Sunday, June 30, 2013

Heaven Can Wait By: Cheryl St. John

I loved this book by Cheryl St. John. Just because you’re different doesn’t mean you don’t have worth. But, how far do you let pride take you before you realize it’s wrong? Lydia Baker notices Jakob Neubauer, an Outsider right before a fire breaks out in her bakery. He saves her and captures her heart in the process. Her father disowns her when she decides to marry Jakob against his wishes. Can she trust Jakob with her heart even though he’s an Outsider? Lydia must learn that just because someone is different, doesn’t mean something good can’t come from it. Can she be secure in Jakob’s love for her, or will she believe the lies someone tells her without thinking through what they’re saying? Will she let pride ruin what she has found with Jakob, or will she learn to trust her heart? Emily’s mother was always looked down on by the respectable women of the city. Then, she saw the ad in the newspaper that Anton Neubauer was looking for a bride. By marrying him she could now become respectable. She feels like she doesn’t fit in with his family, however. Instead of talking about her feelings, she lets pride get in the way and takes matters into her own hands, not realizing until it’s too late that her actions affect the people around her. Due to pride, Lydia’s father refuses to let her see her family. She must sneak back to see her mother and grandmother. His pride won’t let him accept Jakob for the man she loves. He punishes himself by letting pride rule. As events unfold, will he realize his mistakes or continue punishing those he loves? Jakob must teach Lydia how to love, as her family never touched or hugged. She doesn’t understand the feelings she has for her husband and thinks it is wrong to love him. Heaven Can Wait is a sweet story of finding and expressing love to the ones around you, and sometimes having to overcome pride to let their true feelings show. Always say I love you and be yourself. Don’t let pride rule your actions. Heaven Can Wait is a book I will read over and over.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Last Chance for Justice By Kathi Macias

If you love a great mystery, you will absolutely love this book! Kathi Macias tells a great story that hooks you in and keeps you reading. Sometimes change is good for us. However, Lynn Myers doesn’t like change, or surprises. She must learn to lean on God in the midst of the changes occurring in her life. Thirty-five years ago she left her hometown to get married. First her husband dies and now her brother has died, and Lynn and her daughter Rachel must return to her hometown to settle his estate. But, what happens when her daughter decides she might want to stay? Can they solve the mystery Lynn’s brother was working on before he died? The characters in this book come to life and you’ll want to live in this hometown. Rachel meets John the youth pastor and Hayden the accountant. Both want her attention. Can they help solve the mystery of the missing money? I would love to read more in this series! Does Rachel decide to stay here to live? Will Lynn move back as well? Pick up this great book, Last Chance for Justice by Kathi Macias. See if you can solve the mystery before Lynn and Rachel do!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jennifer By Dee Henderson

The O’Malleys are a series by Dee Henderson. This book, Jennifer, is the story behind the story of Jennifer O’Malley. She is part of a family known as the O’Malleys who grew up in an orphanage and became a family. I now want to go back through and reread the series! Jennifer is amazing, loving, hard-working, and curious about God, now that Tom Peterson has introduced them. Jennifer is a pediatric oncologist who works with children who have cancer. She is their rock and their hope in a scary time. But what will happen when Jennifer experiences that same dark time? Will her fledgling faith have enough roots to support her? Will she let Tom stay and help her or will she push him away? If you enjoy the O’Malley series or if this is your first introduction, you will love this book!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Son John By Kathi Macias

How well do you really know someone? Even your own family? My Son John is a haunting tale of a mother’s worst nightmare. Liz Peterson receives word that her mother has died. But there’s more. She finds out that she was murdered. After the police question her and her family, Liz finds out that her son John has been arrested for the crime. Life as she has known it ceases to exist. Where is God when tragedy strikes and everyone has deserted you and you feel so alone and incapable? How can Liz go on living life knowing her son has killed her mother? Can Liz continue to love her son in spite of his murderous act? Mercy, grace, love, and hope resonant throughout this unforgettable story of forgiveness. My Son John should come with a warning. I cried, laughed, felt the mother’s pain, and absorbed the feeling of grace and forgiveness that just lifted off each page. Love no matter what, no matter how they turn out, no matter what they do, just keep on loving. What wonderful inspiration, and for it to come from Liz’s father who is in a nursing home and doesn't remember anyone was definitely word from God in Liz’s time of need. Isn’t this how God loves us? Unconditionally, no matter what. The whole time I was reading this book, the song Forgiveness by Matthew West played in my mind. I cannot wait to read more books by Kathi Macias. She does a superb job of intertwining Liz, her husband Charles, and their daughter Sarah’s reactions and journey from learning John has committed murder to acceptance and forgiveness. You must have faith—trust in God no matter what.

Monday, June 10, 2013

When Mockingbirds Sing By: Billy Coffey

Faith, sacrifice, hope, and loss are major elements in this story. The Rainbow Man speaks to Leah Norcross, a child. He sings to her and tells her to draw pictures. Why can’t anyone else see him? Can you believe something you can’t see? What if someone draws a picture? Does that make it any more real? Leah tries hard to make the people of Mattingly understand something is happening, but they won’t listen. They try to run her and her family out of town because of Leah’s drawings that she says the Rainbow Man told her to draw. Leah’s first drawing foretells something happening, and it comes to pass. The town minister, Reggie Goggins, fears God is speaking to her instead of through him. Then, her second drawing is filled with so much darkness, people don’t know whether to believe her, fear her, or dismiss her view of the future. Once you start this book, you won’t be able to put it down. You won’t even remember you’re reading a book. I felt like I was watching a Hitchcock or Stephen King movie. The characters come to life on the page and wrap you up in their story. Barney Moore and his wife Mabel are the first to experience Leah’s foretelling. But since that came true, does that mean the darkness in the second drawing will come true as well? Leah’s father, Tom Norcross, doesn’t believe in God, but then he sees something happen right before his eyes that makes him know Leah is telling the truth. But, how do you convince others of something they are afraid of, can’t see, and don’t want to hear about? Sometimes it’s the littlest among us that have the most faith. See how Leah changes a town with her faith while they suffer loss as the destruction engulfs them. Will the sacrifices some of the town members have to make give room to the faith they will need to overcome? Is the Rainbow Man God-like or is he something else? You’ll have to read the book to find out! I look forward to reading more stories by Billy Coffey! This was a great read and a definite read for anyone who loves suspense-filled novels with real characters and vivid descriptions. I received this book free from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Home Run By: Travis Thrasher

Cory Brand is a major league baseball player. He has run from his past to embrace a future that is slipping away from him. Cory can’t accept who he is based on his past and the circumstances that have made him the man he is today. His father was an alcoholic and had anger issues. That has passed down to Cory as well. He finds that you can’t hide from your past, but you can control how you react to your past. JT and Celebrate Recovery try to teach him how to forgive his past and to let God control his future. Will Cory Brand realize before it is too late that he is powerless without God, but with His help he can find a freedom from his pain and his habits? Or, will he lose the only things that matter to him, his family and his gift for hitting home runs? Cory and Emma dated in high school. When she told him she was pregnant, he jumped at his chance to play for the big leagues. Now, back home holds memories he can’t come home and face. The old barn when Cory’s father held batting practice, his brother Clay whom he tried protecting from his father’s anger, and the child he never saw. Travis Thrasher does an amazing job of portraying real-life characters that you can relate to and pull for. Habits can be hard to break; pain can be hard to accept. But with God, and taking it one day at a time, you can overcome. Home Run is filled with encouragement and support. Hearing the stories at the Celebrate Recovery meetings, reading the encouragements of God’s forgiveness and grace, and realizing these characters are not perfect—just like in real life—make this a must read book. Home Run will make you cry, laugh, sigh, gasp, and cheer from page one to the end. I look forward to reading more books by Travis Thrasher. I received this book from in return for my honest opinion.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Greater By: Steven Furtick

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book. I expected to be motivated to be more than I was before I read the book, but I didn’t know what that would entail. This book, Greater, has changed how I look at things. In the beginning, Furtick states, “I want you simply to ask the Lord, in this moment, to begin to open your eyes—by faith—and help you perceive that He has greater things in store for your future.” Do you know what God wants you to be doing for Him? Do you know the kind of life God has in store for you? If not, this book is for you. God is looking for people who are willing to listen to Him and move when He says. Are you willing? This book will show you how to have: The confidence to know that nothing is impossible with Him The clarity to see the next step He’s calling you to take The courage to do anything He tells you to do See the impossible become possible. Take the first step, and God will meet you there in ways you never expected. The study questions at the end make this a great study book for one on one study or a group study. I just wish I had found this book sooner. For confirmation, the very weekend I was reading this book, a preacher preached his sermon on the topic Good Enough. Topics in this book were brought out in his sermon. Yes, it is time for me to step out in faith and do what God has called me to do! Pick up this book today and watch your life be transformed in God.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Rare Earth By: Davis Bunn

Rare Earth is an adventurous page turner revealing what happens when once-obscure minerals are discovered in Africa. How far will the Chinese go to retain the monopoly on these rare earths? Marc Royce finds out—all the way. What does it mean to be a hero? For most, it is to be called a great man. For Marc Royce, it is the true meaning—sacrifice. He is brought in as an accountant to audit a relief organization in Africa at a Kenyan refugee camp. Serge Korban is a medical technician who has been kidnapped and is presumed dead. Kitra Korban is his sister and is a nurse. They were working together in Africa at this refugee camp when he was abducted. A conversation in the beginning between Royce and Kitra set up the novel, “Think about it. I have been inserted into a critical situation. After an investigation that has stretched across three continents. No matter how much you love your brother, even you have to accept that more is at stake than one man’s disappearance.” Once I read this sentence, I was hooked on the book and wanted to see what was going on. A volcano could erupt at any time. Who can Royce trust to figure out what is going and why and who is involved? Lodestone employees, camp officials, church elders, UN officials, who can be trusted? Royce must find out in order to put his plan into motion to save the refugees, their villages, and protect the rare earths from getting into the wrong hands. And all has to be accomplished before the clock stops ticking. After reading this book, I will be looking for more Davis Bunn books! If you enjoy a heart-stopping thriller with page turning action, you will love this book! The descriptions of the scene in the hotel room where Royce is hiding from his attackers, the story of the baobab tree, and the final phase of going after the enemy, are a priceless piece to the story and are a pleasure to see happening as I read the book. I received this book free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.