Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The TRUTH by C. N. Bring

Title:  The Truth (Celia Kelly #3)
Author:  C.N. Bring
Pages:  292
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bad Day Books
This is another fantastic novel by CN Bring!  This time Celia Kelly is called to take a look at a bomb site as the culprit is someone from her former case involving the Pact.  Celia begins to track him and involves her steadfast SEAL team as well.  There are many ins and outs involved with a lot of the characters from the prior two books making appearances in this third one.  It was like a family reunion as I read about these familiar characters and got to know a little bit more about their lives, their characters and their personalities.  There were a few new characters introduced, too.  Celia’s personal life takes a decided upswing.  Her secretary Gwen is involved in the investigation, voices her usual sense of humor and is game to do just about anything to help Celia.  Georgie, Celia’s assistant, is also in protection mode where Celia is concerned and is willing to go to jail for it.
Celia is brought back to the same question, “What happened to the $20 million recovered from the Pact?  Who took it?”  As she investigates she becomes suspicious of someone she knows, but really doesn’t want to believe this person could be responsible for so much death and destruction.  Was the bomb site really the target or is there another target that the team is missing?  Can she find out the answers before it is too late? 
I read this book in a day because I absolutely could not put it down!  I just had to discover what panned out, who was guilty, who was innocent and who was left standing when everything was over.  However, at the end of the story, things are not really over because there is at least one more book in the series.  Cliffhangers abound…drat!  I am really enjoying getting to see how some of the military works.  I’m not familiar with anyone in the military, but I admire their strength, courage and dedication as depicted in this story.  Celia continues to live her faith daily for all to see, which is such an encouragement to see.  There is tons of action, deception, plots and suspense.  I highly recommend this series and will definitely be waiting on pins and needles for book four in the series to be released.
My rating is 5 stars.
Click to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Truth-Celia-Kelly-3/dp/1628279222/ref=la_B005E7WX7C_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398787490&sr=1-2
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The LIE by C. N. Bring

Title:  The Lie (Celia Kelly #2)
Author:  C.N. Bring
Pages:  272
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Bad Day Books
This second book in the Celia Kelly Series will entertain readers and leave them wanting more!  This story takes place approximately two years after The Pact, book one in the series.  The SEAL team with a new addition is reunited with Commander Celia Kelly on another mission.  This mission is compromised and results in the kidnapping of an important American official.  The team is sent in for a rescue attempt, but encounters resistance.  How did this kidnapping happen?  Why was the official sent ahead of schedule?  Is the Pact responsible?  At home, the new guard is installed in The White House as President Bailey is no longer President of the United States.  Commander Kelly will miss him and is not a big fan of his replacement.  Celia also discovers that the $20 million recovered during the last mission never arrived in Washington, D.C.  Where is the money now?  Why is intelligence just now being informed of the money being stolen almost two years after it was recovered?
There are a couple of subplots going on at the same time as the one mentioned above, involving the newly elected President of the United States, which keep the story moving at a quick pace and has readers with their thinking caps on.  The new family in The White House is not close and has secrets from the past that will emerge.  Several people die during the course of the story, some of them are the “good guys”.  Just when it looks like one of the criminals might walk away without facing punishment for his crime, a shocking end takes place.  As in the last book, the question of whether Celia’s husband is alive or not is again addressed, but not answered…rats!
There are many surprises in this installment as well as lots of action, political maneuvering and spy/intelligence intrigue.  Commander Kelly remains true to her strong faith and lives her faith daily as an example to her colleagues.  There are some big questions left unanswered in book two, but maybe those will be answered in the next book, The Truth, due to be released soon.  I can’t wait for the next book!  If you like excitement and adventure, then this series is definitely for you.  Don’t miss this fantastic read!
My rating is 5 stars.
Click to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Lie-Celia-Kelly-2/dp/1628279028/ref=la_B005E7WX7C_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398787396&sr=1-3
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

The PACT by C. N. Bring

Title:  The Pact (The Celia Kelly Series #1)
Author:  C.N. Bring
Pages:  313
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Bad Day Books
Commander Celia Kelly works at the Pentagon and hasn’t been out in the field for several years.  So why is she put in charge of a SEAL team and sent to ferret out the location of an extremist group in Syria?  Her assignment is to take out the camp, including the blonde man in charge if possible.  She also has her home broken into, a car following her around and her best friend murdered.  She then is contacted by a CIA agent.  The agent leads her to believe her husband, who has been MIA for four years, was involved or had knowledge of this extremist group.  Could her husband have betrayed his country for money?  Twenty million dollars is missing and the Pact, the name given to the extremist group, wants their money back.  Where did the money come from?  Who all is involved and how far reaching do the arms of this group extend?
Celia works with her team and begins to get acquainted with each one and comes to trust them.  She is wary of whom to trust in the chain of command above her, so she keeps her cards close to her chest sometimes.  Celia is attacked more than once and has her secretary, Gwen, is kidnapped and held for ransom.  Of course, the kidnappers want the money.  Where is the money?  Can Celia rescue Gwen, discover who all is involved in the pact either in the military or the political arena and find the money?
Explosive action, high energy tension and suspense set in the military genre are a few of the components of this great novel by CN Bring!  Also included are various intelligence agencies and their networks of spies.  Political maneuvering and manipulations make up a portion of the plot as well.  The chapters are short, making them easy to read and flip pages quickly as the plot thickens and momentum increases.  Commander Celia Kelly is not afraid to show her faith, which impacts some of the members of her team.  People see her faith in action, not just words spoken, but a life lived in dependence on God.  Her dedication to God and her country is inspiring and admirable.  This is definitely one for readers’ “keeper” shelf.  The next book in the series titled, The Lie, will be reviewed here soon.
My rating is 5 stars.
Click to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Pact-CN-Bring/dp/0983653984/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398786780&sr=1-4&keywords=cn+bring
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Monday, April 28, 2014

Meet Author Cindy N. Bring!

Recently you began a new series of posts called “The Strong Woman”. (http://www.cnbring.org/cnbring-lets-talk-blog.html) Where did the idea for this series of posts begin?  What is the heart or idea that you are trying to place before your audience?
I write about a strong woman of faith and valor, Commander Celia Kelly, and as I developed her character I realized how much she had in common with so many people I admire.  There are so many women out there who are heroes to their families, coworkers and strangers on a daily basis. You don’t have to be in the military, you just have to be willing to be present and willing to serve those around you, as God asks of us in His Word. The purpose of the series is for us to encourage each other.  Thank you, Lisa, for being one of those strong women who shared with us!

What sparked the idea for the life, faith and service of Commander Celia Kelly in the series that includes at this point The PACT, The Lie and now The TRUTH?
I wanted to create detailed mysteries, with no profanity or sex.  Although love is a part of the series, I prefer to write in a more realistic format. I am not a romantic gushy person. I want to talk about something real, so that’s what you are going to find in the series. It used to be that Christian fiction was nothing but romance. So fifteen years ago when I couldn’t find my James Patterson or Tom Clancy version in a Christian book store, I decided to write one. The idea of Celia Kelly came to me and that was that.

When I read these stories, they seemed to be thrillers, part suspense with mystery sprinkled in.  How many novels are envisioned to be in the series? 
There are two more in line and I will continue the series until I run out of material and that doesn’t seem to be any time soon.

What can readers look forward to seeing from you?  Is there any particular idea or thought you hope your audience comes away with after reading the books?
I want them to be entertained. I hope as they read they put the clues together and try to solve the mystery right along with Celia Kelly. I want people to feel inspired and find a character they have fun with and connect with in the series.  I have gone to a lot of signings where people come up to me and say, “I love Gwen Sherwood!” or “McDonald is so funny.”  The great thing about a story is it can mean different things to different people. It’s both the challenge and reward.

On your website, you have a link that takes people to a blog you write called CN Salutes? http://www.cnbring.org/the-cn-salute-blog.html  Care to share the vision of these particular posts?
I come from a family whose various members have served in the military, part of my inspiration for the Celia Kelly Series. The CN Salutes is a blog dedicated to the men and women who have served or serving our country. Every story is unique, every job is important, every lesson learned from them inspiring. It began with a couple of blog posts and turned into what it is today. I am always humbled by the sacrifices made by these brave men and women and their families.

Recently you had a unique experience when moving.  Would you share that with our readers?  What did you learn or are learning about the Lord and yourself through that experience?
Awe…yes…the house! We had tried to sell our house a couple of years ago, but only three people even looked at it. My husband and I had been feeling like the Lord was calling us to move. I do love Montana, but there was this “but”…it’s hard to explain. Last November 2013, my husband and I both felt that tug again, so we put the house back on the market.
I honestly didn’t think it would sell. But here’s the thing about God, if He has a plan and you answer, it doesn’t matter what you think is going to happen.  It just happens! We had three offers and were signing papers by February 28, 2014. So here we are: no plan, no house and moving all of an accumulation of 30 years of our things in the worst snow storm in twenty years with over a foot and a half of snow. Faith? That was pretty much all I had left to go on. Sometimes I think that’s how God works. Sometimes,  He puts you in a position where the only place left to look is up!  We followed the call and depended on Him for the rest. What a ride outside of my comfort zone that has been!

Some authors have developed a team of people to help read, review, promote, and share their books.  I have also seen attempts by authors to be more personal with their team by limiting the number, having them share their prayer requests, thoughts, ideas, etc…  
Have you ever considered doing something similar to help people become familiar with your blogs, books, etc?
My publisher has a team for editing and developing the product, but outside of that, no. That sounds like a really cool process. I’d be interested in learning more about that. 

Are you studying any particular book or topic in the Bible?
The Church we are going to right now is collectively as a congregation doing what they call a the 70 Hour Challenge. It is a Bible reading plan where they map out the scriptures for every day of the week and give them out every Sunday It is a challenge, because as you know it can be very difficult to commit to every day. Life has a way of getting in the way. The cool thing about this is there is an accountability. On Sunday someone might be asking you, did you read your scripture today?

How can people pray for you and your family?
Thank you for asking. Pray that God uses me and my family for His Glory. It is my daily prayer. At the end of the day it should be all about Him. When there is a light focused on us, sometimes we forget that.  The focus should always be on HIM!

What are the avenues in which readers can connect and communicate with you?
My website has a contact page. I check the page daily and will always reply! I am also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. We are starting a Facebook Group called GOD. FAMILY. COUNTRY so be sure to check that out. I love to hear from readers!



Defy the Night


Title:  Defy the Night
Author:  Heather Munn & Lydia Munn
Pages:  312
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Kregel
No matter what age a reader is, unless quite young, this historical fiction is one to take time to read and be reminded of those courageous people who helped save lives.  In this writing based on fact, one young women desires to help save lives as she views the work of another aid worker bringing in children from Nazi camps.  The point I believe of the novel is how one French girl, Magali, has a distorted view of how she can be a Joan of Arc, looking evil in the face.  However, she doesn’t see how her impulsiveness places lives at great risk.
As readers progress through the novel, they will see how Magali realizes in time and through experience all she has yet to learn.  Defy the Night is a heart-touching novel because the scenes were described so well it wasn’t hard to imagine the harsh conditions the Jews were forced to endure.  As a mother to read how other mothers willingly gave up their children so that they may have a better life pulled my heartstrings.  Some of the refugees lost all family and were taken to homes where they were cared for to either stay permanently or until a person was willing to adopt them.
What I learned was how many aid societies were allowed early in the war to come into the camps and take the children to new locations.  Later on in the war though this was no longer allowed and an underground system was being worked on in order to hopefully save lives that would otherwise face certain death.  The path the workers had to take, the lack of good food, loss of sleep and the constant risk of danger took its toll on many courageous people. 
The delicate balance between the impulsiveness of youth with the wisdom from older people is shown quite vividly in the book.  I believe that balance to really exist, and how Magali submits to her parents even when it isn’t her way is a great witness to youths even though it is very hard to do.  I loved when Magali worked with one aid worker and this person took time to explain some things to Magali and others she knew they would have to be experience.  The brokenness that comes from impulsiveness, causing someone else harm is evident in the book along with the restoration that brings hope anew.
My rating  is 4 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pelican Bride



Title:  The Pelican Bride (Gulf Coast Chronicles #1)
Author:  Beth White
Pages:  348
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Revell
I thought, based on the picture on the cover of the book, which this was going to be a light, fluffy romance.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!  There was nothing light or fluffy in the book with the exception of the pastries.  This story is set in 1704 in what eventually will become the area of Louisiana and Alabama.  The French are trying to establish a thriving colony, but the humidity, mosquitoes and location of the fort are making this difficult.  The approximately 200 men living in the fort are French or Canadian soldiers, merchants or tradesmen.  In order to grow the colony, a request is made of King Louis of France to send over women contracted to marry one of these men.  Louis agrees and sends the ship called the Pelican to the New World with several women on board.
Genevieve Gaillain and her sister Aimee are daughters of a baker, who was murdered for his religious practices, which were anti-Catholic.  To escape religious persecution, the girls agree to marry and board the Pelican.  Upon arrival, they realize that what they were promised in France is not what is in fact reality.  Living conditions are poor and the threat of Indian attacks is very real.  Genevieve has told herself that she will keep her religious views to herself, marry a God-fearing man, bake her bread and make a life for herself and her sister in the New World.  Tristan Lanier is a widower who was married to an Indian woman killed by British soldiers.  He still grieves her loss two years later, but is inexplicably drawn to Genevieve.  As much a surprise to him as it is to her, he asks her to marry him the day before he is to leave on a two month expedition to try to ally with various Indian tribes.  Can their marriage survive separation, secrets and manipulation?  Can Tristan develop a real relationship with God or will he remain a nominal believer?
I just loved all the historical information interwoven in the story.  I knew nothing about this time in history at this place in history and learned a lot, which I much appreciated.  I thought the characters were very interesting and well-developed.  I came to care what happened to them; I was invested in the story.  The story was not boring at all and kept moving at a good pace.  I really enjoyed the story.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series to be released in 2015.
My rating is 5 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Saturday, April 26, 2014

He Who Has an Ear



Title:  He Who Has an Ear
Author:  Laura J. Davis
Pages:  162
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Create Space
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from www.bookfun.org
The author’s focus is solely on the seven letters that are written by John while on the island of Patmos and recorded in the book of Revelation in the Bible.  I thought this a wise move as there was so much there just in that section of Scripture for Laura to share the insights in a well-developed format.  I found that her love for the Word and inductive study is exactly what I have loved for years, and since then, other studies tend not to be as rich when not inductive.
The author shares in a very direct manner what is and is not in these seven letters along with what her research revealed.  Then, towards the end, Laura helps readers see how we can apply what the Word says to our lives today.  Sometimes I would read a section quietly then share it with my husband which led to some great talks between us.  This is one book to sit down and just read and think about what is presented, and then put it in your personal library for future reference.
Always keep your Bible close along with a highlighter or pencil to write anything the Lord may prompt you to mark as you read.  One of the author’s admonitions throughout the book is to never take anyone’s word for what the Bible says, but to check it out for ourselves.  This is very wise counsel which if readers will practice can protect them from falling into teachings that aren’t biblical.
I recommend buying copies to pass out and share with people as you study from your Bible just the seven letters written in the early chapters of Revelation.  The book contains ideas that will challenge heart, minds and souls and will make studying the topic challenging yet fruitful if applied to living daily to please Him!
My rating is 5 stars.
Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Friday, April 25, 2014

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin



Title:  For Such a Time
Author:  Kate Breslin
Pages:  432
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bethany
There are some novels that are written by new authors which sometimes cause me hope that another great read is now available.  Well let me assure one and all this is one novel to read and share.  In fact, when I was half way through it, I knew a friend who would enjoy this too so I sent her a copy.  I am thinking that anyone who reads this story will want to either buy a copy for someone or share their copy; it is that good.
While the story written is set during WW II, the real backdrop is the biblical story of Esther found in the Old Testament in English Bibles.  The real Esther was a Jewess who lived during the time of Babylonian captivity for the nation of Israel.  There, through God ordained direction, Esther was chosen as the new queen.  While queen, she learned of a great threat to her people, the Jews, and put her very life on the line in order to request of the king the sparing of their lives.  To really appreciate the full impact of Esther, please take a few minutes to read the biblical account before reading this novel.
The cover of the novel drew my eyes to it like a magnet, which caused me to read the synopsis which was published.  When I learned it covered a personal favored time of history for me along with the theme being how God can use one person to save many I was hooked.  I loved how the novel didn’t rush through the scenes; the author took pains to thoroughly describe the area of captivity.  The other was the slow melting of hard hearts towards love or faith.  I thought the authenticity of how hearts along with lives are changed very encouraging, showing that regardless of the time we live in God is always at work.
Reading this novel was like sitting and conversing with an old friend, listening to time long past but not forgotten.  The authors end note of what license she took to change a few facts to fit her story helped me to understand the difference between fact and fiction.  For a new author I am astounded it is so well written, evidently well researched and a book that will remain in my personal library for years to come. It took me a little time to get into the flow of the story then when I least expected it the climax was amazing as well as the ending.  Unlike other books, movies or TV episodes I wonder if a sequel or some other adventure not linked to this one awaits readers.  I look forward to whatever writings Kate Breslin brings in the coming days as I hope she is already pursuing her next tale!
In this work of fiction, the main characters are Aric, who is a Commandant of a camp and a highly decorated Nazi officer, who ends up saving a woman named Stella from being shot.  He makes arrangements to see to her care and in time she is restored to health.  Both Aric and Stella have secrets and deeply tattered and torn hearts not to mention shredded faith.  Throughout the book readers will watch how God works in both their hearts and lives through dangerous and perilous moments.
At times I held my breath, waiting to see if the characters would get captured or escape and how others would survive when faced with deciding whether to be of aid or not.  I couldn’t help but once again be touched in my heart and soul, thinking about this time period and the atrocities many witnessed or experienced.  I think we need constant reminders that we can choose to help those who are suffering or turn a deaf ear.  Many people of various nations, whether sanctioned by their government or not, chose to help even if it cost them their livelihood, home or even their very lives.
Today, we can choose to help those around us who are hurting, suffering, seeking, or afraid because of the times we live in when nothing is for certain.  Like Esther in the Bible or Stella in this fictional story we all come to a crossroad where we must choose to either ignore or decide to stand and be willing to sacrifice for others.  The book written by Kate Breslin is a compelling one.  When readers are through, they will be so thankful for the novel and remember that they were born for such a time as this.
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457