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Friday, September 26, 2014

Before Amen


About the author: More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.

Find Max online: websiteTwitter,Facebook.





About the book: 

We all pray . . . some.

We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray.
But wouldn't we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency?
Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests.
We aren't the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested.
And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn't we use the same?
In Before Amen best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.

Pre-order a copy of Before Amen by 9/29 and receive a FREE ebook copy of Max's best-selling Second Chances: More Stories of Grace.

Purchase a copy:  http://ow.ly/BbwcL.

My Thoughts:
If you have ever read a Max Lucado book, then you are familiar with his gift of story telling.  In typical Lucado style, Before Amen is the perfect blend of superb story and pastoral exhortation to re-think the way we approach God in prayer.  Lucado doesn't provide a "prayer formula" but encourages his readers to draw near to the heart of God in conversation and fellowship.  Lucado guides the reader like a father might gently lead his child to stop doubting and being afraid we are "getting it all wrong" when is comes to having a conversation with God.  He concisely lays out the essential elements of biblical prayer and encourages those reading to begin the conversation in faith.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review.


Max Lucado Before Amen
    


Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Veil of Secrets

Can a mother face the secrets of her past in order to protect her daughter from the same mistakes?
Melanie and Will Connors seem like the perfect couple, but their marriage only looks good on the outside, having withered inside from a lack of intimacy.
The barriers Melanie faces to intimacy are hidden in her past—a misguided tryst with a trusted friend of her father's, a pattern of promiscuity as a teen, empty relationships in early adulthood. The only way Melanie sees to save herself from herself is to turn off her desires—even in her marriage.
Will insists they either work on the marriage—or work on the divorce. Their attempt at restoration occurs in the midst of a New Hampshire presidential primary that is rocked by violent protests and razor-sharp character assassinations. For the first time, their marriage begins to feel like a safe place.
As Melanie tries to sort through her own past, she sees her 16-year-old daughter's head turned by a charismatic older man on Will's campaign team. Can Melanie sift through her own rubble and find the voice to help guide her daughter—and possibly find the joy that God intended for her marriage?
My Thoughts:
Shannon Ethridge (http://www.shannonethridge.com/) and Kathryn Mackel (http://www.kathrynmackel.com/) author's of Veil of Secrets (follow-up to To Know You) is a gritty and "real life" look at the relationship of a power house political couple struggling to balance high profile positions, parenting and deep relational pain.  
Ethridge and Mackel do not hold anything back.  They write a well thought out plot with engaging characters who don't "have it all together".  Melanie and Will are characters who are well-developed and feel genuine.  They both struggle with their faith and present a true picture of what it is like to grapple and fight for their marriage all the while leaning on and trusting in a God Whose plans they don't completely understand.
Having read the first book, I appreciated how the authors continued the story from To Know You from a completely different angle without "re-telling" the story from book one. While this book could be read as a stand alone novel easily, you will want to begin with the first book and then move on to this one simply because of the progression of events.  Sitting on pins and needles for book 3!
*I received a digital copy of the book from NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the purpose of this review.
Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Hidden In The Stars

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hidden in the Stars
Abingdon Press (September 16, 2014)
by
Robin Caroll


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her 3 beautiful daughters, 2 precious grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?

ABOUT THE BOOK

Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hidden in the Stars, go HERE.

My Thoughts:
Robin Carroll writes a gripping and emotional story in her latest installment in the Quilts of Love series.  Full of mystery, danger, tragedy and tender love, Hidden In The Stars has everything that makes for an intriguing read.  Sophia's character will reach out and grab the reader and cause them to feel almost every emotion possible...sometimes even in the span of one scene.  I have enjoyed this series of books and I know I say this every time; however, Carroll's story has taken the place of "my favorite"...so far that is.  I can't wait to read the next book in this series.  I'm sure it will be my "favorite" too!

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Desire

Can faith build a bridge between their dreams?

For two years, Allan and Michele have been trying to have a baby. The emotional ride has been taking a toll on their hearts--and their relationship. Michele is obsessed with researching fertility treatments while Allan seems content to spend his time--and their money--on supporting displaced children in Africa. Something's got to give. But they both hope it's not their marriage.

Still, God has a plan for Allan and Michele that they could never have imagined. And all it takes to set it in motion is a change of heart . . .



MEET THE AUTHORS:


Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of many books, including The Dance and The Promise with Gary Smalley, The Discovery, and What Follows After. He has won three Carol Awards, and three of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.






Gary Smalley is one of the country's best-known authors and speakers on family relationships and has appeared on national television programs such asOprahLarry King Live, and TODAY, as well as numerous national radio programs. He is the bestselling and award-winning author or coauthor of many books, including the Baxter Family Redemption series with Karen Kingsbury and The Dance and The Promise with Dan Walsh. Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 50 years and live in Missouri.

My Thoughts:
The Desire is the third installment in Walsh and Smalley's The Restoration Series.  I had not read the other books in the series prior to reading this one, but wish I had!  While this book read well as a stand alone novel, I think the reader's experience with the Anderson family will be enhanced by reading the books in the order they have been written.
In this collaborative effort, Walsh and Smalley present readers with characters that feel like "next door neighbors".  They have a genuine feel to them which endeared them to me as I read. Because of excellent character development and real life faith struggles presented, I was immediately drawn into the story and didn't come up for air until I turned the last page.  The hope of the gospel is clearly shown within the story.  I can't wait to read Doug's story in the next book! The author interview in the back of the book sheds much understanding into the purpose of this particular series.  The seamless way Walsh incorporates spiritual principles from Smalley's book Guarding Your Child's Heart adds another valuable and intriguing layer to the book.
Don't miss this series!
*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Thursday, September 18, 2014

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead
David C. Cook (September 1, 2014)
by
Diane Noble


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award-winning novelist Diane Noble writes stories that tap into the secrets of the heart.

With more than a quarter million books in print, Diane feels incredibly blessed to be doing what she loves best—writing the stories of her heart.

For the last three years Diane has been honored to be lead author for the popular Guideposts series, Mystery and the Minister’s Wife (Through the Fire, Angels Undercover), and has recently returned to writing historical fiction. She recently finished writing book two of her new historical series, The Brides of Gabriel. Book one, The Sister Wife, and book 2, The Betrayal, which are published by Harper Collins/Avon Inspire, are now in bookstores.

Now empty nesters, Diane and her husband live in the Southern California low desert, near a place known for the lush and beautiful gated communities of the rich and famous.

ABOUT THE BOOK

She’s Passionate about Solving the Case ... with the Town’s Life-Long Bachelor

El Littllefield runs The Butler Did It catering. It’s the perfect cover for her to solve “who-done-its” (nothing too dangerous, please!) in this small university town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While catering her most important event yet—a fancy retirement dinner for Dr. Max Haverhill, life-long bachelor and history dean—countless guests fall ill, a 200 year-old relic is stolen, and her best friend vanishes. All in the first hour.

As El and Max race to solve the mystery, they discover there’s more to their relationship than simply solving the case. Welcome to Eden’s Bridge—the perfect small town setting for big intrigue, romance, and humor.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead, go HERE.

My Thoughts:
Noble shares her delightful writing gift in her latest novel The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead.  You will fall in love with the characters, the mystery, the town and the romance. Noble includes everything that makes a novel plain fun to read!  Don't miss this one!

Happy Reading,
Jennifer


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Nowhere to Turn

Lynette Eason grew up in Greenville, S.C. knowing she wanted her life to reflect the love of Jesus Christ.  She is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunion series, as well as No One To Trust, the first book in the Hidden Identity series.

She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.  Eason has a master's degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina with her husband Jack.  Jack speaks, leads worship and consults ministries around the country.  They have two children.

You can connect with Eason via her website found at www.lynetteeason.com, Facebook and Twitter.

WELCOME TO THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT!




She thought her days of hiding were over...but the danger has just begun.

The day Danielle Harding takes her eleven-year-old son and flees from her abusive husband is the same day Kurt Hardin dies.  A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe - but in reality, things are just heating up.  When Kurt was alive, he took something important from a mysterious individual - who wants the item back and believes Dani now has it.  As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won't be able to hide for long...





My Thoughts:
Lynette's by-line to her blog - "Welcome to the Edge of Your Seat" - couldn't be a more true commentary on her writing.  She writes with an intensity that hits you full force on page one and doesn't let up until the very last page.  Nowhere to Turn is the second book in Eason's Hidden Identity series.  While the book read well as a stand-alone novel, something tells me I missed some pretty good stuff in the first book.  I will be going back and reading book one in the series!
Eason's characters are well-developed.  The plot in this story has more twists and turns than you can comfortably navigate - and that's a good thing!  While the relationship aspects were a bit predictable, this did not at all hinder my enjoyment of the story.
I can't wait to see what comes next from Eason!  I am certainly a fan!

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Legend of Sheba


Tosca Lee is a New York Times best-selling novelist.  While that title may be a worn out title used by some strictly for self-promotion, Lee has earned the title by rising above many in her craft with an exceptional gift of story-telling.

Lee is best known for her exploration of maligned characters, lyrical prose and meticulous research.  Tosca received her B.A. in English and International Relations from Smith College and has also studied at Oxford University.

A former first runner-up to Mrs. United States and life-long world adventure-traveler, Tosca makes her home in the Midwest.

You can connect with Lee through her website:  www.toscalee.com as well as Facebook and Twitter.



There is the tale that is told:
A desert queen journeyed north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king and his One God. The story of a queen conquered by a king before she returned to her own land laden with gifts.
That is the tale you are meant to believe.
Which means most of it is a lie.
1000BC.
The king of Sheba is dead and Bilqis, his exiled daughter, has gained the crown after desperate overland march and battle for the capital.  Solomon, the brash king of Israel famous for his wealth and wisdom, will not be denied the tribute of the world - or the riches of Sheba.  With the future of her nation at stake, the one woman who can match wits with Solomon undertakes the journey of a lifetime in a daring bid to save her kingdom.
An explosive retelling of the legendary king and queen and the nations that shaped history.

My Thoughts:
*I received a complimentary ARC of the book from the author for the purpose of this unbiased review.
I've been hearing much about Tosca Lee for some time now and when I had the opportunity to review The Legend of Sheba:  Rise of a Queen, I grabbed it.  The depth of research evident in Lee's writing is staggering.  She leaves no stone un-turned in relaying the story of the legendary Queen of Sheba.  Detailed descriptions in the book take the reader on a journey that is not easily forgotten.
And if I'm being honest, I'm not sure I've read anything that shook me quite the way this book did in quite sometime and I am an avid reader.  Through the story of Bilqis and Solomon, Lee tells a story rife with hatred, love and strength.  Her writing is lyrical and a pleasure to read.
You will not be disappointed!  And you will come away with a bit more understanding and faith in The One True God.  An author that can accomplish that - and Lee does it exceptionally well - is one to be read and read again!

Happy Reading,
Jennifer