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BLOGWORDS – Tuesday 9 October 2018 – TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – BURDEN OF PROOF by DIANN MILLS

TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – BURDEN OF PROOF by DIANN MILLS

                                                                             

THE BLURB:

Reeling from a negotiation gone wrong, FBI Special Agent April Ramos is caught off guard when a frazzled young woman shoves a crying baby into her arms, then disappears. Worry for the child’s safety quickly turns to fear when a man claiming to be the girl’s father abducts them at gunpoint. April puts her hostage negotiation skills to use to learn more about who she’s dealing with: Jason Snyder, a fugitive accused of murder.

As Jason spins a tall tale about being framed for the killing of his business partner, April must sort through his claims to find the truth. A truth that becomes all the more evident after April overhears a conversation between Jason and the local sheriff and realizes something more sinister may be happening in their small town of Sweet Briar, Texas. But aligning herself with a known fugitive to uncover the burden of proof could cost April her job . . . or worse, her life and the lives of other innocent people.

 

THE AUTHOR:

 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the following social media platforms or others listed at diannmills.com.

facebook.com/diannmills
twitter.com/diannmills
instagram.com/diannmillsauthor

 

MY REVIEW:

Ms. Mills says to “expect an adventure,” and this story surely is! Try more twists and turns and upside down loop-de-loops than a roller coaster!!

 

FBI Special Agent April Ramos doesn’t like change, and she doesn’t like failure. Thrust into a case with more wild cards than answers, she struggles to find the truth.

Young widower, Jason Snyder, was focused on one thing—raising his small daughter. His life is turned upside down when she is abducted, and then he is accused of murder. And the first person he must convince of his innocence is Agent Ramos.

 

I held my breath as April and Jason were stalked by local law enforcement. While I understood Jason’s choices, I sided with April, urging him to let the FBI handle the investigation. I felt the anxiety they both felt—and the tug at their heartstrings. But the deeper Jason dug for answers, and the more confounding their investigation turned, the more gripping the story became.

 

I have come to expect nothing but what Ms. Mills promises, and story eagerly kept turning pages to discover what came next.

 

ROBIN’S FEATHERS:

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 

 

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, Burden of Proof, DiAnn Mills

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BLOGWORDS – Monday 8 October 2018 – TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY-on-Monday – BOOK REVIEW – SHELTER OF THE MOST HIGH by CONNILYN COSSETTE

TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY-on-Monday – BOOK REVIEW – SHELTER OF THE MOST HIGH by CONNILYN COSSETTE

THE BLURB:

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?

 

THE AUTHOR:

 

Connilyn Cossette is the Christy Award Nominated and CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series from Bethany House Publishers. There’s not much she enjoys more than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com

 

 

 

 

Is there any particular message (that isn’t obvious) that you would like your readers to get out of this book?

As I began writing the Cities of Refuge Series I came to the realization that the places God set up as sanctuaries for those convicted of manslaughter (Joshua 20) were a wonderful picture of the Body of Christ and how the Church should relate to the world. Our congregations should be a haven for the hurting, a place of safety and provision for those who are suffering, a place where the teaching of the Word (Torah) is central, a gathering of redeemed people who appreciate the grace and mercy they’ve been given, and a light on the hill to the weary and heavy laden. Throughout the series you’ll see cities of refuge like Kedesh where these principles are upheld and valued and others that have became more focused on wealth, power, self-righteousness or have slidden into idolatry and compromise. History shows us that these cities of refuge were kind of a blip on the timeline, in fact scholar think that many of the 48 cities designated for the Levites by Moses were never even settled. If the Church wants to have an impact on the culture around us, instead of the other way around, we would do well to pattern our congregations after these places of perfectly balanced justice and mercy.

The cities of refuge in the Old Testament isn’t a topic we hear about a lot in church, how did this play into your research? Did you find it easier or more difficult to portray what life would be like for your characters in such a place?

That is very true. I knew pretty much nothing about them either but there is research out there, albeit sparing, from Christian and also Jewish Rabbinical sources that helped me fill in some gaps which I then just blended with what I know about God and about the plan of salvation that fits so perfectly into the Cities of Refuge pattern. As I began to “flesh out” the City of Kedesh in my mind it honestly became a real place in my head, so it’s not difficult to place myself there and envision what my characters see. When I went to Israel and drove near the place where the actual city once stood (or at least across the valley from it) it was kind of surreal to blend my “fictional” Kedesh with the actual landscape.

 

How do you develop your biblical characters when there is little information about them?

I just do my best to understand the cultural and historical context and how it fits together with the biblical narrative and then I weave them into my stories to the best of my ability. I may be completely off the mark in some ways because there are as many opinions as there are scholars and archaeologists, but if I craft a compelling story and a sense of verisimilitude (making it seem like it could have happened) then I have done my job. My goal is never to re-write the Word of God but to inspire readers to put themselves “into” the sandals of the people in the Bible and think about what might have happened to the people who actually experienced those events firsthand.

What are some of the things that inspire your stories? What is the first thing you do when you get an idea?

I draw on a lot of things for inspiration. Of course due to my genre I am inspired by the Bible and once in a while get a flash of story idea from sermons (if I’m taking notes in church that’s usually why 😉 and I have a podcast that I love called Torah Class that has taught me so much over the past few years from a Hebrew cultural and historical perspective. I’m also just a voracious reader so I glean a lot of character inspiration from other talented writers. And then of course my writing partners are a constant source of inspiration because we spend hours and hours talking over our stories, bouncing ideas around, and sharpening each other as we critique and plot together.

 

 

MY REVIEW:

Ms. Cossette never disappoints with her stories, and this time is no exception. From the first page, the story grabs the reader and does not let go.

I was struck with Sofea’s initial reactions to the Hebrew faith. As an outsider and a foreigner, the faith of the Israelites was most curious to her. Accustomed to human sacrifices, and lewd and violent behavior, the love and purity she witnessed was a salve to a deeply wounded heart.

 

Ms. Cossette’s characters leap from the page, their actions and emotions real and genuine. With intricate historical detail, the story resonates authentically, bringing Biblical Truth to light. My own heart was caught up in Sofea’s struggle, and longing to be loved.

 

The limitations placed on Eitan so long ago created conflict within him. That he didn’t recognize the value of his own efforts rang too true with this reviewer. Only with the power of Yahweh’s love for them both were they able to escape the prison of their past, and embrace a future of love and hope.

 

ROBIN’S FEATHERS:

ALL | THE | FEATHERS!

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 

 

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, Shelter of the Most High, Connilyn Cossette

BLOGWORDS – Sunday 7 October 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – ABIDING FAITH

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – ABIDING FAITH

 

As believers don’t we all profess our faith? At the very least in His existence? But what of daily living? What of faith in facing the mess that is our world? And what is faith?

 

Faith, noun, complete trust or confidence in someone or something

 

That’s the dictionary definition. God’s definition is a bit more comprehensive:

 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11: 1

 

Wikibooks goes on to say, “Faith is the connecting power into the spiritual realm, which links us with God and makes Him become a tangible reality to the sense perceptions of a person. Faith is the basic ingredient to begin a relationship with God.”

 

And how do we get it?

 

… God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  Romans 12:3

 

and

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8

 

So that’s it then, right? We all have our measure of faith, and that’s meant to sustain us through life? Right? Seems to me it goes beyond that. Way beyond that.

 

So then faith comes by hearing,  and hearing by the word of God.  Romans 10:17

 

The wording of this verse has always puzzled me. “…faith comes my hearing…” pretty clear. But, “… hearing by the word of God.” I didn’t get that. I mean, if I’m hearing the Word, how do I hear by the Word?

 

Father God explained it to me; my natural ears hear the Word, spoken aloud, which feeds my spirit man. Two different realms. We are, after all, spirit beings. That’s what He meant when He said, “Let us make man in our own image.” ( Genesis 1:26) He didn’t mean He has a corporal body—He only did that when He was born in a stable. Rather, in His image refers to the Spirit.

 

We are spirit, we have a soul (mind and emotions), and we live in a corporal body.

 

So as we feed our mind, which incidentally silences the enemy, we feed our spirit man. And for our faith to grow we must exercise it.

 

In one translation, it says:

 

If we are saved by faith alone… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.  Philippians 2:12-13

 

“Work out our salvation” is not sitting idly by until we leave this world for eternity in heaven. Work out sounds an awful like exercise… jus’ sayin’

 

I heard a story once of Smith Wigglesworth, (10 June 1859 – 12 March 1947) a British evangelist who was influential in the early history of Pentecostalism. He was awakened in the middle of the night by Satan himself, in a rather Dickens-y scenario—rattling, clanging noise, bed shaking and shifting. Upon opening his eyes and realizing who was in his bedchamber, Mr. Wigglesworth said, rather calmly I imagine, “Oh. It’s just you.” And he closed his eyes to go back to sleep. “And by the way,” he said. “Put my bed back where you found it.”

 

What measure of faith! To know that even with Lucifer himself manifest in his bedroom, Smith Wigglesworth knew the enemy could NOT.TOUCH.HIM.

 

And I remember thinking, I want that kind of faith.

 

I couldn’t pinpoint when I heard that story, but I can say that my faith, while perhaps not so bold, is on that level. Stray thoughts, doubts, fears that creep into my mind to taunt me and pull me into doubt—I cast them down in much the same way Mr. Wigglesworth does in that story.  “No,” I say, knowing God’s Word backs me up. Knowing that the enemy cannot lay a hand on my spirit man—which is what he wants. Knowing that no matter my circumstance in the natural, I walk and live—and abide in—the authority given me by God the Father.

 

That’s abiding faith. Confidence in the One who reigns over all. Confidence in the face of all that is contrary. Confidence when facts and evidence belie the Truth.

 

Faith is a weapon of spiritual warfare. It is our shield against the enemy.

 

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  (emphasis mine)  Ephesians 6:14-17

 

Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  Matthew 8:23-26

When those fiery darts bounce off, as in the story of Smith Wigglesworth, as Jesus sleeping in the boat, we can rest in complete and utter assurance that Father God holds us in the palm of His hand. In the midst of the storm, in the assault that swirls around us. We rest. We are at peace.

 

That’s abiding faith.

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Abiding Faith, Hebrews 11:1, Romans 12:3, Ephesians 2:8, Romans 10:17, Genesis 1:26, Philippians 2:12-13, Ephesians 6:14-17, Matthew 8:32-26

BLOGWORDS – Wednesday 3 October 2018 – WREADING WEDNESDAY – FEATURED BOOK– THAT’S WHEN I KNEW by LAURIE TOMLINSON

WREADING WEDNESDAY – FEATURED BOOK – THAT’S WHEN I KNEW by LAURIE TOMLINSON

                                                                             

 

THE BLURB:

Two childhood sweethearts. One failed summer romance. Twelve years later.

On most days, Chelsea Scott feels like her rapidly growing planner and stationery business should belong to someone else. Maybe if it did, it wouldn’t be hovering near the red due to one costly decision. But the collaboration that will save her company awaits her pitch at the trade show she’s keynoting. When her transportation falls through at the last minute, she accepts help from Nick Pearson, who’s unexpectedly come back into her life.

The last time Nick saw Chelsea, he told her he loved her, and she ran. Twelve years later, their lives are different, more complex than the summers they spent playing baseball and eating ice cream cones at their dock with their toes in the lake. But as they spend time together on the road, their feelings for each other become clear: all those years couldn’t take away how good they can be together.

When Chelsea’s past decisions resurface at the convention, her newly rekindled relationship with Nick – and her business – are in jeopardy. Will their love be enough to keep them together or will another summer end with them apart?

 

THE AUTHOR:

 

Laurie Tomlinson is an award-winning contemporary romance author living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her stories are fueled by faith, steaming mugs of tea, and her belief that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking with her two little sous chefs and testing new recipes on her husband–especially if she doesn’t have to do the dishes.

Find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurieTomlinson or her website, www.laurietomlinson.com.

 

 

 

 

You can read my review here:

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/blogwords-tuesday-21-march-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-thats-when-i-knew/

 

 

#Blogwords, Wreading Wednesday, Featured Book, That’s When I Knew, Laurie Tomlinson

BLOGWORDS – 1 October 2018 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – JENNIFER HALLMARK

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – JENNIFER HALLMARK

 

Mamaw Avon’s Pink Stuff

 

Southerners love their “get-togethers,” especially if the holidays and food are involved. My husband Danny’s family is no exception. Though his mother, Mamaw Avon, now lives in her heavenly residence, her bright smile and recipes live on. Thanksgiving meant turkey, Christmas meant ham, and for both holidays, she made cherry fluff, or as we called it, pink stuff.

 

On Thanksgiving Day, we’d wake early to the smell of the turkey which had baked all night. “Dressing,” which is a southern-type of cornbread stuffing, was tasted and re-tasted to get the spices just right. Vegetables were cooked and the house filled quickly with family and friends bearing casseroles and cake plates brimming with delectable dishes. The pink stuff was mixed together and chilled before the start of our late afternoon celebration.

The large crowd would be quieted before we’d give thanks to God for His abundant goodness, then to the feasting. Most of us ate our pink stuff with the meal, but a few would save a bowlful for desert later. The left-overs brought us all together for several days thereafter and the fun would begin all over again.

 

Yield: 10 servings

1 can cherry pie filling

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

12 oz. Cool Whip

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup miniature marshmallows

½ cup pecans, finely chopped

 

Mix all ingredients in large bowl; mix well. Pour in decorative bowl and refrigerate for one hour.

 

 

 

Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and fantasy, an interesting combination that keep the creative juices flowing. She’s published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations.

When she isn’t babysitting grandkids or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on one of her two blogs. Or even watching American Ninja Warrior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Jennifer Hallmark

BLOGWORDS – Sunday 30 September 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – FRIENDS

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – FRIENDS

 

I believe Father God brings or allows people into our lives for different seasons and different purposes. Perhaps it’s a passing stranger who does a kindness. Even those who inflict pain and wrongdoing are ultimately used for His purpose. If you’re not sure, He tells us so:

 

But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.  Genesis 50:20

 

Romans 8:28, We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

But the friends who come to stay are His hands and feet. They are His heart, expressing worth and value to hearts subjected to the world’s callousness.

 

Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.  Proverbs 16:24

 

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  Proverbs 18:24

 

I am blessed and amazed to count the number of lifelong friends Father has placed in my life. Each with a special purpose and place in my life—Cyndi, Jennifer, Karyn, Merissa, Dana, Carrie, Donna—all but two I’ve known for 30+ years.

 

And to the impetus of today’s post—Dana came for a visit last week. Flew from Colorado to South Carolina, including 27 hours stranded in Texas. For a week-end stay. You don’t do that for casual acquaintances or half-hearted friendships. Well, maybe a visit. But half-hearted friendships don’t last years and decades. Half-hearted friends don’t lift you up like these friends do me. Half-hearted friends don’t stick with you through your mess and your junk.

 

True friends, God-friends are the smile when we’re not feelin’ it. They’re the Truth when we don’t want to hear it. They are the balm when our hearts are hurting. And I’m thankful for of mine.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNHBT7wjqVI

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Friends, Genesis 50:20, Romans8:28, Proverbs 16:24, Proverbs 18:24

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