Wednesday, December 21, 2016

of stillness and storm by Michele Phoenix - REVIEWED

About the Book:
It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing. 
At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.
Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.
My Thoughts:
Reminders that I wasn’t dead from a man who would be soon.”  (p. 242)

This was a difficult read for me.  An all-to-familiar battleground for me.  Although I could tell from the back cover that this was a book dealing with familial issues, I never imagined it would feel like someone had stepped into my life and written about it.  The context for this story is different from my own, but the author boldly addresses issues many families battle today – the introduction of relationships within the context of social media – and how quickly things can go sideways. 

The author deals specifically with this issue within the context of a missionary family, but this is an issue that families face in all walks of life! It is a matter of putting relationships in a healthy and right order in our lives, and when we allow any type of work interfere with the family God has blessed us with and begin to substitute that with other things (people or work), well, this story gives us a plausible scenario of consequences.
This is a vividly told, well-developed story line!  The story itself, well, it’s painfully familiar to me personally, and I can vouch for its reality and plausibility.  This is a much needed reminder of God’s place in our lives and in the lives of our families.  Choices always have consequences.  Bravo!  I highly recommend this book!

About the Author:
Michele Phoenix
Born in France to a Canadian father and an American mother, Michèle Phoenix is a consultant, writer and speaker with a heart for Third Culture Kids. She taught for 20 years at Black Forest Academy (Germany) before launching her own advocacy venture under Global Outreach Mission. Michèle travels globally to consult and teach on topics related to this unique people group. She loves good conversations, mischievous students, Marvel movies and paths to healing. Learn more at Twitter: @frenchphoenix

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Miscarried Joy by Tanika Fitzgerald - REVIEWED

About the book:  

Miscarried Joy: Moving Beyond Incredible Pain to Extraordinary Faith (Nyreepress Publishing, October 2016)

Faith over fear. Patience over frustration. Pain with a purpose.

In Miscarried Joy, Tanika transparently shares her deeply personal and disappointing experiences of losing her babies due to miscarriage. There were times when she felt God was the cause of her pain. However, her journey through the lives of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth and Naomi, revealed quite the opposite---God had allowed her pain for a much greater purpose. Each of these women had something in common: they learned to surrender their will and trust God's plan beyond the pain. They were pushed to a posture of prayer that led them from questioning God to have total confidence in Him. Tanika discovered that this season of waiting didn't show up simply to challenge her, but to change her.

With biblical depth, heart-filled transparency and a voice of passion, you will:

-Understand God's heart in the midst of incredible pain
-Discover the importance of trusting God's plan over your own
-Arm yourself with the strength to let go of bitterness and comparison to appreciate the beauty of your story
-Learn and implement spiritual principles and strategies to walk boldly in faith
-Embrace God's delay and birth contentment in your season of waiting
What have you miscarried? What purpose have you had difficulty conceiving? Is it a calling you fear stepping into? A vision that has not yet come to pass? Miscarried Joy has something for anyone who needs help pushing through incredible pain to conquer discouragement, walk in faith and birth their purpose. God's delay in your life could be a set up for your greatest calling to be fulfilled.

Purchase you copy HERE!

My Thoughts:
“It’s the Word of God that washes out every impurity, negative thought, ungodly emotion, fear, anxiety and anything else that keeps you from living life as God has purposed you to live.”  (p.57)

I have experienced the loss of a miscarriage.  It was my first pregnancy.  That was 24 years ago.  Now, with 21 and 23 year-old sons, I was drawn to this book, because I wanted to know what someone else had to say about this experience.  No one said anything to me when I experienced this.  No one.  It was a subject that was forgotten, because, after all, I had moved on and had other children.  But, at the time I walked through loss, there were no words from others to encourage me to keep my eyes focused on Christ.

Tankia Fitzgerald writes about her experiences from both personal and biblical points of view.  I cannot begin to tell you how powerful the truths are in this book!  I’ve experienced other losses in my life, and this book gave me fresh perspective on that loss – even though the context was that of a lost pregnancy.  Tanika is speaking truth from God’s Word, and it is healing, encouraging and strengthening if you apply it to other areas of loss.

If you, or someone you know, has experienced a miscarried joy, share this book with them.  It will be the best and most loving gift you can give them!  Healing from loss takes time, and sometimes you just want someone to acknowledge that you are grieving and give you time to heal.  Be patient with others.  Love them through their loss.  God’s Word has the answers and strength and guidance everyone needs to walk their journey. 

I HIGHLY recommend this book!!

About the Author:
Tanika Fitzgerald is a lover of Christ, a wife to her husband, Maurice, a loving daughter and sister. She is passionate about equipping women to grow spiritually, live balanced lives and helping them to be ARMED for victory in every area of life. Tanika has been called to minister to others through her passion and gift of writing to inspire women all over the globe. She is also the visionary behind ARMED Magazine---a publication created to "Spiritually Equip for you Victory in Battle." Her inspirational writing has been featured in numerous publications including Hope for Women MagazineBlack and Married with Kids, and more. Tanika has also interviewed powerful voices in the Christian community, including Lady Serita Jakes, Sheryl Brady, Charles Jenkins, Earnest Pugh, and more! Tanika is a woman who is passionate about her relationship with Jesus Christ, family, giving to others, laughter, having fun, and enjoying every moment that life brings!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lucifer's Harvest by Mel Starr - REVEIWED

About the Book:
King Charles of France has announced that he is confiscating Aquitaine, and Prince Edward has sent for knights and men-at-arms from England to assist him in opposing the French king. Lord Gilbert Talbot is required to provide five knights, twelve squires, and twenty archers and men-at-arms, and he wishes his surgeon--Hugh de Singleton--to travel with the party, leaving Hugh's wife Kate to oversee the castle in their absence.

It won't be an easy journey. Among the party will be Sir Simon Trillowe, Kate's former suitor, who had once set fire to Hugh's house. After a brawl on the streets of Oxford, Sir Simon had nearly lost an ear; Hugh had sewn it back on, but when it healed crooked, Simon blamed Hugh for the disfigurement.

Finding himself in the company of his old nemesis, Hugh resolves not to turn his back on the knight--but it is Sir Simon who should not have turned his back. 

My Thoughts:
Proving a man guilty of a felony is difficult enough.  Proving innocence can be even more onerous.”       (p. 56)

Hugh de Singleton surely has his work cut out for him in Mel Starr’s latest medieval mystery!  I have been a huge fan of Starr’s work and his created surgeon’s work since I read the genesis of this series!  The ONLY thing I could even begin to find fault with at this point is the length of Lucifer’s Harvest  - a mere 160 pages!  My venerable surgeon gets in quite the quagmire in this brief tale, so maybe the shorter length preserves his life for more adventures – at least I hope so!

I never cease to be amazed at the ancient science that provides all that is needed for Master Singleton to discover the answers he so desperately needs to find in this story.  He is in a totally foreign place when he is all but forced to solve a murder.  Believe you me, a LOT is riding on the answers he must find! You will be alarmed at how quickly this end of this novella approaches!

If you love a well-told murder mystery – medieval style – you will adore this entire series just as I do! Once again, I HIGHLY recommend Mel Starr’s novels!

About the Author:
Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After graduating with a MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970, he taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years--thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he chaired the social studies department of Portage Northern High School. Mel retired in 2003. He and his wife, Susan, have two daughters and seven grandchildren.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Pray A to Z by Amelia Rhodes - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Pray A to Z: Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community (Worthy, November 2016)

Change the world one prayer at a time.

How would our community change if instead of absently saying, "I'll pray for you," we actually did pray---deeply, intensely, and purposefully?

Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for Your Community will help you topically organize your prayer requests and lay the burdens of your community at the feet of our Heavenly Father.

With compassion and encouragement, Amelia Rhodes offers Bible verses and prayer prompts, organized topically for every letter of the alphabet. There are five topics per letter---three prayers of petition asking God to work in a certain area of need, and two more prayers of praise to reflect gratitude for God's presence in the daily issues and relationships of life. Through petition and praise, your specific, focused communion with God will lighten your heart as you place the heaviness of those prayer requests where they belong---on His strong shoulders.

Whether you are praying for a friend's adoption journey, a neighbor's bankruptcy, or a family member's cancer, this book will give you Bible verses, prayer prompts, and prayer starts to guide you through praying for even the most difficult issues that affect the people you know and love. Perfect for either individual or group prayer, Pray A to Z will help you experience the peace that comes from communicating with God.

Purchase you copy HERE!

My Thoughts:

This book has been one of those "right on time" books in my life.  It seemed every time I picked it up I could find a prayer that helped me see my way past a situation and through to the truth of God's word.  I really can hardly believe how MANY subjects this powerful book covers!  There is a scripture verse to ponder and imprint upon your heart.  There is a central thought to consider, and then the author beautifully and intimately talks with The Father.  You can pray the words she's written, but you can also use this as a template for prayers of your own.  This would be a great book for a new believer, and can help strengthen the prayer life of a long time believer.  I am happy to recommend this book to everyone!

About the Author:

Amelia Rhodes is a speaker and author of Isn't It Time for a Coffee Break: Doing Life Together in an All-About-Me Kind of World. Amelia's writing has also been featured in four Chicken Soup for the Soul titles, devotionals for the OneHope blog Undeterred and the international devotional Upper Room. Amelia has a growing speaking ministry and speaks regularly to women's groups on topics of spiritual growth, friendship, and community, offering practical tools for living our faith in the everyday. She lives in Lowell, Michigan.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

When There is no Miracle by Robert L. Wise (revised and expanded) - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Times of profound darkness don't always require miracles to find the light

Sooner or later, dark days obscure everyone's lives. Heartbreak is impartial. Tragedies, global or personal, strike every day, and people discover they have been swept out to sea by waves of destruction, anxiety, and catastrophe. How can Christians who believe in divine intervention understand the times when the lights go out and no miracle of deliverance appears?

Robert Wise has more than a passing relationship with tragedy. He has not only lost loved ones; he has been on the front lines of the mayhem that seems to increase every year. Wise was the first clergyman on the scene following the Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City. He ministered to frightened people after 9/11. He has encountered countless people experiencing tragedy, all of them asking the same question: Why do the innocent suffer?

When There Is No Miracle imparts the lessons Wise has learned in the midst of his own questioning. Each chapter encourages those who struggle, and demonstrates unexpected positive benefits of pain and suffering. Wise shares the experiences of those he has met in his ministry who faced times that seemed to be devoid of God's involvement. Yet, as Wise shows here, God is always behind the scenes, working for the ultimate good, even when we can't understand how. In this succinct volume, Christians can find new hope, learn to reconcile their faith with times of emptiness, and discover a new depth of meaning in the crucifixion of Christ.

My Thoughts:
When your wants are strained through the fabric of God’s larger truths, then what is real will emerge.”  (p. 120)

This is my first time reading Robert Wise’s book, and, while I understand it is revised and expanded, I can’t imagine in being any more powerful and life-transforming in the way it challenges believers to look at difficult life circumstances – outright tragedy – through the eyes of our Heavenly Father.  His vision for our life and life-purposes isn’t clouded by sin, emotion or human limitations.  His vision is found in the truths of His Word. 

God shares many Biblical examples of the truths He wants us to live out of as believers  - followers of Christ.  He loves us more than we can dare to fathom!  Wise shares both biblical and real-time examples of very difficult life situations.  From sudden loss to chronic illness and through a variety of other situations Wise asks the same questions that are universal when life’s struggles threaten to overwhelm.  The truth Wise shares is both challenging and comforting.

I think the most touching moments for me are the conversations he frames with Jesus at the end of each chapter.  I found myself reading those over and over as though I was literally present in the conversation.  I am taking my time with this book.  It has caused me to look at some of my own circumstances differently, and challenged me to let go and move past some situations that have kept me from all that God has called me to.

I am happy and pleased to recommend this book to all believers!  We have all experienced times where there was no miracle-----when, in fact, the absence of the miracle was, in fact, the miracle!  Grab a copy today and share one with a friend!  It is an amazing book!

About the Author:
Robert L. Wise is an archbishop in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches and director of the Office of Ecumenical Relations. He has been awarded the title of Apostolic Representative for Christian Unity by Pope Francis. In addition to his work in ecumenism, Wise is the author of thirty-four books and many articles published in several languages. Wise also publishes under the pseudonyms Spencer E. Moses and Ed Moses.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Speckles and His New Home by Erich Rose Illustrated by Rose Anderson - REVIEWED

About the Book:
After moving into a new house with his family, Speckles is worried about being bored during the day while they are gone. The nearby forest is a great opportunity for exploration, but he finds himself alone and scared as it begins to get dark. Will he find his way back home?

My Thoughts:
We can have an adventure together.”

When Speckles' owner Ben talks about an adventure, it is only after Speckles experiences a few unexpected adventures of his own.  Erich Rose’s book is a tale that any dog owner will recognize!  Moving is as traumatic for animals as it is for humans.  Rose’s story chronicles Speckles’ perspective of a new home.  Changes ranging from space to sound become unsettling, and when Speckles finds himself alone, he resorts to a trick from his old home.  This trick leads the dog into a situation much more unsettling than his new home!

Children – especially those with pets of their own – will adore this book!  The pictures are whimsical and detailed and will allow the child to explore Speckles’ world as their caregiver reads of his adventures in his new home!  If there has been a move recently, this book becomes even more endearing!  I imagine that this story will open the door to many conversations between a parent and child as the family settles into a new home.

I was privileged to meet both the author and illustrator at the University bookstore in Auburn, and I look forward to following his career as an author.

About the Author:
Erich Rose enjoys telling stories to his sons and taking them on adventures. He decided that he would like to share these stories with others. Speckles and His New Home is the first. Erich lives in Opelika, Alabama, with his wife, Rebekah, and their three sons.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thin Ice by Irene Hannon - REVIEWED

About the Book:

If Ginny Reed is still alive--who is the woman buried in her grave?
After losing her parents and her sister, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Now, life is finally starting to feel normal again--until an envelope addressed in her sister's handwriting arrives in the mail. And the note inside claims she is still alive.

FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case . . . but he's coming up with more questions than answers. Is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game--or the target of a sinister plot? As Lance digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: someone in the shadows has a deadly agenda.

Bestselling author and three-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon pulls out all the stops in this high-stakes thriller that races to a bone-chilling finish.

My Thoughts:

In other words, accept the hard realities and get on with it.”  (p. 59)

This sentence is a bit prophetic as far as Irene Hannon’s characters are concerned.  Thin Ice sets up a very tenuous situation between the two main characters.  They are forced to trust each other completely as they attempt to solve a situation that is based on….well, on not much. Christy Reed has endured more than her fair share of loss, and, it seems, that someone is determined to keep stringing her along a very cruel path of circumstances.  Sadly, there seems to be no apparent reason for all of this cruelty.

That’s where FBI agent Lance McGregor comes into the picture.  He is the one this bizarre case falls to, and he has to follow a series of very tenuous leads before he ever gets a break in the case.  In Hannon style, both Lance and Christy are magnetically drawn to one another as this mystery unfolds.  Either Hannon’s idea of romance is off the chart unrealistic or I’m a world class cynic – or maybe a combination of both – but the romantic attraction does not appeal.  But I can sort of skim past that and enjoy the complexity of the suspenseful part of plot!  But, if you enjoy hormonally driven reactions between folks, well, you’ll enjoy the combination of romance and suspense – this novel is loaded with both!

In true Hannon style, the culprit is hidden in plain sight, so the conclusion is very satisfying!  So pick up a copy for the reader on your gift list! The reader in your life will appreciate this gift! 

About the Author:
Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect SpringHope Harbor, and Sea Rose Lane, as well as the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, two Carol Awards, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviewsmagazine, a Retailers' Choice Award, three HOLT Medallions, two Booksellers' Best Awards, and a National Readers' Choice Award. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at

Friday, November 25, 2016

Out: One Christian's Experience of Leaving the Gay Community by Bob Fife, Ron Hughes (With)- REVEIWED

About the Book:
Bob Fife was raised in a small Ontario town by a Christian mother and an unbelieving father. The tensions made for a dysfunctional home and an uneasy life. But nothing prepared Bob for being sexually molested by an older boy he trusted—or what happened in his heart afterward.

Out is the story of Bob's descent into homosexual practices and out again. His fascinating journey takes readers from the confusion of his teen years, to his marriage and fatherhood, to his discovery and embrace of the flamboyant Toronto gay scene. He describes abandoning his young family in order to fulfill his same-sex desires, taking him to London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Provincetown, Key West, and San Francisco. Over a decade later, an unexpected visit from his college-aged son caused Bob to confront the consequences of his indulgences and begin to seek change.
Today, Bob has been out of his gay lifestyle for over twenty years. He has reconnected with the church, built and maintained healthy, nonsexual relationships, and healed his relationship with his son. For those who want a way to deal with their same-sex attractions, not celebrate them, Bob's story points a way to grace and redemption.

My Thoughts:
I’ve know anyone who was argued out of homosexuality, but I’ve seen them loved out.” (p. 198)

This is the most brutally honest testimony regarding a Christian’s choice to enter the gay lifestyle, and how, through the love an infinite patience and accountability, was delivered out of it.  This lifestyle choice has been one of the most destructive, divisive tool in the enemy’s arsenal.  It strikes at the heart of the most intimate familial relationships, and only by God’s grace and a LOT of hard work, can any of the relational damage be healed and whole again.

Bob Fife’s testimony is not an easy read.  God has placed people in my life over the last five years that are struggling against the bondage of the choice to live the homosexual lifestyle.  I can certainly testify that people who have made that choice for themselves are super sensitive about any type of love and friendship offered to them – it’s like they can’t understand it, because EVERYTHING is filtered through the lens of sexuality. 

To read Bob’s testimony was both heartbreaking and enlightening.  I understand some things better than I did before – mainly how important it is to love people with the love I’ve been shown by Christ!  His love is the ONLY thing that has the power to effect change in any life!!

I’m going to re-read this book for even deeper understanding.  I’m grateful that God is using Bob Fife to reach a community of people who need to hear the truth of God’s transforming love.  I know his story has challenged me again to love people better and truer as I go forward in life.

About the Author:

Bob Fife is an Ontario based business man and a former practicing homosexual. Today he devotes his time to mentoring men and women who are looking for alternative ways to deal with same-sex attraction.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette - REVIEWED

About the Book:

In the darkness of the storm's shadow, only truth can light her way. 
Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mount Sinai. When the people rebel by worshipping a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to assist a midwife. When the experience awakens a new desire in her, she defies her mother's wish for her to continue in the family weaving trade and pursues her heart's calling as an apprentice midwife. 

But when a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself in an impossible situation and bound to a man who betrayed her. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira comes face to face with the long-hidden pain of her past. Can she let go of all that has defined her to embrace who she truly is and believe in a hopeful future?

My Thoughts:
Quit fighting the hands that are trying to heal you.” (p. 258)

Shira is quite a fighter.  She struggles to accept any good gift, from anyone – God included.  Sadly, I found myself identifying with much of her character.  She senses her gifts and calling, but she struggles to embrace them and use them to bless others.  I greatly enjoyed getting to know this woman and watch her grow and change throughout the novel.

Shadow of the Storm takes the reader into the heart of the Israelite's journey to the promised land.  Readers will experience every smell, sight and sound of life lived at the foot of Mt. Sinai.  Truly, this is a gritty reality, but it is one that shows God’s holiness, righteous anger, and His grace.  Cossette is a master and weaving God’s grace and mercy into this beautiful story and allowing readers to have their faith challenged and grown as the characters in the novel face many and varied trials.  This has to be some of the best-written biblical fiction I’ve ever read!

Every character is well-developed, the relationships are realistic and flawed, the reality of the life lived following a Holy God through the wilderness is breathtaking in both depth and truth.  Cossette know WHO she is writing about, and this story reflect His majesty, holiness, grace and mercy.  Thank you, Connilyn Cossette for such a beautiful gift!!

I cannot recommend this highly enough!

About the Author:

When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kids (with a full pot of coffee at hand), Connilyn Cossette is scribbling notes on spare paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure, out-of-print history books. There is nothing she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible and uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus. Her novel Counted With the Starswon the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semifinalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives near Dallas, Texas. Connect with her at

Friday, November 18, 2016

Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible. The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and undeniably appealing.
After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore—much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant’s fraught family history are gradually fitting into place, but also upending all his old beliefs.
The two draw closer as they share their dreams, until misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust. But in the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there’s healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what’s needed to finally guide him home…
My Thoughts:
Oh Lord, what have I done?” (p.89)

You know, I think both of these characters must have asked this question about a jillion times in this novel – in different ways and in different circumstances to be sure, but this question sums up a lot of the uncertainty that seems to follow the two main characters through life.

Grant McAllister and Jami Carlisle meet through rather random circumstances, and it is Jami’s dogged determination that finally breaks the stone cold barrier that Grant and his past have erected between them.  It is also her journalistic determination that uncovers hidden secrets about Grant’s past that threaten to make him totally inaccessible to her on a very permanent basis.  Bothe of these characters come with baggage – some theirs, some caused by others.  Slowly, ever so slowly the allow the other to reach beyond their protective boundaries and allow a relationship to develop.

This is a pretty realistically dysfunctional bunch of folks that Post creates to tell her story.  I guess it is my skepticism surfacing, but these two have so many behaviors that seem to be the antithesis of any healthy relationship that I have a hard time believing that “love conquers all.”   That’s not to say that they didn’t have their problems connecting and allowing a relationship to form, but I just keep saying to myself, “yeah, right.”  But that’s just me and my own past responding to romance in general.
This is a very realistic relational book, and promises to be a great start to a series of books.  If you enjoy realistic romance, this a book you will enjoy!

About the Author:
From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special-events decorating company, Carol J. Post's résumé reads as if she hasn't yet decided what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love of writing. She started as a child composing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles for religious and children's publications. Now she pens fun, fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for an RT Reviewers' Choice Best Book award and selected as an RT Top Pick. When Carol isn't writing, she enjoys sailing, hiking, camping---almost anything outdoors. She also plays the piano and sings with her music-minister husband. Their two grown daughters and their grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all her nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.
Follow her on her website, facebook, twitter

Monday, November 14, 2016

End of the Roadie by Elizabeth Flynn - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Brendan Phelan, rock star, is playing in a stage show that includes guns and whips. As it reaches its climax, a shot rings out—but it's not part of the show. The body of Oliver Joplin, one of the road crew, lies lifeless outside the stage door. 

Detective Inspector Angela Costello and her team investigate, but they quickly discover that several stage hands, and Phelan himself, are adept with firearms—and that Joplin was widely disliked and distrusted. So why had Phelan kept him on, despite the reservations of his crew? Joplin's emails reveal the presence of a shadowy figure stalking the dead man. Who might profit from Joplin's death? 

Little by little, Costello unpicks the web of lies. But unless one key person opens up, she can't crack the case. And that is not going to happen. 

My Thoughts:
It would remain their little secret.”  (p. 295)

Although this quoted has nothing much to do with the murder solved in this novel (well, except that it is a remembrance of one of the lighter moments), I thought it appropriately represented almost everyone in the novel!  There were so many layers of secrets – so many YEARS of secrets – that many characters in this story were living very enslaved lives!  It’s sad to think that some of them decided that the only way out of the mess they’d made was to take someone’s life. 

Well, sadly, that is an all-to-common theme in every area of life in this day and age.  This book intrigued me because it was set in England.  I love all of the idioms of their language, and enjoy trying to decipher some of their meaning.  I enjoyed getting to know Detective Inspector Angela Costello and her co-workers as their brainstormed their way through this murder mystery!  They are a very eclectic group with a diverse taste in all of life.  The roadie whose murder must be solved, is at the center of many layers of deception, greed and desperation.  I never failed to be amazed at the things folks perceive to be an injustice thrust upon them – always justified in the depths of their own depravity.

This is a great beginning to what promises to be a series of cozy mysteries. (well, by my definition anyway) There is some very mild language, but it is not gratuitous in any way. You will enjoy getting to know the characters, and you will feel their sense of satisfaction when they catch the criminal at the end of the novel.  I am happy to have discovered this author!

About the Author:
A former actress and radio journalist, Elizabeth Flynn is currently bereavement officer in a London hospital. This is her first novel.

Monday, November 7, 2016

America at the Crossroads by George Barna - REVIEWED

About the book:
American culture is changing faster than ever. George Barna tells you how, why, and what you can do to shape your future.
We live in a tumultuous time. Upheavals and reversals in culture, popular opinion, morality, race relations, socioeconomic status, and so much more have entire generations feeling off balance or out of touch. How do we keep pace with the breathtaking rate of change in our society when we can hardly find time to keep up with our racing newsfeeds? And in the face of such enormous cultural forces, is there anything we can do?

With America at the Crossroads, bestselling author and cultural analyst George Barna turns his researcher's eye to the most significant trends, compiling and distilling salient information for busy readers who want to shape culture rather than allow it to shape them. 

If you've felt overwhelmed by our swiftly changing times, Barna's extensive research and "bottom-line" approach will help give you the solid ground you're looking for--and show you where we're heading next.

My Thoughts:

What can you do? – hinges on your willingness to become the person God created you to be in order to have the influence He has granted you for such a time as this.”  (p. 182)

This book was the most difficult to read, because Barna presents a statistical look into America’s very real, very frightening crossroad.  Unless God’s people stop believing the lie of the enemy and start believing that God has given us both purpose and the power to accomplish that purpose, we will never step fully into our sphere of influence and transform America.

We sit on the eve of a presidential election, and I’ve cried out to God to have mercy on our country.  And I believe He will.  Even if a traitor sits in the Whitehouse.  After reading this book, it is no mystery that such a thing can happen in the greatest nation on earth.  Choices have consequences, and our country has consistently made wrong choices.  God gave us the ability to choose, and he has given us ample opportunities to choose to follow Him.  Instead, we are buried beneath indifference, or sidetracked by our own personal circumstances, and we’ve believed the lie that God isn’t interested in what happens to us.

HE IS VERY INTERESTED!!! He created us, and gifted us with influence and purpose to influence those in our live for HIM!!  This is a very, very important book, and I apologize for not posting my review sooner. The timing of this post is a God-appointment for me.  Reading this book will change the landscape of your heart!!  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!!

About the Author:

George Barna is the award-winning author of more than fifty books, including bestsellers such as RevolutionThe Power of VisionThe Frog in the Kettle, and Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions. He is also founder of Barna Group, a leading research firm that specializes in faith-related surveys. He currently leads the American Culture & Faith Institute, which studies and influences faith and politics, as well as Metaformation, an organization designed to help people maximize their potential. George has led several churches and lives with his family on the central California coast.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon - REVEIWED

About the Book:
Finn has packed away his combat instincts--but he may need them again when danger begins to stalk his quiet hideaway . . .

After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn't on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana's foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action--ready or not.

My Thoughts:
Potent masculinity oozed from his pores.”  (p. 211)

Well folks, I’ve always been a fan of Irene Hannon’s romantic suspense.  And Tangled Webs has a thread of suspense that will keep the pages turning!  It may be my waning hormone levels, but I had to wade through a LOT of this “potent masculinity” to enjoy the plot this time.  Sigh!

I literally had to read around all of the hormonal touches and glances and thoughts to enjoy this novel.  EVERY man in the book was oozing masculinity…from the main character Finn to all of his brothers.  And all of the women in the book were drop-dead, distractingly beautiful.  Well, these folks needed to take a cold shower about every other page.  In the meanwhile, the Chief of Police is a much more believable character as he stands by his wife who is declining through the ravages of Alzheimer’s.   He is driven by a life-long love to do some desperate things.

While the Chief struggles, he begins to interact with someone equally desperate.  This character’s desperation is dark and insidious – and very dangerous!  So, when the main characters stop fawning over each other – well, circumstance sort of force their hand – they get swept up in a very dangerous situation.

I have to be honest, I couldn’t get past all of the over-the-top emotional/hormonal descriptions and fully enjoy this novel.  I know it’s just me.  It is still a well-written piece of fiction, but the focus seemed very unappealing to me.  A little more suspense and a little less romance please.

About the Author:
Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect SpringHope Harbor, and Sea Rose Lane, as well as the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, two Carol Awards, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviewsmagazine, a Retailers' Choice Award, three HOLT Medallions, two Booksellers' Best Awards, and a National Readers' Choice Award. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Overcoming Spiritual Vertigo by Dwayne E. Mercer - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Sometimes doubt, fear, and disappointment cause us to lose confidence in God. In this book, Dwayne E. Mercer helps readers see past disappointments through God’s eyes and gain courage from biblical examples of faith. He provides tools for us to take faith-risks for God again, stepping out in courageous faith.

My Thoughts:
We are engaged in spiritual warfare, fighting for our faith.  We overcome it be coming to the cross daily in humility, maintaining a close relationship with God, and feeding ourselves on His Word.”   (p. 110)

This straightforward advice sounds simple on the surface.  Sadly, many folks that fill our churches today struggle to understand this basic truth.  They struggle to even attend church thinking that it has nothing relevant to offer in this present day.  Dwayne  Mercer has written this book for millennials and those who want to grasp onto all that God offers through His Son Jesus!  We can all live lives that are filled with the hope and promise of God’s Word in our lives, and we can make an eternal difference in the lives of others day by day!

This book would make a great small group foundation!  The chapters are filled with thought-provoking ideas, and end with questions that could open up transformational discussions.  Folks, we need to be getting closer to Christ by the minute!  We need to be growing spiritually and bringing others to the Savior!   Grab a copy of this book today, get a pen and highlighter and dive into God’s truth!  This is a great book and one I am happy to recommend!

About the Author:
Dr. Dwayne Mercer has been a senior pastor for more than 30 years and is the author of Overcoming Spiritual Vertigo and When God Says Yes. He has contributed to several books including The Pathway to Discipleship, Living the Life, and Walk Through the Word, and has written numerous articles for magazines and periodicals.Dr. Mercer is a native of Georgia. He and his wife, Pam, have three adult children and five adorable grandchildren. They have served at CrossLife Church since 1993, as it has grown in membership from 800 to 5,000 in attendance, with over 4,000 new believers baptized during that time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Oct. 18, 2016) – In celebration of its 10th anniversary, world-renowned speaker and best-selling author John Bevere, releases an expanded edition of Driven by Eternity today, Oct. 18, 2016. In this updated version, Bevere uses an eye-opening allegory and extensive Scripture to paint a vivid picture of the way our lives on this earth shape our eternal existence, and how life beyond that final breath is much more than just a destination.

“Eternity arrests the attention of all mankind,” says Bevere. “No race, tribe, or gender can resist its draw. We were all created with eternity in our hearts and sense the immanent unknown extension of our existence.”

Featuring a brand new cover and discussion questions for group study, “Driven by Eternity” provides a unique perspective on eternity while exploring themes such as eternal judgement, foundational truths, heaven, hell, forgiveness, as well as identifying what motivates our lives on earth. Drawing on the principles in 2 Corinthians 5:9-11,  Bevere unpacks truths about whether the eternal or temporal is driving and motivating our lives, and guides readers to understand the importance of making  “eternal decisions.” 

“Your choices today will impact your forever,” says Bevere. “Don’t wait until it’s too late. Discover now how you can make your life count both today and forever.”

“Driven by Eternity” has garnered endorsements from a number of high-profile influencers and leaders over the last 10 years, including Craig Groeschel (pastor of Life.Church and author of “#Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World”), Steve Furtick (pastor of Elevation Church and New York Times best-selling author), Chris Hodges (senior pastor of Church of the Highlands and author of “Fresh Air” and “Four Cups”), Mark Batterson (New York Times best-selling author of “The Circle Maker” and lead pastor of National Community Church), Jentezen Franklin (senior pastor of Free Chapel, Gainesville, GA, and New York Times best-selling author), Stephen Arterburn (radio host and best-selling author of “The Everyman” series), Bill McCartney (Promise Keepers), and Bishop T.D. Jakes (New York Times best-selling author & CEO of TDJ Enterprises), among others.

With more than 20 titles translated in over 90 languages, Bevere is known around the world for his boldness, passion, and the uncompromising truth in his award-winning studies and best-selling books. Bevere’s previous title, “Good or God?” has sold over 160,000 copies since its August 2015 release and received multiple #1 chart rankings. Widely respected as an author and expert, Bevere has been featured by top media across the globe including 700 Club, Ministry Today Magazine, Charisma, TBN, SIRIUS/XM Radio, and VITAL Magazine. He is also a regular op-ed contributor for outlets such as

For more information, please visit:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wonder by Jean Watson - REVIEWED

Internationally acclaimed recording artist Jean Watson is thrilled to announce the release date of her highly anticipated new CD, WONDER. The project is slated to impact retail on Friday, October 14, 2016 from Suite 28 Records/Shadowlands Music through Naxos of America, Inc., the nation's leading independent classical music distributor.

"The music on WONDER is the most authentically 'me' music I have ever recorded," Watson says. "I believe the music is quite accessible to both the faith-based and general markets, and the opportunity to partner with Naxos to get the music into the hands of music lovers is huge."

"Naxos has great reach into the world music marketplace, so for the first time, my music has the possibility to be offered to audiences beyond the Christian market," she continues. "How amazing to think that people may listen to this music because they love the sound and be drawn closer to God in the process!"  

WONDER represents something of a defining moment for the classically-trained singer/songwriter and instrumentalist, who is a fan favorite in the UK. She is especially popular in Ireland, where she has long hosted a daily inspirational radio show which can be heard worldwide on UCB Radio Ireland. So, her affinity for Celtic sound comes as no surprise.

Producer Billy Smiley, who has worked with Watson on her last two projects, suggested highlighting her Celtic-flavored songs and ethereal violin performances on the new CD and moving toward a more world music sound. In doing so, Watson discovered a glorious opportunity to simply be herself, both artistically and spiritually.

Sporting a world music sound that falls lithely between the ethereal, yearning Celtic sound of Maire Brennan and the graceful, poetic lyricism of Enya, Watson deftly tightwalks a line that stretches between ancient themes of grace and mercy, and is anchored by contemporary declarations of worship and adoration. There are exuberant expressions of praise ("Blessed Be Your Name"), hymns of hope ("I Can Hear Your Voice"), psalms of yearning ("Restless"), songs of surrender to the perfect will of the Father ("It Is Well"), and testimonies to the mercy and grace of God ("Everything Can Change," "Amazing Grace").

Whether invested in ardent celebration or lost in pensive worship, there is a humble honesty that runs through each song, that binds them together and points both listener and singer toward the throne of God. WONDER has an otherworldly, ethereal, moving quality which penetrates the heart and transports the listener into an attitude of worship.

In keeping with the world music direction of WONDER, Watson has enlisted the services of a number of musicians from around the globe, including South African John Ellis of Tree63 and former Newsboys drummer Peter Furler from Australia. Steve Hindalong from The Choir provides percussion, and as a special treat, Christian music legend Michael W. Smith appears as a guest accompanist as Watson performs Smith's hit, "I Can Hear Your Voice."

"I am so grateful for this opportunity for my music to reach a wider audience," says Watson. "I can't wait to see what God will do with WONDER!"

For more information on Watson and WONDER, visit

My Thoughts:
This has to be the most beautiful CD I have encountered in a very long time!  The songs lead you into worship very naturally and authentically.  There is a wide variety of songs - some familiar - others unique creations of the artist.  There are a couple of couple of instrumentals that really appealed to me and make a nice "Selah" moment in the worship experience.  This CD is a treasure of beauty and inspiration and I am EXCITED to encourage EVERYONE to listen and enjoy!!