Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Intersect: Where Your Story and God's Story Converge produced by Rob Peabody and Cris Rogers

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book blogger campaign. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  

Intersect DVD (Awaken Movement, July 2015)
Follow the journey of five individuals as they tell authentic stories of circumstances that have forced them to examine how God might fit into their lives.
This five-week small group resource helps spark spiritual conversations. Starting spiritual conversations with those outside of the church is a worthy, yet often difficult and intimidating task. Intersect was designed to help overcome those barriers. It is an easy-to-use resource, perfect for sharing with co-workers, friends, neighbors, and family to enter into meaningful conversations.
Each film is accompanied by thought-provoking questions designed to encourage participants to examine the world in which they live and the life they are pursuing, always ending with a conversation on how Jesus intersects the current topic. Allow this powerful new film resource to engage those you are in relationship with and then propel them forward in their next step with Jesus.


Rob Peabody left his position as lead campus pastor of a mega-church in Texas in 2011 and moved with his wife, Medea, and their two sons to the U.K. He is now the co-founder and director of Awaken, a non-profit organization that exists to provide resources and creativity to the church and reach Londoners in their 20s and 30s with the Gospel. This work is commissioned by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and in partnership with the Church of England.
Peabody also currently serves as a missional consultant for multiple church networks. He appears regularly at the Spring Harvest conferences in Great Britain and will be leading a new upcoming national U.K. conference for young adults called The Pursuit.
In addition, Peabody has written a small-group film series entitled Kingdom Rise (2013), as well as the book Citizen: Your Role in the Alternative Kingdom (2014).
Connect with Rob Peabody at his online home atawakenmovement.com, like the Awaken Movement onFacebook (awakenmovement) or follow Rob on Twitter(@AwakenRob and @awakenmovement).
Cris Rogers is a writer, pastor, speaker and church visionary. In 2010, Rogers planted a church in the poorest area of London with a dream for it to be an explosion of joy within the tower block estate in which he works.
Follow Cris Rogers on Twitter (@RabbiRogers).

Dynamic Uno here:  Intersect comes with its own Study Guide to help you explore each of the five topics (Expectations, Rest, Disappointment, Trust, and Control) in greater depth with your group.   
Each session starts with a question that relates to the topic and adds another question that helps you delve even deeper into that week's theme.  The videos are fairly short with individuals describing their real-life  situations that pertain to that particular week's topic.  Then, there's a "Bible" story that is told in such a way that the characters come to life to illustrate how God can be sought in each situation.  Afterwards, there is a short passage from the Bible (The Message version) with more discussion questions and a challenge to speculate how this topic can relate to your own life and situation.
I did this study on my own, but I think I would have had a better understanding and gotten a lot more out of it had I participated in a group setting.  I enjoyed the short video clips and answering the questions on each topic.  It really made me think about how I view my circumstances with each of the topics and whether or not God is trying to teach me something as I struggle with each.  
I'm not sure how to use this as a tool for reaching others for Christ, but I do know that using it in a small group would actually open up the conversation for how God works within my own life that I could share with others.
I really like this simple and straight-forward method of sharing how God works through various situations.  This would be a perfect study for those who have limited time, but want to make a connection to others through shared experiences and struggles.  I'll definitely be watching the Awaken Movement to see what else they create to inspire us to become Kingdom bringers in our own communities.

Let me know what you think and Happy Viewing!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Counting on a Cowboy (A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance) by Debra Clopton

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book blogger campaign. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  

About the Book:

Counting on a Cowboy (Thomas Nelson, August 2015)

After losing everything she held dear, Abby never wants to love again. But a certain cowboy may just spur her to wonder if love might be worth the risk.

Running from a past that haunts her, Abby Knightly is drawn to the cozy town of Wishing Springs, Texas. Maybe this small town could offer hope and healing and a future for Abby . . . if she’s brave enough to reach out and take it by the reins.

Bo Monahan isn’t interested in the new romantic destination his little town has become—or the women who might be looking at him like he’s their next Mr. Right. Between taking care of his Pops and his growing stirrup business, he isn’t looking for serious romantic commitments. But when the infant son he never knew about shows up at his doorstep, his world is turned upside down.

This confirmed bachelor might not think he needs a wife, but he sure needs help. Even Abby can see that, and despite her best efforts to keep her distance, she can’t help but be drawn to this new father-son duo. As Abby throws herself into helping Bo navigate fatherhood, hope sparks between them, revealing that maybe, just maybe, they can navigate their dark pasts and emerge together into a future as bright as the Texas sun itself.

About the Author:

Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra's goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.

Find Debra online: websiteFacebookTwitter

To learn more about Counting on a Cowboy by Debra Clopton, visit the LitFuse Publicity Group's page here.

Dynamic Uno here: I absolutely adore Debra Clopton's writing style.  It's like she crawls inside my inner-most parts and seeks out what secret desires I have hiding in my heart and uses those emotions in writing her characters.  The realistic emotions and reactions of those characters make me feel like I'm right beside them as they journey through their lives, which makes me root for them even more.  I don't think I've read another author who has made me feel this large of an emotional connection in awhile.  (Of course, it could just be that I really, really am enamored with cowboys and small towns, so I live vicariously through the characters, but that's a story for my therapist. LOL!)

It seems that the Monahan brothers and their small town of Wishing Springs are still a destination spot for female tourists trying to find themselves a "real" cowboy due to Maggie Hope's TV interview.  (Counting on a Cowboy is book #2 in the Four of Hearts Ranch series.  Book #1 is Betting on Hope.  You can read my review here.)  Book #2 focuses on Bo and Abby, a new resident of Wishing Springs who is trying to escape her painful past.  

Forgiveness is a huge factor, and being able to forgive yourself for past mistakes is a major theme throughout this story.  Bo and Abby get off on the wrong foot and the hits keep coming as even more complications arise in their lives. The crazy residents of Wishing Springs will have you laughing and crying as they try to "help" the two realize their feelings for each other.

Heartfelt, realistic, and a good, clean romance is what is offered in Ms. Clopton's second book of her Four of Hearts Ranch series.  If you enjoy reading about cowboys and romance, then this is the book for you!

Let me know what you think and Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt (A Destination Wedding Novel)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book blogger campaign. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  

About the book: 
Crazy Little Thing Called Love: A Destination Wedding Novel
(Howard, June 2015)

Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple's journey down the aisle to "I do."

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father's military career. She's overcome what her mother called "the biggest mistake of her life" and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancé. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?

As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?

A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.

Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1VkD0s8

About the author: 

Beth K. Vogt believes God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." A 2015 RITA® Finalist and a 2014 Carol Award finalist, Beth is a contemporary romance novelist with Howard Books. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publisher's Weekly's Best Books of 2014. In 2015 she introduced her destination wedding series with both an e-novella, Can't Buy Me Love, (May) and a novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love(June).

Visit Beth online:  websiteFacebookTwitter

Dynamic Uno here:  By now you know that I'm a sucker for romance stories and this new series by Beth K. Vogt is definitely towards the top of my list!  I mean--destination weddings!!!! Why, YES!!!! What girl hasn't dreamed of escaping the pressures of inviting every single person she's ever known to her wedding so as to not hurt anyone's feelings?  To escape all of that stress by having a small and intimate wedding at a tropical destination?  Count me in!

Being a Florida resident, I wasn't too impressed with the idea of a destination wedding in Destin, but I could see how a doctor in Colorado might think it would be a dreamy place for a wedding.  (I would have chosen Paris, France, but then again, I 'm not planning a wedding based upon where my professional conference was being held, like Vanessa'a fiance.)

The chemistry between Vanessa and Logan still crackled every time they were together, even after being divorced for eight years.  I loved reading their "secret" thoughts and learning about the whirlwind romance  that led to their elopement as teenagers.  I kept cheering them from the sidelines and was frustrated when they wouldn't acknowledge that their feelings for one another hadn't changed.

After reading about Vanessa and Logan's second chance at love, it reignites my hope for my own happily ever after!  

If you enjoy reading good, clean romances with sweet story-lines, then Crazy Little Thing Called Love is for you!  I can't wait to read the rest of the Destination  Wedding series.  Who knows--maybe there will be one set in Paris after all!

Let me know what you think and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays

All text and photo for Teaser Tuesdays belongs to MizB of A Daily Rhythm, with the exception of quotations and links I have provided to the book(s) I am reading.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
 BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teasers:

"We rest not to just be healthy but because God told us to do so.  It's a commandment so many of us see as outdated or irrelevant."
~p. 53, "Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity" by Keri Wyatt Kent

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Proposal at Siesta Key (Amish Brides of Pinecraft #2) by Shelley Shepard Gray

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book blogger campaign. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  

About the Book:
The Proposal at Siesta Key (Avon Inspire, May 2015)
A young Amish woman, yearning for freedom, crosses paths with a handsome Mennonite celebrity in a deeply moving tale of friendship and self-discovery—the second installment in the unforgettable New York Times bestselling author’s new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.
Penny Troyer rarely disobeys her parents. In the years since her sister’s tragic death, they’ve wanted nothing more than to keep her safe…even if it means never leaving the house.
But tonight, she’s bending the rules because Michael Knoxx, the most famous member of The Knoxx Family Singers, a traveling Mennonite Evangelical family —is scheduled to speak. Penny has heard of Michael—how he lost part of his leg in a terrible accident and uses the experience to inspire others—and knows she must meet him. So, for the first time ever, Penny stands up to her parents and goes out on her own.
Though he speaks about living life to the fullest, Michael knows he needs to take his own advice. Life on the road is grueling and Michael wants to slow down, to rest…to perhaps meet someone who sees him as a man, not just a celebrity. So when a twist of fate allows him the chance to stay a little longer in Pinecraft, Michael knows God is showing him a new path, especially when he discovers how much he and Penny Troyer have in common.
But new friendships can’t stop time. Soon, Michael’s time in Pinecraft will be over and he’ll be back on the road. Her time with Michael has brought her happiness, but will she be able to follow her heart? Or will she be faced with the one thing she’s sure she’ll never have the courage to do?

About the author: 
Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Find Shelley online: websiteTwitterFacebook

Dynamic Uno here:  If you've kept up with my blog and social media posts within the last year or so, you will know that I have a soft spot for the Pinecraft area of Sarasota.  When I learned that book #2 in the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series was coming out, I knew I had to read more about this lovely area and people, even if the characters were fictionalized.

Michael Knoxx is touring the country with his family to discuss how God used a horrible situation in his life (losing a leg from a fall in a ravine) for the good. After having a sister who was brutally murdered, Penny Troyer has since lived a very sheltered life, until she decides she can't stand it any more.   Both are living out the Amish proverb "Growing old is easy--the hard part is growing up," by deciding to change their lives in an amazing way with God's help.  The actual proposal Michael had for Penny was to embrace each hour/day and to cherish each moment as they move forward in their lives.

I think we can all apply this proposal to our lives.  I know that I tend to wish for the work day to end or the weekend to come, so I can go home and relax rather than enjoy the little moments of peace throughout the day.  I need to learn to enjoy each of the little moments as they come rather than wishing my life away.

I enjoyed the strong friendship that developed between Michael and Penny from their basic day-to-day interactions.  Their raw emotions being shared and honestly painful stories brought both of the characters closer as trust began to form in their bond.  I also liked how each character began to notice the little details about one another as they forged their friendship and it began to blossom into a mutual attraction.  This gives me hope that I may find someone with whom I can be completely honest with and share my innermost concerns and feelings.

While The Proposal of Siesta Key dealt with some heavy topics, all were treated with dignity and respect and were not over-dramatized.  Michael's mission and Penny's new found freedom were the main parts of the story, as was their friendship.  All in all it was a light-hearted read that made me want to visit Pinecraft again, just so that I might have the chance to run into a few of the "characters."

If you enjoy Amish romance, or even if you want to explore life in a new order village, this series is for you!  

Let me know what you think and Happy Reading!