Monday, July 17, 2017

The Cover Story by Deb Rihcardson Moore

Book description:

A fatal crash involving two college students heading home for the holidays seems like an unfortunate accident. But when the surviving girl wakens, she tells a curious story of the vehicle that forced them off the road--an old-fashioned, 1950s-style hearse.

Reporter Branigan Powers delves into the mystery that takes her to the college campus, and leads her into dangerous fraternity and sorority pledge parties.

Reunited with the homeless Malachi Martin, who is so adept at seeing what isn't there rather than what is, Branigan must uncover what is really going on at the college before other students are put in danger.

This second installment in the author's first cozy mystery series delves into the world of newspapers and life on the streets--both of which the author knows well.

My review:

 This was a new author to me, and is actually the second book in a series. I don't remember a review opportunity for the first book, but this one sounded like a good read, so I requested it.

 First the bad: This book is from Lion Publishing, distributed by Kregel. Kregel is a Christian publisher, but Lion does a lot of books that are not Christian, such as this one. There are a lot of instances of "damn" and "hell" throughout the book, even by a pastor. I dislike cursing in books and admire authors who can write a good novel without resorting to cursing, so that bothered me..... but then it isn't what you'd call a Christian book.

The good: Cursing aside, this was an awesome read. The plot was very intricate and suspects abounded. I enjoyed the detective work as the main character and others tried to figure out who the guilty part or parties was, and I was kept guessing as to who it was. The author created some great and likable characters, and some not so likable. When the book started, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get into it, but I got pulled into the story and had a hard time putting it down when I needed to do so.

 The book came to a satisfying end, and it was great to find out who the guilty party was and what  the motive was. I really enjoyed the author's style of writing (minus the curse words), and very much enjoyed the book.

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

About the author:


For 27 years, Deb Richardson-Moore was a reporter for "The Greenville (SC) News," winning three national writing awards and routine recognition from the South Carolina Press Association. She was a wife, mother of three, and that suburban cliche, a minivan-driving soccer mom.

She then took over the religion beat at "The News" and enrolled in a nearby seminary to learn more about it. Her life was never the same. She left the newspaper and earned a master of divinity degree. Because jobs for clergywomen were scarce in her own Baptist denomination, she accepted a job as pastor of the non-denominational Triune Mercy Center, a crumbling, inner-city mission church to the homeless.

"The Weight of Mercy" chronicles her first three turbulent years among her homeless congregants. Here's what novelist Davis Bunn, writer-in-residence at Oxford University, has to say about it:

"This is an amazingly well written work, a genuine testimony of hope in the dark recesses of our times. The words are laid out with an artist's precision, and their smoothness makes this not just a powerful read, but a genuine entry into a world we all need to know better. Perhaps the most important thing I can say about this is, I found Jesus in these pages. Highly recommended."

Deb is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Erskine Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Vince, have three grown children.


The Cover Story is available from Lion Publishing, part of Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.


A Day At the Beach by Jedd and Todd Hafer

Book description:


Do you yearn for a day at the beach where your mind and soul can wander away from life's troubles? Do you gaze up at the sun or the nighttime stars and wonder if God is really on your side? Do you long to hear his quiet voice in the roll of a gentle wave? In A Day at the Beach, brothers Todd and Jedd Hafer don't have the answers to all of life's troubles, but they'll help you see that the God who built the universe also wants to help you build a great life. Let these encouraging words bring a ray of warm sunshine to your doorstep as Todd and Jedd offer their joy-filled perspectives on life and faith. So take a deep breath, unplug from life's daily grind, and follow the call of your heart to Jesus, the ultimate source of life.




My review:

   I recently took a vacation to the Outer Banks, so I actually was reading this devotional while I was at the beach.

  I have read a lot of devotionals, and have reviewed several of them. This one is unique since it focuses so much on the beach. I admit I wondered how the authors could write even a small devotional this size about the beach, but they managed to do it.

 Each devotional ends with a Bible verse, and though this isn't a big book and the devotionals in it are not very long, they are very well done, encouraging, and worth reading. Maybe I am biased a bit since I love the beach so much, but this is an excellent little devotional, and one does not have to be at the beach to enjoy the book and be helped spiritually by it.

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

About the authors:


Jedd Hafer is an expert on teens, having worked with troubled kids for more than twenty years. He has trained teachers and other professionals in crisis intervention and the Love and Logic approach in more than forty states and internationally. Jedd has cowritten eleven books with his brother Todd, and he can be heard on many Love and Logic audio recordings and broadcasts.


Todd Haferis an award-winning writer whose fifty-plus books (many written with Jedd) have sold more than two million copies. His teen/young adult novel Bad Idea was a Christy Awards finalist, and its sequel, From Bad to Worse, was named one of the top ten books of the year by Christian Fiction Reviews. Bad Idea is currently being made into a feature-length film. Todd was a contributor on the ECPA Book of the Year finalist Life Saver: The Ultimate Devotional Handbook for Teens. Todd lives on the plains of eastern Kansas with his children, a wayward rescue dog, and his very patient wife.


A Day At the Beach is available from Tyndale Publishing.

Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.

Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

Book description:

When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

My review:

   I have never read a book by Denise Hunter before. Nothing against her, but I just rarely read a book that is just romance. If there is mystery and suspense thrown in, I can handle some romance, but a book that is only romance isn't on my usual reading list. However, I had a friend suggest her books to me, so I decided to review this one when it came up.

  In a day when so many marriages are falling apart, even among Christians, it is refreshing to read a book where the couple gets back together. Yeah, that is a spoiler, but one would assume that happens by reading the back cover. This book was also a bit unusual in the fact that it was the woman who cheated and caused the breakup of the marriage, instead of the man. The man in this story was a Christian who remained faithful.

 Onto the review: I liked the author's writing style, and the main characters she came up with. She did a great job on the chemistry between them, and the awkwardness that would exist when two people are stuck together who are no longer together as a couple.

 The book went back and forth between the past and the present, and I am pretty sure they messed up on the time frame a couple of times, so I was bit confused a couple of times. Even though I assumed Noah and Josephine were going to patch up their differences, it was still enjoyable seeing them get to that point.

 All in all, this confirmed bachelor enjoyed this romance book a lot, and plan on reading more from this author.

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

About the author:

Denise Hunter is the award-winning author of 30 novels, including The Convenient Groom and A December Bride, which have been made into Hallmark movies.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town romances. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.

Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

Check out her website at DeniseHunterbooks.com.

Sweetbriar Cottage is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for the review copy.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

God's Smuggler, Young Reader's Edition by Brother Andrew and John & Elizabeth Sherill

Book description:

Bestselling, Timeless Classic Now Abridged for Young Readers

With over 10 million sold, this classic work is now available in a new edition for young readers ages 9 to 12, complete with riveting illustrations. The exciting narrative follows the dangerous true-life mission of Brother Andrew, a Dutch factory worker who goes undercover to transport Bibles across closed borders. The courage of this young man will thrill a new generation of readers. They will meet one of the heroes of the faith--and discover the miraculous ways in which God provides for those who trust him.

Let Brother Andrew's powerful adventure story, which has awed millions, inspire the young people in your life. Through its pages they will grow in knowledge of the mission field and understand more clearly what it means to risk everything to follow God's heart.

My review:

  It has been at least 30 years since I read God's Smuggler, and I can't remember anything about it. That means I have no idea how different this young reader's edition is from the original. This is an abridged version, so it is obvious that it is shorter than the original.

 This is an awesome story, made even more so by it being true. I tend to read a lot of Christian suspense novels, and this book kept my attention as much as one of those do. I was encouraged and convicted as I read the many stories related in the book, and of how strong the faith was of Brother Andrew and those helping him. It is truly amazing how often Bibles were smuggled right under the noses of guards and others when they were practically in plain sight. Not to leave out the miraculous way Brother Andrew's schooling and even his house were paid for.

 The book is also a sobering reminder that not everyone is free to worship as we are, and not everyone has access to Bibles as we do here in America. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, and though I don't consider the reading level "dumbed down", for lack of a better term, the targeted age group (9-12) will definitely enjoy it. As will older kids and adults.

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

About the authors:


Andrew van der Bijl (born 11 May 1928 in Sint Pancras, Netherlands), known in English-speaking
countries as Brother Andrew, is a Christian missionary famous for his exploits smuggling Bibles to communist countries in the height of the Cold War, a feat that has earned him the nickname "God's smuggler". Brother Andrew studied at the WEC Missionary Training College in Glasgow, Scotland. Brother Andrew was born in Sint Pancras, the Netherlands, and was the fourth of seven children to a poor, near deaf blacksmith.


John and Elizabeth Sherrill, co-authors of numerous classics and two of the co-founders of Chosen Books, have traveled the world in search of stories that reveal the power of God. Learn more at www.elizabethsherrill.com.



God's Smuggler, Young Reader's Edition, is available from Chosen Books, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews for  the review copy.


 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Dragon Seed by Marty Machowski

Book description:

An angry teen, a desperate mother, a missing father, and a shadow lurking in the background. Things were going from bad to worse for Nick and his family. Tempted to run away after yet another argument with his mom, Nick receives a handwritten, leather-bound copy of an old book---a family legend passed down to him from his great grandfather. The book, called Dragon Seed, leads Nick deep into his family's history and introduces him to another angry young man who lived in the shadows (the shadows of the tombs). Like Nick, you'll be shocked to discover where he fits in this story of epic proportions!  

This page-turning, young adult fiction story invites older children and teens into the real-life struggles of Nick. But it also ushers them into an imaginative exploration of the life of the young man Jesus saved as he wandered through the tombs. Best-selling author Marty Machowski uses both stories to introduce the reality of spiritual warfare and how its shadows affect and change us.

Machowski, a trusted teacher for children of all ages, presents a thoroughly biblical view of spiritual warfare that emphasizes the importance of humility and dangers of pride. Teens will be drawn to the story of Nick and his struggles and will learn, as they read, to also identify the shadows in their own life and turn from them. While the biblical teaching is evident throughout the narrative of Dragon Seed, Machowski also includes a twelve-lesson Bible study at the end of the book to help teens ground their understanding of spiritual warfare on biblical principles. 

Youth pastors, leaders, and parents will also want to explore with teens the small group study at the end of the book with its unique take on spiritual warfare that emphasizes the biblical theme of humility. This is a perfect book to read with a group and discuss together the implications of Nick's struggles for their lives.

My review:

  I like to review juvenile fiction so I can find good books for my nieces and nephews to read...... and also because I enjoy reading them.

 This story is different from most of the juvenile fiction I read in that it is an allegory. The main character, Nick, is reading the story which is the story of Satan's fall up through Jesus' resurrection. A lot of the focus is on what the devil tries to accomplish. Even though I know the narrative very well, the author put a whole new spin on it that kids are sure to enjoy, along with adults. Even though I know how the story ends, the book still pulled me in and I didn't want to put it down. The author has a great writing style that is both entertaining and teaches a lesson.

 Dragon Seed is definitely a book kids will enjoy, and will hold their interest for sure. Though the story will be familiar to most, it is packaged in a totally different way than kids are used to hearing. This is a great way to get kids to read the Bible and get the important lessons from it they may otherwise overlook.

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

About the author: 



Author Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for more than twenty years. Marty leads Promise Kingdom, the gospel-centered children's ministry of Covenant Fellowship. He and his wife, Lois, and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He is also the Executive Editor for Children's Resources at New Growth Press.

Marty Machowski, who studied industrial design in college, learned to combine the creativity of art with the discipline of mechanical engineering. He reflects on how his background specifically prepared him for his current ministry as an author. "Thinking up the hundreds of object lessons for the Gospel Story for Kids curriculum used problem solving creativity I learned as an industrial designer. It was exciting and challenging to create fun games and object lessons for kids that communicated the biblical concepts of the weekly lessons."


Dragon Seed is available from New Growth Press.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy

Blog tour page.



Machowski pin1 Machowski pin2

Friday, July 7, 2017

Reunited by Danger by Caro Jl Post

Book description:

When a former classmate is murdered at Detective Caleb Lyons's ten-year high school reunion, he knows the victim's old group of friends are keeping secrets. That includes Cedar Key, Florida, police officer Amber Kingston. Back in school, Amber was headed for trouble, but now she's as dedicated to the law as he is. As he works overtime to get the pretty cop to open up to him, Amber and her friends receive messages threatening payback for past deeds. And her friends keep dying...one by one. But protecting Amber and unmasking a murderer isn't just the widowed detective's shot at redemption--it's his unexpected second chance at love.

My review:

  I have read and reviewed two of this author's books, and enjoyed both of them. The first was not suspense, but was a great read. The second was suspense, which is my favorite genre', and I was happy to have the chance to review the next book in the suspense series Cedar Key.

  Reunited by Danger had a great plot: six high school friends being picked off one by one ten years later in relation to a tragic death. The author doesn't wait to launch into the killings, and the first happens on the fourth page of the book, pulling me into the story right away. The suspense and action were well done, and it was not until close the end of the book that I began to suspect who the killer was - and I was correct.

 The characters were very likable, and the issue of trusting God made a great sub plot to the story, with both main characters struggling in that area for different reasons and in different ways.  The book is not preachy for those who are bothered by that, but it does carry a great message that God can forgive and change anyone, and that He can be trusted.

 These kind of books are a fast read, with this one coming in at just 219 pages, but those pages are packed with the kind of suspense and non-stop action and drama that I love in a suspense novel. It has made me want to read the other three books in the series which I have not yet read. Great read, highly recommended.

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

Reunited by Danger will be available September 5, 2017.

About the author:

From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special events decorating company, Carol's resume reads as if she doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love for writing. She currently pens fun and fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for a RITA® award and an RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Award.

Carol lives in sunshiny Central Florida with her husband, who is her own real-life hero, and writes her stories under the shade of the huge oaks in her yard. Besides writing, she works alongside her music minister husband singing and playing the piano. She enjoys sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. Her two grown daughters and grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all that nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.

Check out her website: CarolJPost.com