Friday, May 31, 2013

Fearless by Mike Dellosso

A child mysteriously appears in the lives of Jim and Amy Spencer. Will her presence be a blessing…or a curse?

When a nine-year-old girl named Louisa mysteriously appears in the middle of a house fire with no memory of how she got there or where she came from, Jim and Amy Spencer agree to take her in. Wrestling with the recent loss of their own child, Amy is hurt and angry while Jim is just trying to make it through each day and hold their marriage together.

For Jim, Louisa is the daughter he always wanted, but Amy isn’t as comfortable with her. The girl has a special gift, and soon that gift will unknowingly push them all into contact with a serial killer who has been terrorizing the small town of Virginia Mills. Only by uniting can Jim and Amy save themselves and Louisa before it’s too late.
 
My review:
   After taking a break from his usual genre' of writing to write a story about cancer and its affect on a family,  Mike is to write what he does best: thriller/suspense. That isn't to say his other book wasn't good. It was, but he excells at this genre'.
 
   Much of what Mike writes could be classifed as Christian horror/thriller/suspense, with some supernatural elements. I would classify this book as just thriller/suspense with some unexplained/supernatural elements.
 
   As with any of his books, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fearless. He created some great characters, good and bad, and worked a great plot around them that kept me guessing. For most of the book, it seemed like there were two stories going on, and I knew they were connected, but I didn't know how. The book had more than one twist and turn that I didn't see coming, especially who the bad guy was. There was something that I kept wondering about, and I won't say what as to prevent spoilers, but it all made sense in the end.
 
   Mike is another author who isn't afraid to work a Christian message into his book, and this one was no exception. The message in this one was a message that would be good for all of us: Never lose faith in God. Even in the bad times, He is still there and can work things out.
 
  I had put reading the book off til close to the release date, and once I started reading it, I kept at it until I was finished, and though not everything was explained, I was left with that feeling when I finish a great book. Satisfied.
 
About the author:
 
Mike Dellosso is the author of numerous novels of suspense, including Darkness Follows, Darlington Woods, and Scream. He is an adjunct professor of writing at Lancaster Bible College and frequent contributor to Christian websites and newsletters. Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers association, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer’s Network, and FaithWriters, and he plans to join International Thriller Writers. He earned his BA degree from Messiah College and his MBS from Master’s International School of Divinity. He lives in Hanover, PA, with his wife and daughters.
 
 
And might I add, he is a great and genuine guy.
 
Check out Mike's website at MikeDellosso.com
 
Fearless is available from Realms Publishing.
 
Thanks to Charisma House for the review copy
 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What's the Truth About Heaven and Hell? by Douglas Jacoby

Recent books about heaven and hell have aroused the interest of committed Christians and curious seekers alike. But the wide range of viewpoints has also created confusion and left many people wondering what they are to believe. This user-friendly guide presents the most popular views on heaven, hell, purgatory, judgment, and related topics, followed by brief, easy-to-follow analysis. Readers will be equipped to make their own well-informed decisions about questions like these:
  • What happens when we die? Where did the idea of purgatory come from?
  • Will our bodies be resurrected someday? If so, does cremation offend God?
  • Will unbelievers be judged by God and punished in hell forever? Or will they be annihilated? What about those who never heard the gospel message?
This summary of the latest Evangelical teaching and traditional mainstream scholarship provides readers with tools to assess each position in the light of Scripture.

My review:
   If you have read many of my reviews, you know I rarely give negative reviews. I may take issue with curse words being in a Christian fiction novel, which still boggles my mind, but I never give a completely negative book review. However, this one will be.

  I disagreed with the author a lot. I think its a dangerous thing to go through the Bible and deciding on what parts of it can be interpreted literal, and what parts cannot. It is more dangerous to put your views in a book. The author spends quite a bit of time doing just that. He says that 1/3 of the Bible is poetry then gives several examples of passages and verses that we should not take as literal, and I didn't agree with a lot of the examples he gave.

 An example: I am not trying to start a debate on this verse, but Matthew 5:32 says "But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery. (NLT) The author said this verse cannot be taken as literal...... Uh, if you start throwing out statements Jesus Himself made like that, where are you going to stop? That one was the worst example he gave, but I had a hard time taking anything with a grain of salt that he said after that.

  He gives several views of hell, and seems to go with the idea of annihilation, and gives the idea of burning in hell forever is from tradition. My Bible says it will be forever...... where does the tradition idea come from? The author doesn't believe the miliennium is literal...... I could go on and list other examples, but let me just say I didn't like the book, I didn't like or agree with the author's views, and cannot recommend this book. I hate to give a bad review, but I cannot in good conscience do otherwise with this title.

About the author:

Douglas Jacoby is a Bible teacher and professor and the author of A Quick Overview of the Bible, Compelling Evidence for God and the Bible, Your Bible Questions Answered, and The Ultimate Bible Quiz Book. A graduate of Duke University (history), Harvard Divinity School (New Testament), and Drew University (ministry), Dr. Jacoby has taught in more than 100 nations around the world.

What's the Truth About Heaven and Hell? is available from Harvest House Publishers.

Thanks to Harvest House for the review copy.

 

 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Judgment Stone by Robert Liparulo

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Judgment Stone
Thomas Nelson (May 14, 2013)
by
Robert Liparulo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Former journalist Robert Liparulo is the best-selling author of the thrillers Comes a Horseman, Germ, Deadfall, Deadlock, and The 13th Tribe, as well as The Dreamhouse Kings, an action-adventure series for young adults. He contributed a short story to James Patterson’s Thriller, and an essay about Thomas Perry’s The Butcher’s Boy to Thrillers: 100 Must Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner. He is currently working on the sequel to The 13th Tribe, as well writing an original screenplay with director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive).

When not writing, Liparulo loves to read, watch (and analyze) movies, scuba dive, swim, hike, and travel. He lives in Monument, Colorado, with his wife Jodi and four children: Melanie, Matthew, Anthony, and Isabella.

ABOUT THE BOOK

What if praying became a curse instead of a blessing?

Former Army Ranger Jagger Baird thought he had his hands full with the Tribe—the band of immortal vigilantes fighting to regain God’s grace by killing those opposed to Him. But that was before he encountered the ruthless group of immortals called the Clan. The Clan is after a prize that would give them unimaginable power—a piece of the Ten Commandments known as the Judgment Stone.

Those who touch the Stone can see into the spiritual world: angelic warriors, treacherous demons, and the blue threads of light that signal the presence of believers in communion with God.

By following the blue beam radiating from those closest to God, the Clan plans to locate His most passionate followers and destroy them.

Jagger quickly realizes his high-tech gadgetry and training are no match for these merciless immortals. But how can he defeat an enemy who hunts believers through their prayers . . . and won’t stop until they’ve annihilated all those close to Him?

In this high-action thriller, best-selling author Robert Liparulo examines the raging battle between good and evil on earth . . . and beyond.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Judgment Stone, go HERE.

My review:
   I loved the first book in this series, The 13th Tribe, and this book was even better. The author threw some more bad guys into the mix and picked up close to where the last book ended. I love the main characters in the book, and it had plenty of suspense and action to keep me happy. It also had a great message: That there is evil out there and Satan wants to take us all down. The book also made me think about how easy would it be for me to be hunted down as a Christian, or would I be safe and not considered a threat. Awesome book, looking forward to more in this series.
   

A Heartbeat Away by S. Dionne Moore

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Heartbeat Away
Abingdon Press (May 1, 2013)
by
S. Dionne Moore


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

S. Dionne Moore started writing in 2006. Her first book, Murder on the Ol’ Bunions, was contracted for publication by Barbour Publishing in 2008. In 2009 she moved on to writing historical romances as an outlet for her passion for history. In 2010 her second cozy mystery, Polly Dent Loses Grip, was a 2010 Carol Award finalist and she was also named a Barbour Publishing 2010 Favorite New Author. In 2011 her first historical romance, Promise of Tomorrow, was nominated a 2011 Carol Award finalist.

Born and raised in Manassas, Virginia, Moore moved to Greencastle, PA in 1993, then to Mercersburg in 2009. Moore enjoys life in the historically rich Cumberland Valley where traffic jams are a thing of the past and there are only two stoplights in the whole town.

For more information, visit her Website at www.sdionnemoore.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @sdionnemoore
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sdionnemoore
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/sdionnemoore

ABOUT THE BOOK

When a band of runaway slaves brings Union-loyal Beth Bumgartner a wounded Confederate soldier named Joe, it is the catalyst that pushes her to defy her pacifist parents and become a nurse during the Battle of Antietam.

Her mother's mysterious goodbye gift is filled with quilt blocks that bring comfort to Beth during the hard days and lonely nights, but as she sews each block, she realizes there is a hidden message of faith within the pattern that encourages and sustains her. Reunited with Joe, Beth learns his secret and puts the quilt's message to its greatest test—but can betrayal be forgiven?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Heartbeat Away, go HERE.

Watch the video:
AHeartbeatAway - Medium from S. Dionne Moore on Vimeo.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Not Quite Healed 40 Truths for Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe

Survivors of sexual abuse face a long road to recovery. With every bump and bruise and setback, they may wonder if total healing is even possible. In fact, the feeling that “I should be healed by now” is one that every survivor will have to deal with at some time. A survivor himself, Cecil Murphey writes, “I absolutely affirm that God can produce such a miracle. I don’t know of any, but I still think that it is possible.”

So how are survivors to overcome the challenges they are sure to face? Finding strength in community with other survivors is one key to recovery. In Not Quite Healed, two survivors join forces to share insight and encouragement on the issues that challenge them most. After a candid discussion about each issue, the authors provide a self-affirming statement that men can study, memorize, and recite on their darkest days—statements such as:
-Forgiveness is a difficult task for me, but it’s a simple thing for God.
-Accountability is the first step to livability.
-God wants to heal my pain to bring healing to others.
Whether men are struggling with relying on God, living behind a mask, dealing with flashbacks and recurring dreams, or learning to forgive, Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe offer hope and comfort for the ongoing journey of recovery from sexual abuse.

My review:
   First a "disclaimer": I have never been sexually molested. I reviewed this book solely for the purpose to help with the publicity to get the word out about it.

   The book was written by two men who were sexually abused as children by adults. They don't give much details about the abuse, but focus more on the effect it has had on them, and still has on them. Though I could not relate, I felt they approached it in a very compassionate and informative way. They offer no quick fixes, and in fact say it is a long and painful process.

  The book is sad. They reference their own experiences and the experiences of others they have talked with and dealt with. We all know it happens, but to read about real people who went through it is an eye opener that isn't pleasant.

  Something I walked away with is the fact that kids that are,  or feel unloved are targets of predators. The lonely kid that is starving for attention. It can happen to any kid, but those are the kids that are ripe for the picking for predators. Parents need to keep their kids close and supervised, and be very careful who they let them around. Sadly in today's world, very young kids need warned about the dangers of sexual predators, as they are often close friends or family members. You can't keep your kids in a plastic bubble, but you can guard them better.

  The authors do offer a lot of helpful and Biblical advice for victims of sexual abuse. If you are a victim, or know someone that is, this would be an excellent and helpful book.

  About the authors:

Cecil Murphey has written or coauthored more than one hundred books, including the autobiography of Franklin Graham, Rebel with a Cause and the New York Times best-seller 90 Minutes in Heaven. Cecil lives in Georgia.

Gary Roe has been in full-time ministry for thirty years, serving as a college minister, a church-planting missionary in Japan, and a pastor in Texas and Washington. He currently works as a hospice chaplain and interim pastor in Central Texas. He writes a weekly newspaper column and is the co-author (with Cecil Murphey) of Saying Goodbye: Facing the Loss of a Loved One. He has three adopted Colombian daughters who are also abuse survivors.


Check out Cecil's blog/wesbite http://menshatteringthesilence.blogspot.com/

Not Quite Healed 40 Truths for Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse is available from Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Biking Across America by Paul Stutzman

Discover the heart of America on this life-changing, cross-country bike adventure
After Paul Stutzman finished hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, he found himself longing for another challenge. Trading his hiking boots for a bicycle, Paul set off to discover more of America.

Starting at Neah Bay, Washington, and ending at Key West, Florida, Paul traversed the five-thousand-mile distance between the two farthest points in the contiguous United States. Along the way he encountered nearly every kind of terrain and weather the country had to offer-as well as hundreds of fascinating people who represent the challenges and triumphs of the entire country. Through cold and heat, loneliness and exhaustion, abundance and kindness, Paul pedaled on. His reward-and yours-is a glimpse of an amazing country that inspires us all.

If you long for adventure, love to meet new people, and love this place called America, get ready for the ride of your life.

My review:
   I've always enjoyed stories of people traveling across America, and since I already read and reviewed Paul's other book, Hiking Through, I knew he was an interesting author.

  This book was even better and more interesting than Hiking Through. Paul runs across more interesting people and landmarks, and his narrative made me want to jump on my bicycle and head out on a trip myself, but reason prevailed. He relates some great stories of how God worked in people's lives, and also of how people are doing things for God all across this country. He gets in a little "preaching" to the reader now and then, but it was all good.

   I found the book to be a challenge to myself, to let God use me and to get out there and really live. The book makes you want to do more and be more than you are.

   I really enjoyed reading the book and getting a glimpse into parts of our great country that I have never been in.

About the author:

Paul Stutzman is the author of Hiking Through. A former restaurant manager who left his career
after his wife's death from breast cancer, Paul hiked the Appalachian Trail in search of peace, healing, and freedom. He continues to seek out adventure in new ways every day. When he is not hiking or on a cross-country bike ride he makes his home in Berlin, Ohio. Find out more at www.paulstutzman.com.


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

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Talon: Combat Tracking Team by Ronie Kendig, and a give away

Aspen Courtland is out to find her missing brother. Only his combat tracking dog, Talon, knows where to look. Problem is, after a brutal attack that separated dog and handler, Talon’s afraid of his own shadow. The search is on, but when one mistake means disaster, can Talon muster the courage for one last mission?

My review:
    There are certain authors that define quality Christian fiction, and Ronie Kendig has quickly become one of those authors. With the exception of her first book, Dead Reckoning, all of her books center around the military and special opps, and are full of suspense, drama and excitement. She is an author who proves fiction can be clean, Christian, and worth reading.

   Talon: Combat Tracking Team is the second book in the Breed Apart series, which focuses on Military War Dogs, which is something I didn't know much about until I started reading this series.

  This book centers on Aspen and MWD Talon, who were introduced in the first book, Trinity: Military War Dog,  but had minor roles in the story. Ronie also brought back several other characters from Trinity, and added some new ones. She always has some great characters in her novels, and this book was no different. In creating Dane, she created a terrific character with tremendous depth, and although he is fictional, shows that no matter how bad things are in our past, God can still redeem us and make us into something worthwhile. I don't think its a bad thing when a fictional character inspires the reader to be a better person, and that is what the fictional Dane does.

   There is a lot of excitement, drama, romance, and military action in the book, which all makes for a great read. I loved the book, which is not a surprise, and couldn't put it down, so I read it all in one evening, and loved every single page of it. There were a couple of surprises in the book, and I was one very satisfied reader when I reached the end of the book. In addition to being a great story, the book also has a great message of hope, and helps the reader better appreciate all of our military heroes, even the four-footed ones.

  Trinity launched this awesome series, and Talon continues the pulse pounding suspense and military action that Ronie's books bring. I highly recommend any of her books to men or women, and if you have a friend or family member in the military, her books would make great reading for them.

About the author:

An Army brat, Ronie Kendig grew up in the classic military family, with her father often TDY and her mother holding down the proverbial fort. Their family moved often, which left Ronie attending six schools by the time she’d entered fourth grade. Her only respite and “friends” during this time were the characters she created.
It was no surprise when she married a military veteran—her real-life hero—in June 1990. Married more than twenty years, Ronie and her husband, Brian, homeschool their four children, the first of whom graduated in 2011. Despite the craziness of life, Ronie finds balance and peace with her faith, family and their three dogs in Dallas, TX.

Ronie has a deep love and passion for people, especially hurting people, which is why she pursued and obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Liberty University. Ronie is an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has volunteered extensively, serving in a variety of capacities from coordinator of a national contest to appointment assistant at the national annual conference.

Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and her books have been gained critical acclaim and national attention, including:
    • 2012 Christy Award Winner – Wolfsbane (Contemporary Romance)
    • 2012 Carol Award Finalist – Wolfsbane (Romantic Suspense)
    • Finalist in Christian Retailing’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards (Nightshade)
    • RWA’s Faith, Hope, & Love’s 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Awards in Romantic Suspense (Nightshade)
    • Named one of the Top 25 Christian Fiction Suspense, Mystery, and Thriller Writers by FamilyFiction (Sept 2011)
    • 2011 FamilyFiction Readers’ Choice Awards – 3rd place as New Favorite Author, 8th place with Nightshade for Novel of the Year.
    • INSPY Award Shortlist final in Mystery/Thriller (Dead Reckoning)
    • The Christian Manifesto’s 2010 Lime Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Nightshade)
Thanks to Ronie for the review copy. Check out her website RonieKendig.com

Talon: Combat Tracking Team and most of her books are available from Barbour Publishing.

I have an extra copy of Trinity: Military War Dog to give away to a lucky winner. I don't usually do extra entries, but am going to do so with this giveaway. I will let it run for two weeks, then pick a winner on June 4. If there is a way to contact the winner, I will do so, and I will list the winner here on June 4.

The first entry is mandatory, a comment on this blog post. You can comment on whether you have read any of Ronie's books, or whatever you want to say, and you have to comment through blogger, not Rafflecopter. Comment on the blog post, then click that you commented on Rafflecopter. Sorry, its my first time using it.

If you're already doing what the extra entry asks for,  you can still have the extra entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 20, 2013

Out of Time by C.J. Darlington

A busy woman blindly rushing through a grocery store.
A hard-working man with a pink slip.
A desperate teen girl who has a terrible secret.

All are running out of time, and the choices they make will change their lives forever.



Out of Time:


I swing into the grocery store parking lot, and there she is, slouching on a bench by the soda machine. Blonde hair, cropped short with purple tips. Nose ring. Probably seventeen or eighteen.

Snatching my purse off the passenger seat, I jump from my Volvo. Gotta hurry. I keep the girl in the corner of my eye as I walk toward the automatic door, my favorite heels clipping on the pavement. Her jeans are ripped at both knees, some rock band on her faded t-shirt. Doesn’t she have a coat?

Go talk to her.
And say what? “Hi, you don’t know me from Eve, but let’s sit and chat?” Don’t think so. I’m old enough to be her mother.
I give the girl a wide berth, confiscating a shopping cart from inside the store to avoid walking past her twice. Gotta rush. I’m on a mission. What was I thinking, inviting the whole Bible study over for dinner? Now I actually have to cook something. And it has to be good. No Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese tonight.

Produce first. Without thinking, I plop four heads of lettuce, three cucumbers, and a tomato in my cart. Hope they like salad.

There’s the girl again. I don’t see her face, but there’s no mistaking that hair. She saunters past me, the frayed ends of her jeans dragging on the floor. She glances around before grabbing a handful of freshly cut apple slices from one of those tempting freebie displays. I throw a bunch of carrots in my cart next to the lettuce.

See if she needs something.
I really don’t have time, and there are plenty of employees around. She doesn’t need, or probably even want, my help.

Off to the bakery. I’ll get a crusty loaf or two. Pastor’s message this morning will make for some nice discussion material for us. He’s always inspiring, and today was no different. Talked about hearing God’s voice, but that’s no surprise. God talks to him everywhere, in the shower, shaving, eating cereal. He’s always hearing something from the Father; but after all, he’s a pastor.

Hamburger. Some nice, lean ground round will do just fine. I’ve got three packs in my hands when I spot the girl again. This time she’s gobbling down salsa and chips from another display, crunching with her mouth open. Gross. Just a few feet from me, too. She glances over, and I quickly pretend I’m examining the beef packs.

Smile at her.
Why? That’s silly. I drop the meat in my cart.
...read the rest of the story, plus two more tales, in Out of Time!

My review:
   This is a short book, even with three stories, but all three are very thought provoking and convicting. The first story makes you think about how we need to love people more and try to reach out to them. The second and third stories bring out the point that there is always something to be thankful for, no matter how hard things get, that there are people who need us in our lives, and that with family and God, we can get through anything.

   C.J. writes with a great style, and in these three short stories has come up with some great characters and some deep thoughts. It doesn't always take a long book to get a good point across. She has done so in three very short and very interesting stories. Definitely worth reading.

About the author:

C. J. is the award-winning author of Thicker than Blood, Bound by Guilt, and Ties that Bind. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over fifteen years, scouting for stores similar to the ones described in her novels before cofounding her own online bookstore.

In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site
TitleTrakk.com with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction ever since. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a paint horse named Sky.


 

No Way Out by Susan Sleeman

Alyssa Wells has uncovered evidence that her police officer husband was murdered by his partner-a dangerous claim in a small town. After two tours in Iraq, protecting Alyssa and her children shouldn’t be a problem for private investigator Cole Justice. Alyssa feels drawn to him, but how can she trust anyone after everything she’s been through? Cole’s sure his heart is closed off to love, but Alyssa and her children seem to have found a way in. As the killer draws closer, Alyssa realizes she’s trusting Cole with more than her safety.

My review:
    I'm not much for romance books, but I do enjoy romantic suspense and have read several books in the Love Inspired Suspense line, so when the author wanted some people to review her book, I got on the list.

   Susan is a new author to me, and if this book is any indication, she is a great author. These books aren't long, but she packed a great suspense story into the pages that kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen next. I liked her characters, especially the Justice family, and hope to read the other books in this series, which this book is #3 of. After reading this book, I would say you don't need to read them in order, though if you're going to read them, you may as well read them in order.

  A book like this proves that an author can write a great suspense novel and keep it Christian, clean, and curse-free. I give the book five stars.

About the author:

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. In addition to writing, she hosts the popular internet website TheSuspenseZone.com. Susan currently lives in Oregon, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson. To learn more about Susan visit her website www.susansleeman.com.

Thanks to the author for the review copy.
   

Friday, May 17, 2013

Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story by Dee Henderson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story
Bethany House Publishers (May 1, 2013)
by
Dee Henderson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dee Henderson is the bestselling, award-winning author of 15 previous novels, including the acclaimed O'MALLEY series and UNCOMMON HEROES series. These days, most authors are out there energetically promoting their books in print and broadcast and via social media—wherever they can get attention. But Dee Henderson keeps a low profile. She avoids telephone interviews because of hearing problems, declined to provide a current photo, and will say only that she lives in Illinois.

ABOUT THE BOOK




It's a summer of change for Jennifer O'Malley. The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, and meeting Tom Peterson, and falling in love, is adding a rich layer to her life. She's sorting out how to introduce him to her family--she's the youngest of seven--and thinking about marriage.

She's falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested in a way she didn't expect, and the results will soon transform her entire family.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story, go to HERE.

My review:
   This is not a suspense story as Dee Henderson usually writes, but strictly a short romantic novella featuring one of her O'Malley characters. It is a decent story, but it is short. Too short. If you're expecting an O'Malley book like she has written before, you may want to skip it, but if you're wanting a short book to give you more insight into one of the O'Malleys, you may enjoy it.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Last Chance for Justice by Kathi Macias

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Last Chance for Justice
B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
by
Kathi Macias


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

Kathi is passionate about The Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors. To learn more about the persecuted church, please visit VOM’s website and Open Doors Website.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Welcome to Bloomfield, where life is simple, love is real, and stories are shared.

Lynn Myers is still reeling from losing her husband of thirty-five years when word comes that her only sibling, an older brother, has also died. With no one else to settle the estate, she must return to her small hometown of Bloomfield, however briefly, to settle his affairs.

Lynn’s daughter, Rachel, has just graduated from Bible college and with no other commitments comes along to sort through her uncle’s huge old home, right next to the local cemetery.

It isn't long before Rachel has two men -- a handsome CPA and the youth pastor -- seriously vying for her attention. At the same time, Lynn's attention is drawn to a set of journals her brother has left behind detailing a long-standing Bloomfield mystery.

As they pursue solving this mystery, Rachel must make some personal decisions about her future, while Lynn is forced to face unexpected issues from her own past.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Last Chance for Justice, go HERE.

My review:
    This book sounded more like a suspense novel than it turned out to be. Had I known that it wasn't really suspense, I would have passed on reading it, which would have caused me to miss reading a really good book.

  There is a mystery in the book, but its an old one that doesn't involve any bad guys, guns, or cops. I still liked the book, a lot. It was an enjoyable read, and had interesting characters set in the kind of town that sounds like a place I'd want to live. There was romance in the book, but it wasn't overdone.

Why you should read Christian fiction

   I'm amazed at the amount of Christians who don't read Christian fiction. I worked in a Christian bookstore for five years. I saw how many people went to the fiction section, tracked sales for inventory. Obviously enough people buy it for there to be a market, but there are more people who don't read it, than do.

Kathy Herman

  I've gone to church with people who spoke with a derisive sound in their voice when mentioning the Christian novel. I'm not sure how prevalent that attitude is, but there are probably several people with that attitude. And yes, there are Christian novels that are light and fluff...... and that is OK. We don't have to sit around and read John Wesley, John Calvin, and other writers of the past 24/7.

  I love Christian fiction. Really love it. I read secular fiction so rarely, you could almost say I never read it. I don't like the language that is in most of them for one thing. Another reason, is I miss the Christian element. In Christian fiction, there is always hope, and God is presented as the ultimate source of help and hope, even if it isn't majorly stated. I miss that when I read a secular book.

 I guess that is why some things bother me that are becoming too common. One is an attitude I've noticed from a lot of people who leave book reviews/comments: That a book is too preachy, or they were glad it wasn't. Uh, it is Christian fiction... if you don't want a Christian message, go read a secular book. The other: the too common practice of inserting curse words, vulgarity, and/or inappropriate content. Last year, a Christian author did a blog post cheering on another Christian author for daring to push the envelope on some language she used in her book. I thought it was sad. How much cursing can be in a Christian book before it isn't Christian? To me, the answer is easy: don't put any in. People say it isn't realistic..... if you want realistic, the Christian way isn't for you. If you want realistic, you'd better ignore Jesus and what He did.

  For those who scoff at the idea of Christian fiction being worth reading, you must not know your Bible very well. It is full of stories. Jesus Himself told a lot of stories. Ever hear of a parable? I hate to break it to you, but some of them were fiction, from what I understand. He used them to make a point. There is power in a story.
Ronie Kendig

  As I said, there are a lot of books on the Christian market that are fluff and light, but there are many that are not. I am 100% convinced that God can use Christian fiction just as much as non-fiction books, or even a sermon in church.

  Karen Kingsbury has written a lot of great books. On her website there were comments from people. One couple's marriage was saved by reading one of her books. A teenage boy commented and said one of her books convinced him to get help for his addiction to pornography. There were many more. Her books deal with marriages on the rocks, grief at the loss of loved ones, an HIV+ diagnosis, depression, and the list goes on.
Candace Calvert

  Like suspense? Check out Kathy Herman. The issues of faith, infidelity of a spouse, father issues, and more have been dealt with in her books.

  Ronie Kendig writes military/suspense novels that have a strong Christian message. In one I read most recently, it talked about God having our back, and still having faith in God even when every door seems to slam shut in your face.

   Kim and Kayla Woodhouse, mother and daughter,  has written a couple of great suspense novels together, and most recently I was moved and convicted by a short novel I read by Kim that compared giving up on God and blaming Him, to letting go of a rope while mountain climbing and blaming the rope.... was a great sermonette in a Christian novel.
Kimberly Woodhouse

  Like nursing stories? Check out Candace Calvert, who writes a great romance story centered around hospitals, nurses, and doctors, all with a great Christian message. Want some suspense with that? Check out Richard Mabry, who writes similar, only with a strong suspense element.

  Enjoy books with a supernatural element? Check out Mike Dellosso. They are suspenseful, and always have a great message.
Mike Dellosso

  Adam Blumer only has two books out so far, but they are great suspense, and his books are great examples of what Christian fiction should be. He isn't afraid to put a Christian message in his books, and is determined to.


  Jim Rubart is a hard author to describe, but his books are excellent and go beyond great Christian fiction. His first book, Rooms, was a story about a young man inheriting a large house, and it turned out to be his heart. Awesome story, very moving.

  Want to read a good legal thriller? Read Randy Singer's books. He is better than John Grisham, in my opinion, and his books always have a great Christian message.

  There is so much variety on the Christian fiction market, anyone could find something they would enjoy: Romance, suspense, historical, fantasy, and the list goes on.

   I have read three different novels recently that had a major focus on having faith in God, even when, and especially when things are falling apart. When it seems He is absent and doesn't care. And man, is that a message I need. Along with the message that God always has my back, and to never let go of the rope, no matter how tough things get.

  I have also read a few books lately that dealt with forgiving people when they do really bad things. Another message I needed. I have a hard time forgiving people, and mostly forgiving myself. I have had people do bad things to me, say bad things to me, about me, but there has been worse things that people forgave people for, than what I have had done.... and although these books had fictional characters, it was still a sobering reminder that I needed.
Adam Blumer

  Over the years, I have been moved, inspired, encouraged, and convicted by things I read in a "novel". There have been times I had given up, and was encouraged to try again by something I read in a "novel."

 And by my promoting reading Christian fiction, I am in no way saying it should be a substitute for reading your Bible, other helpful books, and for going to church.

  In closing, here is a true story that happened around 13 or more years ago. A young girl had a little baby, not sure of the age, but it seems the boy was under a year old. I think the little guy was fussing, and the mother's boyfriend put him the clothes dryer and turned it on. I don't how long, but long enough to hurt the baby and damage some of his motor skills. The young man was arrested, as was the mother, since she watched and allowed it to happen. The grandmother was given custody of this little boy, and was telling a lady she worked with, Huldah, who attends my church. She told Huldah she knew she needed to forgive her daughter and the boyfriend, but just couldn't, she was so angry. Huldah was telling our pastor's wife about it, and my pastor's wife suggested a book for the lady to read. The book was a Christian fiction book I had lent to my pastor's wife, Waiting for the Morning by Karen Kingsbury. It is about woman whose husband and oldest daughter are killed in a car accident when struck by a drunk driver. Although fictional, the story is an awesome story of loss, grief, bitterness, and forgiveness. Huldah bought the book and gave it to her co-worker, and the woman read it and said it helped her a lot. And it was a "novel."
Karen Kingsbury

  It doesn't have to be a sermon or even a passage of Scripture. God can use, and does use, fiction to speak to people, to encourage, inspire, heal, and even convict. And even if the book doesn't do all of that, you will still have read a great story.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Domination by Jon S Lewis

Their goal is simple: total domination.
With six arms and jaws that can snap a man in two, the warmongering race of aliens known as the Thule has conquered every planet they’ve attacked.

And now their invasion of Earth has begun.

Humanity’s only hope springs from a mysterious Thule legend about a Betrayer, whom they believe will rise up and destroy their people. The American government tried to manufacture their own Betrayer by injecting children with Thule blood but time after time the experiment failed . . . until Colt McAlister.

A decade later, Colt is a 16-year-old cadet at the CHAOS Military Academy where he’s training to defend mankind. But he’s afraid that the alien blood may be turning him into a Thule—and he’s beginning to suspect that fulfilling his role as the Betrayer may cost him everything.

Experience a cosmic battle filled with high-tech gear, gateways to other planets, and ultimate stakes. Not everyone will survive. But heroes will rise up and step into their destiny in this earth-shaking conclusion to the C.H.A.O.S trilogy.

My review:
     This is juvenile fiction, but I'm not so mature that I can't enjoy it as much as the intended age group. I had read the first two books in the trilogy, so I snagged this one when it came up for review.

    These are different books, as they involve aliens, but they are an enjoyable read, especially this last one. It has even more action and the hero of the story, Colt, has to step up to the plate and be the hero of the hour.

  Even though the book doesn't have a lot of Christian content, it does have a great message for teens that anyone can accomplish good if they try, that heroes can be average kids, they don't have to be adults who have it all together.

  I would recommend this series for boys, over girls. I passed the books on to my nieces and they didn't get into them. I'd guess boys would more.

The books should be read in order.

About the author:

Jon S. Lewis is the coauthor of the Grey Griffins Trilogy and the Grey Griffins Clockwork Chronicles. He also writes for the DC COMICS family of publishers. He lives with his family in Arizona.

Domination is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Katie's Choice by Amy Lillard

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Katie's Choice
B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
by
Amy Lillard


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I’m a wife, mother, and bona fide Southern belle. Published author, expert corn bread maker, and Squirrel Princess.

I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. I’ve retained a little of my Mississippi accent though most people think I’m from Texas. (?) Rob and I have been married for over twenty years and have a son–a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course!

I love homemade tacos, shoes, and romance novels–not necessarily in that order. I’m a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I’m shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

I believe that God is love. I guess that’s why I adore romances.

I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle. (And I love, love, love the fact that they stay married for their lifetime.) But until recently I never thought to blend this interest with my penchant for romance. Okay, okay, I’m a bit old-fashioned and even enjoy the gender roles that are present in this culture. I love to cook and take care of my family. Yes, that’s me June Cleaver with a laptop.

I dislike people trying to convince me to read the Twlight series (I’ll get to it or I won’t, either way I’m good with it), gratuitous violence, and strawberry ice cream. (I know I’m alone on this last one, and again, I’m good with it.)

Favorite movies–(besides HP) French Kiss, Maid of Honor, A Lot Like Love, Just Married, and Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, and Miss Congeniality, Sabrina (both versions) and a 1940′s movie called Dear Ruth. If you haven’t seen it, you should! A-dorable. Anything with Doris Day and most all of Marilyn’s and Audrey’s.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Katie Rose Fisher loved Samuel Beachy with an intensity that shook their Amish district. No one doubted they would one day marry, until Samuel turned his back on the church and joined the world of the English.

Alone now in Clover Ridge, Katie Rose dedicates her life to God and the school children she teaches each day. Although she secretly longs for more, Katie knows God’s hand is at work, and she is happy.

News correspondent Zane Carson never even knew Oklahoma had an Amish community until he got the chance to live among them and learn about their day-to-day activities. Their simple way of life is intriguing, but not half as much as the young teacher.

Katie Rose is flattered over the attention she receives from Zane, but she has resolved to never marry. Even if she were to entertain the idea, it surely couldn’t be with an outsider like Zane.

Never one prone to the restraints of organized religion, Zane finds a comfort in the rituals and blessings in the day to day righteous living of this small Amish community. He finds himself, God, and love with Katie Rose.

But as Zane draws closer to Katie Rose, Samuel comes back to repent his ways and return to his place at her side. Can Zane convince Katie Rose that he is committed to adapting to her way of life, or will Samuel win her affections back for himself once again?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Katie's Choice, go HERE.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

When a Secret Kills by Lynnette Eason

She's come home to put a killer behind bars.
But the killer plans to put her six feet under.
Investigative reporter Jillian Carter knows it's time to put the past to rest. She's tired of looking over her shoulder, letting a killer go free. She's no longer the scared kid who changed her name and disappeared. Now, no matter what the cost, Jillian must do what she is trained to do-find the truth and expose it. And the truth is that Senator Frank Hoffman committed murder ten years ago-and Jillian watched it happen.

Didn't she?

Get ready for the spine-tingling, nail-biting conclusion to this explosive series.

My review:
   I really enjoy Lynnette Eason's books, but I wasn't too sure about this series. It sounded really good, so its not that. I wasn't too sure about a trilogy where you everything wasn't solved until the last book. I like to see a book end, and the first two in the series had endings, but there was still so much that didn't end. I still enjoyed the first two books immensely though, but to say I was eagerly waiting for book three to come out, is an understatement. I read it the day it came in the mail, and it was well worth the wait.

   In book three of The Deadly Reunions Series,  we finally get to meet the woman who has been at the heart of all the threats and attempts on the lives of her two friends in the previous two books. The book brings all three friends together along with other characters from the other two books. The suspense and attempts to silence Jillian are stepped up in this book, and I couldn't have put the book down if I'd had to. Even though I thought I knew everything, there were still some surprises, and this book was even more of  page turner than the other two were.

  This is definitely the best book, and series from this author so far. It is a series that definitely needs to be read in order. The books do have a lesson. It is always important to do the right thing, even when it can mean your life. Book three also dealt with forgiveness. Jillian had to forgive those who had wronged her so much, and the police detective who had been her senior year love in high school, also had much to forgive.

  I absolutely loved this whole series, and especially this last book in the trilogy. It is one I found myself reading back over some parts, including the great ending. I am sad to see the series end, but what a great journey the books took me on.

About the author:

Lynette Eason is the author of several romantic suspense novels, including Too Close to Home, Don't Look Back, A Killer Among Us, and When the Smoke Clears. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. A homeschooling mother of two, she has a master's degree in education from Converse College. She lives in South Carolina.

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

Thanks to Revell for  the review copy.

   

Wounds by Alton Gansky

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wounds
B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
by
Alton Gansky


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alton L. Gansky is the author of 24 novels and 8 nonfiction works, as well as principle writer of 9 novels and 2 nonfiction books. He has been a Christie Award finalist (A Ship Possessed) and an Angel Award winner (Terminal Justice) and recently was award the ACFW award for best suspense/thriller for his work on Fallen Angel. He holds a BA and MA in biblical studies and Lit.D. He lives in central California with his wife. In addition to his own writing, Alton Gansky has consulted and provided editing/ writing services to several CBA publishers and written copy, video scripts, and other works for the general business market. Through Gansky.Communications he has consulted with publishers and agents, as well as provided editing services. He is “the go to guy” for co-writing having been selected by Penguin, Waterbrook, Broadman Holman, and other publishers to work with their top tier authors. Gansky is in frequent demand at writer’s conferences having taught and keynoted in California, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, Delaware, Washington, and Canada. He has also been guest lecturer on suspense writing at Taylor University in Indiana.


ABOUT THE BOOK

A man’s lifeless body is found in the fresh soil of San Diego’s botanical garden. Cause of death is asphyxiation, an easy call for the medical examiner. More mysterious, however, are the tiny drops of blood on the victim’s skin, resulting from hundreds of punctures. A rabbi leaving his house for work expects a regular day at the synagogue. That quickly changes when he discovers a dead man on his front lawn, clearly beaten to death. Motorcycle riders racing along the empty streets of an abandoned military base stumble across another man’s corpse, its skin revealing long, red-purple marks of a thrashing given with wood dowels. The numbers mount. Each week another victim and another mysterious clue in a game of mass murder the police don’t want to lose. The solution rests with Dr. Ellis Poe, a religious professor who only wishes to be left alone with his books and classes. But evil must be faced, and the choice is no longer his own.

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

My review:
     I have read several of Alton Gansky's books, but this one has to be his best ever. It had a teriffic plot. Even when it became obvious where the plot was going, it only became more suspenseful. I liked the characters, epecially the two main ones who though so totally different in every way, were connected by their past.

  This is a gritty novel. If you're wanting to read a cozy little mystery, this book is not for you. In fact, other than the killings, which I won't give spoilers away, and one of the characters, there isn't much Christian about the book. There is still a Christian world view, and the book is clean from bad language. There is a lot of violence, but it isn't overdone or too graphic, in my opinion. Good does triumph over evil in the end, and though the issue of forgiveness on someone's part was left up in the air, I enjoyed the ending of the book as much as the rest of it. I had been looking forward to reading this book, and I was not disappointed. Gansky outdid himself on this book, and I would put this book up against any of the secular best seller books in the thriller/suspense genre'. It is awesome.



Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fearless by Mike Dellosso

A child mysteriously appears in the lives of Jim and Amy Spencer. Will her presence be a blessing…or a curse?

When a nine-year-old girl named Louisa mysteriously appears in the middle of a house fire with no memory of how she got there or where she came from, Jim and Amy Spencer agree to take her in. Wrestling with the recent loss of their own child, Amy is hurt and angry while Jim is just trying to make it through each day and hold their marriage together.

For Jim, Louisa is the daughter he always wanted, but Amy isn’t as comfortable with her. The girl has a special gift, and soon that gift will unknowingly push them all into contact with a serial killer who has been terrorizing the small town of Virginia Mills. Only by uniting can Jim and Amy save themselves and Louisa before it’s too late.
 
My review:
   After taking a break from his usual genre' of writing to write a story about cancer and its affect on a family,  Mike is to write what he does best: thriller/suspense. That isn't to say his other book wasn't good. It was, but he excells at this genre'.
 
   Much of what Mike writes could be classifed as Christian horror/thriller/suspense, with some supernatural elements. I would classify this book as just thriller/suspense with some unexplained/supernatural elements.
 
   As with any of his books, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fearless. He created some great characters, good and bad, and worked a great plot around them that kept me guessing. For most of the book, it seemed like there were two stories going on, and I knew they were connected, but I didn't know how. The book had more than one twist and turn that I didn't see coming, especially who the bad guy was. There was something that I kept wondering about, and I won't say what as to prevent spoilers, but it all made sense in the end.
 
   Mike is another author who isn't afraid to work a Christian message into his book, and this one was no exception. The message in this one was a message that would be good for all of us: Never lose faith in God. Even in the bad times, He is still there and can work things out.
 
  I had put reading the book off til close to the release date, and once I started reading it, I kept at it until I was finished, and though not everything was explained, I was left with that feeling when I finish a great book. Satisfied.
 
About the author:
 
Mike Dellosso is the author of numerous novels of suspense, including Darkness Follows, Darlington Woods, and Scream. He is an adjunct professor of writing at Lancaster Bible College and frequent contributor to Christian websites and newsletters. Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers association, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer’s Network, and FaithWriters, and he plans to join International Thriller Writers. He earned his BA degree from Messiah College and his MBS from Master’s International School of Divinity. He lives in Hanover, PA, with his wife and daughters.
 
 
And might I add, he is a great and genuine guy.
 
Check out Mike's website at MikeDellosso.com
 
Fearless is available from Realms Publishing.
 
Thanks to Mike Dellosso for the review copy
 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Nowhere to Run by Amy Wallace

What happens when the promise to protect and serve forces a police officer to do the unthinkable…?

Police Officer Ashley Walters is being stalked. Her wedding plans are interrupted by an attack on her fiancé, and a detective is shot protecting her. Ashley is forced to flee for her own safety and the lives of those she loves.

Ashley finds refuge in a Mennonite community in Shipshewana, Indiana. But even in a peaceful town among gentle people she cherishes, danger stalks. All she has left is faith. But when faith fails, what survives?

Readers who love suspense coupled with the simplicity of the Mennonite life will eagerly devour book two in the dramatic Place of Refuge series.

My review:
   Amy Wallace is an author who doesn't have nearly enough books out yet. I loved her Defenders of Hope Series, and though this series is totally different, I am really enjoying it also.

   Nowhere to Run is the second in the Place of Refuge Series, and takes up right where the first book, Hiding in Plain Sight left off. By the way, the books should be read in order. In this book, police officer Ashley Walters is trying to plan her wedding while dealing with a violent stalker. I thought the scenario of a stalker was written with great realism and actually came from the author's personal experience.

  The Mennonites and their community are also done well in the book, and doesn't seem unrealistic as so much of the Amish fiction that is so popular.

  I don't know if God is trying to hammer a message through my head or what, but this is the third book that I have recently read that dealt with the issue of faith. Of having faith in God even when things are going terribly wrong.

   This book was even better than the first in the series and kept me on the edge of my seat with the suspense and drama. I stayed up late the evening I read it so I could finish it, and it was well worth it. Amy shows you can write a great suspense novel, keep it Christian, get a great message across, and come up with a book well worth reading in the end.

Read the first chapter here.


About the author:

Amy Wallace is the author of the Place of Refuge series and the Defenders of Hope series. She is a homeschool mom, speaker, and self-confessed chocoholic. Amy is also a graduate of the Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy and a contributing author of several books, including A Novel Idea: Best Advice on Writing Inspirational Fiction and God Answers Moms’ Prayers. She lives in Georgia.

Nowhere to Run, and the first book in the series, Hiding In Plain Sight, are available from Harvest House Publishers.

Thanks to Harvest House for the review copy.

Friday, May 3, 2013

When God Makes Lemonade by Don Jacobson

Do you know someone who needs some encouragement? Perhaps that someone is you.
In When God Makes Lemonade, author Don Jacobson has collected real-life stories from around the world that show everyday folks discovering unexpected sweetness in the midst of sour circumstances. Some are funny, others are sobering, and more than a few will bring tears of amazement. But these true stories all have one thing in common: hope.

There's no question that life gives us "lemons," like issues with health, employment, and relationships. But when those lemons become lemonade, it's as refreshing as a cold drink on a hot summer day.

It's true that in life "stuff" happens, but as you'll see in these stories, Lemonade Happens too!

My review:
   I've always enjoyed books that had several stories in, especially when they are true like this one. There are 68 stories in this book by and about people who faced difficulties, and God worked through it.

   The stories are interesting, encouraging, and easy to read. The book could be filed under my "read in one sitting" category, but this is the kind of book you need to savor, read a story or two at a time, instead of just reading through it in one sitting. I very much enjoyed reading this book, and found it well written and well done. It would make an excellent gift for any reader, no matter what they normally read.

About the author:

Hi, I’m Don Jacobson, and I’m a walking, talking lemonade story.

Back in 1980, I was a happily married twenty-four-year-old who enjoyed a physically demanding job in commercial construction. I knew my future was bright, and I knew what it would take to get there: hard work, planning, and dedication.

Then, one winter night, a shooting accident changed everything. I nearly died as I lay for hours beneath a tree, but miracle after miracle happened to keep me alive—a story you can read in full in God Makes Lemonade. I spent nine agonizing days in critical condition, and nearly a month in the hospital. When I left, things looked bleak, and I could no longer physically provide for my family.
It took a while for God to turn that lemon into lemonade, but in the end it was wonderfully sweet. I began to work in Christian publishing, and the shape of my life changed forever. Now, 25 years later, I see that not being able to work with my hands forced me to work with my head and heart, and both my family and my career became better than I could ever have imagined.

My wife, Brenda, and I know that the hardships of life have molded our characters and turned us into people we would never have been apart from the pain. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade the hardest times of my life for anything, because they led me toward something better . . . something God had planned all along.

When I share my lemonade story with friends, two amazing things happen. My story inspires others and gives them hope. Then, almost without fail, my friends excitedly tell me their lemonade story, and I’m filled with inspiration and hope in return.

Recently it hit me: we all have lemonade stories—so what would happen if we could share them with the people around the world who need them most? That’s the dream of the God Makes Lemonade series: to publish true stories to encourage people in sour circumstances that God is at work making lemonade.
What’s your story?

When God Makes Lemonade is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to B&B Media for the review copy.

Past Darkness by Laurel Woiwode

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Past Darkness
Crossway (April 30, 2013)
by
Laurel Woiwode


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Laurel Woiwode graduated with honors from Jamestown College, earning a Bachelor of Arts in both English and History. She works with ESL students, writes movie reviews at reelquickie.areavoices.com, works on writing and editing projects, and is always ready for outdoor adventures. Laurel grew up in rural North Dakota, has had an avid interest in animals, nature, and literature since childhood, and she is the author of Past Darkness.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Gabrielle Larson is an average, 15 year old girl living in Chicago when tragedy strikes. In the aftermath, she is forced to relocate to rural North Dakota and henceforth spends the next chapter of her life learning to cope with trials involving everything from family to faith. Laurel Woiwode, daughter of critically acclaimed novelist Larry Woiwode, offers here a moving story that will be appreciated by female and male readers alike. Past Darkness is not preachy or heavy-handed, but rather a touching story about the importance of family, the power of music, and the ever-present mercy of God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Past Darkness, go HERE,