BOOK REVIEW: A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

noble masquerade

Thanks to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of this first time author.

When I selected this book for review, it was a bit of an accident. I thought clicking on the photo in my email would link me to more information, but instead I got the pop-up message that my order had been received, etc etc. But, I figured it would be good for me to branch out from my usual readings, and this was definitely not my usual readings.

I was reading books of this genre/style (ex. Love Comes Softly) around middle school or early high school age. I wasn’t exactly exuberant with anticipation of it’s arrival, but I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained when I finished reading.

Kristi Ann Hunter transports us  back to the days of formal courting, curricles, and Napoleon’s spies in England. The “leading lady” of the story reminded me of a mix between Lady Edith Crawley caught in the shadow of her sister and Maggie Tulliver trying desperately to reign in her personal nature that seems to stray so far from the ladylike persona she is supposed to maintain. Then we have the “leading man” who is masking his true identity (although we learn early on who he is, the majority of the characters do not). Both are masquerading for a noble purpose.

While it is not my traditionally chosen genre for entertainment, I would gladly request another copy of this author if a new book were to be made available.

Rating: gold stargold stargold stargold stargold star

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BOOK REVIEW: Snuggle Time Devotions that End with a Hug ~ by Stephen Elkins.


Thanks to Tyndale for the complimentary copy.

This review has been a long time coming, or so it seems. I was trying to wait until my 6 yr old and I had read the book entirely, but as he finished the book on his own during our move to a different state I will give my thoughts now, as well as his.

HIS THOUGHTS:  it was really, super good. His favorite parts were the reading and snuggling together, and he really liked the activities.

MY THOUGHTS: I love the fact that he could read 90% or more of the book unassisted (words like Zerubbabel are hard for anyone).

Of course I liked the snuggling too. I thought the activities were really creative, but they didn’t always work for us at bedtime.

Overall, it was a joy to read with my son. He was excited for our bedtime stories, was disappointed if we missed a reading, and the stories prompted questions about Heaven and Hell and salvation.

I plan on looking for more by this author. You can find out more about Stephen Elkins and his books here.

Rating: 5 stars

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REVIEW: Fallen ~ by Annie Lobert

fallen review

And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony…” ~ Revelation 12:11 NLT

Thanks to NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this amazing woman’s book

I knew a little bit about Annie before I requested this book…that’s actually why I requested her book. I don’t remember how I learned about her and her ministry, I just remember I discovered her Myspace page back in the days before Facebook, and as a result of researching about her and Hookers for Jesus I discovered she was married to a musician and….voila! I discovered Stryper and fell in love with the band as well.

If anyone is an expert on the reality of the sex industry it is Annie Lobert. She has been through more lows and highs than the “average person”, but the truth is her biography is average for so many in that industry. This book is not for the faint of heart.

The testimony of her years of trying to satisfy her insatiable need for love only to be met with overwhelming heartbreak is told in such simple terms. While reading her biography, it’s as if she is sitting down with you and talking. Even though I knew some of her story and most of us probably think we know the horrors of prostitution, I still cringed at certain points. I knew she had been in abusive relationships more than once, and having had family members in abusive relationships I can understand her explanations of what her thoughts were at the time and why she stayed for so long….but it was still heartbreaking to read in her words all she went through, and I’m sure there is still so much more that she could tell.

The end of the book not only shares how Annie came to Christ and was radically transformed when she became a Christian, but also shares some short testimonies from women in her ministry that have been saved physically and spiritually. Her heart for the women who are still in the sex industry is so evident throughout, her passion cannot be contained and is contagious. It’s still hard to put into words how much her story affects me and how grateful I am for her passionate heart.

To learn more about Hookers for Jesus and Destiny House, click here.

Five Stars   gold stargold stargold stargold stargold star

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REVIEW: Blindsided by God ~ by Peter Chin


…even a brief glimpse of God in the midst of the storm is better than a lifetime spent in blissful ignorance.

Thanks to Bethany House for my complimentary copy and the opportunity to review this book.

“Blindsided by God” was my first review for Bethany House, and what an amazing read. Peter Chin, currently pastor at Rainier Avenue Church in Seattle, Washington, as well as husband and father to five children, shares his story of how God revealed to him in a very personal and very real way that…

1. God is always with you, whether it be a high time of constant praise and thankfulness, or a low time of nagging fear and doubt

2. God always has an intricately orchestrated plan, and we seldom see the choreography of that plan until after the fact.

3. God’s plan is not only beyond our understanding, it is far better than we could imagine or dream.

Peter’s story uses his first-hand experience to show how God stayed by Peter’s and his family’s side during one of the darkest times in their life; a time that–without giving everything away– I can best describe as traumatic, sometimes bizarre, and constantly humbling.

As Peter stated “God was not simply incomprehensible — He was incomprehensibly loving.” (pg 221)

Read his story, and I am sure you will re-examine what it means to walk by faith and what you consider a miracle.

Rating: gold stargold stargold stargold stargold star

Learn more about Peter Chin and Rainier Avenue Church by clicking here.

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Psalm 150: A concert of celebration

Praise God in his holy house of worship,
praise him under the open skies;
Praise him for his acts of power,
praise him for his magnificent greatness;
Praise with a blast on the trumpet,
praise by strumming soft strings;
Praise him with castanets and dance,
praise him with banjo and flute;
Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum,
praise him with fiddles and mandolin.
Let every living, breathing creature praise God!
The Message

What a vast array of instruments, and this is only one translation! I also took a look at the New Living Translation, Young’s Literal Translation, Orthodox Jewish Bible, American Standard Version, and Easy-to-Read Version and found the following list of instruments:

trumpet, castanet, dance, banjo, flute, cymbal, bass drum, fiddle, mandolin, harp, tambourine, singing, psaltery, timbrel, organ, shofar (ram’s horn), pipe, horns, lyre, and stringed instruments.

Now some of these instruments are unknown to modern day readers, like the lyre and timbrel. The best that I can verify what I’ve always heard, the lyre is a stringed instrument like a miniature harp (how appropriate during Valentine’s Day…remember Cupid’s little harp he plays after you’re shot with an arrow?) and the timbrel is like a tambourine. The psaltery appears to look like a mid-sized harp that can sit in your lap, or a zither.

Then there are some generic instruments, like “stringed instruments”. Quick wikipedia search and we have over 70 instruments! And we also have “horns”, which brings us in a sampling: trumpet, cornet, trombone, tuba, french horn, and bugle. I suppose the shofar, or ram’s horn, could go in this category as well.

Third, we have the more known but not necessarily popular instruments like the castanet, tambourine, organ, and pipe. Now, when I read the word pipe I instantly think of Peter Pan’s pipe, but I suppose it could also be a Native American pipe, recorder or bagpipe.

Last but not least, we have the more common/popular instruments and the non-musical “instruments” of praise: banjo, flute, cymbal, fiddle, mandolin, dance, and singing. You put all of these things together and you have quite the eclectic symphony!

There are only 6 short verses in this chapter, but with even minimal research it is abundantly clear that we are not just told, but welcomed to praise God with whatever method will best embody our personal relationship with Him. There is no instrument that cannot be used to worship Him, no style of music that cannot be used to bring Him glory. (Enter my three favorite Christian rock artists….in no particular order, Skillet, Stryper, and Devin Williams)

God’s love crosses all boundaries. He does not discriminate. And we are not only allowed to worship him in response to that love loudly with enthusiasm and fervor, or quietly with tranquility and stillness, but encouraged to do so. There is no “wrong method” of worshiping and praising Him if your heart is sincere.
Now that’s a reason to celebrate!

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REVIEW — Doctor Who:The Blood Cell

blood cell

Thanks to and eidelweiss for my complimentary digital copy of DOCTOR WHO: THE BLOOD CELL by James Goss

I cannot tell you how excited this Whovian was to get this book on my Kindle. Maybe this will describe my enthusiasm?


I cannot express accurately how much I enjoyed this book. The author did an excellent job of portraying the Twelfth Doctor (as played by Peter Capaldi) and Clara (as played by Jenna Coleman). I knew that Prisoner 428 was The Doctor before he was named by the character’s temperament, use of words, and description. I also enjoyed the fact that the story was written as a first-person narrative.

And of course, the mysterious villain The Doctor is battling with and trying to identify. At first I half expected it to be a cyberman, but was in for a pleasant surprise when the mysterious villain was revealed. The only thing that could have made me love this book even more would have been to make the TARDIS a character at some point, rather than just a reference made by Clara and The Doctor.

Overall, this was the perfect substitution for an actual episode, since the only person I know who has BBC America is not fond of the series :( Blood Cell filled my need for a Doctor Who fix better than an old episode from Netflix or Amazon could.

Rating: gold stargold stargold stargold stargold star

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From Tablet to Table by Leonard Sweet: Book Review

tablet to table

“The stories of Jesus…are not heroic legend or tales of the heavens. They are ordinary stories of ordinary people in ordinary places doing ordinary things…but in an extraordinary way.” 

Thanks to Tyndale Publishers and NetGalley for the copy of this title for reviewing purposes

The author of this title has a diverse background which I felt came through in his writing. From Tablet to Table was … interestingly different for me. In this book, the author gives his reasons for why he believes that American culture needs to get back to the table, for personal benefit as well as spiritual, and he lists numerous Scriptures to support his thoughts.

I had some positive and negative responses both with this read.

Negatives: In the beginning I found it hard to understand if the author was speaking about a literal table or a figurative table. Also, some of the Scriptures he used I didn’t see the connection to his point. For example, he states that “God’s very first commandment–is ‘Eat freely’ (Genesis 2:16)”, however I do not view that Scripture as a commandment to eat, but rather a warning of what not to eat, and it felt to me that you really needed to read the next verse to get the full meaning of what God was saying to Adam and Eve in the garden as verse 16 alone did not convey that. See below:

“But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Genesis 2:16-17 NLT

Positives: It is apparent in his writing that the author has done his research and has used his personal history to reach these conclusions.  I can also agree with his descriptions of ‘versitis’ as he calls it, in which we have the tendency to memorize the single verse readily but conveniently ignore or dismiss the verses directly before and after; this limits our understanding of what the Scripture is really saying as we don’t get the whole picture in a single verse.

Overall, I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars, as it was a bit difficult to get started and I couldn’t always grasp the connection he was trying to create. In spite of that, it did make me re-evaluate how I view the family table, and what I view as the family and the family table.

Rating: gold stargold stargold star

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