Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Staying Together by Carlos R and Rosemarie Evans, with Cecil Murphy

Book description:

A true story of hope and courage in the face of astonishing challenges

During his fourth deployment, US Marine Corps Sergeant Carlos Evans stepped on an IED--and the loss of both legs and his left hand was just the beginning of the struggle for his life.

For the next two years, he and his wife, Rosemarie, went through the rehabilitation process together. As a nurse and mother of two young children, Rosemarie was used to caring for people, but the task of taking care of her triple-amputee husband brought new challenges every day. In addition to his limb loss, Carlos faced PTSD and developed an addiction to painkillers. He was sure Rosemarie's life would be better without him--and that it might have been better if he hadn't survived at all.

But unlike the majority of marriages put under similar strain, Carlos and Rosemarie stayed together. With the help of family, friends, and--most importantly--a strong faith, they've built a solid marriage and discovered a ministry they never expected. By the hand of God, their story, which began in devastation, has turned into one that draws in and lifts up more people than either of them would ever have dreamed.

Not only will disabled veterans and their loved ones find help here, Carlos and Rosemarie's captivating journey also speaks to those who long for stronger marriages, care for loved ones with disabilities, or are facing a new normal in their own lives, small or large. It is a powerful resource for leaning on God in the midst of life's great difficulties--and for finding ways that, through faith, profound loss can bring incredible blessing.

My review:

  A heads up about this book: it is a gripping and emotional read. I've always been very pro-military, and am one who believes our country needs to do more and better for our vets. Stories like this emphasize that need.

  The authors did a great job on writing their story, and they pull no punches. Mrs Evans gives a very honest look into how much her life changed and what she went through as the spouse of a severely injured vet addicted to painkillers and having PTSD. Mr. Evans gives a gritty and all too realistic view of what life is like when deployed, and the emotions and despair when a soldier goes through what he went through.

 The book is an easy read in style, but not such an easy read in content. Yet the Evans' story is amazing and shows the hand of God throughout all they faced and went through. It is encouraging, and gave me an even greater appreciation for our military and what they do and go through.

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

Read an excerpt here.

Interview with the authors:

An interview with Carlos and Rosemarie Evans,

Authors of Standing Together

Sustaining a military marriage is hard work, especially when deployments keep a family
separated for prolonged periods of time. The strain is intensified when the serving spouse is
injured in the field. According to the PTSD Foundation of America, an estimated two out of
three marriages fail for troops suffering from combat trauma. Carlos R. Evans and
Rosemarie Evans are well aware of the difficulties, having experienced them personally. In
Standing Together: The Inspirational Story of a Wounded Warrior and Enduring Love (Kregel
Publications), they share their inspirational story of facing severe injury, rehabilitation,
post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. Theirs is a true story of hope and courage in
the face of astonishing challenges.

Q: Carlos, first of all, thank you for your service to our country. Can you share a little bit
about what led you to enlist and the eight years you served in the US Marine Corps?

Carlos: Many of my family members served in Vietnam, Korea, and Operation Desert Storm. After
9/11, I felt deeply in my heart that I had to do my part by serving my country, but I also wanted to
continue to share the gospel. I was in Bible college at the time and wanted to join as a chaplain. In 2004, I was watching the news and saw Marines in Iraq. I admired what they were doing, and it was in that moment I felt a strong conviction to serve. I went to the recruiting center in Puerto Rico and joined the Marine Corps. That is a decision I will never regret, and I would do it all over again.

During my first four years of service, I did three combat deployments in Iraq. When I re-enlisted, I deployed to Afghanistan. It was during that deployment that I was severely injured. We saw two years of rehabilitation in the hospital, then I was medically retired.

Q: You were on your fourth deployment, this time to Afghanistan, when an incident changed life as you knew it. What happened on May 16, 2010?

Carlos: I was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps, leading a mission in Helmand Province, when we were getting ready to go back to our operation center. I walked about eight steps when I heard an explosion. I had stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). I felt pain in my body unlike anything I had ever felt or experienced before. My Marines and Navy Corpsman kept me alive. I lost so much blood that my medic had to put his thumb in my femoral artery to keep me alive. They asked me for my wife and daughters’ names and told me they were waiting for me back home. I was flown via medevac to the hospital in Afghanistan, and then to Germany. From Germany, I was transferred to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington, DC.

As a result of my injuries, I lost both of my legs above the knee and part of my left arm. I don’t remember what happened during those first few days because I was intubated and sedated.

Back home in Puerto Rico, Rosemarie and my mother received visits from Marines bringing updates about my situation. The same night I arrived at Bethesda, my wife and parents got to the hospital and waited to take care of me. To this day, I continue to meet people that took care of me in Germany and Afghanistan.
That day has become the best day of my life, and today we celebrate it as our “Alive Day.”

Q: Were deployments a source of fear in any way? Did you think about how something might happen to you during a deployment?

Carlos: During that deployment and the three previous ones, I don’t think I ever considered that anything was going to happen to me. I personally knew others who had died and some who were badly wounded, but as a Christian, I figured God was with me and would protect me from every kind of harm. On my various furloughs, I said to friends and family members, “I’m not going to die in Iraq or Afghanistan. God has a bigger purpose for my life.”

But I also remember the day when all my family members and friends came to say goodbye. I made jokes such as, “Something is going to happen to me because this is the first time in all my deploys that everyone came here to celebrate.” Also, before deployment, I forced my wife to watch the movie Taking Chances. In the movie, Kevin Bacon is an officer that went to a house and notified the family member about their loss. I told Rosemarie that if something happened to me in Afghanistan, the Marines would come to the front door to let her know I died in combat.

Q: Rosemarie, you write about a call that you received on May 15 from Carlos that left you unsettled and worried. Can you tell us more about that day and the days that followed? How long did you have to live in uncertainty about Carlos’ condition?

Rosemarie: That Saturday night I was at my uncle’s wedding. On my way back home, I received Carlos’s call. I was happy to hear from him because he couldn’t call often. But when I answered the phone, I noticed something wasn’t right. Carlos was responding flat and sometimes he was quiet. He told me, “Things here are not the same as in Iraq. You know that I love you, and I love my daughters.”

When he said those words, I knew he was worried and that they were in some danger. We lost phone connection that night, and I didn’t have the chance to speak to him again. Sunday passed, and I didn’t hear from him. On Monday afternoon, I received a call from the Marine Corps to let me know they would meet me at Carlos’ mother’s house. That’s when they told me Carlos was injured, but they didn’t have all the details. From that Monday until Friday, I waited each day for them to come to the house to deliver updated information about his condition.

Q: You were an experienced nurse and had training in trauma life support, but were you truly prepared to care for
Carlos when he arrived home? How did you manage taking care of Carlos and your two young daughters?

Rosemarie: As a nurse, I had the knowledge of what should I expect to see when I met Carlos at the hospital. An intubated patient connected to a mechanical ventilator with drainages and monitors. However, at that point I had a different role. I was the wife of an injured husband. Being a nurse helped me understand procedures and prognosis, but I felt the same uncertainty, desperation, sadness and helplessness any other family member feels when a love one is going through a difficult time. I wasn’t completely prepared because it was an unexpected situation. Before leaving to go to Afghanistan, Carlos and I talked about what should I expect if I saw the Marines at the front door (that he had died in combat), but we never talked about him coming back home seriously injured. We didn’t expect that and weren’t aware of how many service members were injured in the war. When I stepped into Bethesda Hospital, it was eye opening to see how many wounded service members came back
and how many families were affected.

When I first went to Bethesda, I traveled without my daughters in order to focus on my husband. Our daughters were four years old and five months old at the time. My mom took care of them in Puerto Rico at first, but as the weeks passed by, I was desperate to see my daughters. I felt conflicted between my two roles as a wife and a mom. I asked two friends in North Carolina (where we were stationed) to take care of my daughters there. That way they could bring my daughters to the hospital, or I could travel from Washington, D.C. to North Carolina to see them. When the doctor told me the recovery process could take two years, we started to make plans for how we could all be together. There were four women who were the key to finding us a place to stay and be able to travel daily to the hospital for treatments. We had to start early, at 5:30 in the morning, to have our older daughter ready for school, the younger for childcare, and Carlos ready for treatments. We started new routines, but we also had family members that stayed with us and helped. However, we wanted to learn how to do it as a family of four. It was hard sometimes, but God helped us through.

Q: How was your faith tested in the months that followed?

Carlos: My faith was tested by trying to understand where God was in the middle of my pain. Where was God when I stepped on the IED? I was continuously asking God, “Why me?” Sometimes people would tell me that maybe God was punishing me.

Others would pray with me for a miracle—that my legs or my left hand would grow. Sometimes I prayed I could forget May 17, 2010. Seeing my wife and the people I love suffering, and not being able to do anything about it, tested my faith.

Job 23:10 (NIV) says, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”

Q: Many marriages have crumbled under the weight of trials less life-altering than what the two of you went through, however, you’ve come out the other side stronger. Can you share some of the decisions you made along the way to fight for your marriage?

Rosemarie: There were many difficult decisions made during that period. First, we needed to prioritize roles. There were times a decision left me feeling unsatisfied, but we had to focus on what was needed in the moment. We always tried to make decisions together. It didn’t matter that Carlos was injured, we consulted each other on every decision. Carlos was injured, but he was still the head of the family. We encouraged each other. When Carlos felt ready to give up, I encouraged him. When I was feeling defeated, Carlos encouraged me. Overall, the most important thing was to pray for guidance. In this situation, we understood we were not self-sufficient. We needed God to give us the strength to continue every day.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges in facing your new normal?

Carlos: I feared not being able to be the husband I promised Rosemarie I would be. I feared not being able to be a father to my daughters. I also feared rejection from other people. I didn’t love my new body. I wasn’t born without legs and one hand.

Everything was new to me: Not being able to walk, to drive my car, to do things we take for granted. I was afraid I was no longer able to be independent. Living with constant pain was one of the biggest challenges.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who may not be seeking help for their depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or even addiction?

Carlos: Trying to help someone that is not actively seeking help is very challenging. It could be the person has not recognized that he or she has a problem. In my situation, I had people who confronted me, showing me that my actions were hurting me and the people who loved me. My personal advice would be do not push away the people in your life that care about and help you. Also, believe the best days of your life are not behind you, but ahead of you. I would say to somebody in that situation you are not the only person facing PTSD or addiction, so look for a professional or a support group. They can share examples of how they have faced similar situations.

Q: What were some of the ways you saw God working in your recovery?

Carlos: In the beginning, my questions were, “Where is God? and “Why me?” During my recovery, I understood God has always been there, taking care of me. He was with my Marines when I stepped on the IED. He was with my wife and daughters, giving them strength so they could comfort me. God was with the doctors, nurses, family, friends and many strangers who have become family. I saw God was making me a better father, husband and person. Each time we shared our story with someone, I saw God using my recovery for good.

Q: When did you realize God was preparing you for full-time ministry? What doors started to open for you?

Carlos: Since I was a little kid, I served in ministry. It was deep inside of my heart. After my injury, we started to share our experience with family and friends. Our scars became our platform—in churches, via TV, at the White House, on Military bases, in schools and correctional facilities, all over the United States, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.

Q: You say, “Standing has nothing to do with having feet.” What do you mean by that?

Carlos: In my life, standing is living God’s purpose in my life. Also, serving in my community, being a father and husband, and leading by example means standing in my life. My daughter, Nairoby, taught me a lesson about standing. She was five years old and playing and running all over the apartment. She told me, “Now you run Papi, you run Papi!” I told her I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t run right now. I didn’t have the legs to be able to. I went to my room crying, and Rosemarie asked me why. I told her why, and she replied, “Don’t you see that she doesn’t see what you can’t do? She looks at you as Papi.” That’s what it means to stand.

Q: Please share what has become your motto.

Carlos: One day I was trying to put on my prosthetic hand and legs. I was struggling and getting frustrated. I wanted to look like I used to. I believe the Holy Spirit touched my heart, and I received this message: “I am touching more people with one hand then when I had two. Today, I am leaving more footprints than when I had feet because all you need to touch someone is heart.”

Q: Where can people learn more about Touching Lives Leaving Footprints and C.R. Evans Ministries?

Carlos: You can go to as well as on Facebook (CR Evans), Instagram (@crevans923) and Twitter (@crevans923).

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Deadly Intentions by Lisa Harris

Book description: 

There is no such thing as random

Research scientist Caitlyn Lindsey is convinced that someone is taking out her team one by one. First, a friend and research partner was killed in a home invasion. Three months ago, her boss died in a suspicious car accident. Four days ago, another partner supposedly committed suicide. And now Caitlyn herself has miraculously survived a hit-and-run. Afraid for her life with nowhere to turn, she reaches out to one of the victims' husbands, Detective Josh Solomon.

Though initially skeptical about Caitlyn's theory, Josh soon realizes the attack that took his wife's life was anything but random. Now the two of them must discover the truth about who is after Caitlyn's team--and what their end game is--before it's too late.

My review:

   Lisa Harris never disappoints, and this book is proof of that. From all appearances, this is going to be a stand alone novel instead of a series.

  Deadly Intentions is one of those novels that has non-stop action. There really aren't many parts of the book that aren't on the edge of your seat,  page turning moments. The story is built on a conspiracy theory by a research scientist, and quickly turns into a run for their lives by the main characters as they try to uncover the truth behind what is a very complex and diabolical plan to harm many people.

 Harris spun her novel in a way that I wasn't sure who were the good guys, and who were the bad. I suspected two individuals who turned out to be innocent, and was surprised by the identity of one of the bad guys.

 The book is romantic suspense, but that was a fairly minor part of the story. It was there, but it was more in the background than normal for these kind of books, and I liked how it turned out.

 Caitlyn and Josh were very likable characters, and there were a few surprises at what happened to them and  the scrapes they found themselves in as they searched for the truth behind three seemingly unconnected deaths.

  I really enjoyed the book, and was happy with how it played out and ended. Harris hit another home run with this one, and it is another book I can definitely recommend.

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

About the author:

Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. The author of more than 40 books, including The Nikki Boyd Files and the Southern Crimes series, as well as Vanishing Point, A Secret to Die For, and Deadly Intentions, Harris and her family have spent over 16 years living as missionaries in southern Africa. Learn more at

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

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Overcomer promotion and tickets giveaway

  This is not a review, but I am promoting the newest movie by the Kendrick brothers, Overcomer, and have two Fandango tickets to give away. Christian movies get a bad rap and are made fun of and mocked by Christians, but I have been impressed with all of the movies the Kendrick brothers have done. This one promises to be another great one from them.


Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth ... until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.

Filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humor, and a ton of heart, the Kendrick Brothers return to theaters with OVERCOMER, their newest feature following FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS, and the #1 box- office hit, WAR ROOM. The inspiring family film stars Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson. Opening nationwidve on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

Movie trailer:


 To enter to win two Fenango tickets to see Overcomer in theaters, comment and say if you have seen any of the Kendrick Brothers previous movies. Make sure you have a way for me to contact you if you win. That info can be emailed to me if you prefer.

 I will pick a winner using a week from today, August 29.

Check out the website for more information, including what theaters are showing the movie:

There is a Parent Guide, a Family Devotional and a Sports Team Devotional here:

Giveaway provided by FlyBy Promotions.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  No Canadian winners please, Fandango does not reach to our Canadian friends.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Kill Order by Adam Blumer


This is not a book review, as I haven't even read the book yet....but I plan on it. I am hosting the author and giving some information about his new book, Kill Order.

 I read Adam's two previous books, and loved them. This one promises to be a great read also.

Kill Order Blog Blitz

Kill Order by Adam Blumer
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, August 15

Book Summary

When he sleeps, the forgotten terrors of the past come alive. Grammy-winning pianist Landon Jeffers’s brain cancer has given him only a few years to live. But when he sleeps, the forgotten terrors of his past torment him. When he wakes, shameful memories come rushing back. Desperate for answers, Jeffers discovers that a brain implant intended to treat his cancer is really a device to control him, forcing him to commit terrible crimes. Now he’s being manipulated by an evil crime syndicate and a crooked cop. What if free will isn’t? What if your every move is predestined? If you kill, are you guilty of murder?

About the author:

Adam Blumer fixes other people’s books to pay the bills. He writes his own to explore creepy lighthouses and crime scenes. He is the author of three Christian suspense novels: Fatal Illusions(Meaningful Suspense Press); its sequel, The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press); and Kill Order (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas).A print journalism major in college, he works full-time from home as a book editor after serving in editorial roles for more than twenty years. He lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife, Kim, and his daughters, Laura and Julia. When he’s not working on his next thriller, he’s hiking in the woods, playing Minecraft with his daughters, or learning new chords on his guitar. He is committed to writing clean suspense that is free of profanity, vulgarity, and sexual content. He is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the Christian Editor Network, and The Christian PEN. He works with literary agent Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.

Interview with Adam:
1. Tell readers about your writing journey. How did you get started?I’ve loved to write stories since I was a kid and studied novel writing in college. I completed five unpublished novels, mostly for youth, before I began Fatal Illusions, my first published novel, in the spring of 2002 in conjunction with a Writer's Digest correspondence course on novel writing.In January 2006, literary agent Steve Laube, a well-known and respected voice in Christian fiction, responded enthusiastically to my book proposal and asked to see the entire manuscript. Of course, I was on cloud nine. Though he ultimately declined to represent me, he kindly gave me eight suggestions on how to make the novel publishable. Energized, I followed his advice and got to work, but I still couldn't find an agent or publisher. Ayear later, I contacted Kregel Publications, not about my novel but about opportunities to edit books from home. The managing editor noticed on my résumé that I had written several unpublished novels and asked to see my latest project. Kregel accepted it for publication in August 2007. God opened a door I never could have opened for myself.

2. What other novels have you written? My first novel is Fatal Illusions (Meaningful Suspense Press). The sequel is The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press). Both are available as paperbacks and e-books.

3. What gave you the inspiration to write Kill Order?My dad, Larry, passed away from brain cancer in 2011, and several aspects of his cancer journeykicked off the initial story idea. One key detail involved a medical procedure; the doctors agreed to remove as much of my dad’s brain tumor as possible and replace it with medicinal wafers intended to fight the existing cancer. My mind began playing the what-if game. What if the doctor implanted something else, something that could monitor or even control my dad’s life? The story’s premise grew from there.

4. When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?When I was a child, I began writing wildly imaginative pirate and fantasy stories. My first handwritten story was a fantastical tale about Captain Kidd’s spyglass. In high school, I also wrote and finished an unpublished novel called Down with the Ship. It’s such an Agatha Christie copycat that I laugh whenever I peruse it, but emulation is how a lot of authors get to be where they are today. Those were the early projects that inspired me to take novel writing seriously. When I won a high school award for creative writing, I wondered if God wanted to do more withmy love for fiction. In college I won more writing awards, and though I studied journalism, I took as many creative writing courses as possible. God opened doors from there, and I’ve never lost my love for fiction writing.

5. Do you have a favorite Bible verse that resonates with you?
Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (ESV). I’ve always loved this verse, and my wife and I included it in our wedding ceremony.

6. If you could go back in time and give advice to your younger self, what would that be?Writing the story is only half of the project. The other half is finding out what readers like to read, crafting the story for them by following publishing standards, and writing the story to the best of your ability. Then remember that publishers can take a very long to decide whether they want your work. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep going and waiting.

7. What is the hardest part of the creative process of writing?I rarely have difficulty coming up with story ideas and even an engaging premise, but getting from the beginning to the ending is a circuitous path that can sometimes come to dead ends. The hardest part of novel writing, in my opinion, is choosing the right path that comes out at the right ending. There are so many moving pieces and critical decisions along the way that the writer can become paralyzed, overcome by too many choices.

8. What is your favorite genre to read for fun?Authors write what they like to read. When I was a kid, I devoured Hardy Boys books—yes, even my sister’s collection of Nancy Drew. While growing up, I read Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Ray Bradbury, and Madeleine L’Engle. Eventually I gravitated to suspense fiction by authors like Frank Peretti, Terri Blackstock, and Mary Higgins Clark. I grew weary of whodunits and preferred suspense novels. I like novels that grab me around the throat, keep the pages turning, and never let go until the final period. Suspense novels filled with plenty of action and conflict captivate me like no other books I read, though I also have a fondness for good literature, fantasy, history, biography, true crime, and science fiction.

9. What was the hardest part about writing Kill Order? How long does it typically take you to write your novels?The ending was tough to write. While I’m typically an organized plotter, I took off the training wheels on this one and let the story glide where it and the characters wanted to go. The journey became both fun but scary. I had the premise and some plot developments in place, but how the story concluded took more work than I expected.I typically take at least a couple of years for the actual writing of the book. But that doesn’t countthe time needed to shop the novel around through my agent and then wait on a publisher before and after the contract; the publishing wheel turns much more slowly than most readers realize. I wish I could write more quickly than that, but that’s the reality for me, since this isn’t my full-time gig.

10. I noticed that your branding on your website is for “meaningful suspense.” What inspired you to write these kinds of thrillers and suspense novels? Also, I love your “clean fiction guarantee.” Could you please tell us what inspired that as well?I began reading Christian novels in junior high and soon gravitated to suspense. Back in the day, an inspirational thread was a staple in Christian fiction, and I believe a Christian novel can do more than simply entertain. These days many authors are leaning toward clean, moral stories but avoiding overt Christian content. I’m a believer that the inspirational content should stay (hence “meaningful suspense”). Books can encourage and even challenge readers’ thinking while takingthem on a roller coaster of a ride. The “clean fiction guarantee” came about due to the rise of objectionable content in some Christian fiction. My fans were expressing disappointment due to content issues when they tried books by some Christian authors. I felt it was time to declare where I stood, and many readers have appreciated my guarantee.

11. Where is your favorite place to write?I have been blessed with a wonderful home office. Though I often like to write in other locations,this is by far my favorite place. I can close the door, shut out life’s distractions, pray, and becomeimmersed in my story. Now and then, if I need a break, I can glance out the window and delight in God’s creation.

12. What are you reading at the moment, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?I’m currently enjoying Mind Games by Nancy Mehl. I especially enjoy a good thriller, whether Christian or secular. Some of my favorite authors are Steven James, Terri Blackstock, Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, and Brandilyn Collins. I like how they weave story threads together and craft their scenes in ways that keeps the plot moving forward. Their books are great examples of what works in suspense writing. I learn so much simply by reading their novels.

13. What is the best part of your author’s life?I love hearing from readers who went to work tired because they stayed up too late finishing one of my novels. If I kept them immersed in my story and entertained, that’s a score in my book.

14. Do you have any new writing projects on the horizon? I’m almost finished with the first draft of the sequel to Kill Order and hope to have something ready for my agent sometime this fall.

15. What’s one unusual fact about you?When I was a kid, for a while I wanted to be a ventriloquist and had a “dummy” named Andy. But then I got braces and could no longer talk through my teeth like I used to. Andy sadly went into storage.

16. Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.1. The amount of time each book requires from start to finish. Included in this is the long wait time from publishers.2. The continually changing rules in writing and publishing. Just when you think you know what publishers are looking for, your agent tells you something else.3. Book marketing. One cannot guarantee sales. I wish a book release was like the movie Field of Dreams. “Build it, and they will come.” If only it were that easy. There is almost an equal amount of work in just promoting the book.

17. On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?I get most excited about the creative process when a plot development I never saw coming unexpectedly presents itself, taking the story in a new but stronger direction. This epiphany has happened to me several times.Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my writing life at your blog.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Dangerous Relations, Baby Protectors #6 by Carol J Post

Book description:

He’ll do anything to save his niece…

In this The Baby Protectors novel

When her sister’s murdered, navy man Ryan McConnell insists on protecting Shelby Adair and their niece—especially after someone tries to kidnap little Chloe. But can Shelby trust the child’s uncle? After all, she’s convinced his family’s behind the attacks. But the longer Ryan shields them, the more Shelby wonders if becoming a forever family is their only shot at survival.

My review:

  I have reviewed several books for this author, and she is a large contributing factor in me getting hooked on the Love Inspired Suspense novels, which I have entirely too many of now. :)

 This is the sixth book in a series titled Baby Protectors, all written by different authors. I have read all of them, and enjoy the premise of people protecting babies. Plus there is the fact I have enjoyed all of this author's books I have reviewed.

  Dangerous Relations had likable characters, but none more likable than Ryan. I do my best to avoid spoilers, but fairly early in the book some information comes to light that gives him an out on protecting the small child, but he sticks with it.

 The book is very suspenseful, and though these books don't take me long to read, I did read it in one sitting, devouring every page, wondering what was going to happen next.....and there were surprises.

 I was pretty sure I knew the identity of whoever was after the baby, and was correct....but even then I didn't figure the whole guilty party thing out.

 These are romantic suspense novels, so you know the guy is going to get the girl. I used to not be so crazy about that, as a confirmed bachelor, but I hit a point where I actually enjoy I did enjoy that angle of this, and how it came about.

 Post has added a great book to the Baby Protector Series, and shown why she is still on the Love Inspired author roster.

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

About the author:

From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special events decorating company, Carol's résumé reads as if she doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love for writing. She started as a child writing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles and finally novels.

Carol lives in sunshiny Central Florida and writes fun and fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Her books have received a 2016 Royal Palm Literary Award and been nominated for a 2016 RITA® award and a 2014 RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Award. She is also a popular speaker, presenting workshops on a variety of craft topics. Besides writing, she enjoys sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. Her two grown daughters and grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all that nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly-spoiled dachshund.

Check out her website:

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

Vow of Justice, Blue Justice #4 by Lynette Eason

Book description:

Playing dead might just get her killed
FBI Special Agent Lincoln St. John is living his own personal nightmare. When the woman he loves, Allison Radcliffe, is killed, he devotes himself to tracking down the killers and making them pay for their crimes. He expected it to be a challenge. What he never expected was to find Allison very much alive shortly after her "murder." 

As his anger and hurt mix with relief, Linc isn't sure how he's supposed to feel. One thing he does know for sure: he and Allison will have to work together to stop a killer before she dies a second time--this time for good.

My review:

   I have been fortunate to have a few of my top favorite authors release new books recently. This final book in the Blue Justice Series is one I have been looking forward to. And as always, this author made the wait worth it.

 This series revolves around the St. John family who most of are in some time of law enforcement. There are a couple police officers, am FBI agent, an E.R. doctor, the dad is a lawyer, and the mom is the police chief. Book one was about police officer Isabelle, book two about K-9 officer Chloe, book three is about Detective Brady, and four about FBI agent Linc. Sibling Ruthie, the E.R. doc got her story in a novella Eason collaborated with two other authors. I was disappointed that the remaining sibling, police officer Derek was left out, but was happy to see he will be featured on one of four novellas Eason is releasing in November, Protecting Tanner Hollow. 

 Only a true fiction lover can understand how you get attached to fictional characters, but I liked these more than any Eason has come up with in any of her other great series she has authored. Part of it may be the family dynamic, with the interaction, teasing, and even the help and support they give when one is in trouble.

 Up til now, my favorite book in the series was book three, Code of Honor, featuring Brady St. John. Though I liked his character better, Vow of Justice turned out to be an even more exciting and suspenseful read, and a very fitting end to this awesome series.

  A bit different angle in this was the fact that the identity of the bad guy was obvious. Well, at least one of them. That didn't take away the suspense angle at all, and I began to suspect another character in the book to be involved...and I was correct of that person's identity, but did not see the why or the direction the story went when that was revealed. The whole book was non stop suspense and drama, but I found the last fourth or so of it was the most intense and suspenseful. Eason really outdone herself on this book - well, the whole series. And though I guessed the identity of the other bad guy, I was still wowed by the way that all was worked out.

  Also different from a lot of Eason's books - and most Christian suspense novels - the couple in this book are already somewhat involved at the beginning of the book.

 I am careful to not give spoilers away, so I will be careful here: I loved the ending of the book. The whole family is together...the parents, all six siblings, and their spouses and Linc's girlfriend. You'll have to read the book to find out what happens, but it was a very cool way to wrap up the series. But since the books need to be read in order, then you need to read all 4 books and the novella. :)

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

About the author:

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Protecting Tanner Hollow, as well as the Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master's degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at

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

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Killing Tide, Coastal Guardians #1 by Dani Pettrey

Book description: 

A Corpse That Only Leads to Secrets. 
An Old Flame with Danger Written all over Her.
Things Are about to Get Very Complicated.

When one Coast Guard officer is found dead and another goes missing, Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous crime yet. His only clues are what little evidence remains aboard the dead officer's boat, and the direction the clues point to will test Finn and the Guard to their limits.

The already volatile situation is complicated even further by the arrival of Gabby Rowley--Finn's boss's sister and an investigative reporter with unrelenting questions about the crime. Now that she's returned, the tug on Finn's heart is strong, but with the risks she's taking for her next big story, he fears she might not live through it.

Thrown together by the heinous crime, Finn and Gabby can't ignore the sparks or judgments flying between them. But will they be able to see past their preconceptions long enough to track down an elusive killer, or will they become his next mark?

My review:

   Seven years ago, Dani Pettrey broke onto the Christian fiction market with her first book the Alaskan Courage Series, Submerged. I was hooked from her first book, and she quickly became one of my top favorite authors, and remains there.

  The Killing Tide is the first in a new series I have been looking forward to, and it does not disappoint. I have read a few books that involved the Coast Guard, but can't remember any that completely revolved around and centered on it. I know Pettrey and authors like her do research and even talk to people in law enforcement when they write these books, so I found the activities these fictional characters were involved in fascinating.

  In this book, the Coast Guard was more involved in law enforcement and investigating, though there were also some search and rescue.

  Characters and character development are a big thing with me, and Pettrey came up with some great and likable characters for her series. There is a Coast Guard team that the series will revolve around. I am guessing each book will feature and center on a different member of the team. This one was about the very likable Finn, and his former love interest, Gabby. The team has other great characters, including Noah, team leader and Gabby's brother, and Logan.....a most interesting and colorful character I am hoping will be featured more in other books.

  The plot was great, intricate, and multi-layered. There was a lot going on, but a lot of it was connected. There was more than one bad guy, and though one was obvious from the first chapter, the others were not so obvious, and I was kept guessing.....and totally surprised at the identity of the mastermind.

 The suspense was awesome and well done, and there were a lot of tense moments. Let's get real....most authors are not going to kill off a main character, but it is still fun and suspenseful to read all that happens til the climax of the book and the damsel is saved.

 Last, but not least was the romance. I like books like these that aren't the typical boy meets girl, and they fall in love while trying to stay alive from a killer. In The Killing Tide, Finn and Abby had already had a dating relationship, and she had left him for a job elsewhere. Slight spoiler: You know they are going to get back together, but it was still fun and entertaining to see how it happened.

 In The Killing Tide, Dani Pettrey proves she still has it, and has only gotten better at her very awesome brand of Christian suspense. My only complaint: the next book is so far off.

 I highly recommend her Alaskan Courage Series and her Chesapeake Valor Series.

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

About the author:

Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as "a name to look for in romantic suspense," Dani Pettrey has sold more than half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance. Her novels stand out for their "wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters" (Publishers Weekly), "gripping storyline[s]," (RT Book Reviews), and "sizzling undercurrent of romance" (USA Today).

Her Alaskan Courage series and Chesapeake Valor series have received praise from readers and critics alike and spent multiple months topping the CBA bestseller lists. Dani has also been honored with multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award.

From her early years eagerly reading Nancy Drew mysteries, to paging through Agatha Christie novels or watching on-the-edge-of-her-seat adventure movies, Dani has always enjoyed mystery and suspense. She considers herself blessed to be able to write the kind of stories she loves--full of plot twists and peril, love, and longing for hope and redemption. Her greatest joy as an author is sharing the stories God lays on her heart.  She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland, where she lives with her husband. Their two daughters, a son-in-law, and two adorable grandsons also reside in Maryland. For more information about her novels, visit

 The Killing Tide is available from Bethany House Publishers, part of the Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Bethany House and the author for the review copy.

                                                    The Alaskan Courage Series

The Chesapeake Valor Series

Monday, August 5, 2019

Light From Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker

Book description:

When Cohen Marah steps over his father's body in the basement embalming room of the family's funeral home, he has no idea that he is stepping into a labyrinth of memory.

Over the next week, Cohen's childhood comes back in living color. The dramatic events that led to his parents' separation. The accident Cohen witnessed and the traumatic images he couldn't unsee. And the two children in the forest who became his friends--and enlisted him in a dark and dangerous undertaking. As the lines blur between what was real and what was imaginary, Cohen is faced with the question he's been avoiding: 

Is he responsible for his father's death?

Master story weaver Shawn Smucker relays a tale both eerie and enchanting, one that will have you questioning reality and reaching out for what is true, good, and genuine.

My review:

  I'll be honest......I had a hard time getting into this book. I liked the characters, and even thought the plot was good. However, the plot developed way too slow for me. The book bounces back and forth between the present and the past, all too often, and without warning. There is no indication of which time frame given, you just have to read far enough on the first page of each chapter to find out.

 The story revolved around the death of 40-ish Cohen Marah, and events of his childhood that split his parents and caused problems in and for his family ever since.

 Other readers may enjoy the story, and I honestly hate to leave a negative review.......but I do give an honest one. This one just wasn't my cup of tea.

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

About the author:

Shawn Smucker is the author of the young adult novels The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There, as well as the memoir Once We Were Strangers. He lives with his wife and six children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can find him online at

Light From Distant Stars is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group