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Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Point: The Redemption of Oban Ironbout

William E. Jefferson is a message maker, artfully weaving words of truth.  Jefferson invites you to journey with him, to explore the world of Estillyen.  Jefferson holds an MTh in Theology and Media from the University of Edinburgh and an MA in Communications from Wheaton Graduate School.

Jefferson attempts to "create imaginative fiction which frames compelling truth".  "Estillyen is a world where truth and life conquer lies and death."
(Quotes taken from the Estillyen website HERE.)

Searching for peace and inspiration, Hollie and Goodwin Macbreeze travel to the Isle of Estillyen - a distant harbor known for bringing ancient words of worth to the present.  Their lives become unexpectedly and inseparably intertwined with the reclusive Oban Ironbout - and a mystery from the past that will transform them all. 

It is a tale of pain...and redemption.

My Thoughts:
The Point is not a quick read.  While a work of fiction, the book's style is allegorical with the flavors of John Bunyan and C.S. Lewis.  Jefferson's book is one to take in slowly and contemplate.  The story is largely dialogue driven. And the surprising twist at the end is one you won't see coming!
I don't typically highlight my fiction books, but there were many places in The Point that I did.  Take this portion for example:
"Estillyen is an ancient word for still...On Estillyen, the whole idea is about stilling, contemplation, reflection.  Those message makers are very much a mind of mission, they are.  They see words from ancient paths as pillars for the present...The further you go, the less you'll have and the more you'll find...That's the ticket, by Job - 'In this life look fr peace, not paradise...Christ was the medium and message of God...Something will consume you, even i it appears to be nothing, and that nothing will be the something."
Those portions and many more were taken from just the first chapter.
Scattered throughout the book are the "readings" that Hollie and Goodwin attend while visiting the metophorical Isle of Estillyen.  I particularly loved these portions.  Jefferson does an excellent job of presenting key portions of Scripture in telling the redemption story of the Bible.  Particularly intriguing is the story aspect of these readings and the way Jefferson puts on display satan's role in opposing God's truth.
Take this portion from one reading as an comes from the first reading presented titled "Did God Really Say?", which covers Genesis 3:1-5:
"We must trust beyond our knowing...God chooses to reveal what He reveals; the drama is His.  Beyond knowing are God's reasons for the mysterious moves He makes.  This, however, is exceedingly good, not bad."
There is a companion book to The Point titled Redemption:  Twelve Readings from the Monks of Estillyen.  In Redemption, the reader gets the twelve readings in their entirety, while in The Point, the readings are abbreviated.
Jefferson through his gift of writing has given us a remarkable work that clearly is centered on the person of Jesus Christ - the Word made flesh.  He shares through Oban's story of coming back to God the amazing story of the Bible which is redemption and abundant life offered in Christ and the idea that "Words matter...some forevermore."


Part One

Part Two

Thank you Julie Busteed with Handlebar for sending me the complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review!  This is a rich book that I highly recommend!


Clear Winter Nights

Theology in Story

What an amazing concept for a work of fiction!

Our church began using The Gospel Project as our Sunday School curriculum last year and I love it!  So, when he Blogging for Books program (Waterbrook Multnomah) offered Clear Winter Nights:  A Journey Into Truth, Doubt, and What Comes After by Trevin Wax for review, I jumped at the opportunity!

A little about Trevin from The Gospel Coalition website:
My name is Trevin Wax. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. My wife is Corina, and we have two children, Timothy (9) and Julia (5).
Currently, I serve the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture.
I have been blogging regularly at Kingdom People since October 2006. I frequently contribute articles to other publications, such as Christianity Today. I also enjoy traveling and speaking at different churches and conferences.
I received my bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Theology from Emanuel University of Oradea in the country of Romania, where I was involved in mission work in several village churches from 2000-05. I received a Masters of Divinity at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. I spent several years serving the wonderful people of First Baptist Church in Shelbyville, TN as Associate Pastor.
Trevin's books include:
  • Holy Subversion:  Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals
  • Counterfeit Gospels:  Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope
  •  Gospel-Centered Teaching:  Showing Christ in all the Scripture
Snyopsis of Clear Winter Nights:
Searching for real faith - or no faith at all...
Chris Walker has everything.  A career, a beautiful fiancee, a promising ministry opportunity, and a faith instilled in him from a young age.  But when a revelation about his family comes to light at his grandmother's funeral, Chris finds himself facing questions he didn't even know he had about...well, everything.
Fighting a battle within and without from those who don't understand his sudden doubts, Chris seeks refuge in a weekend with his grandfather to ask the rough questions and sort through the issues where faith meets life and disillusionment collides with truth.

My Thoughts:
At only 157 pages, Clear Winter Nights is a mighty powerful little book.  Wax employs engaging dialogue between a grandfather and his grandson to give his reader a lesson in theology - Theology 101 if you will.  In these conversations, Chris (the grandson) and his grandfather Gil discuss everything from what makes Christianity distinct among all the other world religions, does settling on truth really matter, the relevance of truth in a world where things change daily, forgiveness, evangelism and the power of forgiveness in living out the gospel of Jesus Christ.
While I appreciated the rich conversation between Chris and Gil, I felt the overall book was lacking in story.  I think if expanded a little more in sharing Chris's background (years growing up, the divorce between his mother and father, his dating/engagement to Ashley etc.) and filling in a little more on the things that lead him to his crisis of faith, the book would have more draw. 
The message in this book is very much needed.  Many people come to a place in their life where they maybe begin to question faith, much like Chris finds himself doing, and the last thing they want to do is pick up another Bible study or maybe even the Bible.  But they might read a novel.  The concept behind Clear Winter Nights is exceptional and I'm so glad Trevin Wax has written this book.  The book includes an engaging discussion guide - perfect for use with someone who may be beginning to question their faith or with someone who is exploring the Christian faith for the first time.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waerbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for my review.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Quarryman's Bride

Tracie Peterson is the award-winning author of over eighty novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana, and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.

You can visit her website by going HERE.

The latest book in the Land of Shining Waters series.
Emmalyne Knox and Tavin MacLachlan were destined to be together . . . until the tragic deaths of Emmalyne's youngest sisters. Family tradition mandates that the youngest daughter should remain single to care for her parents in their old age, and now that daughter is Emmalyne. Her father unyielding, Emmalyne surrenders to her duty, heartbroken. Tavin leaves town, equally devastated.

Years later, Emmalyne's family moves, and she and Tavin meet again. Their feelings for each other are as strong as ever, but their painful past and Emmalyne's father still stand between them. Soon both families are in the midst of the growing conflict rising between the workers at the granite quarry that Tavin's father owns and operates. When a series of near-fatal accidents occur, Tavin must figure out who is behind the attacks before someone gets killed.
Bound by obligation, yet yearning for a future together, can Emmalyne and Tavin dare to dream that God could heal a decade-long wound and change the hearts of those who would stand in the way of true love?

You can order your copy by going HERE.

My Thoughts:
I read the first book in the Land of Shining Water series - The Icecutter's Daughter - and LOVED it!  I knew I would want to read the rest in the series.  I WAS NOT disappointed!  I haven't typically liked the historical romance genre until I read my first Peterson novel.
Peterson captures the surroundings and characters with such vivid description and transports you to another time and place in her story of Emmalyne and Tavin.  I just loved them!  I appreciate the way Peterson weaves biblical truth about God and His character into the dialogue.  Chapter 15 was particularly rich in theology regarding God and the purpose of trials and suffering in our lives.  It was worth reading twice!  Peterson is at the top of the game in allowing the reader into the thoughts of her characters.  You truly get the story from all angles.
While The Quarryman's Bride is part of a series, the book can be read as a stand alone novel.  It will be placed on my keeper shelf right along any other Tracie Peterson book I come across!
*I received a copy of The Quarryman's Bride from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my review and participation in the blog tour promoting the book.  You can read what others are saying about the book by visiting HERE.

Don't miss the $200 Anthropolgie Giveaway from Tracie Peterson and Litfuse Publicity:

Enter Today - 6/20 - 7/9!
The Quarryman's Bride Tracie Peterson Anthropologie Giveaway

Happy Reading,

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pieces of the Heart

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Pieces of the Heart
Abingdon Press (June 1, 2013)
Bonnie S. Calhoun

Bonnie S. Calhoun is Owner/Director of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year,” President of (CAN) Christian Authors Network, and Appointment Coordinator for both the Colorado Christian Writers Conference (CCWC) and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference(GPCWC).
For the last six years she has taught workshops in Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, and creating Social Media promotions at both CCWC, and GPCWC, and in 2011 at the Montrose, Pa Christian Writers Conference. She also taught a Facebook workshop at the 2012 ACFW conference.
Bonnie and her husband live in a log cabin in upstate area of New York with a dog and cat who think she’s wait-staff.
Her sites are: 

Cordelia Grace watched Bernard Howard, the love of her young life, go off to fight for our country in WWII. And she has spent the last three years creating the Pine Cone quilt that will grace their marriage bed when he comes home. Each row of triangles signifies a layer in her life, sets of memories, hopes, dreams, and
prayers for her future, enough spoken words to cover them forever. Her image of their “happy-ever-after” grows proportionally as the quilt expands.
But is the man that returns from the war, the same man that she remembered? Are the dark shades of color that she had to use for the outside edges of the beloved quilt prophetic of her life to come? Can love and faith overcome all?
If you would like to read the first chapter of Pieces of the Heart, go HERE.

My Thoughts:
I've been associated with Ms Calhoun for a couple of years now through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance; however, I had never read one of her books until reading Pieces of the Heart.  To say I was blown away by her writing talent is an understatement!  In her book, Bonnie approaches the topic of "battle fatigue" (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as it is more commonly known today), battered women, and racial tension with careful attention and honesty.  I loved Cordelia and the relationship she has with her Grandmother.  I teared up many times at the emotion in this book; Bonnie captures it so well.  She also does an excellent job of capturing the WWII era.  I wasn't ready to leave these characters.  I want to know what lies ahead for Cordelia and her family...maybe a peak into the lives of her children and their families...maybe a sequel Bonnie????
Don't miss this one in the Quilts of Love series!

Happy Reading,

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel

Ginger Garrett is the critically acclaimed author of Chosen:  The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther, which was recognized as one of the top five novels of 2006 by the ECPA, and Dark Hour.  An expert in ancient women's history, Ginger creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women.
A resident of Atlanta, Georgia, Ginger frequently appears as a guest on television news and talk shows.  She is the co-host of the new inspirational program, Deeper Living.  Ginger is an graduate of Southern Methodist University and is passionate about creating art from history.
*Author photo by Don Sparks.
*You can learn more about Ginger Garrett and her books at her website found HERE.

From the moment her marriage to prince Ahab thrusts her into the intrigues of palace life, Jezebel’s exotic beauty opens doors and her will breaks down walls. Torn from her homeland and wed to power in a strange country, Jezebel vows to create a legacy and power all her own. Some might call her a manipulative schemer, bent on having her way. But they don’t know the whole story, and she was much, much worse. As she moves through the halls of power, her heart struggles between devotion to the gods she worships, the prince who loves her, and her thirst for revenge. She sparks a battle between her strangely powerless gods and the God of palace administrator Obadiah—a God who confronts her with surprising might. She will fight, though victory may cost her everything.

My Thoughts:
I had the privilege of "meeting" Ginger Garrett several weeks back online during a chat sponsored by Fred St. Laurent over at  During that chat, I jumped at an opportunity to review Reign:  The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel.  Ms Garrett was delightful to chat with and get to know better.  Due to the generosity of David C. Cook (publisher) sending not only a copy of Reign but all three books in this amazing series, my daughter (age 15) and I were able to read all three books.  The previous books in the series are Chosen:  The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther and Desired:  The Untold Story of Samson and Delilah.  
Ginger is a gifted writer.  She captures the time period and history of her characters well.  While reading Reign, I was taken back to the time of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel through Ginger's vivid description.  I appreciated hearing the story from the different perspectives of Ahab, Jezebel and Obadiah.  Ginger's attention to detail in characterization shows the level of research undertaken to produce a biblically accurate account.  The artistic liberties taken to fill in the story in no way take away from Scripture but appear true to the time period and historical accounts.
While the story was disturbing to read at times due to the nature of Queen Jezebel and her worship of false gods, Ginger does an exceptional job of capturing the depravity of man in his/her sin.  The voice of Obadiah showed the challenge of standing and speaking up for truth in the midst such depravity.
As stated earlier, my fifteen year old daughter loves Ginger's writing.  She has actually read Chosen twice.  She's a very discerning reader and doesn't bother to read many books twice, but has stated she will read Ginger's again.
Thank you again Fred for introducing me to Ginger Garrett!  If you have never visited The Book Club Network you really should.  Not only is it a fun place for avid readers, but the monthly online magazine is full of author, publishing and book information.  The site also has several groups of which to be a part.  There truly is something for everyone. right HERE.
And thank you again David C. Cook for sending the entire series and for publishing solid biblical resources and fiction.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cafe Chocolat: Women's Ministry Retreat Director's Kit

Do you like chocolate?  Maybe I should ask if you love chocolate? are shaking your head in the affirmative aren't you?

Let me ask you you like getting together with other women...just hanging out...getting to know them better...studying God's Word together and learning what's going on in their lives and offering support to each other?

I LOVE both...chocolate and fellowship with other women of all ages and in all different seasons of life.

Now you may be asking how any of this is related.  My answer:  CAFE CHOCOLAT!

Cafe Chocolat is Group Publishing's latest resource for Women's Ministry.  Rick Roberson with The B&B Media Group, INC. was kind enough to send me a Cafe Chocolat Director's Kit to review.

According to Amy Nappa, who heads up the adult ministry resources team for Group, "We chose to use chocolate as a metaphor for God's grace.  Those participating will taste God's goodness through in-depth Bible study, unforgettable worship and a host of fun activities designed to help them slow down, enjoy their time together and grow closer to Jesus."

Included in this kit are the following:
  • Director Guide:  The director's guide helps you through every possible aspect of planning a Women's Ministry event including an overview of the theme, basics of women's ministry, how to plan a retreat, already established schedules, step-by-step instructions, service opportunities for your group, recruiting help for the event, training session guides, promotion materials, registration materials, decorating ideas, master supply list of everything needed and even steps for following up with the attendees of your event.
  • Worship Leader's Guide:  This guide includes easy to follow directions for leading worship at the event including supplies needed, explanation of the worship leader's role at the event, personal preparation, partnering with the session leaders, and detailed direction through each session regarding songs to use, which track on the cd the songs are located.
  • Six easy to delegate session leader guides:  Included are supply lists, and detailed step-by-step directions in leading each separate session.
  • Training and Promo DVD:  Includes video training for volunteers, plus professionally produced retreat commercials.
  • Graphics & Other Goodies CD:  Includes ready-to-use retreat-themed clip art, registration tools, publicity items, and more.  Also includes intrumental tracks for worship music and additional background music.
  • A sample of each of the following participant items:  Journal, God's Grace Bracelet, Music CD, and Tote Bag.  The journal includes lyrics to the songs used during the retreat.
The sessions designed for Cafe Chocolat focus on the following passages of Scripture:
  1. John 2:1-11
  2. Mark 2:1-12
  3. Ephesians 1:6 (Theme Verse for the retreat.)
  4. Luke 22:47-51 and John 18:10-11
  5. Psalm 34:8
  6. Romans 5:6-8, Luke 23:32-46, Romans 3:21-26, John 20:1-9
There is much to like about this resource and reasons why I highly recommend it to you for your next Women's Ministry event/retreat:
  • Price:  In today's economy, this resource is doable for most any budget.  Because of the flexibility the resource provides, your team can order all or just a few of the resources offered to suit your needs and budget.
  • User friendly:  You absolutely can not fail using this resource.  The Director's Kit contains everything imaginable in order to pull of a successful and well-planned event.  Group Publishing has put together a resource that absolutely anyone can use whether they have led many events or have never led an event before.  So many times it seems hard to get people to help in planning something like a retreat and especially to agree to be the "director".  No worries here...this kit includes everything you need.
  • Flexibility:  The resource is adaptable to a large or small group, any age, a one day event or a weekend event.  The step-by-step guide is detailed and takes the fear out of leading, but while being very detailed the resource is not "written in stone".  It is very easy to follow and adapt to your group and their needs.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Glimpses of Grace

Gloria Furman is a wife, mother of four young children, doula and blogger.  In 2008 her family moved to the Middle East to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai where her husband, Dave, serves as the pastor.  She blogs regularly at The Gospel Coalition, Domestic Kingdom, and Desiring God, and is the author of the forthcoming book Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full:  Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms.

Sometimes life feels a lot like a burden—day-in and day-out its the same chores and tasks, challenges and discouragements, anxieties and responsibilities. Dust bunnies show up on the stairwell, social commitments clutter the calendar, and our families demand daily attention and care. At times, just catching our breath seems like an impossible feat.
So where is God in all of this? Does he care about the way we unload the dishwasher or balance the budget? Do the little things like changing diapers or cooking meals make a difference? And how can we use our spheres of influence for God’s glory and our joy?
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working woman splitting time between the office and home, Gloria Furman—writer, pastor’s wife, cross-cultural worker, and mom—encourages us to see the reality of God’s grace in all of life, especially those areas that often appear to be boring and unimportant. Using personal examples and insightful stories, her richly theological reflections help us experience the gospel’s extraordinary power to transform our ordinary lives.

You can read an excerpt and order the book from Crossway by going HERE.

My Thoughts:
Gloria Furman has truly blessed wives and mothers with gospel infused truths with which to bath our weary hearts and minds.  As women, we can not fulfill these important roles in our own strength.  In Glimpses of Grace:  Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home, Gloria shares the gospel message in a thoroughly biblical way by pointing to Scripture and then showing how we translate those truths into our every day lives.  This book isn't just for stay-at-home moms who are nursing and homeschooling their children, but for every wife and mother who has found herself weary and discouraged by the mundane tasks and duties and responsibilities of life.
The book is divided into two parts:  Your Foundation in the Mundane and The Miraculous in the Mundane.  In part one, Gloria clearly helps women see the foundation that must be laid.
"I just think it's wonderful to teach children that fellowship with Christ is not constrained to formally religious experiences or places...Peace and quiet are not ultimate.  Activity and responsibility are not ultimate.  Because Christ is ultimate, the loss of any of these things - solitude or circus - makes no difference in the sufficiency of Christ or in His ability to give you everything you need for life and godliness."
In part two, Gloria helps her readers peel back the layers of daily life and see the miraculous transformation the gospel brings to our lives.
"Whatever the 'this' that you desperately feel you can't do anymore, it's ultimately not about your circumstances.  It's about peace with God...This is a declaration of dependence on Christ in all things for the sake of His glory.  Believing God's good intentions toward us in making us more like His Son makes all the difference."
I can highly recommend Glimpses of Grace!  Gather a group of friends, get them a copy of the book and meet together to discuss.  You will be blessed beyond measure as you lay all of your life in the grace of the gospel and your life will be infused with gospel power for all you are called to be and do!

I'm also linking this post to "Word Filled Wednesday" over at Woman to Woman:



Stealing The Preacher

For those of you who know me in real life, no this is not the story of how Mike and I met!  Thank goodness I didn't have to "steal" him!!

Meet Karen:
Two-time RITA finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance because she believes that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at

A cowboy who wants to be a preacher. An outlaw's daughter who wants to change his mind.
On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape-which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.
For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?

You can purchase your copy from by going HERE.

My Thoughts About the Book:
I don't typically like books of the historical romance genre.  Many times the plots and endings are predictable and they all begin sounding the same.  I started this book with the assumption it would probably be the same.  While the ending is a bit predictable, Witemeyer has written a beautiful story!  She has restored my faith in the historical romance genre!  Witemeyer's story is full of very "colorful" characters that you will absolutely fall in love with.  The preacher (Crockett) and Joanna are such fun characters to get to know and their love story is tender and faith filled.  This was a surprisingly delightful read that you will enjoy!

Thank you Litfuse Publicity for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour!  Thank you for sending me a copy of the book for the purpose of this review!

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fear Has A Name

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Fear Has a Name
David C. Cook (June 1, 2013)
Creston Mapes

Creston has fond memories of his boyhood in Bath, Ohio, where he became enchanted with his future wife, way back in the fourth grade. His father, Bernie, owned and operated The Weathervane Furniture Shop in town. The whole family lived right upstairs in the century-old house known as "The Shop."
Creston studied journalism at Bowling Green State University, then began his writing career. During the past 30 years, he has worked as a reporter, corporate copywriter, creative director, freelance writer, and author.

Creston can be reached through the Contact link on his Website.

From popular suspense author Creston Mapes comes another faith-building thriller, a tale that follows journalist Jack Crittendon as he fights to protect his family from a stalker's terrifying schemes, investigates a pastor's mysterious disappearance, and struggles to keep his faith amidst unthinkable fear.
With his family's safety on the line, Crittendon realizes there are secrets behind "Christian" walls--secrets with painful, deadly implications. He must find the faith to trust a God who allows inconceivable trials, and the courage to guard his family, with danger exploding at every turn.
Through it all--the sharp, character-driven writing for which Mapes is known--takes fans and new readers on an edge-of-your-seat journey that explores the harsh, far-reaching consequences of bullying and the Christian response to fear.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fear Has a Name, go HERE.

My Thoughts About the Book:
Creston Mapes has helped grow my "keeper shelf"!  His books, especially this new series The Crittendon Files, will join my other favorite author's and their titles.  Mapes grabbed me in this one right away.  He writes with rich characterization, vivid description and emotion filled tension.  I also appreciated how Mapes let you see the story from the different perspectives of each main character.  There is depth to this story that many fiction authors just aren't able to accomplish, but Mapes has done it exceptionally well.  You'll read much of this one sitting on the edge of your seat!  The ending is spectacular and I can't wait to see what is in store for John Crittendon and his family in the next book Poison Town due out in Feb. 2014.

Happy Reading,

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales/Giveaway

In addition to being an author, Randy is both a pastor and lawyer. He calls it his “Jekyll and Hyde thing.” You can guess which is which.
The Mr. Hyde part of his personality got its start when he graduated second in his class from William and Mary Law School in 1986 and began his legal career at Willcox and Savage, a 60-person firm in Norfolk, Virginia. He eventually became head of the firm’s litigation section, trying numerous cases in state and federal court, including some that took several months (and some think his preaching is long-winded). He served as lead counsel in Farley v. Guns Unlimited, the first jury trial that received gavel-to-gavel live television coverage in Virginia. He also served as lead counsel in Miller v. Donna Somerville, a case arising out of the suspected poisoning of Hamilton Somerville by his wife. The Lifetime movie Widow on the Hill was inspired by the circumstances underlying that case.
After thirteen years at Willcox and Savage, followed by several years as an executive at a national mission board and CEO of a cable television network, Randy started his own firm. He was recently voted by his peers to be one of the top 100 lawyers in Virginia. However, he is hearing footsteps from his own associates at the Singer Legal Group. Among them is Randy’s daughter Rosalyn, who recently joined the firm and is already on track to surpass her dad in the not-too-distant future.
As for Dr. Jekyll, he started in 2007 when the founding elders of Trinity Church asked Randy to serve as Teaching Pastor. In six years, the church has grown to over 700 in attendance and is involved in ministry work around the globe. Randy has assured the church that he is willing to continue serving as Teaching Pastor until they find somebody who actually knows what they’re doing. In the meantime, he is a preaching lawyer: proof that God can use anybody to do anything.
About twelve years ago, Randy began pursuing a passion to write. Tapping into his courtroom and ministry experience, Randy now pens legal thrillers designed to entertain readers while confronting them with biblical truths on controversial issues. His first novel, Directed Verdict, won the Christy award for the best Christian suspense novel. Recently, Randy was named a finalist, along with John Grisham and Michael Connelly, for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the American Bar Association and the University of Alabama Law School for the novel that best exemplified the role of lawyers in our society.
Randy is married to Rhonda and together they have two grown children. Rosalyn graduated from South Carolina Law School, clerked at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and moved back to Virginia Beach to complete her hostile takeover of the Singer Legal Group. Joshua is a wrangler in Colorado headed to vet school. Rhonda teaches high school English and wonders how she ended up with two lawyers and one cowboy in the family. Fortunately Lambeau, the family’s black lab, keeps everyone sane.

*Bio was taken from Randy's website found HERE.  You will enjoy a visit there where you can learn more about Randy's writing.

Landon Reed is an ex-quarterback convicted of organizing a point-shaving scheme.  In prison, he finds forgiveness and faith.  After prion, he earns a law degree and longs for an opportunity to prove his loyalty and worth.
Be careful what you ask for.
Harry McNaughten is one of the founding partners of McNaughten and Clay and the only attorney willing to take a chance employing an ex-con turned lawyer.  Though Landon initially questions Harry's ethics and methods, the crusty ole lawyer wins Landon's respect with his brilliant legal mind and knack for winning.  But as the two lawyers prepare for a high-profile murder case, Harry is gunned down in what appears to be a random mugging.  Weeks later, the firm's leased jet explodes over Chesapeake Bay, and two more McMaughten and Clay lawyers are eulogized.  Somebody has a vendetta against the firm, and Landon, his family, and his sole remaining partner are the final targets.
As Landon struggles to keep the firm together, he can't help but wonder:  is the plot related to a shady case from McNaughten and Clay's past, or to the murder trial he's neck-deep in now?  And will he survive long enough to find out?

You can read the first few chapters of the book by going HERE.

You might also be interested in this Q and A with Randy found HERE.  He shares about the behind-the-scenes motivation for writing Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales as well as a sneak peak into his next project out next Spring...The Advocate.  You WON'T want to miss that one!

In my opinion, Randy Singer has surpassed other legal thriller writers.  I've read several of his novels and they are on my keeper shelf.  Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales will remain right there beside them.  Singer weaves a story of legal intrigue that grips you on page one and keeps you turning pages until the last.  His characters seem like real friends.  You will love Landon!  His plots are unpredictable and his endings leave you wondering, "Where did that come from?"  Singer tells and engaging story complete with rich characters, legal mystery, and spiritual truth.  And on top of all that, he "teaches" you through his court room dramas about the legal system and how it works.

I received a copy of Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales from Tyndale House Publishers through the Tyndale Blog Network for the purpose of this review.

Due to Tyndale's generostiy, I have one copy to the book to give to one of you!  Please leave a comment telling me your favorite genre to read and you will be entered to win this most recent release from Randy Singer!  Also, make sure you leave me your email address so that I can contact you in the even that you are the lucky winner!!

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sherlock Holmes And The Needle's Eye

Len Bailey is a professional radio commercial and voiceover actor and bagpipe player.  He attended high school at Markoma Bible Academy in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and earned a BA in history from Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois, as well as a journalism scholarship.  He lives with his wife, Denise and their three sons in suburban Chicago.

Emabark on a journey through the Old and New Testaments with Sherlock Homes and Dr. John Watson as they explore exotic and spice laden places in search of clues.
The detective and the doctor travel back in time with the help of a Moriarty-designed time machine to various Bible destinations, unlocking clues to ten Bible mysteries.  The most fascinating crime cases are those that are already solved, those that have been investigated by the police and brought to a swift, satisfying, and almost inevitable conclusion.  So it is with Bible stories which the reader may consider familiar and unremarkable.  But under Sherlock Holmes' close scrutiny these stories give up their hidden clues, their long-kept secrets.  Like jewels newly polished, they sparkle and shine with a fresh, introspective light.

Questions explored in the book are:
  • Why did Ahithophel Hang Himself?
  • In John 8, What did Christ write on the ground?
  • In Matthew 23:35, why did Christ cite Zechariah son of Berechiah as having been murdered between the temple and the altar when it was really Zechariah son of Jehoiada?
  • After the story of Christ's temptation, what did Luke mean when he wrote, "The Devil...left him until a more opportune time?"
  • Why did the Lord lead Paul to begin his Macedonian missionary journey in such a dangerous place as Philippi?
  • Why did David choose five stones before going out to fight Goliath?
  • Why did Jesus delay in coming to Lazarus?
  • Why is Jehoiachin's name included in Christ's genealogy in Matthew 1 when Jeremiah had prophesied it would not be?
  • Why were Christ's birth and death considered to be "at the right time"?
  • Why were the Israelites instructed to march about Jericho one time for the first six days, but seven times on the last day?
Sherlock Holmes and The Needle's Eye:  The World's Greatest Detective Tackles The Bible's Ultimate Mysteries can be read as an adventure novel or can be effectively used as a Bible study.  The Bible study guide included in the book is exceptionally well organized with investigative questions.  My fifteen year old daughter is a huge Sherlock fan and is using the book as her personal Bible study guide.  A group of her friends are excited about doing the study together as well.  I'm not sure there is a better commentary on a book than one that gets a group of teenagers excited about Bible study!

Warren Weirsbe says this about the book in his Foreword:
"Even if you are not a Bible student or a fan of Holmes and Watson, I urge you to read and enjoy this book.  You will especially appreciate the way Len has captured the 'Victorian atmosphere' of the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, and as a bonus, you will also learn more about your Bible and how to study it successfully."
And if maybe you are a little skeptical about how such a concept as what is described here could work, you will find Len Bailey's article from the Huffington Post interesting.  You can read it by going HERE.

"In truth, Holmes and Watson are the halves of one man, any man, sliced down the middle into a head-half and a heart-half. Every person harbors rebellion toward God: we want to go our own way, to act in accordance with our wisdom and reasoning. But every person possesses a faith part, no matter how small: we want to believe that God (the real God) is a Father in whose arms we find forgiveness and in whose arms we can rest. This is the real beauty of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: They represent every man.
Why Sherlock Holmes? Because Holmes and Watson combined, are us."  Len Bailey
Happy Reading,

An Open Heart

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
An Open Heart
David C. Cook (June 1, 2013)
Harry Kraus

A Word from Harry:

I started
writing my first novel during my last year of surgery training at UK. I was a chief resident, and started writing Stainless Steal Hearts in a call room at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Lexington. It was a crazy time to write! I had a very demanding schedule, often spending days and nights in the hospital. I had two sons at that time, and I recognized the wisdom in my wife's urging: "Now doesn't seem the right time for this dream."
My experience as a writer is far from typical. Having received my formal training in biology and chemistry and medicine, my only preparation for a writing career was a love for reading. The longest thing I'd written before my first novel was a term paper in undergraduate school. My first novel was accepted by Crossway Books and published in 1994, and it wasn't until after I had FOUR published novels that I even opened a book of instruction about the craft of writing fiction. This is not what I recommend to others! Yes, I was successful, but I was bending the "rules" without knowing it. I had a natural talent for plotting, but I realize my initial success may have stunted my growth as a writer. I'd have made faster progress if I'd have gone to the fiction teachers sooner.
I have three sons: Joel, Evan, and Samuel. Look closely in all of my books and you'll see them there. My lovely wife, Kris, provides the basic composition for all those beautiful, athletic, dedicated women in my novels. 
Harry can be reached through the Contact link on his Website.

Their Messages—From Beyond the Grave—Might Destroy Him ...
They hover between life and death, their hearts stopped on the surgery table. And the messages Dr. Jace Rawlings’ open-heart surgery patients bring back from beyond the grave cannot be ignored. For they predict the deaths of people around him, and point a finger of suspicion straight at him.
It thrusts Jace into a firestorm of controversy and danger. A maeltsrom blown by the darker winds of political intrigue and spiritual warfare. And the forces working against him will do anything to stop him from uncovering a truth they will kill to hide. He’d come to Kenya to establish a heart-surgery program for the poor. But what he will find in that place where he grew up will put everything at risk–his marriage, his career . . . his life.
If you would like to read the first chapter of An Open Heart, go HERE

My Thoughts:
I discovered Harry Kraus's writing just one book ago when I read A Heartbeat Away...and I was an immediate fan.  An Open Heart has only solidified my loyalty as a reader of his books, which will all be on my keeper shelf!  Kraus's characters are rich in history and come to life as real friends in his novels.  In An Open Heart, Kraus transports you to Kenya with vivid descriptions of the landscape and culture.  I immediately loved Dr. Jace Rawlings from the very first page and was drawn to Heather and her crisis of faith.  The medical drama in this one is breathtaking and allows the reader to explore their own thoughts about the afterlife.  I appreciated the discussion questions provided in the "After Words" section that David C. Cook provides in many of their novels.  One of the questions was this:  If you were advising me on writing the sequel to this novel, what would be the next challenge for Jace and Heather?  My answer:  Please write a sequel!  I wasn't ready to let these two go and very much want to see what is in store for them.

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

These Are The Days Of Elijah

My seven year old son LOVES the song Days of Elijah!  He grabs the bulletin each Sunday before services start to see if his daddy chose it as part of the worship service and gets a little upset when we aren't singing it!  Here is is if you are not familiar with the song:

Part of the lyrics in the first verse says
"These are the days of great trials, Of famine and darkness and sword. Still we are the voice in the desert crying, prepare ye the way of the Lord!"
Many of us may think that "voice in the desert" must be the pastors and theologians, but R.T. Kendall in his recent book published by Chosen (a division of Baker Publishing Group) These Are The Days Of Elijah:  How God Uses Ordinary People To Do Extraordinary Things, helps us to understand that thinking as being far from the truth!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for the purpose of this review.  All opinions are my own and I've received no other compensation for this review.

"Jonathan Edwards taught us that the task of every generation is to discover in which direction the Sovereign Redeemer is moving then move in that direction.  Our ministry seeks to seek the honor of God in our day, pursuing only the glory that comes from Him as in John 5:44"

Dr. R.T. Kendall, a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Oxford University (D.Phil.), was the senior minister of the historic Westminister Chapel in London for 25 years.  The author of numerous bestselling books, he conducts conferences all over the world.  He and his wife, Louise, live near Nashville, TN.

You would be blessed to visit his website found at

Drawn from a popular sermon series Dr. Kendall preached at Westminster Chapel in London, this discussion taken from 1 and 2 Kings traces the prophet's life and ministry from his first appearance and his confrontation with King Ahab until the time he is taken up to heaven. Kendall shows how even this revered prophet - an ordinary man with many imperfections - was used tremendously by God.

God used Elijah to accomplish great things.  He wants to use you too.  Elijah is marked as one of the greatest prophets of the Bible.  More than a gifted seer, he spoke directly for God, and with His authority.  Elijah is the only prophet to have called down fire from heaven, and one of only two individuals in Scripture taken to heaven before tasting death.  Yet this remarkable agent of the Lord was also very human, afflicted with the very same failings and fears you have.
This book explores the triumphs and contradictions of this powerful man of God.  You will love seeing how Elijah was like you - righteous but proud, strong but cowardly, blessed but tested by trial and doubt.  And you will take joy in realizing how God will use you, as He did Elijah, for His perfect glory.

My Thoughts About The Book:
I've read only one other book by Dr. Kendall besides this one and I have grown to love and appreciate his writing ministry.  Dr. Kendall's writing can be described as "in depth, but accessible".  He shares Elijah's story through the Scriptures adding his keen insight and practical application.  The information in the book is concisely organized and given beginning with Elijah's appearance in 1 Kings 17:1 and ending with his ascension to heaven in the whirlwind in 2 Kings 2.
Dr. Kendall's teaching is bold and uncompromising, but patient and thorough.  His desire for his reader to delight and fall in love with Elijah's God shines brightly through his faithful teaching.  He asks introspective questions of his readers desiring that they not merely gain more knowledge, but learn to live their lives for the glory of God - "ordinary people doing extraordinary things" by the power of God.
This book would be a perfect choice for a concentrated study through 1 and 2 Kings focusing on Elijah's ministry with a small group or for personal study.

You can order your copy of the book at by going HERE.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Offering

With over four million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the bestselling author of more than one hundred books, including "The Nativity Story". Hunt is one of the most sought-after collaborators in the publishing industry. Her nonfiction book "Don't Bet Against Me", written with Deanna Favre, spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Angela's novel "The Note" (with sales of over 141,000) was filmed as the Hallmark Channel's Christmas movie for 2007 and proved to be the highest rated television movie in the channel's history. Angela's novels have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, including the RITA, the Christy Award, the ECPA Christian Book Award, and the Holt Medallion. She often travels to teach writing workshops at schools and writers' conferences, and she served as the keynote speaker at the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writers' national conference. She and her husband make their home in Florida with mastiffs. In 2001, one of her dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest dog in America.
You can learn more about Angela and her writing at her website

After growing up as an only child, Amanda Lisandra wants a big family. But since she and her soldier husband can't afford to have more children right away, Mandy decides to earn money as a gestational carrier for a childless couple. She loves being pregnant, and while carrying the child she dreams of having her own son and maybe another daughter. Just when the nearly perfect pregnancy is about to conclude, unexpected tragedy enters Mandy's world and leaves her reeling. Devastated by grief, she surrenders the child she was carrying and struggles to regain her emotional equilibrium.  
Two years later she studies a photograph of the baby she bore and wonders if the unthinkable has happened---could she have inadvertently given away her own biological child? Over the next few months Mandy struggles to decide between the desires of her grief-stricken heart and what's best for the little boy she has never known.
*The book can be purchased HERE.
My Thoughts About The Book:
Angela Hunt has written a contemporary story reminiscent of the biblical account of King Solomon's wise ruling regarding the baby in 1 Kings chapter 3.  Hunt has written a story replete with emotion, spiritual tension, and consequences of the choices we make in life.  She draws you in immediately with richly developed characters and a riveting story line that grabs you and doesn't let you go until the last page.  The Offering is a story of sacrifice and points the reader's heart and mind to the ultimate sacrifice made for us all by Christ.
Go HERE to see what others are saying about The Offering. 

You also won't want to miss the HD Nook giveaway and Facebook party on June 5:
Enter Today - 5/14 - 6/4!
Angela Hunt The Offering Nook HD Giveaway

Thank you Litfuse Publicity for sending the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review and blog tour opportunity!

Happy Reading,

Monday, June 3, 2013


Erin Healy is the best-selling co-author of "Burn" and "Kiss" (with Ted Dekker) and an award-winning editor for numerous best-selling authors. She has received wide acclaim for her novels "Never Let You Go", "The Baker's Wife", "House of Mercy", and "Afloat". She and her family live in Colorado. Erin can be contacted through her website or through Facebook at erinhealybooks.

Erin says:
"The Irish girl in me is fascinated by the concept of thin places, a Celtic name for locations in the world where the veil between physical and spiritual realities is so delicate that a person can see through it. For me, thin places are revelations about what it means to be a spiritual creation in a physical world. I write supernatural suspense novels from a Christian worldview, with eyes open to God’s mysterious side. Read with me into the thin places where God’s world intersects ours, and changes it forever."

Who will you trust when dark waters rise?

Eagle's Talon is an architectural marvel-shining residential units afloat in a protected cove of the gorgeous Rondeau River. The project is nearly complete, partially occupied, and ready to make investors rich when a sinkhole gives way. Then torrential rains and a flood leave a ragged collection of builders, investors, and residents stranded in one floating building, cut off from the rest of the world.They're bitterly divided over what to do next.
Architect Vance Nolan insists they should sit tight and wait for rescue. Developer Tony Dean wants to strike out into the darkness. And single mom Danielle Clement, desperate to protect her young son, Simeon, struggles to hold their motley band together.
Power failure, a pall of unnatural daytime darkness, explosions in the distance, then a murder ratchet tensions to a boiling point. But Danielle's young son, Simeon, has spotted something strange underwater-beautiful, shifting lights in the dark water below.
In this watery world where everyone's secrets will eventually come to light, salvation may mean more than just getting out alive.

Book Trailer:

My Thoughts:
I've read Erin Healy's The Baker's Wife and House of Mercy.  Afloat probably comes in second to The Baker's Wife, but certainly is not a disappointment! I love the way Healy developed her characters by giving us their back stories.  She does this in a fluent manner that does not confuse the main story line.  Although she delves into the supernatural element, her characters and stories are believable.  This was a page turner you won't want to miss!

Enter Today - 5/28 - 6/15!
erin healy afloat ipad mini Giveaway

Happy Reading,