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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Gospel of Matthew

Alabaster Co. has provided an exceptional resource in the Gospel of Matthew.  With stunning photographs alongside the New Living Translation of the Scripture, the Gospel of Matthew is an aesthetically pleasing and easy to read biblical resource.  The layout of the book allows for visual learners to engage with the Word of God in a unique way.  This would be a perfect gift for a new believer or for use in a discipleship setting.

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

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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Between Two Shores

Jocelyn Green is the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King and A Refuge Assured.  Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award and the Golden Scroll.  Jocelyn lives with her family in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Visit her at

She has always moved between worlds, but now she must choose a side.

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral in a world tearing itself apart.  Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the Seven Years' War against her wishes when her British ex-fiance, Samuel Crane is taken prisoner by her father.  Samuel claims he has information that could help end the war, and he asks Catherine to help him escape.

Peace appeals to Catherine, even if helping the man who broke her heart does not.  But New France is starving, and she and her loved ones may not survive another winter of conflict-induced famine.  When the dangers of war arrive on her doorstep, Catherine and Samuel flee by river toward the epicenter of the battle between England and France.  She and Samuel may impact history, but she fears the ultimate cost will be higher than she can bear.

My Thoughts:
Green is an author who caught my attention with her Heroines Behind The Lines (Civil War) series.  Previous to discovering Green's writing I was never a really big fan of historical fiction, but she made me a believer and I have read everything she has written since that series.
Green's latest release, Between Two Shores, is timed during the 1700's surrounding the Seven Year's War.  Green utilizes a bit of time-slip technique to tell Catherine and Samuel's backstory.  This adds such depth to the story.  And while Green does not focus on the romance aspect, Catherine and Samuel's history adds a richness to the overall arc of the story.
"What does it matter what what we are called, when God alone can judge the heart?  Catherine asked.  So she wishes to be called Thankful, the name her parents gave her.  It is all she has left of them.  It is a good name.  Show me the man who would deny her that, and I will show you one who grasps for what is not his to take."
I appreciate the depth of research that is apparent in Green's writing.  This story is told with rich detail in the era culturally, the history of the time period, as well as the thoughts, feelings, and struggle of the characters.
"You lie!"  He reeled the whip back over his shoulder.  Catherine turned her face to the wall, gritting her teeth.  She heard a menacing snap, then another, but felt nothing.  A sharp intake of breath sounded in her ear.  Sam's arms braced on either side of her.  He stood at her back, absorbing the blows that were meant for her.  A scream struggled up her throat but collapsed when another crack split the air.  Sam fell to his knees.  With one yank on her waist, he pulled her down, too, and arched himself over her curled-up form.  His limbs shook as they covered her.  "Stay downn," he whispered, while his blood spilled instead of hers."
So many parts of Between Two Shores resounded the gospel but the one quoted above has played over and over in my mind. Green's writing carries a depth for any lover of historical fiction.  And if you aren't a lover of historical fiction, Green might just change your mind!

*I received a copy of the book from the publisher.  All opinions stated here are my own.

Happy Reading Ya'll,

When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams: Hope for Today from 12 Women of the Bible

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author of the biblical fiction series The Wives of King David, Wives of the Patriarchs, The Loves of King Solomon, and Daughters of the Promised Land.  Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.  Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.
Learn more at

Only God can heal our hearts.

Life is full of twists and turns.  Relationships falter, careers fizzle, health fades.  We may be faced with choices we never wanted to make or have situations pushed upon us we never expected.  Yet in all of it, God is at our side - even when He feels far away.
Drawing on her extensive research into women of the Old Testament, novelist Jill Eileen Smith turns her pen to what we can learn about trusting God from women like Eve, Noah's wife, Sarai, Hagar, Lot's wife, Rebekah, Rachel, and more. You'll discover what these ancient women did right - and what they did wrong - when faced with dashed expectations and deferred dreams.  And you'll come away with the confidence that God loves you and is forming you through your trials into the woman He longs for you to be.

My Thoughts:
I've been reading Smith's biblical fiction books for several years and so appreciate her writing gift.  I've also followed her on Facebook for some time and am inspired by the things she shares there as well.  When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams is Smith's first non-fiction book.  And it is apparent Smith has not only done her research but wrestled with many of the spiritual truths she shares in the book.  
The depth of spiritual truth and challenge Smith presents readers is a treasure.  The chapters are organized in an easily digestible manner.  Smith begins with an "If I were ___" section, moves through some devotional thoughts to an "Imagine With Me" section and ends each chapter with "Ponder This" and "Taking it Further".  I especially appreciated the "Ponder This" section and found it to be a great journaling prompt.  In "Taking it Further", Smith poses some great questions that motivate a deeper study of each biblical character presented.
The book could be read devotionally, as a character study, or would be a great small group study resource.  

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Be blessed,

Monday, February 18, 2019

Never Let Go

Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the Carol Award-winning The Camera Never Lies.  Her Mountain Cove series books have been finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Awards and the Carol Awards.  Goddard is a seventh-generation Texan and can be found online at

The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up.

Forensic genealogist Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather's footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from a hospital more than twenty years ago.  When someone makes an attempt on Willow's life to keep her from discovering the truth, help will come from an unexpected source.

Ex-FBI agent - and Willow's ex-flame - Austin McKade readily offers to protect the woman he never should have let get away.  Together they'll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he's spent much of his life trying to forget - and put Willow's tender heart at risk.

My Thoughts:
Goddard, a new to me author, has caught my attention with her recently released book, Never Let Go, and the first in her new Uncommon Justice series.  After reading this first installment, I am invested in this series and will be seeing it through to the end.
While the beginning started a little slow for me, boy did she crank it up by just a few chapters in with a steady pace full of twists and turns and an ending that left me thinking, "Wow, I DID NOT see THAT coming!"  Both Willow and Austin are characters that are endearing.  I loved how Goddard slowly gave their backstories like slowly blossoming petals of a rose...beautiful and multi-layered.  Austin's brother, Heath, is an integral part of this story and we get to see the focus on him in the next book, Always Look Twice
So, I highly recommend you purchase Never Let Go like right now and be on the lookout for Always Look Twice later this year.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.  All opinions stated here are my own.

Happy Reading Ya'll,

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Still In The Game: Finding the Faith to Tackle Life's Biggest Challenges

Devon Still is a professional athlete, life coach, motivational speaker, and childhood cancer advocate.  Now known as "The Comeback Coach", Devon launched his company, Still In The Game, to teach people all over the globe his winning playbook on how to come back from life's biggest challenges.

Be proud of your scars.

They're signs that you survived whatever tried to break you.

For Devon Still, life has been a journey from one scar to the next.  From one challenge to the next, his is a story of pushing through pain and overcoming obstacles of all shapes and sizes  - of choosing to fight for the sake of his family, his community, and his faith.
Millions of people around the world have been inspired by Devon's tireless devotion in helping his daughter, Leah, learn how to "beat up cancer".  But in these pages, Devon takes readers behind the headlines to reveal the deeper story of what prepared him for that fight, including:

  • growing up i the shadow of drugs and violence
  • working through the pain of his parents' divorce
  • overcoming injuries and scandal to shine as an All-American at Penn State University
  • beating the odds to play in the National Football League
  • using his newfound platform to raise both awareness and resources in the global fight against cancer.
Still In The Game is Devon's declaration that our challenges reveal our purpose, that our scars make us stronger, and that no loss is too great to stop our comeback!

My Thoughts:
Still's book, Still in the Game, is a genuine, transparent, and raw look at his journey and how the challenges he has face has shaped the person he is today and the way he tackles life.  Still's book reads like a conversation with a friend over dinner.  Still is genuine in that he lays his life open like a book inviting the reader into his most intimate life moments.  Still in the Game challenges, inspires, and will simply change the way you view difficulty in your life.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Happy Reading Ya'll,

The Curse of Misty Wayfair

Jaime Jo Wright is the Christy Award-winning author of The House on Foster Hill and The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond.  She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA best-selling author of two novellas.  Jaime works as a human resources director in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children.
Connect with Jaime at

You can also connect with her on:

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday.  Now grown, her search takes her to turn-of-the-century Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin.  When the clues she finds lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a postmortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coye in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within.  However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.
A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother - who is battling dementia - compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity.  When she catches sight of a ghostly woman haunting the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns - and with it, Heidi's fear for her own life.
As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, they must overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined.

"She had to trust a greater purpose, one she didn't understand and maybe didn't even like.  But really, wasn't that what faith was?"

My Thoughts:
I became a huge fan of Wright when I read her debut novel, The House on Foster Hill.  While her books are in the genre of Romantic Suspense, they are so much more.  Wright is the queen of time-slip writing and her stories are probing with a bit of an eerie feel.  I dare you to read one of her books at night while you are alone!  With engaging characters and a steady suspenseful pace, Wright keeps you turning the pages.  It will be hard not to finish one of her stories in one sitting.
With vivid description and more twists and turns than you can keep up with, Wright's The Curse of Misty Wayfair is her best yet.  I especially appreciated how Wright focused on identity...for both present-day Heidi and Thea in the past and how she was clear in relaying throughout the story a biblical concept of identity.
"That while the past - the consequences of the past - might have a dire effect on me, it still doesn't change who I am.  We weren't created to find our identity in life.  We were created to discover our Creator.  In doing so, our identity is defined."
I also enjoyed Wright's handling of life in centuries-old asylums.  Her research and attention to detail are impeccable.  The suspense is palpable and the ending will leave you absolutely breathless.  I certainly did not see it coming.  So, go now and grab Wright's novels but do not miss The Curse of Misty Wayfair.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions here are my own.

Happy Reading Ya'll,