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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Miracle on Snowbird Lake

This is not the book for everyone, especially those that have a hard time reading about child abductions. However in Miracle on Snowbird Lake by Stan Bednarz, the reader gets an inside look at what the family of the victim has to deal with in not knowing if their child is alive or dead, and those intense feelings of revenge that surface whenever a suspect is found.

Reverend Robert Davis is struggling with many different emotions since the disappearance of his eleven-year-old daughter Annie rode off on her bike one summer day and was never heard from again. Despite all the search efforts of the town and local authorities, no trace of Annie other than her abandoned bicycle were ever found. It has made the small town of Dutch Hollow especially diligent of watching over their own children more closely to ensure the same never happens to them.

For Robert and his wife, Mary they do what most surviving families do in cases like these, each chooses to deal with the tragedy in their own way. Mary dissolves into a state of deep depression while she blames Robert for Annie's disappearance. Robert tries to find solace in his job at the church, but even God appears silent on this issue and he contemplates suicide many times but never follows through. When an apparent psychic shows up with information about Annie, Robert isn't sure if this is simply another attempt for dealing with emotions from the past again or finding hope that Annie is still alive. In either case, he has to meet with Donna Brushton to find out if there is any hope at finding Annie alive after all this time.

I received Miracle on Snowbird Lake compliments of Bring It On Communications and Carmichael Publishing for my honest review. Dealing with crimes against innocent children makes any fiction or non fictional book hard to read, but within this one I found hope again. That despite whatever outcome, God can still bring about some good from whatever happens in time. This is the story of such a case. I would rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and have not received any monetary compensation for a favorable review.

For more information about Miracle on Snowbird Lake, Stan Bednarz or where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Love in the Balance

There is something to be said for romance back in the days of cowboys, western towns in the middle of nowhere and swooning women. Where reading about their lives gives you a breath of fresh air and you hear yourself sighing when their eyes meet from across the room and sparks fly whenever they are close to one another, even if they never touch.

Well have I got a great one to review and share with you. Love in the Balance by Regina Jennings takes us back to the town of Prairie Lea, Texas in 1879. We are introduced to the character of Molly Lovelace who has been raised by her family to marry into an appropriate well to do family that would benefit a women of her social graces and have a place in the community. Only that's not quite the way Molly feels. Sure she goes about doing all the right things and attends the right schools but only to make her parents happy and to ensure that their comments to her are few and far in between. Her father, Thomas Lovelace is the owner of the town's sawmill and he's hoping for Molly to marry into money that might benefit the business more than it will benefit Molly's heart.

No matter how much she tries to tell her parents she wants to marry for love and not money, they insist on setting her up with whatever prospects might bring about the results her father wants for his future and ultimately Molly's future as well. In fact, they can both be downright pushy.

But Molly's heart has belonged to Bailey Garner, who she has grown up with most of her life and hopes he can find a way to make a living so he'll finally propose. But Molly's parents don't think that Bailey is the right man for her. He can't hold down a job long enough to make a name for himself and his family doesn't come from money either. In fact even Bailey's parents look down upon Molly thinking she'll never be worthy enough to capture Bailey's heart. Molly insists on keeping up appearances, looking like the latest cover model from the catalogs she shops from and believes at some point Bailey might come to his senses and find a job that will earn enough money to keep her family happy.

Unfortunately that isn't the case as Bailey bounces from one job to the next in the neighboring town of Lockhart. He's worked as a blacksmith apprentice but can't handle working around the fumes, attempted to gain a job as the local courthouse as a baliff, but someone else beat him to it, and so the story goes. Bailey believes this is God's way of telling him that now is not the time to propose to Molly. However, Molly believes that if Bailey really loved her, he would get serious with a job, stick with it and ask her to marry him.

But things about to get interesting when a suave and good-looking man, Edward Pierrepont comes to town with all the right makings for a husband that may satisfy both her parents and perhaps her need to see the world. Oh how is a woman to choose?

You'll have to pick up a copy of Love in the Balance by Regina Jennings to find out. I received this novel compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House Publishers for my honest review and in no way did I receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review. I love romance because I think women have always wanted to be pursued and rescued by some handsome man and whisked away to a life of happily ever after. In this case, it's a version of a wonderful western struggle where poor Molly has a difficult dilemma to face. Who to marry? The man who makes her heart race whenever they look into one another's eyes or will it be the man who can literally solve all her problems with one proposal? I for one, was rooting for her to chose Edward Pierrepont from the first time we meet him. Did I make the right choice? Was it the same Molly picked as well? I mean, who wants to wait for a man to finally get his act together if he really loves her as much as he says he does. Why doesn't he make more of an effort? The answers lie within these wonderful pages. I enjoyed the whimsical adventure from the very first page and can't wait to see if Regina Jennings will add novels to this one. One can hope can't they? This is the second book in the Ladies of Caldwell County Series.  If you have read Sixty Acres and A Bride, the first book in this series, then Molly will be familiar to you.  I rate this one a hands down winner with 5 out of 5 stars!

For more information about Love in the Balance, Regina Jennings or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also follow Regina Jennings on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Love in the Balance on the Litfuse Publicity Book Tour, please click here.

Regina Jennings is celebrating the release of Love in the Balance with a Kindle Fire Giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat Party on 4/4!


One "lovely" winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire 

  • A copy of Regina's Sixty Acres and a Bride and Love in the Balance

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Love in the Balance" Author Chat Party on April 4th. Connect with Regina, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be many fun giveaways -- gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of Love in the Balance and join Regina on the evening of April 4th 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 4th!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Scorned Justice

What is it like to want revenge so much you go too far? What does it do to you? To the people around you? God wants us to forgive someone who has hurt us or done something wrong to us. Revenge comes out of the ability not to forgive a person for a wrong done. That is the premise behind the latest novel, Scorned Justice by Margaret Daley, the third book in her Men of the Texas Rangers Series.

When District Court Judge Rebecca Morgan receives a floral delivery, she isn't prepared for what she receives, a dozen long-stem roses - all dead. This is the first of many messages she gets pertaining to her recent case before her dealing with the murder of a business man by a high-level member of the Russian mob. The first trial had been declared a mistrial when it was revealed their was jury tampering. She's not about to let this tactic change her opinion about overseeing the case.

However when her brother Thomas is attacked, she wonders if this is about her recent appointment on the case or simply an accident on the ranch. Since her brother has lapsed into a coma due to his injuries, Texas Ranger, Brody Calhoun has taken on the assignment of protecting her and investigating the case for possible answers. The one problem he has with Rebecca is that he still carries feeling for her from childhood that left him with a broken heart when she married someone else. However now that Rebecca is recently widowed, she isn't exactly sure she wants to risk her heart to another cop. She finds it hard not to fall for Brody especially when he is assigned as her personal bodyguard until the trial is over.

However when Rebecca takes over running the ranch til her brother recovers, she is about to wonder just how far the Russian mob will go to make sure that this case doesn't go to trial. First cattle are stolen off the property, then she and her nieces are almost run down in town and then a fire that threatens to burn down the family home and ranch lands. Is this simply a series of accidents, or is something else going on that no one had considered. All Rebecca knows for sure is she can't let a guilty man go free while she can do something about it, even if it means putting her entire family at risk.

I received Scorned Justice by Margaret Daley compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Abingdon Press for my honest review. I have not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review. I did LOVE this one!!! It was so good from the very first page, that I took my time reading this one. Margaret did an exceptional job blending just the right amount of romantic tension between Rebecca and Brody with the adrenaline infused suspense. More than half way through the book, I still couldn't quite figure out what was going on, and wondered just what was waiting for either of them around the next corner. You can understand the unwillingness to get involved with Brody after losing her husband, Garrett in the line of duty. This is the third book in the Men of the Texas Rangers series, and so far it's my favorite. I love the idea of using revenge to motivate a character to stop at nothing until he has accomplished his purpose, which makes for an exceptional villain. In my opinion I would rate this one a perfect 5 out of 5 Texas Stars!!! Now I am in limbo land waiting for the next book, Severed Trust coming this fall. If you're a fan of romance and suspense, you'll want to pick this one up today.

For more information about Scorned Justice, Margaret Daley or where to pick up a copy of this book, Scorned Justice, please click on the links below:

You can also follow Margaret Daley on Facebook so you don't miss out on any of her amazing books.

For more reviews from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Book Tour for Scorned Justice, click here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Romancing Melody - A Crossing Journey

Melody Podell is about to undergo the biggest test of her faith. Delivering her son, Cole at 35 weeks left him with under developed lungs and had to spend extra time in the hospital until he could breathe on his own. Now that Melody has moved in to the Army Housing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina to be close to her husband David who has left for a four month deployment. Her family lives in California and she feels odd making friends with the other Army wives. She feels she can only call them if there is something major going on in her life and needs help.

When she picks Cole up from daycare, now four months old, she notices that he seems to be catching a slight cold. Since this is her first child, she feels foolish about calling a doctor and doesn't want to be one of those mothers that call their doctor for every little thing. When she runs into Sara, a NICU nurse that helped her with Cole before at church, she feels more comfortable asking Sara's opinion of Cole's cold. She assures Melody that since her well baby check up a few days ago was fine and the doctor didn't seem concerned, as long as he doesn't run a fever or loss his appetite, she should watch him for a couple of days. Babies who are teething can share the same symptoms. Feeling assured, Melody monitors him for a couple of days but Cole doesn't want to eat, seems unusually cranky and is running a mild fever.

When she feels she warrants a doctor visit, she is told that all appears normal except for an ear infection but  the doctor's office will take a sample of his fluids from his nose and call her in a couple of days with the results just to be on the safe side. They prescribe antibiotics for Cole and Melody feels more relieved. It's not until the doctor's office calls her back within 24 hours and asks if Melody can get Cole to the Emergency Room as soon as possible, that her entire world will change and the friends she left behind in Crossing, Oregon will soon show her exactly what God can do. Now if only she can get a hold of David in time!

In the novel, Romancing Melody by Carrie Daws, Melody is about to find out just how much a person can take before they will give up their faith in God and what it will take to bring it back. This is a wonderful novel that is packed with a lot in only 150 pages. This is the third book in A Crossing Journey series. Even though it is part of a series, you can still read this one as a stand alone but will want to go back and read about the friends in Crossing, Oregon in the other novels. I received Romancing Melody by Carrie Daws compliments of Emeraldhouse Media and Ambassador International Publishers for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. This novel deals with a sensitive subject of loss in a powerful way and shows how God can romance you back to Him in profound ways. I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars.

For more information on Romancing Melody, Carrie Daws or where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also follow Carrie Daws on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Threads of Hope

Who hasn't felt the sting of being passed up for a promotion by someone who has worked for the company less than you have? But what's even worse is having the man you were dating dump you and go out with the person who just got "your" promotion as well!

Meet Nina O'Malley, journalist for Trends magazine who has once again had to paste on the gracious smile of sincerity when dealing with Janie Bettencourt, who just score the Senior Editor position and is now moving from Houston to New York for the job. The job that should have been hers. Her boss, reminded her that she needed to get out of her comfort zone more and network. To add some passion and style to her writing despite the fact all she got handed were smaller stories from her editor.

It seems like Nina just needs to realize that she is the only one holding her back and begin to take the initiative to change the things in her life that she wishes were different. Right now the only thing that waits for her at home is her dog, Manny and her roommate Aretha. Even her only friend in the office Daisy Jeffers seems to be making a move out of the office. Nina finds a note from her to Janie asking her if there are any positions available in New York. Seems like the only people that aren't leaving Nina are the ones that have no other place to go.

In the novel, Threads of Hope by Christa Allan, from the Quilts of Love series, takes the reader in the life of Nina O'Malley that has a permanent seat in the "pity party for one." Unless she can break out of her rut, she will stay in the same job, doing the same thing while everyone else around her moves on and moves ahead. Even her love life is suffering, so what's a woman to do? That is just the premise behind this latest novel. It seems that even growing up, Nina was only part of the popular girls click because she was able to help them with their homework. When she refused to do the work for them, she soon found out who her real friends were after all. Nina's about to find out that she needs to be more upfront with what she wants and follow it up with action.

I received Threads of Hope by Christa Allan compliments of Abingdon Press Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable one. I could see so much of myself in Nina's character and even found our childhood situations very much alike. It often takes a good hard knock in your life to make you take the initiative and break out of your situation. The fact that Nina settles for so many things makes you look at her life and see the easy way out. She settles instead of simply trying harder and even standing up for herself because she fears what others may say. She avoids confrontation at all costs and looks for excuses to get out of things that may have a risk involved such as dinner with her family every Sunday. She wishes deep down inside to say the things she wants but instead just offers the customary, "I'll be there." This is an interesting look at how Nina breaks out and what is the catalyst for her doing so. I can't spoil it for you, but if you can relate to this situation you'll definitely want to pick this one up. I rate it a 4 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Threads of Hope, Christa Allan or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also follow Christa Allan on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

For more reviews on Threads of Hope from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Book Tour, click here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Seers

Debut Novel Reveals a Whole New World of Good & Evil

Welcome to a new world where science and spirituality are not separate, but rather opposite ends of a spectrum. Creator M.D. Kackowski attempts to shed light on the unseen laws of the universe for the betterment of society, by launching a fantastical, page-turning thriller.

The Seers illustrates a world where good battles evil for the world’s soul. The fate of humanity rests in the hands of the seers, a handful of humans with therare ability to see the unseen and who call into action their angels to do battle with demons. It is a fast-paced story that blends two classic genres:  part apocalypse and part detective story. The book climaxes with a surprising and shocking chain of events that readers are bound to applaud.

Readers are provided with a multi-medium experience that leaves them with an exciting and captive narrative that continues on with an interactive digital component. It introduces and submerges the user (reader) into a whole new world, providing a boundless fictional platform that is ripe for full exploration. With QR codes, illustrations and video links sprinkled throughout the book, the reader truly gets to engage and interact with the creative content.

The Seers is the culmination of more than a decade of writing, researching, and experimenting,” says Kackowski. “My book explores a whole new dimension that unifies the physical and spiritual worlds while a war is waged that could alter the destiny of not only humankind but the universe.”

His debut novel explores a number of interesting themes, including:
  • Are there unseen worlds, where activities in such worlds can influence or impact our world?
  • Is the war of good vs. evil or angel vs. demon is being waged now?
  • What does one do – and what should one do – with a powerful ability?
  • What do you do once confronted with your past and discover who you really are?
It also raises many questions, including:
  • Are there really such things as diseased souls, and if so, how does one heal his or her soul?
  • Is there really a set of cosmic laws that can be harnessed to serve one’s desires?
  • How do you know what is real, what is a dream, what is a memory – or a vision from another dimension?
  • What would you do if the devil tempted you with unimaginable powers, longevity, and riches?
  • Are biblical references to demons and angels true?
  • Can you have faith during a time of darkness, anger and frustration?
  • What would you do if you are pulled into different worlds without warning or full knowledge?
Woven into the story are bits of philosophical commentary on how humans lead their lives and the emotions and activities that deeply challenge our ability to live a long, healthy, and happy life. The book also shares insights on the soul’s detractors – jealousy, greed, anger, hatred, arrogance, sloth, gluttony, impatience, narcissism, fear, lust, and indifference.

My Review: 

The Seers by M.D. Kaczkowski is a remarkable book unlike any other I have had the opportunity to read in my 4 years of reviewing books and I can definitely see this is where future books may be headed. This takes the story of spiritual warfare and solving the crime of who is killing homeless people in New York to an incredible climax. The QR codes appear at the end of almost every single chapter. At the beginning it was a bit frustrating to understand what they were intended to be used for and kind of took me away from the story. However, looking back, I found it provided visual references for readers who may not understand what references were being made in the chapter such as a video of what life was like for a child growing up in New York in the 1950's where the story begins.

It revolves around a detective John Scarcepho who growing up was able to see into the spiritual world and often awoke to seeing a large spiritual being in his room. Being too young to understand what he was dealing with, his father thought he would beat it out of him while his mother, cared for him and kept reading to him from the Bible. At one point when Johnny is 13, he fears that the beatings will continue until he informs his spiritual being to leave him alone and never come back.

Now as a he has gotten older he can't seem to understand what the significance is to waking up each morning at 4:10 AM and why there are so many murders of homeless men happening in New York. Each of the victims is left with their eyes removed and a page from Revelations 20 stuffed in the victims mouth. It's when the mayor insists that John take the lead in the latest victim, Father Mahoney, that John will be reminded that what he saw as a child will be necessary to save the world. He learns that he is a Seer, a person who has the ability to "see" into the spiritual world and has been assigned a guardian angel since he was born. If John dies than the future of the world will be turned completely upside down and the final chapter of the Bible may in fact not come true at all.

This is a compelling novel and one I completely enjoyed. The music links, video references, and handbook definitions made me feel a part of the story and I believe that is the writers purpose in including them as part of the book. It really made this feel like part book and part movie by the time I was finished and I hope that he will write more in this series and style of book.

I received The Seers by M.D. Kaczkowski compliments of Media Connect for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. I honestly LOVED this interactive novel and couldn't wait to pass this one along to a friend who I knew would love this virtual novel experience in spiritual warfare and really makes you consider the questions above in regards to the spirit world. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and hope this is the first of many novels to come that introduce science with technology to take book reading to a completely whole new experience for the reader.

For more information about The Seers, M.D. Kaczkowski, or where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can follow M.D. Kaczkowski on Facebook to stay up to date with The Seers and his latest novels.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Survivor

Is it her next best seller....or her last words?

Sometimes for a writer, the most difficult task if often coming up with the idea for your next book. Kariss Walker now has to chose which one of her true life tales she will breath life into. When she receives an email from Dr. Amy Garrett who wishes to bring her own tale to light, Kariss is more than intrigued. When she agrees to meet with Amy, she finds that Amy was brutally attacked as a child and the criminal was never caught. She wants Kariss to use her story in her next book in the hopes it may help other women see themselves through the eyes of her fictional character. She doesn't want her name mentioned in the book for obvious reasons and doesn't want any monetary compensation for her efforts either. Kariss believes that there may be more behind her story that just what she is willing to tell. Unfortunately she can't use her reliable source in the Houston police department Tigo Harris, due to a split in their relationship. Now all she can do it hope that she will find the true to the story without putting her own life in danger.

Special Agent Tigo Harris is trying hard to stay focused on his work, but he can't seem to keep Kariss off of his mind. He pours himself further into his work trying to solve a car bombing that has taken the life of the wife and daughter of Jonathan Yeat, a man with a ministry that puts ex-cons to work. As of lately he has had to lay off many of those employees and a few have made personal threats. Tigo believes this is an open and shut case with the killer simply being a distraught employee whose taking it out on a wealthy man and his family. But is this case really as simple as it seems or is there a connection with the latest book Kariss is working on?

In the latest suspense novel, The Survivor by DiAnn Mills, once again the opportunity to work together in unexpected ways to help solve a cold case brings Kariss and Tigo together. While each of them are dealing with their own issues even though they try to keep their relationship in the past, those old feelings are resurfacing once again. Kariss is trying to keep her faith strong in light of wishing things were different between her and Tigo. They both use their work to keep their minds focused some place else, but ultimately it will take act of God to bring them back together.

I received The Survivor by DiAnn Mills compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Zondervan Publishing for my honest review. This is the second book in the Crime Scene Houston Series, the first being the Chase which I had previously reviewed. While the characters remained the same, I felt it lacked the chemistry and spark that the first novel had. Each chapter toggles back and forth between the two until they finally merge later in the book. I am sure that after watching the Hunger Games this year, I am not the only reader to confuse the names of Kariss with Katniss either. The suspense is engaging and for those of you that love solving crimes, this will be one you will enjoy. You can read this as a stand alone as DiAnn gives the reader a bit of inside information in this one to help you understand the motivation of the main characters. There is also a discussion guide included at the end that is wonderful for book clubs. I would rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars.

For more information about The Survivor, DiAnn Mills, or where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also follow DiAnn Mills on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest books.

To read more reviews on The Survivor from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance tour, please click here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Room of Marvels

Once in a while you find a really great novel to read. One that changes your perspective on how you view this life, but the way we walk through it. Then there is the aspect of just what happens when we die. Do we see our loved ones again? How can we possibly grasp the wonders of what awaits us in heaven one day? How do we cope with the grief and loss of a loved one while we have to walk the rest of the journey through this life without them?

I think James Bryan Smith did an exceptional job at not only explaining the concepts of what Heaven may in fact look like, but more important explaining why despite all our faithful acts of kindness here on Earth and our prayers, that sometimes God takes people from us anyway. Doesn't seem like a caring God after all does it?

In the novel, Room of Marvels, Tim Hudson, a well known author of Christian Living books,  is a man who is struggling to find purpose in life and a reason to keep his faith in God after the multiple losses of first his only daughter, his best friend and then his mother. These all happened over the course of a couple years and even though Tim still has his wife and son, he struggles with coping with these losses. Despite all the good things he believes he has done, he still wonders how God can take people like his daughter when she had only yet to begin her life. How some days it's a miracle just for him to take a breath. How will he ever be able to move forward in his grief and retain what little faith in God remains.

Tim checks in to St. Stephans Episcopal Monastery for five days in attempt to find some answers to deal with his loss. When he meets with his assigned spiritual director, Brother Taylor during his stay he finds the questions he asks him about his purpose for coming to the monastery a bit challenging. He wants to know what is going on with Tim's relationship with God, and it brings to the surface the anger Tim is feeling about God taking away his loved ones before their time. Tim tells Brother Taylor that despite the fact he writes books telling people how good God, how they should turn their lives over to God, how merciful, just and fair God is, he doesn't believe it anymore.

The advice that Brother Taylor shares with Tim probes deep into the places of his heart and cause him to rethink his losses. He advises him to search his heart and spend some time in silence and wait for God to share some insights into his question of faith. When Tim heads back to his room and before he falls asleep, he asks God to speak to Him, to send him an angel, and then as he sleeps he dreams of being transported to a place on a train. Tim's dream takes him to Heaven where he sees what impact his life has had on the people he interacted with during the time he has been on Earth. He gets an opportunity to renew his faith by learning things from his childhood and even seeing how his life impacted people he had never met. The most impactful lesson I took away from Tim's encounter was dealing with our loss of those we love.

As Tim is talking with Jack and is struggling with the deaths of his loved one and his anger at God, and Jack tells him, "the pain you are feeling is the pain of loss. Your heart is crying out to have them back. This may sound harsh, but think about this Tim, because it is part of our healing. What sort of friend or father or child would you be if you thought so much about your affliction and so much less about their happiness? When we cry, 'Come back,' it is all for our own sake. We never stop to consider whether their return, if it were possible, would be good for them. We want them back in order to restore our happiness. But in truth, we could not wish for anything worse for them. Having once gone through death, to come back and then, at some later date, have their dying to do all over again."

Tim realized that a large part of his grief was really selfish. He wanted them to come back, to walk through the door and resume their lives, to let him have just one more day with them. He realized that his desire was for his own happiness and not theirs.

I received this book through my own purchase because I love books like The Five People You Meet in Heaven or Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. This is the perfect book for someone who has recently experienced a loss and is struggling with their grief and in moving forward in dealing with life without them. I found even though I have experienced a loss, it wasn't like the loss of someone I was close to. This book for me, gave me a different perspective on the impacts we make in the lives of people by the smallest thing we do. It teaches us that we can't earn our way into God's grace and mercy by the things we do or struggle to live a perfect life. This is truly a life changing book for those times in your life when you question if there is something more to the life you're living. It's inspirational, its a healing balm to a grieving and hurting heart and one I can see talking about and rereading many times as I need a solid pick me up in my own walk of faith. I would rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and would high recommend that EVERYONE read this one! It really will change your life!!

For more information about Room of Marvels, James Bryan Smith, and where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the link below:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Eyes Wide Open

First of all, if you're a Ted Dekker fan, you definitely want to pick this one up. If you've never heard of Ted Dekker, think of Stephen King and you get the picture. In this unique series Ted Dekker launched the first part of this four part book to those who had electronic readers for Free until the rest in the series launched. Now priced for a very limited time for $5.99 for all four, you won't lose out wait for the next part of the book to be released. That's when I jumped on board. I've been a fan of Ted Dekker's for quite some time and just reading the premise of the book was enough to make me want to pick this one up. See for yourself.

"Who am I? 

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen and I’m about to die.

I’m buried in a coffin under tons of concrete. No one knows where I am. My heart sounds like a monster with clobber feet, running straight toward me. I’m lying on my back, soaked with sweat from the hair on my head to the soles of my feet. My hands and feet won’t stop shaking.

Some will say that I m not really here. Some will say I’m delusional. Some will say that I don t even exist. But who are they? I’m the one buried in a grave. \

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen. I’m about to die.

So who are you? " (Excerpt from back cover).

When Christy Snow loses her silver locket in a storage shed behind St. Matthews Hospital, she discovers by accident a trap door in the floor that drops her into a concrete room with apparently no way out. When she located a shelf used for the transportation of alcohol during the prohibition era, she wedges herself inside to try the wood panel at the end. All she manages to do, it lock herself inside a coffin size area. Unable to call for help since her cell phone is dead, she panics and forces the wood panel to come lose.

She realizes she has probably found her way into the hospital basement and hopes she can find her way out. What she discovers is that she is now in the mental hospital wing and no matter how hard she tries to convince the doctors there she isn't a patient, with no identification on her, they believe she is suffering from a delusion and she isn't who she is claiming to be. Her only hope is the message she left for her friend Austin before her phone died. But when Austin shows up, he too is unable to convince the hospital staff he came for Christy and now they have both wound up lost beneath the hospital. Unfortunately when patient head counts come up two short, Austin and Christy soon begin to wonder if they aren't really crazy after all.

I won't spoil the remainder of the book, but trust me, you'll question what is the truth and what is merely an illusion in this latest book by Ted Dekker. Each book is divided into the mini books, Identity, Mirrors, Unseen and Seer, that you can purchase one at a time, but trust me, pick up the whole thing so you don't lose momentum in the storyline. True to Dekker's writing style, you will wind up in a different place then where you were headed and soon begin to feel as if you are part of the story itself. Great storyline but the ending for me, fell short from what I was anticipating. It's like it reached it's climax and then all the air was let out of the balloon, This does introduce the reader into a new series from Ted Dekker called the Outlaw Chronicles, with the first  book Water Walker coming out soon. I would rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and would have rated it a 5 out of 5 but like I stated earlier the ending just fell flat for me. However the message behind the story is reason enough to pick this one up. For those of you with questions about your own self esteem, this is a must read novel for you! You might want to pick up Showdown before reading this one to see the connection at the end.

For more information about Eyes Wide Open, Ted Dekker or where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

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

Friday, March 22, 2013

Swept Away

Lucas Stone had spent several years fighting in the War Between the States and living off the land afterwards. He was boiling with anger as he made his way home to avenge his father's death. Those things combined to make him a careful, knowing man. A dangerous man. And now a man wanted in connection with stagecoach robbery and a man being murdered. Funny how things like that just seemed to happen to him when he had least expected it. Now all he had to do was convince the local deputy that he was innocent despite what he might find in his saddlebags. Come to think about it, they did look different but now was not the time to attempt to convince the deputy of that fact. He had to stall for time to figure out who'd tried to frame him and only one name came to mind. The same man who was responsible for the murder of his father, Flint Greer.

Greer was the only one who knew he was coming back home. He had just sent Greer a legal document accompanied by a letter telling Greer to get off Stone land. Greer didn't want Luke to make it home. He knew a set up when he saw one. Which meant there was little or no chance he could talk his way of this one. Now if he could only figure out a way not to hurt a lawman - at least not too bad. That's how all the trouble began on what was supposed to be a simple trip home to reclaim what was his and to find justice for the man who killed his father. Luke wondered how much Greer had paid to kill Pa. Top dollar most likely, because the job had been done right.

Pa dead.

His S Bar S Ranch stolen.

Luke was headed home to set things right.

Ruthy MacNeil was looking for a way out. Any sign from God that showed her a different path than the one she saw herself on now. "Shut up and do as you're told." That seemed to be the theme that the Reinhardt family attempted to instill in her. That was the way of things in this family she'd been dragged into. Ma resting her aching back. Pa yelled and doled out punishment. Her dear brother, Virgil, leered. Ruthy worked. They'd be married when they reached California - Pa and Ma declared it so. Virgil was willing. How Ruthy felt about it had never come up. This would be her life forever if she married into this family. She'd been looking for a chance to runaway and beg for protection and hadn't found one. And she feared greatly what tactics Pa, Ma, and Virgil might use to force her to say, "I do." The only way to stop the marriage was to be gone from the family and never be found.

God was about to provide such an opportunity when the wagon train she was part of attempted to cross a ford during a thunderstorm. Despite Ruthy's protests that even though it wasn't raining here, it might be further up river and cause a flash flood to occur. Yet her standard reply came from her Pa, "Shut up and do as you're told". Halfway across the river was when trouble occurred and suddenly the wagon Ruthy was driving began to float downstream as a rush of water was headed their way. Soon the entire wagon train was in danger and the last thing Ruthy remembered as she hit the granite bank and the floodwaters pulled her down was darkness.

Swept Away by Mary Connealy introduces the reader to the first book in an exciting new series, Trouble in Texas just as things are about to get interesting for our main characters Lucas Stone and Ruthy MacNeil. Seems as if life has handed them both a challenging situation with a unique twist on how to get out of it as well. Will life get interesting for both of them when they intersect? You'll have to find out by picking up this one that is guaranteed to get your heart racing in many different ways. It is bound to be an unforgettable book geared to keep the reader guessing and literally on the edge of their seat. There is even a sneak peek into Fired Up, the second book in the Trouble in Texas series to wet your appetite for more western romance and adventure.

I received Swept Away by Mary Connealy compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. Having read The Kincaid Bride series, I was already a solid fan of Mary Connealy's work and knew I would be interested in more. She creates such unforgettable and real characters you have a difficult time believing they are not real. The premise behind this unique story creates a strong and determined female character you can truly come to appreciate and admire. There still remains a sense of femininity and softness to her but she can definitely hold her own. One of the most amazing facets I love when reading a western romance. I don't like the stereo typical women in distress that has to have a man rescue her. Mary does an exceptional job at pulling out all the stops and giving you something real in this one. I rate this a 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for the next book in this exciting and unforgettable series.

For more information about Swept Away, Mary Connealy or where to pick up a copy of this book 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 Swept Away from the Litfuse Book Tour, please click here. 

Mary Connealy is celebrating the release of Swept Away by giving away a $250 "Swept Away" Vacation Package and hosting a Facebook Author Chat Party! 


One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A $250 Visa Cash Card (Get away for the weekend or use it to buy an eReader for a relaxing ‘Staycation’!)
  • A copy of Swept Away (For you AND a friend!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 27th. Winner will be announced at the "Swept Away" Author Chat Party on March 28th. Connect with Mary, get a sneak peek of the next book in the series, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be many fun giveaways -- gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of Swept Away and join Mary on the evening of the March 28th 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 28th!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Journey's Embrace - Review and Giveaway

Sage Michaelson has more problems than he knows what to do with. First of all, he's attempting to recover from having his spleen removed, and then there is the promise he made to his best friend Steve at his wedding, to watch over his sister, Delaney. As a Deputy U.S. Marshall, its Sage's job to notice the details about people and while he attempts to concentrate on that aspect of his job, his heart has its own priorities. He's trying to keep his feelings in check for Delaney.

Growing up with her in the orphanage has made her feel more like family than anything else, but these strong feelings he has for her now go much deeper than just a family bond. Even though he has grown up thinking of Delaney as a sister, now that the years apart have matured them both on completely different levels. However no matter how hard he tries to keep his feelings separated, he finds himself falling for her. Yet, how can he protect her if he can't protect his heart?

When he discovers that someone is out to harm Delaney, first breaking into her home and threatening her, almost kidnapping her at knife point at her brother's wedding, the threats on her life keep escalating. Now if he can only heal from his own physical injuries long enough to protect her and find the person(s) responsible there may be hope yet for them.

Delaney Hunt has had a childhood crush on Sage forever and now that he is back in Journey, restoring his parents home and possibly considering a permanent move here, Delaney wonders how she can keep her feelings in check. She feels that once he fulfills her brothers request to protect her, that Sage will move away again. She can't possibly let him know how she really feels and then wind up like her mother. She has made a vow to God that she will keep herself pure until the day she marries her husband. One that she is finding harder to keep with Sage being with her all the time. Does God have plans for them other than the ones she has been dreaming of?

In the latest novel, Journey's Embrace by Dora Hiers, we are immediately drawn into both a romance novel as well as a suspense story. Sage and Delaney have grown up together and feel more like family than anything else. But time has a way of changing people and for Sage and Delaney, they are no different. With enough time between them, they have both matured and now see one another through different eyes. Sage is still dealing with his past being the only survivor when his family was tragically killed in a car accident. Delaney has her own past to deal with. She is doing everything possible to not wind up like her mother who put drugs as her first priority and being a single mother. Not being able to deal with raising a child on her own, she gave her up for adoption and its where she first met Sage. Can they both work through their difficult pasts to find a real future together?

I received Journey's Embrace by Dora Hiers compliments of the author for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. I loved this story. I think it's one we can all relate to on some level. We all have things in our past we are not proud of and it's only through the grace of God that we can move forward into a new future, leaving those mistakes behind us. This is the third book in her Marshall's series with the first being Journey's End and then Journey's Edge. Even though this is part of a series, like me, you can read this one as a stand alone and still appreciate the story. Yet once you've read this one, you'll want to go back and capture the romance that began in Journey one step at a time! I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and it really appealed to the romance/suspense lover in me!

For more information about Journey's Embrace, Dora Hiers or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can follow Dora Hiers on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

Thanks to Dora's generosity, she is willing to offer a giveaway copy of Journey's Embrace to one lucky follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. Here are your guidelines:

1. Be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. 
2. Become a follower of Dora Hiers on Facebook, by clicking here. 
3. Leave a comment below telling me why you'd love to win a copy of her latest novel, Journey's Embrace along with your email address. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols. Remember to state whether you'd prefer a print copy or a PDF copy for your eReader if you're the lucky winner.
4. Be a resident of the US or have a US shipping address. Please No P.O. Boxes.

The winner will be notified by email when the giveaway ends on March 31st.
  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: White Rose Publishing (March 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611162106
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611162103
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

American Bible Challenge is Back for Season 2!!!

The American Bible Challenge Promo from propeller on GodTube.

That's right the game show of Biblical proportions is back and it's even better than ever!!

Starting Tuesday, March 21 on the Game Show Network or GSN, The American Bible Challenge is back once again with host Jeff Foxworthy at 9PM ET/PT. This time there have been some interesting new changes to make this show even more fun and exciting to watch. Even if you don't have access to cable, you can always find the shows episodes on the GSN page with the link provided below so you won't miss out on any of the fun.

Each week three teams battle their way through a series of questions, challenges and now tasks to win money for their charity. The categories are fun and challenging to attempt to compete with your favorite team. My family watches it faithfully and we have set it up to record, so we can pause the show to provide enough time to answer the questions. In the final round where teams are given a set amount of time to "study" the Bible for the final round, it also provides us the time to do the same.

We've actually become more knowledgeable in our own personal study of the Bible through watching this program. My youngest daughter and I challenge each other quite a bit and with this season incorporating some interesting task challenges it will take our family Bible study to a whole new level.

There is even an app you can download for your wireless device or tablet to allow you to continue your Bible Challenge no matter where you are. It definitely keeps things interesting and engaging on a whole new level. There is even Bible Study links, hosted by Max Lucado, you can take advantage of to help you in your walk through the Bible. This is definitely an added benefit to being a part of making learning fun.

But don't just take my word for it, explore the website on your own. You can even catch last seasons episodes if this is your first time joining in. It truly is geared to make you laugh, cry and become stronger in your faith and knowledge of the Bible. The charities each of the teams plays for is focused on briefly to give you an inside look at what has motivated them to work to win money for their charity. Last year there were food programs to help those in need, a family that was working to donate money for more research into their son's death, programs to help out the needy kids in the neighborhoods and more.

If your a Facebook fan, you can even join their Facebook page and join in on some of the free giveaways that they host from time to time. And if you love giveaways, make sure you join my blog, Reviews From The Heart. We're going to be giving away and incredible surprise next month and I wouldn't want you to miss out.

So don't forget, set your DVR's to Tuesday, March 21st at 9PM ET/PT for The American Bible Challenge and don't forget your Bibles!!!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wings of Glass

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. ~ Richard Bach

"He always said if I left he would kill me, but there are far worse fates than death. Guess I hadn't known that until I met and married Trent Taylor. I didn't mind the cuts and bruises half as much as the insults and accusations. Whoever said, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" has never been on the other end of a tongue that really knows how to cut.

I hope you never know that kind of pain, Son. More than that, I hope you never cause it. How could you? You have such a soft heart. My sweet Emmanuel.

Surely by now I've told you your name means "God with us." Because he was, Manny. He is. Even if you haven't realized it yet, you're lucky to have such a wonderful name. I used to hate mine - Penny - because that's exactly how much I felt I was worth for most of my life. But God used you to change all that.

It's important to tell you before I begin this story that it's not my intention to make you hate your father. He's a man - fallen, like the rest of us. But I know you'll ask about him, and I decided when you were old enough, I would share with you all I know. That day hasn't come yet - you're just beginning to talk! - but I best write it down while it's fresh in my mind. Although some of it, I know, will fade.

Reading this won't be easy, and please don't feel you have to if it's too much. I'm not one to believe all truths need to be spoken, but just in case you want to know, need to know, I'd rather you hear it from me as a whole story than get bits and pieces of the puzzle from others and not be able to make them fit together quite right.

Besides, your grandmother told me long ago the best way not to repeat history is to know it. I think that's probably right. " (Prologue).

This is the story told from the eyes of one who lived what most of fear. Penny Carson was abused by a man, she had once loved and who believed that control was a necessary part of his life, Trent Taylor. It is told as if you are reading it as a journal of sorts written for her son Emmanuel when he was old enough to understand.  It is a difficult one to read, but also once that compels you forward in her story to know why some one would stay in a relationship that has no real ending to it. The 'whys' we often ask when confronted with a situation of domestic abuse often seems to be an easy answer to most of us. Just leave, right? Only for those who have been at the beginning, at some point their views on their situation shift and at times they feel justified by the abuse. It's sad when the only hope Penny can manage to find is when she learns her husband has had an accident. She was hoping he might die, but instead her only thoughts were, " Great. Now he's going to be even meaner."

But this is a story of hope found in the midst of darkness. It comes in the form of two ministering angels,Calle Mae Johnson and later Fatimah Wek although like most victims of abuse, it takes Penny awhile to gain enough courage and confidence to confide in them, although she never lets on that Trent is hitting her. She continues to come up with excuse after excuse to cover for his behavior but at some point Calle and Fatimah share their own secrets with Penny. Even then, it's still too hard for her to admit the truth. But will she take a risk if it means placing her own baby in danger?

I received Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Allliance and Tyndale Houe Publishers for my honest review and received no compensation to provide a favorable review. The opinions expressed are solely my own. This is a difficult novel for some, but also one I believe we all need to read, if more than to know a little bit about what goes on in the world even if we would love to pretend it doesn't. For the victims of domestic abuse, it provides a voice and offers hope to those that might see things different by reading this novel. It takes courage to share what Penny has to endure from the beginning and you see the early signs that should have been red flags for her. How she innocently passed them off as simply jealously or a sense of belonging to Trent. The journey is filled with tears, understanding, and hope and one I am personally glad I got the opportunity to take through Gina's words. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Wings of Glass, Gina Holmes and where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also follow Gina Holmes on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Book Tour, please click here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Heart in Hand

I love a great series of books whose characters are so well written, you'd swear they were real. Such is the case in Barbara Cameron's series Stitches in Time, in which I finished the third book, Heart in Hand. Stitches in Time is a shop owned by a wonderful family of women in Paradise, Pennsylvania. It is run by Leah, the grandmother and cousins, Naomi, Anna and Mary Katherine, each of them with a unique special skill like quilting, weaving or knitting. In the previous books in the series, we have gotten an in depth look at the lives of Naomi and Mary Katherine who have found their perfect husbands and now await their marriages. Yet Anna, the first to get married is also the first to experience true loss. Her husband Samuel died shortly after they got married when Leukemia claimed his life. Now living in the home they dreamed would one day be filled with children and love, Anna finds loneliness and thinks she will never find love again. Not after Samuel who she knew growing up and going to school with.

When she finds herself face to face however with Gideon Beiler and his daughter Sarah Rose who have come to the shop to help teach Sarah Rose some "women skills" since his wife, Mary also has died. Gideon is afraid that she will become more like a tom-boy unless she learns to quilt or knit. When Anna recommends learning to knit, she encourages Gideon to learn as well to help Sarah Rose when they are at home. She soon finds that the loneliness that her and Gideon share is something only two who have experienced loss can understand and it's the very thing that soon draws them together. When Sarah Rose starts having problems with school and struggling in her own grief in losing her mother, Anna becomes a friend to her to help her through the grieving process. She soon finds herself falling in love with Sarah Rose first and it's not long before she begins to fight her feelings about Gideon. She feels she is betraying her trust to love Samuel and struggles with wondering if God wishes her to fall in love again.Is it possible all this time, God has had someone in mind to help her move forward and put the past of loneliness and sorrow behind her?

I received Heart in Hand by Barbara Cameron compliments of Pump Up Your Book Tours and Abingdon Press for my honest review and really love how this book brings to a close all the relationships between these wonderful characters we've come to love. I can relate to Anna's own struggle in believing that the love she shared between her and Samuel can never be found again. It can't and as soon as she realizes that and accept Gideon as his own instead of trying to compare him with Samuel, she can soon come to grips with the feelings she has for him. Their's isn't going to be like those early years of romance, but now one of more maturity since life has already dealt them with a lot to handle. Even though this is part of a series, you can read this as a stand alone. Barbara does such a wonderful job in each of her books that you can immediately jump in and gain an understanding of where everyone is at. But to fully appreciate the series as I have, you need to start from the beginning. You can pick up Her Restless Heart and The Heart's Journey at your local retailer.  I easily rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and hope that Barbara might just squeeze one more out before ending this one!

For more information about Heart in Hand, Barbara Cameron, or where to pick up a copy of this book, please click on the links below:

You can also find Barbara Cameron on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

You can find more reviews on Heart in Hand from the Pump Up Your Book Tour by clicking here. 

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (February 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426714343
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426714344
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches

Monday, March 18, 2013

Catherine's Pursuit

What would you think if everything you thought about the last 18 years of your life had been a complete lie?

That's the gift, Catherine McKenna received from her father on the day of her 18th birthday. He confessed to her that when she was born, she was one of three babies born to her mother the day she died. Facing a difficult challenge of trying to raise three newborn daughters while traveling to California along the wagon trail, he made the best decision he could and allowed two other couples to raise the girls as their own. He kept Catherine because she was the first born. She had always dreamed of what it might be like to have siblings and now to learn that she has two sisters the same age as herself, has inspired her to find them and reunite no matter what it may cost or how long it may take.

Collin Elliot was hoping to find a way to get a fresh start on the life he feels he has already failed at. Being one of the youngest captains for Angus McKenna, he lost his first ship in a violent and unexpected storm. Thankfully no lives were lost due to his quick thinking, but it is something he hasn't been able to put behind him. He feels that everywhere he goes, people are judging him based on that part of his life, and is searching desperately for a way to turn things around. When Angus McKenna provides him with a way, to keep an eye on his daughter, Catherine McKenna who is gone searching for her sisters,  he wonders if God has given him a second change at more than just his life.

In the conclusion to the McKenna's Daughters Series by Lena Nelson Dooley, Catherine's Pursuit is the icing on the cake. I've had the pleasure to review all the previous novels in this series and while you don't need to read them in order to gain a sense of appreciation for this novel, you will be compelled to once you read Catherine's story. In each of the previous novels, each of the sister's story is defined and this one wraps them all together as Catherine hopes for a reunion that none of them ever expected. Along the way, both Catherine and Collin discover more than either of them were looking for. Collins is hoping to put his failed past in his eyes behind him and Catherine hopes to make amends to a life she had only dreamed about. This is the story of forgiveness and renewal and also gives readers a bit of the back story into the painful decision that Angus was faced with making those 18 years ago as a father to triplets.

I received Catherine's Pursuit by Lena Nelson Dooley compliments of Realms Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. I have received no compensation to provide a favorable review of this novel. Being a huge lover of historical fiction and having read the previous novels in the McKenna's Daughters Series, I was excited to see how Lena would wrap up this story of loss between the three daughters who has believed all along that they were the only ones to be raised by their respective families and later learn that there are other siblings that they were separated from their whole lives. It truly is one of the best family reunions with Collin attempting to watch over Catherine along her journey with only her lady's maid accompanying her with the search. It's a great novel and one I rate a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my personal opinion.

For more information about Catherine's Pursuit, Lena Nelson Dooley or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Lena Nelson Dooley on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Catherine's Pursuit from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Book Tour, please click here. 

 The McKenna's Daughters Series:

# 1 - Maggie's Journey
# 2 - Mary's Blessing
# 3 - Catherine's Pursuit

Saturday, March 16, 2013


"Do you believe in a place called Christmasland??

What would YOU do for a lifetime pass to a place where every morning is Christmas Morning and unhappiness is against the law? 

Don't give up on wonder!

Don't give up on your dreams!

We're looking for Go-Getters who LOVE children and aren't afraid of adventure! Inquire about Special opportunities for our Security department. 

This isn't just a job...

It's a LIFE!

Christmasland is waiting for YOU!"

This was the ad that he couldn't wait to reply to and was hoping that this would literally change his life. Bing Partridge believed in something much more something just like this that would show people around him that he really was cut out for so much more than simply working for the last 18 years as a Janitorial Manager at NorChemPharm in Sugar Creek, Pennsylvania. All he simply needed now was a response to his letter of application to the 1949 advertisement in Spicy Menace.

Victoria McQueen or Brat as her father lovingly referred to her is about to discover something very special about her latest birthday present, a blue Raleight Tuff Burner bicycle. When she overhears a heated argument between her parents over the loss of her mother's diamond bracelet. She leaves the house, taking her bicycle out for a spin thinking all the time about how if she could just find the bracelet, it would end the fight between her parents. She soon learns that she has a special ability to time travel on her bicycle via the Shorter Way Bridge to find items that are lost. The Shorter Way bridge was a covered bridge that was seventy years old, three hundred feet long, and beginning to sag in the middle. When someone tried to drive his car across it, he went right through and brought down most of the bridge with him. What was left was demoed and it was that bridge that only appeared to Victoria when she rode her bicycle to look for lost things. When she decides to go looking for trouble one day, she finds Charlie Manx.

Charlie Manx was the only person who could take children to Christmasland. He saw himself as a bit of a savior rescuing children who he believed were unhappy and abused by their neglectful parents. He has taken over 200 children there including his own two daughters when he believed his wife was an unfit mother. Now Charlie spends his time looking for children to take to Christmasland in his 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith with the license plates NOS4A2. Victoria McQueen was the only child who he was never able to take to Christmasland and now he will stop at nothing to find her and make her pay. He lucks out when after all his years of trying to find her, he locates her son and soon learns that love makes for a very strong bait to lure Victoria to Christmasland after all.

In the horror novel, NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, the reader is definitely taken on one nightmarish adrenaline pumping ride. This is a hefty novel coming in at almost 700 pages in length. I must warn readers that this contains graphic sexual content, profanity, vulgarity and violence. The storyline is simply one I have never read before and literally had me wondering just how this would end. I didn't catch the vanity plate reference until I was more than half way through the novel and it makes complete sense when you consider it. I did find all the sexual references and profanity to be distracting and wanted to make sure I read this in its entirety to provide a fair review.

I received NOS4A2 by Joe Hill compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and have received no compensation to provide a fair evaluation. Based on my personal rating system, I'd have to give this a 3 out of 5 stars. Had the book removed the graphic sexual references, profanity and violence, I would have rated this story much higher based on the premise behind the novel. This is definitely not for the squeamish and is geared for those readers who love the Horror/Suspense Thriller genre. Considering who his father is, Stephen King, I had expected to read more horror and suspense content without all the extras to distract me from the meat of the story.

For more information about NOS4A2, Joe Hill or where to pre-order a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Joe Hill on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest novels.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Dangerous Refuge

Sometimes some of the best scripted stories can be ruined by repeated suggestions that come far too often that they distract you from the original story. Such is the case in the latest novel from Elizabeth Lowell, Dangerous Refuge. In this novel, the reader is immediately introduced to Shaye Townsend, who works for National Ranch Conservancy, whose goal is to broker a deal between ranch owners and the Conservancy to retain the land for the purpose of ranching instead of seeing the property abandoned or turning into shopping malls or high-priced resorts. When Shaye discovers the body of Lorne Davis, to her untrained eye, it doesn't appear that he died of natural causes.

When Tanner Davis shows up at the ranch, the sparks begin to fly and between the two with sexual innuendos on almost every other page about what either of them wants from the other. That is the downright distracting part. I can deal with the fact that these two are more than mildly attracted to one another but I felt like I needed to be reminded of that fact throughout the entire first half of the book. Even though the story behind this was really well written, it was that repeated reminder between the two that really ruined what could have been a great novel for me.

The novel focuses on Tanner Davis working with Shaye Townsend on investigating the mysterious death of his uncle while taking a much needed break from working the morgues in Los Angeles as a Homicide Detective. Now discovering that the 1932 Saint-Gauden gold coins he had been collecting his whole life had suddenly gone missing even though it their hiding place would have made his Uncle look like a Pirate to discover them. Tanner believes that whoever had stolen the coins might in fact be the very same person who he believes murdered his Uncle and won't stop until he uncovers the truth.

I received Dangerous Refuge by Elizabeth Lowell compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. The story was well written and the premise that inspired me to want to read this was amazing. However the intense sexual undertones and consistent reminders of their intense sexual attraction to one another really got old after the first few chapters. However, with that being said, if you like that type of reference in your murder mystery dealing with a bit of modern western fiction thrown in, then you will find this novel suitable for your tastes. For me, this one ranked 3 out of 5 stars and I was hoping for a bit more than what I got between the pages, but that is my preference. There are bound to be countless readers that would really enjoy this novel.

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