Archives for April 2015

CrossReaders Book Review: Year Of Jubilee by Peggy Trotter

CrossReaders Book Review: Year Of Jubilee by Peggy Trotter

Year of Jubilee

Title: Year Of Jubilee

Author: Peggy Trotter

Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

Orphaned and widowed, eighteen-year-old Jubilee Stallings clings to her southern Indiana farm as her only refuge. The wilds of Gibson County are just being tamed in the year of 1850, and Jubilee ekes a meager existence. But when Rafe Tanner, a cousin of her abusive dead husband, shows up with the deed to her property, Jubilee’s dream of her own home dissolves.

Rafe, stinging from his ex-fiancée’s rejection, offers a business marriage, throwing him and Jubilee together in an effort to make the farm successful. But scars from the past keep her in constant fear of her new husband. The pair masquerades as a love-struck couple at Rafe’s family farm, enduring the romantic notions of his family, and the jealousy of his ex-fiancée.

Once home, Rafe realizes his newfound love for Jubilee, and sets out to court her. Meanwhile, Jubilee fights demons from her past as her husband reveals his interest. Can Jubilee let go of her distrust and pain to embrace God’s plan of true love and finally find a place to belong?

Review

TRUST WITH ALL YOUR HEART
Jubilee Dupree was stalked, drugged, kidnapped, raped and forced to marry Colvin Stallings at the tender age of 16. What a nightmare of a marriage where he would drink, then beat and abuse her. Going off for long periods of time leaving her alone, but for her, that was the only time of peace. Nearly starving through the winter and then a stranger shows up to tell her he now owns the farm that had belonged to his late cousin and inform her Colvin was dead. What will Jubilee do now that Rafe Tanner owns the farm, where will she go, she is now 18 and even though she was orphaned as a small child, she can’t return to the orphanage. What happens when Rafe suggest a business arrangement for a marriage, he will farm the land, she will cook and clean. She lives in the pitiful cabin and he will live in the barn. Two broken people, needing each other, but too stubborn to admittheir feelings. Throw in his wretched ex-fiancée who stirs up trouble and so many misunderstandings and lack of proper communication. But with God, faith, prayer and trust, these two can find a way to happiness.

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This review was submitted by: Kathy Heare Watts

CrossReaders Book Review: Fragments Of Her Identity by Rita Pam Tarachi

CrossReaders Book Review: Fragments Of Her Identity by Rita Pam Tarachi

Fragments of Her Identity

Title: Fragments Of Her Identity

Author: Rita Pam Tarachi

Rating: 5

About the Book

One evening, after misunderstanding with her husband, Nuha alights from the car to walk home. Her decision leads to her abduction and ultimately her sale to a wealthy man in Sudan. Will she ever make it back home or will she resign herself to her fate?

Review

Once again, the savvy wordsmith, Rita Pam Tarachi has penned a book that should be on everyone’s bookshelves. Her brilliant command of the English language makes this book a very interesting read, not only that, the plot and events are carefully organized and the characters virtually come to life as you flip through the book. If you’re seeking a book that mixes adventure along with valuable lessons, you should pick up this book! Five Stars!

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This review was submitted by: Aridatha Yervant For The Virtue Christian Book Awards – please visit their website at http://thevcba.com/

The Spirit is Willing but the Flesh is Weak by Kari Trumbo

The Spirit is Willing but the Flesh is Weak by Kari Trumbo

People use this phrase flippantly all the time when they are about to indulge in something. It’s one of those verses that’s been pulled so far out of context from its original text its meaning has changed. The original context is from Matthew on the night Jesus was betrayed.

From the King James: Matthew 26: “40And he comes to the disciples, and finds them asleep, and said to Peter, ‘What, could you not watch with me one hour? 41Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’.”

From the context we can come to an understanding that Jesus is saying, “You are weak from fatigue, I know you want to do as I ask but you need to fight to stay awake.” It is said in a way that Jesus is conveying what he’s asking is possible, but difficult.

Unfortunately, in today’s society, it means “I know what I’m about to do might be wrong, but I’m going to do it anyway.” Or, “I want to do something, but I’m just too tired.” In fact, it often seems the spirit doesn’t even come into play. The person may know it’s wrong and simply doesn’t care, or doesn’t want to care. Wanting to do what is right, to develop the spirit that is willing, takes time and effort. We are not born with it. How can we develop a spirit that is willing?

It isn’t like our Father to leave us hanging, we can be assured of an answer in the word. We begin with the transformation of our minds. Think of it as feeding the baby spirit in us. Romans 12: “2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The will of God is what our spirit should strive for. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds but that leaves us with another question, how do we renew our minds? We can find the answer in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 “3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing

into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” (emphasis mine).

We transform our minds into a willing spirit by taking our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. So that leads us to the last question; how do we obey Christ? How do we know what Christ wants for us?

We can look at Ephesians 1: 16b-18 “16b while making mention of you in my prayers; 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” (emphasis mine).

The Lord wants us to have a spirit of wisdom, revelation, and knowledge of Him. We learn about Him the same way we learn about everything else, by spending time with Him in prayer and in His word. There is no other way to renew your spirit or mind than to spend time filling your mind with His truth and asking Him for revelations in His word.

Next time we feel tempted to use Jesus’ words as an excuse, let’s reframe it and use it as a prayer for strength and guidance. “Lord, I know what you would like me to do, the spirit is willing, but my flesh is ever so weak. Please help me.”

About the Author:

Kari Trumbo

Kari Trumbo is an aspiring author, freelance editor, wife and mother to 4 vibrant children. She homeschools, teaches 4-6th graders for Kids Club at the Paynesville Bible Church, crafts, and reads voraciously.

CrossReaders Book Review: Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado

Title: Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe

Author: Max Lucado

Rating: 4.5

About the Book

Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Café, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle. Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea’s door, and with him, an even more curious string of events. Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Café, and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino. They’ve come for the internet connection to the divine. Now the café has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life’s biggest questions.

Review

Max Lucado’s new fiction release, Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe, is unusual and quite unique. I greatly enjoyed it while reading, but like it even more as I reflect back. Rather than critiquing from a literary standpoint, my reviews are usually based on how a book affects me, and this one hits a home run.

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe is a beautiful example of the power of story. Max is a wordsmith. He has an exceptional, God-given ability to communicate spiritual truths by painting pictures through the written word. This is not a long read, but it doesn’t need to be, for Max shares volumes in only 184 pages. It may seem like a predictable, lighthearted fantasy on the surface, but there are untold hidden depths.

It is an imaginative concept to spin this story around modern social concepts like a San Antonio coffee shop, wifi, lattes, baked goodies, and an interactive blog. I loved all the characters and how readers will be able to identify with their struggles. The use of angels in fiction often comes across as somewhat cheesy, but Max did a great job in making Manny humorous, quirky, and sincere. There are some great scenes where Manny views events from heaven’s perspective.

This is a story about relationships – with spouse, family members, friends, community, and with God. Spiritual warfare and the power of prayer are major themes. Issues of adultery and divorce are woven into this story, but never as a main theme nor in a condemning, “preachy” manner. That’s not Max’s style and he has a gift for keeping the focus where it needs to be – on God’s love, repentance, and forgiveness.

This book is filled with spiritual themes that will speak to readers – the personal cost of unforgiveness, the effectiveness of prayer, that everything in our lives has a purpose, and that no matter how devastating the circumstance, we are never alone. One scene that especially touched me is when Manny wanders into what had once been a prayer room in the coffee shop, and he listens . . . “Decades of prayers resounded through the small room. Prayers that pass through the lips in a moment, but endure for all eternity.”

Spiritual warfare is very real, yet it’s not something to which I give a lot of thought, so I found this theme fascinating and extremely moving. I’d like to end with this touching and victorious scene that gives cause for rejoicing, a visual that contrasts the forces of light and dark . . .

Through the window, Manny noticed dark shadows lurking . . . Voices emerged from within: throaty and gutteral, filling the atmosphere with lies of shame, abandonment, and despair.
“God has no place for you . . .”
“God? What God?”
Gabriel began to sing. “Holy is the Living God.”
At the sound of the angelic voice, the murky cloud stopped its advance.
“Blessed be the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord!”
The shadows inched back at each chorus.
One by one the angels joined Gabriel, lifting their voices to heaven. It soon sounded as though hundreds, perhaps thousands were singing. . . . In the presence of such mighty voices, the evil held no sway. There was no shadow for such lies to hide.

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe is a story that could possibly impact new believers, seekers, and seasoned Christians alike. I hope we see more fiction from Mr. Max. Highly recommended.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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This review was submitted by: Carole Jarvis – please visit their website at The Power of Words

CrossReaders Book Review: Devon’s Choice by Catherine Bennett

Title: Devon’s Choice

Author: Catherine Bennett

Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

Life holds no surprises for Devon Murphy. Her life consists of keeping tabs on her aging Irish father, working part time at a coffee shop, and building her online graphics design business. Devon’s only tricky situation is a shallow relationship with the pampered and affluent Michael Turner, who sees her as just another woman to conquer.

Following his father’s death, Brandon’s only goal is to expand the family business and live life on his own terms. That is, until he walks into the coffee shop one snowy evening and meets the enchanting, red-haired barista behind the counter. But can Devon and Brandon’s attraction for each other be strong enough to help erase their deepest disappointments and renew their faith in God?

Review

ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD
This is a very emotional story of friendship, relationships and loss. Devon Murphy is a woman with strong morals. She loves and cares for her aging widowed father, works a part time job at a coffee shop with her friend Megan, and is putting her graphics art degree to work building a business. She is dating Michael Turner, who is egotistical, self-centered and treats her like a business deal. Brandon Forrester seems to have the same strong characteristics as Devon, family devotion, business ethics, healthier lifestyle and respecting other people. Devon knows that Michael is wrong for her and when she meets Brandon, they seem to have a connection. This story is about taking a hard look at your life and goals and making plans and changes. About dealing with the loss of a parent and knowing how to move on and putting your faith and trust in God and allowing Him to lead in your life.

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This review was submitted by: Kathy Heare Watts