Friday, August 31, 2018

Immortal Creators by Jill Bowers

Bowers has given readers another thought provoking and imagination stimulating novel in the Immortal series. Second in the series, it reads very well on its own. The Immortal Writers are those with characters and plots so realistic and powerful that the stories enter into the realm of reality. In this story, the science fiction novel of sixteen year old Scott has gone from the Imagination Field to the Reality Field. Deadly aliens are approaching earth and Scott must be instrumental in the attempt to prevent the earth's destruction.

I really like this novel. The plot is so imaginative. We meet Shakespeare, C. S. Lewis and many others, as they help Scott prepare for his task. Bowers' writing style is very readable. There's also some great dialogue with sarcasm and humor. The character development is done pretty well. I watched Scott deal with many internal issues and grow in his understanding, confidence, and responsibility. Until the shocking end.

The end of the novel was shocking to me and disturbing. I know there will be a sequel as a sample of it is included at the end of this novel. Bowers cannot come out with it soon enough for me.

I recommend this novel to readers who would like science fiction with literary figures involved. You'll find some interesting futuristic items, like a food serving table that recognizes what a person is craving and produces it. You'll experience some exciting battles with aliens. You'll be stimulated to think about the power of stories. Would you dare create an evil villain if you thought he might actually come to life?

You can read my review of this first novel in this series, Immortal Writers, here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Jill Bowers is a technical writer by day and a fantasy author by night. She is one of two composers-in-residence for the Westminster Bell Choir. She has written for and hosted an award winning radio show and has dabbled in stage play writing. She lives in Utah. You can find out more at

Blue Moon Publishers, 266 pages.

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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement by Debbie Kitterman Blog Tour

About the Book

Book Title: The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement  
Author: Debbie Kitterman  
Genre: Non-fiction, spiritual growth, charasmatic  
Release date: August 21, 2018

Deepen your relationship with God and embrace a life of encouragement by sharing God’s words with others.
When people think of prophecy, they often think of individuals in the Old Testament or certain personality-driven ministries today. They may think more about the prophet than the message.
But Jesus showed us God’s intention for prophecy by living in two-way communication with the Father and by embracing a lifestyle of encouraging others, changing lives in the process. We can do the same.
Clearing away the confusion about the prophetic gift today, pastor and ministry leader Debbie Kitterman reveals the good news about the gift of prophecy in this practical, powerful book: We are all prophetic because we all have direct access to God. Prophecy is an ordinary part of the Christian life. In fact, it is God’s way for us to encourage and strengthen the Body of Christ.
So open your ears to hear God and break out of your comfort zone to deliver His messages to those who need them most. Act now—His words can’t wait!

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Paul tells us we are to be eager to prophesy. (I Cor 14:39) We might wonder what that means. Kitterman helps us understand one aspect of the gift of prophecy as encouragement. We speak Holy Spirit inspired words of edification, exhortation or comfort to others. She takes readers through her own experiences of moving into prophetic encouragement. She helps us develop hearing from God, understand the testing of prophecy, and the potential dangers and misuses we may experience.

Kitterman says we all have the gift of prophecy but I am not so sure. Paul says in I Cor. 12:9-10 that it is a gift some are given, just as some are given other gifts. Paul says in Rom. 12:6-8 that we each have different gifts, mentioning prophecy as one of them and encouragement as another.

Kitterman concentrates on the encouragement aspect of this gift only. I think there are also other aspects of this gift, such as pointing out sin and an insight into the future, that she does not cover. Yes, we are to encourage one another daily. (Heb. 3:13 NIV) But Paul distinguishes the gift of prophecy from the gift of encouragement in Romans 12:6-8. To reduce the gift of prophecy to only the encouragement aspect makes it indistinguishable from the different gift of encouragement.

I recommend this book to Christians who desire to learn how to encourage others with words from God. You find many personal stories and fledgling experiences to encourage you. If you are looking for a more comprehensive exploration of all the aspects of the gift of prophecy, you may have to look elsewhere.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Debbie Kitterman is an author, a speaker, and the founder of Dare 2 Hear, a ministry that trains individuals to hear the voice of God. She travels to churches internationally and is the founder and teacher of, an online course designed to equip the believer in releasing God’s heart. She is also an ordained Foursquare pastor, currently serving with her husband, John, as senior pastor of Restoration Church in Lacey, Washington. Learn more at

Guest Post from Debbie

If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer never wavered. As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a wife, a mother, and a writer. As a young elementary age girl, I always had my head in the clouds dreaming up different stories. In fact, every Sunday afternoon after church I would be found with my notebook writing creative short stories and poetry while pretending to watch old westerns or kung-fu movies with my dad. I always dreamed I would write historical fiction stories with a splash of romance thrown in. I love historical fiction and it blends the two subjects in school that I loved, history and creative writing. However, through life’s circumstances and disappointments in college, I gave up on the writing dream. I let the dreams of one day being a writer slip away. I figured it must have been a little girl dream so I set it aside and moved forward through life. However, when God has a plan, there is no running from Him. I felt a stirring in my heart to write again after taking a trip to Wyoming and meeting a well-known fiction author. I came home from that trip and started writing only to hit a wall … the dreaded writers block and an uncertainty of what to do. Then the busyness of life took over and I again shelved the dream of writing. God let me go only so far, and then He began to stir me again. This time, He had other people confirm that yes, indeed it was time I stop running and start writing. I love how God is relentless and patient all at the same time. Never in a million years did I think that I would be an author of non-fiction books. The book “The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement: Hearing the Words of God for Others,” shares my journey of faith leading me to a deeper relationship with God. God not only longs to have His children speak to Him, but He longs to speak to us. Real relationships entail two-way conversation. God longs for His people to use all the gifts He has given them. This gift of prophetic encouragement is for everyone. It is simply sharing Holy Spirit-inspired words of edification, exhortation, and comfort to people as we go about our day-to-day life. Every Christ follower needs to follow the example of Jesus and operate in this profoundly encouraging gift. The Gift of prophetic encouragement breathes life, love and hope into the dry places of our lives. I invite you to join me on an adventure as we go deeper in our relationships with Jesus and discover how God will use us as a gift of encouragement. May we all rise to the challenge and dare to hear God today, so we can be a gift of encouragement to others. Blessings, Debbie Kitterman.

Blog Stops

Luv’N Lambert Life, September 1
Mary Hake, September 2
Reading is my Super Power, September 2 (Interview)
Texas Book-aholic, September 4
Genesis 5020, September 5
Just the Write Escape, September 6
Janices book reviews, September 7
Bibliophile Reviews, September 8
Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 9
Carpe Diem, September 10
Bigreadersite, September 12

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Biggest Win by Joshua Cooley

There is much more to this book than I thought there was going to be. Yes, there are interesting vignettes of football players, but there are also great spiritual lessons and encouraging examples included. Cooley uses the experiences of the athletes to make great spiritual applications. The football players are ones who want their lives to count for more than just their performance on the playing field. Yes, they are recent Super Bowl winners yet they realize their lives in Christ matter much more than their athletic accomplishments.

The players include Carson Wentz, Chris Maragos (yes, he helped the Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII), Nick Foles, Jordan Hicks, Zach Ertz, and Trey Burton. These Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII in 2017. It was the first ever title in the 85 year old franchise.

The stories about the players include their football careers and how they came to be major league players. Cooley also explains how they use their careers to glorify God. The life examples are used as springboards for spiritual lessons. He writes about the temptation that comes with fame and success, what it means to be in Christ, how to use trials to glorify God, volunteer work, and much more. I was impressed with the comparison of football training with spiritual training.

This book is a good one, even if you're not a football fan. There is much about football but there are also great spiritual teachings included. There are a few questions at the end of each chapter so this book would be a good one for a teen or college book study for athletes.

I really enjoyed this book and I am not even an Eagles fan. (Go Hawks!) The stories about the players are inspiring and the teaching very good. I highly recommend this book to people who would like to know more about Christian athletes and how they live their faith within their athletic careers. Super Bowl wins are victories that fade with time. This book does well encouraging the kind of accomplishments that last into eternity.

You can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Joshua Cooley is a New York Times bestselling author, a sports writing veteran of over twenty years, and a full time children's minister at Chapel Hill Bible Church. He teamed up with Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles to co-author the star quarterback's bestselling memoir, Believe It. Cooley has written the Heroes of the Bible Devotional and The One Year Devotions With Jesus, among other books. He lives with his wife and four children in Durham, NC. You can find out more at

New Growth Press, 192 pages.

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

A Harvest of Blessings by June Foster

This is a fun romantic novella, especially for older readers. Jared and Nadia have both lost their spouses. They meet, in fact, at the cemetery. Both are ready to move on with their lives but pursuing a relationship is frustrated by many obstacles. Perhaps the greatest is Jared's daughter, Sarah, who will not believe anyone could replace the sacred place of her mother. She does everything in her power to prevent her father from finding new love.

Foster has done a good job of exploring the trouble that could arise as a widow and widower journey toward a united future. She has also developed the characters well. I like how Nadia and Jared try to pursue their own future while they struggle with the strong feelings of Sarah.

I like that this is a Christian romance because only a sensitivity to the Lord working in the characters' lives could possibly bring this story to a happy ending.

This novella (about 124 pages) will be releasing in about a month. I do recommend it as a rewarding novella to read.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

June Foster is an award winning author and retired teacher. She has a BA in Education and MA in Counseling. She is the mother of two and grandmother of ten. She began writing Christian romance in 2010. You can find out more at

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

I really liked this historical novel. It was inspired by a photo that appeared in an Indiana newspaper in 1948. It showed kids on steps with a sign near by indicating they were for sale. A similar photo appears in this novel and sets off events that no one had anticipated.

I like McMorris's writing style. The narrative reads well. The characters are ones I came to care about. I liked Ellis, the one who took the photo, a photo he never intended to see published. When he finds out what he has set in motion, he was determined to set things right. While his initial actions were not quite honorable, he rose to the place of responsibility. His sidekick is Lily. She bares a heavy burden, one that makes her insist she help Ellis set things right.

I like a novel dealing with many issues and this one does. There was the shame of being an unwed mother. There were the desperate conditions of single parents not being able to provide for their children. There is an exploration of how one deals with grief. And perhaps the one that impressed me the most - a single action that might seem harmless at the time can actually set the future course of many people. There is a good Reading Group Guide included so this novel would be a good one for group discussion.

I recommend this novel to readers who like historical fiction dealing with the lives of people during difficult times.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Kristina McMorris is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Her background includes ten years of directing public relations for an international conglomerate as well as extensive television experience. Her novels have garnered twenty national literary awards. She is a frequent guest speaker and workshop presenter. She has a BS in international marketing from Pepperdine. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two sons.

Sourcebooks Landmark, 352 pages.

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

Monday, August 27, 2018

Penny Pennington by Fabien Roy

This is an unusual novella. It's a bit on the fantasy side while exploring relationships and life's meaning. John, an accountant with a stagnant career, picks up a penny on the way home from work on a rainy day. Later, his girlfriend is away and he tires of the weekend tax returns he does for extra income. He is shocked when the penny speaks to him. He ultimately carries on a conversation with the penny that is life changing.

I am not sure I understand the conversation John had with the penny and all it means. In the narrative, John mentally wanders while the penny is speaking and so did I. It was interesting to contemplate life from the viewpoint of a penny, such as being stuffed in a pocket for days. I was surprised to think about the possible jealousy between the various coins. One could certainly relate the experiences and emotions the coins had to that of humans.

This novella presents an interesting way one could work through personal issues. John seems to work out some things through his conversation with the penny. Perhaps readers will have insight from the conversation as well. I do appreciate the unusual plot.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Fabien Roy has a BA from McGill University. He has been a painter, waiter, commercial actor and is now a full time dad living in Canada.

Amazon Digital Services, 102 pages.

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

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Finding God in Ordinary Time by Christine Eberle

There is double meaning to the title of this book. Many devotionals are written for specific times in the liturgical year, like lent or advent. This one is for the ordinary time in the liturgical year. But it also refers to finding God in the ordinary – the ordinary events, the ordinary encounters, and the ordinary people in your life.

Saint Ignatius urged his followers to “find God in all things.” (xiii) That's what Eberle has done. She pays attention and prayerfully reflects on common experiences. I think my favorite devotion was the one on morning glory. I battle the encroaching plant too. Now I will forever think of the spiritual lesson of making room for the more worthy things. Pulling up morning glory becomes a lesson for all of life.

There were a few surprises in the book. Finding God in imperfection and even failure? Reading those devotions encouraged me to pay attention, to train my eyes to notice and my heart to listen, finding God in every situation.

Eberle provides a Scripture and has added questions to stimulate thought with each devotional writing. Devotions are about the natural world, people, another culture, and the difficult events of life. While the book was generally written for individual use, she has included additional questions at the end for group use. Eberle ministers within the Catholic branch of Christianity. This protestant learned much from her writing.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Christine Eberle has been involved in Catholic college campus ministry for twenty five years. She is a church cantor, public speaker, and performs dramatic monologues of biblical women. She is currently Director of Campus Ministry at Gwynedd Mercy University near Philadelphia. She is passionate about asking, “Where is God in all this?” You can find out more at

Green Place Books, 176 pages. This book releases September 17, 2018.

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

How Joyful People Think by Jamie Rasmussen

How we think makes a difference. There is a way to think right and this book is about developing it. Rasmussen filters our thought processes through Philippians 4:8. Learning to think the way God wants us to think is how we have peace. (Phil. 4:9)

I was struck by his exploration of semnotes, “honorable” or “dignified.” There is much more indicated by this word when one looks at its historical and biblical use. It describes “a steady person who is known for his thoughtful reflection and well-reasoned, grace-filled responses to life's difficult situations.” (718/2430) This is a person who is not easily rattled and one who thinks well before reacting. Rasmussen shares his strategy for working on this in his own life, providing practical steps.

With the same attention to the deep meaning of words, Rasmussen takes us through all of Philippians 4:8 and God's top eight ways of thinking. There were a couple of surprises, such as linking “lovely” to where we find pleasure and the identification of legitimate pleasure. Another surprise was the fall back nature of praise, something we can do when nothing else is working.

I recommend this book to Christians who desire to know how to think the way God wants. It reads well. You'll find a very good exposition of Phil. 4:8 and practical suggestions for developing right thinking.

You can read an excerpt and download a study guide here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Jamie Rasmussen (Mdiv) is the senior pastor of Scottsdale Bible Church. He has been an ordained pastor for more than twenty-five years. He lives in Arizona.

Baker Books, 192 pages.

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

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Struggle Is Real by Nicole Unice Blog Tour

About the Book  

Title: The Struggle is Real  
Author: Nicole Unice  
Genre: Non-fiction, Christian life, spiritual Growth  
Release date: August 21, 2018  

“It just shouldn’t be this hard!”  

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a day where everything that could go wrong does go wrong—you lock your keys in the car while it’s running, lose control with your kids, make a mistake at the office that results in hours more work. And just when you think not one more thing could possibly happen . . . well, fill in the blank. The struggle is real, friends. It may not be major stuff. Lives are not on the line here. But it makes us feel awful . . . and then we feel guilty for stressing when other people have “real” problems that are so much more serious. Yet the fact remains: We live in a world that often feels harder than we think it should be. And so it can be easy to believe the stories we tell ourselves—that we’re doing it wrong, that we’ll be stuck in this place forever, that God doesn’t love us. We struggle to practice gratitude, to make godly choices, and to live our daily lives with confidence and contentment. So what can we do? Join popular Bible teacher and counselor Nicole Unice to discover why the struggle is real . . . and what to do about it. Nicole offers practical tools to help you navigate the daily ups and downs, and ways to rewrite your struggle into a new, God-centered life story. The Struggle Is Real is an invitation to take the hard, hurtful, and confusing moments and turn them into opportunities to grow in wisdom, strength, and joy.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

This is a good book for Christians who want to understand why life is hard. Unice reminds us that God has provided the way for us to grow stronger and smarter by going through difficult experiences. God desires to transform us and obstacles are what He uses. That may not be welcome truth but Unice helps us understand it with the heart of a counselor.

I like that Unice challenges us to look at life from God's perspective. She also challenges us to be self aware and to recognize the life God intended for us. In the section on our stories, I was again reminded how important our childhood is in influencing our adult life. She encourages us to live out a freedom cycle as we move into a new story. There are many stories included from Unices' own life and from the Bible to illustrate her teaching. She has also included questions for thought at the end of each chapter.

I recommend this thought provoking book to Christians who feel overwhelmed with life. You'll be challenged to think biblically and to live out your new story in God's love.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Nicole Unice is a Bible teacher, author, and passionate communicator who delights in bringing God’s Word to life in a personal and relevant way. Her training as a counselor informs her work, as she emphasizes the importance of facing our own reality and embracing the transforming power of God’s grace. Her heart belongs to Hope Church in Richmond, Virginia, where she serves as ministry director, leading discipleship and Praxis, a full-time ministry residency program for young leaders. In addition, Nicole co-hosts Hope Cast, a podcast on spiritual formation, leadership, and relationships. Nicole’s invitations to speak have taken her across the world, and her books come to life through her popular video curriculum series found on RightNow Media. Her first book, She’s Got Issues, released in May 2012 and speaks to a fundamental question of faith: Is being a Christian supposed to change me? Also available is a companion curriculum, She’s Got Issues DVD Group Experience, a six-session journey that includes interviews, questions, and teaching expanding on the book. Her subsequent titles—Brave Enough and The Struggle Is Real—help people distill the complicated stuff of life into a simple and clear path to Jesus. Nicole holds degrees from the College of William and Mary and from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She loves creating a space for ministry and spiritual formation in the everyday rhythms of life with three children, two pups, one husband, and a whole community of twentysomethings who regularly raid her fridge. Nicole is known for making friends in all corners of the world, especially via social media. Connect with her on Instagram, YouTube, or at—and hopefully face-to-face at one of her upcoming events.

Guest Post from Nicole Unice

There’s a question we throw around that I bet means a whole lot more than we would expect. How many times a week—or a day!–are you asked: “How are you?” I don’t know about you, but the answer I hear and give the most is something like …. ”fine”, or —“busy but good!”? It’s kind of the socially acceptable answer, right? A friend asked me this question just this week as I walked into work. I was multitasking as usual while knee deep into a cell phone conversation about yet another problem. I didn’t answer her, because if I did—if I really stopped and answered—I might have started crying, right there on the spot. My lips formed the word “fine” when in reality, I was anything but—at least not in that moment. And life doesn’t always stop long enough to give a real answer…. But isn’t “fine” the socially accepted answer because it works….or does it? The reality is, we are all struggling, to different degrees and complexity levels, each and every day. The Struggle IS Real, and when you add up both the little and big daily struggles, it’s easy to understand why this hashtag social media rockstar exists—over 3 million deep at #thestruggleisreal. But if we dig a little deeper into this common complaint, we might discover a much more sinister root—and real help toward freedom and wisdom in Christ. In my newest book, The Struggle is Real, that’s what I’ve done. I address issues like:
  • Life is much harder than I thought it would be, and I feel bad saying it.
  • There are some things about myself that I can’t change…it’s just how I am, and it frustrates me.
  • I really don’t know if God is interested in my life, and even if He is, I don’t know how to hear from Him.
(and if you are wondering how real your struggle is, I’ve included a Good Life Inventory on p. 14!) I wrote this book because I know how real the struggle truly is—and I want us to discover the true source of the answer to these age-old problems. My hope is to take my readers through a journey into this gap between our “just fine” lives and the truly good lives we are seeking and are hungry for. To offer hope that we can live the best life we can, this side of heaven. Yep, the struggle is definitely real. But the struggle can also start the story. It can motivate us to rewrite our lives into a new story. The struggles can lead us to a new source of hope and freedom, and somehow, even the worst of life can become a place of strength and growth. The struggle is real. And the struggle can be good.

Blog Stops

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