Friday, June 29, 2007

Melanie Dobson's Going for Broke ~ Reviewed

Going for Broke
By Melanie Dobson
Published by Honor Books
ISBN-10: 1589190939

Book Description:Leia Carlisle can't tell anyone her secret. After a debilitating ski injury, Leia loses her job as an airline pilot and turns to gambling for its empowering adrenaline rush. But the more she gambles, the more Leia thrives on the rush of euphoric wins until her obsession consumes her. If she doesn't overcome this addiction, the game will destroy her family, her faith and her life.

This book starts out light hearted and shows an average married couple in the early years. Leia has an accident and is confined to the house for the first time in her life. She is going crazy. What can she do to occupy her time? She starts searching the web. What does she find but a gambling site? What can it hurt? (she tells herself) The site lets her gamble for free. She knows her husband doesn't like gambling; they are Christians. Christians don’t gamble. She tells herself it's not gambling because she is not using "real" money.

Her husband Ethan is off on business trips and she is stuck home alone in the house with the computer calling to her. She is thrilled that she has won $10,000.00 play money one night. “Oh, how that could help them out if that were real money,” she thinks to herself. Maybe she would try it with real money her husband doesn't have to know. It sure would help out since she was out of work for 3 months (the lie - the seductive trap).

As I was reading the book I wanted to stop the character from entering the trap. In the authors notes at the end of the book, she states that women succumb to gambling nearly 3 times faster than men. I was surprised to also learn in this story that a gambling "addiction" can take as little as 2 weeks to develop. It is just as bad as using a substance you put into your body. This book was very informative. The characters and their stories were very believable and sometimes tough to read.

Nora St.Laurent
Life Way Book Club Leader Mall of GA store

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

George Bryan Polivka's The Legend of the Firefish ~ Reviewed

The Legend of the Firefish
Book One of the Trophy Chase Trilogy
By George Bryan Polivka
Harvest House Publishers 2007
ISBN 13: 978-0-7369-1556-2

Packer Throme longs to bring prosperity back to his poor fishing village by discovering the trade secrets of Scat Wilkins, a notorious pirate who now seeks to hunt the legendary Firefish and sell its rare meat.

Packer begins his quest by stowing away aboard Scat’s ship, the Trophy Chase, bound for the open sea. Though he is armed with a hard-won mastery of the sword and the love of Panna Seline, daughter of a priest of the kingdom of Nearing Vast, many tests of his courage and his resolve will follow—beginning when the young voyager is discovered by Scat himself.

Will belief and vision be enough for Packer Throme to survive? And will Talon, the Drammune warrior woman who serves as Scat’s security officer, be Packer’s deliverance… or his death?

And what of the innocent young Panna Seline? In her determination not to lose Packer, she leaves home to follow the man she loves but is soon swept up in a perilous adventure of her own.

This heroic struggle of faith makes The Legend of the Firefish a compelling story that will be enjoyed the world over by fans of adventure, fantasy, and well-told tales of honor and sacrifice.

Author George Polivka does not shy away from portraying the hero, Packer Throme, as sincerely doubting and struggling with his faith. That’s what endeared me as a reader to Packer. This character is ‘real’, not a garden-variety Pollyanna type.

The villain, Talon, is a character you’ll love to hate. Throughout the story, the reader wonders if she can possibly get any more evil—and then she does. However, toward the end of the tale, Polivka masterfully turns the reader’s heart to actually feel sorry for her.

There is eventually a happy ending, though most of the way through the book it seems as if no good can come from all the horrible events. A great analogy of how God works things together for good to those who believe.

The one thing I personally found frustrating is the point of view. It’s omniscient, meaning that from paragraph to paragraph, you know what everyone is thinking. There were a few spots I had to re-read because at first I didn’t know which character was thinking what.

Overall, though, a hearty round of applause goes not only to George Bryan Polivka for some mighty fine action-packed writing, but to Harvest House as well for taking a chance on a fantasy.

I’m hoping sales of the Trophy Chase trilogy will sky-rocket, opening the door to more new authors in this genre.

Fantasy lovers put your money where your mouth is and get out to by The Legend of the Firefish.

Review by Michelle Griep

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Craig & Janet Parshall's Captives and Kings ~ Reviewed

Captives and Kings
Craig and Janet Parshall
Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736913254
ISBN-13: 978-0736913256
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches

From the Publisher:

Andrew, astute, applied, and ambitious, has little but contempt for his wayward and adventuring brother, Phillip...who in turn resents what he sees as Andrew's high—handedness and superior attitude. The rift is deep, and it seems it will be permanent after Andrew learns of Phillip's unwitting involvement in a court plot and insists that he and his son, Peter, flee to the new colony of Virginia.

So far apart in both body and heart, will the two brothers ever meet on common ground again, let alone find their way to forgiveness?

My review:

I was surprised that the description from the publisher didn't include the information that drew me to the book. The court plot alluded to is the plot to destroy King James and his court in Parliament. The story is about conspiracy against the Protestant king as much as it is about the relationship between brothers. It's about diabolical planning, murder, torture, heartache, injustice, adventure, and secrets. It's about political struggles, conspiracy, opposing religious forces, Bible translation, travel to the "New World", salvation, and true love. In short, it's about a whole lot more than the description would lead you to believe.

That said, I really enjoyed this book. The point of view was mainly omniscient, which provided for a variety of perspectives you wouldn't get from a third person POV account. This entire novel held my attention. I really took an interest in the portion of the story where Phillip and his son Peter traveled to Jamestown with the original group as settlers. Peter met Pocohantas, though he didn't know her name at the time. There were skirmishes with the native peoples, a thwarted search for the lost settlers of the original Roanoke settlement, sickness, and other adventures. At first I didn't think I'd like that part of the story, but it turned out to be my favorite portion of the book, though I also enjoyed the rest of the novel.

Captives & Kings was about being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and about how the sin of one family member can impact the lives of so many innocent people. I had a hard time putting this book down. If you love historical fiction, this novel covers points of history rarely covered anywhere else in novel form.

Michelle Sutton (pen name)
ACFW Volunteer Officer writer/book reviewer

Monday, June 25, 2007

Diann Mills' Lightning and Lace ~ Reviewed

Lightning and Lace
Diann Mills
ISBN: 1597893579
ISBN-13: 9781597893572·
Format: Paperback, 288pp
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Incorporated

Even good God-fearing people make mistakes and Bonnie Kahler is no exception. After two years of mourning the loss of her husband this Christian mother wakes up one morning to realize her life hasn’t moved forward and her children are suffering the price.
Diann Mills weaves a wonderful continuation from Lanterns and Lace where we first learn of Bonnie Kahler and her dying husband, Ben. The transition from one book to the other is beautifully penned in this story of a woman who loses herself in grief for time.

At the retirement of her stepfather, Reverend John Rainer, Travis Whitworth steps up to the helm of the Piney Woods Church. His job is cut out for him, as he attempts to follow in the footsteps of Reverend Rainer. His first encounter in town is breaking up a fight between two boys, one who is Bonnie’s son, Zach.

The story, crafted tediously, brings Bonnie to the realization she is neglecting her children through her own grief. As she struggles to manage an out-of-control son, Travis steps up to lend a hand. He helps Bonnie out on the farm and manages a little spare time to offer guidance to a troubled Zach.

When a Travis finds a murdered townswoman, his church members begin to shift their eyes in an accusing manner toward him and Zach. In a story filled with surprises, Lightning and Lace takes hold of the reader and grips them tight.

Mills takes twists and turns throughout this work which approaches many subjects including how even Christian minds wander. This third in a series of the Texas Legacy has brought us still closer to the townspeople of Kahlerville, their lives and deep personal relationships.

Once again Barbour has allowed Diann Mills to bring us into a western world where real people have love, suffer hurt, and find redemption.

Reviewed by Cindy Sproles, Mountain Breeze Ministries

Friday, June 22, 2007

Alton Gansky's Finder's Fee ~ Reviewed

Finder's Fee

by Alton Gansky

Paperback: 331 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (May 2007)

ISBN-10: 0310272106
ISBN-13: 978-0310272106

"If you do not do exactly as I instruct, he will die."

A terrifying phone call sweeps rich and powerful businesswoman Judith Find into a desperate search for a kidnapped boy. If she involves the authorities, the child will die...and "The Puppeteer" will reveal Judith's darkest secret to the world.

Judith is teamed with a mysterious stranger with a carefully guarded secret of his own. But is Luke Becker an unwilling ally or an agent of the kidnapper? As Judith and Luke's mutual distrust wars against a growing attraction, the life of a small boy hangs in the balance. A boy unlike any other Judith has ever met.

Eight-year-old Abel Palek will help Judith discover a faith and a life she has never imagined. But freeing him could cost her everything.

Her career.

Her reputation.

And very possibly her life.

My Review:

The biggest problem with being a book reviewer is time. Now that I have read an Alton Gansky, I'm going to have to get a copy of each of his previous novels and read them. This is becoming a burden. I don't watch television anymore, I'm only up on the current events when they are a little old. I don't know any celebrities on first name basis. "Brad who? Paris? As in France? You're going to Europe -- Lucky!"

Finder's Fee is an intriguing story. Two people with a past that could ruin their present get sucked into a cat and mouse game. At first I thought the story might be similar to the movie "Cellular" which was in itself quite suspenseful. But it ends up going a whole lot of different directions, though Ganksy's created a story that begs a movie.

Well-rounded and likable characters. Fairly heavy spirituality without preachiness. Tight suspense, some blood, some tragedy, plenty of treachery, even some sweet moments of romance. Like I said, I'm going to be reading more Alton Gansky.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Judith Pella's Bachelor's Puzzle ~ Reviewed

Bachelor’s Puzzle
By Judith Pella
Published by Bethany House
ISBN-10: 0764201336

Book Description
The church ladies society in Maintown, Oregon, is buzzing over the arrival of the new preacher. Their eligible daughters are fashioning a special quilt for him---in the shape of a ring---because rumor has it he's unattached. But when the "clergyman" turns out to be nothing more than a handsome opportunist, humorous blunders abound!

The women of the Maintown church ladies society are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new circuit-riding preacher – a bachelor, they are told. Zach Hartley is unlike any preacher the church has ever seen. Zach does his best to fill the role of “New” preacher. He hangs laundry, washes dishes, tends children - whatever it takes; whatever needs doing he is ready to do. Zach gets to know and love these town people (a surprise to him). In Maintown he learns of life and the love he never had growing up. The women of the sewing circle present the preacher with a welcoming quilt they are proud of. A competition starts up among the women as to who can make the best quilt block and win the preachers affections. In the back of the book the Author has an offer for a free book. If you send a quilt to one of the 13 organizations (listed in the back of the book) that pass out quilts for different reasons; she will give you a book. The book also includes a pattern for the "Bachelor's Puzzle" quilt. It doesn't get any better than that a quilt for a free book. This is the first in a series called “Patchwork Circle”. I can’t wait until the next book.

Reviewed by Nora St. Laurent

LifeWay Book Club, Buford, GA

Monday, June 18, 2007

Jenny B Jones' In Between ~ Reviewed

In Between
by Jenny B Jones
TH1NK Books
an imprint of NavPress

Book Jacket:

Katie Parker knows life isn't fair. After all, when your mom's in jail and your dad's a no-show, you figure things just aren't going your way. But hey, she can deal. Then she finds out she's being sent to live with a foster family- in In Between, Texas.

What kind of town has a name like In Between? And what kind of family wants a kid like her? One thing's for certain: None of this will be good. Sure enough- thanks to some new "friends" and her non-Mom's crazed mother, Mad Maxine- life sails right past bad to stinking.

Then again, she's just a temporary kid, they're just temporary parents, and she definitely doesn't have any ideas about making any of this permanent. God, on the other hand, may have other plans altogether.

My Review.

Jenny B Jones has to be one of the most hilarious writers ever to come up with the character of Katie Parker. Katie not only is funny smart aleck, teens can relate with her, hands down.

In the first book of the series, as soon as you're introduced to Katie, you get that feeling of what she has gone through in her life. But the book isn't just a story about a serious teenager with a problem. This book will have you rolling around on the floor laughing, since almost everything that comes out of Katie's mouth will make you LOL. I recommend that you put In Between on the top of your "To Do" list.

Reviewed by Shelby Klepfer ~ teen reviewer

Friday, June 15, 2007

DeeAnne Gist's Courting Trouble ~ Reviewed

Courting Trouble by DeeAnne Gist
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Bethany House (June 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764202251
ISBN-13: 978-0764202254

Book Description:
In 1890s Texas, a 30-year-old single woman was considered "over the hill" rather than "heading to the altar." Determined to be a blushing bride if it kills her, Essie Spreckelmeyer sizes up potential beaus and heads into town. But will she be "courting trouble" if she leaves God out of the relationship?


This past week I was delighted to receive a copy of Deeanne Gist's Courting Trouble in the mail. Like her past best-selling novels (A Bride Most Begrudging and Measure of a Lady) Courting Trouble proves to be a perfect summer read—a whimsical comedy of manners that follows the troubles of a thirty-year-old Miss Sprecklemeyer as she makes a gallant effort to force a man—any man—into marriage before she forever becomes labelled as a spinster. The twists in the book are well done, and I warrant readers won't be able to figure out, which man wins the girl at the end of the book.

While you may need to search in the religious section to find her novels, Deeanne Gist is not your typical Christian romance novelist. She rarely writes in a heavy-handed manner that makes her readers feel preached at, though Courting Trouble does carry a well-executed spiritual theme. Neither will her readers find the racy scenes typical in the general market. Instead, Deeanne Gist chooses to tiptoe around her counterparts, creating her own genre of romance—delightful tales, not to be taken too seriously—perfect summer reading!

5 stars—highly recommended.

Reviewed by Jessica Dotta

And a bonus review:

My review:Courting Trouble is my favorite of Deeanne's three historical novels. The author created a dynamic, quirky, unique characterization in Essie. In fact, I can't recall a single "cardboard character" in this story. They were all expertly developed.

The plot was so unique, that I loved it for that reason alone. Plus the spiritual element was very well done. In fact, I related so well to Essie's struggles that I got a choked up when she had her heart broken or was misunderstood--each and every time. I loved how the author showed that changing who you are for someone else will always leave you empty and frustrated. In short, this story gave me a powerful emotional experience. I feel like I learned something about myself, and I benefited spiritually from reading Courting Trouble.

I also loved how the ending was not the usual scenario, which kept me reading because I honestly didn't know who Essie would end up with/or what she would do. I love any element in a novel that keeps me guessing. I totally understood Essie's thinking process and I identified with her. In fact, I hope that if the author writes a sequel she will include Essie, because I hated to see the story end.

Courting Trouble is probably one of the edgiest historical novels I've read in CBA, yet in my opinion, it never strayed into objectionable matter. The author did tackle some pretty big issues in a genuine way, and I am impressed with how well she crafted it. The author is fabulous at putting physical temptation and realism into her stories. I believe it's her greatest strength and her brand as an author.

I'm also very impressed with Bethany House and the books they've been publishing lately, especially the historicals!

Reviewed by: Michelle Sutton (pen name)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stephen Bly's One Step Over the Border ~ Reviewed

One Step Over the Border
By Stephen Bly
Published by Center Street/Hachette Book Group
ISBN-10: 1-59995-689-6

Click here for Stephen's NovelJourney interview. 6-14-07

Book Description:
Hap Bowman and his rodeo partner, Laramie Majors, set out to find Hap's lost childhood love and are soon chasing down every Juanita from Wyoming to the Mexican border. Every place they go leads to more trouble and excitement—whether it's herding cattle across the Rio Grande, facing off against a crooked park ranger in the Chisos Mountains, or rounding up wild mustangs on a desert military testing ground. Though their search may or may not lead to Juanita, it will definitely be the adventure of a lifetime for these two modern-day cowboys.

From the first page to the last, this rollicking adventure will have you chuckling. I've never seen two people get into more scrapes as Hap and Laramie. All while in search of the elusive Juanita. But what they find, besides trouble, will leave you sighing. For fans of Stephen Bly, another hit awaits you.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Robin Lee Hatcher's Return to Me ~ Reviewed

Return to Me
By Robin Lee Hatcher
Published by Zondervan
ISBN-10: 0-310-25804-9

Back cover copy:
Discouraged and destitute, her dreams shattered, Roxy Burke is going home. But what lies beyond the front door? Rejection ... or a brighter future?

A lot has changed since Roxy Burke escaped small town life to become a Nashville star. Her former boyfriend Wyatt has found Christ and plans to become a minister. Her sister Elena, who comforted Wyatt when Roxy ran away, is now his fiancée. Her father Jonathan, a successful businessman, is heartbroken over the estrangement of Roxy from the family.

Now Roxy—her inheritance from her grandmother squandered, her hopes of stardom dashed—finds her way home ... not by choice but because it’s her only option. Her father's love and forgiveness surprise her, but her very presence throws the contented Burke family into turmoil, filling Roxy with guilt and shame.

Elena is shocked to discover doubt and resentment in her heart after her father's easy acceptance of Roxy into the family circle. Wyatt wrestles with doubts about marrying Elena. And Roxy struggles to accept forgiveness. Isn't she more deserving of rejection? As the story of the prodigal plays out, each member of the Burke family must search for and accept God's grace.

My review:
From page one, Hatcher had me hooked by this tale of the prodigal daughter. I understood Roxy's need to reach for her dream, and at first, I didn't care much for Elena, the older sister. But as the plot unfolded in a brilliant tango of past and present, I began to understand her—and her resentment of her younger, prettier sister.

Hatcher reached deep into scripture, pulling out nuances I'd missed in the parable of the prodigal son. She presents a tarnished heroine whose sins are obvious. But it's through Elena, filled with bitterness and an unforgiving spirit, we confront the uglier sin.

I loved this book and devoured it in one sitting, reading late into the night. Hatcher always allows me to suspend disbelief and leaves me wanting more when the last page is turned.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

Monday, June 11, 2007

Chuck Black's Kingdom's Quest ~ Reviewed

Kingdom's Quest
By Chuck Black
Multnomah Books
ISBN-10: 1-59052-749-6
ISBN-13: 978-1-59052-749-8

Good and evil clash. Leinad and Cedric are determined to not only survive, but claim hope and victory! In Kingdom’s Dawn, Leinad and Tess, along with all the king’s people, must escape slavery by the powerful Lord Fairos. Kingdom’s Hope find them free and arriving in the Chessington Valley. But when they forget the king, will Kergon and the Kessons capture them for good? After many years, Kingdom’s Edge finds Cedric living a hopeless life until a stranger appears with powerful words of a new kingdom and a grand army. Finally, Kingdom’s Reign marches you through the danger of earth’s last days as the evil dark knight threatens to defeat the prince once and for all. Swords, knights, and battles define these captivating tales that parallel Biblical events from Genesis to Revelation!

This is an amazing book. It has everything from a dragon and pirates to duels and a tournament topped off by an unexpected ending. I recommend this book to everyone.

Reviewed by Reid Ausband, age 10

Friday, June 08, 2007

Jerome Teel's The Divine Appointment ~ Reviewed

The Divine Appointment
by Jerome Teel
Published by Howard Books (June 5, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1416543384

While investigating a murder, Nashville attorneys Eli Faulkner and Jill Baker uncover evidence that incriminates Senator Proctor---and places them in the cross hairs of another deadly plot!

It was an interesting story but kind of confusing, as Teel went into detail about the inner workings of the Presidency: his assistant and the security team that handles different things for the President. Teel also went through the whole election process of a Judge and the detailed workings of that process.

I found myself checking back to see who was the assistant to the President and who was the Assistant to the Majority speaker. It has many characters and a couple of court room dramas, playing out at the same time along with a couple people getting killed in their investigations. It has a good ending and in parts it was suspenseful.

But you don’t leave the book thinking, "Wow - that was good." He has some really good points to make in the book about politics and religion; one being a lawyer who is faced with getting real with Jesus in all areas of his life.

Reviewed by Nora St. Laurent

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Victoria Christopher Murray's The Ex Files ~ Reviewed

The Ex Files by Victoria Christopher Murray
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Touchstone (July 3, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416535519
ISBN-13: 978-1416535515

Book Description:

There are four ways a woman can handle heartbreak. She can fall apart, seek revenge, turn cold, or move on. The Ex Files is the story of these four women:

When Kendall Stewart finds her husband and her sister in bed together, she vows to never let anyone get that close again. But when she is faced with saving the life of the woman who destroyed hers, will she be able to forgive?

When an NBA superstar tells his mistress, Asia Ingram, that he's decided to honor his marriage vows, her shock quickly gives way to revenge...but her decision may come back to haunt their five-year-old daughter.

Every night Vanessa Martin wonders why her husband committed suicide. Even worse, she contemplates joining him in eternity. Will Vanessa be able to gather the strength to live again?

Sheridan Hart is finally finding her way after a lie destroyed her seventeen-year marriage. Her new love is ready to get married, but will she commit to this younger man or is her ex-husband taking up too much space in her heart?

When their pastor asks Kendall, Asia, Vanessa, and Sheridan to meet weekly for prayer, they can't imagine they will have anything in common. But then a devastating tragedy strikes and these strangers are forced to reexamine their choices. Will they find true friendship, or will prayer -- and their union -- fail them?

My review:

The uniqueness of this story really pulled me in. Each woman had their own drama and were mismatched as friends, but after some seriously hard times came upon each of them, they learned to reach out to each other and seek God for strength. The Ex Files is like a soap opera with four stories going at the same time, yet they intersect on occasion. The cool thing about the plots in this book were that they were all equally compelling. Usually I want to take one character's plot and dive ahead to the next place where they are featured in the book. But I was never tempted to do that with The Ex Files because none of the stories were dull or unlikable.

The conflict was real, the emotion went deep into the character's lives, and the best part about these four ladies lives was that none of their ultimate choices were predictable. In fact, each ending turned out differently than I had anticipated. Also, the author did an amazing job of taking an unlikeable characteristic such as selfishness and still managed to make me care about the women in the book. Each had issues that centered around their own needs and how they dealt with their problems was so realistic and well done. The faith element was perfectly incorporated as well. I just love the ingenuity and creativity in this author's novels. I'm going to have to read everything she publishes from now on. I don't want to miss a thing!

Reviewed by: Michelle Sutton (pen name)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Michelle Moran's Nefertiti: A Novel ~ Reviewed

Click for Michelle Moran's Interview on Novel Journey (June 6, 2007).

Nefertiti: A Novel
By Michelle Moran
Published by Crown Publishers (July 2007)
ISBN 978-0-307-38146-0

Nefertiti's powerful family has always provided wives to the ruling family of Egypt, and she is destined to marry Amunhotep, the unstable young pharaoh. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is the "people's princess," beloved by the masses. But when she is unable to produce an heir, her family's position at court is endangered.

She also realizes she has underestimated the dissatisfaction Egypt feels toward her husband, who has decreed that Egypt's ancient gods be forsaken. The priests, along with the military, are plotting against his rule. The only person willing to warn Nefertiti is her younger sister, Mutnodjmet. Contemplative and observant, Mutnodjmet would dearly prefer a simple life far from the intrigues of the court, and to share it with the military man who has won her heart.

But Nefertiti declares that her sister must marry for political gain, not love. If Mutnodjmet is to ever achieve independence, she must defy her sister, the most powerful woman in Egypt, and reach out for the life she envisions for herself.

Against a backdrop of faultless research, Michelle Moran weaves her story through the point of view of Mutnodjmet and that hooks the reader from page one. I liked the way Moran doesn’t try to impress the reader with her extensive knowledge of Egypt; rather she simply knows it so well, the story comes alive on the pages of a book. You'll walk the halls of exquisite palaces, be privy to the competition between Kiya (the great wife) and Nefertiti (the Chief wife and Queen) for pharaoh's love and to be mother of his heir. Nefertiti rages when she can only produce daughters.

Both fathers of Kiya and Nefertiti are Viziers to Pharaoh. While Kiya's father whispers into Amunhotep's ear what he wants to hear, Vizier Ay, Nefertiti's father, sides with the old gods and the old Queen. Working behind the scenes, his diplomacy may be the only thing that keeps Egypt from falling during this tumultuous time.

If you love historical novels, if you love political intrigue, and if you love surprises – you'll love Nefertiti: A Novel.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

Monday, June 04, 2007

Hope Lyda's Life, Libby, and the Pursuit of Happiness ~ Reviewed

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736917896
ISBN-13: 978-0736917896

From the author of Hip to Be Square comes an urban tale of Libby Marshall, whose life seems to be going the wrong direction. She creates trip itineraries but never travels. She wants to attend church but winds up at a bookstore on Sundays. She longs for a love attraction yet settles for a “like” distraction.

But when Libby receives a demotion instead of her overdue promotion, she vows to start living intentionally. Yet just when she is trying to be authentic, she is asked to keep a huge secret to redeem her career. Will a genuine life ever be within reach? And will Libby ever have enough faith to believe that happiness can be found in the detours.


There have to be subgenres in Chick-Lit.

If so, Libby would straddle career and dismal love life lit.

Libby is an engaging voice. Angst riddled as are most Chick-Lit heroines. With first person Chick-Lit you get all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Libby is far more likeable than several other characters I've met between the covers of novels. She's sarcastic and has a dry delivery. If you try to avoid snide, she hovers on that edge, so you may not like her. I happen to love sarcasm.

There is tad too much predictibility in Libby's life. But I guess that is somewhat realistic. After all, sometimes I'm the last one to see it because I'm so close to it.

I struggled with a few "yeah right" moments of coincidence. But then again, this is not the mystery genre.

Overall, I can easily recommend this book to those who love clever escapist reads.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Pamela Tracy's The Pursuit of Justice ~ Reviewed

The Pursuit of Justice by Pamela Tracy
Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Steeple Hill (March 13, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 037344236X
ISBN-13: 978-0373442362

From the Publisher:

While helping the police bust a drug ring, Rosa Cagnalia witnessed a murder—one she was now being framed for.

Officer Samuel Packard hauled her in, only to see another cop—his former partner—take her from the precinct without cause. So he followed. Betraying a friend went against Sam's beliefs, but he suspected that something was going on, and that Rosa just might be innocent. The dangerous predicament he discovered her in only cemented his desire to help. Now, if only he could get his beautiful suspect to cooperate….

My review:More suspenseful than romantic, Pursuit of Justice will keep you on your toes as you experience the stress of being in danger with Rosa and Sam, who are trying to avoid being killed...all the while pursuing justice. This story has more details, plot points, twists, turns, herrings, and action than most suspense novels. It's not overly violent, but at the same time it's by no means a soft story. Plenty of action fills this novel, and up to the very last page the characters are exposing more lies and murders, and are running from danger! Reading Pursuit of Justice made me feel like I had stepped into the middle of a NYPD Blues episode.

Personally, I like more romantic tension in a romantic suspense story, but the suspense piece was interesting enough that it made up for the lack in that area. Plus, the characters were unique, and given the intense pace of the story I think it would've been difficult to develop a believable romantic relationship. I also loved Rosa and Sam's interactions with Rosa's cat, Go Away. The humor was precious, right down to the heaved cat food on the leather seats.

Reviewed by: Michelle Sutton (pen name)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Robin Lee Hatcher's Sweet Dreams Drive ~ Reviewed

Sweet Dreams Drive
By Robin Lee Hatcher
Published by Revell
ISBN 10: 0-8007-1857-7

Al and Patti Bedford are the new parents of twins, which means they are severely sleep deprived, in debt up to their ears, and feeling very stressed out. Like so many other young couples, Al and Patti have gotten in over their heads financially while pursuing the great American dream and the good life. With the arrival of their twins and all the new responsibility that entails, the cracks that have been below the surface in their marriage start to come to light. Was this what they signed up for when they got married? Neither one of them is sure.

This final novella in the Hart's Crossing series is as heartwarming as the first book was. Hatcher evoked some long forgotten emotions. Emotions from when I was like Patti—young and newly married and stressed out with the new baby. Patti and Al dance a hormonal waltz, until a purchase Patti makes brings it all to the surface.

Poignant and endearing, Sweet Dreams Drive is highly recommended. Each one of the Hart's Crossing books will touch your heart, and I'm sorry to see the series end. The series has four books: Legacy Lane, Veterans Way, Diamond Place and Sweet Dreams Drive. Be sure to get all four; you won't want to miss any of them. In fact, they'd make a terrific Christmas gift.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan