Book Talk on a Thursday: JESUS FOLLOWERS

When your last name is Graham (or Lotz) and you’re related to the Reverend Billy Graham, people probably expect you to act and talk a certain way. You’re held to a different (and higher) standard than the rest of us mortals sinners.

In their new book, Anne Graham Lotz (Billy’s daughter) and Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright (Anne’s daughter and Billy’s granddaughter), share insights and stories about being Jesus followers, and raising children to also be Jesus followers. The subtitle is Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation.

The book is arranged in various sections that include Our Witness, Our Worship, Our Walk, and Our Work. Each section opens with teaching from Anne, then there are several short stories from Rachel-Ruth illustrating the points.

Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright is honest and transparent about the difficulties she experienced, particularly in high school, growing up in a family well-known for their faith.

It’s apparent Anne and her late husband, Danny, were intentional in raising their children to be Jesus followers. They (according to the pages of this book) walked the walk they talked about.

The teaching in this book is solid, the stories are well written and overall this is an excellent addition to the library of any believer wanting to be intentional about investing in the next generation. The bottom line: Live a life of faith and don’t be shy about it.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it!

As I prepared to write this review, I did a little research on the Graham family, since the only members I knew anything about were Anne and her brother Franklin, President of Samaritan’s Purse. I’ll just say the Graham children did not grow up unscathed.


I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher, but this did not induce me to review it, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: Restoring Heritage Series

Happy Tuesday and talking about books. This isn’t a normal book review. It isn’t even a two-fer. It’s a four-fer. Or a two+two-fer.

I had the opportunity recently to read Tari Faris’s new series, Restoring Heritage. It consists of a prequel novella, then two novels, then an interim novella, while we wait for novel #3.

The books are set in the small town of Heritage, Michigan and like all the best series have characters who pop in and out of each others’ stories.

Heritage seems to be dying. Businesses are leaving, storefronts are empty, and houses are vacant.

In P.S. GOODBYE, Caroline and Leah Williams are trying to keep their family business afloat. Caroline is also trying to start a new business as a life coach. So when a wounded former Special Forces operator returns to town needing a job, they agree to help out each other. But it can’t be that simple, can it? No, it can’t.

The first full length novel, YOU BELONG WITH ME, is Luke and Hannah’s story. Best friends and next-door-neighbors in high school, they’re now all grown up and still friends, even though both of them want more, but believes the other doesn’t see them “that way,” and that they aren’t worthy of the other.

Hannah is a Realtor, desperate to save the historic homes and shops of Heritage, and somehow redeem her family’s tarnished name. But her every plan and idea is stymied by a local developer wanting to buy the downtown buildings and put in a strip mall.

Luke has his own reasons for helping Hannah and growing closer to her, then retreating. It takes news that shatters everything he thought he knew about his past to bring him to embrace his future. The local pastor, Nate, two sisters Janie and Olivia, and Hannah’s brother, Thomas, are secondary characters.

Novel #2, UNTIL I MET YOU, is Nate and Olivia’s story, along with Nate’s brother, a newcomer to Heritage and another newcomer. This is a story of second chances and redemption, and I’m afraid to say much more would be to give away too many spoilers.

The final installment (so far) is a Christmas novella, WHILE IT WAS SNOWING. This is about one of Olivia and Janie’s brothers Gideon and his friend and co-worker, Dan. That is Danielle. He suddenly realizes she’s a–gasp–girl–when he sees her for the first time at a wedding.

Danielle can’t get wait to get out of the dress and back to Gideon treating her like one of the guys. Although if she’s honest with herself, she kind of liked how he looked at her. Like something inside him was finally seeing her.

All four stories work great as stand-alones, but they mesh together well, too. I really enjoyed them. Faris does a fabulous job at weaving in spiritual truths without preaching. The stories are well constructed and well told.

I highly recommend them!

What’s your favorite small town series?

Book Talk Tuesday: SAILING AT SUNSET

SAS

This is the first romance I’ve read that featured sailing as the “vehicle” to get the hero and heroine together. It turned out to be a fun one.

Danae is focused and driven and organized. So she’s more than a little thrown when her boss tells her she’s taking her marketing team on a week long team-building cruise on one of the company yachts. The captain has been hired and he’ll also be their tour guide around Martha’s Vineyard.

Josh got off the corporate hamster wheel and is perfectly content taking chartered cruises out on his own ship, or hiring himself out for other events. The current job looks to be a pain, because the gal in charge keeps emailing him with changes in the agenda.

This is a romance, so we already know the ending, but getting there was very fun. I’ve never been to Martha’s Vineyard, but I feel like I’ve visited it. Madsen did a great job with her setting and her characters. Danae and Josh both had to overcome what they thought they wanted in life, in order to be open to the possibility of something more.
I enjoyed this one a lot and I recommend it!

—–
I received a free advance electronic copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it, either favorably or not.

Book Talk on a Thursday: Christmas in Bayberry

Wes has been chasing career success. So has Kate. They just have very different definitions of what that looks like. For Wes, it’s a title, a corner office with a view of Manhattan, and not having to move every year. For Kate, it’s having her family’s Vermont candle company survive another year.

CiBWhen Wes comes to Bayberry, Vermont to analyze the Bayberry Candle Company’s financials and issue a recommendation on its future, he’s flooded with memories of the year his family lived there when he was fifteen. And the girl he wanted to invite to the annual Candlelight Dance on Christmas Eve. But his dad got a new job and they moved before he got the chance.

Kate moved to Bayberry when she was fifteen and her parents were killed in an accident and she was taken in by her aunt. Her aunt is preparing to retire and Kate wants nothing except to keep the family candle business running exactly as it has been for the last three generations.

As Wes and Kate work together, sometimes on divergent paths, they fight their growing attraction. After all, his life is in New York City and hers is in Bayberry. Right?

I enjoyed this new release from Hallmark Publishing. Besides being a taste of Christmas in July (and I live in Central California where 100+ degree days are common, so descriptions of snowball fights and hot chocolate are very welcome!), I enjoyed this sweet romance and its glimpse of two people on two different trajectories and how they were brought together by a failing business, an improbable Santa, and Spirit of Christmas.
———-
I received a free e-copy of this book from Hallmark Publishing but it did not induce me to leave a review, favorable or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: IN OTHER WORDS, LOVE

I’m not reading as much as I expected, seeing as I spend pretty much all day, every day inside. We are starting to go out for walks and that helps. But I just can’t seem to keep focused on a book for very long. I’m playing a lot of games on my tablet and catching up on the DVR.

But I did read a few books and this one was especially enjoyable.

IN OTHER WORDS, LOVE by Shirley Jump is another romance from Hallmark Publishing.

IOW.LKate is a ghostwriter, barely making ends meet. She’s offered a new job, for an amount with a lot of zeroes, to ghostwrite a memoir for a busy CEO. Only the exec turns out to be the college boyfriend who broke her heart.

Trent is a driven man, focused on his business and its upcoming IPO. He’s procrastinated writing that blasted memoir and now the deadline is looming and he doesn’t have enough hours in the day. His staff convinces him to hire a ghostwriter who will sign a non-disclosure agreement, so no one has to know he didn’t write the book himself. It feels dishonest, but he doesn’t have much choice.

Of course, as soon as Kate and Trent meet again there are all kinds of complications, not the least of which is the return of their easy friendship. And all the developing feelings, from each of them.

Kate continues to peel back Trent’s layers as she fleshes out his outline and yellow sticky notes. Trent is amazed as this older Kate turns out to be far more adventurous than he thought fifteen years ago.

There are complications along the way to their Happily-Ever-After, of course, but I wouldn’t dream of spoiling the journey for you.

IN OTHER WORDS, LOVE is a sweet romance that I enjoyed and recommend!


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it.