Direct Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson

Direct Threat

A book review of Kimberly Rose Johnson’s romantic mystery, Direct Threat, which released June 1, 2020.

One little girl.
Two bodyguards.
Only one chance to guard their hearts.

 

In Direct Threat, Kimberly Rose Johnson has created a book that will pull readers into a sweet romance laced with mystery and a dash of suspense. Sent to protect a child for the summer, Carissa Jones finds her heart opening to the child and to the possibility of love. But first she has to decide who to trust and who is the direct threat. A page turner that is perfect for a quick weekend read.

(Shared with permission of Cara Putman,
best-selling, award-winning author of Flight Risk.)

 

Kimberly Rose Johnson, Author

Kimberly Rose Johnson, Author

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child, Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

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Book 3 in Davalynn Spencer’s series, Front Range Brides, will be released June 4, 2020. So you’ll want to get caught up with Books 1 & 2 in this series of inspirational western romances!

Check out the first two books, starting with a review of An Improper Proposal:

An Improper Proposal

An Improper Proposal

Ya’ll better hold on to your cowboy hats because Davalynn Spencer is about to take you on the ride of your life in her latest Western novel, An Improper Proposal.

As a mail-order bride traveling across state lines to meet her intended, Mae Ann Remington never imagined she’d be robbed at gun point and widowed minutes before marrying. When a handsome cowboy, Cade Parker, ushers her away from the robbery scene to a safe haven, Mae Ann determines there is only one thing to do if she’s to survive in life…propose to Cade. Surely a handsome, single cowboy is in need of a wife, right?

Cade must be crazy to take on a city gal for a wife, but when the pretty lady proposes, it doesn’t take much for him to jump on the idea. But the minute his boots hit his land, he starts second-guessing the rash decision he agreed to. With cattle rustlers stealing from his herd, and a neighboring rancher wreaking havoc, will Cade be able to keep his new bride safe from harm’s way? And with Mae Ann so obviously in love with her deceased intended, does Cade even stand a chance at wooing her heart?

An Improper Proposal lassoed my attention from the very first paragraph. I really enjoyed meeting Cade with his charming smiles and fierce protectiveness, and Mae Ann with her quiet determination and strength. This is my first read of Davalynn’s works, but I’m quite confident to say I will be adding her previous novels to my TBR list. I’m intrigued to see where Davalynn takes her readers next in the Front Range Bride series and already itchy with anticipation for book two.

(Shared with permission of reviewer Michaela Weidinger.)

Which brings us to this next review of Book 2 in the Front Range Brides series, An Unexpected Redemption:

An Unexpected Redemption by Davalynn Spencer

An Unexpected Redemption

An Unexpected Redemption is an inspirational story about releasing the guilt we carry from past mistakes and transgressions. A powerful lesson of forgiveness that when embraced leads us to experience the freedom God’s offers. Sometimes the person we need to forgive is ourselves. Elizabeth and Garrett were two delightful characters I enjoyed getting to know through the author’s engaging writing, poetic at times. The author pens a stirring story filled with faith, humor, romance and mystery. It can be read as a standalone but characters from Book 1 make an appearance so treat yourself to reading that story first. Maggie endeared herself to me, a wise woman.

Favorite quotes:

    • “Oh, it’s not reaction, dear. It’s response, and that’s altogether different. We get to choose our responses-anger, trust, kindness, et cetera. More often than not, we just don’t think about it.”
    • “If God can make everything new again, in spite of the hard, painful parts, then we should let Him.”

(Shared with permission of reviewer Diane Englehardt.)

 

Author Davalynn Spencer

Author Davalynn Spencer

Bestselling author and winner of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction, Davalynn Spencer is the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. When she’s not writing Western romance, she teaches writing workshops and wrangles Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley.

 

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Encountering God's Heart for You by Diane Stortz

Encountering God’s Heart for You by Diane Stortz

A book review of Encountering God’s Heart for You: 365 Devotions from Genesis through Revelation by Diane Stortz. A daily devotional journey through the whole story of the Bible.
Shared by permission of Elisabeth Espinoza.

Encountering God’s Heart for You by Diane Stortz features 365 brief devotions that chronologically explore important people, events, and themes in Scripture beginning in Genesis and continuing all the way through to Revelation. Having personally read through an entire chronological Bible just last year, I am finding Encountering God’s Heart for You to be one of the most inspiring devotionals I have read in quite a while. Ms. Stortz writes authentically with genuine heart, humility, and knowledge. Her deep love of God is certainly evident as she thoughtfully focuses on God’s great love as revealed throughout all the books of the Bible.

Well-researched, well-organized, and well-written, this devotional offers relevant and applicable insights from a wide variety of Old and New Testament people, events, and themes, while also including refreshingly honest details that are enriched by historical context and cultural insights. Page after page, this book presents a vivid glimpse into the lives of real, flawed human beings who were integral in God’s plan for the redemption of humanity. Though they lived thousands of years ago, these men and women made choices that we can still learn from today.

As I continue to read and reflect on each of the daily readings, I connect wholeheartedly with Ms. Stortz’s sincere faith and her desire to share it with others. In addition to the biblical accounts, she also includes her own thoughts and stories, various Scripture verses, and daily prayers. These serve to add to the depth of truth found throughout the book. I am finding these readings to be practical, encouraging, thought-provoking, and utterly meaningful.

Encountering God’s Heart for You will resonate with those who long for a deeper understanding of God’s love and grace, as well as how he has established a pattern of using ordinary people and events to accomplish extraordinary things according to his will. Gentle in its tone, yet powerful in its message, this devotional is worthy of being read on a daily basis. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

***

Diane Stortz, Author

Diane Stortz, Author

Diane Stortz is a multipublished author who writes to make God’s wonders known to the next generation. Her children’s releases include the best-selling Say & Pray Bible and I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God, both from Tommy Nelson. Diane’s books for women, A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year and Encountering God’s Heart for You, both from Bethany House, encourage women to get to know God through His Word, the Bible. Diane and her husband have two married daughters and five grandchildren—all boys! Visit her at www.DianeStortz.com.

 

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A book review of Hello, Beautiful

“Reading Hello, Beautiful!: Finally Love Yourself The Way You Are, is like taking a breath of fresh air in a world that imposes ever increasing, unobtainable standards of beauty. Veteran author, Jeanette Levellie and her co-author, take a tag team approach with their starkly, personal true stories, that astutely correspond with lessons in inner beauty. Their writing voices complement each other seamlessly, like a musical duet, but each stands out in their own way, so even though the stories are not consecutive,  you get an intuitive feel for which author you are reading.

This book has all the bells and whistles including candid stories, famous quotations, Bible verses, places to journal your own responses to prompts and even COLORING PAGES! It doesn’t skimp on content either with forty chapters plus a bonus section.
Hello, Beautiful imprints on the reader how to love themselves and see themselves the way God does. It teaches beauty backwards, opposite of the world, from the inside out. Inner beauty may seem like a cliche but interestingly, as confidence grows, it shows. This. Actually. Works. The best way I can describe this experience is, internalizing the messages of the love, grace and forgiveness that is every woman’s birthright, is like sunshine for the soul. More precisely, this book does for people what sunshine does for stained glass windows.” –Jessica Reed, Guideposts author
“As an advocate for women who have experience with domestic abuse, I find this book fits a need many victims and survivors face. We doubt ourselves, question our worth, give more love and grace to our friends than to our own selves. This devotional journal is sweet and warm guidance for those who want to spend a little time reassessing self-esteem, opening to self-love, and believing in the power of God’s affection.” –Janna Leadbetter, advocate for abused women
“This delightful book skillfully reminds us that while true beauty radiates from a woman’s inner spirit, most of us have struggled with feelings of inadequacy, failure, and condemnation that cloud our radiance. Using poignant humor, personal stories, powerful Scriptures, and practical tips, the authors highlight eternal truths that can set women free from emotional bondage. Don’t miss this enjoyable read and its uplifting takeaway value.” –Diana Savage, author, editor, speaker
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lighted Christmas trees

Looking for unique book ideas for that special reader this Christmas? We’ve got three book reviews from three very different genres to present today! A medical thriller, a devotional cookbook, and a Christian fantasy offer some less-than-mainstream choices for the bookworms on our list. See what others have said and then check them out at your favorite outlet!

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Medical Judgement

by Richard Mabry, M.D.

Abingdon Press

 

Dr. Richard L. Mabry

Dr. Richard L. Mabry

Medical Judgement, a medical suspense novel by Richard Mabry, M.D., kept me in a
state of suspicion to the end. I suspected everyone of harassing Dr. Sarah Gordon, a
woman who had recently lost her husband and young daughter in a car accident. I
even suspected her pastor!

Following the deaths of her family members, Sarah began to experience threats in a
variety of ways. First there were phone calls, then a prowler, and a fire in her garage.
Who was harassing her and why? As she experienced escalating threats a friend
of her late husband’s, Kyle Andrews (I suspected him too), comes to Sarah’s aid as
well as police detective, Bill Larson. The very believable challenges of each of these
characters are relayed, including their struggles with God.

Faith, medicine, love and suspense come together in a surprising manner in this
story. At first, I thought I might not be able to read this story, because I do not like
to be scared. But it is much more suspenseful than scary, and I had to finish it once I
started. Mabry does a great job of drawing you in, keeping you a little nervous – yet
intrigued with the cast of characters in what he calls one of his “medical suspense
novels with heart.”

Reviewer:

Becky Fisher, Adventist University of Health Sciences, The Christian Librarian Review

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The Gift of Bread – Recipes for the Heart and Table

by Karen Whiting

Worthy Publishing

 

Have you ever had a cookbook that restored your soul as it enabled you to provide food for your own body? Over the course of a lifetime, author and baker Karen Whiting has experienced God’s love and presence through times of plenty and times of drought, and she has baked bread all along throughout those times. In The Gift of Bread, she has compiled those experiences and recipes into a 60-chapter cookbook (with over 55 recipes) that is also full of devotional readings, Scriptures, and bountiful lessons from the author’s own life. The Gift of Bread is a hardback book with a book cover that is priced at $15.99.

I have personally baked bread for my family for the past 11 years, and I have seen how fresh bread (with all its nutrients and fiber) has contributed to good health. I’ve also enjoyed making muffins, rolls, and biscotti for fun and for gifts. But as I have progressed through The Gift of Bread, I’ve discovered that I have scarcely scratched the surface of the bread-baking world! Karen Whiting grew up under the tutelage of grandmothers who baked, and she began to learn even as a child the ins and outs of wheat, yeast, oil, salt, and other flavorings, both sweet and savory. As a mother and wife (and even as an empty nester and a widow) she continued to bake bread for her family and community in all occasions. And she noticed bread, grains, and baking being mentioned in the Bible, over and over, in both the Old Testament and the New. God used bread and bread-making to picture everything from hospitality (think of Abraham and Sarah and their heavenly visitors), to courtship (Ruth and Boaz and the gleaning), to provision (Jesus feeding the 5000), to sin (the yeast of the Pharisees), to Jesus’ character (“I am the bread of life”), and so much more. Mrs. Whiting shares about all of these and many other Biblical teachings, in each chapter which contains Bible verses, illustrative stories, recipes, and questions which enable the reader to think about what God might be doing. There is so much spiritual richness in The Gift of Bread to go along with the bounty of bread and recipes!

I mentioned that this book contains over 55 recipes. These range from a few craft ideas (a bread plate or layered muffin gifts in jars) to myriad bread recipes. Are you someone who likes making yeast breads? You’ll find the author’s own wheat bread recipe (Honey-of-an-Egg Whole Wheat Bread), which can be used not only for bread but for cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, and to create more than just bread for meals or sandwiches. This recipe requires hand- (or machine-) kneading and time (4 hours) but produced gorgeous and delicious bread the first time I made it. There are also recipes for a great-grandmother’s daily bread dough (which can also be used for rolls), Amish white bread, cinnamon raisin bread, and several kinds of sourdough bread (even with a starter recipe!). Each of these requires fresh yeast, a warm kitchen area for the bread to rise, and time; but the results are both delicious and healthy. Bread-makers with little experience or much will be able to follow the recipes and create great bread.

However, there are many other categories of bread that Mrs. Whiting dips into here, and among those are quick bread recipes (which don’t have to be set aside to rise). These are treats that families can enjoy and children can even help to make. The Gift of Bread includes recipes for fruit breads, muffins, matzo (or unleavened) bread, and cornbread. Specialty breads for holidays (Christmas pastry canes, 3 Kings Bread, holiday macadamia nut cranberry bread, toasted angel bread dessert, Trinity rolls and challah), various biscuit recipes, and bread pudding in a mug introduce us to fun additions to family celebrations. There are even recipes which create a meal out of bread by the additions of meats or fish, as in filled sandwich crescents, treasures in a blanket, or Italian bread salad. And everything isn’t completely from scratch! The baker can make fruit turnovers from packaged crescent rolls or sourdough bread from potato flakes. The creativity is just endless, and bakers of every level of experience will find fun and delicious ways to turn grain into meals, desserts, or bread.

In The Gift of Bread, the recipes are clearly written and easy to understand and follow for both the novice and experienced baker. Tutorials are given on ingredients (flour, oil, salt, yeast) and on the various steps of bread-making. Mrs. Whiting also realizes that we live in an era in which not everyone can eat wheat, and she does suggest various flour substitutes to aid those who are avoiding gluten.

Yet The Gift of Bread is not only a cookbook. Over and over, the reader is drawn into stories and accounts of God’s provision via bread or grain in both Scripture and real life. We’re reminded that man does not just live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; by that living Word that is Jesus. We’re encouraged to use bread to not only care for our own families, but to share God’s love and community with those in need or simply others whom we love. Each chapter is so rich that (even though I wanted to read the book quickly and dive into new bread recipes as quickly as I could), I found myself taking time over each one; mulling over Mrs. Whiting’s words, seeing God and His love and provision in the grains He’s given us to eat, and the spiritual life He invites all of us to embrace.

The Gift of Bread would be a lovely gift for a newlywed or a new believer. It would also be a fantastic cooking/devotional curriculum for homeschoolers, as families could enjoy the chapters during family worship then step into the kitchen to try out the recipes together. I’d personally select this book as a gift for friends and loved ones as well. So much richness for both body and soul is available in The Gift of Bread!

Review by Melanie Reynolds

The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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The Genesis Tree

by Heather L.L. FitzGerald

Mountain Brook Ink

The Genesis Tree is the third and final book in the Tethered World Chronicles series. I looked forward to reading this book with great expectation. Once I started, I didn’t want to put it down and stayed up later than I should have to read. There are plot summaries from the first two books given throughout this book, but it would be best to read the

books in order to get the full effect of the stories. Plus, then you get to read two other amazing books. I found myself reading the beginning of the book wondering what was going to draw the Larcen family back down below to the Tethered World. Things topside are spiraling out of control and things looked bleak. The characters grew even more by the end of this book and tremendously since the beginning of book one of the series. I liked how God and our need for Him was woven through the story. The Genesis Tree had me laughing, crying, angry, sad, and confused at times. I was shocked and amazed at things that happened (both positively and negatively – ie the things that happened were sometimes good and sometimes bad, but I didn’t see them coming). Like the second book in the series, this book is written in first person when we are following Sadie and third person when we follow Brady. This book also includes the viewpoint of one of Nekronok’s sons (it never really says which one, although by the end you know who it is). There was one major plot element that made me unhappy, but I did like how it was used and redeemed to show that God’s ways are not always our ways and that He uses them for our ultimate good (even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time). I liked how the story wrapped up the “hanging” story lines from the overall story that covered all three books. I will miss visiting the Tethered World. I totally recommend this book (and the whole series).

Review by Becky Dempsey

Amazon

Heather also has a Christmas giveaway to share! Win a Kindle Fire HD, $25 Amazon gift card, and an autographed copy of her first book, The Tethered World. Click this link to enter!  

 

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