Monday, January 29, 2018

Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God- Mark Batterson

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: The voice that spoke the cosmos into existence is the same voice that parted the Red sea, and made the sun stand still in the midday sky. One day, this voice will make all things new, but it's also speaking to you now!

That voice is God's voice, and what we've learned from Scripture is that He often speaks in a whisper. Not to make it difficult to hear Him, but to draw us close.

Many people have a tough time believing God still speaks. Sure, in ancient times and in mysterious ways, God spoke to His people, but is He still speaking now?

Mark Batterson certainly believes so. And he wants to introduce you to the seven love languages of God; each of them unique and entirely divine. Some of them you might suspect but others will surprise you.

By learning to tune in to and decipher each language, you'll be able to hear His guidance in simple as well as life-altering choices. God is actively speaking through: Scripture, Desires, Doors, Dreams, People, Promptings, and Pain. Batterson gives you the tools you need to unlock each of these languages.

God's whisper can answer your most burning questions, calm your deepest fears, and fulfill your loftiest dreams.

Discover how simple it is to hear God's voice in every aspect of your life!

He's speaking, make sure you know how to listen!

My Thoughts: When I first saw the email letting me know that Whisper was up for review, I had already been praying and searching for information on hearing the voice of God. Seeing that email was an "of course I want to review that" moment, were I actually pushed around my schedule to get to it sooner.

Whisper is the first book of Batterson's that I have read, and I can already say that I like the way he references history and other topics to reinforce each assertion on how God speaks. As someone who likes to eclectically gather knowledge, it fit very well into the way that I already think and process information. And each chapter held nuggets that forced me to really think about how I might be hearing, and also ignoring, the voice of God in my own life.

As with most nonfiction works like this, I do wish that there had been more scriptural references and examples. It would have been helpful to have the author point to passages where we can read about the languages God uses to speak. Though most people can easily think of an example of God using dreams, I think that others might be harder to find and that the discussion of those passages might have better equipped the reader to understand how scripture teaches us to hear and recognize the voice of God.

I still recommend this book and suggest it as a conversation starter, as well as simply a challenge to ourselves to actually take the time to slow down and listen.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of the book through the publisher.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Amber Eyes- Tour and Giveaway


 About the Book
Destiny can be cruel Darkness retreated from the light of the scarlet moon, but has since grown even stronger. The Mistress of Shadows has found a new pawn—one that may be the key to unlocking the door to her underground prison. Now evil threatens to escape its shackles and destroy the land. In the aftermath of loss and betrayal, Jayden’s fight with the enemy still isn’t over. But while she isn’t sure she can stop the Mistress alone, leaving her friends might be the only way to keep them from being consumed by the darkness. With lives hanging in the balance—and no time for error—can Jayden make the right choice?






 About the Author

S.D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency and author of SCARLET MOON. She currently has four books under contract, including the remainder of her YA fantasy series Children of the Blood Moon. When she’s not writing or editing, Sarah enjoys reading (of course!), practicing kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu, training dogs, and binge-watching shows with great characters. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog. You can learn more about her upcoming novels at






Facebook Launch Party


Calling all book readers! Join author S.D. Grimm as we chat about her fantasy novel Amber Eyes on January 30th from 8 PM to 11 PM EST (6 PM CDT and 5 PM PST). Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with SD, games, and giveaways. Special guests Nadine Brandes, Lindsay A. Franklin, and Sara Baysinger will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun.

RSVP Today




Want to dive into a new world? Enter to win a signed copy of both Amber Eyes and Scarlet Moon, a grimmlie dragon of the dragon on the cover (made by the author), a charm bracelet (made by her Captain America), and a $10 amazon gift card. (US only. Sorry!)

>>> Entry-Form <<<


Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, January 22nd
Tuesday, January 23rd
Wednesday, January 24th
Thursday, January 25th
Friday, January 26th
Saturday, January 27th
Monday, January 29th
Tuesday, January 30th
Wednesday, January 31st
Thursday, February 1st
Friday, February 2nd
Saturday, February 3rd
Monday, February 5th

Isaiah's Daughter- Review and Blog Tour

Book Summary: Gifted Bible teacher and award-winning author Mesu Andrews reaches into the pages of Biblical prophecy and Hebrew tradition to unearth a rags-to-royalty story of the devastated orphan, Ishma—meaning “desolation”—in Isaiah’s Daughter (Jan. 16, 2018, WaterBrook).  At just 5 years old, Ishma’s life crumbles around her when Israelite soldiers violently kill her family and take her into captivity. Upon her release, the royal prophet Isaiah welcomes her into his home where she meets Prince Hezekiah (Hezi)—a boy who has also experienced great tragedy. Ishma and Hezi bond in their suffering, and as they grow in age, so does their love for each other. Aware of their developing relationship, Isaiah adopts Ishma as his daughter and presents her with a new name that will qualify her to marry royalty—Hephzibah (Zibah), meaning “delight of the Lord.” Hezi and Zibah marry, but after difficult times of barrenness, Assyrian aggression, disease and challenging prophecies from Isaiah, Zibah remains trapped by fear. Can she entrust everything to the only One who gives life and delivers both a captive heart and a desperate nation?

My Thoughts: Every time Mesu has a new book, she gives us a glimpse into lives of people who we would otherwise know little about. In Isaiah's Daughter, Mesu shows how difficult it would have been to be the daughter of a prophet who spoke in what might have been viewed as unpopular and condemning riddles. How safe could it have been for that daughter under the reign of Ahaz and how humiliating would it have been to see your father march naked through the streets of Israel like one crazed?

The theme of recognizing God's voice is strong within the narrative. Both Hephzibah's parents hear from the Lord while her and her husband struggle to distinguish His voice from all the others around them. Yet even through Isaiah hears the voice of God, he is often tempted to turn the narrative in the direction he would like it to go.

My one issue with this depiction of Isaiah and Hezekiah is that while Isaiah receives prophecies meant to criticize and warn Hezekiah about sins of pride, Isaiah never receives them for himself. For someone who hears the word of God so audibly, I felt that reprimands, such as the one Hezekiah gave him about proclaiming his opinion as freely and forcefully as he did the word of God, should have also been addressed by God in the manner that Hezekiah was. 

Beyond that, I thought that Isaiah's Daughter was a fantastic read, one that brought both Ahaz and Hezekiah's reigns to life. Now that I have read this, I believe I have a better understanding of what occurred and can better remember the order in which events transpired.

I have provided an honest review after having received an ARC copy of the book from the author.

 Author Bio:  Mesu Andrews’ deep understanding of and love for God’s Word brings the biblical world alive for her readers. She and her husband, Roy, live in a log cain snuggled into the beautiful Appalachian Mountains with their dog, Zeke. The Andrews’ have two married daughters and a small tribe of grandkids. Mesu loves movies, football, waterfalls, and travel.
Biblical fiction is her favorite genre to read and write. Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell, 2011), tells the story of Job and won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year for a Debut Author. Love’s Sacred Song (Revell, 2012) relates the poetic Song of Solomon in story form, and Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell, 2013) sets the story of Hosea and Gomer in biblical Israel. The Shadow of Jezebel (Revell, 2014) displays God’s sovereignty over Jezebel’s daughter, Queen Athaliah. The Pharaoh’s Daughter (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2015), the first in The Treasures of the Nile series, unveils Moses’ early years through the eyes of his Egyptian mother, and Miriam (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2016), the second book in the series, introduces Yahweh’s prophetess during the ten plagues and the Exodus as she struggles to trust this God she doesn’t understand. In January 2018, Isaiah’s Daughter: A Novel of Prophets and Kings (Waterbrook/Multnomah) reveals the little-known personal life of the prophet Isaiah and introduces readers to his captivating daughter.



Check out these stops below to see other people's reviews, as well as a number of blog specific giveaways! 

Blog Tour Stops

1/21 – Angie Arndt
1/22 – Carole Towriss
1/22 – Backing Books
1/24 – Mommynificent
1/25 – JustCommonly
1/26 – The Mary Reader

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Lacemaker- Laura Frantz

My Rating: 5 Stars

Description: When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth "Liberty" Lawson is abandoned by her fiance and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story.

My Thoughts: This is by far my favorite of Laura's books since Courting Marrow Little, and it may even challenge that favorite of mine. The Lacemaker is full of intrigue and romance, with hardly a dull moment. I loved the setting of colonial Williamsburg, and could not have hoped for more from a Historical Romance set at the start of the Revolutionary War.

Though my research (done to confirm whether or not these characters had actually existed) revealed that Noble Rynallt and Liberty had not been real people, I honestly for much of this book thought that they must have been. While the other patriots were all people whose names I recognized from history class, I would not have thought it beyond an author to give life to a lesser known figure. Sadly, I had to seek out that information myself rather than finding it in a historical note in the back of the book, this being the only thing I had against the book.

Beyond that exceedingly irrelevant fact, I found The Lacemaker to be a fantastic novel, one that I will gladly recommend to any Historical Romance readers, as well as many who just read Historicals. And (encase my adoration had not come across in the rest of my review) I think that anyone reading this review, should read this book.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book from the publisher.

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Dangerous Legacy- Elizabeth Camden

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Lucy Drake's mastery of Morse code has made her a valuable asset to the American news agencies as a telegrapher. But the sudden arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith at rival British news agency Reuters puts her hard-earned livelihood at risk. Newly arrived from London, Colin is talented, handsome, and insufferably charming.

Despite their rivalry, Lucy realizes Colin's connections could be just what her family needs to turn the tide of their long legal battle over the fortune they were swindled out of forty years ago. When she negotiates an unlikely alliance with him, neither of them realizes how far the web of treachery they're wading into will take them.

My Thoughts: I have read plenty of novels in my life in which Morse code played a part in the narrative, however this is the first time I have seen it played out in the setting of a newspaper industry. The history between AP and Reuters was something that I enjoyed learning about, along with how new stories were dispersed in that day. Sometimes it is difficult to wrap my mind around the realization the internet is not as old as it seems to those of us who cannot remember a time without it, and that the spread of information would have had to have been far more deliberate.

The history and research represented in this novel were interesting, driving the story a bit better than the plot in my mind. While the court case over the valves remind the main conflict, most of what took place actually revolved around the ingenuity of the telegraph, the usefulness of homing pigeons, and the struggle of everyone to find happiness in an economic system that is so often is manipulated to work against them.

In all of this, the actual romance between Lucy and Colin seemed to get lost. They were drawn to each other from the start, but individual pursuits of happiness created a wall between them that both determined in the beginning not to cross. This made their romance difficult for me to get behind, as Colin actively sought other wifely candidates. Also, Lucy continuously broke the law in order to further her own goals, practically forcing everyone who knew to either silently support her or else turn her in to the police. And Nick and Colin just went with it.

There were not any major flaws that I saw with this work, nothing that made me intensely dislike it or  wish that I had never picked it up. But there also was not much that interested me. The history, as I said before, was interesting, but history alone cannot drive a story when the characters behave in ways that kept me from connecting with them.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of the book from the publisher.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Renegades- Marissa Meyer

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

My Thoughts: I will start by saying that I did read this books in two days. Though long, it has a pacing that keeps you glued to the text and skipping through the pages with easy. The main renegades (i.e. Adrien's team, not the council) are easily distinguishable and both Adrian and Nova have personalities that are engaging. Yet the Superhero theme seemed to be to be both a hit and a miss.

The hit is that the story has engaging action and that most everything was bright colors and chaos in my imagination. But the miss was that I found it really heard to believe that this was what would come from a worldwide collapse of government. I also struggled to accept that idea that prodigies (superheroes) have existed all along, but were pretty much always killed off before the public could hear about them. This might have made sense, if the prodigies were like mutants and had their powers since birth. Yet, at about the two-third's marker, it is revealed that this is not the case, but that most prodigies receive their powers through a traumatic event in their life. Which leads me to question, how awful are all these people's lives if there are hundreds and hundreds prodigies and 72 percent were not born with those powers?

The story is engaging, one that I intend to continue with in the next book. Yet it is entertaining in a very high level of suspension of disbelief sort of way. And for me, that disbelief was an active choice to keep going even when I stumbled across so many holes in logic, as well as a good portion of the story that I felt could have been cut without losing anything.

In the end, I do not want to put anyone off of reading this. There is still a lot of entertainment to be had, I just want everyone to know what they are in for.

If you liked this review, and want to see more for books like it, let me know in the comments. You can also follow me on Goodreads, where I post reviews for all the books I read, including those that I was not given for review.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Habits of the Heart: 365 Daily Exercises for Living Like Jesus- Katherine J. Butler

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Are you “out of shape” spiritually? Do you long for a life that is fully and deeply engaged with the Creator? Does your heart ache to be transformed by God? Real change happens only when we train ourselves to be in the habit of exercising our hearts in the practice of godliness. The Bible says that training the body is of some value, but the most important thing we can do is to train our spirit. Habits of the Heart will help you develop practices that draw you into a deeper and lasting relationship with God. Each day of the year, this simple guide will help you focus on one essential aspect of your walk with God and show you how to make it a habit.

Features: Unique cover material featuring wood texture stamped with a bronze foil Elegant interior design with full-color end papers and a ribbon marker 365 devotions offer a meaningful, yet practical, way to exercise your heart in the practice of godliness Each week immerses you in a specific practice: conversational prayer, unplugging from life’s daily grind, waiting on God, being watchful, and much more.

My Thoughts: When I first picked this up for review, I was not expecting it to be as small as it is. Each day's exercise includes 1-3 verses along with a paragraph or two explaining what it is that you should do that day. Some times the book asks you to do actual tasks, like chose a different drive to work or to give something you own to someone else, however most of the exercises are mental and reflective ones.

To be honest, I did not find the exercises to be long enough. I would have preferred something that I could devote more time to and to really grapple with each week's lesson. Because the exercises were so short, I usually read two or three in one sitting, combining the exercises into one. Now, this definitely defeated the point of it being a 365 day plan, but once I finish, I can always go back and start it over again.

And that plan is something that I already think I might do. The exercises, though short, are most often good ones. There were some that I thought were silly, and a few which I did not believe to be applicable to my situation, but overall, I enjoyed it. I would recommend it to those looking for something short which they can do at the start of the day (all of the exercises require that you read them in morning and then act on them later as you go about your regular schedule), just not to those searching for something immersive.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book from the publisher.