Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Lazarus Awakening" by Joanna Weaver

The full title of this amazing devotional is Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God. It is the third book in Joanna Weaver's "Bethany" trilogy and shows through the life of Lazarus how we can have newness to our lives.

Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, friend to Jesus, had died. Jesus physically showed His sadness with tears, but then raised Lazarus from the dead. How can this apply to our lives? In this new devotional, Joanna Weaver lovingly looks at Scripture and shows how God loves us as He did Lazarus. We all have a place in God's heart, but many times blockages happen to make us feel that we are alone. Through devotionals like, "When Love Tarries," "Tomb Dwelling, and "Unwinding Graveclothes," she shows powerful examples of how God's love is shown and is there for the taking. 

I really like Joanna Weaver's devotionals. They are practical and life-changing, and this one is no different. I especially enjoyed the bonus material in each chapter; one of my favorites being, "Hurts, Hang-Ups, and Habits." I also like the Study Guide and Appendixes at the end of the book. If you enjoy devotionals that encourage you in your walk with Christ, this one is for you. I received my review copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

"Sherlock Holmes Devotional" by Trisha Priebe

Sherlock Holmes, a beloved fictional detective who could always uncover the solution to a crime. Using practical and observational knowledge, he put the pieces together to find the answers. Could this same logic be used to study the Bible? Come along and find out!

In this wonderful devotional, Trisha Priebe brings Holmes to life in a Biblical setting. Readers are not only treated to some of Sherlock Holmes' best moments, but they are tied in to practical Bible study. Devotional titles include: "The Art of Listening," "A Study in Silence," "The Not-So-Humble Holmes," and "Person of Interest." These studies will not only help readers delve deeper into the Scriptures, but will also bring out some of the Sherlock Holmes found in all of us.

I really enjoyed this book and will continue to pick it up. Having always enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes stories, this was a no-brainer to pick up. But, I did wonder how it would all work. It is really neat to apply the skills we can find in Holmes to my study of the Bible. If you enjoy a devotional that challenges you and helps you to dig, this one is for you. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"The Behemoth Dinosaur in the Land of Uz" by Maryluz Guerrero Salas

In this story, Job is a youngster who has a pet dinosaur named Dippy. Job likes to teach things, like sharing, but Dippy presents some problems along the way. The story follows Job and Dippy as even Dippy learns that sharing the fruit and vegetables is the best way.

While this is a cute story, it is written in both English and Spanish
, which can make the reading confusing. There are also some grammatical errors that probably resulted from translating from the Spanish version. I liked the drawings because they look like they were done by children, so children would be easily drawn into the story.

I wish I liked the book more because I think it was written with wonderful intentions, and I love studying and reading about dinosaurs. I also think the story may work better in Spanish. I received my review copy from Book Look in exchange for an honest review.

"Believe Kids' Edition" Randy Frazee General Editor

How to Think, Act, and Be like Jesus - what an awesome goal for each of us! In this new book, children are given a step-by-step guide to help them in their daily walk with God. They will develop the reasons for believing what they believe.

Parents work diligently to teach their children about God. Going to church, reading the Bible, and giving them their own Bible are some of the tools that parents use. This new book is written from a kids' perspective and helps them go through the steps of learning the "why's" to their beliefs. Each lesson has a Key Question, a Key Idea, a Key Verse, something to think about, a lesson, and then ends with Discussion Questions. The format allows each child to study on their own, or study with their parents. It is designed to help give them the foundation for things like: having a personal relationship with God, what compassion is, what is worship?, information about spiritual gifts, and how to share their faith. Each lesson also has wonderful drawings to draw the reader into the story. The Scripture passages are written out with the reference, so that you can read from your chosen Bible version as well as the NIV.

I really like this book and will be incorporating parts of it into my Children's Church ministry. It is interesting, written so that kid's will be able to read and understand, and I love that it takes things step-by-step through how to "Think, Act, and Be Like Jesus." If you are a parent looking for a good study guide for your child(ren), a children's ministry leader, or anyone who likes to keep a library for visiting children, this book is for you. I received my review copy from Book Look in exchange for an honest review.

"Rise of the Fallen" by Chuck Black

Validus is an angel, the least among them. He was always ready to fight for the Lord, but didn't think it would happen. There were so many others! But, over time, Validus had seen so much war between demons and angels, that when he got the chance to lead, he did it well. He became respected as a leader. But then there was another job he was called to do, something he thought was menial. Was Validus right in feeling demoted, or was there a much higher purpose for his life?

Validus was a good leader. He didn't ask any of the angels in his command to do anything he wouldn't do. Together they fought many battles against demons, but, then a change was made. Validus was called to be the guard of one man; and unbeliever at that. Why was he taken from the important task of fighting the demons? Why was he demoted? As Validus worked to protect Drew, he found that there was more to this man than he had thought and he was an extremely important person. Would Validus be able to keep Drew safe from the forces that wanted to destroy him? What was so important about Drew? Would he ever become a believer?

The battle between good and evil always provides a great backdrop for a story, and this one is no different. I really like the character of Validus and felt like I got to know him. The author draws in his readers by providing a good story with fleshed out characters. If you enjoy stories that deal with the battle of good vs. evil, angels vs. demons, this book is for you! I received my review copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Tattered and Mended" by Cynthia Ruchti

Repair, mend, fix - terms used to deal with something that is tattered or torn. Lives can be tattered and torn causing them to need to be mended. In her new book, Cynthia Ruchti uses examples of repaired artwork to demonstrate how lives can also be mended. 
It's a worthless and can't be repaired! That's too tattered and scarred to be useful! Words that can be said about things and about lives. What is seemingly useless to one person, is a gem to another. Cynthia Ruchti uses objects to show how a broken life can be repaired and made to shine. God doesn't give up on us. Instead He encourages and remakes those broken lives. Feeling broken, discouraged, battered? Christ wants to help you heal and this book may just be what you need.

I really enjoyed the parallels Cynthia Ruchti makes with "things" and lives. It is easy to overlook something because of a scrape or a tear, and it is easy to overlook a person with a scar. This book will make you look at your life and see how God can mend (has mended), and that the ability to mend should be shared with others. I received my review copy from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for participation in the blog tour.

Book info

About the book:
Tattered and Mended: The Art of Healing the Wounded Soul(Abingdon, July 2015)

A crumbling statue. A torn tapestry. A discolored painting.

Artisans can reclaim exquisite beauty from the broken, frayed, and hopefully shattered---perhaps once thought beyond repair. But what about us? What of the wounds that keep us from living the life we want to live?

In Tattered and Mended, readers walk through a gallery of reclaimed and restored art as well as broken and restored lives of those who have gone before us. With a gentle touch and personable wisdom, Cynthia Ruchti shows how even the most threadbare soul can once again find healing and hope.

Purchase a copy:
About the author:
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories "hemmed in hope." She's the award-winning author of sixteen books and a frequent speaker for women's ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin.

Find Cynthia online: websiteTwitterFacebook
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Saturday, July 11, 2015

"Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor" by Melanie Dobson

Secrets, mystery, a mysterious death, family turmoil, anger, and resentment all combine to form the storyline of Melanie Dobson's new book, "Shadows fo Ladenbrooke Manor." Come along with Heather Toulson and uncover the mysteries hidden for over sixty years.

Heather was in love with a man who left her, but not before she found out she was pregnant. Desperate and afraid, she marries Walter Doyle but doesn't tell him she is pregnant. Thus begin her acts of deception. Her daughter is born, and Libby is a handful from the start. With a father who is a postman and a mother who works as a housekeeper at Ladenbrooke Manor, Libby finds it easy to meet Oliver, heir to Ladenbrooke Manor. This is a scandal, especially when people believe they care about each other, and Oliver drowns. Was it an accident or was it murder? Libby finds out she is pregnant and has a daughter, Heather. Readers will then take a time jump to pick up Heather later in her life. She is divorced, her daughter is now married, and her parents have just died. What will she find when she goes to clean, empty, and prepare their house? What secrets will come to life? Who will be there to catch her when so many truths hit the light of day? Readers will be kept reading trying to figure out all the mysterious secrets of Ladenbrooke Manor.

I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. It has mystery, romance, possible murder, family problems, and other twists and turns that kept me reading. If you enjoy books with stories that seem real, characters who are fleshed out, and are page turners; this book is for you. I received my copy from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for participation in the blog tour.
Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor 
by Melanie Dobson    
Howard Books  

When Heather Toulson returns to her parents' cottage in the English countryside, she uncovers long-hidden secrets about her family history and stumbles onto the truth about a sixty-year-old murder.
Libby, a free spirit who can't be tamed by her parents, finds solace with her neighbor Oliver, the son of Lord Croft ofLadenbrooke Manor. Libby finds herself pregnant and alone when her father kicks her out and Oliver mysteriously drowns in a nearby river. Though theories spread across the English countryside, no one is ever held responsible for Oliver's death.
Sixty years later, Heather Toulson, returning to her family's cottage in the shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, is filled with mixed emotions. She's mourning her father's passing but can't let go of the anger and resentment over their strained relationship. Adding to her confusion, Heather has an uneasy reunion with her first love, all while sorting through her family's belongings left behind in the cottage. What she uncovers will change everything she thought she knew about her family's history.
Award-winning author Melanie Dobson seamlessly weaves the past and present together, fluidly unraveling the decades-old mystery and reveals how the characters are connected in shocking ways.
Set in a charming world of thatched cottages, lush gardens, and lovely summer evenings, this romantic and historical mystery brings to light the secrets and heartaches that have divided a family for generations.
Praise for Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor
Dobson handles sensitive issues with tact, careful to avoid too much detail but remaining honest. Mysteries are solved, truths revealed, and loves rekindled in a book sure to draw new fans to Dobson's already large base.
    ~ Publishers Weekly
How far do patterns of behavior echo through generations? Are they passed down through a family's DNA --- or through choices subtly modeled by one parent after another? 'Armchair psychologists' will love how Dobson tackles these intriguing questions in this past-meets-present page-turner, and Anglophiles will find the manor, cottage and butterfly garden settings irresistible. Perfect with a pot of English tea!
    ~ Christian Book Distributors

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Curl up with hot tea and a good book. @Litfuse looking for readers for @MelBDobson's newest mystery.
 Meet the Author
Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of 14 historical romance, suspense and contemporary novels. Two of her novels won Carol Awards in 2011, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010.

Dobson received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She worked in publicity and journalism for more than 15 years, including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel. Prior to launching her own public relations company in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family.

Dobson and her husband, Jon, enjoy living in the Pacific Northwest with their two daughters. When she isn't writing or playing with her family, Dobson enjoys exploring ghost towns, line dancing and reading historical fiction.

Find Melanie onlinewebsiteFacebookTwitter