Friday, November 30, 2007

Christa Ann Banister's Around the World in 80 Dates ~ Reviewed

Around the World in 80 Dates
Christa Ann Banister
Paperback: 283 pages
Publisher: NavPress Publishing Group (October 15, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 160006177X
ISBN-13: 978-1600061776

Click here to read an interview with Christa (11-30-07)

Cover Copy:

Where's my happily ever after?

Sydney Alexander is a travel writer. She's a very well-dressed travel writer -- hasn't yet met a shoe or clearance sale she could pass up. She's funny. She's got a great relationship with her sis. She's got a hilarious next-door neighbor, Rain, who happens to be a hippie. And she's got a wonderful relationship with God. So what's missing?

A decent date. A date where she doesn't have to pay because he's "between jobs. A date where she's not fabulously fashionably ready to go only to learn "the band just got a last-minute gig" and he has to cancel. A date she wants to kiss good night, not run screaming from. Is that really to much to ask?

My review:

Around the World in 80 Dates is adorable. The description above does not do the book justice. Christa Ann Banister has a perfect chick-lit voice and is not afraid to use it. Classic, name brands, coffee shops, ice cream binges, girlfriends, guys and drama.

Chick-lit fans need to look into Around the World. Those with a love of quirk need to check it out.

Great descriptive writing through the eyes of sarcastic-witted Sydney as her life unfolds in the classic "what else can go wrong" format. Wacky omniscient peeks into the lives of her inner circle of friends are inserted throughout the novel.

Surprisingly, Around the World contains a spiritual message that will encourage patient twenty-and-thirty- something ladies-in-waiting. I will caution more sensitive readers...if you have any issues with alcohol, dating, or movie choices for Christians, consider yourself forewarned that you may disagree with some of Sydney and companies' entertainment choices.

This is one of the more fun reads I've devoured this year. I will definitely look forward to more from Christa Ann Banister. I'd also love to have a cup of coffee with her the next time I visit Mall of America.

Reviewed by:

Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Roxanne Rustand's Hard Evidence ~ Reviewed

Hard Evidence
Roxanne Rustand
Publisher: Steeple Hill
ISBN 978-0-373-44271-3

Cover Copy:


Someone was lurking in the woods behind the isolated old cabins
Janna McAllister was fixing up. Who was he? And what could he want with a single mother who hadn’t set foot in Wyoming in years? Janna was suddenly grateful for her unexpected new lodgers: deputy sheriff Michael Robertson and his teenaged son. The strong, silent type, Michael made her fell safe – especially when human remains were found on the property. The cold case threatened to remain unsolved. Until Janna unwittingly found a clue that would tempt a killer to come out of the woodwork.

My Review:

Janna moves Snow Canyon Ranch, Wyoming after a failed marriage, wanting to reopen the once successful lodge and cabins in the mountains. Unfortunately, to her dismay, bad things seem to keep happening. This constant movement, written so clearly, kept me from putting this book down! It flowed so easily, leading me to get to know Janna McAllister quickly. The relationship between Janna and Michael developed in such a believable way. Ms. Rustand also touched upon the incredible beauty of Wyoming. This book got me guessing very early on. With each event that took place, I began to question everyone.

I can’t wait for the next book to come out about Snow Canyon Ranch in February, 2008. Don’t let that stop you from reading this book. This one does not leave you disappointed.

Reviewed by Diane T. Stokowski

Monday, November 26, 2007

Debra White Smith's Heather ~ Reviewed

Debra White Smith
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 15, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736919295
ISBN-13: 978-0736919296


When socialite Heather Winslow succumbs to her mother's push for a "coming out" ball after her college graduation, she grudgingly agrees to be interviewed by Duke Fieldman. Put off by the newspaperman's disdain but attracted by his good looks, Heather startles him by arranging a date. When she learns of Duke's desire to be a "real" reporter, she's intrigued. Can she help him?

Part of the Debutantes, Heather and her friends solve high-profile crimes. Presenting the evidence anonymously, along with a long-stemmed rose, the Debs become know as "The Rose." When they take on a murder, they cross paths with Duke, who wants to uncover The Rose's identity. The more Duke investigates, the more infatuated by becomes.

Heather, Lorna, and Brittan dig into the case. Can Heather keep her involvement a secret while dating Duke? How can she compete with his mystery-woman fascination?


A cute romp reminiscent of a fast-moving sitcom. Girl meets boy. Boy beneath her class, but oh, so charming. Girl has secret life and boy has issues.

Will they get together? Yes. But will the secrets/issues get in the way? Yes.

Peppered liberally with humor and sleuthing, this was a light-hearted read. Big Honken Chicken Club -- you should be able to handle Heather. Fans of Debra White Smith should likely enjoy it.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Carolyn Aarsen's All In One Place ~ Reviewed

All In One Place
Carolyn Aarsen
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (August 22, 2007)
ISBN 978-0-446-69682-1

Trouble seems to follow some individuals and Terra was no exception to the rule. Stunned she found herself standing in Harland, Montana, she’d returned to the company of her sister. Running from an abusive relationship she wondered why she’d bothered to look up Leslie since they’d not spoken in months. The one-sided sibling relationship was spearheaded by Leslie through e-mails and Terra wondered if the tie was repairable. Still she’d made a start. Showed up for round one.

Terra is hardly in town a few hours before she steps into the middle of trouble, ending up arrested by a handsome officer she can’t get out of her head. She’s been through a lot and why should Harland be any different than any other place she’d been? She wanted out and she wanted her sister to come with her. Torn from a life-style of endless jobs, relationships, and drinks --Terra hopes to find stability with her sister. She wasn’t prepared for the outcome.

Carolyne Aarsen spins a story that proves blood is thicker than water and that regardless of the past, family ties are strong. There are moments of laughter and times of frustration as the reader quickly passes through the pages of this easy read. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the depth Aarsen places into her characters making one think twice about those in need of Christ and how we can affect them. All In One Place is a captivating and enjoyable story spun together with all the perfect pieces.

Reviewed by Cindy Sproles
Mountain Breeze Ministries

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tricia Goyer's A Shadow of Treason ~ Reviewed

A Shadow of Treason
Tricia Goyer
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers (September 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802467687
ISBN-13: 978-0802467683

Back Cover:

When Walt reappears beckoning Sophie to rescue Spain, she falters. But the Spanish Republican army needs more weapons, and the lost gold from a shipment abroad is their only hope for winning the war. Sophie longs to stay with her new love Philip and let her photographs and paintings testify to the bombing of Guernica. But she complies, realizing only she can get close enough to the information they need.

Yet the price of her willingness is high. Michael, who betrayed Sophie's love and faked his own death, is the man she must befriend. His devotion to Franco flies in the face of Sophie's love for Spain and its people. While she despises him for this, her heart is not so calculated.

Sophie needs to keep her cover in order to have a hope of saving Spain. And she needs to get the information to Walt before it's too late. The stakes are high, and she cannot do this alone.

My Review:

Tricia Goyer continues the story of the Spanish Civil war and paints a picture of sorrow, pain, fear and hope. As in any war, the loss is considerable and the opportunities are endless for a chance to become a reluctant hero. Sophie went to Spain to find true love and ended up finding real love while sacrificing for a greater cause.

That cause, as often happens in conflict, becomes nebulous and hard to hold on to when faced with the belief and passion of the enemy. Is Sophie helping the right side? Is either side right?

Powerful plot, deep characters, vivid writing -- if you like Goyer, you'll want to get a copy. If you like reading about obscure bits of history and overlooked wars check into this series.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Marcia Laycock's One Smooth Stone ~ Reviewed

Title: One Smooth Stone
Author: Marcia Lee Laycock
Publisher: Castle Quay Books, October 2007
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Suspense
ISBN 189486034-9
This book is not available through Amazon. Click on the book cover to go to the author's blog for more information.

When 21-year-old Alex sees an outboard beach just below his isolated Yukon cabin, he’s apprehensive. But little does he know how the appearance of lawyer George from Seattle will change his life. Against better judgment he leaves with George and is soon facing not only his old demons but discovering new ones. He’s quickly on the lam again.

And so in One Smooth Stone, a debut novel by Canadian author Marcia Lee Laycock, we have the tale of a young man fleeing from his past only to encounter Someone who keeps dogging his steps at every turn.

Laycock’s plot is twisty and fast-paced with trouble heaped upon trouble. Major characters Alex and Kenni are complex and sympathetic, minors Bill and Ruby brilliant in their blackness. Laycock’s own experience of living in the north shows through in her plausible portrayal of Yukon life with its coterie of colorful people. The isolation sets off the rugged players and fits this somber story well.

For a somber tale it is, dealing with abuse (physical and sexual), abortion, family – and lack of it – anger, revenge and, finally, forgiveness and a new beginning. The book is boldly Christian in its answers and the reader is left with an aftertaste of hope.
One Smooth Stone would make a perfect Christmas stocking stuffer and a lively winter companion.

Reviewed by: Violet Nesdoly

Friday, November 16, 2007

James Scott Bell ~ Try Dying

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Center Street (October 24, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599956845
ISBN-13: 978-1599956848

Book Description:

"Ty Buchanan is a rising star in his L.A. law firm, until the suspicious death of his fiancee forces him into the underbelly of the city to discover the truth behind her death. He soon has more than his career on the line, as he finds himself tangled up with a mysterious group of former gang members, and becomes the target of a killer."

Reviewed by Gina Holmes

Amazing characterization, engaging plot, and impeccable writing--James Scott Bell's Try Dying is an excellent novel, well suited for the big screen. The super-short, action-packed chapters serve the story well and make for a riveting page-turner.

The plot is an intriguing one, reminiscent of The Fugitive, with an innocent man, good yet fallible, trying to prove his innocence while tracking down the real killer.

The characters are well fleshed, unique and engaging. The path Bell takes his protagonist on is not just one seeking to clear his name, but an inner journey which changes him in a most unexpected way. After closing Try Dying, readers will be left asking bigger questions of their own lives. Is it all about the pursuit of BMW's and Starbucks or is there something more, something bigger?

Try Dying-the title sums up the spiritual theme perfectly. This is not an overtly Christian book, but is a perfect gift to get anyone thinking on the bigger picture.

Can't wait for the movie, Jim!

Bonus Review:

In this fast paced thriller, Try Dying, lawyer Ty Buchanan is faced with the grim reality that his life is forever changed on a wet Tuesday morning in December when a man, Ernesto Bonilla, decides to end his life and his wife’s as well in a murder suicide. The problem with Ernesto’s suicide was that it happened on an overpass of a busy road in Los Angeles. He pulled the trigger causing his fall onto Jacqueline Dwyer’s car as she drove to work that morning.

The chain of events for Ty Buchanan flies quickly from grief to trying to find the killer of his fiancée, all while trying one of the biggest cases of his career. While I read this book, I was rooting for Ty Buchanan. James Scott Bell is a definite master of his craft. His mixture of humor, suspense and mental pictures is a great combination.

The only thing that I can compare this book to is a show that was canceled a few years ago called Eli Stone. The only difference between Ty Buchanan and Eli Stone is Eli had a brain tumor. Ty Buchanan just mentally snaps while trying to prepare for a major trial against big bully lawyer, Barton Walbert. While Ty is also dealing with investigating the death of his fiancée, he is assaulted physically several times. I ask… Wouldn’t YOU snap too while being bullied and tired of basically being told what to do from the gang thugs, his boss and Barton Walbert? I believe this book is a fun adventure and suspenseful pleasure to read. I give Try Dying a 4 ½ out of 5 stars.

Be blessed!

Reviewed by:
Bradley Evans

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Donita Paul's Dragonfire ~ Reviewed

By Donita K. Paul
Waterbrook 2007
ISBN 978-1-4000-7251-4

As wizards battle with fiery dragons, only a hero’s noble calling can save Amara.

Three years of strife have passed since Kale and Bardon freed Paladin’s knights. Now, fiery dragons scorch their beautiful countryside as an evil husband-and-wife wizard duo fight for supremacy. The people of Amara just want to be left alone, hoping the conflict will disappear. But Paladin is dying, and Bardon and Kale—now married—must accept fateful, separate assignments if their land is to survive. Can their efforts turn the tide against their adversaries?

Kale’s responsibility is to find, hatch, and train an army of dragons by working side-by-side with the dragon keeper father she has never known. As the Amara countrymen seek escape, she must gain a greater understanding of her gifts to overcome her doubts. And as the end draws near, with friends and family in serious jeopardy, both Bardon and Kale must face their greatest trials yet.

Prepare to experience breathtaking adventure and mind-blowing fantasy as never before in this stunning addition to Donita K. Paul’s popular Dragon keepers fantasy series.

What I most appreciate about this latest edition are the ‘principles of Wulder’ scattered throughout—principles that are really Proverbs. What a great way to impart Biblical truths without having to sit through a dry sermon.

I also loved the fact that Kale and Bardon are now married, though through most of the story they are separated. I’m hoping that in the next book they will be on a quest together. They are a dynamic duo, and it’d be interesting indeed to read about them working together as husband and wife.

As readers have come to expect, there are lots and lots of dragons. Without giving away too much information, there are a few heartrending scenes that are unexpected.
Kale’s depth of character is expanded in this tale. Readers will relate to her yielding to temptation, and the resultant sorrow and repentance that follows.

This is a great read for adults and young adults who enjoy fantasy—fantasy without dark, oppressive undertones. It’s a modern day parable that grabs the attention of the reader and won’t let up until the last page.

Review by Michelle Griep

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tamara Leigh's Splitting Harriet ~ Double Review

Splitting Harriet
Tamara Leigh
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Fiction (November 20, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590529286
ISBN-13: 978-1590529287

Splitting Harriet : Back Cover Copy

Once upon a time, I was a rebel. And I have the tattoos to prove it.

Did I mention I'm also a preacher's kid? That's right. And like the prodigal son after whom I modeled myself, I finally saw the error of my ways and returned to the fold. Today my life is all about "lead me not into temptation." When I'm not serving as Women's Ministry Director at my father's churs, I'm working at Gloria's Morning Cafe. I even have worthy goals, like saving enough money to buy the cafe, keeping my Jelly Belly habit under control, and never again hurting the people I love. No more parties. No more unsavory activities. And no more motorcycles! You'd think I was finally on the right track.

But since my dad's replacement hired a hotshot church consultant to revive our "dying" church, things aren't working out as planned. And now this "consultant" says I'm in need of a little reviving myself. Just who does this Maddox McCray think he is? With his curly hair that could use a good clipping, tattoo that he makes no attempt to hide, and black leather pants -- the man is downright dangerous. In fact, all that's missing is a motorcycle.Or so I thought...But if he thinks he's going to take me for a ride on that 1298cc machine, he can think again. Harriet Bisset is a reformed woman, and she's going to stay that way. Even if it kills me!
Ane's Review:
If you like humor mixed with dead-on characterization, you'll love Splitting Harriet. Her self-imposed role of tradition-savior is hilarious and almost oxymoronic, except Leigh makes you believe it. Well written, these characters leap off the page and into your life. Highly recommended, Splitting Harriet would make a great Christmas gift. Don't forget a copy for yourself, though, or you'll miss out on the fun.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan
Kelly's Review:

I've never had more fun with church politics and upheaval. Did I say fun? Yes. Anyone looking for an entertaining and possibly convicting story needs to look into Splitting Harriet. This read contains a quirky grouping of characters, play dates for cats, and internal angst centered around a church. Harriet, a one woman crusade, attempts to keep her church family intact while keeping her carefully controlled life under wraps.

A fair amount of romance, some inner generational girlfriend fun, and loads of twists and confusion make Splitting Harriet a quick and snappy read.

The twist on the usual chick-lit is realistic and the not so flattering revelation of the humanity that explodes in church inner workings and leadership is too.

I ended up enjoying my time with Harri, and was glad that things weren't so neatly sewn up that we don't have a reason to revisit her life down the road.

Chick-lit lovers, quirky character collectors and those who take church politics a little too seriously might want to look further into Harriet.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lisa Samson's Hollywood Nobody ~ Reviewed

Hollywood Nobody
Lisa Samson
Paperback: 221 pages
Publisher: Th1nk Books (August 30, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600060919
ISBN-13: 978-1600060915

Two reviews below...

Book Description:

Fifteen-year-old Scotty Fitzgerald has spent her young life on the road, traveling to movie sets with her single mom, Charley. Yet even though she is wise beyond her years, Scotty still struggles to find her identity. Complicating matters is a mother who offers no guidance and a father she's never met.Scotty is determined to discover what she wants from life, even documenting the journey on her "Hollywood Nobody" blog. But as Scotty begins to find dark answers to tough questions, will her story have a happy ending?The first in s a series, Hollywood Nobody is a novel that examines real issues with honesty and humor.

Michelle's Review:

I devoured this book in two days. I rarely want to sneak off and read a book until I finish it, but this was one of those books. I adore anything Lisa Samson writes anyway because she is edgy and unconventional, but I'm telling you that she has a real winner here. The heroine is a fifteen-year-old girl, Scotty, who reminds me of several teens I know. Hey, I have a fifteen-year-old son and a fourteen-year-old son and I still loved the book, so you don't have to be YA to read it and love it. I adored how Scotty even had herself a pet phrase... "I'm just sayin'".

One reviewer said sometimes some of the things Scotty thought seemed old for her age. I totally disagree. I have very smart kids and they think like Scotty did...exactly. Teens are very perceptive these days. And Scotty had wisdom beyond her years due to exposure to many things she shouldn't know. The author made that point very well several times.

I loved the blogging theme of the story (of course) and the topics covered on the Hollywood Nobody blog. It was so realistic...right down to the funny comments. The main characters seemed so real to me. Her mother reminded me of some hippies I know (and knew) when I was younger. Very funny stuff! Especially the cheese fetish. Scotty was just so quirky and cool. I know several teens who love vintage wear and are so classy and weird in their own way, just like Scotty. I found her totally likeable and believable. Wonderful story. Intriguing plot. Hot topics (and great tension) with a hottie hero who is a movie star and also a great guy because Hollywood hadn't ruined him yet.

So check this book out. I guarantee it'll hold your attention. The ending is killer satisfying, but leaves you wanting more at the same time. March 2008--when the sequel comes out--is not soon enough for me. I loved this book!

Reviewed by: Michelle Sutton (pen name)

Kelly's Review:

Full of opinion on Hollywood happenings and trapped in a nomadic edge-of-Hollywood lifestyle by her mother, Scotty really has no other outlet than to secretly blog her insider facts and opinions. Self-schooled and mature enough to be the adult when her mom can't hack it, Scotty spends her days turning activities into units and projects for higher learning and her nights wondering if she will be awakened at three a.m. and told that they are moving on.

Scotty's thoughts are years beyond her biological age because she has such an atypical life, yet there is an innocence and insecurity that pops up when life gets ubercrazy. With a cynical and world-weary voice delivered through teen angst and confusion, Scotty burrowed into my heart.

A twist at the end will make me grab the next installment.

No empty preaching here. Just a girl who's wondering what the point is? What's truth? What is life supposed to be anyway? Scotty's story crosses age barriers.

Teens and adults alike will find themselves sucked into Hollywood Nobody.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Katy Pistole's The Palomino ~ Reviewed

Note: This is an older series and may have limited availability. But Caitie enjoyed it and took the time to write the review and we have a quiet week, so we're going to post it.

The Palomino
by Katy Pistole
Pacific Press
ISBN 0-8163-1863-8

The Sonrise Farm Series
Book One
A young girl’s daring rescue of an abused horse, and their adventures.

Jenny Thomas has her heart set on one thing – a golden Palomino all her own. But it seems like the only horse she will ever have is the one in the poster on her bedroom wall. At least there’s horse camp to look forward to—if she can earn the money.

Jenny’s week at Sonrise Farms is pure heaven! Her natural talent in the saddle [and hard work cleaning stalls] leads to a dream job and the happiest summer of her life. Along with lessons in horsemanship, Jenny learns to trust God more and more. With her dad’s help, she commits her heart and her life to Jesus. Her growing faith and maturity will serve Jenny well in the life-and-death challenges she will face with her beloved horses. An auction and a jumping competition become the ultimate tests for Jenny’s skills, and her faith as well.

Come meet Jenny Thomas and her courageous Palomino mare Sunny. Their inspirational adventures are based on true stories, and are sure to inspire horse lovers of all ages. Beautifully written by Katy Pistole, this first volume of the Sonrise Farm series, will help children learn more about horses and God’s redeeming grace.

It's me, Caitie, and this week we have The Palomino by Katy Pistole.I LOVED this story. It's about a girl named Jenny Thomas and her dad loses his job because his boss lost his money when someone stole it from the company. Jenny wants to go to horse camp but it was $200. That much money surprised her.This book was mostly happy but kind of sad. I won't tell you the end but I really liked it. I think people should read it.Watch for my interview with Katy Pistole in a couple of weeks. If you have a question you'd like me to ask her, leave that in my comments too!!

Bye for now-Caitie
Book reviews by a kid for kids

Friday, November 09, 2007

Molly Noble Bull's Sanctuary ~ Reviewed

Molly Noble Bull
Paperback: 286 pages
Publisher: Tsaba House (September 15, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1933853506

Click here for an interview with Molly. (11-09-07)

Book description:

Fleeing persecution in 18th-century France, Jewish Rachel Levin and Huguenot Pierre Dupre take refuge in a church. They're safe, until the man who killed Rachel's family arrives. Captain Vallae wants her as his mistress---or dead! Rachel and Pierre's "marriage" and subsequent escape leave Vallae furious! Can they reach Scotland before the captain takes revenge?

My review:

Sanctuary is a riveting historical with a twist of suspense and a tender romance born of tragedy. I love stories where someone is out to get two young people who long for love but dare not experience it due to tragic circumstances. I had no idea when I started this book that it would give me everything I love. The cover is a bit "dark" so it didn't pull me toward the story. The publication date did and my need to review it in advance. This is a great example of not being able to tell a book by it's cover. The picture is calm. The story is anything but calm. It's action, adventure, intrigue, peril, love, loss, and intense faith. See what I mean?

This story had me turning the pages as I experienced their fear as they fled from the French Captain bent on destroying them. Their slowly developing feelings brought about by hardship and the need to learn to trust each other swept me away. The story was beautiful. The almost-kisses made me a bit frantic, but I love that. This is a satisfying read about the persecution experienced by the Huguenots and the Jewish people in the mid 1700s. It will hold your attention, I promise. Sanctuary was published by Tsaba House.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Robert Liparulo's Deadfall ~ Reviewed

Robert Liparulo
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 6, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0785261796

Deep in the isolated Northwest Territories, four friends are on the trip of a lifetime. Dropped by a helicopter into the remote Canadian wilderness, Hutch, Terry, Phil, and David are looking to escape the events of a tumultouus year -- a bitter divorce, bankruptcy, depression, and job loss -- for two weeks of hunting, fishing, and camping.

Armed only with a bow and arrow and the basics for survival, they've chosen a place far from civilization, a retreat from their turbulent lives. But they quickly discover that another group has targeted the remote region and the secluded hamlet of Fiddler Falls for a more menacing purpose: to field-test the ultimate weapon.

With more than a week before the helicopter rendezvous and no satellite phone, they must risk everything to help the townspeople who are being held hostage and terrorized.

My Review:

If you aren't already watching Robert Liparulo's climb to the the inner circle of big gun contenders in Christian fiction, you really need to. Robert Liparulo will become one of the names that defines thriller.

Deadfall starts with a bang and ends with a well-deserved sigh. Every chapter in between is a tension driven page-turner full of twists, realistically rendered impossibilities and narrow escapes. Not only is the book driven, its full of characters that grab at the heart of the reader. Evil has faces and heart -- misguided, but painted like a real, living, breathing human being with subtle nuances, dysfunction and a definition of justice and humanity.
Technology that could be real, could be in existence right now or will be in just a matter of time is terrifying in its potential misuse, just as Liparulo demonstrated with biology in Germ.

There is no preaching in Deadfall. Just a sense of evil's destruction paired with a fragment of hope and a hint of God's hand.

Those who can't handle thrillers need to leave this one alone. Blood and guts are present but not overdone and certainly not gratuitous. Fans of Monster by Peretti will likely love Deadfall. Lovers of sport, video games, fiction with twists and turns, Dekker fans, hunters and those who love the stories of overcomers and against-all-odds tales should find much to like in Deadfall.

It won't be long before Liparulo joins Dekker and Peretti.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Jeffrey Overstreet's Auralia's Colors ~ Reviewed

Auralia's Colors
Jeffrey Overstreet
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (September 4, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400072522
ISBN-13: 978-1400072521

Visit Novel Journey for an interview with Jeffrey Overstreet. (11-07-2007)


As a baby, she was rescued by thieves.
As a girl, she has a dangerous gift.
Called before the king, she might bring down the kingdom.

When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monster's footprint, they have no idea that their wilderness discovery will change the course of history.

Cloaked in mystery, Auralia grows up among criminals outside the walls of House Abascar, where vicious beastmen lurk in shadow. There, she discovers an unsettling -- and forbidden -- talent for crafting colors that enchant all who behold them, including Abascar's hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets.

Auralia's gift opens doors from the palace to the dungeons, setting the stage for violent and miraculous change in the great houses of the expanse.

Auralia's Colors weaves classic fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful lot, adrenaline-rush action, and unpredictable characters sure to enthrall ambitious imaginations.

Review # 1:

Jeffrey Overstreet, author of the non-fiction book, Through a Screen Darkly, makes an incredible fiction debut with Auralia’s Colors. Perhaps it is his knowledge as a movie critic that allows Overstreet to create such a magical and imaginative world. In the tradition of J.R.R. Tolkien, readers will be swept up in a vast landscape filled with people and magical creatures that surprise and entertain.

Auralia’s Colors is filled with convincing heroes and is one of those stories that inspires greatness. It is truly a tale that one can get lost in where the fight for good reigns supreme, but Overstreet also surprises the reader with thieves capable of great integrity and queens and kings capable of massive thievery.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the imagination of Auralia’s Colors, it is essentially Overstreet’s writing skill that ties the epic story together. Not many writers today are as gifted at the tricky omniscient point of view that abounds in the novel as Overstreet is.

More discerning readers will note the compelling religious symbolism and imagery in this book where God is never mentioned, but His presence prevails. This wildly creative and intelligent tale will thrill lovers of fantasy, as well as readers who crave excellent storytelling and exceptional writing.

Reviewed by: Tina Ann Forkner

Review #2:

From the first chapter, Auralia's Colors reached out and grabbed my imagination. As I read it I felt, smelled, heard and saw Auralia's world. Overstreet writes with poetry, weaving senses in and out, twisting and wrapping details around the art of classic storytelling. I don't know that I've read a book with more beautiful and unique descriptions.

Omniscient point of view is my least favorite. I feel that it robs intimacy or cheapens it. Auralia's Colors falls into this a bit. I know that it would be impossible to enter as many characters' heads as Overstreet has created, but I missed the intimacy of seeing the world through limited characters eyes. Those of you who love classic storytelling shouldn't have an issue with this, but those who don't delight in this art, probably will. Overstreet does a good job of adding bits of personality and uniqueness to his large cast of characters, but I still missed an emotional connection.

Overstreet has done a remarkable job of creating House Abascar and keeping all the details straight. However, sometimes I scanned those details.
The spiritual elements were allegorical and not heavy or overdone.

Overall, this is not a sit down and read in one session thriller. Imagine that Auralia's Colors is a clear, early-April stream swollen with winter snow-melt and tiny passengers. As the water moves toward its destination it dances and skips over glossy stones, swirls with an occasional leaf or twig and is redirected by the hoof of a deer as it bends to slake its thirst. A tight, thriller fantasy would be a white water river crashing over boulders, logs and an occasional unlucky passenger tossed from a raft. If you are a white water kind of person I don't know that Auralia is for you. But lovers of poetry and storytelling need to look further into Auralia's Colors.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Davis Bunn's My Soul to Keep ~ Reviewed

My Soul to Keep
Davis Bunn
Published by
ISBN# 10-07642-0435-12

Back Cover

Falling Star…Do They Ever Rise Again?

Brent Stark thinks his days as a leading man are over until God – in the form of a visionary tycoon – offers him the role of a lifetime.

Celia Breach vows never to forgive Brent for the hurts he inflicted. Can she manage the unthinkable and trust I'm again?

Bobby Dupree, a southern entrepreneur with a revolutionary idea for filmmaking sets out to make a new kind of movie. He has all the faith he needs, but none of the know-how.

Shari Khan is determined to succeed in Hollywood at any cost. Backed by an influential studio, she makes it her personal mission to destroy the upstart “shoestring” production.
So begins the battle: an unlikely group of has-beens, armed with only faith and vision, against all the money and power Hollywood can wield against them.

It’s “David against Goliath,” and Brent is fresh out of stones….

This book by Davis Bunn reminds me of the books he has written under the name T. Davis Bunn, The Warning, The Presence, The Ultimatum, just to name a few. They were powerful, gripping, thought provoking, and life changing. They revealed God’s power in a way I had never read before.

My Soul to Keep is that kind of story. This book describes the movie business inside and out. Very similar to what the book The Devil Wears Prada did with the fashion industry. It reveals the good, the bad, and the process of how people got to be evil in the choices they make.

I have seen broken lives transformed right before my very eyes into something really awesome. God tells us to renew our minds daily and walk in what “He” says about who we are in Christ. It’s crucial for those who have a colorful past. I have seen people like this hang on to what God says about them and “stand” on what God has done in their lives. The World (Satan) always wants to come along and expose our failures (our juicy stories) for the whole world to see. Satan has won if we stay stuck in the past. It’s only when we let God Break us “Free” of our past, that He can do amazing things with our future.

Davis Bunn describes this entire transformation process which is so eye opening, heart felt and moving it had me cheering the victories and have tears in my eyes as I read how God moved in the characters hearts and situations. I felt like I knew them personally.

This story and the characters ring true to who God is and what He can do with our lives if we let Him. Davis Bunn reveals what can happen when God does move mountains and reveals His miracle in the making? Questions he makes you think deeply about are: Will we be strong enough to take the challenge in our life even when it looks impossible to us? Will we grab the miracle He is offering us with both hands and hang on no matter what – like our lives depended on it (most times it does)? Can we believe in miracles in such modern times? This author thinks so and so do I.

Davis Bunn lifts the veil and gives us a glimpse at what God is capable of doing in us if we let Him put a spark in our heart though the Holy Spirit who can launch us beyond our comfort zone. The author says in his book and I quote “What I have discovered is that God has taken these broken shards and made a vessel into which He could pour His greatness in …” so true!!

Bunn’s story and characters bring this statement I heard come alive; “God has to minister to us before He can minister through us”. This story is powerful, gripping, thought provoking and life changing. I highly recommend this book to everyone. The characters and message stay with you long after you finish reading the book.

Nora St.Laurent
Life Way Book Club Servant Leader

Monday, November 05, 2007

Beverly Lewis/Laura Nikiel's Walking in Jesse's Shoes ~ Reviewed

Walking in Jesse’s Shoes
By Beverly Lewis
Illustrated by Laura Nikiel
ISBN 978-0-7642-0313-8

Help your child understand those with special needs

What parent hasn’t urged son or daughter not to stare at or tease a child who is “different” or disabled in some way?

In this sensitive yet realistic story, Jesse’s sister struggles to understand her brother—and the kids who make fun of him. This endearing book will encourage families everywhere to appreciate and befriend children with special needs.

There was a little girl named Allie. Every time her and her brother go to school he wanders around so they always miss the school bus. One day when Allie came home she says “I’ll never understand you.” and her father says “Of course you don’t because you’ve never walked in Jesse’s shoes.”

The next day Jesse took off his shoes and Allie put them on. But you’ll have to read the book to know what happens next.

I liked this book because it taught me that when you learn about somebody you get to know them really well. Then you’ll understand why they do weird stuff.

The pictures are very great. [Mom's note: We are a family with a special needs child. I loved this book and think it is a great way to help parents of special needs kids talk with their non-special needs kids]

Bye for now, Caitie.
Books for kids, reviewed by a kid

Friday, November 02, 2007

Denise Hunter's Surrender Bay ~ Reviewed

Surrender Bay-A Nantucket Romance
Denise Hunter
back: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 6, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595542574
ISBN-13: 978-1595542571

Back Cover:

When Sam's estranged step-father dies, she inherits his ocean-front cottage in Nantucket -- not because he kindly bequeathed it to her, but because he neglected to ever create a will. Sam returns to the island she left 11 years ago, with her daughter Caden, to fix up the house and sell it, but she isn't counting on the fact that Landon Reed still lives two doors down from her childhood home. As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she really left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart? Or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?

My Review:

Had I been given the opportunity to pass on Surrender Bay, I likely would have. I've not read Denise Hunter before, but the romance/love story angle wouldn't have appealed to me. Not that I'm against romance and love. But sometimes , well, I tend to like stories that are more than just escapism.

But Surrender Bay replaced another book that I had signed up for. So I read it.

And what I found surprised me. There is a complete lack of Christian lingo in Surrender Bay. Sam, the heroine isn't very heroic at all. As a matter of fact I wanted to throttle her a few times. Landon, as hunky as he came across, should've cut his losses a dozen or so years earlier and moved on. In my book, anyway.

What Denise Hunter has done is paint a picture of screwed up people, their consequences, victimization and slimy pits and she has added undeserved love also known as grace. This is a story of grace and all it overlooks.

Who should pick up this novel? Romance lovers, yeah. Looking for a well plotted tense love story? Sure. Wanting to discover a story published in the CBA that lays life out in all its messiness? Seeking edgy Christian Fiction that includes alcohol abuse, drunkeness and sexual situations? Need a story that shares a portion of God's good heart with just a hint that it's all about God? Then you need to check further into this story.

Reviewed by Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, November 01, 2007

November Fiction Titles from American Christian Fiction Writers

1. A Christmas to Die For Book 2 in The Three Sisters Inn series by Marta Perry from Love Inspired Suspense. A holiday season among the Plain People swarms with hidden danger when an inn owner finds herself the target of a killer.

2. A Matter of Trust by Lisa Harris , from Heartsong Presents. With Ty back in her life, will Kayla be able to trust him when a dark secret comes to light and all evidence of the crime points to him?

3. Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges from Lulu Press and Waitemata Books. In virtual stasis to escape a deadly virus, an ex-slave in Ireland finds far more than just survival.

4. Just Jane by Nancy Moser from Bethany House. Historical novel about the life of author Jane Austen.

5. Standing Strong, Fourth and final book in the Homeland Heroes Series by Donna Fleisher from Zondervan. Four warriors. Two rival gangs. Is faith enough to win peace on the streets of Kimberley Square?

6. The Love of His Brother by Jennifer AlLee from Five Star, a division of Thomson Gale. A young, pregnant widow finds more than just support when her black-sheep brother-in-law comes home.

7. Within This Circle (mass market size) Sequel to A Vow to Cherish by
Deborah Raney from Steeple Hill Books. After her mother’s death from Alzheimer’s disease, Jana McFarlane struggles to cope with her roles as wife and mother.

Kathryn Cushman's A Promise to Remember ~ Reviewed

A Promise to Remember
by Kathryn Cushman
Published by Bethany House
ISBN 10: 0-7642-0380-0


Andie Phelps is the envy of Santa Barbara. A devoted mother with a living son and a successful husband, her greatest joy comes from reaching out to others....

Melanie Johnston is the envy of no one. A single mom who works long hours to pay the bills, her greatest joys relate to her teen daughter and son.

Then the accident that changes everything. When opposite worlds collide, the impact reaches far beyond these mothers' personal losses.

Two wounded women...Two families seeking hope...A community torn apart...How far will they go to fulfill: a Promise to Remember


Wow was my first reaction. This gripping tale of loss, love and forgiveness is one of the best I've read. The spiritual thread arose naturally out of the characters' lives and was never forced. Melanie's discovery and decision was one of the most natural I've read, brought about by a series of circumstances—just like real life.

Artfully blended honest emotions, realistic dialogue, and characters all add up to a memorable read, allowing me to suspend disbelief. Cushman is a new author to watch.

Ane Mulligan