts:
Past writers and current researched have noted that our spiritual health is dependent on intergenerational relationships.  When we relate to someone who is older, we see our lives through a long historical perspective of life as opposed to relying solely on our own experiences.”  (p. 93)

This statement is one of the building blocks upon which the entire premise of this book rests.  Pamela Lau encourages women to seek God, and all of the means available to us to reach emotional and spiritual health so that we can be a safe place for those coming behind us.  God built us to be in relationship, and He wants us to have life-giving relationships that bring us closer to Him so that we may bring others.  If all of us are taking a close look at areas of our life upon which relationships are built such as comfort, understanding, forgiveness, compassion…and we seek God to be whole in those areas, we can then turn to others and share our story in ways that will help them become whole and find healing.

Truly, this book gives us a picture of what friendship can and should look like among sisters in Christ. The next to the last chapter is entitled “Building Close Friendships and Working Hard”.  It is hard work to get past the life-circumstances that the enemy uses to keep us from being the hands and feet of Jesus to those coming behind us. But it is vital that we do that hard work!  Lau uses many examples from Scripture to illustrate these truths, and she encourages readers to go to God and wrestle with Him to gain the wisdom and understanding we lack.

This is truly a God-given message for such a time as this in my own life.  I am certain it will be for many readers that come to these pages.  Thank you Pamela Lau for writing such a transparent, honest book!!

About the Author:
Pam Lau was born in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, to first generation Christian parents; her mother was Jewish and converted to Christianity as an adult. Pam taught writing for almost 20 years at the college level in Kansas, Pennsylvania and Oregon. After her three daughters were born, she published Soul Strength and taught writing at private day schools until 2010 when she started her own business, Real Life Real Image where she writes, edits and speaks. Pam is married to Dr. Brad Lau, a college administrator.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fatal Trauma by Richard L. Mabry, M.D. - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Fatal Trauma (Abingdon Press, May 2015)
A gunman who has nothing to lose faces a doctor who could lose it all to prove his innocence.

When Dr. Mark Baker and Nurse Kelly Atkinson are held at the mercy of a dangerous gunman, the lives of every emergency room patient are at stake. At the end of the evening three men are dead. One of them is a police officer who couldn't be saved despite Mark's best efforts. The other two are members of the feared Zeta drug cartel.

Though the standoff is over, the killing is not, because when the drug cartel loses its members, revenge is not far behind. Facing an adversary whose desires are dark and efforts are ruthless, Mark finds himself under suspicion as a killer, yet still a potential victim. When he turns to his high school sweetheart, attorney Gwen Woodruff, for help, Kelly helplessly looks on, as she hides her own feelings for the good doctor.

At the height of the conflict, three questions remain: Who is the shooter? Who will the next victim be? And can Mark prove his innocence before the gun turns on him?
My Thoughts:
“….’If God doesn’t use people who’ve failed, who’s left for Him to use’?”  (p. 78)

Kelly’s friend Tracy speaks a timely truth into her life.  The ladies think, at the time, they are trying to share their faith with Kelly's  current romantic interest, Dr. Mark Baker, but it turns out to be much more meaningful than either of them dare dream. Already, both Kelly and Tracy are on high alert because of a drug cartel hit that followed on the heels of an ER hijacking of the personnel to treat a cartel member, but the whole incident in the ER has set off a series of deadly events, and it seems no one is safe.

Richard Mabry, M.D. has always been able to weave a tightly knit story with layers of plots.  He develops the characters emotionally and spiritually without distracting from a very face-paced, suspenseful story.  He has become even more adept at hiding the criminals in plain sight, and I have to admit, I just about fell for the red herring hook, line and sinker!  Kelly and Mark remain the central characters throughout the story, and even their romantic interest is couched in a lot of twists and turns!  Fatal Trauma will keep you guessing until the very end of the novel!

I’ve been a fan of Mabry’s work for a long time, and Fatal Trauma doesn’t disappoint at all!!  Hang on for the ride!  It is going to be very, very bumpy!!
About the Author:

A retired physician, Dr. Richard Mabry is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels of medical suspense. His previous works have been finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times Reader's Choice Award, and have won the Selah Award. He is a past Vice-President of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the International Thriller Writers. He and his wife live in North Texas.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

London Tides by Carla Laureano - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
London Tides
David C. Cook (June 1, 2015)
Carla Laureano


I studied literature and criticism at Pepperdine University and earned a degree in English in 1997. Since then, I’ve worked in a number of different industries as a salesperson, marketing manager, copywriter, and small business consultant. In addition to my work for corporate clients, I wrote for publications produced by the World Health Organization.

I love the history, culture, and mythology of Ireland and Scotland, which form the settings for most of my work. I also enjoy incorporating my background in martial arts and fencing into the action elements of my stories.

I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). I was selected as a finalist in ACFW’s 2012 Genesis contest in the speculative fiction category. My debut novel, a contemporary romance entitled Five Days in Skye, was released by David C Cook in June 2013 and went on to win RWA’s 2014 RITA Award for Inspirational Romance. My three book young adult fantasy series, SONG OF SEARE, is being released from NavPress in 2014 and 2015.

I live with my husband and two sons in Denver, Colorado.


Irish photojournalist Grace Brennan travels the world’s war zones documenting the helpless and forgotten. After the death of her friend and colleague, Grace is shaken.

She returns to London hoping to rekindle the spark with the only man she ever loved—Scottish businessman Ian MacDonald. But he gave up his championship rowing career and dreams of Olympic gold years ago for Grace ... only for her to choose career over him. Will life’s tides bring them back together ... or tear them apart for good this time?

My Thoughts:
I know you’ve had more than you share of tragedy.  But you can’t live life just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  If you spend all your time waiting for the bad, you’ll miss everything good in the meantime.”  (p. 339)

This is a truth that it takes most people a lifetime to grasp.  At the point Grace hears these words, she has spent decades running from the people that mean the most to her.  Granted, she has also lost people she loved, and there is total fear in play, but no matter what has touched her life, she can’t let it paralyze her.  Ian, the man who spoke these words to Grace, has also lost people he loved, and he has poured his life into work to bury the pain instead of dealing with the loss.  These two together make quite a broken pair.

Carla Laureano has created some very realistic types of brokenness in her novel, London Tides. The characters have achieved a level of success in their professional lives, but in the personal and spiritual lives, they are pretty much dying from denial and fear.  When they intersect after a decade apart, the bottom line becomes what it has always been – fear and evasion.  But God intervenes, and truth smacks them in the face.  It isn’t until they are willing to give up control and yield to God’s plan that they find some measure of peace, and the strength to let go and ask for the help they need.

I won’t give any spoilers, but I will tell you that this is one of the most realistic novels I’ve read lately regard to relationships.  Laureano  doesn’t just develop the romantic relationship, but deep and lasting friendships blossom.  These folks are real.  Their pain and struggles are recognizable, and the resolution is realistic and a bit painful.  This is a fabulous novel and one I am happy to recommend!

If you would like to read the first chapter of London Tides, go HERE.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Justified by Varina Denman - REVIEWED

About the Book:
When the privileged daughter of a Texas rancher becomes pregnant by her abusive boyfriend, her small town casts judgment... except for one man who reaches out with tender strength as she learns to forgive herself.

In a forgotten town ruled by gossip, Fawn Blaylock believes others are justified in condemning her sins. Yet a yearning in her soul instills hope for a second chance when the head football coach treats her with gentle respect.

Varina Denman's novel Justified perfectly captures the rhythm and romance of life in a small town. It is the story of a woman searching for renewal, a man looking beyond what others see, and a community struggling to understand them both.

My Thoughts:
These things take time, Fawn.”

These things.  Things like change.  Like forgiveness. Like heartfelt repentance.  I wondered if these things would happen in my lifetime.”   (p. 69)

Justified is a novel  that explores all of these issues in the context of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, addiction, abuse, and – sometimes even more deadly – small town gossip and judgement.  Fawn Blaylock not only became a single mother, but she also had to face a falling away from her wealthy family’s reputation.  Fawn wasn’t secure enough in her ability to handle things to the point of sharing the abuse she’d suffered at the hand of the baby’s father with others, but she was strong enough to put distance between them.  God placed people in her life that drew her to His love over time, but her journey to that point was filled with fear, indecision and a lot of shame.  Fawn’s life was anything but easy.

The insidious part of the story was Fawn’s parents and Tyler’s hidden abuses.  Fawn had to struggle with forgiving herself as much as she had to struggle to forgive others that had wronged her.  I think a lot of believers will identify with internal battle.  I’m also quite sure that readers will come to love  JohnScott and the easy, laid back way he lives out his faith.  I love the reality that God does indeed introduce people like JohnScott into our lives at just the right moment so that we are drawn to His love and mercy time and time again.

Justified captures the nuances of a small town very accurately!   Almost uncomfortably accurate!  The character development is excellent, and the people in Trapp,Texas come alive in your heart.  This is a perfect book to settle in with and enjoy the easy rhythm of Summer.