Monday, February 27, 2017

Still Life by Dani Pettrey - REVIEWED

About the book:
Someone Is Out There. Watching Her. Waiting. 
Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime-scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime-scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit for which her friend modeled. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found, and so Avery immediately calls Parker for help.

As Avery, Parker, and their friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

My Thoughts:
What does any of this have to do with us?” (p. 327)

This is a good question to ask when you see a photograph of a friend who has been posed in death.  It is also a good question to ask when you are beginning fall in love with a man you perceive to be pining for a love that was tragically ripped from his life.  It is also a good question to ask when you are trying to determine where your unique skill set of crime scene photography fits into the grand scheme of thing when violence has come unexpectedly to your doorstep!

Dani Pettrey has written a very suspenseful murder/romance/thriller of a novel that will keep readers desperately searching for answers!  She layers the plot so well that you can’t truly pinpoint the killer until the very end!  Pettrey sends readers on one wild ride after another in search of answers, and by the time you reach the final pages, the plot has become very satisfying!  I won’t give away any spoilers, but suffice it to say that the depravity of lives without God stands in stark contrast to those who are Christ followers.

This is a very satisfying read on a multitude of levels!  Don’t miss this most excellent novel!!

About the Author:
Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the Alaskan Courage romantic suspense series, which includes her bestselling novels SubmergedShatteredStrandedSilenced, and Sabotaged. Her books have been honored with the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award, among others.  

She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves--the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of her characters' faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, a son-in-law, and a super adorable grandson. You can find her online at

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Door to Freedom by Jana Kelley - REVIEWED

About the Book:
It's rough and it's smooth. It's dark and it's light. It's a masterpiece. It's us. Here in Sudan. We are scared of it and drawn to it. There is an open door, and there is much opposition.

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia, who is raising her family in a Muslim country, has learned to boldly share her faith. Rania, the daughter of a wealthy Sudanese Arab, seeks to find the reason for her sister's sudden disappearance. Mia holds some of the answers, but both women quickly discover they must each walk through their own doors to freedom, the freedom that only comes when you trust God's sovereignty more than manmade security.

Part of New Hope Publishers' line of contemporary missional fiction, Door to Freedom, the sequel to Side by Side, opens the reader's eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Door to Freedom also reveals some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as for the salvation of the persecutors.

My Thoughts:
A great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many to oppose me.” (p. 218 – I Corinthians 16:9)

Mia Weston and her family (Michael and three children) are missionaries to the Muslim people in Sudan.  As they minister to the people there, trying to stay within the understood boundaries of the culture, Mia and her husband are both challenged and transformed by God’s Word as they learn the truth about God’s sovereignty, protection and leadership while serving those around them.  This whole scenario of serving others who are blinded to the truth of Christ and His great salvation is something that speaks deeply to me, as God has placed me in a field ripe unto harvest.  While I’m not serving on foreign soil, Christ and His love are just as foreign to many I work with as it is to the Muslim people in Sudan.

I think this is an honest look at the challenges faced by those called to full-time missions.  To listen to friends and relatives worry about safety and the reality of missing the presence of children and grandchildren – all of this is a weight to be balanced against the calling of God in your life.  Kelley does a great job drawing back the curtain on both sides of this spiritual battlefield.  There is great sacrifice to be made on both sides, and those who are praying for missionaries on any level can pray more intelligently after reading this book!

I really enjoyed this book.  More than that, I am thankful at the work God has done in my heart through this book!  Books are a powerful tool God uses in my life to remind me of His truth, His power and His faithfulness!  I am happy to recommend this book!

Purchase your copy HERE!

About the Author:
Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend East Texas Baptist University. She and her husband married a month after she graduated, and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. After 13 years living in Africa and the Middle East, Jana, her husband, and their three boys moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Control Girl by Shannon Popkin - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Tension, anger, fear, anxiety-it all begins with a heart that craves control.
Little fights with your husband and kids. Unhappiness when things don't match your version of perfect. When your perspective of how life should go replaces God's, you doom your quest for security, peace, and joy before it even starts.

Thankfully, there is a better way.

Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and
about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.

Learn how you too can lay down this burden of trying to control everything and find rest in surrendering to the One who truly is in control.

My Thoughts:
I knew I was in for a wild ride when my oldest son opened the package from the mailbox, and, upon reading the title of Shannon Popkin's book exclaimed, "Well this is certainly a book you need to read!"  Hmmmmm! Subtle message?  My son is a college Senior who knows me well, but I have to say his observation stung quite a bit!

This book has been a difficult read for me.  I've had to lay it down, sometimes with tears and cries of repentance!  So, let me tell you ladies, allow God to work through the pages of this book to challenge and change you.  I've not finished this book yet, because I'm at another hard, challenging chapter.  Part of me (control girl) wants to stop and not go back to finish - to avoid the painfulness of transformation.  But when I submit to God - I have to finish the course he has laid before me, and Shannon Popkin's book is my God appointment right now.

I pray that you are brave enough to pick up this book and thoughtfully go through each chapter and pray prayers of repentance and gratefulness that The Lord loves you enough to bring books like this into your life for such a time as this.

Thank you for your obedience, Shannon.  May God continue to bless you!

About the Author:
Shannon Popkin is a wife and mom, a speaker and teacher, and a leader of small group studies. She's been published by "Family Fun," "MOMsense," "Focus on the Family Magazine," and other outlets. She is a contributing blogger for True and has blogged for several years at "Control Girl" is her first book.
Find out more about Shannon at

Monday, February 13, 2017

Deep Water by Christine Poulson - REVEIWED

About the Book:
An obesity treatment has been discovered, but before anyone can benefit, a dispute breaks out about who owns the discovery. David Marchmont, a patent lawyer, is asked to handle the case. There's one big problem, though: crucial evidence is missing--evidence that might have a bearing on the clinical trial two years before.

David's personal life has its own challenges. His daughter, Chloe, has a rare and serious genetic condition. His wife, Rachel, becomes friendly with a young researcher, Kate Flanagan, who is seeking a cure for Chloe's disorder; Kate, in turn, becomes concerned that her lab colleagues may be cutting corners on the obesity drug.

As evidence of mishandling mounts--then disappears--Kate, Rachel, and David find themselves caught up in acute ethical challenges and personal danger. Is biotechnology outstripping our capacity to make ethical decisions?

My Thoughts:
What was that?”  (p. 113)

This question is asked frequently and on many levels in Christine Poulson’s latest book, Deep Water.  Many characters need to ask this question of themselves and of those around them.  There are relational, professional, emotional and physical reasons to ask this question, and eventually answers begin to surface.  However, some characters don’t survive long enough to get the answers they seek. This is the reality within the world of medical/scientific research that Poulson explores in her novel.

It stands to reason the competitive nature of research done to produce life-changing medications and treatment exists for both philanthropic satisfaction and monetary gain.  I was unaware of many of the parameters that drive this competitiveness - funding sources, time limitations and positions within a research company just to name a few.  Poulson layers this reality within dynamic and realistic relational issues, and creates a cast of characters you will come to care about deeply.  As the story develops, and the lives of the characters become intricately intertwined, it becomes difficult to determine who becomes overwhelmed by greed and desperation enough to do harm to those around them.  This is the ever-present mystery that keeps the reader engaged with the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and I highly recommend it to everyone!  The novel is set in the London area, and there is some mild language throughout the storyline.  These were elements I wasn’t expecting, but it is nothing that will distract the reader from the enjoyment of the masterfully told story!

About the Author:
Dr. Christine Poulson has lectured in art history and is familiar with academic life. A member of the Society of Friends, she is the author of several novels and works of nonfiction and is an active blogger. She is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Dog who was There by Ron Marasco - REVIEWED

About the Book:
No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah.

He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley's eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we've never experienced before.
Barley's story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver's home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.
Learn more and purchase a copy HERE!
My Thoughts:
We must love, and we must care for those who need us.” (p.253)

This book has been an unexpected treasure!  The Dog Who Was There  chronicles the journey – a very realistic journey of a dog who lived during Jesus’ earthly ministry.  The events that take Barley (the name itself is a treasure!) from one household to another during the course of his lifetime are very realistic and entirely believable!  I think the believability of Barley’s circumstance is what makes the final “revelation” so powerful!

I won’t spoil anything for you, but suffice it to say, Barley was present during significant ministry moments, and I was totally blown away when I realized who he was with at the end of the journey! It sheds an entirely new perspective on the words mercy and grace!!

Ron Marasco understands this in a powerful way!  I believe this book will speak to the hearts of readers in very unexpected ways…whether they are believers or unbelievers.  This book was an unexpected treasure for me, and I am happy to recommend it to everyone!

About the Author:
Ron Marasco is a professor in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His first book, Notes to an Actor, was named by the American Library Association an Outstanding Book of 2008. His second book, About Grief, has been translated into multiple languages, and he is currently completing a book on Shakespeare’s sonnets. He has acted extensively on TV—from Lost to West Wing to Entourage to originating the role of Mr. Casper on Freaks and Geeks—and appeared opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas in the movie Illusion, for which he also wrote the screenplay.  Most recently, he has played the recurring role of Judge Grove on Major Crimes. He has a BA from Fordham at Lincoln Center and an MA and Ph. D. from UCLA.
Find out more about Ron HERE.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Popular apologetics book becomes source for curriculum material in Russian schools

Abbotsford, WI  The updated 4th edition of the ground-breaking book “Surprised by Faith” by Dr. Don Bierle is the basis of material for a curriculum made available in Russia’s public secondary schools. The extra-biblical evidence for the Christian faith can now be taught to thousands of Russian high school students by their own trained teachers. Meanwhile, biblical or Christian teaching in America’s public schools is almost non-existent. Dr. Bierle says that Christianity in America has become a tradition of its truth rather than a demonstration of its truth. The result, he says, is a Christian populace unable to defend their beliefs against a growing array of skeptics.

“Because of the new and aggressive atheists, the prevailing culture of secular humanism and naturalism, the immigration of many who adhere to unfamiliar religions, and an inexplicable bias against Christian faith and practice, now more than ever, Christian believers must defend their faith.” says Bierle, a research scientist and academic dean with over 30 years of teaching experience. “But they no longer know how or have never learned. They find their attempts at communicating their faith to be both ineffective and frustrating. For them and the younger victims of the prevailing secular culture, ‘Surprised by Faith’ has been antidotal. Indeed, the relevance of this third edition for our culture is greater than ever.”

After more than two decades in print and one-third million distribution, “Surprised by Faith” has been translated into 16 world languages. The newly-revised 4th edition, releasing this month from Aneko Press, has some of the most current manuscript numbers of any apologetic resource available. For example, the manuscript numbers for Homer’s Iliad have been updated from 643 to 1,757; and Caesar’s Gallic Wars from 10 to 150. Meanwhile, the New Testament manuscript numbers continue to overwhelm every other ancient writing with 5,795 Greek and 24,406 total manuscripts. Additionally, a new section regarding the principles of faith has been added to chapter four. Dr. Bierle hopes the new information in “Surprised by Faith” will help this generation learn that Christianity is grounded in unmitigated facts.

“The flight from confidence in absolutes and a growing biblical illiteracy has left many floundering for any sense of purpose and meaning in their lives,” says Bierle. “Fear has filled people’s hearts as they contemplate the future. It is my prayer that this 4th edition will similarly be used by God in the years ahead, to be an oasis for an often disillusioned and spiritually thirsty society.”

For more information, visit

About Dr. Don Bierle:
Dr. Don Bierle is President Emeritus of FaithSearch International, and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the life sciences, and an M.A. in New Testament studies. As a research scientist, he was a team member on scientific expeditions to both the Arctic and Antarctic polar regions. As an educator and academic dean, Dr. Bierle has been active for 30 years teaching biology, Bible, and worldview subjects in the college classroom. He has conducted training around the world, in places such as the Marshall Islands in the south Pacific, Amsterdam, Nepal, the Philippines, and throughout India. He has published several articles in scientific journals, and is the author of “Surprised by Faith” as well as several other books and DVDs on practical apologetics. He specializes in Evidential Evangelism.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Shannon Popkin's 'Control Girl' Blog Tour and Prize Pack Giveaway

Are you trying to stay in control of your quest for peace, joy, and security . . . and you're exhausted? Shannon Popkin's debut book, Control Girl, is a must-read for anyone with a heart that craves control. Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.

Learn how to give up control to God and become a Jesus girl! Enter to win a prize pack that will help you give up your Control Girl tendencies.

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on February 21. The winner will be announced February 22 on Shannon's blog.

Pinterest graphic (you can paste this on your HTML page on your blog): Popkin1 Popkin2