On That Note….

Thank you readers for taking this incredible journey of book blogging with me over the course of the last 6 years as of this month—WOW! Has it really been that long?? Time sure does fly when you’re having fun and it has been so much fun being able to get these new books and share my thoughts on them with you! Due to some changes in and dismantling of the publishers’ programs that I was blogging for books for, I will be taking a little hiatus from book blogging for the time being. I may try picking it back up at some point again, but so much has happened in the last 6 years that I feel right now I also need to take this time and focus on some other aspects in my life. Please don’t misunderstand me, I will still be reading (and I may even blog it if it leaves that much of a mark)- my goodness will I be reading! I am the lucky recipient of A LOT of Christian fiction books that have been passed down to me to the tune of a whole bookshelf of unread books that I would like to get started on. I will still be looking out for new authors and books though, I just may not necessarily be so much on the cutting edge of them for now. Hopefully in the future I can do more book blogging for a publisher again.

Let’s see, in 6 years I have gone through a divorce, gotten remarried, had 2 children and acquired a step child on top of my child from my previous marriage (4 total), moved twice, took a new job, bought a house and a new vehicle, and hit a new decade in life. It is crazy to see how much things have changed and as I look ahead to the next 6, how many more things will be changing. Maybe this blog will change to have a different purpose in that time too- we’ll see!

Keep on reading those books! And until we meet again, may God bless you and protect you. Thank you for reading my blog!        -Jenifer

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Another Good Book by Kristi Ann Hunter

One risk is all it takes to change the course of a life- in Kit’s life, this is especially true. Taking her from a world of privilege and dances to one of a country manor matron. One risk changed the life of Kit and Daphne forever and now they find themselves taking care of several children trying to right what Kit feels is a wrong. As The Governess, Kit takes in the mothers who are carrying “illegitimate” children and then ensures in her own ways that the father’s pay for these children or else she will share their darkest secrets that will ruin their places in society, in the meantime, keeping her biggest secret of all.

Lord Graham Wharton is on a mission to find the missing sister of his good friend. One clue after another finally leads him over a bridge through a road in the woods, off of which he hears children playing. He follows the sound to find out why some children are playing in the woods by themselves and finds himself in perfect timing as one of the children missteps and is tangled in a broken tree branch unable to safely retreat from his perch. After helping the children and some reluctance on their part, he takes them to a manor full of children that is run by 3 children. Being that it starts raining and the river under the bridge was already cresting, Lord Wharton finds the bridge impassible and has no choice but to stay at the manor until the water recedes some.

As the few short days wear on, he finds himself loving the children, with which he has had no experience before, and trying to please them and make them laugh with his antics. He also finds himself falling for the mysterious Kit, who he is convinced that he can crack down to the heart of her deepest darkest secrets. Just when he thinks he finally gets to that point, he realizes that he should be reasonable and leave the manor since he left his friend days ago for a short trip to find his sister. As Lord Wharton uncovers more into his friend’s sister’s disappearance, he realizes that maybe perhaps he didn’t crack Kit’s being more than he thought and finds that he is shrouded by half-truths from her and who she really is.

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter is an interesting read on what’s right even when society looks about it. It is a story about grace and “letting go and letting God” and learning not to rely on one’s own understanding and trust. Another great book by Kristi and the first novel in the Haven Manor series. I look forward to seeing what the next book has to offer!

For a preview of the novel or to purchase, please click here.

I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.

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Living a Holy Spirit-Led Life

As evangelical Christians, we so often talk about the Holy Spirit and how he intercedes for us to God; we can sing songs and probably quote a few Bible verses (John 15:26 anyone?) about the Holy Spirit, but realistically how often do we do life with the Holy Spirit each day? I can say I acknowledge God and Jesus quite often through the day and have no problem praying to Him whenever the opportunity arises, but not all that often do I ask for the Holy Spirit’s help specifically– the One who is interceding for me.

Suzanne Eller’s book The Spirit-Led Heart details ways to incorporate the Holy Spirit more into daily life and some on the different spiritual gifts that are available to the believer through the Spirit. Each chapter focuses on an aspect of what a Spirit-led heart looks like with Scripture references and a study guide and prayer asking that the specific topic talked about would apply the reader’s life.

Sitting down with this book is like sitting over a cup of coffee at Suzanne’s table and having a Bible Study and spiritual meditation with her. This book is very personable and it is truly like she is speaking to a friend. This book is for anyone (alone or as a small group) who desires to get closer to the Holy Spirit and know more what He has in store for us.

For a preview of the novel or to purchase, please click here.

I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Heart Pounding Christian Thriller

From the very first pages of Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan, my heart was pounding in my chest. Not from the book being scary by any means, but because this book is very face paced and contains a lot of action and mystery. This book is one that would throw a lot of people’s misperceptions about Christian books being dull out the window. Had it not been for knowing that Bethany House is a Christian publisher, I would have thought this book was written by a first class secular author minus the swearing and super questionable scenes.

Sophie Dawson is a prosecutor in Atlanta, Georgia who is working on a big case of an employee from a bank potentially laundering money. Like a lot of people who work late nights, one night she stops at the gas station for a little pick me up since dinner didn’t happen and was hours ago and just happens to be in the totally wrong place at the very wrong time and witnesses a robbery and double homicide at the gas station. Suddenly Sophie is thrown from being solely the role of prosecutor, but also being the lone witness to the crime that is committed by the brother of the head of one of the most brutal gangs in Atlanta. Fearing for her safety, Sophie’s father hires a security company to watch out for her and she is put in the trust of Cooper.

Then things start getting weird. Sophie has encounters with someone sneaking around her house, which prompts them to move to a safe house until the trial is over. People who are an intregal part to her laundering case are suddenly being killed, which she figures is the gang’s attempt to deter her from focusing her attention the baby brother. The gang leader swears to his attorney it isn’t him who is committing the other crimes- he may have committed one or two, but others that are being committed don’t have his gang’s signature styles on them is what he alleges.

While Sophie is working is in the safe house, she enlists Cooper’s security company to help her look into details of the case since they also specialize in that too. What she finds points to a way deeper problem than she could ever imagine. Certain goings-on around the office lead her to think that there is someone who is communicating events that she is researching to the bank making it challenging to be effective in her case and allowing the bank to find ways to counter her case. All the while, as Sophie works with Cooper more, she starts to find herself falling for him, but he has made clear that he doesn’t have the same goals in mind that she does.

When the trial for the gang homicide is over, Sophie still finds odd events happening to the bank workers and finds herself at a huge risk for some big problems. This book will have you flipping pages as fast as you can read. I don’t recommend you read take this book along to read in other locations unless you have ample time to read because you are not going to want to put it down. Rachel Dylan is not only an author, but an attorney as well so she is very good at including the facts you need for a heart pounding thriller love story.

This book is a phenomenal book to read, but I would caution against younger readers reading it. Even though it is clean because it is a Christian book, there are still some murder scenes that are a little more graphic than I would feel comfortable letting my young readers at home read. This book is definitely a PG-16 book for violence, but if you are above that age, by all means you are going to want to read this book. I am looking forward to seeing more books come out by Rachel Dylan!

For a preview of the novel or to purchase, please click here.

I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Discovering the Joy of Living Others First

WiiFM—If you’ve ever been in sales you might have heard of this acronym and chances are you’ve even had to put it to use in your customer’s perspective: “What’s In It For Me?” We live in a WiiFM society. If I give money, if I do this, for so and so, what are they going to do for me? The big question in society is what is going to be my reward for doing whatever I do? But have you ever stopped to think what this world would be like if you did something without expecting anything in return. What if we loved generously and without condition? This is what Becky Kopitzke explores in her new book “Generous Love: Discover the Joy of Living Other’s First”.

Written with scripture and modern life examples, this book is a down to earth and real study on how we can start to live and love generously. She explores the 4 “P’s” of blessing others: Presence, Perspective, Possesions, and Prayer and gives ways to bless and love others with those 4 words that the reader can actually do. By the end of the book, you will feel inspired to try your best to start loving more generously and have the tools you need to start employing that strategy. Each chapter ends with some questions for discussion or personal reflection to help the reader to delve deeper into the topic and get on the road to loving generously.

The part that really struck home for me in this book is when she mentioned that we can’t fully love strangers and acquaintances generously if we don’t love our family generously first. Yeouch. How many times have I went to go bless a stranger, but yet ignored a way that was presented to me earlier in the day to love my family generously? This book was one that I shared bits and pieces with my husband as I read it because it was that relevant.

Becky draws the reader in with her friendliness and openness and will keep you engaged from cover to cover. You will laugh and cry with her and find many of her points relevant. If you have ever considered what it means to love others generously, than this book is for you.

For a preview of the novel or to purchase, please click here.

I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.

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When All Seems Lost, There is The Road Home

Lena Rose has what would be considered the perfect Amish life: a great family, a good church district, a beau with a chance of spending the rest of her life with. She is especially close with her family and as she gets older, her parents are more and more trusting her with to help with the duties of caring for her younger siblings since there are so many. What more could an Amish girl want, until a big tragedy takes her perfect life by storm. Suddenly Lena Rose and her siblings find themselves orphans and since none of them are able to take care of the family and family, friends, and neighbors can’t take the whole brood in, they find themselves split up and living in new families apart from one another, yet close enough to visit; that is, all except for Lena Rose.

With no place willing to take Lena in in their Michigan church district, Lena soon finds herself going to her father’s cousin’s house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The stay is only suppose to be temporary until the deacons and bishop in her current district find her a local family to stay with, which hopefully will be by Christmastime. In the meantime, Mimi and Harvey agree to take her in exchange for her helping Mimi to catch up with her sewing business after the marriage of their daughter left her without a partner.

As homesick as she is and longing for her family and beau, she decides to make the best of the situation and soon finds herself some good new friends to go to singings and other youth events with. She even draws the attention of another young man, Arden, who respects her wishes to just be friends, but is also awaiting an opportunity to pursue her as well. Everything she does is in the mindset not to get too comfortable, because in a few short months she will be home. However, Thanksgiving approaches with no sign of a place to live, then Christmas is here and gone and she goes into the new year without a prospective place to live in Michigan. In the meantime, letters from her beau have started to dwindle to nothing but an impersonal Christmas card and Lena starts to get news from her siblings that he is starting to take another girl home from singings. Feeling that the breakup was coming, Lena starts to open her heart to more of a friendship with Arden, but wants it to stay that way knowing she will be returning to Michigan and Arden’s home is in Pennsylvania. However hard she tries to keep romantic feelings at bay, she finds herself starting to fall for Arden as more than friends. Then the news comes that there is a place for her to live in Michigan.

Beverly Lewis’ newest book The Road Home is a good read about a girl finding a way to heal after a devastating loss and opening a heart up to new possibilities and adventures. This book is a steady read that will keep you interested from one page to the next and as are most of Beverly Lewis’ books, suitable for the younger reader and adults alike. You won’t want to miss this heartwarming novel that will leave you with “warm fuzzies” at the end.

For a preview of the novel or to purchase, please click here.

I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.

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A book to help encourage and strengthen step-families

Parenting in and of itself can be quite difficult. From the moment a parent finds out they are going to have a baby (are we getting the right prenatal care?) to the trying teen years (how do I get my child to stop lying?) and forevermore, there’s no doubt that being a parent is a huge responsibility. And that’s with your own flesh and blood children. Throw in being a step-parent and the complications rise even more. Now you have a child that is not fully your flesh and blood, but is still the flesh and blood child of your spouse, who, whether their other parent is living or passed on, may resent you for whatever reason which causes some tension on your end and creates a total head butting episode (not that I’m speaking from experience at all…). There are some step-parents that have a great relationship with their step-children and if you are one of them, that is great, but for the most part, movies and society portray the step-parent as a wicked and evil villain who is out to become the fairest one of them all. With all the negative portrayals out there, step-parents could use a little encouragement and a pat on the back from time to time to let them know that their efforts are not in vain, and I think that is what Ron L. Deal with Denise Neal Matthews try to do in their book Daily Encouragement for the Smart Stepfamily.

 This book is set up like a devotion in that each day is a new topic, or an expansion on the topic from the day before. While it is Biblically based, instead of being a Bible devotion where you read a chapter or a verse and have a little meditation on that, this is a piece of encouragement a day for 365 Days. I haven’t read through the whole book yet because I am trying to just read a page a day, but so far, I am enjoying the little snippets and they are challenging me to think outside the box. Some are direct principles from the Bible (how the fruits of the spirit can apply to step-families was a segment) and some are just snippets that let the step-family know, “hey, you’re really not alone in this”. Some days are even designed to be shared as a whole family to work on creating more unity/discussion amongst the family members. Each day is concluded with a short prayer to start your prayers for the night based on that day’s discussion.

So far, overall I am glad I got this book. At first I wasn’t too sure because I don’t always want to readily admit my shortcomings in my family, but this book isn’t about pointing out what you do wrong at all. This book is like a fellow runner coming up alongside you in a race when you are on that last leg and about to collapse because you’re not sure you can run another foot and cheering you on letting you know that you can get through this and this too shall pass and you are doing well. Keep up the good work.

If you’re a step-parent, I encourage you to pick up this little book of encouragement written just for you.

For a preview of the novel or to purchase, please click here.

I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.

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