Friday, August 16, 2019

Kill Order by Adam Blumer


This is not a book review, as I haven't even read the book yet....but I plan on it. I am hosting the author and giving some information about his new book, Kill Order.

 I read Adam's two previous books, and loved them. This one promises to be a great read also.

Kill Order Blog Blitz

Kill Order by Adam Blumer
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, August 15

Book Summary

When he sleeps, the forgotten terrors of the past come alive. Grammy-winning pianist Landon Jeffers’s brain cancer has given him only a few years to live. But when he sleeps, the forgotten terrors of his past torment him. When he wakes, shameful memories come rushing back. Desperate for answers, Jeffers discovers that a brain implant intended to treat his cancer is really a device to control him, forcing him to commit terrible crimes. Now he’s being manipulated by an evil crime syndicate and a crooked cop. What if free will isn’t? What if your every move is predestined? If you kill, are you guilty of murder?

About the author:

Adam Blumer fixes other people’s books to pay the bills. He writes his own to explore creepy lighthouses and crime scenes. He is the author of three Christian suspense novels: Fatal Illusions(Meaningful Suspense Press); its sequel, The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press); and Kill Order (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas).A print journalism major in college, he works full-time from home as a book editor after serving in editorial roles for more than twenty years. He lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife, Kim, and his daughters, Laura and Julia. When he’s not working on his next thriller, he’s hiking in the woods, playing Minecraft with his daughters, or learning new chords on his guitar. He is committed to writing clean suspense that is free of profanity, vulgarity, and sexual content. He is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the Christian Editor Network, and The Christian PEN. He works with literary agent Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.

Interview with Adam:
1. Tell readers about your writing journey. How did you get started?I’ve loved to write stories since I was a kid and studied novel writing in college. I completed five unpublished novels, mostly for youth, before I began Fatal Illusions, my first published novel, in the spring of 2002 in conjunction with a Writer's Digest correspondence course on novel writing.In January 2006, literary agent Steve Laube, a well-known and respected voice in Christian fiction, responded enthusiastically to my book proposal and asked to see the entire manuscript. Of course, I was on cloud nine. Though he ultimately declined to represent me, he kindly gave me eight suggestions on how to make the novel publishable. Energized, I followed his advice and got to work, but I still couldn't find an agent or publisher. Ayear later, I contacted Kregel Publications, not about my novel but about opportunities to edit books from home. The managing editor noticed on my résumé that I had written several unpublished novels and asked to see my latest project. Kregel accepted it for publication in August 2007. God opened a door I never could have opened for myself.

2. What other novels have you written? My first novel is Fatal Illusions (Meaningful Suspense Press). The sequel is The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press). Both are available as paperbacks and e-books.

3. What gave you the inspiration to write Kill Order?My dad, Larry, passed away from brain cancer in 2011, and several aspects of his cancer journeykicked off the initial story idea. One key detail involved a medical procedure; the doctors agreed to remove as much of my dad’s brain tumor as possible and replace it with medicinal wafers intended to fight the existing cancer. My mind began playing the what-if game. What if the doctor implanted something else, something that could monitor or even control my dad’s life? The story’s premise grew from there.

4. When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?When I was a child, I began writing wildly imaginative pirate and fantasy stories. My first handwritten story was a fantastical tale about Captain Kidd’s spyglass. In high school, I also wrote and finished an unpublished novel called Down with the Ship. It’s such an Agatha Christie copycat that I laugh whenever I peruse it, but emulation is how a lot of authors get to be where they are today. Those were the early projects that inspired me to take novel writing seriously. When I won a high school award for creative writing, I wondered if God wanted to do more withmy love for fiction. In college I won more writing awards, and though I studied journalism, I took as many creative writing courses as possible. God opened doors from there, and I’ve never lost my love for fiction writing.

5. Do you have a favorite Bible verse that resonates with you?
Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (ESV). I’ve always loved this verse, and my wife and I included it in our wedding ceremony.

6. If you could go back in time and give advice to your younger self, what would that be?Writing the story is only half of the project. The other half is finding out what readers like to read, crafting the story for them by following publishing standards, and writing the story to the best of your ability. Then remember that publishers can take a very long to decide whether they want your work. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep going and waiting.

7. What is the hardest part of the creative process of writing?I rarely have difficulty coming up with story ideas and even an engaging premise, but getting from the beginning to the ending is a circuitous path that can sometimes come to dead ends. The hardest part of novel writing, in my opinion, is choosing the right path that comes out at the right ending. There are so many moving pieces and critical decisions along the way that the writer can become paralyzed, overcome by too many choices.

8. What is your favorite genre to read for fun?Authors write what they like to read. When I was a kid, I devoured Hardy Boys books—yes, even my sister’s collection of Nancy Drew. While growing up, I read Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Ray Bradbury, and Madeleine L’Engle. Eventually I gravitated to suspense fiction by authors like Frank Peretti, Terri Blackstock, and Mary Higgins Clark. I grew weary of whodunits and preferred suspense novels. I like novels that grab me around the throat, keep the pages turning, and never let go until the final period. Suspense novels filled with plenty of action and conflict captivate me like no other books I read, though I also have a fondness for good literature, fantasy, history, biography, true crime, and science fiction.

9. What was the hardest part about writing Kill Order? How long does it typically take you to write your novels?The ending was tough to write. While I’m typically an organized plotter, I took off the training wheels on this one and let the story glide where it and the characters wanted to go. The journey became both fun but scary. I had the premise and some plot developments in place, but how the story concluded took more work than I expected.I typically take at least a couple of years for the actual writing of the book. But that doesn’t countthe time needed to shop the novel around through my agent and then wait on a publisher before and after the contract; the publishing wheel turns much more slowly than most readers realize. I wish I could write more quickly than that, but that’s the reality for me, since this isn’t my full-time gig.

10. I noticed that your branding on your website is for “meaningful suspense.” What inspired you to write these kinds of thrillers and suspense novels? Also, I love your “clean fiction guarantee.” Could you please tell us what inspired that as well?I began reading Christian novels in junior high and soon gravitated to suspense. Back in the day, an inspirational thread was a staple in Christian fiction, and I believe a Christian novel can do more than simply entertain. These days many authors are leaning toward clean, moral stories but avoiding overt Christian content. I’m a believer that the inspirational content should stay (hence “meaningful suspense”). Books can encourage and even challenge readers’ thinking while takingthem on a roller coaster of a ride. The “clean fiction guarantee” came about due to the rise of objectionable content in some Christian fiction. My fans were expressing disappointment due to content issues when they tried books by some Christian authors. I felt it was time to declare where I stood, and many readers have appreciated my guarantee.

11. Where is your favorite place to write?I have been blessed with a wonderful home office. Though I often like to write in other locations,this is by far my favorite place. I can close the door, shut out life’s distractions, pray, and becomeimmersed in my story. Now and then, if I need a break, I can glance out the window and delight in God’s creation.

12. What are you reading at the moment, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?I’m currently enjoying Mind Games by Nancy Mehl. I especially enjoy a good thriller, whether Christian or secular. Some of my favorite authors are Steven James, Terri Blackstock, Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, and Brandilyn Collins. I like how they weave story threads together and craft their scenes in ways that keeps the plot moving forward. Their books are great examples of what works in suspense writing. I learn so much simply by reading their novels.

13. What is the best part of your author’s life?I love hearing from readers who went to work tired because they stayed up too late finishing one of my novels. If I kept them immersed in my story and entertained, that’s a score in my book.

14. Do you have any new writing projects on the horizon? I’m almost finished with the first draft of the sequel to Kill Order and hope to have something ready for my agent sometime this fall.

15. What’s one unusual fact about you?When I was a kid, for a while I wanted to be a ventriloquist and had a “dummy” named Andy. But then I got braces and could no longer talk through my teeth like I used to. Andy sadly went into storage.

16. Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.1. The amount of time each book requires from start to finish. Included in this is the long wait time from publishers.2. The continually changing rules in writing and publishing. Just when you think you know what publishers are looking for, your agent tells you something else.3. Book marketing. One cannot guarantee sales. I wish a book release was like the movie Field of Dreams. “Build it, and they will come.” If only it were that easy. There is almost an equal amount of work in just promoting the book.

17. On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?I get most excited about the creative process when a plot development I never saw coming unexpectedly presents itself, taking the story in a new but stronger direction. This epiphany has happened to me several times.Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my writing life at your blog.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Dangerous Relations, Baby Protectors #6 by Carol J Post

Book description:

He’ll do anything to save his niece…

In this The Baby Protectors novel

When her sister’s murdered, navy man Ryan McConnell insists on protecting Shelby Adair and their niece—especially after someone tries to kidnap little Chloe. But can Shelby trust the child’s uncle? After all, she’s convinced his family’s behind the attacks. But the longer Ryan shields them, the more Shelby wonders if becoming a forever family is their only shot at survival.

My review:

  I have reviewed several books for this author, and she is a large contributing factor in me getting hooked on the Love Inspired Suspense novels, which I have entirely too many of now. :)

 This is the sixth book in a series titled Baby Protectors, all written by different authors. I have read all of them, and enjoy the premise of people protecting babies. Plus there is the fact I have enjoyed all of this author's books I have reviewed.

  Dangerous Relations had likable characters, but none more likable than Ryan. I do my best to avoid spoilers, but fairly early in the book some information comes to light that gives him an out on protecting the small child, but he sticks with it.

 The book is very suspenseful, and though these books don't take me long to read, I did read it in one sitting, devouring every page, wondering what was going to happen next.....and there were surprises.

 I was pretty sure I knew the identity of whoever was after the baby, and was correct....but even then I didn't figure the whole guilty party thing out.

 These are romantic suspense novels, so you know the guy is going to get the girl. I used to not be so crazy about that, as a confirmed bachelor, but I hit a point where I actually enjoy I did enjoy that angle of this, and how it came about.

 Post has added a great book to the Baby Protector Series, and shown why she is still on the Love Inspired author roster.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

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:

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

Vow of Justice, Blue Justice #4 by Lynette Eason

Book description:

Playing dead might just get her killed
FBI Special Agent Lincoln St. John is living his own personal nightmare. When the woman he loves, Allison Radcliffe, is killed, he devotes himself to tracking down the killers and making them pay for their crimes. He expected it to be a challenge. What he never expected was to find Allison very much alive shortly after her "murder." 

As his anger and hurt mix with relief, Linc isn't sure how he's supposed to feel. One thing he does know for sure: he and Allison will have to work together to stop a killer before she dies a second time--this time for good.

My review:

   I have been fortunate to have a few of my top favorite authors release new books recently. This final book in the Blue Justice Series is one I have been looking forward to. And as always, this author made the wait worth it.

 This series revolves around the St. John family who most of are in some time of law enforcement. There are a couple police officers, am FBI agent, an E.R. doctor, the dad is a lawyer, and the mom is the police chief. Book one was about police officer Isabelle, book two about K-9 officer Chloe, book three is about Detective Brady, and four about FBI agent Linc. Sibling Ruthie, the E.R. doc got her story in a novella Eason collaborated with two other authors. I was disappointed that the remaining sibling, police officer Derek was left out, but was happy to see he will be featured on one of four novellas Eason is releasing in November, Protecting Tanner Hollow. 

 Only a true fiction lover can understand how you get attached to fictional characters, but I liked these more than any Eason has come up with in any of her other great series she has authored. Part of it may be the family dynamic, with the interaction, teasing, and even the help and support they give when one is in trouble.

 Up til now, my favorite book in the series was book three, Code of Honor, featuring Brady St. John. Though I liked his character better, Vow of Justice turned out to be an even more exciting and suspenseful read, and a very fitting end to this awesome series.

  A bit different angle in this was the fact that the identity of the bad guy was obvious. Well, at least one of them. That didn't take away the suspense angle at all, and I began to suspect another character in the book to be involved...and I was correct of that person's identity, but did not see the why or the direction the story went when that was revealed. The whole book was non stop suspense and drama, but I found the last fourth or so of it was the most intense and suspenseful. Eason really outdone herself on this book - well, the whole series. And though I guessed the identity of the other bad guy, I was still wowed by the way that all was worked out.

  Also different from a lot of Eason's books - and most Christian suspense novels - the couple in this book are already somewhat involved at the beginning of the book.

 I am careful to not give spoilers away, so I will be careful here: I loved the ending of the book. The whole family is together...the parents, all six siblings, and their spouses and Linc's girlfriend. You'll have to read the book to find out what happens, but it was a very cool way to wrap up the series. But since the books need to be read in order, then you need to read all 4 books and the novella. :)

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Protecting Tanner Hollow, as well as the Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and 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

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

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Killing Tide, Coastal Guardians #1 by Dani Pettrey

Book description: 

A Corpse That Only Leads to Secrets. 
An Old Flame with Danger Written all over Her.
Things Are about to Get Very Complicated.

When one Coast Guard officer is found dead and another goes missing, Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous crime yet. His only clues are what little evidence remains aboard the dead officer's boat, and the direction the clues point to will test Finn and the Guard to their limits.

The already volatile situation is complicated even further by the arrival of Gabby Rowley--Finn's boss's sister and an investigative reporter with unrelenting questions about the crime. Now that she's returned, the tug on Finn's heart is strong, but with the risks she's taking for her next big story, he fears she might not live through it.

Thrown together by the heinous crime, Finn and Gabby can't ignore the sparks or judgments flying between them. But will they be able to see past their preconceptions long enough to track down an elusive killer, or will they become his next mark?

My review:

   Seven years ago, Dani Pettrey broke onto the Christian fiction market with her first book the Alaskan Courage Series, Submerged. I was hooked from her first book, and she quickly became one of my top favorite authors, and remains there.

  The Killing Tide is the first in a new series I have been looking forward to, and it does not disappoint. I have read a few books that involved the Coast Guard, but can't remember any that completely revolved around and centered on it. I know Pettrey and authors like her do research and even talk to people in law enforcement when they write these books, so I found the activities these fictional characters were involved in fascinating.

  In this book, the Coast Guard was more involved in law enforcement and investigating, though there were also some search and rescue.

  Characters and character development are a big thing with me, and Pettrey came up with some great and likable characters for her series. There is a Coast Guard team that the series will revolve around. I am guessing each book will feature and center on a different member of the team. This one was about the very likable Finn, and his former love interest, Gabby. The team has other great characters, including Noah, team leader and Gabby's brother, and Logan.....a most interesting and colorful character I am hoping will be featured more in other books.

  The plot was great, intricate, and multi-layered. There was a lot going on, but a lot of it was connected. There was more than one bad guy, and though one was obvious from the first chapter, the others were not so obvious, and I was kept guessing.....and totally surprised at the identity of the mastermind.

 The suspense was awesome and well done, and there were a lot of tense moments. Let's get real....most authors are not going to kill off a main character, but it is still fun and suspenseful to read all that happens til the climax of the book and the damsel is saved.

 Last, but not least was the romance. I like books like these that aren't the typical boy meets girl, and they fall in love while trying to stay alive from a killer. In The Killing Tide, Finn and Abby had already had a dating relationship, and she had left him for a job elsewhere. Slight spoiler: You know they are going to get back together, but it was still fun and entertaining to see how it happened.

 In The Killing Tide, Dani Pettrey proves she still has it, and has only gotten better at her very awesome brand of Christian suspense. My only complaint: the next book is so far off.

 I highly recommend her Alaskan Courage Series and her Chesapeake Valor Series.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:

Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as "a name to look for in romantic suspense," Dani Pettrey has sold more than half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance. 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).

Her Alaskan Courage series and Chesapeake Valor series have received praise from readers and critics alike and spent multiple months topping the CBA bestseller lists. Dani has also been honored with multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award.

From her early years eagerly reading Nancy Drew mysteries, to paging through Agatha Christie novels or watching on-the-edge-of-her-seat adventure movies, Dani has always enjoyed mystery and suspense. She considers herself blessed to be able to write the kind of stories she loves--full of plot twists and peril, love, and longing for hope and redemption. Her greatest joy as an author is sharing the stories God lays on her heart.  She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland, where she lives with her husband. Their two daughters, a son-in-law, and two adorable grandsons also reside in Maryland. For more information about her novels, visit

 The Killing Tide is available from Bethany House Publishers, part of the Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Bethany House and the author for the review copy.

                                                    The Alaskan Courage Series

The Chesapeake Valor Series

Monday, August 5, 2019

Light From Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker

Book description:

When Cohen Marah steps over his father's body in the basement embalming room of the family's funeral home, he has no idea that he is stepping into a labyrinth of memory.

Over the next week, Cohen's childhood comes back in living color. The dramatic events that led to his parents' separation. The accident Cohen witnessed and the traumatic images he couldn't unsee. And the two children in the forest who became his friends--and enlisted him in a dark and dangerous undertaking. As the lines blur between what was real and what was imaginary, Cohen is faced with the question he's been avoiding: 

Is he responsible for his father's death?

Master story weaver Shawn Smucker relays a tale both eerie and enchanting, one that will have you questioning reality and reaching out for what is true, good, and genuine.

My review:

  I'll be honest......I had a hard time getting into this book. I liked the characters, and even thought the plot was good. However, the plot developed way too slow for me. The book bounces back and forth between the present and the past, all too often, and without warning. There is no indication of which time frame given, you just have to read far enough on the first page of each chapter to find out.

 The story revolved around the death of 40-ish Cohen Marah, and events of his childhood that split his parents and caused problems in and for his family ever since.

 Other readers may enjoy the story, and I honestly hate to leave a negative review.......but I do give an honest one. This one just wasn't my cup of tea.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:

Shawn Smucker is the author of the young adult novels The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There, as well as the memoir Once We Were Strangers. He lives with his wife and six children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can find him online at

Light From Distant Stars is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Winning Your Blood Sugar Battle, How to Prevent and Control Type 2 Diabetes by Richard Furman, MD, FACS

Book description:

The time to make lifestyle changes is now!
More than thirty million Americans have diabetes. Another eighty-four million--more than thirty percent of the adult population--have elevated blood sugar levels that put them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. For most of us, it takes a medical emergency to get us to make vital changes to our eating, exercise habits, and weight control. At that point it is often too little, too late. The terrible reality is that eighty percent of diabetics will die of a heart attack.

But that doesn't have to be you.

In Winning Your Blood Sugar Battle, Dr. Richard Furman shows you the three essential steps to keep your blood sugar under control, whether you have already been diagnosed with diabetes or are at risk. He carefully explains the latest medical literature, offers proven guidelines on what to eat (and what not to eat), and outlines an effective exercise program for keeping your heart healthy.

My review:

Sometimes a book eligible for review grabs me, and this one did. Three years ago, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and it resulted in necessary life changes.

  The book has two sections. Part one has six chapters on understanding diabetes. Part two has four chapters on defeating diabetes: lifestyle choices for your health. Those four chapters are: habits, exercise, what should you eat?, and the importance of ideal weight.

 The book is written in an easy to read style, and has a lot of useful information. To be honest, I feel the majority of the book should have been dedicated to the second part.....though the book is to prevent, not just control. I guess the first part might be more helpful for those wanting to prevent it, while the second part is more helpful to those of us who already have it and want to control it. As a diabetic, I definitely need information on how to control it. Though the whole book is helpful, I would have appreciated and found more helpful an expanded section on controlling it. If you are interested in causes of it and how to prevent it, the first section is definitely helpful for that.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:

Richard Furman, MD, FACS, spent more than 30 years as a vascular surgeon. The author of Prescription for Life, Winning Your Blood Sugar Battle, and A Healthy Brain for Life, Furman is past president of the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, past president of the North Carolina Surgical Society, and a two-term governor of the American College of Surgeons. He is cofounder of World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan's Purse, and is a member of the board of Samaritan's Purse. He lives in North Carolina.

Winning Your Blood Sugar Battle is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Jesus Christ, His Life and Mine: The Story of Jesus and How It Applies to Us in the Twitter Era by R. Christian Bohlen

Book description: 

Finally! A delightfully simple, fresh approach to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ for today’s adults and youth. Watch it all happen on this historically accurate guided tour through Jesus’s life―like you are there―from birth to resurrection. 

With love, hope, and even humor, come to know Him as a real person. Watch as He dramatically unveils Himself as the God of all creation and the Savior of the world. Find insights and solutions for even your toughest, modern problems. No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, the Spirit of God will whisper how it all applies to your life as you ponder the thought-provoking questions at the end of most chapters. The non-judgmental tone, evidence-oriented approach to building faith, and short chapters make this the ideal book about Christ for today's insanely busy, sometimes skeptical readers.

This book takes a "Shared Faith Perspective" by focusing on the common core of Christian beliefs instead of focusing on denominational differences. The real joy of being a Christian comes when we truly believe in Christ, love Him, and strive to follow Him. But how can we do that without knowing the details of His life? This book takes the reader's gospel experience to the next level by bringing us right beside Jesus. And for all of us living in the "Twitter era," the simple explanations and explicit connections to modern situations make His light more applicable and satisfying than ever.

My review:

  Though the book isn't described as a Bible study, it could be used as one or a devotional. In most of the chapters, there is a doctrinal points section and a "how it applies to me" section. The majority of the chapters ends with a "His life and Mine" section. It Asks and answers what Jesus did in that chapter, and then "what would I do?" with several questions for the reader to answer that has to do with that chapter.

The book is split into 5 sections:
Entering the World Stage
I am the Messiah
The Master Teacher
A Matter of life and death
My life

 The first 4 are different periods of Jesus' life, and the last one has to do with the reader.

  I found the book an interesting read. The author somewhat simplifies the life of Jesus in the Gospels, but not in a dumbed down way. He brings out a lot of insights and has a lot of questions that make the reader think and possibly see some things in a new light in the life of Jesus on earth, while also possibly strengthening one's beliefs and relationship with Jesus.

 For the sake of review, and trying to catch up on my reviews, I read through the book in a few days. I would recommend it being read through more slowly as a Bible study, giving more time to study and think about the questions in the book.

About the author:

R. Christian Bohlen has been involved in ministry and church leadership for over thirty years, including oversight of a prison ministry program, which is his signature cause as an author. He holds an M.S. degree in communications and has received multiple personal and team awards as a human performance improvement consultant, instructional designer, and program manager to Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States and Canada.

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

The String, Deadly Games #1 by Caleb Breakey

Book description:

Welcome to the string. Let's go over the ground rules.

Rule #1: Participation is mandatory.
Rule #2: If any one person refuses to play, the threats to all players will come to pass.

Since this is my game, allow me to introduce myself. I am the conductor. Just as musicians in a symphony must follow the conductor's direction, the selected students and staff of Trenton University must submit to my commands . . . or risk massive chaos and deadly consequences. Even that pesky university cop, Markus Haas, who thinks he'll find a way out of the impossible dilemma in which I've trapped him. Oh, the surprises I have for him. 

Ready to play?

My review:

  I enjoy reading novels by new authors. Breakey isn't new to the Christian market, having authored at least two books previously, but they were non-fiction. His first was Called to Stay: An Uncompromising Mission to Save Your Church, which I read... and I think reviewed.

  The book description doesn't tell much, but it was enough to grab my interest, along with wanting to see what kind of novel Breakey could write.

 A little more description: A bad dude finds a way to watch and control several people on a university campus. And then he tries to control young university cop Markus Haas. If you want to know how that turns out, read the book......

  This book has been described as a thriller, as opposed to mystery/suspense. Those aspects are in the story also, but it is definitely a thriller. Honestly: the book is genius. The plot was awesome, not to overuse that word. The author came up with some great characters and wove them and the action together in a way that really made the story pull you in and make you not want to leave. It is definitely not a predicable book. Every time I thought I had it figured out, something would happen unexpected. And when the guilty party was revealed....I never saw that coming.

  Markus Haas was the main character, and a very likable one at that, determined to protect his girlfriend and her two little girls at any cost, and determined not to be a puppet for a madman. The book is a little more intense than a lot of suspense novels on the Christian market, but it still has a message of faith and God being in control. I enjoyed the book a lot, and it looks like this is the first book in a series, so hopefully there are more to come. It His debut novel is a definite 5 star book.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:

Caleb Breakey is the CEO of Speak It To Book, the premier ghostwriting agency for influencers, thought leaders, and industry celebrities. He is an ECPA Award finalist and a winner of the prestigious Genesis Contest for fiction writers, and he loves exploring truth through story. He writes in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and enjoys visits from a mischievous mini husky and a smiley Shiba Inu.

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

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma

Book description

A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child

Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.

How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?

My review:

  This is the second book in this series, which are going to be written by different authors. Each book is based on a true crime of the past.

 I had a more difficult time getting into this book, than I did the first one. Part of it was the main character. I felt bad for Cecile for having her child taken from her, but I had a hard time liking her as a character. I wasn't even crazy about the main guy at first, but he did grow on me.

  The plot was a good one, though sad. Any time there is selling of children involved, it makes for a sad tale. I did enjoy disliking intensely the woman behind the disappearances of the children. And the book shows that human trafficking is nothing new.

 Overall, I did like the book, and it had a great happy ending, which is what I always like in a book.

About the author:

Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. All of their children have been adopted internationally and one has special needs. Her novella, Under His Wings, appeared in the New York Times bestselling collection, A Log Cabin Christmas. Her debut novel, Snow on the Tulips, released in August of 2013. Daisies Are Forever released in May 2014. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family. Please visit her blog at and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@LizTolsma). She is also a regular contributor to the Barn Door blog.

The Pink Bonnet is available from Barbour Publishing.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Wiersbe NKJV Study Bible

Description and features:

Now you can experience Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s lifetime of powerful Bible teaching in one place. Whether through his bestselling “BE Series” commentaries or his popular “Back to the Bible” radio ministry, Dr. Wiersbe has guided millions into a life-transforming encounter with God’s Word. Now, in this single volume, you have access to Dr. Wiersbe’s trustworthy, accessible explanations of the Bible’s truths and promises, through his comprehensive system of study and application notes. Make the most of your time reading, studying, and reflecting on Scripture with The Wiersbe Study Bible.

 Features include:

Thousands of verse-by-verse notes by Dr. Wiersbe
Hundreds of Catalyst notes which more deeply reveal important biblical themes and character issues to motivate transformation by the Holy Spirit through the Word
Book introductions featuring Dr. Wiersbe’s historical background, themes, and practical lessons for each book of the Bible
“Be transformed” section in each book introduction specifically pointing to the life-changing impact of that particular part of Scripture
Thousands of cross references, showing the connections throughout the Bible
Concordance with key words for deeper word study
Full-color maps
Clear and readable 10.5-point NKJV Comfort Print®

My review: 

I liked the looks of this Bible, and they had a limited amount available to review, so I jumped on it. I have been reading it daily for my daily devotions, and really like it.

The Bible version is the New King James Version, one of my favorites. I have a few study Bibles, and like them, but I really am impressed with this one. As I have read the Scripture, I have read the accompanying notes at the bottom, and like what I read. They are in simple "layman's" language, and I have been getting a lot of out the notes. One such note had this quote: to lose hope is to surrender the future to the enemy, and that only destroys the meaning of the present. And there are many more.

Warren Wiersbe is the general editor.

The Bible has these features:

Book out lines: prepares you for reading Scripture by outlining key themes and verses

Book overviews: Provides controversial and practical overviews for each book of the Bible

Catalyst notes: motivates you to experience real-life transformation by highlighting key character issues in Scripture

Be transformed: helps you learn how each book of the Bible will impact your life with these core application notes

Cross references: connects you to related verses throughout the books of the Bible

Charts and maps: enables you to quickly locate verses when studying by topic

Study notes: Clarifies key Bible passages by explaining what they mean and how they apply to your life.

This really is a good study Bible, and I highly recommend it. I honestly feel the study notes are a cut above the average study Bible out there. Available now.

  The Bible is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Core 52: A Fifteen-Minute Daily Guide to Build Your Bible IQ in a Year by Mark E Moore

Book description: 

Build your Bible IQ and Christian worldview in just fifteen minutes a day! Over the course of a year, Core 52 will help you master the 52 most important passages in the Bible. 

Most of us want to know the Bible better, but few reach our goal, often because we're too busy or we don't know where to start. Core 52 removes both barriers, offering a common-sense solution that fits into our busy lives. Respected Bible professor and teaching pastor Mark E. Moore developed this proven process from thirty-five years of helping people grow deeper in God's Word.

Each week features a brief essay, memory verse, Bible story, trajectory verses, and practical ways to put what you've learned into practice. An optional "Overachiever Challenge" offers the chance to memorize the top 100 Bible verses by year's end.

This simple approach allows you to become familiar with the big ideas of the Bible in less time and with less effort than other reading plans. In one year, you can master the core of the Bible--focusing on topics from God's will to worry, happiness to holiness, and leadership to love. These fifty-two core passages are lenses through which you can read the rest of the Bible with clarity and confidence.

My review:

   This book is set up to be used as a sort of weekly devotional. The author took what he considers 52 of the most important subjects and passages for the book. The subjects cover Creation, prayer, money, love, grace, and several other topics. 

 Each chapter begins with the topic title, a Bible verse about it, a question about the topic, and then the answer. After a few pages covering the topic and question, the key points are listed, and it ends with  a plan to master the Bible in a year, 15 minutes a day. Day 1 is read the essay. Day 2 memorize the core text - which is only 1 or 2 verses usually, and review verses from the previous two weeks. Day 3 is read a story from elsewhere in the Bible that illustrates the text from the current week. Day 4 is read the 3 trajectory passages and mediate on them. Day 5 is put it into action.

  I didn't read all 52 chapters/topics, but did several. It seems the author did a great job of picking topics to cover that are at the core of the Bible. He also did a good job of making the book an interesting read, and it doesn't come off at all like a stuffy boring theological book like some are.

  There are Bible memory cards here:, and downloadable discussion questions here:

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:

Mark Moore joined the staff at Christ's Church of the Valley (CCV) in Peoria, Arizona in July 2012 as a teaching pastor. As of July 2015, CCV has six locations and over 23,000 in weekly attendance. Prior to joining the CCV team, Mark was a Professor at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, an Adjunct Professor at Hope International University in Fullerton, California and Haus Edelweiss, Vienna, Austria. He is also the author and co-author of many books. His PhD on the Politics of Jesus was earned through the University of Wales. His life passion is to make Jesus famous.

Core 52 is available from Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing.

The Express Bride, Daughters of the Mayflower #9 by Kimberly Woodhouse

Book description: 

The Wilderness Is a Great Place to Hide

Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Jackie can’t decide if Elijah is friend or foe. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse.

My review: 

  This is the 9th book in this series, but I'll admit this is only the 4th one I have read of the nine. This series involves books by different authors, and no offense intended to the others, but Woodhouse is a favorite author of mine, so of course I'd read hers. I'll also admit when I first saw the title, I thought it was about a woman who got married really

 And I'll admit my eyes watered at the ending, and a couple of other times during the book.

  The book is actually about the Pony Express, something that has always intrigued me and that I enjoy reading about. From what I know of it, Woodhouse did a great job on the setting and on describing the workings of a Pony Express station.

  Characters can make or break a story, and this one had plenty to like. There's Jacqueline, running the Pony Express station, cooking, taking care of her 14 year old adopted brother, and overseeing several other teenage boys who are the riders. Elijah is the hero of the story, and is a very likable hero. Michael, the adopted brother is also a great character, and reminded me a bit of Thomas in the Heart of Alaska series.

 Then there is Charles Vines, very bad guy turned good, showing God can indeed redeem and save anyone.

  The Express Bride had more suspense and mystery in it than the previous books in this series, with a counterfeiting ring going on, which made me like the book even more.

 No book of this kind would be complete without the romance. I avoided romance novels for years, except romantic suspense...I could stand it as long as someone was trying to kill someone.....but I actually blame (or credit?) this author with me reading romance again and liking it. In these books, you know the hero and heroine are going to end up together, but it is fun seeing how it happens....and in this book, it happens amid the goings on of the Pony Express station, a counterfeiting ring, and a search for a missing daughter.

  Something I appreciate in Woodhouse's books: she usually, maybe always, has the characters focus on some passage of Scripture and brings out some truths about it. She said in an online video about her last release with Tracie Peterson that it is usually something she has been studying herself. In this book, the passage was Daniel, and she did bring out some interesting thoughts about it through her fictional characters, one with a really cool name.......Mark.... :)

 Prior to this book, the Patriot Bride was my favorite book in this series. The Express Bride has pushed the Patriot Bride to second place. Woodhouse will have a hard time topping this one if there is more to come from her in this series.

 I did enjoy this book a lot, and especially enjoyed reading about the Pony Express. It makes me wish I hadn't sold my Young Rider's DVDs... a show about the Pony Express.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:

Kimberley Woodhouse is the best-selling author of more than twenty books who loves the JOY of story. A lover of history and research, she often gets sucked into the past and then her husband has to lure her out with chocolate. She's spoken to more than 800,000 people at more than 2,000 venues and has taught the craft of writing around the country. Married to the love of her life for twenty-five plus years, she makes her home in Montana. You can connect with Kimberley at:

The Express Bride, and the rest of the series, is available from Barbour Publishing.

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)​
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)
The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1849 San Francisco (April 2019)
The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1860 Utah territory (July 2019)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Breaking the Power of Negative Words by Mary Busha

Book description: 

Words are powerful--use wisely

The spoken word has immense potential for either building up or tearing down. Too often, it's the latter. Many of us are carrying around hurtful words, sometimes without even knowing it. These negative words can have great influence over our lives and the lives of those around us. But thankfully, they are not the last word.

Mary C. Busha wants to guide you toward victory over the harmful, demeaning, or insulting words of your past. She shows you how to

· understand the emotions and circumstances behind the words
· choose to want to forgive your offenders
· embrace the truth about who you are created to be
· recognize the effect of both negative and positive self-talk
· pray effectively to break the power of negative words
· and walk in the freedom God provides in His Word.

My review:

   There are people and churches who take the power of your words too far. That isn't to say the idea is completely wrong. Hurtful things people say can stick with you a long time, and can affect your whole life if you let it. The author did a great job of showing how those kind of words can affect a person, and as the title suggests, she also shows how positive words can do good and heal.

 The book is split into three sections:
Words others speak to us
Words we speak to ourselves
Words we speak to others

  I am sure I won't be the only person to find the second section most helpful. I tend to speak pretty harshly to myself and put myself down with a lot of negative thoughts and words. It is easy to realize how we can be affected by others' words to us, and even our words to others.....but we don't often consider how our words to ourselves can affect us.

 I found the book well written, helpful, and interesting. It isn't a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but has a lot of good information and advice in it.

About the author:

Mary C. Busha is a writer's coach, an editor, and a writer whose work has appeared in periodicals such as Writer's Digest and Focus on the Family. She has worked for decades to help writers all around the country bring their work to bookshelves all over the world. Busha currently lives in Florida.

Breaking the Power of Negative Words is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing company.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Defender, Shadows of Sunlight City #4

Book description:

The end has come.Martial law has been declared in Sunlight City. Granter Andrew McKellan has overthrown his fellow leaders and now rules alone. The formerly freewheeling city has been locked down, its promises of unlimited freedom crushed under McKellan’s iron fist, and rebellion will not be tolerated.But McKellan is not satisfied. Not when he has been betrayed by those he once trusted and wounded more deeply than any man can bear. McKellan puts his endgame into motion and hides himself within the walls of the Defender, a towering weapons platform with terrifying firepower. No one will penetrate his armor. Those who try will be met with devastating force. And McKellan has one last card to play to guarantee his survival… or the ultimate destruction of all who oppose him.And five and a half million people in Sunlight City may die.Sunlight City’s only hope lies in Mona Johansen, Tom Collins and several unlikely alliances of wounded, desperate people, hunted by Granter McKellan and thrown together by two common goals: the fight for survival and the liberation of Sunlight City. But any hope of defeating the mad Granter lies in breaking through walls built strong enough to withstand any punishment.Both his walls and their own.Defender, the concluding chapter in a story that began in Victor and continued through Orion and Brimstone, is a story of emotional walls, the wounds people carry and hope for healing. Defender is a thrilling tale of conflict and loss, redemption and sacrifice, and most of all, the power of God’s love. 

Book review:

  The previous book, Brimstone, ended with quite the cliffhanger. Thankfully, this book was already out and I didn't have to wait long to find out what happened.

  Defender is an awesome action packed book that shows what can happen when an evil power hungry individual has too much power in his hands. In a world of nanobots, government seeing everything you do, and people living godless lives, those doing right are a minority. As with most books like this, you assume the good guys will win, but it was still a suspenseful and great read getting to that point.

 Slight spoiler: it looked like something bad happened at the end of the last book, which I figured wasn't going to happen......and I was right, but then the author made me think it did happen towards the end of this book... and again staved off my disappointment by not letting it happen. 

 I enjoyed this book, and really liked the characters, especially David.

About the author:

Tony Ross is an author who's not afraid of the dark.

In his first book, The Ugly Duckling's Revenge, he opens the door to his own past struggles with alcoholism and depression. He shares what God did to pull him out and offers a message of hope to readers: "If God can do it for me, He can do it for you!"

His next few are what Tony defines as "thrillers for thinkers," stories filled with action, adrenaline and deep spiritual meaning, stories that look into the deepest darkness of man to shine a brighter light. Victor won a silver medal for Christian Fiction in the Readers Favorite 2013 International Award Contest.

Melody's Memory is a departure from thrillers; it's a novella focusing less on suspense and action and more on the condition of the heart. Tony invites readers to open the long-locked doors of their own hearts, shine the light on what may be hidden there, and allow healing to come.

Tony is now revisiting the world he created in Victor and Orion in The Black Cat Chronicles, a series of short novellas set before Victor. 

When he's not writing, Tony enjoys country living, backyard campfires, recreational reading and outdoor sports. He has been a member of the ministry team at Calvary Apostolic Church in Clintonville, WI since 2004. Tony is happily married and has five children.