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Book Review: Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on July 26, 2017 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Book Review: Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the eyes of the orphans she encounters. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

HEALING LOVE is not your average missions story. I loved the complex baggage Brooke brings before she ever steps on the plane to watch over her sister as they travel to El Salvador. They are orphans and Brooke lives in fear in her day-to-day life. She has dreams regarding her career, but she’s got her sister to worry about. The last thing she’s got on her agenda is falling in love.

Brooke doesn’t just fall in love with a person, she falls in love with a people. The transformation in both storylines is beautiful.

Her career goals, her new passion, her colleagues, family and heart all collide when Brooke needs to determine her future. I definitely felt her conflict and was moved by it.

This is a quick read because I wanted to learn what was going to happen. I believe you’ll feel the same, too.

Purchase HEALING LOVE HERE

I received a copy of HEALING LOVE in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

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Book Review: The Unexplainable Church by Erica Wiggenhorn

Posted by Julie on July 23, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Finally, a Bible study that goes deep…

The Unexplainable Church by Erica Wiggenhorn

Frustrated with the watered-down, “light” Bible studies that are all too common, Erica Wiggenhorn wanted to write a study that went deep. She wanted to take readers verse-by-verse through a whole book of the Bible, offering theological and historical comments in each lesson while remaining practical and relational.

The Unexplainable Church is the result, and it offers readers two great takeaways. It will teach them by example how to study the Bible deeply, and it will challenge them toward critical life-change: submitting their will to the mission of Jesus, who gives life its fullest meaning.

The message of The Unexplainable Church is that the early church didn’t grow because Peter and Paul were so amazing, but because average people were transformed by God and brought together in His work. This 10-week inductive study of Acts 13–28 will sweep readers into the great drama of the Kingdom, inspiring them to live together in the power of the Spirit and accomplish what could never be done alone.

I’ve been looking for a Bible study that takes Scripture I’m familiar with but challenges me to dig deeper and learn more. Something that gives me a glimpse of history but also forces me to take those amazing experiences and apply it to my life.

 

That Bible study is The Unexplainable Church by Erica Wiggenhorn. This is a 10 week study of Acts 13-28 and focuses on “Reigniting the mission of the early believers.” This is a meaty study that has 50 lessons over 10 weeks, going through the Acts chapters verse-by-verse. There are a lot of questions to answer and invitations to learn even more at the author’s website.

 

It’s obvious Erica Wiggenhorn knows the Bible, and she’s very good at engaging readers and making sure they don’t just grow in the Lord, but that they know His-Story. Although I am not finished with the study, I find it deep, intensive, and thought-provoking. No one can read Acts without being captivated, even if someone has no desire to know Christ, the mere history of it is amazing. I believe all participants are going to finish this study with a deeper perspective and appreciation of the early church.

I received this study from the publisher in exchange for a review. The thoughts expressed are my own.

PURCHASE THE UNEXPLAINABLE CHURCH HERE

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Book Review: Included in Christ by Heather Holleman

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

A new kind of Bible study…

After the success of her first two booksHeather Holleman received many requests to write a Bible study. And as a college English instructor, she wanted to make sure it really taught and didn’t simply inform. So she surveyed several women about what their dream study would look like, then got to work.

The result is Included with Christ, a narrative-driven study where you can bring your life before Scripture in the context of community. Together women will discern their personal shadow narratives—ways they are living outside of their identity in Christ—and then rewrite those narratives according to biblical truth.

This in-depth, 8-week study in Ephesians will equip women with six “signature stories” of God’s work in their lives—helping them combat exclusion, loneliness, weakness, decay, emptiness, and silence.

Designed to facilitate honest sharing and help you internalize biblical truth, Included in Christ will provide community and connectedness as well as spiritual nourishment. It will also guide you in how to share your story and the hope of Christ with someone who doesn’t yet know Him.

Included in Christ by Heather Holleman

Heather Holleman is a new author to me, and I didn’t know she wrote books before being asked to create a Bible study. Included in Christ is an 8 week Bible study that explores the truths from Ephesians without being overwhelming. It is written as if the author were sitting down with us. She includes her own story that makes her very relatable. Yet, Scripture is explained and explored as she takes us through Ephesians. Ephesians isn’t new to me, yet Heather pointed out things I never thought about or saw the way she explained. I truly have learned a lot, and for review purposes, I am not all the way done, but I wanted to be timely in getting this out. I am really impressed in what I’ve read so far.

The topic is one all women can relate to. We all want to belong and be included. There are lies we have believed, and this study takes those lies and exposes them, giving us the truth in Scripture that has been there for us all along.

I highly recommend this study to any woman who struggles to belong, no matter what their level with the Bible is. It’s a down-to-Earth study that includes places to journal thoughts and answer questions.

Honestly, it’s everything I’m looking for in a Bible study. I really think you will learn and be inspired just as I am.

I received INCLUDED IN CHRIST from the publisher for review purposes, and all thoughts expressed here are my own.

Purchase Included in Christ HERE

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Book Review: Why the Universe Bothers to Exist by David V. McCorkle

Posted by Julie on July 20, 2017 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

A Striking Breakthrough in the Origins Controversy! Steinhardt and Turok’s proposed ekpyrotic universe model fits the Genesis account! The implications are profound. The book Why the Universe Bothers to Exist: Theistic Determinism, Evidences and Implications by David V. McCorkle, PhD. is based upon this observation. It explains the likely location and physics of heaven. It proposes that we have heavenly avatars (biblical spirit bodies) close by, but through a fourth spatial dimension. Baby Brady with simulated spirit body. This book proposes answers to many other questions that theists have pondered. What happened to the Garden of Eden? Might it still exist? If so, where? How could information of our personal identity be preserved after our physical death? Why will “redeemed” humans need to be resurrected if they are already in heaven? Why will a new heaven eventually be needed? Numerous other concepts are also dealt with, such as the following. In consideration of Heisenberg uncertainty, what maintains order in the universe? Do natural laws determine outcomes, or does the consistency of outcomes determine the laws? What factor determines the decoherence outcome of probability waves so that consistent, orderly eigenstates result? Cannot this factor be recognized as God thereby actualizing his intentions: theistic determinism? Natural law is thus the outcome of God “holding all things together” (Col. 1:17). It is then natural for God to work through natural process. In this perspective, how is it that new species of organisms originate? Can the process be observed? And what of Adam and Eve as the first sentient humans? In addition to the significance of a message from ancient Babylon, and an account of how what is termed “socionics” relates to the “tragedy of the commons” principle, a near miraculous adventure in Idaho’s Lemi Mountains near Sacajawea’s birthplace is described and credited to divine providence. All of this and more thought-provoking issues are presented in this book with the intent of resolving the origins controversy, but also of planting ideas for further consideration in biblical context. David V. McCorkle Publisher’s website: http://sbpra.com/DavidVMcCorkle

This extremely well-written, deeply researched book asks some great questions about God, the Bible, and questions about the world that the Bible covers. I confess the author is so well-versed in his writing that as a non-academic, I struggled with some of the material presented. That’s on me, because the author covers the questions, the evidence, theories, and implications in detail. It’s obvious he spent a lot of time creating this book and cares deeply about the topics.

Here is what you’ll see in the chapters:

  • Why Read This Book?
  • Has God Left His “Footprint”?
  • Is Sentience Transcendent? Is God Truly Infinite?
  • Biblical Allegory in Physical Science
  • The First Chapter of Genesis and the Ekpyrotic Model Biblical Allegory in Biological Science Context
  • The Biblical Chronological Modification Model Compared to the Instantaneously Complete Model of Creation
  • Scientific Evidence Supporting the Chronological Modification Creation
  • Model Niche Distinctions of the Machaon Swallowtails of the Pacific Northwest A Context for Homo Speciation
  • Speciation and Niche Distinction in Homo Sapiens
  • “Socionics” and the Tragedy of the Commons Principle
  • Social Symbiosis or “Sociobiotics”
  •  “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It Is in Heaven”
  • Heaven: Evidences and Implications

The sub-title to me was most revealing: Theistic Determinism, Evidences and Implications—A Worldview Proposal. The research presented was worldview, and religion of course was part of that research. Yet, with the questions asked, I believe faith is needed beyond a religion to answer such important questions. A personal relationship with God, the Creator.

If you are an academic sort that loves science, research, and exploring religion, this is a great book to discover. If you are seeking answers on a personal level, this is a great read, but I suggest you complement it with a chapter a day for a month from the Bible’s Book of John. If you want to know more about heaven on a personal level, I also suggest complementing this book with Randy Alcorn’s Heaven.

To Purchase Why the Universe Bothers to Exist, click here.

I was given a copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own and are of my own free will.

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ACFW: June New Fiction Releases

Posted by Julie on June 1, 2017 in About Me, ACFW, Book Review, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |

Julie’s Note: Yes, it’s true! My third book in The Surrendering Time Series, ENGAGED: Surrendering the Future, will be out this month! If you missed ENTRUSTED or ENTANGLED, catch up now!

If you live in NE Ohio or Western PA, I will be hosting a book club for ENGAGED in Youngstown, OH Tuesday nights, August/September. Contact me for details.

 

June 2017 New Releases

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


Contemporary Romance:

Engaged by Julie Arduini — Trish Maxwell returns to Speculator Falls with egg on her face and apologies to make as she tries to determine what’s next, especially when around paramedic Wayne Peterson. (Contemporary Romance from Surrendered Scribe Media)


Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter — When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down. But when Josephine drives out to Noah’s North Georgia cottage to deliver the corrected papers, they are trapped there during a snowstorm. Things couldn’t get worse…until they are forced out into the storm and must rely on one another to survive. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Zondervan])

Then There Was You by Kara Isaac — Would you give up everything for a life you hate with the person you love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)


An Encore for Estelle by Kimberly Rose Johnson — A former A-list actress seeks to redeem herself in the most unlikely of places—a children’s theater. The writer/director didn’t anticipate a famous actress would ever show interest in his musical much less him. Will their pasts pull them apart or join them together? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Cowboy’s Baby Blessing by Deb Kastner — When Ex-soldier Seth Howell suddenly becomes guardian of a two-year-old, he needs Rachel Perez’s help. Though she is gun-shy about relationships, this handsome cowboy and his adorable son break through. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Finding Love by Toni Shiloh — Delaney Jones is putting her life back together after widowhood when in walks Army soldier, Luke Robinson. Luke had a part in the death of Delaney’s husband–will his secrets widen the gulf in their relationship or will he finally find absolution? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)


Cozy Mystery:

The Copper Box by Suzanne Bratcher — When antiques expert Marty Greenlaw comes to Jerome, Arizona to search for a copper box she believes will unlock the secrets of her past, deadly accidents begin to happen: someone else wants the copper box, someone willing to kill for it. (Cozy Mystery from Mantle Rock Publishing)


General Contemporary:

Coming Home – A Tiny House Collection by Yvonne Anderson, Michael Ehret, Kimberli S. McKay, Pamela S. Meyers, Ane Mulligan, Chandra Lynn Smith, Linda W. Yezak — Tiny houses are all the rage these days, but what can you do with something so small? Here are seven stories about people chasing their dreams, making fresh starts, finding love, stumbling upon forgiveness, and embarking upon new adventures in tiny houses. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)


Katie’s Quest by Lee Carver — Katie Dennis hopes for fulfillment as a single missionary nurse after the death of her fiancé. She trusts God for a new direction, but she’ll never fall for a pilot again. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

 


A Sweetwater River Romance by Misty M. Beller — Rocky Ridge Stage Stop Manager Ezra Reid is put in a difficult situation when two ladies show up on his remote doorstep seeking refuge, one of them being Tori Boyd, the mysterious correspondence partner writing him letters for over a year now. Tori refuses the most proper solution to their circumstance—marriage. But when danger follows, it will take a lot more than luck to ensure Ezra’s heart is the sole casualty. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin — In German-occupied Brussels, a WWI nurse struggles to keep two life-threatening secrets. She’s in league with the British Secret Service, and she’s harboring a wounded British pilot. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands Romance Collection by Susan Page Davis, Susanne Dietze, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Gina Welborn — Meet seven of Turtle Springs, Kansas’, finest women who are determined to revive their small town after the War Between the States took most of its men. . .and didn’t return them. The ladies decide to advertise for husbands and devise a plan for weeding out the riff raff. But how can they make the best practical choices when their hearts cry out to be loved? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere — When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson — Set in WWII, an Irish woman must choose between her heart and her freedom when she finds a downed combatant pilot. (Historical Romance from Waterfall Press)

Mail Order Sweetheart by Christine Johnson — Singer Fiona O’Keefe must make a wealthy match to support her orphaned niece. Musically talented Sawyer Evans is a self-made, but not wealthy, sawmill-manager. Unwilling to live off his father’s railroad fortune, can Sawyer prove to Fiona he’s the man she needs when she’s already determined to mail-order a rich husband? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Freedom’s Price by Christine Johnson — On a quest to find her mother’s family in Louisiana, Englishwoman Catherine Haynes enlists a dashing Key West man seeking revenge for his own family. When an incredible secret comes to light, she and Tom will face a choice. Can they relinquish their dreams to step forward in faith? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

Sutter’s Landing by Betty Thomason Owens — Still reeling from tragic losses, Connie and Annabelle Cross face life with their signature humor and grace, until fresh hope arrives on their doorstep. (Historical Romance from Write Integrity Press)


Romantic Suspense:

Hidden Legacy by Lynn Huggins Blackburn — When someone threatens the baby she’s adopting, Caroline Harrison must rely on Detective Jason Drake, the man who once broke her heart, to figure out why. If Jason wants a chance at a future with with Caroline and her son, he’ll first have to help them outrun a hit man. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Weaver’s Needle by Robin Caroll — Pitted against each other to recover a map to the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, two recovery specialists follow the trail to Arizona. But someone doesn’t want them to find the map. . .or the mine. They must work together despite their mistrust and growing attraction, to save themselves. (Romantic Suspense from Barbour Publishing)


Speculative:

The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe — Revisionary or Rogue? To rescue her brother, Portia might have to break every rule in the book she set out to rewrite. (Speculative from Write Integrity Press)


Women’s Contemporary:

Redemption’s Whisper by Kathleen Friesen — Desperate to escape her past, a suicidal young woman flies from Toronto to a Saskatoon pastor’s home, the only people who may be able to help her. If only someone could love her, in spite of all she’s done. On the flight, she meets a young man torn between seeking affirmation in the big city and helping his parents in Saskatoon. Can these two troubled souls gain the peace they need—and in the process, find love? (Women’s Contemporary from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])


Young Adult:

All Things Now Living by Rondi Bauer Olson — Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she falls for Daniel, she determines to save him. (Young Adult from Written World Communications)

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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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