Friday, February 5, 2016

Drawing Fire by Janice Cantore



About the Book:

One case from her past defines homicide detective Abby Hart. With a possible serial killer stalking elderly women in Long Beach, California, Abby’s best lead is Luke Murphy, an irritating private investigator who saw a suspect flee the scene of the latest homicide.  When Abby discovers that the most recent victim is related to the governor, she’s anxious to talk to him about a cold case that’s personal to her—one Luke is interested in as well. As she learns more about the restaurant fire that took her parents’ lives years ago, Abby discovers why Luke is so invested in finding the ones responsible. The more they uncover, though, the more questions they have. Can Abby find peace without having all the answers?

My Thoughts:

Wow.  I mean...wow.

Janice Cantore writes with authority, having an extensive career in law enforcement.  I've enjoyed her books before, but Drawing Fire is simply outstanding.

The book gets off to a slow start, but that turns out to be a very good thing!  Once the story kicks into high gear, good luck trying to breathe!  Pages will fly fast and furious until the explosive ending, and prepare for a major cliffhanger.

Abby is tough to like in the beginning, but I grew to love her as her story progressed.  To live 27 years without answers to the one event that defined your life is unimaginable.  My heart broke for her, and turns out she's my kind of cop: honest and determined.

Luke's connection to Abby's case is revealed a layer at a time, but his integrity as a P.I. combines with Abby's tenacity to make a fantastic story even better.  The characters are memorable and the tale is intricate, holding the reader's attention from start to finish.

And the dog?  Gotta love!

One of the best books I've read, and eager for the next book!  My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing for an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Highly recommended

Happy Reading!

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Newsmakers by Lis Wiehl & Sebastian Stuart


About the Book:

TV reporter Erica Sparks has become a superstar overnight. Is it due to her hard work and talent, or is she at the center of a spiraling conspiracy?Erica Sparks is a beautiful and ambitious reporter who has just landed her dream job at Global News Network in New York. And while it was hard to leave Jenny, her cherished eight-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband, Erica is determined to succeed in the cutthroat world of big-time broadcasting. She can only hope her troubled past won’t come back to sabotage her dreams.Although the wounds from her divorce are still fresh, Erica can’t deny the chemistry between her and her new producer, the handsome and empathic Greg Underwood. But a relationship is the last thing she wants right now.On her very first assignment, Erica inadvertently witnesses—and films—a horrific tragedy, scooping all the other networks. Mere weeks later, another tragedy strikes—again, right in front of Erica and her cameras. Her career skyrockets overnight, but Erica is troubled. Deeply. This can’t just be coincidence. But what is it?Erica will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. But she has to make sure disaster—and her troubled past—don’t catch up with her first.

My Thoughts:

This was a real disappointment.  I've read Lis's previous novels and enjoyed them.  This had a great premise, but the way the book was written was very distracting. I can handle novels written in first person, but this was a style I've never been able to enjoy.

Here's a tiny sample from the first page of chapter one:

"ERICA SPARKS STRIDES DOWN NINTH Avenue on her way to the Global News Network headquarters on Sixth Avenue. It's her first day on her new job as a field reporter, her first job in New York City. And, if things go well, the first step toward scaling the heights of television news. She feels a little shiver of pinch-me excitement race up her spine."

Believe it or not, the style kept getting in the way of the story for me.  I pushed through, but I only made it 2/3 of my way through before I surrendered and skipped to the end.  The concept is excellent and very timely: how many times have you wondered if the big news events are orchestrated for just such a time as this?

Yes, I realize this may get me branded as a conspiracy nut, but even today's election has me scratching my head and wondering what's going on behind the scenes with someone of the unusual stories in the headlines. 

But that's just me.  Don't take my word for it.  You might thoroughly enjoy "The Newsmakers".  I tried to, but it just isn't the book for me.  My thanks to my friends at Thomas Nelson for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Very mildly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington



About the Book:

Have you ever felt like a fraud or failure as you struggle to find balance in life? Do you find yourself juggling everything in mediocrity and feeling like you’re succeeding at very little? In her no-nonsense way, Alli Worthington tackles the big questions about finding happiness and one’s God-given purpose. Breaking Busy marries popular secular research with solid biblical principles, instilling confidence that you, too, can move from crazy busy to confident calm. With refreshing candor, uproarious true stories, and a Christian worldview, Alli delivers truths that dismantle common happiness myths.  Then she empowers you to get unstuck, to let go of the good to make way for the great, to know yourself and your Creator, and ultimately to find peace and purpose in this world of crazy.You will:
  • Learn how to stop chasing what leaves you empty and start doing what you were created to do.
  • Identify the common lies you believe and how to strip their power from your life.
  • Recognize how what you say no to determines what you can say yes to.
With relatable anecdotes, Alli models real-life guidance on boundaries, relationships, and self-care, humbly examining her own mistakes and walking through how she learned from her missteps and found peace in a world of busyness. If you long to find real connection with both your loved ones and your Creator, Alli Worthington deftly balances intelligent humility and heartwarming humor to help you rediscover your path. My Thoughts:
So excited about this book!  Alli's conversational style, coupled with her transparent honesty, make this a very enjoyable read.  Mix in her wit and wisdom, and you've found one of the best and most encouraging books in today's market!

Her stories from personal experience are at times hilarious, but always thought provoking.  I find it so much easier to accept advice from someone who's been there, and believe me, Alli has been there.  She'll tell you about her successes and her not-so-successful attempts of "Breaking Busy."

As a woman with so much to do, only so much time to get it done, and feeling like I'm chasing my tail, this book was a refreshing read.  My thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my complimentary copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Highly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Keeper of the Stars by Robin Lee Hatcher



About the Book:

Forgiveness is the only cure for heartbreak. But can Penny forgive the man she holds responsible for her brother’s death? When her mother died from pneumonia, Penny Cartwright was heartbroken. But now, after burying her younger brother just 12 years later, she is devastated. Anger, guilt, and sorrow cloud Penny’s mind, and the last thing she wants is to be reminded of her pain—but that’s exactly what happens when a stranger comes to town. Trevor Reynolds has been chasing fame for more than a dozen years, but his musical career can’t get off the ground. While on the road, an accident kills his young drummer, Brad Cartwright. Trevor wasn’t behind the wheel, but he still blames himself . . . and so does Brad’s sister, Penny. Now Trevor finds himself in Kings Meadow, determined to follow through on his final promise to his friend. Still feeling the pain of Brad’s death, Penny and Trevor must learn that forgiveness is the only thing that can heal their hearts. And if they do forgive, something beautiful may rise from the ashes of heartbreak.
My Thoughts:
 
It's been awhile since I've read a Robin Lee Hatcher novel.  I've read some great reviews and when Keeper of the Stars became available, I was eager to crack the cover.  This was so enjoyable I've already added the previous King's Meadow books to my wish list!

The anger Penny harbored in her heart toward the man she held responsible for the family tragedy that tore her world apart was a very familiar weight.  But Trevor wasn't the monster she'd made him out to be.

God wanted Trevor in Kings Meadow.  The only question is why.  Is it to bring healing and closure for Penny and her dad?  Or is the healing for Trevor?

I encourage you to spend some time in Kings Meadow.  You'll be glad you did!  My thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Highly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch



About the Book:

“But everyone else has it.” “If you loved me, you’d get it for me!” When you hear these comments from your kids, it can be tough not to cave. You love your children--don’t you want them to be happy and to fit in?

Kristen Welch knows firsthand it’s not that easy. In fact, she’s found out that when you say yes too often, it’s not only hard on your peace of mind and your wallet--it actually puts your kids at long-term risk. In Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen shares the ups and downs in her own family’s journey of discovering why it’s healthiest not to give their kids everything. Teaching them the difference between “want” and “need” is the first step in the right direction. With many practical tips and anecdotes, she shares how to say the ultimate yes as a family by bringing up faith-filled kids who will love God, serve others, and grow into hardworking, fulfilled, and successful adults.

It’s never too late to raise grateful kids. Get ready to cultivate a spirit of genuine appreciation and create a Jesus-centered home in which your kids don’t just say--but mean!--“thank you” for everything they have.

My Thoughts:

Excellent writing from an experienced point of view.  I greatly respect Kristen.  She walks what she talks, and she shares with humble honesty.  Her style is very appealing and easy to read, and her thoughts and ideas are in line with God's Word.  Kristen is a woman with a heart for the Kingdom and a mom who really loves her children.  Her book holds timely teaching that will make the case for instilling genuine grateful living in an over indulging society.  Wish this book could be given to every new parent before they leave the delivery room!

It's difficult for today's parent to say no and mean it.  Everyone has the latest gadget, and 1st grade students have cell phones.  We want our children to fit in, but at what cost?  Kristen takes the guess work out of having versus not having, and she makes a solid case that something has to change.

Saying no isn't easy, but it feels better than a cell phone bill of over $1,000 or having your child grow into someone you love...but don't like very much.  Regardless of how old your children are, it isn't too late to change the tide from entitled to grateful.  My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing for my complimentary copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Highly recommended.


Happy Reading!

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Thursday, January 28, 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, January 27, 2016

The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell




About the Book:

“Feathers—no matter what size or shape or color—are all the same, if you think about them. They’re soft. Delicate. But the secret thing about feathers is . . . they are very strong.”In the pre-Katrina glow of New Orleans, Amanda Salassi is anxious about chaperoning her daughter’s sixth-grade field trip to the Big Easy during Halloween. And then her worst fears come true. Her daughter’s best friend, Sarah, disappears amid the magic and revelry—gone, without a trace.Unable to cope with her guilt, Amanda’s daughter sinks into depression. And Amanda’s husband turns destructive as he watches his family succumb to grief. Before long, Amanda’s whole world has collapsed.Amanda knows she has to save herself before it’s too late. As she continues to search for Sarah, she embarks on a personal journey, seeking hope and purpose in the wake of so much tragedy and loss.Set amidst the murky parishes of rural Louisiana and told through the eyes of two women who confront the darkest corners of humanity with quiet and unbreakable faith, The Feathered Bone is Julie Cantrell’s master portrait of love in a fallen world.

My Thoughts:

Julie Cantrell's newest literary offering meets the reader in the messiness of life and ultimately gives a glimpse of hope.  This is a story for both the believer and the yet to believe.  But be warned: she is lethal with her words.

What do I mean by that?  Simply this: her meticulous research, combined with the depth of character development are enough to take both mind and heart hostage for the duration of the book.  Add in her exquisite skill in setting the scene and her inclusion of real life events and you have a book that will stop your world for the sake of her imaginary one.

At times I could sense the direction the story was going.  Other times, she would catch me by surprise and steal my breath away.  As a mother and a grandmother, Julie led me into the unthinkable.  As a woman and a wife, Julie guided me into what I wish was the unbelievable...but is all too real.

Here's the kicker: I followed her there willingly.  When every turn of the page brought pain, I kept turning.  When a new chapter brought new white knuckle reading, I kept reading.  By the end of the book, I was emotionally drained, but my soul was satisfied.

"The Feathered Bone" is hard to read, but from the unique title to the stylized cover and all the words in between, it is so worth the read.  It is a blessed thing called suffering.  Julie Cantrell shows us this, and does so brilliantly.


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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks





About the book:

A killer with a penchant for torture has taken notice of forensic expert Gwen Marcey . . . and her daughter. When Gwen Marcey’s dog comes home with a human skull and then leads her to a cabin in the woods near her Montana home, she realizes there’s a serial killer in her community. And when she finds a tortured young girl clinging to life on the cabin floor, she knows this killer is a lunatic.Yet what unsettles Gwen most is that the victim looks uncannily like her daughter. The search for the torturer leads back in time to a neo-Nazi bombing in Washington state—a bombing with only one connection to Montana: Gwen. The group has a race-not-grace model of salvation . . . and they’ve marked Gwen as a race traitor. When it becomes clear that the killer has a score to settle, Gwen finds herself in a battle against time. She will have to use all of her forensic skills to find the killer before he can carry out his threat to destroy her—and the only family she has left.

My Thoughts:

A killer with a penchant for torture has taken notice of forensic expert Gwen Marcey . . . and her daughter. When Gwen Marcey’s dog comes home with a human skull and then leads her to a cabin in the woods near her Montana home, she realizes there’s a serial killer in her community. And when she finds a tortured young girl clinging to life on the cabin floor, she knows this killer is a lunatic.Yet what unsettles Gwen most is that the victim looks uncannily like her daughter. The search for the torturer leads back in time to a neo-Nazi bombing in Washington state—a bombing with only one connection to Montana: Gwen. The group has a race-not-grace model of salvation . . . and they’ve marked Gwen as a race traitor. When it becomes clear that the killer has a score to settle, Gwen finds herself in a battle against time. She will have to use all of her forensic skills to find the killer before he can carry out his threat to destroy her—and the only family she has left.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, January 25, 2016

I Was Blind (Dating) But Now I See by Stephanie Rische



About the Book:

Eight setups. Eight awkward dates. Eight things God tried to teach her along the way. (Some of which she’s still trying to figure out.)

Stephanie Rische was starting to feel invisible. All around her, her friends were getting married, and she found herself decidedly alone. Stephanie couldn’t help but wonder if there was something broken in her—was she not pretty enough? Not fun enough? Not dateable enough (whatever that meant)?

So she started praying in earnest for God to bring the right man into her life. And instead, He brought her matchmakers. Eight of them, to be precise.

Beloved blogger Stephanie Rische debuts with this charming, vulnerable, and (who are we kidding?) often mortifying true story of a girl who tried really hard to find someone to fall in love with—even when she mostly just ended up falling flat on her face.

But amid the most cringeworthy setups and awkward encounters, Stephanie found God’s grace and love meeting her there in ways she never could have imagined—once she opened her eyes to see.

My Thoughts:

Yes, I'm married, but I have children of marrying age, so I wanted to take a peek at Stephanie's book.  I was very pleasantly surprised to find so much more than dating advice in these pages!  I found humor, wit, faith, and sound advice for living life fully rather than waiting for that 'something' or 'someone' to come along.

This young woman is a gifted writer, and has incredible insight.  Stephanie shares about some disastrous blind dates, but more importantly she shares honestly about her life and lessons she's learned along the way.

Did you know your couch can reveal if you are living life on hold or to the full?   Are you waiting for that special someone?  Or for your children to 'grow up'?  For the grandchildren to learn to use a cup properly?  For the dog to pass on?

Why wait?  Get that new couch, that new hairstyle, go for that job, be that friend.  Jesus came to give us the ability to live life well and to the full, but we put artificial check points in our paths that don't need to be there at all.

Stephanie also talks candidly about loneliness, being in the friend stage of life while those around you are moving into new stages, and how to not only live but to thrive regardless of your season.  I really enjoyed her book, and I'm busy checking out her blog!  Definitely high hopes she writes more in the future--she would rock a novel!

My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing for my copy via the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review!  Highly recommended to everyone who loves to read and who loves to live!


Happy Reading!

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner


About the Book:

In this new novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life, two women working in Hollywood during its Golden Age discover the joy and heartbreak of true friendship.
Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind  ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie…

Los Angeles, 1938.  Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her  dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary.

Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide.  What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely love every story Susan Meissner crafts!  While I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction, Susan demonstrates a genuine gift of combining the stories of yesterday with the contemporary tales of today.

"Stars Over Sunset Boulevard" is a gem of a book.  We journey back to classic Hollywood, during the filming of the classic 'Gone With the Wind'.  There we encounter two young women, each struggling to find her destiny.

Violet is an up and coming star, seeking a universe to inhabit.  When she lands a job on the set of the iconic film, she's over the moon.  There she encounters Audrey, a gal who has that essence of fame that entices, and a woman with her own goal of fame in mind.

There world collides decades into the future when an unusual hat finds its way into a vintage clothing store owned by Christine McAllister.  All three women are on a journey to find a place in this great big world, but all three employ different methods to get to their destinations.

Ironically, "Stars Over Sunset Boulevard" reads much darker than Susan's previous novel about the evacuation of London's children during World War II.  Quite possibly because of Hollywood's hidden side, the kind of seedy 'walk on him to get to where you're going' side.  But the characters are richly developed, and the story is gripping and honest.

If you love historical fiction, get this book.  If you prefer contemporary fiction, get this book.  If, like me, you can't get enough of what I call dual genre fiction, you must--get this book.  I've read many books, and I've yet to find anyone else who can expertly marry history with contemporary quite as well and as stylishly as Susan Meissner.

Highly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Friday, January 1, 2016

Street God by Dimas Salaberrios





About the Book:

His street name was Daylight. But he was a nightmare.  On the streets of New York, darkness and violence reigned. Dimas “Daylight” Salaberrios popped his first pill when he was eleven years old, and just days later, he was selling drugs to his schoolmates. By fifteen, he was facing time at the notorious Rikers Island Prison. It was never safe to turn your back, and Dimas saw only one chance to survive: to become a street god. He would be the richest, most powerful ruler in the hood . . . or die trying. But in one terrifying moment, with a gun pointed at his head, Dimas had to decide: How far would he go? Was he finished taking reckless chances to rule as a god of the streets? Would he dare to entrust his life to the real God—an even riskier path?  Because that God would send Dimas back down the darkest streets he’d ever known on a rescue mission after those still in danger. Street God is the true story of one man’s against-all-odds journey from the streets to the altar and back again. A modern-day The Cross and the Switchblade for a new generation, it reveals that we’re never too far gone for God to change us—and shows how a single spark can illuminate even the darkest existence.

My Thoughts:

I have to be honest: I didn't finish this one.  So I don't really feel qualified to offer you a review, but I've made a commitment.  Keep in mind that this is a difficult story, and it's all true.

Dimas has a powerful testimony, and God most definitely rescued him from a life destined to end in tragedy.  And calling this a modern-day version of "The Cross and the Switchblade" is spot on accurate.

As a wife and as a mom, I just couldn't deal with the reality of Dimas' life in the gang and out on the street.  I kept thinking about my son, and it broke my heart.

The book is well written.  And nothing is included for the sake of shock value.  I just don't fit the target audience.  I'm grateful for Dimas sharing his story, and I believe it will have impact for the kingdom. 

It just wasn't for me.  So I recommend it with a warning: be prepared to go places you never thought you'd go.  Then be sure to share YOUR THOUGHTS about Street God.  From me, a mild recommendation.

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


Happy Reading!

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Midnight Visitors by Juliet David, illustrated by Jo Parry




About the Book:

Miriam was glad to be warm and cozy. There were so many people in the town but it was nice and peaceful inside her cowshed. Little did she know that she would soon be joined by Midnight Visitors . . . and not just any old visitors!

Snuggle up and enjoy the warm, soft feel the art and narrative bring to this delightful Christmas picture book with a difference.

My Thoughts:

What an adorable book!  "The Midnight Visitors" is the story of Jesus' birth as viewed by the animals, but it's more than that.  It's a book about hospitality, about kindness, about generosity and about perspective.

Miriam lives in the cowshed.  She's nice and cozy in her hay, and other animals come knocking, needing shelter from the weather.  Miriam takes care to make sure all are taken care of and everyone respects everyone.

The surprise visitors are Mary, Joseph and the baby yet to be born.  The shepherds and the wise men also make an appearance, but viewing the events through the eyes of the animals gives a fresh sense of innocence and wonder to the story.

The illustrations are colorful and whimsical, and my 6 year old grandson loved the book!  My thanks to my friends at Lion Hudson for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Highly recommended, and available now.


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Wednesday, December 2, 2015


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Lightning
Revell (October 6, 2015)
by
Bonnie S. Calhoun


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bonnie S. Calhoun is Owner/Director of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year.”

She loves to write with body count, blood, or blowing things up. She also has mad skills at coding HTML, and website design. And she lives in a log cabin in the woods with fifteen acres and a pond full of bass, though she'd rather buy fish at the grocery store. Bonnie shares her domain with a husband and two cats, all of whom think she’s waitstaff!

Her latest series is a YA dystopian with Revell titled Stone Braide Chronicles. The first book Thunder published in 2014. The second book Lightning published Oct 2015. There are also two FREE e-book short stories. Tremors is the prequel to Thunder, and Aftershock (short story) comes before Lightning.

ABOUT THE BOOK

After she found her real father, life for Selah should have felt settled. But the horrors have just begun. In her broken world of toxic earth and tribal clashes, Selah must battle the forces of nature alongside those in the Mountain who are calling for her blood. Haunted by the pain of mounting losses, she forges on, seeking her lost family and uncovering new mysteries. But the ultimate betrayal of her own body may soon make her quest impossible as it becomes apparent that what has made her new could also drive her to a life of madness.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Lightning, go HERE.

I'm still reading, but this is one of the best voices in Inspirational fantasy fiction!

Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Blessed, Blessed, Blessed by Missy Robertson, Jase Robertson and Beth Clark





About the Book:

Missy Robertson knew that marrying duck-hunting family man Jase Robertson would be an adventure . . . and she was up to the challenge. Their life together was good (even after Jase grew the beard). They had two children, worked hard to help build the thriving Duck Commander business, and loved and served God. But after a difficult and risky pregnancy, their daughter, Mia, was born with a cleft palate—a serious condition requiring multiple cranial and facial surgeries. As their baby struggled to breathe, and Missy and Jase faced a life that suddenly looked very different than the one they’d planned, they found themselves staring down one of life’s biggest questions: Where is God in all this pain? This is the Robertsons’ story. It’s for anyone scared and overwhelmed by a problem they can’t fix; anyone lost and searching for a way through. You’ll meet the young girl Mia who captured A&E’s Duck Dynasty viewers’ hearts, and learn how Missy and Jase have raised her and their sons to be faithful, confident, and secure in who they are.

You’ll be inspired by how the Robertson family stuck by each other through the hardest times. And you’ll discover that God’s blessings are bigger than you ever dreamed—and there when you need them the most.

My Thoughts:

I became a Duck Dynasty fan when I read Willie Robertson's book about how their business became the successful entity it is and how the reality show began.  Since then, many of the Robertson's have written books, and I've read nearly every title.

But Missy's book is the one I've been waiting for.  When we see Christian families on television they are often portrayed as holier than life, or as cartoonish jerks.  It was refreshing to have a family that didn't hide their faults, but also strived for God's best.

Jase and Missy have two wonderful boys and a precious little girl.  Mia was born with cleft lip and palate, just as my nephew was nearly 35 years ago.  I never fully grasped the difficulty CL&P was for the child, and all the family endured on the road to recovery.

Missy did a fabulous job with the book, allowing readers to experience the powerful emotions that she went through, as well as being very real and transparent about her faith and her struggles.  Mia is incredible, and you do not want to miss the chance to know more about the little girl God has His hand on.

Each new book reveals a little more about the Robertson family members, with very few stories being repeated.  Apparently, they have a LOT of stories!  That's great, because I love reading about the family I consider America's family.

My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing for my ebook in exchange for an honest review.  "Blessed, Blessed, Blessed" (so named for each of Missy's children) is available now, and is highly recommended!

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Darkness Reigns by Jill Williamson


About the Book:

The god of the soil is furious. Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, earthquakes--everything points to his unhappiness. At least this is what the people of Armania in the Five Realms believe.

Amidst the unsettling state of the world around them, the princes of Armania live their lives focused more on who will claim the throne after their sickly father, King Echad, dies. That is until Prince Wilek's concubine turns up dead--beside her, a bloodied message that seems to have come from the mother realms.

Darkness Reigns is collected together with parts 2 and 3 in King's Folly.

My Thoughts:

May I just say that "Darkness Reigns" is an exquisite reading experience.  I fell in love with her world-building in "The Blood of Kings" trilogy, so I was thrilled to get a first read of her new epic series.

If you've read her previous novels, be warned: "Darkness Reigns" goes places Jill has never gone before.  Think "Game of Thrones" meets "Chronicles of Narnia".  Her plot is intricate, her characters are lively, and her story...

...classic and destined to live on the shelf along side Tolkien and Lewis.

Horrific earthquakes and disasters abound.  The Royals are indulgent and competitive, and the people have lost their trust in their leadership.  End-times themes run through the first tale, and leave you hungry for more.

"Darkness Reigns" is the first of three parts in the first volume of this epic series.  And, yes, I realize I've used the word 'epic' several times, because there just isn't another word that captures the feel of the tale.

"Darkness Reigns" is available now, and parts 2 and 3 will be releasing soon!  Highly recommended!

Happy Reading!

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Mistletoe Justice by Carol J. Post



About the Book:

Someone has framed Darci Tucker for embezzlement—and she's pretty sure it's her boss. The real criminal will do anything to make sure she doesn't talk, from breaking into her home to hacking her computer. Her only hope for regaining control, and protecting her young son from danger, is Conner Stevenson. Desperate for answers about his sister's sudden disappearance,

Conner is determined to uncover why the bookkeeper was named a target. Now Darci and her son have become pawns in a deadly game, and as Conner races to protect them, he finds he wants more than justice. He may want a family for Christmas after all…if they live that long.


My Thoughts:

I've always been a fan of what is commonly known as mass market paperbacks, but I'm extremely picky.  Reading a novel in the Love Inspired line up of books is always a safe choice, and I really enjoy the suspense--way more than the straight romance.

"Mistletoe Justice" is the second novel by Carol J. Post to cross my path, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page.  Carol breathes life into her characters and allows them to struggle with life.  For imaginary people, they read fairly real life!

Darci presented as a strong heroine, able to stand on her own two feet.  But she also has a softer side, and she's willing to accept help when needed.  Her love for her son was heartwarming, and Jayden's struggle with autism was portrayed well.  He could speak volumes with a little half smile, and I fell in love with the little guy.

Conner is a strong male figure, but he doesn't have all the answers, and he has no problem being a team player.  His lack of confidence as a surrogate parent was refreshing, even more when he was willing to open up with Darci about his issues at home.

The story was engaging and fast paced, with just enough description to paint the scene, but enough dialogue to keep the story from lagging.  My only quibble is this: a lot of justice, but light on the mistletoe...I like my Christmas-y reads to be more...Christmas-y.

My thanks to Carol for my complimentary e-book in exchange for an honest review.  I've enjoyed the two novels she's written for Love Inspired Suspense, and will be watching the shelves at my local book retailer for more titles from Carol.

"Mistletoe Justice" is most definitely recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Embers by Ronie Kendig



About the Book:

HE'S COMING FOR THEM. AND THE KINGDOM.

Haegan and Kaelyria Celahar are royal heirs of the Nine Kingdoms, but Haegan is physically crippled. What chance does he have against Poired Dyrth, the greatest enemy the kingdom has ever faced, who wields fire with a power none can match?

Their only hope is forbidden: Kaelyria must transfer her fire-harnessing abilities to Haegan. When she does it comes with a terrible price: Haegan's disability is healed, but only by being transferred to Kaelyria. This act unleashes their father-king's wrath.  

Haegan must flee the kingdom alone with two impossible tasks: Find a cure for Kaelyria and stop the coming war with the omnipotent Poired Dyrth.
 
My Thoughts:

Truthfully, this is the greatest time to be alive if you love high fantasy and speculative fiction, especially within the inspirational fiction market!  We've a host of authors who's talent runs with the big dogs of the genre, and I'm thrilled to introduce you to the newest star in my reading universe!

Ronie Kendig earned her author stripes crafting rapid-fire, take-no-prisoners military suspense, and she has several series' in today's marketplace.  With "Embers", she makes her high fantasy debut, giving us the first volume in what promises to be the epic saga of "Abiassa's Fire".

For an author to strike the literary nail on the head within this genre, several elements have to come together in a perfect reading storm.  In my humble opinion, not only does "Embers" fire on all fictional cylinders, but this novel quickly moves Ronie to the head of the fantasy class of authors!

World building?  Check.  Imagine a world in which those in power can wield the power of fire, and engage with those known as accelerants, and spark people to get their attention?  And that's just the surface: wait until you meet your first raqine!

Strong characters?  Check.  From Prince Haegan, forever paralyzed due to an unknown poison, to his beloved sister who will do anything to heal her brother, to the band of wacky and hearty misfits the prince encounters on his coming of age journey, every single person you'll meet will intrigue you and capture a piece of your heart.

Plausible story?  Check.  As always, a prophecy is at the root of the story, but discovering the prophecy is only half the fun!  Defeating enemies as wide and varied as the ones Ronie gives us?  Yeah, that's the other half (so want to meet a Jujak!)

This book clocks in at just under 500 pages, and not one page nor word is wasted as the story unfolds.  Yes, a lot of unfamiliar names and locations pop up, but the reader learns along with the prince as you both discover this fantastical world together.

Cliff hanger?  Unfortunately, check and check!!  I can barely stand the wait until the second volume arrives!  But "Embers" is a novel I'll be reading multiple times, just for the joy of encountering this magical, fantastical world again and again.

My thanks to Ronie for an advance copy of "Embers" in exchange for an honest review.  This high fantasy cannot get a high enough endorsement from yours truly.  I envy your first read of "Embers"...I truly do.

Happy Reading!

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