Thursday, October 1, 2015

A House Divided by Robert Whitlow

Corbin, a longtime legal champion for the downtrodden, is slowly drinking himself into the grave. His love for “mountain water” has cost him his marriage to the godliest woman he knows, ruined his relationship with his daughter, Roxy, and reduced the business at his small Georgia law firm to a level where he can barely keep the bill collectors at bay. But it isn’t until his son, Ray, threatens to limit Corbin’s time with his grandson that Corbin begins to acknowledge he might have a problem.

Despite the mess that surrounds his personal life and against the advice of everyone he knows, Corbin takes on a high-stakes tort case on behalf of two boys who have contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to an alleged chemical exposure. The defendant, a fertilizer company, is the largest employer in the area. The lawsuit becomes a tornado that sucks Corbin, Ray, and Roxy into an increasingly deadly vortex. Equally intense pressure within the family threatens to destroy, once and for all, the thin threads that connect them.

Corbin must find the strength to stand up to his personal demons. Justice for two dying boys depends on it . . . his family depends on it. (publisher's description)
My Review: I have loved every Whitlow book I have read, but this one was just not as satisfying to read. Instead of devouring it within a few hours, as usual, it actually took a couple of weeks. I don't know if the characters just weren't developed enough for me to feel a connection or if it was that the people he was defending seemed to be too minor---more of a subplot, but not essential to the story being told.

The struggles with alcohol, family relationships, and how it impacted the family were interesting, but I wanted more of the legal aspects and how it affected the town. When I got to the end, I thought, "That's it?" It was like the conclusion to the case was tossed in as an after-thought just because he was near the end the book. I wanted to know more. I still love Whitlow and look forward to his next book. This was just a so-so one for me, but he has spoiled me with the excellence of previous novels.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book at no cost to myself in exchange for a fair and honest review from BookLook Bloggers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Captive by Ashley Smith

CAPTIVE, based on a miraculous true story that drew the attention of the entire nation, is a thrilling drama about the spiritual collision of two broken lives.  When Brian Nichols - on the run as the subject of a city wide manhunt and desperate to make contact with his newborn son - takes recovering meth addict Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment, she turns for guidance to Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life.  While reading aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer each face crossroads where despair and death intersect hope. 

My Review: I confess that I found this book much more interesting when I read it originally under its previous title, Unlikely Angel. I am sure it was because all of the events were still fresh in my mind and a second reading seems more like a rehash of what I already know. But, I can't hold that against the author. It is an interesting story of how God can use us to reach out to anyone placed in our path, no matter the circumstances, and that we truly are safest when we are in the center of His will. Ashley was able to reach a core of decency within a man who had ruthlessly murdered 4 other people and connect with him. At the same time, she was also able to grow spiritually and strengthen her resolve to trust God and become the person she needed to be for herself and her child. My biggest disappointment is that there was not an update at the end of the book on what is happening to the everyone today. I am curious if Brian Nichols turned his life over to God and if his encounter with Ashley had a major impact on him, other than his capture and imprisonment. It's a 3.5 for me. 

GIVEAWAY: FlyByPromotions has a copy of the book for one of my readers. Leave a comment to enter by end of day September 20th.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book by FlyBy Promotions in order to write a fair and honest review. The book was my only compensation. 

I also want to mention that there is a film version of the book coming out this month!


Saturday, September 12, 2015

When Calls the Heart - Trials of the Heart

"Trials of the Heart" is the the start of the second season of When Calls the Heart. When Elizabeth receives news that her mother has taken ill, she returns to Hamilton with Jack as her escort. Once there Elizabeth and Jack are reminded of their different backgrounds as they are surrounded by her affluent family and Elizabeth’s former suitor, Charles Kensington...and her unexpected first meeting with Jack's brother.

Back in Coal Valley, the
trial gets underway in the town with a new judge and a new attorney for the widows who is not what they expected. Abigail meets a family member she was unaware of who provides the key to the outcome of the trial. Jack has to reevaluate his importance in Elizabeth’s life.


My Review: This new season brings new characters and some changes to the town. A couple of my favorites are no longer part of the series, but I am intrigued by new developments with the new characters and further development of some we were previously introduced to. There also seems more of moving on to a new chapter from the tragedy of the deaths of so many coal miners. The trial concludes, bringing some closure to people's lives and turning to a new direction. I did not love this one as much as I have those from season 1, but there were quite a few changes for me to assimilate. It's just my nature to be hesitant when new things come along. But, I have no doubt I will be drawn back into charms of this series.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this DVD from EDIFY MEDIA. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Keep up with news and other fans. You can search social media sites using #Hearties
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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey

Pastor Don Piper died January 18, 1989 when a semi-tractor truck crushed his car.  Declared dead by the first rescue workers to arrive on the scene, Don's body lay under a tarp for the next 90 minutes.  Don's soul, meanwhile, was experiencing love, joy, and life like he'd never known before.  Don was in Heaven.  

When another pastor's prayers helped bring Don back to life, he became a living miracle!  Yet this is one miracle Don wished never happened.  Heaven's bliss was replaced by excruciating pain and emotional turmoil.  With the support and prayers of his beloved Eva, their three kids, and friends near and far, Don clings to his faith in God and fights to regain a semblance of his previous life.  The Piper family's incredible true story of perseverance and overcoming the challenges of life - and death - will bring hope and encouragement to all who see it. (publisher description)

My Review: If you are looking for a book that is completely filled with images and experiences of being in Heaven, this is not the book for you. But, I would also be more skeptical if that had been his focus. The book told enough to share his assurance that Heaven is real and that it is indescribable. Too many details would make me doubt the veracity of his experience.

I did love the story of the power of prayers to make a profound impact. I am sure Mr. Piper was a man of compassion before the accident, but his ability to respond to others facing similar situations sends a tremendous message. He confesses to sometimes wanting to die, especially after leaving a place of great joy and peace. However, instead of being bitter over the constant pain and adjustments he has had to make, Piper turned his suffering into a source of strength and hope to encourage people. To me, the message of the book was that we can endure whatever happens in life---when we have our community who supports us with prayer, God and the promise of Heaven ahead. "
Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You." ~ Psalm 39:7

GIVEAWAY: FlyByPromotions has a copy of the movie edition of the book for one of my readers. Leave a comment to enter by end of day September 15th.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book by FlyBy Promotions in order to write a fair and honest review. The book was my only compensation.

I also want to mention that there is a film version of the book coming out this month!

About the movie presented by Giving Films:
Releases in theaters everywhere September 11, 2015
Rating: PG-13 (for intense accident and injury images) 
Starring Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith), Kate Bosworth (Remember The Titans, Blue Crush) Michael W. Smith, Fred Thompson, Dwight Yoakam, and Jason Kennedy, 90 Minutes In Heaven is based on the inspiring New York Times best-selling book that has sold 7 million copies.  

About Giving Films:
Giving Films is passionate about sharing hope-filled movies and donating ALL of their profits to charities and ministries who serve those in need.  Beginning with their first film, 90 Minutes In Heaven, Giving Films is allowing all of us to be a part of making a difference.  Anytime you go to a Giving Films movie in theaters, visit and select which charities you want to receive the profits from your ticket.  Their charitable organizations are Christian Alliance for Orphans, Faith Bridge Foster Care, Hire Heroes USA, Hope International, LifeWater, Street Grace, and World Vision. 

S O C I A L • C O R N E R

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk

Keep Your Love On: Connection and Boundaries by Danny Silk

Danny Silk, a member of the leadership team of Redding, California's Bethel Church, wants to raise the standard our culture has on the definition of love. He wants people to have a mature Jesus-focused love instead of our more immature version of love that is based more on emotion and what we are feeling. Silk offers ways for people to "keep their love on" during all times and not give up easily during times of conflict. According to Silk, there are 5 ways to help you to choose love.

1. Consider the other person’s love language. Based on The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, knowing your own love language, as well as your loved ones can make a tremendous difference.

2. Become powerful. Power is not about controlling others. Powerful people learn to control themselves.

3. Turn your love on. Know that love is a choice and it is up to you to seek a connection and commitment.

4. Communicate. You don't have to agree on everything, but you do need to listen to what the person says, thinks, and feels. Find a point of connection.

5. Set limits. Boundaries are important to maintain a healthy relationship. Creating levels of who has priority in your life is vital. If you drop everything to please everyone, and neglect those nearest and dearest to you, it is bound to cause resentment. 

My Review: I loved it and and, sometimes, I really disliked it. There were times to be honest, my toes were stepped on---HARD! I mean the book started out pretty good. Silk was talking about something from The 5 Love Languages that fit a personal situation so closely that I could have sworn he was spying on me. It made me laugh, but also helped clarify things to add some resolution to my personal conflict. I was feeling pretty good. And, then...I began to read truths I did not always want to accept. Sometimes we let ourselves get comfortable and that's not always a good thing. Change can be difficult, but I recognized several things that need tweaked. Also, a couple that I need to completely revise. I wish I had been given some of this advice as a younger woman, but there is still time to grow and improve. I definitely recommend this book.

I received a free copy of this book from Shelton Interactive for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.

Loving On Purpose website

Danny Lee Silk

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Patterns of Evidence ~ Exodus

Patterns of Evidence Exodus:

For more than 50 years, the vast majority of the world's most prominent archaeologists and historians have proclaimed that there is no hard evidence to support the Exodus story found in the Bible.  In fact, they say that the archaeological record is completely opposed to the Bible's account.  This view of extreme skepticism has spread from academia to the world.  The case against the Exodus appears to be so strong that even some religious leaders are labeling this ancient account as historical fiction.  Filmmaker Timothy Mahoney begins with the questions, "Is the Bible just a myth, or did the archaeologists get it wrong?"  He decides to tackle this issue wit a deliberate scientific approach.   After examining the details in the biblical text, he journeys across the globe to search for patterns of evidence firsthand.  The result is the most in-depth archaeological investigation into the Exodus from Egypt ever captured on film.   This scientific documentary's goal is to communicate the TRUTH of the Bible and help equip believers with defending their faith and the Bible.

The DVD features stunning animations and a cast including narrator, Kevin Sorbo (God's Not Dead, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), interviews with leading archaeologists including Israel Finkelstein, Kent Weeks, and David Rohl, and guest appearances by Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres.

My Review: I always hesitate when I hear something is a documentary, but the subject material did fascinate me. Although my faith is exactly that---faith, it is interesting to see what experts have to offer in claims that either reject or validate Biblical history. Patterns of Evidence is not a great documentary, but it is better than most have I have seen. The music was a great complement to the film rather than the distraction I find in many docs or lengthy news pieces, so that is a great plus for me.

Also, I loved hearing from a variety of sources. Not all archaeologists who were interviewed agreed that the Exodus actually took place. It is always good to hear dissenting views to gain a full picture. There were also elements of story-telling used that enhanced the evidence being presented. There were moments when it dragged or the cutaways to serious (or puzzled) faces caused a bit of an eyeroll reaction in me, but not a huge issue. I will watch it again and definitely see a use for this in teaching others about Judeo-Christian history.

Thank you to Propeller/FlyBy Promotions for providing this DVD at no cost to me for review purposes. Read below to see how you could win a copy of your own.

GIVEAWAY: Propeller Consulting will send a DVD copy of Patterns of Evidence ~ Exodus to the winner of my drawing. To enter, simply comment on blog or post. Anyone who tells me their favorite person in Exodus will get an additional entry.


Twitter:  @PattofEvidence

Official Website:

Official Website to Purchase:

Blog featuring interviews with director Tim Mahoney and an article by Anne Graham Lotz:

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Sunday, July 19, 2015


When the students of Rosewood High School lose their theater, music and dance departments due to budgets cuts, they create their own. Struggling to find the right script, music & choreography the students get advice from an uncommon source; the Bible! Each student becomes uniquely influenced as they discover that God takes them personally. Equipped with unique talents, they bond together to prepare the perfect production by exploring the diversity of parables taught in the Bible.

Fighting overwhelming challenges, the teens fight against political correctness to defend their privilege to worship, meet and perform.

Will months of constant bullying by the establishment defeat the production and dismantle their faith?

Armed with expert legal counsel and unexpected help from Christian music’s finest, these teens realize what it means to be…UNCOMMON!

My Review: I really wanted to like Uncommon. There were so many aspects about it that appeal to things that matter to me. But, I found myself rolling my eyes too often to really enjoy the film. The potential for a really good film is there, but I don't feel like it reached any where near what it could. Stereotypical characters and less than stellar acting, along with some bad dialogue, ruined much of the film for me. There were some great moments that touched me and a few really good performances. I especially loved the song performed by Stacey Bradshaw near the end of the film. It actually caused me to raise my initial overall bad impression, but I still can't say this is a good movie. It was not even the "Come on, kids! Let's put on a show!" theme, since I actually have always liked those (Andy Hardy, Little Rascals, Shirley Temple---all films that did this well). Perhaps I am just naive or live in a place that is more embracing of Christianity, but this just seemed too over the top and the resolution fell into place too neatly. Definitely more of movie made for the church crowd, so it will find its niche.

I was given the opportunity to preview this film by WORD films. No compensation was provided and I was not required to write a positive review.