Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: Gathered Waters

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


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.

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.

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


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)
Diann Mills


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.


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.


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


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book Review: Jaded

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


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.


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.

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


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


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