Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: Gathered Waters

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Gathered Waters
WhiteFire Publishing (April 15, 2015)
by
Cara Luecht


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from the Author:

I never planned to be a writer. In fact, it took me a while to finish college. But I did, and here I am. And I now I can’t imagine not being a writer.

By day, I am an English Instructor for a local college, Marketing Manager for Degnan Design Builders, Inc., mother to four amazing children, and wife to an eternally patient and supportive husband.

In the evening, when I can squirrel away some quiet time, I read and write historical fiction.

I have a B.A. in English Lit. from UW Whitewater and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ.



ABOUT THE BOOK
They want to worship as their hearts demand...but is it something they can give up everything for?

Brianna has only ever been what her life demanded. A wife, a hostess, a mother. But when a stand her husband takes ostracizes them from the Lutheran church that controls so much of life in Sweden, Brianna finds herself needing to find a strength beyond her station...a strength that will see her through prejudice and persecution and to a home she never dreamed she would find.

Based on the true story of the author s family s journey from Sweden to America, this sweeping saga paints the brilliance of new faith, the bravery of a new land...and the beauty of plunging beneath the waters and emerging a new person, capable of what one never thought one could do.


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

MY THOUGHTS
This was a very interesting book, even more so that it was based on Cara's family.  There are many things that we can and cannot do, but imagine your church controlling you.  When we go to church we tend to follow the beliefs of the church we go to, but the Lutheran Church of Sweden took it far beyond simple beliefs.  I cannot imagine what it would have been like to live in Brianna's shoes.

Imagine your church friends ostracizing you, your parents unhappy with your choices, being followed, spied on, and more....what would it lead you to do?  Brianna, her husband and family decided to come to America....not a pleasant journey, but yet, they kept up their hopes, their beliefs.

Once in America, things didn't go as expected but it didn't stop them.  This is a story of hope, and belief, a story of doing what you think is right, regardless of what those closest to you believe.

A very thought provoking read.  The only question I was left with was what religion Brianna and her family went to after leaving the Lutheran church in Sweden....I was left very curios about the new religion!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA

Photobucket

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

CFBA: Double Cross

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Double Cross
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (April 1, 2015)
by
Diann Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at her website.

ABOUT THE BOOK

FBI Agent Laurel Evertson’s investigation into a scam targeting the elderly takes an unexpected twist when key evidence leads her to Morton Wilmington, a felon she arrested five years ago on her first undercover assignment. That case has haunted her since, and though she’s vowed to forget Wilmington—and what she sacrificed to put him away—he is now her best lead. Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton fears his grandparents may be the scammer’s next targets, and he’ll do anything to protect his family—even force interagency cooperation. But he’s quickly drawn to Laurel’s empathy and zeal and agrees to follow her lead . . . even if it means teaming up with a felon. As the unlikely trio uncovers evidence suggesting the scam is more extensive and deadly than they imagined, both Laurel and Daniel find themselves in the crosshairs of a killer. Together they must decide if they can trust Wilmington’s claims of redemption, or if he’s leading them straight into a double cross.

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



MY THOUGHTS

This is a great read if you like a good thriller.  Throughout the book I found myself questioning Wilmington every bit as much as Laurel and Daniel, I kept wondering if they were doing the right thing or if one of them would be the next victim.

The scam on the elderly made me angry, and as motivated for the detectives/police to find the   culprits.  It's sad that this happens to the elderly o a daily basis, so in that aspect the book was very real to life.

I had to give Laurel my kudos, she was one great actor to pull off what she did in the story, and Daniel is one of those steady and true kind of guys.

There are some elderly people in the book that you can't help but love with their quirks and activities. 

A fun book to read if you're in the mood for some suspense!


**I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA


Photobucket

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book Review: Jaded

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Jaded
David C. Cook (March 1, 2015)
by
Varina Denman


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


An avid reader and blogger, Varina Denman enjoys writing fiction about Christian women and the unique struggles they face. She seems to have a knack for describing small town life, and is currently working on a three book Texas series which will soon be published by David C. Cook. The first book in the series, Jaded, won the 2013 ACFW Genesis contest for romance.

Varina attended three Texas universities over a span of five years, majoring in four subjects and earning zero degrees. However, she can now boast sixteen years as a home educator, volunteering in the local cooperative where she has taught numerous subjects including creative writing and literature.

Even though Varina has spoken at ladies’ retreats and taught women’s Bible classes, she finds the greatest fulfillment facilitating prayer groups. She lives in Burleson, Texas, where she helps with Family Ministry in her home congregation. Varina is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and North Texas Christian Writers.

ABOUT THE BOOK

As a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation. Thirteen years later, Ruthie’s heart begins to stir when an attractive single preacher arrives. But their relationship is bitterly opposed—unearthing a string of secrets which threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside-down.

Jaded is the rare novel that is both love story between a woman and man ... and God and His church. Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness and restoration, it will resonate with every woman who’s experienced a loss of heart ... and a thirst for hope.

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

MY THOUGHTS
This is an exceptionally good first book.  I felt as if my entire being was placed in this book right along side the characters, that's how real this story is.

Placed in a small town, these characters are so believable, you may think you've encountered them.  People of all types go to church, in this story, they are not just the good, but they are the people that may sit behind you, in front of you....people who truly cherish the church, others who are not so kindly spirited.

I loved Ruthie and Dodd's relationship....two characters you can't help but fall in love with.

A definite must read, and anxiously awaiting Varina's next book.

* I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA

Photobucket

Friday, April 3, 2015

Halo Found hope. A Memoir

Halo Found HopeHalo Found Hope (December 2014)

Machines beeping, the blur of medical staff running, a crash cart whizzing into an ICU room—was there any hope?
A young woman lay, packed in ice, as doctors attempted to somehow stop the swelling in her brain that threatened to take her life… and her family waited.

Six days turned into eight weeks. She awoke to discover that she was not the same. She saw two of everything, couldn’t feel half of her face, couldn’t hear from one ear, and could not speak. She couldn’t even tell anyone that she felt hopeless… or could she?

Halo Found Hope is the story of a beautiful, busy wife, and mother of three whose life changes instantly with the diagnosis of a rare brain tumor. An exceptional ENT, a brilliant neurosurgeon and a dedicated medical team tackle the tumor, setting off a series of unbelievable miracles. Helo’s story is not one of survival, or of salvaging a life through a broken body. It is not about endurance through pain, but victory because of it. While the family heard her silence, God heard her prayer. Helo’s story is simply this: Wherever you are and whatever you are going through, God is right there. He doesn’t need to be re cognized by you, to be there for you. He can replace fear with courage and discouragement with determination, if you let Him. Helo did, and that is how she found hope
.
Learn more and purchase a copy at Helo’s website.

Helo Matzelle{More About Helo Matzelle}

Helouise “Halo” Matzelle led a charmed life until receiving a shocking diagnosis in 2011 of a rare brain tumor sitting over the main artery in her brain. Matzelle’s passion is helping those who face various challenges and afflictions discover where true hope is found. She resides in Redmond, WA, with her husband and their three children.

Find out more about Helo at http://halofoundhope.com/.










MY THOUGHTS


Halo is a woman of extreme strength, you will learn this from the first few pages of her story.  I'm not sure how I would hold up if I went through what she did.  Losing so much time, not remembering, her huge battle with returning to the living and trying to become the person she once was.  She never gave up, she inspired people everywhere she went.


I have a feeling I would be a bit bitter, depressed, I certainly don't know if I'd be as willing to openly tell my story to those I meet, people on the phone, in the market....Halo has an incredible gift to offer and in writing this book she has opened up her life, her pain to everyone.  She also has an immense love for God, an unwavering belief in him, and she truly has put her life in his hands.


There is a very strong religious tone to this book which may bother some, I loved it, but I just felt it important that others know that fact, because not everyone loves Christian Fiction, and this book gives you a full dose of Christian love!


**I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Litfuse


Photobucket

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Promise of Palm Grove



The Promise of Palm GroveLeona must decide: Does she follow the path set out before her? Or take a chance with only the promise of what could be to guide her?

A young Amish woman finds herself torn between the man she’s pledged to wed and the man her heart desires in this heartwarming story of chance, duty, and choice in the face of love—the first volume in the beloved New York Times bestselling author’s new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.

Amish bride-to-be Leona is thrilled to be in Florida, on a mini-vacation in the pretty town of Pinecraft. Her girlfriends think she’s happy because she’s away from the stress of wedding planning. They have no idea that Leona’s real joy is in being away from her fiancĂ©.

Edmund is a good man, and will make a decent husband . . . just not for Leona. The more time she spends with him and his overbearing ways, the less she wants to be his wife. Her cousins are sure Edmund is the right man for her-and their certainty makes Leona begin to doubt herself. But when a chance encounter with a wayward cat brings her face-to-face with a handsome, fun-loving Amish man named Zachary Kauffman, Leona’s faced with two vastly different futures.

Learn more and purchase a copy at Shelley’s website.

MY THOUGHTS
I have to admit.....I have a weakness for Amish stories....and the stories set in Pinecraft....well, they just make me feel like I'm on vacation!

Leona is quite the girl, she has gumption.....I was really quite proud of her actions....for standing up for herself and not just doing what was expected.  Despite the people she knew she would upset, she carried on with what she felt in her heart.

This was a great read....one I was able to curl up with...a good old romance with a bit of commotion....a nice relaxing read!  Shelley Shepard Gray never disappoints!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from Litfuse
 
Photobucket

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CFBA: The Tomb

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Tomb
Howard Books (March 17, 2015)
by
Stephanie Landsem


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the author:
I write historical fiction because I love adventure in far-off times and places. I’ve traveled since I was a teenager—backpacking through Germany and Eastern Europe, studying German in Salzburg, eating gelato in Italy, and riding camels in Morocco were some of the highlights. Travel kindles my imagination, fuels my love of history, and introduces me to one-of-a-kind characters. It’s the best kind of research.

When I can’t travel, I read. I love fiction, of course, but I’m often found behind a stack of history books or searching the web for historical tidbits. How people lived together, worked, and what they ate (I love food!) is usually what catches my imagination. No matter where or when we live, people are more alike than they are different. I love to find the similarities between our lives and those of the men and women of the ancient world.

I make my home in Minnesota with my husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When I’m not writing Biblical fiction, I’m feeding the ravenous horde of kids and their friends, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about my next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

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

MY THOUGHTS
I have never really known a lot about Mary, this book was definitely an eye opener.  As I read, I almost felt as though I had traveled back in time and was living beside her.

This story truly drew me in and it was difficult to stop reading for the mundane things in life, such as eating, sleeping, etc!

I cannot imagine living in these times, the fear that Mary must have felt holding her secret, the prospect of marrying someone she does not love and wondering if Jesus was indeed the messiah.

This book has a lot of 'meat' to it, one I am sure I will read again and again.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA

Photobucket

CFBA: Dauntless

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dauntless
Bethany House Publishers (March 3, 2015)
by
Dina L. Sleiman


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the author:

Since selling my first book, I have also become an acquisitions editor for the company. I am a member of the Inkwell Inspirations blog, HEWN Marketing, ACFW, and a contributor to Christian Review of Books. I hold publishing credits in poetry and songwriting, and I was the writer and featured teacher in a nationally distributed instructional dance video for children. I have written several songs about the plight of the Islamic people, which have been produced in association with the Christian Broadcast Network. In addition, I have taught college and high school classes in writing and literature, as well as homeschool classes in the fine arts, and now enjoy teaching at writers conferences throughout the nation.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Where Legend and History Collide,
One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent


Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.

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

MY THOUGHTS
I don't usually read this type of a book, but I am glad I did.  Lady Merry is tough, brave, loyal to those she cares for, will fight to her death, and yet is ladylike.

The circumstances behind this story are really quite awful, and it's no wonder Lady Merry lives as she does, I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire story, and loved how it ended!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review from CFBA

Photobucket