Saturday, November 23, 2019

A Shepherd Suspense Novel, #1: A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff

Book review:

John Cross is a small-town pastor, bent on leading his flock to follow God's calling. He's not the sort of man one would expect to have a checkered past.

But the truth is that the man behind the pulpit preaching to his sheep was once a wolf--an assassin for the CIA. When John decided to follow Christ, he put that work behind him, determined to pay penance for all the lives he took. He vowed never to kill again.

Now someone wants the peaceful pastor to pay for his sins with his own life. And when a terrorist out for revenge walks into the church, John's secrets are laid bare. Confronted with his past, he must face his demons and discover whether a man can truly change. Can he keep his vow--even when the people he loves are in mortal danger? Will his congregation and the brave woman he's learning to care for be caught in the cross fire? In the end, his death may be the only sacrifice he has left to offer . . .

Andrew Huff's thrilling debut is not only a riveting story of suspense, it's also a deep exploration of the moral quandaries that face those who choose to follow the Prince of Peace in a violent world.

My review:

  This book sounded really good, but no offense intended....the publisher isn't known for great suspense authors or books. Those come from Nelson, Zondervan, Revell, etc. But it sounded really good....so I requested it to review.

  This has to be the best book Kregel ever published. Seriously. Talk about non stop action and an adrenaline rush from reading a book. It starts out with a televised execution being filmed live, and doesn't slow down until the last page, which is when I finally took a breath.

 A likable character is important, and the author came up with a great and very likable character in John Cross. Former assassin for the CIA, and now a pastor of a small country church where he tries to atone for his past. Huff did an excellent job on portraying the struggle of not going back into that life as his past caught up with him and temptations to give into the old killing urges came up in him.

 The book is unapologetically Christian, while also being one of the most intense suspense novels I have read for a while. It was full of twists and turns intertwined with Biblical truths.

 I have found the Christian fiction market to be extremely geared towards women. Books that are for men, or at least geared more towards men, seem to be a rarity. This book is one of those rarities. Sure, women are going to enjoy it, but this is definitely a book you can buy for the male readers in your life. They will not be disappointed, and may even let you read it after they finish it.

 Huff pulled off some great accomplishments with this book:
1)  He published a debut novel that should shoot him to the top of a lot of reader's favorite authors (including me!)

2)  He wrote a totally awesome suspense novel that is intense, action filled, and totally Christian, and that will thrill and interest both men and women.

3) And he pulled it off with a publisher not necessarily known for putting out this kind of award winning fiction. (Well, it is guaranteed to win awards.)

  Seriously, people....I don't exaggerate. This is one of the most awesome suspense novels I have read for a long time.... and I have read some great ones. I definitely recommend it, and am looking forward to reading the other two books in this series from this new and very talented author.


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

About the author:


Andrew Huff spent 10 years in local church ministry before pursuing God’s calling into creative storytelling and media production as the Product Director at Igniter Media, a church media company (ignitermedia.com). He is a two-time finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest for unpublished authors (2014 & 2017) and also won the Best Screenplay award at the 2015 48 Hour Film Festival in Richmond, VA.

Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science in Religion degree from Liberty University and a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary. He resides in North Texas with his beautiful wife Jae and their two boys.

Learn more at andrewhuffbooks.com.
Facebook (@huffwrites)
Twitter (@andrewjohnhuff)

Read an excerpt here.

Giveaway:

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Daily Wisdom for Men Devotional

Book description:


You Are a Man of God Being Transformed to Be More Like Him Every Day!

This brand-new devotional collection for men is designed to help them know the heart of God. With an inspiring readings and scriptures for every day of 2020, Daily Wisdom for Men will provide both encouragement and challenge, as you come to know the transforming power of God's love.​



My review:

  I am always on the lookout for a good devotional, and reviewing one gives me a good opportunity to find one and also get information about it.

 This devotional has a few definite pluses:

1)  It is for men, and I am a man. :)

2) It is a 365 day devotional. I prefer those over the kind that are not for a whole year.

3)  Though the devotional is for men, it seems to be very general. Too many devotionals for men are more for married guys, which I am not. I didn't read every day's entry in the book, but I read several, and looked through the book. They do seem to be general for all guys, married or single.

  Each day has the devotional title, a Bible verse or verses to go along with it, the devotional part, and it ends with a prayer. The subjects are hugely varied, and are very well written and helpful. They are fairly short, yet not too short. At the back of the book is listed the six contributors to the book, and a plan for reading the Bible through in a year.

 I recommend this, and it would make a great Christmas gift.


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


 Daily Wisdom for Men is available from Barbour Publishing. Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Unscripted by Davis Bunn

Book description: 

Line producer Danny Byrd is well known in Hollywood for being someone who gets things done on time and under budget. But when his reputation takes a beating after his partner--and former best friend--makes off with their investors' money, Danny has but one chance to redeem himself and restore his ruined career.

LA lawyer Megan Pierce has sacrificed years of her life proving herself to impossible bosses, only to find herself disgusted at their snobbery and their specious business practices. When an opportunity to actually make a difference comes her way, she knows she has to grab it--even though she's not entirely clear what "it" is.

Danny and Megan are each other's best hope for redemption. What they never could have imagined was that they might also be each other's best hope for love.

My review:

  Not many books start out with the main character in jail, but this one did. I wasn't expecting that. Slight spoiler: he gets released, but one might figure that out by reading the book description.

  Bunn is one of the most versatile authors I have read. Most authors I read have one type of book they write, and stick with one genre'. Bunn has written all kinds of books in different genre's. This one is a book I wasn't sure about, but found myself liking a lot.

 Most Christians will agree Hollywood is pretty much godless and bad, so I wasn't sure about a book that is set in Hollywood, but it turned out to be a very enjoyable read. Though the plot was very interesting, reading about what goes into making a movie, picking the actors, etc, the book was about more than that.

 Danny, a very likable character, has a lot to deal with in the book: a best friend's betrayal, jail time, career pretty much destroyed, reputation destroyed. To me,  the themes of the book are forgiveness and letting go of the past.

 It is hard to say what all I liked about the book without giving spoilers away, but it was a great read. In addition to the main character, Danny, Bunn also created some other great characters that made the book interesting.

 The Christian parts of the book were not always obvious, but they were there. The romantic elements of the book were also pretty much in the background and were not a big part of  the book.

 This is a book I would recommend. It is different from a lot of Christian fiction on the market, with the setting and plot in Hollywood making a movie, but it is definitely worth reading. 


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


About  the author:


Davis Bunn (www.davisbunn.com) is the award-winning author of numerous national bestsellers with sales totaling more than seven million copies worldwide. His work has been published in twenty languages, and his critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction. Bunn is a Writer-in-Residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University. He and his wife, Isabella, divide their time between England and Florida.


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

 Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Dark Ambitions, Code of Honor #3 by Irene Hannon

Book review:


Danger lurks when ambitions turn deadly . . .

Former Army Night Stalker Rick Jordan usually has his camp for foster children to himself during the winter months. But someone has visited recently--leaving a trail of blood. One of the two clues left behind tips Rick off to the identity of his visitor, who soon turns up dead. The police deem it an accident, but Rick isn't convinced.

With the help of private investigator Heather Shields, he sets out to decipher the remaining clue. Except someone doesn't want them to succeed--and will stop at nothing to keep them from finding the truth.




My review:

  This is another book I have been anticipating from one of my top favorite authors. I have read every suspense novel this author has written, and I have never been disappointed. And she keeps getting better.

 Code of Honor was a neat series. Each book was about a different trio of friends who had been closer friends since childhood, drawn together by not-so-great family situations. They made a vow to grow up and do something to make the world a better place....if only more people did that in real life. Dark Ambitions centered on the last of the three friends, Rick.

 An added cool factor to this book: Hannon used characters from her Private Justice Series, which was two series ago in her roster of books.

 Dark Ambitions had a fairly complex plot, with ties to something that happened five years previously in Afghanistan. The book was written in third person point of view, but there was a mystery person who would pop up occasionally in the first person point of view. All through the book, I tried to figure out who the person might be, and it was a total surprise when the identity of that "I" was revealed.

  Rick and Heather were both great characters, and very likable.....especially Rick, who ran a camp for foster kids and flew rescue missions in helicopters.

 Hannon does suspense very well, and Dark Ambitions had me turning the pages as fast as I could read the words on those pages. I started the book on my work lunch break, and finished it at home.

 She also does romance well. I enjoyed seeing how the romance played out between Rick and Heather as they dodged dangerous people out to stop their investigation.

Great conclusion to this series.

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


About the author:


Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane, Sandpiper Cove, Pelican Point, and Driftwood Bay, as well as the Code of Honor, 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.


Dark Ambitions, and the other two books in the Code of Honor Series, are available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

 Thanks to Revell  for the review copy.





Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Always Look Twice, Uncommon Justice #2 by Elizabeth Goddard

Book description:

Justice lies just on the other side of fear

At the advice of her therapist, Harper Reynolds has traded her job as a crime scene photographer for a more peaceful life taking photographs of the natural world. But her hopes for a life surrounded by the serenity of the outdoors are dashed when she inadvertently captures a murder being committed. She flees the scene in fear--and loses the camera.

Former Green Beret Heath McKade, a reserve deputy in an understaffed county, has been called in to protect Harper, a childhood friend he is surprised to see back in the area. When Harper learns that the sheriff's department can't find any evidence of the murder she witnessed, she is determined to do what she can to see that justice is done. What neither Harper nor Heath could know is how many explosive secrets from the past will be exposed--or how deeply they will fall for each other.

My review:

  The first book I read by this author was the first book in this series, and I was hooked. Since then, I have read several of the books she wrote for the Love Inspired Suspense line of books, and loved every one of them. But I have been looking forward to reading this one since I finished the first book in this series back in February.

  Always Look Twice was just as exciting and suspenseful as Never Let Go, #1 in this series. A lot of book #1 took place on and around the land he owns and runs a camp from, so a lot of the setting was the same in both books. By the way, I'd love to live at that fictional place....minus the bears.

 Goddard did a great job on concealing the "who'. She had me suspecting one man, then another. By the time the identity of the killer was revealed, I wasn't surprised, but  had fun trying to figure out who really was the guilty party.

 I like books where the couple have previously known each other, and it isn't necessarily a quick boy meets girl, tries to keep girl safe, marries girl. Those books are an enjoyable read too, but it adds different layers when previous relationships or friendship is part of the story.

 In addition to the great suspense and drama, Goddard dealt with guilt in this book. Yeah...even fiction books can address issues and help the reader. Imagine that. Both Heath and Harper both had things from their past that they needed to let go of to be what God wanted, and to have any kind of relationship with each other.

 Slight spoiler: Liam, the third brother whose story will be in the third and final book, makes an appearance in this book, and he is as likable and cool as his two brothers.

 My only complaint is more likely the fault of the publisher, from previous knowledge: This series is about 3 brothers, each book centering on a different one. It would have made more sense to me to feature the guys on the covers instead of the women, but Christian fiction tends to be a woman's market, and some publishers insist on putting women on the covers.

 The book itself: awesome read that has be already anticipating the third and final book in this greats series.

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


About the author:


Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling author of more than 40 books, including the Carol Award-winning The Camera Never Lies. Her Mountain Cove series books have been finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Awards and the Carol Awards. Goddard is a seventh generation Texan and can be found online at www.elizabethgoddard.com.


Always Look Twice and the book it follows are available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

 Thanks to Revell for the review copy.


Book #1 in The Uncommon Justice Series


Love Changes Everything by Micah Bertaeau

Book description:


Warning: Real love will change every part of your existence

We all crave a love that doesn't fade and doesn't fail--even when we do. That's the kind of love God demonstrates for us through the remarkable story of Hosea and Gomer. Unpacking this powerful love story from the Old Testament, pastor Micah Berteau releases us from the fears, hurts, insecurities, and anxieties of life by showing us just how extravagantly we are loved--in spite of our faults, our failures, and our sins.

If you're tired of trying so hard to be worthy of someone else's love, if you're lost in what's fake or drawn to live for what's temporary, Micah Berteau has good news for you: there is a better way to live and love.


My review:

  There are a lot of books about God's love, but in my opinion there can't be too many. It is an area I struggled in for so long, so I am always interested in reading and/or reviewing a book on that subject.

  This author is new to me, and this may be his first book. I liked his style of writing. He isn't preachy, and writes in an interesting and easy to read style, yet writes with depth. He takes a couple of different approaches to talk about God's love for us. He uses some stories from when he grew up and got in trouble, and related his dad's reactions to how God is with us. He also uses the Biblical story of Hosea and Gomer and brings out some great points and truths from that story.

  Disclosure: I moved right after getting this book in the mail, and had trouble finding it after my move, so I read through it faster than normal to meet the review dates. I still got a lot out of it, but plan on going back through it at a slower pace. There is a lot of great truths about God's love in this book, and it is worth reading no matter if you struggle to believe God loves you, or if you haven't had any doubts for years.

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


About the author:


Micah Berteau is the lead pastor of The House Fort Worth, which he launched in 2018 and is considered one of the fastest growing churches in America. Micah has earned his Masters in theology and is honored to travel and preach all over the world. He is a dynamic communicator who desires to see all generations intimately know Jesus and boldly make Him known. He and his wife, Lindsey, have two sons and live in Fort Worth, Texas. Learn more at www.micahberteau.com.


   Love Changes Everything is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Company.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

One Final Breath, Dive Team Investigations #3 by Lynn H Blackburn

Book description:

Revenge has no statute of limitations

When investigator Gabe Chavez had his cover blown by an aggressive reporter, the silver lining was being able to rejoin the dive team. The downside? Dive team captain Anissa Bell, a woman who both fascinates and frustrates him.

Anissa grew up as a missionary kid on the Micronesian island of Yap and always planned to return after college. But she remained stateside, determined to solve the case that haunts her--the murder of her best friend and the disappearance of a three-year-old child.

When Anissa's fractured past collides with Gabe's investigation into the tragic shooting death of a teenage boy in Lake Porter, they'll have to put aside their complicated history with each other in order to uncover the killer's identity.

My review:

  This series was the first books I have read by this author, and she had me wowed from early in the first book. Her first two books were totally awesome, with the perfect blend of suspense, drama, romance, and humor.

 But One Final Breath is the book a lot of readers have been looking forward to. Blackburn came up with some really great and likable characters, and she writes great interactions between them on and off the job. Of all of these characters, the fan favorite seems to be Gabe, one of the two main characters in this final book. Gabe is a great investigator, diver.....and the class clown. (That may be why I liked him so much, given my sense of humor and love for jokes and humor). Blackburn did an awesome job of developing his character even more, and there were times I was laughing out loud, even laying the book aside for a moment til I quit laughing. This book really rocks.

 The plot was intricate and well thought out: revenge. That wasn't obvious at first, but even when it was, the mystery was who and why. In books like this, you always figure the good guys are going to survive and win, but it is still suspenseful and fun to see how it works out, and this book had a lot of suspenseful moments. Sometimes I had an idea what was going to happen, and sometimes I was totally surprised.

 I used to not like the romance stuff too well, but these days I do, and Blackburn did a fantastic job on the Gabe/Anissa romance.....class clown and Ms sensibility play by the rules. This was the most fun romance of the three books, and the book was the most fun of the three also. While still being 100% suspenseful.

  As with all of her books, the author made her books Christian and clean. This whole series stands high among Christian suspense, but Blackburn knocked one way out of the park with this one: perfect blend of suspense, character development and interaction, romance, and humor. I highly recommend the series, and though the third book really is the best of this great series, they should be read in order.

 My only complaint? The series is over. I'll miss these characters, but I am eager to see what this talented author has coming next.


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



About the author:


Lynn H. Blackburn is the author of Beneath the Surface, In Too Deep, 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.


  One Final Breath, and the other books in this series, are available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

 Thanks to Revell and the author for the review copy.