Thursday, December 13, 2012

Heart of Gold - Robin Lee Hatcher


This is an excellent historical novel, full of romance, suspense and colorful scenery. Hatcher expertly weaves aspects of frontier life and the Civil War as she tells the story of Shannon Adair.

Shannon is torn between her loyalties to the South and the mysterious neighbor she grows to admire. Her minister Father encourages her to see her new neighbors with a heart of gold, but Shannon struggles with bitterness.

This novel is a beautiful story of redemption and forgiveness. Robin Lee Hatcher is a Christy award winner, and Heart of Gold is an excellent example of her writing acumen.

Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher via Book Sneeze. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Jesus Experiement - Bill Perkins


Think of The Jesus Experiment as "WWJD" on steroids.  It is an intensive 12 week study into the life and words of Jesus Christ and how you can apply them to your own.  If you ever wondered "What would Jesus do?" in a given situation, The Jesus Experiment will most likely answer that question...and then some.

Bill Perkins uses a twelve chapter format to look into three major areas of Jesus' life and ministry.  These major areas of study include:  

1) What Jesus did in private.
2) What Jesus did in public.
3) What Jesus did with people.

Perkins begins each chapter with a personal story that relates to the subject.  These stories are heartfelt and dramatic, leading the reader through moments of great joy and despair with a gentle hand.  Woven into these stories are biblical discussions and scripture verses that break down the words and actions of Jesus.  There are questions and challenges at the end of each chapter to take you through the week.  I found these sections to be very beneficial and appreciated the thoroughness with which Bill Perkins laid out the areas for reflection and growth.

Bill Perkins started The Jesus Experiment by asking himself, "In what ways do I want to be like Christ?".  I think this is a question that every believer should ask of themselves.  In asking such a question you get to the heart of two issues; who Jesus is and where in your spiritual walk you currently are.  When I began to dwell on that question I realized that my answer was "in every way".  The Jesus Experiment, in addition to the Bible, gave me an intimate look into the character of Christ and helped me to understand what that answer even means.

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy from Tyndale Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Shadow in Serenity - Terri Blackstock


Oh, this was a fun little read.  Shadow in Serenity by Terri Blackstock is fast paced romantic fiction with a little intrigue mixed in for good measure.  Terri Blackstock could be considered the pioneer of Christian suspense novels, and I have always enjoyed reading her thrilling tales, but was even more captivated by this foray into romantic fiction.  With Shadow in Serenity, Blackstock leaves the chilling suspense behind in favor of a well written romance that still packs a mysterious punch.

Description from Publisher: Carny Sullivan grew up in the zany world of a traveling carnival. Quaint and peaceful Serenity, Texas, has given her a home, a life, and a child. Logan Brisco is the smoothest, slickest, handsomest man Serenity, Texas has ever seen. But Carny Sullivan knows a con artist when she sees one—and she’s seen plenty, starting with her father. As far as Carny Sullivan can tell, she’s the only one in town who has his number. Because from his Italian shoes to his movie-actor smile, Logan has the rest of the town snowed.

 Logan Brisco and Carney Sullivan are an antagonistic match made in heaven.  Both characters benefit from a colorful and interesting back story rooted in the world of con-artists and carnival tricks.  Despite being wary and suspicious of the others motives, Carney and Logan fall head first into a tumultuous romance that threatens to unravel the lives they have carefully constructed.

I loved reading this book and was hooked from beginning to end.  In fact, I could hardly put it down and probably did irreparable damage to my husband and child while ignoring them so I could finish it (just kidding, I hope)!  The plot moved along at an engaging pace; perfectly well written and executed.  I especially enjoyed the tender scenes between Logan and Jason, Carney's son.  This book was romantic, heartbreaking and mysterious in all the right places.  I would highly recommend it.

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy from Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stuck (dvd based study) - Jennie Allen


I was thrilled to recently receive Jennie Allen's Stuck bible study kit from Thomas Nelson publishers.  I was hoping to actually apply this study in an authentic small group experience, but unfortunately did not have that opportunity.  Instead I spent time pouring through the teaching guide, study book and DVD sessions.  I came away with the sense that this study is a wonderfully written, powerful look into the heart of women and the things that hold them back from living the life God has created them for.
The study kit includes:
  • 8 sessions on DVD
  • Study Guide with story-driven teaching, Scripture study, and short five-day-per-week lessons
  • Leader’s Guide for group study options
  • Conversation cards to promote meaningful conversation
  • Promotional resources for the church
If you feel stuck - in bitterness, brokenness, anger, apathy, fighting for control...take a look at this study.  Jennie Allen speaks with a gentleness and authority that comes straight from the Bible.  The scriptural truth and application in this study is excellent.  I look forward to actually participating in the study as part of a small group!  This study kit is recommended for a group of 8-12 women.

Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher via Book Sneeze. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.