Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Jesus Swagger {by Jarrid Wilson}
Title: Jesus Swagger: Break Free From Poser Christianity
Author: Jarrid Wilson
Genre: Theology
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: publisher
Millennial pastor Jarrid Wilson calls his generation to drop the pretenses and poses of false Christianity and walk like true followers of Jesus.
It's easy to live in America as a poser Christian, to keep up appearances while remaining unchanged by the gospel. But in a world of constant conformity, God has called us to be different (Romans 12:2) and set apart (Jeremiah 1:5), walking with a genuine Jesus Swagger. None of us does that perfectly, but all of us can do it better.
"Jesus Swagger "is about giving younger Christians the perspective necessary to see how they're doing. Chapter by chapter, "Jesus Swagger" exposes a piece of our false self and bogus motivations so we can become real followers. If we take that journey, we will find a deeper relationship with God--one that changes the world around us. Real Jesus Swagger is contagious. It's about being who God has called us to be, and not who the world is tempting us to be.
I've been a lot more interested in reading theological books these days, but its hard to find ones that keep my attention, and don't sound preachy. I've been reading Jarrid Wilson's blog for a while now, and so I was curious as to how that translated into a book (because let's face it, most books I've read from bloggers just don't work out very well, because their voice doesn't translate over). However, I found that this book met all my expectations of being well-written, attention-grabbing, and not preachy.
Jarrid Wilson has always been a bit more unconventional in his approach to Christianity and spreading God's love, and I think that was explained well in this book. Even the title, Jesus Swagger, grabs your attention from the start because it is unconventional. But Wilson isn't preaching at you, instead he is sharing his experiences, and what he has come to understand, backed up by Scripture.
"Love the sinner, not the sin" (page 52)
I found this to be a breath of fresh air. I don't know exactly who this is marketed to, but I would definitely recommend it for teens and young adults. I think the topics Wilson discusses are things they need to hear. It's not about one religion, or what your denomination is, it's about Jesus and His love. That's what we have been called to do, and that's what he focuses on. It's not about acting a certain way to fit in with a crowd. Instead, it's about following the example Christ gave us, and I think Wilson does a great job of showcasing that in this book.
This review can also be found on   Goodreads
Jarrid Wilson:

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Monday, March 16, 2015

{Cover Reveal} The Gate of Light and Darkness by Heather Marie

Hey, everyone! Today the blog is hosting a cover reveal for the sequel in the Gateway Series titled THE GATEWAY OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS by Heather Marie! LIGHT AND DARKNESS releases April 13th, 2015 from Curiosity Quills Press, and is the follow-up to the YA supernatural thriller THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME. Before you jump to the awesome cover below, heres a note from Heather Marie:

Hi hi! Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out the cover reveal! Im so psyched to share the Light and Darkness cover with you. It went through a lot of changes before the final version was chosen, and watching it develop into what it is now was seriously exciting! If you enjoyed book one, you are in for a treat. I had way too much fun writing book two, admittedly more fun than the first, because Aiden and the gang go through some intense twist and turns throughout the entire story. If theres one thing I love, its definitely hearing from my beta readers just how crazy and exciting the journey was for them. Its my hope that you feel the same way and I cant wait for you to read the final installment in the Gateway Series! With that being said, thank you again for reading Aidens story, and now lets get to the creeptastic cover reveal, shall we? Enjoy!

Ready to see the cover?

Ready Set SCROLL!
























Title: The Gateway of Light and Darkness
Author: Heather Marie
Release date: April 13th, 2015
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Preorder: Amazon

The battle of good vs. evil wages on for Aiden Ortiz in this final installment of the Gateway Series: The Gateway of Light and Darkness. With the Dark Priest defeated, and the Brethren of Shadows refusing to forfeit calling upon the Darkness, the Brethren are determined more than ever to discover a way to banish the Men of Light for good. And as the Dark Priest's curse invading Aiden's veins continues to take on a life of its own, he finds himself in a standoff between his own kind, and the Brethren that want to recruit him for all the wrong reasons. Accompanied by fellow Gateway, Julie Martin, and his best friends Trevor and Evan, seventeen-year-old Aiden prepares himself for the battle of his life.
Protecting those he loves, and learning to put aside his differences for his father in order to learn the ways of the Light, Aiden begins to realize that the thing endangering their lives might not be the threat of the Brethren alone, but the thing taking shape inside of him readying to unleash itself upon them all.


Heather Marie:

Heather Marie lives in Northern California with her husband, and spends the majority of her time at home reading. Before she followed her dreams of becoming a writer, Heather worked as a hairstylist and makeup artist for several years. Although she enjoyed the artistic aspect of it all, nothing quite quenched her creative side like the telling of a good story. When the day had come for her to make a choice, she left behind her promising career to start another, and never looked back. You can find Heather Marie online at: Twitter (, Facebook (, and


The Giveaway:
One winner (U.S. Only) will win a signed paperback of THE GATEWAY OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS. Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter!
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Monday, March 9, 2015

Rise {by Trip Lee}
Title: Rise: Get up and Live in God's Great Story
Author: Trip Lee
Genre: Religious
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: finished copy from publisher
Society says youth is a time for carefree self-expression, but Trip Lee says God has called everyone to RISE from slumber, above low expectations, and to live for the risen King.
The world tells us that our early years are to be irresponsibly enjoyed rather than devoted to meaningful pursuits. We're told that responsibility and commitment are burdens to be put off as long as possible. And so, most of us spend our youth in a sad state of slumber--sleeping in on life until we're forced to get up. The problem is that life has already begun. It's happening right now. And God has called you to "live" it.
In this powerful book, Trip Lee argues it's time to wake up and RISE, to live the way we were created to live. Young or old, we've been called to live for Him. Right now. Young believers face the same problems as older Christians, but they feel them in unique ways. "RISE "addresses those core problems in an engaging, profound, and life-changing way.
Don't just sit there: RISE!

This was such a great book. While it is theological, it was powerful without being overbearing or preachy. While I've found myself reading a lot more theological fiction recently, not too many of them actually stick with me. This one did.

I will say, I did not realize Trip was so young himself. But that's part of what makes this book so powerful, I think. Trip is talking to teens, young adults. I think so many times, kids don't want to listen to adults because they "don't get it". But Trip Lee does get it. He's lived it, is still living it. He knows what he's talking about, and he knows how to relay that in a way that kids will listen to and understand.

"[God] loves using lackluster ingredients, because doing so makes it clear where the true credit should go." (page 19)

Trip covers a lot of topics, some more serious or controversial than others. But he handles them with grace. He explains each of his thought processes fully, detailed, and backed with Scripture. He admits that he's not saying that he has is all figured out, but he is just reading the Word and trying to learn and grow.

I think this book was such a powerful book, that I would definitely recommend for teens and young people. Trip isn't afraid to say what needs to be said. He is calling for the younger generation to rise up to their full potential, to really embrace God, and that is something that I think is so needed in today's world.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Trip Lee:

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

{Blog Tour} Review: The Wife Maker by Karey White

Wife Maker (1)
Title: The Wife Maker
Author: Karey White
Series: The Husband Maker, #3
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Charlotte has spent years as the husband maker, sending every guy she dates off to enjoy marital bliss with the next girl he dates. But things have now changed, and she's determined to use her husband maker abilities one last time--on herself. And she finally knows exactly who she wants. Angus has loved Charlotte since they were teenagers, but he's tired of waiting for her to realize how good they could be. She's broken his heart one too many times, and it's time to move on with his life. Maybe a position halfway across the country will be just what he needs to get over her. But when Charlotte won't let him go without a fight, Angus has to decide if he's willing to let her in again or if she's too late.
This review may contain slight spoilers for books 1 and 2
I love this series. I have loved seeing Charlotte and Angus on this journey through the first book, and although I'm sad to say goodbye, I did love their conclusion as well. It was sweet, cute story.
Angus has, freaking finally, told Charlotte how he felt. But he feels like he's had his heart broken too many times by her, and that he just needs to move on. But Charlotte, realizing that she too, loves Angus, isn't willing to go without a fight this time. But she's too late. Angus has already taken a residency in Kansas. But he doesn't bank on the fact that Charlotte isn't going to let him go.
This book caused me a lot of angst. Angus is being pretty hard-headed about the whole thing, and it caused me a lot of frustration about the whole thing :P Charlotte has always a fun character, humorous and easy to like. But this book she's also more confident in herself. She knows what she wants, she's an adult, and she's going to get it. I loved seeing this newer, more confidant side of Charlotte. She still has doubts, because Angus is doing a pretty darn good job of pushing her away, but she still pressed forward. 

Angus is the only thing that caused me stress in this book. I can understand where he's coming from to a point. But beyond that, he was just trying to play the martyr card, and it wasn't working. But thank goodness for Will, to tell him like it is. I loved the secondary characters, as they were there for Charlotte and Angus like they have the whole series, bringing fun and humor, but also seriousness when needed. 

All in all, this was a very enjoyable read, and a great conclusion to the series. It was fun, humorous, although not without its serious moments. I am definitely sad to say goodbye to these characters!
Karey White Karey White

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist. She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/22/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Crimson Cord {by Jill Eileen Smith}
Title: The Crimson Cord: Rehab's Story
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Series: Daughters of the Promised Land, #1
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: publisher
Wife to a gambler who took one too many risks, Rahab finds herself sold as a slave to cover her husband's debt. Forced into prostitution by Dabir, counselor to the Syrian king, Rahab despairs of ever regaining her freedom and her self-respect. But when Israelite spies enter Jericho and come to lodge at her house, Rahab sees a glimmer of hope and the opportunity of a lifetime. In one risky moment, she takes a leap of faith, puts her trust in a God she does not know, and vows to protect the spies from the authorities. When the armies of Israel arrive weeks later, Rahab hopes they will keep their promise, but she has no idea what kind of challenges await her outside Jericho's walls--or if she will ever know the meaning of love. 
I've made no secret of my love for Biblical retellings, and this one definitely hit the mark. I've read previous books by Jill Eileen Smith, and she never disappoints. She brings new life into stories we've heard for ages, making you think about them in a new and different way.

Rahab is married to a gambler. So far into debt, and making even more wrong choices, he and his wife and all his belongings are sold to pay his debt to the king. Rahab is bought by the King's counselor, who has one plan for her: force her into prostitution. With no other options, Rahab despairingly fills the role that Dabir has forced her into.

It's interesting to see things from Rahab's perspective. We don't know much about her in the Bible, only that she helped the Israelites and was saved. This story sets up how she got the point where she was able to help them. The circumstances that brought her into the place where she was. I think it's easy to look on her lifestyle with disdain, but this story gently reminds us that women in her day didn't really have a choice, and offers a glimpse at the person that she was.

This story also changes perspective between Ruth, and the spies, which I found to be very interesting. We get to see what had happened from both perspectives. I think we also often forget what it would be like to be an Israelite, wandering around in a wilderness, following orders that don't make sense. This showed that from both sides, from unwavering faith to those that had some doubts, and I think Smith did a good job of showcasing that.

But we don't often hear or think about what happened to Rahab after she was saved. Would the Israelites take her in? Would she join them? Worship their God? I loved how this story also spent a significant amount of time on what happened after the fall of Jericho, and how Rahab's life was afterwards.

This was a beautifully depicted retelling of an old story. I think Smith did such a good job of staying historically, culturally, and Biblically relevant. You could feel yourself being immersed in the time and place of the story. This was a well-done story, and one I very much enjoyed.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Jill Eileen Smith

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