Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Church in Babylon by Erwin W. Lutzer

How should Christians relate to a world where they are increasingly marginalized? There has been a decline in Christian value and culture. Christians are no longer respected, no longer seen as a light to the world. Lutzer helps us understand the problem and what we can do.

Lutzer suggests we cannot hide. Christians are to infiltrate without contamination. Our love should abound, even as we refuse to compromise our convictions. (94) Christians must know where to draw the line in obeying God rather than the state.

Lutzer has been around long enough that he is not afraid of telling the truth, even though it might offend. He writes, technology “is weighted against a pure mind and Christ-honoring lifestyle.” (124) He has good information on the transgender issue. His insights on the gift of celibacy are enlightening. I appreciated his distinction between the responsibilities of the church and of the state when it comes to immigration. He identifies false teachings that have come into the church, naming names and book titles.

Lutzer is not politically correct. Far from it. But he is gospel correct. People do not know they need the gospel until they understand they are sinners, as are we all. Lutzer sees the church as the “last barrier” to moral decline. (170) “I pray that the church in America will live up to its convictions and accept the consequences,” he writes. (115)

I highly recommend this book to pastors, church leaders, and Christians who are concerned about their place in the current culture. This would be an excellent book for church boards to read and discuss.

You can read an excerpt here. You can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Erwin W. Lutzer is pastor emeritus of The Moody Church where he served for over 35 years. He is an award-winning author and featured speak on three radio programs. He and his wife live in the Chicago area and have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

Moody Publishers, 304.

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

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Delayed Justice by Cara Putnam Blog Tour

About the Book

Book Title: Delayed Justice  
Author: Cara Putman  
Genre: Legal Romantic Suspense  
Release date: October 15, 2018  

She had long given up the desire to be loved. Now she only needed to be heard. Jaime Nichols went to law school to find the voice she never had as a child, and her determination to protect girls and women in the path of harm drives her in ways both spoken and unspoken. As Jamie, now a criminal defense attorney, prepares to press charges against someone who wronged her long ago, she must face not only her demons but also the unimaginable forces that protect the powerful man who tore her childhood apart. Chandler Bolton, a retired veteran, is tasked with helping a young victim who must testify in court—and along with his therapy dog, Aslan, he’s up for the task. When he first meets Jaime, all brains, beauty, and brashness, he can’t help but be intrigued. As Chandler works to break through the wall Jaime has built around herself, the two of them discover that they may have more to offer one another than they ever could have guessed—and that together, they may be able to help this endangered child. This thrilling installment of the Hidden Justice series explores the healing power of resolution and the weight of words given voice. And as Jaime pursues delayed justice of her own, she unearths eternal truths that will change the course of her life.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

This novel could be out of today's headlines. It is amazingly timely. Jamie has waited nearly twenty years to report the sexual abuse of her uncle when she was a child. Putnam has crafted Jamie well, giving us insight into why Jamie felt she must wait until she was strong enough to go through the pressure of the accusations. The striking part of the plot is that her uncle is up for a military promotion to one star general. Jamie is a strong woman but she needs additional strength and that comes in the form of Chandler, so a little romance is involved too.

I appreciate Putnam revealing the legal processes involved. I was surprised to find that there is no statute of limitation for such sex crimes in some states. But it is hard to prove something that happened so long ago. It's also dangerous when the predator is a powerful man determined to prevent his reputation from being ruined.

I highly recommend this novel to readers who like plots centered on legal procedure and the people involved. You'll get a clear sense of the residual damage from sexual abuse, the feelings of unworthiness, questioning God's role, and more. You'll also experience the pressure of testifying to abuse, whether a child or adult.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

About the Author

Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara has wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, was history. There she met a fellow Indiana writer Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, Cara shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, Cara’s been writing award-winning books. She is currently working on book 30 and 31. Cara Putman is an active member of ACFW, and currently serves on its Executive Board. She has also been the Indiana ACFW chapter president and served as the Area Coordinator for Indiana. Cara is also an attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women’s ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids that is. She graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!) and George Mason Law School, and Krannert School of Management. You can learn more about Cara at

Guest Post from Cara

Delayed Justice was a hard story to write. I’d known from Beyond Justice that Jaime had a hard story, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it was. She tried to hide from her past. She tried hard, but in the end it slowly spilled out. A young girl wounded deeply by someone who should protect her. And now as a professional young woman, Jaime is still fighting the shadows. She believes she’s okay, or as okay as she’ll ever be. Instead, she has to learn that there’s so much more waiting for her. Freedom from the chains of a past she didn’t choose. A love that will never end. And a God who has always loved her even when she questions His existence because of her past. I think we’ve all lived that. There’s a place in our hearts that seems beyond His reach. For some of us, it’s a barrier to knowing Him. To others of us, it makes us question what we thought we knew about God. And for others of us, it presses us deeply into Him. Jaime’s book, Delayed Justice, explores this space. The space where some days we scream at the heavens Where are you, God? And the days we just curl into ourselves because life is too hard. And in that space of shadow and light, God ultimately shines brightest. This is a truth that is slowly revealed through friends and The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, September 29
The Avid Reader, September 29
The Power of Words, September 29
The Lit Addict, September 30
BBHfiction, September 30
Painting with Words, September 30
Real World Bible Study, September 30
Janices book reviews, September 30
cherylbbookblog, October 1
Back Porch Reads, October 1
Cafinated Reads, October 1
Faithfully Bookish, October 1
Lighthouse Academy, October 2
Livin Lit, October 2
Bigreadersite, October 2
All-of-a-kind Mom, October 3
The Becca Files, October 3
Blogging With Carol, October 3
Genesis 5020, October 4
Cathe Swanson, October 4
100 Pages per Hour, October 5
Multifarious, October 5
Book by Book, October 5
Mary Hake, October 6
Godly Book Reviews, October 6
C Jane Read, October 7
Buy, Borrow, Skip, October 7
The Mimosa Blossom, October 8
Simple Harvest Reads, October 9 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Remebrancy, October 9
Carpe Diem, October 9
Quiet Quilter, October 10
At the Fence, October 10
By The Book, October 10
God is Love, October 11
Texas Book-aholic, October 11
Henry Happens, October 12
Have A Wonderful Day, October 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.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Imperfect Promises by Elizabeth Noyes Blog Tour

About the Book

Book Title: Imperfect Promises  
Author: Elizabeth Noyes  
Genre: Action, Suspense, Romance  
Release date: August, 2018

Award-winning romantic suspense author, Elizabeth Noyes raises the bar in this stunning conclusion of The Imperfect Series! Former Special Forces operative, Jonas Cameron, traded his past and his service for his family back in Idaho and the ranch he loves. But ghosts have a disturbing way of not staying where you leave them. Shea Townsend is on her way to becoming a chef extraordinaire until her father’s illness pulls her from culinary school and back to Montana to care for him. After his death, disinherited and alone, she sets out to make a new life for herself, one which may or may not include the too-alpha, too-sexy Jonas Cameron. Jonas learns of a homegrown terrorist threat against him and his family at the same time a mysterious stalker sets his sights on Shea. Determined to neutralize both dangers, Jonas calls on old friends for help and draws upon his own very specialized skill set to end the menaces to Shea and himself. As the danger escalates, secrets are revealed and the truth emerges in a deadly cat and mouse game with Shea caught in the middle. Fast-paced action. Heart-pounding adventure. This is not your ordinary romantic suspense story! 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

I liked this novel. It has a good combination of romance, mystery, and suspense. The characters are well crafted. The “imperfection” idea was shown well in Jonas as he didn't have a clue when it came to women.

There were several issues included in the plot. One was PTSD that Jonas experienced after his secret over seas work for Special Forces. Another issue deals with family relationships. Jonas has a stable one with loving brothers and parents. Shea's family experience was troubling enough that she fled it to make a new life. There was also the issue of terrorists within the US.

This is the fifth book in a series and events from previous books are alluded to but not covered well enough for me to say this book reads well on its own. To really understand Jonas we would need to read the previous books in the series.

I do recommend this book to readers who like romantic suspense. While the romance aspect moves in fits and starts, the suspense is well done.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Elizabeth Noyes—professional writer, aspiring author, dedicated dreamer—lives in the suburbs of Atlanta with her husband and best friend, Paul, who listens tirelessly while she regales him with all the tales in her head of damaged, but very human characters clamoring to be heard. A native of the Deep South, she claims to still “speak the language,” even after traveling around the world for most of her adult life. Recently retired from a career as a professional business writer and editor, she now fills her days editing, critiquing, reading, playing with the grandkids, learning more about Social Media than she ever wanted, and putting her stories into words to share with others.

Guest Post from Elizabeth Noyes

The Imperfect Tie Between Characters, Themes, and Titles

I love reading across all genres. If it’s well- written, I’m an easy catch. What I don’t like is when fictional characters are portrayed as model-worthy with perfect looks, perfect physiques, and perfect personalities. Yuk! I’ve never met a perfect person. To quote Mark Twain, “The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible.” I want characters with the same flaws as you and me—judgmental, short-tempered, guilt-ridden, egotistical, defiant, withdrawn, too-skinny, compassionate, couch potatoes, foolish, silly, serious, low self-esteem, arrogant, hurt, guilty, deceiving, generous… in other words, real people. These are character traits I relate to, and they come alive on the pages, giving hope that we can also learn from our mistakes and grow into something better. The characters in the Imperfect Series let themselves and others down. They struggle with life issues, make poor decisions, grieve over mistakes, and then pick themselves up and go on. In Imperfect Wings, guilt and low self esteem plague TJ, while her male counterpart, Garrett, struggles with anger issues. In Imperfect Trust, yeah, trust was a problem for both Lucy and Wade. With Imperfect Bonds, Cassidy fights for her sister’s forgiveness as she deals with feelings of inadequacy … both of which carry over into her relationship with Derek. In Imperfect Lies—yep, another obvious theme. Lies from the past come back to haunt Mallory and James. In the final book of the series, Imperfect Promises, the main male character, Jonas, is by a nature a control freak. He suffers from guilt over a perceived failure when at his deepest core he is a protector and perfectionist. Shea, the female protagonist, rose from the ashes of a devastating childhood to forge a new life for herself. Both discover that promises made to themselves and to others can’t always be kept. Despite best intentions, life sometimes gets in the way.

Blog Stops

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

Thursday, September 27, 2018

I Am Dynamite! by Sue Prideaux

As someone who had only heard about Nietzsche this biography of him was very enlightening. Prideaux has done a good job of portraying the man and exploring his works. Her writing style makes the information on complex issues very readable.

I had no idea that Nietzsche's father went mad at age 35 and that Nietzsche feared the same for himself. Nietzsche did go mad at age 44 and remained so until his death twelve years later. I was surprised by the vision he had at age twelve, making such an impression on him that he dedicated his life to God. Yet he greatly changed that view as he grew older. I had no idea about his relationship with Richard Wagner and the power music had on Nietzsche. I had no idea of his fragile health and failing eyesight, his short experience as a professor, the less than glowing reviews for his works, making references to his divinity as he slipped into madness.

I recommend this well written biography to those interested in understanding more about the life and works of Nietzsche.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Sue Prideaux is a novelist and biographer. Her books include Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream, which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and Strindberg: A Life, which received the Duff Cooper Prize and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.

Tim Duggan Books, 464 pages. This book releases October 30.

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

God, Are You There? by Bruce Hartley

I appreciated this book, a presentation by Hartley as to why he believes God is very real and people can have a relationship with Him. This is a good book for people curious about Christianity, how to become a Christian, and one Christian's experience of it. He shares how he came to believe God is real as well as how he has grown in knowing Him.

This is a well rounded introduction to Christianity. Hartley explains many aspects of Christian belief, such as why God allows tragedies to happen. He uses quite a few Bible passages so a potential reader should have a willingness to believe the Bible is a valid source of truth.

New Christians would find value in reading this book too. Hartley gives information about spiritual growth such as reading the Bible and prayer. He also tells good stories on himself so readers can see that Christians make mistakes too.

I recommend this book to those interested in Christianity as a good way to find out why Christians believe in the reality of God, how to become a Christian, and then how to grow in relationship to God.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Bruce Hartley has lived in the Kansas City metro area most of his life. He is a former missionary to Slovakia and contributing writer for the Kansas City Star. A graduate of Rockhurst University, he is a production and inventory management professional. He and his wife life in Shawnee, Kansas. They have eight grandchildren.

Ground Truth Press, 145 pages.

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dare To Begin Again by Rosalinda Rivera Blog Tour

About the Book

Book Title: Dare to Begin Again
Author: Rosalinda Rivera
Genre: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Woman’s Issue
Release date: September 4, 2018

We all have struggles and challenges in life. Whether they are of our own making or not, things don’t always work out. Sometimes, we just give up on our dreams and goals. But it doesn’t have to be that way! God is a God of new beginnings, and throughout the entire Bible, we read about people who were stuck, disappointed, and faced impossible situations—people God freed. Rosalinda Torres Rivera challenges us to Dare to Begin Again. Using stories from her own life, other people, and biblical times, Rosalinda offers inspirational, down-to-earth advice on beginning again. Each chapter tackles a different issue where you may be “stuck”—such as an inability to forgive, trust, or hope—and examples of people who overcame similar challenges. Practical tasks at the end of each chapter walk you through a DARE challenge (Decide, Allow, Rise, Enjoy) to help you move closer to a fresh start. Rosalinda is the daughter of Victor Torres, an ex-gang member from Brooklyn, New York, and his wife, Carmen, founders of the New Life For Youth ministry. She has seen more than twenty thousand people get out of tough situations and turn their lives around. “They’re people whose tales of transformation prove God is still at work,” she says. “He’s written and re-written their life’s chapters—and He’s willing to do the same for you.” It takes a commitment, but with the help of God, inspiring, true stories, and practical applications, you can Dare to Begin Again.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

I appreciate this encouraging book. It is full of wonderful stories showing that God is in the business of restoring people and giving them a new life. I like Rivera's emphasis on having to believe that a new beginning is possible and then allowing God to act.

Rivera gives many encouraging suggestions. “Don't allow negative thoughts to enter your mind...” (32) “Move beyond your past...” (130) “Don't let your past hurts, disappointments, and rejections hold you down.” (140) What is missing, however, is a practical strategy to carry out those tasks.

This is a good book for people who need some encouragement to make a new beginning with God and can create their own plan for a journey through the process. People looking for a practical strategy to deal with the past and cultivate a trust in God for the future may have to look elsewhere.

About the Author

Rosalinda Torres Rivera is the executive director of New Life For Youth, one of Virginia’s largest residential facilities helping to rehabilitate people from a life of addiction. She has been reaching out to families in crisis, poverty, and hopelessness for over twenty-five years. Using her business skills, Rosalinda developed a model of social enterprise to sustain the non-profit New Life For Youth by creating businesses that train thousands of young people in job skills and leadership.
She is also the president of New Life Enterprises, the founder of Mercy Moms Home, a place for single mothers to find hope and healing, and the founder of Bella Women’s Ministry in Richmond, Virginia, which hosts annual conferences for over five hundred women.
Each year, Rosalinda is a featured presenter at various events nationwide. She has ministered throughout the world and has traveled to over twenty-two countries. From the White House to the local community, she has been nationally recognized for her impact in bringing hope to the hopeless.
Rosalinda was appointed to the Board of Governors of the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives, headquartered in Washington, DC. Style Magazine selected her as a “Top 40 under 40” leader for her impact in Richmond, Virginia.
In 2018, the Valentine Museum in Richmond will feature the work of her family as one of the city’s first Hispanic families to impact Richmond in the non-profit sector.
Rosalinda is the daughter of Victor Torres, an ex-gang member from the streets of New York, and his wife, Carmen, the founders of New Life For Youth and pastors of New Life Outreach International Church. She served as an associate producer on Victor, a movie about her father’s journey from drugs and gangs to Jesus and redemption.
Rosalinda and her husband, Carlos, have three children: Alana, Gabriel, and Victor.

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, September 26
All-of-a-kind Mom, September 27
More Of Him, September 28
Godly Book Reviews, September 29
Mary Hake, September 29
Carpe Diem, September 30
Creating Romance, October 2
Bigreadersite, October 5
Texas Book-aholic, October 8

I received a complimentary 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.