Friday, July 25, 2014

Frame 232 by Wil Mara



About the Book:

Overview

FACT: On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

In the years since, several photos have been discovered that show a woman standing not more than thirty feet from the president’s limousine, holding what appears to be a video camera.
This woman has since become known as “the Babushka Lady.” Yet her true identity, her camera, and the footage she shot have never been found.

WHAT IF half a century later, her film surfaced . . . and it contained the final piece of evidence needed to solve the greatest crime of the twentieth century?

My Thoughts:

Wow, what a book!  Wil Mara takes the truth of events on that fateful day and turns them on their heads.  Unfortunately, I can't share anything or it would spoil the enjoyment of discovering for yourself just how great the story is.

Suffice it to say I can't wait to see what Wil tackles next.  His characters are realistic, his theories are plausible, and it will leave you wondering...is this how it really happened?

I loved this one, start to finish.  While it might seem to bog down a bit in the middle, hang in there...it's all vital to the story.  And hang on to old photographs and films...you never know what you might help uncover.

My thanks to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  Honestly, I was supposed to have posted this a long time ago, but I was taking a much needed break from writing online reviews.  This is the kind of book that gets your creative juices flowing again.

Highly recommended!

Happy Reading!

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Praying the Attributes of God by Ann Spangler




About the Book:

God is bigger than you think

 Many people feel both drawn to God and afraid of him. How can they feel close to a perfect God whom their flawed self is incapable of pleasing?

Fortunately, God has revealed truths about himself in Scripture that can untangle our confusion. In this daily guide to studying and praying according to God’s attributes, Ann Spangler resurrects old-fashioned words like holiness, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Far from boring us, these words, when excavated for their biblical meaning, paint a thrilling vision of God that can help us experience him more deeply. They can also prevent us from making the colossal mistake of concluding God is too weak, distant, or uncaring to help us when we need him.

In the tradition of her bestselling books Praying the Names of God and Women of the Bible, this new devotional focuses on one particular attribute each week.

Praying the Attributes of God will help you see that God is far bigger and far better than you could ever hope or suspect.

My Thoughts:

Sometimes I fear we spend so much time thinking and talking about Jesus that we forget about God.  Yes, I know Jesus is God made flesh and He and God are the same person.  But do we understand the magnitude of God?  Just who He is?

That's why I love this book.  Each week focuses on a different attribute, and daily readings really give emphasis.  Ann packs lots of Scripture into each reading, keeping the focus on God, His person, and His Word.

God cares about you...spend a week thinking about how loving He is.  God is better than you think...spend a week thinking about just how good He is.  And God is way bigger than you think...focus for a few days on just how infinite He is.

You'll focus on a total of 17 different attributes and come away with a deeper, richer view of God...and Jesus...and the Holy Spirit.  My thanks to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my sneak peek at "Praying the Attributes of God".  Her previous book, "Praying the Names of God" is going on my wish list!

Happy Reading!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Raw Faith by Kasey Van Norman



About the Book:

What happens when God picks a fight?

 As a respected Bible teacher, Kasey Van Norman dedicated her life to sharing God’s Word and encouraging women to place their trust in God during times of personal crisis. Then, just as her ministry was poised to explode, Kasey was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that turned her life upside down, shattered her spirit, and rocked her faith to its core. Sick, frightened, and in pain, Kasey suddenly found herself facing the greatest challenge of her life—believing her own message.

In Raw Faith, Kasey chronicles her courageous battle with cancer, taking readers on a candid and poignant journey of faith and discovery—from the depths of despair, through spiritual rediscovery, and ultimately to triumphant victory.

Drawing on a wide variety of Bible stories and characters, Kasey distills truths that have existed since time began: while change and uncertainty are inevitable, God is always unchanging; he is always faithful; and he is always fighting for us, even when our circumstances tempt us to think otherwise.

My Thoughts:

Did that first line grab your attention?  It did mine.  And I've been there, more times than I care to count.  Of course, He always wins: the fight is to knock the lethargy out of our faith and wake us up to just how loved and cared for we truly are.

"Raw Faith" is Kasey's honest journey through her faith in God after her sudden cancer diagnosis.  And this wasn't the only trial the Van Norman family went through...normally, God throws a boatload at us all at once.

You know that old saying that He won't give you more than you can bear?  Yeah, well, don't fall for it.  He does, and God does it so that we remember we must rely on Him for our everything...not just our salvation.

Kasey's writing is raw and filled with faith, living up to the title in glorious detail and story.  The book is packed with Scripture, life anecdotes, wisdom and each chapter opens with an entry from her personal journal.

Chapter Six is worth the cost of the book alone.  I cried, and rejoiced, and cried a little more.  My thanks to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Read this.  Get a copy for someone you know living raw faith to encourage.  And live raw faith...it's really the only faith that is worth living.

Happy Reading!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CFBA Presents "Firewall" by DiAnn Mills

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Firewall
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2014)
by
DiAnn Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Firewall, go HERE.


Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Advocate by Randy Singer



About the Book:

At the trial of Christ, Theophilus, brilliant young assessore raised in the Roman aristocracy, stands behind Pontius Pilate and whispers, “Offer to release Barabbas.” The strategy backfires, and Theophilus never forgets the sight of an innocent man unjustly suffering the worst of all possible deaths—Roman crucifixion.

When he returns to Rome, Theophilus must prove himself in the legal ranks of the Roman Empire. He endures the backstabbing intrigue of the treason trials and the attempts of a cruel tyrant to control the woman he loves. But his struggle for revenge leaves a stain on both the empire and his own troubled soul.

Ultimately, he will face the most notorious Caesar, defending the man Paul in Nero’s deranged court. Can Theophilus mount a defense that will keep another innocent man from execution?
The Advocate’s first trial altered the course of history. His last will change the fate of an empire.

My Thoughts:

Epic.

If I had to sum up "The Advocate" in one word, that would be it.  Randy Singer has crafted some deeply moving and exhilarating legal thrillers, but nothing compares to this sweeping saga that combines history with story and brings the time of Paul to life.

I've always been fascinated by dear Theophilus, the person Luke penned his gospel for.  I've encountered him in other historical fiction, but never like this.  From his early days as a student of the philosopher Seneca until his final years as a premiere advocate of Rome, THIS is the story of Theophilus.

Like any great work of fiction, you must take your time and savor each page.  Some scenes are so intense that I had to put the book down and walk away, just to give myself enough time to soak it all in.  I was swept up into the world of ancient Rome and the Caesars, and thrilled with the majesty of this novel.

If Randy never writes another book, he has penned a masterpiece that deserves to be considered a classic.  But he must write more, because I'm a huge fan!  Still, this is the book he was created to write, and I'm so glad he took the time to tell the story of "The Advocate".

I purchased my copy, but you can get yours from Tyndale House Publishers direct, or your local bookstore.  Just don't miss this one...it's going to be the best of 2014...maybe even of the decade.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker



About the Book:

A lawyer with a well-stamped passport and a passion for human rights, Lisa-Jo Baker never wanted to be a mom. And then she had kids. Having lost her own mother to cancer as a teenager, Lisa-Jo felt lost on her journey to womanhood and wholly unprepared to raise children.

Surprised by Motherhood is Lisa-Jo’s story of becoming and being a mom, and in the process, discovering that all the “what to expect” and “how to” books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy, and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood.

Set partly in South Africa and partly in the US (with a slight detour to Ukraine along the way), Surprised by Motherhood is a poignant memoir of one woman’s dawning realization that being a mom isn’t about being perfect—it’s about being present.


My Thoughts:

Lisa-Jo is the kind of author you feel you know by the time you finish her book.  She is very transparent, and writes in a lyrical style that holds your attention and paints a portrait of the places she's been and the things she's seen.

I admire her greatly for writing "Surprised By Motherhood".  It's important that women know not every female is born with the deep desire to become a mother.  Life, events, anything really can take away the urge and replace it with fear, or simply no sensation or need to have a child.

And that's not a sin.  Unless you allow it to become one.

For instance, if you make a woman's desire for children a condition of God's love for her.  That's a sin.  Or if you know God is telling you to have a child and you're ignoring him.  That's a sin.

But watching your mother die before you turn 19, and mothering your younger siblings out of love and necessity, and longing to have a meaning that transcends the simple, the everyday...that's not sin.  Surrendering all of that to God can leave you with His desires for you.

That's what Lisa-Jo found out.  And now she's been "Surprised by Motherhood" three times over.  And it's a beautiful, hard, messy life.  But she's living it for Him.  Honestly.  Daily.  Sometimes in her own strength, sometimes in His...but with love and devotion to Him, her family, and her Father.

My thanks to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I recommend this book, and I'm so glad I discovered Lisa-Jo Baker.  She's my kind of woman of God.

Happy Reading!

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Midwife by Jolina Petersheim



About the Book:

Since the day Rhoda Mummau was baptized into the Old Order Mennonite Church and became the head midwife of Hopen Haus, she’s been torn between the needs of the unwed mothers under her care and her desire to conceal the secrets of her past. Contact with the outside world could provide medical advantages, but remaining secluded in the community gives her the anonymity she craves.
 
Graduate student Beth Winslow is on a path she never would have chosen. Heartbroken after surrendering a baby to adoption, she devotes herself to her studies until she becomes pregnant again, this time as a surrogate. But when early tests indicate possible abnormalities, Beth is unprepared for the parents’ decision to end the pregnancy—and for the fierce love she feels for this unborn child.

Desperate, she flees the city and seeks refuge at Hopen House.
 
Past and present collide when a young woman named Amelia arrives to the sweeping countryside bearing secrets of her own. As Amelia’s due date draws near, Rhoda must face her past and those she thought she had left behind in order for the healing power of love and forgiveness to set them all free.

My Thoughts:

I am not a fan of Amish/Mennonite fiction.  So know this important fact before you use this review to influence whether to buy or not to buy. 

However, the back cover blurp sounding intriguing, and my friends at Tyndale House Publishers were gracious enough to send me an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

So, I took a chance.

The book held my interest until Amelia entered the scene.  From that point on I was lost, trying to keep track of who was telling the story from which point of view.  Multiple points of view normally enhance a book for me.

This time, we had too many points of view to follow.  And when it was revealed that Rhoda wasn't always Rhoda....yipes!  Needless to say, I cheated and read the last few pages to get the gist of the story, and even that wasn't enough to persuade me to go back and finish.

I am certain Jolina is a fine author.  And if you are a fan of Amish/Mennonite fiction, then this is probably the book for you.  It just wasn't the book for me.  But I'm just one person, so check it out for yourself.  Download a sample chapter from either Tyndale or your favorite online retailer and see for yourself.




Happy Reading!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry




About the Book:

“Our stories intertwine in ways we can’t know when we first hear them. And maybe the point of all this is that we’d do well to listen.”

Treha Langsam is a mysterious young woman who has fallen through the cracks, much like many of the elderly people she works with at Desert Gardens. But Miriam Howard, director of the assisted-living facility, sees her extraordinary gift and untapped potential.

Treha is a whisperer of sorts, calling those who have slipped into dementia back to a life of vibrant, if only temporary, clarity.

When a documentary team stumbles onto Treha’s story, her gift is discovered and the search for answers about her past begins. As the truth slowly unravels, Treha and those around her must each tackle a difficult question: if this is as good as life gets, is that enough?

With authentic characterizations and riveting prose, bestselling author Chris Fabry delivers an uplifting, human tale of an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift.

My Thoughts:

Don't you just love those books that sneak into your hands, promising you an enjoyable tale then they grab you by the heart and don't let go?  That's what happened to me when I picked up a copy of "Every Waking Moment" by Chris Fabry.

I've read a few of Chris's previous novels, but none of them prepared me for the emotional impact of meeting Treha Langsam.  Even though he does a thorough job of describing her, the reader is still left with many features to fill in via imagination.

Why does this matter?  Because Treha is not like you and I.  She's different, and no one knows why.  Fortunately, plenty of people around her value her unique spirit and giftings, and those who don't...well, I won't spoil it for you.

Have tissues handy.  Lots of lovable people will pop up throughout the book, and some may not be around to say goodbye when the story ends.  But each character will have changed you by the time you turn the final page.

Here's to stories that celebrate young men and women like Treha Langsam, and that give honor to those of an older generation.  My thanks to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (I also bought a copy to share...it was that good!).

Happy Reading!

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

All Right Here by Carre Armstrong Gardner




About the Book:

Ivy Darling can’t have children of her own, and her husband Nick’s resentment is forcing them apart.

 And while Ivy has the support and love of her large, close-knit family, Nick’s family has never welcomed her into the fold.

When the three children next door are abandoned by their mother, Ivy and Nick take them in for the night. One night becomes several, and suddenly Ivy and Nick find themselves foster parents to the only African-American kids in the town of Copper Cove, Maine.

As Ivy grows more attached to the children, Nick refuses to accept their eclectic household as a permanent family. Just as Ivy begins to question whether or not she wants to save her emotionally barren marriage, Nick begins to discover how much Ivy and the children mean to him. But is his change of heart too little, too late?

My Thoughts:

I wasn't certain this was my kind of book.  Carre Armstrong Gardner has presented her debut novel about a dysfunctional family struggling to make sense of life.  I loved Ivy's family, the Darlings.  But I could not stand Nick Mason's clan.

Couldn't stand Nick, either, to be completely truthful.  Sure, Ivy seemed a bit unusual and quirky, but it was obvious Nick doesn't feel much for his wife: much love, much respect...much anything.  It was very difficult to watch a man treat is wife with such coldness and disdain.

DeShaun, Jada and Hammer won my heart from the first time I met them, and I was thrilled they had Ivy in their lives.  But I had no idea if this mixed race foster family was going to even survive.  Carre had obviously crafted an excellent story if it had my emotions so tangled up.

By the end of the book, my feelings had changed.  I cannot tell you how they changed, or toward whom without spoiling the book.  And I'm disgruntled about the ending, because Carre left it wide open for a sequel.

Thank heaven a sequel is in the works!  Carre Armstrong Gardner is an author to watch, and I'm so grateful to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

It might not seem as if things are "All Right Here", but you will enjoy the journey.  You'll meet some really great characters along the way, and you'll learn a few things about your own family life as well.

Happy Reading!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Life of Miracles by Don Schulze




About the Book:

The true story of an ordinary family who embarked on an adventure full of miracles

 At first, Don Schulze wasn’t sure he was really hearing from God . . .
because what he was hearing didn’t make sense. Could God really be calling him to leave a good career and a stable life to take his family on a journey of ministry across the country and around the world? And could Don rely on God to take care of his loved ones along the way? Would they trust and understand God’s call as well?

With a deep breath and a lot of faith, Don and his family took the leap and said yes—stepping forward into what would become a lifelong quest to follow God’s calling. In A Life of Miracles, you’ll travel with them across the years as you witness inspiring encounters with God—dramatic rescues, just-in-time provisions, amazing miracles of healing, and God’s surprising answers to “everyday” prayers. As you read, you’ll see how closely God sticks by us, even in our most uncomfortable moments.

This modern-day spiritual odyssey takes you on a heartwarming, soul-stirring exploration of faith. Join Don and his family on their adventures . . . and discover how your own daily walk with God can add up to a life of miracles.

My Thoughts:

Well, the book is worth the price just for the first three chapters!

By the time I got to A New Life I was hooked, and made my husband sit down and read it.  With each new chapter I bounced between 'did that really happen' and 'oh, I want that in my life!'

Don Schulze writes about real faith in a real life from an extraordinary God who can and will do extraordinary things.  When you read about Sheba, you'll be inclined to say 'nuh-uh', but I ask you...why would he lie?  Why include it if it didn't happen?

This is the life we can live with mustard seed faith, and that's not that much, people.  I finished chapter six, We Ran on Empty, then picked up the phone and called my daughter to pray for her well-being because she was down and had been without medication for three days.

I'm loving the "Tyndale Summer Reading Program", because I'm discovering books I probably wouldn't have read (it isn't too late to sign up...the program runs until August 31st).  My thanks to them for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If your faith has felt dry, stale or lacking at all, pick up a copy of "A Life of Miracles" and soak it in.  Maybe we lack miracles because we just don't look for them any longer.  This book is life-changing, and I'm glad it is changing me!

Happy Reading!

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Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta



About the Book:

The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past.

Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.

My Thoughts:

Well, you'll find much more in this historical novel than you might think.  Romance, intrigue, historical detail, faith and broken hearts.  By the end, you won't know who to trust or who to believe...thank goodness Jessica wrote a sequel!

The story starts off a bit slow, but hang in there...once Julia reunites with her dearest friend Elizabeth the tale gains traction.  I felt for Julia, and despised how Victorian society treated women in general.  To be orphaned and bounced around like a tether ball is enough, but then to land in the wrong hands?

Or are they the right hands?  It is so hard to tell.  If you have it figured out by the end of the book, please message me, because I'm still confused.  But I'm eager for the sequel, so I guess that's a good thing!

My thanks to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  If you love historical fiction, this will be a real treat.  If you're more like me, a reluctant historical reader, you'll still find things to enjoy.


Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dear Son by Dave Bruskas






About the Book:

A father’s insights for men on life’s significant milestones.

 We’re living through a profound crisis of masculinity, fostered by a media culture that idolizes youth and demonizes the strong male role. As a result, young men in their twenties and thirties aren’t encouraged to grow up, and their energy and talent are being squandered. The absence of fathers and male mentors leaves many young men spiraling emotionally, spiritually, and financially for years.

Pastor Dave Bruskas envisions a better future—one in which young men can flourish and take their God-given seat at life’s table.

Twenty years ago, Dave lost his infant son to a congenital heart defect. That devastating loss has fueled his desire to provide effective mentoring to young men ever since. Dear Son contains the insights Pastor Dave has given hundreds of young men and would have given his son if he had lived through life’s key milestones:
  • first dates and first jobs,
  • weddings and births,
  • graduations, and much more.
You won’t want to miss the timeless wisdom from this sonless father for the millions of men who are, at heart, fatherless sons.

My Thoughts:

Okay.  I have a son.  He's twenty years old, and working hard to be able to get a place of his own by  the time he's twenty-two.  His father takes an active role in his life, and they spend an abundance of time together.

I'm still buying a copy of this book for the two of them to read.  It's that good.

"Dear Son" opens each chapter with a letter Dave writes to the son now living with Jesus in Heaven, discussing particular life events or things a dad would like to talk to his boy about.  Then Dave continues the chapter with anecdotes and wisdom about how young men need to see the world to be affective world changers with the message of Christ's hope and love.

Chapters are brief, but packed with a lot, so if your men are reluctant readers or busy guys with little time to read, "Dear Son" works for them.  The book would make great mentoring material, small group men's study, or just quality father/son time.

Dave writes to his son, and to our sons, about being a Christian, a son, a brother (loved that chapter!).  He writes about being the kind of young man who is respected and who is heard, about being a true provider and a godly citizen.

Chapters also address being a husband and a father God's way, and being a vessel God can pour Himself into and through to impact the world.  Please don't dismiss this as merely a book from a father in memory of his son in Heaven.

This is so much more.  This is great wisdom for men of all ages, at all times, for all occasions, rooted in Godly principles.  This is a book we need in our society.  My thanks to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Please get a copy.  Read it.  Read it with your sons and the young men you have influence with.  Pass the word to others.  This is one of those books I wish I could buy by the case and just hand out everywhere.

Yes, it is that good.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, July 14, 2014

So Long, Insecurity Teen Edition by Beth Moore




About the Book:

Ever feel like you don’t measure up? You’re not alone!

 Author and Bible teacher Beth Moore tackles the issue of insecurity in this special teen edition of her bestselling book So Long, Insecurity.

The pages inside are packed with the truth you need:
  • Questions you have about real life, answered by Beth Moore
  • Quizzes to find where you stand on fashion, media, boys, and friends
  • Polls where girls like you weigh in on issues of insecurity
  • Interviews with real girls on handling tough situations
  • Stories of women in the Bible who battled insecurity
  • Interviews with girls and teen advocates, including former Victoria’s Secret model Kylie Bisutti, who have gone through the same things you have
  • And much, much more!
Say good-bye to insecurity and hello to the person God designed you to be!

My Thoughts:

First off, this is a fun way to create a book!  With so much in the media these days about photoshop and body image, it's great that Tyndale Publishing crafted a magazine for Beth Moore's "So Long, Insecurity Teen Edition".

From the cover to the contents to even the feel, it's just like an every day magazine for teen girls.  But it's the contents that make this one stand out.  For instance, in the section on fashion, there's lots said about modesty, but also some advice on problem areas with our figures and how to make the most of looking nice.

These aren't problem areas like "my thighs are too huge".  Nope, these are problem areas where modesty needs to take place, with cool suggestions that cover girls up but don't leave them feeling like freaks.

The book covers quite a lot about media, and includes an interview with former Victoria Secret model Kylie Bisutti.  Then there's a section on boys, the mystery of the female universe, popularity and the tough issues girls face in today's world.

The layout makes the book feel less heavy handed and preachy, and more user friendly.  I was really impressed with my complimentary copy from my friends at Tyndale House Publishers, and I'd recommend this one to pre-teen and teen girls, as well as college age and on up.

Even better, read it with your daughter, or with your friends!

Happy Reading!

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Sky Zone by Creston Mapes



About the Book:

A rally for a controversial presidential candidate.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
A terrorist threat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
A nightmare of cataclysmic proportions. 

Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant. Having her recently widowed mother on hand isn’t making matters any easier.

With financial pressures boiling, Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-or-death battle to save their own lives—and the lives of thousands of innocent people.

This third book in The Crittendon Files reminds us of the power of family, friendships and faith—and why we are never in as much control as we think.

My Thoughts:

Creston's writing just keeps getting better with every book, and that is really saying something, because he has ROCKED ever since his first novel.  "Sky Zone" kicks it up another notch by putting innocents in harm's way of an unseen enemy with no way of escape.

Life is strained between Jack and Pam.  But, honestly, doesn't every marriage get strained now and then?  It's nice to watch the two of them be honest and transparent with one another (eventually) and work through their problems without throwing out the "D" word.  Even though they aren't real people, they can teach some real life lessons to us all.

Shakespeare is a kick in the pants!  I loved that guy!  I'm so glad he gets his head on straight by the time...oops, almost gave something away there...you sneaky readers!  But he's cool, and so is his family.  I'd love to see more of him in future books.

Martin Sterling is like every other politician these days...annoying, self-righteous, self-centered, and way off course when it comes to following God.  But does he deserve to be the target of a terrorist attack?

You'll have to make up your own mind.  Trust me, The Crittendon Files is a series you won't want to miss, and "Sky Zone" is the best of the three, narrowly beating out my previous favorite, "Poison Town".  My thanks to my friends at Davd C. Cook for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Make some time this summer for some intense reading, but start at the beginning with "Fear Has A Name", then "Poison Town"...then wrap it all up in the "Sky Zone".  You'll be glad you did!

Happy Reading!

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Miracle In A Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas



About the Book:

In a Drought, It's the Darkest Cloud That Brings Hope
It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden.

But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor . . . until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

My Thoughts:

I truly enjoyed this one!  "Miracle In A Dry Season" is set in a small town with simple ways.  Old fashioned values are dearly held by the majority, and it's those values that drive a wedge between newcomer Perla Long and the townsfolk.

Even when her miraculous gift saves lives during the devastating drought, it's hard for people to see past the sin to the sinner underneath.  The woman who has repented, lived an honoring life and merely wants to find a home for herself and her precious daughter.

Fortunately Casewell isn't your typical guy.  He's a cross between Andy Taylor and Floyd the barber, and he's drawn to Perla in spite of the town's...well...spite.  Can Casewell and Perla teach an entire town about grace, or will the town succeed in driving Perla away?

Well crafted story, quickly paced and filled with emotion and faith and three dimensional characters make "Miracle In A Dry Season" a hit for me, and make Sarah Loudin Thomas an author to watch.  My thanks to my friends at Bethany House for an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"Miracle In A Dry Season" is perfect summertime reading, and is available this August!  Pre-order your copy today!

Happy Reading!

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch



About the Book:

ARE YOU SETTLING for a shiny, pinned-on, ornamental faith? Get ready for one that’s messy, bold, and courageous.

 In high school, Kristen Welch wore a big, sparkly rhinestone “Jesus” pin every day and carried her Bible wherever she went. (Yes, she was that girl.) But she didn’t realize her faith, though sincere, was shallow; much like her artificial accessory, it would one day tarnish, no longer a true reflection of who she was.

Real life and motherhood catapulted Kristen into places and situations she’d never imagined. There came a day when she stood in the slums of Africa, poised on the brink of a risk bigger than any she’d ever taken. And she knew she didn’t stand a chance—unless she was ready to put aside the rhinestones and get branded by the real thing.

Rhinestone Jesus is the spiritual adventure story of one woman who went from living a safe, “good-girl” faith that didn’t cost much, to realizing that God was daring her to say yes to a deeper, more authentic way.

This book throws the doors wide open for any woman who’s ever thought of herself as “just a mom.” Read it and be inspired. Be empowered. Say yes to God right where you are—and stand amazed at how your life will shine

My Thoughts:

Sometimes I feel so sorry for the people who have to write what I affectionately call 'back cover blurps'.  Somehow he or she has to find a way to take over 200 pages and smooshed it down into three or four paragraphs, and that is much harder than it looks.

Truthfully, it was the front cover of the book that captured my attention first.  I thought it looked fun and cute and like something I'd enjoy reading.  I had no idea that life-changing pages awaited me.  I had no clue just how deep this 'cute book' was going to take me, or how far I would travel as I journeyed with Kristen.

You'll be astonished as you see what God has done through and with Kristen and her precious family.  In fact, you'll be reading along, learning all about the Welch family, and you'll blink and find yourself in the midst of some of the most exciting and challenging world-changing work I've ever read about.

But the beauty of it all is this: Kristen is just a mom and wife who passionately loves Jesus, and she's just married to a guy who is a husband and father and he also passionately loves Jesus.  Her kids are just sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who passionately love Jesus and their mom and dad.  Just regular Christian people with a passion for Jesus.

My favorite chapter had to be "That Messy Peach Pie", because that absolutely took any guilt the enemy was trying to pile on my shoulders and shoved it down his lying throat!  Kristen is genuine, real, and she's just like you and me.  Follow her as she follows Christ, and do what she's encouraging us to do...

...find our own Kenya.  I found mine seemingly by accident, when I agreed to be a mom to a young woman in crisis who had no living parent.  I just became a mom again yesterday to a 20 something young girl who's been abandoned by her family.  God is showing me my Kenya, and while I'm scared witless, I'm also so excited about where He's taking me.

Get Kristen's book.  Read "Rhinestone Jesus" for yourself.  Then find your place to serve, and give it your whole heart for Him.  My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

"Rhinestone Jesus" is a life-changing read, and I highly, highly recommend it.  Now, I'm off to sign up for Kristen's blog, We are THAT Family!


Happy Reading!

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