Heartfelt

Heartfelt
By Joneal Kirby
Worthy Publishing
Retail Price $15.99
Amazon Price: $11.75

Book Description: 

Every woman longs for good conversation, a safe place to be vulnerable, and wisdom from women who are ahead of us on the journey. In previous generations, women lived in close-knit communities and encouraged one another in marriage, parenting, and spirituality. In today’s world, we often feel isolated. Yet our God-given craving for connection remains.

In Heartfelt, Dr. Joneal Kirby shows us how to embrace the joy of emotional intimacy with other women. Her practical wisdom and personal experience, combined with dozens of real-life stories, equip us to cultivate meaningful relationships with women in all seasons of life.

You may feel you’ll never move beyond the small talk of church coffee hour. You may wonder if your current friendships will ever reach a new depth. Heartfelt gives you the practical ideas and inspiration you need to change surface-level interactions into deep relationships that can change lives forever.

Includes prayers, questions for discussion and reflection, and a guide to beginning your own intergenerational small group.

Review

In this book the author encourages us to listen to our need for friendships and to find and strengthen those relationships. With a passion borne from an intense belief in the power of friendship, Kirby guides your relationships to new levels of intimacy and trust. You will find great tips on how to deepen friendships and understanding the importance of those friendships in a woman’s life. Engaging, honest, and deeply personal, this book will inspire you to see your desire for friendship not as a burden but as a gift.

~Reviewed by Deb S.

    Renegade

    RenegadeRenegade
    By Mel Odom
    Tyndale
    Retail Price $13.99
    Amazon Price: $11.33

    Book Description: 

    Having grown up in the foster system, Private Pike Morgan’s rough exterior and problem with authority earn him few friends among his fellow Marines. When he’s not on missions for the Marine Reserve, Pike’s rebellious attitude and eagerness for vigilante justice have the local police regularly at his doorstep. Struggling to set down roots, and nervous of his desire to, Pike’s eager to answer the military’s call for another deployment.

    On a peacekeeping mission to Afghanistan, Pike and his squad soon find themselves entrenched in a heated war zone. After an American journalist is kidnapped by known terrorist Zalmai Yaqub, the whereabouts of this al Qaeda leader become a top priority for the American military. But when Yaqub flees to Pakistan, will anyone aid Pike in his hunt, or will this strong Marine find himself without an ally?

    Review

    The author writes exciting action/adventure stories from a Christian perspective.  In my opinion, there isn’t a whole lot of Christian fiction out there that is geared toward men and that is worth reading, but Mel Odom definitely picks up the slack with this series.  Pike is a strong character that is a bit prickly, but he grows on you.  He is a courageous man with a tender heart, willing to stand up for what he believes in, going the extra mile. Odum gives us a strong plot with many twists and some action that a man can sink his teeth into.  This a novel that has some depth to it.

    ~Reviewed by Dave H.

      The Last Con

      Product DetailsThe Last Con
      By Zachary Bartels
      Zondervan
      Retail Price:  $15.99
      Amazon Price: $10.80

      Book Description:  

      THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA WERE THERE WHEN JERUSALEM FELL, THEY WERE THERE WHEN THE TEMPLARS DISINTEGRATED, AND THEY’RE THERE NOW . . . WAITING IN DETROIT FOR A BORN-AGAIN CON MAN TRYING TO SAVE HIS FAMILY.

      Former con man Fletcher Doyle is finally home after six years in the pen. He’s working a menial job, regaining his bearings in the world, and trying to revive his relationships with his wife and twelve-year-old daughter. No easy feat.

      But when Fletcher and his family go on a mission trip to Detroit—in the company of the condescending church leader who also happens to be his landlord—Fletcher finds his old life waiting for him. Within hours of arriving in the city, he’s been blackmailed into doing a job for a mysterious criminal who calls himself The Alchemist.

      A series of relics hidden by the Knights of Malta, as ancient as they are priceless, are in the sights of The Alchemist. What he needs is a gifted grifter with a background in ecclesiastical history . . . what he needs is Fletcher Doyle.

      Between hiding his reawakened criminal life from his wife and trying to hide her from their relentless landlord, Fletcher is ready to give up. But when his family is drawn into the dangerous world he can’t shake, Fletcher is forced to rely on his years in the game to save the only people who mean more to him than the biggest con in history.

      Review

      This is really and exceptional book.  It is very unique in the Christian genre as it deals with some rather intense issues and the hero of the story has a questionable reputation.  While the book has many dark themes, the author uses humor to lighten it up, which makes for a good mix.  It also has a strong historical thread that I found intriguing and enlightening.  I thought Bartels did a great job describing the events involving Malta and Marie Antoinette.   The novel may have seemed like your everyday thriller at the start,  but it  hit home as the story developed and we saw two men, one a fake preacher and the other an ex-con who was converted while serving time, both question the faith upon which they have built their lives. As the book unfolds we see them find inner strength and their true selves,   It was not only an action-packed read, but had a real moral to the story.  I was impressed.

      ~Reviewed by Pat B.

        Mermaid Moon (A Sunset Cove Novel)

        Product DetailsMermaid Moon (A Sunset Cove Novel)
        by Colleen Coble
        Thomas Nelson
        Retail Price: $15.99
        Amazon Price: $12.40

        Book Description:  

        Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”

        Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.

        Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart—and left—without a word, years ago.

        When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.

        As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

        Review

        I love mystery, suspense, and thriller novels.  I also love romance novels.  Author Colleen Coble brings together the best of both genres in Mermaid Moon.  I have read many of Coble’s books, but I have to say, I feel that this is one of her best.  The plot is well laid out, and the mystery drives you to keep reading.  Her characters are well-developed and interesting, and the prose and dialogue were equally balanced to both set the scene and show me the characters’ thoughts and feelings.  As for the setting, you can tell she did a lot of research so that she describes the area flawlessly.   This book delivers just what I was expecting as a suspense and mystery fan, lots of twists and turns and a surprise, but satisfying ending.  It was an excellent read.

        ~Reviewed by Shannon J.

          Jesus Now

          Jesus Now
          By Frank Viola
          David C. Cook
          Retail Price $14.99
          Amazon Price: $10.28

          Book Description: 

          During His ministry on earth, Jesus of Nazareth spent most of His time healing the sick, casting out demons, training disciples, teaching the people, and preaching the kingdom of God. But what is Jesus Christ doing today? What is His present-day ministry?

          In Jesus Now, bestselling author Frank Viola gives us the first comprehensive treatment of what Jesus has been doing since His ascension until His second coming. In an easy-to-read format, Viola explores the seven aspects of Christ’s ministry today and shows how each one benefits the saved and the unsaved.

          Open these pages and discover what the Lord Jesus Christ is doing now and how it will impact your life.

          Review

          The purpose of the book is to show how Jesus is alive and actively participating in our lives today.  This is something that I don’t believe many of us think about.  We often focus on history…on what Jesus did for us in the past.  The author helps us to look at the present and the future as he describes Christ’s ministry to us in the here and now.   The book is well organized and written simply for all to understand.  It is well worth the read.

          ~Reviewed by John C.

            Theology of Ministry

            Product DetailsTheology of Ministry
            By Edward Hahnenberg
            The Liturgical Press
            Retail Price $26.00
            Amazon Price: $19.60

            Book Description:

            Theology for Ministry is for beginning ministry students, seasoned lay leaders, and anyone in between who wants to learn more about the faith that feeds their call to serve. Six easy-to-read chapters introduce the main areas of theology that every lay minister ought to know: the notion of vocation, the doctrine of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, church, and ministry. By sharing personal stories and simple examples, Edward Hahnenberg brings the Bible to life and dusts off ancient church doctrines–revealing the many ways our tradition can inspire the work of lay ministers today.

            Review

            This book is clear, concise, distinct, well organized, and very readable.  If you are interested in furthering your knowledge of theology and to know why you hold your beliefs, you will find it interesting and a real page-turner. This is an excellent introduction to theology that is interesting and exciting, and would make a wonderful group discussion text.

            ~Reviewed by Dave H.

             

              Revival

              Revival
              By Adam Hamilton
              Abingdon Press
              Retail Price $14.99
              Amazon Price: $11.29

              Book Description: 

              Wesley’s message and his faith continue to speak to 21st-century Christians—calling for a revival of our hearts and souls so that our world might be changed. Join Adam Hamilton for a six-week journey as he travels to England, following the life of John Wesley and exploring his defining characteristics of a Wesleyan Christian. Wesley’s story is our story. It defines our faith and it challenges us to rediscover our spiritual passion.

              Review

               

              If you want to get a clear idea of what the Methodist Church is all about this little book starts you on your way with a good look into the mind of John Wesley. The author share’s Wesley’s life and theology by weaving stories of faith throughout the historical details. This book is written in language that can be understood by laity making it a fantastic resource for  group study on Wesley’s theology. It helps put Wesley’s theology into 21st century terms.

              ~Reviewed by Todd D.

               

                The Power of God’s Names

                The Power of God’s Names
                By Tony Evans
                Harvest House Publishing
                Retail Price $14.99
                Amazon Price: $11.98

                Book Description: 

                In his exciting new book, bestselling author Dr. Tony Evans shows that it’s through the names of God that the nature of God is revealed to us. Who is God in His fullness? How has He expressed His riches and righteousness? How can you trust His goodness? As you get to know the names of God and understand their meaning, God’s character will become real to you in life-changing ways.You will explore the depths of God as

                • Elohim: The All-Powerful Creator
                • Jehovah: The Self-Revealing One
                • Adonai: The Owner of All
                • Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Who Provides
                • El Shaddai: The Almighty Sufficient One
                • El Elion: The Most High Ruler
                • Jehovah Nissi: The Lord’s Banner of Victory
                • Jehovah Shalom: The Lord Our Peace
                • Jehovah Mekadesh: The Lord Who Sanctifies
                • Jehovah Rophe: The Lord Who Heals
                • Jehovah Tsikenu: The Lord My Righteousness
                • Jehovah Robi: The Lord My Shepherd
                • Immanuel: God With Us

                By studying and understanding the characteristics of God as revealed through His names, you will be better equipped to face hardship and victory, loss and provision, and all of the challenges life throws at you.

                Review

                This is a thought provoking book about the importance of knowing the names of God, especially when you are trying deepen your relationship with Him.  So much of our confusion results because we don’t know  who God really is, how He works in our lives.  By studying and learning the names of God you will gain power to stand strong. You’ll find strength for times of trial, comfort for pain, provision for your soul’s deepest needs. And your walk with God will be transformed.  Evans writes in an easy, understandable style that will help you to grasp God’s names and His greatness.

                ~Reviewed by John C.

                  Ten Commandments for Kissing Gloria Jean

                  Ten Commandments for Kissing Gloria JeanTen Commandments for Kissing Gloria Jean
                  By Britt Leigh
                  Pauline Media
                  Retail Price $10.99
                  Amazon Price: $9.85

                   Book Description:   Enter into the life of Gloria Jean Wisnewski: a 14-year-old girl who comes up with a very specific set of rules for what thou shalt and thou shalt not do to be granted her long-awaited first kiss. Between best friends, lip gloss, boys, homework, pimples, fashion, cliques, and gossip, Gloria Jean has a lot to keep up with as an eighth grader. Oh, and her public school has just started Sex Ed, which only complicates things even more because she is also taking her first year of Confirmation studies. STIs, STDs, TOB, the four “Fs”…what does it all even mean? As if all of this isn’t enough to deal with, Gloria Jean has “The Troubles”: cringe-inducing stomach problems that ruin her very first date and cause the most embarrassing moment ever in school. These run-to-the-bathroom bouts are nothing to laugh about-especially when Gloria Jean gets diagnosed with Celiac disease and realizes her condition not only means that she must follow strict dietary rules and avoid contamination from certain products (and people!) but also that she can’t receive the Body of Christ! How could this be-a Catholic who can’t receive Communion? After all, God made her body. And why does the Catholic Eucharist have to be made out of wheat? What do all of these rules mean, anyway? Looks like Gloria Jean has some figuring out to do.

                  Review

                  This is a young adult novel geared toward the teenage girl of faith.  Gloria Jean is a middle school teen with a strong Catholic faith, but she is faced with all the trials and temptations of that age that make good life choices difficult at times.  She wants to stay true to her beliefs, yet does find it challenging at times. The story is quite engaging and the character of Gloria Jean quite loveable.  The author does a great job capturing the mind of young teens with all the hopes, dreams, and confusion that accompanies them.  Both teens and adults alike will find this book a heartwarming, touching read.

                  ~Reviewed by Allie B.

                    Luminary

                    LuminaryLuminary
                    By Krista McGee
                    Thomas Nelson
                    Retail Price $9.99
                    PB & N Price: $8.45

                    Book Description: 

                    Thalli thought escaping to the surface would mean freedom. But is she any less of an anomaly aboveground?After escaping an underground annihilation chamber, Thalli, Berk, Rhen, and John find themselves fleeing across the former United States, aboveground for the first time. As the defectors cross the for gotten landscape, the three youths see things the y had only read about on screens: horses, rain, real books—and a colony of unsanctioned survivors living the ancient way in a town called New Hope.When the citizens of New Hope reveal the truth of what happened years ago, Thalli is left unsettled and skeptical of everything she’s ever been told. Can she trust anything from the State, including her own feelings for Berk? When she volunteers for a peace mission to New Hope’s violent neighbor, Athens, her confusion mounts as the supposedly ruthless Prince Ale x turns out to be kind and charming. Although everyone in New Hope warned her not to, she can’t help but fall for him.Meanwhile, John’s unwavering faith in the goodness of the Designer begins to make its mark on Thalli’s heart. But can Thalli really come to trust in a generous, protective Designer who rules over all things? Would that not be setting herself up for another betrayal?The time for her to decide is now . . . because the State is closing in.

                    Review

                    This book is the second book in a series by Krista McGee that is set in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world.  The characters from the first book really evolved over the time that has lapsed.  I really loved Thalli and in this book she grew, not just physically but emotionally and mentally.  The plot of this story was very intriguing and there was plenty of adventure as well as hint of blossoming love.  If you are looking for a clean, Christian, dystopian novel, this series is for you.

                    ~Reviewed by Josh M.