Wednesday, July 30, 2014

His Treasure by Sheri Rose Shepherd




About the Book:

How you feel about yourself will never change God’s unconditional love for you . . . you are His Treasure.

 Our heavenly father’s deep desire is to be close to you. On the days when it feels like a struggle to connect your heart to His, turn to His Treasure—a beautiful collection of letters from your King, a pattern of precious gems reflecting His love.

Discover the riches you have in Christ, breathe in the Father’s never-ending love for you, and rejoice in His treasures of truth as you experience a whole new encounter with the One who cherishes you most.

My Thoughts:

First of all, this book is GORGEOUS!  The layout, the cover, the overall design...perfect.  Ideal for a gift, but make sure you get a copy for yourself!

Second, the daily readings are personal...from Jesus to YOU.  The way Sheri writes leaves you feeling as if you've truly received a personal message from the Lord, and that makes them impossible to ignore or take lightly.

The book is all about Him, but it's all written to you.  Readings include His love, strength, salvation, mercy and so many other attributes that will encourage and comfort you.  "His Treasure" truly leaves you feeling like His treasure...which you are, of course!

My thanks to my friends at  Tyndale House Publishers for my sneak peek in exchange for an honest review.  "His Treasure" is highly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

While the World Watched by Carolyn Maull McKinstry (with Denise George)



About the Book:

On September 15, 1963, a Klan-planted bomb went off in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Fourteen-year-old Carolyn Maull was just a few feet away when the bomb exploded, killing four of her friends in the girl’s restroom she had just exited. It was one of the seminal moments in the Civil Rights movement, a sad day in American history . . . and the turning point in a young girl’s life.

While the World Watched is a poignant and gripping eyewitness account of life in the Jim Crow South: from the bombings, riots, and assassinations to the historic marches and triumphs that characterized the Civil Rights movement.

A uniquely moving exploration of how racial relations have evolved over the past 5 decades, While the World Watched is an incredible testament to how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go.

My Thoughts:

Everyone needs to read this book.  EVERYONE.  I'm serious.  It might be one of the most important books you'll ever read.  And with history being revised at every turn, we need these eyewitness accounts preserved.

Don't get me wrong: it's a hard book to read.  "While the World Watched" gets real, and it gets gritty.  Carolyn adds direct quotes from correspondence by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  She also quotes Governor George Wallace (he's learned his lessons by now!), and others who were deeply involved in the Civil Rights Movement.

But most chilling is the opening, describing the bombing that (should have) rocked the world.  Carolyn ends with events demonstrating how far we've come and how far we have to go.

Now, here's the controversial part...I'm not saying you need to read "While the World Watched" to understand race relations in America, but you do.  I'm not saying you need to read Carolyn's memoir to fully grasp what black Americans have endured in our country in the name of segregation, but they do.

I'm encouraging you to read this book for this reason:  I am SICK and TIRED of hearing the fight for homosexual/lesbian rights/marriage compared to the Civil Rights Movement.  What happens to the LBGT community is NOTHING compared to what blacks endured, and still endure.  To me, and I know as a white woman I have no right to say this...

...every time I hear the comparison it's like a slap in the face to people like Carolyn, Rosa Parks, Dr. King Jr., Emmitt Till and so many, many others.  Yes, the LBGT community has faced discrimination.  Yes, some have died.  And yes, they are not treated "equally"...but that is NOTHING compared to what you'll read in this book.

Sorry if that makes you angry, but it's true.  And as I wipe my tears and say thank you to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Please, go out and get this book and read it!  Highly recommended, and wish it was required in all school curriculums.




Happy Reading!

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Monday, July 28, 2014

A Bouquet of Love by Janice Thompson




About the Book:

She didn't expect to fall in love—but roses aren't the only thing blooming on Galveston Island
Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her boisterous Greek family—especially her father—has other ideas. They've all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant located on the Strand—directly across the street from iconic pizza place Parma John's—and they want Cassia's full participation.

To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston's premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family's faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into this former Rossi's good graces!

Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .
My Thoughts:

Janice wrote an author's note at the end of this book, sharing a bit about her real life while she was busy crafting Cassia's story.  Please keep her and her family in prayer, as they have had some high hurdles lately, and her granddaughter's health is a huge concern.

That said, this book is a true labor of love.  Her trademark humor and wit is evident in every chapter, but "A Bouquet of Love" packs more emotion than Janice's previous novels.  I had blurry vision through many of the scenes, and my heart went out to Cassia and her siblings as they built new lives in Galveston.

Any novel that involves the Rossi clan and Bella Rossi Neeley has to involve some wackiness, and when you toss in a Greek family that resembles "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", the hilarity that ensues is laugh out loud funny.  This is Janice's best book ever, and I can't wait to see what she creates next.

All I know is I want to walk the Strand, eat gyros with the Pappas bunch and try pizza from Parma John's, then take a trip up to Splendora for some catfish and sweet tea.  Oh, to live in a community like this one!

My thanks to my friends at Bethany House Publishing for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  I can give this one HIGH praise, and I encourage you to read all of Janice's books.  You won't regret it one bit.  Opa!

Happy Reading!

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

One Nation by Ben Carson, M.D.





About the Book:

Dear Reader, 

In February 2013 I gave a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. Standing a few feet from President Obama, I warned my fellow citizens of the dangers facing our country and called for a return to the principles that made America great.

Many Americans heard and responded, but our nation’s decline has continued. Today the danger is greater than ever before, and I have never shared a more urgent message than I do now.
Our growing debt and deteriorating morals have driven us far from the founders’ intent. We’ve made very little progress in basic education. Obamacare threatens our health, liberty, and financial future. Media elitism and political correctness are out of control.

Worst of all, we seem to have lost our ability to discuss important issues calmly and respectfully regardless of party affiliation or other differences. As a doctor rather than a politician, I care about what works, not whether someone has an (R) or a (D) after his or her name. We have to come together to solve our problems.

Knowing that the future of my grandchildren is in jeopardy because of reckless spending, godless government, and mean-spirited attempts to silence critics left me no choice but to write this book. I have endeavored to propose a road out of our decline, appealing to every American’s decency and common sense.

If each of us sits back and expects someone else to take action, it will soon be too late. But with your help, I firmly believe that America may once again be “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Sincerely,

Ben Carson

My Thoughts:

Dr. Carson doesn't bring any unusual wisdom to the table in his new book, "One Nation".  Instead, what he does is he flips the tables of wealth, greed, prejudice, political correctness and party politics much like Jesus did in the Temple.  He just does it with grace and dignity; after all, Ben Carson knows he's not Jesus...he's just following in His footsteps.

Then he begins to lay out logical discourse subject by subject, using personal anecdotes and historical documentation to support his points.  Each chapter is brief, but packed with thought-provoking concepts that we all know, we've just forgotten.

That is, those of us of the older generations know.  His fear, and my fear, and it should be your fear as well, is that the generations of the future haven't grasped this logic and wisdom.  Rather, they've learned to regurgitate what ever the pundits and talking heads say.

In this reviewer's humble opinion, this book needs to be a part of every high school curriculum, regardless of ethnicity or level of achievement of the student body.  It needs to be in the college classrooms, and on every bookshelf in America, whether liberal or conservative.  And it needs to be READ.  DIGESTED.  DISCUSSED.  And then implemented.

We are "One Nation".  And it only takes one person to begin change.  I'm taking my stand with this review, and no longer bowing down to my party affiliation, the PC police, or popular culture.  My thanks to Sentinel Publishing for my complimentary copy of "One Nation", available in bookstores and online everywhere, and highly, HIGHLY recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Fight by Luke Wordley




About the Book:

Sam Pennington’s life has fallen apart. His father is dead. His mum’s started drinking. And now they’ve been dumped in a dismal public-housing complex in East London. Sam’s anger at his circumstances puts him on the brink of expulsion from school and into dangerous conflict with those around him.

Professional boxing trainer Jerry Ambrose has finally gotten everything together. After a turbulent early life, his newfound faith has helped him reconcile with his past and dedicate his life to helping others.

But when a brutal street fight leads Sam to Jerry’s boxing club, both their futures are thrown into question. As Jerry reaches out to Sam, an extraordinary fighting talent emerges—a talent that reopens the wounds of Jerry’s own life. Both find themselves battling what can happen to a man’s soul when his anger is channeled through his fists.

Despite wowing ringside crowds, Sam’s boxing success fails to bring him peace or happiness, while Jerry’s inner struggles threaten the very core of his beliefs. Can Sam be saved from his rage? Or will Jerry’s reawakened ambition tear them both apart?

My Thoughts:

Do you have a favorite man in your life who loves to read but has a hard time finding quality books?  This one reminded me of the movie "Warrior".  I'm not a fan of the movie or the book, but my men rave about the movie and have watched it several times.

Sam is hard to feel sympathy for.  From the moment we meet him he's picking fights and setting up the pecking order in his new neighborhood.  In a scene reminiscient of "The Blind Side", someone comes to Sam's defense to keep him from getting kicked out of his most recent school.

To be honest, all of the fighting and anger was a turn off for me, but when I described the story to my husband his words were, "That sounds like a book I might like to read!"  So I gave him my copy.

I'm just not the target audience for this novel.  But I know a well crafted book when I see one and my aversion to the scenes was due to the power of the writing.  So, while I can't give it MY endorsement, I can recommend it to fans of "Warrior".

My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing House for my advance copy in exchange for my honest review.


Happy Reading!

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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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