Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ronie Kendig's Firethorn ~ Reviewed

By Ronie Kendig
Published by B & H
ISBN# 978-1-602060-785-9
348 Pages

Back Cover:

Don your tactical gear and enter the world of black ops and espionage within the pages of Ronie Kendig’s thriller Firethorn. Former Marine Griffin “Legend” Riddell, a fugitive from injustice, finds it difficult to trust anyone. Covert operative Kazi Faron, the woman sent to free him, has a dangerous secret that may jeopardize her life, mission, and the only man she respects. As Griffin and Kazi race around the globe to save Nightshade, the danger mounts. Will they find the culprit sabotaging their black ops team? Can their newfound feelings and trust survive when Griffin and Kazi face truth and terror?Show More Show Less


Ronie’s passion and understanding of soldiers and war tactics is evident in her rapid-fire fiction. She says “Thank you for journeying with the Nightshades team, for opening your minds and hearts to the great toll war/combat takes on our men and women in the U.S. Armed forces.” I’m thankful for the review copy I received of this book and the awareness this author has brought to my attention about what goes on in the hearts and minds of our soldiers. Along with the thank you note, Ronie tells readers about ways to get involved in supporting our troops.

This amazing series highlights one team member per book during some incredible black ops missions. The reader gets to know them, their personal struggles and their background. In this book finale things are done a little different. We get to know Griffin Riddell up-close alright (code name “Legend” in Nightshades) as things heat up on all fronts. “Legend” is set free by Kazi and begins an unbelievable journey. Along the way he learns his team is picked off and taken down one by one. This couldn’t be happening!

The question on Griffin’s mind is, “Who did this? Who went after Nightshades? Someone who had a powerful need to die, because he and the others, once back together, would ensure their attacks kissed the grave-fast.”

Kazi has helped Griffin face some pretty remarkable circumstances and all the while acting as a Lone Ranger. Griffin tries to explain to her about his faith and being a team player. He says, “God will help us Kazi, He will.”

Kazi replies, “I need someone I can touch-or punch, not a God who hides out in Heaven while we run a muck on this planet.”

Kazi rubbed Griffin the wrong way. He was trying to be patient. Griffin tries to explain about being loyal to the team. “Now, I don’t care what sort of business you’re trying to protect or if you’re trying to protect yourself Kazi, but you need to understand – these are my boys..I will do whatever it takes to get them back, and part of that includes protecting you when and if I have to. …You’ve never worked on a team have you? …See, me and my boys are a team. We talk to each other, depend on each other. That keeps us alive, know what that means? Makes us friends…more than friends-brothers.”

I loved how real Griffin and Kazie were with each other in and out of combat! I also liked the authors well timed humor. I really had to keep track of what was happening and where. This was a riveting read. Ronie has an explosive, unbelievable conclusion to a very memorable and moving series. This was one wild ride. This book reminded me of a Mission Impossible movie. It’s big, its rapid-fire action drama, real and revealing on so many levels. It has surprises for the reader with so many twists and turns. I know I wasn't sure what was up until the dust settled at the end. Ronie left the story with a satisfying ending. I can’t wait to read the next book by her. I highly recommend this book and this Discarded Heroes series.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

Monday, January 30, 2012

Janice Hanna Thompson's Fill These Empty Arms ~ Reviewed

By Janice Hanna Thompson
Amazon Digital Services

From multi-published Christian author Janice Hanna Thompson comes an inspirational novel with great depth of character and dealing with sensitive topics for women. Fill These Empty Arms is a penetrating look into the lives of five women with empty hearts and empty arms. Though their stories are vastly different, their lives begin to intersect, and they are forever changed. Arms, once empty, are filled. Hearts, once broken, are mended. And hope, once lost, is restored.


What a powerful book! I did some laughing but a lot of tears slid onto my iPad. What I loved is how Thompson made Grace and Joanna's hubbies good guys without making them seem like wimps or unbelievable. She did such a stellar job of weaving in the growth of Lexie and how she came to faith. Each character's story was riveting. Novel Rocket and I highly recommend this book. It's outstanding!

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan
Editor, Novel Rocket

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Erin Healy's The Baker's Wife ~ Reviewed

The Baker's Wife [Paperback]
Erin Healy (Author)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Original edition (October 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595547525


Before Audrey was the baker's wife, she was the pastor's wife.

Then a scandalous lie cost her husband a pastoral career. Now the two work side-by-side running a bakery, serving coffee, and baking fresh bread. But the hurt still pulls at Audrey.

Driving early one morning to the bakery, Audrey's car strikes something-or someone-at a fog-shrouded intersection. She finds a motor scooter belonging to a local teacher. Blood is everywhere, but there's no trace of a body.

Both the scooter and the blood belong to detective Jack Mansfield's wife, and he's certain that Audrey is behind Julie's disappearance.

But the case dead-ends and the detective spirals into madness. When he takes her family and some patrons hostage at the bakery, Audrey is left with a soul-damaged ex-con and a cynical teen to solve the mystery. And she'll never manage that unless she taps into something she would rather leave behind-her excruciating ability to feel other's pain.


Erin Healy blends supernatural gifting and challenging topics and bakes up a satisfying, fragrant, crusty-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside read.

Audrey was married to a pastor, and one of her ministries was delivering fresh bread she and her husband made to parishioners that God laid on her heart. However, a scandal erupts in the church and Audrey and Geoff are pushed out of the ministry and into baking as a career.

One day the unbelievable happens and the elder who pushed the hardest to have Geoff step down as pastor is in the middle of it all.

Audrey is left, with the help of an ex-con in town to atone for her past, to solve a mystery, and save those nearest and dearest to her when the situation explodes.

Healy handles some heavy topics in this unique novel including depression and religiosity vs relationship. She mixes in the Holy Spirit's working in individuals and fallout of church fractures. This is a well told story with a heavy mix of complex characters. Those who love fiction light might find this a little too overwhelming due to the topics. But Healy does a terrific job with the mixing and blending of ingredients and those who love hearty Christian fiction might want to check it out.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Liz Curtis Higgs's Mine is the Night ~ Reviewed

Liz Curtis Higgs
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (March 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400070023

Book Description:

Stepping from a battered coach on a rainy April eve, newly widowed Elisabeth Kerr must begin again, without husband or title, property or fortune. She is unafraid of work and gifted with a needle, but how will she stitch together the tattered remnants of her life? And who will mend her heart, torn asunder by betrayal and deception?

Elisabeth has not come to Selkirk alone. Her mother-in-law, Marjory Kerr, is a woman undone, having buried her husband, her sons, and any promise of grandchildren. Dependent upon a distant cousin with meager resources, Marjory dreads the future almost as much as she regrets the past. Yet joy still comes knocking, and hope is often found in unexpected places.

Then a worthy hero steps forward, rekindling a spark of hope. Will he risk his reputation to defend two women labeled as traitors to the Crown? Or will a wealthy beauty, untainted by scandal, capture his affections?

The heartrending journey of the Kerr women comes to a glorious finish in Mine Is the Night, a sparkling gem of redemption and restoration set in eighteenth-century Scotland.


“Can you not look beyond her Highland past?” (p. 320)

The answer to this question reveals the ultimate measure of the lives of Elizabeth and Marjory Kerr as they enter the town of Selkirk. As penniless widows, dependent upon the kindness of a distant cousin whom they haven’t contacted in more than ten years, the Kerr women are far different than when we first met them in “Here Burns My Candle.” What hope must lie in their hearts! What trust in God’s sovereign goodness and direction in their lives! Liz Curtis Higgs has taken the story of Ruth and created a masterpiece of Scottish history, romance and redemption! Readers will recognize elements of the Biblical story and the truth that should be the foundation in the life of every Child of God.

Once again, Higgs has transported my heart and mind back to the Scottish countryside of the 1700’s! I felt as though I was living side by side with Elizabeth and Marjory as they began their new life in Selkirk. The smells, the sights, the sounds …everything comes alive for the reader as these characters are transformed by God’s grace into women of faith, courage and strength. Truly, I grew to love them more in the Mine is the Night than I even did in Here Burns My Candle!

Enter Jack Buchanan – Lord of Bell Hill. What a man! What a hero! What a lovely expression of grace, mercy and kindness! I know he loosely represents the character of Boaz, but no one can help but be charmed by this character! And the things he is want to do to express his love toward those he cares about…be still my heart! Readers will just be astounded by the way Higgs integrates this character and his household into the story! Seamless…altogether believable…and a powerful example of the way all of us should treat our fellow man!

You will not be able to depart the Scottish countryside once you begin this amazing story! You will savor each experience as you laugh and cry with Elizabeth, Marjory – and Jack! I cannot recommend this series highly enough!

Please go HERE to watch the video trailer and learn more about Liz and her wonderful stories!! And stay tuned! I have an interview with Liz coming up!!

Reviewed by: Kim Ford

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sibella Giorello's The Mountains Bow Down ~ Reviewed

The Mountains Bow Down
By Sibella Giorello
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN# 978-1-59554-535-0
373 Pages


That's what FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon believes as she boards a cruise to Alaska. A land of mountains and gems and minerals, the Last Frontier is a dream destination for this forensic geologist who's hoping to leave behind a hectic work schedule and an engagement drained of romance.

But when a passenger goes missing and winds up dead, Raleigh's vacation suddenly gets lost at sea. The ship's security chief tries to rule the death a suicide, but Raleigh's forensics background points to a much darker conclusion: Somewhere onboard, a ruthless murderer walks free.

Engulfed by one of her toughest cases yet, Raleigh requests assistance from the FBI and receives her nemesis-handsome Special Agent Jack Stephanson. As the cruise ship sails through the Inside Passage, Raleigh has five days to solve a high-profile murder, provide consultation for a movie filming onboard, and figure out her increasingly complicated feelings for Jack-who might not be as arrogant as she originally thought.

And that's only her work life. Family offers even more challenges. Joined on the cruise by her mother and aunt, Raleigh watches helplessly as disturbing rifts splinter her family.

Like the scenery that surrounds the cruise ship, Raleigh discovers a mystery so daunting that even the mountains might bow down before it.

Review: I was so thankful to receive a review copy of such an exciting, fun, suspenseful, and heartfelt novel. I enjoyed reading about Raleigh, a female FBI agent, who specializes in fore4nsic geology and is good at what she does. Sibella went to school to be a geologist so its fascinating to read how geology helps Raleigh uncover clues she never would have discovered with out it.


I liked how Sibella had Raleigh sty true to her calling in life no matter how the male FBI Agents treated her. I also liked Raleigh’s honesty in her feelings and how she struggled in putting God into the driver seat of her life 24/7.

Giorello takes her readers on a beautiful Alaskan cruise along with her mom and eccentric Aunt who has arranged for Raleigh to be a consultant on a movie being filmed on the cruise ship. She thought this would be a great way to enjoy each other’s company, have fun and get their trip paid for.

Things were beautiful and fun until Raleigh discovers a female body hanging from the back of the cruise ship. Head of security seeks Raleigh’s help in this case because she’s FBI and the woman found dead was famous actor Milo’s wife.

Milo was the one she was consulting on the film on how to be an FBI agent. Milo and everyone else on this project was hoping for a box office smash hit with this movie. Milo needed this to get back into the game.

Sibella Giorello pens an intriguing web of mystery, suspense, fun and quirky characters I enjoyed with well timed humor. This was a “who-done-it” that kept me guessing right up till the end. This was the first novel I’ve read by this author, it won’t be my last. I think I’ll start with The River Runs Dry, or The Clouds Roll! So many choices! Can’t wait to see where this author takes me next!! I highly recommend this book and for you to check out the others!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Monday, January 23, 2012

Christa Allan's The Edge of Grace ~ Reviewed

The Edge of Grace
By Christa Allan
Published by Abingdon Press
ISBN 978-1-4267-1311-8


An early morning call shatters Caryn Becker's world. Her brother David announces that he is gay, and Caryn completely rejects the one person who stood beside her during her husband's illness and death. Unable to cope with David's news, Caryn disappears into her own turbulent life as a single mom and new business owner.

When David is attacked and nearly killed, his partner asks for Caryn's help. She reluctantly agrees to work with David's lawyer on the case. When her catering business suffers because of David's lifestyle, Caryn is forced to make the hardest choices about family, faith, and her own future, while exploring the grace of forgiveness and acceptance.


Christa Allan's sophomore book, The Edge of Grace, is a powerful work of art, delving into waters not often stirred in fiction. It made me squirm and it challenged me to consider how I offered grace. The only thing it did not do was leave me unchanged. Novel Rocket and I give The Edge of Grace our highest recommendation: a 5-star must read.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan, editor
Novel Rocket

Friday, January 20, 2012

Darlene Franklin's A Ranger's Trail ~ Reviewed

Darlene Franklin
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (February 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802405878

Book Information:

This is the fourth book in a six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896. Although a series, each book can be read on its own.In 1875 Buck Morgan rode into Mason County with the Texas Rangers to quell the violence stirred up by the actions a vigilantly mob. The Hoo Doo (or bad luck) War erupted as suspected cattle rustlers were killed by an angry German mob and former ranger, Scott Cooley, gathers a gang to seek vengeance on the murders. Suspected of cattle rustling, Leta Derrick's husband was murdered by the mob a year earlier. Now she is siding with the rogue ranger, Scott Cooley and refuses to help Buck Morgan stem the tide of violence. Leta prays daily that God will wreak vengeance on her enemies. Buck prays that the God of all provision will supply for the needs of the widow, her son Ricky, and her 15-year old brother, Andy. Buck lays a trap at his uncle's ranch for the suspected outlaws but the plan backfires when Andy shows up. Shots are fired and one man is down. Andy has joined the outlaw gang and is now guilty of murdering Buck's cousin. Will their actions fuel the fire of vengeance' Or will Buck and Leta strike an accord that leads to more than just peace'


A Ranger’s Trail is book 4 in the Morgan Family Series. It involves a woman named Leta Denning, who’s husband was murdered by a German Rob, being falsely accused of cattle rustling. Tensions in the community grow as Germans and Anglos begin taking revenge against each other. Buck Morgan, a Texas Ranger, comes to the area to help. As feelings between Leta and Buck grow, facts come out into the open putting Buck’s cousin among those that murdered Leta’s husband, and Andy, Leta’s brother, among those who killed Buck’s cousin.

This was a great book. It was interesting to see the tensions rise, and each side thinking they were doing right, instead of taking it to the Lord to deal with. I enjoyed seeing Leta’s character change, from that of the widow who wants revenge, to a woman willing to submit to the Lord and trust him in all things. This was a great book and I highly recommend it!

Reviewed by: Sarah Porter

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Janice Thompson's Hello, Hollywood~ Reviewed

By Janice Thompson
Published by Revell
ISBN-10: 0800733460

When it comes to love, one thing's for sure--it doesn't follow a script!

Athena Pappas is the head writer on Stars Collide, one of the most popular sitcoms in television history. But when Vegas comedian Stephen Cosse is brought in to beef up the show's suddenly sagging ratings, she starts to worry about her job. Sparks fly as the competition--and attraction--between the two writers heats up. Athena has never had a problem writing the romances of her characters. So why is her own love life so hard to script?

With humor and a Hollywood-insider viewpoint, Hello, Hollywood! delivers lots of laughs as Athena and Stephen discover that not being in control of the plot of their lives might just be the best thing that ever happened to them.


Comedic timing is an art form, and Janice Thompson is a master. Her romantic comedies keep getting better and better. I laughed all the way through Hello, Hollywood! The story is reminiscent of the old Hollywood sitcoms – the days of I Love Lucy and Dick Van Dyke. If you like to laugh—and who doesn't?—treat yourself to a rollicking good read. Novel Rocket and I give it 5 stars. A must read!

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan, Sr. editor

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blake Mycoskie's Start Something That Matters ~ Reviewed

Blake Mycoskie
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (September 6, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400069181


Love your work, work for what you love, and change the world—all at the same time.

What matters most to you? Should you focus on earning a living, pursuing your passions, or devoting yourself to the causes that inspire you? The surprising truth is that you don’t have to choose—and that you’ll find more success if you don’t. That’s the breakthrough message of TOMS’ One for One movement. You don’t have to be rich to give back and you don’t have to retire to spend every day doing what you love. You can find profit, passion, and meaning all at once—right now.

In Start Something That Matters, Blake Mycoskie tells the story of TOMS, one of the fastest-growing shoe companies in the world, and combines it with lessons learned from such other innovative organizations as method, charity: water, FEED Projects, and TerraCycle. Blake presents the six simple keys for creating or transforming your own life and business, from discovering your core story to being resourceful without resources; from overcoming fear and doubt to incorporating giving into every aspect of your life. No matter what kind of change you’re considering, Start Something That Matters gives you the stories, ideas, and practical tips that can help you get started.

Why this book is for you:

• You’re ready to make a difference in the world—through your own start-up business, a nonprofit organization, or a new project that you create within your current job.
• You want to love your work, work for what you love, and have a positive impact on the world—all at the same time.
• You’re inspired by charity: water, method, and FEED Projects and want to learn how these organizations got their start.
• You’re curious about how someone who never made a pair of shoes, attended fashion school, or worked in retail created one of the fastest-growing footwear companies in the world by giving shoes away.
• You’re looking for a new model of success to share with your children, students, co-workers, and members of your community.

You’re ready to start something that matters.


Companies that care about environment or people as much as lining their pockets are companies I like to support and frequent. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I like to buy organic and local.

Start Something That Matters intrigued me because I think Tom’s fits that category. I actually don’t own Tom’s shoes but have supported their effort and watched them explode. So when I saw a review copy of the founder’s, Blake Mycoskie, book available I jumped on it. My 20-something daughter grabbed it and read it then passed it along to her friend to read before I got my hands on it. The pages came back to me dog-earred and underlined and I understand why.

Not only does the reader find out about Tom’s modus operandi, we are introduced to other companies and individuals who have embraced a different business model of thinking.

This book gave me a sense of hope and a renewed trust in corporate America. There is a new mindset on the fringes of our materialistic world and I’m so glad for it.

This is a quick and short read. But I think anyone seeking to dive into something bigger than themselves, something that could maybe provide an income and be a positive benefit to others should consider putting this on their must read list. Start Something That Matters might be a little simple or a little too creative for black and white business text book readers. But those who are chafing against the standard business model might welcome the refreshing splash of color Blake offers. Overall I recommend this as a thought provoking, uplifting and entertaining read.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lena Nelson Dooley's Maggie's Journey ~ Reviewed

Maggie's Journey (McKenna's Daughters)
Lena Nelson Dooley
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (October 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616383585


Near her eighteenth birthday, Margaret Lenora Caine finds a chest hidden in the attic containing proof that she's adopted. The spoiled daughter of wealthy merchants in Seattle, she feels betrayed by her real parents and by the ones who raised her. But mystery surrounds her new discovery, and when Maggie uncovers another family secret, she loses all sense of identity. Leaving her home in Seattle, Washington, Maggie strikes out to find her destiny. Will Charles Stanton, who's been in love with her for years, be able to help her discover who she really is?


A few years ago I read my first novel with seasoned author Lena Nelson Dooley in her Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico and enjoyed it beginning to end. Again with Maggie's Journey I enjoyed it from the first page and I am uber eager to read more as it comes in the rest of the series.

Of course I'm always a fan of characters that are named Margaret, as I'm a Margaret. But I enjoyed the personality of the characters. The growth that both Maggie and Charles had to endure. It brings a real relative light on the emotional aspects and aftermath of what the turmoil of the Oregon Trail may have left for the next generation. I think the entire series will be thoroughly entertaining and I cannot wait for more.

*Thanks to Realms, Charisma Media for providing a copy for review through the FIRST Wild Card Tours.*

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Melanie Dickerson's The Merchant's Daughter ~ Reviewed

Melanie Dickerson (Author)
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Zondervan; Original edition (November 29, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310727618


An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf's bailiff---a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past. Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff's vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.


Combine Jane Eyre with a bit of Beauty and the Beast and you might have found yourself in The Merchant's Daughter. Earlier this year I found myself reading Melanie Dickerson's debut being a mixture of Tristan and Isolde with Sleeping Beauty in The Healer's Apprentice. I was very delighted to learn that this fall she had something new in The Merchant's Daughter. Again I have the same qualm as before in that... my first and only qualm is that this book is listed as young adult. I don't agree with that, it's not a teen novel. It is shorter than my normal read, but it is definitely one for girls of marriageable age and boy is it an adventure. ... but then perhaps I just do not understand the genre behind "young adult" as I thought I did.

In a way, there is even a bit of Cinderella here. Not in the plot line perhaps, but in the personality of Annabel. There is not magic in the sense of the Disney Beauty and the Beast, he doesn't suddenly float in the air and become beautiful. In a sense, it's always there, just marred and hidden until an unexpected (to him) healing can occur. Yet... isn't that what the entire book is about? You read it, and tell me. :)

*Thanks to Zondervan for providing a copy for review.*

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Monday, January 09, 2012

Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkeys' Chasing Mona Lisa ~ Reviewed

Tricia Goyer, Mike Yorkey
Paperback: 325 pages
Publisher: Revell (January 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800720466


It is August 1944 and Paris is on the cusp of liberation. As the soldiers of the Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country, stealing countless pieces of art. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one of all, the Mona Lisa, as a post-war bargaining chip to get him to South America. Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler rescue DaVinci's masterpiece before it falls into German hands?

With nonstop action, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get readers' adrenaline pumping as they join the chase to save the most famous painting in the world. From war-ravaged Paris to a posh country chateau, the race is on--and the runners are playing for keeps.


'Chasing Mona Lisa' by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey is a fascinating sequel to 'The Swiss Courier'. This book continues the saga of two of the main characters, Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler, as they embark on a new adventure in France to keep the Mona Lisa from the hands of the Nazis. You experience the fear of those who dare to stand against the Nazis and the exuberance of the French when they are liberated. While the plot is slightly predictable, it is still a page turner from the beginning!

Reviewed by: Leeann Garbon

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Sandra Bricker's Always the Designer, Never the Bride ~ Reviewed

By Sandra D. Bricker
Published by Abingdon, April 2012
ISBN 978-1-4267-3223-2


How many dresses can a designer design before she finally designs her own?

Audrey Regan spent years establishing herself as a wedding dress designer and to date, she's been roped into creating dresses for nine of her girlfriends. Request #10 follows her vow to "Just say no!" and comes from her very best friend. She can hardly turn Carly down!

Audrey arrives in Atlanta to perform all of her maid-of-honor duties and the festivities make her question whether there's a prince of her own anywhere in her future. Enter the groom's brother and best man. J.R. Hunt couldn't be any more different from Prince Charming is he rode in on a Harley Davidson. Oh, wait. He actually did ride in on a Harley!


Sandra D. Bricker is the Babe Ruth of romantic comedy with one home run after another! Third in the hilarious series, I didn't want Always the Designer, Never the Bride to end. Bricker makes her characters your best friends and you want to keep hanging out with them. She doesn't take her readers down totally predictable paths in the story, and Always the Designer follows that tradition. Up to the last page, I wasn't sure what she would do with Audrey and J.R. I'm anxiously waiting for the next book in this series. Novel Rocket and I give Always the Designer, Never the Bride our highest recommendation. It's a 5-star read!

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan, Sr. Editor

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Kristin Billerbeck's Perfectly Invisible ~ Reviewed

Kristin Billerbeck
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Paperback: 267 pages
Publisher: Revell (July 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800719735


Life after high school is so close . . . and yet so very far away.

It's Daisy Crispin's final semester of high school, and she plans to make it count. Her long-awaited freedom is mere months away, and her big plans for college loom in the future. Everything is under control.

Or is it?

Her boyfriend is treating her like she's invisible, and her best friend is making her sell bad costume jewelry in the school quad—and hanging out with her boyfriend. To top it off, Daisy's major humiliation of the year will be remembered in the yearbook for all eternity. It's enough to make her wonder if maybe being invisible isn't so bad after all.

Can Daisy get her life back on track? Or is she stuck in this town forever?


As much so as I enjoyed Perfectly Dateless last summer, I enjoyed Perfectly Invisible this one. Kristin really brings out the inner thoughts that are pretty much right on key for a teen late in high school. Brings back memories of my own school experiences as well as while I was a long term substitute teacher.

Again, truly I could not turn the pages fast enough and I overall enjoyed this story. I think that it could be valuable read for many different people. Very enlightening to both girls, guys and parents who want to care or understand. It was interesting to me however, for a girl without cable TV that she was familiar with so many current day television references, but then I guess they're out there beyond the tube or flat screen.

There were some plot things that had me quite confused in this story, but then coming from a teenage mind, I think that was the point that I was just as confused as Daisy was. Overall, I have to admit it makes me wonder about things as my own daughters grow. Truly there is no perfect childhood or youth and I think attempting to stage one would cause more harm than good. But one can only pray for help.

I truly enjoy both adult and youth books from Kristin Billerbeck and cannot wait for more.

*Thanks to Revell Books for providing a copy for review.*

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Donna Fletcher Crow's A Darkly Hidden Truth ~ Reviewed

By Donna Fletcher Crow
Paperback: 366 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications
January, 2012
ISBN: 9-780857-210500


Felicity can’t possibly help Father Anthony find the valuable missing icon. She’s off to become a nun. Then her impossible mother turns up unexpectentanty. And a good friend turns up murdered…

Breathtaking chase scenes, mystical worship services, dashes through remote waterlogged landscapes, the wisdom of ancient holy women, and the arcane rites of the Knights Hospitaller keep the pages turning. Will Felicity choose the veil—or Anthony?


A Darkly Hidden Truth is beautifully written and starts with perhaps the most chilling prologue I’ve ever read. (One readers won’t want to skim over!) The novel opens with a scene of a young medieval maiden giving her life to Christ. At first, my pulse quickened and a sick feeling settled in the pit of my gut as I questioned exactly what her devotion might cost. Old Indian Jones images flashed through my mind, stealing my breath. By page two I could breathe once again as I realized this young maiden wasn’t embarking upon self-sacrifice but instead, a life of religious isolation. But although my gut-wrenching fears were allayed, my curiosity was not. As the mother said goodbye to her beloved daughter, her internal quote, plucked from the ancient pages of Scripture, triggered numerous questions. When this sorrowful mother asked for prayer, she suddenly understood an ancient prophesy given to Mary, the mother of Jesus,: “Simeon had warned Mary that a sword would pierce through her own soul. Now Dorcas knew: that warning was not just for Mary. It was for all mothers.”

Moving from this ancient and mysterious scene to modern day, we meet a woman as removed from her mother as the previous maiden was from the world. Felicity, a young and impulsive girl drawn to the church and the simplistic, solemn life it offers, contemplates becoming a nun. Unfortunately, a string of murders and the theft of numerous sacred icons complicate matters, as does the sudden appearance of her mother.

Dressed in three-inch heels and a pinstripe suit; Felicity’s mother trails behind a religious ensemble, tracking her daughter down. In front of everyone—those with the power to admit Felicity into monastic life, or keep her from it. Now Felicity is forced to swallow the bitterness welling inside in order to present a pious, loving attitude. But when another icon is stolen and a nun is found unconscious and bloody, Felicity soon realizes her mother’s sudden and rather inconvenient appearance is the least of her problems.

I loved the imagery Ms. Crow provided throughout the novel, from the gothic windows to the rolling monastery grounds. The setting was quite unique—a series of murders and mysterious thefts in a church? As a protestant, it was very interesting to read about the various sacraments and holy days practiced in the Catholic Church and each glimpse and nugget of information was sprinkled seamlessly into the novel, flavoring the story without overpowering it.

A Darkly Hidden Truth is a gripping, multi-leveled mystery with a hint of romance and family drama. 

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery