Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Christa Ann Banister's Blessed are the Meddlers~Reviewed

Blessed are the Meddlers (Sydney Alexander Series, Book 2)
Christa Ann Banister
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: NavPress Publishing Group (August 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600061788

Product Description:

Freelance writer Sydney Alexander has given up her serial dating ways to marry Gavin. When she's offered an advice-to-the-lovelorn column at the local newspaper, she's convinced it's a way to help everybody---including her sister Samantha---find true love, too! How could something so right go so very wrong?

My Review:

Sydney and company are back. But this time, Sydney, living in domestic bliss, sets out to help her pals find their own version of relationship Nirvana. After all, Sydney does have some success under her belt.

However, Sydney discovers that match-making is not for the weak-hearted or weak-kneed.

Classic snappy chick-lit with a twist as Sydney tells her version of events while dropping a few designer names. As Sydney and pals chug several coffee drinks and schmooze with the beautiful ones, readers anticipate how ugly the meddling might become. Especially when we are treated to an omniscient look into the meddlees lives.

Chick-lit lovers will want to check out this sequel to Around the World in 80 Dates, especially if they like big casts and lots of drama.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lisa Samson's Finding Hollywood Nobody ~ Reviewed

  • Finding Hollywood Nobody
  • Lisa Samson
  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: NavPress Publishing Group (February 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600062016

Product Description:

For 15-year-old Scotty Dawn, life's beginning to resemble a movie! She recently learned that her film-industry mom is actually her grandmother, and that her father was killed by the mob. With the hit man still at large, Scotty hides on a Hollywood lot, where she battles fear and loneliness and discovers the life-changing power of prayer.

My Review:

Scotty has found out that much of what she thought she knew, she doesn't really have a clue about. Her mother turns out to be someone else. Seth, well, Seth needs to figure out what he's looking for. Biker guy. Hmmm. Is he really out to get her? If so, why does he pull at her heart? And cheese, can it really be that bad? How could something that tastes so good be bad?

Scotty, fifteen, dealing with the unknown, the untried and unusual is sweet, vulnerable, frustrating and real. Resembling a whole bunch of people who've crossed my path over the years -- ones I've grown to love.

Sweet and salty follow-up to Hollywood Nobody.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Patricia Hickman's Painted Dresses ~ Reviewed

Painted Dresses
Patricia Hickman
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (July 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400071992

Product Description

In this story of sisterhood and unexpected paths, Gaylen Syler-Boatwright flees her unraveling marriage to take refuge in a mountain cottage owned by her deceased aunt. Burdened with looking after her adult sister, Delia, she is shocked to find a trail of family secrets hidden within her aunt’s odd collection of framed, painted dresses. With Delia, who attracts trouble as a daily occupation, Gaylen embarks on a road trip that throws the unlikely pair together on a journey to painful understanding and delightful revelations.

Steeped in Hickman’s trademark humor, her spare writing voice, and the bittersweet pathos of the South, Painted Dresses powerfully captures a woman’s desperate longing to uncover a hidden, broken life and discover the liberty of living authentically, even when the things exposed are shrouded in shame.

My Review:

I recognize Gaylen and Delia. Unfortunately, that means there are families so touched by deep, dark secrets that members of those families become unable to function in a normal relationship. We all have those broken spots in our lives...can we swing in a circle and not bump into someone who is scarred?

Delia is flighty, rebellious and out of control. She peppers her surroundings with emotional buckshot. Gaylen spins like a toy top, bouncing and whirling elsewhere (anywhere) attempting to do what she knows is right. Her crippled past guarantees that those right things will fail.

This novel is a very gritty read. Not your traditional inspiring Christian fiction. If there are categories of Christian being sharing the hope and light of Christ and His power, the other showing how desperately hope, light and power are needed, Painted Dresses falls in the second category. You won't feel warm and fuzzy after reading it. You may find hope, it's not a hopeless read, but it is a very long look into lives of people who spend weeks and months grasping, gasping and trying to protect their view of themselves, regardless of the cost.

I applaud Patricia Hickman's desire to open a closet door, and if you love fiction that goes to the dark place in a human's soul, you definitely need to read the first chapter. Those who've been there may find healing by opening up and peeking in.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pam Davis' Mesi: A Girl 'N Grace in Africa ~ Reviewed

Mesi: A Girl ‘n Grace in Africa
The Girls ‘n Grace Collection

By Pam Davis
Authentic Publishing


Back Cover:

Mesi (pronounced Maycee) is a girl growing up on the continent of Africa. The landscape is as diverse as its people and their beliefs. Living in a village dependent on crops, Mesi’s education and her family’s well-being are in jeopardy when drought occurs. Through hardship, Mesi discovers a God who is near, so near that he cares about what concerns her. And she finds out about his inexhaustible treasure called grace.

Discover other books about Mesi and girls from around the world plus quizzes, prizes, games, and more by visiting


Remember Sydey Clair? Well here’s Mesi. (Pronounced Maycee )

Mesi lives in Africa. Her family is poor. She can’t even go to school! One day her Father goes to look for Gold! A few day’s later there’s this Party and everybody in Africa went there. Something then caught on fire! Kojo and Mesi went to get the Animals to safety. Kojo hurt his leg. Mesi’s dad came back! Mesi was given a job working at a lady’s store. Mesi gets a lot. That’s all I can tell about the story. You read the rest!! I really liked this book and want to read more! Bye for now. Caitie

Reviewed by
Caitie, Kid Reviewer -- Caitie’s Corner.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

James Scott Bell's Try Darkness ~ Reviewed

Try Darkness
By James Scott Bell
Published by Center Street
ISBN-13: 978-1-59995-685-5

Back Cover:

Ty Buchanan is living on the peaceful grounds of St, Monica's, far away from the glamorous life he led as a rising trail lawyer for a big L.A. firm. Recovering from the death of his fiancée and a false accusation of murder, Buchanan now prefers offering legal services to the poor and the underrepresented from his "office" at a local coffee bar called the Freudian Sip.

A mysterious woman with a six-year-old daughter comes to him for help. She's being illegally evicted from a downtown transient hotel, an interest represented by his old law firm and former best friend, Al Bradshaw. When the woman ends up dead, Buchanan is determined to find the killer and protect the little girl, who has no last name and no other family. But he soon finds that he must depend on skills he never needed in the employ of a civil law firm to keep himself and the girl alive.


Wow! A master plotter, James Scott Bell is no slouch at character development either. I was drawn into Buchanan's world by the rich descriptions as easily as a child into a candy store. Try Darkness is filled with the twists and turns that mark a JSB novel. Having fallen in love with Ty Buchanan, I chewed more than a few nails to the quick as I turned page after page. He is a character who needs a series. Try Darkness is a must-read for anyone who loves fast-paced legal thrillers.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

Bonus Review:

Try Darkness is one of the best legal thrillers I've read. Better, than Try Dying because Dying was melancholy and Ty's sarcastic bent was darker. In Try Darkness, Ty is more inclined to hope. He's still cynical but he's beyond the rough grief.

I love Ty and his quirky band of people. Sarcasm, bad guys, legal maneuvering and a hint of romance make this an entertaining read. The influence of those who love God and Ty's struggles with what he believes or doesn't believe make Try Darkness an honest and compelling yet inspirational read.

Murder, violence and evil are very present in the novel. Those who are very sensitive may struggle a bit. Legal thriller lovers, mystery lovers, folks who devour multi-dimensional characters and those looking for a great story will find much to like. Bell is a master. I am looking forward to what happens next in Ty's life. Based on where we left off in Try Darkness, it's going to be good.

Reviewed by Kelly Klepfer

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dennis Palumbo's From Crime to Crime: ~ Reviewed

From Crime to Crime: Mind-Boggling Tales of Mystery and Murder
Dennis Palumbo
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Tallfellow Press (April 30, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1931290601

Product Description:

Match wits with the Smart Guys Marching Society - a lawyer, an actor, a journalist and a psychotherapist - who use their diverse talents to solve the most baffling mysteries. And with the help of old-timer Isaac, they do just that! Also includes several stand-alone tales that will challenge your crime-solving skills and pique your powers of perception.

My Review:

I'm embarrassed to admit that though there are several mini-whodunits squeezed into this entertaining book, I guessed a total of nada. Lest you think I have no business reading mysteries, I did pick up a few clues and managed one or two close calls. But, alas, I'm no Isaac.

The Smart Guys Marching Society is a testosterone, food and brewskis fueled meeting of the minds that nets hints, strange facts and surprising results as well as a lot of fun. I know these guys, and you will likely, too, if you spend any time hanging out with groups of men. If you merged the essence and personalities of Psych, Monk, The Office and The Big Chill together with Agatha Christie and Watson, you might be able to get a feel for the Marching Society get togethers.

A smattering of bonus stories introduce other characters, but hands down, The Smart Guys Marching Society wins my vote as a charming, snarky, good time. I appreciated the blend of several stories, the book was easy to read and gave my mind plenty of details to sort out...fruitlessly in my case... but still entertaining. I'm looking forward to more stories by Dennis Palumbo.

Sensitivity language and some locker-room type humor pepper the book. There is little violence so unless you are very sensitive, it's safe to read after dark.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jack Cavanaugh's The Guardians~ Reviewed

The Guardians
Jack Cavanaugh
Paperback: 376 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook Distribution (February 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1589191005

Cover Copy:

Ethan Morgan never asked to be the firstborn, but Andrew, Ethan's twin and younger brother, begged for the honour from the time he could talk.

Maybe if he'd just given it to him signed away his birthright like Esau he wouldn't be a cop on the wrong side of a crime scene.

Is that what it takes to step up to family responsibility? Do the sins of the fathers revisit their sons, or do the ghosts of the past make believers of them?

My Review:

Jack Cavanaugh has created an intriguing blend of the volatility of modern times with history and has managed to toss in an underlying comic book theme.

The Morgan Bible is in Ethan's hands, however, it's not in his heart.

Mistaken identity, revenge, hatred, misplaced love, murder, passion, power, adventure, history and the battle of good vs evil all mesh and compete to bring a tale that is both amazing and written with Cavanaugh's' signature wit and knowledge.

I haven't read any of the previous Morgan family books in the series and still found this to be an entertaining novel. The plot moves along at a fast clip, faster than I usually like, and the character development wasn't a deep as it could have been, but overall, I still enjoyed this read.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Beth Pattillo's Sweetgum Knit Lit Society ~ Reviewed

The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society
By Beth Pattillo
Published by WaterBrook Press
ISBN-10: 1-4000-7394-4

Back Cover:

On the third Friday of each month, Eugenie, Ruth, Esther, Merry, and Camille meet at the Sweetgum Christian Church to enjoy two things that connect them: their love of knitting and their passion for books. Their camaraderie remains unthreatened until Eugenie, the town librarian, introduces an angry, vandalizing teenager into their midst. Eugenie also gives the ladies a new reading list: the classic novels of girlhood that young Hannah has never read. Little Women. The Little Princess. Books that revive old dreams and hopes for each of them.

With the click of their knitting needles, the ladies of the Knit Lit Society unravel their own secrets., A shadow from Eugenie's past haunts the controlled order of her life. Merry's perfect family is growing again. Camille wants to escape but is bound by ties of love. And the sisters, Ruth and Esther, are forced to confront a lie they have lived with for over thirty years.

As Hannah is reluctantly woven into their lives, the women discover that even in quiet Sweetgum, Tennessee then have the potential to be the heroines of their own stories.


A more unlikely cast of characters you won't find, but Beth Pattillo knits them together seamlessly in this heartwarming story. The implausible becomes believable as the plot unfolds. Hannah's negligible home life is made more complicated by her mother's boyfriend, while the Knit Lit Society ladies try to fill that void in her life in any way they can. An unpredictable end turns The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society into a memorable tale. One I recommend for your summer reading list.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

Bonus Review:

Pull up a chair, grab a glass of sweet tea, and introduce yourself to the Sweetgum Society. Patillio has created a setting that is heartwarming to read about and characters that capture the heart. I enjoyed the book discussions that went on in the story. It made me want to go back and read the girlhood classics explored in the book. The discussion questions used by the librarian in the story or some I hope to use in future bookclub discussions. I look forward to reading the next Sweetgum Society Knit Lit book that comes out.

Reviewed by Shellie Powell

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thomas Phillips' The Molech Prophecy ~ Reviewed

The Molech Prophecy
By: Thomas Phillips
Publisher: Whitaker House
ISBN: 978-1-60374-055-5

Book Cover:

Former gang member Tommy Cucinelle thought he had left his old life behind when he became a Christian. That’s why he’s surprised when his pastor asks him to use his old “skills” –finding people who don’t want to be found—to locate the church secretary after she mysteriously disappears and the church is vandalized. The police don’t have any leads.

Tommy’s investigation brings him face-to-face with unpleasant memories from the past threaten his new identity, but inner turmoil is soon the least of his worries. A local Wiccan church is at the heart of the mystery, and Tommy’s search uncovers a startiling prophecy about child sacrifice to the pagan god Molech. When the missing woman’s sister----and Tommy’s newfound romantic interest---disappears as well, the quest becomes personal.

Author Thomas Phillips wrestles with the important issues of faith, new life in Christ, and submission to God in this thrilling tale of adventure and mystery.


The Molech Prophecy starts out as a simple mystery and turns into a scary ride. The further I read in the book, the more suspenseful it got. The plot takes surprising and satisfying turns.

Tommy is as real and down-to-earth as a character can be. He’s also surrounded by side characters a person would run into in everyday life. Tommy is a fairly new Christian dealing with a secret past that is well-developed in the story. He draws you in from the first page.

I found the way the Wiccan church was portrayed as interesting and informational. The author successfully ties in a false God worshiped by pagans in the Old Testament. It had me searching the scriptures to study more on the topic. You know it is good Christian fiction if is has you seeking out truth in the Word.

I look forward to reading more from this new author, Thomas Phillips. I recommend this book but make sure you’re safe at home reading it.

Reviewed by Shellie Powell

Monday, July 14, 2008

Congratulations Christy Award Winners...and Nominees!!!

Thanks, Jeane from Wynn -Wynn Media and Christian Fiction On-Line Magazine for this exciting information.

Chasing FirefliesChasing Fireflies by Charles Martin
Thomas Nelson

“Never settle for less than the truth,” she told him. But when you don't even know your real name, learning the truth about who you are can be as elusive—and as magical—as chasing fireflies on a summer night.

Charles Martin lives a stone's throw from the St. John's River in Jacksonville, Florida, with his wife and their three boys.
Home To Holly SpringsHome to Holly Springs by Jan Karon
Viking Penquin

For the first time in decades, Father Tim returns to his birthplace, Holly Springs, Mississippi, in response to a mysterious, unsigned note saying simply: “Come home.” Little does he know how much these two words will change his life.

Jan Karon is author of the bestselling series of novels that feature Father Tim Kavanagh, an Episcopal priest, and the fictional village of Mitford, North Carolina.
A Proper PursuitA Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin
Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Over the course of a Chicago summer, Violet Hayes’s world will open wide before her eyes. But in the wake of discovery, she must find a way to determine which path is the right choice for her life.

Lynn Austin is a full-time writer, author of more than a dozen novels, and a three-time Christy Award winner who lives with her husband near Chicago.

Hallie's HeartHallie’s Heart by Shelly Beach

Kregel Publications

Mona VanderMolen, an antiques dealer in a small Michigan town, is trying to keep her business alive when her fifteen-year-old niece, Hallie, suddenly arrives on her doorstep. As the two women work through their problems and learn to forgive, will an unfortunate accident tear them apart once again?

Shelly Beach is a Christian communicator who speaks at women’s conferences, retreats, and seminars and writers’ conferences.Author of Precious Lord, Take My Hand, Beach is a college instructor and writing consultant in Michigan.
RememberedRemembered by Tamera Alexander

Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

In search of her father, Veronique Girard needs transportation into Colorado mining country. Jack Brennan isn’t keen on driving a beautiful, young French woman to the rough-and-tumble camps, but Veronique isn’t about to take no for an answer.

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist and Rita Award winner whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers.
The CureThe Cure by Athol Dickson

Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Riley Keep, former man of God, now haunts the streets. Forgiveness from those who used to love him seems impossible…until he hears rumors of a small town in Maine where miracles are happening.

Athol Dickson studied architecture and the arts at university, followed by a long career as an architect. Now a full-time writer, he’s the author of six novels. He and his wife live in Southern California.
ScarletScarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead

Thomas Nelson

Scarlet continues Lawhead's riveting saga that began with the novel Hood, which relocated the legend of Robin Hood to the Welsh countryside, conjuring up an ancient past, holding a mirror to contemporary realities, and shattering everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood.

Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. Lawhead makes his home in Oxford, England, with his wife.
The Stones Cry OutThe Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

One forensic geologist. Two dead men. 500 witnesses. Yet no one seems to know what really happened. As the FBI digs into the case, one thing is made clear: if no one else will talk, the stones will cry out.

Sibella Giorello, a former geologist and fifteen-year features reporter with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, has been twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Hollywood NobodyHollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson


Scotty Dawn has all the freedom a fifteen-year-old girl could want. But there are costs to such a life. Scotty doesn’t know who she is, where she came from, or who to trust. The answers she finds are darker than she had expected. Will she discover who she can trust and finally make sense of her world?

Lisa Samson is the author of more than two dozen books, including the Christy Award-winning Songbird. She lives with her husband and three children in Kentucky.
The CHRISTY AWARDS are proud to honor both Catherine Marshall and her novel through the annual presentation of the CHRISTY AWARDS, which recognize novels of excellence. The CHRISTY AWARDS were established in 1999 to nurture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of fiction written from a Christian worldview; to bring a new awareness of the breadth and depth of fiction choices available, helping to broaden the readership; and, to provide an opportunity to recognize novelists whose work may not have reached bestseller status. Visit the CHRISTY AWARDS online at

Debra Ullrick's The Bride Wore Coveralls ~ Reviewed

The Bride Wore Coveralls
Debra Ullrick
Heartsongs Presents
April 2008

About the book:

Can bitter rivals come to love each other? Fighting deep prejudice against her femininity, her choice of vehicle, and even her heritage, Camara Cole is determined to win the mud-bog racing championship this year. Her biggest competition seems also to be her worst enemy. Chase Lamar has been racing mud-boggers as long as Camara, and he grudgingly admits she's the best driver-mechanic he knows. Their rivalry has been long and bitter. But Chase is a new Christian. As he begins to change, he finds his relationship with Camara changing, too. When Camara's vehicle is sabotaged, she naturally blames Chase, despite a growing attraction. Chase must prove his innocence, but evidence points his way. When the smoke clears and the truth is known, will each be able to extend forgiveness, maybe even love?

My review:

One of the most unique and delightful Heartsong Presents stories I've read thus far, The Bride Wore Coveralls is a fun, guy-friendly read, and is incredibly romantic. I especially loved the Chevy and Ford rivalries between Camara and Chase. Anyone who knows men and cars knows that teasing about the make and model of race cars (or any cars for that matter) is standard guy-speak and since Camara is a tomboy, it makes sense for her to be besting with them.

The story behind the Lamar family's rivalry with the Coles is also compelling, especially when the truth finally comes out. I love it when God takes a situation where hate runs a muck and uses the dire circumstances to change hearts and lives. In that respect, The Bride Wore Coveralls is heads above most Heartsongs, and I applaud the author for her intense redemptive theme. Plus, that first! Makes you just want to keep reading to find out how Chase wins her over. Not just a romance, this story has the power of forgiveness within its pages, so it massages the spirit as well as the heart!

Oh, and I adored the epilogue. It's the best one I've ever read. Awesome book!

The Bride Wore Coveralls was published by Heartsong Presents and released in April 2008.

Michelle Sutton (pen name)
Editor in Chief - Christian Fiction Online magazine

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Chuck Black's Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione ~ Reviewed

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione

Knights of Arrethtrae, book 1
By Chuck Black
Multnomah Books
ISBN: 978-1-60142-124-1

Back Cover

A dangerous new order threatens the mission of the Knights of Arrethtrae. Only loyalty to the King can bring victory!

As the Knights of the Prince aait His triumphant return, they are steadfast in their mission to take His story into the kingdom and recruit as many as are willing. But when a new and dangerous threat is revealed, their mission is jeopardized.

Sir Kendrick and his young charge, the impetuous Sir Duncan, are sent on a mission to discover the identity and origin of a secretive new order known as the Conquistero Knights. They travel to the city of Bel Lione here Lord Ra has been enticing young people in the kingdom to join his festivals, after which many choose not to return home. Their families keep quiet for fear of repercussion.

When Sir Duncan disappears while trying to discover the truth of Lord Ra’s castle, Sir Kendrick attempts to find and enlist the help of mysterious warrior. Time is short for he must save Duncan and call upon the knights of Chessington to join in the battle against the evil Lord Ra.


Hi everybody! Today I’m going tell you about a book that came out on June 17 2008.

It’s called Sir Kendrick & the castle of Bel Lione. By Chuck Black. Our story begins with this. Kendrick and Duncan set off to kill the Evil Lord Ra. No a few year’s ago Kendrick’s wife and son got murdered. I thought the beginning was boring but once you get farther and farther in the story gets exciting! One day Duncan gets kidnapped by Lord Ra!

That’s all I can say. You should read the rest yourself.

Bye for now.

Review by: Caitie, kid reviewer.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tom Pawlik's Vanish ~ Reviewed

By Tom Pawlik
Published by: Tyndale House Publishers
353 pages
ISBN #9781414318936

Back Cover:

It all began with an eerie felling.

They awake the next day to find that everyone else has vanished. There’s Conner Hayden, a successful but unscrupulous trail lawyer; Helen Krause, a middle-aaged model struggling to come to grips with her fading beauty, and Mitch Kent, an enterprising young mechanic unable to escape a past that still haunts him.

Afraid and desperate for answers, they eventually cross paths and discover they are being watched. A mysterious little boy in tattered clothing appears to hole clues to the mystery, but the “observers” soon become aggressive and the three are forced to flee Chicago in search of answers…and more survivors.


Large dark clouds churned; lightning flashed, acrid smoke of a chemical fire drifted in the sky. Something was wrong. This didn’t look right. These thoughts were those of Connor, Mitch, and Helen right before they got dizzy and fell asleep. All of them woke up to find their lives forever changed. Where did everyone go? Why were they all alone? Each left their homes in a desperate search for others – there had to be others.

Connor, Mitch and Helen find one another in their search for the Vanished. All agree they hear whispers and they are being watched. All are afraid of what was out there creeping in the shadows of their city. Each were afraid to sleep. Were the “watchers” the ones responsible for the very vivid hallucinations they were having? They agreed, “together” they could fight anyone or anything even this unknown force that kept watching and following them. Connor, Mitch and Helen needed answers and they needed them now. What was their next move? Washington, D.C, that’s where they would go to get answers. People there would know what happened. Their mission becomes urgent when the “watchers” get aggressive. As the survivors journey to Washington there is a surge of new hope within them. Finally many of their questions would soon be answered. This book is thought provoking. Tom Pawlik writes a scary, fascinating, suspenseful story; one you won’t want to miss. I couldn’t read the pages in this book fast enough. I had to find out what happened to Connor, Mitch, and Helen next. You will too.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tom Morrisey's Wind River ~ Reviewed

Wind River
Tom Morrisey
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House (July 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764203479

Book Description:

You Can't Outrun the Sins of Your Past

Desperate to forget what happened to him in Iraq, Tyler Perkins flees to the emptiness of Wyoming. He's here to escape and also to fulfill a long-ago promise by accompanying his 86-year-old friend Soren Andeman on a fly-fishing trip--once more for old time's sake. But their trek to an idyllic trout lake soon becomes something more deeply harrowing--a journey that uncovers long-held lies, deadly crimes, and the buried secrets of the past. Ty barely has time to contemplate the question of what constitutes justice when nature unleashes her own revenge. Trapped in a race back to safety, he must face his own guilt-ridden past or risk being consumed.

Powerfully imagined by the acclaimed author of In High Places, Wind River is an engaging wilderness adventure that explores the power of confession, the beauty of forgiveness, and the freedom of truth unveiled.

My review:

Tom Morrisey enticed me with beautiful prose that opened a window into an unknown-to-me wilderness. With wordsmithing magic, Morrisey teased my mind -- flicking facts, thoughts and tension onto the periphery, then slipping out of sight until I was poised, waiting, tensing for the next cast. I was hooked early, but instead of fighting like the cutthroats, I surrendered to this novel.

I knew, from the first scene, the foreboding shadows of finality and frailty and perfect snapshot moments dissolving into tarnished reality, that something awful would befall the characters that I had already begun to love. Anything else will spoil the story web that Morrisey weaves, except to say that though there is a sense of foreboding, there is a stronger, underlying hope.

It is a rare gift Mr. Morrisey possesses -- the ability to weave a tense plot, the clarity to write a scene that can be devoured with all five senses, and the heart to create characters that clutch at the reader's soul.

If you are not reading Tom Morrisey and you love literary novels, you need to get Wind River regardless of your stance on Christian Fiction. Book lovers need to investigate Morrisey's novels. Those looking for a man's man read need to look no further. Fans of Lief Enger, W. Dale Cramer and Charles Martin should find much to like in Wind River.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Trish Perry's Beach Dreams ~ Reviewed

Beach Dreams
By Trish Perry
Published by Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2446-7,

July 1, 2008


Tiffany LeBouef recently lost her mother to cancer. Still grieving, Tiffany seeks rest for her body and soul at a cozy beach house in San Diego. A scheduling mix-up causes a double booking, and Tiffany ends up sharing the house with a woman named Eve. When Eve's boyfriend, Jeremy, arrives to surprise Eve, he's surprised to see Tiffany as well. He settles in at the beach house next door, and what happens after that surprises them all.


With Beach Dreams, Trish Perry has written the perfect follow-up book to Sally John's bestselling Beach House series, The Beach House and Castles in the Sand, two of my favorite books. While different in voice and style, Perry's characters continue the tradition in that they have life-changing occurrences at the beach house.

Tiffany, a fairly new Christian, is struggling in her metamorphosis, trying to adjust her thoughts and reactions to be more Christ-like. She made me laugh out loud more than once at her mishaps, but don't think this is merely a piece of fluff. There are some powerful truths behind the humorous delivery, and while I laughed, I also shed a tear or two over the tender moments of revelation. Novel Reviews and I give Beach Dreams a high recommendation.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Mike Hamel's Rylan the Renegade - Matterhorn the Brave Series ~ Reviewed

  • Rylan the Renegade Matterhorn the Brave Series
  • Mike Hamel
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 197 pages
  • Publisher: AMG Publishers (October 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0899578381

Matterhorn the Brave is an exciting new juvenile fiction series about four young people who are recruited to keep an eye on the portals of earth.


Matterhorn the Brave and his companions find amazing adventure in the sixth book, Rylan the Renegade. I think that this book combines the best of every element that I love in a good book. For example, science fiction and history are blended together in this exciting adventure series. This one is my favorite so far. I recommend this book to everyone who likes to read great books.

Reviewed by Reid A. age 12

Monday, July 07, 2008

Kristen Heitzmann's The Edge of Recall ~ Reviewed

The Edge of Recall
By Kristen Heitzmann
Bethany House Publishers

Back Cover: She locked up the vision like a monster in her mind’s maze, but it lurked there, on the edge of recall.

Tess Young is a landscape architect who specializes in the design and creation of labyrinths. For years she has immersed herself in the healing aspects of these elaborate structures, searching for God and hoping to make sense of the nightmares that have plagues her since childhood.

When Smith Chandler, a colleague who once betrayed her, offers an opportunity to reconstruct a remarkable Colonial ear labyrinth, she can’t resist this project of a lifetime. But one evening, as dusk falls an assailant ambushes Tessa and Smith and the real nightmare begins

Review # 1:

Night terror! Tormenting dreams! Tess was afraid to go to sleep. The dream was usually the same with a few variations. This was real for Tess; she would wake up screaming, sweating and breathing hard from all the running she had been doing in her dream. She was being chased by monsters and couldn't run fast enough through the labyrinth. Funny thing about monsters though, they played by their own rules. She felt like she couldn't escape this torment. "She just had to get through the night, and she wasn't too proud to admit she couldn't do it alone." She made the call to Dr. Brenner for help. He had always been there for her. He helped her live with these dreams - always hoping for a cure.

These horrible dreams were just part of her life. She thought she was coping just fine until Smith Chandler called. He invited her to be part of his dream team on this amazing job. She hadn't heard from him in 6 years and now he calls wanting her help? She goes to check out the job; it's everything she has desired to work on and so much more. Things get complicated as old, painful feelings and memories start to stir with Smith around. Had Tess gotten more than she bargained for? She had to do this job no matter what the personal cost to her was. She had to make this work somehow; she felt her life depended on it. She felt hope that maybe she would get to the root of all these monster dreams - it was worth the risk.

I was mesmerized at how well Kristen Heitzmann described these dreams - it was so real. From the first page I had entered Tess's world hook, line and sinker. Once you start this book you can't stop. So forget what you had planned for the day; this story is so gripping you’ll keep reading like I did. I had to find out if Tess Young does unlock her night terrors. There are so many surprising things that happened along the way. I just couldn't put this book down - neither will you!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Bonus Review:

This fascinating story centers around dreams, repression and fears. Symbolic of life, physical and eternal, the labyrinth is the playing field in a game of cat and mouse. Tessa, a prickly, wounded soul and Smith, a man who repeatedly wounds her, are pulled into an unwanted contest pitting them against the unknown, each other and those whom they trust.

Psychological aspects come into play often making the story feel frantic at times. I did have to suspend a healthy amount of disbelief and accept the neat sewing up of events in the end, but overall, the details made the trip an entertaining, suspenseful one.

By Kelly Klepfer

Friday, July 04, 2008

Rachel Hauck's Love Starts with Elle ~ Reviewed

Love Starts with Elle
Rachel Hauck
320 pages
Thomas Nelson (July 8, 2008)
ISBN-10: 1595543384

Product Description

Elle's living the dream-but is it her dream or his?

Elle loves life in Beaufort, South Carolina-lazy summer days on the sand bar, coastal bonfires, and dinners with friends sharing a lifetime of memories. And she's found her niche as the owner of a successful art gallery too. Life is good.

Then the dynamic pastor of her small town church sweeps her off her feet. She's never known a man like Jeremiah-one who breathes in confidence and exhales all doubt. When he proposes in the setting sunlight, Elle hands him her heart on a silver platter.

But Jeremiah's just accepted a large pastorate in a different state. If she's serious about their relationship, Elle will take "the call," too, leaving behind the people and place she loves so dearly. Elle's friendship with her new tenant, widower Heath McCord, and his young daughter make things even more complicated.

Is love transferrable across the miles? And can you take it with you when you go?

My Review:

Rachel Hauck is solidly on my favorite authors list after I finished Love Starts with Elle. Hauck tells a good story, creates lovable characters and doesn't shy away from grit and reality. On top of all those great qualities, she brings a deep sense of spirituality into the lives of her story inhabitants. Subjects like forgiveness, grace and living breathing relationships with God are layered into her prose adding a depth to her novels.

Love Starts with Elle picks up where Sweet Caroline leaves off. With a cast of previously introduced characters and a sweet spot in low country, the reader gets to experience Elle's little corner of Beaufort. Having found love after her Operation Wedding quest's amusing results in Caroline, Elle is ready to meet the world head-on with her man by her side. Along the way she discovers that God has plans for her that she could never have believed or even dreamed.

Hauck doesn't shy away from death and sorrow. Her characters grieve believably, and then grow through it. Elle is not lightweight but it contains elements of romance and humor as well as the heavier subjects. I did find myself thinking like a critic on occasion, but then after reading further and after dashing tears from my cheeks three or four times I decided I didn't care one bit, the story sucked me in. Hauck fans will want to check out Elle. If you aren't a Hauck fan, you might want to work on that.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Mike Hamel's Dragon's lair - Matterhorn the Brave Series ~ Reviewed

Dragon's Lair
Matterhorn the Brave
By Mike Hamel
ISBN-13: 978-0-89957-837-8
ISBN-10: 0-89957-837-3

Book Description:

After rescuing Jewel from a heretic named Etham, the Travelers chase him to China. They wind up in the lair of Yu, the dragon, and are forced into an uneasy partnership with the beast. They will protect Yu during the upcoming dragon hunt in exchange for her help in finding Etham.

Etham's trail leads to the royal court, where the heretics are already weaving their web around the thirteen-year-old boy destined to become emperor of China. Zheng wants the dragon mound for his memorial; the heretics want it for another base from which to carry out their conquest of Earth.

Kyl and Elok arrive to help the Travelers, but one of them soon disappears and the other is killed. The same dire fate threatens Matterhorn and his friends. Only a daring deception and a quirky court jester give them any chance of survival.

Dragon's Lair is book five in the Matterhorn the Brave series.


The Dragon's Lair is a very exciting adventure that combines cultures from all over the world. From time travel, to dragons, to selfish emperors, this book has it all! My favorite parts are the combat scenes; they're masterpieces. I HIGHLY recommend this book, especially if you want something to get lost in.

Review by Reid A. age 12

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Bill Myer's The Voice ~ Reviewed

By Bill Myers

Published by: Faith Words
ISBN# 978-0-446-69799-6

Pages 297

Back Cover:


Burned-out Special Forces Agent Charlie Madison has his reclusive life turned upside down when his thirteen-year-old niece, Jazmin, barges into his empty world. Her parents have been kidnapped by radicals and he is the only one who can save them. While creating a computer program, her parents discovered and recorded the actual voice of God. Unfortunately, the implications have shaken the world’s religions to their core…and some have taken action. Now Charlie must come out of retirement to rescue both the parents and the program, utilizing the Special Ops experience he has tried so hard to forget.

With the help of the attractive and mysterious Lisa Harmon, Charlie and his niece circle the globe tracking the religious radicals. But deep and disturbing complications arise. Far more is at stake than the safety of the parents or even religion. If the voice of God created reality, this same voice can destroy it. The voice of God can become a weapon of mass destruction that would make all others obsolete…if it could be controlled.

Soon the trio is fighting against not only various religious powers, but major governments as well. They race from Switzerland to Egypt, from Saudi Arabia to Rome in search of Jazmin’s parents and the program…until finally the program is discovered and played back with unimaginable results that alter the very reality the voice spoke into existence.


This is one great "Mission Impossible" story. It's full of suspense, bad guys doing what it takes to get their hands on the secret weapon, bombs exploding and lots of gun fire. Charles Madison, X-FBI agent is one lean mean fighting machine. He's just like the energizer bunny – takes a licken and keeps ticken! When Jazmin runs to her uncle Charlie for help, all heck breaks lose. Her parents have been captured by the enemy because they want the technology her parents have developed. Jazmin explained the top secret research her parents have been working on that could change the world, and how we hear and see God.

Charlie is a little overwhelmed as Jazmin explains all this scientific stuff (he wasn't the only one). Later on, a priest attempts to explain the project again (hooray). He says that the whole world can be reduced to patterns and mathematical formulas – including "the voice", which would be the greatest mathematical formula ever discovered!

Why could such a discovery be a threat? Why would everyone want the "voiceprint" of God? According to Gen. 1:4 "God said, let there be light," and there was light. He spoke it into existence. In John 1:1 it says "In the beginning was the Word ("spoken" word) , the Word was with God, and the Word was God". It also says in the bible that the "rocks will cry out His glory if we don't praise Him". I always thought this was a figure of speech – not something that could actually happen, or something that I could hear for myself. Whoever owned this technology (according to Jazmin and the Priest) would be able use God's power. In this story they have discovered power in the vibration of rocks – they wanted to use it for good – others wanted to use it to destroy their enemies.

The premise of this book is based on technology that has captured the mathematical formula from rocks and is able to translate it into the "Voice" of God; that created the heavens and the earth by a spoken word. Powerful stuff! I was going along with this theory up until the rocks cried out messages – they translated and understood. I have loved Bill Myers and the books he's written over the years, (Agent Dingledorf for kids, his teen series he wrote about spiritual warfare, the Wager and Eli! ) Each of these books have their own unique style, message, and emotional thrill ride. I expected nothing less from this book! The author is a man that writes about things that often time push the envelope of "normal".

So, I dug deeper into this "Voice" scenario on the internet. Could this really happen? That is when I discovered the most surprising things being researched and acted on right now. For example, science says "Motion equals vibration, vibration equals sound". The bible said in the beginning...the word was God (word – vibration equals "voiceprint" of God).

"The law of vibration is the basis of manifestation. Everything is in a constant state of vibration and motion". There really are people studying vibrations from rocks (much like the technology we use to detect earthquakes) and have come up with patterns (not kidding – check it out!). You can buy equipment to decipher these vibrations to get patterns. They are close to finding out the actual message the rocks are putting out from the activity detected. If we could hear the rocks cry out, what would they say? Would they verify biblical events? Interesting to think about.

Bill Myers is an author on the cutting edge in many of his books, and this one is no exception. After I understood that the technology in this book is real and people are really researching "vibrations, etc", the book came together for me and it will you too. Be prepared to have your socks knocked off by the message and possibilities found in this story. You will view life very differently after reading this very exciting book.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

July Book Releases ACFW - Jill Eileen Smith

We've got 11 new Christian novels this month - a great selection for those lazy days of summer! Also, don't forget to check out my new Spotlight on author Mary DeMuth!.

1. Beach Dreams, The Beach House Series Book 3 by Trish Perry from Harvest House. Tiffany gets away from it all at a California beach house; but a viper-like roommate, a handsome (unavailable) visitor, and uncovered secrets make her life no day at the beach.

2. Calico Canyon, Lassoed in Texas Book #2 by Mary Connealy from Barbour Trade Fiction. A prissy school marm is forced into marriage to the father of her most unruly students.

3. Fudge-Laced Felonies First book in the Summer Meadows series by Cynthia Hickey from Barbour Heartsong/Mysteries. Summer Meadows sets out to find the owner of a stash of diamonds and gain Ethan Banning's love.

4. Maine Brides by Susan Page Davis from Barbour. Can faith bridge the road to love and bring three men who have been cast off by society to new lives alongside women who love them?

5. Masked by Moonlight by Allie Pleiter from Steeple Hill Historicals. Nothing could tempt Matthew Waterhouse to reveal his secret identity, until the English gentleman met Georgia Waterhouse, whose pseudonymous newspaper accounts had made his daring "Black Bandit" exploits famous.

6. Mission: Motherhood, Homecoming Heroes continuity series Book One by Marta Perry from Love Inspired. When Caitlyn Villard becomes the guardian of her twin five-year-old nieces, she's forced to return to Prairie Springs, Texas and the military community she'd run from, finding the man and the life of her dreams where she least expects.

7. Seaside Cinderella by Anna Schmidt from Love Inspired Historical (Steeple Hill). Lucie McNeil's quiet life on Nantucket is a blessing for the tragedy-haunted Irish immigrant, but everything changes when her employers' handsome son steps ashore bringing her haunting past with him.

8. Table for One by Georgiana Daniels from The Wild Rose Press. In a town where the ratio of single Christian women to men is 7:1, blundering stockbroker Lucy Brocklehurst searches for love through a series of misadventures.

9. The Molech Prophecy by Thomas Phillips from Whitaker House. When Tommy finally surrendered his life to Christ, leaving the world of crime behind him, he never expected the pastor of his church to force him back into his old ways.

10. The Prince Charming List Book Three of the "Prichett" Series by Kathryn Springer from Steeple Hill Cafe. Heather Lowell comes to Prichett to manage the Cut and Curl for the summer and discovers that life in a small town holds some BIG surprises!

11. The Power of Love/The Courage to Dream Love Inspired Classic
(Two novels in one) by Margaret Daley from Love Inspired Steeple Hill. The Power of Love: Can Police Chief Gabriel Stone help Rebecca Michaels with her troubled son and special needs baby enough to guide her back to the Lord and find hope for the future? The Courage to Dream: Returning to her Southern roots is a bitter journey for Rachel Peters, but old flame Michael Hunter is determined to reunite her with the faith and love she left behind.

Happy reading ~

~ Jill ~
Jill Eileen Smith