Wednesday, July 15, 2015

7 Family Ministry Essentials by Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman

With decades of ministry experience, Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman capture the guiding essentials of life-changing family ministry. These seven essentials for children and student leaders emphasize:

1. Empowering families to take spiritual leadership in the home
2. Forming lifetime faith that transcends childhood beliefs
3. Teaching Scripture as the ultimate authority of truth
4. Understanding the role of the Holy Spirit to teach and transform
5. Engaging every generation in the gospel of God’s redemptive story
6. Making God central in every biblical narrative and daily living
7. Participating in community with like-minded ministry leaders

7 Family Ministry Essentials will energize and equip you with the practical steps, inspirational stories, and biblical foundation you need as you lead those in your ministry.

I thought that 7 Family Ministry Essentials was an excellent resource for those who are involved in a student or young teen ministry, or simply for parents in the home with young children or teens. There were great applications points at the end of each chapter to help incorporate the principles into ministry at home or elsewhere. There are nine chapters in this book. The first chapter discusses the intricacies of the family ministry movement and how to become involved. The second through eighth chapter go through the seven essentials listed above. The ninth chapter goes over how to be spiritually healthy leader in this current generation. I liked how this book puts together important aspects of family ministry into one concise collection, using essential topics, some of which are pretty 'simple' in theory, but are certainly important to use and to keep in mind. Overall, I thought this book was a great resource and highly useful in a home or greater student ministry setting.

I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

A teacher on the run. A bounty hunter in pursuit. Can two enemies learn to trust each other before they both lose what they hold most dear?

Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan's Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the orphaned girl entrusted to her care. Charlotte promised Lily's mother she'd keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When Miss Atherton produces documentation that shows her to be Lily's legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he's been led to believe. Is she villain or victim?

Then a new danger forces Charlotte to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone vows to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he's ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte's heart.

A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer was a sweet and well paced novel that kept me glued to its pages. The plot was well written and contained a fascinating mixture of romance, danger, suspense, and comic relief. I was drawn in from the first chapter, and the alternating third person perspectives of Stone and Charlotte. The characters in this novel were very well developed and realistic. I really liked all the minor, supporting characters, especially the young children Charlotte is caring for. I also thought that Charlotte and Stone were great characters, full of their own individual strengths and weaknesses. I enjoyed seeing them learn more about one another and experiencing their revelations right along with them. I liked how they both grew in their faith and trust in God and learned to trust one another as well. Overall, this was another great novel by Karen Witemeyer, and I would highly recommend it to those who love a good historical romance with a splash of danger.

I received this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone


Photographer Jenna Harrison wants every bride and groom to look picture perfect on their special day, putting her heart into every wedding to give the couple memorable images of their love. But her own heart is still broken, the unworn wedding dress hanging in her closet a reminder that relationships aren't always as perfect as they look through her camera lens. But Jenna has faith that she will find true love. Until then, she must be patient and trust in God's plan and His perfect timing.

Attorney Ashton Vance is the one that got away. When an embarrassing Photoshopped picture put an end to his political aspirations, he blamed Jenna. So what if the photo led to his being offered a dream job and changing his life for the better? Jenna betrayed his trust, and two years later, Ashton's heart still hasn't recovered.

It was me. His younger sister's three words turn Ashton's world upside down. He must ask Jenna's forgiveness, but can he risk his heart a second time? Even if Jenna can forgive him, dare he hope for a second chance at her love?

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About the author:
Melissa McClone has published more than thirty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She has also been nominated for Romance Writers of America's RITA® award. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house.

Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone is the June novella in the Year of Weddings novella collection. Short and sweet, I enjoyed the idea of the novel but had trouble staying connected. The plot moved too quickly in parts, particularly with Jenna and Ashton (I cannot say more without spoilers), while the overall storyline almost seemed to drag until it was finally over. It can be difficult to develop characters that are complex yet allow the reader to connect with them in a novella, and with this novella I did have trouble connecting with the main characters. I liked Jenna, but I never could understand or come to like Ashton. His sister was even worse and did not change at all throughout the book but continued to get her way even when her selfishness had ruined Jenna and Ashton's happiness earlier. The structure of the novella was also difficult to read. The sentences started out very short, choppy, and incorrectly punctuated. I think part of this was eBook conversion issues, but it did make it hard to get involved in the story. There was not a lot of variation in sentence structure and little description even as the punctuation of the novella improved. Overall, this was not my favorite of the Year of Weddings novellas, but I do think it is a pleasant enough easy summer read. 

I received this novella from Litfuse and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  

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