Precious in His Sight

Precious In His Sight

If you haven’t read the many Christian novels on the market because you find them too sweet, too plain-vanilla, not real enough to hold your attention, or obviously predictable, then Karen Pashley, the author of Precious in His Sight will certainly surprise you.

There is no sugar-coating this real life story that ping-pongs between South Carolina and New York. The first line of the story jumps right into the middle of a family dealing with some shocking issues. The kind of developments that no one wants to talk about in Christian circles. The kind that have serious consequences.

It’s easy to see Pashley searched the depth of her soul to locate just the right characters to connect with each reader. Men and women whom we assume to be what they appear to be on Sunday mornings. People we look up to; people we look down upon–champions, enemies, and everything in between. It makes us wonder how a non-Christian views our world. How do we make a lasting difference in our neighbor’s life?   

She didn’t know much about his life…He was a religious man–she heard him talking about serving on his church’s building committee. She wasn’t sure what that meant–were they trying to build up their membership? Build morale? Or build an actual building?

The story brings us into busy, hectic lives that are filled with doubts, misconceptions, betrayal and questions, lots of questions. It holds our attention because it is never predictable. It just isn’t what we thought would happen and the author does a suburb job of allowing the reader to think seriously about what in the world would I do in that situation? instead of telling us how to think. That’s the best part of Precious in His Sight. Pashley guides us and gently moves us into finding out how God could possibly use something bad for something good as part of His plan for our own hyperactive lives.

For the first time in my life I feel I am wearing a mask. I could never understand how Christian people could be so good at hiding what was going on in their lives. Now I get it. And I hate myself for it.

The subject matter is ticklish. The characters are deep. The solution is surprising. For a first time novel, Pashley truly deserves to win the James Jones First Novel Fellowship prize or something similar. And then, we can hold our breath until her second novel appears soon!

But for now, pick this book up at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ

 

Throwback Thursday

Steal Away

STEAL AWAY

If you enjoy mysteries, thrillers, or romantic suspense and have never read novels by Linda Hall, you won’t be disappointed to add this award-winning author to your favorite collections. She is the author of at least 19 captivating novels including Steal Away.   

Hall asks, “When have you felt you wanted to ‘steal away,’ to leave your present life and run away?”

What took Ellen away from her famous husband yearly, to the cold, windy coast of Maine? Piecing together the life of an unhappy minister’s wife, private investigator Teri Blake-Addison trails the wreckage to a remote Canadian island. When murder rocks the community, she realizes the puzzle may not be as simple as it has seemed. This book is about choices. Ellen made a wrong choice and lived a lie for more than twenty years.

The story is fast-moving, the dialogue down to earth, much like speaking with one of your friends.  However, this novel will be hard to put down, so nevermind the dishes–just save a block of time for all the fascinating events that take place. Someone even called it a “mystery within a mystery.”   

Like the police and that private investigator, Brent had his own information about the accident. He’d kept things. A few news clippings and photos. He’d even saved some cards. Other things too. Plus, he had those scrapbooks. Wouldn’t that PI love to get her hands on those!

Even though Steal Away was written a few years ago, there is a sequel out called Chat Room, so we know that Hall has many more stories to keep us interested in the Teri Blake-Addision Mystery Series! Pick up the first book at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ

 

Perfect

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The author of Perfect, a novel by Harry Kraus, M.D., is definitely “cutting edge” which is also used as a description of his website. He enjoys using his medical training as authentic substance for his books. Perfect is about that special kind of woman we all know that appears, at least on the outside, to be exactly what everyone dreams they want to be.  

But was her life really that perfect? Wendi Stratford, a good Christian woman and wife of a successful doctor, wanted to “break free of the lie she’s been living.” The question was how to do that exact thing without ruining her personal reputation and her professional life as an accident reconstructionist.

I’d spent my professional life reading subtle clues, the whys and hows of motor vehicle accidents. Skid marks, velocities, folded fenders. These were the things that whispered their secrets to me. It linked me to Henry in a weird sort of way. I figured out what happened at crash scenes. He took over from there and did the neat life-saving stuff. That was Henry.

Kraus uses a comfortable style of writing that makes one want to keep on reading and not put the book down until the end. Wendi becomes your friend. You feel both envy and sorrow for her at the same time. It tears your heart out for someone to go through so many dilemmas.

Someone is leaving Wendi clues at accident scenes, clues that could lead her straight into a killer’s hands. With her life on the line, Wendi must find the strength in a faith that until now had been merely an accessory to her storybook life.

The characters are believable and drag the reader into the mystery and suspense of an intricate plot. It is nail-biting at its best. Nothing makes for better reading than a story about something we know nothing about, such as accident reconstruction or putting lives back together on an operating table.

Another thought troubled me. Was this the evidence that convinced the police that something was amiss? No, I thought, Chris wouldn’t have tried to mislead me by telling me there were brake marks present. There must be some other evidence that makes them think Cindy’s death was no accident.

If you are all in for a great mystery, this is the one.

Pick it up at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ

Cherokee Rose

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Imagine your ancestors living peacefully for 500 years in one place. Then one day you and your family are told by the government that you are being moved to a new location with boundaries you must stay within for the rest of your days! No choice in the matter. You are going. This actually happened in America where people are considered “free” to live their lives.

Cherokee Rose by Al and Joanna Lacy is a work of fiction, but it is the true story of real people. Peaceful people. People who grew up farming in North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. Spanish explorers visited them in 1540 and in 1820 they formed a republican government. In 1832 when gold was discovered on their land, everything changed.

Cherokee Rose has endured more than any eighteen-year old girl should. Though accepted by her tribe, being both mixed blood and a Christian set her apart. Then fifteen thousand Cherokee Indians are evicted from their homes in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Broken and angry, Cherokee Rose joins her people on the thousand-mile trek westward to Indian Territory.

In this 21st Century, we have had presidents many do not like or agree with at all. In the 1800s, it appears to have been worse. Presidents Jackson, Van Buren, Cleveland, and Harrison all had a cruel hand in destroying an entire “nation” of peaceful inhabitants. All in the name of greed.

There was much mourning among the Cherokees as two graves were dug at the side of the trail. The newborn baby boy was buried with his mother. A cold, wind-driven rain began to fall as Cassdi, one of the young preachers trained by Layne Ward, conducted the graveside service. As the rain slanted down on the crowd gathered around graves, it seemed to some as though the heavens themselves were mourning the loss of the two women and the baby boy.

This is a rich story taken from the pages of our history. The writing is easy, the happenings were not. The historical assumptions were wrong, the lives were right. The decisions were sinful, the beliefs were ignored. The real Chief Sequoyah “had a great interest in the Bible [introduced by missionaries]. By 1823, he had translated the entire Bible into the Cherokee language, and thousands of copies were printed.”

Be sure to pick up this fascinating account that not many people at all even know about.

Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, Prescott, AZ

Safely Home

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If you ever wanted to better understand the verse from Hebrews 13:3, Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering, the book Safely Home by Randy Alcorn will capture your attention.

This is a fictional story about real people [names have been changed] in the persecuted church. A subject most of us would admit to not knowing much about at all. Since the Bible commands us to remember those in prison, Safely Home is a “bracing wake-up call” according to a review by Chuck Colson.

American business executive Ben Fielding has no idea what his brilliant old college roommate is facing in China. But when they’re reunited in China after twenty years, the men are shocked at what they discover about each other.

Thrown together in an hour of encroaching darkness, watched by unseen eyes, both must make choices that will determine not only the destinies of two men, but two families, two nations. . .and two worlds.

If you’re looking for a story that will get your blood moving and your heart racing, you can’t go wrong with Safely Home. It begins in America and goes back and forth over the ocean to China and back.

Is this the day I die? . . .As a young man Quan had tried to disbelieve in God.. . .Quan had tried hard not to be a Christian. He had succeeded too, until he went to college in America. But one day his big American roommate, Ben Fielding, had invited him to a meeting of Christians on the Harvard campus. His questions and doubts and resentments fell in the face of truth. The faith that had been his mother’s and father’s became, for the first time, his own, far away in that foreign land where he had studied to become a college professor. Though they had long since lost touch with one another, Quan thought of Ben often and prayed for him daily.

This story shows us exactly how we can affect the lives of others by our actions. By the seeds we are called to plant, water, or harvest. Heaven is watching.

Be sure to pick up this book that was inspired by the Ron DiCianni painting, Safely Home.

Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, Prescott, AZ

Fire

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Fire by Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ and Jack Cavanaugh, author of many historical sagas, including the award-winning The Puritans and The Patriots, is set in Connecticut in 1740. It is the uneasy story of a pastor with an “uncanny gift” during America’s controversial religious history.     

Seven years ago Josiah Rush fled the colony of Havenhill, Connecticut. Now he’s been asked to return. Is this his chance to make things right? To pay penance for the foolishness of his youth? To ask and receive forgiveness from those he has hurt so badly?

History is a fascinating way to find out how we got here at this time and place. When it is set into a fictional tale of the truest kind, as in Fire, it can be spell-binding. Thinking the town has endured a deadly disease, Josiah is more than willing to put his feelings aside and help. But he can’t seem to escape the foreboding upon him. Something is wrong.

Philip told Josiah confidentially that the deacons’ report had not placated everyone in the church. Although Philip didn’t identify Eunice Parkhurst directly, the inference was clear enough. One of the phrases that kept coming up was that the pastor should “abstain even from the appearance of evil.”

The authors state, “The Great Awakenings was an incredible era of national spiritual revival. . .” In Fire, the second book in a series of four, they explore these days that show “the personal and spiritual upheaval that occurs when the Holy Spirit stirs the waters of our souls.”

“What happened?” Josiah asked.

“God happened. That was the same time the Holy Spirit swept through this region, and people’s hearts were turned away from greed and self. However, not until many of them had mortgaged their lands to Bellamont. So a few godly businessmen stepped in and rescued those who were in debt to Bellamont and forced him out of the region.”

An uneasiness began to settle over Josiah.

This story may be set in 1740, but it is oddly reminiscent of what we may need today. Find out for yourself by picking up this series at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott AZ

 

The Penny

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In the book The Penny by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford, Max Lucado asked, “Need a reminder of God’s plan to use little things to make a big difference?” Surely we all need that bit of wise advice and this story!

The Penny captures us right from the very beginning with insightful scenes. The main character, a young girl named Jenny, decides to go her own way and often does things on her own rather than being led by the Holy Spirit. But then, she didn’t know much about prayer or even about God. She was just coming to the point of salvation.

Her father was of the mean variety. Taking out his frustrations on his daughter, Jenny. Her mother seemed helpless to interfere. Or didn’t dare. He needed saving in a big way. How would Jenny have any impact on a man like that?

When I wiped my mouth, my wrist came away with a bloody smear. Why don’t you ever stand up for us, Mama? . . .  The room stayed silent except for the tick tick tick of the pink-cat clock on the wall, its eyes shooting back and forth with the seconds, its tail swinging to the beat. Daddy towered over me. I got the feeling he was waiting on me to make one false move. Me, I was waiting for Jesus to show up.

It caused much talk when Jenny became the one who began a relationship with the “outcast” in town, a mysterious woman and the owner of a jewelry store. But then, could we ever imagine how our “idols” could possibly become our friends? Even the least likely can show us grace as Miss Shaw did with Jenny:

But here’s the thing with Miss Shaw: she surprised me. . .When I took my anger out in the jewelry shop, she didn’t react the way I expected her to. . .I waited all day for her to chastise me, but she didn’t.

Jenny’s change of attitude came about in mini-life-chapters over her summer of grace. But what did a penny have to do with anything?

To find out, pick up this fascinating book in the library at Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, Prescott AZ

Things Left Unspoken

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Things Left Unspoken by Eva Marie Everson is all about secrets. Every house has them, even if we deny this fact or justify it at the time. “Jo Lynn Hunter is at a crossroads in life when her great-aunt Stella insists that she return home to restore the old family manse in sleepy Cottonwood, Georgia. Jo Lynn longs to get her teeth into a noteworthy and satisfying project. And it’s the perfect excuse for some therapeutic time away from her husband.”

This novel has more than the usual amount of chapters, but that can be very appealing. There are times when we just do not have time to read chapters with 46 pages. The nice thing about this book is being able to pick it up and complete a chapter in between making the beds and picking the kids up from school. A feeling of accomplishment!        

“Beneath the dust and the peeling wallpaper, things are not what they seem, and what Jo Lynn doesn’t know about her family holds just as many surprises. Was her great-grandfather the pillar of the community she thought he was? What is Aunt Stella hiding? And will her own marriage survive the renovation?”

The story takes place between 1938 and the present day. The idea is to remodel the old family home before it is sold along with the rest of the town to developers. And with all that activity, secrets are revealed, even at the Upper Creek Primitive Baptist Church..

For the next half hour I told my husband about the house, about the emptying of it, about Valentine Bach and his family, about the crew of day laborers. . . I told him of the barn and everything I found there, of the downstairs bedroom and its treasures. . .I hugged my knees, drawing them tighter to my chest–my heart–and was about to tell him of the delightfully wacky Karol Paisley and M. Michaels and the plans they had for Cottonwood when I heard a glass shatter from somewhere downstairs. Startled, I took in a deep breath and said, “What was that?”

This is a delightful and moving story that will charm your heart. You can check it out at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ

Reluctant Burglar

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Jill Elizabeth Nelson wrote a series entitled To Catch a Thief. Book One is the Reluctant Burglar which centers on the art theft world described by the FBI as “a looming criminal enterprise.” Thus, the imagination of Nelson got busy and wrote a very surprising fictional tale involving a daughter, her father, and a Special Agent.

Desi had never been claustrophobic, but the walls of the stark white interrogation cubicle closed in more each second. Her lungs expanded and contracted, but oxygen didn’t seem to reach her arms and legs. A creeping numbness had taken over her fingers and toes. . .A noise at the door brought her heart into her throat. Here goes!

Having grown up with a man who was described by the community as full of integrity and honor, Desiree was left with strange feelings about what was really true. It was up to her to make things right. But how without implicating herself in the process? Nelson understandably asks, “Is it ever appropriate to break the law to protect people?”

This book brings up many questions in the readers’ minds. It challenges our thinking on issues of honesty, truth, personal limitations, and faithful friends who convict us. In the end, it’s all about obedience to God.

“There is no easy way out, Steve.” Tony stroked Desi’s hand. “We take our sins with us unless we grab God’s offer of a pardon. I got that through my thick head while I lay in a hospital bed shot up like you.”

Don’t miss the beginning of the series. It will continue with Book Two, Reluctant Runaway.

Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, Prescott, AZ

Sweet Sanctuary

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This is the season we all need it. Hope. Kim Vogel Sawyer is famous for her “gentle stories of hope” as in her romance novel, Sweet Sanctuary. An intriguing story about a mom and her son caught up in a very difficult situation–until they connect with a doctor who serves the immigrant neighborhoods of Queens, New York.

Lydia lay wide awake on her side on the lumpy mattress, her fists beneath her chin. She’d never been so tired, yet she couldn’t close her eyes. Pictures flashed through her mind–of those three older-than-their-years children in the backseat of Micah’s coupe; of Nicky, safe and warm in his bed at home while Nic Pankin prowled the city, trying to find him; of the children Micah had mentioned who survived hidden in cellars away from the sun. . .

A mother who does everything she can to protect her son is always a cause any mother will understand. The protective instinct of a parent is inherent and does not dissolve. And this story takes on that very strong emotion. Questions arise here: when does our small, personal world become too small? When we struggle through trials, does God lead us into a greater purpose? Sweet Sanctuary tackles all of these questions and comes up with answers in an amazing way.

Lydia laughed. She returned to her seat and picked up her fork. Conversation moved to other topics, but she only half listened. Her mind was miles away. In New York. In a little apartment where a dark-haired man and a blonde-haired little girl made plans to travel across the distance. You’ll soon know. Lydia let her eyes slide closed. Whatever the Lord willed for her, she was ready.

Whether you like romance or not, this is a thrilling story that will grab your attention. Pick it up today in the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ.