Monday, August 7, 2017

#Truth by Josh McDowell



  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (August 1, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1634099753
  • ISBN-13: 978-1634099752

About the Book:

Inspire. . . Challenge. . .  Fuel Your Faith.

This daily devotional from Josh McDowell unpacks spiritual truths that will inspire, challenge, and fuel your soul every day of the year--from January 1 to December 31.
Practical and relevant, each month of devotional readings shares a common theme—

January: THE TRUTH THAT GOD EXISTS
February: THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD'S WORD
March: THE TRUTH ABOUT ORIGINAL SIN
April: THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD BECOMING HUMAN
May: THE TRUTH ABOUT CHRIST'S ATONEMENT FOR SIN
June: THE TRUTH ABOUT JUSTIFICATION THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST
July: THE TRUTH ABOUT LIVING THE TRANSFORMED LIFE
August: THE TRUTH ABOUT JESUS' BODILY RESURRECTION
September: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE TRINITY
October: THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD'S KINGDOM
November: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CHURCH
December: THE TRUTH ABOUT CHRIST'S RETURN.

Truth Is. . . 365 Youth Devotions Connecting Life and Faith will lead you to understand the truths of God and how living them out is beneficial in your everyday life.

My Thoughts:

Few authors in today's inspirational marketplace belong in a category I call "autobuy"--that is to say that if that particular person wrote the book, I'd automatically purchase it simply because of his or her reputation.  Even fewer exist in the non-fiction inspirational marketplace.

Josh McDowell is one of those authors.

His latest book is geared perfectly toward today's youth.  "#Truth" is a collection of 365 daily readings that are organized by topic, and per month.  That might seem inconsequential, but it's actually an important aspect of the book.

But choosing a particular truth from Scripture and then building on that truth day by day for an entire 28-31 days, McDowell's goal is to cement that truth in the soul of the reader.  We've all heard that it takes 30 days to create a new habit--in this case, 30 days cements a new truth from an ageless Book.

Each daily reading is very brief; some aren't even a full page in length.  But each opens with a carefully selected Scripture passage and closes with a section called "Truth is".  The daily reading is followed with a prayer that applies the topic to action, and action helps the reader to be a doer of the Word and not merely a person that listens and then forgets.

McDowell has chosen to focus on 12 truths, and these are the truths being challenged by today's culture. Is it true that God really exists?  Is it really true that Jesus was also God, becoming human for our sake? Is the teaching of the Trinity of God true, that God is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, while still being just one God?

Our teen years are our most formative years.  We learn to think critically, and we begin to make things our own, including our faith--or lack of faith.  "#Truth" enables even the busiest teen to gather evidence to support the basic tenets of Scripture and the Christian faith.  Josh McDowell is a man who truly knows what he's talking about...

...and he's walked the talk for over 50 years.  So I trust him.  But, as the Bereans did, I take his teaching to Scripture, and he hasn't had a swing and a miss yet.  My thanks to my friends at Barbour Publishing (Shiloh Run Press) for my complimentary copy with no services or obligation promised in return.

"#Truth" is stamped with my "For Such a Time" mark of approval.  We need more books like McDowell's for a questioning and searching generation, and I'm extremely thankful for "#Truth".

Until the next page turns,

Deena

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber



  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 6, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718080904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718080907

About the Book:

For fans of ENDER'S GAME, THE HUNGER GAMES, and BLADE RUNNER, comes a story of video gaming, blood, and power.
 
Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.
 
Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.
 
For Miguel--Earth's charming young playboy--the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.
 
From the award-winning author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, step into a diverse cast of characters spanning from the electric metropolises of earth to the chilling alien planet above, in a story of re-finding yourself in the midst of losing the one thing you love. Before it all evaporates.

My Thoughts:

"The Evaporation of Sofi Snow" was a mixed bag read for me.  I fell in love with Weber's first novel, Storm Siren" and found the story engaging and exciting.  But with Sofi, I kind of felt like I'd missed the first half of the story and wandered through the pages confused and looking for something I never found.

We know little about this mysterious race, the Delonese, and I needed more.  They show up, the earth is in desperate need of assistance, and BOOM!  The action kicks off in chapter one.  But who are these Delonese, and why are they here, and how did this game system evolve?

For that matter, what IS this game system?  I saw nothing resembling "Blade Runner", and very little resemblance to "The Hunger Games" (which didn't bother me in the least).  I didn't connect with the main characters until about half way through the book, but I was in love with the background characters from the start...

especially the....oops, almost dropped a spoiler!  At least, I think it's a spoiler.  I'm not quite sure.  I received a copy of "The Evaporation of Sofi Snow" from my friends at Thomas Nelson with no services or obligations promised in return.

So, I'm giving "The Evaporation of Sofi Snow" my "One to Watch" stamp, and hoping Weber can clear some things up with the sequel.  Otherwise, I will be one extremely disappointed reader.

Until the next page turns,

Deena

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Unraveling by Sara Ella


  • Series: The Unblemished Trilogy
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 11, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071808103X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718081034

About the Book:

What happens when happily ever after starts to unravel?
Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about—like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.
Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua’s finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something—or someone—is missing?
When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections—and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

My Thoughts:

I tried.  Oh, how I tried to take my sweet time reading Sara Ella's newest release, "Unraveling".  In fact, to savor the moment, I re-read "Unblemished" before I even cracked the gorgeous cover of the second novel in her trilogy.  May I just give a shout out to the designer of the latest line of YA covers in the inspirational marketplace??

The beauty of today's inspirational YA fiction is how it transcends being merely fiction of faith, but instead these books serve as ambassadors of hope to the entire market.  Okay, that was a freebie...now, on to the book!

"Unraveling" picks up pretty much where "Unblemished" stranded us.  Ky is gone, Joshua has taken his rightful place by Eliyana's side in the royal court.  And all is now well in the Reflections...right?

Oh, no...most definitely not right!  The Callings are diminishing in power, and the Reflections seem to be evaporating, for lack of a better word.  And future queen El has no clue what has happened.  She thought she'd been told all she needed to know in order to prepare to rule her new kingdom.

Turns out her boys are keeping secrets still.  And these secrets could destroy everything.

Once I cracked the cover, I plowed through the pages of "Unblemished".  I couldn't help myself.  I intended to read one chapter each night, savoring the words, knowing the wait for the final novel would be excruciating.  

But my 'just one more' moniker appeared and kicked into high gear, and before I could barely blink, I was done.  And I was left wanting.

More.  Please, Sara Ella, I wants some more...and that's why "Unraveling" gets my "Oh, the Feels!" stamp of approval.  My thanks to my friends at Thomas Nelson for my complimentary copy with no services or obligations promised in return.

Until the next page turns,

Deena

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden


  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 20, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718095731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718095734

About the Book:

When globetrotting photographer Magdalena Henry loses the only man she’s ever loved, she risks her stellar career to care for his widow and young children on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest.
Free-spirited and fiercely independent, Maggie adores her life of travel and adventure. But she has a secret. She can’t let go of her first and only love, renowned architect Marco Firelli, now married to her best friend Lena.
When Marco drowns in a kayaking accident, Maggie rushes to the Firelli family’s summer home on San Juan Island. Once there she discovers that Marco was hiding something that could destroy his family. As fragile, perfectionistic Lena slowly falls apart, Maggie tries to provide stability for Marco and Lena’s three young children.
When Maggie is offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete in the world’s most prestigious photography competition, she thinks she’s found the answer to their problems. Then Lena makes a choice with unexpected and devastating consequences, forcing Maggie to grapple with an agonizing decision. Does she sacrifice the golden opportunity of her career or abandon the Firellis just when they need her the most?
Gradually the island begins to work its magic. A century-old ritual to beckon loved ones home offers hope in the midst of sorrow. And a guilt-ridden yet compelling stranger hiding on the island may offer Maggie a second chance at love, but only if she can relinquish the past and move forward to find joy in unexpected places.

My Thoughts:

I wasn't sure what I was going to find in the pages of Rachel Linden's debut novel, "Ascension of Larks", but I was drawn in by the gorgeous cover art, and soon found myself lost in the world of Maggie, Marco, and Lena.

This is a complex drama, filled with emotion and powerful relationships.  Linden explores the bonds of friendship, the intricate design of family, and the conflict of loving too much.  The reader will find someone to identify with amid the characters of the story: Maggie, unable to put down roots yet craving stability--Marco, driven and passionate about his talent, but unaware of the cost to his loved ones--Lena, the anchor of the trio and yet the weakest of the three.

The children are fun and multi-layered as well, and you'll meet many, many more imaginary people as you travel through the pages of "Ascension of Larks".  I received a complimentary copy of the book from my friends at Thomas Nelson with no services or obligation promised in return.

Rachel Linden is an author to watch, and her debut receives my "Oh, the Feels!" stamp of approval.  I will most definitely be picking up her next novel with great anticipation.

Until the next page turns,

Deena

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

In 27 Days by Alison Gervais


  • Series: Blink
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Blink (July 25, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310759056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310759058

About the Book:

Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn’t know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him. Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer’s funeral. There, Hadley is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back 27 days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death’s terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.
Hadley soon discovers Archer’s reasons for being alone, and Archer realizes that having someone to confide in isn’t as bad as he’d always thought. But when a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart, Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything—including her life—to keep Archer safe.
From award-winning Wattpad author Alison Gervais (HonorInTheRain) comes In 27 Days, a story of redemption, first love, and the strength it takes to change the future.
My Thoughts:


A well-known but controversial Netflix drama has taken our nation by storm.  Perhaps you've heard of '13 Reasons Why'?  This episodic drama and the book the show is based on has put a spotlight on teen suicide, and many are not happy with the outcome.

Enter "In 27 Days" by Alison Gervais.  Gervais' novel also shines a spotlight on teen suicide, but shines on the side of hope rather than despair.  When Hadley learns of Archer's death, she's moved...which is odd, considering the fact that she barely knew him when he was alive.

She's not content with how she feels, so when a deal comes her way via supernatural means, Hadley rises the occasion, steps out of her own comfort zone and social circle, and takes a risk on loner Archer Morales.

What follows is an intense story about how one life can change another, for good or for not so good.  And that change does not come easily.  Hadley ends up investing far more than she expected, but she receives so much more in return.

Gervais also points out, through her story, that having it all isn't what it's cracked up to be.  Compared to Archer's life, Hadley's should be a cake walk with extra sprinkles.  But by the end of the book, the tables seem to be turned.  The remaining question, which you can only answer by reading the book, is what the cost will be for both Hadley and Archer.

Change one thing in the universe, and something else must change as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed "In 27 Days" and plan to keep my eyes open for any novel from debut writer Alison Gervais.  I read her book, and I watched the Netflix drama.  With viewing, I found despair, but with reading I found hope...and so much more.

I received a complimentary copy of "In 27 Days" from my friends at Blink YA Books (Zondervan Publishing) with no services or obligations promised in return.  I highly recommend "In 27 Days", and give it my "For Such a Time" stamp of endorsement.  Find someone who's seen '13 Reasons' and gift him or her a copy of "In 27 Days."

They'll be glad you did.  

Until the next page turns,

Deena

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren




  • Series: Montana Rescue (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (July 4, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800727452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727451

About the Book:

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he's remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana's rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can't seem to find his footing--or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him. 

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret--one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track. 

When Ella's brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park's most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn't so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he'll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain. 

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder--and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella's secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other--even when disaster happens again?


My Thoughts:

There's one thing I really dislike about Susan May Warren's books, and it's been a consistent complaint of mine across the board: you cannot read them slowly, savoring the experience, knowing that the wait for the next novel is going to be excruciatingly long.  

Oh, no...you read them at an insane rate of speed, and before you know it you've turned the final page, your cheeks are soaked from tears, and your eyes are so bloodshot that a fellow reader knows, "Oh, you read the new Warren novel too, huh?"

We really need to start a support group: Hi, I'm Deena, and I'm a Susan May Warren book addict.

Enough of the silly...let's get on to the serious.  And "A Matter Of Trust" gets serious very, very quickly. We meet Gage in the opening pages working a dangerous rescue in the snowy Montana hills.  He's a champion snowboarder unable to shake his past, and it haunts him with every rescue, at every turn.

So, when Ella reappears in his life, worlds get rocked, and NOT in a good way.  She still holds him responsible for being a hotshot.  However, Ella also cannot escape the past, and her secret holds serious ramifications for Gage and his self worth.

I really don't know how Warren does it: did she learn to ski just for this book?  Did she embed with a rescue team to understand the dangers of the powdery slopes?  Because every single adventure rings with authenticity, and every single character walks off the pages and into your heart--forever.

I can honestly say I remember every single imaginary person Susan May Warren has ever introduced me to and I've loved them all.  I've cried over them, prayed for them (remember: these are NOT real people!), and I've devoured all of their stories from cover to cover---reading them far too quickly every single time.

I'm seriously thinking about that support group, reading friends!  I'm grateful to my friends at Revell Publishing for my advance copy of "A Matter of Trust" via NetGalley, with no services or obligations in exchange.  I'm even more grateful to Susan May Warren for continuing to craft such epic stories, and secretly praying that God increase her writing speed just a smidge.

So, I'm giving "A Matter of Trust" my golden seal of approval, marking it as top, must read fiction.  Period. And guess what??  IT RELEASED JULY 4TH, so go grab a copy today!  You'll be so glad you did! Until I turn the final page on my next read...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore



  • Series: The Line of Duty (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 5, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496423704
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496423702

About the Book:

Tess O’Rourke dreams of becoming the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California. As commander of the East Division, she is well on her way . . . until the night she responds to an officer-needs-assistance call and fatally shoots an unarmed teenager. Despite being cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, Tess is so hounded by the public that she takes a job in Oregon to escape the bad press.

Winning over the residents of Rogue’s Hollow might be more difficult than adjusting to her new role as police chief in the small, backwater town. Especially when her closest friend, the pastor’s wife, goes missing and the woman’s cousin is found shot. Tess finds an ally in sheriff’s deputy Steve Logan, but as they track down Rogue’s Hollow’s first murderer, she worries that she’s breaking one of her rules and getting too close to him.

My Thoughts:

I have loved Janice Cantore since I picked up her first novel, "Accused", so I always get excited when I know she has a new book coming soon.  I was able to get an advance copy of "Crisis Shot" from Tyndale Publishing via NetGalley, with no services or obligations in exchange.

She used to be a great writer.  With "Crisis Shot", she has moved to the level of genius writer, and has sealed her spot on my 'must read author' shelf for all eternity.  The opening scene alone is worth the price of the book.

Police officers are under attack in our society.  No denying that.  But there's also no denying that we think we know more than we actually do.  With a liberal media, a sound-bite attention span, and social media posting everything inflammatory that can be found, our men and women in blue are getting a bum rap.

More than that, they are dying in greater numbers than ever before.

This is why you MUST read "Crisis Shot".  Cantore puts flesh and bone to the sensational headlines of today.  She paints with words and crafts characters who are openly flawed, but also misjudged and maligned for just doing their jobs.

Your heart will ache for Tess.  If it doesn't, go see a cardiologist.  You will rage against the imbalanced press coverage...if you don't, then quite possibly you're part of the problem.  And you will get an insider's glimpse into the world of the badge.

Because, you see, Janice Cantore is a retired officer.  So she knows her stuff, and it shows.  She's crafted a gripping, relevant criminal procedural that every person who loves books and loves truth needs to read.

That's why I'm posting my review so far in advance.  That's why I'm giving "Crisis Shot" my "For Such a Time as This" vote of high recommendation.  And that's why I wish I had money to burn, because I would buy this book by the case and hand them out everywhere I went, and I would treat every law enforcement officer to lunch on me to say thank you.

Please, whatever you do this year, don't miss the September 2017 release of "Crisis Shot".  It could be the most important work of fiction you read.  It's that good.  And it's that important.  Until I turn the final page on my next read...

Mark Your Place, 

Deena
 

Just One More Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon