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Love’s First Bloom by Delia Parr is the story of one daughter’s commitment to honor her father’s wishes to protect a child of a prostitute from public scrutiny. Ruth Livingstone’s life changes dramatically when her father, Reverend Livingstone, is on trial for murder.   Ruth must flee to New Jersey – to wait out the trial of her father caring for Lily, the child of the murdered prostitute. 

Faced with adversity and the threat of exposure, Ruth seeks solace in gardening but Asher Tripp, a newspaper reporter is hot on her trail.  Asher must get his story in order to reclaim his career as a journal and his relationship with his  brother –   but at what cost?  Ruth and Asher find themselves is a constant struggle between trust and mistrust shrouded by secrets and deceptions. Yet, will their conflicting emotions give way to love?

Love’s First Bloom is filled with suspense, drama and plot twists that keep you guessing at what will happen next. Both Ruth and Asher (aka Jake) must listen to the voice within –  in order to be  free –   to choose love. Delia Parr does an excellent job of addressing the issues of trust, faith, hope and love. While the story line is engaging, the characters do not seem fully developed.  Nonetheless, Love’s First Bloom is an inspiring book.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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Set in 1885 New York, Masquerade by Nancy Moser is an inspiring story about a wealthy heiress, Charlotte Gleason and her maid, Dora Connors.   To avoid family shame, Charlotte must leave her beloved England to marry a wealthy American, Conrad Tremaine.   During their voyage, Charlotte and Dora switch places taking control of lives – a new beginning of adventure in America.

Nancy Moser writes a compelling story that is inspiring.  The author deals with the illusions of controlling one’s own destiny and the importance of receiving God’s guidance.  She also shows how Charlotte and Dora’s heart issues – jealousy, vanity and insecurity – are used to develop true character that begins from within.   

This book is an easy to read with vivid imagery and well-developed characters. It is filled with suspense, plot twists, and drama. Both protagonists experience the reality of their choices – Charlotte, experiencing the unpleasantness of real life and Dora, struggling to conform to the rigors of a privileged life in gilded cage.  Both protagonists are faced with challenges that have them rethinking their decision to switch identities – only God’s guidance can free them. This is an excellent read!  Once you start it, you won’t want to put it down!

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Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference by Max Lucado challenges followers of Christ to reach beyond their differences to change the world.  The story unfolds with the fable of finding Father Benjamin.  A sea-captain travels to remote islands in search of Father Benjamin.  The captain sees that while one island is filled with poverty and sickness another island is successful and thriving. Yet, how can this be?  This fable illustrates how we can outlive our lives. 

Max uses both biblical and current applications of Christ’s command to demonstrate love-in-action to our neighbor – feeding, clothing and comforting: showing hospitality is where it all begins.  He also addresses how wrong thinking hinders change.   Max Lucado’s  solution: applying biblical principles to everyday life by following the biblical examples of Jesus Christ.

This book is the bridge for believers to move from being a hearer of the Word of God to a doer.  The advice and examples are practical and easy to do: just pray, listen and be available.  Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference is clear, concise guide to becoming an ambassador of Christ.  The language is vivid and the imagery is memorable. 

If you have ever wondered or desired to know your purpose, Max Lucado has made it plain, easy to read and understand, and at times humorous.  Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference will change the way you see the world.

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How far would you travel to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Would you really risk your life to follow God half-way around the world?  Would you live in a closed Muslim nation where it is illegal to talk about Christianity?  That is what author “Reema Goode” did.  Reema” is a wife, mother, and missionary sharing her personal experiences of everyday life in the Middle Eastern country– shopping in the marketplace, visiting neighbors, eating meals – observing societal customs that prove to be challenging. Which None Can Shut: Remarkable True Stories of Gods Miraculous Work in the Muslim World by “Reema Goode” (name changed for security) is an inspiring story of one family’s willingness to share and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The book is written in a story format that is witty, easy to read and very engaging.  The author is candid, transparent, and at time humorous in conveying her thoughts and struggles of living as a missionary in a Muslim nation.
Through the author’s eyes, the story reveals how God is fulfilling his covenant – a promise to redeem man unto Himself – using willing people like “Reema” and Mike to evangelize their neighborhood in unusually creative ways.  Based on scripture, “See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it.”—Revelation 3:8, “Reema” and her family must continually trust and follow God.

Which None Can Shut: Remarkable True Stories of Gods Miraculous Work in the Muslim World is a story of love, sacrifice, trust and hope inspiring readers to move beyond their comfort zone and trust God to do the impossible.  It is further evidence of God’s desire to set captives free from fear and bondage giving them the opportunity to choose life.  This is a must read! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their Tyndale Blog Network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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In the biography, William F. Buckley, author Jeremy Lott writes a compelling story of Buckley as the `Patron Saint of the Conservatives’.  Throughout this work, the author depicts William F. Buckley as a prophet who sounds the clarion call: warning society of the need to preserve and protect conservatism from the impending doom of liberalism and secularism.  Through a careful examination of William F. Buckley’s faith and his views on government and societal issues, Lott painstakingly illustrates how the early influences of young Buckley- his Protestant heritage, Catholic upbringing, strong family ties and strong sense of patriotism- shape him.

This candid tale of William F. Buckley provides a deep and rich professional history yet is does not provide personal insight of the man and his faith. Although Buckley is passionate about his cause to preserve conservative values, he seems to be more self-governed than God-governed in his actions. At times William F. Buckley appears to be disconnected from his faith in his behavior towards in politics and those who do not share his opinions. From the author’s writing, we learn that Buckley is at time can be rigid and less than tolerant of others’ viewpoints on the issues of the day; therefore, to associate him as a modern prophet is indeed a stretch of the imagination.

There is an inherent conflict in Buckley the man and Buckley the conservative-  one in theory and the other in practice-  seems diametrically opposed.  Although it is clear that William F. Buckley has made significant contributions to the conservatism movement.  It is more fitting to categorize this biography as a mainstream personal or political history than one bearing emphasis from the Christian perspective. It is a good read for those who are interested in American social and political history.

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Change starts in the heart of a child – this is the message that author, Andy Andrews conveys in his book, The Boy Who Changed the World.   The message that resonates throughout this work is the importance of nurturing the dreams of children.   Andy challenges the reader to consider this awesome concept – their value and the importance of their contribution –on a global scale.  The author demonstrates how the butterfly effect revolutionized the world.  Starting with three little boys – Norman, Henry and George – the author illustrates how their cumulative life experiences transformed the world.  Andy’s use of imagery – the fields of corn – challenges the reader to rise above their circumstances to achieve their destiny.  This inspiring work encourages children to strive to do what may seem to be impossible. It also reminds children that what their actions matter. When we are faced with difficult decisions, we should not allow fear to hinder us.  Children are peculiar treasures.  This is inspiring work of art!

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The actions of the individual can change the world – this is the message that author, Andy Andrews conveys in his book, The Butterfly Effect – How You Life Matters.   The message that resonates throughout this work is the importance of a single deed or decision changes the world.   Andy Andrews challenges the reader to consider this awesome concept – their value and the importance of their contribution –on a global scale.  The Butterfly Effect is a clarion call for the world to remember we are our brother’s keeper – a community of individuals – that need to remember that each of us matter.   As unique beings, we must fulfill our purpose so that others who come behind us can thrive.  Andy’s use of imagery – the butterfly – as well as the origin of the butterfly effect, challenges the reader to rise above their circumstances to achieve their destiny.  When we are faced with difficult decisions, we should not allow fear to hinder us.  Andy Andrews demonstrates how one man – Joshua Chamberlain – used wisdom and embraced courage which transformed the lives of millions who came after him. The author reminds us that we are peculiar treasures.  Our cumulative experiences woven together create a beautiful tapestry. This story is inspiring!