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

Awesome!: Exploring the Nature and Names of Jesus Book Review

Awesome! book cover

In Awesome!: Exploring the Nature and Names of Jesus Dick Eastman quotes extensively from a multitude of theologians, Christian leaders, and scripture, to describe who Jesus is. There are seven pages of reference citations. Because of the multiple points of view used throughout, I found it difficult to engage with this book.

Written in a 31-day format, set with a specific nature of Jesus for each day, the chapters conclude with four steps to go deeper in your study. Explore, Experience, Express, and Exalt.

One thing I found useful in Awesome! was the author’s inclusion of 868 names, or expressions, describing Jesus in alphabetical order beginning with A to Z and ending with Zion-Dwelling God.

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 August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Between the Wild Branches Book Review

between the wild branches book cover

Between the Wild Branches is another Biblical fiction novel which proves, once again, Connilyn Cossette is a master at weaving an interesting story that’s hard to put down.

Set in Ashdod, Philistia 1052 BC, Between the Wild Branches tells the story of Philistine champion fighter Lukio, and Hebrew slave to one of the king’s daughters, Shoshana. Although the two were close during their years growing up in Israel, they haven’t seen each other for ten years. When they rediscover each other, complicated matters only become more complicated.

This book is filled with a cast of intriguing characters. Some honorable. Some despicable. There is sacrifice and greed. Hatred and love.

Connilyn uses her well-researched vast knowledge of Biblical times to present an authentic world, and bring two different cultures to life. With unexpected twists and turns, Between the Wild Branches keeps the reader turning pages to the very end.

If you enjoy Biblical historical fiction at its best, then Between the Wild Branches may just be the book for you.

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 July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Flooded Book Review

In Flooded Nicki Koziarz looks at the biblical account of Noah and five decisions he made. Decisions we, too, can make to help quiet fear, resist the urge to try and control the uncontrollable, and find the familiar faithfulness of God when everything is falling apart.

Through examples she shows us:

  1. Noah was able to rise above the doubt his assignment could have caused by making the decision to walk with God.
  2. Noah listened and obeyed whether he agreed with God or not.
  3. Noah didn’t try to make sense of what God asked him to do.
  4. Noah remembered who was in control and believed God had a plan.
  5. Noah held to the familiar faithfulness of God when he stepped off the ark.

Using events from her own life interspersed throughout the book, Nicki shows how, like Noah, she worked through these decisions.

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 March 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 Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.

The Moonlight School Book Review

The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher is an historical fiction novel inspired by true events in the life of Cora Wilson Stewart in 1911 Rowan County, Eastern Kentucky. Set against a landscape devastated by lumber companies, and faced with poverty and illiteracy, we meet Lucy Wilson, her cousin Cora, Brother Wyatt, and a cast of endearing mountain folk. I especially liked young Finley James.

The story takes us along with Lucy as she leaves her father and stepmother in Lexington, to help Cora combat poverty by eliminating illiteracy. What Lucy doesn’t leave behind, though, are memories of the day her young sister disappeared. As Lucy interacts with the people of Rowan County, she comes to understand, just because a person does not have money, that does not mean they are poor.

If you enjoy Appalachian historical fiction with heart, such as books written by Ann H. Gabhart, then The Moonlight School 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 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 Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.

Shadows of the White City Book Review

Set in Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair, Shadows of the White City by Jocelyn Green, begins thirteen years earlier when Sylvie Townsend agrees to take care of the young daughter of a desperate immigrant from Poland, whose wife died during their voyage to America. Now, at seventeen, Rose Dabrowski disappears at the World’s Fair. This sets off a heart felt story filled with deceit, loyalty, deception, loss, sacrifice, and love amidst a wide ranging cast of characters.

With the help of her boarder, Kristof Bartok, Sylvie searches through the streets of Chicago for her adopted daughter. When Rose is found, however, all is not resolved. Decisions must be made which threaten the very thing Sylvie holds most dear.

Jocelyn Green is a master of descriptive writing, adding historical detail to every story she writes. Shadows of the White City is no exception. Within these pages you experience the great expanse and magnificence of 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, as you walk through it with the book’s characters.

If you enjoy well-written historical fiction with a touch of romance, then Shadows of the White City by Jocelyn Green is the book for you.

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 Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.