Category Archives: Christian

Grasp: Poems, Prose, and Essays by David Yuen

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

A penetrating observation of life portrayed through the lens of an astutely perspective awareness, David Yuen’s Grasp offers a collection of his literary mentations through poems, prose, and essays.

The variety that author Yuen presents makes for a creative mixture of literate inserts flowing with emotions, life lessons, spirituality, and intelligent inspiration. Meanwhile, there is no particular order to the book as a whole, but the reading still flows well with each narrative in the book bringing forward engaging food for thought.

Initially, what captures the attention within this book is the demonstration of author Yuen’s engaging writing skills starting with “Grasp” a chronicle that flows well while vividly setting the thoughtful framework of the interconnected elements of life, both seen and unseen, for the remainder of the work. In total, this is a work rife with the spiritual and worldly complexities of living life in this modern world. Flowing with insightful works like The Lessons So Far, as well as the emotionally inciting Death To Self, this is a book that is overall easily engaging and often keeps one rapt with intelligent dives into the light and dark aspects of being human in an often inhumane world leading to instances of quickly becoming disconnected from one another, as emphasized by his poetic excerpt of life in his poem-Rifts.

Out of Control (The Kincaid Brides Book #1) by Mary Connealy

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Out of Control“He’d frozen away everything that was beautiful. He’d cared for his brothers, but he hadn’t risked loving them for the fear of how terrible it would be to lose them. He’d never been as kind to his mother as he should have been because his love was locked away. He’d work beside his father and shown him respect but never love.”

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For Julia Gilliland, her life is out of control. Her father told her he owns and runs a general store. In actuality, he is a gambler and runs a low-class saloon. She dreams of being an archaeologist, studying fossils. She does not enjoy her life. Fortunately, she has a close friend in her step-mother, Audra, who is close to delivering another child. Julia does enjoy her company and helping her with the endless chores.

Giant Killers: Overcoming Obstacles and Seizing Opportunities by Steve Lawson

Reviewed by Veronica Alvarado

giantkillersPart Christian self-help book, part Biblical exegesis, emotional intelligent consultant and former pastor Steve Lawson’s Giant Killers: Overcoming Obstacles and Seizing Opportunities, is a brief, but inspiring guide to aid the reader in conquering difficulties and becoming the best version of “you” that you can be.

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Giant Killers begins by recounting the Biblical story of David and Goliath, the tale of how one small boy with faith was able to beat a larger-than-life opponent. Lawson uses this story as the foreground of his entire book, encouraging the reader to conquer his or her own “giants,” by trusting in faith and grace. Divided into five sub-sections that emphasize a different character trait, each of these sections begins with a real-life story of someone close to Lawson. He identifies these individuals as “giant killers,” meaning that he or she overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to beat their fears and live their lives as good Christians. Aside from making the book more relatable to the reader, these brief vignettes greatly help add to the credibility of Lawson’s message, as they are proven accounts ordinary persons acting as “giant killers.”

While each of the five sub-sections that Lawson outlines contain their own particular pieces of wisdom and guidance, “Section Two: Discipline” will especially resound with American readers who are surrounded by a culture steeped with excess and consumerism. Lawson speaks at great length about disciplining one’s self in a spiritual, caring manner that respects above all God’s vision of yourself. Calling a variety of sources, ranging from the Bible to modern scholarship, Lawson outlines the importance of concepts such as training, self-regulation, controlling one’s actions, and focusing on the act of disciplined growth. All of these concepts underline the essential notion that becoming the best version of oneself must take into account God’s vision of you, as well as acknowledging and accepting your strengths and weaknesses as a person.

“Part Four: Action” serves as another strong section of the book, as it provides the reader with essential advice aimed towards becoming a “giant killer.” Among other tips, Lawson advises the reader to not separate the spiritual from the nonspiritual, to begin with small steps, and to study Scripture for inspiration.

Written in a conversational and often humorous tone, Giant Killers is clearly a labor of love on the part of Steve Lawson. Throughout, he deftly utilizes examples from a variety of sources—the entirety of the Christian canon, popular culture, and personal experiences, to name a few—to strengthen his work and make it accessible to all readers. While Giant Killers will not appeal to those who disdain spirituality, it will prove as useful and enlightening read for Christians.

A Lady for the Lawman by Jewell Tweedt

A Lady for the Lawman

Reviewed by Teri Davis

“Arianna sputtered then stomped her foot and narrowed her eyes, her gumption returning full strength. Oh, he was irritating, and no kind of a gentleman whatsoever.”

Life for a single female living in Omaha during 1870 could not have been easy. Arianna Quincy had a plan as she entered Weikert-Second Mercantile, she needed to buy a few things, find a job to support herself, and unquestionably begin to live a new life. She needs to no longer be a burden to her family who has many mouths to feed. She knows that this her chance to be independent earning money of her own and had hopes for a job at the store. With her cousin already working there, this connection could be her first step.

Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon

Come Rain or Come Shine

Reviewed by Teri Davis

“I’m gonna love like nobody loved you, Come Rain or Come Shine.”

These famous song lyrics are the center of Jan Karon’s latest Mitford book featuring the wedding of Dooley and Lace.

Dooley Kavanaugh has graduated and is beginning his veterinarian practice back at his home in Mitford. He is choosing to marry his long-time love, Lace Harper in a simple, down-home ceremony. The couple wants simplicity so instead of caterers, they are having a potluck and a friend in providing the music.

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Miracle in a Dry Season

Reviewed by Jane Squires

Perla Long and her daughter arrive at her Aunt’s house trying to avoid gossip. But gossip is everywhere and people in the church and town are quick to judge her without knowing circumstances.

Caswell struggles with fact that Perla has a daughter and no husband. Sadie, the daughter, is blessed with a loving nature.

Living in a small town, I know what it is to not be accepted. I have felt the judgment of others first hand.

What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer

What Once Was LostReviewed by Jane Squires

God put this book in my hand just when I needed it. Walking through obstacles and adversity, this book encouraged me. Little did I know what I would face yesterday.

Christina and Levi may seem the characters that weave the story together, but Tommy, Cora, Louisa, Rose, and all the others of the Poor House will touch your life. You will feel all they endure.
Even Mr. Dresden who caused so much trouble will show how God used all the bad for good.
So many lost find their way after a fire displaces all those who lived at the Poor asylum.

Flora’s Wish (The Secret Lives of Will Tucker) Paperback by Kathleen Y’Babro

Flora's WishReviewed by Jane Squires

This book is an adventure from beginning to end. Romance should be for true love. Sometimes this is overlooked by the elite. Flora kept losing her intended before she could wed them. So people were calling her Fatal Flora.

A Pinkerton Agent arrests Flora for trying to arrest her intended. He gets more than he bargains for. He finds himself falling for her.

Sofia’s Secret by Sharlene MacLaren

Sofia's SecretReviewed by Jane Squires

Sofia Rogers has endured much hardship in her life. She raises her younger brother and shies away from people in town. Due to what happened to her, she doesn’t trust men or others.
Her life is one of fear even after Dr. Eli Trent comes on the scene. Eli wants to protect her and her brother, Andy.

A series of events, near disasters, etc. and then the sheriff is killed. Sofia’s secret is then revealed and she is amazed at how the town people respond to her. They rally around and help her.
Dr. Eli Trent backs off to get to know Sofia better. She then thinks he has lost interest. Loved his romantic proposal.

Still Faithful: A Back to Omaha Adventure (Volume 2) by Jewell Tweedt

Still Faithful Reviewed by Teri Davis

Near the end of the American Civil War, the Southern states were in the process of transporting gold bars to their treasury. Since the war ended, this treasure did not arrive at its intended destination but disappeared. So what happened to it?

Logically, one man probably could not have stolen all of it, but definitely could possess part of this wealth, enough to last him the rest of his life. President Grant wants and needs this money for the governmental debts of the war and assigns the task to recover the treasure to a Pinkerton agent.

Jason Reynolds is to work undercover as a deputy to the sheriff in Omaha where the likely suspect Cal Moore has some unfinished business. Cal intends to reunite with the woman who was his betrothed prior to the war. During a battle, Cal was shot in the leg. Since the common practice of the time was to amputate, he decided to take his chances and deserted. Fortunately, an older woman who lived in isolation, found him and nursed him back to health.