Monday, August 29, 2016

Free ebook: "Spellbound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today's Kids" by Montenegro

Spellbound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today's Kids - eBook

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Entertaining and convicting: "A Heart Most Certain (Teaville Moral Society Book #1)" by Melissa Jagears


Cover Art


about the book....


Lydia King knows what it's like to be in need, so she joins the Teaville Moral Society hoping to help the town's poor. But with her father's debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poorhouse herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn't hurt that his mother is the moral society's president. Lydia's first task as a moral society member--to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town--seems easy . . . until the man flat-out refuses.

Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresees the harrowing complications that will arise from working together, and when town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs--and hearts--truly align.

my review....

It is not often that I read a historical fiction novel where, not only do I enjoy being entertained, but I find myself to be utterly convicted by what I am reading at the same time! Such is the case with "A Heart Most Certain", a book where the characters take the expected dance towards affection and love, but in a utterly unique way. Lydia and Nicholas are two strong-willed characters who are stuck in their view of what life - and God - has to offer them - until they meet each other that is! The author does a great job at fleshing out these characters, flaws and all, and allowing them to each experience change in the course of the novel. As Lydia is pushed out of her comfort zone to encounter prostitutes and their children, she finds her worldview forced completely off kilter as the prejudices she has held begin to crumble. The compassion that she begins to experience was inspiring, and I found myself shifting uncomfortably in my chair while reading, as I considered whether I tangibly show the love of God in the same sort of ways that Nicholas, and later Lydia, do. It is so much easier to show love and compassion to those who run in the same socials circles as us, but as Lydia finds out, it is all the harder when you are confronted with the dark side of humanity. And yet it is in those dark places that Jesus' light can shine all the brighter, and I really appreciate how the author brings this truth to light. The author weaves some danger and intrigue into the mix of this story as well, and though I didn't always approve of Lydia's actions, I can certainly understand them.

The first book in the Teaville Moral Society series offers up a solid start to what is sure to be an intriguing series of historical novels. I have no doubt that those readers who love a good historical fiction book will find their time well-spent with "A Heart Most Certain". I award this book 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....


Melissa Jagears


Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of A Bride for KeepsA Bride in Store,and A Bride at Last, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She's a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Find her online at www.melissajagears.com.



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Monday, August 22, 2016

Kept the pages turning: "When Death Draws Near" by Carrie Stuart Parks


When Death Draws Near


about the book...



Death has always been part of Gwen Marcey’s job. But when faced with her own mortality, everything takes on a different hue.
Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs and homes when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky. The Eastern Kentucky town, located deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, has been plagued by a serial rapist and a series of unexplained deaths. Before Gwen can develop a composite drawing, the latest witness vanishes, just like all the previous victims.
Turning her attention to sketching the face of an unidentified body, she discovers a link between his death and a Pentecostal serpent-handling church. Serpent-handling is illegal in Kentucky, and the churches have gone underground to avoid the authorities and continue to worship as they believe. Gwen is offered a handsome reward to infiltrate the renegade members, a reward she desperately needs as it seems her breast cancer has returned.
Joined by her digitally-obsessed, Generation Z daughter, Gwen goes undercover to a nineteenth century revival, planning to draw the faces of the snake handlers so they can be identified and arrested. Instead she uncovers a murderous plot and a festering evil.
my review...


Carrie Stuart Parks offers up another enjoyable novel with her latest, "When Death Draws Near", a book that kept me turning the pages from start to finish. I have greatly enjoyed watching Gwen in her job of forensic artist in the first two instalments in the series, so I was glad to see her return in a whole different kind of mystery as she goes undercover with a group of snake handlers! Gwen is one of those characters who you just can't get enough of, as she shows herself to be so strong in the face of challenges that may force someone else into just giving up. And I must confess to a bit of character envy, because I wish I could draw with the same skill that Gwen employs in her work with her fantastic memory for faces and her ability to bring them to life. Parks has definitely ratcheted up the "chill factor" in this suspense novel to a whole new level, and I was kept guessing throughout the book trying to figure out who was who and what, exactly, was going on. My only hesitation about the novel is that Gwen ends up choosing to take her daughter undercover with her into a cult where danger abounds. As a parent myself I simply can't imagine doing so, no matter how much I felt I had no other choice. At the same time, though, she shows us that we should never judge people just by what we think we know about them, as readers discover that the members of the cult are all too human, wrestling with their fears and doubts, just like any of us can do.

The Gwen Marcey series continues to fascinate me with its unique characters and well-written plots. "When Death Draws Near" is another solid addition to the series and one I am sure readers who enjoy suspense will be eager to add to their collection. I award this book a rating of 4 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...


Carrie Stuart Parks
Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.
Find out more about Carrie Stuart at http://www.carriestuartparks.com.

 

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Another satisfying novel from Kellie Coates Gilbert: "What Matters Most"


Cover Art


about the book....


Just when she can't take it anymore, Leta finally catches a break. But when things seem too good to be true, they often are.

Finding her dream job went right out the window when Leta Breckenridge had to quit school to help care for her mother suffering from dementia. When a delinquent account may force her mother into a less desirable facility, Leta is thrilled to land a high-paying job at an Austin public relations firm. But her seemingly ideal job turns into a nightmare when she learns the firm is a front for a political opposition organization--and that the research she's been collecting will be used against Nathan Emerson, the handsome senator she's swiftly falling in love with.

Nathan is a rising political star being pressured to run a bid to unseat the current governor of Texas. He's already in a relationship with a woman much better suited to be a politician's wife, but he's never met anyone like Leta. Could this feisty woman hold the key to his heart--and his future?

With emotional depth and keen insight into what drives us, Kellie Coates Gilbert offers a salient story that calls us to consider what we value most in this life.

my review....

"What Matters Most" may be my most favourite Kellie Coates Gilbert novel yet - and since I have enjoyed each one of her books so far, that is saying something. What I most loved about the story is the central character of Leta, as she has sacrificed so much in her life to provide love and care for her mother, who has dementia. You just can't help but like a person like that! Her vulnerable financial state makes her a perfect pawn, and yet I admired that she stuck to her values and really was a true hero in the story. The plot is chock full of twists and turns and the result is a gripping story that I didn't want to put down for a single moment. The romance that blossoms between Leta and Nathan is truly a unique one, as at first Nathan is already in a relationship. Also, as a senator there is a lot of pressure from his family, and society, to be with someone in a similar social class, and Leta seems nowhere near that. I love that Gilbert doesn't allow her characters to dip their toes into the moral cesspool that they could have, though I don't want to give the story away so that's all I will say. Rather, they maintain their integrity and make some difficult decisions along the way. That makes the ending all the sweeter! I have no doubt that readers will really relate to many of the situations these characters find themselves in, from caring for ageing parents, to financial struggles, to finding themselves facing a variety of ethically difficult decisions. All of these issues are packaged in an interesting, well-plotted novel that I am sure fans of Gilbert will love.

Contemporary fiction doesn't get better than this! I really enjoyed Kellie Coates Gilbert's newest fiction offering, and award it a high rating of 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....


Kellie Coates Gilbert


Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal, and the author of A Woman of Fortune and Where Rivers Part. Gilbert crafts her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances in Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband. Learn more at www.kelliecoatesgilbert.com.




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Sunday, August 14, 2016

An entertaining historical novel: "No Way Up" by Mary Connealy


Cover Art


about the book....


The Fight for the Cimarron Ranch Has Just Begun!

When Cimarron Ranch patriarch Chance Boden is caught in an avalanche, only the quick actions of hired hand Heath Kincaid save him. Before leaving by train to receive treatment to save his leg--and possibly his life--Chance demands that Heath read the patriarch's will and see its conditions enforced immediately. If Chance's three bickering adult children, Justin, Sadie, and Cole, don't live and work at the ranch for an entire year, ownership of the ranch will pass to a despised distant relative. 

Before long, however, Heath discovers that the avalanche may have been intentionally set--and that more danger lurks ominously. Finding his own future--and a desired future with Sadie--locked up in saving the Cimarron Ranch, Heath and the Boden siblings must work together against outside forces that threaten them all.


my review....

The Cimarron Legacy series starts off in fine form with Mary Connealy's latest novel "No Way Up". Hired hand Heath Kincaid is a downright heroic character who you can't help but like from the get go as his quick-thinking saves his boss, Chance, who owns the ranch Heath is working on. As he suddenly finds himself in the centre of a maelstrom of intrigue and danger surrounding the ranch - not to mention the arguing taking place between Chance's children Justin, Sadie and Cole - Heath rises to the challenge in a way you can't help but admire. The sparks that are soon flying between Heath and Sadie lead to some hilarious and witty dialogue that had me grinning many times, and I can guarantee that readers who love a good romance are going to enjoy this one indeed! I was particularly intrigued by the historical setting of the novel in the New Mexico Territory and by Heath and Sadie's efforts to conquer climbing the Mesa in their pursuit of the truth of exactly what is going on at their ranch. Now, I did find myself having to suspend my disbelief a couple of times as I pictured Heath and Sadie scaling the sides of the Mesa, as I wasn't totally convinced that people in that day and age would place their lives in such danger like that. But then again, who is to say what people would do for the right motivation? Despite my feelings about these scenes, my enjoyment of the novel was not impacted at all. The overall plot is filled with action and adventure, and the book was difficult to put down.

"No Way Up" is a great historical novel and I award it a solid 4 out of 5 stars. Make sure you give this book a try, because there are sure to be more great novels coming in this series - and I'm glad there are!
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....


Mary Connealy


Mary Connealy writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie's Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Learn more at www.maryconnealy.com.




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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A fascinating novel: "Vain Empires" by Brandilyn Collins

Vain Empires by [Collins, Brandilyn]



About the Book...



They were stuck on this remote island, all of them.
Trapped in this reality show.
No way to stop whatever came next.
No way at all.

-----------------------------

Six people arrive on a remote island--contestants in the "reality show of the century," Dream Prize. The winner will be the person who learns the most facts about the others and gains the most viewer votes. Sounds simple. But the three men and three women soon discover nothing is as expected.

They are alone on the island. Cameras surround them, filming twenty-four hours a day. And their challenge? Discover which of the Seven Deadly Sins each contestant, including themselves, represents.

Turns out each person has a damning secret--one that could ruin his or her life. Those secrets are about to be revealed on live television.

And this is only the beginning of the twists in the game.


My review


Brandilyn Collins latest novel is a uniquely satisfying read, unlike anything I've seen from her before. As per usual for a Collins novel, the pacing of this book is brisk, and I liked the way that the author introduces the reader to the contestants from multiple points of view. I was thoroughly engaged in this story from start to finish, and found it very difficult to put down. An undercurrent of unease permeates the plot as you move from one scene to the next, and it quickly becomes clear that all is not as it seems in the reality show game that the contestants are participating in.  As the story progressed, I found myself trying to piece together what exactly was going on as each clue was revealed, and I love that I never could figure out the twists and turns of the story until everything became clear at the end! And what I like best about this novel is that not only is it terrifically entertaining, but it found me contemplating the human condition and our propensity to hide our actions and our sins from others. For some reason, we all seem to believe that the safest and best thing to do is pretend like we are perfect and do no wrong, rather than discovering that the truth is actually what will set us free. "Vain Empires" creatively brings this spiritual truth to light in a story that left me deep in thought for some time.

Fans of Brandilyn Collins will definitely enjoy this well written book, and if you've never yet read one of her novels, then this is a good place to start! I strongly recommend "Vain Empires", and give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

An electronic copy of this book was provided courtesy of the author for the purposes of this unbiased review.


About the author...


Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. She is a three-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner and has received Inspirational Readers’ Choice and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice honors. Brandilyn and her family have homes in California and Idaho.





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Saturday, August 6, 2016

WIN Carrie Stuart Parks’ ‘When Death Draws Near’ Undercover Artist Starter Set

Plunge into forensic artist Gwen Marcey's world, full of cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects. Add Carrie Stuart Parks' new Gwen Marcey novel, When Death Draws Near, to the top of your must-read list. Gwen accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before she can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her—before she becomes a victim herself?

Join Carrie in celebrating the release of When Death Draws Near by entering to win an Undercover Artist Starter Set.

when death draws near - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
when death draws near - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 22. The winner will be announced August 23 on the Litfuse blog.

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Friday, August 5, 2016

A lovely historical novel: "A Haven on Orchard Lane" by Lawana Blackwell


Cover Art



about the book....



An urgent escape . . . a wounded heart . . .

Will Charlotte find the solace she longs for at the cottage on Orchard Lane?

Famed actress Charlotte Ward stepped away from the Victorian London stage five years ago. Now in desperate circumstances, she tries to restart her career--only to experience a complete collapse. Against her better judgment, Charlotte's estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother's rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village where her mother can evade the gossip columnists, at least for a time. 

Charlotte is grateful to re-establish even tenuous family ties with Rosalind. As one with regrets over her own romantic past, she's happy to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it's time away from teaching, and now she must care for the mother who wasn't there for her. And what could possibly be more complicated than romance?

But there can be no permanent escape from the threats of recent months. As the privacy they seek is threatened, mother and daughter must make some difficult decisions--ones that jeopardize those they care about most.


my review....

Welcome back, Lawana Blackwell! After a multi-year break since her last published novel, Blackwell has offered up a lovely historical novel in "A Haven on Orchard Lane", with characters that you cannot help but grow to love. I thought that the author did a remarkable job at capturing the spirit of the Victorian era, and if I could have stepped into the pages of this story to experience everything first hand, I surely would have! The village where the story is set is simply charming, with all the small town drama to go along with it. The story is filled with a multitude of subplots that kept the pace moving swiftly, and I quite enjoyed all the little twists throughout the book. The relationship between Charlotte and her daughter Rosalind is particularly beautiful to watch unfold, as they go from a place of estrangement to one of reconciliation, which is pure grace in action and one that readers will no doubt be encouraged by. And I think my favourite subplot of the book is how the women all band together to help the abused brothers in their relationship with their step-mother, resulting in many scenes that I found especially moving. All in all, despite this being a fairly lengthy novel at over 400 pages, I simply wasn't ready to leave these characters behind as the book drew to a close. Happily, the epilogue leaves readers with a great ending, and our imaginations are free to consider what lies in store for Charlotte and Rosalind and all the rest of the cast of this story (although should the author choose to pen a sequel, I would be delighted!)

I highly recommend this book for fans of historical fiction, and award the book 4.5 out of 5 stars. Readers will enjoy the great setting, the nicely developed characters, and the well-handled romance, and be left wanting more.
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....


Lawana Blackwell


Lawana Blackwell has thirteen published novels to her credit, many of them set in the English countryside of the 19th century. She and her husband live in Frisco, Texas.





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Free ebook: "Dr. Horatio vs. the Six-Toed Cat (Tales from the Goose Creek B&B)|" by Virginia Smith

Dr. Horatio vs. the Six-Toed Cat - eBook

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