Saturday, April 17, 2021

Book Review: 50 Pentecostal & Charismatic Leaders Every Christian Should Know

About the Book:

Empowering Stories from Spirit-Filled Leaders Who Blazed the Trail.

Throughout history, countless believers have gained renewed strength and purpose by following in the footsteps of faithful servants of God who showed them the way. In sparkling prose and fascinating detail, Dean Merrill captures the bold, often surprising stories of fifty such leaders--notable Pentecostal, charismatic and Spirit-empowered trailblazers, including

  • Smith Wigglesworth, bold as a lion
  • William J. Seymour, igniting Azusa Street
  • John G. Lake, making room for the Healer
  • Aimee Semple McPherson, everybody's sister
  • David du Plessis, bridge-builder
  • Leonard Ravenhill, sounding the alarm
  • John and Elizabeth Sherrill, scribes of the renewal
  • Jesse Miranda, up from the barrio
  • David Wilkerson, straight shooter
  • Cindy Jacobs, the "general"

By taking you into the private worlds of these men and women of God, Merrill helps you feel the quickening pulse of fearless obedience to the Holy Spirit. Let their stories fill your own heart with courage for the road ahead.

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading 50 Pentecostal and Charismatic Leaders Every Christian Should Know by Dean Merrill. Although I grew up in a conservative, Pentecostal church, I knew very little about any of the men and women featured in this collection. Each mini-biography devotes four to six pages to providing condensed background information of the individual, an overview of the person’s spiritual journey and undertakings, and a perspective on how the man or woman impacted the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. Although the biographies are kept short, many people reappear throughout the book and I thought the author did well tying it all together. I also appreciated that the author did not attempt to hide the short-comings of some individuals.

Reading 50 Pentecostal and Charismatic Leaders Every Christian Should Know opened my mind to the diversity of Spirit-filled life. I was raised a certain way, I attend a church that operates differently than I was raised, and this book shines the light on how the Holy Spirit does not fit into a particular box. He ministers through diverse methods, peoples, and belief systems.

As I read the stories of healing and spiritual gifts, my own faith was strengthened and my desire for the fullness of the Holy Spirit grew. I recommend 50 Pentecostal and Charismatic Leaders Every Christian Should Know by Dean Merrill to any Christian who enjoys biographies or is curious about the Holy Spirit.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review: Pining for Lord Lockhart by Jen Geigle Johnson

About the Book:

Charity watches each of her sisters make plans to marry, one by one, and she is overjoyed for their happiness, but she doubts she will ever feel much of the same. She is busy in her causes, in her book groups, in her thinking bluestocking ways, but she has a secret. And no one knows, not even the man himself. But through all of her forward thinking ways, she is pining for Lord Lockhart.

Lord Lockhart is the wealthiest man of any of their acquaintance. He recently received yet another inheritance when an old eccentric uncle passed on and he seeks for ways to use his money responsibly. Charity is a good resource for him in this regard. And he just might have secrets of his own where she is concerned.

My Thoughts:

Pining for Lord Lockhart by Jen Geigle Johnson offers up a sweet romance as Charity and Lockhart’s story unfolds. The short novel is aptly named as Charity and Lockhart spend much of the story pining for each other, tethered to the people and things that keep them apart. At times, the romance felt angsty and I wished for greater emotional maturity in the characters. However, both Charity and Lockhart achieve some character development as they endeavor to overcome the obstacles to their love.  

Pining for Lord Lockhart by Jen Geigle Johnson stands as the fifth book in the Lords for the Sisters of Sussex series. It reads easily as a stand-alone even though Charity’s older sisters make short appearances. Although this is not my favorite installment in this series, readers following the Sussex sisters will likely want to read Charity’s story.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Friday, April 16, 2021

First Line Fridays: Falling for Your Fake Fiance by Emma St. Clair

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today, I'm sharing the first line from Falling for Your Fake Fiancé by Emma St. Claire.

"'Go over it again,'  I demand, leaning my elbows on my massive mahogany desk."

Have you read Falling for Your Fake Fiancé by Emma St. Claire? This book just arrived a few days ago, so it's sitting on my tbr shelf, patiently waiting for it's turn... 🙃

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!

About the Book:

What happens when the man I love to hate becomes the man I must pretend to love?

I can’t seem to escape Thayden Walker and his infuriating charm.

Even his mother and his Great Dane seem bent on playing matchmaker.

But I’m totally immune.

Until I'm presented with an offer that puts my ability to withstand him to the test.

If I marry Thayden, all my student debt goes poof, and he'll take over the family firm.

There’s so much more at stake than money or a job, especially when I start to see the man beneath the mask.

Playing house with Thayden is the most dangerous game of all.

And we’re both set up to lose more than we could ever win.

Unless we’ve been on the same side all along ...

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Book Review: A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy

About the Book:

In 1886 Calcutta, Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon the skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger named Everett Scott appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett, friend to Ottilie's English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn't forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in a cold, foreign land.

Read an excerpt from A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy on the publisher's website.

My Thoughts:

I loved A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy. Ottilie Russell’s remarkable journey, combined with vibrant descriptions of India and its culture, fascinated me. Ottilie’s character felt authentic in many ways. Her spiritual doubts and questions reflect my own with uncanny accuracy. The author portrayed these faith struggles with depth and compassion as Ottilie moved toward healing. Other things I admired about Ottilie included her sacrificial love of her family and her remarkable talent for embroidering elytra.

Throughout A Tapestry of Light, Ottilie undergoes deep character development as she struggles with her Eurasian heritage, her desire to care for her brother, and the brokenness inside. I loved that the author dove into Ottilie’s reasoning, feelings, and motives. Part of Ottilie’s character development comes via Everett Scott, the man determined to bring her young brother to England. Their slow burn romance played a significant role in the story, but it was Ottilie that drew me back to the story nightly.

A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy stands as a historical fiction novel, perfect for readers who enjoy exotic locales, deep character development, and slow burn romance. This novel will likely make it into my top ten reads of the year. Five stars!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review: The End Run by Christy Hayes

About the Book:

Tutoring college athletes at Southeastern State University is more than a job for Jenna Peterson; it’s a way to pay it forward after long-ago tragedy struck too close to home.

Golden boy, Zach Chamberlain, isn’t the first jock Jenna Peterson’s tutored with cover-boy good looks, and he won’t be the last. When Zach’s storybook life begins to unravel, Jenna discovers he’s more than just a gifted athlete with a pretty face. A sprig of mistletoe and a searing kiss pits the playmaker against the rule maker. When secrets are revealed and the game is on the line, will they follow the game plan, improvise, or make an end run around their hearts?

Formerly published in 2014 under the title, “A Kiss by the Book,” this book has been extensively revised from the original.

My Thoughts:

The End Run by Christy Hayes focuses on Zach and Jenna who first appear in Stalling for Time, book one of the Kiss & Tell series. While The End Run could stand alone because a lot of background information is given, I recommend reading the novels in order.

The End Run is a fun, flirty contemporary romance. Because I had read Stalling for Time, I expected college life realities, such as casual sex and drinking, as well as sexual content with details that push the boundaries of clean romance. I enjoyed the zap of attraction between Jenna and Zach, but I was put off by the edgy content right at the beginning. As the story progressed, I appreciated Jenna’s character, but found Zach immature. I did enjoy the teasing banter and swoony moments (ones that did not involve a play-by-play of Zach’s wandering hands or aroused mind and body).HavH While The End Run by Christy Hayes was too edgy for my taste, many readers will enjoy this novel filled with college life, football analogies, and flirty romance.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Storm Breaks Forth by Terri Wangard

The Storm Breaks Forth JustRead Blog + Review Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Storm Breaks Forth by Terri Wangard, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


The Storm Breaks Forth

Title: The Storm Breaks Forth
Author: Terri Wangard
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

World War I rages in Europe, and now the United States joins in. 

Peter Bloch heads to France with the Wisconsin National Guard, but his wife Maren is the one under attack. She’s German-born, and anti-German hysteria is running high. Simple suggestions for coping with wartime measures lead Maren into an active role in the community, but her service doesn’t help deflect suspicion from her. Zealous patriots target her with a vengeance. Peter caught the eye of a major who seems intent on using him as a spy. He’s been fortunate to avoid injury so far, but these activities are likely to get him killed. 

Peter and Maren dream of the day they will be reunited, but more and more, that day appears to be a mirage.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | AmazonBookBub



Maren and Rosaleen were harvesting the Bonnards’ tomatoes when two men strode into the garden from the Blochs’ yard. One wore a handlebar mustache. The other looked everywhere except at the women.

“Is one of you Maren Block?” The man’s mustache wiggled when he talked.

Crouched beside a plant, Maren eased back on her heels. “I’m Mrs. Bloch,” she said, giving her name the proper pronunciation.

“You will come with us. You’re under arrest for obstructing the well-being of our military.”

“What?” Maren jumped to her feet and nearly stumbled when her hem caught on her shoe.

Rosaleen stood shoulder-to-shoulder with her. “What are you accusing her of?”

Mustache-man reached for Maren’s arm. “You are stealing military supplies.”

Maren stepped away from him. “You are crazy. My husband is in the National Guard. Why ever would I steal from him?”

The bashful man jerked his errant gaze to her. He frowned at his partner, then said, “Please come with us. We’ll sort this out downtown.”

“I’ll call Geoff.” Rosaleen touched her arm. “You’ll be back here in time for dinner.”

“Call Mayor Hoan.” Maren took a deep breath and straightened her spine. They wouldn’t intimidate her. Then she turned back. “And take the cake out of my oven.” She nodded across the street. “It’s for Mrs. Zastrow’s birthday.”


Terri Wangard

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

CONNECT WITH TERRI: Website | Facebook | Instagram


(1) winner will receive an ebook copy of The Storm Breaks Forth and a $15 Amazon gift card!

The Storm Breaks Forth JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight April 13, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on April 20, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.