Monday, July 28, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


"It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey where we share what we're reading and our goals for the week.

What I Read Last Week over the Last Three Weeks ...


What I'm Reading Now ...


What I Hope to Read Next ...

It's hard to say! I've been reading a little of this and that and tons of books from my own shelves and the library this summer. I'm going with more of a "whatever strikes my fancy" way of reading this summer, and it's been great!

That's what I'm hoping to read this week. What are you reading?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

World Watch List | India

Open Doors USA
[ World Watch List Challenge #28 India ]
Pray for India

India

Five years ago, Pastor Rasiya Damore was illiterate and unable to read his Bible. Then he joined an Open Doors sponsored Adult Literacy program, becoming one of 350 adults in the Jhabua district whose life has been powerfully impacted by learning how to read, write, and do basic math. Since 2009, the Adult Literacy Program has held evening classes in 10 mostly Christian villages throughout the Jhabua district. The district is known for having the lowest literacy rate in the state an appalling 36.9%, compared with India's national average of 65%.

Once Rasiya learned to read and write, he began to teach his church congregation the importance of education. In this region, it is common for illiterate people to be taken advantage of. "Those who take out loans from local contractors are often deceived and paid a smaller amount than what is written on the receipt," Rasiya explains. According to the literacy coordinator of this project, a special emphasis is placed on teaching the students how to count money so they will be able to verify their wages.

After completing the program, Rasiya went on to become a volunteer in the literacy training centers, where approximately 150 students are now registered in classes.

Since the establishment of this program, the community has seen many positive changes. Approximately 60% of the students entered the government literacy exam in the spring of 2013 to qualify for the third grade board exams. Many of these were poor children who dropped out of school to care for cattle and tend to their families' farms. Students also included adults who had never attended school: pastors, lay leaders, men, women and young people.

According to the literacy coordinator, the best part of volunteering with this project is seeing the students learn to read the Bible. "Most of all it is a joy to see our students read the Word of God in their own language, which so far they had only heard!"

*Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes

 
Share This Story India
Map of India

Quick Facts on India

Rank: 28
Previous Rank: 31
Leader: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Government: Federal Republic
Religion: Hinduism
Population: 1.3 billion (59 million Christians)
Source of persecution: Religious militancy
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble (Review)

Seagrass Pier
by Colleen Coble
The Hope Beach series, Book 3
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romantic Suspense
Available July 1, 2014
Thomas Nelson
336 pages



About the Book
Seagrass Pier is the perfect place for Elin to hide from a killer, but an old love's ability to see her true heart could be her undoing.

When Elin Summerall contracted a virus that damaged her heart, she was lucky to get a transplant. At first it was an overwhelmingly good gift. But then she began to remember a murder she never witnessed—the murder of her heart's donor.

When she reveals what she knows to a disbelieving police officer, she's exposed as a witness and must flee for her life to a remote cottage on Hope Beach.

Fearing what might happen to her daughter and mother, she asks Marc Everton for help, though she hasn't seen him since the night her father died. She remembers that night with shame, and she never told Marc about their daughter.

Marc is less than convinced that Elin's "memories" are real. He is blindsided by the news about his daughter, but for her sake, he agrees to help. Then he begins to notice the small ways Elin is different. She now likes coffee, her musical tastes have changed, and she's ditched her jeans and sneakers for dresses and high heels.

As Elin tries to stay alive and bring the killer to justice, she begins to doubt her own identity. Did her new heart save her life only to cause her to lose herself? And if she's really changed, why does her new heart love Marc just as much as her old one did?

Buy a copy  |  Read an excerpt  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
Every time I pick up a novel by Colleen Coble I know I'm going to read a great book! Seagrass Pier definitely met that definition and was a great addition to The Hope Beach series.

Okay. Let me just go ahead and say that I LOVED Elin and Marc. They were a great couple—with plenty of conflict and romantic tension and sweet moments. I definitely felt bad for Marc when he learns a life-changing truth. (Not cool, Elin!) And things seemed to pile on Elin at times. However, it was refreshing to see how she grew as she had to deal with so many challenges. I enjoyed reading all the ups and downs ... which made for an interesting story.

The suspense didn't seem quite as suspenseful as some of Coble's other novels, but there was still plenty going on that had me scratching my head and flipping the pages. Overall, I truly enjoyed this story and recommend it to anyone looking for a mental escape as the summer winds down. [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
RITA-finalist Colleen Coble is the author of several best-selling romantic suspense novels, including Tidewater Inn, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series.
Colleen Coble Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A June Bride by Marybeth Whalen (Review)

A June Bride
by Marybeth Whalen
A Year of Weddings Novella, Book 7
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available June 2014
Zondervan
120 pages

About the Book
It takes a reality TV show for Wynne to realize love isn't just a game.

Wynne Hardy never thought she'd get engaged on a reality TV show, but when she met Andy on The Rejection Connection, the two of them hit it off. Now he's asked her to marry him, much to the public's delight and fascination. They're all set to wed on live TV in a seaside ceremony at the height of the wedding season.

But just as Wynne thinks all her dreams are coming true, her ex-boyfriend walks back into her life at the worst possible time. Steve broke her heart years ago, and she's still sorting through her feelings for him. Her heart isn't as clear as her head that it's past time to move on-even though she's engaged to Andy.

At a local TV talk show appearance, Wynne meets Meredith, who won another reality TV show-Marathon Mom-proving herself nothing short of a superhero. As Wynne's beach wedding plans spin out of control, Meredith offers to help, unknowingly stepping on Wynne's secret feelings . . . and exposing some secrets Meredith has been keeping to herself. Can these two reality stars get real about their feelings? Will Wynne go through with her televised wedding and be the perfect June bride the network is looking for?

Buy a copy  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
I've really enjoyed this series so far, but honestly, this wasn't my favorite in the series. Let's start with the good points first, though. The premise of the book was super intriguing to this reality show fan. (Anyone else want to admit they still watch The Bachelor?!) So of course, I was interested in a book that gives the story of what happens once the cameras are "off." The thought of planning a wedding to be on TV nearly caused me to break out in hives, so I definitely felt empathy for Wynne.

Unfortunately, though, I felt like something was missing. This novella seemed much shorter than the others (perhaps only my perception?), and I felt like it was more of a short story than a true novella. I even wondered if this was a follow-up to another book from the author. I felt like there was a lot of "telling" which isn't my favorite style of story-telling. I also had a hard time connecting with the characters. I understood the conflict, but I didn't truly care about it because I didn't really care about the people involved. 

Personally, this seems like a great start of a novel but not really a complete novella. However, I am glad that I read it. It was a nice diversion on the way home from the beach. [3 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Zondervan in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of six children. She is the cofounder of She Reads, an online book club focused on spotlighting the best in women's fiction. Marybeth is the author of The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, The Guest Book, and The Wishing Tree. Marybeth and her family live in North Carolina.

Marybeth Whalen Online

Sunday, July 20, 2014

World Watch List | Oman

Open Doors USA
[ World Watch List Challenge #27 Oman ]
Pray for Oman
 

Quick Facts on Oman

Rank: 27
Previous Rank: 22
Leader: Sultan Qaboos
Government: Absolute monarchy
Religion: Islam
Population: 3 million (35,000 Christians)
Source of persecution: Islamic extremism/Dictatorial paranoia
  Map of Oman

Oman

There has been no visible change in recent years in the situation for Christians in Oman. Oman scores 56 points on the World Watch List 2014, the same score as in 2013.

The main persecution dynamics in Oman are Islamic extremism and Totalitarian paranoia.

Islam is the state religion, and legislation is based on Islamic law. All public school curriculums include instruction in Islam. Apostasy is not a criminal offense, but it is not respected by the legal system either, which assumes that all citizens are Muslims. The very concept of changing one’s faith as an Omani citizen is an abomination. A convert faces difficulties under the Personal Status and Family Legal Code, which prohibits a father from having custody over his children if he leaves Islam. Deportation of foreign workers (because of their Christian activities) continues.

Because of Totalitarian paranoia, Christians face restrictions when their activities are considered a threat to the ruling power. Almost all Christians are expatriates. Pray that the few indigenous Christians will find ways to meet for fellowship, in spite of the ongoing persecution.

*Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes

 
Share This Story Oman
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Your gift goes to Bible and gospel development, women and children advancement, and Christian community restoration.
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Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Blast & Giveaway | The Husband Maker by Karey White


The Husband Maker
by Karey White
The Husband Maker series, Book 1
Available June 2014
256 pages

About the Book
Charlotte’s a girl with nicknames. She may not love being called Charles or Chuck, but the hardest nickname to take is the one she was given in college, the one that’s followed her now for too many years. They call her “the husband maker” and sadly, it fits. Every guy she’s dated since high school has become his next girlfriend’s husband. Not hers. Not three girlfriends down the road. The next. Is she doing something wrong or is she just cursed?

When Kyle Aldsworth enters the picture and sweeps her off her feet, Charlotte begins to hope that maybe she’s not destined to be single forever. A senator’s son with political aspirations of his own, Kyle’s wealthy, handsome, and in need of a wife. Will Charlotte be disappointed yet again, or will she finally be able to make a husband for herself?

Buy a copy for $3.99  |  Find out what others think


About the Author
Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

Karey White Online
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Giveaway
The author is giving away a $75 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash to one lucky winner. Giveaway ends August 8, 2014. Enter through the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
*** Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Inspired Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  ***

Sunday, July 13, 2014

World Watch List | Jordan

Open Doors USA
[ World Watch List Challenge #26 Jordan ]
Pray for Jordan

Jordan

This year, Jordan ranks 26th on the World Watch List (WWL), versus 34th last year. It is the highest position Jordan has had in the history of the WWL. The rise is explained mainly by a further deterioration in the situation of religious freedom, especially for Muslim Background Believers (MBBs).

The main persecution engine in Jordan is Islamic extremism. Tribal antagonism also plays a role, as Christians are surrounded by the continuing influence of age-old norms and values that have been shaped in a tribal context. Tribal antagonism can come in the form of traditional religion, and in the case of Jordan, this is clearly mixed with Islam. Drivers of these persecution engines are government officials, ethnic group leaders, non-Christian religious leaders, fanatical movements, ordinary people and (extended) family.

Tensions between moderate and Islamic extremist in Jordanian society are on the rise, under influence of the Arab Uprisings. The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, emboldened by their increased influence in the region, have hijacked the demands for more reforms to serve their agenda: to transform Jordan into an Islamic state. Jordan has been spared from major terrorist attacks, the latest dating back to 2005. However, there have been attempts to attack Western diplomats and shopping centers in the city of Amman in the recent past. Jihadists from abroad, who are heading for Syria, are crossing Jordan. Also, hundreds of Jordanian jihadists are reportedly fighting against Assad in Syria, together with other Islamic extremists from all parts of the world.

*Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes

 
Share This Story Jordan
Map of Jordan

Quick Facts on Jordan

Rank: 26
Previous Rank: 34
Leader: King Abdullah II
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Religion: Islam
Population: 6.7 million (172,000 Christians)
Source of persecution: Islamic extremism
Pray for Jordan Share Jordan's Plight Give to Help Persecuted Christians

Pray

Christians in Jordan need your prayers. Post a prayer or word of encouragement.

Share

Be a voice for persecuted Christians in Jordan. Share their stories and make others aware of their plight

Give

Help us in assisting Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.
Donate to help the persecuted church

Donate to help the persecuted church

Your gift goes to Bible and gospel development, women and children advancement, and Christian community restoration.
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