Saturday, September 30, 2017

He Holds my Hand By Carol Kent

Know without a doubt that God is with you and stands ready to protect and guide you. He holds your hand, and He won’t let go.When Carol Kent’s son was sentenced to life in prison without parole, Carol was consumed with grief, sadness, and despair. She was distraught wondering why God permitted this to happen. She had prayed for her son since he was a small child. He had been raised with biblical principles and daily prayer. As Carol tried to make sense of everything, she couldn’t help asking, Where’s God when it hurts so much?

In the middle of her sorrow, Carol turned to the place where she had always gone for comfort―the Bible. She was desperate to hear God’s voice. She soon discovered that the best way for her to “listen” to His voice was to meditate on Scripture and then write out what she believed He was saying. She wrote it as if it was His prayer over her life, and it comforted her. It was as if He took her by the hand, as a father would guide a child, and He gently led her in the direction of unconditional love, renewed hope, and fresh faith.

He Holds My Hand is a page-per-day 365-day devotional. Based on Scripture, this devotional is written as if God the Father is speaking His words of comfort and protection directly over you.

Listen to God’s voice and put your hand in His. He is your Comforter, your Healer, your Teacher, and your Joy.

Remember He holds your hand, and He won’t let go.

Pick up your copy here...

Carol Kent is a bestselling author and an international public speaker—best known for being dynamic, humorous, encouraging, and biblical. She is a former radio show co-host and speaks internationally. She regularly appears on a wide variety of nationally syndicated radio and television broadcasts. She is the president of Speak Up Speaker Services, and the founder and director of the Speak Up Conference. She and her husband also founded Speak Up for Hope, a nonprofit organization that benefits inmates and their families. She holds a master’s degree in communication arts and a bachelor’s degree in speech education. She has taught speech and drama, and directed women’s ministries at a large mid-western church. Carol and her husband, Gene, make their home in Lakeland, Florida. Their only child, Jason, resides at Hardee Correctional Institution in Bowling Green, Florida, where he is serving a life sentence. 

To book Carol for speaking engagements, or for information on her itinerary, or go to Join Carol on Facebook, follow her on Twitter@carolkentspeaks, or read her blog on the above website.

My Thoughts...
This is my new favorite devotional.
It is like Jesus is talking right to me in each one.
If you read a devotional every morning I HIGHLY recommend this one. It has the Month and day on each page. It has a quote from wonderful people on each page as well. 
I have read Carols books in the past and I have heard her speak it was such a treat, she is so full of hope and joy. It shines on each page of this book as well.
I gave this book 5 stars and I HIGHLY recommend it. It would make the perfect gift this Christmas. It could also be a great New Years gift for friends, and loved ones. Or just a lift you up gift "just because".
 The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Counseling Under the Cross By Bob Kellemen

Martin Luther not only reformed theology, but his understanding of the gospel revolutionized soul care. In Counseling Under the Cross, biblical counselor and noted author Bob Kellemen explains how Martin Luther s gospel-centered and cross-focused pastoral care transformed his own approach to soul care. As Kellemen mines Luther s own writings and other first hand accounts, readers will gain a new understanding of how Luther richly, relevantly, robustly, and relationally applied the gospel to suffering, sin, sanctification, and our search for peace with God. Counseling Under the Cross will guide pastors, counselors, lay leaders, and friends toward a rich understanding of the gospel that will directly impact their personal ministry to others. Through lively vignettes, real-life stories, and direct quotes from Luther, readers will be equipped to apply the gospel to themselves and others so together they find their hope and help in Christ alone.

Pick up your copy here...
Robert W. Kellemen, PhD, is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Chair of the Biblical Counseling Department at Crossroads Bible College and the founder and CEO of RPM Ministries. He is also the author of many books, including Gospel-Centered Counseling and Gospel Conversations. Bob and his wife Shirley have two children and two grandchildren.

My Thoughts...
Are you struggling with spiritual trials? This is a helpful book for you if you answered yes.
Learn how to counsel folks in different walks of life with different problems. In a Christ like way.
Learn how Martin Luther counseled with a pastors heart to those in need.
It's a different read for me but it has so much information to learn and take in.
I gave this book 4 stars. Give it a try.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Holiday Cookies Cookbook

From Icebox Pinwheel Cookies to Red-and-White Meringue Kisses to Apple Cider Caramels, find new inspiration for the best of seasonal baking with Holiday Cookies. 
This instant holiday classic is packed with 50 recipes, each gorgeously photographed and meticulously tested, along with dozens of decorating and packaging ideas. Filled with reimagined favorites like Giant Molasses Spice Cookies and Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies; confections like Peppermint Bark, Smoked Almond and Cacao Nib Brittle, and Dark Chocolate–Hazelnut Fudge; and detailed instructions for gorgeous gingerbread houses, cookie place cards, and edible ornaments, this is a cookie book like no other. Because the recipes are easy to scale up or down, Holiday Cookies is perfect for cookie exchanges, gift-giving, and just enjoying throughout the season. From a veteran baker and recipe developer, each cookie in this collection is guaranteed to be a stand-out, and destined to become your new Christmas classic.

Pick up your copy here...
A sample of the cookbook...

My Thoughts...

This was such a fun cookbook. The vivid color pictures and the easy to find ingredients. This is a must have for all the bakers in your life. This would make a great hostess gift or Christmas gift. I plan to make tons of cookies for my cookie exchange this year.
This is a 5 star cookbook and one that I will be giving to many on my gift list.
 The Mary Readereceived this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Home All Along By Beth Wiseman

Charlotte has made a home for herself in Amish Country with Daniel. But unforeseen events rock their fragile world and may move them even further away from the life they long for.
Charlotte, an Englisher, is living in Amish Country, and she has formed strong and lasting bonds with the people in her new community. She has even fallen in love with an Amish man. But just when she is considering a permanent conversion to the Amish way of life, her world crashes around her. An unexpected death and a mysterious visitor unsettle Charlotte, and she begins to question her faith and her choices.
Daniel loves Charlotte and wants to share his life with her, even it if means leaving the only world he’s ever known. But as he walks alongside of her through her struggles, his own world is turned upside down when a loved one receives a grim medical diagnosis and a prodigal relative returns home. Will Charlotte and Daniel’s relationship succumb to the many pressures around them, or will their faith and the strong community around them allow them to weather the storms of their own lives in order to build a life together?

Pick up your copy here...
Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. Having sold over 1.5 million books, her novels have held spots on the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Bestseller List and the CBA (Christian Book Association) Bestseller List. She was the recipient of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011 and 2013. She is a three-time winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and an INSPY Award winner. In 2013 she took home the coveted Holt Medallion. Her first book in the Land of Canaan series—Seek Me With All Your Heart—was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. Beth is contracted with HarperCollins Christian Publishing into the year 2018, and she has published thirteen novels and thirteen novellas to date.

As a former newspaper reporter, Beth was honored by her peers with eleven journalism awards, including first place news writing for The Texas Press Association. She has been a humor columnist for The 1960 Sun in Houston and published articles in various publications. However, writing novels is where her heart is. She left her job as a journalist in 2008 to write novels fulltime.

Beth has a deep affection for the Amish and their simpler way of life, and while she plans to continue writing Amish love stories, she is also branching out into other areas. Her first non-Amish, contemporary—Need You Now—released in April 2012 and landed on the CBA Bestseller List. She enjoyed writing the story based in a town near where she lives, and she chose another small Texas town for her next non-Amish contemporary—The House that Love Built—which is based in Smithville, the same quaint town where movies such as Hope Floats and Tree of Life were filmed. Beth continued to spread her wings when she released The Promise in October 2014. Inspired by actual events, The Promise follows Beth’s characters all the way to Pakistan. Beth was involved in the real-life rescue when her friend was held captive in Pakistan. Beth is currently working on book #2 in her new Amish Secrets series, tentatively titled Jacob’s Ladder. Book #1—Her Brother’s Keeper—recently released and was chosen as a Top Pick by RT Reviews Magazine.

Beth and her husband are empty nesters enjoying the country life in Texas with three dogs and a rooster. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, paint, and enjoy time with friends and family. You can find Beth at Fans of Beth Wiseman on Facebook where she interacts with readers and on Twitter at
My Thoughts...
 This is Book three in the An Amish Secrets Novel Series.  This is a book that I would read all of them in order, so that you are not lost and you know the whole back story. It does wrap up the story nicely, so as to not leaving you hanging.                                
This book is your typical Amish fiction book. If you are a fan of Wiseman then you are going to enjoy reading this series.          
I gave this book 4 stars. Fans of Wiseman give it a try.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Interview with Felicia Bridges

What is the most important thing you hope readers will take away from reading your books?
I want them to discover the amazing beauty of the diversity found among God’s people and the thrill of sharing your faith. But the single most important concept I hope readers take away is that we are all called to be missionaries wherever God has placed us.
What sparked your decision to journey down the path of writing the "International Mission Force series"?
My oldest daughter, Megan, and I went on a mission trip to Prague when she was twelve and it was truly life-changing for both of us. When we returned, she was eager to read anything we could find about missionaries, but most of the books we found were biographies from a hundred years ago. She wanted to read about teenagers living as missionaries today, like the ones we met in Prague. I thought it would be great to have stories for young people that combined the excitement and adventure of Indiana Jones or National Treasure with a biblical worldview and exotic locations around the world. Megan and her husband, Scott, now work with the missionary team for their church and are preparing to serve internationally in the future.

Tell us a little bit about the series.
The International Mission Force is a group of teenagers serving as missionaries around the world and connecting online through Each story features a different protagonist facing a different battle, growing in their faith, and learning to trust God in hard circumstances. The first two volumes, titled CzechMate and BoliviaKnight, are currently available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. Volume 3, KenyaQuest, will be released in early 2018 and three more books in the series are under contract. I’m currently researching Papua New Guinea as a location for Volume 4.
How does your faith play in your writing?
My faith is essential to every aspect of my life, but particularly in regard to my writing. I view writing as a calling from God and, therefore, my relationship with God demands that I submit this area of my life to Him. This also changes my perspective on success. If I’m obedient to give my best in response to His calling, then I can trust God to take that offering and accomplish His purposes. Whether that reaches fifty readers or fifty-thousand readers, I know that it will reach every single one that God intends. There is a lot of peace in that.
How much of yourself have you put into your characters?
None of the characters are really like me, but in some ways they are who I wish I had been at that age. Their courage and determination, self-awareness, and adventurous spirit are all aspects of my personality that I wish I had embraced more as a teenager. There are scenes or interactions that are inspired by relationships among my four children and some of the characters remind me a bit of each of my kids.
Other than Jesus, Who is your favorite person from the Bible? And why?
Joseph is my favorite person in the Bible outside of the Trinity. Although he was not perfect, he believed that his circumstances were not the end of the story. He was able to forgive his brothers who had wronged him terribly, and he was able to see the hand of God at work even in his adversity.
What event from the Bible would you have liked to witness first hand?
I don’t think I could bear to witness the crucifixion, but I would love to have been present around the fire as Jesus told parables and explained God’s mercy and grace to His followers.
What is your favorite comfort food.
I’m a chocoholic. I’m learning how to enjoy chocolate with thanksgiving to God for providing it, but also to enjoy it in moderation.
While writing this series, what problem was your greatest roadblock and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock was a lack of self-confidence, which God bulldozed by showing me that it isn’t about me or my abilities, it is about God and what He chooses to use me to do. It took about six years for me to write the first book, with lots of stops and starts as I wrestled with self-doubt. After a time away, God would lead me back to the story again. I would read what I had written and think that some of it was absolutely horrid. But then I’d read a few parts that I thought were not bad, or even pretty good. After I finished writing the first complete draft, I allowed a good friend and her teen daughter to read it. They gave me great encouragement. Another writer friend encouraged me to start attending writers’ conferences. Five years after my first conference, after many agents and publishers had expressed interest in the series, I finally resolved to send my first proposal. They say that authors typically collect many rejections before they get their first contract. God must have known that with my lack of confidence, one rejection would have led me to wipe my brow, breathe a sigh of resignation/relief,  and turn away from His calling, because Vinspire Publishing was the first publisher I submitted a full proposal to and they accepted it.

Tell my readers how to keep up with you?
You can find out more about the International Mission Force at - come join our community! You can also follow my blog at . You can follow me on Twitter at @fbridges272 or on Facebook at Felicia Bowen Bridges – Writer. My email is
Felicia Bridges began writing as an Army BRAT learning to enjoy life overseas. Her nomadic childhood created a passion for missions and travel that permeates her writing. She is a contributing author for Then Along Came an Angel: Messengers of Deliverance and God’s Provision in Tough Times, a finalist for the 2014 Selah Awards. Serving in ministry for over twenty years alongside her husband and the mother of four children, Felicia’s vision is to inspire the next generation to carry the gospel to all nations. Her blog,, focuses on living on mission wherever life’s adventure leads.

Felicia graduated with highest honors from North Carolina State University with a B.A. in Psychology and a concentration in Human Resources Development. Her ten years’ experience as an HR Manager sharpened her understanding of people, while providing some very interesting stories. Having studied public speaking in college and as a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Course, she is equally comfortable speaking to the stranger in the checkout line or an auditorium full of people.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Glory Song CD Matt Redman GIVEAWAY!

Matt Redman teamed up with several of his worship-artist friends for this album, first
releasing the track “Gracefully Broken (feat. Tasha Cobbs Leonard).” Tasha Cobbs
Leonard also released her own version of this song on the same day! The album also
features Kierra rShead, Guvna B, Madison Cunningham, and Kim Walker-Smith.

Pick up your copy here...

Recorded in the famed Capitol Studios in LA, Matt Redman is set to release his new studio album, Glory Song, on September 29. Leading with the first single 'Gracefully Broken' featuring Tasha Cobbs Leonard, this album is full of worship anthems sure to fill the church in the years to come.

As the writer of many of the most popular worship songs like 'Blessed Be Your Name,' 'The Heart Of Worship,' and 'Better Is One Day,' Matt Redman's songs are sung by millions of people every Sunday all around the world. His hit '10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)' spent 19 weeks at No. 1 while selling over 1 million tracks. The song also garnered two GRAMMY® Awards, a Billboard Music Award and was named ASCAP's Christian Music Song of the Year. 

As part of the sixstepsrecords family, Matt has been involved in leading at the Passion Conferences for years, most recently at the Passion conference in Atlanta with over 50,000 university students. Along with Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels and Kristian Stanfill, Matt was one of the founding members of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

My Thoughts...
I was excited to hear that Matt had a new album coming out. I loved his last album and patiently waited for him to write another. I listen to music throughout the day as I perform my daily tasks like Praying and reading. Redman's new album "Glory Song" did not disappoint. Worship music has a special place in my heart. He has a unique way of expressing himself through music. I can hear the praise in his heart come through every note in the songs on the CD. I especially like the songs All Glory and Redemption Ground. 
This is a 5 star album. I hope that you will pick up a copy.
Leave a comment and follow the blog to be entered to win a copy of this CD. 

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.

Friday, September 22, 2017

2017 Christy Awards Nominees

ECPA Announces the Finalists for the 18th Annual CHRISTY AWARDS™
Winners to be Announced at Christian Fiction Gala at Lipscomb University in Nashville on November 8.
Awards and Gala Celebrate Excellence in Christian Fiction and Storytelling.
Tempe, AZ – Today, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) has announced the finalists for the 18th annual CHRISTY AWARDS™. Winners will be announced at the awards gala, taking place on November 8 at Lipscomb University in Nashville TN, which will be hosted by Best-Selling Christian Authors  Andrew Peterson and Chris Fabry. The Christy Award™ exists to celebrate excellence in the art of Christian Fiction and honor the power of story.
“As the new caretakers and curators for The Christy Award™, we are thrilled with the list of 27 finalists in the nine Christian fiction categories,” said Stan Jantz, Executive Director of ECPA. 
The Christy Awards™ will be presented in these categories: General, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Historical, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Visionary, First Novel, Young Adult and Short Form. 

The nominees are:
Contemporary Romance:
Her One and Only, Becky Wade (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
The Red Door Inn, Liz Johnson (Revell/Baker Publishing Group)
Rescue Me, Susan May Warren (Revell/Baker Publishing Group)
First Novel:
Counted with the Stars, Connilyn Cossette (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
Like a River from Its Course, Kelli Stuart (Kregel Publications)
Stars in the Grass, Ann Marie Stewart (Barbour Publishing)
General Fiction:
Long Way Gone, Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson)
The Promise of Jesse Woods, Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)
The Undoing of Saint Silvanus, Beth Moore (Tyndale House Publishers)
Like a River from Its Course, Kelli Stuart (Kregel Publications)
The Mark of the King, Jocelyn Green (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
Miriam, Mesu Andrews (WaterBrook)
Historical Romance:
A Note Yet Unsung, Tamera Alexander (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
From This Moment, Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
The Lady and the Lionheart, Joanne Bischof (Mason Jar Books)
If I Run, Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
When Death Draws Near, Carrie Stuart Parks (Thomas Nelson)
Without Warning, Joel C. Rosenberg (Tyndale House)
Short Form:
Looking into You, Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)
Mirror Image, Laura Scott (Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense)
Restoring Christmas: A Novella, Cynthia Ruchti (Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Worthy Publishing Group)
The Alliance, Jolina Petersheim (Tyndale House Publishers)
King’s Folly, Jill Williamson, (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
The Long Journey to Jake Palmer, James Rubart (Thomas Nelson)
Young Adult:
If You’re Gone, Brittany Goodwin (Edge of 22 Publishing)
The Silent Songbird, Melanie Dickerson (Thomas Nelson)
Unblemished, Sara Ella (Thomas Nelson)
 Share with me your picks from these nominees. There are some good ones that's for sure.