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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Attend



Everywhere we look into our busy days there simply doesn't seem like there is enough time to get our items crossed off our "To Do" lists. The biggest challenge is not forgetting time with God during our busy days as Moms, Dads, Women and Men. So how do we find God in the ordinary things we do every single day? Is it possible that we can take time to converse and be in the presence of God while doing our mundane chores that must be completed like making our beds, cleaning up a mess, making ourselves a snack, lighting a candle to fragrance our home or even sitting with a loved one during a painful moment?

Laura Davis Werezak takes readers into the heart of 40 simply ways we can do just that and in the process find that God loves nothing more than to walk with us in every detail of our lives that we complete each day. Often times we feel cut off from God, when it is simply that He is very present, we have simply chosen to forget about inviting Him into the things we do each day. I believe we are simply forgetting those meaningful connections we used to have with Him and strive to find some time in our days and hope at the end of it, we will have a few minutes to connect with him. We find ourselves looking for the next best thing to connect with God so we can feel better about ourselves and the fact we even included Him into our day.

We need to begin to look for God in our every day moments. Take a moment and discover with all our senses that God is very present in everything we do. From the brush of the wind against our cheeks to the gentle kisses of water from rain drops on our skin. God is here. "Unpacking the truth of Isaiah 30:15, this book delightfully ventures through this process of turning toward God, resting quietly in God's presence and taking action to serve and glorify Him. To attend is to live with attention instead of retreating into a spiritualized reality or a digital virtual reality. To attend is to live the reality that God has designed, shaped, and formed specifically for us and for our benefit. Let us turn away from distraction, look one another in the eys and re-learn how to live in the world." (Front Flap).

I received Attend by Laura Davis Werezak compliments of Faith Words, a division of Hachette Book Groups. This is such a simple way to get back to understand the importance of our intimate connection to God in the simplest ways. God isn't looking for over-achievers, just people willing to spend some real quality time with Him. I love the simple lessons found in this book and learning to mediate and understand how things like making a bed can teach us to manage tasks better, and that even if you have a terrible day in which nothing goes right, at least you can come home to an inviting bed. A made bed gives you the encouragement that tomorrow will be better! This would be a wonderful give of encouragement to someone you might know that needs a gentle reminder that God is very present in all things. For that reason, I easily give this book a well-deserved 5 out of 5 stars!

For more information about Attend, Laura Davis Werezak or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:


You can find Laura Davis Werezak on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest books.

To read more reviews on Attend, please visit Faith Word's website today. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Life After



"It could have been me, so why wasn't it?"

Seems that is the most asked questions by those who survive a tragedy while others don't. For Autumn Manning, she was the only person of 23 victims of a train bombing on winter's night in Chicago. It wasn't just where she was sitting, where she got on, or any number of things one might think would provide the answer. All she wants to know is why and more importantly, why can't she move forward, even a year later.

Keeping all her bits and pieces of the accident in a binder, she finds some morbid connection to the 22 who died. To them, she wants to know more about them. To never forget who they were to their own families. What is her point of surviving if she has nothing to offer anyone especially herself. But she has vowed that she will never forget one single person, even visiting their graves, searching the internet for all she can find about who they were, what they did, and even their reason for being on the train, that she almost missed, but didn't.

She struggles with trying to explain things to her own family who believe that after all this time, she needs to find a life for herself, seek a therapist who might be able to help, but give up all this time-consuming processes of trying in her own mind to make restitution or amends some how. Yet when letters begin arriving at her house from Reese, a young 12-year-old girl who lost her mother in the accident, she struggles to find a way to help her deal with the grief and loss she has experienced. For both of them it's journaling their thoughts that help each other find a way through this loss and hopefully to find hope on the other side. When Reese's dad, Paul finds out about Reese's letter writing, he becomes furious. One for not being able to talk to him, a well-known marriage counselor, but two, talking to the one woman he wants nothing to do with. How will they begin to heal when they aren't able to talk to anyone about what it feels like on the inside for all of them?

I received Life After by Katie Ganshert compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers. This is such a poignant novel in that it takes readers into the heart of the victims we don't often acknowledge, those that survive a tragedy, the ones who are called heroes and don't see themselves as one. Even though Autumn wasn't a hero, she has to deal with the animosity of those who wonder why she is so special while their loved one was taken. Where is God in all of this and what would He say? Why did she live and every one else died? What is she supposed to do now? I love how Reese chooses to find an outlet in her communication with Autumn and the unique way they both find a way to heal by remembering and not forgetting. I give this novel a 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to even more books by this author in the future.

For more information about Life After, Katie Ganshert or where you can pre-order a copy of this book due out April 18, 2017, please click on the links below:


You can find Katie Ganshert on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Life After, please visit WaterBrook Multnomah Publisher's website. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Life After Heaven



Heaven.

It's something all of us want to believe exists and even hope that we will enter into if we die after this life on earth. There have been numerous books written from those who have died and come back, all conveying similar experiences. So what would make any other book different? I would challenge you to read, Life After Heaven by Steven R. Musick and see how you feel after you read it.

Like all the other books, Steven R. Musick did die and went to heaven. First entering through the tunnel of light and entering into what he believes is heaven. He walked with a man who he believes was Jesus and discussed all the things that had happened in his life up to the point of his death and how God worked in situations he may not have recognized. He conveyed to Steven that it's not really about what good we do for others but how God can use any and all circumstances in our life to further His plan in our lives and those whom our lives come into contact with, like ripples in the pond. Sadly Jesus told him that he wasn't there to stay and within minutes was back in his old body away from heaven and Jesus. He explains it simply as "the experience to taking a kid to Disneyland, letting him ride just one ride, and then tossing him back in the car without explanation, a profound sense of loss." In fact Steven would go on to keep his life after death experience a secret for almost a decade, but during those years, he attempted to discover why Jesus told him he wouldn't stay.

When he returned to his body, he discovered that the years in front of him would be the ultimate test f his faith as he suffered from a decrease in lung capacity by 60% and every breath of air would be a truly gift from God. All his future plans were simply re-written and now he would have to find a new beginning with his wife and soon to be family of sons, ones he simply couldn't play with due to his own physical limitations. He wondered why his prayers would go unheeded by God for healing. "Many people - and I was one of them - equate God's work of healing us or giving to us with the prosperity gospel. That's a false notion that God exists to benefit us and give us what we want. That couldn't be further from the truth. But an opposite mistake of equal danger is to think that God is dome kind of sour pragmatist who only gives something to you with divine strings attached. God does not exist for our appeasement. Nor does he find some excuse outside of pure love to give something good to us.  He is a father. He loves to give things to his kids. Things we need. Things that make us joyful. Things that are good."(pg 113).




I received Life After Heaven by Steven R. Musick compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers. This goes beyond all the other books I have read on life after death on those believers and even non-believers that have seen what they believe is Heaven. This takes things a bit further. What does someone who has seen Heaven do when they come back? Are they changed for the better by having seen eternity? I believe that Steven has taken on God's challenge as he explains, "The economics of the kingdom of heaven are upside down: giving is better than getting, death can be life, life as the world sees it can be death, loss can be gain, gain can be loss. God's kingdom often flips the way we do little things upside down. In our culture we insulate ourselves in all kinds of ways. We cocoon. When the situation calls for it, God's volunteers needs to be able to strip away the cultural things to keep people apart." (pg 135).

I found myself challenged to really take my own personal relationship with God to a much deeper level than simply going through the bland Christian lifestyle, going to church, reading the Bible and praying when I remembered. This made me want to really understand what it means to connect with God more intimately and understand why I am here at all. "In terms of life on earth, I still have a retirement account," as Steve would say. "My purpose is to make my death worth living for. I mourn for what we're missing here on earth. I mourn for the things God offers here that we somehow choose not to appropriate. I mourn for the fullness we ignore, the love we don't recognize, the power and joy just waiting to be picked up by us. I would like to help everyone I can to receive a full measure of what's offered."( pg 141). I encourage you to pick this book up today and see for yourself what God's calling you to do with your life. You just might be surprised at what you find tucked inside and the reason I give this a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Life After Heaven, Steven R. Musick, or where you can preorder a copy of this book today due out on March 7, 2017, please click on the links below:


You can download the first chapter of Life After Heaven by clicking here.

To read more reviews on Life After Heaven, please visit WaterBrook Multnomah Publisher's website.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Returning



It all boils down to the ultimate show-down between good and evil in a Christian Dystopian look into the future with Rachelle Dekker's Seer series in her final novel The Returning. Ancient prophecy has always pointed to a future event that most thought would never happen. A thing written about with no basis for coming true, at least to those living in Authority City. Anyone who opposes those in power or has any idea other that confirming to the well-being of all citizens is simply sent to the re-education center to be administered with a serum known as the Genesis Formula. It makes them comply without thinking for themselves and now they become part of the collective minds of those running the city.

However, there is a band of rebels who have managed to leave the city despite all attempts to capture them. Within this band of fugitives are seven individuals who have been called to fulfill the prophecy of returning those in Authority city back to the way God had intended. Led by a man named Aaron who has shown them the ultimate way of living, no one knows if he is really a man or simply a figment of their over active imaginations. He has always shown them the real purpose of their lives and how those in power in Authority City have forced those in opposition to be re-educated or eliminated. He has uncovered the darkness that has been led to breed uncontrolled by those who have a sinister purpose in mind.

Now Carrington and Remko Brandt have to put their trust in Aaron to lead this team of prodigals on their higher purpose to release those in bondage using their unique specialized gifts granted to them by God to redeem those who are lost in an effort to set them free and restore the city back to the grand vision God has for them. However it is a difficult decision for the Brandt's since their oldest daughter, Elise, was captured during a raid outside the city and it has been years since that day. Not knowing if she is dead or alive, they trust that their youngest daughter Kennedy whose has vowed to find her if she is still alive and bring her back home. Just when this team heads out back to the city to fulfill their prophecy, an army marches against those living in sanctuary waiting for their return to take them captive and force them to submit to the darker authority now controlling Authority City.

I received The Returning by Rachelle Dekker compliments of Tyndale House Publishers and Net Galley. For fans of such series like Divergent and the Hunger Games, you will love this Christian take on a similar story line. Out of the entire series, I have to say my all-time favorite was The Choosing, the first novel. I love the different twist on the value people place on their looks and self esteem and how some were chosen and others who aren't are forced into a life of serving others within the city as outcasts. Dekker does an exceptional job at reminding readers between each novel what had happened prior so it is easy to pick up the action as you immerse yourself into each subsequent novel. This one was a bit predictable in some ways as you could figure out how things would need to be resolved before the series reached its conclusion. I would give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion however.

For more information about The Returning, Rachelle Dekker or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Rachelle Dekker on Facebook to stay up to date on her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Returning, please visit Tyndale House Publisher's website. 


Monday, February 13, 2017

Deep Water

We all want drugs to be made available that will cure the world of what is ailing us, even saving the life of someone we know. But just how does all those clinical trials really work? Are pharmaceutical companies really willing to risk whatever it takes to get their newest drugs to market?  That is the latest premise behind Christine Poulson's medical thriller Deep Water.

When a man dies based on the human testing portion of a new drug to target obesity in humans and offer something the world has been waiting for, suddenly everything is called into question. When the lab book goes missing that contains all the necessary information pertaining to the step-by-step processes of those who have been working on the drug and then the lawyer assigned to the case winds up dead, something is going wrong and they are running out of time to uncover what is really happening behind the scenes.

It gets personal for Daniel Marchmont, a patent lawyer whose ex-wife Jennifer was killed while investigating this case. Daniel's daughter Chloe will be one of the first patients to benefit from a new drug if the testing can be confirmed to prevent her from having daily blood infusions or else die from her genetic disorder and one that the lab who was also working on the obesity drug is handling. Are corners being cut for the sake of profit or is there something more sinister in the works.

I received Deep Water by Christine Poulson compliments of Kregel Publications and Lion Hudson Publishers. It definitely opens the readers eyes to what really goes on behind all those clinical trials and makes you wonder what might happen if something should suddenly go wrong when it comes to human testing. Is it worth billions if one person dies so others can live? A chilling look at a medical mystery, I only wish it would have closed out the story-lines a bit better, but perhaps a sequel is in the works to continue where this one kinda of left off. I would rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Deep Water, Christine Poulson or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:


You can find Christine Poulson on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest books.

To read more reviews on Deep Water, please visit Kregel Publications website. 


Friday, February 10, 2017

The Fireman



Gotta love it when you find a great suspense novel that finds something that no one has really written about, and turn it into a 750 page novel that keeps you glued to your seat until the very end. Joe Hill, son of Stephen King has taken on his father's talents to weave something truly unique that will gain the readers attention from the very first page. Don't let the number of pages overwhelm you because this novel is so good and well paced it won't feel like it is too long to enjoy. For once a writer takes his time to weave a story so amazing you will be thinking about it long after you finish.

The Fireman is an apocalyptic futuristic novel that begins when a spore based fungus takes on the characteristics of black and gold metallic marks on the skin that is now referred to as "Dragonscale." Those that have it are incurable and within weeks to months those that have it, spontaneous combust into a ball of fire leaving nothing behind but their ashes to scatter on the prevailing winds. It is highly contagious and no one knows how it might be transmitted except by skin to skin contact. Hospitals are beyond overcrowded and even the CDC is at a loss on what to do to help contain it.

Harper Grayson is a nurse that is stretched beyond her physical limits to help. Her husband Jakob believes she is putting herself at risk working in close proximity to those who have it. Yet despite all the best precautions, she does develop Dragonscale and at the same time learns that she is pregnant. Jakob blames her and decides he has to move out to ensure he doesn't get it as well. The incubation time is 6-weeks to know if he will have it too, but Harper feels that she has learned more about Jakob's true character than she wants to. All she knows is Jakob has been hiding his own set of secrets and she has been played. Now he joins a self appointed posse hunting down those who have the disease and isn't at all concerned it will mean taking out Harper in the process.

She joins a group of people who have the disease that have hidden themselves away in a camp that has found a way to control the combustion of the spore lingering inside of them and some, like the man known as the Fireman, can even manipulate it into a weapon of destruction he can use at will to help protect those that would seek to destroy them all. Harper wants to learn how to control it so she can live long enough to have her baby and hopefully it will be born without the disease if only the Fireman will teach her.

I received The Fireman by Joe Hill compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. While the novel is engaging it does contain quite a bit of profanity laced throughout the book which man offend some readers as well as some sexual content. However, the novel is well-thought out and keeps the reader so well hooked, you can't put it down until you see how it will all play out by the end. For me this one was a 4 out of 5 stars only based on the content and profanity which has been part of my own personal rating system.

For more information about The Fireman, Joe Hill or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Joe Hill on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Fireman, please visit William Morrow's website. 


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Illusionist's Apprentice



"The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes." Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of Baskervilles (1902).

Some people call it magic, others illusion, but only those on stage performing it in the limelight know the secrets that each act holds. Yet truth is the illusion we always chase and often times it is far from what we may think it is. That's the thing about secrets is that they always come up for air. They're never content to stay buried for long. For Wren Lockhart, illusion is all she has, and once it is broken, the story dies forever.

Training under one of the great magicians ever to have lived, Harry Houdini, she has acquired all his hidden secrets, and its those very secrets that some would give anything to possess. But for Wren Lockhart who lives what some might call eccentric lifestyle, trust is the one thing she can't afford to share with anyone, even if it means locking her heart away with it. She knows one thing for sure and that is secrets are best hidden in plain sight. If there is no darkness, there would be no opportunity for light to overcome it. That is the time when heroes arise.

For Agent Elliot Matthews, his job is to notice what other people don't. When an illusion in a cemetery to raise a man from the dead appears to work for a brief moment, he soon becomes his former self, a dead corpse again. Elliot knows that there is no one better to talk to about this act than those who performs illusions among the Vaudeville performers but like most, he knows that the elusive Wren Lockhart won't be easy to convince to help. It appears that she is hiding more than what the eye can see and it is that mask and the girl behind it that is worth more than what the world sees on a stage. Now if he can only convince her to help, before the body counts continue to rise.

I received The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Net Galley. While I was hoping for one kind of story just looking at the title this was something a bit different. I didn't think it was a murder mystery, but for it was an exceptional one along the lines of what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle might have written. It contains just the right elements of suspense and secrets that the reader has a hard time guessing who all is involved until the very end. I love how the chapters take the reader back and forth from the past to present times, so you can see how the current story is unfolding and how those secrets that Wren has kept locked away has helped keep certain things safe in her life. There is even a discussion guide included at the conclusion of this book along with an Author's Note that conveys what is fictional in the novel and what is historical fact. I easily give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information about The Illusionist's Apprentice, Kristy Cambron or where you can pre-order a copy of this novel today that is due out in March of 2017, please click on the links below:


You can find Kristy Cambron on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Illusionist's Apprentice, please visit Thomas Nelson Publisher's website.