Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Darkness Before Dawn" by Ace Collins

In one night, two lives are changed, families are torn apart, and revenge becomes an all consuming power. Meg Richards and James Thomas become unalterably linked as alcohol and cars collide costing a life. Will the love of God win out, or will bitterness, anger, and vengeance?

Meg Richards is full of life, in fact, she has just learned she is pregnant. This wonderfully joyous moment is shattered when she finds her husband was killed in an accident. James Thomas had been drinking, illegal for a teenager, and then got behind the wheel of the car that killed Meg's husband. The agony and grief are intense as Meg tries to find some sense in the tragedy. Ultimately she blames God for taking her husband, for not allowing him to see his child, and for not letting her family be complete. That blame and bitterness takes on real life as she strikes out at James Thomas, destroying his life through the trial. Her heart is turned to stone as she seeks her own form of justice. Can God break through and bring light to her life again? Is there any way to save James Thomas' life? Will forgiveness or grief or vengeance finally win out? 

This book has many sad moments, and many moments that will make you feel something. That may be anger, fear, hope, or grief. I like books that do that for me. I want to be left with something at the end of the time I have spent with the story the author has woven for me to read. If you like that type of book, this is for you. I received my free review copy from Litfuse Publishing in exchange for participation in the blog tour.

           Book Info 
About Darkness Before Dawn: Will grief push Meg over the edge?
On the same night she discovers she is pregnant, twenty-eight-year-old nurse Meg Richards's husband is killed in an auto accident caused by a drunken teen. James Thomas comes from one of the most influential families in the community. He's a star athlete and glamour boy at the local high school. But the accident he caused will change his life---and Meg's future---forever.
Angered by her senseless loss and facing life as a single mother, Meg blames God for what has happened and considers a decision that could change her life even further. Enraged by the brutal trial and the court's decision, Meg starts down a frightening path of retribution. When the opportunity for revenge comes unexpectedly, will Meg follow through? Or will the remnants of her faith lead her in a different direction?

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/jZlsf

 Meet Ace: Bestselling author Ace Collins has written more than 60 books including novels "Swope's Ridge" and "Words of the Father," as well as the nonfiction "Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas"; and "Lassie: A Dog's Life". His books have become movies and network television specials. Ace Collins has sold more than 1.5 million books during his career and makes his home in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. 

Learn more about Ace at: http://AceCollins.com 
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Monday, April 22, 2013

"Stress Test" by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.

A doctor kidnapped then accused of murder, a lawyer bound to defend him, and a story filled with twists and turns fill the new book by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.Can anything save Dr. Matt Newman?

Dr. Mabry is having a very stressful day. As a doctor, he faces moment by moment stress, but what really brings that to a head is being kidnapped on his way home. Someone wants him dead, why? He is able to escape but is injured and accused of murder. His life is definitely upside down and no one wants to believe him. No one, that is, but his lawyer Sandra Murray. Their journey and discoveries will lead them to unbelievable situations and truths. Will they survive? Will he be proven guilty or innocent? Who is behind this heinous plot? 

This book captured me from the beginning. It is Christian fiction at its finest. The characters and setting are realistic, the story line is captivating. If you love good suspense written with a Christian flair, this book is for you. I received my free review copy from Litfuse in exchange for participation in the blog tour.

 Book Info 
About Stress Test: They may not have enough evidence to convict him, but they have enough to ruin his life.
Dr. Matt Newman thought he was leaving his life in private practice for a better one in academic medicine. But the kidnappers who attacked him as he left his last shift in the ER have no such plans-they just want him dead. Bound and in the trunk of his car, Matt's only thought is escape. He does so, but at a price: a head injury that lands him in the ICU . . . where he awakens to discover he's being charged with murder.
Sandra Murray is a fiery, redheaded lawyer who swore she was done with doctors. But when Matt calls, she knows she can't walk away from defending someone who is truly innocent.
Matt's career is going down the drain. His freedom and perhaps his life may be next. But with the police convinced he's a murderer and the kidnappers still trying to finish what they started, finding the truth-and the faith to keep going-will be the toughest stress test Matt has ever endured.
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/jJaEd

Meet Richard:
 A retired physician, Dr. Richard Mabry is the author of four critically acclaimed novels of medical suspense. His previous works have been finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times Reader's Choice Award, and have won the Selah Award. He is a past Vice-President of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the International Thriller Writers. He and his wife live in North Texas.

Learn more about Richard at: http://www.rmabry.com
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

"John Newton" by John Crotts

"Amazing Grace," one of the most beloved and sung hymns in history, was written by John Newton  But, that was only one part of his life. In this new bitesize biography, John Crotts gives a wonderful overview of this man and the impact he had on history.

John Newton was an ordinary man who through extraordinary circumstances found Christ and became a Christian. Through his time on board a slave ship, Newton learned the evils of slavery and worked with his friend, William Wilberforce, to abolish the practice. Newton's life never seemed easy, as he was tested and tried all along the way. Still, his example is a shining beacon for all who would come to Christ. It was truly "Amazing Grace" that ruled his life.

I love these "Bitesize Biographies" because they are deceiving. While they look small, they are packed with information. This book is no exception, and I recommend this and the others in the series to anyone who wants to learn how to read biographies. There is so much information in this book about John Newton, yet it isn't boring or tedious. I recommend it to all readers. I received my copy from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for participation in the blog tour.

About the Book:
The people who know John Newton’s name often only know one or two things about him. They recognize that he authored one of the most popular hymns of all time, ‘Amazing Grace’. The other thing they sometimes know is that he was a slaveship captain before he wrote that hymn. Those facts are true, but there is a great deal more to his story!
About the Author:
John Crotts has been the pastor of Faith Bible Church, Sharpsburg, Georgia, since 1995. He graduated from Liberty University and The Master’s Seminary. He serves as a board member of F.I.R.E. (The Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals). His other works include Mighty Men: The Starter’s Guide to Leading your FamilyCraftsmen: Christ-Centered Proverbs for MenTying the Knot Tighter and Upsetting the World: Following Paul’s Example of Frontline Evangelism. John and his wife Lynn have four children.
Praise For Bitesize Biographies – John Newton:
“These pages provide a memorable and powerful portrait of the epic life, the epic romance and the epic salvation and ministry of the author of ‘‘Amazing Grace’’, John Newton (preacher, evangelist, abolitionist and poet). Enthralling! And there is more. The author’s expositions of Newton’s greatest hymns will elevate the heart and worship of every reader. A superb introduction to an amazing life for this generation. Highly recommended.”
-R. Kent Hughes, Senior Pastor Emeritus, College Church in Wheaton
“This book is a very useful introduction to John Newton’s life and ministry. It is as fast-paced and exciting as Newton’s Narrative, and captures the essence of the man and his grace-affected heart.”
-Marylynn Rouse, John Newton Project. www.johnnewton.org
“This is a beautiful introduction to the unparalleled life of an often over-looked leader of the Evangelical movement in the eighteenth century. John Crotts has captured the essence of Newton’s radical conversion, extraordinary life, and exemplary pastoral ministry. Just reading the account causes the heart to rejoice in God’s saving power. Readers will find themselves, no doubt, anxious to further explore the legacy of Newton’s letters, hymns and sermons.”
-Todd Murray, Author of Beyond Amazing Grace, Pastor of Family of Ministries Grace Immanuel Bible Church, Jupiter, Florida
Book Information:
  • Publisher: EP Books (2013)
  • ISBN:  9780852349083
  • Page Count: 128

Saturday, April 20, 2013

"Ephesians" a Bible study by Sue Edwards

Ephesians is a book of the Bible written about the body of Christ. One of the themes is how to live a victorious Christian life, and another about unity. In this study of Ephesians, Sue Edwards takes us through daily victorious living with Scripture and practical Biblical advice.

What is your identity, your purpose here? How can you find out? In just nine chapters starting with "Learn to Sit," and ending with "Sit Down to Stand," Sue Edwards helps us find our way. The book of Ephesians has great practical advice, and this study encourages us to make it a personal journey to becoming victorious as Christians.The accompanying questions aren't simply there to look good or give a cursory answer to; but instead to have a personal connection to each person participating in the study.The online Facebook community is a wonderful place to find extra tips and strength.

Bible studies are meant to be meaningful, and this has been no exception for me. Sue Edwards has a love for Scripture that shines through her teaching, and makes her points clearly and with God's direction. This is a wonderful individual study, but will also work well with groups where the added insights and strength with be invaluable. I received my free review copy from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

 Book Info 
About Ephesians: Women need Bible study to keep balanced, focused and Christ-centered in their busy worlds. However, many find it difficult to set aside the time and discipline needed for an in-depth study. The Discover Together studies offer tiered questions to allow readers to choose a depth of study that fits with their individual lifestyles or schedules, even if they vary by the week, month or season
This insightful Bible study uses the example of Paul's church in Ephesus to show readers how they can be victorious Christians, living in God's Word, and free from sin. Part of the discovery series, the Ephesians edition includes tips for either individual or group use, inspirational sidebars and short, 3-5 minute teaching videos. Scan the video QR code in the book with a smart phone orvisit the series website to watch Sue provide historical and cultural background, teach important truths found in each week's lesson, or ask thoughtful questions to encourage deeper discussion.

Order a copy of the book: http://ow.ly/jJdA1 

Join the online Bible study here. Just LIKE the page and then follow along. There will be a launch party for Ephesians on April 11th and the online Bible study will begin the following week on April 15th.  
Women crave Bible studies that challenge them to grow in their faith. But after balancing carpools, sports schedules, or work deadlines, you may not be able to commit to another evening out of the house. Now you don't have to.  
Whether studying with a small group or by yourself, you know can join popular Bible teacher Sue Edwards on the Year of Discovery. Sue will be leading women through her studies with online chats and discussions on her Facebook page. All year long. Every week. Any time of day. From the comfort of home. Make-up and hair-do optional. Come as you are!  
Each week you will find quotes, links to articles and other resources, and videos to help you as you study. Complete the lessons at your convenience. Then visitFacebook.com/DiscoverTogetherSeries any time of day to comment or ask questions. Sue will be there frequently to respond, encourage, and equip!

Meet Sue:
 Sue Edwards (MA, Dallas Theological Seminary; D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) teaches full-time in the Christian Education Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has more than twenty-five years of experience teaching, pastoring, and directing women's ministries. In addition, Sue speaks at retreats, conferences, and seminars across the country. She is the coauthor of Women's Retreats and New Doors in Ministry to Women, and the author of the new Sue Edwards Inductive Bible Study series.
Find out more about Sue at http://www.discovertogetherseries.com.

 Blog Tour Schedule

"Tales of the Defended Ones" by Beth Guckenberger

Childhood can be a difficult time for anyone, but it most especially difficult for those who have suffered loss or heartache. What if a child loses a parent, feels that everything is hopeless, or is enslaved?  In her new book, Ms. Guckenberger not only tells the stories of Ben, Joseph, Antonio, Caitlyn and Jorani, she also lets us feel the story. But, the stories are not all about the troubles in life, but also about the One who lifts us all. Our Great Defender, God. 

This book is written for those much younger than me, but I found myself drawn into each of the stories. It is important that we teach our children how to care about others no matter where they live, and this book can be one of the tools in our toolbox. It is easy to read and relate to, with the lessons learned without any prodding. It is definitely a book that will tug on the heartstrings of readers, young and older alike. I recommend it to families for their library as it will create some great conversations. I received my free review copy from Litfuse for participation in the blog tour.

 Book Info 
About Tales of the Defended Ones: Ben and Joseph lose their mothers, but find a family looking just for them. Antonio is rescued from what seems like a hopeless situation. Caitlyn dares to trust that truth will set her free. Jorani is delivered from slavery into the arms of grace. 
Follow these real-life stories as they take you on a journey to foreign places and extreme struggles. Travel through their challenges and see the hand of the great Storyweaver - our Defender God shielding and defending the defenseless in the amazing ways only he can.These are the tales of the ones left wounded and weak-ones made whole and strong . . .
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/jJ8g6 ;
Meet Beth: Beth Guckenberger and her husband, Todd, are the founders of Back2Back Ministries which communicates a lifestyle of service by sharing the love of Christ and serving God through service to others. Guckenberger travels and speaks regularly at women's and missions conferences, as well as youth gatherings and church services. In addition to her children's releases in the Storyweaver series, Guckenberger has written two mission-minded books. She has also partnered with Standard Publishing on the mission content in its 2013 VBS program. The Guckenberger family lives and serves in Monterrey, Mexico. 
Find out more about Beth athttp://www.bethguckenberger.com/. 
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Guest Post "Bring Your Money into the Light" by Christy Fitzwater

Bring Your Money Into the Light
Article written by Christy Fitzwater, author of the e-book Going Cash

For the first two decades of our married life, I handled all the finances and did it poorly. Of course, I didn't know I was doing it poorly, but now I do.

I thought it was great that I was taking care of the money, so my husband didn't have to worry about it. It seemed like a good wifely thing to do, taking that burden off his already heavy plate. But now I see that what happened was me and the money went into a dark room, and bad things happen in the dark.

Matt's really frugal, and he didn't need money for stuff most of the time. But then every once in a while he would say, Hey, can we buy... I would go ballistic. Are you crazy? Do you know what our finances look like? No we don't have money for that!

Of course he didn't know what our finances looked like. 

The money was in the dark.

A few years ago my monthly spending got really bad. We were starting to spend money we didn't have, encroaching into the next month's paycheck ---a dangerous place to be. I realized one day that I was swiping the debit card without evening looking at the amount I was spending. I would leave the grocery store having no clue what I had just done to our monthly budget. 

Until the bank statement came, and I would be appalled at what I had spent. But that's what happens when the money is in the dark.

So in frustration three years ago, I decided to follow my friend's lead and go to using all cash. 

Best decision EVER.

You know what happened? I went to the bank and saw the money in the envelope. I put money for Matt in separate envelopes for his spending ---right out there where he could see how much he had. I placed real money in see-through plastic sleeves in a purse-sized money organizer. Now even the kids can see how much clothing and allowance money they have.

Jesus says, "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (John 3:21 NIV)

I used to be horrified to talk to Matt about the state of our finances. It didn't seem nearly so bad when it was just me and the money in the dark, but when I pulled out the truth for him to see I would realize how bad it was. Now that we have gone to using all cash, I have no shame. We all can see how much money there is. Our spending is well under control. (Thank God!) It has brought a peace into our marriage that I didn't know was missing until I experienced it.

So let me ask you---is your money in the dark where things go bad, or have you brought your finances into the light?

To read more from Christy Fitzwater or download Going Cash, visit her blog atwww.christyfitzwater.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@Christy_Fitz). 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Captive in Iran" by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh

Evin - a prison in Tehran, is a place of unspeakable evil. Yet Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh survived 259 days there. How? Why? Where did their strength come from ?

Maryam and Marziyeh are Christians who were willing to speak to anyone about their faith. But Iran is not a tolerant place, and they were picked up, questioned, and put in the evil Evin prison. The charge - spreading Christianity and Bibles. But, no matter what the question, or how bad the conditions got, these two brave women stood for their faith and provided strength and help to those around them. Through prayer and steadfastness, they carried on their ministry, even though the unsanitary conditions and horrifying events. They brought God's light to the darkness of the prison, and gave hope to the many prisoners there. This book chronicles their journey, proving that God is with us no matter where we go.

Wow! This book should wake complacent Christians up. What would we do if believing in Christ was a crime? This true story will provide an eye-opening account of what can happen when Christians stand. I recommend it to everyone because we can all learn to stand and trust during the tough times. It is definitely a book that groups could spend multiple hours discussing. I received my review copy from Tyndale Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

"When Jesus Wept" by Brodie and Brock Thoene

What would it have been like to walk with Jesus, to witness His ministry? Lazarus knew, and that is the premise of this book. The raising of Lazarus from the dead is a well known Bible story. One that also notes that Jesus wept when Lazarus died. In their new book,  Brodie and Brock Thoene tell the story of Jesus' ministry through Lazarus' eyes. It is the first book in their new series "The Jerusalem Chronicles." While this is a work of fiction, research yields historical detail that adds so much richness to the story.

 So many things happened during Jesus' earthly ministry, and people like Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, were witnesses. The were able to spend time with Jesus and learn from Him. But, there was also work to do. Lazarus was a man who owned and worked a vineyard. He could appreciate the need for good wine at a wedding, such as the wedding at Canaan, and the pruning needed to bring in a good crop. Jesus spoke to him comparing the vineyard and the work done in it, to the world and mankind. Lazarus listened intently and found that the comparison made a huge impact in his life. And this isn't the only time of impact. While other Bible characters also come to life in this book, the friendship between Jesus and Lazarus shines most brightly.

This is a wonderful book and I can't wait to read the next book in the series. While it is fiction and there were some things I didn't agree with, I found the book hit me with a range of emotions. There was joy, sadness, surprise, and wonder just to name a few, along with walking with them through the vineyard. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction. These authors really know how to grab, and hold, your attention! I received my free review copy from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

 Book Info 

About When Jesus Wept
Book 1 in the Thoene's new Jerusalem Chronicles.
 Lazarus occupies a surprising position in the Gospel accounts. Widely known as the man Jesus raised from the dead, his story is actually much broader and richer than that. Living as he did at Bethany, near Jerusalem, Lazarus was uniquely placed to witness the swirl of events around Jesus. When Jesus Wept, the first novel in The Jerusalem Chronicles series by bestselling authors Bodie and Brock Thoene, unfolds the turbulent times in Judea during Jesus' ministry, centering on the friendship between Jesus and Lazarus. With rich insights from vineyard owners and vine dressers, the Thoenes explore the metaphor of Jesus as the True Vine, harvesting the ancient secrets found in the Old Testament. Weaving the life of Lazarus, who owned a vineyard, into the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ will help you understand it is the hand of Love Divine that holds the knife, that cuts and breaks with such tender and loving touch, and that we who have born some fruit, after the pruning, can bear much more. 
Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/jubpF            
Meet the Thoenes:  
Bodie and Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee) are bestselling authors of over sixty-five works of historical fiction. Their timeless classics have sold more than thirty-five million copies and won eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards. The Thoenes have four grown children and eight grandchildren. They divide their time between Hawaii, London, and Nevada.
Find out more about Bodie and Brock athttp://www.thoenebooks.com/.

 Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, April 6, 2013

"The Gospel-Centered Woman" by Wendy Alsup

What does it mean to be a gospel centered woman? In this new Bible study by Wendy Alsup, she encourages women to have a personal relationship with God - a heart knowledge.

Bible studies for women touch on the same type of topics most of the time;. what our role is in the family and world. But there is so much more to us and God wants to be a big part of that. A personal relationship with the one who was born as a man, died for our sins, then rose again is what women should strive for. If that is in place, every other aspect of our life will be filled with the love of God. Will the road always be easy. No, but in this devotional, Mrs. Alsup provides practical thoughts from the Bible to encourage and sustain the heart of a woman.

I enjoy reading and participating in Bible studies, and this is no exception. It is a study that will encourage and delight you; one that will challenge and inspire you as well. I recommend it to all women, married or single. She makes the book fit us all. I received my free copy from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for participation in the blog tour.

 Book Info 

About The Gospel-CenterWoman
Understanding Biblical Womanhood through the Lens of the Gospel
Many Christian books written to women claim to present God's good instructions for their lives. Some expound on the value of marriage and children. Many extol the virtues of the Proverbs 31 wife. A good number teach the value of love, submission, and respect in Christian marriages. Though this book deals with these topics, TheGospel-Centered Woman addresses women from an entirely different perspective. The most important part of the Bible's instructions to women center around thegospel. Jesus' life, death, and resurrection brought about a seismic shift in our understanding of Scripture. After His resurrection, His disciples understood words written thousands of years before with a clarity they never had previously. The good news of Christ illuminates all other Scripture, including instructions towomen. 
Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/jgKJd           

Meet Wendy:  
Wendy Alsup is a wife, mom, and math teacher. She is the author of "Practical Theology forWomen: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives" and "By His Wounds You are Healed: How the Message of Ephesians Transforms a Woman's Identity". 
Find out more about Wendy at 
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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"So Shines the Night" by Tracey Higley

Ephesus, a beautiful city on the Aegean coast. It seems to be the perfect place for Daria to hide from the evil she has left behind. But, is it coming for her? 

Daria is a widow. Her life certainly hasn't been what she expected, but after landing a job in a school, there was hope. But, Daria has a fatal flaw in this world of men - she questions things. Too many questions landed her in hot water and she lost her job. But, larger than that, she antagonized a group of sorcerers. How? She tried to rescue a girl from their clutches. They were powerful enough to not only take her job, but also to send her running away. Ephesus seemed to be a beautiful destination, a place where she could learn more about "The Way." But sinister things are afoot even in Ephesus, and Daria doesn't know who to trust. She had met Paul, but now wonders if the miracles that accompany him are good or evil. What will Daria find as she looks deeper? Will she have to run again? Will she find peace in the one true God? The answers to these questions, and so many more, await you as you open the book.

I love the way Tracey Higley writes! Her characters and story lines are realistic and full bodied. As a reader, I wanted to know what was going to happen, and most definitely, that good would win. If you want to know the ending, you need to get this book. It will not only make a great read for an individual reader, but book groups can have some great discussions with it. I received my free review copy from the Book Sneeze program in exchange for an honest review.

"Echoes" by Robin Jones Gunn

Meeting people on the Internet has become popular, and Lauren Phillips has done just that. Her new "friend" is K.C. But, is she in the best spot of her life to believe what she is reading or to meet him?

A broken engagement has Lauren twisted in knots. Her sadness and loneliness has led her to bury herself in her work and college education, but there is more. Her brother tries to cheer her up with a visit and gifts, one of which is a computer. As Lauren explores the Internet, she meets someone who has sparked her interest. K.C. seems to know exactly what to say to make her feel that life may hold more for her, that romance could be looming on the horizon if she will only continue to believe. He seems to love the same poets she does and even shares a book about the Bible. But, Lauren has reservations when the opportunity comes to meet him. Is she ready for love? Is that what this is, or is there only more heart-break down this road? Could God be the reason for their connection? Come follow Lauren's journey in finding the answers.

This book is really appropriate in this Internet age, when people do connect with others on line. Ms. Gunn brings her story to life with interesting characters and a story you want to finish. I recommend it to any reader who loves romance novels with a spiritual twist. I received my free review copy from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.