Tag Archives: Christian

66 Ways God Loves You, and a Giveaway!

9780718087708-jpgBook Review: 66 Ways God Loves You

Author: Jennifer Rothschild

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Amazon’s website for 66 Ways God Loves You:

66 books, one incredible message

God’s Word is many things—instructive, historical, poetic. Yet to Jennifer Rothschild, the Bible is also an incredible love letter. In 66 Ways God Loves You, she walks you through each of the sixty-six books of the Bible and shows, in concise and thoughtful ways, how every book reflects God’s love for each of us, such as:

In Genesis God fashions me with His hands.

In Esther He Makes me royalty

In Acts God’s Spirit comes to live in me.

In I Peter God gives me victory over suffering.

Each chapter includes a succinct, meaningful reading on the message of that book in the Bible, along with a simple takeaway to help you bring the message to light in your own heart and life.

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            I really enjoyed this book. I was encouraged as I read it, and very impressed by how Ms. Rothschild could take one book of the Bible, narrow its focus down so she could write two pages about how God’s love is portrayed in it, and make it applicable for us without taking it out of context. This book is visually appealing, but also appeals to the heart and soul as she teaches the reader more about how much God loves them.

Though it’s a small book focused on the love of God, 66 Ways God Loves You is also surprisingly rich in doctrine. I wasn’t sure what sort of doctrinal basis this book would have, if it would only focus on God’s love and forget His justice, but I was very impressed by Ms. Rothschild’s ability to balance that out. Inevitably, different doctrinal issues came up in this book, but I found we agreed on most everything, which I found interesting.

One of my favorite (because I can’t narrow it down to one!) chapters was the one from Zephaniah, The Mighty God Sings Over Me with Great Joy. It was such an awesome reminder that not only does God love me, He likes me too! And He delights in me.

            All in all, I really liked this book. It’s definitely a keeper for me, and maybe for you too! Today, courtesy of the publisher, I’m going to be giving away one copy to one of you! Make sure you enter to win this great book.

Click on the link and fill out the options to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/fea9d3732/

About the Author

Biography from Thomas Nelson’s website: Jennifer Rothschild has written 13 books and Bible studies, including the bestsellers, Lessons I Learned in the Dark and Self-Talk, Soul-Talk. She has appeared on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Life Today, and a Billy Graham television special and spoken for Women of Faith and Extraordinary Women. She is the founder of the Fresh Grounded Faith conferences and womensministry.net. She lost her sight at age 15 and regularly travels and speaks around the country, sharing her story and all God has done in her life. Jennifer lives with her family in Missouri.

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

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A Lady Unrivaled

LadyUnrivaled_mck.inddBook Review: A Lady Unrivaled

Author: Roseanna M. White

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Bethany House’s website for A Lady Unrivaled:

Her future–and her heart–hang in the balance.

Amid the Unforgettable Cotswolds, the Final Grasp for the Fire Eyes Diamonds Could Threaten Them All

Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile–even if it’s just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well how the dangerous Fire Eyes diamonds have haunted her brother and their friends, and she won’t wait for peril to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.

Lord James Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he’s determined to live a better life . . . but that proves complicated when old acquaintances pull Cayton into their desperate attempt to seize the jewels. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won’t budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her–and his daughter–from those intent on destroying them all?

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            I LOVED this last book in the Ladies of the Manor series. Ella always seemed an interesting character, but getting more to know her and her spunk and flare for life was so much fun. She is definitely one of my favorite heroines I’ve read about recently. Her tenacity, courage, and loyalty make her such a great character, yet not without her faults. I didn’t really like Cayton in the other books, but as I got to know him in this one, I couldn’t help but cheer him on. His inability to let go of his sinful past is something that so many struggle with, yet as he learned to accept God’s love for him, he was able to live in freedom. I also really enjoyed how Roseanna continued to have other character’s viewpoints in the book. Seeing some of their struggles really brought a well-rounded dynamic to the story. The climax of the Fire Eyes mystery kept me turning pages, holding my breath at times and then finally at the end letting out that satisfied sigh. No character is as he, or she, seems, and Roseanna always had a surprise waiting in the next few pages. I would highly recommend this whole series, not only because of the premise and how she carries it out, but because of the level of quality throughout all three books. Roseanna does a fantastic job, and not once was I bored while reading, or tempted to pick up some other book.

About the Author

Biography from Bethany House’s website: Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of nine novels, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Roseanna lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

I was given a review copy of A Lady Unrivaled from the author. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Honor Redeemed

urlBook Review: Honor Redeemed

Author: Christine Johnson

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Revell Publisher’s website for Honor Redeemed:

Her future–and her heart–hang in the balance.

Two years ago, Prosperity Jones waved farewell to her beloved David as the army sent him to faraway Key West. Now with her parents gone, she has but one prospect for the future: make the dangerous journey from Nantucket to Key West to reunite with David and secure a happier life.

But when Prosperity arrives penniless in the South, she is dismayed to find David has not been eagerly awaiting their reunion. In fact, he is married to someone else. Scrambling to survive and nursing a broken heart, Prosperity gains the friendship–and the affection–of a kind doctor. Could he be the answer to her loneliness? Or will her life be upended by circumstance yet again?

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            Christine Johnson’s second book in the Keys of Promise series focuses on new characters, but adds in some old ones that will be familiar to readers of the first book. I liked this book in some ways, but in others it fell short for me. I was frustrated multiple times by Prosperity. She would jump to conclusions that just didn’t seem logical. Obviously emotions were running high in the book, but it was still annoying for me. The story was interesting, and the side note of mystery with the supplies disappearing from the worksite was intriguing, so I enjoyed that. I also really enjoyed the setting of Key West, and the different spin the author put on the island by focusing on some of the hospital issues. However, along with that, the fever that comes into play at the end of this book seemed very similar in circumstances and results to that of the first book. The characters did have some emotions that seemed very real, but overall the characters didn’t seem overly authentic or unique to me. The whole issue with Oliver and the prejudices involved was intriguing, and the ending of the book was satisfying. Overall, not my favorite book, but I did enjoy some parts of it.

About the Author

Biography from Revell Publisher’s website: Christine Johnson is the author of several books for Steeple Hill and Love Inspired and has been twice named a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® award. When not writing, she loves to hike and explore God’s majestic creation. These days, she and her husband, a Great Lakes ship pilot, split their time between northern Michigan and the Florida Keys.

I was given a review copy of Honor Redeemed from the publisher. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

A Heart Most Certain

imgresBook Review: A Heart Most Certain

Author: Melissa Jagears

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Amazon’s website for A Heart Most Certain:

While Lydia King’s reasons for joining the Teaville Moral Society might be suspect to some members, her heart is in the right place. Because of her father’s debts and her mother’s persistent illness, her best chance at a secure future and curing her mother is to impress the politician courting her. Her first task–to ask the town’s wealthiest man to donate–seems simple enough . . . until he refuses.

Despite appearances, Nicholas Lowe wants to help others, but prefers to keep his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, but Nicholas still intends to do things his own way. Neither predicts what they’ll learn about true charity or foresee the complications their actions will bring to the town, forcing Lydia to decide where her beliefs and heart truly align.

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            I knew I liked Melissa Jagears’ books after reading her e-novella, but I’d never gotten the chance to read any of the others until this one. I have really been missing out.

It’s not too often that I find that I don’t really like either of the main characters very much. “But, isn’t that a bad thing?” you ask. Well, not really. Here’s why: Lydia’s prejudice and self-righteousness grated, but that was because in her, I saw pieces of myself. Nicholas is a crusader, but he goes about it in a rather arrogant, heavy-handed way. So at the beginning of the book, I didn’t really like either of these characters. All Lydia cared about was money (some of her reasoning was good), and Nicholas only seemed able to manipulate people into seeing things his way (and yes, he had great intentions). But what made this story incredible was how the characters changed. They were like normal people, people like me. People don’t change in a day, they don’t change in a week, sometimes not even in a year. We are very good at deceiving ourselves into thinking that we are better than we are, or something that we’re not. So when God shows us who we are, through others or through His word, it’s painful, humbling, and downright uncomfortable. This is what Nicholas and Lydia experienced, and the fact that it was genuine and difficult for them was what touched my heart. This book is all about God redeeming who we were and continuing to make us into the image of His Son. And that is an awesome, ground-shaking, heart-humbling thing.

This is a romance, and Melissa is obviously a pro at her craft. I could hardly put this book down. There’s adventure, danger, prejudice, romance, and like I mentioned above, a message that goes deeper than the pages. A Heart Most Certain is populated with a group of characters who are not always what they seem, for people seldom are. Everyone’s motivations are in question. The historicity in the book was super fun and informative too.

To wrap up my gushing, I loved A Heart Most Certain, because Melissa went beyond just a love story, to touch on the ultimate Love Story, and it was an incredible journey.

About the Author

Biography from Amazon’s website: Much to her introverted self’s delight, Melissa Jagears hardly needs to leave her home to be a homeschooling mother and historical romance novelist. She doesn’t have to leave her house to be a housekeeper either, but she’s doubtful she meets the minimum qualifications to claim to be one in her official bio. Her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Find her online at http://www.melissajagears.com, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

I was given a review copy of A Heart Most Certain from the publisher. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Lady and the Lionheart

The-Lady-and-the-LionheartBook Review: The Lady and the Lionheart

Author: Joanne Bischof

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Amazon’s website for The Lady and the Lionheart:

Virginia, 1890

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

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            I am continually impressed by Joanne Bischof’s writing. No matter what genre she writes, she continues to get better and better at her craft. As a fellow writer, she is someone I definitely look up to, and as a reader, someone I will be eagerly awaiting every new release from. The Lady and the Lionheart is poignant, gripping, and sweet. The dark shadows of the circus are explored, and as the secrets that are held close to the hearts of those Ella cares about, I felt for these characters. Joanne is able to write her characters with such authenticity, that I honestly thought about them when I wasn’t reading. I considered their unique struggles, and the story of redemption behind those. I also found myself humming or thinking about the hymn that Charlie loves. She delves into real-life problems in this fictional story in such a raw, real way that it’s impossible to disregard. This book touched my heart, and it’s definitely on my favorites list.

If you’re looking for an intriguing view of what the circus was like in the late 1800s, characters that are nearly breathing, and an honest look at what it means to discover and live out the redemption we have in Jesus, then please take a look at this book. You won’t regret doing so.

About the Author

Biography from Amazon’s website: A Carol Award and three-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. www.joannebischof.com

I was given a review copy of The Lady and the Lionheart from the author. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

A Daring Sacrifice

A-Daring-SacrificeBook Review: A Daring Sacrifice

Author: Jody Hedlund

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Goodread’s description of A Daring Sacrifice:

The only thing harder than fighting for what’s right…is fighting their feelings for each other.

For three years, the Cloaked Bandit has terrorized Wessex, robbing the nobility by knifepoint and a well-placed arrow. But little dos anyone know, this bandit is in fact Juliana Wessex, the rightful ruler of the land and a girl her tyrannical uncle—the current Lord Wessex—believes was killed along with her father.

Juliana has become skilled at hiding from Lord Wessex in the forest, using her stolen goods to provide food and shelter to the peasants her uncle has taxed into poverty. But when she robs Collin Goodrich, her red hair betrays her true identity. Lord Collin remembers Juliana from their childhood—and challenges her to stay on his estate for a week in hopes she will leave her thieving ways and become a proper lady once more. Juliana is intrigued by Collin and his charms, but only time will tell if he can overcome her distaste of the nobility—as well as win her heart.

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            In contrast to the heroine of An Uncertain Choice, Juliana is a fiery young woman with a lot of anger to deal with. She made for a very interesting main character, and one that I really enjoyed reading about, especially for this time period. At times I got a little frustrated with her, but I liked the different angle that Jody took with this character. Lord Collin wasn’t a perfect character by any means either, and I really liked how he grew throughout the book and realized what was truly important in life and to Juliana.

This book is aimed at teens, so it was a little shorter than what I usually find myself reading, but the pace made up for it. The ending—I couldn’t put it down. The book’s title made a whole lot of sense, A Daring Sacrifice, when the Jody hit the climax with both Juliana and Collin sacrificing for those they loved and for what they believed in. The villain was odious, as he should be. 😉 Overall, it was a quick read, but one I enjoyed. I admire Jody’s desire to write quality teen fiction, aimed at teen girls in particular. In An Uncertain Choice and now A Daring Sacrifice (which are connected) she is able to weave in Christian themes along with adventure, danger, real-life emotions, and a sweet romance. I would recommend both books in this series to pre-teen and teen girls who enjoy medieval fiction that contains romance, strong characters, and adventure, all written from a Christian world view. This is exactly the kind of book I would have loved to read as a teen.

About the Author

Biography from Jody’s website: Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves fairy-tales and happily-ever-afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five teen-aged children. When she’s not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading. Find out more on her website: http://jodyhedlund.com/

I was given a review copy of A Daring Sacrifice from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

With This Ring?

25822013Book Review: With This Ring?

Authors: Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, & Melissa Jagears

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Bethany House’s website description of With This Ring?:

The Husband Maneuver

When ranch foreman Daniel Barrett seems ready to leave her life forever, Marietta Hawkins decides to grab the reins on their relationship. But to have any hope of maneuvering him into a proposal, she has to act fast or risk losing him completely.

Her Dearly Unintended

Josiah Huckabee just wanted to make sure Katie Ellen Watson was safe, but when the only bridge to her farm is washed out, the two find themselves alone. Alone, that is, until a menacing stranger appears. Maybe by pretending to be newlyweds, they’ll save their reputations–but can pretending to be in love turn into the real thing?

Runaway Bride

Hired to help Carrie Halsey escape from a dangerous man intent on making her his wife, Big John Conroy never expected the job to interrupt his solitary Texas Ranger life. But now that he’s promised to keep Carrie safe, he discovers he may just want to make a few more promises.

Engaging the Competition

Harrison Gray and tomboy Charlotte Andrews have been rivals for years. With Charlotte intended for someone else, it seems they’ll never settle their differences until an accident changes things completely. When Charlotte breaks Harrison’s glasses–without which he’s nearly blind–she must help with his teaching position, and working together forces these former adversaries to reconsider everything.

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            This latest novella collection put out by Bethany House has a stellar cast of authors known for their stunning, hilarious, sweet, and touching novels. I love reading romances ‘gone awry’, and that is just what this collection is all about. It was funny and poignant by turns, and I loved every minute of it. I enjoyed how Karen Witemeyer wrote about Daniel’s story, because I had been curious when I finished A Worthy Pursuit on whether his story would get to be told. Mary Connealy also brought in a familiar character in Big John Conroy, which was fun to read about. I don’t know if the two other couples were mentioned in previous books or not, since I’m not as up to date on those authors. But both Melissa Jagears’ and Regina Jennings’ stories were so much fun to read. I have to say, though, that I enjoyed Regina’s the most, which was a very tough decision to come to. But Josiah’s cocky tenacity and Katie Ellen’s OCD perfection were such a great combo. Add into that a mysterious stranger, who was a hilarious character himself, and a natural disaster and this novella is a winner.

I thoroughly enjoyed this whole collection, and it was very hard picking which one was my favorite. Novella collections are perfect for those who don’t have the time or maybe attention span to read a full length novel, and this particular one is a five-star read. I highly recommend it.

About the Author

Biographies from Bethany House’s website: Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com

Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has over half a million books sold. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Learn more at www.maryconnealy.com

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of A Most Inconvenient Marriage, Sixty Acres and a Bride, and Caught in the Middle, and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children and can be found online at www.reginajennings.com

Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of A Bride for Keeps, A Bride in Store, and A Bride at Last, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She’s a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Find her online at www.melissajagears.com

I was given a review copy of With This Ring? from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.