Friday, September 30, 2022

Meeting Jesus in the Holy Land by Ignatius Fernandez

Traveling to the Holy Land is a life changing event. It was for Ignatius Fernandez when he visited in 2017 along with others from his parish. He wrote this book to help people remember a similar visit or prepare for an upcoming one.

He relates the historical and biblical significance of major sites. He also adds his own reflections, drawing the readers to reflect on spiritual truth and Christian behavior. He then reviews many of the major characters and events of the Old and New Testaments, again adding his own thoughtful reflections as they relate to Christian living.

This is a good book for those who have visited the Holy Land and want to remember major places visited and be challenged in the spiritual significance of them. It is also a good book to read in preparation of a visit to the Holy Land, encouraging readers to heighten their spiritual understanding of places they will visit and events they represent.

This is an informative and inspirational book on locations and events of the Holy Land. It would be of particular interest to Catholics.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the author:

Ignatius Fernandez is an author, speaker, blogger, counselor, mentor, coach. He has written twelve books and over sixty articles published in various magazines and websites. He has spent over four decades in industry, including several leadership roles. After a successful career, Fernandez turned to academia as a professor of management studies for MBA and Executive MBA students. He is now a full time author. He is a post graduate in chemistry and Business Management. He also has a certificate in Higher English from Cambridge University. He and his wife have four sons. You can find out more at

Notion Press, 138 pages.

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

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

1 Peter by Robert Thune

Our world is becoming more post-Christian. How are we to live in it? Peter's first letter was written to Christians living in a pagan world and there is much we can learn from it. Thune helps us understand our identity in Christ, that there will be trials and suffering. Life won't necessarily be easy. We are also reminded of the hope we have, the necessity of believer's community, the example of Jesus, and more.

The lesson that impacted me the most was the sixth one. Thune identifies many examples of sinful speech, what in the heart fuels it, and how the gospel has already met that need. An example is criticism, feeling I need to be right. We are reminded we are right with God and that's what matters.

The format of the study is for small group use as there is an emphasis on discussion. There is a specific outline used with articles to read and then questions to discuss. There is also an exercise with each chapter to help establish biblical truth. Instructions for the group meeting are specific so even a new Christian could participate in leading the study. Leader's Notes at the end of the book give additional study leading information.

This is an encouraging study and good teaching for those who want to live gospel shaped lives in a contrary culture. Obedience to the way of the cross may bring suffering, Thune reminds us. This study will help you suffer well. And remember, after suffering is glory.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

You can watch the book trailer here.

About the Author

Robert H. Thune, MA, is the founding pastor of Coram Deo Church in Omaha, Nebraska. He is also the creator of The Daily Liturgy Podcast and the author of Gospel Eldership and 1 Peter: Life as an Outsider and coauthor (with Will Walker) of the best-selling small-group studies The Gospel-Centered LifeThe Gospel-Centered Life for Teens, and The Gospel-Centered Community.

Thune Bob holds degrees from the University of Oklahoma and Reformed Theological Seminary. In addition to his work as a pastor and writer, he helps to lead a classical Christian school, coaches and trains church leaders, and serves on the Council of The Gospel Coalition.  

Bob finds joy in good music, good books, good steaks, and good conversation. In his spare time, he enjoys working with his hands and riding his mountain bike. Bob and his wife, Leigh, have four children.

Learn more at and find him on Facebook (Bob Thune)Twitter (@bobthune), and Instagram (@bobthune).

New Growth Press, 128 pages.

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

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Escape From Amsterdam by Lauralee Bliss Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Escape from Amsterdam

Author: Lauralee Bliss

Genre: Christian Fiction/ Historical / Romance / Intrigue

Release date: September 1, 2022

A University Student Smuggles Children Out of Amsterdam

Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

Helen Smit believed she was called by God to become a teacher. Little does she know that her care for kids will take a drastic turn for survival when the Germans occupy Amsterdam and Jewish children and parents begin to be deported. Now all she can think of is helping all the kids escape before it’s too late.

Erik Misman’s newfound love for Helen is tested when he joins a plot to help move Jewish children to a safe place in the countryside. If danger can foster a closer bond with Helen and save the lives of the little ones, he will do it all. But a German patrol that stumbles upon the farm where they are hiding with three children and a soldier who takes an unexpected interest in Helen, could well destroy their plans for safety and love.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This is a good historical novel highlighting the efforts of the Dutch to save Jewish children from the hands of the Germans during WW II. It was heartbreaking to read how the neutral country of The Netherlands was slowly taken over by the Nazis. We follow the lives of two people whose future was changed forever by the desire to save others.

Bliss explores several issues in her novel in addition to loosely representing historical events. How one treats the enemy was a question many faced. Another issue was an exploration of trusting God when such evil was happening all around. Readers may think about what we would do when faced with similar situations.

Being of Dutch descent, I loved all things Dutch in the novel. I am familiar with many of the Dutch phrases and even sang the Sinterklaas song as a child, wondering what I would get in my shoe, something nice or a piece of coal.

The first half  of the novel progresses at a consistent but rather slow pace. It picks up in the latter half. It is a good representation of how God fearing people helped others in need.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Lauralee Bliss is a published author of many romance novels and novellas, both historical and contemporary. Lauralee’s prayer is that readers will come away with both an entertaining story and a lesson that speaks to the heart and soul. When not writing, Lauralee can often be found on the trails where the author has logged over 10,000 miles of hiking. She makes her home in the Blue Ridge mountains with her family. Visit for more information about the author and her adventures.

More from Lauralee Bliss

Oh, the simple beauty of the Netherlands. Windmills. Tulips. Dutch wooden clogs. Beautiful Delftware and delicious speculaas cookies. Quaint villages nestled beside the waters. And here I am, an American that was able to visit this beautiful country on the heels of my husband winning a contest through his work. We had planned to immerse ourselves in Dutch culture, see the sites, and yes, visit places like the Secret Annex of Anne Frank and the town where Corrie ten Boom and The Hiding Place existed. Little did I realize though that this unique trip would become a journey into the heart of a hurting country in World War II. During our time there, we visited the Jewish Quarter in the center of Amsterdam and learned the details of Nazi occupation for many years that eventually caused two-thirds of the Dutch Jewish population to be exterminated. Walking in the place where a theater once stood and Jewish people gathered there to be deported was indescribable. Seeing the Jewish stars embedded in the pavement and noting the name of a man or woman killed at Auschwitz, was heart-wrenching. But through these horrendous details came the strength of courage and heroism. Across the street from the theater, Jewish children were rescued because of the efforts of those who gave everything to see them go into hiding. Thus the book, “Escape from Amsterdam” was born. It honors those that aided and hid Jewish children from the Nazis to avoid deportation. I am grateful for the opportunity to write this story of two common Dutch people, a college student and a grocery store clerk, called to a dangerous mission to save the innocent when the odds were the greatest. It is a timely book that magnifies the strength of courage in adversity and allows us to become better people because of it. I hope you enjoy this journey and as you do, remember those who came before us and allow their acts of courage to encourage you to persevere, no matter what.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 29

The Write Escape, September 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 30

Inklings and notions, September 30

deb’s Book Review, October 1

Holly’s Book Corner, October 1

Texas Book-aholic, October 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 3

Mary Hake, October 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 4

Through the Fire Blogs, October 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 5

Cover Lover Book Review, October 5

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 6

Labor Not in Vain, October 6

Connie’s History Classroom, October 7

Betti Mace, October 7

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 8

Remembrancy, October 8

For Him and My Family, October 9

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 10

Splashes of Joy, October 11

Lights in a Dark World, October 11

Blossoms and Blessings, October 12


To celebrate her tour, Lauralee is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

I received a complimentary 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.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Avignon Affair by Gary McAvoy and Ronald Moore

About the Book:

A corpse cloaked in secrets rests in an ancient tomb deep beneath Notre-Dame Cathedral, but its identity remains elusive. One priest is determined to find out who the dead man is and what he’s hiding…

Father Michael Dominic is called to France for an unusual assignment. A fourteenth-century bishop was found in a crypt buried under the burnt remnants of Notre-Dame—but he’s wearing the ring of a cardinal, and two parchment scrolls had been hidden in his garment sleeve. Who was this 700-year-old custodian of carefully guarded secrets?

Once Father Dominic decodes the rolled scrolls, long-hidden confessions are exposed that throw France into political turmoil while creating havoc within Dominic’s own team of friends. Relationships are tested and shocking new revelations emerge in The Avignon Affair.

You can watch the book trailer here.

My Review:

McAvoy and Moore have provided readers with another entertaining novel combining historical religious events with current political unrest. Some of the basis for the intrigue in this book goes back to the times when the Church and kings were intertwined in their influence and power. Documents from the past could have influence on the present political situation in France. The current political events seem all too possible in that unrest might be planned as a way to initiate a coup.

The authors do a fine job of combining the lives of the characters with adventures to religious sites in France. Tensions rise between Hana and Michael and Marco as growing affections are dealt with. Michael is dedicated to unraveling the puzzle of recently discovered religious documents. We learn about document recovery and new technology available to read especially fragile ones.

I appreciate the identification of fact and fiction at the end of the book. I find it amazing how a fictional plot can be woven around an actual event. In this case it is the 2022 discovery of a previously unknown sarcophagus at the Notre-Dame Cathedral. One aspect of the novel that intrigued me was the possible use of DNA testing to determine whether religious relics in the form of remains of saints were actually what they were claimed to be.

This is another informative and engaging novel of religious and political intrigue that could be out of today's headlines.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

You can read my reviews of his earlier novels. The Magdalene Chronicles: The Magdalene DeceptionThe Magdalene ReliquaryThe Magdalene Veil. Vatican Secret Archive Thrillers: The Vivaldi CipherThe Opus Dictum and The Petrus Prophecy

About the Authors:

Gary McAvoy 
began his writing career writing columns for a small town weekly newspaper and articles for a regional Southern California magazine. That laid the foundation for corporate communications work supporting his own and clients' businesses. He was fascinated with cryptology and intelligence during his U.S. Army tour in Germany. Following his military service, he built a number of successful ventures in Southern California and then moved to the Pacific Northwest. You can find out more about him and his books at

Ron Moore
 has an undergraduate degree in biology from University of California Riverside and a JD from Western State University College of Law, a master's in Forensic Toxicology from 
the University of Florida, and an AA in culinary arts from Saddleback College. He also obtained a Catholic Lay Ecclesial Minister certificate. He worked for over 18 years in forensics and CSI, the practiced law for 8 years before returning to forensics as a toxicology consultant. He was also an EMT for four years. He was a reserve deputy sheriff for over 14 years, assigned to the Search and Rescue unit. He was also a Sergeant in the Bloodhound Team. He holds a black belt in Judo and a brown belt in Aikido. Moore and his wife live in Southern California where he enjoys outdoor activities. You can find out more at

Literati Editions, 320 pages.

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

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Bride of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep Blog Tour

About the Book

Book: The Bride of Blackfriars Lane

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian/Romance/Historical

Release date: September, 2022

Detective Jackson Forge can hardly wait to marry the street-sly swindler who’s turned his life upside down. Kit Turner is equally excited to wed the handsome detective, and what better way to show her love than providing him with a gift any man of the law would love? She determines to bring to justice the men who years ago maimed his brother—despite Jackson’s warning to leave the past in the past. As she digs into the mystery of what happened, she unwittingly tumbles into her own history and endangers her future happiness with Jackson.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Griep has given readers another entertaining romp in historical London. We are immersed in the atmosphere of the back streets, the ruffians and even the sewers of the city. What makes this novel work for me, though, is the character Kit. What a feisty woman. And that she has agreed to marry is amazing. Of course, she is so bent on solving a mystery she wreaks havoc to her own wedding day. It was interesting to follow her as she recognizes her independent ways and comes to grips with what that means.

This is a fun historical novel for readers who like a strong and gutsy female heroine who can sometimes be a bit too independent for her own good. There is a good balance of police investigation, personal experience with character development. Griep's writing style is a pleasure to read. I do hope there is a sequel as I'll be watching for it.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

You can read my review of the first in the series, The Thief of Blackfriars Lane.

About the Author

Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

And guess what? She loves to hear from readers! Feel free to drop her a note at

More from Michelle

A Visit to Borough Market

Whenever I skip across the pond, I make it a point to stop at the Borough Market for some great meals. This area was—and is—a popular place to shop and an absolute must-see for food lovers. From grocers, fishmongers, cheese sellers, and butchers to all kinds of ethnic eats, it’s hard not to want to sample everything. My personal favorite are the buddha bowls.

Believe it or not, Borough market has been in operation for the past thousand years. Yes, you read that correctly. It actually began as a bridge, constructed in 990. But let’s fast forward to the Victorian era, shall we?

In the nineteenth century, a railway viaduct was constructed through the middle of the market, which brought in more people—but also brought in more noise, soot, disruption, and crime. In such a hotbed of activity, it’s easy to imagine cutpurses and pickpockets of all sorts.

And that’s the perfect scene for a certain con-artist turned investigator to meet with an informant. In The Bride of Blackfriars Lane, Kit Turner is up to her old shenanigans, much to Jackson’s chagrin. You can visit Borough Market along with her in this wild ride through Victorian London. It’s just one of the many stops in a city that never gets old.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 27

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 27

Life of Literature, September 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 27

Texas Book-aholic, September 28

Book Looks by Lisa, September 28

Bigreadersite, September 28

Betti Mace, September 29

Genesis 5020, September 29

Remembrancy, September 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 30

Christina’s Corner, September 30

A Baker’s Perspective, September 30

She Lives to Read, October 1

Inklings and notions, October 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 1

For Him and My Family, October 2

Blogging With Carol, October 2

Daysong Reflections, October 2

Hallie Reads, October 2

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, October 3 (Author Interview)

Where Faith and Books Meet, October 3

deb’s Book Review, October 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 4

Holly’s Book Corner, October 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 5

Bizwings Blog, October 5

Back Porch Reads, October 5

Connie’s History Classroom, October 6

Books I’ve Read, October 6

Blossoms and Blessings, October 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 7

Splashes of Joy, October 7

Simple Harvest Reads, October 7 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

The Write Escape, October 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 8

Vicky Sluiter, October 8

Through the Fire Blogs, October 8

Pause for Tales, October 9

Cover Lover Book Review, October 9

Labor Not in Vain, October 9

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, October 10

Melissa’s Bookshelf, October 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 10

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 10

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.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Monday, September 26, 2022

Angry With God by Brad Hambrick

About the Book:

No one gets mad at God for something small. When we’re angry with God, it is because we’ve faced something immensely hard. Anger is an often-overlooked part of grieving
, and as such, is an appropriate response to profoundly painful events. Counselor Brad Hambrick provides a guided process to being honest with God about your pain to restore and deepen your relationship with him. While we are often prone to interpret our anger about intense suffering as being at
 God, this book is an invitation to process these intense emotions with God as a source of comfort who is sturdy enough to support these turbulent emotions. 

If you are struggling with deep grief that is accompanied with anger and confusion, Angry with God will be profoundly helpful in your journey.  Hambrick will patiently walk you through the process of being honest with God (and others) about your pain. You will learn how to articulate your pain, alleviate the effects of this pain, contextualize your experience in light of the gospel, and begin to hope again. God is a good shepherd who is patient and willing to move at the pace of his sheep. God can be trusted in places that merit the name “the valley of the shadow of death.”

Angry with God is part of the Ask the Christian Counselor series. This series walks readers through their deepest and most profound questions. Each question is unpacked by an experienced counselor that gives readers the tools to understand their struggle and how the gospel brings hope and healing to the problem they are facing. 

My Review:

I think this is the most comprehensive book I have ever seen to help a Christian work through hurt, pain and anger. Hambrick's aim is not to offer any answers for why one has suffered but rather to invite readers to be honest in exploring their hurt, pain and anger at God. The book provides an opportunity for the reader to express the anger and process the pain. Hambrick looks at pain and anger from more aspects than I knew existed. Ultimately, he desires we come to the realization God is alongside us as a trusted friend.

This is not a book one just reads. The book requires work. There are scores of questions Hambrick wants us to think through and write our responses. In that sense, this is a workbook. I almost felt like I was sitting in front of a psychologist, following his instructions on processing my pain and anger. At times, the text sounded a little like a psychologist too, my having to work to understand some of the terminology. But the end result is having some good strategies for healing pain and anger.

This book might be hard for some to work their way through. It will take time and determination. I would suggest reading it with a trusted friend for support and discussion. This would also be a good book for a lay counselor as a template for helping others work through issues.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Brad Hambrick, ThM, EdD, serves as the Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church in Durham, NC. He also serves as Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a council member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition

He has authored several books including God's Attributes: Rest for Life Struggles, Making Sense of Forgiveness and Angry with God. Hambrick also served as general editor for the Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused curriculum.

Hambrick, his wife, Sallie, and two sons live in Raleigh, NC.

Learn more about Brad Hambrick and follow his blog and podcasts at He can also be found on Facebook (brad.hambrick.5)Twitter (@bradhambrick) and Instagram (@bradhambrick).

New Growth Press, 160 pages.

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

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)