Friday, July 22, 2016

A unique historical novel: "From This Moment" by Elizabeth Camden


Cover Art


about the book....


Stella West's artistic talent made her the toast of London, but when her beloved sister dies under mysterious circumstances she abandons everything and heads for Boston. With single-minded determination she fights to pierce the ring of secrecy surrounding her sister's death. Upon meeting Romulus White, a publisher with connections into every important power circle in the city, she quickly realizes he could be a valuable ally in navigating Boston society.

Romulus has been pursuing Stella for years to create art for his magazine. Her luminous illustrations are the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry, and he will stop at nothing to get her on board. 

Sparks fly the instant they join forces, but Romulus is unsettled by the unwelcome attraction he feels toward Stella, fearing she might be the one woman who could disrupt his hard-won independence. He may have finally met his match in Stella, but is helping her solve the mystery of her sister's death worth the risk to his publishing empire?


my review....

Elizabeth Camden once again offers up another unique historical read in her latest book "From This Moment". Artist Stella West and publisher Romulus White are each strong characters whose personalities sizzle upon contact. The result is often witty repertoire between the two of them as they dance around their feelings for each other in the midst of their own driving goals. Sometimes authors can overdo it when characters are each fighting their attraction for each other as this element of this story can become over the top, but that is not the case here. I thought the romance progresses well and in a believable manner. I also enjoyed the historical research that shines through this story as Camden succeeds at bringing the Boston of 1897 to life with an interesting focus on the establishment of the very first underground subway in America. This element intersects well with the murder mystery that drives the story forward, creating an interesting overall plot. The only part of the story that lowered my enjoyment is that Stella's character simply comes across as too headstrong at times as her own needs often railroad over what Romulus is experiencing, casting her in quite a selfish and, sad to say, unlikable light. However, the final chapters reveal a side of Stella that I quite liked - and I won't say more as I don't want to give the ending away!

"From This Moment" offers up lots of surprising moments that will keep you glued to the pages, set in a historical setting that I very much enjoyed. Although this isn't my favourite Elizabeth Camden novel, I still thought it was a solid addition to her repertoire and award it 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.



 about the author....


Elizabeth Camden


Elizabeth Camden is the author of eight historical novels and has been honored with a RITA Award, Christy Award, and Daphne du Maurier Award. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. She lives with her husband in Florida. Learn more at www.elizabethcamden.com.





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Remembering Dresden (Jack Turner Suspense Series Book 2) by [Walsh, Dan]

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Very well written! "Like a River From Its Course" by Kelli Stuart


Like a River from its Course


about the book...



An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope
The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little—known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.
Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.
Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the “killing ditch.” He survives, but not without devastating consequences.
Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.
Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the F├╝hrer’s plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.
my review...


"Like a River From Its Course" is an emotional, moving story that will leave you horrified by the depth of human depravity and yet inspired by the characters' courage and faith in the midst of adversity. The author's research shines through this book, as there is an air of realism that permeates the pages. The fact that I was reading about characters whose experiences were based on true stories made them all the more heart-breaking to read about. Kelli Stuart writes with a sure hand, with carefully crafted scenes and the ability to bring her characters to life. Never before have I read about the "Killing ditch" where so many men and women and children were lined up and shot by the Nazis. I can scarcely comprehend such a piece of history! And yet the ability of the Ukrainian people to survive such atrocities is remarkable. It is one thing to open a history textbook and read about events such as these. but it is another thing entirely to be drawn into the lives of the characters depicted in these pages, grow to care about them deeply, and then watch them encounter the things they do. I can honestly say that I am so grateful for the time I was able to spend in the pages of this story, because Kelli Stuart has brought to life these stories in a way that will stay with me for a long time. And after enduring with these characters through their hard journey, I especially love that the ending, while bittersweet, has threads of happiness at the same time, showing how God is able to bring good out of the darkest of times.

I will certainly be taking this book off my shelf again in the future! I greatly enjoyed this amazing novel and I award it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher and the Litfuse Publicity Group, for the purposes of this unbiased review.


about the author...


Kelli Stuart
Kelli Stuart is the coauthor of Dare 2B Wise and has written for several brands including Disney, American Girl, and Short Fiction Break. She has served as editor-in-chief for the St. Louis Bloggers Guild and as a board member for the St. Louis Women in Media. In addition to her writing, Kelli has spent twenty years studying Ukranian culture. Kelli lives in Florida.
Find out more about Kelli athttp://kellistuart.com.







 

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Free ebook: "A Room of My Own" by Ann Tatlock


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Sunday, July 17, 2016

An intriguing story from Tosca Lee: "The Progeny"



about the book...



New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee brings a modern twist to an ancient mystery surrounding the most notorious female serial killer of all time. A fast-paced thriller for fans of Lee’s Books of Mortals series with Ted Dekker, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and BBC America’s hit series Orphan Black.

Emily Porter is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted.

She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.

Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. A story about the search for self amidst centuries-old intrigues and Europe’s underground scene…and one woman’s mission to survive.


My review....


"The Progeny" is an intriguing story from Tosca Lee, a tale filled with mystery and twists and turns from start to finish. The pacing is fast, and as such my interest was held throughout the book. As with Lee's other novels, the writing is beautiful, with vivid descriptions and great dialogue that moves the story forward. Despite all that, however, I must admit that this isn't my favourite book from Lee, as I just couldn't connect with the primary character, Emily, like in Lee's other novels. At first I really liked that I was never quite sure what was going on, as I wasn't sure who was good and who was bad. But by mid-way through the novel I came to realize that I hadn't yet grown to really care about any of the characters! And although I can appreciate when a novel ends on a cliff hanger, by the time I finished this story I hadn't really found that much of a climax had yet occurred. I must say that these comments are unusual for me to write, as Tosca Lee is one of my favorite authors. I will say, however, that I am wanting to dive into the next volume in this series to see what is coming next, because perhaps I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for this story, and there are likely good things to come.

All in all, I award this book a solid rating of 4 stars, because despite the short-comings I feel it has, it is still a well-written novel with a unique plot that many readers are sure to love. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

An egalley of this book was provided by the publisher, Howard Books and netgalley, for the purposes of this unbiased review. 



about the author...



Tosca LeeTosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Iscariot; Demon: A Memoir; Havah: The Story of Eve; and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker. To learn more about Tosca, visit ToscsaLee.com. - See more at: http://authors.simonandschuster.ca/Tosca-Lee/403271376#sthash.S6hJuXAt.dpuf

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Berenstain Bears' Caring and Sharing Treasury by Jan & Mike Berenstain

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The latest Berenstain Bears' release is a wonderful compilation of books bound together in the "Caring and Sharing Treasury". Each of the five books in the series is part of the Berenstain Bears Living Lights collection, and the five books included in the collection are "Jobs Around Town", "Get Involved", "Love Their Neighbors", "Gossip Gang" and "The Biggest Brag". Each book opens with an applicable Bible verse that the story then goes on to bring to life in a wonderful and unique way.

My children quite enjoyed each of the stories that grace this collection, and each of them has spent much time poring over the colorful pictures and reading through the stories. Regarding the reading level the books are written in, my grade 2 son had a bit of trouble with some of the words but has been able to make his way through the stories. The Berenstains are not only great authors, but are great illustrators as well, and I love that the pictures are action packed, filled with life and humor and emotions that are portrayed on the bears' faces. As a parent, I am so thankful for stories like these that teach such valuable life lessons to my children. And, I especially like the Activities and Questions section at the back of this collection that contains further questions to help my children really understand the lessons portrayed in the stories. The activities are designed to carry God's light into our neighbourhoods and are great suggestions for families to do all together. 

All in all, I believe that this is a great grouping of stories and provides good value for the money that is spent. My children and I are quite pleased with this book, and award it a solid recommendation and a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

 A review copy was received from the publisher via the Booklook Bloggers program, for the purposes of this unbiased review.



 about the author....


Stan and Jan Berenstain introduced the first Berenstain Bear books in 1962. Mike Berenstain grew up watching his parents work together to write about and draw these lovable bears. Eventually he started drawing and writing about them too.  Though Stan died in 2005, and Jan in 2012, Mike continues to create the delightful Bear adventures from the family home and studio in Pennsylvania, in an area that looks much like the sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country.


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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Free ebook: "Hidden Things: A "happily-ever-after" heartbreak love story" by Andrea Boeshaar


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A deeply moving book from Chris Fabry: "The Promise of Jesse Woods"




about the book...


The summer of 1972 was the most pivotal of Matt Plumley’s childhood. While his beloved Pirates battle for back-to-back World Series titles, Matt’s family moves from Pittsburgh to Dogwood, West Virginia, where his father steps into the pulpit of a church under the thumb of town leader Basil Blackwood. A fish out of water, Matt is relieved to forge a fast bond with two unlikely friends: Dickie Darrel Lee Hancock, a mixed-race boy, and Jesse Woods, a tough-as-nails girl with a sister on her hip and no dad in sight.

As the trio traipses the hills and hollers, Matt begins to fall for Jesse, and their promises to each other draw him deeper into her terrifying reality. One night, the wrath of the Blackwoods and the secrets of Jesse’s family collide, and Matt joins Jesse in a rescue that saves one life and ends another . . . and severs the bond of their friendship.

Years later, Matt is pulled back to Dogwood and to memories of that momentous summer by news of Jesse’s upcoming wedding. He could never shake the feeling that there was more to the story of that fateful night, and he’s determined to learn the truth behind the only promise Jesse Woods ever broke.


my review...


Once again, Chris Fabry has offered up a poignant, moving novel with his latest release, "The Promise of Jesse Woods". Flashing back and forth between past and present, Fabry drew me deep into the lives of Matt, Jesse and Dickie. There are many books that I've read where these alternating story lines simply don't work - but this is not one of them. Rather, each viewpoint contributes to the other and makes for some addictive reading as I could barely put the book down in my quest to see how things would unfold. I was mesmerised by Jesse's plight as she has to be big sister and mom and friend all rolled into one, and I can't imagine having to deal with the heart-wrenching events that she does. Now, I have to say that I was rooting for a particular ending to this story, one that didn't exactly happen. But by the time I turned the final page, the ending did indeed feel right in its realism. That said, you know how some stories just leave you with an ache on this inside? "The Promise of Jesse Woods" is one of those stories. Fabry has succeeded at creating characters that are as real as you and I, and you will hurt and cry and rejoice right alongside of them. Even better, real faith in Jesus permeates this book, and makes it all the better for it.

I truly encourage you to pick up a copy of this wonderful novel for yourself, and immerse yourself in this excellent story of Matt and Jesse. You will be so glad that you did! 5 out of 5 stars.

An egalley has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Tyndale, for the purposes of this unbiased review.


about the author...

Chris FabryChris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. He is also heard on Love Worth Finding,Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and other radio programs. A 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, now live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.

Chris' novels, which include DogwoodJune BugAlmost HeavenNot in the HeartBorders of the HeartEvery Waking Moment, and his latest release, The Promise of Jesse Woods, have won three Christy Awards, an ECPA Christian Book Award, and Christianity Today's Book Award of Merit, but it's his lyrical prose and tales of redemption that keep readers returning for more.

He has also published more than 65 other books, including nonfiction, film novelizations, and novels for children and young adults. He coauthored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteriesand The Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. RPM is his latest series for kids and explores the exciting world of NASCAR.



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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Perhaps her best mystery yet: "Murder Comes by Mail" (The Hidden Springs Mysteries Book #2) by A. H. Gabhart




Cover Art


about the book....


Doing a good deed never felt so bad

Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane doesn't particularly enjoy being touted as the hero of Hidden Springs after pulling a suicidal man back from the edge of the Eagle River bridge in front of dozens of witnesses--a few of whom caught the breathtaking moments with their cameras. But the media hype doesn't last long as a new story pushes its way into the public consciousness of Hidden Springs' concerned citizens. 

Photos of a dead girl arrive in the mail, and Michael becomes convinced she was murdered by the man he saved. With a killer one step ahead, things in Hidden Springs begin to unravel. Now Michael must protect the people he loves--because the killer could be targeting one of them next.


my review....

My goodness, A.H. Gabhart! What a suspenseful mystery you have penned this time! "Murder Comes By Mail" captured my attention from the first couple of chapters, and I found myself dashing from scene to scene to see what would happen next. Now, interestingly enough I have read other reviews where readers found the plot to be slow and predictable and not as enjoyable as the first mystery in the series (Murder at the Courthouse). Proving how individual all of our tastes are, I found the exact opposite to be true! I was even more impressed with this book than the first in the series, and I thought that the plot moved along at a great pace with plenty of action filled scenes to keep me hooked. Did I guess what was going on early in the book? I had my suspicions, of course, based on the hints from the author nudging me in that direction. But to me the sign of a good author is not just having the element of surprise regarding the perpetrators identity. More importantly it is the ability to execute the plot with great timing and some suspense, and I personally thought Gabhart absolutely nailed this. Add in an absolutely delightful cast of characters (I love Aunt Lindy!) and even a dash of romance, and this was a recipe for time well spent. I closed the cover of this novel with a certain admiration for Gabhart's diverse skills with the pen, as I equally enjoy her historical novels as I do her contemporary mysteries such as this one. If that isn't the sign of a good author, I don't know what is!

Mystery lovers, get yourself a copy of "Murder Comes by Mail". You are definitely going to enjoy this book! I personally can't wait for book 3 of the series as the sneak peak included in this book has already whetted my appetite! 4.5 out of 5 stars. 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.



 about the author....


A. H. Gabhart

A. H. Gabhart is the author of Murder at the Courthouse and Murder Comes by Mail. As Ann H. Gabhart, she is the bestselling author of many novels, including Angel SisterSmall Town Girl, and Love Comes Home, several Shaker novels such as The OutsiderThe Believer, andThe Innocent, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. Ann grew up in a small Kentucky town much like Hidden Springs, and today she and her husband live on a farm nearby. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com.





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Free book today: "In Plain View (Valley of Choice Book 2)" by Olivia Newport



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Monday, July 11, 2016