Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Rescued Hearts by Hope Toler Dougherty Blog Tour

About the book:

Her personal safety isn't the only thing in jeopardy-so is her heart. In Hope Toler Dougherty's new novel, Rescued Hearts, children's clothing designer Mary Wade Kimball's soft spot for animals leads to a hostage situation when she spots a briar-entangled kitten in front of an abandoned house. Discovering the kidnapped woman ratchets the complications for undercover agent Brett Davis. Brett forsakes his three-month mission and helps her escape, the bent-on-revenge brutes following behind . . . and then Mary Wade's safety is threatened once more.

My review:

I enjoyed this good mix of romance and suspense. The romance has a twist. Mary Wade and Brett are forced to spend time in close proximity. Feelings of romance develop but is it because of the stressful situation? Can the romance be sustained when the situation changes?

I like the females in the novel. Mary Wade and Brett's grandmother might seem like mild women but they rise to the occasion when in danger.

Dougherty has added the issue of parental expectations to the mix. Mary Wade's parents think she should have gone into some full time ministry. Mary Wade's situation would make for a good group discussion.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy a good romance sprinkled with suspense.

My rating: 4/5 stars,

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

You can purchase a copy here.

About the author:

Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master's degree in English and taught at East Carolina University as well as York Technical College. A member of ACFW, RWA and SinC, she writes for Almost an Author. Before writing novels, she published non-fiction articles on topics ranging from gardening with children to writing apprehension. She cheers for the Pittsburgh Steelers, ACC basketball, and Army West Point Football. Hope and her husband, Kevin, live in North Carolina and chat with their two daughters and twin sons through ooVoo. Find out more about Hope Toler at http://hopetolerdougherty.com.

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

Monday, October 30, 2017

Beauty From Ashes by Alana Terry

I have read a number of novels by Terry that I have enjoyed a great deal. I did not enjoy this novel. I was not surprised to find out it was a revamp of her first novel she wrote but never published. Knowing that, as well as finding out that she began this novel after her son had a birth event similar to the one in this novel, made me want to be gracious in my review.

This novel is in the first person and is mostly the thoughts of a young and very troubled mother and wife. Tiff's daughter had a brain bleed shortly after birth. Many complications continue. Tiff and her husband spend days and weeks with their daughter in the hospital. Add an arrogant mother-in-law and Tiff has much over which to have troubled thoughts.

As usual, Terry covers many issues in the novel. Relationships are a big one. There is the immature marriage relationship between Tiff and Jake. The baby was conceived and born before they married and Tiff wonders if God is punishing her. So another relationship issue is that between Tiff and God. There is also the mother-in-law relationship. Other issues include prophetic words spoken in a church service. Also of concern is whether God still heals or will heal today.

Most of the novel was very depressing to me. I've never had a child and Tiff's ongoing, repetitive, and negative thoughts were a bit much for me. I also felt the novel was too long. I think about a hundred fewer pages, taking out some of the repetitive events, would have made the novel more readable for me.

There is a redeeming factor at the end of the novel. I am unsure of its impact as it was right at the end and we do not get a chance to see how it all works out.

This novel would be a good one for those who enjoy reading the troubled thoughts of a character as she struggles with guilt and relationships. There is a strong Christian message at the end but for most of the novel there is no real spiritual impact on the characters.

While I did not enjoy this novel, I have thoroughly enjoyed others from this author. Do not let this review hinder you from reading this author's other fine works.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Alana Terry is a pastor's wife and homeschooling mom. Her novels have won several awards. She and her family live in rural Alaska. You can find out more at http://www.alanaterry.com/.

Firstfruits Publishing, 396 pages.

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

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Pockets of Joy by Roxane Battle Giveaway

About the Book:

Name of book: Pockets of Joy  
Author: Roxane Battle  
Genre: Non-fiction, inspirational  
Release Date: September 5, 2017  

”No matter your situation, you have a choice. I chose joy.” Roxane Battle was on television for much of her adult life. As a news reporter and anchor, she traveled the world and met notable people from Jay Leno to Mariah Carey to Prince. But shortly after landing her dream job in her hometown of Minneapolis, Roxane’s marriage fell apart. Every day was a battle to keep it together on camera while piecing her life back together at home as the single mom of eleven-month-old Jarod. At one point, broke and alone, dinner was a single chicken McNugget. With wit, dignity, and gripping detail, Roxane shares her story of intentionally looking for joy during this challenging chapter of her life. Her faith was the guiding force as she searched for moments of gratitude and found a lifetime of grace. She also includes secrets to spiritual, professional, and personal wholeness for today’s woman, with chapters on authenticity, service, generosity, gratitude, self-care, yielding, forgiveness, and more.

My Review:

Battle has learned that joy is on the inside, regardless of circumstances. But we do not have joy by accident. She writes, “...we must be intentional about looking for and finding joy.” (138) In case we think she has not had to work at finding joy, she shares her own story of being a single mom, facing cuts in her career, and more. She gives practical steps to help us find joy daily. I like her chapter on authenticity and self acceptance. Her other steps include having positive connections with others and developing an attitude of gratitude, for example.

Battle gives a somewhat detailed but very readable account of her life. The book can be a good encouragement and example to those who want to share their life experiences and the lessons they have learned from them. Her story is interesting and her suggestions very good.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Author Roxane Battle is veteran TV news journalist well known in the Minneapolis region for her work as an anchor, reporter, and former co-host of the KARE 11-NBC Today show. She currently produces award-winning videos for corporate and non-profit clients through her company, Roxane Battle, M. A., LLC. Named an “Architect of Change,” Roxane is a contributor to mariashriver.com and has been featured in Working Mother, Ebony magazines, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press. An entertaining and inspiring speaker, she is regularly called upon to address civic, business, and philanthropic groups. She’s recently been a keynote speaker at events hosted by the Girl Scouts, TeamWomen Minnesota, and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. For more on Roxane Battle: www.roxanebattle.com www.pocketsofjoy.com www.facebook.com/roxanebattle Twitter @roxanebattle

Guest post from Roxane Battle

What this book is about is the season in my life when I was on my own and overwhelmed with trying to put my life back together while I learned how to raise a child and navigate a demanding television career. A working, divorced single mom. That was me. For years. There were many days when I smiled in front of the camera and cried alone at night. During those years, my time in the wilderness, I learned a lot about myself. I am now at a point when I am able, willing, and desire to share the very personal and intimate stories of how I found peace in the midst of my struggles. I discovered what I call pockets. Pockets of joy. The kind of joy that causes your eyes to mist and wash over the hurt. The kind of joy that catches you by surprise and for a moment makes you forget, if ever so briefly, that you ever felt pain. The kind of joy that, in some ways, cannot even be described. It is my hope and prayer my story will enable others to grasp a piece of the kind of joy I’m talking about and allow it to stir the kind of hope within that can renew and transform.

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, October 26
autism mom, October 27
Moments Dipped in InkNovember 1
A Greater YesNovember 3
A Reader’s BrainNovember 4
Splashes of JoyNovember 5
Mary HakeNovember 6


In honor of her tour, Roxanne is giving away
Grand Prize Package: Pockets of Joy, hard cover edition, in Pockets of Joy tote bag with Abba Jerusalem Frankincense pillar candle, and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book.
1st Place Package: Pockets of Joy, hard cover edition, “You Are An Amazing Woman” (Abbey Press) mug, and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book. 2nd Place Package: Pockets of Joy, hard cover edition and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book!
Fill out the form 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

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Act of Betrayal by Matthew Dunn

Act of Betrayal

by Matthew Dunn

on Tour October 23 - November 30, 2017


In this riveting entry in the celebrated thriller series, former intelligence operative Will Cochrane—a "ruthless yet noble" (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram) man from whom "Bond and Bourne could learn a thing or two" (Madison County Herald)—comes out of hiding to expose a conspiracy involving a past assassination that reaches to the highest echelons of the U.S. government.

Three years ago, intelligence officer Will Cochrane was brought in by a Delta Force colonel to assassinate a terrorist financier in Berlin. After the job, the commander vanished, and hasn’t been heard from since. The details don’t quite add up, and one of the CIA agents who was involved has been investigating the mission. He reaches out to Will for help, but before they can connect, the CIA man is poisoned.
Will is determined to uncover the truth about Berlin, even if it means putting himself in the crosshairs. Framed for multiple murders, the skilled former spy has gone deep underground to evade his enemies and the feds. But honor and loyalty to his old colleague thrust him into danger once again.
When Marsha Gage at the FBI discovers that Cochrane—one of America’s Most Wanted—has resurfaced, she immediately launches a manhunt, and she won’t stop until she brings the former CIA/MI6 operative in.
With time running out, Cochrane will use all of his training and formidable skills to outmaneuver the FBI and uncover a shocking conspiracy that will rock the foundations of our nation . . . if he can stay alive.

My Review:

Dunn has created an action packed plot with a bigger than life hero. Cochrane is an assassin, a very good one. He kills lots of people in this novel. He's also a very nice guy. Somehow, those two aspects of his personality didn't seem to work together.

I found it a little difficult to enjoy Dunn's writing style. There are many long paragraphs of background material, descriptions, etc. I would have preferred action or dialog to move the plot forward rather than the abundance of descriptive material.

There have been many previous Cochrane novels. This is the first I've read and I frequently felt like I was missing essential actions from the past. Many of the characters in this plot had important roles in Cochrane's previous adventures. I would suggest the series be read from the beginning. While this novel could be read on its own, I think readers would enjoy it more if previous novels are read first.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: October 24th 2017
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0062427229 (ISBN13: 9780062427229)
Series: Spycatcher #7
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

IT WAS PAST midnight as wind and rain pounded the exterior of the tiny bookstore in Chicago. The store was closed and its owner was sitting at his desk checking the week’s receipts. The task wouldn’t take long—his store specialized in rare works that he sourced from around the world. He had some loyal customers, but they were few. This week seven people had made purchases.
The only light in the room came from his green desk lamp, old-fashioned in design to match the ambience of the shop. Aside from some electronic devices on his desk and recessed lights that cast a discreet yellow glow when turned on, the place looked like it could have been a purveyor of fine works established and un- changed since the eighteenth century. He’d constructed it that way: dark maple bookshelves; many of the books leather bound, all of them hardcover; two armchairs for customers to sit in when perusing potential acquisitions; an urn for his more discerning patrons who valued his loose-leaf tea collection; and a cage for his two lovebirds.
He was an old-fashioned guy at heart.
And though he could have done with more cash coming in, he’d deliberately established a business and identity that drew little attention. He playacted a shy man, his trimmed beard intended to put up barriers between him and others, his shoulders artificially stooped during the day as if he were ashamed of his six-foot-four physique, his cropped blond-and-gray hair functional because he had no woman in his life to impress, and his unneeded glasses covering one green eye, one blue. He was always in a smart three-piece suit because the attire was good at hiding his athletic frame and scars. Customers thought he was Edward Pope, a gentleman scholar from the South. They’d probably estimate his age was late forties. They’d be wrong about that and most other things. He’d led a hard life and was forty-five.
His name wasn’t Edward Pope.
It was Will Cochrane.
The assassin. The one Sapper and Kane were terrified of.
He wasn’t from the Deep South. He was raised in Virginia and earned a double first-class degree at England’s Cambridge University. And he’d been a bookseller for only under a year.
But he had to be Pope. In the eyes of the world, Will was a murderer. He’d killed people as a special forces French Foreign Legionnaire and assassinated targets in French intelligence black operations. He had been the West’s prime joint operative with the CIA and Britain’s MI6 for fourteen years, until he went crazy and killed a lot of cops and civilians in the States before throwing himself off the Brooklyn Bridge and dying.
His death was essential. He was America’s Most Wanted. He wasn’t what some thought of him—a psychopath. But he was a former special operative and killer. Had been all his adult life. It started when he was seventeen and walked in on four criminals suffocating his mother and about to kill his sister. His mother died; sister didn’t, because he grabbed his mother’s carving knife and ended the criminals’ lives before fleeing to the Legion. He wished he didn’t know how many people he’d killed since. It would be a lie. He knew every victim. Their souls lingered around him, taunting him, reminding him of who he was.
All 263 souls.
But the souls of the people they say he killed in the States didn’t hassle him.
Because he didn’t kill them. He never killed innocents, only those who needed to be killed.
But in the eyes of the law, that’s not the case and that’s why he had to fake his death and reinvent himself. A year ago, his situation was desperate, despite all of his training and covert operations experience in hostile countries. He’d received only one bit of help, but it was significant. Russia’s most formidable intelligence officer, code name Antaeus—now, thanks to Will, a defector living in the States—had cleverly managed to get $300,000 into Will’s pocket. Will didn’t know exactly why he’d done it. After all, Will had accidentally killed his family with a car bomb when in fact he’d intended only to kill the spy. But he suspected he knew why the Russian had become his benefactor: Antaeus wanted his generosity to plunge the knife that was Will’s guilt deeper.
Regardless of Antaeus’s motives, the cash helped set up Will’s new life.
Will’s family and close acquaintances were all dead. He’d be given the needle if cops found out who he was. The West he’d served with unflinching duty had hung him out to dry. He thought of himself as a scavenging dog, kicked out of its owner’s backyard and left to fend for itself. He was resigned to that, every day expecting the Feds to rush into his store and put a bullet in his skull. That’s what they’d do. No attempt to arrest. No negotiations. Execution only. Will wouldn’t blame them. They knew he’d cause carnage if given the slightest of chances.
He finished his accounts, took a swig of Assam tea, and frowned as he heard the female lovebird make an unusual sound. Like her male companion, she resembled a small parrot, her plumage green and yellow, face and beak red, large eyes pure white with black pupils. He’d taken the birds off the hands of an old lady who frequented his store. Her son, a merchant marine officer, had brought them back from exotic climes, though she couldn’t remember where because she was suffering from dementia. And she could no longer look after them, particularly now that the male had broken his wing. Will hated seeing animals in cages. But the female wouldn’t leave the male’s side. And for the time being, the male had to be kept in the cage until he was fully recuperated. Then Will would release them to a large aviary or the wild.
Their previous owner couldn’t remember their names, so Will called the male Ebb and the female Flo. Flo was now agitated, hopping about as opposed to what she usually did, which was nestling her face against that of her lover. Will opened the cage, knowing Flo wouldn’t go anywhere while Ebb was there. The former special operative bowed his head. Ebb was all wrong, flopping on the base of the cage, his good wing twitching, his broken one immobile. Will knew he was dying and there was nothing he could do about it. What goes through a bird’s brain? He didn’t know. And he didn’t know whether lovebirds were in fact lifelong lovers or if that was a myth. But Will knew how he felt. He had to give Flo closure, let her be free, not allow her to think there was hope that Ebb would return to her. Gently he lifted Ebb. His body was warm but now limp. He carried him to the store’s backyard. Flo followed him. Will had hoped she would.
Will looked at Flo, who was perched close by on the branch of a tree. She was watching. It seemed she and Will didn’t know what to do.
“I have to let you know this is the end,” Will said to her. Actually, he was saying it to himself.
He snapped Ebb’s neck and buried him.
Flo looked at him before flying into the darkness. As tears ran down his face, he wondered if she hated him. Or maybe she understood. Of course, he’d never know.
He returned to his desk and stared at the birdcage. After brushing soil off his fingers, he looked at his laptop and saw he had a new e-mail. Nobody sent him mail apart from spammers.
But this one was different. And shocking. It was from CIA officer Unwin Fox, the man who, alongside Will, had been one of those involved in the Berlin operation. Aside from Colonel Haden, Will didn’t know who the other people on the small team were.
His heart was beating fast as he read the mail. Its tone was desperate. There was no way Fox could know that Will was alive. Something was terribly wrong. Fox wanted to meet. Tomorrow. In Washington, D.C.
In all probability it was a trap. Lure Will out, then bam! Swooped on by cops. But then again, Will knew what happened in Berlin. The law didn’t. This would have been far too implausible a tactic to entrap him.
What to do?
He looked at the lovebirds’ empty cage. The door was open. He glanced at the entrance to his store.
What to fucking do?
He opened the drawer in his desk, pulled out his handgun, grabbed his bag containing all he needed if he ever had to run, and left.
He knew he’d never return.
Excerpt from Act of Betrayal by Matthew Dunn. Copyright © 2017 by Matthew Dunn. Reproduced with permission from William Morrow. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

As an MI6 field officer, Matthew Dunn recruited and ran agents, coordinated and participated in special operations, and acted in deep-cover roles throughout the world. He operated in environments where, if captured, he would have been executed. Dunn was trained in all aspects of intelligence collection, deep-cover deployments, small-arms, explosives, military unarmed combat, surveillance, and infiltration. Medals are never awarded to modern MI6 officers, but Dunn was the recipient of a rare personal commendation from the secretary of state for work he did on one mission, which was deemed so significant that it directly influenced the success of a major international incident. During his time in MI6, Matthew conducted approximately seventy missions. All of them were successful. He currently lives in England, where he is at work on his next novel.

Learn More About Matthew Dunn On harpercollins.com!


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I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald (revised and updated)

Some Christians do not pay attention to the state of their souls. The result may be a very disappointing faith journey. MacDonald shares when he came to the realization that the state of his soul did not point to a promising future. His soul was empty. He had not paid attention to keeping it filled. He determined to order his private world and lets us in on what he learned.

MacDonald initially wrote this book decades ago. Now now he is 78 years old. He has added to this updated edition what he has learned since the initial release of the book.

This process of ordering our private world is a long process. It is a deliberate and disciplined choice. MacDonald does remind us that guarding our heart, another way of describing ordering our private world, is a core biblical issue.

A number of topics are covered. MacDonald looks at being driven and how it differs from being called. He covers having a sense of mission and other suggestions on managing time. He writes of the importance of being a listener and reader. He suggests the daily exercise of confession. He encourages Sabbath rest.

I love his section on the cost of mental flabbiness. Many have not taught themselves how to think. They have not “set themselves on the lifelong pursuit of the growth of the mind.” (89) They grow dependent upon the thoughts and opinions of others. He reminds us that we have the mind of Christ and should exhibit excellence of thought.

I like this exploration of how to keep the soul in good shape. There are not structured lists of things to do but rather thought provoking observations and suggestions. This is a good book for Christians who feel there is something missing on the inside. You'll get ideas for a diagnosis and suggestions for the cure. There is a good study guide included for reflective writing and group discussion.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Gordon MacDonald has been a pastor and author for more than fifty years. He presently serves as chancellor at Denver Seminary. He speaks at leadership conferences around the world. He and his wife live in New Hampshire.

W Publishing Group (Thomas Nelson), 256 pages.

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

Thursday, October 26, 2017

How to Think by Alan Jacobs

Has thinking become a lost art? Are we drawing conclusions and making decisions without thinking through all the parts of the issues?

Jacobs notes, “Relatively few people want to think.” (17) It might make us uncomfortable. Our peers might not like our conclusions and disapprove of them. Thinking complicates our lives. And make no mistake, it is work!

Jacobs emphasizes that thinking is an art. He does not provide specific instructions in logic, inductive or deductive reasoning. He does not offer strict rules. He does suggest good, practical habits that can help the thinking process, such as the importance of self knowledge.

Rather than being a slave to pure logic, I like that Jacobs says thinking involves the entire person. Our feelings have an impact on our thinking. So do the our relationships with others, our moral views and our biases.

In light of recent American politics, the part of the book I found the most fascinating was about the “outgroup.” Some do not want to be outside the safety of a community that provides security, even if it is at the expense of thought. (35) Rather than think through an issue, the individual parrots the views of those offering the security.

I recommend this book to those who want to understand thinking and how to think without being confronted with the rules of logic and reasoning. You will find many insightful revelations about how you and others think, presented in a very readable form.

Food for thought: Dare to think.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Alan Jacobs teaches in the Honors Program of Baylor University. He has written many books as well as articles for a range of publications. (Author photograph: Holly Fish.)

Currency (Penguin Random House), 160 pages.

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

In the Middle of the Mess by Sheila Walsh

Walsh wants readers to experience the salvation freedom to be who they were meant to be apart from pain and shame. She invites readers to find healing and strength in the midst of the mess. Walsh has struggled with depression and shares her battle experiences, wrapping the narrative around the death of her mother.

The primary emphasis of this book is an encouragement for us to be truthful. We know how to say the right words so that it appears all is well. Walsh wants us to speak the truth, admitting the pain, revealing the scars. Trying to hide our wounds gives a foothold to fear and shame. Believing lies about ourselves easily leads to a pit of despair. Walsh includes practical suggestions to counter lies, such as Scripture verses to use. She suggests creating a community for support consisting of safe-place sisters who confess to and pray for each other.

Walsh shares her own experiences and through them helps us understand how to find healing and strength. It is a very personal account of struggling, having a mental breakdown when she was 36 years old and being hospitalized. People who know Walsh from her speaking engagements and TV experiences will welcome these personal stories.

Walsh shares the lessons she has learned through her own experiences. Her suggestions have been tried and tested. I recommend this book to women who are ready to deal with the lies and instead walk in the truth. You'll get good encouragement and practical suggestions.

Food for thought: “Raw, honest pain offered to God brings us closer to His heart.” (63)

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Sheila Walsh is a Bible teacher and best selling author with more than five million books sold. She is the cohost of Life Today with James and Betty Robison. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and their son. You can find out more at http://www.sheilawalsh.com/.

Thomas Nelson, 192 pages.

I received a complimentary ARC of this book through Handlebar. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Whisper by Mark Batterson

Batterson suggests that our ears have been deafened to the voice of God. Learning to hear the voice of God is the solution to many of our problems. Hence this book.

I really like many of Batterson's insights. One was about the nature of whispering. When someone whispers, you have to get close to hear what is said. It makes sense that God would whisper to us, drawing us close to Him. Batterson reminds us of the importance of silence and the distraction of noise. No wonder we have been deaf to the whispers of God.

Batterson has the goal of helping us learn how to discern the voice of God in the ways He speaks to us. We all hear God differently as God speaks to different personalities in different ways. He helps us determine our unique whispering spot to hear from God.

The seven ways God speaks to us include Scripture (the final authority for all we hear), desires (we are to delight in Him), doors (tests to keep us from less than God's best), dreams (how to evaluate them and trust God), people (remembering that they and we are imperfect), promptings (discerning holy moments), and pain (perhaps speaking something that cannot be said any other way).

I recommend this book for anyone wanting to hear God speak. You'll receive good teaching on how to place yourself to hear the whisper. The book is very readable too as Batterson tells lots of entertaining and informative stories, like the history of vanilla.

Food for thought: “If you want to hear the heart of God, silence is key.” (16)

You can download an excerpt and watch a video here.

The book releases October 24.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Mark Batterson is the New York Times best selling author of more than a dozen books. He is the lead pastor of National Community Church, one of the most innovative and influential churches in America. He has a DMin degree from Regent University. He, his wife, and their children live on Capitol Hill. You can find out more at https://www.markbatterson.com/about/.

Multnomah, 224 pages.

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

A Small Book About a Big Problem by Edward T Welch

Each of us has experienced anger. Each of us has been hurt and hurt others because of it. Welch decided to take a slow walk through the issue, writing 50 short vignettes to be read over 50 days. Each reading includes a question for thought.

This is a good book about anger but I was disappointed in that it lacked clear and practical ideas to deal with anger. Welch explores the relationship of anger to fear and blame. He reminds us Jesus was hard on anger because it destroys. Welch also explores how anger is formed, beginning as a desire but then having that desire thwarted. He helps us understand what anger reveals about our relationships, including with God.

A confusing aspect of the book for me was Welch writing about anger's opposite. He writes that wisdom is anger's opposite (Loc 276/1400), love is the opposite of anger (Loc 300/1400), humility is the opposite of anger (Loc 487/1400), and asking forgiveness is anger's opposite (Loc 598/1400).

Unfortunately, Welch gives some suggestions but includes no strategy to carry them out. An example is Day 50. “Cast off anger and all its affiliates,” he writes. “Cast off everything that has to do with darkness and the Evil One.” (Loc 1325/1400) A good admonition but carrying it out is left up to the reader. No practical strategy is included.

If you are looking for readings about anger and a few general suggestions, this book is for you. If you want a book with some practical strategy in dealing with your anger, such as identifying its roots, you will have to look elsewhere.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read more reviews at http://litfusegroup.com/author/EWelch

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Edward T. Welch, MDiv, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He earned a Ph.D. In counseling (neuropsychology) from the University of Utah and has a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary. He has counseling for more than thirty years and has written extensively on the topics of depression, fear, and addictions. He and his wife, Sheri, have two married daughters and eight grandchildren. Find out more at http://stores.newgrowthpress.com.

New Growth Press, 192 pages.

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

When the Bishop Needs an Alibi by Vannetta Chapman

I rarely read novels in the saturated Amish genre but this mystery caught my interest. I'm glad I read the book as I really enjoyed it.

Chapman has crafted a novel that shows how Amish and “English” form friendships and work together. The plot is woven around a murder. The bishop of the local Amish community had tried to be a friend to a young woman, new in the nearby town. I liked his compassion for her, knowing she was troubled by something. But when he finds her body, he is accused of the murder. I liked how the community, both Amish and “English” friends, come to his aid, determined to find the real killer.

I really appreciate that Chapman has portrayed the Amish community in what seems to me to be a realistic way. I like that she has added some humor to the story too. Her research into the local scenery and the migratory birds was informative as well.

I recommend this mystery to readers who appreciate a well plotted one. You'll learn how people in a small Amish community relate to the “English” too.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Vannetta Chapman was a teacher for fifteen years and now writes full time. She writes romantic suspense and Amish novels. She and her husband live in the Texas Hill Country. You can find out more at www.vannettachapman.com.

Harvest House Publishers, 354 pages.

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

The Rejected Writers' Christmas Wedding by Suzanne Kelman

This is the third in the Rejected Writers series. It's as funny as the others. I don't know how Kelman keeps creating such great plots with warmth and humor propelled by crazy characters.

In this slice of small town life on an island in the Pacific Northwest, the ladies plan a wedding. Things get pretty crazy when Doris thinks she can make all the arrangements for Flora, the soft spoken bride. There is one laugh out loud scene after another.

The novel also has its serious side when a misunderstanding derails the romantic relationship. There are some good lessons about truth and honesty and forgiveness woven into the plot. The strong friendship bond these women have forged is very inspiring.

All the elements of a great novel are here. The characters are crazy funny, like Ruby-Skye, the eccentric hippie in her 70s. The plot is wonderful. You'll revel in how the ladies help relationships heal, even while you're laughing at the mess they make on the way. The location is superb, that special island of which I'm a native and call home.

Get ready to laugh until the tears flow as you read this fun and warm look at life in a small island town. I highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy a good laugh and appreciate a heart warming story woven through out.

You can read my reviews of the earlier books in the series: The Rejected Writers' Book Club and The Rejected Writers Take the Stage.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Suzanne Kelman is the author of the Rejected Writers Book Club series and an award-winning screenwriter. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, she now lives in Washington State on her own version of Southlea Bay with her husband and son. You can find out more at http://www.suzannekelmanauthor.com/.

Kindle Press, 198 pages.

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

A Woman Overwhelmed by Hayley DiMarco $75 Giveaway

About the Book:

"A woman overwhelmed"-is this a phrase you can relate to? If you answered yes, you need to read Hayley DiMarco's new book, A Woman Overwhelmed. The best-selling author shares biblical insights and personal stories to offer a glimpse at the comedy of an overwhelmed life while encouraging us to discover the depths and heights of God's love and power. Choose to bask in the abundance of the Father instead of the abundance of life as his unfathomable depths can surely replace our fathomable messes.

My Review:

I liked this book. DiMarco has a good combination of humor and teaching, making the book an enjoyable yet instructive one. I like how she encourages us to get the proper perspective on life. We need a Savior and were meant to be overwhelmed by Him.

She helps us understand how we get overwhelmed, wanting to control our family and, well, everything. She encourages us to be honest about our failures and not act like we have it all together. Faking it is of no benefit to us or others. I really appreciated her section on comparison.

My favorite part of the book was her insight that we were made to be overwhelmed by God. He wants to be a part of what overwhelms us.

Another topic very enlightening was about control. She is honest about how people make her life miserable when she is not in control of them. “Making God's will more important to you than your own is the passage way from complaint to contentment.” (Loc 977/1575)

To help incorporate the teaching, DiMarco has included thoughts to ponder at the end of each chapter. There are also additional resources available at the publisher website for the book.

I recommend this book to women who feel overwhelmed and desire a better perspective on life. You'll get some great teaching as well as a good dose of humor.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book. You can read more reviews at http://litfusegroup.com/author/HDiMarco

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Hayley DiMarco is the best selling author of more than 40 books. She is the founder of Hungry Planet, a company intensely focused on feeding the world's appetite for truth. She speaks regularly at women's events, including Women of Faith, MOPS, and others. She and her pastor husband live outside Nasvhille with their daughter and four dogs. You can find out more at http://hayleydimarco.com

Become a woman less overwhelmed by life and more overwhelmed by God and enter to win Hayley's $75 Merry Maids Visa Card Giveaway to help lessen your daily load.

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of A Woman Overwhelmed
  • A $75 Merry Maids Visa Cash Card
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 3. The winner will be announced November 6 on the Litfuse blog.

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