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Saturday, February 17, 2018

The House on Foster Hill


Jaime Jo Wright is the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas, and a human resources director by trade.  She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two children.  The House on Foster Hill is her debut novel.




Connect with Jaime Jo Wright:



Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death.  When her husband died two years ago, her pleas fo further investigation into his suspicious demise fell on deaf ears.  In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather's Wisconsin hometown.  But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her f=rash decision.  And when the house's dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing buy painful memories for Ivy Thorpe.  When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity.  Ivy's search leads her into dangerous waters, resurrecting painful memories and forcing a reunion with the man who broke her heart.  Can Ivy unravel the mystery and find a renewed hope before any other lives - including her own - are lost?


My Thoughts:
In her debut novel, The House on Foster Hill, Jaime Jo Wright has written an hauntingly beautiful story.  Wright grabs readers' attention with the very first line
"Death had a way of creeping up on a soul, and Ivy Thorpe was determined that when it visited her, she would not be surprised."
and secures it until the very last
"We live, right on into eternity."
In between those two lines is a collision of past and present.  Wright presents a cast of characters that have depth and are genuine, believable.  She weaves suspense, with more twists and turns than I thought my heart and mind could take at certain points, a bit of romance, and a lesson on true identity and worth that will leave readers pondering the truths long after the book is placed on the shelf.

I appreciated how Wright wove gospel truth throughout the book that didn't come across as "preachy".  Wright is an author to keep on your radar and her books on your keeper shelf.

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

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Time To Stand

Robert Whitlow is the bestselling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the Christy Award for Contemporary fiction.  He received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review.

Connect with Robert via:



  • His website:  robertwhitlow.com
  • Twitter:  @WhitlowWriter
  • Facebook:  RobertWhitlowBooks



In a small Georgia town where racial tensions run high and lives are at stake, can one lawyer stand up for Justice against the tide of prejudice on every side?

Adisa Johnson, a young African-American attorney, is living her dream of practicing law with a prestigious firm in downtown Atlanta.  Then a split-second mistake changes the course of her career.

Left with no other options, Adisa returns to her hometown where a few days earlier a white police officer shot an unarmed black teen who is now lying comatose in the hospital.

Adisa is itching to jump into the fight as a special prosecutor, but feels pulled to do what she considers unthinkable - defend the officer.

As the court case unfolds, everyone in the small community must confront their own prejudices.  Caught in the middle, Adisa also tries to chart her way along a path complicated by her budding relationship with a charismatic young preacher who leads the local movement demanding the police officer answer for his crime.

My Thoughts:
The subject matter in A Time To Stand is ripped straight from current headlines.  In this "relevant to our times" story, Whitlow handles the matter of racial tension head on.  Whitlow addresses the racial tensions in a small Southern town from every angle with well-developed and believable characters.  The plot is well thought out with a few twists I didn't see coming.  A Time To Stand is certainly a page-turner that will challenge the reader's own prejudices and attitudes.  Fans of Randy Singer and John Grisham will soon be drawn to Whitlow's legal thrillers.  His books are slowly one by one making their place on my bookshelf.

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

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer 

Cold Water

Samuel Parker is the author of Purgatory Road.  Born in the Michigan boondocks, he was raised on a never-ending road trip through the U.S.  Besides writing, he is a process junkie and the ex-guitarist for several metal bands you've never heard of.  He lives in West Michigan with his wife and twin sons.

The vigilantes behind him are nothing compared to the enemy within.

Having forfeited his youth to the state prison system, Michael moved back to the still-vacant house of his parents in a town with one stoplight.  A town that hated him.  Had always hated him.  And was ready to pick up where the prison system had left off.

Now he's on the run from men who've tried to kill him once; but Michael is more than an ex-con.  A powerful, sinister force skulks within him, threatening and destructive.  What - and who - it will destroy next is the only real question.

From the bold voice that brought readers down Purgatory Road comes a new pulse-pounding, spine-rattling tale of vengeance and justice.

My Thoughts:
Samuel Parker, a new author to me, has a new fan...me!  Cold Water was a different book than what I would normally read.  Michael's story has a bit of a paranormal feel to it.  The book was haunting to read and was quite emotional for me at several points.
"The warden stopped and gazed at the child...'Warden what's that?  In there?'  The warden looked and saw that the boy was pointing at the chair.  'That's what we used to do to the worst of the worst.'  'Am I the worst?'  The warden thought about it.  'You know, son, if you are, I don't see it.'"
The story is heavy.  Parker trickled flashbacks at strategic points in the book that deepened and explained the present day aspects of Michael's story.  I especially appreciated that Parker allowed readers to experience Michael's story from the various characters' viewpoints.  This is a story I won't forget and Cold Water has a place on my keeper shelf.

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

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

Monday, February 12, 2018

Graciousness: Tempering Truth With Love

John Crotts is the pastor of Faith Bible Church in Sharpsburg, Georgia.  John graduated from Liberty University in 1990 and received his MDiv degree from The Master's Seminary in Los Angeles and his DMin degree from Southern Seminary in Louisville.  He has served as a board member of  The Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals.  
The Lord has blessed John and his wife, Lynn, with three daughters and a son; Charissa, Danielle, Chloe, and Josiah.


Sometimes we have important things to say to other Christians, but if we deliver our message ungraciously, they won't benefit.  Author John Crotts points out that God cares about how we say what we say:  "It is not enough always to say the truth; you must also say the truth in love."  In Graciousness, the author addresses Christians who are zealous for od's truth yet struggle to communicate it graciously - in a loving way.  Filled with practical instruction and wise insights, this book includes a biblical description of graciousness, with a look at positive examples and commands from the Bible and methods for cultivating graciousness in various areas of the Christian life.  Be equipped to speak the truth in love!

My Thoughts:
Comming in at just 137 pages, Graciousness by John Crotts is packed with Scriptural exhortation and practical application.  
Chapter titles include:

  • Why this issue is important for you
  • The Graciousness you need
  • Learning from the gracious example of Jesus Christ
  • Learning from Paul
  • The truth about an ungracious church
  • Cultivating graciousness in your heart
  • Cultivating a gracious mind-set toward others
  • Cultivating graciousness through your actions
  • Cultivating graciousness in community
  • The gospel and graciousness
Endorsed by R. Albert Mohler (president, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) and Stephen J. Nichols (president, Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer, Ligonier Ministries), Graciousness is an invaluable resource that should be on every Bible-believing, faith-filled believer's shelf.  I know that I will be returning to it often.  A zeal for the truth is important but the delivery of that truth is so important if we actually want others to really hear/listen to what we are saying.  Crotts, in his conversational/teaching style, conveys the why and the how of gracious communication with others while helping readers to drill down to the heart level of the matter.  And, he reminds us all that the ultimate aim is the glory of God.

You can listen to an interview with the author HERE.

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

Blessings,
Jennifer

Friday, February 9, 2018

A Light on The Hill

Connilyn Cossette is the CBA bestselling author of the Out From Egypt series.  Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, is a Christy Award finalist, INSPY Award finalist, and Christian Retailing's Best Award finalist.  She lives south of Dallas with her husband of twenty years and two awesome kids.



Connect with her at her:



Though Israel has found relative peace, Moriyah has yet to find her own.  Attempting to avoid the scorn of her community, she's spent the last seven years hiding behind the veil she wears. Underneath her covering, her face is branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods, a shameful reminder of her past captivity in Jericho and an assurance that no man will ever want to marry her.

When her father finds a widower who needs a mother for his two sons, her hopes rise.  But when their introduction goes horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee for her life.  Seeking safety at one of the newly established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face and the enemies - and unexpected allies - she will encounter on her way.


My Thoughts:
I fell in love with Cossette's writing while reading her Out from Egypt series.  This new series, Cities of Refuge, spins off with a character introduced in her previous series, Moriyah.  
"If there's one thing I've learned in my life, it's that one can either endure hardship or thrive within it."
Cossette weaves rich historical detail and picturesque descriptions that cause readers to feel a part of the story.  Add Cossette's engaging and captivating characters, and she delivers a poignant read.  Moriyah, the heroine, is a strong, courageous, brave young woman despite or maybe because of her scars.  Cossette beautifully incorporates a romantic aspect to the story having Moriyah blessed with one who sees beyond her scars to who God has made and transformed her to be.


Cossette weaves such encouragement and biblical truth throughout the book that both challenges and encourages. 
"How many times had I ignored the stirring to quit hiding inside my home?  To deliver meals to those who could not fend for themselves, who were grieving - suffering?  How many times had I turned my face away in the market, fearful of censure by others, instead of offering a smile or a kind word?  How many times had I silently railed against Adonai for allowing Mishabel to destroy my face, blaming Him for human evil?  It was I who had blocked out the words of Yahweh, not Yahweh who had gone silent."
Cossette's focus on the cities of refuge in this series is sure to be a powerful reminder and confirmation of God's grace and mercy even to the seemingly worst among us; and a reminder that there is a divine purpose for all our scars.  Cossette's writing makes it easy to realize that the Ultimate refuge for us all is God Himself.  
"But somehow instead of feeling trapped, I welcomed the high walls as protection from Yahweh.  When I'd been offered such extravagant mercy, how could I see such boundaries as anything but loving-kindness?"
 A Light On The Hill is a rich story that will captivate you from the first page to the last...a pointer to God's sovereignty and transforming power.

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

Blessings,
Jennifer

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Refuge Assured


Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King and Wedded to War, both Christy Award finalists, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with best-selling author Dr. Gary Chapman.
Jocelyn lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.
You can connect with Jocelyn through her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Fleeing one revolution to the aftermath of another, she seeks and dreams of peace.

Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard imagined her craft could threaten her life.  Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine.  Vivienne flees to Philadelphia, but danger lurks in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers begin to suspect a young boy left in her care might be the Dauphin.  Can the French settlement Asylum offer a permanent refuge?
Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for.  He wants only to cultivate his hard-won farm near Asylum, but he soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion.  When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they are drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.

My Thoughts:
With rich historical detail and well-developed characters, Green's A Refuge Assured is absolutely stunning.  Vivienne and Liam's story captures the readers' hearts in the first line of the prologue and holds it close to the final sentence.  
I particularly was drawn to Green's ability to make me feel the story with lines like...
"She should be numb to this by now, the way skin exposed to cold eventually lost feeling.  Instead, the repetition did not dull the pain but increased it, like the lashing of flesh already filleted."
or...
"In that gentle way of hers, Tante Rose served her a cup of sipping chocolate aong with the reminder that creating was a form of worship.  'God is the Creator, is He not?' she had said with a smile.  'So when we create, evenif it is a mere length of lace and not the stars in the heavens, we honor Him.  We bear His likeness when we work.'"
and...
"The dark grew less frightening as he learned to look for the light.
Green capture's the tumultuous time period with cultural expressiveness in the dialogue between the characters.  I felt like I was there.  And the history lesson is superb!

A Refuge Assured is a story of promise and purpose, a story of finding asylum...refuge...in The One Who is our refuge, and a story of living into the purpose set before you and not allowing that purpose to be thwarted by circumstances.

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

Blessings,
Jennifer
 

A Passionate Hope: Hannah's Story

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David, the Wives of the Patriarchs, the Loves of King Solomon, and the Daughters of the Promised Land series.  Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.
When she isn't writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her loveable, "helpful" cat Tiger.  Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.
You can connect with Jill a number of ways:




Can one woman's prayers change the world?

Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love for each other, for their God, and for His tabernacle at Shiloh.  Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer.  But nothing changes as the years pass.  Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.
Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children.  Disgraced and taunted by her husband's new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered.  Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah's cruelty count for nothing?  Will God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?


My Thoughts:
A Passionate Hope:  Hannah's Story is the fourth book in Smith's Daughter's of the Promised Land series.  Previous books in the series are:

  • The Crimson Cord:  Rahab's Story
  • The Prophetess:  Deborahs Story
  • Redeeming Grace:  Ruth's Story
Smith's research is evident in her masterful attention to detail and description.  The way Smith weaves historical detail throughout the story is seamless.  She closely follows the Scriptural narrative and invokes creative license to fill in the "blanks" but in no way distorts the biblical truth.  
In A Passionate Hope, Smith shines a light on the corruption of the priesthood during Hannah and Elkanah's time which emphasizes the sacrifice it was for Hannah to release Samuel back to God as a young child to be raised in the temple.  Hannah's emotions are palpable through Smith's telling of her story.  And Hannah's story is one of hope and trust in the One True God Who sustains His people in the darkest and seemingly most hopeless of times.  Smith tells the story well.  You will be blessed by reading A Passionate Hope and driven to search the Scriptures for yourself.  

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

Blessings,
Jennifer