Tuesday, September 30, 2014
"At any given second, somewhere in this grand old world of His, someone kneels beside a bed, or a couch, or inside a mildewed cardboard box underneath some remote highway overpass, and asks, 'God, do miracles exist?'
And not just on Thursday afternoon."
I love it when you pick up a book that changes your life for the better. One that you will never let be far from arms reach, so when you feel life is slowly unraveling beyond your reach, you can grasp it with both hands and never let it go.
The James Miracle from best selling author Jason F. Wright is that book for me. Short, sweet and too the point, their is something so powerful and moving tucked between the covers of this book, you feel like you've been given a secret. One that is whispered in the quiet as you read the words on the pages, and ones you know will stay with you long after you close the book.
Sam and Holly Foster are that couple that you would see and know that without a doubt they had each found their soul mate and was inevitable that they would meet and have that ideal marriage we all dream about. Sam was the one who his father claimed "could sell sand at a desert flea market."He was someone so committed to work harder than those around him, and he knew he would find a way to provide for his family, a talent he simply called, "The Sam Show." Holly Foster would be the one woman in Sam's life that would prove to be the exception to every rule Sam would ever establish.
Sam learned from sage advice from his father that life's miracles happen when you least expect them. "He said it wasn't the well-planned, made-for-television moments that change and define us but instead our destiny is determined by how we choose to weave into our lives the random, unexpected happenings on seemingly normal Thursday afternoons. 'Be prepared for chance, change and miracles.' He said that miracles would come in a thousand and one different packages and some would feel better on your soul than others. Sadly Sam's father dies before Sam could truly appreciate his wisdom. Sam's father in his mind was a true genius."(pg 2) Now those hard learned lessons will come to test Sam and Holly in a way they never expected and would change their lives forever.
I received The James Miracle by Jason F. Wright compliments of Shadow Mountain Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions are my own except where notated. This is a book you will need to read more than once because each time you do, you discover something you didn't see before. You will discover that miracles happen when you least expect them; that miracles can be granted by strangers; that if you can't see miracles, perhaps you're looking in the wrong direction and will prepare our hearts to say, 'Father, what is thy will?" This is easily a book that you will not only read in a single sitting, but will undoubtedly read again and again. There is a pure hope that comes from this story and I can't wait to find even more books by Jason F. Wright to add to this one in my permanent library. This one by far is worth 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
For more information about The James Miracle, Jason F. Wright or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:
You can find Jason F. Wright on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest books.
To read more reviews on The James Miracle, please visit Shadow Mountain Publishers.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Since I picked up my very first Matthew Dunn novel and get addicted to the Spycatcher Series, I knew I was in for life. Fast paced, adrenaline rush from every moment, is a given and a guarantee, but you will also find yourself sentenced to life in making sure you definitely don't miss out on all of the action from MI6 agent Will Cochrane! For fans of James Bond and Ethan Hunt along with a handful of Jason Bourne tossed in just for kicks and thrills, you will most definitely want to begin this journey!
In the latest novel in the Spycatcher Series from best-selling author Matthew Dunn, we meet up with Will Cochrane who has been assigned the task of ensuring that one of the CIA's best deep-cover agents Ellie Hallowes is protected at all costs. Her goal in meeting with a Russian Intelligence officer that carried the CIA code name Herald in a small remote cluster of cabins in Norway, word was that this meeting might in fact be compromised and that Ellie could be attacked. Will's goal was to ensure that Ellie escaped to safety with the information she gained from this meeting.
What Will didn't expect was to find his arch nemesis that he believed was dead to turn up in his sniper rifle's sights. Does he finish the job or does he follow orders? When Will reports in what he sees and asks for permission to take the shot, he is ordered to stand down and to abort the mission. But if he aborts, Ellie will most certainly wind up dead and that is something that doesn't sit well with Will and won't sit well with the agency once they find out he has disobeyed direct orders. This will put him at the top of the most wanted list for both MI6 and the CIA and will mean he will have to use all the resources he has to get back and get the answers to just what is going on and who is trying to cover things up after lying to him. The manhunt for Will Cochrane has now begun...
I received Dark Spies by Matthew Dunn 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 expressed here are strictly my own. While the novel does contain profanity and violence, this is still an exceptional book to fans of Bond, Bourne and Hunt. It will definitely leave you wanting more and I would recommend if you haven't read the first novel in the Spycatcher Series, Spycatcher. This is the four novel in the series and it just seems to get better and better with each one. I truly love the character of Will Cochrane and find his traits of trying to be a decent guy commendable and worthwhile! This one easily rates a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion and also based on my own personal rating system.
For more information about Dark Spies, Matthew Dunn or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can also find Matthew Dunn on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest novels.
To read more reviews on Dark Spies, please visit William Morrow's website.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
What do WWII fashion, advertising, art work, aviation, history, and pin ups have in common? All of these are beautifully captured in HDR color, black and white as well as sepia photographs in the latest book from photographer Michael Malak in the Wings of Angels: A Tribute to the Art of WWII Pinup and Aviation Volume 2. This is the second book in a two volume series that Michael Malak worked for over three years to get these published as a tribute to his grandfather Henry Michael Malak, who sadly passed away before the project was complete. It was that moment that spurred Michael to see this dream come true in the art captured through his artistic eyes in his photographs.
Using authentic WWII aircraft and props was the key to making these photographs truly something a novice like myself can appreciate as well as those seasoned service men and women that flew the aircraft featured in this book. You will also find WWII nose art pin-up artwork recreated as well as vintage ads and enlisted the help of today's biggest names in pin-up artwork to recreate the pin-up artwork you find tucked between the cover of this book. From Romain Hugault, Lorenzo Di Mauro, Ben Tan, David Nestler, Elisabete Cargnello, and Greg Hildebrant, all of Michael's photographs were utilized as the inspiration to capture some truly one of a kind works of art.
The pin-ups models capture that truly classic pin-up look using 1940's fashion and lingerie to give the readers a look back in time to those girls that wanted something to remind their men to hurry home from the war and to keep their minds focused on the returning. Each model is showcased in her own chapter with a truly unique authentic plane starring alongside her. From the FM-2 Wildcat, B-25J Mitchell, F4u-4 Corsair, SN-J5 Texan, F6F-5 Hellcat to the P-38L Lightning. Michael truly gets the reader right into the heart of the cockpit in his photographs that we may never get the opportunity to see. From specifications, missions, flight crew stories, history, and more those that love WWII aircraft will truly find something to treasure through this book.
The reader will learn the importance of what mail call did for morale, Look magazine's "women only" section, how Coca Cola did their part for the war, to the meaning behind war rationing. There are stories of the models and their ties to WWII including the famous Clara Barton founder of the Red Cross, to Charles Allen Bigbee one of the few pilots to fly the famous Memphis Belle. There are details for the significance of the paint schemes of the Hellcat's mouth on the plane, to photo reconnaissance on the P-38, and even what role Walt Disney played in their colorful cartoons found painted on the sides of some of the aircraft. There is even a section dedicated to Rosie the Riveter, the earmarks how women played a key role in the success in WWII as well both at home and in the air.
I received Wings of Angels: A Tribute to the Art of WWII Pinup and Aviation Volume 2 by Michael Malak, compliments of Schiffer Publishing for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. There is so much packed into each of these volumes that you will want to make sure you pick up both volume 1 and 2. From fun facts shooting on location with the models to get the perfect shot to what its like to be a pin up, this is such a comprehensive look at the beauty behind WWII captured in photographs by Michael Malak. It would be a great gift for any lover of WWII history, fashion, aviation and pinups. I easily give this a 5 out of 5 stars because I honestly have never seen anything like it so beautifully done to bring an true appreciation back for fashion, aircraft and history of WWII. Word even has it there is a 2015 Wings of Angels calendar available as well.
For more information about Wings of Angels: A Tribute to the Art of WWII Pinup and Aviation Volume 2, Michael Malak or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:
You can find Michael Malak on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest books and projects.
To purchase a limited edition commemorative set including both volumes 1 and 2 in a handsome collector's slipcase, please visit Schiffer Publisher's website.
So if you have been following my book review site, Reviews From The Heart, you already know I am a huge fan of WWII history, aviation and fashion. I am super excited to share something that combines the beauty of WWII Pinups, authentic WWII aircraft, some history of the time period and people that sacrificed so much for the freedoms we now, including Hollywood's role in the war effort ,all captured in beautiful color, sepia, and black and white photos by photographer Michael Malak. In the first of a two volume set, Wings of Angels: Tribute to the Art of WWII Pinup and Aviation Volume 1, is a three year plus project that the photographer captured as a tribute to his grandfather, Henry Michael Malak, a WWII veteran that passed away before the book could be published. It bears a dedication page that outlines the purpose of capturing the very essence of WWII and the veterans that are slowly slipping into history as time marches on.
The photographs are tastefully done which is why I reviewed the book. From classic 1940's fashion, to period lingerie all the photos capture that moment when women would have their photos taken to encourage their men as a way to remember what awaited them when they got home and that their sacrifice was not all in vain. Hollywood starlets joined the ranks from Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake and even Dorothy Lamore whose pictures as a pinup model raised more than $300 million dollars through war bond sales. These women became the inspiration that contributed to the pin up look that is captured in this book.
For those that love the planes and the history that goes along with them, Michael Malak takes you right into the heart of the cockpit as you fly the P51D Mustang, P-40 Warhawk, B-17G Fortress, BT-13B Valiant, SBD-4 Dauntless, and C-47 Skytrain. From plane specifications, service histories, flight crew stories, missions, and everything in between, you truly get an indepth inside look at some of those planes our service men and women have flown. The pictures of the aircraft alone gives readers a look inside some of these planes we might never see. All the aircraft in this volume are stored currently at Yanks Air Museum in Chino as well as the B-17G can be viewed at Palm Springs Air Museum if you want a closer look.
As if there isn't already enough, tucked between the pages of this hard cover book, Michael captures the big advertising companies of WWII from the story of Coca Cola and the War, to the Lucky Strike campaigns to lend their support to the war through rationing efforts in their packaging. There are some amazing artists that also shared their work thanks to Michael's inspriational photographs and commissioned their work to appear in this volume from Kelly X, Romain Hugault, Carlos Vlaenzuela, and Lorenzo Di Mauro give you that extra bonus that truly completes this collection. There are even some amazing stories called "fun facts" that share what happened on those beautiful shots that were captured and how difficult it was to obtain that perfect final look that you see in this book.
I received Wings of Angels: Tribute to the Art of WWII Pinup and Aviation by Michael Malak compliments of Schiffer Publishing for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. There is truly something for everyone in this book whether you love the planes, the fashion, the history, the advertising or the pinups, this is a great gift for just about any WWII fan of photography and history. I easily give this book a 5 out of 5 stars and don't forget when you pick this one up, you might want to grab volume 2 as well. Word has it there is even a 2015 Wings of Angels calendar available as well.
For more information about Wings of Angels: Tribute to the Art of WWII Pinup and Aviation, Michael Malak, or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:
You can find Michael Malak on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest books and photography.
To order a limited edition commemorative set that includes both volumes in a slipcase for the true collector, please click here.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I can't imagine how difficult it would have been being a woman living in the mid 1800's trying to homestead and find a way to make a living far away from anything resembling a city life. The life of wearing a dress, attending a party or just being cared for is not something that the Wilde sisters have time for living in Aspen Ridge, Idaho. The one thing they all agree on is that they need to keep up their disguises as men in order to make the years that they served in the Civil War count towards the five years needed to claim land out west. Against their better judgement when their older brother, Jimmy was killed, their father pressured the girls to join up as a way of paying respect for his service and to get revenge of the men who killed their brother, even if they didn't want to.
Now to keep up the charade and to honor their father's wishes, each of the girls, Bailey, Shannon and Kylie each utilized their service papers and applied for homesteads to increase the inheritance their father believed Jimmy would have wanted, not caring that the girls were still living a lie. It would have all worked out had Aaron Masterson, not come calling and find Kylie stuck on the roof of her cabin. He believed her lies that she was working alongside her brother on the land, but when he came back to meet, Kyle, he discovered not only her charade but Bailey's and Shannon's as well. He could not in good faith, honor the homestead papers applying their service time, to the length of time required to own the property, when they had lied about getting into the army in the first place. He would need to set things right or he could lose his job. The last thing he wanted to do was lock the Wilde girls up in jail for falsifying the paperwork, even if he didn't agree with the rules.
All Aaron knows is that he has grown quite fond of Kylie Wilde and it is apparent she lacks the skills she needs to continue to eek out a living here for the next five years. She is more than relieved she doesn't have to continue lying to anyone about being a woman, but no matter how much she tries to convince her Pa, he reminds her that she is a disgrace to Jimmy's memory, and she needs to fulfill her time in order to gain the land for the Wilde family. The only problem is that Gage Coulter, a wealthy cattle rancher and land owner has been trying to acquire all the land around his ranch to further expand his withholdings and the land the Kylie has is just what he needs right now. Now he just needs to convince her to sell or he just might need to marry her to get control of it. Life is about to get real interesting in Aspen Springs!
I received Tried and True by Mary Connealy compliments of Bethany House Publishers and Litfuse Publicity 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 absolutely LOVE anything that Mary Connealy writes and my personal library of her books is steadily growing. I am thrilled that she has launched a new series, Wild at Heart with Tried and True being the first book to debut. I LOVE that Kylie and her sisters attempted to do things that most women wouldn't have, serving in the army during the Civil War, trying to make a go of it living in the west, building their own cabins and living off the land while trying to earn time for the homesteading requirement. It took guts and gumption and all the Wilde sisters employ their talents to make it work, despite their Pa who seems stuck in his own personal grief.
Mary Connealy takes the readers right into the grit of living in the West. You can smell the pine from the woods, feeling the suddenly unexpected thunderstorm all the perfect backdrop to a wonderful heartwarming romance. By far one of my favorite genres to read but not everyone can pull it off so beautifully as Mary does. Her writing style is so rich, you don't want to put this book down for one minute, which I inhaled in a matter of hours. I can't wait to see how it plays out in the next book, even though I have feeling which sisters will wind up with who by the end of this amazing series. We'll have to wait and see. You even get a sneak peek at the next novel Now and Forever coming in June of 2015. To me, that's too long to wait, but what can I do. This one easily ropes a 5 out of 5 stars in my book.
For more information about Tried and True, Mary Connealy or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can also find Mary Connealy on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on Tried and True, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour Page.
Don't miss the first book in Mary Connealy's Wild at Heart series. In Tried & True, Mary is back with her signature humor and heartfelt story-telling.
Mary's celebrating by connecting with readers during a live webcast event and giving away a Kindle HDX.
One winner will receive:
- A Kindle HDX
- Tried & True by Mary Connealy
So grab your copy of Tried & True and join Mary and friends on the evening of September 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)
Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
I really hated this novel this end, but no matter how long I took to read it, the end was inevitable. After I finished each story, I wanted so desperately to see a screenwriter take this to some big production company and make this one into a movie that I could only compare to It's A Wonderful Life if it were to make it on the big screen. Oh how I wish I had the money because I firmly believe we all need something like the stories tucked between the pages of the novel Where Treetops Glisten, a collaboration of three of the finest World War II authors I've ever read. Each of them as a stand alone author is truly a best selling author in their own right, but when you couple such talent, you are bound to capture something that truly transcends the ability to capture it all in words. I only hope I can do it justice as a book reviewer.
For anyone who loves WWII and romance set amid the backdrop of Christmas, then you will LOVE this collection. Each of the authors have agreed to take the children of the Turner family, one that lives in the small town of Lafayette, Indiana each set to one of three Christmas songs that were written or became popular during the war. They are each uniquely different but connected so that you can transition from one family members lives as they each share their story.
In White Christmas, Cara Putman showcases her talent with Abigail Turner, who is a recent widow trying to move forward in her life without her husband working for Glantz Candies, famous for their candy canes. She isn't looking for love and is trying to figure out where God is in her life. She meets a stranger on a bus one night and can see he is carrying some great burden on his shoulders even though he meets her eyes with a smile. She knows that helping others is the perfect way to get rid of the loneliness during Christmas and takes your mind off your own troubles. Is he the answer to her prayer?
I'll Be Home For Christmas by Sarah Sundin, was my favorite of the three because it felt like A Miracle on 34th Street with a WWII setting. Pete Turner, Abigail's brother, is on furlough for a month to celebrate Christmas with his family before heading back into service flight planes. He finds a lonely little girl, Linnie, standing outside a store window without her mother, and offers to help her find her way home after she explains she has wandered off, yet again. He wasn't planning on her mother being Grace Kessler, the little girl he used to bully when he was younger and by the look on Grace's face when she sees him, she has no plans on forgiving him even though he managed to bring her daughter home.
Finally Tricia Goyer takes a spin at Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas with Meredith or Merry Turner who has taken up training as a combat nurse in the Netherlands. She had hoped that she can find a way to mend her broken heart while patching up the wounded servicemen instead. But she can't help but wonder how she missed all the signs that pointed to the man she loved was a German spy. How can God redeem her broken heart while trying to mend the soldiers injured in war to send them home for the holidays?
I received Where Treetops Glisten by Cara Putman, Tricia Goyer and Sarah Sundin compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Waterbrook Multnomah 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 know I will be rereading this one again as I sit back during the Christmas holiday and reminisce about WWII where so many men and women gave their lives as they continue to do so currently for the freedom and peace we all enjoy in countries far from home. The messages that can be found in each of these stories is about hope and love in the midst of adversity and I think Tricia Goyer summed it up the best with these words, "The thing about love is that it's slow to fade. It's not a bad thing. Love is meant to last." (pg 289). You can definitely tell the authors worked hard to keep their stories separate but connected in a way that truly defines who Abigail, Pete and Merry Turner are and the love they share with not only their family but with others around them. That is the true meaning behind Christmas is that love is meant to last just like Christ's love for us is eternal. Hands down a true 5 out of 5 stars and the perfect gift for the romantic or service men or women in your life for Christmas!
For more information about Where Treetops Glisten, Sarah Sundin, Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can find Tricia Goyer on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.
You can find Sarah Sundin on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.
You can find Cara Putman on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on Where Treetops Glisten, please visit Litfuse Publicity's book tour page.
Monday, September 22, 2014
I've been a huge lover of roses and not quite sure where it came from. In fact, my husband understands that I would rather have a rose plant over a dozen of roses any day. Why? Because they will continue to produce blooms long after that dozen cut roses dies. And it is a constant reminder of the time they were purchased as my love gardens continues to grow.
I've been a huge fan of Suzanne Woods Fisher and her ability to capture the love of the reader for all things Amish. So whenever I see her books available for review and add in the element of a Christmas novel, and toss in the love of gardening roses for good measure, well I absolutely knew I had to have this one. And I was NOT disappointed in the slightest. This has all the elements of what I am looking for in a great Amish love story. A plot twist, a love that is just waiting to be discovered despite all the odds against them, and a love of something that will draw the characters together. That is just what you find tucked beneath the beautiful cover of Christmas at Rose Hill Farm.
Bill Lapp has left his former Amish life behind as he works as a rose rustler at Penn State. Meaning it is his job to help discover roses that can't be identified and to also help cultivate lasting ones to be shared by rose lovers all over the world. You could say he is the rose expert. He simply walked away from a potential relationship with Bess Riehl when it seemed she had fallen into the same opinion of him as his father and brothers. It was simply better to try and find a new start someplace far from his feelings and his heart.
Bess Riehl is hoping that her upcoming wedding to Amos Lapp will enable her to move forward with a man who truly loves her and will do anything to make sure she is well taken care of. Only thing is, she can't forget the man who claimed her heart at 12 and wonders if she will ever find a way to put Billy in her past. Working alongside her father at Rose Hill Farm, Bess discovers a rose plant beneath the potting table while cleaning things out before the wedding and believes it might be the one special rose her grandmother had told her about so long ago and thought was destroyed. But there is only one way to know for sure and her father contacts their local rose expert but he can't make it and suggest that Billy be the one to do it. The only thing is that neither of them know that Billy is the rose rustler until Bess arrives to pick him up. Will he be able to stick to his job or will something more happen to draw them closer together? What is the significance of this mystery rose at Christmas? Only time will tell.
I received Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher compliments of Revell Publishers and Litfuse Publicity 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 found that while I was reading this novel, I would stop and look up the different variety of roses that Billy and Bess were talking about and didn't realize that some of the oldest rose varieties were brought over from Europe, often found in the old cemeteries to this day. In fact I didn't know that you could propagate new rose cuttings using willow water, something I also discovered while referencing the term I came across while reading the novel. I can't wait to try it on my rose cuttings. This was such a beautiful story of an angelic encounter and the love of things that draws people together in unforgettable ways and as a reminder to keep those things at the heart of your relationship! For me, hand down a true winner of 5 out of 5 stars and will be keeping this one on my personal library shelf. There is also a Reader's Discussion Guide, Author's Note and recipe at the conclusion of this novel you'll definitely want to try.
For more information about Christmas at Rose Hill Farm, Suzanne Woods Fisher or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can also find Suzanne Woods Fisher on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on Christmas at Rose Hill Farm, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour page.
Join best-selling, award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher for an Amish Christmas to remember. Filled with heart-twisting moments amid the sweet anticipation of love, Christmas at Rose Hill Farm will charm readers into the holiday spirit.
Suzanne is hosting a "Christmas Rose" iPad bundle giveaway and a nation-wide Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch in November. Enter the giveaway below and sign up to host a brunch HERE.
- An iPad
- A Rose-patterned iPad case
- A Rose-patterned phone case (for any model phone)
- A Christmas wreath
- A set of Christmas hand-towels
- Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher
- Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Host a Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch! This fall Suzanne is inviting book clubs across the nation to throw a Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch. Sign up here between now and September 29. If you’re selected as one of the 50 hosts, you’ll receive a copy of the book plus two other Revell titles (give them away as party prizes or door prizes or keep them for yourself), a complete party kit, and a discount code to purchase copies of Christmas at Rose Hill Farm for your book club at a discount. Suzanne is also encouraging each book club brunch to collect non-perishable items for their local community shelter. She will be making a donation to her favorite charity (helping abused women and children) for every brunch that meets their goal. Click here for more details and to SIGN UP!
Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 29th to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)
Friday, September 19, 2014
This is my first experience with author Philip Gulley and his novel involving a Quaker pastor known as Sam Gardner. Based on the cover of the book I was drawn to read it based on dealing with life in a small town of Harmony, Indiana. Sam has been the pastor of Harmony Friends Meeting, the name of his church, for the past fourteen years and he has seen a lot of change in that time. He wanted to move back to Harmony because he wanted a place that he was familiar with and one he knew quite well, but even in a town you grew up in, people change. Even Sam's family is making forward changes with his oldest moving away to college and his last remaining son, wanting to join the Army when he finishes with school. Something his wife Barbara is struggling with as a first time empty nester. She too is looking for new adventure and is tired of all the complaining Sam does when he gets home from work.
She's tired of hearing all the people in his church are tired of the way Sam is running things and they want him out. The sooner the better. They don't like how he has managed things and have tried three other times to get him fired. Now that Sam has grown tired of all the efforts of the church elders, he's finally fed up. He dreams of running a hardware store where no one cares what you do as long as you sell them what they need. You don't have to worry who you offend or if people agree with how you're doing your job.
In fact the church has just about had it with everything especially since the Unitarian church bought the vacated church building and insists on converting members of their church to join them. When Sam is called to fill in for their sick pastor at a wedding, Sam agrees to fill in. But what he doesn't realize is that it is a gay wedding and it goes against everything in his church. He knows if he does this it will simply make firing him a no brainer but since gay marriage is outlawed in the state and Sam isn't marrying them just witnessing it and offering a prayer he doesn't think there would be an issue. But that is exactly the match to light the fire for the elders to get rid of him. It doesn't help that Sam resigns before they fire him. Now what will he do if he can't pastor a church any longer? You'll have to pick this one up and find out.
I received A Place Called Hope by Philip Gulley compliments of Center Street Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions are strictly my own. I struggled to find something in this novel I liked, a character I could relate to or even care about, but it just felt like a book of complaints directed to the town's church pastor. Every chapter dealt with another issue someone had with the pastor and his constant complaining to his wife that he hated his job. It felt redundant and I had a hard time attempting to stick it out to the end. For me to engage the reader, you have to create a character your reader will care about and even 50 pages into this one, I could care a less if Sam quit or stayed. The writing style seems choppy and the storyline just never connects enough to make me want to read any further novels in this series. It feels like a start and stop with each chapter, simply picking up another problem before it ends once again. For me, this book just didn't engage me like I would have wanted. I was hoping for so much more than what I got and there was a disconnect I could seem to fix by the end of this one. For me, this one was a 3 out of 5 stars in my opinion but others may enjoy it.
For more information about A Place Called Hope, Philip Gulley or where you can pick up a copy of this novel, please click on the links below:
You can find Philip Gulley on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest novels.
To read more reviews on A Place Called Hope, please visit Center Street Publishing's website.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Robin Caroll's name is synonymous with Christian suspense and if you have ever read any of her novels you know just what I mean. For those of you that haven't and love a great novel that literally will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for the next proverbial shoe to drop, you might want to check her out. She is also the latest author contributing her writing talents to the Quilts of Love Series, in her addition, Hidden in the Stars. Even though these are all part of an ongoing series, they are truly stand alone novels and can be read in any order, but what a way of introducing readers into the talented writing styles of some great Christian authors.
Hidden in the Stars involves Sophia Montgomery, an upcoming new Olympic gymnast who has finally taken all her hard work and is on her way to the Olympics. At least she was until two men showed up at her home with what looked like a home invasion, and began to assault her and her mother Nina, speaking in Russian. Knowing enough Russian, she had the basic understanding that the men wanted something from her mother and would not leave until they got it. What she didn't plan on, was that they would stop at NOTHING to get it, even torturing her daughter Sophie, first with crushing her hands, and then choking her to the point of dying.
All Sophie knows when she wakes up is she can't talk, her hands are badly damaged and bandaged and she is facing a detective who has a load of questions for her to answer. But how will she be able to convey what she saw if she can't speak or write? Detective Julian Fraiser knows that the person he is looking at in the hospital bed is more than lucky to be alive. He has seen car accident victims look less beat up and still die. He isn't sure just how much time he has, but he knows this, he will do whatever it takes to find out who did this to Sophie and why!
I received Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll compliments of Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity 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 an intense novel because there is that unknown element of wondering just what the men wanted who brutally assaulted Sophie and her mother and what is the meaning behind the Russian language that was spoken. You are turning pages as fast as you can read in an effort to know what will happen. Like all great suspense stories, if you can twist the plotline enough to keep the reader engaged but not so lost they give up, but still leave them surprised at the end, I believe you have succeeded as a suspense author and Robin Caroll clearly has done that in this novel. This is the 21st novel in the Quilts of Love series and includes a Reader Discussion Guide at the conclusion. Well worth 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. You also get a sneak peek at Quilted for Christmas, the next novel in the series coming soon.
For more information about Hidden in the Stars, Robin Caroll, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can find Robin Caroll on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on Hidden in the Stars, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour page.
Don't miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll. September's QOL release is a wonderful combination of mystery, romance, and family love bound together by a quilt and the story it tells.
Enter to win a "Night on the Town" (a $200 Visa cash card!) and RSVP for the "Fall into Fall" Quilts of Love Facebook party on 10/7.
One winner will receive:
- A $200 Visa cash card (The perfect accessory for a "night on the town"!)
- A Grand Design by Amber Stockton
- Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll
RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on October 7th!
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Well all hope that when we walk this path called life, that adversity will somehow overlook us, that it will happen to the "other" guy and not us. We'd prefer it that way but so often it does happen to us and begs us to ask the question, now that this has happened, how will we manage? Will it change the course of our lives so much that we don't move forward, that we forget how to live without that title, that salary, that marriage, that family any longer. What truly defines who we are inside? Certainly not our circumstances as one man is about to find out.
In the latest novel from Charles Martin, A Life Intercepted, takes us through the struggle and adversity of what happens to the rising football star Matthew "the Rocket" Rising. He was the greatest thing to ever happen to Gardi, Georgia. From his high school career as quarterback it was as perfectly scripted as you would hope a life as a quarterback would be. The back to back wins throughout his years in high school, back to back wins subsequently in college, and the hope of a future with his wife and high school sweetheart Audrey. He was much different than all the other football heroes because he refused to take any personal credit for the teams wins, instead emphasizing that it takes an entire team and not just one man.
That was what set him apart from everyone else. He had his heart and mind in the right places and not just on his skills as a football player. Even his wife supported his game from the humble beginnings to the cusp of success. But just before he got to the top of his future game, just when it looks like all his dreams would come true, the lights would be turned out and his life would take a turn he never saw coming and all those who truly believed in Matt's character would begin to doubt they ever knew him at all. Now the only thing facing him would be 12 years behind bars at prison for a crime he didn't remember committing and one that would change how the world would forever label him including his wife Audrey. This is Matthew's story of what happened and how he would attempt the come back of his life.
I received A Life Intercepted by Charles Martin compliments of Center Street Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Groups for my honest opinion. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions in this review are strictly my own. I've been a huge fan of Charles Martin's novels because they truly cut to the core of who we are as humans and this is no exception as he begins to strip away Matthew Rising from his humble beginnings to his pinnacle of success. What dedication he has to encourage and motivate his fellow teammates and to showcase the true unconditional love he has for his wife Audrey. I couldn't imagine how painful this was for her and even his close friends. This is a fictional novel but based on the Author's Notes at the end, shows the true inspiration of this idea for the novel. It truly shows the power of forgiveness and creates an inspiration for those areas in our own life where we might need to exercise forgiveness and just what it really means for us. For fans of football fiction with a side of romance thrown in for good measure or if you are just a fan of Charles Martins' novels, definitely pick this one up. I would rate it a 4 out of 5 stars.
For more information about Charles Martin, A Life Intercepted, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can find Charles Martin on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest novels.
For more reviews on A Life Intercepted, please visit Center Street Publishing's website.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Kat really had to lose this competition!
When you are looking for an exceptional contemporary romance between two best friends, who believe they have what it takes to make the perfect romance aside from actually telling the other how they really feel, you have the recipe for an incredibly delicious summer romance in All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes from Betsy St. Amant. Kat Varland has always dreamed of something more, something beyond the reach of simply baking strawberry, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes for her Aunt Maggie at Sweetie Pies, the local cupcake shoppe in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. But Aunt Maggie isn't ready for what she considers Kat's "weird" creations and insist she knows what's best. So Kat is sidelined until she can whip up a way to leave this small town life behind.
But she is her own worst enemy. Perhaps that is due in part, to her parents who simply believe she is wasting her talents baking cupcakes for a living. Or the love she lost when her boyfriend Chase decided her sister might be the sweeter of the two sisters to possibly settle down with, leaving Kat in more doubt than ever before. Good thing, she has a real life coach in her best friend Lucas Brannen, who coaches high school football and dreams of the day when he can finally let his true feelings for Kat come to the surface and actually act on them. But what she needs now more than love, is a true confidence boost and lucky for her, he has just the thing in mind. He has secretly signed her up for Cupcake Combat, a reality cupcake bake off show from Food Network. He hopes that once they contact Kat, she'll finally realize that those delightful creations she has been making in her own kitchen are worthy of so much more.
"You did what?"
Perhaps that wasn't the answer he was expecting from Kat when her email announced that she had made it to the show which begins in just two weeks in Los Angeles. But he does manage to convince her that his intentions were more than honorable. A way to show her that he truly believes that she has the talent to follow her dreams anywhere. He just is half hoping that she won't win. Kat has told him that the grand prize for the winner is a year's internship at Bloom, one of the largest bakeries in New York, just what she needs to finally get out of this small town. And she has just the right person in mind for the assistant she is allowed to bring. Won't Lucas look amazing in an apron on national T.V.?
I received All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Zondervan Publishing for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own unless otherwise notated. I couldn't wait for this novel when I got the invitation to review it. Being an avid cupcake baker myself and a die hard romantic, this was the perfect creation for me. I love the premise and how well the writer establishes the chemistry brewing between Lucas and Kat! Funny thing is that is my name as well and I simply LOVED this one from cover to cover, inhaling it like peanut butter chocolate cupcakes!!! Hands down well worth every 5 out of 5 stars. There is even a recipe for Raspberry Lemonade Torte Cupcakes and a Reader's Group Guide at the conclusion of this novel. One I simply can't wait to try.
For more information about All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes, Betsy St.Amant or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can also find Betsy St. Amant on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes, please visit Litfuse Publicity's book tour page.
Don't miss Betsy St. Amant's latest fiction release, All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes. A "sweet" tale of two best friends and the choices they make between dreams and a possible "sure thing," St. Amant's novel is sure to satisfy your romantic-fiction craving.
Betsy is celebrating with a fun Kindle giveaway and a Love & Cupcakes Facebook party! One winner will receive:
- A brand new Kindle
- All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant
So grab your copy of All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes and join Betsy on the evening of September 18th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)
Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!
Monday, September 15, 2014
What do you get when you take the owner of a catering business and couple that with her ability to help the local sheriff with solving crimes in her free time? You get the latest series from best-selling author Diane Noble in The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead, the first novel in the Professor and Mrs.Littlefield Mystery series. It's like taking Angela Lansbury from Murder She Wrote and pairing it up with Indiana Jones and you get a taste for what this novel is like.
El Littlefield runs The Butler Did It, a catering company that allows her to operate her own detective agency to aid in solving the latest crimes to hit Eden Bridge, where she lives along with her daughter Katie and her granddaughter Chloe Grace. Armed with her partner in crime at times, Hyacinth Gilvertin, Southern Highland University's archivist, they hope that they will be able to pull off the biggest catering event of the year. Dr. Max Haverhill is set to host a dinner party and announce his latest archaeological find, a figurehead that was carved by a Boston artisan in 1812 that quite possible holds a map to locate one of the largest stockpiles of treasures stolen by the Nazis and hidden by the French Resistance.
But Dr. Haverhill is convinced that someone has been responsible for a recent attempt on his life while removing the figurehead from the ocean bottom where he discovered it had been hidden all these years. In fact he suspects that unless he cancels this dinner party tonight, his life and that of countless innocent guests may be in jeopardy until they have more time to hunt down the elusive couple from Paris that seem to have a connection to these recent events. But doing so now that El and Hyacinth have pretty much invested their entire life savings in food and party rentals, would mean the disaster to the future of her catering business. Just as she is able to convince Dr. Haverhill that there is plenty of security and all the mysterious guests have been accounted for, the guests at the dinner party becoming violently ill with apparent food poisoning and the figurehead goes missing along with Hyacinth, who was suppose to ensure that the figurehead remained safe and secure. Now El has a limited amount of time to do the investigation because as more time continues to elapse, the fingers are beginning to point to El and Hyacinth as being the criminals.
I received The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead by Diane Noble compliments of David C.Cook Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance 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 great mystery series, because it adds a bit of comedy, romance, and of course down-to-earth detective work as El tries to unravel the clues she finds as she tries to clear her name and that of her business while trying to find her best friend, which no one believes is really missing. Even more amazing is that El finds herself suddenly falling in love with the Professor while helping him hunt down his missing artifact that will undoubtedly hold more mysteries once it's found. A must read for fans of mystery fiction coupled with a bit of romance. It's fast paced and definitely a whole lot of fun until she can solve the crime of the century, at least in her small town, and you'll never guess who is behind it all!! I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
For more information about The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead, Diane Noble, or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can also find Diane Noble on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead, please visit Christian Fiction Blog Alliance's book tour page.
Friday, September 12, 2014
For those of us that have come to love and call Sugarcreek our home away from home, best-selling author Shelley Shepard Gray, takes us back in her latest novel Joyful, the third book in the Return to Sugarcreek Series. This has definitely been one of my favorites because I feel like I have come to know each of the couples we deal with in this novel, like they're close family friends. I've had the opportunity to get to know them and the struggles they have had up to the point we are reunited with them once again. For me, it's like having a really great television series, that you have to wait for each next episode to air so you can come back again and again to a place you'd love to be a part of.
Randall Beiler and Elizabeth Holt have been seeing one another for the last two years, and Elizabeth is just waiting for the day when he will finally ask her to marry him and join the large Beiler family. Just when she believes that day is finally here, Randall gives her news she wasn't quite expecting. He tells her that he needs to spend more time taking care of his family, now that his older brothers and sisters have gotten married and moved on. Still taking on role of caretaker, mother and father, and older brother leaves him at a disadvantage with the house failing into a state of needing constant cleaning, someone to do all the cooking, and helping to raise nine-year-old Kaylene who feels being left at home with four older brothers is beyond what she can take. So Randall's solution is to call things off with Elizabeth.
Now heartbroken, Elizabeth struggles to figure out a way to help pay her bills taking care of her grandmother since her mother has moved away to begin her own life. She had originally planned to send money, but each month is seems like she is sending less and less, leaving Elizabeth with no choice but to find a way to supplement their income while still caring for her ailing grandmother who needs constant care. She had hoped that being married to Randall would solve things for them, knowing he could support not only them, but allowing her grandmother to move in with them, but that is not going to happen anytime soon. But will one unskilled bachelor be able to handle taking care of a house, cooking, cleaning and raising his siblings without any help, or will Randall realize he has simply bitten off more than he can chew?
I received Joyful by Shelly Shepard Gray compliments of Avon Inspire, a division of Harper Collins Publishers and Litfuse Publicity 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 absolutely LOVED where Shelley took her characters in this novel. As the title suggests, each of them will be forced into a situation in which they will have to find the joy in life once again, instead of dwelling on worries and things beyond our control at times. Too often we find ourselves taking on more stress and worry wondering what will happen, instead of simply enjoying what we have right in front of us, that we miss the joyful moments, of learning what it means to care for those we love, to help out our friends and family when they need it the most, and learn to appreciate what we have instead of wanting more that may never come. It causes the reader to reflect on those joyful moments in their own life, they may be missing simply worrying about tomorrow instead of enjoying today and one that I believe can cause us to change how we view our lives and see more joy instead of worry. I easily give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars. A reader's discussion guide is included as well as a sneak peek into Shelley's next novel Snowfall.
For more information about Joyful, Shelley Shepard Gray or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can also find Shelley Shepard Gray on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on Joyful, please visit Litfuse Publicity's book tour page.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
If you are a fan of movies like Hunger Games, Divergent or The Giver, you just might want to pick up the prequel Tremors to what seems like will be a great new series from author Bonnie Calhoun. In this short 48 page introduction to the Stone Braide Chronicles, it does what it is supposed to do, draw you in and make you want more, much like chocolate does for me. I would classify this one as a Christian Science Fiction Fantasy and truly fans of that genre will absolutely want to begin this journey with Tremors before Thunder, the first book in the series begins early this fall.
The teaser opens with three teens who find the beach deserted at night, which provides the perfect setting for a night of surfing without the hassle of others stealing the prime waves that are slated to begin tonight. Only they truly get more than what they bargain for, when a sudden, unexpected current begins to drag them away from the shore. As the waves begin building, they don't panic at first, expecting to catch the next wave and head for shore. However when a sudden fifty-foot rogue waves appears, it will be the last thing they ever see.
Selah Rishon Charez is simply tired of being cast aside as her father and brothers scourge the coastal waters looking for "Landers." Her father has reminded her that she is to keep to the house for the next two days to keep her safe until her 18th Birth Remembrance. Her older brother warns her that it is for her safety since there have been rumors of her possibly being kidnapped before that happens. Just had hoped for some free time to work side by side with her father and brothers before being given away in a per-arranged marriage slated for 90 days after her 18 Birth Remembrance to a man she truly doesn't love, Jericho Kingston. She doesn't understand such a rush for that to happen and when she attempts to talk to her mother about it, she isn't much help. Is there a reason her father wants to keep her locked away until the wedding? Just what secrets is her father keeping from her that she has a right to know? What true purpose does her life as a girl serve in the society is which she is living? When she finds out the price her father is willing to pay for her life, she will truly be surprised at just the reasons behind him wanting to keep her safe at all costs and one she won't be happy with at all?
I received an electronic copy of Tremors by Bonnie Calhoun compliments of Revell Publishing and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions are strictly my own. The best part is that for a limited time, you can get a copy of Tremors for your eBook reader free which also includes the first chapter of Thunder, the first novel in the Stone Braide chronicles due out early this fall. This truly does sound like a great series, and this has already peaked my interest to know just what is the purpose of the rush to get Selah married and the high cost her father is willing to pay, unlimited petrol, in a world where that would be like unlimited money? And just what has been happening with the dreams Selah has only when she is near the beach? Does that preclude the reason why her father is being so secretive all of a sudden? I can't wait for the answers I hope to get when I pick up Thunder as soon as it is released. In my opinion, this one was a 4.5 out of 5 stars and truly offered what I believe prequel purpose is and that is to get people interested and wanting to read the series. It did just that.
For more information about Tremors, Bonnie Calhoun or where you can pick up a copy of this prequel, please click on the links below:
You can also find Bonnie Calhoun on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on Tremors and to download the prequel today, please visit Amazon.com.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
The hardest thing in life is to find forgiveness and to be able to forgive, and often times the best way to show how that is accomplished is through an exceptional family movie! In the movie Hero, we see Joe Finn, (Burgess Jenkins from Remember the Titans and The Shunning), who has returned home after being gone for the last seven years. On his homecoming, he learns that his wife, Hannah has a few short weeks left to live and she wants to spend those with Joe. But not everyone is happy to see Joe return home. His son, David, has gotten over not having his father around, and assures him that he is not wanted at home any longer. It is the film version of the prodigal father who returns home to a less than pleasing homecoming.
He believed that when he left to scout for the big leagues, he was providing a future for his family, but instead realizes that the cost for doing so, may not have been worth it. He struggles with coming to terms with his son's lack of respect for him being at home, and when Joe Finn attempts to help out with a struggling little league team of misfits known as the Gappers, he begins to understand just how much his leaving has cost his son, his family and his town.
In order to help the team, he tries to get their father's to commit to spending some time helping out with practice at home and to attend some of the games and practice sessions. But like Joe, himself, they are simply too busy chasing careers to find the time to spend playing baseball with their sons. It's an eye opening experience for Joe as he begins to see what the implications of being away the last seven years have done in the life of his son, when he wasn't there to see it. No matter how hard he tries to convince the fathers, they simply aren't buying Joe's reasoning, even though he tries to explain to them how much it has cost his own family. He will need to begin again and work it out with everyone one step at a time instead of simply jumping back into things. In the end, he will show fathers and their sons, how valuable time well spent truly means and what it can cost us to pursue other things instead of raising our children.
I received Hero compliments of Advent Film Group and Edify Media Inc for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. This is such an exceptional family movie because often times, we don't understand the costs that take place when we simply don't have the time, to spend with our kids in pursuit of financial security. It's a cost that we can never recoup and one that we fail to understand until it's too late. I easily give this one a grand slam 5 out of 5 stars and the lesson it teaches by the end of the movie is one you won't want to miss. This one has been given 5 doves by the Dove Foundation as well.
For more information about Hero, Advent Film Groups or where you can pick up a copy of this DVD today, please click on the links below:
You can find Advent Film Groups on Facebook to stay up to date with all their latest family entertainment.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
I have to begin by telling you that no matter how hard I tried to keep this novel in its current time period of 1946, for some reason during parts of it I kept envisioning later 1800's during the Wild West period. I think that was in part to the reference of taverns and dance hall girls which is reminiscent of the Old West. However, this is such an exceptional story and one you won't want to miss due to the powerful nature of second chances and forgiveness for anyone.
In Feast for Thieves by author Marcus Brotherton, Zearl "Rowdy" Slater is returning home from World War II, seeking to find his place in the world. But for a man with no money, no job, a record, and a personality that tends to be, well, a little on the eccentric side, settling down presents a bit of a challenge.
Desperate to scrap together some cash, Rowdy robs a bank alongside his friend, Crazy Ake, in the backwoods and backwards - town of Cut Eye, Texas. But, after nearly getting caught, something changes inside and he finds himself walking into the sheriff's office to return the money, but never admitting his role in its disappearance. Suspicious that Rowdy had more to do with it than he admits, the sheriff gives him a crazy proposal - serve one year as the minister at the Cut Eye Community Church or head for the slammer.
Seeing it's either ministry or a jail cell, Rowdy gets to work. But he soon discovers that there's more to being a minister than meets the eye. Between learning about the work from the former pastor, the beautiful Bobbie Barker, visiting parishioners, fist fighting with the bar crowd to get more men to attend, or trying to figure out how to write a sermon (his first - how to skin a squirrel - didn't go over very well), Rowdy is in over his head but working hard to carve out a new life.
I received Feast for Thieves by Marcus Brotherton compliments of Side Door Communications and River North Publishing for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and received a complimentary copy of the book to review. This is such a great novel, because of the humor you find when Rowdy attempts to go straight from his first sermon to his unique way of getting more people to church by taking on all the men who would rather frequent the tavern on Friday night than attend church. It's truly about a man finding his true identity and not the one everyone see's from the outside. It's about finding true forgiveness and second chances where you'd least expect to find them and getting your fill of more than just great food. It's message has a more powerful delivery being told as a fiction than as a non fiction and one that will last long after you finish the final page. I'd rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
For more information about Feast for Thieves, Marcus Brotherton, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
Feast for Thieves by Marcus Brotherton
You can also find Marcus Brotherton on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest novels.
To read more reviews on Feast for Thieves, please visit River North Publishing.
Thanks to the generosity of Side Door Communications and River North Publishing, they are offering a giveaway copy to one lucky follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. Here are your guidelines to enter:
1. Be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart.
2. "Like" Marcus Brotherton's Facebook page. While you're there leave him a comment.
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. Don't forget to include your email address so I can notify you if you're the winner when this giveaway ends on September 16th. You can use the words (at ) and (dot) instead of the symbols.
I will notify the winner by email on September 16th, so please be sure to include it below with your comments.
Monday, September 8, 2014
There comes some novels that are so rare and deep that when you finish them, you are left as though you have no breath left in your body. As if you are reliving something so horrible, you wish it were all simply a bad dream. But this is not the case with a different type of christian historical novel from Sigmund Brouwer, Thief of Glory and it is definitely a story of unspeakable horrors that occurred for one boy and his family that lived during the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Dutch East Indies during WWII. For me, it was a story I had never heard nor could never imagine, but know that stories like these have happened and have never been told except to close family members.
I caution the reader, it is not for the faint of heart and the horrors described as a young boy, Jeremiah Prins and his younger brother and sisters, along with his mother are moved to a concentration camp when the Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies islands, which is present day Indonesia. When Jeremiah's father and older brothers are taken, his father firmly reminds him that it is his responsibility now to take care of what remains of the family. Jeremiah has grown up a bit unique in never learning to fear anything, never to cry and to always let the first fight be initiated by someone else. They will always need to hit first. But Jeremiah is also smart beyond his years when he is able to converse like someone much older and wiser and that often takes his opponents by surprise, not knowing if he is serious or simply stalling for time.
Jeremiah's passion is marbles, one he takes great pride in adding to his growing collection through his many games with the children in the neighborhood and subsequently in the camp when he is detained there. It is his only connection to a normal life while living someplace that most would simply refer to as hell. Outside the fenced enclosure, life continues on as normal while all the Dutch people are rounded up by the Japanese. The leaders of the camp, known as Jappenkamp, know that in order to maintain a sense of control, certain restrictions are necessary, from keeping people in overcrowded conditions, keeping food rations at the point of keeping the people from starving at first, and convincing them all that anything less than respect for the leaders will result in punishment of their mothers, no matter if the disrespect came from the adult or child.
It is a chilling reminder of the horrors some had to endure just to survive a war in which they were not involved with directly but simply based on their race.
I received Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions here are strictly my own. I can't imagine how far someone would have to be pushed in order to survive and what you would have had to do, just to make it through the next day. By the time you get to the final page of the novel you gain a full understanding that things you witness are not always as they appear and that those who endured spending time in concentration camps are our true survivors and heroes! This is not for younger readers, due to the content of what the novel deals with in very realistic terms, about how one boy and his family had to survive in some of the worst circumstances. If this were a movie, I believe it would be rated R due to the subject matter much like Schindler's List. However with that being said, we can't hide that these things happened simply by refusing to read about them or hear about them and I believe this one deserves a 4.5 out of 5 stars. You can help but feel as though you, yourself, were locked behind the fences right alongside Jeremiah and that to me, is an earmark of an exceptional writer.
For more information about Thief of Glory, Sigmund Brouwer or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can also find Sigmund Brouwer on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest novels.
To read more reviews on Thief of Glory, please visit Christian Fiction Blog Alliance's book tour page.
Friday, September 5, 2014
"There is a tale that is told: A desert queen journeyed north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king and his One God. The story of a queen conquered by a king before she returned to her own land laden with gifts.
That is the tale you are mean to believe.
Which means most of it is a lie.
The truth is far more than even storytellers could conjure. The riches more priceless. The secrets more corrosive. The love and betrayal more passionate and devastating, both.
Love...The very word is a husk shriveled beneath the sun of the desert waste, its essence long lost to the sands. So will my tale be to those who traveled her barren routes, my footprints as though they never were."
(excerpt from Prologue).
When I read these opening sentences in the latest novel, The Legend of Sheba: Rise of A Queen, from best-selling author Tosca Lee, I felt that I was reading a modern day tale from the Arabian Nights. Her word choice is conveying the story of Queen Sheba who is rarely mentioned in the Bible but for her one visit to Israel to King Solomon. But such is all of the latest novels from Tosca Lee. The uncanny ability to weave a story out of thin air so compelling, you are instantly drawn into the pages, void of all breath until you can breathe once again when you finish the final page.
In this novel, she has so thoughtfully and diligently researched all aspects of the rare Queen of Sheba who was never married and thus ruled her kingdom without the aid of a King. Although she is only mentioned in the Bible, the Quran and the Kebra Nagast: The Glory of the Kings - the 700-plus-year-old origin of the story of the Solomonic Kings of Ethiopia. From a simple mention of this famed Queen, Tosca Lee has breathed life into the Queen that was but a mist in the life of the royal blood lines from the Middle East.
You get a sense of how difficult it would have been to be one of the only woman to rule a kingdom without a man by her side as King. The uncertainty of what would become of her, if there was no heir to her throne. During this time, kingdoms grew strong based on those alliances one would obtain through marriage, much like all of Solomon's conquests to advance the size of his growing kingdoms. In a time when romance was forbidden, the love that Tosca creates between Solomon and Sheba was one of unrequited love. You can see how both of them would be at odds to unite their respective kingdoms and dealing with all of Solomon's compromises in marrying so many wives despite his allegiance to his One True God. This is what makes this novel work.
It is almost as if you are reading a historical document of a rare romance between two royal kingdoms that would never come to pass almost like a version of Romeo and Juliet. I think once again you can help but wonder about the amount of time that went into the research behind writing this novel and I for one, love this beautiful story of power, worship and romance in a time long forgotten but still captured in fragments in time.
I received The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen by Tosca Lee 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 contained here are strictly my own unless otherwise notated. For those that love Ancient Egypt, Biblical History and a touch of romance, then you will definitely want to pick this one up! I love how Tosca captured the love and mystery surrounding what we know of Solomon, the romantic poet who would have seduced women through his words and songs, lavishing upon them untold delicacies and immeasurable wealth to have set foot in his palace. Well worth every word and once again, Tosca Lee has managed to score a true winner in a book lover's heart and thus 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
For more information about The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen, Tosca Lee or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can also find Tosca Lee on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on The Legend of Sheba: Rise of A Queen, please visit Howard Book's website.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
I love it when you find a great novel that is written from an English author, because there are terms that are used that are quite different from the same words we would use here in the US. I've been delighted to partake of Beth Moran's latest novel, Making Marion: Where's Robin Hood When You Need Him? While it does utilize the elements from the story of Robin Hood, it is simply a whole lot more. There is simply something tucked away beneath the covers of this novel for everyone.
While I would classify this one as a contemporary romance, it adds some comedy to keep things a bit lively. Our main character, Marion Miller is searching for more information about her father, who has recently passed away. But more than that, it's about discovering who Marion really is in the process since dealing with some horrible things as a child, the first of which is losing her father, which she adored. Her mother, unable to deal with such a heavy loss, places all the blame on a young Marion at the time, for disturbing her father, instead of letting him rest. Her words are so harsh to Marion, telling her that she literally talked her father to death, that Marion refuses to speak another word in fear of killing her mother as well. It makes the reader really think about the things we may say to our own children and family members while caught up in deep emotion, and how that may impact them for the rest of their lives.
Marion's mother abandons her in a sense spending her days, locked away in her room, leaving a young child to essentially raise herself. Something that Marion will have to work out by the conclusion of the novel. Meanwhile now that Marion is grown, she sets out to discover more about her father, since her mother refuses to speak with her. So she heads to the location of the annual Sherwood Festival, which takes place at the Peace and Pigs campsite. All Marion has to go off of is a picture of her father,dressed like Robin Hood and believes this is just the place to learn more about him. But like all family secrets, it will take a miracle to uncover the back story on her father. Along the way, she will be befriended by the owner of the Peaces and Pigs, Scarlett who immediately becomes a bit of a mentor and mother figure to Marion. She is one you truly LOVE by the end.
I received Making Marion by Beth Moran compliments of Kregel Publications and Lion Hudon Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions are strictly my own. This is a wonderful story of how something tragic like Marion's childhood is able to be restored by the love of others who simply let her mature under their watchful eyes and help her to heal all those scars from their past. It is a reminder as well that the things that have devastated us from the past, don't have to hold us back from the futures that lie in front of us and the harm that can come from the unwillingness to let go of the bitterness and anger taking root inside. I absolutely LOVED how it all turned out in the end, not all tied up with a pretty bow, but with some great reflection, a love for those mentors and angels who come along when we need them the most, and for restoration of our hearts. I easily give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
For more information about Making Marion, Beth Moran or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can find Beth Moran on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on Making Marion, please visit Kregel Publication's website.