Among Wolves (Disciple-Making in the City)

Title:  Among Wolves (Disciple-Making in the City)

Author:  Dhati Lewis

Pages:  192

Year:  2017

Publisher:  B & H Books

My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

In all honesty, this is a challenging book to read and at times it might make some people uncomfortable; that isn’t bad.  In fact, in this context, it’s very good.  The author is very transparent about his life, experiences and more so his heart.  He shares how God taught him to see the world and those around him as He sees them.

The greatest challenge in any congregation is getting folks to participate in active disciple-making.  Why? Of course, there are a host of reasons and some of it we Christians need to own up to.  For instance, many times we make being a Christian seem like all fun and games perhaps easy without helping convey the cost of being a follower.

In the book, the author shares principles he has learned and some of them the hard way.  Dhati Lewis shares ideas of how local congregations can walk though some steps and help others come alongside to teach, listen, learn and more with other people from various backgrounds.  It’s a challenge not to remain comfortable in one place, but to go out into the city to reach others who need Christ.

The author uses the Gospel of Matthew, showing us Jesus as He made disciples, then released them to go out and call others to come into the fold.  Nothing can be accomplished simply by following principles, steps, etc.  We must be open to God though His Spirit to show us how He desires each of us to carry out the mission in sharing the gospel with others.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Miss Whitaker Opens Her Heart

Title:  Miss Whitaker Opens Her Heart

Author:  Jennifer Moore

Pages:  209

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Covenant Communications, Inc.

My rating is 4 stars.

Sarah Whitaker has lived in New South Wales penal colony for ten years now.  Her father first bought her homestead some twenty years ago.  He was a free man as are more and more of the people arriving in town.  He was killed ten years ago, leaving Sarah all his property and possessions.  Sarah has had to learn the hard way not to trust anyone or they will take advantage of you and hurt you.  She has trusted and been betrayed several times.  She has a deep fear and hatred of the aborigines as they killed her father.  She also trusts none of the convicts who work for her, serving out their sentences.  She meets her new neighbor, Daniel Burton, quite by accident and quickly learns he has bought the land she has repeatedly asked to buy right out from under her!  She isn’t surprised that the government sold it to a man, but she sure is angry.

Daniel Burton find his new neighbor a puzzle.  She lives alone and is her own boss.  She is knowledgeable about farming and sheep herding, but is wary of everyone.  She holds herself at a distance from everyone.  Daniel and Sarah spend more time together at Daniel’s initiation so he can learn about raising sheep as he has bought his own herd.  Sarah shares her knowledge and gradually allows a friendship to develop, then love between the two blooms.  However, Daniel is keeping a huge secret from Sarah.  Can she forgive him when he tells her?  If he doesn’t tell her, she will find out eventually from someone else.  She has given him her trust and he is deceiving her.  She holds his heart, but will she keep it once she knows his past?

I liked the setting of this story, which I thought was unique and interesting.  I knew nothing about New South Wales.  This is also a gentle romance that builds slowly, but deeply.  Sarah has faced so many disappointments in her young life, but she pulls herself up and keeps going.  She realizes she has closed herself off from people.  She has buried her emotions.  She takes a look at her life and doesn’t like certain aspects of it, so she begins to let herself feel again, but at what cost?  Daniel also learns much about himself in his second chance at life.  There are other themes present in the story that I’ll let readers discover for themselves.  So, pick up a copy for yourself and enjoy an entertaining romance.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Beyond Justice

Title:  Beyond Justice

Author:  Cara Putman

Pages:  352

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

My rating 5+ out of 5 stars.

This is one of the most addicting and riveting novels I’ve read in 2017!  Cara Putman’s story has a plethora of various threads woven together to keep readers on the edge of their seats and turning pages.  The action is fast-paced; the quest for justice and fighting evil is paramount.  It isn’t easy to pinpoint the antagonist, but then again there might be more than one!

A lawyer named Hayden McCarthy works for a major law firm.  Hayden is given cases that seem impossible to win; yet, Hayden tends to do just what isn’t expect from the opposite side of the courtroom to win.  The case that will make or break Hayden’s career could also come at the cost of life.  When other get involved, more people turn up hurt or dead.  Andrew Wesley is a congressman’s only heir.  Andrew wants nothing to do with politics.  In fact, when readers learn what he likes to do it is unexpected.  Yet Andrew also works with a non-profit organization to help legal immigrants get acclimated to a new culture with all its nuances.  Neither Hayden nor Andrew have any time for relationships, however, that could change.

Cara brings into the story her vast knowledge of law, courtroom experience, and human nature along with faith to bring to life a most heart-gripping tale that I couldn’t put down!  There were twists and turns when I least expected them along with characters that seemed to have multi-faceted agendas.  As I went further and further into the tale, the more the author shared the heart and background of some of the players in her story.  Some of the office politics between partners were filled with animosity or secrets that kept me wondering who was for justice and who was hiding what.  I love how intense and focused Hayden could be and how Andrew honored his parents’ wishes, learning they did love him.

I hope the author plans on writing more tales that are in the legal thriller/suspense genre as it seems an awfully good fit for her talents.  Don’t miss this exciting, nail-biting, heart-pounding story!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

If I’m Found (If I Run Series #2)

Title:  If I’m Found (If I Run Series #2)

Author:  Terri Blackstock

Pages:  384

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Zondervan

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

If I Run is the first novel in the series and was published in 2016.  Now, If I’m found is out this year with the exciting conclusion, If I Live, coming out March 2018.  So, if you haven’t read the books, you have time to catch up before the series concludes.

Casey Cox is a woman we meet in the first book who is running for her life after finding her friend dead. While trying to keep under the radar, Casey ends up getting involved in other peoples’ troubles and longs to help them out.  The hardest part for Casey is trusting someone with information she has about her own father’s past that will have ripple effects some people just don’t want to have happen.  Readers will follow Casey as she tries to stay a step or two ahead of the man who has been sent to capture her and bring her back to face justice.

What makes it even harder for Casey to stay under the radar is her passion to help others out of deep trouble even if it means she will be caught and probably punished for a crime she didn’t commit.  Casey is used to trusting herself and carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, but Dylan Roberts just might be the one to help her share her burden while getting justice.

Terri Blackstock has written some very engaging stories that audiences won’t soon forget no matter how many books they read in a short time.  While I hate to wait another year before the conclusion, I can say it is well worth it because the suspense never lets up!  While you’re waiting for the last book to come out, if you haven’t read some of this author’s other stories, plunge right in, pick a couple and enjoy!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Long Time Gone (The Cimarron Legacy #2)

Title:  Long Time Gone (The Cimarron Legacy #2)

Author:  Mary Connealy

Pages:  304

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Bethany

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

We are introduced to the Cimarron Ranch and the Bodin family in the first novel titled, No Way Up! Personally, I have been excitedly looking forward to this book as the story picks up right where the first book leaves off.  I assume the third book will bring to a conclusion the mystery behind who is attempting to take the ranch from the family and constantly attempting to kill the family.

In this book, the focus remains on solving the riddle of who is so focused on stealing the ranch and will get rid of whomever is in the way.  The author does a great job of mixing up tense moments of action, adventure and danger with a comical pause or a possible romance.  With the patriarch of the family in Denver healing from a serious broken leg with his wife beside him, the danger is ramping up and the siblings feel as if there isn’t anyone they can trust.  The man after them has hired many guns against the family and greed is pure motive for some of the hands to go against their bosses.

I love the female characters of Angie and Sadie along with Mel as they have true grit and are a determined force of females to be reckoned with should those intent on harming them cross their paths.  I enjoyed watching a budding romance and the family sticking together regardless of being separated by miles, especially because of the determined nature of whomever is on the warpath.

Read the first book and then this sequel to get caught up on the action, danger, romance, faith and family in the Cimarron Legacy series!  The stories will keep you turning pages for awhile!

A Trail of Crumbs (A Novel of the Great Depression)

Title:  A Trail of Crumbs (A Novel of the Great Depression)

Author:  Susie Finkbeiner

Pages:  320

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Kregel

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

The first novel I read by Susie Finkbeiner was A Cup of Dust, which is a story of the dust bowl, and it was really good.  Now, she presents a story that brings some of the characters from the other book into a new story, which is set during the great depression.  Now don’t think that Susie focuses on the Great Depression; she leads us on a journey where her characters must leave the Dust Bowl to go to another state.  There is where the family, having recently lost a child and asked to raise another by a friend, must learn life in a new county while grieving and adjusting to life without dust everywhere.

There were many surprises in the book and I thought for sure the author was going to take the story in a certain direction that seemed like a good idea at least to me.  However, the author leads us to understand true family and what it can be based on and learning to put one foot in front of the other when unexpected choices are made that impact the heart of the main character, Pearl Spence.  At this time, she is just a young girl who has gone through so much abandonment and has questions galore while learning how reading can help her cope in daily life.

The church the Spencers go to is nothing like they are used to, but Pearl likes how this preacher speaks and the way he shares truth from the Bible.  Pearl’s aunt encourages her imagination and helps her explore the wonderful world of various stories.  I loved the aunt for her carefree, loving and accepting heart which Pearl needed desperately.

I sat down to read the book thinking it would take me days to get through when I found myself unable to put it down and completed it in one sitting.  I was pulled in by the heart, emotions and circumstances described in the tale and how Pearl’s grandmother had deposited so many nuggets of wisdom in Pearl’s heart when she was alive.  What a beautiful example of how our words and actions may not seem to make a difference at the moment, but later can blossom into hope in the heart of a listener!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Justice Delayed (A Memphis Cold Case Novel #1)

Title:  Justice Delayed (A Memphis Cold Case Novel #1)

Author:  Patricia Bradley

Pages:  352

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Revell

My rating 5+ out of 5 stars.

A friend of mine has read and enjoyed Patricia’s novels for a long time now not until I read her newest story did I fully understand the reason.  In Justice Delayed, we meet a spunky woman named Andi whose sister was murdered many years ago.  Even with the age difference Andi was close to her sister and became a journalist due to the last words she heard her sister speak to her.

In the past, four women stewardesses lived together and may have become involved in illegally smuggling rough diamonds into the States.  While not technically a cold case, the man who is to be executed for murder in a matter of a few days receives a letter stating he didn’t do the deed.  Now, his cousin, who is a detective in the cold case unit, must try to find out the real perpetrator or the evidence that proves the man’s guilt.  The twist is they are related and Andi knows them as well, having grown up together in the same neighborhood.

Both Andi and her brother Brad and detective Will eventually come together to find out the truth about Stephanie even though their friendship is strained by the case.  Will has issues with his birth mother and her coming once again into his life uninvited along with trying to keep Andi from further harm as she digs into stories that are dangerous.  Add to that the growing feelings Will has towards her and vice versa and the story just keeps getting better and better.

I loved how well the author kept me guessing as to who committed what deed and how the various threads of different cases may come together to reveal a completed tapestry of truth.  There are familiar issues, addiction, danger, action and adventure all while on the road to uncover the truth that has been buried for over a decade.  I hope if you are not familiar with Patricia Bradley’s books that you too will grab a copy and enjoy the mystery and the tension as it builds throughout the story all the way to the conclusion!

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