The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

Poppy Denby moves to London to take care of her aunt, but soon realizes that her auntThe Jazz Files cover wasn’t being honest. It’s the 1920’s and her aunt, a militant suffragette, felt that Poppy would have more of a chance pursuing a career in London. So, Poppy ends up getting an editor’s assistant job with The Daily Globe. However a reporter’s body falls at her feet on her first day. An accident or could it be murder? He had been looking into some past mysteries involving the suffragettes, and with Poppy’s connections she becomes the ideal person to help finish the story…. However, not everyone wants the past dug up!

Fiona Veitch Smith combines a popular genre and an interesting time period in The Jazz Files, which starts the Poppy Denby Investigates series. The main character is Poppy, a young woman wanting to stretch her wings. She is a bit naive but learns quickly and shows quite a bit of bravery. However, she also desires her choices and possible career to be done in truth. She does some real soul searching in the middle of the book after she was involved in lies and deception.

She is a Christian surrounded by people living in sin, so we’ll see how her faith survives and hopefully grows through the series.

**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Moment by Moment: a devotional journal for girls by Jennifer Flanders

I chose to check out Moment by Moment by Jennifer Flanders as a possible devotional for my girls. I Moment by Moment book coverwas a little surprised with it, because it wasn’t what I expected as a devotional. However, I guess the word “journal” clarifies it more, if I would have read closer! 🙂 It won’t quite fit for what I was originally looking, but I am not disappointed that I decided to get it!! I know my girls will love it!

This devotional journal is divided up into seven different areas of focus. Some examples are “Childhood Memories” and “Personal Favorites” that concentrate more on the individual girl and “Prayers & Graces” and “A Heart for Service” which focus more on their relationship with Jesus and others. Each section includes thought provoking questions and applicable Bible verses with plenty of space to write, draw, paste a picture… for the girls to get creative and honest. Also the illustrations are charming and add an elegant feel to the journal.

I already know I will have to purchase a few more. 🙂 Once one girl receives it, the others will hope to have their own!

I would recommend this devotional journal to most girls of all ages, even into college with how much journalling is starting to catch back on with the younger generation.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookCrash. I was not required to give a positive review, but to solely express my own thoughts and opinions.

Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke

“He who saves one life saves the world”Saving Amelie book cover

Rachel is a German orphan turned pampered American. She is the only child of Dr. Kramer, who is suspected of being involved with Hitler’s genetic studies.

Lea is German born and raised. Her mother died during childbirth, and she was raised by her Oma (grandmother).

Amelie is a four year old deaf daughter of an high ranking SS officer.

Jason is an ambitious American journalist in Germany.

How do their lives intersect? What is the truth of their pasts? Will there be a future for each?

 

Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke is set in Germany in 1939. It includes Bonhoeffer, who was a real life hero during this time. He was a German pastor, spy and martyr. He recognized early on how dangerous and twisted Hilter’s ideology was and he challenged the church to stand against it, protect others, and stand for Christ.

 

“Germany is at stake—heart and soul…

When the church stops standing for Jews—for anyone—then we stop begin the church. Grace is costly—it took the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, to achieve that grace. It requires just as much from each of us.

But we’ve come to practice cheap grace—grace that appears as a godly form but costs us nothing—and that is abomination, a stench in the nostrils of God.”

(Truths from Bonhoeffer shared in this historical fiction book)

 

This is a story that draws us in and sends us on a realistic journey through a very difficult, dangerous and twisted time in the world’s history. It was well written and I really “enjoyed” (you know what I mean) reading it. I had a hard time figuring out how to write the review, so this part took longer than even reading the book! However, I would recommend it, not just as a very good read, but as an excellent reminder to stand up for others and to not continue to allow our religious freedoms to be taken away.

 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers. It was not required that I give a positive review, but to solely express my own thoughts and opinions.

Heart Wide Open by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

As I read the subtitle of Tomlinson’s Heart Wide Open… “Trading Mundane Faith for an Exuberant Life with Jesus”, the back cover summary… Heart Wide Open book cover“Shellie invites you to answer the call of your restless heart and refuse to settle for anything less than the intimate friendship of God” and the many recommendations, I knew I needed this book! So I found out what date Heart Wide Open would be available for review, marked that on my calendar and set a reminder. I purposely waited to choose a book from this publisher, making sure I wouldn’t be tied up in another book.

Once Heart Wide Open by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson arrived, I consumed it. I read, reread, and worked through the Bible Study/Discussion Guide in the back. I marked, highlighted and dog-eared page after page. I took pictures of sections and texted them to my husband, mom, mother-in-law, other family members, and friends! My husband feels like he has already read this book with everything I shared! (It is labeled as being for women, but he would also recommend this book!!) 🙂

This is a book from Tomlinson’s raw cry to the Lord, “I admit it. I don’t love You like I should, but I want to love You. Help!”. Her honesty touched my heart as I prayed along with her, her humor allowed me not to cry on every page, and her practicality encouraged me!

Just the titles of the chapters are great!! 1) When All You Can Bring Him is a Broken Want-To, 2) Courage for Us Not-So-Super Saints, 3) I Suppose CliffsNotes Are Out, 4) Does God Want Out of Our Quiet Times?, 5) Are Some of Us Stuck with Messed-Up Mustard Seeds?, 6) We Are Always on Our Mind, 7) May We Have Permission to Slap ‘Em Silly in Jesus’s Name?, 8) Till We See Him Face to Face. Also, don’t miss the Bible Study & Discussion Guide at the back.

I HIGHLY recommend this book. You’ll cry, laugh, and grow in your passion for Jesus!

“Father God loves you with a steadfast love. He wants to do life with you. You’re not an isolated case, someone who can’t find God. He is just as available to you as He has been to any other human being who has ever drawn a breath. This is His promise: ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13).” -pg. 23

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim

The Outcast book cover

The Outcast is an amazing story of pain, pleasure, consequences, forgiveness and freedom. It also shows the dynamics of relationships: from fathers and daughters, to siblings, to childhood friendships, to strangers who become closer than family.

It is actually a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter; the story is set in an Old Order Mennonite community. The characters are so well written. They are real and complex, not all likable, but definitely touchable. Oh and little Eli — my momma-heart went out to that little guy!

I was surprised to find out that it is Jolina Petersheim’s debut novel! I’m so excited for her to continue writing. I don’t read really any books with Amish or Mennonite settings, but I do plan to continue to check out more from her!!

I highly recommend The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim to all 🙂

Disclosure: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. It was not required that I give a positive review, but to solely express my own thoughts and opinions.

 

Raising a Man of Faith

Here is the last article from Sheri Rose Shepherd on this Wednesday….

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Sheri Rose Shepherd
Raising a Man of Faith
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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She made this vow: “O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime.”
1 Samuel 1:11I was invited to write a book for mothers of sons titled Preparing Him for the Other Woman: A Mother’s Guide to Raising Her Son to Love a Wife and Lead a Family. To be honest, this topic intimidated me on many levels. I had my own insecurities and fears of failing as a mom, and I grew up in such a messed-up family that I couldn’t see how I would ever be qualified to write a book on this subject.

As I always do before I write any book, I put this message to the test. I gathered a group of young men ages twelve to twenty and asked them if they felt they would be good husbands when they grew up. Sadly, their comments reflected their fear of women; in fact, they felt marriage was something to be avoided. Many talked as if marriage were a death sentence that caused a lifetime of pain. Others asked why they should get married since marriage usually ends in heartbreak, adultery, or divorce.

My mother’s heart broke for these boys and all our sons, and their answers were enough for me to fight my fears and write that book for the sake of the next generation of marriages. As I began writing, I reflected on one of my favorite “mommy memories.” It took place on a gorgeous summer evening on a California beach with my husband, Steve, and our son, Jake, when he was three. As my husband tended the campfire, Jake and I snuggled together under a blanket and watched the sun set over the sea. A young couple walked past us hand in hand, with eyes only for each other. My little boy watched them for a couple of minutes before turning his sweet face toward mine and asking, “Mommy, will you marry me when I grow up?”

I gently explained that mommies can’t marry their sons. I’ll never forget the ache I felt as I saw tears well up in his big blue eyes and roll slowly down his cheeks. In that moment it hit me: not only was I raising a son, but I was raising someone’s future husband. I decided that day to dedicate my time with Jake to helping him become a good husband when he grew up. I knew I needed to stop focusing on my fears that I would fail him and begin to focus on the fact that God appointed me as the first lady in his life, his mother. Later that night I got down on my knees and prayerfully committed my son’s life to God once again. I felt a new sense of peace about being a mom as I realized that Jake ultimately belonged to the Lord and that my faithful God would cover my son where I could not.

Years later, just a few weeks before my son would marry his beautiful Southern bride, Amanda, I found myself in a reflective mood. On the one hand, I felt as if I’d done everything I could to encourage him to keep following Christ and to prepare him to be a good husband. I knew I needed to officially release Jake to his new life with his bride-to-be. On the other hand, I wondered, Have I done enough? I feared the years my husband and I struggled in our own marriage might affect Jake’s marriage. In my inward battle to believe I had done a good job raising him, God gave me the desire to write Jacob a very personal letter the week before his wedding. With his permission and in my hope to bring some relief to your momma’s heart, I want to share it with you now:

To my son, Jake,
This morning as tears fill my eyes, I reflect on the past twenty years of life with you, from Winnie the Pooh, goody plates, and snuggles to late-night talks when you were a teen. I remember when I first heard your heartbeat in the doctor’s office and the doctor saying, “You are going to have a son.” Joy and fear flooded my heart at that moment.

What kind of mom would I be, coming from a broken home with no foundation? And could I take on the task of raising a son in this perverse world?

I was so afraid of failing you, and I became desperate for God, which kept me in a constant state of prayer for you, knowing that our God would cover you where I could not and cover me where I failed. What I did not know is that I was not just raising a son; I was raising a warrior and a world changer!

Today I look at your fearful heart for your future, and I see a man who seeks God’s face with humility, knowing your God is faithful. I see a man who is passionate to do something great for God’s Kingdom. I see a hope in your heart that screams, “I will not settle for less than God has for me!”

Jacob, in all my imperfections and insecurities, I am honored God chose me to raise a mighty warrior like you. I know you don’t know how your story will be written, and it seems unclear how you will fulfill your calling. Remember, you are not the author of your own life; therefore rest in Him. . . . He is writing your life right now. Any and everything you are about to walk through, good or hard, will prepare you for His ultimate plan.

So as I wipe the tears from my eyes and say good-bye as “Mommy,” once responsible for your care, I now give you away to care for your bride. And say hello as a friend. I will always hold the memories of my little son as a hidden treasure in my heart. I pray that all you have seen and heard these past twenty years, “good and bad,” will become building blocks, as you will now lay the foundation of faith and life for your new family. Jacob, you will fight the good fight, you will finish your race, and your faith will be passed down to many generations long after you’re gone.

I love you, Son.
Mom

For more teaching videos from Sheri Rose, go to www.biblelifecoaching.com.

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