About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now promote literacy by reading, and then writing reviews. I love to support authors by sharing my reviews with others!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Revelation in Autumn by Wanda E. Brunstetter

A Revelation in Autumn (Discovery, #5)ABOUT THE BOOK

Book 5 of an exclusive 6-consecutive-month release Amish serial novel. 

In A Revelation in Autumn, part five of New York Times Bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunstetter’s The Discovery--A Lancaster County Saga, Meredith Stoltzfus becomes closer to Jonah Miller and agrees to marry him in the spring of next year. About the same time, Luke, who is called “Eddie” by his nurse, is grateful for the nurse’s grandparents who kindly take him in. Maybe living in a home-type atmosphere will help him regain his memory. Can he put the pieces of his past back together and return home in time—before he loses Meredith again?


In this fifth installment of The Discovery series Meredith Stoltzfus has just had her baby and even though she is thrilled with baby Levi, she is also concerned about her financial situation. Yes, her parents and her in-laws would be willing to help but she wants to provide for her baby herself. How, as a single mother, will she be able to do this? Meanwhile, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Luke Stoltzfus still has no memory of his life before his accident and he now is living with a kind couple who are willing to provide"Eddie" a place to stay. To further complicate matters, "Eddie" (Luke) is beginning to wonder about his own feelings for Susan Bailey, while back in Bird Hand, Meredith has given Jonah Miller permission to court her. And then, just as the future appears to be changing for both of them, Meredith's husband begins to remember.....

Once again, Wanda Brunstetter has left us anxiously waiting to learn if Meredith and Luke Stoltzfus will ever be reunited. A Revelation in Autumn is an enjoyable story that is the perfect way to prepare us for the conclusion of this series. Fans of Brunstetter and Amish fiction will certainly want to read this short novella!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.

To learn more about Wanda, visit her website  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest


The Discovery--A Lancaster County Saga

Book 1 - Goodbye to Yesterday
Book 2 - The Silence of Winter
Book 3 - The Hope of Spring
Book 4 - The Pieces of Summer
Book 5 - A Revelation in Autumn
Book 6 - A Vow for Always

View all my reviews

Monday, December 30, 2019

Live Without You by Sarah Grace Grzy


Piper Redding is a loner, but lonely. Everyone she loves has abandoned her and opening her heart to others is just asking for more pain. She can’t help but blame herself for her brother’s tragic death six years ago, and in her guilt, she shuts herself off from the world. No one could love hernot even the God who promised to be there for her but wasn’t. For paramedic Ezra Bryant, failure is not an option. He’s had enough of it, and only byGod’s grace is he able to put it behind him. But when a traumatic event brings Piper’s greatest fear and Ezra’s failures to light, can they use that event to allow God to mend their broken pieces? Can love triumph over fear, and grace over guilt?

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2pqqLEh


This book is a wonderful contemporary novella with great characters, sweet romance, and a plot that has many serious issues sprinkled with moments of humor. Piper Redding has suffered great hurt and experienced many feelings of guilt and she has lost faith in God. After all, 'she'd realized the futility of praying to One who wouldn't listen.' Ezra Bryant is the guy who talks to God constantly and he is certainly a person that we all wish we could have in our lives because his concern and his great faith is wonderful to witness. As this story progressed I loved seeing Piper's faith blossom and deepen and Ezra's friendly concern deepen into much more but this story certainly isn't all sunshine and roses. There are some serious issues and some heart-wrenching moments that filled me with so many emotions! I shed tears for the heartache and loss and felt joy for the forgiveness and grace.

Live Without You is Sarah Grace Grzy's debut novel and she shows great promise as an author. She has penned many special words but I love these for the wonderful truth that they share: 'Through much pain and heartache, God's love triumphs over fear, and His grace over guilt."

If you enjoy contemporary fiction and Christian romance, you will want to read Live Without You.

I received a complimentary PDF copy from the author through Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required and I have shared my own thoughts and opinions.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Sarah Grace Grzy is a voracious reader, and if it weren't for this crazything called 'Life,' she'd be tempted to spend all her days in front of a wood stove,book in one hand, coffee mug in the other.A lover of learning,she finds enjoyment in many things and has more hobbies thanshe knows what to do with. Sarah Grace is a freelance web and graphic designer, andwhen not working, spending time with her ever-growing family, or reading, she canbe found painting, playing the piano, or fangirling with her sisters and friends. SarahGrace inhabits the State of Great Lakes, and wouldn't want to live anywhere else--unless it meant she could have a baby penguin, in which case, she'd gladly move to theSouth Pole. 

You can learn more about Sarah  

View all my reviews

Grandparenting with Grace: Living the Gospel with the Next Generation by Larry E. McCall


In this practical and biblical resource for grandparents, Larry McCall helps readers confidently carry out their mission of gospel-focused grandparenting. Grandparenting with Grace explores how to build a legacy of a life worth following and how to faithfully pray for grandchildren.

What does God say about grandparents and grandchildren? Rather than relying on personal stories and ideas alone, Grandparenting with Grace seeks to explain from Scripture the “what,” “why,” “who,” and “how” of grandparenting.

Readers hungry to know more about God’s calling for this role will find inspiration, encouragement, and gospel hope. As a parent to three and grandparent to six, the author shares his personal experiences coming alongside his children in supportive ways as they seek to raise their kids—his grandkids—in the ways of Christ.

Many people in our culture look at grandparenting primarily as an opportunity to make occasional fun memories with their grandkids. There’s often little thought given to the idea of intentionally and spiritually pouring into grandchildren.

McCall urges readers to look at grandparenting from an eternal perspective, considering how to be involved in their families in God-honoring ways. By applying biblical wisdom, grandparents can also strengthen the local church as they continue to see and pursue God’s calling to present the gospel to the coming generations.

"Grandchildren are the crown of the aged." Proverbs 17:6

This scripture certainly applies to me because I was in my early 60s before I became a grandparent for the first time! I am hoping that the maturity and wisdom that I now have will make up for the creaky knees, stiff joints, and my inability to be as active as a 40 year-old grandmother would be. I am also praying that I will continue to grow in grace and wisdom as I travel down this rode called grandparenting. Grandparenting with Grace is the answer to my prayers and it is an excellent resource for those of us who long to share the gospel with our grandchildren. Author Larry E. McCall offers advice and shares Bible scripture as he encourages, motivates, and cheers us on.  I was especially drawn to chapter 7  and its subject of prayer. This chapter reminds us that we need to pray for our children, our grandchildren, and especially, ourselves. We need to pray for our understanding, wisdom, consistency, perseverance, and strength. At the end of this chapter and each of the other six chapters there are Discussion Questions and Action Steps;  I  also appreciate that there is a bilbiography with additional resources at the end of the book. 

I am so glad to have had the chance to read and review Grandparenting with Grace and I recommend it to all who have been blessed with grandchildren and want to help them know God's gospel message!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from New Growth Press and was under no obligation to write a positive review. These are my own opinions.

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars


Larry E. McCall has served as a pastor at Christ's Covenant Church of Winona Lake, Indiana, since 1981. He has written a number of articles and is the author of Walking Like Jesus Did, Loving Your Wife as Christ Loves the Church, and Grandparenting with Grace. He is a graduate of Grace College, Grace Theological Seminary and has a doctor of ministry degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Larry has been married to Gladine since 1975. They have three married children and seven grandchildren.

Abraham (The Petersheim Brothers #2) by Jennifer Beckstrand: Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Abraham
Author: Jennifer Beckstrand
Genre: Inspirational Amish Romance
Release Date: November 26, 2019

Things at the Petersheim house are getting too crowded for eight-year-old twins Alfie and Benji. As if things weren’t bad enough with three older brothers hogging all the bacon at breakfast and using more than their fair share of toiletpaper, Mammi and Dawdi Petersheim have to move in because of Dawdi’s stroke. If Alfie and Benji have any hope of getting their own bedrooms, they have to get rid of their annoying brothers, and the only way to convince their brothers to move out is to make each of them fall in love. What could be so hard about that?

Abraham Petersheim is known as a man of few words. He’s painfully shy and doesn’t see the need to prattle on like other boys in the community do. That’s why he can’t understand his unexpected attraction to Emma Wengerd. For sure and certain she’s pretty, but she also has five or six boys buzzing around her all the time, and she seems to be constantly annoyed with Abraham and his little brothers. Emma would never be interested in someone as boring as Abraham, and he could never set his sights on someone as wunderbarr as Emma.

Click here to get your copy.  


Nine year old twins Alfie and Benji Petersheim are at it again! They are still sleeping in the cellar so matchmaking is once again needed as they continue their quest to finally have their own bedroom. This time around they plan to find a wife for their brother Abraham but they know it won't be easy. Abraham is a great guy who is tall and plays basketball but he is shy and very unsure of himself. It won't be easy for him to court a girl, especially the one the twins have seen him secretly watching. Emma Wengard is very pretty and very popular and she could have any Amish boy that she wants, but can they convince her that Abraham is the one? With the aid of walkie-talkies and Emma's chickens they begin their plan but will Alfie and Benji ever be able to escape the spiders and come out of the cellar?

Abraham is the second book is the second book in The Petersheim Brothers series and another great Amish story from author Jennifer Beckstrand. I enjoyed this unlikely romance between Abraham and Emma but it is Alfie and Benji who have once again stolen my heart and brightened my day with their antics. Yes, Abraham Petersheim is the focus of this book but these two boys surely give their brother a run for his money. They made me smile and I laughed out loud many times as I read Abraham. I know that the twins will probably be around in the third book of this series to help their third brother Austin find a bride but I can only hope that Beckstrand will continue to share them in many more books!

This story has humor, romance, and moral reminders about pride, forgiveness, and love. I recommend it to all who enjoy Amish fiction and Christian romance.

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher and Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. These are my own thoughts and opinions.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Author

Jennifer Beckstrand is the two-time RITA-nominated, #1 Amazon bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series, The Honeybee Sisters series, and The Petersheim Brothers series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer and Home on Huckleberry Hill were both nominated for the coveted RITA® Award from Romance Writers of America. Jennifer has written twenty-one Amish romances, a historical Western, and the nonfiction book, Big Ideas. She and her husband have been married for thirty-five years, and she has six children and eight adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

More from Jennifer

Alfie and Benji Petersheim will do just about anything to get their brother Abraham to fall in love with Emma Wengerd, even adopt a stray dog. But to catch that dog, they’re going to need Aunt Bitsy’ help. Alfie and Benji are about to get in a lot of trouble.   I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Abraham.   Benji pushed his coffee cake around his plate with his finger. “Maybe we could keep that stray dog.” Maybe they could keep the dog. Alfie’s heart started pounding. A dog could find them if they ever got lost in the woods. A dog could fetch sticks and bring Dat his slippers. A dog would eat crumbs off the floor. Mamm would never have to mop again. Bitsy shrugged. “That’s up to your mamm.” Alfie’s heart sank to his toes. “Mamm would never let us have a dog. She won’t even let me have a goldfish.” “I have a pet spider,” Benji said. Alfie popped a small bite of coffee cake into his mouth. “He’s not your pet. He just lives in the corner of the cellar and kills other spiders.” “You tried to spray him,” Benji said, “and I saved his life. He’s my pet now.” Bitsy nodded. “Spiders are gute pets. They feed themselves and don’t poop on the carpet.” Benji sat very still before wrinkling his forehead like he did when he was upset. “We need to help that dog.” Alfie wanted a dog as much as anybody, but they had to be sensible. They’d been asking Mamm for a dog ever since they could talk. “Mamm won’t let us.” Benji started crying. “But he’s going to get gassed.” Bitsy reached over and patted Benji’s arm. “He might not get gassed. The pound might find a nice family that wants to adopt him. People like chocolate labs. I’m told they’re cute.” Benji caught his breath and suddenly stopped crying, as if someone had turned off a faucet. “Do girls like chocolate lamps?” “Chocolate labs?” Bitsy folded her arms. “Well, I’m a girl and I don’t think he’s cute, but most girls love dogs. Do you remember Vernon Schmucker? Poor fellow had a face like a potato, and the girls ignored him. One night he brought a puppy to the gathering, and he was surrounded by girls all night. That’s how he met his wife.” Benji jumped from his chair and threw his arms around Alfie, making Alfie spill milk down his new shirt. “Hey. Watch it.” “Alfie, girls like dogs!” Benji was a good partner, but sometimes he made no sense. “So?” “If Emma Wengerd saw us walking our chocolate lamp down the street, she’d run out of her house to pet him.” Alfie’s heart started pounding. Benji was the best bruder in the world. “We could bring Abraham with us.” Benji got more and more excited with each word. “And they could talk about dogs and chickens and maybe start kissing.” Alfie set his milk on the table. “We’ve got to catch that dog.”

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, December 28
She Lives to Read, December 29
Older & Smarter?, December 30
Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 31
SPLASHES of Joy, January 1
Book of Ruth Ann, January 2
Mary Hake, January 2
janicesbookreviews, January 3
Vicky Sluiter, January 3
Pause for Tales, January 4
Quiet Quilter, January 5
The Avid Reader, January 6
Batya’s Bits, January 10


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving a $10 Amazon gift card to three winners!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Gus Loses His Grip: When You Want Something Too Much by David A. Powlison, editor

Gus Loses His Grip: When You Want Something Too Much (Good News for Little Hearts Series)ABOUT THE BOOK

Gus, a raccoon who loves all things sweet, learns what happens when you want something too much. After Gus gets caught taking candy from the store, Papa reminds him that temptation might be strong for us, but it's not too strong for Jesus. Both Gus and Papa can ask Jesus for help when they want something too much.


This is another great children's book from New Growth Press that not only entertains but also teaches Godly principles. Gus Loses His Grip is the story of Gus the raccoon and his love for anything sweet. Candy, fruit, you name it..."Gus loved sweets. He loved everything sweet!" Soon, Gus finds himself hiding candy, lying, and eventually stealing to satisfy his sweet tooth. When Papa raccoon talks to Gus about letting his love of sweets cause him to do wrong, he soon realizes that he himself has been guilty of coveting fishing equipment and that this is very wrong also.

Children will love the colorful illustrations as they observe the raccoon family involved in the same daily activities as humans, such as fishing, Easter egg hunts, and picking berries. They will also learn that everyone is tempted by sin and that there are many different ways to sin, but we can always ask Jesus Christ to help us with those temptations.

This is a great book for children and adults to read together and there is also an added parent's guide in the back to help in further discussion. I highly recommend this book.

I received a complimentary copy from New Growth Press but I wasn't required to write a positive review. These are my own opinions.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

God Made Boys and Girls: Helping Children Understand the Gift of Gender by Marty Machowski

God Made Boys and Girls: Helping Children Understand the Gift of GenderABOUT THE BOOK

God Made Boys and Girls helps children understand that their gender is a gift from the God who made them and loves them. The story begins as the girls and boys at Grace Christian School are discussing if boys will always be boys and girls will always be girls. Their teacher explains that God gives each of us the gift of being male or female before we are born, and that you continue to be a boy or a girl whether you like to climb trees or play house, play tag or color pictures, cause a ruckus or sit quietly.

In a world where there is so much confusion about gender and identity, pastor and best-selling author Marty Machowski shares the simple, clear truth that all of us are made in God's image as either male or female and what God made is very good! Included at the back of the book is a special section just for parents and caregivers that gives biblical guidance and help as they have this important conversation with their children.


"Did you know if you are a boy, then boy is in your blood? And if you are a girl, that girl is in your blood too?

This question is found in God Made Boys and Girls and it is the perfect way to begin a conversation with children about gender and God's role in choosing whether a person is male or female. Author Marty Machowski has written a book that targets children ages 3-5 and he uses Bible scripture to support his theory that gender is 'God's good gift'. This 32 page book is filled with bright, colorful illustrations and easy-to-understand language and best of all, a wonderful explanation of how gender is determined. As he explains how chromosomes determine our gender, he mentions the gender code. An attention-grabber, for sure, because what child doesn't like codes and coding? He also points out that God gives each of us different interests and talents and it's okay for a girl to be good in sports or for a boy to like to cook or do ballet. These talents and interests have no effect on the gender that God chose for us!

As I read this book, I was once again reminded of the changes in our society and the constant blast from social media to promote the trans-gender movement. This is very confusing to children and we need books like this to help explain what is Biblical truth. I especially liked that at the end, Machowski offers a special section titled "Truths About Gender to Share with Children" and he shares information about people who have genetic disorders. He also encourages us all to pray for those who are confused or have willingly rejected God's truth. We must be willing to share God's Word with them but to do so in a kind and loving way.

I have a young granddaughter in Kindergarten and I know that she will soon hear comments from her classmates that will confuse her and I am thrilled that this book will be available to share with her. This is  an excellent, No!, it is an exceptional book that every parent and every teacher should have!

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from New Growth Press but there was no obligation to post a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church, a Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for more than twenty years. As leader of their children’s ministry, Promise Kingdom, he has worked for many years to develop curriculum and devotional material that connect church and home. His passion is equipping families to understand the Bible as one gospel story and help them share that with their children. He is the author of The Gospel Story for Kids series including Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God (OT); The Gospel Story Bible; and the Gospel Story Curriculum: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament and the forthcoming Old Story New (NT): Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God and Gospel Story Curriculum: Following Jesus in the New Testament. He and his wife Lois and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

For more information, visit his Website    Facebook    Twitter

View all my reviews

The Moon Is Always Round by Jonathan Gibson

The Moon Is Always RoundABOUT THE BOOK

Even young children want answers to the hard questions about God and suffering. In The Moon Is Always Round, seminary professor and author Jonathan Gibson uses the vivid imagery of the moon to explain to children how God’s goodness is always present, even when it might appear to be obscured by upsetting or difficult circumstances.

In this beautiful, two-color illustrated book, he allows readers to eavesdrop on the conversations he had with his young son in response to his sister’s death. Father and son share a simple liturgy together that reminds them that, just as the moon is always round despite its different phases, so also the goodness of God is always present throughout the different phases of life.

A section in the back of the book offers further biblical help for parents and caregivers in explaining God’s goodness to children. Jonathan Gibson reminds children of all ages that God’s goodness is present in the most difficult of times, even if we can’t always see it.


The Moon Is Always Round is a story for children but it is a reminder to ALL of us of God's goodness. Over and over again, we hear a father reassuring his little boy that even though he isn't seeing a full moon, the moon is always round. And just as we may not understand all that is happening in our lives, God is always there. Even when problems and trouble appear to cover it up, God's goodness is always present.

This is a sweet story with beautiful illustrations and it offers parents and their children the chance to talk about God and His wonderful Grace. In the back of the book, author Jonathan Gibson offers Lessons for Children and The Story Behind This Book and these extras offer more opportunities to discuss how God's goodness is always with us.

I am hesitant, however, to recommend this as a book for all children because there is a mention of a baby sister who is stillborn and we see the grief of this family. This would certainly be an excellent book for parents and children who are dealing with miscarriage or death but I'm not sure that it should be read to all young children.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from New Growth Press but a positive review was not required. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Jonathan Gibson (PhD, Cambridge) is ordained in the International Presbyterian Church, UK, and is associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. He is coeditor with Mark Earngey of Reformation Worship, contributor to and coeditor with David Gibson of From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, and Covenant Continuity and Fidelity: A Study of Inner-Biblical Allusion and Exegesis in Malachi. He is married to Jacqueline, and they have two children: Benjamin and Leila.

View all my reviews

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Why Do We Say Good Night? by Champ Thornton

Why Do We Say Good Night?ABOUT THE BOOK

Why Do We Say Good Night?

Going to bed and turning out the light can be a hard time for many children. Award-winning author Champ Thornton wrote this beautifully designed and illustrated book to help parents comfort their children with three truths about God. As a mother and her little daughter talk, they remember together that God made the night, he sees in the dark, and he watches over them just like a shepherd protects his sheep. Children and parents will want to start a new nighttime tradition of reading together about why we can say that the night is good.

In this important, engaging children's book, parents can bring comfort and encouragement to their children, reminding them Jesus is near.


If your children are afraid of the dark and they dread going to bed, this is the perfect book for bedtime. In this sweet book a little girl aks her mother "why do we say good night?" because she doesn't like the dark. Her mother reminds her that God made the night as well as the day and that all He made was good. Mother also tells her that God watches over her both day and night.

Champ Thornton uses rhyming text to tell this story and illustrator Rommel Ruiz vividly shows what a little girl who doesn't like the dark might imagine she is seeing after the lights are out. It is, however, the emphasis on God's protection that I especially appreciated in Why Do We Say Good Night? As the little girl is almost asleep, we hear her mother saying "Good night, dear one--You need not fear. Good night, sleep well. The Lord is here...Good night."

This story is just the right length and the pictures are attention grabbers and I believe that this is the perfect book to share with your little ones as you put them to bed.

I received a copy of this book from New Growth Press but I wasn't obligated to write a positive review. These are my own opinions.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Champ Thornton grew up in the Carolinas. He is presently an associate pastor at Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, Delaware. Beginning in 2003, he pastored in South Carolina and later served as director of SOMA, a ministry training school in Columbus, Ohio. Champ is also the author of "God's Love: A Bible Storybook," and of Bible curriculum for early and upper elementary-aged children. To learn more, visit the author's website: www.champthornton.com

View all my reviews

God Made Me Unique: Helping Children See Value in Every Person by Joni and Friends

God Made Me Unique: Helping Children See Value in Every PersonABOUT THE BOOK

God Made Me Unique helps parents and caregivers teach children that God creates every person in the image of God and each individual has tremendous value, regardless of his or her appearance or abilities. The story is set in a classroom where a new student is introduced who has a disability and his classmates learn to ask questions and gain an understanding about their new friend. This book will help eliminate fear and misconceptions about those who have special needs and emphasizes that every person deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. The back of the book has additional information and resources to equip parents to talk with their children about this important subject.


God Made Me Unique is a book that needs to be in every classroom! It shows children that even though we may have disabilites and disadvantages, we are still just as God intended! We may look different, we may have different talents, but we are all perfect in God's eyes. It stresses time and again that we need to treat others with kindness and love.

The rhyming verse makes this book both fun to read and fun to hear and the bright and colorful illustrations are perfect to quickly gain a child's attention. Bible scripture is sprinkled throughout so that the children will know that it is God's own Word telling us that we are all special and unique. I especially love the easy-to-understand text in God Made Me Unique and its reassuring message that "Disabilities aren't germs that you're able to share. They are part of Creation, there's no need to be scared."

This book is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, caregivers, and church workers and I highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book from New Growth Press but I wasn't required to write a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Joni and Friends is an organization that accelerates Christian outreach in the disability community. Founded in 1979, their mission is to communicate the gospel and equip Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disability. The organization authors numerous books including titles such as the Beyond Suffering Bible, Real Families, Real Needs, and a series of church resources entitled The Irresistible Church.

View all my reviews

Ruth: Redemption for the Broken, Study Guide with Leader's Notes (The Gospel-Centered Life in the Bible Series by Jared C. Wilson

Ruth: Redemption for the Broken, Study Guide with Leader's Notes (The Gospel-Centered Life in the Bible SeriesABOUT THE BOOK

Ruth is a story of redemption. Not just the redemption of Ruth, or Naomi, but it points to the plan for redemption that God had set up to redeem all who believe. Ruth by Jared Wilson is a ten-week accessible study that brings to life the theological depth and gospel centrality of the Christian Scriptures. For the next generation, this invaluable resource is interactive and engaging in a time in which biblical literacy amongst Christians is diminishing. 


I jumped at the chance to review this book because Book of Ruth is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Ruth's devotion to her mother-in-law and her willingness to go with Naomi to a foreign land has always touched me but we have to remember that widowed Naomi was risking a lot to take a pagan daughter-in-law back to her homeland. We know that in the end, both Naomi and Ruth were blessed beyond measure. Naomi once again had a family and Ruth found a godly husband, and it is from Ruth's marriage to Boaz that the bloodline of David began.

In his introduction to Ruth: Redemption for the Broken, author Jared C. Wilson reminds us that "if you belong to Jesus by faith, Ruth is your family story. It is your spiritual heritage, more personal and true and lasting than if you had discovered an old scrapbook in your grandmother's attic." In eight lessons, Wilson helps us to better understand our spiritual heritage and I liked that he is consistent in his teaching plan. In each lesson he uses the same elements: a summary of the main point of the lesson; Bible Scripture; his own thoughts; a discussion; an exercise or lesson, with a space to jot down your answers; and a wrap-up and prayer. He also shares Leader's Notes at the end of the book to give us even more instruction.

This book would be considered short by many standards but in its 111 pages there is a wealth of information! I recommend Ruth: Redemption for the Broken for both personal study or for an organized group study.

I received this book from New Growth Press but there was no obligation to write a positive review. These are my own opinions.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Jared C. Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Managing Editor of For The Church (ftc.co), and Director of the Pastoral Training Center at Liberty Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri. He is the author of numerous books, including "Gospel Wakefulness," "The Prodigal Church," and, most recently, "The Imperfect Disciple." Wilson blogs regularly at gospeldrivenchurch.com, hosted by The Gospel Coalition and is a frequent speaker at conferences and churches around the world.

Learn more at his website    Facebook    Twitter 

View all my reviews

Friday, December 27, 2019

Her Secret Alaskan Family by Belle Calhoune


Can she come home to a place she’s never known?

Everyone remembers the kidnapped Alaskan baby…but they don’t know she’s returned home.

Sage Duncan is the only person in Owl Creek who knows her true identity: the missing Alaskan chocolate heiress. Now she’s returned to Alaska to learn about the family she was stolen from—without disclosing her identity. But keeping her deep secret from gorgeous town sheriff Hank Crawford is much harder than Sage thought…especially when she finds herself falling for him.


Sage Duncan's life is totally changed when her dying mother confesses that she had kidnapped Sage as an infant. Sage longs to find her birth parents but she also feels great love and loyalty to the man who had been her father for twenty-five years. Eric Duncan was also a victim of this lie and Sage is determined to protect him from being charged with kidnapping! What follows is a heartwarming tale of a young woman traveling from Florida to Alaska to find her true identity but instead, discovering so much more.

I loved reading how the small community of Owl Creek rallied around a family who had their baby girl taken and continued to support them during the twenty-five years after their baby's abduction. Author Belle Calhoune perfectly shows the many repercussions from the desperate act of one unstable person---intense and never-ending heartache for a grieving family and the emotions of a young woman whose life is thrown into shambles. Sage feels cheated from never knowing her birth family but also struggles with her love and loyalty for the only father that she has ever known! Getting to know the wealthy North family as she seeks the truth shows Sage just how much she has missed and reminds her that family is everything, money certainly doesn't guarantee happiness, and love and forgiveness are necessary if you truly want to find lasting peace.

There are several special characters in this book, including Sheriff Hank Crawford and his adorable daughter Addie. It is apparent that Hank and Sage feel an attraction but Hank isn't ready to risk another heartbreak! I also enjoyed meeting Hank's mother and sister and the two young men who turn out to be Sage's brothers; I am hoping that their stories will continue in the next books of the Home to Owl Creek series. I highly recommend Her Secret Alaskan Family to anyone who enjoys Christian romance and contemporary fiction.

I received a copy of this book from the author but I wasn't required to write a positive review. These thoughts are my own.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Belle Calhoune writes heartwarming, inspirational romance novels set in small, cozy towns. Married to her college sweetheart and living in southern Connecticut, she is the mother of two girls. Born and raised in Massachusetts, she is one of five children. Growing up across the street from a public library allowed her to become an avid reader who aspired to be a romance writer. When she isn't writing, she enjoys reading, spending time in Cape Cod, traveling and enjoying time with friends and family.
Belle hopes her books will provide readers with inspiration, entertainment and an escape from day to day life.

Learn more about Belle at  her Website  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Pinterest

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Narrative Apologetics: Sharing the Relevance, Joy, and Wonder of the Christian Faith by Alister E. McGrath

Narrative Apologetics: Sharing the Relevance, Joy, and Wonder of the Christian FaithABOUT THE BOOK

The Bible is a narrative--the story of God's creation, humankind's fall, and God's plan of redemption. And it is filled with countless smaller stories that teach us about people, history, and the nature of God. It's no surprise that God would choose to reveal himself to us in story--after all, he hardwired us for story. Despite this, we so often attempt to share our faith with others not through story but through systems, arguments, and talking points--methods that appeal only to our mind and neglect our imagination and our emotions.

In this groundbreaking book, scholar and author Alister McGrath lays a foundation for narrative apologetics. Exploring four major biblical narratives, enduring stories from our culture such as Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia, and personal narratives from people such as Augustine of Hippo and Chuck Colson, McGrath shows how we can both understand and share our faith in terms of story.


I was eager to read this book because I have long known of Christian apologetics but I wanted to learn more. The word apologetics refers to defending one's Christian belief in Jesus Christ and His incarnation, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. In this book, Narrative Apologetics, we are shown that the use of stories can be an effective tool in convincing others of these facts and our own beliefs.

The Holy Bible, God's Word, tells the greatest story ever told. Jesus Christ used stories, also known as parables, to help people understand the principles he was trying to teach them. Author Alister E. McGrath hopes this book will introduce narrative apologetics and how they explain the Christian faith by telling stories. He shares the biblical narratives of the Exodus, the Exile, and Jesus Christ, along with the Christian narrative. How many of us have questioned our identity, our value, our purpose, and how we can make a difference?

I must admit that I found Narrative Apologetics difficult to understand at times but I do think that it is a good resource and I appreciate McGrath's encouragement for each of us to share our own personal narratives. Through our own experiences we can show others the ability of the gospel to change lives and "By telling our stories, we bear witness to the capacity of the gospel to give us direction in life to cope with uncertainty and difficulty." (p. 143)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Books. A positive review was not required and I am voluntarily sharing my opinions.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Alister Edgar McGrath is a Northern Irish theologian, priest, intellectual historian, scientist, and Christian apologist.  He is an Anglican priest and is ordained within the Church of England. Aside from being a faculty member at Oxford, McGrath has also taught at Cambridge University and is a Teaching Fellow at Regent College. McGrath holds three doctorates from the University of Oxford, a DPhil in Molecular Biophysics, a Doctor of Divinity in Theology and a Doctor of Letters in Intellectual History.

Learn more at his website 

View all my reviews