Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hearts of Fire by The Voice of the Martyrs

The Voice of the Martyrs
( The VOM Books 2015)

God will call anyone He chooses and these women prove that sometimes one must step up, be strong, and stand firm for Christ.
I shared this book on Facebook, urging others to read it. Here's my post: 
Voice of the Martyrs: this book is something I encourage everyone to read it. It will open your eyes about those who suffer for Christ. It will open your eyes to other religions who persecuted Christians (Islam, Hindu, Buddhism and various other tribal beliefs). It will rewrite your heart and soul and show you the true meaning of following Christ.
Even though these testimonies will span the decades, you will see similarities to today's culture and society as it were decades ago.
Instead of spending your money on a cola and junk food or even that lazy day when you purchase fast food; put off buying that shirt or shoes; take a small portion (only $12) out of your vacation fund; make a sacrifice and buy this book.
Don't be afraid to have your heart rewritten by God. This is one book that will give you hope and faith.

What more can I say than that? Sure I could break this down, talk about excerpts that stood out in my mind, and other virtues, but it would never be enough. What I posted on Facebook say it all: it will rewrite your heart and strengthen your hope and faith.

***Click on the title to purchase a copy of the book*** 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bella Gets Rescued by Ellie Wakeman

(Ambassador International 2017) 

This is a cute story. Cat owners can relate to the behaviour that is seen in many of our pets and these behaviours are brought to life in the small story of Bella Gets Rescued.

The illustrations were soft and eye catching, a sure win for those little readers who delight in stories that are able to be told through the pictures. Not too long that it will lose the attention of the young reader and not too short that it rushes the story, this book is a perfect balance for a little child.

What's more is that Bella Gets Rescued has an underlying message to us all: we should not fear.
The parallel of being lost to Christ and then found is a major theme in this children's book.

I see this as a great Sunday School lesson, a homeschool lesson, or as an entertaining read that will stick with the little ones as they grow. Lessons of love, acceptance, patience, and thankfulness will gain a foothold all because of this beautiful little story.

This is a children's book that I can greatly recommend and I look forward to presenting it to my niece on her birthday. 

***click on the title to purchase a copy of the book***

Friday, July 7, 2017

Every Job a Parable by John Van Sloten

Every Job a Parable
What Walmart Greeters, Nurses & Astronauts
Tell Us About God
John Van Sloten
(NavPress 2017)

Again, it is rare that I find a book that just doesn't suit me. I'm honor bound to write a review, and although this isn't a negative review, per se, it is a review that is honest about what I thought of Every Job a Parable.

When I read about this book, read the blurb on the back, and the description I thought it would be how jobs, whether blue collar or white collar, can be a parable in Christian living. How awesome to see how a person's everyday living can be a testimony and how awesome that the author took the time to talk to these people....I was mistaken.

This wasn't a book that I expected it to be. The author expounds upon these jobs by relating what he had observed and then creating a sermon from it.

Some of the vocations mentioned were not what I would call a vocation and some of the "parables" seemed as though he really had to strive and stretch to make a point. Also, when he started writing about the seven deadly sins, I stopped reading.

All sins are deadly; and no sin is worse than another. Sin is sin. And although he does point this out, in a way of speaking, I realized that this isn't a book for me.

I don't know if I would recommend it. The writing seemed disjointed and the book seemed as though I was reading a very long, expansive sermon.

I do appreciate Tyndale Publishers for providing me a chance to read this book. I do hope that it will benefit other readers. 

***I received this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange of an honest review*** 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter
(Thomas Nelson 2017)

This book struck a balance between the pros and cons. In my opinion, although the writing was solid, there were instances where delivery of the art was lacking.

Denise Hunter, in the vein of Song of Solomon, portrayed the sensuality and physical attraction between a married couple. Although these two were in the process of finalizing the divorce, the attraction was still there. The author toed the line (according to Christian fiction standards), never quite stepping over it, when it came to describe the lust, love, and attraction between the characters. There might have been one instance where a reader would say that God's name was taken in vain, but it depends on how the sentence is read.

The faith wasn't as strong in Sweetbriar Cottage as it were in her earlier books. Gladly, there were no more usage of mildly crude language that had appeared in some previous works.

Denise Hunter handled a very sensitive topic well, although I had wished for a little more depth to the subject. To me, a reader needed to know that Josephine's past attack was what spurred her behavior all those years prior to her relationship with Noah. We see a little bit of it in the masterfully way the author handled the flashbacks; but, I felt as though the reader needed to see more of her brokenness in order to understand her doubts and fears.

The one pet peeve that I had with the book was the use of "much obliged". I have never known a late 20s to mid 30s (not even a 40s) Southern man or woman use the term "much obliged". Even though it's Southern, that phrase has fallen out of favor and usage. Thankfully, it stopped before the halfway point.

I will say this about Sweetbriar Cottage: I liked the way the book was written. The story, although predictable, was a great way to show that faith in following God and exercising forgiveness. Not all stories are what they seem. There's always more to it, and this book is no exception. The style was more reminiscent of the older way of writing books, and that sometimes took the emotional impact away.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. The sensuality is nothing to be ashamed of in this book. It showed the beauty of a married couple who still loved each other. I wouldn't recommend it to a younger teenager, though.

For a while I stopped reading Denise Hunter's books, but this one may have opened the gate to reading a few more. 

***click on the title for the option to purchase a copy of the book***
***I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange of an honest review*** 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Divide by Jolina Petersheim

The Divide (The Alliance #2)
Jolina Petersheim 
(Tyndale 2017)

This is one of those rare times where I really enjoyed the book and where the pros barely overrode the cons.

I'll start with the cons in this second installment of The Alliance story. The insertion of Sal's POV seemed more of a storyline crutch than any added value. Sure it helped knowing the "other side" of what was happening, but it could have been approached differently in my opinion. The four/five times that the POV was used compared to the alternating POVs of Moses and Lenora was jarring and inconsistent.

The first two thirds of the books seemed draggy, and took a while for things to happen. It did become a chore to read at first. And the last negative point about this book would be the abrupt transition from one scene to another. The first book handled it smoothly, but in The Divide, no matter whose POV, the scene breaks jarred me a little out of the story until I could visualize what was happening to be able to immerse myself into the book again.

As for the positive elements, there are many. The faith element, while strong, was never overpowering. It developed naturally. The doubts, fears, hope, and triumphs gave an eerily authentic feel to the story. Each chapter led me down a path of the story that was captivating and I hungered for the next chapter to see what happened. The last third of the book the pace really picked up. There was one instance where it seemed convenient, but as I looked back, the clues were there, hidden in the dialogue exchange between Moses and Josh.

The story isn't about the EMP, or what happens to society afterwards. It is an intimate look at two lives, from two separate lifestyles, but with the same faith. What do they decided to do? What stand do they make?

This is a solid and satisfying ending to the story of Moses and Lenora. There were no sudden happily ever afters for everyone. There were no convenient endings or solutions. What this book offered was a realistic, enjoyable, and thought provoking story that can be read again and again. And each time, I am sure there will be something new to take away from the reading.  

***I was provided a copy of this book from Tyndale House in exchange of an honest review***
***click on the title for the option to purchase a copy of the book***

Monday, May 29, 2017

God's Lineup by Kevin and Elizabeth Morrisey

Kevin and Elizabeth Morrisey
(Ambassador International 2012)  

Any major league sport will have a devoted fan base and even the players themselves will view their chosen sport as the most important thing in life.

In God's Lineup, we are exposed to the raw faith of 26 Christian players who are either retired or actively playing.

As in many areas of life, Christians can be ridiculed and baseball is no exception; although MLB does have what is called Baseball Chapel. We are shown through a few testimonies how this ministry became a pivotal point in many players' lives.

The testimonies contained in this book doesn't lessen the masculinity of the men, but instead it fortifies the uniqueness of each and how they yearn to spread the Gospel.

Like the Topps, Fleer, and Upper Deck baseball cards, each chapter has a take on the player highlights, but geared toward their faith: born, favorite verses, saved, positions, team, school, drafted, debut, seasons, teams, etc. At the bottom is the baseball stats. This added dimension gives the book a stronger authenticity to baseball.

I feel as though readers will find this book as an uplifting alternative to a biography or devotional. For baseball fanatics, it would be a much recommended gift.

Successful career or unsuccessful career, retired or active, this book shows, as Stephen Drew said: "We're here for a reason, and that's to glorify His name."

Ben Zobrist sums it completely: "I owe everything in my life to Christ because I would have nothing without Him."

This uplifting book is one that is hard to put down and one to keep always--a great book of testimonies. 

***click on the title for the option to purchase the book*** 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Scientists Discover God by William Davis

William Dallas
(Ambassador International/Ambassador Books and Media 2012)

This book from across "the pond" is one that melds Christian faith and science. Written in layman terms, William Dallas takes sciences such as quantum physics, quantum theory, natural selection, geography, etc. to show that many discoveries (past and present) and theories prove the existence of God.

For one example: The Big Bang Theory states that nothing existed beforehand and yet science proves that nothing can be created from nothing.

The first third of the book cites many sources, secular and faith, to set up his argument. The second third explains the Christian faith. The last portion concluded with a merge of the two.

Being a nerd in all things dealing with the universe, quantum theory and physics, etc., I found this book ideal for an introduction into the deep topic, and a controversial one. It was thought provoking and informative, a highly recommended read for the curious. 

***click on the title for the option to purchase an ebook edition of the book***

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mists of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

(Howard Books 2015)

I've always enjoyed reading novels by Daphne du Maurier and Georgette Heyer. Sandra Byrd takes the same theme and style from them and then makes it her own.

This is this first book I have read by Sandra Byrd, and it won't be the last. I was intrigued by Rebecca's plight. Englishwomen have a certain attitude and disposition that she must adhere to, and Sandra Byrd pulls this off extremely well.

The mystery is something that is slowly built into a vibrating tension. The red herrings and misdirection adds to the complex plot. The romance within grows slowly, with hesitation.

Since this is the daughter of missionaries, member of the nonconforming church, and faith is a mainstay to her character, the reliance upon God's direction is a steady and natural part of the story.

As for the details in the setting, Byrd uses flashbacks within the book by incorporating them as sudden surges of memories. It's almost like watching a Masterpiece Theater movie where the character's thoughts are pulled back into the past and the viewer sees a portion of their lives before the person they are talking to regains their attention. This writing technique has been sorely lost to literature until now. How nice to see it in a book.

There are many small, intricate threads to this book, foreshadowing, motifs, and clues, that it would take a while to pull each apart and examine them. But why unravel a beautiful book such as this?

The ending is what really has me smiling. If I look back throughout the story, the hints were there, but to see it fulfilled at the end: it is a surprise to say the least.

Overall, this book is exceptional and has become a favorite that I will revisit. A great Gothic novel that rivals many of the past masters.

***click on the title for the option to purchase a copy of the book*** 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Amish Firefighter by Laura V. Hilton

Laura V. Hilton
(Whitaker 2016) 

After reading The Post Card and enjoying David and Rachel's story, I looked forward to reading more about Sam Miller, especially since his scene at the end of the story.

He is a passionate and reckless man. Abigail is a sweet and bewildered woman, one who feels as though she wasn't loved, not even by God. Sam, on the other hand, approaches his relationship with God just as he approaches a fire that must be fought, with head-on abandon.

Throughout the book, I saw Sam mature into a beautiful and devout man; while, Abigail became more self-assured and willing to trust God with her future.

The story kept me reading up to about the end, and then it seemed rushed. I wished for a little bit more at the end to really keep the emotion high, instead of letting it peter off into a mild and sedate feeling.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely. I did wish for a little more of the firefighting or at least more of it referenced. The title is befitting of Sam's personality, though. I did wish for more of an interaction between Abigail and her "new family", but all-in-all the book was quite satisfying.

And since I don't read hardly any Amish books, that is saying something if a book can keep me glued to the sentences until the very end.

***click on the title for an option to purchase a copy of the book*** 

The Alliance by Jolina Petersheim

 (Tyndale 2016)

 This was different than what I expected. Compared to other books I have read where the break down of society was evident either through an EMP or dollar collapse, this book ranks high.

The present tense first person narrative was refreshing and it
seemed to center me in the story and see it through the eyes of Moses and Leora. This is their story. It doesn't matter the cause of what happened. It doesn't matter what the rest of the world is doing or the pursuit to find out. What matters in this story is how they will survive. How does two people from two separate faiths work together for the good of the community?

Moses believes, but he has PTSD. He cannot reconcile his faith with his past.
Leora believes, but she has to be in control. She cannot reconcile her past with her Mennonite faith.

Somewhere along the line they learn about trust and compromise, but above all how to have faith that God will provide.

The symbolism of Moses' name was not lost to me as this pilot who crashed into the Mennonite community leads them to safety.

Whenever I read Leora's account I could see the conflict and confusion within her. Her past scarred her and it colors her decisions. 

Jolina Petersheim portrayed through the eyes of two people thrown into the unknown an accurate assumption of society's downfall. The only negative remark I can make is that I wished for a little more detail in some of the actions and scenes. I felt they were "glossed over" too much and didn't provide a reality like the rest of the book. Overall, it was well written, engaging, and makes the next book a much anticipated read.  

***click on the title for the option to purchase a copy of the book***

Thursday, April 13, 2017

How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler

(Bethany House 2009)

This may be an older book, and it think it was a book published before its time. The dialogue and present tense of the character was refreshing and authentic.

Alice Wisler was able to portray that back and forth emotional state of someone who is sad and brokenhearted. A plus to her character was how she was able to insert an unique and beautiful personality into the story. Deena's emotions, thoughts, and behaviour was truly an accurate portrayal of many people who are like Deena. The slightly sarcastic humour, the truthfulness about jealous, unforgiveness, and self-deprecation are many things that many people read. 

How many times do we pause in a chore or such because a memory is brought forth? Alice Wisler uses this to her advantage for Deena and the reader is able to learn more about what happened in the past. A very good utilization of that skill.

The romance isn't the main story. Deena is attracted to Zack, but she doesn't pursue Zack. And because we are reading first person, the reader will discover things along with Deena. This is an intimate journey into healing and finding love, which isn't always in the place you expect.

The faith element is subtle and completely natural in the narrative. It wasn't preachy, nor in-your-face, but a gentle wave that flows throughout Deena's life as we read.

This is the first book I read by Alice Wisler and it quickly became an ultimate favorite. The writing style was magnificent and this is a definitely recommended read.

***click on the title for the option to purchase a copy of the book***

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

If I'm Found by Terri Blackstock

(Zondervan 2017)

If you haven't read If I Run, that's okay, but you would lose a little bit of the story and some parts of this book wouldn't make sense.  I like books that run in a trilogy where book two picks up where book one left off, and book three picks up immediately after two. (Waiting patiently for book three).

Terri Blackstock delivers another wonderful story that kept me reading into the early morning hours and turning the pages to see what would happen. With If I'm Found, the small story plot that Casey finds herself involved in isn't as intimate as the previous book. She is more of that outside observer who makes a difference through secondary resources.

Again, I am enjoying a character who is feminine and yet not helpless. Casey Cox is portrayed as a strong Southern woman who doesn't cower before an adversary. I can't help but feel my heart speed up with every close call.

Dylan is a man I'm beginning to admire greatly. His own shortcomings make me more human and real to me. He isn't this chiseled, perfect specimen swooping in to save the damsel. He's a man of God determined to bring justice to the wrongs committed.

Terri Blackstock also portrays the mind of a soulless man well without giving in to compromise and using vulgar or coarse language. This heightens the tension of the story and gives it an elevation that made me read faster and spurred me on this suspenseful journey.

If I'm Found superseded If I Run. And I'm extremely excited, but still willing to be patient, to read the next installment and see how the story will conclude. As always, another great book by a truly wonderful author. 

***Click on the title for the option to purchase a copy of the book*** 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Redemption by M.L. Tyndall

The Redemption
M.L. Tyndall
(Barbour 2006) 

I'm always on the look-out for a good pirate story.

M.L. Tyndall delivered a great pirate turned privateer novel. While the action scenes and character interactions in The Redemption kept me riveted, there were pros and cons to the book.

The book had well developed characters, ones that grew and changed over the course of the story. The plot allowed for a little leeway in how a pirate could be a Christian. He became a privateer hired to root out the enemy ships and "relieve" them of their cargo. This made sense for the mid 1600's when Britain and Spain were at war and Jamaica was a crossroads for them in the Caribbean.

Historical facts were evident. The setting strong and detailed. The fights scenes, although not as detailed as I would have liked, were not glossed over and watered down.

The things that bothered me most about the story were these: the heavy handedness of Scripture. I wished for a more natural occurrence. The Stockholm-type syndrome developed by Charlisse over Merrick seemed too contrived. The immediate reversal of Edward without anything leading up to his salvation was too abrupt. A little bit of a tidying up at the end made the story seemed rushed. Some of the fighting was too watered down. There was one instance that had me scratching my head over whether or not the word would be considered cussing. I'm still debating on that point.

Overall, I really liked the story. I like how Merrick understood that even though he was a Christian, there were times when he had to kill to protect others. His fight against temptation and his old self was thoroughly developed and shown, showing that although he had changed, his past still presented a problem. Charlisse started off strong, capable, and even daring despite her small stature and her abusive past. Toward the end of the book her character became weaker and helpless. I missed the spunk and orneriness of her character from the beginning of the book.

This was a good pirate, or in this case privateer, novel. The oscillating emotions and actions of the characters kept them more human than sugar-coated characters in most other novels. 

***This review is of the 2006 edition. It has since been republished by Ransom Press in 2014 and I do not know if any content or wording had been changed.***  

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Tainted by Morgan L. Busse

(Enclave 2016)

When I had the chance to obtain Tainted and read it, I jumped at the chance. Morgan Busse delighted me with her Follower of the Word series, and I looked forward to her new steampunk book.

I love steampunk. From Jules Verne to movies like Wild, Wild West and Sherlock Holmes (which is slightly more steampunky than most SH shows), I enjoy that mesh of steam powered technology and Western/Victorian setting.

Morgan Busse created a new world and immersed the reader right into the story. Without using prologue or backstory, she was able to span the course of two years without any hitches. I really got to know the characters well before the real conflicts started.

It's not only steampunk, but also a taste of the supernatural. This makes Tainted even extra unique. And I love unique books!

Her characters leave you with a whirlwind of emotions: excitement, anxiousness, joy, and curiosity. One brought out an emotion, and the other brought out a different emotion, spurring me to flip that page to see what would happen.

The twists in the book were enough to keep me engrossed and at times with a Malcolm Reynold's reaction of "huh", I did not see that coming.

I look forward to reading the next book. I have a feeling about some of those characters and who they actually might be. And I need to know more about the other land. 

*** click on the book title for the option to purchase a copy of the book***

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Seafaring Women of the Vera B. by Susan Page Davis/James Davis

(Tea Tin Press 2016)

I've been excited about typing this review and at the same time hesitant. How can I do it justice? This was an exceptional book and quickly became one of my most favorites. 

For quite a while I've been on the look-out for a good pirate/seafaring book. And this one is beyond exceptional (how many times can I say that before it comes repetitious?). It may seem as though it opens slowly, but each page pushes the story along, slowly building upon the next, until the final culmination.

Faced with a daunting dilemma, Alice is forced to make an unpopular and unheard of decision, completely against societal norms. Throughout the book, the ship full of women sailors encounter dangers and trials as they sail the oceans in an attempt to fulfill her late husband's promise and for the women to gain their freedom.

Not every woman is prim. Not every woman is proper. Neither are they strong nor weak. Each have to overcome their own demons, short comings, and fear to truly be Hearts of Oak.

The way Susan Davis and James Davis were able to bring forth the characters' personalities without succumbing to stereotypes make this book truly remarkable. The vivid detail of the winds, the snapping sails, the terror and fear, the storms, and the beauty of the lonesome ocean create a new world within the reader's mind. Even to the point that the reader may dream about it.

Emotions are fully painted to allow the reader to be that character at that particular time, even when a character is debating with her own misgivings and pride.

What seafaring book wouldn't be complete with pirates? The Malay pirates were a menace during that time, and Alice's crew meets them. The battle and rescue were well written and believable. The battle, heartache, and victory showed not only Alice's reliance upon God, but also the new faith blossoming in the hearts of the others.

The Seafaring Women of the Vera B. is one book that will rivet you. Keep you turning the pages. And leave you wanting to read more about their journey knowing that it just begun. This book is truly remarkable and I can't praise it enough. I want to revisit it and chart the path they sailed. I want to learn more about that time and more about what they faced.

If you ever read this book, you will agree: this is a remarkable book. 

***click on the title for the option to purchase a copy of the book***

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot

(Revell 2017) 

Of all the Amanda Cabot books, I really found myself liking this one too. I can always count on her to bring forth a compelling story that has layers and layers of depth to it.

The historical tidbits are researched and quite accurate. The characters are well developed and the reader will watch them grow in personality and beliefs as the story progresses.

This book introduces a well known setting with new people. And I do look forward to the next book as it will finish a story line that was hinted at in this book.

There's always a little bit of mystery in Amanda Cabot's books. It adds to the conflict along with the characters' conflict with each other. There's also a bit of heartache in this book, but it is handled well and strengthens the story even more.

As usual Amanda Cabot delivered a great book! Full of love, redemption, forgiveness, and hope, A Stolen Heart is sure to please any reader of historical romance. 

***click on the title for the option to purchase the book***

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mission of a Lifetime by Priscilla J. Krahn

(Ambassador International 2017) 

Mission of a Lifetime is not the typical action adventure story you would think. What makes this book so unique is its author.

Priscilla J. Krahn is able to take her perspective on life as a 20 year old author and incorporate it into the main character's life. Not many people can portray the true thoughts, feelings, and behaviour of a young adult, much less a young man. I feel his sorrow and doubt.

But this author not only delivers a great character and an extremely well written character arc, but also a fast paced adventure. I'm in the middle of the steamy jungle. I hear the sounds and the silence. My heart races along with the characters.

Set in the jungles of Columbia, Willie is determined to find his parents, but at what cost? From the many hazards of the jungle to the dangers of an organized cartel, Willie has to make spur of the moments decisions and still be able to stay true to his faith.

The pacing of the book will have the reader slowly settling in for a good read to suddenly turning pages to see if Willie and Alano can escape the pitfall they fell into.

On a deeper note, this book brought to light many questions about faith. How far is too far? Can we truly rely upon God? Will He see us through hardships and danger? Can we overcome our past? Is forgiveness really the answer?

The ending is more than I had expected. It was more than I thought anyone could ever write. It truly showed the awesome power of God at work.

Is this a recommended read? Absolutely!
I would classify this as an Young Adult book that every reader would enjoy. Mission of a Lifetime was a joy to read.

***click on the title for the option to purchase the book*** 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Reliant by Dr. Patrick Johnston

(Ambassador International 2017) 

Normally I try to think of words that will not only flow but do justice to the book. Not this time. This will be one of my rawest reviews on a book.

I couldn't find a single thing that I didn't like about this book. The writing and flow was seamless, taking me down a journey that wouldn't let up. I had to keep turning the page to see what happened. The author's use of flashbacks were masterfully executed. I have never read a book that could handle flashbacks so smoothly.

The emotional impact was strong. I would get mad at a character. Sometimes I just wanted to fuss and yell at Sophie or Jimmy. I would want to wring their necks; then I find myself cheering them on, hoping against all odds that things go their way. 

That's a sign of a good story. One that hooks the reader, reels the reader in, and then captures the reader until the very last word is read.

Sophie and Jimmy's character arcs were superb. Even the younger children's growth could be seen. And what happens with Jack was surprising. (Don't know Jack? Read the book! Well worth the surprise Jack has in store for the reader.)

There were twists to the story line. Just when I thought it would end, something happens that spurs the story down another path. Just when I thought the kids were going to let evil and sin get the better of them, love shines through....and always in an unexpected way.

The faith element was heavy, but not unnatural. This is a family defined by their faith so it makes sense that it is their faith they cling to in times of trouble. Hard questions are confronted. There were no easy, sugar coated answers. It was an in your face, honest, and raw reality that the characters had to endure.

Scary thing about this book is that any day could be like what they had to experience. Our country is always on the precipice where one wrong move will send our world into a freefall.

As I read The Reliant, the theme of forgiveness and relying upon God is ever present, expertly woven throughout the chapters.

I look forward to seeing the movie. Yes, that is right: The Reliant will soon be a major motion picture. Here is the link to Facebook where you can follow the news and production: https://www.facebook.com/TheReliantMovie/

I am extremely happy that I had the chance to read this book and I will definitely shelve this novel as a keeper. 

To connect with Dr. Patrick Johnston follow these links:

***click on the title for the option to purchase the book***

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Shadowed Eden by Katie Clark

(Watershed Books 2015)

I read Vanquished by Katie Clark, so I was extremely excited to read Shadowed Eden. Extremely excited pales in comparison on how this book pulled me in and kept me lashed to the pages as I read.

Like the "Eden" Avery and Luca came across, the hours seemed like minutes as I read. There were parts that had me scratching my head, but that only spurred me to read more to find the answer.

I wasn't sure about the representation of a cherubim in the book, especially since they are known to have four faces....but then if you look at the words in the Bible about four faces, it could be four angels. There isn't much that we know about Eden, other than we CANNOT enter.

Katie Clark takes that "what-if we could" and spins an entrancing story about The Garden of Eden. I wasn't sure about the portrayal of the angels, but then it was a book that touched on ideas that are not as concrete as others so it allowed for artistic bent. And this book is an artistic bent to show the depth of humanity and our salvation.

Each character was well developed. Their emotions oscillated exactly as a real person would do, especially those in young adulthood. 

Shadowed Eden provided a great story, a compelling read, and one that I would recommend to many young adults. 

***click on the title for the option to purchase the book*** 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Paul the Apostle by Ben Avery/Mark Harmon


When I came across the chance to read and review a graphic novel, I jumped at it. The kid inside me still loves to read graphic novels/comic books, and I wanted to see how this one played out. There are a lot of comic books out there for children and some of them are Christian based. Although they touched upon and gave highlights to the story, I never really found one that would pull a reader in.

Until now.

The story of Paul starts at the very beginning. With the science fiction flair, Star Wars inspired vehicles en lieu of camels, donkeys, and horses, and the variety of animals and aliens used for the characters, this book will be a sure winner for that child who loves science fiction and fantasy.

The way it is written reminds me a little of Brian Jacques' Redwall series and The Adventures of the Book of Virtues

Most of us know the story of Saul who later became Paul. The man who persecuted Christians, but became the man who was the biggest believer and who preached love and virtue. 

Reading through the book, and actually viewing the artwork, it seemed as though those books of the Bible became more real and more relevant than ever. Some things were given a deeper meaning because it was no longer something imagined, but something seen.

The Biblical components are sound in this book. There is no scraping over, lightly touching, or sugar coating. It's as real as a graphic novel can get (barring the sci-fi'ness of it).

To me, if you have a hesitant reader, but one who loves the artwork and storyline of graphic novels, then this is the perfect book for that reader. It is an inspiration and a motivator.

This is a book that I have enjoyed and plan to keep on my shelf. Highly recommended!

***click on the title for the option to buy the book***
***I received the book through BookCrash****

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The High Calling of Motherhood by Chimene Shipley Dupler

Chimene is the the Founder and President/CEO of Passion4Moms, a non-profit ministry that is dedicated to bless, encourage, and inspire mothers.  Chimene’s passion for the family and seeing mother’s succeed in their role as a wife and mother, led Chimene to begin this ministry in 2011. Passion4Moms offers yearly conferences bringing in a variety of professional speakers covering the mom as a whole person providing continuing education for marriage, parenting, spiritual growth, health/nutrition, fashion/decor, offering practical tools for success. Chimene also frequently teaches a six-week marriage course at their church. In addition to teaching marriage classes and speaking engagements, Chimene works 1 on 1 with women in a coaching role providing tools for success in their marriages, parenting, and other relationships as well as life skills for women.

 She is the author of the nonfiction book titled The High Calling of Motherhood which is published by Ambassador International.

~Does motherhood matter?

Have we lost our sense of identity, especially through social media, which can pour both accolades and acid into our hearts and minds? Does our role as a mother have any lasting purpose? What about the hard stuff? Do we self-medicate more than we self-motivate to fight for our families? If we don’t have a sense of purpose, how will our children?
In The High Calling of Motherhood, Chimene will challenge and inspire you. Motherhood can change the trajectory of a generation as we discover the authority that God has given mothers. Chimene desires to see mothers experience the joy that comes in the value and worth that God places on motherhood.
~ [from the back of the book]

Below is my review of the book and where you can connect with Chimene Shipley Dupler. 

As I'm writing this review, I am still reading the book. This isn't a "sit down and read at once" style of book, but an insightful piece that is meant to be savored piece by piece. It's chocolate in word-form.

Chimene Shipley Dupler wrote a compelling book about the importance and honor of being a mother. Throughout the book she stresses the battle we wage against culture and a society that sees motherhood as demeaning or less important. We are encouraged, enlightened, and strengthen by her words to see that we are important. We are the "bricklayers" in our children's lives.

The High Calling of Motherhood is such an in-depth, honest, and profound book that will speak to a host of women.

Many passages spoke to me, such as these:
  • "Motherhood is an honor. It is a responsibility. It is a gift. Motherhood is a high calling from God."

How many times do we feel as though we are "just a mom"?

  • "Fear breeds insecurity. Insecurity breeds comparison. Comparison takes our eyes off Jesus."

Too many times we find ourselves comparing our lives as mothers to what others post on social media, failing to realize that social media only shows "the good, the fun, the highlights" and not reality.

This passage really spoke to me:
  • "When we understand who we are in Christ, this revolutionizes our identity and role as mothers. We begin to parent with an eternal perspective. We begin to stay focused on our goal for parenting. We develop a game plan for success. We understand who we are, which frees us from the bondage of fear and comparison to our fellow mothers."

How powerful is that statement? How freeing is that statement? How wonderful is that statement?

In The High Calling of Motherhood, so many truths are made evident. We are raising royalty. We belong to the One True King and as such, our children are royalty. It is our blessing and duty to raise them to serve their King.

I encourage everyone to take a chance and read Chimene Shipley Dupler's The High Calling of Motherhood. It's a true gift to every mom.

 Below is a list of place where readers can connect with the author. And click on the book's title anywhere in this post to pre-order the book.

Chimene Shipley Dupler:
www.twitter.com/chimenedupler  www.instagram.com/passion4moms

The High Calling of Motherhood releases early May 2017 in paperback at all major retailers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also purchase The High Calling of Motherhood through Ambassador International’s online store

We are hosting a "Winner's Choice" giveaway for blog followers.
The winner will get to choose between a custom made “World Changer” necklace by The Giving Keys or two tickets to attend the Passion4Moms conference being held in DC, May 5-6, 2017.

The High of Calling of Motherhood Blog Tour Giveaway

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Coming Apostasy by M. Hitchcock, J. Kinley

Mark Hitchcock & Jeff Kinley
(Tyndale House 2017)  

 Many nonfiction books are just a regurgitation of older books or older ideas with a new, "progressive" face on it. Not so with this one.

I found this book to have so many truths and illuminating facts that I bookmarked the pages with whatever pieces of paper were nearby as I read. With each chapter I was loathe to put this book down. And I felt the desire, the need to share what I learned from that chapter with anyone and everyone.

I never understood the saying about the "fifth column", but after reading the chapter titled the same, the reasoning behind this was made much clearer. Apostasy will come from within, cloaked.

The authors share in each chapter how we have become a "culture of compromise" and  when "tolerance is intolerable". Only ten chapters, but each chapter is detailed, informative, and captivating.

If the reader ever wonders what an apostate is or how to identify one, this book breaks it down easily. And these authors didn't rely on only just one translation of the Bible. They use at least five to make their points, and instead of stating what that particular Scripture reads, they invite the reader to find out for themselves, too.

It's a compelling read that is most remarkable in its ability to lay out the cold, hard truths in a most humble way. And read alongside the Bible, The Coming Apostasy is a good study guide to have handy. I found myself with a greater understanding of some portions of the Bible by reading what the book says and then following it with the Scripture quoted.

And as the book mentions, we are to still fight the good fight because our "orders remain unchanged". Buy this book. Read it and then read it again.  

***click on the title for the option to buy the book***
***I received this book from Tyndale House via Tyndale Blog Network*** 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Berenstain Bears Easter Fun by Jan & Mike Berenstain

Jan & Mike Berenstain
(Zonderkidz 2017)

On a whim I decided to choose this book for review. Figured it would be a simple place-and-play sticker book.

Boy was I wrong! And gladly so.

Word finds, mazes, math problems, color by number, matching, patterns, dot-to-dot, crosswords, and deciphers: the list goes on.

Definitely for school aged children, I found this to be a potentially great homeschooling book that aligns nicely with the Holy Bible.

Highly interactive, this would be a great book for a child that will hold his/her creative interest.   

***click on the title for the option to buy the book***
***I received this book through BookLook Bloggers via Thomas Nelson***