Monday, February 1, 2016

Book Review of Rescue Me by Lara Van Hulzen

Oh boy, do I love wounded cowboy stories! And Lara Van Hulzen's last book in her Men of Honor Series is no exception.

Keith is a soldier with a wounded heart. 
Torie’s secrets haunt her. 
Can they trust love enough to mend what’s broken? 

Torie Walker is a police officer with a past she’d like to stay hidden from. Staying at her best friend’s cabin in the mountains over Christmas is just what she needs. However, when a handsome cowboy saunters into her life, she takes the risk and trusts him with her secrets. 

Keith Scott is a United States Marine, Force Recon. Home for the holidays, he intends to spend a quiet Christmas with his family. What he doesn’t plan on is Torie Walker, a woman who mends his heart and makes him want to love again.



Torie is a familiar character for those who have followed along with Van Hulzen's entire series. She starts out in book 1, Remember Me, and finally gets her happily ever after in book 3. Her tough cop exterior has made her a strong character from the beginning, but in this story we get to see into the darker corners of her soul as she faces an old enemy - a very personal one. It was fascinating to see the two polar opposites of strong and weak in this amazing woman. Van Hulzen did a great job of making all her sides believable.

Keith was introduced in book 2, Get To Me. He came on the pages as a brooding and maybe broken soldier. It was fun to open up that package as I read through Rescue Me. Keith, as all of us, has many facets to his character. Both his pain and his joys are deep and three-dimensional. He was a fantastic hero.

Overall, I love this series. A great and fun read for anyone who likes romance with a twist of faith. I found book three had a much slower pace than the first two books that clipped along with great tension. It wasn't a problem for me as I was well invested in the characters by that point. Perhaps this one is best read as a series. However, the story line doesn't need the previous ones to be understandable. Despite the slower pace, I enjoyed it. Rescue Me holds you close enough to keep you reading to find out more about the "fear" in our strong and ever-capable Torie.

The setting was fabulous - a cabin in the mountains at Christmas! Great fun. The supporting characters were intriguing and added a sense of balance to Keith's personality. There is even a glimpse of the Newlyweds, Aimee and Dane.

Overall a good story, a fun, heart-warming romance and a great read.

Thanks to the author for a chance to review this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion. Check it out!

Also, stay tuned as Lara's next series, Return to Silver Bay, is set to be out in March 2016. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Book review of Lime Green By Dr. Jackie Roese

"Dr. Jackie Roese was the first woman preacher in the history of Irving Bible Church, preaching her first sermon from the pulpit in 2008 to a packed house of 2250 attendees, and one local Dallas news crew. It was an event that caused ripples throughout conservative evangelicalism, where it is commonly taught that a woman's role in the church (and home) is submissive to a man, and the very idea of a woman teaching a man anything is sinful.

Image result for lime green reshaping our view of women in the churchIn her new book, Lime Green: Reshaping Our View of Women in the Church, Dr Roese shares her personal journey to discovering a new narrative for women in the church (one that her own church elders came to support); one that values women and fearlessly develops and promotes the giftings of,what she calls, "lime green" women." (Media release)



First of all let's get this out in the open ... this is NOT a book saying women should be preaching from every pulpit.  That is not the mission Roese is going for. Instead the focus is on her story alone. After all not all women are created the same. 

Jackie describes women in colors. Throughout evangelical history the church expects women to be "light pink". And she writes, "we need light pink ladies who remind us that God is peace and beauty. But we also need every color, every shade of color and colors we haven't even seen --yet-- to remind us of everything else God is".

In her own description she has never been pink and no matter how hard she tried she couldn't become pink. And even if she could ... wouldn't that be denying who God created her to be?

Her story is inspiring and heart-tugging. She's a brave woman.

It's important to point out for those skeptics that her fight has never been for the "right" to preach. Her fight has been to end injustice and inequality for women that transcends the globe. She talks many times about paving a new path for girls like her own daughter, Madison.
"Before walking up to the stage, I turned to my daughter to let her know that just like Jill (Briscoe) had chopped a few vines, so too was I about to chop a few to forge a path for her generation. She knew I meant something beyond a woman preaching from the pulpit. Madison knew I believed God was moving - globally - to address the gender injustice of women. Whether it was covert gender injustice like what goes on in the American church, or overt gender injustice like what we see in sex trafficking or in female genital mutilation, or the myriad other forms of female oppression, God was calling out what happens to his women and girls around the world."   
So if that entices you, confuses you or ticks you off go check out Dr. Jackie Roese' book Lime Green. It is a fascinating read that is easy and enlightening.

On a personal note, I was intrigued by the book and wanted to read it because my little, rural Evangelical church just went through a time of intense study on the role of women in the church because a woman in our congregation asked if she could be an elder. It was like a tidal wave! Suddenly we were all grasping for something we could hold onto all while trying to hold our breath. We, as a majority, suddenly realized we believed something strongly but very few of us could verbalize why. 

After an eight week study we still had no definitive answer to the question if a woman could be an elder but we had an immensely deeper understanding of all the opposing sides. And we had eliminated the previous and prevailing answer of "because that's the ways we've always done it".

One thing that stood out to me the most in our little attempt to decipher God's plan was those who were "afraid" left the group. They stopped coming. They stopped studying. All because of fear.

God warns us about fear. 

So we need more women like Jackie to step on that fear, uncloak it and shine some Light of Jesus on it. We might be surprised what we find.  
  
Dr. Jackie Roese is the Founder and President of The Marcella Project, a ministry committed to ennobling women through Scripture-focused teaching, training and dialogue. She has a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary and a DMin in Preaching from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Jackie spent eight years serving in a megachurch as Teaching Pastor to Women as well as serving on the Sunday morning preaching team. She has written more than fifteen bible studies, taught at women's conferences in Africa and at home in the U.S., and trained women here and abroad to preach through her She Can Teach course.
 
Thank you to Jackie Roese and Icon Media Group for the opportunity to review this book. I received a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.



Friday, October 9, 2015

Book Review of The Chase by Kyle and Kelsey Kupecky

Got a daughter? Granddaughter?
Or maybe a female friend whose sights are set on finding that "right" guy?

Then check out this new book from Kelsey and Kyle Kupecky.
The Chase.
"A must-read for single girls looking for a God-honoring relationship!" - Rebecca St. James; Grammy and Dove Award-winning recording artist and author of One Last Thing.
 
It is a fun read for young girls all the way up to the not-so-young. I would not recommend for girls younger than twelve or thirteen personally. However it would depend on where their heart is. If it's all about chasing guys ... then get it now!

Kelsey is the daughter of well-known Christian fiction author Karen Kingsbury. She grew up longing for her own "love story". And she got it. In her first ever book, Kelsey tells about learning to focus on God ... not on who the next guy in her life could be. That coupled with some great teaching from her parents set the stage for her to anticipate God's guy for her fairy tale.

Kyle Kupecky is a Christian recording artist. He also had a great stage set for him about looking forward to a future written by God's hand and not his own.

Together this young couple writes a book, from their hearts, to young girls everywhere about chasing after the right Thing.  The book is a light and easy read filled with tons of personal stories. Both Kelsey and Kyle give their thoughts - a unique aspect for girls everywhere to have some insight in a guy's heart and mind in regards to dating and girls. Kelsey imparts great wisdom for girls and young women everywhere, while Kyle brings in scripture and a guy's thoughts. The book isn't your typical "save yourself till marriage" message. This is a nice detour down a little broader path. It's about where to focus your heart. Because if you focus it on God, He will take care of the rest. So, eyes on Him, not on the boys in your math class and let God write your "Happily Ever After".

Kyle and Kelsey give some very compelling stories and evidence that God had plans for them back before they even began dreaming of "the one". A very cool story to tell. I already have a few young girls in my life that would benefit from this book and message.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I do however have one comment to add that I hope will give insight but not deter you from the valuable piece that this book truly is. I wanted to read this book with my daughter, who is turning twenty. She was in a dating relationship and we wanted to find a book that would help steer her heart in the right direction. I was thankful I read it first. There is nothing inappropriate in this book - or anything you wouldn't want your daughters or granddaughters to read, it is just a very different take than my daughter can relate to. See, she is in college and in her very first dating experience. Kyle and Kelsey tell a wonderful story of how God orchestrated their lives to come together, but neither of them refrained from dating through high school. The entire book is filled with stories of the guys and girls who went wrong. Just not the kind of thing that is helpful for my daughter at this time.

So, my advice ... judge where the girl in your life is at. If she is chasing guys and not God then this is a fantastic read. Definitely. No doubt about it. However, for girls like my daughter - it is all good information and excellent advice, but the stories of dates gone wrong and guys not worth it wasn't quite what we were looking for.

What my daughter can take away from this book is that God is a far better author for our love stories that we can ever be. So, wait. Rest. And most of all chase after His heart and let him take care of yours.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.





Here is some other fun links for you to check out.

Karen Kingsbury's Bailey Flanagan series used Kyle and Kelsey for the video book trailer for book 3, Longing. :) That is alos Anthem Lights song, Can't Get Over You plays in the background. (A Christian band Kyle used to be a part of.) :D

Give You The World by Kyle Kupecky - official music video - with real footage of the two.

A truly amazing song for a young girl chasing after boys - Hide Your Love Away by Anthem Lights Lyric video. Buy this song for her! And show her this video - Anthem Lights - Behind the Song because she is worth waiting for!

I have so many more valuable things to share with a girl in your life that needs to know she is precious and worth saving her whole self - heart and body - for a true love that will  last. If you want more contact me. This is a passion close to my heart. I wished someone would have told me that simple line when I was chasing after all the wrong things.  Tell someone today ... you are worth waiting for.