Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Weaver's Needle by Robin Caroll

Book description:

Two recovery specialists.
One murder.
A hunt for the Dutchman's Lost Gold Mine becomes a race of survival.

Former Army MP Landry Parker fell into the recovery specialist role quite by accident—to help her ailing father. Now that she’s on her own, she is determined to prove herself and honor her family legacy.

After being shot in the line of duty, former police officer Nickolai Baptiste became a recovery specialist, and he’s good at his job—maybe even the best.
           
A potential client pits Landry and Nickolai against one another to find the Dutchman’s Lost Gold Mine map that was stolen from her murdered husband, and the potential payday is too enticing to pass up. The trail takes them from New Orleans to Weaver’s Needle in Arizona where legend claims the mine is hidden. Landry and Nickolai are no strangers to adventure, but the unlikely partners quickly discover there’s someone after the treasure and there are those who want to ensure the lost mine in Arizona’s Superstition Mountain stays lost forever.

Can Landry and Nickolai work together despite their distrust of each other to save the legend before more innocent lives are lost? Will they find the real treasure isn’t the gold, but something more valuable. . .true love and understanding?

My review:

 What do you get when you throw together a treasure hunt, romance, Indian folklore, and a competition to find a treasure map? An awesome book, that is what you get...... though it took more than tossing those things together. There is some quality writing here.

 I have been a fan of Robin Caroll's books since I first discovered her when she was writing for Broadman and Holman Publishing. I liked and eagerly read everything she wrote. It has been a while since she has written anything, so I was excited to see this book coming...... and was not disappointed after the seemingly endless wait. This is possibly her best, and that is saying a lot.

 I loved the characters and their interplay, especially the main two. You knew they were going to fall for each other, even though they were competitors, but it was still fun to read about. I love a good treasure hunt story, and that aspect of the book really kept my interest, made all the more captivating by the attempts to stop the dynamic duo from finishing their quest.

 The suspense was top notch, and I wasn't sure who the bad guy was for most of the book, though I was not surprised at his identity.

 Caroll also did a great job of describing the settings for her novel, and it made me want to go explore and look for hidden treasure also.

 Though the book is fictional, it IS based on a true treasure, which made the story more appealing.

 To sum it up: Awesome book, and I enjoyed every page of it. Robin has done herself and Christian fiction proud with her latest novel.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.



About the author:


Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year. To learn more about this author of deep South mysteries of suspense to inspire your heart.


Check out her website.

Weaver's Needle is available from Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Books.

Thanks to Barbour and the author for the review copy.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

52 Amazing Things That Became True of You The Moment You Trusted Christ by Stephen Kuhn

Book description:


The Bible uses many different words to describe what happens to people when they trust Christ. The most common phrase is "in Christ." But what exactly does that mean? This compact book unpacks 52 key verses from Scripture that reveal God's answer to the question of a Christian's true identity. Here is a unique, one-of-kind collection with in-depth commentary and life application insight to help readers discover the full depth of what God has already changed in believers. Changes that are already done.


My review:

 I like all sorts of books, but really enjoy ones like these. They can be read at one sitting, or read a chapter or two at a time.

  The author came up with a neat idea and made it into this book. Backed up with Scripture, there are 52 things that become true of us when we become Christians. I don't agree with him on all 52, as he is a Calvinist and I am not.... but he still did a great job of compiling what I feel to be mostly true things that are true of us at that point.

  I liked the author's writing style, and did enjoy the book.....even the parts I disagreed with.

  I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Stephen Kuhn has been leading recovery groups, speaking at college campuses, and providing free online counseling through Belt of Truth Ministries ever since he got steamrolled by Jesus and set free from the chains of porn addiction. His passion is to allow God to use the story of redemption in his life to encourage other men to seek healing through the work of Christ as well.

Like most native Oregonians, Stephen enjoys a good rain shower and probably drinks too much coffee. He spends his weekends hiking, climbing, and skiing, but his greatest joy is playing dress-up with his daughters.


"52 Amazing Things" is available from Faith Words, part of the Hachette Book Group. Thanks to Hachette for the review copy.

Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman

An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman's riveting romantic suspense novel. 

Each day could be her last...but not if he can help it.

Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan--to stay alive for another day. She knows he's coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started.

Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months--to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf's bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they'll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.

My review:

  I have read a couple of books by Susan Sleeman, and liked what I read. This is her first trade paperback full length novel, her others being mass market paperbacks. I was happy to see she was coming out with a full length trade paperback novel, and I was not disappointed.

 What I liked about the book:

The plot; It fit with the modern day ISIS acts of terror. It was different enough of a plot that it didn't sound juts like other books or other plots by terrorists.

The suspense: This was a very suspenseful read. You knew who the bad guy was from the start of the book...everyone knew, but the attempts to catch him while protecting the woman he was trying to kill kept me turning pages to find out what was going to happen next.

The characters: I liked the whole FBI team. They all had unique personalities that Sleeman took time to cultivate and describe. I liked the main two characters the best of course, and was rooting for their romance. I am guessing there will be other books centering around the other FBI agents....I am hoping so. :)

 I even liked the bad guy...... not in an admire sort of way, he was just a great bad guy.

The faith aspect: Both main characters had trust issues with God, something I and many others can relate to. I appreciated that part of the story and it added a lot to the plot.

  Sleeman tied all of these things together to make a pulse pounding novel of suspense that I thoroughly enjoyed, and it had a great ending worthy of such a great book.


About the author:

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a bestselling author of inspirational and clean read romantic suspense and mystery books. With over twenty-five books in print, readers love her Justice Agency, First Responders, and Agents Under Fire series for the well-drawn characters and edge-of-your-seat action. As a graduate of the FBI, city and county police academies, her research is spot on and her characters are real. Awards include Romantic Times Best Book, Swoony award winner, Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and EPIC Award finalist.

In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website.In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website TheSuspenseZone.com. She currently lives in Oregon with her husband, but has lived in nine states. They have two daughters, a son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.

Connect with Susan at:
Her Website - http://www.susansleeman.com
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/SusanSleemanB
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/susansleeman
Review Site - http://www.TheSuspenseZone.com


  Fatal Mistake is available from Faith Words, part of the Hachette book group.

Thanks to Hachette for the review copy.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Forensic Faith by J. Warner Wallace

About the book:

Why Are You A Christian?

J. Warner Wallace has asked this question in churches across America over the past several years, and the answer he gets is often disappointing; it's almost always rooted in some sort of personal, subjective experience. As a community, we Christians aren't typically prepared to make the case for why we believe Christianity is true from the objective evidence of history, philosophy or science. Worse yet, many of us don't think we have any obligation to do so.

Forensic Faith helps readers:
understand why they have a duty to defend the truth

develop a training strategy to master the evidence for Christianity

learn how to employ the techniques of a detective to discover new insights from God's Word

become better communicators by learning the skills of professional case makers

With real-life detective stories, fascinating strategies, and biblical insights, Wallace teaches readers cold-case investigative disciplines they can apply to their Christian faith. Forensic Faith is an engaging, fresh look at what it means to be a Christian.

My review:

  This is one of the most unique books I have read and reviewed. One of my first thoughts was "what a cool book!" Using his law experience, the author uses investigative methods to investigate Christianity and why we are Christians, and why it is true.

  He also gives methods for the reader to further investigate our faith and God's Word.  This approach is very novel and different, but I found myself reading on and learning in a very enjoyable way how not to only understand my faith better, but to also defend it better. This book is a great apologetics resource that approaches apologetics from a more fun and interesting way than the average book on the market.

 I found the book interesting, enjoyable, and very helpful. I highly recommend it.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, popular national speaker and best-selling author. He continues to consult on cold-case investigations while serving as a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He is also an adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University and a faculty member at Summit Ministries. J. Warner was a conscientious and vocal atheist until the age of thirty-five, when he took a serious and expansive look at the evidence for the Christian Worldview and determined that Christianity was demonstrably true. After becoming a Christ follower in 1996, Jim continued to take an evidential approach to truth as he examined the Christian worldview. He eventually earned a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

J. Warner served as a Youth Pastor for several years, then planted a church in 2006. Along the way, he created and built the Cold-Case Christianity website, blog and podcast as a place to post and talk about what he discovered related to the evidence supporting Christianity. Jim has appeared on television and radio, explaining the role that evidence plays in the Christian definition of “faith” and defending the historicity of Jesus, the reliability of the Bible and the truth of the Christian worldview. Jim also speaks at churches, retreats and camps as he seeks to help people become confident Christian case makers. J. Warner’s book, Cold-Case Christianity, provides readers with ten principles of cold case investigations and utilizes these principles to examine the reliability of the gospel eyewitness accounts. In God’s Crime Scene, he investigates eight pieces of evidence in the universe to make the case for God’s existence.

J. Warner’s professional investigative work has received national recognition; his cases have been featured more than any other detective on NBC’s Dateline, and his work has also appeared on CourtTV and Fox News. He also appears on television as an investigative consultant (most recently on truTV) and had a role in God’s Not Dead 2, making the case for the historicity of Jesus. J. Warner was awarded the Police and Fire Medal of Valor “Sustained Superiority” Award for his continuing work on cold-case homicides, and the CopsWest Award after solving a 1979 murder. Relying on over two decades of investigative experience, J. Warner provides his readers and audiences with the tools they will need to investigate the claims of Christianity and make a convincing case for the truth of the Christian worldview.



Forensic Faith is available from David C Cook Publishing.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy.



 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Heart-Shaped Life Daily Devotional by Karen Moore

Book description:

Inspiration for a Heart-Shaped Life
  
What if you could see the world through the lens of the heart moment by moment?
What if God inspired you to walk “heart first” into every life event and circumstance, no matter what it was?
What if love was your number one priority? Love of God, love of others, and love of yourself? 

Inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:2: "If I had the gift of prophecy and knew all about what is going to happen in the future, knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would it do?" . . .the Heart-Shaped Life series will encourage you to live life “heart first.” 

The Heart-Shaped Life Daily Devotional provides refreshing thoughts, prayers, and scripture selections to help you discover the best path to the good life. . .which is all about LOVE! 

My review:

  When I first saw this devotional, I thought it was for women. It has that look. However, after looking through it and reading several of the daily devotionals in it, I can say it is for men and women both.

 This IS a 365 day devotional, plus it has one for Leap Year, February 29. Each day has a title, followed by a Scripture verse, then the actual devotional, and ending with a short prayer. An aside: I like the looks of each page, a lot of red and blue.

 Each devotional is centered around love in some sort of day, and the author does a great job of getting a whole year out of that one topic..... but it is something we need.

 I found the devotionals I read very encouraging, interesting, and helpful in this area of loving God, others, and even myself. I definitely recommend it - for men and women.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


About the author:

Karen Moore is an award-winning author of over sixty published books. Her numerous books for children, include "How Noah Knew What to Do" illustrated by renowned artist Pete Kersten, and two books for the Little Angels series with Roma Downey. She works to develop children's books and specialty concepts for several publishers.

Karen's inspirational and devotional books cover a wide range of topics and include daily devotionals and gift book formats. Karen is a regular author with Christians Art Gifts and has published with Simon & Schuster, Faith Words, Thomas Nelson and Abingdon Press. She has written several books for teens and tweens including one for Joyce Meyer.

Karen also utilizes her writing talents as a greeting card professional. She teaches a six session course on greeting card writing and has published nearly ten thousand greeting cards over the years. Karen works with American Greetings, DaySpring Cards, and other publishers to develop card lines and concepts.

Karen is a much sought after writing conference speaker and a mentor for authors and other aspiring artists. Karen addresses a variety of inspirational, motivational, and practical writing tips to writer's groups and other specialty groups across the country.

Karen holds a Master's Degree in Education and has taught both in grade schools and in colleges.



The Heart-Shaped Life is available from Shiloh Publishing, an imprint of Barbour Books.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Local Poet by Paul Trembling

Book description:


Rob Seaton Killed a Woman.

Rob doesn't know Laney Grey. But when she steps out in front of his van and dies on impact, his life will never be the same. He has to know who she was, why she chose to die, and why he had to be part of her death.

To understand her, he must learn to read her poetry. To know her, he must unravel the mysteries of her past. As Laney's dark secret starts to come to light, and authorities get involved, Rob must learn the full truth and quickly.

But truth comes at a cost and someone must pay...will Rob be the one?


My review:

  I had a little trouble liking and getting into this book at first..... it just was kind of weird. However, the further I read, the more I got  into the book and actually liked it after all.

  The author came up with a unique plot: a man hitting and killing a woman he didn't know, then trying to learn as much about her as he could through her poems.

 I found myself liking the main character a lot. To imagine through this fictional guy the emotions you may go through if you were in his shoes, was interesting. I am not into poetry, so I found most of the poems odd, but they did add to the story.

 The bad guys, shooting, and crime came as a surprise.....a welcome surprise, since I like suspense and mystery.

 There was a surprise ending and everything made sense at the end.

 I was disappointed in some bad language, but there was not a lot of it. Over all, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

I was give a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:



Paul Trembling got into the habit of making up stories before he could read or write. Since then, he’s followed a diverse career path, being at various times a seaman, a missionary, a janitor, and a crime scene investigator―but he’s never broken the story-making habit, and has no plans to try.



Local Poet is available from Lion Publishing, an imprint of Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.

Monday, May 1, 2017

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

Book description:

Hope grows when seeds are planted---even in the muddy middle of life.

Josiah Chamberlain's life's work revolves around repairing other people's marriages. When his own is threatened by his wife's unexplained distance, and then threatened further when she's unexpectedly plunged into an unending fog, Josiah finds his expertise, quick wit and clever quips are no match for a relationship that is clearly broken. 

Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what's left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?

My review:

   I normally don't read books by this author, as she writes romance. However, I read a Christmas novel by her that I really enjoyed, so I decided to give this book a try. I like it a lot. Possibly because it focuses a lot on the male character, so it reads more like a man's book, in my opinion.

 Due to something I won't give away because of spoilers, the female lead is not active in the book much, so most of the interplay is between the male lead and other characters in the book. The book is a great read, and the author does a great job of showing what can break down a marriage, and the steps people should take to fix it.

 I liked the main character, Josiah, a lot. He had messed up badly, but when dealt a major curve ball, he stuck with his wife and was by her side for days, even when she was not responsive to him or anyone else.

 This is an encouraging and interesting read that shows God can work even when humans have messed up. Definitely 5 stars.

 And an aside: A coworker saw this book at work and asked to read it, She said she loves the author's books. After I loaned it to her, she discovered it was not the author she thought - Jodi Piccoult, but she still very much enjoyed the book and cried at the end - as did I.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She's the award-winning author of 17 books and a frequent speaker for women's ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin.


Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.



  When your life's work revolves around repairing other people's marriages, what happens when your own marriage begins to fall apart? Find out what happens to Josiah Chamberlain in Cynthia Ruchti's new book, A Fragile Hope. Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what's left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?

Celebrate the release of A Fragile Hope by entering to win Cynthia's Sign of Hope Giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 3. The winner will be announced May 4 on the Litfuse blog.

Think Again by Jared Mellinger

Evaluating yourself---being mindful of who you are and what you are doing---is necessary and can lead to positive change. But what about the dark side of introspection? Do you ever feel weighed down and exhausted by your own self-analysis? Perhaps you made a mistake, said a careless word, or even messed up big time. Your self-examination spirals into a full-blown cross-examination. You keep revisiting what happened. Your mind circles around the event, fruitlessly trying to somehow make the outcome different so you don't feel the embarrassment, shame, and regret.

The modern self-esteem movement has left us empty and self-focused. We exhaust our healthy introspection and pervert it into constant self-evaluation, wrong views of ourselves, self-accusation, and false guilt. Introspection was never meant to bear such weight.

Think Again offers real relief from the burden of introspection that so many of us carry each day. Pastor Jared Mellinger, who tends to overdose on self-analysis himself, shows us how the hope of the gospel can rescue us from the bad fruit of unsound introspection. Mellinger's short, story-filled chapters help readers identify and turn away from unhealthy introspection.

There is an outward-focused God who delights to rescue an inward-focused people and lead them into a better way to live. When we truly understand it, we'll see that the gospel actually sets us free from thinking about ourselves too much. 

Book review:

   I am guilty of thinking too much, especially when it comes to things about me. This book sounded like it was written for someone like me, and it indeed was.

 The book is written in an easy to read and interesting style, and the author does a great job of tackling this subject of too much introspection. He shows why it is bad, when the best times to do some introspection is, and when not to do it.

 The part where he addressed false guilt was very helpful to me, as this is a big tripping point for me.

 If you are someone who second guesses yourself constantly, feels guilty for things you should not, and spends way too much time evaluating yourself...... this is a book for you. Mellinger gives some great helpful advice on how to think, but not to think too much, and to get out of the habit of beating oneself up so much. I highly recommend it.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:




Jared Mellinger is the senior pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church. Jared graduated from Kutztown University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education. He enjoys reading, rollerblading, poetry, drinking coffee, building fires, and listening to Josh Garrels. Jared resides in Glen Mills, PA with his wife Meghan and their six children.



Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Simplest Way to Change the World by Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements

How to make disciples using hospitality

Deep down, every Christian wants to make a difference. But for many of us, the years come and go and we never do. The good news is: change can be as simple as opening your front door.

The Simplest Way to Change the World is about biblical hospitality and its power for the gospel. Since people will sooner enter a living room than a church, hospitality is a natural and effective way to build relationships for Christ. You’ll learn:


How the home can be a hub for community
How hospitality leads to joy, purpose, and belonging
How it grows families to love the things of God
How it’s not about being the perfect host
How to be hospitable regardless of your living space
Hospitality is a beautiful legacy of the church, and a great way to make disciples. As you open your life up to others, you share in the very character of God and experience His joy. And you get to witness lives change—including your own.

Includes 20+ creative ideas for hospitality, plus questions for small groups.

My review:

  I thought this sounded like a neat book to review, and I feel it is something we Christians need to do better at as individuals AND as a church.

 The book is very well-written, and the authors write in an easy to understand/interesting style. They have the book split up into two sections: The Potential, and The Plan. The first part explains the need for hospitality and how it can be used to win people to God. The second part puts it into a plan form to show how to put those things into practice.

 I have long felt my church, and many others, need to do a better job in this area. Too many people visit churches and are hardly noticed or made to feel welcome. There are many people who would go to church if they were asked. This is a book that could help with these issues if taken to heart and used.

 At the end of the book is a 6-week study guide so the book can be used for a group or individual study. It also has over 20 ideas for hospitality.

 I enjoyed reading the book. The authors have a lot of great ideas, and it is obvious they are passionate about this subject. I highly recommend it to those interested in using hospitality in their lives and churches to reach the lost.

About the authors:



DUSTIN WILLIS lives in metro Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Renie, and their two children, Jack and Piper. Dustin serves as the coordinator of the Send Network. Before moving to Atlanta, Dustin planted and pastored Midtown Fellowship in downtown Columbia, South Carolina. Find him at @dustinwillis on Twitter.




BRANDON CLEMENTS is pastor at Midtown Fellowship in Columbia, South Carolina. He has been married to his college sweetheart, Kristi, for nine years and they have three children: Sully, Jeremiah, and Isla. Brandon currently blogs at www.DearBibleBelt.com and has previously published a novel, Every Bush is Burning.



The Simplest Way to Change the World is available from Moody Publishing.

Thanks to Moody for  the review copy.

How to Overcome Worry by Dr Winfred Neely

Scripture’s cure for the worry epidemic 

Do you struggle with worry or anxious thoughts on a regular basis? Does your mind get fixated on the same concern over and over? Do you know you should stop worrying but repeatedly fail to do so?

How to Overcome Worry presents a biblical and practical strategy for this exact problem. Dr. Winfred Neely, who has experienced his fair share of anxiety-inducing circumstances, walks you through Philippians 4:6–7 to help you:


Understand the difference between concern and worry
Use prayer as a means of grace to overcome worry
Cultivate gratitude and thanksgiving as an antidote to worry
Navigate changing seasons and circumstances without falling into worry
Employ practical strategies for experiencing the peace of God
Worry is one of the top issues in our world today, even among Christians, and this concise and biblical approach will offer real solutions. In His Word, God tells us to stop worrying, pray about everything, and expect His peace. This is a true promise of Scripture, and this book will help you to lay hold of it.

My review:

 I worry. A lot. When I saw this small book available for review, I knew I had to review it. I needed it, and a lot of other people need it.

 It isn't a big book, coming in at 109 pages, and measuring smaller than the average book also.  But don't let that fool you. Worry is a big topic, but the author fit a lot about it in this small book. He starts out the book discussing worry, and then goes into practical and Biblical ways to combat it.

 The book ends with three appendixes: The first is a pattern for prayer, the second contains Scriptures to combat worry, and the third has questions to consider.

 This is an easy to read book that has some very valuable and Biblical help for combating worry. I found it very helpful, as will anyone else will who struggles with worrying.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


WINFRED NEELY (B.A., D.Min. Trinity International University; M.A. Wheaton) is currently working towards an advanced research degree in Old Testament at the University of Bristol, England. He is an ordained minister of the Gospel and a full time professor of hermeneutics, homiletics, and pastoral studies at Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Prior to joining the faculty at Moody, Winfred served churches in the City of Chicago and is currently interim pastor of the Judson Baptist Church in Oak Park, IL. He brings to his ministry a global perspective, having served as a missionary/pastor in Senegal, West Africa for nine years. He is also involved in a global equipping ministry, speaking and conducting workshops and training events at churches and conferences in the US and abroad. He and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren. He takes acting classes from time to time and is an ardent fan of science fiction films such as Star Wars and Star Trek.


How to Overcome Worry is available from Moody Publishing.

Thanks to Moody for the review copy.

Beyond Justice by Cara Putman

Hayden McCarthy is on track to become the youngest partner in her prestigious D.C. law firm . . . if the case she's just been handed doesn't destroy her first.


Hayden McCarthy knows firsthand the pain when justice is not served. It's why she became an attorney and why she's so driven in her career. When she's handed a wrongful death case against the government, she isn't sure if it's the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership—or an attempt to make sure she never gets there. She keeps the case alive through sheer determination and more than a little creativity, but then she's fired by a partner with a vendetta.


Further complicating matters, Hayden keeps finding herself completely distracted by Andrew, her roommate's cousin. But his father is a Congressman and she's currently taking on the government. Could the timing be any worse?


The longer she keeps the case active, the higher the stakes become. Unknown enemies seem determined to see either the case—or her—die. Should she fight alone for the dead young man by launching her own un-financed firm, or abandon the case in order to save her own life?

My review:

  I don't believe I have read anything by Cara Putman before that I know of. This book was a great book to start with. I have been hearing a lot of good about this book, and had a few of my book-loving friends assure me I would love it. They were correct.

 This was a great read, and I mean great. The plot, the suspense, the drama, the characters...... they all meshed to make a great story that I didn't want to put down. Unfortunately, I was reading it on a few of my lunch breaks, so I had to put it down. Today, I was off and had the luxury of being able to finish it.

 Though the boo is definitely suspense, it could also be classified as a legal thriller, which is a genre' I also like.

 I am all for improving our immigration system, and have little sympathy for those crossing illegally. I could be wrong, but I felt the author was coming from a liberal viewpoint on immigration. Regardless, if the conditions described in this fictional novel do exist for juveniles caught illegally crossing into our country, we do need to work on that.

 There were some surprises, which I like in a book. It isn't too enjoyable if you see everything coming, but you don't have that in Beyond Justice. Putman really took the suspense aspect to the nth degree, and she had me turning pages as fast as I could read to see what was going to happen next.

 I liked the main characters a lot, and was hoping the slowly blossoming romance would happen.... it actually complemented the story very well.

 I was quite happy with the ending of the book, and felt  the few hours I read this novel were well spent. I highly recommend it.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Cara C. Putman lives in Indiana with her husband and four children. She’s an attorney and a teacher at her church as well as lecturer at Purdue. She has loved reading and writing from a young age and now realizes it was all training for writing books. She loves bringing history and romance to life.

An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska, George Mason University School of Law, and Krannert School of Management, Cara left small town Nebraska and headed to Washington, D.C., to launch her career in public policy.

Cara is an author chasing hard after God as she lives a crazy life. She invites you to join her on that journey. She's currently writing her 25th book with more on the way. Please check out her website to learn more about her books and read first chapters.


Beyond Justice is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Gifts from Heaven: True Stories of Miraculous Answers to Prayer by James Stuart Bell

Book description: 

Remarkable True Stories of Miraculous Answers to Prayer

Many people pray, but some don't really believe that God is listening. Answers to prayer can be so small and ordinary that they go unnoticed. But every so often we are powerfully reminded that God does indeed hear and answer prayer. What begins with simple faith and a basic prayer from an average Christian ends with an astounding gift from our loving heavenly Father. 
In this new collection, ordinary people recount miraculous answers to prayer--things that could only happen with God's supernatural intervention, such as unexplainable healings and amazing protection in life-threating situations. This book will inspire you to believe that God can answer even your most seemingly impossible prayers, fulfilling your deepest needs and biggest dreams.

My review:

  I have always enjoyed books that had multiple short stories in. They make for great reading when you are reading in small spurts. And when it is a book like this full of true miraculous stories, that makes it all the better.

  Sometimes it seems none of our prayers are getting answered, and it is easy to overlook the ones that are getting answered. It is good to hear of or read about answers to prayer other people have had as it can be encouraging to oneself.

 This book has a lot of answers to prayer in it. There are around forty stories of answers to prayer in this book. They are by both men and women from all walks of life. Some are big answers to prayer, and others may seem small, but they are all true and miraculous.

 James Stuart Bell did a great job of compiling these stories and telling them in his own words. They are interesting, encouraging, and easy to read. I was encouraged and convicted as I read these stories and realized how easy I give up on praying for some things. Sure, God may not answer in the way I want Him to, but I give up too easily.

 I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially to those who feel like their prayers are not getting answered. This may be the boost of encouragement those people need.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


James Stuart Bell is the owner of Whitestone Communications, a literary development agency. He consults with numerous publishers, represents various authors, and provides writing and editing services. He has previously served as executive editor at Moody Press, director of religious publishing at Doubleday, and publisher at Bridge Publishing. He also has more than one hundred books with cover credit. He coauthored the best-selling Complete Idiot's Guide to the Bible (more than 300,000 sold) and numerous other Christian guides in that series for the Penguin Group. He has also contributed numerous Christian volumes to the best-selling Cup of Comfort series by Adams Media.


Gifts from Heaven: True Stories of Miraculous Answers to Prayer is available from Bethany House Publishers.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.




   


Pursued, Nikki Boyd Files #3 by Lisa Harris

Book description:

Nikki Boyd's flight into Nashville was routine--up until the crash landing at the airport. When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing--and no one will admit she was ever there. Erika Hamilton had been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial. When she flees from the crash, is she running from trouble or straight into it? Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects.


My review:

   I have really enjoyed this series, and am hoping there is at least one more. It was not obvious by the way the book ended if the series is over or not.

  This book had far more mystery, suspense, and action than the previous two books. I actually feared the book was going to be slow and boring, and how wrong I was. It took a while for the action and suspense to start, but the book really took off when it did start. I found myself reading as fast as I could to see what would happen next. Bodies were piling up, and I was wondering if anyone was going to be left alive by the end of the book, but there were some.

 The romantic parts of a book like this aren't always of interest to me, it depends on how the author approaches it. I found myself hoping the one in this series would work out, and it came to a satisfying end.

 This book does tend to be more violent than the others, but I still enjoyed it a lot. I made the mistake of starting it on my work lunch break, and had to wait til I got home to finish it. And finish it I did. The author outdid herself on this one, and if this is the end of the series, it is a great one.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times. She has sold over thirty novels and novella collections. Along with her husband, she and her three children have spent over ten years living as missionaries in Africa where she homeschools, leads a women's group, and runs a nonprofit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for her to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves . . . the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice" (Proverbs 31:8).

When she's not working, she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa, visit her website at www.lisaharriswrites.com or her blog at http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com. For more information about The ECHO Project, please visit www.theECHOproject.org.



Pursued is available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The 12 Week Journal for Men's Prayer and Devotional Bible Study, by Shalana Frisby with a giveaway

Book description:

Whether you have studied the Bible in-depth before or are new to exploring God's word, the process of learning about the Bible can seem challenging. This simple 12 week journal is a self-guided DIY study to help men dive into the Bible daily. You choose topics that interest you or use it as a note-taking companion to another Bible study. 

This journal includes pages for: 
-Noting your scripture reading log of dates, chapters, and verses  
-Planning Bible study goals for each week 
-Recording what you are thankful for each week 
-Reflecting how your weekly Bible study applies to your life 
-Writing your favorite scriptures and weekly Bible memory verse 
-Brainstorming how to share God's word with others in your life 
-Taking many personal notes about your weekly Bible study topics 

Note: This study journal is not specific to any Bible version and designed to use your preference of Bibles and resources in a self-guided approach. It works well for personal use, church, Sunday school or Bible classes, homeschool, and more.

What you'll need to accompany this self-guided DIY study journal for the most benefit:  a Bible of your choice and some quiet time each day.

My review:

  As the title would suggest, this journal is split up into twelve weeks. It starts out with an introduction, than starts week one. Each week starts out with a place to put the study goals for the week, followed by a reading log. There are places to write prayers and praise, and to draw if one wishes. There are a couple of pages to write thanks, favorite verses and keywords, and a lot more.

 I thought these journals sounded like a neat idea. and I found that to be the case. They are well put together with a lot of room for pretty much anything one wants to write about their Bible reading and prayer throughout the week. This review is for the men's journal, and there are all kinds of neat drawings and illustrations that are geared for men throughout the journal.

 Each week has twelve pages, so there is no lack of space to write and draw. Granted, most men may not be into the drawing part, but it would do us guys good to do the journaling part.

 There are four different journals in this series: this one for men, one for women, one that is geared for book by book study, and one geared for memorizing Bible verses. Each has an attractive cover, and is geared to help study the Bible.





I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.



About the author: 



Shalana Frisby was raised in a southern Missouri county where cows usually outnumbered people. After earning a fine art degree in college, she moved off to the big city and began her career as a graphic designer. Since then she’s been blessed to wear many hats in life working as the craft editor for a major publishing company, instructing college design courses, owning her own business, and creating all sorts of digital and print projects, but her greatest achievement is using her talents to spread the Gospel.

Shalana's professional journey gave her the opportunity to live several places across the United States from Little Rock to Kansas City to Milwaukee. Now, once again, she's living in rural southern Missouri having happily found her way back to friends, family, and roots - oh, and all the cows too of course! These days Shalana is foremost a mommy, wife, and lastly listed, but certainly not least in life, a follower of Jesus. This inspires and requires her to learn more about God’s holy word, the Bible. She hopes you find her journals and other books help you on your own quest to do the same.

Find info about my journals at www.123JournalIt.com
Find my felt crafts and books at www.TheFunkyFelter.com
Find many of my craft projects and free printables at www.IndoorOutdoorSpace.com
Find more about my writing and designing career at www.ShalanaFrisby.com


Giveaway:

 Courtesy of the author, I have a copy of The 12 Week Journal for Book-by-Book Bible Study to give away.

 Using Random.org, I will pick a winner 10 days from now on April 18.

To enter, comment with one of your favorite Bible verses.




   

Jesus Among Secular Gods by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale

Book description:

Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale defend the absolute claims of Christ against modern belief in the "secular gods" of atheism, scientism, relativism, and more. 

The rise of these secular gods presents the most serious challenge to the absolute claims of Christ since the founding of Christianity itself. The Christian worldview has not only been devalued and dismissed by modern culture, but its believers are openly ridiculed as irrelevant. In JESUS AMONG SECULAR GODS, Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale challenge the popular "isms" of the day, skillfully pointing out the fallacies in their claims and presenting compelling evidence for revealed absolute truth as found in Jesus. This book is fresh, insightful, and important, and faces head on today's most urgent challenges to Christian faith. It will help seekers to explore the claims of Christ and will provide Christians with the knowledge to articulate why they believe that Jesus stands tall above all other gods. 

My review:

  I don't think I have ever read a book by Ravi Zacharias, but I have read articles by him and have long been impressed with him. When I saw I could review this book that he co-wrote, I decided it was time to read one of his books.

 There are eight chapters in this book, and instead of the two authors writing together, they alternated writing chapters. They each wrote four of the chapters. Their writing style is very similar, so the reader probably wouldn't know which was which if it was not indicated.

 The gods addressed in this book are: atheism, scientism, pluralism, humanism, relativism, and hedonism. The first chapter is an intro chapter titled "Altars Against God", and the final chapter winds everything up in a chapter titled "Love the Truth.".

 No book like this could cover six different isms completely, but the authors do a great job of hitting the highlights, why they are wrong, and how they differ from Jesus and the Bible. The book is an interesting and informative read, and I found myself learning more about even the ones I was familiar with.

 This book is an excellent resource for new Christians, or even non-Christians confused about what is true and untrue. It is also a great book for the more mature Christian to read to help better understand these religions and philosophies so we are better equipped when we run across them.

 There are other wrong religions and philosophies today, but the authors hit the big ones in this book, and did a great job of covering them.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the authors:


For over thirty-five years Ravi Zacharias has spoken all over the world in great halls and universities, notably Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford. He is listed as a distinguished lecturer with the Staley Foundation and has appeared on CNN and other international broadcasts. The author of several books for adults and children, he powerfully mixes biblical teaching and Christian apologetics. His most recent works include Walking from East to West, a memoir, The Grand Weaver, an exploration of God’s intention and pattern in both the ordinary and the startling elements of life, and The End of Reason, a rebuttal of the claims of the so-called New Atheists. His weekly radio program, Let My People Think, is broadcast over 1,500 stations worldwide, and his weekday program, Just Thinking, is on almost 400. He is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with additional offices in Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Zacharias and his wife, Margie, have three grown children and reside in Atlanta.


DR. VINCE VITALE is Director of the Zacharias Institute. He was educated at Princeton University and the University of Oxford, and later taught philosophy of religion as a faculty member at both universities. During his undergraduate studies at Princeton, Dr. Vitale took an unexpected journey that led him to God. Later, while at Oxford, he developed a new response the problem of evil. This response--termed the Non-Identity Defense--is discussed in his and Ravi Zacharias's previous book, Why Suffering? He is married to Jo, who also works for RZIM.


  Jesus Among Secular Gods is available from Faith Words Publishing, part of the Hachette Book Group.

Thanks to Hachette for the review copy.

Getting Jesus Wrong: Giving Up Spiritual Vitamins and Checklist Christianity by Matt Johnson

Book description:

Jesus is not a life coach, a movement leader, a cultural visionary, or a blessing dispenser but you might not know that by listening to many Christians talk about their faith. Feel-good slogans promote a caricatured Jesus made in our own image who cannot save us and leave us feeling guilty for not saving ourselves. Following the wrong Jesus disappoints us and produces anxiety, pride, and despair.

The first half of Getting Jesus Wrong recounts pastor and author Matt Johnson s personal encounters with a string of false saviors false saviors that many, especially young adults, will recognize. Johnson s humor and transparency in recounting his own painful experiences will appeal to those who have tried a brand of Christianity and found it lacking.

The truth is, we all want something from Jesus. Some are just hoping for a little help to get through life a new direction, a purpose that will get us up in the morning, an exercise plan, a way to get organized. But that approach to Jesus doesn t result in real faith or love.

Whether we ve followed a false Jesus or attempted to coopt the real Jesus, Getting Jesus Wrong ultimately offers us hope because it helps us see Jesus as he is. Getting Jesus Wrong shows that the message of the Bible is about Jesus coming to us as we are which is good news for exhausted and disillusioned disciples. It shows us that getting Jesus right means a whole new way of thinking (the way up is down) and a whole new way of life (daily dependence on the one who knows the beginning from the end). Getting Jesus right gives us more than spiritual vitamins or a blueprint for living; it gives us a full, rich life spent exploring the depths of gospel love together.

My review:

   Occasionally I run across a book that sounds like it was written for me, and this is one such book. I tend to do the "check-list" Christianity thing, and the author does a great job of tackling that, among other things.

 This is an easy book to read. Johnson isn't shallow in his writing, but he also does not use deep theological words and thoughts that you have to wade through. He gets his points across in a clear and concise way that is easy to understand.

 The first part of the book deals with false saviors, in a often amusing way. He has serious moments too that are rather convicting, especially the chapter on pride and despair.

 I found the book encouraging, convicting, and helpful. It is so easy to get wrong ideas of Jesus, even for we who grew up in the church. I know I needed to read this book. I am sure Johnson didn't cover the issues as extensively as they could have been, but he did a great job of addressing it in the short 160 pages that comprise this book. I highly recommend it.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


About the author:


Matt Johnson is a husband, father to two little girls, and is an armchair student of theology living in Seattle. He is also a freelance writer and editor. Until recently, Matt spent 7 years as an associate volunteer pastor in counseling and recovery ministry.
Find out more about Matt at https://www.therealmattjohnson.com.



  Getting Jesus wrong is available from New Growth Press.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy.


  Johnson pin1 Johnson pin 2

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Newton & Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund

Book description: 

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound 
that saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost, but now am found 

Now remembered as the author of the world s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father until the night he hears Polly Catlett s enchanting voice, caroling. He s immediately smitten and determined to win her affection. 

An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John s reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves? 

Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe."

My review:

 I've never read anything by this author before, but I thought this sounded like it would be a great read. I love the song Amazing Grace, and John Newton's story has always intrigued me.

 As with any historical novel, there is fact and fiction. The author made a very helpful list of what was fact and fiction at the end of the book. I have heard and read some of Newton's story before, and felt she did a great job of weaving the fictional parts with those that are not fictional. I saw Newton in ways I had not before, and struggled between liking and not liking him.

 The romantic aspect was new to me, at least that I can remember of.

 As I said, I have never read anything by Hedlund, but I enjoyed her writing style.

  I did enjoy the book a lot, and came away with a new appreciation for this great hymn that is still so popular today. Great job, Jody on portraying the story of John Newton and Amazing Grace so well.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award for fiction and Christy Award for historical romance, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.


Newton & Polly is available from Waterbook/Multnomah Pubishing

Thanks to Waterbook/Multnomah for the review copy.


Without Warning, A J.B. Collins Novel, #3 by Joel Rosenberg

Book description:


From the back cover:

What if ISIS pulls off the unthinkable and unleashes catastrophic terror attacks inside the erican homeland?
The State of the Union address is minutes away. The president of the United States is set to tell a joint session of Congress and the American people that the U.S. is finally winning the war against the Islamic State. But after tracking ISIS from Istanbul to Baghdad to Amman, New York Times national security correspondent J. B. Collins fears the worst is yet to come. ISIS jihadists have infiltrated the U.S. They are planning to launch catastrophic attacks inside American cities that could make the horrors of 9/11 pale by comparison. But Collins has uncovered only part of the story. The full truth may be worse than the American people’s darkest fears. And the consequences may be harder than Collins is prepared to imagine.

From the flap:

“Last night, enemies of the United States unleashed a cruel and cowardly attack. . . .”
After ISIS terrorists attack the U.S. Capitol building during the president’s State of the Union address, the entire world waits to see how the most powerful nation on earth will respond. But the Taylor administration is more committed to political correctness than to justice, and it falls to other nations to lead the way in hunting down Abu Khalif, the criminal and religious mastermind who heads the Islamic State.

When New York Times journalist J. B. Collins, reeling from a tragedy closer to home, suddenly finds himself in possession of vital information that could help in the search, he is once again thrust into the crosshairs of global politics. But this time it’s personal.

As he joins the hunt for the world’s most wanted and dangerous man, his quest takes him from Bar Harbor, Maine, to Tel Aviv to Cairo to Istanbul and beyond. Through it all, he has one goal: find Abu Khalif and hold him accountable for his terrible actions. But the clock is ticking, and more attacks are coming. Will Collins locate the ISIS emir before it’s too late? He will stop at nothing to do so. But at what cost?

My review:

   Joel Rosenberg has become a favorite author of mine. His books are not for the faint of heart, and are always relative to current events. He doesn't pull any punches in regards to radical Islam and the dangers our country faces.

  This has been my favorite series Rosenberg has written, and this final book in the J.B. Collins Series is more intense and gripping than the previous two, and that is saying a lot. Without Warning picks up a few months after The First Hostage ended. The attacks on our country are fictional, but it is a very scary look at what could happen here if ISIS and other radical Isalmic groups continue to go undefeated and unchecked.

 In this novel, the elusive terrorist mastermind Abu Khalif gets personal, and  there was things happening that I didn't see coming.

 As with the other books, the action and dram goes on all over the world as Collins goes from the USA to Israel, Jordan, and other places in the Middle East.

 Without Warning is 453 pages. I started reading it the other day with no intention of reading much of it. However, the book is so gripping and difficult to put it down, I read the entire book in one evening. I did read a little past my bedtime, but it was worth it. This book is that good.

 The book/series didn't end as I wished it had. I'll try not to give any spoilers away, but it had an awesome, yet sad ending. I wish Rosenberg could have found a different way to end the book, but it was an amazing ending to this awesome series.

 In addition to the drama, action , and suspense; Collins' spiritual journey takes center stage, and he goes a long way in his relationship with his brother.

 This was truly a fantastic series, and I was sad to see it end.

I was given a copy of this book by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Joel C. Rosenberg is the founder of The Joshua Fund and the New York Times best-selling author of THE LAST JIHAD (2002), THE LAST DAYS (2003), THE EZEKIEL OPTION (2005), THE COPPER SCROLL (2006), EPICENTER (2006) and DEAD HEAT (2008) with more than 1.5 million copies in print. THE EZEKIEL OPTION was named by the ECPA as the Gold Medallion winner of the "Best Novel of 2006." Joel, an evangelical Christian whose mother is Gentile and whose father is from an Orthodox Jewish background, previously worked with several U.S. and Israeli leaders, including Steve Forbes, former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky, and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has been interviewed on hundreds of radio and TV shows.

He and his wife have four sons and live near Washington, DC.


Without Warning is available from Tyndale Publishing.

Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.

If I'm Found, If I Run #2 by Terri Blackstock

Book description

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts–her most relentless pursuer–is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist that he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormentors. But doing so is risky and just may result in her capture–and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail.

In this riveting sequel to the USA Today bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows … but there is light shining in the darkness. Is Dylan a provision from the God who loves her, or another heartache yet to happen?

My review:

   The idea of a trilogy where the main character is on the run from the cops seems far fetched, but Terri Blackstock has pulled it off through two books quite well. I was a bit frustrated at the ending of the first book, or how it didn't actually end. However, I was expecting that in this book.

  If I'm Found takes up right where If I Run left off, and it has as much non-stop action and drama as the first book did. There is more evidence of crooked cops, and the hunt for Casey gets more intense. Through the other main character, Dylan, there is also a focus on PTSD and how people deal with that.

  The book also gives a unique look at what it might be like to be falsely accused of a crime, and to go on the run for fear of your life.

 I loved this book. Since the first ended with such a cliffhanger, I have been looking forward to reading this one, and I was not disappointed. In a series like this, the author has a lot more chances for character development that you don't have when the story actually ends. And again Terri Blackstock shows  that she can hold her own in the Christian suspense market.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She is the winner of two Carol Awards, a Christian Retailers Choice Award, and a Romantic Times Book Reviews Career Achievement Award, among others. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist.

Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in a U.S. Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

Recent books include Truth Stained Lies (Book 1 of her Moonlighters Series), and her acclaimed Intervention Series (Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall). Other recent favorites include Predator, Double Minds, the Restoration Series, the Newpointe 911 Series, the Cape Refuge Series, and the SunCoast Chronicles series.

In 1994 Terri was writing romance novels under two pseudonyms for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dell and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening prompted her to switch gears. At the time, she was reading more suspense than romance, and felt drawn to write thrillers about ordinary people in grave danger. Her newly awakened faith wove its way into the tapestry of her suspense novels, offering hope instead of despair. Her goal is to entertain with page-turning plots, while challenging her readers to think and grow. She hopes to remind them that they’re valued by God and that their trials have a purpose.


If I'm Found is available from Zondervan Publishing.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Claiming Noah by Amanda Ortlepp

Book description: 

This riveting debut novel of psychological suspense explores the dilemmas that arise when motherhood and science collide. 

Catriona Sinclair has always had a well-developed sense of independence--in fact the one sore point in her otherwise happy marriage is her husband James's desire to take care of her. As she's often tried to explain to him, she took care of herself before she met him, and did a good job of it. But James has been especially attentive lately as they struggle to have a baby. They succeed at last through in vitro fertilization, but unwilling to risk the heartbreak of another miscarriage, they decide to make their "spare" frozen embryo available to another family. 

Diana and Liam Simmons are desperate for a child. Unable to conceive, they are overjoyed to learn that as the closest genetic match to the Sinclairs they are the recipients of the embryo donation. Diana's only concern is her mother's disapproval of IVF, but any doubts raised are quickly eclipsed by Diana's joy of being pregnant. 

As Diana is finding delight in every aspect of motherhood, Catriona keeps waiting for the rush of adoration she knows she is supposed to feel, but instead slips into a deep depression. Just as Catriona begins to find her way back to normalcy, one of the babies is kidnapped. Suddenly, all of their lives begin to unravel and intertwine, and none of them will ever be the same.

My review:

  I will say up front that I assumed this was Christian fiction, as Center Street does do some Christian fiction. It is not Christian fiction, but I still enjoyed the book other than the curse words scattered throughout, one reason I read mostly Christian fiction. I WAS surprised they allowed a use of the "F-word" in the book, but it was only one use. I was also bothered by the favorable view of a gay relationship in the book.

  That aside, this was a great read. The author took a modern day issue that can be controversial, and spun a great dramatic tale around it. She did a great job of detailing the anguish of two couples trying to have a baby, with the one having no success at all... hence the embryo adoption. I got a glimpse of what that involves, and the decisions that need to be made.

 I liked most of the main characters. I thought the one guy was a jerk, and he did turn out to be exactly that. The muddy issue of what happens when the birth mother wants the baby that came from her embryo played center stage, and I found myself sympathizing with both mothers.

 The kidnapping wasn't a surprise, as it is referenced in the book description. The who and why of the kidnapping WAS a surprise and added a whole new angle to the story.

 This isn't what I would call a mystery/suspense novel, other than the kidnapping. However, it is a very gripping novel that I didn't want to put down. And though the book was not Christian, the theme of forgiveness was in the book.

 If you enjoy secular fiction, you'll like this book. If you usually read Christian fiction but can handle some cursing and a book with a more secular book, you may also enjoy this book. I did.

 And if the issue of adopting embryos and artificial insemination interests you, this is a great way to get a look at the pros and cons.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:



Amanda Ortlepp's debut novel, Claiming Noah, was published in Australia and New Zealand in 2015. Its ethical dilemmas and emotionally-charged themes struck a chord with mothers and book clubs in particular and it became a bestseller. Claiming Noah will be published in the US and Canada in July 2016. Amanda's second novel, Running Against the Tide, is set on the remote Eyre Peninsula in South Australia where her father grew up. It was published in Australia and New Zealand in 2016. Amanda lives in Sydney


Claiming Noah is available from Center Street Publishing, part of the Hachette Book Group.

Thanks to Center Street for the review copy.

Deep Extraction, an FBI Task Force Novel by DiAnn Mills

Book description:


A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore's life. Instead, it provided his killer with a seemingly perfect means of execution.A bombing at one of Nathan's oil rigs days earlier indicates his death could be part of a bigger conspiracy, a web Special Agent Tori Templeton must untangle. But her first order of business is separating the personal from the professional--the victim's wife, her best friend, is one of the FBI's prime suspects.Clearing Sally's name may be the biggest challenge of her career, but Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan's personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer--and to each other--the more intent someone is on silencing them for good.

My review:

  Of all the suspense authors I read, DiAnn Mills is the one I have most likely read the least of. I guess I just discovered her later.

  This is the second book in the FBI Task Force Series, and the author pulled out all of the stops on this one. I like her writing style anyway, but she just seemed to outdo herself on this one. There was nothing to dislike on this one, and I didn't want to put it down. I started it on my lunch break at work, read some more on my second break, and finished the book when I got home.... and it is just 4 pages shy of 400 pages.

What I liked:

The plot. Some plots are so simple, you can see the guilty party and outcome a mile away. Others are so intricate you get lost. This one was intricate enough that I was kept guessing as to what was going to happen next, and who was guilty, yet not so complicated I got lost. It was never ending suspense and drama.

The characters: I liked the two main characters, and enjoyed the interaction between them. I also liked the family of the murdered man and was drawn into their tragedy as they mourned a man that wasn't who they thought he was.

The Christian content: I have read Christian books where the conversion of a main character seemed contrived and just done to wrap up the book. In this book, Tori struggles with faith in God because of losing her brother who was a Christian to cancer. I thought that sub-plot added a lot to the book, and was not resolved in a contrived or last minute thing.

The romance: I am not big on romance, but don't mind some in a book like this....and I actually enjoyed that part also.

What I didn't like: Well, nothing. This was truly an amazing, suspenseful read that can be held up as an example of what good Christian suspense should be. After I finished this book, I even ordered a book by this author I had not read.


I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review,

About the author:



DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.


Deep Extraction is available from Tyndale House Publishing.

Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.