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Friday, December 27, 2013

The Ragamuffin Bible



Do you believe that God not only loves you, but that he also likes you?
It's just one of the soul-searching questions posed by bestselling author Brennan Manning who confesses he has been 'John the beloved, Peter the coward, and Thomas the doubter all before the waitress brought the check.'
The NIV Ragamuffin Bible offers a collection of Manning’s raw, painfully honest, yet grace-filled devotions, meditations, and reflections of his journey limping back to---like the prodigal son---his overjoyed father. When you journey through this Bible, you will likewise find yourself returning to your Heavenly Father, basking in the knowledge that God not only loves you, he delights in you.
Features:* Complete text of the world’s most popular modern-English Bible, the NIV* 104 Devotions guide you into a deeper connection to God and his Word * 250 Reflections help you understand what it means to be a child of God* 150 Quotes offer short but thoughtful insights into God’s kingdom.

You can visit HERE to see sample pages from the Ragamuffin Bible.

This Bible contains the trusted by many NIV version of God's Word along with devotional thoughts and quotes from Brennan Manning (1934-2013).  There is nothing fancy about this Bible - the printing is all in black with the thoughts from Manning set apart from the Biblical text in blocks that look like parchment pieces.  While there is nothing pretentious in the presentation of this Bible, the Word of God with the addition of Manning's timeless transparency in devotional encouragement will be a priceless treasure to those "bedraggled, bear-up and brokenhearted" sojourners who may come across it.  I'm holding on to my review copy and waiting to pass it along to someone in 2014 who needs to encounter the God of the Bible and the amazing grace He offers in abundance.

Get yours today and be ready to abide in God's Word in 2014!




Christian Book Store
Thank you B&B Media for sending a complimentary copy for the purpose of this review!

Blessings,
Jennifer

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bound To A Promise

Real, relatable, and refreshing are words often used to describe Bonnie Floyd.  Perhaps it is because she could easily be a next door neighbor to any of us.
Bonnie has taken her contagious zeal for the Lord and her authentic love for people to various conferences, retreats and churches throughout the U.S. and beyond.  Her powerful and dynamic messages bring the Scriptures to life for audiences of all ages and offer useful and practical ways to apply them to everyday living.
For several years Bonnie served in various capacities with Women of Faith and is currently an administrator for Barry and Sheila Walsh. More importantly, she has a deep love and respect for God's Word that is born our of her service as a teacher and small group leader for more than twenty three years.
Bonnie has been married to "her Donnie" since 1987.  Both California native, they now make their home in Celina, TX- a home that provides a perfect setting to share Bonnie's passion for cooking by entertaining family and friends.  They make their church home at Genesis Metro Church in Frisco, TX, where Bonnie, who was ordained as a minister of the gospel in 2010, is an active member in women's ministries.
Learn more about Bonnie and her ministry at her website found at www.bonniefloyd.com, Bonnie's Facebook page, and Twitter.
At six o'clock on a cold, foggy morning in Fresno, CA, Bonnie Floyd's horrific nightmare began...but she was wide awake!
This may sound like the beginning of a fiction thriller, but it isn't. This is a true story, and the nightmare was all too real.  Life as Bonnie had known it was over, and the future she faced was unimaginable...unspeakable.
Based on Scotland Yard's investigation, newspaper reports, court transcripts, and eyewitness accounts, Bonnie's story has it all - exotic settings, courtroom drama, real-life adventure, convicting testimony and puzzling mystery.
The key to this disturbing drama hangs on a very crucial and binding promise made to Bonnie.  Did the promise maker keep that promise or was there a chance it was broken?  The answer to that burning question had everlasting consequences both for the one who made the promise and to whom the promise was made.
Don't be surprised if this story captures your heart and you, too, become bound to a promise.
I enjoyed reading Bound To A Promise.  The book reads more like a fiction novel, but tells the very real story of the tragic murder of Bonnie's father and step-mother.  She expertly weaves the back story of her life into the book and her vivid descriptions of the people involved, emotions and places bring a palpable life to the book.  As I was reading, I could almost feel the emotion experienced by the players in the story as well as envision myself present with them.
Bonnie's writing clearly relays the transformative power of God's grace and the astounding love it causes to rise up in a life surrendered to it.  Read Bound To A Promise and be inspired to trust God more!
Thank you B&B Media for sending the complimentary copy for the purpose of review.
Happy Reading,
Jennifer


Monday, December 16, 2013

Modern Design

I am proud today to be partnering with Modern Design, Inc.   They were very generous in sending me one of the rings from their Tungsten collection to review for my readers.

Tungsten Bands, also known as Tungsten Carbide Rings and Bands, are becoming more popular due to the near indestructible nature of the ring.  Tungsten Bands are crafted from the already incredible characteristics of Tungsten metal, and combining Carbide powder, which when forged together make the most desirable polished ring on the market.


Modern Design, Inc. sent me the Polished Tungsten Ring with Fine Celtic Design.  Priced at $90, this ring is of exceptional quality.  The surface is smooth and while the ring is thicker metal, it is not heavy on my finger.  This would be considered a men's ring, but I have enjoyed trying it out myself.  The construction of this ring provides for a nearly scratch-free and indestructible piece of jewelry that a man would not have to worry about damaging.  The cross design adds character to the ring without taking away the "manliness" of this piece.

Modern Design has been providing exquisite custom jewelry at great prices since 1978 and has over 200 Tungsten designs to choose from as well as other fine pieces of jewelry.  For something eye catching and unique, visit Modern Design.  

Follow them on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, and Pinterest.  

They offer Free FedEx Two-Day Air on all orders...so it's not too late to grab that last minute thoughtful Christmas gift!

Merry Christmas,
Jennifer

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Forest of Doors: An Orphan's Quest


L.A. Muse devotes much of her time as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children.  Her life and presence is representative of the best hopes of children thrown into the child welfare system by the actions of their parents.  L.A. continues her quest in her next work Carver Road.  As the mystery of her lost family unfolds, she explores the depths of her past and how her life continues to be shaped.  She currently lives in Edmond, Oklahoma.








A young child, orphaned by addiction and isolated from her siblings, dreams of reuniting her family after decades of separation.  She begins a quest and gains more than she ever dreamed possible along the way.  This is a powerful true story of loss, love, spirituality, coping and redemption.

Published by Innovo Publishing.





My Thoughts:
Reading about child abandonment and abuse is never easy and A Forest of Doors was no different.  The book is only 97 pages long, but tells the heartbreaking story of the abuse of author L.A. Muse and how she was abused again by the "system" supposedly in place to protect her.  The book reads like a disjointed journal with lots of gaps in the story.  The story Muse tells seems to skip a lot and moves really fast. However, I do appreciate her transparency in sharing her story in the hopes it will encourage others to put a voice to their own.  Instead of letting the horror of her childhood and much of her young adult life define her and determine her future, Muse now advocates for those who suffer some of the same things she suffered. I'll look forward to reading the "rest of the story" in her upcoming book Carver Road.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and The Art of Battling Giants

Appearing on the Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people, Malcolm Gladwell is a Canadian journalist based in New York. In addition to being a bestselling author of four books, Gladwell is also a speaker and has been on job as a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996. His books, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), and What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (2009) have all appeared on The New York Times bestsellers list. His works deal with research in the areas of psychology, social psychology and sociology. On June 30, 2011, Gladwell was appointed to the Order of Canada.

We all know that underdogs can win–that’s what the David versus Goliath legend tells us, and we’ve seen it with our own eyes. Or have we? In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell, with his unparalleled ability to grasp connections others miss, uncovers the hidden rules that shape the balance between the weak and the mighty, the powerful and the dispossessed. Gladwell examines the battlefields of Northern Ireland and Vietnam, takes us into the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, and digs into the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms–all in an attempt to demonstrate how fundamentally we misunderstand the true meaning of advantages and disadvantages. When is a traumatic childhood a good thing? When does a disability leave someone better off? Do you really want your child to go to the best school he or she can get into? Why are the childhoods of people at the top of one profession after another marked by deprivation and struggle?
My Thoughts:
It has been quite some time since I read a book that I just did not care for...David and Goliath is one of them.  While the premise of the book is "okay", Malcolm desecrates the biblical story of David and his battle against Goliath.  He even refers to it as simply a "legend" and says, "the problem with that version of the events is that almost everything about it is wrong."  The book is nothing more than a collection of philosophical ideas and psychological assumptions about how to get the upper hand in any given situation.
David and Goliath is a man centered mantra about how to "fight your battles".  While the obligatory scripture is given at the beginning of each section of the book, not one time does Mr. Gladwell mention the name of Jesus or even entertain the idea that our strength is found in Christ and the good news of His gospel.  
I'm afraid I would have to suggest you pass on this one.
Thank you B&B Media for sending the complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review.
Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Monday, December 9, 2013

The God Puzzle


About the Author: Valerie Ackermann has a BA in Theology and has been a full time Children's Ministry Director at Parkwood Community Church in California for over 10 years. She is also a weekly Sunday school teacher, wife, and busy mom of two boys ages 9 and 11. She has hands-on experience as a children's ministry professional, teaching and leading children of all ages. Growing up in a Christian family in the small town of Saskatchewan Canada, she has wonderful memories of knowing God from an early age. She has a passion for kids to know the deep truths of God. 

Find out more at LeadMeToGod.com.


About the book: The God Puzzle is a colorful, easy to use tool to help you communicate to your child the rich truths about God, His ways, His will and His love. The God Puzzle will help you address doctrinal themes of the Christian faith in a kid friend ly way, present Bible lessons in an interactive way that will hold the child's attention and deliver quality teaching with no preparation needed. 75% of children leave the church when they leave home. Something isn't working. Sunday School isn't doing it all. Kids need answers, good ones. And they need them from you, the parent. This book enables you to give them simple, clear answers.

What makes The God Puzzle unique?

- ready made discussion questions for parent to ask their child in each lesson

- can be done at any pace that works with your 
family . . . every night, once a week, 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there . . . it fits into realistic family life

- puts the pieces together for a child to understand God, the Bible, and the Christian faith

- in each lesson the responds to the truth so they understand their relationship to God is personal and life transforming

- any parent, whether they know nothing, or a lot about God can start teaching their child today with no prep

- deep theology put into language a child can understand

- deeply Biblical, each lesson points to Christ

- put in an order that starts with creation, and teaches the Bible as one story that all points to Christ

- child stays engaged by filling in blanks, crosswords, drawing, matching and using their Bibles as they learn

My Thoughts:
The God Puzzle:  How The Bible Fits Together To Reveal God As Your Greatest Treasure is a workbook written for kids ages 7 - 12.  The book is colorful with eye catching graphics that will draw kids' attention.  The book does two things:  Presents the Bible as on seamless story and shares deep truths in a way kids will understand.  Using puzzles, word finds, art, question and answer as well as journaling and prayer, this solid resource teaches kids how to read, meditate on and study Scripture in order to know God and see how they fit into His story.  Ackermann has provided a solid Biblical picture of God's theme of grace and redemption that is woven throughout Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.  She helps kids to know and understand how all the stories of the Bible fit into God's big story...the gospel...the good news of Jesus Christ.
Some of the topics covered are:
  • Who is God?
  • What is sin?
  • Why did they make sacrifices when they sinned in the Old Testament?
  • What was God's relationship with people in the Old Testament?
  • Who is Jesus?
  • What is the new covenant?
  • What are my old self and my new self?
  • How does God change me to become more like him?
  • What is worship?
  • What is the church?
  • What is missions?
  • What are Spiritual gifts?
  • How do I spend time with God?
  • What are we looking forward to?
The workbook is easy to use giving parents, who are new in their own faith or ones who have been believers for a long time, a guide to discipling their kids that isn't overwhelming or complicated to figure out.  While this resource is colorful and fun, it is  biblicaly solid and strongly theological in content.  Don't miss out on this amazing resource by Higherlife Publishing.
Thank you Litfuse Publicity for sending a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review!

You can order this resource at Deeper Shopping Christian Books and Bibles:
Blessings,
Jennifer

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Marriage in Middlebury




Meet the author: Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She's been a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Connect with Anita at: http://anitahigman.com





One decision changed both their lives...but will love win in the end?

Charlotte Rose Hill enjoys a comfortable life serving up country delicacies, uniquely blended teas, and matchmaking advice for her quirky, devoted customers.  The only thing lacking is someone to share it with.
At eighteen she denied Sam Wilder's marriage proposal after his family convinced her to walk away from their relationship.  They both moved on...or so she thought.  When Sam walks back into her life more than a decade later, Charlotte is surprised that her heart still quickens.  But is it because of his presence?  Or because of the presence of Sam's new fiancee?

A second chance at love doesn't come often, but their past may keep them apart.  Is it too late for Sam and Charlotte?

My Thoughts:
I had the pleasure of reading Higman's A Winter in Full Bloom and being introduced to her during a live chat on The Book Club Network through the Reader's Only group.  Her writing has a "at home with a friend" feel to it.  She uniquely weaves life lessons and faith into the personal stories of her characters.  I appreciate that her characters aren't all "cookie cutter" Christians, but seem as if they could be your neighbor next door dealing with all sorts of life issues and at times struggling with matters of faith.
I absolutely loved Charlotte!  Higman tells her story in such a way that it seems as if you feel what Charlotte's feeling at each juncture in the story.  Charlotte's and Sam's back story is woven into the plot with such fluency that does not interrupt present day happenings in the novel.  While reading the book, I could almost picture myself sitting at a little table in the Rose Cottage Tearoom "people watching" this cast of characters.
I appreciated Higman sharing the "voice" of each character.  While maybe a little predictable, A Marriage in Middlebury is a beautifully told story of mistakes, loss, love, second chances and faith that overcomes any circumstance.

You can go HERE to see what others are saying about the book.

Don't miss your chance to win a Kindle for yourself and a friend and a chance to chat with Anita on Dec. 12th:
Enter Today | 11/18 - 12/12!
anita higman a marriage in middlebury


Thank you Litfuse Publicity for sending a copy of the book for the purpose of this review.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Unspoken

Dee Henderson is the author of eighteen novels, including her powerful O'Malley series. Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion.

You can visit her at www.DeeHenderson.com and the Dee Henderson Books Facebook page.



Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history.

The FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, and rescued her, but it took four long years.  The fact that she was found just three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them.  She's since changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life.

She's never said a word - to the cops, to her doctors, to her family - about those four years.

A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago, where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping.  Her options are limited; either hope the reporter doesn't uncover the full truth, or break her silence about what happened.  And her silence is what has protected her family for years.

Bryce Bishop doesn't know Charlotte's past; he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather's estate - and that the FBI director in Chicago made the introduction.  The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her.  But she's decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she's willing to forgo a huge inheritance to keep her privacy.  She's not giving him much of an opening to work with.

Charlotte wants to trust him.  She needs to tell him what happened.  Because a crime the cops thought was solved has only opened up another chapter...

My Thoughts:
My heart rate and excitement goes up immediately before turning to the first page of any Dee Henderson book!  Unspoken did not disappoint and may be her best offering to date.  And I always start one of her books on the weekend, because once I start one of her novels, I can not put it down.  Henderson weaves a cast of characters with almost unbelievable talent.  The interaction between those characters teach the readers so much about life, love, faith and overcoming fear and some of the most tragic circumstances.
Henderson's plot development and twists carry you on a ride that as a reader you won't soon forget.  I find myself thinking about her characters and what they've gone through long past turning the last page.  The emotion Henderson is able to portray with her words is palpable at times.  Sometimes I was literally scared to turn the next page and at other times I couldn't turn the page fast enough.
I personally think any of her books could be blockbusters on the big screen!

Thank you Bethany House Publishers for sending me the complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review.

You can purchase Unspoken by going to Deeper Shopping Christian Books and Bibles:


Christian Book Store
Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Miner's Lady



The author of more than ninety novels and the recipient of the 2011 ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award, Tracie Peterson's love for history and research fuel the bestselling stories she writes.
Her first book, A Place to Belong, was published in 1993. She now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.
Tracie makes her home in Montana.
You can connect with Tracie via her website at www.traciepetersonbooks.com, her Facebook page, and Amazon.





The Miner's Lady is the third book in Peterson's Land of Shining Water series.  The previous two books were The Icecutter's Daughter and The Quarryman's Bride.

Book Synopsis:
When Chantel Panetta's younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Calarco, Chantel knows there is no hope.  The Panettas and Calarco have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families.  Yet, unable to resist Isabella's pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando...only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando's brother.
Chantel can't deny the attractions that flares when she's with Dante.  But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved?
Or will Chantel and Isabella's hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?

My Thoughts:
I have enjoyed reading this series by Tracie Peterson.  They were my first books to read by this author. Peterson certainly has a way with her pen!  What a gift!  In The Miner's Lady, Peterson expertly captures the rift that can often drive families apart within and without the original family unit.  Her characterization is rich and her descriptions are superb.  She makes you feel as if you are a part of what is taking place...you can picture each scene clearly in your mind as you read.
Without being overly "preachy", Peterson weaves eloquently the themes of hope and faith throughout her story.  The transformation she takes her characters through is a delight to observe.  The Land of Shining Water series now adorns a place on my "keeper shelf"!  It should be on yours as well!
You can purchase your copy from Deeper Shopping Christian Books and Bibles:


Christian Book Store

Thank you Bethany House Publishers for sending a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review!

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sinner's Creed and Proof of Life

Pull back the curtain come on in
Through the stain glass windows of where I've been.
Some parts holy.  Some parts dark as sin.
The time has come to take off my mask.
Watch the scars spill secrets from my past.
This freak show won't define who I am.

What I thought was all of my life's story,
Turns out it was only just one page.
It's a new beginning, I have got so much left to say.

I'm dying to breathe in every moment.
I'm dying to make up for lost time.
I'm dying to let go and finally feel what real love is.
I'm dying to live.

Those are lyrics from the song "Dying to Live" from Scott Stapp's (front runner of the group Creed) latest solo cd Proof of Life which is somewhat a musical backdrop to Stapp's newly published memoir Sinner's Creed.  Tyndale House Publishers provided a copy of both the cd and the book for the purpose of review.

Scott Stapp is among the most successful artists of the modern rock era. As Creed's lead vocalist, he has sold more than forty million records and has performed in sold-out arenas the world over.  One Rolling Stone writer called Stapp "one of the most influential and boldest rock writer/performers of the past twenty-five years whose fans must be counted in the legions."
Stapp recorded four albums with Creed each of which has been certified multiplatinum.  In 2000 Stapp's song "With Arms Wide Open" won the Grammy for Best Rock Song of the Year, and in 2005 his first solo album, The Great Divide, was certified double platinum.
He is also the founder of the With Arms Wide Open Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to "promoting healthy, loving relationships between children and their families. 
Scott lives in Florida with his wife, Jaclyn and their three young children, Jagger, Milan, and Daniel.

You can connect with Scott via his website found at www.scottstapp.com.

Comprised of 11 tracks, Proof of Life is a no holds barred portrayal of the remarkable journey Stapp has found himself traveling.  
“I made up my mind to face myself as a man and an artist. This record is my first no-holds-barred statement of exactly who I am”  Stapp says.  That statement is simultaneously simple and complex.  The simple message is a straight-up confirmation of Stapp’s prowess as rock and roller of the first rank. He’s alive and kicking, singing with greater grit than ever before. The self-portrait emerging from this extraordinary suite of songs is multi-layered and nuanced, the compelling drama of a man unflinchingly reexamining his past as he fights for his spiritual sanity.


Here's a taste of this hard-edged and emotionally super-charged album:


Each song on the album tells a part of Scott's story.  With each title, he takes you on his journey and literally peels back the curtain allowing the listener into the vulnerable world that has been spiritual experience.  My favorite titles were Only One and Dying to Live.

Sinner's Creed paved the way for the album Proof of Life.

Sinner's Creed is the uncensored memoir of Scott Stapp.  In the book, Scott is transparent about his struggles with faith, life, and addiction.  He lets his reader in on the "behind the scenes" story of the group Creed and his own journey down the dark path of self-destruction and addiction which culminated in the disbanding of Creed in 2004.

My husband read the book and here is what he had to say after completing it:

"In his memoir Scott gives a vivid picture of athletic and religious upbringing which entailed much that would border on child abuse and religious abuse.  Scott does a great job of describing the troubling part of his upbringing without becoming morose.  His hope even in the midst of trial makes this book one that makes you keep turning the pages until you finish. 
 Scott describes how Creed came together and made their way to the top of the rock charts.  He vividly describes the highs and lows and how the pressures of the rock and roll combined with demons from his upbringing kept him off balance and led to substance abuse which derailed his music career for a while. His story offers much hope for those who have great obstacles in their way.  Whether one is facing obstacles of an abusive past, substance abuse issues, suicide, or most any other obstacle, one will find encourage and hope from this book and hope that Scott offers as he shares the difference that faith in the Jesus Christ makes in his life. This book is well written and gives the reader a good overview of Scott’s life and his music career.  It includes lyrics to all of the songs from Creed’s albums.  The songs from his new project also complement his memoir and display how Scott has overcome his troubled past and has found peace through Jesus."

Both Sinner's Creed and Proof of Life would be perfect gifts for anyone who has been a long-time Creed or Stapp fan or for someone you know needs to hear the story of God's scandalous pursuit of sinners and the story of redemption from one who knows what it means to be dying to live.

You can order both the cd and the book by going HERE and HERE.

Blessings,
Jennifer

Monday, December 2, 2013

The War On Christmas: Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression

Bodie Hodge has been a writer, speaker, and researcher for Answers in Genesis since 2003. He writes and speaks on a host of topics including The Fall of Satan and The Tower of Babel. He is passionate about providing biblical answers to believers, seekers, and non-believers. He oversees AiG's Correspondence Department and is a regular speaker in the Creation Museum Speaker Series.  Bodie and his wife Renee were married in 2004 and have one daughter.
You can read more by Bodie and learn more about his work with Answers in Genesis by visiting the website at www.answersingensis.org.
Find the truth about Christmas and the Christian's response to a culture that seems to be declaring war on traditions and the Bible!
Christmas - with its holiday lights, bright packages, and nativity displays - has become a controversial frontline in the increasingly intolerant culture wars.  Whether or not to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays", how to refer to the tree, and just how "biblical" Christmas may actually be is debated online, during city council meetings, and in courthouses each year.
Filled with family get-togethers, office parties, breaks from school and festivities, Christmas should be a time of peace and love - not arguments over who can celebrate what and where or when.  So why has so much controversy clouded this sacred holiday?  Nativity scenes are nixed and even the word "Christmas" is considered offensive by some.  Get the facts behind the history, relevance, and biblical connections of this beloved holiday:
  • Is it a bunch of pagan symbols or traditions "Christianized" for the celebration?
  • Why is a Christian concept of Christmas so important for those who don't believe in Jesus?
  • Most say Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, but are we truly worshiping Him or just celebrating the earthly gifts we give ourselves?
Christmas can be a delightful but at the same time very frustrating time of year!  Why?  Well Bodie Hodges helps us unpack all the reasons why Christmas seems to be in a war of sorts.  Housed in a beautifully full-color and illustrated glossy paged book, the story of Christmas is told biblically, historically, and traditionally.  Everything from the origins of Christmas, the timeline surrounding Christ's birth, and misconceptions surrounding Christmas are covered.  Answers to questions such as "When was Jesus born?" and "Winter time worship:  Santa Claus or Jesus?" are explored as well as discussion around the age old controversy of what exactly the "X" in X-Mas stands for and should we even use that phrase?

No stone is left unturned in the discussion about Christmas in The War On Christmas.  I found the book to be very eye opening and helpful in gaining perspective heading into the month of December. Bodie helps the reader to come full circle around the whole Christmas controversy and brings you right back to the deepest truth to be considered in it all...Immanuel, God With Us!

I have a feeling that I'll be returning to the book often this Christmas season and plan to display the book in my home as a well expected conversation starter this season.

Merry Christmas!
Jennifer

Stones For Bread and KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway!


Meet the author: Christa Parrish is the award-winning author of three novels, including the 2009 ECPA Fiction Book of the Year Watch Over Me. When she's not writing, she's a homeschool mother of three wonderful children. Married to author and pastor Chris Coppernoll, Christa serves with him as co-leader of their church's youth ministry as well as serving as a facilitator for a divorce recovery ministry. She is now also slightly obsessed with the art of baking bread.

Learn more about Christa at: http://christaparrish.com





About the book: A solitary artisan. A legacy of bread-baking. And one secret that could collapse her entire identity.
Liesl McNamara's life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.
But the simple life she has cultivated is becoming quite complicated. Her head baker brings his troubled grandson into the bakeshop as an apprentice. Her waitress submits her recipes to a popular cable cooking show. And the man who delivers her flour --- a single father with strange culinary 
habits --- seems determined to win Liesl's affection.
When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family's past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, the baker must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in detachment and remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.

My Thoughts:
Christa Parrish's writing is beautiful!  Her lyrical style has given her a powerful voice.  I loved the way Stones For Bread was the perfect mix of spiritual journey, history, love story and cookbook.  And the best part is that she weaves these together with the Truth of the gospel with themes of redemption and forgiveness.  Parrish lends voice to her main character Liesl while sharing her backstory at the beginning of each chapter.  This lends such depth to the journey we are allowed to travel with Liesl in this book.  Parrish's characters all lend a piece to the story that gives this novel appeal in ways so many other novels miss.  And the artisan bread recipes are woven throughout the book.  This one will take a prominent place right alongside my favorite cookbook collection!

Thank you Litfuse Publicity for sending the book for this review and blog tour participation!

Don't miss this amazing opportunity to connect with Christa!

Enter Today | 11/18 - 12/7!
christa parrish stones for bread
Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The One Year Devotions For Women: Becoming a Woman at Peace

Ann Spangler is an award-winning author, publishing her first book and bestseller in 1994.  She has gone on to write several best-selling books, including Women of the Bible, Praying the Names of God, and Praying the Names of Jesus.  Together her books have sold millions of copies.  Her sensitivity to the ever-changing spiritual and cultural climate we live in has enabled her to address themes of profound interest to many readers.  She and her two daughters live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Be sure and connect with her via her Facebook page found HERE and her website found at www.annspangler.com.


The One Year Devotions for Women:  Becoming a Woman at Peace helps you take hold of the peace God offers - a peace far richer and more satisfying than anything you can imagine.
Ann Spangler has a deep desire for women to experience greater peace in their lives.  She provides an uplifting devotion for each day that includes a key Scripture verse, a devotional reading, and a suggested prayer for connecting with God.  The daily readings will help open your heart to the peace that God wants you to experience every day.
Whatever your life looks like right now, breathe deeply and spend a little quiet time in God's Word.  As you do, you'll discover a life that is filled with confidence, joy, and unending peace!





I love and appreciate the by-line for the line of One Year devotions:  Do-Able Daily Devotions - Start Any Day The One Year Way.  I am especially glad Ms Spangler decided to join in The One Year efforts by contributing this devotional book for women.  Each devotion in the book spans one page, giving a short scripture passage, Ann's thoughts and a prayer prompt at the end.  Ann shares personal stories as examples of biblical application as well as some devotions that are more "teaching" in nature.  I have loved her Names of God books and was happy to see that same conversational style of sharing in this devotional.
This devotional would be a perfect gift this Christmas season for the busy woman in your life.  Spangler offers in small bite size portions the deep riches of Shalom offered through a relationship with God in Christ Jesus.  Sitting down for an hour to meditate on Scripture isn't always afforded the stay-at-home mom with little ones who need her or the working mom who balances work outside the home with family responsibilities or the single mom doing life on her own.  The One Year Devotions for Women offers any woman seeking a little more peace the opportunity to begin her busy day with her heart and mind focused on God's word.
*Thank you Tyndale Blogger Program for sending the book for the purpose of this review.

You can find the devotional book on Amazon by going HERE.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Aloha Rose

The Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
Aloha Rose
Abingdon Press (November 19, 2013)
by
Lisa Carter
I am a wife and mother. My husband and I have two daughters and make our home in the beautiful state of North Carolina.

I am a teacher. With a Master’s degree in history, I have taught at the university, high school and middle school levels. After years of church involvement as a soloist, choir member and worship leader, I also teach music.

I am a writer. Delighted by the rhythm and musicality of words, I have been writing since childhood. In 2001, I won the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) Story Writing Contest that re-ignited a lifelong love of writing.

I am on a journey of faith. My ultimate desire through my life and my writing is to proclaim the truth of God’s Word, His redeeming love as seen in the life of Jesus Christ and to help others know for themselves this great, awesome God of all comfort and wisdom. He is enough for every need. 

Lisa can be reached through the Contact link on her Website.
 
When Laney Carrigan sets out to find her birth family, her only clue is the Hawaiian quilt—a red rose snowflake appliqu├ęd on a white background—in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island and battling fears of rejection, Laney begins a painstaking journey toward her true heritage. Kai Barnes, however, is determined to protect the people he’s come to regard as family. He thinks Laney is nothing more than a gold digger and blocks every move she makes toward her Hawaiian family. As their conflict escalates, it puts at risk the one thing that Kai and Laney both want most—a family. 

If you would like to read the first chapter of Aloha Rose, go HERE

My Thoughts:
The Quilts of Love series has been a blessing.  With each book in the series I've read, I have thought, "This is my favorite one!"  I had the same feeling with Aloha Rose.  Carter has written an emotionally driven story of heartbreak, conflict and the desires that bind us together.  Description and character depth is an exceptional part of this series' latest offering.  You will enjoy the journey of Kai and Laney and they will seem like friends by the book's ending.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Prodigal

From the inspirational author of The Ragamuffin Gospel comes a powerful contemporary retelling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
Jack Chisholm is “the people’s pastor.” He leads a devoted and growing megachurch, has several best-selling books, and a memorable slogan, “We have got to do better.” Jack knows how to preach, and he understands how to chastise people into performing. What he doesn’t know is anything about grace.
This year, when it comes time for the Christmas sermon, the congregation at Grace Cathedral will look to the pulpit, and Jack will not be there. Of course, they will have seen plenty of him already---on the news.
After an evening of debauchery that leads to an affair with his beautiful assistant, Jack Chisholm finds himself deserted with chilling swiftness. The church elders remove him from his own pulpit. His publisher withholds the royalties from his books.
Worst of all, his wife disappears with their eight-year-old daughter.
But just as Jack is hitting bottom, hopeless and penniless, drinking his way to oblivion, who should appear but his long-estranged father, imploring his prodigal son: “Come home.”
A true companion piece to The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Prodigal illustrates the power of grace through the story of a broken man who finally saw Jesus not because he preached his greatest sermon or wrote his most powerful book, but because he failed miserably.
Jack Chisholm lost everything---his church, his family, his respect, and his old way of believing---but he found grace. It’s the same grace that Brennan Manning devoted his life to sharing: profound in nature and coming from a God who loves us just as we are, and not as we should be.
Gregg Garrett is the author or coauthor of over fifteen books of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, including The Other Jesus, We Get To Carry Each Other:  The Gospel According to U2, and the acclaimed novels Free Bird, Cycling, and Shame.  A frequent speaker and media guest, he is on of America's leading voices on religion and culture.  Greg serves as Professor of English at Baylor University, Writer in Residence at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest, Residential Scholar at Gladstone's Library in Wales, and as a licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Church.  He lives with his family in Austin, Texas.  
Brennan Manning was a Roman Catholic priest, a lifelong seeker of wisdom, a world traveler, a sojourner among the poor, and a sinner forgiven by a gracious God.  For fifty years, Brennan offered the message that God loves us without condition or reservation, loves us as we are and not as we think we should be.  It is a message of grace and forgiveness that has helped reconcile many to God, and a message that he lived out for the whole world to see, with courage and conviction, warts and all.  A renowned speaker, preacher, and retreat leader, Brennan authored or coauthored twenty books; his most popular being his million-selling and life-changing book The Ragamuffin Gospel.  
He went to rest in the loving arms of his Abba on April 12, 2013, but his voice still echoes in the hearts and minds of his readers.
My Thoughts:
I read The Ragamuffin Gospel years ago and was impressed with Manning's presentation of God's grace.  Now, many years later, The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story is the perfect follow-up book.  The Prodigal presents the ideas shared in The Ragamuffin Gospel in story form.  Garrett and Manning come together in what would be Manning's final book to give us a gritty and genuine picture of the failure of man along with the consequences of sin paired alongside the beautiful picture of God's grace that reaches far and wide to redeem.
There's nothing candy coated in this story.  Jack's story is all of our stories...we miss the mark and God chases after us with His scandalous love and mercy.  The cameo appearance of Brennan as Father Frank in the novel is brilliant!  Brennan ran a good race and fought the good fight.  We are blessed that he left us with one more picture of God's amazing grace. 
One of the questions in the reading group guide, which is included in the book, is:
Would you like to read more stories about Jack?
My answer?  ABSOLUTELY!!!

Happy Reading,
Jennifer