Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In The Field of Grace
River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2014)
by
Tessa Afshar


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


TESSA AFSHAR was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Award 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. She was born in Iran, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last thirteen years in full-time Christian work.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation.

But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor.  Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi's chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better.

Based on the biblical account of Ruth, In the Field of Grace is the story of a love that ultimately changes the course of Israel's destiny and the future of the whole world.


If you would like to read the first chapter of In The Field of Grace, go HERE.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Left Behind by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye

An airborne Boeing 747 is headed to London when, without any warning, passengers mysteriously disappear from their seats. Terror and chaos slowly spread not only through the plane but also worldwide as unusual events continue to unfold. For those who have been left behind, the apocalypse has just begun. 
A repackage of the New York Times best-selling novel Left Behind.

Now a major motion picture starring Nicolas Cage!


My review:
   It has been awhile since I read Left Behind, but I never posted a review for it, so I am posing one for the Tyndale Summer Reading program.

   I have read a lot of end times novels, and this original book in the Left Behind Series ranks near the top. I liked the characters, the drama, and felt they did a great job of depicting what the Rapture and aftermath might be like.

  I wasn't too keen on the amount of people they had become Christians after the Rapture happened though. The way this book, and the whole series portrays it, is as a last warning basically. And maybe people will become Christians after the Rapture, but I find it hard to believe it will be on the scale of this series.

  There is a lot of unbelievable things in the book, but the authors do a great job of applying the book of Revelation and breaking down the events of it in this book and the follow up. I did think they dragged the series out too long, but I'd definitely recommend reading at least this one.

About the authors:


Jerry B. Jenkins
Jerry B. Jenkins, former vice president for publishing at Moody Bible Institute of Chicago and currently chairman of the board of trustees, is the author of more than 175 books, including the best-selling Left Behind series. Twenty of his books have reached the New York Times Best Sellers List (seven in the number-one spot) and have also appeared on the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal best-seller lists.Desecration, book nine in the Left Behind series, was the best-selling book in the world in 2001. His books have sold nearly 70 million copies.

Also the former editor of Moody magazine, his writing has appeared in Time, Reader's Digest, Parade, Guideposts,Christianity Today and dozens of other periodicals. He was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 2004.

His nonfiction books include as-told-to biographies with Hank Aaron, Bill Gaither, Orel Hershiser, Luis Palau, Joe Gibbs, Walter Payton, and Nolan Ryan among many others. The Hershiser and Ryan books reached the New York Times Best Sellers List.

Jenkins assisted Dr. Billy Graham with his autobiography, Just As I Am, also a New York Times best seller. Jerry spent 13 months working with Dr. Graham, which he considers the privilege of a lifetime.

Jerry owns Jenkins Entertainment, a filmmaking company in Los Angeles, which produced the critically acclaimed movieMidnight Clear, based on his book of the same name. Seewww.Jenkins-Entertainment.com.

Jerry Jenkins also owns the Christian Writers Guild, which aims to train tomorrow's professional Christian writers. Under Jerry's leadership, the guild has expanded to include college-credit courses, a critique service, literary registration services, and writing contests, as well as an annual conference. Seewww.ChristianWritersGuild.com.

As a marriage-and-family author, Jerry has been a frequent guest on Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family radio program and is a sought-after speaker and humorist. Seewww.AmbassadorSpeakers.com.

Jerry has been awarded four honorary doctorates. He and his wife, Dianna, have three grown sons and eight grandchildren.

Check out Jerry's blog at http://jerryjenkins.blogspot.com.

Tim LaHaye

For 25 years, LaHaye pastored one of the nation's outstanding churches in San Diego, Calif., which grew to three locations.

It was during this time he also founded two accredited Christian high schools, a school system of 10 Christian schools, San Diego Christian College (formerly Christian Heritage College), and assisted Dr. Henry Morris in the founding of the Institute for Creation Research, the nation's foremost exponent of creationist materials.

LaHaye has written more than 50 non-fiction books on a wide range of subjects such as: family life, temperaments, sexual adjustment, Bible prophecy, the will of God, Jesus Christ, and secular humanism with over 13 million in print, some of which have been translated into thirty-two foreign languages. His writings are best noted for their easy-to-understand and scripturally based application of biblical principles that assist in facing and handling the challenges of life. He designed the LaHaye Temperament Analysis that has been used by over 30,000 people; many have found it to be a life-changing tool for self-improvement.

LaHaye holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Western Theological Seminary and the Doctor of Literature degree from Liberty University.

LaHaye and his wife Beverly, who is chairman of the board and founder of Concerned Women for America, have been married for over 55 years and live in southern California. They have four grown children, nine grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers

To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price she’s paid to finally feel like she’s somebody.

To Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, Abra will always be the little girl who stole his heart the night he found her, a wailing newborn abandoned under a bridge on the outskirts of Haven. Zeke and his son, Joshua—Abra’s closest friend—watch her grow into an exotic beauty. But Zeke knows the circumstances surrounding her birth etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking bad boy who proclaims his love and lures her to Tinseltown. Hollywood feels like a million miles from Haven, and naive Abra quickly learns what’s expected of an ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. But fame comes at an awful price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.

In this riveting and highly anticipated tale of temptation, grace, and unconditional love,New York Times best-selling author Francine Rivers delivers big-canvas storytelling at its very best.


My review:
   It has been years since I read a Francine Rivers novel, but my best friend raved about this, so I decided to give it a shot. I was not disappointed. This book is up there with Redeeming Love and The Atonement Child, her two best books, in my opinion.

  The book is set in the late 30's through the 50's, and Francine does a great job of developing the setting and plot for that time period. It was like stepping into the past while reading the book.

  The description of the town made me wish I lived in a town like Haven, and I loved the characters: Pastor Zeke, who was pretty much the pastor of the whole town. I loved the descriptions of his early morning walks, and although I love my pastor, found myself wishing I could go to this fictitious pastor's church. Then there is Joshua, a young man truly living a selfless Christian life, willing to wait and search for the love of his life, no matter how far she had gone. The book doesn't say so in so many words, but I felt Joshua was a picture of Christ and the way He waits and goes after His wandering children and takes us back no matter how far we had strayed. 

  And then there is Abra. A young girl who tried to find happiness in all the wrong places, while all the time it was waiting for her back home and in God.

  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and it kept me up way too late last night as I was determined to finish it before bedtime, which made bedtime be around 2 am, but I didn't regret it. I found myself stirred and reminded of what a great love we have in Christ. Whether or not the author intended this to be a picture of Jesus and the love He has for His children, or not, I walked away with that picture.

  The only complaint I have about the book, is the length of the chapters. I wish they had been a little shorter, as it would have made finding a stopping place a little easier.

About the author:


New York Times best-selling author Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, a mother of three, and an established romance novelist.

Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books and then rereleased by Multnomah Publishers in the mid-1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, set during the time of the California Gold Rush, is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the CBA's top-selling titles, and it has held a spot on the Christian best-seller list for nearly a decade.

Since Redeeming Love, Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes—all best sellers—and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. Francine's novels have been translated into over 20 different languages, and she enjoys best-seller status in many foreign countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

Francine and her husband, Rick, live in northern California and enjoy time spent with their three grown children and taking every opportunity to spoil their grandchildren. Francine uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and she desires that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life.


Bridge to Haven is available from Tyndale Publishing.
I did not receive this as a review copy, but did receive it and am reviewing it as part of their summer reading program.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Praying the Attributes of God by Ann Spangler

God Is Greater than You Think
Many people feel both drawn to God and afraid of him. How can they feel close to a perfect God whom their flawed self is incapable of pleasing?

Fortunately, God has revealed truths about himself in Scripture that can untangle our confusion. In this daily guide to studying and praying according to the attributes of God, Ann Spangler resurrects old-fashioned words like holiness, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Far from boring us, these words, when excavated for their biblical meaning, paint a thrilling vision of God that can help us experience spiritual growth in a deeper way. They can also prevent us from making the colossal mistake of concluding God is too weak, distant, or uncaring to help us when we need him.

In the tradition of her bestselling books Praying the Names of God and Women of the Bible, this new daily devotional focuses on one particular attribute each week.

Praying the Attributes of God will help you see that God is far bigger and far better than you could ever hope or suspect.


My review:

   I have the Names of God Bible that Ann Spangler edited and came out with, so when I ran across this devotional book, I figured it would be good, so I picked up a copy. There is one thing I don't like about the book, but it is rather minor: the book is set up for Mondays through Fridays, and does not have any devotionals for Saturdays and Sundays, and I wish it was a 7-day week devotional. But it is still a great devotional.

 It is set up for 17 weeks, and each week focuses on one of God's attributes. Love, goodness, patience, wisdom, etc. 

Mondays have a key Scripture passage about a specific attribute of God, some background information, and a brief Bible study about the attribute.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays have devotions to help pray specific Scripture passages that relate to the attribute.

Fridays have a reflection that helps connect the attribute to promises in the Bible, and a few other tools to use.

 I really like this devotional. It is part devotional and part Bible study as it helps you dig in more to attributes of God, and also helps you to pray. I found it very easy to read, and very helpful. The author obviously put a lot of time, study,  and effort into it, and the end result is great. It has made me want to read her other books she has out there.

About the author:


Ann Spangler is an award-winning author, publishing her first book and bestseller in 1994. She has continued to author several bestselling books, including Women of the Bible (co-authored with Jean Syswerda), Praying the Names of God, andPraying the Names of Jesus. Together her books have sold millions of copies. Her sensitivity to the ever-changing spiritual and cultural climate in which we live has enabled her to address themes of profound interest to many readers. She and her two daughters live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Praying the Attributes of God is available from Tyndale Publishing.
I bought the book on my own and am posting a review as part of their summer reading program.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Firewall by DiAnn Mills

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Firewall
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2014)
by
DiAnn Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naivetĂ© just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

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

My review:
  I haven't read a lot of DiAnn Mill's books, and after reading this one, I have to ask myself why I haven't. Christian suspense/mystery is my favorite genre' to read, and this is one of  the best books in that genre' that I have read for a long time. When I read the blurb about the book, I thought it sounded really good, and I was not disappointed.

  A good test of how good a book is for me, is if I can't put it down. There are books I can read over a period of a few days, and there are books that I read in one day or evening. Such was the case with this one. Once I started it, I just kept reading until I finished it. It has a terrific plot, great characters, and a lot of nail biting suspense, if you bite your nails. There is a lot happening in this book, but it is easy to keep track of and one doesn't get bogged down in the book.

  The author also did a fabulous job on her bad guy. I was very surprised when the identity was revealed.

   Firewall is the first book in a new series, FBI: Houston, and if this book is any indication of what the series is going to be like, it is going to be awesome.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Fight by Luke Wordley

Sam Pennington’s life has fallen apart. His father is dead. His mum’s started drinking. And now they’ve been dumped in a dismal public-housing complex in East London. Sam’s anger at his circumstances puts him on the brink of expulsion from school and into dangerous conflict with those around him.

Professional boxing trainer Jerry Ambrose has finally gotten everything together. After a turbulent early life, his newfound faith has helped him reconcile with his past and dedicate his life to helping others.

But when a brutal street fight leads Sam to Jerry’s boxing club, both their futures are thrown into question. As Jerry reaches out to Sam, an extraordinary fighting talent emerges—a talent that reopens the wounds of Jerry’s own life. Both find themselves battling what can happen to a man’s soul when his anger is channeled through his fists.

Despite wowing ringside crowds, Sam’s boxing success fails to bring him peace or happiness, while Jerry’s inner struggles threaten the very core of his beliefs. Can Sam be saved from his rage? Or will Jerry’s reawakened ambition tear them both apart?


My review:
   I hate sports, and have absolutely no interest in boxing at all, but this book intrigued me, so I decided to give it a try. Besides, there aren't that many books on the Christian fiction market specifically geared towards men, so I like to read the ones that are out there. That being said, women should enjoy this book also.

  The story is about boxing. About a teenage boy who boxing comes to almost as natural as breathing. It is also a story that shows where anger and aggression can take a person if they can't control it.

  I really liked the main character. He had major anger and aggression issues, but you just can't help feeling sorry for him and wanting him to succeed at what he is doing. His story gives a heartbreaking glimpse into what too many young men are going through for real.

 Whether I wanted to or not, I learned a lot about boxing by reading this book, and it was actually interesting. I learned about training, the different kind of matches, etc. No, I am not going to take up an interest in it, but the author did a great job of making that part of the book interesting.

  What I walked away with after reading the book are a couple of things: God can reach anyone. And we can get so involved in something, in this case training a young man to box, that we lose sight of what is important: winning people to Christ. In the book, winning became so important to one of the characters, he felt it was an imposition to tell about Jesus to someone who was begging to be told.

  I loved the book and hated to put it down last night, but I needed to get to bed. However, I did finish it after coming home from work and having supper. I felt the ending could have been drawn out a bit more, but I was far from disappointed with the ending and found tears in my eyes at the climax of Sam's story. This is a terrific read, and I am impressed with Luke Wordley's debut novel. It is one he should be proud of.

About the author:


Luke Wordley is 37 years old and lives with his family in the South of England. A passionate Christian, he has spent most of his career involved in charity work and International Development. ‘The Fight’ is Luke’s first novel.
The book was self-published in the UK in December 2011, receiving positive reviews and reaching a Christian best-seller list in Summer, 2012. Luke sold the book on a “Buy One, Give One Free” basis in the UK, with 1,000 books now having been given to around 80 prison chaplaincies in the UK -click here for more details. He also speaks regularly at church events and conferences around the UK.
In May, 2013, the worldwide rights to ‘The Fight’ were bought by major US publisher, Tyndale House, with the novel being re-published in the USA and UK in May, 2014.

Interview with the author, taken from his website. (http://www.lukewordley.com/)

Is ‘The Fight’ based on a true story or biographical in any way?
No. It’s a fictional story. I was brought up on a farm in South Essex, similar to my main character, Sam. But apart from that, there is no biographical element to the actual story. Of course, life experience informs your writing generally. In 2008, I went through a very tough time personally (see below), and elements of my experience during that period are reflected in Jerry’s journey in the book. Although the circumstances were very different, some of the broader underlying causes and emotions were similar.
Luke's self-published version - December, 2011
How did ‘The Fight’ come into existence?
I actually began writing the book twelve years ago! My wife and I spent a few months travelling before we took up new jobs. I had always dreamed of writing a novel, so I took a small laptop with me and just started writing. I had a vague theme in mind but one day the whole storyline came to me on a flight from Thailand to Australia. I wrote the first 30,000 words during that trip.
When we returned to the UK, we took up exciting new jobs running an international development charity, which was very busy and demanding. So the book was put away and I didn’t touch it for seven years. In 2009, I got it out again and wrote the rest.
Did the hiatus in writing the book help at all?
Definitely. When I was 25 years old, I was well positioned to relate to Sam’s character – a teenager in the book. However, I couldn’t have written so authentically about Jerry’s journey and struggles (in the 2nd half of the book) without the life experiences I had during the interim period – told in more detail in Breakdown to Breakthrough.
What inspired you to write fiction with a Spiritual theme?
I only became a Christian when I was 19 years old, so I missed out on any children’s Christian fiction that might have been out there.
I was quite inspired in the early years of my faith by the ‘Left Behind’ series that was popular at the time. However, I was mainly frustrated, and still am, at the seeming shortage of fiction with Christian/inspirational themes written for the UK market.
The success of ‘The Shack’ and a few other books has shown me there is a hunger for fiction with a spiritual theme. However, there still seems to be very little on the market in the UK, especially for men.
Is your book just written for a male audience?
I guess its two main characters are male and, being set in a boxing context, the book has quite a masculine theme. However, I have also received great feedback from female readers too, as many of the book’s wider themes – anger, hope, faith, ambition, – are universal to us all. It is certainly my hope though that it will be read by men and they will be inspired and encouraged in their faith.
What are your hopes for ‘The Fight’?
I hope that ‘The Fight’ will prove a cracking good read for anyone who picks up a copy. I pray it inspires and challenges readers and
Published by Tyndale - May 2014
encourages them in their walk with God. I pray it also helps to show readers the faithfulness of God however much we mess up.
Finally, I also hope ‘The Fight’ will contribute towards and possibly inspire a more vibrant Christian fiction market in the UK.
Will there ever be a sequel to The Fight?
The current book is actually only half of the original conceived story. However, when I had finished writing the current book’s climactic ending, I strongly felt that this book should finish there. I may well write the rest of Sam’s story one day, but now doesn’t quite feel the right time.
What is your next book then? 
I am currently working on a story set in the Congo region of Africa. Like with ‘The Fight’, the whole storyline just came to me one day in a kind of “whoosh”! It is an incredibly powerful story in an extraordinary setting – a region I’ve fallen in love with despite its troubles, through my previous work in Africa.
Although the storyline and setting is completely different to ‘The Fight’, and somewhat more ‘epic’ in subject and scale, the style will hopefully be similar. I try to write books that will entertain the reader and keep those pages turning, but also challenge us about our thinking and the way we live – myself most of all!

Monday, July 14, 2014

What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me? by David Platt

You may think you are a Christian—but are you sure? Jesus’ call to follow him is more than an invitation to pray a prayer. It is a summons to lose your life and find new life and ultimate joy in him. In David Platt’s book Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live he asks the question, “What did Jesus really mean when he said, ‘Follow me’?” What if we really listened to Jesus’ words and heard what he is saying? When people truly engage with Jesus’ personal invitation to follow him, everything changes, for he is worthy of all our trust and affections.

What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me? builds on the message of Follow Me to motivate readers to experience our grand purpose: to exalt the glory of God by spreading Christ’s gospel—to make disciples who are making disciples. This booklet is a great resource to share with others to discuss crucial faith questions in a personal and grace-filled manner and engage others to be disciple-makers in obedience to Jesus. Ideal for small groups or personal and mass evangelism.


My review:
  This isn't so much a book as it a booklet. It is only 4 by 6 inches and 53 pages long. This booklet builds on the message of Platt's popular book Follow Me to better break down what it means to follow Jesus. The booklet has 3 chapters:
1) The Great Invitation, which covers Jesus' call to the disciples to follow Him, and how that call is for us today
2) The Great Cost, which covers the cost the disciples paid to follow Christ, and what it can cost us to follow Him
3) The Great Change, which covers the change that is in us and should be in us when we become a follower of Jesus

   The booklet isn't long, but it has a lot of good information in it. This would be a good tool to give to someone who isn't a Christian, as it outlines what it means to follow Jesus in simple terms anyone could understand.

  I found it interesting and helpful, but if you have read the book Follow Me, it won't add much to what the book said.

About the author: 



avid Platt is deeply devoted to Christ and His Word. David's first love in ministry is disciple-making – the simple, biblical model of teaching God's Word, mentoring others and sharing faith. He has traveled extensively to teach the Bible alongside church leaders throughout the United States and around the world. Atlanta natives, he and his wife Heather, made their home in New Orleans, until they were displaced by flooding following Hurricane Katrina, in 2005. In 2006 David became the Pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama.A life-long learner, David has earned two undergraduate and three advanced degrees. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (A.B.J.) from the University of Georgia, and a Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theology (Th.M) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has previously served at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as Dean of Chapel and Assistant Professor of Expository Preaching and Apologetics, and as Staff Evangelist at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans. David is the author of Follow MeRadical, and Radical Together. David is married to Heather and they are the parents of four children, Caleb, Joshua, Mara Ruth, and Isaiah.

 

  

Murder At the Mikado by Julianna Deering

When a celebrated ACTOR IS FOUND MURDERED IN HIS DRESSING ROOM, all signs point to Drew's old flame. But behind the curtains nothing is what it seems and this quickly becomes hisMOST puzzling case YET.
Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has calmed down some, Fleur Landis, a former girlfriend, reappears, in dire need of his help. She's married now, no longer an actress--but the lead actor in her former troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect.

Drew would rather focus on his fiancée, Madeline Parker, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur and her family in the lurch--even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline begin investigating, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. It seems nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between.

Both the murder case and the presence of the beautiful, exotic Fleur put a heavy strain on Drew and Madeline's relationship. Will their still-young romance survive the pressure?

My review:
  I have really enjoyed this series. It is rare on the Christian market to find books where a man is the main character of the story, especially when the books are written by a female author. My hat is off to Juliana Deering for doing so.

  This is the third, and I assume final book in the Drew Farthering Mystery Series, and may be the best one yet. Amid wedding preparations, the main character and his fiancee' get pulled into another mystery. As the bodies pile up, they try to help the local police department solve it as they try to finalize their wedding plans.

  This book was great on the mystery element. There were several suspects, and I could not narrow it down who the bad guy - or women - was. As with the other two books in the series, this book is set in England in the 1950's, and is reminiscent of mysteries from that time period such as Agatha Chyristie, Sherlock Holmes, etc. There is none of the modern day methods of solving crimes, which I would think would make it more challenging to write a story, but the author pulls it off remarkably well. She came up with a great plot, and spun a very suspenseful mystery around it with her familiar characters from the other two books, along with some new ones.

  I have read more suspenseful novels, but this was a very enjoyable read and a nice change from the more modern suspense novels I read. I highly recommend the series, and they should be read in order.

About the author:


Julianna Deering has always loved British history and literature and is particularly a fan of the classic mysteries written by Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas and now works for an attorney specializing in wills and estate planning. She lives outside Dallas, Texas, where she loves to quilt, cross-stitch, and watch hockey. Learn more at www.juliannadeering.com.

Murder At the Mikado is available from Bethany House Publishers, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

A Deadly Business by Lis Wiehl and April Henry

A prosecutor of violent criminals. A detective on a dangerous beat. When these two pros take on an off-the-books case, the line between professional and personal becomes perilously blurred.

When a twenty-two-year-old convict walks into the courtroom, his eyes confirm what Mia Quinn already guesses: he blames her for his conviction. In seconds, he knocks her to the ground and holds a razor blade to her throat. While she manages to escape without injury, it's just one more reminder that Mia's job prosecuting Seattle's s most dangerous criminals is far from low risk.

As a single mom, the last thing Mia wants is for her work to follow her home - or discover that it already has.

Now Detective Charlie Carlson is suggesting the very thing Mia doesn't want to believe--that her accountant husband's deadly car accident was no accident at all. When Mia and Charlie encounter resistance to reopening the case, they take the investigation into their own hands. And they find much more than they bargained for.

Was Mia's husband more than an accountant . . . and less than an honest man? As the truth becomes more shocking and the case grows more complex, her husband's killers take note of Mia . . . and her children. How far will this prosecutor go to learn the truth about her husband--and how far will she have to go to protect her family? 


My review:
  I hesitate to label this as Christian fiction, as there is barely any Christian content, but it is clean, has no bad language, and has a Christian worldview and morals, so it is definitely different from most of the secular fiction out there.


  Lis Wiehl writes a wide variety of books, and always manages to pull of a great read no matter what the subject matter is. This is the second book in a series, and picks up where the first book left off, with more coming to light with the main character's dead husband's activities. There was also another plot going on at the same time, and although I felt the husband angle was brought to a satisfying conclusion, I did feel the authors left the reader hanging a bit with the other part of the story.

  It was a suspenseful read with a lot of action, drama, and mystery. I like it when I can't pinpoint who the guilty party is, and I couldn't figure it out in this book. I did enjoy the book, but would enjoy seeing a little more Christian content in these books.

About the authors:


Lis Wiehl is a New York Times best-selling author, Harvard Law School graduate, and former federal prosecutor. A popular legal analyst and commentator for the Fox News Channel, Wiehl appears on The O'Reilly Factor and Imus in the Morning, and was co-host with Bill O'Reilly on the radio for seven years.


April Henry: I write mysteries and thrillers. I live in Portland, Oregon with my family.
When I was 12, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He took it to lunch and showed it to the editor of an international children's magazine - and she asked to publish the story! (For no money, which might have been a warning about how hard it is to make a living writing.)

My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years are now thankfully a blur. Now I'm very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 13 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into four languages, been named to state reading lists, and short-listed for the Oregon Book Award. And Face of Betrayal, which I co-wrote with Lis Wiehl, was on the New York Times bestseller list for four weeks.
I also review literary fiction, YA literature, and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and have written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.


A Deadly Business is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing. Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Persecuted: I Will Not Be Silent by Robin Parrish, with a giveaway

"The framers of our Constitution meant we were to have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion." --Reverend Billy Graham The Question Is Not If Attempts Will Be Made 
to Limit Religious Freedoms, But When. 
And When That Day Comes, Will You Stay Silent? 


A storm is coming. 


The most popular evangelist of his day, John Luther, simply wants to share the Gospel and enjoy a quiet life with his family. He never asked to be at the center of a political controversy, but an ill wind has been blowing through the halls of Congress, and supporters of a new religious-equality bill see Luther's endorsement as critical. 


But when Luther refuses to lend his support, he unknowingly sets in motion an explosive plan bent on destroying his reputation and undermining everything for which he stands. His once-normal life is turned upside down as he becomes a fugitive left with only one dangerous option--putting everything he holds most dear at risk while he fights to expose the truth. It is a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that could threaten the very fabric of our nation's freedoms.


My review:

   This book was on my wish list, and then I got the chance to review it, so I of course grabbed it. It is based on the movie of the same name that will be releasing later this month. 

  The story wasn't quite what I expected. I was expecting it to be about Christians being persecuted, but it is about one man being in the way of legislation that could open the door for the persecution of Christians. The events in  the book may seem a bit extreme, but with the corruptness of politicians, it isn't that much of a stretch to imagine that politicians could set up and frame someone who is in the way of what they want done. It has been done before, and will be done again.

   I really liked the main character. Sometimes preachers who are well known, have a big church and a large following, can seem shallow and self absorbed, but the preacher in this story was the real deal, and is the kind of people who will be in the way of the government some day.

   This was a very enjoyable read. It had a lot of action and suspense, something I love, and had some great characters throughout the story. It was entertaining, yet also a sobering warning of where we could go as a country, and of where we are heading day by day.

About the author:


Novelist. Journalist. Pop culture guru.

Just a few words to describe Robin Parrish, a culturally-minded writer with a passion for archetypal mythologies and the truths they represent about the nature of our existence.

Robin is the author of Bethany House Publishers' suspense thrillers, The Dominion Trilogy: Relentless,Fearless, and Merciless; the just-released scifi epic Offworld, and the upcoming supernatural thrillerNightmare.

He's been a journalist for more than fourteen years, covering all aspects of pop culture and entertainment. This gives him a unique viewpoint as a novelist: his love for great storytelling across all mediums informs his writing in ways few other novelists can claim. Alongside books, he cites among his most prominent influences television shows, comic books, and movies, and the creative minds behind some of the most innovative fiction being produced today.

Persecuted: I Will Not Be Silent is available from Bethany House Publishers.
Thanks to FlyBy Promotions for the review copy and giveaway copy.

Check out the website  and Facebook page for the movie.

Giveaway:
   Courtesy of FlyBy Promotions, I have one copy of the book Persecuted: I Will Not Be Silent to give away to one winner.

To enter, do one of the following:
1) "Like" the Facebook page for the movie, and comment on this post saying you did.
2) Watch the movie trailer, comment on this post saying you did.
3) Comment and say if you have read any books by Robin Parrish, and if so, name one.

I will pick a winner using Random.org 2 weeks from today on July 23.