Category Archives: Book Review
By Steve Biddison
How far does God’s love and forgiveness extend? We all know the theological answer that tells us God forgives even our gravest sins and that there is nothing that can separate us from His love. And that is true. However, often times, in our own shame and guilt, we do not feel God’s love and we our subconscious does not allow us to accept His forgiveness. We either wallow in our own mire of disparity or we completely turn our back on God, believing that we do not deserve what He can give us.
That theme of God’s love and forgiveness is a big part of my recent fictional romance book, Desires of the Heart. Both the Eric and Lacey are in dire need of God’s forgiveness for things they had done in the past. Though the book is a romance between two people, at its core we see how God works in their hearts, through a variety of means, to show His love and forgiveness.
I want to share with you an excerpt from the book that not only started Lacey’s conviction of needing to return to the God of her childhood, but also has a message for anyone today who might feel they have gone too far for God to still want them.
Lacey again reached over to lay her hand on top of Eric’s. She needed the strength he gave her when she held his hand. The preacher’s words were stinging her. As hard as she tried, she could not ignore them. God can’t really use me, she told herself. I have blown it so many times, there is no chance that I could be of any use to God!!! I can’t be anything. God, don’t you understand the family I came from? Don’t you know what I have done? How could I amount to anything after having been such a loser?
“You might be thinking that your past is too bad for God to use you,” the preacher said. “But the reality is that God loves using people who are not supposed to succeed. In fact, sometimes the more of a loser the person is, the greater God uses him.” Lacey squeezed Eric’s hand tighter and leaned her head against his shoulder. She needed his strength to keep the tears from flowing freely.
“The book of Matthew opens the New Testament with the same type of genealogy as we read about in the Gospel of Luke.” The preacher continued. “Only this time we see the line from Abraham to Joseph, who was Jesus’ adoptive father on earth. We see several great people of God like King David and Abraham. But we also see people who were not so great in history. King Manasseh, one of the very wicked kings in Jewish history is in that line. We see Gentiles who were considered to be unclean by Jewish standards and we see women who unfortunately in that society were not usually deemed important enough to mention. Perhaps most interesting is that we even see a prostitute in the line of Jesus.” Lacey had never realized that before. God had used a prostitute to carry out His plan. Could God really still use her?
Lacey closed her eyes, trying to shut out the flood of guilt that had begun to flood over her. She opened them again when she heard keyboard and guitar music sounding in the background. The preacher was still speaking. “If you have had some trouble in your past that you think might be keeping you from fully experiencing God, then I invite you to come to the front and meet with God. We have prayer counselors waiting for you up here or you can pray alone.”
Within seconds, Lacey watched as scores of people flooded the isles heading to the front of the auditorium. Could so many people have such serious problems? Everyone stood to their feet as the music continued to play and the guy who had been introduced as the worship leader at the beginning of the service began to lead them all in another song.
But then the memories of college began to announce themselves firmly in her mind. That was the period in her life when her downward spiral intensified. No, she had been no worse than most other college students. In fact, probably better than most. But she knew that she had fully turned her back on God and admittedly refused to have anything to do with Him or a church. But now, as she watched the line of people marching forward, she wondered if she needed to join that group.
But what would Eric think of her? She tilted her head upwards to try to read his face. His eyes were lost in his own trance of thought. Maybe God was dealing with him too? She continued to watch his face, looking for any twitch or thought that might give him an inkling to step towards the isle and make his way to the front. If he goes up, I’ll go up, she promised herself. But Eric never moved.
I have to admit that I was a little skeptical as I started reading this book. I had read John Michael Hileman’s book “Messages” some time ago and somehow at the beginning it seemed to follow the same pattern. So I told myself to just keep reading since I had already started. I’m so glad I did.
The book is very different than “Messages” and their only similarity is that it’s a book you will not be able to put down.
Trying as always not to spoil the book for you, I will try to describe the context. This is the story of a man whose nephew has been abducted by a serial killer. All of the sudden the man starts seeing what he thinks are ghosts of children. At the beginning he thought these ghosts were there to give him clues to find his nephew, but that was far from the truth.
Now to those who have read the book I do have a question. Was the flower to be kept a life Aiyana or the neighbor’s baby?
If you want to know what I’m talking about, get this wonderful book.
Life for Jake Paris is stable and ordinary–until a mysterious old woman pays him a visit and he begins to have encounters with unruly children everywhere he goes-children only he can see. When Jake’s estranged sister, Holly, finds herself the target of a national serial killer who has chosen her son as his next victim, Jake begins to wonder if there is a connection. Could these children be the ghosts of the killer’s victims? As the kidnapper’s plan unfolds, Jake uncovers a startling secret about the unseen children that will change his life forever–and Holly discovers just how far she is willing to go to save her son. A riveting story of rescue, restoration, and romance that will leave you thinking long after the last page has been turned.
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Christian Romantic Suspense Novella set in 1685, England.
Fear has been Tara’s constant companion since age nine when she witnessed her mother’s murder. Tara’s father moves his family to the ancient castle of Raven’s Cliff, far from the ships that could carry her back to India and the answers she believes lie there. Andrew offers her friendship and guides her gently to the One who will give her peace. Will she find hope for something other than revenge?
A Brief Q&A with the Author, Laura J. Marshall.
Q: Did you learn anything along the way as you wrote Persistent Love?
A: I learned writing is harder than I ever thought possible. I also learned that even in the head-banging, why-am-I-doing-this-to-myself moments that writing is part of who I am and I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.
Laura J. Marshall is the full-time mother of five sons and part-time writer and blogger. She operates a popular blog called The Old Stone Wall. Laura is the best-selling author of the Battle Cry Devotional Series. Visit www.LauraJMarshall.com to find out more about Laura’s books.
I decided to watch a movie the other night, something I had not done in a while. After my 9-5 I needed a change of scenery. I was too tired to write. I didn’t want to watch any of my regular programs, so decided to watch one of the movies I had in my playlist that I had on hold.
Let me start by saying that this movie’s description is not accurate. The description stated that it was related to the lives of some people after 911 and that’s why I had placed it on my playlist. Unless I fell asleep at some point, there’s not a single mention of the events of 911 throughout the movie.
The other thing that caught my attention was that the movie’s quality seems like a low budget movie. However after looking at the cast, I don’t think that’s the truth. This movie includes stars like: Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle, Terrence Howard, Ludacris, Brendan Fraser and those are the ones whose names I could remember.
Aside from the warning to my readers that this is an R rated movie and that it does contain some foul language, the storyline is really good. The movie summarizes the society in which we are living. I can say that it goes beyond racial boundaries,although that’s a heavy topic of the movie. It’s the fact of how our life perceptions and experiences have transformed society into a place of distrust, where we see things beyond reality. A society where our stereotypes limit us from getting to know each other, because we already have formed judgment based on our differences instead of our similarities.
This movie definitely shows us how we are living our lives today without God. It shows the humanity of our prejudices and how in a moment of pressure we can realize the weakness of our flesh, but also how a moment of decision can change our lives. It was quite a good message if you ask me. Let’s learn to see each other through the eyes of God, instead of the eyes of our flesh.
“ For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16: 7
Until next time, be blessed
“This book is in a class by itself, you will not be able to put it down! The characters pull you in and you begin to feel their emotions. Excellently written. The title fooled me, the saying goes” never judge a book by the cover “and this is one of those books.” By Duezette
First of all you have to forgive me. This has been one of those weeks, but I didn’t forget about you. I’m very glad that you all enjoyed our latest series of studying Psalm 19. If you missed it, I have linked the previous parts at the end of this post so that you can catch up.
We never got to discuss the last few verses, but I know that at this point you get the message of what this psalm is about. I still want to share those last verses with you for your Friday meditation with a little worship video. (It’s Worship Friday after all, right!)
Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
The winner of a copy of Growth Lessons is…
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I know this is not a Christian or an Inspirational Book, but I wanted to read it. Probably just like the author I want to finally get my thoughts off my chest about this case so that I can finally close the door and move on.
I was very interested in this book because, like most of the nation, I was following the case. Yes, it’s true, the book doesn’t have any new bombshell information, but I understood the outcome a little bit better after reading it.
The same errors in the prosecution that Jeff Ashton noticed, I saw them during the trial. But just like him, I hoped that the jury could see beyond those and look at the big picture.
Although I had followed some of the case before the trial, on the actual day the trial began I gave myself an opportunity to be unbiased and listen to the evidence. I was dumbfounded by the results. I was also surprised about the fast turnaround that the jury took into making this decision. I remember thinking, I know there’s one of the jurors who is scheduled to go on a cruise in the next few days, which means they are not going to want to be there for a penalty phase. At the same time I hoped that things would work themselves out in a different manner.
When reading this book I once again put aside my feelings and gave myself the chance to read it. There’s so much unknown and that we will never know about this case, but this book gave me some sense of closure.
Coincidentally the movie based on this book aired on lifetime on the day I was reading the last chapter of this book. I didn’t like the movie at all. It doesn’t do any justice to the real events or even this book. I love watching movies about real life events and if I hadn’t had the background of the trial and the book I would have not understood the movie, which tells me that someone watching the movie 10 years from now it’s not going to understand the process. There was lack of passion in the acting and we saw a lot of passion in the real life. It was disappointing.
Back to the book, it is informative and it did fill some of the story’s gaps for me. Just like Jeff Ashton said at the end of this book, it’s time to move on. It’s time to use our energy for more positive things and to take care of those children who are still with us.
We all will have to answer to a higher power on our judgement day. Let’s make sure that resentment, hatred, and unforgiveness in our hearts are not part of those things we will have to answer for.
Until next time, be blessed.
“This book certainly held my interest straight through to the very emotional ending. ”Mary Anne Benedetto
As some of you know I like crime shows and novels, so this week I’m going to indulge a little and share with you some crime books. I had the opportunity to meet Novelist Luke Murphy and here he is with us to share his work.
It can almost be said with certainty that I didn’t follow the path of the average writer. As a child, I never dreamed of writing a best-seller, never aspired to write the next classic novel, I wanted to be an NHL superstar…period.
I was born in a small rural community in Western Quebec. Like every boy growing up in Canada, I aspired to be an NHL superstar.
With the death of my mother in 1992, losing a battle to cancer she had fought so hard against for years, I sensed it was time to get serious about reaching my dreams, and moved away to pursue hockey.
From 1992-1995, while playing for the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the Central Junior Hockey League, I noticed a shift in the game of hockey and realized that the odds of making it to the NHL were unfavorable for a kid who stood 5’9’’ and weighed 160 pounds. So, my goals shifted. I accepted a hockey scholarship to Rochester Institute of Technology. If I couldn’t make a living playing hockey, at least I could achieve an education and open doors for my future.
After four rewarding years at College, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, I wasn’t ready to give up on the game I love. I’d been told my whole life that I was too small, not a good enough skater, and I didn’t have what it took to make it.
The summer after graduation, I received an invitation to the Florida Panthers Rookie Camp – I wasn’t about to let this opportunity slip away. I trained hard during the summer, on and off the ice, and showed up for camp in the best shape of my life. I had a successful camp, scoring the game winning goal against the Ottawa Senators (I still talk about that goal with my buddies and after a couple of drinks, it becomes an end-to-end rush with a top-shelf finish)
Unfortunately, I broke my hand in an awkward hit in my fourth exhibition game that ended my camp, but my hard work paid off. The Panthers offered me a Minor League contract, $500 a week to play the game I love. I spent six years in the minors (ECHL, UHL, CHL, etc.), and retired in 2006 with no regrets.
From a family of avid readers, even as a child, I always had a passion for books. Whether it was reading novels on road trips or writing assignments in school, literature was always part of my life.
In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged.
Some of my favorite authors are Greg Iles, Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben. I love suspense-thriller books, movies and everything about the genres.
One day, with an idea in mind, I sat down in front of a computer and began writing. I wrote a little every day, around my intense rehabilitation schedule and before I knew it, I had completed my first manuscript.
I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. Ever the perfectionist, I didn’t see my novel at the level to compete with best-selling authors across the country. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work (hockey) and family obligations.
Then I made a decision – I enjoyed writing so much, I decided I wanted to take my interest one step further – write a story with the intention of being published and making it available for friends, family, and readers around the world to enjoy. I realized that I wanted to be like my favorite authors – entertain readers and allow them, like when I read, to escape reality and for a moment be in another place and time.
I’ve never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft. I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. I continually researched on the internet, reading up on the industry and process. I attended writing conferences, made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions, learning what it took to become successful.
This was when my experience in hockey really paid off. My competitive edge kept me going. Breaking into the publishing industry was a lot like competing in the world of hockey – many candidates vying for very few spots. It takes hard work, patience, and persistence.
Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.
I then worked with editors and joined a critique group, doing anything I could to learn, to improve my writing and my novel to point where I could create the best possible novel.
I sent out hundreds of query letters to agents. After six months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by Ms. Jennifer Lyons of the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.
After months of work with Jennifer, and more rejections from publishers, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books (Edmonton, Alberta).
My one piece of advice for all aspiring hockey players and writers…you need to be persistent, patient and thick-skinned. You’ll get a lot of “no’s” along the way and people trying to bring you down. But remember, it only takes one “yes”. Stick with it. Anything is possible.
What happens when the deck is stacked against you…
From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.
…and the cards don’t fall your way?
When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.
What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand?
Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.
“Dead Man’s Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn’t read like one, but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice.” Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower
“You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out.”—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter
He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).
Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.
For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, ‘like’ his Facebook page
and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMurphy
I have to admit that I struggled with this book a little. It has a somewhat slow beginning, but when a book makes me forget that I’m reading and gets me inside the action feeling all sorts of emotions, you can’t deny that it is a good book!
This is the story of a couple of professionals who decide to leave the hustle and bustle of New York City to open a bed and breakfast near the city. The first issue is that they don’t share the excitement about the decision. It’s the husband, Dan, who being sick with his corporate job who wants out and into the entrepreneurship life. On the other hand, his wife Laina, is very happy with her career and the prospect of growth, but in an unexpected turn of events those prospects are cut off and in a swift decision she agrees to move to Cape May to open up the B&B.
And you would think that the business went bad or something and that’s the issue. No. Dan, who was the one who wanted the B&B decides to be the entertainment director ( just to give himself a title) and leave all the hard work to his wife. I admit that for the large part of the book I was super angry with Dan and wanted to see him suffer greatly. The author’s heart is better than mine and she did put him through some hurdles, but I wanted a little bit more.hahaha!
The kicker to this story is that Laina has a cousin, Tia. Who decides to invite her to Las Vegas so that she can catch a break from the life at the B&B. Laina accepts not only because she needs the time away, but because her inconsiderate husband needs to experience how much she does and how much of him is required to run the B&B.
All those who know about my reviews know that I hate to spoil the fun, but let me just say this; I literally read the last two chapters with my mouth open.
This is a great book to read by a poolside or the beach, when you want some lighthearted reading. Good job Mary Anne Benedetto. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Mary Anne Benedetto is a speaker, blogger, Certified Lifewriting Instructor, ghostwriter and author of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!,Eyelash and Never Say Perfect. She enjoys world travel and walking the spectacular South Carolina beaches. Web site:
“Janalyn Voigt is a fresh voice in the realm of fantasy. Her writing is crisp, her verbs muscular, and it’s all wrapped up in a lyrical style. Blending action and romance, Dawn Singer is a journey through fear, failure, and faith, and I look forward to its sequel.”
– Eric Wilson, NY Times bestselling author
of Valley of Bones and One Step Away
Paradoxical Truths Revealed
A new speculative fiction story releases this summer that captures several paradoxical truths, including: freedom comes through sacrifice – AND – victory comes through surrender. allegorical fantasy readers will be spellbound by the incredible imagery and symbolism throughout Dawn Singer, authored by Janalyn Voigt. Some of the key points in the book include:
Freedom through sacrifice. When the willful but reverent main character, Shae, learns her secret identity, she has to decide whether to accept her true calling. Although it may cost her everything, the salvation of a nation hangs in the balance. Shae represents the church. We each must lay down our will and our lives to bring freedom to others.
Overcoming prejudice with unity. In Dawn Singer, the clash is not over color of skin but between classes of being. Elderland was already inhabited by the Elder nation when the Kindren entered it from another world through a gate that closed behind them. The Elder accepted the Kindren’s occupation of Elder land because they didn’t want to live in the areas where they settled—areas within reach of garns (goblenesque creatures) and welkes (giant birds of prey). Dawn Singer opens as an unknown enemy stirs strife between Kindren and Elder in an attempt to divide and conquer Elder land. As a result, the alliance of Faeraven, a group of Kindren kingdoms ruled by a widowed High Queen, begins to fall apart. This story arc, which spans three novels, is based in large part on Voigt’s father’s experiences of prejudice as a half-breed Native American.
Serving rather than ruling. As the High Queen’s health fails, Kai, the hero of Dawn Singer, must choose whether to reign and rule in his homeland or to continue in service to the new High King at her death. Kai’s decision inspires Shae to make her own.
Conquering fear by not letting it consume you. In Pilaer Hold, an ancient place of defeat for the Kindren, wraiths rush toward Kai and Shae’s other protectors. They draw their swords, but the more wraiths they dispatch, the more arise. They learn that to defeat fear, something else is needed.
About the Author:
Janalyn Voigt’s epic fantasy trilogy, Tales of Faeraven, starting with Dawn Singer, is published by Harbourlight Books. Janalyn also writes in the western romance genre. She is represented by Barbara Scott of Wordserve Literary. Her nonfiction publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press (now David C. Cook) and Pentecostal Evangel. She serves as a literary judge for several national contests and is an active book reviewer. Her memberships include ACFW and NCWA. Janalyn lives in a quiet corner of the Pacific Northwest, where she discovers worlds of adventure in the great outdoors.
CREATING WORLDS OF BEAUTY AND DANGER
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I have to start by saying that I’m not much of a historian, but decided to give this book a try. This book gets you from the prologue, you start wondering what’s going to happen to Nicki, therefore you’re not going to put it down.
This is a story of a woman who starts by being sold to a man for marriage and ends up teaching us the strength of faith throughout her life. Through her story we confirmed that God will show up and show out on time in your direst moments.
This book not only talks about provision. This book has action and lots of it. There were times where I had to sit up straight asking myself when are they going to catch this evil man. It also shows how God’s vengeance always comes to those who are bad to his children.
What I also liked about this book is that it shows what living in community looks like. Now with our lifestyles we rarely get to experience that life, where neighbors would help each other and really worked together for the well being of the community.
I recommend this book to any Christian, romantic, historical fiction buff. I really enjoyed it.
Born and raised in Malawi, Africa. Lynnette Bonner spent the first years of her life reveling in warm equatorial sunshine and the late evening duets of cicadas and hyenas. The year she turned eight she was off to Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school in Kenya where she spent many joy-filled years, and graduated in 1990.
That fall, she traded to a new duet–one of traffic and rain–when she moved to Kirkland, Washington to attend Northwest University. It was there that she met her husband and a few years later they moved to the small town of Pierce, Idaho.
During the time they lived in Idaho, while studying the history of their little town, Lynnette was inspired to begin the Shepherd’s Heart Series with Rocky Mountain Oasis.
Marty and Lynnette have four children, and currently live in Washington where Marty pastors a church.
Is Jason Jordan really who he says he is?
Everything in Nicki’s life depends on the answer.
Oregon Territory, 1887
When her husband dies in a mysterious riding accident, Nicki Trent is left with a toddler and a rundown ranch. Determined to bring her ranch back from the brink of death, Nicki hires handsome Jason Jordan to help. But when William, her neighbor, starts pressing for her hand in marriage, the bank calls in a loan she didn’t even know about, bullets start flying, and a burlap dummy with a knife in its chest shows up on her doorstep, Nicki wonders if this ranch is worth all the trouble.
To make matters worse, terrible things keep happening to her neighbors. When her friend’s homestead is burned to the ground and William lays the blame at Jason’s feet, Nicki wonders how well she knows her new hand…and her own heart.
A desperate need. Malicious adversaries. Enticing love.
Step into a day when outlaws ran free, the land was wild, and guns blazed at the drop of a hat.