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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Virtues of Oxygen - Giveaway and Review

When I asked my husband if he knew what an iron lung was, he paused a moment before telling me it was a medieval torture device. I began to wonder just how many people probably had the same thoughts or were completely baffled at just what this was since technology seems much more advanced than it would have back in the early 1900's. The Virtues of Oxygen by Susan Schoenberger was based on such a true story of Martha Mason, a young woman who spent the majority of her life confined within an iron lung that would breathe for her when polio robbed her of that ability to do so for herself.

It was that idea that inspired Susan to use that as the basis for her contemporary fiction involving Vivian Markham, a sixty three year old woman who has spent her entire life since the age of six living in an iron lung. She contracted polio at the age of six and subsequently loses her older sister the day before, leaving her alone and unable to leave the device or she would die. Even though advancements were made in the medical field, for Vivian, those advancements would pass her by, because after so many years of being dependent on the iron lung, her body had atrophied so much that she would not be able to breathe on her own. Her life looking at the world horizontally is the inspiration behind the main character in this novel who is cared for by her aging mother and a staff of rotating volunteers that live in town, that have vowed to help Vivian live in the best way she can.

One of her volunteers, Holly is a widow caring for two growing boys while struggling to keep the house she shared with her husband. Now with bills piling up higher than she can hope to pay them, she takes a job working part time as someone who will oversee Vivian's investment in a Cash For Gold business she is setting up in town. With the economy taking a turn for the worse, Holly fears it will only be a matter of time, before their small town newspaper office will go belly up with less ads being sold by the businesses in town. If that happens, despite what she hopes about holding on to her home, she will have to let the bank foreclose on the home. But for now, Holly's mother has been helping her with the mortgage payments. When the unforeseeable happens and Holly's mother has a stroke, suddenly she will be forced to make some hard decisions to avoid living on the streets with her boys. She wants to know that her life here has meant something much like Vivian does. They want to make a difference in the lives of those around them and not merely be a burden instead.

I received The Virtues of Oxygen by Susan Schoenberger compliments of Lake Union Publishing and TLC Book Tours for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. This is such a poignant story of two very different women that are united by their ability to survive despite the challenges odds against them. For Vivian it was physically and for Holly, financially. Yet despite the odds, they persevere in ways they never dreamed possible and it will be the one thing that will hold them together just when things begin to grow dark in their lives. They will come to understand that they see the real person they are on the inside despite what they look like on the outside. In the end those hollow places in their soul will feel less hollow because they had been useful to a remarkable spirit whose every breath as forced as it was, mattered. I absolutely LOVED this novel and can't wait to share it with you. It's heart felt, well written with every ounce of human passion that the writer could pour into this story and trust me in the end, it will leave you changed for the better and in these tough times we all find ourselves living in, there is truly something for us all in this novel. I easily rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Now for the best part, thanks to the generous folks at Lake Union Publishing and TLC Book Tours, they are offering a giveaway copy to one lucky follower of my blog Reviews From The Heart. Here are your details to enter:

1. Be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. 

2. "Like" Susan Schoenberger's Facebook page. While you're there, let her know you stopped by!

3. Be a resident of the US or have a US shipping address. Please No P.O. Boxes.

4. Leave me a comment below telling me why you'd love to win a copy of The Virtues of Oxygen along with your email address. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols. Remember if you don't include it with your comment, I have no way of reaching out to let you know you're the winner.

I will notify the winner by email once the giveaway ends on August 27th.

For more information about The Virtues of Oxygen, Susan Schoenberger, or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Susan Schoenberger on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Virtues of Oxygen, please visit TLC Book Tour's page.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Healer's Touch

Combining the legend of the Ozark Spook lights along with a bit of western romance, best-selling author Lori Copeland takes us back in time in The Healer's Touch, her latest novel from Harvest House Publishers. The novel opens with the mystery of the lights seen on a deserted stretch of gravel road, known to the locals as the Spook lights. Some argue that the lights can be explained by headlights from the cars traveling along old Route 66, which would be fine, except that the lights began before the road was constructed and cars were invented. Whatever they are, they are a supporting character found in this novel set in the late 1800's in Missouri, where the majority of the people living just outside of Joplin, fear the Bolton family. They believe that the old woman who lives in the house that is just plain mad is responsible for those mysterious lights that no one can explain and the reason why no one ventures up to the Bolton home.

Good thing for Lyric and Lake, who care for their aging and ill mother, that the town has for the most part left them alone in Bolton Holler. Believing that she is moments from dying, Lyric is buying her time to save as much money as she can so they can leave this place and move to where people stop judging others based on what they think they know. .What she doesn't expect is to find her barn door destroyed late one night, and an injured man laying beneath the shattered remnants of her door. Believing he is one of the Younger brothers, a notorious gang of outlaws living in Missouri, she believes she is in for a reward if she can convince the sheriff to come and get him. She didn't count on the sheriff being so afraid that he refuses to venture up to her property to identify him. Now she will have to find a way to get the man to town in order to collect her reward and hopefully get out of town a whole lot sooner than she expected.

Now if she can figure out who this man is, but unfortunately not even he can help. Seems that running into her barn door that night has caused him to lose whatever memory he had and he isn't able to provide any identification, since he isn't carrying any. How can Lyric be sure that by turning over this man to the sheriff that she won't be sentencing an innocent man to hanging if he isn't guilty? How will they ever figure out just who this man really is? If he isn't wanted, then she will be living here a whole lot longer than she wanted since she doesn't have enough money for them to leave right now.

I received A Healer's Touch by Lori Copeland compliments of Harvest House Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I love the combination of the mysterious lights along with the western romantic flair. It's like Ghost Hunters meets Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The beginning of this one was a bit slow and took me a bit to get into the story, but about 1/3 of the way through, I was engaged in the dilemma that Lyric faces in how to determine the outcome of a man's fate when she didn't know if he was a wanted man or not. In a time when information was slow coming and justice was doled out swiftly, it would be easy to wonder how many innocent men might have been hanged based on hearsay instead of known facts. For those that love a bit of western romance along with the mysterious spook lights, you will definitely want to pick this one up. I even found myself researching them on YouTube. You just might be surprised at what you will find! I'd rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and it includes a discussion guide at the conclusion of this novel.

For more information about The Healer's Touch, Lori Copeland or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Lori Copeland on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Healer's Touch, please visit Harvest House Publisher's website. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Last Witness

There are just some books that will forever touch your heart and soul and stay with you long after you turn that final page. "The Last Witness" from best-selling author Glenn Meade is just that novel. Based on a story of a young woman he met while traveling and learning of her survival during the Bosnian war, set the tone for his latest suspense thriller than I can guarantee you won't be able to put down. I found it hard to think how in 1991 while the crisis was happening in Sarajevo, ethnic cleansing, mass rapes and concentration camps once again reared their ugly head even after we swore as a global community that we could never allow something like the Jewish Holocaust to happen again, but it did.

Carla Lane is beginning to discover through repetitive nightmares that something has been missing in her life, something she can't explain. When she tries to make sense of it, she comes up empty handed. Just beginning her own perfect dream as a soon-to-be mother, she is hoping that she can talk to her husband, Jan about it after his concert tonight. When an explosion in their car happens just outside the theater, she spends the next four days recovering in a hospital only to learn that Jan didn't survive. It appears that he has his own secrets he was keeping from Carla. Secrets Carla has been keeping buried in her mind to protect her from the atrocities that she witnessed when she was a girl living in Bosnia with her parents.

It will take the work of a therapist to help her unlock the mysteries to her nightmares along with a diary her mother left behind detailing the life she has managed to block out. One that no child would ever want to remember. One that claimed the lives of countless men, women and children as she was imprisoned in a death camp in Bosnia that is every bit as horrible as the concentration camps like Auschwitz. Now she is about to set out on a journey to discover the people responsible for the death of not only her husband but her parents and brother as well and the first place she needs to begin is with the only witness that has ever come forward claiming to have survived the horrors. Will she be able to provide the clues she will need to unlock who is responsible and will she be able to do what she has planned to pay back those responsible?

I received The Last Witness by Glenn Meade compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. In the Author Note's section, Glenn clarifies for the reader how he got the idea for the story and how it set the tone for showcasing the horrors most have missed that happened in 1990-2001 , as the crisis unfolded when Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia's leader in 1991, tries to rein in the Yugoslav regions of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia, a bloody conflict that would split the country apart along ethnic and religious divides. While the story is hard hitting, the truth is that this did happen and to this day graves are still being uncovered. It it hard to fathom that we as a global community continue to let things like this happen instead of doing all we can to prevent it. Well researched, and beautifully written to allow the reader a front row seat to just what Carla Lane and her family had to endure and learn to live with and thus the reason for a 5 out of 5 star rating in my opinion.

For more information about The Last Witness, Glenn Meade, and where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Glenn Meade on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Last Witness, please visit Howard Book's website. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Deadly Wandering

We've all heard about the dangers of texting and driving. In fact 40 states have on the books some law banning the use of a cellular phone while driving or banning texting while driving, in order to prevent the loss of life that happens when a driver simply becomes too distracted and takes their eyes off the road for a split second.

In the book A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention by Matt Richtel, he takes us on quite the journey through the first case in Utah involving 19-year-old Reggie Shaw. He was on his way to work one morning in September and doesn't even remember most of the accident he found himself involved in. All he remembers is somehow crossing the yellow divider, which he believed was cause by hydroplaning and clipped a vehicle carrying two rocket scientists, Kevin O'Dell and Jim Furfaro. This caused their car to fish tail and was subsequently T-boned by John Kaiserman, killing both men instantaneously. Mr. Kaiserman would report to the local authorities that he had observed Reggie's vehicle drift repeatedly over the yellow divider several times before the accident.

When questioned by investigators about what he believed caused him to drift over the divider, Reggie still believed his vehicle must have hydroplaned. But the odd thing is that very little rain had fallen and the road was so rough, the answer didn't seem to add up. When Reggie was asked if he had been using his cell phone while driving, he answered No. In this novel, Matt Richtel, takes readers into the investigation, science, and subsequent outcome of the first case involving texting and driving in Utah which resulted in the deaths of Mr. O'Dell and Mr. Furfaro. It is a chilling eye-opener that I feel everyone should read.

We, as consumers, fail to see the connection in why using a cell phone while driving in any form is dangerous and in my opinion should be banned. Now with the invention of smart phones, and onboard computers being installed in our vehicles is it any wonder why we can't pay attention to multiple things at the same time, while trying to drive our cars. The more we do while driving the more errors we make. We do not grow stronger in our ability to do more in our cars, it simply takes more time for us to recover and resume our attention on the road in front of us. Little by little, I believe this book illustrates is how addicted we are becoming as a society on the use of the Internet and our ability to stay connected all the time. There is some great research by several authorities in this book and I believe Matt tied this together perfectly in bringing it all to light. I can only hope that more people will read it and make the decision for themselves.

I received A Deadly Wandering by Matte Richtel compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained in this review are my own. After reading this book, you would be hard pressed not to reconsider our use of computers, the Internet, smart phones and technology. We are not slowing down and it makes you wonder just how healthy all this is on our brain, It also makes you wonder as Reggie suggests in this book, to consider the text messages you send while driving, are any of them worth your life or the lives of people on the road around you? There are other cases that are referred to as well from accidents that were caused as a result of texting while driving, which makes you six times as likely to get into an accident, three times more likely just talking on your cell phone. The research is chilling and one that deserves a closer look. For me, my phone will be on silent and stored away from my eye sight while I am driving from this moment on. It's simply not worth it. I would rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars!

For more information about A Deadly Wandering, Matt Richtel or where you can pre-order a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Matt Richtel on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest books.

To read more reviews on A Deadly Wandering, please visit William Morrow's website.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Seal of God

From the moment you pick up Seal of God by Chad Williams, you will be completely hooked until the very end. We all have an interest in things we don't know an awful lot about, the secret training required of Navy SEALs, the bond that is created once you have passed all the grueling training that would leave most of us in the dust, but there is something honest about the story that Chad Williams shares about his own journey in trying to find something to fill the empty hole in his life. This is a true story of how one SEAL found God and how he is using his testimony to change lives forever.

Chad Williams wanted more than simply going through the motions required of us all. You attend school, graduate, head to college and plan on gaining an education that will set the foundation for the remainder of your life. But somewhere along the way, Chad realized he wanted something more than what everyone was doing. He wanted to make his life count for something more than a paper you hang on the way. He wanted to be able to look back and be amazed he did something that only a handful would ever dream of doing. He wanted to become a Navy SEAL.

His father was less than thrilled to learn that Chad was giving up on the college dream to pursue something he didn't believe Chad could do. Mostly into hanging out with his skateboarding buddies, partying from the success he found at being a professional skateboarder and earning sponsors like Vans, Chad enjoyed the popularity and fame that came from that but something was still missing. He vowed he would endure whatever Hell the military would put him through just to make it to the end, despite what his father felt was sure to be a bonafide attempt and failure. In fact before Chad even made it to training and enrollment, his father, contacted a Navy SEAL and begged him to show Chad he didn't have what it took to even begin this journey into the military. The man agreed to meet Chad and invited him to "come and play" via an email. Was Chad up for the challenge?

The challenge would be something that would change not only Chad, but his father and the man who would train him and become his mentor through Chad's entire journey, US Navy Seal, Scott Helvenston. What started out as an effort to make something of himself to be proud of, would take him into a journey of darkness and horror beyond anything most of our minds can't comprehend and in the end would leave him a far different man than he ever dreamed possible.

I received Seal of God by Chad Williams as a purchase and did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review. I had the rare opportunity to witness Chad Williams speak at our church in California, and he is both engaging, charismatic and convincing. His testimony speaks of the love of friendship, the bond of brothers the SEALs share, the price of revenge, and the cost of loss of life of those we love and admire. It is a heart-breaking journey into the darkness of finding it all, achieving success and winding up empty when you arrive because the fulfillment we find when we rise to the top of corporate ladders is empty and the only thing there is people trying to knock you off and take your place at all costs. This is an eye opener for any one looking to find purpose in their own life. For Chad Williams, the journey wasn't an easy one, one he might not want to take again, but it is one worth all the blood, sweat and tears he faced to get where he is today. In my opinion, well worth every 5 out of 5 stars. For those looking at what it really takes to get into the Navy SEALs or to find purpose in your own life, check this one out.

For more information about Seal of God, Chad Williams, or where you can get a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Chad Williams on Facebook to stay updated on all his latest happenings in his life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In Perfect Time

To be completely honest, Sarah Sundin is one of my favorite WWII romance authors. Her in depth research into the flight nurses of WWII and the types of duties they were called upon to fill, the dangers they faced when flying in C-47 cargo planes converted to flying hospitals to provide transportation for wounded soldiers until they could receive care at a military hospital. You are literally in the heat of things as you understand the dynamics of caring for wounded soldiers stacked three high inside an airplane. As a women you were faced with the challenges of ensuring medications were administered quickly and efficiently in mid air, as well as face the daunting task of maintaining professionalism while dealing with men who believed women shouldn't be involved in any aspect of the war.

In her series Wings of the Nightingale, In Perfect Time is the third addition I've had the honor to read and review. I've been a huge fan of anything WWII related especially when dealing with the roles women served in assisting with the war efforts. Army Air Force nurse, Lt Kay Johnson finds herself in an unusual predicament, she has a vacancy left in her weekly dating schedule. She has made it quite clear to all the men she is dating that she won't get serious with any of them, and a date is simply all they are going to get, nothing more. Yet some of her "dates" believe they can convince Kay to give up her single lifestyle and settle down, and yet others are trying to pressure her for more than just a casual date without the commitment strings attached.

But for once Kay want to be taken seriously as both a woman and a flight nurse, but with her ongoing reputation as being a flirt, she can't get anyone to notice her best efforts. If only one of her flights could run into danger like all the other flight nurses on her team have, then she could show them all, she is simply more than a pretty face. But the one man, Kay sets her heart on, wants nothing to do with her. Roger Cooper, one of her C-47 pilots on occasion has heard of Kay, from all his co-workers and has his own aspirations on making a success in the service, if he can only gain the respect of his superiors. But when he consistent shows up late, they believe they need to look somewhere else. Is is possible that God has a plan in mind when He pairs Kay and Roger together? You will simply need to pick this one up to find out and it's definitely going to be a bumpy ride.

I received In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin compliments of Revell Publishing and Litfuse Publicity which provided me with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a review and have not received any monetary compensation for a favorable review. If you're like me and love having WWII as the backdrop for your romance novels, then you will absolutely love this one. The thing that keeps this honest and real for me is that the characters have flaws, they aren't perfect and the struggles that they are each dealing with are ones we can relate to. Not feeling like we measure up to others standards and are our own worst enemy at times. Instead of asking for help dealing with our struggles we pull away out of fear of what others think about us, when in the end, we are all more alike than we think.

Sarah's writing style is superb with attention to detail that makes you feel like you can hear the roar of the C-47's engines and the pull of the plane as it attempts to take off from less than ideal runaways.She also utilizes the stories of the 802nd Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron for ideas to incorporate into this novel and ones can you read more about on her website. For the romance lover at heart, you are sure to fall in love with Sarah's novels. Even though this is part of the Wings of Nightingale Series, you can read it as a stand alone as each novel takes one of the characters you meet and provides you with an indepth look at how each of Kay's co-workers are dealing with the responsibilities and duties of a flight nurse. For me, a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion and also includes discussion guide questions at the conclusion of this novel.

For more information about In Perfect Time, Sarah Sundin, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Sarah Sundin on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on In Perfect Time, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour Page.

Don't miss Sarah Sundin's hot-off-the-press novel, In Perfect Time. Publishers Weekly gives it an enthusiastic thumbs up: “Sundin excels at well-researched historical detail . . . with such accurate depictions of culture and setting that we are fully immersed in the times as well as in the story. The strength of relationships forged in war and the apprehension of God in times of trouble infuse this well-crafted novel with substance and light.”

Sarah is celebrating the release of her book with a fun giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • The Wings of the Nightingale Series (With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and In Perfect Time)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. Winner will be announced August 25th at Sarah's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Sarah's blog on the 25th to see if you won! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sky Zone

With the every increasing rise in terror threats, America is waiting for a president who can stand up and take action. It seems that Martin Sterling is just the man for the job. With government cuts in military spending, presidential candidate Martin Sterling believes we are becoming too passive and headed in the wrong direction. We shouldn't be negotiating with terrorists, we should be firming up and securing our borders and increasing the spending and support for our military. He is just what the American people are looking for, and if he can convince more of them, he might just win the next presidential election.

For Jack Crittendon, the economy is his worst enemy. Struggling to find a full time job while his his Pamela is forced to head back to work while 8-months pregnant is making him feel the pressures of maintaining leadership in his home. Yet no matter where he applies, he always comes up empty. But thanks to a contact with his friend Derrick Williams at the Gazette, if presidential candidate Martin Sterling wins this election, they will need someone to take over the editor's desk and they are looking at Jack. Unfortunately that won't happen until November and that is a really maybe at best. Until then, he is working security part-time at the Festival Arena in preparation for Sterling's upcoming speech.

Just when he thinks life can't get any more interesting, the Festival Arena is notified of a potential terrorist threat that about 30% confirmed to take place the night of Sterling's speech. But not all threats turn into reality, still they aren't willing to take any chances and call in for reinforcements from the local police and S.W.A.T. teams as well as anyone they can convince to help out. Thank goodness Jack's long time friend, Brian Shakespeare, an ex-military service man and survivalist is part of their team and they know he can handle organizing the security detail should anything happen. They just aren't prepared to see this nightmare come true in the worst of circumstances and things are about to get personal in this political suspense thriller.

I received Sky Zone by Creston Mapes compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and David C. Cook Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained in this review are strictly my own. For those of you that love fast-paced, action-packed, political suspense novels, trust me and pick this one up. While it is part of a series, The Crittendon Files, you can pick this one up a stand alone and get immediately hooked. I literally read this one in one sitting. The stakes are high for both Jack and Brian when despite all their training, they find themselves coming up short and the expected results are not what they get. I love the way Creston gets the reader involved and caring about the outcome of his characters like Jack and the situation that is going on in both his personal and professional life at the same time which amps up his stress level. The writing is geared to hook you at the begin and leave you completely breathless by the end. Out of all three books in the series I loved this one the best. It's great for those of you that love movies like Patriot Games and The Fugitive. You'll find yourself holding your breath during this one! Easy to give this one a 5 out of 5 stars and love adding this one to my series. There is also discussion questions included at the conclusion of this novel!

For more information about Sky Zone, Creston Mapes or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Creston Mapes on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest novels.

To read more reviews on Sky Zone, please visit Christian Fiction Blog Alliance's Book Tour Page.