Imagine…The Great Flood by Matt Koceich ~ Review

Imagine…The Great Flood by Matt Koceich

Imagine The Great Flood pic

Wow! I was blown away by this book. It hits the ground running and never lets up the pace from there to the end. This read is a definite thumbs up.

In a series of quirky events, ten-year-old Corey is thrown into an adventure of epic proportions putting him right in the scene of a huge flood–THE Flood–just before the doors to the boat are about to close. Moment by moment Corey’s life is in jeopardy while evil all around him is trying to prevent him from reaching safety.

Not only does Matt Koceich write appropriate age-related physical conflict to create suspense in this book, but he also includes the more subtle battles of the mind and will, including deception, betrayal and temptation. Although the book is short in length, only 110 pages, the author skillfully blends all the elements together to make a fast-paced read for early readers. The high interest level is sure to attract reluctant readers as well.

Imagine The Great Flood quote1

As a parent years ago, my children and I would read together all the Magic Treehouse books as the stars in this series would travel the world to solve puzzles and find missing pieces. This has that type of feel to it, but without the pictures and with great foundational teaching. It is a chapter book which I believe will lend itself to being read aloud to very young children.

Imagine The Great Flood quote3

If the author develops this into a series, and I think that may be his intention, then we are in for a treat. In the meantime, I highly recommend you pick this up for your young readers and listeners. They’ll love this adventure. In fact, anyone between the ages of 7 to 107 will enjoy this book.

Imagine The Great Flood quote2

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Barbour Publishing on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or negative. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Apologizing and Explanations

Dear friends and readers,

First off, I want to thank you for being so patient with me over the past five or six months. I haven’t been as productive as I should have been.

Thank you

As you can tell by the title of my blog, I  have bipolar. Usually, this condition doesn’t affect my day to day way of living very much. I have had this diagnosis for about 20 years, so I have learned to cope with it. My particular bipolar tends to lean to the depressive side of the scale of mood swings. Usually 2-3 times a year I will hit a slump that could last a few weeks to a few months. Usually they occur in the winter months, partnering with Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) to slow me down. That’s what I thought happened in January of this year (2015). About the second week I felt myself slip into a depressive cycle.

Bipolar for Christ blog

Bipolar for Christ blog

Usually this means I slow down and sleep more hours, feeling unrested. That did happen. But in December I contracted a cough which held on throughout the entire winter. I was feeling unusually tired and slept even more than usual. I didn’t think twice about it until it didn’t let up in April. So I saw my doctor, and described my symptoms. He confirmed my suspicions that I had pneumonia over the winter! The coughing worsened in March, becoming spasmodic (something I get about once every 10 years). By April, the doctor had to give me a cough syrup with codeine in it. I was feeling as if the whole thing was getting better.

In the meantime, we have spent the winter looking for a home to buy. We have lived in this rental house for 8 years and have been ready to move on. We found our house in mid-April. Suddenly, we (my husband and son and I) were packing and my cough has continued (the dust didn’t help!), although getting a little better. So currently, we are in our new(er) home, (my husband and son doing most of the work! Praise God for these two!!) still moving the little bits, my cough is better but I still feel very tired. I no longer get feverish every few days (the pneumonia), so hopefully I’m finally on the mend. I will get back to writing reviews soon. Very soon. So again, I apologize for the lack of activity. I feel as if I have slept nearly half the year away!! Please be praying for further recovery, and I will keep you updated if there are more things to report.

Your servant in Christ,

Beverly Lynn Terry (4Gazpacho)

Youre in good hands with Jesus

Unplanned (A Kennedy Stern Christian Suspense Novel Book 1) by Alana Terry ~Review~

Unplanned by Alana Terry

Unplanned

Unplanned is one of three books by Alana Terry that are loosely tied together by references to an American couple, Roger and Juliette Stern, living in China near the North Korean border. There, they take in refugees from North Korea who express a desire to return to their home country with the gospel of Christ. The Sterns train them for a year in their secret seminary. The book Slave Again has more of their story and acts as a pre-quel for the book Torn Asunder, which focuses on three of the Stern’s students once they return to North Korea: Simon, Levi, and Hannah.

The main character in Unplanned is Kennedy Stern, Roger and Juliette’s daughter. She lives in Massachusetts, acclimating to American culture after ten years living in China. She attends Harvard University as a pre-med first year student. Rather than a sequel, this book is to begin a new series while occurring in the same time frame as Torn Asunder. From time to time, Kennedy reflects back to some of her parents’ students and wonders how they are faring in their missionary calling. At the opening of this book, she has just met with her childhood pastor, the first familiar face she has seen since her return to the States. Pastor Carl is married to Sandy, Kennedy’s childhood Sunday School teacher. The Lindgrens were also family friends of the Sterns, so from this point on the couple practically adopts Kennedy and looks after her.

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Pastor Carl and Sandy, along with their church, St. Margaret’s, had just opened a crisis pregnancy center and were searching for volunteers. Before she could think twice, Kennedy was given the hotline phone to answer over the weekend. Thinking this was the least time-consuming, low-impact help she could offer, she accepted. But her first…and second…and third calls were anything but ordinary. By the end of the weekend, she was embroiled in a sinister mystery that grew bleaker by the hour. A short, cursory investigation online placed her on someone’s radar. She and her unknown caller were both abducted and found themselves fighting for their lives.

Based on the three books I have recently read by this author, I enjoy the way she writes suspense thrillers. The issue she uses in her works are relevant, up-to-date and pertinent, especially for Christian readers. She is willing to push the envelope a bit and challenge her readers to really ponder things we are complacent about. In this particular case, she uses abortion, not as the issue, but as an issue that pushes the action and tension forward and challenges the readers to examine their own perceptions and beliefs.

The second aspect of the book I like is how well the author intertwines the suspense with character introspection. Kennedy is one person whom many of us may readily relate with. She all too easily gets caught in the pressing details of her life: lost in test preparation, lab assignments and reports, and assigned readings, barely communicating with her roommate, her parents and her friends. Finally faced with crushing seclusion, fear, and the threat of death, she realized how shallow she had become. What bothered her most during her darkest hours were thoughts of the Secret Seminary Students. Why couldn’t she be more like them in contrast to the plastic world in which she currently existed?

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Reading this story reminded me of reading one of Jesus’ parables. Let’s call this one the parable of the rock and the rowboat. The rock is what was solid and stable in Kennedy’s world. She has lived on the rock all her life until now. Suddenly, in spite of her knowledge of the perils of the sea, she finds herself out in a rowboat, seeking adventure and excitement. She is aware that the rock is still there while she allows the gentle waves to ease her further away. Reading this story, we find her in choppy waters she is barely aware of until they become turbulent. The adventure is exciting to read, although there is not yet a conclusion. There seem to be more adventures ahead for our boater. Will she head back toward the rock? Will she continue to drift outward or choose an entirely different option? To be continued. I recommend all the works by this author, including this most recent fiction, to read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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A September Bride (A Year of Weddings novella) by Kathryn Springer ~Review~

A September Bride (A Year of Weddings novella) by Kathryn Springer

A September Bride

A September Bride is one of Zondervan Fiction’s Year of Weddings novellas of 2014. I have reviewed several of the books in this series. If you are interested, here are the links to my reviews:

A December Bride,
A January Bride,
A February Bride,
A March Bride,
An April Bride,
A May Bride,
A June Bride.

I will be reviewing October and November’s books soon.

All the stories in this series are stand alone books. This one is bright, cheery, filled with good humor and laughs, a sweet romance, small town family dynamics and a happy ending. Conflict is on the light side with just a smidgen of mystery. It’s the perfect read for a get-away or a weekend.

Anne Price was looking for a new start in her life. So when she was offered the opportunity to manage a small town bookstore, she jumped at the chance. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Anne felt Red Leaf was a refreshing change for her. Everyone treated her like family and she immediately became involved in the town’s events. She even joined the historical society. She finally felt like she belonged–until she met no-nonsense Deputy Jesse Kent, her employer’s son. He regarded her with suspicion and wariness. She knew with her friendship with Lorna, the owner of the Second Story Bookshop, she’d be bumping elbows more than she liked with Jesse. But what had she done to earn his dislike?

Deputy Jesse Kent had gone on a three-week training conference. When he’d returned, his mother had hired a manager for her bookstore and seemed to have found a male admirer. Both were disturbing changes. His mother liked continuity, such as Monday night meatloaf; but here she was with a new manager, a new recipe, and even possibly a boyfriend. Why had all this change happened? All this prompted memories of another time years ago when he’d had to stand by helplessly while she’d had her trust betrayed with a so-called suitor turned con-artist. He had stolen the savings of many townspeople including her own. Jesse was only twelve at the time, but the event laid the foundation for his desire to become a law enforcement officer to protect his mom and his community. He couldn’t help being wary of the two newcomers, Michael and Anne. With Anne, there seemed to be an air of mystery around her, yet his mother trusted her completely. He only hoped it was merited; he was going to do what he could to be certain it was.

perfect time

The one thing I most enjoyed about this book was the author’s sense of humor. There were many occasions for a few chuckles and a smattering of giggles. Good clean humor.

Second, the light romance combined with good character development was a treat to read. Both Jesse and Anne had obstacles to overcome before their relationship could get off the ground. Jesse’s lack of trust was a major issue he had to overcome. Anne simply didn’t believe in herself. The author worked this out well, considering how short the novella is. Both Anne and Jesse were likable and even lovable in their own unique ways.

Finally, the author includes faith issues as part of the character development. Faith was part of their lives. It blended in seamlessly with the story line and felt as natural as breathing. The issues didn’t seem forced or unrealistic. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good, light romance.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Zondervan Fiction. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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