Category Archives: Christian

The Lake and the Secret Sweetheart

Title: The Lake and the Secret Sweetheart
Author: Judith Grimme
Publisher: Encourage Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9985592-8-5

“Who do you think that card came from? It’s so mysterious, don’t you think?” Simone asks Lucy in Judith Grimme’s children’s book, The Lake and the Secret Sweetheart.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-fifty-six-page paperback targets nine- to twelve-year-old children who like stories about family relationships and friendships during the 1960s in the Midwest. With no profanity or adult situations, it would best be read out loud to some readers due to occasionally complicated wording. The ending includes extras and activities, the author’s biography, information about other books in the series, and content ratings.

The final of a four in The Front Porch Diaries, this series chapter book set in Indiana continues with third-grader Lucy and her family going to a cottage by the lake and having her best friend, Simone, and her grandparents visit too. Not only does Lucy have to overcome her past fears, but she wants to know who sent her a special valentine’s card. With her friend soon returning to France, the two cherish their last few weeks together.

~ Why ~
This is a nice read about the past when kids spent ample time outside, enjoying the dog days of summer swimming and fishing with family. I appreciate the references to games like Monopoly and Little League baseball along with G.I. Joe dolls, Cracker Jacks, McDonald’s, and various consumer items. Having read the 2 other books in the series to our six-year-old granddaughter via Facetime, she is anticipating hearing this one next.

~ Why Not ~
Children who do not like chapter books or series that are written about how it was over fifty years ago may not appreciate this read. Others may not be ready to learn about boy/girl relationships. Some younger readers may be concerned about the fear of swimming or do not like the mention of God and the Bible. It is helpful if you read the books in order to understand the background (we did not read the second book but wish we had since this one relates to its story).

~ Wish ~
I found the book may be too advanced for a first grader due to the protagonist’s fears and love interest. There were far fewer French words in this one compared to the first book. The series should be professionally edited.

~ Want ~
If your elementary-school-age child likes chapter books that are in a series, this would be a fun read if he or she wants to know about someone having a crush on them, overcoming a past fear, and praying about being afraid.

Thanks to BookCrash and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#TheLakeandtheSecretSweetheart #JudithGrimme #TheFrontPorchDiaries #EncouragePublishing #Bookcrash

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/2Nt6pTG

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Childrens, Christian, Fiction

Dream within a Dream

Title: Dream within a Dream
Authors Mike Nappa and Melissa Kosci
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2646-1

“Trudi, I can’t let you go. I need your help,” Dream begs his new friend in Mike Nappa and Melissa Kosci’s novel, Dream within a Dream.

~ What ~
This four-hundred-and-sixteen-page paperback targets those who like suspense involving mobsters, artwork, and shattered relationships. Containing the slang words such as darn, the topics of physical abuse, torture, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The book ends with the authors’ biographies and advertisements.

Part three of the Coffey and Hill series, Trudi may be divorced from Samuel, but somehow both still care enough about each other, especially since he works as a CIA operative who is trying to avoid his past and she, a private investigator, is dragged into helping Dream, an accused murderer who has a knack for quoting random facts. As the pair try to protect Dream, they are caught up searching for stolen art that everyone including the Boston mob wants.

~ Why ~
This is a fast read that not only has the chase to find stolen artwork but also how two past lovers try to reconnect their hurtful paths. As each is forced to trust one another along with others, the palette is painted by a frightened yet highly intelligent artist determined to find answers, no matter the cost. I liked the first-person writing by Dream and pace of the book, which could be read as a stand-alone novel.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the Biblical references, but they are not too often or deep. Others may not care for a story that involves torture and abuse. Some may wish they knew more about the protagonists’ background from the prior books in the series.

~ Wish ~
I prefer Christian books not to have slang words as they detract from the story. I wish the ending was not rushed and a bit hanging.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy mystery and suspense while gleaning the truth, this is an engaging read, especially some of the interesting tidbits of random facts spread throughout.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Thanks to Revell Reads for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/2YbnPu7

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Discipling Your Grandchildren

Title: Discipling Your Grandchildren
Author: Dr. Josh Mulvihill
Publisher: BethanyHouse
ISBN: 978-0-7642-3129-2

“Grandparents are fellow laborers created to point grandchildren to Christ and help raise them to spiritual maturity,” Josh Mulvihill with Jen Mulvihill and Linda Weddle writes in his book, Discipling Your Grandchildren: Great Ideas to Help Them Know, Love, and Serve God.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-ninety-two-page paperback is targeted toward both male and female grandparents who have a burden to help their grandchildren get closer to God. After a foreword by Wess Stafford and an introduction, there are eleven chapters about the topic, followed by notes, the authors’ biographies, and resources.

Promoting meaningful connections with grandchildren, this book is written by a father with the help of two women who are parents and a grandmother. The first chapter discusses what the Bible says while the second contains gifts, encouragement, and prayer tips. While the third section is about intentional meals, the fourth is teaching and telling others about Christ. Reading, memorizing, sharing, and serving are in the fifth to seventh chapters, and relationship building, the home, the church, and during holidays complete the book.

~ Why ~
Having four grandkids under the age of six, I know how vital it is to be proactively telling them about Jesus and all He has done. I like the many lists for gift-giving, graduation gifts, suggestions of books by age, topical Scriptures to pray, teaching skills, formats of the plan of eternal salvation, overnight visits with games, and holiday ideas with teaching, crafts, and activities.

~ Why Not ~
Those who are not grandparents or do not have children may have no interest in this book. Others who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not understand the value its contents. Seasoned parents looking for new ideas for their grandkids may feel the concepts are common and have been already done by them decades before.

~ Wish ~
Since we live out of state from our grandchildren and have to rely on Facetime during COVID-19, I found the book contained only a few long-distance suggestions. It is mainly geared for Christians and their church-going families with few tips for those who have to deal with non-believing children and their offspring.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for grandparent-tested and parent-approved read about how to disciple your grandkids from toddler to teen, this may give you some good ideas, but it may not help if your grands do not know Christ or do not live nearby.

Thanks to Bethany House for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3cCxKg7

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Christian

What Momma Left Behind

Title: What Momma Left Behind
Author: Cindy K. Sproles
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3704-7

“Answer me, Momma! Where am I gonna put these youngins?” Where?” Worie cries out in Cindy K. Sproles’s novel, What Momma Left Behind.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-fifty-six-page paperback targets those who like historical suspense involving orphaned children fighting to stay together to survive. Containing slang words such as darn and hell, the topics of illness, rape, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The book ends with the author’s note, author’s biography, and advertisements.

Set on the rural Sourwood Mountain in Tennessee in 1877, seventeen-year-old Worie Dressar is devastated when her mother makes a personal sacrifice that she cannot understand. When homeless children appear at the young girl’s doorstep, Worie has no other recourse them to take them in and feed them. With the help of an awkward pastor and friends with secrets, the out-spoken girl becomes closer to her charges and is forced to make decisions that will alter her dreams and wishes.

~ Why ~
This is a precious, tearful read written in first person that shows the love, angst, and trust one must have in another when it comes to uncovering the past and dealing with the present. I love how Sproles describes her protagonist as broken, bold, and bewildered when learning about God’s timing, forgiveness, and acceptance. The loss of parents and family members due to typhoid fever and influenza over a hundred years ago is tragic and sad.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the Biblical references, calling on God for His protection, or confessing past sins. Others may not care for a story that involves the hardships and suffering children endured as it is discouraging and depressing. Some may get frustrated with the intentional misspellings and incorrect grammar that convey the uneducated language of poor mountain living.

~ Wish ~
I prefer Christian books not to have slang words as they detract from the story. It would be thoughtful to have included the complete plan of eternal salvation.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy tenderly told stories of heartbreak, redemption, and trust from the 1800s in the Appalachian Mountains, this will make you realize how family bonds are tied tightly, even when sorrow and hurt abounds.

Thanks to Revell Reads for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/2XRrT1i

 

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The Farm and the Risky Ride

Title: The Farm and the Risky Ride
Author: Judith Grimme
Publisher: Encourage Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9985592-7-8

“I cannot wait, either! That will be such a fun holiday! But I’m still a little nervous about riding horses,” Simone confides to Lucy in Judith Grimme’s children’s book, The Farm and the Risky Ride.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-forty-four-page paperback targets nine- to twelve-year-old children who like stories about family relationships and friendships during the 1960s in the Midwest. With no profanity or adult situations, it would best be read out loud to some readers due to occasionally complicated wording. The ending includes extras and activities, the author’s biography, information about other books in the series, and content ratings.

The third of four series chapter book set in Indiana continues with third-grader Lucy and her new friend, Simone, going to Lucy’s grandparents’ farm for two weeks in the summer while her brother and Simone’s sibling stay home and build a treehouse. Lucy and Simone not only get to collect chicken eggs, milk cows, pick berries, and make camp pies, but they also go horseback riding and witness the birth of a foal.

~ Why ~
This is a lovely read about the past when kids spent ample time outside, enjoying nature and animals. I appreciate the references to kite flying, Instamatic cameras, Barbie and Midge dolls, Bible stories, drive-in movies, the Amish, and various outdoor games. Having read the first book to our six-year-old granddaughter via Facetime, she was excited to start having me read her this one.

~ Why Not ~
Children who do not like chapter books or series that are written about how it was over fifty years ago may not appreciate this read. Others may not relate to the characters, especially if they have no siblings or do not live in a small-town environment. Some younger readers may be concerned about getting injured riding horses or do not like the mention of God and the Bible. It is helpful if you read the books in order to understand the background (we did not read the second book but wish we had).

~ Wish ~
I found the book a bit anti-climatic, so the series may not be for older readers. There were far fewer French words in this one compared to the first book.

~ Want ~
If your elementary-school-age child likes chapter books that are in a series, this would be a fun read if he or she wants to know about life on a farm before electronics consumed our lives.

Thanks to BookCrash and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#TheFarmandtheRiskyRide #JudithGrimme #TheFrontPorchDiaries #EncouragePublishing #Bookcrash

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/2Tsp7y7

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Childrens, Christian, Fiction

On a Coastal Breeze

Title: On a Coastal Breeze
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3499-2

“Yes, she did wish well for Rick O’Shea on this momentous morning. As long as he kept his distance from her,” Maddie tries to convince herself in Suzanne Woods Fisher’s novel, On a Coastal Breeze.

~ What ~
The second in the Three Sisters Island series, this three-hundred-and-twenty-page paperback targets those who enjoy contemporary Christian fiction regarding family interactions on a small Maine island. Using slang words such as darn and drats, topics of premarital sex, injury, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. Using the several versions of the Holy Bible, the beginning has a cast of characters while the ending includes a food recipe, twelve discussion questions, excerpts from the next book in the series, acknowledgments, biography, and advertisements.

In this current-day story, a widowed father and his three daughters have successfully completed one summer at their recently purchased Camp Kicking Moose. Focusing mainly on the middle child who is starting a marriage and family therapy business on the island, Madison Grayson is blindsided when Ricky O’Shea, the town’s new pastor, skydives into town and upends her fortitude and determination. While her siblings deal with their shortcomings, faltering dreams, and forgiving others, the now-mature girl who had feelings for a boy over eight years ago must face her anxiety and fears as she trusts in God and those who love her.

~ Why ~
Having read the first book in the series, I appreciate the updates on the Grayson family and the island’s residents. Being an innocuous read, this one centers on one woman’s desperate need to overcome her panic attacks by practicing what she preaches to others in therapy sessions. Some readers may like the friction between two engaged couples and wanderlust in one who is searching for herself. The addition of a loyal duck brings charm to small-town living.

~ Why Not  ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the Christian undertones that include Scripture and praying to God. Others may tire of the predictability of a romance of two protagonists who have a past littered with meanness and misunderstandings.

~ Wish ~
Although Madison professionally has her act together, the writing type-casted her character as having all the right answers to everyone’s’ problems. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reference.

~ Want ~
If you like a contemporary Christian read about family dynamics with an ongoing love-hate relationship, this novel may occupy your time while noting that God can handle our fears and frustrations.

Thanks to Baker Publishing for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#OnaCoastalBreeze #SuzanneWoodsFisher #Revell

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2SISVG8

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The Traitor’s Pawn

Title: The Traitor’s Pawn
Author: Lisa Harris
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2917-2

“I just … I need you to forgive me, Aubrey,” the policewoman is told in Lisa Harris’s novel, The Traitor’s Pawn.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-thirty-three-page paperback targets those who enjoy crime suspense with Christian undertones and light romance. Containing no profanity, the topics of kidnapping, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The book ends with the first chapter of the writer’s next novel, author’s biography, and advertisements for other Revell books.

Set in Corpus Christi, Texas, Jack and Aubrey used to be best friends as teenagers, but their relationship abruptly ended, with one fearful of divulging true feelings. When FBI agent Jack happens to be in the area hunting down an American involved in a Chinese spy ring, Aubrey, a policewoman, is kidnapped. As their paths cross unexpectedly, they race to catch the traitor before more are injured or killed.

~ Why ~
This is a fast read that packs plenty of action and tension between two past friends who must work together to solve who is selling government secrets. I like the sensitivity of Jack and how he deals with his past decisions. Aubrey’s character shows how trusting God helps her deal with heartache, disappointments, and life-threatening situations.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the calling on God for His protection. Others may not care for a story of a woman dealing with forgiveness of those she loves. The reader may feel frustrated that Jack appeared unaware of all the turmoil in Aubrey’s family life if they were once close friends.

~ Wish ~
While I liked the relationship between the two protagonists and how they both were scared to move forward, I found the persistent interruptions too obvious every time they tried to discuss the future. I prefer all pronouns of God to be capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are into spy stories involving the FBI and police, this is a quick read that caters to those who like re-establishing relationships, forgiveness, and trusting in God.

Thanks to Revell Reads for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/2yr27I1

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Ishmael Covenant

Title: Ishmael Covenant
Author: Terry Brennan
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4530-9

“But know this … the box has a mission of its own. Do not deny the box from its intended purpose,” the Gaon warns in Terry Brennan’s book, Ishmael Covenant.

~ What ~
The first in the Empires of Armageddon series, this three-hundred-and-twenty-page paperback targets those who enjoy political Christian suspense involving the Middle East. With no profanity except for the use of the word hell, topics of torture, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The beginning has a map and list of characters, while the ending includes acknowledgments, author’s notes, and an excerpt to the next book in the series.

In this read, Dipolocatic Secret Serviceman Brian Mullaney is banished to guarding the US ambassador in Israel, a man who has recently been given a special Jewish box that contains a centuries-old prophecy about the coming Messiah and destroys anyone who touches it. It is a race to get the unique box safely to a Jewish synagogue before Turk, a mysterious man, gets it first.

~ Why ~
I appreciate books about the future, especially if they involve the second coming of Jesus Christ. While this one is the first in a series, it shows how the Middle East is lined up for changes when the antichrist evolves and the Tribulation begins. I liked the portrayal of the main character and his struggles personally and spiritually.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like Christian-faith based novels or do not have a personal relationship with Jesus will not appreciate this book or care for its simple plan of eternal salvation. Others may already be aware of the Old Testament predictions, the history of the Middle East, and Biblical end-time prophecies.

~ Wish ~
While including detailed historical background information, the story often gets bogged down to the point the reader wants to skip sections if they already know about it. I found its unsatisfying ending abrupt, although I know it is only the first in its series.

~ Want ~
If you love a suspenseful and political read involving the Middle East, this first book in a series about its potential future may interest you, but I struggled to get through it and felt no closure at its rushed ending.

Thanks to the author, Bookpleasures, and Kregel Publishing for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#IshmaelCovenant #TerryBrennan #KregelPublications #Bookpleasures

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2WSplAV

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Blaze of Light

Title: Blaze of Light
Author: Marcus Brotherton
Publisher: Waterbrook
ISBN: 978-0-525-65378-3

“To really live, you must almost die. To those who fight for it, life has a meaning the protected will never know,” Gary is told in Marcus Brotherton’s biography, Blaze of Light: The Inspiring True Story of Green Beret Medic Gary Beikirch, Medal of Honor Recipient.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-seventy-two-page book is based on the true story of Gary Beikirch, a Medal of Honor recipient who was a Green Beret medic during the Vietnam War. Targeted toward those who like real-life accounts of dealing with the fog of war and overcoming the emotional distraught of it, topics of alcohol/drug use, dying, death, and war may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this factual tale based in the 1970s, twenty-two-year-old Gary finds himself in Dak Seang, Vietnam, protecting the Montagnards, who he has come to value and love, from the NVC who surprisingly attack their village of indigenous fighters, women, and children. Even after being seriously wounded, he arduously tries to save the injured until he is helicoptered to a nearby hospital to heal. When he arrives back in the States, his emotional state is fractured and broken more than his body, and his only redemption is resolved when he turns to the Almighty.

~ Why ~
This is a hard read of the sacrifice and suffering a soldier makes for his country, especially when he returns back to America, only to be mocked and ridiculed. I appreciate Gary and any other serviceman who went to Vietnam and am greatly thankful for their commitment. Gary’s life story is full of confusion, disappointment, and tragedy, yet it shows how God’s hand was always there, protecting him and keeping him safe.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not appreciate the read that confirms God is the answer. Some may not like reading about the surgical procedures, detailed destruction, injuries, or deaths that are sad and heartbreaking.

~ Wish ~
Since I received an uncorrected proof of this book, I hope photographs of Gary and his family are included in the final print. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy stories about the physical survival during war and emotional and spiritual redemption, this would be a great book to read or pass on to someone struggling with their purpose in life and how God is in control.

Thanks to the Waterbrook & Multnomah Launch Team for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#BlazeofLight #GaryBeikirch #MarcusBrotherton #WaterbrookMultnomah

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3aQsAwG

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Biography, Book Review, Christian

Chasing the White Lion

Title: Chasing the White Lion
Author: James R. Hannibal
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3578-4

“Welcome to the Jungle. Take care you are not eaten,” Talia and her elite team are warned in James R. Hannibal’s novel, Chasing the White Lion.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-eighty-five-page paperback is targeted toward those who enjoy a suspenseful thriller involving CIA agents, master thieves, and a team working together to bring down a syndicate boss. With no profanity, topics of violence, kidnapping, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

As a page-turner, this lightly Christian-based tale focuses on Talia Inger, a CIA agent who has an eidetic memory and recently turned her life over to the Lord. With the help of a wheelman, she and a grifter, spy, thief, chemist, and hacker band together to be invited into the inner circle of a high-crime organization run by the White Lion and the Archangel in what they call the Jungle, a game of deception with high stakes involving thalers, arms deals, and child refugee kidnappings. As the highly-trained group chases down their marks, Talia must learn to lean and trust her rogue tribe and, most importantly, God.

~ Why ~
I like reading worldwide suspense that involves a female protagonist who has to deal and overcome her past as she relies on Christ. The story is fast-paced, with the band of misfits traveling from the United States to Russia, Africa, the Czech Republic, the Greek Islands, and Thailand to uncover a deadly crowdsourced crime syndicate.

~ Why Not ~
Those who are not followers of Christ and do not like stories about international crime blended with the underlying emotional impact of child trafficking may not appreciate this story. Others may tire of the bantering of the teammates, far-fetched scenarios, and limited relying on God.

~ Wish ~
Although I liked how Talia learned to depend on the Almighty through prayer, I felt the author missed the perfect opportunity to give the eternal plan of salvation. I found some of the team members’ quibbling and joking misplaced. Due to the plethora of characters, it would be ideal to include a list of them at the beginning of the book. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are a fan of current-day international intrigue and suspense involving an eclectic group of clandestine professionals going after the bad guys, you may appreciate this read, but I found it confusing and complicated from start to end.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Revell #JamesRHannibal #ChasingtheWhiteLion

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2wBS95M

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Christian, Fiction