Thursday, December 8, 2016

Will engage your heart: "Child of the River" by Irma Joubert

9780718083106, Child of the River, Irma Joubert

Born into squalor, Persomi grew up the middle child of share-croppers eking out their existence on the Fourie farm in a bushveld in South Africa. Her only escape from her reality comes from her reading and her sojourns into the mountains around her home. When Persomi is given the chance to go away to school, a whole other world opens up to her as she realizes that there is more to life than her tiny home in the bushveld. As the years pass, she discovers the reality of racial strife and war and abuse, tempered by a love that faces unimagined challenges.  

"Child of the River" is a compelling, moving story that not only captured my interest from the beginning, but engaged my heart at the same time. Persomi's story is equal parts heart-breaking as inspiring, all at once. I've never encountered a story quite like Persomi's before, one set in the time of the apartheid and yet also captured the essence of life in the bushveld, providing a fascinating (and at times horrifying) backdrop for the story. Watching Persomi grow from her difficult past to become a strong women, I couldn't help but cheer her on in her journey. And then Joubert throws a twist in the story that interrupted the happy ending I was anticipating. The result was a story even better than I expected, a journey that had moments of pain, but ulimately made the joy all the sweeter when the ending came. "Child of the River" is very well written, and fans of historical fiction are going to want to add this book to their collection. It is a truly unique story that captures the flavour of a different land and a fractured past, offering needed lessons to us all as we move into the future. This is one of those stories that I am going to return to again and again!

I strongly recommend this book and award it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the Booklook Bloggers review program. Available from your favorite book retailer from Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins.

 about the author...

Image result for irma joubert
International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She’s the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels. Facebook: irmajoubertpage

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Sure to get you in the Christmas spirit! "The Christmas Angel Project" by Melody Carlson

Cover Art

about the book....

Abby Wentworth is the glue that holds her book club together. So when she unexpectedly passes away on the cusp of the Christmas season, the rest of the women in the group are stunned, saddened, and sure that, without her, the group can't continue.

They gather "one last time" to open gifts Abby left behind, little knowing how it will change each of their lives--forever.

my review....

T'is the season to grab a Christmas-themed book, curl up with a hot drink and let the snow fly while you are whisked away to another world! If you read one book this Christmas season, I encourage you to read Melody Carlson's tender read, "The Christmas Angel Project". I quite enjoyed the cast of characters that we are introduced to in this story, as Grace, Cassidy, Belinda and Louisa seek to walk through their grief of losing their close friend Abby. Although the novel is not that long, Carlson has succeeded at fleshing each character out to the point that you get a good sense of who they are and can sympathize with each one's situation. I have read other stories where characters get bogged down in their grief and the story suffers as a result, but such is not the situation with "The Christmas Angel Project". Rather, the gifts that Abby offers enable the characters to find meaning in their suffering, and see that God's hand is with them and is able to bring good out of their loss. As a result, this Christmas-themed read contains a profound message that can uphold us through the darkest times of the year. As a male reader, I would have liked to see more of how Abby's husband experienced his grief and found hope in his pain as I felt I was left hanging a bit. However, I can appreciate how Carlson was trying to focus on these women's stories and was writing to a target audience, and she definitely succeeds there.

Wandering through the pages of "The Christmas Angel Project" will inspire you to look beyond yourself and see how you can bless others this Christmas. If you are looking for a book to encourage you, entertain you, and to put you in the Christmas spirit, then this may just be what you are looking for! I award this novel 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

 about the author....

Melody Carlson

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas BusThe Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's, which is being considered for a TV movie. She is also the author of many teen books, including Just Another GirlAnything but NormalDouble Take, the Life at Kingston High series, and the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. She is the winner of a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. Melody and her husband live in Oregon.

For more information about Melody visit her website at

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Riveting suspense: The Raven by Mike Nappa

Cover Art

about the book....

As part of his street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience's pockets while they watch. It's harmless fun--until he decides to keep the wallet of a prominent politician, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds compromising photos of the councilman and his "personal assistants," The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named "Nevermore."

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues to rescue The Raven from a wild card bent on revenge.

my review....

Fans of Christian suspense novels are going to love Mike Nappa's second novel in the Coffey & Hill series, "The Raven". I was blown away by his first book in the series, Annabel Lee, and so I was curious to see if this relatively new-to-me author would again be able to capture my attention with his follow-up book. And boy, did he ever! The Raven was simply riveting, from beginning to end. I was held captive by the entertaining plot equally as much as by the fascinating characters. The Raven is unlike any character I've encountered before, and I couldn't help but like the guy for all of his thieving ways. And just wait until you meet Mama Bliss! I wasn't sure whether I liked her or not, and in the end I think it was a little of both. Nappa has succeeded at raising reader's sympathies for the "good" and the "bad" until you realize that perhaps we are all a bit of each, saved but for the grace of God. Those readers who encountered Trudy and Samuel (the Coffee & Hill investigators) in Annabel Lee will greatly enjoy reconnecting with these characters again in this novel, and while it is not strictly necessary to have read Annabel Lee, I would recommend doing so just for the joy of journeying with them from start to finish. Their relationship is a complex one, with a difficult past and deep hurts all mixed up with a love that won't seem to let either of them go. As such, their story is one that you want to see more of, and of course things aren't perfectly resolved in this second novel regarding what their future holds. As I came to the close of "The Raven" and got a glimpse of the adventure that is to come, I can only imagine what lies in store for these two!

Mike Nappa has once again crafted a clever story that I am certain to return to in the future. His books are the kind that you simply must devour in one sitting, and I am looking forward to the third book in the series. If it's anything like these first two installments, we are in for a treat indeed. I award this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

 about the author....

Mike Nappa

Mike Nappa is an entertainment journalist at, as well as a bestselling and award-winning author with more than one million books sold worldwide. When he was a kid, the stories of Edgar Allan Poe scared him silly. Today he owns everything Poe ever wrote. A former fiction acquisitions editor, Mike earned his MA in English literature and now writes full time.

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