Monday, April 21, 2014

In Golden Splendor by Michael K. Reynolds

I love how Michael K. Reynolds takes a character and makes him so approachable. Once again he has allowed the reader to be carried away to another time and place. Oh, the splendor of it all!!

"In Golden Splendor" continues the story of the Hanley family. Although this second book of the series focuses on Seamus, we too get to catch up with Claire once again. 

After reading book 1 in the series, "Flight of the Earls", (check out my review), I fell in love with the writing of Michael K. Reynolds. This is truly becoming an all time favorite series of mine. I am so excited to open the pages of the last book of this trilogy. 

We truly see that God has a plan for each of us. We may make poor choices and get off track, but God is never off track. He uses our ash for beauty. This is exactly what He goes with the life of Seamus. The Hanley family didn't think Seamus would turn out to be much of a man. Even Clare wasn't so sure he could make it on his own. What I love is the fact that although Seamus felt alone at times, he was never alone. God placed people into his life to guide him to be the man of God he was called to be. 

I loved watching Seamus journey through the unknown. I pitied his character in the first book. In this second his story wavers and he gets tossed about by the storms of life. Many brought on by his own poor choices and then finding himself living with the consequences of those very choices is eye opening. 

The portrait of history that Michael K. Reynolds gives us is spectacular. This is a phenomenal book of the past that gives us a wonderful glimpse of the life of an Irishman and his family as they seek to find freedom and life in a new land.  

This book was a gift from B&H Publishing for sharing my review with you. 

Michael Reynolds is the writers and producer of Emmy and Telly Award-winning film campaigns with more than two decades of experience in fiction, journalism, copywriting, and documentary production. He owns marketing agency Global Studio and is also an active leader in church and business, speaking in both ministry and corporate settings. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Reno, Nevada. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Flight of the Earls by Michael K. Reynolds

"Flight of the Earls"  is an extraordinary journey into the past. Every so often I have the pleasure of reading an unforgettable book. You know those books. They stick with you forever. You share them with friends. You walk away feeling blessed that you were gifted to turn the pages into another time and place. 

Michael K. Reynolds is an outstanding storyteller. Within the first few pages I was completely captivated. He gives a vivid portrait of the lives of the characters. He doesn't just share the surroundings or circumstance. He shares their heart. He opens us up to being moved by extremely rare characters. I think his writing style is exquisite. 

I was moved by this story. Stories within a story. This is a sweet gift to the reader. I connected with the characters and felt as though I knew them. Clare Hanley captured my heart and held it in her hands throughout the story. 

This is a story of hardship and redemption. A story of new beginnings and finding one's self not in the eyes of another, but in the eyes of the One who created us. The characters leave behind everything to enter into a new homeland. Possibilities are endless, but circumstance changes everything. 

I am a lover of historical fiction and this is one of the best! I felt honored to read this story. Immigrant America is not what these characters expected. Home is a place they complained about, but as they find out, home is where the heart is. Reading these richly penned words was a sweet journey and one that I cannot wait to continue with as I reach for the next book in the series. 

This novel was a gift from B&H Publishing for sharing my review with you. 

Michael Reynolds is the writers and producer of Emmy and Telly Award-winning film campaigns with more than two decades of experience in fiction, journalism, copywriting, and documentary production. He owns marketing agency Global Studio and is also an active leader in church and business, speaking in both ministry and corporate settings. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Reno, Nevada. 

Noah and the Mighty Ark by Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrated by Margaret Spengler

On the day of the arrival of this sweet and beautiful book my three year old granddaughter happened to be here. We opened the package together and she pulled out the book. "Oh, Nanny, look! A pretty book!" We sat and opened the pages. She was immediately captivated by the illustrations. They are beautifully created. Peyton loved the bright colors. 

For my three year old granddaughter the story captured just enough for her little mind to comprehend. Noah and the ark is a story that I have been sharing with her for the last year. This is a great beginning for little ones. I have seen reviews that said there wasn't enough information. Not enough subject on sin and so on. For me, little minds cannot be carry such heavy information. I thought the story line was perfect. Just enough to capture their imagination and short enough that they will want to come back to the story again and again. This is the opportunity of the reader to share more information and answer questions for the little ones interested. I say, let them ask the questions and be ready to explore more of the story. 

Again, this is a sweet and tender read. Beautifully done. These ladies have done a wondrous job of allowing little ones to be intrigued. This would make a great addition to your library for your little ones. 

This book was a gift from Zondervan for sharing my review with you. 

Rhonda Gowler Greene is athe author of over twenty picture books. Her books received honors such as School Library Journal Best Book, Children's Book Council Showcase Book, and Bank Street College Best Book. Rhonda lives with her husband, Gary, in a house overflowing with books in West Bloomfield, Michigan. They have four grown children. For more information, visit her on the web at 

Margaret Spengler was born and still resides in Northern California. Since receiving her BFA from Art Center College of Design, she has worked as an illustrator and designer. Her other books include The Happiest Hippo in the World, There's an Animal Strike at the Zoo, and Little Loon and Papa

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jumping Ship and Landing in the Grace of God

God makes His plan.

We run.

We change direction. It's our life, right?

We do it our way.

He takes our new life and creates beauty from our mess.

We see Him work. We see Him move. We feel His presence.

Then again we step back and circle the desert. We go round and round.

He stops us. Time is altered. His grace finds us.

We are persistent and disobedient, but God is forever reconstructing the plan. The purpose is the same. To bring us to Him. He forever gives us time to learn, to settle in and brings us to remember to pray.

You know, I think I can connect with Jonah. Can you? Such a short book compared to others, but one that packs a mega lesson. You can't run from God! 

Jonah was kind of prideful. He was called to Nineveh to warn those living there. He more or less looked at God and said, "Are You kidding me? You wanna save them? Those people? You want muah to go there?" Did Jonah think he was better? Was he just filled with fear? Maybe he held contempt for these people. but who were they? Lets be real. They were sinners. Just like you and me. Just like we are called to reach out and go, we stay behind and lets be even more real. We can think of every excuse under the sun to say, "Nope, not me", to God, and feel as if we are confident. 

Jonah didn't just squat a spot and park it. He ran in the opposite direction he was being called to go. Oh, how well I can connect. I have felt the Lord's calling and I have stood in my fear or anger or whatever held me back at the moment and thought I could make a better selection. There is no better plan than the Lord's. 

Jonah runs and hops aboard a ship. He goes below deck. The storm begins to brew. The crew is horrified at what's happening. Had there never been a storm like this one? There had to be something different going on that the crew would be so fearful of their lives. Perhaps the storm of a lifetime. 

The captain goes below and pulls Jonah from his sleep. I can imagine the anger and fear of this captain hissing at Jonah. And here is skittish Jonah acting as if he has no idea why such chaos is taking place around him. Been there with Jonah? We make our choices. Not wise ones. We think we're in the clear, but then out of no where come the consequences. The funny thing is, when those consequences hit, we aren't shaking our head in wonder. We know exactly what's going on. This is the part we hate to face. This is where we learn to let go of the Jonah pride and in doing so we find a humble heart, seeking God's forgiveness. 

"Then the Lord hurled a violent wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break apart." Jonah 1:4

Everyone is calling upon their god. They are realizing nothing is happening. Jonah is surrounded by angry men who are too scared to admit it and they are hurling question after question to Jonah. He has to be to blame. No one else could bring on this chaos. Hmm..How often have we thought the same about our own situation? Perhaps those around us facing trial? There has to be someone else to blame. In this case the crew is right. God has come to call on Jonah. 

Another lesson I find is that the load they were carrying was too heavy. Yes, they were tossing everything in sight off the ship, but until they found the cause the storm was not ending. They were being tossed in every direction. When chaos surrounds us, it's not always our fault. Sometimes, the reason points directly to us. But no matter the reason there are always lessons to be learned. 

They tell Jonah to pray to his God. How do they save themselves? Again, isn't this what we are often worried about? Saving our self in the midst of chaos? Jonah tells them to toss him over. Can you imagine? Jonah either must face these angry men or the raging sea. He chooses the sea. Little did he know that big fish would be awaiting him for dinner. I bet that fish's name was Consequence. 

So, Jonah ran in the opposite direction. He boards a ship and heads to the very bottom. Oh, mercy. That still wasn't low enough for Jonah to fall before he learned. He ended up in the belly of a fish in the depths of the sea. He is at the bottom of the bottom and he still hasn't figured it out yet. Yes, I have been there right along with him. Oh, how long it takes us to learn. But there in the lesson is the sweet grace of God. 

Ah, now Jonah still hasn't gotten it. Three days in the belly of whale has a way of changing a person, don't ya think? Three days brought God's people from death to life! Praise Jesus! Jonah is about to learn the lesson of redemption. 

Jonah begins to pray. Ya all, there is prayer and then there is prayer. 

"I called to the Lord in my distress, and He answered me. I cried out for help in the belly of Sheol; You heard my voice." Jonah 2:2

"As my life was fading away, I remembered Yahweh. My prayer came to You, to Your holy temple." Jonah 2:7

Wow! Praise Jesus! 

Jonah was meeting God at his deepest point and that is about as real as it gets. We can never fall so deep that God cannot reach us and bring us back. I love Jonah's prayer. He lets out all of his fear and lays everything out for God. He surrenders. Finally, he surrenders and what he finds blows Jonah away. Well, the whale spits him out right onto the sandbank of the sea. Vomit and yuck cover Jonah. But the grace of God is about to wash him clean. 

"Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will  have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!" Romans 8:35-39

At the end of Jonah's prayer he says, "but as for me, I will sacrifice to You with a voice of thanksgiving. I will fulfill what I have vowed. Salvation is from the Lord!" Jonah 2:9

There Jonah is, coughed up on land and not looking his best. Ah, but that doesn't change the love of God! Jonah hears the call of God again. This time his feet follow the calling. Nineveh is waiting. God is watching. Jonah proclaims and Nineveh listens. Jonah follows and God saves. 

But Jonah still has some issues going on in his heart. His journey isn't over. He still has some lessons to learn. He must let go of his pride and anger. God is compassionate and merciful and these are lessons Jonah's heart finds. 

Jonah has anger directed at just about everything in his path. He is saved from the depths of the sea, from the belly of a fish, and now he is still battling anger. Another lesson I learn from Jonah? He isn't comfortable. He's a complainer. Aren't we the same with God's calling? We don't want to face struggle and we certainly don't like to face discomfort. It's hot and Jonah is wishing he was dead. He even asks God to just take his life. (Jonah 4:3) 

God appoints a plant and it grew to give Jonah shade while he rested. That is mercy, friends. God is still working in the heart of Jonah, but yet, his head is a bit tough. Another trait I too carry. Stubbornness is not pretty when being called to move. Picture that two year old in Walmart who is screaming and having the fit of a lifetime that is bringing horror to their momma. 

But see, Jonah was happy in the shade. He was finding comfort. So, what does God do? He sends a worm to eat up that tree and a wind that would scorch Jonah. (Jonah 4:7-8) God has already asked Jonah if he should be angry and now here He is again asking him. Jonah speaks up and I can hear him now shouting a big O' YES!!! (Jonah 4:9) 

The lessons just keep coming! Friends, the lessons from our God never cease. He never gives up on us. He wasn't about to give up on Jonah. 

"So the Lord said, "You cared about the plant, which you do not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?" Jonah 4:10:11

Friends, God cares! Did you catch that? He cares about people and animals. He cares about His creation. He isn't wanting anyone to perish. He is calling everyone to come to Him. He wants to use us as His vessels. That isn't something we take lightly. We should be humbled and honored to be called. Who are we to say where we should go and who should hear the message? It's one for all to hear and God often calls us to the most unexpected places.

"For there is one God and One mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human, who gave Himself-a ransom-for all, a testimony at the proper time." 1 Timothy 2:5-6

"The Lord does not delay in His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

Critical Condition by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.

Before I even begin to write my review I feel like I need to apologize. I have read books by Richard Mabry that I have enjoyed immensely. This novel doesn't fall into a favorite for me. I was intrigued when I seen the cover and read the description. I was expecting a novel that focused around the medical field. Other than the main character, Shannon, being a doctor, and all of her friends being doctors, it had nothing to do with medical field. To me, with the title, "Critical Condition", I'm leaning to believe this is a suspense novel that has something to do with what the cover projects.

Richard Mabry's words flow easily. He does give an interesting story. But, I couldn't connect. I kept reading, waiting to fall in love with the characters, but it never happened. I enjoy reading unforgettable, and I'm so sorry to say, but this doesn't fall in that category for me.

The story moved along at a slow pace. Yes, in the beginning, Shannon's boyfriend dies right before her eyes. (I'm not giving away any details) Next, shots are fired and there a man who lay dying on her front lawn. The story builds from here into who done it and just how is Shannon involved.

So, I've said I really didn't find a connection with the characters and the story moved slowly for me. But there are good things in this novel too. We meet Shannon's sister, Megan, who to me, is the main focus in this story. She has fallen from grace. Life hasn't been easy and her choices, well, haven't been the best. But she turns her life around. Rehab actually works for her. Life is different now, but circumstances occur and now all eyes are on Megan again. She is being questioned and treated as if, what's happening, is just expected from her. Megan is free from her old life, but does that really ever escape her?

Shannon questions her faith. A faith that is all tied up in doubt and question, but it's a faith that isn't dead. We do get to see her life change from the fear that held her captive into a now faith lived life. So, see, there are a quite many good things within this story. It just wasn't what I expected.

This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Praying Honest

Don't ignore your heart. Admit your anger. See through to your bitterness. Restlessness and anxiety are real. They are powerful tools for the enemy who wants to destroy your heart, mind and soul. We wake each day with so much on our minds. The list is endless. We have good days and those that seem never ending. Our hearts can become stone. Our blood can boil at the drop of a word. Life is hard. Don't you agree? 

We often bottle up everything and when we come to pray we don't share with Jesus what's real. We stay in a comfort zone. "Dear, Jesus, I pray for Sally Mae as she has surgery this morning. I lift up Kathy who is suffering from cancer. I lay Joe at Your feet as he faces a new obstacle. I ask for a special blessing upon Kim and Rick as they are facing divorce." Sound familiar? 

I'm not saying anything at all is wrong with this prayer, but after all, aren't we speaking with Jesus? He already knows our prayer before we speak it. He knows of every situation. Friends, He knows we are filled with anger and resentment. Why not simply be real with the One who gave all for us? 

"Dear Jesus. I'm mad. No, not mad. I'm furious. I don't understand. I don't get why Kim and Rick are getting divorced. I don't know what the deal is, but Joe is having a hard time and nothing is making sense. Why does he keep falling deeper into depression? Can't You help him? Sally Mae is the sweetest woman I've ever met. She has no one at her side and well, it makes me angry that her kids are not there with her. Kathy is battling cancer again for the third time. Jesus, sweet Jesus, help me! Help me, help others. Open my heart. I don't understand, but I sure don't want to be filled with doubt and anger. As I lay these folks at Your feet, give them peace and courage. Empower them, transform them, and enable them." 

We must be intentional in prayer. It's okay to be honest with Jesus. Friends, it's okay to be angry. It's okay to not understand. We face many different obstacles each day. We have troubles at home, at work, at school. You name it, someone is facing it. We can't look too far without seeing someone in need. We become furious at a friend. We're wounded by our church. A tornado takes our home. Shout out that anger. Release that bitterness. Let the rage your feeling out so it doesn't eat you alive. Jesus understands. He understands more than we can imagine. We are desperate to let go, but we are fearful we can't share our deepest worries and hurts with Jesus. What would He think? He already knows. He wants us to feel His strength and comfort. We cannot be transformed until we are ready to surrender everything. 

Our prayer time should be a conversation with Jesus. I can tell you there are times I'm praying as I do the dishes. Others I may be driving. My son has walked in my bedroom as I am laying down in rest, praying out loud for my children. But there are times I'm home alone and I'm face down on the floor, tears streaming and I'm praying as if it's my last prayer. I have screamed out to God. I have prayed in silence. Jesus wants a relationship with us. He wants to have a conversation. He wants us to share and as our tears dry, He wants us to listen. 

I struggle with my prayer life. I can admit that I can be a strong prayer warrior, but then I can find myself deep in study. I can begin reading a book in the Bible and find myself there for days upon days, just soaking it all in as I wonder. But as I study I notice that my prayer time lessens. Soon, it's been a few days since I've shared with Jesus. Sometimes even longer. I can get so mad at Jesus I just don't want to talk to Him. Have you been there? 

But there is a flip side to that. I can find myself so deep in prayer that I allow my study time to dwindle into nothing. What I'm learning is that I must find balance. The first step for me was admitting to Jesus that I was struggling. The second was learning to be intentional. 

I suppose I've been learning quite a few lessons in my walk. One thing that leaves me breathless is the fact that my Savior intercedes for me. He goes to the Father on my behalf. When I don't know what to pray and when I no longer have any idea what to say, He goes to the Father for me. That is mighty love. 

See, we often worry about the prayer life of others and just where they are on their walk, but see, that's what's so sweet about our relationship with Jesus. There's no other like it. It's our personal journey with Him. We can't compare ourselves to others. We are all in different places. And amazingly our Jesus understands that and He meets each us where we are. Unconditional love. 

We must leave the candle burning. We can't just light it and walk away. Friends, we must intercede for others. Ever have someone just come to mind out of no where? Just maybe the Spirit is leading us to pray for that person. It's a wonderful gift to have open communication with Jesus. No matter what time of day or night, no matter where we are, or who we are with, we can come to prayer. 

Something I've begun in my prayer life is opening up my heart and just praying as the words spill out of my mouth. Whether I'm angry or bitter. Whether it's something I don't understand. I simply share with Jesus. I pray for healing, comfort and strength for those that come to mind. But then I pray for God's will. "If Sally Mae must face this surgery, Lord, use every moment for Your glory. As You are with her, bring her to find a sweeter friendship with You. Lord, use us for Your purpose and plan, and give us everything we need to fulfill Your glorious works."

Friends, don't ignore your heart. Be real with Jesus. He will meet you right where you are and He will bring peace to your heart and comfort where anxiety once lived. Our walk isn't day by day. It's moment by moment and the more time we spend with Him, the more blessings we are going to uncover. 

"Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always." 
1 Chronicles 14:11

"In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings." 
Romans 8:26

"Pray constantly." 1 Thessalonians 5:17

"Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 4:6-7

"Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints." 
Ephesians 6:18

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Four Margaritas

You know what I'm uncovering? Most of the things we worry about never come to fruition. Recently I had surgery on my hand. It was the third surgery on the same hand. I can be honest with you and share that I was completely terrified. My biggest fear? The block. If your not familiar with a block, it's a shot that numbs the entire arm so when you wake from surgery you feel no pain whatsoever. Now, that part is a blessing, but when your fingers begin to tingle, watch out!!

With the first two blocks I had a LOT of pain with them. They go right under the collarbone and sometimes under the arm too. (That was my first one). The second block I had was some serious pain. So, as you can imagine the night before surgery sleep did not come. Even in the morning as I prepared to leave I felt as though I just wanted to keep my pain and ignore the surgery. But, I knew that wasn't an option.

My hubs was able to stay with me until I went back to surgery. Everyone was so nice, but that niceness still didn't take away my fears. I had prayed for God's peace and courage and calm. I knew He was there, but I also remembered.

Now, as I laid on my bed and had doctors and nurses enter and prepare, one speaks up and says, "Ah, we've got ourselves a wiggler". My anesthesiologist says, "Yep, we sure do. She's gonna wiggle right out of this bed. But I'm getting ready to give her a nice cocktail." That perked me right up. He asked me if I liked Margaritas and I said, "It's been a very long time since I've had a margarita." He smiles and says, "Well, since your already tucked in and safe, your gonna have about four of them right now." LOL Hello!!

Obviously he thought I was ready to proceed. I'd rather just kept my margaritas and headed home. But here they all came and the needle came out. They tell me, "Ya know, your last block was seven years ago. Things have changed and your gonna be surprised." Do you know, I barely felt them give me my block! Sure, there was pressure and it was uncomfortable, but nothing..nothing like I'd remembered. I had held on to that fear, a fear, that didn't need to be there, for so long, and it all turned out just fine.

"Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses every thought will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
 Philippians 4:6-7

Matthew 6:25-34

Friends, we can spend time looking back or looking forward, when in reality we simply need to look at right now. Fear can trap us in the past and keep us from moving forward. It too can rush us so far ahead, that we lose sight of the right now. We can allow our fears to get the best of us. Fear can encapsulate us.

What I needed to do was pray. I needed to share every deep fear with Jesus and trust Him. Even if it did hurt, there was nothing I could do about it. Just in the cases of those first two. Yes, they were super painful, but you know what? I got through them! They only lasted a few minutes and it was over. But look at the time I've wasted in fear? We lose so much when we concentrate on fear.

Friends, is there something you are fearing right now as you read these words? Please, surrender that fear to Jesus. Be honest with Him. Give Him your anxiety and unsettledness and watch what He does. I am learning more and more to rely on my Jesus. He truly is our Everything. Place all your trust in Him and know without a doubt that He is going to lead you through. Just as the doctors shared with me. A lot changes in seven years. Friends, a lot can change within one moment. Don't lose hope. Find yourself in the comfort and courage of Jesus.

I was in fear from the very moment I scheduled my surgery. Oh, I trusted my surgeon. Loved the hospital. But the fear of that block stole an entire month away from me. I allowed Satan a stronghold that I should have surrendered to the Lord. There is no room for fear in our lives. None. And you know what? Everything turned out all right. I learned a huge lesson. Fear does nothing for us. In giving in to that fear I wasn't trusting Jesus. I was letting Satan tell me that Jesus wasn't enough. And friends, Jesus is always enough.

"How sweet the name of Jesus sounds, in a believer's ear! It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, And drives away his fear."
John Newton

Big Picture Interactive Bible by B&H Kids Holman Bible Publishing

First I must share that HCSB is my favorite Bible! There just isn't another like it. Holman publishes the best of the best in Bibles. I have an outstanding study Bible that I absolutely love. So, when I received this children's Bible for review I was over the top excited. I now have grandkiddos that are going to love spending time learning stories that they will connect with over a lifetime. 

This Bible is for boys between the ages of 8-12, but it could really be used for a girl too. And the ages can also vary according to your child. You are the best judge of that. I encourage you to follow the highlighted links and check out all of the children's Bibles. You are sure to find the perfect Bible to fit your little one. 

This is a beautiful and inviting Bible. The pictures are big and bold. I think that's a great visual aid for little ones. They tend to ask more questions and can connect with the story on a whole new level.

There too are memory verses for little ones to begin learning. I must be honest. I'd LOVE to carry this Bible!! God's Words are highlighted in red. I always love that added gift. There are maps, a dictionary, and many AWESOME sections such as; Big Questions, Christ Connection, Seeing the Big Picture, Big Words and many more cool stuff that will draw little ones in. 

Hands down this is the best Children's Bible I have seen. You can even download an app! Now that's pretty cool stuff for kids!! This would make a great gift for little ones and most of all, it will make for a wonderfully sweet time between parent and child. 

This Bible was a gift from Holman Bible Publishing for sharing my review with you. 

Wedded To War by Jocelyn Green

Wow!!! Jocelyn Green can pen a magnificent story. She is an outstanding storyteller. I first read, "Widow of Gettysburg", (check out my review),which is the second book in the series. Yes, I'm going a bit backwards, but it doesn't matter at all. This series doesn't have to be read in order. Whichever book you start with is going to make you fall in love with Jocelyn Green. 

If you love history this is a book that will take you back to another time and place. Through Jocelyn's words you can feel the surroundings. You don't have to imagine too hard. She easily takes you there on a journey into the life and times of the people of the Civil War. The characters are rich and courageous. Something I love about his series is that it left me inspired. 

It's hard to imagine a time when it was frowned upon for women to enter the profession of nursing. That's exactly what the main character, Charlotte, faces as we meet her in this wondrous novel. We not only are able to connect with Charlotte on an emotional level, but we see the ravages of the war. Jocelyn isn't afraid to share a story and one that is inspired by the women of this time. 

We meet many characters. Some you will fall in love with and others will make you madder than a hornet. This series should be in every library. History lovers will soak up each and every chapter and those who have yet to love our history will close the last page with a new determination to explore history. 

I love the cover. It encapsulates the character so well. The title is brilliant. Charlotte makes the choice to follow what she is called to do no matter what others think. She leaves the privilege behind and lives a life of compassion and mercy. Character traits from her father. I promise you this is one that will leave you pondering a time that many have forgotten. 

This book was a gift from Moody Publishing for sharing my review with you. 

JOCELYN GREEN is an award-winning author, freelance writer and editor. A former military wife, she authored, along with contributing writers, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (Moody 2008) and Faith Deployed . . . Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (Moody 2011). Jocelyn is also co-author for Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan (AMG Publishers 2009), which won the Gold Medal from Military Writers Society of America in 2010. She is the editor of, the online magazine of Christian Military Wives, and maintains her own award-winning Web site for military wives at . She holds a B.A. in English from Taylor University, and is an active member of the Evangelical Press Association, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and the Christian Authors Network. She and her husband have two children and reside in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What Follows After by Dan Walsh

Dan Walsh is gifted with the pen. His words leave me breathless at times. When I open a book penned by Dan I know I'm in for a rich blessing. I too know when I close the last page I'm going to be left wanting more. 

I am seriously blown away by the novels Dan pens. He is truly a gifted storyteller. This is one of those novels that stays with you after you have closed the last page. He gives the reader so much to think about. Life lessons are grown throughout the pages. The story begins and you know without a doubt you are about to embark on a journey no one else is able to provide. 

This novel is rich. The characters are undeniably relatable. The story begins in 1962. I wasn't even born yet, but Dan is able to bring me back in time to a place that has left a mark in history forever. 

I loved, "What Follows After". The title and cover are so telling. This is another inviting novel that I couldn't put down. This is an emotional read. One that enters the heart of family. What we allow others to see and what we would rather keep secret. But as we see, nothing is off limits. The more we try to cover up the more the Lord moves to uncover so healing and freedom may come. 

We learn what really matters. We learn to let go of the seemingly important of the world and grasp a hold of the real and lasting. Yes! This is why I love novels penned by Dan Walsh. He takes the reader on a journey and you come out with a new perspective and appreciation for what really matters. 

This novel was a gift from Revell for sharing my review with you. 

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Dance and The Promise with Gary Smalley, as well as The Unfinished GiftThe Discovery, and The Reunion. He has won three Carol Awards, and two of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year for 2011 and 2012. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for twenty-five years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel. Visit for more.
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