Tag Archives: christian fiction

Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck Brings a Cinderella Tale to Modern Life

Once Upon a PrinceI’m a pretty grounded, little-league coaching career-motivated woman, but I do have a feminine side especially when it comes to fairy tales and the whole idea of royalty.  That made me so excited for Christian writer Rachel Hauck’s Once Upon a Prince!  I would urge you to only read this review if you are a fan of Christian fiction or don’t mind your eyes being opened (and I doubt Rachel minds me saying so).

Now that we have that established, and the fact that Christian values and how God can help you navigate any storm through life is widely a part of this book, I’ll share with you how inspiring as well as fun it was to read Rachel’s Once Upon a Prince. I love when she gets these fabulous ideas based on real life scenarios.

You heard me right…yep. You wouldn’t think that a woman having her “one day my prince will come” moment could actually happen or be true to life. But think about it, many of us marveled at the engagement and nuptials of Prince William last year, right?. Many of us watch because we love the pomp and circumstance. I watched as a little girl with my mother, who loves all things British and royalty-related (we lived there for a time after I was born there), the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. It’s a dream we all read in fairy tales, at least those we read in the Disney versions of Cinderella and Snow White.  When life gives most women lemon after lemon, especially in relationships, we keep hope for love alive mainly focusing on the fact that we’ll find our Prince Charming and live happily ever after.

I’m sure some women will be heated over me saying that. Don’t get me wrong, I myself am a very independent and self-sufficient woman. I don’t necessarily need a man, though it’s nice to be in love. And that is my point. Finding your Prince doesn’t necessarily mean that he is going to whisk you away and fix everything in your life. To me, it means finding true love, a partner that will cherish and support you in all things–a partner to weather the storms of life with.

I think Rachel had this message too, as well as an undercurrent of how we don’t always know or understand God’s timing in life. That no matter what the status of a person, we can all find our Prince. And metaphorically, as well, no matter what our status or faults, we can all come to know our true Prince (our Saviour). 

However, I liked her light-hearted approach to the book based on the real life British Royal Wedding from last year. Of course she chose a made-up country with made-up royalty for her book, but that’s fine because it’s all an image anyway. And it made it fun! Not every book I read has to be weighed down heavily by historical detail or educational material.

I enjoyed reading Rachel’s Once Upon a Prince mostly because I love to sometimes de-stress from life by reading modern takes on old tales, usually those that are clean and inspiring. It makes me think of the world in a better light and fosters hope. She always gives a message in her books about finding your true self and how you can lean on God to do so.

Beyond that, I admit, for the pure fluff of it all, I enjoy a good tale about a forlorn woman and a handsome, lovely hearted Prince coming to heal her heart. Her book will be a hit because we all love a Cinderella story.

I look forward to more fun reads from this series, as well as Rachel Hauck. I love her ideas!

Once Upon A Prince, Synopsis~

Once Upon a PrinceThe Royal Wedding Series Book One

Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess—just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.

Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s a ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.

It’s the ultimate choice. His kingdom or her heart? God’s will or their own?

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/kFb0Y

Watch the Trailer:

Once Upon a Prince, Book Trailer - Rachel Hauck
Once Upon a Prince, Book Trailer – Rachel Hauck

 Rachel Hauck, Biography~

Rachel HauckRachel Hauck is the bestselling author of Carol Award winner “Sweet Caroline”, and RITA Finalist “Love Starts With Elle”, and of the critically acclaimed fiction collaboration with multi-platinum country artist Sara Evans, “The Songbird Novels.”

She lives in sunny, though sometimes hurricane plagued, central Florida with her husband and their ornery pets. Rachel earned a degree in Journalism from Ohio State University and is a huge Buckeyes football fan. She is the past President of American Christian Fiction Writers and now sits on the board as an Advisor.

 Find out more about Rachel at: http://RachelHauck.com

See more stops on Rachel’s tour here: http://litfusegroup.com/author/rhauck

Rachel Hauck is celebrating the release of Once Upon a Prince with a fun “Royal Wedding” Giveaway and connecting with readers at her May 28th Facebook Party.

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One “royal” winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 27th. Winner will be announced at the “Once Upon a Prince” Facebook Author Chat Party on May 28th. Connect with Rachel for an evening of book chat, wedding trivia, laughter, and more! Rachel will also be sharing a sneak peek at the next book in the series and giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.

 
So grab your copy of Once Upon a Prince and join Rachel on the evening of May 28th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 28th!

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Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer is Christian Historical Fiction Set During American Life in WWII

Sweet SanctuaryI might be one of the few Christian historical romance readers left on the planet who hasn’t read a book by Kim Vogel Sawyer. I just like to think I was waiting for the right book that fit in my own little neat pile of likes (book shelf), but whatever the reason and however long it took me, I’m pleased to have read Sweet Sanctuary for all my readers who enjoy faith-based historical drama and romance.

Of course, anyone reading this novel will feel their heart warm for the four-year-old little boy, Nicky. His dad is a drug addict and wants to assert his parental rights just to use the child (for control and money, primarily) and his mother, co-protagonist Lydia, will do anything to save this boy.

The era is WWII and families are being torn apart every day for other reasons and life is difficult. People are rationing good, money is scarce, fear runs rampant, and people are running and hiding every which way across the globe. When Lydia reunites with physician Micah Hatcher, she feels blessed. But he has a secret too….as though he serves many of the immigrant population in Queens, NY, he also provides a hidden service that could cost him his life.

Lydia, Micah, Nicky, and even Nic, are all joined together in a novel that takes on all the horrible conditions for people struggling due to WWII economy, the class struggle between poor immigrants and the elite (and how the war effected that even more), the internal issues and sacrifices in families, forgiveness, redemption, and love. The novel is jam-packed full of emotions that leave a reader feeling connected, as well as turning pages.

I love books that have to do with the social difficulties of stemming from war and leadership, especially how the war changed the lives of people abroad, immigrants and life in America. That is what first drew me to read the book. I love historical fiction that takes on these issues and showcases well-developed, believable characters that work to incite change or overcome boundaries. Sweet Sanctuary does all that, plus gives us a lovely story about family, faith, and love.

I believe all readers who enjoy Christian historical fiction will love this book for its historical and social perspectives as well as its message of forgiveness and redemption. God works in mysterious ways sometimes, and in even the worst of situations, and this book completely showcases that idea in an inspiring way.

Sweet Sanctuary: A Story of Hope and Love Set Against the Backdrop of World War II, Synopsis~

Sweet SanctuaryTitle: SWEET SANCTUARY
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Bethany House
April 2013
ISBN: 978-0764207891
Genre: Historical

Lydia Eldredge longs to provide sanctuary for her young son, Nicky. But a constant threat comes from Nicky’s drug-addicted father, who wants the boy and seems willing to do whatever it takes to get him.

Dr. Micah Hatcher faithfully serves the immigrant population of Queens, New York. But under cover of darkness, he has a secret mission that challenges everything he thought he wanted out of life.

When Lydia and Micah’s paths cross, they are suddenly wrapped up in each other’s callings. Together, they seek a refuge of safety-for Nicky, for themselves, and for the needy people God puts into their lives. Amid turmoil and discord, can hope and love prevail?

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/jRdKJ

 Author Kim Vogel Sawyer Biography~
 
KimShe is the author of twenty-one novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women’s fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and nine grandchildren.Find out more about Kim at http://www.kimvogelsawyer.com/.
 
See all the stops on her tour with LitFuse at:
 
** I was given a copy of this book in order to review with my own fair and honest opinion for my readers.**
 
“Sweet Sanctuary” Cupcake Club Giveaway and Facebook Party!

To celebrate the release of Sweet Sanctuary Kim Vogel Sawyer is giving away a Cupcake Club membership (monthly cupcake delivery!) from the amazing Magnolia Bakery in New York and hosting a Facebook Author Chat party on April 30, 2013.

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One “sweet” winner will receive:

    • Cupcakes from NYC’s Magnolia Bakery delivered to your door every month. (Eat them all yourself or share!)
    • Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer for you and four of your friends. (Start a book group — cupcakes and a “sweet” read!)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 29th. Winner will be announced at the “Sweet Sanctuary” Author Chat Party on 4/30. Connect with Kim, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and chat with readers just like yourself. There will also be fun giveaways – gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of Sweet Sanctuary and join Kim on the evening of April 30th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 30th!

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A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund: Christian Historical Novel Full of Imagery and Fairy-tale Romance

 Noble Groom CoverA Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund, was a delightful change in reading for me. Though still historical, the novel is historical Christian romance which was strong both on faith and inspiration as well as beautifully written. In deep historically researched nature, the novel takes on the story of the German immigrants who came to Michigan in the late 19th Century in order to form a new life. 

 Not only does Bethany House Publishers have amazing covers, they generally have some great historical authors. I can see why Hedlund is a fan favorite and many women migrate towards her books. Hedlund’s use of imagery, her historical detail of the German immigrants of the late 1880s, and her well-developed and strong characters will make this book a best-seller. 

Written a little more for the mainstream crowd, which is great to attract additional readers, the subject of relying on faith in God to overcome circumstances is still a staple. However, religion and family values were an integral part in the life of German immigrants settling on farms and the vast open land in areas such as Michigan at that time. We know it’s Christian fiction we’re reading, but in reality it would have been a major part of the story anyway based on the time period and Hedlund is not evangelical in her writing.

Through her characters, she truly showed the grit, determination, persistence, and devotion of the German settlers, especially the women, who were not treated very fairly.  They had a hard life and Hedlund explains this in detail, as well relating to us how they overcame it.

When a fugitive nobleman from the Old World, Carl, first comes to Annalisa’s territory, she can’t believe that he is treating her kindly and politely. I loved how Hedlund showcased the differences, both positive and negative, between the nobility and of the farming peasants.  She told us why the peasants or commoners immigrated to America and how living in America has changed their lives, choices, and freedoms. Ultimately, she shows how each can teach each other something about life.

The gentle love story that unfolds between Carl and Annalisa, even with their different backgrounds, was memorable and touching.  I loved watching Annalisa blossom from the positive reinforcement of true love.

I highly recommend A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund due to her strong and eloquent imagery, her accurate and historical detail, the social aptitude and inspiration brought by her characters, and her weaving of a classic fairy-tale romance.

A Noble Groom, Synopsis~

Noble Groom CoverMichigan, 1880:
 
Annalisa Werner’s hope for a fairy tale love is over. Her husband failed her in every way and now his death has left her with few options to save the family farm. She needs a plentiful harvest. That, and a husband to help bring it in. Someone strong, dependable. That’ll be enough. A marriage for love…that’s something she’s given up on.So her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.
Then a man appears: Carl Richards, from their home country of Germany and a former schoolteacher—or so he says. He’s looking for work and will serve on the farm until her husband arrives.With time running out, she accepts his help, but there’s more to this man than he’s admitting. He’s also gentle, kind, charming—unlike any man she’s ever known. But even as Carl is shining light into the darkness of her heart, she knows her true groom may arrive any day.
 
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/jX8h7

 Jody Hedlund, Biography~
 
Jody HedlundJody Hedlund is the bestselling author of “The Doctor’s Lady” and “The Preacher’s Bride”. She won the 2011 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers and was a finalist for Best Debut Novel in the 2011 ACFW Carol Awards. Currently she makes her home in central Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog.
 
Find out more about Jody at http://jodyhedlund.com/.
 
 
Facebook Author Chat Party~with LitFuse Publicity
 
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Join Jody on 5/8/2013 at 5:00 PM PDT (6 MDT, 7 CDT, 8 EDT) for an evening of book chat and news, trivia, and prizes! 
 
The “A Noble Groom” campaign/tour will also have a Kindle Fire giveaway. The lucky winner will be announced at the Author Chat Party.
 
She’ll also connect with readers, host a trivia contest, and give away a ton of great stuff! (Gift certificates, books and more!)  Don’t miss the fun and BRING YOUR FRIENDS. Have a question for Jody? Or about the book (or the handsome man on the cover)? Leave it on the Facebook event page and she’ll answer it the night of the party.
 
*I was provided a copy of this book upon signing up for Jody Hedlund’s book tour. My opinions are my own.*

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Isle of Shadows, by Tracy L. Higley, Showcases Historical Intrigue in Ancient Rhodes

_240_360_Book_728_coverIf you love historical Christian fiction, then Isle of Shadows, by Tracy L. Higley, is another book to definitely add to your collection and read over a couple of chilly nights, sitting by the fire or enjoying a cup of tea. I know that I am busy adding all Higley’s books to my shelves and I was very excited to read Isle of Shadows, her newest release after Garden of Madness that I also read this year (and loved).

Actually released previously in 2008 as Shadow of Colossus, Higley edited and revised the version for new release due to her increasing knowledge of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World she gained through travels and research.  As she decided to  continue the series about the ancient wonders (this first and current book surrounds the statue of Colossus) and felt she had come a long way in perfecting her writing craft, she felt she could make the book even better.

I hadn’t read the book in its former version as the first in her series, but I loved this version of Isle of Shadows for its easy and light prose, the mystery component, the growing romance, and the setting–which was the decadent Rhodes, circa the 227 BC, during a time that the Jewish people were fighting for their rights, lands, and their very existence as humans, rather than slaves. The Greeks ruled by democracy and the in-fighting for political gain was prominent.

Tessa, the main character, is a hetaera (an educated and beautiful professional female companion) to Glaucus, one of the ten army leaders who direct politics on Rhodes.  The life of being a courtesan is not for Tessa, even though she is widely admired for her beauty and prestige. She longs to be truly free from this life which she considers slavery.  Just as she begins to devise a plan to flee, her master has an accident. A cover-up ensues with help of members of the household staff, family, and a stranger named Nikos who shows up mysteriously saying he’d like a position in the staff. 

Nikos becomes Tessa’s partner in crime as they fend of the other leaders who are vying for position and leveraging the Jewish issue on Rhodes (the Greeks don’t want them integrated). But who is Nikos really? He seems more than a common servant. Tessa battles twists and turns, action, and adventure during the novel, but also grows tremendously as a woman. Can her once cemented soul really open to love again? Can she be loved by the One True God like these caring Jews present? Her independent nature serves her well, but will some of her walls be broken down to let others in to her heart?

I enjoy Higley’s books for their historical component as well as for their character development. She really knows how to write strong female lead characters who are torn by their past, making them angry and resentful, and placing other characters in their path that offer testimony to allow their barriers to be broken and their hearts to be mended. 

Higley’s books, and this series, really intrigue me for their historical and archeological references and time periods. However, the novels end up tugging at my heart-strings and showing me how God’s grace works too. I love how her strong, independent women fall slowly in love with tender-hearted, yet honorable men, who always know how to treat them right.

About the book, Isle of Shadows~

Revised and updated from the original, Christy-award finalist Shadow of Colossus.

Enslaved in a World of Money and Power, Tessa Dares to be Free.

Raised as courtesan to wealthy and powerful men, Tessa of Delos serves at the whim of her current patron, the politician Glaucus. After ten years with him, Tessa has abandoned all desire for freedom or love, choosing instead to lock her heart away.

But when Glaucus meets a violent death in his own home, Tessa grasps at a fragile hope. Only she knows of his death. If she can keep it a secret long enough, she can escape.

Tessa throws herself on the mercy of the Greek god Helios, but finds instead unlikely allies in Nikos, a Greek slave, and Simeon, Glaucus’s Jewish head servant. As Simeon introduces her to a God unlike any she has ever known and Nikos begins to stir feelings she had thought long dead, Tessa fights to keep her heart protected.

As an assassination plot comes to light, Tessa must battle for her own freedom—and for those to whom she has begun to open her heart—as forces collide that shatter the island’s peace.

About the Author, Tracy L. Higley~

timthumbFrom her earliest childhood, there was nothing Tracy loved better than stepping into another world between the pages of a book. From dragons and knights, to the wonders of Narnia, that passion has never abated, and to Tracy, opening any novel is like stepping again through the wardrobe, into the thrilling unknown. With every book she writes, she wants to open a door like that, and invite readers to be transported with her into a place that captivates.

Tracy started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. After attending Philadelphia Biblical University, she earned a B.A. in English Literature at Rowan University. She then spent ten years writing drama presentations for church ministry.

A lifelong interest in history and mythology has led Tracy to extensive research into ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome, and shaped her desire to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past.

She has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Italy to research her novels, and looks forward to more travel as her writing continues. On Tracy’s website, www.tracyhigley.com, you can follow along with her on her travels and adventures.

Tracy is thrilled to bring readers adventures set in the ancient past, and it’s her hope that in escaping with her, readers will feel they’ve walked through these deserts, explored ruins, felt the white sand and blue sea under their feet, and met with the Redeeming God who is sovereign over the entire drama of human history.

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I was given a copy of Isle of Shadows by Thomas Nelson publishers in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Hilarious Contemporary Christian Romance Delivers to My Female Funny Bone!

I loved the light-hearted, contemporary, fun new novel by Kristin Billerbeck, called The Scent of Rain. It was an amusing, yet often touching, look at the life of a young woman gone awry. I suppose that sounds like an issue many books are centered around; however, I felt this book very original and Billerbeck’s writing style humorous and emotive.  Alright, quite honestly, she was more than amusing and humorous….she was completely hysterical!!  If you like authors like Rachel Hauck or Jenny Jones, you’ll love Billerbeck.

The main character, Daphne Sweeten, had me falling in love with her quirky personality from the beginning. The mishaps happening to her were presented in a light-hearted way that made me laugh out loud quite a few times.  When Daphne is left at the altar after leaving her top-notch job in Paris as a perfumist (she creates perfume using her educated sense of smell), she has to start a new job in Dayton, Ohio (of course I loved this, I’m from Ohio) at a factory that makes household cleaning goods for middle-class americans. She is their “nose” and they hope she will help them increase profits. But the drama surrounding her ex-finance, her nose itself, her new job, and a growing attraction to her new boss could prove fatal if she doesn’t get a grip on life before it spirals out of control. 

I could picture and relate to Daphne on many levels, yet I admired her ability to “keep moving” even when things were going so terribly wrong for her. I also really liked Jesse, Daphne’s newest boss and friend. I love male characters who have compassion, decent decision-making, family ideals and basically, a heart. If all men could be like Jesse, the world would be a much better place!

I loved how creative the author was in giving her character a new type of career that isn’t often used in an newer setting (how often are things set in Dayton).  It made the book unique and original and her sense of humor really came through at just the right times. The book was very well-written and so much fun. I will certainly want to read more from Billerbeck.

This christian fiction is clean (that means no sex, cussing or violence).  Though it can teach that God is in control and sometimes works in mysterious ways not always easily understood, it also isn’t preaching to the reader in any way (unless they are open to it and can use it as an example for their lives).  It is a good modern, slightly romantic book anyone could enjoy.

The Scent of Rain Synopsis~

When deprived of her most prized sense, Daphne discovers a life she never expected, right under her nose.

Daphne Sweeten has left Paris – and a career she loves – in order to marry a man she loves even more. But when he stands her up on their wedding day, Daphne’s left reeling. Trained as a professional “nose” or perfume creator, Daphne soon realizes that her sense of smell has somehow disappeared too.

In the days following she moves to Dayton, Ohio, to take on a job creating fragrances for household products. Without her sense of smell, she must rely on her chemistry skills, and hope her handsome new boss, Jesse Lightner, doesn’t notice before she can figure out how to get it back.

Despite her desire to return to Paris, she can’t deny the way Jesse makes her feel. But when Daphne approaches former contacts, she learns her missing ex-fiancé has somehow snagged her old job.

As Daphne and Jesse work on a signature scent for their new line, she feels God at work in her life as never before. And the promise of what is possible is as fresh as the scent of rain.

Kristin Billerbeck, Author Bio~
(in her own extremely funny sense-of-humor)

I grew up with a strong sense of justice. I simply knew the way things should be. And since I’m not smart enough to be a district attorney, I am a novelist. My childhood was slightly confusing. I blame my parents for this. Oh heck, I’m going to blame them for everything. I think I would have turned out normal if it weren’t for them.
 

Okay, probably not. I am a fourth-generation Californian, and an American mutt, but identify most strongly with my Italian heritage. My mother’s family, of strong Norwegian/German descent, tried to teach me how to do things right. How to cook, clean, sew, budget accordingly – all the things a proper young girl should know to be a contributing member of society. I, however, failed miserably. For my 40th birthday, my grandmother gave me a cookie gun, so it’s clear she hasn’t given up on me yet! That is eternal optimism!

My dad’s Italian family taught me about the good life. The indulgent life. How to eat, shop and be merry. My Nana had very tiny feet and a penchant for shoes (she worked at the Emporium, no doubt to fund her shoe addiction). My afternoons at her house had no lessons, other than how to walk in her high heels, drape myself in her mink stole and drip myself with rhinestones. Tastefully, of course. I picked up on this lifestyle much quicker.

I graduated San Jose State University with a degree in Journalism & Mass Communications (emphasis in Advertising), gave my life to Jesus during college and found my true love in a Christian Singles’ Group, which yes, I skewer in “What a Girl Wants”. He is German. Practical. And a Contributing Member of Society. I am still Italian, fluffy and an aficionado of fine shoes & handbags.

Together, we have four children and now it’s our turn to confuse them. The circle of life. Dysfunctional family style.

You can find out more about all of Kristin Billerbeck’s novels (plenty I didn’t even know about I’ll be looking at) at www.kristinbillerbeck.com and she can be found on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information.

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I was given this book by Thomas Nelson publishers in return for an honest review. I am required to let you know.

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Terri Blackstock’s Downfall is a Touching Story of Redemption with a Crime Drama Twist

Who wants Emily dead?  How does an old Alfred Hitchcock movie figure in as a clue? 

Newly released for March 2012 is Downfall, by Terri Blackstock, which is the final installment in her Intervention series . However, it also reads as a stand-alone novel. In fact, I had not read the first two books myself and was not the least bit lost while reading Downfall. In this series, Blackstock takes on the tough topic of drug addiction, one that hits really close in her own family life.

Downfall character Emily Covington has turned her life around after being rehabilitated for a drug addiction. However, her family still watches her every move and misjudges her actions as they try to make sure she isn’t slipping back into using drugs again. She is enrolled in college and staying sober. When a car bomb almost explodes her car one morning, everyone immediately wonders if it is drug related. Her mother’s police officer boyfriend promises he will monitor the case, but as he is distracted by another murder, Emily decides to take on some of the case herself, which puts her life in danger as the cases may be related. She wants to know who wants to kill her and if someone else is also in danger!

Blackstock’s opening pace is right on target, giving separate small glimpses between a mystery criminal called The Avenger, a seemingly unrelated murder (until she finds out it is someone she knows!), and Emily’s life while it is again at the point of unraveling. As a reader, I wanted to know the tie-in between all the scenarios and that kept me reading to the end.

Though Downfall is a novel of suspense, I think once you get halfway through the book, the suspense becomes a lighter focus and the book concentrates more on Emily’s redemption within herself, her life, and her family. It is very touching and though I don’t have experience with substance abuse, I think anyone who has had it grip their lives will relate to this book.

However, in general, it is also a poignant read and gives other readers insight into addiction, recovery, redemption, and God’s grace.  Putting the addiction theme to the side for the moment, it is a page turning mystery for suspense readers looking for a novel for a single evening or weekend read. Both reasons will keep you reading it through to the finish.

To read more about Downfall, as well as the first two novels of the Intervention series, click on this link to Terri’s website:  http://www.terriblackstock.com/books/adult-fiction-books/the-intervention-series/.

You can also find more about Terri and her work at www.terriblackstock.com.

Author biography, Terri Blackstock

Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

Her most recent book, Vicious Cycle, debuted on the New York Times best-seller list, as did Intervention, the first book in the Intervention Series. Intervention was also a 2010 Carol Award Winner. The series deals with the subject of drug abuse and its impact on families. Other reader favorites include her books Predator and Double Minds, as well as the Restoration Series, the Newpointe 911 Series, the Cape Refuge Series, and the SunCoast Chronicles series. In September, Shadow in Serenity will release. Her next Intervention Novel, Downfall, will release in February 2012.

In 1994 Terri was writing romance novels under two pseudonyms for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dell and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening prompted her to switch gears. At the time, she was reading more suspense than romance, and felt drawn to write thrillers about ordinary people in grave danger. Her newly awakened faith wove its way into the tapestry of her suspense novels, offering hope instead of despair. Her goal is to entertain with page-turning plots, while challenging her readers to think and grow. She hopes to remind them that they’re not alone, and that their trials have a purpose.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.

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Have a Funny Bone? Read Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos

Everything I read about Author Matt Mikalatos sent giggles from my head to my funny bone. Couple that with his Christian-themed writing, and my love of the trending paranormal craze, I decided to try out his new book titled Night of the Living Dead Christian, which the book cover described as “one man’s ferociously funny quest to discover what it means to be truly transformed.”

Mikalatos certainly DIDN’T disappoint me in either comedic reading nor deep thinking. It’s so good, it will make you think without you even realizing your thinking. Intertwining  his hilarious sense of humor into this fictional story about zombies, vampires, a crazy scientist, werewolves, a hunter, a priest, and their neighbor…somehow they find their way to being relevant to Jesus, unconditional love, and transformation in the most amazing way. You’ll not look at your life the same way again. You may even realize that you are one of these monsters, but don’t be alarmed because the author, and the book, will give you the means to realizing how you can be made perfect in God’s eyes and actually become the human you were always meant to be.

This book by Mikalatos had me laughing hysterically and crying in the end tears of joy from knowing God’s love and desire for my heart. I hope this book will make you laugh, but I hope it also touches your heart as it did mine.

Thanks to Tyndale publishers, I’m GIVING AWAY A FREE COPY!!!!

Finish reading about the book below, if you aren’t sure yet what it’s all about, then leave in the comment section of my blog whether you vote for 1) Zombie or 2) LOVE. You can also leave this on my facebook page (www.facebook.com/almehairierin) under any post about this blog or @ me on Twitter at @ErinAlMehairi.

Winner will be drawn by random by Dec. 22 and will be mailed a certificate for a FREE copy of the book (redeemed by taking to any local Christian bookstore, or mail certificate to address on certificate–if that is still too much work, I’ll mail it for you!)!!

The book’s jacket blurb:

In his follow-up to the critically acclaimed Imaginary Jesus, Matt Mikalatos tackles this question in an entertaining and thought-provoking way: with monsters! As Christians, we claim to experience Christ’s resurrection power, but we sometimes act like werewolves who can’t control our base desires. Or zombies—90 percent shambling death and 10 percent life. Or vampires, satiating ourselves at the expense of others. Yet through it all, we are longing to become fully human, the way Christ intended . . . we just can’t seem to figure out how.

Night of the Living Dead Christian is the story of Luther, a werewolf on the run, whose inner beast has driven him dangerously close to losing everything that matters.  Desperate to conquer his dark side, Luther joins forces with Matt to find someone who can help. Yet, their time is running out.  A powerful and mysterious man is on their trail, determined to kill the wolf at all costs….

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, this spiritual allegory boldly explores the monstrous underpinnings of our nature and our quest for Christlikeness.

Watch the Video!!
Link will take you to Tyndale.com website: http://www.tyndale.com/video/296

Read the FIRST CHAPTER and see for yourself by clicking on link below:
http://files.tyndale.com/thpdata/FirstChapters/978-1-4143-3880-4.pdf

Bio of Matt Mikalatos

Matt Mikalatos received his BA in writing from the University of California Riverside. Like many future world leaders, he began his career as a clerk at a comic book store. Having discovered that such work caused women to shun him, Matt took control of a high school classroom and taught American literature and drama (although he was best known for his riotous “study halls”). Then Matt, in an unexpected move, joined Campus Crusade for Christ. In a moment of weakness, his best friend, Krista, agreed to marry him. He and Krista were briefly expatriated by Crusade to East Asia, where they ministered for three years. Now back in the States, Matt provides leadership to the international ministries of Crusade’s northwest region. Matt has published articles in Discipleship Journal, The Wittenburg Door, Relief, and Coach’s Midnight Diner. Matt and his wife live near Portland, Oregon. They have three beautiful daughters.

For more information, or to order,  go online to: http://mattmikalatos.com and/or www.tyndale.com or http://www.tyndale.com/Night-of-the-Living-Dead-Christian/9781414338804.

Don’t forget about the giveaway, details above!!! 🙂

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New Crime Novel with Paranormal Twist: Lis Wiehl and Pete Nelson

It seems everyone has always loved a good crime and/or mystery novel, right? The current reading trend has paranormal romance and supernatural horror also flying off the shelves. This new novel I’m reviewing, Waking Hours:  An East Salem Novel by Lis Wiehl with Pete Nelson, couples both genres together into a fiction novel of suspense that will leave you hanging at the very end and wanting more.

Former NFL player Tommy Gunderson, turned Private Investigator-in-Training, and Dani Harris, psychologist working for the District Attorney’s office, take on a shocking murder case of a teenage girl. With the murder stemming from a local high school party, it seems odd that none of the other party attendees seem to be able to remember what happened that night.

Tommy and Dani were once Homecoming King and Queen, but things were left unspoken and they haven’t seen each other since. When they meet again on this case, both are unsure of each other’s feelings.  As this case draws them closer, they both discover supernatural elements occurring all around them. For instance, why does Dani awake every night at 2:13 a.m.? Why are her dreams so apocalyptic? And why does Tommy feel like he is being watched at certain times? What incomprehensible forces are at work in this town?

The novel does a great job intertwining crime with a mystic story line. The paranormal element will leave you spooked and wanting to know more. It was an easy read, yet I found myself not really getting interested until about Chapter 19, almost halfway through the book. At that point the crime, and the paranormal elements, got much more interesting. Though the author took time to introduce the characters, I felt it wasn’t fast paced enough for me, or maybe in relation to other books I’ve read recently. However, many people might love the book the way it is and I try to realize that sometimes authors take it slow to build up suspense. The later half of the book was pretty decent and a quick read. The ending saved the book for me, as I finally started to get spooked, began to wonder about the supernatural occurences, and saw the proverbial fight against good and evil come in to play.  The theme of the heavenly versus the demonic always interests me and it’s why I love some of these Christian books that Thomas Nelson publishes. I am extremely intrigued now to read the second novel, as this book totally left a huge cliffhanger regarding the events happening in the town of East Salem.  I’ll want to read the second novel due to this. It would be an easy entertaining read for you to settle in with and might spook you a little if you aren’t used to reading horror or paranormal already.

I am not a huge fan of Fox News, who Lis Wiehl works for, and do not endorse her or the show or their statements, but the book was purely an entertaining read and she seems to have been able to use some of her former prosecutor skills to pen the crime scenes. Wiehl has another crime fiction series published with another supporting author as well, but I haven’t read any of those to compare this too.

Here is the Book Jacket Synopsis of Waking Hours: An East Salem Novel~

All towns have secrets. Some have demons.  Welcome to East Salem. A deceptively sleepy town where ancient supernatural forces are being awakened.  A local high-school girl is found murdered in a park amid horse farms and wealthy homes of northern Westchester County, New York. The shocking manner of her death confounds the town and intrigues forensic psychiatrist Dani Harris, who is determined to unravel the mystery. All the suspects are teenagers who were at a party with the girl–yet none remembers what happened. Could one of them be a vicious killer? Or is something more sinister afoot–something tied to an ancient evil?

But it’s not just her waking hours that challenge Dani. Each night, her eyes open at 2:13 due to troubling dreams. Dreams filled with blood, water, and destruction. Is it a clue–or a supernatural sign?

Across town, former NFL linebacker Tommy Gunderson finds his state-of-the-art security system has been breached by an elderly woman. Mumbling threats in Latin, she attacks him with an uncanny, preternatural strength. Before he has time to process the attack, someone close to him is implicated in the girl’s murder at the park. He agrees to help–and finds himself working with Dani, the only girl who could resist his charms years ago when they were in high school.

A heavy darkness is spreading. Yet a heavenly force is also at workIt will take astute analysis and forensic skills to solve the crime. But Dani and Tommy suspect there’s more the mystery than murder, more to their growing friendship than chance… and more to the evil they’re facing than a mere human killer.

Waking Hours is available as of Oct. 3, 2011.

You can learn more about Lis Wiehl at www.liswiehlbooks.com.  Pete Nelson is an established and acclaimed author. He lives with his wife and son in Westchester, New York.

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I was sent this book from Thomas Nelson publishers as part of their BookSneeze Book for Bloggers program. The statements are totally my own opinions and they only asked that I give an honest review in return for the book.

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There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones is Superb Fiction for Christian Teens

Reading the new There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones was so moving and inspirational.  It’s funny, romantic, heart-wrenching, emotional and so real that you’ll want to read it in one sitting.  I’ve got to recommend it to any young woman who is struggling through her teenage years or has experienced loss in their life.  Beyond that even, it honestly has a story for any young woman trying to find her place in the world and struggling to hear or understand God and His path in their lives.

Finley Sinclair is eighteen and dealing with the loss of her beloved brother, Will.  Being as driven and motivated as she is, she decides to take Will’s travel journal and voyage to where he stayed in Ireland as an exchange student.  She has an audition she feels needs to be perfect at a music conservatory and she feels that in Ireland, within the travels of her brother, lies the ending to her song. On the plane to Ireland she meets Beckett Rush, teen actor who elicits screaming girl crowds wherever he goes due to his famous Vampire movies. She doesn’t fall for his charm or his celebrity status, but eventually she agrees to be his assistant in exchange for the Ireland native being her tour guide.

As she deals with the loss of her brother, her growing romantic feelings, a class assignment that leaves her frustrated, and her inability to cope through her own stubborn mask she uses to convince everyone she is coping leads her to a slow-growing, yet dangerous, issue.  The pages flow with her emotions and her extreme wit and strength. Will she find the ending to her song? Will she find her path and hear God after all?

Though it’s a young adult fiction, any woman can relate to this book.  I did. People of all ages can have a hard time finding their path and sometimes dealing with vices used to cope with pain. It teaches how victorious we can be through God and find our center in Him.

I loved getting a chance to read this novel and explore my own emotions as I read it. It was such an inspirational novel and Jones has the perfect recipe for creating a sweet, tender-hearted and refreshing novel that was able to deal with several major and sometimes unhappy topics that teens face in a positive and healing environment.

About Jenny B. Jones

Jenny B. Jones is a high-school teacher in Arkansas and has many other novels under her belt as a Christian fiction author.  Her novels include the Katie Parker Production series, A Charmed Life series, and my first contemporary romance, Just Between You and Me.

To learn more about Jones and her books, go to www.jennybjones.com. You’ll find witty humor, strong writing, and information on all her outstanding young adult (YA) literature.

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I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker is an Engaging Thriller that will Keep You Turning Pages Late Into the Night

Tim Busbey, my much more entertainment savvy fiance, also has a blog on which he writes book reviews (among other writings) and we’ve decided to exchange our reviews on each other’s blogs in hopes that will be helpful to our readers! He is a writer himself, penning a novel in the thriller genre and you can read some of this first chapters also on his blog.  He most recently read Ted Dekker’s latest book “The Priest’s Graveyard” and his guest blog/review is below. If you wish to read his blog further, it is www.timbusbey.wordpress.com.

The Priest’s Graveyard is an Engaging Thriller that will Keep You Turning Pages Late Into the Night
by Tim Busbey, www.timbusbey.wordpress.com

“The Priest’s Graveyard”
By Ted Dekker
Center Street
In Stores Now

If there’s one thing Ted Dekker knows, it’s evil. Not just over-the-top, stereotypical, cartoonish, made-for-movies evil like a lot of writers create. Dekker knows how to get inside the minds of real people and explore that dark place that most of us are afraid to admit even exists. Almost makes you wonder what is going on in Dekker’s brain. Should we be afraid of him? Just kidding, Mr. Dekker. But seriously, he certainly has a gift for mining the depths of despair and depravity that lurk deep in the human soul. In “The Priest’s Graveyard,” Dekker again shows us how seemingly normal people can behave in unimaginable ways when put in the wrong situation.

This time around, the two “normal” people are Renee Gilmore and Danny Hansen. Renee is a recovering heroin addict from a broken home rescued by a knight in shining armor. After nursing her back to health, Renee and her knight fall in love. When he fails to return home from work one day, Renee knows something awful has happened and she becomes intent on gaining vengeance on the man responsible for her husband’s death. Danny is a Bosnian immigrant who saw the brutal murder of his mother and sister during the country’s tragic civil war. Years later, Danny emigrated to America hoping to escape the demons of his past. Now a priest, Danny doles out vengeance on evil men who have so far escaped justice at the hands of our system of justice.

When their paths cross, Danny is pulled into Renee’s quest for justice. At first, Danny attempts to dissuade Renee from continuing on this path, attempting to keep her from becoming like him. Eventually, Danny begins training Renee in his ways of vigilante justice and she proves to be a more than able student. Together, the pair travel down a dangerous, twisting path that leads them both to the edge, and takes them across lines they never thought they’d cross.

Dekker takes the reader on a journey with Renee and Danny, a journey where the characters and the reader alike come to see that love is the answer – not laws or rules or vengeance. Again, as he has become expert at doing, Dekker weaves a brilliant allegory about the true Christian life, a life built on accepting the sacrificial love of Jesus, not following a system of rules and regulations. But he does it in such a way that, for a casual reader, they can simply enjoy the story as a heart-stopping, riveting thriller.

“The Priest’s Graveyard” is an engaging thriller that will keep you turning the pages late into the night. It’s the perfect story for any Dekker fan and any fans of high-adrenaline thrillers.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give “The Priest’s Graveyard” a 4.5.

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