Friday, May 29, 2015

Take My Hand Again by Nancy Parker Brummett - REVIEWED - HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!

About the Book:
The guide the author wishes she had when she took on a caretaker role 

By 2020, the senior population in this country will number over 115 million. Despite this persistent "graying" of America, few adult children feel prepared to take on the role of caregiver for aging parents. Those who discover they must now intervene and care for an elder they love are often at a loss. Trying to navigate the transition is like being dropped in a foreign country with no map, no GPS, and no translator--and acting as tour guide. 

Nancy Parker Brummett knows what they're going through and has the means to help. She shares her own experience of caring for a mother and mother-in-law in assisted living, as well as lessons learned through study of the academic, social, and political issues involved. Each chapter begins with relevant Scripture, but the useful information here is not limited to people of faith. 

Take My Hand Again offers readers the warm feeling of having someone they trust stepping up to hold their hand and share encouragement and hope. Children of the aging don't need a degree in gerontology; they just need for someone to ask the pertinent questions and give them an overview of the pros and cons of common options so they can make informed decisions. Whether they've already had their wake-up call or just want to be prepared for what's to come, Brummett's sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant book has just what they're looking for. 

My Thoughts:
God placed us in families for a reason….Put your hand firmly in His.  Be open to advice from others.  Seek out helpful resources such as this, and soon the fog will dissipate to reveal the path ahead.” (p. 14)

Take My Had Again is a MUST READ for anyone facing the stage of life that includes caring for aging parents.  This book is running over with practical, godly wisdom about every single stage of aging!  Suggestions for information, questions to ask, conversations to have with parents, doctors, siblings and friends….even suggestions of sharing your faith with your parents and allowing them to share theirs if they are believers.

Nancy Brummett doesn’t miss a single detail!  She even covers details most of us don’t think about, like how to decorate your parent’s room in an assisted living facility, and how to care for your parents appearance…I mean she doesn’t miss a thing!  ( and little known facts about senior sexuality – who knew?)  And all of the book is written in an almost conversational, almost intimate style that feels like you just had a visit with a trusted friend!

I have aging parents, and I have three siblings who I plan to share this book with!  I have been blessed with parents who cared for my grandparents for many years.  They served their parents with humble dignity, and it is my prayer that God will allow me to care for them that same way.  Take My Hand Again is a tool God has used to prepare me for that role.  I am deeply, deeply grateful!! 

I cannot begin to recommend this book highly enough!!  It is truly a TREASURE TROVE of wisdom!! 

About the Author:
Nancy Parker Brummett is an author and speaker who has focused on ministries to the older population and those who care for them for several years. She holds a professional certificate in gerontology and was the founding president of the board of directors for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado. The author of The Hope of Glory, a devotional for use in assisted-living settings, Brummet frequently speaks to community organizations, women's groups, and conferences. Visit her website at

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

When Hope Rises by Dora Heirs - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
When Hope Rises
Pelican Book Group (May 2015)
Dora Heirs


After a successful auditing career, Dora left the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom to her two sons. When her youngest son no longer wanted her hanging out at school with him anymore, Dora started writing Heart Racing, God-Gracing romance. She is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and her local chapter, Carolina Romance Writers.

Dora and her real life hero make their home in North Carolina. When she takes a break from cranking out stories, she enjoys reading, family gatherings, and mountain cabin getaways. She despises traffic, bad coffee, technological meltdowns, and a sad ending to a book. Her books always end with a happily-ever-after!


Art teacher Shelby Coltman transforms junk into treasure and longs for a place to showcase her creations. She’s thrilled when her friend volunteers to room with her. Shelby can finally buy a storefront. Unfortunately, Kennedi’s brother can't seem to let go.

Abandoned as a teenager, guidance counselor Tate Malone has become surrogate and over-protective father to his sister. Life is great until Shelby Coltman wheedles his impressionable sister into sharing an apartment. Raised in wealth, the beautiful Shelby could never understand poverty or rejection, and Tate doesn't appreciate her uprooting his sister. When Shelby hands over her savings to a homeless student, will God obliterate Tate's fears and deliver all of Shelby’s dreams...when hope rises?

My Thoughts:

When Hope Rises is a romance first, but the author has added some reality to her characters’ lives that enable me to get past the rippling muscles and the cascading hair and blue orbs of eyes and appreciate the heart of the story.  That depth redeems the story in many ways, because it tackles some of the basic reasons relationships are so difficult – no one is perfect, and everyone has a past.

This is a quick, easy read that will wile away some of your Summer hours on the beach.  The story is plausible, and the characters have a heart that beats for someone other than themselves.  Faith is an element that lends plausibility and reality to the main characters’ romance, and, in the end, proves a solid foundation for their hearts. 

There are familial issues and other relationships besides the romance that play a key part in the story, and the end result is a pretty well-balanced tale.  This is a personal preference – but all of the heart pounding, heat flushing, clumsy stumbling got to be a bit much, and the heat flaming through them every time they were within grabbing distance of each other is a bit…well…not realistic.  Other than that, the story itself is solid and very enjoyable.

If you would like to read the first chapter of When Hope Rises, go HERE.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Hawk and The Dove series by Penelope Wilcock - REVIEWED

14th-century Yorkshire, the time of Chaucer 

Father Peregrine is appointed Abbot of St. Alcuin's Benedictine abbey. An arrogant, impatient man, a hawk trying hard to be a dove--his name in religion is "Columba"--he is respected, but not loved. 

A sudden, shocking act of violence changes everything. As the story unfolds, this community of monks, serious about their calling but as flawed and human as we are, come to love their ascetic but now vulnerable leader. 

They lived six centuries ago, but their struggles are our own: finding our niche; coping with failure; living with impossible people; and discovering that we are the impossible ones. 

Injured in an attack by old adversaries, Father Peregrine transforms from a steely, articulate, impressive leader into a humbled, crippled, wise mentor. Relying on the kindness of his fellow monks, the fiercely independent, hawkish abbot begins to regain his feet. 

But he faces a fresh challenge. The Augustinian Priory of St. Dunstan lies three days' ride to the southwest, the domain of Prior William, whose calculating self-interest makes enemies everywhere. When he and Peregrine cross swords over a matter of justice masked as doctrine, will ruthlessness triumph over integrity? 

Peregrine, strong and beloved abbot of St. Alcuin's monastery, suffers a stroke. Now incapacitated, he begins an arduous recovery with the help of his brothers in the infirmary. 

Brother Tom, the young monk closest to him, is horrified by the suffering Peregrine's illness has inflicted. He keeps his distance, out of his depth. How will he find the courage to make this demanding journey of vulnerability with his friend? How will they communicate, now that Peregrine can no longer speak? How will Tom respond to the terrible, secret promise his abbot asks him to make? 

In this journey to the depths of humanity, the two men discover together the treasures of darkness and the intimate mystery of compassion. Engaging and beautifully written, warm and haunting, The Long Fall concludes the first trilogy in the Hawk and the Dove series. 

My Thoughts:
He said that the breath of God in you is a gift of life, a holy kiss to be passed on.
 (p. 220 – The Long Fall)

This series is about relationships -relationships between broken men and God, and relationships between broken, but redeemed, me.  Penelope Wilcock  has faithfully, and beautifully shared the familial stories passed down to her .  Wilcock carefully develops the characters in her stories, and she allows the reader to go through daily living with them without feeling over burdened with unnecessary details.  Each book continues to build upon the development of the characters and their relationships, so that, in the end, their gains and their losses are felt very keenly.

I think what I enjoyed most is that Wilcock didn’t back away from the men’s weaknesses, their quick leaps to wrong assumptions based on life seen through doctrinal “glasses” as it were.  The love and friendship between these monks isn’t perfect or blameless, but it reflects relationships that are guided by the greater love of God and the men’s desire to help each other draw closer to God despite the hardships they face.  Not everyone has a relationship with God, and their actions reveal that over the course of the story.  Wilcock does a good job of reflecting the transformational power of God’s love as opposed to rote religion.

In short, this trilogy will transport the reader into the monastic life of a much simpler time.  However, it will bear the truth that any life without God continues to wrestle  (unsuccessfully) with sin, and that lives lived in community that is also bound by God’s love can transform any life into one filled with deep and abiding love and friendship. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015


NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (May 19, 2015) - Willow Sprague, daughter of beloved multi-Dove Award winning recording artist and worship leader Billy Sprague, is set to release her very first radio single, "Overflow." The second single from Billy Sprague's latest musical project,Songs in the Key of Awe,"Overflow" goes for adds today through A-Sides Radio Promotion.

Willow illuminates this tender, vertically-directed prayer for anointing with her fresh and inviting alto voice, making it keenly personal, yet open and inviting. With its lilting cadence and wistful lyrics, "Overflow" is equal parts intimate prayer and corporate worship. 

"This song created one of the high points of my life," says proud papa, Billy Sprague, "to see and hear my daughter deliver her heart and musical gift in the studio like she was born for it. On our cross-country move to Florida in August of 2014, we spent four days recording in Nashville. Willow stood at the mic and delivered every day, spectacular background vocals on half a dozen songs and two lead vocals. During the final days of recording, "Overflow" was the pinnacle of the week - and a Mount Everest experience for me. As you listen, I think you will hear what I mean, and be moved to make this song your own prayer."

"Overflow" is available on Billy Sprague's CD, Songs in the Key of Awe, which is distributed by Elevate Entertainment. For more information about Willow Sprague, "Overflow," Billy Sprague and Songs in the Key of Awe, visit

About Willow Sprague:
At just 17, Willow Sprague has been around music and music makers her entire life. The daughter of Dove Award winning songwriter and recording artist Billy Sprague, she has had a front row seat on the music life, how songs are written and recorded and the art of live performance.

At age 11, she formed the vocal group Harmony Park with three friends in Denver. Together they performed hymns and pop songs and even sang the national anthem for NBA fans at several Denver Nuggets basketball games. The talented pre-teens caught the attention of America's Got Talent, which flew them to Atlanta to perform on the popular TV show, and two years later they brought 5,000 people to their feet in front of the X-Factor judges in Kansas City. 

Willow's captivating voice adds harmonies and background vocals to many of the songs onSongs in the Key of Awe, her dad's recently released worship project. She adds background vocals to many of the songs on the CD and shines on lead vocal on two titles: "Overflow," her first CCM radio single, and "Only Jesus" a modern, Celtic-like hymn. 

Willow lives with her parents, her two younger brothers, Wyatt and Sawyer and their dog she named, Lucy Loo Hoo, in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Art of Losing Yourself
WaterBrook Press (April 21, 2015)
Katie Ganshert


Award-winning author, Katie Ganshert, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her family. When she’s not busy penning novels or spending time with her people, she enjoys drinking coffee with friends, reading great literature, and eating copious amounts of dark chocolate.


Just like in my dream, I was drowning and nobody even noticed.

Every morning, Carmen Hart pastes on her made-for-TV smile and broadcasts the weather. She’s the Florida panhandle’s favorite meteorologist, married to everyone’s favorite high school football coach. They’re the perfect-looking couple, live in a nice house, and attend church on Sundays. From the outside, she’s a woman who has it all together.  But on the inside, Carmen Hart struggles with doubt. She wonders if she made a mistake when she married her husband. She wonders if God is as powerful as she once believed. Sometimes she wonders if He exists at all. After years of secret losses and empty arms, she’s not so sure anymore.

Until Carmen’s sister—seventeen year old runaway, Gracie Fisher—steps in and changes everything. Gracie is caught squatting at a boarded-up motel that belongs to Carmen’s aunt, and their mother is off on another one of her benders, which means Carmen has no other option but to take Gracie in. Is it possible for God to use a broken teenager and an abandoned motel to bring a woman’s faith and marriage back to life? Can two half-sisters make each other whole?

My Thoughts:
The sliver of hope needed a date with the tweezers.”  (p.261)

Gracie’s sentiment at this point in the story echoes most of her life up until that moment.  Gracie is a very broken, angry, rebellious teen, and she is tired of fighting for every breath, every opportunity to have a normal teenage life…for just a moment!  Her life is hard.  Her sister, Carmen, seems to have been able to find “normal” in her life – a successful career, a husband, a purpose – but she is fighting her own demons, and neither she nor her marriage may survive the onslaught of battle.  When these two sisters attempt life together, they have even harder choices to face.  Nothing gets easier.  Rather, they must face death and, ultimately, life together – together with a God who seems to have abandoned them to their brokenness.

The Art of Losing Yourself is one of the most profoundly honest books I’ve read in quite some time.  The characters are realistic and their lives bear the scars of trying to do life alone – outside the love and grace of a God who loved them and gave His life to redeem theirs.  These two young women are strangers to that love and grace, and their journey of discovery is rather brutal.  Many, if not all, readers will identify with one or more of their struggles – their questions – their fears – their doubt.  Their conclusions at the end of the story are equally realistic and transformational.

Settle in with this story.  Abide with the characters and walk alongside them in their struggles.  You will be very, very glad you did!  This isn’t an easy read sometimes, but it is definitely worth every moment you will spend reading!  I highly recommend this novel!   

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Art of Losing Yourself, go HERE.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Shadow of the Mountain by Cliff Graham - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Caleb and Joshua Roar to Life in this High-Impact Old Testament Saga

Two men were brave enough to tell the truth about what awaited the Hebrews in Canaan. This is their story. From the slave pits of Egypt to the efforts of an eighty-five-year-old Caleb as he drives out the last of the giants, Shadow of the Mountain is a vivid portrait of two of God's chosen champions, and a meditation on masculine mentorship and the challenges and blessings of growing older.

For the sake of his new God and his loyalty to his friend Joshua, Caleb will not spend his twilight years resting, but taking the battle to the enemies of God's people until his dying breath. From his early days as a mercenary for Pharaoh in Egypt watching the Hebrews suffer under the yoke of slavery, all the way through a desperate fight with giants in the dark forests of the hill country, this is a story filled with epic battles, gritty intensity, and supernatural events that made Graham's Lion of War series a hit. Shadow of the Mountain is sure to ignite a love for the Old Testament in popular culture.

My Thoughts:
The Lord our God controls even Pharaoh’s heart.  Not just his light or his cattle.”  (p. 238)

To hear Caleb share the story of the Israelite’s deliverance from Egypt is a thrilling and unsettling experience.  Cliff Graham delivers that exact experience to the readers through Caleb’s eyes – one who was a decorated soldier in Pharaoh’s army before he turned his heart in worship to the One True God.   First, I challenge you to read what the Bible has to say of Caleb.  That, in itself will astound  you!   Then read Graham’s story and your heart will be touched anew about God’s wondrous ways – how He chooses His people and draws them unto Himself time and time again.

To be a warrior in this time in history was brutal.  To be someone whose village/city/kingdom was attacked by these warriors is brutal.  In short, the word warrior is something that has become unfamiliar to us in the 21st century – at least by Biblical standards.  Caleb’s account of God’s hand brining His people out of Egypt is chilling.  I’m still amazed more than ever at the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart toward God!  That, is even more chilling!

I also loved the way the younger men came to Caleb thirsty to hear the words of his story from his lips, and then to learn how that gave them renewed purpose to follow Caleb into battle.  To grow old in Caleb’s time was not an easy task!  He remained a warrior to the end of his days.  I think this is another thing Graham wants his readers to hear – a call to be a follower of God no matter what your age!  This is a thrilling and humbling reminder of God’s holiness and power.  It is also a challenge to rise up and serve God in the strength courage only He can provide!
About the Author:

Cliff Graham is a former soldier and officer in the United States Army who now spends his time writing, speaking, and operating a growing series of media franchises. A graduate from Black Hills State University with degrees in political science and military science, he wrote his Lion of War series while working as a youth pastor. He currently lives in the mountains of Utah with his wife, Cassandra, and their children, and speaks to churches, men's groups, and conferences all over the United States. He can be found online at

Friday, May 15, 2015

Scripture Memory Songs for Kids and Families - Jennifer Shaw - REVIEWED

About the songs:
This album includes 30 word-for-word Scripture memory songs (NIV) plus 9 bonus Christian-themed kids songs! These songs were all developed for use in a Vacation Bible School curriculum for Faith Covenant Church in Westerville, OH. Each of the mini-albums is for a different year with a different themed play. There are five Scripture songs per year, one for each day of VBS, plus bonus theme songs and roll calls for the classes. The Scripture songs are all word for word from either the 1984 or the 2011 New International Version (NIV) of the Bible and include the references. They have since been used by Sunday schools, Christian schools, other VBS programs, homeschoolers, and families, and we hope they are a blessing to you too!

My Thoughts:
What’s not to like?!  This is God’s Word placed to music!!  Jennifer Shaw has a beautiful voice, and she can work in a variety of styles easily and with much heart!  There are smooth grooves, do-wop, jazz, reggae….a total mix of sounds!  The scripture verses are groups in general categories, and apparently served as VBS themes at some time in the past.  Each group of scriptures songs has a sort of bridge that states the overall truth being presented in each verse.

I’ve always been able to retain songs easily, and to put Scripture to great tunes totally works for my brain!  A lot of kids have this same memory learning skill, so I think it’s brilliant to put God’s Word to music!  Jennifer Shaw has even figured out a way to place the reference at the end of each verse!  There are also times when she repeats key phrases that states the foundational truth in the verse several times.

I love Jennifer’s  voice, (I reviewed her first release) and I am pleased to know God is continuing to use her to spread the truth of His gospel to children and adults so effectively!  I would highly recommend this CD to anyone who leads children’s ministry!  A treasure!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Wood's Edge by Lori Benton - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Wood's Edge
WaterBrook Press (April 21, 2015)
Lori Benton


Lori Benton spent her late teens and early twenties pursuing a career as a wildlife artist, attending the Maryland College of Art & Design before she began painting professionally. When not writing or researching, Lori can be found exploring the mountains of southern Oregon with her husband, Brian. Lori's first novel, Burning Sky was nominated as an ECPA 2014 Christian Book Award Finalist and also received double nominations for 2014 Christy Awards. The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is her second novel.


At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?

The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.

On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.

When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both—Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?

My Thoughts:
You have crucified yourself, but that work will never be finished….It cannot be.  You are not Christ.” 
(p. 353)

Lydia’s declaration here, at this point in Lori Benton’s novel, The Wood’s Edge, captures the very essence of the lives of the characters in this story.  They have all lived on the edge of the truth.  Until grace, mercy and forgiveness capture their hearts, they crucify themselves anew to keep a secret hidden for more than two decades.  What a beautiful, brutal journey toward forgiveness is captured in these pages!

Honestly, the premise that the entire story hinges upon is a detail few would consider for more than a moment when you consider the war that raged between the French and Indian people….and then between the British and the newly-formed  America.  Many people were lost during that time – lost to their loved ones for a myriad of reasons.  Lori Benton weaves an intricate story among the lives of her characters.  She does it so seamlessly, that by the time you reach the end, and the main characters have grown up right before your eyes….well, let’s just say if you don’t bawl your eyes out, then you truly have a heart of stone.

Your tears will reflect awe, sadness, loss, joy, tender love…so many emotions!  Whether you are a parent, an adult child of a parent who has loved you  well, or someone who appreciates a true romance that blossoms in a very difficult circumstance your heart will be profoundly moved by this story!  Share it with those you love!  Read it time and time again as you wait for the next story in this most excellent series!!  WOW!! Such an amazing story!!

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Wood's Edge, go HERE.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker - REVIEWED - Coming next week!! May 19, 2015!!

About the Book:
Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—to end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.

But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. Though the whispers contradict everything she’s been told, they resonate deep within.

Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, yet she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her. 

My Thoughts:

I plead free.”  (p. 248)

Arianna Carlton’s words, in this moment, were the most powerful words spoken to me as I read Rachelle Dekker’s debut novel, The Choosing.  Carrington Hale, the protagonist in this futuristic tale, is also profoundly affected by Arianna’s words.  For her, these words become the catalyst of significant change in her life.  She must choose between the truth and the illusion she has believed as truth.  To discern between them could cost her very life.

Rachelle Dekker takes readers into a plausible futuristic society.  People throughout history have always preferred the illusion of safety by blindly placing their faith in others who will make the hard decisions for them, and spare them the perceived danger of placing their faith in an unseen God who loves them just as they are.  Rigid laws trump the love of God time and time again.  It was the rigid law of the land that sent Jesus to the cross.  Dekker builds on this fact of the human condition and takes her characters on a precarious journey through rigid laws to a place of freedom.

Freedom comes in knowing who you are in Christ.  Dekker presents this truth in a way that an unbeliever will grasp and that will challenge believers in their own faith journey.  This is a brilliant debut novel  that introduces readers to an exciting and thought-provoking new author.

Like Arianna – I plead free!! AMEN!!

About the Author:
The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair. Visit her online at

Monday, May 11, 2015

No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason - REVIEWED

About the Book:
She'll defend her friend until the bitter end--but is she in over her head?
It's not every day you see your childhood friend and onetime crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can't believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she's determined to find him and help him clear his name. Unfortunately, she's not the only one looking for him. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to prove his innocence and prevent a catastrophe. 

Lynette Eason delivers nonstop action as Jackie and Ian travel a dangerous road--one that may lead straight to destruction.

My Thoughts:
You know how I am about riddles and puzzles.”   (p. 57)

Such an innocent statement about an email that ultimately causes Ian Lockwood and Jackie Sellers to be running for their very lives!  Honestly, Lynette Eason has ramped up the speed on her latest release, No Place to Hide, to a ridiculous level!! I mean that in the most amazing, complimentary way!!  You just can’t read fast enough!

What thrills me to pieces is that no one goes unscathed in this story!  Eason keeps the very real human element raw and transparent throughout the novel, but she also weaves all of those broken pieces into a beautiful mosaic of God’s sovereign love for His children!  Even Jackie’s best friend’s young daughter doesn’t miss out on this lesson in grace!  Phenomenal how she weaves so many story lines together!

I think what impresses me most is that every single character has a plausible reason to do or not do the things they do within the context of the novel.  The sheer amount of twists and turns will keep you up at night!  Bioterrorism?  Well, who on earth could be responsible?!  Hidden in plain sight with a totally plausible reason to consider their actions to be justified!   AND…both Ian and Jackie face death multiple times and in very scary ways that….well, didn’t I mention, this story will keep you up at night?!

You just will be blown away!  I just keep thinking Eason cannot keep coming up with so many, many ways to keep us on the edge of our seats, but I do believe she’s outdone herself yet again!!  When you see Lynette Eason’s name on the cover, you can rest assured you will be well-entertained and left satisfied with a believable outcome!  BRAVO!!!  BRAVO!!!

About the Author:
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series, as well as No One to Trust,Nowhere to Turn, and No Place to Hide in the Hidden Identity series. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and she lives in South Carolina. Learn more at

Friday, May 8, 2015

Side By Side by Jana Kelley - REVIEWED

About the book: 
Side by Side (New Hope Publishers, April 2015)

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia's life collides with that of another young woman.

A young Christian American mother, Mia finds more than one dark secret on the streets of Khartoum. She finds Halimah, a young, upper-class Arab student with a bright future in her family's business whose risky and secretive decision has put her life in danger. What happens when the path of young mother intersects with that of a spunky Sudanese student? God transforms them both . . . forever.

Part of New Hope® Publishers' contemporary missional fiction line, Side by Side opens the reader's eyes to the life of Muslims in Sudan as well as some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as pray for the salvation of those who persecute.

Purchase you copy HERE.

My Thoughts:
He wanted to use someone like… her!” (p. 217)

The development of the character of Mia closely resembles the realization that most believer’s have a difficult time accepting.  Our efforts seem insignificant compared to the  “important” work of the missionary.  Mia was a stay-home mom to three little ones while her husband took care of refugees.  Her heart’s cry was to bring others to Christ like her husband and his missionary friends.  Her journey to the moment when she realized that God was indeed using everything about her life and circumstance to accomplish an eternal difference is recorded in Jana Kelley’s novel Side By Side.  It is a journey that was convicting to me, and, like Mia, I began to wonder about my own significance in God’s plan.

Mia was working in a Muslim country, and salvation through Christ came at a very dear price!  Halimah is the young Arab student that God brings into Mia’s life at just the right moment – the moment of deliverance.  Halimah’s faith both encouraged and convicted me.   But overall, I was just so thrilled by God’s hand in every situation!  And I realize that He is just as present in my every circumstance, and I rejoice!

The time element of Halimah’s deliverance into safety may have seemed laborious to many, but, in fact, it was very realistic.  I’ve learned from missionaries I know that the most effective way to minister to those who follow Islam is just to develop relationship with them over time and allow God to draw them to Himself through whatever circumstances He designs.  The way Mia comes to understand this, and how God used her when she didn’t even realize she was being used….such a tender thing to “watch”!

The more impactful thing, for me, was to realize that this story is based on the author’s real-life experiences as a missionary’s wife.  I have MUCH to be thankful for when I think that God has allowed me to support missionary work in many ways, and to know that He is using me on the job and within my family just as much as those on the “mission field.”  God is sovereign over all of our lives, and Side by Side is a beautiful testimony of how God uses all of us to lead others to the foot of the cross!  Rejoice with me and enjoy this incredible story of God's grace!

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

Find Jana online: Website, Facebook, Twiitter.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Exhale by Plumb - REVIEWED

Oh God We breathe in your grace
We breathe in your grace
And exhale
Oh God we do not exist for us
But to share Your grace and love
And exhale

Great is our God
And we will seek Him
Our rock of salvation
Morning by morning
With thanksgiving we come
And we will bow down
With creation we cry out
In daylight and darkness
We sing to the Lord

Great is our God
Great is our God
Great is our God

You are faithful to me
You are faithful to me
I am not afraid no matter where I go
You will never leave me
In You I am home
Cause you are faithful to me

Oh, listener!!  Join me and listen to Plumb’s new CD release, Exhale!!  Worship!  Inhale His presence!  Exhale His grace!!  This is a worship experience that is bold in its declaration and transparent in its brokenness!  This is genuine and from the heart from a child of God who has come through the fire and has been restored!!  She has been broken, and God has resurrected her music to reflect His mercy and grace!! 

The music is varied and uplifting! There is something for everyone!  So pick up a copy today! Download it from ITunes!  Just get to a place where you can join Plumb in worshipping our Savior!!  This is my favorite album yet!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Heart of the Amish by Suzanne Woods Fisher - REVIEWED

About the Book:
We have all been hurt and we all have someone we need to forgive. But sometimes it's hard to let go of our hurt and anger in order to truly forgive and move on. 

For the Amish, forgiving others in order to live at peace is woven into the very fabric of their faith. From daily annoyances to heartbreaking tragedy, they exhibit an incredible capacity for forgiveness that often baffles us. How do they do it? And how can we have the same attitude and ability to forgive?

Through true stories gathered from a variety of Amish communities, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shows you how the Amish are able to release their pain and desire for revenge, and live at peace with others. Her in-depth, personal research uncovers the astounding yet fundamental way the Amish can forgive anyone from the angry customer at the grocery store to the shooter at Nickel Mines. You'll learn how to invite God into your story, apply lessons from the Amish to your own circumstances, and find the freedom that comes with true forgiveness.

My Thoughts:
Forgiveness can straighten what failures have made crooked.   -  Amish Proverb”  (p.32)

I must say, that this book has become a devotional guide for me.  The short chapters are thought provoking, and each of them end with even more thought-provoking questions to consider.  This book and its contents can change the direction of your life!  I mean, you are able to really see grace in action in a practical day to day fashion.

I’ve read a lot of Suzanne Woods Fisher’s Amish Fiction, but she has created something new in this book that really fills a need in my life – especially now.   I am walking through the end of decades of marriage. Forgiveness is HUGE in this process!!  HUGE!!  And though I have read multiple books on the subject, poured over Scripture, this book is speaking to me in a new and deeper way.  Yes, there is Scripture that is referenced.  But these people have developed a lifestyle of forgiveness that just changes everything!!

So read this book slowly, thoughtfully and prayerfully.  Thank God for the people who agreed to make this book possible.  Thank God for Suzanne’s ability to capture such a vulnerable place in the human heart and flesh it out with practical application.  This is a gem!  And this totally works as a devotional guide for folks like me who need some daily interaction with God in a formatted way that allows me to take small but deeply transformational looks at the truths of God’s word and be able to apply them to my daily life.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone!! 
About the Author:
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The LettersThe Calling, the Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, includingAmish Peace. She is also the coauthor of an Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist for The Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting. She is also a columnist for Christian Post andCooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. Learn more at and connect with Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Monday, May 4, 2015

To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander - REVIEWED

About the book: 
To Win Her Favor (Zondervan, May 2015)

A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, Maggie Linden is determined that her horse will become a champion. But the one man who could help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing forever.

An Irishman far from home, Cullen McGrath left a once prosperous life in England because of a horse racing scandal that nearly ruined him. He's come to Nashville for a fresh start, hoping to buy land and begin farming, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. But starting over proves harder than he'd wagered, especially when Maggie Linden's father makes him an offer he shouldn't accept yet cannot possibly refuse.

Maggie is certain that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the inaugural Peyton Stakes, the richest race ever run in America. Maggie only needs the chance to prove it. To give her that chance---and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder---Maggie's father, aging, yet wily as ever, makes a barter. His agreement includes one tiny, troublesome detail---Maggie must marry a man she's never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself.

You can purchase a copy HERE.

My Thoughts:
Sometimes in life, when what we want most is just beyond our reach…and the ground beneath us gives way, we must grab hold of the nearest branch.”  (p. 55)

Maggie’s father spoke truth that neither of them realized at that moment.   Gilbert Linden was trying to provide security for his daughter, and his choice of Cullen McGrath made little sense to Maggie.  In 1869, such arrangements weren’t unheard of, but to choose an Irishman to care for your only child made almost no sense.  Tamara Alexander tackles the ugliness of racism in all of its forms in this story.  She also takes a hard look at trusting others,  being faithful to promises made and many other facets of the human condition that make the difference between living and dying.

The dream of racing her thoroughbred and providing a way to redeem the family property is a dream that seems to dissolve entirely when Maggie learns of her father’s arrangement for her future.  Cullen’s dreams of owning land in a place where an Irishman is treated worse than pond scum seems equally impossible.  But God’s ways are not our ways, and through an unlikely set of circumstances and a series of heartbreaking trials, a way is made for both Cullen and Maggie to have more than they ever dreamed possible.

The brutality of racism was very real, and Alexander uses this as a foundation to mold the lives of her characters.  They each must choose to accept or reject the path set before them while keeping their dreams in sight.  This is a very satisfying read that deals with some very tender and vital parts of the human condition.  I am happy to recommend this book to all readers!  You will come away from the story with a full and grateful heart!

About the Author:
About the author: 

Tamera Alexander
 is a best-selling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers. Having lived in Colorado for seventeen years, she and her husband now make their home in Nashville, Tennessee, along with their two adult children who live near by. And don't forget Jack, their precious---and precocious---silky terrier.