Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lip Reading


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Lip Reading
David C. Cook (March 1, 2014)
by
Harry Kraus


MY THOUGHTS:
Harry Kraus is the master of medical mysteries/adventure! This new book, Lip Reading, is a combination of medical expertise, intrigue, and suspense. He has set this one inside the pharmaceutical industry and has covered both the excitement of life saving research and the downside of drug trials and unexpected results.

I received this book in the mail in the afternoon, picked it up after supper, and absolutely didn't put it down until I finished it 3 1/2 hours later! I wonder if that is frustrating to an author for readers to devour a book so quickly after it took months to write and edit? But I know it's all that effort that makes the book so intriguing.

I will always rush to get one of Harry's new books!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from Harry:

I started writing my first novel during my last year of surgery training at UK. I was a chief resident, and started writing Stainless Steal Hearts in a call room at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Lexington. It was a crazy time to write! I had a very demanding schedule, often spending days and nights in the hospital. I had two sons at that time, and I recognized the wisdom in my wife's urging: "Now doesn't seem the right time for this dream."

My experience as a writer is far from typical. Having received my formal training in biology and chemistry and medicine, my only preparation for a writing career was a love for reading. The longest thing I'd written before my first novel was a term paper in undergraduate school. My first novel was accepted by Crossway Books and published in 1994, and it wasn't until after I had FOUR published novels that I even opened a book of instruction about the craft of writing fiction. This is not what I recommend to others! Yes, I was successful, but I was bending the "rules" without knowing it. I had a natural talent for plotting, but I realize my initial success may have stunted my growth as a writer. I'd have made faster progress if I'd have gone to the fiction teachers sooner.

I have three sons: Joel, Evan, and Samuel. Look closely in all of my books and you'll see them there. My lovely wife, Kris, provides the basic composition for all those beautiful, athletic, dedicated women in my novels.

ABOUT THE BOOK

She Could Save Millions, or Save Herself

She just needs a little longer. She’s really close. Dr. Rebecca Jackson, a medical researcher, stands on the verge of a breakthrough that will transform medicine. But she soon discovers the reason behind the miraculous progress in her research, and it leaves her with a nearly impossible choice . . . and little time to decide. More than her research is at stake. And more threatens it than this latest revelation. Something she’s tried hard to cover up. There is a high cost to some things in medicine and it’s not always the patient who pays. Can Rebecca find the faith and wisdom she needs to make the right call? The clock is ticking and the pressure is on.


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

Monday, April 07, 2014

What Follows After

What Follows After
by
Dan Walsh




MY THOUGHTS:
Dan Walsh is a magnificent storyteller. This latest book, What Follows After, is a poignant story of one family's life in Florida during the week of the Bay of Pigs crisis in 1962. Although that incident serves as the backdrop to the story, it isn't the main point of the plot. And I don't want to give that away!

Many of us looking back see the early 1960's as an idyllic time in history. Most families were married with 2.5 kids, living in suburbia. The economy was relatively stable, we weren't at war, and we like to think everyone lived like Leave It To Beaver. It simply is not true.

This story emanates from the pain of lies and the search for whatever 'normal' life should be. It is gut wrenching at times, and both tragic and heartwarming at others.

I had to know what happened at the end of this story, and the book kept me entranced all the way through the Author's Note! I'd highly recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Unfinished Gift, The Discover, and The Reunion, as well as The Dance and The Promise with Gary Smalley. He has won three Carol awards and three of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year (20101 - 2013), Dan lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel. Visit www.danwalshbooks.com for more.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
IN 1962, life was simple, the world make sense, and all families were happy. And when they weren't, everyone knew you were supposed to pretend. 

For the past year, Scott and Gina Harrison have been living a lie. While they show up at family get-togethers in the same car, they've actually been separated for over a year. To keep up the charade, they've even instructed their sons, Colt and Timmy, to lie --to their grandparents, their teachers, and their friends.

Colt, for one, has had enough, so he hatches a plan. He and his little brother will run away from their Florida home, head for their aunt's house in Georgia, and refuse to come home until their parents get back together. But when things go terribly, terribly wrong, Scot and Gina must come to grips with years of neglect and mistrust in order to recover their beloved sons, their love for one another, and their marriage.

IN this emotional story, bestselling author Dan Walsh takes you on a journey to rediscover the things that matter most in life --love, truth, an family. With profound insight into the heart of a hurting child, he reminds us stat a time will come to look back on hard times and smile, because we'll know that what follows after . . . is not what we expected at all.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Learning to be Frugal

I've been thinking a lot lately about frugal living. Over the past few months I've read several interesting blogs about being self sufficient, eating healthy and inexpensive food, and making significant changes in life style in order to help others more.

As a result of this thinking and my continuing struggle to reduce clutter, I took on a challenge to reduce 30 things each day for Lent -- either giving away or throwing away 'stuff' we really didn't use or need. That has actually been going well, and hasn't been difficult at all. I probably ought to keep reducing until it becomes painful!

During this time I read this blog http://notquiteamishliving.com/2014/03/simple-lessons-from-mennonite-upbringing-shirley-hershey-showalter/ that talked about a popular book among the Mennonite community called Living More With Less by Doris Janzan Longacre. She has a very interesting explanation of frugality -- not necessarily living in a frugal manner because you have to, but because it's the right thing to do.

Not only can we cut our costs and donate the money to good causes, but she seems to indicate that it is almost sinful of us to live extravagantly, even if we can afford it, because there are so many around us who are unable to do so. She goes on to talk about the unseen costs of our extravagance -- the impact around the world because we use so many of the worlds resources and we, as a society, often support horrible labor policies in other countries. We take so many things for granted, and we ought to focus on what we need to live.

So, with all of these thoughts in my mind, I drove past a commuter parking lot in St. Charles. I drive past it probably 3 - 4 times per month, and frequently there is a man who lives there out of his car. He's been there for at least 3 years on and off. I've actually tried to deliver food and drinks to him once or twice, but those times he wasn't there.

I started thinking about how he lived and initially felt a bit sorry for him. But then I turned my thinking around a bit. What if someone CHOSE to live out of their car (not saying that he does). How much would one spend to live? What would I take with me if I all of a sudden had to start living out of my car? Does he use all the stuff he has with him, or does he, too, have more clutter than he needs? How much would one have to work to eat?

Now I know I would not like that lifestyle -- hot in the summer, cold in the winter, no regular place to shower or comfortable bed to sleep in. But how many people in the world live that way every day?

What could I learn from him, and others, about frugal living and what we REALLY need to live?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Maybelle In Stitches

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Maybelle In Stitches
Abingdon Press (March 18, 2014)
by
Joyce Magnin


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the Author:

I am the author of seven novels. Five adult novels and two middle grade readers. I never wanted to do anything else but write and every day I wake up astonished that I get to do what I always dreamed about. My days are filled with words and images along with the usual family stuff. I have three children, Rebekah who is married to Joshua. They have three of the most adorable boys on the planet, Lemuel, Cedar and Soren. My daughter Emily Kate is a lovely young woman anthropologist and my son Adam is fourteen and a student--he's a genius who loves frogs and lizards and fish and plants. He amazes me.

I have never eaten a scallop. I love cream soda. Drink way too much coffee. I do not like elevators but I do enjoy needle arts and of course books. I prefer jazz over country (no offense), milk chocolate over dark, but not roller coasters although my life has often resembled a roller coaster ride.

One of my life's desires is to meet Amy Grant so I can tell her she saved my life.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Maybelle can’t sew. But when she finds an unfinished quilt in the attic of her mother’s house, she gets the crazy idea to complete it. At first, it’s just a way to fill the lonely nights while her husband, staff sergeant Holden Kanzinzki, is away fighting in World War II.

Yet when Maybelle discovers that the quilt is made from scraps of material that can be traced back through her family heritage, the project is suddenly much more important. Then word comes that Holden is missing in action, and with little else to do, Maybelle clings to the quilt as much as to the hope that her husband is still alive. As neighborhood friends gather around Maybelle to help her through the unknown days and nights ahead, it is the quilt that becomes a symbol of her unflagging belief that Holden will return—to her, to their home, and to their quilt-covered bed.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Maybelle In Stitches, go HERE.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Tide and the Tempest

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Tide and Tempest
Bethany House Publishers (March 4, 2014)
by
Elizabeth Ludwig


MY THOUGHTS:

This is the third and final book in the Edge of Freedom series. I enjoyed the first book, No Safe Harbor, but somehow missed the publication of the second, and that had an impact on my ability to follow and enjoy this one. It is really necessary to read all three books in the series.

I found the political elements of the book quite confusing, most likely because I missed book two and it's been a while since I read the first. But despite that I found the story line compelling and the characters interesting. I would have liked the story to continue just a bit longer, although I don't see how another book in the series is forthcoming.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author whose work has been featured on Novel Rocket, the Christian Authors Network, and The Christian Pulse. Her first novel, Where the Truth Lies (co-authored with Janelle Mowery), earned her the 2008 IWA Writer of the Year Award. This book was followed in 2009 by "I'll be Home for Christmas", part of the Christmas anthology collection, Christmas Homecoming.

In 2011, her second mystery, Died in the Wool (co-authored with Janelle Mowery) was nominated for a Carol Award. In 2012, the popular EDGE OF FREEDOM series released from Bethany House Publishers. Books one and two, No Safe Harbor and Dark Road Home, respectively, earned 4 Stars from the RT Book Reviews. Book three, Tide and Tempest, received top honors with 4 1/2 Stars.

Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Two years ago, her fiance perished during their voyage to America.

Now she discovers it may have been murder...

Dreaming of a better life, Tillie McGrath leaves Ireland behind and, with her beloved fiance by her side, sets sail for America. But when illness robs her of the man she holds dear, she's left alone with only a handful of tattered memories. While forging on proves difficult, Tillie soon finds some new friends at her New York boardinghouse, and begins pursuing a new dream--to open a home for orphaned children.

Despite two years passing, Captain Keondric Morgan has never forgotten the lass who left his ship so heartbroken. When a crewman's deathbed confession reveals her fiance's demise was the result of murder, the captain knows he must try to contact her. But his attention draws the notice of others as well--dangerous men who believe Tillie has in her possession something that could expose their crimes. And to their way of thinking, the best way to prevent such an outcome is to seize the evidence and then hand Tillie the same fate as her naïve fiance.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Tide and Tempest, go HERE.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Poison Town

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Poison Town
David C. Cook (February 1, 2014)
by
Creston Mapes


MY THOUGHTS:
This is the second book in the Crittendon Files Series, and it is a fabulous follow up to Fear Has a Name. Again, Mapes had me sitting on the edge of my seat as I cheered for the 'good guys' to beat the corrupt corporation that was poisoning the town of Trenton City, Ohio.

It would be helpful to read Fear Has a Name before you read Poison Town, but there is probably enough back story that you can figure this one out without it.

Jack Crittendon gets thrown into  a tough story, which his boss for some reason doesn't want him to research. In the midst of this struggle, he is dealing with a personal issue where forgiveness is needed but almost impossible to grant.

I will always pick up a new Creston Mapes book! Highly recommended.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Creston has fond memories of his boyhood in Bath, Ohio, where he became enchanted with his future wife, way back in the fourth grade. His father, Bernie, owned and operated The Weathervane Furniture Shop in town. The whole family lived right upstairs in the century-old house known as "The Shop."

Creston studied journalism at Bowling Green State University, then began his writing career. During the past 30 years, he has worked as a reporter, corporate copywriter, creative director, freelance writer, and author.


ABOUT THE BOOK

There's More Than One Kind of Poison in This Town

People are sick and dying. Rumors are swirling. Some claim chemicals leaking from a manufacturing plant are causing the cancer that's crippling people on the poor side of Trenton City, Ohio. Yet nothing at the plant appears amiss.

The problem remains a mystery until reporter Jack Crittendon's long-time mechanic falls ill and he investigates. Soon Jack becomes engulfed in a smokescreen of lies, setups, greed, and scandal.

The deeper he digs, the more toxic the corruption he uncovers. As he faces off with the big-time players behind the scenes and tries to beat the clock before more people die, he realizes the chillingly unthinkable--he knows too much.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Poison Town, go HERE.

Friday, March 14, 2014

How Sweet The Sound

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
How Sweet the Sound
David C. Cook (March 1, 2014)
by
Amy K. Sorrells


MY THOUGHTS:
This is Amy Sorrells first book, and she is obviously a force to be reckoned with in the book world!

This book is a gift to anyone who has suffered sexual assault and struggles to heal. It is fiction, and it details the terrors of a family whose multi-generational secrets are tearing it apart. Sorrells writes in such a way that it wrenches your heart one moment and lets you cheer for progress and victory another. It is not an easy book to read, however her prose and ability to intimately understand the heart of a teenager caught in the midst of disaster are compelling. I cared so much about the primary characters, Anni and Comfort, that I became almost desperate to know how the story ended.

this book may be difficult for someone who has been through such abuse to read, however I'm convinced God will heal broken hearts through this story.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

An Indianapolis native and graduate of DePauw University, Amy lives with her husband, three boys and a gaggle of golden retrievers in central Indiana. After writing and editing for her college newspaper, she combined a nursing degree with journalism and creative writing, which led to publishing and editing a wide array of medical and nursing writing and multimedia projects over the past 21 years, a position as director of communications of her church’s children’s ministry, as well as a weekly column for a local newspaper which ran from 2009-2012. She has been a two-time semi-finalist for the ACFW Genesis awards, and was the winner of the 2011 Women of Faith writing contest.

When she’s not reading or writing, Amy loves spending time with her three sons; spicy lunches and art gallery walks with her husband; digging in her garden sans gloves; walking her dogs; up-cycling old furniture and junk; photography; and friends.



ABOUT THE BOOK

From a distance, the Harlans appear to be the perfect Southern family. Wealth and local fame mask the drama and dysfunction swirling through their family line. But as the summer heats up, a flood tide of long hidden secrets surface.

Devastation from a rape followed by the murder of two family members brings three generations of the Harlans together on their pecan plantation in Bay Spring, Alabama. Chief among them is Anniston, who by the time she turned thirteen thought she’d seen it all. But as her heart awakens to the possibility of love, she begins to deal with her loneliness and grief.

This tender coming-of-age tale, inspired by the story of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13, shows how true healing and hope comes only from God. Though our earthly family can wound and disappoint, our heavenly Father brings freedom to those long held captive through His mercy and grace.

If you would like to read the first chapter of How Sweet the Sound, go HERE.