Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Paige Torn by Erynn Mangum (Review)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Paige Torn
Think (May 1, 2013)
by
Erynn Mangum


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





A few things about her: So, if we were having this conversation in person, we would probably be hanging out at Starbucks or one of the cute coffeehouses in town. I’m nuts about all things coffee, I’m crazy about all things pink and girly, and I love, love, love the Food Network! I’m married to my best friend and the most amazing guy ever, Jon. He is amiable toward coffee, does not like anything pink or girly and tolerates the Food Network. So, we make a good match! In July 2010, we became parents to one of the funniest, cutest, sweetest little guys in the whole world (and nope, we aren’t biased at all!), our Nater-Tot, who is legally known as Nathan. Most days, I’m cleaning up messes, making goofy faces, trying to fit some writing in, and just LOVING the life that God has given me!



ABOUT THE BOOK




Everyone knows they can count on Paige Alder. But between volunteering at church, putting in overtime at work, and helping her best friend plan an anniversary party, she's lucky to grab a cheese stick for dinner. Paige can't even remember the last time she had a few minutes to relax or dig into God's Word. Then she meets laid-back Tyler, an attractive, Jesus-loving guy. Will he be able to help Paige get her priorities on track?

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


My Review:
I have loved every book I read of this author's. I have read all of the paper copies and one of the Amazon ebook short stories. This book starts a new series featuring Paige Alder. She is in her twenties and single and a Christian. She is a secretary instead of a counselor at the adoption agency she works at. She is a yes person so she is always over busy between church, work, and her best friend Layla. Its pretty bad when you are frequently eating a cheese stick for dinner and live on coffee from Starbucks. The author's trademark humor comes through in this book with interesting new characters and plot. I really felt for Paige and longed for her to start saying no instead of yes so she could have a more balanced life. Then Mr. Tyler comes into the picture. I love the subtle way the relationship develops between Paige and Tyler. He is trying to be a good influence on her and get her to slow down. All of the characters were well developed. I did not like the cliff hanger at the end though. I would have liked more conclusion in certain areas. Thankfully it is the first book in a series. I can't wait until October so I can read more! Highly Recommended. Teens and young adults even maybe adults will enjoy this book.  :)

Deadly Devotion by Sandra Orchard (Review)






  • Paperback: 384 pages

  • Publisher: Revell (June 1, 2013)

  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722227



  • Research scientist Kate Adams and her colleague Daisy are on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy suddenly dies. Kate knows that if it hadn't been for Daisy's mentorship, she wouldn't have the job she loves or the faith she clings to. So when police rule Daisy's death a suicide, Kate is determined to unearth the truth.

    Former FBI agent Tom Parker finds it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gives him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom's just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation of her friend's death, he knows his job is at stake. In fact, despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate looks a bit suspicious herself.

    As evidence mounts, a web of intrigue is woven around the sleepy town of Port Aster. Can Kate uncover the truth? Or will Tom stand in her way?


    My Review:

    Overall I liked this book. This is the first book in the Port Aster Secrets series. It was a slight romantic Christian book with a mystery/suspense aspect. I got annoyed a few times at the plot. The characters kept jumping from one suspect to the next then back again. It felt disjointed. It felt like I never connected all the way with the characters. I liked Kate and Tom but it just did not come off the pages to me. The plot was interesting but according to the first part of the book description above and on the back of the book the antidepressant medicine should have a played a big role. It was not mentioned until the very end. I kept waiting and waiting for the story to pick up. It had more potential so when the next book comes out I will read it.




    Sandra Orchard is an active member in American Christian Fiction Writers, The Word Guild, Romance Writers of America, and a local writing group. She recently participated in the Writers' Police Academy for hands-on training and simulations at a police training facility. She is the author of Shades of Truth, Critical Condition, and Deep Cover, which won the Canadian Christian Writing Award for romance in June 2012 and was recognized as one of the top five novels of the year by Family Fiction magazine. Sandra has also received a Daphne DuMaurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense in both the inspirational category and for best score overall. She lives in Niagara, Ontario, Canada. To find out more, please visit www.sandraorchard.com.


    Available June 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013

    What's On Your Nightstand? June 25, 2013



    This is a monthly meme hosted by 5 Minutes for Books. The link to the site is http://books.5minutesformom.com/32426/whats-on-your-nightstand-june-25/
    Its been awhile since I have done one of these. I have been reading a lot this summer so I wanted to share them. I have big goals for the summer. :)

    What I have reviewed recently:

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/beyond-ordinary-by-justin-and-trish.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/in-broken-places-by-michele-phoenix.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/all-in-good-time-by-maureen-lang-review.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-dopple-ganger-chronicles-great.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/barefoot-summer-by-denise-hunter-review.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-little-salty-to-cut-sweet-by-sophie.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/tangled-ashes-by-michele-phoenix-review.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/dead-lawyers-tell-no-tales-by-randy_15.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/paige-torn-by-erynn-mangum-review.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/horse-dreams-by-dandi-daley-mackall.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/deployed-by-mel-odom-review.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/that-certain-summer-by-irene-hannon.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/sparkly-green-earrings-by-melanie.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/rescue-team-by-candace-calvert-review.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/avenged-by-janice-cantore-review.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/afloat-by-erin-healy-review.html

    http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2013/06/all-for-song-by-allison-pittman-review.html


    What I am currently reading:

    Small Town Girl by Ann Gabhart (really good so far)

    The Astronauts Wives Club by Lily Koppel (nonfiction)


    What I am reading next:

    Pieces of the Heart by Bonnie Calhoun
    A Bride for all Seasons by Margaret Brownly Debra Clopton Mary Connealy Robin Lee Hatcher
    A Big Year for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher
    Dolled Up To Die by Lorena McCourtney
    C.S. Lewis A Life by Alister McGrath
    Damascus Countdown by Joel Rosenberg
    Misery Loves Company by Rene Guttridge
    Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes
    Renegade by Mel Odom
    You Don't Know Me by Susan May Warren

    Monday, June 24, 2013

    Pieces of the Heart by Bonnie Calhoun

    No Review yet just received the book in the mail. :)
     
    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    Pieces of the Heart
    Abingdon Press (June 1, 2013)
    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), the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year,” President of (CAN) Christian Authors Network, and Appointment Coordinator for both the Colorado Christian Writers Conference (CCWC) and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference(GPCWC).

    For the last six years she has taught workshops in Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, and creating Social Media promotions at both CCWC, and GPCWC, and in 2011 at the Montrose, Pa Christian Writers Conference. She also taught a Facebook workshop at the 2012 ACFW conference.

    Bonnie and her husband live in a log cabin in upstate area of New York with a dog and cat who think she’s wait-staff.

    Her sites are: https://www.facebook.com/bonniescalhounsnarkandsuspense
    https://www.facebook.com/bscalhoun

    ABOUT THE BOOK

    Cordelia Grace watched Bernard Howard, the love of her young life, go off to fight for our country in WWII. And she has spent the last three years creating the Pine Cone quilt that will grace their marriage bed when he comes home. Each row of triangles signifies a layer in her life, sets of memories, hopes, dreams, and prayers for her future, enough spoken words to cover them forever. Her image of their “happy-ever-after” grows proportionally as the quilt expands.

    But is the man that returns from the war, the same man that she remembered? Are the dark shades of color that she had to use for the outside edges of the beloved quilt prophetic of her life to come? Can love and faith overcome all?

    If you would like to read teh first chapter of Pieces of the Heart, go HERE.

    Sunday, June 23, 2013

    Beyond Ordinary by Justin and Trish Davis (Review)





  • Paperback: 256 pages

  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (December 20, 2012)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1414372273

  • How safe is your marriage? The answer may surprise you. The biggest threat to any marriage isn't infidelity or miscommunication. The greatest enemy is ordinary. Ordinary marriages lose hope. Ordinary marriages lack vision. Ordinary marriages give in to compromise. Ordinary is the belief that this is as good as it will ever get. And when we begin to settle for ordinary, it's easy to move from "I do" to "I'm done."Justin and Trisha Davis know just how dangerous ordinary can be. In this beautifully written book, Justin and Trisha take us inside the slow fade that occurred in their own marriage--each telling the story from their own perspective. Together, they reveal the mistakes they made, the work they avoided, the thoughts and feelings that led to an affair and near divorce, and finally, the heart-change that had to occur in both of them before they could experience the hope, healing, and restoration of a truly extraordinary marriage.


    My Review:

    I am not married. I have never been married. I wanted to get that out of the way since this is a non fiction book about having a better marriage. I thought the book was interesting. It was written in a he said/she said manner. The ideas seemed like they would work. The authors were completely transparent about the serious problems they had. I was so surprised they did not divorce. I could not believe everything Justin did and Trisha still forgave him. It showed the power of God and forgiveness. They obviously worked through things and have a loving marriage now. It was inspirational and I recommend it to married couples even if they are doing good. Recommended.
     

    In Broken Places by Michele Phoenix (Review)








  • Paperback: 384 pages

  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (April 19, 2013)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1414368412




  • Shelby’s life isn’t glamorous, but it is predictable—and that’s the way she likes it. A survivor of her father’s violence, she has spent a lifetime creating a safe existence devoid of dependence. But her carefully managed world begins to break when, under staggering circumstances, she becomes a single mother to four-year-old Shayla. In a drastic attempt to escape her childhood’s influence, Shelby moves to Germany, but she quickly discovers how intimately linked memory and healing are—and how honestly she must scrutinize her past in order to aspire to a richer future. As she juggles a new job, a new culture, a new daughter, and the attention of an enterprising man, Shelby’s fresh start becomes a quest for the courage to be not only a survivor, but someone who prevails.



    My Review:

    This was a well written heart wrenching book. The book goes back and forth between present day and her childhood. Her older brother Trey and her grew up in an abusive household. Her father was the abuser and her mother let it go on. Trey and Shelby have scars from this. Trey has come out on top but Shelby is still fighting demons. They have not seen their father since they were teens. Out of the blue he dies and leaves Shelby with everything including his four year old daughter Shayla. Shayla seems to be innocent and non abused. She loved her Daddy. Shelby does not want to take her at first but the child would grow up in foster care so she took her. To get a fresh start Shelby moves them to Germany where she works at a school for missionary kids teaching English and Drama. There were several supporting characters that were interesting and well developed. Scott who pursues Shelby even though she does not feel like she will ever be able to love a man. Gus and Bev adopt Shelby and Shayla when they are there. Overall the book was well written and touching. I loved the development of the characters and ached for the abuse they had to go through. Highly Recommended.

    All In Good Time by Maureen Lang (Review)








  • Paperback: 400 pages

  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (March 22, 2013)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1414364476



  • Dessa Caldwell has a dream: to open Pierson House, a refuge for former prostitutes in Denver’s roughest neighborhood. But after exhausting all charitable donations, Dessa still needs a loan, and nearly every bank in town has turned her down. Her last hope hinges on the owner of Hawkins National Bank.

    Henry Hawkins has a secret: though he owns the most successful bank in town, his initial capital came from three successful raids on Wells Fargo coaches. Now he’s the most eligible bachelor in Denver, but to protect his criminal past, he’s built a fortress around his heart. Not even the boldest matchmaking mother can tempt him . . . until the day Dessa Caldwell ventures into his bank requesting a loan.

    Though he’s certain her proposal is a bad investment, Henry is drawn to Dessa’s passion. But that same passion drives her to make rash decisions about Pierson House . . . and about whom she can trust. One man might hold the key to the future of her mission—but he also threatens to bring Henry’s darkest secrets to light. As the walls around their hearts begin to crumble, Henry and Dessa must choose between their plans and God’s, between safety and love.


    My Review:

    This was a good Christian Historical fiction book. The characters and the plot are well developed. The author did a good job with historical facts without it being dry or boring. The book held my attention from beginning to end. I wanted to yell at Dessa  many times. She acts without fully thinking things through sometimes which leads to trouble for her. Her passion for her cause of helping fallen girls escape blinds her. Thankfully she has good people around her to help and her faith. The romance between Henry and her sparked. Turk Foster who owns a large gambling den/concert hall also competes for her affection. There is a slight element of suspense to the book too with the plot of helping some of the girls escape. The spiritual element is naturally woven into the book and not overpowering. The conclusion is satisfying with a wrap up for all main characters. Highly Recommended.






    Maureen Lang has always had a passion for writing. She wrote her first novel longhand around the age of 10, put the pages into a notebook she had covered with soft deerskin (nothing but the best!), then passed it around the neighborhood to rave reviews. It was so much fun she's been writing ever since.

    2010 will mark the release of her tenth novel. Most of her books are historical, with an emphasis on faith and romance.

    Maureen lives in the Midwest with her husband, her two sons, and their much-loved dog, Susie. Visit her Web site at www.maureenlang.com.

    The Dopple Ganger Chronicles: The Great Mogul Diamond by G. P. Taylor (Review)







  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 304 pages

  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (May 18, 2011)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1414319490




  • Everything was going so well for a change. . . . Sadie and Saskia Dopple, those troublesome twins, have been adopted by their loyal friend, the writer Muzz Elliott. And their friend Erik Morrissey Ganger is finally on his way to becoming a full-fledged detective. But when an anonymous note threatening Muzz Elliott arrives, the twins suddenly find themselves on an express train to danger. Awhirl in a series of crimes stolen right off the pages of Muzz Elliott’s own mystery novels, the twins need to figure out who’s behind this twisted plot, or Muzz Elliott will be framed for her own greatest literary invention: the theft of the Great Mogul Diamond.

    Meanwhile, Erik speeds through the countryside in a lightning-fast convertible with private eye Dorcas Potts, racing the clock to find the twins and outwit a gang of robbers. At the end of the road (if he ever gets there), he and the twins will have to get their hands on the diamond first . . . even though Erik, the former thief, has sworn never to steal again.

    What do you do when you aren’t sure what’s right? Sadie, Saskia, and Erik face this question head-on in the third installment of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, by New York Times bestselling author G. P. Taylor.


    My Review:

    I loved this book. This is a great unique series for elementary and up boys and girls. This is the third book and I recommend reading them in order to not miss any details and history. All of the books are good. I like the cool illustrations/comic strip like pages in the book too that are interspersed with regular pages of writing. It makes the book fly by and would be good for any kid that has trouble sitting down and reading a chapter book. The plot was interesting and held my attention from beginning to end and I am 30. This is a clean mystery/suspense book and I liked how more of the Christian element came out but not in an overt way. We learn more about Madame Raphael and the man in the pin striped suit which I think are a representation of an Angel and Jesus. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. Highly Recommended!




    A motorcyclist and former rock band roadie turned Anglican minister, Graham Peter (G. P.) Taylor has been hailed as "hotter than Potter" and "the new C. S. Lewis" in the United Kingdom. His first novel, "Shadowmancer," reached #1 on the "New York Times" Best Sellers List in 2004 and has been translated into 48 languages. His other novels include "Wormwood" (another "New York Times" best seller which was nominated for a Quill Book Award), "The Shadowmancer Returns: The Curse of Salamander Street," "Tersias the Oracle," and "Mariah Mundi." Taylor currently resides in North Yorkshire with his wife and three children.

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter (Review)





  • Paperback: 336 pages

  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 28, 2013)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1401687007
  •  


    Madison’s heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.

    In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.

    To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.

    Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.

    Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.

    But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?

    My Review:

    This was a great Christian summer romance book. The author did a good job developing the characters and making the plot interesting. I loved Madison and Beckett both. I could feel the tension between them in spots but its appropriate. The main plot line is Madison winning the regatta in honor of her twin brother's memory. It was his dream and she thought it might give her some peace to do it. She has horrible dreams that start affecting her work as a vet. She is confused by the faith that her brother had and his horrible death. She learns that she needs peace, faith, and love. Highly Recommended.




    Denise Hunter is the nationally published bestselling author of The Convenient Groom and The Trouble with Cowboys. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.

    In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

    When Denise isn't writing she's busy raising three heroes-in-the making with her husband.

    You can learn more about Denise through her website www.DeniseHunterBooks.com or by visiting her FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/authordenisehunter



    Review copy provided by Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

    Lock,Stock, and Over a Barrel by Melody Carlson

    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel
    B&H Publishing Group (April 30, 2013)
    by
    Melody Carlson


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




    Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards.

    She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.





    ABOUT THE BOOK

    With high hopes, Dorothy Ballinger lands her dream job at The New York Times. But it's not long until writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her own failed romance, and her love of the city slowly sours as well. Is it time to give up the Big Apple for her small hometown of Appleton?

    When her eccentric Aunt Dot passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to Dorothy, going back home is an easy choice. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the downright odd clauses written into the will.

    Dorothy only stands to inherit the estate if she agrees to her aunt's very specific posthumous terms -- personal and professional. And if she fails to comply, the sprawling old Victorian house shall be bequeathed to . . . Aunt Dot’s cats.

    And if Dorothy thinks that’s odd, wait until she finds out an array of secrets about Aunt Dot's life, and how imperfect circumstances can sometimes lead to God's perfect timing.

    If you would liketo read the first chapter of Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel, go HERE.

    Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes

    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    Fear Has a Name
    David C. Cook (June 1, 2013)
    by
    Creston Mapes


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



    Creston has fond memories of his boyhood in Bath, Ohio, where he became enchanted with his future wife, way back in the fourth grade. His father, Bernie, owned and operated The Weathervane Furniture Shop in town. The whole family lived right upstairs in the century-old house known as "The Shop."

    Creston studied journalism at Bowling Green State University, then began his writing career. During the past 30 years, he has worked as a reporter, corporate copywriter, creative director, freelance writer, and author.


    ABOUT THE BOOK


    From popular suspense author Creston Mapes comes another faith-building thriller, a tale that follows journalist Jack Crittendon as he fights to protect his family from a stalker's terrifying schemes, investigates a pastor's mysterious disappearance, and struggles to keep his faith amidst unthinkable fear.

    With his family's safety on the line, Crittendon realizes there are secrets behind "Christian" walls--secrets with painful, deadly implications. He must find the faith to trust a God who allows inconceivable trials, and the courage to guard his family, with danger exploding at every turn.

    Through it all--the sharp, character-driven writing for which Mapes is known--takes fans and new readers on an edge-of-your-seat journey that explores the harsh, far-reaching consequences of bullying and the Christian response to fear.

    If you would like to read the first chapter of Fear Has a Name, go HERE.

    Sunday, June 16, 2013

    A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson








  • Paperback: 224 pages

  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (June 4, 2013)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1414375663




  • There’s nothing quite like family—for good or bad. But in a world where we sometimes know more about the Kardashians than we do the people sleeping right down the hall, it’s easy to forget that walking through life with our family offers all sorts of joy wrapped up in the seemingly mundane. There’s even a little bit of sacred sitting smack-dab in the middle of the ordinary. And since time’s-a-wastin’, we need to be careful that we don’t take our people—and their stories—for granted. Whether it’s a marathon bacon-frying session, a road trip gone hysterically wrong, or a mother-in-law who makes every trip to the grocery store an adventure, author Sophie Hudson reminds us how important it is to slow down and treasure the day-to-day encounters with the people we love the most.

    Written in the same witty style as Sophie’s BooMama blog, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet is a cheerful, funny, and tender account of Sophie’s very Southern family. It’s a look into the real lives of real people—and a real, loving God right in the middle of it all.



    My Review:

    This was a great southern memoir. I enjoyed reading it even with the sad parts. Life is not always happy. I am a Southern Girl too so I could relate to several of her stories. It had several hilarious parts. The chapters are easy to read and I read it in one night. I have never read her blog so her writing is new to me but I look forward to reading more stories by her. I liked how she worked her faith into the book. Her family sounds great. Highly Recommended!






    Sophie Hudson loves to laugh more than just about anything. She began writing her blog, BooMama.net, in November 2005, and much to her surprise, she's stuck with it. Sophie hopes that through her stories, women find encouragement and hope in the everyday, joy-filled moments of life. In addition to her blog, Sophie writes on a regular basis for HomeLife magazine and is a contributor to the Pioneer Woman's blog. She also serves as co-emcee for LifeWay's dotMOM event. In her spare time she enjoys iced tea, college football, and entire seasons of TV shows on DVD. Sophie lives with her husband and son in Birmingham, Alabama.

    Saturday, June 15, 2013

    Tangled Ashes by Michele Phoenix (Review)








  • Paperback: 384 pages

  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers; Original edition (September 21, 2012)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1414368405



  • After invading Lamorlaye, France, Nazi officials don’t hesitate to take over the beautiful Meunier manor as their headquarters, hiring two young Frenchwomen, Marie and Elise, who clean and launder to help supplement their families’ meager incomes. But the girls begin to grow suspicious when medical equipment arrives, followed by an influx of pregnant women. As the Nazis’ plans for the manor become clear, the girls must decide where their loyalties truly lie.

    More than fifty years later . . .
    Architect Marshall Becker arrives in Lamorlaye to begin the massive renovation of a Renaissance-era castle. The project that was meant to provide an escape for Becker instead becomes a gripping glimpse into the human drama that unfolded during the Nazi occupation and seems to live on in midnight disturbances and bizarre acts of vandalism.

    Becker explores the castle’s shadowy history as he seeks to cope with the demons from his own past. Only Jade, the feisty nanny of the owner’s children, is willing to stand up to him. But Becker soon discovers that every one of the ch√Ęteau’s inhabitants seems to have something to hide and something to protect—and something worth fighting for.


    My Review:

    I thought this was an okay book. I like the general plot lines but the execution was not as good as it could have been. It was very awkward switching from modern day to the Nazi era. I liked Becker and Jade interacting but wished for more development in the relationship. I did not like the ending at all. It is a stand alone book and I felt disappointed in the closure provided. This could have been a really good book. The plot lines were interesting. The setting and the characters were good. I don't regret reading it. It actually did hold my attention. Fans of historical fiction might like it especially since the Christian aspect is not prominent.




     

    Born in France to an American mother and a Canadian father, Michele Phoenix is an international writer with multi-cultural sensitivities. A graduate of Wheaton College, she taught writing, music, and theater at the boarding school for missionaries' children she attended in Germany as a teenager. She currently works for Global Outreach Mission as an advocate for Third Culture Kids, helping them transition back into North American culture and educating stateside churches and missions about the special needs of this people group. Michele lives in Wheaton, Illinois. Visit www.michelephoenix.com for more information.

    Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales by Randy Singer (Review)




  • Paperback: 448 pages

  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (May 1, 2013)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1414375588




  • Landon Reed is an ex-quarterback convicted of organizing a points-shaving scheme. During his time in prison, he found forgiveness and faith and earned his law degree. Now he longs for an opportunity to prove his loyalty and worth. Be careful what you ask for.

    Harry McNaughton is one of the founding partners of McNaughton & Clay—and the only lawyer willing to take a chance employing an ex-con-turned-lawyer. Though Landon initially questions Harry’s ethics and methods, it’s clear the crusty old lawyer has one of the most brilliant legal minds Landon has ever encountered. The two dive into preparing a defense for one of the highest-profile murder trials Virginia Beach has seen in decades when Harry is gunned down in what appears to be a random mugging. Then two more lawyers are killed when the firm’s private jet crashes. Authorities suspect someone has a vendetta against McNaughton & Clay, leaving Landon and the remaining partner as the final targets.

    As Landon struggles to keep the firm together, he can’t help but wonder, is the plot related to a shady case from McNaughton & Clay’s past, or to the murder trial he’s neck-deep in now? And will he survive long enough to find out?


    My Review:

    This was a great legal thriller book. I really enjoyed reading it. It did not get really suspenseful until the middle which was okay. The first part really set up the characters and plot. I loved Landon and Kerri. She waiting for him while he was in prison and married him when he got out. I liked how neither of them gave up on each other through the book. One of the main themes was honesty and not living a lie. I was surprised by the twists in the end. I found myself saying WHAT! The characters and the plot are well developed and interesting. It held my attention from beginning to end. I could not read fast enough to see what happened next. Highly Recommended. :)




    Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned nine legal thrillers, including his award-winning debut novel Directed Verdict. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as a teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his "Jekyll and Hyde thing"—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and ethics at Regent Law School and serves on the school's Board of Visitors. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children.

    Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    An Open Heart by Harry Kraus

    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    An Open Heart
    David C. Cook (June 1, 2013)
    by
    Harry Kraus


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    A Word from Harry:

    I started writing my first novel during my last year of surgery training at UK. I was a chief resident, and started writing Stainless Steal Hearts in a call room at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Lexington. It was a crazy time to write! I had a very demanding schedule, often spending days and nights in the hospital. I had two sons at that time, and I recognized the wisdom in my wife's urging: "Now doesn't seem the right time for this dream."

    My experience as a writer is far from typical. Having received my formal training in biology and chemistry and medicine, my only preparation for a writing career was a love for reading. The longest thing I'd written before my first novel was a term paper in undergraduate school. My first novel was accepted by Crossway Books and published in 1994, and it wasn't until after I had FOUR published novels that I even opened a book of instruction about the craft of writing fiction. This is not what I recommend to others! Yes, I was successful, but I was bending the "rules" without knowing it. I had a natural talent for plotting, but I realize my initial success may have stunted my growth as a writer. I'd have made faster progress if I'd have gone to the fiction teachers sooner.

    I have three sons: Joel, Evan, and Samuel. Look closely in all of my books and you'll see them there. My lovely wife, Kris, provides the basic composition for all those beautiful, athletic, dedicated women in my novels.

    ABOUT THE BOOK

    Their Messages—From Beyond the Grave—Might Destroy Him ...

    They hover between life and death, their hearts stopped on the surgery table. And the messages Dr. Jace Rawlings’ open-heart surgery patients bring back from beyond the grave cannot be ignored. For they predict the deaths of people around him, and point a finger of suspicion straight at him.

    It thrusts Jace into a firestorm of controversy and danger. A maeltsrom blown by the darker winds of political intrigue and spiritual warfare. And the forces working against him will do anything to stop him from uncovering a truth they will kill to hide. He’d come to Kenya to establish a heart-surgery program for the poor. But what he will find in that place where he grew up will put everything at risk–his marriage, his career . . . his life.

    If you would like to read the first chapter of An Open Heart, go HERE.

    Saturday, June 8, 2013

    Paige Torn by Erynn Mangum (Review)




  • Paperback: 304 pages

  • Publisher: Think (May 1, 2013)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1612912981



  • About the book:

    Everyone knows they can count on Paige Alder. But between volunteering at church, putting in overtime at work, and helping her best friend plan an anniversary party, she's lucky to grab a cheese stick for dinner. Paige can't even remember the last time she had a few minutes to relax or dig into God's Word. Then she meets laid-back Tyler, an attractive, Jesus-loving guy. Will he be able to help Paige get her priorities on track?

    My Review:

    I have loved every book I read of this author's. I have read all of the paper copies and one of the Amazon ebook short stories. This book starts a new series featuring Paige Alder. She is in her twenties and single and a Christian. She is a secretary instead of a counselor at the adoption agency she works at. She is a yes person so she is always over busy between church, work, and her best friend Layla. Its pretty bad when you are frequently eating a cheese stick for dinner and live on coffee from Starbucks. The author's trademark humor comes through in this book with interesting new characters and plot. I really felt for Paige and longed for her to start saying no instead of yes so she could have a more balanced life. Then Mr. Tyler comes into the picture. I love the subtle way the relationship develops between Paige and Tyler. He is trying to be a good influence on her and get her to slow down. All of the characters were well developed. I did not like the cliff hanger at the end though. I would have liked more conclusion in certain areas. Thankfully it is the first book in a series. I can't wait until October so I can read more! Highly Recommended. Teens and young adults even maybe adults will enjoy this book.  :)




    About the author:

    Erynn Mangum is the author of the popular Lauren Holbrook (Miss Match, ReMatch, and Match Point) and Maya Davis (Cool Beans, Latte Daze, and Double Shot) series of books and the recent novel Sketchy Behavior. Her writing can also be found on her personal blog and on Scribble Chicks, a blog for young writers. To find out more about Erynn, go to www.erynnmangum.com.

    Friday, June 7, 2013

    Horse Dreams by Dandi Daley Mackall (Review)



  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years

  • Paperback: 160 pages

  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 12, 2011)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1414339160




  • Fourth-grader Ellie James has a great imagination. She spends a lot of time daydreaming of owning a black stallion show horse and winning trophies in the horse show. But when the answer to all her dreams and prayers gallops into her life, will Ellie be able to recognize it? Join Ellie and her quirky family in their exciting, horse-loving adventures.


    My Review:

    I enjoyed this light fun horse story. It is for the elementary age group. I think the first time readers might need a little help but second grade up can read on their own. Little girls who love horses will especially like this book. I am a daydreamer too so I completely got her. I remember getting in trouble at school too. lol The book is well written and the pages fly by. There is a faith element that is blended nicely. It is the first in the Backyard Horses series. Highly Recommended!


    Dandi Daley Mackall is the author of over 400 books for children and grown-ups, with sales of over 3 million, she has published with HarperCollins, Dutton/Penguin-Putnam, Harcourt, Simon & Schuster, Disney, Hanna-Barbera, DreamWorks, and many others. Dandi; her husband, Joe; their three children (Jen, Katy, and Dan); and their horses, dogs, and cats live in rural Ohio.

    Deployed by Mel Odom (Review)





  • Paperback: 416 pages

  • Publisher: Tyndale House Books (September 21, 2012)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1414349305




  • Lance Corporal Bekah Shaw joined the United States Marine reserves to help support herself and her son when her ex-husband, Billy Roy, decided they were no longer his responsibility. But when her team is activated and sent to Somalia on a peacekeeping mission, Bekah struggles with being separated from her son and vows to return safely.

    Once a successful Somalian businessman, Rageh Daud has lost everything. Determined to seek revenge on the terrorists who killed his wife and son, he teams up with a group of thieves, killers, and others displaced by war. Despite his better judgment, Daud becomes the protector of a young orphaned boy—who becomes a pawn between the warring factions.

    To defeat the terrorists and bring peace to the region, Bekah and her team must convince Daud that they are on the same side.


    My Review:

    This was a very violent book. That said I did like it overall. I am a fan of Christian military/suspense/romance books. The characters and plot were interesting. It held my attention from the beginning. I really felt for Bekah and was mad on her behalf many times especially with the situation at home. A big guy who is a friend of her sorry ex husband picks a fight with her at a bar she did not even want to go to with friends and she uses her training. Of course it is a little town and she gets arrested not him. This she gets redeployed right after she makes bail. Thankfully her grandma is able to take her of her son. There is background information about Rageh interspersed with hers which makes it a little confusing in the beginning but after she goes overseas it starts to fit together. It really felt like a fast paced action movie once she got overseas. In the end it all tied together with a satisfying conclusion for all plot lines. The only thing that did not stand out enough was the faith element. There was not enough to classify this as a Christian fiction book to me. There is a book two focusing on one of her team members that I can't wait to read. Recommended.



    About the author:

    I write in a number of fields, but always with the hope of telling an interesting tale that will incite a reader to think for himself or herself, to examine his or her own place in the world, and offer a little nudge in the direction of dreams, faith, and personal growth in spite of whatever odds a person has to face. I also believe we were all put here for a purpose. Hopefully, several purposes. I'm a father, a little league coach, a teacher, a friend, and a writer. I struggle to keep that balance, as many of us do these days, but I hold tightly to the belief that I'm doing all I can be doing, and doing what I should be doing.

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    That Certain Summer by Irene Hannon (Review)






  • Paperback: 304 pages

  • Publisher: Revell (June 1, 2013)

  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722494




  • Karen and Val are family--yet they're anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for her aging mother ever since her gorgeous sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater. But Val had darker reasons for leaving town--as well as a secret to keep--and coming home has never been an option . . . until their mother suffers a stroke.

    Reunited in their hometown, Karen and Val must grapple with their past mistakes, their relationship with each other, and their issues with a mother who is far from ideal. When a physical therapist raising his daughter alone and a handsome but hurting musician enter the picture, the summer takes on a whole new dimension. As their lives intersect and entwine, can each learn how to forgive, how to let go, and how to move on? And strengthened by the healing power of faith, might they also find the courage to love?

    With her trademark compelling characters and heartwarming hope, fan favorite Irene Hannon offers her readers an inspiring true-to-life tale of complex family relationships, transgressions revealed and forgiven, and the complicated process of finding love.


    My Review:

    I loved this book. I was hesitant at first because of the subject and thinking it might be overdone. BUT its not in this book. This book has interesting characters and plot that held my attention from the beginning. I love this author's romantic suspense books and wanted to try this new contemporary fiction. I am an older sister and we fought like sisters growing up. We are 30 and 29 now. I am so happy to have her. Karen and Val are very different but by the end of the book they appreciate each other too. The romantic element was woven in neatly. There were a few other secondary characters too. It is a great read for any time of year. Highly Recommended. :)







    Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of over forty books, including more than two dozen contemporary romance novels. Her romance fiction has won a coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, a HOLT Medallion, and an RT Reviewers' Choice Award from RT Book Reviews magazine. Her popular Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice suspense series have also won their share of awards, including the RITA, National Readers' Choice, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers' Choice, and RT's Reviewers' Choice. In addition, Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011. She lives in Missouri.

    For more information about her and her books, Irene invites you to visit her website at www.irenehannon.com.


    Thank you Donna at Revell for my review copy.

    Available May 2013 wherever Revell/Baker books are sold.

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle (Review)



  • Paperback: 240 pages

  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (February 8, 2013)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1414371719



  • “There is really no better indicator you’re a mother than acquiring the ability to catch throw-up in a plastic bag, disinfect your hands, and immediately ask your friend to pass the beef jerky as you put on another Taylor Swift song and act as if nothing has happened.”

    This is the type of insight Melanie Shankle offers in this quirky memoir of motherhood.

    Written in the familiar, stream-of-consciousness style of her blog, Big Mama, Sparkly Green Earrings is a heartwarming and hilarious look at motherhood from someone who is still trying to figure it all out. Filled with personal stories—from the decision to become a mother to the heartbreak of miscarriage and ultimately, to the joy of raising a baby and living to tell about it—Sparkly Green Earrings will make you feel like you’re sitting across the table from your best friend. A must-read for anyone who’s ever had a child or even thought about it.


    My Review:

    I got this book as a free download. I had seen it mentioned and thought it would be interesting to read. I do not have children but it was still funny. The book chronicles this author pre motherhood to miscarriage to her daughter's eighth year. It was a quick read and had several lol moments in it. It is not a serious book just full of mostly funny stories. Overall I liked it and I'm happy I read it even though I don't have children or will anytime soon. lol :)

    Sunday, June 2, 2013

    Rescue Team by Candace Calvert (Review)




  • Paperback: 384 pages

  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (April 19, 2013)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1414361123


  • About the book:

    Tired of running from her past, nurse Kate Callison intends to become Austin Grace Hospital’s permanent ER director and make Texas her home. Despite staff friction, she’s moving ahead. Then unthinkable tragedy wraps the ER in crime tape, bringing swarms of media, legal chaos—and a search-and-rescue hero who seems determined to meddle in her life.

    For Wes Tanner, nothing beats finding someone who’s lost; he’s known that helpless terror firsthand. So he’ll expand his team’s lifeline of hope: K9 tracking, swift water rescue, even horse-mounted searches. He’s ready for anything—except Austin Grace’s prickly and dismissive ER director.

    As Kate and Wes discover more about each other, new respect becomes something deeper. Kate wonders if her heart might have finally found a home. Then an unsolved missing persons case—and a startling new one—become catalysts that threaten the loss of all she and Wes have found.


    My Review:

    I have read quite a few good books lately and this is one of them. This is the third book in the Grace Medical series and can stand alone. Of course I loved the whole series. Kate's story might be my favorite though. She is such a strong vivid character. Her past tortures her. It inhibits her present life and makes the circumstances at work tougher. She becomes ER director because the last one went missing months ago and no one knows what happened to her. She was loved by all which makes Kate's job harder and people resent her. She meets Wes when his search and rescue work brings him to the ER. They keep meeting up and their romance develops. The plot and characters are well written and interesting. The author's experience in the ER shines through. Highly Recommended especially for fans of medical drama with a faith bent. :)







     
     
    Candace Calvert is a former ER nurse who believes love, laughter and faith are the best medicines. Her Mercy Hospital and Grace Medical series offer readers a chance to "scrub in" on the exciting world of emergency medicine—along with a soul-soothing prescription for hope. Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, she makes her home in northern California.
    Please visit her Web site at www.candacecalvert.com.

    Avenged by Janice Cantore (Review)




  • Paperback: 400 pages

  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 22, 2013)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1414358499


  • About the book:

    When Officer Carly Edwards finds three young gangbangers shot execution style, she and her husband, Sergeant Nick Anderson, head of the gang unit, fear Las Playas may be on the verge of a gang war. The Las Playas PD is put on high alert as tensions escalate between rival gangs, especially after Carly confiscates weapons from a gang leader and learns they were stolen from a military base along with explosive devices.

    But something isn’t adding up, and Carly suspects there might be more going on. As she prepares to testify at a major trial, Carly’s reputation is shredded by a reporter apparently trying to discredit her professionally. Facing pressure on all fronts, Carly must rely on faith and trust God in a deeper way during one of the biggest struggles of her career.


    My Review:

    This is the third book in the Pacific Coast Justice series. I loved it and the whole series. I would recommend reading the books in order as they build toward this one. The characters and plot are interesting and unique. I love Carly and Nick and their dynamics. Their relationship and faith are renewed through hard work and belief. The suspense/mystery part of the plot held my attention too. The whole book was well written and concluded the trilogy nicely. I can't wait to read another book by this author. She is now on my must read list. Highly Recommended! :)




    About the author:

    A retired Long Beach California police officer of 22 years (16 in uniform and 6 as a non-career officer), Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, patrol, administration, juvenile investigations and training. During the course of her career in uniform Janice found that faith was indispensable to every aspect of the job and published articles on faith at work, one for a quarterly newspaper called "Cop and Christ", and another for the monthly magazine "Today's Christian Woman".

    With retirement Janice began to write longer pieces and several novels were born. Janice is excited and honored to now be a part of the Tyndale Publishing House family. Accused, the first installment in her new suspense offering, The Pacific Coast Justice Series, was released February 1, 2012 and kicked off a brand new chapter in her writing career. In addition to suspense and action, her books feature strong female leads. Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep you engrossed and leave you inspired.

    http://www.janicecantore.com/

    Afloat by Erin Healy (Review)





    About Afloat:

    Who will you trust when dark waters rise?

    Eagle's Talon is an architectural marvel-shining residential units afloat in a protected cove of the gorgeous Rondeau River. The project is nearly complete, partially occupied, and ready to make investors rich when a sinkhole gives way. Then torrential rains and a flood leave a ragged collection of builders, investors, and residents stranded in one floating building, cut off from the rest of the world.
    They're bitterly divided over what to do next.
    Architect Vance Nolan insists they should sit tight and wait for rescue. Developer Tony Dean wants to strike out into the darkness. And single mom Danielle Clement, desperate to protect her young son, Simeon, struggles to hold their motley band together.
    Power failure, a pall of unnatural daytime darkness, explosions in the distance, then a murder ratchet tensions to a boiling point. But Danielle's young son, Simeon, has spotted something strange underwater-beautiful, shifting lights in the dark water below.
    In this watery world where everyone's secrets will eventually come to light, salvation may mean more than just getting out alive.
    Another stunning exploration of the human spirit and supernatural possibilities from best-selling author Erin Healy.

    My Review:
     
    I thought this was an interesting book with an unique plot line that did not disappoint. The characters were believable and well developed. The plot was well written and drew me in and held my attention throughout the book. It is one of those books that when you finish you close it and are still thinking. I think the ending fit the story. I had hoped some of the characters would make better choices but the world is not perfect and does not tie up in nice neat bows. The spiritual/supernatural element was well done and I could not wait to see what happened next. If you like something a little different then you will love this author's books.
     
     
     
    Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/liNmq
    Meet Erin:

    Erin Healy is the best-selling co-author of "Burn" and "Kiss" (with Ted Dekker) and an award-winning editor for numerous best-selling authors. She has received wide acclaim for her novels "Never Let You Go", "The Baker's Wife", "House of Mercy", and "Afloat". She and her family live in Colorado. Erin can be contacted through her website ErinHealy.com or through Facebook at erinhealybooks.

    Find out more about Erin at http://www.erinhealy.com.

    “Afloat”! Win an iPad Mini from @ErinHealy!



    Erin Healy is celebrating the release of her latest novel Afloat (Thomas Nelson) with an iPad Mini giveaway.
    Afloat-Giveaway300
    One winner will receive:
    • An iPad Mini 
    • iTunes gift card
    • Afloat by Erin Healy 
    Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 15th. Winner will be announced on Erin's blog on June 17th. Save the date and click HERE to see if YOU won the iPad Mini!

    Don't miss a moment of the fun; ENTER today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Visit Erin's blog on the 17th!

    Saturday, June 1, 2013

    All for a Song by Allison Pittman (Review)





    Binding:
    Softcover
    ISBN:
    978-1-4143-6680-7
    List Price:
    $13.99
    Release Date:
    February 2013
    Page Count:
    368


    About the book:

    Dorothy Lynn Dunbar has everything she ever wanted: her family, her church, her community, and plans to marry the young pastor who took over her late father’s pulpit. Time spent in the woods, lifting her heart and voice in worship accompanied by her brother’s old guitar, makes her life complete . . . and yet she longs for something more.

    Spending a few days in St. Louis with her sister’s family, Dorothy Lynn discovers a whole new way of life—movies, music, dancing; daring fashions and fancy cars. And a dynamic charismatic evangelist . . . who just happens to be a woman. When Dorothy Lynn is offered a chance to join Aimee Semple McPherson’s crusade team, she finds herself confronted with temptations she never dreamed of. Can Dorothy Lynn embrace all the Roaring Twenties has to offer without losing herself in the process?

    My Review:

    Overall I thought this book was okay. It took place mostly in the 1920s as flashbacks. I was confused in several parts. The modern setting was a nursing home where Dorothy Lynn resided. I never fell in love with Dorothy or really any of the characters except the young teen girl relative in the present who is with her at the nursing home. I thought Dorothy was selfish and her decision making skills poor with no redemption. The author really brought the time period alive though. Some readers may like it especially fans of historical fiction. Personally I like this author's other books better. I really enjoyed Stealing Home.



    About the author:

    As far as I know, I have always been a writer. Before I could put words to page, I would dictate stories to my mother. I have always lulled myself to sleep by crafting stories--a new chapter each night. When God called me to write, I was thrilled to answer His prompting. And so it was, after a long conversation with my husband, I left a 20-year teaching career to pursue a new direction. It called for a HUGE step of faith, but God has kept me and our family safe.
    I count every single one of my readers as one of God's blessings in my life, and I like to think of my stories as being the first step in a conversation. Please visit my website, www.allisonpittman.com and send me an email. It is one of my greatest joys to hear from you!