Monday, August 11, 2014

Sky Zone

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Sky Zone
David C. Cook (June 1, 2014)
by
Creston Mapes


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

A rally for a controversial presidential candidate.
A terrorist threat.
A nightmare of cataclysmic proportions.


Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant. Having her recently widowed mother on hand isn't making matters any easier. With financial pressures boiling, Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-or-death battle to save their own lives--and the lives of thousands of innocent people.

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

Book Review

While reading the Crittendon Files, Creston Mapes has quickly been added to my list of favorite authors in the past year.   It feels like I can't read fast enough to keep up with his writing.    The story changes, characters develop and things twist and turn at break neck speed as you turn pages.   Creston Maples writes the type of books that I like to watch in movies.   Frankly, these books would make amazing movies.

Although in the fiction category, Mapes writes about things that could really happen.   He makes you think.   He makes you challenge what you think you know.   In a world where media tells us what they think we need to know, being challenged to think is a very good thing.

I highly recommend this and all the other books in the Crittendon Files series. 

Thanks to CFBA for providing a complimentary copy of this book for a honest review.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Getting Ready for School


I ordered the boys' school i.d.'s today.   I cried.  I have been doing that a lot.   It is Todd's senior year.  I am starting to think that we need a book similar to the baby book.  The baby book let us record all of the boys' firsts.  I need one that let me record all of these lasts.    It feels like there are so many.   Like today... ordering his last homeschool i.d.  

Mission Belize 2014

 My guys took a mission trip to Belize this summer.  It was something they planned, prayed, worked and saved for for almost a year.    They left out early (think 3:00am) to fly down.  Once they arrived they climbed on buses to drive to their destination.   They made one stop along the way to eat at a little restaurant named Slim Jims.   The boys said their first meal in Belize in was amazing!

 Once they arrived at Orange Walk they immediately jumped into action.   Kids showed up from everywhere wanting to play soccer. 

Each morning e-teams went out to pray with people in the villages and invite children to afternoon VBS.
 Those who weren't walking through the villages were back at the church doing very hard work.   The guys moved gravel and dug trenches.  They also dug holes for new septic tanks which the church was hoping to install.  Sewer systems are something we definitely take for granted here in the United States.

 This parakeet was a pet of one of the ladies that Little Guy visited while on e-team.



 Most of the meals were eaten at the pastor's house.  The guys talked about how awesome it was.   Big Guy brought home a bottle of the hot sauce which was eaten at every meal.  It was eaten on everything.   The guys said the empanadas, the fry jack, spaghetti, you name it they said it was yummy!




 The guys said out of all the pictures they took there was just no picture that could appropriately show just how crazy hot it was in Belize!

A Heart To Heal

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Heart to Heal
Love Inspired (July 15, 2014)
by
Allie Pleiter


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and nonfiction. An avid knitter, harp player and non-reformed chocoholic, she spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in speech from Northwestern University and currently lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. The "dare from a friend" to begin writing eight years ago has blossomed into a career that includes numerous public speaking engagements, two books on parenting; Becoming a Chief Home Officer and Facing Every Mom's Fears and now novels for Steeple Hill Books. She is the mother of two children and, most recently, a Havanese dog named Bella.


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Courage To Hope.

Guidance counselor Heather Browning is desperate. She needs a mentor to help Simon, a disabled student who is struggling at Gordon Falls High School. Unfortunately, hotshot Max Jones is her only option. Confrontational and cavalier, Max uses his flashy persona to hide the bitterness he's felt since his life-changing accident. Perpetually cautious, Heather finds Max's bad-boy bravado as intriguing as it is infuriating. But as Heather and Max work together to build Simon's self-confidence, they begin to trust each other. Max has never been slow and careful with anything. Can he be gentle with Heather's heart?

Gordon Falls: Hearts ablaze in a small town.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of A Heart to Heal, go HERE.


Monday, July 28, 2014

In the Field of Grace

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In The Field of Grace
River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2014)
by
Tessa Afshar


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


TESSA AFSHAR was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Award 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. She was born in Iran, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last thirteen years in full-time Christian work.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation.

But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor. Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi's chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better.

Based on the biblical account of Ruth, In the Field of Grace is the story of a love that ultimately changes the course of Israel's destiny and the future of the whole world.


If you would like to read the first chapter of In The Field of Grace, go HERE.

Book Review

I am friends with Tessa Afshar on Facebook.   She has no idea who I am, but once I read her first book I became addicted and I kind of became a stalker.   I find myself holding my breath waiting on her next book to be released.   Right now I am kind of turning blue since she last night she posted she just finished the first chapter of her next book and only has 29 more to go!  

"In the Field of Grace" is the story of Ruth and Boaz.   The story of Ruth is one that speaks to my heart.  Losing your husband is a great fear as a wife.    Tessa writes so eloquently about all those emotions and all those struggles in this book.   She also portrays Ruth as the woman of grace and Boaz as the man of integrity that I have always felt them to be when reading the Biblical account.  

If you have never read a Tessa Afshar book I highly recommend it!

SPECIAL thanks to CFBA for providing a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a book review. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Firewall

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Firewall
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2014)
by
DiAnn Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

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

Book Review

Diann Mills is one of my favorite authors.   I mark her release dates on my calendar so I don't miss a book.   Why?  I never have to worry about whether I will like the book.   I know that I will be hooked from the first page and won't want it to end.   Also, I know that it will most always be something my husband will love reading also which is a win/win. 

Loved the plot line of this book involving computers, national security and other very relevant topics.   With three very tech savy guys in my house and a family full of computer geeks, this is a highly discussed topic in our home.   

Thanks to the CFBA for providing a complimentary copy for me to read in exchange for a review. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Where the Spirit of the Lord Is...

I grew up in a church that believed in and taught holiness.  It permeated everything.  Music, Sunday School, sermons, devotionals, and every conversation that was had.  I was fully aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit from a very young age before I fully comprehended just how powerful a presence He truly could be in my life.

It was something I took for granted although I had no idea I was taking it for granted.   It is kind of like air.  You breathe, but you don't think about it.  However, I am sure if the oxygen was suddenly gone you would definitely notice it.

A few years ago my boys and I started attending a new church.  It isn't in the same denomination as we grew up in, but we felt good about the teachings and beliefs.   However, gradually I have realized that something was missing.   I couldn't breathe.   "Oxygen" was low.

The permeation of the teaching of the Holy Spirit just hasn't been there.   It has been the nagging frustration.   The thing I couldn't put my finger on.  

I love what Francis Chan says, "“God is not just one thing we add to the mix called life. He wants an invitation from us to permeate everything and every part of us.”

Now I sit and wonder.   Have I been irresponsible as a parent picking a church that hasn't given them this same constant teaching on the Holy Spirit and failing to recognize it as I grew up with?   

Monday, July 14, 2014

Shenandoah Dreams

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Shenandoah Dreams
OakTara Publishers (July 1, 2014)
by
Lisa Belcastro


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard. She loves chocolate, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, laughing, reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat Ben, who keeps her company while she spends hours working at the computer.

She was inspired to write Shenandoah Nights, the first book in the Winds of Change trilogy, while chaperoning two Tisbury School summer sails with her daughter, Kayla, aboard the schooner Shenandoah. The weeklong adventure, sans electricity, Game Boys, iPods and modern conveniences, kindled her imagination to dream of an altogether different voyage.

In addition to writing romance novels, Lisa currently pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style magazine. She has worked as a staff and freelance reporter and photographer for The Chronicle of the Horse and as assistant editor at The Blue Ridge Leader. She has written articles for USA Today, Dressage (London), USA WEEKEND Magazine, The Blue Ridge Leader and Sidelines.

When she’s not at her desk, Lisa is living in paradise, volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, planting and weeding her numerous gardens, trying to run a marathon a month, or walking the beach looking for sea glass.

ABOUT THE BOOK

What if she met the man of her dreams...in another century? Tisbury, Massachusetts, Martha s Vineyard. It s just a dream, Melissa Smith whispers as she stares into the intense eyes of a man dressed in Colonial clothes, as though stepping out of an American Revolution movie set. A school chaperone with Holmes Hole Elementary, she d boarded the old schooner Shenandoah for a weeklong educational sail. But they are not visiting Plimoth Plantation, the Boston Tea Party Museum, or the Concord Bridge reenactment. They re sailing the waters around the island of Martha s Vineyard. Yet, when she awakes in Cabin 8, the captain claims to be Isaiah Reed, who sailed the original Shenandoah in the eighteenth century. He cannot possibly be real, Melissa thinks. And traveling back in time is impossible. But days pass, and she s still in 1770. What if Isaiah, who is simply too handsome to be real, is real? What if the fire he ignites in her from barely a touch isn t in her imagination? Can a dream last for weeks on end? If so, how will she find her way home...to the twenty-first century? And can she bear to leave the one man who has captured her heart, when everything in her longs to stay? A Vineyard Romance Romance, history, adventure. Get swept into the exciting Winds of Change series.

If you liked to read the first chapter of Shenandoah Dreams, go HERE.

Book Review

Time travel was entertaining when my boys were little and we read Magic Tree House books, but in an adult book?   Yawn.    When the lead character, Melissa, began dreaming about past historical events I thought maybe she was going to uncover some clue to the boat's significance.   However, when she was thrown back in time I completely lost interest because of the book's improbability.   I mean, really? 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hope Deferred

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hope Deferred
HopeSprings Books (July 1, 2014)
by
Elizabeth Maddrey


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who loves a good happily ever after.

Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of computers, math, and organization steered her into computer science at Wheaton College, she always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. This continued through a Master’s program in Software Engineering, several years in the computer industry, teaching programming at the college level, and a Ph.D. in Computer Technology in Education. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity.

She lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Christian fiction for women.
Can pursuit of a blessing become a curse?
June and July and their husbands have spent the last year trying to start a family and now they're desperate for answers. As one couple works with specialists to see how medicine can help them conceive, the other must fight to save their marriage. Will their deferred hope leave them heart sick, or start them on the path to the fulfillment of their dreams?

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



Book Review

If this book had a theme song it would definitely be Laura Story's "Blessings".  If you are familiar with the words to that song it says, "'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops?  What if Your healing comes through tears?  What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?  What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?"  

Hope Deferred is book two in the Remnants Series.   It continues the story of twin sisters, June and July.    This book lays bare their struggle with infertility.   It is a raw and emotional look at a reality that is all to real for so many couples.  

It is refreshing to see the author include the spouses and their emotions in this storyline.   This emotional, spiritual and marital roller coaster is one that is often portrayed from the point of view from the wife, but often the husband's perspective is left out. 

I must admit that I am not a fan of "cliff hanger" endings.  I do not like being forced to read the next book in a series to find answers.   I find that very manipulative and is not something I admire in a writer.



Please note:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Chalfont House and CFBA in exchange for my honest review.