Click Here For Free Blog Backgrounds!!!
Blogaholic Designs

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What Follows After

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery and The Reunion, as well as The Dance and The Promise with Gary Smalley.  He has won three Carol Awards, ad three of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year (2011-2013).  Dan lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

You can learn more about Dan and his writing at www.danwalshbooks.com.


In 1962, life was simple, the world made sense, and all families were happy.  And when they weren't, everyone knew you were supposed to pretend.

For the past year, Scott and Gina Harrison have been living a lie.  While they show up at family get-togethers in the same car, they've actually been separated fr over a year.  To keep up the charade, they've even instructed their sons, Colt and Timmy, to lie - to their grandparents, their teachers, and their friends.

Colt for one has had enough, so he hatches a plan. he and his little brother will run away from their Florida home head for their aunt's house in Georgia, and refuse to come home until their parents get back together.  But when things go terribly, terribly wrong, Scot and Gina must come to grips with years of neglect and mistrust in order to recover their beloved sons, their love for one another, and their marriage.

In this emotional story, bestselling author Dan Walsh takes you on a journey to rediscover the things that matter most in life - love, truth, and family.  With profound insight into the heart of a hurting child, he reminds us that a time will come to look back on hard times and smile, because we'll know that what follows after...is not what we expected at all.

My Thoughts:
This was my first novel by Dan Walsh to read.  I've stated many times here on the blog that I love discovering new authors and their gift and it was a joy to discover Walsh!  Thank you Lanette Haskins and Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group) for sending the complimentary copy for the purpose of this review.
Walsh captures the atmosphere and culture of early 60's America well.  He is right on target with his character development and descriptions.  The scenarios are believable and well though out by the author. Walsh's plot development takes the reader on a roller coaster of emotions.  As a mother, I hurt for Colt and Timmy.  When a story makes me feel like I felt reading this one, I know I have just added its author to my "favorites" list and know that those books will be added to my keeper shelf.
Consider this statement from the "Author's Note" at the end of the book:
"I think a more honest assessment would suggest that many Americans' church experiences in the fifties and sixties had more to do with the religion of Christianity than a clear understanding of the gospel.  Part of the reason I decided to set What Follows After in the early sixties was to explore how the timeless truths of the gospel could have applied in an average American family during the Leave it To Beaver years.  The things that cause relationships to succeed or fail are not dependent on the society or culture we live in."
Walsh writes a story that will make you feel and will make you think.  When an author writes in such a way that forces me to take an honest assessment of my ideas about a certain era or of my own life...that author has written a 5+ star novel.  Dan Walsh has done that!  Don't miss this one!

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Killing Jesus

Stephen Mansfield is the New York Times best-selling author of numerous popular books about the interplay between  religion and culture.  His works include The Faith of Barack Obama, The Faith of George W. Bush, The Search for God and Guinness, and Lincoln's Battle with God.  He lives in Nashville and Washington, DC with his wife, Beverly, an award-winning songwriter and producer.
You can connect with and learn more about Stephen at http://www.mansfieldgroup.com/.

It is the most fiercely debated murder of all time.  Its symbol is worn by billions of people worldwide.  Its spiritual meaning is involved daily in time- honored rituals.  In Killing Jesus, Stephen Mansfield masterfully recounts the corrupt trial and grisly execution of Jesus more than two thousand years ago.
Approaching the story at its most human level, Mansfield uses both secular sources and biblical accounts to bring fresh perspective to the human drama, political intrigue, and criminal network behind the killing of the world's most famous man.




My Thoughts:
Killing Jesus is probably one of the most straight forward but unique books I've ever read.  Mansfield says (of writing about the trial and crucifixion of Jesus), "Over the years, I read what I could find on the subject and hoped one day to retell what I had learned in a manner that was consistent with scripture but also incorporated Roman and Jewish writings on the subject."
The information in the book is relayed in "novel" form.  Mansfield's writing is a perfect blend of Scriptural truth and historical fact.  This isn't a book for the faint of heart and at certain points is almost unbearable to read.  Mansfield does not skim around the gruesome details but thoroughly covers the trial and crucifixion in vivid detail.
While reading the book, it was very apparent to me that Mansfield had done his research and had mulled over the subject matter for quite some time.  Mansfield incorporates into the "story" explanations of customs and culture that brings the general reading of the scriptural account to life.  I wonder if Killing Jesus is Mansfield's answer to his own question:  Why was Jesus killed?  And while the book tells the "story", it lacks the "story behind the story"...that Jesus died as a sacrifice for your sins and my sins building a bridge so that we could cross over into fellowship with God.

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

Blessings,
Jennifer

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lip Reading

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Lip Reading
David C. Cook (March 1, 2014)
by
Harry Kraus


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from Harry:

I started writing my first novel during my last year of surgery training at UK. I was a chief resident, and started writing Stainless Steal Hearts in a call room at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Lexington. It was a crazy time to write! I had a very demanding schedule, often spending days and nights in the hospital. I had two sons at that time, and I recognized the wisdom in my wife's urging: "Now doesn't seem the right time for this dream."

My experience as a writer is far from typical. Having received my formal training in biology and chemistry and medicine, my only preparation for a writing career was a love for reading. The longest thing I'd written before my first novel was a term paper in undergraduate school. My first novel was accepted by Crossway Books and published in 1994, and it wasn't until after I had FOUR published novels that I even opened a book of instruction about the craft of writing fiction. This is not what I recommend to others! Yes, I was successful, but I was bending the "rules" without knowing it. I had a natural talent for plotting, but I realize my initial success may have stunted my growth as a writer. I'd have made faster progress if I'd have gone to the fiction teachers sooner.

I have three sons: Joel, Evan, and Samuel. Look closely in all of my books and you'll see them there. My lovely wife, Kris, provides the basic composition for all those beautiful, athletic, dedicated women in my novels.

ABOUT THE BOOK

She Could Save Millions, or Save Herself

She just needs a little longer. She’s really close. Dr. Rebecca Jackson, a medical researcher, stands on the verge of a breakthrough that will transform medicine. But she soon discovers the reason behind the miraculous progress in her research, and it leaves her with a nearly impossible choice . . . and little time to decide. More than her research is at stake. And more threatens it than this latest revelation. Something she’s tried hard to cover up. There is a high cost to some things in medicine and it’s not always the patient who pays. Can Rebecca find the faith and wisdom she needs to make the right call? The clock is ticking and the pressure is on.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Lip Reading, go HERE.

My Thoughts:
Harry Kraus has done it again!  Kraus has written a book with everything I look for in a novel.  Lip Reading has believable characters, medical intrigue, suspense, expert plot development and faith.  I'm not sure anyone does it any better!  Don't start this one at bedtime.  Kraus draws you in from the very beginning and hits the ground running with drama that keeps you turning pages until the last one!  Kraus's books have a prominent spot on my "keeper" shelf.  I'll be reading anything he writes!

Happy Reading,
Jennifer

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hope Runs: An American Tourist, a Kenyan Boy, a Journey of Redemption

Claire Diaz-Oriz is an author, speaker, and technology innovator who has been named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company.  Claire was an early employee at Twitter, where she still works.
She is the author of several books, including Twitter for Good:  Change the World One Tweet at a Time.  She is a frequent international speaker and writes a popular business blog at www.clairediazortiz.com.
Claire holds an MBA from Oxford University and a BA and an MA from Stanford University.  She is the cofounder of Hope Runs, a nonprofit organization operating in AIDS orphanages in Kenya.  She has appeared widely in major television and print news sources such as CNN, BBC, Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Wired and many others.
You can find her on Twitter @claire.
Samuel Ikua Gachagua was born in rural Kenya in 1992.  After losing his parents at a young age, he struggled to survive until he was placed in an orphanage in Nyeri, Kenya.  In 209, he reeived a full-ride scholarship to Maine Central Institute, granting him a rare US visa and the chance to begin his sophomore year of high school under the guardianship of Claire Diaz-Ortiz.
After graduating from high school, he spent a year serving in Ecuador as a fellow for Global Citizen Year.  He is an up and coming motivational speaker and can be found on Twitter @sammyikua.




Hope Runs is the emotional story of one American tourist, one Kenyan orphan, and how one day became one year that would change the course of both of their lives forever.  It's about opening your heart to outrageous possibilities.  It's about what it means to hope for the things you cannot see.

It's about how God can change your life in the blink of an eye.









My Thoughts:
Hope Runs is a book not about a chance encounter, but a book about the beauty of God's sovereignty over two lives and the impact those lives now have on our world; an impact only possible because of God's transformation in both Claire and Sammy's life. This story will have you laughing out loud one moment, shedding tears the next and in between simply smiling in amazement at the sweet providence over every detail of a life that would have been otherwise discarded.
Claire's approach to her work is beautifully stated early in the book:
"The way to enact true social change in the world is to acknowledge that the biggest impact at work is often not in the conversational English skills or hygiene needs of the local populations but rather in the volunteer's own transformation.  If it was really all about the locals, after all, many times we'd be much better off sending our money to organizations that employ locals on the ground to do the English teaching and the health work.  However, by having one cross-cultural experience, then another and another, these volunteers - if given the right tools to recognize the importance of what they themselves are actually learning - have a good chance of one day doing something that can hopefully make things a little better.  The volunteer's value to the local is not in that single three-month stint building a church or two but in the possibility that those three months can transform the volunteer into someone who gives for life."  (pg. 29)
The story is told from both Claire's and Sammy's points of view; the sincerity with which they both tell their stories will change you.  Read Hope Runs and be changed for life.

Order this week and you'll get $150 in freebies *and* be entered to win over $1,000 in prizes! See details here.
  • A 50% discount to my upcoming course, Blog to Business.
  • A 50% off discount to my course, Share to Sell.
  • A bunch of free ebooks by me and others (see the full list below).
FREE ebooks
  • The Present Principle: Seven Steps to Life in the Now
  • Lead by Morning: 365 Days of the Present Principle
  • How to Be Social: A Social Media Manifesto
  • How to Be a Morning Person
  • Simple Email Success: A Short Happy Guide to Email Mastery
  • How to Fundraise on Social Media
  • How to Set Up a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog: A Guide to Starting Your Own Blog in 9 Minutes or Less
  • How to Travel the World for Less than it Costs to Stay Home: Taking Your Life on the Road at a Price You Can Afford
  • How to Work Smarter, Not Harder: On Getting Out of the Grind and Getting More Done
  • Make Better Decisions: How to Think Less and Decide More
By purchasing you'll be entering to win one of the following prizes:
  • Four $100 Amazon gift cards
  • Ten $10 Starbucks gift cards
  • 1 $100 donation in your name to Hope Runs
  • Four free passes to the Twitter for Good online class
How can you get your bonuses and freebies?
  1. Order Hope Runs at one of your favorite retailers. (See a full list of retailers here.)
  2. Send the receipt to hoperunsbookreceipt (at) gmail.com and we'll respond with the information of how to get access to your bonuses. We'll also email you if you've won a prize on Tuesday, April 21.

*I was given a complimentary copy of the book and asked to post an honest review.

Blessings,
Jennifer

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Queen's Handmaid/Kindle HDX Giveaway

About the Author: Tracy L. Higley started her first novel at age eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. She has authored many novels, includingGarden of Madness and So Shines the Night. Tracy is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Ancient History and has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Italy, researching her novels and falling into adventures. 

See Tracy's travel journals and more at: tracyhigley.com


About the book: From the servant halls of Cleopatra's Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled.
Alexandria, Egypt 39 BC
Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.
But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she's had to a family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.
Trapped among the scheming women of Herod's political family---his sister, his wife, and their mothers---and forced to serve in the palace to protect her treasure, Lydia must deliver the scrolls before dark forces warring against the truth destroy all hope of the coming Messiah.

My Thoughts:
In The Queen's Handmaid, Higley masterfully blends rich history, faith and fiction.  Her descriptive detail places you right in the middle of the story as if you were an observer there in person.  And while the descriptive detail slowed the story down a bit in places, I appreciated being able to have the picture Higley painted with her words in my mind as I read Lydia's story.
This book is as much a history book as it is a novel.  I loved how Lydia "told" the story, but you also get to hear snippets of what the other characters are thinking and feeling throughout the story.  Through Lydia's journey, Higley does an exceptional job of showing readers a genuine struggle with feelings of unworthiness and loneliness and how the One True God - Yahweh fills all the empty spots in our hearts and meets all our longings with Himself.
You will not be disappointed with the time it takes you to read this book.  And with the way Higley strategically places little twists and turns within the fictional portion of the story, it won't take you very long at all to finish!

Win a Kindle HDX!
The Queen's Handmaid
 

Thank you LitFuse Publicity for sending the complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review.

Happy  Reading,
Jennifer

Monday, April 7, 2014

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full

Gloria Furman  is a wife, mother of four young children, doula, and blogger.  In 2008 her family moved to the Middle East to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai where her husband, Dave, serves as the pastor.  She is the author of Glimpses of Grace:  Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home and blogs regularly at the Gospel Coalition, Desiring God and GloriaFurman.com.





Motherhood is tough and often it feels like the to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer every day no matter how hard we work to get ahead.  From grocery shopping to soccer practice, running a household is exhausting, making it hard for us to experience true joy in the midst of the craziness of life.
In this encouraging book for frazzled moms, Gloria Furman, a pastor's wife and mother of four, encourages us to refocus and reorient our vision of motherhood around what the Bible teaches.  Showing us how to pursue a vibrant and ever-growing relationship with Christ - even when discouragement sets in and the dirty laundry is still waiting ot be washed - this book will help you treasure Christ more deeply no matter how busy you are.



My Thoughts:
Gloria Furman has packed a lot into this short 153 page book!  Gloria's focus in Treasuring Christ is to help mothers understand the important truth that as mothers we can appreciate a greater reality - that we can find our rest in the work that Jesus has done on the cross on our behalf.  Furman spends the book helping mothers realize that our hands are full - full with every spiritual blessing in Christ...that "a mother who has been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Christ has an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading kept in heaven for her" (introduction, pg. 17).
Gloria fleshes out how the good news (the gospel) is for every day living through showing us that God made motherhood for Himself and helping us see motherhood as worship.  And she starts off the book with the exhortation to "stamp eternity on my eyeballs".
"When your eyes are fixed on the horizon of eternity, it affects your vision for motherhood.  We need to have eyes to see a view of God that is so big and so glorious that it transforms our perspective of motherhood.  In the context of eternity, where Christ is doing His work of reigning over the cosmos, we need to see our mundane moments for what they really are - worship.  In the daily and nightly work of mothering, we're given dozens of invitations to worship God as He reminds us of the hope we have because of His gospel.  My prayer is that you would see that the gospel is good news for mothers, not just our 'born again birthday' but every single day."
Gloria Furman shares the bold truths of Scripture and rich theology housed in the gentleness and love of a close friend.  You will be blessed by this little book that packs a powerful punch of encouragement and biblical exhortation available now at Crossway.  You can go HERE to view the product page and to place your order! There is a study guide accompanying the book making it a perfect resource to use with a group like MOPS or small group of mothers with young children (or older) at your church.  Get your copy today; you will not be disappointed.

Thank you Gloria and Crossway for gifting me the Advanced Reader Copy of the book for the purpose of this review!

Blessings,
Jennifer

Friday, April 4, 2014

Know Orphans: Mobalizing the Church for Global Orphanology

About the Author: Rick Morton is the father of three transnational adopted children and coauthor of the popular bookOrphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care. His dedication to the plight of orphans extends beyond his own family. The Mortons were cofounders of Promise 139, an international orphan-hosting ministry based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. An inspiring speaker for the gospel to be expressed by the church living out God's heart for the fatherless, Rick presents at adoption and orphan-care conferences and pastor's conferences. Rick and his family live in the Greater Memphis area.

Learn more about Rick at: http://www.rickmortononline.com




About the book: The global orphan crisis is complex. The church's response should be comprehensive, but is it? In this provocative follow-up to Orphanology, author Rick Morton provides the framework for families and churches to have a gospel-centered response to the growing global issue of orphan care.
Know Orphans addresses three distinct areas associated with global orphanology. Delving deeper into the criticisms of the movement, the need for reform, and what families can expect, author Rick Morton helps shape realistic perceptions of the challenges and rewards adoptive parents face in transnational adoptions. Through illuminating the work internationally adoptive families can expect, Know Orphans offers solutions for the church in remedying the ills and deficiencies surrounding the church's role in equipping and supporting families before, during, and after the adoption process. Knowing that the church's response and attitude should be one that goes beyond adoption, Know Orphans also addresses the complexities of how Christians are to respond ethically, compassionately, and comprehensively to the biblical call to care for orphans.
Know Orphans is the next step in conversation as this evangelically based movement of orphan care matures and begins to live out James 1:27 globally.

You can go HERE to see what others are saying about the book.

My Thoughts:
Morton's book Know Orphans is a follow-up of sorts to his previous book Orphanology:  Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care.  Morton says in his introduction:
"A lot of this book is about knowing orphans, not because they are unknowable but because they are unknown.  They are voiceless.  They are out of sight and out of mind.  At worst, orphans are treated a a social blight or, at best, they are ignored by the mainstream of society.  Yet God says He is their defender, and He is awakening His church to join Him in that work.  In caring for orphans, He is teaching us something about Himself as a redeemer, His gospel as restoring grace, and His Son as the coming and re-creating King."
Morton goes on in his book to answer the question:  How does orphan care and the gospel fit together?  He spends the course of the book fleshing out the answer through sharing his family's story coupled with wise counsel from God's Word along with practical "how-to" information.  Morton very convincingly shows the reader how the church can be mobalized to engage orphans worldwide to the honor and glory of God.

Morton's heart shines brightly in his writing, not only for orphans, but also for the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus to some of the "least of these".  Read and be changed and challenged.

Thank you Litfuse Publicity for sending a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review.

Blessings,
Jennifer