Book Review: Sweet Mercy

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Book Description:

When Eve Marryat’s father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve’s uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.
St. Paul seemed like a haven for gangsters, and Eve had grown fearful of living there. At seventeen, she considers her family to be “good people.” They aren’t lawbreakers and criminals like so many people in her old neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a “safe haven,” Eve is blissfully unaware that her uncle’s lodge is a transfer station for illegal liquor smuggled from Canada.
Eve settles in to work and makes new friends, including an enigmatic but affecting young man. But when the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. How can she ignore what is happening right under their very noses? Yet can she risk everything by condemning the man whose love and generosity is keeping her and her family from ruin?

My Review:

This was an interesting book to read. It portrayed the dilemmas of prohibition from a young girl’s perspective.   The author is very descriptive and her characters are well-developed.  This is the first book I have read by this author, but I do like her style and hope to read more.  The story held my attention and I was anxious to read the outcome.  The is sure to be a favorite among Christian readers and would provide a lot of information and topics of discussion for a book group.  I would recommend this to fellow Christian fiction readers as the story does not disappoint.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers.  I was not obligated to write a positive review.  The opinions in this review are my own.

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Book Review: Anomaly

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Book Description:

Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds left to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid.

Thalli is different than others in The State. She feels things. She asks questions. And in the State, this is not tolerated. The Ten scientists who survived the nuclear war that destroyed the world above believe that emotion was at the core of what went wrong—and they have genetically removed it from the citizens they have since created. Thalli has kept her malformation secret from those who have monitored her for most of her life, but when she receives an ancient piece of music to record as her community’s assigned musician, she can no longer keep her emotions secreted away.

Seen as a threat to the harmony of her Pod, Thalli is taken to the Scientists for immediate annihilation. But before that can happen, Berk—her former Pod mate who is being groomed as a Scientist—steps in and persuades the Scientists to keep Thalli alive as a test subject.

The more time she spends in the Scientist’s Pod, the clearer it becomes that things are not as simple as she was programmed to believe. She hears stories of a Designer—stories that fill her mind with more questions: Who can she trust? What is this emotion called love? And what if she isn’t just an anomaly, but part of a greater design?

My Review:

This was a captivating novel of a future world.  Many books have been written on the topic, both fiction and nonfiction, but this one was unique to me.  I read it straight through, not wanting to put the book down at any time.  The author was very descriptive of the environment that the characters were living in and throughout the book there was this twist, where the reader is not sure if the character is in an actual reality or a setting in virtual reality.  In reading this book, you become a part of Thalli’s world.  To me that is a test of a wonderful book.  If I can read it and feel as if I am a part of the character’s environment or world, then I know it is a well written book.  Books of the future interest me and though this one was different, it was not so bizarre that it did not seem believable.  I like the way that the author introduced the Christian concepts and the role they played throughout the book.  In the book there is a virtual reality called “Progress” and as the book went on, I got the impression that Progress was perhaps Heaven and the afterlife.  I would be extremely interested if any one else reads this book, if you get the same impression.  That is never said or implied in the book, but it was just a sense as I read it.  I strongly urge you to read this book and I hope that you like it as much as I.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book for review from Booksneeze.com.  I was not obligated to write a positive review.  The opinions in this review are my own.  This book will be released on July 9, 2013.

Book Review: The Well

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About the Author:

Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.
Book Description:For the women of the Samaritan village of Sychar, the well is a place of blessing—the place where they gather to draw their water and share their lives—but not for Mara. Shunned for the many sins of her mother, Nava, Mara struggles against the constant threats of starvation or exile.

 

My Review:

I have read many books about the woman at the well, but this one tells the story from a social perspective including the lives of the children of an adulterous woman in that time.  Children were seen as property in those times and were not highly valued.  Landsem  has written the story from their perspective, drawing you in and hoping all along for the survival and safety.  While reading the novel, I felt as if I were living back in those times.  The author was very descriptive, giving the reader what seemed like an actual representation of what it would be like to live then.  Mara, the main character, has a hope in Jesus that is unfailing.  I love to read historical fiction that is based upon stories from the Bible.  For me, it brings the people to life and adds another whole perspective and dimension to the stories, giving them a deeper meaning and giving me a lasting impression.  If you enjoy Christian/ historical fiction,  I highly recommend this book.  You will not be disappointed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Howard Books for review.  I was not obligated to provide a positive review.  The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review: Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales

 

 

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Book Description:

Landon Reed is an ex-quarterback convicted of organizing a points-shaving scheme. During his time in prison, he found forgiveness and faith and earned his law degree. Now he longs for an opportunity to prove his loyalty and worth. “Be careful what you ask for.” Harry McNaughton is one of the founding partners of McNaughton & Clay–and the only lawyer willing to take a chance employing an ex-con-turned-lawyer. Though Landon initially questions Harry’s ethics and methods, it’s clear the crusty old lawyer has one of the most brilliant legal minds Landon has ever encountered. The two dive into preparing a defense for one of the highest-profile murder trials Virginia Beach has seen in decades when Harry is gunned down in what appears to be a random mugging. Then two more lawyers are killed when the firm’s private jet crashes. Authorities suspect someone has a vendetta against McNaughton & Clay, leaving Landon and the remaining partner as the final targets. As Landon struggles to keep the firm together, he can’t help but wonder, is the plot related to a shady case from McNaughton & Clay’s past, or to the murder trial he’s neck-deep in now? And will he survive long enough to find out?

 About the Author

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned nine legal thrillers, including his award-winning debut novel “Directed Verdict.” In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as a teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his “Jekyll and Hyde thing”–part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and ethics at Regent Law School and serves on the school’s Board of Visitors. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his Web site at http://www.randysinger.net.

My Review:

I have read several of Randy Singer’s novels and they are always attention grabbing and fascinating to read.  His characters seem real and his novels have a twist and degree of complication that make them interesting to read.  His background as an attorney is apparent within his novels as he is very knowledgeable about the legalities and our court systems.  His novels never disappoint the reader and include an action packed plot and sometimes an unusual outcome.  In his novels, Singer incorporates a Christian theme with the drama and mystery of the plot and this novel is no different from his others in that regard.  Landon, the main character, has determination with a likable personality.  I would highly recommend this novel to those who like reading mysteries and thrillers with a Christian tone.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers for review.  I was not obligated to write a positive review.  The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review: Gone South

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Book Description:
The charm of the South drew her back to her family’s roots. But when the town’s old resentments turn the sweet tea bitter, can Tish find a welcome anywhere?

Leaving frosty Michigan for the Deep South was never a blip in the simple plans Tish McComb imagined for her life, dreams of marriage and family that were dashed five years earlier in a tragic accident. Now an opportunity to buy her great-great-great-grandparents’ Civil War era home beckons Tish to Noble, Alabama, a Southern town in every sense of the word. She wonders if God has given her a new dream— the old house filled with friends, her vintage percolator bubbling on the sideboard.

When Tish discovers that McCombs aren’t welcome in town, she feels like a Yankee behind enemy lines. Only local antiques dealer George Zorbas seems willing to give her a chance. What’s a lonely outcast to do but take in Noble’s resident prodigal, Melanie Hamilton, and hope that the two can find some much needed acceptance in each other.

Problem is, old habits die hard, and Mel is quite set in her destructive ways. With Melanie blocked from going home, Tish must try to manage her incorrigible houseguest as she attempts to prove her own worth in a town that seems to have forgotten that every sinner needs God-given mercy, love and forgiveness.

My Review:
A wonderful story of forgiveness with characters that you will love.  Each of the main characters have their own story of forgiveness that they must work trough while their lives are intertwined and last friendships are being made.  Tish believes she is beginning a new life in a new town, not realizing all the baggage that is attached to her name.  She had common motto throughout the book.  ” I am Leticia McComb, and no one can change that.”  Isn’t that true of our own lives?  We need to stand strong and not allow the opinions of other change who we are.   Tish takes on an unlikely roommate and changes her life around as well, giving her a chance to prove herself.  Again, because of our names or our relatives, we can be judged harshly and Tish did not allow that to happen with her new friend.  She stood beside her when the entire town was ready to give up on her, including her own family.  The characters in this book exude persistence and love as they work toward forgiveness in their lives.  With all this going on, it was a very enjoyable read that kept my attention throughout.  I wanted to continue reading until the end and had a difficult time putting the book down.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book for review from Waterbrook Multnoma Publishers.  I was not obligated to provide a positve review.  The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review: Victim of Grace

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Book Description:

Robin Jones Gunn reveals poignant truths from her life as well as from the lives of women in the Bible as she flips the notion that we are at the mercy of circumstances. She asks, what if God has dreams for you? What if he is accomplishing those dreams in the midst of shattered hopes?

When life doesn’t go as expected, it’s easy to feel like a victim. We look at the events that have gone wrong and view our lives as impaired. What if we could see our future as God sees it? Would our view radically change if we understood we are indeed victims rather than of happenstance?

God, the Relentless Lover, has vigorously sought you. He has instilled dreams in your heart that are grander than you can imagine. But the route to their fulfillment often is through a path you wouldn’t seek.

What if God wants to take the hopes that tug at your heart and enliven them? Are you ready to live inside the mysterious joy of being a victim of grace?

My Review:

I have read other books by this author that were fiction and she writes enjoyable non-fiction as well as the fiction books she has written.  She has written several series books that are written to glorify God, using her words.  In this book, she writes about God’s gift of grace in our lives.  Each chapter deals with a different topic and includes stories from her own life as well as a the story of a biblical character that further explains what she is discussing.   From Ruth to Mary,  she has included several well known stories and gives her description of how God’s grace was involved.  The words flowed easily and was easy to read.   Many times it read as if the author was talking with me, which is consist with the author’s talent of story-telling.   It contained many scripture references as well as quotes from well-known persons.  I highly recommend this book to others as I don’t think you will be disaappointed.  I have read several books on grace and this one is within the top selections.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze.com for review.  I was not obligated to write a positive review.  The opinions in this review are my own.

 

 

Review of Cafe Chocolat Women’s Ministry Retreat Kit

Café Chocolat Women’s Ministry Retreat Kit and Resources

Does simply thinking about chocolate bring a smile to your face? Do you want to give women a time to slow down, enjoy time with friends, and grow closer to God? Welcome to Café Chocolat! The Café Chocolat Retreat kit is here to make it easy for you to plan and host a professional retreat

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With the release of Café Chocolat on May 1, Group Publishing will be introducing a singularly sweet package providing everything necessary to plan and lead an affordable, hassle-free and life-changing retreat for women in the church and community. Even down to its name, the retreat kit is designed to bring honor to God. “We chose to use chocolate as a metaphor for God’s grace,” explained Amy Nappa, who heads up the adult ministry resources team for Group. “Those participating will taste God’s goodness through in-depth Bible study, unforgettable worship and a host of fun activities designed to help them slow down, enjoy their time together and grow closer to Jesus.”

About Group Publishing: Far more than just a publisher of Christian ministry resources, Group Publishing is dedicated to offering products for group settings designed to help grow the participant’s relationship with Jesus. With a team made up of ministry experts known the world over, the company has a solitary mission to help church ministries succeed. From kids’ crafts to teen mission trips and from women’s retreats to men’s Bible studies, everything that Group offers is designed to bring participants closer to God.

Pursuing his dream to offer better tools for leading teens to Christ, Group Publishing founder Thom Schultz began the company in 1974 with the launch of GROUP Magazine, a resource periodical designed specifically for youth leaders, soon making Group’s name synonymous with youth ministry. It was not long afterward that Group decided to branch off into creating resources for children’s ministry. Soon the company was providing innovative VBS and children’s Sunday school programs and had successfully introduced Children’s Ministry Magazine. From there, creating resource materials for men’s and women’s ministries seemed a natural progression. Today, Group Publishing is recognized as a leader in the publishing of Christian resource materials for every age.

My Review:

Revewing a women’s ministry retreat kit is new for me.  With that being said, I will give my personal opinion.  If I were planning a women’s retreat on my own, this kit would contain al the resources that I would need to plan and have the retreat.  It is comprehensive, containing information for the attendee, as well as the planners, speakers , and all persons involved in the retreat.  In this small space, it is dificult for me to describe the entire kit.  If you would like to know more about the content then visit the website:   http://www.group.com/womens-ministry/retreats/cafe-chocolat.

The kit is contained in a compact box that is easy to carry and transport.  It had guides for the speakers, a music cd, a cd including printable items and information for the planners, as well as a dvd with instructional information as well.  If you have never planned a retreat, then you will find all that you need in this box.  The theme of the retreat seems to be based upon God’s grace and it encourages fellowship with other women, no matter the ages.  I would highly recommend this as a retreat planner.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this program for review.  I was not obligated to provide a positive review.  The opinions in this review are my own.