Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green - REVIEWED


About the Book:
Fleeing One Revolution to the Aftermath of Another, She Seeks and Dreams of Peace

Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia, but danger lurks in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers begin to suspect a young boy left in her care might be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement Asylum offer permanent refuge?


Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate his hard-won farm near Asylum, but he soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they are drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.

My Thoughts:

“When Vienne punched through the air pockets in a lump of dough, she prayed, Fill my empty places with Your love and faithfulness.  As she rolled and sealed her baguettes:  Make smooth my rough edges, Lord.  And so with flour dusting her hair and sweat beading her face and neck, Vienne shaped her bread, and believed that God was shaping her, too.”  (p. 128)

This small paragraph encapsulates the journey that Vienne Rivard traverses throughout the length of Jocelyn Green’s latest novel, A Refuge Assured.  Green’s ability to connect the revolutionary conflict in France in the late 1700’s to the Whiskey rebellion during the infancy of the United States just after their own revolution…absolutely fascinating!!!  The place of Asylum for the French refugees fleeing the trouble in their home country – and to have Vienne tangled so intricately  - through no fault of her own – in every aspect of each trial – this is an absolutely captivating novel!!  You won’t want to miss a single word!

Vienne is a character who exhibits the mix of faith, steadfastness and humanity that I hope my life reflects in some measure.  I honestly don’t know if I would have had the courage to face the things she had to navigate, but all along the journey, she is true to herself and to God.  The way she loves and serves others reflects the transformation that has taken place in her heart through each tragic event she has been forced to navigate.

Readers will come to care deeply for Vienne, Henri, Liam and all the other amazing characters that fill the pages of this very powerfully written novel.  I’ve read many of Jocelyn’s novels, but this one will always be dear to my heart, because she has shown me a version of my life that I long for – a version, that by God’s grace I will walk out with the same strength and integrity that Vienne did.  This is an AMAZING novel!!

About the Author:
Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the KingWedded to War, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award, the gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and the Golden Scroll Award from the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. Jocelyn lives with her husband, Rob, and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Unhitching from the Crazy Train by Julie Sparkman - REVIEWED


About the Book:
You have a picture of how your life should go. We all do. The dream job. Close friendships. Loving, grateful children. A perfect marriage. But more often than not, life doesn’t go according to plan. So we corral and control, determined to make our picture come true. Our emotional, spiritual, and even physical well being are taken for a crazy ride as our very sanity becomes dependent on how closely reality matches our expectations. No wonder we’re exhausted. We’re hitched to the crazy train, and we want to get off. But how?    
“Come to Me,” Jesus says, “and I will give you rest.”
Join counselor and teacher Julie Sparkman as she explores Jesus’ gentle yet costly invitation to true rest—rest that is dependent on the finished work of a Savior who will never leave us alone.

My Thoughts:
“When life takes a turn away from who we desire, oure response should shift from “That do I do now?” to “What are You doing now and what is my role in YOUR purposes?”  The responsibility to make life work is no longer on our shoulders; instead, we are invited to play a role in what His is doing.”  (p.84)

Julie Sparkman’s book, Unhitching from the Crazy Train, has intersected my life in the perfect season!  This book has captured my heart, called attention to areas of life where I’ve long struggled to understand “why”, and all along I should have been asking, “What?”  This book is a VERY RICH resource that will allow you to identify moments of your life where you’ve jumped on the crazy train and are demanding that God answer your prayer in a way that aligns with your perceived life plan rather that God’s will.

I’ve taken my time with this book.  I’ve soaked in the truths that are presented.  I’ve been challenged by the questions at the end of each chapter.  This has been an incredible tool that God has used in my life to  help me grow into an closer image of His likeness.  Sparkman’s writing style is transparent and direct, and her book is powerful because of that aspect.  She’s not writing from a place of biblical superiority, but rather is presenting life-changing truths she has learned as she has traveled her own life journey.


I cannot begin to recommend this book highly enough!  Buy a copy today and a couple to share!  It will make an amazing small group study, as well as a personal devotional.  This book has impacted my life in a powerful way.  Bless you Julie Sparkman, for writing this amazing book!

About the Author:
Julie Sparkman has been a counselor in private practice for 18 years and is a popular Bible teacher and conference speaker. She is the cofounder of Restore Counseling Ministries in Birmingham, Alabama, where she helps individuals and couples learn to practically apply the gospel to their everyday lives and relationships. You can learn more about Julie’s ministry at restore-ministries.org.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn - REVIEWED


About the Book:
After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she'd left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff's Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer--one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.

Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn't let go until the final heart-pounding page.

My Thoughts:
Could she trust him to keep her alive?  Or trust him I that wasn’t his plan at all?” (p. 206)

Leigh Weston wrestles with a lot of questions in Lynn H. Blackburn’s novel, Beneath the Surface.  She has come to her lake home to restore peace in her life after a traumatic event, only to have a dead body turn up nearby, and then to be pursued by an unknown killer.  Detective Ryan Parker, a childhood friend of her older brother, is assigned to the case, but even his best attempts to keep Leigh safe are thwarted at every turn.  Leigh begins to reach out God, who she’s basically ignored for a while, and begins to wonder if He hears her cries for help.

This is a really well-written story, and both Leigh and Ryan will become a familiar presence in your heart and mind as you walk with them through their adventure.  There are many twists and turns, but once it’s discovered that there is a serial killer on the move in this North Carolina town, this pace ramps up quickly.  I must say, I really enjoy an author who keeps her villains well-hidden until the end of the novel!


This is the first in the Dive Team series, so jump on board and hang on for the ride!  There is a bit of romance mixed in, but the chase of the killer takes precedence.  I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I’m happy to recommend it to everyone!  

About the Author:

Lynn H. Blackburn is the author of Beneath the Surface, Hidden Legacy, and Covert Justice, winner of the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She's passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don't make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Long-time missionary details her journey through ministry burnout in new book - Fanning the Flame by Terri Clark

n a survey by expastors.com last year, 71% of ministers said they had gone through spiritual burnout. A similar study by the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development showed similar statistics the year before, citing 70% of pastors developing depression, fatigue or burnout. But it doesn’t just happen to clergy, as a recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute indicates. Twenty-five percent of Americans claim no formal religious identity, making this segment the single largest “religious group” in the U.S. Author, counselor, and missionary Terri Clark knows these statistics too well. She was one of them. And in her new book, “Fanning the Flame: Reigniting your Faith in God”, Clark reveals her own personal struggles with a waning faith.

“I have served in ministry for over four decades,” says Clark. “We have built a hospital in Uganda, enrolled over 500 children in a Child Education Sponsorship program, I have shared the Gospel in India, Vietnam, China and Myanmar. And yet, I felt I was losing my passion for God. I felt like I was going through the motions and living a mediocre faith. But I began to get honest with myself and with God, and identify the things that were driving me towards burnout."

In “Fanning the Flame”, Clark admittedly gets very transparent with readers about the issues she discovered in her own life. But it was a simple object from a crafts store that made the scriptures she had read all her life take on a whole new meaning.

“I am a visual learner and when God kept bringing scriptures to me about lamps, I became curious as to what those looked like when the verses were written. I learned that the lamps in that time period were made out of clay and they were shaped like small bowels that fit in the palm of your hand. So I went to the store, got some clay, baked it and made one for myself. I put a piece of terry cloth in it as the wick, added some olive oil, and it actually worked! But I noticed it would burn out quickly until I trimmed the wick, then it would burn bright again, just as the scripture suggests. God taught me some important lessons through that exercise. We are the clay formed by the potter, shaped for a purpose — to bring light. But we need the oil (the Holy Spirit) and faith (the wick) in order to do that. And we need to trim that faith (wick) often in order to get rid of the black, burned out things in our lives that keep us from being a bright, glowing light.”

Clark also writes about some direct correlations she discovered between the Old Testament feasts that God required of the Israelites and the faith walk of most modern-day Christians.

“God’s people were required to take a pilgrimage three times per year to celebrate three festivals: Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. When I studied the meanings behind each of these events, I realized there were parallel meanings between these festivals and the Christian life. That discovery helped me understand where my own faith had wavered, and what I needed to do to get it back on track.”

Clark hopes this book helps both church leaders who are experiencing burn out, as well as people who have abandoned their faith reignite their relationship with God.

“I had one lady who read an early copy of the book tell me that she had struggled with her faith for the past 14 years, but this book helped her get back on track. That is exactly what I hope will happen for everyone who reads it. I get very vulnerable in the book and share my own battles with the obstacles that blocked my pursuit of God. The main thing I want them to gain is a renewed sense of God’s presence in their lives.”

About the Author:
As President and Founder of Terri Clark Ministries, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Terri Clark has an on-going outreach in Uganda where her ministry helped build the Ray of Hope Medical Center and establish a Child Education Sponsorship Program that has served over 500 children. Her international outreaches have included Mexico, India, Vietnam, China and Myanmar. She authored the book “Tying the Family Knot: Meeting the Challenges of a Blended Family” and is an AACC Biblical Counselor and Christian Life Coach. Her articles have appeared in magazines such as Focus on the Family’sThriving Family Magazine, Lifeway’s Home Life, Parent Life andParenting Teens magazines, as well as Crosswalk.com and CBN.com. She and her husband, Harvey, enjoy life together, especially while riding their Spyder motorcycles. For more information, visit www.terriclarkministries.org.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Can one woman's prayers change the world?

Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love for each other, for their God, and for His tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.

Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband's new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah's cruelty count for nothing? Will God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?


Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.

My Thoughts:
“…God uses us in different ways to accomplish His will.”  (p. 357)

If, at any point in the future, I am feeling useless, unimportant or not needed, I’m going to pick up this book and be reminded of God’s mercy and grace!  I’ve said this about books over my years of blogging, but I am adamant when I say, this book has been a divine God appointment in my life, for such a time as this!!  I’ve struggled to find time to read this book, and grew frustrated when it seemed I was delayed, yet again.  Now,  I understand why God wanted me to read the final chapters of this book today – He knew I needed to hear the perspective from women of the Bible who waited and longed for things that seemed out of their reach.

God’s reach is NEVER limited – PRAISE HIM!!!  Hannah’s faith wavered in the face of her husband’s second wife’s fertility.  Being barren was a burden that Hannah carried for years!  Yet, even before she conceived her first born son, Samuel, she’d already given him to God.  The author does a masterful job at displaying all of the difficult and complex emotions that Hannah experienced along her life journey.  I almost felt she’d be practicing for the day she would leave Samson at the temple all of those years that she had daily placed her trust in God for children that it seemed she would never have.  Hers was a daily faith that withstood years of testing!


By the time I reached the end of this novel, my heart was simply aching with emotion!  I had cried and laughed, been angry and afraid…my emotions had run the gamut!  I can honestly say that this book left me full, challenged and strengthened in my own faith journey.  Empty nesting, watching adult children struggle, so many things going on in my own personal journey – and then I collide with Hannah’s steadfast faith, and my hope is renewed!  This is a masterfully told, beautiful story of God’s AMAZING GRACE for us all!!  Rejoicing that this book was in my life today!!

About the Author:
Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author of the Wives of King David, the Wives of the Patriarchs, the Loves of King Solomon, and the Daughters of the Promised Land series. Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan. Learn more at www.jilleileensmith.com.


Monday, February 26, 2018

HIStory in 30 Days by Carol O. Schryber - REVIEWED


About the Book:
One story.

One plot.

One hero.

Some may think Jesus Christ isn’t mentioned in the Bible until the New Testament. Is that a correct notion? Definitely not. Is Jesus referenced in the Old Testament? Absolutely! He is there from the very beginning. Every foretelling about the lineage, birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ the Savior can be traced and is fulfilled in the sixty-six books of the Bible.


From beginning to end, the Bible is his story—one story, one plot, one hero. In HIStory in 30 Days: Genesis to Revelation with Daily Devotionals, author Carole Schryber provides thirty daily readings with devotionals and prayers. Written in an engaging, fast-paced, accessible style, you follow along as HIStory unfolds and learn what part you’re meant to play in it.

My Thoughts:
Carol Shryber’s book, HIStory in 30 Days, is absolutely the most succinct introduction to the Bible I’ve ever encountered!  This book literally covers Genesis through Revelation in 30 days of personal devotions.  The synopsis portion includes far more detail than you’d expect in such a brief volume, and the details are both historically accurate and theologically sound.  The Biblical synopsis is followed by personal testimony and application from the author’s own faith journey, and then by a brief heart-felt prayer.

So, what makes this so special, you may ask?  The author’s personal testimony of how God used HIStory to win her heart and bring her to faith in Christ.  She was a lawyer with a family of young children before she and her husband even began attending church, and it was the timeliness of her own children’s blossoming faith that began to draw her into her own personal relationship with Christ.  The transparency with which she shares her own steps toward faith make this small volume a powerful ministry tool!  This would be a perfect book to share with new believers who come from a non-church background!  With a newly blossoming seed of faith being watered by the truth of God’s Word as Shryber presents it, I believe that many will become hungry to know more and more about their Savior!


This is truly a powerful volume of devotions, and will refresh and renew the faith of believers who have walked with God for years.  For those who use the excuse of “not enough time” - the book eliminates the excuse!  These devotions are brief, but powerful!  I am happy to recommend this book to everyone!

About the Author:
Carole Schryber was a New York attorney, who gave up the practice of law to devote herself to studying and teaching Scripture. She has used her research and analytical skills from the study of law for inductive Bible study. For the past fifteen years she has been a Christian teacher, speaker and writer, as well as the Associate Teaching Director of Community Bible Study in McLean, Virginia, which serves more than four hundred women weekly. Carole has three grown children and resides in the Washington DC area with her husband, John.

Friday, February 16, 2018

They Were Single Too by David M Hoffeditz - REVEIWED


About the Book:
Singleness is not a sin that needs to be redeemed. Yet for many single Christians, the way the church regards them often feels condemning. Living between these truths can be a painful, frustrating experience.

By examining eight individuals from Scripture who were single at some point in their adult lives--Paul, Anna, Martha, Jeremiah, Ruth, Joseph, Nehemiah, and John the Baptist--Hoffeditz guides readers through common struggles singles face, such as loneliness and disappointment.

Hoffeditz isn't offering a self-help guide, a twelve-step program to recovery, or philosophical musings. They Were Single Too spells out concrete steps for a healthy, God-approved attitude toward unmarried life and how one can truly serve God without a spouse. Brief chapters with questions for reflection allow for either individual or group study.


Long used as a resource for singles ministries, this revised edition updates the language of this timeless biblical study and makes it more attractive for today's reader.

My Thoughts:
David Hoffeditz’ book, They Were Single Too, comes to me at a very different time than any other in my life.  Unlike the author, who was single when he penned the book ten years ago and is now married, I was married for 23 years and am now single.  The truths of this book apply no matter which direction you come to singleness.  Truthfully, this book has been encouraging, challenging and immensely comforting to me.  I’ve recommended it to all of my single friends!  Why?

Well, the opening words speak volumes!  “While neither marriage no singleness is permanent, we accept our present marital status as a God-given gift.” That succinctly describes the longing of my heart, to accept where God has placed me and serve Him without being distracted by wanting things to be different than they are.  The author dives deep into the lives of those who were single – Paul, Anna, Martha, Joseph, John the Baptist – and unexpected looks at Ruth, and her season of singleness and Jeremiah and Nehemiah.   I was fascinated by the truths that he unearthed in each of their lives!


Each chapter ends with thoughtful questions to consider, and, because of this, the book becomes ideal for either individual study or – better yet – a small group guide for singles!  I’m super excited to consider this for a group during the next semester of small groups at my local church!  As I’ve already said, I’ve been encouraged, challenged and comforted throughout my time between its pages! I’ve underlined and made notes and am thrilled to recommend this to anyone who finds themselves wondering what God’s intentions are for their season of singleness! 


About the Author:
David M. Hoffeditz (PhD, University of Aberdeen) has taught beginning and intermediate Greek at the collegiate level and currently serves on the pastoral staff of a church in Springfield, Ohio.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon - REVIEWED


About the Book:
After twelve years of wrestling with the conflicts of retirement, Father Tim Kavanagh realizes he doesn’t need a steady job to prove himself. Then he’s given one. As for what it proves, heaven only knows.

Millions of Karon fans will be thrilled that it’s life as usual in the wildly popular Mitford series: A beloved town character lands a front-page obituary, but who was it, exactly, who died? And what about the former mayor, born the year Lindbergh landed in Paris, who’s still running for office? All this, of course, is but a feather on the wind compared to Muse editor J.C. Hogan’s desperate attempts to find a cure for his marital woes. Will it be high-def TV or his pork chop marinade?

In fiction, as in real life, there are no guarantees.

Twenty minutes from Mitford at Meadowgate Farm, newlyweds Dooley and Lace Kavanagh face a crisis that devastates their bank account and impacts their family vet practice.

But there is still a lot to celebrate, as their adopted son, Jack, looks forward to the most important day of his life—with great cooking, country music, and lots of people who love him. Happily, it will also be a day when the terrible wound in Dooley’s biological family begins to heal because of a game—let’s just call it a miracle—that breaks all the rules.

In To Be Where You Are, Jan Karon weaves together the richly comic and compelling lives of two Kavanagh families, and a cast of characters that readers around the world now love like kin.

My Thoughts:
I have read every word of every Mitford book Jan Karon has ever written, and I must say To Be Where You Are carries my heart to new and spiritually challenging places - all the while being comforted by the presence of fictional friends who seem as real to me sometimes as my friends walking through life with me in flesh and blood.

I can barely believe that this dear author has celebrated her eight decade and is able to produce another beloved novel filled with all the people I've come to love.  She has allowed her characters to age right along with her, and that adds reality and depth to the story.  Father Tim and Cynthia, Louella, Avis, JC....they're all here and they all face unique challenges in this novel.

I won't share spoilers, but you will laugh and you will cry as you read about life in Mitford.  Honestly, I selfishly hope Jan Karon writes more novels still!!  She certainly left folks in positions to share some significant life experiences with all of us!  I know in my heart that this precious lady will do whatever the Lord asks her to do, so I will wait and see what happens next!

I will always be reading and rereading the Mitford novels...always.  These characters provide inspiration in so many ways as they live their lives with transparent grace!  Bless you Jan Karon! Bless you!!

About the Author:
Jan Karon is the author of the bestselling series of nine Mitford novels featuring Father Timothy Kavanagh, an Episcopal priest, and the fictional village of Mitford. Set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Karon's Mitford books include At Home in Mitford; A Light in the Window; These High, Green Hills; Out to Canaan; A New Song; A Common Life: The Wedding Story; In This Mountain; Shepherd's Abiding; and Light from Heaven. The Father Tim Novels include "Home to Holly Springs" and last fall's release of "In the Company of Others," set in County Sligo, Ireland. There are over 40 million Mitford and Father Tim novels, childrens books, and CDs in print.



Thursday, January 25, 2018

Probing - Harbinger series by Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, Alton Gansky - REVIEWED

About the Book:
As Evil Lurks Around Every Corner, This Misfit Team Must Work Together If Anyone Wants to Make It Out Alive. This is Harbingers.

The stakes are higher than ever as Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky return again to the universe of Harbingers for four more stories set in a world on the brink of destruction.

In Bill Myers's "Leviathan," the team heads to Hollywood for a taping of a new television pilot, Live or Die: The Ultimate Reality. When violence and chaos erupt, they must fight an insidious and multiplying madness before it spreads across the globe.

Frank Peretti's "The Mind Pirates" centers on an earring with mysterious powers that just might hold the key to solving a murder. When two members of the team are kidnapped by seventeenth-century pirates, the team must overcome the ruthless scheming of an evil, hidden nemesis.

In "Hybrids" from Angela Hunt, the arrival of two mysterious black-eyed children and a baby's disappearance are no coincidence. Instead of finding the rest they need, the four friends must stay on their guard as they search for answers--and for a missing child.

In "The Village" from Alton Gansky, a visit to a guarded and secretive North Carolina town becomes the most challenging mystery the team has ever faced as they must jump between universes to solve a problem they barely understand before the window between worlds closes forever.

My Thoughts:
This book is a thrill ride from first page to last!  Although the novel contains four very different stories, the "team", Tank, Brenda, Andi, Daniel and The Professor remain the epicenter around which all of the drama swirls.  Up until now, readers have never had any understanding about who is behind all of the adventures that this team of folks are tasked to deal with.  Supernatural encounters are their "normal", and many times they barely escaped with their lives.  Yet whenever they receive the call for help, they readily respond.

Well, their readiness gets stretched to its limits in this installment!  I won't dare spoil it for you, but I will tell you that all of the different dimensions/worlds this group encounters pushes the limits of a heart's ability to cope.  The team has to make some really tough choices! 

But, in the end, you gain some context that gives both the characters and the readers reason to lift your head and go forward yet again.  This is mind bending stuff, but it is so masterfully told you just can't help but soak in every single word!  I can't WAIT to see what happens next!!  What is revealed in this collection tells me that there are endless possibilities ahead for this group of writers!! I am very excited to see what they dream up next!!  AMAZING!!


About the Authors:
Bill Myers is a youth worker, creative writer, and film director who co-created the "McGee and Me!" book and video series; his work has received over forty national and international awards. His many books include Hot Topics, Tough Questions, and The Dark Side of the Supernatural.

Frank E. Peretti is one of American Christianity's best-known authors. His novels, including This Present Darkness, have sold more than 10 million copies. He makes his home in Idaho. Learn more at www.frankperetti.com.

The author of more than 100 published books and with nearly 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, Angela completed her PhD in Biblical Studies in Theology. She and her husband live in Florida with their mastiffs. She can be found online at www.angelahuntbooks.com.

Alton Gansky is the author of twenty-four novels and eight nonfiction books. He is a Carol Award winner and an Angel Award winner, and has been a Christy Award finalist. He holds a BA and an MA in biblical studies and has been awarded a Doctor of Literature degree. Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Gansky also serves as an editor and collaborative writer for top tier authors. He lives in California.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Sacred Rest by Saundra Dalton-Smith M.D - REVIEWED


About the Book:
Staying busy is easy. Staying well rested-now there's a challenge.

How can you keep your energy, happiness, creativity, and relationships fresh and thriving in the midst of never-ending family demands, career pressures, and the stress of everyday life? In SACRED REST, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified internal medicine doctor, reveals why rest can no longer remain optional.

Dr. Dalton-Smith shares seven types of rest she has found lacking in the lives of those she encounters in her clinical practice and research-physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social, creative-and why a deficiency in any one of these types of rest can have unfavorable effects on your health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity. SACRED REST combines the science of rest, the spirituality of rest, the gifts of rest, and the resulting fruit of rest. It shows rest as something sacred, valuable, and worthy of our respect.

By combining scientific research with personal stories, spiritual insight, and practical next steps, SACRED REST gives the weary permission to embrace rest, set boundaries, and seek sanctuary without any guilt, shame, or fear.

My Thoughts:

Just as the surface of the pond displays the beauty of the sky when it is undisturbed, so the soul reflects the image of God when it enters into sacred rest.”  (p. 131)

This is but one of the jillion word treasures to be mined from Saundra Dalton-Smith’s book, Sacred Rest. It’s not often I read a book that is so genuine and transparent, but as I read this book, it as though I’m being gently urged to consider the truth of every word written on the page.  I know in my heart that God has done some deep work in this lady, and she wants me to experience the same truth that God has shown her.  Folks, this is the real deal.

This book share scriptural truth with personal experience, and the conclusions drawn after each chapter are both practical and profound!  I found this book to be a treasure in my life, because if you are an active participant in all life has to offer, you often find yourself exhausted, overwhelmed and at the end of yourself.  That is what Dr. Dalton-Smith wants to help you avoid if possible, and recover from if you’ve not yet learned good self-care and firm boundaries.

I have already recommended it to the staff at my church.  Just to take time to soak in the word-smithing of this book refreshes my soul. What a gift! A treasure!  I thank God for bringing this book into my life for such a time as this!

About the Author:

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is an author, speaker, and board-certified physician. She has an active medical practice in Alabama (near the Birmingham area). She received her B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Georgia, and graduated with honors from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Baker College and Davenport University in Michigan teaching courses on health, nutrition, and disease progression. Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and has been featured in Women's Day, Redbook, and First For Women magazine. She is the author of Set Free to Live and Come Empty (winner 2016 Golden Scroll Nonfiction Book of the Year and 2016 Illumination Award Gold medalist). She is a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Association and a repeat keynote speaker at their annual gathering. She has shared her tips on merging faith and medicine with over 16,000 health care professionals to encourage the current and next generation of doctors to treat the whole person.



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason - REVIEWED


About the Book:
A murdered partner. A missing brother. Will Isabelle's silence protect those she loves . . . or delay justice?

Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. She knows they'll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.


Izzy is determined to discover exactly what happened, and her investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll--including someone from her own family. With her dead partner's brother Ryan, a handsome homicide detective, shadowing her every move, Izzy's head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she's had a secret crush on for years won't leave her side?

My Thoughts:

Eason never fails to deliver a book with a breakneck pace, and her Blue Justice installment Oath of Honor is no exception!  Eason is really effective at reminding her readers to appreciate and honor the law enforcement officers - at all levels - for their selfless sacrifice that they willingly make each day to provide public safety.  I have a couple of nephews and cousins who are law enforcement in their towns, so I can relate to Eason's respect for those upholding justice in a personal way.

I have to hope that families who have multiple members who serve never have to face the loss that the pages of this book contain.  While I know it is realistic, my heart felt a bit brutalized at the many hits taken by the Marshall family in this story.  Ryan's parents, while very minor characters, broke my heart!  But Ryan and Izzy put their own loss aside and did some stellar work to catch the bad guys!  And I know from the stories my nephew shares that the gang violence written about is a very real and present danger in many cities, regardless of size.

I dare say that the courage and non-stop pursuit of justice for a fallen officer isn't overstated either.  There were many moments that I didn't know how Izzy was going to survive her many close calls, but, well....she didn't come through unscathed.  It is a wild ride from first to last pages, and readers will be anxious to see the next book in the series, Called to Protect, hits the shelves this Summer!

About the Author:
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, and the Hidden Identity series, as well as Always WatchingWithout WarningMoving Target, and Chasing Secrets in the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse - REVIEWED


About the Book:
Isaac believed in luck. But from Pete's point of view, Isaac's luck had all run out.

When Pete McLean loses his father in the summer of 1962, his friend Isaac is one of the few people he can lean on. Though their worlds are as different as black and white, friendship knows no color. So when Isaac suddenly goes missing, Pete is determined to find out what happened--no matter what it costs him. His quest will lead him into parts of town that he knows only through rumors and introduce him to a girl who will change his life. What they discover together will change the small Southern town of Glory, Alabama--forever.


With vivid descriptions, palpable atmosphere, and unforgettable characters, debut novelist Valerie Fraser Luesse breathes life into the rural South of the 1960s--a place where ordinary people struggle to find their footing in a social landscape that is shifting beneath their feet.

My Thoughts:

Both of them were finally free.”  (p. 337)

Freedom…it is something that the characters in Valerie Fraser Luesse’s debut novel, Missing Isaac, long for.  For most of them, this longing remains unidentified, but the reader’s heart will recognize and resound with this longing throughout the book.  By the time you savor these last words your heart will be running over…and making tracks down your cheeks! 

Books that bring tears to my eyes remain dear to my heart, and they become friends that I come back to visit over and over again. Luesse has created characters that resound with Alabama native substance!  She has NAILED the culture here, including the dark underbelly of small town politics and shady legal practices.  She doesn’t shy away from the heartbreaking reality of stereotyping  that takes place across racial and socioeconomic boundaries.  Sadly, these remain strongholds in the lives of many people inhabiting rural Southern towns.

But I digress…this novel!  Pete and Dovey…the loss they’ve endured but the victory they find in loving each other well just blows me away!  And Lila and John…what a beautiful picture of mercy and grace and how tenderly they merge and bring new life out of the broken places….sigh!!  And Aunt Babe, Hattie, and Mama Paul and the Pritchett clan…I recognize these people!  Oh and let’s not forget Celeste and Sheriff Harley…those two!!  I shudder to remember their presence!  Geneva has their number though!!! I’m telling you now, these characters come to vivid life in your heart and you will laugh and weep and rejoice with them throughout the novel!


Please, Ms. Luesse, share more of your stories!! I eagerly wait for them!! I pray there are many to follow this one!  BRAVO!!!  (oh, and WAR EAGLE!)

About the Author:
Valerie Fraser Luesse is an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently a senior travel editor. Her work has been anthologized in the audio collection Southern Voices and in A Glimpse of Heaven, an essay collection featuring works by C. S. Lewis, Randy Alcorn, John Wesley, and others. As a freelance writer and editor, she was the lead writer for Southern Living 50 Years: A Celebration of People, Places, and Culture. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana's Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. Luesse earned her bachelor's degree in English at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, and her master's degree in English at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She grew up in Harpersville, Alabama, a rural community in Shelby County, and now lives in Birmingham.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner - REVEIEWED


About the Book:
Pearl Spence has finally settled into a routine in Bliss, Michigan, far from her home in Red River, Oklahoma. Like all the other kids, she goes to school each day, plays in the woods, and does her chores. But there's one big difference: Mama is still gone, and doesn't seem to have a thought for the family she's left behind.

Escaping from her worries is another part of Pearl's new routine, whether that's running to Aunt Carrie's farm, listening to the radio with Ray, or losing herself in a book. In fact, a chair in the stacks, surrounded by books, might be her favorite place on earth--until she discovers swing dancing. The music transports Pearl to a whole other world.

When Mama unexpectedly returns, it isn't the happy occasion Pearl had imagined. Mama is distant and Pearl can't figure out how to please her. And the horrible way she treats Daddy is more than Pearl can bear. Seems life would be better if Mama would just stay away.


Finkbeiner's portrayal of both tragedy and everyday life in times of great change is charged with a raw beauty that will haunt readers. Fans of the two prior Pearl Spence novels won't be disappointed!

My Thoughts:
Somehow, she’d remember the way home.”  (p.163)

This thought passed through Pearl Spence’s mind long before her heart got on board with the reality of her longing.  Song of Home is the third book by Susie Finkbeiner and continues the revelation of life for the Spence family.  Told from the perspective of the now 11-year-old Pearl Spence, the reader is able to experience the innocent exposure of life’s often brutal realities through her eyes.  Finkbeiner writes with poignant prose, and readers will shed their share of tears as they take this journey through the Swing Era.

The author doesn’t spare her characters.  Rather, as a collective whole, they must deal with racism (Pearl’s dad is law enforcement in Bliss, Michigan), abandonment (both Pearl and her dear friend Ray must deal with absentee parents), and a host of other issues that surround the return of Pearl’s mother.  This is an emotional roller coaster, because the reader is able to experience every emotional gut punch in the character’s lives.  No book in this series has been without some very harsh realities, but this was an especially poignant book as it explores the longing for home in each of our lives, and the ache that ensues when there is no direct way back to what your heart perceives to be home.

It's hard to talk about this book without giving away spoiler moments, so I’ll just say that this book is a very clear reminder of what unconditional love can look like when we are trying to be obedient to Christ. I love the way that Pearl remembered her Meemaw’s wisdom throughout the story.  I am often thankful for the people God has placed in my life who faithfully spoke God’s truth into every situation.  I pray that I can be that voice to future generations!


This is a book of family, and community of commitment and integrity.  It is a novel that declares grace and mercy over the lives of every character and challenges readers to do the same.  I pray I am allowed a window into Pearl Spence’s life for years to come!  What a powerful series this is!!  Powerful!!

About the Author:
Susie Finkbeiner is a stay-at-home mom, speaker, and author from West Michigan. Her previous books include Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother's Chamomile (2014). She has served as fiction editor and regular contributor to the Burnside Writers Guild and Unbound magazine. Finkbeiner is an avid blogger (see www.susiefinkbeiner.com), is on the planning committee of the Breathe Christian Writers Conference, and has presented or led groups of other writers at several conferences.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children by Jodie Berndt


About the Book:
As parents of adult children, we often wonder: Will my children make good choices when they’re on their own? How can I let them go when I’ve held them for so long?

Parent and author Jodie Berndt understands what it’s like to release children into the world and still care deeply about them and everything they will face in life from relationships to career decisions and everything in between. In Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children, Jodie continues her Praying the Scriptures series with biblical prayers for your adult children, whether they are just leaving the nest, flying well on their own, or struggling to take off at all.

Each section focuses on a different aspect of adulthood, with encouraging stories from experienced parents who are praying their children through rocky marriages, health concerns, financial challenges and other real-life issues. At the end of each chapter, you’ll find personalized prayers for your children taken straight from Scripture. Each chapter also includes verses for you to pray for yourself as you take the challenging step of trusting God to care for your children in ways that you can’t.

With grace and wisdom, Jodie addresses cultural trends such as couples living together before marriage and young adults leaving the church, as well as the painful realities of loneliness, addiction, and mental health issues. With hope-filled words for the parents of the prodigal, she is particularly sensitive to the long-term prayers we offer, even as we doubt ourselves and grieve over our children’s choices.


Whatever you are praying for, you will find confidence and peace in these powerful prayers for your kids. Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children guides you to the bedrock of God’s promises as you release your children to God’s shepherding care.

My Thoughts:

Our adult children have different needs, but all of them can use the prayer of blessing.” (p. 27)

Jodie Berndt has ministered to me in profound ways as I read through her book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. She had been faithful to share what God has taught her in her own parenting journey, as well as sharing the painful struggles that appear as our children grow up and leave our homes.  This book was very much a gentle hug from God, because it came to me during the beginning of my own empty nest season. 

There are many, many things that I love about this book, but chief among those is the honesty and transparency with which it is written.  Berndt tells readers from the first pages that God uses the lives of our children to draw us closer to Him, teaching us to trust Him, and only Him, with the lives of our children.  EVERYTHING regarding the lives of our adult children belongs to God.  As much as we love our children, their choices are their own as are the consequences of those choices.  That’s a very hard truth. That is why God gave us His word.  HIS words are LIFE and TRUTH, and His words are the only constant, unchanging foundation upon which we can walk the road of parenting throughout our lifetime.

Berndt divides the book into specific needs, and she encourages readers to go directly to that specific need.  She also encourages readers to read the entire book.  I will add a hearty AMEN to that, because even if you aren’t fighting that particular battle, I bet you know someone who is fighting, and you can come alongside them and strengthen them in the fight before them.  This is a book that will quickly be worn and dog-eared with use.  I’m already on my second time through!  What a gift this is for me!!


This book is a rich resource!  Dive it!  Share it!  Ask God to use it to strengthen your daily walk!  Thank you Jodie Berndt for this amazing resource!


About the Author:
Jodie Berndt is the author or co-author of nine books, including the popular Praying the Scriptures series, Generous Living, and a funny and touching memoir called The Undertaker's Wife. A speaker and Bible teacher, Jodie encourages people to pursue joy, celebrate grace, and live on purpose. Jodie and her husband, Robert, have four grown children and two sons-in-law. They live in Virginia Beach but can often be found up the road in Charlottesville, Virginia, cheering for their beloved U.Va. Cavaliers. Find Jodie writing at JodieBerndt.com, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan - REVIEWED


About the Book:
Standing For What's Right Could Cost Her Everything

Tapped as lead counsel in a corporate cover-up lawsuit against Mason Pharmaceutical, Kate Sullivan knows this case could make her career. What really drives her, though, is getting justice for the victims whose lives were ruined by the company's dangerous new drug. But when a whistleblower turns up dead, it paints a target on the back of everyone involved.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James steps in to handle security for Kate. He's still haunted by mistakes in his past and is determined never to let something like that happen again. But it soon appears someone is willing to do anything--even commit murder--to keep the case from going to trial.


As danger closes in, Landon can't help but admire Kate's courage and resolve--but will her determination not to back down become too great of a risk?

Purchase your copy HERE!

My Thoughts:

She wondered if she’d ever be save as long as MPC had a target on her back – a garget that had just gotten bigger.”  (p. 249)

Kate Sullivan is in for the largest legal battle of her career – and her life – when she take on Mason Pharmaceutical in a wrongful death lawsuit.  If you’ve ever been one to question the motives behind all of the medication being prescribed these days, this book is going to add fuel to than mental fire.  Honestly, it left me a bit shaken.  You see, I’ve recently had a doctor prescribe something to me and then refer me to another doctor to treat the side effects of the prescription!  I wish I was kidding!

Kate Sullivan takes her legal career seriously, and she seeks justice about everything.  When her case against MPC shows begins to go in a dangerous direction, she is forced to turn to a private investigator – Landon James – for added security.  The relationship that blossoms between these two characters is both challenging and transformational to both Kate and Landon.  I enjoyed the way Dylan developed their relationship.  It was believable and transparent in every way.

This story is filled with very believable twists and turns, and readers will be held captive throughout the story!  I will warn you again, don’t let this make you paranoid.  Rather, allow this story – even in all of its fictional excellence – to be a tool that draws you to awareness.  Big Pharmacy is, unfortunately, a real danger that we live with in this current day.  Perhaps it isn’t as deadly as it proves to be in Kate Sullivan’s life, but awareness is always a good thing!


Happy reading!

Purchase your copy HERE!

About the Author:

Rachel Dylan was a litigator in one of the nation's most elite law firms for over eight years and now works as an attorney at one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers. She is the author of four Love Inspired Suspense novels and lives in Michigan with her husband. She is active on social media, and you can visit her website at www.racheldylan.com.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy New Year Readers!

I spent the holidays providing care for my parents, being there for my siblings and learning a great deal about self care during high stress situations!  I can say, with complete confidence that God alone provides the grace and strength we need for any and every situation we face!

There was no time for reading, so I will begin blogging book reviews, both fiction and non-fiction next week!  Thank you for your patience!  I'm excited to begin the New Year with you!!