Wednesday 29 April 2020

Book Review: Dead End

From the back:

When a body is discovered in a field in Iowa, the police uncover fourteen additional corpses, some from twenty years ago, others from the recent past. The remains point to a serial killer with an MO the authorities have seen before--Ed Oliphant, a man who has been in prison for more than twenty years . . . and is FBI Special Agent Kaely Quinn's father. After several failed attempts to discover if Ed has been training someone to be a copycat killer, the police turn to Kaely in St. Louis for help.

Kaely promised herself she would never step foot in her hometown or set eyes on her father again. She's always refused to confront her past, but if she wants to prevent any more deaths, she must come face-to-face with the man she's hated for years.

As more bodies are discovered, Kaely races against time and her own inner turmoil to uncover the killer. Will this most personal case yet cost Kaely her identity and perhaps even her life?
My Reflections:
Oh, how I loved this book, actually scratch that I loved the whole series!
This is the third book in the series "Kaely Quinn Profiler" How I would love to learn how to read a person like an open book. 

Kaely Quinn may have some unusual ways of profiling her UNSUB. But her ways seem to work well until she loses control of her imagination, that paired with her imaginary friend Georgie, Kailey has some big issues to tackle. Including PTSD.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately, she is tasked with facing her Father the infamous "Raggedy man" he has been serving time for 20 years now and Kailey has never had the nerve to see him. But when a copy cat murder starts to ramp up the dead bodies, she feels it's time to try and get her father to speak about his protege, everything is too similar to his MO. Or is it?

I loved the psychology of this book. It really delves into what makes a serial killer or a psychopath? It shows how childhood experiences can shape a person for life. How PTSD works and the devastation it can bring to its victims. This theme also touched on the darker side of how the devil can use situations to hurt and steal and destroy.

If you love this kind of thing as much as I do you certainly will not be disappointed with this series. I'm just so sad it's finished!
This really is a must-read friends!!

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

Nancy Mehl

Nancy Mehl ( is the author of more than thirty-five books and a Christy Award and Carol Award finalist as well as the winner of an ACFW Book of the Year award. Her short story, Chasing Shadows, was in the USA Today bestselling...
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Book Review: Daughter Of Cana

From the Back:

How Will Walking in Yeshua's Footsteps
Forever Change Her Life?

Thomas and Tasmin, twin siblings hired to oversee a wedding feast in Cana, worry when the host runs out of wine . . . until a guest tells Tasmin to have the servants fill the pitchers by the gate with water from the cistern. Reluctantly, she obeys--and is amazed when rainwater turns into the finest wine ever tasted in Cana.

When Thomas impulsively decides to follow the teacher from Nazareth, the twins argue bitterly. Tasmin refuses to be abandoned or to let her brother be taken in by a magician-prophet. When he departs anyway, she decides to follow the Nazarene's group, aided by Jude, younger brother to Yeshua of Nazareth, and do whatever she must to mend the fractured relationship, reveal the truth, and bring her brother home.
My Reflections:
Angela Hunt's newest series is off to a fantastic start!
If you love Biblical fiction as much as I do you won't be disappointed with Daughter of Cana.
The first part of the book drew me in straight away, what an interesting plot. To imagine what it must have been like to be around Jesus as he walked the earth. 

After witnessing water being turned into wine Tasmin, one of the bakers at a wedding decides it must be trickery. However, her twin brother Thomas decides to leave the family business to chase after the one who had the power to do many unimaginable things. Tasmin has no choice to chase after her brother and talk some sense into him to come back home where he belongs helping their father in the orchard.

I love Biblical fiction because it makes well-known stories come alive, although we cannot know the exact happenings other than the true Biblical telling, I find it interesting to see things how they might have happened. It also makes me turn to the Bible and re-read the passages again.

I really enjoyed taking a fictional look at what Jesus's family and his apostle Thomas. I actually missed that Thomas was a twin! I also enjoyed the character development, watching as Jesus brother Jude and Tasmine chase after Jesus and the change of hearts they experience. Both have personal agendas to get their family members back which put a fun twist on things.

Daughter of Cana is a must-read, I mean what else are you going to do right now, surely you have cleaned out every corner and binge-watched Netflix. What better book to read during these uncertain times!

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

Angela Hunt

The author of more than 100 published books and with nearly 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book...
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Book Review: More Than We Remember

From the Back:

One night changes everything. . . .
When Addison Kilbourn's husband is involved in a car accident that leaves a woman dead, her perfectly constructed life crumbles apart. With her husband's memory of that night gone and the revelation of a potentially life-altering secret, Addison has to reevaluate all she thought she knew.

Emilia Cruz is a deputy bearing a heavy burden far beyond the weight of her job. After a traumatic brain injury, her husband is no longer the man she married, and Emilia's determined to prevent others from facing the same hardship. When she's called to the scene of an accident pointing to everything she's fighting against, she's determined to see justice for those wronged.

Brianne Demanno is hiding from reality. She once thrived as a counsellor, but when tragedy struck a beloved client, she lost faith in herself and her purpose. When her neighbours, the Kilbourns, are thrown into crisis, Brianne's solitary life is disrupted and she finds herself needed in a way she hasn't been for too long.

As the lives of these women intersect, they can no longer dwell in the memory of who they've been. Can they rise from the wreck of the worst moments of their lives to become who they were meant to be?
My Reflections:
More Than We Remember is a touching, and emotional story told by several points of view from the characters and their personal experiences. All of this is synergetic and homogenizes the storyline quite brilliantly. 

Difficult topics were handled with accuracy and brought to light struggles many suffer from but never let anyone in. A few of the topics included drug addictions, brain injury and abuse. Getting help for any of these afflictions is so very important, we are here to support each other and hiding away your fears, addictions and abuse only makes the problem grow, and can one day become unbearable. But I digress, sorry. 

Nelson did a marvellous job of fleshing out the realities of these situations, it was written accurately without sugar-coating anything. This story definitely had my emotions engaged.

God's shining light can burn through the darkness, but only if we hold on long enough to experience his plans for our suffering. 

I always get confused when there are so many characters telling their stories, but this one was not as hard, Nelson made her writing clear and engaging making me forget I don't love multiple POV's.

If you are looking for an emotionally engaging story with a little suspense thrown in for good measure, this may be your next favourite read!

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

© Katey Tryon

Christina Suzann Nelson

CBA bestselling author Christina Suzann Nelson ( writes stories that focus on changing legacies from dysfunction to hope. Her first novel, If We Make It Home, was named a Library Journal Best Book of 2017 and a...

Book Review: Before I Called You Mine

From The Back:

Lauren Bailey may be a romantic at heart, but after a decade of matchmaking schemes gone wrong, there's only one match she's committed to now--the one that will make her a mother. Lauren is a dedicated first-grade teacher in Idaho, and her love for children has led her to the path of international adoption. To satisfy her adoption agency's requirements, she gladly agreed to remain single for the foreseeable future; however, just as her long wait comes to an end, Lauren is blindsided by a complication she never saw coming: Joshua Avery.

Joshua may be a substitute teacher by day, but Lauren finds his passion for creating educational technology as fascinating as his antics in the classroom. Though she does her best to downplay the undeniable connection between them, his relentless pursuit of her heart puts her commitment to stay unattached to the test and causes her once-firm conviction to waver.

With an impossible decision looming, Lauren might very well find herself choosing between the two deepest desires of her heart . . . even if saying yes to one means letting go of the other.
My Reflections:
I am so in love with this book. A single woman yearning for her heart's desire to have a baby of her very own and start her little family...alone, single. Laureen Bailey has given up traditional ways of starting a family and looks towards international adoption. Time is ticking and she has waited oh so long for the call.

Joshua Avery enters into her life as a sub for the class next door. He is so sweet, kind, gentle and patient with Laureen as she struggles with her stubborn singleness and adoption rules. When she gets the call she is elated, yet torn. Will she choose love over God's chosen child for her or will she choose love and hope it is successful this time around. 

Having explored international and local adoption when we were struggling for five years of infertility the memories and heartbreak rushed back. This made the novel so much more meaningful to me.

I was delighted with the character development and genuine emotions displayed by all characters. I'm not sure such a sweet family can actually exist Joshua is lovely on so many levels, and his family is no different. Will Joshua have the strength to just walk away after he has finally met his soul mate?

All in all a perfect 10 out of 10 for me! I just fell in love with the town, characters and plot, it was so well played out, bravo Nicole Deese!

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

Nicole Deese

Nicole Deese's ( eight humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled novels include the 2017 Carol Award-winning A Season to Love. Her 2018 release, A New Shade of Summer, was a finalist in the RITA Awards, Carol Awards, and...
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Thursday 16 April 2020

Book Review: Stay

From the Back:

What do we do with everyday aches, disappointment, and pain?
We can run. Or we can stay.
It may sound counterintuitive to stay with our aches and disappointment. We prefer comfort, so our default response is to withdraw, avoid, numb, and neurotically fix. But what if Jesus is pulling out a chair and whispering, Stay?

Anjuli Paschall invites you to stop running from your pain and to discover that the deep end of your story is the way to intimacy with Christ. She extends a daring invitation to stay with your everyday aches, your guilt, your loneliness, your anger, your anxiety, your longings, and even your apathy. True power and transformation are found in the very places we resist the most.

It's here, in the staying, where we move from merely knowing in our heads that God loves us to believing it in our hearts.

Stay is an invitation to sit with God at the table of your soul--and be free.

My Reflections: 
Stay, I love how God works in our lives! Most people can't do much else than stay at home right now. I never expected COVID 19 to even reach this type of impact, yet God knows our hearts our needs, those deep painful ones that you don't share with anyone for fear that your intense emotional state will become a reality. This book by Anjuli Paschall is a breath of clean fresh cleansing air. My soul does feel parched and dry as the sierra desert, however, God knows. This book was such a gentle nudge to steep in those feeling, let them come and accept them for what they are. So ironic because that's the exact advice I am getting from professionals. 

This book will really make you examine how you react to the stressors around you, be it the kids home from school, having no job to go to or working from home. Paschall reminds us that isolation doesn't have to be a frightening process. Feelings my friends are just that, they change like the wind. Being present and engaged in the day you are living, connecting to God in deep and meaningful ways brings what our hearts desire, He fills the empty and dry. 

I loved this quote" Anxiety is the Lighthouse in the storm leading me back to my tender need for God" Anxiety, fear all these things are opportunities to run to our saviour. I admit I'm kind of not doing a great job of applying these beautiful words to my life, but little step by little step, perhaps I will get there. Grace is oh so good, God knows, this book exemplifies our need to feel that pain, the loneliness and use it for growth. God's got our back babe. (Family joke, but such truth!)

You won't regret online ordering this book, or perhaps put it on your kindle. The writing is soft, loving and oh so encouraging, so I think in these uncertain times this book was launched divinely at the perfect timing.  
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Anjuli Paschall

Anjuli Paschall is the founder of The Moms We Love Club and writes regularly for (in)courage, a widely followed online community of Christian women. She grew up encircled by an orange grove in San Diego. After graduating from Point Loma Nazarene University,...
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Tuesday 7 April 2020

Book Review: You Are What You Love

You are what you love. But you might not love what you think.

In this book, award-winning author James K. A. Smith shows that who and what we worship fundamentally shape our hearts. And while we desire to shape culture, we are not often aware of how culture shapes us. 

We might not realize the ways our hearts are being taught to love rival gods instead of the One for whom we were made. Smith helps readers recognize the formative power of culture and the transformative possibilities of Christian practices. 

He explains that worship is the "imagination station" that incubates our loves and longings so that our cultural endeavours are indexed toward God and his kingdom. This is why the church and worshiping in a local community of believers should be the hub and heart of Christian formation and discipleship.

My Reflections: I was not quite sure what I was expecting when I chose this book. The cover was eye-catching and the title jumped out at me. 

I have never read James Smith's works, so I didn't know his writing was geared to church theologians and high minded individuals. I have to admit I was disappointed with this book, not because of what it contained, but the level of academia. 

I found myself lost, confused and slightly bored. The first two chapters are quite good and have some solid things to ponder but after that, I was a lost cause. I guess my brain has a hard time pondering deeply right now?

The primary idea of the book centers around that we were created to be lovers, not thinkers. In other words, humans were created to have something to love. That would be God, right? I completely get that but, Hmm, I'm not sure I agree with all the opinions expressed in this book, but then again it was out of my league. 

If you love to dig deep into thinking about big ideas, love theology this may just be a great book for you. It will have a happy life at our church library.

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

Book Review: Secrets of the Happy Soul

From the back:

Experience the Deep Delight You Were Made For

How do some people do it? They rise above the circumstances and distractions of life and remain consistently happy. For the rest of us, the pursuit of lasting happiness can be exhausting. No matter how much we try, dissatisfaction and discouragement inevitably return.

But what if there is another way? A true path to happiness that is far better than chasing an elusive ideal? In Secrets of the Happy Soul, Katie Orr shares six clear ways to nurture the Happy Soul already within us. Through key teachings from the book of Psalms, you will learn how to
· seek God in everyday moments
· grow your resolve to follow His way
· cultivate a growing love for God's Word
· develop a deep-rooted relationship with God
· be confident in God's will for your life
· surrender to the Lord and experience daily delights found in His presence

Uncover the secrets of the Happy Soul and experience the satisfying, fruitful life you crave.
My Reflections:
Katie Orr is a well-known speaker, although she found that it was ironic that she was to speak on her own journey to happiness. 

I am delighted to say that this book is not one of those self- help books that never really give you lasting results. Orr is not talking about worldly "happy" she is referring to the biblical meaning from specific Bible passages taken from Hebrew or "esher". This conversational type read is easy to understand and presents no over the top medical or philosophical language. In truth, it is for us ordinary Christians who want to experience the extraordinary truths God has for us. 

In God's presence. What does that me to you? For me it sitting quietly talking to God, perhaps crying out to him or just listening to his still small voice. Our happiness I'm learning doesn't depend on circumstances, how I feel or how the world defines it. We need to deepen our relationship with God. I know firsthand how hard that can be when you are in a dark place, where did God, whom you love so much go? I don't have those kinds of answers. But this book points us to the Creator, whether we feel him or not he is there. 

All in all, I enjoyed this book, it was a very nice reminder to snuggle up to God when things aren't quite going the way you expect. I mean we are in the middle of a world-changing pandemic, What better book to reach for?

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

Katie Orr

Katie Orr is passionate about helping women enjoy God daily. As a conference speaker, prolific author, and online Bible coach, she provides biblical teaching and relevant resources to help women jump-start their journey toward walking with Jesus. Katie and her...
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Saturday 4 April 2020

Book Review: Woman of Sunlight

From The Back:

He's Seen the Entire Country.
She's Never Been Off Her Mountain Home.
When Danger Comes, This Unlikely Couple Will Need to Rely on Each Other.

After years of isolation on top of Hope Mountain, Ilsa Nordegren may finally be ready to leave. Raised to fear the world, Ilsa and her sisters never planned on coming down, but when the Warden family arrived in need, they had to help. But with the arrival of added danger, it may cost them the only life they've ever known.

Having made his fortune, Mitch Warden returned home and found the family homestead abandoned. In a land grab, a ruthless cattle baron had forced his family to escape up the mountain, and when Mitch follows, the last thing he expects is to fall smitten with a strong-willed, dark-haired woman who dresses like Robin Hood and defends herself better than most men.

Mitch is intent on helping his family reclaim their land but doesn't realize the risks his past has brought. Hired killers are tracking him, and he's determined to draw them away before anyone else gets hurt. But that means a journey to the city--and when Ilsa insists on joining him, the mismatched pair suddenly find themselves on an adventure they'll never forget.
My Reflections:
My long time favourite author Mary Connealy does it again with her smashing new book"Woman of Sunlight" from the Brides of Hope Mountain series. I enjoyed the first book in the series "Aiming For Love" and was eager to see what would happen to this sister. 

Sweet kind Ilsa Nordegren with her quiet ways and tree swinging wildness. Having been raised in the wilderness and taught from a young age to fear the outside world, she now feels ready to break those constricting binds and explore the unknown However, the danger is lurking in their midst.
Mitch Warden is ready and willing to show Ilsa his favourite places and help her shrug off the past lies, however even though he thought he had left his dangerous past behind him, it looks like it's back to haunt him. 

Will he be equipped to save the woman he has fallen for and the family he loves?

I loved this couple and the strengths and weaknesses that made them perfect for each other. If you are looking for a new series, this is something fun to read as we are all isolated. I would recommend this sweet little gem. We have only been in isolation for three weeks imagine growing up in isolation? That's what I was thinking about as I read this book :-) Book three won't be released until next year, I can't wait to read about the most headstrong sister Ursula, that will be an interesting one indeed! 

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

Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy ( writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid...
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