Literary Insights

Literary Insights: A Book Lovers Review

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs

“Mary was full of God’s grace simply because God chose to bless her. We have no description of her being holy or pious or deserving. She was a virgin, yes, but not perfect, not without sin. For Jesus to be fully the Son of Man, his mother had to be fully human.

What made Mary worthy of her calling was not her virtue; it was God’s virtue. That’s why her story gives every woman a generous measure of hope. God takes us as we are and uses us as he will, for our good and for his glory. Talk about being ‘endued with grace!’”

Excerpted from The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs

 How is God using you, just as you are, for His glory this Christmas?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Equipped to Live Extraordinarily

The truth is, God not only desires you to live extraordinarily but also has equipped you to do so. Don’t ever forget these words. Etch them on the tablet of your heart. A remarkable, amazing, extraordinary life is not restricted to certain individuals or professions. It doesn’t matter who you are or how you serve in life. If you’re a schoolteacher, businessperson, government leader, stay-at-home mom, athlete, factory worker, hairstylist, student, pastor (the list is endless), it doesn’t matter, because you were created for extraordinary achievements in that role. The power to accomplish remarkable feats and live an exceptional life is not tied to an occupation but to a disposition of the heart. This is not only God’s will but also His great pleasure.

Excerpted from Extraordinary by John Bevere


How can you change your heart to live an extraordinary life for God?
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

check out Tyndale Direct for Great Gifts

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

Widowed and left to care for his children, William is consumed with saving the estate from financial ruin. The last thing he needs is any distraction coming from the kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.

The Governess of Highland Hall is set in early 1900’s England where Julia Foster is hired as a Governess for Sir William Ramsey’s two children as well as his deceased cousin’s two teenage girls. Julia applied for this position upon returning from India where she had worked alongside her parents as a Missionary. When her father became ill, the family needed to return to England and Julia accepted the Governess position to help support her parents.

The story moves along with solutions to conflicts and creating new challenges. Many of the conflicts come naturally from harsh and gentle characters, which are focused on their own wants and fears. Julia's faith and trust in God make her a good example for those open to improvement. Much like Downton Abbey this story gives us a glimpse into the lives of the family as well as those who serve them.

There were many twists and turns in the story; the small romantic intrigues between secondary characters will have you wondering about the next book in the series. The author does a wonderful job of weaving this tale in a way that will capture your interest. Turansky has taken the details of the Regency era and captured the picture of what England was like in the early 1900’s.

For fans of sweet romance this story will delight in The Governess of Highland Hall where love blossoms both upstairs and down in Edwardian era England. I recommend this story for an afternoon autumn read.  Set on a majestic estate of old, author Carrie Turansky has woven a tender and uplifting tale with a heartwarming message.

I received a copy of the book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing in their blogging for books program for my review.
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change by John Hagee

"...There will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." Luke 21:25a, 28.
Just as in biblical times, God is controlling the sun, the moon, and the stars to send our generation a signal that something big is about to happen. The question is: Are we watching and listening to His message?
Inspired by NASA projections and recorded history, John Hagee shows direct connections between four blood-moon eclipses and major world events. Further, he reveals the significance of the four upcoming “blood moons” and what they portend for Israel and all of humankind.

The author explains how this rare astronomical series of events has synchronized with dramatic Biblical events in the past and offers interesting speculation as to what may be in the near future for Christians and Jews.
Hagee draws on scripture, NASA science, and history in order to explore the significance of this astronomical event and to show how it will impact Israel and possibly all of mankind. Full lunar eclipses called "blood moons" occur when the infrared band of light gets around the Earth thus making the moon appear red. This event happens very rarely. So far there have been only three occurrences and each has had an impact on Israel's history. One occurred when Israel became a nation while another occurred during the Six-Day War, when Jerusalem was reunited with Israel. The "blood moons," will occur four times; twice in 2014 and twice in 2015. Each will fall on a major Jewish Holy Day.
From the Star appearing in Bethlehem to announce the birth of Jesus every heavenly body is controlled by the unseen hand of God to send signals to humanity of coming events. Hagee shows that God uses the sun and moon as signs, giving us the biblical evidence, and connecting them to the history of Israel. He explores the importance of the Shemittah year, the relevance of 490 year events, and the significance of the 9th of Av. He spends quite some time on Israel and the importance of the nation in the plans of God. He covers the importance of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles.

Hagee reviews the previous times the four blood moons occurred on the Jewish holidays of Passover and Feast of Tabernacles. I found the book to be informative and well documented. I recommend the book for those interested in learning more about what the bible says regarding signs and wonders in the sky and to do further research.

I received a copy of Four Blood Moons from Worthy Publishing Group for my review.
To win a free copy Please Like, Comment, Share and I will pick two winners
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Last Light by Terri Blackstock

Imagine this: Today, the world as you know it will end. No need to turn off the lights; there isn't any electricity. Your car suddenly stalls and won't restart. You can't call for help because your cell phone is dead. Everyone around you is having the same problem, and it's just the tip of the iceberg. Your city is in blackout. All communication is cut off. Hospital equipment won't operate. Airplanes are falling from the sky. Is it a terrorist attack, or something far worse? Yesterday's world is gone. Now all you've got is your family and your immediate neighborhood. You stand or fall together. You must rely on each other as never before. But one of you is a killer and he could be your next door neighbor.

Terri Blackstock weaves an interesting "what-if"-novel in which global catastrophe reveals the darkness in human hearts, while presenting a glimmer of hope as well. Last Light centers on the Branning family as they have to decide to keep whatever possessions they have or put their faith in the Lord and share what resources they have with others. The civilians of the small town must come together if they are to survive, especially when there is a killer among them.

Deni Branning and her father Doug had just landed at the Birmingham airport when the power went out. It wasn't a normal power outage. Cars didn't work and cell phones died. In fact, every piece of modern technology had failed.

The two manage to get home; there they realize their problems are just beginning. With no access to the outside world, they don't know what is happening elsewhere. How wide spread is the power outage? How long will it last? None of this sits well with Deni, who was scheduled to start a new job in Washington DC in a week. Her fiancée is still there and she desperately wants to get back to him. And things just get worse when Deni and her younger sister find the dead bodies.

This is the first book of Terri's that I've read. The story is well-written, the characters are likeable, and the murder pot is intriguing.  The what-if analysis really brings it home and makes the reader think. The story focuses on, the thought of material things we have come to love and depend on, being snatched from us, and showing how we so easily hide our true selves behind material things. I'm eager to read the rest of the series.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Christmas Candle By Max Lucado

The story begins in 1664, with a candle maker and his wife. An angel comes and blesses a candle made by the chandler of Gladstone, one every twenty-five years. Light the candle and pray, then miracles happen. Enter a reverend who doesn't believe in miracles, a family grown old with no heirs, and a town full of people in need of God's grace.

First, I love Max Lucado and his books. I also love Christmas stories with a message of hope, faith, miracles, and God’s power to help us when we call on Him. The Christmas Candle does not disappoint.

The Christmas Candle is an enjoyable tale of an angel visitation in a small town. This was an excellent book to get you in the spirit of Christmas.  This has a great story about faith, hope, and love. I would recommend it to anyone and look forward to pulling it out every holiday season. A quick, inspirational read. Grab several copies as you will want to give as gifts anytime of the year. Max Lucado is a great writer and gives us a beautiful story.

Be sure to see the movie coming out November 22, 2013 with a special cameo of Max and Denalyn Lucado.

I received copy of  the Book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in their Booksneeze Blogger program for my review.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

His Treasure: Gems of Love from Your King by Sheri Rose Shepherd

If you have ever struggled to find a way to connect your heart to your heavenly Father, His Treasure is the book for you.

This book of beautiful “love letters” from God, to you, will discover treasures of truth, real love, and wisdom from God’s Word.

This book has gems of love with a note from: Your Loving Father, a scripture to go along with the letter, and a “treasure of truth” section.

I love the letters from God and the scripture to go along with it. The book was filled with beautiful pictures and wonderful treasures of truth throughout. Written from the prospective of God speaking to His beloved daughter and accompanied with appropriate bible verses. If you'd like to get a better sense of the Father God who loves you, this book is for you.

I highly recommend this delightful book for daily reading. Every page is filled with biblical truths and love notes from the King. Every note is personal and addresses a different area of struggle. His Treasure can be used as a bible study. Also the book is small enough to carry around and beautiful enough to give as gifts.

I look forward to being able to pass the encouragement along to others.
Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Monday, October 21, 2013

What Are You Afraid Of? By Dr. David Jeremiah

In the busy-ness of life it is often easy to forget the One who is in control and succumb to the pressure and pulls of life. We are constantly anxious, intimidated and fearful which prevents many Christians from living the life God called them to live.
Everyone is afraid of something: failure, success, loneliness, crowds, death, and life; the list is endless. And no one is immune to fear. Fear haunts the weak and the powerful, the young and the old, the rich and the poor. It is the great equalizer.

Well, fear not! There is hope. In What Are You Afraid Of? Dr. David Jeremiah identifies and explains what is at the heart of nine of our greatest fears and lays out a biblical plan for overcoming each one of them. He also examines one particular fear that should be part of our daily lives: the fear of God.

Dr Jeremiah’s book is targeted toward young and old adults who are dealing or have dealt with fear and want to overcome its strong grip on their lives. With most fears in teenagers being terrorist attacks, spiders, death/being killed, not succeeding in life/failing, war, heights, crime/violence, being alone, the future, and nuclear war, Jeremiah stresses fear is usually future-based and that we should focus on God instead of our fears.

Dr Jeremiah breaks fear into ten sections: In a unique arrangement of thought, all the "fears" begin with the letter "D":
Disaster: the Fear of Natural Calamity
Disease: the Fear of Serious Illness
Debt: the Fear of Financial Collapse
Defeat: the Fear of Failure
Disconnection: the Fear of Being Alone
Disapproval: the Fear of Rejection
Danger: the Fear of Sudden Trouble
Depression: the Fear of Mental Breakdown
Death: the Fear of Dying
Deity: the Fear of God

I recommend this book it is easy to read and informative and would be a great study.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my review.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Walking back to Happiness by Lucy Dillon

           Juliet's hiding from her feelings about the recent loss of Ben, the love of her life. If Juliet didn’t have to walk Ben's loyal dog, Minton, she'd never leave their half-finished house. Then her mother asks Juliet to take the elderly lab, Coco, along for the walk. One dog leads to another, and soon Juliet's the unofficial town pet-sitter. When she takes on a lonely spaniel, and gets to know its attractive owner, she realizes that her emotions aren't as easy to handle as her canine charges.

            Walking Back to Happiness is a story of love, life, loss, family, friendship and new beginnings. Walking Back to Happiness is a true testament of how life is a roller coaster and we cannot always have total bliss. We need to have a few bad times in order to grow and live. I liked the way the author has Juliet work through her grief and loss with her family, and her new friends gently urging her along, even though she did not see it at first. The dogs Minton, Coco and the rest truly capture your heart as well.
            The emotional component of this novel was very realistic and heartfelt. It was not a simple, "watch her get over loss of her husband and move on to someone new" kind of book. It was very honest and often heart wrenching but ultimately hopeful and life affirming. Anyone who has had their life flipped upside down can relate and be inspired by this wonderful story of hope and survival amidst life's worst situations.

            I recommend this story and I love that she uses dogs as characters which always find a way to lead people together & making their lives brighter.



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Deadline by Randy Alcorn

This book attacks the concept of political correctness and the hypocritical quicksand of "moral relativism" by weaving a tale of suspense and intrigue into the everyday life of a liberal newspaper reporter. The book hooks you from the beginning, with a story about three friends on a typical Sunday afternoon watching football and tossing a coin to see who will drive to get the pizza at halftime. The coin lands and stays on its side! All three pile into the car to go get the pizza. On their way back, there is a terrible accident.

             Deadline is a gripping page turner about three best friends from boyhood through their days in the war are caught in a car accident on a rainy day in Oregon as they drive home from a pizza shop. The story picks up with one of the three, Jake, the reporter, awaking in the hospital and finding out that it was no accident.  Thus begins a journey during which his popular beliefs about life, meaning and morality are challenged in a very personal way.

            Randy Alcorn navigates through several modern issues with interesting characters, a  well-written story, and provides enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested 
a look at life through Jake's eyes and his changing perspective. Whether you believe in Heaven and live with an eternal perspective or not, this book is a great read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a mystery and wants to know something about absolute truth. The story was in the details. I was completely taken by surprise.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Forever Friday by Timothy Lewis

Every Friday, a postcard. Every Friday, a love poem. Every Friday for sixty years.

Forever Friday is well written, full of hope, laughter, and wonderful banter between characters. The beginning pulls you in and the ending leaves you feeling wonderful.

This novel tells a delightful story, a story that inspires us to renew our love and to deepen our relationships. A simple love story, intertwining the joy of new love, the challenge of enduring love, the hope of renewed love, and the joy of lasting love into a beautiful and complex tapestry.

Forever Friday invites you to travel back in time to the early twentieth century Texas Coastal Bend where a young couple—Gabe and Pearl Alexander—are swept up in a miraculous love. As the heartwarming, pulse-quickening story of their relationship develops through Gabe’s poems; the Alexander’s reveal a new way to consider what it means to be truly devoted to each other. Could the secrets of their love affair, laid to rest twenty years ago, hold the key to one man’s future?

This inspirational tale will not disappoint. Spanning generations and transporting readers across time, Lewis’s delightful characters highlight the importance of genuine relationships while reminding us all to appreciate the loved ones in our lives.

Forever Friday is an encouraging story about making marriage last for a lifetime. I like reading the story from four different viewpoints and covering a wide span of time. It’s a sweet story that I highly recommend.
I received copy of book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group through their Blogging for Books program for my review.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Covenant With My Eyes by Bob Sorge

          A Covenant With My Eyes is for men and women, who are seeking an intimate relationship with the Father, this book will challenge you to guard your eyes, by understanding that the eyes are the main gate where we get information. It is better to fight the enemy that is outside the gate than the enemy that is inside. Matthew 6:22-23 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
          This book sounds a bold call to the highest consecration in our sexuality. Get ready for a unique book that is apprehending, prudent, and empowering. This book extends an invitation to actually make a covenant vow before God with our eyes, based on Bob’s own experience with Job 31:1.        
          This book is so much more than clever insights and good ideas. It is not just another book on purity. It mines an ancient spiritual truth and brings it to light with force, grace, eloquence, and revelation. Each chapter has thought provoking questions for discussion.

           Reading this book reminded me of a quote from Bubba Stahl:” Your eye looks for what your heart is looking at. Your ear is tuned to what your heart listens to. Set your heart on The Lord today.”

I received e-Book from the Bob Sorge website for my review

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dandelions on the Wind: The Quilted Heart Novella One by Mona Hodgson

Tattered relationships and broken hearts, like a quilt, can be pieced together by God’s love.

Dandelions on the Wind

by Mona Hodgson is a sweet, romantic story of two hearts grieving from loss and what it means to find love and hope again. A well written and touching story filled with true-to-life characters and fascinating historical details. Dandelions on the Wind is a heartwarming story of second chances in the turbulent days immediately after the Civil War
             Ms. Hodgson did a great job of creating an enjoyable story in this short novella. I liked the characters and overall setting of the book set during the Civil War and looking forward to reading the other Novellas in the series.

             Overall this little novella was an inspiring book, with lessons on grace and forgiveness throughout the book.  Short and sweet, a well-paced story, bringing us to a lovely conclusion, a great book to read away the afternoon on the patio.
            I received a free copy of this eBook from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing through their Blogging for Books program for my review.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Bride for All Seasons: The Mail Order Bride Collection

It all started with an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue . . .

Here are the stories of four couples who owe their wedded bliss to creative editing by The Hitching Post publisher. This charming bouquet of novellas introduces you to four Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue prospects in the year 1870, all eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.

1.      “And then Came Spring” by Margaret Brownley

Mary-Jo has traveled halfway across the country to meet her match, arriving just in time for his funeral. Returning home seems like her only option until her would-be brother-in-law proposes a more daring idea.

2.      “An Ever After Summer” by Debra Clopton

Ellie had no idea she’s not what Matthew ordered. And what’s wrong with being a “Bible thumper” anyway? She’s determined to show him she’s tougher than she looks—and just the girl he needs.

3.      “Autumn’s Angel” by Robin Lee Hatcher

Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn’t come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. ­ The trouble is, there’s no money to send them back . . .

4.      “Winter Wedding Bells” by Mary Connealy

David’s convinced he’s not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he’s gone—nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?

            This collection of four novellas by four different authors was a delightful read. The common thread of all four mail-order bride stories are tied together by the common matchmaker, Melvin Hitchcock of The Hitching Post, a mail-order bride catalogue with the highest rate of successful marriages. None of the couples that were matched up in this book got what they expected because Melvin edited their letters. This makes for some intriguing twists in these entertaining tales.

            This book is fun and entertaining a great summer read. There are also three discussion questions for each novella in the back. This would be a great discussion for any Book Club.

            I received copy of eBook from Thomas Nelson Publishers in their Booksneeze program for my review.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Let go of performing

Daily Reflection: What gifts and passions can you use to glorify God?

Kingdom life thrives also in the beautiful ordinary, not just when we’re doing ministry or working at a church.

If you’re a writer, let God use your interests and abilities to grow His kingdom in you and through you. That doesn’t require that you write only about Jesus or put a fish symbol on your manuscript. It means that you write as one who lives for and in another dimension.

If you’re a businessperson, don’t bow your knee to fame, money, or making a name for yourself. Instead, excel in your area of expertise so that people can see what good, true, and beautiful business looks like.

If you’re a musician, architect, stay-at-home mother, or the guy with the burrito cart in Pioneer Courthouse Square, the kingdom of God is here and is inviting you to collaborate with what God is doing in your real world.

You have the necessary permission slip. You can let go of performing and achieving and striving. You can invite the life of God to rise up all around you. You can sing it into your everyday world.”
Excerpted from This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sherlock Holmes & The Needle’s Eye by Len Bailey

            Sherlock Holmes and the Needle's Eye by Len Bailey is a journey through the Old and New Testament with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as they explore exotic and spice-laden places in search of clues.  

            Watson and Holmes are fantastically reinvented in this amazing novel. The idea of traveling and connecting biblical references with the situation these men must solve is thrilling. Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite detectives.  Sherlock has discovered a time machine that allows him to travel back into Bible time to find mysteries to solve. Sherlock Holmes and the Needle's Eye is all about unlocking Bible mysteries.    

            The Bible stories used the reader may consider familiar and unremarkable. But under close scrutiny these stories give up their hidden clues and long kept secrets. Like jewels, hidden in the sand, they sparkle and shine with a fresh, introspective light.

            If you like mystery/suspense and fans who love Sherlock Holmes should check out this book. There are questions in the back to delve deeper into the mysteries of the Bible. I would recommend this book.

            I received copy of Book from Thomas Nelson in their Booksneeze Blogging for books program for my review.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Matter of Trust A Mia Quinn Mystery by Lis Wiehl and April Henry

When life is murder, who can you trust?

Lis Wiehl’s signature plot twists and relatable characters shine in this absorbing series. A Matter of Trust gives us an amazing insight into the life of a prosecutor— and mom.

Prosecutor Mia Quinn is on the phone with her friend and colleague, Colleen, when the unthinkable happens. She hears a shot. When Colleen doesn't answer, she thrusts the phone at the son telling him to try to talk to her and after calling the police rushes to Colleen's house where her friend is bleeding to death.

One theme subtly woven through the book is that people and circumstances aren't always what they seem to be. Mia and the other characters in the book make all kinds of assumptions about the people they encounter throughout the book only to learn that they are wrong, for good or bad. What matters is doing the right thing as far as you are concerned and placing trust carefully where it has been earned. Forgiveness, compassion, and giving others the opportunity to make things right when possible are also stressed.

The spiritual themes are incorporated nicely into this story. There is a good balance between introducing the reader to a changed life and pressing the matter.

If you want a mystery that keeps you guessing right to the end, this is a winner. Although the search is on from the first pages for the killer, it comes as a surprise at the end. However, there are enough clues that the solution is not out of the blue. A well done mystery. A Matter of Trust also contains a series of questions perfect for reading group discussions.

I received copy of EBook from Thomas Nelson in their Booksneeze Blogging for books for my review.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fortress of Mist: Book 2 in the Merlin's Immortals series by Sigmund Brouwer

The throne is redeemed, but the battle is just beginning.          

Thomas has reclaimed the throne of Magnus but a threat rises against his new leadership--the druids. Further, a neighboring kingdom is insisting that Thomas help in England's fight against invaders from the north and he's obligated to help--though he fears that the Earl of York may be working with the secret sect of druids that seek his throne.

Thomas has fulfilled part of the destiny he was born too, but he is discovering that there is much more yet to unfold. He must tread carefully as he is unsure who to trust or where to turn to for guidance. As a young Lord of his castle he is discovering secrets that have been uncovered for ages. In his quest for truth Thomas must decide whom he will serve, but he is learning that this decision may not be based on facts, but faith.

I enjoyed the story, it was a pleasant read. Although aimed for young audiences anyone who enjoys stories involving castles, lords, superstition, herbalists, treachery, battles between clans, druids, and legends, you will enjoy this book. There were real players in this story such as Robert the Bruce, king of the Scots and the Earl of York. Edward II is also mentioned in this novel.

I received EBook from WaterBrook Multnomah Press in their blogging for books program for my review

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Damascus Countdown (David Shirazi) by Joel C. Rosenberg

All eyes are on the Middle East. Israel has successfully launched a first strike on Iran, taking out all of their nuclear sites and six of their nuclear warheads—and causing The Twelfth Imam to order a full-scale retaliation. US President William Jackson threatens to support a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Jewish State for unprovoked and unwarranted acts of aggression.
            Damascus Countdown doesn't disappoint.  As with Rosenberg’s other novels, this one reads like it was snatched from the headlines of the daily news. The plot is entirely plausible, the tension between the Middle Eastern countries is palpable, and the characters are realistic. Damascus Countdown carries an echo of prophetic fulfillment mixed with story lines straight from modern newspapers.  Rosenberg skillfully wove the story around two close families, the Shirazi's, the Harper's, and their children. The story-line seemed so current, so fresh that the author seemed at times to be prophetic. The underlying story of his renewed love for his childhood friend, Marseille Harper, was taunt with frustration as his job always seemed to call him away at the most inopportune times.

            David Shirazi is a top CIA agent and undercover operative within the Jihadist caliphate.
Rosenberg does a phenomenal job of combining action that is fast-paced and fun to read with a storyline that moves along well. The action is believable and realistic. Characters incorporate Old Testament prophecies that hint at the events being described. The reader experiences the struggles of young faith along with Shirazi, who must attempt to balance Christian belief with the demands of a CIA operation. We are introduced to other converted Muslims, whom are concerned for their countrymen's souls,’ which leaps off the page and adds another dimension to the story.

Overall Rating: (read all my reviews)(read all my reviews)           While the book is a work of fiction, it is close enough to reality to be believable. Great Story and I highly recommend. If you like political thrillers this book as well as the others in the series is a must read, definitely another best seller.      

I received a copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network bloggers program for my review.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Unexpected Love: God's Heart Revealed in Jesus' Conversations with Women by Julie Zine Coleman

            Writer and teacher Julie Coleman, carefully walks readers through the gospel narratives, offering evidence of a perceptive Savior, deeply concerned about the women he met. Through vivid descriptions, thoughtful questions, and empowering applications, she brings a fresh perspective to these sometimes puzzling stories.

            Julie looks at nine women who had interactions with Jesus. They all needed Jesus. And Jesus was interested in them. In a culture that devalued women, Jesus showed intentional interest in them. He gave them significance. In a section entitled “For Today’s Woman,” Julie connects the Word to our world, gives some other questions, and prompts for the reader’s further reflection.

            Unexpected Love offers solutions gleaned from historical‚ cultural‚ and contextual sources‚ resulting in an interpretation that reveals a fresh perspective and surprising truth. It moves the reader past the usual shallow interpretations to find the heart of Christ

            I found this devotional an inspiration that reveals God’s heart for women through a captivating study of the gospels. I recommend this book for group study or personal study. Each chapter ends with questions and suggestions for journaling. These could be used for personal or group discussions. This book would make a fine study for a woman's Bible study group.

                    Free resources, including handouts and lesson plan suggestions, are available for groups using Unexpected Love at the associated website.

I received this eBook from Thomas Nelson in their Booksneeze blogger program for my review.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Christmas Home by Greg Kincaid

At the heart of A Christmas Home is a town struggling to survive. People and pets are losing their homes. With no other financial means, a lot of sweet dogs end up in the shelter run by Todd. The city is running out of money, which leads to a limited amount of funds for the shelter and an overwhelming amount of animals are being abandoned. Todd has multiple challenges ahead of him, especially if he loses his job.  Todd tries to overcome his own disabilities and maintain an independent life, which is threatened if the shelter is forced to close. There is a light romantic interest for this young man which also has to fit into this puzzle.

As in many small towns across America today, Greg Kincaid's characters show the will to overcome their limitations with rich courage and bravery. In doing so, they share with us a story of perseverance.  This is a story of unconditional love. It’s a story of a family with unconditional love and the love between a man and his faithful canine companion.

I highly recommend this book. A Christmas Home is a perfect book for animal lovers, like all Christmas novellas, it's still a perfect read for anytime of the year. You will want to keep it around and read again and children will love this story. It shows the deep connection and love between humans and animals, and how anyone, no matter their limitations, can find their passion.  The story sounds like it could have been based on a true story, overall, a sweet and sometimes funny Christmas story! The ending is emotional and unexpected, brought tears to my eyes, a perfect ending.

I received this book in a giveaway from Crown Publishing a division of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group through their Blogging for Books program for my review.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Secretly Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt.

Four fiction authors with four smitten romance novellas, share a setting, characters, and even overlapping plots with fun small town romance. The mystery of the dog tags that were found in Grandma Rose's attic continues throughout all the sections along with mini story lines of Tess, Clare, Zoe and Anna. We learn a lot about each woman's fears and dreams. Together they find the courage to face their fears and see their dream come true.
One storyline, with four sections, by four different authors. I enjoyed reading each authors take on the same story. Each section focused on a different character and her love life. Four different protagonists from a single household, "Secretly Smitten" read like a single novel.

LOVE BETWEEN THE LINES: Colleen Coble wins awards with murder mystery/romance. Not surprising this romance involves a dead man, but a twist of one potentially again alive. Love with suspense propensity. There's a secret in Grandma Rose's attic--a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?

MAKE ME A MATCH: Kristin Billerbeck has Smitten's matchmaker Zoe begin her Cupid's shop in an old building and William, new city manager, must enforce rules and codes.

KNIT ONE, LOVE TWO: Diann Hunt places readers inside the Sit `n Knit shop owned by Anna (divorced mom of 3 single adult girls) where she turns a little unraveled when Michael enters for a shopping spree. A revealed secret causes tempers to fly.

LOVE BLOOMS: Denise Hunter writes of nursery manager Clare waving a rake as a weapon against a tool shed-hiding hunk of a man, Ethan.  All secrets, mystery, conflict, and Smitten romance is cozy-wrapped.

I was ready to read something fun and it’s true each novella begins with a conflicting relationship that is predictably to end in romance. After all, it is a novella with great storytelling. I recommend this book for who needs a fun romance to read. It's good Christian fiction, folks, so expect wholesome lust.

I received this eBook from Thomas Nelson in the BookSneeze blogger program for my review.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Les Misérables Victor Hugo first published in 1862, is widely considered one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century.  Beginning in 1815 and culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion, the novel follows the lives and interactions of several characters, focusing on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption. Examining the nature of law and grace, the story elaborates upon the history of France,  the architecture and urban design of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of  romantic and familial love. Les Misérables has been popularized through numerous stage adaptations, including a musical (1980-1985), and several films, including in 2012.

The major plot involves Jean Valjean who is released from prison, and through the kindness of Father Myriel, becomes a new man. He gets a new name via association with Myriel and his obvious kindness and generosity to others and gradually builds a successful and prosperous life for himself with a renovation of the jet-work industry in Montreuil-surmer. One of his employees is, although unknown to him, fired by the head mistress because of an illegitimate baby. Fantine goes from one occupation to another, finally becoming a prostitute.

The situation is complicated when Valjean takes upon himself the care of Cosette, as he feels responsible for the death of her mother.  The fateful decision changes their lives forever. With Cosette, Valjean learns to love and the bitterness of the years of injustice melt away. He thinks of himself as a convict and makes no excuses; his only reason for hiding and avoiding Javert is to protect Cosette and his fatherly relationship with her.

The story that has thrilled millions comes to life in a brand new way in Focus on the Family Radio Theatre's Les Miserables. This audio drama beautifully portrays the redeeming power of forgiveness through the story of Jean Valjean, an embittered convict whose life is changed by a single act of kindness. Recorded in London with some of England's finest actors, it will mesmerize adults and families alike.

The Dolby B Mastered sound is incredible. Every voice, every sound, from the rain, to the horses, to the sounds of the revolution, and the music will sweep you away to another time and place.  The story is as much history and commentary as it is fiction. In fact, so much of the history of France along with the thoughts and feelings of the people at that time dominates the book that the fictional elements almost seem accidental. The craft, however, comes through as the characters eventually interact in ways that would, in real life, be unlikely between individuals of such diverse socio-economic elements.

I recommend this timeless story, keep Kleenex handy, the story tells the importance of love and compassion; social injustice in nineteenth-century France; the long-term effects of the French Revolution on French society. Follow the long road to forgiveness with Jean Valjean in this beautiful radio production performance of Victor Hugo's timeless tale.

I received audio copy from Tyndale Blog Network for my review.