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Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake - Giveaway and Review


Every once in awhile you come across a book so profound in its ability to tell a story that needs to be told but no one wants to share. This is a review of that book, The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield.

Samuel Lake has been a hellfire and brimstone preacher in Louisana for as long as he can remember the call of God on his life. He believes that people need to hear the word God has for them no matter how much they cringe on the inside when they hear it. It's that particular kind of preaching that has kept him moving from congregation to congregation, always unrooting his family until they can find a new church home for him to share his message with. Now Samuel's options have run out and there are no more churches for him to go to. Unsure of what God's purpose is for him at this point of his life, he returns to his mother in laws, Calla Moses and explains to his family that he feels like a failure but that trusting in God is vital to their faith.

Willadee Lake spends time once a year at their families reunion with their children, Swan, Nobel and Bienville. Her father, John has been a drinker his whole life, now lacing his morning coffee with whiskey, he has built a bar on his walled in back porch that serves the community while prohibition is still intact. He has more than walled in areas of his life besides drinking, he has also isolated his family from him including his wife Calla. Now that the reunion is underway, he loses his temper during an argument with her, slapping her in front of everyone. When Willadee tells her father he is a disappointment, the last thing any of them hear is a shotgun blast within the walls of the bar.

Now the family attempts to heal in so many ways. Calla is dealing with being alone at her age, without her husband. She asks Samuel and Willadee to move in to make things easier on all of them. Samuel attempts to find a job he can live with while trying to find God's calling in his life, while Willadee deals with a sister-in-law Bernice that still has her heart on winning Samuel back.

Meanwhile the kids find that spending time on a hundred acre farm has more to keep them occupied than what they thought besides all their make-believe play. A small young boy, Blade Ballenger, is about to change all of their lives in a very shocking and dangerous way.

I received this novel, The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield compliment of TLC Book Tours for my honest review. I did not see the story developing the way it did, but it was so compelling it drew me into the lives of the Moses and Lake family that I could not put it down until I finished it. To me this is a sign of a great book, that you will eat dinner with it in your hand, take it with you wherever you go because you just have to know how it all ends and Jenny does a magical job at weaving these characters right before your eyes that you feel like you are a part of the book! To me, that makes this a 5 out of 5 stars. The story content can be sensitive to those dealing with suicide and violent content, but when telling a story like this you can understand why!

For more information about this book, the author and where to purchase a copy for yourself, please click on the link below:


Thanks to the generous folks at TLC Book Tours, they are offering a giveaway copy of this book. Here are your guidelines to enter:

1. Be a follower of my blog, Reviews of the Heart.

2. Be a resident of the US or Canada. Please No P.O. Boxes please.

3. Leave me a comment and tell me why you'd love to win a copy along with your email. You can use the words (at) or (dot) instead of the symbols along with your comment.

The giveaway will end on August 7th and I will notify the winner by email at that time.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Key To The Kingdom

Key To The Kingdom Trailer from Marc Percy on Vimeo.




Who hasn't heard of Walt Disney, Disneyland, The Magic Kingdom or anything related to Disney in general?

Some of us have grown up with Disney in some form or another for most of our lives and know what dreams can do for those of us willing to dare to live them.

Farren Rales is one of the chief Imagineers working for the Magic Kingdom and when he calls Grayson Hawkes, a pastor of Celebration Community Church and asks him to meet him at the Gamble House. The Gamble House is a piece of property that is now part of the National Historical Society and is the inspiration come to life of Snow White's cottage from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

It's late at night for a secret meeting with Farren and Hawkes as they wander around the inside of the cottage learning about Disney's fascination for details within a story. He leaves Hawkes with a gift, an old key that he claims is the Key to the Kingdom. When he looks up to inquire more about what the key means, Farren has vanished into the dark of night.

As Hawkes leaves the cottage, he learns that he is not the only one in the park at night. Running for his car, he barely manages to escape with his life. When Farren fails to show up for work, his secretary grows worried and returns Hawkes calls since he was the last person to see him. Not knowing what to do or where Farren is, he gets worried and believes that the clues to what is happening lie within the Magic Kingdom and what exactly that key will unlock.

Now Hawkes finds himself in a Disney-like National Treasure scavenger hunt, unlocking riddles that lead him to more clues within the Animal Kingdom, The Disney Resort, and Epcot Center with a stuffed Pal Mickey that becomes activated with hidden sensors located throughout the park guiding him to the next clue.

What he will ultimately discover is the Disney Magic may be more real than we have been led to believe and perhaps there is a whole lot more reality mixed in then we know.



I received the mystery novel, The Key to the Kingdom by Jeff Dixon, compliments of Bring It On Communication for my honest review. Being a huge Disney fan since I was a child, my child-like wonder has never left and I was captivated by the way the author wove this mystery around Disney facts and trivia that most of us walk by in our day to day visits of the park and never give it a second thought. Do tunnels really exist below the park? Is Walt Disney really sealed in a cryogenic cylinder waiting for a cure for cancer? Is there really a Snow White Cottage in Port Orange, Florida and inspired Disney to create Disneyland?

Who knows until you read this book and decide for yourself is this really fiction or perhaps a Disney magic way of covering up the secrets of the park! I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars and now it has a place of permanence in my personal library because the kid in me, still believes in magic!

For more information about this book, the author or where to purchase your copy of this book, click on the links below:

The Key To The Kingdom by Jeff Dixon

You can also find out more secrets on Facebook by clicking here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

In Search of the Rose Notes


Eleven-year olds Nora and Charlotte were best friends. When their teenage babysitter, Rose, disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the girls decided to "investigate." But their search - aided by paranormal theories and techniques gleaned from old Time-Life books - went nowhere.

Years later, Nora, now in her late twenties, is drawn back to her old neighborhood - and to her estranged friend - when Rose's remains are finally discovered. Upset over their earlier failure to solve the possible murder, Charlotte is adamant that they join forces and try again. But Nora was the last known person to see Rose alive, and she's not ready to revisit her troubled adolescence and the events surrounding the disappearance - or face the disturbing secrets that are already beginning to reemerge.

In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault is a compelling novel about the secrets people keep when they don't know which way to turn. Sometimes dead bed confessions can be good for the soul, and other times it will unlock a unsolved mystery for good. This novel also shares what happens to people who know what happened but can't find a way to let the truth out.

When Charlotte and Nora gain the childlike curiosity to wonder why things happen that are unexplained through a collection of Time-Life books that Charlotte's brother has had, they begin to use the secrets in them to unlock the mystery of what happened one fateful night when she walked home and never made it.

Sixteen years later, Rose's body is discovered in the pond just as Nora makes a visit to Charlotte after hearing the news. Convinced the secret lies in notes about their dreams when they were children, the women once more turn to their books to see if a pattern exists that will point to what really happened to Rose.

I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review and could relate to this book in so many ways. Being a child myself, I remember the curiosity I had in thinking about the possibilities of powers of the mind, things that go bump in the night, and wondering if some of those things are real or just a way to sell books. This one is like a mystery you are trying to solve along with Charlotte and Nora many years later as the author takes you back to their childhood before Rose went missing to see if somehow something was overlooked in what they remembered about that time. This book is great for mystery, suspense lovers and rates a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about this book, the author or where to purchase a copy of this book, please click on the links below:

In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault

Or you can visit Emily at her website by clicking here.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa


In Amana, Iowa in 1863, there waits a man by the name of Friedrich Vinzenz. He's been working as a clockmaker in the Kolonie as his beloved, Amalie Wiese who is headed by wagon train to make a new life together after being separated for almost a year. In order for any of the Inspirationalists men to marry, they have to wait until they are twenty-four and then be separated for a year before they can marry. Just knowing that Amalie will soon be here and has waited for him since he had left, is more than he can bare.

While they are working on the final harvest a Union General arrives bearing letters for Friedrich and Matthias Roemig to be conscripted in the Union Army. Fortunately for them the elders of the town will pay their commutation fees so that they won't have to serve after all. They are told the reasons for this war is to free the slaves from the South since they don't have anyone to fight for them. When Friedrich meets Joseph, a former slave, who shows him the scars of what he had to endure as a slave, Friedrich believes God is calling him to serve. Fearing his friend Matthias will only succeeding in talking him out of joining, he leaves while it is still dark outside and leaves to where he believes God is calling him. He only hopes the letters he leaves behind for his family, Matthias and Amalie will explain it for him.

While Amalie is riding with her best friend Karoline in the wagon train headed towards Amana, they are faced with the horror of meeting the up with the Confederates and Rebels as they are battling in the town of Lisbon. The Rebels have burned the bridge leading to Amana and have burned the buildings in town leaving no where for them to rest before their final leg on the journey. When the are confronted by soldiers when their guide, Mr. Faust leaves, Karoline falls and hits her head. With no doctor aboard, Amalie does what she can to care for Karoline but isn't sure she will make it without a doctor.

While she heads into town with Karoline and Mr. Faust in search of a doctor, Amalie learns that just because their Kolonie keeps to themselves, it won't prevent the war from coming to her town in Amana. When Amalie arrives in Amana, she learns from the men, that Friedrich has joined the war. Now she isn't sure if he will be the same man when he returns if he returns at all.

In the newest novel Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa by Melanie Dobson, the readers become a silent character in seeing both sides of the Civil War. We get to see the struggle Friedrich faces when he believes God has called him to fight for those who can't fight for themselves. We also see the struggle of the worried wife to be, with Amalie's fears of trusting God enough to take care of Friedrich even though she fears she may never see him again. She learns that God will never allow her to be alone and though she may have questions that can never be answered, she learns that you can't be angry at God.

I received this book compliments of Christian Blog Alliance for my honest review and have been a huge fan of the Love Finds You Series of books for many months now. This one defines the power of learning to trust God's will for you in your life, even if the path you wanted isn't the one He has in store for you. I highly recommend this book with a 5 out of 5 star rating. It will captivate you and capture your heart!

Here's even more great information about the book, the author and where to get a sneak peek into the book.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa
Summerside Press (June 1, 2011)
by
Melanie Dobson




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of The Black Cloister; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana; and Together for Good, and she has now authored nine contemporary and historical novels including Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania which releases in November 2011.



Prior to launching Dobson Media Group in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of events, products, films, and TV specials. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She has worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.



Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Jon works in the field of computer animation. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their new home in the Pacific Northwest.



Jon and Melanie have adopted their two daughters —Karly (6) and Kinzel (5). When Melanie isn't writing or entertaining their girls, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, traveling, hiking, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.





ABOUT THE BOOK



With a backdrop of the community of The Amana Colonies, the Civil War, and a great love story, Melanie Dobson’s new historical fiction title LOVE FINDS YOU IN AMANA, IOWA both enlightening and entertaining.



The novel is set in the United States during the turmoil of the 1860s. As the rest of the nation is embroiled in the Civil War, the Amana Colonies have remained at peace with a strong faith in God and pursuit of community, intertwined with hard work, family life and the building of their colony.



Amalie Wiese is travelling to the newly built village of Amana in 1863. When she arrives in the colonies she finds that her fiancée, Friedrich has left to fight with the Union Army. Amalie fears for his safety as she also struggles with his decision to abandon the colony’s beliefs. Matthias, Frederick’s friend, stays back in Amana to work in the colonies. But there is something wrong with Matthias; he always seems angry at Amalie when there is no simple explanation for him to act that way.



The goods that colonies manufacture are much needed supplies for the war effort and Matthias decides to deliver the goods to the soldiers. When he leaves, Amalie realizes that her fear for Matthias’s safety is equally as strong. What will become of Friedrich, will Matthias return safely, and will Amalie marry Friedrich? LOVE FINDS YOU IN AMANA, IOWA is a richly told story of life in the Amana Society and the people who live and love there.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa, go HERE.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Glastonbury Tor


Living under the rule of King Henry VIII whose greatest desire is a fondness for tournaments and lavish palaces, the persecution of the church was underway in England during the 16th Century. Being in possession of a Bible was considered a crime. Only the priests from the church were allowed to read it and decipher the meaning of its Latin words. This way they maintained a control over the church and it's people. The belief that if unlearned men read it for themselves, they would fall into all sorts of errors.

So when seventeen-year old Collen is sent into exile for the attempted murder of his father, he makes his new home in the Glastonbury Abbey in order to study and become a monk, like his mother had long hoped for him. Only now she was dead, giving birth to his still born sister, and whose death he has blamed on his father. Now living in the monastery, he hopes in addition to making his mother proud, he can find forgiveness and salvation for the sin against his father.

When the Thatcher family provides him a place to sleep one night on his way to the monastery, he finds that not only can the daughter read, but that the family has possession of an English Bible, therefore allowing them to understand the mysteries of the Bible, that before had only been for the privileged Latin speaking priests. So while the King is attempting to close the monasteries down all over England, Collen becomes confused over what he learns about Jesus in the Bible from his time at the monastery and the grace that is available to him from the Thatcher family.

I received Glastonbury Tor by LeAnne Hardy, compliments of Kregel Publications for my honest review. This is a fictional story laced with historical accuracies of the early persecution of the religious freedoms of the church. Just understanding the penalty for reading an English Bible back then and the luxury we take for granted now is a huge eye opener for any believer of God. While we know persecution continues even today in many third world countries, just the details that Hardy pulls into the story makes you appreciate what is available to me even today with my own Bible and attending church. This book rates a 4.5 out of 5 stars and is available in paperback.

For more information about this book, the author and where to get a copy today, click on the links below:
Glastonbury Tor by LeAnne Hardy

You can also find out more through LeAnne Hardy's website by clicking here.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Lowlands Of Heaven


An angel's unfinished mission on Earth, a young woman's yearning to be complete, the evil will of an emissary of darkness - these threads weave together where two worlds intersect in a magical tale of love and hope, resolve and commitment.

The Lowlands of Heaven by F. J. Dagg is a classic tale of Good vs. Evil, a glimpse into a world "halfway to Heaven," and a Christmas story. Haunting and lyrical, mystical and romantic, this masterwork of high fantasy will linger with readers long after they have read the final chapter. (excerpt back cover).

In this beautifully written story we are captured in the lowlands of Heaven which is between Heaven and Earth and we get to meet Laurel. Laurel is a High Order angel who is recovering from her time spent on Earth. The more time an angel spends there, the weaker they become. If they linger too long they will die. Laurel is an angel of music, the more she plays or hears it, the more it enables her to heal.

The trouble is, that Laurel must return to Earth to give her gift to Kate Bradford, the only survivor of an automobile crash that killed her parents leaving Kate without the ability to love. Yet how can she return to Earth long enough to find Kate before she succumbs to the sickness that may claim her life as an angel.

I received this book compliments of Pump Up Your Book Tours and F. J. Dagg for my honest review and fell in love with this story and the characters of Laurel and Kate. Seeing what a life would be like that struggles without love is difficult enough but when the enemy attempts to intervene it makes the story that much more believable. The purpose of birds is also used to convey they are messengers between the lowlands and earth to deliver requests or messages when people are unable to pray.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fictional stories involving angels and God's purpose for them. You will come to see this as a classic tale like It's A Wonderful Life in a sense and will have you cheering for Laurel and Kate the whole way through. Remember to also grab some tissues as it will make you cry in the end. This one rates a perfect 5 out of 5 blue tipped stars and I can't wait for you to enjoy it as much as I did. I could not put it down until the very last word was read!

For more information about this book, the author and where to purchase a copy of this classic, please click on the links below:

The Lowlands of Heaven by F. J. Dagg

You can also follow F. J. Dagg on Facebook by clicking here.

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Branch 92 Books (June 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615376223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615376226
  • Price: $ 16.95 paperback/ $.99 Kindle

Monday, July 25, 2011

Canary Island Song


Often times we have to accept our lot in life. Whatever choices we have made along the way are personalized just for us.

When life dealt Carolyn a tough hand, she dealt with it the best way she could. She coped on the outside, put on a smile when need be, and avoided the subject of her husband, Jeff's death. Even after so many years the grief remained buried deep inside. As long as no one mentioned it, she could ignore it.

Yet, life was passing her by! Her twin sister, Marilyn is already married and she is moving on and finally out of her house. Now alone, she takes the advice of her sister and daughter, Tikki, that she needs to get out there again. Meet some one. Fall in love again!

With the approach of her mom's 70th birthday, she plans a surprise for her and returns to the Canary Islands. She is ready to begin a new start, but what she didn't expect was to meet up again with the man who captured her heart at 18 and broke it. Will she be ready to start a new life or will her past reclaim her and hold her heart captive again?

I received Canary Island Song by Robin Jones Gunn, compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and have to give this one a 5 out of 5 stars. We all have had our fair shares of heart breaks in our life, but rarely do we get the opportunity to possibly rekindle that old flame. This is a novel about romance but also about dealing with grief and the ability to move forward even though our hearts and emotions will sometimes hold us back. Filled with so much love and hope, this novel is a great summer book that will take you to the most unexpected places.

Here's even more great information about the book, the author and even a first chapter sneak peek!
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Canary Island Song
Howard Books; Original edition (July 5, 2011)
by
Robin Jones Gunn






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Robin Jones Gunn was born in Wisconsin and lived on a dairy farm until her family moved to southern California when she was five years old. She grew up in Orange County and spent her summers at Newport Beach with friends from her church youth group. After attending Biola University and Capernwray Bible School in Austria, Robin and Ross were married and spent the next two decades working together in youth ministry.



It was the young teens at Robin’s church who challenged her to write stories for them. She hadn’t thought much about being a writer, but took their request to heart and set her alarm for 3am, three days a week. With two small children it was the only time she could find to write the first story about Christy Miller. After two years and ten rejections the novel Summer Promise was accepted for publication in 1988. Robin hasn’t stopped writing since. Over 4 million copies of her 75 books have sold and can be found in a dozen translations all over the world.



Robin and her husband now live in Hawai’i where Ross is a counselor and Robin continues to write to the sound of tropical birds chattering in the palm trees outside her window. Their children are grown but manage to come to the islands with their families every chance they get. Robin's awards include: three Christy awards for excellence in fiction, a Gold Medallion finalist, Mt. Hermon Pacesetter and the Mt. Hermon Writer of the Year award. Robin travels extensively and is a frequent key-note speaker at various events around the world. She serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and Jerry Jenkin’s Christian Writer’s Guild.





ABOUT THE BOOK



When Carolyn’s grown daughter tells her she needs to “get a life,” Carolyn decides it’s time to step out of her familiar routine as a single woman in San Francisco and escape to her mother’s home in the Canary Islands. Since Carolyn’s mother is celebrating her seventieth birthday, the timing of Carolyn’s visit makes for a perfect surprise.

The surprise, however, is on Carolyn when she sees Bryan Spencer, her high school summer love. It’s been seven years since Carolyn lost her husband, but ever since that tragic day, her life has grown smaller and closed in. The time has come for Carolyn to get her heart back. It takes the gentle affection of her mother and aunts, as well as the ministering beauty and song of the islands to draw Carolyn into the fullness of life. She is nudged along by a Flamenco dance lesson, a defining camel ride and the steady gaze of Bryan’s intense blue-gray eyes.

Is it too late for Carolyn to trust Bryan? Can Carolyn believe that Bryan has turned into something more than the wild beach boy who stole her kisses so many years ago on a balmy Canary night?

Carolyn is reminded that Christopher Columbus set sail from the Canary Islands in 1492 on his voyage to discover the New World. Is she ready to set sail from these same islands to discover her new life?



If you would like to read the first chapter of Canary Island Song, go HERE.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

18 years ago today!



18 years ago today, life was so much different than it is today. I guess we could all say that looking back in hindsight. You see, 18 years ago today, my daughter, Caitlyn was born. Now she is beginning a new life today as an adult.

Still she has so much left to learn and I'm sure I will still be there along her journey helping her along. But today she is beginning a journey of her own. Today she will spread her wings and take flight. She isn't leaving home just yet, but already she is taking small flights from the nest.

She has her first real job, making her own money. She is discovering her own independence now that her high school years are behind her. Only the unknown future in each day awaits her. Her choices on how she will spend this day. Who she will spend it with and what she will do with her 86,400 seconds in the day, because once they are spent, they are part of her past. She can't go back and re-do that day or those moments in time.

My 18 wishes for her today are:

1. She lives each day to the fullest, leaving no regrets.

2. That she remembers in wanting friends, she'll need to be a friend first.

3. That she will keep God close to her heart and when she has doubts, God will be the first person she calls upon to help.

4. That she doesn't hold grudges, life is too short to spend them being bitter and angry.

5. That she loves with all her heart unconditionally as God has loved her.

6. That she remembers to help out in any way possible because she will never know when she entertains angels in disguise.

7. That God will bless her with wisdom so she can always remember to think before she speaks or acts. Words spoken in haste can not be taken back.

8. That God will guide her on her path in the future, remember that faith is the opposite of fear, so boldly go into the unknown with God by her side always.

9. That God will fill her with joy overflowing so when she sees someone down and out, she can encourage them and lift them up.

10. That God will provide her with learning opportunities that she can learn patience and perseverance through the storms of life, remembering that calm waters come soon after.

11. That God will provide a sense of security for her so that she is never afraid to stand on her own, as long as God is with her.

12. That God will keep her protected so when she is far from home, angels will watch over her and keep her safe.

13. That God will bless her life in numerous ways and she can learn from her experiences and share the love and faith of God with others who remain in the darkness with her personal testimony.

14. That God will provide a light to help her find her way out when fears seek to overcome and consume her. God will always light the way and remove all darkness.

15. That God will provide her with a forgiving heart so no matter how much her heart hurts, she can learn through opportunities of failure and find success and blessing.

16. That God will bless her with a servant heart so she can remember that being last in taking care of others is a blessing in disguise.

17. That God will bless her with a strong belief that she will not fall when others seek to persecute her for her beliefs or values in God.

18. That God will remind her to keep her child-like sense of wonder and she can appreciate the little things that God sends her way. It is this faith that will allow her to enter the gates of heaven and show others the way!

Wishing you love, faith, hope, joy, perseverance, patience, wisdom, strength, happiness and blessings on your 18 birthday Caitlyn!

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Fallen From Babel


An ancient tower. A future evil. A skeptic trapped between.

At the touch of an ancient vase...he is sent back to Babylon.

Peter Thornton doesn't believe in God. Or rather, he doesn't believe in one God. " All paths are valid," he teaches his university students. One evening he ventures to the archaeology museum and touches an artifact recently unearthed from ancient Babylon.

At the touch he is transported three thousand years back in time to Old Testament Babylon. Somehow he knows the language - and the people know him as Rim-Sin, sorcerer and high priest to the gods of Babylon. The moment he arrives he is accused of murder - a murder Rim-Sin committed - and he must run for his life.

Against the backdrop of Nebuchadnezzar's court at its zenith, he and rival sorcerers vie with Belteshazzar, the Jewish upstart, for the King's favor. As Peter scrambles to get back to the twenty-first century, he encounters a lovely young woman who has some disturbingly powerful arguments about the God of the Bible.

Peter won't get home until he has fallen from his pride. Fallen from his polytheism. Fallen from Babel.

About the Author:

T.L. Higley earned a degree in English Literature at Rowan University in New Jersey. Higley, who has a lifelong interest in history and mythology seeks to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past. You can learn more about her at her website by clicking here.

My Review:

Being a huge history buff and child of the King, I was drawn to this story after Higley made me a fan of hers after reading Petra, City of Stone, and City of the Dead. Her uncanny ability to transport the reader back in time, is extraordinary. Her characters are well thought out and believable and her historical research is beyond measure. You are living in Ancient Babylon the first moment you grasp the pages. You are drawn into the story yourself and wonder how will Peter return.

Not only at the moment he is transported, he finds himself over the body of a dead Jewish man, but he himself has blood on his hands. Now he does what we all would do and runs! Hiding from the King as one of his diviners, he must find a way back home, back to the world he once knew. He tries to reason with himself that he is there for a reason, perhaps a way to convert people into accepting all beliefs, but when he comes face to face with Belteshazzar, otherwise known as Daniel by his Jewish name, who will interpret his dream and tell him why he is really here as a message from God himself.

I received this book compliments of T. L. Higley for my honest review and once more she has captivated me and drawn me back in time. Once again she did not disappoint me. This book rates a 5 out of 5 stars for my virtual journey back to ancient Babylon and back into biblical history.

For more information about this book, the author and where to pick up her books to add to your personal library, please click on the links below:

Fallen From Babel by T. L. Higley

You can find her on Facebook by clicking here.

Robert Pierre - I'm All In - CD Giveaway and Review


I love it when you find yourself singing a song that I call a soul song. It's a song that sticks with you and you find yourself coming back to it time and time again. Awhile back I had the opportunity to review a sampling of songs from the newest, up and coming Christian artist, Robert Pierre!

Not only is God blessing this young man in bringing others to Christ through his music but the lyrics are like water to a thirsty soul. There are so many great songs on this latest CD out called, I'm All In!

The title track alone is my personal favorite. It's uplifting and shares the message of how as believers we should be completely devoted to our Savior, holding nothing back, giving 100% of ourselves! It's upbeat and would love to listen to this one over and over again.

There are a total of 11 songs on this CD and the lyrics are included so you can enjoy this even more. Some others that have touched my heart and soul are:

Maker of the Stars - a more mellow blend of praise and worship to the One who not only made the stars but everything in this world.

Greater Is He - takes the scripture reference of Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. It's a perfect worship song to our Lord with whom we get refreshed, strengthen and encouraged while this world would beat us down daily.

For Robert, I’m All In is more than the name of his third studio album, due July 26 from thinkaboutit records. It has become Robert’s life motto as he responds to God’s calling to live fully committed to Him. In addition to writing and recording I’m All In and playing on a summer tour, Robert also leads regular Sunday morning worship at his 800-member Orlando, Fla., church. And he’s done it all as a high school senior.

“All of the songs have something to do with things I was going through my senior year,” Robert said of I’m All In, “preparing to say goodbye to friends and not really knowing what would come next, but finding comfort and peace in the Lord’s plan for my life. The Bible talks about how the eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro throughout the earth, searching for someone whose heart is wholly His, someone He can strongly support. This CD is me saying, ‘I’m all in.’”

Creating I’m All In was a powerfully personal experience for Robert, who teamed with veteran songwriter Jason Ingram (Tenth Avenue North, Sanctus Real, Bebo Norman) and legendary producer Matt Bronleewe (Jars of Clay, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman) on the album. The result is a collection of songs that enthusiastically and energetically worship God while wrestling with what it means to be a Christian in a world full of difficulty and joy, anxiety and excitement.


I received this CD compliments of Robert Pierre and Propeller for my honest review and can't say enough encouraging things about it. My daughters 18 and 12 both love his music and most of all the ministry of his music. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking to be blessed in a most exciting way. This one rates 5 out of 5 heavenly stars!

The best of this review is the opportunity to bless others with his music compliments of Robert Pierre and Propeller. If you are interested in winning a copy of his latest CD, here are your guidelines:

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

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

3. I need a way to contact you if you are the lucky winner so please be sure to include your email address with your comment. You can use the words (at) or (dot) instead of the symbols. Leave a comment and let me know why you would LOVE to win Robert Pierre's CD, I'm All In

The giveaway will end on August 1st. I will notify the winner at that time via email!

For more information about Robert Pierre you can visit his website and listen to the samples of this CD by clicking here.

You can also follow him on Facebook by going here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Wayback: A Novel


A mysterious Nazi super-weapon, hidden for more than 60 years, has been discovered by members of a reclusive, private think tank and perfected using modern technology. This fully realized and reliable device is so powerful, so provocative, that the basic beliefs of science, history, and religion could be overturned in an instant.

After a cataclysmic system failure kills an expedition attempting to return to the year 100,000 B.C., a team of skeptical scientists and adventurers is dispatched to the Antediluvian world-a word that no one anticipated- full of wonder, danger and advanced civilizations that will rock the accepted theories of science and history to their core.

However, the team is unaware of another plan that is unfolding; there are people who will kill to use this remarkable machine to further their own plans for our past and future.

About the Author:

Sam Batterman makes his living as a software engineer and lives with his wonderful wife, Susan, and their two kids, Samantha and Parker in Southeastern Pennslyvania. Wayback is Sam's first novel, but there will be others. Sam and his wife serve at Valley Forge Baptist Temple in Collegeville, PA.

My Review:

This is my second book by Sam Batterman after the first book I read of his Maximal Reserve, got me rethinking the way of viewing science and history from what we've been taught in school and what the Bible tells us. There are some things we never really quite put together and often take the words of so-called 'experts' as our belief in some things. When I had the opportunity to review Sam's debut novel, I jumped at the chance.

His ability to engage the reader with a topic and keep it evolving throughout the book is what will hook you from the very beginning. After the Nazi scientists develop a means of traveling through time in the midst of war, you realize the possibilities can be frightening. When they program the machine to go back as far as we've been taught to pre-history and the stone age, they soon find out the world isn't really as old as they thought. A devastating accident occurs that will lead Admiral Nathan Turner to discover what is really hiding in Area 51 and it has nothing to do with aliens!

I received this book compliments of Bring It On Communications for my honest review and once more I was not disappointed. I would rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars and for those who love a great story with a science fiction, biblical twist, then this is a perfect find for you. For more information about this book, the author and where to pick up this copy for your own personal collection, click on the links below:


You can also follow Sam on Facebook by clicking here to see what he's up to next!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dragons of Chiril


Before DragonSpell, on a different continent and a different time, a young emerlindian’s desperate decision threatens to disrupt the foundation of the world.

Tipper has been caring for her family’s estate for years now, ever since her father disappeared, making a living by selling off his famous artwork. Then she learns that three statues she sold were carved from an ancient foundation stone, and the fabric of her reality is crumbling.

She must free her father and save the world. But she can’t do it alone.

Her ragtag band of adventurers includes Beccaroon, a giant parrot; Bealomondore, an aristocratic young artist; a handsome dragonkeeper prince; the Wizard Fenworth; and the tumanhofer librarian Librettowit. Together they travel through valleys and kingdoms and consort with purveyors of good and agents of evil to find and reunite the missing statues. Will they learn to rely on Wulder’s grace and guidance along the way?

I reviewed this book from WaterBrook Multnomah at no cost to me and that I received nothing in return other than my honest review. This book was formerly titled the Vanishing Sculptor so if you have read that, it's just a title change to the book!

The Dragons of Chiril is a spectacular tale that sweeps you off of your feet and transforms you into the storyline. I instantly felt a connection with all of the characters from Tipper the Emerlindian and dragon keeper, to the new character Bealomondore the young Tumanhofer artist. This tale has so many wonderful characters that a story could be written for each one of them. From Dragons and Wizards, to Kimens and Grawligs, this book has developed their own species separate from what we know to be Ogres or Fairies. You have to immerse yourself in the Area of Chiril and discover a whole new world of magic, mischief and love. This book as well as many other books in the Dragon Keeper series have become one of my all-time favorites. I would compare Donita K. Paul’s writings to Lord of The Rings and would even rank it higher due to the character development that you get while reading. Definitely a 5 out of 5 stars in my book! I have now placed her entire series in my personal library to read again soon.

Thank you Donita for giving the world such a wonderful tale! For more information on this book, the author or where you can purchase a copy, click on the link below:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Halith


In Aessyra, war is imminent. The wise ponder the meaning of an ancient prophesy of destruction. Scattered across the land on fragments of parchment, these cryptic words consume them, spurring them into action...

But what if the wise are wrong?

Sixteen year old Halith only wants to meet her father, the High King, but her mother and a strange man have other plans for her. She is sent away for fosterage, 'for her own good'. Plans go astray, and Halith rails against her fate, longing to know who she really is in this world. As she begins her journey along the Way of the Warrior, she becomes entangled in the Third Great War, and learns the meaning of both friendship and betrayal.

In the novel, Halith by Kirsten Kelly, the adventure begins when Halith leaves her mother after learning they plan on marrying her to someone that she does not love. Fleeing in the middle of the night, taking nothing with her, she heads into the deep forest in hopes of remembering her way back to the Abbey that was home to her long ago.

Upon arriving she learns that if she does not want to go back to her mother and marriage plans then the Sister gives her the option of becoming a warrior. She aims to make her father proud and even though she is inexperienced under Captain Garrin, she hopes to earn her way in the world ridding the land of thieves and goblins to pay for her training. She is alone and though she remains strong, she still has a lot to learn before the war begins.

I received this book compliments of Pump Up Your Book Tours and Kirsten Kelly for my honest review and was hooked from the very beginning. Reminiscent of Lord of the Rings but dealing with a young girl named Halith, trying to make it in a difficult world that is preparing for war among thieves, goblins, orcs, dwarves and elves, she will learn who she can trust and who will ultimately betray her. What makes the character unique is her strength, bravery and courage in the face of all that she comes up against. At sixteen, I know just leaving for a long journey alone not knowing what I would face, would have challenged me. Halith is a great character for young women to look up to.

This book is available in paperback and eBook formats and in my opinion rates a 5 out of 5 stars. The content is amazing, filled with detail and action on every page, you feel you are a quiet observer along for the ride of your life. For even more information about the book, the author and where to purchase a copy for yourself, click on the links below:

Halith by Kirsten Kelly

Kirsten Kelly lives in Miami, Florida where she enjoys kayaking, fishing, and travel. Like her characters, she lives for good friends, good food, and the next adventure. You can visit Kirsten Kelly’s website at www.pcwbooks.com



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shadows on the Sand

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Shadows on the Sand
Multnomah Books (July 19, 2011)
by
Gayle Roper






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Gayle is the award winning author of more than forty books. She has been a Christy finalist three times for her novels Spring Rain, Summer Shadows, and Winter Winds. Her novel Autumn Dreams won the prestigious Romance Writers of America's RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance. Summer Shadows was voted the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Book of the Year (tied with fellow author Brandilyn Collins).



Gayle has won the Holt Medallion three times for The Decision, Caught in a Bind, and Autumn Dreams. The Decision won the Reviewers Choice Award, and Gayle has also won the Award of Excellence for Spring Rain and the Golden Quill for Summer Shadows and Winter Winds. Romantic Times Book Report gave Gayle the Lifetime Achievement Award.



Her Amhearst mystery series, Caught in the Middle, Caught in the Act, and Caught in a Bind, originally published by Zondervan, was reprinted in 2007 by Love Inspired Suspense with a fourth original title added, Caught Redhanded. Another original single title, See No Evil, was also released. Caught in the Middle has been optioned for film.



For her work in training Christian writers Gayle has won special recognition from Mount Hermon CWC, St. Davids CWC, Florida CWC, and Greater Philadelphia CWC. She directed St. Davids for five years and Sandy Cove CWC for six. She has taught with Christian Leaders, Authors and Speakers Services (CLASS), serving for several years as their writer in residence. She enjoys speaking at women's events across the nation and loves sharing the powerful truths of Scripture with humor and practicality.



Gayle lives in southeastern Pennsylvania where she enjoys her family of two great sons, two lovely daughters-in-law, and the world's five most wonderful grandchildren. When she's not writing, or teaching at conferences, Gayle enjoys reading, gardening, and eating out.





ABOUT THE BOOK



Carrie Carter’s small café in Seaside, New Jersey, is populated with a motley crew of locals although Carrie only has eyes for Greg Barnes. He’s recovering from a vicious crime that three years ago took the lives of his wife and children—and from the year he tried to drink his reality away. While her heart does a happy Snoopy dance at the sight of him, he never seems to notice her, to Carrie’s chagrin.



When Carrie’s dishwasher is killed and her young waitress disappears, Greg finds himself drawn into helping Carrie solve the mysteries … and into her life. But Carrie has a painful past, too, and when the reason she once ran away shows up in town, the fragile relationship she’s built with Greg threatens to implode from the weight of the baggage they both carry. Two wounded hearts struggle to find a way to make one romance work. Failure seems guaranteed when Carrie locates her waitress but is taken hostage...



If you would like to read the first chapter of Shadows on the Sand, go HERE.

My Review:

I loved this story because it told two different stories of being lost and then found again, both in scriptural references with the Bible and through the unveiling of the characters pasts. In the story of Carrie, we learn how difficult her childhood has been caring for not only herself and her sister Lindsay at 16. She struggles with keeping up strength in dealing with any circumstance that she comes into contact with even though on the inside she's extremely fragile and broken on the inside.

Then there is the story of Andi and the parallel life she leads working under Carrie at the diner. Little do they know how similar their stories are and how they will work together in the end to resolve the issues they have been running from however not at all in the way either of them would expect.

I received this book compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and even though this was a romance in the making, it also had some action adventure and mystery-suspense thrown in for good measure. I can't wait to get my hands on my books by Gayle Roper. This one rates a 5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch




If you are like me and my family, we are true die hard chocolate lovers. It's usually in our home in some form or another. So when I got the opportunity to review the newest Brownie Crunch from Cocoa Puffs, created by General Mills, I jumped at the chance.

When the product arrived, my oldest daughter was the very first to sample the cereal being a bigger fan of chocolate than I am. She had them for a late afternoon snack and LOVED them. The chocolate flavor is very rich and tasted just like brownies in milk with an extra added crunch. The best part of it besides that she loves it was knowing that she is getting at least 8 grams of whole grain and a great source of calcium and vitamin D in every serving.

My youngest daughter just loves eating it straight out of the box as a snack. The best part of it is the convenience of having something that appeals to my kids and knowing that its a perfect balance of whole grain goodness and chocolate flavor in every bite.

For me, when I had a bowl full it's too sweet for me, but I wanted to offer my opinion as well. If it were up to my kids they would have this cereal with chocolate milk! It does taste like baked brownies and it's filled with chocolate flavor. The best part about it, is my kids love it and I know it's filled with whole grains, Vitamin D and calcium in every serving. It can't get much better than that.

If you're interested in trying it I have a $1.00 off coupon for you and a friend for five lucky followers of my blog, reply to this post with your email address and the first 5 readers will win the coupons!

I received Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch compliments from General Mills for my honest review. I would rate this product a 4 out of 5 stars and as long as my family enjoys it, it definitely makes my morning and anytime, easy and hassle-free.

For more information on Big G cereals and fun recipe ideas be sure to visit www.growupstrong.com and www.wholegrainnation.com

Falls Like Lightning

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Falls Like Lightning
Bethany House (July 1, 2011)
by
Shawn Grady


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Shawn Grady signed with Bethany House Publishers in 2008. He was named “Most Promising New Writer” at the 39th Annual Mount Hermon Writers Conference. He is the author of the novels Through the Fire, Tomorrow We Die & Falls Like Lightning.

Shawn has served for over a decade as a firefighter and paramedic in northern Nevada. From fire engines and ambulances to tillered ladder trucks and helicopters, Shawn’s work environment has always been dynamic. The line of duty has carried him to a variety of locale, from high-rise fires in the city to the burning heavy timber of the eastern Sierras.

After graduating from James Logan High School in Union City, California, Shawn attended Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego as a Theology undergrad. There he found clarity of direction and proceeded on to acquire an Associate of Science degree in Fire Science Technology as well as Paramedic licensure through Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.

Shawn currently lives in Reno, just outside of Lake Tahoe. He enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife, three children and yellow Labrador.

ABOUT THE BOOK


When hotshot smoke jumper Silas Kent gets his own fire crew, he thinks he's achieved what he's always wanted. But a lightning-sparked fire in the Desolation Wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas has his team in a plane before they can even train together.

Pilot Elle Westmore has been called up to drop the crew into the heart of the forest infernos. A single mother of a mysteriously ill six-year-old, she can't imagine her life getting any more complicated.

It doesn't take long for things to go very wrong, very quickly. A suspicious engine explosion forces Elle to make an emergency landing. Silas is able to parachute to safety but soon discovers his crew can't be trusted. They're hiding something, and now Silas is on a race to save himself and Elle from the flames--and from a more dangerous threat: his own team.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Falls Like Lightning, go HERE

My Review:

If you're a fan of fire-fighters, smoke jumpers or pilots who run the risk of helping either fight fires in the forests, then Falls Like Lightning is for you. Two separate stories collide as Elle fights her demons from the past when she is called to be a pilot for the latest fires in Lake Tahoe. More experienced than anyone else over the terrain, she accepts the job. Little does she know it will involve flying over the same area where her father's plane crashed and was never found.

Silas Kent doesn't realize that Elle is about to become his pilot for the latest fire-fighting he's been called up to deal with. Dealing with a past relationship that didn't end well for her, he feels pulled in making amends with her why he left so many years ago. What he doesn't plan on is that she has a daughter who is very ill and seeking a diagnosis to help determine the cause for her seizures.

In the midst of these fires, a band of fire-fighters has come across the Independence Gold, that will make all of them rich beyond their wildest dreams and they have been called into the area where the mine is located to fight the fire. Only the two people on board they weren't counting on were Elle and Silas.

I received this book compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and LOVED it. I could actually feel the heat from the fires surrounding them and the raging smoke filling the air. I felt the author has such an eye for details that make this story every bit as believable as if you were watching the latest on the news instead of reading a great fictional story. This one rates a scorching 5 out of 5 stars. This is my second book by Shawn Grady and loved this one as much as the first.

Monday, July 18, 2011

You Never Know



Tobias Hillyer had a promising future until a car accident claimed the lives of his parents. Abandoning his dreams, he dropped out of college to take care of his orphaned, brain-damaged younger brother. Now in his late thirties, Tobias must struggle to provide for his family, working dead-end jobs that fall far short of the academic career he had imagined.

Then he wins the lottery.

His financial worries eliminated, Tobias anticipates nothing but smooth sailing ahead for himself and the people he loves. But soon he finds that his amazing stroke of luck may threaten everything he holds dear.

Over the peaks and valleys, this uplifting journey will challenge everything we think we know about luck, life, and what we value most.



In the newest novel by Lilian Duval, You Never Know: A Novel Tales of Tobias, an Accidental Lottery Winner, provides the reader with a very realistic view of what happens when an unexpected tragedy forever changes the life of not only Tobias Hillyer but his brother Simeon. Once a talented cartoonist at 15, their lives are robbed from them during a fateful drive home from dinner which kills their parents and leaves Simeon far from the talented artist he was. Filled with guilt over all the what if's going through his head, Tobias gives up his opportunity at a scholarship to care for his younger brother.

It's a hard luck story but one that could happen to anyone. What you dream of isn't always how life turns out in the end. In this one, just when things couldn't get any worse for Tobias, a lucky encounter helping a blind man out in a subway station which change his life for the better. However sometimes what we think will mean happiness is just a mirage, that money can't buy it, it is what we do with our dreams and family on the inside that makes us happy.

I received this book compliments of Lilian Duval and Pump Up Your Book Tours for my honest review and LOVED it. Dreaming of winning the lottery always seems like it will solve our problems but through this story you can see that it isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever dreamed of a better life and give this one a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information on this book, the author and even where to purchase a copy of this book, click on the links below:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Killer Move - Giveaway and Review


Bill Moore already has a lot, but he wants more...much more.

He's got a lucrative job selling condos in the Florida Keys, a successful wife, a good marriage, a beautiful house. He also has a five-year plan for super-success, but that plan has begun to drag into its sixth year without reaping its intended rewards. So not Bill's starting to mix it up - just a little - to accelerate his way into the future that he knows he deserves.

Then one morning Bill arrives at work to find a card waiting for him, with no indication who it's from or why it was sent. Its message is just one word: MODIFIED.

From that moment on, Bill's life begins to change.

At first, nothing seems very different. But when things begin to unwind rapidly, and one after another, people around Bill start to die, it becomes increasingly clear that someone somewhere has a very different plan for Bill's future. Confused and angry, Bill begins to fight against this unseen force until he comes to a terrifying, inescapable realization: Once modified, there's no going back.

In the latest suspense thriller by Michael Marshall, Killer Move is a non stop, page turner that literally will keep you guessing until the very final page. He creates the suspense from the prologue and it only intensifies as the reader continues the unraveling of Bill Moore's life. This book is amazing and one I haven't read for quite some time. I love it when an author can keep you riveted to the story but have you second guessing yourself until the end.

I received this book compliments of HarperCollins Publishers for my honest review and highly recommend it to those of you crime solving readers who love a twisting, complex case to figure out. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars and this one left a lasting mark. I will forever be looking over my shoulder just to see whose following me. Not everyone is as innocent as they appear. For even more information on this book, the author and where to purchase a copy of this book, please click on the links below:


Thanks to the generous folks at HarperCollins, they are providing a giveaway, hardcover of Killer Moves to one lucky follower of my blog. Here's are you need to do to enter to win:

1. Be a follower of Reviews From The Heart.

2. "Like" my Facebook page at Reviews From The Heart. You can click here to find it.

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

4. I need a way to contact you, if you're the lucky winner so please include your email address along with your comment of why you'd love to win a copy. You can use the words (at) or (dot) instead of the symbols.

The giveaway will end on July 30th and I will notify the winner by email at that time.

Here's even more wonderful information from a Q and A with Michael Marshall:

New York Times bestselling author Michael Marshall discusses his latest thriller Killer Move
Stephen King has been a fan since your debut novel, The Straw Men, calling it “a masterpiece . . . brilliantly written and scary as hell.” The Romantic Times book club calls your recent novel, Killer Move, “A mind-blowing combination of crime and horror.” It takes a certain type of person to explore the depths of evil that you cover in your novels. What is the writing process like for you and where do you get your inspiration, for lack of a better word?

Inspiration, as always, comes from asking ‘what if?’ What if such-and-such a thing were to happen, or sometimes, what if something didn’t happen? What if apparently unimportant little modifications started to be made in your life by forces occluded to you? What if they minutely skewed people’s perceptions of you and your life—despite all your work in trying to present yourself—and the effects started to snowball? All fiction starts with that question, and the only choice after that is to keep asking it...

As for dealing with evil... evil starts in the detail, where the Devil lives: in small things, tiny choices, half-seconds where you take your eye off the ball. The distance between normal life and ‘evil’ is terrifyingly short, a quantum step.

All you have to do is observe these moments and imagine what might happen if they continued, and went unchecked...

The word “modified” plays a huge part in Killer Move. It sounds harmless, but as the story progresses, the word takes on a much scarier meaning. Tell us about your choice to use this word, and its role in the story.

‘Modified’ was actually my working title for the book. It’s such a bland, technical-sounding word, and yet its implications are huge—and the novel tries to evoke how baby-steps of interference and neglect and bad intent can snowball into chaotic changes. Our lives are so complex, and based around many little assumptions and relationships that we may not even be consciously aware of. The domino effect of change can be catastrophic in such an interlinked system. That’s not only true for our personal lives, of course, but for society in general... as the recent rollercoastering of the economy demonstrates.

The more complex the system, the greater the potential for a butterfly effect, too, for tiny ‘modifications’ to overthrow it all... and open the ground beneath your feet.

Bill Moore is a pretty average guy, but he’s really focused on self-improvement. What made you decide to include this almost obsessive aspect to his character?

I believe neurosis is the mental heat caused by the over-clocking of our brains. We’re biologically the same creature as the one who led a relatively simple life hunter-gathering fifteen thousand years ago—and yet we’ve conjured this incredibly complicated and stressful society around us. We cope with it, but only just, and only by running our consciousnesses at a far higher rate than they’d evolved to deal with. The result is a constant background hum of low-level anxiety, which we sublimate into neuroses and habit and going to the gym and working too hard and drinking and tweeting... Obsession lies close to all of us, stalking us like a warm shadow.

The Internet is playing into this facet of human nature, levering open those cracks in our psyche. We’re constantly bombarded with fact, half-fact, blogs, status updates... and we feel we have to keep up, because to fall off the pace is to undergo a virtual death, to be revealed as the aging bull elephant at the back of the pack, ripe to be picked off by the wolves of obsolescence and old age and the terrible fate of being seen as not-cool, off-message, non-zeitgeist. We have to be out there, be seen, build our brands... in front of all these distant strangers, these ‘followers’, these ‘friends’. Bill Moore is merely the logical extension of all this. It could be you, just as easily.

We often blame malfunctions with our email, cell phones, etc. on a technological glitch. In Killer Move, it turns out to be much more than that. What prompted you to use this as the basis for you latest thriller?

It’s astonishing the degree to which we hand up our lives to technologies we simply don’t understand, especially given that the guys in the black hats—the thieves, criminals and hackers—are always one step ahead of the good guys. Though I don’t believe in many conspiracy theories, I share the modern obsession with the idea that someone, somewhere, Knows What’s Going On, and may even be in control of it. What if these things that seem like momentary glitches are not? What if there’s something going on? Why are they doing it? What do they want? Will they ever stop? When so many of the things that define our lives are ‘unreal’—in the sense of virtual and non-concrete—it becomes increasingly easy for the same kind of intangible fictions to destroy us, too.

The tagline for this story is spot on, “Your password is protected. Your life is not.” Is Killer Move a sort of cautionary tale? What do you hope readers will take away from this story?

It’s easy to waltz around the Internet as if it’s some big, cozy playground combined with shopping mall and singles club, assuming it’s safe. It may be, it may not—but be advised that virtually everything you do is logged, and could be used against you, should someone have a mind to. I’m actually not paranoid about security or people knowing what I do—my life is too mundane to be of interest to most—but it’s still an odd environment to live in.

But then... we’re always in an odd environment. We’re an animal designed to live in tribes of sixty to eighty people, and yet we live in groups of thousands, tens of thousands, millions. We don’t know these people, before we even start factoring in all our online ‘friends’. How much of all this is real? How much of it can be trusted? Very little. So work out who you are, what you stand for, and who you really care about, and make sure you’re looking after that first.

What is the perfect song/playlist that captures the “feel” of the story?

Ooh, that’s a good question. Off the top of my head...

— LOLLIPOP, by the Chordettes, which to me has a slightly crazed kind of cheerfulness, like someone chanting ‘Everything’s great! Everything’s great!’ to themselves while shredding a piece of paper in their hands...

— THE PLACES YOU HAVE COME TO FEAR THE MOST by Dashboard Confessional, because the tone and rhythm feel right...
— YOU’RE STILL THE ONE by Shania Twain, as it features in the book...

— BROKE DOWN ON THE BRAZOS, by Gov’t Mule, for its hard-driving Southern-fried intensity...
and:

— I HAVE FOUND ME A HOME by Jimmy Buffett, because the book’s set in Florida, and you’ve got to have a Buffett tune. It’s the law.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thunder of Heaven - Giveaway and Review



Joshua Jordan's reputation is on the line when his controversial RTS system fails to protect Flight 199 as it takes off from Chicago and is show down by a terrorist missile. The government is taking no chances and starts an investigation of Joshua's entire defense program. Unfortunately, the Israelis, longtime allies of the United States, are desperate for the technology. When Joshua flies to the Middle East to assure them of the RTS's reliability, he is captured by the Iranians who wan the secret for the defense tool for their own use.

With Joshua out of the country, Abigail Jordan is left in charge of the Roundtable and sets out to defend her husband to the media and to the commission set up to investigate RTS. But America is under attack - a bombing in the Mall of America and rumors of even more potential atrocities have this covert team desperate to find additional bombs before they are set off.

As man vs. man and nation vs. nation come together in an epic battle, nature takes over and makes the final blow. And as world events begin setting the stage for the "end of days' foretold in Revelation, Joshua Jordan must weigh the personal price he must pay to save the nation he loves.



From Tim LaHaye, creator and coauthor of the world-renowned Left Behind Series - the most successful adult fiction series ever written - and Craig Parshall comes this epic story ripped from the headlines of world events and filtered through Scriptural prophecy. Set in the very near future, Thunder of Heaven chronicles the earth-shattering events leading up to the Apocalypse foretold in Revelation.

My Review:

I was sold from the first page and glued to this riveting fictional tale of the thunders of Biblical prophecy about to be unveiled in the latest sequel to Edge of Apocalypse. Not knowing which direction the threats would be coming from the terrorist plot for nuclear bombs within the US, to the immenient threat against Israel's demise from Iran, it seems like no place is safe anywhere on Earth. While the pages of the Bible get closer to Revelations final chapters, the story keeps the reader on the edge of their seat until end. This one rates a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion and a must read for followers of Bible Prophecy, end-times fiction. Makes you wonder just how close are we to hearing the proverbial rumblings of thunder on the horizon even now.

For more information about this book, the authors and where to get your copy today, click on the links below:

Thunder of Heaven by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall

You can find out more about “The End” series by liking “Col. Joshua Jordan’s” Facebook profile at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thunder-of-Heaven/145850375482911#!/Col.Jordan

You can also follow Joshua Jordan on Twitter by clicking here.



I received this book compliments of Zondervan Publishers for my honest review. Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Zondervan, they are offering a giveaway copy to one lucky follower of my blog. Here are your guidelines:

1. You must be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart.

2. You must reside in the US or Canada or have a US/Canada shipping address. Please No P.O. Boxes.

3. I need a way to contact you if you're the lucky winner, so please leave an email address along with your comment. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols.

4. Leave a comment and tell me how far you would go to defend America's liberty. The giveaway will end on July 25th.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Chair


On Tuesday afternoon at five thirty, an elderly lady strode into Corin's antique store as if she owned it and said, "The next two months of your life will be either heaven or hell."

The corners of her mouth turned up a fraction. It was almost a smile.

"Excuse me?" Corin Roscoe stared at her over the mound of bills in front of him and stifled a laugh. White hair, deep smile lines etched into her high cheekbones - she had to be at least midseventies. Maybe eighty, but she moved like she was in her forties. She wore a dark tan coat that bounced off her calves as she strolled toward Corin, ice blue eyes full of laughter. She didn't look crazy.

"I've brought you the chair, you see." She stared at him as if that statement would explain everything.

Corin brushed his dark hair off his forehead and slid off the stool behind his sales counter. "What chair?"

The woman looked around the store like a schoolteacher evaluating a new classroom of students. Her eyes seemed to settle on the pile of precisely stacked books from the 1700's. "I love books, you know."

"Do I know you?" He took a step towards the woman.

"No." Her laugh had a tinge of music in it. "I hardly think so."

"You're sure?"

"Yes."

"You're a fortune teller, right? And think a little heaven and a little hell is coming my way. Can't I just subscribe to your newsletter?"

"Probably an interweaving of the two realms. And I believe you'll discover the hope of restoration. The final outcome will, of course, be your choice."

In the latest novel by James. L. Rubart, The Chair, takes readers on an exceptional journey into one of the greatest possible antiques ever discovered. A plain, wooden chair crafted perfectly in every dimension and whenever people sit in it, they are miraculously healed. Soon it appears that is possible that the chair was crafted by Jesus Christ and within the chair holds all the power He possessed after He was resurrected.

This being my third book by James L. Rubart, I couldn't wait to read this one when I read about it through his Facebook page. Literally on pins and needles waiting to the first opportunity to read this one. I was not disappointed for my long wait. Worth every single word on the page. He once more captivated my attention from the first few words I shared with you above, until the final paragraph that closes the book. It was exceptional once more and I could completely feel the burden that Corin carries with him throughout the book. The Chair will do more than keep you glued to every word, but pull at your own heart and provide you a clear picture at what Christ did for all of us on the cross.

I received this Kindle format compliments of B & H Publishing Group through Netgalley for my honest review and again, 5 out of 5 stars is not high enough for this book. It literally goes off the chart in my book and thank you James for becoming one of my personal favorite authors in my own personal collection of your literary works.

For more information about this book, the talented author and where to purchase a copy of this book, please click on the links below:


You can also follow him on his personal Facebook page by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pattern of Wounds

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Pattern of Wounds
Bethany House (July 1, 2011)
by
J. Mark Bertrand

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



J. Mark Bertrand lived in Houston, where the series is set, for fifteen years, earning an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. But after one hurricane too many he relocated with his wife Laurie to the plains of South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of one hung jury and served on another that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.


ABOUT THE BOOK



It's Christmas in Houston, and homicide detective Roland March is on the hunt for a killer. A young woman's brutal stabbing in an affluent neighborhood bears all the hallmarks of a serial murder. The only problem is that March sent the murderer to prison ten years ago. Is it a copycat -- or did March convict the wrong man?

Alienated from his colleagues and with a growing rift in his marriage, March receives messages from the killer. The bodies pile up, the pressure builds, and the violence reaches too close to home. Up against an unfathomable evil, March struggles against the clock to understand the hidden message in the pattern of wounds.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pattern of Wounds, go HERE.

My Review:

This was an amazing piece of criminal suspense fiction. I had to read it a lot slower than most because not only am I looking for the clues behind the murders but also trying to solve the crime before the end. Forget it, I now see that I am not a police detective. This one had me guessing, re-guessing, second guessing and in the end, I got it wrong.

There are some unique aspects of serial killings in this book and the twists and turns make you feel like you have arrived at a location thinking you have the map in hand but after looking at it more than once, you realize it's the wrong map after all.

Kudos once more to J. Mark Bertrand for writing his sequel using the character of Detective Roland March. While he tries hard to succumb to the rules as much as he can, he finds that sometimes you have to bend the rules in order to solve the tougher crimes. LOVED this one and can easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars for making me work at finding out who did it. Now I have to wait to read the next one before the manhunt begins again.

If like me, you love trying to solve a great mystery, then this is the book for you. I received this book compliments of Christian Blog Alliance for my honest review and will make sure to add this reader to my personal watch list.