Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Perspective: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Pretty much everyone has heard these verses at least once.  We use them for everything: bookmarks, bumper stickers, jewelry, wedding vows, etc.  I've even heard a few parents use them on their kids when they want them to be nicer to their siblings. But have we ever really thought about them?  I've heard them over and over for years, but you know how sometimes people can tell you something, but it doesn't really click until you realize it for yourself?  That happened to me recently.  I was reading these verses as part of my Bible reading for the day and I decided to look up what some of the definitions were.  Obviously, patience is a duh, as is kind, and rude, but what about the rest?  I knew the basics, but what did they really mean?  Here's what I found:
Envy: A feeling of discontent caused by wanting something this is possessed by or is achieved by someone else.
Boast: To talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one's achievements, possessions, or abilities.
Proud: Feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one's own achievements, qualities, or possessions . . .
Anger: A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.

Okay, so we have self, self, and more self.  All of those focus inward.  They concentrate on me. What I want, what I need, what I've done, how I feel.  Anyone else getting tired of thinking and talking about me?  So I added a word that wasn't actually mentioned in the scripture: selfless.  The definition of selfless is, "concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own; unselfish."  That's how I want to be: selfless.
For so long I've looked at these verses from a legalistic angle.  Okay, "love is patient," I should be patient.  "Love is kind," be kind.  Love doesn't envy, or boast, and it isn't prideful.  Okay, so those are no-nos too.  That didn't work out too well for me (I know, big shocker, right?), because I failed.  Every. Single. Day.  I was proud, or I got angry, or I lost my patience, or I wasn't kind, and on and on.  I couldn't take that every day.  I was getting fed up with trying to master it, until I realized something.  Those verses aren't meant to be a list of rules and requirements, one mistake, you're done.  No, they're a reminder.  This is what love is supposed to look like.  This is what Jesus' love looks like.  He is patient, He is kind, He doesn't not envy or boast, He is not proud.  He is not rude, self-seeking, or easily angered.  He keeps no record of wrongs.  He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  His love never fails.
We can't love like that without help.  We can't truly love until we know the One who created love and even then, we'll still fail.  But when we do, we have hope that He will forgive us and continue to teach and refine us every day. 
Father God, please forgive me for trying to do everything on my own.  Please forgive me for leaving You, the creator of love, out of the equation.  Thank You for opening my eyes and showing me what I've been missing for so long.  Teach me how to love as You love, with selflessness and joy.  Refine me, remove my impurities and sins, and shape me so that people will see You in me.  Amen.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My Review: A Match of Wits

A Match of Wits, Jen Turano's newest book, is a wonderful summer read!  It is the fourth book in her Ladies of Distinction series and follows Agatha Watson and Zayne Beckett, who were in the previous books!
After his departure from New York two years ago to meet up with his almost-fiancée, Zayne Beckett is the last person Agatha Watson wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Quite pathetically bedraggled, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and sent back East to his family. Although she no longer has feelings for him, Agatha realizes, by hook or by crook, she'll have to be the one to get the obstinate man home.

Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere and is prepared to drag his heels all the way home... until he finds himself slipping back into the familiar banter of his former friendship with Agatha. Once they arrive in New York, Zayne realizes Agatha's determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies, and he hopes to repay her help with some help of his own. When she rebuffs all his attempts to prove himself a knight in shining armor, the lengths to which they'll go to win this battle of wills lead to some memorable antics.

Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth--until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?

About the Author:
Jen Turano, author of three books and one novella, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles.  She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado.  Learn more at
(Description from Amazon, italics mine.  Author bio from CBD and cover photo from Deeper Shopping.  All rights reserved.)
My Review: 5 stars
Another one for the keeper shelf!
A Match of Wits is the fourth book in Jen Turano’s Ladies of Distinction series. I was so excited for Agatha and Zayne to finally get their book! I have adored them since A Change of Fortune and fell more in love with each successive book. I couldn’t wait to see them finally get their “happily ever after” and am very happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed in the least. This book was wonderful!
With her now trademark humor, Ms. Turano weaves a hilarious and touching story of two friends finally finding true love. I love how each book in the series can stand alone, but that Ms. Turano also neatly ties them together. The dialogue, as usual, was wonderful, as were the descriptions. She had me laughing from the very beginning. I could just picture every scene, and poor Zayne, he never stood a chance against Agatha and her unfortunate accidents. I actually felt bad for him, at first, then I was trying too hard to stifle my laughter to be sympathetic. Anyone who has read her books knows, it’s almost impossible to not laugh out loud! This book picks up two years after A Talent for Trouble ends and Agatha has been sent West in search of stories and to hopefully keep her out of trouble - though trouble seems to follow her, or maybe she attracts it, I’m not sure which. Either way, it adds up to a wonderful adventure with an intriguing mystery thrown in for good measure. 
Agatha Watson, as you have probably already figured out, is the heroine in this book. She has been one of my favorite characters since book one, so I loved getting to know her even better. She is witty, strong, determined, compassionate, and willing to do anything to help a friend. She also has a strong faith in God and is determined to help anyone and everything that crosses her path. I loved Matilda, a traveling companion she collects along the way. 
Zayne Beckett has had a hard time the last two years and when he runs across Agatha, he’s less than enthused with her plan to “help” him. Especially since it includes returning to New York and leaving his rather lucrative business venture. But when that venture goes up in flames, literally, at Agatha’s hand (accidentally, of course), he ends up agreeing to return. I also loved Zayne, of course. He is as strong and determined as Agatha, but also sweet, kind, and a little dense when it comes to women. He wants to be Agatha’s knight in shining armor, but learns that isn’t necessary. I loved this quote, “ . . . she’d never expected him to be her knight in shining armor. Well, maybe she expected it just a bit, but she was perfectly content for them to share that armor.” - Zayne Beckett, page 329. I thought that summed up both of them, rather well.
Another thing I distinctly enjoyed was Agatha and Zayne’s relationship. They have been friends for years and it shows in how they treat each other. I loved their banter and how they didn’t really have any qualms about saying exactly what the other needed to hear, whether they actually wanted to hear it or not. It also makes it a little awkward for Zayne, since he’s only ever thought of Agatha as a friend, but now he’s struggling with feelings he doesn’t understand. But that was also endearing. I actually really liked the fact that he was so inept in dealing with women. It made him seem more realistic than all the heroes who seem to know exactly what to say and do.
The secondary characters were excellent as well. I loved Mr. Blackheart and Drusilla, Agatha’s overworked protectors. They add just the right amount of common sense to Agatha’s escapades, while also going along with her. I really enjoyed Mr. Blackheart’s advice and caring to both Agatha and Zayne. They both play matchmaker, with interesting results. Piper is back, too, which was great! She is her usual precocious self, while dishing out equal helpings of sass and advice to Zayne.
I also really appreciated the spiritual side of the book. It isn’t overly obvious, but rather weaves throughout the story. In each of Jen’s books, I’m always very impressed with how she presents it. It’s subtle in that the characters don’t typically have extensive conversations about God or the Bible, but she always leads the characters right to the point where they meet God and learn something new about Him. Her books always have a very meaningful message that touches the heart.
I honestly cannot think of anything of anything I didn’t care for in this book, which is a rarity for me. I immensely enjoyed everything. From the dialogue, to the descriptions, to the characters, to their relationships, to even the ending - which almost made me cry - it was wonderful! I loved how she ended the book, which is intended to be the last one in the series (I’m hoping for a novella or two). She brought back the ladies from each of the previous books, even Charlotte from the novella Gentleman of her Dreams, and tied everything together very sweetly. I’m sorry to see the series end, though I’m very excited to meet the characters she comes up with next!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.   

Are you a fan of novels set in the Gilded Age?  Have you ready any of Jen Turano's books?  If so, do you have a favorite character?

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed my review!  If you're interested in learning more about the book, or perhaps purchasing copy, here are a few links to get you started. 


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

Also, if you haven't read any of Jen's books and would like to try them out, she has a novella, Gentleman of Her Dreams for FREE on all eBook formats.



Monday, July 7, 2014

My Review: Here to Stay

Here to Stay is Melissa Tagg's newest book, after Made to Last.  It follows Blake "Blaze" Hunziker, as he returns home to confront his past and prove that he has what it takes to stay. (May I add that I just love the cover?  It's gorgeous!) 
After playing nomad for five years, Blake Hunziker has finally had enough of adventure. Not sure what reception he'll get from everyone back in Whisper Shore, he's stunned at not only a warm welcome from his hometown but also a job offer. The job is his if he can successfully pull off the annual Christmas Festival. If only he knew the first thing about coordinating events. . .
If there's one thing Autumn Kingsley knows, it's Whisper Shore. For years, she's been stuck running her family's inn when all she wants is to see the world. Now she has a visit scheduled from a potential investor who could take over the inn, as well as a dream job offer in Paris. But with just two weeks to whip the inn into shape, her chance at escape is a long shot.
The Hunzikers and the Kingsleys may not get along, but Blake knows Autumn's the only one who can help him. She agrees to a trade--she'll help with the Festival and he'll help with inn repairs. But what was meant to be a simple deal quickly becomes much more than that when the guy who's done running away joins forces with the girl who can't wait to leave.

About the Author:
Melissa Tagg, author of Made to Last and Here to Stay, is a former reporter and total Iowa girl. In addition to her homeless ministry day job, she's also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she's not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever (not that she's biased), watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next story. She's passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings. Melissa blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at
(Book description and author bio from Amazon, italics mine.  Cover photo from Deeper Shopping.  All rights reserved.)

 My review: 5 stars
Outstanding new book from Melissa Tagg!
Here to Stay is Melissa Tagg’s sophomore novel, after Made to Last. It follows Blake “Blaze” Hunziker, who we met in the previous book. I was very interested in reading this book when I first heard about it, even though I still hadn’t read Made to Last - after finally reading it, I was so excited! I loved Blake in the first book and couldn’t wait for him to get his “Happily-Ever After.”
Melissa instantly drew me into the story and brought the town of Whisper Shore to life! I loved the old-time feel to it, kind of like it belonged to another era, and all the quirky characters she created breathed life into a town I can only see in my imagination. The descriptions were wonderful and she has almost poetic and definitely quote-worthy dialogue, which was undoubtedly my favorite part. She had me laughing out loud and on the edge of tears in turn. The characters are amazing, too! They leapt off the page and right into my heart. They are wonderfully down-to-Earth and when the book ended it felt as though I was saying “goodbye” to new friends. I will definitely be “visiting” them again!
Autumn Kingsley is the heroine in Here to Stay and Blake’s leading lady. I thought she was perfect for him, family rivalry aside. She brought out the best in him, as any good relationship should. I connected with her at once and fell more in love with her with every page I read. She’s the kind of lady you’d love to have for a best-friend. Autumn longs for a life of adventure, the kind her father always told her stories about, and a chance to experience life outside the small town she’s always lived in. But first she feels compelled to take care of her family’s legacy and her employees/friends. In her desire for freedom she faces many “what-ifs,” and questions about what the right move is. I love this quote from her sister, Ava: “Maybe the real freedom in in letting go of the “what-ifs.” Choosing hopeful expectation over worry that life is going to shortchange you.” - Ava Kingsley, page 374
Blake Hunziker is the hero and I must confess that I’ve loved him since Made to Last - I might even like him just a teensy-tiny bit more than Matthew Knox, who was the hero in that book (sorry Melissa, I know he’s your favorite). He is funny, sweet, strong, and crazy. He is the kind of fictional character that makes you wish he was real, but if he was, he’d be taken anyway. We knew from meeting him in Made to Last that he is haunted by something in his past and is still hurting from it. He goes back home to Whisper Shore, searching for forgiveness and a place to belong. While he is still the funny, joke cracking guy, there is a new depth to him. We see a new side of him, a deeper insight and understanding of who he is, and why. I loved getting to know this new Blake, who’s a little more serious, but still takes life as it comes, grinning most of the way.
I really enjoyed Blake and Autumn’s relationship. It was very sweet and easy. It started out as a friendship and slowly changed to something more. Nothing felt stilted or forced and I loved their banter as they joked and just enjoyed the moments.
The spiritual side of the book was as well done as everything else. Melissa doesn’t overwhelm the story, or take away from anything, but rather carefully weaves it in. It flows smoothly throughout the novel, sometimes in the background, sometimes the forefront, but always there. The story wouldn’t have been the same without it.
Autumn feels forgotten by God and wonders if He still notices her. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t felt that way at some point. I loved the moment when she finally realizes that He’d be there for her all along. Blake, on the other hand, carries an enormous burden of guilt and feels unworthy, like he has disappointed everyone, including God. He is also struggling with a grief that he hasn’t faced, hasn’t allow to heal. I really appreciated how she handles his grief, shining a light on his battle with it, but not in any way glorifying it. Instead when he ultimately has it out with God, we are left with a wonderful conversation with his dad and a reminder that God will heal any wounds, if we only ask. One of my favorite quotes from this interaction is, “In my most broken state, God saw me. I believe He even grieved with me. And then He started putting me back together, slowly, piece by piece. His heartbeat pulsing inside me when my own was broken.” - Linus Hunziker, page 325
This is where I typically have my complaints about a book, but I honestly don’t have any. I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about it, which is a bit of a rarity for me. I actually loved everything about this book, from the characters, to the dialogue, to the descriptions that brought everything to life. From the sweet romance, to the even sweeter sigh-worthy ending, it is a wonderful book.
I highly recommend Here to Stay if you enjoy fun books with quirky characters, sweet romance, and happy endings.
I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network for my honest opinion, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
*All quotes were used with permission from the author and publisher.

Congratulations!  You made it to the end of my review!  Thank you, if you took the time to read all of that.  Yes, I do realize that it's really long, but if you've been to my blog more than once, you've probably figured out by now that I have a tendency to be long winded, especially when it comes to talking about books (one of my favorite subjects). :)
I hope you enjoyed my review!  If you're interested in checking out other reviews, or if perhaps my long-windedness has led you to consider purchasing a copy of the book, here are a few links to get you going. 


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

Thanks again!  Please leave a comment!  I love hearing from fellow book addicts (and if that title doesn't fit you yet, hang around.  Maybe I'll rub off on you)!

Friday, July 4, 2014

My Review: Operation Zulu Redemption: Overkill - The Beginning

Operation Zulu Redemption is a new serial novelization by Ronie Kendig!  Overkill - The Beginning is filled with her trademark fast paced suspense and engaging characters! 
They never should’ve existed. Now they don’t. In the aftermath of their first highly successful op, the first all-female special ops team, known as Zulu, discovered that innocent civilians—women and children—died at their hands. Zulu was set up to take the devastating fall. Fearing for their lives, the Zulu team vanished. With new identities and spread across the globe, they live in relative but isolated peace—yet still haunted by the past. Terrified of being discovered. Five years after that horrific night, they’ve begun to hope they might be safe and the tragedy forgotten. Until two of them are murdered.

Start the mission on July 4th with Operation Zulu Redemption: Overkill--The Beginning. This FREE episode drops you into the rapid-fire action where the women of Zulu are trying to figure out who is targeting them. Who really set Zulu up to take the fall years ago? Are they one and the same? Now the remaining members of Zulu have no choice but to regroup and stop their enemy--before it's too late. And Overkill is just the beginning...

About the author:
Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with four children and a Maltese Menace in Northern Virginia. Author and speaker, Ronie, loves engaging readers through her Rapid-Fire Fiction. Ronie can be found at, on Facebook (, Twitter (@roniekendig), and Goodreads (
(Description from Amazon, author bio copied from Raptor 6, and cover photo from Barnes & Noble.  All rights reserved.)

My review: 5 stars
Excited to find out what happens next!
This is the first installment in Ronie Kendig’s new serial novelization, Operation Zulu Redemption. I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I’ve never read a serial novel before, but I’m a huge fan of Ronie’s books and was confident that whatever it ended up being, I would enjoy it. I’m very happy to say that I was right and I loved it!
“The Beginning” is a fitting title for this “episode,“ as we get a little bit of back story for each of the ladies and find out what happens that pulls them out of their new lives. I was a little surprised at how quickly I became attached to Team Zulu. Despite the fact that this episode is very short, I felt I knew the ladies rather well and was rooting for them from the very first pages. I was also very taken with Sam, David, Boone, and Trace, and am very interested to learn more about them in the coming episodes.
Though it confused me a little bit at first, I found I really enjoyed getting to see the story from several different points of view, including the man in charge and someone who seems to be a possible “villain” in the coming episodes. The writing, as always, was wonderful and I was quickly drawn into the story. The descriptions were great and I really appreciated having explanations of who is who and what the military terms and acronyms mean. I referred back to them several times until I got caught up on everything.
The one of things about Ronie’s books that I can always count on is that they are addicting. I reached the end of the episode and was trying to figure out what had happened! I felt like someone had handed me a really great, suspenseful book, let me read a couple chapters then took it back! I was upset for a couple minutes, then had to admire how she ended the episode. It was left in such a way that you won’t be able to resist reading the rest of the series, because you’ll be dying to know what happens to the characters. I can’t wait to find out what’s next for Team Zulu!
I highly recommend Operation Zulu if you enjoy military suspense!
I received a free copy from the publisher for my honest opinion, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you will consider reading Ronie's new series.  If you want to check it out and find out how great it is for yourself, Overkill is free for the KindleNookKobo, and probably any other ereaders you can think of.  Be forewarned though: you will most likely become addicted to her books!  :)
I hope you're having a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Review: Firewall

Firewall, DiAnn Mills newest book, is the first in the FBI: Houston series.  It is a great book, full of edge-of-your-seat suspense and a mystery that keeps you guessing! 
In a matter of minutes, Taryn Young's happily ever after turn into her waking nightmare.
After a whirlwind romance, software developer Taryn Young is en route to a dream honeymoon when a bomb decimates the airport terminal, killing dozens.  Injured, she awakens in the hospital to discover her husband is missing, and they're both considered prime suspects in the attack.  Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn't who he appears to be.
Agent Grayson Hall's first priority is to catch those responsible for the bombing.  Despite the evidence point to Taryn's guilt, Grayson's gut tells him she's innocent . . . and in danger.  With a possible mole in the FBI office, Grayson and Taryn fight to stay ahead of her pursuers, especially when they learn what the bombers are really after: Taryn's latest high-security software project.  In the wrong hands, it could leave the US vulnerable to massive attacks.
With national security on the line, Taryn and Grayson must unravel the plot and find the architect before their firewall is breached.
About the author:
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author whose novels have won Christy Awards and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, and Carol Award contests.  When she's not writing, DiAnn is busy teaching and doing research through the FBI Citizens Academy.  She and her husband live in Houston, Texas.  Visit her online at
(Book description and author bio copied from back cover.  Cover photo from Deeper Shopping.  All rights reserved.)
My Review: 4.5 stars
Another excellent book from DiAnn Mills!
I’ve loved all of DiAnn Mills books and this one is no exception. Firewall is the first book in the FBI: Houston series and I can’t wait to read the others (though, I know I have to)! With her trademark suspense and romance, DiAnn weaves a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
This book is filled with twists and turns that keep you guessing until the very end. I was constantly finding suspects and eliminating them, trying to guess “whodunnit.” DiAnn manages to keep the story one step ahead, which I appreciated. If it’s too obvious, then there’s not much to hold my attention and this book definitely did that! I didn’t want to put it down!
I immensely enjoyed Taryn’s character. She is strong, determined, and willing to do whatever it takes to find out the who and why of the attack. She is a very believable character, with many of her actions and reactions realistic and completely fitting of the scenario. I liked seeing her come to faith and learn to trust God. Though it starts as a last resort, she continues to cling to God and finds what her friend had told her about Him to be true. Taryn is the kind of person I think a lot of people hope they will be, should they ever face a crisis like this. She gets knocked down, but quickly gets back up and keeps fighting. She refuses to give up, even with the odds continually stacked against her.
Grayson was a great hero! He is also strong and determined, which has him knocking heads with Taryn a time or two. He is also kind while working a job that would make many hard and walled off. I liked his personality and his faith. He stands strong for what he believes and doesn’t back down from what he knows is right.
Though I loved both of them, Joe may have been my favorite. He’s a great secondary character, well rounded and the book wouldn’t have been the same without him. He is a little gruff, but sweet too, and just as stubborn as Grayson. He is also the voice of reason when Grayson gets too caught up on one particular aspect. I loved his relationship with Taryn, how he kept her grounded and lifted her up when she would have given in.
My only complaint about Firewall is that I couldn’t get as attached to the characters as I usually do. With most of DiAnn’s books, I almost miss the characters when I’m through, but these didn’t tug my heart as much. I think most of it was that I was so focused on the case and where the story was going to lead, the characters became second to that. This book is definitely more suspense than romance, which is not at all a bad thing, I just wish DiAnn had focused on the characters a little more and maybe made the story a little less complex.
I highly recommend this book if you enjoy mysteries and suspense!
I received an Advanced Reading Copy from the author for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you for stopping by!  I really and truly value the time you chose to spend reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed my review and will come by again sometime!  Have a wonderful day! :)

If you are interested in reading other reviews, or perhaps purchasing a copy of the book, here are a few links to help you out. 


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Christian Book

My Review: In the Field of Grace

In the Field of Grace is the newest book from Christy Award-winning author, Tessa Afshar!  It is a wonderfully written novel based on Ruth and Boaz from the Bible.  May I add, without sounding too biased (which I fully admit to being), that I absolutely love the cover?  :)
Two women. Alone. With no provision.  Can a woman who has lost everything, except her beloved mother, find hope in a foreign land?
With lost love, a barren womb, and an empty future, Ruth leaves her home after losing her husband to follow the woman she has grown to love as a true parent - her husband's mother, Naomi.
Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's love.  She is reduced to gathering leftovers once the harvester's have finished collecting grain from the field - a job only for the loewest of the low - to keep them from starvation. 
But God has other plans for Ruth's life.
Ruth is shocked to find the owner of the field - one of the wealthiest and most honored men of Judah - is showing her favor.  He tells himself he is only being kind to his cousin Naomi's chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better.

Obstacles.  Heartache.  Withered dreams.  How can God forge love, passion, and new hope between two such different people?

About the author:
Tessa Afshar was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Awards 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. Her book, Harvest of Rubies was nominated for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category and World Magazine chose Harvest of Rubies as one of four notable books of the year. Her novel, Harvest of Gold was nominated for the 2014 Christy Award. Tessa was born in Iran to a nominally Muslim family, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last fifteen years in full-time Christian service in New England.
(author bio from Amazon, description coped from back cover, and cover photo from Deeper Shopping.  All rights reserved.)

My Review: 5 stars
Amazing new book from Tessa Afshar! In the Field of Grace is the newest book by Tessa Afshar. I am a huge fan of hers, since discovering her books last year, so I was very excited when I first heard about this book and have been anticipating its release for months. There are so many things I want to say about it, but I will try to limit them so this review doesn’t end up rivaling the novel in length.
First off, I loved it! This is fictional telling of the story of Boaz and Ruth from the Bible, and while I know a lot of it is solely a product of the author’s imagination, it seemed so real. The depth of research that obviously went into it astounds me. I could tell from the very beginning that Ms. Afshar worked very hard to make it as accurate as possible, while also finding the balance of adding depth and details that brought everything to life. A few times, when I managed to put down the book, I had to remind myself when and where I was. The story drew me in that much. The characters, the descriptions, the historical details, the scripture that was chosen for the beginning of each chapter, all of it flowed together seamlessly into an amazing novel.
Ruth is obviously one of the protagonists in this book and as soon as I’m done here, I’m going to go read the book of Ruth again, because now I am fascinated and see her story in a different light. I’m actually not sure what to say about her. She is so strong, caring, loving, faithful, and a dozen other adjectives. I fell in love with her from the first. She comes to life on the pages and Tessa makes her feel so genuine. She has spent the formative years of her life feeling as though she is unloved and a burden, so when faced with love from Naomi and her God, she struggled to believe that He would want someone like her (a Moabite). I loved following her journey, because as the book progresses, we see her grow and change. She learns about the Lord mostly from Naomi and Boaz, but also begins to understand truths about Him on her own. Throughout the book we see small changes in her as she discovers new things about Him.

Boaz was wonderfully realistic, too. He is a bit of an anomaly in the world of fiction, I think. Maybe because he is so raw and we see so many sides of him. He is strong, yet gentle. Kind and caring, but also firm and a bit cunning when need be. He, like Ruth, has a strong faith which grows and changes throughout the story. I loved getting to know them both, since I never really put a lot of thought into either of them - what they must have been like, who they were aside from what little we know about them, what they faced, etc. I’m not sure I will ever be able to read the book of Ruth again without thinking of them as they are portrayed in this novel.
I always love the faith Tessa weaves into her stories. Obviously, they are fictional retellings of Biblical characters and faith being a big part is pretty much a must, but she includes it with a finesse that challenges and strengthens my own faith. I can’t really pick out one specific spiritual truth this book focuses on, because there are several. From the analogy of the lamb, to the olive trees, to Ruth learning to accept whatever God brings her way with joy, to Boaz learning surrender, every part of it touched me.
I love this quote, from Dinah to Boaz regarding surrender, “Surrender means you accept God’s will, whatever He may choose. But you lean into hope. Into expectation. Not into discouragement. When God asks us to surrender, He only wants our full trust. His will is not that the worst should come to pass.” - Dinah, page 249  Tessa has a way of sharing each part that makes it applicable and real to those that read her books (at least, I hope it’s not just me).

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book is Ruth and Boaz’s relationship. It doesn’t move quickly and starts out more as a friendship than anything else, which I enjoyed. There is, of course, the requisite misunderstanding between them, which fortunately only lasts a chapter or two, and leads into one of my favorite scenes in the whole book. If you’ve ever read the book of Ruth, then you know that she is very bold and goes to him on the threshing floor while he is sleeping and lies down at his feet. I love what he says to her here. He reminds her that she is so very precious to God and that the trials she has faced do not detract from that fact. He shows her she is loved, not for anything she has done or will do, but just because she is.
I honestly only have one complaint about this book and that is that epilogue was a little long and didn’t make very much sense, until I read the author’s notes afterward. Then I was able to appreciate what she intended it for.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys wonderful historical fiction that brings the Bible, and the people in it, to life (but it is no way intended to replace actually reading the Bible)!
I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book from the author for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
*Please note, the quotation is used with permission from the author.  It is from an Advanced Reading Copy of the book and may be slightly different in the final edition. 

Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog!  I hope you enjoyed my review and will consider reading the book!  It really is as good as all my gushing says.  :)
If you are interested in checking out other reviews (so you know it's not just my opinion) or maybe supporting the author by purchasing the book, here are a few links to help you out:


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

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I hope you have a wonderful day!