Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Source of Hope

This week has completely gotten away from me, apparently. Here I sit on a Wednesday night, realizing that I have yet to post any sort of a blog article, which I like to have done and ready for you on Monday mornings.

I'm also realizing that I haven't even thought about what ought to be in this week's post.

You know what I do when I don't know what to do?

I go back to God's Word.

How could I not? That's my Source for Truth. Hope. Comfort. Direction. Guidance. Love. Faith. Encouragement.

So let's revisit some verses from earlier this year. Enjoy! And please share some favorites of your own in the comments.

Monday, August 17, 2020

The Gentleman Spy by Erica Vetsch {review + book tour + giveaway}

This past weekend, I experienced the joy of reading yet another Erica Vetsch book. I've read several of her titles now, and this new one has only built up my admiration of her style of writing. I can hardly wait for the upcoming novella and the following full-length novel, both additions to the Serendipity & Secrets series.

Here is my review, as it appears on Goodreads, NetGalley, and Amazon.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Read with Audra and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Prostitution is a reality for many people. It’s scandalous and not spoken of in most of society. But what would happen if a loved one was caught up in it due to circumstances they could not control? How personal do you suppose it would become then? And to what ends would you go to help this loved one, and others, escape from that dark and miserable life, to show them that they have more worth than the “fortune” and abuse they earn in that fashion?

The Gentleman Spy by Erica Vetsch answers those questions for one of its characters. The prostitution was never shown on-page, for which I was grateful, and it was clearly shown as a life not to be desired and for the sin it is. What the beautiful writing in this book did was showcase the leading character’s heart for rescuing the brokenhearted and lost souls who got caught up in a rough life. I can’t help but think that’s how Jesus sees all of us before we’re saved. That we’re caught up in our own sins, whatever they might be, and that He’s got a huge heart to rescue us all.

This book brought to mind Rahab from the book of Joshua in the Bible. She was a prostitute who was saved for her bravery in saving the spies when they were sought after by people who wanted to kill them. It’s clear she changed her lifestyle after that, because she joined the Israelites in their journey deeper into the Promised Land and later became a member of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. The redemption stories Jesus has in store for each of us are amazing, and I pray we freely step onto that path that will lead us to the best sort of healing in Him.

Marcus’ and Charlotte’s story is one of refining. It’s about learning to let God purify your heart and redeem your soul. It’s got such depth of heart that I can’t help but gasp to think about it. As tough as this story was to read at times—because it broke my heart in a dozen ways and opened my eyes further to the lost and aching souls around me—it was refreshing and uplifting at the same time. The journey down Redemption Road is unique to everyone, and it’s always encouraging to me to read fiction that leaves me with the impression that discovering the rich love of God goes fathoms deeper than any of us could ever comprehend. I’ve personally found that to be true, and it’s wonderful to see that others are on similar journeys of discovery.

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y'Barbo {book review}

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. These are my honest thoughts.


Jack the Ripper has fascinated and baffled people for nearly a hundred fifty years. It’s no surprise that this serial killer was featured in a book in the True Colors series about true crime stories.

This was a pretty good story and kept me intrigued most of the time. The reason I lowered my rating from four stars to three was that history was altered simply for the sake of creating a “better” or “more picturesque” setting. The snowy, slushy scenes that created such beautiful atmosphere during which two of the murders took place? Yeah, that snow happened the year before the murders in real life, which was freely admitted in the author’s note at the end of the book. This is a huge pet peeve for me. If the details were researchable, why alter them? Having lived in Texas my whole life, I’m very familiar with how rare snow is in this state. Since it’s so rare, when we get a good snowfall, it’s memorable to the point of remembering which year it was or how old we were when we got it. It’s disappointing to me that this was disregarded for the sake of a story.

The speculation about who might or might not have been Jack the Ripper or the Midnight Assassin did not bother me. These crimes have been long speculated (for nearly a century and a half), so it makes sense that any author writing about the crimes, whether fiction or non, would have to speculate at least a bit, along with doing a ton of research, to make the finale of an unsolved crime believable, even if it ends on an unfinished note (due to the crimes’ having never been solved in real life). This speculation was handled really well and in a realistic way.

I liked that the leading lady was a royal working undercover. Y’all, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that done in a book before! Maybe there are others out there, and I would be interested in hearing your recommendations, because I found this incredibly fun and highly entertaining.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

A Dash of Hope {Focus on Jesus}

Who needs a dash of hope heading into the weekend?

All week, I've come back to these verses. They've inspired me and lifted up my heart when I felt overwhelmed by the negativity of being in pain more often than not recently. These verses have helped me hold on to hope. I pray they do the same for you.

If you're like me, you'll want to read these beauties out loud and pray they soak into the walls of your heart as you do.

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

7. "Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.
8. We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair;
9. we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.
10. We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
11. For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus' life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh.
12. So death works in us, but life in you.
13. And since we have the same spirit of faith in keeping with what is written, 'I believed, therefore I spoke,' we also believe, and therefore speak.
14. We know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and present us with you.
15. Indeed, everything is for your benefit, so that grace, extended through more and more people, may cause thanksgiving to increase to God's glory.
16. Therefore, we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.
17. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.
18. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

What Bible verses have given you hope lately?