Monday, December 9, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Camera Never Lies by David Rawlings

The Camera Never Lies JustRead Blog Tour 
Welcome to the Blog Tour and Giveaway for The Camera Never Lies by David Rawlings, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


The Camera Never Lies by David Rawlings Title: The Camera Never Lies
Author: David Rawlings
Genre: Magical Realism / Christian Allegory Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: December 3, 2019

David Rawlings, author of The Baggage Handler, returns with another probing story: what would you do if your secrets were revealed to those around you?

Daniel, Kelly, and Milly appear to be the perfect family. But an old camera will expose secrets no one wants developed. 

Daniel Whitely is a successful marriage counselor and bestselling author, yet his own marriage is in crisis and his daughter is drifting further away each day. To make matters worse, the deadline for his second book has come and gone, and he still hasn’t written a single word.

When Daniel inherits an old camera from his grandfather, he notices an inscription on the bottom: “No matter what you think you might see, the camera never lies.”

Daniel begins using the camera, but every time he develops his photos, they threaten to reveal secrets that could sabotage both his marriage and his career—exposing him as a fraud and destroying the life he has worked so hard to build.

He’s faced with a choice: keep his secrets and save his career or come clean and possibly save his family. Which will he choose? Which would you choose?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Christianbook


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


David Rawlings

David Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father of three who loves humor and a clever turn of phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.

CONNECT WITH DAVID: Website | Facebook | Instagram   



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

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Book Review: The Coming Revolution in Church Economics

About the Book:

Our entire understanding of funding and sustainability must change.

Tithes and offerings alone are no longer enough to provide for the needs of the local church, enable pastors to pursue opportunities, or sustain long-term ministry impact. Growing financial burdens on the middle class, marginal increases in contributions to religious organizations, shifting generational attitudes toward giving, and changing demographics are having a negative impact on church budgets. Given that someday local churches may be required to pay taxes on the property they own and/or lose the benefit of soliciting tax-deductible gifts, the time to pivot is now. What's needed is disruptive innovation in church economics.


For churches to not only survive but thrive in the future, leaders must learn to leverage assets, bless the community, empower entrepreneurs, and create multiple streams of income to effectively fund mission. You'll learn why you should and how to do so in The Coming Revolution in Church Economics.



My Thoughts:

I suspect the target audience for The Coming Revolution in Church Economics by Mark DeYmas and Harry Li consists of pastors, elders, and those in financial leadership of a church. I am none of those. While someone with a more vested interest in the topic might find the book more engaging, I understood what the authors were saying. I thought the authors did an excellent job of explaining their positions on the statements they made. They addressed common assumptions/arguments made against what they propose. Overall, it’s a thought-provoking read about church economics.

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

12 Days of Fantasy for Christmas: Burning Bright by Melissa McShane


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Burning Bright
(The Extraordinaries #1)
By Melissa McShane

Historical Fantasy
Paperback and ebook, 366 Pages
August 15th 2016 by Curiosity Quills Press

In 1812, Elinor Pembroke wakes to find her bedchamber in flames—and extinguishes them with a thought. As an Extraordinary, gifted with powerful magical talent, she is respected and feared, but her father intends to control her and her talent by forcing her to marry where he insists. Trapped between the choices of a loveless marriage or living penniless and dependent on her parents, Elinor takes a third path: she joins the Royal Navy.

Assigned to serve under Captain Miles Ramsay aboard the frigate Athena, she turns her fiery talent on England’s enemies, vicious pirates preying on English ships in the Caribbean. At first feared by her shipmates, a growing number of victories make her truly part of Athena’s crew and bring her joy in her fire. But as her power grows and changes in unexpected ways, Elinor’s ability to control it is challenged. She may have the power to destroy her enemies utterly—but could it be at the cost of her own life?

(Affiliate links included.)


Excerpt

Elinor dreamed of fire, the unseen ground beneath her burning and the air white with heat, and woke to find her dream a reality. The walls of her bedroom were ablaze, the varnished floorboards slightly less so, and fire rolled across the ceiling in golden waves. Heat struck at her with an intensity that dried her nostrils and mouth and made her eyes feel roasted. She felt no fear, merely sat with her arms around her knees, her white, flannel nightgown tucked over her feet, and marveled at the fire’s power and beauty. She had never seen such color. It made every memory she had of this dismal room seem even more faded and dispirited. Then the heat battered at her again, and she realized she would die if she did nothing.

So she reached out from within herself, and extinguished it.​


Other Books in the Series


(Linked to Amazon affiliate links.)


About the Author


Melissa McShane is the author of over twenty-five fantasy novels, including BURNING BRIGHT, first in The Extraordinaries series; SERVANT OF THE CROWN, first of the Crown of Tremontane series, and the Last Oracle series, beginning with THE BOOK OF SECRETS. She lives in the shelter of the mountains out West with her husband, four children and a niece, four demanding cats, and a library that continues to grow out of control.



Tour Schedule
(Posts go live on the day they're scheduled.)

December 1st: Launch
December 2nd: Rebecca Belliston - Heart of Red, Blood of Blue
December 3rd: Morgan L. Busse - Flight of the Raven
December 4thJes Drew - Tales of Parallel Worlds
December 5th: Ronie Kendig - Brand of Light
December 6th: Alisha Klapheke - Fate of Dragons
December 7th: Jessica Leake - Through the White Wood
December 8th: Belle Malory - Electric Skies
December 9th: Melissa McShane - Burning Bright
December 10th: Jennifer Silverwood - Blackbriar Cove
December 11th: Melissa Wright - Shadow and Stone
December 12th: Grand Finale


Tour Giveaway


1 winner will receive an Amazon Fire Tablet and a $50 Amazon eGift Card
Open internationally (as long as winner is eligible to receive prizes)
Ends December 16, 2019.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Book Review & Giveaway: Praying With Jane by Rachel Dodge

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Welcome to the Blog Tour and Giveaway for Praying with Jane by Rachel Dodge, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Praying with Jane by Rachel DodgeTitle: Praying with Jane
Author: Rachel Dodge
Genre: Devotional
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: October 2, 2018

Daily Encouragement for Your Soul through the Prayers of Jane Austen

For more than two hundred years, Jane Austen and her novels have charmed readers from around the world. While much has been written about her fascinating life, less is known about Jane's spiritual side. In this beautiful 31-day devotional, Miss Austen's faith comes to life through her exquisite prayers, touching biographical anecdotes, and illuminating scenes from her novels. Each reading also includes a thematically appropriate Scripture and a prayer inspired by Jane's petitions.

May this journey into Jane Austen's life of faith and prayer ignite and deepen your own relationship with the Father who loves you.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Christianbook

MY THOUGHTS


Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge offers readers a daily devotional based on the three known prayers written by Jane Austen. Each prayer receives ten or eleven days of attention, effectively immersing the reader into the prayer.

Having recently reread Pride & Prejudice, I was delighted to start into Praying with Jane. Each devotional entry begins with an examination of a portion of one of Jane’s prayers. Jane’s personal life and literary works appear often as the author brings together Austen’s prayer and the devotional thought. All six of Austen’s published novels are referenced in various points. Naturally, many Biblical principles and Scriptures were included. The second section offers a brief invitation to pray that encourages personal introspection and honesty. Lastly, a pre-composed prayer leads the reader in communion with God through prayer.

Two of my favorite devotional entries in Praying with Jane were: (1) Every Good and Perfect Gift (Pg. 39) which focused on thankfulness. (2) A Benevolent Spirit (Pg. 77) which encouraged generosity toward others. This book spoke to me as it offered reminders of God’s love as well as instruction on the Christian life. I highly recommend Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen to Jane Austen fans. It has a permanent home on my bookcase and I expect to read it again in the future.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Rachel Dodge Headshot

Rachel Dodge teaches college English and Jane Austen classes, gives talks at libraries, teas, and Jane Austen groups, and is a writer for the popular Jane Austen's World blog. She makes her home in California with her husband, Robert, and their two young children. A true kindred spirit at heart, Rachel loves books, bonnets, and ball gowns. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her hanging out with her husband and kids, serving at her church, or watching period dramas and food documentaries

CONNECT WITH RACHEL: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive 2 gift sets that include a copy of Praying With Jane as well as a matching journal and stickers (1 for you, 1 for a friend!)!

Praying for Jane JustRead Blog Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight December 4, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on December 11, 2019. US only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


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

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, December 6, 2019

First Line Fridays: Strong Brave Loved by Holley Gerth

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 lines from Stong Brave Loved by Holley Gerth:

"If you ever get a little tired of life's battles, this is for you."

Have you read this book? It's one of the best devotionals I read this year. Find out why in my review.

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!


About the Book:

Encouragement to live as a woman of confidence and victory.

You want to be a woman who looks life in the face and says, "You can't beat me." A woman who knows love is a risk and reaches out anyway. A woman who understands kindness takes real courage. Who doesn't fake it or try to hide her scars. Who fights to believe she is who God says she is and helps others do the same.


In Strong, Brave, Loved, bestselling author Holley Gerth offers you sixty short devotions to empower you to be that kind of woman. It's simple, personal, and practical, with room for you to journal your own responses and reflections as you learn to live in freedom, hope, and holy courage.





First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, December 5, 2019

12 Days of Fantasy for Christmas: Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig


On Tour with Prism Book Tours


Brand of Light
(The Droseran Saga Book #1)
By Ronie Kendig

SciFi, Space Opera
Hardcover and ebook, 400 Pages
December 3rd 2019 by Enclave Publishing

There's a price on her head, and it has everything to do with the brand on her arm.

Tertian Space Coalition has blessed every planet in the quadrants with high technology, save one: Drosero. But in spite of their tenuous treaty with the ruling clans, TSC has plans for the backward planet. And they're not alone.

After a catastrophic explosion, Kersei Dragoumis awakens in a derelict shuttle, alone, injured, and ignorant of the forbidden technology that has swept her into a nightmare. The brand she's borne since childhood burns mysteriously, but the pain is nothing to that when she learns her family is dead and she is accused of their murders.

Across the quadrants, Marco Dusan responds to the call of a holy order—not to join them, but to seek a bounty. Gifted—or cursed—with abilities that mark him a Kynigos, a tracker sworn to bring interplanetary fugitives to justice, Marco discovers this particular bounty has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with prophecy. One that involves the hunter as much as the hunted.

(Affiliate links included.)


Excerpt

KALONICA, DROSERO

“You are sure of this, my lady? It’s Myles.” Weighted eyes drove home the point. “Our fiercest.”

“It was a fair draw.”

“Aye, but—”

“Let it not be said that I, the lone female in the training yard, whinged.” Not when she had pleaded so hard for training. As it was, she was thankful Uncle Rufio had left express word before he left for the middle lands that she should be allowed to continue her levels.

Jamming her fingers into thick hide gloves, Kersei Dragoumis stalked toward her destrier. She smoothed a hand over Bastien’s broad skull, then pressed her forehead to his and closed her eyes, stroking his powerful neck. “May I serve you well, friend.” She swung up into the saddle, ignoring the heat and dust that clung to her. Thank the Ancient women in Kalonica wore split pants to accommodate arduous tasks. At least in this she conformed to tradition.

Squinting against the strength of the full rise, she stared down the training yard at her opponent. Courage curdled inside her.

Seek strength where it may be found.

Approaching on her left, Minos lifted a javrod. “Myles will not take into consideration that you’re a female, nor that you’re a second-year. He is ruthless.”

“Then I must be at my best, aye?”

Minos thrust the javrod into her grip. “You have the iron of the machitis in your blood, Lady Kersei.” His sun-leathered face grimaced. “Ancient help us all.”

She laughed, more because of her nerves than out of amusement. “Now you sound like Darius.”

Had he been here, he would have forbidden her to spar against Myles, one of Father’s favorites. Myles had gained the rank of aerios faster than most—faster, even, than Darius—though only by a month. Yet her father would threaten his position on the elite guard of the realm if anything were to happen to her today. She’d never taken on a warrior of his caliber. Still, she knew Minos was right: Myles would give no quarter, while everyone else had taken into account that she was a female and that her father was Xylander, Elder of Stratios, one of the Five, and Chief Counsel to Medora Zarek.

Minos secured the strap around her arm. “Prince Darius will have my hide and your father my shield if harm comes to you.”

She cut him a glare. “Then I am glad neither is here.”

With a sigh, Minos backstepped.

Kersei again studied her opponent. “He thrusts at the last second,” she muttered.

“And at an angle. Give it room to bend.” His eyes held the worry of a warrior facing his last battle. “Pull off if—”

“Blood and boil!” someone shouted. “Kersei has drawn Myles!”

“She can’t be going through with it. She wouldn’t be that—”

“Aye, she would.” Another laughed.

Kersei blew out a breath as her periphery filled with the grubby green tunics of machitis lining the edge of the hay-strewn training field. She ignored their mocking murmurs and focused on Aerios Myles, who sat in quiet confidence on his mount, bored. Even though he wore a training jerkin and armor, it was how he wore it. Stretched taut against his chest and arms. Comfortable as a second skin. The destrier stamped impatiently. Myles had long been intent on proving she should not be here. Her mother liked him for that reason alone.

With gloved hands, Kersei slid down the face shield. Mentally patted armor that should protect her ribs and stomach. Wouldn’t Ma’ma love her to come home the night of Adara’s Delta Presentation with a black eye or broken limb?

Then best not get injured.

“Riders, ready!” Minos called over the chatter of the other machitis.

Both she and Myles hefted javrods to readiness and nudged their mounts into position on either side of the long dividing fence.

“Ho! Look to the ridge,” a spectator called. “The Kalonican lion!”

Sucking a breath, Kersei flicked her attention to the rise overlooking the training field. Royal banners snapped in the breeze. A cluster of horses cantered ahead of the detachment coming down the hill. One rider broke ahead in a full gallop. And though she could not see faces at this distance, she knew that golden-brown hair.

“It’s Prince Darius!”

Now he returns? No no no. He had always said she should not spar or joust. If he saw—

Her gaze darted to Minos. He held a fist to his chest in recognition of his prince. “Vanko Kalonica” rang out from the warriors. Blood and boil! Darius would end this match.

“Ready,” she shouted, hunching into Bastien.

“Ready!” The shout from the other end of the field pulled her up straight.

So, Myles is as anxious as I. But which of them would stand proudly before their prince when this was over?

Kersei swallowed. Tucked the javrod into her shoulder, its length standing straight. Lighter than a lance, it was a formidable weapon even if she were dismounted.

Aerios Minos lifted an arm, then violently swung it down.

“Huah!” With a jab of her knees, Kersei committed.

Bastien reared, his raw power surging beneath her. He vaulted forward like the mighty war horse he was. She leaned into the charge. Breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth, she urged Bastien to eat up the distance.

As Myles stormed her, he grew. In size. Formidability. Ferocity.

Heart thundering with Bastien’s hooves, Kersei focused her advance. Bend with it. Darius’s instruction from their days of sparring nudged attention to her rigidity. Expecting failure, she loosened taut muscles. Lay upon the buffeting wind streaming between her and Bastien.

As she aimed her javrod, Myles did the same.

Shouts pushed past the wind to reach her ears.

Her javrod wobbled in her grip. It vibrated up her arm. Shook her. She stiffened, fearing she’d lose the rod before even engaging her opponent.

Bastien responded, tensing beneath her stress.

Kersei shed the fear. The expectation of failure. Guided Bastien to the rail and firmed her grip. Felt it nock perfectly into her gloved hand. Targeted down its length to Myles’s chest.

Just forward more. Almost there …

As she thrust, she held her breath. She must do this. She was Kersei, daughter of Xylander, the fiercest machitis in Kalonica!

The thick, dulled tip of Myles’s javrod beamed right at her. Firm. Solid. No uncertainty. Pure experience. Ferocious determination. His scowl bled into focus behind the rod. Dark eyes. Forbidding. His rod swung down.

Ah! Just as expected. He’d miss. She would stand before Darius. She would—

Thud!


About the Author


Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of over twenty titles. She grew up an Army brat, and now she and her Army-veteran husband live a short train ride from New York City with their children and dogs, VVolt N629 (retired military working dog) and Benning the Stealth Golden. Described by literary agent as an empath, Ronie has used her degree in psychology to write books that have won the coveted Christy Award, Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, HOLT Medallion Award, and more. Her books have also hit the CBA Bestseller list multiple times.



Tour Schedule
(Posts go live on the day they're scheduled.)

December 1st: Launch
December 2nd: Rebecca Belliston - Heart of Red, Blood of Blue
December 3rd: Morgan L. Busse - Flight of the Raven
December 4thJes Drew - Tales of Parallel Worlds
December 5th: Ronie Kendig - Brand of Light
December 6th: Alisha Klapheke - Fate of Dragons
December 7th: Jessica Leake - Through the White Wood
December 8th: Belle Malory - Electric Skies
December 9th: Melissa McShane - Burning Bright
December 10th: Jennifer Silverwood - Blackbriar Cove
December 11th: Melissa Wright - Shadow and Stone
December 12th: Grand Finale


Tour Giveaway


1 winner will receive an Amazon Fire Tablet and a $50 Amazon eGift Card
Open internationally (as long as winner is eligible to receive prizes)
Ends December 16, 2019

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Book Review: God's Hostage by Andrew Brunson

About the Book:

When God called, he answered.

In 1993, Andrew Brunson was asked to move to Turkey, the largest unevangelized country in the world, to serve as a missionary. Though reluctant at first because of the daunting task that lay ahead, Andrew and his wife, Norine, became convinced this was God's plan for them.


What followed was a string of difficulties and threats, but there were also successes in starting new churches in a place where many people had never met a Christian. As their work with refugees from Syria, including Kurds, gained attention and suspicion, Andrew and Norine acknowledged the threat but accepted the risk, confident that this work was part of their assignment.


In 2016, they were arrested. Though the state quickly released Norine, who remained in Turkey, Andrew was imprisoned. Accused of being a spy and being among the plotters of an attempted coup, he became a political pawn whose name was soon known around the world.


God's Hostage is the incredible true story of his imprisonment, his brokenness, his faithfulness . . . and his freedom.



My Thoughts:

God’s Hostage: A True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment, and Perseverance by Andrew Brunson, with Craig Borlase, is not light reading. The subtitle perfectly relays the contents of this autobiography: persecution, imprisonment, and perseverance. Andrew Brunson underwent intense hardship as he spent 735 days in Turkish prisons. As the majority of this book takes place during his imprisonment, frequently the focus is on his mental, emotional, and spiritual struggles. I appreciated the deep honesty he shared. He tells about his fears, deep depression, suicidal thoughts, the well-intentioned (but not helpful) advice of others, and much more.

Although the subject matter in God’s Hostage is weighty, I found the plot fascinating. At times, I wanted to keep turning pages to follow along his journey, but had to stop for the night and space it out to avoid absorbing too much of the emotional turmoil. I could relate to his feelings of being abandoned by God in his hardship. In a way it was refreshing to read about as it reminds me that I’m not the only one who faces certain struggles.

God’s Hostage by Andrew Brunson, with Craig Borlase, will appeal both to readers who enjoy autobiographies and to those who followed Andrew Brunson’s imprisonment as it happened. 4.5 Stars!

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