Saturday, May 31, 2008

Gayle Roper's Fatal Deduction ~ Reviewed


Fatal Deduction
By: Gayle Roper
Published by Multnomah Books
ISBN-13: 978-1-60142-013-8
Back Cover:

Twin sisters, deadly crossword puzzles, and a corpse on the doorstep are just the first clues to a family secret that goes back generations……..

Libby Burton longs to be close to her twin sister, Tori, but their lives have taken them in different directions. Forced to share Aunt Stella’s old Philadelphia home in order to receive their inheritance, Libby hopes for a change, but it isn’t looking good so far.

First, Tori tries to steal the affection and allegiance of Libby’s teenage daughter, Chloe. Then when a crossword puzzle with hidden threats shows up on their doorstep, Tori refuses to take it seriously ------in spite of the dead man who delivered it.

A stolen diamond and a botched kidnapping make Libby’s resolve to act faithfully more difficult. The answer to her problems lies in the riddles of the crosswords, but she is running out of time to uncover the truth.

In her latest romantic suspense novel, award-winning author Gayle Roper entices reader with her unusual blend of intrigue, faith, and clever crossword puzzle clues.

Review:

This story begins with high drama and follows through with it to the end. Crossword puzzles, family conflict, and a mystery are just a few items the reader has to solve in Fatal Deduction. Gayle Roper has created a novel that includes suspense, romance, and an emotional rollercoaster all at the same time.
The cast of characters come from all walks of life. I have twins, and if one of mine acted like Tori did, I would have to spank her—that is how emotionally provoking her character is. Nancy Drew meets modern day mom in the character of Tori’s sister. The characters were so realistic I felt like I could reach out and touch them.

The story line has more twists and surprises then a ride at Six Flags. The societal issues presented in the story run the gamut: single parenthood, effects of divorce on children, as well as, adoption versus abortion.

Fatal Deduction includes many spiritual lessons. It shows the value of being a spiritual light in a dark world. The characters of the twins shows the difference in a life lived for Christ and one lived for self. It also teaches how you choose to love family in spite of their flaws while entertaining to the end.

The story left me feeling hopeful about life. It reminded me that God does work things out for His good. I plan on getting my hands on every book written by Gayle Roper because it was just that good.

Reviewed by: Shellie Powell

Friday, May 30, 2008

Debbie Fuller Thomas's Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon ~ Reviewed


TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE BLUE MOON
By Debbie Fuller Thomas
Published by Moody Publishers
ISBN#978-0-8024-8733-9
367 pages

Back Cover:


Switched at Birth – and then switched back.
When Marty Winsolow’s thirteen-year-old daughter dies of a devastating genetic disease, she discovers the truth – her precious middle child had been switched at birth. After learning that her actual biological daughter was recently orphaned, she decides to fight for custody. Winning the court case was the easy part.

This still-grieving, single mom is torn between memories and realities. And wants desperately for God to heal her family.

For Andie, tall and blonde like Marty, being forced to live with strangers is just one more reason not to trust anyone. Her soul is a beat up as the rundown Blue Moon Drive-In the family owns. But Tuesday night is family night at the Blue Moon. And as Andie’s hopes fade, healing comes from the last place she wanted or expected – the hurting family and loving God she fought so hard to resist.

REVIEW:


“Switched at Birth” impossible but I was watching it unfold right before my very young eyes on TV. “1989” Ernest & Regina Twiggs take Bob Mays to court for the custody of their biological daughter, Kimberly Mays; 10 years old and the only child of Bob Mays. The drama on TV was happening in Sebring Florida where the Mays lived – the Twiggs lived in Philadelphia with their 7 children.

The Twiggs learned the truth about their daughter Arelena after she dies following complications from heart surgery. Thru blood tests done after Arelena’s death Ernest and Regina found out that their healthy daughter was given to another family at birth. After this discovery the Twiggs became “determined” to make Kimberly Mays apart of their lives.

Tuesday Night At the Blue Moon begins with a similar case and courtroom drama very much like I remembered as a kid but the participants are very different. Marty is a single mother raising Deja almost 16, Winnie about 8. They are all struggling emotionally after the loss of their sibling Ginger to a deadly disease Neiman-Pick. Because Neiman-Pick is a genetic disease extensive testing was done on all family members after Ginger’s death. The conclusion was that Ginger wasn’t their child after all. Their biological child was Andrea Hayley Lockhart (who went by the name of Andie). When this case comes to court they discover that Andie is living in an adult community in a trailer park where children are not allowed!! Marty is given temporary custody until the grand parents can sell their trailer and live in a place where children are welcome and they don’t have to hide Andie.

I loved how the author brought depth to the many characters in this story and their situation. She doesn’t go too far to where you’re over whelmed by the tragic details of the disease Neiman-Pick which can wipe out entire families, but has found the balance in telling you just enough to draw you in but not enough to devastate you and you put down the book. This is one sensational story. I like how the author gives you the feel of going behind the scene of this story as it’s told by having Marty’s Point of View told first. Then the next chapter is from Andie’s point of view of the exact event described by Marty. Debbie Thomas shows you the story from all angles which quickly got my attention. By doing this I could see the many layers to this story which kept me flipping the pages to find out more.

Unlike the Twiggs Vs Mays custody battle I mentioned earlier Marty had compassion for her biological child; a sense of God and a desire to do the right thing. Marty is determined to make the best of it. I love how the author shows both Marty and Andie struggling in their own way with their present situation; trying to piece together the past and make sense of their future.

I really liked Marty and how practical and down to earth she is . She says “There’s an unwritten rule floating in space that when your house is at its absolute worst, you’ll have company. So of course, the doorbell rang…”

I felt for Andie and appreciated her honesty with herself, she recalls “When I was a little kid I used to think everybody dressed up in costumes on their birthdays, just like me. In kindergarten, I realized that my birthday and Halloween were two separate things. It was kind of disappointing to find out.”

Debbie Thomas does a great job of showing how this tough situation effected everyone’s life not just Marty and Andie. I found myself rooting for both sides – both families. I also rooted for them to let God work His peace and joy back into their lives as impossible as that seemed.

Marty ponders a story in the bible where two women come before King Solomon with a baby. Both claim to be the mother. King Solomon suggests they cut the baby in half so that each of them could have a piece of the baby. The real mother yells “Don’t harm my baby. Give the baby to her!’ Right then the King discovers who the real mother is. Marty asks God to help her do the right thing. It would be so much easier for her to let this whole thing go. She has enough drama and heartache in her life. She definitely didn’t need this.

I wish Ernest and Regina Twiggs had taken that bible verse to heart. It would have caused a lot less pain and drama in Kimberly May’s life. But The Twiggs launched a full out attack on Bob Mays to DEMAND CUSTODY of 10 year old Kimberly Mays. This case became a media Circus putting Kimberly and her father under constant surveillance by everyone they came in contact with. Bob Mays finally agreed to visits with the Twiggs but stopped after 5 of them. Kimberly was being squeezed emotionally and wasn’t’ doing so well. After a 5 year battle Kimberly took Ernest and Regina to court and wanted to “divorce” her biological parents. She told Barbara Walters in an interview aired for all the world to see ‘I want my life back the way it was before the Twiggs entered my life as my natural parents”. She won the case. Who would have every thought a child of 15 would have to go thru something like that. Sometimes “real” life is stranger than fiction.

Andie “Wanted her life back too!! The life where her parents were back from vacation and alive. She wanted to live with them not this strange family. She knew that wasn’t going to happen! Andie was 13 and felt lost and alone. Who could she turn to?

I was fascinated by the way Debbie told this story. It’s not like anything you have read lately. This is every parent and kids nightmare come true. The Characters and their situations will definitely pull at your heart strings as you watch them try to make sense of the mess they find themselves in. I was totally absorbed with how everyone dealt with this situation in their own way. How they handled this “New” living arrangement. Because of this dramatic change everyone found themselves in, aspects of their lives come out unexpectedly. The stuff they thought they had already dealt with - stuff they didn’t’ know they had to deal with.

Can they survive this nightmare? Could a child be expected to live with strangers and have her belong just because she has the genetic makeup and is their flesh and blood? You’ll have to read this amazing story to find out where God leads Marty and Addie!! This is a challenging situation for sure; one that you’ll want to read about. Get your copy today and read the “Rest of the story”.


Reviewe by: Nora St.Laurent

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Claudia Mair Burney's Zora & Nicky ~ Reviewed


Zora & Nicky
Claudia Mair Burney
Paperback: 389 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (April 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781445507
ISBN-13: 978-0781445504


Product Description


Zora Nella Hampton Johnson knows exactly where she comes from her daddy won't let her forget. Of course, for that privilege, he keeps her in Prada and Kate Spade. He chooses her boyfriend, her car, her address and ignores not only her mother, but her own love of painting, art and the old ways of her granddaddy's soulful AME church. Her daddy may be a preacher, but somewhere among the thousands of members, Zora has lost God. And she wants him back.

Nicky Parker, a recent graduate of Berkeley and reformed playboy, also suffers the trials of being a preacher's kid, and he can't remember the last time he saw eye-to-eye with his white, racist, Republican, Southern Baptist father. What he does remember and it will be forever burned in his brain despite myriad prayers to Jesus is the way Zora looked the first time he saw her.


When they meet at a Bible study far from their respective home churches, the first churlish, sarcastic sparks that fly sizzle with defensiveness. But God has a special way of feeding the flames, and though from different flocks, these two lost sheep will find Him and much, much more.


My Review:


Congratulations to David C. Cook for seriously stretching the boundaries of Christian fiction with the publication of Zora & Nicky.

Those who have been clamoring for realistic Christians between the covers of Christian fiction need look no further than Nicky and Zora, pastors' kids who carry baggage and attitudes into a "walking on eggshells" friendship.

Two vastly different and too similar backgrounds coupled with intense physical attraction ignite a relationship between a white, Baptist reformed playboy, and a name-it, claim-it trained, coddled African American Princess.

Claudia Mair Burney writes first person twenty-something male and female perspective with brutal honesty and with much grace. A handful of rag-tag friends who support the new couple make for colorful and creative teaching moments. Burney instructs on purity, immorality, beliefs, traditions, brokenness and grace through the characters who offer support. On the flip side are those characters who have heaped material goods,selfishness, hate and well-intentioned abuse on the couple.

The story veers from convicting to poignant to beautiful to raw. There were moments that I was overwhelmed with poignant writing and had to stop and catch my breath, only to cringe at the rawness that lurked on the next page.

I must warn sensitive souls, this novel contains sexual situations and if you have a diet of nice romance novels or inspiring reading, Zora & Nicky may knock your socks off in a not so pleasant way. But as I mentioned earlier...those of you that clamor for reality and grit...you need to get your hands on a copy.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tina Ann Forkner's Ruby Among Us ~ Reviewed




Ruby Among Us
By Tina Ann Forkner
Published by WaterBrook Press
ISBN 978-1-4000-7358-0



Description:
Lucy DiCamillo is safely surrounded by her books, music, and art—but none of these reclusive comforts or even the protective efforts of her grandmother, Kitty, can shield her from the memory of the mother she can no longer remember. Lucy senses her grandmother holds the key, but Kitty seems as eager to hide from the past as Lucy is to find it.

From the streets of San Francisco and Sacramento, to the lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley, Lucy follows the thread of memory in search for a heritage that seems long-buried with her mother, Ruby.

What she finds is enigmatic and stirring in this redemptive tale about the power of faith and mother-daughter love.

Review:

In her debut novel, Forkner explores the relationship between three generations of mothers and daughters with the sensitivity of a seasoned novelist. When her young, single-mother dies, eight-year-old Lucy loses her memories of Ruby. Grandmother Kitty moves in to raise Lucy. But as Lucy grows up, she's no longer satisfied with Kitty's memories of Ruby. Lucy wants her own and begins to search for them.
Forkner does an extraordinary job of drawing the reader into the mystery surrounding Lucy's heritage and her grandmother's past. As she struggles to regain some memory of Ruby and delve into the secrets everyone else seems to know, you'll feel as if you're walking beside Lucy, discovering each piece of the puzzle with her.


I loved how Forkner resisted telling too much before Lucy discovered it, which created a very credible tale. If you're a mother or a daughter, you're going to love Ruby Among Us. I give it a high recommendation and look forward to more from this author.


Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan


Bonus Review:


This is a very thought provoking and moving book. Tina tells a tale that is intense. The plot is intricately woven with many twists and turns. The curiosity, pain and deep yearning of Lucy to get to the truth of her life, her mother’s life and her grandmothers kept me reading this book every chance I could get to see if the truth would ever come out. This book showed me a word picture for John 8:32 which says “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Lucy longed to be free of the family secrets but how?


Kitty was the keeper of the family secrets. Her heart was broken and her spirit crushed by the storms of life. Kitty felt that she had to hold onto these secrets to survive. This book showed another word picture for Psalm 34:18 which says “The Lord is close to the broken hearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”


This story also is about forgiveness, redemption, and new beginnings. I was compelled to keep reading this rich story to find out if Lucy could put the pieces of her life together. The life she never knew she had. Her Heritage. It’s definitely a page turner!


Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Paul Robertson's Road to Nowhere ~ Reviewed



Road to Nowhere
Paul Robertson
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Bethany House (April 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764203258





Book Description:

For years, Wardsville, North Carolina, sat nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, a peaceful small town. The kind of place where neighbors care for each other. But that's until unexpected funding arrives to build a road into town. Suddenly, this quiet town becomes torn in two, with everybody looking first to their own interests.and somebody willing to commit murder to make sure things go their way.


My Review:

You know someone is a talented author when he can write a novel about a road and make it a page-turner. Paul Robertson has done just that.

A small county made up of small towns, mere blips on the state map, situated miles from everywhere else suddenly receives the possibility of a chance to connect, change and grow. A road. This opportunity lands in the lap of the county government members and the folks in their jurisdiction soon make their wishes and demands known.

Who is behind the road? Does someone feel strongly enough about it to kill? What is the right decision?

I read this novel with the same sense of wonder I felt watching the interactions of the 12 Angry Men. Road to Nowhere is a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts and triggers and behaviors of people caught up in a cause. It is also a finely crafted novel nothing like his other impressive work, The Heir.


Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Gail Gaymer Martin's And Baby Makes Five ~ Reviewed


And Baby Makes Five
By Gail Gaymer Martin
Published by Heartsong Presents
ISBN 978-1-59789-638-2

Back Cover:

PREGNANT, WIDOWED, AND LIVING IN HER CAR

This is not what Felisa Carrillo envisioned when she left her home in Guadalajara at sixteen, married to a handsome guy and headed to America. Who could have known her husband would turn abusive and “America” would mean migrants work and impoverished living? But here she is, years later, wiser but still in trouble.

Chad Garrison is on a routine visit to the fields when he sees a young migrant worker double over in pain. He hurries to help, only to find she is about to deliver a child there in his field. He rushes her to the hospital, then finds himself drawn to her.

Is Chad being taken in by a scheming, dishonest immigrant, as some of his friends suggest? Should Felisa be concerned that Chad has ulterior motives in his generosity toward her? Is this relationship God’s doing or just a big mistake?


Review

I found it easy to fall in love with these characters that Gail Gaymer Martin brought to life. Even though Felisa and Chad came from two different worlds, their love for God brought them closer. The gradual development of the characters, and their differences in society, really made me want to continue reading. This book stirred all my emotions, making me laugh, cry and get angry. I feel Ms. Martin really did a nice job displaying prejudice, friendship and love. I had a hard time putting it down!

If you enjoy a good love story – I would definitely recommend this one!

Reviewed by Diane T. Stokowski

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Randy Singer's By Reason of Insanity ~ Reviewed



By Reason of Insanity
Randy Singer
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (April 11, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 141431633X



Product Description


After a series of kidnappings and murders in Virginia Beach, newspaper reporter Catherine O'Rourke experiences disturbing dreams that detail each crime. In an effort to aid the investigation, she shares them with her confidential source--a detective working on the case. Catherine's intimate knowledge of the crimes immediately makes her a prime suspect. When scientific evidence corroborates her guilt, she's arrested and charged with murder. As she begins to doubt her own innocence, Catherine turns to Las Vegas lawyer Quinn Newberg, a high-priced specialist in the insanity defense. Quinn believes in justice, Vegas-style. But he doesn't believe in the supernatural, or that Catherine's dreams are anything other than the result of a fractured personality disorder. Who can understand the human mind? Quinn knows that insanity cases are unpredictable, but nothing had prepared him for this! To win, or even survive, Quinn will need more than his famed legal maneuvering and biting skepticism. On this case, he needs a miracle.



My Review:


Insanity is the first of Randy Singer's works I've read and I will definitely look into his other novels. Legal thriller fans who haven't checked into him are missing out if Insanity is any indication of the quality of his previous novels.

Full of medical/psychological detail regarding Dissociative Identity Disorder, capital punishment, legal details into the insanity defense, jail brawls, high stakes gambling and enough plot twists to keep the reader on his or her toes, I whipped through this wild ride of a novel.

The spiritual thread is light until the end, and even then doesn't feel thrown in to sew everything up. Quinn and Catherine were intriguing with the background trauma in their lives, but I struggled a little with the friendship between them. A couple of red herrings didn't get resolved clearly, but I was totally caught off guard by a few plot twists so I gladly forgave this issue.

I didn't know how resolution could work out within the last hundred pages and I was impressed that the book ended on a satisfying note.

Big Honken Chicken club members need to take note -- there are some intense themes and scenes in Insanity.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Terri Blackstock's Dawn's Light ~ Reviewed


Dawn’s Light
By: Terri Blackstock
Published by Zondervan
ISBN# 978-0-310-25770-7

Backcover:

As the end of a worldwide crisis comes in sight, one family considers the lessons they have learned….and faces their ultimate test.

In the face of a crisis that sweeps the entire planet back to the age before electricity, the Brannings face a choice. Will they hoard their possessions to survive—or trust God to provide as they share their resources with others?

#1 bestselling suspense author Terri Blackstock weaves a masterful what-if series in which global catastrophe reveals the darkness in human hearts---and lights the way to restoration for a self-centered world.

As the pulses that caused the power outage are finally coming to an end, thirteen-year-old Beth Branning witnesses two brutal murders. She narrowly escapes from the killer and runs away in terror. If she tells anyone what she saw, he’ll find her and kill her. But if she doesn’t, her silence could cost her life.

Meanwhile, as Deni’s ex-fiance returns to Crockett with a newfound faith and the influence to get things done, Deni is torn between the man who can fulfill all her dreams and Mark Green the man who inhabits them.

As the world slowly emerges from the crisis, the Brannings face their toughest crisis yet. Will God require more of them than they’re prepared to give? How will they keep their faith if he doesn’t answer their prayers?


Review:

There is a season for everything says Ecclesiastes 3:1, and Dawn’s Light covers many of those seasons. It is a story of beginnings, endings, and all the things in life that come in between.

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? How do you forgive what seems unforgivable? How do you trust God when you can’t see Him? These are just a few questions answered in the story.

The last book in Blackstock’s Restoration series is the most powerful and thought provoking of them all. It is a book where the reality of life’s hardships and fiction meet. Prayer, faith, and compassion are all topics presented in the book. The story made me realize there is such a thing as a suspenseful tear jerker and Dawn’s Light is it.

Dawn’s Light can be read as a suspenseful book that will keep you up at night, or it can be used to take the reader to a deeper spiritual level. I found it very challenging as I compared myself to how main characters dealt with conflict, revenge, suffering, and how I do. I have read several of Blackstock’s books, and this one moved me more emotionally and spiritually than any other. After reading the story I wanted to know the God of the Branning family better and so will you.


Reviewed by: Shellie Powell

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sigmund Brouwer's Broken Angel ~ Reviewed

Broken Angel
Sigmund Brouwer
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (May 20, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400070325






Product Description





Her birth was shrouded in mystery and tragedy.


Her destiny is beyond comprehension.


Her pursuers long to see her broken.


She fights to soar.





In the rough, shadowy hills of Appalachia, a nation carved from the United States following years of government infighting, Caitlyn and her companions are the prey in a terrifying hunt. They must outwit the relentless bounty hunters, skirt an oppressive, ever-watchful society, and find passage over the walls of Appalachia to reveal the dark secrets behind Caitlyn’s existence–and understand her father’s betrayal.





In this engrossing, lightning-paced story with a post-apocalyptic edge, best-selling author Sigmund Brouwer weaves a heroic, harrowing journey through the path of a treacherous culture only one or two steps removed from our own.





My Review:





A fascinating look at a future time with chilling possibilities. The story of Broken Angel centers around a daughter with a secret, even to her, and a father who gave up everything to keep it just that.





The government, a form of Big Brother, knows all, unless one is clever enough or daring enough to test that theory. Jordan is, and Caitlyn is left to pick up all the pieces, the trails and the horror of what has just been revealed to her and what might lie ahead.





Action-packed, well-written, full of moments of creepiness, this book is a lightning-fast read and hopefully book one of a series because I would really like to find out what happens after "The End." Broken Angel is my first Brouwer book but it won't be my last.





Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lisa Samson's Embrace Me ~ Reviewed


Embrace Me
Lisa Samson
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 4, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595542108



Book Description:

Biting and gentle, hard-edged and hopeful...a beautiful fable of love and power, hiding and seeking, woundedness and redemption.When a "lizard woman," a self-mutilating preacher, a tattooed monk, and a sleazy lobbyist find themselves in the same North Carolina town one winter, their lives are edging precariously close to disaster...and improbably close to grace.

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



My review:


Lisa Samson has crafted a novel that will likely thrill her fans. Not only because Samson shows her immense talent with words in Embrace Me. But because Samson revisits some characters from previous novels. I was pleasantly surprised to find out some characters that I grew to love are doing well -- thriving even. But those folks aren't the focus of the story.

A character study unlike any I've ever read, Embrace Me, showcases wounded characters over the span of a decade or so. Drew emotionally drowns in his selfishness and then attempts to purge the selfishness out of his system one cigarette at a time. Eventually his outside scars will mirror his inner ones. Valentine, has become a cynical and wounded heart encased in a reptilian mask. In an attempt to survive she sells peeks of her damaged face at a carnival side-show. Billed as Lizard Woman, she flaunts her pain, but becomes a prisoner as she will only go out in the darkest moments of the night. A smattering of additional characters like Lella, the sweet, selfless "human cocoon" who gives Valentine a reason to go on living, Gus, a modern day monk, Blaize, the woman who takes Valentine and Lella in, add richness and even more depth to the novel.

The story span begins with Drew's meltdown in 2002 and Valentine's arrival in the late fall of 2008 and the unfolding of details regarding a very, very small world and a very involved, very big God.

I will say that some readers might struggle with the subject matter. Samson doesn't paint false pictures. Her characters are very real, and often not pretty. They resemble real life churches and families, those who don't hide their dysfunction under glossy "church face" glitz and glitter anyway. Rough subjects and rough behavior fill Embrace Me. One of the reviewers I work with struggled with writing a review and with finding the point, so unless you like digging into characters and are unconcerned about plots that leave breathing room, you might want to look over several reviews before buying Embrace Me. But if you like Christian fiction that pushes the envelope and makes you think and get lost in the lives of broken people...I recommend it.


Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pam Davis' Sydney Clair's Season of Change ~ Reviewed



Sydney Clair’s Season of Change
A Friendship Story
Girls ‘n Grace Collection
By Pam Davis
Published by Authentic Publishing
[ISBN-13] 978-1-934068-50-2


Back cover:


Sydney Clair Wilcox is a determined, curious ten-year-old trying to keep up with all the changes around her. The year is 1965 and Penny, her beloved big sister, is moving away to college. In the middle of the civil rights, women’s rights, and environmental movements, Sydney Claire’s world is changing. Discover how her heart is made ready for the next season of her life and how she prepares for a fragrant friendship that blooms.




Hi this is Caitie,
I’m going to tell you about a book called Sydney Clair’s Season of Change. This book was about a girl Sydney Clair. Her sister Penny went off to college and Sydney was going to miss her a lot. Did I mention that it’s in 1965? In 1965 there was the Civil Rights Movement.


Sydney can’t wait for her best friend, Vicky’s, party. She’s been talking about it for months. One day, at the library where her mom works, Sydney meets a girl named Patrice. No one was nice to her because of her skin color. On the first day of school Sydney wants to be friends with Patrice, but it’s hard. Her friend Vicky said if Sydney was friends with Patrice then she couldn’t be friends with Vicky and Anna. [Sydney’s white Friends].


It might have been hard for Sydney but the story was cool. It told us about good changes and bad changes. The good changes were standing up for what is right. The bad changes were the people who weren’t nice to the people who didn’t have white skin.


I LOVED this book. [Mom’s note, the word loved was said more like L-o-o-o-o-o-ved it].


I’m going to read Mesi soon and then I’ll tell you all about it.


Bye for now, Caitie.


Caitlin, the 9 year old daughter of Tiffany Colter, does book reviews on children’s books. You can see other reviews or contact her through Tiffany’s website.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedfords' The Penny ~ Reviewed







THE PENNY
By Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford
Published by : Faith Words
247 pages
ISBN# 978-0-446-69593-0



Back Cover:






Jenny Blake has no idea how her life will change in the summer of 1955. But the day she stoops to pick up a penny imbedded in the hot asphalt, she starts a chain of events that will transform her life and the lives of those around her. Jenny is swept into a friendship with Miss Shaw, the woman whose past is the biggest mystery along Grand Avenue, the woman who will change Jenny’s future forever. As Jenny and Miss Shaw work together at the local jewelry store, they form a friendship that dares both of them to confront secrets in their pasts – secrets that threaten to destroy them. And in the process, they discover that big decisions often don’t amount to much, but little decisions sometimes transform everything.


Review:


The 50’s; fun and care free images of girls in ponytails, poodle skirts, bobby socks and saddle shoes, and boys trained their hair into greased back duck tails, wearing rolled up t-shirt sleeves, and black leather jackets. The “Happy Days” with the Fonz; come to mind. The 50’s also had a dark side with images on TV of policemen fighting civil rights demonstrators, the challenge of integrating public schools,and racial tension. On another front scaring Americans even more Soviet Union and the US created the “H” Bomb. Many expected our world to blow up. Amongst scenes of “Happy Days” some really disturbing stuff was going on in the world Jenny Blake lived in. Until the day she bend down to pick up a penny. Her life would never be the same.

“You know what I think? I think that you picking up that penny was more than part of a random chain of events. I think God was giving you a message. I think he wants you to know that he’s watching over you all the time.” Miss Shaw says to Jenny who is having a really hard time believing that one. If Miss Shaw only knew what her life was really like she wouldn’t be saying these things to her.

Jenny had her doubts about the penny and about God. Things were starting to look different but how could she trust herself or anyone else for that matter? There was too much pain in her life; she couldn’t get close to anyone right now. When a thought came to Jenny. She was desperate to talk to someone or bust; maybe she could be friends with Aurelia Crockett; a negro girl at Harris School. Crazy thought she knew but somehow it seemed right. This girl would never ask to have a sleep over. A negro girl would never expect to be invited to a white girls house. This seemed like the perfect set up. Jenny wouldn’t be expected to let Aurelia get too close because of the racial situation they lived in. Her dad wouldn’t allow a friendship or anything else with Aurelia for that matter. Jenny would be able to keep her secrets safe and still have a friend. This could work . She just couldn’t let her dad find out.

Jenny’s sister is obsessed with Grace Kelly the movie star of the 50’s. Because of Jenny’s love for Grace Kelly I learned a great deal about the actress in this book. How she became a big movie star, what movies she was in and how she went on to marry Prince Rainer of Monaco. Every little girls dream in that day and age was to marry a Prince. One of Jenny’s friends says “With all the talk of Grace Kelly. It sounds like your sister Jean wants to life someone else’s life instead of her own.” How true that was. If only Jenny could do that too.

At age 14; Jenny finds the courage to stand up for things she really believes in . She steps out to do the right thing, counting the cost, no matter how scary things got. Jenny knew deep inside herself she was not alone. I remember doing that in my life as well and things were never the same. This book is definitely a story of hope, courage, and God’s redeeming love for us. It’s about the process and courage of giving God control over our lives. Giving control to no one else but Him. That’s when our world changes forever. It did for me. You will discover in this book as Jenny did it’s all about the little things in life that really matter. You’ll learn like she did how to smell the flowers and see with new eyes the beauty around you every day.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Christine Lynxwiler's Along Came a Cowboy ~ Reviewed



ALONG CAME A COWBOY
By Christine Lynxwiler
Published by: Barbour Publisher
303 pages
ISBN# 978-1-59789-896-6




Back Cover:

From the outside looking in, local Chiropractor Dr. Rachel Donovan seems to have it together. She’s returned to her hometown of Shady Grove and runs a thriving Chiropractic practice. She’s been nominated as Shady Grove’s Citizen of the Year, and appointed to the committee planning the town’s major centennial celebration and rodeo. Unfortunately, on the inside everything is not as it appears.

The committee duties come with baggage – cute, cowboy baggage to be precise. Jack Westwood is the epitome of the stereotypical cowboy; rugged, handsome and bull-headed. While he makes everyone else swoon, Rachel is determined to not get involved any more than necessary. She knows his type – T- R-O-U-B-L-E.

Unfortunately, the fallout from a mistake that Rachel made fifteen years ago still echoes today threatening to ruin her sterling reputation and bring the whole fa├žade tumbling around her. She thought she had buried it deep in her past, but while she’d moved on she never really moved past that summer. Even though she knows that God has forgiven her, she’s having a harder time forgiving herself.

Review:

Dr. Rachel Donovan has worked real hard to build a name for herself in Shady Grove’s a town where she grew up. The people of this town voted her Citizen of the Year because she loves them and they know it. She wants to make people proud of her but how can she do that when the past is not far behind. Always overshadowing her achievements. She was the responsible child growing up, always easy going and someone you could rely on until that one summer when her world was turned upside down. One bad choice, that’s all it took to be out cast and all alone. She thought she would never recover from that one decision.

Rachel cries out to God one night when she can’t juggle the past and the present any longer. She asks God to listen to her just like the other times over the years. Her pain was great! ” How many times I’ve asked You to take this whole thing away. What am I doing wrong?” She searches her heart; it’s willing but what was it? Realization hits her hard; she had to forgive herself. Sometimes that’s the hardest person to forgive. She had to Stop punishing herself for what happened but how?

One of Rachel’s close friends says to her one day …”Your past made you the amazing woman you are today. But you still need to embrace the future, free of shame and guilt.” Rachel wasn’t fooling anyone but herself. She asked the Lord again for help she couldn’t do this on her own.

Jack Westwood cowboy rodeo star the one person she has been avoiding since he has come to town. She wasn’t going to get tangled up with another cowboy; it wasn’t so great the last time. Rachel was determined to not let anyone close to her again but Jack Westwood is turning up every where she goes. She knows his kind but the more she runs into him she is finding out he is not like the cowboys she knows. He’s real and he’s not playing. “Sometimes the most amazing things are right in front of us, but we never see them.” Rachel’s heart starts to feel again but her head and pride say “ No.” Can Rachel allow God to mend her broken heart? Will she continue to punish herself and be left alone and miss the opportunity to love and be loved?

Will Rachel stop hiding and embrace the love many want to give her. Can she embrace the redeeming love that will change her from the inside out. God wants all of her past and present.

This was definitely a feel good book. I totally enjoyed Rachel and her friends lives. This is a story of healing, love and restoration. Treat yourself to a good time cowboy style!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Virginia Smith's Sincerely, Mayla ~ Reviewed


Sincerely, Mayla
Virginia Smith
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (March 30, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825436923


Book Description:

Mayla Strong attempts to balance family, friends, love, and faith in this heartwarming and heartbreaking sequel to Just As I Am.


My Review:


Sincerely, Mayla is a sweet novel about inevitable collisions when comfortable, rutted paths intersect with God's roads.

Mayla, a wild child from a previous novel (Just As I Am) which I haven't read, has hit her spiritual stride as a spruced-up, redeemed version of herself. But God isn't done with her yet. Newly relieved of her job, Mayla sets out to fix controllable issues like her love life, and she finds herself detouring to mend some fences that keep her apart from her grandmother in Florida, and then veering into potholes left by friends in crisis.

Mayla has the time for an extended trip, but her emotions are a different story and her mini-vacation proves to be quite a trip when all the dust finally settles.

Mayla is a cute escapist read that ends up convicting those readers who have gotten a little too comfortable, or who think they've figured God out and don't really need His hand to be involved in life's microscopic details. Smith tells a fun tale with an engaging voice and equally engaging characters. She manages to cover a whole lot of heavy issues like homosexuality and abortion in this easily navigated novel. A great summer fluff with substance read. You won't need to read Just as I am to appreciate the story, but it may be fun to see just how far Mayla's come.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Monday, May 12, 2008

Athol Dickson's - Winter Haven ~ Reviewed

Winter Haven
Athol Dickson
Publisher: Bethany House (April 1, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0764201646
ISBN-13: 978-0764201646







Book Description:


"Eleven years ago, Vera Gamble's brother left their house never to be seen again. Until the day Vera gets a phone call that his body has been found...washed ashore in the tiny island town of Winter Haven, Maine. His only surviving kin, Vera travels north to claim the body..and finds herself tumbling into a tangled mystery. Her brother hasn't aged a day since last she saw him.
Determined to uncover what happened in those lost years, Vera soon discovers there are other secrets lurking in this isolated town. But Winter Haven's murky past now seems bound to come to light as one woman seeks the undeniable and flooding light of truth."

Reviewed by Gina Holmes


Dickson's Winter Haven has the thoughtful prose of a literary novel, the brooding damsel in distress of a Gothic novel, the intrigue of a mystery and a great romance to boot. What I noticed first was the writing itself which was so lovely, at times it distracted me from the story.

Athol writes from the point of view of a woman and manages to do this convincingly. He sets wonderful scenes, making me feel as though I were really on this island off Maine. I didn't realize until the conclusion just how complicated a plot he was weaving, but he pulls it off beautifully with an ending I can't imagine any reader will see coming.

Without giving a spoiler, I did feel one small plot line had a Scooby Doo sort of wrap up, but even that thread was fun to read. All in all, I think Dickson pulled off a very fine Gothic romantic mystery literary romance inspirational novel. How many writers can claim that?

This excellent book has something every reader can enjoy, no matter what genre they prefer.



Sunday, May 11, 2008

Elizabeth Goddard's A Season of Love ~ Reviewed


Seasons of Love
Elizabeth Goddard
Mass Market Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: Barbour Publishing Inc (2008)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1597898997




Description: Riley O’Hare is tired of corporate ladder-climbing and ready to be rid of her ex-boyfriend. So when her brother dies, leaving her guardian of her two-year-old nephew, and her grandfather asks her to move back to the East Coast to help with the family farm, Riley leaves California forever.





Riley’s brother’s business partner, Zane Baldwyn, is in trouble. His company will never survive without his partner, unless Zane can find the answers to the mysteries left behind by John’s unexpected death. Riley seems to be the key, but she doesn’t know it yet. Could Zane ever be content to give up his ambitions and help Riley with the farm?





Review: I enjoyed this book. The mystery and suspense really drew me in, and I liked the main characters. They were very real and I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. I usually don’t like short novels, but this one was definitely worth reading. I highly recommend it.





Reviewed by: Melanie Dickerson

Friday, May 09, 2008

Elizabeth Ludwig and Janelle Mowery's Where the Truth Lies ~ Reviewed


Where the Truth Lies
By Elizabeth Ludwig & Janelle Mowry
Published by Heartsong Presents
ISBN 978-1-59789-530-9

Back Cover:

A case of suicide leads an amateur sleuth on a trail of deceit and corruption...
Casey Alexander refuses to believe that her aunt committed suicide. Convinced a murderer is hiding out in her aunt's sleepy hometown, she'll do anything to uncover the truth. But as her personal investigation produces mounting evidence, the danger to Casey grows. Now she'll be forced to trust certain residents of Pine Mills for help, including local nursery owner Luke Kerrigan...the man with whom shells falling in love...and who may be stalking her.

Prompted by strange clues and a mysterious stranger, Casey does a little more digging. The secrets she unearths will turn lives upside down and threaten the peace ion Pine Mills' small community—especially when she discovers that the truth can sometimes be hidden in a lie.

Review:

Where the Truth Lies has more twists that a bag of rotini. You won't guess the end of this quirky mystery, and when you get the answer to one clue, it merely opens the door to more secrets. The surprises keep coming right up to the end.

Well written, Ludwig and Mowery have blended their personal styles seamlessly in this fast-paced mystery. I'm looking forward to more from this talented team. Novel Reviews gives Where the Truth Lies a high recommendation.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

Thursday, May 08, 2008

John B. Olson's Fossil Hunter ~ Reviewed




Fossil Hunter
By John B. Olson
Published by: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
ISBN# 13-978-1-4143-2195-0
355 pages

Back Cover:

Only the fittest will survive.When Paleontologist Dr. Katie James leads an expedition to search for an ancient whale fossil rumored to be in the Iraq desert, she has no idea her archrival, Nick Murad, will be searching for same fossil.

But then Kathie makes a groundbreaking discovery and is forced to collaborate with Nick to analyze the find before it’s destroyed by a fundamentalist government faction.

When Nick and Katie’s initial results fly in the face of current scientific theory, it seems the whole world turns against them, including those they thought they could trust. Then the fossil disappears sending Nick & Katie on a chase that could cost them their reputations, their careers – even their lives.

Review:

Reader Beware this is one breathtaking ride. Better buckle up get ready for some wild adventures. Author John B. Olson’s book is filled with suspense, action and drama. Watch out Indiana Jones fans; Dr. Katie James will capture your heart! She is working at University of Mexico and is a legend in her own time. Katie James is a woman who really knows her stuff, works harder than most in the male dominated field she is in; and is being blackmailed by the head of her dept. to go to Iraq to make the biggest find in history which will allow the University to keep it’s grant money.

Dietrich her Dept. head had given her strict orders not to share her faith with anyone anywhere. Can Katie take on this new assignment and not talk about how she feels regarding God? She soon will find out. “This was concerning her career which happened to be her only means of supporting her father. After what happened in Peru this was also Katie’s only avenue in which she would be able to clear her name. She didn’t have a choice.” Or did she?

Katie James races to Iraq ahead of schedule. She is desperate to make the find of the century when she bumps into Dr. Nick Muard. What was he doing here? Wasn’t he in Pakistan? How did he get to Iraq and why? It was her job – her discovery! It had to be that way – she needed the money. The competition was on. She had to find this fossil first so she could keep her grant. Katie was not afraid to go out and get what she wanted. She would follow her instincts and find that fossil – so much depended on her. Indiana Jones was afraid of snakes. Katie James was terrified of one thing and that was crowds. She feared lots of new people in the same location – shouting questions at her. The thought was frightening. She’d gladly take on a room full of snakes than a room full of people.

Nick and Katie are about the start the biggest challenge of their lives when the minister yells a warning , “Remember…you are in Iraq now. Nothing is ever easy, and nothing is ever what it seems!!”

Nick and Katie will keep you up late reading about their amazing fossil search; as they try to stay alive in such awful conditions. I totally enjoyed their adventures and think this book would make a GREAT movie. A female Indiana Jones I can see that and you will too after you read this exhilarating book.

Reviewed by:
Nora St. Laurent
Book Club Servant Leader

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Rue and Arterburn's Healing Stones ~ Reviewed



Healing Stones
By: Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn
Published By : Thomas Nelson
ISBN-13: 978-0-8499-1890-2




Book Cover:



With One Flash Of A Camera, Demi’s Private Life Becomes Public News, She Doesn’t Know It Yet, But Her Healing Has Just Begun

Christian college professor Demitria Costanas had vowed to end her affair with a colleague. But she gives into temptation one last time…..and a lurking photographer captures her weakness for all to see. Quite literally, she’s the woman caught in adultery. And almost everyone –herself included-has a stone to throw.





Enter Sullivan Crisp, a decidedly unorthodox psychologist with his own baggage. He’s well known for his quirky sense of humor and incorporation of “game show” theology “ into his counseling sessions. And yet there’s something more he offers……hope for a fresh start.





Reluctantly the two of them begin an uplifting, uneven journey filled with healing and grace. By turns funny and touching, this story explores the ways humans hurt each other and deceive themselves. And it shows the endlessly creative means God uses to turn stones of accusation and shame into works of beauty that lead us onto the path of healing.


An auspicious debut for a candid yet tender series about pain, healing, and God’s invitation for second chances.


Review:


This story is a captivating read and free - therapy session in one well-written package. Referring to one’s emotional and spiritual growth the fictional psychologists says, “Until we’re dead, none of us is done,” and that is just one of the many great quotes in the book. Healing Stones begins with the main character dealing with guilt feelings of a sin she has been hiding. After being caught in the act the story then progresses to reveal how her sin affects everyone around her.


Hypocrisy, forgiveness, and God’s love are themes that run throughout the story. As a child that was a victim of a family members affair, I found the book on target in showing the ripple effect of that kind of mistake. The storyline also includes a firefighter and how he deals with a loss caused by the twin tower attacks. The dynamic duo Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn have succeeded in writing a book with both entertaining and spiritual value.

Reviewed by: Shellie Powell

Monday, May 05, 2008

S.Dionne Moore's Murder on the Ol' Bunions ~ Reviewed



Murder on the Ol' Bunions
By S. Dionne Moore
Published by Heartsong Presents
ISBN 978-1-59789-639-9


Back Cover:


LaTisha Barnhart's bunions tell her something's afoot as she delves deeper into the murder of her former employer, Marion Peters. When LaTisha becomes a suspect, the ante is upped, and she is determined to clear her name and find the real culprit.


She's burping Mark Hamm's bad cooking to investigate his beef with Marion ... getting her hair styled at a high falutin' beauty parlor to see what has Regina Rogane in a snarl ... playing self-appointed matchmaker between the local police chief and a prime suspect ... and thinking Payton O'Mahney's music store lease might be the reason he's singing out of tune when discussion of Marion's murder arises. LaTisha's thinking she just might use the reward money to get her bunions surgically removed.


But she's got to catch the crook first.


Review:


Murder on the Ol' Bunions opens sassy and never quits. I fell in love with LaTisha's indomitable spirit and impudence. We talk about characters leaping off the pages of a book, and LaTisha does. Well ... maybe not leap. LaTisha limps. Bunions, you know.


Moore didn’t give us a generic lovely, young sleuth. LaTisha Barnhart is an overweight grandmother and bossy. While the supporting cast have equally distinct personalities, Moore maintains a good balance of characters throughout. By the time I turned the last page, I truly didn't want this to end. I laughed all the way through it, and never guess whodunit.


This is Moore's debut book, and I'm anxiously awaiting the next one: Poly Dent Loses Grip. Novel Reviews gives Murder on the Ol' Bunions a high recommendation. A perfect read for a spring afternoon.


Reviewed by Ane Mulligan


Bonus Review:


Sandra Moore's debut novel sings. Snappy and creative wordsmithing, characters of substance and humor, and a mystery that will keep most readers guessing make Murder on the Ol Bunions an entertaining read. LaTisha is a laugh-out-loud, sarcastic woman with a strong will and a big soft heart.

Moore peppers her novel with delicious culinary moments, twisted red herrings and enough snarky commentary to keep half the town fed and on their toes. Long-suffering Hardy got my sympathy vote when LaTisha went into an occasional "keep out of her way" mode, but he got his darts in and the result of their interaction was as amusing as a sit-com. LaTisha's big heart makes her very sympathetic as she mourns her empty nest, and her able skills make her as asset to the tiny police department.

Those who love cozy mysteries should enjoy Murder on the Ol Bunions as much as I did, especially if you love strong women who put on a touch of tude.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Laura Hayden's America the Beautiful ~ Reviewed






AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

By Laura Hayden

Published by: Tyndale House Publishers

ISBN#978-1-4143-1939-1

Pages 284






Back Cover:


The First Woman President?


Emily Benton wants to be the first woman president of the United States of America. She has the pedigree, the talent, and the will to succeed as a candidate. And she’ll stop at nothing – absolutely nothing – to achieve her goal.


It’s Kate Rosen’s job to make Emily’s dream a reality. Besides being Emilly’s best friend, her chief of staff, and her campaign manager, Kate’s most important role is as Emily’s conscience. Both women entered politics to change the world, but Kate never anticipated how politics would change them. Now she’s faced with the ultimate clash between her beliefs and Emily’s drive to become president.


Lives are at stake, and Kate Rosen is a woman torn between her duty to God, her duty to country, and her duty to friendship. The fate of the nation, and perhaps the world, rests on what she does next…






REVIEW:



I loved this quote from the book “GOLDEN RULE OF POLITICS “Do unto others as they would do unto you, but do it FIRST.” Isn’t that the truth. Ha! The author states that “If Christians don’t venture out into the world and work to lift it above its troubles, what good are we???” I felt the urgency of this message as I read each page.


Laura Hayden spins a heartfelt tale of a president in the making as she describes Emily Benton’s race to the white house. The political race takes so many twists and turns. I was on the edge of my seat reading every word. I felt like I was watching the best teams in the Super Bowl battle it out for the grand prize. Who was going to win?? It was anyone’s guess. At a Super Bowl game I don’t want to leave the TV for fear I would miss the excitement. I didn’t want to put the book down because things changed all the time. Just when I thought a team was winning the other side would make an unexpected move!! It was intriguing.


Laura Hayden definitely made me think that America is experiencing this very issue as Hillary Clinton tries her best to seek to be the First Woman President. I felt as if I were in the middle of a virtual reality tour on the campaign trail , inside power meetings and tucked away behind closed doors. Had it not been for the Clintons first and now second time running for this high office and all its drama; I wouldn’t have believed the events in this book were possible.


Emily Benton is a strong, beautiful, brilliant, calculating woman driven to win the most powerful position in the land almost any way she can. Kate; Emily’s campaign manager, conscious; best friend, Christian who lives her faith in front of this presidential hopeful who doesn’t share her deep convictions but respects and desires to do the right thing in the end; or does she?


I was not only cheering for Emily Benton to be elected because the author made me “feel” thru Kates’ eyes; but I too felt that Emily was the BEST person for the job; it had nothing to do with her gender. As the details unfolded in the this exciting story of the political process. I saw how democracy is an amazing thing. I felt like I was watching this very operation in action and cherished its function even more as I read ”America the Beautiful” and saw the good; the bad; and the ugly.


I sympathized with Kate’s agony as her faith was put to the test daily, sometimes minute by minute. Could she continue being a Christian with all this bombardment to her faith, and the way she lived her life? Running for that kind of office is tough and grueling. The closer everyone got to the actual power of the White House things began to change and the stakes became higher. Kate was learning (and so was I) that there always was legal, moral, and ethical consequences to every action we take.



Reviewed by: Nora St Laurent Book Club Servant Leader

Friday, May 02, 2008

Brandt Dodson's White Soul ~ Reviewed



White Soul
Brandt Dodson
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736921419




Readers who devoured Brandt Dodsons four Colton Parker Mysteries will eagerly welcome this new novel from the suspense writer fans are comparing to Robert Parker, author of the megaselling Spenser series.

This provocative novel centers on police officer Ron Ortega, a cop caught in the middle:His wife and new baby want him home. His superiorsand his own naked ambitionwant him in Miami.
But when he infiltrates one of the city's most vicious gangs, someoneor someones want him dead. And theyll stop at nothing to achieve their goal. In a test of his faith, he must decide if he will succumb to the challenges and the temptations that surround him or live the life hes always proclaimed.
Or for that matter, whether hell live at all.

My Review:
This adrenaline soaked read kept me turning pages to the bittersweet end.

Fans of cop-lit should find much to like as they plunge into Ron Ortega's dual life as the undercover DEA agent becomes Ron Acuna, wannabe, and infiltrates the organization of a proud, suave and filthy rich drug Lord. What Ortega discovers will test everything he ever believed in.

Told in omniscient POV with plenty of juicy detail, the novel explores the underbelly of steamy, seamy Florida. However, in a step beyond secular cop-lit, the reader is able to experience the spiritual toll as the lure of money, glitz and power beckon Ron.

I would've liked to see a deeper relationship between Ron and Libby, his wife who is pregnant and alone, but I love character pieces. Those who consume plot-driven novels won't likely share my sentiments.

Warning to the sensitive -- Dodson peppers this work with grit. Squeamish souls may squirm.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, May 01, 2008

ACFW May Book Release List

Thanks, Jill


We've got 20 new Christian novels this month - the perfect accompaniment to backyard lawn chairs and glasses of iced tea. I hope you'll find one or more (more is better) from this list to suit your reading fancy. And don't forget to check out my new
Spotlight on debut author Cheryl Wyatt!.

1. Anathema
by Colleen Coble from Thomas Nelson. An Amish woman who fled after a murder is drawn back to her peaceful community--and a spiraling danger.

2. Bayou Judgment
, Bayou Series book 3 by Robin Caroll from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Crisis hot line counselor finds herself in the midst of murder and mayhem, and tough-guy preacher must fight to keep her safe.

3. Beyond the Night
by Marlo Schalesky from Multnomah Books. A woman going blind, a man who loves her but can’t tell her so, a crash, a hospital room, and an ending that must be experienced to be believed.

4. Blood Brothers
by Rick Acker from Kregel Publications. Sibling rivalry, black market deals, and a dangerous new wonder drug interrupt Ben Corbin's plans for early retirement in this riveting sequel to Dead Man's Rule.

5. Controlling Interest
by Elizabeth White from Zondervan. Matt Hogan and Natalie Tubberville compete to find a missing mail-order bride, with Matt's detective agency in the balance--or is love the ultimate prize?

6. Deadly Exposure
by Cara Putman from Love Inspired Suspense. With a stalker closing in, will television journalist Dani Richards trust her former love and police investigator Caleb Jamison to help her and God to rescue her?

7. Divorcing the Devil
by Dwan Abrams from Urban Christian. Drama, heartbreak, violence, and redemption. Will anyone be spared when trying to divorce the devil?

8. Flame From Within
by Shirley Kiger Connolly from Vintage Romance Publishing. Amethyst Rose, inflamed by the devastating war flees her beloved Vicksburg and becomes entangled with two passionate and enamored Yankee warriors and a deceitful Frenchman determined to steal her heart...perhaps her soul.

9. Fossil Hunter
by John B. Olson from Tyndale House. A Christian paleontologist makes a dangerous discovery -- a fossil that doesn't seem to fit current evolutionary theory.

10. It's All About Us
All About Us book one by Shelley Adina from FaithWords. Can a Christian teenager stay true to her faith and still get the most popular guy in school?

11. Journey to Judah
"Born for India" series Book One by Eileen Rife from Capstone Fiction. In an exotic culture of 7.5 million people and over 3 million gods, one woman resolves to follow her heart.

12. Leave it to Chance
by Sherri Sand from David C. Cook. After three long years of single motherhood, Sierra Montgomery can finally stand on her own two feet—until a gift horse threatens her finances, her family, and her budding relationship with a handsome landscaper.

13. Ruby Among Us
by Tina Ann Forkner from Waterbrook Press. Sometimes the key to your future lies in someone else's past. Ruby Among Us is a stirring story about faith and mother-daughter love.

14. Sandhill Dreams
, Book 2 Nebraska Brides by Cara C. Putman from Heartsong Presents. With her dreams shattered, will Lainie Gardner allow God and a soldier at Fort Robinson to breathe life into new dreams that will bring her more joy than she imagined?

15. The Black Cloister
by Melanie Dobson from Kregel Publications. When Elise Friedman travels to Germany to research her family's mysterious past, she uncovers a chilling secret and a man who threatens to destroy her.

16. The Duchess and the Dragon
by Jamie Carie from B&H Publishing. A passionate duke meets a lovely Quaker girl and finds it was worth losing everything to have her.

17. The Taste of Good Fruit
by MaRita Teague from Walk Worthy Press and Harrison House Publishing House. A tragic loss, a devastating secret, and a seductive mistake are insurmountable challenges that take close friends, Sydney, Chanel, and Sherese, on a journey towards self-discovery, strengthened friendship, and renewed faith.

18. Trion Rising
, Book one in the Shadowside trilogy by Robert Elmer from Zondervan. What would it be like if Jesus had come to another planet?

19. Wagered Heart
by Robin Lee Hatcher from Zondervan. Bethany Silverton can’t resist the challenge of charming a rough cowboy, but when she makes an innocent wager, unexpected results could turn a little flirtation into a lifetime of love.

20. With Endless Sight
, Crossroads of Grace #3 by Allison Pittman from Multnomah Waterbrook. When disaster strikes her family, fourteen-year-old Belinda finds herself alone until God delivers her to the unlikely sanctuary of a brothel in the Wyoming mountains.

Happy reading ~