Friday, July 15, 2016

Kelli Stuart’s ‘Like a River from Its Course’ Blog Tour and Kindle Prize Pack

My review is coming this weekend!

In the meantime get in on this great giveaway!

Travel back in time in Kelli Stuart's new novel, Like a River from Its Course, as the city of Kiev is bombed in Hitler's blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union. This sweeping historical saga takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little-known history of Ukraine's tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River From Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.




Celebrate the release of Like a River from Its Course with Kelli by entering to win a Kindle Fire Prize Pack.






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One grand prize winner will receive:




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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 18th. The winner will be announced July 19th on Kelli's blog.





like a river - enterbanner

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Seed by Erik Guzman



About the Book:
The Seed (New Growth Press, May 2016)

Young Madeline and Roark are desperately running from the shadow that destroyed their home and is threatening their lives.

One day, they encounter Tatus, an older man who has sworn to avenge the death of his family at the hands of the shadow, and they form an alliance with him. Tatus promises that he can keep them safe from the shadow if they will help him build a fortress. So they build.

But as fortress-building consumes their lives, Madeline and Roark are increasingly filled with anger and fear, and an unseen evil threatens to ultimately destroy them. When they finally face the shadow, he presents them with an unthinkable offer that will reveal shocking secrets of the forgotten past, the unseen present, and the unimaginable future.

We’ve all had the feeling that something’s not quite right with our lives. It’s bigger than any specific failure or disappointment. It’s bigger than any person. No matter what you achieve or how much you drink or sleep, you can’t shake it. It haunts you-night and day-and propels you to do something. So you build. You build and build the maze that is your exhausting life. Sound vaguely familiar?

The Seed: A True Myth is a journey into the personal labyrinths we create to protect ourselves and those we love from the pain of living in a broken world. Guzman’s “true myth” takes the reader on an unforgettable journey that is, in essence, the grand narrative of God’s redemptive work in the world. This page-turning Christian fantasy tale is packed with mystery and drama, and readers will feel the weight and power of redemption as they journey alongside Guzman’s characters in their epic battle. The Seed deftly communicates the heart of Trinitarian theology through story—without using theological language or Christian terms—and reinforces biblical themes such as God’s character and man’s true identity and calling.





 

About the Author:
Erik Guzman is Vice President of Communications and Executive Producer at Key Life Network. He’s the cohost of the nationally syndicated talk show Steve Brown, Etc. and announcer for "Key Life." His writing has been featured in Key Life's magazine and online at KeyLife.org, Liberate.org, Burnside Writers Collective, and Sojourners (sojo.net). He is also a Lay Eucharistic Minister, a drummer, and a 5th degree black belt in Aikido. Erik, his wife, and three children live near Orlando, Florida.







Margie’s Comments:
The Seed is an interesting book on several levels, though I found it somewhat difficult reading. I’m not sure why. I don’t normally mind reading allegorical or mythical books. In fact I’m in the minority when it comes to other writer/editor friends in that I like speculative/fantasy/allegorical fiction.

But this was hard for me to get into. Maybe because it started out rather dark. But I kind of expected that, knowing the basic subject matter. Maybe because the timeline jumped about rather than in a straight line. But even that I could handle once I understood why the author chose to write it that way.

The characters were okay, though I had trouble getting into them at first as well. Again I think that might have been the timeline-jumping thing. Also the lack of names and then name changes for each of the characters was a little tricky to keep up with.

But in the end, I did like the book. However, I think you’ve really got to enjoy this genre if you’re going to read this book. And it does help to have a good grasp of allegory and allegorical features and the theology behind the story. So not a highly recommended book, but not a “don’t ever read this book,” either.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Medical Judgment by Richard L. Mabry, M.D./eReader Giveaway & Review


Author: Richard Mabry

Just what the doctor ordered: heart-thumping suspense and intrigue, courtesy of Richard Mabry’s new medical drama, Medical Judgment. Someone is after Dr. Sarah Gordon. They’ve stalked her and set a fire at her home. Trying to recover from the traumatic deaths of her husband and infant daughter is tough enough, but she has no idea what will come next. As the threats on her life continue to escalate, so do the questions: Who is doing this? Why are they after her? And with her only help being unreliable suitors in competition with each other, whom can she really trust?

Join Richard in celebrating the release of Medical Judgment by entering to win an e-reader!






One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Medical Judgment
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6


Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on June 21st. The winner will be announced June 22nd on the Litfuse blog.





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About the Book:

Medical Judgment (Abingdon Press, May 2016)

Dr. Sarah Gordon lost her husband and daughter. Now she’s about to lose her life.

After losing the two people she loved the most, Sarah Gordon doesn’t think life could get worse. But, after a fire in her garage is ruled an arson, she begins to realize someone is after her—and that person wants to see her dead. But first, they want to see her suffer.

Her late husband’s best friend, Kyle Andrews, and a recovering alcoholic detective, Bill Larson, are trying to solve the mystery before it’s too late, and they’re both trying to win her heart, too. Not only does Sarah feel torn between two men, she also feels as though she cannot trust anyone.

With creepy threats that become more and more sinister, Sarah finds herself in constant fear, but even the best home alarm technology won’t protect her. Who is doing this, and why are they after her?




About the Author:



Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician who writes “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have won multiple awards: a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel; finalists for the Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award; and both finalist and winner of the Selah Award. He and his wife live in Frisco, Texas.


Find out more about Richard at http://www.rmabry.com.





Margie’s Comments:
Once again, “Doc” Mabry has come through with another excellent medical suspense. Medical Judgment is his latest release from Abingdon Press. As I read, I couldn’t help but be pulled into the story with Mabry’s latest characters, who are varied and well developed. Although the stage was set for the ending, it was still a surprise when Sarah’s stalker was revealed. So kudos to “Doc” for another excellent read. Again, I can highly recommend Medical Judgment to anyone who loves to read medical suspense.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson


 About the Book:
The Beautiful Pretender (Thomas Nelson, May 2016)

What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?



 

About the Author:
Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.






Margie’s Comments:
I love Melanie Dickerson’s fairy tale retellings, and her latest book The Beautiful Pretender does not disappoint. Of course who doesn’t respond well to any “Beauty and the Beast” tale? Including Disney’s rendition of the old fairy tale. But I think the most satisfying aspect of Melanie Dickerson’s books is the faith element that she includes. When Avelina is forced by her master, the Earl of Plimmwald, to stand in for his daughter at the Margrave of Thornbeck’s test for a bride she has nowhere else to turn to for help but to her faith in God. So when she finds herself in a situation with worse consequences than her failure to the Earl of Plimmwald, her only recourse is to tell the truth . . . no matter the cost. The main characters in The Beautiful Pretender are endearing, even “the beast.” And the plot is well developed, making for a very satisfying, and surprisingly quick, read.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Someone Like You by Victoria Bylin


Add Victoria Bylin’s new book, Someone Like You, to the top of your must-read list and discover if life offers a second chance at love. As Julia and Zeke, former college sweethearts, work together on an important client’s dream wedding, the fate of Zeke’s resort soon depends on their success. When they are pushed to their limits both personally and professionally, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?

Enter to win a copy of Someone Like You—five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced June 1 on the Litfuse blog!




About the Book:
Someone Like You (Bethany House, May 2016)

Single mom Julia Dare has a lot on her plate.

A brand-new Christian, Julia is busy trying to run her own business, spend time with her widowed mother, and raise her young son, Max, despite his father’s less-than-ideal influence on him. When a big account from her event-planning business sends her to the Caliente Springs resort, she’s shocked to come face-to-face with Zeke Monroe, the resort’s general manager and her college sweetheart.

With his faith in tatters, Zeke Monroe is determined to keep the historic Caliente Springs resort running despite financial difficulties. But when Julia walks back into his life, he can’t ignore the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client’s dream wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. When Zeke and Julia are pushed to their limits both personally and professionally, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?

Learn more and purchase a copy.


About the Author:
Victoria Bylin writes contemporary and historical romances known for their realistic, relatable characters. Her work has finaled in contests such as the Carol Awards, the RITAs, and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. A native of California, she and her husband now make their home in Lexington, Kentucky.
Find out more about Victoria at http://www.victoriabylin.com.


Margie’s Comments: It has been a long time since I’ve read a contemporary romance that I have enjoyed as thoroughly as I enjoyed reading Someone Like You. The cast of characters were all real with real-life problems and circumstances. One thing that made this book unique—at least in my recent reading—is the fact that this wasn’t just one couple’s love story. Plus through it all ran God’s overarching love for all of us. Kudos to Victoria Bylin for an excellent and thoroughly entertaining read. 

Hurry and enter the contest for your chance to win! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hunting Hope by Nika Maples


About the Book:

Hunting Hope: Dig Through the Darkness to Find the Light (April 2016, Worthy Inspired)

Hope is not an accident. Sometimes it has to be hunted, and hunting it takes courage.

Hope hunters know how to excavate hope from hardship. There is dirt underneath their fingernails and sweat on their shirts. They rake through the rubble of an unwanted situation, digging into difficult circumstances because they have come to expect that adversity will produce good. They believe that light always triumphs over darkness. They have learned to walk through winter with their eyes on spring.

Nika Maples became a hope hunter after suffering a massive brainstem stroke that left her quadriplegic in her twenties. Doctors warned that she had as little as 48 hours to live, and-if she lived at all-she would never walk or talk again. There was no hope on the horizon. So Nika started to hunt for it. Today, she not only walks, but she speaks to audiences everywhere about the power of hunting hope when a situation appears hopeless. She says hope remains camouflaged in the daily mundane. If we are not looking for it, we will miss it, though it is right before our eyes.

Whether you or someone you know is going through a situation that feels hopeless, you will find encouragement in Hunting Hope. Whether you are experiencing a medical trauma, a financial hardship, or a relational crisis, you will find empowerment in Hunting Hope. As you read, you will cling to 20 truths about God’s character and practice 5 daily disciplines that will develop your own character in crisis.

You will become a hope hunter.

Maybe it doesn’t matter what causes suffering in our lives as much as it matters what suffering causes in our lives. Maybe we were all meant to be hope hunters.

Learn more and purchase a copy.


About the Author:

Nika Maples is the author of Twelve Clean Pages, the memoir of her survival of lupus and a stroke that left her quadriplegic at age 20. After learning to walk and talk again, she became a public school teacher, winning 2007 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. She holds an MA in English Education from Columbia University and currently is pursuing an MDIV from The King's University. When she is not traveling to speak, she lives, writes, and laughs as much as possible in Fort Worth, Texas.



Margie’s Comments: 
Hunting Hope by Nika Maples is nothing like what I expected. It’s better! And I could hardly put it down. Thankfully it has short chapters, so I was able to sneak a chapter or two in between unpacking boxes and settling in to a new home.

After coming through a series of dark years, reading this book was like a refreshing spring rain, bringing with it the freshness of new growth and understanding. I love the emphasis the author put into knowing God and His Word before speaking of living out the truths that we learn only in the dark places of life. In fact, three-quarters of the book focuses on God’s various attributes. Only in the last one-quarter of the book does she speak of what we are to do with the “new” information we have because of what we learn in the dark times of life. From the introduction to the very last chapter, Nika emphasizes the faithfulness of God—my favorite and most comforting attribute of His! As I read Hunting Hope, not only was I affirmed in the fact that I am a hunter of hope but also hope is the core word of my life—one the Lord revealed to me during my most recent dark time.

I would encourage all my readers to get a copy of Nika’s book, Hunting Hope, and become hunters of hope with the author and me. You will be blessed!

Monday, May 23, 2016

‘Hunting Hope’ by Nika Maples (Plus a Giveaway and Live Webcast)

At twenty, Nika Maples learned that when hope was all she had, she claimed it boldly while defying all odds to recover from a devastating stroke. The lessons from that struggle are powerful and universal, and she shares those lessons in her new book, Hunting Hope. Doctors warned that she had as little as 48 hours to live, and—if she lived at all—she would never walk or talk again. There was no hope on the horizon. So Nika started to hunt for it. Today, she not only walks, but she speaks to audiences everywhere about the power of hunting hope when a situation appears hopeless. She says hope remains camouflaged in the daily mundane. If we are not looking for it, we will miss it, though it is right before our eyes.




Celebrate the release of Hunting Hope with a $200 Getaway Giveaway (details below) and a live webcast with Nika on May 26!






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One grand prize winner will receive:



  • One copy of Hunting Hope

  • A $200 Hilton gift card to give a hope hunter the chance to rest


Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 5/24. The winner will be announced at the Hunting Hope live author webcast on 5/26. RSVP for a chance to connect with Nika and other hope hunters, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!





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RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 26th!

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

Wow! I hadn't realized I haven't posted anything here in almost two months! We've made a recent move to back to Colorado, and some of the books I had agreed to review have never caught up with me. But . . . that's about to change. ;) So keep tuned.



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The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder (Harvest House, April 2016)

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever–if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

Learn more and purchase a copy.




Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.






Margie’s Comments: What a fun read! And in my favorite genre: historical mystery! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Merinda and Jem and their new entrepreneurial adventure in a city I know little about—Toronto. I love getting to know the history of places, and while the author took a few liberties (which historical author doesn’t??), it was believable and made for an excellent read. Along with the mystery, I laughed out loud (and shed some tears) over the struggles, frustrations, and blessings of Merinda and Jem and the men who love them, Jasper and Ray. The mystery is well developed and enjoyable to read, as well. The plight of the immigrants in this city and in this time period (1910) is real and hard, but Merinda and Jem become the champions of their hardships and seek to ease their pain by finding the killers responsible for the deaths of the young Irish women that Jasper and Ray (an Italian immigrant himself) bring to their attention.

I’m looking forward to reading more from this author and in this series. 

Scroll down for info on contest and Facebook party Thursday, 4/28.


Meet best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem, who launch their own Sherlock Holmes-esque consulting detective business in 1910 Toronto in Rachel McMillan’s The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever–if they can stay alive long enough to do so.




Rachel is celebrating the release of The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder with a Murder Mystery Prize Pack giveaway (details below) and an author chat party on April 28!






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One grand prize winner will receive:



Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 4/28. The winner will be announced at The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Rachel and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!





bggtm-enterbanner


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 28th!



Saturday, February 27, 2016

Your New Money Mindset by Brad Hewitt and James Moline


About the Book:
Your New Money Mindset: Create a Healthy Relationship with Money (Tyndale, October 2015)

Have you ever thought: If I just had a little more money I would be happy? Research has shown this belief to be false. Through personal experience, Biblical passages and timely research, coauthors Brad Hewitt, CEO of Thrivent Financial, and Dr. Jim Moline, consulting psychologist, reveal that financial happiness and security have little to do with how much money you have, and a lot to do with the role money plays in your life.

Your New Money Mindset isn’t just another book about managing finances. It’s a book about reshaping your relationship with money by examining your attitudes and beliefs around money.

Your New Money Mindset:
—Defies the consumerism that infects our culture and sickens our hearts.
—Shows us how to replace the tension and fear we feel about money with contentment and peace.
—Guides us to live open-heartedly with our time, energy and money.
—Provides an online New Money Mindset Assessment™, which will help you pinpoint what attitudes about money you could work on in order to develop an openhearted attitude to life.

Regardless of your financial situation, we invite you to journey with us to discover how to transform your relationship with money by remaking your heart.



About the Author:
Brad Hewitt is president and CEO of Thrivent Financial, a not-for-profit Fortune 500 organization dedicated to helping Christians be wise with money and live generously. He speaks regularly on how a redefined relationship with money can help us find and live out our call in life. He and his wife live in Minnesota.


Margie’s Comments: When I requested Your New Money Mindset to review, I had no idea that shortly after the beginning of the year my husband would be offered a job back in Colorado. Four years ago we left Colorado for a job for him in the Ozarks of SW Missouri. After a year of unemployment, we were more than ready to accept a job offer that was less then what he’d been making. I’m a freelance editor and writer, and while the income pretty much averages the same year after year, the income itself is rather sporadic. Feast or famine. We do know that over and over again in the last five years, the Lord has been faithful to provide our needs and many of our wants. We’ve never gone hungry, but we have had to give up some of our eating out. We’ve had enough to pay our bills, but not a lot to spend frivolously.

Before my husband was unemployed, we were living paycheck to paycheck, hoping that we could keep up the balancing act a little longer. We knew that really wasn’t the Lord’s way, but we saw no way to do anything else. During hubby’s year of unemployment, we went the route of paying for everything with cash. If we didn’t have it, we didn’t buy it. We threw our credit cards away. (Now we each have one credit card, and what we charge we pay off each month.)

I’m very thankful I read Your New Money Mindset by Brad Hewitt and James Moline. Not only did it confirm that we finally have a healthy relationship with money, but also we are able to be more generous with what we have. And for the most part we are content with that. We’re not perfect, and yes, we’re still tempted to put wants ahead of our needs and charge too much on the credit cards. But the times of giving in to that temptation are much less than they were before unemployment.

Thankfully the authors have sound advice on how to determine if our relationship with money is healthy or not, where we need to change, and how to effect that change without facing the dire consequences of our choices as we had to. As they point out several times, Jesus spoke more on money than on any other topic. The Bible has much to say about materialism, consumerism, and the other –isms in our world economy.

I came away from reading the book encouraged and empowered to continue making good choices in my own relationship with money. Whether you are one who is blessed with a generous attitude toward money or one who struggles paycheck to paycheck and longs to achieve the ability to be generous, the authors of Your New Money Mindset will give thoughtful, scriptural principles to live by. I highly recommend the book.

As always, I was given a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Come Empty: Pour Out Life's Hurts and Receive God's Healing Love by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith



About the book:
Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love (SonRise Devotionals, March 2015)

When a water vessel is filled with dirt and stones, it cannot be used to quench a thirst.

But, when this vessel is emptied, there is an opportunity to fill it until it overflows with fresh, cool, life-giving water. Water that quenches. Refreshes. Soothes.
Our souls are the same: filled with fear, doubt, and disappointment. Running over with unanswered prayers and lingering questions. When we empty the mess of our lives in the presence of God, we’re offered an invitation to come. An invitation that allows us to come empty – so that we can be filled until we overflow.
Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love guides you through fifty days of experiencing the fullness of God’s love and His ability to overcome life’s hurts. Each day, you will receive assurance of God’s presence in your difficult situations. Each devotion gives new vision and perspective when you’re hindered by emotional blind spots, and leads you to experience God’s peace and wholeness. When His invitation is accepted, He will set your captive mind and heart free to live fully by His grace. The question is not if you will get an invitation. The question is, will you come?



About the author:
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is a Board Certified internal medicine physician. She shares with audiences nationwide on the topics of eliminating limiting emotions, finding grace in difficult places, and experiencing personal renewal by drawing near to God. Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and has been featured in Women's Day, Redbook, and First For Women magazine. She is the founder of I Choose My Best Life. Her other books include award-winning "Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves."


Margie’s Comments: In Come Empty the author gives the invitation to her readers to take a 50-day Jubilee Challenge. The first two chapters set the circumstances and reasons we need to accept the invitation to come into the presence of God, empty vessels needing to be filled with the knowledge of Him and the presence of the Holy Spirit. She has written 80 devotionals and suggests different ways to accomplish the 50-day challenge.
            So in order to do a proper review, I read several of the devotionals that start the process of coming empty into the Lord’s presence. Then I consulted the topical index at the back of the book to select a few that spoke directly to a specific issue I struggle with in my walk with God. And wham! Bang! The Lord caught me off-guard with one passage of scripture. It was innocuous enough, one I had quoted often to myself and to others struggling with the same issue. But when I read the context and personalized it . . . Well, it was exactly what I needed.
            This experience convinced me to complete the 50-day Jubilee challenge as set forth in Dr. Sandra Dalton-Smith’s Come Empty. Accept the Lord’s invitation to you and come empty, thirsty and needy, into His presence. It will change you because God’s Word never goes out without accomplishing the purposes God intended (Isaiah 55:9–10). I highly recommend Come Empty.
            (I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.)