Wednesday, 30 March 2011

False Pretenses ~ Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
False Pretenses
David C. Cook (March 1, 2011)
by
Kathy Herman




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.



She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.



Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call.



Kathy's husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.



ABOUT THE BOOK



Zoe Broussard loves the life she and her husband Pierce have built in her beloved Louisiana hometown. She owns a thriving Cajun eatery in South Louisiana and is married to the love of her life.



But it’s about to become hell. One day, out of the blue, she receives a series of anonymous notes that sends her life into a tail spin. Five simple words, “I know what you did.” Zoe has a secret so terrible it could leave the business in shambles and tear her marriage apart. Unbeknownst to anyone, even Zoe’s husband, Pierce, she has a past—a past she had covered so well she never thought she would have to confront. How could anyone know what she did? Can she find the courage to face her past?



If you would like to read the first chapter of False Pretenses, go HERE.


My Review:


What an awesome story this is! I feel like I am starting to be a broken record by saying "I have found yet another amazing author!!" But it is soo true! This is the first book by Kathy Herman for me and WOW! I truly can't believe I haven't read anything of hers prior to this one! That is going to change FOR SURE!!

They mystery and suspense in False Pretenses will keep you turning pages well into the night! Will Zoe be honest about her past and will her husband find it in his heart to forgive her for deceiving him all these years? Who is watching her and sending her notes telling her specifically "I know what you did!" She is desperate to find who is doing this and why!!

Vanessa and Ethan hope to open a B&B in Langley Manor. The have plans to renovate and it's going to take some time but they are so excited. Their son, Carter begins to tell them about the Candy Man that he has seen in the house. How on earth could he see someone living in the house? As they seek for answers to this mystery, more and more questions arise. A murder takes place and sets the whole community into panic! IS it the CandyMan??

To find out you need to pick this one up for yourself!!

I loved False Pretenses! Definitely a 5♥'s book and I look forward to the next one in the series :)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Free Francine Rivers download for your Kindle




Just wanted to let you know you can get Leota's Garden by Francine Rivers downloaded for FREE if you have a KINDLE!!! I have read this book a few years back and LOVED IT! Go here to receive your download.
Here is the link for other free E-books. They change often so this is a great resource for free E-books :)

Love, Blessings and Happy Reading!!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Deadly Ties ~ Review





About the Book:

HER ENEMY WILL STOP AT NOTHING FOR CONTROL…
SHE WILL RISK EVERYTHING FOR FREEDOM.

A horrific crime shatters Lisa Harper’s idyllic childhood. Her father is dead and her desperate mother, Annie, quickly marries Dutch Hauk, an abusive monster who soon reveals his hatred for Lisa. To protect her, Annie defies her ruthless husband and forfeits custody to a trusted friend. Enraged, Dutch vows to keep Annie and Lisa apart—and he does. Years later, though keenly aware of Dutch’s evil intent, Lisa and her mother seize a chance to be a family, safe in a home where love dwells. But they fail to fathom how far Dutch will go to keep his vow.

Determined to control his women, Dutch proves resourceful. His associates in crime are feared at the highest levels across the globe—and for Lisa they plan a fate worse than death. Yet she too has formidable connections, including former Special Operations Officer Mark Taylor. Burdened by his own traumatic past, Mark has loved Lisa from afar. Now, for Lisa and her mother to survive, Mark must risk his life—and even more difficult for him, he must trust God. All as one question haunts them: Can Mark and Lisa untangle these deadly ties before it’s too late?


My Review:

I was BEYOND excited to learn that Vicki Hinze had released the 2nd book in the Crossroads Crisis Center Series. Having read the first book, "Forget Me Not" and LOVING it, I had HIGH Hopes for this book as well!

Deadly Ties is a good book ~ full of Mystery, Suspense and a bit of Romance. Lisa Harper was abducted as a 7year old little girl and escaped her abductor. Now all these years later, Lisa has made sure she is trained and ready should that abductor ever return. Return he did and with a vengeance!

Mark Taylor is a Special Operations Officer and has been assigned to protect Lisa and her mother. Yet, Mark has issues of his own and doesn't feel worthy of anyones love. He does all he can to make sure these women are safe and goes above and beyond his call of duty but learns as we all do, that we are only capable of so much. Turning to God and trusting in HIM is not something Mark is sure he can do.

Annie is Lisa's mother and marries a horrible man, Dutch Hauk, out of desperation. Dutch is beyond abusive and is a control freak to say the least. Annie gives up having a day to day relationship with Lisa in order to protect her or so Dutch believes.

For me, Deadly Ties brought about one BIG frustration:

I know as a Mother we all do things to protect our children but in this story Annie appears to be a incredibly intelligent woman who has ALOT of money and clearly all the right people around her who can protect her. She was being protected by Mark from the beginning. So it frustrated me that she lived with the abuse and control of her husband Dutch. In the book it was explained that she held on to the marriage because of her Faith and did not want to "divorce" because it wasn't right. I don't think in any way God or Christianity would suggest staying in such an incredibly abusive situation just for the sake of "not divorcing or being Correct according to the Christian Faith."

Having said this, I still think the book is a good read and would rate it a 3.5 out of 5 ♥'s


Thankyou WaterBrook Multnomah and the Blogging For Books program. I received this book complimentary in exchange for you honest opinion.



Thursday, 24 March 2011

The Mountains Bow Down Review



About the Author Sibella: Sibella Giorello grew up in Alaska and majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College. After riding a motorcycle across the country, she worked as a features writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. She now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons. Find out more about Sibella and her other books at her website. www.sibellagiorello.com

About The Mountains Bow Down: Everything's going to work out. Time away always makes things better . . ..

That's what FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon believes as she boards a cruise to Alaska. A land of mountains and gems and minerals, The Last Frontier is a dream destination for this forensic geologist who's hoping to leave behind a hectic work schedule and an engagement drained of romance.

But when a passenger goes missing and winds up dead, Raleigh's vacation suddenly gets lost at sea. The ship's security chief tries to rule the death a suicide, but Raleigh's forensics background points to a much darker conclusion: Somewhere onboard, a ruthless murderer walks free.

Engulfed by one of her toughest cases yet, Raleigh requests assistance from the FBI and receives her nemesis-perpetual ladies man Special Agent Jack Stephanson. As the cruise ship sails through the Inside Passage, Raleigh has five days to solve a high-profile murder, provide consultation for a movie filming onboard, and figure out her increasingly complicated feelings for Jack-who might not be such a jerk after all.

And that's only her work life. Family offers even more challenges. Joined on the cruise by her mother and aunt, Raleigh watches helplessly as disturbing rifts splinter her family.

Like the scenery that surrounds the cruise ship, Raleigh discovers a situation so steep and so complex that even the mountains might bow down.


There is an AWESOME contest going on with this book!!

Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Mountains Bow Down with a blog tour, a Cruise prize pack worth over $500 and a Facebook Party! Don't miss a minute of the fun.






One Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • A $500 gift certificate toward the cruise of their choice from Vacations To Go.

  • The entire set of the Raleigh Harmon series.


To enter click one of the icons below. Then tell your friends. And enter soon - the giveaway ends on 4/1! The winner will be announced at Sibella’s Raleigh Harmon Book Club Party on FB April 5th, 2011! Don’t miss the fun – prizes, books and gab!


Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter



About the Facebook Party: Join Sibella and fans of the Raleigh Harmon series on April 5th at 5:00 pm PST (6 MST, 7 CST & 8 EST) for a Facebook Book Club Party. Sibella will be giving away some fun prizes, testing your trivia skills and hosting a book chat about the Raleigh Harmon books. Have questions you'd like to chat about - leave them on the Event page.



My Review:

Taking an Alaskan Cruise for Raleigh Harmon was meant to be fun, enjoyable and a much needed vacation ....So she thought! Raleigh is so looking forward to this trip with her Mother, her Aunt, and a friend of her Aunts. But when someone is found murdered aboard the Cruise Ship, and is with the movie crew they are helping with, Raleigh finds herself involved in the investigation. Along with the Ships security chief, and the FBI's Special Agent Jack Stephanson, they all try to find the answers to this murder.

The Mountains Bow Down is filled with Mystery, Suspense and I love the Humor from Raleigh! This book is AWESOME and I am so happy to say I have found yet another new and amazing author to read!!

Thank you LitFuse for this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review
To Purchase The Mountains Bow Down go here


Happy Reading

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A Vicious Cycle ~ Book 2 of the Intervention Series Review

My Review:

To say that I was Anxious to receive this book would be a HUGE UNDERSTATEMENT! I read the 1st book, Intervention and could NOT put it down! Knowing how very personal this storyline is to Terri Blackstock only made it that much more meaningful to me. This 2nd book, A Vicious Cycle, isn't just a novel, to me, it is a story that needs to be told! There are so many who struggle with addictions of many kinds, and in A Vicious Cycle we also learn more about baby trafficking. It is beyond heartbreaking and so very unbelievable. In this story, I am so amazed at the strength in which Barbara Covington, who is Lance and Emily's Mom, shares as she deals with all that life throws at her. She will inspire you and so will this book! Her Son Lance, a young man who wants nothing more than to help his friend come clean, not only for herself, but for her unborn baby too. He tries to help and becomes caught up in a family who thinks of nothing else, but how and where they can get their next high. The Covington's continually find themselves intertwined with this family and just when they think they can walk away, their paths connect once more and this time, it just might prove to be fatal for all of those involved.

Just one WARNING though:
When you sit down to read this book you may not be able to put it down until the VERY LAST PAGE HAS BEEN TURNED!
Seriously, IT IS THAT GOOD!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Vicious Cycle
Zondervan (February 22, 2011)
by
Terri Blackstock




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.



Besides entertaining her readers, Terri tackles issues that she hopes will change lives. Her recent book, Predator, was inspired by her experiences on Facebook and Twitter, and her concern that people posted too much personal information about themselves. The book deals with an online predator who uses social networks as his playground. She hopes the book will change readers’ online habits. Her New York Times best-seller, Intervention, was inspired by her own personal struggles with a daughter on drugs. In the book, a mother hires an interventionist for her drug-addicted daughter. But on the way to treatment, the interventionist is murdered, and the daughter disappears. Barbara, the mother, sets out to search for her daughter. Terri modeled Barbara after herself, and poured many of her own emotions and experiences into that character. As a result, many families experiencing drug addiction have written to thank her for telling their story and giving them hope. Vicious Cycle, Book Two of the Intervention Series, releases February 22, 2011. She’s currently working on Book Three.



Other recent books include a stand-alone novel called Double Minds, as well as Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light (from her acclaimed Restoration Series). She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 Series and Cape Refuge Series. Terri makes her home in Mississippi, where she and her husband Ken are enjoying their empty nest after raising three children.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.







ABOUT THE BOOK



When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she's the newborn daughter of a meth addict he's been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse.



His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Kent Harlan---the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who once helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies.



In this latest novel of suspense and family loyalty, bestselling author Terri Blackstock offers a harrowing look at drug addiction, human trafficking, and the devastating choices that can change lives forever.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Vicious Cycle, go HERE.



Watch the Book Video:








Friday, 18 March 2011

Handle With Prayer


MY REVIEW:

Charles Stanley has always been one of my Favorites. The Wisdom He shares is amazing and this book is no exception! Handle with Prayer is one of those books that will teach you something new everytime you pick it up and read it. Definitely a book to add to your library on Prayer!

This would also make a great group study or one to share as a family with all the questions provided for discussion on each chapter.



It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Handle with Prayer

David C. Cook; Reprint edition (March 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Dr. Charles F. Stanley, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta and founder of In Touch Ministries, demonstrates a keen awareness of people’s needs by providing practical Biblical truths for everyday life. His In Touch teaching program is broadcast worldwide in more than 50 languages. Dr. Stanley is also a New York Times best-selling author who has written more than 35 books, including: In Step with God, Landmines in the Path of the Believer, Living the Extraordinary Life, A Man’s Touch, Handle With Prayer, How to Listen to God, Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure?, The Gift of Forgiveness, How to Keep Your Kids on Your Team, The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life, The Source of My Strength, How to Handle Adversity, The Blessing of Brokenness, Success God’s Way, The Handbook for Christian Living, Into His Presence, and When Tragedy Strikes.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Originally released in 2000, this book has already sold over 250,000 copies and now it features new artwork, an enhanced study guide, and updated content to connect with today’s readers. Using stories from his own life, Dr. Stanley engages readers with his insight and truthfulness. According to Dr. Stanley, “Jesus encourages us to pray. He tells us to ask, seek, and knock. We ask for things, we seek understanding, and we knock on doors of opportunity that lie before us. The Lord is saying that in every area of life we can find what we are looking for by talking to the heavenly Father.”


Product Details:

List Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; Reprint edition (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781404460
ISBN-13: 978-0781404464

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Unveiling the Hidden


Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. —Jeremiah 33:1–3


As I was praying one afternoon in 1967, I began feeling as if God had something very specific to say to me. The more I prayed, the more the burden increased. I decided to take an early vacation and spend the time seeking God’s guidance. I went to the mountains of North Carolina for two weeks, intent on finding out what God was saying to me.


I spent the majority of the time fasting and praying. I waited, expecting God to follow up the burden with an answer. To my surprise, He pointed out areas in my life that needed correcting. The entire two weeks was a period of personal cleansing and preparation for what was to come.


I returned home excited, but still unsure. It was as if there were a veil that kept me from knowing the unknown. I felt that the answer was close, but it was still out of my grasp. Then one

afternoon soon afterward, I was on my face before the Lord, and the veil lifted. God wanted me to start a school. I hesitated to commit myself to such a task, but God made it clear to me that His instructions were to be obeyed, not just considered. He unveiled the hidden to me when I called on Him to do so, and He showed me the things I did not know. God was faithful—even to the point of preparing my heart for what He had to say.


God desires to make known the unknown to His children. He desires to unveil the hidden. Yet many times we are satisfied not knowing. Either we aren’t willing to take the time to wait, or

we aren’t sure God even wants us to know. But this command to Jeremiah speaks specifically to both of these problems. We are to call, we are to expect an answer, and we are to know the unknown. Let’s look at the background of this Scripture in Jeremiah (33:1–3).


The Babylonians are coming toward Jerusalem from the feast. They have already defeated the Assyrians, so the people off Jerusalem know they don’t stand much of a chance against their superior military strength. The leaders of Jerusalem believed they should align themselves with the Egyptians, which was the logical thing to do. But Jeremiah tells them, “God says you are going into captivity. What you really ought to do is go out there and surrender.” Well, this wasn’t at all what the leaders had in mind. They threw Jeremiah in prison and refused to listen to him.


Their reaction should not surprise us. What do you think the people in my congregation would do if I stood up next Sunday and said, “God says the Canadians are going to overthrow this nation. We might as well surrender now and save ourselves some trouble”? They would run me out of town! But this was exactly the situation Jeremiah found himself in. From his experience, he gives us a passage (33:1–3) that helps us understand how to talk with God.


Encouraged to Pray

We can obtain three prayer principles from Jeremiah 33:3 by listening to what God told Jeremiah. The first is that God encourages us to pray: “Call unto me.” Since Jeremiah was in prison, he had a long time to catch up on his prayer life. We may never be put behind bars, but God will put us in circumstances and situations in order to teach us how to talk with Him.


Most of the time we pray, “Get me out of here!” We want to avoid suffering and difficulty. When we do run into a trial or difficulty, we ask God to change our circumstances so we can serve Him better and love Him more.


But we cannot fool God or bribe Him with our promises. Jeremiah didn’t even ask God to get him out of prison. Rather, he waited to see what God would say to him. And what was God’s

reply? “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jer. 33:3). What God did for Jeremiah had a far greater impact than simply getting him out of prison.


But most of us aren’t that patient. We’re more intent on getting out of our circumstances than we are on finding out what great things God wants to show us. But the Father never allows

difficulty just for the sake of difficulty—there is always a higher purpose involved. The problem is we cannot always identify God’s higher purpose in the midst of our trials. That’s when we must exercise our faith by waiting on His word to us.


A good friend of mine who was a real estate broker experienced a seven-year period of financial failure. The loss of his security devastated him. It became the constant focus of his thoughts and prayers. “Why doesn’t God do something?” he would ask me. For a while, we were both puzzled.


But after some intense soul searching, he realized that he had substituted financial security for God in his life. The Father wanted to be recognized as the Source of all things in my friend’s life. As he began renewing his mind spiritually and yielding his rights to the Lord, my friend gained a new freedom in his attitude toward finances. He started a new career and found greater financial blessing than ever before.


God had a great and mighty lesson to teach my friend—a lesson more important than keeping him comfortable. And God kept him uncomfortable until he took his eyes off his circumstances and sought God’s mind in the matter.


Waiting is not easy. We often turn away from seeking God’s counsel and seek guidance from friends and loved ones. We read books, attend seminars, and talk with others, trying to find out what God has to say to us. Usually, after we’ve exhausted all other possibilities, we turn back to the Lord and wait on Him. By doing this, it’s as if we are saying to God, “Now that I’ve tried everything else and failed, I’ve decided I need You after all.”


But God wants us to come to Him first. He wants us to stand in His counsel and wait for His word. He longs for us to come to Him as a son would to his father. But instead, we go to Him last, as if we don’t trust Him or consider His word of much value. Yet He is the only trustworthy Source of counsel we have. He is our most available and accessible Friend. He will never give us a busy signal—even if He frequently gets busy signals when He tries talking to us.


God entreats us to pray because He knows we are often caught in prisons of our own making; not prisons with bars and locks, but intellectual prisons, emotional prisons, and relational prisons. We must remember that the shortest distance between our problems and their solutions is the distance between our knees and the floor.


Answer Promised

Second, God told Jeremiah, “I will answer thee.” Sometimes we make commitments that we cannot keep. Though we may do this unintentionally, there are times when we disappoint those who are counting on us. But God never disappoints—when He says He will do something, it will be done.


God promises He will not only hear our prayers, but He will answer them. This brings up two interesting questions: Does God always answer our prayers? Or does He respond to certain kinds of prayer? Think about the requests you have made of God recently. Are they being answered? Do you really believe they will be? You see, the question is not Does God answer prayer? The real question is How does God answer prayer? Sometimes He answers yes. This is usually the only answer we hear. If God says, “Yes,” then we believe He answered. If He says, “No,” we think He ignored our request.


God’s Answers

When God answers our prayers, He either answers with yes, no, or wait. When He answers yes, we are prone to shout, “Praise the Lord!” We tell everyone what a great thing God has done for us.


But when God says no, we have a hard time finding reasons to praise Him. We look for the sin in our lives that kept Him from granting our requests, because surely if we had been living right He would have given us what we asked. But not one shred of scriptural evidence shows that God will say yes to all of our prayers just because we’re living right. God is sovereign. He has the right to say no according to His infinite wisdom, regardless of our goodness.


We try to manipulate God by our humanistic “if then” philosophy. If we live good, clean lives, then God must (we believe) grant our hearts’ desires. But such attempts to manipulate God defeat the whole purpose of Christianity, which is to glorify Him through our submissive obedience to His desires. Besides, if our goodness was the only factor God considered, where would His grace fit in? Many times His grace is what motivates Him to say no.


God only says no and wait when it is best for us (Rom. 8:28). He does it many times for our protection. Sometimes God wants to answer our prayers, but the timing is not right. For example, in the past, many couples wanting to marry came to me for counseling. Sometimes I would advise them to wait. Some would heed my advice, while others sought counsel from those who told them what they wanted to hear. You and I have the same choice over and over again. Will we wait on God for His perfect timing, or will we rush ahead?


We don’t like waiting around. Especially when it looks like a unique opportunity might slip away. We don’t like to hear God say, “No,” especially when everything in us says, “Yes, yes, yes!” We often try to find a Scripture verse and claim it while we continue our prayer, hoping somehow to change God’s mind. What we’re really saying is, “God, I didn’t like that answer. How about reconsidering my point of view?”


But deep in our hearts we really want God’s perfect will for our lives. And we must remember that God’s answer is always His ultimate best for us. Claiming Scripture will not change God’s mind because His Word cannot contradict His will. If He says no, then the answer is no. If He says wait, then we should wait. God is more interested in our character, our future, and our sanctification than He is in our momentary satisfaction. His answers are always an act of grace, motivated by His love.


Our Response

Our response to God’s answers reveals one of two things about us. It will reveal either a rebellious spirit or a submissive spirit. By accepting God’s answer, despite the fact that we may not understand, we express a submissive spirit. But by refusing His first answer and trying to get our way by manipulation, we express a rebellious spirit.


If we refuse God’s answers when they don’t fit in with our plans, then we are trying to use God for our purposes. But if we graciously accept His answers—no matter what they are—He will use us for His glory.


The Hidden Revealed

The third principle we can obtain from this verse comes from “I will … show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” All of us face decisions that leave us baffled. We are constantly bombarded with relational decisions, business decisions, household decisions, and financial decisions—and these all need immediate attention. In this verse, God promises to reveal the answer to all of life’s decisions. Yet many of God’s people spend their entire lives making decisions based on their knowledge, their understanding, and their experience—not realizing that some decisions must be based on divine wisdom and illumination from God.


Almost any preacher can prepare a sermon. He can write an outline, gather a few stories, and away he goes. But a preacher cannot get God’s message for a people until he waits in the Lord’s counsel, until he seeks God’s face, and until God gives him a word from heaven (Jer. 23:21–22).


This same principle applies to every Christian. We can pay the price required to find God’s mind on an issue, or we can make a decision based on what we think is right. Either way, a decision will eventually be made. But while one decision may have the approval of man, the other will have the eternal approval of God.


Sometimes we flip a coin (spiritually speaking) and say, “Lord, this is what I’m going to do. If it is of You, then bless it. If I’m wrong, then better luck next time.” Instead of waiting, we jump ahead and hope we have done the right thing. The point is this: As Christians, we never have to guess—we can know for sure what to do. God wants us to know His will about things, even more than we want to know it. But He cannot—and will not—bless anything we do that is not of Him.


So what does He mean when He says, “I will … show thee great and mighty things”? Every time we pray to God, seeking His will, there are two things He wants to show us: He wants to show us Himself (Phil. 3:7–8), and He wants to show us what He is able to do (John 15:16). Is there anything greater than seeking God and knowing His power?


We Are to Seek His Face

Because God wants to reveal Himself to us, and because our goal as Christians is to know Him, we should begin our time in prayer saying, “Lord, thank You that You are omnipotent. Thank You that You are omniscient and know everything I am about to tell You. Thank You that You are omnipresent, and You are not separated from me. As I come into Your presence, I humble myself before Your throne to thank You for Your holiness, Your forgiveness, and Your mercy. I acknowledge You as the great Creator, Sustainer, and Lover of mankind. Father, I am coming to You, recognizing Your greatness and Your holiness. I bow before You as Your child, knowing that You are more than sufficient to meet my needs.”


This is the spirit in which we should come into God’s presence. But instead, we come first with our needs and usually don’t have enough time for anything else. We never stop long enough to recognize that God wants to show us Himself when we pray.


He Shows Us His Power

God also wants to show us what He is able and willing to do for us. He does this through His Word. He reminds us of what He has done in the past. He gives us example after example in Scripture of how He met people’s needs and how He protected them. And the Father is willing to do the same thing for us, if we will only ask.


The word mighty in this passage means hidden things, things that are fenced in. This word is used when referring to fortified cities. God is showing us that as we pray, He will unveil insights for us that have previously been a mystery.


This also implies that some answers will be found only in prayer, not from other sources—not from books, friends, or counselors. Some things must come straight from God, who is the

Source of all wisdom. How many families would still be together today if they had sought God’s answers to their problems at home? How many sons and daughters would still be at home if their parents had taken their situation to the Lord? Too often we refuse to wait on God’s answers. We want quick solutions to our problems.


But God wants to do much more than just meet our needs and answer our questions. He wants our love. He wants our spirits— He wants our lives. Yes, He encourages us to bring our trials and our heartaches to Him in prayer, but only after we recognize who He is and what He can do. Only then do we believe He will answer our prayers. Only then are we seeking His face and not merely His hand.


As a pastor, many times I go to God for answers that can be found only in Him. Sometimes He shows me something for today, and sometimes He shows me something that will happen in the next week or month. But I’ve never been to God about anything that He did not willingly answer. He does not always answer my prayers according to my time schedule, but He always answers on time.


Back in 1969 when I was preaching a weeklong revival meeting in Virginia, I once again felt that God had something specific to say to me. Each night after the service I retired to my room early to pray. One evening, I pulled out a pad and drew a circle with five lines leading from it. At the end of each line, I wrote several things I thought God might desire to reveal to me. On the last line I drew a question mark, thinking maybe it was something I had not thought of.


The following night I came back to my room with the same burden. As I prayed and looked over the possibilities, God made it clear that He was going to move me. I asked Him when, and the month of September flashed into my mind. This happened in May of 1969, but I thought He meant September of 1970. A few months later, however, a pulpit committee from the First Baptist Church of Atlanta came to see me. On September 30, 1969, my family and I moved to Atlanta. God revealed this to me ahead of time in order to prepare my heart. He unveiled what was hidden when I called on Him to do so.


Regardless of what circumstances you are up against, there is no knowledge you will ever need that is not accessible before the throne of our living, loving, holy, righteous God. He has promised to show you the great, the hidden, and the unknown things that you will never be able to understand any other way. There are some things you will never be able to know (Deut. 29:29), but all the knowledge you will ever need is available to you if you ask God.


He desires to illuminate your mind and heart until you are conscious of Christ’s mind within you. He wants you to say no to the world on the basis of your faith in Him. It is then that you feel an extra sense of power when you share with others. You no longer depend entirely on circumstances for God to teach you lessons. Instead, you learn straight from Him through His Word. You have a new excitement in your relationship with God because you have learned to listen as He speaks to you.


Submission Required

You must be submissive to God to the point of absolute obedience— regardless of what He asks of you. Why? Because if our heavenly Father continues to answer our prayers, and we have certain conditions on which we obey, then He is nothing more than a giant Santa Claus. If He were to continue to bless us regardless of our rebellion, we would be using Him for our ends, not His. Submission is essential.


If you have been seeking God’s will for a long time and you seem to be getting nowhere, examine your heart. See if there is any area of your life that is not totally surrendered to Him. By settling this issue, you will put yourself in a position that will allow the Father to bless you. The quicker you move from your will to His will, the quicker God will show you what you need to know. Since God gives us His Word for obedience, not just consideration, He must be assured that you have submitted yourself completely before He will let you in on His secrets.


Are you facing a decision in your life that is too big for you to handle? Are you going through some difficulty that has left you confused and disheartened? God said, “Call unto me, and I will

answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” As you seek God’s face, understanding who He is and what He is willing and able to do, He will clear away all the mist that surrounds your circumstances. He will show you what to do. Are you willing to say yes to whatever He requires? If so, you have taken the first step in learning to talk with God.


Session 1

Unveiling the Hidden

Chapter 1


Session Goals

1. To assess our individual prayer lives to see if we really expect God to answer our prayers.

2. To take a long look at our ideas of what God is like, how He feels about people, and what He is willing to do for them.

3. To determine to say yes to whatever God requires of us.


Preparation

1. As you read Handle with Prayer, jot down the main kernels of truth in each chapter. Then study chapter 1.

2. Plan your session time carefully to include the Bible teaching about prayer, which should lead into the practicing of prayer in the session.

3. Assemble any teaching tools: whiteboard or chalkboard, markers or chalk.


Discussion

1. Help people get acquainted by asking each member to turn to the person next to him or her and to sum up his or her prayer philosophy in ten words or less. End with the question: “Do

you agree?” Partners respond with his or her own thinking on prayer. Don’t ask group members to aim for theological definitions, just responses from their personal experiences. Expect

negative as well as positive philosophies, since these sessions are expected to clear up misconceptions about prayer as well as give positive insights—all from the Word.


After this short exercise, point out that no matter what our present philosophies of prayer are, we all want to learn to pray effectively. But we won’t learn how unless we obey God’s instructions (as opposed to our own reactions, ideas, experiential knowledge) and respond to Him according to His will.


2. Ask the group to turn to Jeremiah 33:1–3. Explain: “The Babylonians were coming toward Jerusalem from the east. They had already defeated the Assyrians, so the people of Jerusalem

knew they didn’t stand much of a chance against such a superior military power. The leaders of Jerusalem believed they should align with the Egyptians. But Jeremiah told them, ‘God says you are going into captivity. What you really ought to do is believe God, go out, and surrender to the Babylonians.’”


The outraged leaders, thinking Jeremiah was a traitor, threw him in prison and refused to listen to his warning. Jeremiah probably wasn’t too surprised at the leaders’ reaction. But what would God say to him now? He had obeyed the Lord, and he

was in prison because of it—what next?


Why do you think God reaffirmed His identity to Jeremiah (v. 2)? What three prayer principles did He give Jeremiah (v. 3)?Discuss.


3. Explain that Jeremiah was in a real prison. We may be in figurative ones constructed out of circumstances or predicaments, but the bars are just as strong and the walls just as high.


When we are in our prisons, how do we usually pray? Discuss.


According to Scripture, Jeremiah didn’t ask God for anything. Rather, he waited to see what God had to say to him.


If we’re in our prisons because God needs to get our attention to teach us lessons, what is the quickest way to get out? Discuss.


Deliverance comes as we examine our hearts to find what God wants to teach us. When we learn our lessons, He will free us. Nothing is too hard for Him.


What should we do if we cannot identify God’s purpose in a particular trial? Why is waiting on God so difficult? Discuss.


4. Does God always answer our prayers? Discuss the three ways God answers: yes, no, or wait. Do you agree: “God will always answer yes, if we are living right”? God is sovereign. He answers depending on what He knows is best for us.


How do we sometimes try to manipulate Him into saying yes? Sometimes we think: If I do this, then God will do that. Or we plead a verse of Scripture that seems on target for our case and hope God will change His mind.


Why does God sometimes say no? Remind the group that the whole purpose of Christianity is to glorify God through our submissive obedience to His desires. He says no when it’s for

our best interest (Rom. 8:28). God is more interested in our character, future, and sanctification than in our momentary gratification.


When God says wait, what choice does He give us? What do our responses to God’s answers reveal about us?


5. What two things does God always want to show us when we seek to know His will? Refer to Philippians 3:7–8 and John 15:16. How does God show us what He is able and willing to

do? Answers might come through His Word, through our own experiences, and through the experiences of others.


What is the one condition God’s unveiling rests on? Why is submission necessary?


6. Explain: “If we hear these truths and don’t practice them, we become like the person who wants to learn to drive a car without ever sitting in the driver’s seat. The person reads the

training manual, learns all the rules of the road, but never actually sits behind the wheel.”


We want to move prayer into the reality of our present circumstances. During our times together, we will be using different prayer methods: silent prayers, group prayers, volunteer

prayers, written prayers, etc. Today because of the nature of the subject, we will use silent individual prayers.


7. If God has seemed silent to you about something you have prayed for a long time, examine your heart. Are you harboring unconfessed sin? If you will submit now, you will move quickly into the attitude in which God will unfold for you some of the things you need to know.


Are you facing a decision that is too big for you to handle? Have you gone through some difficulty that has left you confused and disheartened? Read Jeremiah 33:3 again. Seek God’s face, understand who He is, and believe He will clear away all the mist that surrounds your circumstances.


Are you willing to say yes to whatever He requires of you?


8. Spend time in silent prayer as individuals open up their hearts to God. Close with an appropriate prayer of submissive victory.





Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

In the Shadow of Evil ~ REVIEW

This book is so good that I had to share it again! I have been telling soo many people about Robin Caroll and her latest release In The Shadow Of Evil

In the Shadow of Evil is full of suspense, romance and is definitely a book that will teach you about forgiveness and persistance. I love it when a book speaks right to your heart, don't you? The main characters, Layla and Maddox are both very strong in who they are as well as what they believe. Maddox and his partner work hard investigating the murder of a gentleman found dead in one of Layla's houses in which she was the Contractor. With every lead they receive, the case takes twists and turns and Maddox finds himself falling for Layla. As the answers to the case come, so does an answer to his past that he Never saw coming. But as you know ....Where there is truth, there is Freedom. For Layla, not only does she have her reputation to save, but she also has some issues in her past that surface because of all that has happened.

I truly loved this book and as I have already shared, I am telling everyone about this one! I recommend this one to any and all. I will also be finding Robin Caroll's other books and adding them to my library! So love it when I find a new author and Robin Caroll is AWESOME!



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In The Shadow of Evil
B&H Books (March 1, 2011)
by
Robin Caroll




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty years, her three beautiful daughters, one precious grandson, and their four character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?



Robin gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as RT Reviewer's Choice, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year. An avid reader herself, Robin loves hearing from and chatting with other readers. Although her favorite genre to read is mystery/suspense, of course, she’ll read just about any good story. Except historicals!



ABOUT THE BOOK



Informed by the real-life fallout of the U.S. economy plus devastation caused by multiple hurricanes along the southern coast, In the Shadow of Evil casts the modern day story of a building rebound scam exposed. It begins when the body of a property inspector is found among the ashes of a burnt out Homes of Hope house. Wrapped up in this mounting case of unethical practices, supply shortages, and murder, top Louisiana homicide detective Maddox Bishop is losing his heart to a charitable contractor, Layla Taylor, whose own sister is under suspicion. He’s also about to discover a deep secret about his tragic past.



If you would like to read the first chapter of In The Shadow of Evil, go HERE.



Watch the trailer:


















Monday, 14 March 2011

Do you love Disneyland? Or how about Disney World? I was sooo blessed that my Dad lived in both California and then later moved to Florida so I was able to visit both Parks quite a few times! So being able to review this book was clearly a no brainer for me!! I love mysteries and add in Disney and I was curious!!!

This is a book that will not disappoint! Jeff Dixon has done his research and The Keys to the Kingdom is a book that I love and will share with others as well as my kids!!!

Get this one for sure!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Key to the Kingdom: Unlocking Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Deep River Books (December 1, 2010))

***Special thanks to Arielle Roper of Bring It On! Communications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Jeff Dixon was raised in Florida and has always been fascinated with the man Walt Disney and the theme park he created. Dixon feels that any guest who would take the time to look would discover a story that will never be completed. It is against this canvas that Dixon paints this mystery, adventure, and thriller.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Grayson Hawkes learns how imaginative and elaborate Walt Disney World is when he accepts an invitation from a trusted friend landing him in a world he never knew existed. Suddenly unraveling a perplexing puzzle and trying to solve a mysterious disappearance, Hawkes navigates through the kingdom where knowledge of seemingly unimportant Disney facts and some divine help are the only way he can discover the answers and get out. In this world Disney trivia is no game…And the ancient key is the only way out.

Soon the lines between right and wrong begin to blur, and telling the difference between real and unreal become nearly impossible. Loyalty to faith, family and friends are stretched to the extreme in the pulse quickening adventure through a magical place where dreams really do come true.

Key to the Kingdom: A Real Treasure Hunt at Walt Disney World from Marc Percy on Vimeo.



Key To The Kingdom Trailer from Marc Percy on Vimeo.



Product Details:

List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Deep River Books (December 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935265245
ISBN-13: 978-1935265245

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Day One

Night

Halogen headlamps pierced the darkness of the cool central Florida night. The GPS guided the Mustang surging toward the coastal community of Port Orange. Racing along Taylor Road, Dr. Grayson Hawkes approached an unknown destination. Questions swirled in the tornado of curiosity whipping through the preacher’s mind. The glow of the dashboard light illuminated the business card propped against the gearshift; “1819 Taylor Road, Port Orange” had been neatly printed in blue ink. Flipping the card he read the name on the other side.

Farren Rales

Imagineering Ambassador

Walt Disney Company

Reading the name of his dear friend brought a slight smile to his face. Rales had been hired by the late Walt Disney himself as an animator at the Walt Disney Studios on Rales’s thirtieth birthday. In the years that followed he had worked on animated features, been involved in projects at Disneyland, and eventually became a part of that exclusive group of creative Walt Disney Company designers known as Imagineers. Rales was part Disney historian, part Disney philosopher, and a modern day keeper of the dream that Walt himself had begun.

Farren Rales had given him the business card with an invitation to meet the old Imagineer at ten o’clock this evening. The GPS announced a turn seconds before an inconspicuous dirt road veered to the right. Hawk responded sluggishly and shot past it. He instantly banked his ride into a U-turn that corrected his course. Slowly navigating the heavily wooded, chassis-jarring dirt road, he watched for signage. The headlights threw a glow on a sign that read Gamble Place Parking with an arrow that pointed right. He turned the wheel. A gate immediately came into view, blocking forward progress. Hawk looked over the steering wheel trying to decide whether he had managed to bungle the directions and gotten hopelessly lost. With the car idling, he got out and walked to the gate. Grasping the chain that held the gate closed, he saw the lock had been secured to the chain, but the chain was not fastened. When he dropped the chain, the gate lazily swung open. Hawk slid back behind the wheel of the car and it crawled forward as the dirt became softer below the tires. The Mustang eased up to a parking barrier, above which the headlights shone on a yellow house trimmed in green.

Exiting the automobile, Hawk left the parking area and made his way toward the house. There was a display in front of the walkway to the house that probably explained where he was. The automatic timer for the headlamps clicked off, leaving him standing in darkness. Sensing his eyes would never adjust in the moonless night to read the display, he remembered a flashlight that was hopefully still in the trunk of the car. He retraced his steps. In addition to the soft sound of his shoe steps in the sand, Hawk thought he heard something else moving near him. He came to an abrupt halt. Rales? Listening closely, he now only heard the sounds of the outdoor evening. The trunk popped open, producing a blast of light that momentarily blinded him. He fumbled for the flashlight and flicked the switch. The beam shone strongly as he slammed the trunk shut. He again moved toward the house. Sweeping the beam around him, he saw a large historical marker looming in the dark, over his left shoulder. He refocused the attention of the light on this newly discovered sign.

Gamble Place

In 1898, James N. Gamble, of the Proctor and Gamble Company and a longtime winter resident of Daytona Beach, bought this land on Spruce Creek for use as a rural retreat. In 1907 he built a small cracker cottage with an open front porch and a breezeway connecting a separate kitchen and dining room . . . In 1938, Gamble’s son-in-law, Alfred K. Nippert, completed the “Snow White House,” a Black Forest style cottage inspired by the Disney animated film classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The house is surrounded by a Witch’s Hut, the Dwarfs’ Mine Shaft, and an elaborate network of rock gardens. Collectively these buildings and grounds form a historic landscape now known as Gamble Place. This property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

Obviously Rales had asked Hawk here because of the Disney connection. It had been a Disney connection that had started the friendship between the two men. Hawk had been introduced to Rales and asked the Imagineer if he would meet with him and his church staff to teach them the art of storytelling. The first meeting had gone so well it turned into a standing appointment each month. However this evening the invitation was for Hawk alone. Sighing deeply in an attempt to relax, Hawk listened closely and his ears tuned in to the sound of water gently playing along an unseen shoreline. The unexpected snap of a branch unleashed a wave of adrenaline spinning him in the direction of the noise. He peered into the blackness of the trees, searching for the maker of the sound, but heard nothing.

“Farren, is that you?” Hawk spoke with a bit more edge than he anticipated.

Silence confirmed Rales was not the source of the sound. “So when did you get so scared of the dark?” he muttered to himself. “And when did you start talking to yourself?”

Out of the corner of his vision he noticed a glimmer of light across the wooded darkness. With a bit of reservation he moved toward it. His shoes cracked sticks and crushed leaves, creating a symphony of sound that shattered the haunting noises of nature that had moments ago surrounded him. His flashlight began to dim. Shaking it violently he resurrected the brilliance of the beam, only to watch it fade into a momentary glow, and then disappear completely.

“Tremendous,” he said in frustration at the malfunctioning light. “Still talking to . . . and answering yourself.”

The point of light he had been moving toward disappeared as well. Pressing onward, he drew nearer to where it had been. Once again it appeared and this time looked brighter and stronger. Hawk’s trudging through the undergrowth yielded to softer ground as he heard a familiar voice cut quietly through the night.

“I began to think you weren’t going to make it.”

“I was starting to think you were playing a practical joke on me,” Hawk whispered back.

“Now, would I do that to you?” Rales laughed softly.

Hawk could now see much better as he approached the place where Rales stood. Farren had brought a lantern that illuminated the place he was standing and cast long shadows in multiple directions. Hawk descended the steps to join Rales on what appeared to be a recently created platform. The sound of the creek was closer and Hawk assumed they were now on the edge of the river. Rales was dressed in a pair of black slacks with a lightweight black windbreaker. Hawk did not miss the stealth attire and was getting ready to comment on it when Rales again spoke in a hushed tone.

“Any trouble finding the place?”

“I suppose not, since it’s out in the middle of nowhere!” Hawk decided to satisfy his curiosity. “And could you tell me why we’re whispering?”

“Didn’t you read the sign? We’re in a state park. It closed at dusk. We could get arrested for being here.”

“Then why didn’t we come here in the daylight?”

“Now, that wouldn’t be as much fun, would it?”

“Farren, we should clarify our definitions of fun.”

“Breaking into a state park is a story you’ll be able to tell for years!”

“I didn’t break in, the gate was unlocked.”

“So you opened it and drove on in.”

“You invited me.”

“Shhh,” Rales interrupted.

Hawk grew quiet and strained to hear sounds coming out of the darkness. He studied Rales’s tense features, trying to decide whether the old man was toying with him or was actually concerned that they might be caught after hours in the park. Rales’s face softened and he turned away from Hawk, letting his lantern shine toward a nearby wooden cottage that looked as if it had been plucked off of an animation cell from an antique piece of film. Hawk’s mouth opened slightly. Rales moved forward and panned the light across the front of this cottage that did not belong in this time or any other. It was recognizable as the cottage in the Black Forest of the classic cartoon Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Hawk’s eyes followed the movement of the lantern to the carved lintel and a stone trough. Rales moved toward the front door, fumbled with the handle, and then opened it. Looking back to Hawk, he motioned for him to follow him inside. Hawk entered, feeling like he was stepping into a fairy tale as Rales silently closed the door behind them.


The Key to the Kingdom: Unlocking Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom

© 2010 Jeff Dixon

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.







Friday, 11 March 2011

A Heart Most Worthy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Heart Most Worthy
Bethany House (March 1, 2011)
by
Siri Mitchell




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.



But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.



Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.



Her ninth novel, A Heart Most Worthy, follows prior Bethany House releases: A Constant Heart (October 2008), Love's Pursuit (June 2009), and She Walks in Beauty (Apr 2010). She Walks in Beauty won the inaugural INSPY Award for Historical Fiction in Dec 2010. Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. Love's Pursuit was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award.



Publishers Weekly proclaimed, "Mitchell delivers the historical goods."



ABOUT THE BOOK



The elegance of Madame Forza's gown shop is a far cry from the downtrodden North End of Boston. Yet each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on finery for the elite in society. The three beauties each long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream--and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times.



Julietta is drawn to the swarthy, mysterious Angelo. Annamaria has a star-crossed encounter with the grocer's son, a man from the entirely wrong family. And through no intent of her own, Luciana catches the eye of Billy Quinn, the son of Madame Forza's most important client.



Their destinies intertwined, each harboring a secret from their families and each other, will they be found worthy of the love they seek?



If you would like to read the first chapter of A Heart Most Worthy, go HERE.



Tuesday, 8 March 2011

In the Shadow Of Evil

MY REVIEW:

This is my first book to read by Robin Carroll and let me tell you! IT WON"T BE MY LAST!

In the Shadow of Evil is an excellent book filled with Mystery, Suspense, and Romance as well! Layla & Alana Taylor are two sisters who have been through quite a bit. Their loving father passed away suddenly of a heart attack and their mother has her own issues to deal with. Layla has taken on her Fathers business and in a mans world she has to fight for most everything she does to earn their respect.

Maddox Bishop and his partner Houston are two homicide detectives assigned to the murder of a gentleman found in one of Layla's homes she was building. Layla quickly becomes a suspect in the investigation but as time goes by Maddox finds more information about Layla and wonders if his suspicion if correct or if he has been wrong all along? He wants to know more about this woman who drives him crazy in more ways than he wants to admit.


This book was one that I could NOT put down! I also found wonderful godly examples of holding on to bitterness and unforgiveness and how we can choose to trust God or not and that when we choose to hold on to it, the price is too high and causes hurt for all involved. Robin Caroll writes with great conviction and had me turning pages late into the night!!

AN EXCELLENT READ FOR SURE!!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


In the Shadow of Evil

B&H Books (March 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, Trade Book Marketing, B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Robin Caroll is a leading Christian suspense novelist. She gives back to the writing community as conference director for the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. A proud southerner through and through, Robin lives with her husband and three daughters in Arkansas.


Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Informed by the real-life fallout of the U.S. economy and devastation caused by multiple hurricanes along the southern coast, In the Shadow of Evil tells a modern day story involving the exposure of a building rebound scam. Amidst the layers of unethical practices, supply shortages, and excess murders, a top Louisiana homicide detective loses his heart to a charitable contractor while uncovering a secret about his tragic past.




Product Details:

List Price: $14.98
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805449795
ISBN-13: 978-0805449792

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Prologue


Eighteen Years Earlier


What a night!

Maddox turned his car into the residential area and glanced at the digital display on the dash—12:28. Great, late for curfew. He smiled. Being late was worth it when he’d had a hot date with Julie Cordon. Man, the girl was something else. Beautiful, sexy, and funny. Just being with her made him feel special. Made him forget lots of things, including time.

Besides, he was seventeen. Curfews were for kids! A senior in high school, and he had to be home by midnight? All his Pop’s doing.

Tyson Bishop…Mr. Air Force man, determined to force the entire family to live by rules and regulations.

But his dad was over foreign soil right now, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. Mom understood better, wasn’t quite the stickler about curfews like his dad. Good thing, too. Maddox was almost thirty minutes late tonight. Pop would blow his top and ground him for at least a month. Probably take away his car. But not Mom. She’d just caution him to pay closer attention to the time. Launch into the whole spiel about responsibility and accountability. He could recite it from memory.

Maddox whipped into the driveway and pressed the garage door opener. The light from the kitchen door spilled into the garage. Mom would be up…waiting. He should’ve called.

But being around Julie was like being caught in a time warp. Even the car’s interior held her smell. Light, flowery…teasing and tempting.

He killed the engine and jogged up the steps, slipping his charming smile into place. His mom had never been able to stay mad or disappointed when he flashed his dimples at her. He’d promise to mow the grass tomorrow before Pop got home, and she’d forget all about his tardiness.

He shut the garage door behind him and entered the kitchen. “Mom? I’m home.” The hint of roast lingered in the air.

The house was as silent as a tomb.

Odd. She would normally be on her feet to meet him.

He passed the kitchen’s butcher-block island and continued into the living room. A soft light filled the space beside her reading chair, but no sign of her.

“Mom?”

Maddox backtracked to the kitchen. Maybe she was in the downstairs bathroom.

“Hello?” His voice rose an octave as his pulse hammered. The bathroom door was wide open, the room dark.

Where was she?

His steps faltered as he pressed into the kitchen again. The backdoor stood open, the glass pane closest to the knob—shattered. His heart jumped into his throat.

“Mom!”

Using the agility that had garnered him the wide receiver place on the varsity football team, Maddox flew down the hall toward his parents’ bedroom. He pushed open the door with shaking hands.

His mother lay sprawled on the floor, a pool of blood staining the carpet around her. Her face pale against the dark red spilling from her chest. A metallic odor permeated the room.

What? He blinked repeatedly, his mind not processing what his eyes saw. Then…he did. And nearly vomited.

He raced to her side, lifting her head into his lap. “Mom.” Tears backed up in his eyes as he smoothed her hair.

“Mad-dy,” she croaked.

He grabbed the phone from the nightstand, the base landing on the floor with a resounding thud. He grabbed the receiver and punched in 9-1-1.

“Hang on, Mom. I’m calling for help.” Every nerve in his body stood at high alert.

“Too. Late.” She grimaced. A gurgling seeped from between her lips. Her body went slack in his arms.

“911, what is the nature of your emergency?”

He closed his eyes. Fought back scalding tears. “My mother. She’s been murdered.”







Flight Plan ~ Review

MY REVIEW:
If you have a son, grandson, or nephew or even work with todays young men THIS is a book for you! Raising boys to be godly young men can be a challenge but this book by Braxton Brady and Lee Burns has some great wisdom and insight into today's young men. The chapters are broken down as follows:

Buckle UP
On Course or Off Course?
Flight Pattern
Who is going to be your wing man?
Cabin Pressure?
Potential Crash Landing
Girl like Guys in Uniform
Afterburners ON!
REd Flags
Call signs and crew chiefs
Flight School
Medals of Honor
Final Tune up

The Chapters are an easy read and straight forward so you definitely want to make sure you have read them before you share and make sure they are age appropriate. (Especially chapter 8) Each chapter provides chapters that will bring about discussions as well.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has boys from Kindergarten to 7th grade! Here is a bit more info below!


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Flight Plan

PDS Publishing (2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


Lee Burns is the headmaster at Presbyterian Day School, an independent school serving over 630 boys in grades PK-6 in Memphis. In addition, Burns is vice-president and on the executive committee of the Elementary School Headmasters Association (a group of approximately 200 headmasters around the country) and is a member of the Country Day School Headmasters Association and the Visionary Heads Group. He served as a task force member to help the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) develop Principles of Good Practice for Middle School Educators. In addition, he has been a presenter at annual conferences of the National Association of Independent Schools, the International Boys' School Coalition, and the Elementary School Headmasters Association.

Burns plays tennis and enjoys squash and most any sport, as well as reading and writing. Lee is married to Sarah, and they have three children. They are members of Second Presbyterian Church, where he serves as a deacon.


Braxton Brady is the chaplain of Presbyterian Day School (PDS) in Memphis, TN. Before coming to PDS, he worked as Bible teacher, athletic director, and assistant principal at Central Day School in Collierville, Tennessee. Brady has served on the boards of various inner city ministries in Memphis. He is a graduate of the Emerging Leaders Program, a program that helps disciple and develop spiritual leaders in the city of Memphis, and founder of Strategic Dads, a ministry that seeks to provide fathers with practical ways to disciple their sons and lead their families.

Brady enjoys spending time with his family, serving in the inner city, and playing golf. He is currently completing his master's degree in theological studies from Covenant Theological Seminary. Brady and his wife, Carrie, have three children.


Visit the book website.




Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Perfect Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: PDS Publishing (2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615380611
ISBN-13: 978-0615380612

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Buckle Up


“Roger, liftoff, and the clock is started.”

- Alan B. Shepard Jr., Astronaut


“It was my fear that made me learn everything I could about my airplane and my emergency equipment, and kept me flying respectful of my machine and always alert in the cockpit.”

- Chuck Yeager, General


The engines roar so loudly you can feel your whole body shake as the fighter jet accelerates down the short runway on the aircraft carrier in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. You can smell the burning fuel. Standing on the deck of the carrier, you can’t even see the fighter pilot inside because his plane is racing by at such an incredible speed. You can, though, sense the power of the great plane and the intensity of the takeoff. Just seconds before, the jet was calmly stationed at the end of the carrier, along with a few other ones. But now, just seconds later, amidst burning fuel and an awesome display of speed, it’s at the end of the runway and quickly airborne, racing up into the blue sky.


But where is the plane going?


Like the fighter jet, you are also about to accelerate down a short runway and take off on a great adventure with many possible missions and destinations. During your childhood, your life has probably been pretty steady and stable for the last few years. Sure, there have been ups and downs and you’ve changed and grown as a boy, but boyhood is usually marked by very slow and gradual development compared to the upcoming season in your life. But soon, instead of just hanging out at the end of the runway with the other fighter jets, instead of slowly taxiing back and forth on the runway, your life is about to accelerate in a very intense and rapid period called adolescence. And at the end of adolescence, you will take off into the sky for an even greater adventure: manhood.


Any fighter pilot will probably tell you that good preparation before the flight is essential to a successful mission. He has spent thousands of hours learning to fly. He has considered problems he could encounter and maneuvers he could use in those dangerous situations. He has tested and serviced the plane. He has filled it up with fuel. He has studied the specific flight plan, considered the weather, and learned the goal and details of the mission. The takeoff is but a few seconds; the mission is but a few hours; but the preparation is years in the making.


You are a man in the making. Before you race down that runway and head up into the sky, it’s important and wise to make sure you are well prepared and equipped for the flight. You’d better make sure you know how to fly the plane and that it has fuel in it. You’d better know what you’re going to do when you come under enemy attack. And, most importantly, you’d better know what the mission is and where you’re going. It’s easy to get lost in the vast sky without a plan.


Manhood is the same way. You’ll be there before you know it, and if you haven’t done your preparations in advance, you can make a lot of unnecessary mistakes as you’re racing down the runway of adolescence. Not only will you make more mistakes without good preparation now, but you can cause yourself—and others—a lot of harm and heartache as well. You can crash on the runway or take off in the wrong direction, and you might never grow into the sort of man God designed you to be. We don’t want you to crash or fly to the wrong destination or get lost in the sky.


This book is designed to give you a mission and flight plan:


We’ll tell you what your purpose is as a man. We’ll tell you what it means to be a man: what your destination is.


We’ll tell you how to accelerate properly and safely down the short runway of adolescence you are about to begin.


We’ll tell you about some problems you are likely to encounter and how you can defeat them before they make you crash or change your flight plan.


We’ll encourage you to get some good co-pilots and flight instructors and technical staff, both your age and older men, who will support and help you on your journey.


So buckle up! The next few years of your life will be a great adventure. Changes like these are on the way:


Your mind, body, emotions and relationships will be changing in ways that you can’t fully understand until you have experienced them.


You will feel new and more intense passions and desires.


You will think about girls, your friends and your parents differently than you do now, and you will relate to them in new ways.


You will think about yourself differently.


You will long for more independence and new challenges.


You will dream new dreams and develop your own identity.


Every adventure also has its share of difficulties and dangers. Self-esteem often dips during your teenage years (though many boys try to hide that on the outside). While you will enjoy and appreciate the increasing freedoms, they will bring temptations that can be hard to resist, and the consequences for a poor decision can be costly. While your body will grow in size and strength, it can be an awkward process with aches and acne. Girls can make your heart race and your heart break. All in all, adolescence can be like riding a roller coaster with many ups and downs.


In this book, we’ll give you as complete and honest of a look at the journey ahead as we can. We want this to be authentic and cover the real issues and temptations that you will likely encounter in the upcoming months and years. We are addressing the topics that boys tell us are on their minds and that teenage boys say they are struggling with. While some of these topics can be embarrassing or difficult, we believe that it is better to know on the front end what you will probably face, and we want to help equip and prepare you for facing them.


But it’s not just the next few years that we care about. We want you to have a vision for the sort of man God wants you to be when you have passed through the adolescent years. That’s our ultimate goal. If you will set your eyes on the final goal—the sort of man you should become—then that will direct you in how you navigate the teenage years. Approaching challenges with the end result in mind is always the best way to begin. Great coaches begin the season talking about where they want the team to be at the end of the season. They talk about conference championships and bowl games and final rankings.


Coaches give their players a playbook to instruct them on how they want the game to be played. God has given you His playbook to help you navigate through the issues that you will be facing in the next few years. Boys are often surprised to hear that the Bible speaks on so many topics. Drinking, peer pressure, friendships, families, girls, even puberty and sex—the Bible gives us perspective and instruction in these matters. It speaks to the role and responsibilities of men. It tells you the sort of man, husband and father you should be one day. It tells all of us how to approach our work and worship and the girls and women in our lives. It talks about our self-worth, our successes, and the stuff we own, use and want to have. It covers difficulties and failures. It tells us about the forgiveness you can experience for all of our mistakes, including ones you may have already committed. We’ll cover all of these topics in this book.


But even more than covering these topics, the Bible describes God’s love for you. Rather than primarily advice and rules, the Bible, most importantly, is the true story of the good news of how much God loves us and how He is seeking to save us. It’s the good news of what He has done for us rather than what we can do for Him. It’s about what we can receive rather than what we must achieve.


We hope that by helping to develop your thinking about these teenage topics and understanding God’s love, grace and pursuit of us, you will grow in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. Our desire is that one day you will become a better man, husband and father, and we hope that you will, long before then, deepen your faith and walk with the Lord Jesus Christ; we hope you at least begin to explore questions in your mind and heart about who this God of the Bible is and what He means when He says in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has plans to grow and prosper you.


Questions for Reflection and Discussion


1. What are some of the issues that you think will be difficult for you in the next few years?


2. Does the idea of becoming a man scare you or make you nervous? Why or why not?


3. If you could have one question answered about the road ahead for you, what would it be?


4. Is your dad available to talk with you about adolescence and the journey to manhood? If he is not

available, who could you talk to about this important topic?


5. What do you hope to accomplish by reading and studying this book?


6. What is the best piece of advice your dad, mom, adult leader, coach, or mentor has given you so far?


7. How would you define manhood?


8. Do you view the upcoming years of your life as an adventure or just a regular part of your life? Why or why not?