Friday, January 30, 2015

"The Dandelion Field" Blog Tour

This handsome firefighter makes a living coming to the rescue, but Gin doesn't need a man to fight her battles.

After Raine's dad walked out, Ginevieve Lightly never lived in one place too long, a rambling lifestyle that defined her daughter's youth. When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises Raine they can stay until she finishes her senior year of high school. Gin will do anything to make sure her daughter has a bright future . . . a future that's compromised when Raine reveals she's pregnant.

Dan Moretti has only ever called Banister Falls home. After losing his best friend in a tragic accident, Dan devoted himself to responding to fires, rescuing the helpless, and guiding Cody Bennett, his best friend's son, through life. With Cody being the epitome of the good kid, it was an easy job. Until he says four little words: "The baby is mine."

Knowing gossip of Raine's pregnancy will erupt sooner or later in the small town, Gin's reflex is to grab the suitcase and escape to a new city, a new life. But with each passing day, Gin's feet stay rooted in Banister Falls, and she falls a little more for this local firefighter who shows her not all men abandon women at the first sign of smoke.

As Gin and Dan do the best they can to guide the two teenagers through their early entry into adulthood, they discover together that romance can bloom in the rockiest of situations. And God can turn the pieces of a broken past into a beautiful new beginning.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1yGTVen



About the author:

Kathryn Springer
is a USA Today bestselling author. She grew up in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child she spent many hours sitting at her mother's typewriter, plunking out stories, and credits her parents for instilling in her a love of books --- which eventually turned into a desire to tell stories of her own. Kathryn has written nineteen books with close to two million copies sold. She lives with her husband and three children in Marinette, Wisconsin.
Find Kathryn online: website, Facebook
 
 
 
 
My Take:
 
Even though I mostly read historical fiction, I was intrigued when I read the summary for this contemporary novel. I'm glad I picked it up, though, because it ended up being a really good book.

What I was most impressed with was how the sensitive subject of teen pregnancy was handled. Everyone involved in the lives of these teens were understandably hurt, confused, and rattled, but it was beautiful that the two families were brought together and were able to find forgiveness and hope. What a great reminder of how even though we have trusted Jesus, we still need His forgiveness daily.

I also liked how it was obvious that God was working in the hearts and lives of all of the characters. At times I wish the text was more to the point about the gospel, but for the most part, it was handed well.

The romance between Gin and Dan was a nice storyline, as was the love that blossomed between the two teens who were facing such a life-altering situation. I liked having the perspective told from Gin, Dan, and Raine, and the flashbacks were also an interesting way to get the story across. And the title (and the story behind it) was just so sweet.

The setting of this story was nice, too. Since I grew up in a small town, I understood what Gin and Raine went through being "outsiders." It was a good reminder to not be judgmental but to shower people with grace, especially when they are new to your area.

Though contemporary romance novels are not usually my thing, I really enjoyed this one and how it told that God can redeem any situation.


*****SPOILER ALERT*****




Even though I liked this story, I was pretty bummed to not be able to experience the birth of the baby during the novel. Was it a boy or a girl? If it was a boy, did they name him Maxwell Dillon? I really wanted to experience that part of the lives of Cody and Raine, and I felt a bit cheated that I didn't get to.



*****SPOILER OVER*****



I will give  The Dandelion Field ... 4 BookWorms.



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
See what other reviewers are saying here:
Landing page:
 
 
 
 
 
Get ready for Valentine's Day with a new story of romance and falling in love in Kathryn Springer's The Dandelion FieldThe handsome firefighter makes a living “coming to the rescue,” but Gin is used to fighting her own battles. Can a woman who doesn't believe in happy endings take a chance on a new beginning? 

Celebrate a second chance at love and family with Kathryn by entering her Kindle Fire giveaway!

dandelionfield-400

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Dandelion Field
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 15th. Winner will be announced February 16th on the Litfuse blog.

dandelionfield-enterbanner 
{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan through Litfuse Publicity. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, January 16, 2015

"Gospel Formed" Blog Tour

Gospel Formed
Living a Grace-Addicted, Truth-Filled, Jesus-Exalting Life  
 
by J.A Medders
 

A call to Christians to be caught up in the powerful whirlwind that is the gospel of grace

 
Christianity is based on the foundation of the good news of the gospel. Yet how many Christians truly find their identity there? How many are thriving in a community clinging to the gospel? How many forget about the wondrous glory of Jesus?

J. A. Medders is on a mission to help Christians remember that the power that raised Jesus from the dead is also the power for our everyday life in Christ.

Yet living a gospel-centered life does not always come easily. The biblical meditations in Gospel Formed help to kindle, or rekindle, the passion to live a grace-addicted, truth-filled, Jesus-exalting life by constantly driving the reader back to the power of the cross and the empty tomb.

Funny, punchy, and theologically accessible, readers will be encouraged, challenged, and ultimately reoriented to the true North of Christianity—Christ Himself.

Pages: 200
Published: 2014 
Imprint: Kregel Publications

For more information and to read an excerpt, click here.


About the author:

J. A. Medders is the lead pastor at Redeemer Church (Acts 29) in Tomball, Texas. He has written for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Gospel-Centered Discipleship, Church Leaders, and more. To read more from J.A. Medders, visit www.jamedders.com. 
 


My Take:

Right off the bat Mr. J.A. Medders and I got off to a good start in his book Gospel Formed. In the introduction he states, "You don't need new tricks and tactics but the truth of Jesus, his person, and his work -- the gospel."

Exactly!

What follows is a small put powerful book with an entire focus on just that -- the gospel. With 27 short chapters plus a lengthier introduction and short conclusion, you could read a few pages or one chapter a day to give you a reminder every single day to keep the gospel at the forefront of everything that you do.

Here are some interesting thoughts I took away from this book:
  • The gospel is for everyone, both old and new Christians. It is at one time both advanced and elementary - how amazing!
  • Our view of Jesus needs to be big and awe-inspiring but also deeply personal.
  • True, heart-felt worship can defeat the powers of evil.
  • We can all be a "gospeler" -- "a person who zealously teaches or professes faith in the gospel."

Gospel Formed is so easy to read. It flows well and is a great way to start or end each day. The style of writing is very relatable even if some of the humor might have been a tad much.But any book that mentions Tolkien's elves or cranking something up to eleven gets a thumbs up in my book!

I will give Gospel Formed ... 4 BookWorms.










Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publishing through the Kregel Blog Tour Service. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."




 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

"Ordinary" Blog Tour

Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down
by Tony Merida
 
What if the path toward an extraordinary life is becoming more ordinary? "Ordinary" is not a call to be more radical. If anything, it is a call to the contrary. The kingdom of God isn’t coming with light shows, and shock and awe, but with lowly acts of service. Tony Merida wants to push back against sensationalism and “rock star Christianity,” and help people understand that they can make a powerful impact by practicing ordinary Christianity.

Through things such as humble acts of service, neighbor love, and hospitality, Christians can shake the foundations of the culture. In order to see things happen that have never happened before, Christians must to do what Christians have always done­. Christians need to become more ordinary.

Let’s think together about how we, ordinary people, doing ordinary things, might turn the world upside down.

About the Author:
Tony Merida is lead pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He earned a Ph.D. in preaching from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and serves as associate professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His books include Faithful Preaching and Orphanology.


Book Information:
  • B&H Publishing
  • ISBN:  9781433684166
  • Page Count: 140
 
 
My Take:
 
Every year my church chooses a theme that we will focus on that year. Last year's theme was "Loving Our Neighbors," and it was a call to evaluate the things we were doing personally and as a church to show others the love of Christ.
 
This book, Ordinary, exactly relates to our church's theme during 2014, and was a great reminder going into 2015 that this theme should not be a one-year thing but should be something in which we continue to grow through the coming years.
 
This easy to read book is filled with "ordinary" ways that Christians can be a loving witness for Christ to everyone in our everyday lives. I will say, though, that sometimes I felt as if the author was giving commands of things that every Christian should be doing, and I am not sure that everything on that list should be done by every Christian. That's why we have the body of the church - we work together to complete the work Christ called us to do. Every Christian can't possibly be involved in every single available ministry, and sometimes the words that were used in this book came across as "beating you over the head" with it - words such as "must" and "should." The Bible commands us to love God and love others, but how each Christian specifically does that might look different.
 
Our church certainly has been challenged to try to meet more social needs in our community, and I am thankful for the great work that has been done this past year through our church in this area. Many churches we have been affiliated with in the past believe that meeting needs is something to be left to the government or is not something that Christians should be involved in, but Jesus showed us over and over in the Bible how he met the needs of the people and then spoke the word of truth to them. As Merida says in the book, "The "anti-social ministry" people need to also remember that some can't hear our proclamation until they've been delivered physically from injustice and other forms of suffering. Until we pick them up from the road, they won't hear the good news."
 
Ultimately, Ordinary is a call for Christians to serve like Jesus and to be His witness right where they are.
 
I will give Ordinary ... 3.5 BookWorms.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B&H Publishing through CrossFocused Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"The Brickmaker's Bride" Review

Soon after the Civil War, Ewan McKay ventures to West Virginia to help his uncle purchase and run a brickmaking business. The one they decide to purchase is currently owned by a war widow and her daughter who are forced to sell. Ewan is soon drawn to the intelligent daughter of the former owner, Laura, whose knowledge of business and brickmaking certainly impresses him. But Laura has been courted for years by a successful lawyer from the area – one who is an aspiring politician and who already knows the secret she holds.

When Ewan’s uncle makes a deal that puts the brickworks in jeopardy, his future seems hopeless. With Laura’s help, will Ewan be able to save the brickworks? And will he also be able to win Laura’s heart?

The Brickmaker’s Bride is the first in the “Refined by Love” series by Judith Miller.

For a small change of pace, I decided to put a post-Civil War-era book into my repertoire. I tend to shy away from Civil War-era books for some reason, but this one caught my eye.

Usually I am very interested in discovering different eras in history and the processes and things that go along with them, especially things that I don’t know much about. I definitely know nothing about brickmaking, but I was less than thrilled with the descriptions of making bricks in this book. It was sometimes tedious and didn’t always flow well with the rest of the story. The tension over the bad deal that Ewan’s uncle made kept the plot going, but it sometimes seemed as if it was just all too much. I just kept wanting poor Ewan to catch a break.

The romance between Laura and Ewan was sweet, but the main characters themselves seemed to lack a depth that would have made them more endearing to the reader. I’m not sure what more could have been done to achieve this depth. The dialogue for the most part was good, but I felt as if the main characters didn’t experience too much growth overall. I just didn’t feel connected to Laura or Ewan, and most of the minor characters were over-the-top and annoying. I was at least satisfied with the end of the book and how Laura and Ewan’s story was wrapped up.

Even though I didn’t feel as if Laura and Ewan grew too much in this novel, there were still some important spiritual themes that were explored. Some of these were leaning on God during difficult times, not compromising your integrity (especially in business), and knowing that no one is too far gone to be redeemed. Although I felt as if these themes sometimes didn’t go quite deep enough and sometimes left Christ out of the picture, they still redeemed the book a bit for me.

Overall, The Brickmaker’s Bride seemed to have two different personalities. It wanted to be a sweet romantic story, but too many historical details and annoying minor characters got in the way. On the other hand, it wanted to be a fiction novel pertaining to the business of brickmaking in the second half of the 1800s, but the romance seemed to be just tacked on for good measure. Maybe it was just me, but for some reason, the two didn’t seem to click together very well.

Even though there were some bumps along the way, The Brickmaker’s Bride is a sweet romantic story that takes place during an especially hard time in our nation’s history.

I will give The Brickmaker's Bride ... 3 BookWorms.








The Brickmaker's Bride
by Judith Miller
"Refined by Love" #1
Bethany House Publishers
Publication date: October 7, 2014
352 pages






Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."