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 enjoy reading to my granddaughter and supporting authors through my reviews!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Hearts Set Free by Jess Lederman: Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Hearts Set Free
Author: Jess Lederman
Genre:  Christian Literary Fiction
Release Date: March 12th, 2019

Join me on a journey from the darkness of doubt to triumphant faith and from the ache of loneliness to everlasting love…

“Bold and forthright writing that would set any heart on fire.”–Christian blogger Miranda A. Uyeh
“Readers of inspirational fiction will love this moving story that affirms the power of God’s mercy.”
–Publisher’s Weekly

In 1930, the rag-tag riffraff of a railway stop called Las Vegas need a fighting man to shepherd their tiny church after their pastor is murdered. Might David Gold, a washed-up boxer and Bible-school dropout who fights as the Pummelin’ Preacher, be the answer to their prayers?

At the same time, Luke, a native Alaskan boy, is on a quest to find his father, who has abandoned his family for a beautiful woman his warrior mother vows to kill. The journey of mother and son will lead them to the Nevada desert, and to truths–and terrors–of which they’d never dreamed.

In 2011, Science Cable T.V. producer Tim Faber is determined to prove that mankind has no need of God, while his lover, Joan Reed, strives to regain the faith of her youth. They’re bound for Las Vegas to meet with a 99-year-old man who holds the key to a mystery they must solve–and answers that will forever change their lives.

Their stories will come together at a little house of worship known as the Church of the Heart Set Free.

“I was mesmerized by the characters and how everything unfolded and linked together…”
–Just One More Paragraph (Musings of a Christian Wife)

Click here to get your copy!


What right did he have to expect the Lord to answer his questions? What cross had he ever lifted up to follow Him? Despair and self-loathing engulfed David Gold.

These thoughts of David Gold certainly aren't unusual and this is the story of both David and several other people who have experienced doubts but eventually find their way to God and love. In Hearts Set Free author Jess Lederman shares a tale that follows different seekers on their journey to faith and acceptance. He mentions several familiar names, including Jack Johnson, Bugsy Siegal, Amelia Earhart, and Albert Einstein, and he also has characters patterned after him and his late wife.

I have mixed emotions about Hearts Set Free. Some of the language isn't typical for Christian fiction but I realize that Lederman is showing a realistic depiction of non-believers. I sometimes felt lost because the storyline often jumps between the early twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I did, however, appreciate that Bible scripture is featured throughout the book and that forgiveness and redemption are the central themes. One of the characters is an atheist and it is very moving to see him accepting the reality of a loving Heavenly Father.

Lederman offers readers an intriguing story and I'm sure that many will enjoy Hearts Set Free.

I received a copy of this book from the author and Celebrate Lit. There was no obligation to write a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

About the Author

After I graduated with a degree in music from Columbia University, a lust for expensive pianos drew me into an unexpected career in finance. It turned out that I had a knack for business; I gained much that the world had to offer and became a hedonist, a gambler who haunted the poker rooms of Las Vegas, and an arrogant atheist. I’ve written fiction for most of my life, and at one point I quit work to devote myself to writing a novel. During that time, my late first wife, Teri, and I lived in Paris, down the street from where Hemingway once lived, and later in the mountains of Idaho. But the novel was never published, for I was a man whose soul had not yet awakened, who did not yet have anything important to say. So I went back to the business world.

One day, when we were living in Dallas, Teri heard a radio interview with Francis Collins, an eminent scientist who wrote The Language of God, which tells the story of his journey from atheism to becoming a disciple of Christ. Collins’ book led us to the writings of C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald*, who became the midwives of our rebirth from above.

There’s no hiding from the Hound of Heaven, once He’s on your trail!

Several years later, Teri was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and we left Dallas and the business world behind and moved to a small town in Alaska. There we looked out on the glory of God’s creation and read to our heart’s content during the last two years of her life. Faced with tragedy, we learned to trust utterly in Him, and He blessed us with the peace that surpasses all understanding.

It was after Teri’s death, while I was still living in the far north, that the idea for Hearts Set Free—which opens in the Alaska Territory in 1925was born. People who know that the novel contains autobiographical elements (and several historical characters) sometimes ask me, “How much of the story is true?’ And I answer, “Perhaps twenty percent—and the rest is even more true!” What drives my writing is the desire to convey truths that transform lives. Truths of the heart.

In 2013, I met a wonderful woman—my current wife, Ling—and soon we began talking about having children. “Impossible!” said our doctors. “According to your test results, there’s no chance at all, even using the latest techniques.” Of course, within two months of that pronouncement, Ling was pregnant with little David, who just turned three, and we subsequently adopted Daniel, who’s now twelve.

After David’s birth, we moved to southwest Washington. I’m currently at work on a novel set in Las Vegas in 1955, and, when I’m not writing or chasing my sons around, can usually be found at the piano playing Chopin nocturnes for Ling.

More from Jess

I first conceived of Hearts Set Free in the far frozen north, not long after my first wife, Teri, passed away. She had been diagnosed with ALS, an invariably fatal disease, when we were living in Dallas, and within a month we decided that I’d quit my job so we could move to a small town in Alaska. We bought a small house based on the view out of the living room windows; there we’d be able to spend the time she had left in peace, and gaze out at the glory of God’s creation.

Teri—a woman who untiringly searched for truth—was the inspiration for Joan Reed, one of the main characters in the book, and Alaska—the Last Frontier!—entered into the story as well. We were living not far from the headquarters of the Iditarod, the iconic thousand-mile dog sled race that takes place each year. The Iditarod was modeled after an amazing race against time which occurred in the icy darkness of an Alaskan winter in 1925, when dogsled was the only way to get diphtheria serum to the remote town of Nome and save ten thousand lives. Hearts Set Free begins with that dramatic event.

I put a lot of myself—the bad along with the good!—into other characters in Hearts Set Free. Up until I became a Christian, I had all of the arrogant narcissism of atheist Tim Faber, a T.V. producer intent on proving that mankind has no need of God. I also have the questioning spirit of David Gold, a Bible-school dropout turned boxer who is led by the Lord to become a heroic pastor, and of young Luke Noongwook, a native Alaskan who goes on a quest to find his missing father. Their need to understand difficult aspects of Scripture are based on a passionate desire to love God with all their heart and strength and soul and mind. As is mine!

As a young man, I’d been greatly impressed by E.L. Doctorow’s novel Ragtime, which blended fictional and historical characters, and I decided to use the same approach in Hearts Set Free. Parts of the novel are set in the early and mid-1900s (especially the 1930s), and Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion of the world, and Georges Lemaitre, who was both a physicist and a priest—a man who corrected Albert Einstein, and is probably the greatest scientist of whom most people have never heard!—play important roles.

Finally, the novel is tribute to the beauty of Scripture and features many quotes from the Psalms. If you love compelling tales that combine mystery, adventure, and romance, and enjoy thinking deeply about your faith, I think you’ll find it’s just the book for you!

Blog Stops

Artistic Nobody, February 22 (Author Interview)
Texas Book-aholic, February 23
Older & Smarter?, February 24
Inklings and notions, February 25
A Baker’s Perspective, February 26 (Author Interview)
For Him and My Family, February 27
deb’s Book Review, February 28
Christian Bookshelf Reviews, February 29 (Author Interview)
Through the Fire Blogs, March 3 (Author Interview)


To celebrate his tour, Jess is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of Hearts Set Free plus a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

One Christmas He Never Expected by Lynne Marshall

One Christmas He Never Expected (Santa Barbara Sunsets book #3)ABOUT THE BOOK

Phil Hansen has a reputation as a playboy. One look at the new OB doc, and he wants to find the nearest mistletoe. What could be better than kicking off the holiday season with a fling? Except he sees heartbreak in her eyes.Stephanie Bennett may be dazzled by laid-back Phil’s charm, and though she is long overdue for romance, she’s not ready to put her heart on the line again. Soon swayed by his “love is the best medicine” attitude, she gives in and comes alive in his arms.Can the magic of the Christmas season help two reluctant hearts fall in love? 


An adult man who sleeps with his little four year old half-brother because he's afraid; a successful doctor who dresses as a Surfer Dude Santa, complete with a belly pad beneath a reindeer-patterned Hawaiian shirt and red velvet pants with suspenders. Maybe, just maybe, Phil Hanson is more than the playboy doctor that so many believe him to be. And maybe, just maybe, he will want to change his playboy status after working with the new gynecologist who has joined the clinic where he works.

Dr. Hanson is very handsome and charming but he soon discovers that Dr. Stephanie Bennett isn't as easily swayed as most of his female acquaintances. As he contemplates more than a casual flirtation, he realizes that Stephanie has some issues that may prevent this from happening.

One Christmas He Never Expected is the third book in Lynne Marshall's Santa Barbara Sunsets Trilogy and readers can once again experience romance as only she can write. I enjoyed that some of the characters from the other two books are mentioned and I admire Marshall's ability to show honest emotions and realistic situations. I also appreciate that even though there are references to pre-marital sex, they are tastefully done and not offensive. This is a wonderful way to wrap up a series and people who yearn for "happily ever after" will want to read this book!

I received a copy of this book from the author but was under no obligation to post a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Santa Barbara Sunsets

His Second Chance at Forever
More Then He Bargained For
One Christmas He Never Expected


USA Today Bestselling author, Lynne Marshall, used to worry she had a serious problem with daydreaming. Then she discovered she was supposed to write the stories in her head. A late bloomer, Lynne came to fiction writing after her children were nearly grown. Now she battles the empty nest by writing stories which always include a romance, sometimes medicine, a dose of mirth, or both, but always stories from her heart. She is a Southern California native, married to a New Englander for a long, long time, has two adult children she loves dearly, and three amazing grandchildren she adores. She is also a dog lover, a cat admirer, a meandering walker, and an optimistic traveler on this wild journey called life!

To learn more please visit Lynne's website     Facebook    Instagram

View all my reviews

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill

Collision of LiesABOUT THE BOOK

Three years ago, a collision between a fast-moving freight train and a school bus full of kids led to devastation and grief on an unimaginable scale. But a fresh clue leads San Antonio police detective Amara Alvarez to the unlikely conclusion that one of the children may still be alive. If she's correct, everything law enforcement believes about the accident is a lie.

With time running out, Amara must convince others--and herself--that despite all evidence to the contrary, the boy lives. And she will do everything in her power to bring him home.

A fresh voice in suspense, Tom Threadgill will have you questioning everything as you fly through the pages of this enthralling story.


Thirty seconds. If they were still arguing, she'd call the cops then. Let the professionals deal with them.

This sounds like the thoughts of most average citizens but Amara Alvarez actually IS a professional and she soon learns that this isn't going to be her usual burglary case! A conversation overheard at the Breakfast Bodega diner introduces her to a distraught mother who believes that she has just received a text message from her young son who was killed three years earlier in a tragic accident. Marisa Reyes asks, NO, she begs Amara to help her and her husband find if their son could be alive. Amara's initial reaction is to kindly let them down easy but her cop intuition tells her that there could be more. What follows is an exciting story of "what-ifs", "no way", and "how can this be?" and author Tom Threadgill has created some unique characters and some startling incidents to keep me immersed until the end. Has there been a mistake? Could Benjamin Reyes truly be alive? Can Amara reunite this family? Are there sinister forces still involved in this incident?

I absolutely love Amara Alvaraz and I've added her to my list of super heroines. I admire her for her strength, her kind and loving heart, and her determination to find out if Benjamin is alive. There are several other characters who add interest to this story but I was especially drawn to Ranger Sara Colby, Homicide Detective Starsky, and the ever-hopeful parents, Marisa and Enzo Reyes.

This is my first book by Tom Threadgill and I am now his fan!. I'm hopeful that he will share many more adventures with Amara and I'm also rooting for Amara to be promoted to Homicide after working all of those burglary details. If you're looking for non-stop action, mystery/suspense, and the reminder that hope and faith go hand-in-hand, you will want to read Collision of Lies.

I received a copy of this book from Revell. There was no obligation to post a positive review and I received no monetary compensation. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Tom Threadgill's books have a distinct focus on clean, suspenseful action with strong character development. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). In his downtime, Tom enjoys woodworking, riding his Harley, and chasing the elusive Yard of the Month award. He currently resides with his wife in the Dallas area and can be reached through his website at TomThreadgill.com.

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Cold Case Connection by Dana Mentink: Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Cold Case Connection
Author: Dana Mentink
Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Release Date: February 1, 2020
Convinced his sister’s death wasn’t an accident, private investigator Sergio Ross is determined to catch her killer. But with all the clues hinting at a connection to another unsolved murder, he has to join forces with Helen Pike—a woman linked to both deaths—to find the truth. Can they follow the cold evidence trail to get justice…before they become the next victims?

Click here to get your copy.


Within twelve years of each other two young women who were high school classmates are murdered but could these two deaths be related? Helen Pike and Sergio Ross both are determined to find answers but there's no love lost between them until threats and suspicious activities force them to work together. What follows is a tale filled with suspense, danger, and eventually, friendship and respect.

Helen and Sergio are both intriguing characters but what kept me glued to this book were their constant efforts to escape gun fire, explosions, and a fire that was deliberately set. I admired Sergio's efforts to provide a stable environment for his orphaned three-year-old twin nieces and I also enjoyed watching his animosity toward Helen turn into grudging admiration. As they continue to search for the truth, a change occurs and "He knew in that moment, he would give up everything, including his craving for justice, even his life, it it meant saving hers. If that wasn't love, he realized nothing was."

Author Dana Mentink has written a story that reminds us that even when evil appears, faith and trust will prevail. If you enjoy Christian fiction and romantic suspense you will certainly want to read Cold Case Connection.

I received a copy of this book from the author via Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required and these are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the  nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube , Twitter, and Instagram

More from Dana

Cold Case Connection was really fun to write because it’s Helen’s story. She’s an intelligent, sensitive woman who is the sister to the men living on the Roughwater Ranch. Liam is her biological brother, but she’s just as close to Chad and Mitch who might as well be blood relatives. In this novel, Helen has to relive the worst moment of her teenage life, the night when a mysterious murder occurred during a teen prank. Helen is going to have to face the past in order to preserve her future. Cowboys, a case gone cold, a coastal ranch and a whole lot of danger…I hope you will enjoy the ride!

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, February 14
The Avid Reader, February 15
Texas Book-aholic, February 15
Inklings and notions, February 16
janicesbookreviews, February 16
Betti Mace, February 17
She Lives to Read, February 17
Genesis 5020, February 17
For Him and My Family, February 18
Remembrancy, February 20
Older & Smarter?, February 20
Blogging With Carol, February 20
deb’s Book Review, February 21
Bigreadersite, February 21
EmpowerMoms, February 21
Christian Bookaholic, February 23
KarenSueHadley, February 23
Emily Yager, February 24
Pause for Tales, February 24
Simple Harvest Reads, February 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Maureen’s Musings, February 26
Hallie Reads, February 26
Livin’ Lit, February 27
Daysong Reflections, February 27


To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a Mentink giveaway bundle, including a bag, a copy of the book, and an Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Finding the Road Home by Tina Radcliffe

Finding the Road HomeABOUT THE BOOK

Some paths need courage to follow…

Can they find their fresh startwith roadblocks around every corner?

To care for her orphaned nieces and nephews, Daisy Anderson moved to a small town for a new deputy position—but now her job could be eliminated. With potential budget cuts looming, her only hope is to work with police chief Mitch Rainbolt to save their department’s funds. But can their fight for her job lead to something neither dared wish for: a future together?


Finding the Road Home is the first book of a new series by Tina Radcliffe and it introduces readers to Mitchell Rainbolt, one of four siblings who live in Rebel, Oklahoma. Mitch is the police chief and an all-around good guy but he is carrying a load of guilt that he just can't let go. A new gal in town, Daisy Anderson, is also carrying a load---she is now the guardian of her five nieces and nephews and she's hoping that she and her own grandmother can make a home for these children who've recently been orphaned by the deaths of their parents.

The characters in this story are amazing. Daisy is determined, positive (most of the time), and a real go-getter! Mitch proves to be the a man that small children can love and look up to and he has known the challenge of providing a stable environment for his younger siblings. There are also great secondary characters that I hope to see in future books. Deputy Roscoe can't help but offer advice and Grandma Alice is both practical and encouraging!! She also has great vision because she recognizes the spark and connection between Mitch and Daisy long before they do.

Finding the Road Home has moments of laughter but it also touched my heart. As Daisy relishes her life in small-town Rebel and gets to know Chief Mitch, she realizes that 'Every day her life became more and more tangled in his, and she wasn't sure it was a good thing to put all of her trust in this one man.' (p. 161) Then, in a moment of clarity, Daisy knows that she must walk away because 'She was a mother of five, in love with a man who didn't have room in his heart for her or her family.' Is it possible for Mitch to let go of his past and somehow convince Daisy that they might have a future?

If you enjoy lovable children, wise grandmothers, steadfast friends, and two people who seem to be perfect for each other, you will enjoy Finding the Road Home. Tina Radcliffe has once again given readers great Christian contemporary romance and I can't wait to meet another Rainbolt sibling in the next book of the Hearts of Oklahoma series.

I received a copy of this book from the author. A positive review wasn't requied and I was not compensated in any way. These are my own opinions.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Originally from Western, N.Y., author Tina Radcliffe left home for a tour of duty with the Army Security Agency stationed in Augsburg, Germany and ended up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While living in Tulsa she spent ten years as a Certified Oncology R.N. A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina was a founding member and the manager of Seekerville, a 13 author blog, from 2008-2017. Seekerville has been a Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers award winner 2013-2017.

An RWA and ACFW Honor Roll member, Tina is also a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist. She is a four-time ACFW Carol Award finalist and a three-time ACFW Mentor of the year finalist.
In 2014 she won the ACFW Carol Award and in 2018 she won the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award. In 2019 she is a Holt Winner and an ACFW Carol Award finalist and an ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist.

She has finaled/or won over thirty RWA chapter affiliated contests in her career. As a short story writer, she has sold over three dozen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine.

Tina is a member of Romance Writers of America, including the Kiss of Death Chapter, Faith, Hope & Love Chapter, Desert Rose Romance Writers,  Valley of the Sun Romance Writers, Contemporary Romance Writers and Greater Seattle RWA. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, their local affiliate, Christian Writers of the West. A popular workshop speaker, she currently resides in Arizona where she writes fun, heartwarming romance.

To learn more, visit Tina's : Website    Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest 

Tina also has a blog and she has shared two recipes from Daisy's Pies and Baked Goods.  The Peach Cake.is below and  if you would like the recipe for Aunt Jay's Fresh Peach Pie, you can find it on this blog post.

Peach Cake
2 eggs
3/4 c. oil
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c Ballard Farm peaches mashed
1/2 tsp salt
2 c flour

Mix and bake in a 9 x 13-inch cake pan at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

1 stick butter
2 Tbsp flour
3/4 c evaporated canned milk
1 egg yolk
1 c sugar
Boil until thick, stirring constantly. Cool 2-3 minutes and mix. May add 1/2 cup nuts. Pour over cake. 

View all my reviews

Monday, February 17, 2020

Hands of Grace (Potter's House Books) by Brenda S. Anderson

Hands of Grace  (Potter's House Books (Two) Book 4)ABOUT THE BOOK

She's always looked for love in the wrong places.
He wants nothing to do with love.

Rita Dunlap has a history of looking for love in the wrong places, but this time, she's got it right. Her heart surgeon boyfriend has hinted at proposing, along with letting her sickly mother live with them once they're married.

But then she learns her boyfriend isn't a doctor at all, but a drug trafficker who's involved her in his scheme. Not only did she get love wrong, but she's unwittingly placed both her and her mother's lives in danger.

Love is the last thing on Officer Daniel Winter's mind. Twice-burned, he's locked up his heart for good. But when he goes undercover as a handyman to protect the cute and quirky Rita Dunlap, he discovers he's not only guarding her and her mother, but his heart as well.

Rita wants to trust Daniel, wants to believe his work around her house doesn't come with a price, but she'll need to let go of her past mistakes to open her heart to the future.


The author of Hands of Grace states in both her dedication and her reader's note that she wanted to honor caregivers who sacrifice so much so that they can care for their loved ones with hands of grace. In this story, she showcases the care that Rita Dunlop gives her mother Gladys but she also reminds us how hands of grace can belong to people of all ages, occupations, and gender. In this story they belong to a loving daughter, a man who uses his hands to repair a home, and  policemen who  use their hands to protect the public.

Author Brenda S. Anderson focuses this story on a daughter who is the sole caregiver of her mother. Gladys is in an advanced stage of dementia and very demanding and unappreciative most of the time. My heart was torn as I read Rita's feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, but Anderson also shares moments of humor and laughter and a few times when Gladys actually remembers just who Rita is. These moments are very rare and Rita's dilemna will touch your heart and make you sad but most importantly, it will make you thankful!

I think that it is Rita's loss of hope and her bad romantic choices of the past that cause her to be so susceptible to the attention shown to her by "Dr. Robert". Rita believes that she has found the perfect man and she even believes that a marriage proposal is forthcoming. Instead, she becomes an innocent victim caught up in a drug-trafficing ring and facing extreme danger. Enter a handyman who is also a cop and his construction business offers him the perfect cover for watching over Rita and her mom. Can Daniel keep Rita and her mother safe until the criminals are caught ? Will Rita learn to trust again when she discovers Daniel's true identity? Is there any hope for a relationship when they both have suffered so many past hurts and once again, Rita is being deceived?

Anderson has written a beautiful story of hurt, betrayal, fear, and anxiety, but she also shows forgiveness, redemption, and the comfort that we can have in knowing that God is always with us. It is His hands that have offered us the ultimate grace!

If you enjoy contemporary Christian fiction and romantic suspense, you will certainly enjoy Hands of Grace.

I received a complimentary e-book from the author but there was no obligation to write a favorable review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic, life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is Past-President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE, the 2016 Chapter of the Year. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball, and she loves watching movies with her family. She lives in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 30-plus years and one sassy cat.

Readers can learn more about Brenda at http://brendaandersonbooks.com/  Facebook    Twitter    Instagram

View all my reviews

Hope for New Beginnings: Devotions for the Adventure by Howard A. Eyrich, Shirley Crowder: Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Hope for New Beginnings
Author: Shirley Crowder, Howard A. Eyrich
Genre: Non-fiction / Religion / Devotional
Release Date: November, 2018

Hope for New Beginnings: Devotions for the Adventure – Stepping into any new beginning not knowing what is ahead, is exciting and unsettling at the same time. Our Hope, as Christ-followers, rests in knowing that we do not move forward in our own strength, but in the strength of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We pray these devotions will help prepare your heart to learn from the Lord as He affirms His steadfast love that gives the strength and hope needed to walk boldly into whatever new beginning the Lord has in store for you. These devotions will guide your thoughts toward the biblical truths presented in the background and focal Scripture passages. Each devotional has exercises (you will choose at least one to do each day) that lead you to interact with the biblical truths presented and gain a deeper understanding of the truths in each devotion. Biblical Counselors, when you are ready to dismiss a counselee, this makes a great assignment for the next thirty-one days, then have the counselee come back for a final check-up.

Click here to get your copy.


This is a book of 31 devotions that can be used daily for one month or weekly for 31 weeks. I have chosen to spread it out over the 31 weeks because Hope for New Beginnings is filled with so much to process and savor! Forgiveness, Discipleship, Death, and Hope are just a few of the topics shared and each devotion features the same format: Bible scripture, Contemplate the Devotion, Prayer, Interact with Biblical Truths, and Notes, Thoughts, and Questions. These different sections offer many ways to challenge our thinking and deepen our understanding of God's Word; I especially like that there is space provided to jot down our thoughts.

Authors Dr. Howard Eyrich and Shirley Crowder are both very knowledgable and they are able to share their knowledge in a way that is relatable to all. I highly recommend this book and I believe that Hope for New Beginnings can be used as both a personal devotional or in a group Bible Study.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Authors

Dr. Howard A. Eyrich’s career has spanned more than sixty years. He has filled various roles including seminary professor and president, Pastor and church planter. He retired as the Director of Counseling Ministries at Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama;

He has served on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Birmingham Theological Seminary, Trinity Seminary, the Biblical Counseling Coalition, and The Owen Center, as well as various Presbytery and Presbyterian Church in America denominational committees to name some of major roles.

His publishing efforts include two books as solo author, three books with a co-author, and numerous chapters in significant volumes in the biblical counseling field, as well as articles for The Journal of Biblical Counseling and several other magazines.

Dr. Eyrich and his wife Pamela have two grown children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Retirement for him is a time for ministry. He writes, teaches, preaches, and travels for the Kingdom. He also enjoys the hobbies of model railroading, hunting, and shooting.

Dr. Eyrich is available to speak in conferences, fill pulpits, and for intensive marriage interventions, especially with ministries couples.

Shirley Crowder was born in a mission guest house under the shade of a mango tree in Nigeria, West Africa, where her parents served as missionaries. She and co-author Harriet E. Michael grew up together on the mission field and have been life-long friends. Shirley is passionate about disciple-making, which is manifested in and through a myriad of ministry opportunitie including: biblical counseling, teaching Bible studies, writing, and music.

She is a biblical counselor and is commissioned by and serves on the national Advisory Team for The Addiction Connection. Several of her articles have appeared in “Paper Pulpit” in the Faith section of The Gadsden Times, and in a David C. Cook publication. She also writes articles for Life Bible Study, Woman’s Missionary Union, InspiredPrompt.com and TheAddictionConnection.org. She has authored, co-authored, or contributed to six published books, and she has a four-book devotional series she co-wrote that is scheduled for publication over the next couple of years.

Shirley has spiritual children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren serving the Lord in various ministry and secular positions throughout the world.

More from Shirley

New beginnings are a regular part of life. Sometimes they are well planned, and we eagerly anticipate the future. At other times, we are reticent to move forward into the new beginning. As we think about new beginnings it is appropriate for us to look at the beginning of God’s Word—the Bible.
In Genesis 1:1 ESV, we read, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Here God is the subject, as He is the subject of the entire Bible. From this verse we learn something very important about God—He existed before the universe was created. God has always been, is now, and will always be, present.

Next, we learn that from nothing God created the universe and everything within it. He is the holy, sovereign, majestic, powerful, all-knowing God.

Every time I read these first few verses of the Bible, I am amazed that with just four little words, Let there be light (verse 3), the Creator God spoke into existence light that drove away the darkness.

What astounding power! From these verses, we learn that God is the Author of light. Other places in Scripture tell us that God is light itself (1 John 1:5), and James calls Him the Father of lights (James 1:17).

Think about it: here we are today, many years since God spoke those four little words, Let there be light, and as John tells us, The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5). The Light—God—brings clarity, order, and understanding, while darkness is seen as evil, void, and chaotic.

I watched the coverage of a solar eclipse on several websites. It was so interesting to listen as a myriad of scientists and others explained the wonders of the universe, and while the science behind it all was quite interesting to me, the coverage fell flat. Why? Because it was totally devoid of any mention of Creator God. Only one man explained the solar eclipse through the lens of God’s Word.

As he explained the science behind the solar eclipse, he also explained that THE God of the Universe who created everything that we see, holds the entire universe in His hands, and controls everything that happens, including a solar eclipse.

In the midst of a new beginning or anything else going on in your life, the truths in these passages are wonderful reminders that we can step confidently into any new beginning as we trust in the God who was here in the beginning, is here with us now, and who will be with us always. And what a comfort it is to remember that the light of God dispels the darkness and chaos of sin.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 15
Older & Smarter?, February 17
Inklings and notions, February 18
For Him and My Family, February 19
deb’s Book Review, February 20
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 22 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, February 22
CarpeDiem, February 23
SPLASHES of Joy, February 25
Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 26 (Author Interview)
Artistic Nobody, February 27
Just the Write Escape, February 28


To celebrate their tour, Shirley and Howard are giving away the grand prize package of a print copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.