Monday, December 31, 2018

Adventures in Odyssey New Testament NIrV

Today in the mail I received a complimentary copy of the ADVENTURES IN ODYSSEY NEW TESTAMENT/PSALMS AND PROVERBS from Focus on the Family.

I couldn't find any information on this NT Bible anywhere online so it may not be out yet, but when it is you will want to look for it for your favorite tween or elementary student.  This is a Bible I would've loved as a child.

The back cover copy says:  Explore the amazing story of Jesus and the start of His church in the pages of this full-color New Testament. Devotionals, word searches, biblical comic-book adventures, and fun trivia facts will help you discover the awesome true tale that only God could author. The Psalms and Proverbs are also included!

The ISBN is 978-1589976331 if you want to go to a bookstore and request them to order it.

This is a great study Bible for kids or new Christians.  It isn't quite a pastor study Bible :) but it is great for kids. It's also busy, if they want to read biblical-themed comics or Adventure in Odyssey fun facts and more.

5 stars from this mom.

Thanks Adventure in Odyssey and Focus on the Family

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Opening Moves

(The Blackgaard Chronicles #1)

An Evil Genius Launches His Attack on the Heart of Odyssey. A conniving city councilman is secretly carrying out plans against John Avery Whittaker and Whit's End. Yet Philip Glossman is only a pawn in a dark game played by the mysterious Dr. Regis Blackgaard. Meanwhile, against Whit's express orders, Eugene and Connie tamper with a top-secret computer room and the destructive Applesauce program is unleashed. Can Whit counter the forces opposing him? What does Dr. Blackgaard really want? Discover The Blackgaard Chronicles, a new book series that explores more of the story beyond the Adventures in Odyssey audio drama series!

My thoughts;  OPENING MOVES is the first several chapters of the new serial series by Adventures in Odyssey.  Whit and his wife Jenny are fighting to save the mansion that eventually becomes Whit's End from Philip Glossman who wants to tear it down and turn the property into a stripmall.  Jenny dies and as you know Whit gets the property, but then it also shares how Connie and Eugene came to be hired there, other secret stuff, and of course the suspense continues as the villain still wants the property to the extent of causing mass destruction...

I want to read the second book in this ongoing serial to see what happens next!  Great book for tweens and elementary age students. 

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Cowboy's Mixed-Up Matchmaker

(Montana Ranches #2)

Kindle Edition213 pages
Published December 1st 2018 by GreenWords Media

Friends don’t let friends turn thirty… single. 

It’s been almost fourteen long years since two teens made a pact to marry each other if both remained single at thirty. But the nearer the time comes, the more Lauren Yanovich steps up her matchmaking game to let James off the hook. Not that he likely remembers.

James Carmichael has been waiting forever, praying Lauren will be waiting for him. But, just when the end is in sight, she begins dating someone else, and his hopes crumble.

What’s a cowboy to do when the love of his life insists they’re all wrong for each other?

About the Montana Ranches Christian Romance series

Welcome to Saddle Springs, the fictional western town that’s home to the Montana Ranches Christian Romance Series! Revel in the lush mountain scenery with rocky peaks, tumbling rivers, and peaceful lakes. Meet the cowboys who ride the ranges, mend fences, and are lassoed by romance in this new series by USA Today bestselling author Valerie Comer.

1. The Cowboy’s Christmas Reunion (available in A Christmas to Remember box set in fall of 2018)
2. The Cowboy’s Mixed-Up Matchmaker

Join USA Today bestselling author Valerie Comer in this new Christian romance series... with cowboys!

My thoughts: THE COWBOYS MIXED-UP MATCHMAKER is Ms. Comer's latest release. Don't stress if you haven't read the first (mentioned above) because this one stands alone.

Lauren and James has been secretly in love for years but now that they are almost thirty they keep thinking about a silly pact they made (sealed with a high-five) when they were sixteen.  Both are ready to dive into the relationship head on but both also believe the other isn't interested. 

How will they ever move past this - especially when she keeps fixing him up with her friends and her mom fixes her up with her friends sons? Not easily.

I especially love how Ms.  Comer works in a strong faith message and keeps the relationship Christ-centered.  If you haven't read Ms. Comer's books and love cowboys, don't miss THE COWBOY'S MIXED-UP MATCHMAKER.  

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Biggest Win

Joshua Cooley
Religion / Christian Life / Inspirational
New Growth Press
160 pages

The Biggest Win gives athletes and sports fans of all ages a unique, insider's look into the lives and faith of six Christian NFL players from the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl team Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Jordan Hicks, and Chris Maragos. Through the ups and downs of their experiences, author Joshua Cooley shows how these high-profile athletes remain committed to God's Word, genuine Christian discipleship, and sharing their faith. Using their voices and stories, The Biggest Win gives sports-minded readers hope and direction for living out their faith while competing.

The Biggest Win is ideal for pastors, youth, and college leaders to use as a small group resource with students interested in sports. Questions at the end of every chapter will spark helpful conversations about living by faith as an athlete and fan. It is a MUST for coaches to use with every Christian youth sports and school teams. See your youth athletes' faith grow as they hear and learn from the amazing stories of these Super Bowl Champions. Also a perfect book to use in men's church groups.

The Biggest Win combines biblical truths with practical direction on issues that every Christian faces including dealing with adversity, competition, change, success, failure, and how to thrive by faith in a pressurized world. Encouraging male and female athletes in any sport, The Biggest Win guides them in finding their ultimate identity in Christ, not their athletic achievements, and assures them that their greatest prize is eternal life.

Atheletes . . . especially professional atheletes . . . and uniquely, professional football players. . . they live in a world all their own.  If you aren’t one . . . there’s no way that you can even begin to comprehend the lifestyle, the persona, the unbelievable highs – and the inconceivable lows – that are part and parcel of their everyday lives. 

Joshua Cooley interviewed professional football players Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Jordan Hicks, and Chris Maragos for this book.  In a combined foreword to the book, these men declared, “The pinnacle of life is not winning, it’s living for God through all of the big and small moments of life.  We hope that as you read this book, you too will get to know Jesus and his love for you that stays the same through all the seasons of life.  That would be the biggest win for you . . .”

Dealing with such issues as fame, glory, courage, commitment, pride and humility, THE BIGGEST WIN lifts the curtain and allows those of us who are not professional football players a glimpse of what it’s all about . . . and what it’s not all about, as well.  Underneath the image, the flash, the cash, and the uniform, these men want you to know that there beats a heart that is just as prone to wander as every other one.  Sin gives no quarter, and Satan is no respecter of persons, either.  And the words of Christ are never more appropos:
“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”
Luke 12:48 (NKJV)

Carson Wentz is currently working under a 4-year contract worth over $26 million dollars.  Nick Foles, 2 years at $11 million.  Zach Ertz, 4 years and $42.5 million.  Jordan Hicks, 2 years at $2.9 million.  Chris Maragos, 3 years and $6 million.  Trey Burton, 4 years at $32 million.

A combined salary package (excluding all the perks, endorsements, etc) of over $117 million dollars . . . and these guys just want you to come to Christ.  That, for them, is The Biggest Win.

I received this book free in exchange for my honest review.

5 stars for a transparent revelation of faith inside the NFL

Reviewed by Steve

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Silent Days, Holy Night

Paperback, ebook

October 30, 2018

by Phyllis Clark Nichols (Author)

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Gilead Publishing 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1683701491

Everyone in town knows Emerald Crest, the green granite mansion atop the highest hill, and the legendary, lavish Christmas festivities that used to light up the nights--and the silence that followed when the parties abruptly stopped many years ago. And everyone has heard whispers about the reclusive, mysterious master of the manor, Henry Lafferty the Second.

When eleven-year-old Julia Russell steps into the great house for the first time and meets Mr. Lafferty, the entire course of her life shifts. He's nothing at all like the rumors she's heard from neighbors and classmates. He's kind and extraordinarily talented--he also happens to be deaf and use a wheelchair. And when she overhears a secret about him, Julia decides it's time for the town to bring Christmas back to Emerald Crest--an act that will change them all forever.

My thoughts: SILENT DAYS, HOLY NIGHT is the first book I read by Ms. Phyllis Clark Nichols, but it most certainly won't be the last. Women's fiction is not a genre I normally look for, but the blurb of this one interested me. 

Written in first person, it starts in the here and  now, but then goes back sixteen years to when she first meets Mr. Lafferty and how knowing him changed her life in so many different ways.

I read this entire story in one day -- except for when my kindle died and I had to charge it for an hour. Very hard to put down. I loved Julia and Mr. Lafferty and the hosts of important secondary characters. 

Highly recommend this book at Christmas time or any time.

I got a copy off Netgalley. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

On Magnolia Lane

On Magnolia Lane 

(A Blue Ridge Romance #3) 

Paperback – ebook, hardcover, audio, MP3 cd

November 6, 2018

by Denise Hunter (Author)

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718090548

Falling in love with Daisy was easy for Jack. But finding the courage to tell her becomes problematic when his secret feelings lead to even bigger complications.
After two years of counseling sessions with Daisy Pendleton, Pastor Jack McReady has earned a permanent spot in her life as a spiritual leader—and nothing more. Jack would never risk losing her trust by exposing the depths of his heart, but he’s hopelessly in love with her.
Daisy loves her southern small-town life and her job at her family-run flower shop, but she doesn’t have the thing she longs for most: someone to share it with. Her recent foray into online dating has been a disaster—until she meets TJ.
Jack could kill his friend Noah for using his initials and some indistinct photos to set up a profile on the dating app Daisy is using. But when he’s finally afforded the opportunity to show her a different side of himself, he’s sucked into the plan before he has time for second thoughts.
Online, Daisy shares some of her greatest fears with TJ, but in person, Jack and Daisy are spending more time together. When a devastating family secret surfaces, Daisy knows that only her trusted friend and counselor can bring her comfort. Jack wants nothing more than to be both men for Daisy, but revealing his secret will prove to be the ultimate test of Daisy’s grace.

My thoughts:  ON MAGNOLIA LANE is, I think, the best book in this series. I absolutely fell in love with Pastor Jack and Daisy though I could see the black moment coming from the beginning.  I love the unexpected twists with the stranger in the florist and the spiritual theme was very powerfully done. 
More conservative readers might be bothered by soft swear words and dancing to country music. There is also the mention of alcohol, but no drinking by main characters. 
I greatly enjoyed this book, and love the cover. Beautiful. I read the entire book in one day. Ms. Hunter is a favorite romance writer.  
I got a copy off netgalley. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas! by Laura V. Hilton

Just try to imagine kneeling before the little one, Jesus, knowing without a doubt you were in the presence of God.

God created us to worship Him, drawing to Himself the lowly and the exalted alike. When we worship Him as Lord, we give Him the gift of our heart.

He gives us so much more--the gifts we receive in worship are of immense value.

Join with me today as we celebrate the birth of our Lord.

images used with permission

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Traditions by Judy DuCharme

            We have a small house, but I have 15 bins of Christmas decorations. I love nativity sets so I have about 20 that I place everywhere in our house. Occasionally I try to count them after all the decorations are done, but I always miss one or two – I might have 25. We cut our tree each year at a local tree farm. It is an event. Each year one of us gets the final say and we 'argue' all the way through and then talk about what a great choice my husband, our son, or I made. It takes two days to decorate and two to de-decorate. It's a big job and seems bigger now that we usually head to Florida for three months in early January . . . meaning we have all the packing to do as well as shut down the house. I really enjoy the lights of Christmas whether it's turning off all the house lights except the Christmas lights in order to soak in the ambiance or driving through town and enjoying the 'big' lights.

Christmas Eve is the 5PM service at church, then dinner followed by opening the stocking gifts . . . and maybe a Christmas movie. Christmas morning is my homemade almond Kringle, reading the Christmas story from the Bible and opening all the gifts under the tree. The dog has learned that gifts are good things and gets totally excited, so I must have a few for her. Merry Christmas all!!, @PackerJudy  Facebook: Judy DuCharme

Judy DuCharme, Author of Christmas Ivy, Run With the Wind, Blood Moon Redemption, Society of the L.A.M.B., The Cheesehead Devotional Kickoff Edition, and The Cheesehead Devotional Hall of Fame Edition.

Christmas Ivy won First Place Short Story at the 2016 Florida Christian Writers Conference and was a Winner in the 2018 National Indie Excellence Awards.

How can one visit alleviate the trials of the past few years? How can one quilt reveal truths never before realized? 
It had to be a dream…

Her grandparents passed away a few years earlier, but here in the family kitchen on the dawn of Christmas morning, they greet her with the same love and sage advice she grew up with. Their presence captivates reality and brings Ivy to complete confusion.

Could this strange visit truly be the provision for which Ivy longed?

Excerpts from Christmas Ivy

1. The sizzle of bacon cooking brought Ivy to an upright position out of sound sleep. The smoky flavor tantalized her nostrils as the fog in her mind slowly lifted. Her hands flew to her face. It’s Christmas! The words rose within her, not with joy, but with panic. How could she have slept so late!? Mama will have my head. I should be making breakfast. But wait. It’s Christmas! Mama must have let me sleep. A wonderful gift, to sleep past dawn. Ivy heard a gentle snoring and looked to see the cat curled next to her legs.

2. She did not have to inspect the bed to see if James was up. He was not. One leg and one arm dangled off the side, almost touching the floor. His unruly hair was unruly still and his head like a mop. Ivy giggled as she imagined turning him upside down and cleaning the floor with his independently curly locks. James kept life happy in the Rushton family. Mama called it incorrigible at times. Still, Ivy knew Mama appreciated his light heartedness. Besides, he worked so hard to help out now that Dad was gone so much. When all the tragedy descended upon the family, James, just two years younger than she, determined to keep the family on track. He led prayer at the table when everyone else just sat in a daze. He even tried to get everyone to sing which usually ended in a laughing fit, as singing voices were nowhere to be found in this family.  James never lost his faith. Only me, Lord. I’m the one who is still a mess.

3. “But it’s Christmas morning. Why is no one awake? Even the cat won’t get up.”
    “This is your time, Ivy, your Christmas gift.” Grandad’s voice was strong. It wrapped around her as strongly as his arms often did.

Linney Merritt loves her life in the Florida scrub where she assists her Pa in raising and taking cattle to market. The new cowman, Cyrus John, appreciates the chance to start over. Marrying holds no interest for either, but they can’t help but be drawn to each other. And then, just before Christmas, they find themselves fighting together to save the life of a calf, all while discovering the One who can remove fears and provide forgiveness.

Life changed for the world in a stable one Christmas. Could it also begin for Linney and Cy in this stable?

Excerpts from Run With the Wind

1. Nellie moaned, and Linney pulled. The emerging calf licked her face. “We better hurry, Pa. He just done licked me. Don’t want him thinkin’ I’m his mama.” 
You’ll make a good one someday.”
That ain’t happenin’. Why would anyone want to go through this?”
Pa looked around Nellie’s bulk. His eyes found Linney’s. “For the likes of you, girl. It’s  worth it.”

2. Her eyes shifted to the rider. He appeared to be a few years older’n her. She caught her breath. What was that? His square shoulders and square jaw made him much wider than most Crackers. But there was something else. It made her feel jittery. She must have overeaten, or that new calf licked her too much. Her stomach didn’t normally flop around like a snake hit by a cowman’s whip.

3. A rock buried in a shrub derailed the wagon. The abrupt stop shrugged Linney from her seat atop the wagon. The wind roared above her holler for help, and she wondered if Cy even heard her. Landing on her arm, she cried out in pain. Thunder rumbled too close while her completely sodden clothes held her like a web. Her attempt to stand was met with a small gulley of water created by the torrential nature of the storm. She slid backward down the hill, already a slippery mass of mud, all the while futilely grasping at the shrubs and smaller trees. Get up, Linney, you’re a survivor. You cannot lose control.

Judy's bio:

Judy is from Northern Door County, Wisconsin. She and her family moved to Door County from the Detroit area in 1984. She taught fifth grade at Gibraltar Elementary School for 22 years with an emphasis in science, retiring in 2012. She's had six books published since her retirement. Her passion is to write that others may be strong in the Lord. She also loves to hike, jet-ski, watch the Packers, and love on her new grandson. She and her husband are active in their church and community.

Judy's awards: Best New Writer 2013, Write to Publish Conference for The Cheesehead Devotional Kickoff Edition; First Place Short Story at 2016 Florida Christian Writers Conference, and 2018 National Indie Excellence Award Winner for Christmas Ivy; one of 12 winners of the 2014 Guideposts Magazine Workshop Contest; Second Place Nonfiction in 2018 Serious Writer Awards, Third Place Nonfiction 2018 Wright Medal Awards, and 2018 National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist for The Cheesehead Devotional Hall of Fame Edition. Judy has also received two other awards for books not yet published. Judy has also authored the novella Run With the Wind and the novel Society of the L.A.M.B.
Judy's latest book, Blood Moon Redemption, is a gripping page-turner published by Ambassador International. It has received great reviews and won Honorable Mention in Mystery/Suspense at the 2018 Florida Christian Writers Conference.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Finding Me on the Pages of My Books by Rachel J. Good

Sometimes life experiences have a funny way of showing up in the books we write. The first time I noticed it was after Book 1 in the Sisters & Friends Amish series, Change of Heart, was published. Lydia, the oldest sister in the family, deals with guilt when her sixteen-year-old sister, Emma, is in an accident.My sister told me reading the book brought back painful memories. Until she said it, I hadn’t realized I’d included our family story in the pages. I was the oldest sister in a family with three girls, and when my sister was sixteen, she’d been hit by a car. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been aware of that while I writing the story.

After that, I paid a bit more attention to my storylines. In my latest book, The Amish Midwife’s Secret, the second book in the Love & Promises series, I’d created a romance between Leah, who was studying to be a midwife and whose family owned a natural products store, and Kyle, the new Englisch doctor in town who stressed science and medicine. Because I’d never had an interest in medicine (I practically faint at the sight of blood, and my husband had to get up with our sick kids at night), I assumed this story had no connection to my life.

As I wrote about their conflicts, I didn’t see any parallels to my life. Kyle champions hospitalization and medicine; Leah pushes home births and herbal remedies. Kyle doesn’t believe in God; Leah’s whole life revolves around her church and faith. Plenty of sparks fly between them. So far, no relation to my life. (Well, except for the sparks that flew between me and my husband when we were dating – of the romantic kind, of course!)

But when I got to one of the delivery scenes, memories came flooding back. I’d had my two sons at home with an Amish midwife. Not only did I have firsthand experience with the subject, I also remembered the feelings I had during those births, and writing those pages reminded of the herbal teas my midwife had me drink. No wonder I’d made Leah an expert in natural remedies.

How about you? Have you ever found yourself described in the pages of a book you’ve written or read?

An Amish midwife and an Englisch doctor must embrace their differences to rescue a baby in need in this uplifting romance that will "capture your heart and leave you smiling" (Amy Lillard, award-winning author).

Kyle Miller never planned on becoming a country doctor. But when he's offered a medical practice in his sleepy hometown, Kyle knows he must return... and face the painful past he left behind. Except the Amish community isn't quite ready for Kyle. Especially the pretty midwife who refuses to compromise her traditions with his modern medicine...

The more Leah Stoltzfus works with the handsome Englisch doctor, the more she finds herself caught between the expectations of her family and her own hopes for the future. It will take one surprising revelation and one helpless baby in need of love to show Leah and Kyle that their bond may be greater than their differences... if Leah can find the courage to follow her heart.

"The Amish Teacher's Gift might have been the first book I've read by Rachel J. Good, but it won't be my last." - Shelley Shepard Gray, New York Times bestselling author

**The Amish Midwife’s Secret can be purchased at Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Meier’s, and other stores as well as online at these sellers and at For international readers, Book Depository offers free worldwide shipping.

About Rachel J. Good

Rachel’s Amish series include Sisters & Friends (Charisma House & Harlequin), Love & Promises (Hachette/Grand Central), Hearts of Amish Country (Annie’s Book Club), and the forthcoming Surprised by Love and Unexpected Amish Blessings (Kensington). She also has several anthologies in print as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Book. To learn more about Rachel, you can visit her website and sign up for her newsletter.

If you enjoy learning about Amish life and want to follow along on her research trips to Amish country, you can join her private Facebook group, Rachel J. Good’s Hitching Post.
Rachel can also be found here, and she’d love to connect with you:

Saturday, December 22, 2018

His Amish Teacher

(The Amish Bachelors #3)

The Teacher's Choice 

For Lillian Keim, instructing children in her one-room schoolhouse is as close to being a mother as she'll ever get. Lillian has a calling to be a teacher, and she won't give it up to marry. But her plans--and her heart--are at risk when she begins to feel more than friendship for lifelong pal Timothy Bowman. 
When Tim rescues Lillian and her class from a fire, the volunteer firefighter suddenly sees what he's been blind to all his life: he wants his friend as his wife. But something beyond her professional goals is holding Lillian back. He's got to unlock her secret before he loses his friend--and his forever love.
My thoughts:  HIS AMISH TEACHER is  a cute, sweet, wholesome romance about two best friends. She has had a life altering surgery and no one knows, but she is certain no one will marry her because of it.  He likes her, always had, but is afraid to try to take the relationship to the next level because it might ruin their friendship.

There is a tiny bit of suspense in there as an arsonist is targeting the community and Tim (a volunteer firefighter) must try to save her life and her students--and more. 

The story is slow. Very slow. It is easy to put down, which I guess is good in this season of busyness. 

Amish fiction fans will likely love.

A friend (not the author) gave me a copy and I was not required to write a review.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Edge of Peril

Edge of Peril 

(Fog Lake Mysteries #1) 

Paperback, ebook

November 14, 2018

by Christy Barritt (Author)

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published
  • ISBN-13: 978-1731332813

When evil descends like fog on a mountain community, no one feels safe.After hearing about a string of murders in a Smoky Mountain town, journalist Harper Jennings realizes a startling truth. She knows who may be responsible—the same person who tried to kill her three years ago. Now Harper must convince the cops to believe her before the killer strikes again.

Sheriff Luke Wilder returned to his hometown, determined to keep the promise he made to his dying father. The sleepy tourist area with a tragic past hadn’t seen a murder in decades—until now. Keeping the community safe seems impossible as darkness edges closer, threatening to consume everything in its path.

As The Watcher grows desperate, Harper and Luke must work together in order to defeat him. But the peril around them escalates, making it clear the killer will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

My thoughts:  EDGE OF PERIL is one of Ms. Barritt's most recent releases. This is a mystery / suspense that is not part of a series -- or if it is it is the first book in a new series.

Harper hears about a serial killer in this small Tennessee town when a friend emails her about it. And Harper believes she knows just who it is - only problem is, her suspect is dead. But how can she convince the town sheriff that she knows the killer,

Luke is skeptical but with no other leads and no clues the killer could be a ghost. So he follows Harper's story - and then someone starts stalking Harper. Teasing her. Messing with her mind. And every day the threat gets greater.

Is Harper's outlandish theory right? Will they find the killer in time?

This story kept me guessing. I thought I had figured out who the killer was -- I was wrong. I had to keep reading to find out whodunit.

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.

Just for the Summer: (A Fun Swapped Roles Contemporary Clean Romance Novel)

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