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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thirst of Steel

Ronie Kendig is a bestselling, award-winning author of over twenty novels.  She grew up an Army brat, and now she and her hunky hero are adventuring on the East Coast with their grown children and a retired military working dog, VVolt N629.
Ronie's degree in psychology has helped her pen novels with intense, raw characters.

You can connect with Ronie online via her website:

The final conflict will hinge on one of history's most dangerous blades...

Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies' blood.  Cole "Tox" Russell wants only to put the dangers of his past behind him and begin his new life with Haven Cortes.  First, though, he's called to complete a final mission:  retrieve the sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order.

The AFO, however, is determined to reunite the sword.  Threatening the life of Ram and Tzivia's father, they jeopardize Ram's long-held and dangerous secret while demanding Tzivia locate the blade.  With Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the artifact is tied to both Ram's secret and a string of unsolved serial murders.

Tox, Ram, and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to target the true enemy.  No matter the cost, Wraith must destroy the AFO...or join them in the flames.

My Thoughts:
Kendig is in a league of her very own.  Her most recent series The Tox Files solidifies that status for her in my mind.  And the conclusion of the series, Thirst of Steel, has left me without words and more than a little sad to see the story of Cole Russell and his team end.
Replete with strong, well-developed characters and more twists than one can keep up with, Thirst of Steel hits the ground running with edge-of-your-seat action that is non-stop.  Kendig includes a little bit of everything in this story centered around the hunt for Goliath's sword...nail-biting suspense, romance, espionage, government secrets, struggles with faith, and friendship that runs deep...a brotherhood.  That sounds like a lot, but Kendig makes it work beautifully.
As I turned the last page of Thirst of Steel, I was left breathless from the story and from the brilliant mind that is Kendig's.  I can not recommend this series enough.  Start from the beginning with The Warrior's Seal and be prepared for an ending that will blow you away.  And dust off appropriate space on your keeper shelf.

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

Happy Reading Ya'll,

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

By The Waters of Babylon

Mesu Andrews is the award-winning author of Love Amid the Ashes and numerous other novels including The Pharoah's Daughter and Miriam.  Her deep understanding of and love for God's Word brings the biblical world alive for readers.
Mesu lives in North Carolina with her husband Roy and enjoys spending time with her growing tribe of grandchildren.

You can connect with Mesu at

When Babylon destroys Jerusalem, as Yahweh warned through His prophets, the captives' bitterness and grief pours out in the Captives' Psalm.

A young Israelite woman is among them captured by a mercenary Scythian prince.  Driven toward Babylon by both hatred and hope, she endures captivity to reunite with her husband.

But will he be there when she reaches Babylon?  Will the prince risk the Scythian throne - and his life - to believe in the Hebrew God?

Can they both find what they seek when they meet the prophet the waters of Babylon?

My Thoughts:
Andrews' latest novella, By the Waters of Babylon, is book 2 in The Psalm Series.  The other books in the series are...

Andrews draws her novella from a study of Psalm 137.  I appreciate Andrews' impeccable research and gospel-centered writing.  Her attention to historical and cultural detail bring the Old Testament Scriptures to life and drives me to search out the Scriptures for myself.  
Andrews' characters jump off the page in living color.  I'm drawn into Merari's story from the prologue to the last page.  
From the Prologue...
"But God...For we who believed, those words mended broken hears, turned the tide.  Lives were changed.  Wanderers found purpose.  Those who loved much, lost much.  Yet we who trusted Yahweh, allowed Him to step into the void and fill our emptiness.  Only Yahweh chooses a broken woman to heal a wounded man.  Only Yahweh uses a pagan prince to offer truth to a foreign empire.  And only Yahweh can use my story to change your life.  You may think change impossible - but God..."
 In By the Waters of Babylon, Andrews tactfully portrays the violence of Jerusalem's captivity.  Readers will get a clear picture of that but also of the goodness, justness, and righteousness of a Sovereign and loving God Who can powerfully transform lives and the bleakest of circumstances.  

The novella also includes a Bible study of Psalm 137.  By the Waters of Babylon would be excellent used as a personal devotional study, small group study, or even as a Sunday School class study.

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

Blessings Readers,

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thief of Corinth

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 co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School.  She has worked in ministry ever since.

You can connect with her via her website:

First-Century Corinth is a city teeming with commerce and charm.  It's also filled with danger and corruption - the perfect setting for Ariadne's greatest adventure.

After years spent living with her mother and oppressive grandfather in Athens, Ariadne runs away to her father's home in Corinth, only to discover the perilous secret that destroyed his marriage:  though a Greek of high birth, Galenos is the infamous thief who has been robbing the city's corrupt of their ill-gotten gains.

Desperate to keep him safe, Ariadne risks her good name, her freedom, and the love of the man she adores to become her father's apprentice.  As her unusual athletic ability leads her into dangerous exploits, Ariadne discovers that she secretly revels in playing with fire.  But when the wrong person discovers their secret, Ariadne and her father find their future - and very lives -  hanging in the balance.

When they befriend a Jewish rabbi named Paul, they realize that his radical message challenges everything they've fought to build, yet offers something neither dared hope for.

My Thoughts:
Afshar has a gift...a gift of transporting her readers back in time.  With amazing attention to detail derived from careful research, Afshar takes readers on a journey to and through Corinth in New Testament biblical times in her latest book, Thief of Corinth.

With the very first line of the Prologue...
"You asked me once how a woman like me could become a thief.  How could I, having everything - a father's love, a lavish home, an athlete's accolades - turn to lawlessness and crime?"
Afshar draws the reader into another world.  I found that once I started Ariadne's story, I could not put it down.  The sites, sounds, and smells were so vivid as I read.

I also appreciated how Afshar's writing in this book is so clear with the gospel in a number of passages such as this one...
"It would be sad indeed if the world were at the mercy of an impersonal force, a detached power without the ability to love.  The God I speak of gives life and breath to everything.  To this clump of mint, to you, to me.  He knows the number of hairs on your head.  He cares for the desires of your heart.  Underneath the currents of your life, he stretches his everlasting arms.  He has set his affections on you, though he knows your every weakness.  The broken and the good in you.  His love makes you whole.  No man can give you this.  Only God."
Afshar has a particular way of weaving in references to Scripture and this was especially so in Thief of Corinth.  She drives me to search out the Scriptures for myself.

Afshar also includes such glorious truth as a natural part of the dialogue and thoughts of her characters...
"Perhaps it is not so much the years we live as the experiences we have in them."
"I thought the worst troubles in life came through unfulfilled desires.  Came because our longings went unmet.  I did not realize that the answers to our deepest pleas could be a s painful as they were healing."
"Somehow mercy had won the battle.  I had not received what I deserved.  Paul would have called it grace.  I just knew I was loved when I deserved to be spurned."
"Love is kind.  When the Love that established the universe starts moving in you, I suppose you lean toward kindness too."
I don't often re-read books that I keep on my shelf.  Afshar's books are on my keeper shelf and most of them have been read more than once.  Thief of Corinth is in that category.

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

Blessings readers,

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Less Than Perfect

Ann Spangler is an award-winning writer and the author of many bestselling books, including Women of the Bible, Praying the Names of God, and Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus.

You can connect with Ann and learn more about her writing via her website which can be found HERE.

Meet your spiritual ancestors...
as they really were.

What can the Bible's most flawed men and women reveal about who God is and how he reaches out to less-than-perfect people?  Bestselling author Ann Spangler takes us beyond cardboard cutouts of 38 biblical characters to reveal real people with many of the same dreams, temptations, and weaknesses we have.

Whether considering the murderous Herodias, the scheming Jacob, or the doubting Sarah, Spangler approaches both familiar and lesser-know characters with fresh eyes, bringing them to life for modern readers by including key cultural and historical insights.  As you learn more about the people who are part of your spiritual family tree, you'll discover why God loves to use imperfect people to tell his perfect story of redemption.  

My Thoughts:
If I had to assign a passage of Scripture to put a summary to Spangler's latest book, it would be...
"Brothers and sisters, consider your calling: Not many were wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth.  Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong.  God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world - what is viewed as nothint - to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one may boast in His presence.  It is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us - our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, in order that as it is written:  Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."  1 Corinthians 1:26-31  (CSB)
Beginning with Adam and Eve and then covering biblical characters like Sarah, Tamar, Miriam, Michal, Bathsheba, Jezebel, the woman who wiped the feet of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene, Spangler highlights those aspects of life that we who would like to think ourselves "super spiritual" tend to sweep under the rug.

Through Spangler's writing, it is obvious that once God got a hold of her heart and life, she was wrecked for an attachment to this world.  Each biblical character highlight begins with a "story form" section with sidebar notes explaining key cultural and historical aspects that are key to understanding context.  These notes were extremely helpful in bringing a new level of knowledge of the Scriptures for me.  Then Spangler includes a section called "The Times" where she gives the time period and where in Scripture that particular character's story took place followed by a bit of commentary from Spangler.  Each section is concluded with "The Takeaway" which gives the reader questions that really do a good job of helping to apply the Scripture personally.  

I've been going through the book devotionally, taking one chapter a day.  I have been blessed beyond what I can express here.  Spangler clearly shines a light on the great truth that all of our life...ALL of it can be used for God's glory and our good.  And that He is the Great Redeemer.

Less Than Perfect would be a great resource for personal use but also for small group or one-on-one discipleship use.
*I was given a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.


The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

Jaime Jo Wright is the author of the acclaimed novel The House on Foster Hill.  She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas.  Jaime works as a human resources director in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children.
To learn more about Jaime and her writing, visit

For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and Midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant facade.  Yet her strange and sudden inheritance of a run down trailer home - full of pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters - leaves her wholly unprepared for how truly dark and deadly those secrets may be.

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove is stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists.  The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, while working at her father's newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death.  As she works with the deacon's son to solve the crime, it becomes clear that a reckoning has come to town - but it isn't until another obituary arrives at the paper that they realize the true depths of the danger they've waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must unravel the mysteries of their own town before it's too late and they lose their future - or their very souls.

My Thoughts:
Wright, a.k.a. "Time Slip Queen" has knocked another one out of the ballpark with her latest novel The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond.  With her keen ability to weave past and present together, Wright is a master at writing stories that have a bit of eerie, mixing in well-developed characters, and the perfect amount of twists and turns that keep readers engaged and often on the edge of their, all night on the edge of their seats!  Once you begin Annalise and Libby's story, you won't be able to put it down until the last page has been turned.  And, on top of all that, Wright peppers sound theology throughout this book that isn't "preachy" but there as a natural part of the story.
*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.  All opinions stated here are my own.

Happy "up all night" reading ya'll,

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Before I Saw You

A long-time believer in the power of story to change lives, Amy’s diverse writing career includes over two decades of freelance writing including medical journal publications and a popular op-ed newspaper column.
Praised by reviewers for the way they both poetically and accurately portray real life hardship and hope, Amy’s novels are inspired by social issues which break her heart and the Bible stories which reflect God’s response to those issues. Her first novel, How Sweet the Sound, was written as a response to the personal questions she had for God about how He redeems the pain of sexual abuse. The driving mission behind all her writing is to bring words of hope to a hurting world.
Amy’s novels have been short-listed for various fiction awards, and How Sweet the Sound won the 2011 Women of Faith Writing Contest before it was acquired by publishers. Since then, she has published two more novels, Then Sings My Soul, and Lead Me Home.
When she’s not writing, Amy loves doting on her husband, three young adult sons, and their golden retrievers at their home in central Indiana. If there’s leftover time after that, she enjoys up-cycling, gardening, binge reading, exercising, and Bible journaling.
You will be blessed to connect with Amy via her website HERE.

Folks are dying as fast as the ash trees in the southern Indiana town ravaged by the heroin epidemic…

…where Jaycee Givens lives with nothing more than a thread of hope and a quirky neighbor, Sudie, who rescues injured wildlife. After a tragedy leaves her mother in prison, Jaycee is carrying grief and an unplanned pregnancy she conceals because she trusts no one, including the kind and handsome Gabe, who is new to town and to the local diner where she works.
Dividing her time between the diner and Sudie’s place, Jaycee nurses her broken heart among a collection of unlikely friends who are the closest thing to family that she has. Eventually, she realizes she can’t hide her pregnancy any longer—not even from the baby’s abusive father, who is furious when he finds out. The choices she must make for the safety of her unborn child threaten to derail any chance she ever had for hope and redemption. Ultimately, Jaycee must decide whether the truest form of love means hanging on or letting go.
My Thoughts:
Sorrells has quickly become one of my favorite authors and her books are beginning to own spots on my keeper shelf.  Before I Saw You has found its place there as well.
Sorrells quickly draws you in with complex characters in a small Southern town facing unbelievable circumstances.  She portrays real life and a young woman up against seemingly insurmountable odds.  The story is told in the most genuine way and before long the reader feels like they are in the very middle of the story.
Before I Saw You tells the love relationship that develops between every mother and child.  While Sorrells certainly isn't "preachy" by any means in her stories, the gospel is all over this one.  Read it and be blessed.
*I was given a complimentary copy of the book by the publisher.  All opinions are my own.
Happy Reading,

The Hidden Side

Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace clinger who could spend hours exploring Boston's Freedom Trail.  She writes women's fiction and won the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest in the historical category.  She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle.

Visit her online at

Two women from different centuries become trapped in the depths of their secrets...

New York 2016
Every day Natalie Abbott offers sage advice to hurting listeners on her popular radio program. But away from the comfort of the studio, she struggles to connect with her family; with an out-of-control daughter and an uncommunicative and isolated son, Natalie takes solace in the daily woes of others, turning a blind eye to the pressing issues mounting at her doorstep. Her carefully constructed world implodes when a member of the family commits an unspeakable act. Known as the woman with all the answers, for the first time Natalie questions her way forward.

New York 1776
Mercy Howard watches in abject horror as the man she loves, her fiancĂ© Nathan Hale, is arrested and hanged as a spy. When asked to join the revolutionary spy ring in Manhattan, Mercy sees an opportunity to avenge Nathan’s death. But keeping her true loyalties hidden grows increasingly challenging as the charming Major John Andre of the King’s Army becomes more to her than a target for intelligence.   
Mercy’s journals offer comfort to Natalie from across the centuries as both women struggle with their own secrets and well-kept shame—and wonder how deep God’s mercy truly extends. 

My Thoughts:
Occasionally a book comes along that completely undoes me emotionally and one that I can't forget for long past the turning of the final page.  Chiavaroli's The Hidden Side was one of those books. Weaving past and present, Chiavaroli tells the story of two women rife with emotion, heartache, and pain like no other.
Chiavaroli's present-day story touches on the school shooting issue but she addresses it from such a tender place...the heart of the parent and family including siblings.  Multilayered with such depth, Chiavaroli tells both past and present story in The Hidden Side from various characters' point of view.  
Grab a box of tissues and brace yourself for a story that delves into the depths of the human heart and will leave you thinking differently about life and the ones you love.
*I was provided a complimentary copy of the book by the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Happy Reading,