Behold the Man (The Jerusalem Chronicles #3) by Bodie Thoene

Monday, March 28, 2016

How could Jesus—who preached righteousness before God, and love and mercy toward neighbors—be so hated and pursued? To the Temple officials, he was a threat to the livelihood and authority of the priesthood. To Herod Antipas, he was a threat to his ambition to be the King of the Jews. And to the Roman overlords, he was seen as a dangerous threat; a man who commanded an army of the common people. He could heal wounds, offer miraculous provisions, and even raise from the dead. If Jesus had accepted popular acclaim and become an earthly king, he would have been unstoppable.

Jesus’s last days are explored through three people who interacted with him: Governor Pilate, for whom Judea will either make or break his career; Pilate’s wife, Claudia, desperately seeking aid for her much loved, crippled son; and Centurion Marcus Longinus, caught in the middle between loyalty to the Empire, love for Claudia, and an ever-increasing belief in Jesus as the Son of God. After encountering Jesus, none of them will ever be the same.

 About Brock and Bodie Thoene:

BODIE AND BROCK THOENE (pronounced Tay-nee) have written over 65 works of historical fiction. Over thirty-five million of these best-selling novels are in print. Eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards affirms what millions of readers have already discoveredthe Thoenes are not only master stylists but experts at capturing readers minds and hearts.

Bodie began her writing career as a teen journalist for her local newspaper. Eventually her byline appeared in prestigious periodicals such as U.S. News and World Report, The American West, and The Saturday Evening Post. She also worked for John Waynes Batjac Productions (shes best known as author of The Fall Guy) and ABC Circle Films as a writer and researcher. John Wayne described her as a writer with talent that captures the people and the times! She has degrees in journalism and communications.

Brock has often been described by Bodie as an essential half of this writing team. With degrees in both history and education, Brock has, in his role as researcher and story-line consultant, added the vital dimension of historical accuracy. Due to such careful research, The Zion Covenant and The Zion Chronicles series are recognized by the American Library Association, as well as Zionist libraries around the world, as classic historical novels and are used to teach history in college classrooms.

Bodie and Brock have four grown children Rachel, Jake, Luke, and Ellieand eight grandchildren. Their sons, Jake and Luke, are carrying on the Thoene family talent as the next generation of writers, and Luke produces the Thoene audiobooks.

Bodie and Brock divide their time between London, Hawaii, Central California, and Nevada.

My Take:

I have read all three books in this series and each one is better than the one before. The research they
do is impeccable. This book focuses on the last days of Christ, Claudia, and Pilate. In this book we have a front row seat to Claudia and Pilate's relationship, which isn't pretty.
Having just come through Lent and Resurrection Sunday this book was a perfect read. As I read it I was ushered into this time of celebrating Christ's sacrifice for us. I loved this book and read way past my bedtime. I highly recommend it!

The Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Before he became the sainted church father of Christianity, Augustine of Hippo began a love affair with a young woman whose name has been lost to history. They were together for over thirteen years, and she bore him a son. This is her story.

She met Augustine in Carthage when she was just seventeen years old. She was the daughter of a tile-layer. He was a student and the heir to a fortune. They fell in love, despite her lower station and Augustine’s dreams of greatness. Their passion was strong, but the only position in his life that was available to her was as his concubine. When Augustine’s ambition and family compelled him to disown his relationship with the her, X was thrust into a devastating reality as she was torn from her son and sent away to her native Africa.

A reflection of what it means to love and lose, this novel paints a gripping and raw portrait of ancient culture, appealing to historical fiction fans while deftly exploring one woman’s search for identity and happiness within very limited circumstances

 Suzanne M. Wolfe grew up in Manchester, England, and read English Literature at Oxford University, where she co-founded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. She is Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and has taught literature and creative writing there since 2000. Her new novel "The Confessions of X" (HarperCollins) is forthcoming on January 26th, 2016. Wolfe is also the author of Unveiling: A Novel (Paraclete Press, 2004) and co-founder, along with her husband, of Image, a journal of the arts and faith. Suzanne and Greg have also co-authored many books on literature and prayer and are the parents of four grown children. They live outside of Seattle. 

My Take~

Had I seen this book in a bookstore, I would've walked on by and not give it a second thought. I received this book from Thomas Nelson in an exchange for an honest review. I enjoy reading new to me authors and Suzanne is one. This book is set in a time period I was unfamiliar with, and I had no idea about this relationship. Suzanne brings this time period to life and shows the inner turmoil that X goes through. It was a very interesting book.

To Vote, Not To Vote, Write In A Candidate . . .

I thought the Obama campaign was a circus, 2016 is proving to be more of a circus than the previous election. However, it is the media making it such a circus something they are good at.
My original choice was Ben Carson, second was Marco Rubio, with Ben con seeding and Marco not doing well in the polls I felt cornered into voting for Ted Cruz, because the last person I want to vote for is Donald Trump.

Here is my problem with this entire nonsense. Some people within the evangelical circles are saying that any evangelical who supports Trump is not standing on godly principals. Give me a break! There is so much corruption in Washington it is pathetic. Do I think Trump is a believer, NO, however he isn't running to be a pastor of a church, he's running to be President. Do I think he is the best choice for America probably not yet, neither is Hillary Clinton. Do I think Trump has some good ideas, yeah, the fact that he is a businessman gives me hope that he could turn our country around if he is elected. Please don't misunderstand, I am not a supporter of Trump, however if my choice is between him and Hillary, I will vote for him.

The point of my post is that I am sick to death of those in the evangelical circles dogging others for their choice, or point of view, as believers I don't think that we should be doing that to each other. Instead I believe that we should encourage each other. I realize that politics is a touchy subject, just like religion. Also, the Holy Spirit impresses upon each of differently and what is okay for you may not be okay for me, and vice/versa.

Romans 13:1 - Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. ESV

Writing in a candidate that has no chance of winning and not voting messes up the electoral college and voting is something we should be proud to do.

I have wondered for eight long years why Obama was placed in authority over America, yet I trust and believe God knows what He is doing. And while I know a lot of people who will be upset if Trump is elected, I know even more who will be upset if Hillary is elected.
For me I am going to allow God to direct my steps and pray I am not a stumbling block to someone else.

Miriam ; A Treasures of the Nile Novel by Mesu Andrews

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel
and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.

At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.

 Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?

Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know.

About Mesu:

Mesu Andrews is an author and speaker who has devoted herself to passionate study of Scripture. Harnessing her deep love for God’s Word, Andrews brings the biblical world alive for her audiences.

Mesu and her husband, Roy, have two grown children and (Praise God!) a growing number of grandkids. They live in Washington, where Roy teaches at Multnomah University. They have a Rottweiler-pitbull named Bouzer who keeps Mesu company while she writes.

My Take~
Mesu creates the exotic world of Egypt and invites you to partake of it. Mesu's research is impeccable and her imagination is guided by God so nothing is missed. Miriam comes alive on the page and you become part of the story. Each time Moses went into the royal hall to speak to Pharaoh I felt scared to death for Moses and Aaron, and yet I couldn't wait for the plague to smack him in the face, I hated that the plagues affected the Israelites as well. As with each biblical fiction book I read, I find myself drawn to the Bible to re-read the story. I grew up knowing the story of Moses, I Bible quizzed on it and even led my own children in Bible quizzing on it, yet there is something about reading Moses' words in Exodus and seeing Yahweh take care of His children. 
While this is book two in the Treasures of the Nile series, you could pick up this book and not be lost at all. However, I would recommend you get Pharaoh's Daughter and read it first because of it's rich storytelling. You won't be sorry!
I highly recommend this book!

A Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Maybe the language of love doesn’t have an accent, but with any other type of accent, Dr. Adelina Roseland feels confident she can correct it. Accent reduction is her specialty and she’s worked ten years in research with it to attain her dream job: Professor at the University of Virginia. But all rookies must pass through the fire, so Adelina is sent to a tiny town in a crevice of Appalachia called Wise, Virginia, to begin a new program for their satellite university there. Determined to prove herself, Adelina makes a daring wager with her arrogant supervisor, Dr. Alexander Murdock. If she can pass Appalachian cow farmer, Reece Mitchell, off as a Harvard grad and help him with a job interview for a corporation in Chicago, then she can present her research at the National Convention in front of her newfound colleagues and hundreds of other professionals, launching her career to further heights and moving her as far away from Appalachia as possible.

But Adelina didn’t plan for the faith and friction of single-dad Reece Mitchell or his chaotic family. Drawn into a culture she’d been trying to forget for the past fifteen years, Adelina finds the warmth of family, the hope of faith, and the joy of love melting away at the deep wounds of her past. But when Reece discovers that he’s been a mere pawn in her step up the corporate ladder, will he be able to forgive her deceit or will their miscommunication end in two broken lives.

Will some good old-fashion Appalachian grit from a meddling mother bring rescue this culturally-diverse couple before they lose their chance to build a future of their own?

About Pepper:

Pepper D Basham has been telling tales ever since she was a little girl. When her grandmother called her a “writer” at the age of ten, Pepper took it as gospel and has enjoyed various types of writing styles ever since. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and lover of chocolate, Pepper enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction wherever she can. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC, where she works with kids who have special needs, searches for unique hats, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn, and her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, arrives on May 7th 2015
My Take~
This is Pepper's third book, it releases on April 6, 2016. How does a speech pathologist prove that her way of teaching works? Well how about working with the local cowboy who has an interview in the big city. 
This book is full of fun from the beginning to the last page. Both Dee and Reese have been hurt by others. Dee's faith has waned and she is very nervous about going to church. Reese believes he can change that.
I love books with kids in them and Reese's daughter Lou is just a doll. I know I didn't fall asleep til after 1am reading this book. I guarantee you won't be sorry, add this to your TBR purchase and enjoy the Appalachian culture.
I highly recommend this book!


Come to the Garden by Jennifer Wilder Morgan

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A novel based on true experiences, Come to the Garden is a story about a woman’s journey with a mysterious angel that encourages readers to believe heaven is closer than they think.

Years ago, author Jennifer Wilder Morgan served as a hospital volunteer, visiting critically ill patients—praying with them and listening to their stories. As she created a safe space for those of all faiths and backgrounds, patients began confiding in Morgan about the mysterious ways God speaks to them—including encounters with angels, visions of loved ones who've passed on, and messages of comfort spoken in dreams. She witnessed the profound healing that occurs when people are permitted to talk about these experiences, and as a result, Morgan was inspired to share her own personal encounters with God in a novel.

In Come to the Garden, the main character Jenn wakes up on her birthday to find an angel introducing herself as Margaret in the backyard garden. Lately Jenn has been struggling to make sense of the mysterious ways God has been speaking to her and is trying to understand what he wants her to know. The angel takes Jenn back through her memories and life experiences, revealing how God has been connecting with her all along. Under the angel’s guidance, Jenn finally understands the messages God has been speaking to her, in her dreams, divine promptings, and unexplained coincidences. It becomes clear that God is a faithful and persistent pursuer of the human heart.

Framed as a series of conversations between Jenn and her guardian angel, this unconventional and charming narrative will strike deep into the hearts of anyone seeking a greater understanding of God. Come to the Garden is an inspirational fictional story about the surprising ways God works in our lives and affirms that heaven is truly closer than we think.

 Jennifer Wilder Morgan graduated from Kent State University and is a member of the Delta Gamma Fraternity. She resides in Houston, Texas, where she served in Methodist Hospital Houston's lay ministry. She is a member of The Woodlands United Methodist Church.

My Take~
Honestly, I don't know how I feel about this book. I have had two encounters with angels, once in Hawaii. The angel notified EMS when my car stopped at a stop light died and I wasn't coherent. We didn't know then that I had epilepsy. The second time was in 2007 when I had a seizure after being seizure free and I ran into a tree. Her name was Heather and she was an EMS worker that put me on the back board and kept me as calm and pain free as she could. When I went to thank her we found out that no Heather worked there. I couldn't imagine having an ongoing daily conversation with an angel, that would be both amazing and strange at the same time.
There were a couple of things that bothered me. One was about how before we leave Heaven we are bounced on Jesus' knee. While I could see Jesus doing that, in my minds eye I saw a conveyor belt with little babies coming to Jesus before He sends them down to the parents. The second was Jennifer not knowing that Blessed Assurance was a hymn, I know that sounds a little picky, I was singing that song as a small child. 
The book was written in memoir form, Jennifer is the narrator. It flows nicely as Jennifer and her angel, Margaret talk daily. 

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