Between Black & White by: Robert Bailey

Between Black and WhiteBetween Black and White by Robert Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pulaski, Tennessee has a history that the town can’t seem to escape. It has a big scarlet R on it for “racist” because it is the birth place of the Klan. Who will pull down their sheets and hoods to show the awful, naked truth of racism?

A gripping thriller that goes back to the lynching of Bo Haynes’ father. Bo watched as a 5 year old boy the killing of his father by the Klan and he knew then the voice that carried out the brutal murder and changed his life forever – Andy Walton. Bo took that injustice to seek justice and became Tennessee’s finest criminal lawyer in hopes to bring justice to those that killed his father. On the anniversary of his father’s death, Bo came into contact with Andy Walton who is the Warren Buffet of the South. With the frustration that comes when justice is not served, Bo made death threats to Andy in a bar room of people including Walton’s wife. The next day Walton is found dead, hanging from the same tree Bo’s father had hung from years before.

Bo’s old friend and mentor, comes to the defense of Bo to find the real killer and the reason why the cover up. It is complex and compelling and will keep you turning pages. The plot has many characters. Strong characters such as the General- Helen the prosecutor who is determined to keep her town safe and bring new life to the town that has been marked. I like a plot that you can follow along and determine who it is but also has a twist which this one did. A great read on racism and the fight against it.

A Special Thank You to Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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The Girl From Home by: Adam Mitzner

The Girl From HomeThe Girl From Home by Adam Mitzner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What kind of life do you live when your life is lived by mantra I want what I want and you actually believe you are infallible?

Jonathan Caine a successful investor that has it all, the beautiful wife, the apartment in uptown New York, the career that is on its way up, until he lost it all in disgrace. When you lose it all, you come back home. What he finds at home is his dying father whom he lost all respect until his father gave him the best advise “do the right thing no matter what the cost”.

Jonathan also found something else, his high school crush Jacqueline Williams who has her own story. Their stories collide where they have to trust each other to find redemption.

What I liked about this read was Jonathan’s mantra of I want what I want is played out in two extremes. Because of his disrespect of his father which is explained, he places his worth on success but when he loses everything and comes back to care for his ailing father, he takes his father’s advise to the other extreme. What does it cost when you live the mantra?

Jackie’s cost of her insecurity and fear is taken to a level that it could cost her life. I think it is difficult for a writer to write on spousal abuse. You have the danger of your readers becoming irritated or impatient with your characters. Or worse yet, is the character believable? I am on the fence with that. However, the plot pulled me in and I am always a sucker for redemption.

A Special Thank you Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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When Anything Goes: Being a Christian in a Post-Christian World by: Leslie Williams

When Anything Goes: Being Christian in a Post-Christian WorldWhen Anything Goes: Being Christian in a Post-Christian World by Leslie Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rating 3.5 stars

A English Professor’s point of view, it seems we have produced a generation of young people who no longer understand Biblical references in literature-and who don’t know what they are missing.

This book took me surprise because it wasn’t what I expected and if you happen to decide to read as well, I think you will agree. Usually I like a strong theological/doctrine stand on the word of God but this is more of an experience with a appreciation of the word. She does not bark but draws you in to the loving relationship of God that you may be missing. It is intellectual but also does not ignore the senses and the emotions. She draws from suffering that God redeems that we may know him as God. That we are created for meaning and by understanding, we may know the will of God. It is our relationship with the Lord that creates order out of chaos.

Some of the quotes I found inspiring.

We all know this truth, but it bears reminding: it’s dangerous to judge ourselves from the inside, but others from the outside. Some people like trees overloaded with perfect fruit. How easy life is for them! Not necessarily so. Creating a meaningful inside reality is the goal, and depends largely on grafting (applying others’ advise), fertilizing (using the manure of live in a productive way, timing (waiting for the right moment) and learning to weather the storms.

Enough as it turns out is as good as a feast. Enough money leads to happiness. Enough foods leads to health. Enough self-love leads to confidence. Enough accomplishment leads to a good reputation. Enough control leads to a good balance in life The trouble begins when we love too much.

Looking for love in all the wrong places could be a theme song for our culture eight up there with the national anthem. We are a people convinced that love can be gotten, earned, bought, and sold.

When anything goes invites the reader to look in the inside of a broken life and how the order of God can bring peace. It does not deal with our need of a savior and that sin is against a holy God. However, it does shed light in our broken world. It is a beautiful written account of our broken heart.

A Special Thank You Abingdon Press and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Only Ever You by: Rebecca Drake

Only Ever YouOnly Ever You by Rebecca Drake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lately it was as if all her senses were lost, as if the only things she could taste and feel were fear and longing.

The greatest fear of a child abduction becomes a reality in the Lassiter family. Jill and David Lassiter, a successful family, living the American dream until their daughter is suddenly taken from them. The dream becomes a nightmare when they are accused of their daughter’s disappearance and apparent murder. In order to save herself and her family, Jill takes matters in her own hands. What she uncovers is all that she knows that is true, is now deception and deceit.

Jill & David have a past of great loss and this only leads to more suspicion to the authorities. The abduction becomes personal and deadly. Will Sophie be found in time and will their marriage survive?

A real page turner as you guess the why and the who and still come out a little surprised.

A Special Thank You to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Brush of Wings (Angels Walking #3) by Karen Kingsbury

A Brush of Wings (Angels Walking, #3)A Brush of Wings by Karen Kingsbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for in doing so some of you have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

This prose is based on the scripture of Angels interceding and doing the will of God. For his kingdom come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven. All throughout the bible, God gives us glimpses of the spiritual warfare that the Angles and demons battle for the hearts and souls of people.

Mary Katherine has suffered from a heart defect all of her life so she knows how fragile life is. Working at a teen center to keep young people off the streets and out of gangs she has experienced the pull of destruction in the people she serves. When her doctor reveals that her heart is needing a transplant sooner than later, she makes the decision to do her life dream of serving in a orphanage in Africa. She makes this decision without telling her family, friends, and Marcus the man whose heart is taken by Mary Katherine. However, Mary sees no future with him and discourages any pursuit. Amongst all this activity, there are angels that working for a greater purpose than Mary Katherine or Marcus will know as they seek what God has planned and experience his will in their lives.

In Christian fiction such as this, there is many lessons learned, one being that God pursues and is in battle for the heart of his people. Just as Marcus pursues Mary, the Lord pursues us. Just as we isolate our selves like Mary, God brings people that don’t give up. There are many ways to give up on life and only one way to live life – for the glory of God. That is what makes this a special read.

A Special Thank You to Howard Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Welcome Back by: Lin Stepp

Welcome BackWelcome Back by Lin Stepp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cowardice can never step free of the past, only bravery can.

With her daughter’s plea to come back home, Lydia is comes back with no expectations to the daughter and husband she left behind. Because of the manipulation and emotional abuse of her mother-in-law, Lydia took her two sons and moved from the clutches of her mother-in-law. Her daughter is now grown up with twin boys of her own and her husband is continuing the family business of farming. Her son’s do not support the ideal of Lydia coming back to the husband that did not stop the abuse of his mother to their family.

A story of pain when living under oppression and picking up the pieces and years later redeeming the time of pain and misunderstanding. Lydia’s husband John must prove himself to his family for not leading and protecting the family that fell under the manipulation of his mother. The relationship between Lydia and her husband had to be rebuilt but I felt that more could have been done to the relationship between mother and daughter. The daughter had chosen to stay with her father and not leave with her mother. There was more to that disconnect that could have upped the narration a bit. It was a good read on the vulnerability of relationships and what needs to be done to repair what has been damaged.

A Special Thank You to Kensington Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife by: Barbara Rainey

Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a WifeLetters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife by Barbara Rainey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every marriage is rife with impossibilities. But in those times, we can experience the wonder of repentance, restoration, and renewal as we risk building doorways to the hidden corners of our souls. Married couples who love genuinely, willingly, and persistently come to see their beloved in a wholly different way.

Barbara Rainey and her husband are well known with their books on marriage. I have never read any. I do have them on my shelf at home and after reading this, I will make more of an effort to read them. This book on marriage is different. It is written as a letter to her daughters. My mother and I never had a problem with speaking with each other on difficult things but my own daughters are more reserved when it comes to personal issues. This book would make a great gift to your daughter if she becomes engaged to maybe open the door of discussion on what a Christian marriage looks like and the difficulties facing marriage in general. Rainey takes several of her pastimes such as gardening, painting, and dancing to express the contrasts that come with marriage. The good and the bad, the redeemed and the struggle. After reading how she compares marriage to a dance, I have a desire to take dance lessons just to work together the leading and following of how a well choreographed dance looks like.

Each chapter starts with a question from one of her married daughters and ends with wisdom on the things we need to remember to draw near to God and love our man. It is a conversation to see that we are not alone in our struggles and that it takes work that is never done.

Quotes that I found inspiring.

But when I focused on responding to my husband’s faltering steps and less on helping him lead, I found more joy in our experience and he improved more rapidly. And interestingly, when I centered my attention on following, he was more aware of his mistakes and apologized quickly when I wasn’t getting in his way and it was his mistake. Connection, our instructors taught us, was the key to success.

Give him the gift of respect for who he is today, knowing your gift will free him to become the leader God knows you need tomorrow.

When pornography is found on a computer or in a drawer, don’t accept an apology or a commitment to change. The problem is already a cancer. What at is required is accountability and wisdom. Accountability can come when enough men in his life know of the problem to be a force of goodness in prayer, direct interaction and confession. No one address this problem alone with success. Wisdom grows when the deeper roots of anger are seen in the struggle itself.

A great gift and a great reminder of the gift of marriage.

A Special Thank You to Bethany House and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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