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Friday, April 13, 2018

ESV Study Bible


The ESV Study Bible published by Crossway is an exceptional resource for a student of the Scriptures at any level. The trusted ESV translation coupled with theologically sound study notes that include historical background and Hebrew/Greek word studies as well as articles from a wide variety of biblical scholars provide a great resource for an in-depth study of God's Word. While the Kindle version is a little clunky to navigate, the content is trustworthy and honors the Scriptural narrative.
*I was given a complimentary digital copy of the ESV Study Bible by Crossway. All opinions are my own.


Blessings,
Jennifer

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Prone to Wander Phone Cases/Giveaway


Prone to Wander (https://www.pronetowanderla.com/) is a Los Angeles based company that offers Scripture inspired gifts for the home and phone cases.

A little about the company taken from their website:
ABOUT US
We are all prone to wander away from the things that really matter. Sometimes, we just need a little encouragement, a breath of inspiration, a quick reminder of THE Truth, our identity, and our purpose.
Prone To Wander LA creatively brings God’s Word in the little things we carry, wear, or see every day. We exist to bless little lives with the little things we create.
OUR NAME
You know you were made with a purpose. You know God’s Word is true. You know there is a heaven that awaits you. But why do we sometimes live defeated, lost, confused or exhausted? The Bible tells us we are quick to go astray (Isaiah 53:6). As we journey through life’s hustle and bustle, we tend to forget and easily lose sight of our reality in Christ.
Our name came from the beautiful hymn “Come Thou Fount”. We recognize how we can easily stray away and so our goal is to design products that becomes a source of encouragement and reminder for every day.
Bind our wandering hearts to Thee!

My Thoughts:
I was given the three complimentary phone cases (in the picture at the top of the post) by Prone to Wander.  I currently have my phone in the case on the left that says "Faith, Hope, Love".
These cases are clear with the print words and design as seen in the pictures.  I would describe the plastic as semi-hard.  The sides of my phone are protected and come around the side enough to protect my phone screen if laid face down.  The case is lightweight.  The word/design print has a slightly raised feel.  I have carried my Samsung 4S in the pictured case for a few weeks now and feel confident that my phone is protected well and looks really cute as well!
Don't miss this giveaway for your chance to win some Prone to Wander product.  Just fill out the form below and subscribe:


   
                 

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Blessings,
Jennifer

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

No One Ever Asked

Katie Ganshert is a Midwest gal who's passionate about Jesus, her family, adoption, writing, grace, Africa, and all things romance.
When she's not plotting her next novel, she enjoys going on ice-cream dates with her husband, playing make-believe with her son, and chatting with her girlfriends over coffee and bagels. She could talk books all day and absolutely loves connecting with her readers.

You can connect with Katie at:

  • katie@katieganshert.com
  • www.katieganshert.com
  • Twitter:  @KatieGanshert
  • Facebook:  www.facebook.com/AuthorKatieGanshert
  • Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/katieganshert


Three Families

Two school districts

A dozen miles between them, but worlds apart

When an impoverished Missouri school district loses its accreditation, the nearby affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their doors to bussed students.  Soon the lives of three very different women converge:  Camille Gray, longstanding PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser, faced with a rattling discovery that threatens to tear apart her picture-perfect world; Jen Covington, a career nurse whose painful journey to motherhood finally results in a happily-ever-after, but one much harder than she anticipated; and Anaya Jones, the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand-new teacher at Crystal Ridge's top elementary school, unprepared for the minefield she is stepping into.  As tensions rise, Camile, Jen, and Anaya will fiercely protect their loved ones - but at what cost?

Inspired by real-world events No One Ever Asked is a riveting tale about the way we see one another, the lies we tell, the questions and stories that go unexplored, and the tragedies that result from our blindness.

My Thoughts:
Where to begin?  I've only read a handful of Ganshert's books; however, with No One Ever Asked, she has captured my attention.  In this latest novel from Ganshert, she addresses head-on with genuine tenacity and boldness current and relevant subjects such as the race war, sexual harassment, interracial adoption, and family/community relationships.
I appreciated the depth from which Ganshert wrote this story.  Readers get a multi-dimensional look from every angle possible through the eyes of genuine, real, and believable characters.  Ganshert writes in such a way that as a reader I felt the gamut of emotions possible and was challenged to think through some of my own prejudices.  This book is raw and will challenge you.  And that's a good thing!

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

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

Monday, April 2, 2018

His Risk

Shelley Shepard Gray is a "New York Times" and "USA Today" bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.
Find out more about Shelley at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.
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An undercover English DEA agent will do anything to protect the Amish girl he loves.
Calvin Fisher left the Amish community at fourteen and never looked back. Only his brother's illness can bring him back to Hart County. Now, as Calvin works to make amends, he meets Alice, a local nursery school teacher, and falls hard for her. But he has a secret that could threaten the happiness he's finally found.
Alice shouldn't like-or want-Calvin. He's English, has a questionable past, and an even more questionable job. Still, she can't help being intrigued. Though Calvin assures Alice that he's worthy of her, she's torn between surrendering to her growing feelings and steering clear of him.
When a sudden surge of criminal activity alarms the community and even targets Alice, Calvin fears that his double life has put everyone he loves at risk. As for Alice, she can't help but wonder if the brave and honorable man she's lost her heart to is far more dangerous than she could ever imagine.

My Thoughts:
I was given a complimentary Advanced Reader's Copy (uncorrected proof) of the book.  And while I tried not to let all of the errors trip me up, I'm afraid they did.  I've read the other books in the series and if I am completely honest, His Risk has been my least favorite.  This book tells the story of Mark's brother Calvin.  Readers met Mark in His Guilt which is my absolute favorite out of the series thus far. Gray does a really masterful job of not retelling the story in His Guilt, one in which Calvin has somewhat of a prominent role. You will get much of his backstory by reading His Guilt first.  I felt there were gaps that made much of the storyline feel rushed and forced.  With all of this said, I am invested in this series and will anxiously await the next installment coming in July of this year.
*I received a complimentary early copy of the book.  All opinions are my own.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

I Will Not Fear: My Story of a Lifetime of Building Faith Under Fire

Melba Pattillo Beals is a recipient of this country's highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, for her role, as a fifteen-year-old, in the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.  A retired university professor with a doctorate in International Multicultural Education, she is a former KQED television broadcaster, NBC television news reporter, ABC radio talk show host, and writer for various magazines, including Family Circle and People.  Beals's Warriors Don't Cry has been in print for more than twenty years, has sold more than one million copies, and was the winner of the American Library Association Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and the American Booksellers' Association Award.  She lives in San Francisco and is the mother of three adult children.

In 1957, Melba Beals was one of the nine African American students chosen to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

But her story of overcoming didn't start - or end - there.

While her white schoolmates were planning their senior prom, Melba was facing the business end of a double-barreled shotgun, being threatened with lynching by rope-carrying tormentors, and learning how to outrun white supremacists who were ready to kill her rather than sit beside her in a classroom.  Only her faith in God sustained her during her darkest days and helped her become a civil rights warrior, an NBC television news reporter, a magazine writer, a professor, a wife, and a mother.

My Thoughts:
I Will Not Fear is the stirring story of one of the Arkansas Nine - Melba Beals.  Beals' book reads like pages from her personal diary.  Each chapter ends with a personal truth Ms. Beals learned through particular circumstances highlighted in the chapter.  The tone of the book comes across as if the reader is sitting across from Beals, coffee cup in hand listening to her amazing story of faith overcoming fear.  There are parts of her story that are very hard to read.  As a white woman, born and raised and living in the South, I felt great shame and cried while reading Beals' story, particularly while reading the account of her birth.  The world needs more Grandma Indias!  The book is a beautiful account of victory over fear in the many forms that came Beals' way.  Both inspiring and heartbreaking, I Will Not Fear should be required reading in our schools.

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

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

High Treason

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author whose novels have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; wone two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, and Carol Award contests.  When she's not writing, DiAnn is busy teaching and doing research through the FBI Citizens Academy.  She and her husband live in Houston, TX.

You can connect with DiAnn online at www.diannmills.com.



When Saudi Prince Omar Bin Talal visits Houston to seek cancer treatment for his mother, an attempt on his life puts all agencies on high alert.  FBI Special Agent Special Agent Kord Davidson is the lead on the prince's protective detail because of their long-standing friendship, but he's surprised - and none too happy - when the CIA brings one of their operatives, Monica Alden, in on the task force after the assassination attempt.

Kord and Monica must quickly put aside interagency squabbles when they learn of the prince's additional motives for his visit.  If his business plans are successful, they could lead to stronger ties with the US and encourage westernization in his own country.  Such plans could easily incite a number of suspects both in the US and countries hostile to Saudi Arabia.  Worse yet, the would-be assassin always seems to be one step ahead of them, implicating someone close to the prince - or the investigation.  But who would be willing to commit high treason, and can Kord and Monica stop them in time?

My Thoughts:
DiAnn Mills is in a league of her own when it comes to offering readers consistent, fast-paced, and page-turning suspense.  High Treason is the third book in the FBI Task Force series by Mills.  In typical Mills fashion, I was drawn into Kord and Monica's story in the first few pages.  The international storyline was intriguing and the suspense kept me turning pages.  Mills keeps the story moving and doesn't allow any "downtime".  My only criticism of this story was Kord and Monica's relationship...the romance seemed forced and just fell flat for me.  With that said, I will keep reading Mills' books and am excited about her brand new series that starts with her next book, Burden of Proof.

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

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Masterpiece

Francine Rivers has published numerous novels - all bestsellers - and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe.  Her books have been awarded or nominated for many honors.
In 2015, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from ACFW.  Francine's novels have been translated into more than thirty different languages, and she enjoys bestseller status in many foreign countries.  She and her husband, Rick, enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.

Connect with her via her website HERE.


A successful Los Angeles artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want - money, women, fame.  Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has.  The demons of Roman's past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view.  But Grace doesn't know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons:  by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist - an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.
Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own.  After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again.  But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it's as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together...until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship - and both their lives - forever.

You might enjoy this radio interview with Francine Rivers where she talks about not only The Masterpiece but her writing in general.



My Thoughts:
The very first book by Francine Rivers that I ever read was Redeeming Love which is now a classic and the novel by which Rivers is largely known.  I remember thinking when I read that book, "How can Rivers or any author rivel the message of this book?"  I believe Rivers may have accomplished this herself.
The Masterpiece is a book about identity and takes a strong look at the things that shape us and make us who we are.  Reading the back stories of Roman and Grace was completely heartwrenching at times.  I really appreciated the way Rivers juxtaposed the present and past in order to explain the dynamic tension in the main characters' lives.  
Rivers does a masterful job of showing the transforming power of the gospel through Roman's and Grace's story.  Rivers clearly shows readers that the things that shape us are sometimes very hard and painfully difficult but God's grace is greater than all these.  And like Roman and Grace wondered where God was at certain points in their life, we too may wonder.  
Rivers also used secondary characters to show the importance of others that come alongside us to speak truth into our lives and challenges us to look at our influence and how God may be using us in the lives of those around us to know Him and His love.
The Masterpiece is gritty and it is genuine and is a reminder that God can take the most broken things in our lives and create something beautiful...bueaty for ashes.

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

Blessings,
Jennifer