Friday, August 30, 2013

Lori Copeland's Sisters of Mercy Flats ~ Reviewed

Sisters Of Mercy Flats
By Lori Copeland
Release Date   Jun 1, 2013 
Publisher   Harvest House Publishers 
ISBN  0736930221  


From noted author Lori Copeland (more than 3 million books in print) comes a romantic new story of God's faithfulness when hope seems lost.

The three wily and beautiful McDougal sisters can swindle a man faster than it takes to lasso a calf. But their luck is running out, and they're about to be hauled off to jail. When the wagon carrying them falls under attack, each sister is picked up by a different man. Unfortunately for Abigail, she's grabbed by a twit of a shoe salesman, Mr. Hershall Digman. She steals his horse and rides off to the nearest town, not giving him another thought...until she discovers those secret papers in his saddlebags. Could Mr. Digman be a Confederate spy?

As if to prove it, the man who comes storming after her is no shoe salesman, but a handsome captain who wants his papers any cost. And Abigail wants a ride back home. Together they embark on his mission, determined not to trust each other...or the God who won't seem to let them go.


Sisters of Mercy Flats by following the McDougal sisters, three girls who were raised in a convent and are now living lives of crime. Their lives are suddenly turned around when they get caught stealing while posing as nuns. On their way to jail, their wagon is attacked by Indians. However, they are rescued by three very different men and taken to safety in separate directions. This story focuses on Abigail, who is rescued by Mr. Hershall Digman. He claims to be a shoe salesman, and in her eyes, he’s a mousey man who couldn’t take care of himself, let alone her. When he finally realizes she is not a nun, things start to turn. Abigail sneaks away with his horse and belongings one evening, and in doing so, finds out that he is not really a shoe salesman, but I spy for the Confederate Army. As the story continues and Hershall, better known as Barrett Drake, finds Abigail, we follow them as they try to get an important message to the Confederate Army that could change the course of the war.

I really enjoyed this story. It was interesting seeing the transformation in Barrett’s character, from a klutzy shoe salesman to a strapping soldier in the army. And I liked seeing how Abigail changed. As the story went, she began to see the error in how she was living and began making changes. It’s always nice to see that happen in a story!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Carla Laureano's Five Days in Skye ~ Reviewed

Digital original - eBook
By: Carla Laureano
David C. Cook / 2013 / ePub
ISBN: 9781434707017

Hospitality consultant Andrea Sullivan has one last chance to snag a high-profile client or she’ll have to kiss her dreams of promotion good-bye. When she’s sent to meet Scottish celebrity chef James MacDonald on the Isle of Skye, she just wants to finish her work as efficiently as possible. Yet her client is not the opportunistic womanizer he portrays himself to be, and her attraction to him soon dredges up memories she’d rather leave buried. For James, renovating the family hotel is a fulfillment of his late father’s dreams. When his hired consultant turns out to be beautiful, intelligent, and completely unimpressed by his public persona, he makes it his mission to win her over. He just never expects to fall under her spell.
Soon, both Andrea and James must face the reality that God may have a far different purpose for their lives—and that five days in Skye will forever change their outlook on life and love.
What a delicious discovery! Carla Laureano’s Five Days in Skye swept me away to the Scottish Isles and into the wounded hearts of the impeccably cool Andrea Sullivan and the charismatic charmer Jamie MacDonald. This is a romance to savour from beginning to end. The funny and feisty first interaction between this pair sucks you in and as the story and characters develop you will have no desire to leave as they wrestle with doubts, prejudice, preconceptions, and sparkling attraction. What I loved most was the substance to this story – this is no marshmallow romance – but a love story that is intriguing and real. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t miss out on some very swoon worthy moments but you get the added bonus of a romantic journey that stimulates the mind as well as the heart. Carla has earned my respect by creating a female lead who makes her own decisions based on her interaction with the hero and not on everyone else’s say so. In a world replete with romantic clichés, Carla’s writing is so very refreshing! Five Days in Skye is an excellent debut novel and I’m waiting with baited breath for Carla’s next story. Reminiscent of Beth Vogt, Denise Hunter, and Becky Wade’s storytelling, Carla’s story is a triumph you don’t want to miss.
Reviewed by: Rel Mollet

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Maureen Lang's All in Good Time ~ Reviewed

Maureen Lang
Release Date   Mar 22, 2013 
Publisher   Tyndale House Publishers 
Series  Gilded Legacy   
ISBN  1414364474 


Dessa Caldwell has a dream: to open Pierson House, a refuge for former prostitutes in Denver's roughest neighborhood. But after exhausting all charitable donations, Dessa still needs a loan, and nearly every bank in town has turned her down. Her last hope hinges on the owner of Hawkins National Bank.Henry Hawkins has a secret: though he owns the most successful bank in town, his initial capital came from three successful raids on Wells Fargo coaches. Now he's the most eligible bachelor in Denver, but to protect his criminal past, he's built a fortress around his heart. Not even the boldest matchmaking mother can tempt him . . . until the day Dessa Caldwell ventures into his bank requesting a loan.Though he's certain her proposal is a bad investment, Henry is drawn to Dessa's passion. But that same passion drives her to make rash decisions about Pierson House . . . and about whom she can trust. One man might hold the key to the future of her mission--but he also threatens to bring Henry's darkest secrets to light. As the walls around their hearts begin to crumble, Henry and Dessa must choose between their plans and God's, between safety and love.


All In Good Time is about a young woman named Dessa Caldwell and takes place in Denver in the late 1800’s. Dessa has a heart for the young women who are involved in prostitution and feel there is no way out. Through her determination, she is given a loan from Hawkins National Bank to open the Pierson House, a refuge for these women. The owner of the bank Henry Hawkins did not okay the loan. He thinks it is a bad investment and doesn’t expect her to make a go of it. Henry has closed himself off from society, mainly due to not being able to forgive himself for past sins. As the story progresses, he finds his heart warming towards this young woman, and she finds the feeling is mutual. However, they begin to run into obstacles that could shut down the Pierson House for good. As they struggle against the evil in their city, they also have to come to terms with their past sins and realize they have forgiveness through their Heavenly Father.

This book was wonderful! I had a hard time putting it down. I could relate with Dessa as she struggled with past mistakes. None of us are perfect so I think all women can relate. It was great to see her grow throughout the story. I felt the same about Henry. He had spent so many years trying to be good to cover up his past mistakes, that he had a hard time forgiving himself and realizing that he had forgiveness through Jesus Christ. This was a very encouraging book and I highly recommend it!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rene Gutteridge's Misery Loves Company ~ Reviewed

By Rene Gutteridge
Published by Tyndall
368 Pages

Back Cover: 

Don’t tell me it’s terrifying. Terrify me.
Filled with grief, Jules Belleno rarely leaves the house since her husband’s death while on duty as a police officer. Other than the reviews Jules writes on her blog, she has little contact with the outside world.

But one day when she ventures out to the local grocery store, Jules bumps into a fellow customer . . . and recognizes him as her favorite author, Patrick Reagan. Jules gushes and thoroughly embarrasses herself before Regan graciously talks with her.

And that’s the last thing she remembers—until she wakes up in a strange room with a splitting headache. She’s been kidnapped. And what she discovers will change everything she believed about her husband’s death . . . her career . . . and her faith.

Review: I was thrilled to receive a review copy of a Rene Gutteridge book that blew me away! OhMyGosh! This story is well crafter, multilayered and fascinating!

This novel gives readers a peek into a writer’s world. It’s a glimpse into how some do their musing thru a famous author named Patrick Reagan. I loved Rene’s wit, her rich plot and characters I instantly cared for!

In order to cope with the death of her Police Officer husband, Jules Belleno turns to blogging. She writes her feelings and thoughts down daily. She gives her weekly views on books too! Rene Gutteridge has some interesting things to say about blogging, book reviews and the publishing business in this novel. All this is strategically intermingled in a serious police drama as they try to solve a murder mystery. This author had me at the edge of my seat as I quickly flipped the pages to find out who done it.

Jules’s father is retired Lt. Colonel who reads his daughters blog and reviews. It’s the only way he can connect with her and get an insight into why she does the things she does. He sees she’s talented and pushes her to get paid for the work she does. Jules blows it off. That’s not why she writes! Will her father ever get her?

When the Lt. Colonel knocks on the door no one answers! Her car is in the garage. That’s odd she’s always home. Jules father visits her the same time and day every week. He calls a police friend to come over and check the place out. He knew something wasn’t right - his daughter was missing.

Chris Downey stops by. The Lt. lets him in. He checks out Jules blog, her facebook page and email.  Jule’s father had warned her about writing personal things on social media sites. But it was her passion to write. Lt. said, “Sometimes I don’t know my daughter unless I read all that blog junk. I try, but there’s always this wall between us…I think all this technology is ruining everything about our society. But don’t get me started.”

Chris replies, “I was able to get on her facebook page and her blog. If someone was following her posts, they could pretty easily figure out the pattern. And she is definitely a pattern girl.”

This author brings up very serious concerns about blogging, social media and writing reviews that got my attention. Rene takes readers on a surprising journey with much to think about along the way. Loved it!

Jules says to someone she meets, “You read my blog?”

Stranger says, “Isn’t that the point? That people read it? Don’t you hope they get to know you?...If you’d known I’d been reading it, would you have perhaps chosen your words more carefully?” This will make you think about your next media post!

I loved when Jules, who is a book person, says, “While we’re reading words, they’re making magic happen and that magic lands right in your heart, were it’s there forever.” I’ve felt that way about many of Rene’s books. It’s one of the reasons I read Christian Fiction.

I whole heartedly agree with Rene when her character said this about books. These characters and the message of this novel landed in my heart, mind and soul. This novel is an important read for those who blog, write reviews and use social media. I highly recommend this as a great summer read. and a book club pick. There is so much to talk about. It’s a must read! Just saying!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!

Bonus Review:

Rene Gutteridge's tale of a blogger finding herself in a twisted nightmare had me turning pages at warp speed and holding my breath wondering what was coming next.

Intense, fascinating and full of twists, this novel is definitely a recent favorite. The ending left me wanting more and cheering on characters.

Gutteridge is a talented writer and handles all aspects of storytelling well.

A satisfying and tense read.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Bonus, Bonus Review:

This was the first novel I’ve read by Rene Gutteridge, and I’m hooked. The story gripped me without release, often keeping me up well into the night, until I reached the very satisfying end.

Jules Belleno, a talented writer who appears to have little drive for anything but blogging, eating, and sleeping, experiences a terrifying adventure that rocks her to her core, and in doing so, awakens the part of her she’s suppressed for way too long. Captured by an author she once greatly admired, she’s forced to find inner strength and a reason to go on. Held hostage in a secret, remote cabin barricaded in by trees and brutal cold, her fear of death stirs within her a desire to live.

This novel is one of the most captivating, disturbing, hope-infusing stories I’ve read. Ever. There were times my fingertips literally grew sweaty, my stomach churned, and my pulse raced as I wondered if this poor, broken girl would survive. As to Patrick Reagan, the literary genius turned kidnapper, I held as much fear of him and empathy for him as Jules did. Was he crazy? If not crazy yet, would he become it before the novels end? And yet, having experienced with him the death of his wife, could I blame him if he did lose his sanity?

In Misery Loves Company, Ms. Gutteridge masterfully created a villain I couldn’t hate and a “victim” I admired. Needless to say, I am now a committed Gutteridge fan!  

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery

Monday, August 19, 2013

Karen Witemeyer's Short-Straw Bride ~ Reviewed

Short-Straw Bride [Paperback]
By Karen Witemeyer
Pages   363 
Release Date   2012 
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  0764209655  

No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.
Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can’t bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.
Four brothers. Four straws. One bride.
Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?
Witty. Mellifluous. Joyous. These are the words that spring to mind when I pick up a Karen Witemeyer novel, and I find myself grinning before I’ve even cracked open the cover. Short~Straw Bride is another delightful historical romance from Karen, written with smooth prose, packed with unconventional yet appealing characters, and overflowing with fun and faith. Amid the humour and entertaining mishaps, Karen weaves spiritual truth and moving moments that also speak to the heart. Meredith, Travis and the rest of the Archer boys will take a place in your heart in short order and putting the book down with become nigh on impossible! Be sure to add all Karen’s books to your must read list – you won’t be disappointed with any. I’m now waiting impatiently for Crockett’s story, set to arrive in 2013.

Reviewed by: Rel Mollet

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bonnie Calhoun's Pieces of the Heart ~ Reviewed

Pieces of the Heart (Quilts of Love)
Bonnie S. Calhoun
Pages   240 
Release Date   Aug 1, 2013 
Publisher   Abingdon Press  
ISBN  1426752725  


CordeliaGrace watched Bernard Howard, the love of her young life, go off to fight for our country in WWII. And she has spent the last three years creating the Pine Cone quilt that will grace their marriage bed when he comes home. Each row of triangles signifies a layer in her life, setsof memories, hopes, dreams, andprayers for her future, enough spoken words to cover them forever. Her image of their happy-ever-after grows proportionally as the quilt expands.

But is the man that returns from the war, the same man that she remembered? Are the dark shades ofcolor that she had to use for the outside edges of the beloved quilt prophetic of her life to come? Can love and faith overcome all?


Bonnie Calhoun’s Pieces of the Heart provided quite a history lesson about World War II, I also was treated to all a quilt I’ve never heard of and the story behind it.

Cordelia's Pine Cone Quilt was started by her beloved granny for Cordelia’s upcoming 18th birthday. This quilt was a picture of the life of the owner. The history/background sewn into the quilt via well loved articles of special clothing that make the quilt a visual memory quilt. While piecing the quilt together the maker prayed for the owner. Cordelia's granny referred to the quilt as Cordelia's prayer covering, not only for her, but her future family as well.

Cordelia grew in faith as her story unfolded in testing and trial at every bend in the road. While Cordelia is finding her faith and character, her beau, Bernard is being tried at war, and brings home some serious after-effects.

This is a nice book option for readers who like to delve into meaty topics with their history. War, emotional , spiritual and physical brokenness and abuse, depression, segregation and immaturity are a few of the major hitters. Calhoun lightens up the heaviness by spanning the book over years so some of the sorrowful events don’t impact the reader too intensely.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Marcus Sakey's Brilliance ~ Reviewed

Marcus Sakey
SBN-13: 9781611099690 
Publisher: Brilliance Audio 
Publication date: 7/16/2013 
Edition description: Unabridged 
Pages: 439


In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called “brilliants,” and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in—and betray his own kind.

From Marcus Sakey, “a modern master of suspense” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “one of our best storytellers” (Michael Connelly), comes an adventure that’s at once breakneck thriller and shrewd social commentary; a gripping tale of a world fundamentally different and yet horrifyingly similar to our own, where being born gifted can be a terrible curse.


Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance takes place in a parallel universe where, in the year 1980, a small percentage of the human population began to develop superior abilities. Each member of this group of “brilliants,” also know as “abnorms” or the more offensive “twists,” has the ability to see patterns that the rest of the world is oblivious to – whether that affinity manifests with numbers or music or art or even human behavior is unique to each individual.

The story follows Nick Cooper, an agent for the DAR – Department of Analysis and Response – which monitors abnorm behavior and protects the world from the ones who use their abilities in harmful ways. Cooper, who is himself a brilliant, uses his gifts to decode human behavior and track down terrorists.

The story opens with Cooper tracking down an abnorm computer programmer who is developing a virus that will cripple the country’s military. As Cooper corners her on the roof of a building, the terrorist insists that war is inevitable; that “All you can do is pick a side.”

The rest of the novel tracks Coopers struggle with this idea. He has always believed that coexistence is possible and that his roll is fundamental in that process. However, as his beliefs are challenged and the truths that he has held at his core are torn away, Cooper is left with a choice: which side is he on?

While this novel wasn’t exactly unpredictable or revolutionary, it was definitely a good read. There are action-packed moments and scenes of intense contemplation. The character is really someone you can root for: a man who desperately wants to do good and is seeking the truth about what that entails. Cooper is also a father, and his love for his children is his biggest driving force. It propels the story and makes the character even more human.

Readers should be warned, though, that this novel isn’t totally family-friendly. There is some language, especially towards the beginning, and a scene where two characters bond over a night of debauchery (including copious amounts of alcohol and a shared joint). There is also a sex scene, but the for the most part Sakey handled it tastefully.

Over all, this was a nice light read. Not to intense, it would be a great novel to pick up during periods of limited spare time. It was enjoyable enough that I wanted to keep reading, but not so tempting that I couldn’t put it down when I had other things I needed to do.

Reviewed by: Shea Nolan

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lori Benton's Burning Sky ~ Reviewed

Burning Sky
Lori Benton
Binding  Softcover 
Release Date   Aug 6, 2013 
Publisher   WaterBrook Press 
ISBN  0307731472  

Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.
When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.
Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage–the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?

Evocative. Haunting. Breathtaking. Burning Sky is all that and much more.
Lori Benton’s debut novel is a treasure that unfurls page by page, revealing the searing depths of a young woman’s pain as she wrestles grief, scorn, fear, and a burning desire to belong. Lori’s prose is beautifully measured, her dialogue meaningful, and she demonstrates an innate talent for communicating the nuances of human emotion straight into the reader’s heart. Willa is an intriguing and deftly layered character yet it is Neil MacGregor and Tames-His-Horse, two very different men in talent, ability, and drive, that fascinate me. Both are deeply courageous, heroic men, who wear honour as naturally as their clothing, yet are refreshingly authentic, battling vulnerabilities and opposing dreams. The love story Lori weaves into this poignant and historically accurate novel breaks your heart yet restores it by book’s end. Lori immerses her readers in the era, a time where fear was never far away, and scars, both physical and emotional, marked each member of the community. Through minor characters Lori gives expression to prejudice, revenge, greed, and hate that the Revolutionary War left in its wake, along with characters whose steadfast faith grew compassion and forgiveness. If you enjoy your historical novels rich and raw in emotion and gripping in a way that won’t let go, don’t miss this one. As impressive a debut novel as Julie Cantrell’s Into the FreeBurning Sky is simply captivating in every way and Lori, one of the finest historical fiction writers I’ve had the pleasure to read. Her second book can’t come quickly enough for me.

Reviewed by: Rel Mollet

Friday, August 09, 2013

Rachel Phifer's The Language of Sparrows ~ Reviewed

  • The Language of Sparrows
  • Rachel Phifer
  • ISBN-13: 9780781410472
  • Publisher: Cook, David C.
  • Publication date: 7/10/201
  • Format: eBook


Brilliant and fluent in too many languages to count, 15-year-old Sierra Wright can't seem to communicate what is important to her in any language. Though April Wright stubbornly keeps an upbeat attitude about her daughter's future, she has let her own dreams slip away. Just across the bridge lives old Luca, scarred from his time in a Romanian gulag years before. Though he has seemingly given up on people, Sierra is drawn to him despite his prickly edges.

No one else is comfortable with the unpredictable old man spending time alone with Sierra, not even Luca's son. Yet it is this unconventional relationship that will bring two families together to form friendships and unearth their family stories, stories that just might give them all the courage to soar on wings toward a new future.


The Language of Sparrows, by Rachel Phifer, is a beautifully written story of betrayal and an unlikely friendship, forged from understanding. Novel Rocket and I recommend it. It's a perfect book club selection or an end-of-summer read.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan, 
Novel Rocket

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Erin Healy's Afloat ~ Reviewed

By Erin Healy
Published by Thomas Nelson
356 Pages

Back Cover: 

Dark waters are rising. Who will stay afloat?

Architect Vance Nolan has crafted a marvel—shining apartments floating in the peaceful cove of a winding river. The project is partially occupied and about to make investors rich when a sinkhole gives way.

Torrential rains quickly flood the cove, leaving a handful of builders, investors, and residents cut off from the rest of the world.

The motley group is bitterly divided over how to survive.
Vance insists they wait for rescue. Developer Tony Dean wants to strike out into the darkness. And single-mom Danielle Clement, obligated to each man and desperate to protect her young son, Simeon, isn’t sure which one is wiser.

Power failure, an unnatural daytime darkness, explosions, and a murder expose hidden intentions and dark histories. 

Then Simeon spots something strange underwater—beautiful, shifting lights in the dark depths.

In this watery world, everyone’s secrets will eventually come to light. And deliverance may mean more than just getting out alive.


I’m thankful for the review copy of a suspenseful tale that had my full attention as I turned the pages until the wee hours of the night. This is a fast-paced, heart-felt story I had a hard time putting down. This author does a great job of meshing mystery, suspense and faith together with characters I instantly cared for!

I like how this author talks about how people respond in a tragedy. Just watching the show survivor gives viewers a peek into how the human spirit is diverse and how each of us go through the same circumstance differently.

Pete says to Vance and his Dad, “You’d think that in this day and age meteorologists would be smarter.”

“They’re not the problem,” Dad said, “the real stinker is that in this day and age we think we know more than we really do. It doesn’t hurt to be reminded now and then how little we actually control.”

Vance recalls this conversation with his brother and Dad years ago. It applied to him today as he faced the storm. Vance is the manager of this project. He knew better than anyone the layout of the buildings and how things were built. He seeks advice from his friend, Zeke. “How do I know the right thing to do?”

“The same way you have always known. You ask God. You wait. You listen for the wisdom that drowns out fear and brings peace to your heart. I think you’ve already done all this, haven’t you?” Zeke continues after he sees Vance nod, “So for now at least, you know you’re doing what you must do.”

“Is it enough?” Vance replies.

“Is it enough? That’s the question of a man who thinks that waiting is the weaker activity. But patience requires the strength of Hercules.” I’ll Amen that! I like how this author naturally weaves the spiritual thread into this novel.

This book is unlike all the disaster movies that have been out lately because of the spiritual element she brings out in the story. I also liked how this author described water as these characters are facing a flood. “In the Bible, rain could bring a destructive flood or a fall-on-you-knees relief after seven years of drought. Water could drown an enemy horde or heal a man’s leprosy. It could be turned into blood; it could be turned to wine. It harbored death and it delivered life.”

People are seeking refuge in building 12, the only completed building in this project. Each was hoping to survive as they watched the tragedy around them play out. They pondered their next move as the rains are hammering down on the building.

Single mom, Danielle Clement’s listens to her young son, Simeon tell her about the angels he saw when he was under water; before they reached a dry surface and what they said to him. Tony Dean, developer of this project and close friend of his mom don’t believe the boy. They think he’s a kid with a great imagination. What does he know about angels? But Vance and his friend Zeke’s spirits are encouraged and believe what Simeon is telling them and ask some questions.

How do people respond in the middle of a tragedy? Let me count the ways. Things get more stressful and emotional as each person’s security is threatened and/or stripped away from them all together. Each member of this small group tries to come up with a plan to combat these uncontrollable events. Through all this the author gives a peek at how God works in mysterious ways and how He’s ways are definitely not ours. “God might not reveal himself to each of us equally, or even in similar ways.”

Some people don’t take the time to stop and listen to that still small voice but plunge ahead trying to save themselves with little regard to the people around them. Some turn to God for the very first time. God uses all things in our lives for his Glory and our good if we let Him.

This book gives a peek into the supernatural powers at work around us. It also reminds us of our eternal hope in Jesus no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. I highly recommend this novel as a book club pick; there is so much in here to talk about. It’s also a great fun and thought provoking summer read.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!

Bonus Review: 

Erin Healy takes the common and mundane of life and twists them with what ifs and the supernatural and the end result is always fascinating and a little disturbing (in an introspective way). This is true of afloat.  A widowed single mother is making the best life possible for her son. A good enough man has given her a terrific job that comes with a luxurious apartment and a few other perks that feel a little more like attached strings.  But Danielle understands that the strings might just be justified to give her son the security he lost with the death of his daddy.  

Recovering alcoholic Vance has designed a tiny city that is nearly indestructible and firmly planted in a river. Danielle leases these luxury units designed by Vance and as directed by Tony, her lover and her boss.  While waiting for a potential client to come through the building sudden chaos breaks out.

The world changes radically overnight while a mix of characters find themselves stranded and cut off from the world. The truth of who they are and what they've done begins to unfold with tense page turning drama.

This is an intense read that had me flipping pages as fast as I could and staying up a little later than I wanted to. Healy creates great characters and puts them into fascinating and fragile environments to test and challenge them. Maybe not for the escape into a happy place crowd but perfect for those who love a book with some meat and a bit of gristle to work on. A great read.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Jill Williamson's Captives ~ Reviewed

The Safe Lands, book I
By Jill Williamson
February 2013

Back Cover:
When eighteen-year-old Levi returned from Denver City with his latest scavenged finds, he never imagined he’d find his village of Glenrock decimated, loved ones killed, and many—including his fiancée, Jem—taken captive. Now alone, Levi is determined to rescue what remains of his people, even if it means entering the Safe Lands, a walled city that seems anything but safe.

Omar knows he betrayed his brother by sending him away, but helping the enforcers was necessary. Living off the land and clinging to an outdated religion holds his village back. The Safe Lands has protected people since the plague decimated the world generations ago … and its rulers have promised power and wealth beyond Omar’s dreams.

Meanwhile, their brother Mason has been granted a position inside the Safe Lands, and may be able to use his captivity to save not only the people of his village, but also possibly find a cure for the virus that threatens everyone within the Safe Lands’ walls. Will Mason uncover the truth hidden behind the Safe Lands’ façade before it’s too late?

My Take:

Captives is a post-apocalyptic (as in deadly virus nails humanity) tale, full of fast-paced adventure and some touching romantic scenes. While marketed as a YA, adults will enjoy this read as well.

The setting is in the U.S., but nothing like the country we know today. There is a "Safe" land that is curiously not safe at all. That's where the killer virus runs rampant. Outlying the area are a few villages where people are not infected. The story takes off when Safelanders capture an entire village in the hopes of breeding their women to gain offspring that are not infected, which will hopefully revive their dying population.

While not overtly preachy, the message of hope and forgiveness are sprinkled throughout the story. Captives is a great summer read, so pick yourself up a copy and toss it in your beach bag.

You can thank me later.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep