Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Until We Find Home by Cathy Gohlke

Cathy Gohlke is a favorite for me. She is a master storyteller. She weaves a story before us that takes us back in time to the year of 1940. The war is the backdrop for this story. The main theme is courage under fire. How do you find courage to move forward when you aren't even sure where to step? This is where we find our main character, Claire. A young and beautiful American who has joined the French Resistance. That alone sounds courageous, right? But what happens when the plan goes terribly wrong and the support you thought was waiting for you just isn't to be found? Claire is filled with fear, but the challenge is before her. 

What I love is that she doesn't want to go along with this any longer. The fear is too much. The love she holds for one is most uncertain. She has no idea where to turn. She needs help. This is where we see God move. Just when she thinks there isn't another way He makes a way. Just when she's too tired to budge, there He is to provide aid. A safe place to lay her head, protection in the darkness, and warmth when all she feels is cold. 

This novel journeys with Claire as she seeks solace for the children of this war. She wants them to be safe, to have a home, to have safety, but she doesn't think she's the one to do it. Oh, from Claire, which I didn't so much like at times, I could easily see myself in her. That self doubt, that fear of being alone, the feeling of just wanting to be with the one you love. But, Claire doesn't remain in fear too long. She finds she isn't alone at all. And most of all she realizes she is surrounded by love. Love unexpected. 

There is so much to this novel. The characters are beautifully written. The details give just enough and then gives room for the imagination to come alive. I wanted to leave my dishes and all my chores just so I could keep reading. I would close this novel at night and wake hours later dreaming about this story. That's one powerful story!!!

Claire so wanted to go back home. She just wanted things to go back to the way they were. Through her journey we see that God never leaves us. He remained with Claire and guided her right to where she was to be. You might say she bloomed right where she was planted. She found home in a place she never expected.  I love when God shows us that no matter what, no matter where we are, He is going to make way for big things to happen if we will just trust in Him. Little by little this is what Claire learned to do. 

I loved this novel. I cannot wait to see what's next for Cathy!!

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

Cathy Gohlke is a three-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 grandchildren. Visit her website at and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks. 

The Air I Breathe (Worship As A Way Of Life) by Louie Giglio

Louie Giglio is that cheerleader we all in our corner. He's that guy who loves to just talk Jesus. It isn't even that Jesus is the first word in the conversation. It's that every conversation goes back to Jesus. Simply put: He's in the air Louie breathes and it is so evident. Yes, this is how we are to live!! Breathing in Jesus in everything no matter how big or small. 

This is a little book with a mighty life lesson. Worship isn't just for Sunday. Worship is our life. Worship is breathing in Jesus. 

"We aren't designed to operate on a weekly worship cycle, but on a moment-by-moment connection of personal worship that's as much a part of our lives as the air we breathe. As we come together with other believers in worship, we bring that same sense of focus we've had in our daily journey. We bring that same determined devotion. Trust me, church is a lot better when our gathering are filled with people who have been pursuing God for six days before they get there. Church as a "refill" or a "tank-up" is a disaster. Corporate worship works best when we arrive with something to offer God. Sure, it is true that we are strengthened and refreshed by what happens when we worship with other believers, but leaning on Sunday as our only time of spiritual intake is a recipe for languid worship and anemic Body. Church is supposed to be a celebration of our personal journeys with God since we were last together. Imagine what would happen if each person in the congregation was seeking the face of God throughout the week. Some would encounter sorrow, others major happiness. But all would have a story to tell of God's faithfulness in good times and bad. What would happen if we came worshiping to church, filled with an awareness of His presence before we even reached the door? Well, for one, the lead worshiper's job would be a lot easier! And the intensity of our collective offering would be full-on. Can you see it? All of our personal streams of worship flowing into one surging river. One mighty anthem. A beautiful mosaic, telling an even greater story of who God is and what He's done."

This book is filled with wonderful insights on Spirit-filled worship living. Moment by moment worship. We all worship something, right? We may not think we are worshiping people, but we might be surprised to list the things that are of most value to us. Louie reminds us that, "Worship isn't something we attend, like a movie or a concert. Worship is something you enter into with all your might".

I enjoyed this book because it is a great reminder of what worship really is. It makes me think if I'm not worshiping all week and I leave it for Sunday what I am really gaining? If anything, I'm losing a great deal of blessings for the other six days of the week. I also take a way that worship has nothing to do with circumstance. No matter what kind of day I am having I can still worship. 

This is a book for any age, and for a believer at any of their faith journey. A mighty gift to the person who has not yet accepted Jesus as Savior. A great tool for Sunday school, a youth gathering, for any church group wanting to know what real worship is. 

After spending time in a Louie Giglio book I always walk away with great tools that help me in my faith journey. This is one I will keep on my shelf to go back to again and again. 

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

Louie Giglio is pastor of Passion City Church and the founder of the Passion movement. Since 1997, Passion has gathered college-age young people at events across the U.S. and around the world, uniting millions of students in worship, prayer, and justice. In addition to the Passion Conference gatherings, Louie and his wife, Shelley, lead the teams at Passion City Church, sixstepsrecords, and the Passion Global Institute. Louie is the author of The Comeback, I Am Not But I Know I Am, and Goliath Must Fall. Louie and Shelley make their home near Atlanta, Georgia. 

Missing Isaac penned by Valerie Fraser Luesse

This was a gem of a read. We travel through the years of 1962-1968 as we follow Pete, a young teen at the beginning of the story, but as we come to a close in the novel we see through these years he grows in great depths. 

This young boy faces loss, a loss I faced at the age of nineteen. Losing his dad greatly impacted his life. We see the character of his father through Pete's life. He lives a life of honor and doesn't allow trial or tragedy to cause him to choose a different way of life. He stays grounded in the foundation that his parents gave him. This is a wonderful trait to see in a character. He was easy to love. 

In the title, Missing Isaac, well, it fits perfectly. Isaac is another figure in the novel that stands out. He worked the land, but he was much more than a hired hand. He was a friend to the family. Pete's dad and Isaac shared a deep friendship. After the death of Pete's dad, Isaac steps in even more so to walk this journey with Pete. 

Friendships between these characters is sometimes hard to find in our world today. But Luesse gives us a great gift to look back in time when things really weren't so different as today. If we really look hard we can find those who are willing to walk the walk and talk the talk of a life of faith. I love how faith is woven throughout this novel. It is gently shared in the lives of the characters as we see them struggle and try to overcome the curve balls life throws at us at warp speed. Sometimes as we see there isn't much time to get over one hit before another is thrown our way. 

I love that this fictitious novel is grown in Glory, Alabama. Glory indeed is what we are invited to see. These characters are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. We see priority and people doing what's right even when it's not understood by others. We see characters standing up for those they love, fighting for justice for those who no longer have a voice, all in a place where there is judgement if your different. 

We see the color of our skin shouldn't make a difference in how we are accepted, but because all of our colors are different we should embrace and celebrate the heart of man inside out. 

I really loved this novel. What a wonderful debut for this author. I cannot wait to see what's next. One thing I loved was the older characters who walk in such mighty faith and trust, who give advice with love and kindness. Characters who give without wondering what the cost is for them. 

We travel with Pete as he misses Isaac. We too get to see the legacy of Isaac. He wasn't a perfect man. Oh, but if not for the grace of God there go I. But what Isaac had was a deep love for others, whether for friend or for stranger, he was willing to give all of himself. 

I loved the relationships and how the author gave us such a powerful portrayal of what life is like when we dare to take a chance on really caring, seeing beyond ourselves, and being willing to spend time with another, not so much for our benefit, but for the blessing to reach far beyond just {me}.  

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

Valerie Fraser Luesse is an award-winning writer and a senior travel editor for Southern Living. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana's Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She lives in Alabama. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman

If you're on the search for a legal thriller series this is it!! The first of the Hidden Justice Series is Beyond Justice. (Take a peek at my review). Cara Putman ROCKS! With great anticipation I grabbed up the second installment of this series and let me share with you that it is exceptional in every way! 

The characters leap off the pages. They are so full of life. Strong characters with determination and hope. They live their lives standing for justice, seeking justice, and using the law to their advantage in fighting evil. 

We once again get to follow the lives of the characters in the first novel, but this one takes on the journey of Emilie and a new character, Reid. Putman is a genius in bringing the reader characters with a purpose. They aren't just going through the motions of life, they are living every moment with intention. I love this! We are allowed to see the transparency in these characters through their emotions, wounds, and battles. 

I admire these characters in how they seek the truth. They don't do easy. They are ready and willing to give their all. They walk in faith. They cheer one another onward. We see friendships, a growing romance, the legal side of fighting for justice, and in all of this we see faith entwined throughout these magnificent people that the reader is invited to care about. 

Putman is wonderful with detail. She gives the reader an opportunity to follow the journey of the characters by giving us a fast passed, intelligent, and powerful read. I love closing a novel and wishing for more. This is one of those novels I didn't want to put down. 

In this novel we are reminded of the heroes that often fight for justice behind the scenes. They advocate for those who cannot fight the battle alone. We too see the main characters doubt themselves. We see the battle within as they question themselves. The battle of the flesh, of fear, of doubt. But, wow, do they overcome. This novel doesn't just take place in the courtroom as other legal thrillers. Putman takes us to the heart of each character as we travel with them through every aspect of their lives. 

Loved it!! I can't wait for the third installment of this amazing series. 😊

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

Cara Putman graduated high school at sixteen, college at twenty, and completed her law degree at twenty-seven. She has published more than twenty books, teaches college courses, practices law, and is a homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and children in Indiana.


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