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Posts tagged ‘Christian Fiction’

Miss Foolish Heart

Susan May WarrenEveryone in Deep Haven knows Isadora Presley is the town recluse.  What they don’t know is that she’s also Miss Foolish Heart, the popular syndicated talk radio show host.   Listeners to her show love taking her relationship advice but what they don’t know as they’re  is that Miss Foolish Heart has never even been on a date.

Isadora, known as Issy to her friends, has barely left her neighborhood since the accident that took her mother’s life and left her father a quadriplegic.  The world just seems so dangerous–why anything could happen.  Just look at all that has happened since the handsome new neighbor moved in next door.  That dog of his has been causing constant trouble not to mention that he insists on parking his huge truck right on top of her flowers.

Things have been going a bit crazy on the Miss Foolish Heart show too.  First the Governor of California’s daughter decides to settle for an imperfect man because she’s tired of waiting for Mr. Right, and she calls in to invite Miss Foolish Heart to the wedding.  If Issy can’t even make it  to  her best friend Lucy’s World’s Best Donuts’ shop right in town, how could she ever get on a plane.

Then a sweet young man calls the show trying to get advice for wooing his neighbor.  The listeners love this young man, and her ratings skyrocket.  Issy finds herself falling for this sweet young man even as she gives him advice on how to win another girls heart.  Oh, why can’t Issy find someone that perfect?

My Foolish Heart is the third installment in Susan May Warren’s Deep Haven series.  It is a perfectly delightful  read.  The pace keeps you moving right along, and you grow to love the characters more and more throughout the story.  As with all of Susan’s books, the descriptions and settings have the ability to transport you right into the scene.  I hope she plans to bring us more stories about the endearing people of Deep Haven.

I enthusiastically give this book 5 Stars.

The Hawaii That Was

Hawaiian Crosswinds                                            by Linda Lee Chaikin

The tropical vacationers paradise we know today as our 50th state is but a gleam in the eye of Rafe Easton and fellow annexation supporters.  The royal government is not only corrupted by money being offered by the drug lords, but Hawaii is in danger of falling to whatever country decides to overtake the small island nation.  Rafe knows it is crucial to gain the backing of the Unites States Constitution and Military.

Rafe’s fiance Eden Derrington, a nurse,  is part of one of the most influential families in Hawaii.  She longs to go with her physician father, to work on the leper colony island of Molokai.  She has learned that her mother, once thought dead, is actually living–and dying in the colony.  Eden desires more than anything to spend time with the mother she barely remembers before it is too late.

Eden and her father need permission from Queen Liliuokalani to begin a clinic on the island.  Rafe needs to make sure the queen learns nothing of the plans for annexation, or those behind it.  When the plans for annexation go missing and Rafe learns that both Eden and her father were in the vicinity of the theft, will he be able to trust the woman he loves, or will mistrust tear them apart for good.

Written in a classic literary style with lots of dialogue between the characters telling much of the story,  Chaikin really brings to life the struggles to bring Hawaii to what we know it as today.   Well done character development is balanced with an intricate, yet easy to follow plot.   Hawaiian Crossroads was an enjoyable read.  This is the second book in the Dawn of Hawaii series, and although not essential, it is probably a good idea to begin with the first –The Spoils of Eden.

Fans of Chaikin’s work may recognize characters in this beautiful story from earlier book For Whom the Stars Shine.  Having read that book a number of years ago, I asked if it was technically a part of this series and here is Chaikins reply:

“We can call For Whom the Stars Shine a prequel to Spoils of Eden and Hawaiian Crosswinds.  Stars deals with Rafe and Eden when they were younger and sets the stage for the big mystery of what happened to Eden’s mother, Rebecca.  The Dawn of Hawaii trilogy follows and builds on Stars after Eden realizes her mother is a leper.   For Whom the Stars Shine is out of print right now and I’m hoping Moody may want to reprint it to go with the present trilogy.”

This book is a definite 4 star read.

I received a review copy of this book  from the publisher, Moody Press, through the NetGalley service.  All opinions rendered are my own.

Lifesaving Medication Killing Patients

Lethal Remedy                                                                by Richard Mabry, M.D.

Dr. Sara Miles doesn’t really want to go to her self absorbed ex-husband, Dr. Jack Ingersoll  for help, but if she doesn’t young Chelsea will most likely die.  He is in charge of the study for a  medication trial of the only treatment for Staph luciferus, an infection that makes MRSA look like childs play.

Retired physician, Dr. John Ramsey comes back to medicine following the death of his wife.  He is looking for meaning in his presently meaningless existence.  What he finds is legal trouble for helping a dying woman, and who knows what kind of trouble from the prick of an improperly disposed of needle.

Dr. Rip Pearson is assisting Sara’s ex  in the medication trial.  Actually he seems to be doing all the patient work since Dr. Ingersoll is only interested in the parts of the trial that will bring him success and fame.

When patients begin experiencing life threatening delayed reactions from the medication, neither Dr. Ingersoll or Jandra Pharmaceutical want to hear about it.  Their medication has been fast-tracked for approval from the FDA and they plan on keeping it that way.

Soon Sara, John, Rip, and their colleague Mark are in a race to save not only the lives of their patients, but their own lives as well.  Someone want’s them to drop the investigation and they don’t care who get’s hurt in the process.

This is the fourth book in the Prescription for Trouble Series.  Each of the books in this series are easily readable as stand alone novels.  The book has a gripping plot and great layering of sub-plots.  The characters have depth and by the end of the book the reader feels invested in their lives.  The only part that takes a bit of processing is at the beginning when all the medical personnel and conditions are being introduced.  Once the reader files all that information away, the book is very difficult to put down.

Dr. Mabry’s novels get better with each new one he writes.  I hope he continues to grace us with his stories for a long time to come.  This book is worthy of 4.5 Stars.

I received this book for review from the publisher through the netGalley program.  All opinions given are my own.

No Memory is as Scary as the Ones You’ve Lost

Book of Days                                                by James L. Rubart

Imagine whole chunks of your memory disappearing.  Imagine your dad died with the same symptoms.  Scary, huh?  Now imagine your dad died 8 years ago at age 49.  Imagine yourself spiraling into this abyss when you’re only 25.  Cameron Vaux doesn’t need to imagine it–he’s living it.

When Cameron’s dad died 8 years ago he warned him that this day would come.  He also told him about a book of days where God records every moment of every persons life.  He told Cameron that if he can find this book it may cure him.  Six years later, on her deathbed after a tragic accident, his wife Jesse tells him the same thing.

Although quite agnostic, Cameron is determined to try anything that may spare him.   Jesse’s foster-sister Ann, and Cameron have a cold distant relationship, but she is an investigative reporter so he contacts her for help.  She reluctantly agrees, and the story takes off.

This book was hard to put down.  It’s the kind of book that can make you stay up until 3AM without noticing.  The characters have great depth and the settings are at times beyond description.

James Rubart is one of the best new authors to come onto the fiction scene in quite a while.  His meaningful, gripping tales are the product of superb storytelling.  His exciting tales contain that extra twist that makes the difference between a good book and a great book.

5 Star Worthy

Can the Afghan People Ever Know True Freedom?

Freedom’s Stand                                                            by J.M. Windle

Aid worker Amy Mallory returns from a trip stateside to find overwhelming and seemingly negative changes to the New Hope Compound.  The rescued women have been put to work doing the backbreaking job of carpet-making,  the area she secured to give them more living space has been turned into a business, and most troubling to Amy, several of the women have been married off to strangers.

Jamil has found peace traveling the countryside, using his medical skills as a healer and sharing the teachings of Isa Masih (Jesus Christ).   When he is unknowingly  filmed by a journalist and his faith is broadcast on YouTube for all the world to see, he finds himself behind bars in one of the most notorious prisons in all of Afghanistan.  He is accused of apostasy, and all Afghans know the penalty for apostasy is death.

Condor Security operative Steve Wilson thought he had seen the last of Afghanistan and is busy planning an extended tropical beach vacation.  When the young son of the friend who took over his assignment is diagnosed with Leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant Steve insists on filling in so the family can be together at this crucial time.  If only Steve could find something to do that would fill his life with purpose…

The Afghan people still live without freedom ten years after the ousting of the Taliban.  Regardless of outside intervention the country seems bent on destroying and imprisoning itself from within.  Is there any real hope of freedom?  Of love?  Can anyone make a difference?

Freedom’s Stand is the completion of the tale begun in Veiled Freedom.  While it’s possible to read the story alone, you will miss the depth of the story if you try to do so.  This story is both riveting any meaningful.  Many times you will find yourself on the edge of your seat, and yet you will also find your heart aching for the lives and love of the Afghan people.  This is an important story that tells what life is like behind the news headlines.

The author, Jeanette Windle,  has done her research well, including an under the radar trip to Afghanistan.  In fact, her research is so detailed that it has prompted government agencies to question whether she has seen classified information.   She brings this world of to life through her understanding of  what it is like to work and live as a missionary in the “Hot Zones” of the world.

This book, and actually both books in this series, are five-star quality.  I would highly recommend picking up a copy of both Veiled Freedom and Freedom’s stand to add to your collection of fine literature.

Simple Choices is a Great Choice

Simple Choices                                       by Nancy Mehl

Gracie is quickly regretting her choice to bring Mennonite teenager Hannah to Wichita for six weeks of art classes.   Hannah, dressed in tight jeans and a tank top, is throwing a temper tantrum that rivals any thrown by the typical American teenager.  And is that mascara and jewelery Gracie spies?  There is no way Hannah’s parents are going to let her stay with Mr. Monahan and attend a specialized Art High School for her senior year.  Getting her back to Harmony looking like her old self is going to be hard enough.

Soon after returning the newly reinvented teenager to her parents, Gracie is devastated to learn the teenager has gone missing.  The police assume that Hannah has run away, but even though the teen has undergone some radical changes, Gracie knows she would never do that to her parents.  And to make matters worse, three other teenagers that fit Hannah’s description have recently gone missing as well.  And on top of all this Gracie is trying to plan her wedding, and visit with her parents and ailing grandfather who have come to town for the wedding.

Plot twists and layers  keep the reader’s attention throughout this well written story.  The true to life flaws and struggles faced by the Mennonite community in this book, make it more realistic than many works about sheltered societies.  Although this is book three in a series the author does a good job of bringing the new reader up to date on what is going on without seeming to retell the previous story.  I found this book to be a very enjoyable read.  It is neither a light or heavy read and I believe most readers will thoroughly enjoy it.  I confidently give it 4 stars.

This book was provided to me by Barbour Publishing, through NetGalley.  All opinions rendered are my own.

Be Alert: Suspect Using Poisonous Plants to Kill

Died in the Wool                                    by Elizabeth Ludwig and Janelle Mowery

In this hometown mystery Monah, the town librarian, is  on a mission to get much-needed funds to purchase computers for her little library.  She’s up against quite a bit of competition, including her boyfriend who wants the funds for police department improvements.

When her competition starts dying, fingers point to Monah as a likely suspect.  She has given them both water bottles right before they died.  Toxicology reports show that they died from Monkshood poisoning, but that doesn’t narrow down the suspect pool, because the garden club sent out monkshood seeds to all its members this spring.  Since she knows she didn’t do it, Monah realizes that she or her boyfriend might be next on the killers to-do list. 

Suspects abound in this cute cozy mystery.  It is a good read for when you want something lighthearted and easy to read.  Several times I thought I knew who did it, but I kept changing my mind.  Right up until the end of the story,  I was still searching for the answer to this pleasant who-done-it.  I give it 3 Stars.

Died in the Wool is book two in the Massachusetts Mayhem Mysteries, part of the Hometown Mystery collection by Barbour Books Publishing. 

I was provided with this book by the publisher through NetGalley.  All opinions rendered are my own.

Come Visit a Rose-Red City Half as Old as Time*

Petra:  City in Stone                     by T.L. Higley

In Petra: City in Stone, I  felt like I was being whisked back in time to this ancient lost city.  Historically accurate without sounding like a history book, Higley takes the reader on a journey of what might have been, mixed right alongside  the story of what was.  Higley does a spectacular job of creating a feel of the life and structure of the city.

Cassia’s waiting for the circumstances to be right to get herself and her young son away from her abusive thief of a man Aretas, but how can a woman with a young son survive without money or a place to go?  Especially when Aretas will certainly come after her and punish her for leaving.  When the opportunity finally presents itself, Cassia takes young Alexander and leaves for Petra, the city of her husband’s birth.  She is hoping to find his estranged family and ask them to take her in.

The Treasury at Petra

Watching his betrothed and his friends as they are fed to the lions, Julian is afraid his brash and outspoken behavior as a leader of the followers of The Way will soon mean death to his prominent family.  Julian steals away to Petra, the city of stone, hoping to start anew and make a new name for himself as a talented sculptor of stone.

Petra, the ancient city carved into the desert rock is a place where worship of demon gods abounds.  A small group of followers of Christ know it’s only a matter of time before open persecution begins.  When both Cassia and Julian are pulled into the care of this group, things will never be the same.  Can Cassia learn that love must be shared out of abundance and that abundance can only come through Jesus?  How long will Julian run from his God given call to leadership?  The life of Cassia’s son Alexander hangs within the answer to these questions.

Siq, a narrow passage that is the only road into Petra

I really enjoyed reading this book, and will look for new titles in this series to read in the future.   I give it 4.5  stars.

This book was provided to me for review by NetGalley.  All opinions rendered are my own.

* “a rose-red city half as old as time” is a line about Petra in a sonnet by John William Burgeon

Wolfsbane: Ronie Kendigs best work yet!

Wolfsbane                by Ronie Kendig

This is the most amazing book I have read in a long time.  It has a high intensity, quick moving plot that doesn’t sacrifice depth of character.  Descriptive settings cause the reader to feel like they are living the adventure alongside the characters.  The characters, though unique, feel true to life and experience struggles and sins that aren’t solved in the blink of an eye.

Just when you think she’s packed everything into the plot, Ronie Kendig adds another layer.  This book is worthy of 5+ stars.  It has just the right balance of adventure, suspense, and romance.

Wolfsbane is the third installment in Ronie Kendig’s Discarded Hero’s series.  It follow’s the story of  former Green Beret Canyon Metcalfe and demolitions expert and senator’s daughter Danielle Roark.

After finally escaping the clutches of a Venezuelan general who has been keeping her as his personal sex slave, Dani Roark is plucked from the sea by Range Metcalf.  She brings critical information she has gleaned to the authorities only to have them tell her that her info seems too perfect.  They accuse her of working with the general and soon she faces the option of trial as a traitor and possible execution, or a return trip to the land of her captivity to prove  her information correct.

Meanwhile Dani meets Canyon Metcalf, Range’s brother who immediately feels drawn to her in all the ways he doesn’t want to be.   Not only does his past make it impossible to love her, but Range has claimed her as his girl.

Canyon’s team  is given the assignment of going into Venezuela to protect Dani and help her get the proof she needs.  Canyon promises Dani that he will protect her, and never leave her behind, but he soon realizes that he is not ultimately in control.

If you only read one book this year, this is the one I recommend.   It will be released July 1, 2011.

This book was provided to me free of charge to review by NetGalley.  All opinions rendered are my own.

Hairdresser Accused in Missing Body Case

Missing Mabel                by Nancy Mehl

When Hilde Higgins, hairdresser to the recently departed is called in to tidy the tresses of 87 year old Mabel Winnemaker, she is shocked to her roots to discover the body has been switched.  Before long, fingers are being pointed at Hilde accusing her  of  inventing this conspiracy to cover her own pilfering of  Mabel’s diamond ring.  Hilde knows she is innocent, but the evidence is found in her handbag.  Who would set her up, and why?  Although Hilde comes up with several suspects, none of them seem likely.  Hilde’s life seems to be in tangles.  Can she straighten things out before her life is trimmed short.

I really enjoyed reading this book.  The characters are amusing and the story is captivating.  It moves along at a brisk pace and all the questions are tied up by the end.  It is the perfect book for when you want a good relaxing read that doesn’t require too much thinking on your part.  I give this book a solid 4 stars.  Although it’s not a blockbuster, it does the job it was called to do quite well.

Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and her son, Danny. She’s authored nine books and is currently at work on her newest series for Barbour Publishing.

Nancy says,  “I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

When can a suspense novel be life changing?

Over the Edge           by Brandilyn Collins

Brandilyn Collins delivers yet another stay-up-all-night-till-you-finish read with the release of her new suspense novel Over the Edge.

Janessa McNeil seemed to be living the best time of her life until someone purposely infected her with Lyme disease.  Why would someone do this to the  friendly, likable housewife and mother?   Janessa’s husband is one of the leading researchers discounting the existence of chronic Lyme disease, and the perpetrator believes that seeing his own wife suffer will cause change the mind of the unfeeling Dr. Brock McNeil.  What the perpetrator doesn’t realize is that things aren’t as they seem in the McNeil marriage, and Janessa will soon be left alone to deal with a disabling disease her husband thinks is all in her mind.  Now, the perpetrator is threatening to infect the McNeil’s nine year old daughter as well.  Since Dr. McNeil believes this to be a ruse by his wife, and Janessa is too sick to even think, what is to stop him from succeeding?

Drawn from the pages of the authors own battle with chronic Lyme disease, this is a book that will grip you and not let you go.  Deep characters, an amazing plot, and filled with Brandilyn Collins trademark Seatbelt Suspense, this book shares a message that will reach to your heart.   If  you, or someone you know suffers from Lyme Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, or has undiagnosed muscle weakness, joint pain, or confused thinking, this book is an absolute must read.   If not, it is still one amazing work of art.

Definitely 5 Star Worthy

This book was given to me by NetGalley for review purposes.  All opinions rendered are my own.

Warning: Environmental Disaster in Progress!

Disaster Status                                                 by Candace Calvert

When an environmental disaster in progress becomes a media circus and danger to the community Pacific Mercy  Charge Nurse Erin Quinn calls for reinforcements.  What she gets is Fire Captain Scott McKenna, a handsome  incident commander who insists on doing everything by the book -even when that means refusing Erin entry into her own E.R.  Tempers flare and sparks fly as these two battle it out, each trying to do their version of the right thing.

I thoroughly enjoyed book 1 in this series and was expecting book 2 to rate at the same level.  In many ways it does.  Author Candace Calvert builds deep, believable characters with all the quirky nuances that make them, well…characters.  The plot took off right from the start, built in intensity as the story went on, and did not disappoint.  This being said, I did not enjoy this book as much as book 1.  It seemed that throughout this book Calvert was setting the stage for book 3.  She took too much time building characters and situations that did not matter to this book.

This book would be great for a book club wanting a light read.  There are many aspects that would make for great discussion,  especially the differences between being a strong woman and a woman of strength.

I am only giving this book 4 stars, but would definitely still choose to read it if I were going back to make that choice.   Even though this book can be read as a stand alone, I suggest reading book 1 first as it will help you understand the relationships between the characters better.  All 3 books in this series are currently available, and as of today (5/2/11), Critical Care is available as a free download for Kindle at Amazon.

Wedding Bells and Blowflies

Nick of Time                      by Tim Downs

Blowflies, dead bodies, and cadaver dogs -ahh the scent of romance is in the air.  Eew, O.K. maybe the scent of romance doesn’t typically include that particular scent, but  Nick Polchak and Alana Savard  are anything but your typical engaged couple.

This latest installment of the Bug Man novels finds Nick and Alana less than a week away from their wedding.  When Nick takes off to help a friend saying he’ll only be gone a day, Alana is frantic.  Is he running away because he’s getting cold feet?  Does he truly love her?  Does he even really know what it means to love another person -after all he refers to people as “your species” and considers himself more closely related to the insects he studies.   Not only that, but Nick tends to be single minded when he gets focused.  Will he just forget about the wedding?  Alana is not going to let that happen, but then things happen to make her question the sanity of marrying Nick.  Will this wedding take place?  Will they even live to see it take place?  Not if certain people have anything to say about it.

Although Nick of Time is part of a series, it can easily be read on it’s own.  This comes with a warning:  You will want to go back and read the other books in the series when you are done with Nick of Time.  The author, Tim Downs, is a master storyteller.  His characters are unique and quirky, but in a way that makes them totally real.  His plots flow easily, and you will find yourself quickly immersed in the story-world.  This is a thoroughly enjoyable read.  Hopefully this story will continue for many books to come.  It is definitely worthy of the 5 stars I am giving it.

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through BookSneeze®.  This  review is completely my own opinion, based on my reading of the book.

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