Merry Kisses A Riverbend Romance Novella 5 by Valerie Comer ~ Review

Merry Kisses A Riverbend Romance Novella 5 by Valerie Comer

Merry Kisses A Riverbend Romance Novella 5 by Valerie Comer

This is a new author to me, but I did enjoy this book very much. So much, in fact, that I read it twice in a row, back to back. What attracted me to the story most was the element of conflict between the two prominent characters, Sonya Simmons and Heath Collins. I have to say that the topic of interest was one I hadn’t read in other books before. I think it will be especially interesting to those who are young Christian parents.

I enjoy novellas. They are unique because the story usually remains focused on a single topic. Novellas can be used by authors as prequels, sequels, as a way to supplement a series with characters that are on the peripheral, or use a familiar setting but with entirely new characters. Because a novella is shorter, you can read it in just a few hours. But what I like most is that it is a way to showcase an author’s ability to delve into some great characterization in a short period of time. A few are successful at growing their characters satisfactorily. This author has that talent. Because of the interesting topic the main characters have conflict over, we become privvy to some interesting thought processes and provoking ideas.

Merry Kisses A Riverbend Romance quote1

Another element of the story I enjoyed was the great humor the author employed when Sonya and Heath are together. The situation Sonya got into at the beginning of the story was funny and yet serious at the same time. And Heath was an entirely likeable guy. He didn’t mean to get Sonya into trouble, and his efforts to ingratiate himself with Sonya were humorous.

Merry Kisses A Riverbend Romance Novella Quote2

Third, I just enjoy Christmas stories. Period. I found the situation of conflict between the two that included some interesting aspects about Christmas thought provoking and plausible, since I used to be a young parent once and struggled with some elements of the holidays too. I recommend this book, especially if you enjoy Christmas novellas.

 

Discount Christian Books, Bibles and Gifts

 

Free Novel

 

Sign up here to join Tyndale publisher’s Reward Program

 

 

Netgalley badge

 

Moore Family Films

 

 

Gospel eBooks | Free & Discount Christian e-Books for the Amazon Kindle

 

Challenge Participant

 

Tyndale Blog Network

 

 

 

Blogger Badge 2 (260x125)

 

Visit The Book Club Network, Inc.

 

Join Smiley360

 

 

Christian book finds

 

Advertisements

Phoebe’s Journey: Part 1: Of Passion and Pride by Kathryn B. Collett ~ Review

phoebe's Journey pic

Phoebe’s Journey: Part 1: Of Passion and Pride by Kathryn B. Collett

My very first reaction after finishing this terrific historical fiction is ‘wow’! Kathryn Collett is a great storyteller. I literally picked up the book and spent hours reading it and couldn’t put it down until I finished. That doesn’t happen to me very often.

In the author’s note at the beginning of the book, she gives a little bit of background about the main character and a little about herself. I find myself drawn to the same type of book she has written. I have always been fascinated by the history behind the very earliest Christians living on the Mediterranean. That’s because after Jesus died, the Mediterranean Sea was the primary vehicle in spreading the Gospel throughout the Roman world. The author explains, “Phoebe is an actual historical woman who lived in the first century. But who was she really? Was she married? Did she have children? What motivated her? Who were her friends? When did she first cross paths with the Apostle Paul? What did she wear? What was she afraid of? Who did she love? These are just a few of the questions I’ve asked at various time.” This is the basis for this historical fiction.

Phoebe's Journey quote1

There are so many things to love about this author’s writing style. First, she is meticulous in her researched details of the lifestyle of citizens of Corinth, the life of the early Christians, and the early ministry of Paul the Apostle. I felt drawn into the story personally. All the details and story line give this book credibility. I felt I was right there, side by side with Phoebe, frustrated with her, desperate to save the family business with her, grieving and angry with her throughout her experiences when life becomes unfair.

Phoebe's Journey quote2

Second, the characters are believable. Human nature hasn’t changed at all in the past couple thousand years, and this author is adept at communicating human nature in all its variations of good, bad and evil.

Phoebe's Journey quote3

Third, for me this was a fast paced adventure. The writing is compelling, establishing an urgency as Phoebe seeks to make things right for her family and friends, in spite of the challenges and limited time she faces. Since this is the first book in a series of three stories, I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books. While this tale has a definitive conclusion, it also heavily implies there is much more to come. There is still more of the mystery to solve, and resolutions to make. I highly recommend this book to you. This is one of those books I will enjoy reading over several times.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Story Cartel on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. 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.”

 

Discount Christian Books, Bibles and Gifts

 

Free Novel

 

Join My Reader Rewards Club with Tyndale Publishing

 

 

 

Gospel eBooks | Free & Discount Christian e-Books for the Amazon Kindle

 

Challenge Participant

 

Tyndale Blog Network

 

 

 

Blogger Badge 2 (260x125)

 

Visit The Book Club Network, Inc.

 

Join Smiley360

 

 

Christian book finds

 

Moore Family Films

 

 

The Church At Third and Main by Reg Quist ~ Review

Church at Third and Main pic

The Church At Third and Main by Reg Quist

Have you ever read a book that at one point elicited a response like, “Oh, I remember doing that!” or “Yep, been there, done that, and have the t-shirt for it,” or others like those comments? Deja vu? or “Ah! I know what that’s like”. Or how about this, “Yes, sadly, that is true”? Those were some of my thoughts as I read through this book, twice. That’s because if you have ever been intertwined with the inner workings of a congregation of Christian believers whose church has seen better days and better times, you understand the angst of trying to bring it back to life. Oh, I’m not talking about the church building. That doesn’t really matter so much; it’s the inner soul of a church fellowship, the collective group of people where the total becomes greater than the number of its parts–individuals.

Church at Third and Main quote2

This is the story of a man who loves God better than himself. He has been approached by a person with God’s interest at heart. And this older member has asked Jonathon McCann to take on a two-year project, to attempt to bring the old congretation with its few remaining members back to life, to impact the neighborhood again, for the Lord. Jonathon was not a preacher or a pastor or a reverend or a Father. He was just a godly man, a husband, a father of children, a friend, a coworker. He was even a businessman. How could he possibly attempt such a hurculean task? That’s what this book is about. For me, since I have been close to this type of experience, seen its attempts, prayed for those who have tried, and cried over the failures and the hurts, this was a riveting read.

Church at Third and Main quote4

This may not be interesting reading for all persons. This story definitely has a target audience. But I hope you’ll give it a chance. If you’ve ever been a member of a group of people who love God, honor Him, and want to dedicate their lives to Him, then you may have shared some of the experiences found in this book. It will touch your heart and perhaps encourage you to look around and see where you fit in. It certainly touched mine and helped me gain some new perspectives.

Church at Third and Main quote3

My favorite parts of this book involved times when a few people’s souls were mended from past hurts and slights. These were not the prettiest parts of the story, but certainly central to what Jonathon was trying to do and central to what God is always doing, because His entire message to us humans is about reconciliation. Sometimes the right thing to do is the toughest thing to do. The writer skillfully portrays some of these crucial moments with sensitivity and heart.

Church at Third and Main quote1

There are also amusing incidents, crazy times, silly people, angry people, vindictive and unforgiving people in this story. A fellowship of Christian believers is like a family. You will always have a wide variety of members like this. They are part of this story and crucial to the plot. This is certainly a memorable book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from CKN Christian Publishing on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. 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.”

Discount Christian Books, Bibles and Gifts

Free Novel

Gospel eBooks | Free & Discount Christian e-Books for the Amazon Kindle

Challenge Participant

Tyndale Blog Network

Blogger Badge 2 (260x125)

Visit The Book Club Network, Inc.

Join Smiley360

Christian book finds

Moore Family Films

The Naomi Chronicles Book 2: Choosing to Be by Paula Rose Michelson ~ Review

Naomi Chronicles Choosing to Be new cover

The Naomi Chronicles Book 2: Choosing to Be by Paula Rose Michelson

This is book two of the series, The Naomi Chronicles. Both books are very closely tied, so even though they are complete books and can be read on their own, this second book closely continues the story begun in the first book and resolves much of it. I recommend you purchase them together and read them one right after the other.

The focus of this book divides between Naomi and her husband, Chaz. They are separated after only one week of marriage at the beginning of this story. What’s unique about this book is that the first book emphasized how most of life’s choices had been removed from Naomi’s life in her first thirty years. How many of us readers can identify with that? Stuff happens, and sometimes leads us places we hadn’t originally wanted to go. But now, she is at a crossroads and begins to realize she has many choices to make. The choices do not come easy to her, so this is her opportunity to learn many truths, find her inner peace, especially coming to peace with her past, and figure out how to proceed. Does she go back into hiding, or will she become like a butterfly, finally released from her cocoon?

Also in this second book, we become more acquainted with Chaz as an individual. We only get to know him briefly in the first book, so now his character becomes a little more developed and we see why he does the things he does. There is a twist in the plot here that may surprise you. I know it certainly knocked me for a loop when I learned more of his background. All I will tell you at this point is that there is a resolution for Naomi and Chaz. But the twist and the means of resolution is what makes this part of the tale so interesting.

Naomi Chronicles Choosing to Be quote1

Meeting with God

There is so much to love in this second book. First, the author does a remarkable job of fashioning an old world atmosphere in the way Naomi dresses, talks and thinks that’s charming. But it is also in stark contrast to the rest of this new world, and it takes her time to adjust to the American way of life. I find that so endearing. The author uses a small boy to make that transition more palatable for Naomi. As the saying goes, “out of the mouth of babes…”

Second, the same little boy brings in comic relief while Naomi grapples with heavy life issues. How true to life! Often when we are trying to take in what God is speaking to us about, distractions are a way of bringing relief to the intensity of the moment. Either it becomes a way to take our minds off the issue and leads us away, or it helps us focus better on the point God is trying to make. I enjoy seeing how the author uses this feature for Naomi’s good.

Naomi Chronicles Choosing to Be quote2

Third, I love the way the author leaves an opening for further development near the conclusion of the book. It makes me look forward to reading more of this series.

If you enjoyed this review, see my review of The Naomi Chronicles Book 1: No Other Choice here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of book 1 (basically) from the author and purchased this book on my own but with the author’s knowledge. My intention is to write a completely honest review. 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.”

Discount Christian Books, Bibles and Gifts

Free Novel

Sign up here to join Tyndale publisher’s Reward Program

Netgalley badge

Moore Family Films

Gospel eBooks | Free & Discount Christian e-Books for the Amazon Kindle

Challenge Participant

Tyndale Blog Network

Blogger Badge 2 (260x125)

Visit The Book Club Network, Inc.

Join Smiley360

The Naomi Chronicles Book 1: No Other Choice by Paula Rose Michelson ~ Review

No Other Choice new cover

The Naomi Chronicles Book 1: No Other Choice by Paula Rose Michelson

I have to say that this book and its sequel are some of the most intriguing reading I’ve experienced in a long while. It is the kind of story that makes you “walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins.” It is fiction, but based on history. That’s one of the reasons I love these books by this author so much.

First, the author prefaces the piece by asking us to imagine “what if” our beliefs were what threatened our family’s very lives. How would we live to survive? Suppose we saw our families and friends all around us killed or expelled or mistreated because of their similar beliefs? What would you do as a daughter of the house? Would you go into hiding? Live a lie? Fear for your life? Sacrifice for your family’s safety? With this mindset established, Naomi is introduced to us just as she sets foot in immigration as a 15-year-old girl, about to be deported because the family that was supposed to support her suddenly refuses to sponsor her in America. But she is rescued. The question presented in this book is this: was that rescue a blessing or a curse? You have to read this story to find out.

God puts things togeher

This book and book two used to be one story. So you need to purchase the second book to find the resolution to the first, which ends on a mild cliff hanger. Fortunately, book two picks up about five minutes after the first ends. Since this is a series, I didn’t mind that so much. But I feel you should know this and prepare to purchase both books together. In spite of that, book one is complete in that it encapsulates a complete idea and develops it thoroughly.

No Other Choice quote1

I enjoy getting to know a subculture of America I have never become acquainted with, in this case the Spanish Harlem area, or Harlem as it’s known today. The author uses this setting to make the surrounding circumstances Naomi finds herself in alive and familiar. You get to know and somewhat understand her community, watch how Naomi sacrifices her life goals to play an important part of the barrio and in the lives of its citizens. The author writes this so well I felt as if I were part of the community.

Naomi herself is going through a transition. The reader becomes privy to her inner turmoil as she struggles to find her place in life. Then the author adds a sweet romance in the final chapters that brings all the circumstances to a head, adding slight tension in Naomi’s character development.

No Other Choice quote2

I highly recommend this book, and of course, the entire series. It appears there is more to come, so I am looking forward to reading all the books based on how much I enjoyed the first two. I hope you will grow to love this series too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was approached by this author to write a review of her books, and she offered me this one as a complimentary copy. (But I had already gotten it last year. So technically I am writing this review for my opinion with the blessing of 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.”

Discount Christian Books, Bibles and Gifts

Free Novel

                          Sign up here to join Tyndale publisher’s Reward Program

Netgalley badge

Gospel eBooks | Free & Discount Christian e-Books for the Amazon Kindle

Challenge Participant

Tyndale Blog Network

Blogger Badge 2 (260x125)

    Visit The Book Club Network, Inc.

Join Smiley360

A Rushing Mighty Wind by Angus Buchan ~Review~

A Rushing Mighty Wind by Angus Buchan

A Rushing Mighty Wind

I first became aware of the author Angus Buchan, through the movie Faith Like Potatoes. The movie is based on his life as a young farmer in Zambia, Africa. Because of political unrest and land re-claims, he left the country to move south to KwaZulu Natal, South Africa to begin a new farm with his wife and children. Their struggle to get established was tense and desperate, but with the help of his foreman, Simeon Bhengu, they scraped by. Hardships and personal tragedy made Angus angry and disillusioned until he met Jesus. His life was transformed. I know that sounds cliche, but it isn’t in this movie. The movie is well worth your time to watch if you want to get the background on this preacher of God’s Word today.

A Rushing Mighty Wind quote1

The book, A Rushing Mighty Wind, is one of Mr. Buchan’s most recent updates. I was very excited to have this opportunity to read and review it. He shares with his readers of an extraordinary experience that occurred at a Christian get together in Israel. Mr. Buchan, who by now is a popular conference speaker as well as preacher and teacher, was asked by the International Christian Embassy to be the keynote speaker at the annual Feast of Tabernacles for Christians held in En-Gedi, the Dead Sea, on September 30, 2012. This event hosts delegates from countries from all over the world to meet in a spirit of unity, to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, to worship God and to address world Christian issues and pray over them. 2012’s theme was taken from Zecharaiah 12:10, “The Spirit of Grace and Supplication.”

When Angus Buchan was speaking, a miracle happened reminiscent of Acts chapter two. There were over 4,500 people at the event who witnessed God’s affirmation and power. The first several chapters of the book provides us with a background of the Feast of the Tabernacles, a brief purpose of the Christian Embassy, a description of the events, testimony from several delegates who were there, and a heart-felt follow-up from Mr. Buchan on what he believes we can take from this experience. The book is uplifting and encouraging.

A Rushing Mighty Wind quote2

One of the things that’s important to me when I read Christian non-fiction is to determine whether the book has established a firm foundation: the foundation being salvation through trust in Jesus Christ alone for reconciliation with God, the Father. When the foundation is firmly established in teaching books like this, then I look at whether the foundation is being built upon, using good material. I search to see if growth is encouraged through sound teaching from the Bible. Are readers urged to practice what they are taught? Are people led to maturity in their faith in the Lord, and in their walk with the Holy Spirit? Are they shown how to reach out to others in love? And finally, I observe to see if they are taught to be obedient to God in fulfilling His directive to tell others about the Lord Jesus Christ “unto the ends of the world.” Additionally, I look to see if the truth is being diluted or if believers are being distracted by something that could be good on its own merit but may be misused, overemphasized or under-emphasized.

A Rushing Mighty Wind quote3

In my opinion, this book demonstrates sound teaching from the Bible. “The Holy Spirit is regarded as a mirror. He reflects the glory of God. He will not try to take the place of Jesus; He is Jesus in the Spirit. This forms the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three are one and yet they are different entities.” The author does not emphasize one over the other as more important. He didn’t overemphasize or misuse the working of the Holy Spirit. Instead his book encourages us to develop an anticipation toward revival all around the world.

The author teaches others to teach others. One of the results of the modern day miracle of En-Gedi in 2012 was the creation of a new ministry that God led Mr. Buchan to begin: the Mighty Men Conferences. Part two of this book covers the exciting adventure God led the author through this ministry. People were being encouraged to mature in their faith in the Lord and in their walk with the Holy Spirit. The men returned home to become leaders in their own communities.

A Rushing Mighty Wind quote4

One powerful demonstration of leading others to reach out in love, was the story the author told about a special meeting in a city where there was labor unrest. The meeting went along as planned, there were no outbreaks in the stadium, and after the meeting where Mr. Buchan prayed for workers to give their all to their jobs and families, preached reconciliation, many people went back to work, and the entire work atmosphere changed positively. God can work in our hearts toward a spirit of cooperation and peace if we listen to Him.

I especially enjoyed the third part of this short 191-page book in which Mr. Buchan gives us an overview of some historical revivals from all over the world, a Welsh revival, an Indonesian revival and others. It reminded me that we need to keep praying for a revival right where we live as well as in our country and around the world.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) on behalf of Monarch Books. 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.”

Discount Christian Books, Bibles and Gifts

Free Homeschool Geography 1-year Curriculum Downoad

Well-Planned Holidays: PDF free download for a limited time

Sign up here to join Tyndale publisher’s Reward Program

Moore Family Films

Tyndale Blog Network

Cross Focused Reviews

Cross Focused Reviews

Visit The Book Club Network, Inc.

Awakening Faith: Daily Devotions from the Early Church by James Stuart Bell ~ Review

Awakening FaithAwakening Faith: Daily Devotions from the Early Church by James Stuart Bell with Patrick J. Kelly

“History instructs us, the law teaches us, prophecy foretells, rebukes condemn us,
wisdom persuades us, but the book of Psalms goes further than all of these. It is medicine for our spiritual health. When we read it, we find a medicine to cure the wounds caused by any of our passions. Whoever studies it deeply will find it to be like a gymnasium for their soul, where the different psalms are like different exercises set out before them. In that gymnasium, in that stadium of virtue, they can choose the exercises that will best train them to win the victor’s crown.”Ambrose

Is it possible for speakers, writers, musicians, artists, teachers, political leaders, missionaries and ministers to reach out to an audience 2,000 years in the future? Could they have something to express that we want to hear? Do we have anything in common with such persons of the past? If we strip away the culture, the dross and history of the ages, is there anything left to communicate? In my opinion, there certainly is.

When I received the book, Awakening Faith by James Stuart Bell, I was excited at the opportunity to finally fill in some of the gaping holes in my knowledge of the early history of the Christian church and the Church Fathers. After reading several of the 366 offerings, I haven’t been disappointed. While the language has been simplified, the content is deep and thought provoking. This is a book of devotions presented by many writers, speakers, and leaders of the early church; it is not a history book. However, there is a section at the end of the book that offers a brief history of each contributor. Armed with the synopses and the Internet, I enjoyed
expanding my understanding while reading the devotions.

I’ve often heard pastors teach that Christ came at one of the most opportune times in history, where the Roman Empire offered a tremendous means for the Gospel message to travel the length and breadth of Europe, the Middle East, the British Isles and the northern regions of Africa. In reading some of the devotional entries, I noticed how widespread so many of the contributors were…from Patrick of Ireland, and Sulpitius Severus in Gaul (France) to Cyprian of Carthage, Egypt, and Boniface known as the Aspostle of the Germans to Braulio who was a bishop in Spain, and Ephrem the Syrian, a deacon and hymn writer in Turkey to Theodore the Studite, a monk in Constantinople.

Another thing I noticed is that many of the early writings were in response to heretical beliefs that had gained popularity, drawing Christians away from basic Biblical truth. The abundance of heresies and the incursion of pagan beliefs in the early church prompted many leaders to write encouragement for young believers to stay true to Jesus’ teachings, and to refute errors. Consequently, there is a prolific amount of written documents kept and preserved to this day. What was written is still relevant for us.

Here are a few examples of wisdom that never grows old.

Newly excavated Church of Saint Jacob in Nisib...

Newly excavated Church of Saint Jacob in Nisibis, where Ephrem taught and ministered. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The [Holy] Spirit makes one person a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another to interpret Holy Scripture. The Spirit strengthens one person’s self-control, shows another how to help the poor, teaches another to fast and lead a life of asceticism, makes another oblivious to the needs of the body, trains another for martyrdom. His action is different in different people, but the Spirit himself is always the same. The Scripture says, ‘In each person the Spirit reveals his presence in a particular way for the common good’ (1 Corinthians 12:7).” Cyril of Jerusalem

“When the Holy Spirit saw that virtue was difficult for us, and that we neglected holy living because of our inclination toward pleasure, what did he do? He mingled the doctrines with delightful melodies, so that we would receive the benefit of divine wisdom through soft and pleasing sounds, just as wise doctors do who smear the cup of medicine with honey. Therefore, he devised these harmonious melodies for us to sing and, while singing, to be trained in goodness. For while it is difficult to hold in our mind an apostolic or prophetic message, we easily chant the words of the Psalms, even in the home and around in the marketplace. They can even sooth our wrath and lull us to sleep through their sweet melodies.” Basil the Great

“But how can we correct someone else when we are neglecting ourselves? We are wrapped up in worldly concerns, and the more we devote ourselves to superficial things, the more insensitive we become to spiritual things.” Gregory the Great

Cross Focused Reviews

Cross Focused Reviews

Apparently human nature and our spiritual needs haven’t changed much in the past 2,000 years.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this commentary from Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC) and Zondervan Publishing. 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.”