Thursday, August 17, 2017

Included in Chist

A new kind of Bible study…

After the success of her first two books, Heather Holleman received many requests to write a Bible study. And as a college English instructor, she wanted to make sure it really taught and didn’t simply inform. So she surveyed several women about what their dream study would look like, then got to work.

The result is Included with Christ, a narrative-driven study where you can bring your life before Scripture in the context of community. Together women will discern their personal shadow narratives—ways they are living outside of their identity in Christ—and then rewrite those narratives according to biblical truth.

This in-depth, 8-week study in Ephesians willequip women with six “signature stories” of God’s work in their lives—helping them combat exclusion, loneliness, weakness, decay, emptiness, and silence.

Designed to facilitate honest sharing and help you internalize biblical truth, Included in Christ will provide community and connectedness as well as spiritual nourishment. It will also guide you in how to share your story and the hope of Christ with someone who doesn’t yet know Him.

My thoughts: I haven't done a study on the book of Ephesians before, so I was excited to pick up this 8 week study! The book is excellent to use alone or in a group. I love how there is a lot of thought provoking questions at the end of each day's reading. I love words, so I had fun with this part, but I appreciated that Heather offers a bit of help for those who don't care for journaling and need ideas.
This study helped me to take a step back from my life and examine the ways that I need to change, especially some of my thought patterns. I also really liked the background on the book of Ephesians, as it is a letter showing how all people are a part of God's family, that God longs to gather us to Him.
I highly recommend this study book!
I received this book from Moody in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Two of Us

After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she's focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who's pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia's plans.
Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He's poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who's asked him to be his best man at his wedding.
Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake. And Jake, who can't help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he'll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake's courage and Mia's caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .

My thoughts: Another wonderful, thought provoking story from Victoria Bylin! I love how she crafts characters full of depth and personality, giving us a couple with hopes, fears, and dreams of their own. I love the over all message of this story, one that I've had to learn, sometimes our dreams can change over the years, into something even more beautiful than we imagined.
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Deal or Duel

In the face of the political instability and financial turmoil of the American Revolution, only one individual always came out on top: Alexander Hamilton. Pit your survival instincts and spending savvy against all the founding fathers (and mothers) in this historic action card game whose simple objective is as old as Ameritocracy itself: get all the money or die trying.

My thoughts: So, I will be the first to admit that I haven't gotten into the whole Hamilton rage, but I did think that this book was kind of a fun way to embrace history.;) I have enjoyed playing it since it is easy to learn and a fun way to learn more about different historical characters.
I received this game from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Praying for Girls

Scripture-Based Prayers for Your Daughter's Specific Needs

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by concerns for your daughter, enjoy the peace that comes when you pray targeted prayers for her straight from the Bible. No matter your girl's age, pray confidently about struggles she may be facing now and in the years to come.
Covering five vital areas of a girl's life--her identity, heart, mind, relationships, and purpose--this easy-to-use book is ideal for anyone who feels intimidated or uncertain about what to pray for the girl they love. Rounding out the book are conversation starters and fun activities to help you guide your daughter into becoming a godly woman.

My thoughts: Having a daughter myself, I was thrilled to pick up this book and figure out how to better pray for my daughter (and son too). This book was the perfect one to pick up! I love that it is more of a manual or workbook than just a book to read quickly and move on. The chapters are wonderful and specific. If you have daughters, I highly recommend getting a copy of this book!
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Fault Lines

As a security expert, Charlie Hazard is all about taking control of the situation. But when the stunning Dr. Gabriella Speciale draws him into a secret psychological project, risk parameters are shattered. Every move brings him to the edge of one fault line after another, and Charlie struggles to stay clear of a maelstrom of entangled dangers.
The research team abandons the lab on the Florida coast and flees to a mountain refuge in Italy. The battles in Charlie's mind are overtaken by real life attacks. He must grapple with the daunting realization that a conspiracy is taking hold on both internal and external levels. Can Gabriella be trusted, or is she just part of the scheme?
Leave behind your assumptions about the way the world works, and race along the unknown corridors of human consciousness in Fault Lines.

My thoughts: This book might very well be the best place to start in the series, if you haven't read the previous books, since it answered a lot of the questions I had! The story is fast pace and entertaining. This is an excellent suspenseful story to pick up and enjoy as the weather cools!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Chasing Secrets

Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.

My thoughts: I have enjoyed the previous books in this series, though I was especially looking forward to this one and the international aspect to it! The story moves swiftly and I enjoyed getting to know the characters better, especially Haley, who was in the previous stories as a secondary character. I'm sad this series is finished now, but I look forward to reading Lynette's next one!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 14, 2017

God's Crime Scene for Kids

Hone your reasoning skills as you investigate evidence in the universe to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation.

In this companion to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother’s attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective’s Academy. Along the way, they develop the skills needed to investigate the mystery and the evidence of God’s existence. The cadets learn logical-thinking skills as they examine the contents of a mysterious box and the vast universe.

In God’s Crime Scene for Kids, real-life detective J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason’s mystery, and at the same time looks at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator. Ultimately, kids will learn how to make their own case for God’s existence.

My thoughts: This is an excellent book to have middle school and young teenagers read! I love the format of the story, how it ties a modern mystery in with evidence of the universe pointing to the existence of God. I found the book engaging as it moved back and forth between the two. This series is an excellent one to hand to kids and have them learn to solve mysteries, whether large or small, on their own. Two thumbs up!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Crisis Shot

Tess O'Rourke dreams of becoming the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California. As commander of the East Division, she is well on her way . . . until the night she responds to an officer-needs-assistance call and fatally shoots an unarmed teenager. Despite being cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, Tess is so hounded by the public that she takes a job in Oregon to escape the bad press.

Winning over the residents of Rogue's Hollow might be more difficult than adjusting to her new role as police chief in the small, backwater town. Especially when her closest friend, the pastor's wife, goes missing and the woman's cousin is found shot. Tess finds an ally in sheriff's deputy Steve Logan, but as they track down Rogue's Hollow's first murderer, she worries that she's breaking one of her rules and getting too close to him.

My thoughts: I haven't read any of Janice's previous stories, but my sister has raved about them, so I picked this one up. It was excellent! I love how the story tackles social issues, like the recent problems with attacks on police officers. I was a bit horrified by how much of a mess one blogger made in this story, but I think I was even more horrified that things like this story actually happen.
The mystery and suspense of the story are driving, which makes it hard to put down! I love how we get glimpses into other sides of the story. Two thumbs up! I look forward to reading more of Janice's books!
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Simplest Way to Change the World

How to make disciples using hospitality

Deep down, every Christian wants to make a difference. But for many of us, the years come and go and we never do. The good news is: change can be as simple as opening your front door.

The Simplest Way to Change the World is about biblical hospitality and its power for the gospel. Since people will sooner enter a living room than a church, hospitality is a natural and effective way to build relationships for Christ. You’ll learn:

How the home can be a hub for community
How hospitality leads to joy, purpose, and belonging
How it grows families to love the things of God
How it’s not about being the perfect host
How to be hospitable regardless of your living space
Hospitality is a beautiful legacy of the church, and a great way to make disciples. As you open your life up to others, you share in the very character of God and experience His joy. And you get to witness lives change—including your own.

Includes 20+ creative ideas for hospitality, plus questions for small groups

My thoughts: This book is such a great little read! I appreciated the thoughts on how just opening your home and learning the art of hospitality is such a simple but effective tool to impact the world around you. Doing a better job of hosting and having people over has been on my mind a lot since we bought our home, but I constantly use the excuse that no one wants to see our on going remodel projects. But, when we have opened out home, it has helped friendships to grow and blessed us tremendously. I look forward to trying this book out with a small study group.
I received this book from Moody in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Jameel McGee: “For the next three years not a day went by that I didn’t think about my son who I had never seen and the cop who had kept me from him. And for most of those three years I promised myself that if I ever saw this cop again, I was going to kill him. I intended to keep that promise.”

Andrew Collins: “I watched this angry man march through a crowd, a little boy and another man struggling to keep up with him....The man walked straight up to me, stopped, and stuck out his hand. I took it. “Remember me?” he asked in a tone that sounded more like a threat than a question.
Somehow, a name came to me. ‘Jameel McGee,’ I replied.”

It reads like a gripping crime novel…except this story really happened.

Racial tensions had long simmered in Benton Harbor, a small city on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, before the day a white narcotics officer--more focused on arrests than justice—set his sights on an innocent black man. But when officer Andrew Collins framed Jameel McGee for possession of crack cocaine, the surprising result was not a race riot but a transformative journey for both men.

Falsely convicted, McGee spent four years in federal prison. Collins also went to prison a few years later for falsifying police reports. While behind bars, the faith of both men deepened. But the story took its most unexpected turn once they were released--when their lives collided again in a moment brimming with mistrust and anger. The two were on a collision course—not to violence—but forgiveness.

As current as today’s headlines, this explosive, true story reveals how these radically conflicted men chose to let go of fear and a thirst for revenge to pursue reconciliation for themselves, their community, and our racially divided nation.

My thoughts: Wow! This was such an incredible story about how God used a horrible situation and a man's innocence and turned it into a beautiful story of forgiveness. Well written and reads like a fictional story, but sometimes truth is stranger, or in this case, more powerful, than fiction.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Over Maya Dead Body

FBI Special Agent Serena Jones arrives on Martha's Vineyard with her family, ready for a little bit of R&R and a whole lot of reminiscing as they celebrate the engagement of an old family friend. But crime doesn't take a vacation, and she's soon entangled in an investigation of a suspicious death tied to an antiquities smuggling ring.

When her investigation propels her into danger, Serena must stay the course and solve this case before anyone else dies. But just how is she supposed to do that when the two men in her life arrive on the scene, bringing with them plenty of romantic complications--and even a secret or two?

My thoughts: This book was the perfect conclusion to the series! I enjoyed the fun combination of mystery and art that this series brings to readers. It is such a fun trip into the cultured world surrounding art! I also loved Serena and her chance at love. This one is an excellent series to pick up if you love art, mystery, or are just looking for a engrossing read. Two thumbs up!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Name Unknown

Edwardian Romance and History Gains a Twist of Suspense

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family's history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family's German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors' scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he's more than his name?

My thoughts: I have enjoyed each of Roseanne's books immensely, so I was thrilled to get a hold of a copy of this book! This series is off to a wonderful start, I enjoyed the characters and the intrigue surrounding the time of their story, which is set in 1914 when England was on the cusp of World War I. This book revealed some interesting history about the king of the time and how anyone with a German surname was under suspicion. This is an excellent story to pick up! I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series, as Roseanne's characters are very realistic and go through a lot of growth through the course of the story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning

A mysterious scroll transports a brother and sister back to the time of God's creation of the world in this chapter book for emerging readers.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series follows siblings Peter and Mary and their dog, Hank, as they discover ancient scrolls that transport them back to key moments in biblical history.

In the first adventure in the series, Peter and Mary find themselves witnesses to the creation of the world just as God is speaking it into existence. Can they unlock the mystery of the scrolls before they get trapped in history forever? Children will discover the answer as the two characters ride rhinos, meet the angel Michael, and talk to a certain snake in the Garden of Eden. Riveting text and engaging illustrations bring this beloved Bible story to riotous life. Ages 6-9.

My thoughts: What a fun start to a great series for kids! My daughter and I enjoyed reading this one together, since it is a great way to introduce your kids to the story of the creation. We have talked some about it, but this book helped it come alive for my daughter, since it is told in an engaging way. It sparked some great conversations about what happened during the creation of the world and what happened after it. We enjoyed this book immensely and look forward to the next one!
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Return

Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family's rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans, but then she never had to. Not until the night when she's taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. During her captivity, Betsy faces brutality and hardship, but also unexpected kindness. She draws strength from native Caleb, who encourages her to find God in all circumstances. She finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the intense new feelings this compelling man awakens within her.

Handsome and complex, Hans is greatly anguished by Betsy's captivity and turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. Eagerly, Tessa responds, overlooking troubling signs of Hans's hunger for revenge. When Betsy is finally restored to the Amish, have things gone too far between Hans and Tessa?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.

My thoughts: After reading the first two in the series, it was interesting to start this story about Betsy, Hans, Caleb and Tessa. I like thought that the historical details were interesting and well done. There is a lot going on with this story, and it is fascinating to get to know all the characters. Whether you read the previous books or not, this is an excellent read!
If you are interested in the book, be sure to check out Suzanne's giveaway here
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Paint Chips

What lies beneath the layers of hurt?

Though haunted by her troubled past, Dot has found a safe haven. She has a fierce protector and a colorful collection of friends...but sometimes she wonders if her life will ever be normal again. Though college and romance await her, embracing them requires a new kind of strength one she isn't sure she has.

Emerging from years of confusion, Cora struggles to latch hold of the sanity she needs to return to the real world. She yearns to find a place of peace...but first she must deal with the ghosts of her past.

Can this mother and daughter overcome abuse, betrayal, abandonment, and the horrors of sexual trafficking, and make it back into each others arms?

Facing the past is never easy. But as they chip away the layers, they might just find something beautiful beneath the mess.

My thoughts: This book was hard to put down, but at the same time, it was a hard story to read, since both of the main characters (and a lot of those around them) have had to work through a world of hurt and abuse. I especially had a hard time reading about Cora's childhood. Written in such a way that the past merges with the present to show you how Cora and Dot got to the place they are at the start of the story. I did appreciate that this story also focuses on hope for tough situations.