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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

When There Is No Miracle

"Why has God allowed this to happen to me?" is perhaps the hardest question Christians are asked. Whether it is from an unexpected death of a family member or friend, the loss of a job at the worst time of the year, cancer diagnosis for the first time or third time, or fill in the blank to any number of things you wish you had an answer for. So how do you answer any of those questions and still give someone hope?

In the book, When There Is No Miracle by Robert L. Wise is a great place to start. I know for me, I have had my own share of questions for God and often times, feel when there is no answer and just never ending silence, it can seem as if God doesn't care or your prayer simply wasn't filled with enough faith.

Yet as Christians we know that Jesus, as the very Son of God, had enough heartache to last an eternity. Not only did He witness it in the lives of the people He came into contact with day in and day out while He walked the earth, but even the brutality He, Himself, would face through beatings, the crucifixion and even His death on the cross. So where is God when bad things happen? Why do we automatically assume God is to blame for both good things and bad?

You might reason that since God is Creator He could heal someone if He chooses or stop a terrorist from killing innocent people, so why doesn't He? Is it possible there is someone else to blame than God? Is there an answer when a miracle doesn't happen for even the most dedicated person of faith? The answer is a resounding yes to all of these questions. For me, this book was a great resource for my own prayer life in helping me to pray for things along the lines of God's will but in also helping me to understand God's expectations of us and what the greater purpose might be in these situations. I believe it should be a resource in any believer's library. Using the Bible, I can now help those struggling to find answers in the world we live in today and to accept the uncertainty we will face in some of those times. One thing is clear, God is always present in all of those situations.

I received When There is No Miracle by Robert L. Wise compliments of Kregel Publications. My reason for wanting to read this book was a dear friend of mine was going through her cancer diagnosis for the third time. After battling this horrible disease twice and winning, it was heart-breaking to see this come a third time. Yet despite it all, the grief was real along with the many tears that followed, but the one thing that remains true is her undying spirit that God has NOT forsaken her, despite an incurable diagnosis. While she might not win this battle, she is looking for the purpose God is using this for. What a great example of getting through dark times, we simply need to turn to the Light and remember while we might not see the miracle this side of life, death is NOT the end for the believer. I easily give this book a 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend this to anyone wanting to know the "Why's" of life purpose when bad things happen in our own lives.

For more information about When There Is No Miracle, Robert L Wise or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Robert L.Wise on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest books.

To read more reviews on When There Is No Miracle, please visit Kregel Publication's website. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

For The Record

"A hero always came back for his lady."

That is a statement that Betsy Huckabee carried both in her heart and in her words. She longed one day to be a great writer and find a way to support herself so she wouldn't be a burden to her aunt and uncle any longer. Working to find interesting stories for the Pine Gap, Missouri paper wasn't easy in a small town where most folks knew the latest news even before it made it to print. She just knew that she had to try and find a way to make it on her own as an independently fierce woman of the frontier.

Since love was the furthest thing from her mind it was easy to stay on task. After all in a town the size of Pine Gap, pickens were slim when it came to eligible single men. She wasn't about to settle for anything less than her heart desired. For now it would have to be in the fictionalization she was working on mirroring the image in part of the town's newest deputy, Joel Puckett. He arrived in town to replace the former sheriff who had gotten a bit too lazy in dealing with the town's vigilante mob known as the Bald Knobblers. They believed they were doing what the law in town was unable to do and that was minister their own brand of justice. Deputy Puckett was hired to ensure this type of justice came to a dead end, one way or the other.

Just the perfect character for Betsy to mold her articles after, only she would change some of the details just in case Deputy Puckett happened to come across her stories. Not that he would be the type to read a newspaper printed in Kansas City. Until then Betsy would let the romance in her fictional articles be the only love she would pursue and with the Kansas City papers demanding more, it wouldn't be long before she would be able to move out on her own and make her own way in the world. If only the romance she wove on paper would manifest itself in her own life, then she might not have to settle for a single life in a small town.

I received For the Record by Regina Jennings compliments of Baker Publishing Group and Net Galley. What I absolutely love about Regina Jennings novels is that you are guaranteed a strong-willed, female character that isn't afraid to take on society's definition of what a woman should or shouldn't do coupled with not only heart-racing romance but also a blend of humor as her characters struggle to find their own identity in the late 1800's. Betsy's character isn't about to put stay put when there is a story to discover, even if it means putting herself in harms way. She will do whatever it takes to make a future for herself even if it means painting Deputy Puckett into her stories of a brave, determined but handsome hero. This is the third novel in the Ozark Mountain Romance Series and I would rate this novel a 4 out of 5 stars!

For more information about For the Record, Regina Jennings or where you can pick up a copy of this novel, please click on the links below:

You can find Regina Jennings on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on For The Record, please visit Baker Publishing Group's website. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Amy Grant: Tennessee Christmas - Review and Giveawy

Hard to imagine a wonderful Christmas tucked in the Smoky Mountains without thinking of the song, Tennessee Christmas. It exemplifies exactly what those who live in or have experienced at some time, what a Christmas in the mountains looks and feels like. Yet this time of the year we all have our beloved Christmas favorites and that is why I am thrilled to share with you, Amy Grant: Tennessee Christmas CD.

Besides containing your traditional favorites like White Christmas, Joy to the World, Baby It's Cold Outside Duet with Vince Gill and O Come, All Ye Faithful, you get some originals that will make it to your must listen to during each Christmas season to come. There are 13 songs besides the title track of Tennessee Christmas, and my favorite of them all is To Be Together. For me it's a reminder that we don't really need anything but our loved ones to make Christmas something to remember. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season and this CD is a beautiful way to remind us what the real reason for the Christmas season is, Jesus Christ.

Like Amy states, "Everybody has Christmas memories, and it seems like we spent as much time reminiscing and telling stories as we did making music. Nostalgic...warm...hopeful...loved...not alone." This CD contains the following tracks:

1. Tennessee Christmas
2. To Be Together
3. Christmas For You and Me
4. Melancholy Christmas
5. December
6. White Christmas
7. Joy To The World
8. I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
9. Baby, It's Cold Outside (Featuring Vince Gill).
10. Christmas Don't Be Late
11. Still Can't Sleep
12. Another Merry Christmas
13. O Come, All Ye Faithful

I received Amy Grant: Tennessee Christmas compliments of Capital Records and Fly By Promotions/Propeller LLC. Tucked inside this CD are the lyrics to all the songs as well as some beautiful family pictures of Amy Grant's Christmas memories over the years. I absolutely LOVED this CD to put me into the "country Christmas" mood! I would rate this CD a 4 out of 5 stars.

Now for the best part, thanks to Capital Records and Fly By Promotions/Propeller LLC, they are offering a giveaway CD to one lucky follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. Here's all you need to do to enter:

1. Be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart.

2. "Like" my Facebook page, Reviews From The Heart.

3. Be a resident of the US and no P.O. Boxes please!

4. Leave me a comment below telling me why you'd love to win this Amy Grant: Tennessee Christmas CD. Don't forget to include your email address so I have a way to contact you if you're the winner. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols if you wish.

I will contact the winner by email once the giveaway is over on December 9th. So be sure to share this on your social media sites as well to give others the opportunity to win as well!

For more information about Amy Grant, Amy Grant: Tennessee Christmas CD or where to pick this up today, please click on the links below:

You can find Amy Grant on Facebook to stay up to date with all her projects.

You can purchase a copy of Amy Grant:Tennessee Christmas on iTunes. 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Everything Beautiful - Coloring Book Review

"Life is beautiful."

"We say it all the time. Our Instagram feeds are full of picturesque scenes where the light shines just perfectly so our go-to filter makes our surroundings look like they came from something out of Tolkien novel. We talk to our coworkers about our beautiful adventures outside of work, we tell the most adorable stories of our children, and we make sure we humblebrag about the sweet, romantic gesture our husbands made last weekend.

"But no one sees the fight you two had before he got you those flowers. No one sees you losing your temper after your kids kept banging on the bathroom door asking for a snack - because apparently using the bathroom in peace is an outrageous request. No one sees how hard you fought to get out of bed under the crushing weight of depression, and no one is there to watch you try to picture your life after a terrifying diagnosis. When the entire world seems to be embroiled in war, injustice, and disease, it can be hard to see real beauty anywhere - despite the perfect image we curate online."

"We like on an unwell earth, and each moment of brokenness only serves to remind us of that fact. Any attempt at finding hope, beauty, or anything remotely good to cling to can sometimes feel like an impossible task. But you and I serve a big God. We serve a God who can't be held back by what ails this earth. We serve a God who promises to give us a "crown of beauty instead of ashes" (Isaiah 61:3)."

"Still in the midst of the brokenness of this world, that can be hard to remember. The hope for this book is that, as you color and meditate on the words, you are gently reminded of the beauty that can still be found in the bleakest of moments and that this book becomes a bit of a lifeline to remind you our Savior is always there with us. This book reminds you that He has the power to redeem every moment of our lives. Yes, this world is broken, but our Jesus is not."

WaterBrook Multnomah has published Everything Beautiful, a coloring book for inspiration and reflection with illustrations by a variety of artists on each page. On one page is a beautiful illustration to color while on the back of the page is a Bible verse or description as to where the illustration was inspired from, such a hymn or a well known person like Helen Keller who was inspirational in what they did or how they lived.

There are 45 individual illustrations to color and even more is a Spotify playlist called "Everything Beautiful" which you can play while you color or even when you need a pick me up to your day. It is a reminder that God has made everything, including YOU, beautiful. The pages are also perforated to allow you to remove them to make coloring the full page much easier whether you are a lefty or a righty! The only issue I had with this coloring book is that I wish there were blank sides to the page to prevent bleed through depending on the type of media you are using to color like markers or some gel pens. I received Everything Beautiful compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers. I would rate Everything Beautiful a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion and would be a great gift to anyone who needs to be reminded that in Everything, God has a plan and a purpose.

For more information about Everything Beautiful, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers or where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers on Facebook to stay up to date on all their products.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

When Calls The Heart Season 3 Collector's Edition

I guess you could call me a "hearty!" It is what fans of Hallmark Channels, When Calls the Heart refer to themselves as. Not just in the sense that we are lovers of romance and all things pertaining to the heart but the series inspired by Janette Oke and directed by Michael Landon Jr. Now in it's fourth season beginning to air soon, I had the chance to review When Calls the Heart Collector's Edition for Season 3 on DVD just in time for Christmas! What a perfect gift for fans of the series!

You get 10 discs included in this boxed set, which include the following:
01: When Calls the Heart: It Begins with a Heart
02: When Calls the Heart: Troubled Hearts
03: When Calls the Heart: Heart of a Hero
04: When Calls the Heart: Forever in My Heart
05: When Calls the Heart: Hearts in Question
06: Episodes 1-5
07: Episodes 6-10
08: Bonus Features/Slide Show
09: Hearties Family Reunion
10: #Hearties Trivia Game - What's Your #Hearties IQ?

Season 3 has definitely been filled with changes for our beloved characters Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) and Constable Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing). Their love is put to the ultimate test when Jack's mom (Brooke Shields) comes to town. Wedding plans are in order for Rosemary and Lee, and a possible budding romance between Abigail (Lori Loughlin) and Frank, the local church pastor. But like all happy endings, these will be tested far and above what most people would want and love doesn't come easily to those who truly deserve it. Of course the bad guys are still up to their old tricks and fans hope that Mr. Gowen will get his just desserts for all the grief he has brought to the town of Hope Valley. But the town of Hope Valley's faith will be tested to see if that faith is one that can be trusted before the last episode airs!

I received When Calls the Heart Season 3 Collector's Edition Boxed Set compliments of Edify Media Inc and Word Films. I have thoroughly and faithfully watched every single episode since the premiere of the season and this set is definitely one I will keep within our family. When looking for a series the entire family can enjoy, When Calls the Heart is it! Laced with action and adventure, but also comedy and romance but most importantly lessons of faith, compassion, kindness and caring for one another come through in shining colors. This is Dove Family Approved for all ages and is something your entire family will enjoy as much as our does. I would rate this Collector's Edition, a 5 out of 5 stars and now I am off to see if I can improve on my #hearties trivia!

For more information about When Calls the Heart Season 3 Collector's Edition, Word Films or Hallmark Channel, or where you can pick this up today, please click on the links below:

You can find When Calls the Heart on Facebook to stay up to date on all the latest about the series.

You can find Word Films on Facebook to stay up to date with all the latest movies and film projects.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Remnant

"The thing is, religion in the general sense of the word is about external, visible things - buildings, practices, art, music, convocations, ceremonies, observances, relics, texts and so on. Those make it easy for the Federation to identify a religious person. If they can see it, they can nail you for it. But I don't believe that's what the Jesus way is about. It's about the internal, the invisible, such as faith and connection with God. Visible things will ultimately emerge from invisible faith, things like concern and service for your fellow human beings. But why should the Feds have a problem with those things? They make for a healthy civilization." (pg 240).

Jesus promised that in the last days the signs of His coming would be as easy to see as the signs of a tree beginning to bloom, signify that Spring is coming. Yet what if the signs aren't so easy to read and some begin to wonder if they missed it completely or there would be more horrors to face in this world before He does come.

The year is 2069 and 90 percent of the world's population has been eliminated as well as most of the major cities around the world. Religion is to blame for being the catalyst to launch an all out attack on a global scale and the remaining 10 percent are not allowed to participate in anything that looks like religion. All religious books have been burned and any remaining copies will soon be confiscated by the Federation if found. All churches, mosques and temples have been converted to housing or government use buildings and anyone who does not wish to give up their religious rights are moved into camps known as Safe Zones.

While they can no longer worship publicly, they are kept being productive members of the zone by using whatever skills they possess to benefit those in the city and Federation. They are given the option of forgoing their religious rights and be re-educated in the Federations guidelines and can resume a better way of living at any time. But for those who don't, they remain locked away in the Safe Zones behind heavily protected gates and armed guards. If you manage to escape from these zones, you can't ever return. No one knows what lies outside the gates of the Zones, referred to as the Wilderness, but rumor has it that religious freedoms await in remote cities where the Federation has no control. Grant Cochrin along with his family and friends, make a plan to escape and find any Christians left on earth, but it will take all of them working together to ensure they are not caught. If the Federation finds them, they will be vaporized instantly. Escape seems to be their only hope to find a Bible left in the world somewhere and all that the family has is a remnant page from the Beatitudes but even that is vague in its interpretation.

I received The Remnant by Monte Wolverton compliments of CWR Press and Litfuse Publicity. I really love how this novel takes into consideration all religious groups from Muslims, Buddhist Monks, Catholics, and Christians as Grant tries to make sense of what lies beyond the Zones. Each area has their own religious groups running them and soon it is hard for those in this rag-tag team to know what is the real truth and what are the lies. Is there any hope for finding Christians left in the world? I absolutely love this novel as it places our religious beliefs to the truest test of our faith and just how far we are willing to go to find the truth of what we believe. For that reason I give this novel a 4.5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for the sequel.

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

You can find Monte Wolverton on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest books.

To read more reviews on The Remnant, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour Page.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

Who would have ever thought I would be a fan of Traditional Regencies? But after watching Downton Abbey I was addicted! Both in the lives of the wealthy and also those of the common folks as well. Something I think I would fall into if I had been born a long time ago. One thing is certain, the rights of women have definitely come a long way. In those days if a woman was married but her husband died, all of her property, wealth and assets went to the next male in the family. Either a brother, cousin, son or even second or third cousins that may have no knowledge of that family whatsoever.

Best-selling author Julie Klassen takes readers into a new series, the Tales of Ivy Hill in her first novel, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. It is here that we meet Jane Bell who is still mourning the unexpected death of her husband John and has been left to care for a dilapidated coaching inn, known as the Bell. She has no means to bring it back to its former glory and somehow she finds it odd that her husband would have left the Inn to her over his brother Patrick. When the bank informs Jane that her husband took out a loan of 15,000 pounds and hasn't paid a penny of it back, they give her 90 days to find a way to begin making the necessary repairs to the Inn, come up with a business proposal to show how she might turn a profit in the coming year, or pay off the loan.

Jane's mother-in-law, Thora returns to the Inn without realizing the trouble Jane is now facing. She has no way of being able to help Jane and her reputation within the town is less than stellar knowing how difficult and stern she can be. John's brother, Patrick has offered to take over the Inn for Jane so she doesn't have to deal with trying to figure out the logistics of what she will face, but is encouraged by the staff of the Inn and those who work with them, to figure out a way to keep it going. It means the livelihood of town's residents by keeping the Inn operating and to sell it would mean that they would all lose their sources of income as well. All the businesses in town are interconnected in one way helping one another out. When an unexpected guest arrives at the Inn, Jane believes her future might just change, she just isn't sure if it's for the best or worse.

I received The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen compliments of Bethany House Publishers and Net Galley. The one thing I enjoyed the most about this novel is that Julie Klassen wasn't in a rush to finish the first novel and took her time exploring the complex relationships that Jane and Thora have. From the common people Jane's Inn employs from the coachmen to the maids, and even those she does business with like the butcher and laundress. In a time when it wasn't easy for a woman to make it, I love how well both Thora and Jane dig in to find resources they can utilize when they lack the experience to pull off this endeavor. While I was hoping for more romance between Jane and Gabriel, I am optimistic it may happen in a future novel in this charming and heartwarming series set in England. I definitely learned quite a bit about the coaching inns and how they contributed to the financial well being of the town. I would rate this novel a 5 out of 5 stars and anxiously await the next one!

For more information about The Innkeeper of Ivy Hills, Julie Klassen, or where to preorder a copy of this novel due out in early December of 2016, please click on the links below:

You can find Julie Klassen on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, please visit Bethany House Publishers.