Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Sacred Chase by Heath Adamson

We pursue so many things yet are always disappointed. Adamson says the one pursuit that will never disappoint and will, in fact, exceed our expectations is the pursuit of a more intimate connection with Jesus.

Adamson does a good job of encouraging us to seek God with all our heart. That happens when we want a divine connection more than anything else. He reminds us we are as close to God as we want to be. He challenges us about distractions, being authentic and vulnerable with God, fueling our passion for God, maintaining our soul's health, and more. He pokes holes in our religious veneer and calls us to task for the lies we tell ourselves.

Adamson uses stories from his life, the lives of others, and stories from the Bible to illustrate his teaching. The egalley I read had no questions for reflection or discussion. That's too bad because this book would be a good one for a study group or Sunday School class.

I recommend this book to Christians who have gotten lazy in their spiritual life. It's a good book for any Christian desiring encouragement for a deeper intimacy with God. It's a good book for Christians who think that proximity with God, going to church and small groups, is all that God wants in a relationship. You'll be challenged.

Food for thought: “God is our reward. God is at the beginning, the end, and the journey in between.” (Loc 207/3883)

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Heath Adamson (PhD, University of London) is the author of Grace in the Valley. His life was changed dramatically at age seventeen when he was rescued out of his life of drugs and the occult. He serves as the Chief of Staff at Convoy of Hope, a global relief and development organization. He is also the Global Chairman for the World Assemblies of God Fellowship Next Gen Commission. He is a sought after speaker at conferences, seminars, universities and churches. You can find out more at https://www.heathadamson.com/ .

Baker Books, 208 pages.

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

Friday, April 3, 2020

Grasping Hope Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


Book:  Grasping Hope
Author: Heather Greer
Genre:  Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Release Date: March 2019

When dreams turn into nightmares what’s left to hold onto?

Katie McGowan knows her fears are irrational. They’re also beyond her control. Her mind says her fiancĂ© is faithful, but the betrayal of her past love ignites a fear stronger than her trust. Attempts to overcome it are unsuccessful. Nothing banishes her panic attacks for good. Dreading Austin’s response if he finds out about her struggle to trust, Katie hides the truth nearly destroying their relationship.

It takes a lesson in hope to start healing. Katie is released from the nightmares holding her captive to enjoy the blessings God has given. But when tragedies change her life forever, Katie’s understanding of hope is challenged. Unresolved anger and disappointment leave Katie doubting the sincerity of her beliefs. Desperate to prove her faith and minimize her failure as a believer, Katie buries her feelings beneath all the right words. Katie must learn where true hope is found or risk losing her faith under the weight of the things she has lost.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

At first I thought this novel was just another chick lit with girl guy relationship squabbles. Katie and her sidekick Erin talking about their relationship troubles with guys and going shopping, picking out dresses, planning a wedding. At one point Erin says, “There is nothing better than shopping.” (84)

Then came the dramatic turn at the middle of the novel. The second half of the book is thought provoking and heart tugging. There are many themes explored in dialogue and character thought, such as authenticity, forgiveness, honesty and more. Katie has to work through many struggles and I like how others come near her to help. I really appreciated the discussions about faith and the reality of being angry with God.

I recommend this novel. It is a good one for showing how people can survive tragedy and work through the ensuing obstacles. It will tug at your heart strings.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author


Heather Greer is a pastor’s kid and pastor’s wife from southern Illinois. Though her nest is quickly approaching the empty stage, with three of her four children out on their own, she enjoys the times she gets to spend with all her children, husband, and grandson. Equal mix geek and romantic, you could as easily find Heather watching an episode of Doctor Who as the latest Hallmark movie. Of course, you may find her baking, reading, or crafting too!

Heather’s writing and teaching ministries revolve around a passion to see believers grow in their faith. Though God has used her most often with teens and adults, she has worked in ministries reaching all age groups through the years. It is Heather’s prayer for God to use what she writes in her books and on her blog to challenge and encourage readers in their faith walks.

More from Heather


Often, we throw around the word hope as if it’s a fancy replacement for a wish. Nothing could be further from the truth. Godly hope is more than wishing our circumstances were different without any indication that our desire could become reality. When our hope is based on who God is and what He has promised in His word, it becomes something to anchor us in the troubling times we go through. It is what allows us to give the circumstances that weigh us down to God and go on living life even though physically there may be no changes in what’s happening.

Hope isn’t pretending the bad stuff isn’t there. And it isn’t acting as if the hard things don’t hurt. Hope doesn’t erase the hurt or ignore the problems, but it does free us from allowing our emotions and circumstances to control us. Hope lets us have peace that makes no sense to the rest of the world. Hope allows us to rest in the middle of the trial. Hope based on scriptural truths allows us to live with joy even when things aren’t going our way.

As I wrote Grasping Hope, God took me to places that challenged and grew my own understanding of what it means to have hope as an anchor to our souls (Hebrews 6:19). When I started writing, I had no idea the path God would take me down to show me just how little I understood about hope. It’s something I never want to repeat and wouldn’t wish on anyone. But the lessons I learned grew me as a believer, and it is my prayer that what I learned through this difficult time in my life comes through clearly for everyone who reads Grasping Hope.

Blog Stops

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Heather is giving away the grand prize of $25 Amazon gift card!!
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 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.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Stay by Anjuli Paschall

This book is much more a memoir than one containing a good deal of teaching. It's a book for younger women who like insights drawn from experiences rather than from the Bible. Paschall shares stories such as meeting the Dalai Lama in San Francisco, her experiences with a therapist, having difficult discussions, etc. She is very introspective of her experiences and draws spiritual insights from them.

This book is a good example of journaling and the lessons one can learn from the practice. At times I felt like I was reading Paschall's journal as she experienced life or thought about past events. Readers who face internal struggles will appreciate her accounts of her own battles with insecurity, regret, shame, failure, acceptance, guilt, and more.

Paschall invites her readers to be real and vulnerable. To not cover up the questions, the discontent. And most of all, to stay and not run away. She writes, “I can't reconcile a good God with the evil in the world. I can't. I can't make sense of God's sovereignty in a world of suffering. I can only do one thing. I can be in the waiting.” (150)

Many Christians have understood their purpose in life is to glorify God, based on 1 Cor. 10:31. Paschall has a different take. “My one and only purpose in life is to be loved by God.” (202)

This book is good for young people and those who like spiritual insights derived from personal experience. It is also a good example of potential writers who would like to have their “pain have a voice...” (201) Older Christians who grew mature on teaching directly from the Bible like I did, may not be as excited about this book.

Discussion questions are included for reflection and discussion. 

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Anjuli Paschall is the founder of The Moms We Love Club and is a writer for Dayspring's (in)courage. After graduating from Point Loma Nazarene University, she earned a master's degree in spiritual formation and soul care from Talbot Seminary. She lives in Southern California with her husband and their five children. You can find out more at https://www.anjulipaschall.com/hello-1

Bethany House, 224 pages.

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Traitor's Pawn by Lisa Harris

About the Book:

When FBI agent Jack Shannon arrives in Corpus Christi, Texas, he is focused on one thing: find the man who has been selling encrypted government secrets to the Chinese. But when a senator is shot during a hunting trip and the woman he was with is abducted, Jack agrees to join the search – especially when he discovers that the kidnapping victim is Aubrey Grayson, a woman he was once in love with.

As the search continues, it becomes clear the senator may not have been the intended victim – and Aubrey may be connected to the other case Jack is supposed to be working on. Can Jack untangle the knots before it's too late? And when he learns the truth, will it be too painful to get past?

You can read an excerpt here.

You can watch the book trailer here.

My Review:

I like that this novel gets going right away with action and suspense as Aubrey is kidnapped. The suspense is well distributed through the novel and balanced with character ruminations and development. Aubrey is a heroine struggling with inner battles, especially toward her father. Those struggles come to be very important as the plot develops.

And that plot is a bit complex. We readers are not sure who abducted Aubrey or why. There's a traitor selling secrets to foreign governments that Jack is investigating but there were so many red herrings and conflicting evidence that I was unsure of who it really was until the end. Unfortunately, there were some areas in the book that did not seem to be realistic, such as Aubrey and Jack out driving on their own when there had been two attempts on her life. That Aubrey would even be allowed to work on the case seemed odd.

I liked the novel in general. It is a good exploration of relationships in the context of suspense. Aubrey loved the senator like a father as he had taken her in when her own father had abandoned her. Now she must face her real father and find out if he is who he says or who the FBI says he is. And Aubrey must come to grips with her feelings for Jack. All in all, a good suspenseful novel with action and character thought in good balance.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. The author of more than forty books, including the Nikki Boyd Files and the Southern Crime series, as well as Vanishing Point, A Secret to Die For, and Deadly Intentions, Harris and her family have spent over sixteen years living as missionaries in southern Africa. Learn more at www.lisaharriswrites.com.

Revell, 336 pages.

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

Monday, March 30, 2020

Dead End by Nancy Mehl

About the Book:

When a body is discovered in a field in Iowa, the police uncover fourteen additional corpses, some from twenty years ago, others from the recent past. The remains point to a serial killer with an MO the authorities have seen before – Ed Oliphant, a man who has been in prison for more than twenty years . . . and is FBI Special Agent Kaely Quinn's father. After several failed attempts to discover if Ed has been training someone to be a copycat killer, the police turn to Kaely in St. Louis for help.

Kaely promised herself she would never step foot in her hometown or set eyes on her father again. She's always refused to confront her past, but if she wants to prevent any more deaths, she must come face-to-face with the man she's hated for years.

As more bodies are discovered, Kaely races against time and her own inner turmoil to uncover the killer. Will this most personal case yet cost Kaely her identity and perhaps even her life?

My Review:

Mehl's novel has a definite emphasis on character growth. There is really no suspense until near the end. Much of the book deals with Kaely's inner battles about her killer father, such as guilt. She also battles a feeling she will die young, something from childhood combined with a threat from an evil man she confronted in her FBI work. She also struggles with her faith, wondering if it is enough to get her through the hard experiences she anticipates coming.

There are several other psychological themes explored. What makes a serial killer, a psychopath? How do childhood experiences play a part? What part does the devil have in it? How does one handle anger toward God because of personal tragedy?

This is an interesting book for readers who like to get in the minds of main characters since suspense appears only near the end. There are good explorations of many themes involving evil behavior, its causes and cures and healing from its effects. While the edition I read contained no discussion questions, I think this book contains much to think about and discuss.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Nancy Mehl is the author of more than 35 books and a Christy Award and Carol Award finalist as well as the winner of an ACFW Book of the Year award. She and her husband make their home in Missouri. You can find out more at www.nancymehl.com. Photo by Ginger Murray Photography.

Bethany House Publishers, 320 pages.

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

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Secrets of the Happy Soul by Katie Orr

We want to be happy don't we? Really happy with that joy springing up from the inside. After all, Jesus promised an abundant life, a thriving existence. Yet there seems to be a chasm between what Jesus promised and how many Christians live. What's going on?

Orr makes sure readers are born again believers. That is essential because her book “is about working out the incredible, life-changing, happy realities that are true of us because of Christ.” (13) She gives insights on six areas where we need to understand the life change that has happened to us and then live it out.

She points out that experiencing and enjoying God does not automatically happen. It takes cultivating. She helps us understand the kinds of actions necessary to bring us to full maturity in Christ.

My favorite part of the book is her teaching on the essential nature of valuing God's Word. We must understand that only the Word can fulfill our deepest longing and satisfy us like nothing else can. We might have some barriers that hinder us from enjoying God's Word. She tackles them, one by one, calling us to fight for the inclinations of our hearts.

This is a good book for young Christians as it clarifies the path to being all we can be in Christ. It's a good book for older Christians too, especially if we have become a little lazy in our Christian walk. Orr's enthusiasm for going after the delight we can experience in God is contagious.

Food for thought: "Happiness in not something we pursue. It is something we are." (40)

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Katie Orr is passionate about helping women enjoy God daily. As a conference speaker, prolific author, and online Bible coach, she provides biblical teaching and relevant resources to help women jump-start their journey toward walking with Jesus. Katie and her pastor-husband have three children and serve together in the local church. Learn more at www.katieorr.me.

Bethany House, 256 pages.

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

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Capsized by Death Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


Book:  Capsized by Death
Author: Catherine Finger
Genre:  Christian Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: December 2019


As Police Chief Jo Oliver prepares for her dream wedding in Maui, she and her team must keep a serial killer with ties to her past from derailing her plans for the future.

Click here for your copy!


My Review


This is the fourth book in a series and unfortunately, the first I have read. Since much of the plot deals with previously established relationships, it was difficult for me to completely appreciate the story. The novel is mostly about those relationships, preparing for marriage, and the wedding. Oliver's involvement in a murder case does not come until midway through the book.

Finger does some head hopping in that the point of view changes from Chief Oliver to the killer within a chapter. There was a decorative dividing line but that line also appeared when the preceding and following scenes were from the same point of view. I found the inconsistency disconcerting.

I did not find Chief Oliver an engaging heroine. For being the police chief of a small town, she was frequently over reactive to imagined harm, such as someone's hard blue eyes looking at her. That she was heroic in the end seemed inconsistent.

Reading this novel would be best if you are already engaged with the characters by having read the previous books in the series.

My rating: 4/5 stars. 


About the Author


Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to choose how to spend her time in a new way during the second half of life. So far, she chooses to write books, ride horses, serve others, and generally find her way into and out of trouble both on the road and at home.  She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.
Capsized by Death, the fourth novel in her Jo Oliver Thriller series, will be released by Elk Lake Publishing in December, 2019. Anchored by Death, the third novel in her Jo Oliver Thriller series, received the Bronze Medal for the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards, was a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Awards, and  Her second Jo Oliver Thriller, Shattered by Death, was a finalist in the International Book Awards and the National Indie Excellence Awards. Catherine and her novels have been featured on radio stations, blogs, and in numerous articles—all posted at www.CatherineFinger.com.
Catherine loves to interact with her readers at www.CatherineFinger.com. Follow her on Facebook at Catherine Finger, Author, and on Twitter at CatherineFinger@BeJoOliver.

More from Catherine


In writing my Jo Oliver Thriller series, I find myself driven by passion. The genesis of the series—Cleansed By Death—was fueled by a passion to create a story about strong women embedded in a male-dominated profession, facing difficulties they could only solve through faith and community. I was vacuuming when I was hit by the idea of pitting two strong women against each other and seeing which one would win, the theme of book 2, Shattered by Death. Information gleaned during an FBI writers workshop on techniques for tracking criminals, superimposed over the mitten map of Wisconsin formed the bones for Anchored By Death, the third book in the series.
My latest novel, Capsized By Death, contains all of my favorite elements. The astute series reader will note that the foundation for the killer’s appearance in this book was introduced years ago in Cleansed By Death. But he first appeared to me during one of my many solo writing vacations on an island.
At the end of a fairytale day spent kayaking, snorkeling and listening to the sound of whales singing under water in Maui, the gorgeous male host of my day trip stood silhouetted in the setting sun. This man was beautiful in every way, and had the sort of personality that describes the essence of attractive—he pulled you into his beautiful ocean world. At that moment, I knew I had found my perfect killer for my next book! It became my goal to create a killer who was beautiful on the outside and evil on the inside. I used the New Testament book of Jude as my guide for the internal workings of my killer and thus the skeletal framework for Jude, my killer in Capsized By Death—book 4 of the Jo Oliver Thriller series—was born.

Blog Stops

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Catherine is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book and an Amazon gift certificate for $25!!
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 digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and hones review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Joy Express Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


Book:  Joy Express
Author: Jody Day
Genre:  Christian Women’s Fiction
Release Date: Nov 8, 2019

Nearly a year has passed since Scott and Bailey’s Christmas wedding. Now they are expecting joy in the form of twins!

The day arrives for the opening of Barkley House, a missionary retreat provided by Bailey’s inheritance, but an unspeakable evil descends upon Bailey as she awaits her ride to the opening ceremony. Scott can’t find her.

Shocking revelations accompany Bailey’s ordeal. Will she ever find joy again?

Click here to get your copy.

My Review


I liked this emotion packed novella. While there is intense drama early in the story, most of it concentrates on how Bailey handles the trauma she experienced and her new circumstances as mother of twins. The character development is done well as Bailey deals with other issues too, such as self imposed guilt from her parents breaking up when she was young.

The aspect of the story I liked the best was how friends and neighbors came together to help Bailey and her husband during this traumatic time. I liked also that there is a very clear Christian message presented.

This is the third book in the Express Series and I would recommend the earlier ones be read to get the full enjoyment out of this one. While some back story was included in this book, I was often conscious of having missed the complete story in the other books. The character relationships and the support they provide are an essential part of the story and are not quite understood without the previous stories.

I recommend this engaging story of trauma and healing, all in the context of loved ones coming near for support. It would make a heart warming read of an evening.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author


Jody Bailey Day writes inspirational fiction, poetry, Bible studies, and articles from her home in West Texas. She is a member of Faithwriters.com, American Christian Fiction Writers, and is the president of Critique Café, West Texas area writers group. She mentors young writers, and is a musician and music teacher. She and her husband love silent and black and white movies, and the chaos that comes with fifteen grandchildren. She crochets blankets for her ministry called Wrapped in Prayer Blanket ministry. Jody considers herself a professional nerd, and loves every minute of it.

More from Jody


I’m so excited about the release of Joy Express. It’s the culmination of a series that began in my heart on the way home from the first writer’s conference I ever attended. The East Texas Writer’s Conference was held at my alma mater, East Texas Baptist College, which is now University. I was incredibly inspired, and on I20 toward Dallas I saw a sign that said Washout Express, Exit 477. Turns out that was giant truck wash. My thought was, “What would it be like to be totally washed out, washed up, and at the end of your rope?” I’d been there and was on the other side, but I wanted to write a story about the process. Bailey Brown was born. Joy Express is Book 3 in the series and follows Bailey and Scott through a series of tremendous obstacles, and how their faith and family got them to the other side. It’s not tied up with a nice little bow, life is rarely like that, but it does come to a redemptive pause in their story. I hope you’ll pick it up and read the message of faith. You can come back from anything.

Blog Stops


Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away the grand prize of a print copy of Joy Express!!
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 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.