Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Vanishing Point, Nikki Boyd Files #4 by Lisa Harris

Book description:


Six girls missing . . . and every clue leads to a dead end

During Garrett Addison's first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She's just one in a string of disappearances with one thing in common--a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies, Garrett wonders whether he really has what it takes to be an agent. Maybe he should just walk. But while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him--or Jordan.


My review:

 I really enjoyed this series, and thought it had ended with book #3. When I got the email offering this one for review, I didn't even realize it was part of the series at first. The book doesn't have the same look as the others, and does not have the same main characters, though Nikki Boyd is in the book some.

 Vanishing Point actually starts around 13 years before the rest of the series, something I didn't understand at first. Once I caught onto the time line, it was easy to get caught up in the story. Unlike most novels of this type, this book covers around a 13-year time span. In the other books, many references are made to Nikki Boyd's missing sister. This book goes back to before the disappearance of that sister and comes up to beyond where book #3 ended.

 The romance in this book was also different from most suspense novels. The two main characters, Garrett and Jordan had previously dated and kept running across each other because of the case they were jointly working on. This was not a fast romance, but one that slowly took place over the same 13 year time span as the rest of the book.

 In spite of it being so different from the other books in the series, I loved the book. I liked the new characters, and the book was full of non stop suspense, action, and detective work. There were a lot of surprises, and the identity of the bad guy wasn't easy to figure out. Harris outdid herself with this one, and it was a great way to end a series I thought was done, but was happy to read one more book from.

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.


Vanishing Point and the other 3 books in the Nikki Boyd Files are available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Check out the rest of the series:


The Illuminated ESV Bible, with a giveaway

Bible description:

ESV ILLUMINATED BIBLE:

The ESV Illuminated Bible places the full ESV text alongside over 500 elegantly hand-lettered gold ink illustrations by renowned artist Dana Tanamachi. Printed on thick cream-colored paper, the Bible's single-column text setting and wide margins provide generous space for additional notes, prayers, and designs—inviting readers to creatively engage with and reflect on the beauty of God's Word.
9-point, Lexicon
Black letter text
2-color printing
64 full-page, custom book opener illustrations
50 full-page verse illustrations
250+ hand-lettered margin verses
100+ other illustrations throughout
Illustrated by Dana Tanamachi, whose work has been featured by Google, The Wall Street Journal, Random House, USPS, and Target
Thick, cream-colored paper
Wide margins
Single-column, paragraph format
Smyth-sewn binding
Packaging: Permanent Slipcase




My review:

  The ESV has become one of my favorite Bible versions. I have a couple different ESV Bibles already, but this one looked interesting, so I requested it.

 This is a pretty cool Bible. I am not one to journal in a Bible, but am becoming more and more interested in doing so. This Bible has a lot of room on the margins to jot thoughts or even draw, if that is your thing.

 The illustrations are eye catching and adds a lot to the Bible.

 The Bible has the look of an encyclopedia, and comes in a matching open end box such as a boxed set of books come in.

 If you are wanting a Bible to carry to church, this may not be the right Bible for that. However, if you want a Bible for personal reading and one you can journal and write notes in, this is a great Bible for that.

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

About the illustrator:

Dana Tanamachi is an American lettering artist, graphic designer, and illustrator whose exquisite typographic murals ignited the worldwide chalk-lettering trend.  She has been commissioned by clients such as Instagram, Target, Google, Time Magazine, Nike, and West Elm. Learn more at tanamachistudio.com.

Check out the website for the Bible: IlluminatedBible.org

Giveaway:
Just comment on this blog post to be entered to win a copy of this Bible. I will pick a winer using Random.org on November 25.


“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

How We Made the ESV Illuminated Bible from Crossway on Vimeo.

 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Murder In Disguise, A Preston Barclay Mystery # by Donn Taylor

Book description:

Official verdict:  Suicide.

But why would that vigorous department chairman commit suicide? And did he kill himself to avoid disgrace from the impending exposure of his activities on the dark side became known? When visiting professor Preston Barclay questions his long-time friend's suicide, he receives threats. Press has enough problems already in proving his competence to students and faculty in the newly-hostile environment of the state university. For the new department chairman and campus radicals do all they can to undermine him. And the sexy female siren assigned as his student assistant creates problems there and with Press's courtship of his colleague Mara Thorn.

Press's questions don't find adequate answers, rumors accuse his friend of involvement in disgraceful activities, and Mara's researches reveal a wide range of criminal activity stretching from the community onto the campus itself. The more things don't add up, the more dangerous the threats become, and the more determined Press becomes to clear his friend's name and find the truth about the alleged suicide.

But can Press and Mara's stumbling efforts to find the truth prevail against the entrenched forces of the police, the campus radicals, and an unseen criminal organization that increasingly puts their lives in danger. . . ?

My review:

 I enjoyed the first two books in this series, so I was up for reviewing this third book in the Preston Barclay Mystery Series.

 The setting for this book is the same as the other two: the college where Preston teaches. This mystery revolves around his friend's suicide, which  the friend's wife refuses to believe was a suicide.

 I enjoyed the book, and thought it was the best of the series so far. I had forgotten though how annoying the main character's constant hearing music in his head was that he hears on different occasions and different people. I find it a distraction as I read the books.

 Murder In Disguise had some very interesting and odd characters, and bad and good. The book not only has suspense and drama, but also a lot of humor. Taylor has a unique way of describing his characters, especially the more colorful ones.

 The end result of the mystery wasn't a surprise, as the description of the book lends to the idea of how it ends. However, there is a lot of suspense. mystery, and surprises along the way as Preston reluctantly investigates his friend's death.

About the author:


Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in Renaissance literature and taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His publications include three suspense novels, one historical novel, and a book of poetry. He lives near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.


Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Christmas Star by Robert Tate Miller

Book description:

Paul Bennett had the perfect wife, the perfect family, the perfect life—until one fateful Christmas brought an unthinkable tragedy. In deep despair, he turns to drinking to drive away the pain, but he only succeeds in driving away his wife. His marriage shattered, his family gone, Paul now despises Christmas.

But can the holiday he so detests hold a miraculous surprise? After an accident in which he loses consciousness, he wakes up in the company of the shepherds who will soon travel to Bethlehem to see the newborn Christ in the manger. Can Paul find salvation on the night that forever changed the world? Can he discover the true spirit of Christmas?

My review:

 I read and reviewed this author's other Christmas novel a few years ago, and really liked it. A few weeks ago, he commented on that book review on my blog and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing his new Christmas novel. I can never turn down a Christmas book, and also since I liked his other book, I said yes. This is actually his third Christmas novel, but I have not read the second one.

 The title of this book is Christmas Star, A Love Story. A lot of the book does not take place at Christmas. It starts at Christmas, ends at Christmas, and there are a few Christmases celebrated by the main characters throughout the book. A big part of the book is a love story between the main character, Paul Bennett and his wife.

 The book starts with loss and sadness, and when the main character is in his mid 30's, to my calculations. The author then goes back in time to when the main character is in his childhood up through his late teens, and then onto him meeting the love of his life.

There are some sad parts of the book, and a lot of happy times also. It shows how badly one can deal with loss if their focus isn't completely on God and they are not fully surrendered to Him and His will. It shows how far a man can sink when he has no hope and no faith in God. And it shows that God can restore broken people and give them hope.

 I try not to give any spoilers away in a book review, so I will try to be careful not to do so here: at one point the main character goes back in time. The author doesn't really explain how, but a dream is a likely possibility. Through that experience, the wonder and hope of Christmas brings about the highest point in the book, and it ends on a good note showing the true meaning of Christmas.

 I liked this book even more than the previous Christmas novel by Miller. It was an emotional read, with sad and happy moments both stirring my emotions. If you are going to read one Christmas story this year, you should make it be this one.

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

About the author:


Robert Tate Miller began his writing career with homespun essays of small town life that were published by Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. He moved to Los Angeles in the late 1980s and wrote successful family-oriented telefilms for NBC, ABC Family, and the Hallmark Channel. Robert lives in Northridge, CA, with his wife Gina and stepdaughter Chloe June.

Review of my 2017 Christmas CDs

Every Christmas I buy a few new Christmas CDs, and have posted brief reviews of them the last few years. I bought 4 new ones this year, not counting "new" used ones that I purchased since last Christmas:

Alabama: An American Christmas















  This is the third Christmas CD Alabama has done, and is the best in my opinion. Their first CD only had a few songs I liked very much, and I didn't like their second one at all. This one is definitely the best.

 An American Christmas has 15 songs. Three of those are 3 traditional carols. They do the traditional secular tunes Jingle Bells and Winter Wonderland and Auld Lang Syne, along with 7 new tunes, at least to me. Two of those new songs do a great job of getting at the true meaning of Christmas: Remember Me and The Greatest Gift. They also re-recorded their most famous and well-liked Christmas song, Christmas In Dixie.

Personal favorites:
The Greatest Gift
Christmas In Dixie
Jingle Bells

 This is a great CD to add to your music collection, especially if you like country Christmas music.


Doug Anderson: Back Porch Christmas













 Doug Anderson was baritone for Ernie Haase And Signature Sound for several years before going solo. I feel that was a good decision, and have liked his solo CDs. He collaborated on this CD with a new country group called 4th and Main that consists of 4 young guys. They sing back up on the CD, and I think may also do a guest vocal or two.

 Sadlly this CD only has 8 songs, though I did only pay $8.99 for it. I like at least 10 songs on a CD. It is a great CD though, and one I am really enjoying, Six of the songs are new, at least to me. On one of the new songs, he does Joy to the World with it. He recorded Christmas In Heaven, which is a great song done by country singer Scotty McCreery. He also did the old standard I'll Be Home for Christmas.

 The CD is Southern Gospel/Country, and 4th and Main added a lot to the CD with their vocals. Although the CD only has 8 songs, they are a great variety of songs that are done with style.

Personal favorites:
Christmas In Heaven
If It Wasn't For Christmas/Joy to the World
Back Porch Christmas


Sam Levine:  Smooth Christmas














 Sam Leving is a saxophone player, and I have several of his CDs. He does all styles of music: Hymns, Praise & Worship, 50's, 60's, movie tunes, and more. This is his second Christmas CD, and the better of the two, The other one was mostly or all newer Christmas songs, whereas this one is all traditional tunes. The CD has 12 songs, and all of them are total instrumental, sax with other instruments backing it up. There are no vocals at all. Of the 12 songs, all were familiar to me except for The Wexford Carol and All Is Well. This is a great CD to have playing in the background, or in the car when you aren't in the mood for someone singing. And I think he is as good as Kenny G.

Personal favorites:
O Come All Ye Faithful
Go Tell It On the Mountain/Children Go Where I Send Thee
Mary, Did You Know?
O Holy Night

Casting Crowns: It's Finally Christmas















 This is the only CCM Christmas CD I bought this year. It is what is considered an EP, so it only has 6 songs on it. Three of the songs are traditional carols/hymns, with two of them having a newer song put with them.

 The songs are done well, with no outrageous or wild arrangements, and one doesn't have to like the group's usual fare to like this.

Personal favorites:

Make Room
Somewhere In Your Silent Night

Monday, November 6, 2017

Colors of Christmas by Olivia Newport

Book description:

Christmas in Gold
After eighty years, change is nothing new for Astrid. By the time she was twenty, she survived the destructive Nazi regime, caring for her family under brutal circumstances, moving to America, and losing her husband. At forty she was widowed again and left to build a new life with her children. Now, when she faces a move into an assisted living community and meets a young woman on the brink of despair, she resolves to stir up hope through tragedy one more time.

Christmas in Blue
In the wake of a personal loss deeper than anyone realizes, Angela plans to bypass as much of the season as possible and get through her duties as the church organist by going on autopilot. Instead, she finds herself in charge of the town’s celebration. After a mysterious young man arrives, townspeople suspect he is the reason that one set of plans after another disintegrate until little is left of their traditions. Yet Angela warms to Gabe because she suspects they share a secret—his real reason for coming to town. Even when all they have to work with is a garish supply of blue Christmas decorations, Gabe helps Angela discover the hidden beauty of hope.

My review:

 I am a sucker for Christmas books, and have way more than I could possibly read during one Christmas season.... but that doesn't stop me from reading and reviewing new ones that come out each year.

 This is the first Christmas book I have read and/or reviewed this year. It is also the first book I have read by this author. Christmas books often revolve around romance, but neither of the two stories in this book do, though there is a hint of a possible romance in the first story.

 I did enjoy both stories. It was neat the way the author brought the color gold into the first story, and the color blue into the first. Each story deals with a different type of loss, and the main character in each story has new challenges thrown her way. Newport not only came up with an endearing plot for both stories, but also endearing and likable characters. I liked Christmas In Blue better than Christmas In Gold. I thought the plot was better, and there were a lot more characters that made you want to like them and experience Christmas the way they were experiencing it. And that is not to say I didn't like Christmas In Gold.... I did. Both stories show the hope and magic of the Christmas season.

 I don't know if the author has previously written any Christmas books, but this is one she can be proud of and is one I recommend to other lovers of a good Christmas story.

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

About the author:


Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.

Check out her website at www.olivianewport.com.


Colors of Christmas is available from Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of  Barbour Publishing.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Rescued Hearts by Hope Toler Dougherty, with a giveaway

Book description:

Children's clothing designer Mary Wade Kimball's soft spot for animals leads to a hostage situation when she spots a briar- entangled kitten in front of an abandoned house. Beaten, bound, and gagged by the two thugs inside, Mary Wade loses hope for escape when a third villain returns with supplies.

Discovering the kidnapped woman ratchets the complications for undercover agent Brett Davis. Weighing the difference of ruining his three months' investigation against the woman's safety, Brett forsakes his mission and helps her escape, the bent-on-revenge brutes following behind.

When Mary Wade's safety is threatened once more, Brett rescues her again. This time, her personal safety isn't the only thing in jeopardy. Her heart is endangered as well.

An animal rescue, an abandoned house, and a kidnapping. Find out what happens in Hope Toler Dougherty's new release!

My review:

  I like trying out new authors, and this was a new author to me. She has a few other books, but they don't look like they are suspense, as this one is....which is my favorite genre'. And I definitely liked her suspense novel.

 The book starts out with a kidnapping and then a rescue, so it didn't take long for me to get pulled into the story. I found myself liking the two main characters right away, and loved the conversations and interplay between the two of them. The male hero of the story also had an interesting and amusing grandmother that played into the story a lot.

 The suspense element was done very well. You knew the bad guys were after the couple, but there were still some surprises along the way. I thought the book was very well written, had great characters, plot, and ending. It was a book I didn't want to put down and read through fairly quickly. Looking forward to reading more suspense from this author.

About the author:


Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master's degree in English and taught at East Carolina University as well as York Technical College. A member of ACFW, RWA and SinC, she writes for Almost an Author. Before writing novels, she published non-fiction articles on topics ranging from gardening with children to writing apprehension. She follows the Pittsburgh Steelers, ACC basketball, and Army West Point Football. Hope and her husband, Kevin, live in North Carolina and chat with their two daughters and twin sons through ooVoo. Her debut novel, Irish Encounter, is partially set in Ireland. Her second one, Mars . . . With Venus Rising, is published with Pelican Book Group.

Learn more at hopetolerdougherty.com.

Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.



  Her personal safety isn't the only thing in jeopardy-so is her heart. In Hope Toler Dougherty's new novel, Rescued Hearts, children's clothing designer Mary Wade Kimball's soft spot for animals leads to a hostage situation when she spots a briar-entangled kitten in front of an abandoned house. Discovering the kidnapped woman ratchets the complications for undercover agent Brett Davis. Brett forsakes his three-month mission and helps her escape, the bent-on-revenge brutes following behind . . . and then Mary Wade's safety is threatened once more.

Cozy up this fall with Hope's new book and enter to win a Kindle Fire!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Rescued Hearts
  • A Kindle Fire 7
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 13. The winner will be announced November 14 on the Litfuse blog.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Know The Word Study Bible KJV, with a giveaway

Bible description:

The KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers three easy ways to begin studying Scripture and helps individuals transition from being a casual reader of the Bible to becoming a regular student of the Bible. You can choose to study the Bible book-by-book, verse-by-verse, or topic-by-topic; each path offers powerful insights that will help you develop a daily routine of Bible study. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God's Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

Features Include:
King James Version Bible text
Three easy approaches to study the Bible (book-by-book, verse-by-verse, or topic-by-topic)
Insightful introductions for each book of Scripture
Words of Jesus in red
Beautiful two-color interior page design
Comprehensive list of theological notes
Concordance
Full-color maps 

My review:

  I grew up on the King James Version, and we still use it at my church exclusively, except on the rare occasion my pastor uses the NKJV. I personally rarely use it, but this Bible intrigued me. I went ahead and requested it, and am glad I did.

 I like a Bible with study notes on the verses, and this Bible has some great notes on the verses. As with other Bibles, there are not notes on every single verse, but they cover a lot of the verses throughout the Bible.

 This Bible also has book-by-book notes. At the beginning of each book are notes on how to study that book, with study the book highlights. I also found these well done and useful.

 Scattered throughout the Bible are highlighted verses or topics with an area for more insight.

 I found this to be a useful Study Bible to use while reading and studying the Bible, and I feel it is very well done.

 This Bible was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

 The Know The Word Study Bible is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.



Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy. Diving deeper into God's Word can be easy and rewarding if you break it down book by book, verse by verse, or topic by topic with the new KJV Know The Word Study Bible by Thomas Nelson. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God's Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

This fall, become a regular student of the Bible and enter to win the Kindle Fire giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of the KJV Know The Word Study Bible
  • A Kindle Fire 7
  • A Kindle Fire case (winner's choice)
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 31. The winner will be announced November 1 on the Litfuse blog.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

Book description:

The Adventure of a Lifetime for Two Indomitable Socialite Sisters 

In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules for Victorian women are strict, their roles limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents has brought them to the Sinai Desert--and into a sandstorm.

Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a street urchin who is learning to be their ladies' maid, the two women are on a quest to find an important biblical manuscript. As the journey becomes more dangerous and uncertain, the four travelers sift through memories of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the circumstances that brought them to this time and place.


My review:

 I have read several books by Lynn Austin, and they all had one thing in common: they were Biblical fiction. She did a masterful job on the two Biblical fiction series that I read by her. I had never read her other books, as they were pretty much women's fiction. When this book came up for review, I decided I'd check out her other fiction.

 Where We Belong is historical fiction, and I discovered that Lynn Austin writes as good of historical fiction as Biblical.......even if it is geared towards women. Granted, the book did have some elements of suspense and mystery, which are my favorite genre's.

 Austin came up with a great plot, setting, and time period for this novel. To be honest, I had a little difficulty getting into it at first, but after a few chapters I was able to get caught up in the story. Among other aspects of the book, I enjoyed the dialogue between the sisters and also between they and their companions on their journey.

 In her Biblical novels, I felt Austin did a lot of research for her books to be historically and also  accurately  according to the Bible. In We Belong, that research comes through also. I don't know a lot about the time period and setting of the novel, but Austin did a great job of portraying everything in a historically accurate way.

 I did enjoy the book, and most likely will try some of her other novels that are not Biblical ones.

 This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother (age 98), and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Eight of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

 Check out her website at LynnAustin.org.

The Christian Standard Apologetics Study Bible

Bible description:

The CSB Apologetics Study Bible helps today’s Christians better understand, defend, and proclaim their beliefs in an age of increasing moral and spiritual relativism. This revised and updated edition includes new articles and extensive apologetics study material from today’s leading apologists to reflect and provide deeper understanding of the relevant apologetics issues and questions being discussed today.

Features Include:
• 90 leading apologists contributed commentary and articles on apologetics including:
Ted Cabal, Lee Strobel, Chuck Colson, Paul Copan, Norm Geisler,
Hank Hanegraaff, Josh McDowell, Albert Mohler, J.P. Moreland,
Ravi Zacharias, and many more.
• 134 Articles on key apologetic issues–including a lead article by Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ).
• 66 Exclusive introductions from contributors
• 48 “Twisted Scripture” explanations for commonly misunderstood passages
• 12 Profiles of Christian apologists including Thomas Aquinas, Origen, C.S. Lewis and more
• 13 Timelines and Maps include unique offerings such as a Timeline of Apologists and Notable Works, Comparison of World Religion, Naturalism vs. Theism and more
• Apologetics Study Notes
• Annotated Bibliography
• Presentation page
• Book Introductions
• Two-color interior
• Two-column text
• Smyth-sewn binding
• Ribbon marker
• Full-color maps
• 9.75-point type size

The CSB Apologetics Study Bible features the highly reliable, highly readable text of the Christian Standard Bible® (CSB), which stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity. The CSB’s optimal blend of accuracy and readability makes Scripture more moving, more memorable, and more motivating to read and share with others.

My review:

The translation:

  I am not one of those people who stick by one Bible translation/version, but I prefer to read from multiple ones. I have a copy of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, and the Christian Standard Bible is an updated version of that Bible. I always liked the HCSB, and was curious to see what the Christian Standard Bible would be like. I compared some popular passages and there are some differences, which just makes it easier to read and understand in my opinion. I have used the Bible for a few weeks, and have come to enjoy this newer translation.

The Bible:

   Apologetics is of interest to me, which is another reason I requested this Bible to review. I won't go over everything the Bible has, as it is listed in the description, but I will say I was impressed with all of the information given in this Bible that has to do with Aplogetics. Some of the big names in Christian apologetics are represented here, and the information from them is of great interest and I have found very helpful.

 I am someone who likes notes at the bottom of passages of Scripture, and feel these are also very well done and helpful in this Bible.

 I didn't have time to read the whole Bible or compare it completely to the Holman Christian Standard Bible, but I like what I have read and checked out so far, and recommend the translation and also the Apologetics part of it.

 This Bible was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Blind Spot, Chesapeake Valor #3 by Dani Pettrey

Book description:

FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life--but isn't sure exactly what he's chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that "the wrath is coming," Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She's sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there's anyone who can help him, it's Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can't deny, and she's pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell--and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming "wrath" that could cost thousands their lives.


My review:

   Dani Pettrey has had me hooked as a reader since I read her first book in the Alaskan Courage series. I have come to equate her with top notch Christian suspense, and she has yet to disappoint me.

 In her first series, each book centered on a different person from the same family. This series focuses on a different man in a circle of friends who are all in some area of law enforcement. Throughout the first two books, there was a lot of talk about the fourth friend who had been missing for seven years, and there were hints this man, Luke, was still alive. Blind Spot removes all doubt about that, and clearly lets the reader know the fourth book will be about Luke.

 Blind Spot is one of those books I started reading on my lunch break at work, and found very difficult to put down to go back to work. The plot and action pulled me in from the start of the book, and didn't let go until I got to the last page.....which came all too fast. It focuses in part on human trafficking, and shows how terrible that crime is, and also on a possible terrorist attack.

 As with all of Dani's books, there was a romantic part, which even this confirmed bachelor enjoyed and cheered on....though I enjoyed the suspense more. Blind Spot is one of the best books I have read this year, and I am looking forward to reading the final book in the series, which is not going to come soon enough.

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

About the author:


Praised by New York Times bestselling author Dee Henderson as "a name to look for in romantic suspense," Dani Pettrey's novels have sold more than 300,000 copies. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance novel. Her novels stand out for their "wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters" (Publishers Weekly), "gripping storyline[s]," (RT Book Reviews), and "sizzling undercurrent of romance" (USA Today).

Dani's adventure-focused Alaskan Courage series climbed the CBA bestseller lists, with Submerged staying in the top twenty for five consecutive months. The five-book series also won multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, and Christian Retailing's Best Award, among others. She turns her attention to crime and law enforcement in her home state of Maryland in her new Chesapeake Valor series, starting with Cold Shot, which Library Journal called, "a harrowing and thrilling ride." For more information about her novels, visit danipettrey.com.

 Blind Spot and the other books in the Chesapeake Valor Series is available from Bethany House Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Check out the whole series thus far:



Friday, October 20, 2017

Deadly Proof, Atlanta Justice #1 by Rachel Dylan

Book description:

In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower's allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer. 

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he's intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything--even murder--to keep the case from going to trial.

My review:

  I enjoy legal thrillers, and there have been a few authors on the Christian market who have written some great ones. I also enjoy trying new authors, so this was a no brainier to request this legal thriller to a new (to me) author. My first thoughts upon finishing this book were "wow!" and "This lady is really good." I started researching her and was surprised to discover that she is not a new author, and has several published books under her belt.

 The legal thrillers I have read have been mostly by men, but Dylan shows she can hold her own in among these guys with this novel. It has everything a reader would want in a legal thriller: Great plot, great and likable characters, suspense, drama, romance, and legal "stuff" that is in easy to understand jargon.

 Deadly Proof has great Christian themes throughout it, and especially of trusting God, and forgiveness. The book is an exciting read that kept me on the edge of my seat, and groaning when I had to put the book aside to do other things that needed done. The book had an excellent ending that left me wanting more, and also left me wanting to read more by this author. This is a truly awesome read that I was sorry to see end.

About the author:


Rachel Dylan writes Christian fiction including inspirational romantic suspense for Love Inspired Suspense and the Windy Ridge Legal Thriller series. Rachel has practiced law for almost a decade and enjoys weaving together legal and suspenseful stories. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids--two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. You can find Rachel at www.racheldylan.com.


Deadly Proof is available from Bethany House Publishers, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Everywhere You Go There's a Zacchaeus Up a Tree by Roger Campbell

Book description:

The wholesome, winsome wit and wisdom of columnist Roger Campbell

Every week for nearly forty years, Roger Campbell took up his pen to craft a newspaper column that would make a difference in the lives of his readers. His tales of fishing, family, friends, and fun helped them to trade their fears for faith, their sorrows for songs, and their doubts for certainties.

Everywhere You Go There's a Zacchaeus Up a Tree is an anthology edited by his son, drawn from these weekly columns. Based on Roger's experiences in the world at large, the pastorate, his community, and his family, these brief but wise essays are enriching, instructive, and gently challenging. Roger's habit of humbly talking with people from all walks of life wherever he went provided ample opportunity to impact generations of folks. His warm words still bear witness to the truth that God meets us where we are and uses us when we are willing.

Always starting with a Scripture reference, these short entries can be read as a daily or weekly devotion.

For those longing for a simpler time and the flavor of small-town life, Everywhere You Go There's a Zacchaeus Up a Tree shares a deep, abiding, homespun faith that knows, as Campbell wrote, that "God loves you no matter which way the wind blows."

My review:

  I was not familiar with Roger Campbell or his writings, but thought this sounded like an interesting book to review.... and I found that to be the case.

 It is a different kind of book that I normally read, but I found it an interesting, encouraging, and inspiring read. And it is the kind of book that you can read a section or two in a few minutes and go back to it later.

 The book covers a lot of topics, and the author has a unique and interesting way of writing that is easy to follow and easy to keep up with.

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

About the author:

Roger Campbell (1930-2015) was in the ministry for over fifty years. He spent many years as a pastor, and in the late 1970's he launched Roger Campbell Ministries, an evangelical ministry through which he produced radio broadcasts, wrote weekly newspaper columns, and spoke at church Bible conferences. He is the author of nearly 30 books, including the acclaimed Preach for a Year series.

Everywhere You Go There's a Zacchaeus Up a Tree is available from Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Teen's Guide to Social Media and Mobile Devices by Jonathan McKee

Book description:

Ever regret something you’ve posted?
Honestly? How smart are you being when it comes to streaming, messaging, gaming, commenting. . .?

 The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices will help you navigate the digital world with 21 refreshingly honest and humorous tips that will not only inform, but that also just might change the way you think about your social media interaction.

     21 real-life tips including. . .
Know the app before you snap.
Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want Grandma, your boss, and Jesus seeing! (Jesus is on Insta, you know!)
Peek at your privacy settings. . .so you know who’s peeking at you.
Take more “selflessies.”
Press pause before you post.

. . .and many more will provide just the information you need to post wisely in an insecure world.

My review:

 This book was written for teens, but I believe you could drop "teens" from the title, as it would be a good book for adults too.....though some of the tips are definitely more for teens.

 The book is well written in a style that should hold a teenager's attention, especially with it being divided up into tips. McKee addresses online safety, how to deal with cruelty, being careful about pictures, and even things like not being so involved in your phone that you get hurt or killed because you were not paying attention.

 Social media is great, and the internet is a great and wonderful tool. However, it has its bad points and a dark side. Hopefully parents talk to their kids about these issues, but this book is a great tool to help discuss the dangers. I found it an interesting read, and the tips are right on and helpful. Definitely recommended.

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

 About the author:


Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new IF I HAD A PARENTING DO OVER; 52 WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR SMARTPHONE OBSESSED KID; and the Amazon "Best Seller," THE GUY'S GUIDE TO GOD, GIRLS AND THE PHONE IN YOUR POCKET. With over 20 years youth ministry experience, Jonathan speaks to parents and leaders worldwide. You can follow Jonathan on his blog at JonathanMcKeeWrites.com, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife, Lori, and their three kids live in California.



The Teen's Guide to Social Media and Mobile Devices is available from Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Books.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ta'Mara Hanscom's 'The Pretender' Giveaway

Set in South Dakota in 1975, where eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beer in a bar, and loaded guns were kept under the counter.

Frankie Valli sang "My Eyes Adored You," and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.

It's within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwined-and had been for many years-yet they had no idea. 


From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart---and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride's deception.





Despite just meeting each other, Tillie and Noah's lives have been mysteriously intertwined for many years in Ta'Mara Hanscom's The Pretender. From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart-and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride's deception.

Join Ta'Mara in celebrating the release of the second printing and new covers by entering to win her $75 prize basket giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of The Pretender
  • A $75 Amazon gift card
  • A decorative box containing measuring cups, ten recipes from the book, a potholder, a kitchen towel, pepper and salt grinders, kitchen utensils, and an olive oil dispenser

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 11. The winner will be announced October 12 on the Litfuse blog.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Jeremy Camp The Answer CD review and giveaway

CD description:

Over the course of 10 years and a dozen albums, Camp has helped listeners think through life's important questions. Now he's ready to help you discover "The Answer." Features the radio single "Word of Life"; along with "My Defender"; "Storm"; "My Father's Arms"; "Never Stopped Loving"; "Tell the Whole World"; "Heaven's Shore"; "Carriers"; "Love So Great"; and "Awake, O Sleeper."

Complete track listing:
1. Word Of Life
2. My Defender
3. The Answer
4. Storm
5. My Father's Arms
6. Never Stopped Loving
7. Tell The Whole World
8. Heaven's Shore
9. Carriers
10. Love So Great
11. Awake O Sleeper

My review:
 I don't listen to a lot of Christian Contemporary music, Southern Gospel being my favorite genre'. Jeremy Camp is one CCM artist I like and listen to. I haven't had this CD very long, but have been listening to it since I got it, and I like it. It has some great strong songs on it, and shows why Jeremy Camp has remained a top selling Christian artist during the 10 years he has been singing.

 Personal favorites:
Word of Life
The Answer
Love So Great

 Some artists' songs tend to sound alike, but I feel these songs are different from those he has recorded before. Camp has made another great CD, and it is worth listening to.

Thanks to FlyBy Promotions for the review and giveaway copies.

Giveaway:

Simply comment on this review to be entered to win a copy of The Answer CD by Jeremy Camp. 10 days from today on October 15, I will pick a winner using Random.org

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Buy the CD here.

Social Corner:



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Book Description

An unsolved case. A tempest of memories. The future’s at stake—and time is running out . . .

Gwen Marcey has done a good job keeping the pain of her past boxed up. But as she investigates the case of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho, details keep surfacing that are eerily similar to her childhood traumas. She doesn’t believe in coincidences. So what’s going on here?

No one knows more about the impact of the past than the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. Gwen finds herself an unwelcome visitor to some, making her investigation even more difficult. The questions keep piling up, but answers are slow in coming—and the clock is ticking for a missing little girl. Meanwhile, Gwen’s ex-husband is threatening to take sole custody of their daughter.

As Gwen’s past and present collide, she’s in a desperate race for the truth. Because only truth will ensure she still has a future.

My review:

   I have enjoyed Carrie's books since I read her first one. Forensic artists fascinate me, and the fact that she is one in real life makes her novels all the more interesting and believable. In addition, her main character is far from perfect in more than one way, being a breast cancer survivor with prosthetic breasts..... you don't run onto that in many novels.

  All three books that precede this one have been great reads, but this one may be the best yet. I found it to be more suspenseful than the others, and it seemed more was going on in this book. Also in this book, the story is much more personal for the main character.

  This was not an easy book to figure out. The plot was intense and intricate, and the suspects abounded, made more difficult by events several years prior. This book kept me on the edge of my seat, and I found myself reading it as fast as I could. I enjoyed the book, and look forward to reading more by this author.

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

About the author:


Carrie Stuart Parks is an award-winning fine artist and internationally known forensic artist. Along with her husband, Rick, she travels across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement as well as civilian participants. She has won numerous awards for career excellence. Carrie is a popular platform speaker, presenting a variety of topics from crime to creativity.

Check out her website.

Portrait of Vengeance is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy.


Check out Carrie's other books



This Life I Live by Rory Feek

Book description:

The story she said he was born to write.

Her story. His story. The love story of Joey and Rory.

By inviting so many into the final months of Joey’s life as she battled cancer, Joey and Rory Feek captured hearts around the world with how they handled the diagnosis; the inspiring, simple way they chose to live; and how they loved each other every step of the way. But there is far more to the story.

“My life is very ordinary,” says Rory. “On the surface, it is not very special. If you looked at it, day to day, it wouldn’t seem like much. But when you look at it in a bigger context—as part of a larger story—you start to see the magic that is on the pages of the book that is my life. And the more you look, the more you see. Or, at least, I do.”

In this vulnerable book, he takes us for the first time into his own challenging life story and what it was like growing up in rural America with little money and even less family stability.

This is the story of a man searching for meaning and security in a world that offered neither. And it’s the story of a man who finally gives it all to a power higher than himself and soon meets a young woman who will change his heart forever.

In This Life I Live, Rory Feek helps us not only to connect more fully to his and Joey’s story but also to our own journeys. He shows what can happen when we are fully open in life’s key moments, whether when meeting our life companion or tackling an unexpected tragedy. He also gives never-before-revealed details on their life together and what he calls “the long goodbye,” the blessing of being able to know that life is going to end and taking advantage of it. Rory shows how we are all actually there already and how we can learn to live that way every day.

A gifted man from nowhere and everywhere in search of something to believe in. A young woman from the Midwest with an angelic voice and deep roots that just needed a place to be planted. This is their story. Two hearts that found each other and touched millions of other hearts along the way.

My review:

  I didn't become familiar with Joey and Rory Feek until they made the news because she was dying of cancer. I watched the Facebook posts as she grew weaker and weaker and closer and closer to death. I felt sadness and prayed for those she left behind when she finally slipped the bonds of earth.

  I was interested to read their story, so I requested this book. It was an interesting, encouraging, and sad read. Rory tells of how he and Joey met, and of their marriage and music career, and of course about her fight with cancer. I found myself caught up in their story, and impressed by their unwavering faith as they faced the battle of cancer together. I found tears in my eyes many times, yet found myself wishing I had that kind of faith that they exhibited.

 The book is definitely worth reading, and I highly recommend it.

About the author:


A true renaissance man, Rory Feek is known as one of Nashville’s premiere songwriters, entrepreneurs and out-of-the-box thinkers.  He is a world class storyteller that crosses all creative mediums from music and film to books and the internet.

As a blogger, Rory shares his heart and story with the world through his thislifeilive.com blog that has over 2 million Facebook followers.  The love story of he and his wife, her recent battle and loss to cancer, and his vignettes of unwavering faith and hope in the face of tragedy inspires millions of readers who follow along with each post. 

As a songwriter, Rory’s written multiple number-one songs, including Blake Shelton’s “Some Beach”, Easton Corbin’s “A Little More Country Than That”, and Clay Walker’s “Chain of Love”, and had dozens of other songs he’s written recorded by Kenny Chesney, Randy Travis, Reba, Trisha Yearwood, Waylon Jennings, and many others.

As an artist, Rory is one-half of the Grammy nominated county-music duo Joey+Rory.  He and his wife Joey Martin toured the world, sold hundreds of thousands of records, and have their own weekly hit television show that airs all across the country on RFD-TV. Their latest album “Hymns That Are Important To Us” sold 70,000 copies the first week and debuted at number on Billboard album charts. 

As a filmmaker, Rory just finished directing his first feature-length film, “Josephine”, an epic love story set during the declining months of the Civil War, with a screenplay that he co-wrote with Aaron Carnahan.  Rory has three other screenplays in process.  He also writes, shoots and edits their music videos, and is the creator of the television shows and specials in which he and his wife appeared. 

He and his 2 year-old daughter Indiana live an hour south of Nashville in an 1870’s farmhouse near their family-owned diner, Marcy Jo’s Mealhouse.

Justice Buried, Memphis Cold Case #2 by Patricia Bradley

Book description:

  In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves. When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she's ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she's out of her league--and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he's the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart.

  Crackling with romantic tension and laced with intrigue, this suspenseful story from award-winning author Patricia Bradley will keep you guessing--and looking over your shoulder.


My review:

  I first became acquainted with Patricia Bradley's writing when I read and reviewed her Logan Point Series. Those were her first trade paperback books she wrote, and I thoroughly enjoyed all four books in that series.

  If possible,  this series is even better. The idea of cold cases and the solving of them has intrigued me for quite some time, so I was happy to see a favorite author of mine tackle cold cases in a series. I reviewed the first book, Justice Delayed, and it got the series off to a great roaring start. Justice Buried does not disappoint, and is just as full of suspense, drama, and non stop action as the first book.

 Justice Buried brings back Sergeant Brad Hollister back for a more prominent role than he had in the first book, along with new characters and a new mystery. There was nothing to dislike in this book, and I had a difficult time setting the book down to do things that I needed to do besides reading.

 The plot was great, and it was not easy to figure out or see where it was going, and there were a few surprises that I definitely didn't see coming.

 The idea of trusting God played a part in the lives of the two characters, especially Kelsey as she tried to keep from getting killed from a person she had no clue to their identity.

 I read the book in two days, mostly on my work breaks, and loved every minute and page of it. I highly recommend both books in this series, along with Bradley's great Logan Point Series.

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

About the author:


Patricia Bradley is the author of Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, Gone without a Trace, and Silence in the Dark. Bradley has been a finalist for the Genesis Award, winner of a Daphne du Maurier Award, and winner of a Touched by Love Award. Bradley is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Bradley makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

Justice Buried, along with Justice Delayed and the Logan Point Series, is available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

 Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

                                                      #1 in the Memphis Cold Case Series


Also check out the Logan Point Series


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Rule of Law by Randy Singer

Book description:

What did the president know? And when did she know it?

For the members of SEAL Team Six, it was a rare mission ordered by the president, monitored in real time from the Situation Room. The Houthi rebels in Yemen had captured an American journalist and a member of the Saudi royal family. Their executions were scheduled for Easter Sunday. The SEAL team would break them out.

But when the mission results in spectacular failure, the finger-pointing goes all the way to the top.

Did the president play political games with the lives of U.S. service members?

Paige Chambers, a determined young lawyer, has a very personal reason for wanting to know the answer. The case she files will polarize the nation and test the resiliency of the Constitution. The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and she will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.

Equal justice under law.

It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?

My review:

   Randy Singer has long been a favorite author of mine, and is better than the better known John Grisham, who writes the same type of books on the secular market.

 Although fiction, the book deals with a lot of issues that are relative to today. It wasn't long ago that we had a president and other government officials in a similar situation that the fictional president and other officials were dealing with in this novel.

  Slight spoiler alert: I was a bit bummed out at some deaths early on in the book, but I did pretty much see it coming from the first chapters and description of the book. It took me a while to get past that disappointment, but it was still a great book. It was very well written, and Singer's knowledge of both courtroom and law procedure and world events come through loud and clear.

 The book had a lot of unpredictable moments, and I had a hard time guessing what would happen next and how judges were going to rule. I liked the characters and plot, and it was easy to get caught up in the story, especially since it is so relative to current events.

 I was very impressed with how Singer portrayed Navy Seals, and came away with an even greater appreciation for them and our military in general.

 I was bothered by the use of the word "bastards". Tyndale has been one publisher that has been pretty careful about language, and though there are much worse words out there in secular fiction, I felt inserting that one in a Christian novel was unnecessary.

 The book comes in at 460 pages, and is a wild ride through the courtrooms of America, the prisons of the middle east, and other areas in Muslim countries. Singer has again penned a great legal thriller that is definitely worth reading, and I enjoyed it a lot.

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

About the author:

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than 10 legal thrillers and was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine's select list of "Legal Elite" litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his "Jekyll and Hyde thing"---part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his website at www.randysinger.net.


Rule of Law is available from Tyndale Publishing.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Crown of Souls, The Tox Files #2 by Ronie Kendig

Book description:

When You Stare Into the Abyss It Also Stares Into You

The bullet that rips into Cole “Tox” Russell was never meant to kill. It was meant to send a message. Only one man is skilled enough to have taken the shot, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he’s out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.

Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.

My review:

I have been a fan of Ronie Kendig's books ever since I read the first one, a suspense/intrigue novel. She went from that to finding her true niche, writing military/special ops fiction. She is not alone in the Christian fiction market with this genre', but she is hands down the best at writing this genre'. She has proven that time after time with each book she has written, and has done so again with The Crown of Souls. And it also shows she keeps getting better and better.

  The Tox Files are different from her other series. In her previous series, she has created a team of guys and focused on a different guy in each novel in that series. In the Tox Files, she has again created a great team of guys, but each book focuses on the same man: Cole Russell, aka Tox. She still does a lot of character development on the other characters in the book, which she always does masterfully, but I have enjoyed the whole series focusing on one character and seeing more character development than normal. And Ronie has created a great and likable, though flawed, character in Cole Russell.

 This series has also been different from her others in that she blends history with the modern, going back in history in between what is happening in the here and now.

 Crown of Souls is the most intriguing novel in this series so far, and the most gripping. At the center of the story is a very misguided former special ops and friend of Cole's, Alec King. King has seen too much bad left unchecked because of politicians decisions, and is now taking things in his own hands, meting out his form of justice and vengeance. He is borderline insane in his lust for vengeance, and is pushed over the edge by an ancient crown that seems to have the power to corrupt the person wearing it.

 Ronie did a great job of portraying the feelings of King, which are echoed in Cole, as he struggles to understand his friend, yet still condemn his actions. I myself have read of the atrocities committed in other countries and how our soldiers are commanded to ignore some things and stand down instead of taking really bad guys out. I can see how a soldier could go over the edge like the fictional Alec King, and how a soldier like Cole could also struggle in that area.

 Slight spoiler alert: one interesting part of this series has been the fact that Cole Russell is dead to  the world, including his parents. I was curious and eager to see where that would go, and found out in this book.

  As to what I thought of the book overall: a word that gets overused, but definitely applies here: awesome. Ronie has outdone herself yet again. The book was a perfect blend of suspense, intrigue, humor, internal conflict, flawed but likable characters,  history, and Christianity. I made the mistake of taking this book with me to work and reading on my breaks, and had a very difficult time putting it down to go back to my job. I loved the book, and can't wait to read the next one in the series.

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

 Get the e-book prequel, The Warrior's Seal free on Amazon.

About the author:


An Army brat, Ronie Kendig grew up in the classic military family, with her father often TDY and her mother holding down the proverbial fort. Their family moved often, which left Ronie attending six schools by the time she’d entered fourth grade. Her only respite and “friends” during this time were the characters she created.

It was no surprise when she married a military veteran—her real-life hero—in June 1990.  Married more than twenty years, Ronie and her husband  have homeschooled for the last eighteen years. Despite the craziness of life, Ronie finds balance and peace with her faith, family, and retired military working doge in Northern Virginia.

Ronie has a deep love and passion for people, especially hurting people, which is why she pursued and obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Liberty University. Ronie speaks and teaches across the country and mentors other writers.




Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and her books have hit bestseller lists and garnered awards and critical acclaim, including:

2015 RT Book of the Year Finalist – Firethorn
2015 INSPY Shortlist – Firethorn and Embers
2015 Lime Award Winner – Firethorn
2012 Christy Award Winner – Wolfsbane (Contemporary Romance)
2013 HOLT Medallion Winner – Trinity: Military War Dog (Best Book by a Virginia Author)
2013 Selah Award Winner  – Firethorn (Fiction – Suspense)
2013 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award Winner – Trinity: Military War Dog (Romantic Suspense)
2012 Lime Award Winner – Firethorn (Suspense)
2012 Carol Award Finalist – Wolfsbane (Romantic Suspense)
Christian Retailing’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards Finalist – Nightshade
2011 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award Finalist – Nightshade (Romantic Suspense)
Named one of the Top 25 Christian Fiction Suspense, Mystery, and Thriller Writers by FamilyFiction (Sept 2011)
2011 FamilyFiction Readers’ Choice Awards – 3rd place as New Favorite Author, 8th place with Nightshade for Novel of the Year.
INSPY Award Shortlist final in Mystery/Thriller (Dead Reckoning)
The Christian Manifesto’s 2010 Lime Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Nightshade)


  Conspiracy of Silence is available from Bethany House Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

 Thanks to the Crown of Souls Quick Reaction Force Group for the review copy.

Check out Ronie's website at RonieKendig.com

Download the e-book novella The Warrior's Seal here, which is free at the writing of this review.