Sunday, September 15, 2019

Everyone Should Read This! 'Something Needs to Change' - by David Platt

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About the book:

While leading a team on a week-long trek of the Himalayas, bestselling author and pastor David Platt was stunned by the human needs he encountered, an experience so dramatic that it "changed the trajectory of my life." Meeting a man who'd lost his eye from a simple infection and seeing the faces of girls stolen from their families and trafficked in the cities, along with other unforgettable encounters, opened his eyes to the people behind the statistics and compelled him to wrestle with his assumptions about faith. In Something Needs to Change, Platt invites readers to come along on both the adventure of the trek, as well as the adventure of seeking answers to tough questions like, "Where is God in the middle of suffering?" "What makes my religion any better than someone else's religion?" and "What do I believe about eternal suffering?" Platt has crafted an irresistible message about what it means to give your life for the gospel--to finally stop talking about faith and truly start living it.

My review:

This was a fascinating book that was hard to put down!  Part travelogue, part Bible study, part call to action, it grabbed my attention from the start.  The true stories of each person they met, along with that of some of the men travelling along, were just heartbreaking.  I thought it was interesting how he struggled with questions I struggle with, like do these people who have never heard of Jesus really go to hell and why don't they even know the name of Jesus and why do they have such hard lives when mine is so easy.  His reading and study of Scripture as he walks these trails correlates with questions he has and situations he finds himself in.  It's also fascinating to learn about possible jobs someone could take on in a foreign country to do good and be a witness, like a trout-poop expert!  The end of each chapter had a few questions to make you think.  He also challenged us at the end of the book to discover what we can do to alleviate earthly suffering and also eternal suffering where we are right now and also expand our view to the world further away.  I highly recommend this book!  Every Christian needs to read it!

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah.  I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own.
   

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Art of Rivers - Coastal Hearts 3 - by Janet W. Ferguson

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About the book:

Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancé during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancé. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.

After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.

Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.


My review:

I enjoyed this story featuring a topic I haven't read much about.  I felt like we really got into an addict's head as we see how much Cooper struggled with the shame and guilt of his choices and still struggled with his addiction even after five years of being clean.  I admired him a lot for all that he overcame and for all he was doing to help others.  I liked Rivers as well and admired her strength and willingness to forgive.  I liked the strong faith message as the gospel is clearly given and Rivers, Cooper and others encourage each other with Scripture and prayer.  Davis especially has a funny, direct way of encouraging a person and telling it like it is at the same time.  I also like how they knew they were fighting a spiritual battle.  There was some sweet romance and I thought there was going to be more suspense than there was but the story went in a different direction.  I liked how the past was brought in by the journal Rivers found and read that belonged to Cooper's grandmother but I wish more would have been done with it.  I liked the gorgeous setting of St. Simons Island.  I really liked the focus on art and art therapy.  I hadn't read the first two books in the series but I didn't feel lost at all.  Overall, I liked this story and it kept my interest.  I would recommend it if you like stories with more spiritual depth or that deal with issues.

I received this book from JustRead Tours.  I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Unique! ' Light from Distant Stars' - by Shawn Smucker

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About the book:

When Cohen Marah steps over his father's body in the basement embalming room of the family's funeral home, he has no idea that he is stepping into a labyrinth of memory.

Over the next week, Cohen's childhood comes back in living color. The dramatic events that led to his parents' separation. The accident Cohen witnessed and the traumatic images he couldn't unsee. And the two children in the forest who became his friends--and enlisted him in a dark and dangerous undertaking. As the lines blur between what was real and what was imaginary, Cohen is faced with the question he's been avoiding:

Is he responsible for his father's death?

Master story weaver Shawn Smucker relays a tale both eerie and enchanting, one that will have you questioning reality and reaching out for what is true, good, and genuine.

My review:

This was definitely a unique story as I wasn't quite sure if it was spiritual warfare or a dream/nightmare or an allegory for much of it.  I liked how the story moved from past to present and back so there were two stories happening at once.  Cohen struggled with his faith as he felt he needed to keep confessing his guilt, yet won't confess all.  He wondered where God was in all of the mess.  He's angry at his parents for their divorce when he was a kid and the events surrounding it and how his life fell apart afterwards.  It really drove home how much selfishness affects other people and especially can hurt the children.  There were some creepy and suspenseful moments in the book and led to a somewhat shocking event I figured was coming and then another I didn't see coming!  This story dealt with faith and coming to terms with our parents' humanness and remembering the good times and the bad.  It's about the importance of dealing with things before it's too late and loving people while you have them.  If you like stories a little twisty and unique, you might want to check it out!

I received this book from Revell.  I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own.

           The Author

  1. Shawn Smucker
    Photo by: John Sanderson of Sanderson Images

    Shawn Smucker

    Shawn Smucker is the author of the young adult novels The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There, as well as the memoir Once We Were Strangers. He lives with his wife and six children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can find him...
    Continue reading about Shawn Smucker 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Action-Packed Thrill Ride! 'The String' - by Caleb Breakey

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About the book:

Welcome to the string. Let's go over the ground rules.

Rule #1: Participation is mandatory.
Rule #2: If any one person refuses to play, the threats to all players will come to pass.

Since this is my game, allow me to introduce myself. I am the conductor. Just as musicians in a symphony must follow the conductor's direction, the selected students and staff of Trenton University must submit to my commands . . . or risk massive chaos and deadly consequences. Even that pesky university cop, Markus Haas, who thinks he'll find a way out of the impossible dilemma in which I've trapped him. Oh, the surprises I have for him.

Ready to play?

My review:

Talk about a wild ride!  This book was hard to put down!  It just doesn't let up; it's suspenseful and action-packed from start to finish!  There were some crazy mind games as Markus tries to figure out who the conductor was and what his end game was.  It definitely got spooky a few times as it seemed he was everywhere and always one step ahead of Markus.  There was a hint of romance and a little bit of talk about faith as Markus cries out to God when he's terrified for his girlfriend, Stephanie, and her kids.  She has a strong faith and I liked her a lot.  I also liked Janet, an I.T. genius.  Both were strong female characters.  There were so many twists and turns; I was never sure who to trust!  It also sounds like there could be a sequel!  I highly recommend this story if you like suspense!

I received this book from Revell.  I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own.

           The Author

  1. Caleb Breakey

    Caleb Breakey

    Caleb Breakey is the CEO of Speak It To Book, the premier ghostwriting agency for influencers, thought leaders, and industry celebrities. He is an ECPA Award finalist and a winner of the prestigious Genesis Contest for fiction writers, and he loves exploring...
    Continue reading about Caleb Breakey 

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Romance With Some Meat to It! 'Love and Other Mistakes' - by Jessica Kate



Welcome to the Blog Tour for Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Title: Love and Other Mistakes
Author:
Jessica Kate
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date:
July 30, 2019
Genre: Romantic Comedy

About the book:

There’s a fine line between love and hate . . . And for the last seven years, Natalie Groves has hated Jeremy Walters.
Natalie Groves was meant for great things. But soon after her fiancé left, Natalie’s father was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly her grand plans evaporated . . . and God felt very far away.
Fast-forward seven years, and an internship presents Natalie a chance at her destiny—but she needs a job to work around it. And the only offer available is worse than a life sentence. Her ex Jeremy, now back in town, is desperate for help with his infant son and troubled teenage niece, Lili. And Natalie may be just the one to help Jeremy . . . provided they don’t kill each other in the process.
When Jeremy and Natalie join forces, sparks fly. But will either of them get burned along the way?

My review:

This was a fun romance but it also had a lot more going on as Natalie was dealing with so much.  I loved the humor in it but I actually wished there had been more of that and not quite so much of everything going wrong.  Natalie's trying to juggle so much and I found myself getting a little overwhelmed imagining it!  I liked her but I couldn't picture wanting to be a leader in a ministry so I couldn't really relate to that.  I could relate to thinking for years you were going to do one thing and having a hard time letting that go.  I liked Jeremy, too, and his baby stole the show!  I could just picture how adorable he was.  I really felt for Jeremy and the tough relationship he had with his dad.  He never felt like he could measure up and that influenced how he viewed God.  Lili also struggled with trying to be perfect as a pastor's kid and believed her parents' and God's love depended on that.  My heart broke for Lili and what she was going through with her parents.  It would be awful to be put in the middle like she was.  I was glad that the truth came out in multiple situations and people finally got clarity on the past so they can move forward.  Natalie and Jeremy both had a strong faith now and struggled with forgiveness.  There were some good romantic moments.  I also loved that a couple characters were Australian, like the author.  It was fun to listen to their accents in my head as I read the book!  I would recommend this story if you like romance mixed with heavier life issues!

I received this book from JustRead Tours.  I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own.


About the author:


Australian Jessica Kate is a sassy romance author and addict.
Her novels feature wit, snark and grit, and her StoryNerds podcast gives her a chance to nerd out with others about these ingredients in books, movies and TV.
She has a passion for garlic bread, theme parks and Batman.
Sign up to her newsletter at jessicakatewriting.com to hear first about her books, including her upcoming novels Love and Other Mistakes and A Girl’s Guide to the Outback.
The StoryNerds podcast is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and at www.storynerds.podbean.com.

CONNECT WITH JESSICA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Wonderful! 'Underestimating Miss Cecelia' - Regency Brides Daughters of Aynsley 2 - by Carolyn Miller

About the book:

Will a shrinking violet and a prodigal son come together to better their world?

Cecilia Hatherleigh has many secrets in her shy, sweet heart⁠—but none bigger than her unrequited love for Edward Amherst, the earl's son next door. Her love has persevered over many years, even when he grows to be a bit of a rake. Yet despite his fondness for females, he never seems to see her as anything more than the quiet younger sister, and nothing Cecy does has changed that. Rather than pining after his perhaps unworthy love, she decides to turn her focus toward living out her newly found faith. Now she's determined to follow God's leading to make a better world for the poor and dispossessed around her.

A London riot awakens Edward to the responsibilities due his family name. It's time to turn his life around to please his noble father⁠—and that means restoring his abandoned legal career and making a marriage of convenience. Neither will be easy, given his past and the prejudices of the upper echelons of society to which he belongs.

When misadventure strikes at a house party, these two are thrown together even as their lives are upended. If Cecy can't trust God, overcome her shyness, and find her inner strength, the good work they've both done may be for naught--and neither will ever find true love . . .

My review:

This was another wonderful book by Carolyn Miller! Her characters seem so real and I could feel Cecelia's pain as she has loved Edward for years but comes to realize he will never feel that way about her.  I liked how the story dealt with how sometimes women, and men, can put love or another person first in their lives instead of God.  While I loved the first book in this series about Cecelia's sister, I definitely have more of a similar personality to Cecelia and felt we could have been great friends.  I really liked the focus on helping the poor and disenfranchised that both Cecelia and Edward take on and it was interesting to learn more about the state of the poor working class at the time.  The Peterloo Massacre was mentioned and I had to google that to find out more.  I was also surprised to learn how much the gypsy was reviled with the possibility of being hung just for talking to one!  This story also really highlighted how boring a life a society woman could lead, having to attend events a lot and make polite conversation all of the time, never talking about anything very important and always trying to make the best match possible.  Her younger sister Verity definitely bucks that mold and I've been excited since the first book to read her story, which will be next.  I admired Edward a lot, too, but he really struggled with forgiving himself and accepting God's grace for his past mistakes, so it got a little frustrating to see him punish himself.  Both Cecelia and Edward had a strong faith while many of the other characters didn't, so it was interesting to see the different viewpoints.  There were also some wonderful romantic moments.  I would highly recommend this book if you like regency romance.

I received this book from Kregel Publications.  I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own.


Saturday, July 27, 2019

Enjoyable! 'Clear Confusion' - by Kathy M. Howard

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About the book:

What am I going to do, God? Who am I?

Charlotte Hallaway needs to come to terms with her father's death. He had been her only family, and she wasn't handling her grief well. It was just supposed to be a few weeks of peace and quiet to process it all, but then she saw them-a drug deal and a murder within seconds of each other.
And they saw her.
Now running for her life, Charlotte boards a bus to escape her pursuers and wakes up the next morning in the woods of Jennings, Georgia, without a memory of how she got there or of who she is. All she knows is an underlying fear she can't seem to shake.
When two hunters find her battered and scared, can she put aside the clear confusion she's experiencing to trust them? She wants to trust them, especially Nicholas, but fear is holding her back. Trust is incredibly hard when one is so clearly confused. Could it be he and his friend are not who they claim to be?




Who are they really . . . and who is she?

My review:

This was a suspenseful story that really grabs your attention from the beginning!  I couldn't imagine how terrifying it would be to wake up in the woods not knowing who you were or how you got there.  I actually didn't remember what this story was about so I didn't find out for a while what she was doing there or how she got there, which made it even more suspenseful!  I admired her strength as she grapples with this and then when she does find out, how she deals with it as the trauma isn't over.  Her faith was such a strong part of that and the one thing she knew about herself, that she knew the Lord and loved Him.  Both her and Nicholas had a strong faith and I loved how that was a foundation for them.  I was glad to see a clear gospel message given and many references to prayer and depending on the Lord.  I also admired her grace and forgiveness in dealing with one of the bad guys.  Nicholas was such a great guy and had a wonderful attitude about life.  There was also a little bit of romance and action.  After such a suspenseful start the story did get a little too slow in the middle but I liked it overall.  I would recommend this story if you like romantic suspense!

I received this book from JustRead Tours.  I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own.