Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Double Cross by Diann Mills (Review)

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.

My Review:

I enjoyed reading this latest inspirational, romantic, suspense/mystery book from Diann Mills. This is the second book in the FBI Houston series but can stand alone. Although there were several slow spots the action made up for it. The author did a good job developing the characters. I liked the interaction between Laurel, Daniel, and Wilmington. I actually found myself rooting for Wilmington at one point. The mystery/suspense part took me by surprise. The book had several twists and turns. I wondered who was double crossing who until the very end. Recommended to fans of the genre.



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

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Year of Living Prayerfully by Jared Brock (Review)








  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (February 19, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414392133
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414392134





  • Is Anyone Listening? Do My Prayers Really Change Anything?

    Jared Brock sensed that something was missing in his prayer life, so he embarked on a yearlong journey to rediscover the power of prayer (and eat some delicious falafel).
                     
    FOLLOW JARED ON A 37,000-MILE TRIP AROUND THE WORLD AS HE...
    * Dances with Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn
    * Discovers the 330-year-old home of Brother Lawrence
    * Burns his clothes at the end of the Camino de Santiago
    * Attends the world's largest church in Seoul
    * Visits Westboro Baptist Church
    * Tries to stay out of trouble in North Korea
    * Attempts fire walking (with only minor burns) 

    Although up to 90% of us pray, very few of us feel like we've mastered prayer. A Year of Living Prayerfully is a fascinating, humorous, globe-trotting exploration of prayer that will help you grow your own prayer life.

    While filming a documentary about sex trafficking, Jared and Michelle Brock felt a deep need for prayer in their personal lives. In an effort to learn more about prayer, the couple traveled the globe, exploring the great Judeo-Christian prayer traditions: in mountains and monasteries, in Christian communities and cathedrals, standing up and lying down, every hour and around the clock.

    Jared's witty reflections on his fast-paced journey will both entertain and inspire you to think about your own prayer journey.

    Join Jared on a rollicking modern-day prayer pilgrimage... you'll never pray the same again.
    My Review:
     
     This was an interesting book. I did not feel like I learned anything new about prayer though. I picked up the book because the premise intrigued me. It was a travelogue with faith bent with some humor too. I enjoyed reading it. The author put enough description to make you feel like you were there without weighing the book down. I could hardly believe some of the things that happened to him along the way like being in North Korea. And he met the Pope, wow. Recommended for at least the interesting story and another reader might take away more of the spiritual aspect.
           
    Jared Brock is the cofounder of Hope for the Sold, an abolitionist charity that fights human trafficking one word at a time. Jared has written for Huffington Post, Esquire, Converge, and Relevant, and his work has appeared on CBC, CTV, and WDCX. He is happily married to his best friend, Michelle, whom he first kissed in the seventh grade (at a Newsboys concert.) Jared Brock and Rick Warren have sold a combined 35 million books in 85 languages.
    Review copy provided by Tyndale Blog Network.

    Friday, April 10, 2015

    Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    Mist of Midnight
    Howard Books (March 10, 2015)
    by
    Sandra Byrd


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. The Tudor series’ end cap, Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published in April, 2013.

    A life-long lover of Victorian Gothic romances, Sandra’s new series, Daughters of Hampshire, weaves elements of that mystical, traditional genre with inspirational and literary threads. Mist of Midnight, the series’ first book, debuts in March, 2015.

    Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens, and is passionate about helping new authors develop their talent and their work toward traditional or independent publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

    ABOUT THE BOOK

    In the first of a brand-new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

    Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her...and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca's name, but her home and incomes.

    That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father's investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives—does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, will she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?

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

    Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Review)


    • Series: Amish Beginnings
    • Paperback: 336 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (March 3, 2015)
    • ISBN-13: 978-0800723194

    Some endings are really beginnings . . . 

    On a hot day in 1737 in Rotterdam, Anna K├Ânig reluctantly sets foot on the Charming Nancy, a merchant ship that will carry her and her fellow Amish believers across the Atlantic to start a new life. As the only one in her community who can speak English, she feels compelled to go. But Anna is determined to complete this journey and return home--assuming she survives. She's heard horrific tales of ocean crossings and worse ones of what lay ahead in the New World. But fearfulness is something Anna has never known. 

    Ship's carpenter Bairn resents the somber people--dubbed Peculiars by the deckhands--who fill the lower deck of the Charming Nancy. All Bairn wants to do is to put his lonely past behind him, but that irksome and lovely lass Anna and her people keep intruding on him.

    Delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions test the mettle and patience of everyone on board. When Anna is caught in a life-threatening situation, Bairn makes a discovery that shakes his entire foundation. But has the revelation come too late?

    My Review:

    I have mixed feelings about this book. I did not really enjoy reading it although the topic was different than most Amish books. The majority of the book is set on the ship The Charming Nancy. It focuses on Anna Konig, an Amish woman, from Germany and the trip to America. I liked Anna ok but the plot moved a little slow due to the setting. Also there were a few things in it that I really did not care for in a Christian fiction book. I know the author did it to be authentic but I could have done without them like the pirate language and slave ship scene. Bairn and Anna start getting closer as the trip progressed. I like the relationship between them. There is a big twist at the end. I have read and loved all the author's other fiction series. Many readers love this one too. If you like Amish books and historical fiction then you might like this one. I will still read coming books.





    Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Letters, The Calling, the Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Thursday, March 19, 2015

    Dauntless by Dina Sleiman

    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.

    Monday, March 9, 2015

    Where Rivers Part by Kellie Coates-Gilbert (Review)


    • Series: Texas Gold Collection
    • Paperback: 336 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (February 17, 2015)
    • ISBN-13: 978-0800722739


    Following in her estranged father's footsteps, Dr. Juliet Ryan has devoted her scientific acumen to corporate America, providing safe drinking water for millions--and affording her plenty of perks along the way. Then, without warning, a fast-moving disaster sweeps Juliet into a whirlpool of corporate scandal and puts lives at risk. As she scrambles to find answers, Juliet must face her deepest wounds and join forces with her father to expose a far-reaching conspiracy. Underneath it all, she struggles to forgive those who betrayed her trust--not least of all her own father.

    Kellie Coates Gilbert's emotionally complex and gripping novel fearlessly explores the seduction of success, the fear of giving up control, and the redemptive power of learning to forgive those who have hurt us most. Like a mighty river with twists and turns and hidden rocks, this story will sweep readers relentlessly along until the satisfying conclusion.

    My Review:
     
    Dr. Juliet Ryan is a scientist who works to provide safe drinking water by overseeing quality control at a bottled water company. Her dad does not see eye to eye with her. He opposes her choice of career working for a corporation. He also is in quality of food and water control. They do not get along that great anyway. He cheated on her mother growing up and she knew about it. She holds it against him. Her mother is the peace maker until she dies suddenly which throws Juliet off. She is also dealing with a crisis at work. Children are getting sick and dying  possibly from some of the bottled water her company sells. She also has a love affair going on with one of her coworkers. This is an edgy Christian fiction book. I was uncomfortable with the relationship. The plot did keep me reading though. I wanted to see how the bottled water mystery played out. The characters are flawed and realistic and the plot well developed. Recommended to fans of the genre.

     
    Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal and the author of A Woman of Fortune. Gilbert crafts her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances in Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton (Review)


    • Series: A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance (Book 1)
    • Paperback: 320 pages
    • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 24, 2015)
    • ISBN-13: 978-1401690496

    One clutzy advice columnist.
    One champion cowboy.
    And an entire small town rooting for love.
    Advice columnist Maggie Hope never dreamed she’d be shaking hands with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan over a high-stakes bet, especially one that involves horses. And saddles. And everything else a city girl like Maggie feels uncomfortable around. But after filling in for a coworker and interviewing the handsome cowboy, she finds herself doing just that. Anything to save her advice column.
    Despite Maggie’s two left feet, Tru is bound and determined to bring out her inner cowgirl by teaching her to ride a cutting horse, trained to separate cattle from the rest of the herd. While her riding improves, their attraction intensifies, but Tru knows he can never let her into his heart—for her own good.
    In Wishing Springs, a community full of meddling but well-meaning townsfolk, Maggie discovers the home she’s always longed for. But she’s holding something back—a secret that could destroy her reputation and any future she’s ever hoped for with the cowboy she might trust love.


    My Review:

    I enjoyed reading this sweet Christian romance book. I have read the author's Mule Hollow Love Inspired series too. This is the first book in a new series Four of Hearts Romance. Although Maggie and Tru are the two main characters there were many good supporting characters. At times it seemed like they wanted to take over the story. Maggie has some serious issues she needs to work through from her past. It takes a lot of the book for her to start trusting Tru. The romance develops slow but steady between them. In the beginning it was based on looks apparently he is good looking. But throughout the book she sees another side of him. Tru thinks she is a city girl who's a little crazy but in the end he admires her.  Wishing Springs seems like a great little Texas town full of "real" characters like Clara Lynn and Reba. There were also the twin men mayors who would switch out. The book had funny moments for sure. The characters and plot were well developed and interesting. This series is  contemporary with a small town Western twist. I look forward to the next book in the series and going back to Wishing Springs. Recommended. :)


     
    Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist first published in 2005 and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra is the author of the acclaimed Mule Hollow Matchmaker Series, and her goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words. Visit her website at www.debraclopton.com Twitter: @debraclopton Facebook: debra.clopton.5

    Review copy provided by Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.