Monday, August 31, 2015

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

Cathy Gohlke is a writer who impresses me with passion for the pen and a storytelling gift that sets her apart from the best of the best. 

If you love history you will certainly love Gohlke's story-telling as she takes us back in time and invites us to the present as she brings two stories together. Oh, the beauty this novel beholds is extraordinary. 

This is a novel I journeyed through taking my time as I soaked up every morsel of this beautiful tale. I get so excited when I know Cathy has a new novel releasing. This is one to snatch up for a perfect end to your summer reading. 

Secrets touch our lives and leave a void in us when we are searching for who we are. Sometimes the answers to why we do the things we do can be found in the history of our family, in the traits of others, in the stories that made them who they are. We study history, we track our family heritage, but how wonderful for us when those stories of truth are passed down to us. 

Sometimes people are just not who we think they are. They have only shared a portion of their own story. Not to keep us in the dark, to hide a dark secret, but to protect us from a deep hurt that could cause us to carry a wound forever unless we are able to understand the depth of the truth. 

This is Hannah in the present, searching for the truth that has been hidden in lies, she hops a plane to Germany in search of who her mother truly was she finds more than she could have ever imagined. She finds a legacy of love and honor, one that brings her to have a greater love for the mother she never really knew. 

The story travels back from Hannah to her mother, Lieselotte, years earlier when Hitler was advancing in his own lies being told and bought. This is one of those stories that touches the heart, makes us ponder, and changes who we are. 

This story even though it travels from past to present flows easily. I found myself mesmerized by Lieselotte's story and couldn't wait to get back to her. I loved the passion of Hannah and her fearlessness in finding the truth. I too love the faith that flows through these black and white words. Gohlke knows how to bring a story to life. 

Her attention to detail is magnificent and gives the reader a front row seat as if they too were there with Lieselotte and Hannah. These are characters that leave their own legacy. I love when a writer does their job so very well that it's hard to walk away from that last page without still pondering. 

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

Cathy Gohlke is a two-time Christy Award-winning author. She and her husband divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and granddaughter. Visit her online at

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

Hope Harbor is a place of refuge and second chances. A place many call home and one that calls home those who are lost. This was a lovely novel from Irene Hannon. I love everything about this gem of a novel. The title, Hope Harbor, is our Jesus. It's the place we find faith grow through trial and tribulation. 

As we see in this novel circumstances change lives. Change isn't always wanted. Circumstance isn't always caused by our actions, but the actions of others, and then it touches our lives forevermore in ways that stir all sense of calm in life. 

Irene Hannon is gifted with the pen and here again she brings me to a place where I can see faith alive and see that God is always moving even when all seems quiet and unchanging. Hope Harbor is a great place to visit. We meet characters that are real. Through the storyline we grow to love them and understand them more and more as the story weaves their lives of hope together. 

Everything in God's perfect timing. This is what we see here in these black and white pages that come alive with all doubt left behind as these characters move forward in hope. Hope is all they have. As what is it that we gain from this novel? To know that hope is all we need. 

Irene Hannon never disappoints. She writes in such a way that brings the reader into the weave of her story to find themselves and to always know that no matter the circumstance there is a God who is watching and making a way. 

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

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty-five romantic suspense and contemporary romance/women's fiction novels, including the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series, along with That Certain Summer and One Perfect Spring. Her books have garnered dozens of honors, including two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Holman Study Bible: NKJV Edition, Suede/Chocolate LeatherTouch Indexed by B&H Publishing Group

It is a great privilege to showcase outstanding Bibles. I usually share Bibles that are more for women, but today I wanted to share a study Bible that would be a great choice for any guy in your life. 

Here is a great selection of the NKJV translation in a gorgeous tan and brown leather. I must tell you that the picture doesn't give this Bible it's due justice. The coloring is much deeper and brighter. The leather is supple and rich. The pages reflect a golden tone and the two ribbons match the colors of this study Bible. 

Any young man would be proud to carry this study Bible. I think any girl would love it as well. I know I do. It is truly beautiful. I know, I know. Many don't care what the outside looks like. It's what's inside that matters, right? Well, there's nothing at all wrong with letting your personality shine and it's also great in having others ask about your Bible. Gives you opportunity to share the Word. 

So, let's talk about the inside of this study Bible. It's the NKJV translation. Many are true to the KJV and that's wonderful. I love a black leather NKJ Bible, but what I love about this study Bible is that for me it's easier to understand than the KJV translation. If it's easier for me to understand than I'm going to be spending more time studying. So that aspect alone is great for younger lovers of the Word, maybe newcomers to the Word as well. When it's easy understanding the possibilities are endless!

The NKJV study Bible contains the Word of Christ in red print. I know many of you love this aspect. I do as well. This full color study Bible is the best of the best. It literally contains everything you need for a great study. When studying from this Bible I don't need another concordance, because this one is vast in giving information. The bullet notes are outstanding in helping me define words that I often skip over. I just love the entire design of this study Bible. 

It also contains a one year and three year Bible reading plan. Many people like adding information to their Bibles for safe keeping as they pass them down to the next generation. This Bible has a family registry page and other pages for keeping those special moments treasured. 

I LOVE Holman Bibles because of their accuracy. I can trust that this is the Word of God. That's why I love sharing all of these Bibles with you. Everyone needs a great study Bible and friends, B&H Publishing Group has the best of the best. They don't just have one translation or one certain style. There are literally hundreds to choose from. Just pop over and visit and you can see for yourself all the Bibles. You're sure to find the perfect Bible for you. 

Although this is a study Bible it isn't overly big or too heavy to carry to church. It's a terrific sized Bible and the print is legible as well. There isn't anything I don't enjoy about this Bible. 

I could spend hours just studying the illustrations and reconstructions. They are fascinating and a great tool for additional study. The photographs and maps give the reader a great advantage in study. If you love studying the Word this is a great choice!

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

HCSB Study Bible, Mantova Brown LeatherTouch Indexed by B&H Publishing Group

My son picked up this study Bible and said, "Hey, now this one is really cool. It has a rugged look to it". That's all I needed to hear to know that any young man would love to have this study Bible if they like that rugged look. I know, many don't care what the outside of their Bible looks like and that's okay. But for me I love having a Bible that reflects my personality. I picture my husband carrying this Bible out in the woods with him to the hunting cabin during deer season where he loves to have time with the Lord and reflect in the Word. Guys like to have cool Bibles too! This would make a great gift for that rugged guy in your life. 

This leather study Bible is indexed, which is an aspect that I love about this Bible. It makes for easy finding. It also comes with two memory ribbons so you can keep track of more than one page. This study Bible is in the HSCB translation. Another favorite of mine. I can tell you that my son also enjoys this translation. It makes for easy understanding and most importantly is trustworthy to the Word. 

Here is a list of the other features this amazing study Bible contains:
  • 290 word studies
  • 141 photographs
  • 62 timelines
  • 59 maps
  • 24 articles
  • 6 illustrations/reconstructions
  • 15 charts
  • Four-color presentation pages
  • Two-column text setting
  • Two-piece gift box (non-hardcover)
  • One- and three-year Bible reading plans
  • Center column references
  • Topical subheads
  • Black letter text
What stands out for me are the word studies, the illustrations and the reconstructions. These are huge in helping me study the Word with precise understanding. The maps are clear, colorful, bright, and beautiful. Another great tool for understanding the Word. For instance, understanding how far the Disciples traveled, the journey they took and the time span in which they got to one place to another gives us a realistic understanding and totally wows us when we come to realize just how far they traveled and the areas in which they journeyed. 

I can spend hours studying the timelines and articles. The charts are an outstanding tool to have while studying the Word. They give great detail on many subjects. The Book introductions are spectacular as are the comprehensive study notes. I love reading scripture and following along with the study notes. They answer questions I have and always seem to give me that 'aha' moment to lead me deeper into my study. 

I know many of you love having the Words of Jesus in bold red. This study Bible does not contain that feature. That would be the only feature for me that this Bible doesn't hold. The concordance is a great size and the bullet notes are helpful as well. There's always those common words we kind of skip over, but never really knowing the exact meaning and definition. The bullet notes help us understand such words. 

This study Bible is beautiful for a man or woman. I think it's just gorgeous! If you're searching for a superb study Bible this is a great choice. I encourage you to check out the amazing Bibles you can find at B&H Publishing Group. You are sure to find the perfect study Bible or reference Bible in which you have been searching!

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

Thursday, August 13, 2015

It's Good To Be Queen by Liz Curtis Higgs

It's Good To Be Queen is a book that surprised me. This would make for a great Sunday school study, a women's group study, just a few friends gathered together, or just soaking up every last word as you read on your own. I found this book to be refreshing and so well written. Liz is gifted at bringing us books that bring us closer to the Word and closer to understanding ourselves through learning more about the women of the Bible. 

Queen Sheba isn't a woman of the Bible that I've taken great time to study. What Liz Curtis Higgs gives us is an honest and pure portrayal of this wise woman. She gives us nothing more than the Word of God. It isn't sensationalized, nor is it added to. This is what I find so amazing!! Love that Liz brought us a book that is true to the Word. Not her opinion, not her taking us off on a journey of untruths and just imaginings, but bringing us to a place where we can truly see the queen of Sheba for the woman she was. I feel that she captured the queen of Sheba beautifully. 

There isn't a great amount of scripture given to us about the queen of Sheba, but Liz brings out what the Bible does give us, nothing more. I love how everything here within these pages points to our God and His Word. 

She gives the reader a great study guide to follow in the back of the book. Another facet that I enjoyed about this book is that Liz gives us scripture from many, many translations for easy understanding. This gives us a broader understanding of the Word. One of my favorite chapters is the very last chapter, "It's Good To End Well", where she shares passages from women sharing what finishing well means to them. 

The queen of Sheba traveled to visit Solomon and had no idea what she was going to be leaving with and sharing with others. She brought treasure upon treasure. She had a heart prepared for anything. She was seeking wisdom, but was ready to give herself. Solomon in all his wisdom gave her far greater treasure than she could have ever imagined. 

Liz teaches us through what we biblically know about the queen of Sheba how to walk in grace, strength, and beauty. Beauty adorned within by allowing Jesus to move through us as we move about in our daily lives with His calling to be the women He has created us to be. This is one of those super books that gives us some extra tools for our journey. To be a woman who walks in wisdom is a wondrous character trait that gives room for the Lord to shine through us, giving Him the stage to shine before all.

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

Liz Curtis Higgs has one goal: to help women embrace the grace of God with joy and abandon. She is the author of more than thirty books with over 4.5 million copies in print, including her nonfiction bestsellers, Bad Girls of the Bible, The Girl's Still Got It, and The Women of Christmas, and her Scottish historical fiction novels, Here Burns My Candle and Mine Is the Night, a New York Times bestseller. Liz has also spoken at more than seventeen hundred women's conferences around the world. 

HCSB Journaling Bible by B&H Publishing Group

There is a Bible out there for everyone and at B&H Publishing Group you are sure to find the perfect Bible in which you're searching. I recently received the Journaling Bible in the HCSB translation. I was excited to receive this one and I can tell you that I was not let down in the least. This Bible is terrific for the girl/guy who loves to take notes in their Bible. 

I know that I often don't have enough room on my pages to jot down notes or pen special meanings of those {aha} moments as the Spirit speaks to us as we read the Word. This Bible is absolutely perfect for such note taking. Journaling Bible is exactly what this Bible is all about. 

Let's talk about the cover. It is a leather bound cover in brown/black with stitching on the front. It is a bonded leather, but what I love even more is that it has a feeling of a hardback. My son picked up this Bible and said, "Hey, this is really cool!" 

The pages are a perfect texture for writing with your favorite pen. The back of the Bible holds a few colored maps that are bright and defining. You will also find Bullet Notes and a great size concordance. This Bible is simple, yet perfect for journaling along as we read the Word. 

The print is a great size. There is one column of scripture on each page along with a column for writing. Again, very simple, but a wonderful Bible for the person who loves to journal in their Bible. This Bible would be great for a retreat, for those times of solace and pondering over the Word. Excellent for the Bible student who already has a study Bible, but would like to have a Journaling Bible they could cover with the pen, keeping notes and questions for deeper reading. 

For me, this would be a great addition to studying a devotional. Having those quiet times and being able to pen what the Lord is sharing with you at the moment. It would be awesome for daily reading, keeping date of when you read a passage and what you gained from the Word. 

This isn't the Bible for everyone, but if you're like me and love to cover the pages with pen, this Bible is for you!! You too can purchase this Bible in the NKJV translation

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

Wild in the Hollow by Amber C. Haines

Wild in the Hollow caught my attention quickly. I love reading new authors and this memoir seemed to prick my heart before it ever arrived at my door. I love real and transparent. This is what you get with Amber C. Haines. Her words are poetic and flowery, descriptive and unapologetic, and words I could relate to. Not that we have the same story. We are much different people, but my heart connected with her heart right away as her powerful words stirred me to look deeper in my own heart. 

That's another thing I loved about this book. Amber gives the reader permission to be real with her. It's as though as you're reading your own heart is widening and giving birth to your own redemptive need. Her words are personal and intimate. Oh, the courage that must have filled her to pen such honest purity. This is writing that a growing and changing heart needs to journey forward into being real. It's when we are real with others that they see Jesus in us. 

This book brings the reader to ponder the chase. What are we chasing? To be real is beauty and power, grace and love. I couldn't put this book down. The more Amber shared the more I wanted to know. She writes personal. She isn't preachy and wishy washy so the reader {thinks} she's something she's not. She's open about life and love, the family and the church. Her words are words we need to hear today and share in our world today instead of hiding and pretending everything's okay. 

I found this book to be beautifully penned. This is one to pass to our girlfriends, our mom, and our daughters. 

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

Amber C. Haines is a soulful writer and a blogger at She is curator, with her husband, Seth, of Mother Letters and is a contributor with many acclaimed writers and bloggers at DaySpring's (in)courage. She has been involved as a coordinator with both BlissDom and !dea Camp Orphan Care and continues to build meaningful relationships with church leaders, lifestyle bloggers, authors, advocates, and poets. She lives in Arkansas.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Among The Fair Magnolias

Four stories from four magnificent writers that take the reader back in time to South Carolina 1860, Texas 1878, Georgia 1868, and Tennessee 1870. These writers are powerful in their gift to encompass such great dynamics in giving us such a vivid description of the time and the people. 

Each story different circumstances, different characters, but all leading us to a life lived in faith, unafraid and powerful when we trust our mighty God with all! This is such a powerful time in history, one that shouldn't be forgotten. I love traveling back in time with writers who give me a front seat to what life could have been for these people facing the unimaginable. 

I loved the characters. The stories are exquisite in carrying such life lessons. If you're a lover of history and romance this novel is for you. I have read every book penned by Tamera Alexander and Elizabeth Musser. Love them both!! My favorite stories are by both of these ladies. Elizabeth Musser brought a story of powerful grace that left me wanting more!! Tamera Alexander just speaks to my heart in such a deep wave of emotion. 

I'm new to Dorothy Love and Shelley Gray. Okay, these ladies ROCK in bringing a story alive and allowing the reader to feel with great emotion. I'm excited to explore more of their work. 

The cover is beautiful and is so poignant. Women of grace and strength, facing trials unimaginable, showing sheer beauty as they grow in the women God created them to be. Each character of these stories is a powerful glimpse into the lives  of the women of this time and leaves us with wondrous examples of boundless beauty. 

These stories show us the power of God when we turn everything over to Him and learn to trust in ALL He is. This is where our faith is grown. Oh, I LOVED these stories. I love picking up a book and being excited about what's to come. This is one of those books you want share with friends!

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

Where Treasure Hides by Johnnie Alexander

Get ready to journey back in time with characters that will grab your heart and a story that will bring you to ponder what's priceless in your own life. Are we ready to protect what is valuable? Just what is of value in our lives? These are questions that I pondered as these characters opened my heart. Here's the thing; we have a Master Artist and He created us by His own hands for a greater purpose than what we can even imagine. These characters are filled with faith and are living out their lives with intent on leaving behind a legacy far greater than what man can create by his own hand. 

The cover is fantastically created to captivate the senses. It was the cover that caught my attention. The description only gives a portion of the beauty this novel holds. Alexander is a masterful writer in bringing history to an age where people are more concerned with here and now. May we never forget this time. If you're a history lover this novel is magical. 

Every girl dreams of a man like Ian Devlin. A hero in many ways. In the heart of Alison Schuyler he is everything she desires, but everything she knows she thinks she doesn't deserve. Oh, the curses that Satan causes us to believe and live out, losing moments of glory out of fear of believing there is more created for us than what this world says we can and cannot obtain in life. Throughout this story we see God in motion, His continual hand upon those who love Him, and His will for their lives develop over time as faith grows through trial. 

We travel back in a time where Hitler was out to destroy everything priceless. This story begins in 1939 and we journey through to the year 1950. An ending that seems to give us a clue that there will be a sequel to this beautifully poetic novel. 

Johnnie Alexander is a spectacular writer. She gives us history through characters that are believable. She brings them to life through these black and white pages. This is a story that I wanted to take my time with and enjoy. I found myself experiencing many different emotions, but one that remained throughout this novel was joy. I found that even though these characters faced such trials they carried a forever joy in their heart that was filled with determined hope. 

We see there is always treasure to be found. I LOVED this novel and cannot wait to see if Alexander continues this story. It's truly an unforgettable read!

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

Johnnie Alexander writes inspiring stories that are heartwarming and memorable. Where Treasure Hides, her debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011) and Golden Leaf Award (2014). A graduate of Rollins College (Orlando) with a Master of Liberal Studies degree, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She lives in the Memphis area, where her morning chores include feeding dogs, cats, chickens, and a small herd of alpacas. Visit Johnnie online at 

Fade to Blue by Julie Carobini

What a great first time visit to Otter Bay! I can't wait to return. I am totally new to Julie Carobini. I know, right? Where have I been? I'm sure many of you are huge fans and for some this will be your first glimpse into her writings. Fade to Blue is truly a beach read. A summer read of fun that is filled with faith, growth, and reassurance that our purpose goes far beyond anything we can imagine. The main theme that touched me was reminding me that we have a God of second chances and that is exactly what we find here in this novel penned by Julie Carobini. 

This is one of those delicious reads that grows as you continue turning pages. As you sip a cool glass of iced tea and bask in the sunshine you will be delighted as these characters pop off the pages. The story flows beautifully and the characters are those we can relate to. Suz Mitchell could be any one of us. Life throws a curve ball and we find ourselves in need of asking for help. This isn't always easy. But for Suz her big brother is there to lighten the load. I loved their relationship. It seems it isn't always easy. Suz feels that she and her son, Jeremiah, are in the way as they share a home, but as we see, this just isn't the case. 

We see what happens when divorce touches our lives. More importantly how it touches the lives of our children. Suz questions herself more and more. She wants to follow her dreams, but she questions if they really do come true. As we see God's dreams for us are bigger than anything we could ever imagine. 

We see Suz battle with believing in herself. She seems to think that dreams come true for others, but for her it just isn't to be. Oh, does God have a surprise in store for her. Don't you just love how God does that for those who believe in Him? Suz learns that when she truly trusts God her faith will grow and she will see that nothing is impossible for a girl with God sized dreams!

You romance lovers will fall head over heals for this story. A huge theme here is restoration. I LOVE how Carobini weaves a story of faith that points straight to our Creator, our Restorer. This isn't a deep read, but one that is thought provoking. As I turned the last page I was more in love with my Restorer than when I began. That's huge for me! I love a story that stirs my heart and strengthens my faith. This is one of those stories that leaves you with hope and smile upon your face knowing that God is always in control. 

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

Julie Carobini writes seaside novels filled with faith, flip-flops, and waves of grace. She has also written articles for Decision and Focus on the Family magazines and received awards from the National League of American Pen Women. Julie and her husband Dan have three children and live on California's central coast. 


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