Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Hope Lies Ahead

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About the Book

Book:  Hope Lies Ahead

Author: James & Geoffrey Banks

Genre:  Christian non-fiction, Christian living, family and relationships

Release Date: April 2020

HopeLiesAhead_Cover.inddNo prodigal is beyond the reach of God

 Every inch of my body was in pain and my skin was crawling. I couldn’t think straight or even form coherent sentences . . . How did I end up like this? –Geoffrey Banks

Geoff’s situation seemed hopeless: a heroin addict going through a nightmarish detox on the floor of an overpopulated jail cell. He had made a mess of his life.

His parents felt their son slipping away. They loved him so much and felt so powerless. And so they prayed—through the hurt, the questions, the frustrations. And through it all, God walked with them.

Hope Lies Ahead shares Geoff’s prodigal journey and James’s perspective as his father. Each man writes his own story and candidly addresses the spiritual and practical challenges families with prodigals face. As someone who loves a prodigal, you’ll know you are not alone and that there is hope!

 

Click here to get your copy

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The Prodigal Son is one of my favorite parables in the Bible.  It illustrates how much God truly loves us and wants us to have a deep and meaningful relationship with God.  Because I am the younger sister and have the experience of watching my older sister make some poor choices while I was a teenager, I took the safer path of being a “good” girl.

I remember watching how my mother, especially, reacted to my sister’s choices.  So this real-life story of Dr. James Banks and his son Geoffrey caught my attention.  Perhaps because we call North Carolina home and so do these authors, I also had an appreciation for this family.

Told from both Dr. Banks and Geoffrey’s sides this book kept my attention.  I love how it illustrates how a prodigal child can overcome things such as addiction.  It also illustrates how we have to be willing to keep praying for those we believe may be lost since God always knows where His children are.  So check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Authors

James Banks_2017

Dr. James Banks is the author of Prayers for Prodigals, Prayers for Your Children, Praying the Prayers of the Bible, Praying Together, and Praying with Jesus. Through books, blog posts, and magazine articles, he regularly encourages people to pray. Dr. Banks has been a pastor and church planter for more than twenty-five years and lives with his wife, Cari, in Durham, North Carolina. They have two adult children.

 

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Geoffrey Banks serves as the high school coordinator at Port City Community Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. He loves reaching students where they are and helping them walk with God. He is an avid surfer and skater. Geoffrey struggled with heroin addiction throughout his teens and early twenties before coming to know Jesus and having his life radically change. Now he is the host of the podcast Too Many Christians, which explores beliefs in the pursuit of ultimate truth.

 

More from Geoffrey and Dr. Banks

From James

My son, Geoff, and I chose to tell our story in Hope Lies Ahead because we believe it’s what God would have us do. So many families suffer in silence when their loved ones go down prodigal paths, and we want them to know they are not alone. God truly offers hope when it seems like none can be found.

Geoff and I could only write this book because of God’s kindness to us. Like the father in the parable of the prodigal, “My son was lost and now is found,” and I’m still celebrating. Geoff is so much more than his past sins and mistakes. He is a new creation, made stronger in the broken places by God’s amazing love. Today God uses him to reach people in ways that would not have been possible had he not been down such difficult roads. God wastes nothing—redemption is a precious, priceless thing.

God never gives upon us. He goes to lengths that defy reason to save us and love us back to Himself. Even when our children make choices that break our hearts, God doesn’t abandon them. He loves our prodigals even more than we do.

Jesus is still “a friend of sinners.” No one is beyond God’s reach. When answers to prayer are long in coming, He Himself is the best answer. In the rough and raw places where we feel numb or even nothing at all, God is able to meet us with help and healing as we cast our cares on Him.

So if you find yourself in a similar situation, keep loving, keep praying, and keep the lines of communication open. God can empower us in love beyond what we think is possible, and give us the wisdom and direction we need to face each day.

 

From Geoff

Substance abuse is so prevalent in our world right now. There is no specific socioeconomic class, community, or age that struggles with it, it is everywhere. With that being the reality, there is a lot of negative stories out there. All over the news, you hear of overdoses, arrests, and other things related to this topic going on. My heart behind writing Hope Lies Ahead is that people will find some hope in the midst of an incredibly difficult time.

It is an up-close and personal book for both my father and me, and that is on purpose. We looked at both of our failings, our strengths, and where we could have done things differently. For us, it was an honest dialogue about what our journey through substance abuse as a family was like and how we came out on the other side. I hope that it can be the start of an honest dialogue for a lot of other families as well that will point everyone involved toward our one hope—Jesus.

As you read through Hope Lies Ahead, you will see a little bit of yourself in both of us. At times I am pretty hard on my father for some of the things that he did. The thing that I want to remind the reader of is that even when he made mistakes, it was done out of love. He wasn’t the religious Bible thumper I sometimes make him out to be but rather was driven by a deep love for his kids that sometimes got expressed in the wrong way. I think that his perspective is so unique because now he recognizes those moments for what they are and is able to help other people not fall in those same traps. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my parents, and this experience ended up sharpening both of us.

Based on what we learned going through this experience, I would say to a parent of a prodigal above all else, maintain a relationship. Let them know you love them even when they make huge mistakes. Let them know that if they ever want help you are right there waiting. Make sure they are aware of their options as far as treatment goes and when the opportunity arises to get them there, jump on it. Do it immediately. Don’t wait.

I think we often find ourselves wanting to preach. Addiction can be an infuriating disease to experience, whether you are the one who is addicted or a family member is. In the midst of that anger and frustration, we need to be reminded that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Your war isn’t with that person, it is with the sin that is dominating their life. Don’t exchange your relationship with them for an off-handed comment or a sermon about their behavior. It isn’t worth it.

My prayer is that people reading this book will be encouraged in their situation and that they turn first to Jesus. I believe that ultimate redemption looks like Jesus on the cross. It is when something meant for evil gets turned around and used for good. There are many stories of people going through addiction and then using their experience to help others out of it. There is nothing more beautiful than a giant struggle becoming an incredible strength.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, April 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 25

Andrea Christenson, April 26 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, April 27

For Him and My Family, April 28

Genesis 5020, April 29

For the Love of Literature, April 30 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 1

A Baker’s Perspective, May 2 (Author Interview)

A Reader’s Brain, May 3

Simple Harvest Reads, May 4 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 5

Through the Fire Blogs, May 6

Artistic Nobody, May 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, James and Geoffrey are giving away the grand prize package of Hope Lies Ahead, Prayers For Prodigals, and $10 Amazon Gift Card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f8f5/hope-lies-ahead-celebration-tour-giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Anchored By Death

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About the Book

Book:  Anchored by Death

Author: Catherine Finger

Genre:  Christian Mystery/Thriller

Release Date: June, 2017

Anchored by DeathPolice Chief Jo Oliver needed a little time to herself. But when her escape to Wisconsin turns deadly, she teams up with FBI agent Nick Vitarello, hoping to catch the Bow Tie Killer. Their romantic past and complicated present leads them into uncharted territory as they match wits with a psychopath bent on destroying everything they hold dear.

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

 

 

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In this continuation of Chief Jo Oliver’s story, I have to strongly recommend you read these books in order.  While you probably can read this by itself, you will not become truly invested in this story and the characters.

With a three-way “love” triangle murder investigation that has Jo at the center of it, and Nick and Quinn seeming to compete for Jo’s attention this book is quite the suspense novel. Jo seems to have a hard time deciding exactly who and what she wants.  With a serial killer set on destroying what the three hold dear, the story demands attention at times.

I appreciate how human Jo is throughout this series.  At the same time, there are times I wish she would do things differently.

So if you like crime dramas and suspense novels, check this one out for yourself to find out how things come to a conclusion.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

 

About the Author

catherine fingerCatherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to choose how to spend her time in a new way during the second half of life. So far, she chooses to write books, ride horses, serve others, and generally find her way into and out of trouble both on the road and at home.  She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.

 

More from Catherine

Thank you for your interest in the Jo Oliver thriller series. Today we celebrate Anchored by Death—book three in the series. The basic plot for this book came as a result of an FBI workshop I attended on how profilers track killers. A particular method was presented that really stuck with me. As I thought it over, I had the idea to combine a map of Wisconsin with the tracking technique I had learned, and I actually built the crime scenes around the theory. I then created a killer who would do the sorts of things I had mapped out, and in that order. This was a satisfying challenge for Josie and I enjoyed my research jaunts throughout Wisconsin while writing the chase and takedown scenes.

 

When Josie’s off the clock and spending time with family and friends, you can catch our heroine in the kitchen. Ever since her infamous Flourless Chocolate Cake appeared in Anchored by Death, fans have requested the recipe. For the epicurean readers, here is the recipe she used when preparing this special treat:

Ingredients:

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1 ½ sticks butter

¼ salt

6 eggs, room temp

1 ½ cups sugar (white granulated or brown will do)

Confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder for dusting top and cake stand

How To:

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare springform or regular round pans with nonstick spray or butter and flour.

Melt chocolate, butter, and salt—microwave will work in a pinch—or add all to heatproof bowl and place over small saucepan of simmering water to melt without burning. Set aside to cool

Beat eggs and sugar until light and thickened, around 6-8 minutes. Fold in melted chocolate mixture until completely combined.

Pour batter into buttered and floured cake pan—springform or regular round—and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 90 minutes, until a toothpick comes out wet but relatively clean.

Allow cake to cool completely before removing from pan. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and cocoa—Jo used a stencil for a quick and pretty design.

 

Thanks again for celebrating Anchored by Death—and know that I appreciate you. Readers are a special breed. As a lover of the written word and an author, I invite you to enjoy the read.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 22

Through the Fire blogs, April 22

Texas Book-aholic, April 23

April Hayman, Author, April 23

For the Love of Literature, April 24

Writer Without a Space, April 24

Inklings and notions, April 25

deb’s Book Review, April 25

For Him and My Family, April 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 26

Betti Mace, April 27

Holly Jo Morris, April 27

Older & Smarter?, April 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 28

Reading Is My SuperPower, April 29

Blogging With Carol, April 29

Christian Bookaholic, April 30

Maureen’s Musings, April 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, May 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 1

Spoken from the Heart, May 2

Just Your Average reviews, May 2

Daysong Reflections, May 3

Bigreadersite, May 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 4

Pause for Tales, May 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Catherine is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f982/anchored-by-death-celebration-tour-giveaway