Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Beauty of an Uncluttered Soul by Carla Gasser Illustrated by Vivian Kammel

About the Book:

Allow God's Spirit to Transform You from the Inside Out

Then the world seems chaotic, extreme, and out of control, we sometimes find ourselves wishing for order and simplicity in our personal lives, hoping to gain a sense of peace and purpose. Scroll through social media, read bestselling self-help books, or watch any DIY television show, and you will discover there are plenty of ways to transform your home, your body, and your life.

But how do we care for our souls?

The Bible teaches us how to apply the principles of self-care and minimalism to the clutter within. Using the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) as a guide, this nine-week devotional will help you cleanse yourself from the inside out by allowing God's Spirit to come and produce the soul qualities you're longing for.

Purge your past.

Shake out worry.

Open your heart.

Cleanse your mind.

Declutter your attitudes.

We all want more love, joy, peace, patience, and self-control. Let this book be your guide to soul transformation.

You can read an excerpt from the book and see some of the amazing artwork here.

 

My Review:

What a refreshing idea: deep cleaning the soul, detoxifying it, getting rid of all the clutter it contains. Gasser helps us do that by searching the Bible, observing soul habits, using the knowledge we gain, and leaning on God to allow the Spirit to transform us within. Each weekly exercise includes good teaching, Scripture references to read, and several questions to answer.

A couple of the studies really impressed me. On peace, Gasser emphasizes we need to have peace with God before we can have peace with others. I was surprised that meant I needed to surrender by faith to God, completely trusting Him. Another surprise was the need to purge past mistakes, those things that keep me from experiencing peace with God. I liked her teaching on gentleness, that it may not be our normal disposition but it can become our attitude through the inner work of the Holy Spirit.

I had not really thought of the order the fruit of the Spirit is listed in Galatians and appreciated Gasser's insight. The first three are attitudes (love, joy, peace), the next three are intentional actions (patience, kindness, goodness), and the last three are soul attributes (faithfulness, gentleness, self-control). There is a reason they are listed that way.

An added aspect to the teaching is the wonderful artwork. Visual images have an impact on our emotions and thoughts and the watercolors are a visual incentive to relax.

I highly recommend this study on developing the fruit of the Spirit.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Authors:

Carla Gasser is a speaker, teacher, blogger, and writer. She is passionate about communicating truth and grace, connecting passion and purpose, and championing others to share their stories. She is the proud mother of four young adults and lives in Hudson, Ohio, with her husband. You can learn more about her and join her on the journey by visiting www.carlagasser.com. Photo: © Andrew Jordan Photography.

Vivian Kammel is an artist and graphic designer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When not designing or creating, she spends her time exploring the city with her husband. View more of her work and story at www.viviankammel.com or Instagram @viviankammel.

Bethany House, 144 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Friday, January 22, 2021

Mending the Net Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


Book:  Mending the Net

Author: Dr. J. Doug Stringer

Genre: RELIGION / Christian Ministry/General

Release Date: February 9, 2021

 In 1981, Doug Stringer was a fitness instructor with his own exercise studio. He knew there was a God, but he lived as if God didn’t exist. Tired of his own hypocrisy, disgusted with his life, he sat down in the back room of his studio one night, put his head in his hands, and prayed: “Lord, if You can use someone like me after all I have done to wound Your heart, I make myself available to You.”

What happened soon afterward started a ministry that reaches out to thousands of lost and hurting people around the world.

Mending the Net: Bringing Hope in a Hurting World is the story of Doug’s ministry from its humble beginnings until today. Obviously, much else has changed in the world since then. Doug himself has changed, having gone through a battle with stage four cancer. Doug’s wife, Lisa, wrote the book God Did Not Do This to Me to share their trials and triumphs through that cancer journey.

But what hasn’t changed is Doug’s undefeatable spirit and love for others, which shine through in his books, his ministry, and everything he touches.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review 

There is such a need to spread the gospel, the task may seem impossible. But Stringer shows that churches and ministries of different denominations and nationalities can come together and accomplish much.

I was amazed at how over 200 ministries and churches agreed to work together in the greater Houston area. They didn't just talk about the problems but actually worked together in practical ways. The key, Stringer says is a passion for God and compassion for lost souls.

Ministry leaders and pastors would be encouraged by reading this book. They would see it is possible for ministries in a community to work together. While Stringer has a framework others can follow, the work that has developed is actually a wide variety of ministry styles.

What an encouragement to come together and be part of something larger than ourselves.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

Dr. J. Doug Stringer is founder and president of Turning Point Ministries International and Somebody Cares America/International (SCA/SCI). Doug’s years of ministry have taken him to numerous communities and nations—from urban to foreign missions, from garbage dumps to the palaces and halls of government leaders.

As an Asian-American, Doug is considered a bridge-builder of reconciliation among various ethnic and religious groups. A sought-after international conference and crusade speaker, he addresses thousands of people each year throughout the U.S. and abroad on topics such as persevering leadership and community transformation.

Over the years, Somebody Cares has become a model for connecting needs with resources during natural calamities. Through the expansion of the disaster preparedness and relief collaborations, the ministry has established a Global Compassion Response Network.

Doug is the author of Leadership Awakening, In Search of a Father’s Blessing, It’s Time to Cross the Jordan, The Fatherless Generation, Somebody Cares, Born to Die, Hope for the Fatherless Generation, and Living Life Well.

I have no text on this. The author is suddenly rewriting large chunks of the text. All I have is a note from him:

This book (Mending the Net) will be available February 2021, but the message is so needed today. Regardless of how the elections turn out, we, the church, must Spread the Net, Wash the Net, MEND the NET, and Cast the Net together…if we are to bring healing and hope, and see a mighty harvest…

Doug resides in the greater Houston area with his wife, Lisa, and daughter, Ashley.

More from Dr. J. Doug

This book (Mending the Net) will be available February 2021, but the message is so needed today. Regardless of how the elections turn out, we, the church, must Spread the Net, Wash the Net, MEND the NET, and Cast the Net together…if we are to bring healing and hope, and see a mighty harvest…

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 22

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, January 23

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, January 24

Texas Book-aholic, January 25

Inklings and notions, January 26

For Him and My Family, January 27

Simple Harvest Reads, January 28 (Spotlight)

deb's Book Review, January 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 29

Artistic Nobody, January 30 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, January 31

Beauty in the Binding, February 1 (Spotlight)

Sara Jane Jacobs, February 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 2

CarpeDiem, February 3

Happily Managing A Household of Boys, February 4

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Doug is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10628/mending-the-net-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Lethal Intent Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


Book:  Lethal Intent

Author: Cara Putman

Genre: Romantic Suspense

If they expected silence, they hired the wrong woman.

Caroline Bragg’s life has never been better. She and Brandon Lancaster are taking their relationship to the next level, and she has a new dream job as legal counsel for Praecursoria—a research lab that is making waves with its cutting-edge genetic therapies. The company’s leukemia treatments even promise to save desperately sick kids—kids like eleven-year-old Bethany, a critically ill foster child at Brandon’s foster home. 

When Caroline’s enthusiastic boss wants to enroll Bethany in experimental trials prematurely, Caroline objects, putting her at odds with her colleagues. They claim the only goal at Praecursoria is to save lives. But does someone have another agenda? 

Brandon faces his own crisis. As laws governing foster homes shift, he’s on the brink of losing the group home he’s worked so hard to build. When Caroline learns he’s a Praecursoria investor, it becomes legally impossible to confide in him. Will the secrets she keeps become a wedge that separates them forever? And can she save Bethany from the very treatments designed to heal her? 

This latest romantic legal thriller by bestseller Cara Putman shines a light on the shadowy world of scientific secrets and corporate vendettas—and the ethical dilemmas that plague the place where science and commerce meet.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This book got off to a bit of a slow start for me but once firmly into the plot it was engaging. Putnam is always good at revealing aspects of legal work and this novel concentrates on cutting edge cancer research. Caroline, the heroine, is a new legal hire and has to deal with a corporate structure that leans toward cutting corners to get necessary treatment to children as soon as possible. It was interesting to learn some of the FDA requirements for approved clinical trials. I also learned a bit more about CAR T-cells and HeLa cells.

Putnam adds two side issues to fill out the plot. One issue is ethical as Caroline is dating Brian, a man who has invested in the company for which she has started working. She can't talk about her work with him as any information she relates could result in insider trading charges. That puts pressure on their budding romance.

The other issue is about foster care. Brian has established a foster care facility where siblings can stay together rather than be sent to different foster families. He faces a number of glitches in what seems like continually changing regulations.

I recommend this entertaining and informative novel dealing with ethical issues in medical research and the heartbreak of kids in foster care. The character development was done well and the plot was good after a slow start.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

As a preteen Cara Putman watched lawyers change legislative opinions at an important legislative hearing in Nebraska. At that time, she wondered if she became an attorney if people would give her words the same weight. An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska Lincoln, George Mason University School of Law and Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, Cara has turned her passion for words into award-winning stories that capture readers. Her legal experience makes its way into her stories where strong women confront real challenges.

An award-winning author of more than 30 books, Cara writes legal thrillers, WWII romances, and romantic suspense because she believes that no matter what happens hope is there, waiting for us to reach for it.

When she’s not writing, Cara is an over-educated attorney who lectures in law and communications at the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University and homeschools her children. She and her family live in Indiana, the land of seasons. You can read chapters for most of her books and connect with Cara at her website: http://caraputman.com.

More from Cara

Each novel has a unique genesis story. The spark that launches it into a journey of 90,000 words. For Lethal Intent, that journey began with a friend’s journey of childhood leukemia with her oldest. From watching their family wind through years of treatment including cutting edge therapy trials. Then it developed with the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack and the thought what would someone be willing to do if they believed they’d found the next strain of immortal cells. The lead characters made appearances in other books, but now would have their opportunity to step to center stage. The story morphed and changed, dictated by the vagaries of the law and changes.

Each story has a spark. For Caroline it was a brainstorming session with my writing buddies Rachel Hauck, Colleen Coble, and Denise Hunter. That was when her backstory developed, all the things that happened to her to form her into the adult she is on the pages. One who cares deeply about others but who is fundamentally scared, longing for a place she can relax and take a deep breath.

Each story has a spark. For Brandon, it was brainstorming with another writing friend Tricia Goyer that lead to a creative job for a hero that wasn’t the typical law enforcement. His role with the group foster home was set and the backstory filled in quickly. What would it be like to be separated from and lose a brother in the foster care system? Would that generate this need to keep sibling groups together? And then the law changes and the fabric of your professional identity and something so much deeper is threatened.

Each story has a spark. The pharmaceutical start-up where ethics collides with the desire to save children. The push to do whatever it takes overshadowing the guardrails of the law. If they expected silence, they hired the wrong woman. But does Caroline really have the strength to battle and does she need to?

Lethal Intent grew from each of these sparks and many more to develop into a story I can’t wait for you to read. In the process I learned immense amounts about CAR-T cell therapies and foster care law. Most of all, I hope you’ll fall into the pages and be engrossed in a story you can’t bring yourself to put down until the final page.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 21

lakesidelivingsite, January 21

Texas Book-aholic, January 21

Through the Fire Blogs, January 22

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 22

A Novel Pursuit, January 22

CarpeDiem, January 23

Betti Mace, January 23

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 23

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 24

Blogging With Carol, January 24

HookMeInABook, January 24

For the Love of Literature, January 25

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, January 25

Fiction Book Lover, January 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

For Him and My Family, January 26

EmpowerMoms, January 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 26

Artistic Nobody, January 27 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 27

Where Faith and Books Meet, January 27

By The Book, January 28

Older & Smarter?, January 28

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, January 28

Inklings and notions, January 29

Simple Harvest Reads, January 29

Blossoms and Blessings, January 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 30

Splashes of Joy, January 30

Pause for Tales, January 30

Spoken from the Heart, January 31

Just Your Average reviews, January 31

deb's Book Review, January 31

Hallie Reads, February 1

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 1

Genesis 5020, February 1

To Everything There Is A Season, February 2

Hebrews 12 Endurance, February 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 3

Southern Gal Loves to Read, February 3

Daysong Reflections, February 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away  the grand prize package of a “Just one more chapter” pillow cover, a copy of the book, an Erin Condren journal, and a hand-stamped bracelet!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10627/lethal-intent-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

In Search of Wisdom by Joyce Meyer

The world desperately needs wisdom right now. There is lots of knowledge but proper use of that knowledge, wisdom, is all too often absent. Proverbs is a great source of wisdom but the sayings there may be hard to understand or confusing.

Meyer comes to our rescue. She helps us see that the biblical book can show us how to live lives pleasing to God. While there is a chapter in this book dedicated to each chapter in Proverbs, it is not a verse by verse commentary. Meyer helps us understand the major concepts it teaches along with thoughtful commentary.

My favorite section in the book was on the topic, wisdom loves discipline. Some Christians might think they are not disciplined but Meyer reminds us 2 Tim. 1:7 says God has given us a spirit of disciplines and it is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). “As believers,” she writes, “we have self-control but people do not always use what they have.” (20) If we do not discipline ourselves, she says, God will discipline us. (Prov. 3:11-12)

Some suggest reading through Proverbs every month, a chapter a day. This book would be a great companion to that practice. Meyer is honest, relating how she had to learn many of the principles through mistakes. She includes wise advice: “Always remember we are not called to be like other people, but to be like Jesus.” (80) She doesn't let us off with easy instruction: “The wise person loves correction.” (127)

Meyer reminds us we need to put into practical use what we find in Proverbs. “Simply knowing something does not benefit us, if we don't apply it to our lives.” (181) Reading this book gives us great encouragement to apply the wisdom found in Proverbs.

One odd thing about this book is that Meyer assures us in the introduction that the text of the Book of Proverbs is included. (viii) It is not.

You can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. Her daily broadcast, Enjoying Everyday Life, airs on hundreds of television networks and radio stations worldwide. She has written over 100 inspirational books. She travels extensively, speaking to thousands throughout the world. She lives in St. Louis, MO.

FaithWords, 272 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Cold Case Pursuit by Dana Mentink Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


Book:  Cold Case Pursuit

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Romantic Suspense

A cold case solved by the K-9 unit…

but the past is not so easily escaped.

Decades after her parents’ murders, Penelope McGregor’s grateful the killer’s finally been identified—until he comes after her. Now Detective Tyler Walker and his K-9 partner, Dusty, must protect Penelope and catch the culprit…while making sure his little girl stays out of the crosshairs. But can the single father outplay a killer whose endgame will leave no one safe?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This is an enjoyable romantic suspense. While it is part of a series it reads well on its own. There is a good deal of suspense as the heroine, Penny, faces potential harm from her attacker several times. There is also psychological suspense as the attacker threatens Penny with texts, calls, and other means. And there are dogs. I do wish the dogs would have had a greater role in the plot. The character development was done pretty well and there were good obstacles to the romance. I was a little disappointed in the work of the police officers. An example was one yelling at the door of the abandoned warehouse where Penny was being held rather than sneaking in closer. Of course, warning the bad guy the police were coming allowed him to escape.

Nonetheless, this is an entertaining novel with a good Christian message. It would be a plus if you are a dog lover.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Poisoned Pen Press, and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself puttering around her Northern California backyard. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the  nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

I love book covers with adorable children on them, don’t you? There’s something so angelic about those wee folks on the covers. I have two bear cubs myself, young adults now, and I love them devotedly. Tell you what though. Sometimes, just occasionally mind you, they were a wee bit naughty. Don’t tell anyone, but one reason I enjoyed writing Cold Case Pursuit so much is that hero Tyler is the single dad of a little girl named Rain who is….er…a handful. Sure, she’s adorable, but she’s prone to disobedience and the occasional tendency to flush things down the toilet. So in addition to the edge of your seat pursuit of a murderous clown killer, there are the shenanigans of a precocious preschooler, a highly trained yet distractible police K-9, and a romance that doesn’t exactly run smoothly. Fun to write? You betcha! I hope you enjoy coming along with me on this True Blue adventure!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 19

KarenSueHadley, January 19

Bigreadersite, January 19

Through the Fire Blogs, January 20

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, January 20

Remembrancy, January 21

Genesis 5020, January 21

By The Book, January 21

For the Love of Literature, January 22

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, January 22

CarpeDiem, January 22

Texas Book-aholic, January 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 23

Blogging With Carol, January 23

Inklings and notions, January 24

Fiction Book Lover, January 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Batya's Bits, January 24

Betti Mace, January 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 25

Labor Not in Vain, January 25

Hebrews 12 Endurance, January 26

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 27

Lighthouse-Academy, January 27

Older & Smarter?, January 27

Artistic Nobody, January 28 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Splashes of Joy, January 28

Mary Hake, January 28

For Him and My Family, January 29

Simple Harvest Reads, January 29 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, January 29

deb's Book Review, January 30

Hallie Reads, January 30

To Everything There Is A Season, January 30

She Lives To Read, January 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 1

Daysong Reflections, February 1

Bizwings Blog, February 1

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a Mentink giveaway bundle, including a $50 Amazon gift card and a tote bag!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/105ab/cold-case-pursuit-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)