|Isaiah’s Legacy: A Novel of Prophets and Kings By Mesu Andrews / WaterBrook Buy with this link at Christianbook.com|
|Veiled in Smoke (The Windy City Saga Book #1) – eBook
By Jocelyn Green / Bethany House
Superb! The epic beginning grabs you and the way the plot is a thread drawn out from these events makes for a tremendous story. I decided some of Jocelyn Green’s previous books often end in very dramatic fashion with a battle either on land or sea. In both The Mark of the King and Between Two Shores this conclusion holds true. I like that in Veiled in Smoke, a pivotal moment in the action appears at the beginning and this sets in motion all the consequences that follow.
This book is such a fine example of historical fiction. The details add a layer of richness to the story that I surmise will propel this book onto many recommended reading lists. Her skill in writing stories with an appreciation for the military certainly is on display between these pages. Her handling of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in early times is eye opening.
We meet a big cast of characters and each one is so memorable. The characters through their words and actions clearly show their goals, inward struggles, and values. Each character was so well developed. Every character added an essential dimension to the story. I think this lineup of characters in the the historical Chicago setting is a cornucopia of stories just waiting to be told. I’m eagerly looking forward to Windy City Saga Book 2.
I received an advanced reader’s copy of Veiled in Smoke from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
|An Uncommon Woman – eBook|
By Laura Frantz / Revell
An Uncommon Woman
A satisfying read from beginning to end. There is so much to enjoy in this new book from Laura Frantz. The main character, Tessa, is not the only uncommon woman. As stated in the author notes, Keturah’s wisdom and generous nature is rare and exceptional. Hester is a character to love for her directness and ability to serve all in unflustered fashion.
Each of the book’s elements are presented with great skill. The alliterative phrases, sense of place, and historical accurateness add to the book’s appeal. I loved learning about coffin pie, dittany tea, fort life, and the Lenape of Mid-Atlantic. Her portrayal of Native Americans stayed clear of stereotypes that might offend and instead shared with readers a realistic glimpse of Lenape culture, daily customs, fears, even acts of aggression.
Throughout the story, I was impressed that there were no loose ends. Tessa was allowed sufficient time to grieve over the tragedy that befell Jasper and Ross. Despite Tessa and Clay’s budding romance, it would have been so dissatisfying for our main character to rush through this time of loss.
The conclusion was inventive and I love that the end had its beginnings in a network of relationships that began at such an earlier point in the characters’ lives. As Clay said, “You just never know where help is going to come from.”
I recommend this book with enthusiasm. I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
|Life Is _____ Forty-Day Experience: A Devotional Journey Through God’s Illogical Love
By Judah Smith / Thomas Nelson
A remarkable book. Judah Smith’s style is accessible and filled with humor. Each day’s reading is concise and memorable. It’s a smart choice for Christians looking for a devotional that speaks to important issues. I recommend this book with enthusiasm. Quite often I finished the daily reading and then turned to my Study Bible for additional research and perspectives on the passage. This author was unknown to me before purchasing this book. I would certainly choose other titles he has written now that I’m familiar with his style and message.
|Daughter of Rome, softcover
By Tessa Afshar / Tyndale House
Daughter of Rome is Biblical fiction with Priscilla and Aquila as main characters. From the basic facts recorded in the Book of Acts and Romans, Tessa Afshar draws out a tale that spans the couple’s exodus from Rome to Corinth and their subsequent work as evangelists. Priscilla is a Bible personality held in high regard due to her intellect, compassion, and mercy. This theme is a constant thread throughout the novel. Together, Priscilla and Aquila, are a formidable duo proclaiming the gospel to searching souls. The apostle Paul also figures prominently in this novel. Hats off to Afshar who captures Paul’s fervor with success. I’m sure it’s a daunting task to pen dialogue for this zealous missionary. Paul’s passion for spreading the gospel through teaching and advising while surviving persecution is true to the historical record.
Some of the most tender and fun moments occur when Priscilla and Aquila open their hearts and home to a runaway boy. The young runaway, Marcus, eventually wins a lasting place in their family group. A little revelry enters the story through the antics of Ferox, the family dog.
As you make your way through the book, details about Ancient Rome will pique your interest. Whether it’s political life or social customs, you’ll find yourself looking up additional references. Only in two or three instances did I feel the story’s pace was interrupted by some word choices that I will admit sent me to the dictionary. Dint and calumnious being two examples.
Overall, Afshar shares a story that shines a light on the importance of mercy and forgiveness. Two qualities as important to the ancient world as they are to communities today. In addition, readers will be impressed by the team of early Christians who persevered despite harsh treatment and threats on their life.
I jumped at the chance to read an advanced reader’s copy of Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar. I thought her previous book Bread of Angels was stellar. Naturally I had high expectations for this upcoming release due out February 4, 2020. I received this ARC from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. #DaughterofRome #NetGalley
|The King’s Mercy: A Novel – eBook
By Lori Benton / WaterBrook
Lori Benton chooses words with great attention to details. Her prose is rich. Her dialogue spot on. The characters speak with authentic voices drawing you into the narrative. I just finished reading Benton’s latest novel , The King’s Mercy, and found it entirely enjoyable. The setting spans the North Carolina landscape from the coast to the mountains. It’s a complete story with mystery, romance, history, and rock solid Christian theology. Her leading characters eventually arrive at a happy ending. The plot twists and turns make you wonder if better days for them will truly arrive. A repulsive character keeps you guessing throughout the story and his backstory and abhorrent behavior is revealed in its entirety.
I’m not sure which I liked best – the description of the North Carolina landscape, the rugged Scotsman, the faithful itinerant pastor, the Native American community, or the heroine, Joanna. Fans of historical fiction will be pleased to spend time with the characters in this book.
The King’s Mercy was a 2019 summer release and in my TBR queue. I’m so glad I picked it up to read. I was drawn to it because previously I read, A Flight of Arrows and found it to be equally satisfying. The e-book I read was an ARC that I accepted from the publisher. The review is my honest opinion of this historical fiction book. #TheKingsMercy#NetGalley
|The Work, Volume 1
By Elias Dummer / Integrity Music
Former frontman for The City Harmonic, songwriter Elias Dummer makes his solo debut with The Work, Volume 1. This theologically rich collection blends folk-pop and intimate worship styles on “Enough,” “The Work (It Ain’t Easy),” “This Is Holy Ground,” and more.
Elias Dummer’s recent hit “Enough” will move you. My Pastor’s Wife introduced us to this song at a recent Bible study. The study is an examination of Paul’s letter to Colossians. The central message of this study is the supremacy of Christ and how he is enough. At each session we either open or close by listening to this song. Now at worship team practice with the lyrics in hand we are giving it a try. If you purchase the CD you can be treated to other creations by Elias Dummer.
I have not had Christian radio on for awhile since the reception both at home and in the car has been poor. Since I switched recently to streaming Air1 over the Internet I’ve had no trouble. There are many tremendous new songs to enjoy. Have you heard Matt Maher’s recent song titled Because He Lives. Also great! Happy listening.
The temperature is dropping. Winter is approaching. Time to curl up with a good book. Some great books to enjoy appear here. The Christy Award is a program of the Evangelical Christian Publishing Association.
|Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need
By David Platt / Multnomah
This title is a must read. The message is timely. If you’ve been lukewarm about missions, this book will change your outlook. It’s realistic and compels you to consider the urgency of meeting the world’s spiritual needs. I have family members and acquaintances who have devoted good portions of their adult lives to missions. I thought of their commitment and heart for missions on nearly every page. Now I understand more clearly why they’re so passionate about bringing the gospel message to non-believers.
I appreciate how David Platt addresses how church families’ priorities can be skewed toward wrong priorities. I’ll confess that I’m guilty of thinking my church needs just one more really great youth program, or women’s program, or social media presence to bring people in the door and fill the pews. These may be important outreach tools, but as Platt points out these are not essential traits of a church according to the Bible. His list of essential traits totals 8, and the top 3 are Preach His Word, Share the gospel, Pray fervently and frequently.
I wasn’t so sure what to expect once I realized as a reader I was going to follow Platt and his hiking team through the harsh and rugged Himalayan peaks and villages. At points the content was difficult. I appreciate that such tough subjects were handled with care.
David Platt surely excels as a writer in this book. Each chapter is a polished gem with an important message for Christians. Platt addresses how people must assess how best to use their God given talents for the Lord. He is careful to emphasize how a well thought out plan is needed before launching into action. This preparation is important because poorly thought out plans aren’t sustainable. Likewise he encourages Christians to fully prepare themselves spiritually prior to following a gospel spreading path.
His prose never meanders. It’s concise but also lyrical. I really enjoyed his well written conclusion. Something Needs to Change is an engaging book, you will find impossible to put down. Once you’ve arrived at the end, you’ll take Platt’s message to heart.
I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
|Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change the Way You Worship
By Chris Tomlin & Darren Whitehead / Thomas Nelson
The title captured my attention. One look at the by-line, and I knew this book was a must have for my personal library. Its structure is marvelous. It’s a look at seven Hebrew words for praise. Each chapter begins with words shared by Pastor Darren Whitehead. His insight on scripture is thought provoking. The selected quotes from history’s great Biblical commentators and pastors are well chosen. These thoughts are immediately followed by Chris Tomlin’s narrative on the creation of some of his great worship anthems. It’s a pairing that’s as smart as honey and tea, and silver and gold. Each chapter closes with a list of Bible verses to look up. You’ll complete this task with enthusiasm and delight in the discovery of reading familiar verses with a fresh outlook.
It’s a reader friendly 128 page book. At its close, you’ll think of friends who should read it next. Holy Roar is a satisfying book for a time of personal devotion. Members of worship teams and small group Bible studies would also all love it.
People who enjoy Christian worship music will never sing a Chris Tomlin song again without appreciating the inspiration behind each creation.