Monday, November 30, 2015

Top 10 Books of 2015

Listed below are the top 10 books of 2015 that I have read. In January I will start a new list of reviews of new authors, favorite authors, and classic authors. Hope you stick around. Share with others about Rebel Book Reviews. Take a chance on a new title or new author. Enjoy the list and why they impacted me more than others. If you wish to discover more about the book or author, click the title's link. 

1) From Dishes to Snow by Kathy M. Howard

     Bayne's journey is a very familiar one and one which I empathize and sympathize as I read the book. The emotional turmoil and growth within Bayne epitomized the strength of a woman--a woman with a Christian soul.
 2) Pirate by Night by Lisa Asenato

     With echoes of John Newton's Amazing Grace, this book portrays a two-fold love: the binding love of family and the binding love of God.
3) Hope by Josephine Walker

     " a gentle rain bringing peace in the middle of turmoil", this book gives the reader hope, too. A heartwarming and surprising mystery sure to delight readers.
4) Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso

     With original and detailed 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.
5) Space Drifters by Paul Regnier

     The symbolic undertone brought the biblical teachings about greed and wants, of love and sacrifice, and in what/who to place one's hope to the surface.
6) Good-Bye, Lover by Rachel Britz

     Rich Irish brogue and descriptions of its emerald beauty layered the book. Emotion and logic danced a waltz. A perfect and sweet romantic tale that I cherish.

     Intricate in detail and rich in love, this saga weaves a winding journey to glory. These books compete in storytelling with the major fantasy writers.

8) The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White

     Wonderfully intricate, well researched, and remarkable in symbolism, faith, and motifs, this story is a modern day Bronte novel.
9) The Post Card by Laura V. Hilton

     This book brings to heart life, love, faith, and forgiveness, and about all following God's direction, no matter the cost.
10) The Fallen by Clay A. Kahler

      Suspenseful, edge of the seat reading, with its nostalgic style, this book packs a powerful punch.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The TOP TEN on the Bookshelf

At the end of the year, I post about the top ten books of the year. Before I do that, which will be in a few weeks, I want to share with you my top favorites from the Read Shelf of my bookshelf. These are the top books that I will keep and reread multiple of times.

I will start with the most favorite of them all and go in descending order. Hope you enjoy and maybe you will find a new book to add to your collection. 

The Blue Flower by Henry van Dyke
~This century-plus old novel holds a treasure of allegorical stories to Jesus' ministries while on earth. Rich in prose and vivid in imagination, I can never part with this book.

Tapestry of Trust by Mary Annslee Urban
~Like a tapestry where the threads weave in and out to create a picture, this book contains threads of love, forgiveness, trust, and sacrifice wove into a beautiful story.

Pirate by Night by Lisa Asenato
~To chose revenge or redemption is harder than it seems. This book tells a richly inspiring tale of love.

Space Drifters: The Emerald Enigma by Paul Regnier
~Parables, allegories, and symbolism combine in this fast paced, highly entertaining, but thought provoking space adventure.

from Dishes to Snow by Kathy M. Howard
~Truthfully poignant and true to life, this book shows how God can heal the most heartbroken of them all.

Hope by Josephine Walker
~Mystery and faith weave a fantastic story that counters superstition and fear where only Truth wins.

Willing to Die by John Muntean
~The true history of Romania and one man's attempt to save his family and people show history repeating itself, especially in America.

Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso
~Symbolism and Faith, the Bible and its truth, demons and their lies, all combat as one man tries to unravel the dangerous mystery consuming him.

Dynamo by Eleanor Gustafson
~God equips. God leads. Such a heartbreaking story of two rebellious souls who form a bond and how each is a part of God's glory.

Good-Bye, Lover by Rachel Britz
~A sweet but deeply provoking book about ultimate sacrifice and the rewards of trusting in His love.

Tell me some of your favorites Christian books and be entered to win your choice of a Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Speculative or Thriller Christian book.

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.