Saturday, October 25, 2014

Too Loved to be Lost by Debora M. Coty

Do you need some encouragement? Do you need a new "herspective" on life?

Through personal stories and anecdotes, Coty permeates this book with encouragement. Whether you need to know you are cherished by God, need to overcome depression, or have hidden hurts that need healing, you'll find encouragement in this book.

Sometimes her stories are laugh out loud funny. Sometimes they are so serious you'll want to weep. But each one has an encouraging lesson that comes through loud and clear. She shows how God is the lifter of your head, how to get Scripture to reside in your brain, how to recognize everyday mini-miracles, and how to BARF when things go bad (you've got to read the book). She deals with brokenness, discernment, burnout, control, getting refreshed, and much more. She adds questions at the end of each chapter that are great for reflection or discussion within a trusted group.

Coty has a way with words. I mean, have you ever measured yourself on the grumplitude barometer? And, “Forgiveness is like losing weight.” (You've got to read the book.) She is great at wrapping nuggets of truth in the gift-wrap of humor.

If you need to insert some joy into your life, this book is for you. If you need to be reminded of the relentless love of God toward you, this book is for you. If you feel lost in the mess of your life, this book is for you.

You can go to www.DeboraCoty.com to watch some videos and read her blog, “Living Life in the Crazy Lane.”
I am taking part in a blog tour and you can read other reviews here.

Debora M. Coty is a popular speaker, award winning author, and long time Bible student. She serves in the children's ministry in her church, is an orthopedic occupational therapist, and writing workshop instructor. She and her husband are the parents of two married children and one adorable grandchild and live in central Florida. Find out more at http://deboracoty.com/.

Barbour Publishing, 224 pages. You can purchase a copy here.

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lights Out by Travis Freeman with Rebeca Seitz

A blind football player?

Freeman tells his story of a pretty regular childhood until, as a twelve year old, he began experiencing headaches. Doctors said it wasn't serious. Then the raging infection in an eye and a temperature inching up to 106. Finally tests revealed Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis. Few battled this disease with their minds intact. About 70% died. Treatment was ineffective so surgery was pursued. Cleaning out as much of the infection as could be done, Freeman would live – but blind.

Rather than going to a blind school, he went back to his own school. How he succeeded there and played football as a center, even through high school, is quite a story. (He even went to an opponents' huddle by mistake one time.) It continues on with college, seminary, a PhD, and then preaching.

Freeman reminds us that in some sense, each of us walks in the dark. He draws spiritual lessons from the tools and actions blind people use. He also give us great ideas on how to interact with the blind, giving them respect. “Disability does not equal inability,” Freeman reminds us. His humorous stories are a good indication of his positive attitude.

What an inspiring book. It is an encouragement to anyone facing obstacles. He relates how mobility experts helped him map out his way in a new setting. Similarly, we have friends, our relationship with the Lord, the support of the church, etc., for our support.

Freeman reminds us that a dark world is not an impossible one. It presents great challenges, yes, but they can be overcome. Everyone has challenges that need to be overcome. Freeman's life is a great example of living an overcoming life.

Watch the inspiring Dateline special here.
Go here to find out about the movie, 23 Blast, and watch the movie trailer.

Travis Freeman received his Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the University of Kentucky, and his MDiv and PhD from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He currently serves as adjunct professor at the University of the Cumberlands, and as the President of The Freeman Foundation, dedicated to furthering the truth that disability does not equal inability. Learn more at http://travisfreeman.org.

Freeman Foundation, 200 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Glass Road Media for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Out of the Storm by Jody Hedlund

Having grown up in a lighthouse, loneliness is all Isabelle Thornton has ever known--and all, she assumes, she ever will know. But when her lightkeeper father rescues a young man from the lake, her sheltered world is turned upside down.

This short story takes place in 1854 at the Presque Isle Lighthouse on Lake Huron, as does the first full length novel in the series, Love Unexpected, releasing later this year.

This is a pretty good novella. The romance is a bit quick for me, but then, it has to be for a novella. I had trouble liking Henry. I wish his character could have been developed a little more so we could understand him better. I was amazed that Isabelle would fall for him as he didn't seem trustworthy, nor did he have a pleasant personality.

Isabelle's love seemed a little unrealistic to me. She had grown up at the lighthouse so had limited interaction with men. It seemed her attraction to Henry was more because she was getting a man's attention for the first time in her life more than it was real love.

The historical aspect of the novel was good. It gave me a new appreciation of what lighthouse keepers had to endure in the 1800s. It was a rough and lonely occupation.

This is a quick read and sets us up for the series to come.

This is a free ebook novella and part of a new series from Hedlund called Beacons of Hope, set around the Great Lakes lighthouses of Michigan. You can download the novella at Amazon or in EPUB form from the publisher, via email, at their promotional website.

Jody Hedlund has been writing novels for the last twenty years. A number of them have been award-winning and best-sellers. She and her husband have five children You can find out more at http://jodyhedlund.com/.

Bethany House Publishers, 141 pages. The novella is 90 pages long with the rest of the download being an excerpt from the coming novel.

I was invited by the publisher to download this free novella for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Promise by Beth Wiseman Kindle HDX Giveaway

The Promise Beth Wiseman
Synopsis:
Mallory had a goal, to save a life. She had been thwarted by her parents when, as a teen, she had wanted to give a kidney to her dying cousin. Now she was determined. Then a Muslim co-worker and friend told her about his cousin, Abdul, who had a daughter dying of leukemia in Pakistan. She needed treatment in the US. The only way that could happen was if Abdul could marry a US citizen. Then he could apply for a visa and get his daughter the help she needed. Mallory saw the opportunity as the chance to fulfill her goal. She would marry Abdul – on paper only. Then she would be back. Before her boyfriend or family could stop her, she was on her way. Mallory would soon find out her trip was based on lies and her life was in danger.

Review:
This is a well written and thought provoking novel. Mallory's character is well crafted as a naive American who thinks going to Pakistan will be fine. She really has no idea of the conditions in the village there nor what the people will be like. Abdul comes across as a man willing to lie and deceive to get his way. It is not until Mallory is actually in his home that his true character comes to light. There is plenty of action in the novel too, once the first third of the book sets up the story. The events are described well, and create suspense near the end.

Wiseman, in A Letter From The Author, says this novel is based on a a friend's actual life story. She had been seduced to go to Pakistan and had experiences similar to those in the novel. As a sister to two Middle East missionaries, I know this kind of story happens all too often.

Wiseman says she writes books to make a difference. She wants to educate women to the reality of this kind of situation. She also wrote this novel wanting to show that there are good and bad people in every religion.

It is important for potential readers to know that Wiseman does not comment on actual Muslim beliefs. She does not give the readers the background on why some Muslims in the novel freely lie and use deceit. In fact, I was a little uncomfortable with the “we pray to the same God” kind of comments made by characters in the book.

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

You can read a sample chapter at Wiseman's website: https://bethwiseman.com/.

Beth Wiseman has won the Carol Award, Inspirational Readers Choice, INSPY and is the best-selling author of several series. She grew up in Houston, Texas and now she and her husband live in a small town nearby. They have two grown sons. Find out more about her at https://bethwiseman.com/.

Thomas Nelson, 294 pages. You can purchase a copy here.

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Another Jesus" Calling by Warren B. Smith

Smith is concerned about the book Jesus Calling. He read the book and it disturbed him.”It was troubling for me to see a number of New Age practices and concepts being presented as completely normal for Christians.” (12) He warns of the deception of false Christs and the necessity of Christians to be spiritually discerning. He shares his specific concerns about Jesus Calling and God Calling.

Smith reminds Christians “that the deceptive spirit world is thoroughly capable of weaving Christian terminology and verses from the Bible in and around metaphysical occult terms and teaching.” (28) He makes readers aware of many New Age practices – ones readers may not know about.

Smith has presented a pretty good case. While a few of his concerns may seem unfounded, most of them are serious. He has certainly given readers much to think about. His book again points out that we Christians need to be discerning readers.

Warren. B. Smith (B.A. University of Pennsylvania; M.S.W. Tulane University) is a former social worker. Because of his former involvement in the New Age Movement, he has written extensively on the subject of spiritual deception. Find out more at http://www.warrenbsmith.com/.

Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 174 pages.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Color of Justice by Ace Collins

This is another great novel from one of my favorite authors.

The action takes place in Justice, Mississippi, and consists of two murder trials fifty years apart. In 1964 a college aged black man is accused or murdering a high school aged white girl. The conviction seems a done deal in the racially charged town.

Cooper Lindsay, son of the pastor of Justice Methodist Church and recently returned to the town as a lawyer, is approached by the boy's mother. Convinced he is innocent, she asks Coop to represent him. Coop struggles with the decision, knowing it would put himself and his wife and children in danger and would effectively end his career in his hometown. Remembering his deceased father's sermons on the Good Samaritan, he takes the case.

The situation does turn deadly as tempers flare and old hurts are resurrected. We readers are not privy to all the results of the violence until another trial takes place in Justice, fifty years later.

I really liked this novel. Collins has really laid bare the racial tension in the town. I really liked Coop as a character. He is a man who struggles with doing the right thing, knowing it might bring harm to his family. Yet his father's sermons ring in his ears, inspiring him to see that justice is done.

I have never lived in the south and this book is an eye opener to the prejudice that can still reside in the hearts of people. As we find out in the book, that prejudice can originate in a lie and needlessly hurt many people.

Collins has given us a well thought out plot that spans half a century and reveals the darker side of mankind, yet encourages us with those determined to right the wrong that dark side causes. I recommend it.

Ace Collins has authored more than twenty five books having sold more than two million copies. He lives in Arkansas. You can find out more at AceCollins.com.

Abingdon Press, 320 pages.

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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sara and Andy by Ronald Glanz

Sara and Andy met at a funeral home. Both had long been caregivers to a remaining parent. The care giving had prevented either of them from being very social. They were immediately attracted to each other and were soon married. In a fairy tale, rags to riches story, they quickly become extremely wealthy. Their wealth allowed them to form a plan to avenge for a wrong done a long time ago.

The plot of this novel is pretty good. Who doesn't want to see the bad guy finally pay for an evil deed done years ago?

I was distracted by the quality of the writing, however. The author switches viewpoint indiscriminately. In one sentence she was thinking while the next paragraph starts with what he was thinking. There is also a mixture of verb usage, with awkward combinations of past tense and present tense in the same sentence. Also, an odd mixture of pronouns, such as, “They all took a sip of their wine as the salad was being served with your choice of over fifty different types of dressing on the salad cart.” (67) (I wonder how big that salad cart was with fifty different salad dressings on it!) And then there is the odd habit of each character addressing the other by name each time during a conversation. (People just do not talk that way.) There is also the use of precise times and distances, such as, “forty-three minutes later...”

I was disappointed the way the author presented Christian ministers. Sara's mother died when she was thirteen. Her father, a minister, made advances to her when she turned eighteen. She was stronger and able to push him away so he went to his girlfriend's to satisfy himself. The replacement minister turns out to be a gambler and a thief, skimming off the offerings. Not a very good showing for Christians.

The novel glorifies gambling and Andy routinely lies. The novel gave me the impression these actions were fine if the end resulted in justice. There are many mentions of “luck” as Sara and Andy pursue their cause. There is never any mention of trusting God or anything like that.

A pretty good plot line but the unfavorable depiction of Christianity and the writing style were just too distracting for me to thoroughly enjoy this novel.

Ronald Glanz received his B.S. In Mechanical Engineering from Rose Polytechnic Institute in 1967. He and his wife live in Mineral, Virginia.

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 284 pages.

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

The Significant Life by George M. Weaver

Are you concerned that when you die you will soon be forgotten? Do you long to be noticed and remembered?

Humans long for a life of significance, Weaver writes. People want to be known, appreciated, influential, and remembered. He relates the attempts of many people to gain a life of significance. Some sought fame, others accomplishments, politics, philanthropy, even crime. All these efforts have negative side effects and actually fail, Weaver writes.

The key to significance for each human is Christianity. True significance for an individual comes from God. Weaver reminds us that man was created in God's image, each human is fully known by God, and God actually interacts with humans.

Weaver then looks at what this means, that we have our significance from God. He suggests that it allows us to be humble, to treat others the way God wants us to, and that we are able to follow our God-given purpose.

This is a great book. I look at our culture today and I see so many people trying to be somebody. This book explains why. Weaver's message is also a good reminder of who we are in Christ and what that means in how we relate to one another. A thought provoking book, I recommend it.

Food for thought: “Our identity rests in God, not in the impressions we forge in the finite minds of others...” (151)
Nothing you can do to me can threaten my significance.” (197)

George Weaver is an attorney practicing law in Atlanta, Georgia.

Crosslink Publishing, 283 pages.

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