Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Toddler Bible by Juliet David, illustrations by Chris Embleton-Hall




About the Book:

Fans of Chris Embleton-Hall's cheerfully distinctive artwork will be eager to see this new Bible! Twenty stories—nine from the Old Testament and eleven from the New—are retold in a concise and friendly manner in a rounded, easy-to-read font. Very, very bright, and very, very fun!

My Thoughts:

What a cute Bible for little ones!  The illustrations are whimsical and colorful, and the stories are easy to understand.  Nine well known stories from the Old Testament are featured, along with eleven from the New Testament.

The cover is sturdy, and the pages are easy to turn for little fingers.  This is such a fun Bible for toddlers and preschoolers, and a great way to introduce her to God's Word. 

My only quibble is this: the actual references to the stories in the Bible aren't included, but parents, I encourage you to take your little ones to your Bible.  Begin to teach your children early on that the stories in the Bible are true.

I received a complimentary copy of "My Toddler Bible" from Kregel Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  Recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, April 25, 2016

The Tenth Plague by Adam Blumer


About the Book:

Water turns to blood. Flies and gnats attack the innocent. Marc and Gillian Thayer’s vacation resort becomes a grisly murder scene, with a killer using the ten plagues of Egypt as his playbook for revenge.

When their friend turns up dead, Marc and Gillian put their vacation on hold, enlist the help of a retired homicide detective, and take a closer look at the bizarre plagues as they escalate in intensity.

Meanwhile, a stranger is after the Thayers’ newly adopted baby. Will they uncover the truth behind the bitter agenda before the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn son?

My Thoughts:

Okay, the 'about the book' description really doesn't do the story justice, but any more and the story would be spoiled.  Just allow me to tell you this story is epic suspense, and a stellar second novel from Adam Blumer.

I loved his debut "Fatal Illusions", so I was eager to get my eyes on "The Tenth Plague".  Marc and Gillian Thayer are back (their daughter makes a cameo appearance) and the two have just adopted an adorable son named Chase.

An old friend invites the couple to a luxurious retreat, and the Thayers eagerly accept the invitation, hoping for a second honeymoon of sorts.  Instead, they stumble in on a murder...

...with the most bizarre weapon.

Someone is out for revenge of Biblical proportions.  Masterfully recreating the ten plagues of Egypt, the perpetrator has a hidden agenda.  Is it tied to the protest against the new Bible (that idea blew my mind, by the way!), or something more sinister?

And is someone really stalking Chase Thayer or is Gillian's imagination on overdrive, still scarred from her ordeal in "Fatal Illusions"?  Nothing is as it seems in this book, and no detail can be overlooked.

I did not see the ending coming, and I loved that!  The characters are very realistic and the scenarios are chilling and real enough to keep you up at night.  What a nightmare Adam has created...and I mean that in the best possible way!

But the plagues aren't the only Biblical message you'll find in this book.  Adam is very clear about where our true hope comes from, and the powerful of forgiveness in a person's life.  This is a great book, filled with rapid and brief chapters...something that helps keep the pace brisk.

I thoroughly enjoyed "The Tenth Plague", but that will seem odd once you've read it.  I mean, how can you really enjoy a novel about flies and frogs and gnats (oh, my!)?  It's easy if it's a novel written by Adam Blumer.

I received a free digital download of "The Tenth Plague" in exchange for an honest review.  You can find your own copy of "The Tenth Plague at online bookstores, or visit Adam at his website.

"The Tenth Plague" is highly recommended...just remember to keep the lights on...even after you've turned the last page. 


Happy Reading!

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Friday, April 1, 2016

God's Not Dead 2 Prize Pack!


About the Film:

From the college classroom of GOD'S NOT DEAD to the public square in GOD'S NOT DEAD 2, the name of Jesus is welcomed less and less with each passing day. If Christians don't take a stand today, will we even have a choice tomorrow?

The film takes you back to Hope Springs, home to the University, but also Martin Luther King Jr. High School, where beloved teacher Grace Wesley teaches her passion, history. Her love of teaching, her love for her students, and her love of life all come from the same place: her love of Christ. When a student asks a question regarding Jesus in class, Grace's answer causes her to face an epic court case, that could expel God from the classroom.

Gov. Mike Huckabee endorsement, "A riveting story, brilliantly told, and one that is absolutely plausible as if it were taken from today's headlines. A must see for every believer!"

Chance To Win:

I'm giving away a prize package to one person leaving a comment on this post!  Included in the package is:

· The book “Man, Myth, Messiah: Answering History’s Greatest Question” by Rice Broocks, bestselling author of God’s Not Dead writer
· Postcard· Mini-poster· GND2 bag· Pen

So leave me a comment and tell me why you would like to win!

Happy Reading!

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Author Spotlight: Allia Zobel Nolan Wrap Up


This is it.  Our last day with Allia.

I hope you've enjoyed getting to know her.

Today, I'm giving you one more chance to win a copy of her gorgeous new book.  Seriously, this is the best illustrated book on angels I've seen.  And it's perfect for Easter.

Just leave a comment with a way to contact you.

My thanks to Allia for her generosity, her time, and sharing her talent with us.







Happy Reading!

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Angels in the Bible Storybook by Allia Zobel Nolan, illustrated by Alida Massari




About the Book:

Where were the angels when God created the world?

Why did an angel force a donkey off a road?

Who did the angels get out of jail twice?

Young readers will find answers to these and other questions in this exciting storybook, written by bestselling author Allia Zobel Nolan with illustrations by Alida Massari.

Angels in the Bible Storybook gives children a fascinating look into how God’s powerful behind-the-scenes helpers interacted with Bible greats from Abraham, Lot, and Gideon to Zechariah, Mary, and Jesus himself, acting as messengers, protectors, warriors, and more.

My Thoughts:

First and foremost, this is by far the best book on the subject of angels from a purely biblical perspective.  Allia respects her readers (and their parents!) and gives a clear and accurate--and majestic--picture of God's messengers.

Filled with full color illustrations that are gorgeous, each story shares a biblical account of an angelic appearance.  Allia tells stories from both the Old and New Testament, beginning with creation and ending with the angels of Heaven.

Each story is accurately represents Scripture, but is told in a child's language.  Allia includes the reference to the story found in the Bible (which is so important to this grandmother!), and the stories are a little longer than in her previous books.  But the style of writing is engaging and will capture the imagination of your little ones.

My thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my complimentary copy of "Angels in the Bible Storybook".  This is an absolutely gorgeous book for children, and perfect for Valentine's Day and the coming Easter holiday!  Highly, highly recommended.




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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Author Spotlight: Allia Zobel Nolan Day Three


Good Morning, Readers!

Today, your assignment to enter for a free book is simple, but it's fun.

Here are the links to learn more about Allia for yourself.  Visit one or all, and then come back and leave a comment about what you discovered!

Yup.  It's that simple.  Now, off you go!

Website: www.AlliaWrites.com. However,I am in the process of revamping for a new look. So check back from time to time to see the new, improved site.


Twitter: @KittyLiterate




Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Author Spotlight: Allia Zobel Nolan Day Two


Hello again!

Welcome to Interview with Allia: Part Two!  Isn't she so much fun??  And at the end of our interview, another chance to win a copy of Angels in the Bible Storybook!




Fast Five: 1) M&M’s—plain or peanut? Neither, prefer Good & Plenty

                     2) Beverage—tea or coffee?  As we say in New Yawk, “cawfee.”  

                     3) Books—hardcover or paperback?  Hardcover

                     4) Craziest thing you’ve used as a bookmark? CatToy mouse

                     5) Pizza—pepperoni, cheese, or combo? Cheese only.

 1)   What one message do you want families to take away from Angels?

I want families and especially children to know how important, powerful and majestic the angels are and how they have and continue to, go about behind the scenes carrying out God’s Will.  I want children, especially, to realize angels aren’t…as they are so often portrayed, ….like Valentine’s Day cupids….chubby, toddler-like babies. They are awesome spirits that God created to act as messengers, protectors, and warriors.

And this book is unique because it introduces readers of all ages to the Bible stories that demonstrate the role angels played, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and how angels will figure in at the end of time and throughout all eternity.

What’s more, I feel children need to know that even though we can’t see them, God still uses his angels to help, protect, and guide us, and that we should never lose sight of that fact because as the Bible says, “For God will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.”  Plus we have Jesus’s words when he tells us to pay attention to our little ones and not look down on them because their “angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.”

2)  How are the illustrators you’ve worked with selected?

Having worked with illustrators my whole life, I have a portfolio full of samples. Plus whenever I notice a good illustrator, I put her/his info in my files. Before I submit a project, I generally look through these files, plus I look at artists’ online portfolios and pick out a few whom I think might work well with the book I’m pitching. I have a section called: “suggested artists” in my pitches and I list these illustrators as possibilities for the editor to consider. If the editor agrees with my choices, she finds out if the artist is available within the timeframe and budget.

   7) Can you please share about any upcoming projects?

Well, I wrote a tween devotional a while ago, based on St. Paul’s admonitions to seek out whatever is “pure, noble, right, true, excellent, praiseworthy, lovely, and admirable,” and the book will be reprinted in hardcover, in a colorful format, with journaling pages and a new title.  This book teaches young woman that thoughts are powerful tools for good…and for evil; that they can change their lives by changing their thoughts; and that they don’t have to succumb to the crassness, impurity, and violence that permeates our world if they live according to the virtues espoused in Philippines 4:8. It highlights alternatives and ways to do this, ways that will keep readers’ minds and hearts on things that are uplifting and lovely. And in fact, that’s the new title of this book, WHATEVER IS LOVELY. And that book pubs next year.  I also finished a toddler version of ANGELS IN THE BIBLE STORYBOOK, geared obviously to the youngest set. And that will be available next year as well. I’m also working on a gift book about being grateful, and a book about cat loss.

   8) What one piece of advice would you give parents on helping their children engage with God’s Word?

Start a routine of reading Bible stories to your children at an early age. There are zillions of Bible storybooks (including Angels in the Bible Storybook) you can use.  Set aside a quiet time, before bed or naptime, and make that time a sacred bonding time with both God and your child. If you get a chance to use something that happened during the day as an introduction to a Bible story lesson, jot it down and make the connection during your quiet time. Also let your child see you reading the Bible. Lead by example.

   9) Where can my readers find you on the internet?

Website: www.AlliaWrites.com. However,I am in the process of revamping for a new look. So check back from time to time to see the new, improved site.


Twitter: @KittyLiterate


10) Anything else you’d like my readers to know?

   Just that I consider myself really really blessed to be doing what I love to do. But it didn’t happen overnight.  It took a lot of work and a dogged perseverance. Plus there were plenty of bumps in the road. And I came close to throwing in the towel and becoming a spelunker. Still, writing is the only thing I ever wanted to do. And I think though it all, I was led…which is why I love the Scripture… “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."  Thanks so much for your support, Deena.

To win a copy of Angels in the Bible, leave a question in the comments for Allia or myself!

Happy Reading!

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Author Spotlight: Allia Zobel Nolan, Day One


Good morning everyone!  I'd love to introduce you to a fabulous and gifted author--Allia Zobel Nolan!  She has a new book for children (and adults!) out, and it's the perfect Easter gift!  So, without further ado....I present to you Interview with Allia, part one!!



1)    Would you please tell my readers a little about the start of your career as an author? 


Like a lot of struggling writers, I had many part-time jobs while I was trying to establish a career. Most of it was office and public relations work. However, once I tried working in a restaurant. On my first night, I went out the wrong door as another server was coming in, wound up with a black eye, and had to go home.

During all this, I had always written, but nothing for publication. Then two things happened: God sent two mentors to help me along: Norma David, who gave me a job as a stringer for her weekly newspaper and Dr. Fran Shaw, a writing teacher who encouraged me to send one of my humorous pieces to the New York Times.  I did; they published it; and I never looked back.

Then, one day, I sent a letter to Peter Workman, founder of Workman Publishing. I had no agent, just a lot of nerve. I pitched him a book idea based on my newspaper article, “The Joy of Being Single.” Workman loved it, called me himself to acquire it, then he got New Yorker cartoonist, Roz Chast, to illustrate it. It sold about 200,000 copies  and was translated into German, Japanese, Portugal, and a British version.  

After that, I got a detached retina and nearly went blind. An operation and almost a year of rehab came next, after which  I applied to Reader’s Digest Children’s Publishing. They were looking for a senior editor of religious children’s books.  Through the grace of God, I got the job, and when the opportunity came to go full-time, I grabbed it. I stayed nine years at RDCP, wrote a lot of children’s books, and learned more about the Bible than I ever knew, the main point being that there is an answer for every challenge and problem within its pages. I loved writing for children and believe everything I did before was leading me to where I am today…where I should be. It was a circuitous route. But I made it.   


2)   You’ve published many books, and not just books for children.  Care to share a bit?


Well, my books range from the Divine to the feline. When I’m not writing Bible stories and humorous books for children, I’m writing about cats. I’m a bona-fide, card-carrying member of the Cat Writer’s Association and have been for ages. My latest is WOMEN WHO STILL LOVE CATS TOO MUCH, which chronicles my cat addiction, and CAT CONFESSIONS: A KITTY-COME-CLEAN TELL ALL BOOK wherein cats admit what they do when we’re not looking.  Oh, and my favorite book, which was written as a promise to God to stop worrying, is a book for adults with anxieties, called THE WORRYWART’S PRAYER BOOK. I go back and read that a lot.



3)  I’ve been a huge fan of your writing for many years, but Angels is your best, in my opinion.  What’s your take on this project?


Thanks so much, Deena. I feel that way, too. All you have to do is open the book and you can’t help feel it’s special. It’s unique.  Alida Massari’s art just takes your breath away. In all my years in the business, I’ve never seen such glorious images. And Alida was a dream to work with. Now, as an author, you are always thrilled when your book comes together just the way you imagined it would. And that’s what happened with this book. My idea to approach some of the not-so-well-known, but absolutely extraordinarily powerful and interesting Bible stories, highlighting the part the angels played in them really coalesced, and the result is a really unique book. There isn’t another on the market like it. Plus I was so thrilled, Zondervan did an audio version which is beautifully read and brings the stories alive.

Now is your chance to win a copy of this gorgeous book!!  Just leave me a comment, answering this question:

When it comes to M&M's...does Allia prefer plain or peanut?  I'll let you know the correct answer tomorrow in Interview with Allia: Part 2!

Happy Reading!

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Friday, March 11, 2016

The Legend of the Easter Robin, by Dandi Daley Mackall, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey



About the Book:

This newly illustrated edition of The Legend of the Easter Robin renews the wonder and charm of the original and timeless tale written by Dandi Daley Mackall. With new vibrant artwork from New York Times bestselling illustrator, Richard Cowdrey, this holiday classic is brought to life for a new generation.

The Legend of the Easter Robin tells the story of Tressa, whose grandmother reveals to her the story of a small robin who saw Jesus struggling and soared to help him. This Easter tale reminds Christians everywhere how much Jesus sacrificed for us and how much he loves us.

My Thoughts:

I grew up in the church, and during Vacation Bible School we had a craft that told the legend of the dogwood tree--I think--it was forty years ago!  But, my point is this: legends that surround the Bible are ideal children's stories.

Dandi Daley Mackall is well-known in the publishing world as a fantastic author, with many books for teens and tweens.  "The Legend of the Easter Robin" is a children's book that tells of the legend of the robin's red breast.

What makes this such a sweet story is the immediate application of the lesson in the life of a young girl named Tressa.  She worries and frets over the robins that have built a nest just outside her grandmother's window.

Her grandmother continually urges her to leave the care of the robins to the Creator, and as they prepare their own eggs for Easter, her grandmother tells her the legend of the robin's red breast.  You might know the story, but just in case I'm not going to spoil the book for you.

My thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  This is a keeper, my friends.  Highly recommended.




Happy Reading!

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Royal Easter Story by Jeanna Young & Jacqueline Johnson, Illustrated by Omar Aranda



About the Book:

It is the most spectacular spring in history. The princesses—Joy, Grace, Faith, Charity, and Hope are busy with preparations for the annual Easter celebration and the castle is alive with activity.Into the kingdom ride five new friends, young knights, who are as spirited as the princesses.

In the new Princess Parables title, A Royal Easter Story, a challenge is presented and the boys and girls decide to race to the neighboring village where the annual Easter celebration and feast will be held. Along the way, the princesses must weather a scary storm and rescue another new friend. But in the end the lesson is clear … trust in the Lord and his love and you can overcome any obstacle.


My Thoughts:

Considering the average little girl wishes to be a princess, the release of "A Royal Easter Story" is very timely.  Based on the story of the good father in The Gospel of Luke, the tale introduces readers to five princess sisters: Joy, Grace, Faith, Charity, and Hope.

This year, the king and his family are responsible for transporting the cross, gifts, and decorations used in celebrating the risen Savior.  Along the way the princesses meet a handful of handsome princes and are challenged to a race.

Eager to win, the girls make great progress, but when they stumble upon a little girl who's been lost and separated from her family, the princesses remember their father's teaching about being of service to others in need.

I won't spoil the outcome, but I will tell you that this book teaches an important lesson that is sorely lacking in our culture, both inside and outside the church.  That's why I'm so thankful to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Highly recommended, and just in time for Easter 2016!

Happy Reading!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Miracle Man: The Story of Jesus written and illustrated by John Hendrix




About the Book:

Miracle Man is a beautifully illustrated biography of Jesus Christ by award-winning author and illustrator John Hendrix. For all Christian denominations and perfect for families to share throughout the year, this book will be especially beloved by the faithful as a gift for Easter, communions, christenings, religious graduations, and all other secular holidays.

This book freshly reinterprets some of the oldest and best-known stories in human history and focuses on some of the many miracles that Jesus performed before his crucifixion. Jesus’s miracles are endless. From the large harvest of fish to washing the unclean, healing the sick, feeding the poor, and walking on water, Jesus performs feats that draw in believers that he is the Son of God.

Unfortunately it also attracts the attention of nonbelievers, who saddle him with the cross he must bear. After all of his miraculous acts, the book closes with a final wonder for all to see—one that changes faith and religion as the world knows it, forever. The book includes a list of Bible stories that inspired it.

Award-winning author and illustrator John Hendrix offers his most personal work to date. Known for his striking use of illustration mixed with custom fonts, his depiction of the life of Jesus Christ will be cherished by the faithful everywhere.

My Thoughts:

"Miracle Man" is a gorgeous children's book that teaches children about the life of Jesus Christ.  While the book doesn't directly reference the Scriptural account (there is an appendix that gives chapter and verse for the stories told), the treatment of the true story is GORGEOUS.

This book will appeal to readers of all ages.  While it is primarily a children's book, I'd buy copies for the adults in my life.  Hendrix gives the all too familiar story a fresh feel with his bold and colorful illustrations, and for anyone who isn't familiar with Jesus, a clear and concise account of the man who was also God.

The entire design of the book is wonderful, but the word art Hendrix creates is exquisite.  Familiar stories come to life and have an extra impact, which is trending with today's believer as part of the illustrated Bible study method.

My thanks to my friends at Abrams Publishing for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  I truly love this book, and encourage you to purchase copies for Easter.  A great gift, highly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

7 Days of Awesome by Shawn Bynus, illustrated by Colin Jack





About the Book:

With a Dr. Seuss feel, 7 Days of Awesome rhymes its way through each day of creation and encourages children to ponder God’s wisdom in creating this wonderful world. Accompanied by charming, animated illustrations by Colin Jack, this whimsical read-aloud book will be sure to delight both children and their parents.

My Thoughts:

As a grandmother to four (soon to be five), I'm always on the hunt for quality children's books with a strong and Biblically accurate message of faith.  When it comes to books from Zonderkidz, an imprint of Zondervan Publishing, I'm never disappointed.

"7 Days of Awesome: A Creation Tale" is a fun read for children of all ages.  It really does have a Seussian feel, and is ideal for reading aloud.  The illustrations, while not some of my favorites, are still colorful and Dr. Seuss-ish in their own way.

The story of creation is a building block of Scripture and of faith in God, so a book like this one is an important addition to your library.  My thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

So, how do I truly feel about "7 Days of Awesome"?  "It looks good to me!"  Highly recommended.


Happy Reading!

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Burning Proof by Janice Cantore



About the book:

After months of investigating the brutal homicide of a young girl, Detective Abby Hart finally has the evidence she needs. But when the arrest goes terribly wrong, Abby begins to doubt her future as a police officer. As she wrestles with conflicting emotions, old questions about the fire that took her parents’ lives come back to haunt her. “There is proof.” PI Luke Murphy can’t stop thinking about what Abby’s former partner, Asa Foster, mumbled just before he died. When he uncovers a clue to the murder of Abby’s parents and his uncle, he’s reluctant to tell Abby, despite his growing feelings for the beautiful detective. A decade-old abduction case brings Luke and Abby together, but will his secret tear them apart?

My Thoughts:

Janice Cantore shines in the genre of criminal suspense, and Burning Proof is one of her best!  Her experience in law enforcement makes her gift of story that much more authentic.  This is the second in a series, and is so well related to her previous novel, Drawing Fire. 

Trust me, you have to read the first before you dive into the second.

The story is relevant and the overarching mystery is gripping.  Her characters are well developed and will linger long after the final page is turned.  I love anything to do with solving cold cases, and this is my favorite Janice Cantore series.

My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing for my complimentary copy via the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.  Highly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Friday, March 4, 2016

God's Not Dead 2 by Travis Thrasher




About the Book:

God is not dead . . . but Tom Endler doesn’t believe it.

Hope Springs, Arkansas, seems an unlikely setting for a battle over religious freedom, but the conflict that started at a small local college has spread to a high school campus, where a young Christian teacher named Grace Wesley is on the hot seat with the school district for talking about Jesus in her classroom. Tom, a young lawyer on retainer by the teacher’s union, is tapped to represent Grace in her fight for her First Amendment rights.

But Tom has his own challenges. His father thinks he’s a failure, and his grandmother doesn’t recognize him when he visits her. Tom is grateful for the billable hours, but he’s fighting for a cause he doesn’t even believe in. Soon Tom’s advocacy leads him to Amy Ryan, a reporter and former skeptic who found faith after battling cancer and watching the classroom battle unfold at Hope Springs College a year ago.

Tom discovers the truth about that case while also discovering more about what genuine faith looks like. Tom, the unlikely hero, seems destined for failure as he takes on a case he surely can’t win. But as the disbelieving lawyer, the struggling journalist, and the persecuted teacher share experiences from their pasts and struggles of the present, they become reluctant allies in their journeys toward faith.

God’s Not Dead 2 tells the story behind the blockbuster film, going deeper into the characters’ backstories, and finishing with a triumphant picture of the victory that comes from true belief in the face of adversity.

My Review:

I was so excited about this novelization...which makes my disappointment all the more painful.  While I'm a huge fan of Travis Thrasher, this novel just didn't hold my attention.  In fact, I had to force myself to finish.

It's not so much that it's poorly written.  It's more that the original script just didn't pack the punch of the first movie (and novel).  The opening felt as if I'd entered after the book had started and missed some information.  That threw me off from the first page.

And the switch in point of view was difficult to read.  Not so much hard to follow, as it was hard to remain in the story.  Every switch had me pressing the restart button on my reading.  For a novelization, this one falls somewhere in the middle of my list.

The book isn't a complete stinker, though.  I found a few gems within the pages, sparks of inspiration that would be great illustrated quotes--oh, if only I had that talent!  So don't take my word for it...try the book for yourself. 

Just know that the POV switches from first person to third, and the opening is lacking in solid foundation, in my humble opinion.  My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Very mildly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh



About the Book:

A Colorado senator’s wife, Evelyn Brandt seems to have it all. But her carefully constructed life comes toppling down when the FBI crashes her society brunch with news that her husband has been arrested for embezzlement, and he’s far from repentant. It turns out this was only the start of his indiscretions—for which he has little regret.

As the weeks following the scandal turn into months, Evelyn withdraws, even shirking her duties with the philanthropic Valentine Volunteers. The inquisitive women of the group are determined not to let Evelyn’s divorce destroy her. They have big plans for her to use her long-forgotten artistic talent to reimagine the city’s iconic lamppost hearts.  But doing so will force Evelyn to work closely with Trevor Whitney, her ex-husband’s former best friend. Though she and Trevor used to be close—and he’s been letting her hide in his guesthouse—his gruffness conveys his unease with the situation. Amid the beauty of Trevor’s farm and the comfort of a paintbrush, Evelyn starts to reclaim the dreams she sacrificed to become the perfect politician’s wife. And as creativity inspires them both, Whit begins to see the girl he fell in love with before his friend—and his own mistakes—stole his chance.

Possibilities for a new beginning emerge, but long-kept secrets threaten to ruin everything. After so much time, is a change of heart too much to hope for?

My Thoughts:

With so many excellent choices in Christian fiction, it's just the perfect time to be a reader!  I truly love the way Courtney Walsh crafts a story, and the great care and artistry she's been gifted with shines on every page.

Courtney's stories evoke powerful emotional responses.  When her characters crack a joke, you laugh out loud (which is fun when you're reading in a crowded area, let me tell you!).  When one of her imaginary people is bonehead stupid (i.e., Christopher), you want to reach into the book and grab him by the scruff of the neck and shake him and shout, "What were you thinking?"

And when someone as lovely, adorable and vulnerable is deeply wounded (Evelyn), you cannot help but weep with her and don't be surprised if you end up praying for an imaginary person...multiple times!

Trevor is my kind of hero--rough around the edges, not all sure of himself, and able to feel deeply.  He isn't perfect...and that's what makes him...well, perfect!  "Change of Heart" lives up to its title, and is a great companion  novel to "Paper Hearts".

My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishers for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Courtney is one of my Top Ten Must Read authors, and once you've read one of her books you will totally get why.

Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson



About the Book:

Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she's hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.

Seth Sloane didn't move three thousand miles to work on his uncle's B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian--and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.

The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just two months will take everything they've got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?

Step into the Red Door Inn, a lovely home away from home tucked along the north shore of fabled Prince Edward Island. It's a place where the wounded come to heal, the broken find forgiveness, and the lonely find a family. Won't you stay for the season?

My Thoughts:

Liz Johnson's debut novel is a gem!  I enjoyed every moment I spend with Marie Carrington on Prince Edward Island, home of the literary world's beloved Anne Shirley.  This is a series I'm excited about, and I know you will be as well.

Marie is on the run...but from what?  Or from whom?  When her chance meeting with Jack Sloane earns her transport the idyllic PEI, and promises a fresh start.  But once Marie meets Jack's nephew, she wonders if she's escaped the fire to be grilled by Seth.

Descriptive scenery is paired with engaging conversation and populated with memorable characters.  I was drawn into the story from the first page, and I found myself wanting to get my own ticket to what reads like a magical land.

Find your own sense of hope and healing by visiting Prince Edward Island and spending time at "The Red Door Inn".  My thanks to my friends at Revell Publishing for my advance copy in exchange for an honest review.  Highly Recommended!


Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Be My Valentino by Sandra D. Bricker




About the Book:

Now that the whole truth has come out about her husband’s double life—including the fact that she and Jack were never legally married—Jessie is standing on her own for the first time in her life. As she struggles to put Adornments, her rental store for designer labels, on the map in Tinsel Town, her relationship with private investigator Danny Callahan gains momentum.

When she dresses a reluctant Danny in Valentino for undercover work at a formal affair, it’s him rather than her store that captures Hollywood’s notice. Danny, snapped by photogs, lands as the unlikely cover model on the front of L.A. Magazine.

So much for inconspicuous.

Will his popularity thwart her efforts to grow her business? Or worse, can Jessie afford to put her faith—and heart—into another relationship when she’s so obviously handicapped in the good judgment department?

My Thoughts:

Jessie and Danny are back in this second novel, and the romance blooms bright.  Her business plan has developed into a stunning success.  Life finally seems to be going her way...but prepare for the unexpected.

I had many moments of frustration with this book, but only because Sandie writes her characters so well.  A certain someone had me wanting to smack him back where he came from, and he isn't real!
My heart broke for Jessie as she endured more emotional trauma at the hands of the one who tried to ruin her life.

And Danny?  He had no idea what he was getting into when he fell for Jessie Stanton!  We can only hope he has the character to stay the bumpy and sometimes hilarious course.  And that a certain someone gets what's coming to him.

Mayhem, mischief and a monster of a dilemma await you in this one, so be prepared to sacrifice your sleep and cancel your plans.  You won't be able to stop until the final page is turned.  My thanks to my friends at Abingdon Press for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Be warned...we have to wait on the third and final book!  Good luck with that!

Happy Reading!

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Far and Near by Amanda G. Stevens




About the Book:

Marcus, Lee, Austin, and Violet are starting over. Texas is supposed to be their sanctuary. But the Constabulary isn't ready to relinquish their worst offenders, legal jurisdiction or not. They've sent agents in undercover, and Marcus is the assigned target of one who has personal reasons to bring him back dead or alive.

Marcus and Lee are ready to be whole again, to secure a home here--together. But wholeness and home might not mean what they thought. Stopping the Constabulary hunters will require more than Marcus knows how to give, and God is about to use him again in a way he doesn't expect.

Enemies, emotions, the past, the future--everything must be faced in the quest for a true haven.

My Thoughts:

"Far and Near" closes out a mind bending and gripping series of books by an outstanding author.  Amanda has taken dystopian fiction and added a note of realism that sends chills down your arms and wrestles with the hope in your heart as a believer.
 
This isn't true end-times writing, as the events could easily take place, say, tomorrow.  We live in an America that is growing more hostile to Christians, crafting laws that are designed to cancel out the moral foundation our country was founded on...
 
...depending upon what you read.
 
Amanda has taken the possibility of genuine faith in Christ being subverted by government sanctioned religion, and posed the question to the reader: if being a Christian was against the law, how far would you go to stand on your faith?  And is your faith worth standing upon.
 
Key characters Marcus Brenner and Lee Vaughn have been through unspeakable horrors and dangers, and are now seeking safe haven in the country of Texas--that's right, they finally played their trump card and are a country unto themselves.

But the danger still lurks nearby, and it centers around the newcomers to town.  How much dare they reveal?  Who can they trust?  Who will live, and who will die?  Trust me, all bets are off when Amanda crafts a story--even your most beloved characters are fair game.
 
That's what makes the story so gripping--well, that as well as the authenticity of the story.  At times I was scared out of my mind for these people; other times I was praying for their safety and for the truth to come out...
 
...and they are not real!  But you could walk outside and see Marcus living next door.  You could go to your next doctor appointment and see Lee.  Your daughter might be friends with Violet, and your son following in the footsteps of Austin.
 
Yes, these are chilling and gripping novels, but they may be some of the most important books you'll ever read.  It's one thing to 'suppose', or to study the possibilities.  It's something completely different to put belief into action, with characters so real they could walk off the pages.
 
Prepare for tears.  Prepare to have your world rocked.  Prepare to meet some of the most memorable imaginary people you'll ever encounter.  And prepare to have your relationship with Christ go all the way to the bone after you've read this quartet of 'what if' novels.
 
I can not fathom how Amanda was able to write these books--knowing where her characters were going and how events were to play out.  This is a strong Christian woman, with a deep and rich storytelling gift.  I'm looking forward to what she has next (kind of...she scares me a little :-)
 
"Far and Near" is not highly recommended.  It's mandatory reading, along with the first three books in this series.  Do yourself a favor and start reading NOW with "Seek and Hide".

Happy Reading!

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