Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Life After by Katie Ganshert

Life After by Katie Ganshert:
On the day of a late spring storm, in Chicago, Autumn Manning boarded an “L” train. A bomb explodes, killing everyone in the train car except for Autumn—the sole survivor. A year has passed and Autumn suffocates under a blanket of what ifs and the pressing desire to bring the victims back to life, every day, if only for her. She doesn’t want their stories to be forgotten. She wants to undo what cannot be undone. An unexpected ally joins her efforts, also seeking answers and trying to find a way to stumble ahead. 
But one victim’s husband, Paul Elliott, prays to let the dead—and their secrets—rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to hurt his loved ones. 
Caught between loss and hope, these restless souls must release the past to embrace a sovereign God.



My Thoughts:

Having received an ARC copy of this book, wow it was AMAZING! I am still thinking about the characters, the story line and I have finished the book. With a stunning story line, characters that will pull you and a deep tale, "Life After" is sure to be one of the most powerful fiction books you read all year. If you don't read any other book, read this one! It will have you looking at your life completely different and it will help you explore the depths of grief, shame, guilt, brokenness and what it means to forgive in order to move forward. This book will move you in way like no other. I give this book 5/5 stars. Thank you to the publisher for providing me an ARC copy. 


Friday, February 24, 2017

Home to Paradise: The Coming Home Series by Barbara Cameron

Home to Paradise
Home to Paradise (Abingdon, February 2017)
Highly anticipated final book in The Coming Home Series from best-selling Amish author Barbara Cameron.
Rose Anna Zook has watched her two older sisters marry two Stoltzfus men and has always thought she and John, the third Stoltzfus brother, would marry, make a home together, and have children. But John has other ideas. He’s enjoying his Rumschpringe in the Englisch world a little too much and isn’t interested in returning to the Amish community—especially to marry.
Rose Anna is determined to bring her man back into the Amish fold. John is equally determined to live his life free and unencumbered. Who will win this battle of wills? Will love prevail?

My Thoughts:
In the Final Installment of the Coming Home Series, "Home to Paradise" takes the readers to a place where we get to see how love is always worth fighting for as Rose Anna will do anything for the heart of John. You will be deeply moved as you fall in the love with the characters and the struggles they face to find one another, God and how Barbara Cameron woven a beautiful story all together. This is a one of a kind storyline. I have not read the other two books in this series, but after reading this book, I can firmly tell you that I must read the other books because I just loved this book. My heart was so touched by the story line and the angle that Barbara took. Will  Rose Anna get her dream come true to marry and have children or will it always be a dream? To find out, pick up a copy today, you won't be disappointed! I received Home to Paradise by Barbara Cameron compliments of Abingdon Press and was not required to give a positive review. I give this novel 5/5 stars. 
About the Author:
Barbara Cameron

 
Barbara Cameron has a heart for writing about the spiritual values and simple joys of the Amish. She is the best-selling author of more than 40 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies, and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Her books have been nominated for Carol Awards and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award from RWA’s Faith, Hope, and Love chapter. Barbara resides in Jacksonville, Florida.

Your Chance to Chat and Win!! 
Home to Paradise, the final book in author Barbara Cameron’s The Coming Home series, is not to be missed! Rose Anna Zook always thought she and John, one of Stoltzfus brothers, would marry, make a home together, and have children. But John, enjoying his Rumschpringe in the Englisch world, has other ideas. Rose Anna is determined to bring her man back into the Amish fold. John is equally determined to live his life free and unencumbered. Who will win this battle of wills? Will love prevail?
Join Barbara on Thursday, March 9, for a live author chat party on her Facebook page with fun prizes to be won! Click the graphic below for more details and to RSVP. Hope to see you there—bring a friend or two who loves Amish fiction!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

No More Faking Fine Ending the Pretending By Esther Fleece

No More Faking Fine Ending the Pretending

By Esther Fleece 
Published by Zondervan

If you’ve ever been given empty clich├ęs during challenging times, you know how painful it can feel to be misunderstood by well-meaning people. Far too often, it seems the response we get to our hurt and disappointment is to suck it up, or pray it away.
But Scripture reveals a God who meets us where we are, not where we pretend to be.
No More Faking Fine is your invitation to get gut-level honest with God through the life-giving language of lament. Lament, a practice woven throughout Scripture, is a prayer that God never ignores, never silences, and never wastes. As author Esther Fleece says, “Lament is the unexpected pathway to true intimacy with God, and with those around us.”
Esther learned this the hard way, by believing she could shut down painful emotions that haunted her from a broken past she tried to forget on her fast track to success. But in silencing her pain, she robbed herself of the opportunity to be healed. Maybe you’ve done the same.
No More Faking Fine is your permission to lament—to give voice to the hurt, frustration, and disappointment you’ve kept inside and silenced for too long. Drawing from careful biblical study and hard-won insight, Esther reveals how to use God’s own language to draw closer to Him as He leads us through any darkness into His marvelous light.

My Thoughts:
For many of us when someone asks us how we are doing the answer is always "fine", but that really isn't the answer for most of us. We aren't fine. In fact, Esther begins to show and tell the story of what happened when she told people she was "fine" until she could no longer tell that line anymore. I love this book because it helps us remember what it means for God to meet us in our pain and He loves us exactly where we are.  This book is desperately needed for all Christians who feel they need to wear a mask when in fact they don't. Every leader needs this book to know it's okay not to be "fine" and it's okay to actually wrestle with deep, difficult hard stuff and talk about it with other people. I loved this book! I want to thank Esther Fleece for sending me a copy. I was not required to give a positive review. I give this book 5/5 stars. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Seekers (The Amish Cooking Class #1) by Wanda E. Brunstetter

The Seekers (The Amish Cooking Class #1)

About:
Join a class of unlikely Ohioans who take cooking lessons at Lyle and Heidi Troyer’s Amish farm. A woman engaged to marry, an expectant mother estranged from her family, a widowed mom seeking to simplify, a Vietnam vet who camps on the Troyer’s farm, and an Amish widower make up the mismatched lot of students. But Heidi’s cooking lessons soon turn to life lessons as they each share the challenges they are facing. Is this what God had in mind when Heidi got the idea for cooking classes?





My Thoughts:
In her latest series Amish Cooking Class, Ms. Brunstetter did a fantastic job with The Seekers. This book had me interested as soon as the RV broke down in front of Heidi and Lyle's home and did let go until the book was finished. I love how the characters were well developed, and I felt like I was turning the pages faster with each chapter to see what was happening next as cooking classes were happening, money was missing, and a young woman was pregnant out of wedlock. The premise of this book was beautiful, and I love the way she shared her faith through her cooking classes to each one of her students. However, her student's struggled to cook, and some wondered if it was going to possible? Would they learn or would it turn into a diaster? Would the money that was missing coming up? Grab this book today; you won't regret it!
I was given a complimentary copy of this book, and a positive review was not required. I give this book 5/5 stars. To purchase your copy, head here!

Friday, February 17, 2017

For King & Country: Priceless Book & Movie Giveaway

Image provided by Roadside Attractions

Human Trafficking and Faith 


"Priceless" is a movie that will capture the hearts of audiences around the world who watch it. Human Trafficking isn't just something America deals with or other countries, but something we can all take a stance on and say no more. This movie is about a young man who finds himself rescuing girls and young women from a life of death, destruction and despair. 
It will not only captivate your attention, but will cultivate a mind shift if you have never given the thought that women and children are trafficked in your neighborhood every day.  The main character is James Stevens. He turned to alcohol after losing his wife, several jobs and ultimately had to take a job driving trucks carrying cargo across the country for cash. 
While James was on his way to drop off a load of cargo he got tired one evening and almost crashed into a semi, but flew off the road and that is where he found out his cargo was something different. This led to a series of him beginning to ask questions about his cargo, but it wasn't until he had to deliver it, did James realize what had really happened. 
All this to say, the movie was well done. The movie managed to have guns, blood and minimal violence, while not being an "R" film, yet conveying a huge message through the movie. This wasn't a low budget cheap Christian film. This movie was done very well and I was encouraged by the plot, the cast members and also the thrills of the ups and downs of this movie. The movie had moments that were expected and other moments that completely took me by surprise, but all in all, I really enjoyed this movie. I give this movie 5/5 stars. I was given the opportunity to screen this video in my home before it has been released to the public. I was not compensated for a positive review and this review is my own.



About the book:
James Stevens was, at one time, a good man with a great life. After the tragic death of his wife and losing custody of his little girl, James is at the darkest crossroad of his life. Angry, desperate, and unable to hold down a steady job, he agrees to drive a box truck on a shady, one-time trip cross country for cash—no questions asked. When he discovers what he is delivering is actually a who, the questions in his mind begin haunting him mercilessly. James becomes an unlikely hero who must fight to save the lives of two young women and finds himself falling in love with one of them.
Can love, strength, and faith redefine his past and change the course of his future?
 


My Thoughts:
If you think the movie sounds great, you'll love the book just the same! The authors did a fantastic job with "Priceless She's Worth Fighting For" by Joel Smallbone. You'll love the book just the same as the movie and find that the book will show you that women should be valued. I loved the booked. Would I recommend one over the other? No. I think both play vital role and both mediums of media should be consumed for different reasons but I am going to leave that up to you! I give this book 5/5 stars. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy.

To win the combo pack of the Priceless the Book and the Movie, tell me why YOU are Priceless by leaving a comment below with your email address. I will draw a winner February 24, 2017. 




Thursday, February 16, 2017

Attend by Laura Davis Werezak

Attend

Forty Soul Stretches Toward God


A young Christian writer presents a practical guide for reconnecting with God and practicing the presence of God in our frantically busy world today. 

Our world is full of distractions that do not promote the health of individual souls. What can people do when they feel they have no time or ways to find God? In her new book ATTEND, Laura Davis Werezak reminds readers to encounter God through 40 brief everyday activities that they have been taking for granted, from opening a window to jotting down a dream. Modern life and technology increasingly render these activities obsolete, and readers who struggle to connect with God through "typical" devotions will discover depth in their everyday lives through each beautifully written exercise. Like the wisdom Brother Lawrence provided in his 17th century spiritual classic The Practice of the Presence of God, these daily reminders guide readers to appreciate God in our midst today.



My Thoughts:
I wish someone would have given me the book "Attend" by Laura Davis Werezak five years ago. This book is for anyone who feels distracted or disconnected from God. In this book she writes beautifully how to enter into the relationship that many of us long for with a living God when the world easily entangles us and tries to distract us. I love this little book as each day has made me slow down, refocus and to drown out the noise from this world. As an avid Facebook, Instagram and Twitter user, I have been slowly walking away and only utilizing social media once or twice a day as of a result of this book. It has really given me the ability to do some deep digging with God and to reconnect on things that are important, rather than be engaged in the world around us.
I really enjoyed Part two where Laura talks about rest and Sabbath, which is such a lost art in our culture. I can list the number of stores on my hand that are closed on Sunday. We do not rest on Sunday or just a take a day and Sabbath. We need to be people that rest more and do less.

Overall, I just loved this book! It can be read as a devotional or as a book front to back. It is completely up to the reader. I give this book 5/5 stars and was not required to write a positive review. To purchase a purchase a copy of this book head here!!




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

An Amish Home- Four Novella's Collection

A Cup Half Full by Beth Wiseman
Enter the home of the newlyweds, Abram and Sarah, where dreams have been shattered by a new reality of life as Sarah was involved in a serious buggy accident, which has resulted in her being confined to a wheelchair. Despite the crash, will their new marriage stand the test and will Abram still love her?  You won't want to miss this novella as you experience all the hurdles, the emotions and the true, honest feelings of suffering that happens in marriage. 


Home Sweet Home By Amy Clipston

Home Sweet Home is a Novella that will have you in tears or at least it will tug at your heart, and you will remember this story long after it is over. An English couple, Mia, and Chace find themselves homeless with their young baby and no place to go. They are desperate and without close family to help them out. This couple learns the true importance of community and family isn't always the people you are related to, but those who may love you anyways. Thankfully, they find a place to live through an Amish couple, but tension rises that causes some shaky ground. Will this cause the couple to fall apart? Will they survive these difficult circumstances?

In A Flicker of Hope by Ruth Reid

In a Flicker of Faith, Thomas and Noreen have been married for a  numbers of years, but their marraige is struggling to survive. Unfortunately, a fire destroys their home and most of their belongings. They discover an uncovered item and begin to wonder slowly can their marriage be saved or is it too late? This novella made me really think about when we are married for such a long time, how we often may forget to do or say the little things that are important for our spouse. This was a great reminder for me about how important marriage is! 



Building Faith by Kathleen Fuller 

Building Faith by Kathleen Fuller is about a young Amish woman, Faith who loves to work in carpentry and enjoys taking on tasks that involve making things, which would be uncommon in her culture. This novella was creative and unique, which made it fun! Of course, their is a twist here, where Faith is put in a situation where she is asked to be with the previous love of her life and also to do the thing that she loves.. So tricky. Will Faith be able to handle it? 

I give each of novella's 5/5 stars. I provided a copy of this book by Amy Clipston, and a positive review was not required. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Unquiet Ghosts by Glenn Meade


Unquiet Ghosts by Glenn Meade:

Eight years ago, her husband and children were killed in a plane crash. Now, new evidence reveals that they didn’t die—her husband deliberately vanished—and that he knows a secret the powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep hidden.
Kathy Kelly’s world was shattered when a plane carrying her husband—an Iraq War veteran and devoted father—and her two children vanished from the sky one night. No trace of the plane was ever found.
Eight years later, Kathy has struggled to rebuild her life, but then wreckage of his plane is found in the wilderness of Great Smoky Mountain National Park—hundreds of miles from where her husband’s plane should have been. The pilot perished in the crash, but there is no sign of Jack or the children. Could they have made it out alive after all? But if so, where have they been all this time? Where are they now?
As Kathy searches for any clue about what happened to her family, the investigation uncovers some unsettling clues—including a briefcase containing millions of dollars in cash, a priceless mask stolen from an Iraqi museum, and a clue that links Jack’s disappearance with the suspicious death of Kathy’s mother years ago.
But she soon learns that others have been looking for the wreckage and its occupants for a long time. Others who are determined to make sure she never finds her family and that they remain dead. Shadowy, powerful people who will kill for what was on board—a secret her husband was the keeper of. A secret so powerful it will open a Pandora’s box of bloody revenge—one that reaches back into the past and into the highest echelons of wealth and power, all the way to the White House.
This breathless, pulse-pounding thriller examines the very real billions in cash and priceless artifacts that vanished into the pockets of powerful American men during the Iraq war, and examines the extreme lengths some people will go to protect the secrets of what really happened to all that money.
My Thoughts:
Unquiet Ghosts is my second read by Glenn Meade and again another moving book that plot twists and turns all over the place. It is a absouteley a suspenseful thriller that has the power of story, which is hard to find in books today. This book is very unique and will have readers on edge the whole way through! I loved the character dynamic and fell in love with the mystery of not only finding Kelly's family, but also the mystery of Jack. This book had a great pace and it kept me up reading because I wanted to know how the story ended. You won't want to miss this beautiful book, so make sure you pre-order a copy !! I give this book 5/5 stars.  I was given an ARC copy by the folks at Howard Publishing and a positive review was not required. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

My Heart: Every Beat Surrendered to Our Unchanging God by Julie Manning

My Heart: Every Beat Surrendered to Our Unchanging God

by 
I first heard Julie Manning speak at IF gathering and that is when I knew I had a story to tell. She was the one person in the room that my heart resonated with so deeply, I knew I could not keep my secret any longer. I knew my life wasn't my own and that God had a plan for every single moment of suffering that I was going through. It was from that moment on after hearing her speak; I chose to live. It was uncomfortable to share with others and uncomfortable to not only share, but to take risks, entirely rely on God in places that I never wanted to before and he met me exactly at the point of my need and still does today. 

When I was give the opportunity to My Heart: Every Beat Surrendered to Our Unchanging God I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Julie was the gal that made me share my story, so I was ready to hear more of hers. Julie is a brave soul who bares everything leaving nothing for one to guess. She is all in! You can't pick up this book and wonder what is left, because she writes it all down. She gives the simple mundane and the raw emotions. This book will make you want to cling closer to your husband, it will make you realize that flooded houses and materialistic things don't matter, but a heart that beats only for following God does. The soul thing we all should be looking towards is Heaven. This place is not our home. While we get to be here and live in this place we should be good stewarts, but this is not our final destination and Julie makes it really clear that earth is not her final home. Julie's heart could stop at anytime, so she fully and completely relys on God every second, of every single day. This book will change the way you view your maker, relationships, time, money and people. It will help you to evaluate your priorities and make your more Kingdom minded. I also loved the journal that came with this book. It made me more mindful about praising God for all the things He has done in my life. This book will change your heart and draw you closer to Jesus. I give this book 10/5 stars. I was given a copy by the author for being apart of her street team and was not required to give a positive review. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Dog Who Was There by Ron Marasco

The Dog Who Was There
The Dog Who Was There (Thomas Nelson, January 2017)
No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. 
He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.
Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.
My Thoughts:
The Dog Who Was There is an interesting story like I've never read before. It gives the account of a dog named Barley who was trying to live during the time of Jesus. He is  mistreated, homeless, finds himself an owner and even a home, but then loses his owner. He eventually travels where he finds himself into danger, which ultimately leaves the reader to a journey where we see the greatest love story ever told to those who believe. By picking up this book, you walk away with a radically and completely different view point of the time when Jesus was around with His disciples. Make no qualms about it, this book isn't easy to read and at times has violence, which is exactly what one would expect, except this dog has been through a lot, like Jesus. Overall, I thought this book gave a new perspective of the time period of Christ and had a wonderful ending to the story. I think their are moments of violence, which could turn readers away. I give this book 3/5 stars and was not required to give a favorable review.

About the Author:
Ron MarascoRon Marasco is a professor in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His first book, "Notes to an Actor," was named by the American Library Association an Outstanding Book of 2008. His second book, "About Grief," has been translated into multiple languages, and he is currently completing a book on Shakespeare’s sonnets. He has acted extensively on TV—from "Lost" to "West Wing" to "Entourage" to originating the role of Mr. Casper on "Freaks and Geeks"—and appeared opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas in the movie "Illusion," for which he also wrote the screenplay. Most recently, he has played the recurring role of Judge Grove on "Major Crimes." He has a BA from Fordham at Lincoln Center and an MA and Ph. D. from UCLA.