The Lucado Study Bible

I had the opportunity to review the new study bible by Max Lucado. I am so very impressed with the life lessons and the way it is formatted to fit into our modern lifestyles. However, it really isn't a study bible perse' because it doesn't have a lot of references or word studies. But, it does have more than 1,000 life lessons which help put biblical principles into perspective as well as application.

I highly recommend this for anyone who is serious about applying biblical principles to their lifestyle.

ABOUT the book from the publisher website...
With more than 1,000 "Life Lessons" offering insights straight from Max, the message of God's Word will be more meaningful and impactful than ever. This beautifully designed Bible, available in hardcover and Leathersoft cover options, contains practical application drawn from Max Lucado's entire career—from his first book to his latest release, Outlive Your Life. For the first time, all the devotional material in this fully-revised edition of The Inspirational Study Bible is from Max Lucado and uses the popular and reliable New King James Version® (NKJV) translation! Features include:
  • Two-color design throughout
  • More than 1,000 insightful Life Lessons
  • Christ Through the Bible sidebars
  • Topical Index
  • New King James Version text
A perfect companion for Max Lucado's Outlive Your Life DVD-Based Study (9781418543945).

Lies The Government Told You by Judge A.P. Napolitano

I wrote an essay back in 2005 about how much America's chosen path resembles Ancient Roman Empire's destructive path. I am surprised at how closely this book follows that line of thinking. (Glenn Beck is going down that thought process, too.)

I recommend this book if for no other reason that you will see exactly how much we have been deceived by our government (by far not it is not a partisan deception, but full fledged political deception, nonetheless).

I was not surprised at all with the contents. My eyes have been wide open, but I do wonder at how many of the citizens of the United States will be surprised at the economic lies we've been fed.

Something that I've noticed, but had not put to print on my blog is that we citizens are no longer presumed innocent. Nixon signed a bill into law that judges should consider "danger to community" when setting bail. It is an undoubted law that the presumption of innocence gives the defendant the "unhampered ability to prepare for trial", yet the bill now takes away the presumption and inserts "presumed guilty until trial".

We sit in our living rooms and say, "Yeah! That crook isn't on the streets any longer," never realizing that each and every citizen has the right to an excellent defense as well as the presumption of innocence. When did we lose sight of that?

What new crisis will the federal government manufacture in order to acquire more power over individuals? What new lies will it tell?
Throughout our history, the federal government has lied to send our children off to war, lied to take our money, lied to steal our property, lied to gain our trust, and lied to enhance its power over us. Not only does the government lie to us, we lie to ourselves. We won’t admit that each time we let the government get away with misleading us, we are allowing it to increase in size and power and decrease our personal liberty.
In acquiescing to the government’s continuous fraudulent behavior, we bear partial responsibility for the erosion of our individual liberties and the ever-expanding federal regulation of private behavior. This book attacks the culture in government that facilitates lying, and it challenges readers to recognize that culture, to confront it, and to be rid of it.

The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble

I do not know who sent this to me. I did not order for Booksneeze from Thomas Nelson, it wasn't on the list at Glass Roads, nor for CFBA. I am at a loss to know who to notify of my review. Notwithstanding, I shall review it and hopefully whomever requested the review will stumble upon it.

 I love this human character study. The sharp contrasts between brothers create interest because one just knows where the wickedness will lead, yet hopes it won't go that far. Can a man be that wicked? Certainly. But, is it true of one brother and not the other? Well, the reader finds out along with Katie. I really like for an author to drag me along like that instead of hooking me with a gimmick and then letting me slip off the hook without any bait.

However, I do find an obtuse character very frustrating and I think Colleen Coble could have shortened the misunderstanding between Katie and John down to one page instead of the lengthy time it took for her to "see" the light so to speak. An author should never let the reader see into the thought processes of both protagonists when they are at odds because it creates false tension. Of course, misunderstandings happen all the time in life, and they obviously come from thought processing without facts, aka jumping to conclusions. Having a single point of view, rather that two or five points of view allows for much better story flow and is much easier on the reader, in my opinion.

Other than that, this story is a light read and will entertain. It gets 2 of 5 stars.

When Katie answers the call of duty, she awakens the call to her heart.
Katie Russell loves working as a telephone operator in Mercy Falls, California. But since childhood she has been expected to marry well. Her family presses for an engagement to wealthy bachelor Bartholomew Foster and though he doesn't  stir her heart, their engagement promises a secure financial future.
Working the phone lines one evening, Katie overhears a chilling exchange between her friend Eliza and a familiar male voice. Katie soon learns that Eliza has diappeared, and the crime may be linked to another investigation by handsome new lighthouse keeper, Will Jasperson. Katie and Will soon form an alliance. An alliance that slowly blossoms into something more.
Despite the danger surrounding her, Katie is powerfully drawn to Will. But she is not at liberty to marry for love. And though society forbids their growing affection, Katie can't help but notice Will's sense of peace. It's a peace that rests on his trust in God--a trust that Katie has never had to depend on, with her future so clearly mapped out before her.
But the more Katie uncovers of the mystery, the more she discovers about herself, her past, and the brilliant future that could be hers if only she has the courage to trust in God and follow where her heart so fearlessly leads.


Divine Appointments by Charlene Baumbich

Perhaps I can identify too closely with the main character of this novel. I was hooked by the end of the first paragraph. I wasn't too keen on the ending, but then I really like truly satisfying, lip-smacking endings.

The reader gets drawn into the life and times of Josie's mid-perfect-life, and that is exactly how an author keeps the pages turning.

This novel receives 4 of 5 stars. Good story development, good character development and what I really like is the main character actually learns something. There isn't any preaching in it about eco-friendly stuff nor is there any saccharin/fake sweet stuff, just a good heartwarming story.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Divine Appointments
WaterBrook Press; Reprint edition (September 21, 2010)
Charlene Baumbich


Charlene Ann Baumbich is the author of the previous three books in the Partonville series. A popular speaker, journalist, and author, for several years she has lectured to women’s groups and retreats. Baumbich is also an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Today’s Christian Woman, and numerous other publications. She is the author of six nonfiction books of humor and inspiration.

Charlene says: For over two decades of writing and speaking, my passionate pursuit to entertain and rejuvenate using humor (I love to laugh-especially at myself), uncommon wisdom, and passionate insights has been affirmed through countless calls, letters, and evaluation sheets. A reader recently e-mailed, "There is so much depression and sadness in this world. I applaud you for reminding all of us to treasure the moments in our lives, and for encouraging us to find joy in the little things. What you do helps so many to rise above the heaviness of life and live, and laugh, and face another day, so thanks!!!!" That is exactly why I keep doing what I do.

I am a firm believer in the power of story (short or book-length, funny or insightful, real or fiction, on stage or page) to accomplish my purpose, which is to remind you: Don't Miss Your Life! Whether you're tuning into me live or in print, fasten your seatbelt. I promise you a wild, fun, provocative, heart-warming ride.


Josie Brooks, at the age of 47, thought she was leading an enviable single life. A successful consultant, she calls her own shots, goes where the money is, and never needs to compromise. But her precisely managed world begins to falter during a Chicago contract when an economic downturn, a bleeding heart boss, and the loyalty and kindness between endangered employees ding her coat of armor.

Throw in hot flashes, a dose of loneliness, a peculiar longing for intimacy, an

unquenchable thirst—not to mention a mysterious snow globe with a serene landscape, complete with a flowing river and lush greenery that seems to be beckoning her in—and Josie’s buttoned-up life is on the verge of coming completely undone.

Maybe her solitary existence isn’t as fulfilling as she has convinced herself to believe. It will take a few new friends, a mystical encounter, and an unexpected journey to set Josie on her own path to “right-sizing” and making the life changes that really matter. Filled with laugh-out loud moments and a gentle dash of inspiration, Divine Appointments is another heartwarming charmer from a master storyteller.

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


Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce

I really liked this meandering novel. Bethany Pierce developed her main character into someone I could immediately identify with as well as like immensely. The fact that the storyline meanders somewhat isn't so much a detraction because it is a slice of real life. The reader knows there really is an Amy out there teaching at a college or university and has these exact feelings. However, I do think it took a bit to long to "get going", although it isn't boring and will keep your attention.

So buy the book and laugh with, cry with, and empathize with Amy.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Amy Inspired
Bethany House; Original edition (October 1, 2010)
Bethany Pierce


After completing a master's in Creative Writing and working as a visiting instructor at Miami University in Ohio, Bethany Pierce now lives with her husband in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she is a member of the McGuffey Art Center and continues to write. Her first book, Feeling for Bones, was one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2007.


With rejections piling up, she could use just a little inspiration...

Amy Gallagher is an aspiring writer who, after countless rejections, has settled for a career as an English professor in small-town Ohio just to pay the bills. All her dreams suddenly start to unravel as rejections pile up--both from publishers and her boyfriend.

But just as Amy fears her life is stuck in a holding pattern, she meets the mysterious, attractive, and unavailable Eli. She struggles to walk the fine line between friendship and something more with Eli, even as staying true to her faith becomes unexpectedly complicated.

When secrets, tragedy, and poor decisions cause rifts in Amy's relationships, she must come to terms with who she's become, her unrealized aspirations for her life, and the state of her faith. Can she dare to hope that she will find love and fulfillment despite it all?

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


Hatteras Girl by Alice J. Wisler

I'm going to do something that I never do and that is post the CFBA review without any words of my own. I truly despise first person present tense writing. There are so very few authors that can actually carry that off well. Therefore...

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hatteras Girl
Bethany House; Original edition (October 1, 2010)
Alice Wisler


Alice J. Wisler is an author, public speaker, advocate, and fundraiser. She has been a guest on several radio and TV programs to promote her self-published cookbooks, Slices of Sunlight and Down the Cereal Aisle. She graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and has traveled the country in jobs that minister to people. Alice was raised in Japan and currently resides in Durham, North Carolina.

Facts about Alice

* Born in Osaka, Japan and lived in Japan for 18 years

* Went to Kyoto International School and Canadian Academy

* Majored in Social Work and graduated in 1983 from Eastern Mennonite University

* Worked at a group home for disadvantaged kids outside of Philadelphia

* Taught English and Culture Orientation at a refugee camp in the Philippines

* Taught English as a Second Language in Japan

* Speaks and teaches on Writing the Heartache

* Has three kids on earth, and one in Heaven

* Recently got married to Carl on 2/7/09


There are two things twenty-nine-year-old Jackie Donovan asks God for: an honest, wonderful man to marry, and to own a bed-and-breakfast in the Outer Banks region. In the meantime, Jackie works for Lighthouse Views magazine, writing articles about other local business owners, and intrepidly goes on the blind dates set up by her well-meaning but oh-so-clueless relatives.

There's one specific property Jackie dreams of purchasing: the Bailey Place, a fabulous old home where Jackie spent many happy childhood afternoons, a place that has now fallen into disrepair because of its outrageous price tag.

When Jackie meets handsome Davis Erickson, who holds the key to the Bailey Place, Jackie is sure God has answered both her prayers. But as Jackie learns some disturbing details about Davis's past, she begins to question her own motivation. Will she risk her long-held dreams to find out the truth?

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


Journey to Unity by Garry Harper

I have  friend on LinkedIN who wrote the first in a trilogy, Journey to Unity.  He outlines the path to a new American majority. It makes a lot of sense.

He has put into words the same questions that a lot of Christians are asking. My pastor posed the question, "What would you like to see from Christians?" Some of the answers the church gave are the same things Garry is saying here.

The main point is that Christians are not the Enemy. Paul tells us plainly that our enemy is not of flesh and blood. Jesus said that we are known by the love we have for each other, yet Christians would rather have coats of blue or red with political pins rather than be Christ-like first, last and always.

The fundamental point is that Christians all over the world must come together on the foundation of agreement. That literally means we must root ourselves in Bible rather than Man Teachings, for there is where our agreement should begin and end.

Harper also points out that each individual should know, understand and be able to defend his or her own beliefs and faith before ever stepping into a voting booth. If we demanded more from the candidates concerning their own beliefs and convictions, then apply our faith filter to that, our votes would be based on clear, rational reasons rather than on emotion or how we felt about an issue.

I highly recommend this book. It makes a lot of sense, and is probably nothing you haven't thought of before but now it's well thought out and defended. It isn't an afternoon's easy read. You'll find yourself thinking about this long after the last page is turned.

Go to to find out more about Garry Harper and to purchase this book. Look for the other two in the trilogy.


Interview with Mark Bertrand by Mike Duran

There is a great interview of Mark Bertrand over on Mike Duran's blog, deCompose. If you have every wanted to understand why in the world some authors write in first person present tense, this post of Mike's is a must read.


Transforming Church in Rural America by Shannon O'Dell

At first, I was skeptical. How could anyone understand Rural America if he didn't grow up in rural America? In fact, the blurbs about it didn't sound very interesting, either. However, the subject is dear to my heart so I ordered it. You can check it out at Brand New Church.

As I read this book, I kept thinking "this is exactly the kind of church I want to belong to!" Pastor Shannon O'Dell is the Paul of the 21st Century. He recognizes exactly how God gives talents and gifts and then as a pastor, he taps into those talents and gifts just as God intended.

This should be required reading for every seminary student whether a pastoral student or not, and for every church leader in the world. Especially, for rural pastors. It is high time rural pastors double check to make sure they are called by God and not on some resume building mission.

One thing that stands out is churches are the human hearts not brick and mortar. No one can change a heart, only Jesus can. With the Holy Spirit at work within God's people lives (and hearts) can be transformed therefore churches are transformed. Jesus pointed out that man's traditions were strangling the people, and putting a millstone around their necks which was impossible to throw off. Our traditions have become the same thing for the most part. Becoming radical for Jesus means shaking off the chains of traditions while embracing Biblical principles in every aspect of life both at church and during the week. O'Dell does a great job in shining a light on things that work for a metamorphosed church that is reaching the lost and is pleasing to God.

There are many interactive links to the Brand New Church's website and to Pastor O'Dell's blog. Check those out to expand your learning experience.

This is a BookSneeze Review.

Without meaningful change, thousands of rural churches won’t survive the next decade. *A vital guide for every deacon, elder, and pastor wanting to bring their rural church back to the business of changing lives *No-cost solutions for staffing challenges, upgrading the worship, and generating teams of volunteers *Innovative strategies for growth through transformed lives, relevance in meeting needs, and creating active evangelism in your community.

If you aren’t transforming lives, then the church has no impact. Pastor Shannon O’Dell reveals the need for relevancy and shares a powerful mission for rural churches in reaching the unchurched and lost in their communities. Now, learn the strategies and biblical guidance that turned a church of 30 into a multi-campus church of several thousand with a national and global outreach. Experience the blueprint for transforming into effective, dynamic, and thriving churches which give God the very best!

Learn to add VALUE to your ministry goals: Vision, Attitude, Leadership, Understanding, and Excellence. Discover how your marriage reflects the state of your faith and your relationship with God.

City on Our Knees by Toby Mac

This is one of the best and most inspiring books I've read since I don't know when. It will impact young and old in such a touching way, but the most wonderful thing about it are the people and their stories. If a four year old born with a debilitating can inspire a nation to raise $1 million for cancer research through lemonade stands, then there isn't an individual alive who can say, "I can't..."

The true stories range across a multitude of activities all over the world and how just one person or one couple make a huge difference in people's lives. It made me want to get busy doing something. However, Toby Mac makes an excellent point by saying that we must wake up and ask God, "Where are You working today? May I join you?"

When we do that, we are assured success in that endeavor because God work, no matter the outcome, will succeed.

This is 6 out of 5 stars. The best of the best, the cream de la cream. Buy, savor it and read it daily. God will change your heart and the stories of these people will change your attitude about "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

When we step across the line we can sail across the sea

Amazing, beautiful things happen when people have the courage to live, work, and pray in the spirit of unity and peace. Often, though, to make these amazing things happen, we have to step out of our comfort zone and into a world we find uncomfortable or intimidating. Sometimes that world is physical; other times it can be emotional, relational, or spiritual.

City on Our Knees shows this, encouraging you to take the first step. It offers stories of people who have stepped across lines. Lines of discrimination, persecution, doubt, prejudice, pride, bitterness, self-isolation, and despair. I pray and hope that you will be inspired to see how just one person, or one small group, can be a mechanism for change. 
God can use us right here. Right now. All we need is faith that He has our best in mind. And believe me—He does.—TobyMac


The Least Among You -- DVD-- Lionsgate

This is a BookSneeze Review
Inspired by a true story, this movie is top-notch. The acting is superb. I was pleasantly surprised because Christian films are not know for great acting. However, one of the greatest actors, Louis Gossett, Jr. really does a great job and I believe he inspired the rest of the cast.

Leaders are not chosen, they are called.

What a great sentiment. It is true. There are a lot of man-called preachers out there, as well as man-called leaders. The truly great leaders are those called by God to do a God-thing.

I'm not too keen on movies that are inspired by true stories because you never know what's true and what's Hollywood. However, this story works and is compelling. The message is that we should rest in our faith, follow God's leadership in what is right, and let the chips fall where they may. Probably one of the hardest things to do in this secular world is to ask God where He's working and go there. It's a message that was strong back in 1963 and even stronger today because we Christians are big on the fuzzy-feel-good and soft on the hard issues that cause a ruckus in the world, or rips in the fabric of society. That is difficult, but we're not permanent residents of this world, we are merely temporary campers so causing a ruckus shouldn't be heart wrenching.
This is definitely 4 of 5 stars.

Arrested in the 1965 Watts riots, Richard Kelly (Cedric Sanders) must serve probation at an all-white seminary. Although encouraged to break racial boundaries by its president Alan Beckett (William Devane), the school wants black followers not leaders. Even former missionary, Kate Allison (Lauren Holly), initially rejects Richard. A prison sentence looming, Richard meets Samuel Benton (Louis Gossett, Jr.) -- “the gardener in the basement.” As Samuel guides Richard through his many trials, Richard must choose between his dreams and his destiny.


The Dead Rise First Rapture Countdown by Alton Ragan & Robert McLaughlin

I heartily believe in the subject matter and the title of this book, The Dead Rise First. After all, it is very Biblical. I have a huge problem with the theology and leaving out a very crucial piece of scripture. However, I do admire anyone who is thoughtful enough and works hard enough to present a novel to the world, and who believe enough in it to self-publish it.

After saying that, I also caution ANYone who self-publishes to get an editor who knows what he/she is doing and do not argue with him/her when things need to be shifted around, cut out, and so on. Even self-published works can become best sellers if they are worthy.

While you instantly become embroiled in a pastor's family as well as the unheard of electronic's failures, it quickly becomes apparent that the editing of this work was haphazard at best and down right negligent at worst. Spelling errors, grammatical errors are storyline stoppers. The presentation is amateurish as well, with spaces between paragraphs as if it is a high school term paper or blog post rather than a novel. Either you indent the paragraph with no spaces between paragraphs or you do not indent and you leave about 8-12 points between paragraphs. Normally, it is  indent with no spaces. I do NOT understand why self-publishers do NOT take into consideration the eye comfort of readers. Although, the type size is a very comfortable 13 points.

As for the storyline: the reader gets bogged down around page 36 while the town is discussion 9/11 terrorism. Anything to explain why the electronics of every mechanism quit working.

The show stopper, though, was when I was faced with what Ragan and McLaughlin were saying. That there would be lots of time between the dead rising and those alive in Christ changing and being with the LORD. I will read just about anything until something pops us that is so against what I know to be true that I just can't proceed. Chapter 6 is about as far as I could go. I gave it an objective reading that far. It saddens me that two men could so disregard 1Thes 4:16  For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. 
and also 1Co 15:52  in a moment, in a glance of an eye, at the last trumpet. For a trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed.

It seems that authors are either lazy in research, or figure that readers are completely ignorant of scripture. In either case I am appalled. This could have been such a wonderful book and story if just a little more effort had gone into it, and if it had followed scripture more closely.

n the small town of Jordan, Oklahoma residents find themselves the victim of a shocking terrorist attack. A society so completely dependant on technology for its security and commerce has suddenly been turned upside down. Even worse than the uncertainty of their immediate safety is another problem that no one can explain.

People who have been dead for years are popping up all over town, appearing and giving witness that the Rapture of the Church is eminent but for the lost, the Great Tribulation. Who will listen to their message and repent and who will refuse to believe their own eyes?

Meet Jack, a pastor who is suddenly slapped in the face by what has happened and then baffled when he spots Sister Gregg, a former member of his church. The only trouble is the last time he saw the woman was at her own funeral. The town begins to shake at these events and as a church turns to their leader, Pastor Jack desperately searches for the answers he must give his congregation. How much time remains for people to repent is anyone’s guess, for Jack and his flock it’s a race to reach the lost.

The Dead Rise First is a fast paced, intriguing read for anyone interested in the Rapture. This book brings something new to readers and is provoking discussion among scholars with this one question: why do the dead rise first? Although purely fiction, the events are based on scriptural answers that unearth a new understanding concerning the rapture of the Church. Does it reveal a mystery about how God will raise the dead in Christ as seen in 1Thess. 4:13-14? Will it be the same way Jesus resurrected in Matthew 27:52-53? You decide.


Judgement Day by Wanda L. Dyson

It is a superb thing that someone is pointing out what shoddy journalism does to people. It is sad that it is in a work of fiction, but we take what we can from where we can.

There is a code of law among journalists that you never, ever give up your sources or your ideas without a court order or without a warrant or subpoena. Dyson doesn't know this because early in the story the victim hands over her notes to a police officer just for the asking. Admittedly, it is after a murder, but the industry of journalism is so "of the moment" that we never hand over notes or files to anyone except our boss. It just isn't done. When I read that paragraph, I almost threw the book in the trash regardless of my promise to review it. I did have to lay it aside for a couple of days because it was so story-stopping for me since the story was about a journalist. If that aspect of the story was wrong, then why keep reading?

My promise. So I picked the thing up and read.

The characters are somewhat believable. Editorial bosses are not a treacherous as Dyson makes out when one of Suzanne Kidwell's colleagues tricks her into revealing more than she should. Then when the story hits the airwaves, we understand how Kidwell gets away with such shoddy journalism herself. So perhaps the dirty-rat-boss sort of fits into the story.

Setting aside the lack of research, the story line is top notch and is very well developed. There are enough twists and abrupt turns to keep the reader turning the pages. It is a study in deceit and that can hit home with just about anyone. However, when we jump into the mind of the antagonist, at first it only annoys because of the seeming pause in story. Then we get a glimpse into evil, revenge, greed and it is chilling. Excellent development.

The two private detectives have this denial of romance on the side which basically detracts from the storyline in my opinion, because it isn't a part of the story. It does not move the story along, it does not create suspense, nor does it do anything except give Suzanne Kidwell a place to give a surprise in the end. A new meaning for anti-climatic to say the least.

I give it three stars, because it did hold my attention to the very end.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Judgment Day
WaterBrook Press (September 21, 2010)

Wanda Dyson


Wanda Dyson – "a shining example of what Christian fiction is becoming..." (Christian Fiction Review). She's been called a "natural" and a "master of pacing," but her fans know that whether it's police thrillers, suspense, or bringing a true story to life, Wanda knows how to take her readers on a journey they'll never forget.

Wanda is a multipublished suspense author, currently writing for Random House/Waterbrook. Her one attempt at a nonfiction book was picked for an exclusive release on Oprah. In addition to writing full time, she is also the appointment coordinator for the CCWC, Great Philadelphia Christian Writers, and ACFW conferences.

Wanda lives in Western Maryland on a 125 acre farm with a menagerie of animals and when she's not writing critically acclaimed suspense, or away at conferences, you can find her zipping across the fields on a 4-wheeler with Maya, her German Shepherd, or plodding along at a more leisurely pace on her horse, Nanza.

With the release of her newest hit, Judgment Day, Wanda is heading back to the keyboard to start on her next high-octane thriller, The Vigilante.


Sensational journalism has never been so deadly.

The weekly cable news show Judgment Day with Suzanne Kidwell promises to expose businessmen, religious leaders, and politicians for the lies they tell. Suzanne positions herself as a champion of ethics and morality with a backbone of steel—until a revelation of her shoddy investigation tactics and creative fact embellishing put her in hot water with her employers, putting her credibility in question and threatening her professional ambitions.

Bitter and angry, Suzanne returns home one day to find an entrepreneur she is investigating, John Edward Sterling, unconscious on her living room floor. Before the night is over, Sterling is dead, she has his blood on her hands, and the police are arresting her for murder. She needs help to prove her innocence, but her only hope, private investigator Marcus Crisp, is also her ex-fiancĂ©–the man she betrayed in college.

Marcus and his partner Alexandria Fisher-Hawthorne reluctantly agree to take the case, but they won’t cut Suzanne any slack. Exposing her lack of ethics and the lives she’s destroyed in her fight for ratings does little to make them think Suzanne is innocent. But as Marcus digs into the mire of secrets surrounding her enemies, he unveils an alliance well-worth killing for. Now all he has to do is keep Suzanne and Alex alive long enough to prove it.

Watch the book trailer:

you would like to read the Prologue and first chapter of Judgment Day, go HERE.


Autumn's Promise by Shelley Shepard Gray

I wasn't very impressed with this novel by Shelley Shepard Gray. Perhaps because I missed the first one in the series, maybe not. It seemed to be a stand-alone story. It moved very slowly, the mother of the protagonist (Lilly) seemed to be very insensitive and abrupt during a tight scene when they were discussing the pregnancy of her mom and the loss of her own baby several months earlier. I just lost patience with the story line after that. Too many story lines that didn't tie together until far into the story also made me lose patience. I often read two or three books at a time, but I know they are separate stories. Here we have separate stories in between the same covers. It is disconcerting to say the least about it.

On a good note, the characters do create empathy. Without that, it would be hard to chew this novel.

Although, there were several things the Amish in this story did that literally went against all the research I've done on the Amish (beliefs and practices) so it was hard to let the story flow for trying to reconcile the differences without explanation for the differences. That isn't to say, my research was correct and Gray's was wrong, it is just that they clashed in some important areas. When that happens without explanation then it is a story flow dam and the reader drowns in the flood with no relief of drain-off.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Autumn's Promise
Avon Inspire (August 3, 2010)


Shelley Shepard Gray


Since 2000, Shelley Sabga has sold twenty-six novels to numerous publishers. She has written a seven book contemporary series for Avalon books. She also published The Love Letter, a western for Avalon. Five Star Expressions published Suddenly, You in February of 2007. This novel is a historical western set in the mountains of Colorado.

Shelley has written nine novels for Harlequin American Romance. Cinderella Christmas, her first novel with them, reached number six on the Waldenbooks Bestseller list. Her second book with them, Simple Gifts won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice award for best Harlequin American Romance of 2006. The Mommy Bride, was chosen by Romantic Times Magazine as one of their TOP PICKS for May, 2008.

Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for Harper Collins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. HIDDEN and WANTED the first two novels of her ‘Sisters of the Heart’ series, were chosen to be Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/ Literary Guild Book Club. FORGIVEN, book 3, has received glowing reviews. Avon Inspire is releasing four novels by Shelley this year.

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelors and masters degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two teenagers, and is an active member of her church.


Some promises are meant to be broken...

Until Robert Miller met Lilly Allen, his world had been dark. A widower after only two years of marriage, he'd been living in a haze, feeling that, at twenty-four, his life was already over.

But thanks to his friendship with Lilly, he now has new reasons to wake up each day. He knows his connection to her doesn't make sense. She's only nineteen, with a past the whole town talks about. Even more, she's not Amish, like Robert. A marriage between the two of them could never happen.

Lilly's heart is drawn to Robert, not to his faith. No matter how much she admires his quiet strength and dependability, she doesn't think she could ever give up her independence and reliance on the modern world. Is their love doomed before it even begins?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Autumn's Promise, go HERE.


The Black Madonna by Davis Bunn

I adore Davis Bunn. His versatility in subject matter, his way with word pictures, his grasp of what makes suspense and avoidance of that which I like to skip in other, less professionally written novels all add up to some very excellent reads.

Black Madonna is another smash. Although, I really do not like it when men try to get into women's thoughts, Bunn does okay with it. He focuses more on the story than on angst which makes the story so much more interesting. Bunn also learned some great things from Janet Oke when he collaborated with her which makes these later novels by him so much better. (I'm quite sure she's learned a lot from him, too. It is a good author match.)

The suspense will have you reading far into the night. The surprises will chill your spine, and there is enough humor to break the tension just enough your muscles don't get sore.

The only thing that could make it better is the sub-story between Storm's two friends is not developed well. Bunn pulls the reader from the delicious suspense to agonize over a love story with few particulars so it just isn't satisfying. The other thing is Storm's attraction to the man she loves to hate in the beginning. That is truly formulaic and I am just a bit disappointed with T. Davis Bunn over that. However, it does not detract from the story line at all.

This one gets 5 of 5 stars. Worth the money and it's a keeper.

Following the internationally acclaimed Gold of Kings, Storm Syrrell returns in the compelling story of The Black Madonna.

Antiques expert Storm Syrrell heads to Europe to investigate the clandestine trade in religious artifacts. She dismisses superstitious tales of miraculous healings and divine omens. Yet when an obsessive Russian oligarch calls—just as her friend Harry Bennett vanishes—all assumptions must be cast aside. Storm seeks answers in a medieval monastery. There, the scarred visage of an icon provokes ever more startling questions. Is she prepared to confront both earthly and spiritual powers? Storm remains haunted by lessons in love and betrayal that lie just outside her grasp. But hesitation now holds mortal consequences.


Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson

Somehow my address was wrong when this book was sent out for the CFBA blog tour a few months ago. The kind people at Kregel Publications sent me the book anyway thanks to Cat Hoort, trade marketing manager! Thank you, Cat.

I did enjoy this offering by Melanie Dobson. It is her second book published by Kregel. It was something a little different, but akin to the old gothic novels that I absolutely adored, complete with creepy old house, disappearing antiques, trap doors and secret tunnels. It all came wrapped upon in a modern package that didn't detract from the creepiness at all.

Sometimes, I got a lot aggravated with the protagonist, Camden Bristow. She seemed whiny and obtuse, but then what else would a person be when jobless, homeless, broke and your grandmother just died? So, I gave her a pass, especially since she turned out to be a rather nice person in the end.

I give it three out of five stars. I liked the storyline and the characters were good. I hated the jumping into the criminals mind parts. They detracted from the suspense level. The Unknown is always scarier than the known menace. Too often authors sell the imaginations of their readers short. We read, therefore our imaginations are wild.

Moving home after a recent job loss was supposed to reassure Camden Bristow and give her time to decide what to do next. But when she arrives in Etherton, Ohio, she discovers that her grandmother, who she hasn’t talked to in years, has passed away and “home” is an empty mansion 150 years old. Not exactly the comfort Camden was looking for. What happened to the house she played in as a child, the bedtime stories that told of secret passageways and runaway slaves, and all those family memories?

When antiques start disappearing and footsteps are heard, some of those memories start to creep back and Camden wonders if her grandmother’s bedtime stories might actually be true. What really happened here . . . at Crescent Hill? How was her grandmother involved? Who still has access to the house? And for what purpose? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camden also uncovers secrets about her family that could change the town—and her life—forever.

"It's history, mystery, and treasure hunt wrapped up in one suspenseful adventure! You'll want to keep the lights on while you read Dobson's plot-driven story. She so skillfully sets the scene in this memory- haunting house that you'll hear the creaks and footsteps. And whether lost or redeemed, her believable characters ring true with their genuine faults, all-too-human mistakes, and realistic 'skeletons in the closet.'"--Fiction Editor, Christian Book Distributors


Best advice from successful writers

The Guardian had a great article on the 10 Rules for writing Fiction which I found through Billy Coffee's Tweet. "Ain't technology grand?"

So here are some special favorites...

Elmore Leonard: My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Margaret Atwood:  5 Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.

1 Do not place a photograph of your ­favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide

Helen Dunnore
2 Listen to what you have written. A dud rhythm in a passage of dialogue may show that you don't yet understand the characters well enough to write in their voices.

Anne Enright
3 Only bad writers think that their work is really good.
4 Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand.

1 The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.
2 Fiction that isn't an author's personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money.
3 Never use the word "then" as a ­conjunction – we have "and" for this purpose. Substituting "then" is the lazy or tone-deaf writer's non-solution to the problem of too many "ands" on the page.
4 Write in the third person unless a ­really distinctive first-person voice ­offers itself irresistibly.
9 Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.
Neil Gaiman
5 Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

1 Increase your word power. Words are the raw material of our craft. The greater your vocabulary the more ­effective your writing. We who write in English are fortunate to have the richest and most versatile language in the world. Respect it.

Well... you get the idea. Thank you Billy Coffee for point out this treasure trove of good advice. Thank you authors for taking the time to expose some of our most  ragged vulnerability as writers and authors.


Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker

What is sacrificial love? That is the question asked by Ted Dekker of his fans and of the bloggers on this tour of his new book, Immanuel’s Veins.
Oddly, that term is not in the Bible. Nor is the term unconditional love found, but these principles are stark realities of God’s Word. We are to present ourselves and living sacrifices, Paul tells us in Romans 12:1. I wrote about unconditional love several years ago and still believe that humans are not capable of unconditional love without the continuing super power of God infusing our being completely and solely. How often does that happen?
Yet, there is Jesus on the cross thinking about the joy beyond, not the shame of the moment. There is the instance of Abraham who was told by God to sacrifice his precious son, Isaac. There is Paul who was beaten and left for dead, whipped, ship-wrecked, starved, worked for his living, who loved God so much that he bore all the tribulations to obey the command, “Go and make disciples.” The Apostles died terrible deaths for the Gospel, all for love of our Father who created us in His image and who gave His only Son so that we would be reconciled to Himself. That is sacrificial love. It is putting our self-serving desires aside to provide service to a greater cause.
Every Christian must know the difference between lust and love, but not every Christian exhibits sacrificial love. It goes against the human nature to love someone else more than oneself. God knows this which is why the 2nd Greatest Command is to Love one another as you love yourself. Healthy sacrificial love is not beating the chest, or slicing to let blood flow. It isn’t being crucified every Easter to show the world how much you love God.
It is quiet. It is sweet. It is unannounced. It is done, not talked about. A mother gives her tiny, daily ration to her child instead of eating the only meal she’s been able to scrounge, though she starves, her child will live. A father works three jobs so his wife doesn’t have to and his children can eat and go to college. A sister gives her only dress instead of loaning it so that her sister can look nice on an interview and get a job. A brother gives his kidney to his brother so he may live.
Sacrificial love is more than compassion in action. It is the ultimate giving of one’s self to make life or liberty better for others. Is it possible to exhibit it on a continual basis? We would die trying.
I read a little more than a quarter of the way into this new book of Dekker's and I felt this sinking in the pit of my stomach. I thought, "Oh, no! Ted has succumbed to this vampire trend. Why is everyone jumping on this stupid bandwagon? How in the world can this possibly be a Christian story???? Dekker, what have you gotten me into now?" Then I kept reading. The way he writes you just have to keep going.

I was struck by something else. Dekker has an uncanny way of seeing into human nature and putting it on paper (yes, even women's thoughts seem pretty much on target.) He captured the deep longing of the human heart and painted the pain with words. I think this may be one of his best. It was certainly gripping.

Tension builds as Toma (the hero) is confronted by a little gnome of a man who warns him that he is riding toward evil. Well, would you sit still on your horse having heard that if you were the champion warrior of your country? Of course not. Warriors have to face down the evil and defeat it. Thus begins an epic journey of the heart of one man.

This one is a keeper. I will say that it is not for the fainthearted or for the weak of stomach. Frankly, there were some stomach-churning parts I had to skip over. However, it is well worth the money.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Immanuel's Veins
Thomas Nelson (September 7, 2010)

Ted Dekker


Ted Dekker is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty novels. He is best known for stories which could be broadly described as suspense thrillers with major twists and unforgettable characters, though he has also made a name for himself among fantasy fans.

Early in his career he wrote a number of spiritual thrillers and his novels were lumped in with ‘Christian Fiction’ a surprisingly large category. His later novels are a mix of mainstream novels such as Adam, Thr3e, Skin, Obsessed and BoneMan’s Daughters, and fantasy thrillers that metaphorically explore faith. Best known among these is his Circle Series: Green, Black, Red, White and The Paradise Books: Showdown, Saint, and Sinner.

Dekker was born to missionaries who lived among the headhunter tribes of Indonesia. Because his parents’ work often included extended periods of time away from their children, Dekker describes his early life in a culture to which he was a stranger as both fascinating and lonely. It is this unique upbringing that forced him to rely on his own imagination to create a world in which he belonged.

After leaving Indonesia, Dekker graduated from a multi-cultural high school and took up permanent residence in the United States to study philosophy and religion. Upon earning his Bachelor’s Degree, he entered the corporate world and proceeded to climb the proverbial ladder. But his personal drive left him restless and, after many successful years, he traded corporate life for wide range of entrepreneurial pursuits that included buying and selling businesses, healthcare services, and marketing.

In the early nineties while visiting a friend who had just written a book, Dekker decided to pursue a long held desire to be a novelist. Over the course of two years he wrote two full length novels before starting from scratch and rewriting both. Now fully enamored by the the process and the stories, he realized that storytelling was in his blood and a new obsession to explore truth through story gripped him anew.

He sold his business, moved his family to the mountains of Western Colorado and began writing full-time on his third novel. Two years and three novels later his first novel, Heaven’s Wager, was published.

Now, Dekker’s novels had sold over 3.4 million copies worldwide. Two of his novels, Thr3e and House, have been made into movies with more in production. Dekker resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Lee Ann and two of their daughters.


This story is for everyone--but not everyone is for this story.

It is a dangerous tale of times past. A torrid love story full of deep seduction. A story of terrible longing and bold sacrifice.

Then as now, evil begins its courtship cloaked in light. And the heart embraces what it should flee. Forgetting it once had a truer lover.

With a kiss, evil will ravage body, soul, and mind. Yet there remains hope, because the heart knows no bounds.

Love will prove greater than lust. Sacrifice will overcome seduction. And blood will flow.

Because the battle for the heart is always violently opposed. For those desperate to drink deep from this fountain of life, enter.

But remember, not everyone is for this story.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Immanuel's Veins, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:


For Time & Eternity by Allison Pittman

It is rare that a novel comes along that has all the elements of a good story. This one does. There is suspense because you know the young girl is going to make this terrible decision. You know that it just might turn out to be a good decision, but there are all these things that a mature person would notice right off as warning bells.

It also has a sweet love story, but that is overshadowed by how insidious the false doctrines weave in and around truth to make them seem true or at least plausible. Pittman does a great job in writing them baldly so a well-versed reader picks up on them immediately. She also shines a light on the false doctrines later in the book as our heroine matures.

I thought at first that this would be something I just couldn't agree with, then I began to notice how she was writing from the POV of an immature, lonely and harshly treated teenager. It is exactly how a young one gets caught up in something that is not of the LORD. She also brings out how people who "want to be good" but are not truly saved will cut corners and rationalize their wants and desires into something they call holy, but is nothing like holy. To God, a lie is a lie. To unbelievers and immature Christians a lie may only be the ends justifying the means.

All Camilla Deardon knows of the Mormons camping nearby is the songs she hears floating on the breeze. Then she meets one of them—a young man named Nathan Fox. Never did she imagine he would be so handsome, so charming, especially after Mama and Papa’s warnings to stay away. Though she knows she should obey her parents, Camilla can’t refuse her heart. But even Nathan’s promises cannot prepare her for what she will face in Utah.
For Time and Eternity
Binding: Softcover
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3596-4
List Price: $13.99
Release Date: September 2010


Crimson Cipher by Susan Paige Davis

I have said so often that it takes a very special author to mix suspense and romance. Well, Susan Paige Davis is that special. At first, I thought this was going to be another predictable historical romance with a little intrigue thrown in. Not so. This is a well-researched, well-written novel about the beginnings of the CIA. Although, Davis never even hints about that. To know more about that, read Body of Secrets by James Bambord.

The organization our code-breaker heroine goes to work for was actually called "The Black Chamber" and those she mentions as the heads of it were not real people. The cipher machine never really came into use until much later... but it is considered that many countries were furiously at work on such a machine for security of their diplomatic and state messages. However, setting aside the poetic license...

Davis has done an excellent job in capturing the flavor of the early 20th century without describing much about dress or uniforms, but more about the technology and society. This is just a really good read and I do recommend it to anyone interested in espionage or code breaking without a tremendous lot of details.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Crimson Cipher
Summerside Press (July 1, 2010)

Susan Page Davis



A female Navy cryptographer seeks to save lives...and uncover her father’s killers.

In 1915, German sympathizers escalated acts of sabotage in the United States to keep the nation from joining in the war. With enemies lurking at every turn, whom can Emma trust? Is romance the true motive behind her tow suitors advances? Or could one-or both of them-have traitorous intentions in mind?

Following the mysterious murder of Emma Shuster’s father, Lt. John Patterson invites Emma to become a Navy cryptographer because of the expertise she gained in helping her father develop a cipher system.

Emma races to discover the nefarious plans of her country's foes and unmask their leader before others are killed. She finds new strength in her faith as she strives to outwit her adversary, known only as Kobold - German for goblin.

And yet, her greatest challenge may be deciphering the cryptic messages her heart sends whenever she encounters a certain navy lieutenant... Can Emma and John find love in the midst of turmoil as America plunges toward war?

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


From Susan: I've always loved reading, history, and horses. These things come together in several of my historical books. My young adult novel, Sarah's Long Ride, also spotlights horses and the rugged sport of endurance riding, as does the contemporary romance Trail to Justice. I took a vocational course in horseshoeing after earning a bachelor's degree in history. I don't shoe horses anymore, but the experience has come in handy in writing my books.

Another longtime hobby of mine is genealogy, which has led me down many fascinating paths. I'm proud to be a DAR member! Some of Jim's and my quirkier ancestors have inspired fictional characters.

For many years I worked for the Central Maine Morning Sentinel as a freelancer, covering local government, school board meetings, business news, fires, auto accidents, and other local events, including a murder trial. I've also written many profiles and features for the newspaper and its special sections. This experience was a great help in developing fictional characters and writing realistic scenes. I also published nonfiction articles in several magazines and had several short stories appear in Woman's World, Grit, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.

My husband, Jim, and I moved to his birth state, Oregon, for a while after we were married, but decided to move back to Maine and be near my family. We're so glad we did. It allowed our six children to grow up feeling close to their cousins and grandparents, and some of Jim's family have even moved to Maine!

Our children are all home-schooled. The two youngest are still learning at home. Jim recently retired from his vocation as an editor at a daily newspaper, and we’ve moved from Maine to Kentucky.


What in the World is Going On? by David Jeremiah

I have loved Dr. David Jeremiah for many, many years. I watch him faithfully every Sunday morning, so I was thrilled to be able to review this particular book because I watched the series of sermons on this subject.

I have to say that if you want or need encouragement in these troubled times, then reading this book will settle many questions you may have. It is solid, with dead-on research, and he uses many Bible passages to back up this message.

I agree with him wholeheartedly. I have studied eschatology since I was a teenager and each year my understanding grows deeper concerning God's plan for His people and for this dark world. Dr. Jeremiah has complied an easy to read anthology of prophecy that clearly defines what is happening now and the impact it has on the future of this world. Be sure and get your copy today. You'll be so glad you did.


Love is a Flame compiled by James Stuart Bell

I have long adored James Stuart Bell. Therefore I snatched this book right up as soon as it hit my mail box. Talk about super-duper-better-than-sliced-bread good! You have a wonderful collection of impacting stories told by those who lived through them. This book is inspiring, is fabulously touching, and wonderfully human dealing with situations we all face, but handled in God's special way.

You cannot go wrong with this book. Buy it! You won't be sorry.

Real People. Real Stories. Real Love.
Happily ever after. Does it only happen in fairy tales, or in real life? Over the years love may burn strong and steady, but sometimes it grows cold. However, it can be rekindled--and these stories show how. Be inspired by true accounts of how love was revived and renewed.
You'll discover that love can grow stronger and burn brighter through the years as you read more than forty stories from everyday people like
  • Jan, whose marriage was restored despite adultery.
  • Marsha, who fought pornography and won.
  • Bryan, who realized his family, not his career, was his most important responsibility.
  • Emily, who learned that real love overcomes unrealistic expectations.
  • Jeff, who went from dissatisfaction and boredom to falling in love all over again.
    The true stories in Love Is a Flame will warm your heart and show you how to create a new spark in your marriage and build it into a glowing flame.

    James Stuart Bell is a Christian publishing veteran and the owner of Whitestone Communications, a literary development agency. He is the editor of many story collections, including the Cup of Comfort, Life Savors, and God Encounters series, and the coauthor of numerous books in the Complete Idiot’s Guide series. He and his family live in West Chicago, Illinois.


    Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and other lies you've been told by Bradley R.E. Wright, PhD

    Finally, some really Good News in statistics about Christians--Evangelical Christians. This non-fiction book should be on every Christian's book shelf , especially every Pastor's bookshelf.

    I have been so depressed hearing how bad Christians are and how we are losing so much ground, how American isn't a Christian Nation anymore, how Christians marriages end in divorce as much or more as non-Christian marriages. I've heard that teenagers are leaving the church as fast as lightening. I've heard that sexual immorality is rampant among Christians. All of that is balderdash--poppycock.

    Amen, brother, preach on about how to actually read statistics, and how the question is worded means as much as the answer given. Preach on about how few numbers answering the question also means higher differential rate (that means the percentage of accuracy versus inaccuracy is much greater).

    Reading this book brought back so much of my Statistical Research college class and fond memories of Dr. David Martin, my professor for the class. But, that is a side-note only.

    This Wright has his doctorate in Sociology and he literally shatters so many myths that have abounded about Christians that you feel like you have emerged from a shroud of deceit after you've finished the book. You can't get it all in one sit-down session. You have to savor it like a good cup of coffee and fresh roses.

    Buy it, read it, study it, you will be so very glad you did!

    You've probably heard the many negative media reports about the evangelical church, such as:
    • Christian young people are leaving the Christian faith in record numbers
    • The divorce rate among Christians is as high as those of nonbelievers
    • Christians today are watered down in their beliefs and actions
    But are these truly accurate?

    In Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told, sociologist Bradley R.E. Wright shatters these popular myths, along with many others. Using the best available data, he reveals to readers why and how many of the commonly shared statistics are incomplete and inaccurate.
    Price: $14.99
    ISBN: 978-0-7642-0746-4
    ISBN-10: 0-7642-0746-6
    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
    Number of pages: 256
    Carton Quantity: 48
    Publication Date: Jul. 10
    Formats: Paperback

    Dark in the City of Light by Paul Robertson

    I absolutely adore Paul Robertson. It is a good thing he's married and I have principles about that sort of thing or I'd probably be tracking him down -- of course, that is said all in fun!

    This latest novel of Paul's is a bit dark, but then the era and incidents that he writes about in Dark in the City of Light is extremely dark. From the first page, it is gripping. He writes in such a way that it is easy to understand the characters' motivations without them being written in neon lighting and arrows pointing garishly as some authors have been known to write. The subtlety is mind boggling and done with such genius, you feel as if you have been transported to late 19th century living rooms--parlors--in the middle of Paris with a few side trips to Austria.

    This is an amazing work in character studies. Worthy of reading, worthy of the money spent and worthy of the most austere library shelf. The story is fast paced and adheres extremely closely to history.  I highly recommend this novel. I give it five out of five stars.

    This week, the

    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

    is introducing

    Dark In The City Of Light
    Bethany House (July 1, 2010)

    Paul Robertson


    Paul Robertson is a computer programming consultant, part-time high-school math and science teacher, and the author of The Heir. He is also a former Christian bookstore owner (for 15 years), who lives with his family in Blacksburg, Virginia.


    What Evil Haunts the Shadows of 1870s Paris?

    Baron Ferdinand Harsanyi — After his wife's mysterious death, this Austrian attachĂ© holds control over mines whose coveted ore could turn the tide of war.

    Therese Harsanyi — Swept up in new romance and the spectacle of Paris, the Baron's daughter is blind to the dangers stalking her family and the city she loves.

    Rudolph Harsanyi — Unsure whom to trust, the Baron's son's grief over his mother's death twists into growing anger and a desire to break free.

    As France and Prussia plunge toward war, one family is caught in a web of deceit, political intrigue, and murder that threatens to tear them apart.

    If you would like to read the first chapter of Dark In The City Of Light, go HERE.


    Nightshade by Ronie Kendig

    This novel has a truly great premise. The first one third is excellent, you just can't put it down.  I appreciate how much work  went into the writing of Nightshade. The research is superb, and you get an excellent feel for how this motley crew feels being on the "out" rather than the "in" of Special Forces. Really good character development for the most part. The characters are not predictable per se, but do flirt with the edge of believability once or twice.

    However, the problem of "love" entwined with "suspense/action" is very evident in the rest of Kendig's offering. It takes a genius to meld love and and action adventure. This one came close but the execution did not live up to the promise. The family scenes with Sydney and her brother and her mother just don't ring a perfect pitch. It isn't harmonized with the rest of the storyline, although it all does come together in the end. It has to, it's a romance... or is it?

    Although, this is a great study in anger and pride management, the storyline seems to be cluttered with things that tend to block the flow of the story. When a story-blocker comes along, it is easy to close the book for the night, or simply skip several pages. But, don't give up on it because it does have a worthy ending. I give it two stars... I liked it, but it didn't WOW me.

    This week, the

    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

    is introducing

    Barbour Books (July 1, 2010)

    Ronie Kendig


    Ronie has been married since 1990 to a man who can easily be defined in classic terms as a hero. She has four beautiful children. Her eldest daughter is 16 this year, her second daughter will be 13, and her twin boys are 10. After having four children, she finally finished her degree in December 2006. She now has a B.S. in Psychology through Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Getting her degree is a huge triumph for both her and her family--they survived!!

    This degree has also given her a fabulous perspective on her characters and how to not only make them deeper, stronger, but to make them realistic and know how they'll respond to each situation. Her debut novel, Dead Reckoning released March 2010 from Abingdon Press. And her Discarded Heroes series begins in July from Barbour with the first book entitled Nightshade.


    After a tour of duty in a war-torn country, embattled former Navy SEAL Max Jacobs finds himself discarded and alienated from those he loves as he

    struggles with war-related PTSD. His wife, Sydney, files a restraining order against him and a petition for divorce. Max is devastated.

    Then a mysterious a man appears. He says he's organizing a group that recycles veterans like Max. It's a deep-six group known as Nightshade. With

    the chance to find purpose in life once again, Max is unable to resist the call of duty and signs on.

    The team handles everything with precision and lethal skill...until they're called upon to rescue a missionary family from a rebel-infested jungle and avoid a reporter hunting their identities.

    Will Max yield his anger and pride to a force greater than

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

    Watch the trailer:

    Get widget