Distortion

Blackstock, Terri. Distortion. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2014.

SUMMARY:
distortionWatching her husband murdered in a U-haul parking lot right before her very eyes, Juliet Cole’s life turns upside down. Initially treated as a random shooting, Juliet and her sisters soon discover there may be more…much more…to the act. Could innocence turn to guilt, victim turn to criminal, love turn to hate? All quite possible…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With an intensity not found in most books, Distortion opens with a shocking event which only leads to more suspenseful, thrilling and heartbreaking disclosures. With a subtle Christian thread included throughout, Terri Blackstock does a brilliant job of writing with an electrifying purpose; thus, the obvious reason for her New York Times Bestselling Author distinction. As a first-time reader of this author, as well as taking a huge step outside my usual genre, I was not disappointed but instead will avidly read more. As a second installment of a series, having not read the first, I was not in any way confused nor perplexed. Very well done.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Distortion from BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan Publishers for my honest review*

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The Road We Must Travel

Chan, Francis. Peterson, Eugene. Hybels, Bill. The Raod We Must Travel. Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
roadwemusttravelSometimes in life, everyone takes a wrong turn, encounters a detour, hits construction, or just plain loses the way…but in The Road We Must Travel, several well-known authors and pastors lend their reassurance, knowledge and biblical understanding to mentor and help get us back on course. Through personal stories coupled with scriptural lessons, the contributors help navigate conflict, trouble, suffering, opportunities, spirituality, failure, as well as simplicity, rest, reflection and discipleship.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Written with a fresh perspective by many different people who are in various leadership positions, The Road We Must Travel is a very well-woven book. Included authors are Francis Chan (author of Crazy Love), Bill Hybels (senior pastor of the large Willow Creek Community Church), Eugene Peterson (The Message) and several other ministry leaders. From finding quiet peace and simplicity in life to plowing through the toughest of times, I found this book full of useful ideas and reasons to keep God centered in my plans and struggles; thus, providing a life-map to live life for God, how He would want us to live. Afterall, everyone needs a GPS system at some point in life to get back on the right path.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Road We Must Travel from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

A March Bride

Hauck, Rachel. A March Bride. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2014.

SUMMARY:
marchbrideRoyalty Nathaniel II (of Brighton Kingdom) and Susanna Truitt (of Rib Shack BBQ, Georgia) are set to be married in just under three weeks. Due to an ancient decree still being enforced, Susanna must resign from her United States citizenship in order to serve as Princess of Brighton. Having already given up her home to join Nathaniel in Brighton as well as leaving her family, Susanna struggles with this latest necessary writ. While talking to her Pastor back at home in America, Susanna realizes her identity may be for more than her own use, it may be to serve God. Will Nathaniel and Susanna finally join as King and Princess of Brighton Kingdom?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having recently read Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck, I was very surprised and excited to read this continuing novella containing the same characters. As a fan of this author, I knew I was in for a treat…especially as it concerned an already-known princess! Though not necessary to read the books in order, it definitely makes for a more interlinked story if the characters are met in Once Upon a Prince and A Princess Ever After. Perhaps due to my fairy-tale bias, this novella was my favorite so far contained in A Year of Wedding Novellas.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5)

*I received a complimentary copy of A March Bride from BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan for my honest review*

Awakening

Reed, Ralph. Awakening: How America Can Turn From Economic And Moral Destruction Back To Greatness. Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
awakeningThrough the downward spiral of this country economically, spiritually and morally, the author, Ralph Reed, shares his thoughts reversing the decline. By way of ideas based on returning to the country led by the Founding Fathers, Reed explains why and how such things as marriage, worship, spiritual awakening and government can make a difference. With his vast experience as chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, senior advisor to the Bush-Cheney campaigns as well as chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, Ralph Reed believes this country still has a chance.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Ralph Reed has some thought-provoking ideas on steering this country back to moral, economical and spiritual empowerment. He demonstrates a way in which we can be “part” of this world yet not necessarily “of” this world. With endorsements from Senator Rand Paul, Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Mike Huckabee, there appear to be many who support his ideas. Though not fundamentally new beliefs and conclusions, Ralph Reed imposes his thoughts in a different way.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Awakening from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Dogs to the Rescue

Wells, M.R. Dogs to the Rescue: Inspirational Stories of Four-Footed Heroes. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
dogstorescueWhether it be a nursing home, a swimming pool, a correctional facility, a horse barn or even a funeral, M.R. Wells shares stories of what dogs can teach us about life, love and loyalty as well as acceptance, safety and true friendship. With a short story mingled with an example from the Bible, each piece finishes with a Bible verse and a few thought-provoking questions about our own lives to consider.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having recently rescued my own ball-of-fur (a Great Pyrenees/ Shepard puppy), of course I was drawn to this book. Each heart-warming short story (3-4 pages in length) can be read in just a few minutes but may linger longer in your heart. Although it could be a devotional, it also reads as an inspirational book highlighting service dogs, therapy dogs, rescued dogs and best friends. As the successful author of Four Paws from Heaven along with writing for several Disney shows and PBS series, M.R. Wells again delivers strongly.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Dogs to the Rescue from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Water Walker

Dekker, Ted. Water Walker: The Outlaw Chronicles. Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
waterwalkerHaving spent years in an orphanage, Alice Ringwald has no memory past the last six months. Recently adopted by a couple, Alice has settled into her new normal life. When a man appears claiming to be her father and kidnaps her, Alice finds herself with a new family in the Louisiana swamplands. Finding no escape, Alice loses hope until she meets the Outlaw…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having recently read Eyes Wide Open, I enthusiastically accepted the opportunity to read another book in the Outlaw Chronicles series. Water Walker exceeded my expectations in that, if possible, I enjoyed it even more than the first book in the series. Styled as a modern parable, it teaches of forgiveness, acceptance and faith in God. Extremely captivating, consistently moving, suspensefully thrilling, smoothly expressed…Water Walker is definitely a page turner to the very end. Born to missionary parents in Indonesia, Ted Dekker is a very talented New York Times best-selling author of many novels, two of which have been made into movies.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Water Walker from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

Benton, Lori. The pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press. 2014.

SUMMARY:
littlejohnWhile witnessing a murder, Tamsen Littlejohn decides not to follow her step-father’s demands of an arranged marriage and sneaks away. With the help of Jesse Bird, they travel across and through the wilderness all while being tracked, experiencing unending trust, drawing deeply on faith, suffering extreme heartache yet learning to listen to their own hearts. Sometimes…when much is lost, much is gained.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Beautifully written through word choices, syntax and style, Lori Benton vividly composes a landscape in which adventure, romance, shame, mystery, deceit and trust occur. Faith and mercy are included in unlikely characters, adding intensity to this story. Though long in length, I found myself willingly turning pages and burning-the-midnight-oil to finish it. Having read the author’s debut novel, Burning sky, I anticipated her next novel. Definitely one of my favorite authors, Lori Benton should continue to write in her artistic style while telling a faith-filled yet deeply adventurous story.

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn from WaterBrook Press for my honest review*