Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Thin Ice

Thin Ice
by 
Irene Hannon



MY THOUGHTS
I really enjoy Irene Hannon's books. They are always action packed and full of intrigue, and Thin Ice is no exception! From the first chapter when former Olympic ice skater Christy Reed arrives at her sister's house only to find it totally engulfed in flames to the final scene, Hannon creates a riveting story that makes the book hard to put down.


Of course I especially enjoy that her books are set in the St. Louis area -- it's always fun to read about familiar landmarks!

The antagonist in this story seemed just a bit over the top, but then again he's crazy, right? I found myself disbelieving the storyline a bit at the climax of the book, but it didn't ruin the overall appeal of the story.

I fully enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for anyone who likes suspense laced with romance. And I plan to read every book Irene writes in the future!


ABOUT THE BOOK

After losing her parents in a car accident and her sister to a house fire, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Life is finally starting to feel normal again when an envelope arrives in the mail--addressed in her sister's handwriting. And the note inside claims she is still alive.


FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case, but he's coming up with more questions than answers. If Ginny Reed is still alive--who is the woman buried in her grave? Where is Ginny? And is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game--or the target of a sinister plot? As he digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: whoever is behind the bizarre ruse has a deadly agenda.



Bestselling author and two-time Christy Award finalist Irene Hannon warms readers' hearts as they root for a romance between Lance and Christy, but she pulls out all the stops as this high-stakes thriller chills to the bone in a race to the finish.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Irene Hannon is a bestselling, award-winning author who has written more than 50 romantic suspense and contemporary romance/women’s fiction novels. She is a seven-time finalist for and three-time winner of the RITA award—the “Oscar” of romance fiction—and a member of the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. Her books have also won a Daphne du Maurier award, two Carol awards, three HOLT Medallions, a National Readers’ Choice award, a Retailers Choice award, two Booksellers’ Best awards and two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. One of her novels was also named by Booklist as a top 10 inspirational fiction books of 2011. In addition, she is a two-time Christy award finalist.

Irene holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in journalism, and in
 her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening and singing.  When not otherwise occupied, Irene and her husband enjoy traveling, Saturday mornings at their favorite coffee shop and spending time with family. They make their home in Missouri.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Rescuing Finley

Rescuing Finley
by
Dan Walsh

MY THOUGHTS:
It's been a long time since a book made me cry and it actually caught me by surprise! It is hard to describe this book in a few words -- sweet, poignant, heartwarming, gut-wrenching are just a few I would choose.

This is a story of unconditional love and hope as told from three perspectives: a dog who gets left behind, a veteran with physical and emotional scars, and a young woman who made too many wrong choices early in her life. Each of them gets a second chance at a future they never expected.

 
Dan Walsh has done a masterful job at creating a story full of realistic characters that draw at your heart. I love his portrayal of the Paws for Prisoners program -- a real opportunity that seems to make a huge difference in the lives it touches.

I learned a lot about dog training, PSTD, and redemption in this book -- and it was written in such a manner that I couldn't put it down. I was thrilled to discover it is the first in a series - I can't wait for the next book to come early next year!

Another winner. I plan to read every book Dan Walsh writes! Since I've finished the book I keep going back to the story in my mind, and I really appreciate the thoughtfulness Dan put into creating this book. In addition, I learned some great tricks that have helped my three crazy dogs!

Disclaimer -- I was given a free copy of this book to review. This review is totally my own perspective -- I loved it!


You can pick up your copy when it releases on Thanksgiving day here.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Amy Wallace has made plenty of mistakes in her young life, but she didn't see this one coming. Chris Seger is a marine serving in Afghanistan. His life is forever altered by a single, fateful step. A mother of another Afghan war vet suffers a devastating loss, which changes the course of Finley's life for good. Finley is a mostly golden retriever, who suddenly finds himself alone and confused in a dog shelter. Later, he's brought to a prison to be trained in a special program for female inmates. Could this prison actually become the place where Finley finally finds freedom? Rescuing Finley tells the story of how one rescue dog powerfully impacts three tragic lives and puts all of them on a road toward redemption and healing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dan’s novels have received popular and critical acclaim, getting rave reviews from USA Today and magazines like Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal and RT Book Reviews. His very first, Unfinished Gift, won 2 ACFW Carol Awards. It’s still in print 6 years later and has sold over 50,000 copies. It’s available in hardback, paperback, Ebook, audiobook, large-print and in several languages. His other books have won numerous awards and appeared on several national bestseller lists.
As of this moment, Dan has 15 novels on the shelves (soon to be 16). His 13th novel (the first to be published independently), is called When Night Comes. It released on November 1st, 2014. In March 2015, his first non-fiction book, Perfect Peace released (a 31 Day Devotional). His last 2 novels with Revell have also come out in 2015. The Legacy, the final book in the Restoration series with Gary Smalley came out in April, and 

Keeping Christmas released in September.
- See more at: http://www.danwalshbooks.com/about-dan/#sthash.7oL7jXdN.dpuf 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pieces On Earth -- With an Interview!

Pieces On Earth
by
Cathy Bryant

MY THOUGHTS:
This is such a touching Christmas novella! The primary character, Liv, believes her Navy husband has changed positions and will be home for a good long time -- especially over the upcoming holiday. She is surprised by a pregnancy that she didn't think was possible, and chooses to keep it a secret from her husband and family until Christmas day. Then her husband gets called back to Afghanistan, almost immediately, and she is left to be a single mom to her four year old daughter yet again.

Cathy Bryant does a marvelous job of creating the characters in this story. The reader can really feel Liv's pain and frustration. Things get worse, of course, when two members of the squadron are missing and Liv has to go on bedrest.

I love the way Bryant wove the story of Christ through the novella as Liv told it to her daughter. This is a sweet Christmas story full of raw emotions and the true love of Christ.

I received a copy of the novella in exchange for my honest review. I honestly liked this story and I'm so glad I read it -- it got me into the Christmas spirit and I found it hard to put down!

Get a copy on Amazon - here.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
As the wife of a naval aviator in sunny Pensacola, Florida, Liv Tulley eagerly anticipates the first Christmas in several years with her husband, daughter, and extended family. Then her husband is unexpectedly deployed for an undetermined amount of time, smashing her white Christmas dreams to pieces. Can she find God's peace in the midst of life's pieces?








ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Amazon best-selling author Cathy Bryant loves to write heart-stirring stories of God's life-changing grace. A born-and-bred Texas gal, she enjoys thrift-store shopping, spending time with her family, and romping in the great outdoors. When she's not writing, you'll usually find her up to her elbows in yet another home improvement project. Learn more at CatBryant.com.  

Cathy was gracious enough to answer a few questions so we could get to know her a bit better!

1. In the story Liv is a Navy wife. You have really gotten a great perspective on the issues of military families -- have you lived this life? If not, what kind of research did you do?

I've never been in the military or a military wife, so I researched the topic via the internet. But my most productive research came from asking Facebook friends about their life as a military wife. One lady in particular could give a great perspective on Navy wives (and answer some of my specific questions), because her husband was a naval aviator and they'd been stationed in Pensacola! :) (Gotta love Facebook friends...)

2. I loved the idea of telling the story of Jesus through the entire Bible in a way a child could understand. When did you first hear this story in a way that was meaningful to you?

I was an elementary teacher in a former life ;) so I relate to kids really easily. I came across a book that takes children through the story from Creation to Revelation, and it struck me as the perfect way to introduce children to the big story of the Bible. As I worked on the story line of PIECES ON EARTH, I knew the overall message of the Bible would be helpful to a young woman searching for God's peace in life's pieces. Sometimes our issue isn't that we don't know the truth, but that we need the reminder. That was certainly true in Liv's case.

3. Christmas novellas are such a great way for a reader to get into the holiday spirit. What is one of your favorite Christmas traditions? 

I love Christmas Eve candle-lighting services, full of music, the reading of the Christmas story, and lighting candles to remind us all that we are to be light-bearers to a very dark world.

4. Writers, I'm told, put a piece of their soul into each book they write. What character is most like you?

I do agree that each of my books has expressed a part of me, usually in a spiritual way. I'm definitely most like Liv in the story, though I'm middle-aged and have no children home. Though I'm not married to the military, I am married to the ministry, and in some ways, the two are very much alike. But the way I am most like her is in going through a time in my life when I wondered if I could experience God's peace in the midst of so many broken pieces.

5. You have written so many great books -- where do you get your inspiration?

Thank you. Inspiration is everywhere for me, but most of the story lines are centered around things that I've been through spiritually--either a lesson learned or a burden God has laid on my heart.

6. And what do you do on those days when your characters abandon you and you have writer's block?

My character's rarely abandon me, though they ALWAYS try to take over. (And I usually let them have their way, because it takes the story in a direction I didn't see coming.) As for writer's block, it's only happened a couple of times--usually when I'm grieving. But usually that grieving leads to some of the better story lines, which was the case for PIECES ON EARTH.

7. What is one question you wish someone would ask you? And the answer, of course! 

Hmm, I'm really struggling with this one... I guess I'll take the easy way out and say: "What are your interests outside of writing?" And my answer would be that I enjoy rummaging through thrift stores (still waiting to find a Picasso hidden in a dusty corner) and mini-farming. We raise chickens, rabbits, fruits & vegetables! 

Find out more about Cathy at her website - http://www.CatBryant.com
 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hand-Me-Down Princess

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hand Me Down Princess
CANDID Publications (August 31, 2015)
by
Carol Moncado


MY THOUGHTS:
Could you imagine being contractually betrothed to someone in this day and age? And marryng a prince whom you had never met? The American way isn't the standard way, and in a kingdom far, far way this was the beginning of a fun story!

Carol Moncado has created an impossible situation and makes it seem realistic. She takes the reader inside a fabulous castle from the perspective of a reluctant bride and groom who determine to make the best of a difficult situation. The stuff fairy tales are made of, but then she throws in twists and turns that make it a fascinating read! I enjoyed the concept of the book and the characters.

This is the first in a new series she has created, The Brides of Belles Montagnes.  I would recommend reading her other Princess series, the Montevaro Monarchy, first. While the story doesn't rely on those books, the characters show up and it's a bit confusing if you don't know their history.

The only negative I found was the number of misprints/typos. There were a few misspelled words, but I found several places where the wrong word was placed in a sentence, causing me to stop the flow of the reading to go back and figure out what was really meant. I know I can be a bit of a grammar nazi, so I feel compelled to warn you about this. 

That said, I recommend this book to anyone who wants to escape this world and dream about castles and handsome princes!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

When she’s not writing about her imaginary friends, Carol Moncado is hanging out with her husband, four kids, and a dog who weighs less than most hard cover books. She prefers watching NCIS to just about anything, except maybe watching Castle, or Girl Meets World with her kids. She believes peanut butter M&Ms are the perfect food and Dr. Pepper should come in an IV. When not watching her kids – and the dog – race around her big backyard in Southwest Missouri, she’s teaching American Government at a local community college. She’s a founding member and President of MozArks ACFW, category coordinator for First Impressions, blogger at InspyRomance, and represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Prince Malachi Van Renssalaer of Mevendia is getting married. The problem? He’s never even met his bride. His father arranged everything, right down to the marriage contract. Malachi swears to himself that he will be nothing like his father in the ways that count - including his fidelity to his wife.

Jessabelle Keller would happily spend her entire life in obscurity, but her father once saved the life of a future king. Before he dies, her father is committed to seeing that king make good on his promise to have one of his sons marry her so she would be taken care of for life.

No sooner than Prince Malachi and Jessabelle return from their honeymoon, they find themselves dealing with both private trauma and the very public drama of groundless accusations from the press. Just as they begin to weave their fragile trust back together, a ghost from the king’s past arrives and threatens everything they’ve ever held dear.

Secrets have a funny way of coming out and this one could rip the faith of the country in their leaders to shreds. Malachi is determined to protect Jessabelle no matter what it takes, but will it ever be enough for her to not feel like a Hand-Me-Down Princess?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hand Me Down Princess, go HERE.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Vendetta

Vendetta
by
Lisa Harris

MY THOUGHTS:
WOW -- Lisa Harris has blown another one out of the park! Vendetta is her best book yet, and I've really enjoyed each of her other books! This one is a suspenseful mystery that is almost impossible to put down. So much is happening in this story! At first it felt like there were too many things happening at once, but the more I read the more I realized that is real life. We each have challenges in our personal life, our family life, and our work life all at the same time, and the tough ones seem to happen concurrently.

Lisa's characters have great depth. She does a masterful job of showing how past events impact current activities emotionally and physically. There are so many wonderful things I'd like to say about the story, but I'm afraid to give anything away, so I'll just say READ IT!

ABOUT THE BOOK:
No one needs to push Nikki Boyd to excel on the Tennessee Missing Person Task Force. The case of her own missing sister, still unsolved after ten years, is the driving force in her work. When a Polaroid photo of a missing girl shows up at a crime scene, Nikki quickly recognizes similarities to the past. The closer she gets to the abductor, the more she feels that this case is getting personal, and that she is not the hunter at all--but actually the one being hunted.

With this explosive first book in the new Nikki Boyd Files, Lisa Harris takes readers on a fast-paced pursuit of justice that will have them holding their breath until the heart-stopping finish.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa Harris is the award-winning author of more than twenty books, including the Christy Award winner Dangerous Passage and Fatal Exchange. Winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times, Harris has spent over ten years living with her family as missionaries in Mozambique, where she leads a women's group and runs a nonprofit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. Visit www.lisaharriswrites.com for more.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Buggy Before the Horse

The Buggy Before the Horse
by
Tricia Goyer

MY THOUGHTS:
This is a fun mystery set in a beautiful small Amish town. It is part of the Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries series by Guideposts. Each book is written by a different author, but I presume a single editor coordinates them so they sound the same.

I was able to read this book as a stand alone, although I can guess some of the things that happened in previous stories. I'd recommend you read them in order if possible.

This is a fun story that is an easy read -- would be perfect for a young teen who is an avid reader. The story is intriguing and there are a lot of twists and turns along the way to discover 'whodunnit'.


ABOUT THE BOOK:
As Thanksgiving approaches, Cheryl stumbles across a startling discovery: someone is sleeping in Naomi and Seth Millers' winter buggy and helping himself to food from teir farmhouse cellar. Could it be the same person who is stealing from businesses up and down Sugarcreek's Main Street? Despite Naomi's insistence on extening the hand of hospitality to their unknown guest, when items are stolen from the Swiss Miss gift shop, Cheryl intends to get to the bottom of these mysteries.
While odd notes and other clues begin to surface, the list of suspects grows to include a troubled foster child, an Amish handyman, a homeless shelter volunteer, a young backpacker, and just about every other tourist passing through town. Can Cheryl catch the thief before the millers fall victim to a more serious crime?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tricia the Author

Tricia Goyer has written more than fifty books, including novels that delight and entertain readers and non-fiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as Guideposts, Thriving Family, Proverbs 31, and HomeLife Magazine.
Goyer’s fiction and non-fiction books have won awards from the American Christian Fiction Writers and Mt. Hermon Writers’ Conference. She is also a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee.
Tricia has authored several books on family and parenting, as well as co-written with Max Lucado and Robin Jones Gunn. She collaborated with Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges for Lead Your Family Like Jesus, published by Focus on the Family/Tyndale.
Tricia’s contemporary and historical novels feature strong women overcoming great challenges. She recreates historic wartime eras with precise detail through perseverant and comprehensive research. Tricia speaks to groups interested in these eras, with the intention of preserving and honoring the memory of the men and women who served.
She is a beloved author of Amish fiction, as well, writing the Big Sky and Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors Series.

Murder at the Courthouse

Murder at the Courthouse
by
A. H. Gabhart

MY THOUGHTS:
This book starts with a bang and moves quickly from there! The cast of characters is fascinating (and well representative of any small town), and the story line is full of twists and turns. There is a bit of something for most everyone - a little romance, a lot of intrigue, and a lot of real life frustrations as the very small police force struggles to find a killer in a town that is known for it's calm (aka boring) life.

As in her other books, Gabhart does a great job of creating some characters with great depth and others who add a little fun to the book to keep it interesting. The story line draws you in, and I found myself creating hypotheses about the murder just like the townspeople! I'm glad to see this is the first in a new series -- I'm anxious to see what happens next.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Welcome to Hidden Springs
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Michael Keane's stressful days as a Columbus police officer are done. He's ready to relax into his new position as deputy sheriff in his sleepy hometown. Nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky--and that's just fine with Michael.

Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. As Michael works to solve the case, it seems that every nosy resident in town has a theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check out one of these harebrained theories, his surprising discovery sends him on a bewildering search for a mysterious killer that has him questioning everything he has ever believed about life in Hidden Springs.

Bringing with her a knack for creating settings you want to visit and an uncanny ability to bring characters to life, A. H. Gabhart pens a whodunit that will keep you guessing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
The best way to get to know more about Ann Gabhart is on her website -- HERE. She has written more than 25 books, and I've enjoyed each one I've read! She has written fascinating books about the Shakers, some books set in the WWII era, and a ton of books for teens. She lives and writes from a farm in Kentucky.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Deadlock -- with Author Interview

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Deadlock
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (October 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

Two murders have rocked the city of Houston. Are they the work of a serial killer, or is a copycat trying to get away with murder? That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldn’t be more opposite: he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book. When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked. But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive long enough to solve it.

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


Here is some more information direct from DiAnn!


1. How did you become interested in writing?         
I cant remember when I wasnt in fiction mode. Before I could hold a pencil, I created stories. After I could hold a pencil, I wrote stories. The power of the written word intrigued me then as nowthe sound of words, the look of them on the written page, the ways words are used to entertain, inspire, and encourage others.                                                                                                                                   
2. What can you tell us about the setting of this novel?
Deadlock, a romantic suspense, is set in Houston, Texas. My city. My home. Familiar landscapes add more authenticity.

3. Who are the main characters?
Special Agent Bethany Sanchez steps into the violent crime division of Houstons FBI. Shes a bit of a perfectionist, and her own worst critic. However, she has reservations about her new partner, the same man who put her brother in jail. To make matters worse, he has a reputation of getting the job done, no nonsense, and a womanizer. Are the rumors true?

Special Agent Thatcher Graves is ready to work with his new partner, but shes hard to get to know. Hes uncertain if he can trust her, and he has to know she has his back. Recently he made a decision to become a Christian, but his past party-image stops him from revealing the changes in his life.

4. Which of the characters surprised you the most in this story, and how so?
Bethany refused to give up on her relationship with her family, even though they chose her felon brother over her.

5. How did the writing of this story impact you as a person or as an author?
Definitely the family dynamics. We all have family members who dont share our beliefs or values. This deepened my awareness of unconditional love woven with obedience to Gods principles.

6. Why is this story important to you?
Three reasons:
1.     The complexities of dealing with a depraved mind.
2.     Showing the cultural differences between Bethany and Thatcher and their friendship resulting in love.
3.     Creating an action-packed story about Houstons FBI, their dedication and commitment to keeping people safe.


7. What would you like your readers to take away from this story?
Gods sovereignty in all situations of lifefamily, career, friendships, love, and obeying laws that correspond with Gods principles.
                                                                                                                                               
8. Are there some specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?
God is bigger than our problems - whether that be career, spiritual, or personal. In Deadlock, not only did professional problems attack my hero and heroine, but family dynamics.
                                                                             
9.  When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?           
I enjoy reading, cooking, gardening, and grandkids! Im very much into good health and exercise to keep my body and mind in the best shape possible.
                                                                                                                                               

10. Where can readers find you on the Internet?