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?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wisdom of the Sadhu Book Review

Teachings of Sundar Singh

SUMMARY:  Known in his lifetime as India's most famous convert to Christianity, Sundar Singh (1889-1929) would not approve of that characterization.  He loved Jesus and devoted his life to knowing and following him, but he never accepted Christianity's cultural conventions, even as he embraced its stark original teachings.
     A modern Saint Francis, Sundar Singh left the wealth of his home at sixteen to live as a sadhu, or wandering holy man.  His beggar-like existence, his intense devotion, his mystical encounters with Jesus, and his simple yet profound parables became the stuff of legends.  No one who met him - including the thousands who flocked to hear him during his visits to Europe, the Far East, and the United States - remained unaffected.  
     Wisdom of the Sadhu, a collection of anecdotes, sayings, parables, and meditations, brings together the best of Sundar Singh's teachings.  Couched as they are in a distinctly Indian idiom, they probe the essence of the Gospels with unusual freshness and offer insights of great depth and value to every serious seeker.

REVIEW:  This book is a series of stories, parables, questions and teachings that is simply the gospel taught by Jesus, weaving in information about Sundar Singh's life. Growing up as a Sikh, Sundar became a Christian at age sixteen and decided to live his life as a wandering holy man, a sadhu.  He lived his life like the apostles, going into towns preaching the gospel of Jesus and trusting God to meet his needs.  He faced persecution, hunger, hardships but found joy in teaching others about Jesus. Sundar's look at life and the gospel is a simple one, but very profound.  
     To be totally honest, with so many false teachers of the Christian faith who mix other religions in with biblical Christianity, I wasn't sure what to expect with this book.  I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  I found this book very interesting and very above board.  It will challenge the reader to examine their lives, how they view others and how they look at the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I totally recommend this book who wants to stretch their lives and their understanding of the Gospel.

This book was provided by Handlebar for review without compensation.

Sundar Singh grew up in Rampur, India in a prominent Sikh family and was educated at a nearby Presbyterian missionary school.  After his conversion at age 16, he took on the ascetic lifestyle of a sahdu.  His real significance comes from the devotion and selflessness with which he spread the Gospel and in the sincerity with which he lived what he preached.  His wanderings led him through at least twenty countries on four continents, where he profoundly influenced tens of thousands of people.  In the first half of the Twentieth Century, no spiritual teacher from the East was better known.  When he disappeared in the Himalayas in 1929, the world mourned this wandering, penniless pilgrim who kept his focus on Christ.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Promise to Protect Book Review

Logan Point Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  In a steamy small town riddled with broken promises, one woman's secret could change everything.
     Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn't heard from Leigh Sommerall in a very long time, but it doesn't mean he can get her - or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago - out of his head.  When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony.  But all too soon, Ben is charged with a different task - protecting Leigh from the people after her brother.  With Leigh doing everything in her power to avoid Ben, it's no easy task.  And the secret she is keeping just may change their lives forever.

REVIEW:  A Promise to Protect is the follow up book to Shadows of the Past.  Like it's predecessor, this novel kept my attention and kept me guessing about the final outcomes.  I like the setting, as fictional town of Logan Point is located not far from I where I grew up.  The different stories about Leigh and Ben, Ben's father, Tony and the dog fighting ring and all their difficulties were woven together seamlessly and effortlessly. The details of the mysteries involved are laid out with meticulous precision.  This is a wonderful book and series.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Patricia Bradley is thhe winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award and a 2012 Touched by Love award, and was also a finalist for The 2012 Genesis Award.  The author of Shadows of the Past, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and makes her home in Mississippi.  Learn more at

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Lights Out Book Review

Living in a Sightless World

SUMMARY:  How Do You Live in a Dark World?
     Travis Freeman has answered that question for twenty years, since the day he lost his sight at 12 years old to a raging illness.
     Through the years of playing football blind, to living in the glare of the national media spotlight, to serving as an equipment manager for the University of Kentucky football team, to educational and vocational accomplishments, his answer has expanded.
     Today, Travis knows that his answer is just as relevant for the sighted as well as the blind.
     For the first time, Travis shares the complete life story that inspired the major motion picture "23 Blast" as well as the insights and wisdom gleaned from a life without physical sight, but steeped in spiritual and practical vision.
     With his applications to sighed life and tips for engaging more easily with the blind, Travis Freeman's story and wisdom show us how to live - even with the Lights Out.

REVIEW:  Travis' story was very interesting and not just about him playing football as a blind person.  The difficulties he faced with the medical problems that led to his blindness were heartbreaking to me, as a parent.  I liked how he did not let his diagnosis get him down but he rose to the challenges being blind created and persevered.  I was fascinated at how he was able to play football blind and no one but his team knew it.  He also didn't ask for special treatment but did everything the other team members did while training.  Travis also goes on to show how we should accept our limitations but not to let them hold us back but going on and earning a Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate degrees.  This story was inspiring.

This book was provided by Glass Road Public Relations for review without compensation.
At the age of 12, Travis Freeman lost his eye sight due to a severe illness.  In spite of Travis' blindness, he played high school football, served as an football equipment at the University of Kentucky and received a Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D) from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Travis currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of the Cumberlands, and as the President of The Freeman Foundation, which is dedicated to furthering the truth that disability does not equal inability.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Buttermilk Sky Book Review

SUMMARY:  Weary of the expectations imposed on her by her strict upbringing, nineteen-year-old Mazy Pelfrey left her home in the Kentucky mountains to attend secretarial school in the genteel city of Lexington.  She was sure her life would change - and only for the better.  Everything was supposed to be clear skies from then on.
     But business school is harder than she thought it would be, and the big city not as friendly, until she meets a charming young man from a wealthy family, Loyal Chambers.  When Loyal sets his sights on her, Mazy begins to see that everything she'd ever wished to have is right before her eyes.  The ony hindrance to her budding romance is a former beau, Chanis Clay, the young sheriff she thought she'd left firmly behind.
     Danger rumbles like thunder on a high mountain ridge when Mazy's cosseted past collides with her clouded future and forces her to come to terms with what she really wants.

REVIEW:  There was a lot of potential in this novel with all the different story lines but I felt like it came up short.  I did like how Chanis was determined to do his best as the youngest sheriff and how he tried to help a couple of citizens do better, one with health issues and one who had gotten into trouble.  Mazy has a big heart and I like they way she helps Cinnamon and the girls who live in her boarding house.  In my opinion, the author could have gone into more detail about the characters and their relationships with each other.  I like Mazy and Cinnamon, even Chanis but felt like they were missing something.  The relationship of Chanis and Mazy felt forced as well as Mazy and Loyal.  The characters and story felt too shallow, like something was missing. 

This book was provided by Tyndale House for review without compensation.

Jan Watson's first novel, Troublesome Creek, was the 2004 winner of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest.  Buttermilk Sky is Jan's eighth novel.  She lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and has three grown sons and a daughter-in-law.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Deceived Book Review

A Private Justice Novel
Book Three

SUMMARY: A grieving mother.  A mysterious child.  And a dedicated PI who's determined to solve the puzzle.
     For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year old son in a boating accident.  But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she's convinced it's her son.  With poice skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help.  As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating "accident" begins to look increasingly suspicious.  But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden - and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.
     As Irene Hannon's many fans have come to expect, Deceived is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plotline that accelerates to an explosive finish.

SUMMARY:  Everything I've come to expect in an Irene Hannon suspense novel is found in her latest book.  The story grabbed my attention right from the beginning and held it to the very end.  At first, I thought I had the story figured out regarding who took Kevin/Todd and why but I was quickly proven wrong.  The twists and turns, along with the emotional aspects of the story, kept me turning pages, anticipating what would happen next and if everything would work out positively.  Without trying to give anything away, I like how the kidnapper takes care of Kevin/Todd, how affectionate he was and that he wasn't abusive.  This is a wonderful book.  It is the third book in the Private Justice series but is also a stand-alone.  Check it out!!

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
Irene Hannon is the author of more than forty-five novels, including Vanished, Trapped, and the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailer's Choice Award, and a National Readers' Choice Award.  In addition, she is a Christy Award finalist, and Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011.  Learn more at

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hidden in the Stars Book Review

Quilts of Love

SUMMARY:  Could a quilt hold the secret to a serial killer?
     Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept help from her estranged grandmother.  Once an Olympic hopeful, Sophia's future is now uncertain, and her inability to share her eyewitness account frustrates police detectives looking for answers.  What were the criminals after?  Why did they attack Sophia and her mother?
     Detective Julian Frazier is determined to solve the case.  Distracted by the pull Sophia has on his heart and his own questions about why God could allow this senseless violence, Julian doesn't realize that an important clue could be right in front of him.  As he gets closer to solving the case, Julian wonders of his efforts will be enough to save Sophia.  Or will the murderer be back to silence her forever?

REVIEW:  I really liked everything about this book.  My heart went out to Sophia as she realizes her dreams of becoming an Olympian are over and that her mother lied to her about her past and her grandmother.  The idea of crime victim being unable to speak is original.  I loved how the author used it and how she uses a lip-reader to help both the police and victim.  The centerpiece of the quilt was a little disturbing to me when you understand its role and how it furthers the investigation but quite ingenious.  This is a great story that captured my attention from the very beginning and held it to the end.  This was my first book by this author and I look forward to reading more.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press for review without compensation.
Robin Caroll is an award-winning author of more than twenty novels and writes to entertain.  Her books have been recognized by several award contests, including the Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer's Choice Award, and more.  She gives back to the writing community by serving as Executive Director for ACFW.  Find out more online at

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Bride in Store Book Review

SUMMARY:  Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early.  But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry, and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn't even in town when she finally arrives.
     Axel's business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor.  When his friend's mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store - where she quickly proves she's much more adept at business than he will ever be.
      The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school.  When Axel finally returns, their troubles are far from over, and soon Will and Eliza must decide what they're willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams - or if God has a new dream in store for them both.

REVIEW:  There were a few things I liked about this book.  Some of the main characters are not your typical ones, which is refreshing.  Eliza is not know for her beauty, especially now that she has a scar on her face, courtesy of one of the robbers; Will is very humble when it comes to treating people and, most times, refuses to take money for his services; and Irena Lightfoot, Eliza's roommate and friend, was a bearded lady with a generous heart, who had previously worked in a circus sideshow.  I liked how Eliza went after what she wanted and wasn't afraid to step out of her comfort zone.  The storyline took some twists and turns I was not expecting and I loved how the book ended.
     There were quite a few things I didn't like though.  To me, the story dragged in too many places and I found my interest waning many times.  While I like what Ms. Jagears did with Axel, his first meeting with Eliza at the store came on a little strong for my taste. There were also times I wanted to shake Will, hoping he would stop beating himself up regarding some difficult medical decisions he was forced to make.

This book was provided by Bethany House for review without compensation.

Melissa Jagears, author of A Bride for Keeps, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house.  She's a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly.  Find her online at 

Keepers of the Covenant Book Review

The Restoration Chronicles
Book Two

SUMMARY:  In Their Darkest Hour, Where Would Hope Be Found?
     In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king's palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman and child throughout the empire in less than one year.
     Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people.  Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future - of family and love - seem impossible.
     In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss.  Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people.

REVIEW:  I really enjoyed this book!!  It weaves together the Old Testament books of Esther and Ezra seamlessly.  This is the first time I've read a book that shows what the Jewish people went through and how they felt after Haman's decree went out across the Persian Empire.  While I know the events of this book are fiction, Ms. Austin made me feel like I was right there experiencing the devastation and loss, along with the joy and jubilation of being given the right to defend themselves and after the war was over.  She also shows how this event affected those living in Judah, both Jews and Gentile, and the return of Jews from Babylon under King Artaxerxes.  The parts of the returning Jews I found though-provoking were when Ezra informs the people of Judah they must now completely follow the law of Moses, given to them by God, and the consequences some had to face because they had married Gentiles who did not follow the Almighty One exclusively.  I also loved how Esther's story is woven in at the end and the discussion (by characters in the book) on why God's name is never mentioned.  Even if you find the book of Ezra boring and difficult to follow, this book will help you understand it and why Ezra made the decrees he did as governor.  Fascinating read!!
This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Bethany House for review without compensation.

Lynn Austin is a bestselling author and has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide.  She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions.  Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live in Michigan.  Learn more at