Faith by Lyn Cote

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Knowing it’s much too dangerous for her to search enemy territory alone, Faith enlists the help of Colonel Devlin Knight, who is indebted to her for saving his cousin’s life. A career soldier, Dev is committed to the preservation of the Union but conflicted about freeing his own slave and confidant, who plans to enlist as soon as Dev gives him manumission papers.

Blazing a trail east with the rest of Grant’s army, Dev and Faith fight their personal battles―and a growing attraction to each other. When beliefs clash and passions flare, they quickly find that the only thing more dangerous than the war surrounding them is the battle within their hearts.

About the Author

An award-winning author of both contemporary and historical inspirational romance, Lyn Cote is an active member of RWA and the American Christian Fiction Writers. A 2006 RITA Award finalist for Best Inspirational, as well as a finalist for the HOLT Medallion and the National Readers Choice Award, Lyn lives with her husband in Wisconsin.

One Dress. One Year. by Bethany Winz

41FyFyW2POL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_How can one girl change the world? It all began with a heart for justice and a little black dress. In 2012, sixteen-year-old Bethany Winz decided to make a difference. To raise awareness, she determined to

– wear the same black dress every day for a year to bring attention to the lack of choices slaves have
– come up with new ways to accessorize the dress each day
– use her blog and pictures of her outfits to raise money for agencies helping those who were being trafficked

Her yearlong journey was one of hope, discipline, and sometimes disappointment. She celebrated some successes yet despaired at the depth of the problem. As she found her identity tied to the things she did, Bethany discovered that while she stood for freedom for others, she also struggled to find her own freedom in believing that she was loved just as she was. This moving book shows readers that their voices matter, they can make a difference, and sometimes the smallest gestures have lasting impact.

About the Author

Bethany Winz is studying social justice at Trevecca Nazarene University where she’s learning to love Nashville and urban farming. She already loves Jesus, hot tea, good books, and bacon. She processes the world by writing and blogs about the adventure of growing up and what she’s learning about justice at http://www.bethanywinz.com. She grew up in Orlando, Florida, with her parents and her brother.

Susanna Foth Aughtmon is the author of All I Need Is Jesus and a Good Pair of Jeans, My Bangs Look Good and Other Lies I Tell Myself, and I Blame Eve. She coauthored A Trip around the Sun with New York Times bestselling author Mark Batterson and Richard Foth. A pastor’s wife and mother of three, Susanna assists her husband, Scott, in various ministries at the church they planted in Redwood City, California, and blogs about life’s adventures at http://www.tiredsupergirl.com

My Thoughts

This is an amazing story and challenge to the reader to become proactive in your personal fights for others. It is also eye opening in that many do not understand one championing for a cause, and that taking a stand in not always easy. I recommend this book, especially to young women.

Thank you to Baker Books for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

rea51jFA9AuDzL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she’s hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.

Seth Sloane didn’t move three thousand miles to work on his uncle’s B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian–and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.

The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just three months will take everything they’ve got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?

Step into the Red Door Inn, a lovely home away from home tucked along the north shore of fabled Prince Edward Island. It’s a place where the wounded come to heal, the broken find forgiveness, and the lonely find a family. Won’t you stay for the season?

About The Author

Liz Johnson is a full-time marketing specialist for a Nashville-based publisher. She has been a freelance writer and editor for several publications, including CBA Retailers+Resources, Christian Fiction Online magazine, and Storytellers Journal. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she is the author of several books, including The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn (an ACFW Carol Award finalist) and A Star in the Night, which was part of the New York Times and ECPA bestselling A Log Cabin Christmas Collection. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

My Thoughts

This beautiful book cover accurately depicts the beautiful story inside. I used to vacation in this area, and the author did a wonderful job of capturing the costal atmosphere. I encourage you to grab a copy for your summer reading.

I received this book from Revell in exchange for this review.

Would A Worm Go On A Walk? by Hannah C. Hall

“Would a worm go on a walk, if you could lead him down the street? / Would he wear his tiny tennies, if he had two worm-sized feet?”

So begins this humorous and imaginative picture book that introduces children to the idea that animals are uniquely created by a loving and wise God. Would a Worm Go on a Walk?, with its colorful, comical illustrations, is a fresh, fun way to teach young children that God created all things very good. He gave all the animals, and children, too, wonderful qualities and unique strengths. Children will giggle over the ridiculous scenarios presented, and they will come away with the knowledge that we all are loved and special. Ages 4-7.

About The Author

Hannah C. Hall is the author of bestselling children’s books, including God Bless You and Good Night, God Bless Our Christmas, and God Bless Our Fall, as well as an award-winning blog, HannahCHall.com.Hannah lives in Arkansas,with her husband, Josh, a worship pastor, and their four children.

Busy Busy by Eileen Spinelli

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Sometimes, when life gets hectic and schedules get crowded, children may feel a little lost in the shuffle. In this new board book, the animals are all quite occupied. Beaver is busy; squirrel is busy; frog is busy. Mole is digging, bear is fishing, and cat is pouncing. And like many parents, Mama is busy too. But she’s not too busy for a hug! Children will love the busy animals and the warm conclusion. This lighthearted, lyrical book will gently reassure children that, in spite of how busy their families are, there is always time to share love. Ages 2-5.

About the Author

Eileen Spinelli is the author of numerous children’s books, including Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, God’s Amazing World, and Two to Cuddle. Eileen lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

My Thoughts

This hard page book will give the reader an opportunity to read a dear story and also review names of animals and colors. It is a teaching tool, showing how animals work. It is also a gentle reminder that Mom always has time for her children, no matter how much she needs to get done. I highly recommend this beautiful book for your little one, to give as a gift, or to place in a local preschool or church nursery.

Thank you to the author and Worthy for a copy in exchange for this honest review.

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

honeststo Revelllook forwardit is spookyFourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. That secret’s name is Annabel Lee Truckson, and even she doesn’t know why her mysterious uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely-controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Above ground, a former Army sniper called The Mute and an enigmatic “Dr. Smith” know about the girl. As the race begins to find her, the tension builds. Who wants to set her free? Why does the other want to keep her captive forever? Who will reach her first?

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill need to piece together the clues and stay alive long enough to retrieve the girl–before it’s too late.

With its stunning writing and relentless pace, Annabel Lee will captivate readers from the first page.

About the Author

Mike Nappa is an entertainment journalist at PopFam.com, as well as a bestselling and award-winning author with more than one million books sold worldwide.

After publishing the suspense novel, ANNABEL LEE, several readers asked Mike if it was “too violent” for religious readers. Unable to answer the question on his own, Mike assembled a fiction round-table with Ted Dekker, Lynette Eason, and Vicki Crumpton to talk it over. Read their conversation at: http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Books/Whats-Too-Violent-for-Christian-Readers.aspx.

Learn more about Mike at: http://nappaland.com

My Thoughts

If it has been awhile since you read a spooky, creepy, page turner, this is your next book! It is not overly violent, so the teen in your life will enjoy this story line, but it is spooky, as in Edgar Allen Poe “spooky.” It kept my up til 2 am on a work night, but I just couldn’t put it down!

The characters are eclectic, strong, and vivid. Told in the third person, the chapter’s focus on one character’s feelings, views, feelings, makes this story less complex.

The questions posed to the readers in the first chapter, namely, “who is Annabel Lee, how did she end up living with Uncle Truck, and where did he come from?” are all answered. The conclusion was a total surprise and unexpected.

I look forward to the next Coffey & Hill thriller. Thanks to Revell for a copy in exchange for this honest review.

The 30 Day Faith Detox by Laura Harris Smith

51sA7470ZjL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_In our fallen world, invisible toxins like doubt, disappointment, and discouragement can contaminate even the strongest of faiths, leaving behind symptoms that affect our entire being–body, mind, and spirit.

Using a one-month detox structure, spiritual wellness expert and certified nutritional counselor Laura Harris Smith uncovers 30 universal faith-toxins that affect us all. Each day you will discover Scripture, prayers, and faith declarations to cleanse yourself spiritually and emotionally with truth and a biblical perspective. In addition, she includes a simple, corresponding nutritional cleanse using detoxifying foods from your own kitchen.

Prayer by prayer, thought by thought, day by day, refresh and refuel your faith and bring healing to the whole temple–spirit, mind, and body.

About the Author

Laura Harris Smith is a certified nutritional counselor and the founding co-pastor of Eastgate Creative Christian Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Chris. Mentoring young writers all over the world in her online creative writing classes (LauraHarrisSmith.com), she is a playwright, poet, actress, media dynamo, was a TV host on the Shop at Home Network and is the author of multiple books. Laura and Chris have been married for 32 years and have six children, eight grandchildren and reside near Nashville, Tennessee.

Having always had one foot in ministry and one in media, Laura speaks and ministers internationally and is known for bringing a light-hearted look at the heaviest of life’s topics. To book Laura to speak, go to http://www.LauraHarrisSmith.com

Laura’s last book, “Seeing the Voice of God: What God is Telling You Through Dreams and Visions” rose to the top of Amazon’s Best Sellers List and held the #1 spot in several Christian Categories, with its Kindle version alongside it as #2 on the list.

Married for 32 years, Chris and Laura have 6 children and a growing list of grandchildren that now outnumbers the kids.

My Thoughts

While this book contains a lot of information on good health, I felt it was more about a 30 day detox, rather than 30 days to strengthen your faith.  It would take  lot to tackle this plan.  Because of the side effects, I do not know if one could continue to work and do this cleanse. I would strongly suggest that all who attempt this cleanse, first talk to their physician and get their input on any health risks.

This book was provided by Chosen.

Room For Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer

51xipIDZQTL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_In a desperate time, can Neva find forgiveness for a grievous wrong—and make room for hope?

Neva Shilling has a heavy load of responsibility while her husband travels to neighboring communities and sells items from his wagon. In his absence, she faithfully runs the Shilling Mercantile, working to keep their business strong as the Depression takes its toll, and caring for their twins.

When a wagon pulls up after supper, Neva and her children rush out—and into the presence of the deputy driving a wagon carrying three young children. The deputy shocks her with the news that Warren and his wife have died, insisting it was their last request that the three children go live with “Aunt Neva.”

Neva’s heart is shattered as she realizes that Warren’s month-long travels were excuses for visits with his secret family. She wants nothing more than to forget Warren, but can she abandon these innocent children to an orphanage? Yet if she takes them in, will she ever be able to see them as more than evidence of her husband’s betrayal and love them the way God does?

About the Author

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the highly acclaimed, best-selling author of gentle stories of hope such as What Once Was Lost and Through the Deep Waters. With more than one million books in print, Kim has garnered numerous awards including the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. She lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband Don. She enjoys travel, quilting, and spending time with her daughters and grandchildren.

My Thoughts

At every bend and turn, this novel will keep you guessing and wanting more of this amazing plot.  This is a fantastic story, with a believable plot.  The actions of Neva will have you asking yourself, “Could I do the same?”

The ending was not what I expected.  It was better! I highly recommend this book as your next reading.  It will keep you glued, up at night, and rooting for Neva in every chapter.

Thank you to the author and Waterbrook Press for a copy in exchange for this review.

Taking A Break To Consider

I have has some traumatic life changes of late and am struggling to keep up with the review process. I am taking an undetermined break to decided if I will continue reviewing.  I will finish the books I agreed to review and exit.  The blog will remain but comments will be closed. Thank you for your visits and understanding.

Mrs. C

 

Bible Quotes of Thanks, Love, and Peace by Ms. E. Medinilla

61j5db9jWxL._SX394_BO1,204,203,200_Ms. E Medinilla has over 20 years of teaching experience, and is also an entrepreneur/business owner. She has a successful business in Los Angeles, CA which she and her husband have run for over 10+years.

If you wish to see videos for samples of some of her work in her coloring books, watch them on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyMy0It8pI7mMAjC9mRCS8g

She is the author of 10+ books on topics ranging from Self Help, coloring books, and children’s books. Twelve of her books can be found on Amazon under Ms. E Medinilla.

Ms. E Medinilla has been dabbling in art from a very young age. She loves being creative and enjoys drawing, paintin, and sewing. She finds design and color fascinating!

She may be reached via her business website: http://maacbooks.com
Or join she on Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/maacbooks/

My Thoughts

This beautiful book was sent to me by the author.  I have seen similar books, but none that shared positive Scripture designs as this book.  Many have said that these coloring books calm and relieve stress and center the mind.  The author states that this is yoga for the brain.

As a mother of disabled sons, I continually seek tasks and activities that will increase their fine motor skills.  If you have an adult disabled family member, one who is recovering from a stroke, or needs to fine tune fine motor skills, please consider this book.  The illustrations not only minister to the soul, but the mind and body.  You will find your completed work beautiful for framing.

Thank you to the author for a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

By The Hands of Men, Book Two: Into The Flames by Roy M. Griffis

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Charlotte Braninov, traumatized by loss and her service as a frontline nurse, returns to war-torn Russia to find her family. Captured by the Red Army, she exchanges one hell for another. Her still-loyal Lieutenant, Robert Fitzgerald, believing the woman he loves is dead, struggles to recover from the ravages of combat and typhus. In a desperate bid to rediscover himself, he commits to serve his country as a pawn in distant Shanghai. Forging their destinies in a world reeling after The Great War, Charlotte and Robert will learn anew the horror and the beauty the hands of men can create when they descend into the flames.

About the Author

Born in Texas City, TX, the son of a career Air Force meteorologist. Attended a variety of schools at all of the hot spots of the nation, such as Abilene, Texas and Bellevue, Nebraska.

Sent to my grandparent’s house in Tuscon, Arizona when things were tough at home. I was pretty lost, as my grandparents were largely strangers to me. My older brother, a more taciturn type, refused to discuss what was going on. Fortunately, like so many kids before me, I was rescued by literature. Or, at least, by fiction. In a tiny used bookstore that was just one block up from a dirt road, I discovered that some good soul had unloaded his entire collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” series in Ballantine Paperback. Moved by some impulse, I spent my RC Cola money on the first book, “A Princess of Mars.”

I think what struck me was how these books were possessed of magic: they were able to transport me far from this dusty land of relatives who I didn’t know and relatives pretended not to know me to another dusty land of adventure, heroism, nobility, and even love. It was the first magic I’d encountered that wasn’t a patent fraud, and when I closed the stiff paperback with the lurid images on the cover, I decided it was the kind of magic I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to mastering. And, thus, I was saved.

Along the way, I’ve done the usual starving artist jobs. Been a janitor, a waiter, a clerk in a bookstore. I was the 61st Aviation Rescue Swimmer in the Coast Guard (all that Tarzan reading wasn’t wasted). I’m also not a bad cook, come to think of it.

Currently, I’m a husband, father, and cat-owner. I’m an avid bicyclist and former EMT. I live in Southern California with my lovely wife. My friends call me “Griff,” my parents call me “Roy,” and my college-age son calls me “Dadman.” It’s a good life.

By the Hands of Men, Book Three: “The Wrath of a Righteous Man” will be released in May, 2016.

My Thoughts

The second book in this series begins at the place the first ends.  Whereas the first book seemed to concentrate on the story of Charlotte, this story focused on the life of Robert.  While this plot does not move as quickly, it is still as intense with emotion.

Mr. Griffis paint a portrait of this time in history, the despair, the longing, and the struggle just to survive physically, emotionally, and mentally.  While historically detailed, this novel will also appease those readers who love adventure, romance, and espionage.

I so look forward to the third book in this series to be released in May, 2016.  Once again, this author has captured my attention, my time, and my loyalty.

Thank you to Roy M. Griffis for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

51+RCcjX7GL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Remko Brant had never been so sure of anything as escaping the Authority City with Carrington Hale. But bravado comes easy when you have nothing to lose. Now a husband, father, and the tactical leader of the Seers, Remko has never had so much at risk.

As he and his team execute increasingly dangerous rescue missions inside the city, they face growing peril from a new enemy. Recently appointed Authority President Damien Gold claims to be guiding a city shaken by rebellion into a peaceful, harmonious future. But appearances can be deceiving. In order to achieve his dangerous ambitions, Gold knows he must do more than catch the rebels―he must destroy the hope their message represents . . . from the inside out.

With dissension in his own camp―and the CityWatch soldiers closing in―Remko feels control slipping through his fingers. To protect those he loves, he must conquer his fears and defeat Gold . . . before one of them becomes his undoing.

 

About the Author

pic_lg_Dekker_RachelleThe oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. The Choosing is her critically acclaimed debut novel. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her online at rachelledekker.com

Author Q&A

1. The Calling is the second book in The Seer Series. Does it pick up right after The Choosing leaves off?
No, a year and a half has passed when we rejoin the characters in The Calling

2. This book is written from Remko’s perspective. Did you face any challenges writing from a male point-of-view?
There was definitely a looming pressure as I started to write the book. As a woman writer, I wanted to make sure Remko felt masculine and authentic, so I was constantly aware of how he sounded, and how he reacted. Once I got into a flow with his character though, it started to feel more familiar I didn’t have to think about it as much.

3. Remko struggles with his anger often throughout the book. Is this expression of anger connected to his fears? If so, how?
Anger is just a natural reaction to the circumstances Remko faces. Sometimes being afraid can stir up anger because it makes us feel weak or out of control. This is definitely true for Remko in The Calling.

4. Do you think men and women express and handle fear differently? If so, how?
I believe people handle fear differently, and that gender doesn’t always play a role. I believe more often than not we are all the same, and that we should be encouraged that we never really face anything alone.

5. In the book you talk a lot about surrendering to fear. What does this look like and how does this help us to not be afraid?
I think sometimes the natural reaction to fear is to hide from it, or try and push it away. It’s the idea that if we can’t see it then it must not be there, but we all know that unless dealt with the unseen things often come back to bite us. The only way to face fear is to walk through it; surrendering to Father God and letting Him reminder us of our true identity. Only then do we really see that the light within us is always greater than the fear we face.

6. Carrington struggles with the pain that comes from watching Remko miss the Truth that was so clear to her. What encouragement would you give to others that have loved ones who do not yet share their faith?
Everyone needs to take the journey. For some, truth comes more easily, and others have to struggle to see it. It can be incredibly hard to watch someone you love miss the truth right in front of them, but don’t forget that the Father is still God, and He holds them in His hand. So love those that struggle restlessly and trust that the Father is ever-present, even in the darkness.

7. The theme of identity from The Choosing continues in The Calling. Carrington reminds herself, “When you know who you truly are, you realize there is no war left to fight at all.” How does this statement apply to our Christian faith? 8. Do you relate to any of the characters in The Calling in terms of how you’ve faced and handled fear in your life? How so?
For me this is simply a reminder that God is still God. Regardless of my circumstance or how I view the world, the Father is constant and hasn’t changed. He has already won the fight, already conquered death, already set me free. It’s only when I forget who He calls me and who He is that I feel the need to fight against life instead of surrendering to Him and letting Him be God.

8. Do you relate to any of the characters in The Calling in terms of how you’ve faced and handled fear in your life? How so?
Of course, every character I write ends up having some reflections of things I’ve faced personally. You can only write what you know, as they say. I, very much like Remko, have the tendency to be in “my head” too much when faced with fear, and I struggle to let go of the need for control and simply surrender. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to write this story.

9. What do you hope readers will take away from the story?
I hope they take a moment to see themselves as children of the Father. I hope they see that true freedom and fearlessness rest in surrendering, and that when they stand with the Father than nothing can stand against them. There is incredible peace in that truth, and I hope, like I am beginning the experience, that readers feel that same peace.

10. What can readers expect in the final book of the series?
Characters they know and some new ones I hope they’ll love! More questions of identity, and fear, but the characters will also be looking at forgiveness and letting go. I’m really happy with the way the final book played out, and I’m hoping readers will be as well.

My Thoughts

When I heard this author’s last name, my curiosity peaked.  She is an excellent writer, but do not compare her to her father.  Her style and plot approach is vastly different.  In her skill as a writer, the apple did not fall far from the tree.

This novel, while part of a series, stands alone.  It will suck you into the futuristic time warp and into the fear of the main character. This story reminded me of The Hunger Game series, with a Spiritual addition or twist.  The rebellion of society to medically induced conformity was a captivating plot.  The loss Remko felt throughout this story was heart wrenching.

The theme throughout this story is that no matter how dark your situation, no matter how much fog distorts your view, the Father will shine through it all to show you the way out of your trouble.  This message is relevant to every believer and unbeliever who may read this book. I am looking forward to reading the third book in this series and discovering more from this talented writer.

Thank you to Rachelle Dekker and Tyndale for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

My Mother’s Quilts by Ramona Richards

61BWfOkZSxL._SX343_BO1,204,203,200_Rich, personal, sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, readers will find
their own lives reflected in the author’s memories and the lessons and
encouragements drawn from the quilters whose legacy lives on in their work.
Woven through it all is the message of God’s grace and faithfulness, as strong
as the bonds of the generations and as comforting as the oldest and softest quilt that your grandmother ever sewed. Beautiful, four-color photos of each quilt are included.

About the Author

Ramona Richards is an award-winning editor, writer, and speaker and has worked on staff with Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Rutledge Hill Press, and Ideals magazine. The author of nine books and a frequent contributor to devotional collections, Ramona has written sales training videos, feature film scripts, novels, gift books, Bible studies, biographies, cookbooks, and magazine articles. Her daughter, Rachel, has severe disablilities and is often featured as the heroine in Ramona s devotions and magazine articles. An avid live music fan, Ramona loves Nashville, which she’s called home since she was ten. She can be found online at ramonarichards.com

My Thoughts

If you love all things quilts, this book will be a treasure in your hands!  It is a devotional of the author’s personal stories, beginning with a scripture verse, and ending with a prayer.  The devotionals also include beautiful photos of quilts and the artists who designed and stitched them.

This devotional book would be perfect to give as a gift or as the study/share text of your quilting circle, ladies small group, or as a treat for your best quilter friend.  The devotions will be a source of daily inspiration as you gain wisdom piece by piece.

Thank you to Worthy Inspired for a free copy in exchange for this honest review.

By The Hands of Men, Book One: The Old World by Roy M. Griffis

51kNawguR5L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Lieutenant Robert Fitzgerald has managed to retain his sanity, his humanity, and his honor during the hell of WWI’s trench warfare. Charlotte Braninov fled the shifting storm of the impending Russian Revolution for the less-threatening world of field camp medicine, serving as a nurse in the most hopeless of fronts. Their friendship creates a sanctuary both could cling to in the most desperate of times. Historical fiction about life, loss, and love, By the Hands of Men explores the power that lies within each of us to harm – or to heal – all those we touch.

About the Author

Born in Texas City, TX, the son of a career Air Force meteorologist. Attended a variety of schools at all of the hot spots of the nation, such as Abilene, Texas and Bellevue, Nebraska.

Sent to my grandparent’s house in Tuscon, Arizona when things were tough at home. I was pretty lost, as my grandparents were largely strangers to me. My older brother, a more taciturn type, refused to discuss what was going on. Fortunately, like so many kids before me, I was rescued by literature. Or, at least, by fiction. In a tiny used bookstore that was just one block up from a dirt road, I discovered that some good soul had unloaded his entire collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” series in Ballantine Paperback. Moved by some impulse, I spent my RC Cola money on the first book, “A Princess of Mars.”

I think what struck me was how these books were possessed of magic: they were able to transport me far from this dusty land of relatives who I didn’t know and relatives pretended not to know me to another dusty land of adventure, heroism, nobility, and even love. It was the first magic I’d encountered that wasn’t a patent fraud, and when I closed the stiff paperback with the lurid images on the cover, I decided it was the kind of magic I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to mastering. And, thus, I was saved.

Along the way, I’ve done the usual starving artist jobs. Been a janitor, a waiter, a clerk in a bookstore. I was the 61st Aviation Rescue Swimmer in the Coast Guard (all that Tarzan reading wasn’t wasted). I’m also not a bad cook, come to think of it.

Currently, I’m a husband, father, and cat-owner. I’m an avid bicyclist and former EMT. I live in Southern California with my lovely wife. My friends call me “Griff,” my parents call me “Roy,” and my college-age son calls me “Dadman.” It’s a good life.

By the Hands of Men, Book Three: “The Wrath of a Righteous Man” will be released in May, 2016.

My Thoughts

About the time I discovered my grandfather’s role in WWI, I received a request from this author to review this beautiful novel set during The Great War.  Author Roy Griffis has the rare talent of writing vividly descriptive narrative which places the reader inside the scene as a nonparticipating character.  His impeccable research has allowed this novel to be compared to Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms.

This novel begins on the battlefield during the Christmas Day truce, and takes off like a bullet thereafter.  Charlotte, a nurse, physically cares for Robert, an officer, man of mystery, and eventually emotionally cares for him.  Charlotte longs for him, and he her, the only bright spot in their war.  Eventually, they part, but not their hearts.  Even in deepest despair, Robert remembers the giver of a cross he wears around his neck.

I appreciate the author sharing the graphic gore of this war without the vulgarity.  If you are a romantic, lover of history, and appreciate great writing which could be described as classic, you will enjoy this excellent work.  I have the sequel to The Old World at my side, ready to open as soon as I complete this review.  I also look forward to the third book in this series to be published this year.

Bravo, Mr. Griffs!  Thank you for a copy in exchange for my review.

 

 

The Gift of Friendship by Dawn Camp

51H1JtiTy1L._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_Whether next door or in the next time zone, our friends provide some of our most important relationships. We cherish time spent with them, bemoan time spent apart, and look forward to the next time we can have coffee or rush to greet them as they walk toward our door. And nothing warms our hearts like stories of true friendship.

Collecting over fifty true stories from some of today best writers, Dawn Camp offers readers a chance to sit back and experience the gift of friendship. With its beautiful photographs and poignant prose, this collection is a great gift for a dear friend and the perfect pick-me-up any time you need a boost. Contributors include Crystal Paine, Liz Curtis Higgs, Tsh Oxenreider, Myquillyn Smith, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Lisa-Jo Baker, Jessica Turner, Lysa TerKeurst, Bonnie Gray, Holley Gerth, Renee Swope, and many more.

About the Author

Dawn Camp is the camera-toting, homeschooling mother of eight children and the editor of The Beauty of Grace. She is also a featured blogger at (in)courage, and her beautiful photography previously graced their monthly calendar and currently decorates the desktops of women around the world. Camp blogs at MyHomeSweetHomeOnline.net and is a featured photographer on Adobe’s website for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software. She lives with her family in north metro Atlanta.

My  Thoughts

This gorgeous book is a gift to the giver and the receiver.  Whether you want to treat yourself, your best friend, or a special lady in your life, this book will bless those who read it.  It is divided into these areas of devotion :

  • Building Community
  • It Takes A Friend To Be A Friend
  • Pursuing Friendship
  • Hospitality
  • Friendship On Purpose
  • What I Learned About Friendship From My Family
  • Vulnerability
  • Making A Difference
  • Old Friends
This devotional would make a perfect study text for your church women’s group, a home small group, or as a Mother’s Day or birthday gift.  I highly recommend this book to the ladies in your life.  They will love you for it!
Thank you to Dawn Camp and Revell for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Bedtime Snuggles by Patricia Reeder Eubank

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As the sun slowly sinks in the nighttime sky, baby farm animals of all shapes and sizes snuggle up with their mamas for a good night’s sleep. Little ones will love the cozy animals and the sweet conclusion-a mother rocking her child to sleep. Patti Eubank’s expressive rhyming text is paired with her finely detailed illustrations to create a board book that is perfect for bedtime reading. It doesn’t get any sweeter than this! Ages 2-5.

About the Author

Patricia Reeder Eubank has written and illustrated many titles for Ideals Children’s Books, including Seaman’s Journal, Just Where You Belong, and ABCs of Halloween. Patricia’s love of animals shines through on nearly every page of each book she has illustrated. She lives in the Santa Ynez Valley of California with her family and their many animals.

My Thoughts

This beautiful hardback book is just darling! The subject matter is bedtime.  What better way to get your little one prepared for a good night’s sleep!  Because the pages are firm, this book will endure a lot of wear and tear from little hands.

Written as poetry, the words are lyrical, as a song, further aiding sleep.  The beautiful illustrations could also be used as an educational to identify animals, colors, and counting.  I know this book will become a favorite with your bedtime bunch!

I received this book from Worthy Publishing in exchange for this honest review.

On Lone Star Trail by Amanda Cabot

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When TJ Benjamin’s wife died, he lost more than his best friend; he lost his faith. He’s spent the past year wandering the country on a motorcycle, trying not to think about his future. When he finds himself stranded with a busted bike and a reluctant rescuer, he has to wonder about God’s sense of humor.

Can this woman without a future and this man running from his past find romance in the present? Or are they too tied to the way life used to be?

About the Author

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, Christmas Roses, At Bluebonnet Lake, and In Firefly Valley. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at http://www.amandacabot.com

My Thoughts

This is a sweet story of romance.  Although I feel it moves too fast, if you are a romantic at heart, you will love this book. I received this book from Revell in exchange for this review.

Your Story Matters by Emra Smith

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We all have stories. Our big stories reveal the direction of our lives and all the things that inherently make up who we are, our personalities, skills, beliefs, fears, longings and experiences. But life is filled with our little stories as well. The everyday happenings that slip by almost unnoticed. It is the accumulation of our little stories that form our big stories. Here we are molded and prepared for the big things.

Do you believe that God is in all your stories? Do you know that your story matters because you matter to Him?

Let Him unwrap all you’ve hidden away, untie what holds you back, discard the unnecessary, keep the treasure, and remodel what is left. Will you allow God the honor to gently unlock your heart, story by story?

About the Author

Emra Smith is known as the inspirational challenger and is a Speaker, Author, Corporate Trainer and Life Coach for leaders to facilitate change. Emra is a Certified Coach through Coach Training Alliance. She has successfully completed Licensure and Specialty-Certification as a New Life Story® Wellness Coach. Her expertise in the psychology and neuroscience of coaching extends her considerable experience in Life Coaching. Emra is also a Facilitator for Identity & Destiny – Discovering God’s Purpose for your Life.

Emra started speaking and teaching as a teen in her church and continued to do so throughout her Marketing & Sales career. She became a Corporate Trainer in the Hospitality Industry and further specialized in Customer Service and various Human Resource training. Emra speaks to many various organizations, churches and wins numerous ribbons and contests at Toastmasters.

Emra started her own business and has differentiated herself through her unique and powerful inspirational speaking which is poured into any given topic or training. As the owner of her own training, speaking and coaching business, Emra brings her unique and powerful inspirational speaking style to every topic or training she delivers.

Emra facilitates discovering God’s purpose for your life and success strategies for daily living through her 5 life changing challenges. She loves working with leaders as she understands the needs and dynamics of leadership. Emra is passionate about assisting women who go through financial crisis in times of transition.

Emra’s story of living in God’s purpose for her life, as well as the stories of many inspiring women are told through her blog, in-box magazine and soon to be published book, Teatime Stories of Savannah. These are stimulating stories to stir your soul that will inspire you to be more, live more in your God-given purpose.

My Thoughts

In the first chapter of this book, the author shares her painful, heart wrenching testimony of how God brought her though childhood abandonment, loneliness, failed marriage, and restoration.

The following book is powerful encouragement to tell your story, pointing to God in the details of your life.  It is a short book which could be read on your lunch break, waiting for an appointment, or as a week of supplemental devotional material. I encourage you to read this little book if you feel an urging to share your life’s story with others through pen or speech.

Thank you to the author and Book Crash for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

A Sweet Misfortune by Maggie Brendan

51UPmbMLReL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Rachel Matthews isn’t one to rely on others to take care of her. Destitute and alone, she still wants to make her own way and her own money–even if she’s forced into the life of a dance hall girl. Horrified by her circumstances, Rachel’s brother sends a friend–the widely admired cattle baron John McIntyre–to rescue her, then sets off to earn enough money to buy back the family ranch. But when months pass without her brother’s return, Rachel isn’t sure she can take one more day in John McIntyre’s home–especially once she discovers that he’s the one who holds the deed to her family’s ranch.

Sparks fly between this spunky, independent heroine and the ruggedly handsome hero as they navigate the snarled terrain of pride, greed, faith, and love in Maggie Brendan’s delightful series set in the Old West.

About The Author

Maggie Brendan is the CBA bestselling author of the Heart of the West series and The Blue Willow Brides series, as well as The Trouble with Patience. Her books have received the Book Buyers Best Award from the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America and the Laurel Wreath Award. A member of the American Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, Georgia Romance Writers, and Author’s Guild, Maggie lives in Georgia.

My Thoughts

Maggie Brendan is one of my favorite authors. Her ability to write far exceeds many in her field.  She has the ability, talent, to bring characters to life allowing them to, at times, leap from the pages of the novel. Such were the characters in this novel, the second in the Virtues and Vices of the Old West series. I enjoyed every word.

When this story begins, Rachel is a saloon girl, dancing her way to independence, not relying on anyone for help. When her brother’s friend, John, a handsome, rich, very eligible bachelor, receives a letter from Preston, he urges John to rescue his sister.  John does so, and puts her to work.  As sparks fly between John and Rachel as the story progresses, so does the flame in the heart of every other girl in town.

When Rachel’s brother dies mid plot, he leaves her a strong box which holds the key to her independence, her future, and regaining a bit of her past. This book is a page turner, exciting, romantic, and suspenseful with a bit of humor…everything you could ask for in a novel!

I enjoyed the historical insight shared in this novel about Montana, ranching, and saloon girls.  Where as I often assumed that these women were prostitutes, I learned that they were mostly just women who needed a job, wives, daughters, and sometimes mothers, who waitressed and danced for a living.

I know you will enjoy the hours reading this captivating novel. Thank you to the author and Revell for a copy in exchange for this honest review.

21 Seconds To Change Your World by Dr. Mark Rutland

51q1zpXLSPL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_When an excruciating bout of depression led Dr. Mark Rutland to more deeply explore prayer, he came to understand its miraculous power for soul restoration. Prayer is a declaration of our Father’s compassion
toward us, a confession of our own inadequacy, and a reminder that he meets our daily needs.

As it turns out, these are the elements of prayer Jesus taught his disciples. Praying and meditating on the Lord’s Prayer changed Dr. Rutland’s life, and since then he has used it to restore others’ souls as well.

Filled with moving stories and powerful insights, this book will help you discover the truth about God’s love and power, and this truth will bless and heal you. In the end, it’s not just about saying the Lord’s Prayer–it’s about getting to know the Lord of the prayer.

About the Author

Dr. Mark Rutland is a pastor, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. He is president of the National Institute of Christian Leadership, preaches three times a month at Jentezen Franklin’s Free Chapel, and speaks 200 times a year. He is also a frequent guest on The 700 Club, TBN, James Robison, and 100 Huntley Street, and his radio program is the number one Christian teaching broadcast in Atlanta. Mark lives with his wife, Alison, in Atlanta, Georgia.

My Thoughts

When you don’t know how or what to pray, Psalm 23 and The Lord’s Prayer is a great place to start.  The author takes two powerful prayers, one by King David, and one by Jesus, an earthly great (several times over) grandson of King David, yet The King of Kings, and dissects them, studies them, and shows the reader the power of the words and message.  This book was birthed from one of the darkest times in Mark Rutland’s life, yet from his experience, and the experiences of many shared in its pages, light and healing can come from these prayers.

I highly recommend this book as a study for your group or ministry, personal study, or as a gift for one who is going through a difficult time, especially depression.  This message is timeless and needed in every generation.

Thank you to the author and Bethany House for a copy in exchange for this honest review.