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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide for Churches and Ministries

G.R.A.C.E (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) is a nonprofit organization made up of highly trained, experienced multidisciplinary professionals who seek to educate and empower the Christian community to identify, confront, and respond to the sin of child abuse.
Find out more about GRACE at http://netgrace.org
Churches have always sought to be a safe haven for children and families, but many today are dealing with the tragic reality of child sexual abuse.
This handbook, authored and edited by a multidisciplinary team of child abuse experts, is designed for use by a group that will be formulating policies and procedures to protect children and deal with possible child abuse in their ministry, school, and/or church. Working through this book will assist churches and ministries to assess their current child abuse polices and then guide them through each step they need to take to address the safety of children under their care. It will cover vitally important topics including:
-Protecting the children in a Christian environment from child abuse
-The warning signs of child abuse
-Crafting and implement a child protection policy
-Responding to abuse allegations
-Caring for victims of child abuse
-The legal implications and requirements for churches and Christian ministries
Written by a GRACE team with multi-disciplinary knowledge, headed by Boz Tchividjian, a lawyer and former child abuse prosecutor, this handbook will be an invaluable resource to Christians who are seeking to educate themselves and others about child abuse and how to best protect the little ones under their care.
My Thoughts:,
Basyle Tchividjian and Shira M. Berkovits (authors) and New Growth Press (publishers) have compiled an invaluable resource for churches.  Tchividjian, a former child-abuse prosecutor, and Berkovits, founder and CEO of Sacred Spaces, a cross-denominational initiative to create systemic solutions to abuse in communal institutions, have teamed up to help places of worship take care of the most vulnerable among us...our little ones.
Because we understand the great responsibility of protecting our children and because of the unavoidable dangers in our world, The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide is needed, now more than ever.  This well organized and detailed guide can be used alone or in conjunction with GRACE's Child Safeguarding Certification.  This book holds everything a church staff needs to understand the need, train volunteers, and implement policies that will help a church body protect and love children.
*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions here are my own.
Blessings,
Jennifer


Monday, August 14, 2017

Secrets

Jonathan Daugherty is the founder of Be Broken Ministries, and founder of Gateway to Freedom workshop for men. He also hosts the weekly radio broadcast, Pure Sex Radio, and is in demand nationally as a speaker on sexual purity and men s issues. He has appeared on multiple radio and television media, both local and national. He has authored "Grace-Based Recovery," "The 4 Pillars of Purity," and other works. Jonathan lives with his wife and three children in San Antonio, Texas.
Find out more about Jonathan at http://www.jonathandaugherty.com.
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Everyone has a secret or two, a part of their life they would rather not share with the rest of the world.
But for Jonathan Daugherty, his secret was so life-altering and relationship-ending that he fought to keep it hidden at all costs. And it did cost him. His secret kept him from contentment, peace, and the possibility of being known and loved for who he truly is. That's what any secret addiction can do-but in particular a sex addiction.
After his wife finally discovered his secret, their marriage appeared to be over. In Secrets, Jonathan honestly and courageously shares his story of addiction to pornography and how he lost everything to it.
But that's not how the story ends. While Jonathan struggled, someone else was at work-his heavenly Father. At the lowest possible moment of his life, God stepped in and brought him hope and healing. This is a story of both loss and redemption that gives hope to anyone who has ever experienced the power and struggle of addiction and its life-destroying effects.
Addiction doesn't have the final say over Jonathan's life or in his marriage. The God who finds the lost, heals the sick, and brings life from death has the last, victorious word.
-A courageous, honest and open account of life as a sex addict and how sex addiction destroys marriages.
-A life-affirming and personal story of recovery and redemption that will inspire readers.
-Offers hope to all who struggle with pornography and sex addiction.
-Each chapter includes a "Living in the Light" section designed to equip and help readers find freedom from addiction.
-Suitable as a study for support groups of addicts and those who care about them.
My Thoughts:
I can't say enough how I appreciate the transparency of Jonathan Daughtery in his book Secrets.  While he doesn't share the rawest of details of his journey with pornography, he has offered readers a picture of God's work of restoration and redemption.  I especially appreciated his treatment of his wife's journey through this with him.  
Daughtery's writing style is personable and intimate and even humorous in places.  In one word, he is:  genuine.  His heart for his restoration and God's story of grace and redemption and healing shine through on every page.
Daughtery not only tells his story of hope, the book includes a wealth of practical help for those along similar journeys.  Daughtery includes resources for those who are ready to do battle with pornography.  
*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions are my own.
Blessings,
Jennifer

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Matter of Trust

Susan May Warren is the ECPA and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than one million books sold.  Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Reader's Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas.  

She can be found online at www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.


It's those we love who have the power to hurt us most...

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans.  After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he's remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana's rugged mountains, as well as serving on the FEAK Rescue team.  But he can't seem to find his footing - or forget the woman who betrayed him.

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the public eye as one of the youngest senators in the country.  But she has a secret - one that cost Gage his career.  More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track.

When Ella's brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park's most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue.  But Gage isn't so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life.  More, when she insists on joining the search, he'll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother - a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.

My Thoughts:
When Warren's pen touches the page, you can expect an adventure like no other.  I believe she gets better with every story she writes.  A Matter of Trust is the third book in Warren's Montana Rescue series.  I fell in love with this cast of characters, the PEAK rescue team, in the first book, Wild Montana Skies.
I'm not sure there is anyone who can write a series that holds the reader's interest like Warren.  Her characters are well developed and come with complex back stories and have a depth to them that draws readers in quickly.  Each of Warren's stories is multi-layered with not only the main characters' journey but also with side stories that give you just a hint of what's to come in the following books.  I strongly encourage you to read the series in order as each builds upon the previous story.  You will miss so much by not reading the series as a whole.
A Matter of Trust tells Ella and Gage's story and it is one fast-paced adventure.  Warren really tackles the issue and importance of trust in relationships.  This one will pull at your heartstrings and have you turning pages as fast as you can.  And as always, Warren weaves faith into the story that encourages and challenges your own.
*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions are my own.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Monday, July 24, 2017

To the Farthest Shores



Elizabeth Camden is the author of nine historical novels and has been honored with the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the Carol Award.  With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night.  She lives with her husband in Florida.

Connect with Camden at www.elizabethcamden.com.






The unpredictability of her upbringing prepared army nurse Jenny Bennett to face any challenge at the Presidio Army base, but the sudden reappearance in her life of the dashing naval officer who broke her heart six years ago is enough to rattle even her.

Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher is one of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring government mission overseas - an assignment that destroyed his reputation and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved.  Honor-bound never to reveal where he was during those years he can't tell Jenny the truth, or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution to his impossible situation, but he needs Jenny's help.  While her loyalty to her country compels her to agree, she was too badly hurt to fall for Ryan again despite his determination to win her back.  When an unknown threat from Ryan's past puts everything at risk  - including his life - can they overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against them in time?

My Thoughts:
I don't typically love Historical Fiction as a whole; however, I really enjoy Camden's writing.  Her stories are fluid and not stiff.  I absolutely adored Ryan and Jenny's journey in To The Farthest Shores.  Camden's research brings the time period to life with believable characters and vivid description.  Tenuous circumstances, crises of faith, and real love that endures make this one of Camden's best to-date.

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

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Thursday, July 20, 2017

His Guilt: The Amish of Hart County

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.
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A suspenseful tale of an Amish man who will risk all to protect the woman he loves.

Mark Fisher has returned home to Hart County, determined to put the past behind him. Two years ago, after being wrongly accused of assault, he left the Amish community, though never forgot his home. When the one person who had helped him through his rough times asks for help, Mark returns. But it is pretty Waneta Cain who makes him want to stay...
Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn't believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. However, his worldliness and tough exterior do make her uneasy. As she begins to see the real man behind all the gossip and prejudice, she wonders if he is the man for her.

Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta's is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. But what hurts most is Neeta's sudden wariness around him. When another woman is hurt, a woman who is close to both Neeta and himself, Mark fears he knows the real culprit. And time is running out. Will Mark be able to find him before Neeta becomes his next victim?


My Thoughts:
I've almost stopped reading Amish themed books because they all have begun to sound the same.  I was interested in reading His Guilt due to the suspense/mystery hinted at in the synopsis.  Gray did provide a strong suspense thread in the book; however, it was a little predictable before I reached the halfway point of the book. The characters lacked the depth I was looking for.  With all of that said, I did enjoy the fact that Gray didn't shy away from some heavy themes and wrote without compromise the reality of these dangers.  
*I was provided a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions here are my own.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Beneath Copper Falls

Colleen Coble is a USA Today bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her romantic suspense novels, including Tidewater Inn, Rosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series.

Visit her at www.colleencoble.com.

Twitter:  @colleencoble

Facebook:  colleencoblebooks




Dana has already learned that love isn't safe...but could it be different in Rock Harbor?

As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances.  In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she's faced enough emergencies in her own life.  She recently escaped her abusive fiance to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared.  Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out.  Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend's desperate screams on the other end.  Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home - and threatens to keep her from the future she's always wanted.

My Thoughts:
In Beneath Copper Falls, author Colleen Coble welcomes readers back to Rock Harbor and drops them right smack into the story on page one.  In typical Coble fashion, which I never tire of, this most recent visit to Rock Harbor contains everything I love...mystery, intrigue, well-thought out characters, and a story I became easily invested in that kept my attention until the last page.  I love the dialogue between the characters and how Coble keeps the story moving.  And of course, the romance piece is always on point.  I couldn't turn the pages fast enough!  Don't miss this one!
*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Monday, July 17, 2017

My Daughter's Legacy: Cousins of the Dove

Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction, with over a million copies sold. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live in Pennsylvania.
Find out more about Mindy Starns at http://mindystarnsclark.com.
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 Leslie Gould, a former magazine editor, is the author of numerous novels, including "Beyond the Blue" and "Garden of Dreams." She received her master of fine arts degree from Portland State University and lives in Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their four children.

Find out more about Leslie at http://www.lesliegould.com/.
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About the book:
A thrilling tale of two women longing to follow God's leading, make the most of second chances, and find true love at last
Virginia, 1864
Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. When her widowed mother inherits a plantation, Therese flees to Civil War Richmond, where she works as a governess by day and tends to wounded soldiers at night. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? And will love-whether with an old beau or a handsome new suitor-ever fit in her broken world?
Virginia, present day
Nicole Talbot's life is back on track after years of substance abuse. Home from college for the summer, she's finally ready to share a shocking secret, one that raises new questions about a traumatic childhood experience. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family's legacy, she must risk all that she's gained-her fresh start, her family's trust, and her growing relationship with a new man-to unlock the secrets of the past.
My Thoughts:
My Daughter's Legacy by Clark and Gould is one of the best books I've read this year to date.  The authors have given readers the perfect blend of history and romance blending past historical and contemporary story lines.  The authors incorporated historical details, the theme of family legacy, tender romance, and a bit of mystery.  The move from past to present day story was fluid.  I absolutely could not put this book down!
The emotion from one of our nation's most painful times in history coupled with the contemporary story of recovery and restoration from addiction drew me into this story and wouldn't let me go.  While this book is the third book in the Cousins Of The Dove series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  This one is keeper shelf material for sure!
My Daughter's Legacy Mindy Starns Clark Leslie Gould
*I was given a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions given here are my own.
Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Love in a Time of Hate: The Story of Magda and Andre Trocme and the Village That Said No to the Nazis

Hanna Schott is a journalist, writer, and editor living in Haan, Germany.  She studied French, Italian, music, and theology at universities in Marburg, Freiburg, and Heidelberg.  Schott has worked as a bookseller and is the author of many books.  She is a member of Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St. Reinoldi Rupelrath.

You can find discussion questions for Love in a Time of Hate at HeraldPress.com/StudyGuides.








One young couple.

Once small village.

Thousands of Jews on the run from the Nazis.

Love in a Time of Hate paints an intimate portrait of Magda and Andre Trocme, who transformed a small town in France into a place o safety during the Holocaust.  At great risk to their own lives, the Trocmes led efforts in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon to hide more than three thousand Jewish children and adults who were fleeing the Nazis.

Building on the account told in Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, Hanna Schott portrays a vivid story of resisting evil and sheltering refugees.  Through a stubborn commitment to Jesus and His way of peace, Magda and Andre and their accomplices offer a stirring example of daring, indomitable love in a time of hate and horror.

My Thoughts:
Part biography, part history, Love in a Time of Hate will leave you undone and challenged to think differently about what bearing your cross should look like and how loving your neighbor should be lived out.  Magda and Andre Trocme didn't just take the thought of every human being created in the image of God as a nice little thought.  The Trocmes lived it out faithfully in their reaction and care for each person whose path they crossed despite the inconvenience or challenge.  Unfortunately, I was unaware of their story until reading this book.  The Trocme's example is one that needs replicating in our world today.  Schott has given us a treasure and it is a timely message.  Read and be changed!
*I was given a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions stated here are my own.

Blessings,
Jennifer

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bread of Angels

Tessa Afshar is the Christy Award-winning author of several works of biblical fiction.  She holds an MDiv from Yale University, where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity school.  She has worked full-time in ministry ever since.

Visit her at www.tessaafshar.com.










Purple.  The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men.  One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship.  And along the way, she changes the world.

But before she becomes Lydia, the seller of purple, she is simply a merchant's daughter who loves three things:  her father, her ancestral home, and making dye.  Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.

With only her father's secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish a business on her own.  Determination and serendipitous acquaintances - along with her father's precious dye formula - help her become on of the city's preeminent merchants.  But fear lingers in every shadow until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming the first Christian in all of Europe.  Still, Lydia can't outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruined her life.

My Thoughts:
There is a handful of authors who write Christian/Historical Fiction who I follow religiously.  Tessa Afshar is one of the few.  She amazes me with her impeccable research and expert attention to detail. Bread of Angels is the first in an expected series from Afshar highlighting obscure characters from the New Testament of the Bible.
I've always been curious about Lydia, the seller of purple who is mentioned in the book of Acts. Afshar brings Lydia's story to life without compromising the truth of the Scriptures with her artistic liberties.  In fact, I'm not sure I've read many other Biblical fiction titles with a more clear picture of the gospel than Bread of Angels.  
"Did He hold you in the palm of His hand when your father tried to force you to marry a brutal man?  Or when he renounced you and threw you out of his home?  I mean no disrespect, Rebekah, but if this is an example of what your god's palm looks like, I would rather be under His foot."  Astonishingly, Rebekah laughed, "He does not always keep us from danger, but He preserve us in danger.  I have known hardship, buy my heart has felt secure in His steadfast love."
"The Lord mediates His provision by curious means.  When you least expect it.  Where you least expect it."
Afshar's introduction of the apostle Paul in the second half of the book was done brilliantly.  And her presentation of the gospel and Paul's ministry is nothing short of a masterpiece.  Afshar transports readers into another world and she draws readers into the lives of the characters without displacing biblical truth.
*I was given a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Blessings,
Jennifer

Dark Deception

Nancy Mehl is the author of more than twenty books, including the Road To Kingdom and Finding Sanctuary series, and a 2015 finalist for RT Book Reviews' Reviewers' Choice Award.

Nancy writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their puggie, Watson.

Visit www.nancymehl.com to learn more about Nancy's books and have the blessing of connecting with her.








Kate O'Brien's quiet life in small-town Shelter Cove, Arkansas, is shaken when her past suddenly comes roaring back to life.  Four years ago, she and her twin sister were attacked by an elusive serial killer.  Only Kate survived, and she's been in witness protection ever since. 

When new evidence arises to suggest the convicted man wasn't the murderer, she's subpoenaed to testify in the new trial.  Afraid to go back into that world, Kate only agrees if Tony DeLuca, the deputy Marshal who protected her during the original trial, escorts her to St. Louis.

Tony readily takes on the assignment; Kate's beauty and inner strength made more of an impression on him than he expected.  But when Kate's safety is threatened, Tony must race against the clock to keep her alive and put this ugly case to rest before anyone else gets killed.

My Thoughts:
I became a huge fan of Nancy's writing when I read her Road to Kingdom series.  I followed up by reading her Finding Sanctuary series.  I was a little skeptical, to be honest about reading romantic suspense from a writer who was diving into a completely different genre from her norm.  Nancy completely surprised and blew me away with the first book in her new Defenders of Justice series, Fatal Frost.
Dark Deception will have you turning pages as quickly as you can.  Nancy's characters, especially Kate and Tony, have depth to them that draws you into their world immediately.  This is certainly a roller coaster ride with deep twists and turns.  Nancy has you invested from the first page until the last and keeps you thinking until the end.  The romance in this story is believable and tender.
Don't miss this series!
*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Monday, June 19, 2017

Israel-God's Heart: Landscapes and Legacy of Israel

Ron Gafni works as a professional aerial photographer after spending more than a decade in Israel's High-Tech Industry. He brings his vast experience and personal perspective through the lens of a proud Israeli citizen. His work has been featured in "National Geographic," and his company, Skypics.co.il, provides books from its "Israel From Above" collection to the Israeli government, Army and Air force, as well as to large corporations in Israel. 


Kathleen Barrett, a south Florida resident and former teacher is a student of the Word. She shares her thoughtful point of view in "Israel-God's Heart" from a personal, 40 year walk of Christian faith and study. In 2002, she authored a children's devotional. Before that and since then, she has published numerous articles from mission's outreach to local political events. Her more personal and reflective work has been featured in a number of collections.
Find out more at http://skypics.co.il.


Soar across the skies of beautiful Israel and visit contemporary and historic sites beckoning visitors to stay and explore.

The beauty of Israel from above is captured by top aerial photographer Ron Gafni.  As you sweep over ancient ruins, fly high in hot air balloons, and view vignette's of Israel's modern lifestyles, Holy scripture will also come alive. Author Kathleen Barrett offers reflective narrative with scripture pointing to God's redemption plan for the world.

My Thoughts:
Israel-God's Heart is a beautiful pictorial guide through The Holy Land.  Woven throughout the book is Scripture tracing God's plan of redemption for His people...His Divine Design as it is referred to in the book.  Included in the book are pictures and explanations of the Marvels of Modern Israel.  Ripe with historical detail, God's Word, and breathtaking pictures of both the old and modern Israel, Israel-God's Heart is a treasure to be appreciated and visited again and again.

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

Blessings,
Jennifer


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Driver Confessional

David L Winters is an award-winning author, humorist and speaker, originally from Ohio, who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. His first book, "Sabbatical of the Mind: The Journey from Anxiety to Peace," won several awards including a Silver Illumination Award from the Jenkins Group and two Finalist Medals from the Next Generation Indies Book Awards.
Find out more about David at http://www.sabbaticalofthemind.net.
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Rideshare driver Antonio cruises the streets of Washington, D.C. looking for his next fare.
He has an unusual gift for relaxing his customers and stimulating their desire to reveal more than they planned. By the completion of their ride, many feel so comfortable that they confess their sins great and small. Antonio's faith guides his discussions and points him in new directions. Suddenly, his peaceful world is turned upside down by a mysterious businesswoman. As she heads to a midnight rendezvous, she confesses more than Antonio can handle. Her story sends him into a world of espionage, international terrorism, and danger.

My Thoughts:
I really wanted to love this book.  The synopsis drew me in and I jumped at the chance to read it.  Plus, I always like being introduced to a new author.  I ended up not really loving the book, unfortunately.  The use of "Bubering" as the rideshare name and the over explanation of the rideshare business began to grate after a while of reading.  I also felt like much of the story was stilted and not fleshed out.
With that said, I really liked the characters, especially Antonio and his family.  Driver Confessional is the first in Winters' Driver series.  The second book, Stock Car Inferno, will be book two.  I look forward to seeing where the characters go next in their journey.  And, I'm thankful to read from a new author.
*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions are my own.
Happy Reading,
Jennifer