Friday, February 27, 2009

Mary DeMuth's Daisy Chain ~ Reviewed

Daisy Chain: A Novel (Defiance Texas Trilogy)
by Mary E. DeMuth
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (March 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310278368

Back Cover:

The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance from a small Texas town in 1973 spins three lives out of control—Jed, whose guilt over not protecting his friend Daisy strangles him; Emory Chance, who blames her own choices for her daughter’s demise; and Ouisie Pepper, who is plagued by headaches while pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis.

In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.

Daisy Chain is an achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story crafted by a bright new literary talent. It offers a haunting yet hopeful backdrop for human depravity and beauty, for terrible secrets and God’s surprising redemption.

You can read the first chapter here.

My Review:

Mary DeMuth's Daisy Chain transported me to Defiance,Texas, dropped me into the mid '70's and immersed me in the home of a wounded family. Jed is fourteen and has just lost his best friend and future wife. It's his fault, because he's weak and selfish and he wouldn't walk the little spitfire home because if he did, his daddy would be upset. And when daddy is upset bad things happen. Daddy is a preacher. Jed can't quite bring himself to stand up to daddy to protect his precious sister and his sickly, broken mom -- a mom who writes messages of love, encouragement, and sorrow on flower petals and leaves them by Jed's bed.

Jed's whole world is inside out and upside down. The town is holding its breath because Daisy is missing. And heaven is brass because God isn't listening to Jed, and apparently doesn't care to.

If this little sliver of drama turns you inside out and upside down you may not want to read this book. But if you are one who claims To Kill a Mockingbird or Peace Like a River as one of your favorite novels, you really owe it to yourself to look further into Daisy Chain. Tom Morrisey, Lisa Samson, Claudia Mair Burney, Charles Martin and W.Dale Cramer fans need to look in Mary DeMuth's direction as well.

This is a novel that will haunt me for weeks and months, probably landing on my 2009 favorite list. The characters are deep and rich, complex and challenging. The story is gut wrenching and awful, and beautiful and full of the power of love and faith and Jesus. I can't imagine anyone not being horrified and then blessed as this novel opens and blooms, bleeds, withers and fades. Technically, the only complaint I had was just a few moments of transition between the adult Jed and the younger versions of Jed, and a brief incident where a scene's timing didn't quite jive in my mind. And those issues are only because I read so many books for review and can't just get lost in pages and not look for flaws that might impede a reader's experience.

I so appreciated the depth of truth and faith in this novel. Daisy Chain could be a very tough book for some readers. Child endangerment, abuse, anger, bigotry, religious bullying, drinking and hints of sexual scandal are not buried under a layer of pristine Sunday-best white gloves. I do recommend Daisy Chain to anyone who hungers for honest fiction that doesn't leave one weeping over the hopelessness of a story without redemption and grace.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brandt Dodson's Daniel's Den ~ Reviewed

Daniel's Den
By Brandt Dodson
Published by Harvest House Publishers
ISBN# 978-0-7369-2477-1

Back Cover:

Daniel Borden and Laura Traynor live two different lives…Daniel is a successful stock analyst in New Orleans.

Laura operates a bed and breakfast in Shenandoah Valley.

He is wealthy, enjoys racquetball and lives with Elvis, a black lab.

She is a struggling single mother, works two jobs and lives with her young son, Andy.

But, when unseen forces send hit men after each of them, a twist of fate drives them together as they are forced to flee their common enemy.

In high stakes game of cat-and-mouse, they learn just how big the cat can be.

And that it's no game.


Daniel Borden is a stock broker with all the latest and greatest technical toys available to him. When he is asked to audit a file, he discovers one of the partners has been embezzling money. What does he do? We're not talking about a few nickels or dimes here; he found that millions were being skimmed off the top. Suddenly Daniel doesn't know who to trust and weighs his options carefully before deciding on a plan of action. His next decision will change his life forever.

Laura Traynor on the other hand, was dealing with life as a single mother. She was also living out her husband's dream of owning and running a bed and breakfast Inn with her son Andy. She is very disillusioned with life and God. How could he have let all these things happen to her? She was angry! "Is there nothing more to life than pain, and loss, and then death? Is this all there is?" She couldn't take life as she knew it one more day, she had to know if there was more.

An explosion happens when Laura and Daniel's lives collide. This most unlikely duo becomes a team fighting against a common enemy. The stakes are high -- it's a matter of life and death. It's unsure who will win in this struggle. Brandt Dodson's story is full of action, suspense and intrigue as these two characters struggle with life, God and how the bad guys seem to follow them, no matter where they hide. How or would they shake them? You'll have to read this story to find out.

Reviewed by: Nora StLaurent

Bonus Review:

Daniel's Den is a tense, terse read. Told in multiple almost narrative voice the story unfolds in New Orleans and the Shenandoah Valley. Daniel lives in a controlled environment, from the truth of the numbers he deals with as a stockbroker to the regimented life he's created for himself, everything is defined and in place. Until he is given the files of a dead co-worker and stumbles onto a big mess.

Laura is hanging on to a dying dream and has run out of hope and faith. When a bizarre and frightening man begins to hound her to sell her property fear and despair take hold.

Daniel and Laura unite in the worst of situations and end up running for their lives. Andy and Elvis, a young boy and a dog complicate matters.

I read the advanced copy and hope that several typos were taken care of in the final edit. One secondary plot thread threw me a bit but only briefly. The story is the driving force in this novel, so the characters, though rich enough, took a back seat to the action and plot.

If you like page turners, or Dodson, you need to look further into Daniel's Den.

Reviewed by:
Kelly Klepfer

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Robin Lee Hatcher's When Love Blooms ~ Reviewed

When Love Blooms
By Robin Lee Hatcher
Published by Zondervan
ISBN 978-0-310-25926-8

Back Cover:

She could say what she wanted. Emily Harris didn't belong in the hard life of the Blakes. She would wilt there like a rose without water. He'd be sending her back to Boise before the first snows. He'd be willing to bet on it.

From the moment Gavin Blake set eyes on Emily Harris, he knew she would never make it in the rugged high country where backbreaking work and constant hardship were commonplace. Beautiful and refined, she was accustomed to the best life had to offer. Heaven only knew why she wanted to leave Boise to teach two young girls on a ranch miles from nowhere. He'd wager it had to do with a man. It always did when a beautiful woman was involved.

Emily wanted to make some sort of mark on the world before marriage. She wanted to be more than just a society wife. Though she had plenty of opportunities back East, she had come to the Idaho high country looking to make a difference. Gavin’s resistance to her presence made her even more determined to prove herself. Perhaps changing the heart of just one man may make the greatest difference of all.


Penned with the descriptive nibs of all the five senses, Hatcher transports the reader to the magnificent high country of Idaho in a thoroughly engaging tale of love and wounded heroes. When Love Blooms is layered with appealing characters, and I was so at home with the story's cast, I felt like I was like viewing my own family history. I have yet to read a Robin Lee Hatcher novel that didn't entrance me from the first page, and with a unique plot for a romance, When Love Blooms is no exception. Novel Reviews and I give it a high recommendation.

Reviewed by
Ane Mulligan

Monday, February 23, 2009

Irene Hannon's Against All Odds ~ Reviewed

By Irene Hannon
Published by Revell
ISBN# 978-0-8007-3310-0

Back Cover:

For FBI hostage rescue team member Evan Cooper and his partner, dignitary protection duty should have been a piece of cake. Unfortunately, beautiful but determined Monica Callahan isn't making it easy. Estranged from her diplomat father – who is involved in a sensitive hostage situation in the Middle East – she refuses to be intimidated by a related terrorist threat back in the states. That is, until a chilling warning convinces her that the danger is very real – and escalating.

As Coop and his partner do their best to keep her safe, the threat against Monica is rising. And with every second that ticks by, Coop knows that the odds of saving the only woman who has ever breached the walls of his heart, are dropping. After all, terrorists aren't known for their patience – or their mercy.


This is the first book I have read by Irene Hannon. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed how this author put Monica's struggle with God and her faith throughout the story. She made it so real, so natural.

David Callahan, a diplomat, struggles with the tough stance he has taken with terrorists, now that his only child's life is on the line. Will he cave in?

Monica Callahan doesn't want anything to do with her father. Diplomat David Callahan abandoned his family years ago for the sake of his job. He chose his career over family life when she was only six years old. She wasn't letting him back into her heart now. Monica remembers her mother and what she said "Forgiveness is hard, honey. But it's what God calls us to do...You don't have to wait for someone to apologize to forgive them.". Ouch! Deep inside she knew her mother was right. Now Evan Cooper a FBI hostage rescue team member is asking her questions she doesn't want to think about. He happened to find the book she wrote on her shelf and read parts of it. He asked her, Monica "…I'm having difficulty reconciling your obvious commitment to your faith with your bitterness toward your father….. Let me rephrase. How do you justify your feelings toward your father in light of what your faith teaches?" She doesn't have answer that. This has nothing to do with the terrorists.

She was an author that taught others how to communicate and here she was stuck not knowing what to say. She was human and couldn't help how she felt. It was a cop-out and she knew it. Who was this guy anyway? He had no right to start getting in her face about personal matters. He was there to protect her against terrorist attacks period the end.

I enjoyed the story of these real and believable characters stuck in the middle of high terrorist drama. It's amazing what goes on in a hostage situation and the procedures to deal with them. Irene brings you into all the action and suspense without being gross. I'm looking forward to her next adventure.

Reviewed by: Nora StLaurent

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Roxanne Henke's On a Someday ~ Reviewed

On a Someday

By Roxanne Henke

Published by Harvest House

ISBN 978-0-7369-1703-2


Claire Weston has spent her adult life bring a wife, mother, and college professor. The last thing she expects as she nears retirement is to have a whole new career open before her. But when it can she possibly turn it down?
Her husband, Jim, has spent his life growing his chain of grocery stores. He has a grand plan to restore an old Dodge Charger...someday when he retires. Someday soon, he hopes.

If his son, Drew, would only agree to take over the family business. Drew, however, has plans of his own. And Claire is busy climbing the ladder of her new career. She can't bear the thought she might have to say no to the exciting new opportunities she's pursuing and simply sit around and watch Jim tinker on an old car.

The decisions Jim, Claire, and Drew must make come far too quickly as an unexpected crisis forces them to choose their


On a Someday is about the dreams we all have and wonder if we'll they'll ever come true. As Claire finds herself facing some very tough decisions, I could relate to her dilemma and wondered about my own path. Told in three points of view, you see a family striving to make their individual dreams come true while contending with the relationships that enrich their lives.

Roxanne Henke is a master at writing stories about deep friendship and family, and each of her books has been filled with memorable characters that live on after you turn the last page.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ad Hudler's Man of the House ~ Reviewed

Man of the House: A Novel
by Ad Hudler
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 30, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345481089

Product Description

For more than a decade, Linc Menner has raised the status of househusband to an art form. . . .

While his wife, Jo, brings home the bacon, Linc Menner holds down the fort–his gourmet cooking is sublime, his cleaning unrivaled, and his devotion to his daughter, Violet, unparalleled.

But when the Menners relocate from upstate New York to the steamy beaches of Naples, Florida, life takes an unexpected turn. As the Menners renovate their new home Linc’s bliss turns into a war zone of contractors, dry wall dust, and chaos. And suddenly being surrounded by guys whose faces go blank as he expounds on the virtues of lump-free gravy makes Linc realize he has forgotten what it feels like to be a man.

So Linc trades his flip-flops for work boots, and his wild mop of hair for a barbershop buzz, and marches his flabby physique to the nearest gym–attracting the secret devotion of one of Violet’s teacher in the process. And his stunned family watches helplessly as they lose the man who keeps them all together. To make matters worse, it’s hurricane season and there’s a category 5 heading right for Naples. As life on the home front explodes into hilarity and catastrophe, Linc must chart his own delightfully crooked course to finally become the Man of the House.

My Review:

Linc Menner has tasted the Martha Stewart life, and it's beginning to curdle. Is he man enough to handle hurricanes, hormonal female overload, power tools, and a ripped-up kitchen?

Told in different first person points of view the reader watches a man's search for meaning and his place in steamy Florida. A very entertaining read, I enjoyed my visit to Linc's world. I was impressed with Hudler's writing skills and sarcastic sense of humor. His handling of family was sensitive, down to earth, and satisfying.

Linc's journey boils down to, a real man isn't defined by muscles, the vehicle he drives, or his knowledge of interior design, a real man should be defined by the whole package. I will warn the more sensitive readers that Linc's world veers into R-rated. A man who is redetermining exactly what a man is and how he's supposed to act sometimes visits some dark thoughts and places.

Overall, a charming and entertaining novel.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mary Connealy's Gingham Mountain

Gingham Mountain (Lassoed in Texas, Book 3) (Paperback)
by Mary Connealy
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (February 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602601410

Product Description

All aboard for a delightful, suspense-filled romance, where a Texan is torn between his attraction to a meddlesome schoolmarm and the charms of a designing dressmaker. When Hannah Cartwright meets Grant, she's determined to keep him from committing her orphans to hard labor on his ranch. How far will she go to ensure their welfare? Grant is determined to provide a home for the two kids brought in by the orphan train. Can he keep his ragtag family together while steering clear of love and marriage?
Read chapter one.

Review: Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! This is the best from Mary Connealy yet, and quite possibly the best book I have ever read (under 300 pages). You have to understand... This is one of those books that you read when you have some time by yourself. First off is the matter of time, because once you start I promise it is impossible if not painful to put it down. Then, secondly, by yourself because otherwise you are going to be quite embarrassed by the looks that you will earn. I read it with only my two cats nearby and they still looked at me as if I were crazed. *snicker*

Upon starting the story there are a couple little giggles, but shortly there after they turn in to little chuckles, and then every once in a while a snicker. Once, finally it is under hand, then comes the shaking silent laughs that turn to out right snorts. Once you are sure that nothing could make you laugh anymore and you are fully in control of your senses, well then she goes and causes laugh out loud gasping and crying from laughter tears. Covering your mouth and slapping the desk as a reader you are stuck with the amount of pure glee and humor that your body has endured.

With that said, I guess I should not be surprised. Not at all really.

Review by: Margaret Chind

Bonus Review:

Mary Connealy has a charming voice. She manages to give petticoats and prairie dust a hint of breezy chick-lit. Her western series has been an entertaining and a quick and satisfying read. Gingham Mountain follows previous characters and creates new situations in which she tortures her characters. Hannah and Grant and a whole passel of orphans burst out of the Gingham Mountain pages and into my affections.

If you are looking for authentic western historical details and language, you may want to look further into this series before plunking down your money. But if you are looking for entertainment, creative storytelling, charming characters and downright as much fun as a barn raising, get yerself to yer favorite book store.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Monday, February 16, 2009

Noel Hynd's Conspiracy in Kiev ~ Reviewed

Conspiracy in Kiev (The Russian Trilogy, Book 1) (Paperback)
by Noel Hynd (Author)
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (October 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310278716

Back Cover:

A shrewd investigator and an expert marksman, Special Agent Alexandra LaDuca can handle any case the FBI gives her. Or can she?

While on loan from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Alex is tapped to accompany a Secret Service team during an American Presidential visit to Ukraine. Her assignment: to keep personal watch over Yuri Federov, the most charming and most notorious gangster in the region.

Against her better judgment—and fighting a feeling that she’s being manipulated—she leaves for Ukraine. But there are more parts to this dangerous mission than anyone suspects, and connecting the dots takes Alex across three continents and through some life-altering discoveries about herself, her work, her faith, and her future.

Conspiracy in Kiev—from the first double-cross to the stunning final pages—is the kind of solid, fast-paced espionage thriller only Noel Hynd can write. For those who have never read Noel Hynd, this first book in The Russian Trilogy is the perfect place to start.


Alexandra DeLuca has it all—brains, strength, and beauty. She’s content with her government desk job investigating financial scams, and her plans to marry Secret Service agent Robert Timmons. But her skills soon garner the attention of the FBI, and she finds herself on an active mission in Kiev, tracking an infamous criminal. The evil she encounters in the Ukraine tests her faith and her abilities, and she struggles through the complex world of international crime to uncover who is behind the tragedies that occur.

If gore, bad language, and generally edgy content offend you, or if you are looking for a novel with strong spiritual threads, I’d skip this one. Otherwise, you will find plenty of intrigue, startling twists and turns, and a fast-paced, well-woven plot.

Reviewed by: Sarah Sawyer

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Colleen Coble's Cry in the Night ~ Reviewed

Cry in the Night (Rock Harbor Series #4) (Paperback)
by Colleen Coble (Author)
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595542485

The highly anticipated novel that delivers what romantic suspense fans have long awaited-the return to Rock Harbor.

Bree Nichols gets the shock of her life when her husband-presumed dead-reappears.

Bree Nichols and her search and rescue dog Samson discover a crying infant in the densely forested woods outside of Rock Harbor, Michigan. Against objections from her husband, Kade, who knows she'll become attached, Bree takes the baby in. Quickly she begins a search for the mother-presumably the woman reported missing just days earlier.

While teams scour the forests, Bree ferrets out clues about the missing woman. But she soon discovers something more shocking: Bree's former husband-long presumed dead in a plane crash-resurfaces. Is he really who he says he is? And should she trust him again after all these years?

An engaging, romantic suspense novel from critically-acclaimed author Colleen Coble.

If you would like to read the first chapter of , go HERE


Bree has moved on, or has she?

Now married to Kade, Bree has discovered that Davy doesn't quite need her like she needs him to. And her frustrating baby alarm is sounding loud and clear. Into that challenging stew Coble adds many edge of the seat moments with Windingos, strangers, murder and facts that don't quite add up.

Colleen Coble tells a great story, one that made an impression, since I remembered so much about Bree and Davy months, and countless books since reading about their struggles.

I did struggle with a few moments of disbelief that refused to be suspended. Fans of Coble and those who want closure to Bree Matthews first marriage will want to get their hands on a copy of Cry in the Night.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rebeca Seitz's Coming Unglued ~ Reviewed

Coming Unglued (A Sisters Ink Novel)
Rebeca Seitz
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Pub. Date: July 2008
ISBN-13: 9780805446913


Coming Unglued is the second book in the SISTERS, INK series of novels written by, for, and about, scrapbookers. This book focuses on Kendra. Her flamboyant lifestyle makes great pictures for scrapping – and a great cover for the loneliness she feels. But as Kendra’s dating antics spiral out of control, they have an affect on Sisters, Ink and her journalism career. Because no one can be objective when they’re falling in love with the subject of a scandalous story right? And in a town as small as Stars Hill, there’s no hiding something this big.


Rebeca Seitz has penned a charming series focusing, one at a time, on the lives of four sisters. Sassy, artistic Kendra helps plan Tandy's wedding while seeming to settle down with the town catch. However, Kendra has an ugly secret, buried deep, hidden away from even her sisters.

The secret is one that hasn't been addressed much within Christian Fiction and is handled well. I applaud Rebeca for tackling this unsettling issue, one that is probably a bigger problem than most of us realize.

I haven't read other books in the series but was impressed with Seitz's story telling and writing skills. Not quite chick-lit lite fare Coming Unglued is definitely heavy in spots though the story ends on a light note.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Monday, February 09, 2009

Lisa Genova's Still Alice ~ Reviewed

Still Alice (Paperback)
by Lisa Genova
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Pocket (January 6, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1439102813


Genova gives us a hauntingly accurate portrayal of a young woman's descent into Alzheimer's Disease from the prime of life and the loftiest of cerebral heights.


I'm not sure how long this novel sat on my shelf. Four or five months at least. I started it once and put it down...not because it wasn't good, but because I knew that I was going to experience a journey.

Finally, I picked it up and fell into the story of a medical tragedy and the complex and changing life of a woman with early onset Alzheimer's Disease.

I work in an internal medicine clinic. We see patients who succumb to the process of dementia in all of its forms. It's a lot like watching a flower slowly wither and close into itself. Still Alice is poignant and as true to life as I can imagine and in my limited experiences.

Our visit into Alice's life begins with her vibrant life and right before her 50th birthday. She is on top of her game and is a respected professor/speaker at Harvard, in the areas of linguistics and psychology. At first, little things concern her, a lost word, confusion while doing something common. As her disease progresses readers watch Alice's mind change while she continued to fight to remain as she was.

This is not a light read. But it's an important novel and the story of Alice is one that is tragic, beautiful, poignant and honest. The wordsmithing skills of Lisa Genova make the book a pleasure to read as well.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Friday, February 06, 2009

Angela Hunt's She's in a Better Place ~ Reviewed

She's in a Better Place
By Angela Hunt

Published by Tyndale
ISBN-10: 1-4-4143-1171-0

Back Cover:

Jennifer Graham is struggling to make ends meet while running the Fairlawn Funeral Home, raising two children, and studying for her national board exam. Her work takes on a new dimension when Gerald Huffman her assistant and mentor, reveals that he has a serious illness. When she learns that he and his daughter haven't spoken in years, Jen decides to help them reconcile ... but things don't go exactly as she planned. Jennifer is longing for stability in her life ... but she soon discovers that life isn't stagnant, it's always changing. Once again, the mortuary is a setting for lessons of laughter, love, and life.

Review: Expect the unexpected is Angela Hunt's brand and boy, is it on target. I laughed and cried reading this book. The characters are rich, the story is great, and the setting is unexpected. Some wild things happen in this mortuary, and it made me wish I could have seen Hunt's research and the faces of the people she questioned. Hunt doesn't serve up a single cliché, whether in writing or storyline. I'm not going to tell you anything about the story, other than it's a great book, well worth your time reading. She's in a Better Place would make a fantastic movie and I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

M.L. Tyndall's The Red Siren ~ Reviewed

The Red Siren
M. L. Tyndall
Barbour Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60260-156-7

Faith Westcott abandoned her shallow faith when a series of tragedies struck her family. To save herself and her sisters from forced marriages, Faith takes up a cutlass and turns to piracy to accrue the money needed to assure their future. But her dual identity is threatened when the God-fearing Dajon Waite begins to scour the Carolina coast, vowing to expunge it of pirates. When he is asked to take on the guardianship of Faith and her sisters, his vow to avoid women is put to the test.

Sir Wilhelm Carteret has always gotten everything he desired, but Faith Westcott, his bride-to-be, seems unaffected by his charms. When Carteret devises a plot to rid himself of his competition for Faith's heart, Captain Dajon Waite, alarming secrets of Waite's past are brought to light.

Faith's fiery personality makes a feisty counter to Dajon's level-headed logic. With a smattering of seaman's talk and the stereotypical parrot on her shoulder, Faith excels at plundering ship after ship, while trying to keep her strong-minded sisters on the straight and narrow she herself shuns. Dajon's character arc begins in the prologue, and builds to a satisfying, albeit expected, conclusion. His duty as guardian to the Westcott sisters puts his heart right in the line of fire--Faith's fire. But his coolness and gentlemanly ways chip away at Faith's determination not to fall in love. When Faith's father arranges for her to marry Sir William Carteret, a new subplot is added to the story that works to bring about the very satisfying conclusion, and facilitates Faith's ability to see the folly of her rebellion and opens her heart to the love of God and a good man.

M.L. Tyndall has crafted an engaging story of piracy and betrayal, love and sacrifice. Well written, with enough detail and subplot to satisfy those who enjoy a complex story, M.L. Tyndall has delivered a piratey tale that will leave you both satisfied and longing for more.

Reviewed by: S. Dionne Moore

Bonus Review:

Faith Westcott abandoned her shallow faith when a series of tragedies struck her family. To save herself and her sisters from forced marriages, this fiery, born-to-the manor redhead is a lady by day and a pirate by night. How long can she maintain this dual identity before she’s caught red-handed?

God-fearing Dajon Waite, who scours the Carolina coast, expunging it of pirates, is a more-than-capable captain in the British Royal Navy. But when he is asked to take on the guardianship of Faith and her sisters, he’s headed for deep water. Having vowed to avoid women, what will he do when he finds himself falling for Faith?

Sir Wilhelm Carteret has always gotten everything he desired, but Faith seems to be unaffected by his charms. When he devises a plot to rid himself of his competition, more than Captain Waite’s reputation is at stake as alarming secrets are revealed.

The Red Siren is the first in the Charles Towne Belle series—and an action packed beginning it is! MaryLu Tyndall shows off her nautical finesse in the surprising twist of a lady pirate. With the imagery Tyndall incorporates into her writing, you can almost taste the salty spray of sea water and feel as though your own feet are planted on a heaving deck right beside Faith Westcott.

Besides imagery, I also like how irony is woven into the story’s fabric. An example would be how Faith worries about her younger sisters’ safety and doesn’t think twice about exposing herself to heaps of piratey danger. It gave me pause to reflect on where in my life I might be doing something as ridiculous.

Another Tyndall trait is establishing the grounds for hope in dismal situations. Captain Waite is faced with complete ruin, yet he puts his hope in God—who never fails us. This lesson in fiction is a good reminder to carry over in real life.

And speaking of Captain Waite…ooh-la-la. He’s a larger than life hero with a physique to match. Brave, strong, compassionate, everything a girl could want. Let me warn you, however, by the end of the book you will definitely be wanting more. It’s quite a cliffhanger.

Five bottles of rum and a rousing yo-ho-ho to MaryLu on another successful pirate tale. If you’re stuck in the winter doldrums, this is the book for you.

Review by Michelle Griep

Monday, February 02, 2009

ACFW February Book Releases

February brings thoughts of chocolate and valentines and some of us worry about groundhogs and shadows. Whatever the case, winter can't last forever, and there is always an excuse to read a good book! We've got 11 new releases to choose from this month. Check them out - and don't forget to visit my new Spotlight interview with author Julie Klassen.

1. Evidence of Murder by Jill Elizabeth Nelson from Steeple Hill. When a business owner discovers on her property evidence of a decade-old multiple murder, she and the surviving son of the massacre become targets of a desperate and powerful killer.

2. Framed!, Book 2 of the Without A Trace continuity series by Robin Caroll from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. A modern day Romeo and Juliet story.

3. Gingham Mountain Lassoed in Texas Series by Mary Connealy from Barbour Publishing. A school marm fears cruel intentions when a rancher, with a special heart for unwanted children, adopts too many of them.

4. Illusions by Wanda B. Campbell from Urban Christian. Illusions depicts the struggles of a young pastor and wife.

5. Insight by Deborah Raney from Steeple Hill. Two people brought together by tragedy discover an amazing connection that threatens to tear them apart.

6. Love Finds You In Last Chance, CA by Miralee Ferrell from Summerside Press. A woman trying to make it alone in the old west, a man she isn't sure she can trust, and someone who threatens them both.

7. On a Killer's Trail by Susan Page Davis from Love Inspired Suspense. Can a reformed bad-boy detective and an ambitious reporter overcome their past to solve a string of crimes?

8. The Desires of Her Heart by Lyn Cote from Avon Inspire. The Desires of Her Heart is based on authentic Texas history and portrays the expansion of Angloamericanos into Spanish territory.

9. The Gold Standard by Lisa Lickel from Barbour Publishing - Heartsong Presents: Mysteries. Judy's last relative, Aunt Louise, was poisoned - but how?

10. The Renewal, Book 2 of the Project Restoration Series by Terri Kraus from David C. Cook. For single-mom Leslie Ruskin and master carpenter Jack Kenyon, both starting over in a new town, could working together on restoring the Midlands Building be a blueprint for disaster, or will their lives be transformed by the promise of a new Occupant?

11. Wind Dancer by Jamie Carie from B&H Publishing. Revolutionary period of escaping captivity and finding true salvation.

Happy reading ~