Book Review – Love Starts With Elle – Rating: 9 out of 10

Love Starts With Elle CoverLove Starts With Elle, by Rachel Hauck

How I came to read this book:

Another wonderful CFBA book. This one barely made it. I didn’t receive it until a couple days ago and read it in just two days! (No, it’s not a particularly short book, I just hate posting announcements rather than reviews on books!)

Score Summary

  • Content: 9
  • Writing Style: 10
  • Re-readability: 8
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 9

Content

Even though I wasn’t able to linger over the story line as much as I would have preferred, I really did enjoy this book a lot. I would like to read more by this author and plan to scope out what else she has written. It’s a nice basic Christian romance. Not too much craziness to confuse, but enough energy and plot to keep me reading.

Writing Style

Very enjoyable. Good use of language to paint pictures without making me struggle to understand.

Re-readability

It’s a keeper – and good to loan out. It’s a good summer reading kind of book.

Busy Mommy Scale

Well, I actually managed to read this book in about two days so it rates pretty well with me!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rachel Hauck is a forty-something, a child of the ’60’s, ’70’s, ’80’s, ’90’s and ’00’s, who roller skated through the ’70’s into the ’80’s with Farrah Fawcet hair and a three-speed orange Camero. She graduated from Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) with a degree in Journalism.

After graduation, she hired on at Harris Publishing as a software trainer, destermined to see the world. But, she’s traveled to Ireland, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, Canada and the U.S. from California to Maine.

Rachel met Tony, her husband, in ’87, at church, of all places. They married in ’92.
They don’t have any children of their own, just lots of kids-in-the-Lord and they love them all. However, they do have two very spoiled dogs, and a very demanding cat.

With a little help from my friends, my first book was published in ‘ 04, Lambert’s Pride, a romance novel. My current release is Sweet Caroline from Thomas Nelson. Romantic Times Book Club gave both books their highest rank of 4.5 stars, with Love Starts With Elle being honored as Top Pick!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Elle’s living the dream-but is it her dream or his?

Elle loves life in Beaufort, South Carolina-lazy summer days on the sand bar, coastal bonfires, and dinners with friends sharing a lifetime of memories. And she’s found her niche as the owner of a successful art gallery too. Life is good.

Then the dynamic pastor of her small town church sweeps her off her feet. She’s never known a man like Jeremiah-one who breathes in confidence and exhales all doubt. When he proposes in the setting sunlight, Elle hands him her heart on a silver platter.

But Jeremiah’s just accepted a large pastorate in a different state. If she’s serious about their relationship, Elle will take “the call,” too, leaving behind the people and place she loves so dearly. Elle’s friendship with her new tenant, widower Heath McCord, and his young daughter make things even more complicated.

Is love transferrable across the miles? And can you take it with you when you go?

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Book Review – Hidden – Rating: 9 out of 10

Hidden Book CoverHidden, by Shelley Shepard Gray

How I came to read this book:

As a member of the CFBA.

Score Summary

  • Content: 9
  • Writing Style: 10
  • Re-readability: 9
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 8

Content

This was a nice little peek into Amish life, and a good simple romance. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found myself aching for the established routines and simplicity that the story portrayed.

Writing Style

I don’t remember a lot about the writing style, which is a good thing. It means it didn’t get in the way of the storytelling

Re-readability

I’ll hang onto the book to share, and to read again in a few years. It’s not a must re-read, just was pleasant enough to do so.

Busy Mommy Scale

It wasn’t too hard to pick up mid-chapter and continue, but sometimes I had to back up a little to pick up momentum. It was good enough to not let that bother me.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hidden is Shelley’s first foray into inspirational fiction. Previously, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelors and masters degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio where she writes full time. Shelley is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and is part of the Telecare ministry, which calls homebound members on a regular basis. Shelley looks forward to the opportunity to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Hidden is a remarkable story about the unlikely love between a modern girl on the run and an Amish boy from the family who shelters her.

When Anna decides it’s time to leave her abusive boyfriend, she doesn’t know where to turn. Rob is a successful and respected person in her community. He has completely won over her parents with his good looks and prestigious position at a top law firm. Only Anna has seen his dark side. But when Rob hurts Anna yet again, she realizes that she must finally help herself.

Desperate, she runs to the one place she’s always felt completely safe, the Amish Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, where years ago she and her mother once stayed, and where Anna met life-long friend Katie Brenneman. When Anna shows up years later unexpectedly, the family welcomes her in, with few questions asked, and allows her to stay, dressed as the Amish in Plain clothes, and help around the inn.

But Katie’s older brother Henry doesn’t take too kindly to the intrusion. Anna wonders if it’s because he’s already had his heart broken. To Henry’s shame, from the moment he sees Anna, he feels a strong attraction. To cover his infatuation, he tries to ignore her, knowing no good would ever come from keeping an eye on a fancy woman like her. But as he sees that Anna has a good heart and is not the selfish, spoiled woman he imagined her to be, he feels his heart pointing towards her.

Anna comes to realize that she’s found a home and true love in the last place she’d expected. How can she deny the life she left behind? And will her chance for happiness be stolen away by the man who can’t seem to let her go?

If you would like to read the Prologue, go HERE

Book Reviews – House of Dark Shadows / Watcher in the Woods – Rating: 9 out of 10

House of Dark Shadows CoverWatcher in the Woods Cover

House of Dark Shadows
 

and 

 

Watcher in the Woods



by Robert Liparulo








How I came to read these books:

As part of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. I will be reviewing these books together as they are the first two books of the Dreamhouse Kings series, and they are sharing the blog tour.

Score Summary

  • Content: 10
  • Writing Style: 9
  • Re-readability: 9
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 8

Content

Ok, I loved these books. Loved ’em. The story was so fun! This series is target toward “youth” and I’m afraid, sometimes, that can be me. I just loved books like this when I was growing up. I’m a sci-fi fan, and these enter that realm. I won’t give any spoilers – but to say that this storyline could lend itself to many sequels if done well.

Writing Style

This series is geared more toward a slightly younger reader, so you don’t get much of the adult reactions to things – the sons in the story are the main characters. I still enjoyed it a great deal and plan to share them with my nephew.

Re-readability

I’ll be keeping these to re-read eventually. They were just plain fun.

Busy Mommy Scale

The chapters were not too long and involved. There were a couple of chapters that I hated to break up ’cause I couldn’t commit time, so it gets only an 8, but overall the had the storyline to entice me to carry them all over the house!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Robert’s first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story “Kill Zone” was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!

And his third book Deadfall. debuted to rave reviews!

ABOUT THE BOOKS

House of Dark Shadows
(Dreamhouse Kings Book 1)

Dream house…or bad dream?
When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.

But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into–as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house.

They soon discover there’s something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.

Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places–in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen’s dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.

Watcher In The Woods
(Dreamhouse Kings Book 2)

It’s not just the house that’s keeping secrets.
Pretending everything’s all right is harder than it sounds. But the Kings know that even if they told the truth about the bizarre things happening in their house, no one would believe them. They’re hyper-focused on rescuing their lost family member before anyone finds out what’s going on.

But when a stranger shows up to take their house, their options start dwindling fast. Why would he be so interested in a run-down old place? And what secret is he hiding–just as he hides the scars that crisscross his body?

The mystery gets stranger with each passing day. Will the Kings be able to find a way to harness the house’s secrets and discover who is watching their every move before another gets snatched into an unknown world?

The Dreamhouse Kings Series has three contests that you will not want to miss…Dream the Scene, a weekly “Thanks For Reading Trivia contest, and the Dreamhouse Kings Street Team contest. There are also free bookplates that you can request, and a chapter of each book that you can download!

You can get all those goodies HERE.

Book Review – Skid – Rating: 8 out of 10

skid book coverSkid, by Rene Gutteridge

How I came to read this book:

Through WaterBrook Multnomah Books.

Score Summary

  • Content: 8
  • Writing Style: 8
  • Re-readability: 7
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 9

Content

The story in Skid was really enjoyable. There were many characters, and I wandered happily along with the ventures into each of their lives. This book is the 3rd in a series, coming after Scoop and Snitch, with the main character being one of a group of brothers and sisters. Reminded me a little bit of Dee Henderson’s O’Malley Series, but with a much lighter, simpler tone. I have not read the first two in this series.

Writing Style

I hope this isn’t taken as an insult, but this book almost felt like one of the old episodes of Love Boat — where a group of strangers mix and mingle, cross paths occasionally, with separate mini-dramas within the main story.

Re-readability

By itself, I probably wouldn’t reread, but as part of a series, I’d like to read the first two, and pick it up again, to get the full effect.

Busy Mommy Scale

This one wasn’t too hard to read bits at a time. I never felt the need to block out solid reading time to get the “full effect” of the drama. It was a fun read, rather than a moving one.


Book Summary

Blissfully unaware that Atlantica Flight 1945 from Atlanta to Amsterdam is about to make aviation history, First Officer Danny McSweeney focuses his energies on navigating the turbulent personalities of an eccentric female captain, a co-pilot with a talent for tactless comments and conspiracy theories, and a lead flight attendant with an outsized attitude that definitely exceeds the limits for carry-on baggage.

On the other side of the cockpit door, the unscheduled in-flight entertainment includes a potbellied pig, a jittery diamond courier, and the recently jilted Lucy Meredith, whose personal mantra of “What Would Oprah Do?” will be challenged by the sudden appearance of her ex and his new traveling partner. On her left sits Hank Hazard, whose unusually polite but constant requests–prompted by his covert role as a spy for the airline–test the limits of the crew’s customer service.

But as Lucy and the rest of the crew discover, Hank’s odd behavior is linked to a quiet faith that may play a key role in the fate of everyone on board. Especially when an unexpected traveler sets this already bumpy flight on a course toward the unfriendly skies.

Author Bio

Rene Gutteridge Author PicRene Gutteridge is the author of twelve novels, including the Boo series, the Storm series, and the novelization for The Ultimate Gift, as well as Scoop and Snitch, the first two Occupational Hazard novels. She lives with her husband, Sean, and their two children in Oklahoma City.

Book Review – The Warriors – Rating: 8 out of 10

Book Review – The Warriors – Rating: 8 out of 10

The Warriors CoverThe Warriors, by Mark Andrew Olson

How I came to read this book:

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

Score Summary

  • Content: 10
  • Writing Style: 8
  • Re-readability: 8
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 6

Content

I seem to be getting/picking a lot of these spiritual realm books lately. And yet another book that is part of a series that I am coming in late for. This book follows The Watchers.

I really enjoyed this book for two reasons – it blended spiritual warfare with legend and reminded me of the Left Behind series just a bit. And it pulled off a “Lundie Ending.” 🙂

Writing Style

I may be crazy, but I feel like I’m seeing a difference in the way men and women write. This had a much more masculine feel – more Tom Clancy than Dee Henderson (who writes about military types)

Re-readability

I would like to read the first book in this series, but I’m not sure if I would re-read this one. I will be keeping it, however, as I will definitely recommend it to friends.

Busy Mommy Scale

Great book for weekend reading! Not so good for a page here and there. This book is making me re-assess whether an average score really has value, as not all great books are great for busy mommies…


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MARK ANDREW OLSEN whose novel The Assignment was a Christy Award finalist, also collaborated on bestsellers Hadassah (now the major motion picture: One Night With the King), The Hadassah Covenant, and Rescued. His last novel was the supernatural thriller The Watchers.

The son of missionaries to France, Mark is a Professional Writing graduate of Baylor University. He and his wife, Connie, live in Colorado Springs with their three children.

ABOUT THE BOOK

A failed recon mission deep in the tunnels of Afghanistan has provoked a demonic onslaught that had been brewing for centuries. The mission’s sole survivor is reformed black ops assassin Dylan Hatfield, and he once again teams up with Abby Sherman, now at the helm of the Watchers, an ancient spiritual force. Uncovering and preventing a secret wave of death whispered across cyberspace and threatening to be unleash against civilization will require another level of spiritual power and expertise–the Warriors.

Journeying across the Alps of Europe through the multilayered history of warfare in the unseen world, Dylan and Abby uncover an age-old stone engraving that rouses the church’s Warriors to action, placing them dead center in one of the fiercest spiritual battles of their time!

And once again they are reminded: This is all part of a vast and perpetual war, a war beyond all human conflicts, one that has engulfed heaven and earth since before the dawn of history….

Abby Sherman is headed back to Israel, where a Watcher, the Sentinel of Jerusalem, lies dying. In her last breaths the old woman tells Abby of an ancient document prophesying humanity’s full-scale entry into the ongoing conflict between armies of heaven and fallen angels.

Dylan Hatfield has decided to answer a summons from his old boss and join a secret operation, its mission to reconnoiter the Afghani tunnel complex from which Osama bin Laden escaped in 2001. What he discovers sears his very soul and likely will end his life.

Abby learns of the peril facing Dylan, and she sends out a call for intercession on his behalf. Her frantic email message sets in motion a series of harrowing events, propelling the two on a new mission and quest–one where the stakes are the lives of millions!

The Warriors is packed with high-octane action, featuring exotic international locales, with characters in a clash against spiritual “principalities and powers” with eternal consequences, The Warriors is a story that will enthrall, enlighten, and engage its readers.

If that piques your interest, you can read the first chapter HERE

“Olsen, one of the better writers in this subgenre, delivers powerful, action-packed plots that delve into mystical paranormal worlds.”
~Library Journal, Feb. 2008

“Olsen delivers an entertaining thriller likely to be enjoyed especially by fans of the spiritual warfare genre.”
~PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Book Review – My Soul To Keep – Rating: 8.25 out of 10

My Soul To Keep Book CoverMy Soul To Keep, by Melanie Wells

How I came to read this book:

I was offered this book to review by the publisher, Multnomah Books, a division of Random House.

Score Summary (Avg: 8.25)

  • Content: 9
  • Writing Style: 10
  • Re-readability: 8
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 6

Content

This book is the third in the Dylan Foster series. It follows When the Day of Evil Comes, and Soul Hunter. I prefer to read all books in a series in order, but I wasn’t aware it was until I was a few chapters in.

My Soul To Keep is another novel that includes physical manifestations of the spiritual realm, both good and evil, from a Christian perspective.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this book at first because I can’t stand reading, hearing or seeing stories about crimes committed involving children, but unlike primetime television, it didn’t cross the line of good storytelling by horrifying me.

Writing Style

Straightforward. Easy to get into. Style didn’t get in the way of the content. Very nice.

Re-readability

It was an enjoyable book, and it’s rating a bit higher than it normally would on its own because I hope to acquire the first two of the series and would plan to re-read it to get the whole story.

Busy Mommy Scale

Unfortunately, like any good fiction book, unless its written in single page chapters, tends to rank low on this scale. I read this during a weekend when I could afford to sit and enjoy.


Book Summary

My Soul to Keep by Melanie Wells
Genre: Fiction/Suspense – Released 2/19/08 – ISBN 978-1-59052-428-2

As nasty as I knew Peter Terry to be, I never expected him to start kidnapping kids. Much less a sweet, funny little boy with nothing to protect him but a few knock-kneed women, two rabbits, and a staple gun…

It’s psychology professor Dylan Foster’s favorite day of the academic year–graduation day. A day of pomp, circumstance, and celebration. And after all the mortar boards are thrown, Dylan and some of her best friends will gather around a strawberry cake to celebrate Christine Zocci’s sixth birthday. But the joyful summer afternoon goes south when a little boy is snatched from a neighborhood park, setting off a chain of events that seem to lead exactly nowhere.

Police are baffled, but Christine’s eerie connection with the kidnapped child sends Dylan on a chilling investigation of her own. Is the pasty, elusive stranger Peter Terry to blame? Exploding light bulbs, the deadly buzz of a Texas rattlesnake, and the vivid, disturbing dreams of a little girl are just pieces in a long trail of tantalizing clues leading Dylan in her dogged search for the truth.

Book Review – Change and Cherish Series – Rating: 7.75 out of 10

A Clearing in the Wild, A Tendering in the Storm, and A Mending at the Edge

by Jane Kirkpatrick

How I came to read these books:

This is a three book series, though the third book is the one that is now being released. I was given the opportunity to read all three. Though “A Mending at the Edge” can be read on its own, I highly recommend reading the first two in the series first.

Score Summary

  • Content: 8
  • Writing Style: 10
  • Re-readability: 7
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 6

Content

These books are fiction based on historical records of a real woman, Emma Wagner Giesy. It reminded me a lot of the Little House on the Prairie books I read over and over as a child. Emma, however was a member of a religious group that lived communally.

Now that I have finished the full series, it was a really good story. I had a hard time through the middle book (not unlike Empire Strikes Back) because the middle of any good story is where all the real struggle is. Because I have the tendency to carry into real life the emotions of the books I am reading, I was somewhat depressed while reading the middle book. Emma had a very hard life. She made many decisions I wouldn’t have, which made it harder for me to read as well. Overall, though I am very glad to have read it.

For the official summary, please read summaries of each book down below.

Writing Style

A lot of historical information written in a way that I enjoyed it. That says something.

Re-readability

I’ll hang on to these books, mostly so I can share them. I might re-read them someday. While she did so many things that were contrary to my way of thinking, I did learn a lot about service and servanthood that I know I need to take to heart.

Busy Mommy Scale

Not horrible, but really does warrant the time to be able to sit down and at least absorb a chapter at a time. I did read most of it in a page here and there, but I felt almost disrespectful. It’s so much better when you can fully get the word pictures in each scene, rather than having to scramble back a few pages or paragraphs to pick up momentum again.


Book: The Change and Cherish series
Author: Jane Kirkpatrick
Summary: The Change and Cherish series follows the story of feisty Emma Giesy

A Clearing in the Wild

A Clearing in the Wild CoverSpirited young Emma Wagner chafes at the constraints of her 1850s religious community, which values conformity over independent thought, especially in women. Skeptical of the colony’s growing emphasis on preparing for “the last days,” Emma clashes with their increasingly autocratic leader—and faces the unexpected consequences of pursuing independence.

A Tendering in the Storm

This lyrical novel, based on an historical figure of the 1800s, follows the spirited and intelligent Emma Giesy, who achieves her goal of separating her family from the repressive religious community in which she grew up. But unexpected and dire consequences leave her family—and her faith—struggling to survive.

A Mending at the Edge

A Mending at the Edge CoverThis richly textured novel, the third in the acclaimed Change and Cherish series, follows the historical figure of Emma Wagner Giesy, who chafes under the restrictions of her 1860s religious colony. When her bid to belong in her unique way unravels her most precious relationships, she seeks new ways to stitch meaning into her life.


Author Bio:

Jane Kirkpatrick is the best-selling author of two nonfiction books and fourteen historical novels, including the popular Kinship and Courage series. Her award-winning writing has appeared in more than fifty publications, including Sports Afield and Decision. She’s won the coveted Western Heritage Wrangler Award, an honor shared by such writers as Larry McMurtry and Barbara Kingsolver. Jane is a licensed clinical social worker as well as an internationally recognized speaker. She and her husband, Jerry, ranch 160 acres in eastern Oregon.

Book Review – When Zeffie Got a Clue – Rating: 7 out of 10

Book CoverWhen Zeffie Got a Clue, by Peggy Darty

How I came to read this book:

I recently joined the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, and this book is currently on tour. Coincidentally, it’s published by WaterBrook Press – another group I have done blog tours with. Just loving every minute of it!!

Score Summary

  • Content: 9
  • Writing Style: 9
  • Re-readability: 5
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 5

Content

This is a new author for me. It’s a nice leisurely story. I was kept in suspense, which was good. I usually end up guessing mysteries ahead of time. This book is the third in a series. I will probably try to purchase them, though I prefer not to know endings ahead of time. I do love “back story”. I loved the characters. I enjoyed my time reading, spending time in Summer Breeze.

Writing Style

Easy to read. A lot of adjectives. I know it’s important to set a picture in the first few pages, but it slowed me down, trying to make sure I got all the bits envisioned before proceeding. You never know what pieces are important when reading a mystery.

Re-readability

I’ll keep this around for a while, especially if I end up buying the two predecessors, because I like sets, but I doubt I will feel the need to read this one again in the future. It’s probably one I’d pass on so others can enjoy.

Busy Mommy Scale

This kind of book is better suited for weekends and evenings. Though the chapters weren’t huge, it’s hard to read mysteries in bits and pieces.


About The Author:

Peggy Darty is the award-winning author of twenty-seven books, including two other cozy mysteries set in Summer Breeze, Florida: When the Sandpiper Calls and When Bobbie Sang the Blues. She has worked in film, researched for CBS, and led writing workshops around the country. Darty and her husband call Alabama home but spend a great deal of time in Colorado, Montana, and on Florida’s Emerald Coast.

About The Book:
It’s an ordinary afternoon in Summer Breeze, Florida, when a young, wide-eyed girl steps into I Saw It First, the trash-to-treasure shop Christy Castleman and her Aunt Bobbie have opened. Clutching a jewelry box, Zeffie Adams tells Christy she needs money to pay her grandmother’s medical bills, prompting Christy to offer this curious visitor more than the jewelry box is worth–or so she thinks.

But complicated questions form when Christy rips out the box’s lining and uncovers a clue to a cold case murder mystery from eight years ago. Despite warnings from her family and handsome boyfriend Dan Brockman, Christy decides to do a little detective work of her own. After all, the infamous murder happened close to her grandmother’s farm. How risky could it be to take the jewelry box back to the Strickland plantation and ask around about it?

Soon Christy finds there is more to the small box than someone wants her to know. A jewelry theft. A mansion murder. Dangerous family secrets buried in history. Can Christy convince others to let go of the past before it’s too late?

Book Review – The Next Level – Rating: 9 out of 10

The Next Level CoverThe Next Level: A Parable of Finding Your Place in Life, by David Gregory

How I came to read this book:

This is another WaterBrook Press book. What got my attention on this book was that the author shares the same name as my brother-in-law. The cover art is clean and conveys the content well.

Score Summary

  • Content: 9
  • Writing Style: 10
  • Re-readability: 10
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 7

Content (and potential spoilers…)

I just loved this book. One of the most effective ways to get a point across, in my opinion, is a story. Jesus used this method of teaching all the time. Mr. Gregory does this very effectively in The Next Level.

This is a story about a man who gets a job at a large organization – his only job is to visit each of the five levels in the building, observe their methods, processes and report his findings.

The levels of the organization are essentially levels of spiritual development, with the last level being personal commitment solely to the goals of the organization, with no selfish concern.

As with many of Jesus’ parables, this story has many little points tucked in that left me mulling them around in the back of my mind. The last chapter left me with a lot to think about. In fact, I just reread it now and got something new out of it that I hadn’t before. (I love that in a book!)

Writing Style

A parable. A very good parable. Easy to read. A lot to process.

Re-readability

Definitely added to my “regularly re-read” list.

Busy Mommy Scale

Well, it’s short, but due to its content, I do recommend having time to read a full chapter at a time. Reading it in snippets is possible, but you can potentially miss the flow of the short story that way.


Summary:

Business degree in hand, Logan enters the immense Universal Systems building and is hired as an organizational analyst – a trouble-shooter. His job: evaluate the company’s five divisions, each on a separate level and each operating on startlingly unique principles. Which set of principles is successful? Why is most of the company’s profit generated by one tiny division? What is real profit, anyway? And who is the enigmatic executive that Logan ends up reporting to?

Logan engages in a life-changing pursuit for The Next Level—a fascinating parable that will help readers answer some of life’s most perplexing, vital questions. Joining Logan in evaluating each level’s approach, readers will be inspired to consider the big picture of their own life from an entirely different perspective – one that holds the key to life’s ultimate purpose. No matter where you are now, get ready to embark on your own passionate pursuit of The Next Level.

Author Bio:

David Gregory is the author of the best-selling books Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and A Day with a Perfect Stranger, and coauthor of two nonfiction books. After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion and communications, earning graduate degrees from The University of North Texas and Dallas Theological Seminary. A native Texan, David now lives in Oregon devotes himself to writing full time.

Book Review – Closer Than Your Skin – Rating: 7.75 out of 10

Cover of Book - Closer Than Your SkinCloser Than Your Skin: Unwrapping the Mystery of Intimacy with God, by Susan D. Hill

How I came to read this book:

It’s a new release from WaterBrook Press that I was given the opportunity to review. The cover art was really good. The full title “Closer Than Your Skin: Unwrapping the Mystery of Intimacy with God” is what really grabbed me – enough to sign up for the review.

Score Summary

  • Content: 10
  • Writing Style: 7
  • Re-readability: 9
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 5

Content

This book is a personal testimony. The title and cover led me to believe that it would be more of a self-help/devotional type book, and that had me confused for the first couple of chapters. By the third chapter or so, I had reset my expectations and was often surprised by how much personal impact Ms. Hill’s story had on me.

That being said, her story really demonstrated to me that God really does reach out in impactful ways if we just slow down and listen – and keep listening.  It helped me to see that some of the things that I had just rejected as coincidences very likely were God’s way of letting me know He’s here and with me.   It has really changed my perspective.  The pursuit of God is the only thing that matters.

Writing Style

Memoir style writing. I think I would have been less frustrated with the writing if I had realized this at the time I started the book. There was at least one or two stories that she shared that I kept expecting to have an object lesson or some later significant meaning, but were just events that she felt were impactful in her life. Once I got into the rhythm of her writing, it improved. This also ties in with the lower Busy Mommy Scale – it required a longer attention span than I currently am allowed to have.

Re-readability

I intend to re-read this book at least one more time. Not now. It’s one of those that I have the feeling will find a place and time of importance in my life when I have forgotten how much God wants to talk to me.

Busy Mommy Scale

I have to say that this book isn’t written in “snippets” format. Not that every book should be, of course. On several occasions I tried reading a few paragraphs here and there and all it did was left me frustrated. This book required more concentration than I could give it a lot of the time. I found that I really only could read it during my set morning (with a cup of coffee) devotional time, or right before bed when I could postpone sleep in order to finish a chapter.

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Author-Susan HillAuthor Bio:

Susan Hill is an award-winning feature writer, whose work has appeared in The War Cry and Light & Life. A long-time leader of interdenominational women’s groups, she also serves on the board of the Uganda Orphans Fund, a non-profit Christian relief organization. Susan and her husband, Duncan, have three children and live in Montana.

You can read more about this book here: http://closerthanyourskin.com