The Tracker by: Chad Zunker

The Tracker (Sam Callahan Series #1)The Tracker by Chad Zunker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I had experienced the full measure and ramifications of these words the past three days. And I’d lived to tell about it.

Sam Callahan has a job he was born to do. Track political candidates without being noticed and have the capability to be where they are at any given moment. With a close election between candidates, there is more pressure to get the real story. When a undisclosed text directs Sam to a motel and to be ready, he cannot pass up the opportunity. What he gets is more than he bargained for as he is now running for his life after witnessing a murder. Sam begins to question who he can trust and who was behind the murder. As more people are taken out, Sam becomes the #1 suspect as he now has to find out who is behind this political motivated set up.

The narration is fast paced as you come to know Sam Callahan and the special gifts he has to outrun trouble. Going back to his life as a foster kid, his mother’s abandonment, and his life on the streets. How his life turned around meeting a pastor that saw something good in him and gave him the tools to succeed and run from the life that had nothing for him. I have to do a shout out for the author’s theology because it was good! I loved the relationship between the pastor and Sam. The gospel compels me. Can’t get to the heart without getting to know you first! and the lessons that he taught Sam It’s not about being worthy. It’s about being grateful. And letting that gratitude help you maximize the new opportunities you’re getting. I am grateful

A compelling thriller with heart. Very rare but something I appreciate!

A Special Thank you to Chad Zunker and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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The Things We Keep by: Sally Hepworth

The Things We KeepThe Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You don’t waste time with regrets. In the end, you just remember the moments of joy. When all is said and done, those are the things we keep.

Alzheimer is a wicked disease but the stories behind the disease are worthy to be told. There is beauty in the pain. This prose is beautiful and lovely. Told in three voices, I loved each voice.

Anna at 38 years old has checked herself at the Rosalind House where a nice variety of characters have taken residence in assisted living. You experience how she was before Alzheimer and during. Her battles and her victories. Her depression and her longing to hold on to what she knows. It is beautiful struggle. I loved her words…I think I’d have felt better about my prognosis if my doctor would have reworded a little. Something like, The brain is like a filthy, stinking pile of crap. When the sun comes out, it stinks worse than you can imagine, and when it’s cold or cloudy, you can barely smell it all. Then there are days that, if the wind is coming from a certain way, you might catch the cold scent of a spruce for a few hours and forget the crap is even there. With that analogy, at least we’d have been calling a spade a spade. Because the truth is, if you have dementia, your brain is crap. And even if you can’t smell it right this minute, it still stinks.
She is witty, sassy and she is in a fight that you are fighting along with her.

Eve Bennett is now starting all over again with her young daughter Clementine. After suffering from her late husband’s scandal, she is left with nothing but an opportunity to cook and clean for the residents of Rosalind House. Her voice is one of compassion and strength. She has the gift of seeing others and drawing from what she sees.

Clementine is my favorite voice. A 7 year old that is trying to make sense of her world by changing her name every day. She is trying to understand what happened to her father and not listen to the voices that speak against the father she love and adored. I loved her introduction to the residents. My name is Clementine Harriett Bennett, she says. Very pleased to meet you all. The residents faces, blank a moment earlier, start to upturn. I am seven years old and I am in second grade. I’m also very good at Irish dancing, would you like me to show you? Is a frog’s ass watertight? says a gray blond lady with a Southern accent. “Go ahead young lady.”
Clem shifts uncertainly..perhaps waiting for me to reprimand the lady for using the word ass but she recovers quickly. Okay, but I don’t have my music here, so I need you to clap. …

These three are tied together by tragedy and hope. Where there is love, hope overflows. Each of them gives that to each other and more! I loved it. A definite favorite for 2016 read.

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

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Make it Zero: The Movement to Safeguard Every Child by: Mary Frances Bowley

Make It Zero: The Movement to Safeguard Every ChildMake It Zero: The Movement to Safeguard Every Child by Mary Frances Bowley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Testimonies that allow the pain of the past to bring hope to thousands and awareness to those that make a difference.

There is so much danger in the world today for our children. Our children are our hope for the future. With poverty, homelessness, drug abuse, prostitution, human trafficking, these problems will continue to grow for our children. This book is a compilation of testimonies of those that have escaped with the help of people and organization made of people that care. It can be overwhelming with the needs, however, this book reminds you that all you have do is care for just one person. In helping one person, you help many. This account is unique that it does not only tell their stories, but all the different organizations that behind the success of those that have overcome the odds. All because of someone who cared. Each chapter shares a story, how an organization came to walk alongside, and how you can be involved. Not everyone can foster but maybe you can tutor. In my area of the United States, their are several organizations that equip you and have a place for you to help families overcome poverty and bring families together to be strengthen. There is something you can do.

This is not a testimony of the gospel but the gospel at work as we are called to show mercy to the oppressed.

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

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Who Are You to Judge? Learning to Distinguish Between Truths, Half-Truths, and Lies by: Erwin W. Lutzer

Who Are You to Judge?: Learning to Distinguish Between Truths, Half-Truths, and LiesWho Are You to Judge?: Learning to Distinguish Between Truths, Half-Truths, and Lies by Erwin W. Lutzer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Judgements are both necessary and needed. Our task is to make wise judgments in a nonjudgmental world.

We have heard it before; Who are you to judge? Only God can judge me. etc. etc. It can be difficult to have a conversation with others when sharing their need for salvation and the work of Christ on the cross. This read is for those who desire to share the Good News and to hold on to the firm foundation of the truth that makes way to the road less traveled. The definition of truth is exclusive and many ways does not lead to truth. Judgment is getting to the truth and keeping the truth. Judgment is how justice is displayed. We all define truth by what is wrong and what is right.

Jesus challenged the culture by understanding the culture. This book helps the Christian challenge themselves as well as the culture. Why it is important on both accounts. We must have a understanding of how the culture (the world) affects us. We can easily be intimated if we do not have a good understanding on the value of discernment. In not understanding, we can lose the effectiveness of the Gospel. The effectiveness is lost when we listen to the voice of Did God really say? When properly understood and the gospel is lived out, sacrifice becomes the culture of the church. The better of others to further the kingdom. It cannot be done with lies and without discernment. Truth becomes hard if it is not softened by love; love becomes soft if it is not strengthened by truth

The study is complete with what needs our discernments and why and the ultimate price for those discernments. It will strengthen your faith and ultimately allow you to love others truly.

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

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White Collar Girl by: Renee Rosen

White Collar GirlWhite Collar Girl by Renee Rosen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating 3.5 Stars

A reporter’s job was to expose the truth…easier said then done

Jordan Walsh comes from a family of writers…Her father a novelist, her mother a poet, and her beloved brother a reporter. Jordan is determined to make her mark in the world of journalism. Set in the 1950’s in Chicago where the mob ruled, power was king, and women were making their stand in the work place, Jordan found her place at the Tribune writing for The White Collar Girl.

Because of her families background, she had much to prove especially with her brothers untimely death at the height of his own career. His death has put a strain on the family he left behind. Not being able to make sense of his death, Jordan’s father turned to drinking and her parent’s marriage and life in general was put in limbo. Not having the answers is what eventually drove Jordan in her own career.

It is a fantastic historical fiction of journalism in our nation’s history. The mob and corrupt government was enemy of justice. It was in journalism that truth was exposed. It also was a time for women to show their mark in the work-force and the barriers that they had to overcome due to sexism.

Jordan’s story is unique as it is told in her voice, with her insecurities, vulnerabilities, and desires. Her drive for the truth at the cost of relationships however, the payback was integrity.

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

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Anna’s Healing (Plain and Simple Miracles #1) by Vannetta Chapman

Anna's Healing (Plain and Simple Miracles #1)Anna’s Healing by Vannetta Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Absolutely loved the narration of two worlds coming together. The Amish and the English. Chloe Roberts works for her local newspaper and as a human interest story, she comes to know Anna Schwartz and her Amish family. Anna has come to live with her uncle and aunt and grandmother to help with their needs and to spend time with her beloved grandmother. As Chloe and the Schwartz family come to know each other, they develop a respect for each other that is genuine and a deep friendship develops.

Chloe desires her readers to know the Amish and how the community works together. With farming season at the busiest time of year, Jacob Graber an Amish drifter, comes to work for Anna’s uncle and it is there he comes to find healing of his own.

When Anna’s suffers from a terrible tragedy, she not only seeks physical healing but the healing of the heart as well. Anna’s Healing opens the heart in the truth that healing comes in many different ways. Healing is where grace and love abound.

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

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And it Was Beautiful: Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-bye by: Kara Tippetts

And It Was Beautiful: Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-ByeAnd It Was Beautiful: Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-Bye by Kara Tippetts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jesus help me see you. That has been Kara Tippets only hope in her fight and loss to cancer. It should be ours as well. It is in this fight that Christianity is more about life lived instead of Christianity as an event.

These short words of Kara’s during her battle with cancer many times left me in tears, admiring her heroism and her weakness. She does bare the “I don’t have it all together”. I think that is why so many can relate to her story. She does not make her story the story but she makes I want Jesus real because ultimately that is all she has and ultimately that is all we have. She is reminding us to pursue life, love and Jesus. We forget. We get distracted. We get busy. We get discouraged. But it is in those times, we strive to know Jesus. To rest in him.

My favorite and the times that broke my heart is her cry for her children. She loved being a mamma. She saw each of her children and knew them. What encouraged them and what discouraged them and she took that job in and saw joy in it. She saw joy in her community of people that we can miss because we think we have all the time in the world. In her life that is broken because of cancer, she is reminding others what really matters. So if you are tired of the events of Christianity and want life, I would encourage you to encounter the life that Kara fought for.

Some of the quotes that encouraged and inspired me are as follows….

Every moment seems so special. The truth is, it is. That is the gift of cancer. The struggle is the fear. The fear of this amazing world of people I love more than anything marching forward without me in it. There is a lot of pride and arrogance in that thinking. A friend and I were talking about the control that comes with thinking life is as it should be with us in it. But the truth is, life is exactly planned. Exactly numbered. My job in this day is live near to Jesus. To seek faithfulness in this day. I want to have a peaceful heart that embraces each gift of joy as it comes.

Someone surrendered to God; not resigned by surrendered. And there is a difference. And that difference was persuasive in the most naturally wooing of ways.

I have lived in the reflection of the Gospel as my husband has loved me in my sin, ugly and unlovely. Acceptance with Jason has nothing to do with performance but everything to do with his understanding of how loved he is by God in his own weakness and sin.

We are all desperately afraid of what’s hard, but once we face it, it’s possible we find a new joy we hadn’t known before.

Each breath is an Amen.

Getting honest with ourselves does not make us unacceptable to God. It does not distance us from God, but draws us to him as nothing else can and opens us anew to the flow of grace. While Jesus calls each of us to a more perfect life, we cannot achieve it on our own. To be alive is to be broken; to be broken is to stand in need of grace. It is only through grace that any of us could dare to hope that we could become more like Christ. Brennan Manning I am needy and that drives me to grace.

Her words communicate a the great love and grace of God thru suffering.

A Special Thank You to David C Cook and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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