Monday, December 31, 2012

Fire of the Raging Dragon by Don Brown

In Fire of the Raging Dragon---the second book in bestselling author Don Brown’s Pacific Rim Series---Stephanie Surber is stationed on board a submarine tender in the South China Sea when a naval war breaks out. After a gruesome discovery escalates America’s involvement, Stephanie’s father, U.S. President Douglas Surber, must choose to take a stand against evil … or save the life of his daughter.

My review: Back around 2005, I picked up one of the first, if not the first, military style Christian fiction books I have read. That book was Treason by Don Brown. I devoured that book and couldn't wait for the sequel to come out, and the rest of the books in The Navy Justice Series. Since then, I have eagerly grabbed each book he has written and enjoyed them all. I was delighted when I got an email offering me the chance to review his newest book, Fire of the Raging Dragon.

    This book is fiction, but its a scary look at what could happen if the USA and China got into a skirmish. Not to get too political in a book review, but this book impressed upon me how important it is to have the right man in charge of our country and our defense. Even though the events portrayed are scary, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and once I started, I only put it down long enough to eat, then picked it up again and read until the finish.

    A few things I really appreciated in this book, and all of Don's books: There is no bad language. Yes, you can write a book of this type and have it be realistic without bad language. Also: There is a lot of action going on in different locations. There are several ships from 3 countries, jets and helicopters from 2 countries, plus action going on in the White House, China, and Taiwan. Every time the location changes, it is indicated and that makes it extremely easy to keep up. I have read books where there is a lot of location change and it isn't clearly marked. Lastly: There is a lot of military jargon action, commands, etc used in the book, but Don does a great job of making it easy to understand for we civilians. Knowing his background, it makes me appreciate the story all the more and know it is realistic.

    This is a fiction book, but it still made me come away with a greater appreciation for our military and gave me a little more insight into what life on the sea and in battle is like for them. It also made me realize just how fragile the peace is between we and so many countries, and as I stated before: how important it is to have the right people in power, which we do not at this time.

   This book would be more for men, though women who enjoy military/suspense books would like it also. There is no romance in the book, but there is a lot of suspense and action. I highly recommend it.

   This is the second book in the Pacific Rim Series, but it is not necessary to read the books in order.

About the author:

Don Brown is the author of Thunder in the Morning Calm, The Malacca Conspiracy, The Navy Justice Series and Black Sea Affair, a submarine thriller that predicted the 2008 shooting war between Russia and Georgia. Don served five years in the U.S. Navy as an officer in the Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, which gave him an exceptional vantage point into both the Navy and the inner workings of 'inside-the-beltway' as an action officer assigned to the pentagon. He left active duty in 1992 to pursue private practice, but remained on inactive status through 1999, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He and his family live in North Carolina,  where he pursues his passion for penning novels about the Navy.

Visit his website at

More about the book here.

Fire of the Raging Dragon is available from Zondervan Publishing.

Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twelve Months by Steven Manchester

Don DiMarco has a very good life – a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests that keep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not to be the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Don now wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romance he didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitious fantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolved relationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full.

A glorious celebration of each and every moment that we’re given here on Earth, as well as the eternal bonds that we all share, TWELVE MONTHS is a stirring testament to the power of the human spirit.

My review:
  This book is a fictional account of a man who gets bad news regarding his health. Instead of sitting back and waiting to die, he decides to live it up for his remaining time and make the best of it. He does the things he always wanted to do, spends more time with loved ones, etc.

 A book about someone with a year to live can be depressing, and though the book did have its sad moments, it was more inspirational than sad. I wouldn't label this Christian fiction, but it is inspirational. Anyone who has gotten bad news of this type, or family members of those who have, would do well to read this. The author has done a great job of taking a scary issue like cancer and showing that there is a good way to handle it, and that even if you are dying, you can go out with no regrets.

About the author:

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 best seller, Twelve Months, as well as A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive), the heart-warming prequel to Goodnight, Brian (release date, January 8, 2013). His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning and BET's Nightly News. Recently, three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or his four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. Visit:

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Best books of 2012

I read a lot of books this past year, and as I did last year, I have compiled a list of the best ones I read. They are not in order of likability, but in the order I read them. Some made the list because they were an awesome exciting read, and some made the list because of how they impacted me. I gave up on doing a top 10 and tried for the top 20, but did add one more to the list. There are two series listed that had 3 books each. I enjoyed both series, and decided to count them each once, instead of adding 6 books to the list.

1) Firethorn by Ronie Kendig
2) Frantic by Mike Dellosso
3) The Chase by Debra White Smith
4) Kiss the Night by Debbie Viguie
5) Accused by Janice Cantore
6) Injustice For All by Robin Caroll
7) The Halflings by Heather Burch
8) The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo
9) The Discovery by Dan Walsh
10) Code of Silence by Tim Shoemaker
11) Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury
12) Race Against Time by Kimberly and Layla Woodhouse
13) Relentless Pursuit by Kathy Herman
14) The Last Disciple Series by Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer
15) Your Own Jesus by Mark Hall
16) Trinity: Military War Dog by Ronie Kendig
17) The End Series by Craig Parshall & Tim LaHaye
18) Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill
19) Soul’s Gate by Jim Rubart
20) If We Survive by Andrew Klavan
21) The 13: Fall by Erik Reed and Robbie Cheuvront

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Guardian by Heather Burch

Vigilance. The mission to safeguard Nikki Youngblood depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings for the girl who has been assigned to their care. Mace, steadfast and deeply in love, wants to protect Nikki at all costs, while Raven's loyalty to Nikki finds him advocating for her independence and battling his own darker inclinations. At the same time, Nikki finds it harder and harder to choose between the two heavenly beings she may never have. Dangers intensify, and tensions between Mace and Raven flare as the purpose of their mission becomes clear. Can their defenses hold up to master manipulator Damon Vessler and the powerful secret he holds regarding Nikki's heritage? Can anyone protect Nikki from her true purpose and destiny?

My review:

   There are quite a few books out for young adults now that are about half human/half angel beings. I think its a neat idea to explore with fiction, and this series is among the best out there. The author has come up with a term, halfling, to describe such a being, and spins a great story around them.

  This is the second book in the series, and I think its even better than the first. There is a lot of action and drama, and even romance - a combination that will appeal to teenagers. And adults like me who can still enjoy juvenile books. This book has more character development of the main characters, especially Mace, Raven, and Nikki, and there is even more conflict between the three with the two guys vying for Nicki's affections. (By the way, Heather if you read this review: Mace better be the one that gets the girl!)
   I loaned the first book in the series, Halflings, to my then 16 year old niece, and she absolutely loved it and asked when the first one would be out. She hasn't read this one yet, but I am sure she will like it as well or more than the first.

   These books are more than drama and teen romance. They show the battle between evil and good and help reinforce the reality that we do have a spiritual enemy who fights us constantly. I highly recommend this series. It would be great for teenagers, especially girls.

Get two free ebooks:
11:15, The Making of a Halfling

A Halflings Rescue
About the author:

Heather Burch grew up in Branson, Missouri, where she learned to love fiction. She then married into a family of published novelists and quickly learned writing was her heart’s desire. When she’s not working on her latest book, Heather can be found watching a sunset at a beach near her home in Southern Florida, along with her sons Jake and Isaac, and husband, John---who is her hero in every way.
Check out her website at

Go to the halflings website for more information about the books.
Guardian is available from Zondervan Publishing.
Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Christmas Eve 1894
All Margaret Campbell wants for Christmas is a safe journey home. When her plans for a festive holiday with her family in Stirling crumble beneath the weight of her brother’s bitterness, the young schoolteacher wants nothing more than to return to the students she loves and the town house she calls home.

Then an unexpected detour places her in the path of Gordon Shaw, a handsome newspaperman from Glasgow, who struggles under a burden of remorse and shame.

When the secret of their shared history is revealed, will it leave them tangled in a knot of regret? Or might their past hold the threads that will bind their future together?

As warm as a woolen scarf on a cold winter’s eve, A Wreath of Snow is a tender story of love and forgiveness, wrapped in a celebration of all things Scottish, all things Victorian, and, especially, all things Christmas.

My review:

I almost let the description of this book as Victorian scare me off. I'm glad I went ahead and requested it. It may be Victorican by the time it is set in, but it isn't a weird gushy type of book like I expected with Victorian. There is romance in the book, but the focal point of the book is Christmas and forgiveness.

Liz Curtis Higgs is well known for her humor, and although she doesn't come through with her humor in this book, it is still a great book to add to your Christmas reading collection. I enjoyed the book. It had a great Christmas message, and a greater message of forgiveness.

About the author:

In her best-selling series of Bad Girls of the Bible books, workbooks, and videos, Liz breathes new life into ancient tales about the most infamous—and intriguing—women in scriptural history, from Jezebel to Mary Magdalene. Biblically sound and cutting-edge fresh, these popular titles have helped more than one million women around the world experience God’s grace anew.

Her best-selling historical novels, which transport the stories of Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Dinah, Ruth, and Naomi to eighteenth-century Scotland, also have invited readers to view these familiar characters in a new light. Now, with The Girl’s Still Got It, Liz offers a twenty-first century take on the book of Ruth, dishing out meat and milk, substance and style, in a highly readable, always entertaining, and deeply personal journey with one of the Good Girls of the Bible.

Liz is the author of nearly 30 books, with more than 3 million copies in print. Her popular nonfiction books include Bad Girls of the Bible, Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Unveiling Mary Magdalene, Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible, Rise and Shine, and Embrace Grace.

She’s also a best-selling novelist, creating both contemporary and historical fiction, including her latest award-winning novels, Here Burns My Candle and Mine Is the Night. And she’s written five books for young children, including Go Away, Dark Night.

Her children’s Parable Series received a 1998 ECPA Gold Medallion for Excellence, her nonfiction book Embrace Grace won a 2007 Retailers Choice Award, and her novel Whence Came a Prince received a 2006 Christy Award for Best Historical Novel. Here Burns My Candle was named 2010 Best Inspirational Romance by Romantic Times Book Reviews, and her 2011 novel, Mine Is the Night, was a New York Times bestseller.

Liz was also an award-winning columnist for Today’s Christian Woman for ten years. Additional articles by Liz have appeared in Faith&Friends in Canada, WomanAlive in Great Britain, and Enhance in Australia. And more than 4,500 churches nationwide are using her video Bible study series, Loved by God.

A gifted professional speaker, known by her audiences as An Encourager®, Liz has presented more than 1,600 inspirational programs in all fifty United States and fourteen foreign countries, including Israel, Thailand, Portugal, and Indonesia. When the National Speakers Association honored her with their Council of Peers Award for Excellence, Liz became one of only thirty-five women in the world named to their CPAE-Speaker Hall of Fame. Her alma mater, Bellarmine University, presented her with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005, and she received an Honorary Doctorate from Georgetown College in 2010.

Feature articles about Liz have appeared in more than 250 major newspapers and magazines, as well as on,,,,, and many other websites. She has been interviewed on more than 600 radio and television stations, including guest appearances on PBS, A&E, MS•NBC, NPR, TBN, CBC Canada, BBC Radio Scotland, Shine TV New Zealand, Radio Pulpit South Africa, Focus on the Family, Life Today, 100 Huntley Street, and Midday Connection on the Moody Network.

On the personal side, Liz is married to Bill Higgs, Ph.D., who serves as Director of Operations for her speaking and writing office. Liz and Bill enjoy their old Kentucky home, a nineteenth-century farmhouse in Louisville, and are the proud (and relieved!) parents of two college grads, Matthew and Lillian. Visit Liz’s Web site:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book giveaway

enter to win a copy of Cloud Culture, a great book about the Christian and social networking. Drawing on December 12. Comment on the book review.

Resurrect by David E Stevens, with a giveaway

Preventing his burning fighter from crashing into a neighborhood, Navy Commander Josh Logan ejects ... too late.

Critically injured, he's offered a new life and mission exploit highly classified military technology to stop a global cataclysm. The price? He'll be dead to everyone he knows.

He wakes in a city hospital with a genetically enhanced body and no identity. With the help of his brilliant, Neuro ICU nurse, and guided by nothing but a voice, he must infiltrate the military-industrial complex to develop the world's most powerful weapon ... to protect humanity?

My review:

The good:
  Awesome book. Plot, characters, action, suspense, even romance. The author has military experience and it comes through the book. This kind of book would be hard to write with so much realisitc detail without having t his knowledge. It is the kind of book I had a hard time putting down, and I did pretty much read it in one sitting.

  It is also the kind of book that you don't know what is coming next. I got pulled into the story right off the bat, and though it really is never explained in this book how the main character is alive again after being dead, it was still a fantastic plot with great characters. I don't read much secular fiction, but this could be put up against some of the most popular authors of suspense and intrigue.

The bad:
I'm one of those silly old fashioned people who doesn't curse, and still believes Christians shouldn't do it... even in books, and that Christian fiction shouldn't contain certain things - like cursing. This book is the worst in that regard of any book I have read that was classified as Christian fiction.

The curse word for complaining (starts with a b) - at least 2 uses

God's name taken in vain (Oh my...) - at least 4 uses
Ticked off vulgar term  - at least one use
Hell used as an expletive - at least 7 times
the "d word" - once that I caught
"King James donkey" - one use.

In addition, the main character seemed to be ok with evolutionary theories like the bib bang theory, etc.

To me, this book isn't Christian fiction. Its a great story with a great plot, but Christian? No. So if you normally read secular suspense/intrigue, this book is for you. But if you normally read Christian fiction and don't like curse words and vulgarity in Christian fiction, skip this one. By the way, I contacted the publisher about the language and got no response.

About the author:

A Navy fighter pilot with hundreds of aircraft carrier landings, Commander David E Stevens holds degrees from Cornell and the University of Michigan with graduate work in astrophysics. He test piloted new fighters and received an aviation patent. With a Top Secret clearance, Dave served as Strike Operations Officer for the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm and led classified defense programs. He's traveled to over two dozen countries. 

Resurrect is available from Monarch Books, a deivision of Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.

Resurrect Kindle Fire Giveaway from David E. Stevens. RSVP for Facebook Party {12/4} To celebrate the release of Resurrect, David E. Stevens has teamed up with his publisher, Kregel Publications, for a Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Author Chat Party {12/4}.

One "thrilling" winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Resurrect by David E. Stevens
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Resurrect" Author Chat Facebook Party on 12/4. Connect with David, get a sneak peek of the next book in the Resurrect Trilogy, try your hand at the trivia contest, and win some great prizes—gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Resurrect and join David on the evening of December 4th for a chance to connect with David and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 4th!

Walking On Water When You Feel Like You're Drowning by Tommy Nelson and Steve Leavitt

Today more people than ever are suffering from emotional distress. Whether they are dealing with depression, anxiety, obsessiveness, fear, worry, or stress, their lives are limited and compromised by the ill-effects. People who suffer from emotional distress often feel isolated and unloved, either by God or by others, and often believe that there is no hope and no way out.

There is good news, however! A truly biblical approach to healing emotional distress focuses on a holistic cure that integrates the mind, body, and spirit. Even when we feel truly alone, God is holding us in His hand. Even when we feel truly hopeless, God offers comfort and purpose. And even when we feel like we will never escape the pit of emotional distress, God sets our feet on firm ground and promises to never let us go. No matter what we have been through or what we are going through now, God can bring critically needed healing and transformation into our lives when we adjust what the authors refer to as “stinkin’ thinkin’.”

My review:
I used to be under the misconeption that Christians didn't suffer from depression until I had to deal with it myself. I have read a few books on the subject since then, and this is one that I would highly recommend to anyone dealing with it or wanting to understand it better.

The authors deal with what causes it, what is happening to your body, the problem with perfectionism, how Biblical thinking is crucial to recovery, when you should consider medication, and more. This isn't a long book. It is only 158 pages, but the authors cover the subject of dealing with depression and anxiety very thoroughly in those pages. It is refreshing to get a Biblical and professional view in the same book. It was a helpful, ye interesting read.

About the authors:

Steve Leavitt is a Christian counselor who understands grief. His compassion for the hurting grew when he lost his first wife to cancer in 1997. With an MA in biblical counseling from Dallas Theological Seminary, he is an ordained minister who has been ministering and counseling for over 25 years. During that time he has written and spoken to thousands of people on the issues of marriage, raising a family, growing strong teens, and grief. Steve hosts a live call-in counseling show on KSLR out of San Antonio, Texas. He has an extensive published teaching CD ministry on the subjects of marriage, parenting, the church, and biblical solutions to depression, anxiety, fear, worry, and obsessive compulsive issue. Steve lives in New Braunfels, Texas, with his wife, Marty, and four growing children.
Since 1977, Tommy Nelson has been the Pastor of Denton Bible Church, located in Denton, Texas. He has been featured on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Josh McDowell, For Faith and Family, and other national broadcasts. He has a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.
Tommy has been married to Teresa Nelson for more than 25 years. They have two adult sons, Benjamin and John.

Walking On Water When You Feel Like You're Drowning is available from Tyndale House Publishers.

Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Greenwood and Archer by Marlene Banks

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Greenwood and Archer
Lift Every Voice; New Edition edition (September 20, 2012)
Marlene Banks


Marlene Banks has worked 30+ years combined in nursing and the business arena. Her goal as a writer is to create inspiring, gripping and realistic stories with an emphasis on African American literature. She believes her gift and desire to write is from God and desires to use it to fulfill His purposes. Marlene lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she is a member of Bethel Deliverance International Church.


Greenwood and Archer: After the Riot continues the stories of Billy Ray Matthias and Benny Freeman and the residents of the Greenwood District after the historical Tulsa Race Riots of 1921. Though a sequel to Son of a Preacherman, Greenwood and Archer can be read as a stand alone book.

The White Glove Society has all but destroyed the Greenwood District, home to the affluent blacks in Tulsa. Now those who have survived are trying to recover what is left including Billy Ray Matthias and Benny Freeman. Billy Ray and Benny are engaged but Benny is hesitant to set a date. Jordan Franks, Benny's ex-fiancee shows up in Tulsa and Benny is confronted with the memories and emotions of the crippling break up she experienced with Jordan. She must decide whether she will stand and face her past or allow it to drive her back into the dark place she'd grown used to before meeting Billy Ray. Billy Ray's attempts to keep Benny from running away are challenged by his own struggles as he wrestles with God's call on his life to preach.

DP Dooley, plagued by a past that prompted him to turn from God and become a government agent, is in a turmoil as he wars against enemies seen and unseen. Internally, he fights against the darkness of his soul as the anger and resentment he has harbored against God for most of his life wears him down. Externally, he continues to fight against the threats of the bigoted White Gloves Society, which is growing and trying to increase its racist activities.

The once hard-edged racial views of Chief Tobias Parnell have noticeably dulled and he no longer enjoys the favor of the White Glove Society. Teaming up with Dooley, Chief Parnell fights against illegal racketeering, bootlegging and racial crimes. A new brotherhood forms in Tulsa, the interdenominational Christian clergyman (ICCA). Braving the social struggles of Tulsa, five clergymen attempt to and bring together God's people, regardless of race, economic status, gender, ethnicity and even doctrine. Their goal, along with the people of Greenwood is to see a new Tulsa rise from the ashes.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Greenwood and Archer, go HERE.