Sunday, May 22, 2016

An excellent book about Heaven: "The Real Heaven: What the Bible Actually Says" by Chip Ingram and Lance Witt

Cover Art

about the book....

With all the sensationalized stories of Heaven told from people who claim to have died and come back, how do you really know what to believe about Heaven?

Heaven has received a lot of attention in recent years as bestselling books and movies have told the stories of people who claim to have been there. 

What does the Bible actually say about heaven? 
What difference does it make? 
What happens the moment after we die? 
What will our relationships be like in heaven?

Chip Ingram sets aside the hype and myths and digs into the Scriptures to discover what God actually wants us to know about the afterlife hereafter. Most importantly, Ingram shows why our understanding of Heaven matters now, in this life. Because what we believe about Heaven actually affects us today in ways we may not have imagined.

my review....

Ingram and Witt offer up a very insightful book on what the Bible has to say about heaven, one that is clear, well-written, and laid out in easy to read chapters that can be read all at once or pondered one at a time. I have read many books on heaven, many written by people claiming to have visited the after-life in a near-death experience. What I appreciate about this one is that it is utterly grounded in the Word of God, and consequently is all the more compelling because readers can be certain it is based on truth. As we live in a culture that is all about satisfying our own desires and amassing treasures on Earth, this book is so very timely, as the authors urge us to keep our focus on the eternal life that is waiting for us. How quickly we can forget that all of these things we work so hard for, the good jobs and nice houses and things like that, ultimately don't matter in the face of eternity! I especially like how clearly the authors point out that we cannot earn our way to heaven, but that it is a gift of God's grace. So many people today seem confused about how to get to heaven, that you have to just be "good enough", which of course is impossible.

We all need the hope of Heaven to get us through the trials of life, and to keep our eyes set on what really matters in life. "The Real Heaven" is a wonderful addition to realm of literature focused on the afterlife, one that will point readers to the Truth of Scripture. 4 out of 5 stars. 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

 about the authors....

Chip Ingram

Lance Witt

Chip Ingram is the senior pastor of Venture Christian 
Church in Los Gatos, California, and teaching pastor and CEO of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. Chip is the author of many books, including God: As He Longs for You to See HimThe Invisible War; and Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and ten grandchildren and live in California.

Lance Witt is the founder of Replenish ministries, the author of Replenish the book, and often referred to as a pastor's pastor. Before launching Replenish, Lance served for twenty years as a senior pastor and six years as an executive/teaching pastor at Saddleback Church. Lance and his wife, Connie, have two grown children and four granddaughters.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Great suspense novel! "Sister Dear" by Laura McNeill

Allie Marshall has been dreaming of the day when she would be able to walk out of prison, having been sent behind bars for a crime she didn't commit. But when she is finally released, she finds that her dreams are nothing like reality, as the people in her community still view her as a felon, and the daughter she's been aching to reunite with wants nothing to do with her. Determined to clear her name, Allie starts hunting down the truth about what exactly happened all those years ago when she was arrested. As she delves into the past, she uncovers secrets that not only place her life in danger, but shake the foundation of her beliefs about her family.

Once again, Laura McNeill has written an absorbing page-turner, a tale that held me in its grip from the get go. My sympathies were instantly with Allie as I shuddered at the injustice of what she experienced, having been convicted despite her very innocence, and in the process losing her family and her future. I can only imagine how she must have survived such grief! As she begins her journey of finding out the truth, I was cheering by her side and eager to find out how things would unfold. And what Allie discovers is utterly chilling indeed, as the author deftly unearths one secret after another. McNeil has a fabulous writing style, and I simply couldn't get enough such that I read the entire book from start to finish in one day! The characters are deftly drawn, and the tension builds with each chapter especially as the story reveals a disturbingly dark side of Allie's sister. Honestly, I think if I were Allie I would be left having little faith in humanity! Fortunately, the story ends on a happy note, where the characters are still realistically broken but on the path to healing.

All in all, "Sister Dear" is one compelling read, and one I plan to take down off my book shelf again in the future. After her debut, "Center of Gravity", and now this great second novel, I can't wait to see what McNeil comes up with next! 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher via the BookLook Bloggers program, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

about the author...

Laura McNeillLaura McNeil is a writer, web geek, travel enthusiast, and coffee drinker. In her former life, she was a television news anchor for CBS News affiliates in New York and Alabama. Laura holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and is completing a graduate program in interactive technology at the University of Alabama. When she’s not writing and doing homework, she enjoys running, yoga, and spending time at the beach. She lives in Mobile, AL with her family.   

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sarah Sundin’s ‘Anchor in the Storm’ All Hands on Deck Giveaway

In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love? Pharmacist Lillian Avery and Ensign Archer Vandenberg are about to find out in Sarah Sundin's new book, Anchor in the Storm. During the darkest days of the war, Arch's destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling? As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian's trust and affection?

Celebrate the release of Sarah's Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!

anchor in the storm - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
  • Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
  • Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
  • 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
  • Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
  • "Hope Anchors the Soul" journal
  • Set of two nautical tea towels
LF AIS full group 2 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah's blog.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Melanie Dickerson’s ‘The Beautiful Pretender’ Once Upon a Kindle Giveaway

Inheriting the new title of margrave means Reinhart has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise? Find out in the new medieval fairy tale, The Beautiful Pretender, by Melanie Dickerson. Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?

Join Melanie in celebrating the release of The Beautiful Pretender by entering to win her Once Upon a Kindle giveaway!

beautiful pretender - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of The Beautiful Pretender
  • A Kindle Fire tablet
  • A $25 Amazon gift card
  • The choice between a Funko POP Disney Beauty or Beast doll
beautiful pretender - prize collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 7th. The winner will be announced June 8th on Melanie's blog.

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Free ebook: "Looking Up When Life Gets You Down" by Warren W. Wiersbe

Looking Up When Life Gets You Down - eBook

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

A great collection of novellas: "Sins of the Past" by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason

Cover Art

about the book....

Secrets and Lies. Danger That Will Never Go Away.

Dee Henderson - "Missing"A Wyoming sheriff is called to Chicago when his elderly mother goes missing from her retirement community. Paired with a savvy Chicago cop, the two soon launch into a race against the clock when they realize something dark may lie at the heart of the disappearance. 

Dani Pettrey - "Shadowed"Adventure, romance, and danger collide when a young Alaskan fisherman nets the body of a Russian open water swimming competitor. Another swimmer, who'd been the dead woman's roommate years ago, is pulled into the search for answers as it grows more and more clear that something sinister is at play.

Lynette Eason - "Blackout"A young woman once implicated in a robbery gone wrong finds herself at risk years later when the real culprit is up for parole. The loot taken that night has never been found and he believes she knows where it's hidden--only her memory of that night has always been unreliable. Can she remember enough to find her way to safety?

my review....

"Sins of the Past" is a great collection of novellas that can be read all at once or in brief bites, one novella at a time. Each is a quick, well-written read that may be just what you are looking for if you are craving some romance, suspense, and some entertaining plot twists. Probably my favourite of the three is "Missing" by Dee Henderson, as I particularly enjoyed the interaction and dialogue between the characters John and Sharon and the way the plot unfolds. However, the other two additions are also fine reads. "Shadowed" is a great prequel to Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series with action-packed scenes and a sweet romance. Eason's "Blackout" provides the most heart-pounding moments, and I am always glad to read anything by such a talented suspense author, with this novella being no exception. What I particularly appreciate about each of these novellas is how each is imbued with Christian faith and ideals and how each is a clean addition to the romance field with no messy inappropriate scenes to wreck the story. All in all, these novellas are sure to please fans of Henderson, Pettrey and Eason, as each features an interesting plot that will keep you guessing and, of course, a happy ending that will leave a smile on your face.

Sometimes you simply aren't in the mood for a long novel that will require a day or two of reading. If so, then the "Sins of the Past" collection is just what you are looking for! I give it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

 about the authors....

Dee Henderson is the author of numerous novels, including TakenUndetectedUnspoken, Full Disclosure, and the acclaimed O'Malley and Uncommon Heroes series. Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois. Learn more at

Dani PettreyDani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the Alaskan Courage romantic suspense series, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged,ShatteredStrandedSilenced, and Sabotaged. Her books have been honored with the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award, among others.  

Lynette EasonLynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series, as well as No One to Trust,Nowhere to Turn, and No Place to Hide in the Hidden Identity series. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and she lives in South Carolina. Learn more at

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Free ebook: "Losers Like Us: Redefining Discipleship after Epic Failure" by Daniel Hochhalter

Losers Like Us: Redefining Discipleship after Epic Failure / Digital original - eBook

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Beautifully told: "Song of Silence" by Cynthia Ruchti

Song of Silence PK

about the book...

Music taught Lucy love and beauty. Could silence teach her hope?

Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they’re committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. Charlie retired early, but Lucy is devoted to a long-term career . . . until the day she has no choice.
Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her form the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith’s song has gone silent, too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes.
When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees—and hears—everything.
my review...

Once again, Cynthia Ruchti has written a beautifully told story that will engage your heart, may tease some tears from your eyes, and inspire you all at the same time. I felt moved as I followed Lucy and Charlie Tuttle's journey as Lucy loses her position as music educator and seems to lose her passion for life at the same time. As with Ruchti's other books, the moments of grief are balanced with lighter ones as well. In fact, I found those times where we readers are exposed to Lucy's inner thoughts about her husband in particular to be often hilarious, and as a male reader her thoughts offer a sober look into how us men can be so often bumbling in our well-intentioned actions! Ructhi uses a sure hand as she moves Lucy from a place of grief and anger to a place in her life where she finds the ability to fully surrender everything to God. The freedom and joy she finds there is all the more remarkable in light of the many ways she suffers in this story. The myriad of characters who support Lucy on her journey are wonderful indeed, from the "bookclub" ladies to Lucy's children to the addition of new family members with special needs. Each offers a new intriguing element to the storyline. There are many times that I can find contemporary fiction to be a slow read, but that is never the case here, even though Lucy is wading through some deep waters of grief at times. Rather, the story moves along at a brisk pace, with lots of dramatic moments to keep the story moving along.

"Song of Silence" is one of those stories that brings you into the midst of the character's deep emotions, making it all the sweeter when you join their journey from a place of pain to one of triumph. I award this story a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher and the Litfuse Publicity Group, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

about the author...

Cynthia Ruchti
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She’s the award-winning author of 17 books and a frequent speaker for women’s ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin.
Find out more about Cynthia at


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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Another great mystery! "Dressed for Death" (A Drew Farthering Mystery Book) by Julianna Deering

Cover Art

about the book....

A Regency-Era Costume Party Should Have Been an Amusing Diversion, but it Seems Wherever Drew Farthering Goes, Mystery--and Murder--Are on the Guest List

Drew and Madeline Farthering arrive at a Regency-era house party at Winteroak House, excited to be reunited with old friends, including Drew's former Oxford classmate Talbot Cummins. Tal is there with his fiancée, Alice Henley, and though many present seem worried about the couple, nobody is prepared when Alice dies from an apparent overdose. Tal refuses to believe she'd taken the drugs intentionally, and a dark question arises of whether the death is an accident or murder.

The police have their own information though, and Drew is shocked when they arrest someone he's trusted and admired since his childhood--someone who's been smuggling drugs into the country for years. Stunned by what has happened, Tal begs Drew to get to the bottom of everything, but Drew has never felt more unsettled. Questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, Drew doesn't know whom to trust, and he's not ready for the secrets he's about to uncover--or the danger he'll bring down on everyone he holds dear.

my review....

"Dressed for Death" is another great mystery from the talented pen of Julianna Deering. This fourth installment in the Drew Farthering Mystery series is filled with great twists and turns, and though I found the story to start a bit slowly, I greatly enjoyed reconnecting with the characters that starred in the first 3 novels of the series. Drew and Madeline are a fun couple to read about, and now that they are married, readers are treated to a fun whole new dimension of their relationship as well. I quite enjoyed the historical setting of this novel, and how the characters dress up for the regency-era costume party, allowing readers to get a taste of that time period as well. Deering cleverly puts a couple of red herrings in this novel that had me considering the wrong character as a suspect, so I quite enjoyed how cleverly crafted this plot is. The pacing is spot-on and the ending is of course oh so satisfying. Now I will say that though you could read this novel as a stand-alone book, you will appreciate this story all the more if you first have read the first three novels in the series, because then you will have been able to really connect with who these characters are, and appreciate the way that they've developed over the course of the series. So, if you haven't yet read any of the novels in this series, well then what are you waiting for? Go ahead and pick up these books and get sleuthing right now!

Although the murder mystery that is the focus of this story wraps up nicely by the end, there is much left hanging about the future of these characters (especially in terms of what comes next for characters Nick and Carrie in their relationship). So I am definitely hoping that a fifth book is on the way, because I just can't get enough of Drew and the rest of these delightful characters. I award this book a solid rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

 about the author....

Julianna Deering

Julianna Deering has always loved British history and literature and is particularly a fan of the classic mysteries written by Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas and now works for an attorney specializing in wills and estate planning. She lives outside Dallas, Texas, where she loves to quilt, cross-stitch, and watch hockey. Learn more at

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Truly the funniest book I've read in awhile: "Playing the Part" by Jen Turano

Cover Art

about the book....

Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but must abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucetta's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, seizes the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to safety at her eligible grandson's estate.

At first glance, Bram Haverstein appears to be a gentleman of means--albeit an eccentric one--but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows.

While Lucetta has no interest in Abigail's matchmaking machinations, she can't ignore the strange things going on in Bram's house and the secrets he hides. As the hijinks and hilarity that Bram, Lucetta, and their friends are swept into take a more dangerous turn, can they accept who they are behind the parts they play in time to save the day?

my review....

It is not often that I find myself laughing out loud so much that my family members start looking at me askance, with raised eyebrows that are questioning if I've gone off my rocker. But I simply couldn't help myself as I followed Lucetta Plum from one zany moment to the next. From Geoffrey the goat (who is quite obsessed, for some reason, with Lucetta's dress) to the scenes where Lucetta tries out for a local play, moments that had me gasping for breath, I simply couldn't get enough of this book.

Now, I hate to overstate my enjoyment of this book for fear that you will pick up a copy and be disappointed it doesn't quite live up to my description. However, it is safe to say that "Playing the Part" will find you immensely entertained by fascinating characters, a swiftly moving plot, and light-hearted moments balanced by some tender ones too. Whether you are a female reader who loves swoon worthy scenes or a male reader who prefers a lighter touch with the romance, you are going to enjoy the unravelling of Lucetta's determination to resist any efforts to get HER married off. It is just so much fun to watch you will find yourself rooting for their relationship to flouirsh! A colourful supporting cast rounds out the story line quite nicely, and the bit of mystery in this novel was well played.

And so I found myself feeling a bit saddened to turn the final pages of this novel, for the fun seemed to end oh so soon. Playing the Part is the crowning achievement on what has been a truly great series. Well done Jen Turano! 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

 about the author....

Jen Turano

Jen Turano, author of six books, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at

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Free ebook: "Chasing Superwoman: A Working Mom's Adventures in Life and Faith" by Susan DiMickele

Chasing Superwoman: A Working Mom's Adventures in Life and Faith - eBook

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