Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Daniel Plan

By: Rick Warren, Daniel Amen, M.D. & Mark Hyman, M.D.


Pastor Rick Warren is the pastor of Saddleback Church.  One day while Pastor Warren was baptizing over eight hundred people he realized that many people were overweight including himself.  He began to reflect upon his own health and the relationship he had with food.  He soon realized that he had been ignoring his health and was being a poor example to his congregation.  After doing some research, Pastor Warren decided to stand before his congregation and ask for their forgiveness.  He explained how God wants us to take care of the bodies that He has blessed us with and asked if anyone wanted to join him in getting healthy.  That day over 12,000 church members signed up in joining him on his journey.  Now Pastor Warren just needed a plan to assist his congregation with getting healthy.  Pastor Warren writes, “Since I was preaching that day about a man in the Bible named Daniel who refused to eat junk food and challenged a king to a health contest, I named the program The Daniel Plan.” (Page 15)  Pastor Warren then asked Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Dr. Mehmet Oz to help coach him as he knew very little about how to get healthy.  All of the doctors agreed to help and the program proved to be a success.  During the first year the members at Saddleback lost a combined total of more than 250,000 pounds!

This book is about the plan that the Saddleback community followed.  I found the book to be very informative.  It focuses on five key elements: Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus and Friends.  There is a chapter dedicated to each of these key elements to further explain how they can assist with living a healthy lifestyle.  I enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to others.  I included how Pastor Warren came up with the name of the plan above as some people may think that the book is about fasting. 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

 

 


Friday, November 15, 2013

His Treasure: Gems of Love from Your King

By: Sheri Rose Shepherd




Sheri Rose Shepherd has penned a beautiful book that is overflowing with God’s love.  This book is comprised of refreshing and encouraging letters from The Lord.  The book is directed towards women as many of the letters begin with “My Daughter” but I think the message contained in the letters could be enjoyed by anyone in need of encouragement.  Along with each letter there is a scripture and a “Treasure of Truth”.  This book is small in size but packed with a powerful message. 


I enjoyed this book and found it to be very uplifting.  It was wonderful to read about how much The Lord loves me in a letter format that spoke directly to my heart.  It seemed so personal.  I think this book would make a wonderful gift as it could be used as a devotional or simply serve as a gentle reminder of how much we are treasured by The Lord. I look forward to gifting this to many family members and friends as I know it will encourage them and brighten their day. 
 
Thank you to Tyndale for allowing me to bless one person with a free copy of this book!  Please post below and one winner will be chosen at random. 
 
Disclaimer:  Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change


By: John Hagee




This book was certainly an informative and interesting read.  Shortly into the first chapter Pastor Hagee shares with us what prompted him to begin his study on the sun, moon and stars.  Right before he was going to be speaking at a church event he engaged in a conversation with the pastor of the church.  The pastor asked Pastor Hagee if he ever correlated the study of prophecy to the study of the sun, moon and stars.  Pastor Hagee promptly told him that he had not and the pastor told him that he should.  Pastor Hagee did not give their conversation another thought that night; however, on the plane ride home the next day Pastor Hagee reflected back on their conversation.  Many Scripture versus came to his mind about how there will be signs in the heavens.  His studies lead him to believe that God does speak to us through the sun, moon and stars. 

Pastor Hagee covers a lot in this book as it is broken down into the following three sections: The Signs in the Heavens, The Spine of Prophecy and The Four Blood Moons.  At the end of the third section Pastor Hagee writes the following: "Beginning with the study of the signs in the heavens and walking through the Spine of Prophecy, I have attempted to build a scriptural foundation for God's prophetic depiction regarding the coming Four Blood Moons.  Without a clear and concise understanding of God's plan, which is revealed in Scripture, then the Four Blood Moons would be nothing more than a spectacular cosmic occurrence as opposed to the fulfillment of prophesy." (167-68) I thought it was important to mention this because some may be looking for a book that strictly talks about the Four Blood Moons.  While Pastor Hagee provides greater detail about the Four Blood Moons in the later chapters, most of the book consists of building a foundation.    

I enjoyed reading this book and thought it was very informative.  It was very interesting to learn about the historical significance of the past Four Blood Moons.  The next series of Blood Moons will occur in 2014 - 2015.  Pastor Hagee is not saying that the Rapture will happen during this time; however, he believes that something significant will happen.  It will be interesting to see how the future unfolds.        

*I would like to thank Worthy Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Christmas Candle

By: Max Lucado



A new Christmas favorite!  The story begins in 1664 when a candle maker and his wife are visited by an angel in the middle of the night.  The angel touches a candle and it begins to glow.  The two can hardly believe what they witnessed and decided not to share it with anyone.  The candle is then given to a widow and when her prayers are answered the couple is surprised.  Surely there must be some connection to the candle and the answered prayer. 

The story then takes us to the year 1864.  Over the past 200 years an angel has visited a descendent of the candle maker ever twenty-five years and touched a candle.  The story became a legend as the prayers of those who received this special candle were always answered.  The people of Gladstone were excited as this was the year that the next miracle would come.  Will an unbelieving new reverend destroy the hopes of the people of Gladstone?  What happens when the candle maker has a mishap with the special candle?  The people of Gladstone may soon realize that their miracle will come in an unexpected way.    

This was a wonderful Christmas novella penned by author Max Lucado.  I found it both refreshing and uplifting.  I loved the message conveyed which is how we need to put our faith in The Lord and not in things of this world. I would definitely recommend this book.   

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Blessings for the Evening: Finding Peace in God's Presence

By: Susie Larson

 

What a comforting book to read before going to bed.  Once I opened this book it was difficult to put down as I found the words to be so uplifting and encouraging.  It definitely helped to put my mind at ease as I read about God’s promises and was reminded of His love for me.  I could feel the worries of the day become a distant memory.  I also enjoyed the beautiful pictures that were displayed in the background.  This book is truly a blessing to me and I think it will be a blessing to many others.    

*Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Walk One Winter Night

By: Al Andrews



Al Andrews is the director of a non-profit organization called Porter’s Call.  The organization offers counseling to recording artists.  One night as Mr. Porter was taking a walk to clear his head he stumbled upon a recognizable scene, a manger set-up in someone’s front yard.  As he passed by he wanted to keep walking but something invited him to stay.  As he looked upon the figures he felt he did not have a connection with them.  They looked and seemed so perfect.  “Why don’t I like these people?” was the thought that entered his mind.  He felt guilty for even thinking this irreverent thought but hoped The Lord wouldn’t be upset by his question.  At this point something amazing happened.  I do not want to spoil the story so I invite you to get this book to find out what happens. 

 
I was so inspired by this book.  It is a short read but it is a powerful one.  It really made me think about how I view Jesus and other people from the Bible.  They are not simply characters from a story.  They were real people who once lived on earth as we do now.  This book was very eye opening for me and I look forward to sharing it with others.         

*I would like to thank Worthy Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

Life’s Little Instruction Books: WiseDogs


By: H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

 
 
H. Jackson Brown, Jr. is the author of “Life’s Little Instruction Book”.  As that series proved popular he looked for a way to illustrate the life instructions from his books.  After viewing photographs taken by Dale C. Spartas, a world-class action photographer, Mr. Brown found his answer.  Mr. Brown felt that the photographs perfectly illustrated characteristics he described in his books.  These characteristics include purpose, loyalty and many more. 
Mr. Brown has penned a simple yet insightful book about the lessons that can be learned from dogs.  The book is set-up so there is a picture on one side and a life lesson on the other page.  This book was a little different than what I envisioned as I thought it was going to be more of a story.  However, I still enjoyed the book and I think it would make a wonderful gift to those who are dog lovers.  There are many adorable and heart-warming pictures! 
 
*I would like to thank Worthy Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Made to Last


By: Melissa Tagg


Miranda Woodruff appears to lead the perfect life.  She is the star of a home improvement television show and she is “married” to a perfect man named Robbie.  The only problem is when she goes home there is no husband waiting there for her.  Robbie is Miranda’s ex-fiancé.  When she was trying out for the show she thought she would be married by the time it aired.  Unfortunately, Robbie had left and she could not bring herself to tell her real story.  With her television show on the line she needed some publicity.  Miranda had been able to keep her husband hidden from the public for years.  Introducing him to the public is just what she needed to get her ratings up.  While filming one day Miranda was taken back as she thought she saw Robbie.  As it turns out Miranda had mistaken Blaze, an employee of the caterer, as Robbie.  Miranda and her managers decided Blaze would be just the right person to hire to be her “husband”.  As if things were not complicated enough a reported named Matthew would be following her around and doing a blog about her.  I invite you to journey along with this lively group to learn about their laughs, their troubles and their road to healing.

I really enjoyed reading this book as it included many elements.  I found myself laughing as many times as I found myself sympathizing with these characters.  I thought the author did an excellent job of making the characters personalities shine through.  This book has a unique plot and I enjoyed all of the twists and turns.  I am hoping the author surprises us with a second book as Blaze has a story that has yet to be told.


 *This book was provided by Bethany House for my honest review.












 
 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Take Charge of Your Emotions

By: Dr. Linda J. Solie




Dr. Linda Solie has written a book that contains seven steps to overcoming depression, anxiety, and anger.  In my opinion, when dealing with any of the above mentioned feelings/states of mind there is no quick fix in overcoming any of them.  Dr. Solie provides readers with a roadmap so they can work through what they are feeling and she illustrates ways to overcome their feelings.  I liked how it was noted in the book that there is a difference between positive thinking and helpful self-talk.  Today it seems as though many people are saying, “Just think positive and it will all work out.”  Dr. Solie wisely paints a picture of Nora who is stuck in traffic that is not moving and she is ten miles away from a client.  If she needs to meet her client in five minutes it will not benefit her to untruthfully speak that she will be there on time.  A helpful way of dealing with this situation may be for Nora to accept that she will not be on time and call the client and apologize.  She can learn from this situation and leave a little earlier next time for an appointment. 

This may be a good book for people who are willing to take the time to work through their thought process.  Dr. Solie provides charts in this book that contain a situation, helpful and unhelpful self-talk, feelings and behavior.  Everyone is different so while I think many will find this book useful there will be others who may be looking for more of a quick fix instead of a process.    

*This book was provided by Bethany House for my honest review.

Think 4:8: 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life for Teens

By: Tommy Newberry with Lyn Smith





The Think 4:8 Principle is based off of the scripture Philippians 4:8 (TLB) which reads:

“Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right.  Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others.  Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about it.” 

This is a devotional written for teens.  Each day contains a scripture, a short teaching, and sections titled: Work It, Talk It, Stick It: Thought of the Day and Pray It.  Authors Tommy Newberry and Lyn Smith challenge teens to take forty days to get their thoughts in line with God’s way of thinking.  I think this is a very good book for teenagers as it is easy to read and provides action items.  If teens choose to follow the action items they will find themselves not just reading but putting into practice what they learned. 

I enjoyed many of the devotionals especially Day 4 which is titled “The Fifteen-Minute Miracle: The Joy of Daily Solitude”.  Lyn discusses how her father would wake her up thirty minutes before she needed to be up for school.  Her father instilled in her the importance of waking up early and spending time with The Lord.  While it has not always been easy, Lyn is grateful that her parents taught her the importance of spending this time with The Lord.  Although this book was written for teens I think it would make a good family devotional as well.  I believe teens and adults can both learn something for this book.      
  

Disclaimer:  Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

My Hope is Found (Cadence of Grace Series #3)


By: Joanne Bischof




In the second book in this series Gideon was torn from his marriage with Lonnie as Cassie claimed he was her rightful husband.  The third book begins with months having passed.  Gideon’s heart is filled with joy as Cassie has allowed him to be a free man and return to his one true love, Lonnie.  While he journeyed back to Lonnie he dreamed of what it would be like to see her and their son Jacob again.  Upon his arrival he found Lonnie engaged to another man named Toby, the handsome young reverend.  Although his heart was torn he vowed to fight for her with everything that he had.  He lost her once and did not want to lose her again.  He loved Lonnie and he could not fathom anyone else being by her side and raising their son.  As time passes Gideon learns what it means to truly love and let go of everything.  He has come to a place of letting go and trusting God even if that means life without Lonnie.

This is the third and final book in this series.  I must say that I wish there were more books in this series.  I could not put these books down as each one was very engaging.  The author has a way of drawing her readers into the lives of these characters and I found myself wanting to continue on this journey with them.  I also thought the author did an excellent job with the development of Gideon’s character.  This character changed so much from the first book to this last one.  Readers will see a true transformation in this character.  I loved this series and look forward to reading more of Ms. Bischof’s books.         

*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest review.

              

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times

By: Max Lucado

During turbulent times this book offers encouragement.  Max Lucado writes about the life of Joseph and parallels his story with the hard times that all of us face in this life.  We often view situations or seasons in this life as unfair.  We may feel that The Lord has abandoned us or somehow failed us.  However, if we could see a glimpse of what The Lord is doing behind the scenes we may be comforted during challenging times.  The key is often found in trusting The Lord with our whole heart.  Does it make it easier?  Not necessarily.  It just means that we can find comfort in knowing that The Lord is working something out for our good.  Joseph certainly went through years of trouble and pain but all the while The Lord was working to achieve His purpose.

I have always loved the story of Joseph.  A man who endured so much yet held tightly to his faith.  I found this book very refreshing and encouraging.  I enjoy Mr. Lucado’s style of writing as he can pack a powerful punch in few words.  One of the powerful lines in this book is found on page 116.  Mr. Lucado writes, “Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice, it just entrusts it to God.”  No matter what season you are going through in life, I believe you can be encouraged by this book. 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Appointments with Heaven: The True Story of a County Doctor’s Healing Encounters with the Hereafter

By: Dr. Reggie Anderson with Jennifer Schuchmann




Dr. Anderson pens a wonderful and intriguing story about his life.  The first part of the book provides readers with a glimpse into Dr. Anderson’s life.  He talks about his experiences with The Lord when he was a child.  He then shares how a family tragedy turned him away from The Lord.  After years of running from The Lord a dream changed his life.    

The second part of the book talks about the experiences he has had with several patients as they have passed from this life to the next life.  The stories are incredible.  All but one of Dr. Anderson’s stories provides details about what happens when a person goes to Heaven.  However, there is one story about a man who would not accept The Lord.  Dr. Anderson explains how when this man passed it was unlike the others he experienced.  There was definitely a difference and he did not want to see another patient got through that again. 

I enjoyed reading this book and my faith was further increased.  If you or anyone you know is going through a difficult time this book may be just what you need to be encouraged that something greater awaits those who accept The Lord.  It was also interesting to learn that Dr. Anderson and his wife Karen have been long-time friends with Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman.  One of the stories included in this book is the passing of Maria, Steven Curtis & Mary Beth’s daughter.  Although Maria was not one Dr. Anderson’s patients, she was like family to him.  The Anderson and Chapman families officially became family in 2009 when Dr. Anderson’s daughter married the Chapman’s son. 

Disclaimer:  Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

He Knows Your Name

By: Travis Cottrell



This may be a small book but it is filled with a powerful message.  Beth Moore pens a beautiful introduction regarding worship.  Travis Cottrell then invites us to understand the depth of The Lord’s love for us.  Each chapter contains a beautiful message which is worthy of reflection.  The author includes quotes from well-known Christians and a space for Reflection and Application.  Each chapter ends with a prayer.  I highly recommend this book and look forward to giving it a gift to others in need of encouragement.      

*I would like to thank Worthy Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

The Power of an Ordinary Prayer

By: Michael W. Smith




Michael W. Smith has a written a book about a beautiful Prayer of Blessing.  He describes how his mentor has spoken blessings over him and how it has impacted his life.  Therefore, speaking a blessing over others has become part of his life.  Before Michael W. Smith shares the prayer he wisely explains how speaking this prayer is no way a formula to get what we want from God.  He explains how we need to pray and submit our will to God’s will and He in turn will bless us more than we could ever imagine.

Michael W. Smith has broken the prayer up into six blessings for which there is a chapter for each.  Each chapter explains the blessing and there are quotes and questions to encourage times of reflection.  I was blessed by this book and the beautiful prayer.  I would love to hang a copy of this prayer up in my home as a reminder to stay focused on what is important in this life.  I look forward to gifting this book to others so they too may be encouraged and blessed.      

*I would like to thank Worthy Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

KJV Homeschool Mom’s Bible

By: Zondervan

 


I love the cover of this Bible as it is cute and colorful!  The Foreword is written by Vickie Farris who is the wife of Homeschool Legal Defense Association Founder, Dr. Michael Farris.  This Bible also contains 365 devotionals written by Janet Tatman who has 25 years of homeschooling experience.  She was also a copywriter for Alpha Omega Publications.  Part of her job there was to write a daily devotional that was sent out via e-mail to subscribers.  Her daily devotionals became very popular and have now become part of this Bible. 

I believe these daily devotions are perfect for mothers who are short on time.  The devotionals contain a scripture, a story and a prayer.  Also, the page number of the next devotional is listed at the bottom.  This makes it easy so the reader does not have to skim through the Bible to find the next one.  Also, the Bible verses contained in the devotionals do not correspond with where the devotional is found in the Bible.  For example, a devotional may be based on a scripture found in James but the devotional is found between the pages of Genesis.  For those who are looking for a deeper study this may not be what you are looking for as there are no questions for further reflection.   

 
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

Press Release

I have been given a great opportunity to review two new books mentioned below.  The first book is "The Power of Ordinary Prayer" by Michael W. Smith.  The second book is "He Knows Your Name" by Travis Cottrell.  I will be posting my reviews next week!
 
 
GRAMMY AND DOVE AWARD-WINNING RECORDING ARTISTS
PEN TITLES WITH WORTHY PUBLISHING
 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – June 11th, 2013—The Worthy Publishing Group rounds out its Spring/Summer 2013 list with two gift titles penned by award-winning singer/songwriters Michael W. Smith and Travis Cottrell.
 
Smith’s book The Power of an Ordinary Prayer (Worthy Publishing, 9781617951923, July 2013, $14.99, hardcover) explores the heart of prayer and its power to transform your world. The beautifully-designed, hardcover gift book inspires readers to pray blessings over their loved ones, and in return discover the abundant joy and peace that can be theirs through the power of this simple blessing. 
 
Dove-award winning artist, Travis Cottrell’s 144-page gift book entitled He Knows Your Name (Worthy Publishing, 9781617951916, July 2013, $14.99, hardcover), looks at those surprising times and places when God proves his radical love. With a remarkable introduction by NewYork Times best-selling author Beth Moore, Cottrell reminds readers that God is the hope, strength, and deliverance they desperately need in every circumstance—especially those moments when it is least expected.
 
“These books, written by award-winning recording artists, come on the heels of our success with titles from contemporary Christian music artists Laura Story and Nichole Nordeman,” says Jeana Ledbetter, Vice President of Editorial.Within the past year Worthy Publishing has struck a chord with readers with the release of Grammy-award winning songwriter Laura Story’s devotional, What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops? (Freeman Smith, 9781605873220, March 2012, $11.99, trade paper) along with Dove-award winning artist Nichole Nordeman’s Love Story (Worthy, 9781617950513, August 2012, $16.99, hardcover). “It seems we have found a niche transforming best-selling recording artists into widely read authors,” Ledbetter continues.  Worthy is also scheduled to release Big Daddy Weave’s devotional Redeemed (Worthy, 9781605875224, August 2013, $11.99), based on the song recently awarded “Song of the Year” at the K-Love Fan Awards on June 1st.
 
Michael W. Smith is a multiple-time Grammy and Dove Award-winning singer/songwriter, having recorded more than twenty-two albums and written numerous hit songs.  Smith has written several best-selling books, including Old Enough to Know and Friends are Friends Forever. He and his wife, Debbie, have five children and live in Nashville.
 
Travis Cottrell is a Dove Award-winning recording artist and songwriter and has been the worship leader at Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live conferences for fifteen years. He also serves as the Worship Pastor at Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife, Angela, and their three children.
 
Worthy Publishing Group (www.worthypublishing.com) is a privately held, independent voice in Christian and inspirational publishing, based in Nashville, Tennessee, comprised of three divisions. Worthy Books publishes a boutique list of trade titles across a broad spectrum of genres, including current events, biography, fiction, devotionals, spiritual and personal growth, and specialized Bibles. Ellie Claire is a line of gift and paper expressions, and Freeman-Smith is a value-priced, impulse book imprint.  



Forever Friday

By: Timothy Lewis



Adam Colby’s divorce leaves him bitter and questioning whether true love really exists.  As he was cleaning up after an estate sale he came across an album full of postcards.  Each postcard contained a poem written by Gabe Alexander to his wife Pearl (a.k.a. Huck).  Adam was intrigued by the depth of their love and set out on a quest to find out more about this couple.  Yvette is the only one who knows Gabe and Huck’s story.  At first she is reluctant to meet with Adam but she soon realizes he is just the right person to gain insight into this beautiful love story.

I really enjoyed reading this book and loved the front cover.  The story mainly focuses on the lives of Gabe and Huck with interjections of Adam’s life.  Although I enjoyed most of the story, I felt some of storyline was unnecessary and not developed enough.  Without getting into too much detail, there is a part in the book where Huck runs into her ex-fiancé.  I found this part of the story to be a little unrealistic and disturbing.  I also felt that the story about Adam and Yvette was not developed enough.  I know they were not meant to be the main focus of this book but I feel like their story could have been portrayed better.  Overall I think this was a good book with a great love story.  One interesting fact that the author shared is how this story is “loosely” based off of the lives of his great aunt and great uncle.  I look forward to reading more from this author.  

*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Barefoot Summer: A Chapel Springs Romance (Book #1)

By: Denise Hunter



This book allows a glimpse into the lives of Madison McKinley and Beckett O’Reilly.  The two have known each other since their school days.  Beckett had a reputation for being the bad boy and Madison was a picture of perfection.  While Beckett came from a broken home, Madison seemed liked she had it all.  Although behind every picture of perfection there is often hidden pain.  Madison tragically lost her twin brother and while everyone else seems to have gone on with their lives she cannot seem to get past the pain.  She desperately wants the nightmares to stop and she believes that by fulfilling her brother’s dream of winning the town’s regatta that she can finally move on.  When Madison wins boating lessons at an auction she is both scared and excited to embark on this adventure of competing in the regatta.  However, plans change when her instructor is unable to fulfill his commitment and she is forced to learn from Beckett O’Reilly.  Beckett will do anything to help Madison win this race as he has kept his feelings for her buried as he believed someone like her could never be interested in him.  As the boating lessons begin the chemistry between them is undeniable.  Will a secret that Beckett has kept for years tear them apart?

Denise Hunter has written a beautiful love story with all the emotions and flaws of real life.  Two hurting people fall in love and have to figure out their way through the twists and turns in life.  I really enjoyed this story and found the characters to be very relatable.  I look forward to reading the second book in the series called Dancing with Fireflies coming in April 2014.    

 
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Derailed

By: Neta Jackson & Dave Jackson




Derailed is the second book in the Windy City Series.  This book focuses on the lives of Harry and Estelle Bentley who appeared in the first book Grounded.  Harry and Estelle contemplate the next phase of their lives as they consider a move into a two-flat foreclosure on Beecham Street.  This would provide them with more space as their grandson lives with them and they would like to have room for Harry’s mother.  After the Bentley’s move into the home an unexpected turn of events leaves them in a precarious position as Harry’s mother is unable to move in with them.  Due to the loss of income they were expecting from Harry’s mother they are forced to look at the options before them to determine how to pay for the new home. 

Rodney, Harry’s son, recently moved in with them as he needed a place to stay after being released from prison.  He was having a difficult time finding a job and certainly did not have the money to pay them rent.  As Harry and Estelle looked at their options they decided that it would be best if Harry went back to work after being retired from the Chicago Police Department.  He was offered a job as an undercover detective which he originally declined; however, maybe this job was the answer to their prayers. 

After much prayer and consideration, Harry decided to accept the position and began work with no time to waste.  His undercover assignments included him traveling on the train to help bust the drug cartels.  One assignment was especially difficult for Harry as he was forced to question whether a neighbor and his son were caught up in one of the large international cartels.  His neighbor seems like an unlikely suspect but his son’s past makes him a prime suspect.  Although Rodney seemed to be on the road to recovery could Harry have been deceived? 

I enjoyed getting to know Harry, Estelle and their family.  They seem like a family that could be living next door.  They are good-natured people with situations that many may be facing today.  As with Grounded, there are many life lessons to be taken from this book.  Look for books three and four coming in 2014.  The titles are Penny Wise and Pound Foolish.

*I would like to thank Worthy Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Wishing Tree

By: Marybeth Whalen

 
 

Ivy Marshall‘s life seems to be going in a downward spiral.  Within a short amount of time she loses her job and discovers that her suspicions are correct, her husband Elliott is cheating on her.  As if that were not enough to deal with she receives a call from her mother informing her that her sister’s fiancé is going to propose to her on national television.  How can Ivy share her family’s joy when their relationships are strained and her world is falling apart?  When Ivy’s mother asks her to come to Sunset Beach to help plan the wedding she decides that it may be the escape that she needs to deal with her past and think about her future.  Sunset Beach holds many memories for Ivy especially memories of Michael.  Michael is Ivy’s former fiancé and she wonders if there is still hope for them now that it seems like her marriage is falling apart.  Ivy learns a lot in her journey about love, forgiveness and grace.

 
This book is a great summer read.  Most of the story takes place in Sunset Beach, North Carolina.  The author’s vivid descriptions make you feel like you are there with the characters.  I thought the author did a good job of illustrating how we can never run from our problems.  We have to take our problems to The Lord and allow Him to heal us.  The author also did an excellent job of showing that the grace we may be seeking is the same grace that we may need to extend.  I look forward to reading more from this author.   



*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Grounded

By: Neta Jackson & Dave Jackson



Grace Meredith is an up and coming Contemporary Christian Music singer.  She is well-known for sharing her message about purity during her concerts.  Her passionate message stems from secrets from her past.  Secrets that she wants to keep hidden.  All seems well in life as she will soon be heading home to Chicago after her New Year, New You tour.  Grace loves touring but she is looking forward to returning home so she can see her family and her fiancé, Roger.  She is so excited to be engaged and feels it helps her share her purity message with even more passion.  Before Grace returns home she receives a shocking call from Roger.  He is breaking off their engagement as he feels her career is taking away from their relationship.  Grace returns home heart-broken.

This is just the beginning of Grace’s journey in the first of the Windy City Neighbors series.  Grace’s story is truly a heartwarming story about the grace and forgiveness that The Lord extends to us.  For me, this was a page-turner and it was hard to put the book down.  It was full of life lessons, romance and mystery.  I absolutely loved this book and cannot wait for the second book Derailed to come out in October!      

*I would like to thank Worthy Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Beyond Heaven’s Door

By: Max Lucado

 
Come along on a journey with Max Lucado as he paints a beautiful picture of heaven.  Written in his unique story-telling style Max draws inspiration from scripture, as well as, real-life stories.  Max Lucado begins by describing his love of golf and how he felt when he was invited to the Masters Golf Tournament.  He was so happy to be at the event but he wanted more.  He wanted to go into the locker room.  The guard would not let him in because only players and caddies are allowed in the locker room.  The guard knew he was not a player and caddies are required to wear white overalls.  Max said his clothing was a clear sign that he was not going to be able to enter.  He relates this life experience to how we need to be clothed in Christ in order to enter heaven.   He then goes on to describe heaven.  I think Max said it best on page 74 when he described what John said in Revelation 21:4.  “Heaven will be great, he said, not just because of what is present but because of what is missing.”   Can you imagine living a life free of pain, problems, fear and sorrow?

I found this book to be very encouraging.  So often death is viewed as the end but really it is just the beginning. 

 *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

Born to Be Blessed: Releasing God’s Promises into the Lives of Those You Love

By: John Hagee



In his new book titled Born to Be Blessed: Releasing God’s Promises into the Lives of Those You Love Pastor John Hagee uses scripture to illustrate how The Lord desires to bless us.  The first part of the book describes the Prophetic Blessing and how to release it.  Pastor Hagee also explains the difference between the Priestly Blessing and the Prophetic Blessing.  The second part of the book contains proclamations that can be spoken over your loved ones to release the Prophetic Blessing.  The proclamations include healing, family, new beginnings, protection, etc.  The book ends with a parting blessing from Pastor Hagee.
 
I enjoyed this book and found it to be a fairly quick read.  I enjoyed learning about the Prophetic Blessing and love the proclamations found in the second part of the book. The proclamations are great as they can be spoken over your loved ones but also used to encourage others who may be going through a difficult time.  I thought it is also worth mentioning that a portion of this book appeared in Pastor’s Hagee’s best-selling book called The Power of the Prophetic Blessing.
 
*I would like to thank Worthy Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Who is this Jesus: The Hope You Can’t Resist

By: Max Lucado


 

Max Lucado provides his readers with a unique perspective regarding the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  The story is told from the perspective of a Roman solider named Claudius.  He was assigned to work in Jerusalem for a year and thought that it would be a peaceful place to work.  However, upon his arrival he had an uneasy feeling that would not leave him.  Jerusalem was not the peaceful place that he imagined.  Claudius soon found himself in a situation in which he did not desire.  He was given the assignment to work at Golgotha the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.  Claudius explains what he witnessed that day as well as the days to follow.

I love Max Lucado books and his relaxed writing style.  He can say so much with so few words.  This book is no exception.  I really enjoyed this story along with the original artwork provided by world-renowned artist C. Michael Dudash.  It was interesting to view the crucifixion and resurrection through a different set of eyes.  I believe this is a good book to read whenever  a reminder is needed of how much the Lord loves us.


*I would like to thank Worthy Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Full Armor of God: Defending Your Life from Satan’s Schemes

By: Larry Richards
 
 
 
The Full Armor of God is an interesting read about spiritual warfare. Author, Larry Richards, basis for the book is the book of Ephesians. The book is broken into seven parts and includes an Appendix A and B. Part 1 discusses understanding spiritual forces while Parts 2 – 6 focus on the Armor of God. The book concludes with Part 7. Appendix A and B discuss Christian Counseling and a “Live Free Support Group” lesson plan.
 
This book gives practical advice regarding spiritual warfare.  The author points out Satan’s schemes and what we can do to combat them.  One example is given in Part 3 about a man who was given a job opportunity that he always wanted.  However, the job required him and his family to move from California to Illinois.  The couple was excited about the opportunity but something was holding them back.  They became full of anxiety as the cold temperatures in Illinois would require them to purchase winter clothing for their three children.  They felt the calling to Illinois but did not have the money for the new clothing.  Larry explains how anxiety is one of Satan’s most common attacks.  He further explains how to combat anxiety with the shield of faith.  The book is full of other examples and guidance on how we can overcome the enemy if we only use the power given to us.
 
*This book was provided by Chosen Books for my honest review.