Thursday, April 28, 2016

Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Music taught Lucy love and beauty. Could silence teach her hope?

Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they're committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. Charlie retired early, but Lucy is devoted to a long-term career . . . until the day she has no choice.

Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her form the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith's song has gone silent, too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes.

When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees---and hears---everything.

Buy your copy HERE!

My Thoughts:
Sometimes the petals fall.  Sometimes the roots get damages.  Sometimes you have to replace the container.  Sometimes you make compost and start over.”  (p. 277)

Lucy and Charlie Tuttle had to make compost and start over in Cynthia Ruchti’s latest novel song of silence.  They had to start over in so many ways, I know that didn’t even recognize their own front door when all things were said and done.  They weren’t always pliable to The Master’s Touch through the process, and there were times when things just seemed too hard to go on…but…doesn’t that happen to all of us in some way or another?

I don’t know about you, but most folks I know who have had the privilege of doing something they loved as a career, only to have things go horribly sideways when retirement was in view, these are folks who have to be granted an extra measure of strength and grace.  Lucy and Charlie are no exception.  But in their lives many things go sideways…one right after another until even the reader’s heart feels a bit wrung out.

Then….that beautiful combination of grace and mercy shows up in very unexpected ways, and God’s handiwork becomes so vividly clear, that the heart that was wrung out with heartache becomes full of gratitude at the truth of God’s promises!  ALL THINGS.  Even when is looks as though there is not an ounce of joy left in the wide, wide world.

Get ready to shed a few tears with Lucy and Charlie.  And then be ready to have yourself grow slack-jawed by the beauty of God’s grace!  This is a HOMERUN of a novel!  Truly, a thing of beauty!!

About the Author:
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She's the award-winning author of 17 books and a frequent speaker for women's ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Cleansing by Daryl Boyer - REVIEWED

Daryl Boyer – remember that name!  I believe God is going to use his musical talent to touch many lives!  His new project, The Cleansing, is a CD filled with songs that are filled with praise, adoration and a heart’s cry to be fully submitted to becoming all that God has made us to be as His children.

Daryl’s songs range from electrically charged praise, to quiet, instrumental and contemplative songs of intimate worship. I think one of the lines of the title song, The Cleansing, captures the heart of the project with the words; Lay me sow on the altar, of your refining fire, to be the one you’ve called me to be.”

On his website, Daryl takes this message to an even deeper level when he states: Worship goes far deeper that the sons we sing.  Our worship should also be represented by what we do with Christ in  and through our daily lives. Without a clear understanding of Christ’s love, and the full scope of what He accomplished for us at the cross, we will never have a clear understanding of our identity in Christ.

I encourage everyone to get acquainted with Daryl Boyer and his new release The Cleansing!

Stay tuned!  I will be posting and interview with Daryl in the days ahead!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pocket Prayers by Max Lucado - REVIEWED

About these books:
Pocket Prayers (with various authors; Thomas Nelson, March 2016)

Bestselling author Max Lucado has teamed up with six authors to write the Pocket Prayers series for those in need of peace, renewal, rest, faith, hope, joy, direction, serenity, and courage.

Short, simple prayers are very effective, which is why each book in the series contains forty guided prayers and complementary scriptures for any situation, including for:

-Moms (written with daughter Andrea Lucado)
-Grads (written with daughter Andrea Lucado)
-Dads (written with Mark Mynheir)
-Military Life (written with Mark Mynheir)
-Teachers (written with blogger Jennifer Hale)
-Friends (written with Betsy St. Amant)

You can purchase copies here!

My Thoughts:
Prayer is no a privilege for the pious, not the art of a chosen few.  Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child.”  (p. 15)

Max Lucado is very honest in his definition of prayer.  He identifies the most common misconceptions about prayer in his brief introduction, and then offers  simple, heartfelt prayers on a number of topics in an effort to teach and encourage believers of all ages and stages of faith to learn to have daily conversations with God no matter what situation lies before  them.

When you consider how often Jesus prayed, how he carved out intentional time to pray, and the fact that He was part of the Godhead….it gives us all pause to consider the value of spending out time in the same way, right?  So why is it so hard? Lucado wants to take the fear and intimidation away from this powerful and promise-filled activity and invite everyone to join him in this most important conversation.

Each book, regardless of the intended audience, contains Forty prayers divided into a variety of topics.  From Guidance and Clarity to Grace and Strength – from Work and Career to Relationships, Lucado offers brief, heart-felt prayers to guide believers into the presence of God.  I hope no one will see this as a religious guide-book, but rather a teaching tool to instruct those who have believed a lie about the role prayer holds in the life of all of God’s children.

Come, from a variety life-roles, and join the conversation.  Your Heavenly Father is waiting to talk with you. 

About the Author:
More than 120 million readers have found inspiration and encouragement in the writings of Max Lucado. He lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy, in San Antonio, Texas, where he serves the people of Oak Hills Church.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Suddenly Single Mom by Jeanette Hanscome - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Raising your family on your own can be heartbreaking, lonely and hard to navigate. Suddenly, you are the one who has to have the answers. Remembering that God is always with you and that His love is faithful can give you the confidence to face whatever this new life brings. With a foundation of helpful Scripture verses, each message shares a story, a survival tip and a prayer. Readers will find a faithful companion in this book as they encounter each new experience and learn to embrace their new role. Jeanette Hanscome shares 52 encouraging insights gleaned from her first year as a single mom to two boys. She shares very real struggles and triumphs, from learning to stand on her own to knowing when to ask for or accept help, and deals with both the emotional and the practical challenges of raising her children on her own.

My Thoughts:
Thank you for being bigger than statistics, my fears or even today’s struggles.” (p. 120)

Jeanette Hanscome prays as transparently and as honestly as she writes each chapter of her book, Suddendly Single Mom. She allows her readers to journey with her as she navigates becoming a single mom after being married for more than two decades.  Learning to accept help, fighting spiritually for both yourself and your children when you’d rather be curled up despondent in the bed for days on end.  Jeanette captures the raw, honest places of this journey, but as she does, she invites Jesus along step by painful step.

Remaining open to everything God had prepared for her and her two children allowed Jeanette to be victorious when most would have given in to the despair and depression that follow this all-to-common scenario.  She learns to trust God to navigate and provide for both she and her children, and, with every detail of their lives lovingly cared for – through God’s willing disciples – Jeanette encourages readers to be encouraged and remain strong through their own journey through divorce.

Each chapter is brief but laser focused on a crucial detail of the journey.  Jeanette ends each chapter with prayer, scripture and a potential journal topic. She focusses on God’s provision and healing, but is honest about the pain, confusion and deep sense of loss experienced in the wake of divorce.

Like Jeanette, my marriage ended after 22 and a half years.  I believe God placed this book in my hands and in my heart for a purpose.  This takes me a step further in my own healing journey, and point me again toward the only provision I will ever need to get me to my own next step in life – Jesus.

I cannot begin to recommend this highly enough!! Bless you Jeanette!!  Bless you!!

About the Author:
Jeanette Hanscome is a busy author and mom who constantly looks for opportunities to weave her experiences into stories. . When she isn't writing, Jeanette enjoys encouraging writers, teaching and speaking, knitting and crocheting, and spending time with the people she loves.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bride of a Distant Isle by Sadra Byrd - REVIEWED

About the Book:
An unforgettable romance set in Victorian England, Bride of A Distant Isle is the engrossing story of Annabel Ashton, who fights to save her family home and her mother's honor while trying to figure out if the man she loves wants her—or just wants to use her to achieve his own ambitions.

Miss Annabel Ashton is a teacher at the Rogers School for Young Ladies in Winchester when she takes a brief visit to her family home, Highcliffe Hall at Milford-on-Sea. She believes her stay will be short but soon learns that she will not be returning to the safety of the school. Instead, she remains at Highcliffe, at the mercy of her cousin, Edward Everedge.

Annabel protests, but as the illegitimate daughter of a woman who died in an insane asylum, she has little say. Edward is running out of money and puts the house up for sale to avoid financial ruin. He insists that Annabel marry, promising her to a sinister, frightening man. But as the house gets packed for sale, it begins to reveal disquieting secrets. Jewelry, artifacts, and portraits mysteriously appear, suggesting that Annabel may be the true heir of Highcliffe.

She has only a few months to prove her legitimacy, perhaps with assistance from the handsome but troubled Maltese Captain Dell’Acqua. But does he have Annabel’s best interests at heart?

And then, a final, most ominous barrier to both her inheritance and her existence appears: a situation neither she nor anyone else could have expected. Will Annabel regain her life and property—and trust her heart—before it’s too late? 

My Thoughts:
You are not mute in the dark, Father, though I may not always be able to see Your hand or recognize Your servants, or who they are, at work.  You’ve never left me.  You’ve never forsaken nor forgotten me.” (p. 347)

At the point Annabelle has this revelation, she is walking completely by faith!  She has gone through some rather hellish things, and her life is still filled with uncertainty.  However, she has discovered the only sure foundation, and chooses to stand on that truth regardless of her circumstance.

This is also the point in the novel when many secrets have come to light, and Annabelle finds herself at a crossroads.  All choices have consequence, and she must choose what direction her future will take. Although this novel is set in the mid 1850’s, the truth of the condition of the human heart without Christ is the same as it is in the 21st century.  Greed, covetousness, pride, addiction…it’s all there.  I found the scariest fact in the story to be how many people were committed to insane asylums with no hope of healing or relief.  Abandoned to die, basically.  That is scary!

Annabelle was facing this very thing, all because of a wicked, insidious heart that longed to have things that never belonged to their world.  This is a beautiful, dangerous story that has, at its heart, a redemptive message.  True, not all stories ended well in this novel, but the endings faced were realistic and true. 

This is a novel that will make you think deeply about your own faith, but will also make you grateful that insane asylums are no longer the go-to solution to every imaginable situation!  An excellent story indeed!!  I highly recommend this novel!

About the Author:
Sandra Byrd has published four dozen books in the fiction and nonfiction markets, including her two historical series with Howard Books. For nearly two decades, Sandra has shared her secrets with the many writers she edits, mentors, and coaches. She lives in the Seattle, Washington area.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Worship Leader Daryl Boyer Celebrates Triple Release of CD The Cleansing, First Single "King Jesus"

ATLANTA (April 11, 2016)- Worship Leader Daryl Boyer is excited to announce the international release of his powerful and passionate new worship project, The Cleansing: A New Creation, A Brand New Identity, A Brand New Day and release of the first single,"King Jesus" to today. The catchy, energetic song is being released and distributed to Christian radio via Play MPE. Over the weekend prior to release day, the single was already #9 in all Christian genres and #13 in downloads from the distribution giant. Boyer has also recently released the companion Youtube video for "King Jesus." You can view it here:

The Cleansing, is a result of a life changing encounter with God that Boyer experienced last Spring 2015 at a Power and Love Conference. Boyer, who is also the Worship Director and Youth Pastor at Christ Fellowship in Seaville, New Jersey was radically transformed while in the midst of recording the project.

The Cleansing is chock full of both danceable, worshipful tunes and uplifting lyrics that point to the revelation of the believer's Identity in Christ and the power of becoming a new creation. Daryl Boyer, who believes that worship is more than just a song, and is in fact a lifestyle, also heads up and is the Founder of Daryl Boyer Ministries, a ministry that brings renewal and fresh fire to the local church and the body of Christ through teaching and worship. 

"Worship music is one of the tools that God has given us to connect with Him deeply. Worship goes far deeper then the song we sing, it is about what we do with Christ in our daily lives. Our ministry here is about bringing the power of God's restorative cleansing power.", declares Boyer.

Daryl Boyer Ministries is spearheading worship events regionally and nationally called  "Fire and Love Worship Encounter" which can either be a two hour or full day event where participants may enter into a transforming understanding of what worship can become in their own personal lives. Today DPM also released the promo video for the powerful encounter. To watch via Youtube click here:

The Cleansing had a soft regional release in August 2015, but today is the official international release day, and is the culmination of several months of prayer and planning, along with the release of the first single and the well-produced and impactful video from the Fire and Love Worship Encounter.

For more info on The Cleansing, Daryl Boyer and the Fire and Love Worship Encounter go to:


Daryl Boyer is a Worship Leader, Recording Artist, Worship Director and Youth Pastor, and  the Founder along with his wife Steffanie of Daryl Boyer Ministries.

Daryl is a singer/songwriter and can play numerous instruments, but focuses on keyboards and guitar. He has just released his new album The Cleansing: along with the debut single "King Jesus" internationally from New Hope Records.

Daryl Boyer Ministries has announced the launch of the "Fire and Love Worship Encounter", an exciting and transformational event where the body of Christ can be refreshed and receive renewed passion through the power of worship.

Daryl is a graduate of Spring Arbor University and has been leading worship for over ten years.

Daryl, his wife and children reside in New Jersey.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Richard Paul Evans Daughter - Jenna Evans Welch releases her first novel!

About the Book:
A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Firefall Project - where my focus has been lately!

My youngest has been involved in the release of The Firefall Project for the past year.  He was blessed to write the title song of the album.  So, the project released this week, so my reading time has been severely limited!!  Enjoy! You will find the entire project on Itunes and Google.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Brush of Wings by Karen Kingsbury - REVIEWED

About the Book:
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes the third novel in an unforgettable series about divine intervention and the trials and triumphs of life for a group of friends.

Despite needing a heart transplant and against the advice of her doctor, Mary Catherine moves to Uganda to work at a new orphanage. Whatever time she has left, Mary Catherine wants to spend it helping children—especially since there will be no children of her own. The only problem is Major League Baseball player Marcus Dillinger, the man she never meant to fall in love with. Neither Marcus nor Mary Catherine’s other friends—Tyler Ames and Sami Dawson—know just how serious her heart condition is.

Still, Marcus is sure in the depths of his soul that something isn’t right. Ultimately his correspondence with Mary Catherine leads him on a desperate life-or-death mission to rescue her and get her to a US hospital before time runs out. Meanwhile, Sami and Tyler struggle with issues of their own. In a season when Tyler plans to ask Sami to marry him, the very core of their relationship is in jeopardy.

The team of angels walking is busier than ever in this epic battle between life and death. Brush of Wings is a poignant tale of love, sacrifice, and the power of faith.

My Thoughts:
A stubborn, prideful woman (Mary Catherine) and a struggling professional athlete (Marcus) come together in the third novel of Karen Kingsbury’s Angels Walking series to create the perfect storm in which God’s angelic hosts must intervene.  I was SUPER skeptical when I approached this novel, because many times God’s intervention in our lives – whether through angelic beings or other means – come across very poorly in a novel.  When you combine angels with over-the-top romance, well…

I was pleasantly surprised by the spiritual truths that are brought to light in the novel.  Mary Catherine’s stubbornness, and Marcus’ persistence despite circumstances – those are familiar scenarios in my life!  And the role of the angelic beings…well, I’ve experienced some of those type things in my own life, so I’m totally open to that reality!

In short, this is a solid novel if you like modern day romance with a twist of the spiritual realm.  The reality and outcome are believable and will leave you feeling close to the cast of characters.  Their choices are not without consequence, and that is what makes this book believable.  I am happy to recommend this to readers everywhere!

About the Author:
Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller lists and many of her novels are under development with Hallmark Films and as major motion pictures. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Don, and their five sons, three of whom are adopted from Haiti. Their actress daughter, Kelsey, lives nearby and is married to Christian recording artist Kyle Kupecky. The couple recently welcomed their first child, Hudson, making Karen and Don grandparents for the first time.