Sunday, May 28, 2023

Disruptive Thinking by T D Jakes with Nick Chiles Book Review

About the Book:

Think differently and find the courage to challenge the status quo with this mindset-shifting guide to meaningful change. 

For most of our lives, we are encouraged to trudge along the well-worn paths of those who have come before us. We learn the rules – in our families, in our schools, in our workplaces, in our churches – and most of the messages we receive tell us that following the rules will allow us to arrive at the lives we desire. 
But when change becomes not only desirable but also urgently necessary, this way of being no longer serves us. In fact, in every human endeavor, every major leap forward, has involved a cataclysmic challenge to existing ways of thinking and being. Breakthroughs, by definition, run against the grain and almost always encounter skepticism and opposition. 
In this book for leaders, thinkers, doers, and creators, Bishop T.D. Jakes illuminates the pathway to encouraging and unleashing disruptive thinking and provides the wisdom and practical skills we need to evolve our most original and potentially transformational ideas from vision to reality. Through his insight into how our minds and emotions work and through his experiences as a pastor, entrepreneur, and creator, Bishop Jakes leads us into a new way of relating to and transforming the world around us for good. Disruptive Thinking will show you the mindset and the tools you need to create groundbreaking and meaningful change in your own life and in the world around you.

My Review:

Jakes gives encouragement to become a change agent, to get beyond past hurts and pain, to grasp opportunities and turn them into change. If you are miserable, he writes, change your life. Don't stay where you are. Make choices.

In addition to encouragement, Jakes gives some helpful advice. He writes about developing a vision and getting all the information you need to create a business or nonprofit organization. Be flexible, he says. Be willing to move out of your comfort zone. Find partners to bring your vision to life. It may not be an easy path. “Disruptive thinking has to climb over the hurdles of unlikely alliances, initial discomfort, and possible misunderstandings, and find solutions that work.” (684/3019) He give tips on being a leader and ends his book with stories of people who have made a difference in the world through disruptive thinking.

If you are ready to change your thinking, this book is good encouragement. Jakes will help you discover what is holding you back and encourage you to move forward.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Authors:

Bishop T. D. Jakes
 is one of the world’s most widely recognized pastors and a New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books. Named by Time magazine as “America’s Best Preacher,” his message of healing and restoration is unparalleled, transcending cultural and denominational barriers. Jakes is the founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House, which has a congregation of more than 30,000. His weekly television outreach, The Potter’s House, and his daily television program, The Potter’s Touch, have become favorites throughout America, Africa, Australia, Europe, and the Caribbean. Jakes lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Serita. Learn more about Bishop Jakes at and

Nick Chiles has distinguished himself as both a bestselling author and an award-winning journalist. He has had four books on the New York Times bestsellers list. He has won over a dozen major journalism awards, including a 1992 Pulitzer Prize as part of a New York Newsday team covering a fatal subway crash. Chiles has a B.A. from Yale University and an MFA from the University of Georgia, where he is a professor of journalism. He currently resides in Athens, GA, with his wife, Sadiqa Chiles.

FaithWords, 272 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Book Tours. 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.)

Saturday, May 27, 2023

How to Read a Tree by Tristan Gooley Book Review

About the Book:

New York Times
–bestselling author Tristan Gooley opens our eyes to the secret language of trees—and the natural wonders they reveal all around us

Trees are keen to tell us so much. They’ll tell us about the land, the water, the people, the animals, the weather, and time. And they will tell us about their lives, the good bits and bad. Trees tell a story, but only to those who know how to read it.

How to Read a Tree, Gooley uncovers the clues hiding in plain sight: in a tree’s branches and leaves; its bark, buds, and flowers; even its stump. Leaves with a pale, central streak mean that water is nearby. Young, low-growing branches show that a tree is struggling. And reddish or purple bark signals new growth.

Like snowflakes, no two trees are exactly the same. Every difference reveals the epic story 
this tree has lived—if we stop to look closely.

My Review:

Just about everything you would ever want to know about trees is in this book. Gooley emphasizes what you can learn about your environment from trees. Noting their growth patter, you can use them as a compass, for example. Location and kind of trees will tell you where to find water.

There is also a great deal about trees in general. One can look for marks on the bark that look like “eyes” to see where a tree has self pruned, branches dying and falling off, generally on the southern side of the tree. There is information about how the wind affects trees, how a tree controls an infection, what the shape of the tree means, and more. I was surprised to find out roots can spread out two and a half times the width of the tree's canopy and are generally shallow.

This is not a book to identify or understand specific trees. It is about trees in general with information about bark, branches, leaves and more. I do wish there had been more illustrations and some photos. Gooley's writing style is good as he includes personal experiences and observations.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Tristan Gooley
is a writer and natural navigator. His passion for the subject of natural navigation stems from his hands-on experience. He has led expeditions in five continents, climbed mountains in Europe, Africa and Asia, sailed small boats across oceans and piloted small aircraft to Africa and the Arctic. He is the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed singlehandedly across the Atlantic, and he is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation and the Royal Geographical Society. He and his school can be found online at

The Experiment (Hachette Book Group), 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley 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, May 26, 2023

The Keys to Gramercy Park by Candice Sue Patterson Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Book: The Keys to Gramercy Park

Author: Candice Sue Patterson

Genre: Christian / Historical / Romance

Release date: April, 2023

Secrets Sealed Within a Wall Come to Light in Lower Manhattan

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Investigative historical journalist Andrea Andrews is tired of waiting tables to make ends meet. If she could find and write the next breakout story, she could secure a promotion with Smithsonian Magazine as their writer-at-large. But not much happens in lower Manhattan out of the ordinary until she discovers post-Civil War counterfeit bills hidden in the wall of her historic district apartment.

Politics have always been Beau Davidson-Quincy’s passion, despite his family’s real estate empire. His clean image and single status make him a target in the media as he prepares to build his campaign for New York governor. He has nothing to hide until a cute waitress unravels a mystery that could destroy his family’s reputation.

Two centuries earlier, wounded Civil War veteran Franklin Davidson lost everything—his house, his wife, his standing in society. In his darkest moment, he’s awarded a position with the newly formed Secret Service to combat the spread of counterfeit U.S. currency. His life and new home in Gramercy Park are the envy of his peers, but nothing is as it seems. Secrets are meant to be kept, and Franklin will take his to his grave.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I enjoyed this entertaining and informative dual time novel. The contemporary story is a good romance. The historical story is quite informative about the Secret Service investigating counterfeiters. I had no idea the Secret Service was initially formed for that purpose as there was a great deal of counterfeit money circulating after the Civil War. It was not until after the assassination of President McKinley that the Service began concentrating on protecting the President.

Patterson's writing style is good. I appreciate how she related the historical events to the current day story. I also appreciated the exploration of journalists who investigate historical mysteries and how their stories help us not only understand the past but the present too. I did feel the political aspect of the contemporary story was a bit unrealistic.

This is a fine novel for readers who like a good romance that includes interesting historical information and a good faith message.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author

Candice Sue Patterson studied at the Institute of Children’s Literature and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons in a restored farmhouse overtaken by books. When she’s not tending to her chickens, splitting wood, or decorating cakes, she’s working on a new story. Candice writes Modern Vintage Romance—where the past and present collide with faith. Her debut novel How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart was a 2012 ACFW First Impressions finalist and made INSPYs Longlist for 2016.

More from Candice

A locked secret garden in Manhattan with historical significance and the only ones privileged to step inside are the wealthy residents who purchase a key—count me in! The plot for The Keys to Gramercy Park was born at our dining room table when my husband looked up from the book he was reading and asked if I knew about Gramercy Park. I hadn’t, so we started Googling and discovered it was a real garden in Manhattan built in 1841 for the cream of society. The fact that it’s been off-limits to the public for one hundred and eight-two years instantly brought all kinds of story ideas to my mind.

Not long after, I discovered that Barbour Publishing Inc. was looking for dual-time stories to fill their Doors to the Past series. I love reading dual-time novels but I’d never written one. I love a good challenge, so I began plotting and before I knew it, I had another first—creating a villain.

I’ve only ever seen the New York City skyline from the New Jersey ferry that travels to and from the Statue of Liberty, so after the story was contracted, I spent several weeks researching Manhattan and Gramercy Park. New York is full of rich history and it was so fun to stumble across the historical details of The Player’s, Edwin Booth, and the stories behind each home along Gramercy Square.

One of my favorite things about writing this story was the juxtaposition of the timelines. We don’t have the present without the past, and what happens in the past affects the future, but the future can also determine how we view, feel, and learn about the past. That’s essentially what The Keys to Gramercy Park is about—the butterfly effect of past events reaching ahead two centuries with dire consequences. I love how in one scene the characters are sending telegraphs and in the next scene, they’re sending text messages.

What’s your favorite thing about dual-time novels? Make sure to check out the other books in the Doors to the Past series!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 26

lakesidelivingsite, May 26

Melissa’s Bookshelf, May 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 28

Blogging With Carol, May 28

Book Looks by Lisa, May 29

Connie’s History Classroom, May 29

Texas Book-aholic, May 30

For Him and My Family, May 30

Cover Lover Book Review, May 31

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 2

Blossoms and Blessings, June 2

Remembrancy, June 3

Holly’s Book Corner, June 3

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 4

Pause for Tales, June 4

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, June 5 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, June 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 6

Inklings and Notions, June 6

Simple Harvest Reads, June 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Labor Not in Vain, June 7

She Lives To Read, June 8

Books I’ve Read, June 8


To celebrate her tour, Candice is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-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.

I received a complimentary egalley 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, May 25, 2023

Pursuing God's Presence by Roger Helland Book Review

About the Book:

How a Presence-Centered Life Changes Everything

Balancing Scripture and Spirit, pastor and professor Roger Helland shows pursuing God's presence isn't about seeking signs and wonders--it's about seeking God's kavod: His radiant glory, His manifest presence. Sorting through common fears and misunderstandings about God's presence, Helland offers biblical and practical teaching, to help you

· pursue God's presence and holiness in everyday life,
· live a presence-centered life at work, home and church,
· enjoy a deeper biblical fullness of the Holy Spirit and
· experience God's supernatural strength, vitality, renewal and joy.

God's kavod changes everything. When you learn to seek, experience and host His presence, it will transform you--and the world.

You can read an excerpt here.

My Review:

I agree with Helland in that current spirituality among Christians does not seem to be as deep or committed as in generations past. The issue, he writes, is not having God's presence as the center of life. We live life with an inattention to God. He suggests we must be continually resetting our lives, seeking a spirituality with God at the center.

This book contains good teaching on how to pursue a spiritual life focused with God at the center. Helland writes about prayer, engaging Scripture, and pursuing holiness as the Holy Spirit transforms us. I like that he reminds us we are not to be preoccupied with the effects or manifestations of the Spirit but rather with God Himself.

I like Helland drawing our attention to the difference between formal and functional theology. We might formally say we believe a certain way but our functional theology is revealed by how we actually live. How we fill our minds reveals what we really believe about the importance of the pursuit of God as the center of our lives.

While this book is aimed at charismatic Christians, it is a good challenge to all Christians. In a world where there are so many distractions from pursuing God as the center of our lives, Helland gives practical suggestions to make it a realistic pursuit.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Dr. Roger Helland
 is the Prayer Ambassador for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and previously served as district minister of the Baptist General Conference in Alberta. The author of seven books, he has over 35 years of experience as a pastor, denominational leader, adjunct professor at several theological schools, and renewal catalyst. He lives with his wife, Gail, near Calgary. Photo Credit: © Lorna Rande, Artistic Imagery

Chosen Books, 240 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.)