The Apostle’s Sister Book Review

Filled with biblical historical research, The Apostle’s Sister by Angela Hunt tells the story of Saul of Tarsus and his sister Aya, and their lives in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus’ crucifixion and Paul’s conversion to The Way.

This is the fourth book in Angela Hunt’s Jerusalem Road series. You do not need to read the previous books to understand The Apostle’s Sister.

Aya has a gift for singing and wants to use it. As a Jewish woman in Jerusalem, her options for using her gift are limited. After she finds a way to use her talent, her brother’s decision to leave his seat in the Sanhedrin, and devote himself to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, complicates her life in ways she never imagined.

At the back of the book the author explains her reasons for some of the details she includes in her book, along with pages of references for her research.

At times I felt the author’s research overshadowed the story. I didn’t really connect with Aya or Saul. The character I enjoyed most was a minor character.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

The Path to Peace Book Review

blue designIn The Path to Peace, Ann Swindell asks questions. Two questions she asks are what does Christ’s victory mean for us in our daily lives? and How do we experience Christ’s victory in our day-to-day life, if our difficult circumstances don’t always or ever change?

By looking at the lives of eight people from the Bible, she shows readers who God was for these heroes of faith is who he is for us today. The same God who delivered them delivers us.

Written in eight chapters of five daily studies, The Path to Peace is not a quick devotional read. It is a book to spend time studying and reflecting on.

At the beginning of each chapter, Ann gives a suggested scripture to read, then recounts the story as if the person is telling it. She moves to how the person’s situation mirrored hers. Ann suggests how the reader might apply this to their lives. At the end of each chapter are questions for reflection.

For me, I believe the section on Christ’s mother, Mary, was the one I’ve read so far where I found the most area for reflection.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

When the Meadow Blooms Book Review

woman in meadowWhat a wonderful story! Ann Gabhart’s latest novel, When the Meadow Blooms, is a story filled with rich characters. Some you will love. Some you won’t. Some are hurting. Some are hopeful. There are heroes to love for their honor. There are villains to despise for their evil.

Set in 1925 Kentucky, When the Meadow Blooms tells the story of widow Rose Meadows, her two daughters Calla and Sienna, and Dirk Meadows, Rose’s brother-in-law. There is so much heart in this story. It is easy to get caught up in each character’s life as they struggle with painful memories and past hurts, misunderstandings and forgiveness.

Of all the Ann Gabhart books I have read, When the Meadow Blooms tops the list. If you enjoy faith-based historical fiction, perhaps this will top your list as well.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my May Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

To Disguise The Truth Book Review

Set in 1887 New York and Montana, To Disguise the Truth by Jen Turano, follows Eunice Holbrooke and her Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency as they assist Arthur Livingston in finding missing heiress, Eugenia Howland. Disguised in widow’s tweeds, Eunice can keep her true identity from Arthur for only so long before they join together to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Within the pages of To Disguise the Truth, you will find a story with a cast of varied characters which weaves together a tale of murder, deceit, revenge, family, forgiveness, and a runaway heiress who must be found before she loses her family fortune.

If you enjoyed the previous Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency books by Jen Turano, you will probably enjoy this final book in the series as well.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my February Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

He Loves You So Devotional Book Review

He Loves You So

He Loves You So Falling Deeper Into God’s Heart, is a 366-day devotional compilation of brief inspiring devotions. The devotions go day by day one scripture at a time through the Bible. The prayer reflects on the verse, affirming how it is applicable to life. The declaration sentence personalizes the verse as your own to hold on to.

Each of these devotions can be read in about one minute, but the value comes from spending time meditating on them. At least that is what I found to be true. What I appreciate most about this book of devotions is the way they are personalized.

If you enjoy the Sarah Young Jesus Calling series, then you may enjoy He Loves You So as well.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my February Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Shadows of Swanford Abbey Book Review

Shadows of Swanford Abbey bookcover

Filled with interesting characters, mystery, intrigue, twists, turns, and romance set in a foreboding medieval monastery turned grand hotel, Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen is a delightful book for fans of Regency Romance that  keeps readers guessing.

Set in 1820 England, Rebecca Lane receives a vague message asking her to return home to help her brother. In the process of helping her brother, she teams up with childhood friend, Sir Frederick to solve a murder.

Amid the pages of Shadows of Swanford Abbey, Julie Klassen weaves a page-turning tale of sacrifice, forgiveness, and restoration. A tale I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Perhaps you will as well.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Bible Recap Study Guide and Journal Review

Bible Recap study guide coverBible Recap Journal and Bible Recap Study Guide by Tara-Leigh Cobble compliment the Bible Recap One-year Guide to the Entire Bible. If you missed my review of Bible Recap, you can find it here.

First off, let me tell you about the Bible Recap Journal. If you have been going through the Bible Recap one-year guide to the Bible, you probably already have a system for taking your notes. This journal will add little to your study. Each day’s reading has one 6X8 inch page with a small space for you to write down three things. Things I loved, things I learned, and things I noticed. There is space for questions/things I want to research, and your God Shot, which is where you saw God show up in your reading that day.

Now for the Bible Recap Study Guide. This study guide goes deeper than the journal. There are 4-7 questions specific to each reading. They are intended to draw you deeper in your study and reflection on what you read. Again, there is a small amount of space to write your responses. The hope of this study guide is that you will have one place to keep your thoughts for a comprehensive overview of the Bible’s larger story and how God’s character is revealed throughout Scripture.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Blueprint: for the Christ Follower and the Collective of Christ Followers Book Review

Blueprint: for the Christ Follower and the Collective of Christ Followers by J. David Peever compares building a house structure to building a church community going from the ground up. Filled with thought-provoking questions, Dave asks the reader to look beyond outward facades to what lies beneath, starting with the footer, all the way through de-cluttering and knowing whether to repair or replace. He suggests Christ followers ask themselves, why do we do what we do and why do we do it that way?

Blueprint is not a how to have a perfect life, or church, in 10 easy steps type book. Nor is it a book to rush through. It is a book filled with serious questions for each of us to ask our self.

How solid is our foundation? Are the supports sturdy? Are the walls sound? Does it all tie back to God as the footing everything else is built upon?

Through this book, Dave challenges the reader to ask themselves what their life and church are built on. The goal being to make sure we build on God’s plan, done God’s way, in God’s timing, with God’s chosen resources.

Now for more information about Dave.

Becoming a writer was never something I considered doing but rather something that just happened. My background in acting and directing and God’s call led to a need for me to create scripts. This was writing as a means to an end. I was an actor and a director who needed good quality Christian comedies and dramas to perform for live audiences. Writing a book never crossed my mind until I was asked to communicate my philosophy of ministry in written form when applying for a lead pastor position. This two page outline of how I approached ministry became my thesis for living life as a follower of Christ and a collective of Christ followers and for my book Blueprint. I was not the only one who had never considered the idea of me becoming an author of anything more than theatrical scripts. When I told my wife I had started to write a book she laughed. She said, “You don’t even like to read, why would you want to write a book?” It was great question, an appropriate question but in the end it didn’t matter. When God lays something on your heart; what you have done, what you are doing and what you are able to do all fade as He molds you into a person able to carry out His call on your life.

I love this, Dave. God prepares us for the job he calls us to. I need to remember this as I continue to struggle with trying to discern how God wants me to proceed with my writing.

I began shopping my book Blueprint around quite some time ago. I looked for an agent and I sent unsolicited proposals to publishing companies. It didn’t seem to matter; nothing seemed to work. The biggest eye-opener came when I contacted an agent to represent my book. The agent told me it didn’t matter if I created the best literary work ever, publishers would never look at a book because of the subject matter: Christian Living/ Church Life. If it wasn’t a famous pastor or worked for a well-known church organization they didn’t want to hear from me or my agent. Sadly I am neither. I looked into self-publishing companies but I did not have the money. After talking about this on my blog (I forgot to mention it wasn’t crazy enough for me to just write one book, I write a blog almost every week) I had many people suggest self-publishing on Amazon along with offers to create a book cover and edit my work. This was the route I ended up taking and boy am I glad I did!

It is so difficult, isn’t it? I am glad you found the best path for your book to be published.

My book has become part of my transitional ministry. I am a transitional pastor also called an intentional interim pastor. My job is to lead churches when they are between pastors. Although I had never considered my book Blueprint to be a transitional tool when writing it, God knew that it could become a great resource as churches and individuals reflected on God’s design for their lives and for their church. My ministry philosophy and Blueprint came from my concern that the church and by extension Christians, had become caught up in the latest how-to books from large churches and well known leaders which had led to the creation of beautiful landscapes and décor without paying attention to the structure that supports everything. Fancy programs and church services had become the main focus and sometimes the only focus of churches and Christians. Growing numbers became more important than growing faith.

That is such a sad truth. And that’s where the questions in Blueprint come in. What’s our focus?

The time between pastors is the perfect time to ask why do we do what we do and why do we do it that way? As for the individual Christ follower, every day is a great day to work through the same question. Blueprint isn’t the answer but rather a way to challenge yourself and your church to be structurally sound so there is something supporting the beautiful décor.

Thanks so much, Dave.

Folks, Dave’s contact information is listed below. His book, Blueprint: for the Christ Follower and the Collective of Christ Followers, can be found on Amazon.

Website: www.live4him.ca

Email: dave@live4him.ca

You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Just Getting Started Book Review

Just Getting Started by Wendy Peter is not a book to rush through. At least it wasn’t for me. Filled with helpful information and encouragement to reach for dreams which may have become hidden, or which feel out of reach, Wendy shows ways to move past your false finish line and re-imagine the next season of your life, identify and awaken your true purpose and step with courage into your calling, and create a road map to get your dreams off the ground.

Her hope as you work through the book by reading and answering the chapter questions, is that God does three things:

  • Changes the way you think.
  • Resurrects some old dreams.
  • Conceives some new dreams in you.

Some of the material in Just Getting Started may not apply to where you are at this point in time, but I believe there may be enough information within the pages to make the book worth your while.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

A View Most Glorious Book Review

woman in the mountainsA View Most Glorious by Regina Scott is the story of Coraline Baxter, her quest to summit Mount Rainier to promote Votes for Women in 1893 Tacoma, Washington, and Nathan Hardee, the man who reluctantly agrees to guide her to the top. The stakes are as high as the mountain itself. If Cora fails, she must marry the man her mother is forcing on her. Not at all agreeable to Cora, so she must summit regardless of the hardship to do so.

Cora and Nathan’s relationship develops as they learn to depend on each other while they tackle the mountain together. And in the end, they each must decide what is most important.

If you enjoy historical fiction with a touch of romance and a hero and heroine to root for, than A View Most Glorious may just be the book for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy