Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It Is Well with My Soul by Shelly Beach

Meditations for Those Living with Illness, Pain, and the Challenges of Aging

Living with chronic illness, growing older, or facing the end of life can be a frightening experience.

In this insightful devotional designed for care receivers, you’ll find a collection of short meditations to encourage you or someone you love.

Gain a deeper understanding of God’s purposes in situations of suffering through engaging narrative, personal experience stories, and the use of humor.

Discover how you can find hope and contentment in Jesus.

My Review:
This title grabbed my attention right away because this is my favorite hymn. Then the subtitle spoke to me as I live with illness, pain, and the challenges of aging. As I read, I happily discovered that the author had put some of my experiences down on paper. (She and I have many similar experiences, so I quickly connected!)

What a treasure this small book is. The author writes of her life experiences as well as some situations that others face. All are penned in an uplifting manner. Everyone faces these bumps--or steep mountains in life or knows someone who does. Shelly Beach helps the reader understand that God is ever present, even when it feels as if He is far away.

This collection of snippets and anecdotes are turned into meditations that point the reader toward the things of God. Each offering comes with a Bible verse and two thought-provoking questions along with a short prayer. It's perfect for use as a devotional, but could also be well used for a group study guide. It would make a nice gift for anyone "living with illness, pain, and the challenges of aging."

Thank you to Anne Bauman at Discovery House Publishers for my copy.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Icing on the Cake by Janice Thompson

Weddings by Design (Book 2)

Scarlet Lindsey's Aunt Wilhelmina may be Texas's most popular cake baker extraordinaire, but she's also getting on in years. When Scarlet decides to take on the role of cake decorator at her cranky aunt's bidding, it's just the beginning of a series of misunderstandings and mishaps that will lead her to compete in a cake challenge on national television--and might even lead her to finding true love.

Fan favorite Janice Thompson is back with more wit, more weddings, and more of what her readers love best--bridal business drama. Bella and the gang are all here and readers will fall in love with the newest quirky characters straight from the creative mind of a fantastic storyteller.

My Review:
I love the characters that Janice Thompson creates. Boy, do I connect with Scarlet, the main protagonist in this novel. She is the first overweight female I've "met" through reading. Poor thing, Scarlet feels self-conscious about her abundant backside--her "sticky buns," a thoughtless nickname her Aunt Wilhelmina gave her long ago. To further complicate things, Scarlet owns and operates a bakery named, "Let Them Eat Cake" which is financed by the same Auntie, who makes a habit of popping in often to offer her advice.

Scarlet's love interest, Armando Rossi, doesn't notice her (ahem) thickness. In fact, he seems to think she looks just fine. He's an Italian bad boy who has come home to temporarily work in the family business--Parma John's Pizzeria, located next door to the bakery.

I learned about the business of running a bakery, a bake-off competition for a national television show (as in Food Network), and the work involved with raising money for a mission trip. Included is a recipe for an Italian Wedding Cake that I plan to try, even though I know my "sticky buns" will surely expand!

I recommend reading the first book in the Weddings by Design series Picture Perfect. Nonetheless, Icing on the Cake is a delightful stand-alone novel and certainly can be enjoyed without reading any other.

Available August, 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thank you to Lanette Haskins at Baker Publishing Group for my copy.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

God's Prescription for Healing: Five Divine Gifts of Healing by James P. Gills, M.D.


The prescription for all your healing has already been designed within you by your Creator-contained within a single microscopic cell. By faith you'll come to know His purpose for your life, your suffering, and your healing. The integration processes for healing within the body are your practical proof of the Creator's existence. His love and continuing concern for you are revealed in his amazing design for your healing.


  • Intracellular mysteries of God's healing design (DNA)
  • Scientific use of God's healing design (medicine)
  • Spiritual wholeness by alignment with the Creator (lifestyle)
  • Improbable healing - by God (prayer)
  • United with God: ultimate healing (eternal life)

GOD IS ALREADY AT WORK TO BRING ABOUT THE HEALING YOU NEED! Recognize God's thumbprint on your life, and seek Him to strengthen and refine any weak areas. Don't let spiritual blindness prevent you from walking in His perfect plan for your health.

My Review:
Dr. Gills breaks down healing into five different types:
1. Natural--illustrated by a cut finger that heals without any attention;
2. Assisted--when a physician steps in to assist;
3. Inner--Sound preventative advice is given;
4. Improbable--Bible miracles are covered; and
5. Ultimate--when a person enters Heaven.

Having recently experienced cataract surgery (preformed by Dr. Gills, himself) I was most interested in the section on assisted healing. In this section, Dr. Gills describes the operation in great detail. I thought it fascinating.

The book is easy to read and can be read as quickly or slowly as one might desire.

It's good to see this physician acknowledge Jesus, the Great Physician, as the ultimate healer.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold by Joyce Magnin

This story of a senior citizen daring to stand up for herself will resonate with Christian fiction readers everywhere.

In Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold by Joyce Magnin, Harriet settles into a new life in Grass Valley, California, and gets caught up in another adventure when she decides to lease a gold mine. After listening to the pleas of a desperate teen whose daddy needs money right away—and happens to have a gold mine to lease—Harriet falls hook, line, and sinker into the venture. Although she is nervous about her investment, Harriet chooses to keep it a secret from her son, Henry, and his wife who have just learned they are expecting a baby. And besides, this just may be the ticket to a golden windfall.

But when Harriet’s friend Martha comes for a visit, she convinces Harriet to come clean because she is suspicious and just doesn’t buy that the operation is legit.

Harriet may never see an ounce of gold, but it is the fate of the young teen that really begins to matter. And it takes an emergency with her daughter-in-law, Prudence, for Harriet to learn where her true treasure lies.

My Review:
Harriet, a delightful seventy-two year-old lady lives with her son, his wife, their cat, and Humphrey, a basset hound. I easily connected with her. I found myself chuckling at various passages. The novel is written in a light-hearted style that's easy to follow.

Food is one theme of this story. In one day, three people consume a dozen glazed doughnuts, a blueberry pie, and a peach cobbler! (I wonder at the size of these characters.) I love sweets, but this seems to be way too much. I wonder if the author is using meals and food as padding for the storyline.

Some mistakes in editing are hard to ignore. At the bottom of page174, Harriet is talking to Harriet. (She should have been talking to Martha.) On page 258, Pru and Henry park; however, on page 259, they get "ready to leave the house." (Sections are misplaced.) A reader is easily distracted with errors like these.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book through BookSneeze®.

If you'd like to purchase a copy, click here.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Heaven by Randy Alcorn

According to Alcorn (The Treasure Principle; Deadline; Safely Home), the subject of heaven rates as one of the least accurately discussed subjects in the whole of Christendom. 

Even seminarians fail to give appropriate time and attention to heaven as described throughout the Bible because other themes take pre-eminence both chronologically and preferentially. Alcorn is likewise astounded that the majority of Christians who do take time to consider heaven often possess faulty, nonbiblical assumptions, one of the most common being the misconception of heaven as a place of unending church services. 

The author, who is also the founder of the nonprofit organization Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), has spent years studying what the Bible says about heaven, and in this compelling and comprehensive resource, he offers every conceivable question about heaven, or the "New Earth," as a Christian believer's ultimate destination. 

Alcorn answers the expected queries on heavenly life as well as quirkier ones: will Christians drink coffee in heaven? Will there be homeownership, and what about sex? Will our pets be in heaven? Evangelical scholars and laypersons alike will appreciate Alcorn's expansive—though perhaps long-winded—musings on this neglected subject, a real boon in a time when many people are eager to understand what happens after death.

My Review:
As the author suggested, when planning a trip to an unknown place, it is wise to prepare ahead. Study that place. Think on it so that upon arrival, you'll feel comfortable. As a Christian, I plan on going to Heaven, and I appreciate the efforts the author employed to compile this tome. 

In addition to many verses from the Bible, Alcorn used his extensive collection of material for his opinions. Although it is an intimidating work with 535 pages, I must say, it's worth the read. (I read a chapter or two each day until finished. It might serve well for a group study.)

The one caveat I have is the repetition.  It should have been edited more carefully.