A book that will change your mind about spiritual leadership: “Authentic Influencer” by Jonathan Murphy (plus GA, ends 4/6/23)

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Have you ever considered that perhaps the business model for success that we’re so used to from our own culture might not be the way to influence others for Christ? In Authentic Influencer, Jonathan Murphy turns the yardstick we’re used to using to measure success upside down, by examining early church influencer Barnabas. FrontGate Media provided this book for me to read, and it has been both an astounding and encouraging read, filled with solid Biblical teaching. I’m truly delighted to share about this book with you, plus my own experiences with it. And, you can enter to win your own copy!

About Authentic Influencer, from the publisher

You may feel like an ordinary believer, but God has a knack of using ordinary people to accomplish His extraordinary purposes. Authentic Influencer encourages you to walk with Barnabas, learn from God, and shape the world for Jesus Christ— one life at a time.

God’s approach to influencing the world is through His people. People shape people. And yet, many of God’s people spectate from the sidelines unsure of what to do. Authentic Influencer is rooted in principles emerging from the life of God’s choice example in the Scriptures—a man called Barnabas—rather than recycled quotes from corporate leadership works.

Every follower of Jesus can be inspired, instructed, and mobilized to influence the world from right where they are. In fact, it is everyday believers—not just “professional” Christians such as pastors, church leaders, authors, and others—who are specifically tasked by Jesus Himself to bring godly influence to the world. We are all His agents of change, be it shaping one person or a thousand.

Authentic Influencer is a Christian leadership book that:

  • Highlights 15 key principles that emerge from Barnabas that are relevant, practical, and customizable to every believer;
  • Inspires you to shape those around you for Christ;
  • Urges you to practice investing in others through discipleship; and
  • Challenges you with inspiring stories and practical wisdom emerging from biblical truths

By studying the life of Barnabas, we see how he influenced the world for Jesus Christ in practical and doable ways. Become encouraged to shape our world for Jesus— beginning with whoever happens to be close by.”

My thoughts about Authentic Influencer

Conviction. Inspiration. Encouragement. And lastly, appreciation for the perspective and solid Bible teaching author Jonathan Murphy provides in this book.

I honestly had not realized how much popular culture had influenced my own definitions of what a “successful” Christ-follower or church should look like. The term “successful” is certainly a clue! That is such a Western or American idea. Mark 10:45 says about Jesus, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Here, author Jonathan Murphy digs deep into the life of Barnabas, and the remarkable example of servanthood, encouragement, and vision he lived out for us. Really, it is an example not only for us individually, in our own service or ministries, but just as importantly for those in church leadership.

In Authentic Influencer, Murphy uses his own personal experiences, the example set by his father, and stories of men and women of history and of Christendom, and sets those alongside Scripture to show us the kind of lives we can lead that are God-directed, rather than culture-directed. (Although don’t be mistaken, these leadership principles are just as usable in the professional world as they are in our own personal lives or in the church.) I was particularly touched and impacted by his reminders of these crucial principles:

  • To remember that of all those who influence us, our families influence us the most (40% by statistics, a greater number than coaches, bosses, church leaders, or others)
  • That “an inflated sense of one’s self-importance is a dangerous problem for every Christian. It leads to all sorts of sins, including selfish ambition.” (p. 18, Authentic Influencer)
  • That prayer is so much more important that we sometimes think, and Murphy’s amazing examples include not only notable missionaries but his own father

What I loved the most about this book was its truthful and honest, yet deeply encouraging, model. I never felt like Murphy was telling me to do something impossible. Instead, I could seek to follow God’s Word, live out the gifting and opportunities He’s placed before me, and simply BE. Be encouraging and loving. Be tender and kind. Allow others’ gifts to shine.

This is a book I so recommend to all of you (even as I’m continuing to make notes from it and learn myself). What a privilege to read and encounter–and what an example!

Some of my favorite parts

I had so many! (You can probably discern that by seeing my highlighter’s markings and all my Post-It flags on my copy.)

  • Murphy’s remarkable exposition on what salt and light (Jesus’s direction to us in the Sermon on the Mount; Matthew 5:13-16) really are and do
  • Barnabas knew God doesn’t waste wounds. God recycles our failures…Barnabas knew past mistakes could be a tool (like Michaelangelo’s chisel) to chip away at that which blocked future potential.” (p. 147)
  • “Godly influencers who finish well leave a trail of blessed people behind them. They fixate their lives on pouring themselves into others, not on getting more and more stuff. The results speak for themselves.” (p. 160)
  • “When kingdom living occurs by authentic followers of Jesus, the beauty of life under the rule of God is put on display.” (p. 9)

There are so many beautiful moments in this book that really can shape us differently than our culture will, and can help us to become what God wants to make us and use us for. That’s a remarkable and magnificent calling!

The ancient model for the formation of a person–what we call discipleship–was imitatio. It is essentially this: copy the right role model. That’s it! Aspire to be like him or her. Be around the right people. Imitate them. In due time, they rub off on you.

Jonathan Murphy, Authentic Influencer

Where you can purchase Authentic Influencer

Authentic Influencer is available at many booksellers. Just click on the purchase link below. That will take you to the Thomas Nelson Publishers book page; you can link to the bookseller of your choice but also receive some free downloads and a 5-day devotional.

Purchase Authentic Influencer here

We were created to reflect glory, not absorb it. But we have a history of addiction to ourselves.

Jonathan Murphy, Authentic Influencer

And–you can enter to win your own copy!

Blessed Freebies is giving away a copy of Authentic Influencer to one entrant! To enter to win, just click on the highlighted Blessed Freebies giveaway link below. That will take you to their website, where you’ll be able to enter the book giveaway. One winner will be selected on April 7, 2023, so be sure to enter before then!

Enter Blessed Freebies book giveaway here

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions shared here are my own honest ones.

Just in time for Easter: “His Only Son” from Angel Studios, in theaters! (+ tix GA!)

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Are you familiar with Angel Studios? You might recognize their name as the distributor of the exceptional series about Jesus’s life and his disciples, “The Chosen.” Now they’re bringing a remarkable film to theaters this weekend, called “His Only Son.” It is SO well-worth seeing! Keep reading for more about the film, my thoughts on it, where you can buy tickets, plus a ticket giveaway as well! (ends 3/31/23)

About the film

There are so many amazing things I want to share with you about “His Only Son” today.

First, from Angel Studios and the filmmakers:

His Only Son recounts one of the most controversial moments in the Old Testament—when Abraham was commanded by God to sacrifice his son Isaac on the mountain of Moriah. While traveling to the place of the sacrifice, alongside Isaac and two servants, Abraham is flooded with vivid memories from the years he and Sarah spent longing for the son they were promised—the son he must now lay upon the altar.

Angel Studios, about “His Only Son”

Following the model used by “The Chosen” and Angel Studios, the filmmakers of “His Only Son” crowdfunded the proceeds necessary for a 600-theater film premiere and release. However, thanks to donors who participated in the crowdfund, over $1,235,000 was raised! Now, “His Only Son” is showing in 1,200 theaters and counting–with incredibly positive reviews from those who’ve seen it!

My thoughts about “His Only Son”

Years ago, I had the remarkable opportunity to see Rembrandt’s magnificent oil painting, “The Sacrifice of Isaac,” at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. I stood before the painting for several moments; it’s at once breathtaking, dazzling, and heartbreaking. It’s really too much to take in quickly; you have to take time not only to examine it but to feel it with your heart. Up close, you can see the anguish on Abraham’s face. The moment where he’s about to sacrifice–to relinquish–to take the life of his only son. Isaac, the son of promise. Isaac, the son of Sarah and Abraham–the first fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. Isaac, promised; and now, Isaac, taken away?

Of course, we know this particular moment’s conclusion; that as Abraham raised the knife, the angel calls from heaven and stops him. But in the moment Rembrandt captured on his canvas, neither Abraham nor Isaac knows what God will do. Isaac, bound and terrified. Abraham, surely broken in heart. And Rembrandt’s skilled use of chiaroscuro brings light and darkness crashing together, as God intervenes and the knife falls from Abraham’s hand.

Rembrandt - Sacrifice of Isaac - WGA19096
Rembrandt van Rijn,”The Sacrifice of Isaac” Wikimedia Commons

I’m sure that for many of us, this is a gut-wrenching tale. Abraham’s and Sarah’s lives together–well, they really covered it all, didn’t they? Beauty. Calling. Barrenness. God’s promise. Humans trying to bring about God’s promise by their own efforts; only to bring heartbreak to each one of them.

Angel Studios’ “His Only Son” brings Sarah and Abraham to life with incredible compassion; but also, reflecting on the lifetime they had together, and all their years and relationship moments before the child of the promise, Isaac, finally arrived. The actors who portray the couple, plus Hagar, Isaac, Eliezer, and the two servants are incredibly believable. Director David Heller tells the story in a dual timeline fashion, with characters moving along in their current day, and Abraham’s flashbacks of his life; when God intersected it with His promises, and how Abraham and Sarah had to live out all the years between those moments and the moment when FINALLY God brought Isaac. And then–to call him to sacrifice his son?

This film is truly incredible. It’s difficult to watch at times, of course. But Heller brings these characters and story to life so vividly. And the film uses Scripture to paint God’s picture and plan in the most beautiful way.

This is THE film you’ll want to see in theaters this Easter. Keep reading for more on how you can get tickets, and enter to win some!

You can see “His Only Son” in theaters this Easter! Purchase tix here:

This is a hugely meaningful time of year to see this amazing movie, which not only foreshadows Jesus, His crucifixion, and resurrection; but also shows us God’s promises to humans. From Abraham’s perspective, everything God was promising was impossible.

Yet as the angel Gabriel says to Mary thousands of years later, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Follow the link below to purchase tickets for yourself, your family, your friend group or church group, to see this amazing film!

“His Only Son” tickets buy link

And check out the “His Only Son” social media sites as well!

Film website





And, more on Angel Studios and “His Only Son” here!

Enter to win tix to “His Only Son”

Blessed Freebies is giving you a chance to enter and win a pair of tickets to see “His Only Son” in theaters. Winner will be chosen on March 31, 2023. To enter, just click on the Blessed Freebies link below, and follow the instructions.

Blessed Freebies “His Only Son” giveaway entry link

Be blessed, dears! –Wren

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Regardless, all opinions shared here are my own impressions and thoughts, shared freely with you.

“Targeted” ~ a new 3-in-1 book review

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Recently, I had the opportunity to read 3 novellas by 3 of my favorite writers of romantic suspense–all in one book! The book is Targeted, by Lynette Eason, Lynn H. Blackburn, and Natalie Walters. I received a copy of this marvelous read from Revell. Let me tell you my impressions!

About Targeted

In this fantastic collection of romantic suspense thrillers, all in novella form, readers meet 3 strong women who are suddenly, and unexpected, the target of nefarious plots. And three fantastic men come alongside them to help…and get more than they bargained for!

  • In Lynette Eason’s On the Run, FBI agent Daria Nevsky comes home before a trip to find her front door opened…and a would-be kidnapper ready to take her against her will. Where, she doesn’t know; and a wound from a knife fight sends her to the hospital, where she meets Dr. Ryker Donahue. He’s willing to go the extra mile to help her (despite her clearly-qualified abilities and strength). But the two have more danger ahead of them, and to survive, will they need to go it alone?
  • Lynn H. Blackburn’s Deadly Objective introduces readers to physical therapist Emily Dixon. She has been working with the U.S. Vice President’s son, Mason, after an injury sidelined him from golf. The Secret Service agent, Liam Harper, who’s assigned to Mason is one of the few who can deal with the teen’s moods and disrespect. But when an attack begins against the Vice President’s residence, the agents whisk Mason, Emily, and the Vice President’s family and staff to a safe house. But they don’t know who masterminded the attack, or if there’s another one ahead.
  • Caught in the Crosshairs, by Natalie Walters, rounds out the trio with CIA officer Claudia Gallegos. Her efforts overseas in another operation connect her to a Saudi prince who reaches out to her for help. When she arrives, however, she’s too late. And former Army PSYOPS officer Ari Blackman (rumored to be the James Bond of the CIA) has the job of debriefing Claudia. (That doesn’t go well.) But Ari might just have the means to save her life, a little later.

My thoughts about Targeted

I was thrilled to read Targeted–and actually couldn’t put it down once I began reading it! The three stories about three amazing, courageous women–women whom you’d love to be friends with in real life–mix perfectly together to provide readers with a novel-length read.

Although Daria, Emily, and Claudia don’t actually meet each other in the books, they’re all living and working around the same Washington circles: the Secret Service, the FBI, and the CIA. And, they’re quite different, but all appealing in their own ways. Daria (from On the Run) has a horrible family history that still affects choices she makes in the present. Emily (of Deadly Objective) is wary of a romance with any Secret Service agent, because she’s observed that these exceptional people are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect those they serve–and while she admires that fully she doesn’t want the personal risk of falling in love with one of them. And Claudia (Caught in the Crosshairs) has spent her life proving she doesn’t have to do what her mother wants her to do with her life. And she certainly doesn’t trust the so-called playboy who uses his charm and good looks to discover secret information. (Of course, that info saves lives–but Claudia is irritated by that skill and its effect on other women.)

Each of these women is so relatable (yes, even if you’re not an agent yourself, as I am not!). I loved each protagonist. And the men were equally as awesome, in all their different ways. And the suspense! Just fantastic, dangerous, unexpected events in each book target the duos. You will hope for the best, for each of them–both in relationship and in getting out of danger alive!

If you’re fans of each of these authors’ books, you’ll appreciate their characters from their previous works that get woven in here and there. Fun! This book, both in part and in total, is a wonderful read. Pick it up over your holidays if you’ve got some reading time ahead!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All opinions expressed here are my own honest thoughts.

Lifeway Women’s Bible (CSB) (GA CLOSED)

**Congratulations to Elissa J, the winner!**

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Hi dear ones!

I have got the most beautiful Bible to tell you about today. It’s the Lifeway Women’s Bible, and it’s full of questions, articles, ideas, and study helps (and journaling space!) alongside its Scripture pages. I received a copy of this Bible from Momentum Influencer Network. Let me tell you more about it, plus you can enter to win a copy for yourself!

About the Lifeway Women’s Bible

This absolutely gorgeous Bible is just a joy to use. I received the Marigold Leathertouch version of the Lifeway Women’s Bible. It’s housed in a sturdy covered board slipcase. The Bible also comes in other versions, both hard- and soft-covered (Butterscotch Genuine Leather, Camel Cloth-Over-Board, Gray/Mint Leathertouch). The Bible is designed to be perfect for laying flat on a table or open in the reader’s lap. But, there’s so much more beauty inside!

The Lifeway Women’s Bible is a study Bible, a journaling Bible, and a devotional Bible all in one. Wide margins on each page invite you to write your thoughts and what you’re learning as you read. Amazing women who are exceptional Bible teachers offer deeper study moments throughout each book of the Bible (like what it means to be “Set Free from Sin,” by Priscilla Shirer, or Kelly D. King’s character profile on Abigail; “Bowing Down to False Gods,” by Kelly Minter, or the essay and questions designed for reflection on 1 Corinthians 10, by Whitney Capps). Book introductions profile the author, date, “big picture,” summary, key verses, and fascinating timelines of the book’s era and cultural events. There are study lists with verse references, like the Prophecies of Jesus’s Second Coming. And, if that weren’t enough, there’s a plethora of helpful material at the end of the Bible, with reading plans of different lengths (90-day, 1-year, 3-year), a great concordance, and colorful maps.

This is a Bible that you could use for exceptional devotional reading times or even deeper study (whether word study, character study, or just book study). It’s incredibly rich and full of the things a woman needs and wants for her own Bible reading.

My thoughts and experiences with this Bible

I love so much about this Bible! It is so full of study material and ideas I’ve never thought of investigating myself (like the prophecies I mentioned above, of Jesus’s second coming). And each one of these moves me to deeper consideration of the verses or chapters I’m reading; to really engaging myself with what is happening in the story. (As a matter of fact, I was struck as I was reading this Bible recently of what Nebuchadnezzar’s utter destruction of Jerusalem could have looked like, and what the Babylonian soldiers were doing; and what the Jewish people saw and suffered.)

I also love each Bible book’s introduction, which centers the reader squarely in the moment of history when it occurred (those timelines are incredible!), and clearly states its key verses. Those help me in a new and fresh way to prepare my heart for reading and my mind to notice what God is doing there.

Word studies have long been a treasured part of my most-valued Bible study tools. They are so rich in providing us, as people who don’t (probably) speak the original language, with more of what those words in the text meant to the original reader. There are over 25 word studies scattered among the books of this Bible, and I believe that they’ll be as rich for the reader as they have been for me.

I also appreciate how, in this Bible, the way believing women’s voices can speak (in the essays, articles, etc.) to women who want to hear, know, and experience God themselves. We as women make up an enormous part of the Body of Christ. Not greater than male believers, but not less than, either. We are fellow Christians and fellow workers in the kingdom, saved by grace and faith in Jesus. We are mothers, daughters, sisters, employees; single and married, old and young–with all the rich experiences life gives us in these arenas. What a joy to have the fantastic women teachers in this Bible to come alongside us with the Word of Life; understanding us as their audience in their devotionals, essays, and journaling helps. What a gift!

My favorite parts

How to you select a few favorites from a Bible that is so overflowing with the wealth of wisdom, encouragement, and discipleship? It’s hard! But I’m going to share just a few with you here:

  • Jeremiah 31 has long been a favorite of mine, where God says that He is going to “put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people.” (v. 33) Gloria Furman’s words on that encourage me so mightily: “God is going to write His law straight onto human hearts. That is amazing! Every single person who is included in the people of God will truly know Him.” (p. 1140)
  • Years ago, when I’d survived a horrible car wreck, God brought my attention to Psalm 103 while I was recovering in the rehab hospital. “My soul, bless the LORD, and do not forget all His benefits. He forgives all your iniquity; he heals all your diseases. He redeems your life from the Pit; he crowns you with faithful love and compassion. He satisfies you with good things; your youth is renewed like the eagle.” (vv. 2-5) Those verses still move and bless me! In Angela Thomas Pharr’s closer look at that Psalm, she says, “Only God could bring a woman up from the pit, and then give her a crown…The crown is a symbol of redemption. In Psalm 103, the pit is exchanged for a crown.” We’re all rescued from some kind of pit, though, aren’t we? God’s gift of salvation even saves us from the ultimate pit.
  • 2 Timothy will never not be one of my favorite Bible books. It’s Paul’s last letter to his beloved “son,” Timothy, who’s then pastoring a church himself. Humanity, the walk of faith, encouragement; it’s full of things Timothy needed but that we also need. In Ravin McKelvy’s accompanying character profile of Lois and Eunice (Timothy’s granny and mom), we see the value of discipling and passing on the faith to our children, whether they’re our own or little ones we teach or coach. Those women made a remarkable impact on Timothy’s life; one that Paul noticed and commended. What an encouragement!

This Bible is a Bible that you’ll treasure, that you’ll use for years and years. It speaks to us as women, as children of God, as followers of Christ; and as dearly-loved ones. Just what each and every one of us needs!

Use this code to get 50% off the purchase price!

This is the perfect time of year to give a new Bible as a gift–and you can purchase the Lifeway Women’s Bible at half off the regular price now!

Get 50% off the purchase of (1) Lifeway Women’s Bible with code SAVE50LWB only at Lifeway (click on link to go directly to purchase page). Limit 1 Bible at 50% off retail price, any Lifeway Women’s Bible sku. Limit one offer per person. Cannot be stacked with any other offer. Discount code is good through 12/31/22.

And, enter to win your own Lifeway Women’s Bible!

And! I’m thrilled to be able to offer a giveaway, where one FINCHNWREN reader will win a copy of the Lifeway Women’s Bible!

To enter to win the Lifeway Women’s Bible, just click on the link below that says, “Enter here!” That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes on 12/15/22. One entrant will be selected to win. US only, ages 18 and older. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: Many thanks to Lifeway Christian Resources for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

Precious, Christmas-themed PJs–Holy Pals (a review & giveaway, ends 11/20/22)

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Hello darlings!

I have the most wonderful family, faith-filled pajamas to tell you about–and the fantastic company who makes them, Holy Pals. I received the most precious pair for myself, thanks to Holy Pals and FrontGate Media. And you can also enter to win a pair for yourself, or for one of your family members (either parents or kiddos!) These really might be the most charming faith-based clothing items I’ve ever seen.

About Holy Pals

So. I LOVE this company. Their mission is this:

  • Give children the opportunity to draw near to Christ, and to help parents teach their children about their faith.
  • To shine a light on child-focused charities in need of support, raising awareness of their worthy causes and supporting them alongside our customers.

Every pajama sale supports the Littlest Lamb Orphanage, a privately funded orphanage in Egypt. They have built a home for orphaned and at-risk children who have lost parents to death, imprisonment, or abandonment. The Littlest Lamb provides these children with everything they need to thrive – shelter, food, clothing, education and most importantly A FAMILY that loves them. 

George, Jen, Nazareth, and Nile (pictured in the adorable family photos above) want people to know that Jesus is the reason for the season–and the pajama prints sweetly present that focus. Holy Pals has created this clothing to do just that. As they say, “Keeping Jesus the reason for the season in fun matching family Christmas pajamas focused on the true story of Christmas!”

We pray that Jesus is born inside the hearts of all who wear these pajamas. And that they may witness to their family and friends His amazing love.

George, Jen, Nazareth and Nile from Holy Pals

The Holy Pals pajamas:

  • are made from 100% soft and cozy cotton
  • the knit cotton is both very soft and comfortably stretchy
  • are consciously sourced and produced in India
  • are snug-fitting for women and children and loose-fitting for men
  • have a small label stitched on the right arm of each pair of Holy Pals pajamas, with the verse reference of the print
  • are available not only in Christmas prints, but also in prints featuring Easter, Palm Sunday, Esther, Noah, David & Goliath, Jonah, Adam & Even, and more

The Christmas patterns are pictured below, in clockwise starting from top left: Christmas Classic, Starry Night, Joy to the World, and Away in a Manger.

My Holy Pals pajamas experience

I received a pair of Holy Pals pajamas in Christmas Classic, the top left pattern above. I chose the men’s pajamas in size L for myself. I love the women’s pajamas pictured above, but I have had numerous abdominal surgeries over the years and felt that a looser fit might be better for me. I am so happy with my choice!

I wear, most of the time, a women’s M (sizes 8-10), and I am just over 5’7″ tall. But since the men’s pajama bottoms have a drawstring closure (with light elastic) on the waistband, I knew that even if the bottoms were a bit big, I’d be able to pull the drawstring closer and have them fit well. And, while the pajamas were large on me before I washed them, they did shrink just enough to create a perfect fit.

When I launder my own clothes, I *always* wash them in cold water, and I usually hang my shirts and pants to dry after wrinkle-releasing them by running them in the dryer for about 10 minutes. (This is because, over a lifetime of experience, I’ve had sleeves and leg lengths in my clothing end up too short, if I didn’t.) I followed that pattern after turning the pajamas inside out (as recommended) to wash. After the wrinkle release, I hung both the top and the pants to dry.

When I tried them on the next day, there had been a slight shrinkage, which is not surprising since the knit fabric is 100% cotton. But that really just helped them to size perfectly for my frame, in both length, width, and circumference. The quality fabric looked as rich and lovely after the washing as it did before.

Also, since I’m a woman and these are men’s pajamas, I wanted to mention the fly. There is a button halfway between the top and the bottom of the fly, so they felt modest and didn’t have an open gap. I didn’t think of that to begin with, but I appreciated it when I wore them!

…and my final impressions

First, the comfort. Interestingly, I noticed that ALL my pajamas and nightgowns (both winter and summer) are 100% cotton, and the Holy Pals pjs fit right into that preference. I gravitate towards cotton for sleepwear because it’s just so comfortable and doesn’t get too hot. The Holy Pals cotton is smooth, stretches in all directions, and is wonderfully comfortable on the skin. The fit was great as well. The men’s top fit loosely but really nicely, and the bottoms were so comfortable; cozy, but not too tight or constraining anywhere. I guess I felt a bit like Goldilocks–everything was “just right!”

Second, the look. The printed fabric is SO darling. The cartoon drawings of the Christmas Classic design have a plethora of Nativity personages (Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the Three Kings, an angel, and even animals–a camel, a donkey, and a sheep!). Baby Jesus even has an ichthus fish on his swaddling clothes! It is joyful and just so pleasing on the eyes and to the spirit. Really, each one of the designs is wonderful and will provide tons of opportunities to talk with children about Jesus and our spiritual heritage as believers. And, they’ll provide the most adorable family Christmas jammie pics!

Third, the craftsmanship. I have a high appreciation for exceptional seams and tailoring work (just ask me about my mom’s hand-sewn creations!). So, when I see beautiful craftsmanship in clothing, I just value it all the more. The seams, buttonholes, hems, and plackets are superbly sewn. (The men’s pj’s white shirt placket even has the Christmas Classic fabric facing out!) The pajamas are just incredibly well-made and should last for many years to come.

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ ”

Matthew 19:14, The Holy Bible

Fourth, the company. I just love their vision for providing a quality product for families that will provide comfort, great fit, and beautiful moments for spiritual training. I so appreciate their donations to the orphanage in Egypt. How wonderful that their products can go to little ones whom Jesus describes as precious and loved.

Where you can purchase Holy Pals pajamas for your family–and even get a discount!

Holy Pals is making it possible for you to purchase these darling pajamas for your family–and they’re providing you with a 10% discount as well!

You can get this discount by using this link:

Holy Pals MELANIE10 discount

Or by applying this code when you purchase: MELANIE10 at the Holy Pals website.

And, enter to win your own pair!

You can enter to win a pair of pjs from Holy Pals! To enter, just click on the link below. That will take you to the Blessed Freebies giveaway hosting page, where you can enter to win. Just follow the directions on the website.

Enter to win a pair of Holy Pals pjs!

Where to find Holy Pals online

Holy Pals website

Holy Pals Facebook

Holy Pals Instagram

Thanks for letting me share Holy Pals with you. I so recommend their lovely pajamas–and their company as well. Check them out, and don’t forget to use the purchase link above to get 10% off!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received these pajamas from Holy Pals. All opinions expressed here are my own honest ones.

“The Danger with Diamonds” ~ a book review & giveaway (ends 10/24/22)

#sponsor #partner

Are you a fan of exciting spy thrillers? Then, the book I just finished will delight you, just as it did me! I received a copy of The Danger with Diamonds from the authors, and it kept me turning the pages one after another until I reached the conclusion!

The Danger With Diamonds JustRead Blog + Review Tour Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Danger with Diamonds by Traci Hunter Abramson & Sian Ann Bessey, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


The Danger with Diamonds

Title: The Danger with Diamonds Series: Falcon Point Suspense #1 Authors: Traci Hunter Abramson & Sian Ann Bessey Publisher: Covenant Communications Release Date: October 10, 2022 Genre: Clean & Wholesome Romantic Suspense

Some secrets are worth keeping. Others are not.

When Lars Hendriks arranges to meet Marit Jansen in Vienna, he is hoping their friendship will blossom into romance. What he doesn’t expect is a surprise visit from his cousin Cole or the loose diamonds he brings with him.

As a CIA operative, Cole Bridger is used to uncertainty, but when his work takes him back to Vienna, he looks forward to reconnecting with Isabelle Roberts, the fellow agent he dated briefly before duty took him away from Austria. Unfortunately, his silence over the last few months has created a chasm that he can’t cross without help. He barely takes a step toward repairing the damaged relationship when a brazen jewel heist seemingly links Cole, Lars, Marit, and Isabelle to the crime. The group is drawn into a deadly mystery, and once again, the treasures of Falcon Point are threatened. It doesn’t take long for them to realize they have stumbled upon something far bigger and more dangerous than a simple robbery. And someone on the inside knows it.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Traci Hunter Abramson Sian Bessy

Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas for suspense novels as well as the skills needed to survive her children’s teenage years. She has gone on to write a number of bestselling suspense novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists. She considers shoes an optional accessory which became evident when she won her first three Whitney Awards in 2013 (Code Word), 2014 (Deep Cover), and 2016 (Failsafe.) Safe House won Whitney Awards for both the mystery/suspense category as well as 2017 Adult Novel of the Year. She added two additional awards in 2019 (Mistaken Reality – best mystery/suspense and Sanctuary – Adult Novel of the Year.) She currently lives in Virginia with her family where she enjoys sports, travel, writing, and recently retired from coaching high school swimming.

Connect with Traci by visiting traciabramson.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.

Sian Ann Bessey was born in Cambridge, England, but grew up on the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales. She left her homeland to attend university in the U.S. and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in English. She began her writing career as a student, publishing several magazine articles while still in college. Since then she has published historical romance and romantic suspense novels, along with a variety of children’s books. She is a USA Today best selling author, a Foreward Reviews Book of the Year finalist, and a Whitney Award finalist. Although Sian doesn’t have the opportunity to speak Welsh very often anymore, she can still wrap her tongue around, “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.” She loves to travel and experience other cultures, but when she’s home, her favorite activities are spending time with her family, cooking, and reading.

Connect with Sian by visiting sianannbessey.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card, a signed copy of The Danger of Diamonds, and book-themed swag (including stickers, bookmark, and postcard).

The Danger with Diamonds JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight October 17, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on October 24, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Here’s what I thought of The Danger with Diamonds

Pink diamonds.

A kidnapping, terror attacks, thefts of priceless jewels. (Because there are more of those than just the gorgeous diamonds.)

Oh, and did I mention the CIA?

Co-authors Traci Hunter Abramson and Sian Ann Bessey wrote a fantastic and suspenseful novel set in lovely European capital Vienna, with interesting protagonists (and villains). Cousins Cole and Lars meet in Vienna when their family’s priceless heirloom jewels are stolen during a photography session. But Cole’s life is not what it seems. He’s employed by the U.S. Embassy (yet, unknown to his family and friends, works for the CIA), and his CIA non-official-cover friend Isabelle (who’s a Vienna banker during bankers’ hours) is also living the secret agent double life. However, their skills are incredibly handy when the precious jewels are stolen. For Cole wonders whether the jewels are connected with those he took into evidence when he helped to recover a kidnapped agent in Budapest.

Now: we have jewels, thefts, a kidnapping. Lars’ love interest (at least, he hopes) and fellow Dutch citizen Marit is the perfect person to complete their group. She is a high fashion model; and she’s incredibly observant as well. So now the pursuit of the stolen jewels can begin. The only concern that Cole and Isabelle have is that Marit and Lars have no idea that they’re working with Central Intelligence Agency personnel. But they hope that the criminals, whoever they are, will also miss that fact.

The Danger with Diamonds is a wonderful thriller with bits of clean romance thrown in as well. It is a fun and exciting read (pink diamonds! a ball! undercover CIA work!) that does include some minimal gun violence. But it’s a wonderful read. If you enjoy spy fiction set in gorgeous European capitals, you’ll love this book!


Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“If Mama Ain’t Happy” ~ a review of Rachel Norman’s new book (plus giveaway, ends 10/24/22)

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Friends, I have a wonderful new book to share with you! I was so blessed to receive a copy of Rachel Norman’s fantastic book for moms called If Mama Ain’t Happy. Let me share more about the book and how it impacted me. Plus, there’s a giveaway you can enter to win your own copy!

From the publisher:

If Mama Ain’t Happy
Why minding healthy boundaries is good for your whole family
Rachel used to be a mom who spent her days weary, anxious, and guilt laden. She had five kids in five years, lived on three different continents, and then was blindsided by a devastating health diagnosis. Neglecting her own physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional needs for so long—in an effort to be a selfless mother—had left her utterly depleted. And physically unwell. Then she began asking a question she’d never considered before: Could it be that taking good care of myself is not actually selfish, but maybe, just maybe, something a responsible adult does? 

In this countercultural book, Rachel takes some weight off your shoulders by:

  • Offering hands-on, rubber-meets-the-road strategies to cultivate a life you aren’t trying to constantly escape
  • Teaching you to discover and claim your own limits and boundaries so you can be a calm, resilient, peaceful mother
  • Showing you how to shape your daily life and values around the few things that really matter, and how to let the rest go

If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. But when mama is at peace? Everyone benefits!

How If Mama Ain’t Happy touched me

What is your mom life journey looking like these days? I personally am still in a learning curve (even though my boy is in college!). I remember all too well the cartoon tiger Hobbes’ words to his best kid friend Calvin in the cartoon series bearing their names: “Live and don’t learn, that’s us.” I hate to admit it, but sometimes I learn more from the disasters or debacles than I do from the smooth moments of life. I’ve not been skilled in either setting boundaries or margin, which has brought me some hard lessons. And because those weren’t hard enough on their own, my self-talk made them even harder with the condemnation that we as Christian women seem all too ready to heap upon ourselves.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a kind, generous-hearted, wise friend or mentor who could help you get past those hard things, and guide you in making different choices with your time, your life, and your people (both little and big) so that your inner and outer lives could be smoother?

Well, Rachel Norman provides exactly that in her immensely helpful If Mama Ain’t Happy. She has been there! And even though she’s not with the reader in person, it feels as though she is. She openly shares what she’s learned as the mom of 5, with an incredibly (and she would say overly) busy life, when she was diagnosed with cancer. She survived it; and she learned so much about how to live a different life with principles of peace, wise choices, and boundaries, and in her book shares those with us. Or, as she says in chapter 1:

If my own daily life seemed too much to bear, something had to give. I was going to believe the promises of God’s Word. I was going to pay attention to my mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual boundaries.

Rachel Norman

Why are boundaries important? Simply because, as humans, we only can give or do so much. (I missed that memo.) We have our own limits, and setting boundaries on only doing what we *can* do, and caring for ourselves, enables us to care for our families. Not to mention staying healthy in all the ways that make us human (in our minds, bodies, wills, emotions, and relationships). This not only models healthy adulthood for our kids, but enables us to be present with them as good parents who are not always on the edge of falling into a stress pit. Rachel discusses how to put those boundaries into practice in these life areas:

  • Our own rules and standards
  • Our friends
  • Our emotions
  • Our own daily care
  • Our responsibilities
  • Our home
  • and last but not least, our own lives

In chapter 4 and those following, Rachel offers thoughtful questions to help readers engage further with each topic, and to examine their lives to see where and how healthful change can happen.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this book contained life-changing counsel and wisdom for me; plus, plans I could shape for my own life to bring health and happiness to, as poet Mary Oliver said, my “one wild and precious life.” For that’s really what we are given, right? One beautiful and precious life of our own; and the loved ones that we’ll interact with in that life.

Rachel Norman’s book gave me rich and wonderful ideas for how I can embrace my own limits even as I live my life as fully as I can. These ideas *seem* simple even as they’re profound; but they are DOABLE. And have the potential to bring glorious change and beauty to our lives. I recommend to you, from the bottom of my heart, her beautiful If Mama Ain’t Happy.

Some of my favorite moments in the book

I have to share some of Rachel’s quotes that were pivotal for me. (I’ve no doubt you’d find many yourself!) Here are some of my favorites:

  • “Have you tried to be perfect, excel at everything, and live outside your limits for most of your life, hoping that this would make you worthy or acceptable? Did it work?…No?…Now is a good time to find a more realistic and gracious motivation strategy that doesn’t make you hate your life.” (p. 93)
  • “As you try to navigate all your emotions, stop beating yourself up…The next time you’re tempted to put yourself down, try treating yourself with the same gentleness you’d offer a friend instead. It might just change your life.” (pp. 128-129)
  • “I realized I was experienced at abandoning my own needs and ignoring my own limits.” (p. 145)
  • “But there are likely many areas of life in which you can, with some thought, prayer, and intention, stop going against your limits and boundaries.” (p. 164)
  • “Once you realize that you can craft a life that is a blessing to you and those around you, you will start to see the things driving you crazy as flags indicating where your boundaries are being crossed. Next you can begin investigating these flags and start solving problems, because you realize that these problems are your responsibility….And then, guided by knowledge and the wisdom of the Lord, you can begin to act like a person who is balancing…who can steer away from potholes and go down easier paths. You can recognize your boundary lines and work to stay within them.” (p. 165)

Again, if you are that mom (like Rachel, like me, and like so many others) who has carried too many loads and is exhausted; who wants to learn how to create healthy boundaries; who wants to love your family and be able to enjoy precious and dear moments with them, unmarred by constant unnecessary stress; who wants to experience real rest–this book is for you, my friend. May it bless you and bring you peace.

How you can enter to win a copy of If Mama Ain’t Happy

You can enter to win a copy of the fabulous If Mama Ain’t Happy from BlessedFreebies! Just click on the pink link below. That will take you to the giveaway page. Giveaway ends on October 24, 2022. Best wishes!

Enter to win the giveaway for If Mama Ain’t Happy here!

Where you can find Rachel Norman on socials

You can follow Rachel Norman on her social media accounts:






Where you can purchase If Mama Ain’t Happy

You can purchase If Mama Ain’t Happy from Rachel Norman’s website. You’ll be able to visit lots of booksellers’ book links that way (on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook, and more). Just click on the purchase link below!

Purchase here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received this book from the author. All opinions shared here are my own honest ones.

“Dangerous Beauty” from Melissa Koslin ~ a review

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I LOVE Melissa Koslin’s books. And when I received the opportunity to review her latest novel from Revell Reads, I jumped at the opportunity. And, Dangerous Beauty was everything I hoped it would be!

A brief summary

Liliana, with tragedy behind her in her home country of Mexico, has been taken captive by human traffickers who are prepared to sell her to a high bidder. (Yes. Sell her.) When she manages to elude them for moments at a convenience store, an American citizen sees her plight and subdues her captors, calling the police. But since she is across the border and into the U.S. illegally (through no fault of her own), the police are prepared to remand her into custody.

Until her rescuer, Meric Toledan, offers to marry her.

What I saw as I read Dangerous Beauty

Strength. Courage. Faithfulness. And, yes, beauty.

When you see the gorgeous cover of this book, you know that there is a lovely woman at the heart of this story. In fact, she might even be a fairy tale princess. But when you look more closely, you see that she’s not wearing shoes. And that in the distance, there are city skyscrapers. So perhaps…not.

Actually, Liliana does indeed possess all the best qualities of the fanciful stories we might have read as children. She is brave. Loyal. She is a fighter. And while she’s terrified and in an awful situation that’s not of her own making, she is determined to learn, and to adjust.

Meric is almost surprised to find himself married (although he was the one doing the asking). But he too is determined. He’s going to make sure that Liliana can heal from her ordeal. That she can defend herself. He is honest and strong. Is it any surprise that the two begin to be drawn to each other?

Before them both are battles. Of both building their own individual strength, and of opening their wounded hearts. But beyond those are battles both treacherous and sinister: of the trafficking of women, to those who plan to use and abuse them.

And, my thoughts

Are you, like I am, noticing more fiction that has human trafficking, and the suffering caused by it, at its heart? I have said this before, and I still think it is true: I believe that God wants us to notice it, and to realize that there are precious ones made in His own image who are trapped and at the mercy of others, who are themselves not merciful.

Dangerous Beauty is a fantastic book. Its heroine, and its hero, drew me in and caused me to root for them–and to hope that somehow, they’d obtain their own love story. (And yes. There were a LOT of moments that made me worry that evil might win, and that they’d somehow lose that chance.) And if it’s not outright evil trying to separate them, it might be their own human brokenness.

I wholeheartedly recommend Dangerous Beauty to you. It reminds us that there IS beauty out there in the world, even if it’s trapped in evil. And that there is a Rescuer who inspires humans to rescue others. This might just be the best Melissa Koslin book yet (even if I am still quite partial to the four-legged character in her earlier book, Never Miss). You won’t regret reading it; I think you’ll fall in love with Liliana and Meric too!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All opinions expressed here are my own honest ones.

Jennifer Moore’s wonderful “Healing Hazel” ~ & you can enter to win in the JustRead Blog & Review Tour! (Giveaway closes 9/27/22)

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Healing Hazel JustRead Blog + Review Tour Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Healing Hazel by Jennifer Moore, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Healing Hazel

Title: Healing Hazel Series: The Blue Orchid Society #3 Author: Jennifer Moore Publisher: Covenant Communications Release Date: September 8, 2022 Genre: Clean & Wholesome Romance / Historical / Victorian

Hazel Thornton has one great ambition: to help the sick and wounded as a nurse. But that dream can never become a reality. After a devastating childhood trauma, she has spent her life battling fits of panic that make it impossible to finish her studies. Everything changes, however, when a trip to Spain takes a perilous turn that derails her plans to visit her father for Christmas and immediately plunges her into the dangers of a brutal war.

With single-minded focus, she springs into action to help her fellow travelers. To ensure their continued care, she begins work at a Spanish hospital alongside Dr. Jim Jackson, a man whose only emotion seems to be wariness of his new assistant. Armed with gifts of support from each of her dearest friends, a group that dubs themselves the Blue Orchid Society, Hazel embarks on a journey of hope and healing to battle the demons of her past with the help of the doctor who has captured her heart.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub


Jennifer Moore

Jennifer Moore lives with one husband and four sons who produce heaps of laundry and laughter. She earned a BA from the University of Utah in Linguistics, which she uses mostly for Jeopardy. A reader of history and romance, she loves traveling, tall ships, scented candles, and watching cake decorating videos. When she’s not driving carpool, writing, or helping with homework, she’ll usually be found playing tennis.

Connect with Jennifer by visiting authorjmoore.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


(1) winner will receive a signed copy of Healing Hazel, bookmark, blue orchid pin, themed stickers, and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Healing Hazel JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight September 20, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 27, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Gift card open internationally. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

About Healing Hazel

Ah, the Victorian era.

The royal love story of Victoria and Albert. The fashion beginning of the white wedding dress, worn as legend has it first by Queen Victoria. But also–an era where restrictive corsets were the order of the day for women. When those with mental disorders were housed in the hospital nicknamed “Bedlam.” When the London Season was the way for well-brought-up young women to meet and marry, as they were displayed not as individuals to know but as prizes to be won.

But author Jennifer Moore’s members of The Blue Orchid Society (Dahlia, Vivian, Elizabeth, Sophronia, and, or course, Hazel) meet each other at a ball (in the library) and discover not only kindred spirits in each other, but gifts and skills that aren’t readily recognized as “appropriate” in their society. With devoted friendship and support, they encourage each other to pursue their unusual dreams.

Hazel’s dream was to become a nurse. Unfortunately, a condition related to a terrifying experience she endured as a tiny child interfered with her abilities to attend lectures, and what we’d describe now as panic attacks ended her schooling. Hazel’s friends say goodbye to her as she and a companion head instead to the Canary Islands, where she’ll meet her father, Major General Thornton, for a holiday over Christmas. But his unexpected military engagement interferes with their meeting; and it’s on the return to England that Hazel’s adventure truly begins.

My thoughts

Jennifer Moore’s wonderful heroine and her quite unusual adventure engaged me thoroughly! Hazel is plagued by panic attacks (which I can’t imagine would have gone over well in the Victorian era, with treatment at Bedlam something many feared, and rightfully so). All our current understanding of PTSD, which I readily admit is growing all the time, is so vastly different than the Victorians’ was. Yet here is Hazel, a faithful, loving, and strong young woman, who is barred from pursuing her dream simply because of her inability to be in crowded, small rooms or lecture halls.

But Hazel is thrown into nursing adjacent to the battlegrounds of the Carlist (or Spanish Civil) Wars in Spain, literally. When she and those she’s traveling with (along with others) are injured, she readily jumps in to help with what knowledge she possesses. And later, she is able to assist (at the grumblings of Dr. Jim) at the hospital where injured soldiers are brought. She has a good foundation of nursing care, and, as you can imagine, learns immensely more as she serves at the hospital.

She is wonderful–as is the clean romance that develops! I love Moore’s characters and their development, and the story that they find themselves in. I have read few books about the Spanish Civil War, and appreciated what I learned here. Most of all, I was moved and encouraged by Hazel and her friends of The Blue Orchid Society. Like Moore, the female friends of my life have been so dear and my source of support, love, and encouragement through the years (and NOT that I don’t adore my husband and son!). I loved seeing that happen with Hazel and her friends. Because of that, more of Jennifer Moore’s books are now most definitely on my reading list. Don’t miss Healing Hazel, for a loving look at a bright young woman who learns she CAN fulfill her dreams, despite society’s and her own health’s strictures. Just marvelous.

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Fantastic new cyber-suspense novel: Elizabeth Goddard’s “Critical Alliance” (a Revell Reads review)

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I DO love a great suspense book–with a little romance! Elizabeth Goddard’s newest, book 3 in the Rocky Mountain Courage series, has all of that and more. Revell Reads was kind enough to send me a copy of this wonderful book. And I won’t be giving anything away–except how fantastic it was–if I tell you I read it all in one day!

Okay. I have to give a LITTLE away…to let you know why you’ll want to read this.

About Critical Alliance

Years ago, bright and talented Mackenzie Hanson wandered a little too far into the hacking world…and negatively altered her potential future (and her family relationships) as a result. She was able to recover to a degree, and managed to create a career as a university professor, teaching cybersecurity. (Having broken the law when she was a juvenile enabled her court records to be sealed.) But when she spots her former fellow hacker Julian, who hands her a mysterious card–just before a terrible accident–at a carnival while on a date with a fellow faculty member, her professional life suddenly didn’t seem to matter that much. All Mackenzie wanted was to get home to Montana to see her family. Even though that family sort of informally disowned her when she made her foray into illegal activities.

But when Mackenzie makes it home, she has some terrible discoveries to make, about her family and her family business. Now not only Hanstech, founded by her deceased father, is under attack; but she and her siblings are as well. Will Mackenzie’s exceptional hacking skills save Hanstech in time; or could they target her in the eyes of the feds? Or, worse, expose her to the deadly person behind the attacks? Diplomatic Security Services agent Alex Knight, who’s on mandated “vacation” following an op gone bad, might be Mackenzie’s only hope. If even he can help her.

Drones. Hackers. A broken family. And danger. Maybe even the brightest and strongest won’t be able to overcome these.

My thoughts

Well–I told you earlier that I read Critical Alliance in one day!

I am a huge fan of police procedurals and thrillers. And Elizabeth Goddard captivated me immediately with her slightly flawed hacker turned college professor Mackenzie. A woman who’d made an enormous series of mistakes as a teen admitted her errors, turned over evidence to the FBI, and sought to redeem herself. Only to be rejected by the siblings I’m sure she’d hoped would support her on her new road. So alone, except for God and her faith, she crafted a different future. Yet Mackenzie’s love for her family caused her to run back home immediately to help them when she discovered they were in danger.

And then, there’s Alex. The sparks of attraction between the former hacker and the special agent are enormous. But Alex has mistakes–grave ones–in his own past. I loved seeing how he puts Mackenzie’s safety above his attraction to her, and how he drops everything to help her and try to keep her alive.

The combination of cybersecurity, video-gaming, drones, and people who may or may not be who you think they are kept me turning page after page as quickly as I could. The only thing I’m sorry about after finishing Critical Alliance is that it is the last book in a series of three!

Pick up a copy of Critical Alliance for yourself. You’ll love Mackenzie and Alex; and then, like me, you’ll want to grab books 1 & 2 of the Rocky Mountain Courage series. (Just FYI: they’re called Present Danger and Deadly Target. And you’ll meet some of their characters in Critical Alliance!)

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All opinions are my own.