Monday, August 31, 2015

The Reckoning by MaryLu Tyndall

 About the book:
When Morgan Shaw crept into the hold of an old pirate ship replica at San Diego’s Annual Tall Ship Festival, her only intention was to avoid the guy who had just dumped her and who was now boarding the ship with two women on his arm. What she didn’t expect was to wake up aboard a real pirate ship three-hundred years in the past. But of course, it wasn’t real. Her wealthy father had obviously staged it all in an effort to get her mind off her upcoming chemo. Or had he?

Pirate Rowan Dutton seeks enough treasure to repay a debt to his sister and reinstate the Dutton name among British Jamaican Society. He is but one major haul away from accomplishing his goal when a strange woman appears on his ship and causes him to lose his prey. Despite his anger, he is enthralled with the little minx, her strange clothing, odd speech, and her insistence that they are all actors playing a charade paid for by her father.

Yet when the brazen little lady divulges Rowan’s secret to a longtime nemesis, events are triggered that could cost them both their lives and change the course of history forever.

 About the author:
Award winning and best-selling author, MaryLu Tyndall dreamt of pirates and sea-faring adventures during her childhood days on Florida's Coast. After obtaining a degree in Math and working as software engineer for 15 years, she decided to test the waters as a writer. With now more than seventeen books published, she makes no excuses for the deeply spiritual themes embedded within her romantic adventures. As a follower of Christ, her stories often reflect her own journey and walk with God. Her hope is that readers will not only be entertained but will be brought closer to the Creator who loves them beyond measure. In a culture that accepts the occult, wizards, zombies, and vampires without batting an eye, MaryLu hopes to show the awesome present and powerful acts of God in a dying world. MaryLu makes her home with her husband, six children, two grandkids, and three cats on the California coast, where her imagination still surges with the sea.

Margie’s Comments: I've read many of MaryLu Tyndall's books over the years, ever since I reviewed for an agent a manuscript she had sent in. Even then, when I saw that her male hero was a pirate, I wondered how the author could pull it off in Christian fiction. But she did! And she is still doing it ten years later. The Reckoning is the best yet. I love the added twist of the time travel which leads to many humorous scenes between the heroine and the pirate captain. Time travel done well results in a satisfying ending that makes sense, and, without giving anything away, the author did a superb job. One other item I look for in Christian fiction is the spiritual thread and how it is handled throughout the story. Again, MaryLu does not disappoint. Without beating the reader over the head with spiritual truths, she makes it an integral part of the characters so that coming to faith and/or renewing faith in a God that seemingly disappoints and doesn't care is a satisfying journey in itself. I highly recommend this book to all readers of historical romance.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Glory Days by Max Lucado

About the book:
Glory Days (Thomas Nelson, September 2015)

The wilderness. Maybe you know it well.

The Israelites sure did. After all, they spent forty years wandering the desert. Victories were scarce. Progress was slow. They were free from Pharaoh but not free from fear. Saved but stuck.

Sounds a lot like midlife misery. Caught in a rut. Stalled out. Running on empty. Are you mired in the same?

You can name the day you became a Christian and escaped Egypt. But you can't remember the last time you defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer. You're fighting the same battles you fought the day you came to Christ. You're out of Egypt, but Egypt's not out of you.

Isn't the Christian life supposed to be better than this?

Jesus offers abundant joy. Yet you live with oppressive grief. The epistles speak of grace. You shoulder guilt. You are more than a conqueror yet are commonly conquered by temptation or weaknesses.

But there's good news. With God's help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be. Like Joshua and the Israelites, you can move from a wilderness existence into a promised inheritance.

This is God's vision for your life. You, at full throttle. You, as you were intended. You, as victor over the Jerichos and giants. You, minus the stumbles, hurts, and hate.

You and your Promised Land life.

Purchase a copy:

About the author:
More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.

Find Max online: website, Facebook, Twitter

Margie’s Comments: In Glory Days, Max Lucado takes us through a study of Joshua as he led the Hebrew nation into their Promised Land. The author contends that believers are all called into their personal promised lands, and he discusses the principles of faith and obedience exhibited by Joshua and the Hebrews that enabled them to embrace all that God was giving them. As I read this book for review, I realized once again that God’s timing is perfect. The study of the book of Joshua is exactly what I needed right now. The author’s emphasis on the importance of the Word and the character of God and God’s desire that we each claim the inheritance He has given us through Jesus Christ in salvation are reminders of how I am to live each day. Glory Days is a book that I will read more than once in order to absorb the biblical principles the author emphasizes. I want to live each day to the fullest, knowing that no matter what circumstances and trials I may face, these are truly God’s Glory Days here on earth.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Grin with Grace by Kathy Carlton Willis

About the Book:
Have you ever felt the need to bite your tongue or grit your teeth? Grin with Grace explores ways to genuinely smile in the face of adversity and challenging circumstances. Sometimes, we just need to grin with grace! God blesses us with His grace, and it impacts our relationship with Him and with others.
 Each chapter features five sections:
• Grin with Grace contains real-life stories and observations. You’ll laugh at the humorous confessions and wacky insights, and relate to Kathy’s transparent honesty. Be inspired to see grace in your everyday life.
• Grow with Grace features a grace word study. Kathy examines Bible verses and personalizes the meaning to your situation. Workbook prompts allows you to write down your thoughts as you read along.
• Go with Grace offers life application. Pick one action step and make it work for you, or pick all of them—but do something to live out your grace-walk.
• Give with Grace advances life application further, equipping you to become an instrument of God’s grace to others. You’ll be inspired to take what you’ve learned and give it away to others. This is when faith becomes ministry—when your focus expands to see the needs of others.
• Your Grin with Grace Challenge describes a grace-challenging scenario to give you an opportunity to exercise your newfound grace. It allows for speculation and judgment calls, to prepare you for the what-ifs that happen in life.

About the Author:
Kathy Carlton Willis writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. Not many funny girls also have Bible degrees! Kathy is a pastor’s wife, which gives her plenty of opportunities to grin with grace. She shines the light on issues that hold women back and inspires their own lightbulb moments. Almost a thousand of Kathy’s articles have been published in books, magazines, newspapers, and online publications.

She’s affiliated with several Christian writer and speaker organizations and serves as a consultant in the industry. Kathy’s tagline describes her best: Light and Lively: His Reflection/Her Laughter. Learn more at:

Margie’s Comments:
When I received the opportunity to post a review** of Grin with Grace by Kathy Carlton Willis, I accepted because the topic of grace is one that is dear to me. As I learned over twenty years ago in Christian counseling for clinical depression, not only have I been saved by grace, I have also been called to live in grace.

Kathy has written Grin with Grace for individual topical Bible study, but as a Bible study leader, I’m excited about recommending this for any group Bible study. (Grin with Grace DVDs will be available for personal or group use in a few weeks.) There are twelve chapters, perfect for a 12-week study. But Kathy includes a seven-week schedule that can be modified to fit your group. There’s a Study Guide at the back of the book that gives leaders suggestions in guiding a group discussion each week.

Kathy’s conversational style makes it easy to identify with her stories of learning to Grin with Grace and to clearly see what Scripture has to say on each week’s topic. The chapters deal with various aspects of living in grace. My favorites are “The Sufficiency of Grace,” “The Freedom of Grace,” and “The Strength of Grace.”

Now that I’ve read the book, I plan to go back through it at a much slower pace, filling in answers to questions and challenges throughout the study. I look forward to sharing this study with others, and finding new Grace-Gal Pals. (I already have several, but there’s always room for more!)

**I received a free copy of Grin with Grace from the author in exchange for a review.