Saturday, May 31, 2014

How to Start a Riot by Jonathan Storment

Storment says of his book, “It's a book trying to wake Jesus followers up to the implications of following Jesus.” (14)

He had been reading the book of Acts and realized how different the lives of the earliest Christians were from his own. They were arrested and beaten. They were filled with joy – even in the worst circumstances.

Storment shares his insights from the book of Acts and what made the early Christians behave as they did. He weaves his own personal stories into the narrative as he explores the events of the biblical book. He says of Acts, “It's a gripping account about men and women of faith who have taken risk after risk for the sake of something bigger than themselves.” (194)

My favorite lesson from this book is the one on “Churches and Cruise Ships.” (105) The role of big passenger ships in the 1800s was to transport passengers from one place to another. As passenger planes took over, the ships were docked. Then an enterprising person decided they could revamp
ships, add a theater and a swimming pool or two. The goal was no longer to get a person from A to B but to provide for their comfort and entertainment as they wandered around. So, is your church a passenger transport ship or a passenger cruise ship?

Storment wants each of us to recapture what the earliest Christians had, their animation and motivation. They turned the world upside down. Has your Christianity been reduced to giving an hour a week and ten percent of your income? Reading this book will challenge you to start a riot. I wish discussion questions had been provided as it would make a good choice for a discussion group.

Jonathan Storment served as the associate preaching minister at The Hills Church in the Dallas area until 2010, and has been preaching minister at the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas since then. He is a regular contributor to Scot McKnight's blog “Jesus Creed” and preaches at churches, university chapels, and conferences all over the world. He and his wife have three children. Find out more about him and his ministry at

Leafwood Publishers, 208 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig

Captain Dean Watters heads Raptor Six, a Special Forces team in Afghanistan. Rescuing kidnapped journalists, avoiding Taliban ambushes, it's all in a day's work for them. But when one of their secure military computers shows up in a remote village, Watters knows the level of danger threatening his team has been taken to a new level.

Ten military super-secure computers are missing. If the information on them is retrieved, America's enemies would have a blueprint of America's military intelligence. Watters knows the hackers must be stopped.

Compounding the problem is American born Zahrah Zarrick, working for a Christian nonprofit literacy organization, teaching Afghan children in her mother's native village. Watters' team extracted her after an explosion at her school. Knowing she is in danger, he wants to keep tabs on her. Something is stirred inside him when he talks to her. Something he has tried to keep locked inside for too long.

Zahrah is also an expert on quantum cryptology. The hackers want her and Watters knows his team must protect her. But when they are assigned to another operation, she disappears. Now Watters has double duty – rescue her and stop the hackers from unleashing terror across the globe.

I think this is probably the best of Kendig's novels I have read. The action is great and the character development superb. The romantic development is well done. The suspense at the end is breath taking.

The banter between the team members troubled me. I guess I want special forces to be more professional than these men seem to be. Perhaps it is the way they deal with the pressure of their work. Still, I have less respect for the team than I would if they did not behave so childish at times.

Be prepared, sensitive readers. The mean guys are really mean and will stop at no amount of torture to get their way. Some of it is heart wrenching.

One aspect of Kendig's writing still bothers me. I don't like: “Thud!” “Crack!” “Clang! Thud!” “Whoosh!” “Thwat” and, I mean, really, “BooooOOOOOOOooooom!” (204) I haven't seen something like that since the Batman comics.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this title. You can read other reviews here.

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up as an Army brat. She and her husband of over twenty years have four children and live in northern Virginia. You can find out more about her and her Rapid-Fire Fiction at

Shiloh Run Press (Barbour), 352 pages. You can buy a copy here.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Optimal Living 360 by Sanjay Jain

What a practical and interesting book. Jain wants us to get the best return on our investment in life. That is, for the time, energy, and money we put into life, he wants us to have the best life possible.

To help us accomplish that, he suggests investment strategies and a decision making system that integrates and considers all aspects of life, all assets. He identifies our assets in an easy to remember fashion: Assets, Safety, Physical, Intellectual, Relationships, Economic, Spiritual (ASPIRES). He evaluates various possibilities within each asset using his CAPS method (Core Asset Protection Strategies).

He explores each asset in maximizing the ROI. In Safety, he covers issues like driving and Internet issues. In Physical, he includes tips on losing weight, needed vitamins, and exercise. In Intellectual, he looks at mental and emotional health, education, life skills, sleep habits, relieving stress, and self-esteem. In Relationships, he writes about good communication. In Economic, he addresses debt, investing, and giving. In Spiritual, he writes about purpose and meaning in life, hope, and comfort. (He does not promote any particular spirituality but does show the practical benefits of belief in God.)

Jain's book is almost like a handbook to life. He covers all aspects of living a rewarding life. He even adds a few time management strategies to wrap it all together. It is a good starting point for gathering information for making life decisions. It would be a good book for college graduates, young marrieds, or people of all ages.

Jain believes each of us has (after reading his book) the knowledge, wisdom and power to make choices leading to a life of greatest joy. This is a good book to get you on your way to that place.

Sanjay Jain is a US-trained, board certified physician with more than fifteen years of clinical experience. He holds certifications in Diagnostic Radiology, Integrative Medicine, and Healthcare Quality and Management. He is a former assistant professor at The Ohio State University Medical School. He has delivered talks in the US and internationally. You can find out more about him and his work at

Greenleaf Book Group Press, 248 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

PDQ by Ronald Glanz

The scene is Madison, Wisconsin and the crimes are robbery and murder. The PDQ convenience stores are being hit by a man who tapes a handkerchief to his lower face. But the police has a grainy photo of the suspect from the in store video system. And then a lucky break. A traffic cop identifies the fellow as one he stopped earlier in the day. An arrest is made only, while this fellow is behind bars, another robbery is committed. Then a fender bender in a store parking lot leads them to another suspect. But he has a solid alibi. The police are stymied. They have two look alike suspects under surveillance when yet another robbery takes place. This time a policeman is killed.

This is a pretty clever mystery. Suspects looking so much alike they are mistaken for each other yet a third look alike is committing the crimes. We follow the lives of the detectives and the suspects as the crime spree continues. I did not like how the novel ended. For me, it was unsatisfactory with respect to any moral lesson or redeeming aspect of the novel.

Sensitive readers should know that there is considerable swearing in this book. Also, there is a great deal of adultery by one of the suspects. While there is some good bantering between the police, the writing is stilted. The author is an engineer and he writes fiction like one.

I generally review Christian fiction and I did receive this novel through a group that promotes Christian fiction. I would not put this novel in that genre, however.

Ronald Glanz worked as an engineer traveling throughout the world. He and his wife live in Mineral, Virginia.

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 224 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Face to Face with Jesus by Samaa Habib

Habib grew up in a Muslim family in a nation 98% Muslim and where radical Muslims considered Christian converts traitors worthy of horrible death.

She shares about the civil war in the country, Sunni and Shia Muslims fighting, seeing atrocities against civilians. At times her family crawled around in the house so they would not be shot through the windows. Her father went bankrupt and there was no more school for her.

Her life would change dramatically when she began attending a Taekwondo class. She was given a children's Bible and at age fourteen became a Christian. She attended church. She had a dream where Jesus appeared to her. She began to pray for her family. She was beaten by her brother, received threats from her neighbors, and hated by her father. She experienced miraculous protection from God as she was attacked several times.

There was a bombing in her church and Habib was badly injured with burns and a split skull. She died and went to heaven, seeing Jesus. He gave her the option to return to earth which she chose, giving her life to His service. She had a lengthy and miraculous recovery from here severe injuries, even while being persecuted by Muslim doctors and nurses. She continued to witness, first as a waitress, then a model and real estate agent. Miraculously, she went to the U.S. to mission school and then on mission journeys. She continues with the mandate to wake up the Church and encourage Christians to speak the Good News.

Habib reveals a great deal about Muslim culture and belief. About her conversion, along with several of her sisters, she wrote, “In Islam my father would be justified in killing us. It would be an honor killing as we lived in a shame culture and the only way to remove shame was by death.” (122) She persevered in her faith and ultimately saw her mother and finally her father come to faith in Jesus.

Hers is a powerful story of God moving among the Muslims. It shows the high cost of a Muslim becoming a Christian. She encourages us to pray for Muslims, that God would send out laborers for the harvest. Read this memoir and know that God is moving today among the Muslim believers. It will inspire you to get on your knees.

Samaa Habib grew up in an Islamic family in the Middle East. Converted to Christianity, she experienced persecution, had a death experience and had a facet-face encounter with Jesus. Since then she has traveled the world, sharing her testimony.
Bodie Thoene has written over sixty five novels, selling over thirty five million copies and winning eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards.

Chosen Books, 272 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from Chosen Books for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages by Alex Marestaing

Caleb is thirteen and is agoraphobic. He hasn't left the house in seven years, ever since his sister died. But then he sees a note and he ventures out. That begins an adventure for Caleb where faith will triumph over fear.

This is a well written tale of friendship. Caleb experiences the healing human friendship of Iris and the Rowes and the mysterious healing friendship of Emily Dickinson.

When Caleb is convinced he is “sick in the head,” Mr. Rowe encourages him, “We're all sick in the head, broken each and every one of us. … Listen to me son, we're all broken on this side of heaven. But that don't matter much. Because we can still make beautiful things from the pieces.” (202) That is a lesson we can all benefit from.

This is a very good book for young teens who might be held captive by fear. It is an encouragement to see Caleb grow. It would be best appreciated, perhaps, by teens who are familiar with the writings of Emily Dickinson or at least enjoy poetry.

This youth novel recently won an honorable mention at the London Book Festival and was nominated for a 2014 Epic Award.

I am taking part in a blog tour and you can read other reviews here.

You can purchase a copy here.

Alex Marestaing has worked on writing projects for The Walt Disney Company, Lego, Thomas Nelson, and The Los Angeles Times, as well as freelance for a number of faith based publications. This is his third novel. You can learn more about him at

My Miliou Press, 222 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Moms' Night Out (novel and devotional) by Tricia Goyer and Kerri Pomarolli

It's just one night out for stressed out moms. What could possibly go wrong?

In this novelization of the hilarious family comedy, everything can go wrong and yet still turn out all right. Allyson and her friends want a mom's night out – peaceful dinner and grown-up conversation. Their husbands can watch the kids for a few hours. They hadn't counted on the missing baby, the tattoo parlor, the motorcycle gang, the bewildered cabbie, the missing cars, and a visit to the police station.

This is a funny novel. It has laugh out loud crazy scenes. Goyer has done a great job putting the movie to print.

Go to to watch the movie trailer and find out more about the hilarious comedy (or watch the embedded video below).

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read more reviews here.

Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of more than forty books. A keynote speaker at the 2013 MOPS convention, Tricia writes regularly for several popular Christian women's blogs in addition to her own. She has been married for more than twenty years and is the mother of six. Find out more at

 B&H Books, 208 pages. You can purchase a copy here.

Pomarolli shares wisdom from having a career in comedy while living in a house with a grown up man and two kids.

She's a stand up comic and it shows. Some of the devotions are really funny. Yet within each devotion are serious thoughts about being a mommy. For example, “How do I, as a mother,foster my child's faith in the impossible while still teaching her to live in a fallen world?” It may take a lifetime to learn that. To help apply the lessons in the devotions, questions and a prayer are added to each one.

Sprinkled throughout the devotions are several funny lists, like the Top Ten Worst Texts You Can Send Your Wife on Mom's Night Out. “This kids stuff is easy! Why are you always complaining? P.S. Is the baby with you?”

This is a good devotional for moms who feel overwhelmed, who feel they are alone with their issues, or compare themselves with other moms. You'll be able to laugh at yourself.

Mothers who adhere to a pattern of discipline may not find as much comic relief in these devotions. Many of the funny stories originate in kids getting out of hand.

Nonetheless, there are important issues covered in the devotions. For example, do you grab your iPhone in the morning instead of your Bible? And do you ever wonder why God created Nutella?

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here

Kerri Pomarolli is called Hollywood's “Good Girl.” She is an accomplished actress, comedian, author, Christian speaker and veteran of television – including 29 appearances on The Tonight Show and Comedy Central. You can find out more about her at her website,

B&H Books, 208 pages. You can purchase a copy here.

I received complimentary egallies of both of these books through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Silenced by Dani Pettrey

This fourth book in the Alaskan Courage Series centers on Kayden McKenna. She is relaxing with a day of rock climbing when she comes upon a dead climber. Evidence points to murder. The sheriff asks Jake Cavanaugh to help in the investigation, deputizing him. Jake, who long hid his previous law enforcement career, is back on a case.

Kayden and Jake team up to find the killer, someone within the tight climbing community. Soon it appears the killer is after Kayden and Jake. Woven into the suspenseful story is the romance between Kayden and Jake.

I have read all the books in this series and I found this one the least satisfying of them all. The initial murder seemed to serve only to get Kayden and Jake working together on a case. That seemed a little strange to me since the (ultimate) murderer already knew that Jake loved Kayden so the planned revenge could have happened without the two working together on the climber's case. So I am not sure of that murder's role in the over all plot. Also, the romance between Kayden and Jake was simple and fast. No great obstacles to overcome, although I suppose one could say those obstacles happened in previous novels. It did seem too simple and too rushed to me.

Also, I wish there was more description of the Alaskan landscape. I do appreciate novels grounded in a setting with the characters noting the scenery.

Nonetheless, I did enjoy this novel. There is plenty of action and the importance of Christian faith is prominent.

Go to to download a discussion guide, read an excerpt, and much more.

Dani Pettrey is the author of three previous romantic suspense novels, winner of the 2013 Holt Medallion for First Novel and the Colorado Romance Writers 2013 Award of Excellence. She and her husband have two daughters and live in the D. C. Metro area. You can find out more about her and her books at

Bethany House Publishers, 336 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this novel from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Living Whole without a Better Half by Wendy Widder

Singleness was not something Widder dreamed of as a little girl. “It was something I prayed only happened to other people.” (15) If that resonates with you, this is a good book for you to read.

She identifies two faulty assumptions – that God will give us what we want just because we follow Him, and that singleness is somehow second-rate. She writes about “God questions,” those questions to which we have no answers. “If I'll marry, who I'll marry, when I'll marry...” (38) God is the only one who knows the answers and He's not talking.

Using the stories of Old Testament heroes, she writes about the secret of contentment, a new perspective on pain, choosing a life of perseverance, living through rejection, living after rebellion, a perspective on worship, living with purpose, living beyond fear, and living without distraction.

Widder deals with the tough issues and emotions of singleness. She does this in the context of biblical story so it is not as specific as I've seen in other books on singles. The issues she deals with are ones common to all fallen people: loneliness, pain, rejection, unanswered questions, etc.

This book also contains some thoughts married folks need to think about. For example, “While everyone needs encouragement, singles especially need people who will walk with them.” (87) Singles don't have the built-in support system of a spouse. Singles need “friends who can lend faithful support and encouragement.” (88)

Very good “Study and Discussion Questions” section has been added at the end of each chapter so this would make a good selection for a small group.

Food for thought: “If there's not joy in singleness, there won't by joy in marriage either.” (41)

Wendy Widder spent most of her twenties teaching elementary students and waiting to get married. Then she decided life was happening without her, so she started a collection of graduate degrees in Bible, theology, and ancient languages. She emerged from the ivory tower and found herself in mid-life, learning new ways to live whole without a better half. She is the author of several previous books, one co-authored with her father. She currently writes for Logos Bible Software. She blogs at

Kregel Publications, 192 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl

Wynter is stunned when a colleague shows her a old photo of a Mennonite family near the town of Sanctuary. The young teen in the buggy looked like Ryan, her younger brother kidnapped ten years ago. The photo had been secretly taken through a car window about six years earlier. Wynter was planning a piece for the television station about unique towns in Missouri and her colleague thought the photo would pique her interest. Wynter knew the first town she and her photographer would go to was Sanctuary, an out of the way town where people lived a simple life, both Mennonites and those not of the faith.

Sanctuary is not as welcoming as Wynter had thought it would be. It soon becomes evident someone doesn't want her there. They will even murder to keep their secrets covered.

This novel is a good combination of mystery, suspense and romance. Although I am generally not a reader of Amish style fiction, there are enough twists, turns and revelations in this novel that kept my interest and kept me reading. It was inspiring to see the effect the simple life lived in Sanctuary had on Wynter and her photographer, both psychologically and spiritually. It was also pleasing to see Wynter have an opportunity for romance, even if it did seem to happen quickly.

Readers of Amish style fiction will like this book as will those who enjoy a good mystery. There are themes of restoration, forgiveness, and trusting God woven throughout. All in all, a very good novel.

You can watch the book trailer here.

Nancy Mehl is the author of fifteen books and received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work. She and her husband live in Missouri. Find out more about her and her books at

Bethany House Publishers, 320 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Spirit Bridge by James L. Rubart

Brandon is the Song, yet (in a previous novel) he has lost his singing voice. He is bitter, depressed, and finished with the Warriors. Reese and the others try to convince him to remain part of the spiritual warfare group. Brandon has to be a part – the prophecy says so.

The Warriors face the demon Zennon one more time. When one of them dies from the battle wounds, the future of the group is unclear. Then situation becomes even more tense as two people join the group and it appears one of them is an agent for the enemy.

This is the third in a series and while the novel can be read on its own, much of this story line in this novel depends on the events from the previous ones.
If you want to receive the full benefit from this book, you should read Soul's Gate and Memory's Door first.

As in the previous novels in this series, the Warriors travel in the spirit and battle evil. People can disappear from one place and appear somewhere else (as did Philip in the Bible). Reese, who lost his natural sight in a previous novel, has spiritual sight and can see peoples' auras. The Warriors also enter into peoples' souls to do battle for spiritual healing.

The strength of this novel is its teaching on spiritual warfare. Through the words and experiences of the characters, we learn how the enemy gets a foothold. There is a longing inside a person that provides a crack, an opening to the enticement presented by the enemy. There are other lessons on the deceptive nature of the enemy and the power of worship.

We are often reminded that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Spiritual truths described in the Bible are real experiences in the spirit world. Rubart excels in describing the reality of spiritual warfare. The final spiritual battle is spell binding. The novel is very entertaining yet full of instruction on spiritual warfare.

James L. Rubart is a professional marketer and speaker. He is the author of the best-selling novel Rooms and four others. He and his wife live in the Pacific Northwest. You can find out more about him and his work at

Thomas Nelson, 384 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Why Holiness Matters by Tyler Braun

Braun writes that Christians in America, especially the younger generation engaging a post-Christian culture, are framing a relationship with God exclusively around beliefs that make little difference in the way life is lived. Millennials have seen holiness defined in behavior: no drinking, dancing, or sex. Not wanting to fit into this definition, they have abandoned holiness altogether. The idea of a holy, set-apart people has faded.

It doesn't take much to simply believe in Jesus. In fact, that doesn't cost us anything. But following Jesus, that's another matter.” (13)

It is a misunderstanding, Braun says, that holiness is defined as behavior. “Holiness is new affections, new desires, and new motives that then lead to a new behavior.” (12)

To help us embrace a right view of holiness, Braun explains the holiness of God, the seriousness of sin, the power of shame, and God's unconditional love. He then writes about all God has given us toward holiness and how it affects daily living, including values, community, mission, and artistry.

This is a great book to help Christians of all ages understand the current young Christian's view about sin, accepting it as a way of life instead of an evil to overcome. (16) I also appreciate Braun's section on the “third way” of interacting with the world, binding ourselves to the culture around us without losing our distinct mark as followers of Christ. (114) Young Christians would do well to read this book to come to a true understanding of biblical holiness.

There is one comment he makes I find disturbing. “God cannot fully exist without the community of persons within His being...” (105) That would make God not complete in Himself. It would seem to indicate God did not “fully exist” before he created mankind. That is not the accepted evangelical Christian understanding of God.

Food for thought: “Holiness in the whole sense (pun intended) of the word means a life focused around God both internally and externally.” (16)

Tyler Braun is a twenty-something worship pastor. He and his wife live in Portland, OR. You can find out more about him at or follow him on Twitter @tylerbraun.

Moody Press, 176 pages. Publisher's product page.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher

Jared Newman is on a mission to find the man who murdered his parents and sister. He had no idea that in his pursuit he would cross paths with Silver Matlock. He'd first seen her in a wedding dress, humiliated, having been left at the altar. Silver, finding out he was a bounty hunter of sorts, hired him to find the man who had tarnished her reputation and stole the last of her father's money. And then she insisted on traveling with him! The two travel over mountains, through deserts, each bent on finding their own villains.

This is a great historical novel of the wild west. The characters are well developed and believable. I really liked Silver. She is a feisty gal determined to find the scoundrel who deceived her and broke her heart. Her father will lose his business and their home unless Silver can reclaim the lost money. Jared is a valiant and honorable man. He is stuck on revenge, however. He wants to find his family's murderer and see him hang. But the longer he is with Silver the more he rethinks his vengeful heart.

There is lots of action in this story. Jared and Silver have to travel through much hostile territory and face many dangers. There is also romance. As the two spend weeks together in dangerous travel, we find their hearts are turning toward each other too.

The story line of the two traveling together and experiencing all they do may seem a little unrealistic. But the novel is well written and I really enjoyed it.

You can watch a video of Hatcher introducing her book here.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.

Robin Lee Hatcher is the best-selling author of seventy books. Her numerous awards include the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Robin and her husband currently reside in Idaho. You can find out more about her and her books at

Zondervan, 320 pages. You can purchase a copy here.

I received a complimentary egalley of this novel through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thrive by Lina AbuJamra

Are you tired of the singles' scene? Do you feel you were made for something more than hoping, looking, and waiting? Abujamra writes, “You were made to thrive.” (12) Jesus died for your sins and promised abundant life – not a life waiting for the right spouse.

If you don't want another singles book on waiting but rather one on living, this one is for you. “You are not half a whole;” she writes, “you were made whole in Christ.” (14) She wants you to live that life, to thrive.

Singleness is a gift God has lovingly and purposefully given to you in order to thrive. (God really does know best.)

Abujamra discusses five attitudes every single must have to thrive: learning contentment (four steps), choosing self-control (sex), embracing personal holiness as a lifestyle, understanding true freedom (from what you are set free), and pursuing undivided devotion with focus and energy.

She then tackles four obstacles single Christians must overcome: self-pity (the teaching on this topic is so good and so convicting), bitterness, idolatry, and loneliness.

She ends the book with practical ideas to get going, She adds short biographies of single people who have had tremendous impact for Christianity.

I really like this book and highly recommend it. There are several reasons. First is Abujamra's honesty. She shares her struggles, her failures, her questions – her life. Second is her teaching on I Corinthians 7. She is bold in what that passage really says. The single life is a good life (v. 8), a life of purpose (v. 32), and a happier life (v. 40). She has written this whole book from a very biblical viewpoint, something I appreciate very much. She also deals with issues singles face in a very practical way. A great book all around.

Food for thought: “If God's promises are true, then you were made to thrive no matter what your marital status.” (14) “If you're a single Christian … you get to spend all of the time married people spend on each other to simply focus on the Lord!” (104) “...[Y]our entire purpose and goal, single Christian, if you call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ, is to be utterly and completely devoted to the Lord.” (131)

Lina AbuJamra is a pediatric ER doctor, author, and speaker. A single woman in her 40s, she serves as the women's ministry director at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago, IL. You can find out more about her and read her blog at

Moody Publishers, 288 pages. Publisher's product page.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Purposeful Design by Jay Schabacker

This is a beautifully illustrated coffee table book that shows the evidence of the Creator. The author uses the days of creation to reveal how the laws of the universe have been designed so we can live on earth. Relevant Scriptures passages are added to the text throughout the book.

Schabacker covers the rain cycle, the importance of vegetation, the phases of the moon and the tides, stars and celestial navigation, seasons, floating ice, some amazing animals, bird migration, and the amazing design of the human body.

He does a great job revealing several principles of science along with evidence that a loving God created them. The easy to understand explanations and wonderful illustrations makes this book attractive for young and old alike. For those who would like to read more, a bibliography and recommended reading list are included.

Purposeful Design is the winner of the 2013 Illumination Book Awards, Bronze Award for the category Education (Home School, Bible School, etc.)

Go to to read chapter views and to download free chapters. You can buy the book at the author's website and at Amazon.

Jay Schabacker is a former aerospace engineer on the Apollo Moon Program and the founder of a financial investment firm. He has been active in many Christian organizations and activities. He and his wife have four daughters, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. The Schabackers live on the shore of Lake Murray in Lexington, South Carolina.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author through the Bookcrash program for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Shift Your Brilliance by Simon T. Bailey

This book, the author writes, is for people “who want to shift toward more positive thinking and are ready to work to create a better future...”

It is Bailey's belief that human beings are pre-wired to be brilliant but we settle for less. We need to shift our thinking and he gives many examples of people and businesses experiencing success by doing so. He provides a questionnaire to help us identify if we need a shift in thinking.

He provides the steps to get moving:
  • See differently (change your mindset, clear your vision)
  • Harness the power of You, Inc.
  • Ignite a fresh vision
  • Fuel your mind (be a life long learner)
  • Take the wheel (ownership, maybe u-turns)
  • Engage your gears (maximizing your energy)
  • Restart your engine (how to know when it is time)

This is a good book of encouragement, to assess where you are, to think of where you can be, and instruction on how to get there. I really liked his section on rejection – what a shift in thinking!

He has added reflection questions after each chapter.

Food for thought: “Each moment of each day, you have the choice to go beyond your potential.” (132)

Visit and for more information, tips, and tools.

Simon T. Bailey was previously Sales Director of Disney Institute at Walt Disney World. He launched the Brilliance Institute, Inc., and is the author of Release Your Brilliance.

Sound Wisdom, 160 pages.

I received a complimentary ARC of this book through the Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma

Gisela is an American living with a cousin in eastern Germany when the Russians invade. They must escape west to Berlin and Gisela's mother for
safety. While her cousin refuses to leave, she does ask Gisela to take her two daughters along. During the harrowing journey, Gisela meets Mitch, an escaped British POW whose accented German is bound to get him in trouble. Thinking fast, Gisela says Mitch in her husband. That works for a while until a wounded German soldier begins to have suspicions about the supposed marriage relationship.

The journey to Berlin is full of danger and hardship. The longer Gisela and Mitch are together, the more their feelings for each other grow. And when they reach Berlin, will her mother still be alive? Will they be safe or will the invading Russians take Berlin and mistreat the inhabitants as they have in other cities?

Tolsma has written a very realistic novel about the near end of the war in Germany. It is not pretty. There is horror, tragedy, and death. There are mentions of hangings and sexual assault. Gisela and Mitch spend time in Berlin as it is being bombed by the Allies and invaded by the Russians. There are many heart wrenching and descriptively realistic scenes.

The first half of this novel is based on the actual experiences of one of Tolsma's aunts. She and her companions did cross the frozen Fische Haff and were shot at by Russian planes. The second half of the novel is based on the experiences of another aunt. She had been born in America to parents of German descent. The family returned to Germany in the late 1930s and did spend the last part of the war in Berlin, surviving the bombings and Russian soldiers bent on rape.

This is a good historical novel to read as our memory of WW II is fading. Be prepared for the realities of war – they are not pretty. There is a good romance involved and that somehow makes it a bit easier to take.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.

Liz Tolsma is the New York Times” best-selling author of “Daisies are Forever,” “Snow on the Tulips,” and the contributing author of “A Log Cabin Christmas.” When not busy putting words to paper, Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children, all adopted internationally.

Thomas Nelson Publishers, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.