Sunday, August 31, 2014

Overwhelmed by Perry Noble (Review)

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414368860
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414368863

Stressed out? Anxious? Overwhelmed? Good news—you’re not alone!

No one ever said life was going to be easy. Between financial struggles, marital issues, health scares, and the regular, run-of-the-mill problems of everyday life, it’s easy to feel weighed down and trapped by your circumstances. In times like these, it’s tempting to just throw in the towel and quit. Well, don’t do it!

Perry Noble has stood at the edge of the abyss himself, and in Overwhelmed, he shares the keys to unlocking the chains of anxiety and despair once and for all. Building on the premise that when we shift our focus from our circumstances to Christ, everything changes, Perry walks readers through a life-altering plan for overcoming stress, worry, depression, and anxiety so we can be free to enjoy the abundant, joy-filled lives we were created for.

God knows we’re frustrated. He knows we’re tired. He knows we’re struggling. But He also knows how things are going to turn out. He is greater than anything you are going through . . . so don’t give up on God. After all, He’s never given up on you.

 My Review:

This was a quick easy to read book. The author has a good conversational writing style. I was not as happy with all of the content. I thought this book was going to be more of how to deal with stress and being overwhelmed. Instead the book focused more on depression which I know goes hand in hand with the other two. In the book about a fourth of the way through the author divides the book up into sections on reminders, sin struggles, and trust struggles. He shares his personal experience on dealing with severe depression issues. The book does not address the fact he takes medicine for it. It is not a spiritual problem but a chemical imbalance. I am not sure this would be the best book to give to someone battling these issues.

Perry Noble is the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church and the author of Unleash!: Breaking Free from Normalcy. While his primary responsibilities are being a servant to Jesus Christ, a husband to Lucretia, and a father to Charisse, Perry is also passionate about seeing people meet Jesus, leading his church staff, and pouring into other church leaders on a local and global level. You can find him online at

Raw Faith by Kasey Van Norman (Review)

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414364784
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414364780

As a respected Bible teacher, Kasey Van Norman had dedicated her life to sharing God’s Word and encouraging women to trust in God during times of crisis. Then, just as her ministry was poised to explode, Kasey was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that 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 triumphant victory.

Drawing on a variety of Bible stories and characters, Kasey discovers and distills the singular truth that has existed since time began: while change and uncertainty are inevitable, God is always unchanging, and He is always faithful—even when our circumstances might tempt us to think otherwise.

 My Review:

This book was supposed to be a memoir about her struggle with cancer. It ended up being more of a bible study. Addressed are what she calls the toxic ds; depression, denial, and discouragement. She explains that the awful nausea she had from chemotherapy had nothing on these. She references a lot of bible stories and verses. Overall the book was okay.

Kasey makes her home on a US mission field. Along with husband Justin and their two children, Kasey works and lives each day on the largest working rescue ranch in the United States. As a child rescue agent for Still Creek Ranch in Bryan, TX, Kasey helps rescue minors from abuse, neglect, and human trafficking.

Kasey is a licensed professional counselor with earned degrees in psychology, public speaking, counseling, and biblical studies. Kasey founded KVM (Kasey Van Norman Ministries) in 2010.

If I Had Lunch With C. S. Lewis by Alister McGrath (Review)

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414383789
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414383781

What if you could ask C. S. Lewis his thoughts on some of the most difficult questions of life? If you could, the result would be Dr. Alister McGrath’s provocative and perceptive book, If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis. Best-selling author, prominent academic, and sought-after speaker, Dr. McGrath sees C. S. Lewis as the perfect conversation companion for the persistent meaning-of-life questions everyone asks.

What makes Lewis a good dialogue partner is that his mind traveled through a wide and varied terrain: from atheism of his early life to his conversion later in life; from his rational skepticism to his appreciation of value of human desires and imagination; from his role as a Christian apologist during World War II to his growth as a celebrated author of classic children’s literature. The questions Lewis pondered persist today: Does life have meaning? Does God exist? Can reason and imagination be reconciled? Why does God allow suffering?

Let McGrath be your insightful guide to an intriguing conversation with Lewis about the ultimate questions.

 My Review:

This book was hard to read and did not keep my attention. It was not what I expected. There was no dialogue between C. S. Lewis and the author. The whole lunch thing was mentioned at the very beginning and end of each chapter. It was if we were at lunch with C. S. Lewis and asked him this question, this is what he might say. It felt tedious reading it and I barely made it through the whole book. The questions addressed subjects like death, the meaning of life, friendship, faith, learning, and suffering. It also explored some of the Chronicles of Narnia series and what certain things meant in them. I think I would rather read C. S. Lewis's actual books. I have read a few of them. I read this book because I really enjoyed the biography this author wrote last summer on C. S. Lewis. I recommend that book over this one. Also I recommend reading C. S. Lewis's books.

 Alister McGrath, one of the world’s leading Christian theologians, is Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King’s College London, and head of its Center for Theology, Religion, and Culture. Before moving to King’s College, he was Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University and is currently Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester at Oxford. Author of C. S. Lewis—A Life, McGrath has a deep knowledge of Christian theology, history, and literature that allows him to interpret Lewis against a broad backdrop, presenting a fascinating portrait of the development of Lewis’s mind and his impact on Western culture.

Still Lolo by Lauren Scruggs and the Scruggs Family with Marcus Brotherton (Review)

  • Hardcover: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum; First Edition edition (November 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414376693
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414376691

In December 2011, Lauren (“LoLo”) Scruggs, a 23-year-old fashion journalist, suffered a sudden injury that made headlines around the world. She had been on a short flight to look at Christmas lights and, upon exiting the small plane, was hit by the still-moving propeller blade. A frantic 911 call, several major surgeries, and thousands of prayers later: Lauren lived. But she lost her left hand and left eye. And she had to face some incredibly difficult questions: What kind of future will I have? Where is God in all this pain? Will anyone ever be able to love me now? In Still LoLo, Lauren speaks out for the first time since her accident. She and her family reveal what really happened that night, what Lauren’s life is like today, what got them through their journey toward healing, and how they conquered all odds to persevere as a family. It’s a compelling and fiercely beautiful story of faith, determination, and staying true to who you are—no matter what.

 My Review:

I did not particularly enjoy reading this book. Lauren does not come off as very likeable. She seems like a spoiled, privileged, rich girl.She did suffer a horrific accident. I am not  denying that. There is  nothing special surrounding the circumstances. Parts of it seemed overly dramatized like her father's reaction when he found out. The book stated he wailed and curled up in a fetal position several times. There was also unnecessary family drama pre incident shared. I think there are more inspiring stories out there to read.

Marcus Brotherton is a journalist and professional writer, known internationally for his collaborations with high-profile public figures, humanitarians, inspirational leaders, and military personnel.
Visit his blog at:

Echoes of an Angel by Aquanetta Gordon with Chris Macias (Review)

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414386222
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414386225

When Ben Underwood became blind at the age of two, anyone would have thought he faced a life full of hardship and uphill challenges—a world full of things he’d never be able to see and activities he’d never be able to enjoy. But as far as his mom, Aquanetta Gordon, was concerned, nothing was impossible for Ben . . . and so he accomplished the incredible. Known as “the boy who could see with sound,” Ben mastered human echolocation—the ability to detect the size, shape and location of objects through the reflection of sound waves. By clicking his tongue and “seeing” the waves, Ben could ride his bike, shoot baskets, identify objects, and even play video games. Some called it a miracle, but to Ben and Aqua, the real miracles were the otherworldly experiences God gave Ben—physical and spiritual—that others couldn’t explain. Echoes of an Angel is the remarkable true story of how a child who seemed destined for darkness brought light to the world. It’s the story of a single mom who encouraged her son to push beyond his limits, even as her heart clenched with protective love and fear. And it’s the story of a family’s unshakable faith . . . in God and each other.

My Review:

This was the story of Ben Underwood but also his mother, Aquanetta. It was told from her perspective. It seems she was honest in admitting her mistakes including drugs and bad relationship choices. She does not regret any of her children though. Ben was her fourth child and at age two found out he had bad cancer. He ended up having both of his eye balls removed. Aquanetta refused to hinder him by babying him. He developed a remarkable skill called echolocation. This allowed him to do most of the things seeing boys could do. He still had obstacles to overcome which he did with an excellent attitude. Unfortunately his cancer came back when he was a teen. I was so upset when I reached the ending and found out he passed away. I do not remember hearing this story in the news even though it was there. I was inspired by this story, he lived so much life in his 17 years. The only thing I was uncomfortable with was some of the spiritual aspect including him appearing to people after his death.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

In the Secret Service by Jerry Parr with Carolyn Parr (Review)

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 20, 2013)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414378718

Meet Jerry Parr. In 1981, he was the agent standing next to Ronald Reagan when John Hinckley, Jr., stepped out of the crowd, intent on killing the president. In the Secret Service is an adrenaline-filled ride through the life of the agent who saved Ronald Reagan’s life. Jerry spent much of his life as a silent eyewitness to history, with a gun at his fingertips. What motivates a man who is ready at a moment’s notice to step into the path of a bullet? In In the Secret Service, you’ll also follow Jerry’s inner journey. That journey led him from the halls of the powerful to the streets of the poor in Washington, D.C., to the mountain passes of war-torn El Salvador to help orphans.

You won’t want to miss this insider’s perspective on the Secret Service and a look into the heart of a man who was—and is—ready to sacrifice himself for another. At times heart-pounding, at times heartrending, this richly textured memoir of a Secret Service Agent will first move you to the edge of your seat, then to the depths of your soul.

 My Review:

This was an interesting look at the life of a Secret Service Agent, Jerry Parr. He is the one credited with saving the life of President Ronald Regan. That incident is not the main focus of the book though. The book details his life and career. This was a behind the scenes look at being secret service agent. I had no idea how much time they have to spend away from their families. Mr. Parr shares funny stories and sad ones. The end of the book ended abruptly after telling what he started doing after he got out of the secret service. Other than that I enjoyed reading the book.

 Jerry and Carolyn Parr have built their life together on faith, family, and service. Jerry served as a special agent in the United States Secret Service for twenty-three years. Carolyn worked for the Justice Department and later as a federal tax judge. Both Jerry and Carolyn are ordained ministers. They have three daughters and four brilliant and beautiful granddaughters.

The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow with Cindy Coloma (Review)

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414391900
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414391908

An unforgettable true story that will touch your heart and make you believe in love’s enduring legacy, and in the power of prayer.

In 1928, 16-year-old Minka was on a picnic in the woods when she was assaulted and raped. And suddenly this innocent farm girl—who still thought the stork brought babies—was pregnant. The baby was secretly born, named Betty Jane, and given up for adoption. For decades, Minka wrote letters trying to get news of her daughter; she kept loving and praying for her, even though she never dared believe they would meet again. Until nearly eighty years later, when Minka whispered her secret, impossible prayer for the first time: Lord, I’d like to see Betty Jane before I die. I promise I won’t bother her or interrupt her life. I just want to lay eyes on her. Unbeknownst to Minka, that very same day, a judge was releasing the sealed adoption records to her 77-year-old daughter. And soon, Minka’s phone would ring. Written by Cathy LaGrow (Minka’s granddaughter), The Waiting brings three generations of this most unusual family together over the course of a century to tell a story of faith that triumphs, forgiveness that sets us free, and love that never forgets.

My Review:

This was a non fiction book that read like a fiction book. My attention was captured in the beginning and I could not wait to find out what happened. I felt so bad for Minka when she was raped at the picnic at the age of sixteen. Then she gave her baby up for adoption so it would have a better life. But she never gave up on her, writing letters to the adoption place for decades. The book also details each of their lives throughout the years. Minka gets married and has other children. Her baby girl grows up, gets married, and has children. The end of the book was amazing. The two separate lives come together. Minka was in her 90s and said a prayer asking to see her Betty Jane before she dies. One of Betty Jane's family members wanted to find her birth mother for her. Betty Jane always knew she was adopted but did not hold it against Minka. So in her 70s she meets her birth mother who is in her 90s. I felt like crying several times reading this book. The writing was good and the story touching. Highly Recommended.   

The Advocate by Randy Singer (Review)

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (May 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414391304

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.

Three decades later, Theophilus has proven himself in the legal ranks of the Roman Empire. He has survived the insane rule of Caligula and has weathered the cruel tyrant’s quest to control the woman he loves. He has endured the mindless violence of the gladiator games and the backstabbing intrigue of the treason trials.

Now he must face another evil 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 Review:

This is a hard book for me to review. I am not familiar enough with the historical period and details to give an opinion on whether its accurate. I am going to address it as a fully fictional book without analyzing the historical details. It was interesting and kept my attention. One thing that bothered me was the way time was handled. I would finish one chapter and the next would start years later. To me it seemed like the book centered around Theophilus's life more than one trial. The trial of Paul was one little part. Overall it was well written and the characters were mostly well developed. The ending was not nice and sweet. I was reminded that life is like that. I have read some of the author's legal thrillers and enjoyed them. This is his first historical book. I think although this could have been a shorter book it was a good first.

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned nine legal thrillers, including his award-winning debut novel "Directed Verdict." In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as a teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his "Jekyll and Hyde thing"--part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and ethics at Regent Law School and serves on the school's Board of Visitors. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his Web site at 

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tattler's Branch by Jan Watson (Review)

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414339151
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414339153

Lilly Corbett Still has grown to love her life as the small-town doctor of Skip Rock, a tiny coal community in the Kentucky mountains. Though her husband, Tern, is away for a few months at a mining job, Lilly has her hands full with her patients and her younger sister visiting for the summer.

Lilly turns to her good friend and neighbor, Armina, to help keep things in order—until a mysterious chain of events leaves Armina bedridden and an abandoned baby on her doorstep. Lilly works to uncover the truth, unaware of what a mess she’s found herself in until a break-in at her clinic puts her on high alert. As she struggles between what is right and what is safe, Lilly must discover the strength of her resilient country neighbors, her God, and herself.

 My Review:

This was an okay Christian historical fiction book. It is the second book in the series. I was definitely missing some background throughout the book. I have not read the first book in the series but I think readers who have will enjoy this book more. The plot and characters were interesting although some of the characters fell a little flat. Lily's husband Tern is absent on a business trip the whole book. Armenia's husband is away at school. The found baby's father, the sheriff, and a local kid are all portrayed negative. Lily, Mazy, and Armenia are the best developed characters. Mazy is Lily's little sister who comes to stay with her for awhile. She is spoiled rotten and hard to like most of the book. The next book in the series will focus on her. I look forward to seeing her story developed more. I may go back and read the first book in the series, Skip Rock Shallows, first. This book I recommend to those who have read book one.

Former registered nurse and peri-natal loss counselor, Jan Watson won the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild First Novel Contest in 2004 with Troublesome Creek. Written with a dollop of romance and a smidgen of suspense, Jan's award winning historical novels, are uniquely set in the Appalachian Mountains.
Jan lives in Lexington, Kentucky and spends her days writing and entertaining her Jack Russell terrier, Maggie. Her favorite hobby is reading antique medical books.

The Midwife by Jolina Petersheim (Review)

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (May 16, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414379357

The story about a mother who risks everything to save a child not genetically hers . . .

The Past -- Graduate student Beth Winslow was sure she was ready to navigate the challenges of becoming a surrogate. But when early tests indicate possible abnormalities with the baby, 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 Haus, a home for unwed mothers deep in a Tennessee Mennonite community.

The Present -- As head midwife of Hopen Haus, Rhoda Mummau delivers babies with a confident though stoic ease. Except in rare moments, not even those who work alongside her would guess that each newborn cry, each starry-eyed glance from mother to child, nearly renders a fault through Rhoda's heart, reminding her of a past she has carefully concealed.

Past and present collide when a young woman named Amelia arrives in the sweeping countryside bearing secrets of her own. As Amelia's due date draws near, Rhoda must face her regrets and those she left behind in order for the healing power of love and forgiveness to set them all free.

 My Review:

This was an interesting book. It is fiction told mostly through first person. I was a little confused, in the beginning especially. The plot felt choppy. Beth and Rhoda are the same person and Amelia is the daughter she had to give back. In her past Beth was a graduate student when she agrees to be a surrogate for one of her professors. When they want to get rid of the baby because a doctor tells them it might be defection Beth runs and ends up at Hopen Haus. She gives birth and names the baby Hope. The couple finds her and takes back the baby. Fast forward to present day and Rhoda/Beth runs Hopen House. Amelia shows up pregnant needing a place to stay. The last part of the book is the best. The ending is explosive. There is a subplot involving one of the other girls in the house too. Overall this was an okay book.

Jolina Petersheim is the bestselling author of The Midwife and The Outcast, which Library Journal called "outstanding . . . fresh and inspirational" in a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. She holds degrees in English and communication arts from the University of the Cumberlands, and her writing has been featured in venues as varied as radio programs, nonfiction books, and numerous online and print publications. Her blog is syndicated with The Tennessean's "On Nashville" blog roll, and she also blogs weekly with nine other bestselling authors at Southern Belle View. Jolina and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their young daughter. Follow Jolina and her blog at

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Popular by Tindell Baldwin (Review)

“My heart is for teenage girls because my story is much like so many of theirs. I was just a girl who made a lot of mistakes. I was a girl who had sex before marriage and then had a broken heart. I was a girl who did drugs and drank to fill the void that was deep in my heart. I was a girl who was desperate to be popular. A girl who, like so many others, didn’t know the dark side of sin. So my aim is to reach teenage girls, and through an honest account of my darkest sins, show them what they are up against. My heart is that teens would hear my story and flee to Christ. My greatest desire is that God would be glorified above all else.”

Through a two-part journey (“Dark” and “Light”), Tindell details how she said goodbye to her family’s God and pursued popularity at all costs while climbing the social chain in high school. During a night of partying, she even encountered the man suspected of killing Natalee Holloway in Aruba. But God did not leave Tindell. The “Light” part of her story shows how she reconnected with God, changed her ways, and discovered abundant and real life through Christ.

My Review:

This book was way too long. The same details were told over and over again. The story itself was heartbreaking. I have teenage cousins and I worry about them all the time facing the pressures of drugs, alcohol, and s*x.  Tindell seems to have fallen hard into the pressures of a teen and stayed there for years. In the end God got through to her and she turned her life around. In this book she expressed her mission of helping teenage girls not make the same mistakes she did. If they did make them she wants to help them recover and find freedom through Christ. I think it is a great mission and inspiring how God turned her life around.

Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge and John Ward (Review)

Faith and Luke Carraday have it all. Faith is a beautiful singer turned socialite while Luke is an up-and-coming businessman. After taking his inheritance from his father’s stable, lucrative business to invest in a successful hedge fund with the Michov Brothers, he’s on the fast track as a rising young executive, and Faith is settling comfortably into her role as his wife.

When rumors of the Michovs’ involvement in a Ponzi scheme reach Faith, she turns to Luke for confirmation, and he assures her that all is well. But when Luke is arrested, Faith can’t understand why he would lie to her, and she runs home to the farm and the family she turned her back on years ago. Meanwhile, Luke is forced to turn to his own family for help as he desperately tries to untangle himself from his mistakes. Can two prodigals return to families they abandoned, and will those families find the grace to forgive and forget? Will a marriage survive betrayal when there is nowhere to run but home?

 My Review:

This was an okay Christian fiction book. It is the novelization of a movie coming out with the same name. The story felt awkward and slow. It was told in first person through multiple characters. The book centers around Faith and Luke but Faith's family plays a prominent role. She runs to them after a long time of being away because her husband, Luke, gets in trouble for being part of a Ponzi scheme.  She ran and did not contact him to let him know what was going on with her which did not make sense. When all of Luke's friends and business associates give him the cold shoulder he finally returns to his father for help. Interjected between these chapters are ones told from Faith's dead Mom's point of view when she was dying. It is the story of double prodigals. The plot was interesting but the characters felt a little flat. The end was satisfying and fit the book. I have read other books by Rene Gutteridge and liked them. This was one was just okay.

Rene Gutteridge is the author of nineteen novels including Listen, Possession, Misery Loves Company, the Storm series, the Boo series, the Occupational Hazards series, and the novelization of the movie The Ultimate Gift. Rene and her husband have two children and live in Oklahoma. John Ward has spent twenty-five years in the film industry as a screenwriter, director, and actor. He recently wrote, directed, and starred in the feature film I AM. He also wrote, produced, and directed the Liquid DVD series for Thomas Nelson. He currently serves as president of Bayridge Films.

Friday, August 22, 2014

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin (Review)

  • Series: Wings of the Nightingale (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (August 5, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800720834

Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don't want to go. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?

Sarah Sundin seamlessly weaves together emotion, action, and sweet romance into a tale that transcends time and calls us to believe in the power of love.

My Review:

This is book three in the Wings of the Nightingale series set during WWII. The characters are the same so I recommend reading the books in order. It is a great series and I loved all the books. They are Christian historical romance books. The author does a great job with descriptions and making you feel like you are there. This book centers more on Kay Jobson and Roger Cooper. Kay is a good time gal who leads all the unmarried on without going all the way. She has a past that she does not like telling people about. Her father was a tent preacher who treated her bad and told her lies. Roger has a big farm family but because of the wild way he lived his life until the military they do not think he will amount to much. Roger and Kay know each other through mutual friends and the fact he is a pilot and she is a flight nurse. They have sparks but both are cautious. Roger has decided to stay away from women especially Kay since he's attracted to her. Kay does not understand because all she knows is flirting. Most of the book happens overseas in Italy and France during WWII. The war as a setting works good while highlighting unsung heroes. The conclusion is satisfying and  ties up the series as well as this book. I really liked the whole series and recommend them.

 Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California, with her husband and three children. Visit for more information.

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Just 18 Summers by Rene Guttridge and Michelle Cox (Review)

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 21, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414386591
Winner of the 2014 CLASS Reunion Kudos Book Award, fiction category.

After the tragic death of Butch Browning’s wife, Jenny, four families begin to realize how precious—and fleeting—their time together is. Each is at a different stage in life: Butch is facing single parenthood. The O’Reillys are expecting their first child. The Andersons are approaching an empty nest, and the Buckleys are so focused on providing their children with everything that they’ve forgotten what they truly need. With just eighteen summers before their children are grown, how do they make the most of that time when life so often gets in the way?

As summer flies by, each of these parents must learn about guilt and grace . . . and when to hold on to their kids and when to let go.
 My Review:
This was a touching Christian fiction book about how fast children grow up. One of the big themes of course is  parents only have 18 summers with their children and should make the most of it. The book was told from several different people. I liked how the male and female perspectives were both represented. The chapters would alternate but their lives all overlapped in some way. I felt the emotions in the book. Some parts were sad, some happy, and most poignant. These are everyday families readers can relate too. I enjoyed reading it and I have no children. I have much loved cousins though; one of whom is graduating high school this year. Recommended.
 Rene Gutteridge is the award-winning and best-selling author of more than eighteen novels, including the beloved Boo Series and Heart of the Country, her novelization release with director John Ward and Tyndale House Publishers. Her recent suspense titles include Listen, Possession and the award-winning Seven Hours project Escapement. She's been published by Bethany House, Tyndale House, WaterBrook Press, Thomas Nelson and B&H and novelized the successful motion picture The Ultimate Gift. She is teaming again with screenwriter Cheryl McKay for the romantic comedy Greetings from the Flipside from B&H and releasing her new suspense title, Misery Loves Company from Tyndale in 2013. Her romantic comedy Never the Bride won the 2010 Carol Award for Best Women’s Fiction. Her upcoming literary projects include the novelization of the motion picture Old Fashioned with Tyndale House Publishers and filmmaker Rik Swartzwelder.

The Life-Seek Find Give by Tyndale House Publishers (Review)

  • Series: Project 29
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414396368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414396361

A refreshingly unconventional Biblezine for spiritually curious teens. A full-out visual feast, presenting timeless scriptural truth with unique energy and passion. The Life moves teens beyond religion to an introduction to Jesus’ personal story and his Word. Powered by the clear and accessible New Living Translation.

The Life was collaboratively developed in partnership with Youth for Christ, whose mission is to bring the message of Jesus to young people across the world. Youth for Christ has more than 160 chapters impacting thousands of communities.

The New Living Translation breathes life into even the most difficult-to-understand Bible passages, but even more powerful are stories of how people’s lives are changing as the words speak directly to their hearts.

 My Review:

This is a small book in size and number of pages but it is full of good information. It is bible verses in sections put into everyday language. There are pictures and the paper is like a magazine. It might be a good way to get a teen to read bible verses without a big bible. Recommended.

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Grand Design by Amber Stockton

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Grand Design
Abingdon Press (August 19, 2014)
Amber Stockton


Words from the author:

Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. I am in my mid-30's, married to the love of my life since July 2007, have a daughter and a son, and live in Colorado. Here, I am content to do what I love—write, speak, and offer virtual assistance.

Thanks to the gentle nudging of a fellow author -- Tracie Peterson -- in 2002, I joined the American Christian Fiction Writers and wouldn't be published today without them. For those of you who are also fiction writers looking for a wonderful support group, check them out! My very first book, Promises, Promises, sold in December 2006 and released in February 2008. I've been going steady ever since.


When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island, parts of the city that are otherwise off limits to tourists. As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life . . . and attracts the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa’s fractured heart—and bring healing to her entire family?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Grand Design, go HERE.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me by David Platt (Review)

You may think you are a Christian—but are you sure? Jesus’ call to follow him is more than an invitation to pray a prayer. It is a summons to lose your life and find new life and ultimate joy in him. In David Platt’s book Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live he asks the question, “What did Jesus really mean when he said, ‘Follow me’?” What if we really listened to Jesus’ words and heard what he is saying? When people truly engage with Jesus’ personal invitation to follow him, everything changes, for he is worthy of all our trust and affections.

What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me? builds on the message of Follow Me to motivate readers to experience our grand purpose: to exalt the glory of God by spreading Christ’s gospel—to make disciples who are making disciples. This booklet is a great resource to share with others to discuss crucial faith questions in a personal and grace-filled manner and engage others to be disciple-makers in obedience to Jesus. Ideal for small groups or personal and mass evangelism.

My Review:

This is a short booklet.  It was well written. It explains the basics of what it really means to be a Christian and follow Jesus. I read it in an hour. I think it would make a good short bible study for new or existing believers. The book refreshed my memory on why I believe what I believe. Recommended.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sky Zone by Creston Mapes

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Sky Zone
David C. Cook (June 1, 2014)
Creston Mapes


Creston has fond memories of his boyhood in Bath, Ohio, where he became enchanted with his future wife, way back in the fourth grade. His father, Bernie, owned and operated The Weathervane Furniture Shop in town. The whole family lived right upstairs in the century-old house known as "The Shop."

Creston studied journalism at Bowling Green State University, then began his writing career. During the past 30 years, he has worked as a reporter, corporate copywriter, creative director, freelance writer, and author.


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

Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant. Having her recently widowed mother on hand isn't making matters any easier. With financial pressures boiling, Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-or-death battle to save their own lives--and the lives of thousands of innocent people.

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

Evergreen by Susan May Warren (Review)

  • Series: Christiansen Family
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414394015

An empty nest has Ingrid Christiansen dreading the upcoming holidays, but her husband, John, couldn’t be more excited about this new season of life. He even has a surprise trip abroad planned. He’s sure she’ll love it. What’s more romantic than Christmas in Paris?

Before he can stop her, however, Ingrid agrees to spearhead a major church project. Then their faithful dog, Butterscotch, needs emergency surgery, draining their savings. And then—because disasters strike in threes—an unexpected guest arrives, dredging up old hurts.

As a beautiful blanket of snow transforms the north woods into a winter wonderland, a deep chill settles over John and Ingrid’s marriage. With the holidays fast approaching, their only hope of keeping their love evergreen depends on turning the page on the past and embracing a new chapter of their future.

 My Review:

I thought this was a good novella. It is part of the Christiansen series. It's the holidays and John and Ingrid are dealing with empty nest syndrome. Ingrid is especially taking it hard. Then the family dog gets sick and her nephew from her estranged sister shows up needing a home. Their marriage is strained and they feel disconnected. It will take a Christmas miracle to turn things around. The ending is sweet and satisfying. This will be a great addition to Christmas novellas. I have liked the entire series. Recommended.

Growing up in Minneapolis and attending the U of MN, I learned to love city life, although I'm a woodsy girl at heart. Or maybe I'm an adventurer -- having lived and traveled all over the world, including Siberia Russia as a missionary for eight years. Probably that's why my characters can't sit still, and seem to get into one scrape after another -- they're too much like me! I love God, my family, my country, my church, and feel privileged every day to be able to write stories, that I hope inspire and entertain!

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Heart to Heal by Allie Pleiter

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Heart to Heal
Love Inspired (July 15, 2014)
Allie Pleiter


Enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and nonfiction. An avid knitter, harp player and non-reformed chocoholic, she spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in speech from Northwestern University and currently lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. The "dare from a friend" to begin writing eight years ago has blossomed into a career that includes numerous public speaking engagements, two books on parenting; Becoming a Chief Home Officer and Facing Every Mom's Fears and now novels for Steeple Hill Books. She is the mother of two children and, most recently, a Havanese dog named Bella.


The Courage To Hope.

Guidance counselor Heather Browning is desperate. She needs a mentor to help Simon, a disabled student who is struggling at Gordon Falls High School. Unfortunately, hotshot Max Jones is her only option. Confrontational and cavalier, Max uses his flashy persona to hide the bitterness he's felt since his life-changing accident. Perpetually cautious, Heather finds Max's bad-boy bravado as intriguing as it is infuriating. But as Heather and Max work together to build Simon's self-confidence, they begin to trust each other. Max has never been slow and careful with anything. Can he be gentle with Heather's heart?

Gordon Falls: Hearts ablaze in a small town.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of A Heart to Heal, go HERE.

The Fight by Luke Wordley (Review)

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (April 18, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414389493

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 Review:

I thought this was a good debut book. The author does a good job with descriptions. The characters and plot are well developed and interesting. I am not big into fighting but those scenes did not distract from the book. Most of the book is focused on relationships. Sam and his mom have struggled since his father died and she turned into an alcoholic. He basically is raising himself. Jerry is a boxing trainer at a local gym who is a Christian after a rough past life. He loves his wife and young children but when he meets Sam his past comes back to haunt him. Sam has the potential to be the best fighter and Jerry wants to take him there. There are costs to every decision. The pages flew by. I was engaged from the beginning to the end. I could not wait to see what happened next. The faith element fits naturally. The conclusion was satisfying and fits the book. Christian guys especially might like this book. I look forward to the next book by this author. Recommended.

Luke Wordley lives with his wife and three children in the South of England. A passionate Christian, he has worked mainly in International Development, where he has developed a love for Africa and a passion for social action and justice. The Fight is his first novel. 

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Epic Grace by Kurt Bubna (Review)

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (August 30, 2013)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414385044

God never wastes anything—our strengths, our successes, or our mistakes. In this collection of true stories, Kurt Bubna, a self-confessed “recovering idiot,” chronicles his own honest, heartfelt, and often hilarious missteps along the path to grace. You’ll discover what it means to experience the unconditional love of God, regardless of how often you stumble, and you’ll gain a fresh view of how to find God’s purpose for your life. Learn from Kurt’s trials and triumphs that God is indeed the God of second chances—and His epic grace can transform even the most imperfect life into something priceless.

 My Review:

I think this was an interesting book. It felt more like a memoir than self help spiritual book. He was very open about his mistakes and what he learned about epic grace in his life. It sometimes helps to realize that everyone else is a "recovering idiot" too. "If you haven't figured it out by now, the words Grace, Love, and Forgiveness are nearly synonymous." That is one of my favorite quotations from the book. The chapters were short and flew by. There were also many hilarious moments in his life he shared. Overall I enjoyed reading this book.

 Kurt W. Bubna serves as the founding and senior pastor of Eastpoint Church--a large, community-focused congregation in Spokane Valley, Washington. He loves to write about where life and faith inter-connect in a raw and real way. Learn more at

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Beautiful on the Mountain by Jeannie Light (Review)

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (May 16, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414387130

If you enjoyed the classic novel Christy and the bestselling Mitford series, then you’ll love Beautiful on the Mountain, a real-life tale about serving God in unlikely circumstances. In 1977, Jeannie Light left her fine plantation home amid heartbreak and came to Graves Mill, a tiny hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Alone in an utterly new kind of life, Jeannie was determined to find the courage to make a fresh start.

To Jeannie’s surprise, she found herself called upon by her new neighbors to open the old, deteriorated country church, a place that had once united the fractured community of mountain folk. With no training, and no small amount of trepidation, she undertook the task. And as she embarked on an unforeseen series of adventures, from heartbreaking to hilarious, Jeannie would learn more than she ever expected about faith, loving your neighbor, and doing the work that God sets in front of you. Because sometimes, God calls us to go where there is no path . . . and leave a trail.

My Review:

This was an interesting memoir. Jeannie Light had a good life living in a big fancy house then husband decided he wanted a divorce. The settlement was a little weird and confusing to me. It was decades ago so I imagine things were different. The book mostly described events occurring 1977 to 1979. The first part focused on how she came to be in Graves Mill. Then how she became involved in the community. Charlie wanted her from the start of her being there to revive the small old country church. It was definitely not something in her plans but God sometimes has other things in store. She starts with a bible study in her little house. One day a big man thundered in and said women were not supposed to be preaching. It shocked everybody there and somehow she ended up leaving for awhile. She went to classes and lived with friends in other towns. She ended up back in Graves Mill because she could not deny her calling to minster to the country people of Graves Mills in Blue Ridge Mountains. In the end the church does get to open back with her as the preacher. There were good descriptions and the book was interesting. If you like these kinds of books then I recommend this one.

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Classics Club Spin 18

My Classics Club Spin List for August This is a hodgepodge of books left on my list I made in 2017 for the Classics Club. Tomorrow the clu...