Friday, October 30, 2015

Beautiful Star of Bethlehem (A Christmas Novella)

Title:  Beautiful Star of Bethlehem (A Christmas Novella)
Author:  Lori Copeland
Pages:  192
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Shiloh
My rating is 5+ stars.
What an exceptionally touching tale so relevant to the current issues of loving and caring for people with memory issues.  The main female character named Arlene has been married for years and is now on the way to meet her first grandchild with her husband.  Suddenly life takes a jolting, heart-ripping twist and life for Arlene and her family is forever altered.
Throughout the novella, Arlene has moments where she remembers events, people and her faith though sometimes the thoughts fade as quickly as they come.  Now, her sons and their families are under tremendous stress from grief and long term care for their mom.  Through the fuzzy moments come words of wisdom, love and care of a mother, friend and grandmother when crisis come to her attention.
Depending on your life experiences, the hope of this novella might really touch your heart deeply, and like me it might even remind you that through all of life God makes beauty from ashes.  Like the characters we might go through a myriad of emotions so intense we feel stress that we just cannot find a way to express.  However, at some point, we will see God’s hand has been with us throughout the whole season we just walked through.  When we come out, we aren’t the same people who went into the season of hardship, heartache or broken dreams, but our walk with the Lord will be so different, more real perhaps.
Stars shine brightest against a black background; God shines brightest and draws us near when we look to Him in the backdrop of our trails.  Thank you Lori for writing a very heartfelt story one and all need to read; they’ll never forget it that’s for sure!

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.” 

Voice in the Wilderness (Against All Enemies #1)

Title:  Voice in the Wilderness (Against All Enemies #1)
Author:  H. L. Wegley
Pages:  394
Year:  2015
Publisher:  H. L. Wegley
My rating is 5+ stars.
Reminiscent of events both here in America and abroad, Voice in the Wilderness seeks to awaken our nation through the medium of fiction.  Like John the Baptist who was a voice crying out in the wilderness or Queen Esther who was reminded by her uncle about being born for such a time as this, both are examples that challenge us to look beyond ourselves.  The novel is so enthralling I simply had to finish the story before crawling between the sheets.
In the tale, two bright young people are thrust into a world of espionage, tyranny, treason and more shortly after the opening of the book.  From that point forward there is also danger lurking though not always identified by the two young people, Daniel and KC.  Daniel authored a blog that sought to encourage and educate his audience by sharing the truth of what he saw happening in America.  KC was working in the White House as a network specialist until she found incriminating evidence that would put the President out of office and likely in prison.
Unsure who they can trust, they must proceed cautiously and with faith.  Both have to face their past hurts and overcome fears that seek to steal their reliance on the Lord.  I really found this work of fiction heart-thumping, suspense-filled and captivating.  Some authors I have learned write stories to communicate a message, and this one book really reminds us that America needs people willing to stand up and do whatever God has called them and equipped them to do.  I loved how the author had military and local emergency workers live up to the actual oath they had taken to defend our Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic!
Americans can pray, vote and have hope that God can restore us to the nation He has called us to be, a beacon that calls people to Him.  As KC learned, we cannot do it on our own; we must learn to rely on Him every day.  Each generation receives the mantle from the prior one.  What are we going to do in preparation for those who come after us?  We can teach them about God and His Word; we can teach history as many miraculous things have happened even during wars that prove God’s existence.  We can teach the Constitution not because it is required, but so people can see how God moved men to write a document that gives America a solid foundation.
Read Voice in the Wilderness and be prepared to be in the book till the end.  See if you aren’t moved to be more active in preserving and restoring America so she glorifies the One True God!

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.” 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Deadlock by DiAnn Mills

Title:  Deadlock (FBI Houston #3)
Author:  DiAnn Mills
Pages:  385
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Bethany Sanchez is new to the violent crimes division of the FBI.  She feels she has much to prove.  She is a by-the-book, rules lover agent.  Her new partner, Thatcher Graves, likes to work on instinct or hunches.  So right off the bat their investigation styles clash.  Bethany thinks the partnership will never work out, but Thatcher thinks they can play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses to be an unbeatable team.
As they begin to investigate a possible serial killer’s victim, their differing styles cause conflict initially, but as more killings happen they begin to see the value of the other’s style.  They spend hours together going over the case, conducting interviews and reading reports.  Bethany also must deal with an escalating family issue that threatens her family, her partner and even herself.  Does she have what it takes to survive in the violent crimes division as well as threats from two people bent on seeing her harmed?
There were some slow spots in the story with a little too much focus on Bethany’s family relationships for my taste.  However, the chapters were short which kept the story moving along.  There was lots of intrigue, mystery and suspense that kept me involved in the story, trying to figure out the criminal’s identity.  I liked Bethany’s compassion and love for her family even when they treated her terribly.  I also enjoyed seeing the softer side of Thatcher when he was away from the job as well as his developing relationship with God.  While this is a series, I was easily able to read this third book without having read books one or two and didn’t get lost.  They are basically stand-alone books.  I hope to read the first two books in the series sometime soon, so look for my thoughts about them right here!
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.” 

Characters in DEADLOCK by DiAnn Mills - FBI: Houston Book 3





Q & A with Author DiAnn Mills



1. How did you become interested in writing?         

I cant remember when I wasnt in fiction mode.

Before I could hold a pencil, I created stories. After I could hold a pencil, I
wrote stories. The power of the written word intrigued me then as nowthe sound of words,
the look of them on the written page, the ways words are used to entertain,
inspire, and encourage others.                                                                                                                                         
2.What can you tell us about the setting of this novel?
Deadlock,a romantic suspense, is set in Houston, Texas. My city. My home. Familiar

landscapes add more authenticity.

3.Who are the main characters?
Special Agent Bethany Sanchez steps into the violent crime division of Houstons FBI. Shes a bit of a perfectionist, and her own worst critic. However, she has reservations about

her new partner, the same man who put her brother in jail. To make matters
worse, he has a reputation of getting the job done, no nonsense, and a
womanizer. Are the rumors true?

4.Special Agent Thatcher Graves is ready to work with his new partner, but shes hard to get to

know. Hes uncertain if he can trust her, and he has to know she has his back. Recently he made a decision to become a Christian, but his past party-image stops him from revealing the
changes in his life.

5.Which of the characters surprised you the most in this story, and how so?
Bethany refused to give up on her relationship with her family, even though they chose
her felon brother over her.

6.How did the writing of this story impact you as a person or as an author?
Definitelythe family dynamics. We all have family members who dont share our beliefs
or values. This deepened my awareness of unconditional love woven with
obedience to Gods principles.

7.Why is this story important to you?
Three reasons:
1.  The complexities of dealing with a depraved mind.

2.     Showing the cultural differences between Bethany and Thatcher and their friendship

resulting in love.

3. Creating an action-packed story about Houstons FBI, their dedication and commitment

to keeping people safe.

8.What would you like your readers to take away from this story?
Gods sovereignty in all situations of lifefamily, career,
friendships, love, and obeying laws that correspond with Gods principles.
                                                                                                                                       

9. Are there some specific lessons you

hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?

God is bigger than our problems -

whether that be career, spiritual, or personal. In Deadlock, not only
did professional problems attack my hero and heroine, but family dynamics.
                                                                             

10.  When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy reading, cooking, gardening, and grandkids! Im very much into good health and
exercise to keep my body and mind in the best shape possible.
                                                                                                                                                     

11.What can you tell us about Deadlock?

Two murders have rocked the city of Houston. Are they the work of a serial killer,
or is a copycat trying to get away with murder?

That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new
assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special
Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for
being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldnt be more opposite:
he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book.

When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked.
But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer
together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in
on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive
long enough to solve it.


Where can readers find you on the Internet?





Sign up for my blog on my website! I love to hear from readers!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Dog that Saved Stewart Coolidge

Title:  The Dog that Saved Stewart Coolidge
Author:  Jim Kraus
Pages:  336
Year:  2015
Publisher:  FaithWords
My rating is 5 stars.
One never knows what a story is like until reading begins and the end is reached.  I chose this book partly because I am a dog lover and also because Jim Kraus is a new author to me.  As I completed the novel, I was amazed at how subtle some of life’s toughest issues were handled by a young man, woman and a dog they named Hubert.
Of course readers will acknowledge the use of anthropomorphism throughout the story, but it really aids us in understanding the message of hope.  Stewart is a college grad who could only find a job bagging at a grocery store.  Lisa’s college training was in communications, but currently she is working in a coffee shop.  Hubert is a beautiful black and white dog who loves to frustrate the grocery store manager when he sneaks in, grabs a chew bone and escapes without being caught!
The scene is in a small town where all sorts of eclectic people live which adds flair to the work of fiction. As I came towards the end of the book, the message of hope became very clear and the future of the two young people was drastically changed.  Sometimes I would read the tale through the eyes of the dog and other times through various human characters.
I cannot thank the author enough for writing a tale with such a strong message of hope and new beginnings!  There were times I would laugh at a scene’s description and other times would cheer for the dog to not be caught or Stewart!  I am sure some of the audience will be able to relate to the dysfunctional family both Stewart and Lisa experienced.  Over all, the way this tale is woven together, I guarantee laughs, moments of contemplation and more laughs.  Jim Kraus writes a powerful story we won’t soon forget and might want to share with others!  Plan on reading this tale perhaps with friends or family members, maybe even a book club!

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.” 

Monday, October 26, 2015

When Love Returns (The Zimmerman Restoration Series #3)

Title:  When Love Returns (The Zimmerman Restoration Series #3)
Author:  Kim Vogel Sawyer
Pages:  352
Year:  2015
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
My rating is 5 stars.
Readers are introduced to a new set of characters and a heart-thumping plot in the Zimmerman Restoration series that begins with When Mercy Rains, followed by When Grace Sings.  The conclusion to the multitude of themes in this trilogy is in the final book, When Love Returns, which has a very powerful message.  For me, it took awhile to remember where the story left off as well as where the situations with characters were when book two ended in When Grace Sings.
I believe the overall theme the author took pains to bring out in the books wasn’t just restoration, but repentance as well as redemption.  These themes are reflected to us in a plethora of ways through the lives of the various Zimmerman family members and a few close friends.  There are also the issues of unwed mothers, adoption, forgiveness, meeting the birth mothers and watching God turn a bad situation 180 degrees around for His glory.  I believe the author did an excellent job showing that it does take time to work through heart issues as well as showing how many people can be impacted by the sin of another person.
Kim Vogel Sawyer has penned many good stories though I haven’t read all of them that she has published to date, but I do hope to read more of her stories in the days ahead.  One of my favorite parts of the story is watching one of the male lead characters named Paul take responsibility for his part in sinning with Suzanne.  Paul could have let her face church discipline and confession before the Body alone, but he stood beside Suzy and openly confessed too.
Another part of the story I liked was how husbands and wives prayed together and parents teaching their kids by praying with them at night before bed.  The novels show us how much we can impact our families by praying together and instructing them, letting the community time of worship on Sundays be the support system instead of the other way around.  I am going to miss the Zimmerman characters; yet, I look forward to what Kim Vogel Sawyer is writing for us to enjoy next!
Enjoy the reading the Zimmerman restoration series!

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.” 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Streams of Mercy (Song of Blessing #3)


Title:  Streams of Mercy (Song of Blessing #3)
Author:  Lauraine Snelling
Pages:  384
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany House
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
Readers are introduced to the town named Blessing along with various characters in the first book titled To Everything a Season followed by the sequel A Harvest of Hope.  Now we have the third installment which continues to take us back to Blessing and the characters we so love.  Like real life there are changes in people’s lives and the town along with joys and sorrows.
In this novel, the town is wrought with trouble when a circus train stops due to illness of the performers.  The doctors learn that it is diphtheria and now must quarantine the town and train.  I was really touched when a character I had come to enjoy in the story succumbed to this disease.  I think the author does a wonderful job of showing how Christians mourn and take one day at a time when tragedy strikes.
People in the community are from various countries so they learn to share and teach from each other’s heritage.  For two ministers there wasn’t strife between them with each being from a different denomination; they worked hard to understand each other and find common ground on which to forge their friendship.  Of course there were some tense times as female doctors were just learning to be accepted as physicians while some male interns found it hard to take their orders.
The main thread through all three books that stuck out to me was prayer.  No matter what circumstances or feelings experienced or facing something unknown, knowing the Lord never changes brought peace to hearts and souls.  Knowing a Scripture being shared was right or having someone say they were praying for them was not always met with an open or understanding heart by some characters.  I thought that it true that at times our emotions can hinder our prayers or from receiving words of wisdom.
There was no indication if another novel will be written for this series or not.  I so enjoyed residing in this fictional place and meeting what I think are reflections of real people.  So grab a couple of books and then settle town to enjoy Lauraine Snelling’s Song of Blessing series!

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.” 

Notre Dame Bye Week


Friday, October 23, 2015

Valley of Decision (The Carthage Chronicles #3)


Title:  Valley of Decision (The Carthage Chronicles #3)
Author:  Lynne Gentry
Pages:  367
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Howard
Wow!  What a great trilogy of books that Lynne Gentry has written!  I would advise reading the books in order, beginning with The Healer of Carthage, then Return to Exile and finally ending with Valley of Decision.  The story continues throughout each book, so if readers don’t begin with book one they will be lost as to the history of the cast of characters.
Book three begins with only a day passing in Carthage, but thirteen years have passed in the present time.  Maggie feels extreme guilt and shame for forcing her mother to leave her father when she got so sick with typhoid in book two.  She misses her father and wants to reunite her father and mother.  She takes off for the past without telling anyone with the intention of bringing her father back to the present.  However, once she arrives in third century Carthage, she discovers life in this time has not changed as quickly as she has.  She reunites with her father, Barek, and some other characters from book two while telling her father her plans for them.  Her father disagrees, but Maggie is very stubborn.
Soon Lisbeth and her father arrive in Carthage.  Lisbeth plans to take everyone back to modern times, but knows Cyprian will refuse to go.  She tried to rewrite history the last time she came to Carthage without success.  Lisbeth and her mother once again use their healing skills to help the residents of Carthage battle measles and typhoid; both diseases are killing off the population of Carthage.  Lisbeth’s mother, Magdalena, has been arrested for the murder of the proconsul and Cyprian has agreed to represent her.  What follows is an emotional trial, leading to a riveting ending of the series.
Lynne Gentry writes with great skill, making me care about the characters in her stories as well as making me feel a part of the stories.  I loved traveling to ancient Carthage and seeing how people lived then.  What an adventure!  I also greatly admired the transformation of Cyprian from the greatest solicitor in Carthage to one of the leaders of the early Christian church.  His strength and faith in God against persecution was amazing.  I can’t wait to read what Lynne Gentry writes next!
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.” 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Hardest Thing To Do


Title:  The Hardest Thing to Do (The Hawk & The Dove Volume 4)
Author:  Penelope Wilcock
Pages:  256
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Lion Fiction
The brothers of St. Alcuin’s are back in this fourth book, preparing for the new abbot’s return.  Brother John is now the Abbot and has returned after a year’s training in Cambridge to take up the position of leader of St. Alcuin’s.  He doesn’t feel up to the task of filling Father Peregrine’s shoes.  As he begins his service, he is overwhelmed with the details and never-ending duties of his office.  He still has the heart of a healer and sometimes wonders if he has made the right decision is becoming abbot.
In addition to all his new responsibilities, an enemy of Father Peregrine’s shows up at the doorstep of the monastery seeking admittance.  This throws the brotherhood into division as to how to proceed with this newcomer in their midst.  Some want to refuse him admittance while others plead to show mercy and the love of Christ to him.  Can the brothers come to a uniform decision or will this be a splinter that continues to fester until the infection spreads unchecked.
I would recommend reading the series in order from the beginning before reading this fourth book.  I have enjoyed this series tremendously.  The writing evokes emotions and touches the heart.  I can’t imagine having less in common with monks in medieval England, but their emotional and spiritual struggles ring true to me in this day and age.  The author writes with great depth and has researched well her topic.  I feel as if I’m right there in the monastery with the monks, living life with them daily.  Readers will see humor in some characters, legalism in some and great compassion and mercy by showing the love of Christ in others.  This series is definitely on my “keeper” shelf and I hope it will be on your shelf as well!
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.” 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Promises to Keep


Title:  Promise to Keep (The Promise of Sunrise #3)
Author:  Elizabeth Byler Younts
Pages:  346
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Howard Books
Esther Detweiler has had to take care of herself for a long time as her Amish community will attest to.  She has become as proficient with pots and pans as with a hammer and nails.  Her father died when she was young, her mother soon after, and her best friend died four years ago and now the grandmother who raised her has died.  Esther is now 34 years old, a spinster.  She has been raising her cousin’s daughter, Daisy, for the last four years while Daisy’s father has been fighting in WWII.  Daisy is very special to Esther.  In fact, Esther loves her like her own daughter.  Daisy is deaf, but Esther has worked hard to learn to communicate with her and to teach Daisy how to communicate in return.  Now, the only person left whom she loves will soon be leaving as her father, Joe, will be returning home as the war has ended.
Joe Garrison left to fight the war after his wife died in childbirth.  He thought by leaving, he could escape the pain and return home to make a fresh start with his daughter.  He didn’t plan on being gone so long.  When he returns, his daughter doesn’t know him and clings to Esther.  Joe isn’t thrilled his daughter is being raised as Amish, but realizes Esther knows no other way.  Joe isn’t sure how he can be a good father to Daisy when he can’t even communicate with her.  He asks for Esther’s help and begins to spend more time with his daughter and Esther.  He sees Esther’s strength and compassion and love for his daughter.  Could Esther ever love him?  Can he be a good father to Daisy?
This is the third and final book in this series and I’m sorry to see it end.  The writing was wonderful and the characters became like family.  This last book was filled with deception, lies, envy, love, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, hope and much more.  Esther seemed to always lose the ones she loved, feeling further and further from God.  However, she realized that He was with her all along and she was never alone.  He blessed her beyond what she could imagine.  These books are faith-filled and uplifting, so don’t miss out on some wonderful books!
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.” 
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Promise to Keep
Howard Books (October 13, 2015)
by
Elizabeth Younts


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from the Author:

I’m Elizabeth, a blessed child of The King. I’m a middle-born daughter, military officer’s wife, homeschooling mama, writer, closet DIYer, and, dare I say it, Downton Abbey addict. May I also mention that I love both my history and my coffee rich.

I am formerly Amish and my heritage is very dear to me and thankful to be so accepted among my still Amish family. I can still speak PA Dutch, too! You can learn more about my Amish family in my first book Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl.

My three book series with Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) is a dream come true. The series is titled The Promise of Sunrise. In this series you will live through World War 2 from an Amish perspective and experience their unique struggles as conscientious objectors during wartime. What happened if one of their members enlisted? What was it like to serve at the Civilian Public Service Camps for years with almost no compensation? How did Amish women and families cope when a son or father was drafted? I look forward to taking you back into the richness of these years of Amish history through fiction.

ABOUT THE BOOK

World War II Marine Joe Garrison returns home from war longing to be a father to his deaf daughter, Daisy, only to find that she is attached to Esther Detweiler, the Amish woman who has raised her since his wife’s death in this touching historical romance.

Orphaned as a child, Esther Detweiler is used to caring for herself and her ailing grandmother. They made the best out of a hard life and poverty without asking for help. They even take in her shunned cousin’s deaf daughter, Daisy, when her mother dies and her father goes off to war. When Esther’s grandmother dies, Daisy is all she has.

When war veteran Joe Garrison returns, all he can think about is recovering from the horrors of war and building a relationship with his seven-year-old daughter. Daisy, however, is unwilling to leave Esther, whom she loves. Joe and Daisy get to know each other again, but Joe struggles with nightmares and fatherhood is proving to be more difficult than he imagined. Esther loves Daisy and despite her Amish ways, Joe finds himself drawn to her as a woman and not just a caregiver.

As their love blossoms, Joe decides to send Daisy away to a school for the deaf which propels their lives into turmoil and a battle for love and family.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Imposter by Susan Fisher Woods


Title:  The Imposter (The Bishop’s Family #1)
Author:  Suzanne Woods Fisher
Pages:  320
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 5 stars out of 5.
How I so enjoy a good story, don’t you?  The Imposter weaves a wonderful tale about loss, love, redemption, and so much more.  In the story, we read of two men who really couldn’t face the truth in their lives while having no problems pointing out the faults of others.  However, they didn’t stop there and the pain caused repercussions in many lives.  The various characters are created with strengths and weaknesses along with living life well and making mistakes.
Seeing the pastor honestly not know how to deal with a couple of issues, but praying with uplifted hands under the stars was for me the best.  I could just imagine seeing a person lifting both hands and giving the burden to Jesus, then walking away a whole lot lighter than when they began praying.  More than a few people in the community had things to repent of and then had hope blooming in their hearts to walk fresh from that point forward with God.
In the story, there is sadness when some choose not to repent or allow the Lord to be in control.  Parts of the story towards the end revealed things I never saw coming.  I like stories that convey truth, faith and real humanity, which this author does a grand job creating.  None of it for me was dry or unbelievable; it was lifelike, real, heart-touching and faith-building.  Books are very unique and never seem to grow old.  Stories are there for us to read again and again perhaps sharing with those in our lives.  I cannot wait till the next book comes out in this new series by Suzanne Woods Fisher!  Grab a copy, settle into a comfy chair and lose yourself in the world created in The Imposter!

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.” 

Monday, October 19, 2015

A. D. 33 by Ted Dekker

Title:  A. D. 33 (Book #2)
Author:  Ted Dekker
Pages:  384
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Center Street
My rating is 5 out of 5.
Ted Dekker is an author who never ceases to amaze me with the stories he shares with all of us!  A. D. 33 is the sequel to A. D. 30 where we meet again with Maviah and Saba who are learning what it really means to follow Yeshua.  They are also learning what His teachings mean and how He means for them to live out the truths compared to what they thought they meant.  We enjoy the action, battles, intrigue and how the disciples possibly acted or spoke around the Messiah.
I felt as I read how sand would feel when different characters were racing on camels to battle or to another city.  The scene of the arena really stole my breath as a person was chained to a pole, bathed in blood and the lion enters.  Whew!  It was like being a spectator and wanting to yell for a savior or to the king or queen to spare the life.  How Ted Dekker brings the various aspects of the Lord or Scripture or action was just mind boggling.
To be able to travel backwards to a time long past where Christ was living and facing the sacrifice of Himself for all mankind deeply touched the heart of this reader.  Both books, A. D. 30 & 33, are definitely novels to share with those who love to read or love history.  When anyone opens these books, be prepared to be challenged and changed as the words or actions of a character you might relate to responds to Yeshua’s offer.
With the holidays around the corner, please consider giving a set of these novels to people you know whether they are family, friends, neighbors or coworkers.  Be ready to share what you loved about the stories and hear what the recipients of the novels thought too.  Book clubs will really benefit from doing both novels and sharing how various parts of the stories spoke to their heart.  Unlike other Ted Dekker novels or other novels of this type, Christ is pointed to and at the end of A. D. 33 there is a link for readers to download a free e-book.
Enjoy the novels as well as what the author shares of his heart before delving into the world of fiction!

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.” 

Friday, October 16, 2015

: Murder at the Courthouse (A Hidden Springs Mystery #1)


Title:  Murder at the Courthouse (A Hidden Springs Mystery #1)
Author:  A.H. Gabhart
Pages:  321
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
Michael Keane has returned to Hidden Springs, Kentucky after serving in Columbus on the police force.  Upon his return, he begins work as a deputy for the county sheriff.  He likes being back home in his own small town that was founded by his ancestors.  He hopes one day to raise his children here.  His Aunt Lindy still lives in the family home, but has assured him once he marries she will move out and into an apartment.  She strongly hints that she hopes that will be soon, with the right girl of course.
Then the town gossip stomps into the sheriff’s office, which is located in the courthouse, complaining of a drunken man sitting on the courthouse steps.  When Michael goes to investigate, he finds much more than he bargained for.  With an unidentified body found dead on the courthouse steps, rumors begin flying.  However, one person is hesitant to say much and soon pays a high price for silence.  Now, with two murders in this small town and no leads, Michael begins to look to the past, including his own, in order to ferret out any clues or leads so he can stop the killer before he/she strikes again.
This is a good start to the new genre of mystery for this author.  The story moved a little bit slow, but there is a great, suspense-filled scene toward the end of the book where readers find out the identity of the killer.  I really liked Aunt Lindy’s never give up attitude and her expecting God to work miracles.  She had complete faith that he would work a miracle in healing her nephew, and He did.  The character of Lester reminded me of Barney Fife from the old Andy Griffith television show, which made for a few laughs.  The world of small town politics and gossip is alive and well in this story.  I’m looking forward to the second book in the series to revisit the small town residents of Hidden Springs.
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.” 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Lesson in Hope (Hope #2)

Title:  A Lesson in Hope (Hope #2)
Author:  Philip Gulley
Pages:  272
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Center Street
My rating is 4 stars.
I’ve never read any Philip Gulley books so I did look at some of his previous books as well as what other readers thought.  Some of the reviews weren’t clear enough for me to know whether the reader enjoyed it or not, plus it would have been advantageous for me to have read the Harmony Series to understand the main male character, which I haven’t done.
As a Quaker Pastor, Sam definitely is in many situations that are hard and challenging as are many pastors.  Sam is supported by his wife Barbara.  His parents drop in for a visit and his brother then decides to introduce the woman he is dating.  The background characters are various, intriguing and can be found in any church.  Sam doesn’t seem to me to be held by convictions of a pastor as he is of what others think he should or shouldn’t do.  The story really places a heavy concentration in what or where Sam finds fulfillment.  In one place, he doesn’t seem to understand the blessings around him until he calls a meeting house only to learn the letter he received was sent out to many and not just to him.
There were some very funny parts in the book that caused me to burst out laughing and they came when I least expected them.  I appreciated those moments as well as the tension in the congregation when it learns it is to receive a large sum of money.  Perhaps if I had time to read the other series or understood the Friends beliefs I would understand more what the author shares.  However, authors need to realize that some readers draw conclusions, rightly or wrongly, from fiction as they do nonfiction.  Be careful of what and how you present a denomination in life, beliefs or mannerisms.
I do suggest readers read the Harmony series to get a better understanding of the main character Sam as the pastor, as well as the congregations.

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.” 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lightning by Bonnie S. Calhoun


Title:  Lightning
Author:  Bonnie S. Calhoun                                                                      
Pages:  416
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Bonnie S. Calhoun’s Lightning picks up where Thunder left off.  Selah Rishon has transformed into a novarium or enhanced human.  She grows in power and skill as she continues to find out more about her biological father and his people.  In the meantime, Selah discovers that her mother, little brother, and step-father have disappeared, and she embarks on a journey back to the mountain to find her family and to find out all she can about what she is becoming.  The evil that is in the mountain threatens to destroy Selah and her family, but she must do all that she can to rescue them before it may be too late.  At great personal cost, she survives to begin a new journey to the west where she must find the Third Protocol that will complete her transformation.
With action and peril throughout, Bonnie Calhoun delivers a story that includes what makes her happy as a writer:  body count, blood, and blowing things up.  It all appears in this action-packed story along with well-written characters that convey bravery as well as fear, conflict as well as strength, darkness as well as light.  Although the story takes place a few hundred years in the future in the ruins of what was once America before a super volcanic eruption wiped out most of the country, hope still survives in the midst of treachery and turmoil.  These characters are believable and portray both the best and worst of human beings.  Even those who are on the “right” side are shown as flawed, which adds to the realism of the story along with providing for an interesting plot.
Those who read this novel will certainly look forward to book three of the Stone Braide Chronicles—coming fall 2016!
My rating is 5.
Guest review by Cleve Johnson
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


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.