Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Hidden Peril, Code of Honor #2 by Irene Hannon

Book description:

The most dangerous enemy is the one who has nothing to lose

As teenagers, Kristin Dane and her two best friends took a vow to make the world a better place. Twenty years later, she's fulfilling that pledge through her fair trade shop that features products from around the world. All is well until, one by one, people connected to the shop begin dying. 

Detective Luke Carter, new to the St. Louis PD, wants to know why. Before he can answer that question, however, the FBI weighs in and Kristin suddenly finds herself in the middle of international intrigue--and in the sights of the ruthless mastermind behind an ingenious and deadly scheme. Can this cold-blooded killer be stopped before more people die . . . including Kristin?

Three-time RITA Award-winner and "queen of inspirational romantic suspense" (Library Journal) Irene Hannon doesn't disappoint in this edge-of-your-seat thriller that will have you up late as you rush toward the explosive conclusion.

My review:

  Irene Hannon has had me hooked ever since I read her first suspense novel several years back. She never disappoints, and she is definitely one of my favorite authors. She has written several different suspense series, and each one seems to top the last. In my opinion, she has become synonymous with quality Christian suspense.

 The first book in this series, Dangerous Illusions,  was an awesome read that was different from her other books. I loved it, and doubted she could top it, but she has done so in Hidden Peril.

  Some readers do not like prologues in a book. I am one who enjoys them and feel they can set the tone for the book. The prologue in this book not only set the tone for the book, but it made me want to dive into reading the book.

  The plot was intricate and well thought out. Hannon set it up very well, so that I read as fast as I could to find out what was going on. She brought back some of the characters from her previous book, and even a couple of characters from a previous series, and added a few. Her two main characters especially were very likable as they got in the middle of the plot and suspense.

  Candles and terrorism....what do those have in common? One would assume nothing, but Hannon makes a great suspense novel using those and other factors and objects. I was proud to figure out fairly early the identity of the bad guy, but there were also some surprises, including the climatic scene close the end of the book.

 I am a confirmed bachelor, but have come to do more than tolerate the romantic aspects of these books. I found myself enjoying that aspect of the story, and really liked how that went and came to a conclusion.

 This was indeed an awesome read, and I have gone back and re-read parts of the book that were especially good. Hannon has another book she can rightly be proud of.

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



About the author:


Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane, Sandpiper Cove, and Pelican Point, as well as Dangerous Illusions and the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, and she is a member of that organization's elite Hall of Fame. Her many other awards include National Readers' Choice, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers' Choice, Booksellers' Best, Carols, and Reviewers' Choice from RT Book Reviews magazine, which also honored her with a Career Achievement award for her entire body of work. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.


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

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.




Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Delayed Justice, Hidden Justice #3, by Cara Putman

Book description: 

She had long given up the desire to be loved. Now she only needed to be heard.

   Jaime Nichols went to law school to find the voice she never had as a child, and her determination to protect girls and women in the path of harm drives her in ways both spoken and unspoken. As Jaime, now a criminal defense attorney, prepares to press charges against someone who wronged her long ago, she must face not only her demons but also the unimaginable forces that protect the powerful man who tore her childhood apart.

   Chandler Bolton, a retired veteran, is tasked with helping a young victim who must testify in court—and along with his therapy dog, Aslan, he’s up for the task. When he first meets Jaime, all brains, beauty, and brashness, he can’t help but be intrigued. As Chandler works to break through the wall Jaime has built around herself, the two of them discover that they may have more to offer one another than they ever could have guessed—and that together, they may be able to help this endangered child.

This thrilling installment of the Hidden Justice series explores the healing power of resolution and the weight of words given voice. And as Jaime pursues delayed justice of her own, she unearths eternal truths that will change the course of her life.

My review:

  This is the third book in The Hidden Justice Series, and the best in my opinion. It deals with the very tough issue of child molestation. I personally only know what I have read, but I felt the author portrayed the issue and the feelings of the victims very well and compassionately.

  Putman has come up with some great characters for her books, and I have liked all of them. I found myself liking the two main characters in this one even more than the other two. There's Jamie, molested as a child by her uncle, and now finally ready to come forward and get justice. And then there is Chandler, military vet working to help other vets deal with PTSD and other issues facing them as they leave the military. I am not a dog lover, but I even liked Chandler's dog.....and loved his name - Aslan.

   I love suspense, and there was a lot of it in this book. Typically, one of the main characters...usually the female, is the one in danger. In Delayed Justice, both characters have their own dangers and bad guys after them.

  The book also dealt with the issues of trusting God. Jamie has a hard time believing in and trusting God since He never stopped her sexual abuse as a child. And though a fictional character, Chandler's faith made me long to have the kind of faith described in the book.

 The large majority of legal thrillers I have read have been by male authors. Putman has proven in this book and the other 2 books that she can hold her own with those male authors. She has again written a great novel of suspense and drama that I had a hard time putting down. I definitely recommend it.

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


About the author:


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

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

Cara is an author chasing hard after God as she lives a crazy life. She invites you to join her on that journey. She's currently writing her 26th & 27th books with more on the way. Please check out her website (http://www.caraputman.com/) to learn more about her books and read first chapters.


Delayed Justice is available from Thomas Nelson.

Thanks to the launch team for the review copy.





Praying the Promises by Max Lucado and Andrea Lucado

Book description:

Find security and hope in a broken world through the unshakable promises of God. Join bestselling author and beloved pastor Max Lucado as he leads you through 30 life-changing promises from God in Praying the Promises. You’ll experience a more intimate and effective prayer life and a deeper faith in the God who keeps every promise.

God makes His character clear throughout the Bible: He is a God who saves us, who is faithful, who sends His Comforter, and who has a good and holy purpose for our lives.

In short, He keeps His promises.

But what does that look like in a broken world? Surrounded by confusion, darkness, violence, and pain, where do we see the promises of God at work in our everyday lives?

Max Lucado invites you into a deeper understanding of the peace and security God offers His people in Praying the Promises, a beautiful book that tells stories of God’s faithfulness and offers tangible ways to implement faith into your own prayer life. Through 30 key Scripture verses, a look into the lives of biblical people of faith, reflections, and prayers, you will see a clearer picture of the promises of God and how He is the rock you can build your life upon.

Whether you are a lifelong believer or if faith is a brand-new adventure, Praying the Promises offers you access to the God who has kept His promises since the beginning of time and will continue to do so for eternity.

A great gift for all ages.

My review:

  The cover of this book caught my eye. I like lighthouses, and I also like Max Lucado's writing. I figured it had to be good.

 This is not a Bible promise book full of promises from the Bible, though there are a lot of those in the book. It is more like a devotional. There are 30 chapters. Each one starts with a page that has the title of the chapter, followed by a promise from the Bible. The second page has  the Unshakable Hope section, which is thoughts on promises in the Bible. The third page has a few promises, followed by a page with a prayer about promises. The chapter ends with the "I am" section, which is a statement of what we are as Christians.

 Throughout the book are pages with lighthouses and anchors in the background, making a very attractive book with its reds and whites.

 Lucado and his daughter did a great job on the book. The promises they picked out are varied and relative to today. The Unshakable Hope sections are very well written, interesting, and helpful. The prayers are a very neat way of praying the promises, something most of us probably don't do enough of....if at all. And the reminders of what we are in Christ are very encouraging.

 This book could be read several chapters at once, but I would recommend going through it a chapter a day, and using it as a 30 day devotional.

About the authors:

MAX LUCADO

Since entering the ministry in 1978, Max Lucado has served churches in Miami, Florida; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and San Antonio, Texas. He currently serves as Teaching Minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. He is America’s bestselling inspirational author with more than 130 million books in print.

Follow his website at MaxLucado.com






ANDREA LUCADO

Andrea Lucado is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. She is the author of English Lessons: The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith. Before taking on writing full time, she worked in the Christian publishing industry as a book publicist. She has a master’s degree in English literature from Oxford-Brookes University and contributes regularly to online and print publications such as Relevant magazine and She Reads Truth. When she is not conducting interviews or writing stories, you can find her laughing with friends at a coffee shop or running in the Texas hill country. 



Praying the Promises is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A Secret to Die for by Lisa Harris

Book description:


Psychologist Grace Callahan has no idea that she has a secret--one worth killing for. But when she finds out one of her clients has been murdered, she quickly realizes that the computer security specialist wasn't simply suffering from paranoia.

Detective Nate Quinn has just been cleared for active duty after a bombing killed eighteen people, including his partner, and left him dealing with PTSD. His first case back on the job involves the murder of Stephen Shaw, and his only lead turns out to be an old friend, Grace Callahan--and her life is in grave danger. Someone believes Shaw gave his psychologist information before he died. Information they are willing to kill for.

With her signature pulse-pounding suspense, Lisa Harris takes readers deep into the heart of fear in this race against the clock.

My review:

  Some years ago I read my first Lisa Harris book. I don't remember the title, but I do remember thinking it was "just OK". She has gone from being just OK to one of my favorite suspense authors whose books I look forward to reading.

 This book is her first after her awesome Nikki Boyd Series. As far as I can tell, this is a stand alone book, with no indications of it being a series.

  I loved the plot for this book. It involved bad guys working to shut down the power grid for the whole country, as the good guys raced to stop their evil and disastrous plan. I have read an am aware of the dangers and fallout if something like that did ever happen, so I found the book to be a fascinating read, even though it was fictional.

 The author did a great job on the technical jargon, and describing how such things in language easy to understand, and an awesome job on the suspense.

 The two main characters were very likable, and were great creations by the author. As with most books of this type, there is a romance brewing throughout the book. Even though I am a confirmed bachelor, I have come to enjoy most of these and cheer on that part of the book, as well as a conclusion to the mystery/dilemma faced by those characters.

 I loved the book, and found it one difficult to put down, and was only disappointed that the ending came so fast. Harris has another book she can be very proud of.

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





About the author: 


Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. The author of more than thirty books, including Vendetta, Missing, Pursued, Vanishing Point, and the Southern Crimes series, Harris and her family have spent almost fifteen years living as missionaries in southern Africa. Learn more at www.lisaharriswrites.com.


A Secret to Die for is available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Making God Smile by Kim Taylor Henry

My review:


More than just an inspiring daily message, this book leads you on a year-long journey of aligning your actions to your heart’s intentions. Making God Smile overflows with encouragement, reminders, practical tips, personal and inspiring stories, scriptural insight, and biblical teaching that will show you how to reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. By embracing this fruit, others will see Christ in you and your life will be more than you ever imagined possible.


My review:
 
  I would think it would be difficult to write a 365 day devotional on living  the fruits of the Spirit, but this author has done exactly that.

 As with any devotional I have reviewed, I didn't read every entry, but read several throughout the book to get a good look at it....and I am impressed at how this devotional turned out. I am sure the average Christian could do better with living the fruits of the Spirit, and what better way to improve on that than reading daily about living those?

  The devotional is for 365 days, but is not split up into months nor labeled by month and dates. They are simply labeled day 1, day 2, etc., on up through 365. Each day starts with a Bible verse, followed by the author's thoughts, and ending with a short one-two line prayer.

 I found the devotionals well written and helpful. The author has come up with a great devotional that is different from others on the market, and I would recommend it.

About the author:


Kim Taylor Henry is a gifted writer, frequent contributor to Daily Guideposts and lifelong student of the Bible. She spent seventeen years as a corporate defense litigation attorney and eight years a vice president of human resources at two major corporations. Kim has three grown children and five grandchildren and lives with her husband near Denver, Colorado.


Making God Smile is available from Worthy Publishing.

Thanks to Worthy for the review copy.

Friday, September 21, 2018

A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson

Book description:

When Wendy Harper inherits her family's beach-side cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in--temporarily, she reminds him--in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is coming. The charming town, along with local craftsman Caleb Colton, pulls on both Wendy and Jackson, who even registers himself for school in a bid to get his mom to move them there permanently. Wendy knows that the most responsible thing to do is to sell the cottage and return to Ohio, but the lure of the sea is hard to resist.

Join award-winning author Melody Carlson for a Christmas story that will warm your heart and have you dreaming of your own enchanted seaside holiday.


My review:

  I have come to equate a great Christmas story with Melody Carlson. She has been writing a Christmas novel every year for several years now, and I have a shelf containing those books. It may seem odd to be reading and reviewing a Christmas book in September, but there was no way I'd pass up a chance to review her newest Christmas novel. I would rather have read it closer to Christmas, but the review dates are this month.

 Of all of her books I have read, I find this one to be her best one yet. It is possible there are aspects of the book that made me like it even better.

 The setting is a beach house by the ocean, and I love the ocean and have vacationed there several times. Granted, I have no desire to be there in the winter, but it still made a great setting for the book.

   I am also a sucker for a book with kids in it, especially a fatherless young boy. Carlson did a great job on creating his likable character, along with the other main characters.

 The book actually takes place before Christmas, a week before Thanksgiving, and the time after. There is a lot of talk about Christmas, and much decorating for the holiday also. The town in the book sounds like a delightful place to live, whether or not it is modeled after a real town or not.

 These Christmas books are actually novellas, with this one coming in at just 167 pages. A lot is packed into those pages, and the story tugged at my heart strings of a 12 year old boy so desperately wanting what seemed impossible, but then Christmas is a time for miracles.....

 I thoroughly enjoyed the book, though the whirlwind romance was was too fast to happen in real life...though I did love the ending and how it was all wrapped up. A great read indeed.

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


About the author:


Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus.

She also writes many teen books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series.

Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon.

Check out her website: MelodyCarlson.com.

A Christmas by the Sea is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Healing the Scars of Addiction by Gregory L Jantz, Ph D

Book description:

The wreckage of addiction lies scattered around too many people--from the one who is or was addicted to those in relationship with that person. Age-old culprits of drugs, alcohol, and gambling are joined by newer addictions, such as food, prescription medication, shopping, pornography, and technology. Left unaddressed, addiction devastates lives now and makes it difficult to see a positive way forward.

For anyone struggling with an addiction, attempting to live in recovery, or seeking to understand the mind of an addict they love, Dr. Jantz's newest book is a lifeline. In it he helps readers answer tough questions, such as

- Am I an addict?
- Why is the first step so hard?
- How can I put my life back together?
- Where do I go from here?

Addiction doesn't have to have the last word. Healing the Scars of Addiction offers a holistic approach to healing so that readers can reclaim their lives and move forward in hope.
 


My review:

   It is all too easy to get addicted to a multitude of things today, but it can be really difficult to get rid of those same addictions. I am a firm believer in prayer and God's help, but these things are still hard to battle, so it is good to have books out there on issues one struggles with to get some additional help and advice.


 I have read and reviewed other books along the lines of this one, but I found this one to do a better job than most. The author seems to really know his "stuff", and approaches it from both a professional and compassionate standpoint.

 Among other things, the book addresses how and why addictions can happen, then goes on to the how's of getting rid of an addiction.

 I found the book very well written, and containing a lot of helpful material and advice for those battling addictions.

About the author:


Gregory L. Jantz, PhD, is a popular speaker and award-winning author of many books, including Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse, Healing the Scars of Childhood Abuse, and Overcoming Anxiety, Worry, and Fear. He is the founder of The Center • A Place of Hope (www.aplaceofhope.com) in Washington state. Learn more at www.drgregoryjantz.com.

Healing the Scars of Addiction is available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.