Monday, February 13, 2017
A Spy's Devotion by Melanie Dickerson
In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and tawdriness thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.
At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?
:D I devoured this book and I've realized that's always what happens with Melanie's books!!!! The only problem I find myself in is when I must FORCE myself to put the book down and get some sleep! LOL! Julia is a character that is dear to my heart. She tries SO hard to please and do what's right in societies eyes. But when it comes down to it she is brave and capable! There were a few times at the end that it got a tad too frustration with Julia and Nicholas needing to talk, but circumstances kept getting in their way! I do dearly LOVE how Melanie finally get's them together to talk, but it could have come a couple of scenes earlier!!!!! LOL! I think my favorite character in the whole book is Nicholas's sister Leorah, and I'm SO excited that the next book has her in the lead! I can't WAIT to read it!!!!!!! Overall there are SO many things I LOVED about this book, but I don't want to give anything away!!!! I HIGHLY recommend it! ;0)
Songs: "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" by Chris Tomlinx
Songs etc. May be changed and/or added in the future. ~ASC
Jeremiah 29:11, Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 55:8-9
Monday, February 6, 2017
Moving Target by Lynette Eason
When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don't show up for Quinn's surprise birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy just decided to take off for a long overdue vacation. But it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.
Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it's not long before she realizes she's in the clutches of a madman exacting revenge by hunting. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives, hoping to find their killer before the next game begins. Because if they don't win this game, they die.
WOW!!!!!!! :D This is the best of the series thus far!!! I've been following this series and was a little wary when starting this one, because I felt like the last book repeated the plot from the first book. But Moving Target is completely unique, twisty, and HIGHLY entertaining!!!! :D I was emotionally engaged; frustrated at times, on the edge of my seat at others, and devouring this story all the way around! The characters are fantastic and I LOVE how things from the last books come back into play in this one. The mystery kept me guessing all the way until the end! Plus there's extra personal mysteries and secrets! And the little doses of humor were dashed in nicely! I can't WAIT for the next in this series and I HIGHLY recommend this one!!!!!
Songs: "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" by Chris Tomlin and "Mended" by Matthew West
Songs etc. May be changed and/or added in the future. ~ASC
*I requested and received this book from Revell for the purpose of reviewing it. This in no way affected my opinion and the above are my true thoughts and feelings about Moving Target. ~ASC
Friday, February 3, 2017
The Garden by Kari Jobe
Grammy nominated Kari Jobe is the premiere female worship leader in Christian music. Coming off her last live album, Majestic, which featured the worship anthem “Forever” and radio hit “I Am Not Alone," Kari Jobe has returned to the studio to record her new album, The Garden, full of brand new worship anthems for the church and for personal reflection. Finding inspiration from life’s joys and hardships, Kari leans into the firm foundation of Christ through it all.
It’s said for everything there is a season. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. One by one, we experience these seasons throughout our lives. Our souls grow dark and weary in the thick of winter, and just when we think we can’t endure another cold night, we recognize the first signs of spring. Slow and unexpected, welcome shades of green break through the frozen ground. Sometimes our Creator uses His own creation to remind us that even amidst winter’s chill He is always at work. For it’s in the unseen where life’s most beautiful moments take shape. Worship leader Kari Jobe knows this to be true in her own life, and on her fourth album, The Garden (Capitol CMG), she invites listeners to drink of the wellspring of hope she’s found in the midst of unimaginable tragedy.
Jobe has earned the right to speak from experience. She’s become a trusted friend to listeners throughout a career that includes more than 1 million albums sold, a GRAMMY® nomination, multiple Dove Awards and praise from the New York Times. She’s amassed 173 million career streams and is the most-followed female CCM artist on social media with a following that exceeds 3.5 million. Beyond the stats, Jobe’s timeless songs have carried countless listeners to the feet of Christ over and over again. Her voice has become a soundtrack to people’s lives, and The Garden is well-equipped to bring healing in the midst of pain.
While The Garden planted the songwriter back in the studio following 2014’s critically-acclaimed live recording, Majestic—which won a GMA Dove Award for Praise and Worship Album of the Year—the new album is also rooted in a series of personal transition and remarkable grief for the singer and her family. In the past two years, Jobe married her husband Cody Carnes and moved from her hometown of Dallas, Texas, to Nashville, where the couple bought their first home and had a baby. With due dates three months apart, Jobe and her sister, Kris, were excited to be pregnant at the same time. Yet, in the midst of happy life changes, heartbreak struck. Seven-and-a-half months into her pregnancy, Kris gave birth to a stillborn daughter, James Ivy. Jobe, four months pregnant with her son at the time, was devastated.
“It just shattered my heart. It was so, so hard,” Jobe shares. “It wrecked me—just the weight of unanswered prayers. I was trying to walk in peace when I didn’t feel peaceful and find my rest when my spirit didn’t feel rested.”
Aching for her sister, Jobe was simultaneously anxious for the safety of her own child. On February 18, 2016, a healthy Canyon Carnes entered the world. “It’s hard to celebrate life, but to be grieving with your sister,” Jobe admits, adding that knowing Canyon’s name ahead of time gave her strength through the remainder of her pregnancy after the loss of her niece. “God gave us his name even before this whole thing took place,” she says. “Canyon means a deep ravine for water to flow through. Canyons are formed through storms, so the fact that God gave me his name was so peaceful to me… I was thankful He gave me his name for that season.”
While the birth of her son was undoubtedly a milestone to celebrate, her sister’s loss weighed heavy on her heart. Yet, a reminder of God’s kindness came in a surprising way. As Jobe held Canyon in her arms, she stood looking out the kitchen window of her new home. And there in her backyard, she glimpsed the first signs of spring. When she and her husband purchased the house, a garden that resided on the property was overgrown; and though they knew it needed to be tended, they were advised to wait and see what it produced. The result was a breathtaking bounty of harvest. That day, Jobe made her way through the garden—a stark reminder of God’s faithfulness in all circumstances. Looking up, interwoven in the archway, she couldn’t help but smile as she saw what only God could produce: thick, green ivy lacing its way overhead, immediately reminding her of her niece’s namesake.
“Ivy is the most resilient plant there is. It can grow in the harshest of climates; it can grow in the harshest of situations,” Jobe explains, adding, “I’m standing in this garden. There’s ivy growing, and I just started to realize, ‘God, You’re moving in a way that is different than what I asked for, but You are moving.’ He’s at work and doing things we can’t see.”
The experience yielded the title track for Jobe’s new album and fresh healing for her soul. “Those seeds were planted years ago for it to be the way that it was that day for me, because it wasn’t just last year that they planted all this beautiful ivy. That took years,” she observes. “Something in my spirit started to rustle. Life was coming back. What felt dead in my heart was starting to wake up. It was like I’d been in this place of being numb in my walk with the Lord, but something just started blooming in my heart.”
Her unanswered questions began to grow into songs. As Jobe declared God’s goodness over her own circumstances, He began to transform her heart. “These raw things were coming out of my mouth, so I just started writing,” she shares. “I Will Sing,” written while she was still pregnant, became the first song she penned for this album. Jobe spent the next several months pouring out her emotions one track at a time, collaborating with friends, and eventually recording half of the album in Redding, California, and the other half in Nashville. She and her husband wrote together frequently, and Cody adds vocals on numerous tracks. In addition, Jobe co-wrote with acclaimed songwriters, including Jacob and Amanda Cook of Bethel Music, Brooke Fraser Ligertwood, Ben Fielding, Jason Ingram, Mia Fieldes, Martin Smith and Josh Silverburg, among others. In addition, she covered two songs that she claimed in the midst of loss: Jesus Culture’s “Miracles” and Elevation Church’s “Here As In Heaven.” Jeremy Edwardson (Jesus Culture, Bryan and Katie Torwalt), who helmed Majestic, produced the project.
While songs like “Fall Afresh,” “Heal Our Land” and “Closer to Your Heart” reveal congregational anthems like many of the offerings that have defined Jobe’s career, most of The Garden’s 14 tracks speak to hope in the midst of loss, peace in the midst of uncertainty and God’s presence in the midst of pain. “Oh The Power” vividly recalls another garden where suffering took place, the Garden of Gethsemane. “Jesus went to a garden in His last moments to have intimacy with the Father. It was like He wanted to be surrounded with something that reminded Him of when there was no sin and there was no separation from God,” Jobe says, referencing the garden where mankind began—in Eden. It’s a heavenly space she hopes to invite listeners into with her new album, which, on a sonic level, feels like an overarching narrative backed by a sweeping cinematic score, meant to be savored from start to finish.
“The garden is true intimacy with the Father, and it’s a place where He intended for us as humankind to be surrounded with His creation. There’s life in things that He’s created,” she offers. “I want to lead people into intimacy with the Father. It’s something that’s so important as we walk through stuff in our lives.”
Today, Jobe and her family continue to discover restoration through glimpses of God’s goodness. “The healing that He’s been bringing to my family and the way that He’s met us in our pain, it’s made me realize how many people are going through really intense pain and disappointments and trials,” Jobe offers. “There’s a lot of people who have lost babies or family members out of traumatic experiences. My eyes have been opened to that in a whole new way.”
She’s also viewing her platform in a new light since giving birth to Canyon. “I feel more of a maternal instinct now in my worship leading, even declaring things over people,” she shares, adding, “At the end of the day, my favorite thing now is just to be on the floor playing with blocks and reading books. Nothing else really matters. If I just became his momma and a wife, I’m fine with that. I just feel more settled than I’ve ever felt in my life.”
In the time leading up to The Garden, Jobe has experienced both indescribable joy and unimaginable pain. Life and death, side by side. Yet, through it all, she’s found God to be inextricably faithful because she’s learned to trust the Gardner and the beautiful, unseen ways He tends to our hearts.
“Everyone who’s seen something grow out of the dust realizes God was up to something in the midst of pain and questions. He never promised that it would be easy or that it would be pain-free, but that He would never leave us or forsake us,” Jobe offers, adding, “I’m more aware of His presence than I think I’ve ever been. God has surrounded us with things that will be life-giving if we take a moment to realize it. God’s always at work in our lives. He truly does go before us and prepares the way for the journey ahead.”
Here’s the buy link for amazon
Video: https://www.dropbox. com/s/5jvotodadf7q288/The% 20Garden%20Clip_1.mp4?dl=0
When I first listened to this cd it was a good cd to listen to while I was working on something else. The songs are mellow with nice music, and that cover art is gorgeous. I thought most of the lyrics beautiful and LOVED some of them. Then I lost a very dear friend of mine, and when I listened to this cd again the songs took on a whole new light. I feel these songs are exactly what Kari wrote them to be, a balm to the soul, comfort to the wounded heart, and a great reminder in times of sorrow! I've always loved Kari's voice and her soothing tone flows from song to song speaking to mournful hearts. I feel that if you need a cd to draw you through your grief into peace or just something to relax to, then this is the cd for you!
*I received a copy of this cd for the purpose of reviewing it. This in no way affected my opinion and the above are my true thoughts and feelings. ~ASC
This Giveaway is open to residents of continental U.S and Canada only.
Have you listened to Kari's music before? What's your favorite song from her?
Leave a comment below with your email address to enter to win
a copy of Kari Jobe's "The Garden"!!!!!
Giveaway closes the 7th of Feb.
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
Streaming link: http://smarturl.it/thegarden. spotify?IQid=blog
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
The Seekers by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Will Heidi's cooking lessons turn into life lessons for five unlikely students?
Heidi Troyer cooks up the idea of teaching classes in the art of Amish cuisine in her Holmes County, Ohio, home. But is it a recipe for drama when five very different men and women answer the advertisement?
Join a class of unlikely Ohioans who take cooking lessons at Lyle and Heidi Troyer’s Amish farm. A woman engaged to marry, an expectant mother estranged from her family, a widowed mom seeking to simplify, a Vietnam vet who camps on the Troyer’s farm, and an Amish widower make up the mismatched lot of students.
Class members share details of their disappointing lives, work to solve a mystery, and stir some romance into the pot. Soon Heidi’s cooking lessons turn into life lessons as they each share their challenges. . .and their souls are healed one meal at a time. Is this what God had in mind when Heidi got the idea for cooking classes?
Not a book for me. I've read and enjoyed Wanda's works in the past and thought the concept interesting and the book description intriguing....well.....The book description doesn't really describe what I found in the book. There's no real mystery in my opinion. And I felt there were scenes that didn't really need to be in the book. :/ I did enjoy the different characters and I absolutely LOVED how much scripture Wanda included throughout the story. Overall the plots just didn't capture me except for a few scenes here and there, and this book just wasn't personally for me.
Songs: "He Leadeth Me" performed by The Cluster Pluckers
Songs etc. May be changed and/or added in the future. ~ASC
*I received this book from Barbour for the purpose of reviewing it. This in no way affected my opinion and the above are my true thoughts and feelings about The Seekers. ~ASC
The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson +Melanie Dickerson Book Description: The Beautiful Pretender (Thomas Nelson, May 2016) W...