Monday, September 1, 2014

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days

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Author: Holley Gerth
Publisher: Revell
September 2014
ISBN:  978-0800722883
Genre: Nonfiction / Devotional

We all have days that make us want to pull the covers back over our heads and eat a dozen cupcakes.

Thankfully, Jesus said we don't "live on bread alone"--that includes cupcakes--"but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). What we really need is truth.

If you're tired, discouraged, or feel a little empty inside, my prayer is that by the end of our time together, you'll be refreshed and nourished in a way that will sustain you through whatever the future may hold.

Remember, you're not alone, my friend.

In this uplifting book, Holley Gerth invites you to be filled with the strength, peace, and joy that come from God's promises. Each of the 52 devotions based on the Psalms will help you remember that God is good and we're all in this together.

This book is the perfect companion to Holley's book You're Going to Be Okay.

WHAT YOUR HEART NEEDS FOR THE HARD DAYS is sure to be a book that ministers to a lot of people on their sad days, down days, depressed days, and days when it's a struggle to just get out of bed. We all have those sorts of time--and some people struggle with it more than others.

If you or someone you know is going through a hard time or suffering from chronic depression, pick up this devotional for them. It reminds us that we aren't alone. That God knows how hard it is to live on this Earth. And it invites you to turn to God. Recommended. A must-have for Christian counselors and pastors. $8.99 Kindle. $13.99 hardcover. 256 pages.

Holley Gerth is a bestselling writer, certified life coach, and speaker. She loves connecting with the hearts of women through her popular blog and books like You're Already AmazingYou're Made for a God-Sized DreamOpening the Door to Your God-Sized Dream, and You're Going to Be Okay. She's also cofounder of (in)courage and a partner with DaySpring. Holley lives with her husband, Mark, in the South. Learn more at

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Home to Chicory Lane

Home to Chicory Lane Deborah Raney

Book info and review

Author: Deborah Raney
Publisher: Abingdon Press
August  2014
ISBN: 978-1426769696
Genre: women’s fiction

Landyn longs for home, but her mother may have other plans

Audrey Whitman's dreams are coming true. Now that their five kids are grown, she and her husband Grant are turning their beloved family home into a cozy bed and breakfast, just a mile outside of Langhorne, Missouri. Opening weekend makes Audrey anxious, with family and friends coming from all over to help celebrate the occasion. But when Audrey's daughter, Landyn, arrives, the U-Haul she's pulling makes it clear she's not just here for a few days. Audrey immediately has questions. What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn's husband, Chase? And what else was her daughter not telling her? One thing was for sure, the Chicory Inn was off to a rocky start. Can Audrey still realize her dream and at the same time provide the comfort of home her daughter so desperately needs?

HOME TO CHICORY LANE is really the story of Landyn and her husband Chase. Chase is chasing his dreams but jumping without talking to his wife, just presenting her with fait accompli. And, of course, Landyn is rebelling, not wanting anything to do with his plans. To make matters worse, things are going from bad to worse, quickly.

HOME TO CHICORY LANE is a compelling story that will draw you in and make you care about the characters even when you want to throttle them and sit them both down and have a serious talk. Not that they’d listen. Both Chase and Landyn are hardheaded and selfish and need to grow up—for more reason that one. Don’t miss HOME TO CHICORY LANE for a compelling read that will make you thankful for home and family. $14.99. 352 pages. 5 stars. 

Purchase a copy: 

About the author: Deborah Raney's books have won numerous awards, including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas---the setting of many of Deborah's novels---for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies, and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away.

Find Deborah online: websiteTwitterFacebook

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure

Title: THE REPURPOSED & UPCYCLED LIFE: When God Turns Trash to Treasure
Author: Michelle Rayburn
Publisher: Faith Creativity Life Books
November 2012
ISBN: 978-0578110424
Genre: Nonfiction / Christian Living

Are there experiences you’d rather toss in the dumpster?

Life is frustrating sometimes. It can be hard and ugly. Hurt, frustration and regret can make everything seem hopeless. But, God has a plan for everything in our lives. He offers unconditional love and grace, despite our imperfections. He offers hope where we see only despair.

Discover the repurposed and upcycled life. This is a life where no experience is wasted. Like the best trash–to–treasure decorating project, it's a life where God repurposes our junky experiences. It's where he upcycles—turns hopeless situations into something so much better than we ever imagined—when we let him work with the trash. When we surrender to his leading, God demonstrates his creativity in revealing how our greatest disappointments, mistakes, and painful experiences can be priceless treasures.

Through humor and stories, Michelle Rayburn addresses how to unpack emotional baggage and let go of the past. Readers will learn how to confront perfectionism and negative attitudes, change perspective on circumstances, and let go of regret and shame. It's an opportunity to learn how to build positive healthy relationships, and dream big and live with purpose. Through inspiration from God's Word and examples from everyday life, readers will discover the joy–filled, hope–rich way of viewing their past, present, and future.

This book will show readers how to:

Ø      unpack baggage and deal with the past
Ø      confront perfection and negative attitudes
Ø      change your perspective on your circumstances
Ø      let go of regret and shame
Ø      build positive healthy relationships
Ø      dream big and live with purpose

THE REPURPOSED & UPCYCLED LIFE is humorous and well-written. Very engaging. It identifies issues that we’ve all struggled with—such as labels that we think describe us. Fat. Ugly. Stupid. Unlovable. Fill in your own adjective. She shows us how to let them go. Don’t try to hide behind your children in the family picture. Everyone who sees the picture will know what you look like anyway.

She also shows us not to sweat the small stuff. Let go of the things you regret. They are past. Water under the bridge. Gone. Start thinking positive. Embrace your present. Don’t live in the past or the future. Take the time to enjoy the now.

Wise advice administered in a funny way that is sure to bring the point across without beating us over the head or boring us to tears. Recommended. $12.59 paperback.  $5.69 Kindle. 159 pages. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Tidewater Sisters

Title: The Tidewater Sisters: Postlude to The Prayer Box

Author: Lisa Wingate
Publisher: Tyndale
June 2014
Genre: Contemporary novella

Tandi Reese and her sister, Gina, have always been bound by complicated ties. Amid the rubble of a difficult childhood lie memories of huddling beneath beds and behind sofas while parental wars raged. Sisterhood was safety . . . once. But now? Faced with legal papers for a fraud she didn't commit, Tandi suspects that her sister has done something unthinkable. With Tandi's wedding just around the corner, a trip to the North Carolina Tidewater for a reckoning with Gina was not part of the plan. But unraveling lies from truth will require confronting strained sibling bonds and uncovering a dark family secret that could free Tandi from her past or stain her future forever. 

THE TIDEWATER SISTERS is the perfect epilogue to The Prayer Box. I enjoyed  finding out what happened after the ending of The Prayer Box, and worried for awhile that Tandi's and Paul's wedding might be derailed. 

Tandi's relationship with her sister is really sad. I can relate in some ways. I found myself hoping they could resolve the matter in a good way. I want to find out more about what happens with some of these characters, such as Luke, Laura, her pascal of foster children...  

This is a great novella, quick, easy to read, and gripping. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 5 stars. 127 pages. $2.99 Kindle. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Spirit-Filled Life

Charles F. Stanley
Thomas Nelson
ISBN 978-1-4767-5206-8
Religion/Christian Life/Spiritual Growth
283 pages
$15.99 softcover

Are you trying your best to be a “good Christian,” but still feel that something’s missing?  Does the “peace that passeth all understanding” seem to be missing in your life?  Has your spiritual walk come to a stand-still?

Maybe you need a fresh start . . . and a fresh understanding of The Other Comforter that the Lord Jesus promised his disciples he would send. 

The Spirit-Filled Life by Dr. Charles F. Stanley provides an introduction, and invites you into his study as he patiently peels back the layers of misinformation, misunderstanding, and just plain bad theology that have been foisted upon the third member of the Trinity . . . The Holy Spirit.

In this primer on the Holy Spirit, you will discover:
·        Who He is . . . and who He isn’t
·        How the Holy Spirit works in the life of the believer
·        What it means to hear the Spirit’s voice
·        What happens when the Spirit’s power is unleashed in your workplace, your family, your friendships, and every other area of your life

And so much more . . .

Be prepared to take some time with this book; it’s not “How To Rock The Holy Spirit In 30 Days.”  This is going to be a journey that will transform your understanding of the Holy Spirit . . . and it will transform your life, as well.

5 stars for fresh teaching on a difficult subject

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cooking the Books

Author: Bonnie S. Calhoun
Publisher: Abingdon Press
April 2012
ISBN:  978-1426733888
Genre: Suspense

It’s not easy being Sloane Templeton.

After her mother dies from a heart attack, Sloane Templeton goes from Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. She also "inherits" a half-batty store manager; a strange bunch of little old people from the neighborhood who meet at the store once a week, but never read books, called the Granny Oakleys Book Club; and Aunt Verline, who fancies herself an Iron Chef when in reality you need a cast iron stomach to partake of her culinary disasters. And with a group like this you should never ask, “What else can go wrong?”

A lot! Sloane begins to receive cyber threats. While Sloane uses her computer forensic skills to uncover the source of the threats, it is discovered someone is out to kill her. Can her life get more crazy?

COOKING THE BOOKS is the first book in Ms. Calhoun's Sloan Templeton Mystery series. Ms. Calhoun is the queen of sarcastic, snappy, snarky writing, I think, and some of the wording indicated one thing but was in fact quite another so that made for interesting reading--but it also served to keep the reader distant. 

The characters were as wacky as promised. Over-the-top so. There were a lot of different subplots so that it got confusing at times and some of them didn't seem to get resolved. The main topic was sometimes graphic at times, but well presented. 

Readers of cozy mysteries might love COOKING THE BOOKS. A fun, quirky book with promise. $14.99 paperback ($6.00 bargain price). $9.99 Kindle. 320 pages.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

All Things Hidden

Authors: Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse
Publisher: Bethany House
January 2014
ISBN:  978-0764211195
Genre: Historical Suspense

Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse Team Up to Deliver a Stunning Depression-Era Drama

Gwyn Hillerman loves being a nurse at her father's clinic on the beautiful Alaskan frontier. But family life has been rough ever since her mother left them, disdaining the uncivilized country and taking Gwyn's younger sister with her.

In Chicago, Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan finds his life suddenly turned upside down when his medical license is stripped away after an affluent patient dies. In a snowball effect, his fiancé breaks their engagement. In an attempt to bury the past, Jeremiah accepts Dr. Hillerman’s invitation to join his growing practice in the isolated Alaska Territory.

Gwyn and Jeremiah soon recognize a growing attraction to each other. But when rumors of Jeremiah's past begin to surface, they’ll need more than love to face the threat of an uncertain future. 

ALL THINGS HIDDEN is a historical suspense by master historical writer Tracie Peterson and suspense writer, Kimberley Woodhouse. I was excited to get this book, and anxious to see what this duo would come up with. Gwyn is hurting by the abandonment of her mother and sister six years prior, and Jeremiah is accused of medical malpractice and told--by his own parents--to get out of town. Rejected by his fiancee, he accepts the offer of his mentor and flees to Alaska to provide medical care for the people relocating there due to the depression.

An obvious bad guy, with his own POV, adds mystery and intrigue. I had to keep reading to see how this would all play out.  Recommended for readers of historical suspense. One of the best historical suspenses I've read this year. $14.99 paperback. $9.99 Kindle. 352 pages. 5 stars.