Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Unexplainable Jesus by Erica Wiggenhorn

This is a good study of the majority of the gospel of Luke. Wiggenhorn has done lots of research and adds supplementary historical and cultural information throughout the study. There are a few journeys into the Greek text but not many. The writing style is pleasant to read and this would make a good study for someone wanting to study the life of Jesus as shown through Luke, whether for the first time or as a reacquainting experience. Wiggenhorn provides many opportunities to relate the information in the gospel to everyday life.

Unfortunately, some passages of Luke are not covered. Luke 12:49-59 is an example. There, Jesus talked about bringing division, a topic Wiggenhorn did not cover. The last half of Luke chapter 11 is also ignored. Potential Bible study leaders should know which passages are ignored and be prepared to answers questions on those passages from their own independent research.

Each of the 40 lessons (8 weeks) is designed to take about twenty to thirty minutes to complete. It begins with a Bible passage and a theme title. Questions help readers contemplate the Scripture verses and apply the principles to life. Space is given for drawing or otherwise responding to time spent in relationship with God. Some of the questions are also suitable for group discussion and additional free resources are available at a website given in the text.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

ERICA WIGGENHORN is the founder of Every Life Ministries, bringing the truths of Scripture to transform lives. She teaches in various local and national venues and serves on the women's ministry leadership team for her church. She's also taught women in the Arizona State Prison system, and overseas. She loves to bring God's Word through Bible teaching, conferences, seminars and retreats. A graduate of Azusa Pacific University, Erica lives in Phoenix with her husband, Jonathan, and their two children, Eliana and Nathan. For more information about Erica, her Bible studies, and writing/speaking ministry, visit www.EricaWiggenhorn.com.

Moody Publishers, 256 pages.

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Lake Season by Denise Hunter Blog Tour


About the Book


Book: Lake Season
Author: Denise Hunter
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 12, 2019

A lost letter, a new love, and old secrets beckon this summer at the Bluebell Inn.

When their parents die in a tragic accident, Molly Bennett and her siblings pull together to fulfill their parents’ dream: turning their historic Bluebell, North Carolina home back into an inn. The situation would just be temporary—three years at the most—then they would sell the inn and Molly could get back to chasing her own dreams.

Adam Bradford (aka bestselling author Nathanial Grey) is a reclusive novelist with a bad case of writer’s block. Desperate for inspiration as his deadline approaches, he travels to the setting of his next book, a North Carolina lake town. There he immediately meets his muse, a young innkeeper who fancies herself in love with his alter ego.

Molly and Adam strike up an instant friendship. When Molly finds a long-lost letter in the walls of her inn she embarks on a mission with Adam to find the star-crossed lovers and bring them the closure they deserve. But Adam has secrets of his own. Past and present collide as truths are revealed, and Molly and Adam will have to decide if love is worth trusting.

Click here to get your copy.

My Review

I enjoyed Hunter's delightful romance. She has a way of crafting characters I love, dialogue that makes me smile and a plot that requires a box of tissues be handy. I really like how Hunter intertwined historical and contemporary romance stories so well. They both tugged at my emotions. I liked how the main characters had self worth and guilt issues that needed to be overcome. I liked the romantic tension and the danger of romance being lost. I like how the plot included a good example of the work needed to be healed of past betrayal. I liked the setting of a small town and the family rallying to restore and run the inn.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. If you like engaging characters with real flaws that are overcome, clever dialogue that keeps you smiling, an historical romance mystery that tugs at your emotions, and a contemporary romance where you'll want to cheer the couple on through their obstacles, you like this novel.

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

My rating: 5/5 stars.

About the Author


Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including A December Bride and The Convenient Groom, which have been adapted into original Hallmark Channel movies. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Carol Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are rapidly approaching an empty nest. To learn more about Denise, visit her website DeniseHunterBooks.com; Facebook: AuthorDeniseHunter; Twitter: @DeniseAHunter; Instagram: deniseahunter.  

Read a premium Excerpt


You can read a premium excerpt of Denise’s Lake Season here.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, November 12
Mia Reads, November 13
Back Porch Reads, November 13
Carla Loves To Read, November 14
All-of-a-kind Mom, November 14
Among the Reads, November 14
Genesis 5020, November 14
Wishful Endings, November 15
CarpeDiem, November 15
Older & Smarter?, November 16
Cultivating Us, November 16
Inside the Wong Mind, November 16
Sara Jane Jacobs, November 17
Avid Reader Nurse, November 17
For Him and My Family, November 18
Jeanette's Thoughts, November 18
Splashes of Joy, November 18
Robin's Nest, November 19
Mary Hake, November 19
Baker Kella, November 19
Simple Harvest Reads, November 20 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
SusanLovesBooks, November 20
Vicky Sluiter, November 21
Quiet Quilter, November 22
Andrea Christenson, November 22
Pause for Tales, November 22
Hallie Reads, November 23
Texas Book-aholic, November 24
janicesbookreviews, November 24
A Reader's Brain, November 24
Inklings and notions, November 24
Batya's Bits, November 25
Livin’ Lit, November 25
Remembrancy, November 25


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

Monday, November 11, 2019

Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock Blog Tour


About the Book


Book: Smoke Screen
Author: Terri Blackstock
Genre:  Christian Suspense
Release Date: November 5, 2019

One father was murdered, and another convicted of his death. All because their children fell in love.

Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.

Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher’s daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate’s drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.

Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she’s dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. She’s barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.

As they deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.

Click here to get your copy.

My Review

This novel was a bit different from the romantic suspense I was expecting from Blackstock. The plot was more of a character study and really had no suspense. I had trouble liking Breanna, the lead female character. I do like characters to have flaws but Breanna's were a bit much. She lacked that hint of core strength in the midst of turmoil. And Nate was puzzling to me. He looked past all of Breanna's faults to love her yet could not see past his own father's hurt and disappointment to forgive him. Neither of the characters grabbed me.

The plot had some interesting aspects to it. I enjoyed learning about fighting forest fires. The conflict Breanna had with her ex-husband over custody of the children was the main thread through the plot. There was not much suspense involved there and the bit of mystery in the novel just sort of solved itself without much work.

This would be a novel for readers who enjoy a distraught female character coming to grips with her faults and a male character love struck enough to be by her side through the experience. Readers who are looking for the suspense Blackstock is known for will not find it here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author


Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of InterventionVicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com; Facebook: tblackstock; Twitter: @terriblackstock  

Excerpt from Smoke Screen


 I woke up in a blinding bright room, my clothes off and something clamped to my face. I tried to reach it, but I couldn’t bend my right arm, and my hand stung. An IV was taped to my other hand, but I moved carefully and touched the thing over my face.
 An oxygen mask. I tried to sit up. “What happened?”
 T-bird came to my bedside, a sheen of smoky sweat still soiling his face. “Nate, lie back, man.”
 “The fire,” I said. “Need to get back. My men.”
 “They’re still there. Making progress. But you’re not going anywhere near a fire for a month or so.”
 I took the mask off and coughed a little, but managed to catch my breath. “A month?”
 “Yep. Second degree burns on 20 percent of your body. Some of the burns are deep.”
 It came back to me, the event that had gotten me here.
 “The family. Were they injured?”
 “Not a scratch or burn. Turns out it was a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He says you’re a hero.”
 “You know I had no choice. They were in the path—”
 “Take the praise where you can get it, man. We don’t get that much.”
 I looked at my right side. My right arm was bandaged, and so was my side and down my right leg to the point where my boots had stopped the flames. Second degree wasn’t so bad, I told myself. Third degree would have been brutal. I’d be able to leave the hospital soon. I’d heal.
 “I won’t need a month,” I said.
 “Yes, you will. They can’t let you go back. Doctor’s orders. You’re grounded until he releases you.”
 I managed to sit up, but it was a bad idea. The burns pulling on my skin reminded me why I shouldn’t. “I can’t be grounded during fire season. Are you crazy? I need to be there. You don’t have enough men as it is.”
 “Sorry, Nate. It is what it is. Why don’t you go home to Carlisle for a while? Take it easy.”
 Go home? Pop had just been pardoned, and he and my mom were trying to navigate the reunion. Though she would love to have me home, I didn’t know if I was up to it. My father could be challenging, and fourteen years of prison hadn’t done him any favors.   Taken from “Smoke Screen” by Terri Blackstock. Copyright © 2019 by Terri Blackstock. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.

Blog Stops

As He Leads is Joy, November 9
Sara Jane Jacobs, November 9
CarpeDiem, November 9
Fiction Aficionado, November 10
KarenSueHadley, November 10
Quiet quilter, November 10
Among the Reads, November 11
Genesis 5020, November 11
A Reader's Brain, November 11
Robin's Nest, November 12
All-of-a-kind Mom, November 12
Bigreadersite , November 12
Blogging With Carol , November 12
Betti Mace, November 13
Spoken from the Heart, November 13
D'S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 13
Emily Yager, November 13
By The Book, November 14
For Him and My Family, November 14
A Baker's Perspective, November 14
Splashes of Joy , November 14
Andrea Christenson, November 15
Just the Write Escape, November 16
Mary Hake, November 16
Remembrancy, November 17
Simple Harvest Reads, November 17 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
EmpowerMoms, November 17
Bloggin' 'bout Books, November 17
Blessed & Bookish, November 18
Older & Smarter, November 18
Inklings and notions, November 18
amandainpa , November 19
Pause for Tales, November 19
Hallie Reads, November 20
Cathe Swanson, November 21
All 4 and About Books, November 21
Batya's Bits, November 22
Livin’ Lit, November 22
Texas Book-aholic, November 22
janicesbookreviews, November 22

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.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Burn the White Flag by Charles Nieman

Waving a white flag is a universal indication of defeat. Nieman writes that in the Christian walk and the spiritual war going on, defeat is not an option. It is time to burn the white flag.

Nieman encourages readers to persevere to the end, to reject mediocrity, and toughen up to stay the course and win the prize. He uses the Exodus journey of the Israelites as the framework for his book, adding stories and insights from books he has read.

This book is full of encouragement and good teaching. He draws our attention to the tactics of Satan, the importance of maintaining joy, having a vision, keeping our eyes on Jesus, and more. It is a good general book on spiritual warfare and would be especially useful to new Christians.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Charles Nieman is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He and his wife began a home Bible study in 1977 that would later become Abundant Living Faith Center, a 30,000 member, multi-campus church in El Paso, Texas. He continues to pastor the church, along with his children, Shannon and Jared. You can find out more at https://www.alfc.com/leadership/ .

Abundant Living Faith Center, 150 pages. You can buy the book here.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Zilker Media. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Jesus Skeptic by John S Dickerson

Some modern atheists would have us believe Jesus is a myth and Christianity has been nothing but trouble. But what does the evidence say? Did Jesus really exist? What has been the influence of Christians in the world?

That is exactly what Dickerson set to find out. He spent ten years doing the same kind of investigation he did for his award winning journalism. He started out a professional skeptic but what he found out astounded him.

I like Dickerson's approach in that he concentrated on Primary Evidence. He investigated original documents and first hand reports, ones not from the Bible. The evidence is astounding. Dickerson shows how Christians and Christian ideas shaped higher education, science, medicine, public education, and more. The evidence is overwhelming and points out how followers of Jesus have made life so much better for so many people.

And Jesus? The evidence from nonblical historical sources shows that Jesus lived, just as the Bible accounts report. Dickerson also shows how Jesus is the most influential person who ever lived, by far.

I like that Dickerson has included reproductions of many of the source documents. We can see the evidence for ourselves. And if we want, we can check out his evidence at https://www.jesusskeptic.com/ .

Dickerson has provided skeptics of Jesus and Christianity with a great deal of evidence. Does he cover everything? No. Does he balance his investigation by noting areas where Christian influence has hindered civilization advancement? No. Does he compare Christianity's influence in the world with that of other religions? Not really.

Dickerson is now a pastor so potential readers should know this book is ultimately a defense of Christianity. I think it is a good one. If you are a skeptic, it is definitely worth considering.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

John Dickerson is a prize-winning journalist, a Millennial, and a bestselling author. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and USA Today and has earned dozens of honors, including the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, given by Tom Brokaw of NBC News and Christiane Amanpour of CNN and ABC News. Today he serves as lead pastor at Connection Pointe Christian Church in the Indianapolis metro area, where he lives with his wife and children. You can find out more at http://www.johnsdickerson.com/

Baker Books, 304 pages.

I received a complimentary uncorrected digital galley from the author. My comments are an independent and honest review.