Tag: Christian

Blog Tour: The Amish Newcomer, by Patrice Lewis

Image belongs to Harlequin/Love Inspired.

Title: The Amish Newcomer
Author: Patrice Lewis    
Genre: Romance, Christian
Rating: 4.0 out of 5

Can a modern city girl ever become one of the Plain People?

She needed a safe place to hide. Instead, she found a place to call home.

Television journalist Leah Porte never imagined her career would end with her witnessing a murder. Now she’s temporarily living among the Amish in witness protection. Instead of feeling alone and adrift, Leah is warmly welcomed by the close-knit community—and Amish bachelor Isaac Sommer. But caught between two very different worlds, choosing love would mean leaving her big city life behind forever.

This was a sweet, uplifting read. The difference between Leah’s previous life and her life with the Amish made for an interesting premise, one I cannot imagine going through. Solid writing here and a lovely community made this a wonderful comfort read.

Patrice Lewis lives in North Idaho. The Amish Newcomer is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Love Inspired in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Upset the World, by Tim Ross

upset the world
Image belongs to Gateway Press.

Title: Upset the World
Author: Tim Ross
Genre: Nonfiction, Christian
Rating:5 out of 5

Following Jesus is not a safe course of action, it can upset your life and others. How does He do that? Through random acts of kindness, unexpected encounters, or a friendly stranger. Upsetting people can break down barriers and build relationships.

Pastor Ross teaches you how to:
Create a new ordinary of relating to others
Practice listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit’s voice
Learn how to do everyday evangelism
Love everybody (even people who disagree with you)
Change the way people think about Christianity

Upset the world with the message of hope and the love of Jesus Christ.

From the very first time I heard Pastor Tim speak—when he was still on staff at Gateway Church—I’ve loved his dynamic way of speaking. His presence is vivid and dramatic, and he dares to say what you’re thinking out loud.

This book is filled with stories and anecdotes of his experiences and he doesn’t urge his readers to take big leaps of faith—just the next small step forward in their everyday lives. His tone is conversational and relatable, and his love for Jesus and people shines through on every page.

Tim Ross is the pastor of Embassy City Church.

Book Review and Blog Tour: Her Amish Suitor’s Secret, by Carrie Lighte

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her amish suitor's secret
Image belongs to Harlequin/Love Inspired.

Title:  Her Amish Suitor’s Secret
AuthorCarrie Lighte
Genre:  Romance, Christian
Rating:  4.0 out of 5

Sometimes the truth comes at a cost. Can she forgive him when she learns his true identity? Posing as an Amish groundskeeper at Rose Allgyer’s lakeside cabin retreat, Englischer Caleb Miller is determined to clear his brother’s name of theft. But as he’s drawn to Rose’s good nature, the burden of his ruse gets heavier—especially after learning Rose was deceived by her ex-fiancé. Still guarded, will Rose trust Caleb with her heart when she discovers he isn’t who he claims to be?

I do love reading Amish fiction, and this was one I enjoyed a lot. It was interesting watching Caleb try to fit into the Amish community, mistakes and all. I was far more intrigued by the development of Caleb and Rose’s storyline than the mystery of the stolen coins, but there were also several other side intrigues to keep my attention as well. This was a sweet, uncomplicated read, perfect for a stressful day.

Carrie Lighte enjoys traveling to Amish communities across the United States and she hopes to visit a few in Canada soon, too. When she isn’t writing, reading or researching, she likes to hike, kayak and spend time at the beach.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Love Inspired in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Carolina Breeze, by Denise Hunter

carolina breeze
Image belongs to Thomas Nelson.

Title:  Carolina Breeze
AuthorDenise Hunter
Genre:  Romance
Rating:  5 out of 5

Rising Hollywood star Mia Emerson is looking for a safe place to land in the wake of a public breakup and scandal, and she finds it in the lake town of Bluebell, North Carolina–the location of her canceled honeymoon. She wants nothing more than to hide and wait for the tabloids to die down.

Soon after her arrival at the Bluebell Inn, Mia meets Levi Bennett, who runs the inn along with his two younger sisters. Drawn to one another from the start, Mia trusts Levi to keep her location from the press, and Levi confides in Mia about the financial state of the inn–a secret he’s been keeping from his sisters.

When Mia and Levi discover an old journal that hints at a rare diamond necklace hidden in the inn, they set off on a treasure hunt to find the long-lost heirloom. What they don’t expect to surface are feelings they thought were safely locked away. Mia and Levi must decide if falling in love again is too big a risk–or if it will uncover a treasure of its own instead.

This is another wonderful read in the Bluebell Inn Romance series! I really like the setting, and the characters are so well-done I just want to hang out with them and chat. Poor Mia has been dealt a pretty raw hand, but she handles it with grace and aplomb, despite her frustrations. She demonstrates the good side of Hollywood.

Levi is kind of overbearing towards his sisters, but he’s able to learn from his mistakes and grow from them. It’s nice to see his self-awareness, as he and Mia learn to trust as they expand their horizons. This is a sweet and easy read.

Denise Hunter is a bestselling author. Carolina Breeze is her newest novel, the second Bluebell Inn Romance.

(Galley courtesy of Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: Her Hidden Hope, by Jill Lynn

her hidden hope
Harlequin/Love Inspired.

Title:  Her Hidden Hope
AuthorJill Lynn
Genre:  Romance, Christian
Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Asking for forgiveness is the hardest part. She once trusted him with her heart…but will she ever trust him with the truth?

With only two weeks to renovate her family’s Colorado B and B, struggling single mom Addie Ricci can’t turn away help. Especially not when it’s her handsome high school sweetheart, Evan Hawke, who’s offering to pitch in. As they repair the B and B, Addie and Evan also begin rebuilding their relationship…until a secret from their past threatens to bring it all crashing down.

I enjoyed this so much! Addie and Evan are struggling with so much pain and hurt from their past, but they learn to trust each other again and move past the mistakes and secrets they’ve hidden for so long. I love inspirational romances, but sometimes the faith feels like it’s shoehorned in. That’s not the case here. The faith aspect feels like a natural part of these characters, and it’s wonderful to see Addie learn and grow as she and Evan get to know each other all over again.

Jill Lynn is an ACFW Carol Award-winning author and has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bethel University. Her Hidden Hope is her newest novel,

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Love Inspired in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: How to Have a Better Relationship with Anybody, by James Hilt

how to have a better relationship with anybody
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:  How to Have a Better Relationship with Anybody
Author:  James Hilt
Genre:  Nonfiction
Rating:  4 out of 5

You can have a better relationship with anybody—God, your children, your spouse, or friends. The answers for how to do so are found in Scripture. Counselor James P. Hilt has helped hundreds of people who wanted healthier, happier relationships with his principles derived from the insights of Scripture. He will help you:

Identify and get rid of problems that separate you from others
Stop feeling bitter and resentful
Listen more effectively
Become more patient
Celebrate others more readily
Feel more satisfied in your relationships

Study what the Bible has to say about relationships, apply these healing truths to your life, and discover the remarkable difference it can make. Christ’s love can flow unhindered through your life. Don’t put up with disconnection and resentment any longer.

This was an insightful read that offered both insight and tips that were feasible and doable (Not far-fetched and almost laughable tips for those of us just trying to live our lives and keep all the balls in the air.). The voice was relatable, like talking to a friend, not preachy or condescending, and it incorporated biblical principle and scripture into anecdotes from the author, making it feel even more like sitting down for a chat with a friend that has a little more experience than you.

James Hilt is an author and a counselor. How to Have a Better Relationship with Anybody is his newest book.

(Galley courtesy of Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Becoming Sage, by Michelle Van Loon

becoming sage
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:  Becoming Sage
AuthorMichelle Van Loon
Genre:  Nonfiction
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 

For the last several decades, Western churches have focused the bulk of their resources on the early stages of discipleship—children’s Sunday school, youth group, college ministry. These are all important, but we’ve neglected spiritual growth in the second half of life. In fact, an outside observer might think that after the growth of the college years, the goal is simply to coast through the rest of your Christian life. The book explores what the unique challenges of midlife can teach us about Jesus and how to think about everything from church, friends, and family, to money, bodies, and meaning.

I found Becoming Sage to be a thought-provoking and intriguing read, and it addresses a topic that seems prevalent in many churches:  the focus on family and children that seems to occupy a prominent place in church life. But what about after the children have left home? What then?

Becoming Sage explores the topic in depth, without castigating the church, which I found refreshing and hopeful

Michelle Van loon blogs, writes, and speaks about spiritual life formation. Becoming Sage is her newest book.

(Galley courtesy of Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: Copycat Killer, by Laura Scott

copycat killer
Image belongs to Harlequin.

Title:  Copycat Killer
AuthorLaura Scott
Genre:  Romantic suspense, Christian
Rating:  3.0 out of 5

Murder strikes close to home for a new K-9 unit in Brooklyn. When a double homicide is strikingly familiar to a twenty-year-old cold case, Detective Nate Slater is rattled by the parallels. With a child as the only witness, he and his K-9 partner must protect little Lucy and her aunt, Willow Emery. Nate’s rough past means he always keeps an emotional distance…but in this case getting closer is the only way they’ll all survive.

I enjoy romantic suspense novels, and I love faith-based stories, so combining the two should have been a home run. However, I felt like everything in this novel was too rushed, almost like we were just skimming the tip of the actual story, but not truly experiencing the details.

The double homicide in question—while probably the story arc of the entire series—isn’t the focus of this book. The romance was practically insta-love. The faith aspect of the story was a secondary detail at best, almost an afterthought even for the characters. And, while I’m not an expert in police procedures, several things felt completely unbelievable to be realistic. This felt more like a bare bones outline to me than a fully fleshed out story.

Laura Scott is honored to write for the Love Inspired Suspense line, where a reader can find a heartwarming journey of faith amid the thrilling danger. She lives with her husband of twenty-five years and has two children, a daughter and a son, who are both in college. She works as a critical-care nurse during the day at a large level-one trauma center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and spends her spare time writing romance.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Amish Teacher’s Dilemma, by Patricia Davids

the amish teacher's dilemma
Image belongs to Harlequin/Love Inspired.

Title:  The Amish Teacher’s Dilemma
AuthorPatricia Davids
Genre:  Inspirational fiction, romance
Rating:  4 out of 5

Taking a schoolteacher position in another district is just the change Amish spinster Eva Coblentz needs. And with her new neighbor, blacksmith Willis Gingrich, struggling to raise his three orphaned siblings, Eva is determined to help them heal. But when her relatives insist she come home, Eva must choose between the life she left…and the one she’s growing to love.

I haven’t read the first two novels in The North Country Amish series, and that wasn’t a problem at all. I liked Eva from the first paragraph and admired her strength and determination to make a life for herself. Willis’s little sister, Maddie, and her imaginary friend, Bubble, were wonderful, and I enjoyed every scene the little girl was in. She definitely has a way of saying things that should not be said! I felt very sorry for Willis, who has struggled with dyslexia his whole life—and never knew it—and only realizes there’s hope for him when his youngest brother faces the same struggle. This is a lovely, feel-good read that’s both inspiring and uplifting.

Patricia Davids is a bestselling author. The Amish Teacher’s Dilemma, the third novel in her The North Country Amish series, is now available.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Love Inspired in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Isaiah’s Legacy, by Mesu Andrews

isaiah's legacy
Image belongs to WaterBrook.

Title:  Isaiah’s Legacy
AuthorMesu Andrews  
Genre:  Biblical fiction, historical
Rating:  5 out of 5

Eight-year-old Shulle only knows a simple life in her small village, caring for her father, who’s different from everyone else. He may be different, but Shulle loves him deeply, and does her best to help him every day. Then her uncle, Shebna, arrives, and asks her to return to Jerusalem to help him teach young Prince Manasseh, who shares many of her father’s oddities, and Shulle agrees to help the prince.

Once in Jerusalem, she befriends Manasseh, who soon grows dependent on her. But Shebna teaches her about the starry hosts, whose power she admires and yearns for, while her father reveres Yahweh, the god of the Hebrews. Shulle tempts Manasseh with powers of the starry hosts, turning the prince away from the god of his fathers.

When Manasseh becomes king at a young age, he insists on marrying Shulle and whisking her away on an extended trip. Assyria’s crown prince turns Manasseh to cruelty—and far from Yahweh’s love. When Manasseh’s cruelty grows, Shulle must turn to the god she never knew as the only one who can comfort her—and save her family.

I loved this story! Mesu Andrew’s writing brings this biblical story to life in heartrending detail and entranced me from the very beginning. She’s a wonderful writer, and I love how she brings biblical stories off the pages and makes the characters living, breathing people. This story is sad in places, horrifying in others, but every word feels truthful.

Mesu Andrews lives in the Appalachian Mountains. Isaiah’s Legacy is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of WaterBrook in exchange for an honest review.)