Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thirst of Steel, The Tox Files #3 by Ronie Kendig

Book description:

The Final Conflict Will Hinge on One of History's Most Dangerous Blades

Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies' blood. Cole "Tox" Russell wants only to put the dangers of his past behind him and begin his new life with Haven Cortes. First, though, he's called to complete a final mission: retrieve the sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order.

The AFO, however, is determined to reunite the sword. Threatening the life of Ram and Tzivia's father, they jeopardize Ram's long-held and dangerous secret while demanding Tzivia locate the blade. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the artifact is tied to both Ram's secret and a string of unsolved serial murders.

Tox, Ram, and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to target the true enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must destroy the AFO . . . or join them in the flames. 

My review:

  Ronie Kendig is one of those authors who just keeps getting better, and this series has got to be her best. She took a different turn in this series than in her other military fiction, and added a supernatural aspect.

 In this, the 3rd and final book in the series, the sword of Goliath is being searched for. The bad guys want it for evil purposes, and the good guys want it to stop the bad guys.

 This book had a lot going on in it. Thankfully, the author noted every time the book switched locations, as it took you all over the place, though mainly in Russia and the USA.

  I was sad to see the series end, but it did end with the best book of the series. There seemed to be even more action and suspense than the other, and there were a few surprises. I wondered for the first part of the book why the main character, Tox, was not making an appearance. Then I found out why, and I did not see that coming.

 This book focused more on Ram than the others did. Cole (Tox) was still the main character, but Ram played as much of a part as he did in the book.

 I saw a comment about the book where a reviewer said "how could you?!" to the author, so I was expecting someone to die....and I was correct in who I pegged was going to die. It was sad, but it was also an awesome scene that I had to re-read a few times after I finished the book. I am a guy, but effected me emotionally.... and I'll leave it at that. :)

 Kendig is a favorite author of mine, but I don't say this lightly: I was honestly wowed at the intricate plot she wove.... the curse, the sword, the history she truly was an amazing plot. I found myself thinking more than once "how on earth did she come up with THAT?!" She showed as usual that it is possible to write great military/special OPs books and keep it clean and curse free.....and I really admire that.

 The romance angle was played out more in this book, and it involved one of the surprises in the that is revealed fairly early.

 Even with the sad emotional part I mentioned before, the book had a terrific ending, and I had that satisfied feeling one has when they read a great novel that does more than pulls you into the story and won't let you go.

 Great job, Mrs Kendig. You are a definite asset to the Christian fiction market.

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

About the author:

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of over twenty novels. She grew up an Army brat, and now she and her Army-veteran husband live a short train ride from New York City with their children and a retired military working dog. Ronie's degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters. Visit her at

Thirst of Steel is available from Bethany House Publishers.

Called to Protect, Blue Justice #2 by Lynette Eason

Book description:

For the past year, Chloe St. John has been working as a K-9 cop with her German shepherd partner, Hank. After being dumped by her fiance for another woman, Chloe has decided that Hank is just about the only male she likes. She's over the whole romance thing and focuses her attention on doing her job. Because a serious case of human trafficking with connections to her missing cousin just landed in her lap.

When US Marshall Blake MacCallum's daughter goes missing, he's ordered to kill the judge he's protecting and tell no one about his daughter's disappearance or she will die. Blake races against the clock to rescue his daughter while Chloe and Hank are asked to be a part of the task force assembled to bring down the traffickers. Chloe finds herself attracted to the silent, suffering man, but thanks to her previous bad judgment, she wonders if she can trust him. And can Blake trust himself around this firecracker of a woman?

Bestselling author Lynette Eason warns readers to buckle in for a fast and furious ride that will have their hearts pumping from the very start.

My review:

  I have enjoyed every book and series I have read by Lynette Eason, but feel this one is her best yet. I really enjoyed the first one, but liked this one even better....possibly because most of the characters are familiar now.

  Called to Protect is a great suspenseful read that I enjoyed every minute of. The plot and characters were top notch, and the suspense and drama were awesome. Eason tackles the issue of human trafficking in this book, and she does a stellar job of portraying how awful it is, and how the people work and operate who are involved in that horrible practice. As much as I enjoyed the book, it did bring a stark reminder of how widespread this crime is, and how many people have been abducted and forced into God knows what.

 The book is Romantic suspense, and I enjoyed that angle as well. Blake and Chloe are likable characters, and even I found myself rooting for that part. Slight spoiler: this isn't a book where they marry at the end of the book after a whirlwind romance, but the book did have a very good and promising ending the romance department.

 This is possibly Eason's most riveting novel so far. The human trafficking angle made for a great plot, and the dilemma of U.S. Marshal Blake Macallum made it even better.

 Called to Protect also hits on forgiveness, and how we must forgive those who have hurt us and done us wrong... no matter how bad the offense.

 This is definitely a book Eason can be proud of, and it left me wanting to read more of the St John family.

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

About the author:

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Oath of Honor and Called to Protect, as well as the Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master's degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at

Called to Protect is available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Formula of Deception by Carrie Stuart Parks

My review:

An artist hiding from an escaped killer uncovers one of World War II’s most dangerous secrets—a secret that desperate men will do anything to keep hidden.

After the murder of her twin sister, Murphy Anderson changed her name and appearance and moved to Kodiak, Alaska, to avoid the press and publicity. But when local authorities discover she’s an artist and request her help in drawing a dying man’s memories, she unintentionally ends up in the limelight again—and back in the killer’s crosshairs.

The deathbed confessions of an Alaskan hunter have Murphy drawing the five bodies he discovered on remote Ruuwaq Island ten years ago. But what investigators find has them mystified. Evidence suggests that the bodies were deliberately destroyed, and what they uncover in an abandoned Quonset hut from World War II only brings more questions.

As one by one the investigators who were at the hut die, Murphy knows there is something much darker at stake. What happened on this island during the war? And who is willing to kill to keep its secrets buried?

My review:
 I enjoyed the 4 books in the Gwen Macy Series by Parks, but was getting a little tired of the main character and her I was happy to see a book coming out by this author that wasn't in that series.

 With the author being a forensic artist, her book are all  the more interesting since she knows what she is talking about. This book, though totally different from the others, again showed the author's professional knowledge in that area.

  I liked the new characters the author came up with, along with the plot and setting. The book was very suspenseful, which is exactly what I like. It is a book that kept me turning the pages as fast as I could to see what was going to happen next.

 I did enjoy the book, but there came a point in the book that left me confused as to what had happened and what was going on. I won't give any spoilers away, but I was left with a feeling of wondering if I had missed something.

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

About the author:

Carrie Stuart Parks is Christy, Carol, and Inspy award-winning author, 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.

Formula of  Deception is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

The Patriot Bride, Daughters of the Mayflower #4, by Kimberly Woodhouse

Book review:

Faith Jackson and Matthew Weber are both working covertly to aid the Patriot cause. But will they be willing to sacrifice all for their fledgling country?
A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

Spies Work Together for the Patriot Cause
Faith Jackson is a wealthy widow, friend of George Washington, and staunch supporter of the Patriot cause. Matthew Weber is friends with both Ben Franklin and his son William, who increasingly differ in their political views; and Matthew finds himself privy to information on both sides of the conflict. When a message needs to get to a spy among the Loyalists, Faith bravely steps up and in turn meets Matthew Weber. Suddenly she believes she could love again. But someone else has his eye on the Faith she portrays in elite social circles. What will Matthew and Faith have to sacrifice for the sake of their fledgling country?

My review:
  Christian suspense is my favorite genre' and that is where I first ran across this author. Seven years ago she wrote a 2 book series with her daughter that was Christians suspense. I enjoyed those books and her writing style, so I have read her books that are not suspense, such as this one.

 This one caught my eye because of the time period it was written in. I enjoy reading about the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and Woodhouse did a great job on weaving a fictional tale and fictional characters with historical events and people. I really liked her two main characters, and their dangerous spy mission was as good and suspenseful as a suspense novel. I have read books before where a main character was a spy, but I think this is the first book I have read where both main characters were spies.

  It is interesting to see how different authors portray real historical people, and I enjoyed this author's portrayal of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

  I enjoyed the book a lot, and only wished it had been a little longer. It ended way too soon. Even though it was historical fiction, the story helped remind me of the sacrifices that were made to win our freedom and to keep it.

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

About the author:

Kimberley Woodhouse ( is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than fifteen fiction and nonfiction books. A popular speaker and teacher, she's shared her theme of "Joy Through Trials" with more than half a million people across the country at more than 2,000 events. Kim and her incredible husband of twenty-five-plus years have two adult children. She's passionate about music and Bible study and loves the gift of story. You can connect with Kimberley on her website and at

The Patriot Bride and the other books in the Daughters of the Mayflower Series are available from Barbour Books.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The House At Saltwater Point, Lavender Tides #2 by Colleen Coble

Book description:

USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble delivers her signature blend of romance and suspense when Ellie Blackmore sets out to find the truth about what happened to her sister.

Ellie Blackmore is making a name for herself as a young house flipper. But when her sister disappears, she can’t focus on anything but finding out what really happened. Blood on the floor might indicate that MacKenzie was killed and her body was removed.

Ellie is at odds with Grayson Bradshaw, the handsome Coast Guard intelligence officer who thinks MacKenzie faked her own death and is off enjoying her ill-gotten gains: billions of dollars in cocaine.

They both want the truth, but truth—and family—is often more complex than it may first appear.

My review:

 Collen Coble is an author who keeps putting out quality Christian fiction, especially in the  suspense/mystery genre'. I am always sad to see a series of hers end, but happy to see a new one start. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, and this one was just as good, if not better.

 At the center of the series, is Shauna's search for her missing brother and sister who she has not seen since an earthquake when they were small children. In addition to the main plot of this book, the story also revolves around her finding and being reunited with her long lost brother who was adopted and never knew it. I found Coble's account of what that kind of revelation might be like for a person, and the struggles faced as he tries to deal with having a new sister he never knew existed.

 The main plot was very good, and had me guessing as to what was really going on. A missing girl...was she dead or alive, and was she guilty of what it looked like she was guilty of? I liked the two 2 main charters that the story revolved around, and enjoyed Grayson's reactions to the news given to him early in the book.

 It was also cool to have the people from the first book back, and I again enjoyed the setting for the series that Coble picked out. This was a definite page turner that I couldn't put down, and enjoyed every minute I spent reading this great new novel of Collen Coble's.

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

About the author:

USAToday bestselling author Colleen Coble lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. She is the author of dozens of novels including the Rock Harbor Series, the Aloha Reef Series, the Mercy Falls Series, the Hope Beach Series, the Lonestar Series and two Women of Faith fiction selections, Alaska Twilight and Midnight Sea. She has more than 2 million books in print.

The House At Saltwater Point is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Devotions from the Lake

Book Description

Life is better at the lake—but you already knew that. Capture the sweetest parts of lake life with 100 peaceful devotions and gorgeous photography in Devotions from the Lake. This beautiful book offers insight into how God meets us through rest and play, and how to bring all the best parts of “lake life” to everyday life.
Life has a way of slowing down and simplifying when you’re by the water. Enjoying long walks, ice cream cones, and watercolor sunsets with your family and friends is a way of life on lake days . . . wouldn’t it be a dream to live like that year-round?
Devotions from the Lake includes 100 devotions and beautiful photography.It is a wonderful way to start each day at the lake with quiet devotional time as you gain deeper insight into how God meets us through rest and play and how to bring all the best parts of “lake life” to everyday life.
It’s the perfect gift for any lake lover or a happy way to keep a little piece of the lake with you at all times.

My review:
 I am always looking for a good devotional, so this one caught my eye with the beautiful photo on the cover of the book. It is true that you cannot judge a book by its cover, but we do tend to do that anyway. In this case, I judged correctly.
 Oddly, there is no author listed on the book, nor for any of the devotions in the book. The devotional is not a 365-day devotional, but has around 80 devotions in it (they are not numbered). Each has a title, followed by a Bible verse or two, then the main devotional.
 The book is also full of beautiful photographs of lakes and other pictures of nature.
The anonymous devotions are well written and center mostly around nature and lakes. Even without the well written devotions, the book is worth having for the beautiful photography throughout the book.

Friday, June 8, 2018

CSB Worldview Study Bible, Navy LeatherTouch

Description and features:

The CSB Worldview Study Bible features extensive worldview study notes and articles by notable worldview scholars to help Christians better understand the grand narrative and flow of Scripture within the biblical framework from which we are called to view reality and make sense of life and the world. This Bible is an invaluable resource and study tool that will help you to discuss, defend, and clearly share with others the truth, hope, and practical compatibility of Christianity in everyday life.

Features include:

Extensive worldview study notes
Over 150 articles by notable worldview scholars
Center-column references
Smyth-sewn binding
Presentation page
Two ribbon markers
Two-piece gift box, and more.
Contributors include: Ted Cabel, George Guthrie, John Stonestreet, Constantine R. Campbell, Eric J. Tully, Darrell Bock, Mary Jo Sharp, Kenneth Matthews, Carl Trueman, Paul Wooley, Thomas Kidd, John Bloom, William Edgar, and more.

The CSB Worldview Study Bible features the highly readable, highly reliable text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). The CSB stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity, making it easier to engage with Scripture’s life-transforming message and to share it with others.

My review:

  I have come to like the Christian Standard Bible version, so this Bible interested me. It is available in different colors and bindings, but I was sent the Navy Leather Touch. My review will be for that particular Bible.

 The Bible comes in an attractive box, pictured at the top of my blog review. Leather Touch looks and feels pretty much like leather, only it is not as expensive as leather. The Bible itself is a nice shade of navy blue, with silver edged pages.

  A Christian world view is very important, and this Bible helps focus on that, with articles and notes geared towards that idea. I of course did not read the whole Bible, but I did look through it, reading some of the notes and articles, and like what I saw and read. They are well written with some great thoughts from a conservative Christian perspective.

 A feature not mentioned that I liked is one that is on the pages of each book of the Bible introduction. In addition to the actual introduction and overview, there is a section detailing the Christian Worldview elements in that book.

 There are a lot of Bibles on the market, and many of them are study Bibles. This may not be one every Christian must have, but it is one worth having. It is a great translation/version, and the features are different from other Bibles out there.

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

The CSB Worldview Study Bible is available from Broadman and Holman Publishing.

Thanks to Broadman and Holman for the review copy.

Fatal Recall by Carol Post

Book description:

Amnesia stole her memory--a killer wants her dead

When Paige Tatem loses her memory, she knows just two things: she has a target on her back, and police officer Tanner Brody is the only man she trusts to protect her. As they piece together her past, Tanner wonders what lies hidden in Paige's mind. And as the truth begins to emerge, it becomes clear that a ruthless enemy wants certain secrets to stay buried.

My review:

   I don't read a lot of the Love Inspired Suspense novels. There are just too many published to keep up with, though I have never been disappointed in any I have read. Carol Post has been kind to offer her last few books to me to review, and at least two of them have been the Love Inspired Suspense. And this one may be her best yet.

  Books that involve a person with amnesia have always intrigued me, so the book had me hooked right away with that aspect. And in Fatal Recall, the main character could be victim or perpetrator. It added an extra level of suspense and intrigue to a book that was already full of those elements.

   The author came up with some great and very likable characters in Paige and Tanner, and his law enforcement friends also added a lot to the story. The action and suspense were pretty much non-stop, and then one can guess by the name of the label on the book......there is romance. I am still not a guy who reads many books that are just romance.......but if someone is trying to kill someone, I can handle the romance. I am kind of kidding. I enjoyed how that aspect of the book went. Both characters had flaws and had been burnt in the relationship department, but had to learn to trust each other and God to get them through the trying events they faced, and their blossoming feelings for each other.

 These books are a fast read, with this one coming in at 218 pages. Post packed a lot into those 218 pages and wrote a great suspense novel that does not shy away from themes of faith and Christianity. Great read.

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

About the author:

From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special events decorating company, Carol's résumé 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 started as a child writing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles and finally novels.

Carol lives in sunshiny Central Florida and writes fun and fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Her books have received a 2016 Royal Palm Literary Award and been nominated for a 2016 RITA® award and a 2014 RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Award. She is also a popular speaker, presenting workshops on a variety of craft topics. Besides writing, 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 at

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli

Book description:

New York, 2016
Natalie Abbott offers answers for hurting listeners on her popular radio program. But she struggles to connect with her teenagers, with her daughter in an unhealthy relationship and her son uncommunicative and isolated. When one member of the family commits an unspeakable act, Natalie is forced to uncover who she truly is under the façade of her radio persona.

New York, 1776
Mercy Howard is shocked when her fiancé, Nathan Hale, is arrested and hanged as a spy. When she’s asked to join the revolutionary spy ring in Manhattan, she sees an opportunity to avenge Nathan’s death. But keeping her true loyalties hidden grows increasingly harder as the charming Major John Andre of the King’s Army becomes more to her than a target for intelligence.

Mercy’s journals comfort Natalie from across the centuries as both women struggle with their own secrets and shame, wondering how deep God’s mercy extends.

Book review:

  This was a new author for me. The book sounded good, and I had not reviewed anything from Tyndale Publishing for a while, so I requested it. My review will be a mixed one.

 There are two stories in the book. One centers on Natalie in modern day, and the other on Mercy in 1776. To be honest, I found the historical part of the story distracting. The modern day story was so moving and riveting, I would get frustrated when the author would switch to the historical one. I found the same to be true of Francine River's Scarlet Cord that released several years back......maybe that should have warned me. But that is the only negative thing I have to say.

 The rest of the book was very good, yet sad. I don't want to give any spoilers away, but the main character's teenage son does something terrible.....we are talking something newsworthy, prison for life, the ripping apart of a community. It was an interesting experience to see the side of a horrible act from the view of the parents of a kid who did it. The book stirred up several emotions in me, including sympathy for the kid who did it......while at the same time recognizing what a horrible thing he had done and his need for prison for life.

 Though fiction, this is a story that could be ripped from today's headlines. And it is a reminder that God can help people through very tough times. It was very interesting and well written.

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

About the author:

Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring Boston's Freedom Trail. She writes Women's Fiction and won the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest in the historical category. Both her debut novel, "Freedom's Ring" and her sophomore novel, "The Hidden Side" are Romantic Times Top Picks. "Freedom's Ring" was also a BOOKLIST Top Ten Romance Debut, 2017. She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle. Visit her online at

The Hidden Side is available from Tyndale House Publishing.

Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.

How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living by The Babylon Bee

Book description:

With a biting, satirical style reminiscent of The Onion, How to Be a Perfect Christian takes a humorous look at the quirks of cultural Christianity while subtly challenging the reader to search for more than a cultural faith.

Written in the trademark style of The Babylon Bee, this book humorously satirizes cultural Christianity while peppering in subtle challenges to the reader. Through humor and sarcasm (and a handy meter to rank your "holiness" as you progress through the book), readers will be called to find a more biblical understanding of the Christian faith, all while poking fun at the quirks of the modern, American Christian community.

My review:

 If you are not following the Babylon Bee, you should be. Though if you do not like humor and satire, you may not like their posts or this book.

  This book is hilarious, while also pointing out how Christians should NOT be.  For instance, in their chapter on joining the right church, they encourage you to find a King James Version only church. They encourage you to take along a newer version like the ESV and said "these folks are very reasonable and level headed, and it can be a joyful and edifying experience dialoguing  with them." Now if you have ever run across the KJV only people, you know the opposite is true.

 The whole book is like that. The authors take the sacred cows of Christian culture and slay them one after the other, showing how ridiculous we can be. Not everyone will agree with everything they said. I didn't, such as alcohol....but I still enjoyed the book and found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion.

  Someone criticized this book and said it was a waste of time for them to write it, and we need serious books to draw us closer to God. I disagree. We all need more humor in our lives, and if read in the right frame of mind, this satirical book can help us to avoid some of the things in our churches and lives that should not be.

  This book was a gift and I am doing a review of my own volition.

About the author:

The Babylon Bee is the most popular Christian satire website, with more than 300,000 Facebook fans, and over 70,000 visitors to the website daily. They are a trusted voice in humor across a wide range of modern Christians.

How to Be a Perfect Christian is available from Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

God's Promises for Graduates: Class of 2018 - Navy NKJV

Book description:

The #1 bestselling graduation gift book, God’s Promises® for Graduates: Class of 2018—NKJV Navy, is the perfect gift for the grad in your life. This book shows grads God’s promises from Scripture on topics such as character, integrity, loyalty, focus, respect, perseverance, and more. Includes a ribbon marker, gilded edges, and a Leathersoft cover.

To be successful in life, high school and college graduates need to stay in step with God. At each turn there are new challenges. What better help than this small book of God’s promises found in Scripture to bring guidance, comfort, and encouragement straight from the Word. Scripture passages are from the New King James Version translation. This book shows grads God’s promises on topics graduates will resonate with such as character, integrity, loyalty, focus, respect, perseverance, and more. Each topic is addressed with promises straight from the Bible.

This keepsake gift has a ribbon marker, silver-gilded edges, and a Leathersoft over hardcover design that is perfect to accommodate personalization by imprinting the graduate’s name. Year after year the attractive navy cover is one of the most popular choices for young men and women.

For more than 30 years, the God’s Promises® series has sold millions of copies, guiding and comforting people with God’s Word.

Encourage, inspire, and give your graduate comfort and courage with this beautiful gift book.

My review:

 I've always liked Bible Promise books. This one is geared for graduates, and makes a great gift for a grad. It is embossed with the year 2018, and has a place inside for a "to" and "from", along with the date.

 There is a handy index that is split into some different categories:

What to do when you need...

What do do when you feel...

What the Bible has to say about...

What Jesus means to you...

What to do when you are...

Truths from the Bible about...

 And a final word to the graduate

 This small book covers a lot of topics and Scripture verses that are pertinent for anyone, but especially for those graduating from school and facing the world. It is well put together, and definitely is something a graduate can treasure and use for years.

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

God's Promises for Graduates: Class of 2018 - Navy NKJV is available from Thomas Nelson.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

No Less Days by Amanda Stevens

Book description:

David Galloway can’t die.

How many lifetimes can God expect one man to live? Over a century old, David Galloway isolates himself from the mortal humans who die or desert him by making a quiet life as a used bookstore owner in Northern Michigan. But then he spots a news article about a man who, like him, should be dead.

Daredevil celebrity Zachary Wilson walked away unscathed from what should have been a deadly fall. David tracks the man down, needing answers. Soon David discovers a close-knit group of individuals as old as he is who offer the sort of kinship and community he hasn’t experienced for decades—but at what cost?  

David finds himself keeping secrets other than his own. . .protecting more than himself alone. He’ll have to decide what’s worth the most to him—security or community. When crimes come to light that are older than any mortal, he fears the pressure is more than he can stand. What does God require of him, and is David strong enough to see it through?

My review:

  It isn't every day I read a Christian novel that has immortal people in it. The book sounded intriguing, and I had read a book by the author before that I I requested it.

 The book was different, and that is an understatement. And I really enjoyed it. An author's characters can make or break a story, and Stevens did a great job on creating unique and likable characters. David and Zach especially made the story.

 In addition to the entertaining and inspirational aspects of the story, Stevens did a great job portraying what life might be like for an immortal person and the challenges they may face.

 This was a fast and entertaining read that I enjoyed even more than I expected to. Stevens has come up with a very unique book for the Christian market that is definitely worth reading.

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

About the author:

As a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now, she writes speculative fiction. She is the author of the Haven Seekers series, and her debut Seek and Hide was a 2015 INSPY Award finalist. She lives in Michigan and loves trade paperbacks, folk music, the Golden Era of Hollywood, and white cheddar popcorn.

No Less Days is available from Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Books.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin

My review:

Allie's second husband is killed tragically when his 18-wheeler crashes into the rocks near their home in Cape San Blas--the tanker was full of fuel and the explosion could be seen on overhead satellites. She'd already lost the beloved waterfront restaurant her parents started and now losing her husband, no matter how unfulfilling their marriage was, might just push her over the edge.

Joseph's time in Vietnam left him with scars that never seemed to heal. No matter how he's tried to love or what he's tried to do since then, he can't pull himself out of the wreckage of his former life. His trust and security shaken, he isolates himself in a cabin. But every morning, he faithfully pours two cups of coffee, drinking his while he sits with the second, and then pouring out the full cup.

It's no small coincidence that Joseph found a mother and her two young children lost in the woods near his cabin. Or that when he helps them return to family in Florida, he's near enough to see that explosion. Near enough to know it's close to home. Near enough to know that his childhood sweetheart needs him.

The years have built so much distance between them, but it's the secrets that may be their final undoing. Send Down the Rain reminds us of the beauty of truth . . . and the power of love to wash away the past.

My review:

 Charles Martin is a master storyteller. Every time I think he has written his best novel, he writes another that is even better. And this

 Martin always comes up with some great characters, and this book was no different. At the heart of the story is Joseph, returned soldier now 62 years old. He lost the love of his wife to his older brother, who destroyed the marriage. He lives alone, but can't help protecting and helping people.

 This book, though fictional, is a powerful story of love and forgiveness. The climax of the story happens in a courtroom. Martin has a way of throwing a curve ball the reader never saw coming, and there was a major curve ball. I am not ashamed to admit I cry in books and movies, and man did that part of the book do me in. Maybe it was foolish on my part, but I just read that part of  the book again til the end and had tears streaming down my face.

 Martin's books are rarely overtly Christian, but this amazing story shows the love and forgiveness God offers all of us.

 It also shows it is never too late for any of us. Most books of this type are centered on people in their 20's and 30's, not 60's.

 This is a story of 2 brothers, and of one that was wronged by the other in ways that are unfathomable...yet forgiveness and a total lack of hate was there. It also shows that love truly can conquer all, and there is no greater sacrifice than to sacrifice one's life, or reputation for another. This is truly an awesome read.

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

About the author (in his own words):

I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida on the St. John’s River.  Somewhat of a Huck Finn childhood.  Most afternoons were spent mullet fishing—of which I’ve caught my fair share, canoeing, pegging cars with overripe tangerines—it really got fun when the red tail lights lit and the reverse gears ground metal on metal, or the backyard Superbowl which we replayed most everyday.  Through high school, football was my life.  School was the avenue that allowed me to play.  I walked on at Georgia Tech in 1999 and played one year under Bobby Ross.  “Played” might be a bit too liberal use of the term.  I dressed out for the games and served as a tackling dummy until I got hurt, cracking a vertebrae in my back and they carried me off.  Transferred to Florida State and tried to become a student.  As an escape, I starting racing bicycles up and down the east coast.  Not very good, but it allowed me an outlet.  Eventually landed in the English department after escaping Accounting with a ‘D.’  I was de-lighted.  After graduation, I moved to Atlanta and started waiting tables at Houston’s Restaurant so I could save up money to buy a ring.  Christy and I married in 1993, we drove to Virginia Beach, where she put me through Grad school.  When I wasn’t in class, I worked the morning preload for Ma’ Brown.  (UPS).  Went to work at 2 or 3 am, and clocked out about 9 am.  Didn’t get much sleep for almost 3 years.  In 1997, we got pregnant with Charlie and returned to Jacksonville—so our kids could grow up around our families.  When not a single educational institution in Jacksonville would hire me (including my alma mater, Bolles High School), my brother-in-law had mercy on me and gave me a job selling insurance.  2 years passed and to make a real long story short, a fortune 500 company offered me a VP’s position with a 6-figure salary, 6-figure signing bonus, etc.  I turned them down, resigned from the insurance agency, began pressure washing, building docks, etc., and began trying to sell my novel—what is now The Dead Don’t Dance.  That was 8 years ago.  ‘Where the River Ends” is my 6th novel.

Check out his website:

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Storm Front, Montana Rescue #5

Book description:

Life and love hang in the balance during a deadly summer of storms.

A tornado has destroyed a small Minnesota community, and among the missing are not only a group of students but also PEAK Rescue team leader Chet King. Ty Remington will stop at nothing to rescue his mentor, not even when the girl he loved--and lost--walks back into his life. But Brette needs his help more than he knows, despite her stubborn determination to push him away. And when he gets a second chance, loving her just might cost him more than he can imagine.

A blogger for Vortex Storm Chasers, Brette Arnold didn't expect her adventures to land her in the same place as Ty, the guy who she walked--no, ran--from over a year ago. She had her reasons--good ones. The kind that tell her that falling for him again would only lead to heartache. But Ty isn't the kind of man to give up--not on the missing students or on her.

My review:

 I'll be honest..... I haven't read a Susan May Warren book in years. Her books are usually more romance, and I rarely read romance....just romantic suspense. However, this book sounded really good, so I requested it.

 It came, and I discovered it was #5 in a series. I started reading it on my lunch break at work, and read more on my second break. I texted my sister who loves Warren's books and asked if she had the rest of the series....she has 1-3. I texted her this morning "this book is awesome!"

 And it is. There were enough references made in the book that I know I should have read the first 4 books before this one, but I don't think it messed me up too much with knowing the characters and what was going on.

 The characters....I have to hand it to Warren. She came up with a terrific cast of characters for this series. This book centered on two somewhat broken characters, which may be another reason I loved this book so much.

 First,  there is Ty. He wants to save everyone, but feels he is the most useless member of the rescue team because of a past mistake.

 And Brette...cancer survivor of a double mastectomy..... not your typical heroine in a romance novel.

  The story was very suspenseful..... not in the bad guy/mystery way, but in the way you were on pins and needles as rescue attempts were made and you wondered if the missing kids would ever be found.

 Along the way, lessons on trusting God came through for all of the characters, but especially for the two broken main characters.

 I really got into the book, and at one very climatic moment, found my eyes "watering". A co-worker came by my table where I was on break. and goes "are you crying?!" I explained what happened in the book, and he admits he cries in movies...... so I didn't feel so bad.

 This truly was an amazing read that not only entertained, but also had some great messages in it about our Christian walk and trusting God. It ended with a very suspenseful moment setting up for book 6.

And yes, I  am going to read  the first four books in this great series.

About the author:

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than 1 million books sold, including Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me, A Matter of Trust, Troubled Waters, and Storm Front. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers' Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She makes her home in Minnesota. Find her online at, on Facebook at Susan May Warren Fiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

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

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Blind Betrayal, Defenders of Justice #3 by Nancy Mehl

Book description:

After two years at the St. Louis U.S. Marshals Office, Casey Sloane is tasked with escorting a reporter to Washington to testify before a grand jury. The reporter's research on an up-and-coming environmentalist who suddenly disappeared is now even more vital than anticipated.

At first, Casey's assignment seems routine. But a dangerous attack on the Marshals Office puts everyone on high alert. When Casey and two other Marshals--one a man from her past--are forced on the run with the reporter, they'll do whatever it takes to protect their witness and make it out alive.

My review: 

 Nancy Mehl has found her niche in Christian suspense, and has risen in my list of authors I like to read. I have enjoyed everything I have read by her, but find this series to be her best. I have respect for law enforcement, but have always found the U.S. Marshals particularly fascinating.... and this series is about the Marshals.

 Blind Betrayal had non-stop action and suspense, and I had trouble figuring out what was going to happen next. I liked the characters in the book, and it was refreshing to not have a boy meets girl romance. Instead, the two main characters had previously worked together and didn't fall in love at first sight.

 This was a book I made the mistake of starting on my lunch break at work. It was difficult to put the book down and go back to work, and I picked it up again as soon as I got home. It is a definite page turner, and left me wanting more.... but I am guessing this is the last book in the series. If it is, it is definitely the best and most suspenseful.

About the author:

Nancy Mehl ( is the author of more than thirty books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. She received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. She is part of The Suspense Sisters:, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.

Blind Betrayal is available from Bethany House, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Classic Hymns by B&H Editorial Staff

Book description:

This next installment in the Read and Reflect series will dive into the lyrics of classic Christian hymns, and give the reader reflection questions, bible study questions, and prayer prompts based around the lyrics.

My review:

  This book got lost in the shuffle, and I just realized today I had never posted the review..... so here it is, late.

  There are all kinds of Christian songs/music out there, but I personally feel nothing written today has the depth of the hymns. This book is a devotional using 90 hymns.

 Each devotional in the book begins with the author and composer of the hymn and its music. That is followed by the lyrics to the hymn, a few Bible study questions, a few personal reflection questions, and a short prayer.

 As I understand it, this book was written by the Broadman and Holman Editorial staff and edited by Lore Ferguson Wilbert. They did an excellent job on the book. The selection of hymns is very wide and varied, with many I know well and some that are not familiar to me. The Bible study and personal reflection questions are very insightful and geared to make the reader truly think and study, instead of just quickly reading and moving on.

 It is different from most devotionals in that way. Most have the thoughts of the author or authors, whereas this one has the reader come up with their own thoughts.

I found the book to be very well done, and a useful tool to use. It helps draw insight from hymns, and also brings the old hymns back to mind.

 Classic Hymns is available from Broadman and Holman Publishing.

Thanks to Broadman and Holman for the review copy.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Kremlin Conspiracy by Joel Rosenberg

Book description:

New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg returns with a high-stakes political thriller set in Russia.

Everything he learned to protect the president, he must use to take out theirs.

With an American president distracted by growing tensions in North Korea and Iran, an ominous new threat is emerging in Moscow. A czar is rising in the Kremlin, a Russian president feverishly consolidating power, silencing his opposition, and plotting a brazen and lightning-fast military strike that could rupture the NATO alliance and bring Washington and Moscow to the brink of nuclear war. But in his blind spot is the former U.S. Secret Service agent, Marcus Ryker, trained to protect but ready to kill to save his country

My review:

Joel Rosenberg is an amazing author, and I have enjoyed every one of his books I have read. He usually writes books that center on Israel, but this one was about Russia.... and no less of a great story than his normal fare.

  Rosenberg came up with a great main character in Marcus Ryker, and wove a great story around him and the Russian characters he created. He was a very likable character, and it gave a fascinating look into the life of a Secret Service agent.  As with his other books, there are some pretty scary scenarios in the book that you hope never happen, but know they very well could happen.

 I learned a lot by reading this book. I learned about Russian-American relations, relations Russia has with countries near it, and about Russian government. That isn't to say the book is boring or hard to get into. It is not. It is extremely interesting with a lot of intrigue and suspense that made me want to keep reading instead of laying the book down when I needed to.

 Rosenberg did do something in his book I did not see coming, and ticked me off a bit at'll have to read the book to see what that was. I was afraid he'd kill off the main character like in his last book, but - slight spoiler here - he lets that up in the air. Literally.

 This was truly an awesome read that was entertaining while also being sobering. Though fictional, the book does show how tenuous relations are between Russia and  the US, and how bad things could get if those relations become strained.

About the author:

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

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

The Kremlin Conspiracy is available from Tyndale House Publishing.

Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Vines Expository Bible


Pastor Jerry Vines leads you on a journey through the Bible, with observations and understanding straight from a pastor's heart. Based on sermons and lessons from Jerry’s lifetime of teaching ministry, this Bible provides a unique, passage-by-passage guide through every book of Scripture and explains how each part applies to your life.

Features Include:

NKJV paragraph-style text with in-text subject headings
200 "Presenting the Message" detailed outlines from Jerry Vines' sermon archive
100 "Living the Message" articles with illustrations for living the Christian life
200 "Applying the Message" notes that help you see the relevance of Scriptures for your walk with Christ
300 "Discerning the Meaning" word studies that illuminate the meaning of key words in Scripture
66 Book Introductions
Topical Index
NKJV Concordance
10.5 point print size

My review:

  I like to review a Bible occasionally, and this one intrigued me. They used a favorite version for it, the new King James, which drew me in.

 I obviously did not have time to read through the whole Bible, but did spend time looking over the features and reading some of the articles and outlines, and other features.

 I thought the book introductions were very well done, interesting, and did a great job of describing the focus of the book.

 There are 200 "presenting the message" features, such as one on "How to pray in a crisis". These typically take up 2 pages, and are something I found both interesting and helpful. I also liked and found helpful the "discerning the meaning" and  "applying the message" features which are much shorter and are scattered throughout the Bible in small boxes.

 The Christian market has a wide array of study and devotional Bibles, and one can wonder what the difference is. I am not familiar with Jerry Vines, but I like this Bible that has his notes and thoughts throughout it, and is a Bible definitely worth checking out.....even if you already have a few study Bibles. This one is definitely different.

About Jerry Vines:

Jerry Vines was born in Carrollton, Georgia near Atlanta in 1937. Before attending seminary, he pastored his first church, Centralhatchee Baptist Church, at the age of 16. He was educated at Mercer University, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Luther Rice University before pastoring in churches in Alabama and Georgia. While pastor of Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama he was elected President of the Alabama Pastors' Conference. He relocated to Jacksonville in 1982 to co-pastor the First Baptist Church with Homer G. Lindsay, Jr.

In June 1988, he was elected President of the Southern Baptist Convention, served two terms, and was supportive of the Southern Baptist Convention conservative resurgence. During his first 20 years at First Baptist Jacksonville, he baptized 18,177 people and oversaw the building of an $8 million preschool building, a $16 million auditorium and four parking garages, totaling almost $14 million. Vines also was influential in starting the First Baptist Church Pastors' Conference which drew thousands of ministers and church works from across the world. Vines announced his retirement from First Baptist in May 2005 and preached his last sermon as pastor of the church in 2006 at the close of the 20th annual Pastors' conference. In 2017, Vines enrolled in the Ph.D program at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. [1]

He has since started his own ministry, Jerry Vines Ministries. This ministry is an outreach to further educate pastors in different areas of the ministry. Vines is married to the former Janet Denney and they have four children and seven grand children.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Only By Death, Ozark Mountain Trilogy #2 by Kathy Herman

Book description:

Is Liam Berne a loving son—or a murderer? The second book in the Ozark Mountain Trilogy, Only by Death is a thought-provoking suspense story of a man who loses everything and learns he must die to find life.

After much agonizing, Liam Berne takes his mother, who has Alzheimer’s, to the Sure Foot River and drowns her. A mercy killing, he tells himself, to spare her years in a nursing home. And getting his inheritance early isn’t a bad thing either.

Dixie Berne’s body is recovered and the coroner cannot find any sign of foul play, though Liam’s sister isn’t convinced. Then Liam hears rumors that a twelve-year-old boy has witnessed the drowning. Terrified that he will be discovered, Liam sets out to intimidate the boy into silence. Little does Liam know that someone else suspects him—someone who intends to make him pay.

My review:

 Kathy Herman has been one of my favorite authors since I read her first novel, Tested by Fire, 17 years ago. It has been 5 years since I read a new book by Kathy Herman, which was Not by Sight, #1 in this series. The author had a lot going on, so it was 5 years between the release of the two books. I have been looking forward to this book for 5 years, so I bought it and read it as soon as I could........after re-reading book one.

  I have enjoyed all of Kathy's books, and the characters in those books.... but I really like the people in this series. Part of that is the first two books center on kids....a 16 year old girl in book 1, and a 12 year old boy in book 2. For some reason, kids in books really draw me in and tug at my heart strings....if a guy can admit such a thing.

 Book two takes up two years after the first book, and centers on the youngest boy in the Cummings family.....Jesse. Book one was really good, but this one was even better. It was an emotional book, and the issue of faith was at the center of the story. Although the story and Jesse were fictional, I was convicted by the faith and willingness to die of a 12 year old. Including myself, too many of us don't live the way this fictional 12 year old lived......yet it is exactly how we are supposed to live. Kathy has never been afraid to put Christian content in her books, and a theme or message that goes beyond just entertaining.

 I did read the book in one evening, and could not put it down. It was suspenseful, encouraging, and convicting. The book definitely gets 5 stars from me, and I was sorry to see it end, though I loved the ending.

 Thankfully, book 3 is not 5 years away, but is slated to release in August of this year..... and I can't wait to read the final book in this trilogy, the story of the oldest boy in this great fictional family...... Hawk.

About the author:

Best-selling suspense novelist Kathy Herman has written twenty novels—including the Secrets or Roux River Bayou Series, Sophie Trace Series, the Seaport Suspense Series, and the Phantom Hollow Series—since retiring from her family’s Christian bookstore business. She and her late husband Paul have a blended family of three grown children. Kathy lives in the Northwest.

Only by Death and Not by Sight are available from David C Cook Publishing.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Assignment by Devon Blanton

Book description:

The ASSIGNMENT is a book that was inspired by constant questions from people who simply wanted to know, what life is all about? The desire to find purpose and significance is a staggering need for the modern church of today. People who find it truly know peace. Those who do not, can search a lifetime and never know that the answer is right in front of them. Inside these pages are unique perspectives that are expected to trigger those “ah ha!” moments for every reader. Truly, this could be the “GAME CHANGER” that effects you for the rest of your life!

My review:

 Blanton is a new author to me. I had actually never heard of him until a Facebook friend asked for people to review some of his books. I like what I have read so far.

 The Assignment is not a long book. It has 13 chapters, coming in at 5-6 pages each. Following each chapter is a page covering key word studies in context. That is followed by a couple pages of workbook questions, making this book a study type of book.

 The overall theme of the book is a search for significance. The author covers that subject very well, and in an easy to read way that makes for an interesting read. I found the questions at the end of each chapter very thought provoking, and quite in depth.

 For anyone wondering what your life is all about and for, this is a great book to read and study.

About the author:

Dr. Devon Blanton is a pastor conducting a full time ministry along with a very busy Christian Counseling practice. He holds an earned Doctorate in Religious Education, specializing in Counseling. He is certified in Family and Marriage, Grief and Drug Abuse and Health and Nutrition. He is also a Certified Health Coach. His post-doctoral pursuits include an earned diploma in Psychiatric Studies. He also completed brief studies in Cardiology and Resuscitation from Perelman School of Medicine, Penn State University. He further expanded His studies in nutrition from Texas A&M, Vanderbilt University and Stanford University. This all coincides with his four pillar philosophy on Counseling. These focus on the Physical, Spiritual, Emotional and Financial parts of who we are. He is also the Founder of Cross Anchors Solutions, a high level training program out of Durham, NC providing training in Leadership Development, Biblical Counseling I, II, Advanced Biblical Counseling and Health and Nutrition. He has authored several books including: The ASSIGNMENT Holes in the Soul Shake the Heavens, Move the Earth Health is the Best Medicine Raising God.

Thanks to  the author for the review copy.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Beneath the Surface, Dive Team Investigations #1 by Lynn H Blackburn

Book description:

After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she'd left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff's Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer--one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.

Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn't let go until the final heart-pounding page.

My review:

  I started following Lynn on Facebook awhile back, being interested in her books. I had not read her previous books, as they are Love Inspired Suspense novels and there are way too many of those to keep up with. I saw she had a trader paperback book coming out from Revell, who always puts out quality Christian suspense, and put it on my list of to-read books. Then she posted one day she needed people for her street team....people to read, review, and help get the word out. I applied, and one thing I wrote under reasons I should be on it was this "You probably won't get many guys apply, and you need guys on your team too....." I got on, and I am  the only guy :)

 Onto the book:

  I enjoy reading books by new authors, finding out what their writing style is, and how much I am going to like their books. Blackburn did not disappoint, but exceeded my expectations. I love a good suspense novel, and good doesn't begin to describe this book. I made the mistake of starting the book one day on my lunch break at work, and man was it difficult to put the book aside to go back to work. The action and suspense start immediately, and never let up.

 Here's what I liked:

 The suspense: There were two mysteries going on at the same time. There were bodies being found that had been murdered, and the main chick, Leigh, had a stalker that grew more and more threatening and daring as the book raced towards an end.

The characters: Characters can make or break a book, and Blackburn came up with some awesome characters for this book and series. The two main characters, Ryan & Leigh were very easy to like and get caught up in their story. The dive team over all was also full of great characters, and I found myself hoping the next book would be about Gabe Sanchez, but I don't think it will be.

The romance: Maybe I am becoming a romantic sap, but I am enjoying the romantic parts of these books more than I used to. This one was more believable than some, in that the couple had had feelings for each other since high school, but Ryan had never acted on them because her brother had warned all his friends away from her....something that made the romance and story amusing.

The bad guy: I like a book that is complex enough that you can't figure out a motive or who the killer is, and this book certainly fell into that category. It was interesting to read the theories as the team would gather to brainstorm, and the author made that interesting and believable, yet keeps the reader guessing who and why.

The ending: What would a book be without an ending? And this one had a great one. I kind of guessed a certain thing would happen (no spoilers here!), but when it did happen I still was kept guessing what was going to happen next. The book came to a very suspenseful and climatic happening, followed by the romantic ending....which I thoroughly enjoyed and approved of.

 This lady can indeed write a great suspense novel that has everything I enjoy, and had me turning pages as fast as I could read them. I am definitely looking forward to reading more about this great team of investigators, and am eyeing the author's Love Inspired Suspense novels. Definitely 5 star material here.

About the author:

Lynn H. Blackburn is the author of Beneath the Surface, Hidden Legacy, and Covert Justice, winner of the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She's passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don't make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children.

Check out her website at

Beneath the Surface is available March 6 from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Set Free to Choose Right by Josh McDowell

Book description:

Popular Author, Speaker, and Founder of the Josh McDowell Ministry Speaks Out on the Popular, Culturally Relevant Topic of Right vs. Wrong

Directed to parents and gatekeepers of today’s youth, renowned speaker and author Josh McDowell focuses on the how-to’s of teaching teens and pre-teens to make right moral choices. 

Set Free to Choose Right will help you come to understand:
why today’s kids feel they have the right to determine what is “right” or “wrong” for themselves
how culture reinforces that there are no universal truths and. . .
where this misconception historically originated
how to motivate kids to make good choices
it is God’s character and nature that makes right, right and wrong, wrong

Engaging stories and helpful illustration are provided to model how a person (of any age) can distinguish between right and wrong and make the right choice—every time.

My review:

  Any book by Josh McDowell can be guaranteed to be worth reading, as is proven by this one. There are a lot of books out there about pornography and other moral issues, but this one is different from those. McDowell did something that makes this book more interesting and easy to read than other books of this type. For this book, he created some fictional characters. Jayden is a 14 year old boy in a Christian home. Throughout the book, his parents catch him looking at porn in a few different ways, and they are also shown reacting in different ways. The topic of sending sexual photos to others is also covered in the book, along with other moral issues teens - and adults - will face, but pornography is covered in more detail.

  Although I have no kids of my own, I do have nieces and nephews, so this book was of interest to me. It is very well written, and McDowell does a great job of addressing these issues and showing parents how to deal with them with their kids. I love how he showed the fictional parents' different ways of talking to their son about his pornography viewing. And he shows there is a right way and a wrong way to react, and what to say and not to say.

 The uses and problems of smart phones, tablets, and other electronic devices is addressed, and McDowell also gives some statistics on kids and porn viewing, which is rather scary.

 The internet is a wonderful thing, and our lives are made easier by smart phones, tablets, etc. However, there is a lot of bad out there and these devices make it easier to access porn and other bad things. This book is a great resource for parents as they attempt to raise their kids in this porn and immorality deluged world we live in.

About the author:

As a young man, Josh McDowell considered himself an agnostic. He truly believed that Christianity was worthless. However, when challenged to intellectually examine the claims of Christianity, Josh discovered compelling, overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Christian faith. After trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, Josh’s life changed dramatically as he experienced the power of God’s love.

After his conversion, his plans for law school turned instead to plans to tell a doubting world about the truth of Jesus Christ. After studying at Kellogg College, Josh completed his college degree at Wheaton College and then attended Talbot Theological Seminary, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Divinity degree.

In 1961, Josh joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ International. Not long after, he started the Josh McDowell Ministry to reach young people worldwide with the truth and love of Jesus.

Well known as an articulate speaker, Josh has addressed more than 10 million young people, giving over 24,000 talks in 118 countries.

As he traveled to other countries, Josh quickly realized that where people were sick, homeless, and hungry, words were not enough. In 1991, Josh founded Operation Carelift to meet the physical and spiritual needs he discovered in orphanages, hospitals, schools, and prisons in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Since that time, Operation Carelift has delivered humanitarian aid (food, clothing, and medical supplies) worth more than $46,000,000. That is the equivalent of 278 forty-ton containers. Nearly one million children have received school supplies, food items, hygiene items, and toys from the volunteers that traveled twice a year to share God’s love with them.

Josh has received two significant honors from the Russian people because of these efforts. He was elected as an honorary fellow of the Medical Society (The Medical Union of Pediatrics) of Russia on January 24, 1995—in recognition of his work among the children of Russia. Also, Josh is the only foreigner to become a member of the prestigious Russian Club of Scientists. Operation Carelift, which has grown into in one of the largest humanitarian aid organizations based in the United States, is now a part of Global Aid Network (GAiN USA).

In the United States, Josh and his team have created many cutting-edge live events to help young people stand strong and firm in their faith in the face of a rapidly-changing culture. These have often developed into full-blown campaigns, such as:

Six Hours with Josh
Why Wait?
Counter the Culture
Right From Wrong
True Foundations

Since 1960, Josh has written or co-authored 120 books including:

More Than a Carpenter -- 15 million copies in 85 languages.
New Evidence That Demands a Verdict -- named one the twentieth century’s top 40 books and one of the thirteen most influential books of the last 50 years on Christian thought by World Magazine.

In addition to many other awards, Josh has been nominated 36 times for the Gold Medallion Award and has received that award on four occasions.

In spite of all the honors and awards he has received, Josh will tell anyone that his greatest joys and pleasures come from his family. He and his wife Dottie have been married 40 years. They have four children and five grandchildren.

Set Free to Choose Right is available from Shiloh Run, an imprint of Barbour Books.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.