Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Krista McGee's Anomaly ~ Reviewed

By Krista McGee
July 2013
Thomas Nelson
ISBN 1401688721

Back Cover:
Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds left to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid.

Thalli is different than others in The State. She feels things. She asks questions. And in the State, this is not tolerated. The Ten scientists who survived the nuclear war that destroyed the world above believe that emotion was at the core of what went wrong—and they have genetically removed it from the citizens they have since created. Thalli has kept her malformation secret from those who have monitored her for most of her life, but when she receives an ancient piece of music to record as her community’s assigned musician, she can no longer keep her emotions secreted away.

Seen as a threat to the harmony of her Pod, Thalli is taken to the Scientists for immediate annihilation. But before that can happen, Berk—her former Pod mate who is being groomed as a Scientist—steps in and persuades the Scientists to keep Thalli alive as a test subject.

The more time she spends in the Scientist’s Pod, the clearer it becomes that things are not as simple as she was programmed to believe. She hears stories of a Designer—stories that fill her mind with more questions: Who can she trust? What is this emotion called love? And what if she isn’t just an anomaly, but part of a greater design?

My Review:

We've all read them. You know. The ol' nuclear bomb destroys civilization as we know it except for a handful of survivors. This is one of those...and one worth reading.

Anomaly explores not only what it's like to be different, but to know you're different, way down to the marrow of your bones. We've all experienced this. Just think back to junior high. What's great about this book, though, is that it ends on a note of hope--and a cliffhanger. For yes, indeed, this is only the beginning of Thalli & Berk's adventure.

This story has elements of Logan's Run mixed with the teenage angst of The Outsiders. It's a quick read, yet a challenging one, forcing the reader to question their own self image. It's set in the future and somewhat technical, yet not science nerdy enough to turn off a non-techhie like me.

I loved the relationship between Thalli & Berk. It's a little slow to ripen, but overall believable. I look forward to seeing what develops between the two in the next book, Luminary.

Overall, Anomaly is a definite thumbs up.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lisa Bergren's Glittering Promises ~ Reviewed

Glittering Promises (Grand Tour) 
By Lisa T. Bergren
Studio: David C. Cook
Pages 496
Binding Softcover
Release Date Oct 1, 2013
ISBN 1434764281


Wealth cannot buy peace ... or direction. For Cora Kensington, the Grand Tour was to be the trip of a lifetime. She discovered the family she never knew she had, and may have even found the love she longs for in Will. And yet her life has just become infinitely more challenging ... Hounded by journalists chasing the beguiling story of the newest American heiress, Cora fights to remain true to her past, reconcile her present, and still embrace her future. But as Will struggles with her newfound wealth, she begins to wonder if their love is strong enough to withstand all that threatens to pull them apart. Complicating matters is the stubborn pursuit of Pierre de Richelieu and the increased demands on her time and attention. Cora must stand up for what she believes--regardless of how that might challenge current family and cultural norms--in order to remain true to who she really is. And as she glimpses the end of the tour, Cora knows it's time to decide Who and what defines her ... and who and what does not.


Glittering Promises is the final book in the Grand Tour series. We continue to follow Cora Kensington in her journey with her newfound family through Italy. They have just escaped a man that was trying to hold the family for ransom, but learn that he is still on the loose. The family has to take every precaution to keep everyone safe, especially Cora, as she is now known as the wealthiest woman in America, and everyone wants to know about her. In the meantime, she and Will have gone public with their relationship, but Pierre, who pursued her heavily in previous books, has not given up, and continues to put seeds of doubt in her head about whom she really loves. As her doubts and wealth begin to pull her and Will apart, new dangers arise that threaten to change Cora’s life forever.

I was SO excited to get this book! I’ve loved following Cora’s story. It was wonderful to finally see how everything turned out, although I was sad to see her go. There were a lot of twists and turns I wasn’t expecting, especially towards the end of the book. But it had an ending I was happy with. I would definitely recommend all of the books in this series. You won’t be disappointed.
Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pamela Binnings Ewen's An Accidental Life ~ Reviewed

An Accidental Life: A Novel 
By Pam Binnings-Ewen 
Release Date Jul 1, 2013
Publisher Broadman And Holman
ISBN 0805464328
A New Orleans senior district attorney and his lawyer wife are caught up in a faith-testing courtroom battle involving the rights of infants born alive during abortions.


An Accidental Life was a riveting read. I love a good legal drama and this novel provided that, as well as some investigative police work. The book follows a case from first hint of wrong to the final gasp in court. Set during the early 80's, tension was tightened because of the lack of computer guided investigation and even cell phones. 

The storyline is a dual focus and centers around two accidental lives. Rebecca and Peter are a career driven couple content to live child free. Peter begins looking into a case that involves a live birth abortion. As Ewen skillfully lays out the horrific facts (based on truth) of live birth abortions, Rebecca discovers she is accidentally pregnant. 

The subject matter made this a difficult novel to read. But the story was compelling. Be warned it's not for the weak in the knees. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ann Gabhart's Small Town Girl ~ Reviewed

Small Town Girl
By Ann H. Gabhart
Pages 400
Release Date Jul 1, 2013
Publisher Baker Publishing Group
ISBN 0800721845
In the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner. The town practically vibrates in anticipation, as if it is holding its breath. But for Kate Merritt, it seems life is letting out a prolonged sigh. As Kate watches her sister marry the man Kate has loved since she was fifteen, her heart is silently breaking. And even the attentions of Jay Tanner, the handsome best man, can’t draw her interest.
Then suddenly, Pearl Harbor changes everything. Kate’s friends are rushing to get married before the boys go off to war. The newspapers talk of women making airplanes and bombs. Everyone in town begins rolling bandages, planting victory gardens, collecting scrap metal. Kate finds herself drawn to Jay in surprising ways, and when he enlists she can hardly breathe worrying about him getting killed. Could she truly be in love with him? And if she is, will she ever see him again?
I was captivated by Ann Gabhart’s storytelling in her latest novel set in a tiny community with America was on the brink of World War II. Ann’s combines beautiful prose and strong yet subtle characterisation with a gentle and flowing style that is entrancing. Realistic to the era, this is a tender love story between a young woman adored by her community, and the charming and seemingly carefree outsider, who has no intention of putting down roots. Kate and Jay are fabulous characters, each with their own strengths and insecurities, whose journey from attraction to affection and then to love is moving, intriguing, and simply lovely! Readers of Ann’s previous story, Angel Sister, will be delighted to visit again with Kate, Lorena, and the Merritt family and friends. I highly recommend the delightful Small Town Girl.
Reviewed by: Rel Mollet

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Jan Watson's Tattlers Branch ~ Reviewed

Tattlers Branch
By Jan Watson (Author)
Release Date Sep 15, 2013
Publisher Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN 1414339151


Lilly Corbett Still has grown to love her life as the small-town doctor of Skip Rock, a tiny coal community in the Kentucky mountains. Though her husband, Tern, is away for a few months at a mining job, Lilly keeps busy with her patients and her younger sister visiting for the summer.Her hands full, Lilly turns to her good friend and neighbor, Armina, to help keep things in order. But when a mysterious chain of events leaves Armina bedridden and an orphaned baby on her doorstep, Lilly must trust in God and her resilient country neighbors to help her uncover the truth.While working late one night, Lilly cares for a patient whose odd behavior sets her on edge, but she?s unaware of what a mess she?s found herself in until a break-in at her office puts her on high alert. Struggling between what is right and what is safe, Lilly discovers the strength of her neighbors, her God, and herself.


Tatler’s Branch follows a young doctor, Lilly Corbett Still. She is the doctor for the small town of Skip Rock, a small coal mining community in Kentucky. Her husband, Tern, is a doctor as well, but travels frequently to different mining towns. She is keeping herself busy with her patients and friends, as well as her sister, who is visiting her for the summer. Everything seems to be running smoothly until her good friend, Armina, is discovered ill and unable to move in her home, with no memory of what happened. To make matters more complicated, she is found with a baby that is not hers. As the story unfolds, we learn more about the turn of events that led to her memory loss and the baby.

This was a nice story. I believe it is the second book in a series, so I wish I had read the first one to get some of the back story, but I didn’t have a difficult time following this one. It was an enjoyable storyline and as always, I loved the time period. I would very much like to read the first book in the series to see how Lilly got to where she was in this book.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Monday, September 09, 2013

Lisa Bergren's Tributary ~ Reviewed

Tributary - e-Novella
Lisa Bergren


TRIBUTARY, a novella (1/2 the length of a normal novel), picks up a year after BOURNE…

Lia struggles to overcome the fear that constant battle has heaped upon her; Gabi and Marcello face an unexpected crisis; and Lord Greco just may be ready to leave the grief and loss of his past behind him, so that he might grab hold of the future…


The series we can’t get enough of is back! With Luca on the cover and plenty of action, adventure and romance between the pages, Lisa T Bergren sucks you back into her 14th Century world in a flash. After three books and a novella in Gabi’s first person voice, little sister Lia gets to share from her perspective in Tributary which is an intriguing change. Her developing attraction to the devoted and witty Luca is fun to watch and I love the scene that explains why a 14th Century Italian knight is sporting a 21st century hair cut on the cover! A determined new character fires Lord Rodolfo Greco’s imagination, causing him to rethink his melancholy ways. While I’m left a little bereft that Rodolfo didn’t get a full length novel for his ongoing story, Lisa’s skillful and emotive prose makes the most of the shortened format. My advice with this series? Purchase them all immediately ~Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent, Bourne and Tributary ~ read them in order and relish every minute of what will be a unique and all consuming reading experience that will leave you both breathless, enchanted and dreaming of more!

Reviewed by: Rel Mollet

Friday, September 06, 2013

Amber Stokes's Bleeding Heart ~ Reviewed

By Amber Stokes
July 2013
Seasons of a Story Publishing 

Five bleeding hearts. One profound journey.

Summer 1886

Sally Clay's livelihood has been snatched away, but in its place arises an opportunity to escape from her sordid past and an unrelenting, unwanted suitor. Boarding a train with a heartsick rancher and an enigmatic miner, she leaves Virginia City behind and heads to Northern California, waiting for the chance to make right what went wrong three long years before.

But the road to revenge is far from smooth. Sally soon learns that the jagged pieces of a broken heart can far too easily wound the hearts of others - and hers isn't the only heart that's broken. Tragedy and fear dog her steps as she flees from the redwood forests to the high desert and back again. Will her bleeding heart ever find a way and a place to heal?

A desperate soiled dove. Three men who come to care for her. One man determined to claim her.

All on a journey that will show them what true love really involves.

Looking for an Old West action-packed story? Have I found a book for you! Bleeding Heart is a rootin-tootin-shootin’ debut novel by Amber Stokes. There’s plenty of romance, the requisite gunfight and hanging, a marshal, saloons and yes, even a train ride.

The story takes place shortly after the Civil War. Heroine Sally Clay is desperate to leave behind her life in a brothel to chase after the man she loves. The thing is…the fella doesn’t really love her. It’s one mishap and adventure after another, keeping the reader in suspense of who Sally will end up with. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, wham! Yet another plot twist. I won’t give you a spoiler, but doggone if there was one surprise I totally did not see coming.

Sally is painfully aware of her sordid past, creating a very realistic guilt that makes her a believable character. She’s also impetuous, making bad decisions without even thinking about the consequences. Everywhere Sally looks for safety and love, she doesn’t find it.

The villain is someone you love to hate, although I’m not quite sure what his motivation is to have Sally for his own, other than perhaps he hates not getting his way. Basically, he’s a creepy stalker.

Love the sidekick Myghal. Full of good advice, solid, dependable. You’ll root for him, cry for him, and close the book with an immense amount of compassion for this character.

I thought I could trust the cook, Zachary Taylor, but then I wasn’t certain…turns out, well, you don’t really want me to tell you, do you?

Overall, this is a good summer read. There’s a big jump between part I and II, one I didn’t expect. I would’ve liked to see the action played out, though that would’ve made this a much longer book. Bleeding Heart has a whole lot of broken hearts all over the place, except for the reader’s—a solid debut novel for Amber Stokes.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Susan May Warren's Take a Chance on Me ~ Reviewed

Take A Chance On Me (Christiansen Family Novel)
By Susan May Warren

Release Date   Apr 1, 2013 
Publisher   Tyndale House Publishers 
ISBN  1414378416  


Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near. 
New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case. 
Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.
Susan May Warren pens a delightful story of heartache and healing in her latest Deep Haven novel, which introduces the Christiansen family and a new series of contemporary romance tales.  Love blossoms between two couples, with all four characters authentically struggling to move past hurts in their lives. Conflict, regret, and the need for forgiveness etch each page as Darek, Ivy, Jensen, and Claire negotiate an emotional minefield as they try to discover the courage to love again. As Deep Haven is threatened by wildfire, danger and sacrifice refine each heart in this tender and compelling story.
Reviewed by: Rel Mollet

Bonus Review:

Take A Chance On Me follows Darek Christiansen, the oldest son of the Christiansen family and heir to their historic Evergreen Lake resort, and Ivy Madison, the new assistant county attorney who is looking forward to the closeness of small town life. Darek is a widower and a single father, who is still bitter over the accidental death of a wife that he didn’t love. He holds his best friend, Jensen, responsible, as he was the one that was involved in the accident. When he meets Ivy, he thinks he might be able to start over again, not realizing that Ivy was involved in the original case that kept Jensen out of prison. Ivy has no idea either, until different events start unfolding.

I really enjoyed this story. I liked seeing how all of the characters grew and began trusting the Lord. Darek really came a long way from the beginning to the end. And Ivy started off not believing in God at all, but slowly came to the knowledge that He exists and cares for her. As the story kept unfolding it was hard to put the book down!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers