Sunday, January 22, 2017

Understory by Lisa Lickel (A Book Review)

A Faithful Review of



Understory



About Understory by Lisa Lickel:

Lily Masters is not getting involved with any fake job scheme covering a sex trafficking operation supposedly cooked up by her stepbrother, prison guard Art Townsend. Hoping to get help at a friend’s place deep in the woods of northern Wisconsin before a blizzard, Lily loses her way. At first, she doesn’t realize how fortunate she is to be found by Cam Taylor, a poetry-spouting former lit professor. Cam has his own reasons to hide while writing a biography of his Civil Rights activist grandparents and accidentally stirs up a cold case murder involving a potential Supreme Court judge. When trouble follows, either of them is the likely target. 

Beneath every story is layer upon layer of trust and lies. Who can they believe when things go from surreal to devastating?


About Author Lisa Lickel:

Lisa Lickel lives in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Her novels include mystery and romance, all with a twist of grace. She writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book #reviewer and #reader, writing mentor, workshop leader, freelance #editor, and blogger. She loves to encourage new #authors and is a member of Chicago Writers Association, Council for Wisconsin Writers, Womens Fiction Writers of America, and Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp & Writers Retreat. Find more at LisaLickel.com.



Renee's Book Review of Understory:

Intrigue, suspense, mystery, and romance. Darkness and light...evil, good.

This book takes you down a road you don't want to go but can't help but travel. That is, if you're willing to take the step. It addresses the carnage a multitude of -isms reaps on the very fabric of society.

Why would family turn against family? Friend against friend? All in small town America? How can a twisted and dark underbelly exist within a seemingly innocent setting?

Through her tale, Lisa Lickel offers a powerful representation of her title. Deep inside the forest, plants develop on the forest floor. They seek the meager light darting down from the canopy above, and grow twisted and stunted but strong. These plants need little to thrive, much less to survive, and should never be underestimated. They literally appear as if they rise from the dead each year...after brutal winters or dry, exhaustive summers.

So is the evil (and good), Lisa Lickel weaves within her book, Understory. This book is worth the read but needs your attention. I give it five stars.



All books reviewed are either provided for free by the author in exchange for an honest opinion or purchased personally by Renee. Her reviews are not for sale or in exchange for any services or fees.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Cabin Fever...Curse or Gift?

Winter



Means Cabin Fever


January is a hard month in the Rockies. Ice crystals hang in the air, and snow stacks with its coat of white sparkling in the evening sun.

The nights are long. The days are short. And it's cold...very, very cold. White and gray are common colors during this bitter time of year, although blue manages to splatter its way across the sky and offer a bit of hope to the soul. Green of any kind becomes a treasured commodity as does the rare and distant sunshine.

Cabin fever isn't a fable or myth for those in the north. It's real.

This annoying condition seeps into every aspect of human life about mid-January. The signs and symptoms include the following:

daytime fatigue/sleepiness
insomnia
anxiety/loneliness
cognitive dysfunction
grazing/lack of appetite
lack/spurts of energy

What do we do about this curse that impacts most people during the winter months? Is there a way to turn it into a gift?

Absolutely!

Wyoming is desolate with miles of wide open spaces. Critters outnumber us, and the land is wild. That's a fact we can't escape. Yes, each day files into another as cold seeps across the plains and mountains but that doesn't mean it should freeze us into icicles.

If there is one thing that living in this land has taught me, it's that life is precious...every single type and moment of it. When I gaze across the frozen plain or see a snow-capped mountain, I know the beauty around me is a gift from the Father above.

Winter, whether in gentle or brutal form, is a time for God's creation to hunker down and take stock of the things that matter. Spend the short, but icy days examining what we have, what we don't, and preparing for the renewal to come...not wallowing in the mire of the past or our current mess.

Cabin fever should not be considered a curse for it's a fire. Just as logs in the fireplace heat our homes against the storms of winter, cabin fever ignites a flame within each of us. Why? To save us from the curse of idleness that lies in the deep.

Will we allow it to prod at our soul and spur us to action or will we turn away and sink into oblivion?

That is the question to be answered each January morning.


So when you're itching to join the bitter, icy world outside, or having trouble concentrating this winter, or can't sleep, take a breath. Feel the fire burning and get ready. Because Spring is around the corner and God is good. He's got great things in store for you.

In Christ,

Renee

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Unanswered Prayer

The Faith Dilemma:

When Prayers Don't Work


Do you face a devastating illness, or pain, physical or emotional? Ask for healing and wake up to plow through another day in agony? Cry out to God each night only to be met with utter silence?

Does that mean that God has abandoned you? Or vice versa, you've abandoned Him? Your faith is weak or shallow? Or God forbid, lacking in some manner?

No.

Prayer. What's it for anyway? Why should we bother? Is it for us? For others? For God?

How about all of the above? Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have a direct connection the Father.

Php 4:6-7  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

God loves each one of us. His unconditional love is amazing. And prayer is powerful, and it's for the Saints...all the Saints. Why should we talk to God?

Scripture reinforces why and how we should pray.  Does that mean every prayer, supplication extended to the Father should be "answered?" Even when we place more value on one than we would another...like healing?

And when one of those high-valued prayers go "unanswered," we're devastated and become angry at the Almighty. Or accused of being weak, faithless Christians.

But is it truly "unanswered?"

I've heard for years (yes, years...I was raised in the church) that God answers prayers two ways: yes and wait. But I believe in a third answer as well. That is the word most children do not like to hear: no.

I've prayed for deliverance and healing for years. I've asked fellow Christians to pray for me. I've received the laying on of hands and been anointed with oil.

I have migraines and seizure disorder. I've had these conditions since I was fourteen years old. I also hobble around on the knees of a seventy-year old woman (I'm forty-six.)

Does that mean my prayers and the prayers of Saints have gone "unanswered?" That there is not a righteous or faithful one among us, or the Lord God has turned His face from my plight? And peace is not mine to behold?

No. It means His answer, for whatever reason, at this time, is no.

It doesn't mean the answer I want may not arrive someday, although I may not experience it until I walk upon the streets of gold.

Until that day, I rest in His arms, weathering the storms with the strength He bestows. Why? Because I can.

As for "unanswered" prayer, I don't believe in it. It would be cruel for God to not answer us, and that's the one thing the God who died for me is not.

So, if the answer to your prayer is no, don't despair, but rejoice. God's strength and peace is yours for the taking. Claim it. He will see you through for His good purpose.

Take heart and remember,
God is good. All the time.

In Christ,

Renee

Pharmacist by day, by night and any other time I can spare, I write Christian romantic suspense. 
Born in Arkansas and raised in South Louisiana and Wyoming, my family spent a lot of time on the highways in the summertime. I actually wrote my first story on the road, calling it Comanche Sky. 
I love to fish, hunt, or pick away on my old guitar...usually next to a mountain lake.
Life is tough, and I enjoy writing about Christians and "real" life journeys...amidst "interesting" circumstances, of course. 

I live in Wyoming. Home, sweet home, God's country. And as the first snows fall on the Snowy Range, the wild meets the Forgiven...


Welcome to the journey!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Let Your Light Shine in 2017!

Be A Light to the World


Matthew 5:14-15 (NKJV)

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.



2016 is now a memory, and we're gazing into a brand new year. Do we walk into tomorrow with trepidation, cloaked in the past? Or light-footed with the Lord, bathed in His glory?

I can't offer much advice other than to say, my friends, this decision is a personal one. I can, however, say, if given a choice, submersed within God's light is a much, much better place to be.

Why would I say such a thing? After all, darkness is so "peaceful.," isn't it? It's a place to rest, to sleep. But it's also a place to hide...to escape the world. It's a place to be alone and idle. To think. Sounds comfortable, doesn't?

It's also where evil can lurk and attack without warning. The blackness of night doesn't give away its secrets. But God penetrates the dark, the most evil places, to shed His perfect light. To love and protect His children from harm...yes, even themselves.

But even more so, His eternal beacon is a home. From near and far, He calls to us, invites us to take this amazing Light in hearts, to let Him ignite our lives, and change us from the inside out. 

As we step into this brand new year, do we place His shining light, for it's truly His, not ours, on the lampstand for all those around us to see? Or do we put it under the basket? In other words, do we walk with the Lord, light-footed, bathed in His glory or with trepidation, cloaked in the past? Again, this a choice only each one of us can make.


Happy New Year, everyone. As you go forward into 2017, may the Lord bless you and keep you in the palm of His hand. Shine on. 

In Christ,


Renee 




Pharmacist by day, by night and any other time I can spare, I write Christian romantic suspense. 
Born in Arkansas and raised in South Louisiana and Wyoming, my family spent a lot of time on the highways in the summertime. I actually wrote my first story on the road, calling it Comanche Sky. 
I love to fish, hunt, or pick away on my old guitar...usually next to a mountain lake.
Life is tough, and I enjoy writing about Christians and "real" life journeys...amidst "interesting" circumstances, of course. 

I live in Wyoming. Home, sweet home, God's country. And as the first snows fall on the Snowy Range, the wild meets the Forgiven...


Welcome to the journey!


www.reneeblare.com
Crazy Woman Christmas
Racing Hearts
Through Raging Waters, Book 2 Snowy Range Chronicles
To Soar on Eagle's Wings, Book 1 Snowy Range Chronicles
Beast of Stratton