Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sandra Bricker's Raw Edges ~ Reviewed

Raw Edges (Quilts Of Love) [Paperback]
By Sandra D. Bricker (Author)
Studio: Abingdon Press
Pages 256
Release Date Sep 1, 2013
Publisher Abingdon Press
Series Quilts Of Love
ISBN 142675275X

Grayson McDonough has no use for teal ribbons, 5k runs, or ovarian cancer support groups now that his beautiful wife Jenna is gone. But their nine-year-old daughter Sadie seems to need the connection. When Annabelle Curtis, the beautiful cancer survivor organizing the memory quilt project for the Ovacome support group, begins to bring out the silly and fun side of his precious daughter again, Gray must set aside his own grief to support the healing of Sadie s young heart. But is there hope for Gray s heart too along the way?


Raw Edges is another book in the Quilts of Love series.  This story’s quilt revolves around Ovarian Cancer, those that have lost the battle and those that have one.  Grayson McDonough becomes involved in Ovacome, a support group for those affected by ovarian cancer, after his nine year old daughter, Sadie, encourages him to take her.  Grayson’s wife, Jenna, had lost the battle the previous year.  While there, they meet Annabelle Curtis, an ovarian cancer survivor, who is heading up a group making a Quilt as a fundraiser for Ovacome.   Sadie is taken with Annabelle immediately, and finds ways to make plans with her and her father.  Grayson finds himself more and more attracted to Annabelle, but still feels like he is married to Jenna, and doesn’t know what to do, while Annabelle reciprocates his feelings, but doesn’t want to push him.

I think this is one of my favorites in the Quilts of Love series so far.  Sadie was probably my favorite character.  She didn’t let the loss of her mother keep her down.  I think the fact that her mother made a journal with advice, encouragement and scripture had a lot to do with that.  And Sadie’s connection with Annabelle was precious.  They had so much in common, and really needed each other.  I don’t know how else to describe except that it was a happy story.  It just made me smile and I really liked it a lot.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jill Williamson's Outcasts ~ Reviewed

By Jill Williamson
ISBN 0310724244

Back Cover:

The remnant from Glenrock is now living as rebels within the Safe Lands, looking for a way to find purpose in their lives. When a young rebel is murdered and his death points to a rebel leader, it's hard to know who to trust. 

Levi tries to organize a plan to free the children and fights for respect as elder over those who'd rather go their own way. Omar tries to change his image of a traitor by donning a costume and going out into the night as a vigilante hero. And Mason stumbles onto a shocking secret about the Safe Lands meds, but his investigation just might get them all liberated



That’s the thing I like about Jill Williamson’s writing. I always pick up a new word or two from one of her characters. But in OUTCASTS, you’ll pick up oh-so-much more!

Take a bunch of misfits, some who know they are, some who don’t, and lock them in a city with government men who want to kill them, and that’s where the action begins. Usually book 2 in a series is the meh read, the bridge between books 1 and 3, but not OUTCASTS. This one moved a lot faster than the first, making for a breathless story.

The character development of Shaylinn and Ciddah really satisfied. Omar and Levi? Not as much. Most of the time I want to punch Omar in the head, just like the rest of his family. Hopefully in book 3 he’ll transform completely into a loveable hero.

I love the themes of persistence, self-acceptance, and standing for what is right no matter the cost. But it’s those very themes that will leave you hanging on the last page of the book.

If you love dystopian fiction, this is the book for you!

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Susan Meissner's A Fall of Marigolds ~ Reviewed

A Fall of Marigolds
by Susan Meissner 
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade (February 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 045141991X


A beautiful scarf, passed down through the generations, connects two women who learn that the weight of the world is made bearable by the love we give away....

September 1911. On Ellis Island in New York Harbor, nurse Clara Wood cannot face returning to Manhattan, where the man she loved fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Then, while caring for a fevered immigrant whose own loss mirrors hers, she becomes intrigued by a name embroidered onto the scarf he carries…and finds herself caught in a dilemma that compels her to confront the truth about the assumptions she’s made. Will what she learns devastate her or free her? 

September 2011. On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, widow Taryn Michaels has convinced herself that she is living fully, working in a charming specialty fabric store and raising her daughter alone. Then a long-lost photograph appears in a national magazine, and she is forced to relive the terrible day her husband died in the collapse of the World Trade Towers…the same day a stranger reached out and saved her. Will a chance reconnection and a century-old scarf open Taryn’s eyes to the larger forces at work in her life?


I haven't read Susan Meissner in a while. Every time I pick up one of her books I'm instantly into transported to wherever she sends me. A Fall of Marigolds is no exception. Meissner expertly weaves an epic story that centers around a fragile connection that changes the lives of the women who touch it. 

Set in September 1911 and September 2011, two women, Clara and Taryn struggle with tremendous loss and the horror of witnessing tragedies. One scarf, splashed with vibrant, yellow marigolds and the embroidered name Lily, ties the two women together. Both women have to come to terms with their lost loves after discovering the healing that comes through time, the care of others and simple truth that hope can overcome the worst horror. 

The loss and terror from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire sends Clara to an in-between island hideaway teeming with lost and hurting souls who get detained by disease as they attempt to enter their dreams of America's freedoms. Taryn hides in a muffled nest filled with beauty and fabrics and a secret shame that she was the reason her husband died during the terror strike on the World Trade Towers. 

The colors of the scarf demands the attention of each woman, a century apart, and pulls her into a story much bigger than herself. As the women change and begin to come to terms the healing that need to take place the memories of the fires, explosions and loss turn to memories of peace and hope grows. 

A Fall of Marigolds isn't an easy read, I teared up several times and had to set the book down to escape some of the intensity. But it's a beautiful tapestry of human need and longing, of horror and hope, of ashes turning into beauty. Meissner is an artist, the prose alone is haunting and beautiful, add realistic characters and the power of the story and this becomes a must read novel. I highly recommend it. Marigolds will linger a very long time in my memory and I don't think I'll wait quite as long to pick up the next Meissner novel. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, January 16, 2014

John Faubion's Friend Me ~ Reviewed

By John Faubion
Published by Simon & Schuster
339 Pages

Back Cover: “You’re afraid you are becoming unfaithful, aren’t you?”

Scott and Rachel’s marriage is on the brink of disaster. Scott, a businessman with a high-pressure job, just wants Rachel to understand him and accept his flaws. Rachel is a lonely housewife, desperate for attention and friendship. So she decides to create a virtual friend online, unaware that Scott is doing the exact same thing. But neither realizes that there’s a much larger problem looming. . . .

Behind both of their online creations is Melissa, a woman who is brilliant— and totally insane. Masquerading as both friend and lover, Melissa programmed a search parameter into the Virtual Friend Me software to find her perfect man, but along the way she forgot to specify his marriage status. And Scott is her ideal match. Now Melissa is determined to have it all—Scott, his family, and Rachel’s life.

As Melissa grows bolder and her online manipulations transition into the real world, Scott and Rachel figure out they are being played. Now it’s a race against time as Scott and Rachel fight to save their marriage, and their lives, before it’s too late.

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of this riveting, page-turning, novel. It’s an insightful tour through cyber space that shows just how easy it is to be sucked into an addictive secret world. This author shows the potential for wicked abuse of a secret Virtual Friend and how quickly this secret breaks down the family and a society as a whole. This book also shows readers how easy it is to take your virtual friend anywhere you go and how in this case it can be a “fatal attraction.” for real in Scott and Rachel’s situation!

I’m glad they had an interview with the author in the back of the book. The author was asked “When do you think Scott became unfaithful in the story? Answer: …when he as asked which he wanted a “male or female friend?” Scott replied “female”. At that point, he’d crossed over. He became unfaithful…when a husband chooses some women other than his wife as his confidant, companion, or female best friend; he’s turned down the road of infidelity.”

He goes on to say, “…we live in an age where people choose to exist in virtual worlds…we need to focus on real people, real lives. Real friends. Real love.”

This author pens a heart racing suspense drama that’s all too real. He talks about the seductive side of on-line friends that compromise our virtues one key stroke at a time. This author explores the definition of reality, morality, the imagination, and how our perception affects our heart and our personal relationships forever.

The story opens up with Melissa, the creator of Virtual Friends website. She has a dark side with an unbelievable past. I was nervous in the beginning of this story because this was the author’s debut novel and I didn’t know how creepy he would get. It’s dark in the beginning and in parts, very realistic and gives readers insight on how easy it is to get on a road in life that’s a fast track to losing everything they hold dear. Everyone is tempt-able, no one’s perfect. We need help and encouragement to keep the main thing the main thing in our lives, relationship with God, real people and real love. God is there to heal our hearts and situation no matter what we fall into.

I liked how this author tactfully dealt with these sensitive issues. He conveyed the message and/or situations without being too graphic. I liked that. This author has a faith message that’s natural to the story. It’s not heavy handed but makes you think. It shows how fast life can unravel and how God can heal deep hurts if you give him a chance.

There are discussion questions in the book that will get everyone talking. This would be a fascinating book for a book club pick. At the back of the book it has a page called Bonus Features its ideas for your meeting that will enhance your book club experience and further the discussion of this book.  The internet has affected our lives in so many good and bad ways. This book shows how we must guard our heart, mind and emotions. It’s easier than ever in the privacy of your own home or car to go to the dark side.

I would avoid talking about this book in a public setting as sensitive issues most likely will surface. This is a must read for our cyber culture society. This book will rock your world and give you hope in navigating uncharted territory on the web. I highly recommend this novel and look forward to this author’s next book. Friend Me is a story you’ll be reminded of every time you sit down at your computer! John Faubion is an author to watch.

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

Monday, January 13, 2014

Novel Book App

Findaway World, an audiobook technology provider, has announced the launch of Bookopotamus, an audiobook trivia app, designed to entertain book lovers while raising money for First Book, a nonprofit organization determined to see that all children have access to an ongoing supply of new books.

In an effort to increase the charitable impact of the app, Bookopotamus, which initially launched to Findaway World partners and customers during the holiday season, is now available to everyone via the Apple App Store and through Google Play. 

“The most important thing we can do as a company is to build products that change lives. Bookopotamus exposes more users to the value of audiobooks while ensuring that children in need will get to experience them too,” comments Dean Skinner, Chief Creative and Marketing Officer at Findaway World

In each round of Bookopotamus, the player is presented with an audible audiobook quote and is asked to guess, against the clock, which book the quote is from. The earlier the answer is provided, the higher the score for the game. As they play, users evolve from a curious little Bookworm into a Bookopotamus with an insatiable appetite for books. 

Book selections range from bestsellers to the classics and context clues within the quotes can guide even those with less book exposure to find the right answer. As an entertaining bonus, all sound effects in the game were verbally made by members of the Findaway World team. 

The more people who download the app and play, the larger the donation (up to $10,000 in Playaways) Findaway World is making to First Book. Donations will continue to accumulate through March 2014.

About Findaway WorldFindaway World is a provider of audiobook technology solutions with one of the world's largest collections of digital audiobook content. Playaway and Playaway View all-in-one, pre-loaded devices make it simple to deliver audiobooks and videos to library patrons, military personnel and students. Findaway World's digital products move audio forward with technology solutions that enable partners to deliver digital audiobook content to their users.

Founded and based in Solon, Ohio, Findaway World was named one of top 50 fastest growing consumer product companies in the country by Inc. Magazine from 2009 – 2012. To learn more about Findaway World's products and the Findawayers who make it all happen, visit www.findawayworld.com.

About First BookFirst Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that has distributed more than 100 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. By making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. For more information, please visit us online or follow our latest news on
 Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Suzanne Field's the Painted Table Reviewed with a Chance to Win a Contest

Suzanne Field is celebrating her novel The Painted Table with a beautiful hand-painted table giveaway!

One winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 18th. Winner will be announced January 20th on Thomas Nelson's Facebook Page.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by the TNZ Facebook Page on the 20th to see if you won.

As always, a copy of this title was provided for review.


I was intrigued by the premise of this novel. The mind, and the way it can spiral out of control or be transformed, fascinates me. 

I struggled through the first half of this book though. I don't care for an omniscient point of view and I tend to be attracted to deeply drawn characters. This novel covers four decades and the lives of several key players. During this vast time span the majority of the prose is narrating snippets of shaping experiences in the characters' lives. I was not able to get to know the characters on that deep level I crave. And because I didn't get to know them, I mostly remained untouched by the struggles and the drama of their lives. 

The second half of the book focused primarily on Saffee, the daughter, and her choosing to overcome the stigma and the generational curse of madness, that hovered over her mother. 

I can't recommend The Painted Table to readers who want the same experience I like in my fiction because if you don't care for omniscient point of view you will likely find yourself frustrated. However, those who are fascinated by the break down of a mind or how the process of thinking can make or break a person might want to give the Painted Table a spot in their to read pile. If you are looking for an inspiring read that paints a picture of how a series of choices and God's love can help break the grip of mental illness or a generational curse then you should be caught up in the story of redemption. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Kathryn Craft's The Art of Falling ~ Reviewed

The Art of Falling

  • ISBN-13: 9781402285196
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Pages: 368


One Wrong Step Could Send Her Over the Edge

All Penny has ever wanted to do is dance—and when that chance is taken from her, it pushes her to the brink of despair, from which she might never return. When she wakes up after a traumatic fall, bruised and battered but miraculously alive, Penny must confront the memories that have haunted her for years, using her love of movement to pick up the pieces of her shattered life.
Kathryn Craft's lyrical debut novel is a masterful portrayal of a young woman trying to come to terms with her body and the artistic world that has repeatedly rejected her. The Art of Falling expresses the beauty of movement, the stasis of despair, and the unlimited possibilities that come with a new beginning.

In her debut novel The Art of Falling, an amazing story about the resiliency of the human spirit, Kathryn Craft has secured a spot in my Top 10 for 2013 list. From her lyrical style to her unforgettable characters, she had me mesmerized from the first page until the last. One caveat, there are two non-gratuitous 4-letter words, but please don't let that stop you from reading this outstanding novel. You'll miss one of the best of this year's offerings if you do. Novel Rocket and I give it a 4 ½ out of 5. It's a must read.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan, President

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Barbara Cameron's Scraps of Evidence ~ Reviewed

Barbara Cameron
Release Date Nov 1, 2013
Publisher Abingdon Press
Series Quilts Of Love
Series Number 14
Pages: 240
ISBN 1426752784



Tess has taken some ribbing from her fellow officer, Logan, for her quilting hobby. He finds it hard to align the brisk professional officer he patrols with during the day with the one who quilts in her off-time. Besides, he s been trying to get to know her better and he d like to be seeing her during those few nights a week she spends with her quilting guild. Then one afternoon Tess and Logan visit her aunt in the nursing home, and the woman acts agitated when Tess covers her with the story quilt. Aunt Susan is attempting to communicate a message to them about Tess s uncle. There s a story behind this quilt, they realize, one that may lead them to a serial killer. Will they have a chance to have a future together, or will the killer choose Tess for his next victim before they find him?


Scraps of Evidence is about a detective named Tess.  She has just become a detective in a small town in Florida which she grew up in.  Her new partner, Logan, turns out to be a good partner, a man she can trust.  It comes as no surprise when they begin to have feelings for each other.  In the midst of all of this, Tess is trying to take care of her Aunt Susan, who keeps having accidents, as well as investigating in a murder that has taken place.  It becomes of special interest to Tess to find the killer when she realizes that it might be the same person who killed her best friend in high school.

This was a good book and a quick read.  I had my suspicions about who the killer was from the beginning, but the author did a good job of keeping you on your toes.  Even though you could see it coming, I enjoyed watching Tess and Logan’s relationship develop as well.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Friday, January 03, 2014

Kimberley Graham's The Rocking Horse of Tuscumbia ~ Reviewed

By: Kimberley G. Graham
Pages: 380
Release date: August 29
Publisher: Kimberley G. Graham

A spiritually blind and deaf woman confronts her long-buried past when she returns to her hometown, the birthplace of Helen Keller. Because Amanda Crosby shares her birthday with the town’s matriarch, Helen Keller, she feels no identity apart from Tuscumbia. When the pain of her past collides with her uncertain future, she realizes she’s spiritually blind and deaf--and teetering back and forth between her husband and her lost love like one of her rocking horses.

The Rocking Horse of Tuscumbia is a brilliant combination of deep and intriguing characterization, unexpected plot twists, and a story line that tugs at the human soul. The story is told in first person narrative through the eyes of Amanda Crosby, a girl (and later, woman), who shares a birthday with the town’s historical hero, Helen Keller. Her mother, obsessively enamored with Helen Keller, turns Amanda’s birthday celebrations into elaborate, public memorial affairs. As a result, Amanda grows up feeling unloved and bitter. When her father dies, she feels more alone than ever, and things between her and her mother deteriorate further. As Amanda nears adulthood, one desire dominates her every thought: to leave the town and the pain it represents far behind. But she soon finds wounds and secrets from her past won’t stay in Tuscumbia. In fact, to be freed from her past, she must return to Tuscumbia and face it head on.
The character depth Ms. Graham crafted and the small town interactions and drama gave this novel a rich, almost literary feel. The setting, a close-knit community centered in Tuscumbia, with its unique and fascinating history and flavorful culture, added a delicious layer to a gripping and thought-provoking story. This author is truly gifted and has crafted a captivating novel. It will appeal to readers of varied genres.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery