Saturday, October 31, 2015

10 Things Great Dads Do by Rick Johnson

Great dads raise happier, healthier, more successful kids

But how do men go about being that great dad? Fathering expert Rick Johnson offers ten practical strategies to help men become the dads they want to be, including

· helping their kids find the humor in life 
· surrounding their family with healthy friends and role models
· communicating clearly with their children
· helping their kids develop self-esteem and respect for others
· being a gatekeeper when it comes to their kids' social circle
· setting reachable goals for themselves and their children
· and more.

My review:
   I am not, nor ever will be a father; but I try to review some books that I think are beneficial to others. This is one such book.

  The book is an easy, but interesting read with a lot of helpful advice. The author approached it a little differently than I expected, but in a much better way than I expected. Using experiences from his life as a child, father, and grandfather; along with experiences others have related to him, he came up with the ten things great dads do.

  In addition to what was mentioned above, he addresses how important it is for the parents to have a good relationship with each other and to have friendships with others their own age and even addressees the issue of how men can work at having friends. The author pulls together so much more than just how to interact with and discipline your kids, to show there is a lot more dads need to do to make their home the kind of home it should be, and to raise the kind of kids he wants to raise. This is a very valuable resource for any father still raising kids.

About the author:

Rick Johnson is the bestselling author of That's My Son; That's My Teenage Son; That's My Girl; Better Dads, Stronger Sons; and Becoming Your Spouse's Better Half. He is the founder of Better Dads and is a sought-after speaker at many large parenting and marriage conferences across the United States and Canada. Rick, his wife, Suzanne, and their grown children live in Oregon. To find out more about Rick Johnson, visit

10 Things Great Dads Do is available from Revell Publishing, a part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for  the review copy.

On This Foundation by Lynne Austin

Stone by Stone, the Wall Will Rise Once More Around God's City

When news reaches him that Jerusalem's wall is shattered and its gates burned with fire, a distraught Nehemiah seeks God's guidance in fasting and prayer. Granted an unexpected leave from his duty as cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes, Nehemiah sets out for Jerusalem to rebuild the city wall--never anticipating all the dangers that await him on his arrival.

The leaders of the surrounding nations become his fierce enemies, plotting to assassinate him and stop the wall's reconstruction forever. A drought, meanwhile, has left the country impoverished, with many families resorting to selling their children as bondservants just to keep from starving.

Capturing the rebuilding of the wall through the eyes of a number of characters, On This Foundation is the powerful conclusion to The Restoration Chronicles. This exploration of faith in the midst of oppression offers hope that, in spite of appearances, the gracious hand of God is upon those who believe.

My review:
   I used to dislike Biblical fiction, and I think the reason I did was that what I read years ago were mostly romance stories set in Bible times. In more recent years, some authors have come along who study the Bible and do the stories they tell justice. Lynn Austin is one of those authors. This is her second Biblical fiction series, and every book has been top notch. There is some romance, but it isn't the main focus.

  This novel is the third book in The Restoration Chronicles. Every novel in the series is set during the time period of the captivity of Israel. This one takes up the story of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. Even being raised in the church, Christian school, and Bible college; my knowledge of Nehemiah pretty much was: he was cup-bearer to the king in captivity, the king sent him back to Jerusalem so he could work on the city, he rebuilt the walls, and bad guys tried to stop him.

  Lynn Austin has taken up her pen (or keyboard) and brought the biblical tale to life and filled in some of the gaps with her imagination. This isn't a light fluff novel that you can read in an hour. It comes in at 466 pages and is far from fluff. Not doing the biblical narrative any injustice at all, she takes literary license and tells the story of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls in a way that really opened up the story to me in a new way. There are people and things from the Bible all throughout the book along with people and things added by the author, and it all adds up to make for a great read. I found the book a fascinating and easy read, though it does have depth and meaning that too much Christian fiction has.

  It is obvious that these books have taken a lot of work, study, and I am guessing also prayer.... and it shows. Lynn Austin has another book she can be proud of.

About the author:

   Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home in western Michigan. Learn more at

On This Foundation is available from Bethany House Publishers, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Valley of Decision by Lynne Gentry

Litfuse Publicity Group, Howard Books, and Lynne Gentry invite readers to third-century Carthage for a thrilling time-travel adventure in Valley of Decision, the explosive conclusion to The Carthage Chronicles. In her latest release, Gentry brings her thorough research of the Plague of Cyprian to life as she examines the power of family connections. 

Thirteen years ago, Dr. Lisbeth Hasting made an impossible decision to leave third-century Carthage and her husband, Cyprian, behind for good to protect their daughter, Maggie. Summoning all her courage, she struggled to move on with life and keep her promise to Cyprian to keep their little girl out of harm's way. 

Years later, that little girl is now a headstrong young woman starting to chafe under her mother's protective wings. Craving an opportunity to express her independence, Maggie decides to do what her mother appears to be unable or unwilling to do: She secretly returns to the third century on a quest to bring her father back. When Lisbeth discovers what Maggie has done, she is left with no choice but to follow.

With Maggie's surprise arrival in Carthage, chaos ensues. Finding her grandmother on trial for murder, she attempts to save her, but her efforts only spark a riot that nearly destroys the plagued city. Only one thing will appease the wrath of the new proconsul of Carthage: the death of whomever instigated the riot. 

My review:
  Time travel books aren't very common on the Christian market, so this series intrigued me. I bought the first and reviewed the second, enjoying both a lot; and have been watching for the last book in the trilogy to come out.

   The whole series is set in the third century in Carthage, and this third book is set when open persecution of Christians is in full swing. The author brought back the same characters and suspense and drama from the other two books and spun a great ending to the series. I read the book when I wouldn't have to put it down as I knew I was going to want to read it all in one sitting, which I did.

  Even though the series is fictional and there is no time travel, the books are based on historical events and some historical people. Though I hoped one such historical person was not going to be killed off, things didn't go quite the way I hoped, but the author had a good explanation for doing so.... though I still didn't like that part.

  This series of books, though entertaining and a very enjoyable read, they should serve as a warning that the persecution faced by Christians years ago could happen even here in America.

  Kudos to  the author for finishing out her great series with a terrific ending in this third novel. I highly recommend the whole series, and they definitely need read in order.

About the author:

Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications and is a professional acting coach, theater director, and playwright with several full-length musicals and a Chicago children's theater curriculum to her credit.

Her love for writing stories was born while growing up on a Kansas dairy farm as she longed for adventure and dreamt of traveling to exotic places. She likes to write stories that launch modern women into ancient adventures, such as The Carthage Chronicles series (Healer of Carthage, Return to Exile, and Valley of Decision).

Gentry is also an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer who loves spending time with her family and medical therapy dog.

Thanks to Litfuse for  the review copy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Miracle Drug by Richard Mabry, M.D.

Overcoming these odds will take more than a miracle drug---it will take a miracle.

The infection wasn't supposed to happen, but it did. The treatment was supposed to take care of it, but it didn't. Then Dr. Josh Pearson discovers why---his patients, including the former President of the United States, have been dosed with a different strain of the original virus, one that is universally fatal. The only chance for survival is treatment with an experimental drug, but the manufacturer might already have discarded its supply.

As if treating the President of the United States isn't stressful enough, the situation goes from bad to worse when Rachel Moore, a nurse Josh is falling in love with, falls ill. With the nation's eyes on him, Josh must pull off a miracle to save a man who holds a good deal of power and the woman who holds his heart.

My review:
   Richard Mabry has become one of my favorite authors. His books are the perfect blend of medical drama, suspense, and romance; and are always hard for me to put down once I start reading them. This book was not an exception to that, and due to my being mixed up with review dates, I didn't realize this book review was due today until halfway through today..... so I came home from work and have been reading it all evening.

  And it has been an enjoyable read. Mabry came up with a terrific plot and wound it around some great and liable characters..... and some not so likable characters, and set the whole drama in a hospital. Not only does it have the usual suspense and mystery that Mabry's novels have, this book also had a bit of political intrigue and international drama. I thoroughly enjoyed the book with its many twists and turns, and had a difficult time knowing who the bad guys were, so there were some surprises.

  Mabry uses some medical technology in the book, but it is either explained or is terminology even non-medical people would be familiar with. This is a novel the author can be proud of, and is one I highly recommend.

About the author:

A retired physician, Dr. Richard Mabry is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels of medical suspense. His previous works have been finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times Reader's Choice Award and have won the Selah Award. He is a past vice president of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the International Thriller Writers. He and his wife live in North Texas.

Miracle Drug is available from Abington Publishing.

Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

You Can't Text a Tough Conversation by Mike Bechtle

When it comes to the tough stuff, we need real, face-to-face conversations. But have we lost the art?

There's no denying that as our use of technology has increased, our communication skills have decreased. Technology creates the illusion of being in touch, but we lose the deeper meaning conveyed by body language, facial expression, and tone of voice. We text when we should talk. We tweet firings and breakups. We vent our frustrations with other people online. Whether it's with a spouse, a friend, a boss, a co-worker, or children, those tough conversations create high anxiety. In the end, what we have are broken relationships and hurt feelings.

In this timely book, communication expert Mike Bechtle shows you how to build strong relationships, offering tried-and-true methods to navigate the muddy waters of having tough conversations--in person. With his help, you'll learn to be a better listener, give and receive genuine feedback, saturate your relationships with kindness, and much more--so that you'll feel confident when it comes time to actually talk.

My review:
   I mistakenly thought this book was geared more towards a discussion on social media and its effect on society and conversations. Though that is covered somewhat and has a chapter on technology,  most of the book is on tough conversation in general. I still enjoyed the book and found it helpful though.

  The book has four parts: The Process of Conversation, Tools for  Healthy Conversation, Skills for Healthy Conversation, and Growing into connection. The author gives advice and tools for having difficult conversations with all sorts of people and in all kinds of situations. It is an easy, yet informative read that has great advice to handling any conversation, but especially tougher ones.

About the author:

Mike Bechtle (EdD, Arizona State University) is the author of People Can't Drive You Crazy if You Don't Give Them the Keys. His articles have appeared in publications such as Writer's Digest,, and Entrepreneur. A frequent speaker and former minister of worship, Bechtle lives in California.

You Can't Text a Tough Conversation is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Promise to Keep by Elizabeth Younts

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Promise to Keep
Howard Books (October 13, 2015)
Elizabeth Younts


A Word from the Author:

I’m Elizabeth, a blessed child of The King. I’m a middle-born daughter, military officer’s wife, homeschooling mama, writer, closet DIYer, and, dare I say it, Downton Abbey addict. May I also mention that I love both my history and my coffee rich.

I am formerly Amish and my heritage is very dear to me and thankful to be so accepted among my still Amish family. I can still speak PA Dutch, too! You can learn more about my Amish family in my first book Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl.

My three book series with Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) is a dream come true. The series is titled The Promise of Sunrise. In this series you will live through World War 2 from an Amish perspective and experience their unique struggles as conscientious objectors during wartime. What happened if one of their members enlisted? What was it like to serve at the Civilian Public Service Camps for years with almost no compensation? How did Amish women and families cope when a son or father was drafted? I look forward to taking you back into the richness of these years of Amish history through fiction.


World War II Marine Joe Garrison returns home from war longing to be a father to his deaf daughter, Daisy, only to find that she is attached to Esther Detweiler, the Amish woman who has raised her since his wife’s death in this touching historical romance.

Orphaned as a child, Esther Detweiler is used to caring for herself and her ailing grandmother. They made the best out of a hard life and poverty without asking for help. They even take in her shunned cousin’s deaf daughter, Daisy, when her mother dies and her father goes off to war. When Esther’s grandmother dies, Daisy is all she has.

When war veteran Joe Garrison returns, all he can think about is recovering from the horrors of war and building a relationship with his seven-year-old daughter. Daisy, however, is unwilling to leave Esther, whom she loves. Joe and Daisy get to know each other again, but Joe struggles with nightmares and fatherhood is proving to be more difficult than he imagined. Esther loves Daisy and despite her Amish ways, Joe finds himself drawn to her as a woman and not just a caregiver.

As their love blossoms, Joe decides to send Daisy away to a school for the deaf which propels their lives into turmoil and a battle for love and family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Promise to Keep, go HERE.

The Splendor of Ordinary Days by Jeff High, with a giveaway

Readers of Jan Karon's Mitford series and Patrick Taylor's Irish Country series will fall in love with Jeff High's funny, heartfelt Watervalley series.

The pastoral charm of small-town Watervalley, Tenneesse, can be deceptive, as young Dr. Luke Bradford discovers when he's caught in the fallout of a decades-old conflict. . . .

After a rocky start as Watervalley's only doctor, Luke Bradford has decided to stay in town, honoring the three-year commitment he made to pay off his medical school debts. But even as his friendships with the quirky townsfolk deepen, and he pursues a romance with lovely schoolteacher Christine Chambers, several military veterans' emotional wounds trigger anger and unrest in Watervalley.

At the center of the clash is the curmudgeonly publisher of the local newspaper, Luther Whitmore. Luther grew up in Watervalley, but he returned from combat in Vietnam a changed man. He fenced in beautiful Moon Lake, posting "Keep Out" notices at the beloved spot, and provokes the townspeople with his incendiary newspaper.  

As Luke struggles to understand Luther's past, and restore harmony in Watervalley, an unforeseen crisis shatters a relationship he values dearly. Suddenly Luke must answer life's toughest questions about service, courage, love, and sacrifice.

My review:
   I try to be as honest as I can with book reviews, also while trying to be as kind as I can. This book review will have two parts: the good, and the bad.

  The good:
    Even though the review opportunity said you didn't have to read the first two books in the series before reading this third book, I found the first two on Amazon for a decent price and read them both before I read this one, so this is going to be somewhat of a review of all three books.

  I really enjoyed this series. The author has come up with a great and likable character in the 30-year old single doctor on his first practice taking over a clinic in a small town. The books are written in first person point of view, which isn't my favorite, but some authors can pull it off better than others, and this author pulls it off very well.

  The setting for the series sounds like a town anyone would want to live in who doesn't like the city. It is small, picturesque, and is full of all kinds of unique and colorful characters. Jeff High, the author, has a great talent for going from humor to a more thoughtful tone in just a few sentences. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasion while reading all three books. The dialogue between Luke and his imposing and stern housekeeper is pure gold and I found myself wishing there was even more.

  Romance plays a part in the series, but I wouldn't call the books romance novels. The third book does focus more on the romance of Luke and his girlfriend, but it isn't the main focus of the books.

  I honestly can't remember when I was more entertained by a series of books that were not suspense than this series. I read through all three of them in pretty much one sitting per book, and couldn't wait to read the next one.

The bad:
  The publicity group that offered this book for review didn't realize this book was general market and not Christian fiction. I discovered that in the first book, but it was such an enjoyable read, I decided to read all three. But here are my problems with the series:

1) Language. There is a lot of bad language in the book. None of the worst words, i.e. the "f-word", but several others. Even if I minded bad language in a book, I would still have felt it was out of place for this type of series, and feel it detracts from the rhythm of the story.

2) Alcohol. There was a lot of drinking in the book... even with pizza. I am one of those people who still believe everyone is better off not drinking, and especially Christians, and it was mostly Christians drinking all the time, which bothered me.

3) Sexual content. There was no actual sex, but the main character and his girlfriend talked about it rather freely and almost gave in a few times, even though they were both Christians..... and that fact never came up as a reason not to do it.

   My advice to the author would be to clean these books up a bit - take out the language, alcohol, and most of the sex talk, and publish them on the Christian market. I think they'd do remarkably well. Several of the characters in the book are Christians, and there is a lot of Christian discussion between the characters, so it wouldn't take much.

  As for me, even though I read 99.99% Christian fiction of the fiction I read, I like these books well enough to keep reading how many ever books there are in the series. They really are that good that I am willing to overlook the objectionable content.

  These books are compared to Jan Karon's books. I read a few of hers and wasn't that impressed. If you can handle some language and the other issues I mentioned, I would highly recommend this series over her books.

About the author:

After growing up on a farm in rural Tennessee, Jeff High attained degrees in literature and nursing. He is the three-time winner in fiction and poetry of an annual writing contest held by Vanderbilt Medical Center. He lived in Nashville for many years and throughout the country as a travel nurse before returning to his original hometown, near where he now works as an operating room RN in open-heart surgery. He is the author of the Watervalley novels, including More Things in Heaven and Earth and Each Shining Hour.

Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.

  When several military veterans’ emotional wounds trigger anger and unrest in Watervalley, Dr. Luke Bradford learns some important lessons in service, courage, love, and sacrifice in The Splendor of Ordinary Days by Jeff High. As Luke struggles to understand Vietnam War veteran Luther’s past, and restore harmony in Watervalley, an unforeseen crisis shatters a relationship he values dearly.

Join Jeff in celebrating the release of The Splendor of Ordinary Days with a Kindle Fire HD 6 giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • Signed copies of all three Watervalley books
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 27th. The winner will be announced October 28th on Jeff's blog.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Murder At the Courthouse by A.H. Gabhart

After a few years as a police officer in Chicago, Michael Keane has no trouble relaxing into the far less stressful job of deputy sheriff in his small hometown. After all, nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky. Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. Everyone in town is a little uneasy. Still, no one is terribly worried--after all the man was a stranger--until one of their own is murdered right on Main Street.

As Michael works to solve the case it seems that every nosy resident in town has a theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check out one of these harebrained theories, his surprising discovery sends him on a bewildering search for a mysterious killer that has him questioning everything he has ever believed about life in Hidden Springs.

Bringing with her a knack for creating settings you want to visit and an uncanny ability to bring characters to life, A. H. Gabhart pens a whodunit that will keep readers guessing.

My review:
  A.H. Gabhart is Ann Gabhart. I have read one book by her which was a Christmas novel about the Shakers. To my knowledge, she has never written suspense, which might be the reason she used her initials for this first time suspense novel.

  Her debut suspense/mystery novel is one she can be proud of. The novel is somewhat of a "cozy" mystery, if murders can be cozy..... but at least the setting and people fall into that description. Hidden Springs is a small town where not much exciting ever happens, and life is predictable. It is one of those towns that make you wish you lived there. It is the perfect setting for this series of mysteries, and the author came up with a great cast of characters that fit in the story and town just perfectly.

  The main character, a young deputy sheriff Michael Keane is a very likable character, made all the more likable once his back story is given. He is the one who the main responsibility of solving the crimes falls to, and Gabhart does an excellent job of describing his and the other lawmen's detecting and crime solving.

  This is a "whodunit" type of book. I had my suspicions partway through the book which turned out to be correct, but I still enjoyed the reading journey until it was revealed for sure and finding the why's.

  Although this isn't a fast paced suspense/mystery novel, it is an exciting and interesting read that I didn't put down until I finished it, except for breaks to eat, etc. It came  to a great conclusion, and though I hated to see it end, I was left with that feeling of satisfaction one gets upon finishing  a great book. I very much recommend this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am looking forward to the next book in the series.

About the author:

A. H. Gabhart is Ann H. Gabhart, bestselling author of many novels, including Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Love Comes Home, several popular Shaker novels such as The Outsider, The Believer, and The Innocent, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. Ann grew up in a small rural town in Kentucky much like Hidden Springs, but Ann is happy to report nobody was ever murdered on her hometown's courthouse steps. Ann and her husband still live on a farm near that same little town in Kentucky. Learn more at

Murder At the Courthouse is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Unafraid by Gracie Malone

A 365-day devotional that will encourage and help readers overcome the fear that consumes, disturbs, and paralyzes them.

To live without fear is one of the most challenging goals you can make in your life. Fear lurks in the deep recesses of the human heart and surprises even the most mature Christian.

There are over 400 instances in the Bible of God telling His children to not be afraid. If repetition of a matter has anything to do with importance, God decided this was a big one. But rather than being a command or admonition, the tone spoken in turn by God, angels, and disciples is compelling and encouraging, like a parent comforting a fearful child.

In UNAFRAID, Gracie Malone brings light, a touch of humor, stories, quotes, prayers, and encouragement to everyone who is fighting to trust in the only One who can take their fear away.

My review:   This is a 365 day devotional, so I have not read every devotional in it, but I have read several and looked through others. This devotional is hardcover and is a nice size for taking it on the go. Each one starts out with a Bible verse, and many also end with a Bible verse. One of the verses is often about fear, but not always. The same thing with the devotional for the day: the general message of the whole book is on trusting God instead of fearing, but not every devotional is specifically about fear, yet goes with the theme.

  The devotionals are very well written, and have a message of hope sometimes infused with humor. I have read a lot of devotionals over the years, and try to read at least one new one per year, but this is the only one I have ever run across that specifically addresses the issue of fear and of trusting God instead of giving into fear. I think  the author had a great idea, and she did an excellent job of transferring that idea into a devotional that will help and encourage many people.

About the author:

Gracie Malone is a Precept Bible study leader. She is the author or coauthor of several books and contributes to magazines like Discipleship Journal and Christian Parenting Today. She is a frequent speaker for women's conferences and retreats. She lives with her family in Grapevine, Texas.

Unafraid is available from Faith Words, part of the Hachette Book Group.

Thanks to Faith Words for the review copy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Miracles by Karen Kingsbury

#1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury's timeless 52-week devotional celebrates the gift of hope through God's unending love, now available with an updated cover.

The MIRACLES devotional draws from five of Karen's most inspiring books, helping readers begin each week encouraged by a true story of God's miraculous power. It includes stunning excerpts from each of Karen's Miracles books, including A Treasury of Adoption Miracles, A Treasury of Miracles for Teens, A Treasury of Miracles for Women, A Treasury of Miracles for Friends, and A Treasury of Christmas Miracles. Perfect for holiday sharing, this special volume offers healing messages, beautiful verses of Scripture, and stories of real-life miracles happening all around.

My review:
Whether you are young or old, male or female, I recommend this book. It is full of encouraging and true stories of God working in miraculous ways in the lives of people.

Read about how a phone call from a long-lost friend saved a man's life. How a little boy miraculously avoided serious injury after being hit by a car. How couples miraculously found the right child, or children, to fill their empty homes.

Since I have the book to review, I did not use it as a devotional, but read through several of the stories at a time. I found myself moved to tears and encouraged tremendously by these stories. Karen Kingsbury has made her imprint on the Christian fiction market, and if you have never read her fiction books, I very much recommend doing so, but she has taken her God-given talent of relating a story to tug at your heart strings, and used it to relate these true stories. Stories of modern-day miracles that will cause you to dare to hope again if you have quit, and encourage any one who reads it that yes, God does care about us, and He can - and will - perform miracles today.

About the author:

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America’s #1 inspirational novelist. There are more than 15 million copies of her award-winning books in print, including several million copies sold in the past year. Karen has written more than 40 novels, ten of which have hit #1 on national lists.

Karen has a true love for her readers, and she has nearly 100,000 friends on Facebook along with more than 7,500 followers on Twitter. The popular social networking sites have allowed Karen daily interaction with her reader friends.

Karen is best known for her Life-Changing Fiction (TM) and for creating unforgettable characters. When speaking before women's groups - some with more than 10,000 in attendance - Karen makes audiences laugh and cry with her compelling story-telling. She likes to tell attendees they have, "One chance to write the story of their lives," and her talk focuses on reminding women to live every day loving well, laughing often, and finding true life in Jesus Christ. Karen routinely speaks before more than 100,000 women each year.

Karen's latest novel, Above the Line, Take Three, released March 23rd, 2010. Take Three is the third in the Above the Line Series. Look for the final installment in this series, Above The Line, Take Four to hit stores June 22nd, 2010. Shades of Blue, Karen's latest stand alone title, hit stores in October, 2009. Karen's newest series, Above The Line Series began with Take One, which released in March, 2009. The second book in this series, Take Two released in June 2009.

Karen's recent title, This Side of Heaven landed in the #5 spot on the CBD Bestselling Fiction List. Also, Karen's novel, Sunset landed #2 on the New York Times Best Seller's List. Karen has also written many best selling series including The Redemption Series and the Firstborn Series. Her fiction has made her one of the country’s favorite storytellers. Several of Karen's novels are being considered for major motion picture movies. Her emotionally gripping titles include the 9-11 Series, Even Now, Ever After, and Between Sundays.

Karen is also a public speaker, reaching more than 100,000 women annually through various national events. Karen and her husband, Don, live in the Pacific Northwest with their six children, three of whom are adopted from Haiti.

Miracles is available from FaithWords publishing, part of the Hachette Book Group.

Thanks to Hachette for the review copy.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lightning by Bonnie S Calhoun

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Revell (October 6, 2015)
Bonnie S. Calhoun


Bonnie S. Calhoun is Owner/Director of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year.”

She loves to write with body count, blood, or blowing things up. She also has mad skills at coding HTML, and website design. And she lives in a log cabin in the woods with fifteen acres and a pond full of bass, though she'd rather buy fish at the grocery store. Bonnie shares her domain with a husband and two cats, all of whom think she’s waitstaff!

Her latest series is a YA dystopian with Revell titled Stone Braide Chronicles. The first book Thunder published in 2014. The second book Lightning published Oct 2015. There are also two FREE e-book short stories. Tremors is the prequel to Thunder, and Aftershock (short story) comes before Lightning.


After she found her real father, life for Selah should have felt settled. But the horrors have just begun. In her broken world of toxic earth and tribal clashes, Selah must battle the forces of nature alongside those in the Mountain who are calling for her blood. Haunted by the pain of mounting losses, she forges on, seeking her lost family and uncovering new mysteries. But the ultimate betrayal of her own body may soon make her quest impossible as it becomes apparent that what has made her new could also drive her to a life of madness.

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

My review:
    I am not much into dystopian novels, but this series piqued my interest. After reading the first novel, I have been looking forward to the second, and it is finally here. As with most series of books, it took me a while to remember what had happened in the previous book, but the more I read of this one, the more I remembered.

  This book is as fast-paced or possibly more fast paced than the first novel. Selah learns more about her abilities she has, while trying to get closer to her father and learn more about him and his secrets. More is explained about the novarium and what other parts of the world are like.

  I enjoyed the book, and enjoyed learning more about the characters. Bonnie has come up with a great plot and stetting for this series, and has come out with an even better book in Lightning than the first book. Looking forward to reading book three.

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

An award-winning novelist’s heartwarming story about family and love lost, found, and finally truly revealed at Christmas.

Christmas takes a very different turn when the guests of honor break up instead of announcing their engagement. Trapped with his family, they learn that love looks different than either imagined. Both in their eighties, Dodie and Wilson Binder celebrate every Christmas as if it were their last. This year, their grandson Micah is planning to ask his girlfriend, Katie, to marry him so they can celebrate with the whole family. But things go very wrong when she says "no." Now they are stuck. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it's Christmas.

My review:
   I don't typically read romance novels, but I am a sucker for Christmas stories, so this ended up in my review stack.

  Cynthia Ruchti is a new author to me, but she wowed me with this book. It is very well written, has a great plot, and focused on one of the most important things about Christmas outside of Jesus: family.

  Romance stories are more bearable for me when they are written into a Christmas story, and this was an excellent story. It has family, traditions, the true meaning of Christmas, forgiveness, and of course romance, I enjoyed reading it, and wasn't sure where the book was going to go after the turning down of the proposal, but the whole book was a delightful read and the ending topped the whole thing off very well. I have read a lot of Christmas novels, and this is one of the best. It shows how Christmas ought to be done. A definite recommended read.

About the author:

Taking multi-tasking to new heights (or depths, depending on your perspective), Cynthia Ruchti is the award-winning author of recent releases "All My Belongings" (novel), "When the Morning Glory Blooms" (novel), and "Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People's Choices" (nonfiction). She makes potato corn chowder for her husband of 42 years, loves on her three kids and five grandchildren, recently retired from 33 years of writing and producing a daily radio broadcast called THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME, is past president of the 2,700-member American Christian Fiction Writers and now serves as ACFW's Professional Relations Liaison, all while working on more book projects in addition to the eight already on the shelves. The year 2010 saw the release of her debut novel--"They Almost Always Come Home" by Abingdon Press (a Carol Award finalist)--and a Christmas collection novella, "The Heart's Harbor" in A Door County Christmas, a Family Fiction Reader's Choice, by Barbour Publishing. "His Grace is Sufficient...Decaf is Not," released Nov 1, 2011. Another novella collection--"Cedar Creek Seasons" (Barbour) released in spring of 2012. "When the Morning Glory Blooms" (April 2013) was followed by "All My Belongings" (2014, also from Abingdon Press). Her books have recently been honored with two Selah Awards, two Christian Retailing's BEST Awards, and awards from CAN Golden Scrolls and AWSA Golden Scrolls. She tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through writing and speaking, but she gave up knitting, counted cross-stitch, sewing her own clothes, naps, and dusting baseboards a long time ago. You can find her at, at, or in the kitchen, brewing herself another cup of tea.

An Endless Christmas is available from Worthy Publishing.

Thanks to Worthy for the review copy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Firefly Summer by Kathleen Y'Barbo

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Firefly Summer
Redbud Press (June 23, 2015)
Kathleen Y'Barbo


RITA and Carol award nominee Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than forty novels, novellas, and young adult books. In all, more than one million copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad, and her books have been translated into Dutch, German, and Spanish, to name a few.

Kathleen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She holds a BBA from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School and a certification in Paralegal Studies, and is a former member of the Texas Bar Association’s Paralegal Division.

A tenth-generation Texan, Kathleen Y’Barbo has four children of her own as well as seven bonus kids she gladly inherited when she married her own hero in combat boots (read about their real-life romance here!). Kathleen is proud to be a military wife, even if it did mean giving up her Texas drivers license.


A new cowboy romance from award-winning author Kathleen Y'Barbo.

Trey’s biggest challenge isn’t performing surgery…it’s restoring Sessa’s heart!

Artist Sessa Chambers may never recover from losing her prodigal son. Even as she grieves the tragic decisions that led to his death, and left her with a toddler to raise, she’s asked to work on her dream project—restoring carousel horses for the Smithsonian. But she can’t do it on her own…

Dr. Trey Brown can’t pick up a scalpel again. Yes, he acted in self-defense, but the events of that awful night haunt him. He was trained to save lives, not take them. When he goes to the young man’s widowed mother to apologize, she’s not at all what he expected. For one thing, she’s not as alone as he thought—not with the fearsome ladies of the Pies, Books, and Jesus Book Club in her corner. For another, she’s beautiful, and being in her presence is more jolting than any eight-second bronco ride from his former rodeo days. Before he knows it, she’s captured his heart as easily as they capture the fireflies gracing Sessa’s Texas ranch.

How can they overcome their past to embrace a future together?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Firefly Summer, go HERE.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Methusaleh Project by Rick Barry

Nazi scientists started many experiments. One never ended. 

Roger Greene is a war hero. Raised in an orphanage, the only birthright he knows is the feeling that he was born to fly. Flying against the Axis Powers in World War II is everything he always dreamed--until the day he's shot down and lands in the hands of the enemy. 

When Allied bombs destroy both his prison and the mad genius experimenting on POWs, Roger survives. Within hours, his wounds miraculously heal, thanks to those experiments. The Methuselah Project is a success--but this ace is still not free. Seventy years later, Roger hasn't aged a day, but he has nearly gone insane. This isn't Captain America--just a lousy existence only made passable by a newfound faith. The Bible provides the only reliable anchor for Roger's sanity and his soul. When he finally escapes, there's no angelic promise or personal prophecy of deliverance, just confusion. It's 2015--and the world has become an unrecognizable place. 

Katherine Mueller--crack shot, genius, and real Southern Belle--offers to help him find his way home. Can he convince her of the truth of his crazy story? Can he continue to trust her when he finds out she works for the very organization he's trying to flee? 

Thrown right into pulse-pounding action from the first page, readers will find themselves transported back in time to a believable, full-colored past, and then catapulted into the present once more. The historical back-and-forth adds a constantly moving element of suspense to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

My review:
  This book sounded totally different from the usual Christian fiction on the market, but it also sounded intriguing. I was intrigued enough to request it for review, and I was not disappointed.

  The idea of the book is far-fetched. I don't believe there will ever be found a way to make people stay young and alive forever, but it still made for an interesting read. This is fiction, after all. I liked the book a lot. The author came up with a great plot, a very likable main character, and enough drama and suspense to keep my attention.

  One thing that I felt could have been done differently and better: The story bounced back and forth between the present with the female main character, and the past with the male main character. The timeline for him progressed much faster, as he had to be brought from World War 11 to the present, while she had to only be brought forward a few years. I think the story would have flowed better if it wasn't going back and forth between his past and her present so much, but that is my personal view and feelings.

 In spite of that, I found the book a great read and didn't want to put it down. The author did a great job of describing a person's emotions and feelings if they were suddenly thrust into the modern day after being hidden from everything for several decades.

About the author:

Rick Barry is the author of The Methuselah Project, Gunner's Run, Kiriath's Quest, plus over 200 published articles and fiction stories. In addition to being a World War II buff, he is the director of church planting ministries at BIEM, a Christian ministry operating in Eastern Europe. He holds a degree in foreign languages, speaks Russian, and has visited Europe more than fifty times. Rick and his wife Pam live near Indianapolis, Indiana. Visit him at, or on Twitter (@WriterRickBarry).

The Methusaleh Project is available from Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.

Finding Noah, a movie review

For over 2,000 years, man has been searching for the final resting place of Noah's Ark.  Though there have been many attempts, few have been able to fully explore the one place specifically noted in the Bible: Mount Ararat.  Located in Eastern Turkey, Agri Dagh or "The Painful Mountain" is the tallest mountain in the region and lies in the very center of a centuries old, geo-politically unstable hot spot.  With constant threats of deadly rock slides, hidden crevasses, and glacial ice falls, the Kurdish Rebel held mountain poses great risk to any explorer, let alone those performing a thorough scientific investigation.

Join director/producer Brent Baum and the FINDING NOAH film crew as they follow an expedition of intrepid explorers on a perilous trek up to Mt. Ararat's desolate summit.  There, using state of the art technology and real-time satellite imagery, this team of archeologists, scientists and professional mountaineers will begin a grid work of exploration unlike any before, hoping to finally resolve the age-old question:  did Noah and his Ark actually exist?

Shot in never-before filmed locations in the harshest of conditions, this unprecedented feature-length documentary shows just how far men are willing to go to discover the truth.  Narrated by Academy Award nominee Gary Sinise, FINDING NOAH is more than a quest for answers, it is a testament of the human spirit, where belief and the need for exploration transcend risk and limitation.

My review:
  I have always found the idea of Noah's Ark being found a fascinating idea. Part of me doubts it will ever be found, part of me wonders if God would let it be found, and yet another part of me hopes it will be found,

  I was happy to get this opportunity to review this movie/documentary before it even hits theaters. Via a link and password, I was able to view it on my computer.

  The documentary is two fold. They go over a lot of supposed sightings of the ark going back a couple of hundred years, and have photos that people took of what appears to be a large boat-like object in the ice. There are interviews with experts and people who have searched for the ark before. What I would call the main part of the documentary is the modern day search for the ark with interviews, commentary, and a lot of video shots from the guys on the expedition. They show a lot of area that most people haven't seen.

  I found the documentary fascinating, and from what people have said and shown by photos, it left me believing that the ark has been sighted before.

  I won't give away any spoilers, or say what the group found or didn't find, but I do recommend seeing Finding Noah.

Official website here.

Facebook page.


YouTube channel

Purchase tickets here.

Movie trailer below:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The NKJV Foundation Study Bible

The perfect foundation for Bible study and the Christian life. Build your life on it! The Foundation Study Bible is a thorough, portable, and affordable Bible for students of God's Word at any level. It has the most important helps for basic study, whether you're just beginning or brushing up on essentials.

Features include:

Trustworthy NKJV text
Cross references and translators' notes
Verse-by-verse study notes and theological notes
Words of Jesus in red
Full-color Bible maps
Part of the Signature Series line of Thomas Nelson Bibles

The New King James Version® - More than 60 million copies sold

My review:
  There are a lot of study Bibles on the market today, and it seems like new ones are constantly coming out. I have several myself, but was interested in what this one was like, so I requested it to review.

  This Bible is titled "The Foundation Bible." As the name indicates, it is geared to cover the basics. The Bible isn't "dumbed down", but the study notes are just intended to cover the basics so that a new Christian could easily understand what the notes are saying, yet can also be used by the most mature of Christians.

  When I review a Bible, I don't have time to read every page of Scripture nor read and study every note at the bottom of the pages, but I do peruse the notes and read from the Bible for my devotions for several days, and that is what I did with this Bible. I like the NJJV, so the version was one I had no trouble reading, and I found the notes well done and very helpful.

  This study Bible is also smaller than most that are on the market, making it one that is more easily carried along, instead of a Bible used just at home.

  There are a lot of study Bibles out there, but this is a definite recommended Bible if someone is wanting one for a new Christian or if a more mature Christian wants one that covers the basics and is more portable.

  The NJKV Foundation Study Bible is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

Street God by Dimas Salaberrios with Angela Hunt

On the streets of New York, darkness and violence reigned. Dimas “Daylight” Salaberrios began selling drugs when he was eleven years old, and by sixteen, he had served his first stint at the notorious Rikers Island prison. Dimas saw only one way to survive: by reigning over the streets. He would be the richest, most powerful ruler in the hood . . . or die trying.

Street God is the true story of one man’s dangerous journey through the underworld of crime, drugs, and almost certain death. It was an encounter with the real God that saved his life — and then made it even more dangerous. Because that God sent Dimas back down the darkest streets he’d ever known — with other lives depending on it. And Dimas had to ask the question: How far am I prepared to go?

A dramatic, compelling memoir full of twists and turns, Street God delves deep into a world from which few ever emerge — and shows how a single spark of light can illuminate even the darkest existence.

My review:
  I don't often read biographies or memoirs, but this one sounded good enough to pique my interest. It gives an inside look into the gang life, and the life of drug dealers, and it is an amazing story. One wonders after reading the book how on earth this man stayed alive going through what he went through.

  Written in the first person, this book has more drama and excitement than a lot of fiction books. The author starts his story when he is a young kid just getting into the gang and drug scene and takes the story up and past when he became a Christian. This is an amazing story, and it should give anyone hope that God can indeed reach anyone. After reading Dimas' story, I am amazed a young man like that could turn to Christ and have a life like that redeemed and changed.

  The book is an interesting and fascinating read that is hard to put down. I highly recommend it.

About the author:

As a worldwide missionary, teacher, and speaker, Pastor Dimas Salaberrios has shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ on every continent but Antarctica. He aided pastors in Kenya and smuggled Bibles to the persecuted church in China. In 2010, Dimas and his team provided over 50,000 tons of food, water, and supplies to Haiti after a massive earthquake and in 2012 he worked as a first responder to provide aid and deliver nearly $500,000 worth of supplies to super storm Sandy victims across NYC.

           Partnering with Tim Keller and Redeemer City to City, Dimas founded Infinity NY Church, planted at the Bronx River Housing Projects in 2006. Infinity Bible Church targets at-risk, gang-ridden youth and has spearheaded numerous outreach events, discipleship groups, and weekly prayer walks, which have been a factor in virtually eliminating homicides and other violent crimes at Bronx River. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly credits Pastor Dimas and Infinity for the notable drop in crime.

         Additionally, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA) appointed Dimas to co-chair the Youth Committee in 2004, and serve on the budget and finance committee for their 2005 Greater New York Crusade. He coordinated the BGEA Prayer Breakfast, and during the Saturday evening service of the crusade he spoke to an audience of 100,000.

In 2012, Dimas played a central role in the New York City "Right-To-Worship" movement, which ignited cross-congregational prayer gatherings throughout the city and sought to protect over 17,000 church congregants from unwarranted eviction from rental spaces owned by the city of New York.

          In October of 2013, Concerts of Prayer Greater NY (COPGNY) unanimously chose Pastor Dimas Salaberrios as its new president. He has served on the COPGNY Board of Directors for several years.

On weekdays, watch The Dynamic Life with Pastor Dimas on the Word Network and tune into his national radio broadcasts on Salem Communications. To find broadcast schedules, log onto

                       Dimas holds a Master of Divinity degree from Alliance Theological Seminary and resides in the Bronx with his wife Tiffany. They are blessed with three beautiful daughters: Shirley Ann, Dallas, and Skylar.

Street God is available from Tyndale Publishing.

Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.

Find out more about the book and author here.