Book Review: Zacchaeus and Jesus

Book Review: Zacchaeus and Jesus

zacchaeus and jesusI love children’s books, and now that I have a child of my own, I have an even better excuse to pick them up at every chance! I sometimes shy away from “Bible” story books, only because I have several storybook Bibles for my daughter and I was raised with plenty of Sunday school experiences to show me how cheesy these books can be.

But when I received Zacchaeus and Jesus by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Lisa Manuzak, I had a feeling it would be different. The story is the age-old, familiar tale of Zacchaeus climbing the sycamore tree to see Jesus. But, it’s told with a bit of a twist to capture my little one’s attention.

Read from the front to back, it is the tale told from Zacchaeus’ perspective, but from back to front it is told from Jesus’ perspective. I love this device to teach my child not only a Biblical story, but also to help her understand perspective, point of view, and perhaps how we see ourselves vs. how Jesus sees us. To help her learn more than just a story.

This book has large, colorful pictures and just enough text to tell the story without taking too long to flip the pages (very important for an impatient little one!). I would recommend this book to Christian moms and dads thanks to its new and innovative storytelling technique!

Want to win your own copy of Zacchaeus and Jesus? Enter here! (Open to U.S. mailing addresses only, entrants age 13+.)

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I received a complimentary copy of Zacchaeus and Jesus from Tyndale House Publishers, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase using this link.

Book Review: Tangled Webs

Book Review: Tangled Webs

Tangled Webs by Irene HannonHaving read some Irene Hannon in the past (Guardians of Justice series), I was excited to jump into Tangled Webs, her latest novel. Tangled Webs is the third in the Men of Valor series.

Finn has packed away his combat instincts — but he may need them again when danger begins to stalk his quiet hideaway . . .

After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn’t on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana’s foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action — ready or not.

Not having read the first two of this series, I was pleased to see that I had no trouble diving right into the Men of Valor world. Read more

Book Review: The Raven

Book Review: The Raven

The Raven by Mike NappaI had never read anything by Mike Nappa when I picked up The Raven, the second in the Coffey & Hill series. The concept of classic literature and crime drama piqued my interest, for I both love literature and enjoy a good whodunnit. I was diving in on the second in a series, which always poses problems, but I was hoping that it wouldn’t impede my enjoyment of the novel.

As part of his street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience’s pockets while they watch. It’s harmless fun–until he decides to keep the wallet of a prominent politician, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds compromising photos of the councilman and his “personal assistants,” The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named “Nevermore.”

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues to rescue The Raven from a wild card bent on revenge.

I was glad that while some readers may be familiar with the main characters, namely Trudi Coffey and her ex-husband Samuel Hill, Nappa did a good enough job of introducing the characters and their intricate back story that it wasn’t necessary to have read the first novel in order to understand the second.

Coffey and Hill proved to be interesting characters, Read more

Book Review: Wild Montana Skies

Book Review: Wild Montana Skies

Wild Montana Skies by Susan May WarrenWhen I saw a new contemporary novel by author Susan May Warren would be released this fall, I got very excited. I am a huge fan of In Sheep’s Clothing (and the subsequent Mission: Russia books: Sands of Time and Wiser Than Serpents), plus I lived in Montana, the setting of this new book, for 4 years while attending college, so I was ready for something great with Wild Montana Skies.

Injured in more ways than one by a war overseas, helicopter pilot Kacey Fairing returns home to Montana to start a new life — coming to terms with her emotional scars and learning to be the mom that her daughter needs. One thing at least she knows, she will be helping people by piloting search and rescue missions over the gorgeous and deadly Glacier National Park wilderness. But then she learns who her new partner will be, it becomes apparent that leaving the past behind won’t be so easy. The man who broke her heart will now be her constant companion. Read more

Book Review: Deadly Encounter

Book Review: Deadly Encounter

Deadly EncounterDeadly Encounter by DiAnn Mills was an enjoyable mystery and a quick read.

“Airport Ranger volunteer Stacy Broussard expected a peaceful Saturday morning ride around the perimeter of Houston’s airport. What she encounters instead is a brutal homicide and a baffling mystery. Next to the body is an injured dog, the dead man’s motorcycle, and a drone armed with a laser capable of taking down a 747.

“Though FBI Special Agent Alex LeBlanc sees a clear-cut case of terrorism, his past has taught him to be suspicious of everyone, even witnesses. Even bleeding-heart veterinarians like Stacy. But when her gruesome discovery is only the first in a string of incidences that throw her life into a tailspin, Alex begins to wonder if Stacy was targeted. As a health emergency endangers Stacy’s community, and the task force pulls in leads from all directions, Alex and Stacy must work together to prevent another deadly encounter.”

Read more

Book Review: Catching Heat

Book Review: Catching Heat

Catching Heat by Janice CantoreCatching Heat by Janice Cantore is the third installation of the Cold Case Justice series.

The deaths of her parents appears to be settled — or as settled as it was going to be — so detective Abby Hart is prepared to move on. But when a key confession witholds information, Abby can’t stand the injustice. Now a part of the newly formed task force to address cold cases, she learns that it’s harder to let go than she thought.

Meanwhile, private investigator Luke Murphy is ready to blaze ahead with the first lead assigned to his new cold case team. Struggling to keep Abby’s focus on the case, he worries her seeming obsession might become deadly. Read more

Book Review: Missing

Book Review: Missing

Missing by Lisa HarrisMissing by Lisa Harris is another new romantic suspense novelbeing released this July. I already admitted that romantic suspense is an escape read for me, so I picked this one up when the opportunity arose.

Special Agent Nikki Boyd is tasked with finding the missing Lucy Hudson, but as her search takes her closer to home, she doesn’t know who to trust and who is telling lies:

Nikki Boyd isn’t usually called in on homicides; her forte is missing persons. But when a case with two murdered and two missing pops up on a quiet suburban street, she’s ready to start the investigation and find missing homeowners Mac and Lucy Hudson. When the first clues lead her to the boat of her friend Tyler Grant–and another dead body–Nikki must untangle what ties Tyler to the Hudsons. The clues pull her into a deadly maze of counterfeit drugs and a killer who will stop at nothing to silence anyone who threatens his business–including Nikki.

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Book Review: Without Warning

Book Review: Without Warning

My “guilty pleasure” reading is probably romantic suspense. I love getting sucked into a story involving crime, mystery, relatable characters, intelligent law enforcement and a bad guy who will inevitably be found out — and if there’s a touch of romance in there it’s all the sweeter.
So when I saw Lynette Eason’s Without Warning, book two of the Elite Guardian series, I instantly wanted to give it a try, especially when it became apparent that the usual roles are flipped!

Daniel Matthews, retired special forces, lives a relatively sleepy life running his restaurants and raising his orphaned niece. But when he crosses paths with danger, not once, but twice in a single night with a dead body found hanging in one restaurant basement and an arson attack on another, he realizes that someone may be out for blood.

Katie Singleton, a former arson investigator, is working as a bodyguard with a handful of other exceptionally talented women know as Elite Guardians. When she gets pulled into Daniel’s life, she is forced to confront her own reasons for leaving arson investigating while also working to keep Daniel alive.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. The characters were friendly and likable, though not perfect. Read more

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me

Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and MeWhen I first read about this book, I got very excited. Some of my favorite subjects are right at the forefront: classic literature (Anne!), adoption, international adoption, memoir. It was like this book was meant for me.

“A charming and heartwarming true story for anyone who has ever longed for a place to belong. “Anne of Green Gables,” My Daughter, and Me is a witty romp through the classic novel; a visit to the magical shores of Prince Edward Island; and a poignant personal tale of love, faith, and loss.” (Tyndale)

It actually took me quite some time to track down a copy of it, but I was determined to read it. When my copy finally arrived, I dove in with eager anticipation.

Perhaps I had built up this book too much in my head. I don’t know. But I was disappointed. Far from impressed, I found myself reluctant to pick the book up time after time. It wasn’t that the subject matter wasn’t interesting, it was! But it just didn’t engage me. Read more

Book Review: The Inheritance

Book Review: The Inheritance

The Inheritance by Michael PhillipsThe Inheritance by Michael Phillips promised to be an interesting tale about so many delightful things: a Scottish island, clan family history, an inheritance up for grabs, cross-cultural interpersonal relationships. It could have been a winner based on the blurb:

The death of clan patriarch Macgregor Tulloch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed Tulloch’s heir to be his much-loved grandnephew David. But when no will is discovered, David’s calculating cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island’s land. And Hardy knows a North Sea oil investor who will pay dearly for that control.

While the competing claims are investigated, the courts have frozen the estate’s assets, leaving many of the locals in dire financial straits. The future of the island — and its traditional way of life–hangs in the balance.

Meanwhile, Loni Ford enjoys a rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, D.C. Yet, in spite of outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is, until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . . Read more