Friday, March 17, 2017

The Mark of the King

The exciting new historical novel, The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green, is a sweeping, not-to-be-missed inspirational story.

Julianne Chevalier is a young midwife in 1719 Paris, France, who experiences a tragedy with a client that leads to her being imprisoned and branded as a criminal beyond redemption. The author did extensive research into the customs and laws of that time, and she discovered things about the notorious Salpetriere Paris women's prison, the one Julianne is sentenced to in the story.

Based on historical events, Julianne trades her life sentence for exile to the 'fledgling French colony' of Louisiana. On top of this daunting future, the price of her transport is a forced marriage to a fellow convict. Julianne ends up in New Orleans where more tragedy eventually strikes.

With no news of her soldier brother Benjamin, who is embroiled in the war between the French and Chickasaw ''now known as the First French-Chickasaw War," Julianne must find her way in the dangerous 18th century frontier, where only faith can see her through:

"From now on let no one cause trouble for me,
for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus." --Galatians 6:17

With "...God's grace covering them all..." (395), the characters of The Mark of the King continually pull at your heartstrings and the plot keeps you turning the pages.

This book is ideal for a book group and includes detailed and thought-provoking discussion questions at the end. The Author's Note explains how the story is based on real events of forced immigration and exile to Louisiana between 1717-1721. Not only were convict girls ages 12-26  shipped from Salpetriere prison to help colonize Louisiana, but the French military in Louisiana also endured horrible living conditions as the French government basically abandoned them.

The publisher provided a review copy of The Mark of the King.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

For the Record


For the Record by Regina Jennings is a fun and inspirational novel set in 1885. This historical romance features the spunky Betsy Huckabee, who lives in the town of Pine Gap Missouri, where she writes for her uncle's newspaper.

Deputy Joel Pucket leaves his home in Texas and moves to Pine Gap, and he finds that the small town is rife with lawlessness. As Betsy creates a hero based on Deputy Joel to star in a serial for the ladies' pages, she realizes it would cost him. As the story progresses, she grows to admire him.

I like the light-hearted tone of the book, and the way the characters are shown, flaws and all. There are laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

For the Record transports readers back to the late 1800's through nice detailed descriptions and period dialogue:

"Doctor Hopkins entered and fell into his wife's arms. She sobbed as she inspected him from his soot-covered head to his scorched feet." (167)

The characters are easy to like, and the story demonstrates how faith and grace get us through difficult circumstances. Though the story is set many years ago, the lessons it teaches are still very applicable today. And the heroine, Becky, proves that a woman can be independent and tough, yet still have a soft side. The mild suspense of the plot kept me up at night wanting to read 'one more' page.

The publisher provided a review copy of For the Record.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Acid Watcher Diet


The Acid Watcher Diet: A 28-Day Reflux Prevention and Healing Program by Dr. Johathan Aviv is a blueprint for regaining health if chronic reflux is affecting your life. Many symptoms of acid reflux are not immediately associated with the disease, such as a cough or bloating, and others are more obvious, like heartburn and a lump in the throat. As someone with a family history of this disease, I find Dr. Aviv's clear explanation of these silent symptoms to be very enlightening. He describes how this disease affects your overall well-being, and he lays out a plan to not only heal, but also to prevent the symptoms and damage from this disease.

This book begins with the links between acid disruption and your diet. Dr. Aviv shows how and why certain foods and lifestyle habits cause acid reflux, inflammation, and weight gain. he explains how to find treatment and what to know before seeing your doctor. Dr. Aviv then explains the nitty-gritty of what to do and what to avoid to facilitate healing, and finally provides a detailed 28-day plan of drastic dietary and lifestyle changes to bring about healing. He includes recipes, charts, and meal plans, making this a really simple program to follow.

At first glance, the healing plan might seem like a drastic method. Many common foods are banned, and the diet is primarily vegetarian and raw. However, if you have experience reflux disease and understand its severity, this plan seems like a no-brainer. Anytime you can make dietary changes to bring about better health, and avoid medicine and medical testing, I think it's clear that the lifestyle changes are worth the trade off.

Because I have personal experience with acid reflux disease in my family, I am already implementing this plan with my family. It might take us a while to get used to, but after reading Dr. Aviv's well researched solution for healing, I feel certain that the benefits will bring on new habits that fit effortlessly into our lifestyle.

I will keep you posted!

The publisher provided a review copy of the Acid Watcher Diet.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Grace for the Moment

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  Grace for the Moment Large Deluxe: Inspirational Thoughts for Each Day of the Year by Max Lucado is an elegant new edition of a beloved devotional with an embossed imitation leather cover and large "easy-to-read comfort print." The soft cover feels good in the hand and looks just as good on display.

Each daily reading begins with a Scripture verse and features a short devotional with reflects on the theme of grace. The daily sections don't take long to read, but they are powerful in their ability to inspire continued reflection and meditation on their message. Max Lucado has a way of crafting language that really speaks to your heart:

"The final prayer of Jesus was about you. His final pain was for you. His final passion was for you...On the eve of the cross, Jesus made his decision. He would rather go to hell for you than go to heaven without you" (p. 115).

Grace for the Moment is beautiful in its simplicity.  It has something for everyone--and picking it up for a few minutes each day is a wonderful way to grow closer to God.

The publisher provided a review copy of Grace for the Moment.