31 December 2015

Whatever Is Lovely: A Coloring Book for Reflection and Worship by Waterbrook Press

Take a sneak peek here.
Color your way to peace and worship.

We live in such a busy, hectic world – but what waits for you inside this cover is a way to quiet the noise, express creativity, and spend some sweet time with God. Each page features an original design from one of a dozen different artists, beautifully illustrating a contemplative quote from an inspirational writer, a beloved hymn, or Scripture. 
When we create, we echo the heart of our Creative God who designed everything and gave us the capacity to recognize beauty. 
So go ahead! You have permission to pick up your colored pencil and be reminded of truth in a fresh way.

With adult coloring books being quite popular these days, Whatever Is Lovely: A Coloring Book for Reflection and Worship offers the coloring Christian a beautiful and creative resource, perfect for relaxing and reflecting. This coloring book is filled with numerous thick pages of varied black-lined designs and related spiritual truths. Since I don’t believe I ever truly outgrew the joy of coloring, I have loved coloring in Whatever Is Lovely so far and eagerly look forward to more coloring in the future. It’s simply a lot of fun with positivity and encouragement, and I think any Christian who loves coloring will not be disappointed with Whatever Is Lovely - I have absolutely no problems recommending it.

Thanks to Blogging for Books, I received a copy of Whatever Is Lovely and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

30 December 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: You're the One That I Want & The Prophetess

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.

Title: You're the One That I Want
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale
Expected Publication Date: 1 February 2016

Owen Christiansen has been in a downward spiral since an injury ended his NHL career. But a job on an Alaskan crabbing boat offers a fresh start…maybe even a shot at romance with Elise “Scotty” McFlynn, the captain’s daughter.

Used to being one of the guys, to never relying on anyone, Scotty doesn’t believe in happily ever after – especially with someone like Owen. Her instinct is confirmed when Casper Christiansen arrives to drag his prodigal brother home, bringing with him a truckload of family drama – and even worse, the news that Casper is wanted for questioning in connection to a crime back in Minnesota.

But Owen is more than the sum of his mistakes, a truth both he and Scotty discover when she escorts both brothers to Deep Haven as part of her new job on the Anchorage police force. Thrust into an unfamiliar world of family, faith, and fresh starts, Scotty begins to see potential for a happy ending…if she’s brave enough to embrace it.

Title: The Prophetess
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Publisher: Revell
Expected Publication Date: 2 February 2016

Outspoken and fearless, Deborah has faith in God but struggles to see the potential her own life holds. As an Israelite woman, she'll marry, have a family, and seek to teach her children about Adonai – and those tasks seem to be more than enough to occupy her time. But God has another plan for her. Israel has been under the near constant terror of Canaan's armies for twenty years, and now God has called Deborah to deliver her people from this oppression. Will her family understand? Will her people even believe God's calling on her life? And can the menace of Canaan be stopped?

24 December 2015

Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman

After her father and stepmother's accidental death, Kelli Huddleston sorts through their belongings and learns a shocking secret. Years before, her father faked his death during a boat wreck at sea – and faked Kelli's as well. He'd run from a wife, a son, and a daughter back in Tennessee, meaning Kelli has a family she's never known.

She's already cashed the payout on her dad's life insurance check and looks at it as her ticket to a new life. The lure and puzzle of digging into this hidden past is too much to resist, and she soon finds herself in Tennessee. When the trip threatens to open doors to the past better left shut, and her plans for the future are threatened, Kelli must make an agonizing choice that will change her life forever.

Kathryn Cushman’s Finding Me takes unsuspecting Kelli Huddleston on a life-altering journey of discovery. Her father recently died in a tragic accident, and as she sorts through his belongings, Kelli discovers he spent years keeping secrets and lying about the family she never met. She then travels across the country to get to know her mother and siblings and, as the title suggests, finds a bit about herself, too. I really enjoyed following Kelli throughout this novel, and I found it really hard to put down. I look forward to reading more from Kathryn Cushman in the future.

Thanks to Goodreads First Reads, I won a copy of Finding Me. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

23 December 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Feathered Bone & Keeper of the Stars

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.

Title: Keeper of the Stars
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: HarperCollins Christian Publishing
Expected Publication Date: 26 January 2016

She blames him for her brother's death. Can she let go of resentment and open her heart to love?

Penny Cartwright found it difficult to understand why her younger brother would choose to join a country singer’s band rather than return to Kings Meadow after college… and the separation strained their relationship. Then a car accident made certain her brother could never return.

Trevor Reynolds has chased stardom in Nashville for more than a dozen years, but it remains out of his reach. After an accident kills his young drummer, Trevor goes to Kings Meadow to keep a promise – and perhaps to discover what truly matters in this life.

Thrown together by circumstances, Penny and Trevor must learn to give and receive forgiveness. And if they do, perhaps something beautiful can rise from the ashes of heartbreak.

Title: The Feathered Bone
Author: Julie Cantrell
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Expected Publication Date: 26 January 2016

In a distracted moment, Amanda lost sight of young Sarah… and her entire world came crashing down.

Going to New Orleans for a fifth grade field trip seemed like a bad idea to start with, but when Amanda lost sight of Sarah, her daughter’s best friend, the bad idea became a complete nightmare. Unable to cope with the guilt of being the last one to see Sarah, Amanda’s daughter commits suicide. Then, unable to deal with a wife stuck in a state of grief, Amanda’s husband abandons her for a younger woman. By year’s end, she’s lost everything dear to her.

And then, after six years without a single lead, the lost Sarah is miraculously found. The horrors she endured leave a difficult road to healing. But small signs, such as a sparrow that consistently appears at her window, kept Sarah’s faith intact. She’s determined that Amanda will take this new journey with her… to a place where they can both find hope and purpose again.

21 December 2015

Adapt or Die: Leadership Principles From an American General by Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Rick Lynch with Mark Dagostino

Goodreads | Amazon
The world needs you to lead.
And in order to lead, you need to adapt.

Sharing stories from the front and insights born from overcoming adversity on the battlefield and in the boardroom, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Rick Lynch offers nine impactful leadership principles to help you develop your own effective, flexible leadership style. From earning respect and working effectively with diverse teams to adapting to new technology and laying a foundation of trust built upon integrity, these principles are what separate the leader who is merely equipped and the leader who excels.

Are you ready to start your training?

Adapt or Die: Leadership Principles From an American General is an interesting read in which Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Rick Lynch shares insight gained from his experience and success in the military. This book is straightforward and easy to read with clear principles and advice for leaders. It’s an interesting read, though I’m not really a fan of success-oriented books, and could be a benefit to readers looking to hone their leadership skills.

Thanks to Baker Book Bloggers, I received a copy of Adapt or Die and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the Authors
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Rick Lynch has commanded at all levels of the Army, from company to Corps to commander of all U.S. Army installations. He spent a total of over thirty months in Iraq, including fifteen months as one of the leaders of the 2007 surge, and is now president and CEO of R Lynch Enterprises. He and his wife, Sarah, live in Texas.

Mark Dagostino is a New York Times bestselling coauthor and former senior writer for People magazine. He wrote Courage to Stand with Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and is the coauthor of Rudy: My Story with Notre Dame legend Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger. He lives in New Hampshire.

18 December 2015

More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation by William Hendriksen

Goodreads | Amazon
"What a wealth of comfort; what an insight into the future; above all, what an unveiling of the love of God are contained in the words of the prophecy of this book!"

With an uninterrupted printing history since it was first published in 1939, this treasured interpretation of the book of Revelation has served as a solid resource and source of inspiration for generations. Using sound principles of interpretation, William Hendriksen unfolds the mysteries of the apocalypse gradually, always with the purpose of showing that "we are more than conquerors through Christ." 

Both beginning and advanced students of the Scriptures will find here the inspiration to face a restless and confusing world with a joyful, confident spirit, secure in the knowledge that God reigns and is coming again soon. This straightforward interpretation makes a helpful resource for pastors, teachers, students, and anyone who desires a deeper understanding of the Scriptures.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation is a highly beneficial book for Christians hoping to understand the daunting Book of Revelation a bit better. Hendricksen does approach the topic from an amillennial perspective, which may be new or different for some readers, but his interpretation offers a completely compelling and thought-provoking exploration of Revelation. I enjoyed reading this book and discovering Hendricksen’s perspective. I think I could easily recommend More Than Conquerors to fellow Christian readers.

Thanks to Baker Book Bloggers, I received a copy of More Than Conquerors and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the Author
William Hendriksen (ThD, Princeton Theological Seminary) was professor of New Testament literature at Calvin Theological Seminary.

17 December 2015

Delighting in God by A.W. Tozer, compiled and edited by James L. Snyder

Goodreads | Amazon
Understand your life's purpose by better understanding God.

"My worship grows and grows as my perception of God grows. God cannot grow. My perception of God grows as I experience Him day after day. I should be more capable of worshiping God today than I was ten or twenty years ago."

Delighting in God is the message Tozer intended to be the follow-up to The Knowledge of the Holy. He demonstrates how the attributes of God – those things God has revealed about himself – are a way to understand the Christian life of worship and service. Because we were created in the image of God, to understand who we are, we need to understand who God is and allow His character and nature to be reflected through us. 

We are here to serve and adore Him, and we can only fulfill that role by acknowledging who He is. This is the essence of the Christian life and the source of all our fulfillment, joy, and comfort.

Delighting in God is a compilation of several of A.W. Tozer’s sermons, focusing on the attributes of God and how we perceive Him. Each chapter clearly conveys Tozer’s passion faith and offers his convicting perspective about living a life of faith. It’s a valuable read, and I found it to be entirely thought-provoking. I recommend Delighting in God to Christian readers, especially fans of Tozer - it’s a beneficial and worthwhile book.

Thanks to Bethany House, I received a copy of Delighting in God and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

16 December 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Merchant of Alyss & Mermaid Moon

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.

Title: Merchant of Alyss
Author: Thomas Locke
Publisher: Revell
Expected Publication Date: 5 January 2016

Life for Hyam is bittersweet. Admired by the citizens of Falmouth for his heroic rescue mission, he cherishes these peaceful days with Joelle by his side. Yet grief over the loss of his magical skills during the great Battle of Emporis threatens to engulf him. Sometimes he even wishes he had never known magic at all.

When Hyam comes into possession of an ancient Milantian scroll, he is thrilled to feel the surge of power that courses through him whenever he touches it. But what he discerns in the text could mean war. He embarks upon another journey to determine its true meaning and forestall any attack. But as Hyam is seeking answers, he is unaware that the merchant of Alyss is seeking him…

Title: Mermaid Moon
Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Expected Publication Date: 12 January 2016

Audra’s father uttered his last words in a phone call: “Come home to Mermaid Beach.” Now she’s back – determined to find the truth.

Audra Davis believes her father was murdered. Her childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden of Mermaid Beach, is also suspicious of the accident – but he’s equally determined to keep Audra at arm’s length. She broke his heart years ago when she left without a word. He’s not about to lower his guard and let her get close again. He has his daughter Faith to think about. With his track record, he doesn’t think any woman will stay in down-east Maine’s remote windswept coast. 

Hoping to discover what happened to her father, Audra takes over his mail boat duties, guiding his trusted boat on deliveries to see what she can uncover. Soon she finds letters from her birth mother – letters postmarked but never delivered. How could her father have kept them from her all this time? Do they have anything to do with his murder?

In spite of his doubts, Kevin thinks Audra might be right about her father’s death. As the only law enforcement officer in the area, he has a duty to help her track down the killer. Spending so much time together begins to rekindle the torch he’s carried for her all these years, but he still sees the guilt in her eyes that drove her away in the first place – guilt over choosing to spend time with him the fateful night her mother died instead of fueling her mother’s boat. Can Kevin and Audra navigate their way to each other before a murderer rips them apart forever?

14 December 2015

The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Sophie Dupont, daughter of a portrait painter, assists her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. She often walks the cliffside path along the north Devon coast, popular with artists and poets. It's where she met the handsome Wesley Overtree, the first man to tell her she's beautiful.

Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother's neglected duties. Home on leave, he's sent to find Wesley. Knowing his brother rented a cottage from a fellow painter, he travels to Devonshire and meets Miss Dupont, the painter's daughter. He's startled to recognize her from a miniature portrait he carries with him--one of Wesley's discarded works. But his happiness plummets when he realizes Wesley has left her with child and sailed away to Italy in search of a new muse.

Wanting to do something worthwhile with his life, Stephen proposes to Sophie. He does not offer love, or even a future together, but he can save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he believes he will, she'll be a respectable widow with the protection of his family.

Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie agrees to marry a stranger and travel to his family's estate. But at Overtree Hall, her problems are just beginning. Will she regret marrying Captain Overtree when a repentant Wesley returns? Or will she find herself torn between the father of her child and her growing affection for the husband she barely knows?

I have loved every novel I have read by Julie Klassen, and her newest one, The Painter’s Daughter, is no exception. Once again, Klassen has written a fascinating historical story with a cast of dynamic characters, plenty of challenging circumstances, and encouraging spiritual growth - I simply could not put it down. Sophie Dupont makes a wonderful female protagonist, artistic and independent yet desperate, as she finds herself in a bit of predicament and impulsively marries Captain Stephen Overtree, the brother of her former love, Wesley Overtree. Her story continues from there with drama, scandal, and romance and will please any fan of Julie Klassen’s novels. I highly recommend it and can’t wait to read more from Klassen in the future.

Thanks to Bethany House, I received a copy of The Painter’s Daughter and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

11 December 2015

Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray

About the Book
Lydia's job at the library is her world – until a mysterious patron catches her eye…and perhaps her heart.

Just months after the closure of the Chicago World's Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.

Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.

Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn't merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.

Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks – the man so many people fear – is actually everything her heart believes him to be.

Third in Shelley Gray’s Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series (but could easily be read by itself), Whispers in the Reading Room takes place after the conclusion of the fair, as Lydia Bancroft and Sebastian Marks strike up an unlikely relationship from their interactions in a reading room. As they spend more time together and their histories and vulnerabilities come to light, the drama and intrigue heighten with dangerous implications. It’s a fascinating story, with plenty of romance, and I couldn’t put it down. I would certainly recommend it to fans of historical romance.

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity Group, I received a copy of Whispers in the Reading Room and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. To read other opinions, be sure to check out what other reviewers think here, and purchase a copy of the book here.

About the Author
Shelley Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail. 

Find her online at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.