Always by: Sarah Jio

AlwaysAlways by Sarah Jio
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two worlds colliding

A romantic tension as Kailey Crane journalist encounters a train wreck of her past and her future. She is reveling in her present as she is engaged to Ryan a well to do and is completely in love with Kailey. Would do anything for her without resentment. Pretty much worships the ground she walks on. They are having dinner, enjoying each other, talking about their future and as they leave, a homeless man bumps into Kailey. She knows this man.

Her mind, her heart and her soul now cannot rest until she finds him again. The homeless man that was once a successful producer for Seattle’s up an coming musicians and was also her fiancé. He disappeared years ago without trace, without a word and is now back in her life with many unanswered questions.

The narration goes from present to past in Kailey’s voice. I felt that the narration lacked any dimension in the characters and their relationship with each other. It was blah. The plot was more interesting and that kept me engaged.

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

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Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted: Biblical Direction for Friends, Family Members, and Those Struggling with Homosexuality by: Ron Citlau

Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted: Biblical Direction for Friends, Family Members, and Those Struggling with HomosexualityHope for the Same-Sex Attracted: Biblical Direction for Friends, Family Members, and Those Struggling with Homosexuality by Ron Citlau
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Today, sexual identity seems to be tied up in sexual desire. If you have a desire for someone then that defines your sexual identity, and our work is to be true to one’s self and pursue that desire. In the Bible, the opposite is the case. It is through sacrificial love and sacrifice that man most fully lives out his sexual identity.

It is aligning our identity in Christ and not our feelings where real hope lies. To be honest, any love that is selfish is a sin. It is only love done sacrificially that we are in the will of God. We all need a savior. Jesus may have not spoke on Homosexuality but he did speak on marriage. Matthew 19 expresses that our identity is who God made us male and female and it is these roles that we have lost our way.

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it
sin.

This book is about something better Jesus. This does not just apply to the SSA but to all who are looking for the hope of the Gospel in a world that has gone terribly wrong and how we view our own identity. That we are above God and his good gifts.

The author has experience in SSA and how he found hope in the presence of Jesus in the community of the Church. Homosexuality has become about embracing not just accepting. If you are not embracing you are homophobia which is a lie from Satan himself. However, accepting is about giving hope to something better and that is what this book offers.

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

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Are My Kids on Track?: The 12 Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach by: Sissy Goff

Are My Kids on Track?: The 12 Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to ReachAre My Kids on Track?: The 12 Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach by Sissy Goff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating 3.5 Stars

How then do we give hope to children? We give hope to children when we tell them what matters most. They don’t need to be told to try harder, believe more, or do better. That just leaves them in despair. One word trust.

This subject matter is worthy to be purused. Our emotions can take us to both good and dark places. I appreciated this as a mother of two girls and now two grandchildren and with my own experience know the value of emotional maturity. Whether you deny your emotions or if you are consumed by your emotions, we as parents need to help our children with them. To strengthen their trust in us as parents so that our children can have the confidence to express themselves in healthy ways.

The books shares on how we as parents can give our children vocabulary, perspective, teaching empathy and finally resourcefulness. Having our children becoming aware, reciprocity and ownership leads to healthy relationships.

The book is done in 3 parts.

Emotional Milestones
-Emotional Vocabulary
-Perspective
-Empathy
-Resourcefulness

Social Milestones
-Awareness
-Reciprocity
-Ownership
-Boundaries

Spiritual Milestones
-Foundation
-Identity
-Mercy
-Meaning

My only concern was the recommended reading of Jesus Calling. I cannot endorse that as it does not give a solid foundation of faith but someone’s own personal experience. Our children’s emotional well being should be a concern and I think this book puts a parent in the direction of achieving that for their children. I would definitely look to others books that have more of a solid theology in the emotional well being of our children.

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

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Duplicity (Julia Gooden Mystery #2) by: Jane Haseldine

Duplicity (Julia Gooden Mystery, #2)Duplicity by Jane Haseldine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everyone has a face they want to hide. For you and me, we hide what happened to us when were kids. For others, they hide their duplicitous acts.

Julia Gooden is on a story but the story turns personal when her husband/lawyer District Attorney David Tanner is caught in the crossfire. Set in Detroit and mafia type crime, Julia is a determined to get to the truth. The thing about truth is it always cost something. Trying to protect her husband and son, she uncovers more to the story than she thought possible. It is a case of can you handle the truth.

I think what makes her character compelling is that she does not shy away from her desire to find the story and to bring justice to the forefront no matter what the cost. She balances her career, her marriage and her families well being. She is currently estranged from her husband but together they are working to come together. As her husband is seriously injured, she with the help of Detective Raymond Navarro of the Detroit PD who is also a former boyfriend who would do anything for her, try to uncover who would try to kill her husband. Even though Julia knows it is Nick Rossi who has come to trial and David Tanner has a key witness to finally put Rossi behind bars, she still needs to find the proof before his trial is thrown out.

This is a fast paced thriller that has many turns and surprises. Relationship tensions drive the plot that keep you turning the pages.

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

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Marrying Jonah by: Amy Lillard

Marrying JonahMarrying Jonah by Amy Lillard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

They were married bound for life. The only thing that they had in common was time. All things change with time. A farmer’s mentality, with time, seeds became plants, and plants became more. With time the seasons changed. All things with time.

Sarah Yoder has always loved Jonah from afar. A crush that was well known in the community but never returned. However, circumstances change between them when they both needed a friend and in their weakness; they succumb to a bad decision that they cannot deny because of their faith and the Amish way.

To make it right, they both agree to marriage and in their young marriage must learn to trust each other. There is much tension as they both fight their hurt and misunderstanding to make a life a together. It speaks of what love really is where there is no love but only mistrust. How each of them comes to discover love not in the emotional way but a way that is eternal.

I loved this story and the how the pain turned something ugly to something beautiful and lovely. How Jonah and Sarah became intentional above love and commitment and discovered the fruit that last forever. I highly recommend.

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

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Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story (Daughters of the Promised Land #3) by: Jill Eileen Smith

Redeeming Grace: Ruth's Story (Daughters of the Promised Land, #3)Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

God does not ask for our obedience to punish us but to preserve us. He always seeks what is best for those He loves.

The story of Ruth is probably my most favorite story of the bible. It reflects our condition and the work of redemption for us. I have read several historical fictions on the story of Ruth but this account gave me a different insight that Ruth is about feminism. What feminism looks like-it is courage with humility, it is loyalty with humility, and it is centered with thinking of others first with humility.

The biblical account does not share the relationship between Naomi’s family with Boaz family but this account gives a relationship that is respectful and honoring. What brought Naomi’s family to Moab and how she supported her husband even though she did not agree with him. I always appreciate that context was given because it is so important to understand the tension that was so prevalent and why it matters. The first 50% of the account was their time in Moab with the death of her husband and sons then the return to Bethlehem the last 50%.

What is most revealing is how Ruth with her relationship to her mother-in-law Naomi came to know the Lord. How the Lord prepared her heart for something greater and to walk in faith with the unseen.

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

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The Promise Girls by: Marie Bostwick

The Promise GirlsThe Promise Girls by Marie Bostwick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The music filled every part of her, flooding into her empty spaces, salving the aches she had ignored for so long that aching that begun to feel like her natural state. It was not. She was not meant to live simply to endure, but to thrive, to create, and in doing so reflect the glory of creation itself, and the Creator who had fashioned her for this purpose.

Sometimes you get in your hand a book that you don’t want to end. You love the characters, the plot and you know that there is more…so much more. I don’t get that often in a book. I may like it, enjoy it but many times I am ready to move on to the next best thing but this one touched me.

It all stems from the Promise sisters. All three sisters are gifted in their fields of music, art, and literature. All thanks to their mother who playing god, chose a father for each child that would excel in the art world. Joanie played the piano and was the eldest. Then there was Meg who was an artist and Avery who was a writer. Their mother Minerva which her name comes from Roman mythology who is the goddess of wisdom and patroness of the arts, drove her daughters to perfection.

The day came on national TV on the Today Show that comparison, competition and perfection, the toxic trio was to much for Joanie that she purposely made her mother look bad and with her mother’s reaction, their lives changed. Their story begins with the aftermath years later with Meg married with a young daughter, Joanie single with son ready to graduate high school and Avery trying to find her nitch. All three life with the pain of a identity crisis and how to move forward. When one of the sisters suffers a tragic accident, they must face their past and the secrets that can free them.

I try not to give to much away, but there is so much to these women that is engaging and delightful. Probably one of my favorites for 2017.

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

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