50 Things You Need To Know About Heaven

50Hart, Dr. John. 50 Things You Need To Know About Heaven. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
Everyone wonders at some point about Heaven…what will it be like? Will I see my pets and friends there? Will I receive a second chance if I don’t make it the first time? These questions and many more (50 in all) are answered in this devotional-type book with each short chapter concluding with scriptural references. Full of personal experiences, everyday situations and Bible knowledge to back his answers, Dr. John Hart tackles the questions many consider.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Wonderful as a devotional, a Bible-study, a new-member guide or even for the curious reader, 50 Things You Need To Know About Heaven is an interesting book. Each 2-3 page chapter starts with a question, proceeds with a relate-able moment, searches scripture involvement and finishes with Bible passages to correlate the context. Easy to follow, full of thought-provoking topics and providing necessary assurances about Heaven, this is a book I am glad I read yet will be happy to share.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 50 Things You Need To Know About Heaven from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

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The Outcast

Petersheim, Jolina. The Outcast. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 2013.

SUMMARY:
outcastRachel Stoltzfus is a soon to be single mother, albeit a strong determined person. As a member of an Old Order Mennonite community, Rachel is shunned by many and eventually leaves at the hands of her brother-in-law, the bishop. Determined to keep the baby’s father a secret, the health of her baby may change that desire even though it may expose guilt and create pain.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
The Outcast was a deeper read, almost similar to a modern Scarlet Letter with a mix of contemporary Englisch and Mennonite characters. Although parts of this book were a bit uncomfortable, it was tastefully written considering the difficult premise. Secrets, faith, loyalty, family, pride and forgiveness all mingle together to create a genuinely moving story. Wow…what an absolutely beautiful yet profound debut novel. Yet again this was a new author for me but quickly now one of my favorites; I actually have this author’s newest book, The Midwife, already on my shelf.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*Library Journal’s Best Books 2013*
*Christian Manifesto’s 2013 Award Winner for Excellence in Amish Fiction*
*World Magazine’s Notable Books*
*2013/2014 Christian Retailing’s Best Nominee*
*INSPY Nominee*

The Midwife

Petersheim, Jolina. The Midwife. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
midwifeHaving a romantic interest in her professor, as well as needing money to finish her degree, Beth Winslow accepts the invitation to be a surrogate mother. When the results suggest a possible abnormality in the baby, the professor and his wife decide to terminate the pregnancy yet Beth discovers she already loves this child. Running to Hopen Haus, a home for unwed mothers nestled deep in a Mennonite community, Beth assumes the identity of Rhoda Mummau, a midwife at Hopen Haus.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having just finished and enjoyed The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim, I was excited to have the chance to read The Midwife. A deeply moving story, it was well written as the story transitioned between characters and time frames. Though easy to have been lost, the novel read seamlessly and was cohesive in all aspects. Coupled with her own current personal loss, the author weaves such a sentimental tale that I just couldn’t put it down. Hard decisions, sorrowful circumstances, troubled actions, difficult emotions and unresolved regrets all contribute to a heart-stirring read.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Midwife from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

Silenced

Pettrey, Dani. Silenced (Alaskan Courage: Book 4). Bloomington, MN: Bethany house Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
silencedWhile free-climbing in Alaska, Kayden McKenna makes a terrible discovery- a fellow climber who fell to his death. Searching through the clues, Kayden and Investigator Jake Westin-Cavanagh find themselves involved within the climbing community to scrutinize relationships, explore possible motives, examine their own pasts and consider a future together. When things turn from bad to worse, not only will they question others but will be putting their own lives at risk…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A new author for me as well as a new series (which I jumped into in the middle). Though Book 4 of the series, I had absolutely no problem following the characters and action. Being a climbing family, I was excited to read this novel which took place on familiar ground (rocks). Full of intense activity, a solid mystery and an unexpected twister, I enjoyed this book enough to read the other previous books in the series. An entertaining read scattered with pieces of faith, hope, family and realizations, Silenced will leave you cliffhanging and your heart ascending (puns intended)! Perhaps a good novel for a movie!!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Silenced from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

Out Of The Depths

Harrell, Edgar. Harrell, David. Out Of The Depths. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
outofthe depthsHaving survived one of the worst catastrophes at sea, the author, Edgar Harrell, USMC, lived to tell about it. In 1945, his naval ship, the USS Indianapolis, has a 1,196 man crew when it is targeted by no less than six torpedoes racing towards it. For five grueling days and nights, the shrinking crew battles sharks, salt water, dehydration and fear. Were it not for the strong faith encouraged on the open waters, perhaps no one would have survived…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having heard the story before of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, I was intrigued to read the story from a narrative point of a survivor. Written in a compelling and gripping manner, the crew’s unquenchable faith was apparent. For what must have seemed an eternity, those five days spent on the sinking ship and waters must have been sheer torment. By the grace of God, the author lived to recount his story of courageous survival and determined faith with others. Definitely a book to absorb and share.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Out Of The Depths from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*