Review for Trauma Plan (Grace Medical) by Candace Calvert

US Navy 110727-N-YR391-005 Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer ...

US Navy 110727-N-YR391-005 Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Freeman, an Obstetrics-Gynecology physician at Naval Hospital Jacksonville (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trauma Plan (Grace Medical) by Candace Calvert

Trauma Plan is the first book of the Grace Medical series by Candace Calvert. Rescue Team is the second book. Both books are completely independent of each other, inspirational romantic suspense novels.
Major Jackson Travis, also Dr. Travis (and sometimes known as Rambo), is director and physician of a local free medical clinic which he operates in his spare time. He works ER shifts at various hospitals in San Antonio, including Alamo Grace Hospital. Still in his uniform after a Reserve weekend, he accompanies a trauma patient who had fallen asleep with a cigarette in his hand, and consequently suffered from burns, to Alamo Grace Hospital. He would be working the afternoon shift there.

Trauma Chaplain Riley Hale has been chaplain only four months. A year ago, she was an ER nurse, but now she is recovering from spinal chord damage that affected her dominant arm and hand. After a year of physical therapy, occupational therapy and counseling and remarkable recovery, what she really wants is to return to duty as an ER nurse. She practices diligently on manikins, simulated limbs and even fruit to regain her skills, especially IV insertion and injections, but she is afraid she may not qualify to return to duty if she can’t regain dexterity in her right hand. She hopes working at the free clinic with real patients will help her do that.

When Riley first meets Dr. Travis at Alamo Grace Hospital, sparks fly for all the wrong reasons. She has the impression he is reckless, arrogant and unconventional–definitely the Rambo type. And the doctor has no use for chaplains in his ER. In spite of their unfavorable first impressions, Jack needs nurse volunteers for his clinic. He knows of Riley’s limitations but decides to risk it in the guise of allowing her to practice at the clinic to further regain competence with her injured arm. Secretly, he hopes her family name will help to eleviate some of the bad publicity his clinic has garnered recently from disgruntled homeowners in the posh community near the clinic.

Quirky events kept throwing Jack and Riley together as they worked at the clinic and the ER. Someone was causing trouble for the clinic. It looks as if they had no choice but to work together to solve some of the mysteries; in doing so, secrets they were trying to keep were in danger of being revealed.

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I enjoyed the quick pace of the story as the mystery unfolded. The author created many likeable and believable characters. My favorite person was Bandy, a scrappy former rodeo rider now retired and working in the clinic as the man of many talents, including night watchman. His character added welcome comic relief combined with pithy wisdom and spiritual insight. And you couldn’t help but love Bandy’s little rodeo dog, Hobo, cart and all. Unexpected twists in the plot make this a very interesting and satisfying read. I know I’ll enjoy reading this again.

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Review on Christianity Lite: More me-Less God by Glen Berteau

Christianity Lite: More me-Less God by Glen Berteau

More Me-Less God by Glen Berteau

More Me-Less God by Glen Berteau

“In today’s culture, many people want ‘More me, less God.’
We need more than a diluted, decaffeinated version of discipleship.
We need the real thing.”

Glen Berteau alerts his readers to recent trends in western culture to trivialize or lighten everything. We eat lite foods and drink lite beverages. We are focused on reducing our responsibilities and adding more benefits. We want life to focus on us. We want our needs to be met. This philosophy of life is creeping into our churches to the point where we want a lite Jesus and a lite church. But does this viewpoint of life work? Is our relationship with Christ enriched and enhanced when we adopt this way of living? We don’t need imitation Christianity; we need the real thing, the real Jesus and the real God. If you want to experience the richness of a close relationship with Christ Jesus, this is the book for you.

The book is set up for individual study, small group study, and classes. But you can also read it through as you would any book on the topic of discipleship. Personally, I would use this for individual devotions, journal my thoughts after each section. There are eight chapters with review questions at the end of each chapter. Each chapter has many sections that can be adapted for daily devotional use. Scattered throughout each chapter are what I like to call, “truth bullets”. They are short statements that hit at the heart of the issue being covered in that chapter. Here are a few of my favorite bullets:

  • “Here’s the truth: Jesus didn’t come to hurt you. He came to kill you.”
  • “Jesus never altered his message to fit His audience.”
  • “People can be very religious without being godly.”
  • “God never wastes our past or our pain.”

The first chapter discusses and explains the “more me, less God” philosophy infiltrating our churches–the desire to have benefits without responsibility. What are these responsibilities we opt to live without? We want to be saved, but without power, without prayer, without cost, without offense, and without sharing. We want to be saved without making an impact on our world. “In Christianity Lite people talk often about the love of God. All the pious words and platitudes taste great, but they’re less filling–they don’t call people to a full-hearted devotion to Christ and His cause.”

The author’s writing style is clear and direct. He uses real life examples and numerous analogies to explain his points. He wants us to know that no one, absolutely no one is beyond God’s grace. His book calls us to serious discipleship, but he assures us that it isn’t what we do that wins God’s favor, but the attitudes of our heart. “If you’ve been drinking Christianity Lite, spit it out! God is tugging on your heart…throw your heart wide open. Stop demanding that Jesus dance to your tune, and begin living the adventure of risk and real blessing.” He explains that Christianity Lite promises we can live any way we want and do what we want. But the Biblical Jesus came to destroy sin, embarrass the flesh, insult the sinful nature, and transform our selfishness into humility and devotion to God. God’s intent is to transform us! Is this the desire of your heart?

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Step by step, the author guides us through the necessary components of discipleship. He doesn’t mince words or avoid sensitive issues. He doesn’t get lost in theological rhetoric, but speaks plainly right to our hearts. I sincerely believe this study will help you move closer into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. It has for me.

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by the author through The Booketeria, a review service for Charisma House Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review for: Rescue Team (Grace Medical) by Candace Calvert

Rescue Team (Grace Medical) by Candace Calvert

Rescue Team is the second book of the Grace Medical series by Candace Calvert. Trauma Plan is the first book. Both books are completely independent of each other, inspirational romantic suspense novels.

Main character Wes Tanner is an EMT, emergency medical technician, part of his county’s Search and Rescue Team, whose favorite phrase is, “You’re not lost anymore. We’re here to help you.” He and his volunteer team thrive on “live finds.” He is also part of his family’s well drilling business, and lives in Austin, Texas. His is a familiar face in the Grace Medical emergency room.

Kate Callison is Grace Medical’s newest interim emergency department director. She feels completely inadequate to fill the shoes of her predecessor, Sunni, who unexpectedly disappeared six months ago. From what she’s heard from her overly stressed nursing staff about Sunni Sinclair, the nurse was practically a saint. For months, her ER team has experienced one raw experience after another. The nursing team’s morale was sinking and Kate felt the strong urge to do what she did best–get out, move on, run away. But she was tired of new places, new faces and a sense of restlessness. She wanted to fit in and settle down, find a sense of home somewhere. She thought she’d found that place in Austin.

A chance meeting in the emergency department over a Baby Doe incident left an impression on Wes of Kate’s eyes–large and so sad. He sensed some serious history. He was right; she had secrets she didn’t want to share, even with her best friend. But then, beneath his own caring personality, Wes harbored secrets of his own– issues he hadn’t settled since he was a young boy. Each time Wes and Kate met each other sparks flew–at first in conflict, but gradually in attraction.

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Author Candace Calvert has successfully crafted a world with characters you can care about, laugh with, struggle along side of, and experience glimmers of hope down the road to resolution. They live and breathe and become the reader’s friends. I enjoyed the flashes of humor from time to time as their relationship developed. The resolution at the end of the story was heart meltingly satisfying. I loved the fast pace of the emergency room setting, and the encouragements of long broken relationships mended. This book is one I will enjoy reading over and over.

Review of Though My Heart is Torn by Joanne Bischof

Clouds breaking up after a rainy morning in th...

Clouds breaking up after a rainy morning in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Photo taken from the Deep Gap overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina, with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though_My_Heart_is_Torn_img_lgThough My Heart is Torn by Joanne Bischof

Though My Heart is Torn is the second book in a historical trilogy set in the Blue Ridge Mountains by Joanne Bischof. The first book, Be Still My Soul, is the story of Gideon O’Riley, a bluegrass musician and rogue. This book continues the story of Gideon after he marries Lonnie Sawyer. The third book, My Hope is Found continues Gideon’s and Lonnie’s story.

I have only read this second book in the trilogy, but based on the superb writing, I will definitely be looking for the other books to read the entire story straight through. In spite of being the second book, however, the story stands alone very well on its own. The reader knows that Lonnie and Gideon have an unusual history together, since they make reference to it a couple of times, but I didn’t find it detracted from the momentum of the story line.

Very quickly at the beginning we learn that Gideon and Lonnie are very much in love and they have a son only a few months old. They have been taken in and cared for by an older couple, Jebediah and Elsie. When they receive an unusual missive from Lonnie’s father saying her mother was ill, they decide to leave for her home town of Rocky Knob right away, in spite of the typical cold rainy weather of autumn. Gideon knew Lonnie would want to see her mother right away. It was about a two day hike through the mountain pass, and only navigated by foot.

When the couple and little Jacob arrive at Lonnie’s home, they discover it was a ruse. The following day they are given solemn news: Gideon had two wives. The first wife, whom Lonnie knew nothing about, was claiming her rights. In the early 1900’s, this type of problem fell under the jurisdiction of the church because they kept record of local marriages. The two church leaders decided that since there was no record of the papers dissolving the first marriage, Lonnie and Gideon were not legally married, and Gideon must return to his first wife. Her family backed up that decision in typical Appalachian style with rifles in hand. In addition, the couple was given three days to sign papers officially nullifying their wedding vows. The remaining story follows the two as they separate and go their different ways.

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If you are anything like me, and love a good tale that plumbs the depths of sorrow and the heights of joy, then I’d advise you to stock up on the tissues. It will grab you by the heart and wring it dry by the conclusion, which by no means resolves all the issues. I just couldn’t put the book down. From the beginning chapters, my attention was riveted. It took me only a couple of days to read cover to cover. Since I love history, this romance historical fiction was a good fit for me. I highly recommend this book to others who love this genre as well. I’m looking forward to reading the complete trilogy as soon as possible.

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by The Booketeria website which serves Charisma House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Review of Found Adrift: 40 Days of Recovering Grace by Pauline Creeden

Found Adrift: 40 Days of Recovering Grace by Pauline Creeden

Do you get distracted from your focus on God? What causes you to move away from Him and focus on the world around you, or on yourself? How do you get back to a close relationship with the Lord? The author, Pauline Creeden, offers a short study course, in the form of a devotional for 40 days, to guide the reader through the journey back to His loving Presence. The 40 days are significant because moving away from God is often due to bad habits. So to move closer to Him, we need to re-establish good habits in place of the bad ones.

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Ms. Creeden explains in the beginning that this set of devotions began as her own personal journey. Writing from her heart, she dug down deep to find the habits that needed to be rooted out, and added her thoughts about them as she meditated on God’s Word. A few she writes about are fear, loss of control, worry, stubbornness, substituting other things for the natural craving we have for God, pride, living by sight, and stress.

How can we remove so much that is distracting us? She pens her thoughts: pray to break the habit of drifting away; be patient, progress will seem slow; apply the armor of God; give God control; understand the threshing process; step out in faith; choose whom we serve…and more. And finally, she gives us concrete things for us to do and turn to: give thanks; ask God what He wants us to do for Him; trust God to open doors that seem to be closed; take everything to God in prayer; we are called to teach; seek His kingdom first; His grace is enough…and so much more.

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There is a pattern many of us children of God seem to get caught up in. Using the author’s metaphor, we drift away, row back to shore, drift away, and row back to shore again. Over and over, we repeat this rhythm. One of my first thoughts in reading this devotional was how true this was for me. Then I thought how it might help to journal the process, find the specific distractions unique to me and pinpoint them, pray about them and pray through them. Perhaps if we do this enough, we will start to recognize when we’re drifting and catch it before we get out too far. The author warns us drifting will happen. She encourages us not to look back, but to keep pressing on. Three things stuck in my mind that I think will help us in our journeys: be a praise warrior; never stop learning–be teachable; and always seek His kingdom first. Perhaps these short devotional thoughts will help your journey as well.

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by the author through Read for Review, a review service for AtlWit Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.