Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Irene Hannon's Latest Suspense filled novel: Buried Secrets


Title:  Buried Secrets (Men of Valor #1)
Author:  Irene Hannon
Pages:  378
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
Mac McGregor is an ex-SEAL, who has been in St. Louis for a short time as a detective with the county.  He opted to leave the SEAL team in order to get a more stable job, settle down with a Christian woman and start a family.  He has two younger brothers who are also in the armed forces and exercises his worry gene regarding their safety quite frequently.  An unexpected reunion with his brothers leads to a surprise revelation.  Mac has been assigned to assist on a case with the local city law enforcement and meets the chief, Lisa Grant.  He is bowled over by her looks, dedication to her job and faith.  With the case of the old bones requiring some digging into the past, Mac is able to help Lisa discover who the bones belong to and that the person was in fact murdered.
Lisa Grant has been chief of police for about two years after transferring from Chicago.  She realized that her job had become her life and decided to dial things down some by taking a job in a smaller community, hoping she would have time to socialize and meet a Christian guy, fall in love, marry and start a family.  However, the reality is that she still works too many hours and has not had much time to socialize.  The detective county has assigned to help her with the case of the old bones found at the construction site is quite handsome, intelligent and a Christian.  As the two spend more time together, they know that they are meant to be together for a long time.  However, the killer they are trying to bring to justice might have another plan for their future, one not quite so pleasant.
Irene Hannon has started off this new series well.  I enjoy the crime solving dramas with suspense and some romance thrown in.  While this novel had good suspense and plot, I would have liked a little less focus on the two main characters’ attraction to one another.  I did like that Lisa and Mac were both Christians and put God first in their lives; they lived their faith with actions not just words.  I’m looking forward to the next book in the series due in the spring of 2016, featuring Mac’s brother Lance as one of the main characters.  With a new job as an FBI agent, this should be an exciting story!
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

Gathered Waters by Cara Luecht



Title:  Gathered Waters
Author:  Cara Luecht
Website:  http://www.caraluecht.com/
Pages:  250
Year:  2015
Publisher:  WhiteFire Publishing
My Rating:  5+ stars out of 5
There is another book written by the author titled, Soul Painter, which was my introduction to Cara Luecht’s writings.  Now, just finishing Gathered Waters gives me a sense of what it takes to write in a way to convey a message from history.  When readers start the book, the timeframe is late 1800’s in a town in Sweden.  There a small group of believers is living life that isn’t dictated or controlled by the Bishop of the local church.
As I read this compelling novel, I could not help but be struck with the irony that today in America Christians need to be strong in the face of persecution.  The main character’s faith was unwavering and firm and like Christ it came with a cost.  Suffering for being faithful to the Lord and His Word takes courage, fortitude and support in a society bent on removing anybody who won’t conform to standards the world deems important.  In the story, should people resist they lost material things while some were even shunned by family and friends.
At the end of the novel, readers will read the journal entry from the real Hulda Blomberg who lived from 1871 through 1970.  The author remembers her grandmother sharing her heritage through stories with the hopes that it would continue to teach future generations.  Can you even grasp all the changes Hulda lived through till her passing?  I stand amazed at what she witnessed as there is constant change happening all the time.
It took Cara a while to write the story your about to embark on and she will share with you why after you finish the novel.  In a day and age when many are for instant gratification and impatient towards anyone or thing that takes time, there is a challenge.  Will you or I share the family stories and lessons with another generation so that they too can stand against any force that seeks to steal their freedoms, especially the freedom to live, worship and work as they so choose?
Grab a copy of Gathered Waters for your personal library, share with friends or family or perhaps start talking about the legacy left behind and what legacy you want to leave for those coming after.  Great novel!
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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lone Protector Texas K-9 Unit #6


Title:  Lone Star Protector (Texas K-9 Series #6)
Author:  Lenora Worth
Website:  http://www.lenoraworth.com/
Pages:  224
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
My Rating:  5 stars
This story is the conclusion of the K-9 series that reminds us of the consequences of redemption and retribution played out by two main characters.  Throughout the whole series the overarching mystery has revolved around a man who cannot easily be identified, but is known throughout the crime syndicate as “The Boss.”  He has terrorized the Sagebrush community for years though has recently been ramping up his quests and without hesitation ordering the lives of others to be extinguished.
The captain of the K-9 unit is the focus point of this story, and it becomes apparent that all the occurrences over the last couple of years are somehow tied to him.  Now the team of police officers with their K-9 partners must put together the puzzle pieces before someone else is placed in danger.
Each book of the series beginning with Tracking Justice, Detection Mission, Guard Duty, Explosive Secret, Scent of Danger and Lone Star Protector have been filled with adventure to make a grand series of stories.  The dogs and characters are hard not to care for, especially when faced with imminent danger.  I better understand now why reaching the end of a series is hard for authors who become so attached to their stories.  While I truly found the continuity and individual books fascinating, it is still hard to know that this series is complete.
In the series, canines are shown to be attached to their handlers and vice versa.  There are themes of love, hope, faith, and a score of budding romances.  Facing the unknown brought many of the characters in contact with their deepest heart’s desire:  a relationship with the Lord or a renewal of that special relationship.  It is my fervent hope that readers will read the whole series of these stories and enjoy them as much I did!  There are more stories published by Love Inspired Suspense, and I for one plan on reading more of them in the days ahead.  Will you join me?
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

Monday, April 27, 2015

Detained by Don Brown


Title:  Detained (The Navy JAG Series)
Author:  Don Brown
Website:  http://donbrownbooks.com/
Pages:  416
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Zondervan
My rating is 5+ stars out of 5
A couple of months back I began reading novels written by Don Brown with expectations of truly riveting and suspense-filled stories.  The reason for the high expectations was that I knew Don Brown served in the military and as a JAG officer.  While casually perusing an online bookstore, I saw that Detained was coming out in 2015.
Now that 2015 has arrived and having read the novel, I am utterly amazed at the contents and depth of the story.  Two characters, Matt Davis and Amy Debenedetto are from the original JAG series though they are older and have new ranks in the Navy.  Now the stakes are higher than ever before as the two JAG officers are assigned to the same case at GITMO, however as opposing players in a high stakes trial of supposed terrorists.
While the case at GITMO is being forced to fast track the trial of two assumed terrorists, a serious threat resides within the halls of Homeland Security.  The director of Homeland Security is quietly attempting to shred or bypass the Constitution, which would place all the freedoms Americans enjoy into an abyss.   Director Strayhorn is attempting a coup that would place many powers under his leadership, and he will use whatever means necessary  to attain the powerful leadership of America.
There is romance budding between the Jag officers, choosing to exercise faith while facing death in the face while the fictional President puts measures in place to protect the future of America’s Constitution along with the Bill of Rights.  Unlike fairy tales, not everything ends all nice and neat.  There is a reality of lives that are innocently taken and evil being successful, even if temporary.
As I read the novel, I kept reading and turning the pages until the “wee” hours of the morning because I knew that until I saw how the author wrapped up the tale I wouldn’t be able to sleep.  I came away with a great appreciation for those who are seeking to preserve the Constitution of the United States of America.  I also felt the emotion of fear when reading about characters placing their lives on the line so others might not be able to commandeer our precious nation.
Grab a copy and be ready to read for hours as the suspense is so palpable that when turning the last page you find yourself releasing a big breath of air because you were holding it throughout the whole story!  Like the various men and women in the fictional story we must never let down our guard to keep America standing on the constitutional foundation so many have given their lives and more to protect for ourselves and future generations!
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

Deception on Sable Hill


Title:  Deception on Sable Hill (A Chicago World’s Fair Mystery Book #2)
Author:  Shelley Gray
Website:  http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/
Pages:  336
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Zondervan
My Rating:  5+ out of 5
Author Shelley Gray writes a variety of novels and series that readers can check out on her website. When Secrets of Sloane House was released in 2014, it was the launch of the Chicago World’s Fair series which continues with Deception on Sable Hill.  The conclusion of this series will be the third novel titled, Whispers in the Reading Room, which is slated to be released in November of this year.
Deception on Sable Hill is a very spell-binding mystery that pulls readers in when young rich women become targets of someone out to scar their faces.  The scarring starts first until it escalates into murder of two women, which defies the authorities’ ability to solve at least temporarily.  The author places her tale in a time where classes are strictly adhered to.  People marry within their class and those who are deemed to be lower class never escape that classification or do they?
First, we have two detectives working on the slasher case.  One of them is Lt. Detective Sean Ryan who has already worked hard to exceed and break out of his Irish class expectations.  The other is known around the station as gentleman Detective Howard who chose a profession that people in his realm of society consider beneath him, but that doesn’t matter to Detective Owen Howard.
Second, we see the lovely Eloisa Carstairs struggling to live within the bounds of propriety, longing to be free of nightmares and desires to break free of boundaries.  Her maid, Juliet, watches and cares for her charge and has deduced that something horrible is troubling Eloisa.  She hopes that soon Eloisa will share whatever secret brings her nightmares.
Besides working hard to capture the person responsible for scarring many women and murdering two, the women that capture the heart of both detectives add another facet to story’s richness.  With the fair taking place at the turn of the century, many characters feel that it is time to write a new chapter in their lives including living according to class expectations.  Along with these attempts, Eloisa, Owen, Sean and others have internal struggles, thoughts and emotions they must face if they are to capture the peace their hearts long for in many areas.
I cannot wait for the third and final novel of the series to see what the author has in store for her characters, but it will also be hard to say goodbye to a series that has simply captivated my heart.  I hope you all will join me on this adventure and cheer for those seeking to break out of bonds to a new life!
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

Thick as Thieves by Susan K. Marlow


Title:  Thick as Thieves (Circle C Milestones)
Author:  Susan K. Marlow
Website:  http://www.susankmarlow.com/
Pages:  176
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Kregel
My Rating:  5
Thick as Thieves is my introduction to the writings of Susan K. Marlow and I am impressed to say the least!  While the target audience is to reach those 8-12 years old, please don’t feel limited by that age group.  The novel will be well received by adults and even readers younger than 8 if it was read aloud.  There is prior series of six books by the same author that includes the characters in Thick as Thieves and the setting referred to as Circle C Adventures.  Though I haven’t read them as of yet, I sure plan to as I enjoyed Susan’s newest book.  It is quite enjoyable to sit, relax and enjoy an adventure!
In Thick as Thieves, young readers will learn that sometimes those with a tough and mean exterior hide a person crying inside to be loved.  As the main character, Andrea Carter, learns when asked to allow Macy to remain sitting with her at their desk in school, loving Macy takes reliance upon God.  Macy bullies anyone and everyone, but it isn’t until Andrea learns to look beyond her behavior and words to find the “real” Macy hiding underneath.  When Andrea does, her heart is moved with compassion and purposely seeks out to befriend Macy.  Susan’s novel shows how hard that choice is along with the difficulty in living that out with Macy is trying to discourage Andrea every step of the way.  There are bullies everywhere and we must discern wisely who the Lord would have us reach out to.  The one desire we all have is to be loved and accepted, seen with all our cracks and failures and chosen by another.
Please consider getting the novel and the prior series, both for your own personal library along with donating a set to the local library or school library.  Together, with authors, we can influence and touch others with the love of Christ.

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 26, 2015

Wilderness Rising


Title:  Wilderness Rising (Church Builder #2)
Author:  A.L. Shields
Pages:  329
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Zondervan
Wow!  If you like espionage, searching for ancient artifacts and action, this is the book for you.  This is book two of the Church Builder series, and I highly recommend reading book one in the series, The Church Builder, first.  Book two begins where book one leaves off, so if you haven’t read book one, it will be difficult to follow the plot and figure out what is going on.
Bethany Barclay now finds herself following her best friend Annabelle Seaver’s clues to find the Pilate Stone left behind before Annabelle’s untimely death.  Bethany is on the run from the FBI as well as other law enforcement agencies in the U.S.  She has traveled to England under duress, following Annabelle’s trail crumbs in order to save her young friend, Janice, from an early death at the hands of the Wilderness in the time frame of two weeks.  She is a fugitive so she is constantly on the move, paying for everything in cash, never staying in one place more than one night and always looking over her shoulder.  She has help from ex-CIA agent Ray Fuentes, who remains in the shadows as much as possible, as well as FBI agent Carl Carraway.  Both undertake the task of finding out where the Wilderness is holding Janice captive while Bethany travels to Europe.  Bethany also encounters British intelligence as they are interested in the Pilate Stone as well.  Bethany constantly has to evaluate who can be trusted and who is an enemy.  Can she find this obscure relic that most say doesn’t even exist before Janice is killed?
The action is intense and the tension ramped up to make this a novel bent on keeping readers involved, which it does very effectively.  I couldn’t put this down as I just had to know what Bethany would find around the next corner.  I admire her intelligence and quick thinking on her feet as she tries to decipher the clues to the Pilate Stone as well as to thwart her enemies to stay alive.  The battle between good and evil is depicted in a way that will captivate readers and hopefully make them think about the unseen spiritual battles that happen 24/7.  I know it made me more aware of this and I have made some additions to my prayers.  I hope there will be more books in this exciting series.  I’ve got a new book for my “keeper” shelf!
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

Scent of Danger Texas K-9 Unit Series #5



Title:  Scent of Danger (Texas K-9 Book #5)
Author:  Terri Reed
Website:  http://www.terrireed.com/
Pages:  280
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
My Rating:  5 stars
Whew!  The ending of this novel was so exciting and really captivating!  Throughout the whole Texas K-9 series the authors begin to slowly reveal and then unveil the mystery surrounding the activity that continues to lead to The Lost Woods.  Tracking Justice, Detection Mission, Guard Duty, Explosive Secrets and now Scent of Danger introduce a unit of officers and their specially trained dogs.  Each novel highlights a particular member of that unit and their personal thoughts, battles and emotions with the overall attempt to locate a crime syndicate recently brought to light in the small town of Sagebrush.
In this installment, we learn about a 2-year-old beagle that is trained to uncover narcotics, and his handler, Officer Parker Adams.  Throughout the adventure a romance is beginning to develop between Parker and detective Melody Zachary who runs a youth center.  When it is evident that some nemesis will go to great lengths to try and take out Melody, Parker is assigned to protect her.
Both Parker and Melody have hearts that are scarred from their past experiences, which seem to be hard to move past in order to trust each other.  The faith these two show in God as well as other K-9 handlers in the unit is a real encouragement when they face danger.  I enjoyed each book I have read thus far in the series as the suspense and thrill never seemed to let my attention waver.
One more installment titled, Lone Star Protector, promises to unveil the main adversary known only as The Boss.  Sometimes I have thought of various other characters as being the man calling the shots or putting fear in the snitches that live on the streets.  The other aspect of the series I have enjoyed is the vast variety and training of the dogs.  The stories are filled with faith, romance, danger, adventure and more which I hope will cause you to sit down and enjoy each carefully crafted tale!  Don’t miss the Texas K-9 series!  You’ll not only enjoy them, but will find yourself sharing them with family or friends.
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

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Lazarus File by Donn Taylor



Title:  The Lazarus Files
Author:  Donn Taylor
Website:  http://www.donntaylor.com/
Pages:  304
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
My Rating:  5+ stars
Reading a novel such as The Lazarus File was an adventure!  There was nonstop suspense plus it was hard at time to slow down my reading because I was so excited to see what came next!  There is an operative who is working undercover and facing some threatening people and situations.  He has been thought dead for many years, but is he?  Now it appears he may have been resurrected with a new identity.  However, the political scene in Washington has changed and the methods once employed to keep agents protected are now compromised with deadly results.
The flip side is a married, rich couple in Columbia who by working hard give the poorest of the poor better avenues to improve their lives.  Yet enemies within the family and without are seeking to destroy that idea and bring about change, including a new government in Columbia.  Here is where the undercover agent must finish his mission or decide to work for this upstanding family.  Or does his mission in some way involve the good people he rarely meets?
I stayed up till I found out the ending as the adventure never ended and the suspense just kept getting wound up.  Donn Taylor did a fantastic job of writing a work of fiction that really is most realistic and therefore grabs the reader’s attention and never lets go!  Those who enjoy suspense, mystery and thrillers will certainly want to lose themselves in The Lazarus File!  Grab a cup of coffee or a soda and prepare to live out an adventure in the creative world within the pages!
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

Friday, April 24, 2015

Love Inspired: The Doctor's Second Chance


Title:  The Doctor’s Second Chance
Author:  Missy Tippens
Website:  http://www.missytippens.com/
Pages:  224
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Love Inspired
My Rating:  5+ out of 5 stars
When I began reading the novel, it soon became apparent that I wasn’t going to quit reading until the end!  I was caught up in the heart-rending drama of a single man raised by an aunt and uncle after his parents’ death in the past and now facing fatherhood when his cousin shows up and leaves her newborn with him.  All Jake is aware of is how to do construction and is clueless as to how to care for a newborn baby girl.
Jake grew up with his cousin Remy and knows she has a tendency to dump her problems or responsibilities on others before vanishing.  Now Jake has to seek the help of the local pediatrician who purchased his uncle’s practice and as far as Jake is concerned ripped off the couple.  When he seeks Violet’s help in how to care for a newborn, the past issues in both their lives come to the forefront.  For the moment the main focus has to be on the baby, but as time goes by Jake is determined to locate Remy before adopting the baby to make sure it is what his cousin desires.
As I read about the past of Violet Crenshaw, the pediatrician is slowly revealed and Jake’s heart begins to melt letting go of his hard feelings.  What develops is a touching story of redemption, hope and love even after so much time has passed in lives thought lost to pain or bad choices.  My heart at one time really felt the tortures a couple of the characters were going through, but I am glad the author didn’t stop the story.  The ending is priceless and renews the heart with hope as lives and loves begin anew.  It was a great book to read on a quiet Saturday afternoon!
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

Love Inspired: A Firefighter's Promise

Title:  A Firefighter’s Promise
Author:  Patricia Johns
Website:  http://patriciajohnsromance.com/
Pages:  224
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Love Inspired
My Rating:  4 out of 5 stars.
Each of the Love Inspired novels is an adventure for readers the moment the book is opened.  Here a young boy named Christopher is recently told by his mother that he was adopted.  Christopher begins to have trouble at school eventually resulting in his being expelled.  His mother Rachael moves back to her hometown in the hopes that Christopher will adjust and adapt to life in a small town along with meeting the firefighter who found him in a box outside the station one rainy night seven years ago.
Rachael only has Christopher after being widowed five years prior when her firefighter husband was killed one night while on duty.  Rachael knows all too well what living with a public servant is like so she shies away from any man showing interest in her who works as a firefighter.  After finishing the novel, my respect and admiration for all public servants grew even though this is a fictional novel.  I could see the toll it would take on any relationship or family when at any moment an emergency could pull their loved one into the line of fire.
The other issues fictionalized for readers are not the main focus, but the hope and restoration that God can bring into lives is the highlighted message.  Waiting for the right moment when God brings two people together is inspiring and being together for a lifetime, though it involves work, is priceless!  There are many other stories Love Inspired offers.  A Firefighter’s Promise is a stand-alone novel.
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

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Explosive Secrets Texas K-9 Unit Series #4



Title:  Explosive Secrets (Texas K-9 Series Book #4)
Author:  Valerie Hanson
Website:  http://www.valeriehansen.com/
Pages:  288
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
My Rating:  5 stars
The series Texas K-9 Unit begins with Tracking Justice, followed by Detection Mission and then Guard DutyExplosive Secrets continues the mystery introduced in book one with romance, faith and facing danger.  Each novel centralizes on one main character in the K-9 unit along with whatever situations the team of handler and trained canines are called in to solve or assist.
In the fourth installment, readers meet a police officer and his dog who also served as a team when deployed to Afghanistan.  The dog still suffers from some of the traumatic experiences while serving but as long as this brave canine is able to point where bombs are, he remains a part of the unit.
So when Nicki gets targeted by a criminal syndicate operating in Sagebrush, the police suspect she knows her dying cousin’s confession.  No matter where Nicki goes trouble and danger seem to be close by and therefore the captain assigns Jackson and his bomb sniffing dog as her protection.  Many in the unit don’t believe that Nicki knows nothing as she claims, but Jackson and his uncle do.
I hope these small tantalizing tidbits intrigue you enough to read and enjoy the series.  They are exceptionally written stories.  They contain adventure, danger, romance, faith and so much more.  With each book, readers come a little bit closer to identifying the man at the head of the syndicate known as “The Boss”.  Two more stories and I bet it will be an awesome ending to the whole K-9 novel unit series!  Get the books and be prepared to get lost in the enjoyable tales!
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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Every Bride Needs a Groom by Janice Thompson


Title:  Every Bride Needs a Groom (Brides with Style)
Author:  Janice Thompson
Website:  http://janiceathompson.com/blog/
Pages:  368
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
My Rating:  5+ out of 5 stars
I am pretty familiar with Janice Thompson’s novels, having read The Director’s Cut and the Weddings by Design series.  The series titles are Picture Perfect, The Icing on Cake, The Dream Dress and A Bouquet of Love.  Each book at times caused me to burst out laughing and other times enticed me to see how the adventure would play out with the characters.
I hardly started reading when I began cracking up out loud with some of the one liners in the story.  Though I read them to my son and he said they were funny, I could tell he didn’t understand the funny parts just because he isn’t female or a mother!  Now, with brand new characters, storylines and more, Janice Thompson’s Brides with Style starts each chapter titled after a Loretta Lynn song. 
There are some tying events together of this new series with Weddings by Design, but even if you haven’t read that series, which I highly recommend that you do, you will still enjoy the book.  The themes of faith, hope, forgiveness, change, and discovery are just a few of the obvious thoughts that went into writing a wonderful story.  In the small town where the story is placed, everyone knows pretty much everyone else’s business and what is expected of the offspring as they become adults.
The one touching thread of the book is when two elderly sisters who haven’t spoken or seen each other in years are lovingly forced to face the root of their problem from the past.  What occurs in this work of fiction, I believe, will happen repeatedly when the truth is revealed…forgiveness is asked for and given and life begins again for all involved.
I look forward to book #2 coming out in October 2015 titled, Every Girl Gets Confused.  In the meantime, I pray you read her Wedding by Design Series as well as her newest series book #1 Every Bride Needs a Groom during the summer months while drinking a tall, cold glass of iced tea.  Until then, look for more exciting reviews coming as we read many books in 2015!
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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Double Cross by DiAnn Mills


Title:  Doublecross (FBI Houston Book #2)
Author:  DiAnn Mills
Website:  http://www.diannmills.com/
Pages:  400
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Tyndale
My Rating:  5+ stars out of 5
FBI undercover agent Laurel sent a man to prison for serious charges.  Now, he is willing to work with the FBI to help stop a scam.  Wilmington promised revenge against Laurel for her part in bringing him down.  He now claims he is a Christian.  Daniel is on the local police force in Houston as well as taking care of his grandfather who has Alzheimer’s.  Some guests of the high-rated senior care center where his grandfather is a member are now dead and some have been being scammed of thousands of dollars.
Laurel is assigned once again to work with Wilmington to uncover the scam and bring those guilty of it to justice.  The problem is she is having a real hard time believing he is truly a Christian and wants nothing to do with his religion or God.  Daniel’s grandparents have lived an adventurous life and now in the twilight years each day is a gift and Daniel is the bright spot in their hearts.
DiAnn Mills’ novel is a real gut-twisting, mind-blowing adventure that weaves people of faith rubbing shoulders with seekers of truth and evil.  The heart of readers will be gripped by glimpses of what taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s might look like each day.  For me, I can say that part of the novel was heart-rending as my husband and I have had personal, hands-on, daily experience with both his parents and losing my Dad last year to this disease.
This is a tale that summons the mind of readers to try and figure out who is ultimately behind the millions of dollars stolen from the elderly.  With trying to discern which clues lead to real answers from those that lead to rabbit trails makes it challenging to uncover the real culprit.  Reading the book kept me turning pages, and the ending was a stroke of genius!
Like the first novel in the series titled, Firewall, Doublecross gives a clue as to what might happen but it is so intricately buried in the tale it isn’t easy to ferret out where or to whom the title pointed.  Sometimes the hardest part of finishing a novel is the waiting for the author’s next work and that is very true in this experience for me!  I cannot wait to see what comes next from DiAnn Mills though I am sure it will be suspenseful and thrilling!
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


Melissa Tagg's Novel: From the Start


Title:  From the Start
Author:  Melissa Tagg
Website:  http://www.melissatagg.com/
Pages:  352
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany
My Rating:  5 out of 5
Kate Walker’s character reveals the loneliness that comes when, after being hurt by someone, we build walls around our heart to keep others from getting close.  I enjoyed following the character’s journey into discovering what is contained deep within the heart when she agrees to write the memoir of a former NFL player.  Colton is the player who suffers a career-ending injury, but also discovers he doesn’t know what life is for him beyond the grid.
The themes that are conveyed repeatedly in many ways are where we should ultimately find our truest source of love, meaning and what we work we are to do.  Both of the main characters, Kate and Colton, are reflections of real people who work hard to be the best each day while carrying some baggage from their past.  We can learn from these two that letting the past go into the hands of God isn’t easy.  It takes time, but ultimately leads to freedom for the heart and soul.
I was touched when a little boy battling cancer was introduced as part of the story and that sure is a heart-wrenching truth.  Faith is taking life one day at a time and looking to God, especially when sitting beside the bed of a very sick child, and the truth shared in those scenes of just how hard it is to keep hoping when all hope looks lost.  Yet, it reminds others to appreciate their lives even with all their trials, struggles and daily challenges.
I loved the climactic ending the author snuck in that really surprised me!  I thought the reality portrayed in this work of fiction made it much more endearing to the heart of this reader.  I cannot wait to see what flows next from Melissa Tagg!  Until then, I hope others will enjoy this story.
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

Firewall by DiAnn Mills


Title:  Firewall (FBI Houston Book #1)
Author:  DiAnn Mills
Website:  http://www.diannmills.com/
Pages:  416
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Tyndale
My Rating:  5 stars out of 5
Sometimes the beauty of rereading a novel after time has passed is the enjoyment of rediscovering the intrigue.  While some authors don’t use intrigue in story lines, DiAnn Mills is a master with not only intrigue but also suspense.  When I finished this novel in preparation for reading her new book in the series, Doublecross, I again was astounded by the thrill of reading her indepth adventures.
The character of Taryn is one of woman who has overcome much, falls prey to a master deceiver and comes out the other side a totally new woman.  If you’re looking for a spellbinding tale with good versus evil intent, murder, deceit and a new birth in Christ, this book is for you!
Taryn has a high IQ and tends to be shy, but the world of technology in which she excels comes with a high cost, especially when she develops one of the most promising programs to use in distributing natural gas overseas.  Only two companies have been approved to transport and use the software, but there is an enemy who seeks ultimate control, who will go to any length to procure the software and Taryn’s talents if possible.  The web of those involved in this treacherous game is wide and far, and Taryn isn’t sure just how much more punishment her body can take.
So does Taryn become a national terrorist?  Is Taryn working for the FBI?  Just how far and how fast can the team of special agents race to stop what might become a cataclysmic event?  Grab your copy of Firewall, put your seatbelt on and be prepared to enjoy an adventure that is simply outstanding!
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

Monday, April 20, 2015

From the Start


Title:  From the Start
Author:  Melissa Tagg
Website:  http://www.melissatagg.com/
Pages:  352
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany
My Rating:  5 out of 5
Kate Walker’s character reveals the loneliness that comes when, after being hurt by someone, we build walls around our heart to keep others from getting close.  I enjoyed following the character’s journey into discovering what is contained deep within the heart when she agrees to write the memoir of a former NFL player.  Colton is the player who suffers a career-ending injury, but also discovers he doesn’t know what life is for him beyond the grid.
The themes that are conveyed repeatedly in many ways are where we should ultimately find our truest source of love, meaning and what we work we are to do.  Both of the main characters, Kate and Colton, are reflections of real people who work hard to be the best each day while carrying some baggage from their past.  We can learn from these two that letting the past go into the hands of God isn’t easy.  It takes time, but ultimately leads to freedom for the heart and soul.
I was touched when a little boy battling cancer was introduced as part of the story and that sure is a heart-wrenching truth.  Faith is taking life one day at a time and looking to God, especially when sitting beside the bed of a very sick child, and the truth shared in those scenes of just how hard it is to keep hoping when all hope looks lost.  Yet, it reminds others to appreciate their lives even with all their trials, struggles and daily challenges.
I loved the climactic ending the author snuck in that really surprised me!  I thought the reality portrayed in this work of fiction made it much more endearing to the heart of this reader.  I cannot wait to see what flows next from Melissa Tagg!  Until then, I hope others will enjoy this story.
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 19, 2015

Against the Flow by John C. Lenox.....a must for personal libraries!


Title:  Against the Flow (The Inspiration of Daniel in an Age of Relativism)
Author:  John C. Lenox
Website:  http://www.johnlennox.org/
Pages:  440
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Monarch Books
My Rating:  5+ stars out of 5
What grabs your attention when looking for a book to read?  Is it the title, subtitle, picture, author or content?  When I first was offered the opportunity to read, review and post about this book, I was super excited!  Why?  Well, for one a friend and I have been studying the book of Daniel in depth for awhile now.  Another reason is that I believe the title is a call to do just that, go against the flow.  Finally, it is a well-developed apologetic or commentary on the book of Daniel in the Old Testament.
Now, am I still as excited as I was at first?  Absolutely, if not more so!  The Body of Christ needs to return to preaching the Old Testament and not solely the New.  There are many examples we can learn from those who have gone before us as to how to stand firm and against a raging flow.  Society as the author states a couple of times and in different ways is okay with people practicing their faith in a church building or privately.  They are threatened when people live their beliefs in the full view of the public and hence why we hear, read or see many examples of those who want to silence the voices.
Daniel lived in a different society, time, and culture than we do today, but the message of Daniel is as relevant now as it was then.  What message?  Well, there are many, and God will speak to your heart if you read Daniel along with John C. Lenox’s Against the Flow as an aid to understanding and applying sacred writ.
There is a cost to standing up and being counted as a Christ follower.  Words of hatred are always being spewed forth without restraint in either written or spoken form.  Sometimes it can even be detected through music or movies.  Regardless of how the real question is put forth, will you stand against the flow or be swept up by the flow?  Do not think it isn’t true because it is, and we all know it as we interact with others or discern it from other media forms. 
I highly recommend the book and when you purchase one for yourself, consider buying a copy to give to a local library, friend, family member or whomever your path crosses.  Read the Bible and share what you learn with others and discuss what John C. Lenox has written to encourage everyone who is a Christ follower to go against the flow.
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

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary ( The Monastery Murder #4 series)



Title:  A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary (The Monastery Murders #4)
Author:  Donna Fletcher Crow
Pages:  254
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Greenbrier Book Company
The fourth book in The Monastery Murders series begins approximately three months before the wedding of Antony and Felicity.  Felicity is asked to translate an old Latin document for an Oxford convent.  Felicity will be separated from Antony for two weeks while she completes her task.  While taking a break from her translation, she makes a grisly discovery.  She tells Antony she will not investigate this, but leave that to the police.  Antony arrives in Oxford with a small group of students he is providing on-site lectures for.
As Felicity continues her translation, more and more things begin to happen.  She tries her best to stay out of the investigation, but when she is a victim of some of these events she is drawn in.  Antony is facing family troubles when the uncle who raised him has a heart attack, then one of his students is found dead and Felicity is attacked.  And what should he do about his relationship with his sister?  He hasn’t seen her in years and kept touch with her infrequently.  Felicity has met her when she unknowingly sees Gwena in a theatrical play and strikes up an uneasy friendship.
I really enjoyed learning about some of the church’s history in England as well as present day practices of a certain religion.  I also liked Felicity’s reactions to the church services she attended, the prayers prayed and the songs sung.  The sense of peace she received when her focus was on God was a great reminder for me!  I also could relate the Antony’s relationship with his sister, and the inherent complications of how that past is viewed by both of them.  The descriptions of the churches and scenery were vivid.  I’m looking forward to the next story in the series and hope readers will take the chance to enjoy these mysteries.
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

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Sense of Place Part 2 by Author Donna Fletcher Crow

Since the ringing of muffled bells is an important through-line in this story I arranged to have a bell-ringing lesson from the Oxford University Society of Change Ringers— amazingly accomplished without anyone getting murdered, unlike Felicity’s experience.






















I visited all the sites of Oxford’s saints and martyrs which provide the historical background of this book, although I had to dig out my own facts without having Father Antony there to give me one of his vivid lectures.




A Martyr's Monument



















27 Street Frideswide Well















All-in-all, even though I had a somewhat less exciting time than Felicity and Antony have in Oxford, it was a wonderful experience which I have loved reliving as I developed the plot and my characters at my computer and am thrilled to share with my readers:

Translating an ancient document in an Oxford convent should be a harmless venture, but Felicity just can’t seem to avoid danger. It’s hardly Felicity’s fault, though, that severed body parts start showing up in ancient holy reliquaries. Or that Felicity and one of the nuns is assaulted. Then Antony arrives in Oxford with a group of students and is disconcerted to learn that Felicity has forged an uneasy friendship with his estranged sister. The family situation is further complicated when Antony is obliged to rush to the bedside of his dying uncle in Blackpool. The exultation of All Saints’ Day plunges to the anguish of grief on All Souls’ when Felicity encounters yet another body.

Who will be the next victim of the murderer stalking the shadows of Oxford’s hallowed shrines?



Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 45 books, mostly novels of British history.  The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work.  She is also the author of The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave, A Darkly Hidden Truth, An Unholy Communion and A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels including A Tincture of Murder and the literary suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries including A Jane Austen Encounter. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho.  They have 4 adult children and 13 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener. 
To read more about all of Donna's books and see pictures from her garden and research trips please visit her website  www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com and follow her on Facebook for updates.




Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Sense of Place by Author Donna Fletcher Crow Part 1

A Sense of Place in A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary

Donna Fletcher Crow 








Writers are often asked, “What’s most important to you— character or plot?”

I always feel that I need to duck my head a bit when I reply, “Well, actually, background is most important to me.” But that’s the truth. Setting is the factor I look at first in choosing a book to read and the first decision I make in planning a new book to write. After all, I’ll be mentally living in that setting for more than a year, so it had better be a place I want to be.

One of my major goals as a writer is to give my readers a “you are there” experience when reading my books. That has to start with my being there— physically when I research and mentally when I write. That way the setting almost becomes a character in the story because I try to develop my settings as carefully as I develop my people. And it certainly drives the plot because I like to let the setting suggest possible events to me.

That’s how the lovely city of Oxford functions in my latest Monastery Murder A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary.


Oxford Street in the Rain









18 Ship Street









It all began in 2000 when our daughter went off to study Classics at Keble College, Oxford. I quickly fell in love with the history and traditions of the city and university when visiting her there, and all these years later was able to use many of her experiences for my heroine Felicity, who, not so coincidentally, had also read Classics at Keble.





Keble College












Keble Chapel











But in A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary Felicity doesn’t start at the university. She’s off to a convent to do a spot of translating for The Sisters of the Love of God in Fairacres, a suburb of Oxford. So that’s where I began my research. The nuns welcomed me to enjoy their garden, worship in their chapel and tour their press. And I managed my time there without ever getting assaulted as Felicity was.





SLG Chapel

















SLG Garden













Return tomorrow for the conclusion of Donna's exciting article with fantastic pictures you have to see!