Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Review: "Sabotaged"

I loved this book. I loved this series. I'm looking forward to the next one (Chesapeake Valor)! Do I really need to say anything more?

In case I do, Sabotaged by Dani Pattrey is the fifth and final (for now, according to Pettrey--I love the gift of hope!) book in her Alaskan Courage series. Each book of the series focuses on one of the McKenna siblings, three brothers and two sisters who have been running a wilderness adventure business together in Alaska since their parents' deaths. These books tell the McKenna family's own matter-of-life-and-death adventure stories combined with happy touch of happily-ever-after romance.

Sabotaged is Reef's story. While working on the search and rescue team for the Iditarod race, Reef's somewhat tentative friend, Kirra, realizes her uncle, an experienced participant and former winner, has gone missing. When she sneaks out at night to go look for him, Reef follows her and tags along to keep her safe. What they learn when they find him leads them on a quest to save a cousin, Alaska's environment, and many innocent lives.

This was a story of trust. Reef, a fairly new Christian, had to practice his faith, determining to lean on God through every circumstance. Kirra, a disillusioned Christian, had to realize that the God who seemed to have abandoned her had been there all along. He had never left her; He never would.

I recommend this book, the whole series, in fact, to anyone who enjoys stories of heroic adventures, intriguing settings, sweet romances, and family loyalty. Thank you, Bethany House Publishers, for sending me a complimentary copy of Sabotaged in exchange for this honest review

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Book Review: "Life with a Capital L"

The last paragraph on the back of Matt Heard’s new book, Life with a Capital L, says, “Christ promised we could ‘live life to the full.’ He didn’t just mean eventually. Life with a Capital L is the Life you are longing for. Now.” And in this book, Heard helps readers understand how much God loves them, what He really longs for, what He provides for them as a result, and how they can enjoy living this Capital L Life.

I recommend this book.

I absolutely loved Part 1: Reclaiming Our Humanity. Then I struggled a bit through the first two chapters of Part 2: Ten Experiences of Life with a Capital L. In fact, I was tempted to give up on the book after reading them. These two chapters seemed to center on us – without God. I feared Heard was saying that God had done His part, now it was up to us. He wasn’t saying that at all. I’m glad I kept reading.

The chapters on Beauty and Story and Worship and Love and Time and Brokenness were amazing. Heard explains each of these clearly, using quotes from well-known authors and his own Life experiences. As I read each chapter in sequences, I saw that Life with a Capital L tells the gospel story of God redeeming and restoring creation, taking readers from the Garden of Eden to Heaven – and helping them understand how God’s work throughout history can impact their Lives right now.

If you struggle to see the Gospel for the good news that it is, you need to read this book. I thank Waterbrook Multnomah for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, February 13, 2015

"Parachute Prayer" Is Here

Book Arrival
It's here! It's finally here!

Parachute Prayer: the Practice of Praying Continually is now available on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle. Within the next few days, it will also be available at other on-line retailers such as BN.com and BooksaMillion.com.

To celebrate, I'm running my very first ever giveaway at Wildflower Faith. I'll be giving one winner two signed copies of Parachute Prayer: one to keep, one to give to a friend. Click here to visit Wildflower Faith and enter to win.

Thanks for celebrating with me!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Book Review: "Where Rivers Part"

Where Rivers Part is the story of a corporate scandal, a community crisis, and the 33-year-old doctor caught up in it all. Dr. Juliet Ryan chose a career in food safety because she wanted to protect people. And though her decision to work as an executive at a bottled water company aggravates her father, Juliet believes she’s in a position that will allow her to do the most good.

When small children and elderly adults start getting sick, however, Juliet finds herself in a precarious place. She must uncover the truth to protect herself and others who are innocent. She must find someone she can trust.

Juliet’s story started slowly. It was between pages 80 and 120 that it started to pick up speed. Until that point, I was frustrated with Juliet, an angry young woman making unwise decisions based on emotion instead of on fact. I wanted to respect her, but she was just so gullible. I became sympathetic, though, as her circumstances grew worse and then worse. She got herself into such a pickle, there wasn’t much hope she would find a way out. Naturally this held my attention through the second two-thirds of the book.

This is author Kellie Coates Gilbert’s third novel and the first of hers I’ve read. According to her bio, Gilbert writes “emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances.” That phrase describes Juliet well. I liked the San Antonio setting of Where Rivers Part and appreciated the author’s notes about that city at the end of the book. I was intrigued by the food safety issue. I thank Revell for sending me a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Four Days to Book Launch! "Parachute Prayer"

Cover RevealDear Reading Friends:

I’m so excited to announce the upcoming release of my new book, Parachute Prayer: The Practice of Praying Continually. It is my heart’s desire to encourage people, through this book, through this blog, through my life, through whatever means possible, to pray. God loves to hear our voices (and thoughts) directed toward Him, conversing about anything and everything all the time. He loves it when we pray because He adores us. I am praying that Parachute Prayer will help the people who read it to understand this and practice it in a new way.

Here is the back cover synopsis of the book:
Have you ever wondered what Paul meant when he told us to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)? Do you long to develop a regular habit of prayer, one that helps you keep prayer concerns before your God while also reminding you of His constant presence? He is with you. He loves you. He wants you to talk with Him!
Through a personal prayer concern, author Janet Benlien Reeves discovered that God has planted prompts to pray all over the place. Training herself to notice them and respond became a fun and meaningful exercise—one she’s eager to share with you.
In the pages of this book, you’ll read Janet’s story, learn the concept of Parachute Prayer, and find more than one hundred Parachute Prayers to try yourself as you begin to develop this simple habit. You’ll also discover how “the practice of praying continually” can draw you closer to Your Savior, benefit your people and your world, and launch you into deeper, more focused prayer times.
I am writing this post today to let you know that Parachute Prayer will be available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle this Friday!!! (The Kindle version is even available for pre-order right now!) Friday is just four days away, so I’m doing everything I can think of to spread the word about this book.

Would you like to help? I would absolutely love it if you would like to help!

Prayer Prompt for Book
My first request: please join me in praying about this book’s release. I’ve even turned this request into a Parachute Prayer prompt to remind you. When you see a dandelion, real or drawn or photographed, please pray that God will use the book Parachute Prayer to call people to pray, to draw them and their loved ones into a closer relationship with Him, and to strengthen His kingdom. Please ask God to get this book into the hands of people who will benefit from the practice of Parachute Prayer, from the practice of praying continually.

Thank you so much!!!

Here is a short list of other things you can do to help me if you’d like to:

1. Rumor has it that Amazon is more likely to promote books whose author pages have a following. Did you know I have an author page? If you visit it, here, and click follow, Amazon will be more likely to help me to promote this book. (And you'll receive word from Amazon once the book is released.)

2. If you have a Goodreads or Shelfari account, add Parachute Prayer to your list of books to read.

3. If you are a fellow blogger who likes to review books, send a link to your page along with your mailing address to me at Janet@WildflowerFaith.com. I would love to send you a complimentary copy of Parachute Prayer in exchange for an honest review on your blog. (And if you wanted to post that review in other places like Amazon.com, BN.com, Goodreads, or Shelfari, I would love that, too!) (U.S. addresses only, please.)

4. If you know a fellow blogger who might like to review Parachute Prayer, please let that person know about this offer.

5. If you have a Facebook profile, like my Facebook page, then like, share, and/or comment on announcements about this book and on any Parachute Prayer prompts. (I usually post these on Mondays. Please feel free to share them to encourage your friends to pray!)

FluParachute  6. If you have a Twitter account, use #ParachutePrayer to encourage people to pray and introduce them to the concept of the book. For example, using a prompt I posted on Facebook this morning, you could Tweet: When you see a box of tissues, ask God to help people with the flu to recover quickly. #ParachutePrayer

7. Tell people about this book! Word of mouth is still the most effective means of recommending something.

These are just a few ideas, but I’ll appreciate anything you come up with. I only have one little voice, so your voices help me so much!!!

On Friday at Wildflower Faith, I’ll be launching a book giveaway to celebrate the release of Parachute Prayer: The Practice of Praying Continually. I hope you'll visit me there then! I'll post a reminder here as I announce the release of this book.

Thank you, my friends--
Janet

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Book Review: "In the Heart of the Dark Wood"

In the Heart of the Dark Wood is a coming of age story about two eleven-year-olds, a boy and a girl who've been best friends for pretty much all of their lives, who get lost in the woods and struggle to survive. Unfortunately, they have different goals apart from surviving. Zach wants to do the responsible and manly thing, to get himself, the girl, and her dog safely home. Allie wants to complete the mission that brought them to the woods in the first place. She wants to find her mother, who disappeared 18 months earlier when a tornado devastated their town. The author tells us one day into their ordeal exactly how long it will last; he just doesn't tell us whether or not they will get home alive . . . and he really keeps readers guessing about that.

As fascinating as the book was, in a just-can't-look-away-from-the-wreck sort of way, I recommend it with caution, if I recommend it at all. I can't make up my mind. If I hadn't promised to read it for review, I probably would have put it down before the 10th page. Even then, I almost set it aside at about page 80; I'd just had enough of the author's focus on all the unpleasant details of life. A lot of it seemed unnecessary and irrelevant, too much. I did keep reading, though, and once the kids were lost in the woods, I wanted to know their fate. Now that I know, I'm not sure I believe their story ended the way it did. And I'm not sure I get the message of the book, other than that, in order to grow up, we have to let go of the past and move as bravely as we can into the future, and that God, Who is more mysterious than we can comprehend, is watching over us and directing our steps even though He sometimes leads us into painful or unpleasant places for our ultimate good and growth.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for this honest review.