Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dead of Night

Title:  Dead of Night (Hidden Faces #3)
Author:  Brandilyn Collins
Pages:  457 (large type edition)
Year:  2005
Publisher:  Thorndike Press (large type)
Annie Kingston is back in this third installment of the Hidden Faces series.  This time she is tasked with drawing lifelike images of the murdered victims of a serial killer.  She also is still dealing with her son’s poor choices and behavior as he gets involved with drug dealers.  Her sister has also moved in with her to help her “babysit” her son.  She has a great deal of stress in her life and realizes the only way she can cope is with prayer.  She has dedicated at least ½ hour every day to reading her Bible and prayer so she can face the day and its challenges.  She also begins to realize her next door neighbor, Dave, is interested in more the friendship.  Is she ready for a relationship when her life has so much chaos?  As the murders become more frequent, Annie learns she knows one of the victims.  The killer is becoming more and more brazen.  Who will be next?  Can Annie do anything to stop this killer?
I couldn’t put this book down.  There was so much suspense, action and mystery in the plot I was hooked from the first page.  Having read the first two books in the series, coming in contact with the same characters again was like meeting old friends.  Annie is now such a strong woman of faith, so much more than she realizes.  I loved the emphasis on the power of prayer, especially as a weapon against evil and in the maturation of the relationship between God and His children.  I would recommend reading the first two books in the series before this one as they serve to introduce the characters in book one and then further develop them in book two.  This was a great book!
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In the Field of Grace

Title:  In the Field of Grace
Author:  Tessa Afshar
Pages:  290
Year:  2014
Publisher:  River North
I have read some of Tessa Afshar’s prior books and enjoyed them very much so when the chance came for me to get a copy of her latest book, I jumped at it!  This is a fictional account of the story of Ruth and Boaz from the Old Testament.
The story begins with Ruth meeting Naomi in Moab.  Readers see Ruth before her marriage to Mahlon and what her home life was like.  Ruth desperately wants someone to love her and finds this with her new husband and his family.  Then, disaster strikes and Ruth has a choice to make.  Her mother-in-law, Naomi, is going to return to her homeland.  She encourages Ruth to stay in Moab, her own homeland, but Ruth has nothing to keep her in Moab.  She has been a part of Naomi’s family, experienced love there and has gotten to know about their God.  She declares that Naomi’s God will now be her God and where Naomi goes, Ruth will go.  They set off for Bethlehem.
Once in Bethlehem, Ruth is treated as an outcast as she is a Gentile.  Boaz shows her kindness by allowing her to glean in his fields.  Without Ruth’s hard work she and Naomi will starve.  Ruth’s hard work, kindness and caretaking of Naomi are noticed.  Ruth and Boaz spend more time together and a romance begins.  There are trials to overcome and surrendering to the Lord’s will and timing.
I thought that the characters were just spot-on and could easily relate to their emotions and reactions.  I loved the side story of Dinah and Adin, and thought it wonderful to see Ruth given another chance to show her mercy, compassion, love and service toward others.  The love story of Ruth and Boaz was heart-warming.  The love shared between Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi was also gratifying to witness.  Ruth had such a servant’s heart for the Lord and other people.  She always thought of others first before herself.  She won over the women in the village by her actions.  She truly had a heart for God.  Boaz was also very compassionate and generous.  He was blessed by God and he shared his blessings with others.  This is an easy story to get lost in and has a wonderful journey toward a life given to service of God while having a happy ending!
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Murder Simply Brewed

Title:  Murder Simply Brewed (An Amish Village Mystery #1)
Author:  Vannetta Chapman
Pages:  352
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Zondervan
Amber Wright is the manager of an Amish artisan village of shops, inn and restaurant.  One of the shops is a coffee shop where visitors often go for their caffeine fix.  One morning the manager of the coffee shop, Ethan Gray, is found dead.  Amber must see to finding a replacement and feels responsible for the employee’s death while on her watch so to speak.  Then, there are some acts of vandalism that leave quotes from the Bible’s book of Daniel.  Do these incidents have anything to do with Ethan’s death?   Even though the death is ruled natural, there are nagging inconsistencies in some people’s behavior and actions that cause Amber, Hannah and Tate to think maybe the death as not so natural after all.
Amber hires Hannah, a young Amish woman, to take over managing the coffee shop.  Hannah hears some rumors among other workers and shares what she learns with Amber.  A friendship develops between the two women as they share clues they uncover.  Hannah also begins to notice her best friend Jesse has become a man while she wasn’t looking, and the two may have more than friendship in their future.  Amber shares her beliefs with local law enforcement, but without proof they don’t believe her.  She and Tate spend a lot of time together hashing over the clues they’ve gathered.  As the case comes to a head, Amber realizes she loves Tate and wants a future with him, but will she survive the culprit’s next attempt?
I really liked the romance that developed between Tate and Amber.  It was nice to see romance budding between two middle-aged people.  I also liked the mystery element of the story, although I think it got bogged down a little bit with many details about the village and its workings.  Maybe those with a love of all things Amish will find those details more interesting.  The advice dispensed by Hannah’s mother also was wise and biblical, which I really appreciated.  I look forward to the next mystery due to be released in December, titled, Murder Tightly Knit.
My rating is 4 stars.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sidetracked

Title:  Sidetracked
Author:  Brandilyn Collins
Pages:  301
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Challow Press in partnership with Christian Writers Guild Publishing
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from the author via www.bookfun.org
Brandilyn Collins does it again!  She has mastered the suspense genre and shows her expertise in Sidetracked.  With the clever use of flashback, readers get the history and background of Delanie Miller, the main character in the book.  She has settled in the small town of Redbud, Kentucky.  She longs for a man to love, marry and have a family with and seems to have found that man.  She is going home from a good friend’s wedding shower, when she discovers a dead body.  From this point on, she agonizes over whether to get involved in solving the crime or not.  If she becomes known to more than the people of her small town, the chances of her past being exposed increase exponentially.  Is she ready to give up the life she has carved out for herself?  Will her boyfriend understand her lying about her past?  Can she face getting involved with the police again?  Can she let an innocent person suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?
As the investigation and plot progress, Delanie’s past is put before readers as well as her present.  Readers relive the frustration, anger, unbelief at the lack of justice and bitterness she has experienced as well as deep depression.  Now, forced to face her past instead of burying it deep within puts extreme strain on Delanie’s mind and heart.  She reaches for the only One who can see her through this seemingly impossible situation.  She had turned away from God in bitterness in her past, but her soul eventually cried out for Him.  She began praying and trusting Him again and her life slowly improved.  Can she continue to trust Him with her life or will she again succumb to bitterness at the injustices she has suffered?
This is another great suspense-filled mystery by Brandilyn Collins.  The characters are easy to relate to and their life situations believable.  I loved the eccentric people Delanie collected to be the family she missed out on in the past.  I didn’t give too many details about the story because it would ruin the impact of reading it for yourself.  Don’t miss this great, attention-keeping novel!  I can’t wait for the next one!
My rating is 5 stars.
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Sidetracked-Jerry-Jenkins-Select-Books/dp/0578137062/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404334978&sr=1-1&keywords=sidetracked+by+brandilyn+collins
Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Stain of Guilt

Title:  Stain of Guilt (Hidden Faces #2)
Author:  Brandilyn Collins
Pages:  353
Year:  2004
Publisher:  Zondervan
After reading the first book in this series and finding it just so-so, I was hesitant to continue reading the series, but I’m so glad I did.  This second book takes place soon after book one, Brink of Death.  Annie has continued with her training to be a forensic artist by taking classes.
Annie Kingston is hired to draw a sketch of an alleged murder, who has been on the run for 20 years.  Her drawing will appear on a famous television show that hunts down wanted criminals.  In order to draw an accurate, age-accelerated image, Annie interviews people who worked the crime scene of the murders as well as family members of the victims and criminal.  While “getting inside the head” of this evil man in preparation for drawing him, Annie is also dealing with a delinquent teenage son.  Her son is involved with drugs and hanging out with the wrong crowd.  Annie also is dodging making a commitment to the Lord.  In the last book, she promised she would seek Him.  She has started going to church, taking her children, but won’t make the move to make Him Lord of her life.  She doesn’t want to give up control.
As Annie begins her interviews, she receives an anonymous threat.  She quickly involves Detective Chetterling, who was also the acting detective in the last book.  She refuses to bow to the threat and continues her interviews.  Then, she begins her drawing.  She is almost finished when she is kidnapped and held as a hostage.  She manages to escape and pledges to make God the Lord of her life.  New evidence is discovered for this 20-year-old case.   Annie realizes the truth about who is guilty of murder.  Will she be able to use this to prevent more violence?  Will she follow through on her promise to God?
This book seems to have lots more tension that builds up to a great climactic scene at the end of the story, which I thought made for a great story!  Annie is depicted as a single mother with real problems that anyone can relate to, which made her easy to identify with and care about.  Her journey to a saving faith also rang with truth.  The struggle to maintain control when at the end of your rope, wondering why you still want control of such a messy life was so real!  I’m looking forward to reading book three!!
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Lawman's Oklahoma Sweetheart

Title:  The Lawman’s Oklahoma Sweetheart (Bridegroom Brothers #3)
Author:  Allie Pleiter
Pages:  288
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Love Inspired
Are you like me, one who loves to sit down to read a good book that has a lot of action, adventure, perhaps even a smidgen of romance?  I love reading a lot from writers who share their stories and help audiences everywhere to get lost in the pages of book as taking a break from reality for just awhile can be like a fresh breeze.  Here is tale set in the late 1800s in Oklahoma.  The sheriff is a man who is pursuing evidence against a gang known as the Black Four.
These Black Four men are attempting through nefarious means to cause people to sell their land and vacate the premises immediately.  What first begins as cutting fences and running out livestock escalates to murder.  The members of the gang appear in public to be upstanding men, but in the dark of night they carry out their plans to remove landowners, then disappearing before anyone can recognize them.  Sherriff Clint Thornton along with Brave Rock citizen Lars Brinkerhoff hatches a plan to capture these dangerous men so the townspeople and ranchers can live in peace.  However, the plan they come up with is dangerous plus it calls for Lars to be dead, which is the hardest part of all lying to Lars sister Katrine along with the town folk.  The Sherriff’s brothers cannot even know of this plan for fear that the very men Clint must trap might overhear whispers of the truth that Lars is in hiding and very much alive.  Clint reluctantly tells Katrine of the plan only after she swears to tell no one, but he has to agree to let her write him and take the notes back and forth.
Historical stories are very captivating to me, especially when the characters have faith in the Lord along with facing difficult times, dangerous situations and also sweet moments.  Westerns are enjoyable to read and the author crafts a great story that kept me turning pages till I was done!  While romance is part of the story, there is more to the characters like their faith, making a living, and being part of a community.  Like most people I love to cheer for the good guys to win in the end, and the sacrifice from some of the characters in the tale reminds us of the cost of freedom.  I loved the twist in the storyline the author threw in when I least expected it!  That was great!
Don’t pass up the book!  In fact, if you’re like me, you would want to know the titles to the other two books in the series which are The Preacher’s Bride Claim and The Horseman’s Frontier Family.
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Horseman's Frontier Family

Title:  The Horseman’s Frontier Family (Bridegroom Brothers #2)
Author:  Karen Kirst
Pages:  288
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Love Inspired Historical
Gideon Thornton is the central figure of this tale along with a young widowed woman named Evelyn and her son Walt.  The land grab in Oklahoma is what causes their paths to cross, even though the families have a standing feud going back to the War Between the States.  Gideon’s father was killed in the war and the cousin who became his son’s caretaker was a harsh man.  So as soon as they were old enough the three brothers leave to begin life somewhere else.
The Thornton’s reputation in Brave Rock had been slighted due to the Chaucer family spewing the feudal words taught to them by their now deceased parents.  Evelyn had been the only girl and her marriage was not as it appeared to her brothers.  So when Gideon and Evelyn are forced to cohabitate on the same land until the judge can decide who rightfully owns the acreage the stage is set for either the feud to continue or an agreed upon peace.
Gideon finds that the longer he is around Evelyn and her young son he is fighting to keep the deep pain hidden in his heart from the past.  Evelyn has her own hidden past, but her main concern is why her son Walt no longer talks since the death of his Dad.  Now the close proximity brings about a connection not only between these two adults, but also between Gideon and God once again.
Bridegroom Brothers was first brought to my attention by reading the third book, The Lawman’s Oklahoma Sweetheart.  I had never read any of the Love Inspired Historical novels, so when I looked further I discovered the other books.   I recommend that you read them in order, which I unknowing didn’t as the third book brings about the conclusion of a mystery started in the first novel, The Preacher’s Bride, continuing in this book.  I really enjoyed being able to sit down and get lost in the tale filled with faith, romance and adventure!
My rating is 5 star.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

The Preachers Bride Claim

Title:  The Preacher’s Bride Claim (Bridegroom Brothers #1)
Author:  Laurie Kingery
Pages:  288  
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Love Inspired Historical
I love historical novels, whether based on actual events, places or people.  One of the best eras in this time is when people were taking risks to start new lives after the War Between the States.  In the first installment of Bridegroom Brothers, we have Elijah, the eldest of three brothers, set on claiming a homestead acreage in Oklahoma while his brothers attempt to claim their own land.  Elijah is a man who has experienced a past of heartache and trials, but chooses to look to the Lord even when it is hard to see how the Lord’s hand is at work.
Gideon and Clint adore their oldest brother, yet are currently at odds with the Lord due to their prayers not being answered as they desired.  Now, with mere weeks to pass before the land rush begins, hearts are changing and are being challenged to believe the Lord in addition to not believing lies that are spread about the three Thornton brothers by another family.  Though Elijah has made a vow never to fall in love again, that vow is challenged when he meets Alice Hawthorne who has come west to run away from an overbearing bully in the east.  With Elijah ministering to the spiritual needs and Alice to the physical, they each wonder if God has a different plan for them than the one they set their minds and hearts on.
Each of the three books in this series is written by a different author; however, the story line continues from this novel to the sequels, The Horseman’s Frontier Family and A Lawman’s Oklahoma Sweetheart. When I began reading this series, I was unaware there were other novels in the Bridegroom Brothers series and accidentally began with book three.  Other than knowing the outcome to a mystery that begins in this first book, it didn’t matter much that I read them out of orders as all three books were still very enjoyable.  No one who loves westerns, faith, history or romance will be able to pass up these three books that are as encouraging in faith as they are entertaining!  If you are one who likes to do things sequentially, then please read them in order. J
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pennywise

Title:  Penny Wise (Windy City Neighbors Book #3)
Author:  Neta & Dave Jackson
Pages:  316
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Castle Rock Creative, Inc.
The Windy City Neighbors series begins with Grounded followed by Derailed, both published in 2013.  A total of six novels are planned for this series and let me tell you each one keeps getting better and more involved with the neighbors on Beecham Street.  When I began the series, it was because I am originally from the Chicago suburbs and loved growing up in that area.  The people living on that street are a variety of ethnicities, backgrounds, careers, and more.  It makes the interactions quite interesting as what once began as neighbors just passing each other with minimal contact is now growing into deeper relationships.
The spiritual beliefs of some of the neighbors are Christian.  There is a Jewish family and others that the authors haven’t shared with the audience yet.  As readers progress through the novels, more of the character’s home life and past are revealed.  I enjoy the way real life and issues are dealt with by the authors.  It is a wonder if there is anywhere these types of relationship are actually real.
None of the characters are perfect which makes their thoughts, actions or reactions more believable.  It is easy to picture in my mind how various parts of the novel might play out in the real world or on a movie screen.  People who are Christians are shown as people that battle with their thoughts or hearts or how they relate to others in a church setting.
One other notable quality is the lack of marital relations being explained on the pages, but spoken of briefly as a God given gift in marriage.  For those in these books who have failed to wait, the message is one of hope through forgiveness found in Jesus.  Families learn to grow together, making time to be together when so many other opportunities tend to pull at the neighbors’ attention or time.  I recommend reading the books in order as each book shares more about various characters met in the first book, Grounded.  Readers will come away with encouraged hearts and perhaps a challenge to look at people as God sees them.  There is no one who is not in need of prayer support, friendship, love or compassion either within this series or in the real world.
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Through the Deep Waters

Title:  Through the Deep Waters
Author:  Kim Vogel Sawyer
Pages:  340
Year:  2014
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
Amos Ackerman wants to be a prosperous chicken farmer.  He has left his family of wheat farmers to strike out on his own in this new venture.  Due to an accident when he was a boy, he has a bad hip and walks with a pronounced limp so crop growing isn’t an option.  He meets Dinah and is instantly smitten.  He begins to court her through exchanging letters, even though they live in the same city, and meeting twice a week for lunch at the hotel where Dinah works.  He thinks his plans are working well and his life on the right track when he discovers something about Dinah that causes him to break off their relationship.  He is angry with her, himself and God.  He feels compassion for her stirring, but ruthlessly stomps it out.  He wants to hold on to his bitterness.  Can he realize his dreams of prosperity in the midst of his upside down life?
Dinah Hubley is a young woman born to a prostitute, unable to attend school regularly so has only an 8th-grade education and another secret that haunts her.  She is initially nervous around Amos and other people, being afraid they might learn her secret.  She also knows nothing about God until her roommate Ruthie invites her to church.  Dinah wants so much to have someone love her unconditionally, but fears the discovery of her secret will banish her to a life of loneliness.  As she gets to know Amos better, she imagines a permanent future with him.  Then, a chance encounter with a hotel guest has a disastrous outcome for her Cinderella future she has imagined for herself.
This is a heart-warming romance that depicts the all too human consequences of trusting ourselves and avoiding God.  God’s love for us knows no limit and His forgiveness is complete, which is aptly demonstrated in this story.  Dinah had endured such an awful life.  I could feel how very painful her past was to her thanks to the character development and skilled writing from the author.  I also could identify with Amos’ sense of betrayal and anger over what he thought he had lost.  These very realistic human emotions are deftly penned.  Dinah’s healing transformation once she accepts God into her life was just wonderful to read, and her newfound strength, poise and confidence supplied by God very satisfying.  I look forward to reading more of these novels of hope and God-centered lives.
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When I Fall in Love

Title: When I Fall in Love (A Christiansen Family Novel)
Author: Susan May Warren
Pages:  400
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Tyndale
When I sat down and began reading the novel, I expected nothing short of a great story and I wasn’t disappointed.  At the end of the novel the author shares her experiences of how two different people react when suffering came into their lives and how it touched her heart.  Loosely based on seeing two different responses to suffering she included each into this tale of the Christiansen family sage.  Honestly it is a heart tugging tale because no one who has lived for any amount of time on earth has been unscathed by experiencing suffering or pain in some form.
The story includes the characters from the other two novels which are Take a Chance on Me followed by It Had to be You.  While readers can read the book without having read previous installments I think more will be gained by readers who do read the other books to understand the developing tale.  One characteristic I appreciated about the novel was the fact that no Christian family is without problems, trials, joys and more. The other thread which is evident is how wanting to know Him more means holding on less tightly to expecting others to fill whatever our hearts are longing.
Within the pages the audience will enjoy reading how God stretches Grace Christiansen out of her comfort zone along with a hockey player who keeps his heart protect from loving and really living.  Readers will learn about one brother Owen who is rebelling and still reacting out of a deep loss of his dreams, mad at God and continues to come in and out of his family’s lives without a thought to how it hurts them so.  Then there is a young single woman who has nowhere to go, no family to embrace her when she makes a decision that changes her future in ways she can’t even imagine.
Here is a story of redemption, learning to love and live life to its fullest no matter what may or may not happen in the future.  It is a story of trusting in God and living sacrificially for the benefit of others who need to know how much He loves them.  All of the characters have made or are making choices either to walk each day with faith in Him or by trying to handle their situation in their own strength.  A great fictional story which drives home to the heart truths to ponder long after the readers close the cover!
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457


Monday, July 21, 2014

Firewall (FBI:Houston Book #1)

Title:  Firewall (FBI: Houston Bok #1)
Author:  DiAnn Mills
Pages:  416
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Tyndale
What a thriller the story is as it is filled with twists and turns that keep readers captivated in the constant heightened intensity of the plot!  The young lady, Taryn, has a high IQ.  Her career is in developing software approved by Congress for monitoring the many factors in exporting natural gas on both coasts.  Now on her way to a honeymoon in another country she awakens to find herself hospitalized and considered by the FBI to be a terrorist.  Her husband, Shep, is missing with video footage showing him leaving the airport shortly before the explosion.  What makes matters worse is the FBI saying he doesn’t even exist or any traces of said marriage or company he told her he owned.
As the audience continues to delve further into the tale, more anomalies occur with what Taryn knows to be the truth.  What the FBI is uncovering as the investigation broadens its scope is to see if any connection between the airport bombing and the software Taryn was developing is connected in some way.  Taryn can no longer be sure who to trust or who might be after her with unending pursuit.  It is a nightmare that Taryn desperately wants to awaken from and prove her innocence.
Just like an iceberg where most people see only the tip above the water, below the water is a mystery as is this fictional work.  There is intrigue, mystery, constant danger and a possible romance budding among all the tragic events that have occurred.  I think DiAnn Mills does a fantastic job of researching her subject matter in order to write a very incredible novel for a wide audience to enjoy.  I cannot begin to imagine what the next installment in this new series will bring or when it will be published.  I only know I will want to read it the moment I can grab a copy.
DiAnn Mills has written many novels covering a wide range of topics, but I must say that these types of stories are my favorite!  I would get lost in the pages so easily and hours would slip by because the action was nonstop and had several climaxes.  I knew at one point I could probably guess the mastermind behind the whole plot, but knowing how it all tied together was a joyous discovery.  This is well-written and quite an entertaining book people shouldn’t miss the opportunity to curl up and enjoy!
My rating is 5+ stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Targets Down by Bob Hamer

Title:  Targets Down
Author:  Bob Hamer
Pages:  368
Year:  2011
Publisher:  B & H Books
As an avid reader, I am always looking for authors who write suspense as it is one of my favorite genres. Bob Hamer does an extraordinary job of sharing with audiences a fictional story of an FBI undercover agent who risks all to keep America safe.  The tale is set in Los Angeles where Matt is working undercover to find out who murdered a young girl and then killed a minister who was helping a stranded motorist.  The stranded motorist is a part of the FBI family which makes finding those guilty of utmost importance.  On top of locating those responsible for the shooting, Matt also is also working to get into the inner circle of a Russian mob business in order to apprehend the boss and associates.
Immediately I was drawn into the action, adventure and fight against evil while Matt is also trying not to let the environment around him permeate his soul.  Matt is a Christian man who works for the FBI.  His wife is a second grade teacher and their careers are as far apart as the North and South Pole.
I grew to appreciate the tension an undercover agent, who is a Christian, fights within themselves while staying alert to his job in the midst of prevailing evil, death and greed.  I simply couldn’t put down the well-written, suspense-filled book!  The ending was a surprise and well done.  Readers who are new to Bob Hamer will be eagerly looking to see what comes next from his pen.
I am sure the author, having been an undercover agent with the FBI, helped make the novel so exciting and authentic in detail.  The role Matt’s wife played as a prayer warrior and constant encouragement shows a unique characteristic that can be reflected by women no matter what their husband’s career.  As I read, I thought and wondered how many times the scenes reflected in the book are played out each and every day without any of us knowing the quiet heroes who guard us with their lives.  I will be an avid follower of this author for as long as he writes books!
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Long Shadow

Title:  A Long Shadow (Inspector Ian Rutledge #8)
Author:  Charles Todd
Pages:  341
Year:  2006
Publisher:  William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Inspector Ian Rutledge wants nothing to do with the woman performing the séance.  She seems to know his secret.  He can’t let anyone find out about Hamish.  His war memories threaten to overwhelm him if he doesn’t escape.  Respite comes in the form of a phone call from the Yard on a minor matter, but Ian uses it as an excuse to leave the dinner party.  As he leaves, he makes an interesting discovery of a shell casing from a machine gun used during WWI.  Wonder what it is doing outside the home of his dinner hostess?
He soon is assigned a case of a former constable from the Yard being shot with a bow and arrow.  Ian leaves to investigate and stays in the small village while investigating.  His investigation keeps linking up with the name of Emma Mason.  He finds out the young girl is missing and has been for some time with no one knowing what happened to her.  The shot constable seemed unusually enamored of her, but did he have anything to do with her disappearance?  Ian finds more shell casings in his travels and has the uncanny feeling he is being followed, but he can never see anyone.  An attempt is made on his life, but he is no closer to finding out who is leaving the shell casings.  He also is no closer to finding out who shot the constable and how Emma Mason ties in with everything.  As he discovers small bits of information, he begins to put together who is responsible.  Can he bring the criminal to justice before he himself is killed by the person leaving the shell casings?
One thing I really like about this series is that I almost never figure out the guilty person!  I so enjoy the mystery and suspense and journey to the end that I don’t even mind guessing incorrectly!  This story pulled me in from the get-go.  I feel like Ian is a close friend almost.  I know his foibles, some of his faults, some of his fears and his strengths.  I enjoy each story in the series as I get to know Ian better, how he thinks, how he goes about searching for clues and arriving at an answer as to who is guilty.  There is nothing like a good British mystery and this is another feather in the cap of Charles Todd.
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Friday, July 18, 2014

Persecuted

Leave a comment with your email address about the review for an opportunity to receive a free copy of the book!
Title:  Persecuted (Based on a Daniel Lusko Film)
Author:  Robin Parrish
Pages:  317
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bethany House
John Luther is the head of Truth Ministries.  He is a man whose only goal is to preach the gospel to spread God’s word.  He is based in Washington, D.C. and has political supporters.  When asked by an old friend and politician to back a new bill, John is adamant in his refusal.  This bill goes against what the Bible teaches about the one way to God and would lead people to believe there are multiple paths to God and salvation.  John is diametrically opposed to this and will not agree to support this legislation.  As a result, his life is turned upside down.  He loses his job, his family, his purpose in life of preaching the gospel.  All of this happens because he would not support the bill and remain silent, but instead standing in vocal opposition to the bill.
As the story progresses, John is on the run.  He finds help from an old priest in a downtown church as well as the priest’s assistant.  John is left with two choices:  He either throws himself on the mercy of the police in which case all evidence proving his innocence will likely be buried or he can find the proof of his innocence on his own and bring it to the public’s attention.  John has always been a fighter and refuses to go quietly away.  He will do whatever is necessary to prove his innocence and thereby protecting his wife and daughter by freeing them from guilt by association with him.  Along the way he also realizes he has been spending too much time in the business of ministry and neglecting his wife and daughter.  He vows that if he survives this injustice he will spend more time with his family.
This was a fantastic book!  I read it in a few hours as I couldn’t put it down.  There is plenty of suspense, action, tension and political intrigue for any reader.  If readers think something like this could never happen in the United Stated, then they better think again.  While this is a fictional story, I can easily see this happening in reality.  I’m not a conspiracy theorist or anti-government, but I can see the evidence of my right to practice Christianity being limited or attacked with ever-growing frequency.  This novel and the film it was based on are a call for Christians in the United States to wake up!  I commend the authors of the book and the maker of the film for being bold and taking a stand for truth at a cost to themselves, for not being silent.  Please get a copy of this book to read for yourself, then pass it along to your friends and encourage everyone to see the film too!
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Final Trimester (Quigley Triplets Book #1)

Title:  Final Trimester (The Quigley Triplets Series #1)
Author:  Dianna T. Benson
Pages:  434
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Ellechor Publishing House
Dianna T. Benson has a knack for writing great suspense thrillers and has done so again with Final Trimester.  The story is set in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in the present day.  The main characters are Jodi Duncan and Nate Quigley and of course the killer.
Nate Quigley is a detective with the Myrtle Beach Police Department.  His wife and son died two years ago in a plane crash.  He feels guilt over the state of his relationships with both at the time of their death, but he doesn’t know what to do to get better.  He blamed God at the time of the accident and has been far from Him since.  He responds to a murder scene and one of the paramedics who respond to the scene, Jodi Duncan, keeps at him with questions about the manner of death of the victim.
Jodi Duncan has been a paramedic for 14 years and loves her job.  She also volunteers as a host for foster children when needed.  She longs to be a mother to her own child.  She responds to the scene of a victim, but can’t let go the manner of death.  She keeps questioning why and how this happened and keeps after the detective, Nate Quigley, to investigate.  They begin conversing more frequently, but both know they are in no position to begin a relationship.  Jodi has kept her distance from men and God for a long time and filled her life with work to ease her pain of the past.  Soon other victims appear and the investigation expands.  Jodi keeps pushing for answers and catches the eye of the perpetrator.
This plot will keep you riveted to the pages until the very end.  There is great suspense, tension and anxiety to keep the action-minded reader glued to their seat.  Both Nate and Jodi have kept God at arm’s length for some time and begin to realize how much they need God to fill the empty place in their hearts that can’t be filled with work, other people, children or anything else.  The characters were well-developed and I could relate to them right away.  I can’t wait for the next book!  Don’t miss this one!
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A New Resolution

Title:  A New Resolution
Author:  Rose Dee
Pages:  258
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Even Before Publishing
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book via the author from www.bookfun.org
A New Resolution is the third and final installment in Rose Dee’s novels centered on a land called Resolution.  The series begins with Back to Resolution followed by Beyond Resolution where various characters adventures are introduced.  Due to some of the content of the story and human interactions referred to, the books shouldn’t be read by young people.
As an adult reading the novels, it was captivating to see how the young female in the story named Anika handles being single and pregnant at the age of seventeen.  The intense feelings of abandonment and anger at herself and Heath, plus her decision to keep the baby lead Anika on a path of discovery.  She had been rescued from a fatherless home where her mother did little to care, provide and protect her to a totally different life is well written by Rose Dee.
Nate returns home to Texas to the ranch for the funeral of his mother.  He too grew up without the presence of his father in his life.  Now, his mother, according to her will has set the path her son must travel in order to inherit, but Nate soon learns the reason for her wishes goes beyond money.  When Anika and Nate’s paths cross, what God has planned for them takes them through trials and temptations.  Is it possible for either or both of them to have a different future other than the one their pasts might curse them to?
Each novel written in the trilogy deals with how faith can change a heart and impacts a life if the character is willing to depend on the Lord daily.  There are action, adventure, suspense, romance and hope in the stories that made the books fun to read.  A New Resolution made a life of discovery very appealing plus the author shares many truths from Scripture that help the characters as they face some serious and intimidating threats to their lives on Resolution.  Spend some down-time reading from this Australian author while sitting in the sun!
My rating is 5 stars.

Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Death Takes a Ride

Title:  Death Takes a Ride (The Cate Kincaid Files Book #3)
Author:  Lorena McCourtney
Pages:  336
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Revell
After reading Death Takes a Ride, I found that all three novels in this series are certifiably enjoyable while balancing action, adventure along with romance.  Cate Kincaid is an unemployed young lady who begins as an assistant private investigator working with her uncle, starting in book #1, Death Takes a Ride.  Cate’s adventures continue in the sequel titled, Dolled up to Die.  Each novel has continuing characters so make sure to start with book one.  Cate goes through some suspense-filled mystery she just happens to find herself involved in and then she is often calling her friend Mitch to come to her rescue.
Mitch is a single guy who, after finding himself unemployed, began a software company with his friend Lance.  Now the company is being pursued by a large corporation to be purchased.  If sold, Mitch has his future filled with possibilities that may or may not include Cate.  In what may or may not be the last installment, readers will embark on following leads that include homicide, deception, and embezzlement, with a surprise ending.
There are twists and turns in the plot that I found very enjoyable along with busting out laughing at some of the quirky situations and anecdotes.  I cannot tell if the author is planning any more in this series, a spinoff from the series or what, but whatever the author comes up with, I will be reading!  It is fun to just sit back, read a fun and exciting story without worrying about high tension possibly robbing me of sleep!  There is just something about the mysteries that captivates the imagination along with the easy way it reads that makes for a great summer book!
I hope you take time to read all three books in order to fully appreciate the tale, plots and characters within!  Enjoy the adventure beginning with Death Takes a Ride, and then Dolled up to Die, ending with Death Takes a Ride.
My rating is 5 stars!
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Monday, July 14, 2014

Network of Deception

Title:  Network of Deception
Author:  Spencer E. Moses
Pages:  304
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Revell
Simone Koole is a young woman who has devoted her life to serving God and protecting the people of Israel through her service in the Mossad.  She now faces her toughest mission ever and cannot accomplish it alone.  She enlists the aid of an American organization, the Conundrum.  She is an expert agent with lots of experience working on her own and being in control.  Can she learn how to work with these Americans or will she continue running roughshod over their feelings and methods of espionage?  Simone also finds herself attracted to the head of the Conundrum, Eric Stone.  However, she deems nothing can come of a relationship with him as she is a staunch Jew and he a Gentile.
Eric Stone is the head of his own intelligence agency.  He worked for the CIA in the past, but was fired for having a tendency to tell the truth.  Eric and his colleagues seem to be facing criminal charges brought by the U. S. Government with no way out until Simone shows up offering them a way to make the charges go away if they help her in her mission.  They are told next to nothing about what this mission is, but agree to help.  Eric travels with Simone and sees her at work first hand and is impressed.  He also thinks the two of them might have a future together, but she refuses him as he isn’t Jewish.  He has always been a strong patriot, willing to give his life for his country just like Simone, but she has a faith in God that astounds him.  She is willing to die for her country and her God.  Can he say the same?
This is a good spy story with a solid plot and something always going on.  The story was very easy to read and the pages flew by as I rapidly read to the conclusion.  I thought the agreement of Simone to work with the Conundrum as a family was a little contrived and that she relented too easily.  I thought the message referencing Queen Esther was a touch of genius!  I would definitely be interested in reading more suspense novels from this author.
My rating is 4 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Butterfly and the Violin

Title:  The Butterfly and the Violin (A Hidden Masterpiece Novel)
Author:  Kristy Cambron
Story Length:  323
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Adele Von Bron was born with an incredible God-given gift to play the violin masterfully.  She was also born into a wealthy family, with her father serving in the Austrian Army in the Third Reich during the late 1930s and 1940s.  She plays with the Vienna Philharmonic as a prodigy.  Little does she know then how this skill will someday save her life.  She meets another young member of the orchestra, Vladimir and becomes friend with him.  He, however, is much more than a cellist.  He is working to secretly help Jewish families leave Austria for Switzerland, an act punishable by death.  After a few years, Adele admits to herself she loves Vladimir, but her father wants better for his daughter than marriage to a merchant’s son.  Vladimir and Adele meet secretly and he eventually tells her of his commitment to helping the Jewish people escape persecution.  Adele wants to help, too.  They are both Christians and want to live lives that support their faith.  Their clandestine meetings lead to their downfall and soon their lives are changed forever.
Sera James longs for the past when her father was alive and her life was simpler.  She remembers a painting her father took her to see that changes her life.  Now, with her father long dead and her heart broken by a failed engagement, she is obsessed with finding the painting and the story of the young woman in the painting.  Her search connects her with William Hanover, a wealthy young businessman.  The two are drawn together in their search for the painting and its underlying story.  Spending some time together, they both realize their feelings for one another go beyond friendship.  Sera is so afraid to trust any man again.  Her heart can’t take another betrayal.  William longs to be the man God made him to be, but can he break away from the position his family has placed him in?
This is an incredibly poignant story of loss and love.  Once I started the book, I couldn’t put it down.  I just had to find out the ending to Adele’s story as well as Sera’s story.  It was riveting to read how this one painting changed the lives of several people.  What a great truth is spoken through the pages of this story that God is always present even in the midst of indescribable horror and that we must live our lives for Him no matter what.  A difficult truth to live out, but God has given us life and we must do our best to live for Him in a way that glorifies Him.  Thank you, Kristy for writing this book and giving readers a look at the past that could indeed shape their future.
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Saturday, July 12, 2014

PDQ

Title:  PDQ
Author:  Ronald Glanz
Pages:  224
Year:  2014
Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from the author via www.bookfun.org
When I first saw the title, I thought the letters were an acronym for some other word than what turns out to be a crime spree on a chain of local gas station stores.  Plus the yellow crime scene tape let me know that more than likely this was a police thriller, and it was a great story!  There are a few occasional uses of foul language and at times that was distracting to me as a reader, plus it didn’t really add anything to the plot.  As I read more about the perpetrators way of entering these stores, harming or killing the attendant, I thought perhaps I figured out who did the crimes.  Yet, when I came to the conclusion of the book, while I thought I was close to the solution of the tale; it seems I was a mile off in other areas.  The author had intriguing twisting and turning of the story line.
Two men, Jeff and John, lived in the vicinity of one another, but were never aware of it because they led two totally different lives.  Both men had a couple things in common, including alcohol abuse, but their differences in careers and more set them apart.  One thread the police couldn’t let go of and used as the reason they were arresting them for the crimes was based solely on a grainy image of the face from the robberies taken by one of the cameras inside a PDQ station.  I can’t tell you more so that when you read it you can enjoy the journey of reading this mysterious, suspense-filled novel.
The main characters are not Christian so don’t expect their choices to be those of one who follows Christ wholeheartedly.  While I wasn’t offended by what John or Jeff chose to do, some might be; however, remember this is a work of fiction.  It is a good one and one I enjoyed reading in an afternoon.  I hope you make time to enjoy this tale.
My rating is 5 stars.
Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457


Friday, July 11, 2014

Full Steam Ahead

Title:  Full Steam Ahead
Author:  Karen Witemeyer
Pages:  346
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bethany House
Darius Thornton will do whatever he can to prevent another accident.  He was onboard a steamboat schmoozing clients for the family shipping business when the boilers blew, killing several people.  He tried to save as many children as he could, but one girl slipped through his grasp and didn’t make it to shore alive.  Now, Darius is wracked with guilt, thinking “if only…”  He has bought a house in the middle of nowhere away from family and friends to conduct experiments on boilers in an effort to figure out what went wrong and to try and find a way to make boilers safer.  He needs a secretary to transcribe his atrocious handwriting in his log books in order to submit them to a research institute so the institute will have his knowledge and maybe produce government legislation about boiler safety standards.  Enter Miss Nicole Greyson and his world adjusts with her as his new focus.
Nicole Renard excels at science and math, but has been told that men don’t like that in a woman.  She is the only child of a father who owns a successful steamboat shipping business.  He wishes he had a son to take over the business, and Nicole knows this.  She fears she will always be a disappointment to her father, even though she knows he loves her.  Her father is dying and she must find a husband quickly to be the heir for the shipping business.  She takes her dowry; a bejeweled dagger bequeathed to her family by a famous pirate, to draw the attention of a competing shipping family away from her parents as they claim the dagger belongs in their family, not Nicole’s.  Before her journey to New Orleans to find a husband can start, she is forced to change her plans and is left with no money.  She sees an ad for a secretary and is hired by the grouchy Darius Thornton.
This is a predictable love story, but enjoyable to read nonetheless.  Nicole shows Darius the uselessness of guilt and how it is robbing him of a relationship with God.  Darius becomes her anchor in the storm of the conflict in her life over whether to keep her vow to her father or to choose her heart instead.  I liked Darius’ character that was rough and crusty on the outside, but underneath was a warm and loving heart just waiting for the right woman to give it to.  I also liked how strong Nicole was in her faith at such a young age and in trying circumstances.
My rating is 4 stars.
Amazon Link:  http://www.amazon.com/Full-Steam-Ahead-Karen-Witemeyer/dp/0764209671/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404480983&sr=1-1&keywords=full+steam+ahead+karen+witemeyer
Disclosure of Material Connection:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tested by Fire

Title:  Tested by Fire (Will What You Build Survive?)
Author:  Kelley Latta             http://kelleylattaministries.com/
Pages:  128
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Kelley Latta Ministries
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from the author via www.bookfun.org
The first thing I do when viewing a study is to learn what I can about the author.  Why?  Well, for me, if that author is seeking the Lord and really digging in to the Word, it resonates with my heart.  No one teacher always gets it right because after all we are all human and only God is perfect all the time.  When I was reading about Kelly, I came across the following statement on page 4:  “Compelled into the Word to discover Truth for herself, she encountered Jesus though the pages...”  So now she has my attention because she was “compelled to dig”.  I pray she is still that way as well as encouraging others to as well.
Second, I went to her website and read some of her blog posts.  You can learn a lot about people or at the very least get a sense of who they are when you read their writings.  She seems very transparent and desires to be an encouragement to others by showing examples of those in Bible times who lived in faith.  The Word of God is His Word.  He left all human failings in the pages; He left what they did obediently too.
Third, I looked through the study guide before going any further.  What was I looking for as I was reading?  I wanted to see the content.  There are four weeks of study presented and spaces to write not just answers to questions, but also to answers to challenging questions with which she ends her lessons.  I like when a study is direct, doesn’t have people going all over the Word but staying in a place to glean the truth for themselves.
Finally, like any study there are things some of you may really like and perhaps some things you don’t, but that is as it should be.  Always ask God for discernment when reading what someone has put forth in a study guide and search out in His Word any questions that are prompted in your heart.  The whole idea of a study like this is to have a starting place, not the end all.  Read the Scriptures in context Kelley refers to by reading verses above and below what is quoted.  What matters is not what any human author says, but what He says!
My rating is 4 stars.

Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Colt's Coach Chuck Pagano: Sidelined

Title:  Sidelined (Overcoming Odds through Unity and Passion, Perseverance)
Author:  Chuck Pagano with Bruce A. Tollner
Pages:  224
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Zondervan
Where were you or what were you doing when the Indianapolis Colts began their 2012 season with their new coach?  Even if you aren’t a football fan or a Colts fan, it does people good to look at what has happened in others’ lives because sometimes it brings a perspective we wouldn’t gain otherwise.  Such was the case with Coach Pagano and the year “Chuck Strong!” was the battle cry not of just the Colts team, but of many people even players from other teams.  The NFL is more than a game or a championship; it is more like a family due to the amount of time the guys are together on the team.  Plus relationships between families are built and retained regardless of their husband’s job.
I received the book yesterday and sat outside, turning pages until the very end of the book.  Readers get a glimpse into what the Strong family, Colt Team and organization went through during Pagano’s rookie coaching season.  As I read, my memory went back to when my sister-in-law and best friend went through their battles with cancer, along with another friend who also went through a battle with this bullying disease.  While I had to say good-bye to each, never do I forget the lessons I learned or the way God blessed us during those times.
Sometimes when someone we don’t know is suffering it is far enough away not to really affect us, but when our coach got sick, it impacted Indianapolis and its ripples are still going forth.  I believe people who make time to read the story Chuck shares will come away with hope, faith and a fighting spirit.  Many people will identify with the various way players and friends reacted at the unexpected news Coach got in 2012 and will walk away encouraged along with challenged to be encouraging others.  The biggest lesson we can learn and utilize in our personal lives, careers, families, and nation is to look out for each other and serve each other.  The call to serve is the most rewarding, challenging, sacrificial and fulfilling life we can ever imagine and more!
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bob Hamer's: Targets Down Review

Title:  Targets Down
Author:  Bob Hamer
Pages:  368
Year:  2011
Publisher:  B & H Books
As an avid reader, I am always looking for authors who write suspense as it is one of my favorite genres. Bob Hamer does an extraordinary job of sharing with audiences a fictional story of an FBI undercover agent who risks all to keep America safe.  The tale is set in Los Angeles where Matt is working undercover to find out who murdered a young girl and then killed a minister who was helping a stranded motorist.  The stranded motorist is a part of the FBI family which makes finding those guilty of utmost importance.  On top of locating those responsible for the shooting, Matt also is also working to get into the inner circle of a Russian mob business in order to apprehend the boss and associates.
Immediately I was drawn into the action, adventure and fight against evil while Matt is also trying not to let the environment around him permeate his soul.  Matt is a Christian man who works for the FBI.  His wife is a second grade teacher and their careers are as far apart as the North and South Pole.
I grew to appreciate the tension an undercover agent, who is a Christian, fights within themselves while staying alert to his job in the midst of prevailing evil, death and greed.  I simply couldn’t put down the well-written, suspense-filled book!  The ending was a surprise and well done.  Readers who are new to Bob Hamer will be eagerly looking to see what comes next from his pen.
I am sure the author, having been an undercover agent with the FBI, helped make the novel so exciting and authentic in detail.  The role Matt’s wife played as a prayer warrior and constant encouragement shows a unique characteristic that can be reflected by women no matter what their husband’s career.  As I read, I thought and wondered how many times the scenes reflected in the book are played out each and every day without any of us knowing the quiet heroes who guard us with their lives.  I will be an avid follower of this author for as long as he writes books!
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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