Sunday, August 25, 2013

NIV Worship Together Bible

Worshiping God is one of the believer’s highest callings. Music and song have been a timeless way to glorify God throughout history. Scripture itself is full of musical and poetic praises dedicated to the Lord. Using a unique combination of songs and reflections, the NIV Worship Together Bible blends modern-day worship and culture with the beloved Word of God. This Bible helps you embrace God as your loving Father and shows you how to exalt him through song and reflection. The musical inspiration in this Bible will remind you of the importance of constantly striving to be Christlike. As Pastor Jack Hayford, the author of the song “Majesty,” once put it: “Worship changes the worshiper into the image of the One worshiped.”

The NIV Worship Together Bible is a wonderful resource and study tool that I plan to use for many years to come. The Bible is a great size, is hardback, and included the entire Bible text in the New International Standard Version. Some of its features include the lyrics to the top 50 worship songs, the chords for the top 20 songs, and notes, history, and reflections of classic songs and hymns and their writers from the past several centuries. This Bible also has an essay exploring the purpose and history of worship music as well as a foreword by Matt Maher and song index according to scriptural reference.

I loved the way the NIV Worship Bible includes music, songs, and the songs' history in an integral way with the Scripture. It is a great way to learn more about the worship songs we sing and grasp how they have been founded on Biblical truth. I enjoyed using the chord sheets to play and sing many worship songs, and the resource of the lyrics from 50 worship songs was great to have available all in one location. Overall, I have loved this Bible so far, and I look forward to using it often in the future.

I received this book for free from Zondervan publisher and in exchange for an honest review.

The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

Worlds lie between the marketplaces of India and the halls of a magnificent country estate like Highland Hall. Will Julia be able to find her place when a governess is neither upstairs family nor downstairs help?

Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents’ financial support. Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly finds that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging than expected, and she isn’t sure what to make of the estate’s preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.

Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin Randolph’s two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from the financial ruin. The last thing he needs is any distraction coming from the kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.

While both are tending past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, Julia and William are determined to do what it takes to save their families—common ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings. But will William choose Julia’s steadfast heart and faith over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall’s future?

The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky was an interesting and enjoyable novel that beautifully wove together a story of romantic love and biblical faith between the main characters. The plot line contained a balanced mix of humor, suspense, tough circumstances, and biblical truth. The author created beautiful settings and situations through descriptive language and character conversations. The themes were well developed and included topics such as following God's will, looking past class distinctions, trusting God and one another, and being honest with your friends and family. The narration of the novel was third person, but alternated between William and Julia's point of view so that the reader had an idea of what each character was thinking.

The characters of this novel were well developed and easy to relate to. Julia and William were different yet contained similar characteristics, and they each had their own strengths, struggles, and personal growths throughout the story. The other minor characters such as William's sister Sarah and the other servants contributed to the depth of the main plotline as well as having their own personal storylines and struggles during the novel.

Overall, I found The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky to be a delightful read, and I look forward to reading more of her novels. I would highly recommend this novel to any reader who enjoys historical romance novels that have a convincing and well woven Christian theme.

I received this novel for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Press in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ministry Protocol Cover Reveal

I am excited to announce that the cover of the Ministry Protocol: Thrilling Tales from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences is being released today, and you have a chance to see it on my blog! The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels by Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine are spell-binding reads that I would highly recommend.
The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels are a multi-award winning steampunk series, which tell the story of the government agency committed to keeping citizens safe from the strange, the unusual, and the bizarre.
In a very successful Kickstarter in July, the Ministry Initiative was funded, allowing the creation of both a roleplaying game and a brand new anthology, known as the  Ministry Protocol: Thrilling Tales from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences is a collection of short stories that will take readers across the Empire and all over the world, revealing new facets of familiar characters and introducing new agents, allies, and enemies from the Ministry’s colourful history.
The authors of this globe-spanning anthology include Delilah S. Dawson, Leanna Renee Hieber, Alex White, Jared Axelrod, Tiffany Trent, Peter Woodworth, Jack Mangan, JR Blackwell, Dan Rabarts, Lauren Harris, Karina Cooper, and Glenn Freund from The League of S.T.E.A.M.
And one of the Ministry’s creators, Tee Morris, presents the origin story of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences itself. 
Look for the ebook coming in August, with signed print editions to follow. 
Feast your eyes on the cover art from the Ministry renaissance man, Alex White, and spread the word about the anthology by entering the giveaway. 
 Enter the Giveaway Here as well!

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Frame 32 by Wil Mara

Read first chapter excerpt here

The time had come, she decided, to rid herself of this burden, to take the steps necessary to put the matter to rest once and for all. And the first step, she knew—against every instinct and desire—was to watch that film.During the reading of her mother’s will, Sheila Baker discovers that she has inherited everything her parents ever possessed, including their secrets. A mysterious safe-deposit box key leads her to the answers to one of history’s greatest conspiracies: Who killed John F. Kennedy? Not only does she have the missing film, revealing her mother as the infamous babushka lady, but she has proof that there was more than one shooter.

On the run from people who would stop at nothing to keep secrets buried, Sheila turns to billionaire sleuth Jason Hammond for help. Having lost his own family in a tragic plane crash, Jason knows a thing or two about running from the past. With a target on their backs and time running out, can Jason finally uncover the truth behind the crime that shook a generation—or will he and Sheila become its final victims?

Frame 232 by Wil Mara is an interesting and truly mind-boggling novel that explores the possibilities of what and who really did lie behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The plot line is an exciting combination of mystery, conspiracy, redemption, and lurking danger. The author did an excellent job swirling together different yet connected plot lines and preparing the reader for the revelation of the truth as the characters dug deeper into the past. The topics and themes of the novel were well developed and clear, and they included being honest, seeking forgiveness, and trusting God even in the midst of pain and heartache. I liked how the characters discovered aspects of these truths throughout the novel, yet were not 'perfect' at the end. They all still had areas surrounding these topics where they could grow in their understanding through their beginning or growing in their relationships with God. The narration of the novel was in third person, but the central point of view of the chapter varied from chapter to chapter. This did cause the story to become fractured at times because the point of view changed so often, but it also added to the reader's overall knowledge of the plot as the novel progressed.

The characters of the novel were realistic and relatable. Both Sheila and Jason had their faults, their past heartaches, and their own unique strengths. They worked well together, and their strengths and weaknesses complemented each another and helped make them more realistic to the reader. The other minor characters were different and added to the story tremendously.

Overall, I really enjoyed Frame 232. The storyline was unique and very interesting, the characters believable, and the themes and topics convicting. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a suspenseful, 'conspiracy' thriller with believable twists.