Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review It is Finished

It Is Finished: Finding Lasting Victory Over SinIt Is Finished: Finding Lasting Victory Over Sin by David Wilkerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is Finished; Finding Lasting Victory Over Sin. What does that mean to find victory over sin? Is it a magical, mysterious act that you have to perform to finally find relief? What this book made abundantly clear is that it definitely is NOT about ME! Jesus died on the cross for my sins and said "It is finished." It really is. God has truly given each of us the resources we need to defeat life-controlling sin.
I enjoyed this book very much and really hope I can take the time to go back through it with a highlighter this time.

This book was given to me by Baker Publishing Group, for my honest review.

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Book Review Heaven Hears

Heaven Hears: The True Story of What Happened When Pat Boone Asked the World to Pray for His Grandson's SurvivalHeaven Hears: The True Story of What Happened When Pat Boone Asked the World to Pray for His Grandson's Survival by Lindy Boone Michaelis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Heaven Hears is a true story about an answered prayer. This wasn't just one prayer by one family. It ended up being thousands of prayers by thousands of families all across this nation. Ryan Boone has been saved for a reason and God must surely have bigger plans for him.

Back Cover:
"On June 19, 2001, Ryan Corbin, grandson of Pat Boone, accidently stepped through a skylight and fell three stories onto a cement floor. When he broke through that roof, Ryan fell into a very different life from the one he had before as the beloved son of Lindy Boone Michaelis and first grandson of entertainment icon Pat Boone. As Ryan lingered between life and death in intensive care at UCLA Medical Center, Pat and Lindy decided to take action, in a big way; they went on "Larry King Live," shared their faith, and asked millions of TV viewers to pray for Ryan. And so, they prayed. "Heaven Hears" is an unbelievable story of answered prayer--and it's not over yet. This book will inspire you to look for answers to prayer and to see God's miracles."

I was less enthused by the history of Lindy. I just felt some of her history was unnecessary and poorly written. Her faith was unshakeable and undeniable. I would like to have heard more about Ryan and his story, rather than Lindy's, that's all. I'm not bashing her by any means. God is great and God definitely answers prayers!

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Tyndale Publishers for my honest review of this book.

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review The Guardian Duke

The Guardian Duke (Forgotten Castles #1)The Guardian Duke by Jamie Carie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first book by Jamie Carie and I wasn't too terribly disappointed but I wasn't too terribly impressed either. I liked the story and I even enjoyed the cliff hanger at the end. Something about it seemed to just seem ho-hum. If given the chance to preview more in this series, I probably would do it, mostly to find out the ending!
If you're looking for just lightly semi-mindless reading, go ahead and take a chance on this one.

I was given a free preview copy to review by NetGalley, for my honest opinion.

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Book Review Flirting with Disaster

Flirting with Disaster (Camelot, #3)Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

You know, I read another book by Ruthie Knox that I really enjoyed, but I have to say I think this one just fell short. There wasn't enough character building nor was there anything that grabbed my attention to make me care about the characters. I really lost interest in the story line as well as the plot.
Keep writing Ruthie, but give us depth of character!

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Book Review Unrivaled

UnrivaledUnrivaled by Siri Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I'm not a regular reader of Siri Mitchell, but I will be adding her to my list of authors! This is a cute, fast read book. The characters, Lucy and Charlie are both head-strong and a bit mean at times, but it seems to work for them. Their rivalry within the candy business is believable and highly energetic.
From the Back Cover
"Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration. After tasting Europe's best confections, she's sure she'll come up with a recipe that will save her father's struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes. But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager--a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy's skin.

Charlie Clarke's new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime. He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he's never known. The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall. She's making his work life miserable...and making herself impossible for him to forget."

I received this book as a free preview from Bethany House Publishers, for their honest review.

I look forward to reading her next book!

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Book Review A Cast of Stones

A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword, #1)A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. I think it's hard to believe it's his first one ever! Well done! I am eagerly awaiting the 2nd book to come out and really feel like I became a part of the story. He developed the characters well, without overdoing it. Errol Stone was very loveable, very engaging. I hope I can encourage others to pick up a copy and give it a chance.
From the Back Cover:
"In the backwater village of Callowford, roustabout Errol Stone is enlisted by a church messenger arriving with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Eager for coin, Errol agrees to what he thinks will be an easy task, but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he's joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.

Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom's dynasty nears its end and the selection of the new king begins--but in secret and shadow. As danger mounts, Errol must leave behind the stains and griefs of the past, learn to fight, and discover who is hunting him and his companions and how far they will go to stop the reading of the stones."

I received a free copy from Bethany Publishers, for my honest review.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review Your Beautiful Purpose

Your Beautiful Purpose: Discovering and Enjoying What God Can Do Through YouYour Beautiful Purpose: Discovering and Enjoying What God Can Do Through You by Susie Larson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description of book:
"Listeners to Susie Larson's radio show and women she meets at events across the country tell her the same thing: I want to do something meaningful for God, but I don't know what to do, or how.

Drawing on her own hard-earned experiences, Larson shows readers how to overcome insecurities, busyness, and other obstacles in order to focus their gifts and passions on their unique God-assignment. With biblical insights and inspiring stories from a variety of women, this action-oriented guide will speak to every woman who has felt a nudge from God--from the visionary who wants to end poverty to the empty-nest mom who feels called to help the young single mother next door."

I really really loved this book. I plan on using it as the next Bible Study for our ladies group this summer. Each chapter ends with study questions as well as discussion starters. The bullet points on the back cover of this book describe it perfectly. 1 Discern the best use of your time and gifts. 2. Confidently pursue God's unique desires for you and 3. Stretch your faith and deepen your impact. Lay down lesser commitments and lay hold of God's beautiful purpose for your life.

I see that there is an accompanying teaching DVD that goes along with this book and I also plan on purchasing that for our group.

It was perfectly timed for the season of my life. I don't believe I am alone as a woman in her 40s still searching for my purpose! This book really does feel like an encouraging note from a friend, inspiring me to be all I was meant to be in Christ Jesus.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review The Full Armor of God

The Full Armor of God: Defending Your Life from Satan's SchemesThe Full Armor of God: Defending Your Life from Satan's Schemes by Larry Richards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Description:
"Respected scholar and speaker Larry Richards offers a balanced, evangelical-friendly approach to spiritual warfare based on the book of Ephesians. Unique among books on warfare and deliverance, this easy-to-follow handbook draws riches from the Bible, while also offering tactical guidance for conquering the demons of fear and doubt that assail believers. Framing his teaching on Paul's armor of God passage in Ephesians 6, Richards uncovers strategies of Satan and analyzes the armor piece by piece to reveal how God provides protection from every attack of the enemy. Hands-on exercises at the end of each section, plus in-depth, analytical appendixes, help readers identify and stand against powers of evil--and experience true freedom."

This is a well written and very timely book. In the Bible, the book of Ephesians is where we find the reference of putting on the full armor of God. This book starts with Understanding Spiritual Forces and takes the reader all through the various elements; Helmet of Salvation, Shield of Faith, Sandals of Peace, Breastplate of Righteousness, and the Belt of Truth.
I do believe that we all are locked into a daily battle with the devil and it takes a strong mind and will to overcome this. This is called a "tactical handbook". Like it or not, we all need this information and need to learn to put it into practice on a daily basis. This book guides us through that process.
I received this free book from Baker Publishing Group, Chosen Division, for my honest review.

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Book Review Revealing Jesus: A 365-Day Devotional

Revealing Jesus: A 365-Day DevotionalRevealing Jesus: A 365-Day Devotional by Darlene Zschech
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the cover:
"Bestselling Author and Renowned Worship Leader Darlene Zschec has led millions of Christians in worship as she's written and performed such songs as "Shout to the Lord" and penned bestsellers Extravagant Worship and The Kiss of Heaven. This collection of all new thought-provoking devotions has been designed to accompany her upcoming live album, which will be produced by four-time Grammy award winner Israel Houghton, and will include guest performances by Kari Jobe and Michael W. Smith.
Each devotion will reflect on grace given to the reader through Christ's life, death, and resurrection. This beautifully packaged book will be released in conjunction with the album. Perfect for Christians looking for fresh readings on the passion and resurrection of Christ, or as a thoughtful seasonal gift."

Darlene Zschech has done a wonderful job of bring a daily devotional to us. It's formatted as one page a day, starting with January 1 and ends, of course, with Dec 31st. Each day offers scripture, and a wonderful life-application detailing and explaining the scripture. Each day ends with a prayer. I love it and I really love the nice, heavy hardback cover of the book. The pages are all nice and heavy too. (Crazy thing to comment on perhaps, but I love how good paper feels in your hands.)
The colors on the cover are beautiful and mesmerizing. Cover design gets an A++.
This would make an excellent gift, as the whole package is so attractive.

I received this as a free preview from Bethany House.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Book Review True Love

True LoveTrue Love by Jude Deveraux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was really pleased and excited to get a preview copy of Jude's newest book through NetGalley. What a thrill to be able to review one of my all time favorite authors!
I am happy to see a new trilogy come out, simply because that means more stories to come!

 From the Cover:
"Jude Deveraux, the New York Times bestselling author of unforgettable romance, returns with a breathtaking first book in a fantastic new series—the Nantucket Brides trilogy. Set on the magical Massachusetts island, True Love introduces characters from a new generation of Montgomery-Taggerts, the beloved family from Deveraux’s classic novels.

Just as Alix Madsen is finishing up architectural school, Adelaide Kingsley dies and wills her, for one year, the use of a charming nineteenth-century Nantucket house. The elderly woman’s relationship to the Madsen family is a mystery to the spirited Alix—fresh from a romantic breakup—but for reasons of her own Alix accepts the quirky bequest, in part because it gives her time to plan her best friend’s storybook wedding.

But unseen forces move behind the scenes, creaking Kingsley House’s ancient floorboards. It seems that Adelaide Kingsley had a rather specific task for Alix: to solve the strange disappearance of one of the Kingsley women, Valentina, more than two hundred years ago. If that wasn’t troubling enough, Alix must deal with the arrogant (and extremely good-looking) architect Jared Montgomery, who is living in the property’s guesthouse."

I wish I could give this 5 stars, but there were a few issued I felt kept it from perfection. I had a hard time jumping into this story and following along with who was who. Most characters are believable and very loveable. After thinking about this for a few days, I believe it was because there were so many characters in this story. Too many, in my opinion. I like the idea of bring basically a whole mini town into a story, but I don't think it was effectively done in 350-ish pages. I would have been happier with the handful of important characters and work to develop them further. Between the real characters and the ghost characters, I found myself not caring about any of them as much as I wanted to.

The ending wedding was really, almost too much to believe. I mean, really. No one wants a wedding quite like that.

All in all, I was a little disappointed. But, will I read the next in this series? Absolutely.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review Starting Now

Starting Now: A Blossom Street Novel (Blossom Street #9)Starting Now: A Blossom Street Novel by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Debbie Macomber has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I have not read the Blossom Street Series, but I would like to go back to my local library and get all of the back stories!

"For years Libby Morgan dreamed only of making partner in her competitive, high-pressure law firm. She sacrificed everything for her career—her friends, her marriage, her chance at creating a family. When her boss calls Libby into his office, she assumes it will finally be good news, but nothing can prepare her for the shocking reality: She’s been let go and must rebuild her entire life . . . starting now.

With no job prospects in sight, Libby reaches out to old friends and spends her afternoons at A Good Yarn, the local knitting store. There she forms a close bond with Lydia, the sweet-natured shop owner; Lydia’s spirited teenage daughter, Casey; and Casey’s best friend, Ava, a shy yet troubled girl who will shape Libby’s future in surprising and profound ways.

As A Good Yarn becomes a second home—and the women a new kind of family—Libby relishes the different person she’s become. She even finds time for romance with a charming and handsome doctor who seems to be her perfect match. But just as everything is coming together, Libby must make a choice that could forever change the life she holds so dear."

This is really an adorable story. I'm not sure if I was expecting more, or if I just wasn't in the best mind-set to read this book. I loved the characters, the descriptions and the story line. The part I had trouble with was the quick build up and then disappointment to the almost adoption. I just felt like it wasn't clearly expressed and clearly delivered to the reader.

This luke-warm read will not keep me from enjoying the rest of the Blossom Street Series!

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Book Review Imperfect Pairings

I received this as an advanced review copy through NetGalley.

I was also disappointed in this selection. It left me feeling flat and frustrated. First, it was the larger than normal amounts of Italian scattered throughout the conversations, then it was the way the two main characters treated each other. It may be a true reflection of how some couples interact with each other, but it's not the kind of story I want to spend hours reading.  At least the title got it right.

I just couldn't ever fall in love or connect with any of the characters.

Book Review One Step Too Far

I received this as a free preview from NetGalley and I had a hard time getting into the book initially. Each chapter dealt with a different character and I felt I was going back re-reading various chapters in order to make sense of it. I almost quit a few chapters in. However, I'm glad I read the book in it's entirety.

Emily is a confused, troubled woman. I did not appreciate the extent of her disturbed mind until the big twist was revealed toward the end.

The final, final ending I was not exactly pleased with. By the time it came around to wrap it all up, I felt almost betrayed by the author. I didn't know if I should even trust what was she was indicating. I think after you've invested so much time and energy into a character as a reader, then you get blind-sided by a HUGE secret, you feel hurt, almost "used".

I'm glad I read the book. I just don't agree that it will be the book everyone is talking about this Summer.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book Review A Woman's Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year

A Woman's Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year: A Life-Changing Journey Into the Heart of God

What a great way to bring a group of women together and study God's word.  I love how this book is written and organized.  It contains everything you need to succeed.  It's 52 sections, with a great weekly synopsis, reading assignments, and general discussion starter questions. 

As a Bible Study Leader, I realize women must have a fierce determination to stay on task and focused.  This is a long time to have a weekly study without losing your members.  Individually, I can see myself succeeding much better than trying to lead a group for an entire year. 

The daily tasks seem short, succinct and will be able to be accomplished in 20-30 minutes of reading a day. 

I received a free copy from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.

Book Review The Briarpatch Gospel

The Briarpatch Gospel: Fearlessly Following Jesus Into the Thorny Places

The first chapter was compelling.  I wanted to just delve into it and absorb as much as I could as quickly as possible.  After that, I found myself arguing more and more with both myself and the author.  While I agree with quite a lot of what he addresses, there are things that I have to question and shake my head over.

I absolutely love the change in my mindset to live and love more like Jesus.  Love and care for the needy like never before.   I want to be compassionate and act on that compassion.  I don't want to just pass by and do nothing.

On the same token, I don't like being made to feel like I am part of a "self-righteous" church simply because we do not follow absolutely all of his thoughts.  My church is the body of Christ and it feels like my home.  It's warm, welcoming, accepting and loving. 

I intend to change myself from the inside out after reading this book.  I also want to dig deeper into many of the topics he addressed.  I'm not a theologian.  I love my Christ and I do intend to follow him into the briarpatch.  

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, to review.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review Just Breathe

  Just Breathe by Janette Paul
Just Breathe, by Janet Paul was a really cute, endearing story about a mismatched couple. Millionaire vs. struggling yoga teacher. 

Back Cover Information:
"Opposites attract in this funny, touching and deliciously romantic novel as hippie Dee meets millionaire businessman Ethan - and her calm world is turned upside down... 
Dee Nichols is a free-spirited yoga teacher, albeit a broke one. But she’s not interested in money or possessions or thinking too far into the future. After surviving a terrible car accident, she’s just happy to be breathing. 
Then Dee meets Ethan Roxburgh at a Christmas party. As the head of Roxburgh Holdings, and a regular in the social pages, he’s the opposite of what Dee wants in her life. Until a job modelling yoga in a TV commercial turns Dee into an overnight celebrity 
Thrust into a whole new world of business and PR (as well as high-heels and plunging necklines) Dee is out of her comfort zone and suddenly Ethan is perfect – as a mentor. Or would be, if she wasn’t so damn attracted to him. After all, he’d never look twice at a short, accident-prone yoga instructor with market-stall couture
Then Ethan does look twice - and life gets sweet and sexy."
I enjoyed the book, I didn't totally fall in love with the characters.

I did appreciate the lessons learned of letting the past go, embrace the scary future and learn to love, even though heartbreak is sometimes part of it. (A lot of times, actually, but that's another story.)

Dee the yoga teacher is a funny, quirky woman that is trying desperately to put the puzzle pieces of her life back together.  The only problem is her tragic car accident from 10 years ago left her missing a piece of the puzzle. She finally learns that her life after the accident is a new one. It's not a life she has to rebuild and get back to.  It's a life that is yet to be written.

I received this as a free eBook from NetGalley to review.

Book Review Along Came Trouble

 When you find yourself wishing a book wasn't ending, I think you've found a good one. That's how I was with this one. I really enjoyed it. It was my first and definitely not my last Ruthie Knox book.

After reading other reviews and realizing there are more Camelot books, I'm going to seek those out!

I felt like I could move into the house next door and become instant friends with this family. The storyline was engaging and the character's conversations flowed together very nicely. Ruthie Knox knows how to make conversations work! I believed the story and was totally caught up in all of it. 

Back cover information:
"An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth.

Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure. With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?"

The scenes written with sizzle were exciting, and were not embarrassingly erotic. Thank you for that!

I received this eBook as a free preview from NetGalley.
Along Came Trouble (Camelot #2)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Whistling Past the Graveyard

This is the first book I've read by Susan Crandall and it won't be the last.  I was very happy I received this as a free preview from NetGalley. 
Starla was a feisty young southern girl that had a lot of learning and a lot of growing up to do.  I found myself rooting for her throughout her journey.  I fought with her when she was being attacked and I cried with her when she realized the truth about her momma.
It was a well written, easy to fall in love with book and I've recommended it to many friends and family members already.  The stark reality of segregation grabbed a hold of little Starla and she was forever changed. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review - The Tutor's Daughter

This was a cute little story about Emma Smallwood, daughter of the local tutor. Emma and her father run the local academy for young men, The Smallwood Academy.  When they have said goodbye to their last student, Emma takes it upon herself to find new students.  Her quest takes them away from their home and to the cliff-top manor in Cornwall. 

The story centers around Emma and her need to figure out how to accept that her mother's death was not punishment from God, and to believe once again in her magnificent creator.  Emma fears being labeled an "old maid" in her old age of 21.  She realizes in the end that love and forgiveness are our ultimate goals as well as prize in life.

The only criticism of the book was when the "mystery" brother was introduced.  I really felt like it was not a fully developed plot in the story and was thrown in as an afterthought, to bring more intrigue into the story.  

The little romantic scenes as well as the tiniest bit of mystery left this a very satisfying read. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. 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."