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Friday, February 28, 2014

In The Shadow of Jezebel - Scavenger Hunt!

We are having a scavenger hunt! Wanna play? Read the rules and then jump right in!
Somewhere in my review below, there is a single word that is in BOLD AND ALL CAPITALS. Write it down. Then, go to the other stops to find more hidden words. Once you have all the words, unscramble them to find a verse from the Scriptures. You can enter it into the Rafflecopter on any of the stops to have a chance to win a great prize from Mesu herself!
In the Shadow of Jezebel Scavenger Hunt Blog Hop March 1-4

About the Book

Title: In the Shadow of Jezebel
Author: Mesu Andrews
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Revell
Print Length: 417 pages
Summary (Amazon):
Princess Jehosheba wants nothing more than to please the harsh and demanding Queen Athaliah, daughter of the notorious Queen Jezebel. Her work as a priestess in the temple of Baal seems to do the trick. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the royal household, Jehosheba realizes that the dark arts she practices reach beyond the realm of earthly governments. To further Athaliah and Jezebel's strategies, she is forced to marry Yahweh's high priest and enters the unfamiliar world of Yahweh's temple. Can her new husband show her the truth and love she craves? And can Jehosheba overcome her fear and save the family--and the nation--she loves? With deft skill, Mesu Andrews brings Old Testament passages to life, revealing a fascinating story of the power of unconditional love.


In the Shadow of Jezebel book cover
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My Review of this Book

{My Thoughts about the book: In The Shadow of Jezebel is an expertly researched and well-constructed novel by an author with a passion for bringing the Bible alive. If I were to try and describe this work by Mesu Andrews, I would say it’s a novel, it’s a Bible story and could even characterize it as a Bible study. Mesu’s writing drives you to read, study and love God’s Word! She helps you see the “characters” of the Old Testament as much more than old characters in a bunch of old stories, but as living, breathing human beings who played a part in God’s PLAN of redemption. One of my favorite quotes (and there are many!) came early in the book; it was spoken by Amariah, the High Priest: “Then, my brothers, the burden – and privilege – of service falls to us. We will work harder because we are fewer, but we will serve joyfully because we come willingly.” Amariah said this after observing that there were few worshippers and few who were present to serve in the Temple. Mesu reminds us through her writing that in the midst of difficult circumstance, we can make a passionate choice to be joyful. And when we do, those watching us will want what they see we have. In The Shadow of Jezebel made me think biblically about God’s redemptive purposes and the part we all play in His story of reconciliation. Mesu has written a perfectly balanced novel; lots of intrigue and a vivid picture of history that does not compromise the Biblical revelation given in the Old Testament. This one is on my keeper shelf for sure!

The Buzz - Praise for Mesu Andrews' Biblical Fiction

"Mesu Andrews has pieced together Scripture's truths with historical supposition through her masterful, research-based writing and captured the spiritual climate of those ancient days."--CBA Retailers+Resources on Love in a Broken Vessel "Andrews weaves a beautiful tale and takes readers to an ancient Jerusalem rich with history and customs and a culture that struggles to follow the one true God."--RT Book Reviews, 4½ stars, on Love's Sacred Song

About The Author

Author Mesu Andrews
Mesu Andrews  is the award-winning author of Love Amid the AshesLove's Sacred Song, and Love in a Broken Vessel. Winner of the 2012 ECPA Christian Book Award for New Author, she has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture, bringing the biblical world vividly alive for her readers. She lives in Washington.

Mesu's Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Stops on the Scavenger Hunt

Got all your clues? Enter the giveaway here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives To God's Questions

Heather King is a busy-but-blessed wife to James and mom to four precious children.  Born in Maryland, she and her husband have settled into life in rural Virginia where Heather serves as a women's ministry and Bible study teacher and worship leader.
Heather holds a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Regent University.  After teaching English in Christian high schools, she transitioned to life as a stay-at-home- mom, balancing life at home with ministry in the church and writing.
Heather is a regular contributing writer to online Christian magazines, has had articles published in P31 Woman Magazine, and writes devotions at about applying the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  She would love to hear how God is at work in your life!
You can visit her on her blog, find her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.
Book Synopsis:
When God calls you to make an impact for Him in your everyday life, feelings of fear, doubt, and insufficiency seem to show up automatically.  As a matter of fact, they have been making appearances since the beginning of time in the lives of people like Adam and Eve, Elijah, Peter and many others.  During their moment of uncertainty God asked Adam and Eve, "Where are you?" as a checkpoint for their relationship with Him.  God asked Elijah, "What are you doing here?" to bring Him out from the places of depression and frustration.  And Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me?" to restore their relationship.
In Ask Me Anything, Lord, Heather C. King reminds you that God can use questions in Scripture to reveal the true motives and intents of your heart, challenge your thinking, and help you overcome.  Exploring encounters God head with people of the Bible and sharing her own experiences, King encourages you to draw closer to God, receive the fullness of His blessings, and move forward boldly.
My Thoughts:
Heather King writes with the tenderness of a mother toward her children, but is bold in guiding us to embrace the character of God in His questions to us and in our questions to Him.  Ask Me Anything, Lord is a scripturally sound resource that helps the reader to open up their hearts before God, allowing Him to fill them up with His truth.  In the book, Heather explores these questions to us from God:

  1. Where are you?
  2. Where is your brother?
  3. Where have you come from, and where are you going?
  4. Why did Sarah laugh?  Is anything too hard with God?
  5. What is your name?
  6. What is that in your hand?
  7. What are you doing here?
  8. How many loaves do you have?
  9. Do you love me?
At the end of each chapter, are 5 sections to help the reader apply the information and idea presented in the chapter:

  • Make it personal - Questions to help the reader explore what's hidden in their heart.
  • Make it connect - Questions to help the reader make a connection with material presented as well as Bible verses to explore for further direction from God's Word
  • Make it real - Questions to further make a personal connection with the material covered and with the truth of scripture
  • Make it last -  Memory Verse
  • Journal Prompt 
Heather shares personal stories from her own life, but highlights people from the Bible that were questioned by God and shows how we can learn from their experience...people like Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Hagar, Sarah, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, Philip and the Disciples, as well as Peter and ourselves.

The information in the book is provided in a clear manner and is easily organized for a small group Bible study or even for individual devotion and/ or study.  I highly recommend this resource!

Thank you LeAnn Hamby and Discovery House for sending the complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Sinners' Garden

Meet the author: Over the course of his life, William Sirls has experienced both great highs and tremendous lows---some born of chance, some born of choice. Life lessons involving faith, grace, and forgiveness are evident in his writing. The Sinners' Garden is his second novel. His first novel, The Reason, was published in 2012. William makes his home in southern Michigan.

Learn more about William at:

About the book: In the small Lake Erie township of Benning, someone is at work cultivating a supernatural garden . . .
Andy Kemp's young life has been as ravaged as his scarred face. Disfigured by an abusive father, the teenager hides behind his books and an impenetrable wall of cynicism and anger.
As Andy's mother struggles to reconnect with him, his Uncle Rip returns transformed from a stint in prison and wants to be a mentor to the reclusive boy, doing everything he can to help end Andy's pain. When Andy begins hearing strange music through his iPod and making near-prophetic announcements, Rip is convinced that what Andy is hearing is the voice of God.
Elsewhere, police officer Heather Gerisch responds to a late-night breaking and entering in one of the poorest homes in town. She soon realizes that the masked prowler has left thousands of dollars in gift cards from a local grocery store.
As the bizarre break-ins continue and Heather pursues the elusive "Summer Santa," Andy and Rip discover an enormous and well-kept garden of wildflowers that seems to have grown overnight at an abandoned steel mill.
Soon, they realize who the gardener is, and a spree of miracles transfigures this small town from a place of hopelessness into a place of healing and beauty.

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

My Thoughts:
"God must be in prison, because that's where so many people seem to meet Him."
William Sirls has written a book that beautifully shows through storytelling this truth: God does meet us and sometimes works in our hearts in the most unlikely places and ways!  While God's primary revelation of Himself and His primary way of speaking truth to us is through His Word (the Bible), Sirls so eloquently reminds us that God can speak to us in a myriad of ways...if we just have eyes to see Him.
I appreciated the "tone" of The Sinners' Garden and by "tone" I mean the place from which the author writes.  Sirls was once a senior vice president in a large investment firm and was incarcerated in 2007 for wire fraud and money laundering. It was very evident while reading the book that Sirls writes from a place of hope, forgiveness and deep restoration in his own life...those themes come through clearly in his book.
I absolutely loved the characters in The Sinners' Garden; Rip probably being my favorite.  Sirls' characterization is rich and in a short time (just a few chapters into the book) I felt as if they were already my "real" friends.  I also appreciated how a bit of humor was woven into the story; not in a distracting way, but as a natural part of the life of the characters.
Sirls grabbed a hold of me in the prologue and didn't let go the remainder of the book.  And the gardener's identity will surprise you!  Don't miss this one!!!

Enter Today | 2/11 - 3/1!
William Sirls The Sinners' Garden

*Thank you Litfuse Publicity for having the book sent to me for the purpose of this review.

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Thief

Stephanie Landsem loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she's explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she's not writing, she's feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure---whether it be in person or on the page.

Learn more about Stephanie at:

A Roman centurion longing for peace and a Jewish woman hiding a deadly secret witness a miracle that transforms their lives and leads them to the foot of the cross.
Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure. Desperate to escape the accursed Judean province, he accepts a wager. If he can catch the thieves harassing the marketplace before Passover, he'll earn a transfer away from the troublemaking Jews.
Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Only with the help of Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, can she keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and a roof over their heads.
When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Longinus longs to learn more about the mysterious healer. Instead, his journey leads him to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.
Unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, they wonder who this teacher is who heals others but does nothing to save himself. Is the mercy he offers in his teachings real, or just another false promise? Can Nissa and 
Longinus overcome their pasts to find a future free of their shackles?
The Thief is an evocative story of two people trapped in their circumstances and the life-changing power of forgiveness and love.

To see what others are saying about The Thief, visit HERE.

My Thoughts:
The Thief is the second book in Landsem's The Living Water series.  I knew when I read the first book, The Well, that I would be reading every book Landsem wrote.  Anyone who has ever had the deceiving lie of the enemy, "You don't have a choice", whispered in their ear should read this book.
Landsem writes with such vivid description and seasoned research; she takes her readers and places them on the dusty streets of Jerusalem and eventually to the foot of the cross at Calvary.  I got "lost" in the story and felt the emotions of the characters.  Landsem drove me to the Word of God.  She presents the clear gospel message that you and I DO have a choice...a transforming choice...and His name is Jesus.  This would be the perfect novel for a Lenten focus.
The only point of criticism I have about the book (non-consequential and really a personal preference) is that I would love to have a glossary of terms included.  Many of the terms she uses can be deduced from the context in which they are used, but the glossary would be helpful nonetheless.

the thief stephanie landsem

*Thank you Litfuse Publicity for having a complimentary copy of the book sent to me for the purpose of this review.

Happy Reading,

Friday, February 21, 2014

The A-Z of C.S. Lewis

Colin Duriez was for many years a commissioning editor at Inter-Varsity Press UK. He has subsequently appeared as a commentator on DVDs of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, and BBC television's The Worlds of Fantasy. He is also the author of The Inklings Handbook (with the late David Porter), J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: The Story of Their Friendship, and Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, and has contributed to definitive reference works relating to Tolkien such as The Tolkien Encyclopedia (Routledge).
Colin's webpage can be found by going HERE.
A Complete Guide to His Life, Thoughts and Writings
Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of C. S. Lewis's death, this complete guide covers all of Lewis' works, from his literary criticism to Narnia.
C. S. Lewis's work is widely known and regarded, but enthusiasts are often only aware of one part of his work-his children's stories and his popular theology; and yet he wrote so much more, including science fiction and literary criticism. This volume brings together all aspects of C S Lewis's life and thought. Arranged in alphabetical order, it begins with The Abolition of Man-written in 1943 and described as "almost my favorite"-to Wormwood, a character in The Screwtape Letters. This book will delight anyone who is interested in C. S. Lewis and wants to learn more about him, his thought, his works, and his life.

My Thoughts:
What an invaluable resource; a complete and thorough guide to the complete works of C.S. Lewis.  I'm not sure if anyone is more quoted than C.S. Lewis.  Now to have a complete guide to aid in understanding this brilliant mind and deeply thoughtful heart is such a blessing!  Duriez provides an encyclopedic overview of Lewis's "life, family, career, marriage and his writings, the worlds he created, the creatures he imagined and the studies he delighted in."
The book is arranged in a literal A-Z encyclopedic format.  Also included in this resource is a bibliography of C.S. Lewis's writings, Posthumous writings and collections and select list of books about C.S. Lewis.  Whether you are a seasoned student of Lewis or are just developing a curiosity about him, I can highly recommend this resource!

*You can visit HERE to see what others are saying.

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

Happy reading,

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Friend Me

About the author: John Faubion has spent many years in Asia as a missionary with his family. Since returning to the United States, John has worked as a senior software developer for a large appliance chain. He teaches an adult Sunday school class and enjoys writing and driving his 1949 Packard automobile. John lives near Indianapolis with his wife, Beth, and their daughter.

Learn more about John at:

About the book: When a lonely wife and her frustrated husband each secretly pursue companionship online, neither dreams that a real woman is behind their virtual creations, threatening their marriage---and their lives.
Scott and Rachel's marriage is on the brink of disaster. Scott, a businessman with a high-pressure job, just wants Rachel to understand him and accept his flaws. Rachel is a lonely housewife, desperate for attention and friendship. So she decides to create a virtual friend online, unaware that Scott is doing the exact same thing. As Rachel desperately tries to re-create a friendship with a friend who has passed, Scott becomes unfaithful and is torn between the love for his wife and the perfection of his cyber-girlfriend. But neither realizes that there's a much larger problem looming . . .
Behind both of their online creations is Melissa, a woman who is brilliant---and totally insane. Masquerading as both friend and lover, Melissa programmed a search parameter into the virtual friend software to find her perfect man, but along the way she forgot to specify his marriage status. And Scott is her ideal match. Now Melissa is determined to have it all---Scott, his family, and Rachel's life.
As Melissa grows bolder and her online manipulations transition into the real world, Scott and Rachel figure out they are being played. Now it's a race against time as Scott and Rachel fight to save their marriage, and their lives, before it's too late.
In today's digital age, the Internet presents all kinds of opportunities to test our personal boundaries, and this exciting and suspenseful story raises important questions about the ethics of virtual relationships. Friend Me will open your eyes to a new---and terrifying---moral dimensions and how they play out in the real world.

You'll enjoy this interview with John.   He shares a bit of his background, writing and some thoughts about Friend Me:

My Thoughts:
John Faubion has written a gritty and captivating novel in Friend Me.  I was drawn into the story of Melissa, Rachel and Scott from the very first page.  This was really a hard one to put down.  Faubion takes the current and highly relatable topic of social media and takes his reader on wild ride; one that exposes the depths of evil and its affects on everyone it touches.  He doesn't shy away from or try to make more palatable the darkness that we are all just one click and bad decision away  from while sitting before our computers.
He also explores the marriage relationship and shows how big a part faith and trust plays. There were no vanilla scenes or interactions in this story.  On every page was a piece of the puzzle that kept you reading with bated breath.  This was my first novel to read by Faubion, but I can assure you it won't be my last! And as much as I wanted to hate Melissa...well, in the end I was left feeling sorry for her and the pain she lived with in her life.
Enter Today - 2/4 - 2/22!
John Faubion Friend Me

Happy Reading,

Bounce Back and Giveaway!

Julie Clinton is the president of Extraordinary Women Ministries and the author of several books, including Extraodinary Women, Living God's Dream for You, 10 Things You Aren't Telling Him and A Woman's Path to Emotional Freedom.  
Julie has spoken to hundreds of thousands of women across the country as the host of EWomen conferences.  A woman of deep faith, Julie cares passionately about seeing women live out their dreams by finding their freedom in Christ.  She and her husband, Tim, live in Virginia with their two children.

When Your Heart is Empty and Your Dreams Are Lost  

Brokenhearted, disappointed, and wanting more from life—if we are honest, most of us have endured a season or two or incredible difficulty. Julie Clinton sees and hears the needs and concerns of women all over America on a regular basis. She shows the way forward when all seems lost. In this transparent and encouraging book she walks beside her readers, revealing three steps to a more fulfilled life: breathe, believe, and bounce back. Clinton provides wisdom and encouragement to help women rediscover their joy and strength.

My Thoughts:
It is always a joy to come across a book that is written for women that actually ministers to women...a book that doesn't tell us how much we "deserve to be happy" or "how we can overcome our emotions".  Julie Clinton cares about women and desires to see them walk out their days being found in Christ and operating in His strength and not their own.  Her sincerity comes across in her writing.
Bounce Back:  When Your Heart Is Empty And Your Dreams Are Lost is a book with an important message for women...You are not alone in your struggles and heartbreak.  Julie gets that we can't always put on our "happy" face and ignore the real struggles of our hearts.  Life doesn't always turn out like we want it to, but Julie's message is that we love and serve a good God Who loves us and desires us to reflect His image in a world that is full of hurt and disappointment.
Julie relays that our days are all ongoing opportunities to heal and to grow and we don't do it by ignoring the things that concern us and sometimes bring great heartbreak.  In our weakness, God is strong and mighty to save.  We heal and grow by pressing into Jesus and sometimes literally hanging on for dear life, but we do it in His strength and not our own.
Drawing on personal testimony and the stories of those to whom she has ministered, Julie compassionately encourages women in each chapter of the book.  Her focus is strongly biblical and gospel centered.
"Some things we lose are better left lost.  The things that you have lost may have become idols in your life without you even realizing it.  They have been robbing you of time and energy that God desires for you to channel into new activities and relationships that hold promise of even greater blessing."
The book includes a reflection guide that helps you through journal your time through Bounce Back as well as instructions and a guide to lead a small group through the book. 
These resources are well thought out and provide easy to use guides as you use the book to minister to others.

I highly recommend this resource by Worthy Publishing.  It is encouraging and uplifting without all the psycho-babble and is perfect for individual devotional use or with a small group or in a one on one discipleship relationship.

I have one copy of Bounce Back to give away to one of you! Just leave me a comment letting me know how you would use this book to minister to someone else or share a little of your own "bounce back" story to encourage others. Remember to leave an email address so that I can notify you if you are the winner!

I'll draw a name from all comments next Friday morning and announce the winner be sure and come back to see if you won!

Happy Reading,

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Road Unknown

About the Author: Barbara Cameron is a best-selling author who has a heart for writing about the spiritual values and simple joys of the Amish. She is the author of more than 38 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies, and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Barbara is a former newspaper reporter. Some of her non-fiction titles include the Everything Weddings on a Budget Book and Her Restless Heart: A Woman's Longing for Love and Acceptance. Cameron currently resides in Edgewater, Florida.

Learn more about Barbara at:

About the book: Book 1 in the new Amish Roads series
Elizabeth is at a crossroad. She's been given the chance to experience life outside of her community, away from the responsibility to care for her eight younger siblings, but Elizabeth Bontrager can't decide which road to take. Goshen has its charms and pressures, but Paradise, Pennsylvania, sounds . . . well, like paradise. And it's also home to her Englisch friend, Paula. Decision made. Elizabeth is Paradise bound.
But will the small town live up to its name? When Elizabeth meets Paula's friend, Bruce, she quickly learns he wants more than a friendship. And the same might be true of Saul Miller, her new boss at the country story that sells Amish products to the Englisch community. As the two compete for her attention, Elizabeth is surprised to realize she misses her family and becomes even more uncertain about where she belongs. She has a choice to make: return home or embrace this new life and possibly a new love?

My Thoughts:
A Road Unknown, if I'm being honest, just did not grab my attention.  Too many clues are given away too early in the story and I lost interest about halfway through the book.  Character development was a little sketchy and plot development was lacking.  It just blended in to every other Amish story I've read.
With that being said, Cameron does introduce us to an intriguing little town.  I'm hoping as the series continues that characterization will deepen a little.  While Cameron touches a little on birth order in this book, I'm interested in seeing what other themes run throughout the series.

Thank you Litfuse Publicity for the complimentary copy of the book given for the purpose of this review.

Don't miss this opportunity to chat with Barbara Cameron and enter her fun giveaway:
Enter Today | 2/10 - 2/27!
Barbara Cameron A Road Unknown

Happy Reading,

Shadowed by Grace

Cara C. Putman graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. The best-selling author of more than a dozen books, Cara is active in women's ministry at her church, teaches graduate courses at Purdue University, practices law, and is a homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and 4 children in Indiana.

You can connect with Cara on her Facebook page as well as at her website found at

She found peace in a time of war.
Desperate to save her dying mother, an American woman accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy where she takes photographs dangerously close to the front lines during World War II. But Rachel’s real motive in this journey is to find the father she never knew, an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive at such a desperate time.
In her quest, Rachel becomes involved with what will become the Monuments Men effort to save great monuments and works of art from the Third Reich. Soon enough she will find more than she ever imagined—in war, in love, and in God.

My Thoughts:
The cover of this book is beautiful and so is the story within.  While the relationship between Rachel and Scott "happened" a little fast and some parts were a little too predictable, Shadowed by Grace was a delightful read.  Putman includes a love story, a bit of suspense, humor, and action. The research that was put into the book is evident in that Putman captures the era in great detail.  You almost can feel as if you are there in the midst of the story.  This was my first novel by Putman to read and I look forward to reading more soon.
Thank you Litfuse Publicity for providing a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review.
Happy Reading,

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Bonhoeffer Reader

The only reader to use the new text of the complete Dietrich Bonhoeffer works.
For the first time, a representative collection of all Bonhoeffer's theological works is available in a single volume.  With selections drawn from the newly completed 16 volume Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works English Edition, a major 25-year translation project supported by the International Bonhoeffer Society and published by Fortress Press, the Reader presents Bonhoeffer's theological writings in the best available translations.
The Reader is the only collection of Bonhoeffer's writings formatted for easy reference to DBWE and all of their additional resources, making it easier than ever to pursue a more comprehensive study of Bonhoeffer's theological career.

Michael P. DeJonge is associate professor and graduate director in the Religious Studies department at the University of South Florida and the author of Bonhoeffer's Theological Formation.

Clifford J. Green is the executive director of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works English Edition and edited several of its volumes. Author of Bonhoeffer: A Theology of Sociality and other Bonhoeffer studies, he is professor of theology emeritus at Hartford Seminary, Connecticut.

My Thoughts:
I have read many books about Bonhoeffer's life and have come across quotes from many of his writings, but must confess that I've never actually read much of his writings...his own words.  Fortress Press has made it easy to do that now with their offering of The Bonhoeffer Reader.
According to Michael P. DeJonge, in a Q&A with Patheos Book Club, "The very things that make DBWE the definitive resource for scholars might not suit the general reader interested in Bonhoeffer the theologian, the beginning student of Bonhoeffer, or readers of recent Bonhoeffer biographies who might want to go deeper. The Bonhoeffer Reader is designed for such an audience. It collects a significant and representative range of Bonhoeffer's theological writings in one convenient and affordable volume."
According to Clifford J. Green, in that same Q&A with Patheos, the most notable features in the book are:  "In one volume, Bonhoeffer's essential theological writings are collected together. The concise editorial introductions to each of the selections are invaluable, setting each selection into Bonhoeffer's life and providing historical context for his writing and its theological significance.
Also, the selection of writings in The Bonhoeffer Reader represents the whole Bonhoeffer—his groundbreaking dissertations, his biblical interpretation (e.g. Discipleship), and his provocative Ethics and theological letters from prison.  But we did not want to overwhelm readers with scholarly details, so we pruned notes with technical information available in DBWE, and added some notes to further clarify the text. And for those who wanted to work on the German Church Struggle and the Resistance conspiracy, we provided an appendix of resources; there's also an extensive bibliography."
The Bonhoeffer Reader is organized somewhat like a text book, but don't let that scare you. The Reader is an invaluable resource for anyone, like me, who wishes to take a closer look at the theology of Bonhoeffer.  The biographies have given us a picture of his life and now we have the opportunity to read the thoughts and beliefs that shaped the way Bonhoeffer lived his days.
The texts from Bonhoeffer are organized chronologically and include excerpts from every major text and every phase of Bonhoeffer's career:
  • Student Writings:  Berlin, Barcelona, New York
  • University Lectures
  • Ecumenical and Pastoral Writings
  • Theology and the Third Reich
  • Christian Life and Community
  • Christian Ethics and Public Life
  • Theology from Prison:  Worldly, Religionless Christianity
You really can't place a value on a resource like this and I highly recommend it for anyone who desires to dig into the theology behind the amazing life and person of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

*Thank you to Emily Varner, freelance Publicist with the Somersault Group, for sending me the complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Miracle of Hope

About the author: Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She's a full-time pharmacist who resides in Florida with her husband and three children.

Find out more about Ruth at:

About the book: Book One in the Amish Wonders series.

How far can God's mercy reach?

Lindie Wyse is pregnant out of wedlock and thinks an arranged marriage is the only way to preserve her future. Josiah Plank is certain he'll never love again, but he needs someone to care for his eight-year-old daughter, Hannah. The two take on their arrangement tentatively at first but soon realize they are each in for more than they imagined.

Lindie experiences a breakthrough with Hannah when she recognizes Hannah's special gifts, but a risky pregnancy and serious health issues threaten to demolish the foundation Josiah and Lindie are building. Will their growing love survive despite their struggles, or will their hearts become as cold as the northern winter?

My Thoughts:
I am always blessed when I discover a new author, but consider myself doubly blessed to come across an author whose work I'm reading for the first time in a genre that isn't particularly my favorite who ABSOLUTELY blows me away with her story.  Ruth Reid has done exactly that with A Miracle of Hope.  I actually just finished this book last night...or should I say this morning at about 1 a.m.!  I couldn't put this one down.
Lindie and Josiah's story is told beautifully by Reid, whose characterization is rich and detailed. Reid peppers detail all along the way and draws you into the story from the very beginning with a bit of mystery and suspense.  She captures Amish life is such a vivid manner that I felt at times a part of the story rather than just reading a book.  At times I could picture the scenes so clearly and could almost feel the emotions being experienced by the characters.
I would describe Reid's writing as honest and believable.  I loved Josiah!  Found in a very difficult situation with an arranged marriage and a hurting daughter, he can almost be seen as a "type of Christ" figure...laying down his life for another.  His relationship with Lindie was a delight to watch develop as I read the book.  
Reid eloquently portrays the hope that can be found in Christ and what trust in Him looks like in the midst of what appears to be hopeless situations.  I will be keeping an eye out for Reid's next book in this series!

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

*Thank you Litfuse Publicity for sending the book for the purpose of this review and blog tour participation.

Enter Today | 1/22 - 2/11!
A Miracle of Hope Ruth Reid

Happy Reading,

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Road To Mercy

Kathy Harris is an author by way of divine detour into the Nashville entertainment business.  She graduated with a B.S. in Communications from Southern Illinois University and has spent the past two decades employed as a marketing director in the Nashville music industry.  Her move to Nashville after obtaining her degree from SIU was to work a well-known gospel music quartet transitioning into country music - The Oak Ridge Boys.  She was instrumental in building an entertainment empire from the ground up.

A lifelong fascination for books and editing led to her working as a book agent for Oak Ridge Boys' vocalist Joe Bonsall. Bonsall has this to say about Kathy's novel The Road To Mercy:  "The Road To Mercy is captivating from the very beginning...(it) will leave you a better person for having taken the journey."

For several years, Kathy freelanced entertainer biographies and wrote, as well as ghost wrote, news stories and columns for various music publications.  In 2007 she sold her first Christian non-fiction story, "Walk on Water" which was included in Thomas Nelson's "All My Bad Habits I Learned from Grandpa".  One of her devotions was included in The One Year Life Verse Devotional, published by Tyndale House.  Kathy's writing is also included in Chicken Soup for the Soul Thanks, Mom.

An active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the publicity officer for Middle Tennessee Christian Writers Kathy lives near Nashville with her husband and their Shiloh Shepherd dob.  She regularly interviews literary and music guests on her blog Divine Detour.

Josh Harrison, a contemporary Christian singer, and his wife, Bethany, face a difficult decision that also tests their faith.  A rupture in Beth's carotid artery leaves her on the brink of death even as she's pregnant with their first child.  While Dr. Ben Abrams urges her to terminate the pregnancy to save her own life, she and Josh step out on faith and decide to carry the baby to full term.

During the next few months, Josh struggles with his faith, and Beth hides a secret that may destroy their marriage.  She also discovers a decades-old connection to Dr. Abrams that could change his life forever.

My Thoughts:
A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to be involved in a chat with Kathy Harris and several other authors over at The Book Club Network ( as part of the Reader's Only Group. As a result of participation in that chat, I was able to get a complimentary copy of the book sent to me for the purpose of providing a review.  Ms Harris was very gracious and sent me a signed copy of her book along with a bookmark and personal handwritten note.
The Road To Mercy (published by Abingdon Press) was a delightful read.  Harris grabbed my attention in the first few paragraphs of the prologue and it was hard to put the book down until I had turned the last page.  This book has just about everything:  a tender love story, struggles with faith, enduring friendships, science versus trust in God, affirmation of the gift of life, and even a little suspense!
I immediately connected with the characters on a number of levels and Harris's rich characterization made it easy to do so.  Harris allows the reader to hear from the primary characters' points of view.  The trials and struggles in faith that Josh, Bethany and Dr. Abrams go through portray beautifully the truth of Philippians 2:12 ("Therefore my beloved as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.").
Harris adds depth to her story by weaving a little suspense.  She peppers just enough detail from the past throughout the book to keep you turning the pages.  That along with the emotional tension in Bethany's and Josh's relationship make for a book you do not want to miss!
I think my favorite character may have been Josh and Bethany's neighbor, Alex.  She is a beautiful character who portrays what a true friend looks like...self-sacrificing and faithful through the good and the very bad.
One of my favorite conversations in the book happened between Danny (Josh's bus driver) and Josh:
Josh:  "How do you handle .... death so well?  I know from experience, it's not easy."
Danny:  "Look straight down the highway," Danny told him.  He pointed with one hand, keeping the other on the wheel.  "Do you see how it disappears into the horizon when there's a rise ahead."
Josh:  "Yes."
Danny:  "That's like our journey in this life," Danny glanced at the bus's control panel.  "We're traveling seventy miles an hour.  That's too fast to stop if for some reason the road ends over that hill."  He shook his head.  "But we would never make our goal - the show tonight - if I didn't keep the pedal to the metal."
Josh studied Danny's face for a clue about what he was saying.
Danny:  "However," his driver continued.  "I have faith that the road doesn't end over that hill. My faith is based on past experience that I can trust the department of transportation to continue the road."  he glanced to Josh.  "Just as I know I can trust God for whatever is next.  Even for those things I can't see.....When the Lord calls us to the other side of the hill, the view will be completely different.  We will see things as He sees them."
Reading this book will help you to see your own journey in a different light.

Thank you Kathy for sending the complimentary copy of the book!  And thank you Fred for hosting the chat with Kathy and for all you do to introduce us to amazing authors who delight us with their gift!

Christian Book Store

Happy Reading,