Friday, December 21, 2012

A Unique Beginning

Chasing the Sun
Tracie Peterson

Publicity Summary: When her father disappears in war-torn Mississippi, Hannah Dandridge finds herself responsible not only for her younger siblings but for the ranch her father recently acquired on the Texas plains. Though a marriage of convenience could ease her predicament, she determines to trust God for direction. Wounded soldier William Barnett returns to his home only to discover that his family's ranch has been seized. Though angry and bitter at this turn of events, he's surprised to discover that it is a beautiful young woman with amazing fortitude who is struggling to keep the place running. Hannah, desperate for help, and William, desperate to regain his family's land, form an uneasy truce. But nearby Comanche tribes, the arrival of Confederate soldiers, and a persistent suitor all threaten the growing attraction that builds between them. Will they be able to set aside their own dreams and embrace the promise of a future together?

Review: I enjoyed the characters and the basic story line. I was trouble by the business related to Hannah’s father. It could not shake the gloom concerning this point. It was a constant topic and while the characters did not know what occurred, the reader did. I had such a difficult time with this. It hung over the story at times. The story worked its way through this and the evil evident one of the character was very believable. I really liked the gritty feel of living so far from a town and how they depended on each other due to this. The reality of a war decreasing supplies and therefore making them precious was realistic. Over all the book was enjoyable very believable.
I would like to thank Bethany House Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

A Pleasant Surprise

Finding God in the Hobbit
Jim Ware

Publicity Summary: With a simple hobbit in a simple hobbit-hole, Tolkien opened the window on a whole new world that has captured millions of imaginations and changed the face of literature forever. But this story of unexpected adventure is far more than goblin attacks, dragon-hoards, and riddles in the dark. It's a journey that changes a simple hobbit named Bilbo---and us---along the way. Ware, coauthor of Finding God in The Lord of the Rings, once again unlocks the mysteries of Middle-earth with insightful reflections on the scenes and characters of The Hobbit. You'll discover the deep connections that link this fantasy world to our own and unveil the mysterious workings of the Author of the Tale in your own life. Just as the very ordinary Bilbo Baggins was caught up in a web of momentous events beyond his understanding, so you also are part of a larger story. Travel to Middle-earth to discover some ways in which God is still very much at work in our world---and has a bigger purpose for you than you can ever imagine.

Book Review: I enjoyed learning more of J.R.R. Tolkien’s faith and history. That his world view was so engaged in the Word of God is what separates his writing from purely allegory. I found myself really thinking about this during the book. Mr. Tolkien’s mind set was so centered on Christ that he never gave a thought to imposing it on his books it just was him. I enjoyed the over view tour of the Hobbit. It brought back memories of my first encounter with this story. Going back and forth between the book and the man was engrossing. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to spend time with this book. It was well worth it.

I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

An Enjoyable Story

The Bridge
Karen Kingbury

Book Summary: Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but her heart is back in Franklin, Tennessee, where five years ago she walked away from a man she cannot forget, a rare sort of love she hasn't found since. Ryan Kelly lives in Franklin and spends plenty of time at The Bridge-the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin-remembering the long hours he and Kelly once spent there. Now, Ryan and Molly's favorite bookstore is in trouble. For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books-even through dismal book sales and the rise of eBooks. Then in May a flood tore through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store. By Christmastime, the bank threatens to pull the lease on The Bridge and is about to take the Bartons' house as well. Despondent, Charlie considers ending his life. And in the face of tragedy, miracles begin to unfold.

Review: It started out slow but moved into high gear quickly. The book was split between the owners of the Bridge and the younger couple who moved from college to present time. Some of the time is spent in the past and was moved there nicely by a video or remembering through a character. I found the background information to be enjoyable and like the characters. I thought some of the hospital events to be less believable, although not impossible. Overall this was an enjoyable well laid out story.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Simon & Schuster, Inc. for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Cherished Christmas Novella

A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella
Liz Curtis Higgs

Editor Summary: This heartwarming novella invites readers to experience Christmas in Victorian Scotland, as the chill of a family misunderstanding gives way to the warmth of forgiveness. On a reluctant visit home, an icy reception from her family in Stirling sends Meg Campbell fleeing for the train station, determined to spend the holidays alone in Edinburgh. When snow delays her departure, Meg pours out her heart to fellow traveler Gordon, an affable newspaperman who asks all the right questions, even as he keeps his own heartache under wraps. Then an unexpected turn of events finally points them both in the right direction: home. This stand-alone novella captures the unexpected gift of forgiveness and the hopeful stirrings of new love.

Review: This was a quick read and suspenseful. Even though there were a few hints of what was to come it was still suspenseful to see it unfold. I like the main characters and was quickly drawn to Meg. It felt very real and like being in the house when the conflict was finally revealed to the secondary characters. Everything about the story felt like a grand Christmas celebration. The snow, the church service and the presents. It was a pleasure to read this story and provide this review.

I would like to thank Waterbrook Press and Edelweiss for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Classic Historical Romance

Through Rushing Water
Catherine Richmond

Book Summary: Sophia has her life all planned out—but her plan didn’t include being jilted or ending up in Dakota Territory. Sophia Makinoff is certain that 1876 is the year that she’ll become the wife of a certain US Congressman, and happily plans her debut into the Capitol city. But when he proposes to her roommate instead, Sophia is stunned. Hoping to flee her heartache and humiliation, she signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions on a whim. With dreams of a romantic posting to the Far East, Sophia is dismayed to find she’s being sent to the Ponca Indian Agency in the bleak Dakota Territory. She can’t even run away effectively and begins to wonder how on earth she’ll be able to guide others as a missionary. But teaching the Ponca children provides her with a joy she has never known—and never expected—and ignites in her a passion for the people she’s sent to serve. It’s a passion shared by the Agency carpenter, Willoughby Dunn, a man whose integrity and selflessness are unmatched. The Poncas are barely surviving. When U.S. policy decrees that they be uprooted from their land and marched hundreds of miles away in the middle of winter, Sophia and Will wade into rushing waters to fight for their friends, their love, and their destiny.

Review: I really enjoyed the vivid picture that Catherine Richmond paints with her words. The characters were well developed and the storyline was very engrossing. It was an adventure just getting to the reservation. I enjoyed the interplay between all of the characters. It was an extremely realistic plot and kept me turn the pages to the end. I was very interested in the Poncas and how they assimilated into the white man’s world. It was a well flushed historic book and a treat to read.

I would like to thank Book Sneeze and Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Long Awaited Book

Full Disclosure
Dee Henderson

Book Summary: Ann Silver is a cop's cop. As the Midwest Homicide Investigator, she is called in to help local law enforcement on the worst of cases, looking for answers to murder. Hers is one of the region's most trusted investigative positions. Paul Falcon is the FBI's top murder cop in the Midwest. If the victim carried a federal badge or had a security clearance, odds are good Paul and his team see the case file or work the murder. Their lives intersect when Ann arrives to pass a case off her desk and onto his. A car wreck and a suspicious death offer a lead on a hired shooter he is tracking. Paul isn't expecting to meet someone, the kind that goes on the personal side of the ledger, but Ann Silver has his attention. The better he gets to know her, the more Paul realizes her job barely scratches the surface of who she is. She knows spies and soldiers and U.S. Marshals, and has written books about them. She is friends with the former Vice President. People with good reason to be cautious about who they let into their lives deeply trust her. Paul wonders just what secrets Ann is keeping, until she shows him the John Doe Killer case file, and he starts to realize just who this lady he is falling in love with really is...

Book Review: I found this book to be a page turner of a storyline. The most interesting part was the continual tie in to the O’Malley series and the tweaking done to the names and the story lines was very cleaver it really blurred the lines between real story and book. I turned pages quickly for 2/3rd of the book than it seemed to stall for a while. I like the individual characters overall and thought that Paul and his family were fun and would like to hear more. Ann started out great was fun and lively. Than it seemed as this relationship grew she changed into a flat, unapproachable character that never quite came back to fun and lively. The image of marriage she presented and how it continued was uncompromising and unloving. Paul was great only that he allowed Ann to dictate the terms and accepted it was very weak. I often thought as I read this book how much of this was real for Dee Henderson and how much was pure imagination. The mystery of the lady shooter was great for the most part. She was a tremendous enigma and seemed larger than life at times. I was bothered that these agents allowed so much to slip through their fingers. That seemed less likely and they did not seem as determined to catch her. As the story ended I found so many things left unanswered. That was disappointing and I would still like to know so many things. It seemed that the story just ended rather than tying up things up. I saw the twist that was coming and had been waiting for it about 2/3rd of the way into the book. Yet that too was frustrating because many details were left behind. Despite all things I will continue to read almost any book Dee Henderson writes. I think her gift is with series. I would enjoy more of the Falcon Family.

I would like to thank Library Thing and Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Fantastic Read!

Tidewater Inn
Colleen Coble

Publisher Summary: Welcome to Hope Beach! Where the sea breeze is fresh, sun sparkles on sand . . . and trouble appears with the force of a hurricane. Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the seaward shore of Hope Island could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams. But Libby soon realizes that only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her new found brothers and sisters are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, Libby’s under suspicion for the crime, and her handsome lieutenant clearly doubts her innocence. Libby’s dream-come-true is becoming a nightmare. Can she find her friend and establish her innocence? Must she sell Tidewater Inn and lose her family again? Or can she find a home for her heart on the beautiful shores of Hope Island?

Review: I loved the characters in this book. Libby was great a person who had a mysterious past that even she did not know of. The love and kindness she showed her siblings even though they tried and tested her all the way was a great show of Christ's love without being preachy. I found the mystery of Nicole's kidnapping and the murder attempt on Libby to be just enough of a who done it to compliment the learning about this parent she never know and how all these things came to be. The shady land developer and his front man, new found siblings that hated her and all the people in the town were well placed to the point that I never was able to guess who was behind everything. That was the very best part I never figured out who was behind it. I had ideas and suspicions and yet they were wrong. Well played Ms. Coble. Thanks for this fantastic read. I love tales of finding out that the life you thought you knew was not quite accurate it makes for a great what if.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nothing New Under the Sun

Emergence Christianity
Phyllis Tickle Book

Summary: Welcome to the story that's still being written . . .Whatever else one might say about Emergence Christianity, one must agree it is shifting and reconfiguring itself in such a prodigious way as to defy any final assessments or absolute pronouncements. Yet in Emergence Christianity, Phyllis Tickle gathers the tangled threads of history and weaves the story of this fascinating movement into a beautiful and understandable whole.Through her careful study and culture-watching, Tickle invites you to join this investigation and conversation as an open-minded explorer. You will discover fascinating insights into the concerns, organizational patterns, theology, and most pressing questions facing the church today. And you'll get a tantalizing glimpse of the future.

Review: There is a number of confusion, by the author, related to the many ideas stimulated in this book. To say one does not have a dogma is a dogma. This was one of many themes and contradictions in this book. That emergence as a new movement or isolated is thin since Universalists are not that different in their beliefs, i.e., everyone’s beliefs are equal to the extent that they need them to be. That is relativism at its best, despite being popular. The only ‘new’ idea they have is a building. However, there is a ministry named ‘church without walls’ so I am going to have to say again there is nothing new under the sun. I would like to agree that the author restrained from projecting her own beliefs into the book, but again there was little mistaking that she was a follower of this. I once heard it said you can be very sincere, but sincerity does not make one right and this sums up the entire book. I am afraid that even her account or understanding of the Reformation was poor and limited. I am sorry to say that as the book continued many of the ideas or rhetoric in the book was silly. There is no other way to explain so many of the contradictions. The author brings up 2/3rd into the book that there has never been a split in Emergence and yet quickly contradicts this by explaining the difference now between Emergence Christianity and Emerging Christianity and how they are no longer interchangeable titles. That I made it through this book was a chore. The best part of the book was that it ended.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Baker Books for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Real Pleasant Surprise

Through My Eyes
Tim Tebow Book

Summary: Meet Tim Tebow: He grew up playing every sport imaginable, but football was his true passion. Even from an early age, Tim has always had the drive to be the best player and person that he could be. Through his hard work and determination, he established himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of college football and as a top prospect in the NFL. Now, in Through My Eyes: A Quarterback's Journey, he shares the behind-the-scenes details of his life, on and off the football field. Tim writes about his life as he chooses to live it, revealing how his Christian faith, his family values, and his relentless will to succeed have molded him into the person and the athlete he is today.

Review: This was a great book. Well written and yet sounded as if you were having a conversation with Tim Tebow about how he came to be who he is today. His faith shines through and his work ethic is amazing! I really cannot get over how much I laughed, cried and cheered him and his family on. His family was in every detail of his book. It is amazing how his parents have influenced his life and with the good stuff like faith, family and living for the glory of God. I would proudly recommend this book to anyone. While I am not a sports fan I enjoyed his excitement he has for football and the games he has played in.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Pleasant Surprise

Eating Free
Manuel Villacorta M.S. RD

Author’s Summary: In 2004, I founded MV Nutrition, my private practice, in San Francisco, and since then I am proud to say that we've helped over 2,000 Bay Area residents with their health goals and received four awards 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012 as "Best Nutritionist" in San Francisco. After four years of reading the research literature, applying it in my private practice, seeing thousands of people and witnessing great success, I had a vision. It became clear to me that I have something to share with the rest of the nation. This is when the Eating Free philosophy and weight management program was born. I created Eating Free because of my love for food! And through my years of experience, I have witnessed suffering, deprivation and the demonization of food in order to lose weight. I hope to put an end to that with Eating Free by spreading the word nationwide. I want readers to love and celebrate real food while reaching their health goals. I have a personal passion for eating as a way to strengthen bonds and enhance the quality of life (a custom I adopted from my native Peru), I offer something more than another diet, fad, or trend. As I attest, Eating Free is a lifestyle--a nourishing and satisfying, as well as sensible and effective, way of eating, every day.

Review: I was uncertain at the start if this was going to be a waste of time or more informational. I came to be persuaded by his knowledge and information. After a time I realized that more of what he was stating and relaying informational was more accurate than anything I had ever thought of. I read it every day for an hour a day and in 4 days I was sold. It was the most logical and helpful book on weight loss I have read in a long time. Having been on the treadmill of diets and other weight loss programs this one makes the most sense. I can control my eating and lose weight but much of weight loss is about permanent change. This being the case I really became excited that I could eat healthy and loose weight. For me I love to exercise but I want to be healthy and weigh the proper weight. He also talked about as we age how to meet that to keep the weight off. I am very glad that I read this book and how helpful it is to a life change and not just a life sentence of what I cannot eat.

I would like to thank Net Galley and HCI Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Thrilling Ride Through a Great Book

Terri Blackstock

Book Summary: Book 3 of the Intervention Series. Emily Covington has turned her life around after a drug addiction, but her family still has trouble trusting her. Though Emily has committed herself to a year-long treatment program and has been sober for almost a year beyond that, even her mother walks on eggshells around her, fearing she'll relapse. After her behavior during her drug years, Emily realizes she has a lot to prove. When police discover a homemade bomb under Emily's car, and she then learns the wife of one of her friends was murdered that same morning, she knows things are deadly serious. But who wants Emily dead? And why? A conversation she had with two men, an Alfred Hitchcock movie, and a plan for a double murder all conspire for one explosive ride ... and Emily is the only one who can identify the killer and save the life of the next potential victim. As she frantically works to solve this ever more complicated puzzle, Emily finds herself playing right into the killer's hands.

Review: I read the first book in this series own the second one but have not read it yet. I did finish the third and loved it. It was a roller coaster ride with brief periods where you can catch your breath. I was able to make a correct attempt to figure out ‘who did it’ and yet nothing spoiled this story. This was easily a standalone and a series! It was great to read of people I had visited in the first book and yet they were fresh and exciting to hear how they have grown. The only question that came to mind on believability was if Emily did it ‘Where was the GUN!!! that she used????’ However that was hardly a sticking point for me. I can’t wait for Terri Blackstock’s next mystery! I want another ride on the mystery roller coaster.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Great New Characters

The Accidental Bride
Denise Hunter

Book Summary: When a wedding reenactment turns real, this cowgirl suddenly finds she’s an accidental bride. Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite her hard work, she can’t seem to keep her head above water—and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but. Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high school sweetheart—the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit. Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busy body and an absent minded preacher, the wedding reenactment results in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she’ll lose her home. But if she accepts, she may lose her heart. Shay isn’t sure if the recent events are God’s will or just a preacher’s blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?

Review: I liked the 2 main characters and thought they had good chemistry. I did think there were almost too many secondary characters at the start of the book and this made it a little more confusing at times to recall who was who. It did get easier to follow as the book continued. I enjoyed the main characters. Shay was tough and did a lot of manual labor and yet was still feminine. Travis was very masculine and yet very sensitive to Shay. It was believable and yet very enjoyable to see how things were going to be resolved. The marriage license that was old and yet still valid seemed unlikely, although it was easy to suspend belief when the story flowed so nicely and the main characters were enjoyable. It was worth the read and the fact that it was a in a series was not a deterrent it was a good stand alone story.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Monday, August 20, 2012

How to help your friendships

How to Be a Best Friend Forever
Dr. John Townsend

Book Summary: Our world has diluted the meaning of friendship, but the reality is, there’s nothing like the sustaining strength of true-blue, forever friends. Still, many people are convinced that they’ll never find such lifelong connections—or that they don’t need them. In this encouraging book, best-selling author and psychologist John Townsend delivers hope and help for making these relationships a reality—and for making them even better if you’ve already got a “bestie.” His eight principles for building the very best kind of friendship, along with his shared experiences within his own friendships (including mistakes he’s made), will move every reader to aspire to deeper connections and to stay the course when challenges arise. Townsend’s simple but profound concepts are sure to transform readers’ relationships and keep them from missing out on one of life’s greatest and most essential joys: the joy of having a best friend.

Review: I found this book to be a good help for how to be a better friend and how to nurture a friendship. I really liked the aspect of the book referring to the how we need a variety of friends. It was a tremendous help with understanding the varied aspects of friendship. The book draws on the author's own experiences. It was very detailed with the varied aspects of friendship and how to grow a friendship even deeper through shared experiences and suffering. It also help with explaining how friendships may suffer from experiences that can stall a growing friendship.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Worthy Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Great New Booklet

Jay E Adams

Book Summary: Christians are commanded to grow. Once we are saved, spiritual fruit should be a natural byproduct. If the fruit isn't there, the growth we are supposed to display is not happening. Yet many Christians find it difficult to bear fruit because their branches are weak -- the old patterns of sin and bad habits creep back in and choke off the growth that should be taking place. So what do you do when your spiritual fruit isn't what it should be? You do what you would with the fruit of any type of tree: free it from what inhibits its growth by finding weak branches and cutting them off. Here, Jay Adams unpacks the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5 and shows us how to use the principle of radical amputation to develop spiritual fruit, putting on holy patterns of living by putting off our sinful ones. The Resources for Biblical Living booklet series addresses a wide range of practical life issues in a straightforward, down-to-earth, and most of all, biblical manner.

Review: I found this to be a booklet that was easy to read, well written and informative. In this world of the church in the US struggling with historic Christianity it was refreshing to read how to deal with the temptations of this world. I found the examples and the ideas to be plain and blunt with little room for confusion. I enjoyed the variety of examples and how it was nonjudgmental in its approach. The idea that we will never cease to be sinners but can move toward the Light of the World a most helpful idea to hold onto.

I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Another installment in this series

Right in Their Own Eyes
George M Schwab

Book Summary: Right in Their Own Eyes explains Judges from three Old Testament and three New Testament perspectives. First, it shows how the Spirit enabled wayward people to fulfill the mission God gave them, promotes David as king of Israel, and illustrates God's covenant with his people. Schwab also shows how God sovereignly works among his wayward people to forge a community of faith under the New Covenant, which points to Christ, calls modern Christians to faith and obedience, and looks forward to the return of Christ and the final judgment. Gospel According to the Old Testament series

Review: I really like this series and this installment is no exception. The beginning was so thought provoking that I am still pondering the ideas that the author stimulated. It like the way the 12 judges relate to the 12 tribes and the idea that many of these judges overlapped. I found this to be well written and really made me want to dig into the book of Judges more while reading the book and after finishing it. The details and research this author provided were helpful to my own study and provided a growth in my view of this book. This book will be a great reference for years to come.

I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

A Page Turner

Cherry Blosson
Capers Cara Putman, Gina Conroy, Frances Devine, and Lynette Sowell

Book Summary: Four women encounter love, danger, and mystery beyond their neighborhood near Washington, DC. Tara Whitley, assistant chef at the White House, helps FBI agent Jack Courtland unmask a state-dinner saboteur. Attorney Ciara Turner and her nemesis Daniel Evans investigate a judge’s murder. Archeologist intern Samantha Steele almost loses her nerve and children when she and security guard Nick Porter investigate a forgery at Mount Vernon. Coffee-shop owner Susan Holland and builder Vince Martini encounter danger in her late uncle’s mansion. Can these couples trust God with their lives and love as they track down killers and culprits?

Review: These were page turners. I enjoyed the characters and how they intertwined with one another. I enjoyed the mysteries along with the relationships between the characters. It was like stepping into the world of these women and how easy it was to feel like a part of the stories while everything is happening so quickly in the start of the stories. I really like the first story the best and that really helped to make the others enjoyable.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Barbour Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

A Great New Series

A Plain Death
Amanda Flower

Book Summary: Welcome to Appleseed Creek, the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, where life is not as serene as it seems. While her Cleveland friends relocated to Southern California and Italy, 24-year-old computer whiz Chloe Humphrey moves with some uncertainty to Appleseed Creek to direct technology services at a nearby college. Her first acquaintance is Becky, an ex-Amish teenager looking for a new home. While driving Chloe’s car, Becky collides with a buggy, killing an Amish elder. But what looks like an accident is soon labeled murder when police discover the car’s cut brake line. Now, Chloe must take on the role of amateur sleuth to discover who the real intended victim was before the murderer makes a second attempt. Becky’s handsome Amish-turned-Mennonite brother, Timothy, a local carpenter, comes in handy along the way. With God’s help, they’ll solve the mystery that’s rocking this small community.

Review: I enjoyed this book very much. It was a great debut series by this author. It was a good introduction to the characters and gave enough information to keep me going throughout the book about the main character. I found the story to be well developed and it had a little surprise at the end the story which was welcomed. I think the extra characters were diverse. They were made more real by their flaws and that is not always visible in characters. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

I would like to thank Net Galley and B & H Publishing Group for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Best Book I Have Read in a While!

A Perfect Square
Vannetta Chapman

Book Summary: There's more to the quaint northern Indiana town of Shipshewana than handcrafted quilts, Amish-made furniture, immaculate farms, and close-knit families. When a dead girl is found floating in a local pond, murder is also afoot. And Reuben Fisher is in jail as the suspect! Reuben refuses to divulge any information, even to clear himself of a crime Deborah is certain he didn't commit. So, with her English friend Callie-fellow sleuth and owner of Daisy's Quilt Shop-Deborah sets out to uncover the truth. But the mystery deepens when an elderly man seeks Callie's help in finding his long-lost daughter, missing since the days of the 1965 Palm Sunday Tornadoes. An old man who has lost his past. A young man who may lose his future. Once again Deborah and Callie find themselves trying to piece together a crazy quilt of lives and events-one that can bring unexpected touches of God's grace and resolve to the tragedy that has shaken this quiet Amish community.

Review: This was a great book. I enjoyed this story tremendously and thought that the characters were great every last one and the story line was engrossing all the way around. I never wanted it to end. I have not read the first story and was thankful that there were no spoilers as to who did it. I am looking forward to the next book. I found the story to be seamless and the characters to be so well written that I felt like this was the 5th or 6th story in this series. They words flowed and pages flew by. I can honestly say that it has been a while since I read a book this good. I enjoyed the 2 main characters and found that they were friends and yet still getting to know each other. The one character is new to the area and this made learning this town and the people fun like through the eyes of the other newcomer. The peripheral characters were enjoyable. I had a tear in my eye at the end, I was sad for the outcome and yet the ending was so realistic.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Christmas in July

Blame It On The Mistletoe
Joyce Magnin

Book Summary: Is There Really a Fountain of Youth in Paradise? Welcome back to Bright's Pond, where strange happenings are afoot at the Greenbrier Nursing Home. Strange even for Bright's Pond. The residents suddenly act like kids again riding trikes, climbing trees, and of all things falling in love. Some of the townsfolk blame it on the crooked new gazebo, or its builder, a quirky little man who quotes Don Quixote, collects water from the fountain at the Paradise trailer park, and disappears on a regular basis. While Chief of Police Mildred Blessing investigates the mystery, Griselda and her friends deal with a luau Thanksgiving, preparations for the Christmas pageant, and maybe even an upcoming wedding. Only, in Bright 's Pond, nothing ever really goes as planned . . .

Review: Filled with loveable quirky characters that take on a life of their own throughout the story interwoven into that is characters from other books written by the author. This is a story about people who are given a second chance at life to do things and act without the adult perspective heightened self-awareness. It did take some time to get used to a book about older people. I did enjoy the realness of interaction between the two sisters and the giving of self in visiting people that are unable to get up and go on their own. While slow moving at the start it was worth wading through all the ‘getting to know you’ phase to dig into the mystery of why did all these people seem to be getting more youthful.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Abingdon Press for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another Wonderful Biography

Charles Hodge
W. Andrew Hoffecker

Book Description: Charles Hodge (1797-1878) is regarded by many as the most significant American theologian of the nineteenth century. He drove forward the rapid growth of theological education and contributed to Presbyterianism's wide-ranging influence in public life. His advocacy of a Reformed orthodoxy combined with evangelical piety attracted a broad following within Old School Presbyterianism that spilled over into American evangelicalism as a whole. Hodge helped to define a distinctive ministerial model-the pastor-scholar-and his fingerprints can be seen all over the Reformed Christian scene of today.

Review: This was a biography on Charles Hodge and his ministry. This is a great series to learn about those who have gone before. We live in a world where these biographies become more important to have an example of Godliness before us due to people moving, changes in the church and the breakdown of the family even in the church. Never before have more people been only been to church on Christmas Eve and Easter when they come to Christ it is through the lives of believers that we can glean the lives we wish to reflect upon for encouragement and example. Charles Hodge had a very dynamic life and his childhood was a model for our culture today to reflect on. It is important to have Godly role models for us to learn from.

I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing for allowing me to read and review his book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

The 4th in a Series

A Life of Joy
Amy Clipston

Book Summary: Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you'll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman's story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams ... and secrets. You'll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the "English" way of life-and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families. In A Life of Joy, the fourth installment in the series, eighteen-year-old Lindsay Bedford has reached a crossroads. Should she stay in the small Amish community she's known and loved for four years or return to the English life in her hometown in Virginia where her older sister is a college student? An extended visit to Virginia might just tip the scales as Lindsay reconnects with friends, joins a new church, works on her GED, and is pressured by her sister to stay and "make something of herself." Will Lindsay leave her aunt Rebecca and become English or settle in Bird-in-Hand and join the Amish church? Legions of Clipston fans want to know. Full of well-researched Amish culture, Clipston's book is true to form, delivering the best of the Amish fiction genre wrapped around a compelling story, with characters who will touch the hearts of loyal fans and new readers alike.

Review: I loved the characters in this book. The story line was believable and engrossing with characters you would root for and care about. The book was the fourth in a series and had many reoccurring characters and a continuous storyline of faith and family. I have not read all of the other books aside from one novella for the holidays I found it was easy to ease into the characters and relationships that were explained and never overdone. The book was easy to read and enjoyable throughout the story. The only problem I had was that the end seemed abrupt and with more questions than answers. I realize that this is a book in a series, however many resolve the main theme in the current book. This ending would not deter me from reading more books by this author.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

An Amish Story

Leah’s Choice
Emma Miller

Book Summary: Falling for an Englisher. With dreams of marrying an Old Order Amish man, Leah Yoder plans on raising children in the peaceful Delaware community. But when Mennonite missionary Daniel Brown arrives to share his story with their church, Leah is fascinated by him. She spends time with Daniel in a forbidden courtship to learn how she truly feels about him. Before long, Leah has a choice to make. Should she stay with her community...or leave with the man she believes God has placed in her life’s path? Hannah’s Daughters: Seeking love, family and faith in Amish country.

Review: I enjoyed the theme explored in the plot and the subplot. It was an interesting subplot for me more at times than the plot. I guessed the outcome of the subplot and was torn between belief and disbelief in its credibility. I believed the author made a credible attempt to tie all the loose ends together and the grief of the people surrounding it was believable. The main plot had a great struggle that occurred realistically throughout the book. The main point I found most challenging to accept was that Leah had a choice. I understand she is to willingly join the Amish Church, but the pressure that was placed on her must have been tremendous and that was the only soft part of the story. The tension between the two groups was a significant part of the plot and was well done. Overall I did enjoy this book and the series was enjoyable.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Harlequin Love Inspired for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A New Series by Nancy Mehl

Nancy Mehl

Book Description: Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, her family, and her faith with plans never to return. Five years later, Lizzie finds she'll have to run again. False accusations at her job, a stalker, and a string of anonymous threatening letters have left her with no other options. This time, however, her escape is back to Kingdom, her hometown. As Lizzie becomes reacquainted with Kingdom, she realizes she may not have left her Mennonite roots and her faith as firmly in the past as she thought. She draws on the support of Noah Housler, an old friend, as she hides out and attempts to plan her next steps. When it becomes painfully clear that the danger has followed Lizzie to Kingdom, suspicions and tensions run high, and she no longer knows who to trust. With her life and the lives of those she loves at risk, Lizzie will have to run one last time--to a Father whose love is inescapable.

Review: I enjoyed the characters, town and story line. It was just enough suspense with plenty of breaks to enjoy meeting all the people in the town and I enjoyed the storyline it was a fun fast pace story that is engrossing. The descriptions of the town and the people were vivid. It made for a quick read and enjoyable overall. The downside was ‘who did it’ that was not so hard to figure out. Despite that the ending was exciting and made reading it worthwhile. The entire book was enjoyable and looking forward to part 2.

I would like to thank Library Thing and Bethany House Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Real Moving Experience

Cottage By The Sea
Robin Jones Gunn

Book Summary: Erin Bryce and her best friend, Sharlene, count the day they start their wedding planning business as a very happy day. So much so that they name their company The Happiest Day to reflect the fulfillment of their long-held dream as well as their clients’ longing for a wedding celebration to match the exhilaration of being in love. As a bonus, the two women utilize their business to help Erin’s son Jordan and his fiancée, Sierra, plan a grand wedding. But the two friends aren’t prepared for the cloud moving in to cover the sunny, successful start of their business. Erin’s father, who lives in a small coastal Oregon community with his brusque, downright odd second wife, Delores, develops a medical problem that puts him in the hospital. Erin responds by rushing from Southern California to her father’s—and oh, yeah, Delores’s—cottage by the sea. What greets Erin when she arrives sends her tumbling down a bewildering path to a different kind of happiest day. Her journey tosses her through highs and lows of hurt and healing, betrayal and renewal, wrong assumptions righted, and the brightest future one could ever hope for. All just around the corner, at the cottage by the sea.

Review: This was a very well written story. It was moving, great characters, emotional and yet joyful in many respects. It was picture of an adult who cares for her parent as our faith exhorts us to care for the elderly and the ill. Robin Jones Gunn did a great job of providing a well painted picture of the Oregon coast and the cottage by the sea. It was a tear jerker at times and makes one think about how important relationships are to life. It also had an added bonus of tying in a different book’s characters which is always a gem for me. I love series and sequels. It is like seeing a long lost friend.

I would like to thank Howard Books for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

A Rich Puritan History

Thomas Manton
Derek Cooper

Book Summary: Thomas Manton (1620-77) was an influential Puritan preacher and an important figure in English Society. This book has two aims, to introduce readers in an engaging manner to Manton and, through this pivotal figure, to provide an introduction to the movement known as "Puritanism," concisely addressing its historical, social, and political contexts.

Review: This was a good book about the life of Thomas Manton. While there are many puritans to choose from this one is most interesting because of preaching before the parliament and chaplain to two very different rulers. He was one of the lesser known puritans and yet not without merit on his own. This book was split into 3 parts: different phases of his life through key events, Manton’s best-know work, his commentary on James and a selection of his work intended to showcase noteworthy sermons. This book provides little gems into his life from a previous biography and history of that time. It is worth the time to glean these gems.

I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Not a Favorite of Mine

Song of My Heart
Kim Vogel Sawyer

Summary: Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent--though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job. Thad McKane comes to Goldtree to investigate reports of a bootlegging operation. Once he earns enough money from the sheriff work, he plans to use it to pay for his training to become a minister. Thad is immediately drawn to the lovely young singer who performs in Asa Baxter's unusual opera house. But when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he wonders if she's far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes Thad has come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?

Review: I had a real difficult time getting into this book. I found Sadie at the beginning of this story to be unbelievable. I can see being self-sacrificing but not to the extent she was. I did not care much for Sid either. He was the kind of person to avoid. Self-serving and selfish therefore I could not understand the two ever being close. The characters grew quite a bit throughout the story and that mad continuing to read it worthwhile. I also found the swing in Sadie to be unlikely. To tolerate things that she knew to be wrong and would constantly repeat the things her father told her seemed to lend credence to the unlikeliness of these actions. Thad was the only main character I liked. He was driven to do right and never wavered from that. The Baxter sisters were great and provided the comic relief without being ogres as bosses. The ending was a little too convenient although finished the book nicely.
I would like to thank Bethany House Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Well written Characters

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms
Cindy Woodsmall

Summary of Book: Annie Martin loves the Plain ways of her Old Order Mennonite people, like those revered by her beloved grandfather. Retreating from a contentious relationship with her mother, Annie goes to live with her Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge. But as spring moves into Pennsylvania and Annie spends time amongst the cherry trees with the handsome Aden Zook, she wishes she could forget how deeply the lines between the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite are drawn. Can Annie and Aden find a place for their love to bloom in the midst of the brewing storm?

Review: I enjoyed this story for the most part. While the ending was no surprise it was interesting to see how the result was work its way out. At times it was very stressful to read knowing that these people were entering dangerous waters within their respective communities. It did not seem realistic how it ended. I preferred the others in the series. On the positive side the characters were likeable and believable. That is why I was able to finish it. I found the behavior of others to be very believable when the couple was found out and very human. These aspects are sometimes played down by other authors and this is Cindy Woodsmall’s gift in writing comes in she does not shy away from these things. That is another reason to keep reading. The characters were easy to see myself in them and yet they were realistic in their concerns, worries and troubles. That more than anything is the redeeming qualities of this book.

I would like to thank WaterBrook Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Why Do We Have Creeds
Burk Parsons

Booklet Summary: The pluralist society is wrong! Everyone's beliefs are not equally valid - truth is not down to who is the biggest bully! Creeds give direction, unity, and fellowship - and show the world what we believe.

Review: This was a quick read booklet that details why and how Creeds are beneficial. The author goes into detail of how this unifies and keeps the church on their focus of Christ. Burk Parsons also makes clear they do not replace scripture but help the Believer flush out the specifics of what they believe in a brief statement. This is done every time a person defends their faith. It is challenging to summarize the entire Bible if one is not prepared to when asked on a moment’s notice and that is where creeds are most helpful. As society changes in the past and present creeds are the one thing that cannot change since the Bible does not change.

I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.


What is the Doctrine of Adoption
Michael A. Milton

Booklet Summary: Unfolds the scriptural-theological foundations of the doctrine of adoption, showing it as a distinct doctrine in its own right, and relating this foundational concept to the believer's life.

Review: This booklet was a great read. It had analogies that were well used and personal to the author. It was one of the best booklets out there because it was so intimately written about his and our adoption into the family of Christ. I found the entire booklet to be powerful and worth the time spent to better understand this topic. Anyone reading this booklet would benefit from the scripture references and the real life adoption of the author and others.

I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Weight Loss

40 Days to Better Living: Weight Management
Church Health Center

Book Summary: Millions would like to trim down, either a little or a lot—and 40 Days to Better Living: Weight Management provides clear, manageable steps for people to drop pounds, through life-changing attitudes and actions. Readers can select one or more elements of the 7-step Model for Healthy Living—Faith, Medical, Movement, Work, Emotional, Family and Friends, and Nutrition—and follow the 40-day plan to improve their lives, just a bit, day by day. With plenty of practical advice, biblical encouragement, and stories of real people who’ve taken the same journey, this book—from the Church Health Center in Memphis, the largest faith-based clinic of its type in the U.S.—may be one of the most important books your customers will read this year.

Review: I found this book to be a quick read with oversimplified information. Many things were useful information and yet there was no new information or theories. It was a fix yourself and encouragement to get it right. The book goes through a week by week encouragement that can be quite depressing if you do and cannot lose weight. I did not care for the do better try harder mentality of this book. It does not take into account that many people need to look at the foods they eat and determine if they are helpful and harmful, especially if you are 50 pounds or greater overweight. It also does not take into account that it will take more than 40 days to lose weight and how to bring back favorite foods back into their diet.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Barbour Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Friday, June 29, 2012

An in depth book about our food

Wheat Belly: Lose the Weight, Lose the Wheat, and Find Your Path Back to Health
William Davis, MD

Book Summary: Every day, over 200 million Americans consume food products made of wheat. As a result, over 100 million of them experience some form of adverse health effect, ranging from minor rashes and high blood sugar to the unattractive stomach bulges that preventive cardiologist William Davis calls "wheat bellies." According to Davis, that excess fat has nothing to do with gluttony, sloth, or too much butter: it's due to the whole grain wraps we eat for lunch.
After witnessing over 2,000 patients regain their health after giving up wheat, Davis reached the disturbing conclusion that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic─and its elimination is key to dramatic weight loss and optimal health. In Wheat Belly, Davis exposes the harmful effects of what is actually a product of genetic tinkering and agribusiness being sold to the American public as "wheat"─and provides readers with a user-friendly, step-by-step plan to navigate a new, wheat-free lifestyle.
Informed by cutting-edge science and nutrition, along with case studies from men and women who have experienced life-changing transformations in their health after waving goodbye to wheat, Wheat Belly is an illuminating look at what is truly making Americans sick and an action plan to clear our plates of this seemingly benign ingredient.

Review: I found this book to be a fountain of information. I agreed on many points especially the engineered food that is available in the grocery store. It is true that there is a significantly different looking weight gain in this country. I am not so sure that wheat is the only cause for this. The American diet has changed significantly in the last 30 years. I would go so far as to say that wheat is a major cause but not the sole cause. Food has been engineered with corn, peas, carrots and the list could go on. You go through any organic produce section and the size is significantly smaller with every kind. Gluten intolerance is not the only problem increasing peanut allergies and nut allergies alone have increased. High Fructose Corn Syrup has replaced sugar in almost every food that once had sugar as its sweetener. I believe these have contributed equally to our problems.
The overall information presented and the diet he promotes are healthful and would impact many people lives. I do believe that the search for healthy eating is not solved by eliminating wheat alone. I find this to limiting.
The information was in depth and well researched. The information was well written and easy to understand for the most part. At times there was more information than the average person needs.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Rodale Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Prayers that are so beautiful

Prayers of the Bible
Susan Hunt

Book Summary:Prayer is our direct means of communication with God. Yet many people are unsure how to pray. Is there a specific way to do it? Any examples we can study? Just where do you go to learn about prayer?
Go to the Bible; specifically, to the prayers in the Bible.
Susan Hunt guides women to explore prayers from the Bible, highlighting the overarching story of redemption that shapes these biblical prayers and equips us to know God's nearness and call on Him in truth.
She passionately believes that only a true woman can do this-so she lays out foundational, biblical principles of true womanhood, showing that true women are redeemed women.
Prayers of the Bible is an excellent study for women's Bible study groups. Each prayer passage comes with an outline, questions to focus your thoughts, a prayer story, practical suggestions for prayer, and suggestions for personal reflection.

Reveiw: This was a book that prayers were used to encourage and enlighten a group a woman in Mrs. Hunt’s circle of friends to dig into the trenches with Jesus and each other. They were emotion filled without apology and weaknesses displayed for all to see. It was a humbling experience to read and great to use for a small Bible Study or with others who are wrestling with a deep trouble in their life whether shared experience or not. The experiences and growth is visible on the pages of this book and make working through this book a journey not just an exercise in information. I am extremely grateful to Susan Hunt for her gift that she has so freely shared.
I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

A Bible Study with Meat in it.

Dr. Kathleen Nielson

Dr. Kathleen Nielson brings her great love for the Word of God to bear upon the dramatic story and themes of restoration found in the Book of Nehemiah. This study brings us face to face with God's covenant people and God's faithfulness to His promises. Kathleen, a gifted teacher, guides the student to consider the text and contexts with an historical, redemptive perspective, pointing us to the fulfillment of God's promises in Christ.
This is a group of related verses or single verse Bible study. It includes looking up other scripture to bring about a deeper understanding of how, where and why this book of the Bible was written. The book begins with the background and continues through this book of the Bible. It was written by a gifted woman who taught through this book of the Bible and is a great resource for group or individual study. It has multiple resources in the back from an outline to the people this story is about or relevant people. It is a great addition to the growing number of Bible Studies Dr. Nielson has already published.
I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

A Much Needed Book

Learning God’s Story of Grace
Elizabeth Reynolds Turnage

Book Summary:In this meaningful, inviting, and encouraging study, Elizabeth Turnage lays out God's grand story and helps you see where your own story fits. Engaging questions allow you to apply not only the study, but the entire story itself, to your own life. Unique sections help you to engage Scripture and live out the gospel in your own story.
The Bible exhorts us to know and tell our stories and how they fit into God's grand narrative, for only then will we find meaning.
This engaging, welcoming guide is where it all starts.

Review: This is a great book that works through scripture to provide the story of God’s Grace that centers on the work of Christ. It was an easy read and difficult to put down. It was split into chapters by themes and along with daily readings of 1-5. Also included in each chapter are tips on how to write a prayer with some information to flush out your prayer. It was full of information that will grow one’s knowledge of the Bible and how to see Christ’s work in one’s life. The guide at the beginning provides a lot of information that will help one to interact with the story of God’s grace rather than being a passive reader. This an exciting new series that is a welcome addition to books for woman that have a great supply of substance for learning more about God’s story of grace.

I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Commentaries worth reading

1 Kings
Philip Graham Ryken

Book Summary: Dynasties, fractured kingdoms, prophecies of coming hardships - the book of 1 Kings is a grand, sweeping narrative of the beginning of the downfall of God's people. Its size and scope may seem intimidating, but Phil Ryken shows us in this biblical, doctrinal, practical, and Christological commentary how this imposing book can be divided into three key sections. First, the stories of Solomon focus on the themes of money, sex, and power, inviting us to learn from Solomon's example. Will we use these things wisely for kingdom purposes, or foolishly abuse them for selfish gain? Then the middle of the story, on the divided kingdom, shows the destructive consequences of sin among the people of God - especially the sin of idolatry. The final section demonstrates the power of prayer to the true and living God, as exemplified in the life and ministry of God's prophet Elijah. Phil Ryken brings out the key themes of these three sections and illustrates how they come together in their focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially his kingly and prophetic offices. This is an excellent resource for those who want a devotional aid and will help Bible expositors reliably teach a redemptive-historical view of this important Old Testament book.

Review: This is a great series of commentaries. He is able to take the verses in chunks based on related narratives and pull in Samuel, Chronicles and other books of the Bible to expand the related information to increase my knowledge of the 1 Kings. Then he used current examples to relate the lessons and understanding of how this is important to my understanding today. I felt that the examples and information really gave me a bigger picture of the history of Israel and how that brought the narrative of redemption to a fulfillment. Dr. Ryken did a good job of making the material readable and understandable without being redundant or overusing information. These commentaries are extremely helpful and useful.

I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An Intense Adventure

Ronie Kendig

Book Summary: Having escaped a brutal Venezuelan general, demolitions expert Danielle Roark fights her way back to the States, only to be charged with espionage. When she’s forced to return to the jungle to prove her innocence, she finds herself intentionally left behind. What secret does she have worth killing for? Haunted, former Green Beret Canyon Metcalfe is fighting off nightmares of a operation gone bad. When he’s thrown back into the jungle on a Nightshade mission, he must push the memories aside to rescue Dani. Will he lose another woman to the cruelty of warfare?

Review: I was immediately drawn into this story. The characters were believable and the story was well written. I enjoyed the Metcalfe family and the believability of the difficult nature of the events that Danielle had gone through there were parts that were challenging to follow until about ½ way through the story and this mad following the action a hindrance at times. I thought that the similarities of experience between the main characters were played subtle until they were resolved. It was a great nail biting story that was worth following until the end.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Barbour Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

A Fun Cast of Characters

A Wedding Blunder in the Black Hills
Kim O'Brien

It Was a Relationship of Convenience. . .Until It Became a Romance Millie Hogan and David Denvers both have big problems in small town Deer Park, South Dakota. Millie—a waitress with designs on Hollywood—has a mother who keeps setting her up on disastrous blind dates, even though Millie’s never met a man she could trust. David—a widowed dentist with an almost-teenaged son and opinionated parents—is being stalked by an amorous former patient. So when a lost filling lands Millie in David’s office, the two of them cook up a plan—a fake relationship. No one gets hurt, and no one gets nagged. It’s a great plan—until they really start to care. Now what will they do? Turns out, it probably doesn’t matter: when Millie learns a shocking family secret she wonders if she’s really wife material. Maybe it’s best to stick with the plan and head for Hollywood.  And since David’s folks think Millie’s all wrong for him, well. . .he realizes he may have to let her go. Isn’t that what you do when you love someone?
This was a fun story that was predictable at times although it had some unexpected events. The characters were like people you would meet anywhere. They spiritual aspects were slow to start and the increased as the story continues. Although relationships that are unevenly yoked do not always go this way. It was nice to see that conversion and spiritual growth of the female lead. Millie’s mother was fun and probable the best character in the story. The changing age difference was a little difficult to follow, due to the less than believable timeline built into the story at the start.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Barbour Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fast Fun Christmas stories

A Log Cabin Christmas
Nine Popular Authors

This is a book about 9 different short stories. The various authors are in their own right published and recognizable names. I enjoyed these stories they were quick reads and fun. I was not disappointed that the story was over other than just as you get to know the characters the story has concluded. But for Christmas stories these were fun and about the holiday season.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Barbour Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

A Unique Story

Desert Gift

Sally John

What does a nationally known marriage expert do when her own marriage falls apart? Just as Jillian Galloway sets out for a publicity tour to promote her new book, her husband drops a bombshell: He wants a divorce. Jill flees to her parents’ home in the California desert, wondering whether everything she’s built her career on—indeed, everything she’s built her life around—is a sham. Navigating this “side road” of life is an uphill climb that leads to new understandings about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with the One who created marriage.

This was an interesting story of marriage. It is nice sometimes to see things as they really are out there. Marriage is the choice we made and to divorce is also a choice. It was a good premise that keep up with the ups and downs of life which should always lead us to Christ. I like that in the end a woman growing in Christ is highlighted deeply and that the main characters were able to rest in Christ to lead the way.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Tyndale House Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

A timely book about these last days

These Last Days

Edited by Richard D. Phillips& Gabriel N E Fluhrer

This is a book about an evil age. Specifically, it is about "the present evil age" that we live in right now. For many Christians, the expression "these last days" refers to the time right before the second coming of Christ-but according to the apostles, the last days started with the first coming of Christ and continue even today. How do we biblically understand our time as the final age of world history? What does this mean for our faith? Reformed Christians have often avoided the field of eschatology-but it was this doctrine of history that thrilled the first disciples. They realized that with the coming of the "last days" they had entered the time of the kingdom, and this understanding will strengthen our faith too. Here the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology addresses this important topic and presents the following speakers' insights on: Sinclair Ferguson The Christ of History D. A. Carson This Present Evil Age Alistair Begg The Age of the Spirit Michael S. Horton The Resurrection Hope J. Ligon Duncan III The Eternal Glory D. A. Carson Partakers of the Age to Come Cornelis P. Venema The Four Main Millennial Views Richard D. Phillips A Pastoral Guide to Life After Death Jeffrey K. Jue Evangelical Eschatology, American Style Paul David Tripp The Radical Implications of Eternity Together some of the most gifted communicators of God's Word explain the Christian's view on life, death, and the hereafter.

This is a book about the times we live in and the end of these days. It was great to see many men who believe so much in the Lord. I enjoy growing in my understanding of the times we live in. I long for the end of the race on many days. The history of this world and the insight that these men have is helpful to pull more out of my Bible. I always hold the Books up to the Bible. It is realistic that I do not agree with everyone one's views but for the most part they seem to align with the Bible's view point. It is hard some days to hear the current trends on this world from inside the Church. I am thankful for men who hold onto the historical perspective that this world is a dying place.

I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

This was a great start to a new series

False Pretenses
Kathy Herman

Zoe Broussard loves the life she and her husband Pierce have built in her beloved Louisiana hometown-especially their popular brasserie Zoe B's, to which folks drive all the way from Lafayette for lunch or dinner. It seems like heaven.

            But it's about to become hell. A series of anonymous notes is making her life a misery-because Zoe has a secret so terrible it could leave the business in shambles and tear her marriage apart. Can she find the courage to face her past?

            The first in a new series from Kathy Herman, False Pretenses is a gripping suspense novel that leaves a lasting impression about honesty and accountability.

This was an enjoyable mystery that kept me on my toes waiting for the other shoe to drop. I found the 4 main characters at the start to be confusing at the start I found it a great story builder and increased the pace of the book. Zoe, while having done something extremely wrong was an interesting twist on the main character. It was great to have a character remind me that the grace of Christ can cover and prompts us to love the lost not their sin. It was an ongoing theme of the book. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this series.

I would like to thank Net Galley and David C. Cook Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

One of my favorite authors

Derek W. H. Thomas

In Acts professor of Practical Theology and Reformed Theological Seminary Derek Thomas examines the book of Acts section by section highlighting specific points of historical and theological interest. Lucid, succinct, and eminently accessible, Thomas' writing brings the history of the early church to life through unpacking their teaching and charting the events that so defined the apostolic church and their faithful witness to Christ.
 This is a great series. Derek Thomas is a great source of Biblical thought and understanding. I have enjoyed everything that Rev. Thomas has written. This is book is no exception. This was a great walk through a book of the Bible that details the start of the Christian Church since Jesus lived and died. It is a powerful reminder of the trials that these men went through and the place of woman in the church. It was a detailed walk through how the church was built upon Christ. It was exciting to turn the page to discover some forgotten and some new gems of the this book that Dr. Thomas brings out.   

We Shall See God - The most exciting idea ever!!

We Shall See God

Randy Alcorn & Charles H. Spurgeon

No author in history has more material in print than Charles Spurgeon. During his lifetime, Spurgeon and his writings affected the world far and wide. Today, nearly 120 years after his death, countless people continue to have a passion for this London preacher, and more and more discover him every day. Some of Spurgeon’s most powerful sermons were those that he preached on the topic of Heaven. Up until now, however, very few of these sermons have been accessible to a mass audience. In what is sure to become an instant classic, best-selling author Randy Alcorn has compiled the most profound spiritual insights on the topic of eternity from these sermons and arranged them into an easily-accessible, highly inspirational devotional format complete with his own comments and devotional thoughts. Whether you are familiar with the works of Charles Spurgeon or not, you are in for a treat, as Alcorn invites you to sit at the feet of the Prince of Preachers and discover timeless pearls of wisdom from one of the greatest theological minds of all time. (Publishers description)

A good mix of Spurgeon & Alcorn. Charles Spurgeon was a man of God who knew the right things about his Savior. He wrote and said so many things that it was no small feat to settle on one topic. Eternity the joy Spurgeon entered into years ago and has probable found so many more wonderful things out about it that this book pales in comparison. The blend of Alcorn's insights he has gleaned from Spurgeon and the Bible are a blend that makes this a worthwhile read. This type of material is worth repeating with more Spurgeon and many other Godly men of the 1800's.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Tyndale House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

So Glad that Lori Copeland has a new series, Yea!

Love Blooms in Winter
Lori Copeland

A romantic new book from bestselling author Lori Copeland that portrays God’s miraculous provision even when none seems possible.

1892—Mae Wilkey’s sweet next-door neighbor, Pauline, is suffering from old age and dementia and desperately needs family to come help her. But Pauline can’t recall having kin remaining. Mae searches through her desk and finds a name—Tom Curtis, who may just be the answer to their prayers.

Tom can’t remember an old aunt named Pauline, but if she thinks he’s a long-lost nephew, he very well may be. After two desperate letters from Mae, he decides to pay a visit. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more of an adventure than Tom is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter when God is in charge of things.
Lori Copeland is one of my favorite authors. This was a fun ride and the story was entertaining from beginning to end. The characters were likeable and enjoyable that I did not want to see the book end. I am looking forward to more books in this series. I am so glad that Lori Copeland is writing a new series.
 I would like to thank Net Galley and Harvest House Publishing, Inc. for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

An End to an enjoyable trilogy

Simple Choices
Nancy Mehl

One Simple Choice Changes Things Forever  Freelance graphic designer Gracie Temple is trying to concentrate on her upcoming marriage to Sam Goodrich, the man of her dreams—until events make her simple life in Harmony, Kansas, a mess of complications and fear. Foremost there’s Hannah Mueller, daughter of the local Mennonite pastor and the girl Gracie sees as her protégé. Gracie promises Hannah’s parents that an art workshop in Wichita won’t adversely affect the shy Mennonite girl, but once there, Gracie wonders if she’s spoken too soon—especially when Hannah adopts the worldly clothing styles of the big city and threatens to remain in Wichita instead of returning to Harmony. Gracie manages to coax Hannah home, but soon after arriving, Hannah vanishes. While the county sheriff is convinced Hannah’s just another runaway, Gracie’s not so sure. As Gracie races against time to discover the truth of Hannah’s disappearance, her wedding plans—and her family—suffer under the strain. What simple choices will be made that not only affect Gracie’s life but the lives of everyone she loves in Harmony?
This was a great series. It was enjoyable to learn these characters. It took me a while to warm up to the male lead, although I did come to like Sam. Gracie is just as forthright and interesting as Nancy Mehl's other female leads. I enjoyed the mystery. While they start out going through the life in Harmony and the other characters that become so much a part of what makes the story so interesting and than the mystery intensifies. A rewarding mystery that is worth another trip to Harmony.
 I would like to thank Net Galley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.