Friday, November 6, 2015

Mississippi Nights (& Something Extra)

(Ambassador International 2012)

Two brothers, one death--the bond of brotherhood faces its greatest challenge against resentment and guilt.

Can the love between two brothers eventually win against pain and guilt? When firefighter David Boyette's fiance perishes in a car fire, he blames his brother, Sgt. Jeremy Boyette, for her death. Three years later, David returns home with a dark and devastating secret. With the help of family, a woman's love, and a small child's devotion, can David overcome insurmountable odds as he and Jeremy face the bitterness that enslaves him? Together the brothers must decide if the bond of brotherhood is stronger than resentment and hate.

What are people saying about this novel?
"An absorbing family drama, laced with romantic elements and quirky characters" ~ Anne Hamilton on Goodreads

"Talented writer! Intense from beginning to end which is hard to do!"~ Andrea Marie on Amazon.  

"Wow! This was a gripping novel that I didn't want to put down till the final outcome."~ LucyMR1 on Barnes&Noble.

"I also loved the healing journey this book took you on, and the story of forgiveness for not only those around you, but yourself and ultimately God."~ Susan on Christian Book.

Reviews are great. Not only do they help authors, but they also help readers choose the book to read.
But what is the story behind this story?

The idea for this book start long ago when the author was 14. She had Jeremy die in a boating accident. David was reckless and living with his girlfriend, Alyssa. Darlene was married to a Tony. And the story never developed past the honeymoon of David and Alyssa at Niagara Falls. Then, the author accepted Christ and the story was all but forgotten. 

Through all the years of life: losing a child, being abandoned, losing a husband and father, and on the verge of homelessness, the author found within herself that small dream that she once had.

Although this wasn't her first story to try and have published or to write, one day she remembered. Jeremy was brought back to life and given the job of a police officer. David was still reckless. But Alyssa became Maggie, the preacher's daughter. Then the character Poppy came to life. The author took aspects of her own life, the experience of her deceased husband (who was an assistant fire chief) and her own as an EMR for the same department, and research she conducted to produce a novel that would show the deep emotional turmoil of someone who allowed a vice to rule his life.

How does one come away from that? A deep addiction, the overpowering pride and stubbornness, the condemning shame? It cannot be overcome by oneself. One would need family, friends, but most importantly, the Lord.

There are layers upon layers to this novel. Told from a Southerner's perspective and from a flawed Christian perspective, the reader will ultimately gain a better understanding of what it really means to rely upon the Lord in all things and to turn to Him...and above all, God will never abandon His children.

Tell me, what is one thing you look for in novels that deal with flawed characters? 

For an added bonus, for those who comment you will win a book. Five winners will receive Mississippi Nights....everyone else, you will get a gift, too. Comment on what you read, let me know the types of books you love to read, and leave me your favorite verse. 

For the author of Mississippi Nights, her favorite verse sums up her life and all the stories she writes: 
Mark 4:39
"Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm."

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Deadly Additive by Donn Taylor

(Harbourlight 2012)

It's all about action and momentum.
If you like Robert Ludlum or Ronie Kendig, then Donn Taylor has the book for you.

Although there are instances in the book that had the habit of explaining something that didn't really need it, those parts in no way detracted from the story. It would probably help those readers, especially younger readers, who may need just a little more explanation. The portions were handled very well without bogging down the storyline. 

When it comes to the characters, Jeb Sledge is the alpha male-don't-underestimate-how-he-looks type. He isn't your typical buffed up hero. He has the tendency to be the anti-hero at times, but that only enhances his hero personality. When the reader meets Raul Ramirez, you have to chuckle at the firm's name: Poirot, Espada, y Ramirez. Agatha Christie fans and readers of the Maltese Falcon will understand this phrase. Even the turn of cliches that the Ramirez characters spout, such as: "I am a sheep off the old black" or "taking the bull by the handlebars", add a little comedy to a fast paced action book.

Speaking of action, it may slow down, but just long enough to gain your breath, and then you are back into a fast pace reading again. 

The title really fitting the story is an added bonus. Although at times I kept calling the book Deadly Addiction, Deadly Additive gave it a clear connection with the underlying conflict of the story. And yes, the book is addictive. I really like Jeb.

To me, this is a pretty good novel to read without getting into too much political descriptions. And even the faith thread was handled in a way that came out naturally.

Definitely a recommended read. And if you have a young reader who longs for a good action, beat-the-bad-guys-up book, then Donn Taylor is the way to go.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Good-Bye, Lover by Rachel Britz

(Ambassador International 2015)

"...I was beginning to feel as though this call to adventure was more or less a quest to awaken from within." (Good-Bye, Lover, p.140)

Layered within this book are themes of awakening of spirit and love, following God's path, and trusting in Him. From a deep loss, Nora arrives at the cusp of womanhood where she finds some dreams are just that and some dreams are promises.

I enjoyed the way the lyrical prose brought to life the deep richness of the Irish brogue and its emerald beauty. Emotion and logic danced a waltz through each page. As Nora faced each day learning what it meant to be who she was called to be I felt as though I was walking that path along with her. I even cheered for her when her Irish temper allowed her to make a stand for what was right no matter the cost.

The title added another layer of symbolism. Giving up a dream doesn't mean giving up a life.

As Jack said, who I found to be the perfect allegory to Christ, "know this, even though you may not see me, I am always with you."

Nora learned that He would always be with her and new dreams would unfold.

Highly recommended for anyone. A perfect and sweet romantic tale written as from the days of old.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

From Driftwood to Sapphire by Kathy M. Howard

(Ambassador International 2015)

From Driftwood to Sapphire was not what I expected. Did I expect to read a good book? Yes. It delivered that. 
Did I expect to read a heartwarming story? Yes. 
Did I expect to read an in-depth look into a young woman's soul? No, not really.

This book contained powerful messages. At times it was heartwarming, but it was also heart-rendering. Soft nuances within the book tore at my emotions. Little things made me truly think and examine myself. 

In this story, the young woman, Samantha, was raised in an openly Christian environment where Christ is talked about without hesitation, where prayer is an involuntary reaction much like breathing, and where love and openness is prevalent. Every young person has a crucible that they must go through. It either tears them down, scars them, or makes them stronger. That crucible makes them look into their own souls and truly examine themselves. This book sure did that to me.

Faced with what Sam had to overcome, I honestly don't know if I could have done what Samantha did with such sophistication or forgiveness. At first I wasn't sure if this was even possible for someone to behave like this. Can a person truly forgive a horrible wrong done to them? Can a person truly see beyond the hurt of herself and accept the offending party with love? Kathy M. Howard shows these ups and downs of humanity in us all with precision and honesty.

The faith thread in the book could have come off as very heavy-handed and preachy, but Kathy M. Howard handles it with such a literary finesse that it enriches the book and the characters. This is a natural element in Sam's life and it is shown in a beautiful way.

I can definitely recommend this book to anyone and more importantly, it is a great book for any young teenager or young woman in today's society. Ms. Howard brings to life a true, honest to goodness, Christian woman who has her flaws and doubts and who overcomes two heart searing tragedies without forsaking her faith.  Very, very well done!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Alice Eakes

(Zondervan 2015)

I've always find myself enjoying any historical novel by Laurie Alice Eakes. Historical novels have always been synonymous with her name. It was Lady in the Mist that first introduced me to her midwife series. From the start, I read each one and proceeded to other novels written by her. With The Mountain Midwife, Laurie Alice Eakes reintroduces her midwife line and life in the Appalachians, but this time it is a foray into a contemporary setting.

And I have to say, Laurie Alice did a very good job. This book is more than a typical romance; it delves into a bit of mystery and suspense without overshadowing the budding romance between the two characters.

As usual, this author can make the reader pause and view a situation in a new light. What would I have done in this situation? What would I have felt if I found that out? How would I have reacted when faced with indecision or fear?

At first I didn't know what to think about Ashley and the decisions she would make or the way she would behave, but as I read more and more I came to understand the why because I could relate to the character. There's always a little bit in us that needs confirmation from others and sometimes that little bit grows into a want that is larger than we realize and it affects our actions.

Even the character Hunter will make the reader pause and consider "how do we see the world and the people in it". 

Laurie Alice Eakes also has a way that brings the sounds and sights of the Appalachians to life. This is one book that I found enjoyable and another book of Laurie Alice's that I truly am glad to own.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M White

The Lost Heiress
Roseanna M. White
(Bethany House 2015)

It's not often that a historical novel can pull me in so completely and unyielding. Between layers and layers of storytelling Roseanna M. White has achieved a praiseworthy and wonderfully intricate novel.

From the golden glamour of Monaco to the gilded halls of England, the reader follows the tale of not only Brook and Justin, but Deidre as well. As I delved into The Lost Heiress thoughts of Gosford Park and Downton Abbey came to mind, even parts of the Forsyte Saga with hints of Pride and Prejudice. To top it off, mystery surrounds them and a curse that is attached to the Fire Eyes, rare red diamonds, follows them.

With the time period introduced, I can almost imagine where the next story in the tale of the Ladies of the Manor (and the Fire Eyes) will lead. I look forward to discovering if my suspicions are correct!

A word of warning to the readers: this is not a light-hearted, fluff of a novel. It is well researched, remarkable in symbolism, faith, and motifs. Each scene sets the pace for the next, the conclusion pans out as it should without a hurried hand, but most importantly it entertains as a good novel should.

To me, Roseanna M. White is the Modern Era Bronte.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Space Drifters by Paul Regnier

Paul Regnier
(Enclave Publishing 2015)

It's more than a science fiction story. It's more than a space rambling. It's both of those combined and thrown into a spiraling universe of misfortunes, a maybe romance, miscalculations, and sheer luck, or maybe fate, that carries the reader along on one heck of a space adventure complete with the occasional comedy.

Glint Starcrost is the captain of an alien first mate, a teenage time traveler, and a royal bloodline bounty hunter. He's forced to deal not only with his own personal issues involving the almost highjacking of his ship by a lovely beauty that muddles his thoughts, but a testy and jealous ship computer, plus a first mate that refuses to fight, an out of his element teen,  and his own desires between treasures and survival.

He hides his true character behind a false bravado of quick wit and outlandish maneuvers. When his "dreams can come true, literally" first mate encounters the Holy Bible, it sets off a whirlwind of events that never stop. Soon he will question his desires and wishes as he searches for the Emerald Enigma that will grant every wish.

This is a fast paced novel that will leave you breathless and sometimes chuckling. Glint is a mixture of Starlord (in bravado and character), Han Solo (especially with his princess quips), Arthur Dent (from the misfortunes that he didn't ask for), and a little of Captain Kirk (with his quick thinking), and yet this character is all his own. Blix, his faithful friend, epitomizes the calm, unruffled, and sometimes aggressive first officer: think Groot/Chewbacca/Ford/Spock rolled into a man with lizard characteristics. Jasette is more than royalty. She's smart, fast, vicious, and quite loyal after a fashion. Nelvan is the catalyst that starts the space adventure moving forward. 

The symbolic undertone brings to the reader the biblical teaching about greed and wants, of love and sacrifice, and in what/who to place one's hope. 

Although the book ended on a cliffhanger, I look forward to see how Glint and crew escape this next bout of the Enigma's charm/curse.  And I can say, even with his red plaid "jammy" pants, Glint Starcrost is a swoon worthy hero in my book.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pirate by Night by Lisa Asenato

(White Rose Publishing 2015)

"He came with dark intentions and instead discovered the light."
This portion on the front sums it up. This is no shallow read or light-hearted romance. This book delves deep into the heart and the story of forgiveness.

Pirate by Night has the echoes of John Newton and his song Amazing Grace.
It is Grace who brings Nicholas into the light and shows him a better life to lead.

Pirate stories are the absolute love of my reading. It's the rooting for the underdog that I enjoy. And although there are many romantic tales of pirates out there, most are not a clean read. But Lisa Asenato brings not only a clean read, but an inspiring read.

Each character is fleshed out perfectly and their growth throughout is done slowly, building upon one another. One may believe that his or her life holds too much to ever be forgiven or blessed, but that is not so. The faith is strong throughout this story, and although I wished for a not so convenient ending, the epilogue brought tears to my eyes.

Pirate by Night portrays a two-fold love. The binding love of family and the binding love of God. This is a definite recommendation for romance readers!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Not By Sight by Kate Breslin

(Bethany 2015)

It's not often that a book will pull me in and even wrench an emotional response from me. It's even tougher if the book is a historical novel, which isn't at the top of my list in genres.

Kate Breslin does more than a wonderful job at telling the story of Grace and Jack. Set in 1917 during WWI, the main character, who is a suffragette, is determined to do her duty for God, King, and Country. A young nobleman, who seems more of a rake than a gentleman, plays a dangerous game of intrigue to apprehend spies for Germany. In this book, these two well developed, and perfectly flawed characters, are entwined. Their lives collide, first through an act of shaming, then through an act of grace.

I loved how Grace Mabry discovered her pride was her downfall and grew stronger from it. Jack Benningham learned that his lack of faith in God didn't not keep God's blessings from falling upon him, no matter the long and tough road it led him on.

Although the insertion of two other characters' point of views threw me out the of story a couple of times by actually having to back up and reread the start of the scene to figure out whose head I was in, this story still had an impact. It isn't a story about WWI or a story about German spies and those who were blackmailed to do their bidding. This was a story of God's redemptive love and amazing grace. The faith was strong throughout, but not overbearing. The title alone gives insight to the major theme of the book.

The writing was tight and flowed from scene to scene, chapter to chapter. The words stirred pity, anger, frustration, and happiness. It was a true whirlwind of a read.

I could envision the scenery, the landscape, the clothing style, and motorcars. Not By Sight will truly sweep you away to another time period. This is a highly recommended book.

***I received this book from Bethany House via in exchange for an honest and complete review***

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Post Card by Laura V. Hilton

the Post Card
Laura V. Hilton
(Whitaker House 2015)

It's not often that a book will surprise me.

I usually will not read any book Amish, but I took a risk on this one. And I am so grateful and blessed that I did. It was wonderful (wunderbaar). This isn't a typical Amish romance or even a typical Amish story. Characters dared to do things against Old Amish Order.

Laura V. Hilton broke away from the norm. The Postcard brings to the heart life, love, faith, forgiveness, and about all following God's direction, no matter the cost.

Characters would irritate me, make me want to smack them across the head. Others I would cheer on or my heart would break for them. And still another I would silently plead that forgiveness would come and attitudes would change. Of course there is foreshadowing for a future story (at least I hope). The writing was concise and flowed so well that I actually forgot that I was reading a book.

The Postcard surpasses anything written by Beth Wiseman and others. This is an excellent read. Although some might think of the spattering of German language throughout the book as a distraction, I found it to be a tool that drew me deeper and deeper into the story.

There was one prevalent theme throughout and I think it applies to everyone in every walk of life: God cannot be put into a box, ain't so?

Laura V. Hilton is an author that I will readily put on my shelf and I look forward to grabbing more of her books.

**I received this book free of charge through courtesy of Whitaker House in exchange for an honest review**

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Clay A. Kahler's The Fallen

I am normally hesitant about self published books, especially those produced through CreateSpace. Usually because very few writers who use CreateSpace spend the time to edit or polish their manuscripts. Not so with Clay A. Kahler.

The story holds the suspense and edge of the seat reading as watching the movie Silent Hill. The narrative of the story is reminiscent of the down to earth, nostalgic style that one would find while watching Secondhand Lions and The Sandlot. Author Clay A. Kahler has a style that ranks along side with Stephen King and Thomas Harris.

The Fallen is a short read, but it packs a powerful punch. Even with a few minor errors within the book, the overall plot and passionate storyline quickly takes over the reader. From heartache to hope, from anger to praise, Clay Kahler wrote a really wonderful story.

My favorite line, taken from Scripture, and one that brought me to tears when I read it and realized the full effect of what I had read: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends". Of course, I have always read it from the King James and New King James where it said "lay down one's life for his brother". Either way, it still holds the same effect on me.

The impact this book leaves on the reader is one that is so profound, so passionate, and so pulsing with truth, that you cannot view the world the same.

I highly recommend The Fallen. And I am glad that I was directed to this wonderful story.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Heir of Hope by Morgan Busse

Heir of Hope
Morgan Busse 
(Enclave Publishing 2015)

Daughter of Light, Son of Truth, and Heir of Hope are books that lead the reader down a winding journey to glory.

There are hardships.

There are loss and pain.

There is forgiveness.

There is rebirth.

More importantly: there's hope.
No corners were cut in the novels. It's truth and adventure bound together in a whirlwind saga.

The journeys of Rowen, Caleb, Nierne, and Lore were complete with the ebb and flow of faith that we all find ourselves experiencing.

Even though I wished for more of Caleb's story and to see more of his gifts and I felt the ending seemed too rushed, the deep plots, symbolism, and spiritual truth embedded within the story enhances the reader's enjoyment.

This is a saga that competes with George R.R. Martin and Tad Williams. Morgan Busse wrote an outstanding fantasy story.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fearless by Mike Dellosso

Mike Dellosso
(Realms 2013)

If you can believe that the universe was created from nothing and a sudden bang, then why not believe in God? He is the God of the supernatural and surreal; the God of miracles; and the God of love.

In a very intense, dramatic unfolding of Virginia Mills' occupants, the story centers around one miracle child, nine-year-old Louisa. Gifted with healing, and in an allegorical retelling of Jesus' healing of the populace, Louisa's gift is a blessing and curse because others will seek to abuse that which is freely given.

But it isn't only Louisa's story, but a deeper tale of Jim, Amy, and Alicia's spiritual healing.

Within layers and layers of storytelling, Mike Dellosso weaves a heart-thumping thriller that peels back the preconceived notions of who people really are.

He's a killer, evil--but there's more to him and he has a choice.

She's a batter woman--but there's more to her and she has a choice.

They're a torn couple--but there's more to them and they have a choice.

Fearless is a novel that requires multiple readings to glean the majestic impact it tells.

As always, Mike Dellosso hasn't disappointed me with a story--superb!

Hope by Josephine Walker

Josephine Walker
(Ambassador International 2015)

I watched this novel grow form first line to its final. It's not your typical mystery. It's not your typical romance. It's not your typical novel.

Jessica needed a new life. What she received was a new hope, a new love, a new chapter, basically a renewing of spirit.

Jo Walker has a way that sucks you into a story. This was no cozy mystery. I was surprised to discover the "ghost"; but looking back the clues were there. This was no simple romance. Jessica finds love in the most surprising places, most of all from God. The budding relationship between Jessica, Clint, and Timmy was heartwarming.

A line from the book: "like a gentle rain bringing peace in the middle of turmoil", Hope gives the reader just that, hope. Hope for a future. Hope fro a new beginning. And hope for healing.

Jo did an excellent job and I've already read the book twice and plan to read it again, and again!

Whitewashed by Amy C. Blake

Amy C. Blake
(Mantle Rock Publishing 2015)

Not many books can bridge the gap between young adult and contemporary genres; but, Amy C. Blake has written such a novel.

Whitewashed is a story set in a small, Deep South town of Mississippi called Hades, and there are dark secrets lurking beneath the college.

There are mysterious things happening.
There are spiritual soul searchings.
There is one family's lineage tied to one college, Verity.

This novel is everything but typical. All plots are delivered neatly and with satisfying results. The characters are well developed. The pace and setting written with exquisite detail.

I found that Amy C. Blake wrote a great example of Deep South culture. To me, she rivals Terri Blackstock at her best and has quickly made a fan of me.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Morgan Busse's Daughter of Light & Son of Truth

Daughter of Light (Book 1)
Son of Truth (Book 2)
Morgan Busse
(Enclave Publishing, formerly Marcher Lord Press)

With any fantasy novel, especially since fantasy and science fiction are my first loves, I find it increasingly difficult to locate an exceptional Christian-faith based story. Morgan Busse presents in her two books, Daughter of Light and Son of Truth all I need: action, deeply developed characters, interwoven plots, and morality.

She is in the beloved category along with R.J. Larson, Karen Hancock, and Patrick Carr; but the highest praise I can give her is to liken her to the wonderful author Henry van Dyke and his book The Blue Flower.

Just as van Dyke used allegory to tell the love of Jesus, so does Busse with her story of the Word. (John 1:1)

At first I was hard pressed to keep reading because the story was told more than experienced, but the more I read and the more deeply I became enthralled with the characters and plot, I discovered I did not want to relinquish the book to sleep.

Busse's writing strengthened with each chapter. By the time I finished Son of Truth I felt anticipation for Heir of Hope, the third in the Follower of the Word series.

If it's a good fantasy novel that is appropriate for conservative adults and for young teenagers, then I recommend Morgan Busse's Daughter of Light and Son of Truth, to be followed with Heir of Hope. The stories are intricate in detail and rich in love.

Return to Rebel Book Reviews in days to follow to read more about Morgan Busse in her Author Spotlight.

Monday, February 9, 2015

From Dishes to Snow by Kathy M. Howard

From Dishes to Snow
(Ambassador International 2014)

Bayne Harris has lost everything she holds dear in her life. Her husband and children are dead. She was the one who caused the accident--the one behind the wheel. She cannot escape that night as it continuously haunts her thoughts.

A year after they're gone, nothing has changed. The memories are still unbearable. She can't breathe. She can't function. She needs to get away.

View Top Mountain provides the perfect escape. No one will bother her there. No one will want to check on her or talk about what happened. She can live her life alone, away from do-gooders and any chance of happiness. This is her plan, but she soon finds out God has something else in store.

"Bay, your strength is amazing..."

There are many things that people never realize about widows, especially those who follow the Lord.

As Bayne said: "The feeling wasn't something I could describe to anyone if I tried, but it was there."

We want people to reach out to us, not out of church obligation or curiosity, but out of love; yet we don't want to be smothered. If we hide in our homes, we aren't hiding from our pain; we are merely trying to right our  world.

There are so many things and Kathy M. Howard brought them to life in From Dishes to Snow.

Bayne's journey is a very familiar one and one which I empathize and sympathize as I read. Yes, Bayne could analyze and understand the logic behind her thoughts and actions; she also was compelled to ride that roller coaster. She knows that her Lord is right there with her and when she is ready He will stop the ride and lead her to a new one.

The emotional turmoil and growth within Bayne epitomized the strength of a woman--a woman with a Christian soul.

When I read From Dishes to Snow, I had to stop many times to digest the revelation I gleaned or to take a deep breath because I realized I was living Bayne's life in words.

From one instance to another, one surprising scene to the next, we see Bayne discover that God always has a plan for your life.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

The Butterfly and the Violin
by Kristy Cambron
(Thomas Nelson 2014)

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl--a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover--the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul--who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of place; the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

Kristy Cambron does a great job in bringing the reader into a story rich with description and detailed in history. The hidden meaning behind the title becomes apparent soon into the story and adds a romantic depth and one that keeps hope and love enduring throughout the story. It's not only a romance of two hearts, but one between the characters and God, especially Adele and God. In the ugly harshness of the Nazi evil, Adele finds true beauty and the meaning of true worship.

The Butterfly and the Violin is a wonderful work of literary detail and hidden symbolism throughout. Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I wished it was more in depth concerning the characters' point of view. I longed for a deeper read into their emotions. I understand the necessity the author may have felt by "glossing" over the horrors of the concentration camps of Auschwitz, but for me I would have wanted a little more detail to heighten the juxtaposition of the horror at the hands of the SS and the unfailing hope in the prisoners' hearts. The present day scenes of Sera and William read more romance novel than a reflection of Adele and Vladimir.

Another thing that distracted me from the novel was the flow of the timeline. I would have preferred Adele's story to be consecutive in order and not back up a couple of years then jump forward three and back another two. It didn't detract from the story any, and it played in my head as though a movie character's flashback scene, it's a preference that I prefer in literary works.

Kristy Cambron's The Butterfly and the Violin is a work that is exceptional in concept and beautifully executed. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso

Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso
(Realms 2011)

Out of a job and feeling worthless, Sam Travis is awakened one night to the sounds of a Civil War battle raging outside his Gettysburg home. But it's the middle of the night, and the summer's reenactments are long over. A search for the source brings him to an old journal by a Union soldier...written in his own handwriting.

When more of the mysterious writings appear and begin to mimic Sam's own life, his search for the truth puts him on a downward spiral that eventually drives him from his wife, his daughter, and his home--and into an evil plot that could cost many lives, including his own.


As you read: Pay attention. See the clues. Understand the signs. 

Only light can hold back the darkness. And evil spirits follow generations.

In Mike Dellosso's Darkness Follows, readers find themselves in a gripping tale of darkness and the battle for a man's soul.

How far would you go to protect your child? What would you do? Who would you trust?

Keeping me enthralled and flipping pages to uncover the truth, Darkness Follows is a suspenseful thriller that pushes a reader into a corner or leaves the reader huddled under blankets.

Take a pause. Grab the Bible and read. Then devour the story some more.

I immediately started writing down clues from the Gettysburg journals. I kept my mind on the daughter's mysterious companion. I prayed for the character.

With original and detailing descriptions the reader will forget that these are fictional characters. So deep is the emotional river that the reader will be swept away by the story.

Like many of my other favorite authors, Mike Dellosso never disappoints me.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Distortion by Terri Blackstock

Distortion by Terri Blackstock
(Zondervan 2014)

When Juliet Cole's husband of fifteen years is murdered before her eyes, she thinks it was a random shooting. Devastated and traumatized, she answers hours of questioning, then returns home to break the tragic news to her sons. But a threatening voicemail escalates this from a random shooting to a planned, deliberate attack.

Juliet realizes that she and her children are in danger too--unless she meets the killers' demands. But as she and her sisters untangle the clues, her husband's dark secrets come to light. The more she learns, the more her life is dismantled. Was her husband an innocent victim or a hardened criminal?

A continuing story of Truth Stained Lies, Distortion delves deep into the faith and life of Juliet and her family.

"These are the good days." These words were spoken to Juliet by her husband, Bob. Before long she discovers that what she thought was the truth had been a distorted illusion.

Terri Blackstock brings the reader on a fast-paced adventure dealing with a family of brothers and sisters.

If you think you know the culprit, Blackstock throws in a red herring bait. Do you take it and be reeled in or ignore it and keep circling for the answer to the mystery.

Either way--you still end up with a long list and everything connecting but no closer to the truth.

Distortion is not only a twisting and turning suspense novel, it is also a story of faith. The characters are not perfect, just as no one is perfect. The faith and love within the book flows naturally, as do the anger and hurt from feeling betrayed. The characters bring forth tough questions about people's preconceived assumptions of Christianity and a Christian's walk. They make you think: what would you do in that situation?

This is the Scripture that drives the storyline: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 

It's the perfect verse for this story. Small nuances throughout the novel show you the grace and love of God, evident in the some of the choices the characters make.

One thing I have always enjoyed about Terri Blackstock's novels is the heartwarming ending. She never fails to bring a page turning story full of action, emotion, and forgiveness.