Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: World View

World View
By Marvin Olasky
New Growth Press, 2017


How could our world be different if Christians were recognized for not only speaking the truth, but also demonstrating mercy?

What would our lives be like if we reacted to our common culture with not just biblical facts, but also grace and compassion?

For more than 25 years, Marvin Olasky has offered this kind of viewpoint in his columns as the Editor-in-Chief of World Magazine, the leading news magazine written with a Christian perspective. In this collection of far-ranging columns, Olasky's commentary on world events and affairs, as well as his own personal interactions, encourages readers to respond with both grace and truth in every encounter.

A leading voice for standing for biblical truth in the public square, Olasky also believes Christians should incorporate the biblical virtues of humility, kindness, and mercy in all of life. His call for biblical values to include both truth and mercy makes his voice stand out in a world that often falsely divides those goals and settles for a poor imitation of the robust Christianity described in Scripture. These short and punchy columns offer readers a new way to consider challenges in today's world and shows them how to respond to any encounter biblically, but not hysterically, providing a wake-up call for the complacent, while also calming the frantic.

Learn more, read a sample, and purchase a copy.

My thoughts

From the dream factories of Hollywood to the misery factories
of the poverty-industrial complex, the wood is rotten,
but we only seem able to smooth some rough edges.

World View is an impressive book, a collection of fifty-eight columns from World Magazine that not only offered encouragement, but made look at a lot of things differently. Marvin Olasky is an excellent communicator and while the chapters are easy to read, they are deep and thought-provoking, making me eager to go back and digest each one slowly.

The columns are compiled over the years between 1997 and 2016, and while a lot has changed over that time, his thoughts are extremely relevant for today. I used to watch the news every evening, but have become so frustrated and discouraged over the way people on every side act that I don’t tune in very often now. What Olasky does so effectively is bring culture, politics, current events, and spirituality together and look at them from a biblical perspective. Just about every issue you can think of is addressed in some way – welfare, education, marriage, abortion, immigration.

Olasky is a man of faith and I think every Christian would find this book very beneficial, whether interested in politics or not. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think of the Charles Sheldon classic, In His Steps, because Olasky’s writing made me focus on how Jesus would minister and teach in today’s cultural/political environment.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of "World News Group," a distinguished chair in journalism and public policy at Patrick Henry College, and the author of more than twenty books, including "Compassionate Conservatism" and "The Tragedy of American Compassion." He and his wife, Susan, have four sons and five grandchildren.

Find out more about Marvin at

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Cowboy Christmas Guardian

About the Book:

Name of book: Cowboy Christmas Guardian
Author: Dana Mentink
Genre: Isnpy Romance Suspense

Someone is dead set on stopping Shelby Arroyo from doing her job: assessing mineral rights in a mine in gold country. But after rancher Barrett Thorn rescues her from an attack, the handsome widowed cowboy seems to feel responsible for her. That is, until he discovers she’s from the family that he’ll never forgive for his wife’s death. 

As the threats against Shelby escalate, cowboy honor and an unexpected attraction keep Barrett by her side, even at his own risk. And since Shelby won’t back down, Barrett must protect the brave, loyal woman he has no business falling for…a woman someone wants to kill by Christmas.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts:

Suspenseful, romantic, spiritual, heartwarming … I loved everything about Cowboy Christmas Guardian! I’m not normally a suspense fan, but wanted to read this book because I had greatly enjoyed Dana Mentink’s writing in another series, and am so glad I did.

On a suspense level, this is a fast-moving, action-packed story, hard to put down even for a minute. But what I liked best is the family relationship element. Barrett is the first member of the Thorn family who captured my heart, followed by three other intriguing brothers – making this a series to anticipate. Chemistry sparks immediately between Barrett and Shelby, in spite of a past event that makes any kind of relationship highly unlikely, until their faith in God enters the picture.

Dana Mentink has crafted a highly entertaining story that also includes interesting facts about gold mining. Within the Love Inspired line, 5 stars.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Celebrate Lit Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author:

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over thirty-five titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. 

Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a nutty terrier, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.

Guest Post from Dana Mentink

Howdy, readers! I am thrilled to be bringing you this four-book Gold Country Cowboys series that takes place in an area near and dear to my heart! My family and I have enjoyed many adventures in this amazing area, from exploring gold mines, to climbing through caverns, and soaking in the incredible history. As a matter of fact, we recently enjoyed a train trip on the historic V and T Railroad which took us past abandoned mines and even some active ones where people are engaged in modern day treasure hunting. 

California’s Gold Country is a fascinating place filled with secret treasures. I hope you will enjoy some wild adventures with four cowboy brothers who have some secrets of their own. God bless you all!


In honor of her tour, Dana is giving away a copy of Cowboy Christmas Guardian in print or ebook, a horse scarf and a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): A Mother for Leah

A Mother for Leah
By Rachel L. Miller
Windy Gap Wishes #1
S&G Publishing, 2017


Will Leah Fisher find love because of a buggy accident? Could love soften her heart so that she is able to see her answered prayers in Naomi Yoder or will she drive a wedge between her father and the only woman he has shown interest in since Elisabeth Fisher’s death?

Leah Fisher lost her mother ten years ago. She is rapidly approaching womanhood and the lack is becoming more difficult every day. Will she be able to recognize love when it’s right in front of her? Could love be the key to Leah opening her heart, making room for the woman her father intends to marry… or will she stubbornly cling to the memory of her own mother?

Will Leah be able to let go of her own ideas and realize that God truly does know best for her or will she allow love to slip through her fingers, destroying Samuel Fisher and Naomi Yoder’s happiness at the same time?

A Mother for Leah is a story about finding love and joy again after an unexpected tragedy rocks an Amish family’s life. Sweet, compelling, and filled with a charming cast of characters who will resonate with readers of all ages.” ~ Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author of The Quieting

Amazon B&N iTunes Kobo Universal

My thoughts

If Gotte knew the best plan for them both,
who was Samuel to disagree?

A Mother for Leah is a well-written traditional Amish story and I enjoyed it very much. Rachel L. Miller is an excellent writer and has crafted an entertaining story about a family coping with change after the loss of the mother, and their emotional struggles are the same as any of us would face. Faith is at the core of the story – a belief in God’s plan and God’s timing.

Leah, one of several children in the Fisher family, is an appealing character. When the children were first mentioned at the beginning, I thought surely some were cousins – but no! If I didn’t overlook any, there are eleven children in all, and what great material for future stories. Leah is on the brink of courtship age, longing for the Mamm she had prayed for, but struggling with feelings of betrayal as Samuel becomes interested in Naomi.

Readers will enjoy two romances – Samuel/Naomi and Leah/Jacob. Instant attraction was present in both cases – and while I can understand that, it all seemed a little too surface level for me and I wished for more depth in the grown of their relationships. Still, I enjoyed A Mother for Leah and am eager for more Fisher family stories.


I was provided a copy of this book through Singing Librarian Book Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Rachel L Miller writes sweet Amish romance with a focus on faith, family and friendship.

She feels very strongly that God has led her to live a simpler lifestyle; thus her deep kinship with the plain people. She enjoys spending time with her family and doing fun, simple things like swimming, making sun tea, sitting outside watching the sunrise or listening to rain fall on the tin roof.

Rachel enjoys writing Amish fiction and hopes that the purity of her stories will allow God’s message to shine through more clearly. She also writes Contemporary Inspirational Romance – and with all of her stories she focuses on presenting romance the way God intended it to be.



Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): 95, The Ideas That Birthed the Reformation

About the Book

Author: Martin Luther  
Genre: Non-Fiction, Historical Theology 
Release Date: August 8, 2017

In 1517, an unknown Augustinian monk, informed by his growing belief that salvation is by faith alone, published and distributed a stark criticism of papal abuses in the Catholic Church. In doing so, Martin Luther lit the spark for what would become the Protestant Reformation. 

What became known as the “95 Theses” was a series of statements expressing concern with corruption within the church, primarily the selling of “indulgences” to the people as a means of releasing them from acts of penitence. 

For the five hundredth anniversary of Luther’s revolutionary writing, this volume combines each thesis with an excerpt from one of his later works to provide a convenient way to understand the ideas and concepts that became the seeds of the Protestant Reformation.

Print out a fun Luther mask here.
Click here to purchase your copy. 

My Thoughts

95: The Ideas That Birthed the Reformation is a great resource – an informative and scholarly work that pairs each of Martin Luther’s 95 theses with excerpts from his writing. Each thesis is covered in a short chapter, but “short” doesn’t mean a quick read. The information is interesting and thorough, begging to be digested in small blocks at a time. This book works well as a reference source, but also for personal study and reflection.

I picked up this book, only having a vague idea of all that Luther railed against, and found it to be a great learning experience. For one thing, he probably didn’t expect to touch off such a far-reaching debate. Also surprising was how very relevant his ideas are for us today, with themes such as corruption, greed, sole authority of the Bible, and salvation by faith. Luther’s intelligence, sincerity, and humility come through in his writings. It’s obvious that he was used of God during a time that was ripe for religious reform.

I want to share one quote from his writing that I loved. Reflecting on the issue of pride (Thesis #48), Luther writes …

It is of a piece with this revolting pride, that the pope is not satisfied with riding on horseback or in a carriage, but though he be hale and strong, is carried by men like an idol in unheard-of pomp. I ask you, how does this Lucifer-like pride agree with the example of Christ, who went on foot, as did also all His apostles? Where has there been a king who lived in such worldly pomp as he does, who professes to be the head of all whose duty it is to despise and flee from all worldly pomp – I mean, of all Christians?

Highly recommended for reference or personal study.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

Martin Luther (1483–1546) was a German monk, priest, professor of theology, and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the sale of indulgences, the church’s practice of selling pieces of paper that guaranteed freedom from God’s punishment for sin. In 1517, Luther directly confronted this and other papal abuses by publishing his “95 Theses.” In 1534, Luther published a complete translation of the Bible into German.

Guest Post from Whitaker House Publishing

In 1517, a thriving new industry was sweeping northern Germany. Begun a few centuries earlier, its reappearance in the 16th century was perhaps the cleverest abuse of church power to date. Church officials strapped for cash decided to offer remission from the punishment for sins, or “indulgence,” to German believers in return for a commensurate amount of money. The slick church salesmanship of indulgences incensed one young priest, who believed that faithful Christians were being manipulated and the Word of God misinterpreted. He wrote a pamphlet comprised of 95 claims that he hoped would inspire scholarly debate. Titled Disputation of Dr. Martin Luther Concerning Penitence and Indulgences, it went down in history as “The 95 Theses.”

Most historians believe that Martin Luther did not intend to spark a public debate. It was written in Latin, the language of scholars, and pinned to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church which served as a “bulletin board” of sorts, where Luther knew fellow theologians would see it and perhaps engage in a discussion on the topic.

Luther’s pamphlet, how­ever, was not another piece of paper flapping in the wind. Someone translated into German, and distributed it to the public with the help of a recent invention—the printing press. Luther tried to retrieve his work, but the damage was done. Within weeks, the debate that began in Wittenberg spread throughout Germany, and within months, all of Europe.

Five hundred years later, Whitaker House presents each of Luther’s 95 Theses paired with an excerpt from his many writings. Not every excerpt directly relates to the accompany­ing thesis, but we endeavored to select passages in which Luther was expounding on the same subject. Where further explanation was thought necessary to contextualize his words, a footnote is included. We hope you find 95: The Ideas That Changed the World an accessible and fascinating look into the ideas of this groundbreaking priest who stood up for God’s Word, the grace of the gospel—and made history.


To celebrate the tour, Whitaker House is giving away

  • Grand Prize: 95: The Ideas That Birthed the Reformation by Martin Luther, KJVER Sword Study Bible/Personal Size Large Print-Burgundy Genuine Leather ($60 value), Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book. 
  • First Place: 95: The Ideas That Birthed the Reformation by Martin Luther, “This is The Day” ceramic mug from Christian Arts Gifts, Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book Second Place: 95: The Ideas That Birthed the Reformation by Martin Luther, Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Hunting Hour

Hunting Hour
By Margaret Mizushima
A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #3
Crooked Lane Books, 2017


Deputy Mattie Cobb is in a dark place and has withdrawn from Cole Walker and his family to work on issues from her past. When she and her K-9 partner Robo get called to track a missing junior high student, they find the girl dead on Smoker’s Hill behind the high school, and Mattie must head to the Walker home to break the bad news. But that’s only the start of trouble in Timber Creek, because soon another girl goes missing—and this time it’s one of Cole’s daughters.

Knowing that each hour a child remains missing lessens the probability of finding her alive, Mattie and Robo lead the hunt while Cole and community volunteers join in to search everywhere. To no avail. It seems that someone has snatched all trace of the Walker girl from their midst, including her scent. Grasping at straws, Mattie and Robo follow a phoned-in tip into the dense forest, where they hope to find a trace of the girl’s scent and to rescue her alive. But when Robo does catch her scent, it leads them to information that challenges everything they thought they knew about the case.

Mattie and Robo must rush to hunt down the kidnapper before they’re too late in Hunting Hour, the third installment in critically acclaimed author Margaret Mizushima’s exhilarating mystery series.

My thoughts

Hunting Hour, a combination of police procedural and suspense, is an outstanding murder mystery – atmospheric, fast-paced, haunting, a clean read that was downright hard to put down. Although third in the Timber Creek K-9 series, it stands alone, but I can guarantee that the character development will leave you eager to read the previous two books.

Margaret Mizushima has crafted an engrossing, well-written story with Colorado’s rugged beauty as the backdrop. Mattie is an appealing lead character – intelligent, but with an abusive past that affects her relationships and actions. That troubled past also affects her investigative skills – negatively by getting in the way sometimes, but positively by helping her identify with the victim. There’s a hint of romance with Cole Walker, local vet, and I loved Mattie’s relationship with his two daughters. Other secondary characters are well drawn, making it even more rewarding to read the series in order.

Robo, Mattie’s work dog, is a star! One of this story’s strengths is the bond between dog and human, and it was fascinating to see the way a police dog works. From Mattie’s abusive childhood to the murder/kidnapping of children, anything that threatens a child captures the heart and emotions. As for the “whodunit” part, twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat and unsure until the end.

I’m not normally a suspense fan, but there was a good balance between suspense and the workings of the investigative team. I hope there will be many more Timber Creek K-9 mysteries in the future.


I was provided a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Margaret Mizushima is the author of the Timber Creek K-9 mysteries, which includes Killing Trail (Crooked Lane Books, 2015) nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice award for best first mystery, Stalking Ground (Crooked Lane Books, 2016) a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards mystery category, and Hunting Hour (Crooked Lane Books, 2017).

She has a background in speech pathology and practiced in an acute care hospital before establishing her own rehabilitation agency. Currently, she balances writing with assisting her husband with their veterinary clinic and Angus cattle herd. She enjoys reading and hiking, and she lives on a small ranch in Colorado where she and her husband raised two daughters and a multitude of animals.


Purchase Links:
Amazon  Barnes and Noble  Booksamillion  Indiebound


Please help spread the word by clicking on this link and sharing my Facebook post, then leave a comment here.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Review + GIVEAWAY: A Tangled Web

A Tangled Web
By Mike Martin
A Sgt. Windflower Mystery #6, Inc., 2017


Life is good for Sgt. Windflower in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. But something’s missing from the Mountie’s life. Actually, a lot of things go missing, including a little girl and supplies from the new factory.

It’s Windflower’s job to unravel the tangled web of murder, deceit and an accidental kidnapping that threatens to engulf this sleepy little town and destroy those closest to him. But there’s always good food, good friends and the love of a great woman to make everything better in the end.

Grand Bank, Newfoundland

My thoughts

I liked that A Tangled Web isn’t your ordinary murder mystery and I enjoyed it very much. This is more of a traditional mystery or police procedural, rather than a cozy mystery. The story is well crafted, atmospheric, and the characters easy to keep up with. I appreciated that any violence takes place off screen and the writing is clean. It’s an easy read that held my attention and left me wanting more stories in this series.

Set in the small community of Grand Bank, Newfoundland, A Tangled Web involves the RCMP detachment located there and its leader, Sergeant Winston Windflower. The writing is different from a lot of books, in that the dialogue seems a little stiff at times and there isn’t a lot of character depth, emotion or descriptive language, but it works here. This story stands alone, but I would probably have a better sense of the characters had I read the previous five books, which I am eager to do.

Winston Windflower, from the Cree community of Northern Alberta, is a character that I was immediately drawn to. He’s a caring husband and soon-to-be father, loyal friend, believer in things spiritual, and an easygoing crime solver who gets the job done. It only took one Tony Hillerman novel for me to be drawn to stories involving the Indian culture, and Mike Martin quite vividly conveys that aspect. The spiritual traditions were especially fascinating, such as dream weaving, explained by Winston’s aunt … “Dreams tell us about our past, what has already happened. They also point to actions we should take if we want to get the right result in the future and to the signs all around us that we need to follow.

It was fun to see Mike Martin do a little “name dropping” when he mentions two mystery authors that I greatly enjoy and highly recommend, Louise Penny and Donna Leon.

A Tangled Web ends with Winston and his wife making plans to open a B&B, with Winston transitioning gradually from his RCMP post as he becomes a dad. While this sounds like good storytelling opportunities, it was the RCMP (and setting) that initially drew me to this story, so I hope he continues in this field through many more books.


I was provided a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series . Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home.

A Long Ways from Home was shortlisted for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web is the newest book in the series.


Purchase Link – Amazon


To enter the drawing for a Kindle copy of A Tangled Web, please click on this link and share my Facebook post, then leave a comment here.

BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Thursday, December 7. Winner will be chosen by and contacted by e-mail.

Eligibility: International

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Every Serengeti Sunrise

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Every Serengeti Sunrise
(From Kenya, With Love #4)
Rula Sinara
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 368 pages
December 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Elephants, Africa’s wild savannah and three best friends…

When attorney Maddie Corallis returns to Kenya to fight a humanitarian vs animal rights case, the last thing she expects is for her childhood friend, wildlife veterinarian Haki Odaba, to be the very man she’s up against. Loyal and protective, Haki would never turn his back on the elephants he’s devoted to saving, any more than Maddie could abandon the native tribes she’s come to protect. An impossible battle…but nothing compared to the fight they face when old feelings surface and the soul-deep connection they’ve always shared threatens the worst kind of betrayal...that of their dearest friend Pippa. The one Haki is expected to marry.

Denying their feelings is torture, but giving in is not an option. Not with the suffering it would cause. Besides, Maddie left Kenya once and she’ll be leaving again soon. An ocean, a case and a friend between them. Maybe love can’t always find a way…or can it?

Other Books in the Series

My Thoughts

“We cannot condone the hunting of elephants, be it
for a warrior’s rite of passage or for retaliation,
and especially not for ivory.”
- Haki

Every Serengeti Sunrise, a clean romance in Harlequin’s Heartwarming line, will certainly appeal to romance fans, but this story is so much more. I’m not naturally drawn to Kenya as a setting and love triangles don’t really appeal, but I wanted to read this story because the author had been recommended – and I was blown away. Rich characterization, breathtaking setting, and poignant storyline all combined into a compelling, epic read that captured me emotionally from page one and never let go. The writing of Rula Sinara is impressive and I love her gentle warmth and humor.

The story centers around Maddie, Haki, and Pippa, three childhood friends who are reconnected upon Maddie’s return to Kenya. Haki and Maddie had never acted upon their feelings for each other, and when Maddie left for the States, he and Pippa kind of drifted into a romantic relationship based on their friendship, shared interests and family expectations “because their lives had become so intertwined he couldn’t see them ever being apart.” Suddenly Maddie returns, finds herself opposing Haki in a legal situation, and nothing is the same.

The author excels at breathing life into the wildlife setting so that the senses pick up on all that there is to see and care about. I'm so very impressed by wildlife rescue and am now in love with the baby elephants in need of help. The legal issues placed human rights and animal rights at odds with each other, and I could identify with each point of view. And the romance? Wow! I had to just sit back and take a big breath after turning the last page.

Every Serengeti Sunrise is book #4 in the series, and while it stands alone, I’m sure that reading the previous three would help to better understand the family background and relationships that I found a little hard to follow. Don’t let that stop you from reading this story, though! Then maybe, like me, you will be eager to follow the complete series.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a copy of this book through Prism Book Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

National and USA Today Bestselling author Rula Sinara lives in rural Virginia with her family and crazy but endearing pets. She loves organic gardening, attracting wildlife to her yard, planting trees, raising backyard chickens and drinking more coffee than she'll ever admit to.

Rula's writing has earned her a National Readers Choice Award and HOLT Medallion Award of Merit, among other honors. You can discover more about Rula at her blog A Writer’s Rush, on Twitter, on Facebook as RulaSinaraAuthor or on her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter.

Tour Schedule

November 13th: Launch Colorimetry
November 21st: Wishful Endings & The Power of Words
November 22nd: Heidi Reads... & I Am A Reader
November 23rd: underneath the covers
November 24th: Becky on Books
November 25th: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

Prize Pack #1: (one winner, U.S. residents only)
- A set of three, 15X15 in cotton canvas ‘From Kenya, With Love’ tote bags
- A handmade wooden ‘Believe’ star ornament
- A set of 3 plush wild animal TY Teeny Tys (great stocking stuffers!)
- An autographed copy of A Heartwarming Christmas Craft & Cookbook
- An autographed copy of After the Silence
- An autographed copy of Through the Storm
- Every Serengeti Sunrise bookmark

Prize Pack #2: (one winner, open to U.S. and International residents)
Amazon Kindle (gifted) copies of The Promise of Rain and After the Silence (Winner may substitute a different backlist book by Rula Sinara, if one of the above titles is already owned. No other substitutions apply.)

Ends November 29th