Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wolves Among Us by Ginger Garrett

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wolves Among Us
David C. Cook; New edition (April 1, 2011)
Ginger Garrett


Ginger Garrett is the author of the Chronicles of the Scribes series (In the Shadow of Lions, In the Arms of Immortals, In the Eyes of Eternity), Dark Hour, and Beauty Secrets of the Bible. Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther was recognized as one of the top five novels of 2006 by the ECPA.

Focusing on ancient women's history, Ginger creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women. A frequent media guest and television host, Ginger has been interviewed by Fox News, Billy Graham's The Hour of Decision, The Harvest Show, 104.7 The Fish Atlanta, and many other outlets.

A graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in Theater, she is passionate about creating art from history. Ginger resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.


This richly imagined tale takes readers to a tiny German town in the time of “the burnings,” when pious and heretic alike became victims of witch-hunting zealots. When a double murder stirs up festering fears, the village priest sends for help. But the charismatic Inquisitor who answers the call brings a deadly mix of spiritual fervor and self-deceptive evil. Under his influence, village fear, guilt, and suspicion of women take a deadly turn. In the midst of this nightmare, a doubting priest and an unloved wife—a secret friend of the recently martyred William Tyndale—somehow manage to hear another Voice…and discover the power of love over fear.

Dinfoil, Germany, 1538. In a little town on the edge of the Black Forest, a double murder stirs up festering fears. A lonely woman despairs of pleasing her husband and wonders why other women shun her. An overworked sheriff struggles to hold the town—and himself—together. A priest begins to doubt the power of the words he shares daily with his flock. And the charismatic Inquisitor who arrives to help—with a filthy witch in a cage as an object lesson—brings his own mix of lofty ideals and treacherous evil. Under his influence, ordinary village fears and resentments take a deadly turn. Terror mounts. Dark deeds come to light. And men and women alike discover not only what they are capable of, but who they are…and what it means to grapple for grace.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wolves Among Us, go HERE

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Corruptible by Mark Mynheir

Ex-homicide detective Ray Quinn never had glamorous thoughts of the life of a private investigator—but being cornered in a bathroom stall by the enraged philandering husband of a client? That’s something he could live without. Retired from homicide and living with a painful disability, Ray’s options are limited. Stick to the job, keep impetuous sidekick Crevis alive, and spend quiet evenings with trusted pal Jim Beam, that’s about the best he can hope for.

As a new client emerges, Ray finds himself in an impossibly large boardroom holding a check with enough zeros to finally lift him from his financial pit. The job seems easy enough: find Logan Ramsey, an ex-cop turned security officer who’s taken off with sensitive corporate information. But few things are easy in Ray’s world, regardless of the amount of zeros in the check.

In what should be an open-and-shut case, Ray stumbles across Logan Ramsey in a seedy motel room. Only Ray wasn’t the first to find him. Now Logan’s dead, the client’s information is nowhere to be found, and Ray’s employer is less than forthcoming with the details. Suddenly the line between the good guys and bad guys isn’t so clear. With a foot in both worlds and an illuminating look at an unhappy ending that could well be his own, which will Ray choose?

My review:I was reading reviews for this book on Amazon, and some were not so complimentary. I disagree with them. I liked the book.

The author has created a unique and likable character in Ray Quinn, an injured ex-cop, turned private investigator. He is far from being a Christian and hits the bottle far too much, yet there is a slow progression going on with his spiritual condition. He is working toward becoming a better person and Christian.

The author is a former police detective, having worked in narcotics and SWAT, and that makes the book all the more interesting to me, knowing he knows what he is talking about with police procedure and the way the police and investigators work.

This is a first person novel, which doesn't always catch my interest, but this book was interesting and suspenseful enough that it more than caught my interest. I thought there was a good plot, action, and great characters. As I stated, there are some not so positive reviews, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and did read it in one evening.

Now for the bad. Anyone who reads my reviews knows I have major issues with a Christian book containing inappropriate language. This book has two occasions of a word for ticked off that doesn't belong in a Christian book. (Rhymes with "dissed"). And to be fair, this was an advance copy, so it may not appear in the final published copy.

Other than that, this was a great and suspenseful read.

About the author:

Mark Mynheir is the author of the Christy Award nominated The Night Watchman, the first Ray Quinn mystery. He has worked undercover as a narcotics agent, as a SWAT team member, and now investigates violent crimes as a detective with the Criminal Investigations Unit in central Florida, where he lives with his wife and three children.

The Corruptible will be available on April 5 from Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing.

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for the review copy.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Fight of Our Lives by William Bennett & Seth Leibsohn

Want to know the dirty little secret in the war on terror? Some of us have already surrendered.

Since the dreadful events of 9/11, America has waged an international war on terrorism. But are we prepared to win, or are we practicing surrender? We have foiled dozens of terrorist attacks since then. But while the Fort Dix terrorists were stopped, an Islamist terrorist at Fort Hood unleashed hell on American servicemen. Despite Maj. Nidal Hasan’s shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he pulled the trigger, the official Pentagon report refused to mention Islam or use the word Muslim. And said the army chief of staff, “As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse.” As William J. Bennett and Seth Leibsohn show, for lack of clarity, conviction, and determination, America is on the verge of declaring preemptive cultural surrender in the war on terror. The Fight of Our Lives will reinvigorate the discussion and embolden those who wish to win the war on terror.

My review:This was a great and interesting book to read. The whole Muslim situation in the US worries and scares me, so I was very interested in this book.

The authors do not make a blanket statement that all Muslims are terrorists, but they do show how the Koran advocates violence and death for non-Muslims.

It is actually a sobering read. The authors show what extents our government goes to in trying to appease the Muslims and whitewash the threat from them, whether it be from radical Islam, or Islam in general.

There is a lot of information here, and it is obvious that they did their research. It shows. I found myself disgusted by the actions taken by even our own president to make the Muslims look good, and how hard he tries to avoid the terrorist label being attached to a Muslim.

This isn't just an expose' on the whitewashing of the Islamic terror threat against the USA. The authors also give ideas how we need to proceed with this threat.

They devote a chapter to the Fort Hood shooting. I learned some new things related to that shooting. How much was overlooked because the shooter was a Muslim and things like that. That chapter alone was enlightening enough to read the book for.

We are indeed at a war with Islam, and our government seems intent on losing that war. This book offers a really sobering look at where we are in this war, and it isn't promising. Yet the book is worthwhile reading and is a good wake-up call. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in this subject.

About the authors:
Dr. William J. Bennett is one of America’s most important, influential, and respected voices on cultural, political, and educational issues. A Brooklyn native, Bill Bennett studied philosophy at Williams College (B.A.) and the University of Texas (Ph.D.) and earned a law degree from Harvard. Host of the top-ten nationally syndicated radio show Bill Bennett’s Morning in America, he is also the Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute. Former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1981-1985), and Secretary of Education (1985-1988), and first director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (1989-1990), Bennett is a regular contributor to CNN and has contributed to America’s leading newspapers, magazines, and television shows. He is the author and editor of seventeen books, two of which—The Book of Virtues and The Children’s Book of Virtues—rank among the most successful of the past decade. He, his wife Elayne, and their two sons, John and Joseph, live in Maryland.

Seth Leibsohn is a Fellow with the Claremont Institute; a frequent commentator and writer on both domestic and foreign policy issues; and a managing partner of Leibsohn and Associates, a Washington, DC-based consulting firm.

The Fight of Our Lives is available from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy.

Marketing Christianity

I feel like blogging, and decided to blog about marketing Christianity. I have never tried to write an ad promo for a product, but I shall give my hand at "selling" Christianity. Here goes:

First off, this is going to cost you. A lot. It depends on how dedicated you want to be. Some pay $5+ a day, which amounts to around $2000.00 a year after taxes. Oh yeah, you're going to get taxed!

And this Christianity stuff is going to affect you. Let's hit the least of the effects first:

1) heart rate affected
2) high blood pressure
3) possible dizziness
4) you will reek of a smell people won't like
5) Constriction of Blood Vessels

6) Flow of Blood Supply and Oxygen affected
7) Fat and Cholesterol Deposition in Blood Vessels

And that is just your circulatory system. Now for the respiratory system:

1) Paralyses Cilia, reduces function,  Irritates Allergies

2)  More Cough & Colds

3) Irritates Eyes & Throat

Digestive System:

1) Increases Acid in Stomach

2) Loss of Sensation of Appetite, Taste & Smell

3) Bad Breath

Nervous system:
Stimulates, then Reduces Brain Activity

Muscular system:
Decreases physical endurance

Now, some long term:

Circulatory system:
1) Narrowing or hardening of blood vessels in heart, brain, etc.

2) Higher risk of Coronary heart disease

3) Higher risk of Peripheral vascular disease due to lowered blood flow in narrowed blood vessels

4) Arteriosclerosis  (Arteriosclerosis is a disease in which the arteries thicken and cholesterol get deposited on the inner lining of arteries. The arteries become inelastic, and narrowed, increasing the stress on the heart, as it tries to pump more blood.)
Respiratory System
1) High risk of Cancer of Lungs

2) High risk of Emphysema

3) High risk of Chronic bronchitis

4) Shortness of breath

5) Higher risk of Cough and respiratory infections

6) Higher risk of Cancer of Larynx

Digestive System
1) Risk of Stomach ulcers

2) Bad Breath

3) High risk of Cancer of mouth, oesophagus and pancreas

Nervous System
High risk of a stroke

Urinary System
High risk of Cancer of bladder and kidney

Muscular System
loss of muscle tone

Cosmetic Effect
1) Wrinkling and premature aging of the skin

2) Sallow, yellow-grey complexion

3) Stains fingers and nails

4) Stains teeth

Reproductive System
1) loss of Reproductive fertility

2) Lower Birth weight (200 grams lighter)

3) Higher risk of Miscarriages, complications at birth and retarded foetal growth

4) Higher risk of Cancer of cervix

Now if you haven't caught on to the fact that I am giving statistics on smoking, and not being a Christian, you are rather dense... But I am making a point. Or trying to. They don't advertise all of this to sell cancer sticks, aka cigarettes, but people know this stuff and still do it. Why? How can people be so stupid to waste so much money and risk all of these health issues to inhale smoke into their lungs?

And why can't we make Christianity so attractive that people want it as bad as they want a cancer stick?

Since this post is mostly about the dangers of smoking, here are a few more statistics:

90% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking.

30% of all cancer fatalities are caused by smoking.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer associated with cigarette smoking but you can also get cancer of the mouth, bladder, kidney, stomach, esophagus, larynx and pancreas. Some of these cancers can be treated and others are 100% fatal.

Cancer isn't the only disease that smoking causes - either directly or indirectly. 75% of all fatal cases of emphysema and bronchitis are linked to smoking. Both of these diseases cause extreme breathing difficulties and emphysema in particular is an extremely nasty disease as your ability to breathe on your own slowly vanishes.

Smokers have dramatically shorter lives than non-smokers. On average a smoker will die 15 - 20 years before a non-smoker. This is truly shocking when you think about it. That's 7,300 days deducted from your lifespan. Look at what you can achieve in a single day and then imagine what you might be able to achieve in over 7,000 days.

This is proof that continued exposure to the toxic substances found in cigarettes and cigars simply isn't good for you - no matter what tobacco companies might say. Smoking will kill you younger.

The Effects of Secondary Smoke

The risk from smoking isn't just limited to the smoker however. The serious effects of secondary smoking are now very well known. Smoking near your loved ones puts their health at risk also. Second-hand smoke is still as loaded with chemicals and toxins as it was when you inhaled it.

Numerous health problems are directly caused by secondary smoking and children are in the highest risk group because their internal organs and immune systems are still developing. Children exposed to secondary smoke are far more vulnerable to asthma, sudden infant death syndrome (cot death), bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections amongst other things.

If you love and respect your family do them a favour and don't smoke anywhere near them. Go outside. Nothing gives you the right to affect their health. Better again why not quit smoking altogether and spend the money you save on a family holiday? Or a new car? Get the ultimate revenge on the tobacco companies by reducing their profits and living a healthier lifestyle.

In closing, I want to go back to "marketing" Christianity. Can you imagine if all of the above risks were associated with being a Christian? Nobody would want to be one! So why do people want to smoke?!

I lost an uncle to cancer brought on by smoking, so I hate to see people who are friends and co-workers do it. If I had the power to do so, I'd make it illegal to smoke and string up everyone in the cancer stick production business. In a way, they are guilty of murder.

And one last effect not listed above, if you smoke, you will become a big litterbug.....

False Pretenses by Kathy Herman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
False Pretenses
David C. Cook (March 1, 2011)
Kathy Herman


Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call.

Kathy's husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.
Zoe Broussard loves the life she and her husband Pierce have built in her beloved Louisiana hometown. She owns a thriving Cajun eatery in South Louisiana and is married to the love of her life.

But it’s about to become hell. One day, out of the blue, she receives a series of anonymous notes that sends her life into a tail spin. Five simple words, “I know what you did.” Zoe has a secret so terrible it could leave the business in shambles and tear her marriage apart. Unbeknownst to anyone, even Zoe’s husband, Pierce, she has a past—a past she had covered so well she never thought she would have to confront. How could anyone know what she did? Can she find the courage to face her past?

If you would like to read the first chapter of False Pretenses, go HERE.

My review:
Since reading Kathy's first novel, Tested By Fire in 2001, she has been one of my favorite authors. She started out well, and has only gotten better.

This is the first book in a new series, Secrets of Roux River Bayou, and what a great start to the series. She has a few characters from her previous series in this book, something I like when an author does, especially when I liked the characters.

Like her other books, this is a great suspenseful mystery, yet with no inappropriate content or language. The plot involves secrets, blackmail, murder, all combined to make an excellent story.

Also like Kathy's other books, this book is Christian in content and in the story. She shows that an author can write a great suspense/mystery novel, and keep God at the center of it.

I unfortunately started reading this before Sunday evening church, and had to put it down to go to church, but picked it up as soon as I got home, and man, did I enjoy reading it.

In addition to a great plot and characters, the story also involves secrets, and the results of keeping them - the constant lying one has to do and keep up with to make sure the secrets stay buried, and how much better it is to live an honest life with no lying. The author also shows the difference in lives fully committed to Christ, and those living a shallow Christian faith.

Some suspense novels, even done on the Christian market, are very gritty and violent. This novel does not fall into that. Yes, there is a murder and some violence, but this is the type of book a person can read who doesn't like a suspense book to scare them out of their wits - and yet a very enjoyable story.

I highly recommend this book, and any by Kathy Herman. She is a great author, and a very gracious lady.

Thanks to David C. Cook and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for the review copy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

CSN Stores.... a shoe review

This is the second review I have done for CSN Stores. They are an on-line store that has 200 + websites with all sorts of merchendise: office supplies, furniture, home decor, baby supplies, and much more.

For my other review, I ordered a throw and an accent pillow. (Review here). I decided to review something totally different this time, so I wandered around on their websites and decided on shoes. Yep - shoes. Summer is coming, and I need a new pair of sandals, so I started looking at what they have to offer. And they have a huge shoe selection. And not just in general. They have a large selection of sandals to pick from. I am picky about the sandals I wear. I like the Fisherman style. They carry 55 different sandals of just that style. I also like sandals that do not have an opening on the heel, and they carry several of that kind. It was rather hard to choose, but I settled on one from PG Lite, pictured below:

There is a great feature you can use when looking at the shoes: by moving the mouse pointer over the shoe, you can magnify any part of the shoe for a better look.

The shipping is free on a lot of the shoes, and is really fast.

The shoes themselves are very high quality, are very comfortable, and look great. I definitely like them well enough to order from them again, and to order this brand. They came in the mail when it was too cold outside to wear sandals, but I have worn them inside to try them out, and have now worn them outside some also, and I am very happy with them. These are shoes I would have bought anyway without reviewing them.

Features (from the website):

•Men's 1887 Fisherman Sandal in Brown Nappa Leather

•Part of the 1887 collection

•Leather upper

•Polyurethane sole

•Leather insole

•Lightweight PU outsole reduces fatigue

•Poron® padded insole enhance comfort and support

•Removable secondary insert for customized fitment

•Available in Black Nappa Leather (1887BK) and Brown Nappa Leather (1887BR)

Thanks to Caitlin from CSN Stores for the opportunity to review for them again. Check out CSN Stores. Great quality, selection, and fast shipping.

Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Vicious Cycle
Zondervan (February 22, 2011)
Terri Blackstock


Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

Besides entertaining her readers, Terri tackles issues that she hopes will change lives. Her recent book, Predator, was inspired by her experiences on Facebook and Twitter, and her concern that people posted too much personal information about themselves. The book deals with an online predator who uses social networks as his playground. She hopes the book will change readers’ online habits. Her New York Times best-seller, Intervention, was inspired by her own personal struggles with a daughter on drugs. In the book, a mother hires an interventionist for her drug-addicted daughter. But on the way to treatment, the interventionist is murdered, and the daughter disappears. Barbara, the mother, sets out to search for her daughter. Terri modeled Barbara after herself, and poured many of her own emotions and experiences into that character. As a result, many families experiencing drug addiction have written to thank her for telling their story and giving them hope. Vicious Cycle, Book Two of the Intervention Series, releases February 22, 2011. She’s currently working on Book Three.

Other recent books include a stand-alone novel called Double Minds, as well as Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light (from her acclaimed Restoration Series). She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 Series and Cape Refuge Series. Terri makes her home in Mississippi, where she and her husband Ken are enjoying their empty nest after raising three children.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.


When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she's the newborn daughter of a meth addict he's been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse.

His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Kent Harlan---the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who once helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies.

In this latest novel of suspense and family loyalty, bestselling author Terri Blackstock offers a harrowing look at drug addiction, human trafficking, and the devastating choices that can change lives forever.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Vicious Cycle, go HERE.

Watch the Book Video:

My review:
Terri Blackstock is and has always been one of my favorite authors. The first Christian suspense novel I read was her book, Evidence of Mercy in the 90's. I was hooked. I love suspense, and here was a Christian novel that was suspense. It was a great book, and she has only gotten better over the years.

She has always impressed me. You will never find inappropriate content or language in her books. The message of salvation is never watered down or obscured. And I have always thought it neat how she dedicates every one of her books. Most authors dedicate their books to friends or relatives. She dedicates each book to "The Nazarene." How fitting.

This book is the sequel to Intervention. And this book is even better. I liked her characters in Intervention, and was looking forward to reading another book with them in. I wasn't disappointed.

In Vicious Cycle, fifteen-year-old Lance is the central character. Terri has created a great character in this kid. Fatherless, yet turning out well, thanks to a Christian mother. In trying to do the right thing, he ends up with a kidnapping charge.

The plot was very suspenseful, and takes the reader into the world of drug addicts. Though fictional, it still gives a picture of what the life of a drug addict is like, the depths they will go to in getting another fix, and what a battle getting clean can be.

A little romance is thrown in also that makes the story even more interesting and enjoyable.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and highly recommend it, though Intervention should be read first.

Thanks to Zondervan and the Christian Fiction Alliance for the review copy.

And thanks to Terri Blackstock for being a pioneer in Christian suspense and for writing another great novel.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tyndale contest

In honor of Tyndale launching its new book club enewsletter we’re running a 30 day giveaway on our website. The Book Club Hub Newsletter will be an email newsletter geared towards people who are in or are running book clubs. It will feature suggestions, discussion guides and great ideas for your book clubs. You can see a preview by clicking here.

To enter the giveaway you just need to visit the contest page and click on the book you’d like to sign up to win. You can even go back and sign up for both books. Each day is a new giveaway so you can return to the site each day and try to win. Every few days the books change, so check back!

Visit the page and sign up to win one or both of the free books daily.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bound By Guilt by C.J. Darlington Blog Tours Presents:

Bound by Guilt
by C.J. Darlington
Published by Tyndale House

Shuttled between foster homes, Roxi Gold will do anything to fit in. Soon she’s traveling the country stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores. Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society—and not just at work. One fateful night, both their lives are changed forever. One searches for justice, the other finds herself on the run. Will the power of forgiveness set them free?
My review:
I was really looking forward to reading this book. The author won Jerry Jenkin's writing contest last year, with the prize being a novel published by Tyndale Publishing. She did a great job on that novel, but this one is even better. C.J. has improved a lot, and that isn't saying her first book, Thicker Than Blood, was not a good read. It was. The follow-up is just better.

There is more suspense in this book, and it also explores broken relationships and redemption, showing that God can redeem anyone, and turn bad into good.

As with Thicker Than Blood, the plot of  the book revolves around rare books and bookstores. It was interesting to read what some books are worth and how much people will actually pay for them.

I liked the plot and the characters. I found myself immersed in the main character and her problems, hoping somehow things would work out for the best for her.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is one that I read in one evening, and I did not want to put it down until I finished it, so that is exactly what I did. I highly recommend it.

Great job! You kept me turning the pages.
--Francine Rivers, Internationally best selling author

C.J. is a wonderful, talented writer . . . extraordinary . . .
--Bodie Thoene, best-selling author of the A.D. Chronicles

This one engages your senses and reaches your heart.
--Jerry B. Jenkins, NY Times best-selling author & owner of The Christian Writers Guild

Watch the book trailer:

About the Author:
C. J. Darlington won the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest with her first novel, Thicker Than Blood. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over twelve years, scouting for stores similar to the ones described in her novels before cofounding her own online bookstore. In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction through book reviews and author interviews. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and cats. Visit her website


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Love Amid The Ashes by Mesu Andrews

An epic story of love and forgiveness, suffering and restoration

When her beloved grandfather Isaac dies, Dinah must follow his final command: travel to Job's household to marry his son. After Job's world comes crashing down, Dinah finds herself drawn to this great man brought low. What will she risk to fight for his survival?

Mesu Andrews weaves an emotional and stirring account of Job and Dinah. Love Amid the Ashes breathes life, romance, and passion into the classic biblical story of suffering and steadfast faith.

I am not a big fan of Biblical fiction, but occasionally a Biblical fiction book will catch my eye, and this one did. I have never read one about Job, and decided to review it, even though this is a new author for me.

The book was worth reading. As with any Biblical fiction book, the author took some literary license and had to fill in the extra things that we don't know. I thought she did an excellent job of that. She put a lot of research into the story of Job, and into what time period his story might have fallen into, and wove a great story around that.

There are some real characters in the book that appear in the Bible. She sets the story during the time of the patriarchs, and explains why at the end of the book, and it makes sense. Esau, Jacob, and Joseph all make an appearance.

The book is fairly fast-moving, and I read through it pretty quickly. It opened up the story of Job in a new way, and helped me to get a better idea of what he must have gone through. The author did a great job of showing the despair he must have gone through as it seemed that God had deserted him

I enjoyed the style of writing, and the plot that the author wove around the true Biblical account. This is a Biblical fiction novel worth reading.

About the author:

Mesu Andrews is an active speaker who has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture. Harnessing her deep understanding and love for God's Word, Andrews brings the biblical world alive for her readers in this debut novel. She lives in Washington.

Love Amid the Ashes is available from Revell, an imprint of Baker Book House.

Thanks to Donna at Revell for the review copy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Beside Still Waters, a book to check out

If you enjoy Amish fiction, here is a new one to check out:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Caregiver
Avon Inspire; Original edition (March 8, 2011)
Shelley Shepard Gray


Shelley Shepard Gray is the beloved author of the Sisters of the Heart series, including Hidden, Wanted, and Forgiven. Before writing, she was a teacher in both Texas and Colorado. She now writes full time and lives in southern Ohio with her husband and two children. When not writing, Shelley volunteers at church, reads, and enjoys walking her miniature dachshund on her town's scenic bike trail.


Two lives converge one stormy night on a train headed to cleveland

Lucy is traveling by herself via train to Jacob's Crossing to help care for her cousin Mattie, recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Trying to overcome the sudden death of her husband, she's glad to get away and focus on someone else for a while.

The only other Amish people on the train are Calvin Weaver and his little sister, Katie. When their train breaks down outside of Cleveland, Calvin and Lucy band together to face the outside world. But Calvin also carries the weight of past hurts. When an altercation brings both their wounds to light, they question whether they can trust each other.

Once in Jacob's Crossing, Lucy is occupied with caring for Mattie, while Calvin does his best to run his family's farm. But they can't stop thinking about those special hours spent together. Will the bond they formed last? And will Lucy and Calvin be able to put away the pain in their pasts to recognize the happiness that is suddenly in their grasp?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Caregiver, go HERE.

The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorello

Everything’s going to work out. Time away always makes things better . . .

That’s what FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon believes as she boards a cruise to Alaska. A land of mountains and gems and minerals, the Last Frontier is a dream destination for this forensic geologist who's hoping to leave behind a hectic work schedule and an engagement drained of romance.

But when a passenger goes missing and winds up dead, Raleigh's vacation suddenly gets lost at sea. The ship's security chief tries to rule the death a suicide, but Raleigh’s forensics background points to a much darker conclusion: Somewhere on board, a ruthless murderer walks free.

Engulfed by one of her toughest cases yet, Raleigh requests assistance from the FBI and receives her nemesis—handsome Special Agent Jack Stephanson. As the cruise ship sails through the Inside Passage, Raleigh has five days to solve a high-profile murder, provide consultation for a movie filming on board, and figure out her increasingly complicated feelings for Jack—who might not be as arrogant as she originally thought.

And that's only her work life. Family offers even more challenges. Joined on the cruise by her mother and aunt, Raleigh watches helplessly as disturbing rifts splinter her family.

Like the scenery that surrounds the cruise ship, Raleigh discovers a mystery so daunting that even the mountains might bow down before it.

My review:
This is the third book in this series. I did not read the first, but did read the second. I enjoyed it, but this book is far better. Faster moving, more suspense.

The book starts off with a murder on a cruise ship,  and vacationing FBI agent Raleigh Harmon is pulled into helping since she is on the cruise.

This was one of those books that I started reading and finished in one evening. It was that good. Very interesting and gripping. The plot and suspense was great, the setting was a good idea - not many books I have read have been set on a cruise ship.

I was kept guessing who was the murderer. The author brought several scenarios into play. Sometimes I can figure out who the bad guy is, but on this I wasn't sure. There were too many possibilities. I enjoyed the ending and seeing the guilty brought to justice.

This is only the second book I have read by this author, but I noticed in both books that she is a very descriptive writer, giving a lot of detail to describing people, places, and things. I enjoyed that. It helps the reader to be able to "see" more of the story.
There is not a lot of Christian content in the book. The main character is a Christian and reference is made to that, but there is enough to call it Christian fiction, but not enough that the Christian content opponents of Christian fiction would find "preachy."

There is one issue I had with the book. If you are familiar with my book reviews, I take issue with swearing/curse words, and inappropriate content. This book has no cursing, but there is something mentioned that I feel is out of place for a Christian book. I don't even want to discuss it here, but I will say it is about a dangerous "solo sex" activity that has taken the lives of many teenagers. I don't feel the word for solo sex belongs in a novel like this, nor the dangerous activity. It would be better for a teen who might read the book to not read about that activity, and I wish the author had not brought that into the story.

Other than that one issue, this was a great book, and I enjoyed reading and reviewing it.

About the author:

Sibella Giorello began writing as a features reporter for newspapers and magazines. Her stories won numerous awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. She recently won a Christy award for her novel Stones Cry Out. She lives in Washington state with her husband and family. Twitter @sibellagiorello,!/SibellaGiorelloAuthor.

The Mountains Bow Down is available from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and Litfuse Blogging Group for the review copy.

Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Mountains Bow Down with a blog tour, a Cruise prize pack worth over $500 and a Facebook Party! Don't miss a minute of the fun.

One Grand Prize winner will receive:
  • A $500 gift certificate toward the cruise of their choice from Vacations To Go.
  • The entire set of the Raleigh Harmon series.
To enter click one of the icons below. Then tell your friends. And enter soon - the giveaway ends on 4/1! The winner will be announced at Sibella’s Raleigh Harmon Book Club Party on FB April 5th, 2011! Don’t miss the fun – prizes, books and gab!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

About the Facebook Party: Join Sibella and fans of the Raleigh Harmon series on April 5th at 5:00 pm PST (6 MST, 7 CST & 8 EST) for a Facebook Book Club Party. Sibella will be giving away some fun prizes, testing your trivia skills and hosting a book chat about the Raleigh Harmon books. Have questions you'd like to chat about - leave them on the Event page.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Happy Medium

No, this blog post isn't about a fortune teller that found true happiness, sorry to disappoint.......... ;-)

The happy medium I am talking about is Christianity. Oh I know, we shouldn't be "medium Christians" - that isn't what I am talking about. I am talking about something different entirely.

I grew up in a very conservative church, and still attend. We believe a lot differently from most churches. We believe that you can "fall from grace", that once you become a Christian that yes, your sins are forgiven - your past sins, not future. That the Bible has some definite principles for modesty and differences between men and women. Stuff like that. Do I agree with everything my church teaches and believes? No. But neither do I agree with everything other churches I have run across.

I grew up believing too much in a performance based religion, and to be honest, that has me pretty screwed up. More than church did it. I was picked on and bullied so much growing up that somewhere along the line I started believing no one liked me, loved me, that I was worthless and inferior. I never remember taking a conscious step to think that if no one else liked me or wanted me, then God didn't either, but at some point that became part of my ideology.

I believed that people only liked me if I did certain things, acted in certain ways. Had I liked and been good at sports, the other kids at school would have accepted me and liked me. That was later reinforced the year soccer and I clicked. I was good with my feet and excelled at soccer. They wanted me on my team. But alas, that was later in high school after the damage had already been done.

I believed the guys in my family didn't like me or love me because I had no interest in hunting, like all of the other males in my family. I loved to read, and that didn't fit into what they wanted out of a cousin, a son. I started withdrawing into myself more, began feeling more inferior. I'd try to serve God, but even as a teen I was already messed up. I was looking for bells and whistles when I went to the altar. They never came, so I never could believe I was a Christian. So I would give it up.

Then college came. I was picked on more, but thankfully not to the extent that I had been in school, but it did nothing to help my emotions and self image.

At the age of 21, something happened inwardly, that changed the rest of my life. I began a lifelong struggle with a besetting sin. I felt from day one that I was doomed. There was no way I could go to Heaven. It just snowballed. As the days and years ticked by,my views of God became more skewed and wrong. I struggled to believe He loved me. And that grew worse.

There were times  my secret sin threatened to completely destroy me and swallow me up. I'd go through cycles. I would repent and try to serve God. The conviction and despair would become too great. Yet, serving a God who I couldn't believe loved me was too difficult for me to keep it up very long.

People have asked me why I want to serve a God I cannot believe loves me. There are a few reasons. In spite of everything, there has always been a desire to do right. Also, of course I want to go to Heaven, and one cannot do that without serving God. And the conviction. At times it was overwhelming, yet I wonder if I prayed just enough to get relief, or did God actually come into my heart. And so often over the years, I was scared into going to the altar with scary stories told during altar calls.

I grew to believe that God was just waiting for me to fall, so He could throw me out. st

There are Christians who would say as long as I truly became a Christian at one point in my life, that my eternity is secure. That we all sin daily in word, thought and deed. I disagree. For one thing, sin is sin - so are they ok with a murderer or rapist sinning their sin every day and saying they are a Christian?

But is there a happy medium? Between a Christian being able to sin as much as he wants and go to Heaven, and feeling God is going to toss  you aside if you mess up?

From what I know of the Bible, Christians don't sin. We call people sinners who sin. I cannot find where the Bible supports the idea of "once you're in, you're in." I've heard all of the pro-arguments and think they are extremely weak. I also can't find the judgmental, hateful God who I see who doesn't love me because I fail and have failed so much.

I realize life and my experiences have affected my view of God, but why does He seem to not care about changing those beliefs?

I've read and heard people say that God proved His love on Calvary, and He doesn't need to prove it again, but what about someone like me who struggles so much with believing that.

I believe God will forgive if I mess up, if I fall, but how can I believe He loves me no matter what I do?

I need to find that happy medium. Between the belief that a Christian can sin, eternal security - and believing God is standing by just waiting for me to mess up.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The10 Best Decisions a Single Can Make

Bill and Pam Farrel, bestselling authors of Men Are Like Waffles—Women Are Like Spaghetti (more than 260,000 copies sold) and The 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make, now lead single men and women through the ten most influential decisions they can make to embrace faith, fulfillment, and purpose.

With candor and humor, the Farrels present ten decisions that will help singles

•live a full life instead of a “life on hold”

•choose celibacy for the purpose of ultimate fulfillment

•choose community and activity over isolation or self-focus

•wake up to the significance of their life and the opportunities ahead

•give their dreams, relationships, careers, and decisions to God

Biblical insights and life examples offer spiritual encouragement and practical guidance for those desiring a complete life as a single and as a person who is open to God’s plan for their future.

My review:
(I just reviewed The 10 Best Things a Man Can Do, which is similar to this book, but also different. Hopefully I can do both books justice and not do too much of a similar review.)
 I'm single, and there are not very many books out there for singles that aren't all about dating, marriage, and getting ready for that whole scene. This book is not all about dating and marriage, and even addresses how to live a full life instead of a "life on hold."

As with the 10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make that I already reviewed, this book also has 10 chapters with each chapter being about one of the decisions:

1) Decide to be decisive
2) Decide to follow Jesus
3) Decide to celebrate
4) Decide to live in peace
5) Decide to wait
6) Decide to define relationships
7) Decide to live the good life
8) Decide to be an influencer
9) Decide to be a communicator
10) Decide to be a competitor

The authors, Bill and Pam Farrel are a married couple, but they talked with several singles and had them contribute to the book, so this is not a case of married people giving advice to singles - they got a lot of input from singles. That said, this is a terrific book for singles. I really like the fact that it isn't a "preparing for marriage book", but is more for preparing for life.

The subject of dating and marriage is discussed in the book, but that is not the central theme. It is about becoming what God wants, living a full life whether married or not, setting goals, making friends, and other things singles need to work at and do.

Being single is rough, and yes we need to depend on God, but its also good to read a book like this with advice for singles and stories from other singles going down the same road.

About the authors:

Bill and Pam Farrel are co-founders and co-directors of Masterful Living, an organization that provides practical insights for personal relationships. The Farrels are also regular relationship columnists. As coauthors their books include Men Are Like Waffles—Women Are Like Spaghetti, The 10 Best Decisions Every Parent Can Make, and Red-Hot Monogamy. In addition Pam has written Fantastic After 40! and The 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make. The Farrels have been married more than 30 years and have three children and a daughter-in-law.

Their website link is here.
Read a sample chapter here.

The 10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make

Men today have important decisions to make about family, career, and ministry. Sometimes the choices can seem overwhelming, and men end up making decisions by default—by doing what comes naturally rather than by carefully thought-out principles. In The 10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make, popular author and speaker Bill Farrel gives men the hands-on decision-making tools they need to make the kinds of choices they won’t regret. Farrel encourages men to discover the joy of finding their place in God’s plan as they

•explore the positive benefits of making healthy decisions

•discover their personal pace in life and make decisions in keeping with that pace

•develop a plan for godliness that relieves the burden of self-effort

•learn to make decisions based on personal character rather than what feels right at the moment

My review:
I don't review many non-fiction books, so when I see one that interests me, I get it to review for something different. Titled The Best 10 Decisions a Man Can Make, the book is self-titled The Adventure of Living in God's Plan

This is a great book for guys. Each decision is a chapter:

1) Decide to be decisive
2) Decide to seek an adventure
3) Decide to be competitive
4) Decide to set goals
5) Decide to be busy
6) Decide to be better
7) Decide to love
8) Decide to be a friend of God
9) Decide to be a man of principle
10) Decide to be a role model

I don't think I have ever read any of Bill Farrel's books, but I was not disappointed. Not only is this an interesting book, he also has a lot of good advice and ideas he presents in each chapter. This is the kind of book that I wish I had read earlier in life, yet it is never too late to make some changes and work at some areas.

At the end of each chapter is a section titled "your turn" where the reader is encouraged to do some sort of exercise that has to do with the decision that was discussed in that chapter. At the very end of the chapter is a "just for fun" section, which is some humorous story that fits in.

This is sort of a self-help book, but Biblically-based and it does have good advice. I myself needed help on pretty much every topic discussed and plan on re-reading some parts of the book.

The book would also make a great tool for a men's group to go through together and study.

I typically attribute my "read in one sitting" status to suspense fiction books, but this book would fall into that. I didn't read it in one day, but it is interesting and relevant enough that I could have. Great book, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to review it.

About the author:
Bill Farrel and his wife, Pam, are the co-founders and co-directors of Masterful Living, an organization that provides practical insights for personal relationships. The Farrels are also regular relationship columnists. As coauthors their books include Men Are Like Waffles—Women Are Like Spaghetti, The 10 Best Decisions Every Parent Can Make, and Red-Hot Monogamy. They have been married more than 30 years and have three children and a daughter-in-law.

Visit their website here.

Sample chapter here.

The 10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make  is available from Harvest House Publishers.

Thanks to Harvest House for the review copy.

Curiosities of the Civil War by Webb Garrison

Instead of offering another look at the most significant military and political events, Curiosities of the Civil War focuses on relatively unknown and obscure aspects of the war.

It is estimated that 623,000 soldiers died during the Civil War. If the June 1865 surrender of Kirby-Smith’s forces is taken as the last hurrah of the Confederacy, then the war lasted almost fifty months. Fighting took place on each of the war’s approximately 1,396 days from 1861 to 1865; as tabulated by Frederick H. Dyer, 10,455 military “events” took place during the war. Millions of men and thousands of encounters produced a multitude of extraordinary things.

Numerous chapters in Curiosities of the Civil War focus upon events or emphases that have been neglected—maybe because they’re hard to locate. It is all but impossible to find more than an occasional reference to banishment or deportation, and major multi-volume works seldom include an index entry dealing with “hostages.” Subjects such as “atrocities” and “appraisals by contemporaries,” to say nothing of “Lincoln’s appearance,” are not found in standard Civil War encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Even seasoned readers are likely to discover much that is new and fresh here. Whether you’re a lifelong enthusiast or just beginning to get acquainted with the Civil War, you’ll find a trove of conversation-starters here.

My review:I'm not what you'd call a Civil War buff or enthusiast, but do enjoy studying and reading about it. I've been on some of the battlefields, and it is an interesting time in our nation's history to read and study about, so I decided to review this book when I had the opportunity to do so.

This book was previously published back in the 90's as two separate volumes, but has been put into one book of a considerable size, numbering 549 pages which includes an index.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which is why the book has been republished in this form.

It is an enjoyable read. It is set up into nine parts totaling forty-four chapters. Each chapter has short anecdote  and stories, making it a great book to read through slowly and not having to find an ideal stopping place.

There is a lot of information in this book, and I learned a lot. I was actually surprised there was so much trivia and unknown or little known facts out there. I feel the author did a lot of research and put it down in an interesting and easy to read book. It is not a dull, boring book, but very interesting.

I would highly recommend this book to Civil War buffs and enthusiasts, or for anyone wanting to learn more about the Civil War.

About the author:

Webb Garrison, formerly associate dean of Emory University and president of McKendree College, wrote more than 55 books, including Civil War Curiosities and Civil War Trivia and Fact Book. Before his death in 2000, Garrison lived in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.

Curiosities of the Civil War is available from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book of Days by Jim Rubart

"… in Your book all my days were recorded, even those which were purposed before they had come into being." —Psalm 139:16

Young Cameron Vaux’s mind is slipping. Memories of his wife, killed two years earlier in a car accident, are vanishing just as his dad predicted they would. Memories he knows he has to remember.

His father tells Cameron that to save his mind he must find "the book with all days in it" —the past and future record of every soul on earth.

When an obscure clue leads Cameron to a small central Oregon town, he meets enigmatic Taylor Stone, a possible guide to finding the book who seems to carry secrets far deeper than anyone imagines. Local hotshot TV personality Ann Bannister thinks the legend of the book is a farce, but she has her reasons to join Cameron’s search anyway. Finally, there is fanatical New Age guru Jason Judah, who will stop at nothing to find the book of days before Cameron does.

My review:
I reviewed Jim Rubart's first book, Rooms, a while back (here), and loved it. It is one of the best books I have ever read, and I have read a lot. I won't go into it, as I am reviewing his newest, Book of Days.

Book of Days is totally different, and I wouldn't say it is as good as Rooms, but I wouldn't say it isn't either. Sounds contradictory, I know. The theme and plot of Rooms was just so hard-hitting, convicting, that it stands all by itself. And there I go talking about it......

Book of Days is about Cameron, a young man who loses his father to Alzheimer's at the early age of forty-nine. Before his father dies, he tells Cameron that it will happen to him also, and he must find "the book of days" to stop it. Six years later, Cameron's wife dies. As she breathes her last breaths, she urges him to "find the book." He assumes she is talking about the same book his father talked about.

Now, two years after his wife's death, and eight years after his father's death, it is happening. He is slowly losing his memories, his mind. So he sets out to find a book that may not exist: The Book Of Days. A book that has the memories, the past, the future of everyone who has ever lived and will ever live.

This is an awesome book. Yes, different from Rooms, but awesome in its own way. It covers Alzheimer's, and the idea of our memories and where they go when we lose them. Through Cameron's eyes, we see what it is like to start losing those memories, to know that you likely have the early onset of Alzheimer's.

Book of Days is also a journey of faith. Cameron is an agnostic. His father and wife were Christians, but he has never had the faith to believe that God exists, which is ironic since he is searching for a book that God wrote.

There are unique and colorful characters in the book. Good and bad. Those who want the book for devious purposes, and those who want it for good. I have said it in other book reviews, but one sign of a really great novel is when the reader is pulled into the story and you can see in your mind the places in the book and you want to step into the story yourself. That was the case with this book.

I started reading this book last night around 9:30. I chatted on the phone with my best friend around 11, and was only 139 pages into it at that point, with around 260 to go. I had no intentions of finishing the book last night, but that is exactly what I did. At 1:15, I came to the end of the story. What a great read. It was entertaining and enjoyable, yet gave me something to think about.

Rubart has only written two books so far, but they are both masterpieces. Different from your average fiction book, and yet gripping and moving. I very much recommend his books. Very much.

Check out the videos I have put at the very end of the review. There is one that is a book trailer for Book of Days, another where the author talks about the book, and two more about his upcoming book, The Chair. As with the first two videos, one is a book trailer for The Chair, and one is the author talking about it.

About the author:

James L. Rubart is a professional marketer, speaker, and writer. He serves on the board of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and lives with his wife and sons in Seattle, Washington.

Visit his website at
Book of Days is available from Broadman and Holman Publishers.
Thanks to Broadman and Holman for the review copy.
Book of Days trailer:

Jim talking about Book of Days:

The Chair book trailer:

Jim talking about the upcoming book, The Chair:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Petra, City In Stone by T.L. Higley

Petra, the wondrous ancient city carved from the mountains of modern Jordan, is at the height of its glory in this gripping historical novel by T. L. Higley. A young widow, Cassia, and her son, Alexander, have arrived there seeking protection with her late husband's estranged family. But when Cassia discovers the man she married was heir to the throne, the power-hungry Queen Hagiru plots to murder Alexander so that her own child will someday rule. The queen, priestess of the sun-god, Dushrat, calls on demonic powers in her quest, but Cassia is prepared for the fierce spiritual battle to save her son, joining a Roman named Julian and his community of believers in the Jewish Messiah. Together they seek a mighty movement of God far stronger than any dark heart or city made of stone.

My review:
This is the third book I have read by this author, and as with the other two, I was not disappointed. And as with the other two, she has written an historical novel set in a period and involving events that one does not normally read.

I enjoyed the historical aspect, of learning more about Petra, a city I didn't really know much about. And though this isn't a mystery/suspense novel, there was still suspense in the book.

At the heart of the story is a battle between good and evil. How the early Christians kept their faith in the face of major resistance from men and spiritual forces.

Higley does a great job with her characters. I was quickly pulled into the life of Cassia as she serves the true God, and fights to prevent evil in her own family.

A novel like this brings home the reality of what the early church went through, and what we could go through if evil continues to take over this world.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading more from this author.

About the author:

T.L. Higley holds a degree in English Literature and has written three previous novels and more than fifty drama productions for church ministry. She is especially passionate about "breaking down emotional and philosophical barriers that people have put up between themselves and Christ."

Petra, City In Stone is available from Broadman and Holman Publishing.

Thanks to Broadman and Holman for the review copy.

The Resurrection by Mike Duran

When Ruby Case raises a boy from the dead, she creates uproar in the quiet coastal town of Stonetree. Some brand her a witch; others, a godsend. But the controversy is just the beginning. For this resurrection has awakened more than just a dead boy…

Reverend Ian Clark does not believe in miracles. Haunted by demons, both past and present, he is resigning from the ministry and has no interest in the city's spiritual climate, much less its urban legends. But he is about to get a wake-up call…

As Ruby and Reverend Clark are thrust into a desperate search for answers, they quickly realize that the forces unleashed by Ruby now threaten to destroy them. Can they overcome their own brokenness before they—and the entire town—become victims of this insidious evil?

My review:
This book is similar in some ways to the one I just posted a review for yesterday, The Strange Man, yet the books are also totally different. The Strange Man involved a town being taken over by evil. This book involves a town that is being ruled by evil. Both books involve spiritual warfare.

The Resurrection was a very interesting and enjoyable read. At the heart of the story is a young pastor on the verge of walking away from his faith and embracing the idea that Christianity is no different and no better than other religions. Lukewarmness plays a big part in the book and through fiction, the author shows what can be the results of that. Of churches fighting each other instead of sin and evil, of Christians set in their ways and dragging their feet at the idea of getting involved.

The story also is a bit creepy. Human sacrifice, occult shops, etc. But it shows what can happen when people fight against what is right and pure, and of the depths they can go when they surrender to the devil. Also brought out in the book is what people can do who give up on God and decide to go another way.

Even though the occult is dealt with in the book, I feel the author did a great job of dealing with it. Not too intense, not too much information.

And of course the book shows what God can do when His people wake up, pray, and live as they should.

We all need to read books like this occasionally. Books that cause us to think outside of the box, books that will stir us, and yes, even scare us a bit as we are reminded of how much evil there is in this world, and how hard Satan is fighting.

And again, a book I would recommend to Frank Peretti readers.

About the author:

I normally post an author bio here, but could not locate one, or a way to contact the author, so other than the fact that this is his first book, I have no other information here.

The Resurrection is available from Realms Publishing, an imprint of Charisma Media.

Thanks to Anna at Charisma for the review copy.

Read the first chapter here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Strange Man by Greg Mitchell

Dras Weldon lives in a world of horror movies and comic books. Twenty-two and unemployed, he is content to hide in the shadow of adolescence with a faith that he professes but rarely puts into action.

But when a demonic stranger arrives and begins threatening his friends, Dras is drawn into a battle that forces him to choose which side he is on. In a race against the clock, he must not only fight these evil forces but also somehow convince his best friend, Rosalyn, to join him—before she is lost forever.

Engaging and darkly humorous, The Strange Man is the first act of a trilogy that depicts a world where monsters are real and simple men and women must overcome their doubts and fears in order to stand against the unspeakable creatures of the night.

My review:
This book reminds me of Frank Peretti's first couple of books, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. Spiritual warfare, demons, good and bad battling for the souls of men.

There is a fairly new genre' of Christian fiction: horror. The two don't seem to go together, Christian and horror, but Greg Mitchell joins a few authors who are braving this new genre', and so far I like the results.

The Strange Man is a little more creepy than Peretti's books, but in a good way. In this book, the demons actually appear to people and attack and chase them. The story is both suspenseful and humorous. The main character is a twenty-two year old young man who is nothing more than a drunk and an immature guy who still collects comic books and action figures. He becomes the central figure in the battle for his town.

I liked the author's writing style. He wrote very likable and believable characters into his story, and I was caught up quickly in their stories and battles. This was one of those books that once I started, I did not want to put it down.

One thing that really stood out to me in the book was the idea of evil being held back from the town for a hundred years because of the faithful in the town. As the number of the faithful dwindled, the evil ceased to be held back. I can't help but wonder how much of that is going on in real life today. Scary idea.

The only issue I had with the book was with theology. The main character, Dras, became a Christian at the age of nine. As an adult, he is a drunk, a lazy bum, and and more, yet is supposedly a Christian because of a conversion at the age of nine. This belief gives the idea that once you become a Christian, you can live however you want, do whatever you want, live like the devil, and go to Heaven in the end - a dangerous theology. And I am not saying the author came up with the idea, or is trying to say that, but the status of Dras falls under Calvinism, which I do not ascribe to for several reasons. Other than that, I did thoroughly enjoy the book and recommend it, especially for those who enjoy Peretti's books.

Thought I should update this after the author read my review. He was extremely gracious about my criticism, so I am pasting below what he said:

Hey, thanks for the review. And no problem at all. It's funny, Dras' salvation experience at age nine is totally "up for grabs". It wasn't my intention to say he WAS saved--just that he always believed he was. Whether he was all this time and just "back slidden" or just deceived until the moment he comes to God in this book is intentionally left open to reader interpretation.

For the record, I'm not a Calvinist or suggesting that a Christian can act however they like after they "get saved" :p

Good review. Thanks very much :)

About the author:
Greg Mitchell is a screenwriter and novelist. Two of his horror short stories have appeared in two editions of Coach’s Midnight Diner. He has also contributed to the Star Wars franchise with a short fiction piece published on the Official Star Wars site, and wrote online tie-in material in conjunction with Devil’s Due Publishing for their line of Halloween comics based on the original film by John Carpenter. He is currently working with Cloud Ten Pictures and writing the fifth installment in their popular Apocalypse film franchise. The Strange Man is his first novel, and the first part of The Coming Evil Trilogy. He lives in Northeast Arkansas with his wife and their two daughters."

Read the first chapter here.

The blog for the series is here.
The Strange Man is available from Realms Publishing, an imprint of Charisma Media.

Thanks to Anna from Charisma for the review copy.