Where I lost Her by: T. Greenwood

Where I Lost HerWhere I Lost Her by T. Greenwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have lost, those irretrievable things? It seems that everything I lose remains lost. For years now, I have had to resign myself to forfeiture. I am always, always, relinquishing things. Whether stupidly squandered or foolishly misplaced, whether abandoned or stolen, so much of what I have loved and wanted.

This is my second novel of Greenwood and I am always captivated with her characters and prose. She writes to make you feel something. Jess and Jake have taken leave of the fast paced life and come back to Jess hometown. Right away there is tension, a past and a marriage crumbling. In the haze of it all, Jess encounters a little girl that is hurt and in the middle of highway. She stops to help her and when she comes distracted, the little girl disappears. This occurrence takes her back to another time and place as she desperately looks to the authorities for help but they do not believe her. She begins to doubt herself and her marriage crumbles even more.

It is a compelling prose as you discover the past that has left Jess vulnerable and her marriage crushed. As she searches for the little girl, she is also in search of redemption. A desire to right what has been wrong.

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

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The Power of the Cross: Putting it to Work in Your Life by: Tony Evans

The Power of the Cross: Putting it to Work in Your LifeThe Power of the Cross: Putting it to Work in Your Life by Tony Evans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sinners don’t understand the cross because if they did, they would run to it. Many saints don’t appreciate it because if they did, they would live differently in light of it. They often fail to fully apply and appreciate its practical relevancy.

Tony Evans is a great communicator and passionate about sharing the Good news of the Gospel. How does understanding the implications of the cross make a difference in our walk and coming to know Christ? These and more are answered in this study of the cross.

The book is set up in 3 parts. The Person of the Cross, The Purpose of the Cross and the Power of the Cross. Each part is a progression of understanding the implication of the cross and keeps our eye on the Christ and not on our selves. Tony Evans takes a story and shows us Christ. One such story of a football team failing and the coach reminding his team about what matters. This is a football. Tony Evans takes the cross as the fundamental of the Christian faith. He reminds us that there is so much to miss when we do not consider the cross.

Some of my favorite quotes are the following:

Unity is oneness of purpose. The purpose of the unity achieved at the cross was so that the world may know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

God didn’t give the Ten Commandments so that you can keep them. He gave the Ten Commandments to reveal to each of us how often we break them.

When Communion is treated with the reverence, intensity, and intimacy that the significance of its covenant entails, the practice of it will uniquely connect us to accomplishments’ of Christ’s covenantal death and resurrection.

What then is legalism? Legalism is that system of rules and regulations that govern and define your identity and spiritual living entirely on your performance. It makes keeping the rules the basis of your spiritual victory. It says, “You are what you do”.

For whenever the awareness of our sinfulness is diminished, the cross gets lost. Its brilliance gets lost and therefore, its effectiveness and power get lost. It also loses its power in our daily lives. Through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are made pure.

Not wearing the cross as jewelry but embracing the cross where we have been redeemed by Christ is where transformation takes place. Where we are faced of the tremendous cost and love that God has for us. Where love and mercy meet.

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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Amish Sweethearts (Neighbors of Lancaster County #2) by Leslie Gould

Amish Sweethearts (Neighbors of Lancaster County, #2)Amish Sweethearts by Leslie Gould
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You need more than feelings to fuel a good marriage. You need a love that is steadfast, faithful, and strong.

If you have never read an Amish novel, I would encourage to pick up on this series of Lancaster County. As a Christian and a human being, these novels demonstrate commitment. Choosing the good thing to be committed to is a struggle but the rewards of living a life of commitment is eternal. Amish Sweethearts is a clash of three worlds. Neighbors Zane Beck and his English family and Lila Lehman and her Amish family. Lila and Zane grew up together being the best of friends. As they grew older and the attraction became more, Lila knew no good thing good come from continuing their friendship and more or less sent Zane to the Army to Afghanistan. Enter the clash of the third world. In his mission of helping the Afghanistan people, he longs for a way for him and Lila to be together. Lila has moved on with the courtship of Reuben the Bishop’s son of her Amish community. Her heart however, has not moved on. Delaying marriage and thinking about Zane realizing that Zane is the one that feeds her soul. Both Lila and Zane both come to realize what true commitment is and that commitment starts with being honest with yourself.

Some of the quotes I found inspiring and endearing.

He also made her heart break in two. But he did make her feel, that was for certain.

Decisions made with the brain and decisions made with the heart. Those heart ones are hard to control sometimes. I think God expects us to protect those who are vulnerable.

He didn’t deserve her, but he guessed that was what love was.

The Amish girl is telling me to go back to find my peace?

She was the biggest liar she knew. Please forgive me, she prayed. She needed the community of her church, but she needed Christ’s salvation more.

I absolutely loved this book. It speaks to the heart of what we all crave in commitment. It speaks to the heart of Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”

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

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Failure: The Back Door to Success by Erwin W. Lutzer

Failure: The Back Door to SuccessFailure: The Back Door to Success by Erwin W. Lutzer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is written for those who believe they are failures and for those who falsely believe they aren’t! It is a message of hope for those who are filled with regret; it is a message designed to disturb those who mistakenly feel they have “made it” in life. What is success? What is God’s perspective of success?

There are many reasons why we struggle with failure just as there are many reasons we struggle with success. It is easy to compare our lives with others and in doing so we go directly to despair. We focus on ourselves instead of who God is. The trinity is a great example of working together for one common goal instead of comparing what the other is doing, receiving, and worth.

We may struggle with our understanding of who God is, sin and the provision he provides for those who trust in Him. Because God is good, it is sin that drives us to his goodness. Joseph and his brothers are a great example of that. We don’t have to be in despair.

The quotes that I found encouraging

Let me say it once more. If your defeats and failures cause you to turn away from God, you don’t understand God’s grace. Christ died so that we have the basis of acceptance before God that has nothing to do with our fluctuating experiences. Our acceptance depends on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

God has not chosen to destroy evil by one sovereign act. Rather, He has chosen to let it exist and redeem us from it. Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.

If we ask people to dedicate themselves tot he Christian cause, we often are simply employing the same motivations used by sects all over the world. And this, I believe is why most so called dedication services have little or no effect on the Christian community. It is not a lack of sincerity but a lack of understanding that is at stake. Perhaps this is why one Christian, after dedicating himself to God countless times borrowed a line from Alice In Wonderland to describe his spiritual experience. I have to run real fast just to stay in the same place.

Lutzer has become one of my favorite bible teachers. The gospel he represents is whole and not one sided. He brings his reader to the feet of Jesus and not on the treadmill of despair. If you struggle with despair and the pride of success, you will be encouraged that God offer’s more! HIMSELF!

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

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Spirit of the Valley by: Jane Shoup

Spirit of the ValleySpirit of the Valley by Jane Shoup
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

How long and to what lengths does atonement take place?

Set in the mining state of Virginia in the 1800’s, Paulina Ray is running away from an abusive husband with her two children. Was it good luck or divine intervention that she ended up at the doorstep of two sisters that gave her an opportunity for a fresh start with a new identity as Lizzie, the long lost daughter of Mr. Greenway who passed away and left everything to his “daughter”. With the encouragement of her new friends and her new identity births a new fight in her that she never knew she had.

Jeremy Sheffield has his eye on Paulina (Lizzie) . When he offers to help her, their relationship turns to something more. Will they be able to trust each other with the past they are both running from?

I enjoyed the plot even though it was very predictable. The predictability may have lost the compelling aspect of the prose, however, I enjoyed how both Lizzie and Jeremy overcame their past to start over and to learn to trust again.

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

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Julia’s Daughters by: Colleen Faulkner

Julia's DaughtersJulia’s Daughters by Colleen Faulkner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For the beloved, insolent child of my body, of my heart. Because at this moment, I realize that no matter what she’s done, she’s still my child of my body and my heart. Worth no less than the child I lost…I’m going to pick up the pieces. I’m going to gather the broken shards of who I was and put them back together. I know I won’t be the same person I was before but I can be someone again.

I was totally captivated with Julia and her daughters and their journey of unspeakable pain. The loss of a daughter in the hands of another daughter is what a family’s nightmare is made of. How do you process the pain? The guilt? The emptiness? The narration is done so well that you are literally a fly on the wall as you process their pain with them. Julia who loves being a mother now is at loss of how to process her own pain and help her other two daughter’s process theirs. Along with a marriage that has been on disconnect before the accident, how Julia and her husband Ben can come together instead of being in isolation.

Pain begets pain is how Haley the oldest daughter struggles with the death of her sister Caitlin. Being the driver of the car that kills her sister, she is wracked with guilt as Caitlin is the perfect sister, perfect daughter and she is anything but.

Izzy the youngest daughter misses Caitlin and holds Haley responsible. She now names her sister “The One who is not named” and refuses to acknowledge her in any way.

When the pain becomes more than emotional and leads to something physical, Julia is determined to face the pain head on with her daughters and come out the other side that will bring joy to Caitlin’s memory instead of pain and isolation. Told with humor, compassion and heart wrenching truth, you learn how pain can be faced and redeemed.

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

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