Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Unbound Book Review

The Omega Trilogy
Book One


SUMMARY:  He must be released for a little while but the one who sees doesn't believe.
     Elijah Goldsmith has nightmares he needs to ignore.  Why would a rich kid from Manhattan dream three straight nights about a dragon and the destruction of St. Peter's Basilica?  He's never even been to Rome.
     It's bad timing, too.  He's graduation soon and applying to be a spy in the International Security Agency.  That's where he meets Naomi.  She's the kind of girl who makes boys like Elijah want to share their secrets.  Were they brought together to learn what his secrets mean?  There's more to their sparks than they think.
This is 2066.  The year the world ends.

REVIEW:  I don't read many book about the Apocalypse.  The imagery of this setting/time period alone is difficult to grasp many times, much less the "technology of the future" that is referred to in this genre.  Fascinated by the summary, I wanted to see if this book would be any easier to understand.  The author takes a different view of the symbolism by making it literal, different from anything else I've read.  The idea and concept is unique and sometimes very intriguing but most of the time I had to make myself pick up the book because it did not hold my interest.  
     Elijah is not your typical Christian hero-type.  His background is of the Jewish faith but he does not practice it, nor is he a Christian.  In fact, true Christianity has gone underground.  The government now controls what is preached in the pulpits.  All Elijah is concerned with is getting into the ISA (an spy agency controlled by the United Nations, which pretty much controls the world, except for a few hold-outs) and getting Naomi to be his girlfriend.  Everyone is so secretive it's hard to figure out who to trust and who to be wary of.  There were a few characters that I pegged correctly but some I didn't.  The story starts out slow but once the action picks up, it takes off.
     I am interested in reading the next book, which comes out today, to see how the story continues but it is not one I am going to run out and grab.

This book was provided by Believers Media for review without compensation.

J.B. Simmons writes thrillers with an apocalyptic twist, and political philosophy clothed in fantasy. He lives outside Washington, DC, with his wife, two toddlers, and an intriguing day job.  Well-educated and highly articulate, the emerging author has learned to combine his love of fiction with his own creativity.  J.B. went to law school with the main goal of becoming a better writer. Years of practice in the professional legal world have honed his skills - because in law and in fiction, every word must have a purpose, chosen with care. J.B. writes smart fiction. Picking up what he can from his favorite novelists, he strikes a chord between the crispness of Hemingway, the complexity of Faulkner, and the accessibility of CS Lewis. Learn more at jbsimmons.com.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Trouble with Patience Book Review

Virtues and Vices of the Old West
Book One

SUMMARY:  Patience Cavanaugh has lost hope in romance.  The man she yearned to marry is dead and her dreams are gone with him.  Now she is consumed with restoring a dilapidated boardinghouse in order to support herself.
     Despite Patience's desire for solitude, Jedediah Jones, the local marshal with a reputation for handing criminals, becomes an ever-looming part of her life.  It seems like such a simple arrangement:  She needs someone with a strong back to help her fix up the boardinghouse.  He needs a dependable source of food for himself and his prisoners.  But as she gets to know this "hanging lawman," Patience finds there is far more to him than meets the eye - and it could destroy their tenuous relationship forever.  
     With a keen eye for historical detail and a deft hand at romantic tension, Maggie Brendan invites you to a Montana gold rush boomtown, where vices and virtues are on full display and love is lying in wait.

REVIEW:  The main character is not your typical heroine.  Patience is independent, but still willing to ask for help repairing her home.  She is larger than your average protagonist and often wishes she was thinner and had smaller feet.  She has a difficult relationship with her mother, Charity.  When Charity comes to visit her in Montana, Patience decides to do what she can to mend the relationship.
     The dramatic portions of the book felt a little flat to me.  The storyline seemed to drag in spots.  One of the good things about the book was it was harder for me to figure out who the protagonist was.  When I thought I had it figured out, I was pleasantly proven was wrong. The epilogue timeline caught me off-guard, too.  It was a farther out (time wise) than I was thinking because a lot of events occurred between the end of the book and the beginning of the epilogue.
      All in all, it's a good book.  I am interested to read the other books in this series to see who the future novels will be about and to see what their stories are.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Maggie Brendan is the bestselling author of the Heart of the West and The Blue Willow Brides series.  Winner of the 2014 Book Buyers Best Award (OCC/RWA) for inspirational fiction and the 2013 Laurel Wreath Award, she was a finalist for the 2013 Published Maggie Award of  Excellence and the 2013 Hearts of Excellence Readers' Choice Award.  To learn more, visit www.MaggieBrendan.com.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Beyond All Dreams Book Review



SUMMARY:  Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across the baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea.  Thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.
     Luke Callahan was one of the nation's most powerful congressmen before his promising career was shadowed in scandal.  Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship.
     From the gilded halls of the Capitol to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined.  Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?

REVIEW:  Things are not always as they seem.  What you may know and what the truth is are not always the same.  This is very evident all throughout this novel.  Anna's knowledge of the shipwreck and the truth of what really happened; how Luke and Anna perceived each other; how Anna perceived Neville's landlady, Mrs. Norquist, and what Neville knew to be true; Luke's thoughts about the Speaker of the House;  and more just added to the storyline and to all the twists and turns it took.  My attention was never lost and quite often found it difficult to put the book down.
     I liked this book!  Since I LOVE books and reading, Anna's job in the Library of Congress sounded so fascinating and very interesting.  This is one novel I highly recommend.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Bethany House for review without compensation.

Elizabeth Camden is the award-winning author of six books, including Against the Tide, winner of a RITA Award, Christy Award, and Daphne du Maurier Award.  She lives with her husband in Florida and is a research librarian by day while scribbling away on her next novel by night.  Visit her website at www.elizabethcamden.com.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Crimson Cord Book Review

Daughters of the Promised Land
Book One
Rahab's Story

SUMMARY:  Wife to a gambler who took one too many risks, Rahab finds herself sold as a slave to cover her husband's debt. Forced into prostitution, she despairs of ever regaining her freedom and her self-respect.  But when Israelite spies enter Jericho and come to lodge at her house, Rahab sees a glimmer of hope and the opportunity of a lifetime.
     In one risky moment, she takes a leap of faith, puts her trust in a God she does not know, and vows to protect the spies from the authorities.  When the armies of Israel arrive weeks later, Rahab hopes they will keep their promise, but she has no idea what kind of challenges await her outside Jericho's walls - or if she will ever know the meaning of love.
     Under Jill Eileen Smith's talented hand, the familiar story of Rahab bursts forth in high definition.  Immerse yourself in a world of dark and dusty streets, clandestine meetings, and daring escapes as a mysterious biblical figure claims her full humanity - and a permanent place in your heart.

REVIEW:  Rahab's story has always been one that fascinated me.  The bible doesn't go into great detail about how she became a prostitute, how she came to believe in the one true God or her life after joining the Israelites.  Jill Eileen Smith does an excellent job filling in those gaps with her version of Rahab's life journey.  At times, it's not an easy read when you see what she goes through and how it affects those around her.  It was interesting how the laws given to the nation of Israel by God were explained to Rahab, how they affected her personally and how she came to a better understanding of who she is and of God through them.  I really enjoyed this book, like I have all of the other books by this author.  While it may not be one you want your daughter to read but it is definitely one you want to check out if you are fascinated with this foreigner who is in the lineage of Christ.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling author of the Wives of King David series, The Wives of the Patriarchs series, and the ebook novella The Desert Princess, first in the Loves of King Solomon series.  Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.  Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.  Learn more at www.jilleileensmith.com.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Dandelion Field Book Review



SUMMARY:  This handsome firefighter makes a living coming to the rescue, but Gin doesn't need a man to fight her battles.
     After Raine's dad walked out, Ginevieve Lightly never lived in one place too long - a rambling lifestyle that defined her daughter's youth.  When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises Raine they can stay until she finishes her senior year of high school.  Gin will do anything to make sure her daughter has a bright future . . . a future that's compromised when Raine reveals she's pregnant.
     Dan Moretti has only ever called Banister Falls home.  After losing his best friend in a tragic accident, Dan devoted himself to responding to fires, rescuing the helpless, and guiding Cody Bennett, his best friend's son, through life.  With Cody being the epitome of the good kid, it was an easy job.  Until he says four little words:  "The baby is mine."
     Knowing gossip of Raine's pregnancy will erupt sooner or later in the small town, Gin's reflex is to grab the suitcase and escape to a new city, a new life.  But with each passing day, Gin's feet stay rooted in Banister Falls, and she falls a little more for this local firefighter who shows her not all men abandon women at the first sign of smoke.
     As Gin and Dan do the best they can to guide the two teenagers through their early entry into adulthood, they discover that romance can bloom in the rockiest of situations.  And God can turn the pieces of a broken past into a beautiful new beginning.

REVIEW:  This by far was one of the best books I've read.  I love how Gin and Dan support the young couple, when a lot of people are talking about them.  One thing that stand out are how the characters are all flawed, that no one has it all together, but they use those flaws to encourage each other and build each other up instead of tearing them down.  Teenage pregnancy is not an easy topic to write about, especially when it involves Christians who are also leaders in their community.  Cody is a leader in his school and youth group at church.  But he stands before them, admits his mistake and tries to learn from it instead of shirking his responsibilities.  Gin works hard to give Raine a good life and stands by her daughter when life gets tough.  Even though Gin's normal routine is to pick up and run, she stays put in Banister Falls to give her daughter every opportunity to become the woman she is suppose to be.
     This is an awesome book, that though it deals with a tough subject matter, handles it with delicacy, grit and wonder.  Check it out.  

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Zondervan for review without compensation.

Kathryn Springer is a USA Today bestselling author. She grew up in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child she spent many hours sitting at her mother's typewriter, plunking out stories, and credits her parents for instilling in her a love of books - which eventually turned into a desire to tell stories of her own.  Kathryn has written nineteen books with close to two million copies sold.  She lives with her husband and three children in Marinette, Wisconsin.  Find her on Facebook at Kathrynspringerauthor.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Where Rivers Part Book Review

Texas Gold Collection

SUMMARY:  Success too often comes with a price.  Juliet never imagined that cost could be so high.
     Dr. Juliet Ryan has devoted her considerable scientific acumen to corporate America, providing safe drinking water for millions - and affording her plenty of perks along the way.  Her career choice is not the path her estranged father would have her take, but then Juliet finds it difficult to maintain respect for a man she cannot trust.  She's on her way up in the world, and she's not going to let anything drag her down.
     But when a fast-moving disaster sweeps Juliet into a whirlpool of corporate scandal, lives are at risk - including those of some of the people closest to her.  As she scrambles to find answers, Juliet must face her deepest wounds and join forces with the one who has hurt her most in order to expose a far-reaching conspiracy.
     Life a mighty river with twists and turns and hidden rocks, this engrossing story will sweep you relentlessly along as it explores the seduction of success, the fear of giving up control, and the redemptive power of learning to forgive.

REVIEW:  This story was interesting and different that most others I've read.  The details the author goes into regarding this disaster, an E-coli outbreak, is fascinating but not overwhelming.  The main character is not a Christian, hates her father with a passion, is smart as a whip, and tries to keep her personal life private.  The twist to the romantic part of this story doesn't come until the end of the book.  Juliet goes through Job-like situations over and over, finally bringing her to her knees.  Another item that was different than most other stories of this type was the timeline.  Most have the characters go through everything in a few days, a week or even two weeks.  This storyline is occurs over almost a year.  It was refreshing and so much more like real life and make the book enjoyable.
     The author does not got into detail, though, about Juliet's change of faith.  Her mother Carol's faith and hidden strength is featured quite a bit.  Stories about the changes Carol went through after her conversion are often referred to, but nothing is mentioned about Juliet doing the same.  There is a point where she realizes she can't handle everything coming down on her alone and does reach out to her dad for help but that's all.  There was so much potential here regarding Juliet's faith change that was not taken advantage of.  
     That said, this was a good book that I enjoyed reading.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal and the author of A Woman of Fortune.  Gilbert crafts her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances in Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Bible's Answers to 100 of Life's Biggest Questions Book Review







SUMMARY:  Clear, convincing answers to the toughest questions we face.
     We all have questions about faith.  If there is a God, why is there evil in the world?  Why would a loving God send people to hell?  Can we trust modern translations of the Bible?  Why did Jesus have to die?  How can I know God's will for my life?  What is God's position on things like abortion, cloning, same-sex marriage, capital punishment, and euthanasia?  Should Christians be involved in politics?
     With insight and precision, this comprehensive resource addresses one hundred penetrating questions that need satisfying answers, including controversial questions raging in the public sphere and personal questions about family issues, the purpose and meaning of life, and the future of the world.

REVIEW:  Contents of the book are laid out in an easy to search manner.  The entries have all sorts of tools that are easy to read and understand.  Each one has the question, answer, sometimes a description or definition of the subject, application, bible verse references, books for further research, and, if available, websites, DVDs and online video references.  I found the answers to be thorough but not pat, with a lot of detail and heart.  This is a good book to have for new Christians or even for people are just searching.  It is also a good one for Christians, no matter how long you've walked with the Lord, to have on hand when questions arise, whether in your own thinking or if you are presented with one. This is one I hope to keep on my shelves and reference books for a long time.

This book was provided by Baker Books for review without compensation.

Norman L. Geisler (PhD, Loyola University of Chicago) is Distinguished Professor of Apologetics and Theology at Veritas Evangelical Seminary in Murrieta, California.  He is the author of more than ninety books, including When Skeptics Ask and The Big Book of Christian Apologetics.

Jason Jimenez is the founder and president of re|shift ministries, inc. (http://reshiftministries.org/), and has pastored families for over fifteen years.  He is the author of The Raging War of Ideas and lives in North Carolina.