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BOOK REVIEW: Driver Confessional by David L. Winters

Posted by Julie on May 23, 2017 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Driver Confessional

Antonio, a law student and part-time  ride-share driver, cruises the streets of Washington, D.C. for his next fare. His gentle manner and Italian good looks lead many to confess more than they intended. On a particularly dark night, a mysterious woman bares her soul and throws Antonio into a world of secrets. With his police officer brother and close circle of friends, he must solve a murder and thwart international terrorists before its too late.

 

I love a creative premise. With Uber and Lyft as a major form of transportation in metropolitan areas, I wondered how long it would be before they would take place in fiction. DRIVER CONFESSIONAL uses the ride-share premise and wields a journey through DC that includes mystery, murder, and international intrigue. Antonio is a law student and driver who isn’t looking for trouble when he picks up his fares, but he finds it.

I loved the premise of this book and I wanted to love it. I had trouble getting into the book, and I believe more editing might have been helpful. The idea is there, but the follow-through just wasn’t there for me.

PURCHASE DRIVER CONFESSIONAL HERE.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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CD REVIEW: Out of the Dark by Mandisa #GIVEAWAY

Posted by Julie on May 21, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Out of the Dark by Mandisa

Mandisa wrote her song “Overcomer” in 2013 to encourage her close friend Kisha, who was battling breast cancer. Mandisa really believed and prayed that God was going to heal her, but when Kisha went to be with Jesus in 2014, Mandisa’s foundation was shaken in a way she never expected. She fell into a deep pit of depression for close to 3 years, shutting out her friends, family and the rest of the world. Mandisa believes if she had kept going down that road she was on, she would not be here today… but God stepped in and lifted her out of that pit by using her close friends to communicate their love for her and God’s love for her. This album is Mandisa’s way of letting her fans into her story – it’s called ‘Out Of The Dark’ because that is exactly where God lifted her out of!
You can watch her talk openly about this on Good Morning America last week here: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/mandisa-opens-overcoming-depression-47020463

The first track on Mandisa’s newest CD, OUT OF THE DARK, is a voicemail collage, and the messages set the tone for the journey Mandisa has been on since her megahit, “Overcomer.” By her own admission, the loss of a dear friend, her inspiration for the song, “Overcomer,” took her to a place so dark she isolated herself. Refused visits and calls. Re gained all the weight she had lost. Fought suicidal thoughts. With God’s love and guidance, Mandisa is back and her music is stronger for it.

Right from “I’m Still Here,” there’s something in her voice that conveys the strength in Him she’s gaining from her depression and grief. I don’t know how to explain it, a literal maturity that emanates, and I’m not saying it was something lacking in her before. There’s just something relatable in her words and voice that sends the message she’s not the same as she was. It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t. But God’s there.

This CD is perfect timing and for anyone fighting grief or questioning God, OUT OF THE DARK is a must listen. There are reflective songs and upbeat ones. Each song has a message, and by the end I realized as Mandisa emerges from the dark, she is now the overcomer.

This was an encouragement and blessing to listen to, and I highly recommend it.

YOU have a chance to win a copy! Leave a comment on this post or on social media on why you would like this CD and I will choose ONE US winner. Please leave a way for me to contact you when you leave a comment or I will choose an alternate.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Story Behind The Album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df27myDpm1c

Acoustic Video for “Unfinished”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQFpXcvFI0A

To purchase “OUT OF THE DARK,” CLICK HERE.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Good Book by Deron Spoo

Posted by Julie on May 19, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

The Good Book by Deron Spoo

The Good Book offers a user-friendly guide to the Bible’s biggest ideas. A chapter from the Bible accompanies each chapter of the book, which helps readers understand the context and content of the Scripture passages in a way that can open the whole Bible.
 
Designed as a forty-day journey through forty key chapters of the Bible, The Good Book will appeal to those who already love and read the Bible regularly as well as to those who are just beginning their Christian journey.
 
The Good Book:

  • is a great evangelism tool for explaining the major themes of Scripture to those who want to know more about God, Jesus, and the core beliefs of Christianity;
  • gives new believers an overview of the Bible and lays a framework to help them understand Scripture passages;
  • helps longtime Christians rediscover the basic themes of Scripture and experience these truths in a new way; and
  • encourages Scriptural literacy as it pushes readers to read both one chapter of the book and one chapter of the Bible each day for forty days.
The Good Book is great for individuals, and it can also be used by small groups in an eight-week church-wide program or a forty-week journey that focuses on one Bible chapter each week. The Good Book will help people understand and live by the transformative truths of the Bible.
THE GOOD BOOK by Deron Spoo is a 40 day journey that can help you know the Bible if it is new for you, or, learn deeper truths and grow closer to God. There is a Bible story followed by contemporary explanations and examples that help understand the Bible better. I loved this book. I thought going in it might be geared more for someone who is new to the Bible and that I might “know” everything. I loved the way the author gave further commentary and information, especially the history and personal examples.
There were things that enhanced each story without taking away the holiness of the Bible or its truths. One example that I still remember weeks after finishing is about integrity. The story was about the Statue of Liberty. Although I knew it was made in France and shipped over, I never thought about when it was assembled, planes weren’t around. When they were, pilots noted when they flew over the Statue that the top of the statue was just as ornate as any other part that was visible to people from the beginning. What an example of integrity. That really stood out to me.
That’s just one tidbit filled in a book that isn’t just a good book, it’s a great one. Check it out today!
I received THE GOOD BOOK from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts expressed are my own.

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My Affair Mentality Moment—Engaged Update

Posted by Julie on May 15, 2017 in About Me, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

It’s been TOO long since I’ve checked in and said hello, and I hate it. This blog is my baby, and I miss it when I’m not personally posting. I thought I’d give you an update on my writing and the “Oh-oh” moment I had.

My Affair Mentality Moment came while finishing Engaged.

ENGAGED is set to release next month and I’m excited. This is the third story in my Surrendering Time series, and it’s Trish’s turn. Trish Maxwell was the bad girl in ENTRUSTED, but she’s back in Speculator Falls with egg on her face and a lot of apologies to make. Her dream job in NYC was a nightmare and now she’s living with her parents working at her mom’s department store. Her hometown starts growing on her, especially after she meets paramedic Wayne Peterson. Yet everywhere she seems to go, people want to know what her plan is. Will she stay in town? Go back to New York City, or something else?

This story has been easier to write than ENTANGLED, I think because I can relate more to Trish than Carla. However, the closer I got to the end, the more my mind drifted to what’s next. Not only did a six book series drop from heaven onto my lap, but then another idea to write a series with my teen daughter came to mind for the summer.

I’ve been filled with plot ideas, characters. Themes. Character traits. Names. Title ideas. So much new to work through that the thought of going back to the old had me dragging my feet a bit. I reached a place where I had to press pause on the new ideas and put all my attention on ENGAGED.

It was then I realized that’s an affair mentality. I’ve seen it play out on TV, country music, and sadly, real life. Marriage that feels lonely, selfish, distant, too comfortable, whatever—and the new person comes around. They say the right things. Listen. Spend time. Show affection. And the new person starts to be on the front burner. The spouse is old news, it’s too late as far as the drifting spouse is concerned, and sparks become a forest fire.

Okay, so my writing wandering isn’t quite the same as a marital affair, but the comparison was enough to send me back to ENGAGED and the current work before I move on.

That’s my update. How about you? What’s new?

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At the end of the month I will be sharing ENTRUSTED with newsletter subscribers to prepare them for ENGAGED. If you’d like a monthly update with giveaways, author updates, recipes, book reviews and more, subscribe for free at juliearduini.com. Make sure to tell a reader!

 

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Book Review: Love Letters from God by Glenys Nellist

Posted by Julie on May 13, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

In this heart-warming picture book designed for girls, author Glenys Nellist tells the inspiring stories of incredible women in the Bible. With beautiful illustrations by Rachel Clowes and sweet lift-the-flap envelopes, each story delivers a special message for children to open as they read their own personal love letters from God. Full of warmth and love, this picture book will fill girls’ hearts with the wonder of the Lord. The stories of Eve, Miriam, Esther, Mary, and many more will delight children and remind them of the bond they can share with God, just like the women of the Bible.

This is a colorful book for girls ages 4-8 that features Bible stories that will help them learn about the Bible, important women who are part of “His-Story,” and draw closer to God. The stories are more for the elementary age, but it makes for a good nighttime routine where a parent could read to the girl.

The illustrations are colorful and feminine, very attractive for a little girl. What sets  the book apart is each story has an envelope flap that the girl can open. It is a letter that can be addressed to the reader, and it is an encouragement from God. Just reading it for myself was a special experience. I could see where a little girl would see her name (if you filled it in ahead of time) and be excited to see what God has to say to her.

I think this is a great book for any girl’s library. If they are the younger side, they will appreciate being read to and looking at the pictures. For the older girls, the stories they can read themselves and the letters from God make this is a book they won’t forget.

I definitely recommend LOVE LETTERS FROM GOD.

Purchase HERE

I received this book from the publisher and the review is my own honest opinion.

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ACFW Fiction Finder: May 2017 New Releases

Posted by Julie on May 7, 2017 in ACFW, encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |

May 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Amish Brides by Jennifer Beckstrand, Molly Jebber, Amy Lillard — Under bright blue skies, wedding bells ring–fulfilling sweet dreams, impossible wishes, and joyous new beginnings among these three new stories. (Contemporary Romance from Kensington Publishers)


Sprouts of Love by Valerie Comer — An overzealous community garden manager delivers more than the food bank manager can handle. Can love sprout amid the tsunami of vegetables? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Summer Dreams by Delia Latham — God’s love…reflected in the waters of the Pacific, and in the eyes of a young couple who walk its moonstone shores. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])


Right Where We Belong by Deborah Raney, Melissa Tagg, Courtney Walsh — Three sweet stories of small-town romance by three tried-and-true authors. Whether in a quaint home bakery in Langhorne, Missouri, a cozy boho coffee shop in Maple Valley, Iowa, or a charming lakeside cottage in Sweethaven, Michigan, love grows best in small towns just like this! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Spring of Weddings by Toni Shiloh and Melissa Wardwell — Two Spring wedding novellas, “A Proxy Wedding,” and “Hope Beyond Savannah.” (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing)


True to You by Becky Wade — Former Navy SEAL John Lawson hires genealogist Nora Bradford to help him to uncover the identity of his birth mother. As they work side-by-side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Cozy Mystery:

What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman — A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly, Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he’s tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

General Contemporary:

A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal — The heart wrenching love story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, of the two men who love her and of the forbidden kiss that changed everything. (General Contemporary from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman — A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations. (General Contemporary from Waterfall Press)

Historical:


Blind Ambition by Carol Ashby — What began as a bored man’s decision to try a different road turns into an emotional and spiritual quest that changes the direction of his entire life. (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette — A broken and bitter Canaanite woman dresses as a man to fight against the invading Hebrews, never expecting that she would live to be captured and married to one of her enemies, and certainly not to find love and healing among the very people who killed her family. (Biblical/Historical from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Historical Romance:

 


The Secret Admirer Romance Collection by Amanda Barratt, Lorraine Beatty, Molly Noble Bull, Anita Mae Draper, CJ Dunham, Jennifer Uhlarik, Becca Whitham, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Penny Zeller — Shy expressions of love lead to nine historical romances. Declaring one’s love can be hard–even risky–especially when faced with some of life’s greatest challenges. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson — She lost everything to an evil conspiracy . . . but that loss may just give her all she ever wanted. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight by Susanne Dietze — It’s a mail-order disorder when newlyweds realize they’ve married the wrong partners with similar names. An annulment seems in order–and fast. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca Rice wonders if Tad Fordham wasn’t the right husband for her all along. . . . (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears — They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David’s dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)


Road to Harmony by Sherry Kyle — When Jonas returns to Harmony, Elena’s heart is torn between her secret love, and the storeowner her parents hope she marries. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Hills of Nevermore by Janalyn Voigt — Can a young widow hide her secret shame from the Irish preacher bent on helping her survive? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Romantic Suspense:

Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman — Each day could be her last…but not if he can help it. An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman’s riveting romantic suspense novel. (Romantic Suspense from Faith Words [Hachette])

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