Monday, May 21, 2018

Scripture Graphics #92

“And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.” Mark‬ ‭4:24
This verse comes after the parable of the Sower’s seed (vs. 3-20). Though it definitely applies to receiving the Word for salvation, receiving God’s Word also links to spiritual growth. If we do not accept and apply what God reveals to us, why would He give us more? The question then is not, “am I going to church and reading my Bible?” But, “Am I being obedient and applying what I hear?”

“And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” Mark‬ ‭4:38-40‬
The first words from the disciples’ lips were, “Carest Thou not?” It is easy to view trials and storms as an example that God does not care for our individual lives, when instead, He is allowing them to grow us in our faith. When faced with storms, we shouldn’t ask, “Do You even care what I’m going through?” But, “What do You want me to learn about You in this storm?”

The disciples’ hardened hearts prevented them from believing the power of God—even though they were eye-witnesses of Jesus’ miracles. Our hardened hearts can affect us too. We have 66 books of testimonies of God’s power, love, mercy, justice, judgment, and commands. Do our hearts believe, or are they hardened?

How often do we do daily, menial tasks with our heart focused on serving the Lord? How many tasks do we truly do “as unto the Lord?” Is our eternal perspective tainted by temporal, selfish desires, lusts, and pleasures?

What verse has kept you going today?

Friday, May 18, 2018

First Impressions | Book Review

When it comes to Jane Austen retellings, this is probably one of the best that I’ve read, as in there was enough of Austen to know what was going on and how it was implied, but there were also enough original creativity to where I didn’t think, “Well if I wanted to read Austen, I would have just read Austen.” What Debra did with her characters was very clever and creative and fit so well for a modern “Pride and Prejudice.” If she did quote the book through the character’s modern dialogue, it wasn’t in sync with the original timeline. For example, it was in the beginning of the book that Eddi (Elizabeth) mentioned, “If I marry him, Dad will never speak to me, and if I don’t marry him, Mom will never speak to me.” It flowed into the natural conversation, was a flashback to the original story, yet wasn’t verbatim. I really liked the Austen flair recreated in a smooth fashion.

I found the story as a whole to flow very well and every POV change was perfectly timed—I was ready to see what the next person’s story had when it came.

But I gave this book three stars. Why?

One of the minor things was the characters’ vocations (and this doesn’t affect my rating). Eddi didn’t really seem very lawyer-ry. It mentioned her practice a few times, but it didn’t really feel like that was her life. Just her vocation separate from the story. Same with Jenny (Jane) and her coaching (the only reason I know she was a coach is because of the character cast in the beginning). Or maybe it’s that most typical modern people don’t include their jobs in normal conversation or off-work thoughts?

The two major things that altered my rating are what I usually point out in reviews: spiritual content and romance.

Romance first. Linda’s story (the Lydia of the retelling) was way too PG-13 for me. If it had never shown her POV, I think the story would have been fine. There were a couple of more crude comments and insinuations made by other characters, but Linda is where things really got too much for me. I can see what the author was doing, and the storyline fits well for a retelling, but… I had to skim almost every part with Linda. It goes from mentioning her taking pregnancy control pills to sleeping with men to more detailed scenes where she and a man are obviously in the middle of a sinful situation. I’d rather not go into details in my review (because I *do* try to keep these PG or above), but yeah… this is an adult book. I won’t keep it in my house because my teenage sisters might pick it up, and I definitely do not want them exposed to such content. If it weren’t for Linda’s parts, the other parts of romance really weren’t too over-the-top.

Spiritual content is harder to judge because there were a lot of mentions of God threaded throughout the whole book. But there is a difference between mentions of God, church, and praying, and really LIVING the Christian life. At one point, Eddi makes the comment, “I’m glad God means something to you, because He means a lot to me.” That was the most spiritual she was up to that point (my thoughts were, “If He does mean so much to you, then why haven’t you thought of Him or prayed to Him yet?”). I don’t wish to be harsh here, but it lacked genuine spiritual depth.

I enjoyed this book for the reasons mentioned above and really didn’t like it for reasons mentioned above.

*I received this book from Bethany House and provided my honest review*

Monday, May 14, 2018

Scripture Graphics #91

“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew‬ ‭4:3-4‬
Jesus Christ *was* God’s Son—His only begotten Son—yet satan asked “IF Thou be the Son of God...” We are the adopted children of God, and satan still accuses us, “If you’re *really* God’s child, really born again...” Though Jesus’ temptation was not doubting His salvation, the answer He gave should help us when we are faced with that struggle: live by the Word of God. Satan wanted Jesus to do an action, Jesus pointed to faith and trust in God’s Word. Doubts of salvation are often fueled by “Did I *do* enough?”—but it’s not about “doing enough” but by trusting in and living by the Word of God.

“And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Matthew‬ ‭8:2-3
What a beautiful picture of cleansing—which applies both to salvation and sanctification. Jesus is ready and willing to cleanse us if we but ask Him. And when we do ask, He cleanses us immediately (1 John 1:9).

There is great comfort in this. Not only do we serve the same God as Abraham and all of the believers in Scripture, we also serve the eternal God—assurance of life after death.

“But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?” Matthew‬ ‭26:8‬
In others’ eyes, this woman’s decision to pour her entire alabaster box of ointment on Jesus was nothing but a waste. In Jesus’ eyes, it was no such thing. The others saw no purpose, Jesus saw a good work.
Today, our decisions in following Jesus might look to others like a waste—but they are not the ones we are following, and in eternity, they do not determine our rewards. Are temporal opinions preventing us from following the Holy Spirit?

What verse are you clinging to today?

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Create! | Book Review

I enjoyed the diversity of ideas in this book. It goes from room décor to clothing to jewelry to artwork. While some ideas are ones that I wouldn’t enjoy, there were other ideas that I loved. There is such a great variety of styles that I think anyone could find several ideas that match their preference from this book. I found the instructions very easy to follow, the formatting light and enjoyable, the pictures appealing, and the tips useful.

This is a very trendy idea book, with ideas using washi tape, duct tape, burlap, and books (some of the popular craft ideas of today). It goes from more in-depth ideas where you have to pick up special supplies to ideas that use simple craft items that most people have on-hand.

I’m planning on giving this to my crafty thirteen-year-old sister and imagine that I will see several ideas utilized in the months to come.

*I received this book from Book Look Bloggers and happily provided my honest review*

About the Book

Ready, set, create! Whether you’re an aspiring artist or a just-starting-out doodler, Create! A Girl’s Guide to DIY, Doodles, and Design is the perfect book to inspire your creative side. From coloring pages to quick-and-easy crafts—like photo frames and duct-tape bags—and everything in between, this full-color book from the trusted Faithgirlz brand provides step-by-step guides to more than 50 fun and easy projects. Learn how to make your own DIY projects, create one-of-a-kind jewelry, and draw like a pro. Perfect for individual use or for sleepovers, birthday parties, and more, Create! is sure to bring out your inner artist.

Content includes:DIY décor, photo frames, duct-tape purses, and more Pages of quotes and designs to color Easy-to-follow doodling and drawing guides Jewelry making for friendship bracelets, earrings, and more

Purchase on Amazon

Friday, May 11, 2018

Joey | Book Review

I like to balance my reading diet with several non-fiction books. I didn’t know anything about the horse, Joey, when I picked this book to review. But by the time I finished the book, Joey was definitely no stranger. The book takes you along the journey of how Kim Tschirret began her horse ministry, Hope Reins. The first few chapters are more about Kim and Hope Reins than it is about Joey in particular. Then, there is a portion dedicated to Joey’s stable-pal, Speckles. I’d say more or less, the latter half is exclusively about Joey (and his trainers), though. For me, none of this was a problem. I enjoyed learning about Hope Reins and grew attached to Speckles.

Being that Hope Reins is a ministry for broken children, I was gearing myself up for some content that I would shudder at, but there wasn’t anything that would keep me from handing this book to a conservative teen. There was one mention of sexual abuse (and the words were used, that was the extent of the mention), but otherwise, the book focused more on where the children were at the point that they met Joey, and how he helped them in various ways. That was super sweet and amazing. If you’re one who cries easily, then this book will definitely have you in tears.

There was definitely spiritual content in this book. I’m not going to say that I agree 100% with everything, but there wasn’t anything doctrinally that concerned me in this book. It was more of a testimony book than a preaching book. And I was very interested to see how different people were affected by the ministry at Hope Reins.

I definitely recommend this book and found it easy to read for a non-fiction.

*I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers and happily provided my honest review*

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Christmas in July release!

You may remember me mentioning this story a few months back: 

Well, I'm hoping to get my act together and prep for a Christmas in July release! To start things off, I'm gathering readers who are interested in reviewing it come July. If you're one of those, the sign-up form is here:

And... I'm still looking for a few more Leviathan reviewers. Sign up here:

I've just been hopping on and off the blog lately, and haven't really sat down to write anything in depth... just know that life continues to go at a crazy-busy rate with cramming in Algebra studies to take a college-prep test and then preparing for two upcoming recitals (my students' recitals). It's been great, but busy. ;) What have you been up to?

Monday, May 7, 2018

Scripture Graphics #90

These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. (Jude 1:16)
These are characteristics of the ungodly (vs. 15), yet why do we leave these areas in our lives unchecked? Maybe we need to refocus.
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude ‪1:20-21‬)

What great assurance—that this is in Whom we have entrusted our lives eternally!

When we start to believe that all things were created for *our* pleasure, it steals our desire to give to God all glory, honor, and power, Only when we have a proper view of ourselves and God will we truly give Him the glory, honor, and power He deserves.

What are you working on memorizing right now?

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Two Children's Books | Book Reviews

This is my third book by Kristie Wilde, and I have been pleased with all of them—both with the illustrations and the message in these books. They go beyond the simple “children’s book” and give a deeper meaning that the reader can discuss with young children. This book’s theme is on the variety and contrast of animals, and how we as people have variety and contrast, and that’s simply okay, because God created us all different. It concludes with a page of information on the different animals featured in the paintings throughout the book.

As with Kristie’s other books, I enjoyed looking through the art and also seeing how she added a creative touch to the text. This is a collection I’m happy to add to my library.

*I received this book from Book Crash and happily provided my honest review*

My favorite children’s illustrations are what I think of as “soft and fuzzy.” And that is exactly the type of illustrations in this book—so that made my heart happy. There are giraffes, foxes, sloths, penguins (!!!!), and several other animal families depicted in this book

The poetry rhymed nicely in this book, featuring subjects that most children would be familiar with in normal bedtime routine. It also goes a little deeper than just physical routine and mentions counting blessings, praying, thanking God for the day, and singing about God’s love.

My youngest sister (age 8) grabbed this as soon as I opened my packaged and “oohed” and “ahhed” over the whole thing. It definitely catches the young readers’ eye.

*I received this book from Book Look Bloggers and happily provided my honest review*

Friday, May 4, 2018

Presumption and Partiality | Giveaway, Review, Book Tour

Several months ago, I featured several novels from the Vintage Jane Austen collection (which, *spoiler alert* is the giveaway later on in this post!!).

My Review

 This makes the fourth book of the Vintage Jane Austen series. “Pride and Prejudice” is probably the Jane Austen with which I am most familiar. I have watched various movies (repeatedly) and have read the book. I was very interested not only in seeing how Rebekah Jones retold it, but also in reading my first book by this author.

As a Christian book, I liked it. Alice (“Jane”) especially, stood out to me as a strong Christian who was striving to live by the Bible. She was very cautious to guard her heart and to live by the Scriptures. Eloise (“Lizzie”), however, though she quoted Scripture, there didn’t seem to be much actual daily devotion in her life—her thoughts didn’t tend toward the Lord much. I think she was supposed to be a character who was growing in her faith, but it was a small growth, not much.

I did really like the addition of Alice and Eloise's work with the poor, and the many discussions that induced.

There were a few surprises, but overall, it felt like I was reading “Pride and Prejudice” in a different era. I knew what was coming up next and I could almost quote the phrase that was coming (though the dialogue was not verbatim, so much of it was very close to P&P original). As I’ve already indicated in my retelling reviews, I like a retelling to surprise me. If I want to read “Pride and Prejudice,” then I’m going to read “Pride and Prejudice.” It’s just my preference. So, as far as a retelling goes, I was a little disappointed with a lack of originality. 

I had a hard time feeling the era. There were facts about cotton and hot weather, but I just had a hard time getting sucked into it. Part of that may also be because I have spent several summers working at a Navajo/Ute camp, so the Native American aspect did not at all feel real to me. It’s a completely different culture, even if you have Christian Native Americans. I tried to read it objectively, but I had to constantly remind myself that Sydney was Navajo. He didn’t seem like one. 

It is, though, quite clean. The “Lydia” (Junie) instant went a little more into the penalties and consequences of her flippant choice, and I did like the way that this thread resolved. Still, because of it (her running away with a guy), I would say maybe girls 16+ should read it? 

*I received this book from Celebrate Lit for my honest review, which I happily provided*

About the Book

Title: Presumption and Partiality
Author: Rebekah Jones
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction
Release Date: November 27, 2017
Among the cotton fields and farmland of Gilbert, Arizona in the early years of the Great Depression, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey live a simple, but happy life with their five daughters on a cotton farm. When the wealthy Richard Buchanan moves to town, bringing his family, a friend, and a desire to learn about cotton, Matilda Bailey is convinced that he is the perfect candidate to marry her eldest daughter, Alice.
Richard is cheerful, friendly, and likable. His friend Sidney Dennison doesn’t make such a good impression. Eloise Bailey decides he’s arrogant and self-conceited, but when Raymond Wolfe comes to town, accusing Sidney of dishonorable and treacherous conduct, Eloise is angered at the injustice of the situation.
When the Buchanan household leaves town, Alice must turn to the Lord and face, perhaps, her most difficult test in trust, while Eloise takes a trip to visit her friend and may well discover a web of deceit that she doesn’t really want to believe exists.

Click here to purchase your copy.


To celebrate her tour, Rebekah is giving away a grand prize of the complete set of the Vintage Jane Austen Collection!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

About the Author

Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories. Her goal is to write Bible-Centered, Christian Literature; books rich with interesting characters, intricate story lines, and always with the Word of God at the center. Besides writing, she is an avid reader, songwriter, pianist, singer, artist, and history student. She also loves children. She lives with her family in the Southwestern desert.

Blog Stops

Karen Sue Hadley, April 25
Remembrancy, April 26
Mary Hake, April 29
A Greater Yes, April 30
Carpe Diem, May 3
Simple Harvest Reads, May 5 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
By The Book, May 7

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Reviewers needed: "Quest for Leviathan"

"Quest for Leviathan" is preparing for release... and I need some influencers. If you'd like to read it (for free ;) ) and review it or if you'd like to feature it on your blog, please sign up here.

And please, if you know another reader or blogger who loves Biblical fiction, share the link with them! I'd love to reach 99 reviewers to go with the 99 rowers on Anath's trireme. :)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Scripture Graphics #89

For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.
(1 Samuel 1:27-28)
How often do we have a deep desire, beg of God, receive it, then selfishly hoard it? Hannah did no such thing, and it was her very own child! God’s blessings on us should enable us to give more back to Him and bless others, but do we selflessly give back to God or selfishly cling tightly to what we have?

How many people try to do good things and follow the commandments—yet neglect to believe in Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation! This is the most important commandment for us to obey!

These verses bring out just three aspects of God’s love:
- God loved those who did not love Him
- God gave what was most precious to Him, to demonstrate His love
- By His love, God atoned (appeased) our sin
And this is how we are to love: by extending love to those who do not extend love to us, by giving what is valuable to us for others (be it ourselves, our time, our money), and forgiving others’ sin against us.

And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god. They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither.
(1 Samuel 5:7-8)
It is amazing…the enemy of God knew exactly Who was punishing them and bringing judgment, but today, many Christians lay all of their afflictions at the hand of satan. Yes, sometimes trials are sent by satan (look at Job), or the affect of another’s sin (Joseph), but we tend to neglect examining ourselves to see if maybe God Himself sent this punishment because of our sin. In the Philistines’ case, they knew it was God, yet their solution was not humility and repentance before God. They “removed themselves from the presence of conviction.” Even as believers, we can do the same by neglecting God’s Word, neglecting church, avoiding Godly friends, and spending more time with worldly friends who convince us that “sin is okay.” Are we like the Philistines?

How has God's Word challenged you this week?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Scripture Graphics #88

No leader of any group of people has ever had a perfect group. Moses, though he was the meekest man on earth and talked face to face with God, could not change to heart of the nation. Yet that never hindered his relationship with God. Dealing with tough people is a part of life, but never should we use it as an excuse to draw us away from God.

The first step to sin is when we forget Who God is and what He has done FOR US.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)
True fellowship with God comes only one way: through Jesus’ blood. We cannot do enough works to open this fellowship nor can we turn over enough new leaves. Any relationship with God apart from the blood of Christ is no relationship at all—and we deceive ourselves.

These were established in God’s Word, saved, and strong—yet look at what John wrote to them: reminders of salvation, focus, ministry, attitude, assurance, sin, God’s commandments, so on. Even if we have a solid, Christian foundation, we need to be reminded of some things and taught some things. This is why believers should never stop daily reading God’s Word or going to church. We still need to be reminded of some things.

What are you reading in your Bible today?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

KJV Minister's Bible | Book Review

Though I am not a minister, I was interested to see what all this publication of the Bible contained, as I heard it had extra resources. It is a soft leather and very comfortable to hold. There are three bookmarks, which is a major plus for me, as I usually read in more than one place at a time. The text is small print (not tiny, but definitely not large print) and portions of Scripture are separated by titles and captions.

In the center of the Bible is a tab for easy flipping to the minister’s resources (which thus make this a minister’s Bible). I didn’t read through all of them, but skimmed somewhat, just to see what they were like. One of the categories that I read was on baptism. I found that some of the method suggestions and approach used was a little extra-Biblical (almost leaning toward baptism being what seals our salvation, rather than it just being a symbol). On that note, I would mention that though there are these resources, whoever is using the Bible should be careful to be certain that the material given here is actually in line with the content of God’s Word.

*I received this from Book Look Bloggers and happily provided my honest review*

Book Description

Pastors and church leaders stand ready to meet the needs of their flocks. And Thomas Nelson's beautiful and durable KJV Minister’s Bible is here to help. With sermons, readings, outlines, prayers, and more, this Bible is a one-stop resource, offering direction for weddings, funerals, communion and baptism services, confirmations, dedications, and a variety of other pastoral care situations.
Features include:
Complete text of the timeless and beautiful King James Version, perfect for devotional and worship settings
Exclusive KJV Comfort Print®
A comprehensive collection of pastoral resources, located between the Testaments—prayers, sermons, outlines, and more
Sewn, lay-flat binding to ensure easy, one-handed use
Three satin ribbon markers to quickly navigate between favorite passages and resources
Elegant, durable, understated covers, appropriate for any ministry setting
9-point print size

Friday, April 20, 2018

Spread Too Thin | Book Review

Every single family member who saw me reading this book gave a little grin with, “Yep, that’s your book.” Ellen Miller hits the nail on the head with the subject (and title) of this book. Today’s women are definitely spread too thin, trying to go too many directions at once, and lacking the peace and joy that God yearns for us to have.

This was very easy to read. Because I was reading this for a deadline review, I didn’t do the devotional in 90 days, as intended—but I can see where the 1-3-page devotions would be perfect for just that little “gem” to get your day started on the right foot and your heart refocused. Not all of the devotionals were applicable to me as a single gal, but there was still a lot of great soul-searching content.

A few of the devotionals sounded very “modern Christianity” about accepting/knowing your worth, etc. but in context, I don’t think it was over-done. Just a little, “Hey, don’t beat yourself up because you’re a child of God.” Overall, though, this did take on a more modern Christian woman viewpoint. In some ways, Mrs. Miller explained how sometimes we’re “spread too thin” because we’re not accepting the calling God has given us—but she really didn’t go into what a woman’s calling is, or what the role of a woman should be Biblically. It was just more of how to balance things in your busy life. It’s not a book that I think would really get on people’s toes in that aspect (which, I personally could have taken a little more Biblically backing for what womanhood should be, but I realize this may not have been her intent in the book).

The author did reference quite a few Bible translations, and I prefer the KJV, but I didn’t find she took any Scripture out of context.

So overall, a good devotional book. Sometimes in devotional books, the authors will throw a few cringe-worthy examples (speaking of content-cringing, not Spiritual truth-cringing), and this book was wonderfully lacking in that area! I handed it to my teen sister without any disclaimers or “skip this chapter.”

To finish; a quote:
“Gratitude—not talent, money, prestige, or any other things we might hope for—can do the most for resetting the mind, heart, and soul toward abundant living.” (Page 71)

*I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers and happily provided my honest review*

About the Book
You know the drill. Somebody asks, “How are you?” and you respond automatically: “Crazy busy!” “I’m exhausted!” “Running too fast.”

And it’s no wonder! Between the breakneck speed of your job, the one million family activities on the calendar, the volunteer luncheon you signed up to host, the growing to-do list on your phone, and the workout you’ve been meaning to get to for weeks—if you ever stopped long enough to think about it, you’d be curled up in the fetal position on the floor.

Life these days. It’s exhausting, isn’t it?

Ellen Miller gets it—and she wrote Spread Too Thin just for you. Whatever stage of life you find yourself in, you don’t have to live it frantically. Written for women who care deeply and extend themselves selflessly, this 90-day devotional offers an honest look at the obligations that have drained us and then point us toward a more abundant life with Jesus. Through personal stories, practical insights, and classic Ellen humor, you’ll discover that it is possible to find hope—and even peace!—throughout your harried, overcommitted days.

Purchase on Amazon

Monday, April 16, 2018

Scripture Graphics #87

If we were truly convinced at how big and powerful our God is, then we would not let fears overtake us—fears of unknown, fears of what “might happen,” fears of men.

And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also, and the LORD would not destroy thee. (Deuteronomy 10:10)
One man’s prayer saved a nation. Do we think our prayers are in vain or that “Who am I, that God would listen?” What if we are the one whose prayer is the only thing that changes something?

Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
(1 Peter 2:1-2)
If we are not desiring God’s Word or it seems we’re unable to grow, maybe we should do a quick heart-check. Are we harboring malice (badness, malignity, trouble, evil), guile (a trick, wile), hypocrisy (acting under a feigned part), envies (ill-will, jealousy), or evil-speakings (defamation)? If we are, then we very well may be squelching our appetite for God’s Word. We must apply the principles of God’s Word in order to learn more and grow. To hold onto wickedness is only deaden our desire for God’s Word.

This list is not one that, applied once, we have for life. Different circumstances will arise that present different angles in which to apply these spiritual traits—and at different levels. To stop striving after these things is to be blind and careless (vs. 9). It will rarely be easy, but the Holy Spirit is in us to guide us (John 16:13) and help us to will to do (Philippians 2:13). Ours is the choice whether to go to God for help, or to give up.

What passages have encouraged you in your spiritual growth this week?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Seventh Born | Blog Tour and Giveaway

I have finally tried a fantasy book. You can read my full thoughts in the review below (spoiler: I'm not into fantasy, for Biblical reasons). 
But for now... the tour!

Having seven sons is a honor above no other. Which is why she is a disappointment. The only girl of seven children, she brought shame to her family. Who knew something like this could be turned into a book, but Rachel Rossano has done just that with her book, Seventh Born. Read on to learn more about the book and enter the giveaway.

About the Book

In a world where seventh born sons are valued for their strength and power, she is born a daughter.

Zezilia Ilar is the disappointment. Born after six brothers, she was supposed to be the son to restore her family’s prestige. She intends to remedy her shortcomings by being a dutiful daughter, marrying well and producing children, preferably a set of seven sons. But when someone offers her an alternative, she begins to dream of more.

In a society that worships a goddess, he follows the Almighty.

Hadrian Aleron, as a seventh son of a seventh son, stands to take up the second highest position in government, Sept Son. His main qualification for office is his birth. Despite preparing for this role from childhood, he does not desire what is to come. As a follower of the Almighty, he knows he will be the target of many, and his faith might eventually lead to death.

            Amazon –
            Kobo –

My Review

I’m basing my review off reading only about 15% of the book. Yes, I am giving it three stars, which may seem unfair since I didn’t even read a quarter of the book, but my rating is based on personal preference as a conservative Christian reader (had I read the entire book, the rating may have been lower). Not only did I agree to review this book, but I also realize that some of my reader friends may be interested in knowing my thoughts on it.

I knew going into this book that it was fantasy, so I can’t bash the author because of it. But, I guess you could say I got weirded out and thus didn’t want to finish it. The fantasy elements (at least up to the 15% mark) were mind-reading and body-moving (kind of like the “force” in Star Wars? Not sure, I haven’t seen it in decades). I think I could have handled the mind-reading in moderation, but pretty much the entire plot was wrapped around the “talented ones” who had the ability to both read minds and transfer their thoughts to others. And then there was the instance when, by mere intellectual focus, one lifted a body and moved him without touching him. I guess the supernatural effects made me uncomfortable. There are just some things that you don’t really mess with spiritually—the devil is the one who does weird things. Not Christians. So, as a Christian reader, I found the fantasy elements to dip too much into the spiritual realm of things that are extra-Biblical. I definitely didn’t feel at peace reading the rest of the book.

This is supposedly a Christian book. I realize that I probably didn’t read enough of it to get the Christian theme, so I’ll not critique that content. The one main character is a believer in the one true God, the other main character believes in “all the gods.” I would have been interested to see how that played out fully, but for reasons mentioned above, it wasn’t enough to get me to finish it.

I started this book with every intention of enjoying it, but yeah… it didn’t settle right with me; especially in this day and age when spiritual things are becoming blurred lines and people are more inclined to believe others’ words and experiences over what the Word of God says. 

*I received this book from the author and happily provided my honest review*

About the Author

Rachel Rossano lives with her husband and three children in the northeastern part of the United States. Homeschooled through high school, she began writing her early teens. She didn’t become serious about pursuing a career as an author until after she had graduated from college and happily married. Then the children came.

Now she spends her days being a wife, mother, teacher, and household manager. Her evenings and free moments are devoted to her other loves, writing and book cover design. Drawing on a lifelong fascination with reading and history, she spends hours creating historical feeling fantasy worlds and populating them with characters who live and breathe on the page.

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Rachel is giving away an eBook of her book. You can enter here. Your odds of winning increase with every person you refer so spread the word!  Good luck, and I hope you win!

Character Spotlight

Name – Hadrian Aleron

As the youngest of seven sons, he was given seven names (a cultural tradition): Ilias Durand Fidel Hadrian Krispin Valens Savill Aleron (which mean Jehovah is my God, enduring, faithful, dark one, curly-haired, valiant, from the willow farm, eagle). However, he goes by Hadrian most of the time.
Physical Appearance – Tall, dark brown unruly curls, angular features, and intense dark eyes

Tallest among his siblings, he stands out in many ways. Perhaps it was because of the knowledge that he was going to have to help lead a nation at a young age, but even before he took up the role, he carried an air of purpose and gravity about him.

Hadrian was raised by believing parents to honor, love, and obey the Almighty at all costs. In a nation that worships a goddess, that fidelity could mean persecution and, for a public official, possibly death.

Tour Schedule

April 9
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory post
Just A Glimpse – Guest Post

April 10
Rachel John Writes – Book Review
Annie Louise Twitchell – Book Review
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima – Character Spotlight       

April 11
God's Peculiar Treasure Rae – Character Spotlight     

April 12
Rebekah Lyn Books – Book Spotlight
Frances Hoelsema – Book Spotlight
Hunting for Truth – Book Review and Guest Post

April 13
Reading On The Edge – Book Spotlight          
Ember's Reviews – Book Review
With a Joyful Noise – Character Spotlight

April 14
Bookish Orchestrations – Giveaway winner

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