Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Contradiction to His Pride by Leanne W. Smith - REVIEWED

About the Book:
From the moment James met Corrine as they traveled the Oregon Trail, in Smith's best-selling debut novel Leaving Independence, he couldn’t resist trying to win the sharp-mouthed beauty’s affections.
Now, as the core group of pioneers in Colonel Dotson’s wagon train begins to settle in Baker City, Oregon and build homesteads, James is restless to make his fortune so he can stake his own claim and win Corrine’s hand with honor.
But when James takes Corrine on an outing designed to impress her, things go tragically wrong. James foils a bank robbery and unwittingly sets a series of events into motion that shatter Corrine’s heart and now threaten her life, along with his and her older brother Charlie’s.
Soon there are several folks heading back down the trail—James, Charlie, Corrine, Harry and Tam Sims, the Baker City Sheriff, a newspaper man, a notorious criminal family, and Hoke Mathews—all set to collide in a final showdown in a Colorado mining town as outlaw Duke Walden seeks to make James pay for his heroic actions.

My Thoughts:
Traveling the Oregon trail is a great way to get to know someone, and James Parker sets his heart toward Corrine Baldwyn.  Once he helps his partner put the finishing touches on his new homestead in Baker City, Oregon, James has already made up his mind on the order of events that have to take place in order to present his heart and life to Corrine.  He never figures a bank robbery gone wrong into his plans.  

When James and Corrine go into town with another couple to enjoy a sleigh ride in the snow, the trajectory of their lives are forever changed.  Some lives end altogether that day, but while some grieved their losses in a healthy way, others spent time plotting revenge.  The next curve in their lifetime journey becomes shaped by outlaws who use the local Baker City newspaper as a window of opportunity.  While James and Corrine anticipate time apart, neither imagines what that time apart will entail.

The reader gets to enjoy every nuance of the journey, and, quite honestly, there are moments when you are left to wonder who will survive.  So, if you like history with a frontier flare, pick up a copy of Leanne Smith's latest novel!  It will keep you entertained and introduce you to characters that you will come to care about a great deal. This is a great Summer read!


About the Author:

Leanne W. Smith is a writer and professor. Her books include Leaving Independence, On a Dark & Snowy Night (short story), and A Contradiction to His Pride. She also teaches business courses at a university in Nashville. Smith and her husband have two creative daughters and a son-in-law who make the world a more beautiful place through their art, design, photography, singing, songwriting and mandolin-playing. 

WEBSITE: leannewsmith.com 
BLOG: leannewsmith.com/blog 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan - REVIEWED


About the Book:
She's the Only Witness to a Brutal Crime. Now She Can't Outrun the Target on Her Back.
Prosecutor Sophie Dawson has taken a new role at the Fulton County DA's office, and her first case involves a local bank employee who may be cheating customers. She's determined to bring justice to those who've lost their savings . . . but her life is turned upside down when she becomes the only witness to a double homicide involving a vengeful gang. 

With her life at risk, friends and family convince her that she needs protection, and private security guard Cooper Knight is hired as a bodyguard. But as threats escalate, neither Cooper nor Sophie knows whom they can trust. 

Unwilling to back down on either case, Sophie pursues the truth at any cost. But her bank litigation gets more complicated by the day, and the gang will stop at nothing to keep her from taking the stand. With all sides closing in, steadfast Cooper is the only man she can lean on. But drawing close may be the distraction that costs both of their lives. 

My Thoughts:
Reading this, knowing that the author is also a lawyer, I had to wonder if her life was as danger-filled as the main character, Sophie Dawson!  This book has a plot with MANY different layers and angles, and Sophie Dawson seems to have a bulls-eye on her head no matter which direction she turns!

As a prosecutor in the white collar crime division, Sophie thinks that she can diver deep into her cases and serve justice in an area that is often seemed as less dangerous.  What she learns rather quickly is that the reasons that people are drawn into such crimes is that they think they'll never get caught.  Sophie stumbles upon the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and even though she thinks her dad is overreacting by hiring private protection, she is soon grateful for Copper Knight's presence in her life!

I was taken by surprise by the layers that naturally unfolded in this novel.  Honestly, I found myself talking aloud to both Sophie and Cooper and warning them not to trust a certain character!  You can't really trust many people in this novel, so be warned!  There are wolves in sheep's clothing galore! And, you will be shocked at exactly who those people turn out to be!

This was a fun read, folks, and is perfect for the summer!  Enjoy!!


About the Author:


Rachel Dylan was a litigator in one of Atlanta'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 Deadly Proof and 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.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Blind Betrayal by Nancy Mehl - REVIEWED


About the Book:
After two years at the St. Louis U.S. Marshals Office, Casey Sloane is tasked with escorting a reporter to Washington to testify before a grand jury. The reporter's research on an up-and-coming environmentalist who suddenly disappeared is now even more vital than anticipated.

At first, Casey's assignment seems routine. But a dangerous attack on the Marshals Office puts everyone on high alert. When Casey and two other Marshals--one a man from her past--are forced on the run with the reporter, they'll do whatever it takes to protect their witness and make it out alive.

My Thoughts:
Talk about a complex storyline!  Have Mercy!  There are so many switch backs in this novel, the reader is almost dizzy trying to keep up! I was truly thankful that Casey and her team had the skills and the steel nerve to face so many duplicitous people and keep their heads enough to sort out who could be trusted and who was out to kill, steal and destroy!

There are some seriously evil folks in this novelI have to be honest, there was a point that my imagination had to REALLY stretch to imagine bad guys with such a complex reach throughout law enforcement.  To say there is some deep undercover work taking place is a gross understatement.  The fact that Casey Sloane has a moment to consider anything but the hot mess she lands in during her role of legal delivery of a federal witness is also a bit of a stretch.  But hey, love is a strange bed fellow at times, and her heart is just as easily tweaked by emotion as everyone else!

In short, all of Nany Mehl's characters are believable in their humanness and the reader will be able to pick a side and support their character of choice as the bullets fly!  This is a book that will keep you up nights, so I suggest taking it on vacation so you don't lose too much productivity!  Have a blast reading this novel!  I did!

About The Author:
Nancy Mehl (www.nancymehl.com) is the author of more than thirty books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. She received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. She is part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Adamant by Lisa Bevere - REVEIWED


About the Book:
What is truth?
 
This has become the defining question of our time. But while everyone has an opinion, truth, it seems, is getting harder and harder to find. Perhaps that's because we are searching for something when we should be looking for someone
 
Truth has a name.
 
More ancient than time and more present than this moment, truth is not a river that changes with the cultural currents, but a rock--immovable, invincible, unshakeable--and the cornerstone of all we are and ever dream to be.
 
Theologically deep yet intimately accessible. Adamant will be an anchor for your soul in a raging sea of opinions, giving you a clear sense of direction in a wandering world.

My Thoughts:

Lisa Bevere is a fabulous teacher, and in her latest book, Adamant, she speaks clearly and powerfully about the love God has for each of His children.  She explains His love for us and then goes on to encourage us to follow His command for living and love others as we have been loved by the Father.

Reading the book, you might be led to believe that this is an easy thing to do if you just implement some new practices in your life.  It's not that easy.  Before you can love others as Christ loved you, you have to accept His love for you.  For most folks, myself included, we spend a lot of our lives telling ourselves and God how unworthy we are to receive His love.  Then we live our lives bound up in the guilt and shame that we place on ourselves because of the way we live - rejecting God's love as well as the love of others.

Lisa Bevere offers another, powerful, truth-filled way of living our lives.  I won't tell you it is not challenging, because it is.  But I will tell you that this book, the truth it contains about God's Word and His love for me, it is changing my life.  This is a book that can change your life too!  Pick up a copy today and begin  learning how to live and walk in the powerful truth of God's adamant love for you!!

About the Author:
Lisa Bevere has spent nearly three decades empowering women of all ages to find their identity and purpose. She is a New York Times bestselling author and internationally known speaker. Her previous books, which include Fight Like a GirlLioness ArisingGirls with Swords, and Without Rival, are in the hands of millions worldwide. Lisa and her husband, John, are the founders of Messenger International, an organization committed to developing uncompromising followers of Christ who transform their world. Learn more at www.lisabevere.com.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Begin Again by Leeana Tankersley - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Always we begin again."--St. Benedict

What do we do when we feel stuck, restless, cornered in our own lives? 
We can shut down. Or we can begin again.

To begin again is to open the window, even an inch, to let the breeze of grace come in. It is a call to open our hands when all we want to do is clench our fists.

Join Leeana Tankersley as she shares a journey of beginning again--in her relationships, in her faith practices, and with herself. Her small, daily shifts dramatically influenced her larger ways of doing and being, allowing her to trade trying for trust, striving for surrender. If you've been feeling stuck, Leeana's life-giving words will show you how to forgive yourself, develop new and healthier patterns of living, and do away with resentment and regret. 

My Thoughts:

I don't exaggerate when I tell you that this book has changed my life.  This book has come to me during a "begin again" season of my life, and it has been the most brutal, challenging, dark, confusing  time in all of my life.  But this book, it has been like talking with a good friend who knows exactly what I'm going through.  

I'm thankful for real live friends who I can share this book with.  Honestly, I've sent photos of the cover to countless friends.  I've underlined and highlighted passages, and am now going through a second time and writing out passages that have spoken powerfully to to me.  This book contains powerful, personal, hard truths about the choice that lies before each of us with every breath we take...to start in that moment and begin again.

I am grateful beyond words for this book and the chance to read it, ingest it and share it.  I cannot recommend this highly enough!  Bless you Leeana Tankersley for writing this book!!

About the Author:
Leeana Tankersley is the author of Found ArtBreathing Room, and Brazen, and holds English degrees from Liberty University and West Virginia University. She is a regular contributor to MOPS and speaks to groups all over the country about waking up those beautiful and sacred parts of each of us that can go dormant. She and her husband, Steve, live in San Diego, California, with their three kids. Learn more at www.leeanatankersley.com.

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.