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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lilies in Moonlight by Allison Pittman

Lilies in Moonlight is a beautiful story full of healing, forgiveness, and true love.

After a long night on the town, fun loving flapper Lilly Margolis finds herself with an injured ankle in the backyard of a wealthy family. A family where the effects of the Great War still exist even after over five years. Inside the walls of the Burnside mansion, Cullen Burnside, a disillusioned and disfigured veteran, and his widowed mother, Betty Ruth, who lives in a state of dementia and forgetfulness, live a lonely existence...until Lilly lands in their backyard. Whimsical, lighthearted, and beautiful, she rejuvenates their sad, disconnected lives and blossoms in the light of their attention.

However, Lilly is hiding from a painful past just like Cullen. When Cullen insists on taking Lilly back to her home, their new found attraction to one another seems destined to wither away. The resulting road trip becomes a journey of self discovery -but will Cullen and Lilly find love, peace, and healing at the journey's end?
This story was excellently set up and wonderfully written. I enjoyed the snappy dialogue of the characters, their growth throughout the story, and the unexpected in the twist in the plot. Lilies in Moonlight is not just a typical romance; it has mystery, suspense, and deep spiritual conversations. Cullen and Betty Ruth alike share the forgiving love of God with Lilly, and the contrast of it with the hypocritical, legalistic views of Lilly's mother are provoking. What is also convicting is the acceptance which Lilly offers to Cullen despite his disfiguring and frightening injuries.
The novel also had its sad moments, but these were overshadowed by Lilly's growth and Cullen and Lilly's relationship
Overall, I truly enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to more of Allison Pittman's novels.

I received this temporary eBook for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Press in exchange for an honest review.

First Date by Krista McGee

First Date was a cute story that related the growth of a young girl in confidence and a better relationship with God.

Abby Davidson never wanted to be on a reality TV show. Especially one where the prize is a date with the President's son.

She is focused on her schoolwork in order that she can receive a scholarship to an Ivy league school. She has never been on a date, never comfortable in the spotlight. Furthermore, Abby did not even audition to be on the show.
But she got selected anyway.

So Abby does her very best to be eliminated on the very first show. However, she soon realizes that the President's son is probably the most attractive, nicest guy she has ever meant. He also is completely uninterested by the other 99 girls who are throwing themselves at him.

Abby is completely out of her comfort zone, but that might be right where God decides to show her all that she could be and do for Him.

This novel was a really sweet story that I did not want to put down. The main characters were very sweet. I really liked the President's son and Abby's roommate/friend who was on the show with her. Abby starts out as a shy, withdrawn girl who does not have the confidence to tell anyone she is a Christian nor even act in a friendly manner to those who are around her.

However, as the story progresses, Abby grows in her faith, and she begins to have the confidence to speak out about her faith. First Date was an excellent read that was loosely based off the story of Esther, and I really enjoyed it.

I received this book for free from Booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall

When the Soul Mends is the third and final book in the Sisters of the Quilt Trilogy.
After Hannah Lawson, previously Hannah Lapp, receives a desperate call from her sister Sarah, she reluctantly drops everything and returns to the Amish community where she grew up.

In the two years since she left Owl's Perch, Hannah has finally settled into a satisfying place in the Englischer world. She has found love and a new family with Martin Palmer and his niece and nephew. Hannah has also realized her dream of working within the medical community. But almost immediately upon her arrival at home, the disapproval she receives from those who abandoned two years previously causes her the wounds of her heart to reopen.

As Hannah is forced to work with her former fiance Paul Waddell to help her sister Sarah recover from mental issues, hidden truths come to light about events that occurred before and after Hannah's first departure to Ohio to live with her aunt. Hannah now faces a heart-wrenching decision. Will she choose the Englischer world and the man who restored her hope, or will she return to the Plain life and perhaps to her first love?

When the Soul Mends was by far my favorite installment of the Sisters of the Quilt Trilogy. The other two books ended on a sad note, leaving the reader anxious to read the next book only to resolve the sadness and the storyline. However, When the Soul Mends had an incredibly fulfilling ending. As the book progressed, I was able to guess at how the book would end, but I did not think that I would like that ending because I favored the opposite choice for Hannah. However, Cindy Woodsmall built up the story so that by the end the story could only end one way.

The plotline of When the Soul Mends takes the themes of the other two books in the Trilogy and fulfils them. This novel brings to fruition all the love, hopes, and dreams of the other two through forgiveness. This novel is full of forgiveness, and it is what drives the story forward and leaves a warm feeling in the readers' hearts.

The characters of this novel are also incredible. I refell in love with several of them and was intrigued by the growth and development that many experienced. There were also a few new characters which fit in the story perfectly and enhanced the overall story.

Overall, I found When the Soul Mends to be a wonderful read for a quiet afternoon, and I was happy to see the characters that I had grown so close to through the first two Sisters of the Quilt novels finally find true love and happiness.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter

The Accidental Bride was a sweet, romantic read which I really enjoyed.

When a wedding reenactment turns real, Shay suddenly finds she’s an accidental bride.

Shay Brandenberger has been raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. In spite of all her work, Shay cannot seem to keep the ranch afloat, and now the bank is threatening to foreclose.  Desperate, Shay prays for a miracle, but what she receives is anything but one.

When Shay agrees to play the bride for the Founder's Day wedding reenactment, she is horrified to meet Travis McCoy, her high school sweetheart, at the end of the aisle. Suddenly, the unthinkable happens. A busy body and an absent minded preacher cause the wedding reenactment to result in a legal marriage. However, before Shay can yell for divorce, Travis comes up with a crazy idea. If Shay refuses, then she will lose her home. But if she accepts, she may lose her heart.

Shay isn't sure if the events are God's will or simply a preacher's blunder. Can she trust her heart to a man who once shattered it? Will it be the worst mistake of her life, or could their marriage be the best accident ever?

The Accidental Bride was an enjoyable tale. The plotline was sweet, and the characters were lovable. However, I found the plotline to also be fairly predictable and its structure left me wanting more development.  From the first chapter to the last I felt that the entire story could have been summed up in less than two chapters. I just recently discovered Denise Hunter when reading Smitten, so I was pleased to read more of her works. However, while I enjoyed Denise Hunter's writing for the short story of Smitten, her longer novel of Accidental Bride left much to be desired in content.


I received this book for free from BookSneeze with Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Christmas Singing

The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall is an excellent book which I highly recommend.

Here's the link to my review of the book: http://hearttoheartbooks.blogspot.com/2011/11/christmas-singing-by-cindy-woodsmall.html

You can read the first chapter of the book here http://scr.bi/uJkucX, and the video promo of the book can be found here http://bit.ly/vvg9mc.

Check it out!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Smitten

Smitten was a wonderful collection of novellas written through the collaboration of Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter.

The storyline of Smitten is as follows. In the small working town of Smitten, Vermont, four friends are convinced they are going to save the town -through love. The lumber mill of Smitten is closing. As the major employer of the townspeople, how will the town ever survive without it? A close group of women- Natalie, Julia, Shelby, and Reese - think they have the perfect plan to save Smitten. They will use the name of the town and make the place the go-to romantic location for honeymooners and tourists. The women envision sweet shops, a spa, romantic music, and cabins outfitted with all the necessities.

However, is this logging, manly town ready for the invasion of lovers and ....love?

Country music star Sawyer Smitten decides to help by holding his own wedding in Smitten on Valentine's Day. And little Mia's lavender wreaths decorate the town, reminding all that faith can work miracles. As Smitten transforms, the four women leading the way - energetic Natalie, sophisticated Julia, graceful Shelby, and athletic Reese - find that they too are being changed by love.

I really enjoyed Smitten. The format what was not what I was expecting, but I truly liked it. Smitten is a collection of four novellas. Each novella is written by one of the four authors, and each novella focuses on one of the four women who are the primary characters of the collection (Natalie, Julia, Shelby, and Reese). All four of the novellas are also connected, and each one flows into the next. For example, the first novella is written by Colleen Coble, tells the story of Natalie, and sets the stage for the transformation of Smitten, Vermont. The final story is written by Denise Hunter relates the story of Reese.  It occurs almost a full year after the first story, concluding on the Valentine's Day of the wedding of Sawyer Smitten and the real beginning of the town's new direction. One particular reason why I liked the format of the book was that each author got to put their flavor into the story and make their character have some of their characteristics. The authors really capitalized on their friendship and used it to develop the friendship of their characters and to make the book truly believable.

I also fell in love with the overall plot line and each individual story of Smitten. The love lives of the four women in the story were each different and each very enjoyable to read. I read the entire book in one day because I just could not put it down. I will definitely be reading the second installment of life in Smitten, Vermont when it comes out next winter.

If anyone wants to check out some of the background behind the book and see other cool extras, you can go to SmittenVermont.com .

I received this book for free from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall

Seventeen year old Hannah Lapp has been raised in an Old Order Amish family her entire life. However, she still desires to marry outside the community even if it means breaking the Amish rules. She has been in love with Mennonite Paul Waddell for three years, and when he asks her to marry him once he finishes his last year of college, she accepts.

However, on the evening of their engagement, tragedy strikes Hannah, and life the way she knows it is utterly destroyed. As Hannah finds herself with questions her people cannot answer, she has to face the possibility of losing her place in her family, her community, and in the heart of the man she loves.

When the Heart Cries is a novel filled with the importance of love, forgiveness, and family. However, throughout the novel many times these themes are shown through the lack of love, forgiveness, and family bonds shown to Hannah. Hannah is constantly treated wrongly even when her situation was not her fault. There are only two to three people in the entire novel who treat Hannah with respect, honor, and love despite what is going on.

I really enjoyed the storyline of When the Heart Cries. There were several instances where the plot line shifts that were quite surprising to me. Other portions of the story brought me to tears, others to laughter. Overall I felt the plot was well written and very realistic, and the ending was a cliff hanger that left me eager to read the next book.

The characters development in When the Heart Cries was extremely well done. Hannah's thoughts, feelings, and growth were well laid out for the reader. The supporting characters also were portrayed well and evoked the correct emotions in the reader. Some of the characters made me angry, and others I fell in love with immediately.

As a whole, I particularly enjoyed this novel. I loved the characters, and while the plot line had an overall sad tone, it did not deter me from reading the novel or enjoying it. I will definitely be picking up the second book in this series, Sisters of the Quilt Book 2:  When the Morning Comes.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Press in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Future Doors by Jason Lethcoe

A mystery is afoot at 221 Baker Street, but will Griffin Sharpe be able to figure out the clues before the future catches up with the past?

When Sherlock Holmes moves out of Baker Street, a new tenant moves in—a mysterious woman who is not all she seems. With several criminals out to steal an invention from his uncle, Griffin is on a race against time to discover how to stop them before they change history itself.

The Future Doors is a very cute book. It is book 2 of the No Place Like Holmes series. It is not necessary to read Book 1 (No Place Like Holmes) first, but I think it would be a little helpful to understand the character development that occurs in the second book.

The novel contains an interesting mystery that does seem a little scattered simply because of the time traveling. However, overall, I felt it was an enjoyable, if simple, book. It is definitely a book meant for children between the ages of 9-12, though I think it would also be a good read aloud.

I received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs

Mine is the Night was a wonderful portrayal of the story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz set in eighteenth century Scotland.

Only weeks after her husband's death, Elizabeth Kerr must begin life again without fortune, title, or property. She is not afraid to work and soon finds work as a seamstress in order to support her mother in law and cousin. However, how will Elizabeth ever be able to stitch her life, and her heart, back together?

Elizabeth did not come to Selkirk alone. Her mother in law, Marjory Kerr, is a woman whose life's dreams have been shattered by the deaths of her husband and sons and the loss of her property. Having to depend on her poor cousin and Elizabeth, Marjory dreads the future as much as she mourns and regrets the past. However, she finds that there is still joy and hope in the world.

When a honorable hero comes into town, there is a new spark of life for Elizabeth and Marjory. Will he risk his reputation to defend the two women who have been labeled as traitors, or will he choose a rich, untainted beauty as his bride?

This novel, Mine is the Night, was a surprisingly enjoyable read. When the book arrived in the mail, I was a little apprehensive of it because the book appeared so long. However, as soon as I read the first chapter, I was hooked. I read through the novel in less than a day and wished it was longer. The book is set in eighteenth century Scotland, and it is filled with beautiful descriptions of the countryside and the lovely customs of the Scots. Mine is the Night also contains many instances of Scottish brogue which add to the wonderful flavor of the book.

My favorite part of the novel was its correlation to the Biblical story of Ruth and Naomi. I was able to experience the story of Ruth with whole new eyes, and I really enjoyed it. The characters were extremely well developed. All had flaws which they were only able to work through by the grace of God. Elizabeth was a lovely character, and I enjoyed watching Marjory's progression through change as well. I fell in love with Lord Jack Buchanan immediately. He was the perfect example of honor, generosity, and kindness, and he was a very sweet man as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, and I cannot wait to read more of Liz Curtis Higgs!
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Press in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall

The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall was a sweet little book which I read in one sitting, but warmed me through and left me thankful for solid, enjoyable novels.

Gideon Beiler has loved Mattie Eash since they were children. But when he is faced with heartache and pain, he decides to lie to Mattie and make up an excuse for ending their engagement.

Mattie is brokenhearted. She moves from Apple Ridge to Ohio where she follows after her dream to become a cake decorator. She also finds a new fiance -someone who offers the security that Gideon denied her.

When disaster forces Mattie to return to her home, she and Gideon must deal with the heartache caused by his dishonesty as well as address the powerful feelings that continue to hold them together. Who will Mattie choose at the Christmas singing - Gideon or Sol?

I really enjoyed reading this novel. I fell in love with Gideon immediately. He was a very dynamic character, flawed, but with strong positive characteristics as well. Mattie was adorable. She was like a whirlwind -forgetting things, messing up, but continuing to persevere and to show kindness. The Christmas Singing was a rather short book, but it had a heartwarming plot, and it was a wonderful book to curl up with on a cold night and dive into.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble

Eden Larson thought that her baby was dead. Her hope is renewed when her husband returns to tell her that their daughter has been found.

Five years earlier Eden and Clay's daughter was stolen. When they met the kidnapper to give him the ransom, things went wrong and the car with Brianna supposedly inside crashed into a river. Eden blamed herself, and Clay buried himself in work. And their new marriage ended. Or so Eden thought.

Now Eden is in a new town, with a new faith in God, trying to rebuild her life. She is even in a relationship with a godly man named Kent who is planning on marrying her. However, then Clay appears and tells her that he never signed the divorce papers, so they are still married. He also tells her that he has been searching for Brianna the whole time, and he thinks he has found her in Bluebird, Texas, at a troubled youth ranch. All five of the little girls there are at the right age -but he is not sure which is Brianna.
In order to discover the truth, Eden and Clay become counselors at the Bluebird Ranch. They move into the bunkhouse and oversee the little girls while they try to find out more. Working as a team for the first time, they rediscover how much they love each other. However, danger is closing in, and it could threaten them all.

Lonestar Angel was a very good novel that was brimful of suspense, mystery, and love. I enjoyed the mystery of trying to discover which girl was the Larsons' daughter and who was behind the kidnapping. There were several twists I was not really expecting, and I thoroughly enjoyed how the novel ended. I really liked the characters of Eden and Clay. They were very genuine. The characters did rely on their own strength most of the time, but Eden did realize the sovereignty and providence of God and His work in their life near the end of the novel. The beginning of the novel was a little difficult to get into, but overall I liked how the novel was structured, and I enjoyed the book tremendously. I will definitely be picking up more of Colleen Coble's works.

I received this book from Booksneeze.com exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Sound Among the Trees

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner was a very interesting book. It definitely was not what I was expecting when I picked up the book.

Susannah was rumoured to be a Civil War spy for the north, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-great granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, disagrees that Susannah's ghost the haunts the mansion, but rather thinks that the house bears a grudge against its tragic past.

When Marielle Bishop marries into the family at moves into Holly Oak with her husband, she soon begins to believe that the house brings misfortune to all the women who live there. With Adelaide's superstitions and family roots at stake, Marielle must begin to sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.

A Sound Among the Trees was a very well written novel. The book is broken up into five parts: the Garden, the Parlor, the Studio, the Cellar, and Holly Oak. The first four parts all represent areas of Holly Oak which are supposedly the most haunted and hold the greatest sadness. The characters were very well done, and there are a couple surprising characters which enter the story near the middle which act as normative characters and reveal the truth about Holly Oaks, forgiveness, and moving on from the past. Between the Cellar and Holly Oak parts there is a significant portion of the book, about a fourth of it, called the letters. This is the section that is composed of Susannah's letters and it is here that the reader learns the truth about Susannah and Holly Oak, and the depth of true love and the importance of moving on and not living in mistakes. These are also the themes which Adelaide, Marielle, and Carson (Marielle's husband) have to learn in order to live truly peaceful lives.

I really enjoyed this book, and I liked how the author set up the book, used mood and tone, and how she designed the characters. There was very little mention of God or His work in a person obtaining true peace and repentance. However, the one real normative character of the novel did find God and develop a relationship with Him before she could move on and begin to explain the truth to her friends and family. I would have liked a little more mention of God, but I thought that overall the message of the book was portrayed fairly well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

His Steadfast Love by Golden Keyes Parsons

His Steadfast Love by Golden Keyes Parsons was a truly heart wrenching tale of a choice between love and loyalty.

Amanda Belle is living during the Civil War, and it is not long before the war begins to change her very home life. In the spring of 1861 on the Gulf Coast of Texas, Amanda finds herself in love with Captain Kent Littlefield, despite her promise to her dying mother that she would never marry. However, when Texas secedes from the Union, her brother David joins the Confederate army while Kent stays with the Union troops.
Amanda finds her heart torn between her love for her brother and her love for Kent. When she turns to God for help with her decisions, she hears nothing. Why is God not listening to her? Does he even care what is going on? Amanda senses that her decision will be a turning point for her life. How can she trust God to bring her family through this war and pain? And will her heart and her faith remain intact?
I really enjoyed His Steadfast Love. The novel showed the depth of love and the heart wrenching choices that usually love in its wake. The book also revealed the love and faithfulness of God, even when you cannot see Him working. The characters were developed well and were portrayed in a way that showed the depth of their emotions and the decisions that they had to make. Overall, I thought His Steadfast Love was very well written, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.





Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Crossing by Serita Jakes

The Crossing by Serita Jakes was a compelling novel relating a story of loss, bitterness, death, and renewal. While I enjoyed the book, I felt that the Christian message of the story could have been stronger.

Claudia Campbell has been imprisoned for ten years by memories of a masked gunman who opened fire on her school's bus on the way back from a football game. Cheerleading coach B.J. Remington was killed, but her murderer was never found. Claudia, who was a close friend of B.J.'s, is constantly reminded of that day, and she has never been able to move on. When her husband, the assistant district attorney, reopens the case, the secrets of that day threaten to tear them apart.

Officer Casio Hightower will also never forget that day, the day his dream was destroyed. A star quarterback with several prospective scholarships, he was on top -until one bullet changed it all. Casio is eager to help Victor Campbell find B.J.'s killer, who also shot him. Maybe finding the answer will silence the anger that causes Casio to hurt the woman he loves.

Will Victor, Claudia, and Casio be able to discover that what begins at the crossing ends at the cross?

I really enjoyed this novel. The structure was excellently done, switching between Viktor, Casio, Claudia, and Harper's points of view. Also included are snapshots into the last few minutes of B.J.'s life, told from her perspective. These snapshots are critical in helping the reader understand the mystery of the killer. It adds a considerable amount of suspense because the reader thinks that they understand how the murder occurred, but then there is a major twist in the end which is almost totally unexpected. The mystery of the novel was very exciting, and I loved the twists. Viktor Campbell was an awesome character, and he remained loving in the midst of Claudia's messes.

One of the things I was not found of in the Crossing was the ending. The ending is totally unexpected, and it made me feel really sad. However, I did like how the author Serita Jakes brought back a couple of the characters back to the Lord and how they in turn were able to forgive those who had seriously hurt them. I do wish that God had been pulled more into the story in the middle and beginning. B.J.'s last thoughts ask some very serious questions about sin and forgiveness which I do not feel like the author properly addressed. So if a doubting Christian or a seeker read some parts, they might have some serious questions. This is good, but I just wish that they had been addressed in the novel.

Overall, I enjoyed The Crossing, and I would recommend it to anyone who is prepared for some serious, thought provoking fiction. Do not expect a light read, for the mood of the entire novel is somber and sometimes frightening.

Friday, September 23, 2011

There You'll Find Me

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones was an enjoyable novel relating the struggles of teen girl whose painful experiences had caused her to walk away from the Lord, and her journey back to God and to love.

Finley Sinclair is not a typical eighteen year old. She is witty, tough, driven, and cannot stand the popular cliches of school. With an upcoming audition at the Manhattan Music Conservatory, Finley needs to finish composing her audition piece. But with the murder of her older brother, Will, she cannot find the ending, and she cannot find her way back to God.

Finley decides to study abroad in Ireland so that she can retrace the steps of her brother's own journey when he was a senior in high school. It is the place where he felt closest to God, and Finley hopes that being in such a special place will help her find peace over Will's death.

Beckett Rush, teen hearthrob and Hollywood player, is also flying to Ireland to finish filming his latest vampire movie. While on the flight he and Finley meet. Finley seems immune to his charm, which only furthers Beckett's interest in her. He convinces her to be his assistant in exchange for his help in following her brother's footsteps.

However, once in Ireland, Finley begins to fall apart. The loss of her brother, the pressures of school, her audition, and her unfamilar feelings toward Beckett lead her a very dangerous vice. When she begins to look into the struggles of another, she begins to understand the workings of God in her life. Will she come back to God in time to keep her new friendships, relationship with Beckett, and finish her brother's story?

I really enjoyed There You'll Find Me. It was an extremely captivating novel, and I did not want to put it down. I was very much in love with Beckett, and his character was one of the sweetest guys I have ever seen. Finley was a tougher character to love because as she continued to fall farther from God and farther into a bad situation, I just wanted to sit her down and talk some sense into her. However, only God can change hearts, and this novel clearly showed that in the end. This book also spoke to me because I really want to study abroad in Ireland, and I loved reading about the kind people and the lovely landscapes that simply shouted out praise to God. I enjoyed seeing the characters grow and develop throughout the storyline, and the only thing I did not like about the book was that it ended! I cannot wait to read more of Jenny B. Jones' novels.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper

Shadows on the Sand is a sweet tale with some dark underpinnings that can both shock and teach.

Carrie Carter's small cafe in Seaside, New Jersey, is populated with a motley crew of locals...although Carrie has eyes only for Greg Barnes. He is still recovering from the tragedy that three years before took the lives of his wife and children and from the year he spent burying his pain in alcohol. While Carrie's heart dances every time she sees him, Greg never seems to notice her.

When Carrie's dishwasher is killed and her young waitress disappears, Greg and Carrie find themselves working to together to solve the mystery and drawn to each other romantically. But when a shadow from Carrie's past re-enters he life, her new world seems to crumble. Will her new relationship with Greg be shattered by the baggage they both carry, or can they press on together?

This story had some very sweet moments which made me smile and laugh -and cause me to totally freak out the people who were nearby me. I loved the dynamics between Greg and Carrie. Greg was the sweetest guy ever, and he and Carrie worked together splendidly. Shadows on the Sand also had some darker undercurrents. Gayle Roper revealed some of the dreadful consequences of cults and how they can destroy families and lives. It was one of the important themes of the book. A few other themes were forgiveness even when the person hurt you terribly, love, and perseverance through all odds. I really enjoyed this book, and I will definitely be reading more of Gayle Roper's works.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead

The Bone House by Stephen R Lawhead is the second book in the Bright Empires Series. It starts immediately where the first novel, Skin Map, left off.
Kit Livingstone, still reeling from the death of his grandfather Cosimo, finds himself on the run to find a map that contains the interlinkings of the multiverse. His survival depends on staying away from the Burley Men and finding the elusive pieces of the Skin Map. Meanwhile Kit's girlfriend Mina is quickly finding out more and more about how Kit is to succeed on his quest. However, so are their enemies. Will Mina and Kit find the parts of the map before those who lurk in darkness do?

The Bone House is an exciting book, filled with mysteries and new thrills. However, the structure of the book reduces the unity and complete understanding of the plot. The storyline jumps from one character to another, from one time to another, to one world to another. Many of the characters are unknown to the reader, so the reader has trouble properly placing the characters in the story. The plot becomes so fragmented at times that I had trouble following what was happening or staying interested in the story. Because the book is about jumping from one time to another and oftentimes one world to another, it is understandable that the author wanted to create a structure that mirrored ley leaps. However, I found it to take away from the overall story. If you can stick with the novel and read past about two thirds of the way, everything begins to make sense and the story becomes less fractured and more enjoyable.
I love Stephen R. Lawhead's novels, so I was a little disappointed in the fractured nature of most of Bone House. If you read The Skin Map and thought it was a little fractured, I would not recommend The Bone House because it is even more so. However, if you loved the structure and plotline of The Skin Map and really want to know what happens next, I would highly recommend The Bone House. And if you have not read The Skin Map, there is no way you will know what is going on in The Bone House.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Corruptible

The Corruptible by Mark Mynheir is the second Ray Quinn Mystery, following the publication of the Night Watchman. In this second novel, Ray Quinn is struggling to make ends meet as a private investigator. He never expected he would be cornered in a bathroom stall by the very angry, unfaithful husband of a client. As a retired policeman and still recovering from a debilitating injury, Ray does not have a lot of career choices.

When a new client comes offering huge sums of money for Ray's investigative talent, Ray finds himself with a easy looking job and a lot of needed cash. He is supposed to find Logan Ramsey, an ex bad cop turned security officer who has disappeared with confidential corporate information. However, the job quickly turns south when Logan is found murdered in a seedy motel room. Ray finds himself without the information he needs, and a client who is hiding something. Suddenly it is hard to tell the difference between the bad guys and the good guys. Who will Ray choose?

The Corruptible was a very enjoyable mystery filled with suspense and intrigue. Ray Quinn is not a Christian throughout most of the book, but he has a very close friend who is constantly sharing the love of God and being there for Ray. His friend Pam is a very good witness, and their struggles to talk about God really reveal a lot about witnessing and about some issues non believers have toward God. The mystery of the book was well done, and the characters were interesting and realistic. I enjoyed this novel immensely, and I look forward to reading some of Ray Mynheir's other books.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Forbidden

Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee was a wild ride, steered by surprising twists, heartwrenching pain, breathtaking love, and beautiful allegories.

Four Hundred and Eighty Years have passed since humanity was almost wiped off the earth. Since then, the Perfect Order has been established. There is no more war, no more hate, no more disease...no more emotion, no more Love. All that is left is fear and the world wide peace that universal fear brings. Until the day when one man, Rom, finds out the truth from an old man and an old vial. The entire world is dead. Walking corpses that feel no emotion, cannot experience life. Now Rom is temporarily alive, and he has the information which can awaken the human heart once again. But the way is narrow and treacherous and the cost unbelievable. For in that day, life itself is Forbidden.

Forbidden is an allegory, not unlike the Circle Trilogy. Humanity is dead, without feeling, similar to those who are dead in sin. There are a few who are awakened temporarily, like God's chosen people, the Isrealites. There is a Christ figure, there are sacrifices, and there is war. Forbidden is a marvelous tale of love and sorrow, sacrifice and selfishness, forgiveness and hate, the peace brought about by fear and peace brought about by true love. The characters are masterfully created by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee, and the emotion and suspense expressed in the story are stunning. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and I will definitely be buying this book when it comes out in September!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cherished

Cherished by Kim Cash Tate was a delightful book that penetrates the layers of forgiveness and filling loved by God. In this novel, the main character, Kelli London, has always dreamed of being a songwriter. She always felt that God would use the lyrics that came to her to touch people's lives. She thought often of Brian and their love as well. However, a few choices later and all her dreams are upended and in ashes. Will Kelli have the strength to dream again when the opportunity arises so many years later?

Heather Anderson has made a lot of bad choices as well. An affair with a married man and a short tryst with a Christian drummer have left her alone and broken. In desperation she called out to God - and he saved her. Now He is calling her to a new life, to leave everything behind. Will she have the strength to obey?

These two broken women form a unlikely friendship. What does God's forgiveness look like for them? And will they be able to forgive themselves?

Cherished was a wonderful book that I really enjoyed. The characters were very believable, and they struggled with realistic and identifiable problems. The emotions in this book were raw and real, and I was drawn into their depths and into the lives of the characters. The themes of love, forgiveness, and God's grace and mercy were well blended into the novel, and I was truly touched by the how God's love was shown and how His forgiveness was accepted and shared. The characters were willing to finally open up about their issues, and it was really inspiring to see how one person's mess can change the lives of countless others. Cherished was a delightful and inspiring novel, and I highly recommend it. I will definitely be checking out more of Kim Cash Tate's works.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Canary List

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer is a wonderful thriller pitting good vs. evil. In this novel Jaimie Piper is always running. Always fleeing. Jaimie is a twelve year old orphan, shuttled from foster home to foster home, from school to school. She is labeled a challenged child with serious issues. But all Jaimie Piper has is a gift. She has the ability to sense evil and darkness, and she feels that the darkness is getting closer and closer to her. In desperation she turns to her teacher, Crockett Gray, who only wants to mourn his daughter's death on his own. However, when Jaimie turns to him, he cannot stand and watch. And together they spiral nearer and nearer to destruction.

The Canary List is a thriller written masterfully by Sigmund Brouwer, one of my alltime favorite authors. The book flows well, and it leaves the reader bound up in suspense.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Leaving Carolina

Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh is a beautiful look into honesty, forgiveness and coming home. In the novel the main character, Piper Wick (aka Pickwick), left her home in Pickwick, NC, without looking back. She got rid of her accent, her family name, her family, and she found a new life for herself as a rich public relations consultant in Los Angeles. She is even dating the 'perfect' U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler. All of a sudden Piper's routine life style is interrupted by her uncle's bout of conscience. He has decided to change his will and make amends to four generations worth of misdeeds. However, that would include the airing of the family's dirty laundry - something high profile Piper cannot afford. When Piper arrives in Pickwick, she is unprepared for her uncle Obe's handsome gardener? And just who is this Axel Smith? With thousands of new questions and doubts buzzing through her head, Piper is about to discover that only the truth can set her free.

Tamara's first novel in the Southern Discomfort series is a wonderful breath of fresh air. Full of hilarious situations and heart squeezing choices, Leaving Carolina was an altogether completely relaxing read. I enjoyed watching the characters develop and learn from their mistakes, and I also calm flow of the novel as it moved through Piper's weeks at Pickwick and the new realizations and accidents she went through. I wholeheartedly recommend Leaving Carolina and the rest of the Southern Discomfort series to any reader who is looking for a heartwarming Southern tale of forgiveness and family.

Life Everlasting

In Life Everlasting, the sequel to Life Support, by Robert Whitlow, Baxter Richardson miraculously awakens from months in a coma. After his fall from a cliff, he should be dead. However, even though he has awakened, new and old dangers still lurk around him. Meanwhile, his wife Rena is being driven mad by apparitions and ever increasing criminal accusations. Right in the middle of the mess is Alexia Lindale, Rena's lawyer. Alexia is forced to work her way through lawsuits, deceptions, theft, tragedy, and romance in order to find the truth. And she might not find it out in time....

Life Everlasting is very closely tied to Life Support, the first Alexia Lindale novel. I read them back to back, so I had no trouble understanding what was happening, but Life Everlasting is definitely not an independent novel. I enjoyed reading Life Everlasting but not as much as Life Support. Life Everlasting did have some unexpected plot twists and some added tragedy, but the novel was too drawn out. I think both Life Support and Life Everlasting would have been better if they had been shortened into one novel. They were too long with too much empty spaces in the storyline as two separate novels. A unexpected difference I noticed between the two novels was that in Life Support, Alexia Lindale is always called Alexia. In all circumstances. There is even a very awkward line where her friend Ted introduces her as Alexia, then says that is her nickname and that her real name is Alexia. After reading Life Everlasting, I realized that was a typing error. In Life Everlasting Alexia is referred to by her nickname Alex. Apparently in Life Support she was initially called Alex and that confusing portion of the book was not changed when all the Alex references were changed to Alexia.

Overall I thought Life Everlasting was a good follow up story to Life Support, but in my opinion both books would have been better as one novel.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Life Support

In Life Support by Robert Whitlow, a young, wealthy man by the name of Baxter Richardson plunges off the cliff with only his recent wife, Rena, as a witness. Baxter ends up on life support, in a coma, completely paralyzed. Rena does not want her husband to live. She claims it is what Baxter would have wanted, but she has another motive. In desperation she turns to Alexia Lindale, a young lawyer who specializes in divorce cases. However, Rena does not want a divorce. She wants Alexia to contest her father in law's plea that Baxter remain on life support.

Alexia finds herself in a complex situation where no one's true motives are known. It is a situation which changes her life completely.

Life Support was a phenomenal novel filled with suspense and unexpected twists. The intriguing part of this book is that the reader knows from the beginning how Baxter really fell off the cliff, but only one person in novel knows the truth. Another aspect I loved about this novel was the way God worked through music. One of the primary characters of the book is a music minister with an amazing talent from the Holy Spirit which allowed him to play beautiful pieces for the Lord. I also enjoyed wrestling with the tough question of whether the Richardson family should or should not remove Baxter from life support.

While there were characteristics I enjoyed about the book, there were a couple things that I did not particularly enjoy. One of my concerns was that when Alexia begins to feel God's work in her, she immediately feels the Holy Spirit working in her life. However, from the paragraph before and for the rest of the novel, there is no indication that she ever confessed her sins and received the pardon by relying on Christ's death and resurrection. Christ is mentioned, but never his work on the cross. Like in another Robert Whitlow novel that I have read, I think that the character's conversion could have been presented more clearly. However, despite this concern, I enjoyed the book, and I am very excited to begin the sequel, Life Everlasting.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Water's Edge

Water's Edge by Robert Whitlow is a legal thriller filled with suspense and surprise. In this novel Tom Crane, a young lawyer, is convinced that he is getting ready to receive a partnership from the law firm he works for. However, first he must close his recently deceased father's law practice in the small town of Bethel. Tom's father died in an unexpected and unexplained boating accident, leaving his son only a mess to clean up. Right before Tom leaves for Bethel, he finds himself laid off instead of promoted. Tom arrives in Bethel with no purpose and little hope for his future. As he deals with his father's law practice, he finds millions stashed in an offshore account and several unexplained incidents, including evidence that his father's death might not have been an accident. Can Tom find the truth, or will he lose his faith...and maybe his life?

The Water's Edge is a well written book that deals with betrayal, fraud, and faith issues. It is filled with mystery and intrigue and the love of a father. I was truly convicted by Tom's growth and how much he enjoyed his time with the Lord each morning. On the other hand, I did not appreciate his taking verses out of context to use for certain situations -situations where he usually made the wrong choice. I also felt that the author should have had Tom actually confess his sins before God and accept Christ as his Savior instead of just suddenly beginning to read and understand the Bible. There is no way Tom could have been so touched during his devotion time by the Holy Spirit unless he was actually saved and had the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. However, overall I really enjoyed this book, and I cannot wait to read other books by Robert Whitlow in the future.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Restless in Carolina

Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh is the third book in the Southern Discomfort Series. In this novel Bridget Pickwick Buchanan finds herself with a constipated heart. She cannot get past the death of her beloved husband four years earlier. However, Bridget must force herself to move on in order to find an environmentally friendly buyer for her family's estate. She thinks she finds the perfect buyer in eco-friendly J.C. Dirk & Dirk Developers. When he does not return her many calls, she cleans herself up and travels out to Atlanta to meet him personally. Is J.C. the right buyer, or is he the knight in shining armor who comes to steal her heart....and break it again?

Restless in Carolina is a wonderful read. It is filled with Bridget's struggles with men, her family, and her faith in God. The novel delves into Bridget's feelings of anger towards God, and it shows a very realistic picture of suffering and how to go through it. Restless in Carolina is also a lovely romance novel filled with dashing men, strong willed women, and hilarious faux pas. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, and I will definitely be going back and reading the first novels in the Southern Discomfort Series.
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

The Final Hour

The Final Hour by Andrew Klavan was a novel filled with action packed adventure and deep despair. The Final Hour is the fourth and final book in the Homelander Series. As the novel unfolds, Charlie West finds himself locked away in the worst prison in the United States for a crime he did not commit. He feels abandoned by the only agent left who knows the truth, and he is barely able to fend for himself against the Islamist prisoners, the White Supremist criminals, and the corrupt, bloodthirsty guards. He suddenly finds himself in the midst of a frightening situation: the Homelander group has planned one final strike, and Charlie is the only one who knows where, how, and when. Can he reach his friends in time and save America?

The Final Hour is loaded with action and suspense. It is a quick and exciting read. The first part of the book deals with Charlie's despair and loneliness in jail and his struggles with his faith. I liked that the author mentioned Charlie's belief and faith even during his hardships, but I wished he had mentioned Jesus and God more. God was only brought up a couple times, and Christ and His work on the cross were never talked about. The book was a satisfying ending to the Homelander series, and I really enjoyed the entire series. I cannot wait to read the next book by Andrew Klavan; I just hope he talks more about Jesus.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Heartless

Heartless by Gail Carriger was an absolutely splendid read. This book actually dealt more with the past of both the Woolsley Pack and Kingair Pack than any of the other Parasol Protectorate novels. The plot line was full of twists and unexpected occurrences. Some of the twists I was pleased with and liked immensely, others I was not as fond of. However, despite that, I could not see the book ending any other way. The end of the book was unbelievable. I was completely spellbound and read the whole book in one day. There was less banter in this one than some of the other Parasol novels, but I enjoyed delving into the thinking of some of the less conspicuous characters and experiencing the travails of a VERY pregnant Alexia. I think Heartless had a very satisfying ending, so I can only wait until March to see what Gail Carriger will come up with for Timeless.



I received a free copy of Heartless from Hachette in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Desiring God by John Piper, Revised Edition

Desiring God, Revised Edition, by John Piper is a wonderful book which explores the deep question of what does it mean to to glorify God and enjoy Him forever? In a society that lives for material pleasure and duty filled religion, John Piper turns many Christians beliefs on end and says that the pursuit of God should be pleasure filled. He shows that duty and delight are not two irreconcilable pursuits in the Christian walk, but that for Christians, the delight is the duty. Throughout the book John Piper discusses how finding maximum joy in God glorifies Him the most. Piper then takes this paradigm shattering view of God, joy, and pleasure, and he then discusses their implications in areas of life such as love, Scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and suffering.

I found this book to be very thought provoking, and it drew me to the Scriptures and to really think deeply about very serious theological issues. I was extremely convicted by Piper's reasoning and thoughts about finding pleasure and joy in God. After reading this book, I feel closer in my relationship with God and more joyful in that relationship. This revised edition of Desiring God also has a study guide in the back for individual and group studies. I found the questions and exercises to be very helpful in delving deeper into each chapter as I read the book and the Bible.
I would highly recommend book to anyone who wants to enjoy God and grow closer to Him.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Ambition

The Ambition by Lee Strobel is a legal thriller revolving around a megachurch, a lawyer addicted to gambling, the mob, and a highly skeptical reporter.



Tom O'Sullivan is a lawyer who has fallen into the realm of gambling and debts. He ends up having a part in an illegal deal with a corrupt judge and the mob. As a precaution, he tapes the conversation. When that same judge ends up running for a high political office, Tom finds himself in a dangerous dilemma.



Meanwhile, Eric Snow, pastor of a megachurch, is running for the office. Gary Strider, a reporter for a local newspaper, is desperate for a story that will allow him to keep his job, so he investigates Eric and Eric's church.



All three of these men soon find themselves involved in a struggle which might cost them all. And to what end?



The Ambition is a great novel, filled with unexpected twists, conflicts, and connecting threads. Throughout the novel Lee Strobel weaves in his beliefs about God, suffering, miracles, and God's overall power and sovereignty. The Ambition was well written, I enjoyed it immensely. I cannot wait to read Lee Strobel's next novel.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Havah

Havah, by Tosca Lee is an unique retelling of the Creation story told from the perspective of Eve. The story relates Eve, or Havah's awakening, her joy in the garden and with the adam, her temptation and fall, her travails outside the garden with Adam, and more. Havah experiences pain, loss, and death, and the reader has no choice but to be swept away in the emotion of her experiences. The death of Havel (Abel) and the loss of Kavin (Cain) are heart wrenching, and the reader is left with an ache for the pain of adam and Havah during their loss and a deep sympathy for Kavain that one would never feel before.



I thought the novel was well written, full of beautiful words and phrases. The characters were well rounded and very sympathetic. It was easy to relate to their struggles. I thought some of Tosca Lee's imaginings of life after Creation were very good and helpful to understand such lost lives without God. I wished there had been more mention of God in the middle and end of the book, and I thought she might have been too easy in her portrayal of Cain and his actions, but I was pleased with the book and most of the author's choices for how to portray her characters made sense. Havah was a beautiful book, but it does leave one with a sense of sadness because all ends without the forgiveness of God's Son, Havah's seed.

A Vision of Lucy

A Vision of Lucy was written by Margaret Brownley and is the third and final novel in The Rocky Creek Romance Series.

Lucy Fairbanks has always dreamed of being a professional photographer and working for the Rocky Creek newspaper. Her biggest hope is that if she is able to get a real job as a photographer, her father will see that her photography is art just like her mother's paintings.

But Lucy cannot get away from disaster which follows her on every photoshoot. Stampedes, stolen stagecoaches, and even a fire.

When Lucy literally runs to David Wolf, the rumored wild man, she suddenly sees a way to make her dreams come true. She is convinced that if she could only get his picture, then her job with the newspaper would materialize. However, Lucy does not realize how she has fallen for the man and how hard this makes her task.

But Lucy's life is about to forever change. Secrets fill Rocky Creek, and she will not rest until she can get to the bottom of them -even if it means losing loved ones.

A Vision of Lucy is a lovely novels, full of fun and laughs. The plot line was good, and it was filled with both romance and some mystery. The characters were laughable and lovable, and they were created in a way that made them seem real to the reader. The quotes that began each chapter were sweet and funny. God and His nature were woven into the novel in such a way to make the reader feel that the book would not have been nearly as good without it.

This novel was a great read, and I enjoyed it immensely. When I finished the book, I was left with a sense of great satisfaction from both the story line and time well spent. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is in need of a light, wholesome read.

Spectyr

So on June 28th Spectyr by Philippa Ballantine comes out! I am really excited, and I cannot wait to read it. Spectyr is the second book in the Books of the Order series.

According to Philippa Ballantine's website, pjballantine.com, the story will go something like this:


Though one of the most powerful Deacons, Sorcha Faris has a tarnished reputation to overcome. She and her partner, Deacon Merrick Chambers, find themselves chasing down rumors of geists, but long for a return to real action. So they jump at the chance to escort a delegation sent to negotiate the terms of the Emperor’s engagement. Their destination: the exotic city of Orinthal.


But a string of murders has Orinthal on edge, and Sorcha and Merrick are asked to investigate. Meanwhile the Emperor’s sister has unwittingly released a cruel and vengeful goddess, one who it bent on destroying her enemies, including the geistlord who resides inside the shapeshifting rival to the throne—Sorcha’s lover….



Do not be afraid to check it out! :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Seraph Seal

The Seraph Seal by Leonard Sweet and Lori Wagner is an apocalyptic book. Set in the year 2048, the novel revolves around the births of seven children in 2012. Paul Binder is a professor at the University of Virginia when he receives a cryptic message telling him he must decipher an old manuscript. The story accelerates as he meets Angela Krall and together the two must understand the seals and signs that have been recorded since the time of Christ. These signs mark the end of the age- can they figure them out in time?

This book started well, but it soon drifted into a slow, scholarly pace with a little action thrown in. I found there to be too many threads of the story happening at once so that the story felt fractured. I had trouble becoming engaged by the storyline. There was a lot of research put into this book and some of the points the authors made seemed probable based on the events that occuring in our own time today. This book is definitely a harder read than many of the books out today. Seraph Seal takes a lot of thought and should be read without distraction.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Skin Map

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead revolves around "the ultimate quest for the ultimate treasure". In this novel Kit Livingstone's great grandfather appears to him in the midst of a sudden storm. He tells Kit a remarkable truth that there are ley lines which exist all over the world which connect to the world to alternate universes. One explorer, Arthur Flinders-Petrie discovered more about these ley lines than any other, and he had a map tatooed on his body. However, this map has been lost, and it is critical that Kit and his great grandfather find this map before it is discovered by a nefarious man whose only goal is to cause havoc and destruction. But the map is the only the beginning of a quest which costs Kit more than he realizes, and the prize is fat greater than anyone can imagine.

The Skin Map is a very interesting novel, filled with time travel, adventure, love, and action packed duels. The books lays out an intriguing theory that our world is connected to other universes through ley lines which exist in the most inauspicious places. The characters are very believable, and they discover and live right along with the reader. The last few chapters of the novel lead to some very unexpected plot twists which leave the reader longing for the second book in order to fill in some very important gaps. I loved this book, and I was held in suspense during the entire story. I will definitely be reading the next novel, the Bone House, in the Bright Empire Series when it is released.

This novel was given to me to read and review by Book Sneeze.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nick of Time by Tim Downs

Nick of Time by Tim Downs is the fourth Bug Man novel.
The plot of this book centers around the upcoming wedding of forensic entomologist Nick Polchak to Alena Savard. Nick is unsure about the business of preparing for a wedding, so when his friend Pete invites him to Philadelphia the week before his wedding, Nick goes without question. Shortly after his arrival, Nick becomes involved in the murder investigation of a friend, and he finds himself immersed in a case without giving a thought to poor Alena waiting for him back home. Alena does not know if Nick has simply gone missing, or if he is running from her. Alena heads after him, and she and Nick both find themselves in a situation neither had bargained for. Will there still be a wedding when everything is sorted out?

Nick of Time is a great novel, filled with suspense, plot twists, and murder investigations. Not to mention a wedding thrown in as well. The plot kept me on my toes, and when I reached the final huge finale of a plot twist, I was floored. The novel was written well, and the characters were usually believable. There were a couple of instances that did not seem real. I enjoyed Nick's quirky personality immensely, and his dialogue with the other characters was hilarious. The forensic aspects of the novel were intriguing and indicated that a lot of work had been put into researching the different areas which were mentioned. This was the first Bug Man Series novel which I had ever read, but I was able to follow the plot and storyline very well even though it was the fourth book in the series. Nick of Time by Tim Downs was a splendid read, and I am planning on reading the first three Bug Man novels and definitely the fifth one. I cannot wait!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Phoenix

The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences: Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris is an intense novel filled with steampunk goodness and swashbuckling adventures. The book is slam packed with action, excitement, and mystery. The dialogue between main characters Wellington Books and Eliza Braun is steamy and brisk, and it really enlivened the story for me. The novel ended with a bang, however at the same time it was sweet. I was hoping for a little more between Braun and Books in the last chapter, but I did enjoy how the novel ended. The cogs and contraptions were intriguing, and the antagonists dreadfully evil. Even then, the book still ended as a cliffhanger since there seems to be several bigger enemies behind the Ministry's defeated foes.



I enjoyed reading the Phoenix Rising immensely, and I look forward with bated breath for the release of the next Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences so that I can tie up some of the cliffhangers from the first novel.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

No He Can't by Kevin McCullough

No He Can't by Kevin McCullough is about how Barack Obama, whose campaign was all about building hope and change in America, is in fact dismantling those attitudes through his policies and decisions.
The book is broken into several parts, each examining Barack's role and goverment style in a specific area. The first part is about the economy and how Barack's decisions have actually worsened our economy instead of fullfilling the promises he made during his campaign.
The second part is about national security and Barack's role in decreasing its effectiveness. The third part discusses civil rights and how Barack has played a part in the decrease of ethics and rights in American society. The final part of the book focuses on how we are to treat Barack Obama as Christians and Americans and what ways we can help fix these problems in America.

No I Can't was a well written book which clearly expounded the author's views. Kevin McCullough was intentional in his writing, and he presented his facts and material well. I felt that the book was challenging to the American in its content. I also did not always agree with his attitude towards President Obama. Sometimes the author seemed disrespectful of the president's authority. The book was clearly presented from a conservative viewpoint, but I did appreciate that the author also was not afraid to critique other conservatives on views that also did not seem right. In summary I found No I Can't to be a powerful read which clearly expresses a well thought out and evidence based view.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Heart of Ice Review

This past month I read a really intriguing book called Heart of Ice by Lis Wiehl. The book is the third book in a series called The Triple Threat. In Heart of Ice the reader is immediately introduced to a pyschopathic killer who lives under the alias Elizabeth Avery. Elizabeth seems to the rest of the world to simply be a normal, fit and active woman who works and lives just like the rest of the world. She is, however, a manipulative person who uses other people to further her own goals. When Elizabeth murders a young intern, the case is quickly brought to the attention of the Triple Threat Club: Special FBI agent Nicole Hedges, crime reporter Cassidy Shaw, and Federal prosecutor Allison Pierce. These three women are unaware of who the killer is, and they have no idea the proximity this woman has to their own lives and feelings. I found the Heart of Ice to be a very suspenseful novel. Since the reader already was aware of who the killer was, there was not that sense of mystery and suspense. However, I was gripped throughout the book wondering with bated breath whether the Triple Threat Club would figure out who the killer was before it was too late. The author also did a good job creating events in the story that one did not realize were interconnected until far later in the book. The plot moved well, and I enjoyed watching the members of the Triple Threat Club grow and overcome their own problems at the same time as the overall plot was laid out. There was some description, but it did not overwhelm the overall story. One message I received from the novel was to be careful of the people you allow to influence your life. Make sure you know the person before you give them control over some aspect of your life. Another message I gleaned from Heart of Ice was to trust God when circumstances occur in your life which you cannot control. I saw this message not because a certain character followed that advice, but because they did not trust God and instead tried to survive trusting only in themselves. I thought the book had some good messages, but I did feel when I completed the novel that more mention of God and His workings through life would have made the story feel more whole and complete. The only Christian character in the book does pray for the problems her friends face, but I feel there was opportunity for her to have been more open with her faith and that witnessing would have fit well the mood of the scene at that time. Overall, I felt the Heart of Ice was very entertaining, was written well, and contained some beneficial themes.