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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Defiant Joy

Stasi Eldredge is a New York Times bestselling author.  Her books have sold more than 3 million copies and changed women's lives all over the world.  A teacher and conference speaker, Stasi is the director of the women's ministry at Ransomed Heart and leads Captivating retreats internationally.  Her passion is to see lives transformed by the beauty of the gospel.  She and her family make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

We are called to live.  And, miraculously, to live with joy.

We all spend a lot of energy reaching for happiness, but we are never quite able to hang on to it.  Real life happens, and our circumstances take us on an emotional rollercoaster ride.  So the Bible's call to "be joyful always" sounds almost crazy - and out of reach.  But it doesn't have to be.
Joy is meant to be ours, a joy that is defiant in the face of this broken world.  This joy is not simply happiness on steroids; it's the unyielding belief that sorrow and loss do not have the final say.  It's the stubborn determination to be present to whatever may come and to interpret both goodness and grief by the light of heaven.
Stasi Eldredge invites us with courage, candor, and tender vulnerability to a place beyond sadness or happiness.  She shows us how to maintain a posture of holy defiance that neither denies nor diminishes our pain but dares to live with expectant, unwavering hope.

My Thoughts:
The past couple of years have been hard for our family.  Life has just been heavy and at times I've been so overcome with anxiety, I haven't been able to breathe.  Eldredge's book, Defiant Joy, could not have come my way at a better time.
"Defiant means to stand against the tide.  It means to go against the flow, even when the flow is composed of a strong current of despair and difficulty."
Eldredge's genuine sharing of her own story and transparency regarding her fight to hang onto joy has been a balm to my soul.  She holds high where the source of our joy comes from - Jesus.
"And then we turned our hearts to the One Who is our hope in the face of loss and untold grief.  Because of Jesus - His death, His resurrection, and His ascension - we chose to honor Him and celebrate that He has won and is winning still."
I appreciated the candor in which Eldredge shared truths from God's Word and how they transformed her mind and heart and have emboldened her to be defiantly joyful.
" By the life of Christ in us, we oppose death and destruction.  We dissent by casting our vote against the belief that sorrow and endless suffering win.  Instead we welcome life, love, and the full work of Christ to bring all of His goodness into every aspect of our and His domains.  We comply with truth.  We obey our God.  We respect His authority and His final say.  We overcome evil with good.  We defy hatred by embracing love.  We choose joy."
If you find it hard at times to be "joyful always"...Eldredge's book will and the truth she shares will be a welcoming salve and encouragement.
*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions here are my own.

Blessings,
Jennifer

Thursday, November 15, 2018

(in)Courage Devotional Bible and Giveaway

The CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible is an invitation for all women to find their stories within the tapestry of the greatest story ever told - God's story of redemption.
Featuring devotions by over one hundred writers of the (in)courage community, the CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible provides resources for women to explore the Bible, dive deep into Scripture, record their own stories, and find themselves among friends.

  • 312 devotions by 122 (in)courage community writers
  • 10 Distinct thematic reading plans
  • 66 book introductions connecting each book of the Bible to the whole biblical narrative
  • stories of courage from 50 women of the Bible
  • journaling space
  • topical index
  • two-column text
  • theme verses
My Thoughts:
The (in)courage Devotional Bible is an aesthetically beautiful  Bible.  This Bible carries the CSB text which is widely becoming a chosen and trusted version by many.  
Devotional themes covered are:

  • Beautiful Brokenness
  • Better Together
  • Daily Grace
  • Everyday Leadership
  • Friendship on Purpose
  • Hope in the Hard
  • Imperfect Hospitality
  • Intentional Gratitude
  • Second Chances The Scared Brave
Beautiful colors are used throughout the Bible making it easy to follow the devotional themes and reading plans.
I especially appreciated the journaling space provided on each page of the biblical text.  My only criticism is that the pages are really thin so I would provide a word of caution as to the choice of pen/marker used.  I have found the Pigma Micron 05 pens to be the best in not bleeding through the thinnest Bible pages.
The (in)courage Devotional Bible would be a great Christmas gift for someone special in your life and a great way to encourage consistent time in God's Word.  This Bible is not only beautiful in its aesthetics but more so in the clear way it exalts God's plan of redemption from Genesis to Revelation.

Learn more about this resource by visiting HERE.

*I was provided a complimentary copy from the publisher.  All opinions stated here are my own.

You can enter to win your own copy of this devotional Bible by going HERE.

Many Blessings,
Jennifer

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Hidden Peril

Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels, including Dangerous Illusions.  In addition to her many other honors, she is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America.  She is also a member of TWA'a elite Hall of Fame and has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews.  All of her suspense novels have been ECPA/CBA bestsellers.
Connect with Irene on her website:  www.irenehannon.com.

The most dangerous enemy is the one who has nothing to lose.

As teenagers, Kristin Dane and her two best friends took a vow to make the world a better place.  Twenty years later, she's fulfilling that pledge through her fair trade shop that features products from around the world.  All is well until, one by one, people connected to the shop begin dying.

Detective Luke Carter, new to the St. Louis PD, wants to know why.  Before he can answer that question, however, the FBI weighs in and Kristin suddenly finds herself in the middle of international intrigue -  and in the sights of the ruthless mastermind behind an ingenious and deadly scheme.  Can this cold-blooded killer be stopped before more people die...including Kristin?

My Thoughts:
Irene Hannon has long been a favorite suspense author to me.  She writes great suspense that keeps me engaged until the last page is turned and weaves a romantic piece into her stories that never comes across as forced or syrupy sweet but genuine.
Hidden Peril was a ball knocked out of the ballpark for Hannon.  I loved how she peppered the backstory for Luke and Kristin in a way that as the story progressed I felt like I was gaining two new friends.  Hannon is a master of in-depth characterization and edge of your seat suspense.  I thought I had an idea about this one due to the way Hannon expertly wrote the "bad guy's" character, but still in the end I just sat back and said, "Wow!"  Grab Hidden Peril...you won't be disappointed!
*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions are my own.

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Playing for More: Trust Beyond What You Can See

Case Keenum has traveled one of the most unique paths of any NFL quarterback.  Case received only one scholarship offer, from the University of Houston, and went undrafted despite breaking multiple NCAA football passing records.  He has overcome every obstacle to become a successful starting quarterback.  In 2017, Keenum captured America's imagination by leading the Minnesota Vikings to a 13-3 record and an NFC North title.  His game-winning touchdown in the final seconds of their divisional playoff game against the Saints, the "Minneapolis Miracle," made Case part of NFL history.
Keenum holds the all-time college football mark for passing yards, touchdown passes, total touchdowns, and completions.  He was Conference USA Freshman of the year in 2007, Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year in 2008, and Conference USA Most Valuable Player in 2009 and 2011.  He is one of only two quarterbacks to win the Sammy Baugh Award for the nation's outstanding passer twice.
Keenum signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2012.  He has a record of 20-18 as an NFL starter with the Texans, Rams, and Vikings.  He posted career-highs in passing yards and touchdowns with Minnesota in 2017 and signed with the Denver Broncos in March 2018.

* Andrew Perloff (co-author) is an on-air personality on the television and radio sports talk program "The Dan Patrick Show" and contributing writer for SportsIllustrated.com.  Perloff interviewed Keenum for a Sports Illustrated feature in 2013 and has covered him throughout his NFL career.










My Thoughts:
My 13-year-old son, who absolutely devours sports figure biographies, read and loved this book.  The book is a shorter, just under 200 pages, volume but held my son's attention.  Case's story is told in a conversational tone.  My son kept coming to me as he read telling me some about the different pieces of Case's life.
Case clearly presents his faith in the book...
"Faith is the foundation for everything.  I play for an audience of One.  I don't just play for the name on the front or the back of my jersey.  I play to glorify God.  Life is too hard to go about it alone."
I'm thankful that Case Keenum shared his faith story with us through this well-written book.  Our sons and daughters need more role-models like Case.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.  All opinions here are my own.

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Miles From Where We Started

Drawing from 33 years as writer/producer and on-air voice actor for the daily 15-minute radio broadcast The Heartbeat of the Home, Cynthia Ruchti now tells stories hemmed-in-hope through novels, nonfiction, devotionals, and at speaking events for women.  Her books have received numerous awards, including the Carol Award, Christian Retailing's BEST Award, and Inspirational Readers/ Choice Award, as well as being a finalist for the Christy Awards and TR Reviews Inspirational Novel of the Year.
Cynthia serves on the worship team at her church and as the professional relations liaison for ACFW.  She's a member of AWSA, WFWA, is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Management and recently joined the Books & Such team as a literary agent.
Cynthia and her husband live in WI not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

You would be blessed to connect with Cynthia through...

  • Website:  www.cynthiaruchti.com
  • Facebook:  CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage
  • Instagram:  @cynthiaruchti1994
  • Twitter:  @cynthiaruchti
  • Pinterest:  @cynthiaruchti
  • YouTube:  @hopeglows
These no-longer newlyweds want out of this road trip and their marriage.  Too bad they can't find the off-ramp.

Weeks away from their one-year wedding anniversary, Mallory and Connor Duncan can't even agree on how to end their marriage.  But when a last-minute crisis lands them on a three-thousand-mile road trip together, Mallory wonders if their story may not be over after all.

The trip begins to unravel before the key is even in the ignition.  When an at-risk, trouble-seeking eleven-year-old is unexpectedly thrown into their travel plans, close quarters get even tighter.  Soon, the couple believes this whole experience will spell disaster.

Their first year of marriage hasn't been the arm-in-arm togetherness Mallory and Connor expected.  But is it possible they will find a new beginning at the end of the road?

My Thoughts:
Typically I don't highlight or underline in Fiction books.  But, when I am reading a Cynthia Ruchti book a highlighter/pen is close at hand.  Her latest, Miles From Where We Started, proved to drain the highlighter dry.  This book is not one to be read quickly but savored.  Ruchti's writing in Miles From Where We Started is poetic.  There were times in Connor and Mallory's story that I had to just stop and ponder things before moving on.  I appreciated fully experiencing the journey from both Mallory and Connor's perspectives.  Ruchti kindled my emotions and as I turned the last page I was undone in the best possible way.  With admonishments like...
"This is not how our story ends."
"Forgive more than you think you should have to."
"Start living with what I'd been dealt and with the blessing that came out of the risk."
"Freedom," she said, "has a lot more to do with contentment than the absence of boundaries." 
"It turns out a family can drown in more and thrive with less."
 you will come away from this story not quickly forgetting the characters or the snippets of inspiration for quite some time.  One last thought...hope, there is always hope.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.  All opinions stated here are my own.

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Shelter Of The Most High

Connilyn Cossette is the CBA bestselling author of the Out From Egypt series.  Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, was a finalist for the Christy Award, the INSPY Award, and the Christian Retailing's Best Award.  She lives in North Carolina with her husband of over twenty years and a son and a daughter who fill her days with joy, inspiration, and laughter.

Connect with Connilyn at www.ConnilynCossette.com.

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean.  But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a city of refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood, year chafing at the boundaries placed on him.  He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot.  Can they uncover the betrayal in time to save their lives and the lives of those they love?

My Thoughts:
Cossette became a favorite author of mine with her debut novel, Counted With The Stars, that began her Out of Egypt series.  That was five books ago.  Cossette's latest, Shelter Of The Most High, second in her Cities of Refuge series did not disappoint.

Cossette mesmerizes and captivates readers with impeccable research, rich descriptive details, and spot-on characterization.  Readers first meet Eitan in A Light On A Hill, the first book in the Cities of Refuge series.  I fell in love with him as a little boy and in Cossette's latest he is all grown up and finding his own way.

One of the things I appreciate the most about Cossette's writing and one thing I found most prominent in Shelter Of The Most High is the high view of God and clear picture of the gospel that is peppered thoughout the book.  It is woven clearly in crisp dialogue and apparent throughout Sofea and Eitan's journey.
"Where does your God live?  Yahweh is the Most High God, Sofea, the Creator of every living thing and the earth upon which we stand.  There is no mountain that can contain him.  No nation that can stand against his power.  No sea that does not obey his command."
"We must trust Yahweh my son.  The God who made Sofea sees her." 
Cossette has garnered a prominent spot among the best authors of Biblica Fiction.  Read her books and make space for them on your keeper shelf.  Trust me...she's just that good.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.  All opinions here are my own.

Happy reading ya'll,
Jennifer

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Secret To Die For

Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel from Romantic Times for her novels Blod Covenant and Vendetta.  The author of more than thirty books, including Missing, Pursued, Vanishing Point, and the Southern Crimes series, Harris and her family have spent almost fifteen years living as missionaries in southern Africa.
Learn more at www.lisaharriswrites.com.

Psychologist Grace Callahan has no idea that she has a secret - and a target on her back.

When one of her clients is murdered, Grace quickly realizes that computer security specialist Stephen Shaw wasn't suffering from paranoia.  What she doesn't know is that someone believes Shaw gave her a vital piece of information before he died - and they are ready to silence her at any cost.  Her only hope may be an old friend, Detective Nate Quinn, who has just been cleared for active duty after a bombing killed his partner and left him dealing with PTSD.



My Thoughts:
Harris has a knack for dropping readers smack dab in the middle of the action on page one and holding their attention through fast-action drama until the last page.  In her latest, A Secret To Die For, Harris creates a story with heart-pounding dread of a massive attack.  And in great Harris fashion, she is able to include a romantic element that is not forced or a syrupy add-on but one that is genuine and a natural progression within the main story.
You don't want to miss a book Harris writes.  She always delivers and enjoyable read.  But be prepared to invest some time because you won't be able to put this one down!
*I was given a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.  All opinions here are my own.

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer